Debates of 23 Feb 2005

MR. SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings --
MOTIONS 10:20 a.m.

  • [ R e s u m p t i o n o f d e b a t e f ro m 22/02/2005]
  • Mr. A. Umar Abdul-Razaq (NDC -- Tolon) 10:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of the House. His Excellency, guided by his vision and focus, adopted a three-prong strategy for accelerated growth of our economy, namely; human resource development, private sector development and good governance.

    Mr. Speaker, of all these three critical areas, I beg to narrow my comments to good governance which I think is so dear to my heart and which I believe, if it is properly managed, could be a bedrock or a driving gear for accelerated physio- politico-socio-economic development.

    Mr. Speaker, in pursuance of good governance as a strategy, there are critical indicators or areas that I believe, if the Government is committed to, would bring some sort of positive result. These, actually, I will term as the fundamental pillars of good governance.

    Mr. Speaker, they are how the Government is committed to fight corruption, the commitment of the Government to the rule of law, the commitment of Government to grass- roots participation in decision-making and the commitment of Government to the citizenry to enjoy fundamental human rights.
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Member when hon. Dr. Anane was charged for corruption? And what does he mean by the corruption that hon. Dr. Anane is guilty of? Please he should prove that, otherwise he should withdraw.
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Member when hon. Dr. Anane was charged for corruption? And what does he mean by the corruption that hon. Dr. Anane is guilty of? Please he should prove that, otherwise he should withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you mentioned the name of an hon. Member of this House. Would you kindly say in what connection you mentioned his name.
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you mentioned the name of an hon. Member of this House. Would you kindly say in what connection you mentioned his name.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    was just trying to refer to the submissions by the President and I just want to give a case in point that it paves way for indecent behaviour; and this is what I was trying to talk about, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    was just trying to refer to the submissions by the President and I just want to give a case in point that it paves way for indecent behaviour; and this is what I was trying to talk about, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do the
    right thing now and let us go on.
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do the
    right thing now and let us go on.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that statement. Mr. Speaker, talking about grass-roots participation in decision-making, the President said in his Address to the Nation -- and with your permission I quote -- Mr. Speaker, page 20, the last paragraph:
    “. . . 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 in all levels of decision- making.”
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, I personally have

    Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker,

    he says for four good years nothing has happened -- for four good years. Mr. Speaker, I do not know what he is talking about. Four good years, Urban and Area Councils -- Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration, for four years has established all the urban and area councils throughout the country with offices.

    Mr. Speaker, if in his constituency those structures have not been put up, it does not mean for four good years, in the whole country, nothing has been done. Mr. Speaker, this statement is grossly misleading. He must withdraw it and apologize to us because it is terribly misleading.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I withdraw that statement. Mr. Speaker, talking about grass-roots participation in decision-making, the President said in his Address to the Nation -- and with your permission I quote -- Mr. Speaker, page 20, the last paragraph:
    “. . . 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 in all levels of decision- making.”
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, I personally have

    Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker,

    he says for four good years nothing has happened -- for four good years. Mr. Speaker, I do not know what he is talking about. Four good years, Urban and Area Councils -- Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration, for four years has established all the urban and area councils throughout the country with offices.

    Mr. Speaker, if in his constituency those structures have not been put up, it does not mean for four good years, in the whole country, nothing has been done. Mr. Speaker, this statement is grossly misleading. He must withdraw it and apologize to us because it is terribly misleading.
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, were you
    referring to your own area?
    Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, were you
    referring to your own area?
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    saying this with reference to the Tolon/ Kumbungu District Assembly. If these structures are not allowed to function effectively it means the failure of the good governance that is being advocated by the Government.
    Mr. Speaker, article 12 (1) and (2), article 13 (1) and article 14 of our 1992 Constitution talk about fundamental human rights and freedom. Mr. Speaker, based on this, let me quote what the President said in his Address to the nation:
    “The peace and security we are enjoying now is due to the practice of good governance.”
    Mr. Speaker, it would be recalled
    that on the 24th of March, 2002, rumours started trickling in that there was a problem in Yendi. Mr. Speaker, on the 25th of March, 2002, the hon. Member of Parliament for Yendi, who was then the Interior Minister, came out to say that nothing was happening; and on the 27th of March, the Ya-Na was murdered.

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

    Speaker, I rise on a point of relevance. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member was not in this House last four years. And when the issue of the Ya-Na's death came up, for almost three years, this House spent precious hours trying to solve the problem in Yendi. He is trying to revive old wounds; he is trying to bring up memories. And Mr. Speaker, he is not even seized with the accurate facts because a whole Commission of Enquiry was set up and the specific events were built up.

    So Mr. Speaker, this has nothing to do with the President's State of the Nation Message. I am praying that you should rule the hon. Member out of order on the basis of relevance. This is because he is trying to just whip up emotions and introduce the Ya-Na's death in this matter which has nothing to do with this motion.

    Mr. Speaker, it has nothing to do with

    what we are talking about. So on a point of relevance, I pray that you rule him out of order.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    saying this with reference to the Tolon/ Kumbungu District Assembly. If these structures are not allowed to function effectively it means the failure of the good governance that is being advocated by the Government.
    Mr. Speaker, article 12 (1) and (2), article 13 (1) and article 14 of our 1992 Constitution talk about fundamental human rights and freedom. Mr. Speaker, based on this, let me quote what the President said in his Address to the nation:
    “The peace and security we are enjoying now is due to the practice of good governance.”
    Mr. Speaker, it would be recalled
    that on the 24th of March, 2002, rumours started trickling in that there was a problem in Yendi. Mr. Speaker, on the 25th of March, 2002, the hon. Member of Parliament for Yendi, who was then the Interior Minister, came out to say that nothing was happening; and on the 27th of March, the Ya-Na was murdered.

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

    Speaker, I rise on a point of relevance. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member was not in this House last four years. And when the issue of the Ya-Na's death came up, for almost three years, this House spent precious hours trying to solve the problem in Yendi. He is trying to revive old wounds; he is trying to bring up memories. And Mr. Speaker, he is not even seized with the accurate facts because a whole Commission of Enquiry was set up and the specific events were built up.

    So Mr. Speaker, this has nothing to do with the President's State of the Nation Message. I am praying that you should rule the hon. Member out of order on the basis of relevance. This is because he is trying to just whip up emotions and introduce the Ya-Na's death in this matter which has nothing to do with this motion.

    Mr. Speaker, it has nothing to do with

    what we are talking about. So on a point of relevance, I pray that you rule him out of order.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, wind
    up, please.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, wind
    up, please.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my
    Mrs. Asmah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point
    of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading this House. At the death of
    the Ya-Na, I was in Tamale and I visited the family. I met twenty-eight wives and when I saw the state in which they were, I reported to the Government and the Government directed that I take a package to the family.
    Mr. Speaker, I went back to Tamale
    Mrs. Asmah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point
    of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading this House. At the death of
    the Ya-Na, I was in Tamale and I visited the family. I met twenty-eight wives and when I saw the state in which they were, I reported to the Government and the Government directed that I take a package to the family.
    Mr. Speaker, I went back to Tamale
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mrs. Asmah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the
    Government wanted to make sure that some facilities would be put at their disposal in view of the fact that the head of family was not there.
    Mr. Speaker, they refused to accept
    them. Today, they are asking for help. I think it is rather unfortunate and my hon. Colleague should know what the Government did for the family, instead of saying that the Government has not done anything for them.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mrs. Asmah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the
    Government wanted to make sure that some facilities would be put at their disposal in view of the fact that the head of family was not there.
    Mr. Speaker, they refused to accept
    them. Today, they are asking for help. I think it is rather unfortunate and my hon. Colleague should know what the Government did for the family, instead of saying that the Government has not done anything for them.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for
    Takoradi, you will be given plenty of time to contribute but at this stage you are out of order.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for
    Takoradi, you will be given plenty of time to contribute but at this stage you are out of order.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a point of information. Mr. Speaker, the information is that the Ya-Na and the forty others who were killed -- they want the killers of those people. They do not want those bags of rice, sugar and what have
    you. That is what they want the Govern- ment to do something about. Four years now, nothing has happened.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a point of information. Mr. Speaker, the information is that the Ya-Na and the forty others who were killed -- they want the killers of those people. They do not want those bags of rice, sugar and what have
    you. That is what they want the Govern- ment to do something about. Four years now, nothing has happened.
    rose rose
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you
    have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you
    have a point of order to raise?
    Mrs. Kusi 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr.
    Speaker, the hon. Member on the floor is misleading this House. If he is saying that the Government has not done anything for the family, the former Minister for Women and Children's Affairs has said it. So he should not mislead the House by saying that the Government has done nothing for the family.
    Mrs. Kusi 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr.
    Speaker, the hon. Member on the floor is misleading this House. If he is saying that the Government has not done anything for the family, the former Minister for Women and Children's Affairs has said it. So he should not mislead the House by saying that the Government has done nothing for the family.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I have
    directed that you conclude.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I have
    directed that you conclude.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    in conclusion, the Government has indicated the laying of a solid and firm foundation for rapid economic growth. When we talk about economic growth, I do not think we could ignore the essence of energy. And Mr. Speaker, it might interest you to know that for four good years of “Positive Change Chapter One”, no hundred watts bulbs have been connected to the national grid as far as the SHEP 4 Project is concerned in the Tolon/ Kumbungu district.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    in conclusion, the Government has indicated the laying of a solid and firm foundation for rapid economic growth. When we talk about economic growth, I do not think we could ignore the essence of energy. And Mr. Speaker, it might interest you to know that for four good years of “Positive Change Chapter One”, no hundred watts bulbs have been connected to the national grid as far as the SHEP 4 Project is concerned in the Tolon/ Kumbungu district.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Tolon, kindly resume your seat.
    Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Tolon, kindly resume your seat.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong (NPP -- Kwabre East) 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to you for allowing me to speak for the first time on the floor of this House, on the motion that the President be thanked for the
    Message on the State of the Nation, as ably moved by the hon. Member for Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama).
    Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about the Address. I will, therefore, not waste a lot of time on it but contribute on a few areas.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about tourism. Undoubtedly, tourism plays an important role in our national economy. It earns for us a lot of foreign currency and creates employment for a lot of people. It is estimated that the tourism industry alone created one hundred and eighty thousand jobs in the year 2004 and fetched for the country as much as eight hundred million dollars in the same year. But that is not enough, Mr. Speaker, looking at the industry globally.
    Mr. Speaker, tourism is described as the largest industry in the world with an estimated revenue of over three trillion dollars a year. In the United States of America, tourism is said to be the country's leading employer which created over six million jobs last year. In the subregion, the two countries bordering Ghana to the east and west, that is Togo and la Cote d'Ivoire, year in, year out attract hosts of tourists, even though the term “peace and security” is better in Ghana than those two countries.

    From the foregoing, one does not need further convincing that Ghana has not been able to fight for enough of the world's cake in tourism. It was therefore heart- warming when the President mentioned tourism as one area to be developed under the private sector and that Ghana would be made the preferred tourist destination in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) subregion.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong (NPP -- Kwabre East) 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to you for allowing me to speak for the first time on the floor of this House, on the motion that the President be thanked for the
    Message on the State of the Nation, as ably moved by the hon. Member for Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama).
    Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about the Address. I will, therefore, not waste a lot of time on it but contribute on a few areas.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about tourism. Undoubtedly, tourism plays an important role in our national economy. It earns for us a lot of foreign currency and creates employment for a lot of people. It is estimated that the tourism industry alone created one hundred and eighty thousand jobs in the year 2004 and fetched for the country as much as eight hundred million dollars in the same year. But that is not enough, Mr. Speaker, looking at the industry globally.
    Mr. Speaker, tourism is described as the largest industry in the world with an estimated revenue of over three trillion dollars a year. In the United States of America, tourism is said to be the country's leading employer which created over six million jobs last year singularly. In the subregion, the two countries bordering Ghana to the east and west, that is Togo and la Cote d'Ivoire, year in, year out attract hosts of tourists, even though the term “peace and security” is better in Ghana than those two countries.

    From the foregoing, one does not need further convincing that Ghana has not been able to fight for enough of the world's cake in tourism. It was therefore heart- warming when the President mentioned tourism as one area to be developed under the private sector and that Ghana would be made the preferred tourist destination in the Economic Community of West African
    Mr. J. A. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am very certain that we are dealing with the President's Message to this House, and as far as I am concerned, the President never mentioned shrines in his Message. So the hon. Member is embarking on a very useless and fruitless exercise and he is misleading this House. I want to crave your indulgence to let him keep to the Message that we were given by the President and address it as such, and not indulge in irrelevancies.
    Mr. J. A. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am very certain that we are dealing with the President's Message to this House, and as far as I am concerned, the President never mentioned shrines and what have you in his Message. So the hon. Member is embarking on a very useless and fruitless exercise and he is misleading this House. I want to crave your indulgence to let him keep to the Message that we were given by the President and address it as such, and not indulge in irrelevancies.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    We all know how to insinuate
    Mr. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    We all know how to insinuate
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Order! Order. Hon. Chief Whip, I hope you are addressing the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Order! Order. Hon. Chief Whip, I hope you are addressing the Chair.
    Mr. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleagues over there are not paying attention to what we are doing here.
    Mr. Tia 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleagues over there are not paying attention to what we are doing here.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Do not listen to them. We must go on. Today is the last day for the debate and as many of you as possible ought to be given the opportunity to contribute. Hon. Member for Kwabre East, please wind up.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Do not listen to them. We must go on. Today is the last day for the debate and as many of you as possible ought to be given the opportunity to contribute. Hon. Member for Kwabre East, please wind up.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in spite of all that we are saying or the objections that they are raising, I still want the site of Antoa to be developed to become an international tourist centre. That is the point I am making.
    Mr. Speaker, apart from the Antoa
    Nyama we have some eco-tourist activities that go on in my constituency. The wood- carving centres at Ehwia, the Adinkra making industry at Ntonso, the kente industries which centre around Asuromaso, Adahumasi and Hondo, are all very important tourist sites.

    Mr. Speaker, the point I am making here is that these industries are dying out because of lack of funding, and so I was glad when I heard the President say that a micro-financing scheme has been set up, with affordable terms, to promote the development of small-scale enterprises. What is even more commendable is that the scheme would be decentralised to all the regions.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to humbly appeal to the President to decentralise it beyond the regions to the districts to make it easily accessible. This will go a long way to remove all the bottlenecks in the administration of the micro- finance scheme to the advantage of the practitioners. It will also ensure that it is the practitioners, irrespective of their party affiliation, who will be the beneficiaries.

    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Government that th is ass is tance in entrepreneurial training and skills promised by Government will go a long way to help the recovery of loans and the radical growth in tourism in my constituency and Ghana in general.

    Mr. Speaker, on human resource development, I would want to comment only on the first-cycle education under the broad topic of human resource development. One cannot talk about human resource development without talking about quality education, and one cannot talk about quality education without talking about or putting emphasis on first- cycle education. This is the reason why I agree with the President totally on the radical decisions on education stated in his Message.

    Mr. Speaker, the first-cycle is the foundation on which the whole educational structure is built. Therefore, every effort must be made to make it as solid as a rock. The idea of formal education starting at age four, with two-year kindergarten, is really laudable. Truly, the kindergarten education or concept is not new; it has
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in spite of all that we are saying or the objections that they are raising, I still want the site of Antoa to be developed to become an international tourist centre. That is the point I am making.
    Mr. Speaker, apart from the Antoa
    Nyamaa we have some eco-tourist activities that go on in my constituency. The wood- carving centres at Ehwia, the Adinkra making industry at Ntonso, the kente industries which centre around Asuromaso, Adahumasi and Hondo, are all very important tourist sites.

    Mr. Speaker, the point I am making here is that these industries are dying out because of lack of funding, and so I was glad when I heard the President say that a micro-financing scheme has been set up, with affordable terms, to promote the development of small-scale enterprises. What is even more commendable is that the scheme would be decentralised to all the regions.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to humbly appeal to the President to decentralise it beyond the regions to the districts to make it easily accessible. This will go a long way to remove all the bottlenecks in the administration of the micro- finance scheme to the advantage of the practitioners. It will also ensure that it is the practitioners, irrespective of their party affiliation, who will be the beneficiaries.

    Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Government that th is ass is tance in entrepreneurial training and skills promised by Government will go a long way to help the recovery of loans and the radical growth in tourism in my constituency and Ghana in general.

    Mr. Speaker, on human resource development, I would want to comment only on the first-cycle education under the broad topic of human resource development. One cannot talk about human resource development without talking about quality education, and one cannot talk about quality education without talking about or putting emphasis on first- cycle education. This is the reason why I agree with the President totally on the radical decisions on education stated in his Message.

    Mr. Speaker, the first-cycle is the foundation on which the whole educational structure is built. Therefore, every effort must be made to make it as solid as a rock. The idea of formal education starting at age four, with two-year kindergarten, is really laudable. Truly, the kindergarten
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Kwabre East, continue.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Kwabre East, continue.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am still dealing with tourism. [Interruption.]
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am still dealing with tourism. [Interruption.]
    Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I believe as the hon. Member who is contributing is saying, he is touching on the issue of tourism which the President alluded to and he is relating it to his constituency. I think it is very germane to the issue and for my hon. Colleague to suggest that he is embarking on a useless exercise -- emphasis on the word “useless” -- I think the word is very offensive and he must withdraw it. Mr. Speaker, the word is very repugnant and he must withdraw it.
    Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I believe as the hon. Member who is contributing is saying, he is touching on the issue of tourism which the President alluded to and he is relating it to his constituency. I think it is very germane to the issue and for my hon. Colleague to suggest that he is embarking on a useless exercise -- emphasis on the word “useless” -- I think the word is very offensive and he must withdraw it. Mr. Speaker, the word is very repugnant and he must withdraw it.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I thought I had ruled him out of order. Let us proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I thought I had ruled him out of order. Let us proceed.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, my hon. Colleague is the Chief Whip for the Minority and the use of the word “useless” is very offensive. My hon. Colleague is a very experienced Member of Parliament and I do not expect him to use that word, because if the word is used on him, I believe he would be offended. It is offensive in the circumstances.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, my hon. Colleague is the Chief Whip for the Minority and the use of the word “useless” is very offensive. My hon. Colleague is a very experienced Member of Parliament and I do not expect him to use that word, because if the word is used on him, I believe he would be offended. It is offensive in the circumstances.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I do not intend to rule on that because this is a point of order you are raising against his point of order which he raised and on which I ruled him out of order. So let us proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I do not intend to rule on that because this is a point of order you are raising against his point of order which he raised and on which I ruled him out of order. So let us proceed.
    Mr. Tia 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought that I was being kind to my hon. Colleague across by just drawing his attention to relevance. But if my hon. Colleague, the Majority Chief Whip wants me to go on the block and say things as they are, I want to indicate that the hon. Member is using invectives on somebody, a member of the public, who is not -- [Inter-ruptions.]
    Mr. Tia 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought that I was being kind to my hon. Colleague across by just drawing his attention to relevance. But if my hon. Colleague, the Majority Chief Whip wants me to go on the block and say things as they are, I want to indicate that the hon. Member is using invectives on somebody, a member of the public, who is not -- [Inter-ruptions.]
    Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Juabeso) 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion before this House.
    Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Juabeso) 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion
    Mr Joe Danquah 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I thought you ruled that we could refer copiously to our notes, but it looks like my hon. Friend is just seriously looking into the thing without even raising the head.
    Mr Joe Danquah 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I thought you ruled that we could refer copiously to our notes, but it looks like my hon. Friend is just seriously looking into the thing without even raising the head.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member for
    Juabeso, continue, please.
    Capt. (rtd.) Effah-Dartey: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect to you, I want your guidance on a fundamental issue. I look at my hon. Member for Juabeso and I want your guidance as to whether he is properly dressed to be in this honourable House. If you rule that it is proper dressing, then I can also follow suit another time. So I want your guidance, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member for
    Juabeso, continue, please.
    Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect to you, I want your guidance on a fundamental issue. I look at my hon. Member for Juabeso and I want your guidance as to whether he is properly dressed to be in this honourable House. If you rule that it is proper dressing, then I can also follow suit another time. So I want your guidance, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, this is not
    a point of order at all.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon. Member, this is not a point of order at all.
    Mr. Ahi 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that even though the cocoa industry did very well in 2004, farmers in my constituency, which is Juabeso, have not yet received their 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses. At the beginning of the 2004/2005 cocoa season, the Ghana Cocoa Board, in conjunction with the Cocoa Research Institute, detected some defects in the cocoa beans called “purple beans”. Mr. Speaker, this purple bean as claimed by the Cocoa Research Institute is as a result of inadequate fermentation by cocoa farmers, and this resulted in a serious problem in the cocoa industry.
    Mr. Ahi 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that even though the cocoa industry did very well in 2004, farmers in my constituency, which is Juabeso, have not yet received their 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses. At the beginning of the 2004/2005 cocoa season, the Ghana Cocoa Board, in conjunction with the Cocoa Research Institute, detected some defects in the cocoa beans called “purple beans”. Mr. Speaker, this purple bean as claimed by the Cocoa Research Institute is as a result of inadequate fermentation by cocoa farmers, and this resulted in a serious problem in the cocoa industry.
    Mr. K. O. Agyapong 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague on the other side is seriously misleading the House. He said the farmers have not received their 2003/2004 bonuses, in his constituency. I want him to know that in 2003 -- he should check from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning -- ¢77 billion was disbursed as bonuses to the cocoa farmers. Therefore, he cannot say that Juabeso farmers have not received theirs. He has to check. He should not use 2003 and make a general sweeping statement that they have not received theirs. ¢77 billion was disbursed to cocoa farmers as bonuses.
    Mr. K. O. Agyapong 11 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague on the other side is seriously misleading the House. He said the farmers have not received their 2003/2004 bonuses, in his constituency. I want him to know that in 2003. The should check from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning -- ¢77 billion was disbursed as bonuses to the cocoa farmers. Therefore, he cannot say that Juabeso farmers have not received theirs. He has to check. He should not use 2003 and make a general sweeping statement that they have not received theirs. ¢77 billion was disbursed to cocoa farmers as bonuses.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Juabeso, are you referring to Juabeso district?
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Juabeso, are you referring to Juabeso district?
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. But the issue is that in the cocoa industry, the year 2003/2004 is considered as a season. So if farmers have been paid for the year 2003, then it means that it is the 2002/2003 cocoa bonuses which have been paid. I am saying that 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses have not been paid in my constituency, which is Juabeso.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. But the issue is that in the cocoa industry, the year 2003/2004 is considered as a season. So if farmers have been paid for the year 2003, then it means that it is the 2002/2003 cocoa bonuses which have been paid. I am saying that 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses have not been paid in my constituency, which is Juabeso.
    Mr. Agyapong 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Agyapong 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, again, my hon. Friend opposite is still misleading the House. In the year 2002, the Government disbursed ¢78 billion -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Agyapong 11:10 a.m.
    Again, in the year 2003, the Government disbursed ¢77 billion. The hon. Member should check from the Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning. Mr. Speaker, he is seriously misleading the House.
    Mr. Agyapong 11:10 a.m.
    Again, in the year 2003, the Government disbursed ¢77 billion. The hon. Member should check from the Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning. Mr. Speaker, he is seriously misleading the House.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Juabeso, you may proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Juabeso, you may proceed.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that for the year in question, farmers from the Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region have received their bonuses but the rest of the farmers, especially farmers from my constituency are yet to receive their bonuses.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that for the year in question, farmers from the Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region have received their bonuses but the rest of the farmers, especially farmers from my constituency are yet to receive their bonuses.
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is misleading this House and the country at large. The Government has paid bonuses to all those who sold their cocoa beans to Government agencies. If the farmers in his constituency decided to sell their cocoa to private companies and they have not been paid their bonuses, he should go and hold them responsible. The Government has paid bonuses to all farmers who sold their cocoa to government agencies.
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is misleading this House and the country at large. The Government has paid bonuses to all those who sold their cocoa beans to Government agencies. If the farmers in his constituency decided to sell their cocoa to private companies and they have not been paid their bonuses, he should go and hold them responsible. The Government has paid bonuses to all farmers who sold their cocoa to government agencies.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member, please, continue.
    Mr. Eric Opoku 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of information. Mr. Speaker, farmers in the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions have not been paid their bonuses for the 2003/2004 cocoa season. The mode of payment has been changed. Hitherto, it was paid through the licenced buying agencies. Now, when you get to the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions, what COCOBOD is trying to do is to pay directly to farmers; and this is not easy.

    I am a farmer myself and I went to my constituency last Monday to collect my bonus and I was not paid because my name was not on the list, even though I had a genuine slip.

    I presented my identity card, as a registered cocoa farmer with Akuapa Cocoa Limited, but my name was not on the list. Many of the farmers have been complaining seriously considering the fact that somebody has to travel for more than twenty-four kilometres to Sankore or to Kukuom before he is paid. That was not the practice previously so we have to complain. The system must be amended to suit the farmers; that is what the hon. Member is saying.
    Mr. Opoku 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, farmers in the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions have not been paid their bonuses for the 2003/2004 cocoa season. The mode of payment has been changed. Hitherto, it was paid through the licenced buying agencies. Now, when you get to the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions, what COCOBOD is trying to do is to pay directly to farmers; and this is not

    easy. I am a farmer myself and I went to my constituency last Monday to collect my bonus and I was not paid because my name was not on the list, even though I had a genuine slip.

    I presented my identity card, as a registered cocoa farmer with Akuapa Cocoa Limited, but my name was not on the list. Many of the farmers have been complaining seriously considering the fact that somebody has to travel for more than twenty-four kilometres to Sankore or to Kukuom before he is paid. That was not the practice previously so we have to complain. The system must be amended to suit the farmers; that is what the hon. Member is saying.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you should take notice that the hon. Member for Juabeso has a time-frame within which to make his contribution and the time allotted for your information is added to his time.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you should take notice that the hon. Member for Juabeso has a time-frame within which to make his contribution and the time allotted for your information is added to his time.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the year 2004/2005 cocoa season, the Ghana Cocoa Board, in conjunction with the Cocoa Research Institute detected some disease in the cocoa bean called purple. This purple disease as explained was as a result of inadequate fermentation which halted activities in the industry for almost two months since the Quality Control Division (QCD) -- [Inter- ruption.]
    Mr. Christopher Addae 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the information that the hon. Member who just spoke is giving is wrong and therefore he is misleading this House. It is true that the bonus for the year 2003/2004 season is now being paid in the Western Region; and there is a reason for that, Mr. Speaker. What has been happening with regard to the payment of bonuses is that the money is sent to the farmers through the purchasing clerks. It is being paid. And the reason for
    the delay is what I am giving.
    Mr. Speaker, over the years, the purchasing clerks would go from farmer to farmer in the lean season and purchase the cocoa illegally, when the season has closed. And when the bonus is to be paid, the amount reflects in their accounts. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have had discussions with the Chief Executive of the COCOBOD and the figures that the Chief Executive gave as going to purchasing clerks and district officers of the various buying agencies are so staggering and therefore, they benefit from the sweat of the farmers.
    That was why COCOBOD decided that for those farmers, they would rather use Akuafo cheques to pay bonuses. The purchasing clerks and the licensed buying companies did not initially agree and so they had to draw a timetable for the payment. I am sure that if my hon. Colleague goes back to his constituency, as I speak now, he would realize that the bonus is being paid. Therefore, to say that the bonus has not been paid in the Western Region is grossly misleading this House.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the year 2004/2005 cocoa season, the Ghana Cocoa Board, in conjunction with the Cocoa Research Institute detected some disease in the cocoa bean called purple. This purple disease as explained was as a result of inadequate fermentation which halted activities in the industry for almost two months since the Quality Control Division (QCD) -- [Inter- ruption.]
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that in simple grammar, there is a difference between “being paid” and “has not been paid”. So my hon. Colleague should take note of that. The purple disease created problems in the cocoa industry because the Quality Control Division (QCD) refused to grade and seal cocoa bought by Produce Buying Company (PBC) and the licensed buying companies (LBCs.)
    Mr. Christopher Addae 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the information that the hon. Member who just spoke is giving is wrong and therefore he is misleading this House. It is true that the bonus for the year 2003/2004 season is now being paid in the Western Region; and there is a reason for that, Mr. Speaker. What has been happening with regard to the payment of bonuses is that the money is sent to the farmers through the purchasing clerks. It is being paid. And the reason for the delay is what I am giving. Mr.
    Speaker, over the years, the purchasing clerks would go from farmer to farmer in the lean season and purchase the cocoa illegally, when the season has closed. And when the bonus is to be paid, the amount reflects in their accounts. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have had discussions with the Chief Executive of the COCOBOD and the figures that the Chief Executive gave as going to purchasing clerks and district officers of the various buying agencies are so staggering and therefore, they benefit from the sweat of the farmers.
    That was why COCOBOD decided that for those farmers, they would rather use Akuafo cheques to pay bonuses. The purchasing clerks and the licensed buying companies did not initially agree and so they had to draw a timetable for the payment. I am sure that if my hon. Colleague goes back to his constituency, as I speak now, he would realize that the bonus is being paid. Therefore, to say that the bonus has not been paid in the Western Region is grossly misleading this House.
    Mr. Ahi 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that in simple grammar, there is a difference between “being paid” and “has not been paid”. So my hon. Colleague should take note of that. The purple disease created problems in the cocoa industry because the Quality Control Division (QCD) refused to grade and seal cocoa bought by Produce Buying Company (PBC) and the licensed buying companies (LBCs.)
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to my hon. Colleague and it seems to me that he is creating the impression that there appears to be some discrimination in the payment of bonuses.
    Mr. Speaker, the COCOBOD tells us

    that the process is ongoing and in the case of Juabeso, when they went there to effect payment of the bonuses, the farmers insisted that they should be paid not directly but through the LBCs. So that is where the problem lies. It is not as if there is discrimination or an intended purpose to neglect the farmers of Juabeso. So the hon. Member should have this in mind.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to my hon. Colleague and it seems to me that he is creating the impression that there appears to be some discrimination in the payment of bonuses.
    Mr. Speaker, the COCOBOD tells us that the process is ongoing and in the case of Juabeso, when they went there to

    effect payment of the bonuses, the farmers insisted that they should be paid not directly but through the LBCs. So that is where the problem lies. It is not as if there is discrimination or an intended purpose to neglect the farmers of Juabeso. So the hon. Member should have this in mind.
    Mr. Ahi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the traditional method of paying bonus to farmers was employed in the Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region. COCOBOD paid bonuses to farmers through the licensed buying companies. We find it difficult to understand why in the north-western part of the Western Region the Government or Ghana COCOBOD wants to deviate from this simple method and then effect the payment by COCOBOD itself. That is the question. If this same method had been applied in Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region, I would not have any problem.
    rose
    Mr. Ahi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the traditional method of paying bonus to farmers was employed in the Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region. COCOBOD paid bonuses to farmers through the licensed buying companies. We find it difficult to understand why in the north-western part of the Western Region the Government or Ghana COCOBOD wants to deviate from this simple method and then effect the payment by COCOBOD itself. That is the question. If this same method had been applied in Ashanti Region and the Eastern Region, I would not have any problem.
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Majority Chief Whip, do you have a point of order?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague is misleading this House. Indeed, they started in the fashion, as he said, in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions. Then it came to the fore that it appeared that the licensed buying companies were profiting unduly from the hardships and the toils of farmers. So they resorted to paying them directly. That was the second phase.
    So Mr. Speaker, that was why they wanted to resort to the same medium of effecting payment in the Western and
    Brong Ahafo Regions. Indeed they started in that fashion, as he said, in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions, but they realised that certain people were cashing in, for which reason, they employed the second method; and that was what they did in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions. So Mr. Speaker, that is no discrimination.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Majority Chief Whip, do you have a point of order?
    Mr. Ahi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on the cocoa issue, I want to appeal to the Government and Ghana COCOBOD to ensure that farmers from my constituency receive their 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses.
    Mr. Speaker, it is in the interest of the country for the Government to tackle both rural and urban roads, as stated at page 18 of the Message; and Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission I quote:
    “Road construction projects in both rural and urban areas are in progress.”
    Sometimes, you begin to wonder whether we the people from the northern part of the Western Region are part of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, if you travel along those corridors of Western Region, you will marvel. In fact, the northern part of Western Region is blessed with natural resources, but you will be surprised to know that at some point when you are travelling you have to walk for over 10 kilometres, without a car, without transport.
    So Mr. Speaker, if the Government is committed to rural development and the provision of rural infrastructure, it is about time Government of Ghana took the people of Sefwi serious because we have been relegated to the background for a long time.
    On this note, I want to thank the NDC Government for constructing the Adiembra road up to Dwenase, which we
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague is misleading this House. Indeed, they started in the fashion, as he said, in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions. Then it came to the fore that it appeared that the licensed buying companies were profiting unduly from the hardships and the toils of farmers. So they resorted to paying them directly. That was the second phase.
    So Mr. Speaker, that was why they wanted to resort to the same medium of effecting payment in the Western and Brong Ahafo Regions. Indeed they started in that fashion, as he said, in the Ashanti
    and Eastern Regions, but they realised that certain people were cashing in, for which reason, they employed the second method; and that was what they did in the Ashanti and Eastern Regions. So Mr. Speaker, that is no discrimination.
    Mr. Ahi 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on the cocoa issue, I want to appeal to the Government and Ghana COCOBOD to ensure that farmers from my constituency receive their 2003/2004 cocoa bonuses.
    Mr. Speaker, it is in the interest of the country for the Government to tackle both rural and urban roads, as stated at page 18 of the Message, and Mr. Speaker, with your kind permission I quote:
    “Road construction projects in both rural and urban areas are in progress.”
    Sometimes, you begin to wonder whether we the people from the northern part of Western Region are part of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, if you travel along those corridors of Western Region, you will marvel. In fact, the northern part of Western Region is blessed with natural resources, but you will be surprised to know that at some point when you are travelling you have to walk for over 10 kilometres, without a car, without transport.
    So Mr. Speaker, if the Government is committed to rural development and the provision of rural infrastructure, it is about time Government of Ghana took the people of Sefwi serious because we have been relegated to the background for a long time.
    On this note, I want to thank the NDC Government for constructing the Adiembra road up to Dwenase, which we expected the NPP Government to come and continue. Two weeks to the elections,
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Christopher Addae 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, he has finished, but he is misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, everybody who has been watching knows, and I am sure Members of Parlia-ment who were in theThird Parliament also know, that the Government has contracted a loan and the contract has been signed between the Government of Ghana and Interbeton, which is the construction company that is going to do the road. And by suggesting that the President and his team went there to cut the sod obstensibly for political gains is not correct. So the impression my hon. Colleague is creating is not correct.
    Mr. Christopher Addae 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, he has finished, but he is misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, everybody who has been watching knows, and I am sure Members of Parlia-ment who were in theThird Parliament also know, that the Government has contracted a loan and the contract has been signed between the Government of Ghana and Interbeton, which is the construction company that is going to do the road. And by suggesting that the President and his team went there to cut the sod obstensibly for political gains is not correct. So the impression my hon. Colleague is creating is not correct.
    Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP -- Builsa North) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am so grateful to be given this opportunity this morning to contribute to the motion. Mr. Speaker, I sincerely thank the President of Ghana for such a wonderful and peaceful Message delivered here on the 3rd of February, 2005.

    It is indeed very wonderful to see a God-fearing man of his nature outlining his plans for the nation Ghana. In fact, Positive Change Chapter One was a real fundamental foundation.
    rose
    Mrs. Agnes A. Chigabatia (NPP -- Builsa North) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am so grateful to be given this opportunity this morning to contribute to the motion. Mr. Speaker, I sincerely thank the President of Ghana for such a wonderful and peaceful Message delivered here on the 3rd of February, 2005.
    Mr. Speaker, it was really a wonderful

    It is indeed very wonderful to see a God-fearing man of his nature outlining his plans for the nation Ghana. In fact, Positive Change Chapter One was a real fundamental foundation.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Alhaji Sorogho 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. My hon. Colleague is saying that when the President was delivering the State of the Nation Address everyone was smiling. Mr. Speaker, I was seriously thinking -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Alhaji Sorogho 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. My hon. Colleague is saying that when the President was delivering the State of the Nation Address everyone was smiling. Mr. Speaker, I was seriously thinking -- [Interruptions.]
    Alhaji Sorogho 11:20 a.m.
    So I do not see how she could say that everyone was smiling. Mr. Speaker, I think she is misleading the
    House and must withdraw, because while some were smiling, others were really weeping.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Alhaji Sorogho 11:20 a.m.
    So I do not see how she could say that everyone was smiling. Mr. Speaker, I think she is misleading the
    House and must withdraw, because while some were smiling, others were really weeping.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Builsa North, please continue.
    Mrs. Chigabatia 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that was my observation and the young man was seriously smiling. So it is really a fundamental foundation for Positive Change Chapter 2.
    Mr. Speaker, in the State of the Nation Message, His Excellency touched on a lot of issues. However, because of the limited
    time given to me, I am going to comment on only two areas briefly.
    First, the youth. Mr. Speaker, on His Excellency's vision for the youth of Ghana, I think all here assembled will agree with me that the youth of Ghana are really the true leaders. His excellent plans for them as true leaders of the country are worth commenting on, because it goes down to expose the ingredients that will prepare them to successfully execute their roles as future leaders, on which the growth of this nation depends.
    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency men- tioned the need for a disciplined youth which is the bare fact, for without discipline there is no success on earth.
    His Excellency went ahead also to touch on skills training and employment placement programme for them. Mr. Speaker, the hawkers and the kayayei, who are parading the streets of Accra and Kumasi are our own people on whose tickets we are here in Parliament. So it is our duty now, as hon. Members of this House, to go to them, interact with them and let them know what His Excellency has got in store for them.
    Mr. Speaker, with your permission, again, I would like to appeal to my hon. Colleagues that this House should find time, as I said earlier on; let us forget the bourgeois things we are doing and go deep into Makola, call our people in the various constituencies, sit them down and educate them, especially on AIDS which is killing the young men of today.

    Now, the Private Sector. Mr. Speaker, he also touched on private sector development, namely, the large, the medium and the small-scale enterprises. This is very revealing as it provides the

    solution to overcome the problems that have affected the development of the private sector.

    Mr. Speaker, I again congratulate him for this thorough analysis as it concerns his conviction for the private sector as the engine of growth for the Golden Age of Business. Mr. Speaker, I pray that my hon. Colleague would take this opportunity to spread the gospel according to the advantages contained in the Message to our various const-ituencies.

    Mr. Speaker, before I resume my seat, I must say that democracy is very interesting and beautiful and it is because of the beauty and the interest that allowed us so many days to debate this wonderful Message of the President.

    Mr. Speaker, thank you once more. God bless Ghana. Long live our President and the Rt. Hon. Speaker. God bless my constituency, Builsa North and God bless everyone. We look forward to a Positive Change Chapter 3.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Builsa North, please continue.
    Mrs. Chigabatia 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that was my observation and the young man was seriously smiling. So it is really a fundamental foundation for Positive Change Chapter 2.
    Mr. Speaker, in the State of the Nation Message, His Excellency touched on a lot of issues. However, because of the limited time given to me, I am going to comment
    on only two areas briefly.
    First, the youth. Mr. Speaker, on His Excellency's vision for the youth of Ghana, I think all here assembled will agree with me that the youth of Ghana are really the true leaders. His excellent plans for them as true leaders of the country are worth commenting on, because it goes down to expose the ingredients that will prepare them to successfully execute their roles as future leaders, on which the growth of this nation depends.
    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency men- tioned the need for a disciplined youth which is the bare fact, for without discipline there is no success on earth.
    His Excellency went ahead also to touch on skills training and employment placement programme for them. Mr. Speaker, the hawkers and the kayayei, who are parading the streets of Accra and Kumasi are our own people on whose tickets we are here in Parliament. So it is our duty now, as hon. Members of this House, to go to them, interact with them and let them know what His Excellency has got in store for them.
    Mr. Speaker, with your permission, again, I would like to appeal to my hon. Colleagues that this House should find time, as I said earlier on; let us forget the bourgeois things we are doing and go deep into Makola, call our people in the various constituencies, sit them down and educate them, especially on AIDS which is killing the young men of today.

    Now, the Private Sector. Mr. Speaker, he also touched on private sector development, namely, the large, the medium and the small-scale enterprises. This is very revealing as it provides the solution to overcome the problems that

    have affected the development of the private sector.

    Mr. Speaker, I again congratulate him for this thorough analysis as it concerns his conviction for the private sector as the engine of growth for the Golden Age of Business. Mr. Speaker, I pray that my hon. Colleague would take this opportunity to spread the gospel according to the advantages contained in the Message to our various const-ituencies.

    Mr. Speaker, before I resume my seat, I must say that democracy is very interesting and beautiful and it is because of the beauty and the interest that allowed us so many days to debate this wonderful Message of the President.

    Mr. Speaker, thank you once more. God bless Ghana. Long live our President and the Rt. Hon. Speaker. God bless my constituency, Builsa North and God bless everyone. We look forward to a Positive Change Chapter 3.
    Mr. Eric Opoku (NDC -- Asunafo South) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the President, the object of Positive Change Chapter 2 is accelerated growth which is contingent upon a firm foundation laid under Chapter 1 of Positive Change. Mr. Speaker, this firm foundation embodied, among other things, the positive economic indicators in the form of low interest rates, declining inflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 5.8 per cent.
    Mr. Speaker, when you consider a rise in the GDP to 5.8 per cent, it creates the impression that there is improvement in the standard of living; it creates the impression that these are exciting times, but realities on the ground portray directly
    Mr. Eric Opoku (NDC -- Asunafo South) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the President, the object of Positive Change Chapter 2 is accelerated growth which is contingent upon a firm foundation laid under Chapter 1 of Positive Change. Mr. Speaker, this firm foundation embodied, among other things, the positive economic indicators in the form of low interest rates, declining inflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 5.8 per cent.
    Mr. Speaker, when you consider a rise in the GDP to 5.8 per cent, it creates the impression that there is improvement in the standard of living; it creates the impression that these are exciting times, but realities on the ground portray directly the opposite picture.

    Capt. (rtd.) Effah-Dartey
    Mr. Robert Sarfo-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member on the other side is misleading the House by giving a general statement that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, without giving us statistics. He should give us the statistics to prove his point; otherwise, it is general and a loose statement.
    Mr. Robert Sarfo-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member on the other side is misleading the House by giving a general statement that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, without giving us statistics. He should give us the statistics to prove his point; otherwise, it is general and a loose statement.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Asunafo North is the representative of the people of Asunafo North, and I am representing the people of Asunafo South. Being one of the leading members of the President's “praise choir”, who do not see anything wrong --[Interruption.]
    Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. I share a boundary with my hon. Colleague on the other side. I am from Atwima-Mponua. Mr. Speaker, it is not true that the people have not seen any improved standard of living. For the first time, people in that constituency are purchasing iron sheets to roof their buildings. As I speak, I have a cocoa farm in his constituency. People over there are
    now enjoying Positive Change Chapter 1; we are now going to continue with Chapter 2.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Asunafo North is the representative of the people of Asunafo North, and I am representing the people of Asunafo South. Being one of the leading members of the President's “praise choir”, who do not see anything wrong --[Interruption.]
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, since the year 2001 -- [Interruption.]
    Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.): On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague referred to his hon. Colleague as a member of the President's praise choir. Mr. Speaker, I think it is very unparliamentary and I am inviting you to ask him to withdraw that because it does not show the decorum that is needed in this House. To refer to your hon. Colleague, because he spoke his mind, as being a member of the President's praise choir, as if His Excellency President Kufuor has set up a praise choir in this House is is most unparliamentary. If he disagrees with his Colleague, why not? He is perfectly entitled to say “I disagree with you”, and we as hon. Members of this House have the right to express our independent opinions on any issue on national affairs.
    But if I do so and you say I have done it because I am a member of the President's praise choir, Mr. Speaker, it is very derogatory; and for an hon. Member in this House to use those words on his own Colleague, in fact, he must withdraw and apologise to him that he did not do it with any intention of malice. He must withdraw and apologise. It is most unparliamentary.
    Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. I share a boundary with my hon. Colleague on the other side. I am from Atwima-Mponua. Mr. Speaker, it is not true that the people have not seen any improved standard of living. For the first time, people in that constituency are purchasing iron sheets to roof their buildings. As I speak, I have a cocoa farm in his constituency. People over there are now enjoying Positive Change Chapter
    1; we are now going to continue with Chapter 2.
    Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you mentioned “praise choir” which has been set up. Are you aware of any such choir?
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, since the year 2001 -- [Interruption.]
    Capt. (Rtd.) Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague referred to his hon. Colleague as a member of the President's praise choir. Mr. Speaker, I think it is very unparliamentary and I am inviting you to ask him to withdraw that because it does not show the decorum that is needed in this House. To refer to your hon. Colleague, because he spoke his mind, as being a member of the President's praise choir, as if His Excellency President Kufuor has set up a praise choir in this House is is most unparliamentary. If he disagrees with his Colleague, why not? He is perfectly entitled to say “I disagree with you”, and we as hon. Members of this House have the right to express our independent opinions on any issue on national affairs.
    But if I do so and you say I have done it because I am a member of the President's praise choir, Mr. Speaker, it is very derogatory; and for an hon. Member in this House to use those words on his own Colleague, in fact, he must withdraw and apologise to him that he did not do it with any intention of malice. He must withdraw and apologise. It is most unparliamentary.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did mention it but if he is offended, please, I apologise and withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you mentioned “praise choir” which has been set up. Are you aware of any such choir?
    Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    You have taken an honourable step. You have done the right thing. Please, continue.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did mention it but if he is offended, please, I apologise and withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    You have taken an honourable step. You have done the right thing. Please, continue.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, since the year 2001, when the NPP Government -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, since the
    Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the opposite side is seriously misleading the House. The hon. Member knows that when I was at Goaso, it was extremely difficult for us to even to go to Boako. But now, during the rainy season, we are all able to go to Boako. The road is far better than some 10, 12 years ago. Secondly, about some 4 or 5 years ago, Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School was making less than 50 per cent. But this year, they made 100 per cent which indicates significant improvement; and this must be attributed to the good policies of NPP Government.
    Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the opposite side is seriously misleading the House. The hon. Member knows that when I was at Goaso, it was extremely difficult for us to even to go to Boako. But now, during the rainy season, we are all able to go to Boako. The road is far better than some 10, 12 years ago. Secondly, about some 4 or 5 years ago, Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School was making less than 50 per cent. But this year, they made 100 per cent which indicates significant improvement; and this must be attributed to the good policies of NPP Government.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the hon. Member was working at Goaso but he left there some years ago. Therefore, he is not aware of the realities on the ground, as of now. He must therefore give me the chance to present my case, because he is talking about history.
    Mr. Speaker, since the NPP Govern- ment assumed the reins of government in 2001, not a single village or town in the Asunafo South constituency has been connected to the electricity grid, even though some of the villages and towns qualify to be connected under the Self- Help Electrification Project (SHEP). Mr. Speaker, how can these people be excited? When you go to Nkawie and Oppong-krom, the Abonwere and Deng bridges are --
    Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is misleading the House. He is saying that since the NPP came to power not a single village or town
    has been connected to the electricity -- [Interruptions] -- Sankore, where he comes from was connected to electricity when Nana Amponsah was the Member of Parliament; and it was just last year, or two years ago. So he is misleading the House. A lot of towns have been connected to the electricity so he is misleading the House and he should withdraw. Nana Amopnsah has done much for Asunafo South.
    Mr. Opoku 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the hon. Member was working at Goaso but he left there some years ago. Therefore, he is not aware of the realities on the ground, as of now. He must therefore give me the chance to present my case, because he is talking about history.
    Mr. Speaker, since the NPP Govern- ment assumed the reins of government in 2001, not a single village or town in the Asunafo South constituency has been connected to the electricity grid, even though some of the villages and towns qualify to be connected under the Self- Help Electrification Project (SHEP). Mr. Speaker, how can these people be excited? When you go to Nkawie and Oppong-krom, the Abonwere and Deng bridges are --
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you take this on board in dealing with your points.
    Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is misleading the House. He is saying that since the NPP came to power not a single village or town has been connected to the electricity -- [Interruptions] -- Sankore, where he
    comes from was connected to electricity when Nana Amponsah was the Member of Parliament; and it was just last year, or two years ago. So he is misleading the House. A lot of towns have been connected to the electricity so he is misleading the House and he should withdraw. Nana Amopnsah has done much for Asunafo South.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you take this on board in dealing with your points.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on this issue of electrification, the NDC left office while SHEP III was ongoing. SHEP IV is a farce; it did not take off because the credit that the NPP Government wanted, they could not get it until towards October when we had $15 million from India. So when people talk about the fact that this thing did not happen, it is a fact all over. We have erected the poles, so if you have it, then it was under SHEP III which was not initiated by the NPP Government -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on this issue of electrification, the NDC left office while SHEP III was ongoing. SHEP IV is a farce; it did not take off because the credit that the NPP Government wanted, they could not get it until towards October when we had $15 million from India. So when people talk about the fact that this thing did not happen, it is a fact all over. We have erected the poles, so if you have it, then it was under SHEP III which was not initiated by the NPP Government -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Order!
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    SHEP IV was to have been continued in 2001. He should go to the Ministry of Mines and Energy and check these simple facts.
    Several hon. Members -- rose --
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Order!
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    SHEP IV was to have been continued in 2001. He should go to the Ministry of Mines and Energy and check these simple facts.
    Several hon. Members -- rose --
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Members, let him continue. I am not entertaining any point of order in respect of this point of information. But if you have any contribution, I will allow you to make it in due course.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Members, let him continue. I am not entertaining any point of order in respect of this point of information. But if you have any contribution, I will allow you to make it in due course.
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the Sankore Electrification Project was --
    rose
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the Sankore Electrification Project was --
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Are you raising a point
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Are you raising a point of order to what he is saying?
    Mr. Sarfo-Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, not about electrification, but it is a point of order to what he is saying. I share a boundary with him and he said that people from his constituency cannot pay school fees so they cannot be excited. But when you go to Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School, before NPP took over, you could not get about 200 students on roll. But today, we can count as many as 600 students at Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School.
    This year, if you study the results list published by the Ghana Education Service, Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School was considered one of the schools having done better -- 100 per cent. So this goes to support the fact that good policies of the Government have enabled the people from Asunafo South constituency to send their wards to secondary schools, and also because of better policies they are doing well and they are getting the chance to further their education. So he is seriously misleading the House by saying that people from his constituency cannot pay school fees.
    Mr. Sarfo-Mensah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, not about electrification, but it is a point of order to what he is saying. I share a boundary with him and he said that people from his constituency cannot pay school fees so they cannot be excited. But when you go to Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School, before NPP took over, you could not get about 200 students on roll. But today, we can count as many as 600 students at Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School.
    This year, if you study the results list published by the Ghana Education Service, Kukuom Agricultural Secondary School was considered one of the schools having done better -- 100 per cent. So this goes to support the fact that good policies of the Government have enabled the people from Asunafo South constituency to send their wards to secondary schools, and also because of better policies they are doing well and they are getting the chance to further their education. So he is seriously misleading the House by saying that people from his constituency cannot pay school fees.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you have listened to what he has said. Continue.
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member said the enrolment is now around 600 -- [Interruption.] Alright, let me continue. Mr. Speaker, the Abonwere and Deng bridges have broken down since the year 2001, hindering farmers' attempt to transport their farm produce to the Sankore market where they could have earned something to better their lot.
    Mr. Speaker, how can a farmer who has produced plantain, cassava or cocoyam and who is being denied access to the
    market, a farmer who cannot enjoy from his or her toils, be excited?
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you have listened to what he has said. Continue.
    Mr. Asiamah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member continues to mislead this House. Let him know that the road linking Asibrem- Sankrom and Kwapong have all been made motorable due to Positive Change Chapter 1; and we are continuing with the road network in his constituency.
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member said the enrolment is now around 600 -- [Interruption.] Alright, let me continue. Mr. Speaker, the Abonwere and Deng bridges have broken down since the year 2001, hindering farmers' attempt to transport their farm produce to the Sankore market where they could have earned something to better their lot.
    Mr. Speaker, how can a farmer who has produced plantain, cassava or cocoyam and who is being denied access to the market, a farmer who cannot enjoy from his or her toils, be excited?
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you must be winding up, you know.
    Mr. Asiamah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member continues to mislead this House. Let him know that the road linking Asibrem- Sankrom and Kwapong have all been made motorable due to Positive Change Chapter 1; and we are continuing with the road network in his constituency.
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member is now satisfied because the bridge which spans the Tano River and leads to his hometown, Odumasi, was constructed by the NDC and therefore the people are no more complaining about bridges. So he should allow me to present the realities on the ground as far as my constituency is concerned.
    Mr. Speaker, I also want to talk about the declining rate of inflation. Yes, it is an indisputable fact that low inflation is indispensable for the accomplishment of accelerated growth. But my worry is that the expected rise in inflation, after the increase in the price of petroleum products, is going to weaken the very foundation on which we intend to achieve the accelerated growth; and what kind of strong structure can be put on an already weakened foundation?
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I think the Positive Change Chapter 1 was somehow successful -- [Hear! Hear!] -- But Positive Change Chapter 2 which has just begun with an increase in the price of petroleum products, without any increase in the incomes of the cocoa farmers, will impose hardships on the people of Ghana. Therefore, Positive Change Chapter 2 has come to destroy the foundation of Positive
    Change Chapter 1; and nothing better can come out of Positive Change Chapter 2.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you must be winding up, you know.
    Ms. Hilda Josephine Addoh (NPP -- Kwadaso) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the discussion on the President's Message on the State of the Nation has been very elaborate. Comments on the President's Message, however, can never, in my estimation, be complete without mentioning the areas I am about to present under Good Governance and Education.
    Mr. Speaker, good governance has been presented from many perspectives, but I will simply draw attention to the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. The abolition of this law, Mr. Speaker, has had positive effects on all aspects of our lives, as Ghanaians. It has to a very large extent been the engine of growth of democracy in Ghana.
    One of the tenets of true democracy, as we all know, is freedom of expression and for that matter press freedom. Ghana's democracy without freedom of speech, in other words, Ghana's democracy with the Criminal Libel Law as a whip could only be likened to a vehicle without fuel; it could not move. True Democracy, Mr. Speaker, was not growing in Ghana because of the Criminal Libel Law.
    Mr. Speaker, the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law opened avenues for radio stations, the newspapers, other media and the good people of Ghana to discuss, talk and listen to issues without fear of intimidation or arrest. More and more Ghanaians, since that time, since the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, have been enlightened on issues ranging from politics, through economics to domestic matters.
    Mr. Speaker, may I continue with my discussion, but on education. The extension of the duration of the senior
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member is now satisfied because the bridge which spans the Tano River and leads to his hometown, Odumasi, was constructed by the NDC and therefore the people are no more complaining about bridges. So he should allow me to present the realities on the ground as far as my constituency is concerned. Mr. Speaker, I also want to talk about the declining rate of inflation. Yes, it is an indisputable fact that low inflation is indispensable for the accomplishment of accelerated growth. But my worry is that the expected rise in inflation, after the increase in the price of petroleum products, is going to weaken the very foundation on which we intend to achieve the accelerated growth; and what kind of strong structure can be put on an already weakened foundation?
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I think the Positive Change Chapter 1 was somehow successful -- [Hear! Hear!] -- But Positive Change Chapter 2 which has just begun with an increase in the price of petroleum products, without any increase in the incomes of the cocoa farmers, will impose hardships on the people of Ghana. Therefore, Positive Change Chapter 2 has come to destroy the foundation of Positive Change Chapter 1; and nothing better can come out of Positive Change Chapter 2.
    Ms. Hilda Josephine Addoh (NPP -- Kwadaso) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the discussion on the President's Message on the State of the Nation has been very elaborate. Comments on the President's Message, however, can never, in my estimation, be complete without mentioning the areas I am about to present under Good Governance and Education.
    Mr. Speaker, good governance has been presented from many perspectives, but I will simply draw attention to the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. The abolition of this law, Mr. Speaker, has had positive effects on all aspects of our lives, as Ghanaians. It has to a very large extent been the engine of growth of democracy in Ghana.
    One of the tenets of true democracy, as we all know, is freedom of expression and for that matter press freedom. Ghana's democracy without freedom of speech, in other words, Ghana's democracy with the Criminal Libel Law as a whip could only be likened to a vehicle without fuel; it could not move. True Democracy, Mr. Speaker, was not growing in Ghana because of the Criminal Libel Law.
    Mr. Speaker, the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law opened avenues for radio stations, the newspapers, other media and the good people of Ghana to discuss, talk and listen to issues without fear of intimidation or arrest. More and more Ghanaians, since that time, since the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, have been enlightened on issues ranging from politics, through economics to domestic matters.
    Mr. Speaker, may I continue with my discussion, but on education. The extension of the duration of the senior secondary school level from 3 years to 4 years, in my opinion, is the best legacy
    Ms. Hilda Josephine Addoh (NPP -- Kwadaso) 11:50 a.m.


    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the extension of the senior secondary school level from three years to four years, in my opinion, is one of the best legacies, if not the best legacy, the New Patriotic Party Government can leave for Ghanaians in the twenty years to come.

    So, Mr. Speaker, I would like to entreat all hon. Members, and in fact, all well- meaning Ghanaians to embrace it without further questioning. The decision, Mr. Speaker, is of national interest and must be treated as such. It touches on our human resource development, so we should not allow some political reasoning, possibly to score some political points, to water down the very essence of the extension made.

    Mr. Speaker, I am very passionate about this because I taught at Prempeh College for over five years. Experience, and meetings I attended reveal that the three-year period is woefully inadequate to make any meaningful impact on the way of teaching our subjects. We could not handle the syllabi because of lack of time.

    So the extension is going to give them more time to teach, give them more time to explain matters to students and students would be in a position to ask questions, make inputs, elaborate on issues and they can understand things better. They will be well prepared to come into the world to contribute to whatever is being done outside. They were not able to teach subjects the way they had wanted to. Students did not get the time needed to contribute. The situation, Mr. Speaker, has not changed. Students go to the examination hall ill-prepared; a good number of them lack confidence when it comes to examinations. Mr. Speaker, I

    could go on and on and on but for time limitation.

    But I would like to conclude that a country's most valuable asset is the human resource, so I cannot bring myself to perceive what the money needed for the extra one year to develop a child in school, could bring to a parent or a guardian. It is a good vision the President has for the nation, so please, let us all embrace this. Long live Ghana.
    Mr. Alex Kyeremeh (NDC -- Techiman North) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my greatest pleasure to contribute to the motion to thank the President on the State of the Nation Message delivered on Thursday, 3rd February, 2005. This year's Address by the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Incorporated was businesslike and I applaud His Excellency the President for that.
    Let me quickly go to the main issues. The first one is on education. I have read the White Paper on Educational Reforms and the key to these reforms is effective supervision. I am extremely glad that the committee recommended the inspection of schools from Ghana Education Service (GES) to the Ministry of Education. I am referring to page 13 of the White Paper and I think the routine inspection should also be added to the same Ministry to enhance the independence and effective-ness of supervisors.
    Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to supervise many basic schools in the early days of the Reform. Many instructional hours are lost if proper supervision is not put in place to check teachers and the final result is abysmal performance of pupils. It is sad that in most district offices, circuit supervisors receive a gallon of petrol for a week. I think this is woefully inadequate and as a matter of urgency the Government should provide a separate
    vote for supervisors to enhance their work.
    Mr. Speaker, permit me to read what the President said about polytechnic education on page 8, paragraph 3 -- and with your permission, I quote:
    “. . . I must also place on record here, Government's commitment to the Polytechnics. That is the place to train hands-on technical personnel the nation needs to move the economy. Government will continue to invest in the polytechnics and help them to grow in self-confidence.”
    Mr. Speaker, it is heart-warming that the Government is investing a lot in almost all these institutions across the country, courtesy the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). The thing left now is for much attention to be placed on the job markets of these graduands and their progression. It is my humble plea that the Government would stop paying lip-service and come out with definite agenda for these institutions. A country like Nigeria is a shinning example of success and pragmatic policy of polytechnic education. One needs to visit Yaba Polytechnic in Nigeria where PhD's are attained in related fields of these institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President also talked about infrastructural development in rural areas and mentioned roads, among others. It is my hope that the Government would put on board Asuyei Junction to Bouyam road where Bat Cave is becoming a tourist destination in Brong Ahafo, and Tuobodom-Offuman road which links many farm settlements where the bulk of our tomatoes and other foodstuffs are produced. Mr. Speaker, graders were put on these roads a week before elections, and after the elections they were taken away. It is sad that all the feeder roads in my constituency have not seen grading for the past four years and
    food that can reach the market only get rotten at the farm gate. These roads are now footpaths. These feeder roads are not different from many others --
    Minister for Food and Agriculture (Mr. E. A. Debrah) -- rose --
    Ms. Hilda Josephine Addoh (NPP -- Kwadaso) 11:50 a.m.


    Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, the extension of the senior secondary school level from three years to four years, in my opinion, is one of the best legacies, if not the best legacy, the New Patriotic Party Government can leave with Ghanaians in the twenty years to come.

    So, Mr. Speaker, I would like to entreat all hon. Members, and in fact, all well- meaning Ghanaians to embrace it without further questioning. The decision, Mr. Speaker, is of national interest and must be treated as such. It touches on our human resource development, so we should not allow some political reasoning, possibly to score some political points, to water down the very essence of the extension made.

    Mr. Speaker, I am very passionate about this because I taught at Prempeh College for over five years. Experience, and meetings I attended reveal that the three-year period is woefully inadequate to make any meaningful impact on the way of teaching our subjects. We could not handle the syllabi because of lack of time.

    So the extension is going to give them more time to teach, give them more time to explain matters to students and students would be in a position to ask questions, make inputs, elaborate on issues and they can understand things better. They will be well prepared to come into the world to contribute to whatever is being done outside. They were not able to teach subjects the way they had wanted to. Students did not get the time needed to contribute. The situation, Mr. Speaker, has not changed. Students go to the examination hall ill-prepared; a good number of them lack confidence when it comes to examinations. Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on and on but for time limitation.

    But I would like to conclude that a country's most valuable asset is the human resource, so I cannot bring myself to perceive what the money needed for the extra one year to develop a child in school, could bring to a parent or a guardian. It is a good vision the President has for the nation, so please, let us all embrace this. Long live Ghana.
    Mr. Alex Kyeremeh (NDC -- Techiman North) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my greatest pleasure to contribute to the motion to thank the President on the State of the Nation Message delivered on Thursday, 3rd February, 2005. This year's Address by the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Incorporated was businesslike and I applaud His Excellency the President for that.
    Let me quickly go to the main issues. The first one is on education. I have read the White Paper on Educational Reforms and the key to these reforms is effective supervision. I am extremely glad that the committee recommended the inspection of schools from Ghana Education Service (GES) to the Ministry of Education. I am referring to page 13 of the White Paper and I think the routine inspection should also be added to the same Ministry to enhance the independence and effective-ness of supervisors.
    Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to supervise many basic schools in the early days of the Reform. Many instructional hours are lost if proper supervision is not put in place to check teachers and the final result is abysmal performance of pupils. It is sad that in most district offices, circuit supervisors receive a gallon of petrol for a week. I think this is woefully inadequate and as a matter of urgency the Government should provide a separate vote for supervisors to enhance their work.
    Mr. Speaker, permit me to read what the President said about polytechnic education on page 8, paragraph 3 -- and with your permission, I quote:
    “. . . I must also place on record here, Government's commitment to the Polytechnics. That is the place to train hands-on technical personnel the nation needs to move the economy. Government will continue to invest in the polytechnics and help them to grow in self-confidence.”
    Mr. Speaker, it is heart-warming that the Government is investing a lot in almost all these institutions across the country, courtesy the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). The thing left now is for much attention to be placed on the job markets of these graduands and their progression. It is my humble plea that the Government would stop paying lip-service and come out with definite agenda for these institutions. A country like Nigeria is a shinning example of success and pragmatic policy of polytechnic education. One needs to visit Yaba Polytechnic in Nigeria where PhD's are attained in related fields of these institutions.
    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President also talked about infrastructural development in rural areas and mentioned roads, among others. It is my hope that the Government would put on board Asuyei Junction to Bouyam road where Bat Cave is becoming a tourist destination in Brong Ahafo, and Tuobodom-Offuman road which links many farm settlements where the bulk of our tomatoes and other foodstuffs are produced. Mr. Speaker, graders were put on these roads a week before elections, and after the elections they were taken away. It is sad that all the feeder roads in my constituency have not seen grading for the past four years and food that can reach the market only get rotten at the farm gate. These roads are
    now footpaths. These feeder roads are not different from many others --
    Minister for Food and Agriculture (Mr. E. A. Debrah) -- rose --
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Minister for Agriculture, do you have any point of order to raise?
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Minister for Agriculture, do you have any point of order to raise?
    Mr. Debrah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon.
    Brother at the other end is saying things that probably he does not know. He is saying that feeder roads in his constituency have not seen a grader for the past four years. I want to tell him that I have a farm at Kramokrom, and two years ago and last year, the roads from Ayasu to Kramokrom and the road from Aworowa to Kramokrom were all graded. So what he is saying is not true.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you may take that on board.
    Mr. Debrah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon.
    Brother at the other end is saying things that probably he does not know. He is saying that feeder roads in his constituency have not seen a grader for the past four years. I want to tell him that I have a farm at Kramokrom, and two years ago and last year, the roads from Ayasu to Kramokrom and the road from Aworowa to Kramokrom were all graded. So what he is saying is not true.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you may take that on board.
    Mr. Kyeremeh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I still insist that what I am saying is true and nothing but the truth.
    Mr. Kyeremeh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I still insist that what I am saying is true and nothing but the truth.
    Mr. Joe Danquah noon
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I share boundaries with the hon. Member and there is a road from my district to his constituency which is under the Feeder Roads routine maintenance. Every year, we reshape that very road, that is, Wenchi to Ofuman. So it is not correct that for the past four years no grader has been put on the road.
    Mr. Kyeremeh noon
    Mr. Speaker, the evidence is there for everybody to see. It is not true. I am saying it is not true and my constituents will bear me out. I am the

    Member of Parliament and I am talking about what I know pertains on the ground; it is true that --
    Mr. Joe Danquah noon
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I share boundaries with the hon. Member and there is a road from my district to his constituency which is under the Feeder Roads routine maintenance. Every year, we reshape that very road, that is, Wenchi to Ofuman. So it is not correct that for the past four years no grader has been put on the road.
    Mr. Danquah noon
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is still misleading the House. He is saying that he is the Member of Parliament; I am also the Acting District Chief Executive for Wenchi and Techiman North. So it is never true. I am saying that we have reshaped that road and it is true; it is on record. He can check form the Department of Feeder Roads. So it is not correct that we have not reshaped any road in this constituency.
    Mr. Kyeremeh noon
    Mr. Speaker, the evidence is there for everybody to see. It is not true. I am saying it is not true and my constituents will bear me out. I am the Member of Parliament and I am talking about what I know pertains on the ground;

    it is true that --
    Mr. Danquah noon
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is still misleading the House. He is saying that he is the Member of Parliament; I am also the Acting District Chief Executive for Wenchi and Techiman North. So it is never true. I am saying that we have reshaped that road and it is true; it is on record. He can check form the Department of Feeder Roads. So it is not correct that we have not reshaped any road in this constituency.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    Right, hon. Member for Techiman North, continue.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    Right, hon. Member for Techiman North, continue.
    Mr. Kyeremeh noon
    Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the roads are not different from others in the country and the Government should once again open up these areas for the good of our people and for the country.
    Mr. Speaker, with this, I support the motion.
    Mr. David Hennric Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya-Sekyere East) noon
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion to thank His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation. Mr. Speaker, as we are all aware, the Message was delivered in fulfilment of the requirement under article 67 of our Constitution.
    Mr. Speaker, the human resource of every country constitutes its greatest asset. One can have the best of material and monetary resources, however, without effective and efficient human resources one can hardly achieve good results. It is in this light that I consider the vision of His Excellency the President to develop the human resource of this country as highly commendable. It is time therefore for us to rally behind His Excellency the
    Mr. Kyeremeh noon
    Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the roads are not different from others in the country and the Government should once again open up these areas for the good of our people and for the country.
    Mr. Speaker, with this, I support the motion.
    Mr. David Hennric Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya-Sekyere East) 12:10 p.m.
    President to ensure the realization of this great vision.
    Undeniably, Ghana's human resource base is wide; however, there is urgent need to put in place programmes to ensure the rapid development to make it relevant to the current needs of the country. Already the Government has started accelerated improvement and expansion of educational infrastructure.
    Mr. Speaker, efforts have commenced to revise school curricula at both basic and tertiary levels to make it more relevant to our national needs and aspirations. If we should match these with emphasis intended to be placed on vocational and technical skills training programmes, as the President mentioned on page 6 of the State of the National Address, then the system will allow the bulk of our youth, many of whom are now roaming the streets of our cities in search of jobs, to acquire employable skills.
    It is good to hear the President indicate that teachers and trainers in general will be adequately motivated and rewarded to enable them give of their best so as to ensure the success of our human resource development programmes.
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to Private Sector Development, I wish to indicate that a lot more needs to be done even though some impressive successes have been achieved. This is to say that we need as a nation to put in place more incentives such as tax rebates and tax holidays, et cetera, so as to strengthen Ghanaian- owned companies.
    Mr. Speaker, there is also the need to facilitate and promote the flow of foreign direct capital into the economy. Partnerships should also be encouraged. For the private sector to contribute its quota to national development, there is the need to assist private initiatives with their
    capital requirements both in the short-term and the long-term. I therefore wish to commend His Excellency the President on his vision for private sector development.
    Mr. Speaker, in a developing country like Ghana, it is important to uphold the principles of the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights of the people. In my opinion, this approach will engender investor confidence in the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, good governance as envisaged by His Excellency the President involves transparency and accountability in administration. Pursuant to this the President has submitted to the Peer Review Mechanism and established the Office of Accountability in his office to provide early warning signals to the Presidency. In spite of these, many accusations have been made against some officials; perhaps it may be necessary, in the President's second term, to test some of these by subjecting them to further investigations.

    It is important, Mr. Speaker, to strengthen and resource the Judiciary adequately to enable it administer justice without fear or favour. It is important to accelerate the computerization process of the courts. Some efforts have already begun but it is important to move very quickly if private investors should have confidence in the system.

    Mr. Speaker, may I reiterate that

    the three main objectives of human resource development, private sector development and good governance are essential ingredients for accelerated growth of our economy.

    On this note, Mr. Speaker, I wish to

    urge all of us, regardless of whichever side of the political divide we belong to, to

    rally behind His Excellency the President for the realization of the noble objectives set up in the Message on the State of the Nation. Yes, indeed, it is an exciting time to be a Ghanaian.

    Mr. Mark Anthony Awuni (NDC --

    Binduri): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the President's State of the Nation Message delivered to this august House on Thursday, February 3, 2005 which was moved by the hon. Member for Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole- Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama).

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy reading all that the

    President wrote in his Message but I have a few remarks to make on what I think were not properly tackled.

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me seek

    your indulgence to allow me from time to time to make references to my notes since this is my maiden speech.
    Mr. David Hennric Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya-Sekyere East) noon
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion to thank His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation. Mr. Speaker, as we are all aware, the Message was delivered in fulfilment of the requirement under article 67 of our Constitution.
    Mr. Speaker, the human resource of every country constitutes its greatest asset. One can have the best of material and monetary resources, however, without effective and efficient human resources one can hardly achieve good results. It is in this light that I consider the vision of His Excellency the President to develop the human resource of this country as highly commendable. It is time therefore for us to rally behind His Excellency the President to ensure the realization of this great vision.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, go ahead.
    Mr. David Hennric Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya-Sekyere East) 12:10 p.m.
    Undeniably, Ghana's human resource base is wide; however, there is urgent need to put in place programmes to ensure the rapid development to make it relevant to the current needs of the country. Already the Government has started accelerated improvement and expansion of educational infrastructure.
    Mr. Speaker, efforts have commenced to revise school curricula at both basic and tertiary levels to make it more relevant to our national needs and aspirations. If we should match these with emphasis intended to be placed on vocational and technical skills training programmes as the President mentioned on page 6 of the State of the National Address, then the system will allow the bulk of our youth, many of whom are now roaming the streets of our cities in search of jobs, to acquire employable skills.
    It is good to hear the President indicate that teachers and trainers in general will be adequately motivated and rewarded to enable them give of their best so as to ensure the success of our human resource development programmes.
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to Private Sector Development, I wish to indicate that a lot more needs to be done even though some impressive successes have been achieved. This is to say that we need as a nation to put in place more incentives such as tax rebates and tax holidays, et cetera, so as to strengthen Ghanaian- owned companies.
    Mr. Speaker, there is also the need to facilitate and promote the flow of foreign direct capital into the economy. Partnerships should also be encouraged. For the private sector to contribute its quota to national development, there is the need to assist private initiatives with their capital requirements both in the short-term and the long-term. I therefore wish to
    commend His Excellency the President on his vision for private sector development.
    Mr. Speaker, in a developing country like Ghana, it is important to uphold the principles of the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights of the people. In my opinion, this approach will engender investor confidence in the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, good governance as envisaged by His Excellency the President involves transparency and accountability in administration. Pursuant to this the President has submitted to the Peer Review Mechanism and established the Office of Accountability in his office to provide early warning signals to the Presidency. In spite of these, many accusations have been made against some officials; perhaps it may be necessary, in the President's second term, to test some of these by subjecting them to further investigations.

    It is important, Mr. Speaker, to strengthen and resource the Judiciary adequately to enable it administer justice without fear or favour. It is important to accelerate the computerization process of the courts. Some efforts have already begun but it is important to move very quickly if private investors should have confidence in the system.

    Mr. Speaker, may I reiterate that

    the three main objectives of human resource development, private sector development and good governance are essential ingredients for accelerated growth of our economy.

    On this note, Mr. Speaker, I wish to

    urge all of us, regardless of whichever side of the political divide we belong to, to rally behind His Excellency the President for the realization of the noble objectives

    set up in the Message on the State of the Nation. Yes, indeed, it is an exciting time to be a Ghanaian.

    Mr. Mark Anthony Awuni (NDC --

    Binduri): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the President's State of the Nation Message delivered to this august House on Thursday, February 3, 2005 which was moved by the hon. Member for Oda (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) and seconded by the hon. Member for Bole- Bamboi (Mr. John Mahama).

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy reading all that the

    President wrote in his Message but I have a few remarks to make on what I think were not properly tackled.

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me seek

    your indulgence to allow me from time to time to make references to my notes since this is my maiden speech.
    Mr. Awuni 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my contri-
    bution will centre on education, which the President has said much about in his Message. I observed that in the reign of the PNDC/NDC, most head-teachers in rural areas were well taken care of. Bungalows were put up for them to enhance smooth administration and supervision in their respective schools, which brought about improvement in educational standards. But for four years now, if not four and a half years, this good idea that was established by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era has been left out by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration.
    I would want to remind them that this was a good idea and that they should not take it that because it was the NDC that brought this idea up, they would not carry it out because NDC might take the praise. The children in rural schools also have the right to education in Ghana and, therefore, they should be properly cared for. This is because the Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme says there should be free and compulsory education for all children in Ghana; and children in the rural schools are not exempted.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, go ahead.
    Mr. Isaac Asamoah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. It is not true that the Government has abandoned the construction of teachers' quarters in the rural communities. This policy is ongoing and many communities continue to receive these quarters; so it is not true.
    Mr. Awuni 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my contri-
    bution will centre on education, which the President has said much about in his Message. I observed that in the reign of the PNDC/NDC, most head-teachers in rural areas were well taken care of. Bungalows were put up for them to enhance smooth administration and supervision in their respective schools, which brought about improvement in educational standards. But for four years now, if not four and a half years, this good idea that was established by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era has been left out by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration.
    I would want to remind them that this
    was a good idea and that they should not take it that because it was the NDC that brought this idea up, they would not carry it out because NDC might take the praise. The children in rural schools also have the right to education in Ghana and, therefore, they should be properly cared for. This is because the Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme says there should be free and compulsory education for all children in Ghana; and children in the rural schools are not exempted.
    Mr. Isaac Asamoah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. It is not true that the Government has abandoned the construction of teachers' quarters in the rural communities. This policy is ongoing and many communities continue to receive these quarters; so it is not true.
    Mr. Awuni 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank him for what he was trying to say but he has not been to my constituency. I am here to say that in my constituency, most headteachers have not accepted postings to these areas because of lack of accommodation.
    And again, I would want to stress that the few that were catered for in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era have almost also abandoned their houses because the culture of maintenance has not been upheld. These houses were blown off by rainstorms and rehabilitation work has not been carried out. If he so wishes I can conveniently, at a certain time, take him to my constituency to see things for himself.
    Mr. Speaker, education is a major
    issue in the President's Address, and in every nation the base of human resource development that he talked about, to me, is education. Therefore, I am still reminding hon. Members present here that we should look into the effort and
    Mr. Awuni 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank him for what he was trying to say but he has not been to my constituency. I am here to say that in my constituency, most headteachers have not accepted postings to these areas because of lack of accommodation.
    And again, I would want to stress that the few that were catered for in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era have almost also abandoned their houses because the culture of maintenance has not been upheld. These houses were blown off by rainstorms and rehabilitation work has not been carried out. If he so wishes I can conveniently, at a certain time, take him to my constituency to see things for himself.
    Mr. Speaker, education is a major
    issue in the President's Address, and in every nation the base of human resource development that he talked about, to me, is education. Therefore, I am still reminding hon. Members present here that we should look into the effort and the policy that the NDC set up in caring for rural schools. As one of us here said,
    Mr. Awuni 12:20 p.m.
    the policy that the NDC set up in caring for rural schools. As one of us here said, supervision is a factor in education. This is because one can always find out that most people present here like to send their children to private schools because of the supervision. Most of the private schools produce better results.
    So if these headteachers' houses that were started had been continued to ensure that teachers were near their schools, and also if supervision had been forthcoming then we would not be crying that the standard of education has fallen. It has always fallen in the rural areas but I know in the urban areas, it has not. Let us look into it because the people in the rural areas also need to take their share of the coffers because they are also taxpayers and have contributed much. Most of us owe our presence here a lot to the rural areas.
    On the issue of rural electrification -- This is a programme that most of us who were struggling during the campaign period were reminded of by the rural people. In certain places that I got to in my constituency, they had placards that read, “no light, no vote”. Again, if you get to my constituency, in most of the communities you will find a pile of electricity poles which were put there about five years ago during the NDC era. These were for electricity connections for rural industries. But, since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into power these poles have been left to the mercy of termites.
    Since the President is preaching good governance to promote the second chapter in his Administration, I am reminding him to take good care of the rural electri-fication programme. This is because he has spoken about giving training to artisans, and most of the children in the rural areas drift to the urban centres to improve upon their skills. But if electrification in the rural areas is improved upon then they would also stay
    back and be given the training indicated by the President.

    So I am appealing to the President to go further to raise the poles that are found all over in my constituency and to connect these communities to the national grid. But with all that I have raised, including these two points, I still commend the Head of State for all that he said in his Address, except that he should not forget the rural folk.
    Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I feel honoured to associate myself with the motion on the floor, that this honourable House thanks His Excellency the President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, for delivering the State of the Nation Message on the 3rd of February 2005.
    The motion moved by hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo and seconded by hon. J. D. Mahama is appropriate and indeed, it is in the right direction. The Address is a masterpiece from a mature and experienced statesman. Though short and simple, it was comprehensive, concise, thought- provoking and focused. The Address is multi-sectoral in nature and it is geared towards solving the multi-faceted problems of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, the three strategic areas selected by the President, that is, the vigorous human resource development, private sector development and continuing good governance, attest to the fact that His Excellency the President knows where we are, where we want to go and how to get there. These priority areas hold the key to Ghana's accelerated growth and development.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to zero in on human resource development and specifically
    comment on basic level education. The inclusion of two years kindergarten in the formal educational system is very laudable since my constituents have been requesting for it. Having stayed in the rural community, it is sad to see children, who are supposed to be in school but are at home, taking care of their siblings whilst their parents have gone to the farm.
    Mr. Speaker, the worst situation happens when these children are taken to farms. The immediate resultant problem is poor childhood development. The benefits to be derived from the formalisation of the kindergarten in our educational system are indisputable. Early childhood development which provides good foundation for formal education would be achieved. Again, it would allow mothers more time to engage in productive economic activities.
    Mr. Speaker, another area which I want
    to touch on briefly is the Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE). Mr. Speaker, permit me to quote the 1992 Constitution, article 25. It says:
    “(25) (1) All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right --
    (a) basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all;”
    Mr. Speaker, the FCUBE educational policy is being implemented in its broad terms. There is one aspect which needs to be given much attention, and that is the compulsory aspect. Mr. Speaker, how compulsory is it when some parents grossly ignore their responsibility to enrol and maintain their wards in school? Why should some parents allow their children to work as househelps knowing that they should be in school? Mr. Speaker, I

    humbly submit that this honourable House should take this seriously and begin to do something about it, so that the FCUBE policy would be complete and successful.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the President for his unflinching support for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We all do concede that the “cash and carry” health delivery system is inimical. Many lives which otherwise could have been saved have perished, thanks to the “cash and carry”.

    Mr. Speaker, to remedy the situation is the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme. Many Ghanaians, especially those in rural areas, have little knowledge about insurance. It is therefore imperative for all to embrace the scheme and give the necessary public education in our own respective small ways to make it a success.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by commenting on the provision of infrastructure. I represent a deprived constituency, that is Odotobri constituency, which is now raised to the status of a district -- Amansie Central District. Many attempts have been made to improve infrastructural facilities with respect to roads, electricity, water and telecommunication by previous and current government. The situation still leaves much to be desired. Less than 10 per cent of the settlements in my constituency have access to electricity. Even though some roads have been upgraded over the past few years, there is still no tarred road within my constituency.

    Ghana Telecom landlines have not reached the district capital, Jakobu. The district capital with a population of over 8,000 depends on only four boreholes.

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to call on the Ministers for Road Transport , Energy, and Communications to come to our aid to
    Mr. Awuni 12:20 p.m.
    supervision is a factor in education. This is because one can always find out that most people present here like to send their children to private schools because of the supervision. Most of the private schools produce better results.
    So if these headteachers' houses that were started had been continued to ensure that teachers were near to their schools, and also if supervision had been forthcoming then we would not be crying that the standard of education has fallen. It has always fallen in the rural areas but I know in the urban areas, it has not. Let us look into it because the people in the rural areas also need to take their share of the coffers because they are also taxpayers and have contributed much. Most of us owe our presence here a lot to the rural areas.
    On the issue of rural electrification -- This is a programme that most of us who were struggling during the campaign period were reminded of by the rural people. In certain places that I got to in my constituency, they had placards that read, “no light, no vote”. Again, if you get to my constituency, in most of the communities you will find a pile of electricity poles which were put there about five years ago during the NDC era. These were for electricity connections for rural industries. But, since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into power these poles have been left to the mercy of termites.
    Since the President is preaching good governance to promote the second chapter in his Administration, I am reminding him to take good care of the rural electri-fication programme. This is because he has spoken about giving training to artisans, and most of the children in the rural areas drift to the urban centres to improve upon their skills. But if electrification in the rural areas is improved upon then they would also stay back and be given the training indicated by the President.

    So I am appealing to the President to go further to raise the poles that are found all over in my constituency and to connect these communities to the national grid. But with all that I have raised, including these two points, I still commend the Head of State for all that he said in his Address, except that he should not forget the rural folk.
    Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I feel honoured to associate myself with the motion on the floor, that this honourable House thanks His Excellency the President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, for delivering the State of the Nation Message on the 3rd of February 2005.
    The motion moved by hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo and seconded by hon. J. D. Mahama is appropriate and indeed, it is in the right direction. The Address is a masterpiece from a mature and experienced statesman. Though short and simple, it was comprehensive, concise, thought- provoking and focused. The Address is multi-sectoral in nature and it is geared towards solving the multi-faceted problems of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, the three strategic areas selected by the President, that is, the vigorous human resource development, private sector development and continuing good governance, attest to the fact that His Excellency the President knows where we are, where we want to go and how to get there. These priority areas hold the key to Ghana's accelerated growth and development.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to zero in on human resource development and specifically comment on basic level education. The inclusion of two years kindergarten in
    the formal educational system is very laudable since my constituents have been requesting for it. Having stayed in the rural community, it is sad to see children, who are supposed to be in school but are at home, taking care of their siblings whilst their parents have gone to the farm.
    Mr. Speaker, the worst situation happens when these children are taken to farms. The immediate resultant problem is poor childhood development. The benefits to be derived from the formalisation of the kindergarten in our educational system are indisputable. Early childhood development which provides good foundation for formal education would be achieved. Again, it would allow mothers more time to engage in productive economic activities.
    Mr. Speaker, another area which I want
    to touch on briefly is the Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE). Mr. Speaker, permit me to quote the 1992 Constitution, article 25. It says:
    “(25) (1) All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right --
    (a) basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all;”
    Mr. Speaker, the FCUBE educational policy is being implemented in its broad terms. There is one aspect which needs to be given much attention, and that is the compulsory aspect. Mr. Speaker, how compulsory is it when some parents grossly ignore their responsibility to enrol and maintain their wards in school? Why should some parents allow their children to work as househelps knowing that they should be in school? Mr. Speaker, I humbly submit that this honourable House should take this seriously and begin to do

    something about it, so that the FCUBE policy would be complete and successful.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the President for his unflinching support for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We all do concede that the “cash and carry” health delivery system is inimical. Many lives which otherwise could have been saved have perished, thanks to the “cash and carry”.

    Mr. Speaker, to remedy the situation is the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme. Many Ghanaians, especially those in rural areas, have little knowledge about insurance. It is therefore imperative for all to embrace the scheme and give the necessary public education in our own respective small ways to make it a success.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by commenting on the provision of infrastructure. I represent a deprived constituency, that is Odotobri constituency which is now raised to the status of a district -- Amansie Central District. Many attempts have been made to improve infrastructural facilities with respect to roads, electricity, water and telecommunication by previous and current government. The situation still leaves much to be desired. Less than 10 per cent of the settlements in my constituency have access to electricity. Even though some roads have been upgraded over the past few years, there is still no tarred road within my constituency.

    Ghana Telecom landlines have not reached the district capital, Jakobu. The district capital with a population of over 8,000 depends on only four boreholes.

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to call on the Ministers for Road Transport , Energy, and Communications to come to our aid to enable my constituents also become
    Mr. John Gyetuah (NDC -- Amenfi West) 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of this House.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the motion. And I would want to concentrate on infrastructural support or development as captured by the President, to be specific, roads. Mr. Speaker, on page 18, paragraph 3, lines 4 and 5, it is stated and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Road construction projects in both rural and urban areas are in progress.”
    Indeed, I would not rule that assertion out totally since some of the projects proposed by the NDC Government have been continued by the NPP Government, for instance, the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Accra-Yamoransa, Bawdie-Asankragwa road, which falls within my constituency.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a constitutional requirement. Article 35 (7) of the 1992 Constitution states, and with your permission, I would like to quote:
    “As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Governments”.

    Mr. Speaker, the pace of development in terms of infrastructure in the rural areas, to my belief, is very slow. Mr. Speaker, the road from Asankragwa to the most rural settings where a great percentage or

    the quantum of the country's resources are produced is very deplorable. Most of the roads have not seen the blade of a grader for four years now and I would be very glad to mention some of the roads -- Bokakore road, Bungalow 6 to Ohiampeninka and beyond, Yiraho road -- and there are two others.

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friends opposite who happened to be in my constituency during the by-election would attest to this fact, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Berekum (Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.) yesterday. Because of this, socio- economic programmes may not triumph. Mr. Speaker, I would like to appeal to the Government to include the streets of Asankragwa in the recent construction works.

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to also dilate

    on the cocoa sector. I want to congratulate the past and present Governments for sustaining the cocoa industry to appreciable levels. Mass spraying as a new measure put in place by the Government, aimed at increasing the productivity is not bad. I think the time for supplying the input is not the best. Again, the input is inadequate. I therefore appeal to the Minister for Food and Agriculture to rectify the anomaly.

    Mr. Speaker, on cocoa bonuses, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Juabeso (Mr. Sampson Ahi), I would like to reiterate that cocoa bonus was instituted to cushion and --
    Mr. E. A. Debrah 12:30 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to inform my hon. Brother that the cocoa sector is under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, not under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; so he must direct his question to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
    Mr. John Gyetuah (NDC -- Amenfi West) 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor of this House.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the motion. And I would want to concentrate on infrastructural support or development as captured by the President, to be specific, roads. Mr. Speaker, on page 18, paragraph 3, lines 4 and 5, it is stated and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Road construction projects in both rural and urban areas are in progress.”
    Indeed, I would not rule that assertion out totally since some of the projects proposed by the NDC Government have been continued by the NPP Government, for instance, the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Accra-Yamoransa, Bawdie-Asankragwa road, which falls within my constituency.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a constitutional requirement. Article 35 (7) of the 1992 Constitution states, and with your permission, I would like to quote:
    “As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Governments”.

    Mr. Speaker, the pace of development in terms of infrastructure in the rural areas, to my belief, is very slow. Mr. Speaker, the road from Asankragwa to the most rural settings where a great percentage or the quantum of the country's resources are produced is very deplorable. Most

    of the roads have not seen the blade of a grader for four years now and I would be very glad to mention some of the roads -- Bokakore road, Bungalow 6 to Ohiampeninka and beyond, Yiraho road -- and there are two others.

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friends opposite who happened to be in my constituency during the by-election would attest to this fact, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Berekum (Capt. (Rtd.) Effah- Dartey yesterday. Because of this, socio- economic programmes may not triumph. Mr. Speaker, I would like to appeal to the Government to include the streets of Asankragwa in the recent construction works.

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to also dilate

    on the cocoa sector. I want to congratulate the past and present Governments for sustaining the cocoa industry to appreciable levels. Mass spraying as a new measure put in place by the Government, aimed at increasing the productivity is not bad. I think the time for supplying the input is not the best. Again, the input is inadequate. I therefore appeal to the Minister for Food and Agriculture to rectify the anomaly.

    Mr. Speaker, on cocoa bonuses, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Juabeso (Mr. Sampson Ahi), I would like to reiterate that cocoa bonuse was instituted to cushion and --
    Mr. E. A. Debrah 12:30 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to inform my hon. Brother that the cocoa sector is under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, not under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; so he must direct his question to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
    Mr. Gyetuah 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much
    for the correction. Mr. Speaker, cocoa bonus was instituted to cushion and motivate farmers to work assiduously to
    Mr. Gyetuah 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much
    for the correction. Mr. Speaker, cocoa bonus was instituted to cushion and motivate farmers to work assiduously to improve productivity. Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, bonuses were paid by cocoa-
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah (NPP -- Takoradi) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as the President said, this is the time to be proud to be a Ghanaian and I am also very proud in making a contribution to thank him for the vision that he has shared with us.
    Mr. Speaker, four years ago the
    President shared his vision with us in this House and also the whole nation. In other words, he gave us the roadmap upon which he would run the country in 2001. Mr. Speaker, on the 4th of January, 2005, he came back to the House and reported the successes, the challenges that he faced in his endeavour; and in the midst of the macroeconomic challenges the country moved forward tremendously.
    Mr. Speaker, on the 3rd of February, 2005, the President once again shared his second vision with us in this House and the whole nation for the next four years. Mr. Speaker, I will only pick one -- the human resource that the President mentioned.
    Mr. Speaker, the President mentioned the human resource base and that is all that I will pick. He had this to say --and with your permission, I will quote:
    “Mr. Speaker, the first plank of the new strategy is Human Resource Development. The expertise, health and the progressive outlook of the human capital are what will move the economy and propel the country into a middle-income nation in the next ten years.”
    Mr. Speaker, God has endowed this
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah (NPP -- Takoradi) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as the President said, this is the time to be proud to be a Ghanaian and I am also very proud in making a contribution to thank him for the vision that he has shared with us.
    Mr. Speaker, four years ago the
    President shared his vision with us in this House and also the whole nation. In other words, he gave us the roadmap upon which he would run the country in 2001. Mr. Speaker, on the 4th of January, 2005, he came back to the House and reported the successes, the challenges that he faced in his endeavour; and in the midst of the macroeconomic challenges the country moved forward tremendously.
    Mr. Speaker, on the 3rd of February, 2005, the President once again shared his second vision with us in this House and the whole nation for the next four years. Mr. Speaker, I will only pick one -- the human resource that the President mentioned.
    Mr. Speaker, the President mentioned the human resource base and that is all that I will pick. He had this to say --and with your permission, I will quote:
    “Mr. Speaker, the first plank of the new strategy is Human Resource Development. The expertise, health and the progressive outlook of the human capital are what will move the economy and propel the country into a middle-income nation in the next ten years.”
    Mr. Speaker, God has endowed this country with so many resources, natural resources -- the gold, the manganese,
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah (NPP -- Takoradi) 12:40 p.m.
    country with so many resources, natural resources -- the gold, the manganese, the bauxite, the diamond, the iron ore, to mention a few. It is only when the human resource base has been developed that these riches can be turned into something feasible and made worthwhile for the country. Without that, they only remain as metals and rocks in our forests.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the President said that kindergarten has just come into the mainstream of education. Mr. Speaker, a child is born with a blank mind, like this white paper. There is nothing at all on a child's mind when it is born. But what they see and hear, they write on their minds. When they see the best, they become the best and when they hear the best, they become the best. And during the four years that kindergarten has become free for them, it is going to mould the children in the way that the human resource capital would be given a very strong foundation in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, there is always a difference between children who have access to day nurseries and those who do not -- those who do start picking up from age one to four and continue to primary school at age six. Mr. Speaker, I am very, very happy that the kindergarten stage has been taken up by the Government and the children who would have the facility at that stage are going to be a very strong foundation base for the human resource capital of the country.

    Mr. Speaker, the Government and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs have, with the support of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), put a strong committee of intellectuals and technical advisors together to produce a book entitled Childhood in Ghana - Building a Secure Human Capital of this Country.

    These are all ways of Government trying to build a very strong human resource base of the country. We were lucky all of us were educated properly, and that is the reason why we are here; and Government is very serious on the issue of holding the human resource base of the country. And that is why the kindergarten has come under the full shade of the Ghana Education Service.

    Mr. Speaker, women and children centres are going to be constructed in the country and these centres are going to have facilities for libraries, amusements and learning. I will crave the indulgence of my hon. Colleagues that if we all support our constituencies with libraries for children, it will go a long way in helping the human resource base of the country -
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is misleading this House. She is creating the impression as though human resource development started with the President's Message on the State of the Nation. This started from the Seven-year Development Plan of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and it has been ongoing. All the Legislative Instruments (L.I.s) of all the District Assemblies --The District Assemblies, when they were even Councils were ordered to develop basic pre-schools. So the emphasis she is laying is as if this is new. If we have repackaged this subject-matter, so be it.
    I do not know why the sponsorship that was being offered all the 31st December day-care centres by the District Assemblies as their legitimate duties was stopped over the last four years, only for us to start talking as if it is something new from above.
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah (NPP -- Takoradi) 12:40 p.m.
    the bauxite, the diamond, the iron ore, to mention a few. It is only when the human resource base has been developed that these riches can be turned into something feasible and made worthwhile for the country. Without that, they only remain as metals and rocks in our forests.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the President said that kindergarten has just come into the mainstream of education. Mr. Speaker, a child is born with a blank mind, like this white paper. There is nothing at all on a child's mind when it is born. But what they see and hear, they write on their minds. When they see the best, they become the best and when they hear the best, they become the best. And during the four years that kindergarten has become free for them, it is going to mould the children in the way that the human resource capital would be given a very strong foundation in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, there is always a difference between children who have access to day nurseries and those who do not -- those who do start picking up from age one to four and continue to primary school at age six. Mr. Speaker, I am very, very happy that the kindergarten stage has been taken up by the Government and the children who would have the facility at that stage are going to be a very strong foundation base for the human resource capital of the country.

    Mr. Speaker, the Government and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs have, with the support of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), put a strong committee of intellectuals and technical advisors together to produce a book entitled Childhood in Ghana - Building a Secure Human Capital of this Country. These are all ways of Government trying to build a very strong human resource

    base of the country. We were lucky all of us were educated properly, and that is the reason why we are here; and Government is very serious on the issue of holding the human resource base of the country. And that is why the kindergarten has come under the full shade of the Ghana Education Service.

    Mr. Speaker, women and children centres are going to be constructed in the country and these centres are going to have facilities for libraries, amusements and learning. I will crave the indulgence of my hon. Colleagues that if we all support our constituencies with libraries for children, it will go a long way in helping the human resource base of the country -
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, some people have a way of doing what they want, and others have their own style of doing things. And President Kufuor in his wisdom has shared his vision with
    us about the way he wants to propel the human resource base of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague cut me short in the middle and I want to come back again to appeal to all of us here to make sure that children's libraries are spread all over our constituencies. The children of this country are very intelligent; they are very desirous to learn and when they do, I am sure some of us --
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is misleading this House. She is creating the impression as though human resource development started with the President's Message on the State of the Nation. This started from the Seven-year Development Plan of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and it has been ongoing. All the Legislative Instruments (L.I.s) of all the District Assemblies --The District Assemblies, when they were even Councils were ordered to develop basic pre-schools. So the emphasis she is laying is as if this is new. If we have repackaged this subject-matter, so be it.
    I do not know why the sponsorship that was being offered all the 31st December day-care centres by the District Assemblies as their legitimate duties was stopped over the last four years, only for us to start talking as if it is something new from above.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, some people have a way of doing what they want, and others have their own style of doing things. And President Kufuor in his wisdom has shared his vision with us about the way he wants to propel the human resource base of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague cut me short in the middle and I want to come back again to appeal to all of us here to make sure that children's libraries are spread all over our constituencies. The children of this country are very intelligent; they are very desirous to learn and when they do, I am sure some of us --
    Mr. John Tia 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading this House. She is propounding something she herself does not believe in. My hon. Colleague on the floor has just stated that when she was the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, the day-care centres for all the children collapsed under her supervision. Therefore, I do not really understand what she wants us to take from her here. She does not believe in what she herself is saying, as my hon. Colleague said. Let us understand that human resource development started from the day Ghana became independent, to this time; and it is ongoing. So if her Government is re- cycling it, she should not trumpet it as if her Government is beginning something new.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Chief Whip, your time is not due yet, so be patient.
    Mr. John Tia 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading this House. She is propounding something she herself does not believe in. My hon. Colleague on the floor has just stated that when she was the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, the day-care centres for all the children collapsed under her supervision. Therefore, I do not really understand what she wants us to take from her here. She does not believe in what she herself is saying, as my hon. Colleague said. Let us understand that human resource development started from the day Ghana became independent, to this time; and it is ongoing. So if her Government is re- cycling it, she should not trumpet it as if her Government is beginning something new.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Chief Whip, your time is not due yet, so do be patient.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague who just spoke is talking about the 31st December day-care centres. My information is that some of these centres were built by the District Assemblies, as the hon. Colleague for Prampram (Mr. E. T. Mensah) just mentioned. They were built by the Assemblies and the name of the movement was imposed on them though the Assemblies took over the schools at that time. That is what I do know. They were not those built by the
    movement. Those that were built by the movement are still in their hands and those that were built by the Assemblies have been taken over by the Assemblies. That is all that I do know about that.
    rose
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague who just spoke is talking about the 31st December day-care centres. My information is that some of these centres were built by the District Assemblies, as the hon. Colleague for Prampram (Mr. E. T. Mensah) just mentioned. They were built by the Assemblies and the name of the movement was imposed on them though the Assemblies took over the schools at that time. That is what I do know. They were not those built by the movement. Those that were built by the movement are still in their hands and those
    that were built by the Assemblies have been taken over by the Assemblies. That is all that I do know about that.
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Colleague is misleading the House. I used to be the Mayor of Accra. It is the responsibility of the District Assemblies to build and run day-care centres and when private individuals or NGOs build day-care centres and want to run them as public institutions, teachers are assigned by the Ghana Education Service and paid by the District Assemblies. That was what was happening.
    Over the last four years, all the teachers were withdrawn. Nima Day-Care Centre, for instance, was not built by the Assembly; it was built by the 31st December Women's Movement but the teachers there were public teachers who were on the payroll of the public sector as a legitimate responsibility. They were all withdrawn and the pupils were disadvantaged. That is the point that we are making.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, kindly continue.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Colleague is misleading the House. I used to be the Mayor of Accra. It is the responsibility of the District Assemblies to build and run day-care centres and when private individuals or NGOs build day-care centres and want to run them as public institutions, teachers are assigned by the Ghana Education Service and paid by the District Assemblies. That was what was happening.
    Over the last four years, all the teachers were withdrawn. Nima Day-Care Centre, for instance, was not built by the Assembly; it was built by the 31st December Women's Movement but the teachers there were public teachers who were on the payroll of the public sector as a legitimate responsibility. They were all withdrawn and the pupils were disadvantaged. That is the point that we are making.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is saying that the teachers in the day-care centres were being paid by the Assemblies. I wonder who were collecting the fees as well. Were the Assemblies collecting the fees, or who? What I do know is that because 31st December Women's Movement was collecting the fees at that time, whilst the teachers were being paid by the Assemblies, the Assemblies decided to take over the schools; because one agency cannot collect the fees while the other agency
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, kindly continue.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is saying that the teachers in the day-care centres were being paid by the Assemblies. I wonder who were collecting the fees as well. Were the Assemblies collecting the fees, or who? What I do know is that because 31st December Women's Movement was collecting the fees at that time, whilst the teachers were being paid by the Assemblies, the Assemblies decided to take over the schools; because one agency cannot collect the fees while the other agency pays the teachers.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am talking about something that I do know very well. When one is running a day-care centre as an economic venture, the Assembly does not come in. But as a public sector, we have day-care centres in markets and in communities. Whatever fees were paid were used to feed the children, and the salaries were taken up by the Assemblies, as their legitimate responsibility. That is what was happening. I am not conjecturing; I know what I am talking about.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, we will give you time to contribute.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am talking about something that I do know very well. When one is running a day-care centre as an economic venture, the Assembly does not come in. But as a public sector, we have day-care centres in markets and in communities. Whatever fees were paid were used to feed the children, and the salaries were taken up by the Assemblies, as their legitimate responsibility. That is what was happening. I am not conjecturing; I know what I am talking about.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, we will give you time to contribute.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact still remains that those schools that were built by the Assemblies, they still keep them; they are still running them. They are aware of that and the children are being catered for in those schools.
    Mr. Speaker, I had already started talking about libraries. I am pleading with my hon. Colleagues; some of us have already got some. I know some hon. Colleagues who have approached me; some books have been given to them, and if we can build libraries in our consti-tuencies and encourage the children to read, it will go a long way in helping every constituency and the country in general. The children are very intelligent and they want to learn and I plead that we set up libraries for them. It does not have to be a very big building; just a box with a lot of books and footballs, which my Ministry started distributing to some regions. I plead with all hon. Members that we all endeavour to have libraries at our constituencies and the children will be better off for all of us. And I am sure that my hon. Colleague's (Mr. E. T. Mensah's)
    children will be so wonderful when they grow up.
    The President, in the Message on the State of the Nation informed us that 3,000 free classroom blocks have been built for children, furnished and equipped. I am very happy that we are really on our way to building a very strong human resource base for the country. The development will have to continue because the population of this country is increasing by the day. This whole structure was very strong, but unfortunately a time came when pupils were carrying their mothers' kitchen stools to school. These days it has become a thing of the past and we are all very happy seeing the situation happening in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, when we talk about education, we cannot do away with poverty. Poverty destroyed many parents and made them unable to cater for their children, the result of which is that some people came down to work as porters and kayayei, some sleeping on the streets and some working in other areas unfit for children.
    I am very happy that poverty is being addressed and the President in his wisdom, in the year 2001, set up a fund for women. It is only when women are working that children will have the benefit of good and proper education. If a mother is not working, she cannot take care of her children, and I am very happy to say that all of us here, many of us sitting here cannot say that our illiterate mothers had nothing to do with our education. They all contributed to our being here and by helping them to work, our children and our grandchildren will be better taken care of.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact still remains that those schools that were built by the Assemblies, they still keep them; they are still running them. They are aware of that and the children are being catered for in those schools.
    Mr. Speaker, I had already started talking about libraries. I am pleading with my hon. Colleagues; some of us have already got some. I know some hon. Colleagues who have approached me; some books have been given to them, and if we can build libraries in our consti-tuencies and encourage the children to read, it will go a long way in helping every constituency and the country in general. The children are very intelligent and they want to learn and I plead that we set up libraries for them. It does not have to be a very big building; just a box with a lot of books and footballs, which my Ministry started distributing to some regions. I plead with all hon. Members that we all endeavour to have libraries at our constituencies and the children will be better off for all of us. And I am sure that my hon. Colleague's (Mr. E. T. Mensah's) children will be so wonderful when they grow up.
    The President, in the Message on the State of the Nation informed us that 3,000 free classroom blocks have been built for children, furnished and equipped. I am very happy that we are really on our way to building a very strong human resource base for the country. The development will have to continue because the population of this country is increasing by the day. This whole structure was very strong, but unfortunately a time came when pupils were carrying their mothers' kitchen stools to school. These days it has become a thing of the past and we are all very happy seeing the situation happening in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, when we talk about education, we cannot do away with poverty. Poverty destroyed many parents and made them unable to cater for their children, the result of which is that some people came down to work as porters and kayayei, some sleeping on the streets and some working in other areas unfit for children.
    I am very happy that poverty is being addressed and the President in his wisdom, in the year 2001, set up a fund for women. It is only when women are working that children; will have the benefit of good and proper education. If a mother is not working, she cannot take care of her children, and I am very happy to say that all of us here, many of us sitting here cannot say that our illiterate mothers had nothing to do with our education. They all contributed to our being here and by helping them to work, our children and our grandchildren will be better taken care of.
    Mr. John Tia 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My hon. Colleague is treating me to something that I hope she would have at least lived up to. Talking about poverty reduction or alleviation and so on, I just want to hear from her whether she left in her handing-over notes the construction of the Women Training and Economic Development Centre for Talensi constituency which I submitted to her -- the project.
    Mr. John Tia 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My hon. Colleague is treating
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you know this is not a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you know this is not a point of order.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not Question time. It is unfortunate that my hon. Colleague did not put that Question to me when I was the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs. In any case, I want to answer the question. Mr. Speaker, I sent his paper for support to the Japanese Embassy and I was told that they already had a programme there; they could not support another one. Mr. Speaker, the fund was set up for every woman above 18 years. It did not matter whether you belonged to fufu party or dokono party. It was for everybody. [Interruptions.]
    rose
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not Question time. It is unfortunate that my hon. Colleague did not put that Question to me when I was the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs. In any case, I want to answer the question. Mr. Speaker, I sent his paper for support to the Japanese Embassy and I was told that they already had a programme there; they could not support another one. Mr. Speaker, the fund was set up for every woman above 18 years. It did not matter whether you belonged to fufu party or dokono party. It was for everybody. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order, Order! Hon. Member standing, do you have a point of order to raise, or you want to contribute?
    rose
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. My hon. Colleague is still misleading this House; and to quote hon. Effah-Dartey, she is “seriously misleading this House”. On the issue about poverty on the decline, many, many companies -- let us take Tema -- were closed down; others were in distress. So many men who were all right working in their own little corners had additional burden added onto them. So poverty is on the ascendancy. Poverty, over the last four years, has not been on the decline. When you look at the graph,
    you will realise what we are talking about. Therefore she is seriously misleading this House.
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order, Order! Hon. Member standing, do you have a point of order to raise, or you want to contribute?
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague does not know what poverty is all about. Poverty is not just having money in your pocket; poverty entails education, health, water, sanitation -- all of them go into poverty. And Mr. Speaker, on the Women Development Fund, there is a saying that a journey of a thousand miles always starts with one step. We have taken that step; we have encouraged women to use the banking system. They do not go to the ‘shylock' money lenders.
    Mr. Speaker, a journey of a thousand miles always starts with one step. That step, the NPP Administration has taken. Women in the country have been encouraged to use the banking system; that is the only way they can have access to credit any time they need it. They do not go to the ‘shylock' money-lenders. They are having money with cheaper interest rates and they are working very happily and their families are being taken care of; their children are going to school and their husbands are also happy.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. My hon. Colleague is still misleading this House; and to quote hon. Effah-Dartey, she is “seriously misleading this House”. On the issue about poverty on the decline, many, many companies -- let us take Tema -- were closed down; others were in distress. So many men who were all right working in their own little corners had additional burden added onto them. So poverty is on the ascendancy. Poverty, over the last four years, has not been on the decline. When you look at the graph, you will realise what we are talking about. Therefore she is seriously misleading
    this House.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague is still misleading this House. We understand what poverty means and introducing women to banking does not eradicate poverty. We even set up the banking system; we initiated the poverty alleviation strategy -- the NDC Government -- and women groups were encouraged to go to the bank; the monies were paid through the bank. It did not start with the coming into being of the Women's Ministry.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague does not know what poverty is all about. Poverty is not just having money in your pocket; poverty entails education, health, water, sanitation -- all of them go into poverty. And Mr. Speaker, on the Women Development Fund, there is a saying that a journey of a thousand miles always starts with one step. We have taken that step; we have encouraged women to use the banking system. They do not go to the ‘shylock' money lenders.
    Mr. Speaker, a journey of a thousand miles always starts with one step. That step, the NPP Administration has taken. Women in the country have been encouraged to use the banking system; that is the only way they can have access to credit any time they need it. They do not go to the ‘shylock' money-lenders. They are having money with cheaper interest rates and they are working very happily and their families are being taken care of; their children are going to school and their husbands are also happy.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague is still misleading this House. We understand what poverty means and introducing women to banking does not eradicate poverty. We even set up the banking system; we initiated the poverty alleviation strategy -- the NDC Government -- and women groups were encouraged to go to the bank; the monies were paid through the bank. It did not start with the coming into being of the Women's Ministry.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of information.
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Chief Whip, do you have any indications?
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, are you prepared to yield to him?
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the UNESCO Report covering the period 1999 to 2003 clearly stipulates that poverty levels in Ghana are going down from 1999 to 2003. It is a matter of fact.
    Mr. Speaker, as regards my other Colleague who was saying that credit to women in his own constituency were given to women in the NPP Party, I do not think my hon. Colleague should bother her head; there is no party called NPP Party.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, kindly conclude.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the UNESCO Report covering the period 1999 to 2003 clearly stipulates that poverty levels in Ghana are going down from 1999 to 2003. It is a matter of fact.
    Mr. Speaker, as regards my other Colleague who was saying that credit to women in his own constituency were given to women in the NPP Party, I do not think my hon. Colleague should bother her head; there is no party called NPP Party.
    Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, kindly conclude.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to go back because more than three questions were put to me here and I answered effectively on what was happening with the Women Development Fund. Mr. Speaker, nobody can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country after all that has been done.
    As I said earlier on, poverty means education, health, water, sanitation. Considering the number of schools that have been built in the country, the level of training that has been provided in the country, and the amount of water and boreholes that have been provided in the country, no one can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country. It is never true.
    Mr. Speaker, majority of the women of this country are very happy because the President in his wisdom set up a fund for them. They are now proud holders of bank accounts. They walk into a bank con- fidently to access credit; they are happy.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to go back because more than three questions were put to me here and I answered effectively on what was happening with the Women Development Fund. Mr. Speaker, nobody can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country after all that has been done.
    As I said earlier on, poverty means education, health, water, sanitation. Considering the number of schools that have been built in the country, the level of training that has been provided in the country, and the amount of water and boreholes that have been provided in the country, no one can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country. It is never true.
    Mr. Speaker, majority of the women of this country are very happy because the President in his wisdom set up a fund for them. They are now proud holders of bank accounts. They walk into a bank con- fidently to access credit; they are happy.
    Mr. Abuga 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The hon. Minister has persisted
    in defining poverty as meaning education, housing, so I do not know whether she means that poverty means housing, education. Is it the absence of these or it means these things?
    Mr. Abuga 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The hon. Minister has persisted in defining poverty as meaning education, housing, so I do not know whether she
    means that poverty means housing, education. Is it the absence of these or it means these things?
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, access to education, water, health, sanitation and so on, all of these are incorporated in poverty, and with the level of work that has been done, nobody can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country. I will challenge that person any day.
    Mr. Speaker, the women of this country are very happy; they are the proud owners of bank accounts. They walk confidently into banks to access credit for their vocations.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I just want to bring to bear that there are certain technicalities that my hon. Colleague is trying to avoid. I think the hon. Member rose on a point of order; you have not given your ruling, and she has started talking; and this is the third time. So I just want to draw her attention to the need to go by the rules of the game.
    Mrs. Asmah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, access to education, water, health, sanitation and so on, all of these are incorporated in poverty, and with the level of work that has been done, nobody can say that poverty is on the ascendancy in this country. I will challenge that person any day.
    Mr. Speaker, the women of this country are very happy; they are the proud owners of bank accounts. They walk confidently into banks to access credit for their vocations.
    Mr. Abdul-Razaq 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I just want to bring to bear that there are certain technicalities that my hon. Colleague is trying to avoid. I think the hon. Member rose on a point of order; you have not given your ruling, and she has started talking; and this is the third time. So I just want to draw her attention to the need to go by the rules of the game.
    Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, please wind up.
    Mrs. Asmah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am winding up. As I said earlier on, the women of this country are very happy and very grateful to His Excellency the President for his vision in setting up the fund for them. Today, some of my sisters have started calling for their daughters to come down and help them in their various vocations. It was poverty that brought them down and since they are now working, they believe they should come back home.
    Mr. Speaker, street children are being taken back into their homes because their mothers are working under the vision of

    the President. Mr. Speaker, women are not being killed anymore; we are very happy. We walk about freely to do our work, and we are very, very happy.
    Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Takoradi, please wind up.
    Mrs. Asmah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am winding up. As I said earlier on, the women of this country are very happy and very grateful to His Excellency the President for his vision in setting up the fund for them. Today, some of my sisters have started calling for their daughters to come down and help them in their various vocations. It was poverty that brought them down and since they are now working, they believe they should come back home.
    Mr. Speaker, street children are being taken back into their homes because their mothers are working under the vision of the President. Mr. Speaker, women are not being killed anymore; we are very happy.

    We walk about freely to do our work, and we are very, very happy.
    Mr. Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Hon. Members, it is now 1.00 o'clock and I will suspend the Sitting of the House. When we come back in one and a half hours time, we will conclude the debate and take other matters on the Order Paper.
    The Sitting was suspended at 1.02 p.m.

    Sitting resumed.
    Mr. Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Order! Order! Minority Leader, would you at this stage contribute to the debate.
    Mr. Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Hon. Members, it is now 1.00 o'clock and I will suspend the Sitting of the House. When we come back in one and a half hours time, we will conclude the debate and take other matters on the Order Paper.
    The Sitting was suspended at 1.02 p.m.

    Sitting resumed.
    Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is traditional for this House to also convey to His Excellency the President our gratitude for coming to the House to present a Message on the State of the nation. Mr. Speaker, we agree that it is a constitutional imperative as stipulated in article 67 of our Constitution.
    But Mr. Speaker, I would want to implore His Excellency the President to go beyond just seeing it as a constitutional imperative; he should go beyond that. It is not just a formality; it is not just
    a ceremony but it is an honourable duty. An honest, truthful and committed presentation to the House is what we would prefer rather than just satisfying a constitutional duty.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this whole exercise has been seen as a ceremonial occasion where, with the greatest respect to His Excellency the President, little respect is paid to truth, commitment and belief in what is said. I am saying this because I have gone through the Messages that his Excellency presented, from 2001 to date, and I can draw your attention to very many areas where we were just treated as if we were not performing a very important duty; and I felt so sad that most of the presentations were done just for the sake of satisfying a constitutional provision.
    Mr. Speaker, if I may just refer to page 3 of the Message on the State of the Nation of 2004, paragraph 4, where it is stated, and with your permission I quote:
    “The accumulation of foreign exchange reserves was the highest within memorable years, and currently stands at over US$1.4 billion and covers four months of imports.”
    Mr. Speaker, again looking at page 3, paragraph 3 of the State of the Nation Address, 2005, on this same issue of foreign exchange reserves, this is what we were told:
    “For the first time since the l iberalization of the foreign exchange market in 1990, the country has registered the highest gross international reserve of four months import cover.”
    Mr. Speaker, these are quotations from the two Addresses. So in 2004 this was seen as the highest; the same four months
    Mr. Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Order! Order! Minority Leader, would you at this stage contribute to the debate.
    Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is traditional for this House to also convey to His Excellency the President our gratitude for coming to the House to present a Message on the State of the nation. Mr. Speaker, we agree that it is a constitutional imperative as stipulated in article 67 of our Constitution.
    But Mr. Speaker, I would want to implore His Excellency the President to go beyond just seeing it as a constitutional imperative; he should go beyond that. It is not just a formality; it is not just a ceremony but it is an honourable duty. An honest, truthful and committed presentation to the House is what we
    would prefer rather than just satisfying a constitutional duty.
    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this whole exercise has been seen as a ceremonial occasion where, with the greatest respect to His Excellency the President, little respect is paid to truth, commitment and belief in what is said. Iam saying this because I have gone through the Messages that his Excellency presented, from 2001 to date, and I can draw your attention to very many areas where we were just treated as if we were not performing a very important duty; and I felt so sad that most of the presentations were done just for the sake of satisfying a constitutional provision.
    Mr. Speaker, if I may just refer to page 3 of the Message on the State of the Nation of 2004, paragraph 4, where it is stated, and with your permission I quote:
    “The accumulation of foreign exchange reserves was the highest within memorable years, and currently stands at over US$1.4 billion and covers four months of imports.”
    Mr. Speaker, again looking at page 3, paragraph 3 of the State of the Nation Address, 2005, on this same issue of foreign exchange reserves, this is what we were told:
    “For the first time since the l iberalization of the foreign exchange market in 1990, the country has registered the highest gross international reserve of four months import cover.”
    Mr. Speaker, these are quotations from the two Addresses. So in 2004 this was seen as the highest; the same four months cover is seen in 2005 as the highest. What are we talking about? [Interruptions.] Mr.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Leader of the Minority needs some tutorials. [Laughter.] When we talk about a four-month cover for a period, there is a base. Mr. Speaker, the four-month cover for 2003 could be 10; for 2004 it could be 20. You are talking about the total import of Ghana which varies every week, and therefore we are dealing with figures which are not static -- [Interruptions] -- Yes, we are not dealing with a static figure. People are confusing the issues; we are not dealing with a static figure. The total import cover of Ghana varies every month; that is the total imports. That is why your duties and everything else vary. Therefore, the cover for 2004 in absolute terms -- We liberalized in the year 1990. So if we say that it is the highest during that period, for the first time, I do not see the contradiction. I do not really see it.
    Mr. Speaker, there are occasions when people think that when we talk about GDP in 2003 we are dealing with the same figure of GDP in 2004. It is completely different and therefore a 5 per cent growth in 2002 is completely different from 5 per cent growth in 2004 because the import cover is not static; and import cover in absolute figures varies. For the first time, and the highest on this occasion, I do not see anything wrong with it.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Leader of the Minority needs some tutorials. [Laughter.] When we talk about a four-month cover for a period, there is a base. Mr. Speaker, the four-month cover for 2003 could be 10; for 2004 it could be 20. You are talking about the total import of Ghana which varies every week, and therefore we are dealing with figures which are not static -- [Interruptions] -- Yes, we are not dealing with a static figure. People are confusing the issues; we are not dealing with a static figure. The total import cover of Ghana varies every month; that is the total imports. That is why your duties and everything else vary. Therefore, the cover for 2004 in absolute terms -- We liberalized in the year 1990. So if we say that it is the highest during that period, for the first time, I do not see the contradiction. I do not really see it.
    Mr. Speaker, there are occasions when people think that when we talk about GDP in 2003 we are dealing with the same figure of GDP in 2004. It is completely different and therefore a 5 per cent growth in 2002 is completely different from 5 per cent growth in 2004 because the import cover is not static; and import cover in absolute figures varies. For the first time, and the highest on this occasion, I do not see anything wrong with it.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, to start with, my hon. Colleague would learn that what he just did was not a point of order. He has the right to wind up; and he could do that when winding up.
    Secondly, my hon. Colleague, who is not listening now, should better listen. Yes, he might be good in figures because he is a banker, but it is critical for him to read the English and understand the language before he goes to argue --
    Mr. Bagbin 2:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, to start with,
    my hon. Colleague would learn that what he just did was not a point of order. He has the right to wind up; and he could do that when winding up.
    Secondly, my hon. Colleague, who is not listening now, should better listen. Yes, he might be good in figures because he is a banker, but it is critical for him to read the English and understand the language before he goes to argue --
    Mr. K. T. Hammond 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, on the English. Mr. Speaker, if last year, or to put it this way, the day before yesterday, something was 200, so it was the first time, and today it is still the 200 and it has not increased and so I say again it is the first time, what is tautological about that? That is simple good English.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, people are importing words like “tautology” and the rest, which are not said here. I know my hon. Colleague, Mr. Osafo-Maafo is so good in figures that he is being sent to the Ministry of Education and Sports. Mr. Speaker, I was raising this issue of we getting committed to what we are doing and coming out clearly, truthfully and at least, not reducing this duty to just a ceremonial function.
    Mr. K. T. Hammond 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, on the English. Mr. Speaker, if last year, or to put it this way, the day before yesterday, something was 200, so it was the first time, and today it is still the 200 and it has not increased and so I say again it is the first time, what is tautological about that? That is simple good English.
    Mr. Osei-Mensah 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The hon. Minority Leader is misleading this House by saying that saying the “first time” twice is wrong. Mr. Speaker, I want to give an example with cocoa production. The year 1964/65, Ghana recorded total production of 584,000 metric tonnes. So if in 1965/66 somebody was making a statement and was saying that, that was the highest figure
    ever recorded in the country, the person was right. And if for 2003/04 Ghana recorded 700,000 tonnes and he is saying it is the highest level for the first time, he is again right. Mr. Speaker, he is rather not correct with his English language.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, people are importing words like “tautology” and the rest, which are not said here. I know my hon. Colleague, Mr. Osafo-Maafo is so good in figures that he is being sent to the Ministry of Education and Sports. Mr. Speaker, I was raising this issue of we getting committed to what we are doing and coming out clearly, truthfully and at least, not reducing this duty to just a ceremonial function.
    Mrs. Kusi 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just said that he knows that hon. Osafo-Maafo knows figures yet he is in the Ministry of Education and Sports. Does he want to say that -- [Uproar.]
    Mr. Osei-Mensah 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The hon. Minority Leader is misleading this House by saying that saying the “first time” twice is wrong. Mr. Speaker, I want to give an example with cocoa production. The year 1964/65, Ghana recorded total production of 584,000 metric tonnes. So if in 1965/66 somebody was making a statement and was saying that, that was the highest figure ever recorded in the country, the person was right. And if for 2003/04 Ghana
    recorded 700,000 tonnes and he is saying it is the highest level for the first time, he is again right. Mr. Speaker, he is rather not correct with his English language.
    Mrs. Kusi 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just said that he knows that hon. Osafo-Maafo knows figures yet he is in the Ministry of Education and Sports. Does he want to say that -- [Uproar.]
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we all go through language tutorials; and that is what I was simply doing -- tutorials. Let us look at page 14, paragraph 2 of the 2004 State of the Nation Address, where we were told about the Accra and Kumasi stadia. The first line says and with your permission I quote:
    “The Accra and Kumasi Stadia will be rehabilitated.”
    Again, Mr. Speaker, page 10, paragraph 1 of the 2005 Message repeats the same thing and Mr. Speaker, with your permission I quote:
    “The stadia in Accra and Kumasi will also be renovated and upgraded for the competition.”
    So we are talking about renovation; we are talking about rehabilitation. Last year, that is what we stated; the same is stated this year. Unless people are trying to let me understand that last year's rehabilitation has been done and then this year we are going to do renovation.
    Mr. Speaker, we were told that definitely, this country was going to be given the opportunity to debate HIPC. We all know what happened. It was announced by my hon. Colleague who moved the motion, in the Budget Statement, without the debate. Again, we were just told that the country would be given the opportunity to debate the deregulation.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we all go through language tutorials; and that is what I was simply doing -- tutorials. Let us look at page 14, paragraph 2 of the 2004 State of the Nation Address, where we were told about the Accra and Kumasi stadia. The first line says and with your permission I quote:
    “The Accra and Kumasi Stadia will be rehabilitated.”
    Again, Mr. Speaker, page 10, paragraph 1 of the 2005 Message repeats the same thing and Mr. Speaker, with your permission I quote:
    “The stadia in Accra and Kumasi will also be renovated and upgraded for the competition.”
    So we are talking about renovation; we are talking about rehabilitation. Last year, that is what we stated; the same is stated this year. Unless people are trying to let me understand that last year's rehabilitation has been done and then this year we are going to do renovation.
    Mr. Speaker, we were told that definitely, this country was going to be
    given the opportunity to debate HIPC. We all know what happened. It was announced by my hon. Colleague who moved the motion, in the Budget Statement, without the debate. Again, we were just told that the country would be given the opportunity to debate the deregulation.
    rose rose
    Mr. Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Dr. Osei 2:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my good Friend, the hon. Minority Leader, is misleading the House. HIPC is not a debatable issue; you are either HIPC or you are not. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Dr. Osei 2:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my good Friend, the hon. Minority Leader, is misleading the House. HIPC is not a debatable issue; you are either HIPC or you are not. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 2:50 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Dr. Osei 2:50 p.m.
    He is misleading the House by saying we were going to debate it.
    Dr. Osei 2:50 p.m.
    He is misleading the House by saying we were going to debate it.
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Well, I was simply referring to what His Excellency said to us; that the country was to be given the opportunity to debate, whether to opt for HIPC or not to opt for HIPC. Now, we are being told it is not a debatable issue. That is why I said that we should commit seriousness to what we do. If at that time it was not a debatable issue, we should not have been told that we were going to debate it. I believe the deregulation too is not a debatable issue. So even though we are told that we will debate it, once again, we will not have the opportunity to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, but let me move away to a more serious issue. We are being told in this House that Positive Change Chapter 1 is a success. Mr. Speaker, this we can find at page 22 of this year's Message on the State of the Nation, paragraph 2, where His Excellency at line 6 says, and with your permission I quote:
    Mr. Bagbin 2:50 p.m.
    Well, I was simply referring to what His Excellency said to us; that the country was to be given the opportunity to debate, whether to opt for HIPC or not to opt for HIPC. Now, we are being told it is not a debatable issue. That is why I said that we should commit seriousness to what we do. If at that time it was not a debatable issue, we should not have been told that we were going to debate it. I believe the deregulation too is not a debatable issue. So even though we are told that we will debate it, once again, we will not have the opportunity to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, but let me move away to a more serious issue. We are being told in this House that Positive Change Chapter 1 is a success. Mr. Speaker, this we can find at page 22 of this year's Message on the State of the Nation, paragraph 2, where His Excellency at line 6 says, and with your permission I quote:
    “. . . most sincere and observant Ghanaians will confirm that
    Mr. Hammond 2:50 p.m.
    On a pooint of order. Mr. Speaker, I have just been handed a copy of the Statement under discussion and would invite the House to look at page 10. The hon. Minority Leader has just misled the whole House; he read that paragraph out of context. The question about rehabilitation and renovation was read completely out of context and it is there for everybody to see. I will read. Back to page 9, the last paragraph; if it is not taken from there, it does not make sense. Mr. Speaker, this is what is said in the last paragraph, and with your permission I quote:
    “To attract funding to improve on Sports infrastructure, Ghana will host the Africa Cup of Nations Soccer in 2008. In pursuit of this, work will commence this year on the construction of two new stadia in Tamale and Sekondi (and more crucially) the stadia in Accra and Kumasi will also be renovated and upgraded for the competition.”
    So Mr. Speaker, that is what the President meant and it should not be read out of context.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, again just not to ignore him, let me say that was what I said, unless he wants to tell us that last year those same stadia were rehabilitated and that this year they are to be renovated. That is the only understanding. I have not misquoted; I have not read anything out of context. That is the issue that I am raising.

    Mr. Speaker, I referred this House to page 22 of the 2005 State of the Nation Address and I said His Excellency stated there how people would confirm that Positive Change Chapter I had succeeded. Mr. Speaker, I stated that, here in this House our attention has been drawn to the fact that the Youth and Sports sector of our economy has actually seen Positive Change Chapter I.

    We know how abysmally we have performed in those areas and in fact, even to the extent that we can be charged with indecision as to where to place those two Ministries -- whether under Education, whether as separate Ministries, or under Employment and Human Resource Development. As at now, the cost to the nation of this indecision is so colossal that it has not yet been measured by any economist. That is success of Positive Change Chapter I.

    Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of how the Forestry sector has collapsed. We are aware of how the textile industry has collapsed. We are aware of how the cotton industry has collapsed --
    Mr. Hammond 2:50 p.m.
    On a pooint of order. Mr. Speaker, I have just been handed a copy of the Statement under discussion and would invite the House to look at page 10. The hon. Minority Leader has just misled the whole House; he read that paragraph out of context. The question about rehabilitation and renovation was read completely out of context and it is there for everybody to see. I will read. Back to page 9, the last paragraph; if it is not taken from there, it does not make sense. Mr. Speaker, this is what is said in the last paragraph, and with your permission I quote:
    “To attract funding to improve on Sports infrastructure, Ghana will host the Africa Cup of Nations Soccer in 2008. In pursuit of this, work will commence this year on the construction of two new stadia in Tamale and Sekondi (and more crucially) the stadia in Accra and Kumasi will also be renovated and upgraded for the competition.”
    So Mr. Speaker, that is what the President meant and it should not be read out of context.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Minority Leader is indicating to us that there is some indecision on the location of the Youth and Sports Ministry. Mr. Speaker, we do know that Youth is with Manpower today as we speak, and Sports is also attached to Education. So there is a definite location of the two sectors. So for him to say that there is gross indecision on where to locate them, is clearly and manifestly misleading this House. There is no indecision on that. He may disagree with the location but there is a location.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, again just not to ignore him, let me say that was what I said, unless he wants to tell us that last year those same stadia were rehabilitated and that this year they are to be renovated. That is the only understanding. I have not misquoted; I have not read anything out of context. That is the issue that I am raising.

    Mr. Speaker, I referred this House to page 22 of the 2005 State of the Nation Address and I said His Excellency stated there how people would confirm that Positive Change Chapter I had succeeded. Mr. Speaker, I stated that, here in this House our attention has been drawn to the fact that the Youth and Sports sector of our economy has actually seen Positive Change Chapter I.

    We know how abysmally we have performed in those areas and in fact, even to the extent that we can be charged with indecision as to where to place those two Ministries -- whether under Education, whether as separate Ministries, or under Employment and Human Resource Development. As at now, the cost to the nation of this indecision is so colossal that it has not yet been measured by any economist. That is success of Positive Change Chapter I.

    Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of how the Forestry sector has collapsed. We are aware of how the textile industry has collapsed. We are aware of how the cotton industry has collapsed --
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Minority Leader is indicating to us that there is some indecision on the location of the Youth and Sports Ministry. Mr. Speaker, we do know that Youth is with Manpower today as we speak, and Sports is also attached to Education. So there is a definite location of the two sectors. So for him to say that there is gross indecision on where to locate them, is clearly and manifestly misleading this House. There is no indecision on that. He may disagree with the location but there is a location.
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Let us proceed.
    Mr. Hammond 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, he said some
    cost somewhere has not been measured, yet he concludes by saying that it is so colossal. What is the basis for arriving at that colossal amount when he has not measured it?
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Let us proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Minority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Hammond 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, he said some cost somewhere has not been measured, yet he concludes by saying that it is so
    colossal. What is the basis for arriving at that colossal amount when he has not measured it?
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Minority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We all know the indicators in the Health Sector, the infant mortality rate -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We all know the indicators in the Health Sector, the infant mortality rate -- [Interruption.]
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I want the Minority Leader to repeat what he said about Forestry; that Positive Change led to the collapse of the Forestry industry. Is that what he said? How does he prove that? If that is what he said, how has it collapsed? How has the Forestry Industry collapsed? That is what I want to know. If it is his opinion, it is a different thing; but I would like him to prove how the Forestry industry has collapsed after we have done a lot of afforestation and all that. If in his area he does not see things happening, that is a different thing, but it has not collapsed; it is there. The Commission is there; he should go there and ask. I do not see how he could arrive at the conclusion that Positive Change has led to the collapse of the Forestry industry. It is wrong and I think he should correct himself.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague, hon. Theresa Tagoe is yet to go to the Ministry to learn the figures there. The workers in the Wood Workers' Union have submitted that they have lost forty-five thousand of their workers as a result of the collapse of that industry. We are aware that since 2001, there has been an imposition of new taxes on that industry and that is what is causing that industry in this country not to be competitive, and to
    collapse. That is just part of it, but may I, Mr. Speaker, continue.
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I want the Minority Leader to repeat what he said about Forestry; that Positive Change led to the collapse of the Forestry industry. Is that what he said? How does he prove that? If that is what he said, how has it collapsed? How has the Forestry Industry collapsed? That is what I want to know. If it is his opinion, it is a different thing; but I would like him to prove how the Forestry industry has collapsed after we have done a lot of afforestation and all that. If in his area he does not see things happening, that is a different thing, but it has not collapsed; it is there. The Commission is there; he should go there and ask. I do not see how he could arrive at the conclusion that Positive Change has led to the collapse of the Forestry industry. It is wrong and I think he should correct himself.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague, hon. Theresa Tagoe is yet to go to the Ministry to learn the figures there. The workers in the Wood Workers' Union have submitted that they have lost forty-five thousand of their workers as a result of the collapse of that industry. We are aware that since 2001, there has been an imposition of new taxes on that industry and that is what is causing that industry in this country not to be competitive, and to collapse. That is just part of it, but may I, Mr. Speaker, continue.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is telling this House that the imposition of taxes on timber products is what has caused, in his view, the collapse of the timber industry. That is absolutely untrue. There are some better reasons, other than the one that he has alluded to, that have caused some problems. So it is not correct to say that it is the imposition of taxes that has led to the collapse of the timber industry. That is incorrect and he is misleading this House.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is telling this House that the imposition of taxes on timber products is what has caused, in his view, the collapse of the timber industry. That is absolutely untrue. There are some better reasons, other than the one that he has alluded to, that have caused some problems. So it is not correct to say that it is the imposition of taxes that has led to the collapse of the timber industry. That is incorrect and he is misleading this House.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my hon. Colleague opposite for the further information. I consider the imposition of taxation as one of the most serious elements, and he has added some more which led to the collapse of the industry. So I am very grateful to him for supporting me that the industry has really collapsed.
    Mr. Bagbin 3 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my hon. Colleague opposite for the further information. I consider the imposition of taxation as one of the most serious elements, and he has added some more which led to the collapse of the industry. So I am very grateful to him for supporting me that the industry has really collapsed.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have never said that the timber industry has collapsed. The hon. Minority Leader is thanking me for supporting him in the argument that the timber industry has collapsed. Mr. Speaker, I have never said so. I said there are some problems in the industry. I have never said that the timber industry has collapsed.
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have never said that the timber industry has collapsed. The hon. Minority Leader is thanking me for supporting him in the argument that the timber industry has collapsed. Mr. Speaker, I have never said so. I said there are some problems in the industry. I have never said that the timber industry has collapsed.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, he has admitted now that there are problems, but initially he said that there were more serious reasons that led to the collapse.
    Mr. Speaker 3 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, he has admitted now that there are problems, but initially he said that there were more serious reasons that led to the collapse. I was giving one serious reason and he said there were more serious reasons
    Mr. M. D. Baah 3:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is referring to the exodus of doctors and saying that it is the making of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. But I want to remind him that the exodus of doctors started many years ago, even before the NPP Government came into
    power. So he cannot attribute the exodus of doctors to the NPP Government.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I never attributed the exodus of doctors to the NPP Government. I am looking at the numbers involved. I am talking about what was stated by one of our Ministers -- in fact, specifically the Minister for Defence -- which also shows a downward trend in the development of the health sector.
    Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the Sessional Address of His Excellency the President in the year 2001, where he stated a few things he was going to do for the country. Let us look at page two of that Sessional Address, paragraph one, where the “blame syndrome”, the blame game was actually highly noted; and with your permission I quote:
    Mr. M. D. Baah 3:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is referring to the exodus of doctors and saying that it is the making of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. But I want to remind him that the exodus of doctors started many years ago, even before the NPP Government came into power. So he cannot attribute the exodus of doctors to the NPP Government.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I never attributed the exodus of doctors to the NPP Government. I am looking at the numbers involved. I am talking about what was stated by one of our Ministers -- in fact, specifically the Minister for Defence -- which also shows a downward trend in the development of the health sector.
    Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the Sessional Address of His Excellency the President in the year 2001, where he stated a few things he was going to do for the country. Let us look at page two of that Sessional Address, paragraph one, where the “blame syndrome”, the blame game was actually highly noted; and with your permission I quote:
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Order! Order! Hon. Members, let us have decorum, please.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Order! Order! Hon. Members, let us have decorum, please.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    “. . . a cowed and demoralized private sector, hopelessness and despair are the hallmarks of the day and this is the legacy of the last two decades.”
    Mr. Speaker, today, what is the unemployment situation in the country? Today, what is the wage rate? Today, what is the cost of living in the country? Today, national debt has moved from
    forty-one trillion to over eighty trillion. That is colossal national debt.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    “. . . a cowed and demoralized private sector, hopelessness and despair are the hallmarks of the day and this is the legacy of the last two decades.”
    Mr. Speaker, today, what is the unemployment situation in the country? Today, what is the wage rate? Today, what is the cost of living in the country? Today, national debt has moved from forty-one trillion to over eighty trillion. That is colossal national debt.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, corruption in public life, the figures are clear. From their answers, it shows how corrupt the situation is in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what His Excellency the President started with and --
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, corruption in public life, the figures are clear. From their answers, it shows how corrupt the situation is in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what His Excellency the President started with and --
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just made an allegation of corruption. That allegation is a very serious one to be made in an august House as this Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. Minority Leader to substantiate his allegation -- the allegation he has just made in this august House because it is serious and he does not have to make it in passing.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just made an allegation of corruption. That allegation is a very serious one to be made in an august House as this Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. Minority Leader to substantiate his allegation -- the allegation he has just made in this august House because it is serious and he does not have to make it in passing.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, over to you.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, over to you.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand here a copy of the Statement that was used to launch Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. It is here.
    Mr. Speaker, it is here. [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, if they do not have copies, I am prepared to make copies available to them.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand here a copy of the Statement that was used to launch Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. It is here.
    Mr. Speaker, it is here. [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, if they do not have copies, I am prepared to make copies available to them.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the best approach is that, he can make it available to the Clerk's Table and then that will be an official document for us.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is
    coming from Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII). Daniel Batedam, the Executive Secretary, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana, presented it. It is here. I cannot give it to them because I will be referring to it as I go along. So after that he can pick the copy.
    Mr. Speaker, I also have a paper presented by Professor Yaw Sarfo. It was a lead paper at a roundtable discussion on tackling elite or grand corruption in Ghana. I can also make that available to him for him to read.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the best approach is that, he can make it available to the Clerk's Table and then that will be an official document for us.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is coming from Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII). Daniel Batedam, the Executive
    Secretary, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana, presented it. It is here. I cannot give it to them because I will be referring to it as I go along. So after that he can pick the copy.
    Mr. Speaker, I also have a paper presented by Professor Yaw Sarfo. It was a lead paper at a roundtable discussion on tackling elite or grand corruption in Ghana. I can also make that available to him for him to read.
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, what is the point of order that you have?
    rose
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader keeps committing the same blunder.
    The document he just presented is a document on perception of corruption. He made a statement on corruption; he did not say there is a perception. The document he just presented does not reflect the statement he just made.
    Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Minority Leader does not have proof, it is better he withdraws the statement he made, because the document he just presented is on perceived corruption. He made a categorical statement of corruption in this House and he said, “massive corruption”.
    Mr. Speaker, if he has no proof, it is better to withdraw than to continue misleading this House with documents that do not reflect the statement he made.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, what is the point of order that you have?
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader keeps committing the same blunder.
    The document he just presented is a document on perception of corruption. He made a statement on corruption; he did not say there is a perception. The document he just presented does not reflect the statement he just made.
    Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Minority Leader does not have proof, it is better he withdraws the statement he made, because the document he just presented is on perceived corruption. He made a categorical statement of corruption in this House and he said, “massive corruption”.
    Mr. Speaker, if he has no proof, it is better to withdraw than to continue misleading this House with documents that do not reflect the statement he made.
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, the documents that you have in your possession, do they talk about massive corruption in this country? I have not read them.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, His
    Mr. Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, the documents that you have in your possession, do they talk about massive corruption in this country? I have not read them.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President was stating from 2001; and that, we all know, was based
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is stated clearly in the Address. It was based on perception of corruption.
    Mr. Speaker, in the document I am talking about, we are given figures from 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003; we are given figures by the Ghana Integrity Initiative
    (GII).

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy the heckling and I can assure you that --
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader does not seem to understand what I am talking about. He has made a statement of massive corruption in Ghana today, and he is proving his point with a document that someone has written about perception. Mr. Speaker, these two issues are different. In any case, what somebody has said about corruption is not a proof of corruption. Mr. Speaker, the document he has just referred to, that of the Professor and the transparency document, both documents do not make the categorical statement he has just made. They are not talking about massive corruption in Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, perception and what he has just said are two different things. If he does not have proof, what he should just do is to withdraw because he is speaking in this House. This House of Parliament is the House of the representatives of the people of this country. Mr. Speaker, it is not a House for people to come in, make sweeping statements and let them go. He either proves it with supporting documents or he withdraws it honourably and continues with his contribution.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is stated clearly in the Address. It was based on perception of corruption.
    Mr. Speaker, in the document I am talking about, we are given figures from 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003; we are given figures by the Ghana Integrity Initiative
    (GII).

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoy the heckling and I can assure you that --
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I thought the hon. Minority Leader was talking about perception.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader does not seem to understand what I am talking about. He has made a statement of massive corruption in Ghana today, and he is proving his point with a document that someone has written about perception. Mr. Speaker, these two issues are different. In any case, what somebody has said about corruption is not a proof of corruption. Mr. Speaker, the document he has just referred to, that of the Professor and the transparency document, both documents do not make the categorical statement he has just made. They are not talking about massive corruption in Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, perception and what he has just said are two different things. If he
    does not have proof, what he should just do is to withdraw because he is speaking in this House. This House of Parliament is the House of the representatives of the people of this country. Mr. Speaker, it is not a House for people to come in, make sweeping statements and let them go. He either proves it with supporting documents or he withdraws it honourably and continues with his contribution.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I thought the hon. Minority Leader was talking about perception.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    No, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    No, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    I thought that was what he was talking about.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Definitely, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    I thought that was what he was talking about.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Definitely, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, what were you talking about?
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, what were you talking about?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is the statement I made; that it is based on perception. And Mr. Speaker, the statement that was made by His Excellency the President was also based on perception; he did not give any proof here. At that time, my hon. Colleague who represents Effia-Kwesimintsim was here; he did not ask for proof or withdrawal; today he is talking. But let me go ahead to say that His Excellency the President himself admitted that people come to him, trying to bribe him and that if they wanted money they would have been taking it waa waa. [Laughter.]
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is the statement I made; that it is based on perception. And Mr. Speaker, the statement that was made by His Excellency the President was also based on perception; he did not give any proof here. At that time, my hon. Colleague who represents Effia-Kwesimintsim was here; he did not ask for proof or withdrawal; today he is talking. But let me go ahead to say that His Excellency the President himself admitted that people come to him, trying to bribe him and that if they wanted money they would have been taking it waa waa. [Laughter.]
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just made another statement. The President's statement was not a perception of corruption. The President made a statement on corruption; he did not talk about perception of corruption
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader just made another statement. The President's statement was not a perception of corruption. The President made a statement on corruption; he did not talk about perception of corruption -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the President was saying that there was corruption; the hon. Minority Leader just misquoted the President. In the case of the hon. Minority Leader, he claims his is a case of perception, but the President did not talk about perception. The President made a statement that there was corruption. So they are two different issue.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the President was saying that there was corruption; the hon. Minority Leader just misquoted the President. In the case of the hon. Minority Leader, he claims his is a case of perception, but the President did not talk about perception. The President made a statement that there was corruption. So they are two different issue.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank him. I am very, very grateful to my hon. Colleague that that was a statement made by His Excellency the President on corruption, that there is corruption; and that is exactly what I am stating, that there is corruption. And Mr. Speaker, I am saying that His Excellency the President said in that statement that he used to advise the people to go away instead of even arresting them.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that is being recorded. The President said there was corruption in the period before 2001. [Some hon. Members: No!] That was the statement that the President made, which is different from the statement that the hon. Minority Leader is making today, and which he claims the President said that there is perception of corruption. The President stated categorically -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank him. I am very, very grateful to my hon. Colleague that that was a statement made by His Excellency the President on corruption, that there is corruption; and that is exactly what I am stating, that there is corruption. And Mr. Speaker, I am saying that His Excellency the President said in that statement that he used to advise the people to go away instead of even arresting them.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that is being recorded. The President said there was corruption in the period before 2001. [Some hon. Members: No!] That was the statement that the President made, which is different from the statement that the hon. Minority Leader is making today, and which he claims the President said that there is perception of corruption. The President stated categorically -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    The President said that during the period before 2001 there was corruption. What the hon. Minority Leader is presenting now is that there is a perception of corruption at this time. They are not the same; they are two different issues.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:20 p.m.
    The President said that during the period before 2001 there was corruption. What the hon. Minority Leader is presenting now is that there is a perception of corruption at this time. They are not the same; they are two different issues.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what we term in literature “labour lost”. My hon. Colleague was just labouring --
    Mr. Kwame Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is misleading himself and the House. He is quoting the President, but what the President said was in 2001 and subsequent events have proven that there was massive corruption, because the Minister for Finance of the NDC and his Deputy are in jail for corruption. [Uproar!]
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what
    we term in literature “labour lost”. My hon. Colleague was just labouring --
    Mr. Kwame Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is misleading himself and the House. He is quoting the President, but what the President said was in 2001 and subsequent events have proven that there was massive corruption, because the Minister for Finance of the NDC and his Deputy are in jail for corruption. [Uproar!]
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    And at the Quality Grain trial the sitting Vice President was indicted for having collaborated the corruption -- the Vice President of the NDC -- [Uproar.]
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    And at the Quality Grain trial the sitting Vice President was indicted for having collaborated the corruption -- the Vice President of the NDC -- [Uproar.]
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is imputing corruption to this Government, and he says, “massive''. He should only go and refer to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) reports for that period and he would see the massive corruption engaged in by NDC Ministers and their appointees. So if he is talking about corruption he must check himself, because there is nothing proven against the NPP, not even against any NPP Minister or even the appointees.
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is imputing corruption to this Government, and he says, “massive''. He should only go and refer to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) reports for that period and he would see the massive corruption engaged in by NDC Ministers and their appointees. So if he is talking about corruption he must check himself, because there is nothing proven against the NPP, not even against any NPP Minister or even the appointees.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you are out of order.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is only when the frog is dead that you know its length. Mr. Speaker, at page 3 of the Sessional Address of 2001, we are told about what the state of affairs of Job 600 is. Mr. Speaker, with your permission, let
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you are out of order.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is only when the frog is dead that you know its length. Mr. Speaker, at page 3 of the Sessional Address of 2001, we are told about what the state of affairs of Job 600 is. Mr. Speaker, with your permission, let me quote that sentence. It says:
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this statement is made to show that “Positive Change Chapter One” is a failure and not a success.
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is trying to indict the President for this. Mr. Speaker, he should answer the question; where did the 25 million dollars World Bank money for Job 600 go to.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this statement is made to show that “Positive Change Chapter One” is a failure and not a success.
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader is trying to indict the President for this. Mr. Speaker, he should answer the question; where did the 25 million dollars World Bank money for Job 600 go to.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, proceed.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that 25 million dollars has been explained so many times on this floor. This Government is benefiting from some of what they termed in the Sessional Address as “misapplication of that money” -- of the 25 million dollars. Mr. Speaker, it has been stated by His Excellency the President himself that it was misapplied; is that all right? So the misapplication meant that it was used for a purpose for which it was not meant. And Mr. Speaker, that purpose was in the interest of the country.
    And before we use the whole day on $25 million, which the Minister for Education would be referring to in his winding up, let me once again refer

    this House to another statement on the Flagstaff House. I do not want to refer to the Castle, which was in a state of gloomy disrepair because I have been to the Castle myself and I have seen some of the places that were renovated with over ¢10 billion, and I can tell you it has not moved from that state of gloomy disrepair.

    Mr. Speaker, we recently saw off some of our Colleagues from Ireland to the Castle and I had the opportunity of, at least, using the washroom; and I recommend the washroom to all of you to go and see whether such monies that were spent in the renovation of where we receive dignitaries can be accounted for.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what was said of the Flagstaff House 3:30 p.m.
    “Flagstaff House, the home of our First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has been abandoned to rats and looks like the ruins of a bygone era.”
    Mr. Speaker, what is the state of the Flagstaff House now? We are trying to measure the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”. Mr. Speaker, definitely, the rats and the ruins are there for everybody to see.
    Now, Mr. Speaker, we will move to another area to measure the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”. We were told about the issue of the culture of impunity and His Excellency the President referred to it a number of times in the Sessional Address of 2001. It starts from page 4, which talks about officials regarding themselves as demigods; on page 5, where he referred to it as culture of impunity; page 6, again he referred to it as culture of impunity. Mr. Speaker, let us be frank with ourselves. What is the culture today? I am going to refer to the culture today.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that 25 million dollars has been explained so many times on this floor. This Government is benefiting from some of what they termed in the Sessional Address as “misapplication of that money” -- of the 25 million dollars. Mr. Speaker, it has been stated by His Excellency the President himself that it was misapplied; is that all right? So the misapplication meant that it was used for a purpose for which it was not meant. And Mr. Speaker, that purpose was in the interest of the country. [Interruptions.] And before we use the whole day on $25 million, which the Minister for Education would be referring to in his winding up, let me once again refer this House to another statement on the Flagstaff House. I do not want to

    refer to the Castle, which was in a state of gloomy disrepair because, I have been to the Castle myself and I have seen some of the places that were renovated with over ¢10 billion, and I can tell you it has not moved from that state of gloomy disrepair. Mr. Speaker, we recently saw off some of our Colleagues from Ireland to the Castle and I had the opportunity of, at least, using the washroom; and I recommend the washroom to all of you to go and see whether such monies that were spent in the renovation of where we receive dignitaries can be accounted for.
    Mr. Speaker, this is what was said of the Flagstaff House 3:30 p.m.
    “Flagstaff House, the home of our First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has been abandoned to rats and looks like the ruins of a bygone era.”
    Mr. Speaker, what is the state of the Flagstaff House now? We are trying to measure the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”. Mr. Speaker, definitely, the rats and the ruins are there for everybody to see.
    Now, Mr. Speaker, we will move to another area to measure the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”. We were told about the issue of the culture of impunity and His Excellency the President referred to it a number of times in the Sessional Address of 2001. It starts from page 4, which talks about officials regarding themselves as demigods; on page 5, where he referred to it as culture of impunity; page 6, again he referred to it as culture of impunity. Mr. Speaker, let us be frank with ourselves. What is the culture today? I am going to refer to the culture today.
    Mr. K.T. Hammond 3:30 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, I am getting extremely troubled. We are looking at the Address of the President for this year, 2005, and we are hacking back to 2001. Mr. Speaker, are we doing 2001 or we are doing 2005?
    Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader,
    please proceed and let us have the position as to how long you are likely to take..
    Mr. K.T. Hammond 3:30 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, I am getting extremely troubled. We are looking at the Address of
    the President for this year, 2005, and we are hacking back to 2001. Mr. Speaker, are we doing 2001 or we are doing 2005?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much,
    Mr. Speaker. Just mentioning the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”, Mr. Speaker, the culture of impunity is where I got to because I am using that to measure it for the four years. And Mr. Speaker, it is shocking, I must say, that that culture is worse today.
    Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader,
    please proceed and let us have the position as to how long you are likely to take..
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:30 p.m.
    Mr.
    Speaker, the issue about relevance has already been raised; I do not intend to go on that but you just sounded the hon. Minority Leader who has been speaking for more than thirty-five minutes -- [Interruptions.] At least, I entered the House at exactly 2.55 p.m. When I came, he was on floor. And Mr. Speaker, you would recall you wanted to have an indication on how long he was going to speak but he did not respond to that. He has not responded to that so, Mr. Speaker, if you will advert his mind to that so that he spares us this ordeal of going to laws of pre-historic era.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much,
    Mr. Speaker. Just mentioning the success of “Positive Change Chapter I”, Mr. Speaker, the culture of impunity is where I got to because I am using that to measure it for the four years. And Mr. Speaker, it is shocking, I must say, that that culture is worse today.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:30 p.m.
    Mr.
    Speaker, the issue about relevance has already been raised; I do not intend to go on that but you just sounded the hon. Minority Leader who has been speaking for more than thirty-five minutes -- [Interruptions.] At least, I entered the House at exactly 2.55 p.m. When I came, he was on floor. And Mr. Speaker, you would recall you wanted to have an indication on how long he was going to speak but he did not respond to that. He has not responded to that so, Mr. Speaker, if you will advert his mind to that so that he spares us this ordeal of going to laws of pre-historic era.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is aware that I am old in this House enough to understand heckling and the time used by Minority Leaders. In fact, when my predecessor, hon. J. H. Mensah faced a similar problem in a debate of this nature, this is what he said in the Hansard of 8th of July, 1997, column 1024, the last paragraph; and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg to quote:
    “Mr. Speaker, one of the principles of our Parliament is that there is freedom of speech. One of the principles of our procedure is that on matters like this, there is no curtailment of debate. Those who do not know parliamentary procedure better learn it.”
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend continued
    like this -- [Interruption] -- I have not reached the most serious aspect, just wait.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon.
    Colleague is aware that I am old in this House enough to understand heckling and the time used by Minority Leaders. In fact, when my predecessor, hon. J. H. Mensah faced a similar problem in a debate of this nature, this is what he said in the Hansard of 8th of July, 1997, column 1024, the last paragraph; and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg to quote:
    “Mr. Speaker, one of the principles of our Parliament is that there is
    freedom of speech. One of the principles of our procedure is that on matters like this, there is no curtailment of debate. Those who do not know parliamentary procedure better learn it.”
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend continued
    like this -- [Interruption] -- I have not reached the most serious aspect, just wait.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I am happy you have tolerated my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader to speak for well over fifty minutes on this matter. But I believe that my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader was at the meeting when we agreed as to the time we are going to allow for people to speak and therefore, I was thinking they would have done justice to his own understanding of the way we are going to conduct this business and speak within the timeframe that was agreed. At the moment, he has spoken for almost three times the period that was agreed for a person in his category. I am prepared to listen to all this because I am always aware of what hon. J. H. Owusu- Acheampong said.
    I cannot quote from the Hansard but he knows it, that we can always allow him to say all he wants to say, but he will finally have to agree with us that for the moment, we have to run the administration based on the mandate the people have given to us. So we will allow him; but if he can save us the time, because we have other business to do, so that we move on with the other business.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I am happy you have tolerated my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader to speak for well over fifty minutes on this matter. But I believe that my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader was at the meeting when we agreed as to the time we are going to allow for people to speak and therefore, I was thinking they would have done justice to his own understanding of the way we are going to conduct this business and speak within the timeframe that was agreed. At the moment, he has spoken for almost three times the period that was agreed for a person in his category. I am prepared to listen to all this because I am always aware of what hon. J. H. Owusu- Acheampong said.
    I cannot quote from the Hansard but he knows it, that we can always allow him to say all he wants to say, but he will finally have to agree with us that for the moment, we have to run the administration based on the mandate the people have given to us. So we will allow him; but if he can save us the time, because we have other business to do, so that we move on with the other business.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I actually
    sympathise with the hon. Majority Leader because it is the same thing that his predecessor said when he was seated there - - hon. J. H. Owusu-Acheampong -- when my predecessor was on his feet making submissions like I am doing. So I
    Mr. Bagbin 3:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I actually
    sympathise with the hon. Majority Leader because it is the same thing that his predecessor said when he was seated there - - hon. J. H. Owusu-Acheampong -- when my predecessor was on his feet making submissions like I am doing. So I understand and I sympathise with him, but kindly permit me to finish the quotation

    for him to see how we, when we were in Government, could tolerate a lot of things. Mr. Speaker, this is what he said in continuation:

    “… And Mr. Speaker, I consider most discourteous for my young friends to interject such rude remarks in my statement …”
    Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I wish
    one hon. Member would tell me what my predecessor also said when he heard all these arguments.
    Mr. Speaker 3:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I wish
    one hon. Member would tell me what my predecessor also said when he heard all these arguments.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Yes, I will quote it, I will quote what your predecessor said.
    In fact, what hon. J. H. Mensah said was a reaction to what your predecessor said after the Majority Leader made this statement. Your predecessor said this, and with your permission, I quote:
    “Hon. Minority Leader, I appreciate that you want to make your position as clear as possible but shall we keep within the confines of the spirit of the motion.”
    Then Mr. Speaker, hon. J. H. Mensah followed with this statement which is what I am quoting. And, in fact, he went as far as saying things which I do not want to say on the floor; but I can quote where he says that it is --
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Yes, I will quote it, I will quote what your predecessor said.
    In fact, what hon. J. H. Mensah said was a reaction to what your predecessor said after the Majority Leader made this statement. Your predecessor said this, and with your permission, I quote:
    “Hon. Minority Leader, I appreciate that you want to make your position as clear as possible but shall we keep within the confines of the spirit of the motion.”
    Then Mr. Speaker, hon. J. H. Mensah followed with this statement which is what I am quoting. And, in fact, he went as far as saying things which I do not want to say on the floor; but I can quote where he says that it is --
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, you called for a response; you have got the response. You have asked for what your predecessor said and I thought we should pause for you to give further directions, especially in the light of two statements that have emerged, that hon. J. H. Mensah was dealing with
    his young friends and he was speaking as the very good senior citizen of this country and whose custom recognizes that for whatever reason, when you are talking to an elderly person, you must be careful with your choice of words.
    In this particular case, unfortunately for my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader, I think age-wise I am very, very far advanced in age than him. So he cannot be seen to be addressing me in that way. So if we can hear your direction as to what we should do because -- [Interruption.] Sorry, sir, if I may finish. What my hon. Colleague said was that he must confine himself to the subject of this issue, and of course, in this particular case, also to the time. And that is what we want him to know.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, you called for a response; you have got the response. You have asked for what your predecessor said and I thought we should pause for you to give further directions, especially in the light of two statements that have emerged, that hon. J. H. Mensah was dealing with his young friends and he was speaking
    as the very good senior citizen of this country and whose custom recognizes that for whatever reason, when you are talking to an elderly person, you must be careful with your choice of words. In this particular case, unfortunately for my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader, I think age-wise I am very, very far advanced in age than him. So he cannot be seen to be addressing me in that way. So if we can hear your direction as to what we should do because -- [Interruption.] Sorry, sir, if I may finish. What my hon. Colleague said was that he must confine himself to the subject of this issue, and of course, in this particular case, also to the time. And that is what we want him to know.
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, if you have reached consensus as to the timing, would you kindly follow that consensus?
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, if you have reached consensus as to the timing, would you kindly follow that consensus?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, I thought he said I was not there when they reached the consensus.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, I thought he said I was not there when they reached the consensus.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, before we started the debate, we agreed as to the time to be allotted to the person moving the motion and the person seconding it, but if he says he cannot remember it then that is a different matter.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 3:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, before we started the debate, we agreed as to the time to be allotted to the person moving the motion and the person seconding it, but if he says he cannot remember it then that is a different matter.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was not in any such meeting where a decision was taken on time limit; I was not there. But let me say that I will take the prompting from you and move onto other areas so that we could finish the debate. But it is important for me just to, with your permission, quote this:
    “Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, the need of protest is too strong for some colleagues but we cannot shed our duty as Members of Parliament.”
    Mr. Speaker, that is a quote from my senior, my predecessor, hon. J. H. Mensah.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was not in any such meeting where a decision was taken on time limit; I was not there. But let me say that I will take the prompting from you and move onto other areas so that we could finish the debate. But it is important for me just to, with your permission, quote this:
    “Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, the need of protest is too strong for some colleagues but we cannot shed our duty as Members of Parliament.”
    Mr. Speaker, that is a quote from my senior, my predecessor, hon. J. H. Mensah.
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, I shall also be guided by the dicta of my predecessor.
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, I shall also be guided by the dicta of my predecessor.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, that is why I quoted it for your edification.
    Mr. Speaker, let me move on to the other area. I was talking about the culture of impunity and it is important I say it so that it would guide my hon. Colleagues who are now in Government in trying to improve upon some issues that are confronting us as a nation.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that I have passed the stage of “public office being used as an avenue for plunder and loot” -- that is to quote His Excellency the President -- to now talk about the culture of impunity.
    Mr. Speaker, I was actually surprised when His Excellency the President referred to the peace and security that we enjoy in this country --
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, that is why I quoted it for your edification.
    Mr. Speaker, let me move on to the other area. I was talking about the culture of impunity and it is important I say it so that it would guide my hon. Colleagues who are now in Government in trying to improve upon some issues that are confronting us as a nation.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that I have passed the stage of “public office being used as an avenue for plunder and loot” -- that is to quote His Excellency the President -- to now talk about the culture of impunity.
    Mr. Speaker, I was actually surprised when His Excellency the President referred to the peace and security that we enjoy in this country --
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    How many more minutes should we allow you?
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    How many more minutes should we allow you?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    I have a few points to present -- [Interruptions.] Depending on the objections; it will be difficult for me to say because I cannot anticipate how many points of order that they would raise.
    But Mr. Speaker, let me just go on to say that I was surprised because it is clear to all observers of what is happening in the country now that there is actually no peace in the country. Peace is not the absence of war; but even, we cannot say that we do not have crisis or, we do not have hot spots in this country. We have hot spots ranging from the Western Region to Northern Region, to Volta Region, coming even
    to Greater Accra, where in the years of “Positive Change Chapter 1”, there were villages just around Weija that fought over pieces of land and people were killed.
    Mr. Speaker, we are aware that in this country, people can sit on top of their houses and use young people as target, shoot them and kill them; and nothing happens in this country. We are aware that after elections, regional chairmen could be arrested and tortured to death. We are aware that armed robbery is on the ascendancy and, in fact, we are reading today and yesterday of the type of armed robbery that took place between Wenchi and New Longoro. The police that were called upon said they could not do anything about it and people were tortured; and we are talking about peace.
    Mr. Speaker, the record of the production of small arms in this country have been presented a number of times to the Government. And in fact, His Excellency the President is aware of that situation in the country. That is a threat, serious threat to the peace and security of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, people in 2001 talked about peace, progress and prosperity. With reference to the armed robbery, if my hon. Colleague, Mrs. Gladys Asmah was listening, they said eighty per cent of the people who were beaten, tortured and robbed of their possessions were women.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:40 p.m.
    I have a few points to present -- [Interruptions.] Depending on the objections; it will be difficult for me to say because I cannot anticipate how many points of order that they would raise.
    But Mr. Speaker, let me just go on to say that I was surprised because it is clear to all observers of what is happening in the country now that there is actually no peace in the country. Peace is not the absence of war; but even, we cannot say that we do not have crisis or, we do not have hot spots in this country. We have hot spots ranging from the Western Region to Northern Region, to Volta Region, coming even to Greater Accra, where in the years of “Positive Change Chapter 1”, there were
    villages just around Weija that fought over pieces of land and people were killed.
    Mr. Speaker, we are aware that in this country, people can sit on top of their houses and use young people as target, shoot them and kill them; and nothing happens in this country. We are aware that after elections, regional chairmen could be arrested and tortured to death. We are aware that armed robbery is on the ascendancy and, in fact, we are reading today and yesterday of the type of armed robbery that took place between Wenchi and New Longoro. The police that were called upon said they could not do anything about it and people were tortured; and we are talking about peace.
    Mr. Speaker, the records of the production of small arms in this country have been presented a number of times to the Government. And in fact, His Excellency the President is aware of that situation in the country. That is a threat, serious threat to the peace and security of this country.
    Mr. Speaker, people in 2001 talked about peace, progress and prosperity. With reference to the armed robbery, if my hon. Colleague, Mrs. Gladys Asmah was listening, they said eighty per cent of the people who were beaten, tortured and robbed of their possessions were women.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague keeps misleading this House. He first started by making a categorical statement that there is no peace in the country. Now, the next statement he makes is that armed robbery constitutes a threat to peace in the country. Mr. Speaker, if there is no peace, as he has already said, there cannot be a threat to a “no peace”. Mr. Speaker, I do not understand; he is confusing himself and the entire country.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague keeps misleading this House. He first started by making a categorical statement that there is no peace in the country. Now, the next statement he makes is that armed robbery constitutes a threat to peace in the country. Mr. Speaker, if there is no peace, as he has already said, there cannot be a threat to a “no peace”. Mr. Speaker, I do not understand; he is confusing himself and the entire country.
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, you are about to wind up, I hope?
    Mr. Speaker 3:40 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, you are about to wind up, I hope?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. Colleague had been very observant, he would have heard me start from conflicts in various areas, hot spots, and talk about shooting and killing before I went to the armed robbery. So with these instances, you cannot call such a situation peace and security in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, we have copious references to good governance in the country. It is very recent that we saw the glitter of what is meant by good governance in this country, whether you are talking about the rule of law where constitutional provisions are flouted with impunity; where, in spite of various serious allegations on governance, we ignore and go ahead to appoint people; where constitutional provision on balance, whether it is regional or whatever, is ignored; and they are all referred to as good governance.

    Mr. Speaker, yes, we are told in the Message of how Ghanaians now feel excited because he says that it is exciting times and that this is a good time to be a Ghanaian. Mr. Speaker, well, it could be so. If your party is in power today, it could be exciting times for you.

    But Mr. Speaker, let me just raise a few things for my hon. Colleagues to know that it is not exciting times for majority of Ghanaians. This is a report from the Australia High Commission on Ghanaians who apply for visas, and one of the reasons for refusing the visas is this; I am going to read: I will quote it. If you want that one too, I will lay it on the Table for you. It says and I quote:

    “You are a citizen of Ghana, a country suffer ing depressed economic conditions and limited
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if my hon. Colleague had been very observant, he would have heard me start from conflicts in various areas, hot spots, and talk about shooting and killing before I went to the armed robbery. So with these instances, you cannot call such a situation peace and security in the country.
    Mr. Speaker, we have copious references to good governance in the country. It is very recent that we saw the glitter of what is meant by good governance in this country, whether you are talking about the rule of law where constitutional provisions are flouted with impunity; where, in spite of various serious allegations on governance, we ignore and go ahead to appoint people; where constitutional provision on balance, whether it is regional or whatever, is ignored; and they are all referred to as good governance.

    Mr. Speaker, yes, we are told in the Message of how Ghanaians now feel excited because he says that it is exciting times and that this is a good time to be a Ghanaian. Mr. Speaker, well, it could be so. If your party is in power today, it could be exciting times for you.

    But Mr. Speaker, let me just raise a few things for my hon. Colleagues to know that it is not exciting times for majority of Ghanaians. This is a report from the Australia High Commission on Ghanaians who apply for visas, and one of the reasons for refusing the visas is this; I am going to read: I will quote it. If you want that one too, I will lay it on the Table for you. It says and I quote:
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to know from the hon. Minority Leader, where and when this statement was issued and then we could take it up as soon as possible.
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to know from the hon. Minority Leader, where and when this statement was issued and then we could take it up as soon as possible.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will not
    only read it, but I will also give him a copy because he is the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs-designate. He has not come through the Committee yet.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will not
    only read it, but I will also give him a copy because he is the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs-designate. He has not come through the Committee yet.
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu-
    Juaben, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu-
    Juaben, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, should I learn from the hon. Minority Leader whether it is a threat he is giving me?
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, should I learn from the hon. Minority Leader whether it is a threat he is giving me?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he knows very well that he is a very good friend and that I will not threaten him on such issues. I just do my lawful duty; I do not go beyond. Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is the document; I will give to him. He asked for the date. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this one I have is dated 10th September 2002.
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he knows very well that he is a very good friend and that I will not threaten him on such issues. I just do my lawful duty; I do not go beyond. Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is the document; I will give to him. He asked for the date. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this one I have is dated 10th September 2002.
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader has just presented a document which, he claims, is from the Australian High Commission. Mr. Speaker, he used this document to buttress a point that he just made to the effect that this country is economically depressed. He used a 2002 report that he claimed was presented by someone in the Australian High Commission in 2002 to prove a point in 2005. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon.
    Minority Leader is misleading this House. One, the document he just presented is not even relevant to his argument. The period he is talking about is quite different from the period that the President's State of the Nation Message is talking about. Mr. Speaker, in addition, somebody at the Australian High Commission's view does not represent an authority over the current situation of the economy in this country. For him to quote such an irrelevant document to this august House amounts to misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Minority Leader should withdraw the statement he just made because it is not relevant to the issues, it does not reflect what he just said. And he should also apologise to this House.
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader,
    would you be kind enough to sum up?
    Mr. Baidoe-Ansah 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader has just presented a document which, he claims, is from the Australian High Commission. Mr. Speaker, he used this document to buttress a point that he just made to the effect that this country is economically depressed. He used a 2002 report that he claimed was presented by someone in the Australian
    High Commission in 2002 to prove a point in 2005.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Minority Leader is misleading this House. One, the document he just presented is not even relevant to his argument. The period he is talking about is quite different from the period that the President's State of the Nation Message is talking about. Mr. Speaker, in addition, somebody at the Australian High Commission's view does not represent an authority over the current situation of the economy in this country. For him to quote such an irrelevant document to this august House amounts to misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Minority Leader should withdraw the statement he just made because it is not relevant to the issues, it does not reflect what he just said. And he should also apologise to this House.
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader,
    would you be kind enough to sum up?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Well,
    my hon. Colleagues are not actually helping the House, because I was talking about exciting times. Mr. Speaker, I am talking about “this is a good time to be a Ghanaian” --
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Well,
    my hon. Colleagues are not actually helping the House, because I was talking about exciting times. Mr. Speaker, I am talking about “this is a good time to be a Ghanaian” --
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, it is very unfortunate the hon. Minority Leader should use a document from a High Commission on the floor of this House -- a document that is supposed to be private and confidential to the person to whom it is given.
    Also, Mr. Speaker, the time he is talking of, 2002, clearly was the legacy of the NDC. Mr. Speaker, when the President says that times are exciting in Ghana, it is real. We have a period when the President is not beating his Vice President, when the President is not overturning taxis, when there is no shitocracy, when editors are not being arrested by military men at dawn. Mr. Speaker, if these are not exciting
    times, when are they? He should know the difference.
    I believe that the hon. Minority Leader being an experienced politician as well as a Parliamentarian, knows the history of this country and therefore knows where the President is coming from. Therefore, he should stop playing to the gallery and disturbing and wasting our time.
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 3:50 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, it is very unfortunate the hon. Minority Leader should use a document from a High Commission on the floor of this House -- a document that is supposed to be private and confidential to the person to whom it is given.
    Also, Mr. Speaker, the time he is talking of, 2002, clearly was the legacy of the NDC. Mr. Speaker, when the President says that times are exciting in Ghana, it is real. We have a period when the President is not beating his Vice President, when the President is not overturning taxis, when
    there is no shitocracy, when editors are not being arrested by military men at dawn. Mr. Speaker, if these are not exciting times, when are they? He should know the difference.
    I believe that the hon. Minority Leader being an experienced politician as well as a Parliamentarian, knows the history of this country and therefore knows where the President is coming from. Therefore, he should stop playing to the gallery and disturbing and wasting our time.
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, this is
    not the time for you to contribute. Hon. Minority Leader, would you be kind enough to conclude?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    In fact, this document was presented to me --
    Mr. Speaker 3:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member, this is
    not the time for you to contribute. Hon. Minority Leader, would you be kind enough to conclude?
    Mr. Bagbin 3:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    In fact, this document was presented to me --
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 4 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious document that the hon. Minority Leader is reading from. Ghana and Australia have a very good relationship and if the hon. Minority Leader is using this document, which may be a private document, to prove his case, it is going to tarnish the relationship between Ghana and Australia.
    So Mr. Speaker, I urge the Minority Leader not to present this as evidence. I urge the Minority Leader not to put it here to prove his case because the relationship between a Commonwealth member country, Australia, and Ghana is so cordial that this might tarnish the image of Australia before Ghanaians.

    So Mr. Speaker, I want to advise the Minority Leader to withdraw this document so that we can proceed with the cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and Australia. Besides, the Australian High Commissioner came to Ghana not more than a year ago, so I would urge and advise honourably that we expunge this from the Hansard. Otherwise, we would
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 4 p.m.
    On a point of
    order. Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious document that the hon. Minority Leader is reading from. Ghana and Australia have a very good relationship and if the hon. Minority Leader is using this document, which may be a private document, to prove his case, it is going to tarnish the relationship between Ghana and Australia.
    So Mr. Speaker, I urge the Minority Leader not to present this as evidence. I urge the Minority Leader not to put it here to prove his case because the relationship between a Commonwealth member country, Australia, and Ghana is so cordial that this might tarnish the image of Australia before Ghanaians.

    So Mr. Speaker, I want to advise the Minority Leader to withdraw this document so that we can proceed with the cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and Australia. Besides, the Australian High Commissioner came to Ghana not
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu- Juaben, you must realize that this is not a point of order; this is mere advice. Hon. Minority Leader, are you about to wind up?
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is so. Mr. Speaker, just that I am thanking my hon. Colleague for his submission. As an afterthought, he is withdrawing his request for the document and rather giving a different advice.
    But Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the state of Ghanaians; and this is not an action that will make them excited. It is not a document that is covered by anything; it is a reply to the applicant, denying him the visa and stating reasons for the denial. That is simply what I am referring to. We are in good relationship with United Kingdom (UK) yet they recently refused visas to about 25 members of our Queenmothers' Association and their attendants. But that is not going to soil the relationship between Ghana and UK, because they refused us visas.
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu- Juaben, you must realize that this is not a point of order; this is mere advice. Hon. Minority Leader, are you about to wind up?
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is so. Mr. Speaker, just that I am thanking my hon. Colleague for his submission. As an afterthought, he is withdrawing his request for the document and rather giving a different advice.
    But Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the state of Ghanaians; and this is not an action that will make them excited. It is not a document that is covered by anything; it is a reply to the applicant, denying him the visa and stating reasons for the denial. That is simply what I am referring to. We are in good relationship with United Kingdom (UK) yet they recently refused visas to about 25 members of our Queenmothers' Association and their attendants. But that is not going to soil the relationship between Ghana and UK, because they refused us visas.
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 4 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has misled this House with the information he used. One; he stated that the applicant was coming from a country whose economy was depressed; and two, the person, according to what he read, gave some personal information about himself to the High Commission and based on the two, he was refused the visa.
    One, the hon. Member who is a well- seasoned lawyer must know that the first aspect of the information he read applies
    to all Ghanaians. If there is anything that is peculiar, that will be the particular information that the applicant gave about himself. So if he is saying it is because the financial state of Ghana is depressed that the person was refused visa, then no Ghanaian should be given a visa to go to Australia, which is not the case I know. So if the person was refused a visa, the first aspect of the information is not what must have disqualified him from having the visa but perhaps the second aspect of it; the information that he gave about himself disqualified him for the visa. The hon. Member should therefore not make it appear like the applicant was refused the visa based on the financial situation of the nation.
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 4 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has misled this House with the information he used. One; he stated that the applicant was coming from a country whose economy was depressed; and two, the person, according to what he read, gave some personal information about himself to the High Commission and based on the two, he was refused the visa.
    One, the hon. Member who is a well- seasoned lawyer must know that the first aspect of the information he read applies to all Ghanaians. If there is anything that is peculiar, that will be the particular information that the applicant gave about himself. So if he is saying it is because the financial state of Ghana is depressed that the person was refused visa, then no Ghanaian should be given a visa to go to Australia, which is not the case I know. So if the person was refused a visa, the first aspect of the information is not what must have disqualified him from having the visa but perhaps the second aspect of it; the information that he gave about himself disqualified him for the visa. The hon. Member should therefore not make it appear like the applicant was refused the visa based on the financial situation of the nation.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is in reaction to the statement that this is a good time to be a Ghanaian and that these are exciting times. Mr. Speaker, the sentence that he wants me to quote, again, I will quote. It says:
    “You are a citizen of Ghana, a country suffer ing depressed economic conditions and limited employment opportunities.”
    That is what people see Ghana to be and I am saying based on that perception of the High Commissioner, this applicant was refused the visa, and they wrote to him in 2002. Mr. Speaker, so I am saying that these cannot be exciting times under Chapter --
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 4 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think I would want your ruling on this matter as to the veracity of the statement made by the hon. Minority Leader. Visa application is a different matter altogether. A person presenting himself or herself for a visa is weighed before a visa is granted or not granted. Mr. Speaker, if you make a statement like this, as he is purporting to make, then it means that the Australian High

    Commissioner -- it might not be the Australian High Commissioner; it might be a consular officer, who wrote this. To impute that this is the official position of Australia is dangerous. That is why I am saying that the Minority Leader should withdraw this statement because he is citing it as the official position of the Australian Government since the High Commissioner is the representative of the Government of Australia, which is a member of the Commonwealth, which Ghana is a member of.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is in reaction to the statement that this is a good time to be a Ghanaian and that these are exciting times. Mr. Speaker, the sentence that he wants me to quote, again, I will quote. It says:
    “You are a citizen of Ghana, a country suffer ing depressed economic conditions and limited employment opportunities.”
    That is what people see Ghana to be and I am saying based on that perception of the High Commissioner, this applicant was refused the visa, and they wrote to him in 2002. Mr. Speaker, so I am saying that these cannot be exciting times under Chapter --
    Mr. Osei-Adjei 4 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think I would want your ruling on this matter as to the veracity of the statement made by the hon. Minority Leader. Visa application is a different matter altogether. A person presenting himself or herself for a visa is weighed before a visa is granted or not granted.

    Mr. Speaker, if you make a statement like this, as he is purporting to make, then it means that the Australian High Commissioner -- it might not be the Australian High Commissioner; it might be a consular officer, who wrote this. To impute that this is the official position of Australia is dangerous. That is why I am saying that the Minority Leader should withdraw this statement because he is citing it as the official position of the Australian Government since the High Commissioner is the representative of the Government of Australia, which is a member of the Commonwealth, which Ghana is a member of.
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu- Juaben, I do not see much problem here. This could be a personal view of an officer which may not reflect the view of even the High Commissioner at this stage.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did state that it was from the Australian High Commission; I did not say from the High Commissioner. Mr. Speaker, may I kindly just wind up by saying --
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Ejisu- Juaben, I do not see much problem here. This could be a personal view of an officer which may not reflect the view of even the High Commissioner at this stage.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did state that it was from the Australian High Commission; I did not say from the High Commissioner. Mr. Speaker, may I kindly just wind up by saying --
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    The point I was making was that it could be the view of an individual, not necessarily representing the view of the High Commissioner himself.
    Mr. Speaker 4 p.m.
    The point I was making was that it could be the view of an individual, not necessarily representing the view of the High Commissioner himself.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is so -- the officer at the immigration section. Mr. Speaker, my presentation is representing my view, together with those that have made this document available to me, about the situation in the country; and I am using that to contradict what has been stated by His Excellency the President on this floor.
    Mr. Bagbin 4 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is so -- the officer at the immigration section. Mr. Speaker, my presentation is representing my view, together with those that have made this document available to me, about the situation in the country; and I am using that to contradict what has been stated by His Excellency the President on this floor.
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading this House with that statement he has made about the Australian High Commissioner or Commission and the paper he has in
    Mrs. Gladys Asmah 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading this
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order!
    Mrs. Asmah 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the situation was such that nobody could have taken a year to restructure it and have a situation whereby people would have had employment. Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that the High Commissioner says so. It is the situation that we found the economy in that they have quoted, and I hope that within the next two years or so, the High Commissioner would have a better picture of this country, because so much has been done and still to be done. The picture we had was what the High Commissioner quoted, and we are trying to lift it up.
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order!
    Mrs. Asmah 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the situation was such that nobody could have taken a year to restructure it and have a situation whereby people would have had employment. Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that the High Commissioner says so. It is the situation that we found the economy in that they have quoted, and I hope that within the next two years or so, the High Commissioner would have a better picture of this country, because so much has been done and still to be done. The picture we had was what the High Commissioner quoted, and we are trying to lift it up.
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, this is not time for you to contribute. Minority Leader, please wind up.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we note that in the late 1970s and early 1980s when we all knew that things went berserk, my hon. Colleagues opposite can testify that a lot of people had to flee this country, including a lot of them. Mr. Speaker, when things were reversed and the country was good -- it is not only that people disowned Ghana
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, this is not time for you to contribute. Minority Leader, please wind up.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important that we note that in the late 1970s and early 1980s when we all knew that things went berserk, my hon. Colleagues opposite can testify that a lot of people had to flee this country, including
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is telling us and wants us to believe that when things were so precarious in this country; some people -- and he has pointed to this side -- left the country. I agree. People had to leave this country because the regime at the time was on their necks chasing to arrest, kill and maim people without trial. [Uproar.] So people had to flee.
    Mr. S. K. B. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is telling us and wants us to believe that when things were so precarious in this country; some people -- and he has pointed to this side -- left the country. I agree. People had to leave this country because the regime at the time was on their necks chasing to arrest, kill and maim people without trial. [Uproar.] So people had to flee.
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order! Hon. Member, you know it is not a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order! Hon. Member, you know it is not a point of order.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, let me just say that my hon. Friend who just spoke was part of the exodus. And if it is the case that as a teacher in the rural area, he was also haunted and chased out, I apologise for that.
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has misled the House and the entire nation by saying I was part of the exodus -- [Laughter.]
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, let me just say that my hon. Friend who just spoke was part of the exodus. And if it is the case that as a teacher in the rural area, he was also haunted and chased out, I apologise for that.
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has misled the House and the entire nation by saying I was part of the exodus -- [Laughter.]
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Order!
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    He said I was part of the exodus, and I want him to learn that I, Balado, never left the shores of this country under any threat from them. The only time I left this country was to go and study and I came back to help this nation, like I am doing today.
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    He said I was part of the exodus, and I want him to learn that I, Balado, never left the shores of this country under any threat from them. The only time I left this country was to go and study and I came back to help this nation, like I am doing today.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend once told me that he himself left for Nigeria, the time I left for Libya. So Mr. Speaker, I am stating on authority that he himself said that he left for Nigeria.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend once told me that he himself left
    for Nigeria, the time I left for Libya. So Mr. Speaker, I am stating on authority that he himself said that he left for Nigeria.
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. I have never discussed anything with the hon. Member and I never travelled outside this country; and my CV will show. I completed training college in 1980, was posted to Bechem Secondary School in 1980, and I taught there until 1984 when I went to the university.
    Mr. Manu 4:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. I have never discussed anything with the hon. Member and I never travelled outside this country; and my CV will show. I completed training college in 1980, was posted to Bechem Secondary School in 1980, and I taught there until 1984 when I went to the university.
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. Minority Leader say that the time of restoration was their time. Was it the time when women were stripped naked and treated to Eye kanea, Eye hann? Was that the time when women were disgraced in this country -- Eye kanea, eye hann?
    Ms. Theresa Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. Minority Leader say that the time of restoration was their time. Was it the time when women were stripped naked and treated to Eye kanea, Eye hann? Was that the time when women were disgraced in this country -- Eye kanea, eye hann?
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really interesting because my hon. Colleague, hon. Theresa Tagoe is just reminding me of what happened in 1993 where after losing the election, she almost stripped herself naked on the streets, demonstrating -- [Uproar.]
    Ms. Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. He is seriously misleading the public and this House, because I never ever went naked -- never, never went naked. He knows that so he should withdraw, otherwise he should prove it. I never went almost naked, so the should withdraw. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is really interesting because my hon. Colleague, hon. Theresa Tagoe is just reminding me of what happened in 1993 where after losing the election, she almost stripped herself naked on the streets, demonstrating -- [Uproar.]
    Ms. Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. He is seriously misleading the public and this House, because I never ever went naked -- never, never went naked. He knows that so he should withdraw, otherwise he should prove it. I never went almost naked, so he should withdraw. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I just simply want to urge that the issue of -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I just simply want to urge that the issue of -- [Interruptions.]
    Ms. Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am his wife's mother and he knows that -- [Interruption.]
    Ms. Tagoe 4:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am his wife's mother and he knows that --
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    I have not called you again. Hon. Member, he never said
    you did strip; he said that you almost -- [Uproar.] That was what he said. [Uproar.] Order! Order! Minority Leader, please wind up and let us go on.
    Mr. Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    I have not called you again. Hon. Member, he never said you did strip; he said that you almost -- [Uproar.] That was what he said. [Uproar.] Order! Order! Minority Leader, please wind up and let us go on.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I just want to urge -- because this is an issue that is of worry to me and I believe to many Ghanaians -- that if we are pursuing a policy of national reconciliation, I believe strongly that it is important that --
    Mr. Bagbin 4:10 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I just want to urge -- because this is an issue that is of worry to me and I believe to many Ghanaians -- that if we are pursuing a policy of national reconciliation, I believe strongly that it is important that --
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Sister knows very well that I will never, ever be impolite to our hon. Colleagues who are aware that I offered free legal service to their caucus for many years in this Parliament. Mr. Speaker, I offered free legal service to the women caucus in this House. Mr. Speaker, I will never be impolite to them. I just said that she reminded me, when she was talking about nakedness, of what happened in those days where she was involved. She raised the issue of nakedness, not me. And I am sure that my hon. Sister would understand the background of that statement.
    Mr. Speaker, I was just saying that this issue is very important to all of us, the
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Order! Order! Order! Kindly resume your seats. Hon. Minority Leader, it seems we have spent an unusually long time on this matter.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Sister knows very well that I will never, ever be impolite to our hon. Colleagues who are aware that I offered free legal service to their caucus for many years in this Parliament. Mr. Speaker, I offered free legal service to the women caucus in this House. Mr. Speaker, I will never be impolite to them. I just said that she reminded me, when she was talking about nakedness, of what happened in those days where she was involved. She raised the issue of nakedness, not me. And I am sure that my hon. Sister would understand the
    background of that statement.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. To my hon. Sisters, let me really admit that I admire them so much that when they stood up -- [Laughter] -- If they have taken it to be something that has hurt their feelings or whatever, I humbly apologise for that. [Uproar.]
    Definitely, Mr. Speaker, I think that an issue that is of concern to all of us, if we are talking about peace, if we are talking about good times, is the issue of the lack of, I must say, togetherness of the two highest persons in the country, the former President and the current President.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to urge that in the spirit of national reconciliation, this issue be taken on board so that it does not affect and continue to affect the psyche of the nation. It is something that is dear to my heart and I believe I should raise it in connection with this debate. Because, if we are talking, as was stated in the Message about national reconciliation, it is an issue that we should address seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with this that I want to state that Positive Change Chapter 1 has been a complete failure and, in fact, we will need as a country to review what we have done, passionately, without any partisanship, before we then know where we are and where we want to go. If not, Positive Change Chapter 2 will derail just like Positive Change Chapter 1.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to say that it is
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Order! Order! Order! Kindly resume your seats. Hon. Minority Leader, it seems we have spent an unusually long time on this matter.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. To my hon. Sisters, let me really admit that I admire them so much that when they stood up -- [Laughter] -- If they have taken it to be something that has hurt their feelings or whatever, I humbly apologise for that. [Uproar.]
    Definitely, Mr. Speaker, I think that an issue that is of concern to all of us, if we are talking about peace, if we are talking about good times, is the issue of the lack of, I must say, togetherness of the two highest persons in the country, the former President and the current President.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to urge that in the spirit of national reconciliation, this issue be taken on board so that it does not affect and continue to affect the psyche of the nation. It is something that is dear to my heart and I believe I should raise it in connection with this debate. Because, if we are talking, as was stated in the Message about national reconciliation, it is an issue that we should address seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with this that I want to state that Positive Change Chapter 1 has been a complete failure and, in fact, we will need as a country to review what we have done, passionately, without any partisanship, before we then know where we are and where we want to go. If not,
    Majority Leader (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if I look at the time spent by my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader, then definitely he has utilized all the time available to the Leadership and therefore there should be not much for me to say but to thank you for giving us the opportunity to endorse this motion to thank His Excellency the President.
    The beauty of the debate has been that, everybody agrees we should go and thank the President. [Hear! Hear!] Even where they have some small misgivings here and there, the balance is that the President has done very well and we should thank him. I am happy with the consensus that we are starting with in our first motion to the President.
    Mr. Speaker, there are certain lessons we need to learn which may help us when we come to look at our Standing Orders. The other day the -- I used that name and he did not like it, but I will plead that for once, he should allow me -- the Shadow Aspiring Vice President of the National Democratic Congress -- [Laughter] -- in his contribution tried to define what should be the content of the State of the Nation Address given by the President at the beginning of the Session.
    Majority Leader (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if I look at the time spent by my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader, then definitely he has utilized all the time available to the Leadership and therefore there should be not much for me to say but to thank you
    for giving us the opportunity to endorse this motion to thank His Excellency the President.
    The beauty of the debate has been that, everybody agrees we should go and thank the President. [Hear! Hear!] Even where they have some small misgivings here and there, the balance is that the President has done very well and we should thank him. I am happy with the consensus that we are starting with in our first motion to the President.
    Mr. Speaker, there are certain lessons we need to learn which may help us when we come to look at our Standing Orders. The other day the -- I used that name and he did not like it, but I will plead that for once, he should allow me -- the Shadow Aspiring Vice President of the National Democratic Congress -- [Laughter] -- in his contribution tried to define what should be the content of the State of the Nation Address given by the President at the beginning of the Session.
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, do you have a point of order to raise?
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minority Leader, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, by our Standing Orders, how we refer to each other is specified and the reference to somebody on this side as the Aspiring Shadow Vice President is even, to start with, unclear; because after today, somebody will be reading the Hansard and the person will not understand whom they are referring to. I think that it is in the first instance a breach of our rules, and my hon. Colleague, the Majority Leader, should not do that. He should withdraw and if he wants to be specific, he should kindly mention the person's name, according to what is required by the Standing Orders.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that my hon. Colleague who just recently was referring to “hon. Sister” -- and I have checked through the Standing Orders; you can either say
    “hon. Friend” or “hon. Colleague”. I know hon. John agrees that when it comes to these matters, these are some of the general things we say and I do not think, he takes any offence -- [Interruptions.] Please, let me finish. But if for now, he has asked his Leader to act for him as the consultant on such matters, I am prepared to withdraw that and then when we meet outside Parliament, we resort to our normal friendly behaviour. Except that I want to assume that the hon. Minority Leader is not interested in being referred to by some of these very titles.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, by our Standing Orders, how we refer to each other is specified and the reference to somebody on this side as the Aspiring Shadow Vice President is even, to start with, unclear; because after today, somebody will be reading the Hansard and the person will not understand whom they are referring to. I think that it is in the first instance a breach of our rules, and my hon. Colleague, the Majority Leader, should not do that. He should withdraw and if he wants to be specific, he should kindly mention the person's name, according to what is required by the Standing Orders.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    it is interesting that my hon. Colleague who just recently was referring to “hon. Sister” -- and I have checked through the Standing Orders; you can either say “hon. Friend” or “hon. Colleague”. I know hon. John agrees that when it comes to these matters, these are some of the general things we say and I do not think, he takes any offence -- [Interruptions.] Please, let me finish. But if for now, he has asked his Leader to act for him as the consultant on such matters, I am prepared to withdraw that and then when we meet outside Parliament, we resort to our normal friendly behaviour. Except that I want to assume that the hon. Minority Leader is not interested in being referred to by some of these very titles.
    Mr. Mahama 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it is a follow-up to the point of order raised by the hon. Minority Leader. Mr. Speaker, in the beginning, he did not mention any name, so there was no need to stand up. Then again he mentioned hon. John. I am called John and there is John Ndebugre. There are two other Johns here. There is John Tia. So Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Johns I ask, who is he referring to?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the statement has been withdrawn, in line with your advice.
    Mr. John Mahama 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it is a follow-up to the point of order raised by the hon. Minority Leader. Mr. Speaker, in the beginning, he did not mention any name, so there was no need to stand up. Then again he mentioned hon. John. I am called John and there is John Ndebugre. There are two other Johns here. There is John Tia. So Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Johns I ask, who is he referring to?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the statement has been withdrawn, in line with your advice.
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Please, proceed.
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Please, proceed.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, there is an attempt to define what should be essential elements in the State of the Nation Address. There was a suggestion that we should look at the past, we should look at the present and we should look at the future. Mr. Speaker, I started laughing because within the short period, there were three documents that had been made available to us and each of them was being used.

    Mr. Speaker, on the 4th of January, 2005 we had a Statement on the State of the Nation delivered by His Excellency the President to the immediate past Parliament. And there was heated argument, as to whether that should be subject to debate or not and I advised that that was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution. The President was winding up. They were handing-over notes but people could take note of it and then use it at the appropriate time. Today, I have realized how, led by the hon. Minority Leader, these past statements have been used. That is healthy for our evolving democracy.

    On the 7th January, we had the Inaugural Address and then on the 3rd of February, we had this Message on the State of the Nation which is expected to be an Address for 2005. There must be good reasons why we should distinguish the past Parliament's State of the Nation Address from this one.

    There has been the argument that the President did not go far enough, that he should have made all manner of statements, including how many doctors we should have, why they are not in certain areas. And I advised some people that that one was to be said when we came to looking at the Budget. Therefore, this particular State of the Nation Address is taking note of the fact that the President told us what we achieved during the last four years on 4th January, 2005 and so he need not say anything on that one.

    He has given us his vision for the four years, that is the Inaugural Address, and he has given his vision for this particular year. Therefore, those of our hon. Colleagues who were expecting that there should be more details, should please wait because they may get the details from the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. The only advantage I see from

    [HAJIA MAHAMA] [MR. BAGBIN]

    the contributions is that it means a number of people would have finished --
    Mr. A. K. Agbesi 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, what we have before us is the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President. If at anytime the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning comes with the Budget, what is contained in the Budget is a separate document which will come before this House. So Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member and Majority Leader, is misleading this House because he is confusing the State of the Nation Address with the Budget. They are two distinct things and he must make it clear. We are not debating the Budget here. What we have before us is the Message on the State of the Nation, which is distinct from what we are to have from the hon. Minister. So he is misleading the House. [Interruption.] It must be made clear to him that he is misleading this House by equating the Message on the State of the Nation to the Budget.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, there is an attempt to define what should be essential elements in the State of the Nation Address. There was a suggestion that we should look at the past, we should look at the present and we should look at the future. Mr. Speaker, I started laughing because within the short period, there were three documents that had been

    made available to us and each of them was being used.

    Mr. Speaker, on the 4th of January, 2005 we had a Statement on the State of the Nation delivered by His Excellency the President to the immediate past Parliament. And there was heated argument, as to whether that should be subject to debate or not and I advised that that was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution. The President was winding up. They were handing-over notes but people could take note of it and then use it at the appropriate time. Today, I have realized how, led by the hon. Minority Leader, these past statements have been used. That is healthy for our evolving democracy.

    On the 7th January, we had the Inaugural Address and then on the 3rd of February, we had this Message on the State of the Nation which is expected to be an Address for 2005. There must be good reasons why we should distinguish the past Parliament's State of the Nation Address from this one.

    There has been the argument that the President did not go far enough, that he should have made all manner of statements, including how many doctors we should have, why they are not in certain areas. And I advised some people that that one was to be said when we came to looking at the Budget. Therefore, this particular State of the Nation Address is taking note of the fact that the President told us what we achieved during the last four years on 4th January, 2005 and so he need not say anything on that one.

    He has given us his vision for the four years, that is the Inaugural Address; and he has given his vision for this particular year. Therefore, those of our hon. Colleagues who were expecting that there should be more details, should please wait because

    [HAJIA MAHAMA] [MR. BAGBIN]

    they may get the details from the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. The only advantage I see from the contributions is that it means a number of people would have finished --
    Mr. A. K. Agbesi 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, what we have before us is the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President. If at anytime the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning comes with the Budget, what is contained in the Budget is a separate document which will come before this House. So Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member and Majority Leader, is misleading this House because he is confusing the State of the Nation Address with the Budget. They are two distinct things and he must make it clear. We are not debating the Budget here. What we have before us is the Message on the State of the Nation, which is distinct from what we are to have from the hon. Minister. So he is misleading the House. [Interruption.] It must be made clear to him that he is misleading this House by equating the Message on the State of the Nation to the Budget.
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    This is not a point of order at all.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I am sure with time, when he starts quoting, he will quote the whole title and not part of it. But what I was saying was this, that this particular State of the Nation Address is in reference to this year, and if he had read the full title of the document, he would have seen “To the First Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic”.
    I was trying to distinguish the types of statements that we need to look at when we come to that. And I was concluding for that particular topic by saying that a lot more people have in fact talked on all the things they should have reserved to contribute when it comes to the Budget. Perhaps, unless they want to repeat themselves,
    they should search for new notes or keep quiet and then let those who have not spoken --
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    This is not a point of order at all.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have heard the hon. Majority Leader and many other hon. Members make reference as if to suggest that in delivering the State of the Nation Address there is no requirement as to the details that His Excellency the President must touch on. Mr. Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to refer hon. Members to article 34 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. In delivering the State of the Nation Address there is the combined effect of articles 67, and 34 (2) and with your permission I quote, Mr. Speaker:
    “34 (2) The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realization of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter; and, in particular, the realization of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education.”
    Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is proper for hon. Members to raise issues if they think that any of these subjects was not so covered by the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I am sure with time, when he starts quoting, he will quote the whole title and not part of it. But what I was saying was this, that this particular State of the Nation Address is in reference to this year, and if he had read the full title of the document, he would have seen “To the First Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic”.
    I was trying to distinguish the types of statements that we need to look at when we come to that. And I was concluding for that particular topic by saying that a lot more people have in fact talked on all the things
    they should have reserved to contribute when it comes to the Budget. Perhaps, unless they want to repeat themselves, they should search for new notes or keep quiet and then let those who have not spoken --
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 4:30 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have heard the hon. Majority Leader and many other hon. Members make reference as if to suggest that in delivering the State of the Nation Address there is no requirement as to the details that His Excellency the President must touch on. Mr. Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to refer hon. Members to article 34 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. In delivering the State of the Nation Address there is the combined effect of articles 67, and 34 (2) and with your permission I quote, Mr. Speaker:
    “34 (2) The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realization of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter; and, in particular, the realization of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education.”
    Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is proper for hon. Members to raise issues if they think that any of these subjects was not so covered by the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader, please continue.
    Mr. Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader, please continue.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much. I would not want to continue with the tutorials; I would continue with the matter. All I am saying is that a lot of things have been said which should have been reserved as comments on the Budget. Do not forget, the Budget is read on behalf of His Excellency the President. So by implication I am saying that from
    January 4th, 2005 to tomorrow there would have been four statements issued by the President, which have a purpose. That is all I was trying to say.
    Mr. Speaker, there are two things I want to say. One is about “Job 600” which my hon. Colleague made reference to. I believe His Excellency the President performed his part of the assignment. A year ago, the President said that we had come to realize that we could not use annual budgetary allocations to develop this Job 600; that they would not want to go the way of the previous Administration, where twenty-five million dollars set aside to develop this property went to some other expenditure which, for purposes of good relations, is referred to as “was applied elsewhere”. This is a dangerous statement; that you borrow money for a particular cause only to decide that because you are hungry somewhere, you want to -- But we do not want to talk about that.
    I want to talk about what the President did -- a positive statement. The President said: “We cannot use our annual budgetary allocation to complete this building.” By rough calculation if we had used that method, we may have had to spend about ten years, at a rate of twenty five billion cedis per year, which is what at that time the Budget could support.

    But he said he was asking Parliament to form a non-partisan committee so that together we would all look at a source of funding which would be good for all of us, and the Government would under-write that. But to show good faith, he brought twenty-five million dollars. We need to know whether this is not good enough. So it is not just that he kept quiet.

    He did not collect twenty-five million dollars and put in another account; he brought in money --
    Mr. Adjaho 4:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr.
    Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Majority Leader is misleading this House. The twenty-five million dollars that he is talking about, we approved that loan under the Economic Recovery Support loan facility (ERSO II) which is one hundred and eighty million dollars.
    Mr. Speaker, there is nowhere in that agreement this honourable House approved that they said, in black and white, that twenty-five million dollars should be allocated for that job.
    Mr. Speaker, it was an effort by the
    Leadership of this House, led by your predecessor, Rt. Hon. Justice Annan, the then Majority Leader and the then Minority Leader. They went and had discussions with the World Bank. And the World Bank said yes, they could support us but they could not give a loan directly to Parliament and therefore it would be part of that one hundred and eighty million so that we could then assist Parliament with it, if we so wished.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter
    is that, at the time that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was leaving office, the whole one hundred and eighty million was not disbursed. Part of it was disbursed. The balance, which was about one hundred million, was disbursed -- [Interruptions.] About eighty million was disbursed after the NDC left the scene. All the one hundred and eighty million was not disbursed before the NDC left office; not all the hundred and eighty million was disbursed.
    There is no clause in that loan agreement, which we approved in this House, that twenty-five million dollars should be given to Parliament. And it is important to correct the record.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much. I would not want to continue with the tutorials; I would continue with the matter. All I am saying is that a lot of things have been said which should have been reserved as comments on the
    Budget. Do not forget, the Budget is read on behalf of His Excellency the President. So by implication I am saying that from January 4th, 2005 to tomorrow there would have been four statements issued by the President, which have a purpose. That is all I was trying to say.
    Mr. Speaker, there are two things I want to say. One is about “Job 600” which my hon. Colleague made reference to. I believe His Excellency the President performed his part of the assignment. A year ago, the President said that we had come to realize that we could not use annual budgetary allocations to develop this Job 600; that they would not want to go the way of the previous Administration, where twenty-five million dollars set aside to develop this property went to some other expenditure which, for purposes of good relations, is referred to as “was applied elsewhere”. This is a dangerous statement; that you borrow money for a particular cause only to decide that because you are hungry somewhere, you want to -- But we do not want to talk about that.
    I want to talk about what the President did -- a positive statement. The President said: “We cannot use our annual budgetary allocation to complete this building.” By rough calculation if we had used that method, we may have had to spend about ten years, at a rate of twenty five billion cedis per year, which is what at that time the Budget could support.

    But he said he was asking Parliament to form a non-partisan committee so that together we would all look at a source of funding which would be good for all of us, and the Government would under-write that. But to show good faith, he brought twenty-five million dollars. We need to

    know whether this is not good enough. So it is not just that he kept quiet.

    He did not collect twenty-five million dollars and put in another account; he brought in money --
    Mr. Adjaho 4:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr.
    Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Majority Leader is misleading this House. The twenty-five million dollars that he is talking about, we approved that loan under the Economic Recovery Support loan facility (ERSO II) which is one hundred and eighty million dollars.
    Mr. Speaker, there is nowhere in that agreement this honourable House approved that they said, in black and white, that twenty-five million dollars should be allocated for that job.
    Mr. Speaker, it was an effort by the
    Leadership of this House, led by your predecessor, Rt. Hon. Justice Annan, the then Majority Leader and the then Minority Leader. They went and had discussions with the World Bank. And the World Bank said yes, they could support us but they could not give a loan directly to Parliament and therefore it would be part of that one hundred and eighty million so that we could then assist Parliament with it, if we so wished.
    Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter
    is that, at the time that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was leaving office, the whole one hundred and eighty million was not disbursed. Part of it was disbursed. The balance, which was about one hundred million, was disbursed -- [Interruptions.] About eighty million was disbursed after the NDC left the scene. All the one hundred and eighty million was not disbursed before the NDC left office; not all the hundred and eighty million was disbursed.
    There is no clause in that loan agreement, which we approved in this
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader,
    this is a point of order he raised and I would want you to deal with it. If the hon. Minister has anything to say, he can do so in his winding up.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader,
    this is a point of order he raised and I would want you to deal with it. If the hon. Minister has anything to say, he can do so in his winding up.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, point
    of information.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, point
    of information.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, are you
    prepared to yield?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr.
    Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, are you
    prepared to yield?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr.
    Speaker.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, to
    start with, it is a fact that the twenty-five million dollars was part of the ERSO II. But within the ERSO II discussions and nego-tiations, Mr. Peter Harrods had agreed that twenty-five million US dollars should be set aside for the completion of this building. And this was in a corres- pondence between the World Bank Office and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. There was a written agreement between the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that twenty-five million US dollars should be reserved for the completion of this building.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, to
    start with, it is a fact that the twenty-five million dollars was part of the ERSO II. But within the ERSO II discussions and nego-tiations, Mr. Peter Harrods had agreed that twenty-five million US dollars should be set aside for the completion of this building. And this was in a corres- pondence between the World Bank Office and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. There was a written agreement between the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that twenty-five million US dollars should be reserved for the completion of this building.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am serious. There was no balance. There was no balance. It was the budgetary support and by December it was already overdrawn. There was no balance. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Order! Order.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Order! Order.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    would like to thank my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister for Education and Sports, for this information. But at the moment, I would only want to rely on the facts as admitted by the hon. Deputy Minority Leader that, in fact, it was not the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that went in for the twenty-five million dollars but it was a Parliamentary delegation. That we have established; that, in fact, it was supposed to be part of ERSO II and we have admitted that.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    would like to thank my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister for Education and Sports, for this information. But at the moment, I would only want to rely on the facts as admitted by the hon. Deputy Minority Leader that, in fact, it was not the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that went in for the twenty-five million dollars but it was a Parliamentary delegation. That we have established; that, in fact, it was supposed to be part of ERSO II and we have admitted that.
    Mr. Adjaho 4:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. It
    would have been fortunate for us if the then Minority Leader, hon. J. H. Mensah were in this House. He was part of the delegation that met the people. I am surprised now that the new Minister for Education and Sports -- Maybe, because he has left the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, he has forgotten the facts and figures. But now that he is telling us that he did not come to meet any balance of the one hundred and eighty million dollars, we shall use the necessary processes of this House to know what they did with the outstanding balance.
    Mr. J. D. Mahama 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    standing on a point of order.
    Mr. Adjaho 4:40 p.m.
    On a point of order. It
    would have been fortunate for us if the then Minority Leader, hon. J. H. Mensah were in this House. He was part of the delegation that met the people. I am surprised now that the new Minister for Education and Sports -- Maybe, because he has left the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, he has forgotten the facts and figures. But now that he is telling us that he did not come to meet any balance of the one hundred and eighty million dollars, we shall use the necessary processes of this House to know what they did with the outstanding balance.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Let us hear what you have.
    Mr. J. D. Mahama 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    standing on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Let us hear what you have.
    Mr. Mahama 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is
    unfortunate that the Minority Spokes- person on Finance who was the Deputy Minister for Finance at the time is not here. But I have been on the phone to
    him and he said the last part of the ERSO was the floating tranche which was never disbursed and that he challenges the hon. Member for Oda to give evidence that all that tranche was disbursed; that the floating tranche of twenty-five million dollars was never disbursed during the NDC era.
    Mr. Mahama 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is
    unfortunate that the Minority Spokes-
    person on Finance who was the Deputy Minister for Finance at the time is not here. But I have been on the phone to him and he said the last part of the ERSO was the floating tranche which was never disbursed and that he challenges the hon. Member for Oda to give evidence that all that tranche was disbursed; that the floating tranche of twenty-five million dollars was never disbursed during the NDC era.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader, proceed.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I would not want to challenge his hearsay statement, whether it was by telephone or whatever.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader, proceed.
    Mr. Abuga 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my point of order is the fact that the Majority Leader has clearly misled this House and he owes us an apology. This is because if the last twenty-five million dollars was not disbursed as confirmed by the former Deputy Minister for Finance -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I would not want to challenge his hearsay statement, whether it was by telephone or whatever.
    Mr. Abuga 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my point of order is the fact that the Majority Leader has clearly misled this House and he owes us an apology. This is because if the last twenty-five million dollars was not disbursed as confirmed by the former Deputy Minister for Finance -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Abuga 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if the last tranche of the one hundred and eighty million dollars was not disbursed, then the issue of who diverted the twenty- five million dollars that was supposed to be applied on the Job 600 building lies with the Majority side; and they should be looking for the money and not the Minority side.
    Mr. Speaker, if the former Minister
    for Finance and Economic Planning, who is now the Minister for Education and Sports, is not able to prove that the whole amount was disbursed and if he is not able to offer us any proof, then the onus now lies with the Majority to tell us the whereabouts of the last tranche of the one hundred and eighty million dollars.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you are out of order. Hon. Majority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Abuga 4:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if the last tranche of the one hundred and eighty million dollars was not disbursed, then the issue of who diverted the twenty- five million dollars that was supposed to be applied on the Job 600 building lies with the Majority side; and they should be looking for the money and not the Minority side.
    Mr. Speaker, if the former Minister
    for Finance and Economic Planning, who is now the Minister for Education and Sports, is not able to prove that the whole amount was disbursed and if he is not able to offer us any proof, then the onus now lies with the Majority to tell us
    the whereabouts of the last tranche of the one hundred and eighty million dollars.
    Mr. Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you are
    out of order. Hon. Majority Leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I think from the way we are using the “out of order”, you may need to organise something for us to look at as to what really constitutes a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I was saying that I would want us to recognise certain facts that have been admitted by my hon. Colleague, the Deputy Minority Leader that there was a Parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Speaker, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader; that there was ERSO II that was one hundred and eighty million dollars, that there was some disbursement except that, whether all was used or not, it was not on the building.
    I think at the appropriate time, I would be given the opportunity to secure more particulars as regards what has been given by the hon. Minister for Education and Sports. But whatever it is, a delegation of Parliament met the World Bank and they agreed to give the money. If in fact the money did not come, it is easier for us to find some time for it to come.

    All I was saying was that, at least, in the case of His Excellency the President, he took bold steps; he even gave us a mandate that we can make an arrangement of our own and the Executive would be prepared to underwrite it. And to show good faith, last year's Budget voted ¢25 billion. It is now for Parliament, of which my hon. Colleague is a leading Member, to give reasons some time to come but not today. All I am trying to do is to say that the President, in fact, performed as he promised.

    Mr. Speaker, the next thing I want to say is that it looks like it is a long time that
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I think from the way we are using the “out of order”, you may need to organise something for us to look at as to what really constitutes a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I was saying that I would want us to recognise certain facts that have been admitted by my hon. Colleague, the Deputy Minority Leader that there was a Parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Speaker, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader; that there was ERSO II that was one hundred and eighty million dollars, that there was some disbursement except that, whether all was used or not, it was not on the building.
    I think at the appropriate time, I would be given the opportunity to secure more particulars as regards what has been given by the hon. Minister for Education and Sports. But whatever it is, a delegation of Parliament met the World Bank and they agreed to give the money. If in fact the money did not come, it is easier for us to find some time for it to come.

    All I was saying was that, at least, in the case of His Excellency the President, he took bold steps; he even gave us a mandate that we can make an arrangement of our own and the Executive would be prepared to underwrite it. And to show good faith, last year's Budget voted ¢25 billion. It is now for Parliament, of which my hon. Colleague is a leading Member, to give reasons some time to come but not today. All I am trying to do is to say that the President, in fact, performed as he promised.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.


    Mr. Speaker, admittedly, the President said, yes, it is just not right for us not to have buildings befitting the status of certain institutions. He made reference to the Flagstaff House and some other property, but he has made a start. If over the last 20 years we had done even half of what has been done to the Castle now, I am sure by now there would have been a lot of presidential palaces in this country. But then that is not the point. The point is that I am convinced there has been a lot of improvement and the only thing is for us to create the opportunity for him -- and I will do it -- and hope he would take that opportunity, together with his Deputy and some other people, to go and see the place.

    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to talk about my hon. Colleague's reference to the new definitions as to when to start exciting times. We have run an economy over the last four years where everybody including serious economists on their side -- I even baffle about the rate of growth of this economy to as much as 5.8 per cent for which reason a leading member of the Minority party could say that he could never believe this could be achieved in Ghana and therefore he was doubting; that it was provisional. I only said, “Ah, only people who have been in a provisional system for 12 years and can think that that is not permanent enough could take this as provisional.”
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.


    Mr. Speaker, admittedly, the President said, yes, it is just not right for us not to have buildings befitting the status of certain institutions. He made reference to the Flagstaff House and some other property, but he has made a start. If over the last 20 years we had done even half of what has been done to the Castle now, I am sure by now there would have been a lot of presidential palaces in this country. But then that is not the point. The point is that I am convinced there has been a lot of improvement and the only thing is for us to create the opportunity for him -- and I will do it -- and hope he would take that opportunity, together with his Deputy and some other people, to go and see the place.

    Mr. Speaker, I do not want to talk about my hon. Colleague's reference to the new definitions as to when to start exciting times. We have run an economy over the last four years where everybody including serious economists on their side -- I even baffle about the rate of growth of this economy to as much as 5.8 per cent for which reason a leading member of the Minority party could say that he could never believe this could be achieved in Ghana and therefore he was doubting; that it was provisional. I only said, “Ah, only people who have been in a provisional system for 12 years and can think that that is not permanent enough could take this

    as provisional.”
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon.
    Colleague is aware that the growth rate of 5.8 per cent is contested and that the Bank of Ghana documents actually put it at 5.6 per cent and not 5.8 per cent; and he is aware of those documents. So there is a contest as to the growth rate as at now. [Interruption.] It is true; I have the documents.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is aware that the growth rate of 5.8 per cent is contested and that the Bank of Ghana documents actually put it at 5.6 per cent and not 5.8 per cent; and he is aware of those documents. So there is a contest as to the growth rate as at now. [Interruption.] It is true; I have the documents.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    The problem that they have is that after 20 years of that type of system, it takes a little bit of time for people to be fully involved in the positive change. But what is happening is that we projected the 5.2 per cent. Those responsible for producing figures -- the Statistical Service -- are telling us that it is 5.8 per cent. But even if you are talking about 5.6 per cent, I think this is an impressive growth, particularly when you take the trend. We are saying this because when we wanted to do the cocoa spraying we had people on the other side who said that that would never work.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    The problem that they have is that after 20 years of that type of system, it takes a little bit of time for people to be fully involved in the positive change. But what is happening is that we projected the 5.2 per cent. Those responsible for producing figures -- the Statistical Service -- are telling us that it is 5.8 per cent. But even if you are talking about 5.6 per cent, I think this is an impressive growth, particularly when you take the trend. We are saying this because when we wanted to do the cocoa spraying we had people on the other side who said that that would never work.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Majority Leader is once again misleading us, because he is aware that when the same body gave a figure of inflation, they contested it and disagreed with that figure; and we are now being given formulas as to what rate to take, not from Statistical Service. Today he is saying that because it is coming from the Statistical Service we should rely on it. So Mr. Speaker, he is misleading us and I believe that even his last statement was also misleading us but I would allow him to develop it and I would respond.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Majority Leader is once again misleading us, because he is aware that when the same body gave a figure of inflation, they contested it and disagreed with that figure; and we are now being given formulas as to what rate to take, not from Statistical Service. Today he is saying that because it is coming from the Statistical Service we should rely on it. So Mr. Speaker, he is misleading us and I believe that even his last statement was also misleading us but I would allow him to develop it and I would respond.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ensure that I do not speak for more than 20 minutes and I would ensure I do not do that. I have realised that I have spoken for 15 minutes and I am just going to be sure that I cut it off in line with the promise we made to you which I recognise.
    Mr. Speaker, all I said was that even if it is 5.6 per cent, that is an achievement. And I am only trying to suggest that occasionally we should be very careful how we jump to criticize information we voluntarily give to you; and that is why I made reference to the cocoa spraying. I made reference to the cassava and some other things; I made reference to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). When it came at first, there were a lot of people who said HIPC was not going to be good. Then when it was started, we were told that in fact, those who objected to it must be given more of the HIPC money; we have lived with all these things.
    Mr. Speaker, the President has done very well. His State of the Nation Address is excellent. It is an Address with a very good vision, and it is going to be crowned with a budget of hope so that we continue to develop this country.
    With this, I urge all hon. Members including my hon. Colleagues opposite and those behind me to vote for it as we have said.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ensure that I do not speak for more than 20 minutes and I would ensure I do not do that. I have realised that I have spoken for 15 minutes and I am just going to be sure that I cut it off in line
    with the promise we made to you which I recognise.
    Mr. Speaker, all I said was that even if it is 5.6 per cent, that is an achievement. And I am only trying to suggest that occasionally we should be very careful how we jump to criticize information we voluntarily give to you; and that is why I made reference to the cocoa spraying. I made reference to the cassava and some other things; I made reference to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). When it came at first, there were a lot of people who said HIPC was not going to be good. Then when it was started, we were told that in fact, those who objected to it must be given more of the HIPC money; we have lived with all these things.
    Mr. Speaker, the President has done very well. His State of the Nation Address is excellent. It is an Address with a very good vision, and it is going to be crowned with a budget of hope so that we continue to develop this country.
    With this, I urge all hon. Members including my hon. Colleagues opposite and those behind me to vote for it as we have said.
    Mr. Speaker 4:50 p.m.
    Hon. Minister for Education and Sports, would you wind up.
    Minister for Education and Sports (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on the 3rd of February 2005, His Excellency delivered a Message on the State of the Nation to this House, and on the 8th of February, that is Tuesday, I moved that this House should say a big “thank you” to His Excellency the President; and I was ably seconded by hon. John D. Mahama.
    The debate has gone on in a very interesting manner and I will say that the quality of debate has been very varied. Interestingly, many newcomers have indeed taken part in this debate in a very admirable manner and it has been very,
    very interesting.
    Some of them used the occasion to thank their constituencies. And others, in fact, used the occasion to bring out the potentials within their constituency for consideration. This new twist to the debate was very encouraging. We had in the past restricted ourselves to the Message. On this occasion the presen- tations have been very, very diversified.
    Mr. Speaker 4:50 p.m.
    Hon. Minister for Education and Sports, would you wind up.
    Minister for Education and Sports (Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo) 4:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on the 3rd of February 2005, His Excellency delivered a Message on the State of the Nation to this House, and on the 8th of February, that is Tuesday, I moved that this House should say a big “thank you” to His Excellency the President; and I was ably seconded by hon. John D. Mahama.
    The debate has gone on in a very interesting manner and I will say that the quality of debate has been very varied.
    Interestingly, many newcomers have indeed taken part in this debate in a very admirable manner and it has been very, very interesting.
    Some of them used the occasion to thank their constituencies. And others, in fact, used the occasion to bring out the potentials within their constituency for consideration. This new twist to the debate was very encouraging. We had in the past restricted ourselves to the Message. On this occasion the presen- tations have been very, very diversified.
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague opposite is talking about a new twist, but we are aware that during the debate he was absent from this House most of the time. So I am sure he read what he is talking about from the Hansard and not that he himself was here. In fact, apart from this motion, hon. Members who moved the motion earlier had always consistently sat and taken notes. So it is a new twist that he himself was absent most of the time during the debate, and he should refer to that too in his contribution.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is why we have the Hansard. Studious parliamentarians spend time looking through the Hansard. I would be quoting in my presentation to show him that I have knowledge of everything he and others have said. And you need not be in Parliament to know what is going on in Parliament, because we have the Hansard.

    Mr. Speaker, we should address a very interesting point in this particular Message. His Excellency the President did mention his areas of priority and in the discussions hon. Members indeed addressed these three, but others went further to complain that areas like infrastructure had been left out and so on and so forth.

    Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President did mention that his five priority
    Mr. Bagbin 4:50 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague opposite is talking about a new twist, but we are aware that during the debate he was absent from this House most of the time. So I am sure he read what he is talking about from the Hansard and not that he himself was here. In fact, apart from this motion, hon. Members who moved the motion earlier had always consistently sat and taken notes. So it is a new twist that he himself was absent most of the time during the debate, and he should refer to that too in his contribution.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, that is why we have the Hansard. Studious parliamentarians spend time looking through the Hansard. I would be quoting in my presentation to show him that I have knowledge of everything he and others have said. And you need not be in Parliament to know what is going on in Parliament, because we have the Hansard.

    Mr. Speaker, we should address a very interesting point in this particular Message. His Excellency the President did mention his areas of priority and in the discussions hon. Members indeed addressed these three; but others went further to complain that areas like infrastructure had been left out, and so on and so forth.
    Alhaji Collins Dauda 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I just want to find out if my good hon. Friend is winding up or he is making a policy statement on education.
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    This is not a point of order, anyway.
    Alhaji Collins Dauda 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I just want to find out if my good hon. Friend is winding up or he is making a policy statement on education.
    Alhaji Dauda 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I said I
    wanted to find out whether he is making a poloicy statement on education. He is winding up. He seems to be concentrating on education. Because he did not sit in to listen to the individual Members of Parliament making their contributions on the floor, he seems to be concentrating too much on education. If he is making a statement on education, he should say so.
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    This is not a point of order, anyway.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that when you are winding up, you would want to answer issues raised during the debate. Hon. Members have raised the issue of overcrowding at the tertiary institutions and I am saying that for twenty years, these structures have remained the same and therefore the overcrowding was not unexpected.
    Alhaji Dauda 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I said I
    wanted to find out whether he is making a policy statement on education or he is winding up. He seems to be concentrating on education. Because he did not sit in to listen to the individual Members of Parliament making their contributions on the floor, he seems to be concentrating too much on education. If he is making a statement on education, he should say so.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that when you are winding up, you would want to answer issues raised during the debate. Hon. Members have raised the issue of overcrowding at the tertiary institutions and I am saying that for twenty years, these structures have remained the same and therefore the overcrowding was not unexpected.
    Mr. E.T. Mensah 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister is seriously misleading this House, talking about the fact that nothing had happened on the campuses, nothing had been added for the past twenty years. You use means to do things. When you go to all the campuses, for all the projects, you see the signboard, “Funded from the GETFund” which they opposed. We had a tough time; we needed money; we set up the GETFund that they opposed and all the things that they are
    beating their chest about are from the fund that we set up.
    We set up Science Resource Centres; there were buses that were going to various places, all over the place. So he is seriously misleading this House. If we had not laid that foundation, there is no way the things that he is boasting about would be there.
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    Hon. Minister, are you misleading the House?
    Mr. E.T. Mensah 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister is seriously misleading this House, talking about the fact that nothing had happened on the campuses, nothing had been added for the past twenty years. You use means to do things. When you go to all the campuses,
    for all the projects, you see the signboard, “Funded from the GETFund” which they opposed. We had a tough time; we needed money; we set up the GETFund that they opposed and all the things that they are beating their chest about are from the fund that we set up.
    We set up Science Resource Centres; there were buses that were going to various places, all over the place. So he is seriously misleading this House. If we had not laid that foundation, there is no way the things that he is boasting about would be there.
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    Hon. Minister, are you misleading the House?
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Certainly not. Mr. Speaker, I was quoting the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). I was at the function; I was at the function when His Excellency the President cut the sod to open the new students hostel. I was also quoting hon. Haruna Iddrisu who complained bitterly about overcrowding -- and with your permission I will quote him. He says:
    “Today, the figure has declined to less than 800 dollars because of increasing numbers in terms of enrolments, overcrowding and congestion of lecture theatres and other issues; and we need as a country to deal with these issues.”
    I completely agree with him. The only way to deal with this issue is to expand infrastructure, the classrooms, increase the lecture halls of --
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. My hon. Friend indicated that he was there when the President cut the sod for the project to begin and I am saying that the project would have to be funded and is being funded from the GETFund that they opposed. That is the point that I am trying to drive at.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5 p.m.
    Certainly not. Mr. Speaker, I was quoting the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). I was at the function; I was at the function when His Excellency the President cut the sod to open the new students hostel. I was also quoting hon. Haruna Iddrisu who complained bitterly about overcrowding -- and with your permission I will quote him. He says:
    “Today, the figure has declined to less than 800 dollars because of increasing numbers in terms of enrolments, overcrowding and congestion of lecture theatres and other issues; and we need as a country to deal with these issues.”
    I completely agree with him. The only way to deal with this issue is to expand infrastructure, the classrooms, increase the lecture halls of --
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 5 p.m.
    On a point of order. My hon. Friend indicated that he was there when the President cut the sod for the project to begin and I am saying that the project would have to be funded and is being funded from the GETFund that they opposed. That is the point that I am trying to drive at.
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    Hon. Member, that is not a point of order.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, part of the funding is from the GETFund, part is even from the lecturers' own pension. I am sure that he is aware of that issue; and the other is from HIPC. So all the resources are being canvassed and if you go to any university campus today, a lot of physical infrastructure are springing up to solve the problem of overcrowding.

    Mr. Speaker, I would have been very quiet on the question of corruption --
    Mr. Speaker 5 p.m.
    Hon. Member, that is not a point of order.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    On a point of information. Mr. Speaker, we have heard people make this allegation against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that we opposed the GETFund. Hon. E.T. Mensah has stated it here that the NPP opposed the GETFund. Mr. Speaker, that is incorrect; it is completely and outrageously incorrect. Mr. Speaker, let him show to this House where and when we did that. Mr. Speaker, it is untrue; NPP never opposed the GETFund; let him show us when we did that.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, part of the funding is from the GETFund, part is even from the lecturers' own pension. I am sure that he is aware of that issue; and the other is from HIPC. So all the resources are being canvassed and if you go to any university campus today, a lot of physical infrastructure are springing up to solve the problem of overcrowding.

    Mr. Speaker, I would have been very quiet on the question of corruption --
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    On a point of information. Mr. Speaker, we have heard people make this allegation against the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that we opposed the GETFund. Hon. E.T. Mensah has stated it here that the NPP opposed the GETFund. Mr. Speaker, that is incorrect; it is completely and outrageously incorrect. Mr. Speaker, let him show to this House where and when we did that. Mr. Speaker, it is untrue; NPP never opposed the GETFund; let him show us when we did that.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    My hon. Colleague was not in the House so he cannot say anything. He was not here. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    My hon. Colleague was not in the House so he cannot say anything. He was not here. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Order! Order! Hon. Minister, please, continue.
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Order! Order! Hon. Minister, please, continue.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I would have kept quiet to all the talk about corruption --
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I would have kept quiet to all the talk about corruption --
    rose
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    rose
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 5:10 p.m.
    Yes Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague opposite, in his attempt to solicit information, made a statement
    which is further misleading this House. And Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to refer him to the Hansard of 3rd February
    1998.
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 5:10 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague opposite, in his attempt to solicit information, made a statement which is further misleading this House. And Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to refer him to the Hansard of 3rd February 1998.
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I impliedly ruled him out of order so there is no problem. Hon. Minister for Education and Sports, kindly continue.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said before I was interrupted, I would have kept quiet over all the hullabaloo about corruption. We were talking about perceived corruption and people were asking for proof of orruption. Mr. Speaker, a question was put to me in this House by hon. Akua Dansua on the Forensic Audit which the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning organized, and the following information came out of it. Thirty forensic audits were organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning between 2001 and 2003.
    Mr. Speaker, we discovered from this audit that ¢10,247,000,000,000 had been misappropriated by fraudulent means. [Uproar.] It is relevant to note that we have recovered ¢219,000,000,000. We have recovered this from people and recovery continues. So when we are talking about corruption, it is not perceived corruption but corruption which is proven, which is factual. This is actual --
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I impliedly ruled him out of order so there is no problem. Hon. Minister for Education and Sports, kindly continue.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said before I was interrupted, I would have kept quiet over all the hullabaloo about corruption. We were talking about perceived corruption and people were asking for proof of corruption. Mr. Speaker, a question was put to me in this House by hon. Akua Dansua on the Forensic Audit which the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning organized, and the following information came out of it. Thirty forensic audits were organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning between 2001 and
    2003.
    Mr. Speaker, we discovered from this audit that ¢10,247,000,000,000 had been misappropriated by fraudulent means. [Uproar.] It is relevant to note that we have recovered ¢219,000,000,000. We have recovered this from people and recovery continues. So when we are talking about corruption, it is not perceived corruption but corruption which is proven, which is factual. This is actual --
    Mr. Pele Abuga 5:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the floor was trying very hard to prove that the perception that there is massive corruption currently is wrong. But he only succeeded in buttressing the point that between 2001 and 2003, according to his own statement there has been a lot of revelations of corruption from their own forensic audit. Mr. Speaker, that has been under their tutelage, that has been under
    their Administration.
    Mr. Pele Abuga 5:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the floor was trying very hard to prove that the perception that there is massive corruption currently is wrong. But he only succeeded in buttressing the point that between 2001 and 2003, according to
    his own statement, there has been a lot of revelations of corruption from their own forensic audit. Mr. Speaker, that has been under their tutelage; that has been under their Administration.
    Mr. Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    This is not a point of order.
    Mr. Osafo-Maafo 5:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about actual corruption. We requested the European Union (EU) to give us an auditor to audit all claims on the State, that is, payments which were in the pipeline. Mr. Speaker, as I speak, ¢30,000,000,000 of claims have not been collected, nobody has come forward to collect the money. [Uproar.] These were people who had submitted ghost and fictitious papers for work done when no work had been performed during their time, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) time. [Interruptions.]