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