Debates of 3 Mar 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.


  • [The Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report for 23rd February 2005 were corrected.]
  • Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
    Hon. Members, I have admitted one Statement today. I therefore call upon the hon. Member for Gomoa West, to present his Statement.
    STATEMENTS 10 a.m.

    Mr. J. K. Hackman (NPP --Gomoa West) 10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given me to deliver a Statement to commend the Ghana Police Service for the arrest of notorious armed robbers.
    Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Police Service in pursuance of article 190 of the Constitution is just one of the Public Service organisations. It has the same retirement age and is subject to all regulations as in the case of the Civil Service, Education Service, the Parliamentary Service, et cetera.
    Mr. Speaker, sometimes the level of insults, verbal and physical attacks on the police personnel and stations makes one wonder whether the personnel are ordinary human beings.
    Mr. Speaker, the level of corruption
    and indiscipline in the Police Service, even if it is a perception, is a reflection of what pertains in other public institutions. It is good to criticize and scrutinize public organizations, but the degree of insults by some individuals rather tend to demoralize our security personnel.
    Mr. Speaker, we should give what is Caesar's to Caesar, and in so doing, I want to commend our gallant police personnel in the Greater Accra Region who worked around the clock to arrest the most notorious armed robbers in recent history.
    In particular, we want to say “ayekoo” to ACP Kofi Boakye and his men whose action has brightened the dark canvas of the Police Service and also proved critics wrong. Mr. Speaker, this is an indication that the professional competence of the security personnel has not been thrown to the dogs.
    Mr. Speaker, the achievement has been so because of support from the Government. I think it is time individuals and groups make significant con- tributions in kind and in cash to support our security agencies to make Ghana a better place for all of us, and indeed, to make us very proud Ghanaians.
    Mr. Speaker, this Statement is also intended to support the call by others to fast-track the prosecution of criminals to further deter other social miscreants. The Attorney-General's Department must collaborate with the security agencies to do everything possible to confiscate the assets of criminals and also jail them as soon as they are arrested.
    Mr. Speaker, the police personnel
    who effected the arrests, in fact, need to be rewarded and not just given oral commendations. On this note, I want to call on the Ministry of the Interior to
    say a big thank you to the gallant men. I want to call on other public servants to learn from the police to enhance the development of mother Ghana.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker,
    for the opportunity given me to make this Statement.
    Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC - Lawra-Nandom) 10 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a brief contribution to the Statement that the hon. Member has just made.
    Certainly, it is commendable when one agency of state or another decides to carry out an exceptional feat. In the particular context of the police, this relates to the upsurge of armed robbery and the associated loss of lives and property that we have witnessed over a decade now.
    It is certainly gratifying that we as
    Members of Parliament who also have oversight responsibility for these sectors should add our word of encouragement to the work of our security personnel, including the police.
    It is certainly, however, a far cry from the tenor of the hon. Member's presentation where isolated incidents of individuals having open altercations with individual policemen are raised to the general level of a pattern and a set behaviour in which it is said that people certainly look down on the police, or people are consciously doing things to obstruct the police in their duties.
    I guess, Mr. Speaker, that what is significant in this type of process is to make sure that we actually look at what is the normal pattern and not to focus too much on isolated incidents. While
    we commend the police in relation to this particular raid, isolated as it might be but addressing a pattern of behaviour and upsurge in crime over the period that we have witnessed, it should not also be the case that in performing our oversight responsibility in terms of the security services and the police, we should not draw attention to some behaviour that is not even typical of the police traditions that we have known in this country over the years.
    It is certainly the case that the
    Ghanaian policeman or, for that matter, any Ghanaian security personnel that has been asked to perform assignments with other nationals outside this country has always distinguished himself. It is certainly not new that we are beginning to rediscover the competence and calibre of our security personnel, including the police.
    Mr. Speaker, having said that, it is also important that we as Members of Parliament, in performing our oversight responsibility, should also be abreast with the current trends in policing and particularly in the security sector in general. The developments have been rapid; we ourselves have made certain commitments under a number of international obligations and protocols and we must also equip ourselves as Members of Parliament to be abreast with those developments.
    Policing today is different from the
    policing that we have known, in which the police were basically seen as forces of coercion that were used by the colonial state, well trained, to repress the citizens of any country. We can still see some remnants of that in which you find some policemen who think that if excessive force is not used or the immediate community do not associate them with excessive force, then their performance
    Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC - Lawra-Nandom) 10:20 a.m.
    of their duty will be affected.
    We have to discourage this type of, what we call, primitive policing and begin to show how the police, the citizen and everybody in a constitutional dispen- sation must work together to ensure that there is effective policing.

    Lastly, Mr. Speaker, what is significant now is that when we look at our security agencies and we look at the police, we should be looking at them within the wider changes that have taken place in terms of democratisation, not only in the ECOWAS subregion but also demo-cratisation within the immediate Ghanaian experience; and that almost every institution, the security agencies, the police not being an exception, would all have to refocus themselves to civil control and carry out their operations within the mandate of law and the constitutional provisions that we have in this country.

    Mr. Speaker, it is only in that context that we can actually forge the partnership among the civil population, our police and other security agencies to ensure that the much-touted rule of law and the respect for fundamental human rights are indeed respected in practice, as we seem to honour it more in breach. We seem to be practising human rights, practising the rule of law, more in terms of the rhetoric than the substantive and procedural requirements.

    Mr. Speaker, it is significant that today, in the international community, almost all policy is said to be one that must be thought through, in action and in thought, through a human rights discourse; that almost every institution, including the police and our security agencies, must

    always ask the question: To what extent is my conduct going to advance human rights and going to advance the course of the rule of law?

    When we begin to perceive our security agencies and the police in this perspective, then we can complement that with the physical resources that seem to be the preoccupation of people, because physical resources to our police and security agencies without a reorientation with the times will not yield the capacity that is sufficiently high in relation to our Police Service.
    Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP - Okere) 10:20 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the floor of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, commending the police, with all their difficulties, one will say the police cannot accomplish much without public support. It has been said often and often and again that without the support of the public, the police cannot effectively do their work. I, therefore, appeal to the public that they would always try their best to help the police in their duties.
    Mr. Speaker, in overseas countries for instance, you will see the old people in their windows, especially the old women looking or watching the streets and whatever happens they quickly go to the telephone and call the police, give the vehicle number, whatever description. And this helps a lot in the apprehension of criminals.
    Mr. Speaker, what beats one's imagination is that when criminals like this are apprehended and taken to the courts, they are granted bail. Why should that happen? They are granted bail, they jump bail and go again and then do worse than before. I would appeal to the
    judiciary that they look into this so that criminals are not granted unnecessary bails for them to come back to the public and harass us.
    Mr. Speaker, I read an article in the United States of a man who took popcorn into a theatre and because he had been a third offender, he was jailed for life. Could we imagine that? A man who just bought popcorn outside which, the law does not allow that one should buy his own popcorn and take to the theatre; you will have to buy what is sold at the theatre. And because this man had been a third offender, he was jailed for life. Then in our country a man takes arms and robs and kills, is sent to the court and he is granted bail. This should not be the case.
    Mr. Speaker, the Government is doing its best to equip the police. But Mr. Speaker, when we get to the barriers - unfortunately, some of these barriers do not have communication equipment. So how do they reach other police to come to their aid if their number is not enough? I would therefore appeal to the hon. Minister for the Interior to look at this so that they are supplied with commu- nication equipment. Even at the barriers, the policemen have no place to rest. This should be looked at.
    Mr. Speaker, with this, I say thank you and I support the Statement on the floor of the House.
    Alhaji Collins Dauda (NDC - Asutifi South) 10:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement.
    Mr. Speaker, I also commend the police for this feat. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I have experienced an armed robbery attack - two times in one month. And
    Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that it is very traumatic. I thank Allah that I did not lose my life as a result. I know many others who have lost their lives as a result of armed robbery and some other nasty incidents that happened in the process of the attack.
    Mr. Speaker, it is true that the police can always succeed in clamping down on the armed robbers if the public is ready to offer information to them. It is in this regard that I would commend the police for the institution of the cash award system for informants. I believe the capture of the notorious armed robber was successful or has come to pass, because of this cash award system.
    I listened to ACP Kofi Boakye who indicated that they had paid, promptly, thirty million cedis to the informant who assisted them by way of information for the arrest of this gentleman.
    Mr. Speaker, in looking at armed robbery, it is also important to look at some other nasty dimensions like what is going on in Kumasi where we have a gang of notorious boys who go round the city robbing people left and right, assaulting people and inflicting hardship on them.
    Mr. Speaker, then also is the other dimension of land guards; they are also as callous as armed robbers and that is also an area that is very crucial. This land guard issue is also a menace.

    Mr. Speaker, this callous act of land

    guards is an issue that the police would also have to take on board as they deal with the armed robbers. It is as if they work in collaboration with one another, and I think that if that is also looked at, it will help to ensure peace in this country.

    Mr. Speaker, I also call on the Ministry
    Mr. J. Z. Amenowode (NDC - Hohoe South) 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to associate myself with the Statement and to commend the police for the gallant work they have done. When we see a situation where the police, having arrested a gang of armed robbers, become the topic of discussion in a Parliament, that shows the reality of it. I assume the police are supposed to catch armed robbers, so it should have been a normal thing. Now, we would want to wonder why this should be news.
    I know the Government, over the years, and especially, within the past four years prided itself in providing the police with the necessary tools for them to do the work effectively. I know vehicles have been provided and over the past four years, over four hundred vehicles have been provided, barracks renovated and officers sent on courses and stuff like that. But there is one very important element in all this that we seem to push to the background; that is, the people who are going to use the vehicles, the people who are going to do the job.
    We now have helicopters, but I want to say that when you have a discontented policeman in a helicopter, he would not be able to catch an armed robber, no matter how well poised he is to do that. When we talk of disconten-tment, I think we are talking of mere things like uniforms, shoes. As for salaries and other things, they are a general thing. But when you see a police officer in faded uniform, the morale is low, I do not think that is good enough for this work.
    I can tell you on authority, Mr. Speaker, that most of the police who appear decently dressed on our streets have to sew their own uniforms; and this is not good enough. As much as we would provide them with the technological things to do their work, we should look at the person who is going to use the thing. So much as we commend those who have done this gallant work and ask for their promotion, there are a lot of others who would do more if they are properly motivated and resourced.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity, and once again, I thank the hon. Member who made the Statement for bringing this to the floor of the House.
    MOTIONS 10:30 a.m.

    Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong) 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House approves the nomination of eight (8) hon. Members to represent the Parliament of Ghana at the Community Parliament of ECOWAS in accordance with articles 5 and 7 (1) (ii) of the Protocol.
    Mr. Speaker, in moving the motion, I want to draw hon. Members' attention to a decision that was taken by the previous Parliament which, though not binding, could be a good guide to this current Parliament when we are re-composing the membership of Ghana's representation at the ECOWAS Parliament. Mr. Speaker, at
    that meeting, it was agreed that we were appointing people to represent us to the end of the last Parliament so that we do not tie the hands of this current Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, we also now have a
    Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong) 10:30 a.m.

    new ratio for the composition of the membership in that Parliament. Whilst in the past Parliament it was four to the Minority and four to the Majority, the current ratio is five for the Majority and three for the Minority.

    Mr. Speaker, it is also known to us that some Members who were in the former Parliament, for various reasons, are no more with us here; and for this and other reasons, it has become necessary for Leadership to get our representation re-composed. It is for these reasons that I urge all hon. Members to support this motion. I so move. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho (NDC -- Avenor/Ave) 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion moved by the hon. Majority Leader. Mr. Speaker, you will see from the list that we have two lists. Some Members who are already serving in the ECOWAS Parliament, we want them to continue up to the end of September; and then a new set from the Minority side will take over from them.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not a very controversial motion. I believe the two leaders, the Majority and Minority Leaders did sufficient consultation before it was put there; and I do not think that it would be necessary for me to say a lot.
    Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
    Question proposed.
    Mr. T. K. Likpalimor (NDC - Kpandai) 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to support the motion. I think I have a little problem with the motion. Conspicuously missing is the name of hon. Balado Manu who is a Member of the current Parliament of ECOWAS. As I am talking, hon. Balado Manu is in Niger attending a Bureau Meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament. I do not know what decision has informed

    the Leadership and I do not want to challenge it much, but I think that hon. Balado Manu should be given the chance, as we have been given, to serve to the end of September.

    If you look at some of the articles that make the composition of ECOWAS Parliament, you cease to be a Member when you lose your seat in your home Parliament, or you die or you resign. These things do not apply to hon. Balado Manu and I think that since he is not here to speak for himself, it would be proper for the Leadership to reconsider keeping hon. Balado Manu for him to end his term.

    Mr. Speaker, we have this thing in ECOWAS Parliament. The former Speaker of Togo Parliament was Monsieur Darko Piere. He was a Member of ECOWAS Parliament; he represented his country, but somewhere along the line, he fell out with the late President of Togo, President Gnassingbe Eyadema. A representative was sent with a letter to the ECOWAS Parliament asking that Monsieur Darko Piere should be removed and replaced with a new Member. Mr. Speaker, this did not find favour with the ECOWAS Parliament and he was not sworn-in.

    I am wondering, if hon. Balado Manu were taken out and the session is called and he decides to attend, it would be a problem for us because the other new Members who have been added would not be sworn-in; they would be asked to return and things would have to be properly done.

    Much as I support the motion, I would like to suggest to the Majority Leader that since hon. Balado Manu is not around, he should let us step down the motion and when he comes he can re-consult and the motion can be moved.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC - Tamale South) 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to
    speak in support of the motion but to caution that I honestly believe that Leadership is behaving in a manner that does contradict the ECOWAS Protocols on the nomination of persons to serve at ECOWAS; and I am in agreement with what the hon. Member for Kpandai (Mr. T. K. Likpalimor) said.
    Mr. Speaker, the ECOWAS Protocol clearly provides that a Member nominated by a Parliament in the respective region, on the basis of the allocation made to it, has a tenure, which officially should expire in September 2005.
    Mr. Speaker, there are other Members of the delegation who have lost their status by virtue of the fact that they have not won in the elections and therefore have not the mandate to represent us at the National Assembly and so have lost their status at the ECOWAS Assembly. But in respect of persons who were Members of the ECOWAS Parliament and who, in fact, have won in the elections and are still Members, I am wondering whether it is not prudent for us, as he rightly said, to allow hon. Balado Manu to serve up to September 2005 after which his mandate clearly would have been exhausted and then this Parliament would not be seen breaching the Protocols of ECOWAS.
    With this caution, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion and hope that Leadership will do a thorough and diligent investigation because it may be embarrassing for us to send a delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament only for the Parliament to refuse to recognize them for reasons that we have not been able to satisfy the requirements of the Protocol.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
    To wind up, Mr. Speaker, I am happy with the comments that have been made. I
    Mr. Pele Abuga 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am wondering whether the Majority Leader is not misleading or misinforming us. Is the Majority Leader saying that the decision to leave out hon. Balado Manu's name is a punitive action taken against him for reasons of his consistent absence, without permission, from this House?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
    I think I was trying to respond to the fact that we said he should be given or he should have been given the opportunity to continue to be there. And I am saying that, yes, I would have looked at that if his absence had been because he is on permission; but looking at the list, yesterday he was not here and I have checked up; he was there without permission.
    Mr. Kwame Osei-Prempeh 10:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I believe the Majority Leader is winding up on this issue. I would just want to say that when this list was first published last week, hon. Balado Manu was in the House. In fact, last week, it appeared on
    Mr. Kwame Osei-Prempeh 10:40 a.m.

    the Provisional Order Paper for two days and hon. Balado Manu was here. He had to leave for Niger to attend to ECOWAS studies. Mr. Speaker, I feel that citing that as part of the reasons which might have informed the decision of Leadership not to include hon. Balado Manu is, to say the least, unacceptable.

    Mr. Speaker, and as hon. T. K. Likpalimor said, hon. Balado Manu has been a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament, like all others. If all the others are being allowed to serve their terms to September, Mr. Speaker, some of us find it inconceivable, for any reason, that hon. Balado Manu must be excluded and somebody else substituted. I believe that if you would agree with me, this motion should be withdrawn and reconsidered because some of us find it very unacceptable.

    I believe some of us will find it very difficult supporting it unless it is perhaps reconsidered and we are convinced that the reasons for hon. Balado Manu being withdrawn from the ECOWAS Parliament are clear, unambiguous and that he is not being given the treatment which all others are enjoying.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Majority Leader, would you take that on board?
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe these are some of the views that make it a democratic institution. The Leadership met and there are a lot of reasons we have for the new arrange- ments that have been brought by the Majority and I therefore urge all hon. Members to endorse the motion.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Deputy Minority Leader, do you want to say anything in winding up?
    Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:50 a.m.
    I think that the point that I was going to make has been made by the hon. Majority Leader. Hon. Members may recall that we started advertising this motion for some time now, but Mr. Speaker, what has come out is not the original motion that had been advertised. We have to file an amendment from the Minority side to get this consensus motion and I believe that we should be a little bit cautious when we raise some of these matters that we are raising on the floor. I believe that the Leadership from both sides might have done the necessary consultation before coming out with this list.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Members, may I put the Question again.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Mr. Osei-Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, I rise to challenge the ruling and I think I will call for a headcount or secret ballot in this matter.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Members, we will certainly have a headcount. The Ayes should be upstanding whilst the tellers count.
    Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.) -- rose --
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Berekum, do you have any point of order?
    Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Yes Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with all respect, this is a matter concerning the represen-tation of Ghana's Parliament in ECOWAS. Mr. Speaker, I think it would be better if we sent a delegation that has the con-sensus of all of us. Against this back-ground, Mr. Speaker, whether yes or no, I suggest that our leaders withdraw the motion and re-consult and then come out with a list that will be acceptable to all of us. Mr. Speaker, this is one matter on which I do not think it is advisable for
    the House to be divided.
    Mr. Speaker, they would not lose anything if they re-consult and come out with another list. So Mr. Speaker, I am praying that you call on our Leaders to re-consult on the matter so that we can get a consensus on the issue.
    Mr. Adjaho 10:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Member for Berekum is clearly out of order. At this stage, somebody has called for a headcount. Mr. Speaker, somebody is challenging your ruling on the voice vote and then another person is calling for the thing to be withdrawn. The procedure he is suggesting is not known to our Standing Orders. Mr. Speaker, somebody has called for a headcount; let us go for the headcount and then determine what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Members, we shall have a headcount.
    Question put and the House was counted:
    AYES -- 10:50 a.m.

    ABSTENTIONS -- NIL 10:50 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member, are you raising any point of order?
    Alhaji Abukari 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, no. I just want to make an observation. Mr. Speaker, this voting pattern has demonstrated to the House and the whole country the democracy in this House. Today is the beginning of real democracy on the floor of this House. I am therefore urging all my hon. Colleagues to maintain this and let us show the world that the Parliament of
    Ghana is a democratic institution.
    The Pan African Parliament -- Ghana's Representatives
    Majority Leader (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong) 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House approves the nomination of five (5) hon. Members, at least, one of whom shall be a woman, to represent Ghana at the Pan African Parliament in accordance with article 17 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and article 14 of the Abuja Treaty.
    Mr. Speaker, in moving the motion, we are trying to make sure that we continue with the decision that was taken in the last Parliament that we shall, at the beginning of this Parliament, reconstitute our representation on this committee and it is for that reason that the Leadership is moving this motion.
    Mr. John A. Tia (NDC - Talensi) 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion. As the motion stands, we are just replacing some of our hon. Members who lost their seats in the last Parliament with new hon. Members for the next African Union Parliament. I think it is non-controversial and I urge the House to support it.
    Question proposed.
    Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.): (NPP - Berekum): Mr. Speaker, I want to call on my hon. Colleagues to vote massively for this motion. Mr. Speaker, I say so because when you look at the names of the hon. Members who are representing us in the Pan African Parliament, I feel proud of each one of them.
    Mr. Speaker, our own Deputy Majority Leader is the leader of the team. He is a fine lawyer of distinguished career. Mr. Speaker, the Second Deputy Speaker is
    Mr. John A. Tia (NDC - Talensi) 11 a.m.

    also a fine lawyer. I am particularly happy that my own hon. Colleague and learned Friend, hon. Edward K. D. Adjaho, the Deputy Minority Leader, is also a member of this delegation. And one of the Minority's finest Members, hon. John D. Mamaha from Bole/Bamboi is also a member of this team.
    Mrs. Gifty Eugenia Kusi 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member said, “to add colour”; we are not “colours”; we are here on merit. He should withdraw and apologise to the women [Interruption.]
    Capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, I withdraw unreservedly and I apologize to my hon. Colleagues and to all the women. Mr. Speaker, it was just a figure of speech, but if I have been mis- understood, I am very sorry, I did not intend anything derogatory at all. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I know hon. Hilda Addoh and if I should say a lot about her I might be misunderstood. So I think it is just fair to say that she qualifies excellently to represent Ghana in the Pan African Parliament.
    So Mr. Speaker, when you look at this team, I think the least that can be said is that we should, each one of us, with happiness and high morale vote massively for this motion.
    Ms. Ceci l ia Abena Dapaah 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. Friend intentionally skipped the list when he got to the turn of the woman and I want to object to that because it was like he was giving the remnants of his comments in
    the direction of the woman and I think that is highly unparliamentary.
    Mr. Edward Salia 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand on a point of order to the statement made by the hon. Lady on the other side. The “remainder” can be a lot; it can even be more than what has been said. I do not believe that “the remainder” is derogatory because if you give a smaller fraction out and take the remainder of the whole, it could be even bigger than the fraction you mentioned.
    Alhaji A. B. Sorogho 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, a contribution to what my hon. Colleague, the lady said. Going through the list, from what she said, it means that the list is made according to rank and importance and I think, to say the least, it is very, very unfortunate. Is she trying to imply that the last name which hon. Effah-Dartey described as one of the finest Members of the Minority but which by virtue of writing happened to be the last, is the least. In terms of what? Please, I think normally when you are talking - even when you are in a house and the food is served, the father will give to the others and he being the father is mentioned last. And it is because she is the only lady that is why my hon. Colleague went over and came back to say “last but not least… and” and even went on to extol the woman.
    So I am surprised that she should get up and say she takes exception to what the hon. Member said.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    RESOLUTION 11:10 a.m.

    Majority Leader (Mr. Felix Owusu- Adjapong) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that:
    WHEREAS under article 4(1) of the Constitutive Act of the African
    Union, each Member State shall be represented in the Pan-African Parliament by five (5) Parlia- mentarians, at least one of whom shall be a woman;
    UNDER article 4 (2) of the said Constitutive Act, the represent- ation of each Parliament shall reflect the diversity of political opinion in the National Parliament;
    UNDER article 5 (1) of the said Constitutive Act, the Pan-African Parliamentarians shall be elected or designated by the respective National Parliaments of the Member States from among their Members.
    N O W T H E R E F O R E t h i s honourable House resolves that the following Members of Parliament shall represent the Parliament of Ghana at the Pan-African Parliament in accordance with the said articles 4 (1), 4 (2), and 5 (1):
    i. Hon. Abraham Ossei Aidooh -- L e a d e r o f t h e delegation
    ii. Hon. Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu (Alhaji) -- Member
    iii. Hon. Josephine Hilda Addoh (Ms) -- Member
    iv. Hon. Edward K. D. Adjaho --Member
    v. Hon. John Mahama -- Member
    Minority Chief Whip (Mr. John Tia) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a consequential resolution. I therefore second the Resolution.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Members, we go back to item 4, that this honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2005.
    MOTIONS 11:10 a.m.

    Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC - Jomoro) 11:10 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Budget. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is a very affable man and we all expect that anything coming from an affable man should bear the face of affability. But Mr. Speaker, this very affable man presented to us a Budget, giving to us, the people of Ghana and our businesses tax relief on one hand and taking the same tax relief with the other by inflicting on us a 50 per cent increase in the price of petroleum products, making useless of all the reliefs.
    Dr. A. A. Osei 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My good Friend, Mr. Ocran, a church member, is unintentionally misleading the House. The hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning did read the Budget on behalf of His Excellency President Agyekum Kufuor. Any statement you find, therefore, is not on his own behalf. So my hon. Friend may withdraw that part of his statement.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, hon. Member, I do hope you have a copy of the Budget Statement. At the bottom of it
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. The affable hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning allowed himself to read to us a Budget on behalf of the President which gives us tax relief with one hand and takes more with the other hand by inflicting on the poor people of Ghana a 50 per cent increase in the price of fuel, so that - [Interruption.]
    Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my good Friend keeps saying that the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning “gives and then takes”. It is given on the authority of His Excellency President John Agyekum Kufuor. -- [An hon. Member: It is on the Order Paper.] Please, the House should be clear.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. young man is trying to mislead the House. The motion in this House was not moved by President Kufuor; it was moved by the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. Mr. Speaker, the increase in the price of fuel renders the relief given to us useless and I expect the Government to listen to the people of Ghana and reduce considerably the increases in the price of fuel.
    Mr. Armah 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think we need to clear this point because we are not alone in this Chamber, we have students who come to learn from us, listen to us and take something away. Now, the Budget is a policy statement read by the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning on behalf of the President of the Republic. It is so stated in black and white and boldly at the back of the thing. Therefore, the motion before us was moved by the hon. Minister on behalf of His Excellency the President.
    Now, if the hon. Member for Jomoro is saying that because the man is affable, the Budget should be affable, and the rest, I think he is misleading this House. The Government's Economic Policy gives us the direction of the Government as far as the financial policy of this country is concerned and it is done on behalf of the President. I want us to give respect to that concept and proceed from that angle rather than using the type of words that my hon. Friend is using. They are unparliamentary and he must withdraw them.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the Budget also contains some inconsistencies. On page 11, paragraph 36, the Budget Statement states - and with your permission, I quote:
    “Our land and environment, as you all know have continued to suffer massive degradation, and our forests, minerals and water have been depleting at a frightening pace. Measures will therefore be taken to stem the tide.”
    Yes, we want to conserve our forest but the same Government that wants to conserve the forest has gone ahead to increase the price of liquefied petroleum gas from ¢55,000 to ¢79,000, almost ¢82,000. How do you conserve? We need to cook; we shall go for fuel wood because we will not be able to buy the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Therefore, the forest would be depleted, and this time round, at a faster rate.
    Mr. Speaker, the Budget also talks about human resource development as one of the main plans of the Government's three-pronged approach to development. But the allocation this year by the Ministry of Finance and
    Economic Planning as a percentage of the social sector has declined from 68.9 per cent in 2004 to 62 pr cent in a year when the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) is going to be implemented and human resource development is to be given much attention; I find it quite strange.
    Mr. Speaker, although the Government has been boasting about its achievement in agriculture, a look through the Budget will show that much of the development in agriculture is due to cocoa. Food crop production is declining and no wonder there is an upsurge of poverty in the food crop growing areas. We are happy to buy Odo Rice, Chicago Rice to the extent that we are no more buying the rice being produced by our own local farmers.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Sepaker, the hon. Member is seriously misleading the House by telling us that food production is on the decline. Mr. Speaker, we all know that since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government took over, there has not been shortage of food on the market. There is always enough food on the market. We have plenty plantains and enough yams; we have lot of local foods on the market. So please, he should check his facts very well; he should tell us where there is this shortage and stop making such sweeping statements.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, decline in food crop production does not mean shortage of food on the market. You can import whatever you want; and I made mention of Odo Rice, Chicago Rice, all sorts of imported food items. I am talking of a decline in the local food production. It is there in the Budget; the figures are there; he should check, read. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he is still misleading the House. If he has those facts, please, why does he not quote them to support his argument? Because I know there is enough food on the market, there is enough plantain, there is enough yam, there is enough everything on the market. So for him to come out to say that we do not have enough - Please, we are at a loss, so he should tell us what he is saying. Thank you, sir.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the other side is not listening. Please, this one he should go home, read, and then tomorrow when he comes, he should come with the facts. I have read it - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member, the point of order raised is that you should refer to this Budget Statement to support the contention you are making. That is all that he is saying.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he should check the agricultural sector; I am not saying there is no food on the market. I say that there is a decline, going through the years. Why have they lumped livestock and food crop production together? It is never done.
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon. Member, I am also asking you a question. I thought you were making references to just this Budget Statement.
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, to this one. Crops and livestock - agriculture. In the year 2002 -- 28 - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Which page?
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, page 21. Mr. Speaker, crops and livestock; 2002 - 28; 2003 - 24,9; 2004 - provisional - 22.6. Mr. Speaker, I wish to recommend that he
    Mr. Ocran 11:10 a.m.

    should read the Budget Statement before he comes to challenge.
    Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of my hon. Colleague from Jomoro to the fact that he has just misled the House. I heard him say that the agricultural sector was propelled significantly because of cocoa. While to some extent that is true, it is not correct to say that. If you look at the same figures on page 21 - Please, let me go through it - If you look at it - crops and livestock - in terms of the production and contribution was the highest, not cocoa. Crops and livestock contributed 22.6 per cent while cocoa was 17.9 per cent.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Jomoro, you may deal with that.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he just wants to heckle me. Mr. Speaker, “Table 1: Percentage Growth in Agriculture (2002 -2004), Cocoa - 29.9 per cent.”
    Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, while the hon. Member for Jomoro wants to use percentage, it is the real contribution of the sectors that must be looked at, in what terms it comes in. And yes, if you look at the percentage growth - it depends on what level you are coming from - then cocoa performed at 29.9 per cent, it is the contribution to the economy - He did actually say that the contribution to agriculture - And cocoa, in terms of percentage, yes, but in terms of real contribution, if you look at the overall performance, livestock and crops - I just want to bring his attention to it that it is up to one, how one wants to play with the statistics. But the point is that cocoa, yes,
    performed better; but crops and livestock out-performed cocoa.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will continue. Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, I was talking about Government boasting of improvement in agriculture and I was quoting figures to support that. I was not talking about the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) overall growth.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, referring to page 21, the first table talks about percentage growth in agriculture; the second table talks about agriculture's percentage contribution to overall growth. The hon. Gentleman is talking about a decline in the growth of livestock and crops but when you look at the first table, that is Table I, under “Crops and Livestock” in year 2002 it was 5.2 per cent; in 2003 it was 5.3 per cent and in 2004 it was 5.4 per cent. So if he comes here to tell me or tell us all that the growth in our food crops is going down, then Mr. Speaker, I will say he is misleading the House and the whole nation and he must withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Jomoro, your attention has been drawn to these figures, what do you say to these figures?
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it depends on how he wants to understand my statement. I think I have made a statement and he can give me the figures, if he has them, of GDP or of growth even in food crops. But I am telling him from the statement here that it is declining. Mr. Speaker - [Interruption.]
    Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order to raise. I think the hon. Member on the other side is actually confusing growth and then percentage contribution. The growth clearly shows that crops and livestock actually grew from 5.2 per cent to 5.3 per
    cent in 2003, and 5.4 per cent in 2004; so there is a growth in crops. But when you look at the percentage share of each of these sub-sectors, to the extent that cocoa grew faster, the percentage share will naturally drop for each of them. It does not mean that there was no growth in those areas. So the facts must be made clear, Mr. Speaker, and he should withdraw that statement.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the percentage growth of cocoa to the GDP is faster, higher than that of the other crops. Please, that is the share of one quarter. Mr. Speaker, the contribution of manufacturing to our GDP is also fast declining. The reasons for this may vary - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Indeed, I am not convinced by his argument. He is not yielding to the point that has been made in the document. He is saying that there was no growth; there was a decline in the production of food crops and livestock and we have quoted to him that this is what the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning said. So he should correct it and go ahead; it is as simple as that. Mr. Speaker, hon. Lee Ocran is an old Member of the House; he knows the parliamentary procedures better than we do.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Jomoro, let us get these facts straight. You look at the percentage growth in agriculture and then kindly take it over from there - crops and livestock.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I said the growth in agriculture which the Government has been boasting of is mainly due to cocoa, but at the same time the contribution of food crops and livestock to GDP is also declining. What is the problem? The percentage of food
    crops and livestock contribution to GDP growth is also declining; that is what I am saying.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member, what is your point of order?
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want him to concede. He said there is a decline in the growth of food crops. And we are saying that it is not the case; if you are talking about agriculture's contribution to overall growth, that is a different thing. But to come out and say that there has been a decline in food crops and livestock, which is not the case, as stated by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning - this is my headache and that is what I want him to correct and move ahead.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you see the point he is making?
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    I have already corrected myself.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    If you have corrected yourself, please proceed.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, the contribution from crops to the GDP growth is declining. The reasons may be varied; I do not know them. But to develop as a nation we need to encourage ourselves to produce the things that we need here. It is of no use importing every conceivable item from outside including toothpaste. We need to do this. Ghana is fast becoming a high-cost production area; utility tariffs are high and therefore our manufactured products cannot compete with the imported ones, and I am calling on the Government to do something about that. We are going to train people, but when we train the people they need somewhere to work; and it is industry, especially the manufacturing sector, that you can put these skilled
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.

    manpower; and I am calling on the Government to try and do something about that.

    Mr. Speaker, a lot has been said about growth in this Budget. But there is a road, a very important road which was missing in this Budget. Parts of the already existing Trans-ECOWAS Highway, the western corridor, has been in such a deplorable condition for the past four years, especially the section between Elubo and New Ankasa, which is about 20 miles square, to the extent that articulators are now doing detours through the bush. I wish to call upon the Minister for Roads and Transport to have an immediate look and take immediate action to repair this road which serves the western corridor.
    Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    You must be winding up.
    Mr. Ocran 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I would, however, wish to commend the Government for listening to the plea of the people of my constituency by taking measures to return to Effasu Mangyea, the power barge. This power barge will use gas, our own Ghanaian natural gas for the production of power for use by our industries.
    Mr. Speaker, with these comments, I wish to submit that this Budget cannot seriously be described as “a Budget of hope”. At best, it can be described as “a Budget of marking time”.
    Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have any objection?
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Mr.
    Mr. Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah (NPP - Akrofuom) 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Budget Statement on the economic policy of the Government of President John Agyekum Kufuor as presented to us by the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu) on the 24th day of February 2005.
    Mr. Speaker, two days before the Budget was read to us, I had a similar opportunity to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President. My contribution then centred on the request for this House to send a congratulatory message to His Excellency the President for providing the appropriate strategic framework for policy direction and programme development and implemen- tation. At that time, I knew and believed that the President had set the right tone to permit his Government to come out with appropriate policies and pro-grammes.
    Indeed, little did I know that the Government of President Kufuor had an explicit, well-defined and expertly- structured Budget Statement and economic policy document hidden in the portfolio of the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
    Mr. Speaker, the strategic framework presented by His Excellency the President on the 3rd of February 2005 has been given meaning by the Budget Statement
    and the economic policy document. The Budget Statement and economic policy document examined the past performance of the economy and provides direction for the year ahead and beyond.
    This House is informed that the gross domestic product of this country grew by a rate of 5.8 per cent as against a projected rate of 5.2 per cent for the year 2004. This is a wonderful achievement and must be lauded. During the same period, the annual average inflationary rate came down from 23.6 per cent in the year 2003 to 11.8 per cent in the year 2004.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to restrict myself to these indicators only and state that last year, even though it was an election year, saw the country taking good steps to ensure that the economy moved in the upward direction. In developing our country, the Government continued with the implementation of major projects in the construction of roads, boreholes, schools and other critical infrastructure.
    In the area of human resource development, the Government concen- trated seriously on the enhancement of health sector facilities and others. This year, the direction chosen focuses strictly and unambiguously on the three core strategic areas of human resource development, private sector development and good governance as envisioned by the President.
    Whilst our nation needs rapid economic and social development to arrive at an acceptable level of standard of living for our people, we must realize that it will take a combination of calculated hope and sheer hard work to achieve the middle-income country economic status we desperately yearn to have.
    Mr. Speaker, this calculated hope has been presented to us by the hon.
    Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. The hon. Minister gives my constituents and me hope when he stated that the Government would provide the infrastructure and financial resources for the continued establishment of kindergartens in all primary schools around the country.
    This policy direction fulfils our dream of equitable early childhood development opportunity for all children of this country, a demonstration that all children, no matter where one is born in Ghana, will have the appropriate incentive to develop the latent qualities for education, training and development.
    My constituents and I also seriously appreciate the provision of classrooms for higher schools. Senior high schools located in rural settings, however, should be given high priority. The Government may even go further to provide hostel facilities as well. The provision of technical, vocational education and training through apprenticeship pro- grammes to be sponsored by the Government should be accepted as a positive step towards productivity enhancement in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, by making ICT an area of focus in the human resource development programme of the Government, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration is simply saying that skills development is a very much high ingredient in any performance-improving programme leading to the achievement of good successful outputs.
    ICT will facilitate the development and growth of our human capacity to produce goods and services. This honourable House should therefore support it.
    Mr. Speaker, the people I represent
    Mr. Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah (NPP - Akrofuom) 11:40 a.m.

    are full of high hopes with the impending implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme. They consider this scheme as seriously important since it will bring about the availability of improved health facilities and high levels of service delivery to their sick ones.

    Mr. Speaker, there is hope for this nation. This hope emanates from the calculated support the Government has envisaged for private sector development in the year ahead and beyond. The tax incentives, enhanced financial assistance and other critical measures provided in the Budget Statement should motivate operators in the private sector arena to improve their productive capacity and productivity.

    Mr. Speaker, the establishment of the Venture Capital Fund with state funds demonstrates the Government's commitment to the era of golden age of business and its belief in the vision of a property owning democracy for this country. I have had the opportunity to discuss this component with a cross- section of the business community both macro and small-scale producers and they are very much at home with the extended incentives to the private sector which take their interests into consideration.

    Mr. Speaker, there are those who expected something more than what the Budget Statement provides. Much as their ideal expectations were not met, they still believe that the provisions in this year's Budget will make considerable impact, indeed, positive impact on their business operations. It is my view and hope that this august House accepts and approves the Budget Statement and its accompanying economic policy.

    Mr. Speaker, it is further my hope that this year's Budget will be appropriately

    implemented and managed with the clear sense of transparency, probity and accountability in view of the passage of the Public Procurement Act, Internal Audit Agency Act and the Financial Administration Act.

    In addition, Mr. Speaker, I expect effective and efficient service delivery, given the Government's commitment to the enhancement or rather improvement in the performance of the Civil Service apparatus to be made possible by the enhanced Civil Service restructuring programme as envisaged by the Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

    Mr. Speaker, indeed, I am with much hope as I conclude my contribution to this debate. I hope the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate goes even higher than the 5.8 per cent the Budget Statement projects. We must remember that in the year 2004, the Government projected 5.2 per cent growth rate for the GDP. We achieved 5.8 per cent.

    Mr. Speaker, I expect agricultural growth rate to rise higher than the 6.5 per cent as envisaged and I hope that given the immense support to the private sector, the growth rate will even be higher than projected. The services sector needs only to be pursued vigorously and we shall see a more pronounced presence of investors to boost the growth pattern there.

    In view of my hope and trust in the ability of the Ghanaian to pursue vigorously what is cherished, I am inclined to believe that this country is on the threshold for greater achievement. I believe, Mr. Speaker, and strongly so, that the future belongs to those who have similar beliefs and hope as I do.

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

    Nii Amasah K. Namoale: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, during the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation, we the new Members were given the latitude to read copiously from our prepared notes, but it seems we have gained enough experience for the hon. Member not to read copiously as he is doing, from his notes. So he should speak ex tempore and from time to time refer to his notes.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    The hon. Member seems to have finished his contribution.
    Mr. Eric Opoku (NDC - Asunafo South) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity given me to contribute to the motion on the floor of the House.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the Budget Statement presented on behalf of the President, His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the contribution of the cocoa sector to the overall growth from 2002 to 2004 has been very significant. Cocoa has been the biggest foreign exchange earner and one of the major sources of Government's export tax revenues.
    However, Mr. Speaker, the producers of this golden pod, cocoa, are living under conditions so degraded by malnutrition, conditions so degraded by squalor and abject poverty which conspire with other diseases to cause a wretched existence.
    Mr. Speaker, the producer price of cocoa for the year 2003 was ¢562,500 per bag of cocoa. In the year 2004, a bag of cocoa was still ¢562,500. Even though it is stated in this Budget that the farmers' share of the FOB price has increased, in nominal terms, the producer price of cocoa did not increase.
    In addition, in 2003, for every bag of cocoa a bonus of ¢32,000 was paid to the cocoa farmer, but in 2004 the bonus was reduced to ¢15,000 per bag. This, in effect, indicates a fall in the incomes of the cocoa farmers. Mr. Speaker, while the incomes of the farmers are falling, prices of building materials keep on rising. For instance, the price of cement has been going up since the beginning of 2004.
    Mr. Speaker, these farmers were expecting a budget of hope that would reduce inflation further and translate the reduced inflation into reality so that at a time that their incomes are falling, prices of goods and services would also come down.
    Mr. Speaker, cont rary to the expectations of these farmers, the 2005 Budget has indicated an increase in the rate of inflation to 13.5 per cent. This means that the real value of the incomes of our cocoa farmers would fall; this Budget is going to push our cocoa farmers into a complicated and confusing situation that would be very difficult to get out of.
    Mr. Speaker, the rise in inflation, as a result of the increase in the prices of petroleum products, is likely to affect school fees; and these cocoa farmers are also responsible for the payment of their wards' school fees. The situation is like a child is sick and the child expects the mother to take her to hospital, but instead of the mother taking her to the hospital, the mother pounces on the sick child and mercilessly beats her up.
    The people of this country are really suffering. We are suffering and we were expecting a budget of hope to give us some relief in the form of reducing inflation further, but what we have read from this Budget indicates that we are going to suffer the more.
    Mr. S. Asamoah-Boateng 11:40 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is seriously misleading the House. He is giving a lot of figures which unfor- tunately, I do not have my own figures to dispute but - [Interruption.] I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but obviously, if he can support those figures for us; he has not even done so. I hope one of my Colleagues at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning would be available to challenge him.
    But he just made an erroneous statement that the cocoa spraying exercise employed about 50,000. In fact, it employed more than that. My own figure was 93,000 because I was involved in the unemployment registration exercise where we made sure that those who registered were employed in those areas - about 93,000 people. But most importantly, they are not just employed for four months. Basically, we have two cocoa seasons and so it is not even four months. Even if it is four months or six months, that is employment unless he wants to differentiate between what type of employment or underemployment, then we can understand. But it is employment.
    So if he can just be sure exactly what he is talking about, sir.
    Mr. Opoku 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did say that they are employed but just for four months, yet they have to eat throughout the year.
    Mr. Speaker, I am a cocoa farmer myself and I am representing an area which is one of the cocoa producing areas in this country. And therefore, I must be an authority in terms of cocoa production, because I have a practical experience.
    Mr. Speaker, on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.8 per cent - In 2004 GDP growth was 5.8 per cent and according to the 2005 Budget, GDP growth that we intend to achieve for this year is the same 5.8 per cent.
    Dr. A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I would grant my hon. Friend the privilege of calling himself an authority on cocoa production since I am not a producer, but I am a consumer of cocoa. However, when it comes to the issue of GDP growth, I want my hon. Friend to be a little bit cautious. I keep saying that the public is watching. A growth rate of 5.8 per cent over a number of about nine billion is growth. The other day one of his Colleagues said zero-growth, negative growth. Please, let us understand that in this House, we all understand that growth is growth over a certain level. So please, let us be cautious. Mr. Speaker, I just want to caution him.
    Mr. Opoku 11:50 a.m.
    Thank you, hon. Colleague. I did say that we achieved a growth rate of 5.8 per cent but GDP growth is not a good measure of the welfare of the people in a country; that is what I am saying.
    Dr. Osei 11:50 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to want to take my Friend on. He is a good Friend of mine but he needs to first give all of us a definition of what GDP is, then he can answer his own question. Saying that it is not a good measure of the welfare of our people is incorrect. He should withdraw that statement.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, proceed and watch your time.
    Mr. Opoku 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, GDP growth can only be a good measure of the welfare of the people of a country if gains are widely and evenly distributed. Mr. Speaker - [Interruption.]
    Mr. E. A. Owusu-Ansah 11:50 a.m.
    On a point or order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is grossly misleading this House. In fact, he is showing a great deal of his incompetence in economics. What he said is not the answer to the query that has already been raised by the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. GDP is Gross Domestic Product; that is to say, the aggregate of all the products in a country for a particular year.
    So for him to say that that is not a good measure then what is a good measure, since that is what the nation has been able to produce? So to all economists, that is a better measure for indicating the growth of the country than per capita income, that has long been out of use. If we use per capita income, then I would agree with him but that is not what the Government is using. The Ministry of Finance and
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member, when it comes to your turn, you will be allowed to contribute. In any case, hon. Member for Asunafo South, you may be winding up.
    Mr. Opoku 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote a renowned economist, Jeremy Benthem, who once said that the welfare of the people of a country is improved when the greatest pleasure is achieved for the greatest number of people. In our case, I have already stated that the majority of Ghanaians, I mean those of us living in the rural areas - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Owusu-Ansah 11:50 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member would do well to give us the source of his quotation. This eminent economist died some four hundred years ago, so he should be able to give us the source.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Asunafo South, please wind up.
    Mr. Opoku 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that the Budget is not a budget of hope but a mercy-killing budget - a budget that has come to inflict hardship on the people of Ghana.
    Mr. A. E. Amoah (NPP - Mpohor Wassa East) noon
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate. Mr. Speaker, whether a budget is one of hope or not, to me, I think that may depend on policy initiatives, interventions and measures that are likely to improve the quality of life of the majority of the people in a country.
    In our circumstance, what we find is that policy intervention measures should reflect in addressing rural problems. This is because in this country, about two- thirds of the people find themselves in the

    rural sector, so if you have a budget that is likely to address rural problems, in effect, you are saying that the budget is good.

    In this Budget, we can find that a number of new measures or additions have been made which of course are likely to address the problems in the rural sector.

    Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I would first want to take on social infrastructure and income-generating measures that are contained in this Budget. And in this Budget, apart from the usual things about feeder roads, about 26,400 kilometres of road would be covered. Apart from health delivery measures and those things, this Budget contains additional things which are rural biased. First of all, you would find that District Assemblies are going to be assisted with ICT in order to improve on ways of finding solutions.

    If you look at our District Assemblies for instance, most of them do not have computers and are not actually prone to using database and decision support systems. As a result, data management is very unreliable so in this Budget, if Government is going to assist District Assemblies to actually come of age with ICT, it is in the right direction. We are aware that unreliable data management affects planning both at the district level and at the national level.

    Secondly, if you look at this Budget, you will see that though in the 2004 Financial Year, the Government actually, looking at the plight of the people, decided to assist fifty-three deprived districts by asking them not to pay school fees and other levies, we are told that this has been actually extended to cover all the districts in the country. And this is an indication that the Government is committed to the plight of the people.

    Another addition that I think is good for people in the rural sector is the school feeding programme. The Government, in the Budget, has told us that it has introduced the school feeding programme on pilot basis and this is going to cover five hundred thousand people, and over the next five years this would be extended to cover one million and seven hundred people. I think that this measure is also rural-biased and it is going to help increase enrolment in the rural schools.

    Then if you come to income-generating activities, this Budget Statement contains all the usual things that we see in every Budget Statement that has been presented in this country. But in addition, what is very important here is that it says agriculture is going to be modernized, based on rural development. I just want to repeat this one. It says agriculture is going to be modernized, based on rural development. And we know that whenever agriculture is modernized, based on rural development, it means we in a country like Ghana, where we have a large agricultural sector, are on the path to development.

    Mr. Speaker, all of us know that in this country, about 60 per cent of the people are actually engaged in agriculture; and agriculture also contributes about 36 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). So if the Government is going to modernize agriculture based on rural development, then I think that we are on the way to development.

    Honestly, in countries where a large sector of the economy is agriculture- based, the sure way to develop is agricultural growth; and since this Budget is going to modernize on that basis, I feel that this Government is on the right track.

    Again, it is very refreshing if you look at the amount of money that the Government is going to spend on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) - a handsome sum of ¢7,694.4 billion. This money represents 31 per cent of the total amount that the Government is going to spend. All this money is going into poverty reduction. You will find that if the Government is spending so much money on poverty reduction, it is an indication that, indeed, the Government is prepared to reduce poverty in this country. And you find that it is a good measure, because rural poverty is very, very high in this country.

    Having said this, I would say that looking at these measures, all that we can say is that, indeed, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government is bent on reducing poverty. So I find this Budget more rural-biased than the urban-biased budgets, which have characterized development projects in this country and have impoverished the rural sector.

    Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I just want to make some comments. I think that under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, it is important for us to actually know that the District Assemblies have been asked to use a percentage of their Common Fund to be given as loans to individuals - the vulnerable and the poor. All of us here are aware that most of the beneficiaries have not been able to repay this money, either because they were not able to apply the monies that they were given economically, or when they applied those monies, they could not have returns.

    I am inclined to think that we must find some ways of coming out with regulations in order to improve these kinds of loans. Indeed, we need to support the poor and the vulnerable but we have to help them

    in such a way that they would see the need to repay. As a result of high rates of default, most of the District Assemblies have even stopped giving loans; and I think that it is not good enough. What I would suggest is to try and introduce a kind of monetary system that would make sure that beneficiaries of these loans would be able to pay.

    If you look at the way that we actually come out with income-generating activities and social infrastructure in the rural sector, it looks as if it does not have any kind of balance. Yet if we are fighting poverty, we need to have a kind of balance between social infrastructure and income- generating activities. We know that social infrastructure would serve as linkages for further development whilst income- generating activities would empower beneficiaries to be able to acquire the goods and services that they need. But we need to have a kind of balance so that one would not rise above the other; and I would think that District Assemblies should develop a kind of knowledge system that would help them to do some of these activities and other operations.

    In order to develop some kind of knowledge system to come up with some of these things, I would suggest that District Assemblies or the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should revisit the idea of modern strategy of development where lessons gained from selected Assemblies or areas can be used as a knowledge system to develop others.

    I believe that if we are able to select some of the deprived districts and the Municipal Assemblies and give them a special package of development based on their potential, or improvements, we can then come out with the kind of knowledge system that would help us to actually replicate some of these things in other districts.
    Mr. A. E. Amoah (NPP - Mpohor Wassa East) noon

    I think that most of the development strategies in our Assemblies are on ad hoc basis and so long as they remain ad hoc, we may have some of the problems we experience. So I would strongly recommend the model strategies where these lessons can be actually brought up into the knowledge system to assist.

    Having said this, I think that, indeed, this Budget is rural-biased and as long as it is rural-biased, it is going to assist over two-thirds of the people in the rural sector.

    I therefore recommend that this House should adopt it.
    Mr. J. K. Avedzi (NDC - Ketu North) noon
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the motion on the 2005 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, if you look at page 19, paragraph 1, it was stated that the cedi depreciated by only 22 per cent against the dollar. This was stated as one of the key achievements of Positive Change Chapter 1.
    Mr. Speaker, if I may refer you to page 29, paragraph 96 where the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu), in trying to justify the overpayment during the year, attributed the overpayment of personal emoluments of ¢314.8 billion to transfers made to foreign missions, due to the fall in the value of the dollar to the euro and then the pound sterling in the international market.
    Mr. Speaker, one would try to find out
    why we were using the dollar to measure the performance of our cedi in one way, and on the other hand we are using the dollar as a scapegoat to justify the over- payment of personal emoluments.
    Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour 12:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the convention is to use the dollar as a medium for international transactions. This has been a convention since 1944 when all the major countries actually met in Bretton Woods and decided that there would have to be an international economic order; and at that point all currencies were actually paired against the dollar. Since then, each international transaction has been quoted in dollars.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not a new thing; it is a convention that has been used in the past; and the euro actually came around maybe a couple of years ago. Therefore, its presence does not mean that we should actually forget about an international convention. Every country does that; all the European countries also quote their international transactions against the dollar.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, take it on board.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not against the use of the dollar to measure. What I am saying is that the dollar has also fallen in value to the euro and the pound sterling and therefore for us to know the real fall in value of the cedi,
    let us factor in the fall in value of the dollar. That was what I said -- in the inter-national market. I am not against the use of the dollar.
    It is the internationally recognized currency that we use to measure, but that currency has also fallen in value. So for us to know what is the real fall in value of our currency, let us factor in the fall in value of that currency to the euro and then to the pound sterling, in the international market. That is my point, Mr. Speaker.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 12:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Budget did not say the first 1.5; it says the first 1.5 million and the next 1.8 million. So it is not 1.5, 1.8. Please he should look at what is in the Budget and give us the right figures there. It is not 1.5 but 1.5 million.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if you will allow me to quote from the Budget Statement.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Yes, you may.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    From page 270 and I quote -
    “Mr. Speaker, Government will, this year also, reduce personal income tax burden on individuals, including the self-employed. The minimum tax-free threshold is to be increased from ¢1,500,000 to ¢1,800,000 which means that the
    Dr. A. A. Osei 12:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I just sat and listened to my hon. Friend going through the personal income tax thresholds. I want him to tell this House on what basis he is challenging the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning; otherwise he should withdraw.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a document here from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and if you like I can tender that document. That is my source which says in year 2004, the first ¢1.5 million is free; the next ¢1.5 million is 5 per cent; the next ¢3 million is 10 per cent; the next ¢21 million is 15 per cent and the next ¢33 million is 20 per cent. That is the document.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, which publication were you referring to?
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a guide to tax reliefs from the IRS.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    I just collected it yesterday.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    It does not have any date?
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    It is not dated but this is the information for 2004 from the IRS. [Interruption.]
    Dr. Osei 12:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I want to caution my good Friend that documents from government agencies which are not authorized for release are not the basis for making a statement in Parliament. There has to be a signature of the Commissioner who works under the supervision of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. So if he is claiming that that is an authentic document, he should table it in the House so that we can review it. I think that he may be getting somebody into trouble and I want to caution him.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, you can make a copy available to the House.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will make it available to the House. Having looked at the correct figure which is the ¢21 million but not ¢18.6 million, I did an analysis to find out whom the adjustment favours in the personal income tax rates; and I tried to categorize the income earners into three levels - the lower income earner, the middle income earner and the higher income earner.
    I did analysis to find out if there had been an increase in income by the 20.5 per cent increase in salaries. Definitely, the tax burden of these various income
    Dr. Osei 12:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my good Friend is talking about “I have done an analysis”, and he is talking to this august House without showing proof of the basis on which the analysis was done. We cannot just make sweeping statements; and what types of assumptions have gone into it. All of that is important if he is going to use that as a claim. I think that from now, until he has given everybody his information, he should withdraw because he could be misleading the House. And if it is so I suggest he withdraws.
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, would you want us to have the basis of this calculation you are making?
    Mr. Avedzi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have basis for my argument. I said from the beginning that I categorized the income earners into three, and I asked myself, for an income earner who earned ¢6 million annually in 2004, if there is 20.5 increase in salary, what will be his new income level, and what will be his new tax, and what percentage of tax burden has he got? This was what I did.
    This income earner in 2004, with ¢6 million annual salary, would have been paying a tax of ¢375,000. If there is an increase of 20.5 in salary, his new salary will be ¢7,230,000 and his new tax will be ¢453,000, an additional tax of ¢78,000
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, just to advise my hon. Friend. If tax brackets -- at all tax brackets - the tax rate has been reduced, then this kind of sleight of hand magic whereby you suddenly push the man into a higher tax bracket and you complain that he is paying more taxes is, with all due respect, a useless argument; because it follows that the higher in the tax bracket you go, the more tax you pay. Therefore, it follows that he has gotten into a higher income bracket; and why is he paying more taxes? It is a sort of complaint that does not add to the argument; so if he could just confine himself to what is the tax burden in the same income bracket, that will be more meaningful.
    Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I hope you get the point.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the point the hon. Senior Minister is making is even going to help me more to explain the point I am making. I am saying that this income earner has jumped onto a different income level, and then with the new tax adjustment let us find out what his new burden is. I am saying that his tax burden has increased by .03 per cent. Then I take another income earner who is already in a higher tax bracket.

    M r. A s a m o a h - B o a t e n g : M r. Speaker,on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I thought my hon. Friend had understood
    Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, are you still on your ¢6 million figure?
    Mr. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have not finished my statement and I have not mentioned that the ¢6 million is in the 20 per cent tax bracket. I have not said
    Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, please hurry up and wind up.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, when I do it for the second or middle-income earner - with the increase in salary of 20.5 per cent - his percentage change in tax burden will be 18.6 per cent. My argument here is that somebody who is a middle-income earner, with the new tax rates, will realise that his tax burden has fallen from 20.5 per cent to 18.6 per cent and therefore he is gaining 1.8 per cent; fine.
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:20 p.m.
    On a point
    of order. Mr. Speaker, after carefully calculating certain figures here I think the hon. Member on the other side is seriously misleading the House. Mr. Speaker, he was talking about somebody taking ¢6 million a month and paying an income tax of ¢375,000 and earning or taking home ¢5,625,000. Now, Mr. Speaker, this same person has his income raised to ¢7.2 million and he is paying an income tax of ¢453,000. Mr. Speaker, when you subtract the ¢453,000, the person is taking home ¢6,647,000, which is an increase in the person's take-home pay.
    So Mr. Speaker, what the hon. Member is saying is fatally serious because he is not giving us the true picture of what the person is taking home; and he must do his analysis very well. The tax burden, everybody knows; but the take-home pay - What does he mean by the economy not reflecting in anybody's pocket? That is what the Budget is talking about. So the Budget is giving that individual as much as ¢6.647 million instead of ¢5.625 million. So he should withdraw, crosscheck his facts and come up again.
    Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, take this on board and sum up.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is good that the hon. Member is sitting right beside the hon. Akoto Osei who is the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. When he was making his argument I saw the Minister smiling. What I am talking about is in percentage terms; I am not looking at absolute figures.
    Dr. A.A. Osei 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my dear Friend is misleading the House. This gentleman who is up talking, his name is not Osei Akoto. I am the hon. Member of Parliament for Tafo whose name is Anthony Akoto Osei. So he is grossly misleading the House and I want him to withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, I am not too sure whether you are misleading but grossly not. But please, sum up.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What I am saying is that, I am talking in percentage terms; I am not looking at absolute figures. So it is a technical issue and he should please appreciate it for me. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in trying to conclude - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am also talking from the point of view of the common man in the street. The picture being painted by the hon. Member from that side is that the common man in the street is suffering as a result of the Budget. But all that I am saying is that the Budget is rather putting more money into the common man's pocket, because this time round he is taking more money home than what he is saying.

    From the analysis done so far, using his own figures, Mr. Speaker, he said that previously somebody who took ¢6 million was taxed ¢375,000. Good. The salary increase has shot him up from ¢6 million to ¢7.2 million according to his own figures, and now he is being taxed ¢453,000. I know - but the point I am making is that he should not create the impression that more money is not going to go into the pocket of the ordinary man.

    The Budget is putting more money into the pocket of the ordinary man, because this is what people have been saying, that “there is no money in our pockets”, the Budget is not reflecting in our pockets”; this Budget is telling us we will be having more money in our pockets. That is all that I am saying.
    Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon. Member, in your winding up, take this matter into account.
    Mr. Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the hon. Member is having a bit of a problem. What I am talking about is not the figures that go into your pocket. It is one thing, figures going into your pocket, but the item that you will buy with it is another issue. But I am talking about percentage, the change in income as compared to the change in tax burden. It is a technical issue.
    To conclude, I must say that, I think it would have been better for the tax threshold to allocate higher amount at the lower tax bracket level so that the lower income earner will benefit if you want to distribute the income from the rich to the poor.
    But in this case, even when you go to the upper class, a man who earns over ¢72 million, his tax has been reduced from 30 per cent to 28 per cent. It already means that you are rather allowing the higher income earners to benefit more than they have been doing, whilst the lower income earner continues to be burdened.
    Therefore, this Budget cannot be said to be pro-poor; it cannot be said to be “a Budget of hope”; maybe, it can best be described as “a Budget of hope for the rich”. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. David Oppon-Kusi (NPP - Ofoase/Ayirebi) 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this first opportunity to contribute to the motion - [Interruption.]
    Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Yes, Minority Chief Whip?
    Mr. Tia 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I have observed that hon. Members who are aware that their names have been submitted to you are not going by the rules of this House. They remain glued to their seats and yet
    Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    I am recognizing the hon. Member for Ayirebi/Ofoase at this stage.
    Mr. Oppon-Kusi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to restart my statement and to contribute to the motion that this House approves of the Financial Statement for the year 2005.
    Mr. Speaker, it is evident that His Excellency the President, through his visionary Address to the nation earlier this year, initiated a project to move this country forward. And I hereby christen this project “Project Ghana, 2005”. His Excellency the President has gone further to give us a plan for his project through this financial policy that we are debating here today.
    The next stage in the process of moving this country of ours forward is for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other implementing agencies to effectively implement this project whilst the hon. Members and the people's represen-tatives monitor and help to control this “Project Ghana, 2005” for
    the benefit of all the people of Ghana who have given us their mandate.
    As the Member of Parliament for Ofoase/Ayirebi constituency, which is a very rural constituency, I am gladdened by the many initiatives which are meant to bring positive change in the lives of the rural dwellers in particular and all Ghanaians in general. I am particularly elated by the planned injection of seed fund into the agricultural and educational sectors and the increased emphasis on infrastructural delivery, particularly on roads and housing for very obvious reasons.
    My Constituents depend almost entirely on agriculture; and again, the standards of teaching and learning and the availability of schools would be helped much by the provisions in this Budget.
    I also note with satisfaction that the main road from Akyem-Oda to Nkawkaw, which runs through my constituency, has been targeted for completion this year. This is on page 80 of the Budget Statement. It is also interesting to note that this road of only 100 kilometres length has been given minimum priority since the early 1970s when its construction was abandoned. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government has now brought hope - “hope” in capital letters - to my people through the provisions of this Budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I wi l l l imit my contribution to the effective delivery of road infrastructure. Apart from the numerous ongoing projects in the country, it is planned that this year the Government would rehabilitate over 2,400 kilometres of trunk feeder and urban roads and upgrade over 3,200 kilometres of same. In addition to this, over 2,000 kilometres trunk, feeder and urban roads will undergo periodic maintenance whilst over 30,000 kilometres will be routinely maintained.
    Others include spot improvement of several roads as well as the construction of 53 major bridges countrywide. I see a banner of hope flying very high.
    Mr. Speaker, in order for these laudable objectives to be achieved, it is important to remove certain critical constraints within the local road construction industry, the presence of which have adversely affected the delivery of projects over the years.
    One of these is the inadequate supply of construction equipment within the industry, particularly of graders and bulldozers. If this bottleneck is not removed, Mr. Speaker, our well intentioned road programme will be negatively affected. The high cost of investment in construction equipment remains a major hurdle for the local road contractor.
    Mr. Speaker, under paragraph 881 of this Budget Statement, there is hope for this sector. Under this paragraph, Mr. Speaker, there is a ¢30-million credit facility which can assist the private sector, especially the road sector. And this is in addition to such laws as the Venture Capital Fund Law that have an impact on the growth. That is under paragraph 884 of the Budget.
    I therefore, take this opportunity to call on the hon. Minister for Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI) to invite proposals from Ghanaian firms with a view to supporting them with these facilities to establish equipment plant pool in all the regions from where contractors can hire equipment and then deliver.
    Mr. Speake r, s ince the NPP Govern-ment started accelerating road construction works on its assumption
    of power, another critical constraint has been brought into sharp focus; that is the inadequate supply of good quality granite chippings for road, bridges and housing projects. Quality granite chippings are a major resource input into the delivery of quality roads, bridges and buildings. Road contractors have had to lock up scarce capital in upfront payment for the supply of these very scarce chippings with waiting time sometimes measured in months.

    This continued state of affairs, Mr. Speaker, has resulted in delays and sometimes abandoned projects; the ultimate loser, Mr. Speaker, is Ghana Incorporated.

    Currently, Mr. Speaker, granite chippings for projects in the Western Region are hauled all the way from Tema. The price of a cubic metre of granite is only ¢210,000.00 but it costs the taxpayer an average of ¢600,000.00 to transport that one cubic metre to Takoradi and its environs. The situation is aggravated in the case of the three northern regions where chippings are hauled all the way from Kumasi. The haulage cost per cubic metre averages seven hundred and sixteen thousand cedis for Tamale, about nine hundred and sixteen thousand cedis for Bolgatanga and over a million cedis for Bawku.

    Mr. Speaker, this country abounds in granite deposits and I am glad that this Government has committed itself to help invigorate the private sector.

    Mr. Speaker, I once again call upon the Minister for Private Sector Development and PSI to, as a matter of urgency,
    Mr. Oppon-Kusi 12:40 p.m.

    also invite proposals from Ghanaian companies to help them set up quarries with support from the major capitals in the Western, Volta, Eastern and Brong- Ahafo Regions as well as the three northern regions. This is needed to help achieve our objective of accelerated infrastructural developments. It would also remove the bottleneck in chipping supply and save us huge sums of money in the long run.

    Mr. Speaker, it is my estimation that this Budget is full of opportunities for especially rural constituencies. And I wish, Mr. Speaker, to conclude with a quotation from John Mason, and with your permission I quote:

    “Many of us have heard opportunity knocking at our door but by the time we unhook the chains, whisk back the bolts, turn two locks and start up the burglar alarm, that opportunity was gone.”

    I therefore entreat hon. Members not to shut out this opportunity with winding criticisms, loaded arguments and cynicism clothed in politics. Our long-suffering constituents have waited patiently for this opportunity provided by this Budget. Let us not disappoint them.

    With this, Mr. Speaker, I beg to support the motion.
    Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Does the Leadership have any indication at this stage?
    Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr. Speaker, since apparently hon. Members who are supposed to speak are not available and because so many
    committees are in session right now, especially the Appointments Committee which is in full session and the other committees which are operating, I would recommend that the House adjourn till tomorrow ten o'clock. Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn till tomorrow morning.
    Mr. John Tia 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague opposite has just demon- strated that he really needs education - [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:40 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.45 p.m. till 4th March, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.
  • THE 12:45 p.m.

    PARLIAMENT OF THE 12:45 p.m.

    REPUBLIC 12:45 p.m.

    OF GHANA 12:45 p.m.

    PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.

    CORRECTION OF VOTES 10:05 a.m.

    AND PROCEEDINGS AND 10:05 a.m.

    THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:05 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Order ! Order ! Correction of Votes and Proceedings. Page 1?
    Mr. Dan Abodakpi 10:05 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was present yesterday in the Chamber but I have been marked as being absent.
    Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was not here. I was absent. Thank you.
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon. Member, which page were you referring to?
    Nii Amasah Namoale: Page 3, number 87. I was absent.
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    You were absent. Well, thank you. [Laughter.] Pages 4, 5 . . .13? [Pause.] Hon. Members, item 4.
    MOTIONS 10:05 a.m.

    Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP - Evalue- Gwira) 10:05 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Budget Statement for 2005.
    Over the past few weeks this nation has heard three different speeches from the Government. The first one was during the Inaugural Address which His Excellency the President called on the youth of this country to take advantage of these opportunities being opened to them. The second one was the Message to the Nation where His Excellency the President also assured the nation that these were exciting times and a time for us to be proud as Ghanaians.
    During that debate, Mr. Speaker, many issues were raised; some questioned the depth of the State of the Nation Address; some even thought it was not good enough. But in the course of debates the hon. Minister for Education and Sports who moved the motion assured us that it was only one of three or four documents with which the Government was going to work and that the Budget would give us the details of what the President's vision is.
    Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied to note that we now have a Budget which really gives us hope as Ghanaians. [Hear! Hear!] Mr. Speaker, whenever we are talking about development in this country, we are looking at the growth of the economy; we talk about people having - [Inter- ruption.]
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon. Deputy Minority Chief Whip?
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:05 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:05 a.m.
    Issues which were vehemently opposed by the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) tradition -- Is that what he is telling us? Then he is not a good CPP man.
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you know you are out of order. [Laughter.] Let him continue.
    Mr. Armah 10:05 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the point I
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon. Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:05 a.m.
    My hon. Friend is further misleading this House. That we started with the Asian Tigers, you must locate these things in the right
    perspective. The Malaysians started their development based on socialism. The country has been governed by the same political party to date but has had three Prime Ministers over the period. So he cannot compare Malaysia with us; we have gone through several changed hiccups and things like that. So I think that he is misleading this House. So he should locate the things in the right perspective.
    Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
    Hon. Member, you would be given time to contribute, if you so wish after him.
    Mr. Armah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do hope that the hon. Member is not being haunted by his past. [Uproar.] Mr. Speaker, what is “Malaysian Tigers”? While the Asian Tigers were spending time in the forty-eight years of their independence to do research and apply research and technology to development, we in this country used most of our time to organize demonstrations, organize coups d'etat and then change in administration.
    Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Tamale South, do you have a point of order to raise?
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:15 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I am rising on a point of order. The hon. Member has made a statement which is very disturbing and I would want him to withdraw it. He said, and I quote: