Debates of 8 Jun 2005

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon. Members, we shall take item 2 - Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. Page 1. . .
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am listed at page 5, paragraph 4, item 7 as having been absent but I was in the House. I spent the whole day actually working on the National Petroleum Authority Bill and I signed the register to that effect at the Speaker's Conference Room.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for South Dayi, this correction will be made. Page 6. [Pause.] Page 7 -
Mr. Y. Effah-Baafi 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the paragraph 6 at page 7 should be paragraph 7 rather; we have paragraph 6 on page 6.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon. Member, what are you saying? I did not hear you.
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on page 6, we have paragraph 6; and on page 7 we have another paragraph 6; so the 6 at page 7 should be changed to 7.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
with your indulgence, may I refer to page 5, item 4 under the heading: “The following hon. Members were absent.” Mr. Speaker, I was here yesterday in this Chamber and subsequently went to a committee meeting; so I do not know why they should mark me absent. I was here in the Chamber and it was at Question time that I left for a committee meeting.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Save your breath, hon. Member, I saw you so it will be corrected. Page 8 . . . Page 13 - Hon. Members, we do not have any issue of the Official Report, so we will take item 3 - Questions.


AND SPORTS 10:05 a.m.

Minister for Education and Sports (Mr. Y. Osafo-Maafo) 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, according to the Ghana Education Service (GES), nursery school is defined as pre- school education for children between the ages of two (2) and three (3) years. The current policy framework fosters collaboration between the Government and other stakeholders such as NGOs, faith-based organizations and com- munities, in the provision of nursery school services. Thus the Government will continue to rely on the support of these stakeholders in the financing of nursery school education.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Education Service (GES), however, is responsible for the personnel emolument, administration
and service expenses of all kindergartens attached to the public school system in the country. The Government will, therefore, provide the needed support to District Assemblies to enable them to take care of the payment of salaries of kindergarten teachers.
This is in line with the Government's policy of mainstreaming kindergarten as part of basic education by the year 2007.
Mr. Johnfiah 10:15 a.m.
I just wish to thank the Minister for the Answer he has provided to the House.
Ms. Akua S. Dansua 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to know from the hon. Minister what the needed support to the District Assemblies will be. He should tell us what kind of support he is going to offer.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this support will have to be based on need and request. The various District Assemblies are endowed differently and therefore if there is the need to provide full support it will be done. If there is the need to meet people a third of the way, it would be done; so it is important that “Need” should be a factor, and “Request” as well.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, teachers are paid by the Central Government. May I know why teachers of this category are to be paid by the District Assemblies.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the questioner knows that when we define “basic education” which is a constitutional requirement and mandate, it starts from class one. Pre-school has never been part of the Basic Education. The Reform is going to bring it under it. And I did say that
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out if the hon. Minister's position is not inconsistent with His Excellency the President's position. He is talking about mainstreaming in 2007 but the President in his Message on the State of the Nation to this august House declared that from this year, Basic Education will encompass pre-nursery; so I am at a loss as to whether the Minister's position is not inconsistent with the President's own policy on that.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the President espoused in this House the Educational Reform whose imple- mentation will be in 2007. There are certain things we have to do now to prepare for 2007. For instance, if you take the training colleges, it takes you three years to prepare a teacher to teach the relevant subjects like ICT and the rest. For implementation to start in 2007, the reform of the training colleges should start now. So you should not confuse this - the preparation towards the reform. The date of the reform was made very clear as 2007 but the preparation, depending on the circumstances, is now; and the Ministry is going ahead with the preparations to handle it.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister what assistance the Ministry is giving to the communities and churches that are providing these services.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said, to date, kindergarten or pre-school education is community-based. It is a decentralized function. It would become
part of the basic education in 2007. I have actually answered that question earlier. And when it does happen, it will depend on need or request; if any communities have any serious problems with it they will have to let us know.
In any case, we are also asking all District Assemblies to bear in mind that in the use of the District Assemblies Common Fund, education is a priority to every district; and the DCE himself is the chairman of the Education Committee - under the law - and the Oversight Committee.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we want to be very clear with the answer provided by the hon. Minister. Mr. Speaker, we want to find out from the hon. Minister for Education and Sports exactly when the Government is going to assist the District Assemblies in terms of payment of salaries. When? Is it this year, next year? If you apply now, will they meet their salaries?
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier - I have to repeat it slowly - it will be part of basic education in 2007, and the Government would be responsible basically for these emoluments. But at present, we know that the communities are handling it. Now it is basic and it is the districts that are handling it.
Accommodation for Teachers at St. Fidelis Secondary School
Q. 8. Mr. Raphael Kofi Ahaligah asked the Minister for Education and Sports when his Ministry would provide accommodation for teachers at St. Fidelis Secondary School to motivate them to accept permanent postings to the school.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Education Service (GES) is currently undertaking over 500 projects countrywide at various stages of completion. It is the policy of the Service
to complete a considerable number of them before new projects are started.
The provision of accommodation for the teachers of the named school would be considered when new projects are being considered for inclusion in the Service's investment budget.
Mr. Ahaligah 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wan to find out from the hon. Minister when specifically the Government will provide accommodation for teachers at St. Fidelis Secondary School.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
If the hon. Member who is in charge of the area, which includes this school, has a special case, I will strongly recommend that he writes to the Ministry and makes a special case for the school so that it can be taken up as a special case. The school, in the scheme of things now, is not catered for under this year's budget, but we always have contingency funds and if there is a problem that should be looked at. Particularly, coming from Afram Plains, Mr. Speaker, this would be looked at very favourably.

Incentive Package Programme for Teachers in Rural Areas

Q. 9. Mr. Joseph Tsatsu Agbenu asked the Minister for Education and Sports if his Ministry had assessed whether the incentive package programme to motivate teachers to work in the rural areas was effective and if not, what alternative plans his Ministry had to solve the problem.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Under the Study Leave with Pay programme, teachers teaching in deprived areas qualify for study leave with pay after a minimum of two years service against their counterparts in urban and semi-urban areas who only qualify after teaching for a minimum of three years, provided the programme the applicant intends to read is approved by

the Ghana Education Service.

The policy of Study Leave with Pay has been effective in attracting teachers to deprived areas. However, the only undermining factor is the large number of applicants for study leave each year as against a limited quota. An independent committee was tasked to review the policy with the view to improving efficiency and ensuring that enough teachers remain in the classroom. The report of the committee is being studied for con-sideration by the Ghana Education Service (GES).

Mr. Speaker, the policy of inducing teachers to teach in deprived areas by distributing items to them at one-third of the actual price was carried out on pilot basis from 2000 to 2003. It was a World Bank sponsored project which operated as a revolving fund. The districts were categorized according to poverty levels and deprived schools in the various districts were identified. Teachers teaching in schools categorized as deprived benefited from the purchase of the items.

After assessment, it was discovered that the programme, even though acceptable to all beneficiaries had some shortfalls. They included:

The beneficiaries of the items would have preferred roofing sheets to the items received. We noted some of them were putting up modest houses in their villages, and they would prefer roofing sheets to electrical appliances.

Beneficiaries were compelled to accept items they did not need because they were not adequately consulted in the process.

Misappropriation of some of the

items. In this respect, the officers involved have been dealt with. Mr. Speaker, they were made to refund, in the case of officers who misappropriated; and all those who took anything have refunded them.

Having regard to the aforementioned shortfalls, the whole programme is being reviewed to take into consideration the preferences of the beneficiaries.

The next phase of the programme which will be financed with the funds recovered from the initial programme will cover the most deprived areas.

Mr. Speaker, we are also redefining deprived areas after the report by Alhaji Gbadagmosi.
Mr. J. T. Agbenu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is the intention of the Ministry of Education and Sports that the teachers should remain in the districts to teach. I want to know from the hon. Minister if teachers from deprived areas who benefit from the study leave are requested to return to their former district after training to teach; because they are not doing that.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
they are expected to return to Ghana Education Service. The teaching subjects some of them offer may not necessarily mean that they should go back to the same district; but that will be the first choice if the subjects are needed in the district. Otherwise, they would be located elsewhere within the Ghana Education Service.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know when the assessment of the programme was carried out.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I really do not know, but I have read
Mr. Moses A. Asaga 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he
being the former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, does he not think that he should have known it, since he says it is a World Bank project?
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member, ask your
Mr. Asaga 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he has heard
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
I have not.
Mr. Asaga 10:25 a.m.
I am sorry for dealing
directly with him. I am saying that having been the former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and the number one Minister for Finance in Africa, and having worked judiciously with the World Bank without any falter, and having to abide with all their conditionalities religiously, I thought he should have known about this World Bank Project for Education and therefore the date and how the projects were put in place.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
questioner answered the question himself.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Minister for
Education, kindly wait until you are called upon. [Laugther.] Minister for Education and Sports ?
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
questioner answered the question himself. My previous answer was that, yes, in fact, I negotiated the package which included this particular loan, but the review report
which was done I just do not have the date. That is what I said. So yes, I know about the project, and the project is a revolving fund to provide incentives for teachers who teach in deprived areas. This was started, in fact, in his time. He may recall that this was part of the 1999/2000 Budget programme but was approved in 2002. Therefore, I know of it but he was asking when the monitoring report was done. I said I just do not remember -- as simple as that.
Mr. Bagbin 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will not
continue to hammer the point on the assessment because I think that is a review which is ongoing so there has not been any assessment done yet. But Mr. Speaker, the last paragraph of his Answer talked about the next phase of the programme being financed with funds recovered from the initial programme; and we are told that we are giving those items at one-third the price. So the amount involved for this next programme is definitely going to be very small. Can the Minister consider other additional funding for this programme since it is a very essential instrument of getting teachers into the rural areas?
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is
a very good question. Indeed, whether we recover fully or we do not recover fully, we would have got only one-third of the original capital. Therefore, we intend to provide additional support through the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) resources and other resources, to make sure that the whole incentive package continues to run. And it is likely that we would even put in a little bit more than we did the first time. And this time around, we are going to give teachers a say in choosing of the items, so there would be more discussions with them so that people would not dump ghetto blasters and whatnots on them. Let them decide what they want as long as we keep within limits.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister why teachers who have served in deprived areas and have gone to the various universities are not granted study leave.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think most of them were granted but not all of them. There are two factors which are relevant. First, if you go to the university to pursue a course which is not for teaching in the GES, then no matter what the pre-qualification is, you will not be given study leave with pay, because you would not come back to teach; we are talking about teaching subjects.
We also categorize the subjects. Mathematics, science and French were also put in category one, which became the preferred subjects in the event that the number of applications far exceeded the quota.
Mr. Speaker, as I explained in other forums we had sixteen thousand teachers on study leave as against eight thousand which is the total number of teachers coming from the training colleges. Therefore, there was the need to do a quota system to ensure that we did not leave the classrooms empty. This therefore called for certain criteria for selection; and teaching subjects became very important.
Mr. John A. Tia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, since most of these teachers raise their concerns with Members of Parliament, I want to know from the hon. Minister whether he will make available copies of the Report of Assessment to hon. Members so that we can study it and be able to deal with such issues when they come before us.
Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that even the Education Committee
Mr. John Gyetuah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether his Ministry has plans to absorb the cost of books of teachers embarking upon distance education.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, we did
not get your question; could you please repeat it?
Mr. Gyetuah 10:35 a.m.
I would want to find out from the hon. Minister whether his Ministry has plans to absorb the cost of books of teachers embarking upon distance education.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Thank you very much for this question. Mr. Speaker, I will go a little bit into detail on this matter. Distance Education is being offered in a very structured manner by both universities in Cape Coast and Winneba and to date, teachers bear full responsibility for distance education. Naturally, it will be in the interest of the Government to pay part, if not all of the cost involved in distance education because it is cheaper to keep the teachers in the classroom teaching and studying at the same time. Research carried out by the University of Cape Coast has revealed that teachers studying and teaching do better at teaching than even people who are not studying.
Therefore, we have had meetings with both universities, we are looking at the
cost structure, we are going to make a proposal to the Government to absorb at least 50 per cent of the total cost of distance education for teachers who want to acquire degrees; and I feel very strongly about this. It will not only be books but it will be all-inclusive so that teachers will see it as attractive, to acquire degrees sitting in the comfort of their homes and teaching at the same time.
Mr. J. T. Agbenu 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister if it would be possible to include life jackets as part of the incentives for teachers in the Afram Plains, because they have to cross the lake to their schools and even to the district's capital.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is a very interesting suggestion -- life jackets as incentives for teachers. This is something that needs study; why not? I think I will refer it to the appropriate authorities in the Ghana Education Service (GES) to look at. I am wondering why, to date nobody has talked about life jackets; but if it is something that will help; why not?
Ohene Djan Stadium (Renovation)
Q. 32. Mr. Joseph Tsatsu Agbenu asked the Minister for Education and Sports when his Ministry would start renovation work on the Osu Stand of the Ohene Djan Stadium.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Spekaer, the Osu Stand of the Ohene Gyan Stadium was closed down following a recommendation made by the Architectural and Engineering Services Company Limited (AESL) after the May 9 disaster. The recommendation was made to the effect that that portion of the stadium had become structurally defective and therefore posed a serious
threat to human life.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Education and Sports intended to renovate this section of the stadium; however, with Ghana's ongoing preparations towards hosting of the CAN 2008, the entire Ohene Djan Stadium has been earmarked to be renovated as part of the general programme of constructing infrastructure to host the CAN 2008 competition. Therefore, it would be taken on board as part of it. It is a major job and it will be done with the provision of other facilities to the stadium.
Mr. Agbenu 10:35 a.m.
That part of the stadium has been in this condition for many years and spectators have a problem. In case there is a disaster from that side, what would the Ministry of Education and Sports do? I think the nature of the structure has been like that for some time now, since the May 9 disaster. In case something happens, what would the Ministry do since people are still occupying that part of the stadium?
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the last time my hon. Colleague went to the stadium. That part of the stadium had always been left empty. We ruled out anybody sitting at the Osu end of the stadium. In fact, we have security to make sure that nobody sits there because of the AESL recommendation. So on that basis, we have to make it as part of the changes that will take place.
Mr. Stephen M. E. K. Ackah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister if the renovation works that are supposed to be done at the Baba Yara and the Ohene Djan stadia, are going to encompass all infrastructure for the other disciplines apart from football.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if we
have the chance to renovate both Baba Yara and Ohene Djan stadia, then of course we have to bring it to a standard that will be acceptable to all. We want to use the occasion to bring in, for instance, the Tartan track system; we want to use the occasion to renovate the lawn tennis courts and those other disciplines that can be contained in both the Baba Yara and Ohene Djan stadia. So, yes, as many disciplines of sport that could be contained, they can be done and modernized. But he would agree with me that not all disciplines can be contained in there. There are some which sheer space would not allow us to put there.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister in his Answer said that the entire stadium, as part of the preparation towards the CAN 2008, would be renovated. But I know for a fact that about 60 per cent of that stadium was reconstructed prior to CAN 99, so I am a bit confused about the “entire”, because these other parts were a part of what was supposed to be ongoing when we left office.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was expecting my hon. Colleague and good Friend to ask a question on this. As a matter of fact, yes, when we talk about renovation there are parts which will only be painted because the basic structure is there. So when we talk about “entire”, we are talking about renovation, which includes painting and rearrangements and that kind of thing. A very sizeable part of the stadium is in good shape and I do not think anybody would spend money and unmake them. But if there is a need to beautify, then this would be done. That is why we are talking about the “entire”. We may decide to change colours, and that kind of thing, but we will leave that to the experts.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my concern was based on the way the Answer has been captured; that following the reconstruction work that will be taking place -- the way it has been captured; it is like not just painting and what have you, but reconstruction. That was the basis of my concern.
Construction of Tartan Tracks
Q. 33. Mr. Joseph T. Agbenu asked the Minister for Education and Sports what plans his Ministry had made to construct Tartan tracks in one of the stadia in the country.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is the objective of the Ministry of Education and Sports to provide modern infrastructure for the development and promotion of sports in the country.
Mr. Speaker, this objective is to be realized through the current preparations the country is making to construct world class infrastructure and other facilities for the hosting of the CAN 2008. Thus, apart from the renovation of the Ohene Djan and Baba Yara stadia, a few new stadia including a multipurpose Olympic stadium which will provide facilities including tartan tracks, for the organization of various forms of sports will also be constructed. To be precise, Mr. Speaker, the additional stadia would be at Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi.
Mr. Agbenu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the Minister whether they are going to construct tartan tracks also in the new stadia they are talking about.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that goes without saying because this is the material you need for modern athletics.
Prof. Al-Hassan W. Seini 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister what incentive package his Ministry has put together for the Black Stars to win their crucial match against South Africa and whether he thinks it is adequate enough for the Black Stars to win that much.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think this question -- he is relating this to the tartan tracks -- [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, as you have all heard, in Kumasi we provided $4,000 winning bonus for each of the Black Stars players, including the reserves, everybody who was in jersey -- US$4,000. And Mr. Speaker, it is important to also mention that the money was paid at 10.05 p.m., after the match. And when they received the money -- We took the money to Kumasi and paid them on the spot; it was not like we pay next week or next month. So the incentive is there; we are planning an appropriate package for South Africa.
But Mr. Speaker, it is not something that can be announced before the match; it must be announced to the players first before we announce to the public. So with your permission, I want to escape answering that question specifically.
It is courtesy the Tarkwa Goldfields Limited which is sponsoring the Black Stars with a donation of US$3 million which had been announced to the whole world; so I thought my hon. Colleagues
knew. So for your information, Mr. Speaker, we have no difficulty accessing funds for the Black Stars -- courtesy -- Tarkwa Goldfields Limited.
Alhaji M. A. Yakubu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned the pending construction of the Tamale Sports Stadium. In view of the rather very harsh condition, does the Minister have a timeframe within which Tamale will have a befitting stadium? [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker, I said that the hon. Minister has mentioned Tamale as one of the few places that will have stadia in addition to what we have already; and I am asking whether in view of the adverse state of the Kaladan Stadium, the Minister has a timeframe within which Tamale can have a stadium.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:45 a.m.
Yes, we will do whatever we can to maintain a standard that will befit the league, but the site is different from where the Kaladan park is now; it is a completely different site. And therefore, we would not want to spend too much on the Tamale Stadium for now, because we are going to get a first class stadium. Time? It will certainly be ready for the CAN 2008.
Mr. George K. Arthur 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the Minister when the renovation of the two stadia will start.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we expect construction to start early August. For your information, 239 firms applied for this construction. They have been shortlisted to 22 and further shortlisted to about five. This is being funded by the contractors themselves; they are going to build it on credit through loans; we are working very hard to make sure that the financial backgrounds and whatnots are in place. We expect that by August construction should start.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Minister, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions; and again you are hereby discharged.
STATEMENTS 10:55 a.m.

Mr. D. T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to make the above Statement.
Mr. Speaker, the construction of the Akosombo and Kpong Hydro Electric Dams in 1964 and 1981 respectively have brought great economic and social hardships to the people living along the Lower Volta Basin.
Mr. Speaker, the Lower Volta Basin includes people in Asuogyaman, Lower Manya, Osudoku in the Dangme West district as well as areas in the North Tongu, Central Tongu, South Tongu and Dangme East districts, among others.
Mr. Speaker, prior to the construction of these two national assets, life in Osudoku and the other areas was meaningful because of the economic activities of the people.
Mr. Speaker, oyster was in abundance and served as a major source of income for the women.
Mr. Speaker, soon after the construc- tion of the Kpong Hydroelectric Dam all the large oyster deposits vanished from these areas and can now be found only in the Ada areas.
Mr. Speaker, this has brought about poverty in all the families, creating mal-nutrition among children, as the
Mr. D. T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 10:55 a.m.

once nutritious and main source of protein can no longer be found. The people of Osudoku in the Shai-Osudoku constituency has been largely affected due to their location immediately downstream the Kpong Dam.

These communities include Natriku, Amedeka, Etsavanya, Domeliam, Asutsuare, Kewum, Volivo, Duffour, Kortorko, Abuviekporm, Djorkpo, et cetera.

Mr. Speaker, the Volta River, prior to the construction of the dams, over flowed its banks periodically to occupy large tracts of land which became arable soon after the floods had subsided. Farming then followed and within six (6) months, crops like cassava, maize and other vegetables were ready for both domestic consumption and for sale. Parents could then send their children to school and could afford medical bills. The trend has changed with the construction of these dams.

The river has become isolated ponds, overgrown with weeds and fishing is no longer a lucrative job. The river has also become mosquito breeding areas resulting in upsurge of malaria cases and other river- borne diseases.

Mr. Speaker, life in the Lower Volta Basin has become miserable as the youth continued migrating to the cities/towns like Ashaiman, Tema, Accra, et cetera. Mr. Speaker, health workers, teachers hardly accept postings to these areas. Precious lives are being lost on daily basis due to the extreme poverty prevailing in these areas.

Mr. Speaker, the Osudoku areas cannot boast of electricity supply in many communities. There are no hospitals and the sick travel on bad roads to Battor and Akuse hospitals. Mr. Speaker, most of these villages lack good drinking water. The people are now suffering as a result

of their contribution to the creation of national assets.

The Volta River Authority must be made --

1. to implement the findings of the Lower Volta Basin project (LVBP) by the University of Ghana, Legon;

2. to disburse property rates accrued to the Dangme-West District Assembly for development;

3. to compensate the people of the affected areas;

4. to clear the Volta River of the weeds and grasses;

5. to embark upon aerial mosquito spraying exercise regularly;

6. to provide free medical services, electricity and potable water to the affected communities.

It is hoped that with the above conditions fulfilled, the rising tension among the people would subside.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- Okere) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the hon. Member who made the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, it will interest all to know that out of this Volta Lake 52 resettlement areas were established and I want to commend the VRA for the work they are doing through the VRA Trust Fund in looking after these resettlements. And by commending them I am asking them to do more to alleviate their plight, just as the hon. Member who made the Statement has said.
Mr. Speaker, if you go to these
resettlement areas, all the buildings are eroded; they are hanging. So the VRA, what do they do to alleviate this?
Mr. Speaker, on e lect r ic i ty, I
also commend the VRA Trust Fund for supplying electricity to all the 52 resettlements. Unfortunately, meters are not provided and I entreat the VRA to see to it that meters are provided to these places.
Mr. Speaker, roads in these townships
are deplorable. I live among the resettled; my people form half of the resettlement in my constituency and I live among them. It is difficult for me to even drive to my house. So the VRA should look at this and remedy it, because as the hon. Member who made the Statement said, these people have sacrificed so much for the nation. They lost so much, and as such, they need to be compensated. Good roads should be provided. Schools have been provided but they are not enough because the townships are growing; so more schools need to be provided.
Amenities like places of convenience are needed. When these resettlements were built, only one was provided for each resettlement. The resettlements are growing; they need to provide more. Even water -- some parts of these resettlements have not got good drinking water, no pipe- borne water, and yet they have pipelines passing close by them.
Mr. Speaker, it is a serious situation.
I therefore want to urge the VRA to put more money into the VRA Trust Fund so that all these would be handled. It is not easy to go about some of these things, but there should be the determination. Without that our people -- when I say our people I mean the resettlements and those who were affected by this lake --
will continue to suffer.
Mr. Speaker, with this I support the Statement.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey (NDC -- North
Tongu): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement. Actually, my area is North Tongu which should have been heavily affected by the construction of these two dams in 1964 and 1981.
Before the construction of the first dam, Akosombo, the then Administration of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, actually knowing the ecological impact and the unemployment impact that would be brought about by construction of the dam, decided that certain industries should be set up around the Lower Volta Basin; and these are the Akosombo Textile Industry, Juapong Textile Industry and the Aveyime Dairy; and there was supposed to be another industry at Vume for ceramics.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, of these industries I have mentioned now, the only one surviving is Akosombo Textiles. The impact of the construction of the dam on the people of Tongu is so much that the benefit is only for those areas which have actually not been suffering from the impact.
The displacement of the population, the destruction of farmlands, the failure to pay even compensation for the lands that have been taken away are still pending. The people of Kojoku and Torgorme are still waiting to be compensated for their lands. We have made several trips to the VRA but nothing has been done. The ecological impact, the growth of weeds and the breeding of snails has led to intestinal and urinary problems like bilharzia and
Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- Okere) 11:05 a.m.

so on. Today, about 60 to 70 per cent or even in some places 100 per cent of school children are suffering from bilharzia.

For the people of Tongu, the water is so polluted such that they cannot even take drinking water from the river. The area has been neglected in terms of roads, and in terms of electricity -- the very purpose for which the dam had been constructed.

I therefore urge the VRA to implement the recommendations made by the Lower Volta Basin research conducted by the University of Ghana. It was they themselves who conducted this research but they have made it such that it is not a public property. You have to write; they toss you here and there before giving you the report.

I will encourage the VRA to make sure

that this Report is made available even at the parliamentary library where everybody can go and see what the impact is.

Mr. Speaker, I would also wish to state that before the construction of the dams our women had employment in oysters collection but today they do not have any employment. Mr. Speaker, this situation has, with respect led to an increase in prostitution among women living along the Lower Volta Basin. Mr. Speaker, something must be done by the VRA to bring some employment to the area.
Mr. Clement Kofi Humado (NDC -- Anlo) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement made by my hon. Friend.
Indeed, the issue of the impact of the Volta dam on the livelihood of people in the Lower Volta Basin is very extensive. The Keta district is also severely affected by the creation of the Volta Dam.
Mr. Speaker, as you may well be aware, this district has several water bodies including large lagoons which used to serve as the water intake for the Volta River during times of flood, before the creation of the dam. Now, the effect in this area is very similar to what has been said by hon. Members who spoke earlier, particularly the effect on fish productivity. Fish productivity has declined severely in the entire Keta district with its attendant effects on income and poverty levels of the people. It has also affected their ability to mobilize funds for development projects because fishing used to be the main occupation of the people.
Mr. Speaker, the situation also has affected access. Before the dam was constructed most of these communities used to move by water transport. But presently, most of the areas have been exposed and have become dry lands. So you will find several fishing communities, which used to be private fishing communities, depending upon waterways as their main form of transport, now having to commute between those areas and the main lands on foot. This has created access problems to most communities in the Keta district.
I also add my voice to the hon. Member who made the Statement that a special effort needs to be made to revive the programme of the Lower Volta Basin Research to compensate the people of these areas. Particularly, I would want to point out the Access Road Programme. Most of these communities are not yet connected to the main roads. And I would wish to urge the august House and, indeed, the Government to seriously revive the implementation of the programme for the Lower Volta Basin Research in order that the people of this area will be adequately
Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu (NDC -- Lower Manya) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would wish to associate myself with the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, the construction of the two dams in this country has indeed brought a lot of hardship to the people living in the Lower Volta Basin as earlier stated by hon. Members who have spoken. Mr. Speaker, even though the nation can pride itself on these two great assets, the Lower Volta Basin communities continue to regret the day that these dams were constructed.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because large tracts of virgin land, their main source of livelihood, have been taken away from them. Their cash crops, cocoa, which were hitherto, growing in that area, have all gone under the Volta Lake. Mr. Speaker, everything -- their cola-nut trees, palm trees and everything have been swallowed up. But up till now, Mr. Speaker, no compensation has been paid to these people. The only compensation paid, I must say, was for the cash crops but the actual lands that were inundated have not been paid for.
Mr. Speaker, the people have been deprived of their farmlands and this has resulted in the migration of these people from the rural areas to the urban centres looking for non-existent jobs. Mr. Speaker, those who are not qualified for these types of jobs have moved into other forest areas to do farming, where they are being harassed.
Mr. Speaker, I am not a prophet of doom but should anything negative happen to these dams now, our people living at the lower stretch of the dam now would experience something that would
be too disastrous, even more than the Tsunami that we have been talking about.
Mr. Speaker, it is in this vein that I would want to appeal to the VRA that they should try to review upwards the provisions that have been made for these areas.
Mr. Speaker, the settlement areas that they pretend to be catering for or the provisions that they have made for -- In my constituency, Lower Manya Krobo alone, we have a place like Anyaboni; in the Fanteakwa constituency we have a similar area.
Mr. Speaker, the roads that have been made for these areas that are called resettlements are nothing than what can be described as hencoops. No provisions have been made for expansion of the families and the growth of the population in the area. Now, no lands have also been attached to them so that people are just moving from the area to other areas, and they are facing problems.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to say that VRA must endeavour to help these areas. Now there are no jobs, no sources of employment in these areas. In my constituency it is only Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) and Juapong Textiles that have been trying to help them a little bit. Juapong has closed down now and ATL is on a redundancy list.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is about time that VRA came out objectively to do something for these areas so that they will also benefit from the assets that the whole country is priding herself on.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to associate myself with this Statement.
Mr. Joe Kwashie Gidisu (NDC --
Central Tongu): Mr. Speaker, a lot of my hon. Colleagues have already spoken about the impact and the effect of the dams on the Lower Volta Basin.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to draw attention to the very Act establishing the VRA, that is the Volta River Development Act, 1961. If one looks at clause 10 (2) (e) of the Act, it states and defines the responsibilities of the VRA, which are only for the upstream, the northern side of the two dams, neglecting the southern sector.
Mr. Speaker, not until the VRA Act of 1961 is revised to give statutory responsibility for the lower basin to the VRA, all these comments we are making will not be taken seriously. This is because the statutory provisions in the Act limit responsibilities of the VRA to only the northern sides of the dam and the settlement areas.
Mr. Speaker, it is on this note that one would realize that we have two communities in the Lower Volta Basin which are supposed to be resettlements, that is, Kojoku and Torgome as noted by an hon. Member. But unfortunately, because there is no statutory provision compelling the VRA to seriously treat the Lower Volta Basin as it does the northern sector of the two dams, those communities have been at the receiving end of the worst treatment that the VRA could give to settler communities.
Mr. Speaker, I would therefore want to seriously call for the revision of the Volta River Authority Act of 1961 to make it statutory or an obligation for the VRA to equally give attention to the Lower Volta Basin. It is very sad to note that about eight per cent of communities in the Lower Volta Basin are not connected to the national grid. The basic factor, which had led to the construction of the Volta
Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu (NDC -- Lower Manya) 11:15 a.m.

Dam, those in the Lower Volta Basin do not even benefit from that primary input from the dam.

I would therefore want to say that a lot has been said already about the neglect of the Lower Volta Basin, but to add that there is the need to review the VRA Act of 1961 to give it that responsibility to the Lower Volta Basin as it has for the northern side of the two dams.

With these short comments, I would want to associate myself with the Statement.

Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDC --

North Dayi): Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made and to say that indeed there are 52 resettlement communities dotted around the country and all these communities suffer the same fate as enumerated by the hon. Member who made the Statement. And the impression should not be created as if resettlements upstream the Volta River are better catered for than others. Indeed, the problem is a major one and I think that it is high time Government considered these 52 resettlement communities as a group of vulnerable constituents who should be specially catered for under funds like the HIPC funds or any other such development funds that come into the country.

I am saying this because, Mr. Speaker, anytime the resettlement communities approach the District Assemblies for development projects, they are referred to VRA because there is a fund, which is the VRA Resettlement Trust Fund, that provides a token in terms of development projects; and so they are highly discriminated against by the
Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu (NDC -- Lower Manya) 11:15 a.m.

District Assemblies.

So Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my voice to the call by earlier hon. Members who have spoken for these resettlement communities to be specially catered for and, particularly, that they be regarded as a vulnerable group and treated as such.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
The last contribution,
Minister for Energy?
Minister for Energy (Prof. A. Mike
Oquaye): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this important Statement.
Mr. Speaker, the Volta River Project
is of immense importance to this country and we all take seriously matters related thereto.
Mr. Speaker, it is noteworthy that one hon. Colleague has spoken about the need to take a relook at the Act itself so that some of these issues can be properly focused. Mr. Speaker, this certainly will receive the appropriate attention.
Mr. Speaker, from around 2000, the VRA has established Community Development Initiatives (CDIs) and basically this is to provide a framework to assist in the development of the affected areas. Mr. Speaker, suggestions from hon. Members or interested groups, civil societies, et cetera will be welcomed in this regard for this initiative to be given the relevant focus.
Mr. Speaker, there is also a Community Relations Unit established during this same period to promote cordial relations between the communities. Mr. Speaker, this is very important because a number of conflicts have made things a little bit difficult for the area.
It is noteworthy, for example, that property rates due to certain District
Assemblies have been put into an escrow account as a result of a conflict between the Manya Krobo District and the Dangme West District Administrations. This, for example, is something which I believe all interested parties, including opinion leaders and Members of Parliament from the area, can help to resolve; because monies that could have otherwise been used are now sitting in an escrow account pending the resolution of such conflicts, whilst the impression may be given that perhaps nothing is being done.
Mr. Speaker, through the Ministry of Works and Housing -- we are co- operating with the Ministry, for example -- the VRA is working to purchase a new dredger to help mitigate the environmental problems that arise and have become an issue in this regard. And the Ministry is also about to procure an aquatic weed harvester for use in the Lower Volta area.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to also note that funding is also being sought, particularly -- that is project funding -- to help in the dredging and allied issues in this regard. Mr. Speaker, these matters are not being taken lightly at all and it is obvious that the Ministry of Works and Housing, the Ministry of Energy and the VRA are working on these matters. As I stated, if conflicts and other related issues can also be resolved, some of these monies sitting in escrow accounts will be available to some of these areas.

Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Members, I am
happy to announce the presence in this House of a delegation from the Republic of South Africa. The delegation is led by the Minister for Intelligence; and he
is hon. Ronnie Kasrils -- [Hear! Hear!] He is accompanied by an 11-member delegation.
They are:
1. Dr. S. Cwele, Chairperson: Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence
2. Mr. Z. Ngeakani, Inspector- General of Intelligence
3. Mr. M. Mbethe, Principal: Intelligence Academy
4. Mr. M. Madikiza, Deputy Director-General: Africa
5. Ms. M. J. N. Pitje, Co-ordinator: Africa Liaison
6. Ms. F. B. Levy, Co-ordinator: Ministry of Intelligence
7. Ms. N. Kistasamy, Co-ordinator: Africa
8. Mr. S. Semela, Co-ordinator: Africa
9. Ms. N. Arends, Co-ordinator: Africa
10. Mr. V. G. Taulelo, Personal Assistant: Ministry of Intelli- gence
11. Mr. E. N. Tau, Personal Assis- tant: Ministry of Intelligence.
On behalf of this august House I welcome you to our Parliament and wish you a pleasant stay in Ghana.
At the Commencement of Public
Business -- item 5 -- Motions.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as hon. Members would be aware, the Minister for Finance and Economic
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.

Planning in his Budget Statement indicated the importance of this very Bill and therefore, as the Leader of Government Business in this House, I have taken note of what the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and the Minister for Energy have been requesting for regarding this Bill.

But I had a meeting with my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader, supported by his Deputy and some other leading Members of the Minority, and we have come to the conclusion that even though this is a very important Bill that requires some urgent treatment, the report was put in the pigeonholes of hon. Members last night, and not all of them were able to read it early this morning.

Therefore we are scheduling discussion on this matter with the following programme: That tomorrow we shall take the Second Reading of the Bill; that on Friday we would take the Consideration Stage with the possibility of extended Sitting if we see that there is a need for it. I think this is a useful proposal and I want to announce it for confirmation by my hon. Colleague, the Minority Leader. Thank you very much.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what my hon. Colleague, the Majority Leader just stated captured fully the import and understanding at the discussion. We have agreed to go by that programme and we would appeal to hon. Members to make themselves available on Friday so that together we can consider the Consideration Stage, and if possible, the Third Reading.
Mr. Speaker, I hope hon. Members would also be available because we are going to have a Committee of the Whole -- [Interruption] It is today and it would be in the interest of all to stay behind and contribute to the discussion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Majority Leader,
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.

am I to take it that we are deferring items 5 and 6?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, precisely, that is the understanding we have reached.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Then items 7, “Sittings”, any indication?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as is the normal practice, we do not admit the public to Committee of the Whole and therefore it is appropriate to consider adjourning the House so that we can take the discussion relating to the Formula for the Distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund. I therefore move that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow 10 o'clock in the morning. I so move, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Bagbin 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
ADJOURNMENT 11:25 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.28 a.m. till 9th June 2005 at 10.00 a.m.