Debates of 16 Jun 2005

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction

we do not have any issue of the Official



Minister for Energy (Prof. Aaron Mike oquaye) 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Bethel, Adukrom and Serwuah communities in the Afram Plains District of the Eastern Region have been earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid under the SHEP- 4 Programme which includes over 2,000 communities. we are at the moment implementing the SHEP-4 Phase-1 project, which is of limited scope, and is to connect 193 communities to the national electricity grid. These communities would therefore be considered under the subsequent phases of the SHEP-4 in line with the implementation schedule and the availability of funding.
The Avatime, Bruben and Adofo communities are not listed under any of the ongoing electrification programmes at the Ministry of Energy. The communities may apply for consideration under the SHEP if they meet the eligibility requirements.
Under the National Electrification Programme, 21 communities in the Afram Plains District of the Eastern Region have been connected to the national electricity grid. The breakdown is as follows:
Under the SHEP-4 Programme, seven communities in the Afram Plains District
have been earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid. These communities do not form part of the on- going SHEP-4 Phase-1 project which, as indicated earlier, is of limited scope. The seven communities would therefore be connected to the grid under the subsequent phases of the SHEP-4 in line with the implementation schedule and the availability of funds.
Mr. Agbenu 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want the Minister to know that Avatime and Bruben were supplied with seven poles before the elections with the promise that they will be connected immediately. why then is it that their names were not even included in any of the SHEPs?
Prof. oquaye 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there were cases where some emergency requests were made and some action was started as a result of the requests made. It will be useful if my hon. Friend on the other side will make a formal application for follow-up; and this will be dealt with by the Ministry accordingly.
Mr. c. S. Hodogbey 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
my question is to the hon. Minister; on the electrification of the Volta Lake resettlement townships; 13 communities are involved. These resettlements were probably done by the very institution, the VRA. why was electrification of the communities not included in the original project?
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for North Tongu, this does not appear to be a supplementary question. It is an entirely different question; you may advise yourself properly.
Prof. oquaye 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Amankwakrom community in the Afram Plains District of the Eastern Region was connected to the national electricity grid under the Electrification of Volta Lake Resettlement Townships Project. The Amankwakrom Fisheries Agricultural Technical Institute is located some distance away from the Amankwakrom community.
The connection to the school has been delayed owing to a temporary shortage of materials. This is because the institution is considered very important. Luckily Mr. Speaker, there is some provision now by the delivery of materials under the Indian Government facility of US$15 million.
Mr. Speaker, the authorisation for work to begin has consequently been made. The institute will therefore be connected to the national electricity grid as soon as possible, but definitely during this year. Mr. Speaker, I would be very glad if my hon. Friend on the other side would also get in touch with us so that we all co-operate to have this important project brought to fruition.
Mr. Agbenu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the Minister if contract for the project has been awarded. If yes, what is the name of the contractor who would be doing the work?
Prof. oquaye 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Project Number of Names of communities communities
Grid Extension to 8 Dedeso, Donkorkrom, Donkorkrom Ekye-Amanfrom, Fori- fori, Odumase, and New Abirem Odumasua, Samanhyia, wawase
Electrification of 13 Abomosarefo, Adembra, Volta Lake Agortime, Agya Atta, Resettlement Townships Amankwa Tono, Amankwakurom, Apeabra, Asempanaye, Kayera,
project has been earmarked for execution during the remaining part of the year. Mr. Speaker, I do not know at this moment of a specific contractor. I would be very glad if my hon. Friend on the other side comes over to enquire about further details so that the project can be properly monitored.
Mr. Agbenu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister that question because in his Answer, he said that it would be completed by the end of July 2005.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Are you asking another
question? Please, go ahead.
Mr. Agbenu 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister
said in his Answer that the work would be completed by July 2005, that is why I want to know the contractor who is responsible for the work.
Prof. oquaye 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view
of the importance of the project, that is the instruction that has been given. Mr. Speaker, I would be very glad if my hon. Friend on the other side will come over and participate so that it is timely executed.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would want to ask the hon. Minister that since in relation to his Answer, he did indicate a time frame for completing the contract, how come he is unaware of who the contractor is?
Prof. oquaye 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view of
the nature of the work and the importance that is attached to it, and the fact that materials are available, it is therefore envisaged that it would be completed within the time frame that we have allotted ourselves. I would be glad, I repeat, if my hon. Friend on the other side would rather come over and get the details and help us. Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that Members of Parliament in whose areas certain projects are taking place
come over, know who are executing the projects, get the details and, in fact, follow up. I think that would be in the interest of Parliament and good governance.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
in his main Answer to question 48, the hon. Minister indicated that they have taken delivery of materials under the US$15 million facility from India; I want to find out from him whether he would inform or make available to this House the communities in this country that are supposed to benefit from that US$15 million Indian facility now that the materials have arrived from India.
Prof. oquaye 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
materials, in the first place, do not arrive by one lot; some have arrived, some are arriving, some are yet to arrive, but they will come, and that is good news. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, as to a list, this will be done as and when in the light of demand. Mr. Speaker, I had occasion to say the last time that SHEP programmes also have emergency and contingency aspects and these would be considered in line with the very nature and requirements for the projects.
Mr. Adjaho 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, now, it is clear that not all the materials have arrived. Those that have arrived, can the hon. Minister supply to this House -- in fact, it has been done before -- the communities in this country that would benefit from the lot that has arrived.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Deputy Minority Leader, I hope you would ask a specific question.
Mr. Adjaho 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that is a specific question. Certain materials have arrived and some communities have been scheduled under various SHEP programmes. we want to know those that are going to benefit from the materials that
have arrived now.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Deputy Minority Leader, as you see, this question specifically deals with Afram Plains North Constituency. So I do hope that you will process another question.
Mr. Adjaho 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I agree with you but he has mentioned the delivery of US$15 million materials under the Indian Government US$15 million facility. The answers to most of the questions that have been asked, hinge so much on this US$15 million Indian facility and I give him the credit because he was then the Ambassador to India. But now that some have arrived, it is only fair that we know, so that we do not bother him by bringing him to the House on regular basis to come and be answering questions.
If I know my community will be taken care of, there will be no need to bring him again to this House to answer a question. In fact, his predecessor did it; the hon. Paa Kwesi Nduom did it and supplied the information to this House. So we want to know those communities that are going to benefit from the lot that has arrived.
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this will be considered and at the same time, Mr. Speaker, I would be glad if all my hon. Colleagues would also approach the Ministry and make their own requests accordingly.

Kwaekese Town (connection to the National Grid)

q. 49. Mr. Joseph Tsatsu Agbenu asked the Minister for Energy when the Kwaekese town which had erected service poles five years ago would be connected to
Minister for Energy (Prof. Mike oquaye) 10:25 a.m.
The Kwaekese town in the Afram Plains District of the Eastern Region is included in the SHEP-4 Programme, which is earmarked to connect over 2,000 communities to the national electricity grid. The community is however not listed under the ongoing SHEP-4, Phase-1 project, which is of a limited scope and would benefit 193 communities.
The community would therefore be consider under the subsequent phases of the SHEP-4 in line with the implementation schedule when the necessary facilities are put in place.
Mr. Speaker, it is useful to also add that the materials that have been received and are being received would also be used not only for new projects but also for some ongoing projects as well.
Mr. Agbenu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want the hon. Minister to know that Kwaekese township was listed under SHEP-3 under the previous Government and that is why they have erected service poles. I would also want to know why Kwaekese township was deleted from the SHEP-3 and they were not considered for the SHEP-4, Phase 1.
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any deletion anywhere. Mr. Speaker, I can only say that that request also would be duly considered in due season and according to its merits.
Mr. G. K. B. Gbediame 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister the criteria used for the various phases in the SHEPs. I ask that because he said a community would be selected for SHEP-4 but some would be in Phase 4 and Phase 2. I would want to know if he can educate us on the criteria being used in selecting
the communities for the various phases under the SHEPs.
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, respect- fully, this question has been asked and answered several times in the House. It is a combination of need, availability of materials, circumstances of the place, some exigencies including emergencies that arise, whether there is the need to rehabilitate some trees which have been destroyed in some way or the other, including the ECOMOG trees, and also the self-help aspect of what the people themselves can do.
Status of SHEP Projects in Nanton constituency
q. 50. Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu asked
the Minister for Energy the status of SHEP (Self Help Electrification Project) work in the following communities in the Nanton constituency: Tampion west, Nagdigu, Ziong, Nanton-Kurugu, Zoggu, Nyeko and Nyolugu.
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Tampion, Nagdigu, Ziong and Nanton- Kurugu communities of the Savelugu Nanton District of the Northern Region were earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid under the SHEP-3 Phase-2 Project. The Zoggu, Nyeko and Nyologu communities on the other hand were earmarked for connection under the SHEP-3 Phase-3 Project. The status of works in the communities is as follows:
we advise that installation works at Tampion, Nagdigu, Ziong and Nanton- Kurugu would be completed by August, 2005. Installation works at Zoggu, Nyeko
and Nyologu have been targeted for completion before the end of the year
A major obstacle for the total completion of works in most of the northern regions can be attributed to the unavailability of Low Voltage (LV) and service poles for most of the communities. The nature of the houses (thatched roofs) does not allow for direct power supply to these houses. There is therefore the need to make these poles available for customer service connections. Some of these poles have now been made available, and would be distributed in the communities to allow for customer service connections.
Under the SHEP-3 Phase-3 Project, nine communities were earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid in the Savelugu-Nanton District of the Northern Region. Out of the nine communities, installation works have been completed at Adaayili, Koduzeguyili, Moglaa, Langa and Tarikpaa, awaiting customer service connections. with the availability of the service poles now, customer service connections for registered customers would commence in these communities.
Under the SHEP-4 Programme, 25 communities have been captured for connection to the national grid. In addition, a further list of 38 communities has been submitted to the Ministry of Energy for consideration. Mr. Speaker, that is the status in that area.
Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister whose duty it is to alert customers to register for connection and when that should be.
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is a mutuality of interest. The Ministry is
interested, the Electricity Company of Ghana is interested, the District Assemblies are also interested, and I believe that the hon. Members of Parliament in the area, as well as civil societies. Mr. Speaker, we are willing and ready to receive information from any of these interested parties and we would act upon them.
Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Minister has still not got my question. I am asking whose duty it is to alert customers to register for connection. In the various communities, customers are supposed to register. who should alert them to register and when are they going to be alerted? [Interruption.]
Prof. oquaye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if it is a matter of alerting anybody, person or authority, any person who is interested in any particular work being done or being done right can bring the alert. I think that should be answer to that question. Anyone can alert the appropriate authority.
Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, sometime ago -- and I think it was on 29th July 2001 -- I asked his predecessor a similar question and he gave me the time frame for completion of works in some communities in my constituency. Mr. Speaker, as I speak today, it is still the same thing. May I know if what the hon. Minister is telling me now, that is giving me the time frame to complete SHEP works in a number of communities by July/August, I can take his word for it? And what should I do next time around, if it is not completed?
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member for Nanton, this is not a supplementary question. If you have another question, kindly ask that.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe my hon. Colleague is asking
Prof. oquaye 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, man proposes, God disposes. [Laughter] -- we would do our utmost best within the limitations of man.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether he inputted God into his Answer when he indicated that Tampion and other communities would be completed by August 2005.
Prof. oquaye 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there could be fire, there could be rain and other acts of God, as we normally say. Barring these, we would proceed according to plan.
Mr. J. A. Tia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the last paragraph of the hon. Minister's Answer, he said that under the SHEP 4 programme, twenty-five communities have been factored for connection to the national grid and, in addition, a further list of thirty- eight communities has been submitted to the Ministry of Energy for consideration. I want to know from the hon. Minister whether all these communities are within the Nanton District or it is a national list.
Prof. oquaye 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, these relate to the communities, the area, and the district that we are talking about.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have just been informed that the hon. Minister is a lay preacher so he could have just said Insha Allahu and I would have been satisfied with that; it means by the Grace of God. But Mr. Speaker, the question is, in the Nanton constituency that he is talking about there are certain projects under SHEP 3, which were not completed, and we are now entering SHEP 4; and this applies to many other
communities in the Northern Region. Is he going to complete both the SHEP 3 and the SHEP 4 projects on time?
Prof. oquaye 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in fact, this was part of a question that was asked last time, which has been answered. Mr. Speaker, we shall proceed with SHEP III and definitely proceed as much as possible with SHEP 4, subject to the availability of funds.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Minister, thank you very much for appearing to answer hon. Members' questions. You are again discharged.
STATEMENTS 10:35 a.m.

Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 10:45 a.m.
Asalaamu alaikum. Thank you, Mr. Speaker; it means peace be unto you and they answered, “and also unto me”.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement on the occasion of the African Union (AU) Day of the African Child, June, 16, 2005. As I can observe, we have a lot of children here in the public gallery. I wish them a happy African Day.
Mr. Speaker, in July 1990, the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) member states in a resolution passed by 51 countries, declared the 16th June as the Day of the African Child, and since then the day has been observed as such throughout the continent. The 16 th of June was particularly chosen to honour the memory of the Soweto school children massacred by the Apartheid Regime for demanding their right to education in 1976.
The day is an occasion for African
states to reflect and deliberate on the issues that affect the survival, protection and development of the child.
The theme for this year's observation is “The African Orphan, Our Collective Responsibility”. Orphans are vulnerable children who find themselves as a marginalized group in society. This situation has been made worse by the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. It is estimated that in Africa, there are about 12 million orphans as a result of parents dying from AIDS and 16 per cent of these orphans are under six years of age.
Though Ghana is considered as one of the countries with a relatively low HIV/ AIDS prevalence rate (at 3.1 per cent) compared to other countries, the HIV/ AIDS pandemic has already orphaned over 200,000, children in the country. In some districts, the tragedy is straining families and communities, as well as weakening social safety nets and security.
A study conducted by the Ghana AIDS Commission in only 20 districts of the country in July last year indicates that there are between 170,000 and 200,000 orphans in these districts. Currently, there are 138 districts in Ghana and if we are to project this finding to the whole nation, you will all agree with me that the situation calls for concerted action.
Ghanaian communities have trad- itionally absorbed orphans within the extended family system; however, this trend has over the years reduced due to the breakdown of the extended family systems; especially in the major cities, thus affecting family life and opportunity for the children to go and to enjoy family life.
Stigmatization and discrimination
against persons with HIV/AIDS on the part of society has contributed to extended families shirking their traditional responsibilities of care and support for orphans.
Mr. Speaker, women, as always in crisis situations are rising up to the occasion, of course with their men behind them. I am happy to acknowledge the work of the queen Mothers Associations in the country for adopting, finding and placing orphans in families in their communities as well as identifying support packages for their care.
Mr. Speaker, permit me to particularly pay tribute to the Manya Krobo Traditional Area queen Mothers Association for their pioneering and strategic role in placing 1,035 orphans in families rather than orphan homes, with the support of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), the Manya Krobo District Assembly, Family Health International, Catholic Relief Service and other civil society organizations. All the 1,035 are enrolled in schools and GAC is at this moment covering educational requirements bills for 400.

A number of orphan homes are also rendering services throughout the country and much as I commend them for rendering this service, I will also entreat them to enroll all the children in schools because orphanages are not necessarily schools on their own. Orphanages should also not be considered as businesses to reap profits.

Mr. Speaker, the best place for the child (orphan or otherwise) is, in the home with the family and thence the theme “Orphans Our Collective Responsibility”. we need to reinvigorate our traditional extended family value of providing care and support for orphans. As a country we further need to develop systems and strategies to support families to do this.

I therefore commend all agencies including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), District Assemblies, GAC and our development partners for moving in this direction, and I take this opportunity to particularly salute Manya Krobo queen Mothers Association for their initiative which gives us a window of hope.

Mr. Speaker, permit me again on this special day to call on all pregnant women now and in the future to go for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). This is very important because it has proven to be the critical path that can substantially mitigate mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. where the pregnant woman tests positive, she can then go through the programme and steps designed for preventing mother to child transmission. I will therefore entreat Members of this honourable House to carry out sensitization programmes and to encourage pregnant women in their constituencies to go for VCT.

My Ministry, in partnership with the Ghana AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Manpower Development, Employment and Youth, and Policy Planners Ghana (an NGO) has developed Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) policy guidelines.

The goal of the Guidelines is, to reduce the number of children made vulnerable by orphanhood from HIV and other factors, and improve on the fulfilment and protection of the rights, to include conscientising families, community institutions, on the rights and needs of OVCs.

African governments have expressed a strong desire to see children grow in changed circumstances and this aspiration featured prominently the African Common

Position adopted in Cairo (May 2001). Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to quote from the statement that was adopted:

“we recognize that the future of Africa lies with the well-being of its children and youth. The prospect of socio-economic transformation of the continent rests with investing in the young people of the continent. Today's investment in children is tomorrow's peace, stability, security, democracy and sustainable development.”

African countries are increasingly adapting ECD policies which aim at promoting the holistic development of the child (children 0-8 years). ECD policies seek to integrate the various sectoral activities in a holistic framework. This encompasses health, nutrition, water and sanitation, care, stimulation, learning, social protection and facility and community empowerment so that children can develop to their fullest potential.

Only two weeks ago, the 3rd International Conference on ECD was held in Accra under the theme “Moving ECD in Africa Forward”. Forty-eight African countries with 20 African Ministers, and high level representatives of UNICEF, the world Bank, UNESCO, ADEA and wHO participated in the conference. The conference goal was to gain increased political commitment to ECD, facilitate accelerated action at country level and to feed recommendation and priority actions into ongoing country PRSPs, Sector wide programmes, NEPAD and other critical development plans.

I am glad to state that Ghana has been playing a lead role in this area. Our ECD Policy was launched in September 2004 and a multisectoral co-ordinating committee and a Secretariat have been established in my Ministry to accelerate implementation.

My Ministry, together with Ministries

of Education and Sports, Manpower, Youth and Employment , UNICEF and world Bank, have outlined an ECD and HIV/ AIDS guideline to ensure that we respond to specific needs of infected and affected children, and that all orphans and vulnerable children are targeted under ECD programmes.

Mr. Speaker, one of the cardinal issues that the Ghana ECD Policy deals with, is that of infant care and safe motherhood, and this brings into focus the story of babies “detained” at the Korle Bu Neo- natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Mr. Speaker, I recall the recent incident at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital reported in The Mirror of May. 21, 2005, where 36 babies were “detained” for non-payment of fees and treatment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I visited the Unit to ascertain things for myself and will like to register my appreciation and congratulations to the doctors and nurses for their efforts and dedicated service to the children, their mothers and nation at large.

The mothers were at the Unit with their little ones and the question I kept asking was where are their fathers, whose babies are these? Mr. Speaker, I would like the gentlemen to note that if they are not ready to have babies, do not do what fathers do. They do so, then they should be responsible.

During my visit, I recommended that we establish a NICU Fund for individuals and corporate institutions to contribute to support the Unit. Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has since launched the Fund. There will always be people who cannot pay for the service but the children must be helped. I call on honourable Members in this august House to support the NICU

Fund on this special Day. I plead that each member contributes an amount of one hundred thousand cedis (¢100,000.00) to the NICU Fund.

Let us continue to show that we care. Asalaamu alaikum.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Deputy Minister, Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment.

child Labour

Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment (Mrs. Akosua Frema osei-opare): Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to make a short Statement on the issue of child labour.

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has declared 12th June each year as International Day Against Child Labour. It is a day set aside throughout the world to highlight employment of children in activities which are injurious and detrimental to their health, education and development.The celebration also offers the opportunity to listen to the concerns and aspirations of children engaged in the worst form of labour and to formulate appropriate strategies to tackle them.

The focus for this year's celebration, that is “Child Labour in Mining and quarrying” is very appropriate since it is amongst the worst form of child labour. There are rising concerns of these activities on the development of our children, the environment and the economy.

Children have been working in Ghana

(and indeed globally) throughout the ages as an integral part of the socialization process and a means of transmitting acquired skills from parents to children. In Ghana children aged about five years and above are commonly seen assisting in the household with domestic chores such as cooking, taking care of babies, or on the farms, within a home environment where they are cared for and loved. Others assist in the family trade or business. Some adults all over the country are unfortunately abusing this traditional social system and it is this abuse we are concerned with.

The term “Child Labour” does not emcompass all economic activity undertaken by children. Rather, it refers to employment or work carried out by children that does not conform to the provisions of national legislation - the Children's Act - and international instruments such as ILO Conventions 138 and 182, which define the boundaries of work undertaken by children that must be targeted for abolition.

The Children's Act defines exploitative labour as work that deprives the child of his/her health, education or development. It sets the minimum age for admission to employment at 15 years for general employment, 13 years for light work, and 18 years for hazardous work. The Act defines hazardous work as work posing “a danger to the health, safety or morals of a person”, and provides an in-exhaustive list including seagoing, mining and quarrying, porterage of heavy loads, work involving the production or use of chemical, and work in places where there is a risk of exposure to immoral behaviour.

Mr. Speaker, according to the 2001 Ghana Child Labour Survey (GCLS), 2.47 million Ghanaian children aged 15 17

(that is, nearly 40 per cent of the estimated 6.36 million children in the age group) were engaged in some form of economic activity. Half of rural children and one- fifth of urban children were economically active. As many as 1.59 million children were working while attending school. Nearly 20 per cent of children (about 1.27 million) were engaged in activities classified as child labour.

As the GPRS documents point out, child labour is a national problem not only because it contributes to school dropouts but also, because by keeping children out of school, it breeds another cycle of people who most likely will be less well off or end up on poverty later. And the fact that child labour interferes with education has significant implication for social and economic development at individual household and societal levels.

Government on its part has over the years taken adequate steps through legislation, policies and other initiatives to protect the rights of children and promote their well-being.

The country's range of laws provide a reasonable framework for protecting children from exploitation, notable amongst them are the 1992 Constitution, the Children's Act, 1998 (Act 560) and its Legislative Instrument, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1960 (Act 30) and the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 1998 (Act 554), the Courts Act, 549 of 1994; the Juvenile Justice Act 563.

Other potential legislations such as the Human Trafficking Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill and the Street Children Policy, which are being drafted will substantially reduce any gaps in the current legislation.

In addition to these legislations there are programmes such as:

Free Compulsory Universal Basic

Education (Capitation Grant).

Gender and Children's Policy.

Early Childhood Care Development Policy.

Government white Paper on Educational Reform.

Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS) particularly the inclusion of Social Protection programmes.

If these are implemented to the letter they will help combat child labour.

The Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment through the Child Labour Unit and the Department of Social welfare is collaborating with the ILO to monitor child labour in selected districts as part of a process of eliminating the practice in Ghana. The communities are totally involved in identifying the children and the children are assisted to go back to school.

Mr. Speaker, I am appealing to all Ghanaians - religious leaders, chiefs, queen mothers and Members of Parliament to help in various ways to eliminate this practice and provide a better future for our children. For as the writer of a song says, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc - North Dayi) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the two Statements made by my hon. Colleagues from the other side. I am particularly happy that the African Union (AU) recognizes African children as potential leaders of this continent and so would do everything to ensure their steady progress and development.
Mr. Speaker, I am particularly happy that this year's theme for the Day of
the African Child is devoted to African orphans and I think that African leaders must do more than merely dedicating a day to these orphans because we need to take a careful and sober look at the factors that give rise to the African orphan.
we have been informed that the major factor causing an increase in the number of orphaned children is HIV/AIDS. But if we would be sincere to ourselves we would realize that there are several wars on this continent that needed not arise at all. These wars are caused by greedy African leaders, leaders who in their desperation to hold on to power forever cause their peoples to fight senseless wars that needed not be fought at all.
I am therefore urging African leaders to use this day to carefully reflect on this situation and try to prevent situations that would give rise to these senseless wars. I also urge them to commit adequate resources to the situation of African orphans. It is not enough just to devote a day to them, make all the nice speeches and then forget about them. we need to resource institutions that are responsible for the welfare of orphans so that the orphan can grow like any normal child in a normal home, taken care of by parents.
Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back home and say that I am happy that guidelines have been developed on the concerns of orphans and vulnerable children but merely developing those guidelines are not enough. we need to have them; Members of Parliament need to have them. we need to be knowledgeable about them so that we can help in the monitoring and implementation of the work of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) associated with these vulnerable kids.
Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to finally comment on the
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDc - North Dayi) 11:05 a.m.

we need to be realistic about some of these things. I am not in any way attacking our men but we just know that a lot of them are gradually becoming very irresponsible. Therefore, the State should do more in the area of implementation of policies, laws and whatever that we have. we know that Ghanaians are very good at advocacy; we like to talk a lot but when it comes to implementation, especially punishing people who are guilty of these things, we are found wanting.

Therefore, I would like to urge the Ministry responsible for children, found in such vulnerable situations to be up and doing and ensure that the laws are implemented and the guilty, irresponsible parents punished, so that this would serve as deterrent to other parents who would not be alive to their responsibilities and therefore find children in these miserable conditions.
Mrs. Agnes A. chigabatia (Builsa North) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statements made by the hon. Minister and then the Deputy Minister.
Mr. Speaker, child labour is a global issue, but it is worse in Ghana. And this is commonly within the poor class. Children born into this class are always left to the merciful hands of their mothers.
In the Upper East Region of Ghana it is very pathetic to see a mother carrying a
Mrs. Agnes A. chigabatia (Builsa North) 11:05 a.m.
But Mr. Speaker, child labour can be tackled if our men take up their responsibilities and assist the women on the farms, in the kitchen and in taking care of their babies.
what do we see on our streets? Mad women with children -- another type of orphanage. As the Minister rightly said, where are their fathers? Are they also mad men that made them pregnant? who made them pregnant, Mr. Speaker? I am praying that this House would take it up and duly punish irresponsible men for -- [Interruptions] -- Mr. Speaker, normally when these children grow up they find their ways out as armed robbers, drug addicts and all sorts of hardened people.
we pray that the various societies of Ghana now would take up the responsibilities and see to the upkeep and the good care of these children, like the queen Mothers Association did at Yilo Krobo. I salute the African Children's Day and pray that all men would know that if they do not like the babies, they should not make them.
Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh (NDc
- Twifu-Atti Morkwaa): Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the floor.
Protecting the right of the young child is important because it would ensure proper development of the child. This in future would provide a strong foundation for the country's human resource development. To achieve this, the child should be given the chance to express himself, and the ideas expressed used. He should be given the chance to make decisions for himself, encouraged to learn to negotiate through discussions. This would encourage the
child to come out and empower himself to avoid being wayward.
On the issue of child development programme, this is quite laudable, especially where the curriculum of the programme, guidelines for establishing the centres and manuals for teachers are all set for the take-off. However, Mr. Speaker, the training of the teacher who would implement the programme is not captured properly in the presentation.
I therefore want to offer the following suggestions: One, the curriculum of Early Childhood Development (ECD) should be included in the curriculum of the existing Teacher Training College Programme so that every Teacher Trainee would have, in addition, early childhood training. Two, special teachers should be trained solely to handle and push the Early Childhood Development Programme forward. This way, we are sure to have people who would make education solid from the grass roots.

capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.) -- rose -
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister
for the Interior, do you have any point of order to raise?
capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Yes, Mr.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr.
Speaker, if it is a document she is reading
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
capt. Effah-Dartey (rtd.): Mr.
Speaker, because two Statements have been made and we are to make our comments on them. But if she is reading a third Statement, she needs clearance from Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Mrs. Amoah-Tetteh 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
maybe, he did not see well, I was referring to my notes.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
You con t inue .
Mrs. Amoah-Tetteh 11:05 a.m.
As I said, the answer is not in bringing the fathers to the mothers, but the answer lies in moral training from the grass roots. Mr. Speaker, now that every child is to go to school, more attention should be given to moral education at the basic level. The moral behaviour of the educators should be such that - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mrs. Amoah-Tetteh 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it

Mrs. Grace coleman (NPP -

Effiduase/Asokore): Mr. Speaker, all over the world, we are witnessing the canker of child labour. Even when we were children, we saw children helping
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mrs. coleman 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this has
brought into the world the concept of child labour. As a matter of fact, children are to be respected and this is enshrined in our Constitution and the world's constitutions, that children are to be respected and their human rights are very important. Unfortunately, we have experienced so much of child labour. Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as I think that this is something that we need to guard against, we also have to know that because of this legislation, a lot of people are taking undue advantage and calling anything “child labour”.
Now in our country, Mr. Speaker, people who go abroad and want to have a stay in the countries they visit call themselves children, even when they are over forty years, so that they are permitted to stay there; and then they accuse the people who took them there of indulging in child labour activities. This has gone on in this country for a long time and some of us are victims of the American law which says that we are indulging in child labour when all we did was to take our relatives there, and to help other people get the opportunity of knowing the outside world and also help themselves.

while we are talking about child labour we have to make sure that we do not encourage people to think they can use this concept to their own advantage. we have to remember that every law that is made in this country, people try to take advantage

of it. This child labour concept is very important to us, especially Members of Parliament and women in this country.

Unfortunately, we have known an aspect of it which we need to guard against. we have to realise that unless we sit down, think about it and maybe re- design it in such a way that people cannot take advantage of it, we ourselves who are making the law will be the victims. we need to try and do something about it.

Mr. Speaker, people go abroad and

say that they are slaves of the people who sent them. It is something that I think as Parliamentarians we should think about. This is because we cannot do anything unless maybe a legislation is passed that if one is caught for doing this, putting the country into disrepute and doing anything that you think that will help you against individuals in this country, you will have to bear the consequences of it. Otherwise, Mr. Speaker, some of us are being accused of doing things that we have never done and we have not even thought about.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
wind up.
Mrs. coleman 11:15 a.m.
So Mr. Speaker, I
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Please, wind up.
Mrs. coleman 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
want to wind up but this is important to me and I am sure everybody in this country knows that this law, as good as it is, has brought a lot of hardship to people and we need to fashion it well enough so that some of us do not get into trouble with it when we do not intend to make anybody a labourer or a slave -- whatever they call

it in this country.

I call on all hon. Members to think about it and to remember that it can happen to them anytime. As a Member of Parliament, you may only be trying to help your constituents and if you are not careful you would be called a slave master or a slave mistress when you do not deserve it. So Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Mrs. Alice Teni Boon (NDc -

Lambussie): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to that of all hon. Members who have contributed to these Statements, especially the Minister for women and Children Affairs and the Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment. I am really grateful that they brought this up on the floor.

Mr. Speaker, child labour is a big worry to all of us here. As Members of Parliament, we all are concerned about children and it is our wish that Ghanaian children will live up to expectation and become good leaders in future. Mr. Speaker, I just want to contribute in a different vein. My concern is whether we in the House here know the number of children that are in school at the various levels, and whether we know the number who are in the primary schools, those that are in the junior secondary schools (JSS), secondary schools and so on and so forth, because it is very important. we need to monitor and to know much about these children so that we would be able to tell why we have some of the children in the streets.

I think that if we monitor and know those that are in school, we will now come to the issue of trying to see to those who are not in school. And I want hon. Members to try and use this golden

opportunity that we have -- the non- formal education -- we should use a little bit of our District Assemblies Common Fund to try to push those who are not in school into the non-formal education; it is very important.

Mr. Speaker, it is sad to see some of these children who are nice looking, and very pretty in the streets, having been hired to push cripples and beggars around. And I understand at the end of the day they just give them something as a token. But having been used in such a lazy way of earning money, where will they go? They are not prepared to work in any hard manner to earn anything but to go into armed robbery or prostitution. Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is sad when you see a little girl, maybe below thirteen years pregnant, and before you realize that baby is grown and is also carrying a baby with the jaws bloated, lacking all sorts of nutrients.

I think we need to look at this issue as hon. Members who really care for our constituents, Ghanaians and the nation as a whole so that we find remedy for getting all children back in school, either formal or informal, or any trade at all that will keep them engaged so that we do not have the excesses on our hands. It is really embarrassing.

About two weeks ago I had some friends visiting from the United Kingdom and I was downtown with them and because they are whites, as soon as we got to the traffic lights about four to five children trooped on us and they were all begging; and I was really embarrassed. I think it is high time we did something. we know the Department of Social welfare is doing very well but I understand the conditions in their Ministry are not the best. I think that maybe we need to attach importance to some of the areas that we can use in curtailing these children from
Mrs. coleman 11:25 a.m.
disgracing us.

Ghana is a gateway to west Africa and Africa as a whole and I think that, as a gateway, we should do something such that others will copy from us. we should not allow our children to be out there disgracing us. I think we can do it. And the programmes the hon. Minister for women and Children's Affairs read to us, she should not delay with them but take them up. I think it is time we set something rolling and then get Ghanaian children off the streets, off jobs that they are not fit to do, so that we will have good leadership tomorrow.
Mrs. Esther Dappah obeng (NPP -- Abirem) 11:25 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made on the occasion of the African Union Day of the African Child.
Mr. Speaker, issues concerning children are very important. we were all children before we became adults and we are here because of the upbringing that we had, for the interest of a child is paramount in every civilized society. The future of this continent and Ghana for that matter indeed lies in the well-being of the children and the youth. The focus this year is on the orphan and the upbringing of the orphan being a collective responsibility. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the immediate family, the extended family, the village or township, the district and the nation as a whole to address the issue of orphanage and offer solutions.
Due to various factors including economic hardships and migration, the trend of extended families absorbing orphans into their family systems has reduced considerably. The Government has played a very major role by
providing legal framework, policies and programmes. But there would be the need to implement these policies; there would be a need for funding for these policies to be implemented. The Children's Act has been mentioned by hon. Members as well as the early childhood care development policies and many others.
Mr. Speaker, but for effective implementation, I beg to make the following suggestions: I believe that care allowances should be paid to extended families that are willing to take care of orphans. I believe also that people should be encouraged, adult childless couples, and couples with children should be encouraged to engage in short-term or long-term fostering or complete adoption.
I also suggest that cash incentives be offered to people who are willing to adopt. In Britain, twenty-five thousand pounds is given to any family which is willing to adopt. The social services should be encouraged and resourced to co-ordinate and monitor all agencies working with children. The District Assemblies should play their role and set up “child panels” in collaboration with Members of Parliament. Churches and individual citizens should be encouraged also to engage in establishing orphanages. In various countries, churches have established orphanages and children's hospitals. Many NGOs are battling to address the situation of orphans and, Mr. Speaker, I add my voice to congratulate them for their good works, including Peace and Love Foundation run by Grace Omaboe in my own constituency, Abirem constituency.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to support the hon. Minister's call to hon. Members of this august House to donate into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Fund but should not limit the figure to hundred thousand cedis, because many hon.
Members, I am sure, will be willing to donate more.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga (NDc -- Bawku central) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that I am the only -- [Interruption] -- well, I am not the only child in this House.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement that has been made on the floor of this House today regarding the welfare of children.
Mr. Speaker, as a nation, an assessment of our commitment to the welfare of children can be done at three levels. At the level of policy and legislative framework, we as a nation have done very well because we have the appropriate legislation in place. we have the right policies in place. Now, at the level of institution, we have also put in place appropriate institutions to address the welfare of children. where we are lacking and failing, Mr. Speaker, is in the area of enforcement and the allocation of resources needed to push forward this commitment.
Let me just refer our minds to one event that happened not long ago. we had the opportunity to consider the formula for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme. we approved amounts meant for the registration of only two million out of the ten million children in this country. That is to say that, we as a House, if we are to measure our level of commitment to the welfare of children, we will only score twenty over hundred.
I think that that is a gross inadequate thing that we did. This is because if we look at immunization, it is obvious that when we go out to immunize, we target the whole nation and sometimes within weeks they come out and tell us that they have covered about hundred per cent of the target. So why is it that we cannot within a
year cover hundred per cent of the children in this country?
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. owusu-Agyei 11:25 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misinforming this House. It is not true that we are registering only two million of our children. The percentage that I gave when we handled the insurance fund was that we would have about eight million of our children registered. And I informed this honourable House that all children whose parents register are automatically also registered. So I do not know where the hon. Member is coming from, to say that only two million out of our children in Ghana are going to be registered.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Member, take that on board.
Mr. Ayariga 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am referring to the allocation that we made. If we look at the Fund and what was approved in this House, it was clearly stated that we have about ten million children in this country, that is, those under eighteen and that we do not expect to register all of them; and that for this year we are only going to allocate money for two million children. So I am only referring to what was brought to this House and what this House approved. All these other issues, to me, were not made clear in what was approved in this House.
Mr. owusu-Agyei 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on that occasion, I made mention that the registration is a process and that we have only a few months for the year to end. It is
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon. Member, you must be winding up.
Mr. Ayariga 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to move to the next issue which is that we need to develop institutions and mechanisms to test how the resources that we allocate, as a nation, get to the target group, that is children. That is to say that we need to develop better targeting systems, better monitoring systems, to ensure that we reach our targets. And in this regard I would urge NGOs that are working in the area of the welfare of children, like Action Aid International of which the hon. Deputy Minister was the Country Director for a very long time, to help national institutions develop targeting and evaluation mechanisms that will enable us at the end of the year to be able to review and assess our performance in keeping up to our promise of ensuring that we promote the welfare of children.
Mr. Speaker, on that note, I would like to identify myself with the Statements that have been made by the two hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
we have had enough. Let us take another Statement. Hon. Member for Krachi East, kindly make your Statement.

Re-Emergence of the Black Fly in the Krachi East constituency
Mr. Wisdom Gidisu (NDc -- Krachi- East) 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity given me to make a Statement on the re-emergence of the black fly in the Krachi East constituency.
Mr. Speaker, currently there is an upsurge of black fly in the Krachi East constituency. The black fly is a small sturdy hump-backed insect that breeds only in fast sessions of water-courses and it is commonly known as “nkontia” in many areas of Ghana. It is responsible for the transmission of the parasite worm called onchocercia-volvulus that causes the disease known as onchocerciasis or river blindness.
The disease is transmitted to man through the biting activity of the fly. The fly feeds mainly on man but in some areas, it may also feed on animals like cow, goat, et cetera. The fly lives up to four weeks or more and can travel several hundred kilometres in flight. when man is infected through biting, it takes one to three years for it to manifest and the symptoms include:
Intensive itching of skin,
De-pigmentation of the skin,
Elephantiasis of the genitals,
Nodule formation,
Sight impairment; and finally
Mr. Speaker, this disease was known to have devastated communities living close to rivers in the Upper East, Upper west and Northern Regions prior to the initiation of an onchocerciasis control programmes by the world Health Organization (wHO) in 1974.
Mr. Speaker, this reverie communities

fearing to lose their sights move away from a reverie valley to less fertile lands to scrape a living. The black fly, apart from transmitting the disease, its biting activity is also a big nuisance to communities and this has negative effect on socio- economic activities. Mr. Speaker, in my constituency, towns like Asukwakwa, Akrokrowa, Akotobrija, Nansu, ex cetera, are some of the areas that have been affected by the activities of this fly.

The fly causes lack of concentration among school children, reduces working time of farmers in the field, reduces income-generating capacity of people, forces rural-urban migration and finally portrays a negative public image of the area which affects investment drive. Mr. Speaker, the upsurge in biting activity of the fly in my constituency indicates the health danger the locals are exposed to daily and the vulnerability of the young ones in the community. The risk of blindness will even reduce the population due to the departure of young people and premature death of infected old people. Those who remain will be subjected to increased rate of infection with its consequent health and socio-economic problems. The communities are exposed to varying levels of biting with the consequent rate of contracting the disease throughout the planting and harvesting period of farming season.

Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that research work by the water Research Institute (CSRI) has shown that on a daily basis, the most active period of the fly are morning and late afternoons and this coincides with the most active periods of farmers in many parts of Ghana. This means the flies are rather determining the conditions of service of the farmers. Mr. Speaker, one can just imagine the negative effect of these flies on agriculture in Krachi East.

Mr. Speaker, considering the fact that good health is a prerequisite for economic development, it will be suicidal to allow the insect-biting activities and the disease it transmits to assume bigger and uncontrollable dimensions before control measures are initiated. Mr. Speaker, since the flies do no require visas or permit to move from one district to another, their control measures should be a collaborative effort among the districts that share the water resource that breeds the insects.

Currently, there is a mass distribution of a drug called Ivemectin that treats the disease in some parts of the country but unfortunately the drugs supplied to these areas are insufficient. Only smaller quantities are sent to infected communities. I am therefore appealing to the Minister for Health to increase the drug allocation to infected communities to enable everybody benefit from it.

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry should not only be treating the disease but should also embark on a periodic spraying of the flies that transmit the disease due to the nuisance they also pose to the community.

On this note, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr. E. K. Bandua (NDc -- Biakoye) 11:35 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the floor.
Any nation that has not got a very healthy population runs a very grave risk. The dangers are that the active labour force is lost and the nation may incur heavy medical bills. Finally, the population may rather be decimated or totally annihilated. These have very grave and fatal consequences. It is in line with this that I think that very serious attention should be paid to the danger that the black fly poses to the areas affected.
Prof. A. W. Seini (NDc -- Tamale central) 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with this very important Statement.
Mr. Speaker, from what the hon. Member who made the Statement said, it is very clear that we are faced with another problem which used to be a problem but which has been declared not a problem in this country. This is because for a very
long time, the world Health Organization (wHO) carried out routine spraying along the Volta Basin and also the Oti Basin and down to the Lower Basin of the Volta in order to control the onchocerciasis, as they call it.
Sometime ago, they declared that Ghana was free of it. It is unfortunate that it is resurfacing again because it has disastrous economic consequences for us, particularly in terms of agriculture. Most of those areas could not be farmed because of the fly and when they declared them free, farmers dared to venture into some of these areas to start farming again.
Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, most of these areas are also the very lucrative agricultural areas. In fact, they have very good soils for farming purposes, but human activities cannot take place because of the fly. It is therefore unfortunate that we have been sent back again, as we were sent back in the area of anthrax; so we are faced with a similar situation.
So Mr. Speaker, there is the need for us to take urgent action, maybe, in consultation with wHO to tell them that the fly is back. After all, we are not oncho free. This is because it is a dangerous disease which makes farmers lose a lot of working days when they get infected. It ultimately leads to blindness which makes people unable to cater for themselves and their families.
So let us take this Statement as a very serious one; it affects the whole nation, not just the area that he is talking about. So far as it has reoccurred there, it is very simple for it to spread to other areas which the wHO had already declared as being onchocerciasis free.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu (NDc -- central Tongu) 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief in my contribution to the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, the situation of the coming black fly signifies the attitude of Government on taking over inter- nationally-sponsored programmes of the type. Like they have indicated, the wHO has since 1974 made it an international programme for the eradication of these flies, not only in Ghana, but also in Burkina Faso, Togo and other surrounding areas where they have the catchment of such river basins.

Mr. Speaker, till the early 1980s, the flies were almost eradicated throughout the operational areas of the project. And we were declared to be onchocerciasis free in most of the areas that are under reference now. Mr. Speaker, but it was expected that after the withdrawal of the donor organisation, the governments and for that matter the Ghana Government would take on the responsibility for the regular spraying and distribution of the medicines, the types that would support the activities of farmers actively in those areas.

Mr. Speaker, the present situation we are talking about can never be reversed until the governments take greater responsibility which was left to them after the withdrawal of the donor organisation, that is the world Health Organisation, to regularly spray the areas and come out with the effective control of the flies.

Mr. Speaker, the unfortunate situation is that the youth and for that matter the school kids who are the future leaders are the most vulnerable in terms of the age-long living with the incapacities that would come about as a result of the flies. So the earlier we took up the challenge of trying to control the flies, and other
Mr. Abuga Pele (NDc -- chiana- Paga) 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has said almost all things that I wanted to say. But I would want to add that normally, the re-emergence or the reoccurrence of the seriousness of the fly problem particularly in the areas the hon. Member who made the Statement mentioned and in my constituency and other parts of northern Ghana, it is a clear revelation of our tendency to overrely on foreign donors and our inability to sustain some of the projects that have been started by some of these donors.
Mr. Speaker, the onchocerciasis project was the main scheme for eliminating the effects of these flies, but with the ending of the onchocerciasis project, nothing has been put there as a replacement; and this is the result that we are now reaping.
Mr. Speaker, in my constituency, for instance, areas like Nakon, Kechew, Kayoho, are massive cattle producing areas and very fertile for farming. But Mr. Speaker, if you visit the place, for five minutes, you will be so uncomfortable you will not like to visit the area again.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the last hon. Member who said that it is important for the Government to provide for this particular problem that is happening in almost all parts of northern Ghana and other parts of the country where we have swift flowing rivers. Mr. Speaker, if we do not make special provision in the budget for this thing that I consider a disaster, which is increasingly becoming more complex, a time will come when we will be up against a very dangerous situation.
So Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with this Statement by calling on the Government to take immediate steps to ensure that we sustain the elimination of the effect of the fly in all parts of the country.
Mr. Stephen Kunsu (NDc -- Kintampo North) 11:45 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to support the Statement made by the hon. Member for Krachi East.
The issue of the re-emergence of the black fly in Ghana must be viewed with seriousness. In fact, the mere mention of the black fly is enough to petrify any government. It is against this backdrop that the Government must be jerked into alertness and action. My concern is the amazing rapidity with which the fly spreads and transmits the disease to people. Since a single bite of the fly produces devastating effects on its victims, the Government should mobilise the necessary logistics and resources to halt the spread of the fly to the neighbouring constituencies.
Mr. Speaker, anybody can be vulnerable to attack since there is the possibility of people visiting the affected areas. The fly
does not discriminate, it has no respect for anybody, the rich and the poor, the chief and the subject, the executive officer and the subordinate, the businessman and the beggar, the farmer and the labourer, the master and the apprentice, the driver and the mate can all be attacked.
Ghana cannot afford to lose our much needed manpower as the result of the harmful activities of the fly. It is better to prevent it from spreading now than to spend millions of cedis on the curative aspect. At the moment, Ghanaians are grappling with the problems of fighting other diseases. Our finances therefore must not be whittled down as a result of our neglect or indifference to the phenomenal intrusion of the black fly. Any lackadaisical attitude to the issue will puncture the already fragile economy of the nation.
Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that the spraying exercise must be executed with the promptitude, seriousness and perseverance until the flies are destroyed completely.
Mr. Speaker 11:45 a.m.
we have had enough. Another Statement by the hon. Member for Afigya-Sekyere East (Mr. D. H. Yeboah).
Ghanaians in the Diaspora
Mr. D. H. Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya- Sekyere East) 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement.
Mr. Speaker, brain drain has been one of the major human resource problems facing the country and indeed majority of the countries in the developing world.
we, as a nation, can at best reduce its impact but we cannot eliminate it entirely. Some of our countrymen who have travelled abroad have either acquired some
skills or professions or have increased their knowledge which could be extremely beneficial to our dear country.

Mr. Speaker, some of our people in the diaspora have stayed there for a long time. Having acquired knowledge, employable skills, professions, many of our compatriots are yearning to return home to contribute their quota to the national development programme.

Mr. Speaker, though they feel the nostalgia to return home, they are unsure of what their motherland has in store for them if they return home. Mr. Speaker, some of our brothers and sisters who had attempted to come home narrate stories of hostilities by their own kin and kindred here in Ghana. will the country be prepared to receive them? what conditions are there at home that can quickly settle them? These are some of the questions they keep asking.

Mr. Speaker, the yearly remittances from our people in the diaspora to friends and relatives in Ghana run into hundreds of millions of dollars. If we acknowledge this fact, then it behoves us to put in place certain incentive packages so as to attract these kinsmen back home to invest in the various sectors of the economy.

Mr. Speaker, the Government has put in place various incentive packages to attract foreign investors to this country. what are we doing about our own brothers and sisters who have the potential to do more for our country than any foreigner will do?

Some of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora are capable of undertaking long term investments in areas like housing development, farming, mining, et cetera.
Mr. D. H. Yeboah (NPP -- Afigya- Sekyere East) 11:55 a.m.

In order to attract such people back home, I wish to suggest that any person who has resided abroad for a considerable period, such as ten years should be granted certain tax exemptions or holiday for up to five years if the person invests in any of the strategic sectors of the economy. Additionally, citizens who have stayed abroad for ten years and over should be given tax exemptions on personal effects and other goods such as vehicles on their return home.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to further suggest that those in the diaspora who have no material resources to invest but have special academic and vocational skills, should be accorded special incentives to enable them to settle at home to impart their skills to our citizens.

Mr. Speaker, it is my candid opinion that if we initiate such measures, we can attract Ghanaian investors into this country. As a nation, we spend billions of cedis on foreigners as consultants and experts while Ghanaians with similar skills work in other countries.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of medical officers, businessmen, architects, scientists, engineers, teachers and many other professionals who are willing to return home to help in our national development. It is against this background that I hereby suggest that the State should entice these people with incentives of some sort toward national development.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for your indulgence.
Mr. c. S. Hodogbey (NDc - North Tongu) 11:55 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by the hon. Member for Afigya-Sekyere East (Mr. D. H. Yeboah).
Mr. Speaker, actually, there are several people who are Ghanaians and are occupying very high positions of trust
Mr. Kojo Armah 11:55 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. Friend saying that we should put some special levy on citizens in waiting for Ghanaians outside who want to come so that we can help them. I want him to tell us whether he wants additional taxes on the already
overburdened Ghanaians or whatever; because he is talking about the budget and taxes. So what I want to know from him is whether he is advocating for more taxes on Ghanaians just to take care of Ghanaians outside who want to come into their own country?
Mr. Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, this is not a point of order. The hon. Member may wind up.
Mr. Hodogbey 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I was saying was that people who live outside, not Ghanaians here, all right? I would also like us to ensure that, at least, instead of only looking at Ghanaians outside, as Ghanaians, they make a big contribution to this economy by remitting moneys every year. Therefore, the Government should do something to encourage them to do that. [Some hon. Members: wind up; wind up.] As I started saying - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, please wind up.
Mr. Hodogbey 12:05 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I therefore want the Government to do something to attract Ghanaians living outside so that they can come to their country and contribute to the nation.
Kwadwo Agyei-Addo (NPP - Fanteakwa): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably delivered by the affable Member for Afigya-Sekyere East. Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I would want us to have a look at the role and contribution that our people in the diaspora do make to our national effort.
Ghanaians in the diaspora constitute a potential market for non-traditional exportable items and at this time in our national developmental agenda when we are trying to diversify our export earnings, I believe that role is very crucial. Ghanaians in the diaspora, Mr. Speaker, though living outside are always
contributing at home through donations of cash, equipment and pharmaceuticals. One needs to have a look at our dailies every week to see communities benefiting from donations from Ghanaians in the diaspora.
Mr. Speaker, this is one activity that transcends political party barriers and I believe, if properly managed, these activities could constitute a major boost for our national developmental efforts, that is, given the appropriate policy and institutional framework.
Mr. Speaker, the advantage that we have as a nation is that our people who go out see their sojourn abroad as a means to an end and not an end in itself. So this is a case of casting our bread upon the waters so that we would find it after many days. The only unfortunate aspect is that some fish might wahala on the bread and we might not find it gain.

Mr. Speaker, if we do acknowledge the role that our people in the diaspora play, then we also need to find ways and means to ensure that we facilitate their relocation home. Sometime ago, I know that when you lived outside for a certain number of years and you wanted to relocate, you were given some concessionary terms at least to clear one vehicle. That facility no longer exists.

what we are saying is that, even those who want to make donations of pharmaceuticals in their communities back home are frustrated to the extent that they come, they bring the goods and they are unable to clear the goods, and they go away. If these things do happen, they might never come back again. I believe this is the time that we need to have a second look at ways and means of enticing our people who have lived outside and have acquired a lot of training and would want to relocate back home.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:05 p.m.
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke is seriously misleading this House. why do I say so? I say so because, people leave this country not due to the hardships alone in the country but because they see that there are far better conditions outside there. Therefore, no matter what you do in the country, they would not stay here. I wish to draw his attention to the fact that when a nurse leaves here for the United Kingdom, his or her first pay is about one thousand, six hundred pounds. Therefore, nothing would stop that person from leaving this country; no matter what. No matter the economic conditions here, the person would go.
I wish to also say that in spite of all these economic problems that he is envisaging, people are still working in this country; so he is misleading the House.
Mr. Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon. Member for
Kwabre East, I will call you to contribute but not at this stage. Hon. Member for Ashaiman, please you may continue.
Mr. Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the issue
is that if we give tax concessions to our brothers who are coming in, on any goods they are bringing into this country, we have to look at the system they are coming to meet. If they bring in cars or personal effects and they are allowed to clear them free of charge, they are coming into a system whereby they are not going to live on that car or personal effects for ever; they are going to acquire more in future.
But what is the system you are coming into? That is my point. The people living in this country go outside because of a
Mr. Yeboah 12:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, there is brain drain, even in America, a developed country. There are lots of people going from there to China; a lot of doctors are going to China. It is up to the country to persuade them to come back. So if one talks about brain drain, the brain drain is all over; it is not with Ghana alone. It is up to us to persuade them so that they can come back and help the economy.
Mr. Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will wind
Mr. Agyei-Addo 12:05 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. Member on the other side of the House is seriously misleading this House. I think that this is the only time that the daily wage is more than a dollar, for the first time in the history of this country. On that note alone, the Member who just spoke is seriously misleading this august House.
Mr. Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon. Member, continue.
Mr. Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I never
said that the minimum wage was less than a dollar; I am saying that it cannot feed three people a day. If he can use
¢13,000.00 to feed himself, his wife and family, that is his matter. But I am saying that ¢13,000.00 cannot feed three people a day; and we have to improve upon it.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 12:05 p.m.
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House because there has not been any time that the minimum wage in the country has been able to feed three people at a time. This brain drain started and has been going on long before this time, and so for him to get up and say that the minimum wage this time is not enough to feed two or three people, it is grossly misleading.
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon. Member, the
hon. Member for Ashaiman himself has resumed his seat.

Deputy Minister for Tourism and Modernization of the capital city (Mr. S. Asamoah-Boateng): Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement made by my hon. Colleague about brain drain and its effects and how we can do something about it.

I recall, Mr. Speaker, that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government organized, with the assistance of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the first-ever Homecoming Summit. It is the most successful event organized in Ghana, I would say, if I am not mistaken, of which I was the coordinator; and I am proud of that. I was privileged and honoured to be the coordinator. Mr. Speaker, all the issues that my hon. Colleague is enumerating were discussed and the so- called incentives and packages that we thought we could put together were all discussed and a secretariat was set up.

There is a Non-resident Ghanaian secretariat at the moment at Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) but, Mr. Speaker, it has not been resourced. That is the problem. And all the issues that we are talking about today, in terms of facilitating their investment returns, how they purchase properties, how they get through customs and all that have been put together and there is a recom-mendation available which can be accessed through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning as well as the secretariat. So they are all there.

But Mr. Speaker, what I would like to say is that since that event, we have had most of them coming back home and assisting. They are very happy to be in Ghana and would not want to go back. we need to also find a way to restrict, not control, but to make it possible for people to remain in the country so that they can make it happen in Ghana, rather than going outside and making it.

when I say this, what I mean is that we need to reform our systems; we need to find a way to make working here far better and also the resources and the materials, equipment that people need to work with available. I particularly want to mention the medical professionals most of whom have been trained well and are capable of doing anything that is possible under this sun. we need to strengthen them, we need to bring in the equipment. If you go to Korle Bu, we do not have them and so yes, they may want to go back because the pay is better, but most importantly because when they stay here they do not have the materials to work with. So we need to be able to resource those facilities so they can remain.

Mr. Speaker, the other point is that you may want to do that but some of them would still want to go. I hear we are losing our nurses in droves. There has been some
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
wind up, hon. Member.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, some things that are in the pipeline. Recently, the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning approached me, as the coordinator -- I was privileged to be the coordinator -- to make available to him some of the recommendations such as the issuing of international bonds among Ghanaians in the diaspora. That is a very laudable proposal and if we can begin to do that, and which they themselves
suggested they could help, that would bring a lot of money into the country and we can all benefit.

Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleagues on the other side are not very happy that they could vote, but they would have to vote because they contribute and they remit money to us. So we would encourage all hon. Members, on both sides, to vote on that Bill positively when it comes to the floor of the House and we can all benefit from the non-resident Ghanaians.

Mr. Speaker, on this note and since time is running out, I would like to thank you for this opportunity.


Report of the committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for Sharing

the District Assemblies common Fund for the Year 2005

chairman of the committee (Alhaji Malik A. Yakubu): Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the whole on the Proposed Formula for Sharing the District Assemblies Common Fund for the year 2005.

In moving the motion, I would like to refer to salient points and request that the Report should be deemed as fully read and captured by the Hansard.

1.0 Introduction

Mr. Speaker, article 252 (2) of the Constitution and the District Assemblies Common Fund Act (1993), Act 455 enjoin Parliament to make provision for the allocation of not less than five per cent (5%) of the total revenue of Ghana to the District Assemblies Common Fund for development. Section 7(a) of the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455) also requires the Administrator to propose annually for the approval of Parliament a formula for distributing the Common Fund to the District Assemblies.

Accordingly, the formula proposed for sharing the 2005 District Assemblies Common Fund was laid in the House on Friday, 3rd June 2005 and was subsequently referred to the Committee of the whole for consideration and report.

The Committee is grateful to the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Common Fund Administrator, Mr. Joshua Magnus Nicol and the Operations Officer, Mr. Samuel Aidoo for attending upon it and assisting in its deliberations.

2. References

i. The District Assemblies Common Fund Act 1993, Act 455

ii. The 1992 Constitution

2.1 Factors chosen for the Development of the Formula

Deve lopmen t o f t he fo rmu la involves identifying factors which are quantifiable and capable of depicting all the considerations of the formula. Indicators are then derived for these factors, measured and combined in a mathematical relationship to arrive at a composite proportion for each district.

The guiding principles in choosing the factors and the corresponding indicators are that they are relevant, comprehensive, reliable, measurable and simple.

The following factors were considered for the sharing of the 2005 District Assemblies Common Fund: Need, Responsiveness, Equality, Pressure and Poverty.

(i) Need Factor The sharing took into consideration

the level of development of each district with the view to addressing imbalances in the level of development. The following indicators were adopted:

a. Health Services - the level of health services enjoyed by the people in each district. The selected measures for health services are the number of health facilities such as hospitals, clinics, health centres, et cetera, doctor/population ratio and professional nurses/population ratio;

b. Education Services - the level of provision of basic and second cycle schools in each district and the trained-teacher/pupil ratio;

c. water Coverage - the percentage of population having access to clean and potable water;

d. Tarred Road Coverage -- the per- centage of tarred roads in the districts compared to the national total road network has been included as an additional indicator.

(ii) Responsive Factor Improvement in revenue generation

and collection is used as an indicator. 1999 was used as the base year and percentage increases of revenue generation in the base year were measured against year 2003.

(iii) Equality Factor

This involved a straightforward division of a portion of the Fund by 138
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 12:25 p.m.
which could be increased depending on the sanitation programme that the TMA would present.
Accordingly, the Committee recom- mends the disbursement of the 10 per cent of the reserve for sanitation which will amount to ¢104.840 billion as follows:
Accra -- ¢ 4 0 billion -- 38%
Kumasi -- ¢20 billion -- 19%
Sekondi-Takoradi -- ¢15 billion -- 14%
Tamale -- ¢10 billion -- 10%
Tema -- ¢ 5 billion -- 5%
Contingency -- ¢ 1 4 billion -- 14%
However the above allocations are subject to the approval of their sanitation programme by Parliament.
The Committee observed that there is the need to build and improve the capacity of the Auditor-General's office. This is because some of the reports from this office are inaccurate and therefore unreliable. It was the view of the Committee that the capacity of the Auditor-General's office

should be enhanced to enable it follow up and monitor the disbursement of funds to the districts.

On the disbursement of the 10 per cent for sanitation by the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, the Committee expressed some dissatisfaction and insisted that the disbursement must be done by the House instead of allowing the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to use his own discretion in the disbursement.

The Committee further observed that considering the huge sums of money sent to the districts, there is the need to improve the capacities of the Principal Officers in the District Assemblies, particularly the District Chief Executive, District Coordinating Director and the Accountant to enable them manage these resources more effectively.

The Committee prevailed on the Administrator of the Common Fund to look at the statistics being used as the basis for the disbursement of the Common Fund. It was the view of the Committee that a misleading and inaccurate statistics would lead to a faulty decision.

The Committee was informed that there is a programme for capacity building for District Assembly officials, especially the Accountants.

On the issue of the 2 per cent of the Fund set aside for bulk purchase, the Deputy Minister informed the Committee that the allocation is meant for the purchases of items such as pick-up vehicles that will enhance the services of the District Assemblies.

3.0 conclusion

The Commi t t ee a f t e r ca re fu l consideration of the proposed formula for the distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund approved Scenario A and recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve an amount of ¢1.0484 trillion for distribution to the District Assemblies.

Respectfully submitted.

Mr. Abuga Pele (NDC - Chiana/

Paga): Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion but in doing so I would want to

know that there is a budget system through which plans and budgets are drawn by the various District Assemblies and submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

And Mr. Speaker, if you go down to the District Assemblies, especially in my Assembly we know that increasingly we have made statements on the floor of this House asking for Government to go and desilt our dams or rehabilitate them because we know that dams are the critical lifeline to the people of the north.

But Mr. Speaker, if you ask to know how much of the allocation that is sent to the various districts in northern Ghana goes into rehabilitation and desilting of these dams, you would be surprised. It means that our priorities are not right.

Mr. Speaker, I will again suggest that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should in conjunction with the Common Fund Administrator see whether they can help the various District Assemblies or even team up with some District Assemblies, to acquire equipment like graders, dam desilting and construction equipment to assist the Assemblies, because I see that the main problem confronting these District Assemblies is how to get the equipment to do the desilting.

It takes a minimum of about hundred million cedis to desilt a dam, but Mr. Speaker, if the equipment are available at the local level it should be easy for many District Assemblies to desilt their dams. In my district, for example, we have between thirty and forty small scale dams and any one of these dams that is operational helps the people to get food during the long dry season; and it helps them to buy necessary furniture and other things for their children and also take care of their school fees,

and so on.

Mr. Speaker, this priority area has been

neglected because it is easier to go and construct a school block and get one's ten per cent, and it is easier to go and construct an office complex. when one goes to some of the District Assemblies the plans they put in their budget estimates are that they want to put up office complexes. One wonders what would happen in an office complex if the people around whom this office is to operate are very poor and languishing in starvation. Mr. Speaker, this is very important. So if the Ministry can think about a way of getting out of this situation - first, to ensure that the money is properly utilized; and secondly, to ensure that what is of priority to the area is actually carried out.

Mr. Speaker, we have for a long time

also been thinking that the work of an assemblyman is just about some villager who should just march from his village and go and listen to a very big DCE talk for long hours and go back and sit down; and he is expected to carry information and disseminate this information to the villagers or the people on the ground.

Mr. Speaker, it is high time we began to think of the assemblyman and the people who compose of the District Assembly as very important people. Therefore, there is the need for us to begin to think of some allowance for them. If we think that the number is too large and unworkable, we should reduce the number of assemblymen and ensure that the assemblymen are also taken care of, otherwise they cannot perform their duties.

we all hail the assembly concept as

one which allows everybody at the local level to be in touch with what happens at the centre. Mr. Speaker, this function is beginning to wane just because the people
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng 12:25 p.m.

are unable to do it; it is impracticable and it does not make sense to say that we MPs can come and sit here and take allowances and other committees also take allowances but the assemblyman should go and sit in the assembly and at the end of the day march home without anything. It is very important that we begin to think about these things.

Question proposed.
Mr. J. K. Avedzi (NDc - Ketu North) 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and also urge hon. Members to adopt the motion. But before I do that, Mr. Speaker, looking at the formula for the disbursement, especially the need factor which was used -- and one of the items in the need factor is the tarred roads -- I am wondering why the use of the tarred roads in computing the need factor.
Now, most of the Members here come
from districts that are rural in nature and poor and so this District Assemblies Common Fund is not going to be used by the districts in tarring roads but rather used for feeder roads. why do we use it for tarred roads instead of feeder roads? Because, the district is going to use this money in rehabilitating and maintaining the feeder roads but we rather used tarred roads in computing the figure for the need factor.
I would want to suggest that in future when we are going to adopt the formula for disbursing the Common Fund, we should rather think of the number of kilometres in each district and use that in comparison with the total number of feeder roads in the whole country, and then use that as a factor instead of using tarred roads.
In my district, apart from the main road that leads from Accra to Aflao and the one from Aflao to Ho which passes through my constituency, I do not have any tarred road. But in the formula I have “tarred roads”.
Those cannot be counted as tarred roads in the constituency and therefore I object to the use of the tarred roads in computing the figure. In future we should look at the number of feeder roads instead of tarred roads. That is my suggestion.
Mr. Speaker, I support the motion and I urge all hon. Members to adopt it.
Mr. Kojo Armah (cPP - Evalue- Gwira) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and would also urge all hon. Members to support it. As already said, this was discussed at the Committee of the whole and therefore there is not much to be said about it.
Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasise that there is the need to increasingly enhance the capacity of the operators of the decentralization programme at the district level. This would mean that the share of the Common Fund that is always deducted at source for training and capacity- building should not only be limited to the senior members of the Assembly, like the Finance Officer, the Coordinating Director and the Chief Executive; some provision should be made for the area council chairmen and the unit committee members.
Admittedly, the numbers of the unit committees are too large and we should identify the main people at the unit committee level who engage in revenue mobilization so that we can develop their capacity to also enhance the internally- generated fund (IGF) which is a factor in the formula for disbursement.
Mr. Speaker, this is very important because invariably when unit committee members do not see themselves as relevant to the Assembly then we cannot oblige them to work very well; and their relevance is more in the area of revenue mobilization and personal areas like sanitation and disaster management and things like
Mr. Kojo Armah (cPP - Evalue- Gwira) 12:35 p.m.

situation where the District Assemblies are even supposed to provide barracks for the police. They have to build stadia, they have to virtually do everything that the Central Government normally should be doing, and yet the resources that we are giving them to tackle these responsibilities are not enough. So I would endorse the call made by hon. Abuga Pele that we look at the possibility of increasing the allocations, probably from next year, so that the Assemblies would be in a better position to do this. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, there is an area that I would want the Common Fund Administrator to consider in future; and this has to do with children in this country.

we agree that women and children are also a group of the vulnerable in the society and we need to do things or programmes that would build them up to enable them grow into responsible adults, areas like pre-school education, for instance. This morning we mentioned the issue of orphans and children in mining and quarrying.

Also, in the Children's Act there is a provision for the institution of child panels to adjudicate on matters concerning juveniles in society, and yet lack of resources has made it difficult for us to implement this part of the Children's Act. So I would want to appeal to the Common Fund Administrator to think about this possibility and then make some funds available for children as a part of the vulnerable in society.

Some hon. Members - rose --
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon. Majority Chief
whip, are you going to contribute?
Mr. osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP - Suame) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I had initially wanted to yield to the Minister for women and Children's Affairs. But Mr. Speaker,
in view of the fact that we do not have contentious matters, if maybe we could not have more than three contributors then we could wind up.
Mr. Speaker, my own intervention is going to be very brief. It relates first to the issue of the Assemblies waiting at the end of every year to have the largesse flowing from the Central Government. Mr. Speaker, with this development of the Central Government allocating resources to the Assemblies it looks like they are shirking part of their own responsibilities in generating funds internally.
Internally-Generated Funds (IGF) are increasingly becoming an extinct issue and everyone of them just waits to receive manna from heaven at the end of every year. Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Assemblies may have to revisit this matter.
Mr. Abuga Pele 12:35 p.m.
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. He says the assemblymen have already been taken care of. I do not know what he means by “they have been taken care of” because what pertains now is a situation where every Assembly uses its own discretion to give whatever sitting allowance it thinks should be given to its members. For instance, some Assemblies take as low as ¢15,000 per sitting. So Mr. Speaker, what we are calling for is an organized and properly structured system of remuneration.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. with this clarification I think I am all right. But I thought the impression he himself created initially was that they are not given sitting allowances and that is why I said what I said. But indeed, he is right in saying that we need to really streamline the allowances that are given to assemblymen. But more importantly is the role of unit committee members; we have said time and again that the number appears to be unwieldy and we should have a second look at that.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member spoke about the issue of desilting. I think it is about the proper role definition for the Assemblies. At the moment the body that is charged to do this does not appear to know exactly where it is situated -- the Town and Country Planning Department. Mr. Speaker, statutorily they are placed under the Ministry of Science and Environment, but operationally they are under the District Assemblies; and they are poorly resourced, we have said this time and again.
The last time the Town and Country Planning Department was provided with vehicles was as remote a time as 1978. Mr. Speaker, they are still using vehicles that were given to them in 1978. They are squeaky, ramshackle contraptions that qualify to be called vehicles because they roll on four wheels. Mr. Speaker, I do not think that is good enough. what incentives are we providing to the people working there? I am happy to observe that the hon. Minister is here. we have talked about this matter on many occasions and now that he is in the saddle I want him to be seized of the facts and do something about the Town and Country Planning
Mr. E. K. Salia (NDc - Jirapa) 12:55 p.m.
Speaker, I rise to support the views raised by several of my hon. Colleagues and also the motion. However, on page five of the Report that we have I see that there is some talk about the Auditor-General's office needing to be strengthened. My worry is, is it the responsibility of the Common Fund Administrator to strengthen or improve upon the capacity of the Auditor- General's Department?
I do not know why the recommendation was made at all. I do not think that we

should be saddled with the responsibility of improving the capacity and the capabilities of the Auditor-General's Department. I believe it is a statutory office and the Government of the day ought to provide the necessary resources for it.

Again, I see that on page 4, among the list of activities the reserve fund is supposed to be set aside for is one that they call counterpart funds or projects co-finance with international donors. I want to know whether these are “Ministry- wide” or District Assemblies specific. If they are, I believe that what they need as counterpart funds ought indeed to come from their share of the Common Fund rather than the reserve fund because the beneficiary communities have a locus and that is a particular or specific district.

I do not see why all of us, all the other District Assemblies which are not benefiting from such a project -- Let us say a water project for Akim Oda, if they require counterpart funds, I wonder why everybody else ought to make a contribution. Because, when that is deducted it means there is less funds available for every other district.

Mr. Speaker, my other concern really is in respect of the use of the money. I believe that we can congratulate the Administrator of the Common Fund and the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development for the guidelines they have given us on the use of the money. But I believe that there is a need for more direction in some of the districts. Indeed, as one of my hon. Colleagues said, it seems everything under the sun is now being transferred to the District Assemblies and, indeed, there are Assemblies that are using more of their moneys in just constructing structures, buildings.

They do not have offices for the Ministry of Education, the district offices, and it is the District Assembly that has

to construct it. I have a situation in my district where there is a 24-unit office and yet the Assembly is thinking of constructing another two storey building just to accommodate other government departments, which would cost close to ¢3 billion. I do not believe that we should use the Assembly's money for such heavy expenditures. we should rather concentrate on improving on the welfare of our people. If too much money is spent on just physical structures or contracts to be awarded, I believe that it is not all such things that benefit the people in the constituency.

Another concern is similar to that of the hon. Member for Suame, (Mr. Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu). Mr. Speaker, during the last Parliament we actually had to invite a number of District Chief Executives because of the way they were conducting themselves. I believe that the committee met at Agona Swedru. I wonder whether some of the reports have gotten to the hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, because some of them even refused to attend to the call, the invitation by Parliament. They had the audacity to refuse, and in some cases, virtually nothing happened to them. It is such behaviour that leads to a lot of conflicts between District Chief Executives and Members of Parliament.

I believe that we are human beings and human behaviour is what determines the relations between all of us. If we are being called upon to perform our part, I believe that the hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development ought to also advise some of his District Chief Executives. It is not a place of conflict. The fact that we are all politicians does not necessarily mean that there should be conflicts between us.

I do not believe it is even only with people in the Opposition; I believe that District Chief Executives also pose problems even to some members of the

ruling Government. I therefore believe that if we must have developments in our constituencies there ought to be more co- operation between us.

The final thing I want to say is in respect of the use of some of the resources for the Poverty Alleviation Fund. A cursory look at the balance sheets of most of the District Assemblies would reveal that there are a lot of billions and billions of cedis that have been advanced in respect of poverty alleviation credit, and up till now the moneys have not been repaid; and yet there is, in the guidelines, that every year 10 or 20 per cent of the Common Fund should be used for poverty alleviation loans.

what are we going to do if the monies are not coming back? Are they gifts? I believe that there should be a closer look at the way the Poverty Alleviation Funds are being utilized. There should be a relationship between the amount utilized and the amount recovered so that if the recoveries are not forthcoming then, maybe, less of the money should be allocated to the Poverty Alleviation Fund instead of the fixed amounts which the District Assemblies insist on doling out to people who would not repay. If they are free monies then there should be a spread to virtually everybody and not just the needy.

I believe that poverty alleviation loans must be recovered. If they are not recovered the monies that are used for poverty alleviation loans should be used for other purposes that benefit every member of the District Assembly instead of just the beneficiaries of the loans.

Mr. Speaker, with this, I urge all my hon. Colleagues to support this motion.
Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and to support some of the earlier comments made particularly by the Member of Parliament for North Dayi (Ms. Akua Sena Dansua) on the need for the District Assemblies to look at issues on children and women.
The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development is here; we know that the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development provides guidelines for the utilization. And the guidelines for utilization, just as he has captured “support for the disabled”, should encourage and provide some guidelines for support to children and women, and with children especially in education. As has been earlier on observed, most of the interests of the District Assemblies may be in the hardware, the hardware being the contract and not the software.
But it is the software that makes the communities viable and it is very important that they look at issues of children -- how to support children in school, and how to ensure that the orphans and children who do not get one square meal a day are provided for and supported. It is very important, especially in the light of the new school feeding programme that the Government is promoting, that the District Assemblies support the programme and ensure that the children are taken care of.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for
Jirapa mentioned the issue of poverty alleviation. Poverty Alleviation Fund is not necessarily meant for micro-credit; Poverty Alleviation Fund should be used to address activities that the communities regard as issues that if addressed will mitigate issues of poverty. So it is not necessarily given out as micro-credit under poverty alleviation, and I believe that this should be made clear to the
Minister for Women and children's Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:55 p.m.

District Assemblies. Indeed, the category in that segment is economic productivity and growth. So they need to invest in other issues that they think will promote economic development.

Mr. Speaker, just a small correction. The Town and Country Planning Department is not under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; and that has been the problem. It is under the Ministry of Environment and Science, but this also brings a point and, maybe, later on, we should be looking at that again - Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment and Science -- whether this arrangement is the best for the Local Government Authority.

Mr. Speaker, just as at the national level

we looked at a Formula for distributing the Common Fund to the districts, I think it is about time that the districts too looked at the formula for distributing this Fund to the sub-structures, that is, the area and town council level. I think they should pick on this and also look at it because sometimes we have a problem where all investments go into one area council or sub-council but not all the various areas in the district. So the districts should also come out with some formula, debate it at the District Assembly level and ensure that every sub-structure, area council, town council, urban council have access to the funding.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to

draw the attention of the House that the “Positive Change” is actually investing a lot in the District Assemblies. we are removing and increasing the figures as we go along. If you look at the fact that even with the HIPC Fund, billions are given to the districts and we have moved from ¢635 billion in 2003, ¢787 billion in 2004 to ¢1,484 trillion in 2005, if this
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDc - Ningo- Prampram) 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the floor and in doing so I wish to make a few comments, maybe starting from where the hon. Minister for women and Children Affairs ended.
The issue of increasing allocation should not be the thing because we are talking of good governance - “Positive Change”. we have been party to good governance. Good governance depends on structures and on some legs and the important leg that it depends on is local governance. Now let us look at how far we have come, what structures have been put in place, and how we are addressing the issues which would reflect on the good governance that we are talking about.
For instance, in talking about the structures, we have the District Assembly, the local tiers like the area and town councils and the unit committees, which are not yet firmly grounded; and so we need to pause and dispassionately look at those structures. Now, under the structures that we are talking about -- we have just spoken about development control, that is the Town and Country Planning Department and its placement. we have said it time and again and again that the placement of the Town and Country Planning Department has been a problem. Placement of the Town and Country Planning Department should be under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and there are structures that you need to use.
Once you have the Town and Country Planning Department you are looking at sanitation which comes under waste management; you have to equip the agencies. we have issued statements about flooding in various places and it is because of lack of proper development
control. we have the Town and Country Planning Department and then the unit which monitors development; and the Engineering Department is just scattered all over the place.
we have said it again and again. we have the Public works Department (PwD) which is on its own. PwD was introduced to serve a purpose but it does not serve that purpose anymore. You go to some of the districts and you have the PwD out there and then you have the District Assembly which has the responsibility for development control but it is not equipped; meanwhile, you have equipped the PwD. So we are saying that if we can, by legislation, let all PwD yards be taken over by the District Assemblies it would help us.
There is an issue I have raised time
again and again; the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA) and Tema Development Corporation (TDC), President Nkrumah set them up for a purpose, but that purpose is no longer relevant. So what we should do is that the TDC with all its assets should be taken over by TMA for them to be able to monitor and employ - Otherwise, we should not be sitting here and be thinking about sanitation in Tema. So Mr. Speaker, I think that there is a lot more work that we need to do to ensure that the touted good governance is really seen not in terms of monies that we are allocating but that the monies that we are allocating, we have benefited from them.
Mr. Speaker, we are talking about
capacity building; we have said it over and over again and it is something that needs to be taken very seriously. we are talking about auditing, we have stated it here -- auditing. we need to have an internal audit unit to replace the old Local Government Inspectorate Division which is not everywhere. You have to monitor especially the staff; whatever is being
done has to be monitored. If we were monitoring and doing these we would also monitor purchases. we have been purchasing Pick-ups every now and then, meanwhile we are not looking at other areas. It is important that we look at that as well.
we also have something that we have said again and again, that the laws that we have today make the District Chief Executives, chairmen of sports councils and youth committees; meanwhile we have never made any allocation to support the development of sports and then we move elsewhere and rather compel some District Assemblies to support sports infrastructure on ad hoc basis. I think that we need to look at that issue and address it.

Mr. Speaker, in the other lines, you have the District Assembly and the other tiers. You have the regional co-ordinating councils. All of them are just as ceremonial and they interfere with what happens at the local level. we have got to a point where we need, as a people, to look at the level between the District Assembly and the national Government. The co- ordinating councils in other countries are given specialized functions; you give them waste management, you give them road, you give them police and other things. I think we have got to a point that we have to review the situation and cease to make the co-ordinating councils ceremonial. Because they have nothing to do, they interfere.

The District Chief Executive has a programme to make sure that he monitors development, demolishes this or that so that the system moves but somebody from somewhere applies the brakes. It is not the best. If we give them some assignment, I believe that they will also be busy and

then we meet at a level, talking about good governance.

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the contingency allocation at page 5, paragaraphs 2 3, the distribution of the ¢104.840 billion, which has been set aside for contingency, I think fourteen billion is rather on the high side but we have already approved of it so we would expect that the hon. Minister would keep us posted on how the fourteen billion is going to be disbursed. That is very important.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to appeal to the hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Develop-ment to ensure that projects and programmes are monitored. He must ensure that we move away from the old ways of preparing our Budgets - business as usual, let us go through the books of the local government operatives for eight years; it is business as usual; the same old ways of pushing the figures by the people down there. And quite often we pay for projects for about six or seven years. So even though trillions have gone down there, you do not see it. we just use it to pay for projects.

The issue about poverty alleviation has also been raised. I think that we need to do something about it.

with these words - not few words - I support the motion on the floor.
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Mr. charles B. Bintin) 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to thank hon. Members very much for a good work done.
Mr. Speaker, the concerns they have raised are really very true and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development would be taking a critical look at them. Particularly, the relationship between the Members of Parliament and the District Chief Executives; it is an
Mr. Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Salia 1:05 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister is misleading the House when he says that they have no choice but to take the decision. It is not a matter of not having a choice but it is a matter of disregarding even capable and competent people within the Assembly who could do it. It is a deliberate thing. It is not a matter of not having a choice.
There are usually a number of very competent people and the committee system, if allowed to work properly, would normally not lead to his taking decisions out of having no choice. Members of Parliament are totally ignored and in some cases where there are qualified personnel, they look at who is going to support that decision of theirs. And in most cases, invitation letters are sent after the meetings. Particularly when there are
procurement committee meetings and because they have a quorum that is coming from the district, of five, they hold the meeting without regard to other members. This is because all the other five members of the quorum can be got from the District Assembly Secretariat, the District Chief Executive, the procurement officers and all. So that is it, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Bintin 1:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I said that because the District Assembly has to approve of whatever project has to be done in the district before it is carried out. And if District Chief Executives succeed in pushing the projects they want to be done through and the Assembly also accepts them, I am saying that they are compelled to do that because the Assembly is supposed to come out with the projects that should be done.
Mr. John Tia 1:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Minister should graciously concede the point that the District Chief Executives always want to hold sway over the Assembly members. In the selection of government appointees, you will see a technical man and they will drop him and go and pick a farmer, an illiterate. This is done all over the place. If you take some statistics of the government appointees, many technical people sit
back there and they do not want to go and offer themselves to be insulted, but they will serve if the Government appoints them. So the District Chief Executives are given that latitude even from the Central Government so that they will hold away. So he should graciously concede it and then work towards improving upon the quality of Assembly members.
Mr. Bintin 1:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, this time around, for government appointees, the District Assemblies are given quotas. They have special people they have to appoint. Thirty per cent of the Assembly members are to be appointed and thirty per cent of that thirty per cent are for chiefs. Thirty per cent of that thirty per cent are women and then the others technocrats; and District Assemblies go by this.

Mr. Speaker, this is the time we have Government appointees being literates in the Assembly. In the past, it never happened.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 1:15 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I just want to add to what the Chip whip said, that we should be gracious enough to move forward because I have been in that seat before. It is in the interest of the District Chief Executive to have good people there. what we used to do was that, at the end of the elections, you looked at the curriculum vitae of the people and select those that you want. You may want an accountant, you want this, you want that - those who can help you. So that it cannot be between District Co-ordinating Director and the District Chief Executive. where you have an executive committee, it should be made up of people who can help you; we have the system for it. If you take people just
Mr. Bintin 1:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, this time around, conscious effort is being made to rectify these issues so that the Assemblies should move forward. I want to assure hon. Members that the issue of conflict between hon. Members and District Chief Executives would very soon be a thing of the past. we are working seriously at it and it has to be considered.

Question put and motion agreed to:

That this honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the whole on the Proposed Formula for Sharing the District Assemblies Common Fund for the year 2005.
Mr. Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Item 6, committee sittings.
Mr. osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have a number of Committees programmed to sit and we also intend having a Close Sitting upon adjournment. Mr. Speaker, on that note, I beg to move, that this House do now adjourn until tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon. Mr. Speaker, I so move.
  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.20 p.m. till 17th June, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.