Debates of 5 Jul 2005

PRAYERS 10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order!


OF GHANA 10 a.m.





Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines (Prof. Dominic K. Fobih) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it looks like I was enthusiastic about the Question because I have ready Answers for him.

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines has recognized crop damage by elephants and other wildlife species as a major challenge to wildlife management in general and elephant conservation in particular in the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) and other parts of the country.

The Wildlife Division has adopted several measures aimed at providing relief to affected farmers.

Elephants have constantly raided food crops, such as maize, cassava, plantain and cocoyam. These raids are also seasonal and are most severe when the crops mature.

Armed with this information, wildlife guards are deployed during the peak season to guard vulnerable farms during the day and at night to scare the elephants back into the forest. Farmers are also educated and taught how to use simple techniques such as the bamboo gun (an explosive devise made from bamboo and carbide) and other noise-making devices to keep the animals off their farms in the absence of the wildlife guards.

To make the application of these methods less burdensome, the farmers are encouraged to form “crop protection vigilante groups” in their communities. These will ensure that at any one time, there is a group on the farms to ward off attacks. These techniques have yielded results in some communities around the Kakum Park. These approaches have reduced the crop damage to acceptable limits as a result of the co-operation between farmers and wildlife guards.

Whilst this pilot work was going on, Conservation International, proposed a livelihood project for funding conservation by FAO in 2003.

The FAO agreed to fund this pilot project with the overall aim of improving food security through the reduction of crop losses from human/elephant conflicts. Specifically, this 18-month project has contributed to improving food security in ten communities around the park and

reduced human/wildlife conflicts through compatible land use planning and anti- crop raiding techniques.

The basic techniques employed in the project include a variety of “low technology” deterrent methods, which rely primarily on fences with old rags, impregnated with used engine oil or grease-based pepper mixture. There is also some use of bells hung on the ropes along the boundaries of the farms.

The pepper-grease can also be mixed with any combustible material such as elephant/cow dung or palm kennel and moulded into bricks/blocks which are then burned at farm corners during times that the elephants are likely to raid farms.

The elephant/human conflict in Kakum is basically a land-use problem. Crops such as maize, cassava, plantain and yam are usually planted close to the boundary of the reserve. Farmers close to the park's boundary are therefore encouraged to plant non-target crops such as pepper, ginger, oil palm and green pepper and the formation of volunteer squads or scouts in various communities to protect farms during the peak of raiding period.

Training workshops have been organized in pilot communities in the use of the low-tech methods to prevent elephant raids.

The pilot project focused on activities in ten communities at the northwestern corridor around Kakum Conservation area. Fifty farmers from these communities have benefited from the training programmes.

From the initial success of the pilot project, it has also become necessary to replicate the various methods and techniques to the other communities in the eastern, western and southern corridors of the park. To that end, 20 farms have
Prof. Fobih 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, to some extent yes, because the farmers bordering the north-eastern corridor of the Kakum Forest near my constituency were part of the team which was working on the pilot programme. But this has not been extended to all parts of the boundaries surrounding the forest, as I said here; and this is why a replication of the extension programme is being extended to his area. So definitely, most of his farmers are going to be in the second phase of the programme.
Rev. Donkor: Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether he has received any report from the personnel of the Game and Wildlife Division concerning crops that have been destroyed this year in my constituency.
Prof. Fobih 10:10 a.m.
Well, I do not know specifically what the report is supposed to be, but if it is a report on the progress made so far with the pilot farmers, then I will say yes. I have personally visited those sites with the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to verify the outcome of the initial stage, and we were all satisfied that for the first time, those farmers very close to the forest were able to harvest in some cases seven bags of maize, which is unusual. So if that is what he is referring to as the report, yes.
Mr. Moses Asaga 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question to the hon. Minister is whether he knows that in the Upper East Region, along the Red Volta, we have the same problem with these elephants normally invading farms and destroying crops; and whether he has any plans towards that area.
Prof. Fobih 10:10 a.m.
Yes, I am aware of that and the reason for that pilot programme was to try and find out how effective it was going to be so that we could extend it to other parts of the country where we are experiencing similar problems with the farmers. About three weeks ago when I visited the northern regions -- Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Region -- I happened to visit some of these places he is mentioning, and I know that we have introduced the method there. And we discussed at length how it could be expanded to include more farmers. So I am aware.
Mr. Asaga 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my next question is whether he is considering compensation for farmers whose crops are normally destroyed by these elephants; and what is the incentive for them. Thirdly, out of provocation, can the inhabitants decide to kill an elephant? Is it an offence? I do not mean the NPP Elephant. [Laughter.]
Pro. Fobih: Mr. Speaker, we do not intend to pay compensation but we have found a way out of that. Part of this pilot project which was supported by the FAO was that some kind of livelihood support could be given, and some assistance in the form of micro loans could also be given to the farmers who are directly involved in the programme. So I believe that when the programme goes on full swing, his farmers would at least be given something in that direction, but not in the true sense of compensation as such.
The other part of the question which deals with killing the animals, well, it is an offence to kill an elephant, by law, and we do not encourage the farmers to do so. That is why we are giving them this technical support. I believe that his farmers would cooperate with us to conserve these endangered species that we have.
Mr. George Kofi Arthur 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to know from the hon. Minister or his Ministry whether they consider the activities of elephants -- destructive enough in Kakum?
Prof. Fobih 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, no. [Laughter.]
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this incident in the area has been occurring from time to time. I would want to know from the hon. Minister whether they are carrying out a study to ascertain whether it is the young elephants or the old ones that are causing the destruction. [Laughter.]
Prof. Fobih 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes. I think a project of this sort must be premised on a scientific study. The Wildlife Division as well as the Conservation International did extensive study of this human/animal conflict or race before the project was started. And this involved people from Sri Lanka and so on; and they can now tell the number of elephants in any particular forest as I am talking now. But the conflict so far, to the best of my knowledge, is not due to the young ones but to those which are matured enough to move around - [Laughter.]
Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the Question posed and the Answer given by the hon. Minister, it appears to me that the elephant is the destroyer of our farms. May I know from the hon. Minister
Prof. Fobih 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have a problem in understanding the words ‘any other form' - [Laughter.] I wish it is explained to me.
Mr. Agbesi 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that I have to explain the words ‘any other form' - [Interruptions] - but I said ‘any other form'. If the hon. Minister does not understand ‘any other form' then Mr. Speaker, I will leave the words ‘any other form' and ask whether the elephant as an animal or as a symbol should not be confined to the bush - [Laughter.]
Prof. Fobih 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that we are trying to protect the elephants which we all know are endangered species, so their confinement to their natural habitat is a matter of course. On the other hand, talking of an elephant as a symbol, I think that it is an inanimate object and therefore the forest is not its home. So I cannot imagine confining a symbol to the forest.


Prof. Fobih 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Galamsey which is the shortened form of “gather and sell” is not legal. It cannot be equated with small-scale mining which is legal and supported.
Galamsey operators are ei ther retrenched mine personnel, offspring of retired miners, who have learnt the art of mining but have no access to employment in the sector or the less fortunate youth who need money to continue with their education or for start-up capital.
People engage in galamsey for a number of reasons, the pull factors being:
Means of livelihood to reduce poverty;
Perception of galamsey as a job with quick and fat returns, that is getting rich;
Difficulties in going through licensing processes.
Regrettably, Mr. Speaker, galamsey is associated with safety risks, environmental hazards including pollution of water bodies and high prevalence/incidence of HIV/AIDS cases.
These galamsey operators whose population is conservatively put at about 20,000 nationwide operate on concessions granted to multinational companies principally around Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea, Bogoso, Akwatia and other locations in the Upper East Region (Bolgatanga).
Following persistent complaints from affected mining companies, especially Anglogold-Ashanti, Goldfields (Gh) Limited and Golden Star Resources (GSR) (Prestea/Bogoso), the Ministry decided to assist with the relocation, retooling and eventual licensing.
This decision is informed by two main considerations, namely:
The Ministry's desire to offer security and protection to mining companies' investments and thereby protect the image of the country as
a safe haven for foreign investment.
The need to nurture and support growth of indigenous small-scale mining in order to derive significant revenue therefrom.
The following actions have been taken by the Ministry to facilitate grant of licences to galamsey operators:
Areas have been identified for allocation to galamseyers. These include: Japa and Ajumadie in the Western Region and Winneba in the Central Region. Other areas are Dakoto near Bolgatanga, Damongo and Dekrupe.
In addition, the Ministry has also blocked out certain strategic areas exclusively for licensing to small- scale miners who shall take advantage of the Ministry's initiative/resettlement programme. Some of the areas are Bolgatanga, “Gambia” near Prestea and Jacubo.
Assistance to form co-operatives/ groups have also been decided. Minerals Commission offices at Assin Fosu, Bibiani, Tarkwa and Asankragwa have been requested to educate and assist those who wish to acquire small-scale concessions and licences to operate in the areas mentioned above.
Finally, the Ministry plans to attract galamsey operators to the designated areas by establishing processing centres in those areas to help them improve upon their operations and thereby integrate galamsey operators into the formal small- scale mining sectors.
Mr. Amoah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister rightly said that one of the
major factors that actually pull these young people to engage in galamsey is difficulties in going through the licensing process. I would want to know from the hon. Minister whether his Ministry intends to introduce guidelines that would actually make licence processing easier than what it takes, because, right now, there are some groups that have applied for licence for almost one year but have not been able to get their licences.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the issuance of licences for small-scale mining is not too difficult per se but we are trying to improve the duration that it takes. Most of the difficulties arise from documentation by our clients who sometimes have to go to see the landlords and sometimes the District Assemblies. All these take time before we can do the formal processing. So invariably, perhaps, we may say that the licensing has delayed, but the cause of the delay might not be due to the Ministry itself or the Minerals Commission but to the grass-roots processing.
However, the mention I made of the difficulties in licensing does not refer to this kind of delay he is alluding to. What I mean is that the galamsey miners are not empowered well enough or resourced well enough to have the wherewithal to do the processing of such applications and that is why they cannot come forward to ask for such a licence. But we are trying to facilitate that process for those who would take advantage of the grace period or our initiative. That was what I meant, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Amoah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister has actually identified some areas that he said some of these galamsey people
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, our trying to relocate the galamsey operators is on- going and it is countrywide, but there are some issues on which we would have to move cautiously. For instance, no corporate body would entertain galamsey operators on its concession if we do not discipline them or get them organized. That is why we are setting the pace to give confidence to the corporate bodies to be able to accommodate them on their concessions.
But we have had sufficient talks with the large-scale mining companies and they are prepared, but this is their fear; and we are trying to allay that fear. That is why we are starting first from our own location level before we take on what they are offering us.
Mr. Amoah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to know for how long a mining company can continue to prospect.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot give you the definite length of period but I know that they can only prospect when they have leases or licences to do so. But how long it takes them to complete that prospecting, I cannot be definite now.
Mr. J. D. Mahama 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he mentioned Dekrupe. Dekrupe is a community in my constituency, Bole-Bamboi district. Mr. Speaker, the question is relevant. The mining company in this area has held a prospecting licence for about twelve years and that is why we are asking -- Every time they renew this, they are supposed to shed off so that the areas that they

shed off can be reallocated for galamsey mining. How long does it take for a mining company to move from prospecting to actual mining so that you can have that shed-off area to allocate to galamsey operators?
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know that those who are doing prospecting on small- scale are given some definite period. One of them is, if the mining company is not operating on the land, then they are written to and given ninety days' grace period after which we revoke your licence. So if there is any case in his area, as he is mentioning, that the mining company is not seriously doing mining operations, he can bring this to my attention; and as I have said already I have taken some initiatives in areas like Dunkwa-on-Offin and other places and I would do so to the mining company and then we would be free to reallocate the land. We want to move head on, on these projects.
Mr. Yaw Effah-Baafi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether his Ministry has any comprehensive conservation programme, since the legalization of the galamsey would further degrade the environment?
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, we talked about the environmental hazards that may be associated with the operation of the galamsey small-scale operations we are encouraging. So we said that we were doing this for job creation in the mining sector. Therefore, we would organize jobs also for the youth to do small-scale reclamation of the mined area by these small-scale operators. I think that one would also create jobs. So we have plans to do that.
Mr. A. K. obbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am aware that in the Mining and Minerals Law, when a company is given a prospecting licence and it does the prospecting but it is unable to acquire the mining lease after
some time, he is expected to shed off part of the land. What effort is the Ministry making to know companies that are having the prospecting lease over twelve years and are still holding on to the land -- shed off part of the land -- so that the small- scale miners could get a place to operate?
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am told that the time for prospecting is three years, in the first instance, but this can be renewed till the exploration is exhausted. As I have said earlier on, if the exploration is not going on by the company, let me know because I have already taken initiative in that direction for some of the companies that have come to my attention that they are not working on the land. The minerals belong to Ghana, not to an individual; so if you are given the permission to operate and you are not doing it, somebody else must be given the chance. So I think my hon. Colleague would do well to furnish me with any information he may have so that I can deal with it accordingly.
Mr. obbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he said people engage in galamsey for a number of reasons; and an example is to sustain their livelihood or to reduce poverty. We are also aware that galamsey operators do not operate only on the large-scale concessions; some of them operate at areas that are not for the large-scale mining areas. What effort is the Ministry making to empower the small-scale miners so that they would be able to operate, in order to reduce poverty in our country?
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this is the main Question. I said we are trying to -- I know their activity is illegal but we are trying to help them to legalize under our regulatory framework. That is the form of encouragement we can give them to be able to retain and use their skills that they have acquired through experience in mining, and so on. I also mentioned
that we are trying to resource them, when we organize them in groups, to get them some basic equipment which they can co-operatively share and use. I think that is also an incentive that we are giving to them to resettle. We indeed have plans to help them settle.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Thank you, hon. Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines for appearing to answer hon. Members' Questions. You are released.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Mr. Harunah H. Bayirga (PNc -- Sissala West) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this Statement on the floor of the House.
Mr. Speaker, water is life next to air only in order of importance of man's primary needs for survival. Mr. Speaker, potable water is therefore an indispensable necessity for mankind's survival.
The catchment area of the Weija Dam was acquired by the Government of Ghana in an Executive Instrument (E.I 130) of 18th June 1977, some 28 years ago to protect the water body from pollution, siltation, drying up among other things. The water treatment plant had been built much earlier on. Government has invested so much in the Weija Water Works which supplies treated water to about half (½) the residents of Accra, that no effort should be spared in protecting this laudable project.
Latest developments indicate that the Dam is seriously threatened by pollution due to human settlements which have besieged the entire catchment area, some
Mr. Harunah H. Bayirga (PNc -- Sissala West) 10:40 a.m.

at the very fringes of the water body. Mr. Speaker, the acquisition of the Weija Dam catchment area affected about seven (7) villages. Apart from Afuaman Village, the rest of the villages have been resettled and taken care of by the Government for three years. Compensation for the lands acquired have however not been paid to date by Government.

Mr. Speaker, apparently because of the non-payment of compensation, some of the villages that have been resettled out of the catchment area have come back and have settled very close to the bank of the water body; worse still, they are selling the land to developers at a very alarming rate. Glaringly, pockets of structures have started springing up. One particular community buries its dead close to the bank of the water body. The implications, Mr. Speaker, are obvious.
Mr. Speaker, the obvious questions that should agitate our minds are 10:40 a.m.
1. What is the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) which owns the dam, the treatment plant and the state-acquired catchment area doing about it to protect their property?
2. What about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Are they showing enough concern for this looming environmental disaster?
3. What of National Disaster Manage- ment Organisation (NADMO)? Is it waiting with bated breath for disaster to strike for them to bring in relief assistance?
4. Have the AMA and the Town and Country Planning Department all thrown their hands up in frustration? We read in the dailies almost every passing day that if care is not taken, treated water from the Weija Dam will not be suitable for domestic consumption
in the very near future. The water company officials have come out to say that the cost of treating water from the dam is the highest in the country, no thanks to unbridled man-made pollution. It therefore attests to the fact that there is the need for immediate intervention before the good intentions of the Government to enhance life turns into the promotion of an epidemic.
Mr. Speaker, may I end by calling on the Ministries of Works and Housing, Lands and Forestry, Science and Environment, and Local Government and Rural Development to quickly get their acts together, and in the shortest possible time, fashion out a practical and sustainable solution to save this country from an imminent epidemic and disaster.
I thank you very much indeed, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- okere) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, when encroachment is talked about in this country, one finds it so difficult to understand why today people encroach on government lands with impunity. Mr. Speaker, years ago, it was unheard of for anybody to encroach on government lands. So one would ask: “What is Government doing about this?” Is Government going to take a hard line on this to preserve the land for the youth? I think it is time Government took drastic action on all these encroachments. All water bodies are drying up because the banks of all these small water bodies are being encroached on.
Just as the maker of the Statement said, you go to Weija and when you go
to the dam, you will see that the whole place is encroached on -- buildings have sprung up all over. We talk of payment of compensation. The Government therefore has to take the opportunity to pay all the compensations so that it will be able to prevent people from encroaching on the land which is for the benefit of all.
Mr. Speaker, because of these encroachments and pollution, water from the Densu River is so hard and unpleasant to drink and also so expensive to treat at Weija. Those resident along Tesano testify that it is so unpleasant to drink water from the Densu River. Mr. Speaker, if you go upstream, if you go to Nsawam, that is upstream of the Densu River and see the pollution, you will not even dream of drinking water from the Densu River. What are we doing about this? It is time all of us, as individuals, paused for a minute to reflect on how we can take care of our environment, so that what we have would be preserved for posterity.
Mr. Speaker, the maker of the Statement said that people are burying the dead by the banks of the Densu River. One would ask: “Who are the authorities to prevent this from happening?” I would therefore appeal to the authorities to look at this so that it is not carried out; because at the end of it all, it is going to affect our health.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement on the floor.
Minister for Lands and Forestry (Prof. Dominic Fobih) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with this Statement on the floor because it touches on a subject-matter which is very critical to all of us. We know the Government has acquired a number of lands throughout the years and compensation has been paid on some of these lands. There are also a number of them on which compensations
Minister for Lands and Forestry (Prof. Dominic Fobih) 10:50 a.m.

have not been paid.

But even where the Government has paid compensation, we know that there has been a lot of encroachments on these lands, to the extent that Government is not able to use the land for the purpose for which they were acquired; and this has created a lot of problems. In the case of the Weija lands, as is being alluded to, the Government acquired them for a purpose but this purpose notwithstanding, there is massive encroachment in the area, to the extent that the Government can no longer use the land for the purpose for which it acquired it; and this is indeed creating a problem.

Now, the Government is looking back at all these problems that are associated with land acquisition -- paid compen- sation lands and unpaid compensation lands, government occupied lands and vested lands. And the Government is in the process of arriving at cautious decision level which would then inform the public on what Government's position is on these issues. So I believe that with time all those who have land problems including Weija would see Government's position on the matter.

But what is important here is that the Weija hills in particular which overlook the lake and which we know to be a slope, any kind of chemical pollution or sanitation that is not up to a certain standard would pollute the water that we all drink; yet because people are greedy and they would want to take the least opportunity they get, people started raking the slopes of these hills to the extent that it became almost naked as a desert area with the intention of building houses.

I personally had to intervene when I was the Minister for Environment and Science and requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to post a signboard at the prohibited area there so that we could prosecute people who would build on the slope which had then been raked and this indeed stopped the building on the slope up to now.

So Mr. Speaker, I think people are more or less prone to their vegetate instincts to the extent that what they want, they must get it at all costs regardless of the benefits to society and the common good of all. And we need to have a lot of self-discipline, self-education and con-sciousness of the fact that we can be rich, we can have all the wealth but if our health, our sanitation is not up to standard we stand the risk of getting diseases and perhaps even losing our lives.

Unless we all have this in mind, we would continue to do the very things which would endanger our existence as a human race. And I would take this opportunity to implore all my hon. Colleagues, especially those in the Greater Accra Region where this is a serious problem now, to also use their constituencies to educate their constituents about how they should handle government acquired lands and how they should also handle such sensitive areas like the Weija catchment area which is the source of water supply to the entire cities of Accra and Tema.
Mr. Benito owusu-Bio (NPP -- Atwima-Nwabiagya) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor of the House.
Mr. Speaker, just as we speak against encroachment, the issue of compensation is very, very important since most of these communities have been denied their means of livelihood as they are basically peasant farmers. Mr. Speaker, when it
comes to compensation, there is always the issue of land litigation and the problem of land issues coming to the fore and as a result most of these compensations have not been paid due to this issue of land litigation.
Mr. Speaker, I would therefore suggest that an escrow account be created by the Government to cater for the payment of compensation so that when this land litigation is solved, the said amount can be used in paying for the owners of the land.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDc -- Wa central) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with this Statement and that the Statement hinges directly on the very nature of land and water body protection in this country. Successive governments over the years have neglected to plan and to ensure that our water bodies are protected, the lands owned by Government are protected and to ensure that buildings are put up at the right places.
Mr. Speaker, it is said that this generation, this century is going to be a century where countries especially in Africa are going to engage in wars because of fresh water supply and if in Ghana we cnnot protect the few sources of water supply to the country, it is a serious matter and it must be taken seriously as such.
So in associating myself with this Statement I would like to support the maker of the Statement in calling on all government agencies responsible to ensure that our water bodies are protected and that steps are taken right now to ensure that government lands are properly demarcated and protected. Indeed, it is a shame that at this stage in our life lands that are supposed to be owned by Government are still being encroached upon with impunity and nothing is being done. Indeed, it is a serious matter and something has to be
done now.
The matter now brought before Parliament should not be overlooked. I would like to see immediate and concrete steps taken right now to ensure that all government lands are properly demarcated and protection of all water bodies are ensured so that in the next generation we would not come to Parliament to complain that our water bodies are left the way they are now and that people are left to acquire lands in a very haphazard way. Buildings are put up even on waterways and on roads because people can bribe their way through.
So Mr. Speaker, this is a serious Statement and I would l ike this Government in particular to take it very seriously because we are told that this Government has come to do something new and if the old order continues, then it is very serious; I think that something has to be done about it.
Mass Spraying Exercise and the Plight of Farmers at New Edubiase
Mr. E. K. Yakah (NDc -- New Edubiase) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to present my Statement to this august House.
Mr. Speaker, the Government initiated the mass spraying exercise in the year 2001 to cover all the cocoa farmers in the country. I am not against the exercise because I considered it as a laudable one. But Mr. Speaker, there are many problems in the system.
In my constituency, the exercise is grouped into two categories:
1. Control of Black Pod disease.
2. Control of insects such as Capsid.
Mr. Speaker, the exercise is arranged so that areas that benefit from the black pod control would not enjoy the control
Mr. E. K. Yakah (NDc -- New Edubiase) 11 a.m.

of capsid and those who benefit from capsid control would not enjoy the black pod control. Mr. Speaker, being a cocoa farmer, I know that this practice would greatly affect cocoa production in my constituency. In other words, a cocoa farmer cannot benefit from the two types of spraying even if his farm is affected by the black pod disease and capsid insects.

For the mass spraying exercise to yield maximum result, the two programmes, that is, black pod and capsid controls should be applied in all the farms. The two diseases are rampant in cocoa growing areas.

However, if the Government cannot supply adequate inputs for the mass spraying exercise, then it would be better for us to go back to the old system whereby the inputs were sold to farmers at subsidised prices. Before the mass spraying exercise, one motorised machine was one million cedis (¢1,000,000.00) but today it is five million cedis (¢5,000,000.00). One litre of insecticide (gammallin 20) was twenty thousand cedis (¢20,000.00) but not it is sixty thousand cedis (¢60,000.00).

Mr. Speaker, according to the official instruction for effective control of black pod disease, the spraying must be done at two weeks intervals. But Mr. Speaker, this is not so at New Edubiase constituency. Some farms are sprayed only once or twice in the whole year.

With regard to capsid control, farms should be sprayed four times a year, specifically, in August, September, October and December. But Mr. Speaker, most farms are sprayed only once in a year; this practice cannot yield good result either.

Mr. Speaker, some members of the
Mr. E. K. Yakah (NDc -- New Edubiase) 11 a.m.

spraying gangs need to be commended because they are doing a marvellous job, but there are some bad nuts among them. They steal the chemicals, especially the insecticides and sell them to the agro- chemical dealers who in turn sell them to cocoa farmers at exorbitant prices. About two years ago seventeen spraying machines were stolen in my constituency but the case is still pending at the police station.

Mr. Speaker, if the mass spraying exercise is to create jobs for the youth in cocoa growing areas then I would like to suggest that their salaries/allowances should be mechanized so that they are paid throughout the year. In addition to this, since the chemicals are poisonous, gang members should undergo free regular medical check-up. This is to avoid any adverse effect on their lives in the future.

Mr. Speaker, plights of cocoa farmers are very horrible. Looking at the houses that they live in, water that they drink, feeder roads leading to their communities, one would realize that most cocoa farmers are really suffering. Some cannot send their children to senior secondary schools. They live below the poverty line though they are the producers of the number one foreign exchange earner of this nation. The producer price of their produce remains at five hundred and sixty-two thousand, five hundred cedis (¢562,500.00) since last two years.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest here that the Government should institute a special insurance scheme for cocoa farmers so that at old age they can enjoy the fruit of their labour. Again, in case of bush fire disaster whereby a farmer's farm is destroyed, the farmer can get assistance for survival.

Mr. Speaker, it is sad to note that

the Cocoa Board Scholarship meant for children of cocoa farmers are not properly managed. I say this because only few of the children of these farmers benefit from the scheme; the greater amount goes to the children of non-cocoa farmers. Most of these farmers cannot send their children to senior secondary school due to financial constraints. I therefore wish to suggest that the scheme is reviewed so that the children of cocoa farmers would enjoy about 90 per cent of the scholarship benefit.

Mr. Speaker, once I again thank you for this opportunity.
Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDc - Juabeso) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement on the floor. Mr. Speaker, the mass spraying exercise is very, very important so far as cocoa is the life-blood of our country. And all of us should embrace it and support it to ensure that the objective or the reason for which it was established by the Government is achieved.
Mr. Speaker, at the moment there is the need for us to expand the gangs that operate the exercise; we have to open more gangs. If you go to the cocoa growing areas, a particular gang operates in a very large area. So at the end of the exercise, many farmers are not able to enjoy the facilities. On this note, I want to call on the agency in charge of the mass spraying exercise to expand the gangs. I know that some of the gangs need extra administrative cost, but so far as it is good for the nation, we have to expand the gangs so that every farmer in every corner anywhere can enjoy the facility.
Mr. Speaker, most of the time also, the wages of the gang sprayers are very much delayed so it dampens the morale of the
Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDc - Juabeso) 11 a.m.

people operating the exercise. And again, I want to call on the agency in charge to ensure that the meager wages paid to the gang sprayers are paid at the right time so that it will also boost their morale to do their best in order that the objective of the exercise can also be achieved.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this exercise is very important and all must embrace it. But there are a lot of problems out there and I would like to call again on the agency in charge to go down and not to stay in Accra and rely upon good reports submitted to them by the various cocoa growing areas.

On this note, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mr. Evans Paul Aidoo (NDc - Sefwi Wiawso) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. Mr. Speaker, the programme of disease and pest control to protect cocoa farms against capsid and Black Pod diseases must be reviewed to reflect upon the purpose for which it was initiated.
Mr. Speaker, initially, there should have been two applications of capsid control whilst black pod disease should have had three applications. But what do we see today? This kind of practice in the year 2001 had the various applications. But after 2001, what is pertaining in the Western Region now, particularly in my constituency, Sefwi-Wiawso, is the application of single black pod control without the control of the capsid as the maker of the Statement indicated.
I do not want to mention the politics surrounding the whole exercise. But it will be prudent if the Western Region and for that matter Sefwi area is also covered by the application of the Capsid Control Programme where chemicals such as gammallin and confidol, et cetera are applied as it is being done in Ashanti,
Eastern and other regions.
On this note, Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.
Mr. Isaac Kwame Asiamah (NPP - Atwima-Mponua) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I am happy that today, our hon. Colleagues on the other side of the political divide are commending the Government for this wonderful exercise. [Hear! Hear!] A few years ago, they were the very people who kicked against this exercise. I am happy that today and for the first time in the history of cocoa production in this country -
Last year, for example, we recorded an unprecedented increase in cocoa production. That has been highly attributed to this wonderful vision of His Excellency, President John Agyekum Kufuor. I am happy that today we are commending this wonderful exercise and next time round when the Government is about to embark on an exercise, I hope that hon. Members on the other side of the political divide will support this Government on such programmes.
Mr. John Mahama (NDc -- Bole/ Bamboi) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know that our Friends on the other side get a bit sensitive when we criticize the mass spraying exercise because it has become one of the main symbols of job creation under “Positive Change”. But Mr. Speaker, year in, year out, we hear complaints about diversions of chemicals, and farmers complaining that instead of their farms being sprayed four times, their farms are sprayed once or twice. And we hear of outbreaks of capsid, we hear of outbreak of black pod disease. Mr. Speaker, I think that in a very dispassionate manner we
should look at this issue of mass spraying.
Mr. Speaker, our position has always been that considering that half of the bonuses that are supposed to be paid to cocoa farmers is what is used to carry out the mass spraying exercise, give the farmers their bonuses, give them their monies and Government's duty is to ensure that the chemicals are available at the farmers' services centre, the gangs that are responsible for spraying the farms and the machines are available so that farmers can go with their monies and get these gangs to spray their farms and of course pay for the service.
Mr. Speaker, we know the problem of public activity in this country. Mr. Speaker, when the chemicals are supplied to the gangs there are times, as he rightly stated in his Statement, where some of these chemicals are diverted and sold into the chemical shops. Mr. Speaker, apart from that some of the machines get missing. Mr. Speaker, we are expecting a drop in cocoa production this year, meanwhile the mass spraying exercise is still going on.
We are told that the mass spraying exercise accounted for the huge increase in cocoa production. Mr. Speaker, the mass spraying exercise has not stopped and yet this year we are told that cocoa production might drop by as much as almost a hundred thousand tonnes.
I will urge my hon. Colleagues on the other side to look at this Statement in its proper perspective and if we can hold a discussion and find out what the best means is both in terms of motivating the farmers and still maintaining the job that had been created as a result of the mass spraying -- What is the optimum means of carrying out this important national exercise without the problems that we are seeing year in, year out? Mr. Speaker, that is my point.
Mr. osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP
Mr. Mahama 11:10 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. Majority Chief Whip that Statements are supposed to attract brief comments and not to be debated. Mr. Speaker, he is making reference to the statement I made as if he is trying to provoke a debate; if he will just stick to a brief comment we would be most grateful.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Chief Whip, you have to be reminded of the Standing Orders.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of it but I know for a fact that my hon. Colleague does not have a cocoa farm in his constituency and that is a statement of fact -- [Interrup- tion.]
Mr. Mahama 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wonder why he persists in pursuing this argument. In any case I would like to remind him that the bulk of the labour that is provided on cocoa farms in this country is done by northerners, my relatives and so he should watch what he is saying, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am a farmer, and as I said, he is a third-party farmer I guess, and I am prepared to forgive him. Mr. Speaker, the issues that he raised, I think they need commenting on, that cocoa produce will be coming down. That indeed, is a matter of fact but it is not attributable to the spraying of cocoa farms and that maybe they are coming down or they are not
being sprayed.
Mr. Mahama 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. If you check the Meteorological Services Department's records for last year, there was not excessive rain. I do not know where he is getting this fact from.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
I thought, Mr. Speaker, he said that we are not in debate. I am just stating a matter of fact and in the main cocoa season, the production season, we had over-abundance of rainfall; that is a matter of fact if he cares to know. We are not talking about what happened the entire year. Mr. Speaker, again, I said I speak as a farmer not as a third-party farmer.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 11:10 a.m.
On a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is intimidating us. I think that he is getting out of order because when Statements are made on the floor of the House, they are supposed to be contributed to by people with a certain level of knowledge and not necessarily because one is a practitioner in a certain field. If this thing is allowed to continue, there is going to be a precedent that each time a contribution is made on the floor of the House about cocoa farmers, then only cocoa farmers can get up and contribute sensibly.
I want to say that, Mr. Speaker, he should be brought to order to contribute as a Member of Parliament and not as a farmer. He is a Member of Parliament here and he is representing his people in the House; if he has anything to contribute on the Statement, he should go ahead and do that not because he is a farmer and somebody else is not a farmer.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not see the intimidation here if I am supplying relevant information that my hon. Colleague does not know. The information that I am supplying, I do not see what is intimidatory about that. However, I will go on.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 11:10 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is actually misleading this House by categorically stating that it was excessive rainfall in the last rainy season that is accounting for the decline in cocoa production this season. That is ecologically incorrect because cocoa is not grown in only one particular area.
In fact, the statistics that are there suggest a variability in the rain pattern along the cocoa belt right from the Western Region through the Brong Ahafo Region. The rain pattern last year has not been
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, another third-party farmer talking - Mr. Speaker, I have said, and it is a matter of fact that for the cocoa producing season - that is exactly what happened. My hon. Colleague, perhaps, may not know this; and I am prepared to forgive him because he is not a cocoa farmer. Mr. Speaker, I have gone beyond that so I will not be distracted by what he said, because it is for want of knowledge. But Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the issue that was raised - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Mahama 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is a Member of Parliament for Suame, and Suame is more renounced for the “magazine”, the mechanics and fitting shops rather than cocoa farms.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Bole/ Bamboi, were you raising a point of order? I do not see one and so let the hon. Member continue.
Dr. B. Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am on a point of order based on the statement that was made by my hon. Colleague about my own ignorance of the cocoa industry. It will interest him to note that my father had actually been the Extension Officer at Kwadaso for over thirteen years dealing in cocoa and I can give him a full lecture on cocoa from gestation till harvesting - [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for Lawra/Nandom, this is not the time to give
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.

a full lecture.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if I am talking as a professional and he is talking as the son of a professional, the difference is very clear - [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, the difference is very clear.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Majority Chief Whip, proceed.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I said that I agree with my hon. Colleague who said that some of the machines and the insecticides - gamalin 20 and others are being stolen. That is most unfortunate.
Mr. Speaker, we have been talking about this and it is important that we take all measures to stop this. This is because as we have been told several times over, some of them eventually find their way to neighbouring countries like la Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and so on. And considering that it is the bonuses of our farmers which have been set aside to procure these items, it means that it is money otherwise due the farmers that are finding their way to neighbouring countries. And that practice, Mr. Speaker, must be stopped. Whatever we need, whatever measures have to be taken will have to be taken to curtail this so that the farmers have full benefits of their own endeavours.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your indulgence.
Mr. Stephen M. E. K. Ackah (NDc - Suaman) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, comments
and contributions on the Statement go to actually confirm the fact that it is very important to embark on this exercise. Indeed, I think the policy-makers who actually came up with this idea thought of Ghana being initially the first country to produce cocoa, I mean the first on the list in the world. Now la Cote d'Ivoire has taken over and we would want to make sure that we recapture this sort of position and therefore the exercise is a very laudable one.
But the issue I would want to talk about is that after the provision of all these insecticides and production has increased, it must actually get to the appropriate quarters, that is from the villages to the main sheds and for that matter, maybe to the harbours. And therefore I would want to plead with the Government to link this issue of road development, rehabilitation and construction, at least, to the cocoa areas - The feeder roads are in very deplorable state.
Mr. Speaker, just yesterday I returned from my constituency, that is the Suaman constituency, and most of the cocoa in the villages are up till now locked up because the roads are blocked. There have been a lot of appeals to the Department of Feeder Roads Headquarters; most of them are still falling on deaf ears. And it actually becomes so deplorable; the farmers themselves get disappointed for whatever toil they are putting up on their farms because it looks like their, livelihood and everything is in despair.
So we would want to appeal to the Government that much as they are importing the insecticides to be supplied to the farmers so that production can be boosted up, the roads must also be maintained so that whatever they get can get to the appropriate quarters for the benefit of the nation, the economy and for that matter all the citizens of Ghana.
Alhaji Malik A. Yakubu (NPP - Yendi) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the Statement made by the hon. Member is a very good one. The hon. Member who made the Statement does recognize rightly, in my view, the importance of the policy of mass spraying.
Mr. Speaker, the policy is impeccable. The point has been made that there are bad nuts; the hon. Member who made the Statement did not roundly condemn those who are carrying out the spraying but he pointed out that there were bad nuts; and indeed that is so. Now, in the cocoa industry, whenever a good policy is made, you will have some people trying to undermine it. For instance, when the Akuafo Cheque System was introduced, the purpose was to stop the swindling of farmers by purchasing clerks. However, some bad nuts found a way around it and they were rather cashing in on it to visit untold hardships on farmers. So it is not surprising that for this laudable exercise there are also some bad ones who are carrying out nefarious activities and it is important that they be scrupulously followed so that their nefarious acts would be stopped.

In any case the hon. Majority Chief Whip, if he is a farmer, he is a real Ashanti

farmer because he is always here and he is not on his farm. And I can, like the hon. Member for Lawra/Nandom said, give him a good lesson on cocoa because I have worked on it for many decades. And I would like to say that it was precisely for that reasoning that “pay the cocoa farmer a good price and he could maintain his farm well”, that the Cocoa Services Division was almost abolished and over a hundred thousand Extension Officers were laid off in the restructuring exercise of the cocoa industry in 1983 towards 1985.

Now, when we had these Extension Officers, they were trained labourers who were made available to the cocoa farmer and they knew how to look after farms; and the farms were well managed. It was when this body of labour was taken away that we began having problems of this capsid, swollen shoot, black pods and other diseases showing up; and that was the prescription of the World Bank during the restructuring. The lesson was that, yes, we can pay cocoa farmers very well - but the cocoa farmer is not there just for the hobby of farming. He is farming to make income to be able to have a good life for himself and his family and so if you do not have a programme for such a sensitive area to supplement the farmer's farm care efforts and you just think about paying him so that he will use all the resources to maintain the farm, you may be very wrong and the wrong thing will be done.

So as it was mentioned, some farmers may dutifully spray their farms but others may not. And these viruses and diseases move from place to place and so you may spray your farm very well and somebody may not take care of his farm and the disease will be transferred to your farm. So a very good policy was to institute this mass spraying and it has worked.

Let no one say that it has been claimed by the Government that that is the only reason for the increase in cocoa
Alhaji Malik A. Yakubu (NPP - Yendi) 11:30 a.m.

production. A number of factors have been listed to account for the good produce that we have been getting from cocoa; the spraying is one, good pricing, bonuses and a number of other packages have contributed collectively to bring about this increase in cocoa production.

So it is good that as a Parliament everybody agrees that it is a good policy. Government should be enco-uraged to continue it and steps should be taken -- Those whose nefarious activities tend to take away the value of this exercise should be chased out and those activities stopped. This policy, no doubt, will keep the industry which is still the lifeblood of the economy going.
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDc -- Asawase 11:30 a.m.
) Mr. Speaker, I wish to also add my voice to this Statement. It is very true that the mass spraying exercise is very useful and it is supposed to help increase the production of cocoa in this country. But as the Statement rightly mentioned, the poor practice in terms of the spraying will mean that if a farm is supposed to be sprayed four times and it is done once, the effect is that at the end of the day, those of us who are agriculturists would tell you, the disease would rather develop resistance to some of these insecticides and if you are not careful, gradually you may lose the efficacy of the chemicals that are being used.
Since it is part of the farmers' income that is used in the spraying exercise, I would rather suggest that the insecticides should be distributed according to the number of bags that one has probably produced so that once one has the chemical and the gang is around it is a matter of giving the chemical to the gang to spray. That would also reduce the incidence of
stealing or smuggling the insecticides across the borders.
It is also true, as the Second Deputy Speaker mentioned, that it is not only the spraying that has led to the increase but the bonuses.
I also want to add that last year smuggling also added to the increased production and the war in la Cote d'Ivoire also increased the production last year. The reason is that before the war people were smuggling cocoa out of this country to la Cote d'Ivoire and the price in la Cote d'Ivoire was higher, but with the war, Ghanaians were no longer smuggling cocoa to la Cote d'Ivoire; and those in la Cote d'Ivoire, because last year we had a higher price, were also smuggling into our country and that accounted for the mass increase last year.
This year one would agree with me that it is not only the poor rainy season that has affected the cocoa season, the issue of purple bean that COCOBOD took really disturbed a lot of the farmers, because COCOBOD would say because their produce was purple they were not going to export it; they were not going to take it and that was slowing down the LBCs and that really affected the cocoa industry. I think that if as a country we really want the cocoa to continue to support this economy then we have to look at issues with regard to the mass spraying, smuggling and the COCOBOD very well.
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP - Odotobri) 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. It is a known fact that the mass spraying exercise which was undertaken by the Government has been a successful one. Why am I saying this? Ghana lost its first position as the world's producer of cocoa but with the introduction of the mass spraying exercise Ghana came back to the second position. Before the mass spraying exercise we had a little about
300,000 tonnes of cocoa production and having undertaken the exercise for some time, we had more than 700,000 tonnes of cocoa production in the country. That brought us to the second position.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who made the Statement said that before the mass spraying exercise, a spraying machine cost one million cedis but after the mass spraying exercise it is now sold around five million cedis. It is not true that because of the introduction of the mass spraying exercise this wide gap in terms of the price of spraying machine has occurred.
Again, Mr. Speaker, he made mention of scholarships for the children of cocoa farmers and it is on this that I want to fully support him. It is very interesting to note that the children of cocoa farmers are not the real people who are enjoying this COCOBOD scholarship. I am a victim of that and I want to take this opportunity to appeal to the administrators who are on this COCOBOD scholarship to be very much interested in the children of cocoa farmers because this is something that is to motivate them. Among the criteria for the selection is performance; I would like to suggest that though performance is very important and necessary, it should not be taken as the foremost consideration for the award of this particular scholarship to the children of cocoa farmers.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity given to me.
State of the Techiman Market
Mr. Simons Addai (NDc - Techiman
South): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity you have given me to make a Statement on the state of the Techiman Market.
Mr. Speaker, the market was set up in the 1940s and it has since developed into the biggest and highly patronized market in Ghana. The market has become an international one and it is patronized by traders within the West African subregion especially nationals from Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Togo, et cetera.
In this regard, Techiman has developed into a cosmopolitan state where all tribes in Ghana and beyond are located.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of this honourable House to the fact that many people in Ghana and the subregion get fed one way or the other from the Techiman market and therefore its development must be the concern of all.
Right from its establishment, the local traders have been doing their best to raise sheds and build stalls to sell their wares. Previous District Administrations also did well by putting up sheds to house some of these traders.
In 1998, the NDC Government took the bold decision to turn the market into a modern one befitting the status of an international market through funds from local and foreign sources.
Mr. Speaker, dur ing the NDC Administration, tiles/block pavements were laid, roads in the market were earmarked and some constructed. Stalls and places of convenience were also put up.
In fact, this gesture was a great relief to the people of Techiman and all those who patronize the market. It was a relief because the traders thought that on completion of the project, their wares would no longer get soaked by rain.
It was a relief because the traders and
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP - Odotobri) 11:40 a.m.

buyers hoped they would no longer do business in the scorching sun with their babies on their laps and backs. It was a relief also because the people saw that the legacy from their forefathers would be given a facelift.

Mr. Speaker, the sad side of the story about the Techiman market is that, after the NDC left office in 2000, very little, if anything at all, has been done to get such a laudable and much cherished project completed.

For five (5) years the people of Techiman and traders have been left in doubt and in suspense. Those who sell items like gari, maize and others which are not rain friendly still get their goods soaked when it rains during market days.

During sunny days, women and their babies still suffer under the scorching sun. Travellers continue to stand either in rain or in sunshine looking for means of transport to their various destinations. Mr. Speaker, it is my plea that since development of the market is very dear to the hearts of the people of Ghana in general and Techiman in particular, every effort should be made towards the completion of the project.

Much as the people of Techiman would not want to read meanings into the five years of neglect of the market, they would like to appeal through this House to the Government to turn its attention to the market with the same commitment and urgency that it demonstrates in the execution of projects throughout the country.

Mr. Speaker, my Statement will not be complete if I do not mention the havoc that armed-robbery is causing to the Techiman market. Mr. Speaker, the harm done to

the economic life of the people cannot be overemphasized. Most of the armed- robbery cases reported outside Accra, do take place on roads either leading to or from Techiman. The traders, Mr. Speaker, unsuspectingly get all their trading capital taken away from them at gun point.

Mr. Speaker, this unfortunate develop- ment has, in no small measure, affected the once buoyant market of Techiman. Millions of cedis have been lost leading to poor patronage of the market. Anyone who visited the market years back would attest to the fact that the present state of the market is nothing to write home about. I would therefore, as a matter of urgency, appeal to the Government to put stringent measures to arrest this phenomenon in order to save our traders from the ordeal they go through with the view to boosting business in that part of the country.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, the market has attracted people of all characters and one can imagine the questionable ones that they may be found in there. This has led to the breakdown of law and order in the market. But, Mr. Speaker, there is not enough police personnel within the Municipality to ensure law and order.

Mr. Speaker, it is therefore the hope of the people of Techiman, whose livelihood depends on the Techiman market, that the Ministry of the Interior expedites action on the Police Barracks initiated by the late Omanhene of Techiman, Osabarima Dotobribri Takyi Ameyaw II and ably supported by the immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP). Certainly, Mr. Speaker, law and order will be maintained in the market and the Municipality which for now are the habitation of thieves and drug peddlers whose activities undoub- tedly are dangerous to socio-economic development.
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP - Odotobri) 11:40 a.m.

May I therefore, Mr. Speaker, use this medium to make a passionate appeal to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to use his good offices to increase the number of police personnel in the Techiman Municipality so that the activities of armed robbers and drug peddlers would be checked.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to conclude by saying that Techiman Market, having played its part in feeding millions of Ghanaians and even beyond, deserves its share of the national development. The Government is therefore called upon to ensure early completion of the project.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you once again for the opportunity.
Mr. Alex Kyeremeh (NDc -- Techiman North) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement just made. Mr. Speaker, the importance of Techiman market to the people of Techiman can be likened to the heart of a human being. Anything contrary to Techiman market affects a lot of people in the Techiman Municipality. Mr. Speaker, we generate a lot of revenue from the market and it creates a lot of jobs for the people of Techiman in general, but I will digress a little and comment on the road network in Techiman.
Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasin-
gly difficult to transport foodstuffs and other things to the market because of the road network in Techiman. Much as we have appealed to the authorities to come to our aid to construct most of these roads, it has not proved much -- I would like to use this opportunity to ask the Minister for Road Transport to once again look at the road network in Techiman so that most of the food items can be brought to the market. In fact, most of the food
items get rotten at the farm gates and it is increasingly becoming very difficult to transport foodstuffs from the hinterland to Techiman market.
Once again, I would like to ask the Minister to come to our aid and then see to our road network in Techiman. If you move a few kilometres away from Techiman to the villages, the roads cannot be used by even tractors. The other time, I brought this to the attention of this august House but even now, it is the same old story; and I am trying to bring this to the attention of the Minister to help us so that food items could be brought to the market.
The second point is the high tolls in
the market. People are trying to go to nearby markets because of the increasing high tolls in the market. Items with tolls of about ten thousand cedis have now increased to about twenty thousand cedis. People cannot pay some of these tolls and so they are trying to use other markets nearby, like the Nkoranza market, the Wenchi market and many other markets in and around Techiman.
I would like to appeal to the authorities to see to the tax element, to reduce tolls on food items so that people can come down to Techiman and purchase some of these items so that our peasant farmers may also have money to take care of their children's education and their well-being.
Minister for Regional cooperation and NEPAD (Dr. K.K. Apraku) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I stand to support the Statement made by my hon. Colleague because Techiman is a neighbour to my constituency; just fifteen miles from my constituency, you enter Techiman, and Techiman also happens to be the largest town within that area and the most patronized market in that area.
To that extent, i t supports the
Minister for Regional cooperation and NEPAD (Dr. K.K. Apraku) 11:50 a.m.

marketing of tomatoes, that is, the major important product of my area. A lot of economic activities take place there and as I indicated, it has indeed become an economic centre. Anything that is done to improve the facilities in Techiman to enable it to play its role as the leading city or town in the area, as well as the best and the largest economic centre will enhance the economic well-being not only of the people of Techiman but also my own constituency.

Mr. Speaker, it is a well-known fact

that it is perhaps the second largest town in the entire Brong-Ahafo Region and also a major route from Kumasi to Mali, Niger and serving the Burkina Faso corridor of our economy. It is also a fact that that corridor provides the largest source of trade for our country here, Ghana. For all these reasons and more, I believe that we need to look at the infrastructure that exist there and in that connection also look at the larger infrastructural development in the area.

I know for a fact that a contract has been signed to do the road from Kumasi, going all the way to Techiman and indeed going through my own hometown, and we would like to urge that the work be expedited so that it can provide relief, improve the facilities in the market to enhance hygienic conditions and in the process improve the health and well- being of the people in the area, thereby improving the economic well-being also.

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to add this as my support to the Statement.

Extension of Electricity to Nkwanta North constituency
Mr. J. K. Nayan (NPP -- Nkwanta North) 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving
me the opportunity to make a Statement on the extension of electricity to the Nkwanta North constituency.
Nkwanta North constituency is one of the newly-created constituencies in the Volta Region. It is bounded on the North by the Wulensi constituency, on the South by Nkwanta South constituency, on the East by the Republic of Togo and on the West by Gonja East constituency, Wulensi constituency and the River Oti.
The constituency is the “Gateway” to Volta Region when approaching the region from Bimbilla through Damanko. About 95 per cent of the people in the area are farmers. They farm to feed themselves and other citizens elsewhere in the country. The residents contribute to the national cake. Oftentimes, however, the people question whether past governments consider them in the sharing of the national cake.
Mr. Speaker, the constituency is seriously deprived in terms of physical infrastructure. Not even a single community in the constituency is connected to the national grid yet electricity is a necessity and never a luxury for the rural communities; it enables people in rural areas to go into other productive ventures. The purpose of the Government embarking on rural electrification is to create job opportunities to enhance living conditions of the people in our rural areas, thereby limiting rural-urban migration and its attendant problems in the country.
The worry of the people of the Nkwanta North constituency is the fact that the power point from the Wulensi constituency to the nearest town in Nkwanta North constituency, Damanko, is about seven kilometres. To the south of the constituency, almost all the communities between Kadjebi and Nkwanta have been connected to electricity, leaving Nkwanta North constituency as an island subsisting in total darkness in a sea of electricity.
Mr. J. K. Nayan (NPP -- Nkwanta North) 11:50 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, thank God that, courtesy the efforts of the NPP Government contractors are as at now erecting electricity poles to extend power to Nkwanta North constituency. As much as the people appreciate the efforts of the Government, it is their wish that more low- tension poles are provided so that the beneficiary shall not be just one community but also many other major communities like Kpassa, Damanko, Tinjase and Abunyanya.

I am informed the contractor as at now is contracted to cover only one community in the constituency which is why on behalf of my constituents, I am making this Statement to appeal to the Minister for Energy to make provision for the needed logistics to cover the major communities in the constituency.

It is the wish of my constituents that power is connected from Wulensi constituency (VRA) since the southern power line is long and appears overloaded, and hence may result in power fluctuations. On the other hand, a substation could be built at Damanko and power distributed to the southern part of the constituency.

Mr. Speaker, the situation at Nkwanta North constituency is disturbing and calls for urgent attention. I therefore call on the Minister for Energy as a matter of urgency, to expedite action on the electrification project at Nkwanta North constituency.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwima- Mponua) 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I think that this Government must be well commended for its rural electrification project. In my constituency, that is Atwima-Mponua, since its creation, it was only last year that the people got to know of electricity; and Nyinahini, the constituency capital, had been described as the biggest village in West Africa -- it is on record. So this Government has done a lot with regard to rural electrification. About 20,000 communities have been connected to the national grid.
Mr. Speaker, like Oliver Twist, I would say that I am still asking for more electricity extension to my constituency. Mr. Speaker, Atwima-Mponua which has about 268 communities largely remains unconnected to the national electrification project. So I am pleading with the Government to make sure that other communities are also given their fair share of the national cake. So electricity to my major towns is what I am calling for.
Mr. A. K. obbin (NPP -- Prestea/ Huni-Valley) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, the importance of
electricity to national development cannot be overemphasised. In fact, electricity diversifies the local economy, creates employment and also reduces the rural- urban drift. Mr. Speaker, it is in the light of this that I also add my voice to the problems of Nkwanta North constituency.
Mr. Speaker, it is very, very pathetic that a whole constituency does not have a single community connected to the national grid. I think the Ministry of Energy should try, as a matter of urgency, to help my dear Brother, the hon. Member for Nkwanta North (Mr. Kwaku Nayan) so that at least when he goes to the capital town of his constituency, he can also as a Member of Parliament enjoy electricity.
Mr. A. K. obbin (NPP -- Prestea/ Huni-Valley) 11:50 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, another problem with the electricity is the metering. Mr. Speaker, if you are selling a product, it is your responsibility to get something to measure it so that you would be able to know how much a person consumes or a person takes. If I want to sell maize, I have to get my measuring can; it is not the person who is coming to buy the maize that would acquire the measuring can for me. If I am selling kerosene, I must get my own gallon or bottle to sell my kerosene and not the buyer to provide the gallon or the bottle for me to sell the kerosene. It is in this light that I see the problems of Electricity Company of Ghana as very, very serious.

In certain areas that they sell power, you go there and you have about 200 households and though each household would certainly need a metre, they would give about 80 metres to that community. How are they going to share these 80 metres? And also by law, interconnection by the electricity company is illegal.

Therefore, if they give 80 meters to that community which would need 200 metres, then they are giving room for interconnection. And they are also saying that interconnection is illegal; then it means that, they are creating an opportunity for people to be dishonest. I believe that in such a situation, one cannot say it is illegal. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would want to appeal to the Ministry of Energy to look at this very seriously.

Last year, in the year 2004, in my constituency, about 13 towns and villages were connected to the national grid as a result of the European Union (EU) Project. We have about 500 households to be given meters but the meters brought were less than 250. Mr. Speaker, how are the rest going to be connected? This is creating

a lot of illegal interconnections in the constituency. Mr. Speaker, it is not the duty of the consumer to provide a measure for the distributor; it is up to the distributor or the seller to provide enough measure for the consumer.
Mr. Albert Abongo (NDc -- Bongo) 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the Deputy Volta Regional Minister on the situation of electricity in Nkwanta North constituency.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that we all know where we have come from. Gone were the days that we had problems even with having electricity in the regional capitals. I think that Government had a vision to ensure that electricity got to every corner of this country; so it started very serious projects to ensure that electricity got to regional capitals. And as at now, we can boast that even 90 per cent of the districts in this country have electricity. And now, we are talking about having electricity in villages.
Mr. Asiamah noon
Mr. Speaker, on a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member is misleading this House. If he does not know, electrification started in Nkrumah's era and not this era; it is in the records. But I am saying that it has been well intensified under the NPP
administration; that is what I said.
Mr. Speaker noon
Hon. Member for South Dayi, are you speaking on behalf of the hon. Member?
Dr. Ampofo noon
Mr. Speaker, I was going to react to the point of order raised by the hon. Member.
Mr. Speaker noon
That was a point of order; you cannot react to it, but it appears he wants to yield to you.
Mr. Abongo noon
Yes, Mr. Speaker, if he wants to - [Pause.] Mr. Speaker, I was surprised about the kind of comments that came from my hon. Colleague about how the NPP has brought electricity to their villages. I remember the days that I was in secondary school in the Upper East Region when we used lanterns. I would call myself a young man still and yet those days we were using lanterns in secondary school. But now most secondary schools in the Upper East Region can boast of electricity.
Mr. Speaker, the other point I would like to make is this. I do not know what is happening as far as the rural electrification is concerned, because it is now moving at a snail's pace. There is something that is going wrong and our rural folks are crying out that they also need electricity. I do not know what is happening to the funding aspect of it. I am surprised that an hon. Colleague is saying that he has European Union funding in his district for rural electrification. I think that there would be the need for us to also look at other districts to see what is happening.
For my district in particular for the last five years, we have not even connected a single house to electricity. The only electrification project we had was a few bulbs that were put in the centre of the district capital for the Vice President to
Mr. Abongo noon

come and commission; that was when it was getting close to elections. He came and commissioned street lights -- about fifteen poles -- to tell the people that the Government had come to brighten the centre of Bongo.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, what the people want is to have electricity in their rooms where the children can learn; and that has come to a standstill. I wish to inform the Government of the day that the people are not happy at the pace with which electrification is going on, and I would urge them to source for funding to continue with the project.
Mr. Speaker 1:35 p.m.
Hon. Members, at this stage, it is advisable that I suspend Sitting of the House for about an hour. We shall resume at one o'clock.
The Sitting was suspended at 12.04 p.m.

Sitting resumed.
PAPERS 1:35 p.m.

Mr. Moses Asaga 1:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Loan Agreement between Parliamentary Service and
Barclays Bank Ghana Limited
chairman of the Finance committee (Mrs. Grace coleman): Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Parliamentary Service and Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of seven million United States dollars (US$7m) (cedi equivalent) for the purchase of vehicles for Members of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, I now present the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Parliamentary Service and Barclays Bank Ghana Limited
Mr. Moses Asaga 1:35 p.m.

for a maximum amount of seven million US dollars, its cedi equivalent for Members of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, copies of the Report have been given to Members of Parliament. It is very simple and very short. With your permission, I just want to read the conclusion and urge the Hansard to capture the whole Report. 1.0 Introduction

1.1 The above loan facility was laid in the House on Tuesday, 21st June 2005 in accordance with the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.

The Committee met with the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, hon. F. K. Owusu-Adjapong, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, a technical team from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and officials of Barclays Bank Ghana Limited and reports as follows:

2.0 Background

2.1 Hon. Members will recall that in view of the low remuneration for Members of Parliament, which is currently being addressed by Government, the Parliamentary Service with the support of the Government of Ghana considered it expedient and appropriate to contract this loan facility from Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for on-lending to Members of Parliament. The terms and conditions of a Committed Term Loan Facility available for drawing by way of Cash Advances in cedis and/ or Letters of Credit in favour of suppliers of vehicles to facilitate the performance of their duties.

3.0 Terms and conditions of the Loan

3.1 The p r inc ipa l t e rms and
Mr. Moses Asaga 1:35 p.m.

conditions of the loan facility are as follows:

Loan Amount -- US$7,000,000 (cedi equivalent)

Term of Loan -- 4 years

Interest Rate -- Equivalent to the yearly treasury bill rate, plus 2 per cent per annum

Arrangement Fee -- 0.50 per cent

Management Fee -- 0.50 per cent

Repayment -- Repayment to commence one month after drawdown and cover a period of 48 months

Security -- Unconditional Guarantee of full payment by the Government of Ghana

3.2 The detailed terms and conditions of the loan agreement is attached as Appendix


4.0 observations

4.1 The Committee observed that in order for hon. Members of Parliament to be effective and efficient in the performance of their duties, Members need to procure very strong vehicles for shuttling between their constituencies and Parliament.

4.2 Members expressed concern about the fact that they were contracting loans themselves to buy vehicles for official use instead of being provided by the Office of Parliament.

4.3 Members a l so expressed

concern about the high Arrangement and Management Fees in the Agreement and therefore requested that it should be renegotiated downwards since the risk element is almost non-existent because of Government of Ghana's Guarantee.

4.4 The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning informed the

Committee that the terms of the loan as stated in the document is the maximum and could be negotiated downwards.

4.5 The Committee observed that the terms and conditions of the loan as a whole is favourable as the facility is part of a package put together by the lender (Barclays Bank Gh. Ltd.) for the benefit of public servants generally, to aid them in the performance of their official functions.

4.6 The Committee further observed that the Government of Ghana shall be discharged from the obligations secured by the Guarantee upon full payment of all sums due.

5.0 conclusion

5.1 The Committee after carefully examining the Loan Facility, found it to be favourable, recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve by resolution the loan facility of Seven Million United States Dollars (US$7million)(cedi equivalent) granted by Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for the purchase of vehicles for Members of Parliament.



Banking Unit

Barclays House

High Street

cedis and/or Letters of Credit in favour of various suppliers of Vehicles to be drawn in cedis.

PURPOSE: The Facility will be used to purchase vehicles for Members of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

DISBURSEMENT SCH.: Schedule for disbursement

to be agreed.

FINAL MATURITY: Four (4) years from the date of signing of the Facility Agreement.

SECURITY: Usual for a facility of this type, including without limitation:

Unconditional Guarantee by the Ghana Government

Letter of Undertaking from the Office of Parliament to make monthly payment to the Bank and to pay off any outstandings under the facility.

REPAYMENT SCHEDULE: Repayment to commence one month after drawdown and to cover a period of 48 months.

ARRANGEMENT FEE: 0.50 per cent flat on the facility amount payable to the Arranger on signing of the Facility Agreement.

INTEREST RATE: O n e y e a r G h a n a Government Treasury Bill Rate (Interest Equivalent) plus a margin of 2 per cent.

MANAGEMENT FEE: 0.50 per cent flat on the facility amount payable annually to the Lender on signing of the Facility Agreement.

AVAILABILITY: The Facility will be available for drawdown (in a single amount or in tranches to be agreed) for a period of (12) months from signing of the Facility Agreement (the “Availability Period”). Any amount undrawn at the end of such period will be cancelled and the Facility Amount reduced accordingly.

PREPAYMENT: The Facility may be prepaid in whole or in part upon 30 days' notice to the Lender. If made at the end of an Interest Period, such prepayment will be without penalty but, if made during an Interest Period, will be subject t o reimbursement of any breakage costs incurred

P. O. Box 2949 Accra 29th June,


Tel. + 233(0)21


Fax: + 233(0)21


Dear Mr. Speaker,

We refer to our various discussions and your letter dated 20th June, 2005 and are pleased to advise that the Bank has agreed to the requested facility subject to the following terms and conditions:

BORROWER(S): Parliamentary Service/Government of Ghana

LENDER(S): Barclays Bank of Ghana/Syndicate of Local Banks

ARRANGER: Barclays Bank of Ghana FACILITY AMOUNT: USD7,000,000 (cedi equivalent)

DESCRIPTION OF FACILITY: A Committed Term Loan Facility available for drawing by way of Cash Advances in
Mr. Moses Asaga 1:35 p.m.


Rt. Hon. Ebenezer B. Sekyi-Huges Speaker of Parliament Office of Parliament Accra.

by the Lender. Amounts so prepaid may not be redrawn and, if prepaid during the amortization period, will be applied in inverse order of maturity.

CANCELLATION: During the Availability Period, the undrawn portion of the Facility may be cancelled in whole or in part by the Borrower without penalty upon 30 days' prior written notice to the Lender. Amounts so cancelled may not be re-drawn and shall be applied in inverse order of maturity.

CONDITIONS PRECEDENT: Receipt of cer t i f ied t rue copy of parliamentary approval of the facility or any such approval by Government consistent with the provisions of Article 181 of the Constitution of the R e p u b l i c o f Ghana.

Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 1:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just need a clarification. On the Order Paper we do not have any indication of the cedi equivalent that the Ranking Member for Finance is talking about. He has talked about seven million; the Committee Report is saying cedi equivalent. We just have to be very clear as to exactly what we are doing; because if it is dollar then we cannot use the treasury bill rate in terms of the interest. The Order Paper properly advertised it and did not indicate any cedi equivalent. So I just want them to clarify the position so that it will be captured and we know exactly what we are doing.
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 1:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe my hon. Colleague is partially right, partially in the sense that when the Chairperson of the Committee was moving the motion, she did the correction. So I would want us to take it that the motion has just been amended and the one she moved should be taken as the correct version, that is, the cedi equivalent.
Mr. Speaker 1:35 p.m.
Majority Leader, in other words, we are having an amendment to this; that is what you are saying?
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 1:35 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. She said it when she was moving the motion.
Mr. Doe-Adjaho 1:35 p.m.
I thank the hon. Majority Leader. So that clarifies the situation. So what exchange rate are we using?
Mr. Asaga 1:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue with my submission. Mr. Speaker, I am happy that this issue of cedi equivalent has been explained. The interest rate is based on the fact that the currency denomination is in cedis. If it were in dollars, then this would have been at a higher rate. But because it is in cedis, we are using for now one- year Treasury Bill rate; and currently it is about 15.6 per cent; and plus the 2 per cent would bring it to about 17.6 per cent. This is a very favourable rate. I can see that it is a flexible rate and once it is flexible and interest rates continue to go down, we are even going to benefit further in terms of the cost of capital.
Mr. Speaker 1:35 p.m.
Order! Order! Let him continue.
Mr. Asaga 1:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am seriously indicating this because I want Parliament to be a better Parliament in the future; that in future, Parliamentarians would be given official cars. Because, in other countries it
is bought as a duty vehicle and when you are leaving Parliament after four years, they give it to you at salvage value just like they have been doing to the Executive and senior civil servants.

Mr. Speaker, I think this loan is a good one but we must also be careful that this is a Government guarantee and therefore the Government is also a party to it. It is not just Parliament's loan.
Mr. Speaker 1:45 p.m.
Order! Order! Please, continue.
Mr. Asaga 1:45 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, I have taken note of the consortium of banks and that was what I was just talking about. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity and I would not want any further debate. Let us approve it with an applause. [Hear! Hear!]
Deputy Minister for the Interior (capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd)): Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to also add my voice in support of the motion. Mr. Speaker, I have looked at the Report of the Committee and as for me I want to just make some remarks on paragraph 4.1 at page 3.
Mr. Speaker, the point has been made quite clearly that there is the need for Members of Parliament to have very strong vehicles for shuttling between their constituencies and Parliament. Mr. Speaker, I think this point needs to be

very much emphasized because when you look at where we come from and, Mr. Speaker, my constituency, Berekum -- [Laughter] -- Mr. Speaker, there is one particular town in my constituency and if you pass through my birthplace, Jinijini -- [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, if you go to this particular village, the village I am talking about is called Nkyekyemamu.

Mr. Speaker, the road to Nkyekye- mamu is such that -- in fact, if you do not have a strong four-wheel vehicle and you go and come, your car would be off-road. Mr. Speaker, to be sincere with you, most of my Colleagues, some of their areas are highly inaccessible and we need very strong vehicles. This is the reason why I would support this motion.

But Mr. Speaker, while supporting the motion I would recommend that the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and with the greatest respect your goodself, as Leaders of the House, should also look at our accommodation problems and also the need for research assistants. Every Member here would want to have a research assistant who would organize data, information for him so that when we are speaking on the floor of the House, our contributions can be informed views and opinions.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, definitely, the circumstances that we have is compelling this House and Members of the House to accept to contract loans to purchase vehicles to use for official functions, and Mr. Speaker, this is not the best.
In every country that is referred to as a democratic one, there is always the existence of Parliament. If you do not have Parliament in your country, there is no way that you would be referred to as being a democratic country. In any
to funerals. In fact, Mr. Speaker, you can see the effect this work has on Members of Parliament from how they are dropping dead. The attrition rate is also very high.
Mr. Speaker, we are compelled to always go in for a loan to buy cars to perform these duties and because it is not properly presented outside, we are tongue- lashed by the society as if what we are doing we are being selfish, we are being self-centred; and that we do not take the interests of the nation into consideration.

Mr. Speaker, I want to put this on record that we have on various occasions looked at scenarios and the options that are opened to us as a country and the cheapest is what we always adopt, which is compelling hon. Members who do not actually want to go in for loans, because hon. Members are always requesting for duty vehicles. It is not hon. Members who decide that they want to go in for loans; it is because the Government makes it categorically clear to all of us that it cannot provide duty vehicles to hon. Members and therefore we should meet each other half-way.
Mr. Kojo Armah 1:55 p.m.

country that is said to be practising good governance, the good governance actually emanates mainly from the functions of Parliament and Parliamentarians because it is Parliament and Parliamentarians that are able to hold the balance of power among the arms of government -- the balance between the government and the governed.

It is Parliament that makes govern- ments open, transparent and participatory. And it is when you enable Parliament to function that way that you can be talking about good governance. Good Governance does not emanate from the Executive arm of government because power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely -- [Hear! Hear!] It is Parliament that makes sure that this power does not corrupt -- the people we give the authority and power to.

So Mr. Speaker, it is sad that as Members of the Leadership of this House we always find ourselves struggling against the tides, trying to get governments, right from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) through the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to accept and make it possible for Members of Parliament to be given duty vehicles; because it is accepted by all that Members of Parliament must move, visit their constituents; Members of Parliament must come and Sit in Parliament.

It is accepted by all; nobody is denying that fact, because the other arms of government equally do the same thing. And it is Members of Parliament that move more than any other member of government whether it is the Judiciary or the Executive -- [Hear! Hear!] We move all over the country. At any time, you have to go and answer the calls of your constituents; you have to answer the call of Parliament and you have to answer the call of civil societies, the way they invite us to present papers, to come and contribute, to attend weddings, to go to church, to go
Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Hon. Member for Evalue-Gwira?
Mr. Armah 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader said, Omaafo-Safo; I do not know if there is any hon. Member or any hon. Minister called by that name. If not, I want to correct it. He said the former hon. Minister, Omaafo-Safo and I do not know whether there is an hon. Member by that name. I want to correct that for the record.
Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Hon. Minority Leader, you continue, please. [Laughter.]
Mr. Bagbin 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the option of allowing hon. Members to use public means free, as is done in other countries -- And the cheapest for the country is to let hon. Members contract loans and use their salaries to service the loans. And at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, we know what is happening to the hon. Members who do not come back to this House. Luckily, I have been here, this is now my 13th year and, Insha-Allah, I will reach 16 years -- [Interruptions.] Oh! I am entitled to four years; I will be here till 16 years.
Now I see that my hon. Colleagues, at the end of the term of office, it is their ex- gratia that is used to pay for the vehicles and then the hon. Members cannot even get themselves resettled. Moving from Accra to one's constituency, getting one's wife, family members and one's children from school -- And even to get a job is a big problem because one is now seen as a politician -- partisan politician -- and therefore it is not easy to get work in most of the areas that are seen to be impartial, objective state institutions. These are the risks; these are all costs associated with this work. And yet anytime we are compelled to take this position,
immediately after that, well, the people we serve come hard on us.
I blame ourselves because we have not been able to go out there to explain for the country to understand what is involved. I hope, Mr. Speaker, that after this approval, we will try and get to our constituents, sit with them and make sure that they understand what is happening. And at the end of the day, if the decision of the country is that duty vehicles be used, so be it; because that is what people want; the Members of Parliament actually want duty vehicles, and we will prefer that.
Mr. Speaker, it is with this that I support the motion and I want our brothers and sisters, especially those in the media, those who are here with us, who understand the situation, to kindly convey these our humble views to our constituents all over the country. That is the only way that the arms of government, which are resourced and serviced seriously by the media, can work together in harmony.
Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. owusu- Adjapong) 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament we used to have a name, “Osaga”; now in this current Parliament we have all been given another name, Omaafo-Safo -- [Laughter] -- I think it is good that we keep on having these.
Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank the hon. Members of the Finance Committee for the hard work they have done over the last ten days or so in trying to look at this agreement, more importantly the depth with which they have gone into it, meeting with officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Barclays Bank Gh. Ltd. Mr. Speaker, history is being made. For the first time in our Fourth Republic, Parliament is seizing
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move,
WHEREAS the Parliamentary Service is desirous of raising a loan for on-lending to Members of Parliament on terms applicable to public officers for the purpose of acquiring vehicles for the performance of their duties as Members of Parliament.
AND WHEREAS the Government of Ghana has agreed to guarantee the repayment of the said loan facility.
AND WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and sections 7 and 10 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), no loan shall be raised by the Government on behalf of itself or any other public institution or authority otherwise than by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
AND WHEREAS by the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 7 and 10 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335) and at the request of the Parliamentary Service there has been laid before Parliament, the terms and conditions of a Committed Term Loan Facility available for drawing by way of Cash Advances in Cedis and/ or Letters of Credit in favour of suppliers of vehicles between the Parliamentary Service and the Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of cedi equivalent of
seven million United States dollars (US$7,000,000) for on-lending to Members of Parliament on the usual terms for the purchase of vehicles.
THAT IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 7 and 10 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), this House approves the Committed Term Loan Facility available for drawing by way of Cash Advances in Cedis and/ or Letters of Credit in favour of suppliers of vehicles between the Parliamentary Service and the Barclays Bank Ghana Limited for an amount of cedi equivalent of seven million United States dollars (US$7,000,000) for the purchase of vehicles for Members of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana and authorizes the Government of Ghana to guarantee the said loan facility.
Mr. Speaker, I so move.
Mr. Bagbin 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr. Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Hon. Majority Leader, any indications at this stage?
Mr. owusu-Adjapong 1:55 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is already past 2 o'clock so it is within your discretion as to what you want us to do next.
ADJoURNMENT The House was adjourned at 2.05 p.m.
till 6th July, 2005 at 10.00 a.m.