Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute whilst I call on the House to approve the estimates. In doing so, I want to note that as stated in the objectives of the NCCE, it is to make sure that we sustain the political, economic and social stability of the country through constitutional democracy, and for that reason, Mr. Speaker, it is one of the very important pillars that can make sure that our democracy works.
Mr. Speaker, speaking as an old staff of the NCCE, it is sad to note that ever since the NCCE was created, it has been in rented premises and up-to-date, it cannot talk of its own structures.
Mr. Speaker, going through the estimates, one sees that twenty-five billion
cedis has been allocated as HIPC funds. It is my hope that nothing will come to create any problem where these HIPC funds may not be realized. Because Mr. Speaker, last year the NCCE could not get the amount they demanded and we did not have any huge money like twenty-five billion cedis being HIPC funds allocation to it.
Mr. Speaker, I am thinking that if we want democracy to strive, as we all wish, then it is very, very essential that we attach a lot of importance to the institutions that have been created under the Constitution to make sure that democracy comes to stay; and one of these institutions is the
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to note that on the headquarters building, it is estimated that by the end of the year 2006, from what has been written here, it is hoped that the building would be completed by the end of the year 2006. Mr. Speaker, we are all waiting to see that great day when that building, which is named Democracy Building, can be completed.
Mr. Speaker, if we also come to the regional level, the NCCE is supposed to have regional offices as well as district offices across the country.
Mr. Speaker, as we are aware, some of the districts have increased from hundred and ten to hundred and thirty-eight. And so, Mr. Speaker, a lot more new district offices have to be created so that the new districts, which have been created, can also be adequately catered for under this dispensation.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether from the investment that is being given, cognizance is taken of these develop- ments; and I am thinking whether there is any way by which extra funding can be
raised to help the NCCE.
Mr. Speaker, as we are aware, any small problem that borders on democracy, Ghanaians are quick to point to the NCCE as not being able to educate the people well. The people are not well educated on their constitutional rights, on their democratic rights, on their civic responsibilities. And for this to happen, Mr. Speaker, it needs a lot of resources, a lot of investment would have to be made, especially in the newly-created districts. For that reason, Mr. Speaker, whilst I commend the Government for increasing their budget a little over that of last year, I still think that the work that we would want the NCCE to do, the forty-one billion as captured here may not go far.
We therefore crave the indulgence of the Ministry represented by the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Dr. Akoto Osei) -- I am being careful not to say Dr. Osei Akoto because he will quickly jump up -- to try as much as possible and make sure that more resources are roped from other areas to help them so that we have about three years within which to make sure that Ghanaians understand exactly what democracy means.
Mr. Speaker, we do not want to go and have those problems that we encountered during the 2004 Elections where people, even the voting system, if we count the number of wasted ballot papers -- Mr. Speaker, Ghana is moving forward and I think we should not be counting such a huge percentage ballot paper wastage. All these things come from the fact that the NCCE is not able to do their work well, to be able to educate Ghanaians to know exactly what to do when it comes to elections.