(ISD). We noticed a major shortfall, even though Cabinet, we were told, had given approval for the recruitment of some four to five hundred personnel, no budgetary provision was made for it, yet it would affect their performance on the ground.
With these few comments, Mr. Speaker,
I would like to support the motion and hope that the hon. Minister for Information would work in tandem with other institutions under him, to ensure that Ghanaians are adequately informed but not adequately misinformed.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Alhaji Malik A. Yakubu (NPP -
Yendi): Mr. Speaker, I would like to support the motion and my area of interest is the Information Services Department
Mr. Speaker, it appears to me that because of the spread of FM stations, televisions and even the new progressive action taken by the Ministry to establish the Ghana Government website, there is the tendency to dilute the effectiveness of the Information Services Department. Mr. Speaker, as a rural man, I know that even in the face of these developments of the spread of FM stations and even some television stations, the rural person's best friend is still the Information Services Department.
Mr. Speaker, what happened in the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, where the Information Services Department went with their cinema vans to the villages, where the Chief and his elders and the citizens of villages would gather and be entertained and informed -- Mr. Speaker, it is still relevant today.
Mr. Speaker, many, many rural people do not even have radio sets and when they have radio sets the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) radio, its local
language broadcast is very limited and the Information Services Department still remains the most effective information machinery to reach the villagers.
The Commi t t ee , i t s e l f unde r observations and recommendations has indicated under paragraph 7.2 that they noted that the ISD's fleet of operational vehicles increased from thirty-four to forty in the first half of the year and likely to increase further to fifty-four by the end of the year.
However, there has not been a corresponding increase in the Adminis- tration vote of the Department to take care of the running cost and maintenance of the vehicles. The Committee viewed this as an omission and recommends that this be addressed.
Mr. Speaker, I think the Committee needs to do something to help the Ministry of Information. It is well known in this House, as our general practice, that Parliament does not increase the votes of the budget of the MDAs; it can only decrease. And if the Committee simply recommends that this be addressed -- an obvious shortfall -- then it means that nothing would be done. It would have been useful if the Committee had, on behalf of the Ministry, approached the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and pointed out this obvious, glaring omission and tried to sort it out with them. Before even this motion comes to this House, the matter would have been resolved.
So I think that the Committee should look at this problem of the Ministry of Information and see what it can do as a committee to help resolve the problem that the Ministry has.
Mr. Speaker, if you take subparagraph three, under paragraph 7.2, it says that the Committee was informed that the Ministry has secured Cabinet approval
for the recruitment of the requisite staff to enhance the Department's operations in the regions and communities.
With this vote, that has been allocated, I doubt if the approval can be implemented because the hon. Member who spoke last already had indicated how the vote for the staff is inadequate and that is for those existing and even those anticipated to be employed for the regions and communities, I doubt if that is captured here, which means that that approval may come to mean nothing.
It is also important that Ghana should be effectively sold abroad, not-withstanding the website and the last paragraph on that page seven, the Committee pointed out the fact that the Information Services Department has sought to extend its presence to certain strategic locations of the world without success. It appears it is still the same. And if we want to progress and get external co-operation, the image of Ghana abroad is important and the Information Services Department officers in the various Embassies in strategic part of the world would do a lot to sell our image.
I want to urge that both the Ministry and Parliament, through its Committee, should realize that the Information Services Department is the real marketing manager for this nation and if it is not equipped effectively to sell Ghana's image within and without, I think we will not be able to project the quality of Ghana out.
Talking about the rural population, as I started with, Mr. Speaker, the staff of Information Services Department are well versed in the vernacular and they are able to translate things that are difficult for the ordinary educated person to translate in the local dialect. They do it so well that the villagers are able to understand them
programmes and policies through the Information Services Department.
Here they are, Mr. Speaker, their information services vans, now is an apology of the word, and very few of them and those that are there are so rickety that they are not able to perform the way they used to do in the past.
Mr. Speaker, I think the vote of ¢17.3 billion for the Information Services Department is a big joke: It is not going to be able to help them to perform the vital role that it plays and I wish that even with the motion now on the floor, the Committee should still look at this problem and do some advocacy for Parliament to be able to do something for this segment of the Ministry of Information, which is so vital for a still rural and still high illiterate population Ghana is. If this is done, I am sure that the Information Services Department would become more effective.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Alhaji Sumani Abukari (NDC -
Tamale North): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion of the House and to make just a few observations.
Mr. Speaker, my first observation is about the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI). I believe hon. Haruna Iddrisu has competently dealt with that problem but there is a little bit that I think should be highlighted. Mr. Speaker, if you look at paragraph 7.6 of the report the Committee says that, and Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I quote:
“The miss ion of NAFTI i s to produce film and television professionals to promote socio- economic development. Since
1999, the Institute has upgraded its Diploma programmes to a four- year Bachelor of Fine Art Degree in affiliation with the University of Ghana.”
Mr. Speaker, however, with this laudable vision, the Institute which requested ¢32.1 billion, was given only ¢9.7 billion. Mr. Speaker, this is not good enough. I think that that Institute deserves better than this. Mr. Speaker, this is an Institute that would produce our film directors and all the professionals that we need for the film industry.
Mr. Speaker, it is very necessary that they produce more and more of them because if one watches our television screens, our screens have been taken over by foreign films which have very negative influence on our youth -- very negative influences, Mr. Speaker, that arm robbery is going up is partly due to the films we see on our screens and most of them, foreign films.
If we had our own directors and professionals in the film industry who would produce more films, I believe that we could produce films that would project our own culture and our own customary practices like some Nigerian films do.
Mr. Speaker, some Nigerian films
actually project their culture and their customs and depending on the area that the film comes from, you will know what their customary practices are. And I think that it also contributes to tourism because these films are distributed worldwide now, as I understand it. And people who see them would want to go to Nigeria to
see whether what they see is true or not. Here we depend mostly on foreign films, which are of little value to us, which only contaminate our values here.
In fact, Mr. Speaker, the effect of foreign films here should be looked at again. And I hope that the Government will look at NAFTI again and see how they can help the Ministry of Information to reorganize and to refinance and to refurbish it to produce more of the professionals that we need for that industry. I think the hon. Minister for Information deserves that assistance.
Mr. Speaker, I will then move on to
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Mr. Speaker, GBC is in a sad situation today and I do not understand how in this democratic era workers can decide who they would want to run their industry or their corporation or their board. I do not understand why a group of workers will say “we do not want our board” and then the director or the head of the place is changed. The next day, they will say “we do not want this person” and then he is changed.
Mr. Speaker, I think that we ought to look at it more critically. And particularly so, Mr. Speaker, we have been told several times that this particular Government is very gender sensitive by choosing a female Director of GBC, this woman is being hounded out of office. For me, I have met her at a meeting and another symposium somewhere because of her efficiency and qualification. And yet the women who sit down and cry about gender sensitivity, about gender equity and all that, all keep quiet.