Debates of 9 Dec 2005

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon. Members , order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings for Thursday, 8th December, 2005. Pages 1, 2, 3…6.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
Page 6. I do know that some of them have sought permission and I want to believe that the permissions have been granted, and they include: hon. Yaw Barimah, hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, hon. Eugene Atta Agyepong, hon. Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei and hon. Ernest Akobuor Debrah. Those are the names that I can remember off- hand. I do not know some others who might have sought permission; but these ones, I do know, they sought permission. And I am really saying this to your office, sir.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
I am sure the Clerks-at- Table will investigate into that. Pages 7,
8, 9 …13.
Hon. Members, we have the Official
Report for Tuesday, 29th November, 2005.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, under column 1632, paragraph 5, there is something attributed to me, but that is not what I said. I said “I think that we are not talking about extending the line only in isolation” and not “continued line”; “extending the line in isolation”.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Right, thank you. Are there any further observations? [Pause.]
Right, item 3, Business Statement for the Eighth Week, Chairman of the Business Committee.

Majority Leader/Chairman of the Business Committee (Mr. Felix K. Owusu-Adjapong) 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Business Committee met on Thursday, 8th December 2005 and determined Business of the House for the Eighth Week ending Wednesday, 14th December 2005.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10:15 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Mr. Speaker may allow Statements duly admitted to be made in the House.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Bills, Papers and Reports may be presented to the House for consideration. Mr. Speaker, those which have already been submitted to the House, may be taken through their various stages of passage.
Motions and Resolutions

Motions may be debated and the appropriate Resolutions taken where required.

Outstanding Business

All unfinished business at the close of today, will be carried forward to the following week.

Mr. Speaker, I wish on my own behalf and on behalf of Leadership and the Business Committee to express appreciation to all the Committees of the House which handled the Budget Estimates of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for their impressive performance.

End of First Session

Mr. Speaker, the House is expected to rise sine die on Wednesday, 14th December



Presentation and First Reading of Bills --

The Appropriation Bill, 2006.

Laying of Papers --

Report of the Finance Committee on the Development Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for an amount of SDR17.3 million (US$25 million equivalent) for the Economic Management Capacity Building (EMCB) Project.

Second Reading of Bills

The Appropriation Bill, 2006

Motions --

Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount of UA17,000,000 for financing the Export Marketing and Quality Awareness Project.

Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Reques t fo r Tax a n d D u t y E x e m p t i o n s t o t a l l i n g U A 8 2 , 2 7 8 . 0 6 (US$123,417.09 equivalent) on vehicles, field and office equipment and supplies in respect of the implementation of the Nerica Rice Dissemination Project (NRDP).

(c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Development Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of SDR 13,900,000 (US$20.0 million equivalent) for the Multi-Sectoral HIV/AIDS Project (M-SHAP).

Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10:15 a.m.

Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Consideration Stage of Bills --

Minerals and Mining Bill.

The Appropriation Bill, 2006.


Third Reading of Bills --

Minerals and Mining Bill.

The Appropriation Bill, 2006

Motions --

Adoption of the Report of the F inance Commi t t ee on the Development Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for an amount of SDR 17.3 million (US$25 million equivalent) for the Economic Management Capacity Building (EMCB) Project.

Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Lands and Forestry on the Replacement of Timber Concessions Lost by Timber Companies.

Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Lands and Forestry on the Timber Utilization Contracts (TUCs) Al loca ted Through Competitive Bidding Process.

Committee Sittings

The House Expected to Rise Sine Die.
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, just after the Business Statement was read, it came into my mind that the Liberian Elections were quite a historic election. And I believe that if the hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs could have an opportunity to brief us, for us to express a few remarks about the success story. And being a forerunner in the democratic development in the sub-region, I believe it will be very good for this Parliament and for our country. So if we can get the hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs to come and lead us in his expression of solidarity to the Liberian people.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:15 a.m.
Speaker, the Majority Leader (Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong) asked that I handle this particular matter and it is still being discussed. I thought if we did rise, I could inform the Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) about where we have got. But it is important that he restates it here. It is under control and we believe that definitely, before we adjourn sine die, it will come up for discussion.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10:15 a.m.
Speaker, I have also looked at the Business Statement and on Tuesday, 13th December, 2005, we will be taking the Consideration Stage of the Minerals and Mining Bill. But I keep on reminding this House that the Bill was withdrawn and a new one
was to be substituted. As far as I am concerned, I have not received any copy of that Bill and I know that many hon. Members have not. If we are to discuss and consider the Consideration Stage, it is only important because they keep advertising the amendments to the Bill. And we have not got the other Bill that has been substituted.
Mr. Speaker, the second thing is that
we are about to rise and from what the Chairman of the Business Committee is saying, we are rising sine die on Wednesday, 14th December 2005. But I think that we should as a House also consider including a Committee of the Whole meeting before we rise, to look at issues affecting hon. Members. If it is possible, I recommend that we should consider putting it somewhere.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Majority Leader, do you
have any observations?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:15 a.m.
Thank you,
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the Mines and Minerals Bill, I was not too sure of what my colleague wanted to present. But if I may give him the position relating to this particular Bill; it is true that the Bill was withdrawn and resubmitted. But at least, what they made me to find out later on was that we have had the Second Reading of the Bill. That was how the new one was brought to the floor; so we have passed the Second Reading stage long before we went on the last recess. But because we still have some arguments on this matter, the Committee decided that they would allow a long discussion.
The good news is that we have been in contact with the coalition group who are the major players in this particular exercise and we have seemed to come to some
Mr. Chireh 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the first
part to the question I raised -- When the Bill was withdrawn, at the Second stage, I personally complained that I had not received a copy of the substituted Bill. And so if it was considered -- I am still saying that based on that new Bill that was substituted, the corrections or things can be moved. I have not got it and that is what I am saying. I have not received that substituted Bill and I do not know how many people who have it. So the issue I

am still raising is that I cannot make any suggestion as to corrections once I do not have them.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon. Member, I
suggest you discuss this matter with the Leadership.
PAPERS 10:25 a.m.


ESTIMATES 10:25 a.m.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I second the motion.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to submit the Report of the Special Budget Committee relating to the 2006 Budget Estimates of the Office of Parliament.
I. 0 Introduction
Mr. Speaker, the 2006 Annual Estimates of the Office of Parliament was referred to the Special Budget Committee for consideration and report in accordance with the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders of the House following the presentation of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2006 on 10th November 2005 by the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
The Committee met with the Acting Clerk to Parliament, Mr. John G. K. Agama and his technical team and reports as follows:
2.0 Background
2.1 Reference Documents
In the discharge of its assigned responsibilities, the Committee availed itself of the following relevant documents:
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. The Standing Orders of the House.
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for preceding years, notably the 2000, 2004 and 2005 financial years.
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Govern-ment of Ghana for the 2006 financial year.
2.2 Aims and Objectives of the Office of Parliament
Parliament is the Legislative arm of government. It consists of the Legislature which comprises the Rt. Hon. Speaker and the 230 Members of Parliament, and the Parliamentary Service. Law-making is the most visible activity of Parliament, however, the institution also exercises financial, investigative, deliberative, informative, oversight and represen- tational roles. The Parliamentary Service facilitates the work of Parliament through provision of support services to the House, including its Committees for the purpose of ensuring the full and effective exercise of the powers of Parliament and to enhance its dignity.
Among others, the Office of Parliament has the following objectives:
i. To provide support to the Legislature and any Committee or Agency of Parliament for the purpose of ensuring the full and effective exercise of the powers of Parliament;
ii. To provide adequate informa- tion and research findings to service the Office of the Speaker and Members of Parliament;
iii. To inform and educate the public on daily Parliamentary proceedings;
iv. To develop the institutional capacity of the Parliamentary Service to deliver services efficiently, effectively and timely; and
v. To co-operate and foster closer relations with other Legis- latures.
To achieve these objectives, the Office of Parliament intends, for the 2006 financial year, to undertake the following activities:
i. Organize 30 study and field trips to regions, MDAs and projects sites for Committees and 60 regional site inspections by December 2006;
i i . To adequately s tock the Parliament Library and to supply Leadership, Management staff with daily and other news- papers;
iii. To hold at least one national Parliamentary forum;
iv. To establish an FM transmitter station in Parliament by the end of December 2006;
v. To hold educational outreach programmes in Accra and Kumasi; and
vi. To upgrade staff skills and knowledge in relevant disci- plines to improve compe-tence and productivity.
3.0 The 2006 Budget Estimates of the Office of Parliament
A total of ¢163,700,000,000 has been allocated to the Office of Parliament to be disbursed as follows:
TABLE 1: 2006 Budget Allocations
SPACE FOR 10:25 a.m.

Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDC - Asawase) 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and in doing so, I will first want to draw the attention of the Leader to Tables 1 and 2. We could not get all the money requested, yet when you look at
Table 2 under the Parliamentary Service, you will see that we requested for ¢20.9 billion thereabout. Meanwhile, when you look at Table 1, we had ¢26 billion. If you look at the Members of Parliament, we requested for ¢32 billion, yet we had ¢35 billion. I think we agreed at the committee level, when I asked, they said they were going to sort it out, but it has not been sorted out and I will plead that this is done.
In addition to this, Mr. Speaker, if you look at the shortfall that we have in this budget, which is about ¢96.4 billion, then it clearly adds the role that we Members of Parliament do play, the importance that we attach to it. It is sad that Parliament as an institution is not being strengthened.
Democracy, Mr. Speaker, is about Parliament because even under military rule we still have an Executive arm performing the Executive functions and we still have the courts even if it is Marshal. So democracy is about Parliament and the strength of Parliament shows the strength of democracy that we are practicing. Thirteen years down the line, Members of Parliament still operate from the boot of their cars; Members of Parliament barely have access to relevant information. If you see this cut, then it clearly tells why we have the research unit very weak. You have six computers there; most often when you get there, you can only get four working, hindering accessing information from that end.
The place is also very small such that I think if even 1/3 of Members decide to always go there a day, it will mean close to 50 per cent of them will not even have access if all of us are given 10 minutes to access information. I think this is something very important that we have to take a critical look at.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the way monies are released to Parliament then
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDC - Asawase) 10:35 a.m.
we ask ourselves whether we can really play the role that we are expected to play. Parliament is not a Ministry, where Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning will be releasing money to it monthly; monies must be released quarterly. If you look at the activities that we run, and the way they release money, obviously, we will have a lot of problems in Parliament.
It is only Parliament, after 13 years, sadly to note Mr. Speaker, that still does not have a permanent residence. I believe this is something that we all have to take up very seriously because so long as we remain weak, our democracy will remain weak, and taking into consideration the role the Constitution carved for us, then we will never be able to play that role and our democracy will remain very weak, Mr. Speaker.
Last but not least, Mr. Speaker, having said that resources are very limited, if you look at the way Parliament uses the little resources that it has, it leaves so much to be desired. I have this bottle here; you see the crest of Parliament on it. What I ask myself is that, how relevant is this logo on this bottled water to Parliament? Apart from endangering ourselves that this water is specially meant for Parliament where we could easily be poisoned and looking at the resources that we need to strengthen the operations of Members of Parliament, we put so much money into this label. It honestly tells that Parliament is really not monitoring the way its little resources are being used. And I think we will have to be able to monitor this thing very well and make sure that the resources that are allocated to Parliament are judiciously used.
Mr. Speaker, people are whispering into my ears that we even pay for it - It is an investment. So if you decide not

Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr. K. Opare-Hammond (NPP - Adenta) 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion, that this House approves the sum of ¢163.699 million for the Office of Parliament. Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I wish to make a few comments.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the way we spend money in this House needs to be looked at and looked at very well and critically. Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the Office of Parliament does have a Procurement Committee in place. I ask this because information filtering down to me indicates that there is no such committee in place; or if there is, maybe, then it is not functioning well. Sometimes, one wonders how decisions to spend money are taken in this House.
Mr. Speaker, there are several examples, but I will just give one example. Many of us Members of Parliament were worried when we found out that the carpet in the foyer was being changed at a very high cost. Mr. Speaker, to many of us we thought that the carpet was not that worn-out to the extent that it needed to
Mr. J. B. D. Adu 10:35 a.m.
On a point of information. Mr. Speaker, he said Parliament has operated for a year without offices. Parliament has operated more than a year without offices; 13 or more years without offices.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Opare-Hammond 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am talking about the current Parliament.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order just to get a little clarification on the figures that we are using. I heard my hon. Colleague make reference to ¢163,699 million. But Mr. Speaker, if you take the Committee's report as presented by the hon. Majority Leader, you have ¢163,700 million. I do not know which of the figures we are supposed to work with. Even though the amount may be insignificant, it is important that the records capture what is right and appropriate.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Opare-Hammond 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, my good Friend.
Mr. Speaker, I am talking about the need for us to also prioritize our expenditure in this House. Most often we as Members of Parliament have gone to the banks at the time when we expected that transfers have been made into our accounts. And then we had gone there only to find out that the monies have not been transferred for our salaries as a result of the fact either the funds have not been released or they have gone in very late.
Mr. Speaker, I refer to paragraph 4 (5)
of the report and with your permission I would like to quote:
“The Committee observed that there is a need for improvement in the way the Office of Parliament monitors its expenditure and recommends that mechanisms be instituted to ensure that this is done.”
Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter
is that some of us with accounting backgrounds look at the issues in this House concerning finances and we think that the internal controls are either so weak or they are non-existent. For instance, I have just been told that for all these years that Parliament has been in existence, it is only about three months ago that we engaged an internal auditor in this House. This means that for all this while internal check mechanisms that needed to be in place maybe, were not in place. Mr. Speaker, as I speak now the Public Accounts Committee needed to meet with officials of Parliament for them to answer a few queries that were raised by the Auditor-General on the accounts of the House. But Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to note that on three occasions the Office of Parliament failed to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr. Speaker, in the light of the above, I
wish to recommend the following, that now that we have an Internal Audit Committee in place, if it would be possible, the Public
Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey (NDC - North Tongu) 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion but in so doing, I would want to mention that in the report read by the Chairman of the Committee, no mention was made of accommodation for Members of Parliament. The repairs that have been made on the Sakumono flats for Members of Parliament, especially on the sixteen units in each block of seven, if you divide the cost of repairs, it means each unit took two hundred million cedis to repair one room.
Unfortunately, the Press is leading us
to believe that building a residence for Members of Parliament is a waste but the Press is not able to mention the exorbitant repair cost. If we are to repair again this same unit in 2009, probably the cost might be more that what has been incurred this year. I should think even though this year, the Press or the public is not in favour of acquiring residencies for Members of Parliament, in fifty years to come probably we may decide that we should acquire places of residence for Parliamentarians.
For that reason, when fifty years come, Mr. Speaker, there might be no land nearby to build these residencies because of the rate at which the use of land from Accra to Dodowa area and from Accra to Ada area is going. Because of the delay in building committee rooms, meetings of committees are held in alleys; sometimes we are forced to go to hotels outside the premise. If one calculates the cost involved it would be more than what could be used to build the committee rooms.
The Chinnery Hesse Report that is supposed to take care of the welfare of Members of Parliament is not ready. We do not have any specific date of submitting the report. Every year we meet here and ask for the welfare report - [Interruptions] - When that report would come out, we do not know - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Member for North Tongu, continue.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we want to know when this report would come out so that hon. Members of this House would
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Order! Order! Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Dr. A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will sit down -- [Laugther.]
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
That is not a point of order. You may be winding up.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP - Suame) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the motion on the floor to approve the Budget Estimates for the Office of Parliament for the year 2006.
Mr. Speaker, there has been some qualitative improvement in the sectoral allocations this year. We all do agree that the work of Parliament is over 70 per cent dependent on the work that the various committees churn out. And this year, we have made efforts to allocate specific resources to the various committees to enable them perform duties and responsibilities assigned them.
Unfortunately, however, Mr. Speaker, the moneys that have been allocated to them do not appear to be enough and we have agreed at both leadership and the Special Budget Committee level to have a second look at this so that the various committees will be provided enough financial muscle to perform their assignments.
Mr. Speaker, one noteworthy matter this time around is specific allocations which have been made to the two caucuses to enable them do their work. This is because the work of the caucuses also positively impinge on the work of Parliament as a whole. However once again, we would want to have another look at the moneys that have been allocated to the two caucuses.
Currently, it is being proposed that we
give the Minority about ¢400 million to enable them do various assignments that they carry out and about ¢600 million also to the Majority to enable them perform various assignments. Mr. Speaker, this is something that is a novel idea; it must be encouraged but we believe that we may have to have a second look at that amount.
The point has been made that the Speaker of Parliament like the Son of Man, has nowhere to lay his head; and that is the truth. But unfortunately, that idea is not restricted to Mr. Speaker alone; even the President of this country does not have an official residence.
Mr. Speaker, we have to, as a nation, confront this issue and come clean and tackle this matter once and for all. Some allocations have been made this year to construct a residence for Mr. Speaker, and it must be pursued vigorously. Last year, something was set aside and this year as well we have something set aside. One hopes that come the end of 2006, we would have completed the residence of the Speaker to enable Mr. Speaker move into that residence because where the Speaker is residing now is a huge embarrassment to all of us, not only as a Parliament but also as a nation.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Majority Chief Whip has said that the President of the nation has no place of abode. I think that that statement is not factually true. The President has the Castle as his official place of abode. In addition, the President's own private residence has been renovated with state resources as his official bungalow -- [Hear! Hear!] -- So that statement is not officially true
and should be withdrawn.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Chief Whip, you may continue -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for urging me to disregard this.
Mr. Speaker, I was talking about official residence and there is a world of difference between official residence and office, and I thought that as a nation, we should confront this, no matter who is there. That is the point that I made.
Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, some allocations have been made for certain purposes. If one looks at them, one realizes that some of them are quite ridiculous. For instance, we talked about some generators which have been bought for the official residences of the Minority Leader and the Majority Leader. The Majority Leader lives in his own private residence and yet it is supposed that a generator has been bought for him; and we did not know where it came from. Mr. Speaker, again, we realize that where the rest of the Leadership are staying, some generators have been bought without the knowledge of anybody and these things must not be done otherwise, somebody is going to say that so much is being spent on Parliament. Mr. Speaker, so we urge that there should be greater transparency in this.
When one looks at the renovation of flats of the Sakumono Blocks, of Joggis and so on, the figures that have been quoted are quite ridiculous. To consider that renovating a flat at Sakumono is going to cost us in the region of almost ¢200 million for one. Mr. Speaker, that is outrageous. To consider that where I stay, a three-bedroomed accommodation, is going to be renovated at the cost of ¢1.33 billion again, this is ludicrous.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, that is why we are saying that beyond approving the global figure, the Special Budget Committee, the Finance people, the Clerk and his team and the Leadership of the House would have to go back and look at the allocations so that we would prioritise and savings which should be made would then be judiciously applied to where they are most needed.

So Mr. Speaker, on that note, I would

urge that we approve of the figure subject to the agreement that we have made that Leadership, the Special Budget Committee, the Acting Clerk and his team do meet thereafter and have a second look at the various sectoral allocations.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for your indulgence.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC -- Tamale South) 11:05 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion and to urge hon. Members to approve the sum of ¢163,700 million for the operations of the Office of Parliament for the 2006 financial year. Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I would like to make some brief comments.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague has just stated a factual inaccuracy. Since 2001, we have not had any document called Sessional Address, we have not. There have been State of the Nation Addresses and not Sessional Address. He is a yesterday man and he
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,

Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President emphasizes good governance as being key to the attainment of our economic objectives of accelerated development and reducing poverty. Mr. Speaker, we cannot achieve these objectives if we do not strengthen our democratic institutions and in particular the institution of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, I find it very worrying and

if you permit me, I would want to refer to the Committee's Report that there is a huge gap of over ¢94 billion shortfall as was requested by the Office of Parliament. Mr. Speaker, if we want to achieve and deepen good governance, Parliament is the institution that we must focus on. Mr. Speaker, my greatest worry is, and with your kind permission, I would like to refer to article 71(1) of the 1992 Republican Constitution, because Mr. Speaker, some of the issues that have arisen have to do with the fact that, in the last five years, the President has failed in keeping faith with the requirement of article 71 of the Constitution, yet the President and all Members of Parliament have sworn to uphold the Constitution.

The Constitution mandates the President to determine the conditions of service of Mr. Speaker and his Deputies and all Members of Parliament, including members of the Judiciary. Five years running, His Excellency the President has not obliged to this constitutional provision. We may be given assurances in Budget Statements that it is being addressed. Mr. Speaker, our predecessor Parliament and Members of Parliament still do not know their fate. Many of them do not know

Mr. Speaker, unfairly, if you talk about accommodation, if article 71 was given meaning to, Members of Parliament (MPs) will not complain about decent or indecent accommodation because a comprehensive arrangement would then be made for Members of Parliament. If Members of Parliament are supposed to look for their own accommodation for the State to bear it, rightly so.

But Mr. Speaker, for five years, we hear people saying ‘rule of law'; Rule of law is about the supremacy of the law, yet the law says that determine conditions of service. Five years, you have not been able to determine it and then we do not know what we are doing as Members of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, may I now refer to your Committee's Report specifically item (IV), and with your permission I quote:

“Mr. Speaker, the Committee observed that the renovation of the Chamber block is still underway and requires a total of ¢13,100 million.”

Mr. Speaker, this is a very vague arrangement. If you look at the investment budget, you are talking about ¢26 billion. We ought to know how much of the ¢26 billion is going into the renovation of the Tower Block. If you say ¢13 billion is required, you have said nothing. We do not know whether the money has been catered for or it has not been catered for. Because out of the ¢26 billion, you have other items listed as investment.

Mr. Speaker, we need to know because we cannot keep running our activities in the vehicles of Members of Parliament or in the corridors of Parliament, as Members

of Parliament; that is wrong. We must show respect to the work that we do as Members of Parliament. We do not have offices and my hon. Colleagues have already reiterated that position.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at another item (VII), it is commending the Government. It is commending the Government for what? Because you are sourcing funding, you have not even come across the funding and yet you are saying that - [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, while the Committee commends Government for the effort -- what effort? If your effort yields result in the form of secured funding, then we can hail and praise the Government but the Government is still in an effort, whether it will be like another IFC loan which may not be obtained, we do not know; yet we say we should commend Government for sourcing funding -- [Laughter.] I have a serious difficulty with that.

Mr. Speaker, if you would also permit,

finally, in supporting this motion, to make a comment on the investment expenditure of Parliament once again.

On accommodation for Members of Parliament, we spend millions, huge sums of money to accommodate Members of Parliament in hotels, simply because we do not even have a strategic thinking that look, we ought to have anticipated that 230 Members of Parliament would come to Parliament, how much was required, we go and spend money which otherwise could construct permanent buildings to be owned by Parliament for the purpose of housing Members of Parliament - Permanent buildings.

Mr. Speaker, I think that in supporting

this motion, this House must be taken seriously and must be adequately funded if we are to give meaning. I am told that many Members of Parliament do
Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and to admit that the views that are being expressed on the floor of this House were seriously considered at the committee meetings.
Mr. Speaker, hon. Members are very disturbed about the conditions under which they are being called upon to perform their functions. Some of them have not been mentioned, Mr. Speaker, but it is important for us to draw the attention of the whole nation to the fact that even the health status of hon. Members is not the best. There have been a lot of accidents and these accidents are all due to the nature of the duties of Members. A number of them have been seriously injured; they attend hospitals; the bills are piling and they are being called upon to pay for these bills. Mr. Speaker, I think that as a nation, we have to take a second look at these issues.
Members insist seriously that they are
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank all my hon. Colleagues for the comments made. I do not think I want to argue with any hon. Member on the genuine concerns that have been expressed.
Mr. Speaker, it was not for nothing
that the Committee itself had to suspend meetings, go over matters here and there. So what I am being told today is, in fact, but on a larger scale, a repetition of what happened at our committee meetings, and that is why we have paragraph 4.5, very short; but I think it sums up everything.
Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you that
with your goodself and the Leadership, a lot of these things will have to be looked at and corrected and, therefore, I want to thank you for these ideas.
Ordinarily, I would have wanted not to give direct response to the comments raised because the view of the Leadership is that there should be a proper meeting to do self-examination on how we perform here, ourselves. But whatever it is, we need the money, so we will take the money and then go on to work from two angles.
One angle is our own procedure for administrative control of expenditure. We would need to have it. Most big organisations do have proper ways of controlling expenditure. The Committee found that we lacked that in this Parliament and Leadership is going to join Mr. Speaker to work these things out. Therefore, I am particularly happy with the fact that it is not only the Leadership and the Committee that are aware of some of these lapses.
Dr. B. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, regrettably the hon. Majority Leader is misleading the House. It has never been anybody's story as to whether final payments were made. The fundamental question that, has been asked is, under what terms and conditions were those payments made? Except he is prepared to tell us that as hon. Members we are not entitled to even know our conditions of service, that is a different matter; but people are asking the question whether they are entitled to know the conditions and terms under which they operate as Members of Parliament.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, since my understanding is different from the hon. Member's presentation, we would look at it later on. [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker, I believe that we definitely need a resolution to the Chinnery-Hesse Committee and I hope that the Office of the President will live by the indications given in the budget so that when we come to the next Meeting we would be able to put this together, with the Tower Block behind us.
Mr. Speaker, once again, let me thank hon. Colleagues for the useful comments and suggestions they made on this and to urge all of us to endorse this request for the sum indicated, notwithstanding the fact that it is not enough and with the clear understanding that the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning would come earlier than anticipated to bridge the gap.
Question put and motion agreed to.
That this honourable House approves the sum of ¢163,699 million for the services of the Office of Parliament for the 2006 fiscal year.

Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon. Members, let us have decorum in the House.
Mrs. Asmah 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Fisheries has as its mission to promote sustainable and thriving fisheries enterprises through research, technology, development, extension and other support services to fishers, processors and traders and to fulfil its role in ensuring food security and poverty reduction.
The Policy Goals are as follows:
To ensure sustainable increase in fish production and utilization through proper management of the fisheries resource;
Promoting aquaculture to address shortfall in fish production;
Managing activities in the value chain to the fish consumer;
Alleviate poverty in fishing communities;
Collaborating with international and regional bodies for the management of shared resources.
Peformance in 2005
Mr. Speaker, in the 2005 Budget a total amount of ¢85.5 billion was approved for the entire Ministry. The breakdown is as follows:
G O G -- 11:35 a.m.

, M 11:45 a.m.

M 11:45 a.m.

F 11:45 a.m.

A 11:45 a.m.

R 11:45 a.m.

Mr. S. Asamoah-Boateng (NPP - Mfantsiman West) 11:45 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to support the motion on the floor to approve the sum of ¢41,840 million for the services of the Ministry of Fisheries for the 2006 fiscal year.
Mr. Speaker, I want to make brief comments. Coming from a fishing community, I know the difficulties that the fishing communities go through. Fishing has been of importance to this country and to our development, our health and my constituency. But unfortunately, the industry seems to be going down. I remember when I was a kid, I had been to the sea before and we used to have bumper fishing seasons. Nowadays, you go fishing and you hardly catch anything
and Mr. Speaker, it is about time we paid attention to the communities along our coastal lines and inland where the fishing community also live, along the water lakes, the Bosomtwe Lake and other inland lakes in the country.
One of the problems facing the industry is these powerful lights used by some fishermen on the high seas; and this has been a concern, especially in my village Kromantse and Abandze and all the areas, Briwa including.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is about time we educated and created the awareness that these practices are not very useful and also they harm the industry and so a word must go out from the Ministry and this House that the powerful lights they use to catch the fishes do not help anybody. The fish in any case come out cooked already and is not of any use to anybody; so that is something that we must condemn and make sure it does not happen.
The second point I want to make has also to do with the poaching of fishes in our high seas by foreign vessels. We all know the problems that they have been creating and I am glad that the Ministry is doing something about it. My information is that our naval officers or the army are doing something to patrol our coast lines so that we prevent this poaching in our waters. This is something we must take serious and make sure that we protect what is our own in this country.
Finally, I would like to appeal to the Ministry to look after the welfare of the fishing women in particular - the fish- mongers who struggle day in, day out to look after the little ones; and most of them are single parents.
We would want the Ministry and all other Ministries who are associated with women and children affairs to pay particular attention to the fishing

folk and where they lose the harvests - especially after bumper harvest everything is consumed. We need to find a way to preserve and store, by creating some cold stores in the villages and in the communities as well as providing some machines for them to smoke it properly and export it properly.

So Mr. Speaker, I think that we need to encourage the communities along the sea and also inland fishing so that they can be useful and they will look after themselves as well as look after the country.

On this note, I congratulate the Ministry for a good work done and urge this House to approve the money. But if there is anything left at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the hon. Minister should look the way of the Ministry of Fisheries for them to help at least my constituency and all the constituencies where fishing takes place.
Mr. Abuga Pele (NDC - Chiana/ Paga) 11:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it has been sufficiently emphasized, the need to take the Ministry of Fisheries very seriously.
With the continuing depletion of fish from the traditional sources and the affliction of chicken and cows by diseases in the western world, fish is becoming a very important source of food for many countries and not only the developing countries like Ghana. But for a long time, the understanding people have for fishing had to do with sea fishing and river fishing - the traditional sources of fish. It is a good thing that is now beginning to happen that aqua fishing is beginning to gain the importance that it deserves in this country.
For a long time, farmers, and even the whole country have remained largely ignorant about what aqua fishing really is because we tended to rely more on
Minister for Public Sector Reform (Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom) 12:05 p.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the budget of the Ministry of Fisheries.
The fisheries sector, yes, it is an important sector as has been acknow- ledged by our colleague Members here this morning but then the areas that are known to be fishing communities face a number of difficulties. We know that a number of these fishing communities are small-scale and even micro-level business people and as a result, they have great difficulty in gaining access to finance and capital to do their business with. They are also mainly canoe-based fishing people and therefore the capacity to have a lot of income is also relatively small. At the same time, they also find it difficult to get technical support to be able to improve upon the techniques that they use for fishing.
But to make matters worse, we all know that it is not advertised broadly and widely that this industry is hampered by the activities of foreign vessels. Foreign vessels many a time come into their fishing areas and areas that they should not go and therefore, quite often also cause damage and injury to the equipment and sometimes to the fishing people themselves. It is in this regard that it is good that we have a Ministry of Fisheries to look after the interests of the fishing communities. But as they are there, then there are certain opportunities that they must put there to assist our fishing communities including safe landing areas as has been proposed in the budget, which is good to see.
But we also need to expand the opportunities for our fishing communities such as has been done for the fishing community in Sekondi where there is a fishing harbour. It would be important that we also develop other fishing harbours in some of the significant fishing communities that we have along the coast.
We do also need to engage in a lot of education because many of our fishing communities, being active and physically able, are all right financially
from time to time. But then over the period, when they become older, there is nothing else available for them and they often go into pension very poor. It is no wonder that when we are counting the poor communities in Ghana, the fishing communities become one of the most poor communities that you can find all over the country.

Mr. Speaker, I will suggest an active collaboration between the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry for Private Sector Development, because there are opportunities for the two Ministries to co-operate so that we can have some of the funds that are available and since the budget is not big enough, through other means we can find funds to support this industry so that the business that are going on can indeed expand.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend the efforts of the Ministry of Fisheries and hope that in the implementation of the next year's Budget, our fishing communities will get the needed support as has been promised.

With these words, Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my voice, and also to state that as I am in a fishing community, I must say one of the most active and perhaps, the most active fishing community outside of Tema, which is the Elmina community with several canoes and several thousands of fishing people, we lend our support to the Ministry of Fisheries and hope that we will collaborate effectively so that the fishing community will become more prosperous.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey (NDC - North Tongu) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to lend my support to the motion moved by the
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey (NDC - North Tongu) 12:05 p.m.

Minister for Fisheries and to make a few observations.

My first observation is on the monitoring, control and the surveillance system. It is gratifying to note that the Ministry is beginning this operation because the root cause of the poverty of the fishermen is along the coast. So what I would like to urge the Ministry is to develop partnership with the District Assemblies that are along the coast.

First of all, in providing quarterly reports of the surveillance and monitoring systems to the District Assemblies and also to encourage the District Assemblies to provide feedback through the local fishermen to the Ministry, this two-way information flow is what will enhance the management of the surveillance system.

I also wish to say that when I looked at the programme of the Ministry for this year, I did not see much about my constituency, the Keta District of Ghana. This district has a lot of water bodies in the form of lagoons and also has a coast- line and when I saw the programme on cold stores, landing beaches and aquaculture, I did not see much about the Keta District.

I wish to point out that the Keta District also holds the key to the development of fisheries in Ghana and therefore, I will like to urge the hon. Minister to try as much as possible to also include my district in their programmes.

My next point is on aquaculture. I wish to urge the hon. Minister to consider developing partnership with the District Assemblies where the water bodies are, in terms of encouraging them to come out with bye-laws on responsible fisheries. Some of the districts do not have these bye-laws and therefore, are not in the position to enforce responsible fishing that is using responsible fishing methods. And I would like to urge the hon. Minister to consider some of their extension staff

to assist the District Assemblies to come out with these bye-laws so that they are enforceable in the districts and that will also lead to increased fish production.

My last point is on statistics. In fact, the Ministry has a gigantic task and as we move towards the growth stage, we will relay on fisheries statistics to prove whether the growth is coming about or not. When I looked at their programme again, very little was devoted to improving the capacity of the statistics unit in terms of human resources, in terms of logistics, and equipment. And I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister that fishery statistics lies also at the base of growth and that some attention needs to be given to that.

With those words, I also support the motion and wish that in the coming years, more resources will be allocated to the Ministry so that they will be able to turn the situation around.

Thank you.
Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah (NDC - South Tongu) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to this motion and in doing so, to congratulate the Minister for the focus and the determination that she has shown as far as the issue of aquaculture is concerned.
Mr. Speaker, it is possible through aquaculture to feed this nation. Recently, I had the benefit of performing some official assignments in Burkina Faso and I had the benefit of travelling across the country as close as possible to the Mali border. Mr. Speaker, the amount of fish that Sahel country generates from its inland water bodies is unimaginable.
Mr. Speaker, I took the pain myself to visit the capital's market, the fish market,
and the prices of their fish products were so ridiculously low. I turned to ask myself what are we doing wrong? Why we, with all the water bodies, the opportunities that we have, cannot feed ourselves?
Mr. Speaker, there is an opportunity and there is always an opportunity where the will is there for this thing to be done and I would like to encourage the Minister not to rest on her oars and she must feel encouraged to pursue whatever she is doing because it has happened before.
Mr. Speaker, I realized that Burkina Faso is preparing to cultivate cocoa. It will surprise you. They have fresh bananas every season on their streets; they cultivate grapes, they cultivate palm nuts, they cultivate coconut. They are trying to beat nature.
We have all the assets that nature has endowed us with and the least we can do is to encourage ourselves and do the right thing. So the hon. Minister should please not relent at all in her effort and do all. And please, to wind up, she should not forget that South Tongu is the seat of the Volta and that we have all the facilities and when the opportunities come for aquaculture to be developed, our fishermen are waiting for her.
Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP - Evalue/ Gwira) 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I hope to be very brief. I am elated by the commendations coming from the hon. Member for South Tongu. When the Ministry was created, some of us had our doubts as to why it should not be added to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. But Mr. Speaker, with the focus that has been brought to the Ministry, the Minister needs our commendation.
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that my constituency also has a very active fishing community. I will not argue with the hon. Minister for Public Sector Reform
as to whether it is Axim or Elmina that has the most active fishing community but whatever it is, we share the same problems.
The fishermen suffer at the hands of the banks if they want to access loans. Even facilities laid on by the Government for fishermen to access, for their wives to access, to make the job easier for them, they find it extremely difficult to get the co-operation of the banks. It is a drudgery for them to go and access the loans.
I believe that as we move forward to bring better life into the fishing community, the hon. Minister will hold discussions with the rural banks for them to ease some of their stringent conditions that they attach to the loans to our fishermen and their spouses.
The second issue that I want to
talk about as far as my constituency is concerned, is the fast eroding seashore. An attempt was made to provide a sea defense wall years ago since 1999 and was abandoned midstream and that has created more problems for them. In fact, I talked to the hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing about it and I believe since that coastline which is eroding is mostly inhabited by fishermen, and it is also a place for their work, this idea about the landing site would be accelerated to save both the lives and the fishing gears of the fishing folks in the area.
Mr. Speaker, the other issue that is also of paramount concern to me is that our fishermen still believe in their children succeeding them in going to sea and therefore not providing them with education. I believe as part of the welfare packages for the fishermen, some efforts should be made to create awareness for them to educate their children, that their children need to go to school. To date, they continue to contract some educated children, some with senior secondary
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Minister, please wind up.
Mrs. Gladys Asmah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. Colleagues for their comments and encouragement to the Ministry for us to do more. I know that with the support of the House, at least the Ministry would go forward and would be able to do more for the country.
Mr. Speaker, I heard their comments and I would comment on a few points. My hon. Colleague, hon. Wayo Seini talked about the dams; we would have a look at them. But I must say that as a country we waste a lot of resources. Mr. Speaker, behind every dam there is a collection of water and we leave this water to waste without doing anything to it. Right now, a committee has been set at the Ministry, with Dr. Aban from the Water Research Institute and I tell you we are sure he will be able to support us to put up seven more dams and we are looking at how to put fish in every dam. If the fish can breed in water, why do we not put it there? So we have put up the dams and we are working on them seriously and I can assure you that we would have a look at their rehabilitation.
Mr. Speaker, the problem with the fishing communities is that in the lean season they suffer, and during that time
there is no fish and that is why they have alternative livelihood programmes. They identify what they want to do and they are encouraged to do so. Mr. Speaker, there is one in the Volta Region and when it was started, the people really had a loan and borrowed money for the alternative livelihood than the fish that they had worked for. As a result, they are very happy doing the alternative livelihood and we intend to spread this all over the country. We are looking at it very seriously.
Mr. Speaker, with the using of light and the poaching -- Poaching is one of the things that all the countries suffer and I am very happy that we have put the vessel monitoring system in place. The second phase to that one is area surveying and also with the petrol products and the moment these poaching boats see their vessels coming they run away. So we are yet to arrest them. A company from Britain called the Blue Finger which has one of the world's most advanced monitoring systems was commissioned on the 29th of November last month.
Mr. Speaker, we intend to take care of the fishers wherever they are; they need to be supported. Unfortunately, because not much attention was paid to that sector, it did not go much but if we do not develop them, it means they would be sitting where they are which is very wrong for us. So we intend helping them in as much as we can with the alternative livelihood programme.
With the preservation, nine cold store facilities have been earmarked for next year with the next budget that is coming in. We hope to continue. As long as fish is caught, even muddy fish with spice can be processed for export and local consumption and we are looking at this one also. But the centrepiece of the Ministry's programme, Mr. Speaker, is the aquaculture which some of my hon.
Colleagues have talked about. It is one way that we can determine the quantity of fish that we want, the quality and size that we need.
Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity of visiting Israel recently. And I was even surprised that they have marine culture. They grow fish in the sea - most of the imported red fish we eat in this country are cultured in the sea.
As a result, we need not invent the wheel; we are tapping the expertise from countries that do these - they are coming in to help us. Two countries are coming in the coming year, and I can assure my hon. Colleagues that fish farming would be something that the whole country would be very happy to see.
We have started training young people for rural fish farming using the mangrove areas. This started two weeks ago in the Ashanti Region because the facility is there. We are moving forward to train more youth from the other regions so that every mangrove area that can be used, will be used by them; the seedlings would be supplied together with the feed. Within six months there would be more than double the booty and we intend to do that. I am very happy to say that a lot of people are coming in. We try and access for funds for them.
My hon. Colleague mentioned Keta; he would be surprised to know the number of projects that are coming from Keta fishing culture. These are all being taken care of. There is a committee in the Ministry - the Aquaculture Imitation Committee - they would bring a report; we would look at it and where we have to source for funding, we would do so and the coming year would be an aquaculture year for this country.

Mr. Speaker, with these few comments, I thank my hon. Colleagues and I am happy to say that we are encouraging them to go into fish farming and we would be able to do so too.

Question put and motion agreed to.


That this honourable House approves the sum of ¢41,840 million for the services of the Ministry of Fisheries for the 2006 fiscal year.
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Item 9 -
Loan Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Chairman of the Committee (Mrs. Grace Coleman) 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a loan amount of SDR13,050,000 (USD18,- 964,000 equivalent) for financing the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP).
Mr. Speaker, I present the report of the Committee.
1.0 Introduction
The above agreement was laid in the House on Tuesday, 29th November 2005 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 181 of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House.
To consider the Loan Agreement, the Committee met with the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning,
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:25 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, some senior Ministers are having another session in the House. I want to draw your attention to it.
Mr. Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Deputy Whip, you said another session. Is it the Third Session?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:25 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, some senior Ministers were having other sessions in the corner and when they heard of me they have taken cover.
Grace Period - - Ten (10) years.
Service Charge --
0.750 per cent per annum on the principal
amount of loan outstanding from time
to time.
Repayment Period
-- Thirty (30) years (exclusive
of grace period)
commencing from the date
of this agreement.
Repayment shall
be payable in 60 equal semi-
annual instalments on 1st May and
1st November
each year
4.0 Observations
The following were observations of the Committee:
that from 1991 to 2003, cassava production alone increased from 5.7 mMT to 10 MMT. The successful implemen-tation of the programme, which laid less emphasis on past
production activities, resulted in increased productivity and production necessitating the need for a follow-up programme to address constraints along the value market chain;
t h a t t h e R o o t a n d Tu b e r Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP), which seeks to embark on a holistic approach to developing the Root and Tuber sub- sector, will therefore significantly improve overall agricultural growth in Ghana, enabling the agricultural sector to achieve an average growth rate of 6 per cent annually;
that the programme would be implemented in sixty (60) districts across the ten regions of Ghana. Within the regions , specia l consideration will be given to the initiation of activities in accordance with food security objectives and the potential of root and tuber production in each of the districts;
that the main objectives of the
ANNEX II 12:25 p.m.

T H E 12:25 p.m.


ERM-M 12:25 p.m.






Mr. M. A. Asaga (NDC - Nabdam) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion. Mr. Speaker, I think this is a straightforward loan, the terms are very favourable as mentioned by the Chairperson of the Finance Committee and IFAD is also an institution which has been doing a lot of business and support for Ghana Government. I, therefore, think that we do not need to hesitate and argue about this report. And everyone of us here one way or the other, our constituencies all produce tubers and roots.
Also on the President's Special Initiative on cassava, we have had the observation that cassava production has increased from 5.7 million metric tonnes to 10 million metric tonnes. This shows how root and tuber has become very important in our national commodities production.
I will therefore urge all hon. Members to support the loan from IFAD for the amount that was mentioned by the Chairperson for the Finance Committee.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Loan Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the International
In case of reply the number and date of this letter should be quoted
Customs, Excise & Preventive Service Form No. 80
P. 103
Development Association (IDA)
Chairman of the 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 Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, for an amount of SDR 31.0 million (US$45.0 million equivalent) in support of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Project.

Mr. Speaker, like the other one that I just read, I would be happy if the Hansard will simply adopt - It has not been seconded.
Mr. Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Any seconder of the
Mr. Moses Asaga 12:35 p.m.
I rise to second
the motion.
Question proposed.
Mrs. Coleman 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to present the Report of the Finance Committee.
1.0 Introduction
The above loan agreement was laid in the House on 1st December 2005 and referred to the Finance Committee for
Mrs. Coleman 12:35 p.m.
consideration and report in accordance with article 181 of the House and the Standing Orders of the House.
To consider the agreement the Committee met with the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour and officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Ministry of Trade and Industry and reports as follows:
2.0 Background
In Ghana, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for an estimated 90 per cent of registered businesses. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises provide the bulk of private sector employment and play a particularly crucial role in economic growth and poverty reduction. A vibrant MSME sector indeed has the potential to provide more income generation opportunities for the poor. 3.0 Project Target Indicators
It is anticipated that the project will lead to the following among others:
Significant percentage increase specifically in respect of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) term loans extended by participating banks;
Significant percentage increase in volume of SME loans in general extended by participating banks;
Increase in number of MSMEs
that have received BDS grants and reporting increase in market share and/or profits, resulting from direct project intervention and services;
Increase in the number of MSMEs using the export round table and export trading house facilities;
The establishment of common service facilities for selected strategic sectors in the economy;
Reduction in number of days required to register a new business from 82 days currently to not more than 30 days by the end of the project.
4.0 Terms and Conditions
Loan Amount -- SDR31.0 million (US$45.0 million
Interest Rate -- 1per cent per annum is payable
on the principal amount of credit
withdrawn and outstanding from time to time.
Term of Credit -- 40 years. Moratorium
-- 10 years.
Commitment Charge -- on the principal amount of the Credit not withdrawn from time to time at a rate to be set by the Association as at June 30 of each year, but not to exceed the rate of one-half of one per cent (1/2 of 1 cent per annum.
Service Charge -- t h r e e - f o u r t h s o f o n e p e r c e n t
(3/4 of 1 per cent) per annum is payable on the principal amount of the credit withdrawn and outstanding from time to time.
Repayment -- the principal shall be in semi- annual instalments payable on each March 15 and September 15, commencing March 15, 2016 and end ing September 15, 2045. Each instalment including the

Respectfully submitted.

instalment payable on September 15, 2045 shall be one per cent (1 per cent) of such principal amount, and each instalment thereafter shall be two per cent (2 per cent) of such principal amount.

5.0 Observations

The Committee observed that the four major components under the project are:

Access to Finance

Access to Markets, Trade Facilitation and Entrepre-neurship Development;

Business Environment; and

Project Implementation, Moni-toring and Evaluation.

The Committee further observed that the total cost of the project is US$118.9 million of which IDA is providing US$45 million (SDR31.10 million), the IFC US$40.0 million and the private sector (matching grant contribution) US$32.0 million.

The Committee again observed that component 3 of the project involved a pooled funding approach which would be supported by the World Bank Group and some Development Partners who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect.

The Committee noted that the overall responsibility for managing the project falls with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other MDAs.

The technical team informed the Committee that the implementation period of the project is five (5) years commencing January 2, 2006 and ending December 31, 2011.entities for setting up of pilot

common service centres;

provision of technical assistance to Business Development Services (BDS) Grant for promotion of “Made in Ghana Goods” for the domestic and external market including the development of a world-based national product gallery; and

provision of technical assistance and BDS Grants to build the capacity of small scale construction firms to link up with large scale construction companies.

The Committee was informed that the project will provide technical assistance to

eligible public and private sector entities to identify and carry out interventions in priority sectors in which the Borrower has the potential to develop competitive industries and prepare sector strategies that address specific bottleneck in the flow of goods, services and information.

On Business Development Service Grants (BDS) to Banks and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Committee noted that this will:

(i) assist participating banks and other banks to develop and

expand e f f i c i en t t e rm l e n d i n g t o S m a l l a n d Medium Enterprises;

( i i ) w i l l enab le SMEs to improve the i r capac i ty to present credible loan application packages, make productive use of loans and improve their ability to service debts;

( i i i ) w i l l e n a b l e e l i g i b l e b u s i n e s s d e v e l o p m e n t service provi- ders, including training providers to implement a r ange o f s e rv i ces t o support Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) borrowing capabilities and post-borrowing performance.

6.0 Conclusion

In view of the foregoing and the benefits to be derived from the project, the Committee recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve by resolution the loan agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) of

the World Bank Group for an amount of SDR31.0 million (US$45.0 million equivalent) in support of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) project in accordance with article 181 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335.)

Respectfully submitted.
Mr. Moses Asaga (NDC - Nabdam) 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, this loan agreement is involving the World Bank Group, the International Development Association (IDA) and the amount involved is SDR 31.0 million, the equivalent of US$45.0 million to support micro, small and medium enterprises.
Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a very
important programme because we know that in Ghana, most of the banks will not lend to small and medium enterprises; they are always concentrating on big companies. Therefore, this is a welcome news that medium and small enterprises would also have a facility that they can draw on to be able to support their businesses. We hope that this would be done effectively so that in five years time, we would have known that the $45.0 million that was injected into the economy came out with good results.
Mr. Speaker, but as we continue to
approve these loans, we should also be aware that the external debt of Ghana is increasing. We remember in 2001, our external debt was about $5.8 billion and fetish was made out of it as if it was criminal to really accumulate debt. As we speak today, our external debt is almost about $6.2 billion and if we convert it into cedis, we are talking of almost ¢55 trillion.
I do not know how to say it in Twi,
how many apem apem pem pem would be involved. So we should use this facility judiciously otherwise, come ten years, fifteen years, the next generation will be
The Committee observed that the project will expand and enhance access to the domestic and global markets and facilitate linkages between Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and large scale industries through:
provision of Business Development Services (BDS) Grants to eligible M S M E s a n d i n t e r m e d i a r y organizations for comprehensive management development and business linkage services;
provision of technical assistance to eligible public and private sector
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
understand that the report in 5 (b) is now ready for laying.
PAPERS 12:35 p.m.

Mr. A. O. Aidooh 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, at this stage, I beg to move, that we adjourn proceedings to Tuesday the 13th December,
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:35 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
would like to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:35 p.m.

Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Please go ahead.
  • [Mrs. Coleman: Mr. Speaker, I like the other one that I have just ……………………….