Debates of 24 Jan 2006

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Order! Correction of
Votes and Proceedings for Friday, 20th January, 2006. [No corrections made in Votes and Proceedings.)
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
refer to the Official Report, paragraph 28; I am wondering whether the internationally accepted writing of “human rights” - if you look at column 28, they spelt “human rights” with small “h”, and small “r” for rights, I think that is wrong. It should read capital “H” for human and capital “R” for rights. It reads so across the contributions of many hon. Members so if they would do the appropriate corrections.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Thank you very much
for that.

Mr. Yemoh 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know the condition under which communities and individual households could apply for connection.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
an application must be made to the appropriate district officer of the agency and he would advise them appropriately as to what to do. If you want to connect water to your house, you fill the form, they do the survey and they tell you how much to pay; and once you have paid it, it will be connected to your house.
Mr. Yemoh 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want
to know whether there are any plans by the Ministry to extend the main line to other communities beyond Denkyiraa.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
at the appropriate time, and considering what resources are available, we certainly would do that. It is the aim of the Government of the State to ensure that by the year 2015 at least some 80 per cent of our compatriots would be served with potable water. So certainly, especially when Kwanyako comes on stream if any
community is not served, it would be happily served. The request has to be made. It can even be made now so that we can factor that into our programmes.
It is there but it is reinforced by the support that we get from the opinion leaders like our distinguished hon. Member and the District Chief Executive and the like.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
Speaker, for the sake of the records, the Question which was posed by my hon. Colleague, hon. Daoud Anum Yemoh related to Domeabra-Danchira and the Danchira is “D-a-n-c-h-i-r-a.” But the Answer we have “Denkyiraa” which is “D-e-n-k-y-i-r-a-a.” I do not know whether it refers to the one and the same settlement, and I thought my hon. Colleague the person who proposed the Question, was going to ask for the distinction but he did not. Mr. Speaker, I would want to know whether it is the one and same settlement that we are talking about.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Are you directing
this question to the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing?
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
It cannot be both -
Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the spelling as given by my technical people is what I have in the note. Maybe, the hon. Member can educate us whether we have got it right or he has got it right.
Mr. Yemoh 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, --
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
I have not called you.
Question No. 229 - Hon. Nii Amasah Mamoale, the hon. Member for Dade- Kotopon?
Kakramadu I and II Gullies (Lining Works)
Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr. Speaker,
before I ask the question, I wish to note that there is a mistake in the Question as printed here: “Kakramadu I and II Gullies,” not “Gutters.”
Q. 229. Mr. Nii Amasah Namoale asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the linving works of the Kakramadu I and II gullies in La, Accra, would begin.
Mr. Speaker, the Hydrological Services Department (HSD) of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) has carried out surveys for the entire length of the Kakramadu I and II drains, and is preparing engineering designs for the two drains, as well as costing of the designs for consideration by the Ministry, to enable it source funds to undertake the project.
Nii Namoale: Mr. Speaker, I want
to know how long it would take the Hydrological Services Department to complete the engineering designs. How long should we wait?
Owusu-Agyemang: Mr. Speaker, I am
advised that within the next quarter, this can be taken care of.
Protection of Communities in the Mfantseman East Constitutency of
Sea Erosion
Q. 230. Mr. George Kuntu-Blankson asked the Minister for Water Resources,
Works and Housing what programme the Ministry had put in place to protect the following communities in the Mfantseman East constituency against the threat of sea erosion.
(i) Ekumfi Muna
(ii) Ekumfi Emmisano,
(iii) Ekumpoano
(iv) Ekumfi Akra
(v) Ekumfi Sarafa and (vi) Ekumfi Edumafa.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, THE mwrwh, through the HSD has put in place a coastal erosion management plan to protect communities along the shoreline fronting the coast of the country against threat from sea erosion, including the six (6) commuities in the Mfantseman East constituency.
This management plan consists of planning, investigations, survey, design, and supervision of construction of erosion control structures of the affected area.
Rt. Hon. Speaker, since our attention was drawn to the sea erosion problems in the 6 communities, the HSD has been directed to investigate and assess the coastal erosion problem in the six communities of Ekumfi Muna, Ekumfi Emmisano, Ekumpoano, Ekumfi Akra, Ekumfi Sarafa Mpoano and Ekumfi Edumafa. We are waiting for the report to determine the appropriate remedial measures to protect the shoreline fronting the communities.
Meanwhile, we are also sourcing funds to protect the whole of the shoreline and when this is done we can factor this into
the funding that we are looking for.
Mr. Kuntu-Blankson 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister when the management plan he is talking about was put in place to Undergo that study in the Mfantseman East constituency?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
what I said was that the management plan is nationwide, for the whole of our coastal line, all the way from the Togo border to la Cote d'Ivoire border. This is part of an integrated management plan that we have put in place and that specific portion that affects the hon. Member's constituency would be taken care of as soon as the HSD has done that. Indeed, following upon his own intervention, I am advised that this week, the HSD is in contact with the District Chief Executive to determine what the best cause of action as an interim measure is before we carry out the main management programme.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Deputy Minority Chief
Ms. Dansua 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon.
Member has traveled out of the country on parliamentary assignment. So he has asked me to seek your permission to ask the Question Number 273 on his behalf.
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Permission granted.
Drains in Kadjeibi Township (Construction)
Ms. Akua Dansua (on behalf of Mr.
John Kwadwo Gyapong asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the drains in the Kadjeibi
township, the district capital of the Kadjebi would be constructed.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, work on drains in Kadjebi has indeed started. The contract for construction of drains in Kadjebi was awarded on 11th September, 2000.
The works involve construction of a trapezoidal drain of length 400 m. a width of 3.2 m. and a depth of 1.5 m and the excavation of an earth drain of size 205 m x 1.5 m. Work is 33 per cent complete.
Ms. Dansua 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to
ask the Minister when the work would be finally completed.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I am advised that this work could be completed in six months if we get the required funding which is estimated at 1.7 billion and which, as at now, we do not have.
Ms. Dansua 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to find out from the Minister whether he would want to use part of the HIPC resources to finance this project.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
most of the interventions, coastal protection and water have been made possible through the HIPC resources. Last year, we got some money, but this year we have not had any allocation yet apart from what we had for housing. We are still in negotiations and discussions with the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and indeed, if we do get it, it would be our greatest pleasure to use that source of funding to complete the project.
Ms. Dansua 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, is the
Minister confirming that he is actually going to use the HIPC resources if available, to complete the project?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that is correct.
Mr. Charles Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in his answer the hon. Minister stated,
“if they get the funds from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning …”
Before the project was started I believe there was a cost estimate and that was presented to his desk. So I wonder why it is now that he has to be requesting funds from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning while the job is already in progress. I want to know whether if he does not get the funds from the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning the job would not be completed.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said, this project was started in the year 2000, and the funding has got a bit of a problem. We have, indeed, submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning a request for 1.3 trillion for our interventions nationwide. Naturally, we cannot get it all, and we are constantly in negotiations with the hon. Minister and if these become available there are competing demands for which they have been earmarked. So the issue is the availability of the funding, and we are grateful that HIPC has made it possible for us to make these massive interventions nationwide.
Mr. A. G. W. Abayateye 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Answer the hon. Minister said the project was awarded in September, 2000, and taking it up to December, it is five years; and work is 33 per cent complete. I want to know what happened. Was the work stopped?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the difficulty has always been funding and that is why we have not made too much progress. But we are looking for funding to continue it and we would be very vigorous in our approach to this. This has been the main problem.
Water Problems in Parts of Gomoa West
Q.274. Mr. J. K. Hackman asked the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing when the water problems confronting most parts of Gomoa West, especially Gomoa Dago, Gomoa Asempanyi, Akropong et cetera.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, most of the communities in the Gomoa West constituency are supplied with water from Kwanyaku and Winneba Water Treatment Plants. Gomoa Apam, Dago, Mumford and other communities between Otuam and Ekumpuano in the Mfantseman District have since mid 2004 been put on the Winneba Water Supply to improve water supply to these areas.
Unfortunately, as a result of the water- logged nature of the route of the Gomoa Ankamu-Apam pipeline, there is frequent failure of the pipeline as the cast iron detachable joints frequently get rusted, resulting in profuse leakages which the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has been repairing from time to time.
Mr. Speaker, the GWCL is in the process of renewing the entire pipeline from Gomoa Ankamu through Apam, Munford to Dago and beyond from 2.50 million grant by the Netherlands Government.
Detailed engineering studies and award of contracts are expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2006, and work will be completed at the end of 2006,
by which time regular and reliable water supply to these areas should be expected.
Mr. George Kuntu-Blankson 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister indicates that works have been completed. I have visited the Winneba offices and they appear to tell me the same thing, but the people at Gomoa West are very worried because Gomoa Techiman, for example, continues to suffer from water shortage. I would like the hon. Minister therefore to assure me that really by the end of the year the water problem would be resolved.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member may see that we have detailed on page 6 all the interventions that have been done. If there are any settlements that we have not been able to connect, then if he brings that to our attention, we will certainly try to do so. But as I said, they have been linked on to the Winneba Water System and all that area would benefit also from the completion of the Kwanyako Water System. So I believe that if the hon. Member gets in touch with us and there are specific communities that are experiencing difficulties, we would take a look at what the problems are and see how best we can resolve them.
Mr. Kuntu-Blankson 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether I heard the hon. Minister right, saying that the intervention is going to be expanded to Dago and beyond. I would like to know from him whether Otuam would be covered by the intervention that they are going to do this year.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know the geography of that area very well, but my clear understanding is that within a certain radius, if this particular village whose name I did not even catch falls within that coverage area, then it would be connected. But on this, I would come back to him fully if I get the
details; and I will check with the GWCL.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Answer given by the hon. Minister he said, “cast iron detachable joints frequently get rusted.” My question is, having realized that this material is not good, what plans has his Ministry for other alternatives? This is because pipelines in most parts of Ghana are rusted and they are using the same cast iron.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think, from the various interventions I have made before this honourable House, I have indicated that the problem of water loss in the country, basically, is due to leakages in the system because they are made of cast iron - This is the “colonial days” work. We are using PVC for all the modern systems. This is what we are using and I believe that the difficulty is not of our making, but we are replacing these. So under the Urban Water System, all these pipes would be renewed and we would use the latest technology, which is using the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes for any new intervention.
It has been very difficult and that is why a lot of people are saying that GWCL is losing something like 50 per cent of its water production. So every effort is being made, and the directives are absolutely clear. Where even the designs are of the old specification, we have changed them; and this is what we are doing. So there would be no difficulty future. But obviously, if indeed, there are leakages, we have to repair them; but the PVC is much, much better than the cast iron which after so many years Originally, they were all right but after 60, 70 years, they begin to rust. So we would use modern technology.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Minister for Water
Works and Housing, thank you very much for appearing to answer these questions. You are hereby discharged.
10. 35 a.m.
STATEMENTS 10:25 a.m.

Mr. Abbey Oppey (NPP - Awutu- Senya) 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, begging is not confined to only the streets; begging permeates the fabric of the society. It starts from our schools. During my school days, if the school wanted “say” money to organize a get-together at the end of a term, we were asked to bring palm kernels, baskets, carpets, et cetera, to be sold for the school to make money to organize those things.
Nowadays, if the school wants money,
they give envelopes to the children to send home and bring money. They are not teaching the children that if they want money they have to work for it but rather go and beg for it. I was a member of the Boys' Scouts, and if the organization needed money, we were given cards to go to various homes, and ask for work. After the work, we were given money and we entered it on the cards and then we gave the money to the organization.
Now, if you are teaching the children
-- 10:25 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member, do you
have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Assumeng 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
the hon. Member is misleading the House. The kind of begging he is referring to is not the type that the hon. Member stated. Let us differentiate between begging on the streets and genuine demand. What he is saying is completely different so he should not mislead the House.
Mr. Abbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am looking
at the thing in a wider scope. Begging is begging. If you do not work and you get money, it is begging no matter what the situation is. This is what I am saying. It had even occurred in this House that somebody was indebted and they wanted to sell his property and he sent paper around for money. This is a form of begging; he was begging for money - [Hear! Hear!] So begging is begging. If you do not work
and you get money it is begging. This is what I am saying that if this canker is not stopped, the whole country will become a country of beggars.
Mr. Alfred Agbesi (NDC - Ashaiman) 10:25 a.m.
Thank you Mr. Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, this is a statement which
should not be taken in isolation. Mr. Speaker, nobody on his own would decide to go to the street and beg. Something would have to force that person onto the street. We have our brothers who are disabled, who for some reason cannot fend for themselves. They may be in some corner asking for alms. What is the Government policy towards those people who are disabled? What do we have for them?
Mr. Speaker, the Statement on begging should not be made just because people are on the streets begging. For instance, somebody may be a breadwinner in his family and for some reason he could not work as he used to do and win bread for the family. He goes to beg and in the process because he is disabled he needs assistance from somebody, like a child as the Statement has mentioned. The issue is whether we should allow that situation to continue. The child must go to school and at the same time that child must be taken care of by somebody who may be the breadwinner, but who is now disabled. What do we do?
I believe sincerely that for us to overcome this situation, the Government must take the matter of begging seriously to provide for those who are disabled and who are on the streets begging, and for that matter who are asking for alms of some sort, provide for those who are in the family and who cannot pay school fees
or have the means of going to school; we must have a policy on them.
I remember some time ago, the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) came out with a policy to gather the beggars in the streets to some corner but that also did not work. But we need a policy, a policy which would go to the benefit of those who cannot fend for themselves.
Mr. Speaker, I believe we are getting out of HIPC. Something took us to HIPC and something is taking us out of HIPC but people who are in that category are still in HIPC of some sort. What do we do? It is not a matter of making a policy that if your child is on the streets aiding a beggar then you commit a crime for that matter. What is the state of the person in that situation?
Mr. Speaker, this Statement is good but I would throw the ball back to the Government, to the Ministries to look at these unfortunate brothers of ours and do something about their living. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- Okere) 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, begging has been an age-old problem. In the Bible, we read about Peter going somewhere and a man disabled in the leg was begging,; and Peter said: ‘Silver and Gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus stand up and walk”. And he did indeed walk. But today, we as individuals have not got that power to ask those begging to be healed and so it will be with us; begging is all over the world.
But the hardest effect is what we should look at. It is so pathetic to see a mother with little children around her in the streets begging. Sometimes, you bleed in your
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:45 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke said that ‘there is a chapter in the Bible' which is very misleading. He must quote the chapter and the verse - [Interruptions.] So that we would know where he is coming from. He should not throw dust into our eyes.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Deputy Chief Whip you are out of order.
Mr. Adu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Social Welfare Department should be made to look at this - the little children clustered around mothers in the streets begging. Can the Social Welfare Department not do something about this? We will give out the monies, we will continue to help them, but that will not be the end of it. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning therefore should look at the Social Welfare Department seriously and provide money for them to do this work. When this is done, I think it will help us tremendously.
Mr. Speaker, at this time, let me take the opportunity to warn all men who go in for these innocent women, impregnate them and leave them. That is why today, rape should be taken seriously; and the courts are looking at this seriously. Such men should be punished so that we do not have all these on our hands.
Mr. Speaker, coming to able-bodied men aiding the disabled to beg today, it is business because when they help them they also get part of the money and so what should they do? Because it is lucrative, they will continue to do it. Then one would
ask: should we give alms to those who stand by the roadside and beg; should we have sympathy on them?
It is more blessed to give than to receive and so now we have no alternative but to help them. But then we should make it a point that when we see people who are able-bodied - somebody may have one leg amputated and will stand by the roadside and be begging. I do not think we should have sympathy on those people. We should be able to discern who are really disabled and be able to give them some little money.
Mr. Speaker, with this, I support the Statement on the floor.
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC - Jomoro) 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is a law in this country against begging and in fact it was this law that the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) used during the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Conference to move the beggars out of Accra to Kokrobite. But they returned and the Government could not enforce the rules anymore because we have a nation where the Government itself goes begging. Any diplomat who walks into our office, we beg him for something. We are begging for presidential palaces, we are begging for money, we are begging for everything - [Laughter.] So how can you prevent the ordinary people from begging? There is a saying that ‘ruin of a nation starts from the homes of its people'. If the Government begs - any diplomat who walks into our office we beg and then he brings us some old dilapidated buses and we are happy - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Opare Hammond 10:45 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend on the other side of the House made a statement that I believe is factually incorrect. Mr. Speaker, the government has not gone to beg for presidential palaces. This is an offer that the Indian Government made to the Ghanaian Government. Therefore,
for the hon. Member to state this in this august House, I believe, he is misleading the House and indeed the whole nation. I therefore humbly want to ask him to withdraw that aspect of his statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Let him continue.
Mr. K. Baah-Wiredu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want the hon. Member to withdraw the issue of begging. No nation is begging. In this world, we are inter-dependent. From 1957 up till now, we have been getting support from elsewhere and we have also been supporting other people. Ghana once gave loans to Mali and Guinea and we have also been receiving some support. So for the hon. Member to say that the nation is begging is factually untrue and he has to withdraw and apologise.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member who just spoke is getting confused. We started begging a long time ago before the NPP Government came into office. We had been begging, all of us, and Mr. Speaker - [Interruptions.]
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:45 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, in this august House statements made which reflect on the very integrity of this nation negatively cannot be condoned. Indeed, from time immemorial, we had gone for loans and credits. If the hon. Member chooses to describe accessing of loans or grants as being, then I am afraid he has completely misfired because every Government in the history of this country took a loan or a grant of one sort or the other. But for the hon. Member to say that this Government has been going begging and that is why people are begging on the streets is a bit far-fetched.
Mr. Speaker, the implications are very serious for this country and for this economy and I believe that what the hon.
Member is saying is really going to injure our reputation as a nation.
I believe that it is in order that I support the interventions of my distinguished Colleagues here that this hon. Friend of ours must withdraw the statement that this Government and this nation has been going begging all the time. The statement made by the hon. Member on this side of the House was talking bout begging in the streets and one cannot denigrate a nation that way. I believe that the hon. Member has gone a bit too far and he must be forced to withdraw that statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing the point he is making is that since independence the country has been begging, that is his view. Let him continue -- [Interrup-tions.] That is the view of the hon. Member. He may be right or he may be wrong, but that is his view -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr. Ocran 10:55 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, you are good -- [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, this gentleman says that he has been Minister for twenty years; he has been Minister for only six years. So I may have been longer than he has.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Speaker, the hon. Member was here when this loan agreement regarding the Offices and Residential Accommodation for the President came to this House. Mr. Speaker, this House has never dealt with any presidential palace agreement; we have not. Mr. Speaker, I do know that many of our hon. Colleagues on the other side have chosen to describe it as a presidential palace. That is their own matter. But in this House, Mr. Speaker, the loan that was approved was for presidential offices and accommodation and there was nothing like a palace in the agreement.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Members, let us
make progress.
Mr. Ocran 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was
very happy when he repeated what I said that over the years - many years, since independence -- [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning said that he has become inter-dependent. The beggers too have become inter-dependent. The beggers too have become inter-dependent on those of us who are working to assist them survive. Is that not so? That is the problem -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang
-- rose --
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Minister for Water
Resources Works and Housing, do you have a point of order to raise?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, whilst our distinguished Colleague was intervening he said this Minister has been Minister for twenty years. Mr. Speaker, there was no allusion to that. I know that - he started it - he said that this Government -- Mr. Speaker, very characteristic of my hon. Friend, he does some “chameleonic” jigsaws all the time. He is like a chameleon, because he jumped from the CPP to the NDC and so he thinks that he can be doing that to us. We stay where we are -- [Hear! Hear!] And so he cannot say that we are making any summersaults. I have not been Minister for twenty years; I have been Minister for five years. I am not claiming that, so he should not make allusion to that. He keeps changing -- He said that from this Government and then you he said that from independence. These “chameleonic” changes are not necessary in this House
Mr. Ocran 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon.
Friend opposite is engaging in political jingoism -- [Laughter] - Does he know what that means?
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, wind up
Mr. Ocran 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, all that we
are saying is that begging, if it is not good, is not good for all of us but because we have instituted it and it has become part of our national psyche, that is why people have become so inter-dependent. Many years ago, when I was in school the road from my village to the main road was constructed by the villagers themselves.
Today, villagers in Ghana cannot construct KVIP without donor support. My hon. Friend who is challenging me was just standing here, smiling broadly because some grant is coming for a water project for Gomoa West -- [Laughter.] Prematurely announcing grant - a begger, begging. That is what I am talking about. We as a nation should try to develop the aura of depending on ourselves.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member, your
time is up.
Mr. Ocran 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am winding
up but they are not allowing me to wind up. I am telling the truth and so they are not allowing me to wind up. Mr. Speaker, I would like to wind up by saying that let us develop the culture of self-dependency. We must depend on our ourselves. If we depend on ourselves from the top, then those at the bottom there will also depend on themselves. Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much.
Mrs. Josephine Hilda Addoh (NPP
- Kwadaso): Mr. Speaker, it saddens my heart to say this. Honestly in my opinion
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale North, do you have a point of order?
Alhaji Abukari 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. Mr. Speaker, actually mine is a point of relevance. My hon. Friend out there is not contributing to the statement on the floor of the House. She is rather giving us a lecture on differences between loans and grants and whatnots. I do not think that is what the maker of the Statement talked about. She is trying to dilute a Statement which is very important for this nation.
Mrs. Addoh 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was coming from two angles - firstly, to comment on what he said, and secondly, to contribute to the Statement. I have made my comment alright and the contribution is, when we look at begging in this country my worry is about the able-bodied men who assist the beggers and are being paid for their services. These beggers take them as employees. They carry them through the streets and they are paid for their services. I wish something could be done to discourage such an activity. Mr. Speaker, I would like to end here by saying that long live Ghana. Please, let us uphold the good name of Ghana. Ghana does not beg. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Eric Opoku (NPP - Asunafo South) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement on the floor of the House. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who made the statement alluded to the fact that begging is on the ascendancy in recent times. Mr. Speaker, if the blind is begging, if the cripple is begging in order to earn something to eat, I think every reasonable person must understand because these are people who cannot work to feed themselves.
On the other hand, if you have a situation like we are seeing in this country where our able-bodied people, the youth, many of them, have also engaged in this begging as a business, then we have something to do with the economic environment in which we find ourselves.

Capt. Nkrabeah Effah Dartey (retd.)

-- rose --
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister
for the Interior, do you have a point of order?

Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that my hon. Colleague has misrepresented what the hon. Member who made the
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for Asunafo South, please stick to the Statement.
Mr. Opoku 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
after the Statement had been made, hon. Colleagues who contributed to it have alluded to the fact that even in the households we have able-bodied youths who are engaged in begging as a business and this is the issue we are addressing. The hon. Deputy Minister wanted to be heard this morning that is why he just got up to speak - [Laughter.] It is a long time we heard from him.
Capt. Effah-Dartey - rose -
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Deputy Minister, do you have a point of order to raise?
Capt. Effah-Dartey: Mr. Speaker, I take a very serious objection to that
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for Asunafo South, you know what you should do?
Mr. Opoku 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I should proceed?
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
You know what you should do.
Mr. Opoku 11:05 a.m.
All right. Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. Colleague and the Deputy Minister is expecting a promotion - [Laughter] - and I think I have to do that to facilitate his promotion -- [Laughter.] Therefore I humbly withdraw. [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker, Ghana opted for the HIPC Initiative because of the debts of this country at that time.
Mr. Kojo Opare-Hammond 11:05 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of his contribution to the Statement, he said something which I know is not right and as a House we should not condone what he said. Mr. Speaker, he said that it is alright for those who are blind and cripple to beg. Mr. Speaker, this is not what the Ghana Society of the Disabled believes in. They believe that despite the fact that some people are blind or crippled when they are given some training or some kind of skills they are able to work for themselves.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we should not as a House condone this fact because that is not what our brothers and sisters who are unfortunate accept. It is not right that people who are blind or are crippled are
the ones who should be allowed to beg or that it should be accepted if they are found on the streets begging.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member, proceed.
Mr. Opoku 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I have to ignore my hon. Colleague and then proceed. Mr. Speaker, I was saying that Ghana opted for the HIPC Initiative because of the debts of this country at that time. This in effect creates the impression that whoever owed so much could also resort to begging as a way of getting out of the heavy debts. So in effect one realizes that while the whole country is begging in order to pay our debts, individuals who also owe and who also feel that they cannot work, they are poor, they do not have anything to live on have also resorted to begging as a way of earning something to live on. Mr. Speaker, I believe that as a society it is about time we imbued the spirit of self dependence in our people so that we can rely on ourselves and avoid hanging bells around our necks begging for alms here and there. Mr. Speaker, with these few words I support the Statement.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
I give the last word to the Minister for Science and Environ-ment.
Minister for Science and Environ- ment (Ms. Christine Churcher) 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to be able to support the Statement made by my hon. Colleague on children who act as aid to our beggars.
Mr. Speaker, in the Statement that he made, two salient issues came to the fore. The first issue is about children who are able-bodied and should be in school but are in the streets aiding those who are begging. But the question that comes to my mind is, who are the parents of these children? How responsible are they? Why should children who otherwise should have been in the school be found in the streets aiding people to beg? A time has
come for us as a people to look seriously at the issue of parental responsibility.
Mr. Speaker, being a father or mother of a child goes beyond the biological role. Mr. Speaker, many children in the streets, some of them do not even know the names of their daddies, their fathers. There are some of the children in the streets who do not have any motherly care. There are so many of them who think that helping somebody to beg is a way of they themselves getting something to eat and we need to look seriously at these issues.
Mr. Speaker, another issue which came to my mind as he made this Statement is the issue of the attitude of parents to physically-challenged children. Mr. Speaker, we need to do a lot of education in this country to let parents know that being physically-challenged is not necessarily a disability. Mr. Speaker, somebody might be a cripple but very intelligent. Somebody might not be able to see but would be able to use the hands. Mr. Speaker, linking any defects in any of our limbs or in any part of our body to a very serious disability which should draw you to the streets is something that we should look seriously at.
Mr. Speaker, talking about physically- challenged, begging - dehumanises. When you are in the streets and you find people begging and the way sometimes people frown at them, the way sometimes we even push them aside, shows that begging in any form should not be tolerated.
But Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the children who should be in schools I believe that the parents do not have any excuse by saying that they cannot even pay school fees for these children because fees at the basic level have been abolished.

But Mr. Speaker, I also think that the

Children's Act - The very purpose of the Children's Act is to offer protection to children. If by what the import of the Statement is we believe that as a House, probably the provisions in the Children's Act are inadequate to give the kind of protection that we want for the children, then probably as a House, we might want to look at the Children's Act again and see whether there are certain provisions which are lacking and which should be there.

Mr. Speaker, it also came to my mind, when we were looking at the Children's Act - this point was made that even in the Criminal Code there are sections which give protection to children. Mr. Speaker, we need to look at these and see why children are not so being protected that they can, at liberty, go to the streets; sometimes they are knocked down by cars and we do not know what to do.

Mr. Speaker, finally, the Statement that has been made is a very serious statement. But I also know that the hon. Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment has programmes for skills training and I also know that some of the physically --challenged are taking advantage of the skills training so that they might be able to have something to help them live and live in dignity. I wish to implore, Mr. Speaker, that we try to push -- The Disability Bill that we have been talking about for quite a time, we should bring it to the fore; we should make sure that we speed it up. I believe that when we pass that Disability Bill, we will be able to address some of the issues that the hon. Member who made the Statement has raised this morning. But in generality, this is a good statement; we should look at it.

I am also looking at the role of Members of Parliament in our constituencies. Are we going to be able to identify those

Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Item 5, Laying of Papers, Hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning?
PAPERS 11:15 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Item 6 (b), Attorney- General and Minister for Justice? [Pause.] Hon. Majority Leader?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence to lay this Paper on behalf of the hon. Minister.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Permission granted.
By the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice) -
Court (Award of Interest and Post Judgement Interest Rules, 2005
(L.I. 52).
Referred to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Item 7, Committee Sittings. Hon. Majority Leader?
Mr. John Mahama 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on point of clarification. Mr. Speaker, I noticed that all these - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Member for Bole/
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker. I beg to move, that this House do now adjourn till tomorrow 10:00 o'clock in the morning. [Laughter.] I so move.
Mr. Speaker 11:15 a.m.
But still, let us listen to
him. Let us hear you, Hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi.
Mr. J. D. Mahama 11:24 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was just going to observe that we had the novelty of having the Budget read before the end of the last fiscal year and I see that most of these amendments are supposed to give effect to the provisions that were outlined in the Budget. Now one would have expected that these would have been passed so that they would commence on the 1st of January 2006. Since this Parliament cannot give retrospective effect, it looks like some of the promises the hon. Minister made in the Budget to start from January 1st might not be fulfilled. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:24 a.m.
These are for the attention of the leadership.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:24 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think I have answers for him on the matter. The first point is that this House manages its own rules. In line with this, I discussed this matter with the hon. Minority Leader when the Budget was read and we agreed that being financial matters, even if we pass them on 29th, 30th, 31st of January they be covered by the Constitution - they would have been deemed to commence on 1st of January, 2006.
There had been that understanding with the hon. Minority Leader and again that is why we advised, Mr. Speaker,
that he could ask the Committee to look at it and see whether they can declare it under a Certificate of Urgency. So we have followed all the normal rules in line with the powers vested in us as a House. Therefore, there is no problem and I think the right thing has been done for the moment. And that is why Is thought that having moved my motion there was no problem when you said that he should be heard, but now that we have heard this, I think the motion stands and if we can move on.
Mr. Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Thee is only one motion now on the floor. Any seconder to the motion?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:24 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:24 a.m.