Debates of 26 Jan 2006

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings, Wednesday, 25th January, 2006. Pages 1 . . . . 11. [No corrections made to the Votes and Proceedings.] Hon. Members, we have the Official Report for Tuesday, 24th January, 2006. [Pause.] If you have any comments thereon, kindly bring them to the attention of the Clerk.
Item 3 - Questions. Is the Minister for Defence in the House?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if you will be kind enough to take the Statements because I am told he is about ten minutes from here.
Mr. Speaker 10:05 a.m.
We will stand this down. Item 4 - Statements.
STATEMENTS 10:05 a.m.

Mr. G. K. Arthur (NDC - Amenfi Central) 10:05 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this great opportunity given me to present my Statement: Technological Advancement, Which Way - Ghana?
Mr. Speaker, about hundred years ago, this world was not as it is today. There were no radios, television sets, satellite, computers, mobile phones, et cetera. It is through technology that man has developed from the Stone Age - Bronze Age, Silver and to this Golden Age where technology has made the life of man so easy and bearable.
Mr. Speaker, technology has not only made life easy but also reformed the economy of the very countries that took technology and its education so serious. Some of these countries are the USA, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Japan and England.
Mr. Speaker, some countries which Ghana gained independence along with or was somehow better than, through technology have built their economy beyond us and can boast of belonging to the technologically developed world. Examples are China, Korea, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and many others.
Mr. Speaker, technology, it is said, started in Africa when the Egyptians used shaduff in watering farms, built the pyramids, developed the skills of reading and writing and being the first to use keys in opening and closing doors. Ghana as part of Africa has not made adequate move to bring the country up in the field of electronics and technology.
Mr. Speaker, the miracle behind the great Okomfo Anokye's commanding the Golden Stool from the sky to land is still unknown. Neither has there been any technological change in most of the ways we do things. For example, the method of pounding fufu (with pestle and mortar), preparing banku (by kneading in pot with wooden pad), akple and other foods remain the same. That of plaiting and braiding
the hair by the hairdressers has seen no significant change. Methods of farming equally, especially cocoa processing, have also seen no appreciable change. About 95 per cent of our improved methods of doing things are imported including common toothpick.
Mr. Speaker, for so many years, the ore containing bauxite is taken outside the country before the bauxite is extracted. In the same way, major percentage of our cocoa is processed outside the country, as such Mr. Speaker, the price of cocoa is always determined by those who buy our cocoa, as well as our gold and other minerals like diamond and manganese.
Mr. Speaker, as the Bible says 10:15 a.m.
“For lack of knowledge my people perish”, the same can be said of our country: “for lack of technology, our country is perishing”. There are a number of areas we have not given any attention to utilise, like the bamboo, recycling of plastic and other wastes; maximum utilization of our seaways, especially in the urban transport system and the inter-regional transport system, generation of power by our water bodies, the wind and solar, as well as the mining of large mineral deposits in the country.
Mr. Speaker, there is also lack of support from the Government to Ghanaians and institutions that are excelling in the field of technology. Privately some of these dignitaries are: Apostle Kojo Safo of Christo Asafo Fame, Oppong Twumasi of OTEC F.M., Onua Amoah who has discovered the bio- diesels in the Jethropa plant, et cetera, and public institutions like KNUST, the Polytechnics, the NVTIs, Kumasi Institute of Garages (Magazine), and the Wood Processing Industry in Kumasi (Anloga), University of Education (College of
Technology Education in Kumasi), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and many more. As such, Mr. Speaker, our university graduates always come out looking for employment rather than looking for ways to be self-employed and also to employ people.

Our educational system also contributes partly to the inability of the country to produce her own technological products. This is because we recognise theoretical education more than practical education. In Ghana's tradition, Mr. Speaker, a learned person is the one who can speak big English fluently, can write big English or knows the law even if that person cannot button his own shirts or her dress.

Mr. Speaker, a technical man who can devise a means of arresting satan to restore world peace will just be given a pat on the shoulder but is never considered learned or scholar or educated. Lack of this recognition discourages most Ghanaians who have the zeal to go into technical, vocational and technology education.

Mr. Speaker, another discouraging factor is awarding of marks where theoretical works carry 70 per cent as against practical works plus Home Works carrying the remaining 30 per cent. One therefore, does not see the need to waste so much time and days on practical work while one-half (1/2) or less of that same time could be used for the theoretical work.

Institutions like the security agencies, training colleges, secretarial works, et cetera prefer secondary graduates more than technical and vocational graduates. One therefore, has to wallow in life
Minister for Public Sector Reform (Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom) 10:15 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker for allowing me to contribute to this Statement.
I wish to associate myself, Mr. Speaker, with the Statement that has been made. Mr. Speaker, there is no question about the use, especially the practical use of technology in the Ghanaian society if we are serious about accelerating growth. But Mr. Speaker, this is also why the first Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS)
gave prominence to the role of ICT in the development process of the country. It is also why the current GPRS II gives prominence to ICT; and it is again the same reason why our own Public Sector Reform Programme puts ICT on a high priority role. Indeed, that is also why the Ministry for Communications has prepared an ICT strategy for implementation.
But Mr. Speaker, sc ience and technology needs a market and the market had to do with the people who have to buy the services and products. That is where Mr. Speaker, we need to put our attention because we get a number of our producers of technology products, whether they are software products or practical implements for agriculture or for industry in general; and what many of these people complain of is that it is our own citizens who reject their products and therefore do not buy. Therefore, if you do not have customers why engage in it? It then follows that many people are reluctant to engage in the education of science and technology.
So while we talk about needing people to get into it, while we talk about the need for Government to do more, we as citizens, we the consumers ourselves must also dedicate ourselves to the numerous software developers that are Ghanaian, the numerous technology implementers and producers who are Ghanaian and our own local technology products produced in various fields in the country.
While I associate myself with the Statement, I believe it is an appropriate one for us in Ghana today and I want those of us in this Parliament to recognize the need for us the consumers, to patronize the products of the inventors, our producers and also those who are bold enough to engage in enterprise in the area of technology. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC - Jomoro) 10:15 a.m.
Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member.
The first Republican Government promoted science and technology. In fact, students at the Sixth Form who pursued science were given special incentives at the time and that was why some of us were motivated to study science. The University of Cape Coast at its inception was called the University of Science Education; and I think I was the number 541 in pursuing the preliminary science course before I left. Mr. Speaker, since then we have paid only lip-service to the study of science and no nation in the world can advance without any scientific basis.
Yes, technology is important but technology is the practical realization of science. You cannot apply technology if you do not have the scientific basis for using the equipment or even the idea. However, I think we have in our present circumstances skewed technology only to information and communication. But technology is bigger than that. It is quite bigger than that.
I was born to see our fathers and mothers using the hoe on the farm and we continue to use the cutlass and the hoe on the farm. I have been around, I have seen a number of Christmases. I believe that I may leave the world with the continuing use of the hoe and cutlass; and that is why our agriculture is not progressing. That is why we are not able to entice the youth into agriculture. I think it is about time that the Government invested a little more in science to help motivate scientists to help our research institutes to pursue research; paying research officers without giving them the tools to work with is nothing.
We have done nothing and we in this House stand indicted because any time the budget for the Ministry of Environment
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Chief Whip, do you have any point of order to raise?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:15 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague knows that Parliament in considering the budgets of any Ministry, Department or Agency has no power to increase the amount; he should know this. So by appealing to this House to increase it, Mr. Speaker, he is inviting this House to do what is unconstitutional and that is dangerous to his own health and to his own membership of this House.
Mr. Ocran 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am surprised he did not rise with his Standing Orders. What I am saying is that we can throw the budget out and ask for a reviewed budget. Yes, it is done. That is what I am talking about. We are very happy - [Interruption.]
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:25 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I believe that my hon. Colleague is trying to mislead the House on a very essential element. That was why the other day, I printed the percentage allocation of the Budget to each of the MDAs.
Mr. Speaker, when you read the reports presented on all the MDAs, we ended up saying that none of them was sufficient. The rule is that you can reduce an account for a particular organization when that surplus is created then you can transfer to another group. So the statement he is making is misleading the House, that it is only by increasing the amount available
Mr. Ocran 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank him. I only want to remind him that in the case of the allocation of HIPC funds, we could have done better. True, he is the Majority Leader and he has sat there two times and that Ministry has been left out of the HIPC allocation -[Interruption.] I am not addressing you - [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter. We must take science education very seriously and let us hope that from now on, all of us sitting here would see to it that the Ministry of Environment and Science and all the scientific institutions get adequate resources to pursue their aims and objectives for the betterment of the whole nation.
Mr. J. A. Ndebugre (PNC - Zebilla) 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also attended a Preliminary Science course at the University College of Cape Coast so I am about as old as the hon. Colleague who has just spoken.
Anyway, on a more serious note, I associate myself with this very important Statement. But I just want to say that we ought to caution ourselves because I have observed a tendency in this country of trying to play down the importance of science and overplay the importance of technology or the other way round. But most invariably, it is always trying to play down the importance of science and play up unduly the importance of technology.
As the hon. Colleague who has just spoken has said, technology is practicalisation of science. Therefore, for us to benefit from science or to benefit from technology, there must be a solid link between science and technology. To that extent one is not more important than the others and if we want to really benefit from the two -- it does not serve us well to try to play down one and play up the other.
Now, why am I saying this? Of late, there have been a lot of publications saying that engineers and other allied science- based persons who are graduating from our universities come out knowing nothing and that they are not performing as the Col. Jacksons and Prophet Safos and so on. But this is what I am trying to point out that, the universities are training scientists to study and after that there must be a means of training people to apply that science; and that is the technology.
It is the same in other disciplines, in liberal disciplines. Take law for instance. In the Faculty of Law, we do not teach law practice there; we teach the academic aspects of the law, the principles of law and when you have qualified - and you must qualify before you can proceed to the Law School and study the practical aspects of the law in order that you can enter a court and apply what you have learnt at the University of Ghana Law Faculty or the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Law Faculty and defend people in civil matters and criminal matters and so on. So when you look at this thing this way, you cannot go too far when you want to say that the training that we give in the universities at the academic level or at the scientific level is not so important as it is in the technological level.
What we should try to do is to try and establish a School of Engineering, if I should isolate engineering. I can see that
Mr. Ndebugre 10:25 a.m.
Oh! I thought there was a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am still on floor. [An. Hon. Member: Drama.]
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Order! Order! Minority Leader, your presence has created, as it were, this drama. Anyway, we will continue with business. Hon. Member for Zebilla - [Interruption.]
Mr. Ndebugre 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, actually, when I saw the first person rise, I thought he was rising on a point of order and - [Laughter] - and Mr. Speaker, being a very diligent student in this House I took my seat quickly. If I had known that it was a dispatched thing I would have continued - [Laughter.] But all the same, the hon. Minority Leader is welcome.
As I was saying, there is the need for us to establish a strong College of Engineering with a very close link with the universities' programmes and also the research institutions.
We have the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which has been there for years. I have worked there and when you work there, what visits you is frustration. The equipment is not there for you to work with and, if you struggle and you are able to get some results, I mean the results just keep on lying on the shelves and they gather dust
and they are not applied so people just become discouraged. I worked there for one month and fled and went to Abosso Glass Factory. I was furthermore frustrated there. Instead of manufacturing glass, I started manufacturing soap; you can see the difference. I had to start manu- facturing soap in order to keep myself busy.
So let us look at the institutional problems connected with this matter and not just jump. I think that there is too much impatience. The first prototype tractor that was made in China was presented to Chairman Mao of blessed memory, and when they put it in the first gear, the tractor went backwards and that was the communist situation. The engineers were so frightened that Chairman Mao had asked them to experiment on something; and when they moved on the first gear the tractor was going backwards. But Chairman Mao praised them that that was the first step. They are now producing tractors.
As for us, when we go into the laboratory and we try to find out whether a herb would cure HIV or AIDS or not and we get a negative result everybody hoots at us and then we become discouraged. You then go and start producing soap instead of glass; it just creates problems for all of us. So when we get into this thing you can lecture and lecture.
But I remember that Rt. Hon. Speaker cautioned one hon. Member the other time that he was aware that he was a lecturer but this place is not for lecturing. Therefore, I do not think that I want to give a lecture. The solid point I am making is that we must try and link science very strongly with technology by institutionalizing these things and we should try and be patient; and we should try and encourage people who are mining, who have the orientation to go into science and also to go into technology. You must not necessarily be a good scientist and a good technologist
Mr. G. K. B. Gbediame (NDC - Nkwanta South) 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement and in doing so I would want to lay emphasis on science education, especially in our secondary schools and universities.
Mr. Speaker, I have been a science teacher before and the problem we have is that much attention is not given to the provision of equipment and material for the training of our students. Mr. Speaker, you go to a secondary school and they are studying science and about 10-15 people have to use, maybe a one metre-bridge. Enough practical training is not acquired by these students. So in effect, the practical aspect is learnt as a theory - you are taught that if you do this and that this is the result.
But I think that science is a subject in which you have to come out with a result after a lot of experimentation. You make mistakes and correct yourself and arrive at a conclusion which is very convincing. Mr. Speaker, even at the universities, people who are studying these sciences - chemistry and all the other sciences do not have enough equipment and it goes to strengthen the fact that we as a people and as a government are not paying serious attention to the sciences. As the saying goes, “charity begins at home”.
Thus if at the foundation, these people are not given the training that will enable them to experiment, they look at science
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP - Odotobri) 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in contributing to this Statement, I would like to commend my hon. good Friend because the statement is timely as we are all trying to join the good image of business and the globalization.
Mr. Speaker, technology has become one of the major requirements and the yardstick for which countries which are aspiring to become middle-income countries are judged. In Ghana, in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II) document which is the co- ordinated social and economic programme
for the Government, agriculture has been identified as one of the major concerns for development.
Mr. Speaker, looking at the nature of agriculture in Ghana at the moment, if adequate preparation is not undertaken to modernize the system of agriculture, we are not going to do much in terms of the implementation of the GPRS II document. Modernized agriculture through irrigation, mechanization and agro-processing is seen as a positive move towards making acriculture a very viable sector for national development.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the Government and the GPRS II have identified agriculture as the tool for accelerated development that is being led by the private sector. To do this, about 70 per cent of Ghanaians are in the agricultural sector and if we are able to modernize agriculture, it means that about 70 per cent of our people would be well off. Again, the so-called hard core poverty, those people below the poverty line are also found in the agriculture sector who live in the rural areas and the Government's policy of taking agriculture as one of the major concerns for accelerated development is in the right direction.
Mr. Speaker, I therefore recommend that the manufacturers of local equipment for agro-processing like the cassava processing machines and other equipment, must be motivated. They must be supported by the Government so that their equipment will assist in the particular direction of modernizing agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to end here and say that if we are very serious to move the country forward, then we must identify and we must also encourage science and technology as one of the major tools to help us to achieve this particular objective.
Nii Amasah Namoale (NDC -- Dade
Kotopon): Mr. Speaker, I would like to identify myself with the Statement on the floor. Mr. Speaker, most times when we talk of technology people talk of a very big scientific implementation research somewhere. But technology starts from our homes, from what we see going on. That is not good, so let us improve upon the techniques or the machines that we are using.

When something happens in this country, instead of us to look at the scientific basis for what is happening, people would be superstitious. All they would say is that, “Oh, it is the witches and the wizards.”

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, I was walking on the High Street and I saw a lot of people at the 28th February Court, and Ghanaians were trooping there saying that a kayayoo has been turned into a cock. Can you believe that, Mr. Speaker? People were moving from the Ministries - intellectuals, people who know, have been to school, Directors, moving from the Ministries, crossing to the 28th Court to go and look at the kayayoo that has been turned into a cock, in the 21st century, Mr. Speaker.

Let us think scientifically when something happens. When someone dies in our families, even an 80-year-old, they would ask who killed that person, instead of us asking what killed that person.

Scientifically let us do the research and then get the results and apply the results from the research that we did so that next time when an 80-year-old woman or man dies they would not say it is the witches and the wizards that have killed that person.

Mr. Speaker, in this 21st Century, some drivers, including some drivers of hon. Members of this House, when they are about to cross a bridge, they would blow their horns because they believe if you do not blow the horn the river god will not allow you to cross safely. [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, let us educate ourselves and let us think scientifically.

Mr. Speaker, in this 21st Century trokosi is still being practised in Ghana. Somebody would die, others would follow and still others would follow because some think that when their money or something is missing and he goes to that trokosi area the people will tell them that they would find it for him.

Mr. Speaker, if you would investigate very well, the police will investigate the death and they would go to the trokosi man and say he is the one responsible for all who are dying, Mr. Speaker, if they do that they would see that somebody from that trokosi area has gone there to poison those who are dying; maybe their water, maybe their food.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying this because when these trokosi people take the virgins as the ransom for curtailing the death, they would say, all right we are coming to purify the area. They would break all pots, destroy everything and take everything away, then they would say, “go and stay there”. Because they know that they have poisoned something over there and they know that that is the source killing the people, they want to attribute it to

[NII NAMOALE] themselves that they are the ones doing it.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
I will give the last word to the Minister for Energy.
Minister for Energy (Prof. Mike A. Oquaye) 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution. Whilst basically associating myself with the Statement on the floor of the House, I wish to reiterate that Government is taking all necessary steps to promote indigenous technology for national development. Particularly, Mr. Speaker, reference was made to Onua Amoah and the Onuanom Industries. My Ministry is working with Onua Amoah towards ensuring the technical feasibility as well as the financial viability of his proposition.
Mr. Speaker, on 24th April, 2005, the Energy Commission organised a one-day bio-diesel investors' forum for this very purpose to analyse all kinds of alternatives in this direction to promote alternative energy. Mr. Speaker, may we plead that on such occasions the media also give appropriate publicity to such national development efforts that our people would know what really is happening and others can contribute towards applying indigenous technology for such national development efforts.
Mr. Speaker, finance and technical viability matter a lot in these matters. It is worthy of note that we in the Ministry have referred this possible investor to the National Investment Bank as well as to the African Development Bank. Upon the clear initiative of the Ministry the National Investment Bank and the African Development Bank are in the process of providing for the relevant finances that would make such an invention a financial
Mr. Speaker, in order to promote this even further, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), which is under this Minister has also been tasked to see how best they can work to support this endeavour. Mr. Speaker, they are in the process of helping to acquire plant as well as arranging technical experts from other places to assist them. In fact, the BOST and Onuanom are taking a trip to India next month upon the promotion of the Ministry to help in this very effort.
Mr. Ocran 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of relevance. It seems the hon. Minister is making a speech on bio-diesel. But what is on the floor is science and technology, not bio-diesel.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Let him continue.
Prof. Oquaye 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, science and technology is not only indelibly interwoven into what we are discussing and the reference to our getting oil from Gatrofa but actually Onuanom was mentioned in the presentation, if my hon. Friend on the other side would recollect what was said on the floor of the House; and this is exactly what I am saying. Perhaps, he does not want to know that Government is making positive strides in this regard and that is what he wants to blur. But in actual fact, the Government is doing so and is moving in the right direction in this connection.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to add that the Government is not only working sectorally in this matter, but inter- sectorally so much so that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is working together with the Ministry of Energy to see how we can help to have the plant grown in such quantities as to make the possible distillation in future commercially viable. These are positive steps being made by our Government in this regard, sensitive to science in aid of our development.
Mr. Speaker, in all the circumstances, I wish to therefore associate myself with the Statement and to assure the House that the Government is mindful of these developments and is taking positive steps towards applying them for the benefit of our people.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Members, let us go back to item 3 - Questions - Minister for Defence. Question 162, hon. Donald Dari Soditey.


Minister for Defence (Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor) 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, following newspaper publications on alleged incursions into the village of Sawla in Ghana's territory which implicated an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces,
Mr. Soditey 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would

like to find out from the hon. Minister if he is aware that there has been three other incursions in the area after his investigation.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as my hon. Friend would appreciate, the northern part of la Cote d'Ivoire is in rebel hands. The Force Nouveau is a rebel force that is operating outside the control of the recognised Government of la Cote d'Ivoire. Therefore, I would not be surprised if occasionally there was an incursion. But currently, I have no solid evidence that there is incursion.
The report I received from the security agencies along the border is positive and no less a person than the Bole Wura himself has come to Accra to indicate that there is peace and stability along the border. And only yesterday, I was in Tamale where I met the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), and the report I had from them was that there is peace and stability in the traditional area.
Mr. Soditey 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what steps is the hon. Minister taking to ensure that such incursions in the area stop and do not become a regular exercise.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. Yesterday, the situation along the border was discussed. The roads in that area are so bad that we believe that there is need to provide motorbikes to the security agencies so that they can more effectively patrol the border between la Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. Also, the river that separates the two countries is to be more closely monitored.
Mr. John Gyentuah 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister whether there was actually a rebel incursion into Saru village in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District in March 2005, which resulted in the abduction of the Saru Chief to la Cote d'Ivoire.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have already made a very lucid statement. I read about this in the newspapers; I was so perturbed that rebel forces could cross the border, come and kidnap a chief of Ghana, so I went there myself. I met the Bole Wura, I heard his evidence, I heard the evidence of the son of the Bole Wura, I met the DCE, I saw the hon. Regional Minister, I had discussions with him, I saw the security agencies.
Because I was not convinced of what actually had happened, we brought down the Captain and after thorough investigations what we realised was that, maybe, there might have been contacts. But so far as I am concerned, the important thing is whether an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces was involved in this illegality. The officer was cleared and we have reinforced security along the border, and as far as I am concerned, that is enough.
Mr. J. D. Mahama 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the hon. Minister in answering the Question is focusing on just the role of Captain Imoro Sanda. I do not think that that is the main issue. The question is, was there a security breach? Did rebels from la Cote d'Ivoire enter Ghana's territory and abducted a chief and took him back to la Cote d'Ivoire and detained him? That is the question.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the anxiety of the hon. Member. Bole is his base and if I was worried, I expect him to be even more worried.
Mr. Speaker, the evidence we have is not conclusive, and as I have said, the northern part of la Cote d'Ivoire is under rebel control and in such situations, anything is possible. What we have done, on our side, is to sufficiently reinforce the Ghana side of the border to ensure that if there were previous contacts, no such contacts would be possible from now on.
Mr. Mahama 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister in his Answer said that he received information about the incident through the newspapers. I want to ask, is it normal that information about such security agencies is received through the newspapers rather than from the normal intelligence channel?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the border between la Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana is such that whether rebel intrusion or ordinary citizen intrusion - I am sure these things occur. But so far as I am concerned, what I wanted to find out was whether Ghana's security had been breached. I have no doubt that farmers stray along the border; I have no doubt traders stray along the border and he, as an hon. Member of Parliament for the border area, would be in a better position to appreciate this more than myself. But he has a point; the hon. Member has a point.
When I went there and I saw this information in the newspaper which appeared to have been planted by somebody around the Bole Wura, I was a bit surprised that a traditional authority of such stature could get news like that and not get in touch with me directly. I must say I was a bit surprised. But so far as the security agencies were concerned, they were not aware of that incursion.
Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the hon. Minister was sufficiently worried to fly there within two days of seeing the item in the newspaper and since then, security has been tightened. So I think we should take it from there.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, by the answers given by the hon. Minister, is he telling the House that he, as the hon. Minister of Defence is not aware of any incursion into our territory?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I

said the evidence was inconclusive and I was so worried about the possibility of incursion. Do not forget, Captain Imoro Sanda was working under the United Nations (UN); he was not working under the Government of Ghana. Nevertheless, I thought the situation was so serious that I had him repatriated to Ghana. I asked for the Captain to be repatriated to Ghana - plucked out of UN control.

That should tell the hon. Member how seriously I took the matter. But because of that incident, if in fact it occurred, we have reinforced our side of the border and since then the information I have is that everything is peaceful. The Bole Wura has come to confirm it; his son, Prince Alhassan, has come to confirm it. And, Mr. Speaker, so far as I am concerned, I am satisfied.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Question No. 220, and it is in the name of hon. Benito Owusu- Bio, Member of Parliament for Atwima- Nwabiagya.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member in whose name the Question stands is unavailable and I want to seek your permission for the hon. Member for Bosome-Freho (hon. Ofori- Kuragu) to ask the question on his behalf. Indeed, he himself - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Is the hon. Member
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
No, he is
not here.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Let him ask the Question.
Hon. Member for Bosome-Freho, you may ask permission yourself.
Residential Accommodation for the Ghana Armed Forces
Q. 220. Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu (on behalf of Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio) asked the Minister for Defence what plans the Ministry had to provide residential accommodation for the Ghana Armed Forces.
Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor 11:05 a.m.
Speaker, thank you. This is a very important problem for the Ghana Armed Forces and during the Budget presentation, that was the main focus for discussion.
Mr. Speaker, previous Governments,
including the last one, made strenuous efforts to house personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces. These efforts have been intensified since the assumption of office of this Government. Mr. Speaker, to this end, a total amount of ¢34.15 billion had been spent on the second phase of the Ghana Armed Forces Housing Project. So far, twenty-seven residential accom-modation units have been completed since the assumption of office of this Government. There are also forty on-going housing units at various levels of completion for which a total amount of ¢31.33 billion has been spent. The Ministry of Defence now requires a total amount of ¢15.3 billion to complete all the ongoing projects so far as accom-modation for the Armed Forces is concernd.
Mr. Speaker, in spite of these laudable
efforts, it is appreciated by the Ministry that relying on the Consolidated Fund alone can never help us overcome the acute housing shortage we have in the barracks. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, what we have done is to make arrangements for a concessionary loan of ten million dollars to be made available to the Ministry so that there would be massive rehabilitation of accommodation units and also construction of new ones in all the garrisons of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Nana Ofori-Kuragu 11:05 a.m.
Still on behalf of hon. Owusu-Bio, I would like to ask the hon. Minister how he has distributed the housing projects across the country because in Kumasi, for example, where the Fourth Battalion is based, the houses are very old huts that soldiers are living in with their families. So it is a matter of urgency. We would like to know how these units are being distributed across the country?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:05 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the point made by the hon. Member. Some of the houses are very old. In fact, in Kumasi, we have some round huts that might have been built about hundred years ago; and the policy is to demolish them. Nevertheless, because of our desire to promote tourism, Mr. Speaker, I would want us to preserve about five or six of these houses so that tourists to this country would want know the type of accommodation made available to our troops by the colonial government.
As far as the distribution of housing units is concerned, Mr. Speaker, that is not done by the Minister for Defence. Nevertheless, the Minister for Defence would ensure the equitable distribution in all the garrisons.
Alhaji Seidu Amadu 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether in the provision of housing faci l i t ies for securi ty personnel , consideration has been taken of the number of civilians now staying in our barracks? In other words, whether the accommodation being provided is still the single-room facility that our security personnel are used to, or this time they are giving them two rooms or three rooms -- [Interruption.]
What I am saying is that if you look at our colonial structures at the barracks, you would realize that most of the rooms are just single rooms and it has become a problem as to where their children and other dependents would stay in the barracks. It is very embarrassing that you go and see an officer or some personnel of the security services inhabiting a single room. I want to find out whether with this new facility, they have taken into consideration the need to increase the number of residential rooms to give our security personnel comfortable accom- modation?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point made by my hon. Friend is quite valid. If you look at some of the old accommodation units - in fact, there was very little dignity in the process. Because of that now we have several types of accommodation; for the new recruits, one bedroom, for middle-level, two-bedrooms and for senior officers, three-bedrooms.
Yes, the type of accommodation provided for the security agencies are quite comfortable.
Mr. Joe Kingsley Hackman 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer to the Question, he indicated that an amount of ¢15.3 billion is required to complete the forty ongoing housing units. Would the hon. Minister tell the House the source of funding for the remaining, and how reliable it is?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, before we came to power, the previous Government appeared to have had some special relationship with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to facilitate provision of accommodation for the military. Unfortunately, we have not got the same type of arrangement and therefore, we depend on the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's answer, he said the previous Government “appeared to have had some special relationship with SSNIT . . .” I am saying that we had some special relationship. Why is it that they are not pursuing that special relationship?
I also want to know whether he is sure that the new houses are modern, since he is talking about the Ministry for Modernisation . . . Our military men are very, very modern because they use modern equipment. Is he sure that the houses are modern?
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minority Whip, how many questions are you asking? [Laughter.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have asked the question. My question is: why have they abrogated the special arrangement with SSNIT to continue to provide accommodation for the military personnel; and also whether indeed, the houses are modern.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite the hon. Member, since he appears so concerned about the modernity of the accommodation available, to come to a place called Beijing Barracks. Mr. Speaker, in my view, Beijing Barracks is more comfortable than Sakumono. They are very modern, indeed.
The second point about SSNIT -- arrangements were made initially when we came to power to source funds for military accommodation but they fell into some difficulties and so we are now relying on the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the figures given by the hon. Minister for Defence, the twenty-seven residential accommodation units being
built at a cost of ¢34.15 billion comes to about ¢1.27 billion per residential unit. The second one that he is talking about, the total amount involved is ¢46.63 billion. Again, if one works it out, it comes to about ¢1.15 billion per residential unit.
One would want to know from the hon. Minister how many rooms there are in these residential units. I suppose they are blocks. One would want to know how many rooms there are in these residential units.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if my hon. Friend were not the Chief Whip on my side I would have asked for notice but nevertheless I will give him an answer. This is a mixed bag - For officers, we have the bungalow type of accommodation - [Interruption.]
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11:15 a.m.
On a point of order. I think that the Minister for Defence in his attempt to answer the question has made a comment which may suggest that he gives special attention to hon. Members on his side of House. To suggest that because the hon. Member who asked the question is a Whip on his side of the House he would not ask for notice, is to suggest that if the same question were to come from the other side of the House, he possibly would have been seeking notice, and I thought that it is not parliamentary enough.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, that was in jest. The hon. Member is a good friend of mine and he can ask any question and he will get immediate reply to that question.
Mr. Speaker, the accommodation we provide for the security agencies is a mixed bag. Officers get the bungalow type; freshly recruited have single bedrooms; middle level may have two or three bedrooms and very senior ones may

get a bit more. So that when we say a unit, it is not a very specific thing. It depends on the rank of the officer and the type of accommodation. That is why we cannot be too specific but it is a mixed bag of accommodation.

Status of Work on the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre

Q. 221. Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu (on behalf of Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio) asked the Minister for Defence what was the current status of work on the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre and what had been the Government's financial contribution so far.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre is currently regarded as a Centre of Excellence and since its commissioning a little over two years ago, has attracted participants from over 90 countries around the world. Mr. Speaker, the people of Ghana have every reason to be very proud of this facility. When the place was commissioned on 24th January, 2004, His Excellency the President was accompanied by no less a personality than His Excellency Gedhardt Schroeder, the Chancellor of the German Republic then.
So far as funding is concerned, I must say that the Government of Ghana itself has not so far paid anything for the facility. The sources of funding which amounts to $14 million are from the following friendly countries - Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, The Netherlands, Canada, France, Italy and Japan. These are the countries which have paid for the construction of the Kofi Annan Centre. Our own Government has so far paid nothing.
The Government of Ghana however has been providing funding for routine running cost of the Centre, including
payment of emoluments for the Ghanaian staff. The Government of Ghana also pays for consultancy services, utility services and provision of transport facilities for the Centre.
Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Minister for his frantic effort towards this fantastic Peacekeeping Centre and in so doing, ask him when he is going to invite hon. Members of Parliament to visit the Centre.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Centre is an open facility and any Member who wants to go there can do so, and I have no doubt he will be received with pleasure by the Commandant. But if any Member feels he should be specially escorted, the hon. Minister himself will take him in his car to the Centre.
Plans to Turn the 37 Military Hospital into a Teaching Hospital
Q. 222. Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu (on behalf of Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio) asked the Minister for Defence what plans his Ministry had to turn the 37 Military Hospital into a teaching hospital.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the reasons why some of us fell the 37 Military Hospital should become a teaching institution are as follows: I recently visited India and I was told that the most important hospital in the country was the Army Hospital for referrals.
That hospital is so important that people come from all of South Asia for treatment and when my counterpart the Minister for Defence there realized I was a doctor, he made arrangements for me to be taken round. And with the Sergeant Major pleading to maintain the pace, it took me almost four hours to do the tour.

Mr. Speaker, the thing about having a very good military hospital in the country is that the soldiers do not go on strike, therefore service is always available.

The second point is that if an officer of the armed forces - a health person runs away from the country, he becomes a deserter. Therefore the brain drain would be reduced.

If I come here to demand resources to turn the 37 Military Hospital into a teaching hospital, two good reasons, service being always available, and also reduced braindrain; an Officer who runs away is a deserter. For these two reasons I believe we should try and turn the 37 Military Hospital into a large teaching hospital to ensure that the people of Ghana -- the military constitutes less than one per cent. It is really for the generality of us.

Mr. Speaker, talking about turning the place into a medical school, when I was in India, the India Minister for Defence and I had discussions and he therefore appointed a committee to come to Ghana to inspect the facilities. It was led by a Lt. General, a very high ranking military officer who is also the Provost of their Medical College.

She came here and was joined by Professors from Korle-Bu. They were very impressed with 37 Military Hospital and to be brief the report they sent was that the hospital could be turned into a post- graduate college immediately. But it requires three to four years to turn it into an undergraduate college because we need a library, hostel for students, an administrative block and other facilities. So Mr. Speaker, very briefly stated, this is where we have reached.
Mr. Ofori-Kuragu 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
would like to know from the hon. Minister
if there is a chance the military hospital can follow Korle-bu Teaching Hospital's example of using internally-generated funds to help this College of Excellence.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:25 a.m.
Thank you, Mr.
Speaker. Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. What we have found is that although it is called a military hospital, about 80 per cent of the people who patronize the place are civilians. Mr. Speaker, in this year's Budget, it is expected that the 37 Military Hospital would generate ¢23 billion from the patients who patronize the place.
Mr. Lee Ocran 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the
year 2000, during the visit of the former Vice- President to Beijing, some finances were raised for both barracks and the 37 Military Hospital. May I know whether the current development involves Beijing.
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Member is right so far as barracks is concerned. When I came, the Vice- President's negotiations lapsed. So I started and the Beijing Barracks is partly as a result of the negotiations. So far as the 37 Military Hospital is concerned, it is a German loan.
Mr. John Mahama 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister mentioned that soldiers do not go on strike and so it is useful to improve the military hospital so that in the event that there are strikes, patients can still have treatment. Mr. Speaker, I can remember when I was young there was a small military hospital in Kamina Barracks in Tamale. Is there any intention to establish military hospitals in the regions of the country so that this emergency treatment is available not only to people in Accra but across the country?
Dr. Addo-Kufuor 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is a very important topic and I am happy the hon. Member has brought it up. Yes, wherever there is a garrison, we have something called medical reception station (M.R.S.). Mr. Speaker, for most people this is quality treatment they get, and sometimes on the basis of the excellent civil/military relations. I believe if funds were available, all the medical reception centres could be turned into district hospitals; and here treatment will always be available and also doctors will not readily vamoose.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:25 a.m.
Speaker, the hon. Minister is referring to the barracks called Beijing Barracks. I know that a few years ago there was an agitation to name barracks after very renowned soldiers that this country has produced. May I know the reason for the naming of this barracks after Beijing and not after any of our very competent soldiers.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Chief Whip, this your
question does not arise at all.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
the Minister's presentation he indicated that when he comes to the House for support to turn the 37 Military Hospital into a teaching hospital, that support will be forthcoming. He also indicated the fact that since soldiers do not go on strike, the best thing to do is to create many more military hospitals. I want to tell him that he is carrying coal to Newcastle, because when we were in office, we started this and they rebelled against the situation. So I thank God that they have gone full circle and they are seeing the wisdom - [Interruptions] - in turning the 37 Military Hospital into a teaching hospital and creating more. So my question is -
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Deputy, you have
already exhausted your time.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:25 a.m.
My question is,
how soon are you bringing the proposal for us to endorse?
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
This is no question at
all. Minister for Defence, thank you for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
At the commencement of Public Business - Item 5 -- Committee sittings -- Deputy Majority Leader.
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to move, that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Are you seconding the
Mr. John Mahama 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Speaker 11:25 a.m.
But at this stage I think
you may be out of order because there is a motion. If you want to second the motion you may go ahead.
Mr. John Mahama 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
wish to second the motion but I think I will get the opportunity to raise this tomorrow. I second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:25 a.m.