Debates of 31 May 2006

PRAYERS 10:17 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:17 a.m.
Order! Order!

PRESIDENT 10:17 a.m.





O F F I C E O F T H E V I C E - 10:17 a.m.





Mr. Abu-Bakar S. Boniface 10:17 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to draw your attention to the name “Alhaji Abukani Sumani” -- number (vii) under “In Attendance”. He has not seen it but I have seen it; “Abukani” should be corrected to read “Abukari”.
Mr. Speaker 10:17 a.m.
Hon. Members, we
would move on to Public Business -- item 5 - Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 10:17 a.m.

MOTIONS 10:25 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Dr. M. K. Antwi) 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, That notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the motion is given and the date on which the motion is moved, the motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the International Coffee Agreement, 2001 may be moved today.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Any seconder of the motion? Hon. Member for Wa West?
Mr. Yieleh Chireh 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
you just ruled that the Report is for distribution, and if it is to be distributed we have not read it. So how can we take it through the next process?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,

it is unfortunate that the hon. Minority Leader perhaps did not give him a briefing on this subject. The Leadership met on this matter yesterday; I discussed this with him yesterday and we discussed it with the Speaker, and for a good reason there is the need for us to look at this document today, which is the last day. And perhaps if he can cross-check with the hon. Minority Leader for further briefing I am sure we can make progress.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Any seconder to the motion?
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon . Member fo r
Ashaiman, are you seconding the motion?
Mr. Agbesi 10:25 a.m.
No, Mr. Speaker, I also
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
But at this stage I want
a Member to second the motion.
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the International Coffee Agreement, 2001
Chairman of the Committee (Dr. M. K. Antwi) 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, That this honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the International Coffee Agreement, 2001. 1.0 Introduction
The accession of the Government of Ghana to the International Coffee Agreement, 2001 was, on Tuesday, 30th May, 2006, laid before the House by the hon. Minister for Food and Agriculture, hon. Ernest Akobour Debrah on behalf of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution.
In accordance with Standing Order 176, Mr. Speaker referred the agreement to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report to the House.
2.0 Background
The International Coffee Organisation was established under the International Coffee Agreement, 1962 by various governments of coffee producers and consumers who recognized the exceptional importance of coffee to the economies of many member countries which are largely dependent upon coffee for their export earnings and the continuation of their development programmes in the social and economic fields.
Member countries also recognized the desirability to avoid disequilibria between production and consumption, which could give rise to pronounced fluctuations in prices harmful to both producers and consumers.
As a result of the advantages derived from the International Coffee Agreement, 1962, four other International Coffee Agreements were concluded in 1968, 1973, 1976 and 1994.
Ghana has been a signatory to all the previous five International Coffee Agreements with Ghana Cocoa Board as the implementing agency.
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Nemine contradicente.
RESOLUTION 10:25 a.m.

Mr. A. O. Aidooh 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Members, we go
back to item 3, Questions. Hon. Minister for Public Sector Reforms; is he in the House?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:25 a.m.
Yes, Mr.


REFORMS 10:25 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon . Member fo r
Jirapa, you need not have said all those things if you are going on. So please go ahead.
Mr. Salia 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to
put on record my disappointment.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I believe that the preliminary statement made has not been responded to, because what is being suggested is that there has been delay in the programming of the Urgent Question and I have to explain, as the Chairman of the Business Committee.
Mr. Speaker, we have always accepted that when we get Urgent Questions we take them in the order they were asked. In situations where certain Questions that are not urgent are admitted as Urgent Questions, because the hon. Members have framed them as Urgent Questions, we end up with the situation where the real urgent ones may have to delay.
So it means that in future if the Question is not urgent we should all try and do it that way so that those urgent ones can be taken; because we cannot take many Urgent Questions in a day. We normally have a practice where we take one Urgent Question plus some other regular Questions; so perhaps this will be an advice we should all take.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, you may ask your Question.
Utilization of Funds from Millennium Challenge Account
Q. 531. Mr. Edward K. Salia asked
the Minister for Public Sector Reforms what the Government plans were to utilize the funds expected from the Millennium Challenge Account Regionally and Sectorally.
Minister for Public Sector Reforms
(Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom): Mr. Speaker, the Millennium Challenge Account programme, which Ghana has submitted a proposal to access funds from, is an

integrated agricultural undertaking in twenty-eight districts which stretches over six regions of Ghana, that is the Central, Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, Northern and Ashanti. The programme would provide resources along multiple regions, utilizing a more authorized sectoral value chain approach.

For instance, resources are to be provided based on specific intervention, that is post-harvest infrastructure, schools, water, electricity and the rehabilitation of feeder roads and the construction of new roads, some of which would stretch from one region to another.

The interventions of the programme fit into three broad categories. One area is agriculture commercialization which would include farmer and enterprise training in commercial agriculture, irrigation development, land tenure facilitation, improvement of post-harvest handling and value chain services, improvement of credit services for on- farm value chain investment and the construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads and trunk roads.

Then transportation infrastructure improvement which would include the upgrades to sections of the M1 highway, that is from Tetteh-Quarshie to Mallam, improvement in trunk roads and improvement of Lake Volta ferry service; and that specifically would include the addition of two new ferries that are to improve transportation on the Volta Lake.

The third component is rural infras- tructure to provide support for community services; and community services include schools, water, health, strengthening of rural finance services. Here, it would include the computeri-zation of all rural banks in the country, linking them up with the wide area network so that settlement can be done more efficiently than it is
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want
to ask the hon. Minister what criteria were used in deciding the beneficiaries of the grant.
Dr. Nduom 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry,
I did not get the last part of his question.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Would you be kind to
repeat the question?
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question
is, what criteria were used in deciding the beneficiaries of the Millennium Challenge grant?
Dr. Nduom 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have not
selected the beneficiaries of the grant yet.
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what criteria
were used in deciding the beneficiary regions and districts of the grant?
Dr. Nduom 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
beneficiary zones and districts were selected on the following criteria: The first criterion was on the poverty rating of the districts; so that is one of the criteria. The second criterion was the agricultural potential of the district. And the third criterion was on what demonstrated project invested in by the private sector are in existence in the district that we could use as a basis for expansion and also extending benefits to many more people in that same district or in the surrounding districts.
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what
transparent consultative processes were undertaken of stakeholders before arriving at the choice of beneficiary regions and districts?
Dr. Nduom 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if the hon.
Member had indicated in his Question that he wanted that detail -- I have the detail back in the office that I could provide to him but I can indeed broadly let him understand a few of the processes that we went through. Initially, a process was engaged even in trying to determine not the physical geographic area but what functional area that we should apply the proposed funds. That is, suggestions were made to include tourism and other areas. And the consultations that were held were held across the country in a number of the districts.
As I said, if that had been his specific question, I would have brought the specific information because we have not just a paper documentation but even photographs of the consultation sessions that can be provided. But Mr. Speaker, that is where I can get to at this point. If the hon. Member would ask a specific Question later on, I would be happy to come back and provide him with more detailed information.
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, is the choice
of the project beneficiaries in line with the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy of this country for the two poorest regions in this country, for which it has been traditionally difficult to raise loans for their development, to be deprived or denied an unconditional grant of $500 million from the Government of the United States of America?
Dr. Nduom 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the
hon. Member is just making a statement. Well, I do not see the question and perhaps if he would frame a question I would answer it. Mr. Speaker, I would attempt to answer the question.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jirapa, you may ask the question.
Mr. Salia 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question
is, is it in line with the choice of the regions and districts and the criteria? Do they fall in line with the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy of this country such that the poorest two regions in this country that have found it traditionally difficult for loans to be raised for their development to, on this occasion of a grant, be denied the benefits of that project?
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the simplest answer is yes, the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) document, which my hon. Colleague has read talks about growth and poverty. And so we are looking at areas where there is poverty and areas where there is potential for growth. Certainly, the districts that have been chosen, they all have the potential, not just for growth but for poverty reduction. So I do not believe that the hon. Member, for example, might suggest that those districts that are there should not be there.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
One more, hon. Member for Jirapa.
Mr. Salia 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am definitely
not saying that districts that are there should not have been there. What I am saying is that there are a number of districts that should have been there because of poverty and the growth potential that are not there. And what I want to know is why those districts in the Upper West and Upper East Regions are not included in the beneficiaries project.
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to
go back to the earlier answer that I gave. Indeed, the amount of money that we are talking about could not cover all the districts in this country and therefore
Mr. J. D. Mahama 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the hon. Minister said in his Answer that the criteria for selecting the districts were poverty indices and opportunity for growth. Mr. Speaker, in the Ghana Living Standards Survey the four poorest regions are the Upper East, Upper West, Northern Region and Central Region; they are the four poorest regions.
Mr. Speaker, if poverty indices and opportunity for growth were some of the criteria used, why is it that the two poorest regions in the country, Upper West and Upper East were not considered in this project under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)?
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon.
Colleague has talked of two criteria. Let me mention the four criteria again -- [Interruptions] -- I said four. If you go back you would see - Let me mention
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Please go ahead.
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, number one
was the poverty profile of the districts. Number two was the agricultural potential of the district; I did not say growth potential. Number three was the investment already made by the private sector that we could then promote and extend to let other people also benefit. And then also we wanted to understand, particularly in all the areas, the availability of water resources to support the agricultural programme. Those are the four criteria.
My point was that he stopped at two. Even if they were three, he stopped at two; and for the second one he mentioned growth. The point is that it was agricultural potential that was used and so perhaps that should inform his thinking on the matter.
Mr. Moses Asaga 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this
Millennium Challenge Account facility is not cast in stone, so I want to ask him whether we could do an in- House review so that there will be equity in the Millennium Challenge Account project so that the two other regions would be covered.
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we no
longer have the opportunity to review the coverage area of the districts; and let me explain why I say so. I say so because several months have been used, not only to identify which areas would be covered but also a lot of technical work had to be carried out in the districts, and then due diligence was also done on the part of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. So quite a lot of work has been done and that has taken about nine to ten months to get us to the point where we are.
Indeed, next week is actually when we shall review all the documents and if
I should use his same words -- we should freeze every work finally so that the legal work can be done for the signing of the contract, which is scheduled to happen at the end of July. So there is not an opportunity for us to revise the selection of the districts.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister for Public Sector Reforms whether he is suggesting that neither the Upper East Region nor the Upper West Region, apart from the demonstrable incidence of poverty, has any indication of a potential for agricultural development.
Dr. Nduom 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in all of my answers, I have not made any reference to the Upper East or the Upper West Regions and so the statement my hon. Colleague is making cannot be attributed to me.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Tamale South, why do you not exercise patience?
Mr. H. Iddrisu 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
that the hon. Minister mentioned in his answer the first core criterion of poverty. I want to find out whether he is aware that by the Ghana Living Standard Survey nine out of every ten people in the Upper East Region are deemed poor; eight out of ten in the Upper West Region are deemed poor; and by the World Bank standard -- He was using poverty as his core measure and then agricultural potential, how come that not a single district from the Upper East or Upper West is benefiting from the Millennium Challenge Account?
And is he suggesting that in both Upper East and Upper West Regions there is no
demonstrable potential for agricultural growth and development?
Dr. Nduom 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I have said earlier, I have not made any references to the Upper East Region or the Upper West Region. Indeed, the statistics that my hon. Colleague has been citing, I will suggest that he goes back to review current statistics on the matter. One can no longer say that nine out of every ten anywhere in this country is below a certain poverty standard. We need to be careful; what we say here in Parliament goes into official and long-term records and we need to be careful what we say about those.
But Mr. Speaker, I have not made any references to the Upper East Region or the Upper West Region. I am still sticking to the presentation that I have made which goes to talk about areas that have been selected, why they have been selected and also perhaps future opportunities, if this should turn out to be something successful for others to benefit, including many of our districts that are not included in the programme.
Mr. Sampson Ahi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Minister has just said that Juabeso and Bia Districts are among the poorest districts in the country. He has also given us the criteria for a district to be selected. I want to know from the hon. Minister, among the criteria stated, the one that disqualified Juabeso and Bia Districts from being included in the first phase.
Dr. Nduom 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not
understand the question.
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon. Member for Juabeso, you may rephrase your question, please.
Mr. Ahi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question
Dr. Nduom 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to go back to the criteria selected because my hon. Colleagues keep emphasizing the point about most deprived districts but it is not just the most deprived districts. Indeed, in my hon. Colleague's district, they are a little bit -- and it is one of those districts that again has a lot of potential and also it is one of the poor - [Interruption] -- But as I mentioned earlier, there are two other criteria involved in all of this; and so let me re-state my point.
The twenty-three districts that are included fit all of the criteria that we put together. And much as all of us would want our districts to be included let us once again not make any statements or comments that might even suggest to anybody in any remote way that any one of those twenty-three districts should be removed. If we were to get into that direction, I think where we might end up might not necessarily be a place where we would have a good point from which to move. I would suggest to my hon. Colleagues that there is a good basis for the selection of the twenty-three; there is opportunity, I hope, in future if this Administration does things well, as it has been doing, that there will be other funds, other opportunities that some of our districts, including mine that are not going to be benefiting from this programme would also come and benefit.
Mr. Joe K. Gidisu 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Public Sector Reforms noted among others private sector investment as one of the driving factors that were considered. He is aware of private sector investment limitations
in those regions and in other districts that have not been affected. How fair then is the point of private sector investment being considered as a driving force if he knows about those limitations?
Dr. Nduom 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, really, the shortest answer I can give is that the process, the criteria, and all of the exercises that we have had to go through over a period of almost two years have indeed been quite fair. My shortest answer is that yes, the process has been quite fair.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
believe that the hon. Minister will have to go and cross-check; the beneficiary districts are actually twenty-five, not twenty-three. He should go and cross- check on other areas like roads and the rest.
But Mr. Speaker, could he tell us which of the four criteria that he has been mentioning disqualifies the four other regions, that is, Upper East, Upper West, Western and Brong Ahafo from benefiting from the Millennium Challenge Account? The four criteria he has been mentioning, which of the criteria disqualifies those regions from benefiting?
Dr. Nduom 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is actually not fair to talk about who qualifies and who is disqualified, which one is fair and which one is unfair. I did not talk about disqualifying anybody; I just talked about a matter of inclusion. Indeed, it might be a matter where one might see a glass as half full; someone might see it as half empty. The point is that I am sure that the hon. Minority Leader does know that in matters of development and national concern we must at some point select some areas that we can start with. So this is a beginning and I believe that it is a good beginning.
If we take a poll in this honourable House many people on both sides of the House would say they believe someone else should have been in there. If you take
a poll and you ask me, I would also make a point for my district, but my district is not included; and I have to accept it that we must start from somewhere and prove a point so that others can also benefit. So Mr. Speaker, I would wish that we do not get into disqualification and that sort of language.
Mr. Bagbin 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon.
Minister has not answered my question. This is what they call “pull foot”. He has pulled foot and run away from the question; they call it pull foot.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister outlined eligibility criteria and he tried emphasizing that if a district had not benefited it meant that the district did not satisfy at least one; and that is why when people were emphasizing poverty he was referring to agricultural potential, to private sector investment, and the availability of water resources. And Mr. Speaker, that is why I asked which of those criteria - [Interruption.] Please let us know, I am not saying he is disqualifying -- And if we are starting from somewhere why did we start from others and not the poorest, the area with the potential in agriculture like Western Region, and areas with the water resources like the Western Region, Brong Ahafo Region? Why are we not starting from there? And if it is Afram Plains -- There is Afram Plains in Brong Ahafo Region, why is it not? That we want to know - [Interruption] - Yes, there is Afram Plains in the Brong Ahafo Region; it extends to Brong Ahafo Region.
Dr. Nduom 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minority Leader, I think, was making some good arguments. I am not sure that he was asking me a question; he was making some good arguments; he was making a point and so maybe in the process, he may have answered a question
he intended to ask. So I am not sure that I have a question to answer again. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Minister for Public
Sector Reform, thank you for appearing, you are discharged.
STATEMENTS 11:05 a.m.

Mr. Kofi Frimpong (NPP -- Kwabre East) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am privileged for the opportunity given me to deliver this Statement on the effects of tobacco, today being observed all over the world as “NO
Mr. Speaker, this year's World No Tobacco Day has the objectives of raising awareness about all forms of tobacco and its deadly nature in whatever form they come. Additionally, today is also set aside to raise the awareness of the public about the need for strict regulation aimed at curbing tobacco use and to educate the world in taking part in the implementation of regulations aimed at curbing smoking.
Mr. Speaker, tobacco and its products is the second major cause of death in the world. Currently, it is responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide and is estimated to cause 5 million deaths each year. If this trend continues by 2025, 10 million deaths will occur each year; with half of the people smoking today, about 650 million people will be killed by tobacco.
The economic cost of tobacco use is very devastating and impacts negatively on public health cost. It also deprives families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce. Research carried out has shown that tobacco users spend about 10 per cent of total household income as expenditure on tobacco worldwide and the worrying fact is that this trend is found in the poorest households.
A 1994 report from W.H.O. estimated

that the use of tobacco has resulted in an annual global net loss of US$200,000 million, and a third of this loss being found in developing countries. Tobacco usage exacerbates poverty and can be traced to higher illiteracy rates and poor development in the developing world.

Mr. Speaker, although the stick of cigarette looks harmless, it contains over 4,000 high toxic chemicals, 250 of which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing agents). Smoke exhaled by a smoker includes carbon monoxide, ammonia acetic acid and a host of other chemicals that are dangerous to the human anatomy. Studies have also shown that passive smoking increases the risk of catching lung cancer and heart failure. The fumes from cigarettes affect adults, children and especially pregnant women leading to low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, sudden infant death syndrome, still birth and congenital anomalies.

Mr. Speaker, with the advanced countries pushing for tougher laws and sanctions against tobacco products, the manufacturers have turned their attention to the developing world. A recent survey carried in Ghana showed that 14 per cent of school children aged between 12 and 18 have either started to smoke or have tasted cigarette at one time. This is a worrying state indeed.

To forestall this, W.H.O. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of which Ghana is a signatory is urging for the making of public and workplaces smoke free areas all in attempts to cut down passive smoking.

As honourable Members may recall, Ghana is the 39th country to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and it is high time we pass a legislation to control tobacco use. It is refreshing and heartening that the Ministry of Health will soon lay the Bill before this

august House. My humble appeal to the House is for all of us to give our support to the Bill and help to control the menace of tobacco use.

Mr. Speaker, although we are not physically present at this year's World No Tobacco Day being held now in Kumasi, we are with the celebrants in spirit and wish them a happy celebration. We need to work hard to prevent our youth from getting addicted to tobacco use.
Mr. Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ho East?
World No Tobacco Day
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC - Ho East) 11:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought my Colleague's Statement was going to be the only one and that was why I left for the Appointment Committee's sitting. Any way this is a co-Statement.
Mr. Speaker, once again the World No Tobacco Day is here with us, and I rise to make a brief Statement on a day like this.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank you for allowing me to make the Statement. A year ago, I made a Statement on this floor to mark the day.
Mr. Speaker, as a health worker, I know the harm smoking has caused to mankind, it is against this background that I am again bringing the issue to this House, so that as legislator, we can see the need to make laws that would protect our citizens.
Mr. Speaker, it is said that the wealth of any nation depends on how healthy its working population or the youth are. As a country, we are looking at achieving a middle-income status in not distance future, and that can only be achieved if we have a healthy citizenry.
Mr. Speaker, the world body set the day aside to remind all of us about the
dangers inherent in tobacco smoking and its products and the harm it causes to smokers and non-smokers as well.
Mr. Speaker, almost two decades ago, the United Nations agency on health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), gave birth to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Mr. Speaker, in spite of efforts by countries of the world, especially the Third World, to set in place some measures to check smoking, tobacco companies continue to remind us of the product's economic importance to the economies of the world.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make available to this august House the effects of smoking. I am sure my hon. Colleague has mentioned most of them already.

Mr. Speaker, every year, hundreds of thousand of people around the world die from diseases caused by smoking. One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit. Half of these deaths will occur in the middle age.

Mr. Speaker, the mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, straining your heart and blood vessels.

Mr. Speaker, this can cause heart attacks and stroke. It slows your blood flow, cutting off oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs amputated.

Mr. Speaker, carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your air-ways swell up and let less
Dr. Francis Osafo-Mensah (NPP - Mpraeso) 11:15 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Dr. Francis Osafo-Mensah (NPP - Mpraeso) 11:35 a.m.
The deleterious effect of tobacco on the body has been enumerated by my hon. Colleagues. I think what is important now is to consider what we can do to curb or stop this menace. There was a time when budgets always looked up as to where increases in the prices of commodities were going to be and one of them was on tobacco products.
I think these days, with petrol and other things we seem to have forgotten cigarettes, and if you consider the effect and the cost to the nation of cigarette smoking, I think we should not relent. We can always up the taxes on cigarettes and the choice would be on the smoker whether he wants to buy cigarettes or he does not want to buy cigarettes.
Cigarette smoking literally burns holes in the pockets of workers. Apart from the money spent on actually acquiring the cigarettes, the effect on the person in the form of ill-health and money diverted from use on education and on other economic activities is colossal. I think we can think about how to make sure that the epidemic does not go on. We can start with our school children by actually educating them on the harmful effect of cigarette smoking and then the dangerous aftermaths of people developing all kinds of diseases because of cigarette smoking.
The greatest danger is the development of cancer; and cancers affect all parts of the body, from the lip to the foot. Then there are diseases which are made worse by smoking, like hypertension. This is an endemic area and in Ghana there are so many people with hypertension and those who smoke, their condition is even made worse.
I think we can tackle this problem by legislation, by increasing smoke-free areas in public places, in buses and in schools
- Well, schools are not supposed to smoke but at least we can prevent people who are smoking from entering these places.
One other thing is that of the poorest households which can ill-afford -- Studies have shown that they spend as much as about ten per cent of their income on cigarette smoking. I think all these things can be highlighted so that we reduce the menace of cigarette smoking.
I would like to remind my hon. Friends -- I do not know how many here smoke -- that the body is ill-constructed to smoke I am sure the Almighty, if he had wanted us to smoke, in his wisdom would have put chimneys on top of our heads. So I will advise my hon. Friends that the two holes coming in front of the face, the nostrils are meant for them to inhale fresh air to revitalize the body and not to puff out smoke.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. J. Z. Amenowode (NDC - Hohoe
South): Thank you, Mr. Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on World Tobacco Free Day.
Mr. Speaker, I guess we all would want legislation that would protect our homes, our institutions, schools, et cetera from the hazards of smoking and I believe if this is done it would create smoke-free zones in our buses, hospitals, schools, et cetera. But we all know that smoking does not only affect the smoker but passive smoking, according to the medical reports, is even more dangerous to non-smokers than to the smokers themselves. So we should actually pass a legislation that would limit the harmful effects of smoking on those who do not even go to the extent of buying the cigarettes, the innocent bystanders.
But Mr. Speaker, when we pass this legislation there is a segment of our population that would not benefit from the legislation; they would rather benefit from
education. These are those who smoke in their homes, who expose their children to passive smoke and I do not think there could be any legislation that would bar the parent from smoking to the detriment of the health of their children.
Mr. Speaker, I would, therefore, encourage our new Ministry of Information and National Orientation to embark on a strong anti-smoking campaign, especially in the presence of our children and our spouses. I guess smoking could be a very bad experience when one spouse smokes and the other does not.

So I will encourage, as I said earlier, us all to invoke our moral sense rather than legislation to protect our children, our spouses, our brothers and sisters from passive smoking.

On this note, I would wand to thank

the hon. Member who made the Statement and thank Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement.

Northern Regional Minister (Alhaji

Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface): Mr. Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the Statement on the floor which has to do with World No Smoking Day or No Tobacco Day.

Mr. Speaker, a lot of people have taken

to smoking out of habit formation and thinking that it is a modern type of life to often hold a cigar or cigarette and that gives you a different posture altogether. In recent times, we have realized that smoking or smoke by itself is not good for our health. Anything that burn to ashes turns black; so if we believe that these things will happen, why then do we put that smoke into our lungs? Because at the end of the day, the chemist or the scientist will tell us that if you have some action and reaction within blood and smoke, it gives you a different compound altogether, and

that is very dangerous for us.

Countries like Kenya have decided to ban smoking in public places. In the advanced countries, even the cigarettes or the cigars that are often manufactured have labels on them -- “not good for your health”. So I do not know whether it is a challenge for the individual who takes it as a habit to challenge the person who writes that it is not good for our health. And like the hon. Member who made the Statement said, indirect smokers or passive smokers are worse off because we will realize that at the end of the day we end up with tuberculosis (TB).

TB is not only contracted from the industries or the mining companies but even smokers end up with TB, and that is dangerous for our health. And I believe we should not send signals to our children and our children's children that will make them think that smoking is good for our health. Especially in the rural areas, often, you see people rolling cigarettes or tobacco in papers. Others even call it whisky in papers and that goes beyond the ordinary cigarettes.

I therefore would want to associate myself with this Statement and think that legislation be passed to reduce smoking in public places in Ghana and also reduce smokers in the country by placing or slapping a heavy tax on cigarettes. I think those who would take it as a habit and will see it as totally inelastic and will demand -- provided they will be prepared to pay the tax. Based on that, I advocate legislation of that perspective.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me

this opportunity.

Ms. Akua Sena Dansua (NDC --

North Dayi): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to belabour the health problems associated with smoking but will concentrate on the socio- cultural effects of smoking on our society.

Mr. Speaker, we have just been informed

that fourteen per cent of the children aged between twelve and eighteen interviewed have either tasted or actually smoked. And this is, indeed, a very bad sign for the future of the youth of this country.

Mr. Speaker, why am I saying this? I am saying this because smoking cigarettes is like the starting point for the usage of hard and stronger drugs such as heroine and cocaine. And we all know that many people who use cocaine or heroine or such hard drugs, have caused a lot of problems to society in the form of robbery, murder, homelessness and parental irrespon- sibility.

Mr. Speaker, if we go to our rural

areas, one finds that most men who are irresponsible are invariably addicted to cigarette smoking. They will use their last cedi to buy a stick of cigarette, when in actual fact the family has not been provided food for the day. They will use that money to also buy drinks, alcohol to top up whatever they have already gained by way of smoking.

Mr. Speaker, if we look at the problems that these people cause in society, it is like, even though one does not smoke, at the end of the day, we are all worried about it. We are asked to contribute our little taxes to protect society from robbery. To make people responsible, we go by way of creating awareness for people to stop smoking and all of this.

Mr. Speaker, I think that the time has now come for all Ghanaians to actually take this cigarette smoking problem very seriously. If indeed, the youth of tomorrow are to become responsible citizens, then

we need to tackle this problem, especially among school children who have started smoking at this very young age.

Mr. Speaker, there is a National

Tobacco Control Drugs Bill in the offing and I think that when the time comes, when the Bill is eventually laid before this House, all of us will put our heads together and get it passed, so that we can rid society of these social perverts who cause so much problems to us through smoking and graduating to the use of harder drugs.

Mr. Emmanuel A. Gyamfi (NPP --

Odotobri): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the Floor.

Mr. Speaker, the economic, social and cultural impact of smoking is very high and we need to do something about it. Mr. Speaker, apart from the health problems that affect the individual smoker, as a result of the smoking habit, the society or the nation as a whole also pays a lot for smoking in the country.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite unfortunate that

smoking is found among the very poor in society and again among the uneducated in society. Mr. Speaker, taking this into consideration, as the hon. Member for North Dayi just said, that the last penny of the smoker will be used to buy a cigarette which in actual fact might be used for other important things.

Mr. Speaker, the medical expenses

accruing to the effects of smoking, on the individual's health are very high. For instance, the treatment of tuberculosis and other smoking-related diseases is free now and the nation is paying so much for this. Therefore, we need to advise our brothers and sisters who are addicted to smoking to stop in order that we can make enough money for the development of the nation and the provision of social amenities for the benefit of the people.

Mr. Speaker, one disturbing issue that we find now is that, most youth in the country are now associating themselves with smoking. Even students or pupils in JSS are seen smoking which is very bad and if we do not take this serious, a time will come when most of our youth will be in the habit of smoking.

Mr. Speaker, another issue of concern

is the habit of parents who are smokers, sending their children to go and buy the cigarettes for them. What are we teaching them? What kind of habit are we trying to inculcate in the children? This habit must be stopped and there should be legislation -- we are all envisaging the Bill to come to the House and all this should be taken into consideration. It is a very bad habit to send your children to go to the shop to buy the cigarettes. It is a very bad thing which we need not encourage.

Mr. Speaker, in concluding, smokers in

our rural areas are found to be among those who cause bushfires in the country during the dry season. And the kind of financial cost and the humiliations that bushfires bring to other people is very high and we need to see this as very serious and do something about it.

Once we are all fighting very hard to bring developments to our various communities, our societies and the nation as a whole, we should, at least, advise ourselves, our brothers and sisters who are in the habit of smoking to put a stop to it so that we can mobilise additional funds that we can use to pay the medical expenses, the purchase of drugs and other things for smoking-related diseases. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity.

Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC --

Wa West): Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that I have been given the permission to contribute to these Statements made by an able lady and a gentleman. For the first time in making Statements, there is gender balance.

One of the things we should do is to

also pay tribute to those who have been campaigning relentlessly for people to stop smoking; and one of them is Prof. Akosah, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service. The others are the organisers of competitions like “Quit and Win” who say that if you quit smoking you will win something. Indeed, legislation alone cannot help us to solve the problem. If you look at even Members of Parliament who smoke, I am very happy to observe that they now hide. When they want to do so, they would go into some small corner or they would excuse you and go somewhere. [Interruptions.] Yes, I have proof; I have people among I have been campaigning here and telling them that it is dangerous for their health yet they continue to smoke. But this time when they are smoking, they hide.

The danger about smoking is not just the whitish thing that comes out of the nose or being sucked in or puffed out through the mouth. It is the content and these powerful manufacturers, those people who are making tobacco, are listening to all the noise we are making and are also devising ways and means of dodging the problem. What are they doing? Instead of producing cigarettes which we all know and can condemn, they have decided to introduce other products and put the same contents in there; and I am sure that if these products are not already in Ghana, they would soon be in Ghana.

They do not want to cause losses to their companies and fold up. So they refine nicotine, for instance, and put it in any drink and some other things and
Dr. Francis Osafo-Mensah (NPP - Mpraeso) 11:45 a.m.
Ghana's Role in International Peacekeeping Operations
Deputy Minister for Defence (Mr.
William Ofori Boafo): Mr. Speaker, I feel greatly honoured for the opportunity given me immediately after the fourth- ever global celebration of the International Peacekeepers Day last Monday, May 29, 2006 to highlight the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service role in International Peacekeeping. The celebration of the occasion by the United Nations is a testimony of the global acknowledgement of the immense contributions peacekeepers have made towards world peace and security since the establishment of the UN.
Barely three years after the coming into force of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council, on May 29, 1948 passed Resolution 50, which mandated the deployment of its first peacekeeping personnel ever to the Middle East, under the United Nations Truce Supervision Office or UNTSO. Since then, the UN has engaged in a variety of peacekeeping missions in many parts of the world.
Since the 1960s, when Ghana for the first time deployed troops in peacekeeping operations in the Congo, the country has learnt and perfected the art of peacekeeping. Ghana's approach to peacekeeping has been largely successful because it is human-centred.
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) after this first experience with UN peacekeeping operations has continued to contribute troops to UN peace support operations (PSO) across the globe. In numbers, Ghana is presently the fifth contributor of military personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. The Ghana Police Service has
also been contributing to both UN and AU operations.

There is no gainsaying that the establishment of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana to train both UN, regional and sub-regional forces for PSO, is a firm demonstration of Ghana's commitment to global peace and security and the confidence of the International Community in her efforts. The Institute continues to provide facilities to build our capacity in international affairs and the dynamics of peacekeeping at the operational level to enable us respond appropriately to the changing trends of regional conflicts.

Ghana's involvement in IPSO has been in the following broad areas:

Deployment of formed troops between warring factions as part of the military component of Peace Support missions; for instance, in Lebanon and la Cote d'Ivoire.

Contribution of military observers to monitor ceasefires; for instance, in Ethiopia/Eritrea, UNIMOG (Iran/ Iraq), UNPROFOR (Yugoslavia) and UNIKOM (Iraq/Kuwait).

Contribution of staff officers and administrative clerks to man headquarters; such as in Western Sahara.

Provision of leaders/commanders (Force Commanders; such as Lt. Gen. E. A. Erskine (UNIFIL -- Lebanon) and Lt. Gen. Obeng (UNAVEM -- Angola and UNIFIL -- Lebanon.

The following is the state of GAF's participation in UN IPSO:

Within the subregion, GAF has provided forces for four major UNPSO.
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC - Jomoro) 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to lend my voice to the Statement made by the hon. Deputy Minister for Defence. Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Minister said, barely four years after Independence, Ghana embarked on its first peacekeeping mission when Ghana sent troops to the Congo - not only soldiers but policemen - to maintain the peace in the then Republic of Congo.
Since then, Ghana has been par- ticipating in peacekeeping all over the world and I believe that the peace and stability that we have been enjoying in the country since 1983 is partly due to our peacekeeping missions. Our troops have been exposed firsthand to the ravages of war and conflict situations; and I do not think it is in their interest to see that this situation occurred here. It has also helped our troops to acquire properties, fixed property, landed property, and you can only protect your property when there is peace and stability in your country.
Thirdly, our troops have been exposed to the international situation. They have understood the international order and I believe that this has kept them occupied and has prevented them from intruding into civilian administration.

Mr. Speaker, I however find it very uncomfortable to hear certain allegations being made against our troops, for example, the recent situation in Liberia where allegations were made against our troops for trading favours for sex from underaged girls. I hope the Ghana Armed Forces would investigate these allegations thoroughly so that the image of our forces is salvaged.
Mr. J. A. Ndebugre (PNC - Zebilla) 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this very important Statement on the floor. It is well known and generally accepted that development cannot take place without peace and security. And having regard to the globalised nature of our existence today, war in far away Bosnia can have a serious effect on us in Ghana here, not to talk about disturbances and instability near and around us.
We can cite a very simple example; there used to be very little traffic on the road that links Tema, Accra and Bawku, for example, but now the traffic is very heavy and there has been a lot of road accidents leading to so many deaths and destruction of property and so on, because of the war that broke out in la Cote d'Ivoire. This is because traffic had to be diverted from Abidjan and the northern countries, that is Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and so on, to pass through Ghana.
In fact, a lot of goods had to be taken out of Tema and transported by road all the way through Bawku or Paga to Burkina Faso, Mali or Niger. This has had a lot of effect on us in terms of the accidents I have talked about, the worsening conditions of our roads and even the destruction of other infrastructure.
So I am just saying this to indicate how important it is for us to be concerned when there is a disturbance in a neighbouring country or even in a far away country. This underlines the need for international peacekeeping that the United Nations have been organizing since 1948, three years after its establishment.
As has been pointed out, our first peacekeeping operation was in Congo and there were some problems there.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC - Wa Central) 12:05 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to make a few comments on what the hon. Deputy Minister for Defence has put across.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana is a member of the United Nations; that is obvious. And Ghana's involvement in peacekeeping is as a result of the responsibilities that every nation that belongs to the United Nations puts on itself to ensure that it is part of that collective responsibility to ensure that there is world peace; and that they would each contribute to ensure that in our relations with each other as countries and as individuals within our home countries we enjoy peace, so that our people have prosperity and development and live dignified lives.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana's ro le in peacekeeping is admired throughout the world, and this is a truism. Two instances stand out -- very classical instances in which Ghana demonstrated a very high level of commitment in peacekeeping. That is in Congo in 1963 and then in Rwanda.
Mr. Speaker, in Congo when President Kasavubu had problems with Patrice Lumumba, it became very obvious that the country was going to be a failed State. The call to the President at the time, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was for Ghana to intervene to support Congo. Immediately after that call came we all know what happened; he flew aircraft there with military hardware, with food and personnel and within a few days the troops that were sent from Ghana had taken over the whole of Congo and had kept the peace.
It was not until the United Nations arrived and convinced Ghana that they were going to keep the peace there that the Ghanaian soldiers had to withdraw; and when it did happen that way we saw what happened subsequently. The United Nations forces were corrupted by the Belgium forces, and perhaps the worse -- and indeed the worse -- Patrice Lumumba was arrested and killed and Kasavubu took over. This also resulted in the army officer at the time, Mobutu Sese Seko
eventually overthrowing the Government and taking over as the military leader. So the strategic role Ghana played which would have ensured that there was no such coup d'etat and that there was peace, was subverted by the West; and so the role Ghana played is still unique in Africa.

In Rwanda, at the time all military forces sent by their various countries were deserting the people and running away, and in the face of brutal attacks by the rebels, the Ghanaian soldiers stood their ground and ensured that there was peace. That is also on record and displayed even today. Mr. Speaker, I am saying all these things because we have developed a certain culture of ensuring that there is peace within ourselves and peace outside there.

There are lessons to be learnt from these. And the lessons to be learnt from these are to ensure that the peace we keep here and the lessons of discipline and patriotism that our soldiers demonstrate when they go elsewhere to fight must be entrenched in our culture.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should ensure that they work around programmes that will bring these things down from the soldiers, our army to the ordinary man on the street so that we can have dignity in Ghana and we will never be or subjected to a situation where armed forces from elsewhere will be deployed in Ghana to ensure that there is peace in Ghana. This means that we should never have a situation in Ghana where Ghanaians will start fighting one another to the extent that soldiers will be flown in to keep the peace here. Let us ensure that this peace we are able to keep elsewhere is translated to the domestic situation and Ghanaians will forever live in peace and will ever be ready to send our sons and daughters to keep the peace elsewhere.
Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC - Ashaiman) 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution on this Statement. Like my hon. Colleagues before me said, I also join in congratulating those who have kept the flag of Ghana high in taking part in these peacekeeping missions all over the world. Mr. Speaker, they have brought honour to themselves, honour to Ghana and to those of us who have not even gone there before. We are proud of them, both the military and the police, that they are doing this good job.
While we are congratulating them, Mr. Speaker, it is not our wish that whatever is happening for which they are sent there should continue to happen. It is our prayer that invariably peace should prevail in the whole world so that these sorts of exercises will one day come to an end. I am also praying that whatever is happening for which they are sent there, Ghana will not fall into that situation, tearing one another apart. We want peace in the world; we want peace in Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, for me this peacekeeping exercises are so significant when related to what is happening in my constituency, Ashaiman. Mr. Speaker, since these peacekeeping exercises started, I can count at least eight townships that have

been established in Ashaiman and named after places that our men and women have gone to serve.

Mr. Speaker, there are many areas and a particular one called “Middle East” - The soldiers that arrived from the Middle East came and established a place called “Middle East”. They went ahead to establish Lebanon. They established Jericho; they established Promised Land; they established Freetown, Bethlehem, Peace or Christian Village.

Indeed, they have all the names from Middle East in Ashaiman. And this is a very good sign that our men and women who have gone outside have brought something good to Ghana and for that matter to me in Ashaiman. I congratulate them.

Mr. Speaker, the issue is simple. Our men and women who have gone to do this business have brought in discipline and peace so that wherever they find themselves, whether inside or outside, there is peace and discipline. In the areas I have referred to, when you go there you will see that there is security, peace and all that you can think about; and I think this is a result of their having gone outside to learn something which they are translating into action in Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, I only want to plead with
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister
for Energy, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Hammond 12:15 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister, you have no point of order. Please, continue.
Mr. Agbesi 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, all that I
am saying is that we have learned a lot from those exercises and we have also gained a lot from them. We would want to encourage our men and women who are going to be selected in future that they should take after their immediate predecessors and carry on, lift the flag of Ghana high so that our name, Ghana will prevail all over the world.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP
- Suame): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to also associate myself with the Statement made by the Deputy Minister for Defence.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, peacekeeping has made the world safer for all of us. Whilst it is true to observe that they have not succeeded in eradicating violence or conflicts in isolated places in the world after forty-eight years of painstaking efforts, it is also not difficult to conjecture how this world would have been without the peacekeeping efforts initiated by the United Nations.
Mr. Speaker, yet admittedly, we must concede that it has placed the lives of our soldiers and policemen and women at risk. As the hon. Deputy Minister has alluded to, over fifteen of our able-bodied officers have lost their lives at various places; it
Mr. Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Item 9 - Committee
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
Speaker, there are six committee sittings; many of them have already retreated and started work. And having also exhausted the agenda for the day, may I beg to move, that this House do now adjourn until tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. I beg to move.
Ms. Akua Sena Dansua 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion for adjournment.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:15 p.m.