Debates of 7 Dec 2006

PRAYERS 10:10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday 6th December, 2006. [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings.]
Hon. Members, we have no Official Report for today.
STATEMENTS 10:10 a.m.

Mr. Mathias A. Puozaa (NDC Nadowli East) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is a Statement on the 58th Annual New Year School and the Celebration of Ghana's Golden Jubilee.
Mr. Speaker, I feel honoured and grateful for this opportunity to make a brief Statement on the 58th Annual New Year School to be hosted by the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana from 2nd 9th January, 2007.
Mr. Speaker, as the name portrays, the New Year School is an annual residential programme organized by the Institute
Mr. Mathias A. Puozaa (NDC Nadowli East) 10:10 a.m.

of Adult Education of the University of Ghana to coincide with the Christmas and New Year festive period. This period is selected to enable workers who form the bulk of participants at the School to take advantage of the public holidays available for celebration of the festivities.

The first New Year School (as the programme is now called) was organised at Komenda in the Central Region in 1949. It was a voluntary work camp organized by students of the Department of Extra Mural Studies (as the Institute was then called). The main purpose of the camp, among other things, was to undertake a social survey in the Komenda community as a basis for action on their felt needs. From that humble beginning, the project has transformed into an important adult education programme and a national event on the University of Ghana's Calendar.

Mr. Speaker, for 57 uninterrupted years, the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana has organized the Annual New Year School. Even when the University was closed down in times of political unrest, the New Year School was tolerated and sponsored by the Government of the day. What is the secret?

Mr. Speaker, the Institute of Adult Education in fulfilment of part of its mandate as provider of continuing adult learning, uses the New Year School to:

Provide a platform for dispassionate discussion of matters affecting national development devoid of partisanship of any kind.

Encourage consensus building among people of diverse opinions and backgrounds. Educate the public on important and topical national and international issues. Provide a forum for the initiation of public policy; and

Assess public opinion on pertinent issues in order to ensure good governance.

Mr. Speaker, it is my humble opinion that since every government should value objective analysis of its policies, the New Year School provides one of the best for a for that kind of evaluation in this country.

Mr. Speaker, participation at a New Year School is open to the general public. Indeed, it is the only “school” in Legon that has no specific academic entry requirements. Interest, the ability to communicate in the English Language, and payment of a token fee, are all that a participant needs to benefit from a week of intensive academic activity.

Mr. Speaker, an overview of the themes discussed in the past 57 years indicates that the School has kept a tradition of discussing issues and subject-matters that are topical and have a bearing on national aspirations.

Following this tradition, the theme “Ghana at 50: Achievements, Challenges and the Future” for the 58th Annual New Year School which coincides with our country's Golden Jubilee celebrations is most appropriate.

According to the advance programme being circulated by the organizers, the School will assess key national issues and concerns related to the theme in open sessions, and small group meetings.

Mr. Speaker, there will be eight open activities lectures, panel discussions, which will include:

Fi f ty years of Nat ionhood, Achievements, Challenges and the Future. The state of the National Economy 50 years after independence: what


Governance during the First Five Decades and the Challenges for the future:

Views of the younger generation.

Industrial Relations in Ghana since 1957: Emerging Issues.

Open here means not closed to the public. One need not be a participant before one can attend it.

Mr. Speaker, there will also be 11 study groups on as many topics (sub themes). For the whole week, members of these groups will discuss the sub themes which include:

Education in the past 50 years of Independence: matters of concern.

The Ghanaian woman after 50 years of Independence.

Implementing the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Widening the Revenue Base of District Assemblies.

Our Environment and our Health.

Information Communicat ion Te c h n o l o g y i n N a t i o n a l Development, to mention a few.

On the last working day of the School (8th January 2007), each study group will present highlights of its discussions, recommendations and action plans at a plenary session. This last activity offers every participant the opportunity to enrich the reports of other groups with new ideas.

Mr. Speaker, I am very much aware that there are some colleagues who have participated in the New Year School.
  • Mr. Isaac Asiamah (NPP - Atwima Mponua) 10:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think as a young Member of Parliament, I have grown to appreciate the essence of the New Year School by the Institute of Adult Education, University of Ghana.
    Mr. Speaker, some of us every year, really learn with much interest the contributions that normally emanate from this great school. And I say, it is the only school that normally assembles people from all shades of opinion; and I think this
    school should continue.
    Mr. Speaker, my only worry, and as said by the hon. Member who made the statement, is that normally, the ability to communicate in the English language is a major requirement. But Mr. Speaker, we all know that in this country, the ability to communicate in the English language is more or less a major academic exercise; it is something that an ordinary person cannot really cope with. So if we can really have interpreters in our local dialects, so that knowledgeable people from our various communities can also come and contribute in their respective languages, to enrich the debate over there, it will be in the right direction.
    Mr. Speaker, I think this is an area the New Year School should take a critical look at. When you go to our countryside, Mr. Speaker, there are more very knowledgeable and competent people who have not had the opportunity to go through formal education, hence they cannot communicate effectively in the Queen's language. So I believe if they can look at that area, it will really broaden the essence of the New Year School.
    Mr. Speaker, another important issue I want to raise is making use of old brains in this country. Mr. Speaker, in this country, since independence, some people have had the benefit of serving governments in various regimes as Ministers, Districts Chief Executives (DCEs), what have you. Mr. Speaker, the problem here is that we do not make quality use of such people. Some of these people have had a wealth of experience on the job and really if we can annually assemble such old brains in this country to tap from them the knowledge and experience that they have had over years, it will help us a lot.
    I believe that some of the problems that we have today are as a result of the fact that we do not make use of old brains in this country. Let us revisit this
    concept so that every year, we can at least assemble people who have been DCEs before, have been Ministers before, so they can tell us, practically, the problems that they encountered whilst they were in their offices. It is key. What we know is this: “Yes, today it is this Government; let us see whether they can succeed; let us see whether they can perform”. And some even pray that this Government or the next one may become stale so that they have the advantage. I believe that if as a country we want to move forward, then those people who have had the experience of serving this country in various capacities in the past should be able to come forward to tell people the experiences that they have acquired and the failures that they encountered so that we can work on them and achieve more successes for this country.
    Mr. Speaker, another key point I want to raise is, how do we even evaluate these New Year Schools? Have we assessed the impact of these New Year Schools on the socio-economic progress of this country? Have they become just annual talk shows such that every year we assemble and talk and talk, and that is the end? Do we actually sit down to assess the impact of these New Year Schools? I think it is an area that we have to take a critical look at. The New Year Schools should not only become annual talk shows or events. Rather, we should really accept and analyze the impact of these New Year Schools over the years.
    Mr. Speaker, with these few words,
    thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Mr. Joe Gidisu (NDC Central Tongu) 10:20 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to get associated with the Statement on the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, as articulated by the hon.
    Member who made the Statement, the New Year School has been one of the outstanding annual rituals whose impact on the country cannot be measured in terms of quantifying it in any way. But one thing which I want to make clear is that any participant in a New Year School programme never goes away as empty as he or she might have gone in.
    It is a place where diverse ideas come across for discussion, devoid of any partisan political inclination.

    Mr. Speaker, it is on this sphere that institutions do sponsor members to attend the New Year School. I would strongly appeal to Parliament, if has not been doing so, to take it up, just like other institutions, to officially sponsor, not only hon. Members, but even staff to go there. During discussions issues that come up demand inputs from various sectors, and an institutional representation from Parliament for example, just like other institutions which annually sponsor their members, would make a very serious impact on the programmes, as they come up yearly.

    Mr. Speaker, one other point I want to note is, just like the Easter School, which is rotated, though the New Year school might have been rotated on a few occasions, starting from Komenda as noted by the hon. Member who made the Statement, most often it is held in Accra. I know it might be for logistic reasons but there is the need to look at moving the School from one centre to the other, as that would go a long way to give opportunity to people who, not only the participating fees, but the transportation fees might find it frustrating to attend. So I want to suggest that for the sake of embracing all participants from all corners of this country, it is rotated from one end of the country to the other just like the Easter School.
    Mr. Joe Gidisu (NDC Central Tongu) 10:20 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker, it is equally very important to look at the topics that come up for discussion at the New Year school. As noted by the maker of the Statement, the topics cut across national issues. It is on this note that if you look for the topics for discussion at this year's School, it is going to be related to our on-coming 50th Anniversary. It is on this note that all of us should take interest in the activities, and more especially take part.

    I have attended the New Year School a few times and I would want to encourage hon. Members, especially, to take advantage.

    It is equally a platform for socialization. You meet people who otherwise you would not have had the opportunity to meet. You meet farmers, people of varied professional backgrounds, and it goes a long way to cross-fertilize your own understanding and appreciation of national issues and provide further information for our work as Members of Parliament.

    With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I want to associate myself with the Statement and want to congratulate the Institute of Adult Education for continuously and annually sponsoring and supporting the programme to date. I wish them all the best on the coming programme and hope some of us would take advantage to attend.
    Minister of State (Mr. Adjei-Darko) 10:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I first want to commend the maker of the Statement because if my memory serves me right, perhaps this is the first time this all important topic is being brought to this House. I think the maker of the Statement should be commended for that.
    Mr. Speaker, a contributor to the
    Statement was cautioning that because we use English Language to communicate, perhaps there might be some limitations as to the people who participate. Mr. Speaker, as a participant of the School, I have had some experience that it is a forum where there is interplay of intellectual discussions and traditional wisdom, because you have a cross-section of the Ghanaian society there.
    One man's name was mentioned, I have forgotten the name, but he has been a participant since its inception. He is a fisherman and he is the chairman of the Inland Fishermen Association. He is always there and he contributes but his academic background is not all that strong. So we should not be deterred because we cannot express ourselves so well in the Queen's language. The New Year school is for everybody.
    Mr. Speaker, my worry is that the New Year school is accepted as a forum where public policies can be initiated because of the discussions which go on. It is also a forum where the evaluation of public policies can be undertaken; but always, what you hear on our radio stations and from the newspapers is just the opening ceremony and perhaps one or two statements from some key people. I would want to see a situation where, perhaps, after deliberating for one week, for one month, our mass media would concentrate on issues which were raised for these to be discussed in the mornings during our ‘talk shows' on radio. This way, we would be educating everybody.
    Apart from perhaps, few sensational political topics which may come up, the New Year school would come just like any ‘talk show' and few Ghanaians would hear of it. Perhaps, Radio Ghana may capture one paragraph in its news bulletin to draw attention that the New Year School has started, and who opened it; and the next time, the closing ceremony. I would want
    to urge that the mass media would lead the crusade in this direction because the New Year School is a very educative forum.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC Tamale South) 10:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on
    the 58th Annual New Year School and the celebration of Ghana's Golden Jubilee, made by hon. Mathias A. Puozaa.
    Mr. Speaker, in doing so, I would first of all like to commend the maker of the Statement who himself is an educationist and for the most part has committed himself to the development of education in Ghana and in the North, in particular. Indeed, my first formal encounter with the hon. Member was at a New Year School in Winneba, a few years ago.
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is about time we took a look into the past. Many of the issues confronting our country, the problems, whether we have been able to consolidate democracy or not, what are the impediments, what are the challenges, whether we are going through a crisis in our energy sector or water sector, almost all these issues have been discussed at some New Year forum somewhere along the line in the past few decades. But not much has been done in terms of implementation and in terms of us being guided as a nation by many of the policy recommendations arising out of the discussions that go on at the New Year School.
    In par t icular, I would l ike to recommend to the hon. Minister for Education, Science and Sports, and to Parliament to take interest in the recommendations of the New Year School, what is discussed, the papers that are
    presented, the recommendations that they make. I remember in one of the forums - even up-to-date we have not resolved the problem - one of the discussions was on the future of high education and tertiary education - We were looking at the options for assuring high education, of adequate and sustainable sources of funding. Much has been achieved in terms of increasing the nominal allocations that go to that sector, but not much has been achieved in terms of solving the problems of inadequate accommodation, residential theatres and many problems associated with the salaries of University Teachers Association of Ghana or their counterparts in the polytechnics.
    My view is that if you take the topic for this year, it raises very significant issues. One-fifty years of our nationhood. I am sure an impartial discussion would be done on fifty years of our nationhood. As a country, how far have we come? How are we going to confront the challenges of the future? Because, we are still in a country where a majority of our people
    are wallowing in abject poverty. They do not have access to basic social amenities such as water, electricity and the rest. But in particular, I am interested in a discussion which would concentrate on the views of the younger generation, and the extent to which we contribute in shaping the future of our dear country for the benefit of future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, another issue that would be discussed is industrial relations in Ghana since 1957. Over the period, we have witnessed some industrial turbulence in terms of strike actions and legitimate agitations by workers. Between 1957 and today, we have seen the passage of the Industrial Relations Act, the new National Labour Commission Law, and many other issues; yet day in, day out, we are still confronted with the same problem of worker agitation.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC Tamale South) 10:30 a.m.

    I do hope and believe that the New Year School will make far reaching recommendations on how we can achieve industrial harmony within our country.

    Finally, Mr. Speaker, the would also be looking at governance issues and I hope that they would make recommendations that would strengthen the key organs of State, the Legislature, in particular, the Judiciary to be much more independent and assertive as an arbitrator, and finally for the Executive to exercise power in a manner that would inure to the generality of Ghanaians.

    With these comments, I would like to

    commend the maker of the Statement and to urge Parliament to take interest policy recommendations of the New Year School.

    Waste Management in Ghana
    Mr. E.T. Mensah (NDC Ningo/ Prampram) 10:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a Statement on waste management in Ghana. Environmental sanitation has assumed a disturbing dimension and trend in recent times. These days, it is a matter of course not only to read about the worsening situation in the local dailies but also to actually see the deterioration in environmental sanitation in the communities in which we live, whether in Accra, Kumasi, Wenchi, Bolgatanga or Wa. The filth and dirt can now be found all around us almost everywhere in Ghana but in particular, the major component, waste management, has taken an unacceptable trend over the last five years.
    The situation in the urban settlements has been aggravated by the rural-urban drift which has increased population in
    the urban areas and the major cities of Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi in particular. Other major contributory factors include the lack of capacity to control development and provide municipal services by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the country and the abysmal attitudes towards personal hygiene and sanitation practices of low- income and high-income communities, individually and collectively.
    The current situation in the waste management sub-sector of environmental sanitation in our capital city, Accra and other urban centres is no reflection at all on the efforts that have been made in the past two decades. So much has been invested in the sub-sector through urban projects funded with huge loans, assistance from the World Bank, the European Union, the UNDP and other donor governments and agencies.
    In 1985, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany set the tone with financial and technical assistance for the revamping of the previously fragmented institutional arrangements to set up the first Waste Management Department in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly as the lead entity for the waste management function in the capital city. Accra was able to re- equip and re-organize to deliver services in solid waste collection, improvement in the management and operation of public toilets and public cleansing, involving street sweeping, drain cleansing and grass cutting.
    Other infrastructure, namely, storm drainage construction, rehabilitation of roads and roadside drainage networks were provided to improve on sanitation and the protection of public health against communicable diseases. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I wish to make this Statement to assist Parliament, the Government of Ghana and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to put in place immediate
    remedial strategies and actions to arrest the deterioration and reverse the trend forthwith.
    To address the current deteriorating environmental sanitation in general and waste management in particular will require pragmatic steps to re-invigorate the District Assemblies, re-organize the institutional structures, recruit professional and technical stall and build capacity to deliver service and source funds adequately to finance all activities.
    Mr. Speaker, when the Waste Management Department of the AMA was established in 1985, it was mandated, with the full support of the Assembly, to design and implement its own programmes and services, and was permitted to operate a separate bank account into which revenues, although inadequate to meet all expenditures accruing from its services, were lodged.
    With the necessary controls in place, the Waste Management Department used the revenues exclusively to meet part of its operational costs, making it an easier burden for the Assembly to top it up. This it did with income from the fees and charges collected from the services and the expenditure incurred in the delivery of those services. This arrangement made adequate funds available for waste management regularly and punctually.
    Mr. Speaker, this arrangement has been stopped for no apparent reason, and waste management is now competing with other services, but from a weak position of a low priority rating. Services are now by and large delivered by the private sector waste management companies. The infant waste management industry of the economy of Ghana is now in the hands of the private sector, which is ill- equipped, and operating with over-aged vehicles and equipment, and seriously lack
    the technical, managerial and financial capacity to deliver effective and efficient waste management services.
    As if that is not enough, we have lost the ability to enforce rules and regulations to check deviant conduct and failure to maintain clean and healthy surroundings. The bye-laws are asleep, as it were, and need to be woken up, dusted, updated and enforced to ensure compliance with sound sanitary practices to assist the Assemblies keep towns and cities clean, salubrious. Whether the Assemblies have the political will to do so it another matter. The AMA, for example, has won two or three important court decisions, which, if implemented, would go a long way to mitigate the unacceptable sanitation situation in the capital today.
    Mr. Speaker, waste management departments must be established in every Metropolitan and Municipal Assembly and sanitation departments in the District Assemblies without any further delay, and efforts made to staff them with skilled and well-motivated personnel. I can assure you that unless and until the Assemblies are appropriately staffed and complemented by a well-motivated work force, effective and efficient waste management will be a mirage.
    The private sector should be supported to procure appropriate and adequate waste management vehicles and equipment. Government and Parliament must look again at the schedule of taxes and duties on vehicles for the sub-sector with a view to their reduction to enable them buy new vehicles and not second-hand vehicles. The multiplicity of duties, taxes and levies on imported equipment for waste management only succeed in flooding the country with vehicles already past their economic lifespan and will be operated at high costs, high unreliability and low availability for service delivery.
    Mr. E.T. Mensah (NDC Ningo/ Prampram) 10:40 a.m.

    The procurement process for the services of the private sector must conform to the Public Procurement Law, giving all waste companies participation in fair, competitive and transparent processes. So far, the procurement processes are, in many cases, shrouded in secrecy against all the tenets of good governance. Patronage has been the order of the day except where financing is by the donor community, which insists on established procurement procedures.

    The public sector must shed its antagonistic attitude to the private sector and work harmoniously for the mutual goal of satisfying the service beneficiaries, the Assemblies and the private sector waste management companies.

    We have often played down the role of the people in the implementation of services, projects and programmes of environmental sanitation. If the general public is not involved in the initiation and implementation, there is no way that we can obtain their participation, proper use of and payment for the services and facilities provided for waste management. Public education and information should underpin our efforts to make our environment sanitary, salubrious and healthy.

    The legal and regulatory framework should be firmly in place to ensure compliance and acceptable behaviour form all sections of the communities, whether low-income or high-income. This calls for constant review and updating of the bye-laws, rules and regulations of the Assemblies.

    I n a l l t h e s e , P a r l i a m e n t , a s the lawmaker, must ensure that the

    environment for the provision and delivery of waste management services, projects and programmes is created. Parliament should also develop the necessary legal instructions and approve legislation that will enhance the efforts of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to perform at the optimum, and with financial support from the centre.

    Waste management is everybody's business and we should all see it in that light.
    Minister of State (Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko) 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr. Speaker, this is a very important Statement.
    Mr. Speaker, in approaching the whole question of waste management, I think it should be done in a holistic way. I would want us to look at three levels. The first is where the waste is generated, that is the person who is generating the waste. When we look at the chain properly then perhaps we may be able to follow the generation of the waste up to the final disposal site, so that we can keep our cities clean.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps it is high time we educated people to adopt the attitude of segregating the waste which is generated in our homes. We are fond of mixing everything together, degradable and non-degradable. If we were to segregate our waste, a lot of the degradable could even be used as organic manure. Unfortunately, we lump all these together. A lot of people have been coming in, talking about recycling and turning waste into energy. But if they look at the moisture content of our waste, it would be very difficult embarking on that project, where they want to turn waste into energy. If we can succeed in that way, then perhaps we should look at how we segregate the waste in our homes so that plastics, bottles and the degradables would be segregated, and then we know the disposal sites for
    these items.
    Then also, after it has been generated in the home, where do we carry this waste to? Mr. Speaker, it looks as if we are practising decentralization, but still there is over-centralization. I do not see how effective our sub metros are or how the sub-metros have been empowered to be responsible for waste management in their respective areas. Everything is handled at the centre, Accra Metropolitan Assembly or Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. You may have waste engineers at the sub- metros but directives and everything else are from the centre.
    We have to go back and look at the legislative instrument setting up these sub-metros and then let them function effectively so that there can even be competition among these sub-metros. We would not say city “A” is dirty or clean, but within the city, we may be pointing figures at sub-metros which are dirty and sub-metros which are clean. This is the way we can go about things. And even when it comes to generating revenue to be able to sustain this, that should also be the responsibility of the sub-metros.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who
    made the Statement talked about revenue. The amount of revenue generated directly from waste disposal itself is nothing to write home about. We perhaps, have to put in place a mechanism where people who generate refuse would be made to pay for the collection. This can be done effectively when there is house to house collection from the generators.
    Mr. Speaker, when we allow the sub- metros to work effectively, even capturing other revenue sources, like property rate - Accra is trying now, but there is still room for improvement - all these sub-metros can capture effectively the property rates
    within their domains. A fraction would be kept at the sub-metro and they can use part for waste management. But if we still have over-centralization the way we have it, then I am afraid, we would be talking but we would still have the same problem with us.
    But the most important aspect of waste
    management is education. We have to educate ourselves. It is very common to see enlightened members within the society, occupying all sorts of top positions, but when they are driving along the streets in their posh vehicles, when they are driving along the roads, pieces of paper and other waste material would be flying from their vehicles onto the road. This is very common in our society. Perhaps, we have to educate ourselves and once we start educating ourselves and making sure that we live by good principles, half the battle would be won.
    Mr. Speaker, let me inform the House about an observation I made when a parliamentary delegation, of which I was a member, visited Copenhagen. One afternoon, I saw a blind lady being led by a dog. When this dog got to the traffic intersection point, the pedestrian crossing had shown red and I was watching the dog. In fact, I was with another Member of Parliament who is no more here The dog stood still, watched the light until the pedestrian one showed green before the dog crossed with the blind lady. If in some areas, excuse me to say, even lesser beings like dogs are educated or are coached to live by such principles, then I am afraid, we have a long way to go if we start throwing rubbish from our vehicles. We are all guilty of that.
    Mr. Speaker, go and look at the drains in front of our houses; they are always choked. We always want the metro or the sub-metro to come and clean the drains in front of our houses, but we sweep into
    Minister of State (Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko) 10:40 a.m.


    Mr. Speaker, perhaps, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and all organs which are involved in education should educate all of us that if we want to live and live properly, then our health is important and that to have good health, waste management should be taken seriously.
    Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC Wa Central) 10:50 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the hon. Member for Ningo/ Prampram.
    Mr. Speaker, we have often prided ourselves as the gateway to Africa. Ghana has always been quick to say that we lead Africa, but Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of considerations to be met before we can arrive there. One major consideration is the fact that we need to keep our environment clean and we need to ensure that we are capable of managing that environment sustainably; and waste management is a critical area we cannot run away from. I have always felt very bad that at all times in our lives when we want to manage waste, we often ask for support from outside the country to do so. Mr. Speaker, it is not a good sign that we cannot sustainably and consistently ensure that we have a clean environment and we manage the waste we generate ourselves.
    Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing to note that of late a lot of Ghanaians are becoming conscious of waste management and it is catching up especially with policy makers; and efforts are being made to ensure that we clean up our environment and also manage our waste. But Mr. Speaker, it is grossly not enough; it is not adequate.
    It is not adequate because there is still a mentality which the ultimate contributor has alluded to, and it is that we generate the waste and expect that somebody else should clean it. And I have often told my constituents who come to me to request for a toilet facility; that it is easier for them to build a toilet inside their house and manage the waste themselves than to have a public toilet and ask everybody to go there and expect somebody else to manage it for them. Mr. Speaker, this has to be brought home to our people. Waste management is an important area and it must start from the household.
    Waste is not an unknown beast; it is something we know about; we generate it ourselves. From the word go, when we are born we start generating waste and therefore to managing it must be part and parcel of our general policy of running this country. It must not be a one time event and it must not be an ad hoc thing. It must be worked into the general stream of policy-making and we must ensure that we do not go out begging to look for money to manage waste in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, waste management is tied to sanitation. If you do not manage your waste properly, you create for sanitation problems and if you create for sanitation problems you create health problems because you are not going to be healthy. It is amazing how many countries — I know of the Netherlands and Canada which provide the major support for water and sanitation delivery system in this country; I know how they have helped Ghana to make progress in protecting our environment and ensuring that we manage our waste well, and ensure that we maintain good sanitation practices in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, it is so disheartening. If we cannot see that we need to go beyond
    seeking help and take the bull by the horns. And it is important also to know that the present policy on waste management is encouraging the situation where people generate more wastes and go scot-free.
    We cannot do much without privatising the industry and doing that effectively, Mr. Speaker. The situation where the few privatised waste management in the country are not paid — We know what happens in Accra, for example. The last time when the waste management industry, that is the companies dealing with waste were not paid their due, Accra was choked with waste. It was so embarrassing and disgraceful. Mr. Speaker, there must be a well defined policy on this; we have to ensure that we are not shying away from fully privatising our waste industry to ensure that people pay for the waste they generate. What about all these companies which are producing waste paper, waste rubber which are thrown about? They must have social responsibility — There must be a deliberate policy to deal with the situation such that when they generate the waste, they will take part in managing it. Mr. Speaker, the responsibility must not definitely rest with Government alone. It has been proven that Government alone is failing — we cannot pretend not to know about that.
    Mr. Speaker, it therefore, at this point I want to encourage the Local Government Administration under the leadership of the Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment to ensure that we organise something like a workshop to look at how we can take this issue down to the grassroot, take it down to households' level. I am very sure that the Ministry that is in charge of giving us orientation would not be doing its work properly and effectively if it does not ensure that we orient ourselves
    more effectively towards managing our own waste.
    That is very, very critical and I would hope that the Minister will get up and make a statement and commit himself here. I heard that the old saman saman issue is going to be brought back. Mr. Speaker, it is important that people take responsibility for their own waste and the saman saman issue that we have left behind — We are going to introduce the new one cedi so we have to go back to ensure that people are held responsible for the waste and if they do not do so they must be accountable for it, they must be made to account for it and the byelaws in the various Assemblies must be made to work. They are not there as white elephants; they must be alive and working.
    Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, let me
    thank you very much for giving me the opportunity and let me thank the maker of the Statement for bringing up this very, very important matter.
    Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment (Mr. Samuel Asamoah-Boateng): Mr. Speaker, this Statement is timely and has come in handy for all of us, and I thank the maker of the Statement who also happens to be on your Committee on Local Government and Rural Development.
    Mr. Speaker, it is timely because next year Ghana would be celebrating its 50th Anniversary as an independent state and so sanitation has always been one of the issues that we are working on. In fact, during the year there will be other high profile activities and the following year we have the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2008 Football activity which is also going to take place. So the sanitation issue is something that we should all be paying attention to not just talking about it, but and also taking concrete and pragmatic
    Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC Wa Central) 11 a.m.

    steps, as he has suggested, to solve it.

    Mr. Speaker, environmental sanitation has become a crisis and I have described it in certain circles as a crisis which we must deal with. When you are faced with a crisis it calls for emergency and pragmatic steps that are useful and not paper-work and lip-service.

    So Mr. Speaker, the attitude of people, as was suggested earlier, throwing refuse in gutters and littering all over the place and not maintaining a healthy environment has come to the fore, to the extent that — Mr. Speaker, I am glad to tell or inform the House that the Ministry together with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and the Assemblies have been preparing to re-launch the saman saman and Town Council concept on Tuesday, 12th of December 2005; which is next Tuesday, in Techiman.

    And in that respect all the Assemblies have been asked to review their bye-laws and update them and also being the fines and penalties up to modern monetary value. So there is something being done practically to change our attitude.

    Mr. Speaker, as was also said by my senior Colleague who was previously at the Ministry, we have to look at the whole environmental sanitation as a bigger picture in a holistic way. And those who make refuse must also take responsibility to collect them properly and maintain them and also pay for those who come to collect.

    And in that respect, Mr. Speaker, we have a programme that we would be bringing out very soon; it is called the ‘Polluter Pays Policy'. Those who create the refuse must know that it takes money
  • [MR. PELPUO to buy vehicles an service them. Even if it is the private sector which is involved, there would be the need to service their vehicles, and so they must pay for it. So that is the concept or the policy that is being developed, and it would be outdoored very soon. Mr. Speaker, hon. Colleagues would have noticed a new 2way of managing waste which we introduced recently. They may have seen the tricycle concept which has come into our Assemblies. This is being used by the Youth Employment Programme secretariats which are employing young people to collect waste, on the sanitation aspect of the Programme; and Mr. Speaker, they are going from door-to-door collecting this refuse. But most importantly, Mr. Speaker, as was suggested, we need to separate the plastics from the solid compost. Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the practitioners in the field and we are almost getting to a situation where they would be supplying the refuse bins or dust bins in our homes, which can be separated. So we can educate people to keep the plastic in one and the others in the other one, and this is something that is coming along. Mr. Speaker, we have also introduced a new concept called the Refuse Transit Stations. The refuse transit station, Mr. Speaker, is to be able to contain refuse in a very nice environment so that we do not see refuse spilling onto our streets. Currently, you see refuse containers sitting there which are overflowing, and sometimes because of the old vehicles that these contractors use, and also because of the lack of resources, they are not able to speed up in removing them. But we are now putting in place what we call the Refuse Transit Stations where these tricycle riders would collect the refuse from door-to-door, from lorry stations, from market centres, from commercial centres and deposit them at these transit stations, where we are also planning to separate the refuse; and then the trucks would come and collect the8im to the final refuse site. Mr. Speaker, the final refuse site is not just to dump them away but also to probably recycle the refuse; because once they have been separated you can recycle them. Quite recently, I commissioned on behalf of His Excellency the President a plant in the north industrial estate, a company called Polyplast which recycles plastics. So Mr. Speaker, there is a lot that has happened on the sanitation front. We are also in negotiations with various private sector businesses to look at converting waste into energy, and I know my predecessor said that we have to look at the kind of refuse we generate. But if we do separate them, then it would be possible to turn the refuse or the waste into energy, which would be useful for al of us. Mr. Speaker, one of my hon. Colleagues talked about the rural-urban drift which is a problem, in the sense that6 when people come to the cities, lack of planning also aids the unplanned way of collecting refuse, as well as people dumping refuse everywhere. Also, people put up kiosks, some of which serve as accommodation or sleeping places, whereas there is no facility for a place of convenience. Mr. Speaker, we have been taking steps and discussing with the Assemblies how to manage the kiosks in such a way that we can gradually phase them out. Very soon we would be hearing the policy in terms of how the kiosks would disappear hopefully but we would manage to find them alternatives which would serve as their place of work. Mr. Speaker, those who are coming to Accra are also part of us, and so need to prepare before they come in, and we need to plan our cities well before they arrive. Mr. Speaker, we are also adding the beautification aspect; it is not jut in making sure that the waste is managed well, but we need to make sure that we can be happy where we live. And just this morning, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that I have launched a programme of beautifying the medias “the middle parts of dual carriage roads” in our cities. I just left the Ring Road where Auto Parts Limited I am glad to say that they have jumped into the queue in helping us to sponsor the beautification of the medians. We are encouraging other private sector businesses so come in and help us to beautify our cities. Mr. Speaker, we are also hoping that when we are beautifying our cities, people will not litter around. We need all hands on deck to ensure that people do not litter so that we maintain our cities; these are pragmatic steps that are being taken. We have set up Rapid Result Teams in my Ministry to help manage the waste. In terms of the waste contractors, Mr. Speaker, we have also been having difficulty in paying them; and in this respect, they are having difficulty in removing the waste. I am glad to say that efforts are being made to raise enough revenue at the local level, through what we call the Rapid Result Team on revenue mobilization, so that this effort can help us to raise enough money to pay waste management contractors who can do a decent job. So in all, Mr. Speaker, this Statement has come at a very opportune time. But as I haf3 just said, it is not jut a lip-
  • Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Commencement of Public Business, item 4; Laying of Papers. The following Papers to be laid; (a) Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
    Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence to lay this document, which was brought yesterday and I told the Deputy to look at.
    Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
    Very well.
    PAPERS 11 a.m.

    Mr. E. K. Salia 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is also misleading this House. The hon. Deputy Minister for Finance explained that when the growth rate of an economy declines, it does not mean the economy is declining; it is the growth rate and that is what is important. So he is misleading this House by saying that that economy was declining. It is the rate of growth of the economy that was declining in some years and not that the economy was declining.
    Mr. Appiah-Ofori 11 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, when I started, I said the size of the national income; if you have more - if the growth is high the people in the country enjoy the true quality of life, that is what I am saying. The higher the national income, all things equal, the people in the country enjoy improved quality of life. [Interruption.] So let me finish with my case and you too will come on board.
    Mr. Lee Ocran 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. P. C. Appiah-Ofori is confusing the House. Mr. Speaker, growth in the economy does not amount to equitable distribution of the growth in the life of everybody. There can be growth that is limited to only 10 per cent of the population - [Interruption.]
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Lee
    Ocran, this is a question of opinion, allow him to continue.
    Mr. Ocran 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in any case, the fact that the economy is not growing does not mean that theastanda4rd of living of the people is declining. In the 1960s in this country there was development without growth. That was the first time the country ever experienced - [Interruption.]
    Alhaji Collins sDauda 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Hon. P. C. Appiah- Ofori is misleading this House when he says that during the NDC regime, the GDP growth kept declining day by day.
    Mr. Speaker, I would want to refer my hon. Colleague to page 77 of the 2006 Budget. Mr. Speaker, the NDC Government took over in 1993 and the GDP growth - [Interruption.] NDC took over the administration of this country in 1993 and the GDP growth in its Budget that was presented by NDC Government was 5.0 per cent. Mr. Speaker, in 1994 it came down to 3.8 per cent, then in 1998 it was 4.5 per cent. It went to 5.2 per cent in 1996 and in 1997 it moved up to 5.1 per cent. Mr. Speaker, so if hon. P. C. Appiah-Ofori, the grey-haired gentleman says that during the NDC regime, growth continuously fell for five years, he has misled this country and mut withdraw.
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, do you also want to say something.
    Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, just a little bit. In 1993, the planned GDP was 5 per cent, page 4 of that year's Budget Statement, and the actual was 5 per cent, page 3 of the 1994 Budget. In 1994, their planned target was 5 per cent, page 15 of their document, but the actual was 3.8 [Uproar] - That is son page 2 of
    Mr. Baah-Wiredu 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member, sit down, when I finish you would see everything. In 1996, page 8 of that document - In 1996, the target was 5 per cent, at page 10, and it went to 5.2 for the year 1997, at page 7 of your document. In 1998, they planned 5.6 and they had 4.6 - [Uproar] - That is page 2 of the 1999 Budget Statement. In 1999, they planned 5.5 but their actual was 4.4 at page 8 of 2000 Budget. And then in the year 2000 their plan was for 5 per cent and they had 3.7 per cent at page 7 of 2001 - [Uproar] — So they were coming down.
    Alhaji Dauda 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought that the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is a person who is an authority on figures, but I am surprised when he said that in one year, we made 3.8 and the following year we made 4.8 yet he said that it was declining; I do not understand him.
    Mr. Baah-Wiredu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want my hon. Friend to know that from the figures and I have given him, the trend shows that there was a decline. I think that if he takes his time to go through, he would see that there is no dispute about the figures and the things that I have indicated. There was a decline and he must accept it so that we can make some progress. Mr. Speaker, it is true, as he said that in 1996 they had 5.2, it came to 4.2, it came to 4.6, to 4.4 and then to 3.7 per cent. So that was the decline [interruptions.]
    Mr. Moses Asaga 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a
    point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think that these figures that we are using and counter using are really not going to move this nation forward. If the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is quoting and using a trend in GDP growtsh of the periods he was mentioning to defend a position. I am saying that defending that position using trends not enough. This is because for the same period that he was reading, if you look at inflation rate under the NPP Government, in their own rate, inflation rate was 21.3 per cent in 2001 inflation rate came down 15.2 per cent inn 2002, inn 2003 inflation rate went up to 23 per cent, in 2005 the inflation again went up.
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Asaga, I think your turn would come.
    Mr. Appiah-Ofori 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much, I stand vindicated that what I said was not fabrication or lies, that I really was quoting the correct figures. Mr. Speaker, when we assumed office, the GDP shot up to 4.2, in 2002 we recorded 4.5 per cent; in 2003 we r3corded 5.2 per cent, in 2004, we 4ecorded 5.8 per cent which is unheard of in the political history of Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] In 2005, we repeated 5.2 and Mr. Speaker, in 2006, we got - [interruption.]
    Mr. Appiah-Ofori 12:20 p.m.
    1729 Insurance Bill -- 28 Nov. 2006 Con. Stage

    1731 Insurance Bill -- 28 Nov. 2006 Con. Stage 1733 Insurance Bill -- 28 Nov. 2006 Con. Stage