Debates of 26 Jun 2007

PRAYERS 10 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 22nd June, 2007. [No correction was made to the “Votes and Proceedings”.]

Item 3 -- Questions.

Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) -- rose --
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Yes, Majority Leader?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if we could jump to item 4 or so, whilst I try to find out -- I am told he is downstairs.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Leadership, I think we would go to item 5 -- Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Item (ii), Chairman of the Committee on Finance? [Pause.] Hon. Members, we may have to stand it down for some time.



Minister for Manpower and Employment (Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment has oversight responsibility for the NVTI, the agency responsible for co-ordinating at the national level all aspects of vocational training including apprenticeship. The mandate of the NVTI as stated in Act 351, 1970 does allow the NVTI to establish vocational training centres on its own.
Community Initiative
The establishment of vocational training centres therefore depends on
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to assist needy and especially depressed communities to establish vocational training centres. The national purse is not adequate to cater for the establishment of vocational centres nationwide.
It is the hope of the Ministry that the Dadieso community will take advantage of the offer by the Ministry to conduct a feasibility study towards eventual establishment of a vocational training centre in partnership with Government.
Mr. Gyetuah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Dadieso community has in place structures bought from Sonitra Construction Works precisely for the establishment of the vocational institute. Will the hon. Minister consider this as an advantage and conduct the necessary feasibility studies to ensure early establishment of this institution?
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, per- sonally I will consider it as their equity contribution to the programme, if they so wish.
Mr. Gyetuah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister when exactly the feasibility studies, as indicated here, will be conducted.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in my
presentation I did not say the Ministry is going to conduct a feasibility study. I said if the community or the Member of Parliament considers it feasible and will want us to join as partners and conduct the feasibility study, we are ever ready. But I did not say that we would conduct a feasibility study. So I am not in a position to give him the date and time.
Mr. Ibn Mohammed Abass 10:10 a.m.

the efforts and resources of a community per se.

The Ministry is, however, ready to assist the Dadieso Community in the Suaman constituency to conduct a feasibility study to identify type of skills to be taught, development of infras-tructure, equipment requirements and instructional staff needed.

Current Situation in Western Region

Currently the NVTI operates 38 vocational training centres nationwide, three of which are in the Western Region of the country.

Out of the number, two -- the Charlotte Dolphyne Vocational Training Centre at Sanzule, and the Manso Amenfi Vocational Training Centre -- were all initiated by their respective communities. The third one, the Takoradi Vocational Training Centre was set up as the flagship of the British Overseas Development Assistance's loan/grant of ten million pounds (£10 million) assistance to the Government of Ghana to refurbish 23 vocation centres in the country.

Response to Distress Vocational Training Centres

The Ministry, depending on the budget approved for it, assists both community and non-governmental vocational training centres with limited logistics for their operations. This is done to facilitate the development of the requisite skills for the job market or self-employment in the various communities.


I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to hon. Colleagues, District Assemblies, philanthropic indigenous citizens and
Mr. Ibn Mohammed Abass 10:10 a.m.

Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether he has a programme to ensure that when these institutions are established, by either NGOs or philanthropic organizations, they are sustained. Because, it has come to my notice that when organizations establish vocational institutions, the problem is how to sustain these institutions, especially as regards payment of salaries of per-sonnel.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if a community establishes such an institution and ropes us into their programme, we will definitely give our contribution. I have personally, through the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), recruited and assigned teachers to some of the vocational centres. And that is another way of sustaining them: Because if there are no teachers, the children cannot learn. And so with the approach of the NYEP, I did just that.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's response he says he has helped to recruit teachers. I want to know, what about tools and equipment to the vocational institutes?
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have also in that same light done just that. And I want to assure him that on Thursday, we will be launching the Trades and Vocational Module of the NYEP, and equipment will be given to some of these institutions and vocational schools.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister the relationship between the TVET Programme, as currently run as a policy by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and the type of vocational and technical skills training that his Ministry is also running parallel to that programme.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe everything that we are doing in this world is in a symbiotic manner. The TVET Programme is not run by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports alone; it is
done in conjunction with the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. And if he can remember, when we went for the stakeholders meeting, the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment was fully represented.
So this particular programme will also help us a lot in restructuring and looking into our educational curricula. So I want to assure him that we are part and parcel of the policy.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Question Number 1030.
Mr. Tanko Abdul-Rauf Ibrahim 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is caught up in traffic and he has therefore authorised me to ask the Question on his behalf. And with your indulgence I will proceed and ask that Question on his behalf.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Please, go ahead.
Employment of Persons with Disability (NYEP)
Q. 1030. Mr. Tanko Abdul-Rauf
Ibrahim (on behalf of Mr. Mohammed Jagri) asked the Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment how many persons with disabilities were employed in 2006 under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) in the various modules.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the National Youth Employment Programme was packaged and implemented from October 2006. The goal of the programme is to offer employment opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed youth who registered with the programme. Furthermore, the programme offer the requisite working experience to Post- National Service graduates from any tertiary institution. Finally, it provides the youth with employable skills for employment or self-employment. Target Group
The Programme targets youth within the ages of 18 and 35 years bracket. It is open to youth who are literate, illiterate and semi-illiterate able and the disabled.
The Programme currently runs 10 modules and the choice of a participant depends on h i s /he r educa t iona l background, interest or quick accessibility. The modules are:
Youth in Agric-Business; Community Protection System; Waste and Sanitation Management Corps; Community Education Teaching Assistants; Volunteer Services under the National Service;
Health Extension Workers Module; Paid Internship and Industrial Attachment; and
Vacation jobs.
Current Status
T h e p r o g r a m m e h a s o f f e r e d employment to 95,000 as at date (May 2007). The number of disabled persons enrolled by the programme is 107. Mr. Speaker, the regional breakdown and modules accessed by the disabled are as follows --
I have some figures which were deleted but I will add for the consumption of hon. Members. In fact, if you look at the leaflets we have:
Region N o . o f Applicants Nos. Engaged Module(s)
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, looking at the Table, in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, the number of applicants was higher than other regions but the number of people engaged was far less. Is there any reason to explain that?
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the engagement of the disabled sometimes depends on his background. In the Northern Region most of them are not lettered and therefore it is our duty to help, give them some skills, so we can empower them. Currently, as I speak, Mr. Speaker, I hope to access some four billion cedis from Micro and Small Loans Credit (MASLOC) to support people with disability. And these are the type of people we want to support -- give them some skills and then give them some money to go and establish themselves.
But for those we have engaged, most of them were in internship, teaching in the health sector; some were in the health extension working group and we even have one disabled person who is an employment coordinator in the Nkwanta District. So this tells the hon. Member how concerned we are about the disabled.
Mr. J. Z. Amenowode 10:10 a.m.
The hon. Minister stated that the employment opportunities were meant to provide, if I
should put it this way, a viable alternative to seeking alms. And we also know, according to statistics, that about 10 per cent of the population are disabled. The number of disabled persons who have registered is almost 664, and out of that just 133 have been employed. I got the impression from the Answer that those from the Northern Region are not properly lettered.
Now, does that apply to all the other regions, especially the Volta Region where 172 is about the highest number registered and only 19 got employment?
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is very simple. If one does not apply and one does not indicate one's background we cannot give the person a job. These people that we had registered, after we had contacted them and we had gone on -- What is it? -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Minister, do not be disrupted; please go on.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he is talking about the disabled being 10 per cent of the population. He is also trying to ask me whether what I said cuts across all the regions. That is subjective and employment is based on one's background.
Now, most of the people who got jobs in Accra here, some of them are operating elevators at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. If you go to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital today you will see a lot of them there. So depending on the job available in a particular community -- If it is teaching, we send them there. If it is another job that we believe that the disabled person can do, we will take him there because we have a lot of people who are to benefit from the entrepreneurship module which we are to introduce. Because basically, even though they are disabled, they have the potentials inherent in them to become
good business men and women.
So depending on the area -- Because right from the beginning I said this module cuts across -- illiterates, literates, able- bodied or disabled. So whatever module one chooses is where we would want to place him or her so that one can enhance one's capabilities and be able to fit in well and contribute one's quota.
So it is not that because I said “some” -- I am not saying all those who did not get are illiterates. No; I used the word -- I qualified it; I said “some”. So that is the point.
It also cuts across all regions, some are illiterates, others literates, some are able-bodied and some are disabled but depending on the push we give them we make them stand right in the society. So I believe there is no problem at all.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, the modules that he has provided here include Community Protection System. I want to know what it entails.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the community protection is what we call the community police which some people have misconstrued -- Mr. Speaker, just a minute; I have a document here to show, I will pick it and show it.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, people are misconstruing what the “community protection system” means. It is a question of choice of words; community policing and community protection are the same. Now, this particular thing is being operated by the Ghana Police Service; it is a unit. The role of the community protection is to get people within their own community
-- they are supposed to serve as a bridge between the community and the police or the Government. And so some of their duties are to act as traffic wardens, maintain peace and order in their communities, and other activities, which if he wants, I can roll them out for him to understand.
So the essence of community protection is to help keep peace. This is not the first time and it is not only Ghana that is operating community policing; they have it in England, Canada, Japan -- they are all operating community policing -- [Interruption.] Mr. Speaker, sometimes if one is an executioner -- An executioner sometimes fears to sleep in a supine position -- [Laughter.]
So for me this particular thing is very good. We take young women and men between the ages of 18 years and 35 years and train them to maintain peace and order. Traffic -- I believe this morning when we were coming here these young men and women were giving us free passage; so he has no problem.
Alhaji A. Yakubu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to find out from the hon. Minister what role line Agencies, Departments and Ministries play in packaging and implementing the various modules.
Alhaji Boniface 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague, if he has read our guidelines, would realize that the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment is the lead Ministry. All other Ministries are ‘follower' Ministries; it is like a syndication and so we collaborate and cooperate very well as far as this programme is concerned. If he checks, we have community teaching assistants -- we collaborate with Ministry of Education, Science and Sports -- horizontally. If you take community policing, we have the Ministry of the Interior Waste and
Alhaji S. Abukari 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to inform this House how the community police are recruited, and whether it conforms with the law as regards recruitment into the Police Service. Does it conform with the law, and how are they recruited?
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, this cannot be a supplementary question at all.
Tanoso Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills
Q. 1082. Mr. Simons Addai asked the Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment what the Ministry was doing to revive the Tanoso Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, currently there are sixty-two Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (ICCES) nationwide under the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. The ICCES started operating in 1996.
These centres were established to offer skills training for the youth and school dropouts. Illiterates and semi-illiterates can both access training offered by these
Mr. Addai 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister when the revival measures he has indicated are going to take place.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I speak, and with immediate effect -- and also I expect that the hon. Member of Parliament will, with immediate effect, direct that part of his Common Fund be set aside for the programme; or probably if he will give me about ¢100 million out of his Common Fund -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Addai 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he did not indicate the role that lack of infrastructure is playing to bring down the school. I would like to know whether he is aware that the school lacks even buildings and other equipment for their operation.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Member could repeat his question; I did not hear him well.
Mr. Addai 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know if the hon. Minister is aware that lack of infrastructure and other equipment are some of the biggest problems of the institution.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know much about that but I said this is more of a mutual issue. It is a give-and-take affair. We believe that if the community will come together with the support of the Member of Parliament to support -- If they provide us with an infrastructure or a building, we will take that as their contribution or the community's contribution. And as for the equipment we will provide them to support the youth in order that they can enhance their capabilities.
Mr. Addai 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether he is aware that as we speak now the school is no more in operation.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know. Mr. Speaker, if my hon. Colleague were here earlier on when I was answering some of the questions -- The point is that the budgetary allocation to the Ministry, especially for these various sectors, is not that much. So usually we concentrate on areas where they are also prepared to contribute their quota effectively to support us because once they do, we know they are interested.
Apparently, I also did mention that at a certain time of the year they abandon the whole place and sometimes cannibalize
Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he said most of the students are unable to pay the token fees collected for the running of the Centre. And also most of the girls drop out because they cannot buy the materials needed for dressmaking, et cetera. I want to know whether the Ministry has plans to assist such students to procure those things and pay the token fees that are demanded by these centres.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, the Ministry is planning to assist the needy ones. I have also contacted the hon. Minister for Women and Children's Affairs so that we could collaborate and support such people. Otherwise, if we leave them they become a burden to the State again. So it is our intention to support them.
Mr. Alfred W. G. Abayateye 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, under measures of the office to revive the centre, he stated that ICCES Management intends to undertake massive enrolment drive in the area and also to encourage the District Assembly to take more interest in the centre.
I want to find out from him whether preparatory measures are being put in place before the enrolment. Because, if
he is saying that they are unable to pay the fees and those are the major causes for the girls' dropping out, what are the measures they are putting in place before the new enrolment?
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we are planning to give some gratis. Again, like I said from the outset, fortunately we are going to roll out the trade and vocation module on Thursday and after that we will begin to equip most of the centres; and that will encourage the young girls and boys to come back. We are thinking of waiving the fees so that we can encourage them to get the training. So that is our intention.
Maj. (Dr.) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister whether he will consider funding from the National Youth Employment Fund to sustain the operation of this important institution.
Alhaji Boniface 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, just that; we are prepared to do so. We have even taken the lead, like I earlier on said. One important factor is getting instructors; and paying the instructors is always a problem. But the Ministry has engaged some of the instructors under the volunteer scheme of the National Youth Employment and they have been sent to the various vocational schools. So it is one way of sustaining the schools and we will do our best.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Minister, thank you for coming to the House to answer Questions.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP -- Atwima-Nwabiagya) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the recent rains and accompanying floods
which resulted in loss of lives and property again bring into focus the need for us, as a nation, to revisit the urgent question of the physical planning of our towns and cities in particular and the built environment in general.
U n f o r t u n a t e l y i n G h a n a o u r development efforts have tended to place more emphasis on improving the economic growth rate, per capita income, gross domestic product and other macro economic indicators, to the detriment of the environment especially in urban areas. It has neglected the related question of land-use, location and undesirable environmental impact.
This situation is exacerbated by the fact that existing land-use laws or physical planning regulations are too outmoded to assist us control growth and development. The enactment and promulgation of environmental protection laws are recent but due to the lack of comprehensive physical planning, efforts to implement these environmental laws have led to avoidable and unnecessary duplication of efforts and resources, and utter chaos as to who should do what and what various parties can expect from others.
Mr. Speaker, in Ghana, as elsewhere in the developing world, millions are migrating to cities in search of work and wealth. As their number grows and their aspirations rise, they demand improved housing, the opportunity to work and better facilities. This brings increased pressure on already strained systems and services and the need to develop new ones. The resources available to achieve this however do not keep up with the city's growth, resulting in fewer resources being spread over an even wider area.
Thus in spite of significant invest- ments made in recent years in the city wide infrastructure, urban services and maintenance, area upgrading and area development projects with the assistance
Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP -- Atwima-Nwabiagya) 10:40 a.m.

of bilateral and multilateral funding agencies, our cities are still characterized by physical or visible defects such as traffic congestion and defective mass transport system, conflicts in land use, obsolescence of buildings, environmental degradation, substandard infrastructure and municipal services and inadequate supply of buildings for both residential and prime central functions.

Weak Urban Management Structure

Mr. Speaker, this is manifested in the form of lack of coordination in planning and management, inadequate manpower capacity and logistics, defects in legis- lation and enforcement machinery.

Mr. Speaker, in Western Europe and America, deteriorating inner city areas have led to the concept of urban renewal and regeneration.

In Accra there are no specific areas that low-income earners live. Areas such as East Legon, Labone, Roman Ridge, Airport residential area that are designated as high-income areas have their share of low-income people living in uncompleted buildings and shacks.

Mr. Speaker, there is therefore the need for a nationwide urban renewal programme.

Mr. Speaker, this nationwide urban renewal programme must have direct impact on land, public utilities, housing, environment, transportation, investment, revenue base, employment and community facilities.

Mr. Speaker, urban renewal as a programme in our cities and urban-cities should engender the following:

The programme must maximize the use of existing serviced land and also control development.

It should also maintain and improve existing water, drainage, sanitation

and solid waste disposal systems.

The programme must extend infrastructure to service new areas in line with expected growth and affordable standards.

It must facilitate the construction of new mixed commercial/residential units where land can be made available for redevelopment.

Renewal and regeneration must ensure a continuing supply of serviced urban plots to a standard related to people's need and ability to pay.

The programme must provide a continuing programme for community development and the construction of social facilities.

Mr. Speaker, the development strategy for this nationwide urban renewal programme should be as follows:-

1. Redevelopment of isolated run-down buildings into mixed commercial residential properties to motivate general upgrading of residential homes and also strengthening of reforms in poverty alleviation.

2. Upgrading of low-income residential pr iva te zone and in tens ive development control guidelines to consolidate conversions of residential structures to mixed commercial uses.

3. Upgrading predominantly public medium income estates and intensive development control to support conversion of residential units into mixed use.

4. Underutilized and vacant lands in high income, low-density residential areas to be intensively redeveloped into first class, high quality mixed

residential/commercial uses.

5. Intensive development control measures to consolidate ongoing reforms in conversion of residential properties into mixed commercial uses.

6. Intensive development control measures to improve standards in development of industrial and warehousing functions with focus on environmental management measures.

Mr. Speaker, the time for urban renewal is now and not tomorrow, otherwise we shall keep on year after year, grappling with what to do when the rains come. Instead of rains being good news for us, it may always spell doom for us if we do not act urgently.
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made by the hon. Member for Atwima-Nwabiagya. Mr. Speaker, Ghana is one of the countries where the old urban and settlement areas are not developed. We rather tend to move away from such places and make new settlements, which in no time also turn into another slum. We may ask ourselves, why do we do so? We do so because of the land tenure system. Most compounds in the inner cities are owned by clans and families. They do not sell rundown buildings because they are family property. And if people do not sell rundown buildings, government cannot possibly tear down those rundown buildings to make room for new developments.
I remember in the 1970s, I think during General I. K. Acheampong's time, a beautiful plan was drawn to rejuvenate Accra Central. And by Accra Central at that time, we meant the James Town area all the way through Opera Square
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 10:50 a.m.
and Makola. The plan could not be implemented.
In the 1980s, the PNDC time, they tried to revive the plan, but they could not develop the plan because it was difficult to buy out those families. And those families living in those areas where government wanted to redevelop are fishermen. If we move people from James Town in order to develop James Town area into a first-class shopping and perhaps residential area, where do we send the people to? If we send them to Amasaman, they cannot fish.
So they continue to stay where they are and instead of making the city compass, we begin to move further away from the centre. So we have a sprawling Accra with ill-developed infrastructure and we continue moving further. Now, people are moving all the way to Aburi to live there and be coming to work in Accra.
If one goes to Takoradi, the picture is the same -- not the value, I mean the picture is the same -- [Laughter]. Right now, the Government is trying to sell all those little buildings, type A, type B and type C around Zenith and Ahenfie Hotel. These are government buildings but government is selling the property to the owners, people who live there. If they buy those buildings, of course, we cannot pull down those buildings, and we have these small buildings that look like stables right in the centre of our cities.
Recently, I heard that the City Council in Takoradi had tried to sell those buildings to companies, which are prepared to develop shopping malls and first-class offices. That is the only way we can rejuvenate the centre.
Now, instead of us rejuvenating the centres of our cities, offices are moving
towards residential areas. The whole of Ringway Estates, which not long ago was a purely residential area, is now becoming a commercial area where buildings are being sold and people are converting those buildings into offices. They have chased us all the way to East Legon. Now, the main East Legon is becoming a commercial area.

Mr. Speaker, we have a problem in this country and it is time that our city authorities took this matter up seriously and if there is the need to change the law and pass new laws which can be enforced -- This is because we have passed so many laws in this country which we know at the time we passed the laws in this House, we could not enforce those laws. And a law is useless -- If we cannot enforce a law and we sit down to pass it, then we are engaging in useless activity.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Jomoro, you should not be distracted.
Mr. Ocran 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, you see when people on the left start to disturb me I get very angry. Mr. Speaker, they are saying that I should speak about Africa. Abidjan has done it. And when the Nigerians felt that Lagos was becoming uncontrollable,
Mr. Ocran 11 a.m.
they went to Abuja and built a completely new place. South Africa has done it. We should not talk about oil --
Mr. Speaker, they want to harass me. [Laughter] -- Johannesburg has also done it. When the White people moved out to Stanton and they left the centre of Johannesburg desolate, it took only five years for people to move back; they have renovated the area so nicely.
So I am calling on the hon. Minister responsible for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment -- he is not here -- He should bring a legislation into this House to enable us to rejuvenate our city centres. Otherwise so soon we will find the centres of the city so desolate, leaving behind old and very poor people who cannot maintain basic hygiene and we will have nothing to show.
Recently, I had a visitor who said I
should drive him to downtown Accra. Yes, a white man who had just come to Africa. I took him to my place at East Legon and he was happy. But he said he wanted to see downtown Accra. So downtown -- Osu -- I did not take him to Osu, I took him to Labone and drove back. And that is not good enough.
So Mr. Speaker, I support the Statement
and I hope hon. Members will do so to support it.
Mr. Samuel N. A. Attoh (NPP --
Trobu-Amasaman): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement on the floor, which is of very great interest to me.
As far as the floods which just passed are concerned, my constituency suffered very much both in human and material terms. And principally, as has already been said, as a result of poor land use planning or the total absence of land use planning
in this country, this state of affairs has been occurring and reoccurring in all the years past. So it is about time that we took the bull by the horns to actually address the issues and not to revisit the issues by words year after year.
When the colonial masters came to
Africa, they did planning according to where they came from. That is the temperate region where natural precipitation was not comparable to Africa. And so if we take Accra, for example, the drainage system, that is the gutters were about two feet in width and maybe two and half feet deep.
But where they developed, they forgot that as population increased, the population pressure had effect on the urban areas; the more constructions that were done with respect to housing, concrete floor roads, when it rains percolation of the water could not take place. The result is that there was runoff of the water and as waster accumulated, it filled the gutters and it caused some floods. So when we took over, one would have thought that we would change our system of development, but almost fifty years now, we are still following what the White man came to do in Ghana. And this has not helped the environment in any way.
Our planning authorities have also
not helped the system. We have layouts but the layouts are never adhered to or enforced. The result has been that kiosks, containers and even residential areas have had to be built in waterways with the active supervision or whatever on the part of planners.
We have also had the occasion of seeing horizontal development. This has resulted in the cover-up of land at a faster rate than if we had concentrated on vertical development. And we have not had the occasion to provide the relative drainage
systems to support these developments.

We have also not adhered to the fact that if we are planning, we should restrict ourselves to delineate residential areas from mixed use, mixed use from commercial areas, commercial areas from social use such as parks and then all others apart from industrial use, green belts amongst others.

Our situation today is that we have a mix-up of all these systems in the same place. So what do we expect? Apart from the estate developers who have simple and equal designs as in Europe, if you take an area and you have a two-storeyed building -- every building is two-storey. This can offset wind-flow and therefore wind erosion. Here in Ghana, apart from the residential estates, you have five-storey, you have one-storey, you have two-storey and a mix-up. All these do not help the system.

Mr. Speaker, the result of floods and the destruction that comes with it year after year has had serious economic and harmful effect on our population and they have been calling on Members of Parliament whose responsibility it is, but who have not done all these primary things, to come to their aid.

The country can also not afford to use the scarce foreign exchange at our disposal to annually address the issue of providing blankets and other materials to support people with these problems, which could have been avoided by efficient planning and enforcement.

I therefore support the Statement without hesitation. We should take a cue from this year 2007. If God permits and I am here in 2008, I would ask what we have done about it. We should address our

urban planning problems and stop talking. There must be action now.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC -- Wa Central) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is another Statement pointing to the environment and as usual, the hon. Minister responsible for the environment is absent. I do not know whom we are talking to and what is going to take place right after here.
Mr. Speaker, the major problem we have here about Statement making is that we speak to the air, we speak and nothing happens. It does not feed into policy, and we do not hear a follow-up. The environment is an important aspect of our lives and we cannot avoid doing nothing about it. The maker of the Statement has been forthright suggesting a policy direction in which we would renew our institutions and ensure that --
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Adenta, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Opare-Hammond 11 a.m.
Rightly so, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. Friend saying something like, we speak in this House and we speak to the air. Mr. Speaker, this is an honourable and an august House called the Parliament of Ghana and when we make Statements here we address them to the people of Ghana. So Mr. Speaker, I want to ask that he should, with respect, correct that notion.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Wa Central, please take it on board.
Mr. Pelpuo 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is an undisputed fact that we make Statements here about the environment over and over. We keep making the same Statements about floods occurring in Accra and about buildings built in places where they should not be yet we are not seeing concrete action being taken about it.
Mr. Pelpuo 11:10 a.m.
I am saying the last time we made a Statement about the environment, I followed it and I realized that for this year alone, it was about the fourth time we were making a Statement about the environment. We are making another Statement about the environment and it is the fifth time.
No concrete action has been taken about the environment as far as we are aware. No policy Statement has been issue to respond to the cry of Parliament as a result of the many flood situations occurring in Accra. No concrete policy Statement has been made as a result of people siting buildings at places that they should not be sited.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying this from experience. I made a request to the Land Planning Division, asking that I wanted to put up a structure at a particular location. It would interest you to note that I was advised to go and tip somebody so that he could call a board meeting. Perhaps, I would have to finance people who would have to travel to meet and approve a request for you to put up a structure. Yet not many people have the energy to do this. I am saying that this Statement must be a Statement that could wake up the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment to an action that would have to respond to the needs of Ghanaians in this direction.
Over and over, it is very painful that we make Statements in Parliament, like my hon. Friend, the Member for Adenta seeks to bring up, which are supposed to be taken seriously. Statements that can feed into the overall policy direction of Government, but they remain in the air and nobody take them up.
Mr. Speaker, I am just saying that it would not be worthwhile making suggestions without the suggestions being
taken seriously. In this particular instance of the environment, it is a shame. It is so embarrassing that Ghana is so respected in Africa and that we are going to host the African Union (AU) Summit in Ghana yet we still have these teething problems with our visitors coming in to see what is happening.
Supposing on the day or the two days following, there is a 24-hour rain in Accra prior to the conference. Mr. Speaker, it is going to be an eyesore; it is not going to send any good signals to the rest of the world, that fifty years after Ghana gained independence, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, we are still grappling with this problem of unavoidable floods.
There are things that we would
definitely need money to do, but issues like ensuring that you approve a project to be sited at a particular point, issues like people disciplining themselves and ensuring that they do the right thing, you do not need money to do them. Rather, you need a changed attitude, you need an orientation of our thought process to ensure that we do the right thing.
Mr. Speaker, I would say that we would have to wait and expect that the hon. Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, having regard to the fact that this is the fifth Statement alone comes to this floor and makes a Statement about how he is going to tackle the situation in Accra and elsewhere.
Otherwise, Mr. Speaker, we just speak and speak to the air; we speak and we speak without effect; we speak and we are not going to have any concrete results. That is not good about the Parliament of Ghana which is supposed to have teeth to bite and ensure that what we do has effect.

Mr. B. D. K. Adu (NPP -- Okere) Mr. Speaker, thank you so much for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. Mr. Speaker, twenty years after independence, this country did so well on urban renewal. Look at the Airport residential area, look at Labone, look at the other places, even Dansoman. When you go there, you will see the street well laid but what happened?

After twenty years, things fell apart as in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart. Things fell apart in the country. Those who are supposed to watch over urban renewal or making things happen lapsed, they went to sleep. Town planners did not do their work; they would sit at their tables in the offices the approve plans; they would not go for inspections to know or to see where houses are being built.

Mr. Speaker, urban renewal is so expensive. When we talk of urban renewal we are not talking of individuals getting involved; we are talking of governments, banks and estate developers getting involved. An hon. Member who spoke earlier mentioned the fact that there are houses like Bukom and others where people would not like to move.

It is true that they would not like to move because they would not give them what would satisfy them to move, if the money is good and if good arrangement is made, they would move and the place would be built beautifully. So it should be a concerted effort of Government -- Government should sit down to organise and get the banks involved, get estate developers involved and we would see changes.

Mr. Speaker, we talk of la Cote d'Ivoire and other places, like Britain. When you go to Britain and visit a community or street, in five years' time, when you visit
Mr. Kojo Armah 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend made a statement that Prof. Busia had in mind a plan to control floods in Accra. I would want him to situate it properly; was it in his mind or he started and he did not finish or something of that sort so that we can do proper evaluation of what he is talking about.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
You have no point of order.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank him very much for his point of information. He started it -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, comment on the Statement.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, all subsequent governments tried very hard but their efforts came to nothing -- [Inter-ruptions] -- because the town planners, the people who were supposed to make things happen -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
It is no point of order at all. Let him continue. [Laughter.]
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have an answer for him bie efite no he wo efee, etsu henii. [Laughter.] This place is flooded and Professor Busia did something about it. At Kaneshie Market the whole place was in a mess and one could not pass there but he worked on it. But I would make progress. Mr. Speaker, I have said that subsequent governments tried, -- [Interruption.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member on the floor is misleading the House. The walatu walasa that he talked about was a sewerage system which covered only forty per cent of Accra.
Concerning drainage, the masterplan for drainage which was put in place by Dr. Nkrumah in 1958 Structural Plan was called Nadeco Plan. It was from that that in 1983, we sought some assistance from the World Bank and developed all the drains that we have today, the flood water channels, what have you.
So it is not true that Prof. Busia had in mind or even put anything in place as far as that was concerned. [Inter-ruptions.] I had the privilege of being in charge so I know what I am talking about. The hon. Member is just misleading the House.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
conclusion, I said that urban renewal needs a concerted effort from the Government, the banks and estate developers. So I pray and look forward to the time that the Government would take this situation seriously by getting the banks and the estate developers involved so that we can see well-planned cities in Ghana.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Item 5 (ii) -- Chairman
of the Finance Committee?
PAPERS 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Members, we would now move on to item 7 -- on the Order Paper -- Bui Power Authority Bill, 2007 at the Consideration Stage.

STAGE 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Mahama Ayariga 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
at the last adjourned date when we discussed this Bill, we had issues with the structure of the Bill, for which reason we requested -- and with your permission, it
was withdrawn and redone and brought back to the House. Mr. Speaker, let me indicate that since this was considered, we have not received the report of the Committee based on this particular new Bill.
Unfortunately, I have my doubts whether there has been the opportunity to really consider this Bill before taking it through the Consideration Stage. Mr. Speaker, I want your directions on this matter.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Majority Leader, you
may wish to comment on this.
Mr. Fe l ix Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the problem we have is procedural. Mr. Speaker, this Bill came to the floor and it was laid. The Committee brought its report and it was found that there were more than necessary amendments to the Bill. The Leadership therefore took the matter up with the Minister and the Committee and the Leadership agreed that we were going to substitute our amendments as the ones to be considered on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, this is a procedural matter. We had the option of saying that, the Minister should withdraw it and bring a new Bill. Then we had the option of, as a Parliament, saying that, look, we think that we have answers to it and we must take credit for it and therefore we are bringing our amendments as the ones that we are going to take at the Consideration Stage.
Mr. Speaker, the Minority Leader and the Majority Chief Whip met on the matter and adopted the second procedure. So that was why an announcement was made that anybody with an amendment to be considered should bring it so that we could incorporate it. So what we now have is not the original Bill as submitted by the Minister but the Bill that has now been

brought up by ourselves as Parliament that Members have.

It is a procedural matter and therefore there is nothing unconstitutional as is being preached in some quarters. We are the makers of our own rules and we think that this is the type of Bill we want to discuss in Parliament and we are going ahead with it.

I therefore urge any hon. Member who has any amendment to bring it up and I assure him or her that it will be considered appropriately. Technicalities should never be used to bog down the progress of work in this House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
I remember the Deputy
Leader raised this matter last week, I think in your absence. Was it?
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
when you saw us calling the hon. Majority Leader and his Deputy, we were discussing this matter and I was trying to draw their attention to it. If you look at article 106 (4), you remember what happened last Friday was the laying of a new Bill. The processes must be shorter but it was a new Bill that was laid last Friday because the other one was withdrawn.
I remember you asked the hon. Deputy Majority Leader whether the previous one had been withdrawn and the response he gave to Mr. Speaker was, “yes”. Now, article 106 (4) says that any Bill that is laid must be referred to the appropriate committee of the House. Mr. Speaker, I am a member of the Energy Committee. After this Bill was laid on Friday, the Committee never met to deliberate on this matter.
We can go back and introduce our previous report. But there is the need for
the Committee to meet to bring a report and let the processes start. Otherwise, we will be creating a very dangerous precedent on the floor of this House, where at any stage any Bill can be withdrawn and another Bill brought and laid and the whole process truncated. And we are saying that it is a technical point and all that.
Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I know that because there was a problem with the Bill at the committee level, most of the amendments that we find in the new Bill are basically the Committee's own proposals. The Committee might go back and endorse it and bring a one-page report and then the processes will take place.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Deputy Leader, can the Committee meet today so that we take this matter tomorrow?
Mr. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, absolutely, I have no objection.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I abide by your ruling but just for the records. Mr. Speaker, what my hon. Colleague is saying is right, that if a Bill is read the First time, it must go through certain procedures. But Mr. Speaker, on Friday, we made a correction to the effect that that Bill was technically not read the First time. The Bill was substituted for an old Bill which was read the First time.
So Mr. Speaker, as per article 106(4), this Bill has complied with that requirement. The fact that the old one was withdrawn and a new one substituted, it is my understanding that all other acts taken remain valid. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is erroneous for anybody to say that this Bill has not complied with article 106(4). It is completely wrong.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Members, I
have directed that this matter be taken tomorrow. The Committee should meet,
please, today so that we take this matter tomorrow. I do not think there is much problem about that.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
we then need further guidance. If we are going by this process, are we then going to say that we are going to wait for forty-eight hours before we take the Consideration Stage or we are going -- [Interruption] -- These are procedural matters -- [Interruption] -- No, we have to get it clear so that tomorrow we do not come up with people bringing some other interpretations by quoting constitutional articles that are not relevant in the matter. That is why we need your guidance on the matter.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Majority Leader, you have no problem. The Speaker has already given an indication that this matter should be taken tomorrow. That is all.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Lawra-Nandom, do you intend to object to my ruling?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
No. Mr. Speaker, you
have taken the wind out of my sail because I wanted to raise a point of order against the former hon. Majority Leader.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
You may then resume
your seat.
Mr. Ayariga 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon.
Member for Lawra-Nandom addressed hon. Felix Owusu-Adjapong as the former Majority Leader. Mr. Speaker, I want your direction: is he a former Majority Leader or a former Minister for Parliamentary Affairs or he is none of them?
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Bawku Central, which item are you dealing with?
Leadership of the House, any indication at this stage?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, you will notice that we have suspended the debate on this Private Member's Motion because the Leadership is trying to get a consensus motion. Therefore, the Majority side will be having a caucus meeting immediately after adjournment. I am told the Minority have had theirs already. So there is the need for us to adjourn so that we can make progress.
After that too, the Energy Committee, as you directed, will be meeting. Therefore, I urge all Members of the Committee and friends of that Committee to be around so that we follow your instructions and directives accordingly.
In the light of that, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at ten o'clock in the morning.
Mr. Adjaho 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, at times
when you see former Majority Leaders moving motions, you can recognize it. Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:20 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.28 a.m. till 27thJune, 2007 at 10.00 a.m.