Debates of 24 Oct 2007

PRAYERS 10:15 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings, Tuesday, 23rd October 2007. Page 1 …8. [No correction to Votes and Proceedings.] Hon. Members, we do not have the Official Report for today.
Item -- 3 Questions, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Majority Leader (Mr. A.O. Aidooh) 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may we have the hon. Deputy Minister acting for the Minister?
Mr. Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Question number 944 - Hon. Edward M. Ennin, Member of Parliament for Obuasi.



Minister on behalf of the Minister) 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the previous government sold government's shares in the then “AGC” to the public in 1994 in three batches as follows:
The International Offer, which was made on 14th March 1994 to institutional and other investors in the world's major investment markets;
The Ghanaian Offer, which was also made on the same day to institutions and individuals resident in Ghana and in other ECOWAS countries and to Ghanaian citizens resident in a limited number of other countries; and lastly
The Ghanaian Fixed Price Offer. This was made on the 17th May 1994 to individuals resident in Ghana and to Ghanaian citizens resident in a limited number of other countries.
Mr. Speaker, under the International Offer, the Government sold 15.6 million shares and the Company also sold 3.9 million shares. In total, Mr. Speaker, 19.5 million shares were sold internationally at an offer price of US$20 per share. These were sold in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and other countries.
Mr. Speaker, the total proceeds from the International offer amounted to
The Ghanaian Offer, which was the second offer, involved the sale of 3.2 million shares by the Government to institutions and individuals resident in Ghana and in other ECOWAS countries and to Ghanaian citizens resident in a limited number of other countries. The price per share was also US$20.
The total sales from the Ghanaian offer amounted to US$64,000,000.00.
Mr. Speaker, the third in the series was the Ghanaian Fixed Price Offer, where government offered for sale additional 1.2 million shares at ¢18,700.00 per share (an equivalent of US$20) to individuals resident in Ghana and at US$20 per share to Ghanaians resident in a limited number of other countries. This, Mr. Speaker, also yielded US$24,000,000.00. In total, Mr. Speaker, the overall sales amounted to
Mr. Speaker, this amount was paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Ennin 10:15 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Deputy Minister whether a certain percentage of the said amount was earmarked for development in Obuasi in particular and Adansi in general.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is no record showing that part of the total amount was used for the development of the Obuasi area. But Mr. Speaker, as I said, it was paid into the Consolidated Fund and when it gets in there, it becomes fungible and therefore development that may have taken place in that locality could have been paid for from that money that was paid into the Consolidated Fund. But there was no specific or direct link between what was sold and the development efforts in that area.
Mr. Ennin 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, again, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether they have the list of Ghanaians who bought the shares.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not have the list, but I know very well that if we get the transaction company, maybe, we can get the list. But I do not have it with me.
Mr. Ennin 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from him whether it is possible
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, to the extent that the list is available, yes, I think we can furnish the House with that list.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I find the hon. Minister 's Answer incongruous. The question is specific: what did Government receive from the sale of AngloGold Ashanti? His Answer made reference to 1994; there was no AngloGold Ashanti in 1994. So he should deal with the specific issue of the sale of AngloGold Ashanti shares between the period of 2001 and 2002. Is he confirming to this honourable House that nothing untoward happened in respect of the proceeds of the sale as was indicated earlier, that nobody had indication as to where the money was?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member, maybe, did not listen. What I said was that the then Ashanti Goldfields Corporation (AGC) - I did not say Anglo-Gold - I said the then AGC. That is what I am referring. But the AGC converted into Anglo-Gold and that is where the question is coming from.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with your permission, may I read the Question for the hon. Minister? It reads: “To ask the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning how much did the Government receive from the sale of AngloGold Ashanti …” [Interruptions.] May I refer the hon. Minister to page 16 of his Answer. It begins with - and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“… the previous government sold government's shares in the then AGC to the public in 1994 . . .”
He is not answering the Question. The Question is on the sale of AngloGold Ashanti shares which happened in 2002.
How much was it sold for? That is the simple Answer we need from the hon. Minister.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, may I have your supplementary question, please?
Mr. H. Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
My supplementary questioin is, how much accrued to the sale of AGC to AngloGold Ashanti in the year 2002?
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale South, did you mention 2002?
Mr. H. Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
I am guiding him because that was when AngloGold Ashanti came to Ghana and not 1994. So in 2002, how much did they sell AngloGold Ashanti?
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Would you want to come back properly.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is the proper opportunity. [Laughter.]
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister is telling us how much the Government realized from the sale of AGC - Ashanti Goldfields Company - the total amount of US$478 million. May I know from the hon. Minister when he did realize that this amount has been paid into the Consolidated Fund since there has been so many issues. The President himself has on many occasions stated that they do not know where the money is.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have not heard the President say that. But if he said it at all, the thing was sold in 1994. The President was not then in office so he would not have known, anyway. I would rather ask him if he know where it was put. But the records indicate that the proceeds went into the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister how
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 10:25 a.m.

the money was used when it was paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, when monies are paid into the Consolidated Fund, they are not used for specific projects; they are not one-on-one. Once it gets into the Fund, as I have stated, money becomes fungible and therefore it was used to actually run the budget at that time. So I would not be able to tell specifically that this money from AGC sale went into this operation or that operation. But what I know is that it went into the Consolidated Fund and it was used for the national budget.
Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Minister failed to tell the House when the total money of US$478 million was paid into the Consolidated Fund. Since the international offer is the greatest amount - the shares - was this US$390 directly transferred into the Consolidated Fund or it sat in a bank somewhere before the transfer? [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Your question again, hon. Member for North Tongu.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:25 a.m.
[Pause.] I believe even though the - I would like to know what decision determine the offering of the majority shares to the international group.
Mr. Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon. Member, this is not a supplementary question.
Alhaji Muntaka M. Mubarak 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to find out from the hon. Minister whether there was any sale of AngloGold Ashanti and in which year this was. The question asked was, how much was received from the sales. So I want to know whether there was actually any sale of AngloGold Ashanti.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me give the history behind the Ashanti Gioldfields Company and AngloGold and then maybe that question would be answered.

Mr. Speaker, before 1972 it was 100 per cent owned by a foreign company. After 1972 when the then administration decided that we should hold the commanding heights of this economy, 55 per cent was taken over by Ghana Government.

There were such sales in 1994 and then in 1996 and it came down to about 17 per cent. But then, there is this free carriage interest in all mining companies that requires the Government to hold 10 per cent shares. As a result of that transaction, the Government now holds 10 per cent in Ashanti, the Ghanaian portion of it. If you look at the worldwide operation, we now hold about 21/2 per cent. So in that transaction, the company paid $5 million to Ghana Government at that point; that was in 2002.

I am not too sure about the date, let me try and get you the date. But then that also was paid into the Consolidated Fund and the amount was $5 million.
Mr. M. K. Jumah 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance stated that monies accrued as a result of the sale of the then AGC, and now AngloGold Ashanti was paid into the Consolidated Fund and the money was used. I want to know from the hon. Deputy Minister whether the money used was approved by Parliament.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon. Deputy Minister, this is not a supplementary question.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Question talks about shares of AngloGold Ashanti. I want to find out whether any shares of AngloGold Ashanti have been sold.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Your question again, please.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I said was that during the transformation from AGC to AngloGold and during that transaction, $5 million dollars accrued to government chest but after that, we did not sell any part of it. We still have the 10 per cent share in AngloGold Ashanti, that is, the AngloGold Ashanti section in Ghana. But then in the global one, we have two and a half per cent interest.
Affordable Houses for Cocoa Farmers in Sefwi-Wiawso District
1043. Mr. Evans Paul Aidoo asked the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning when cocoa farmers in the Sefwi-Wiawso District will be provided with affordable houses under the special housing scheme for cocoa farmers.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Government through Ghana Cocoa Board voted an initial amount of five billion cedis (GH¢500,000) as seed money for the Cocoa Housing Scheme. In addition to this seed money, Government also voted ten billion cedis (GH¢1,000,000), bringing the overall total to fifteen billion cedis (GH¢1,500,000).
To date, an amount of one billion, six hundred and ninety-six million cedis (GH¢169,600) has been released for the construction of ten (10) houses of the pilot phase in the Western Region.
The ten (10) houses are being built in three townships in three districts of the Western Region as follows:
Enchi in Aowin-Suaman District - 3 houses;
Afranse in Wassa Akropong District - 4 houses; and
Yawmatwa in Bia District - 3
Mr. Speaker, the sod-cutting ceremony for the start of the first phase was performed by the Chief Executive of the COCOBOD on the 8th of November 2006.
The Department of Rural Housing (DRH) of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing was contracted to construct the ten (10) housing units.
The house type is a Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) three-bedroom unit with a hall and the following facilities:
W/C toilet
Multi-purpose veranda, and
Rain water harvesting system.
Progress of Work
Mr. Speaker, two of the housing units has been fully completed; four others are at roofing level, and the rest are at various stages of completion.
Mr. Speaker, the house type is roofed with Micro Concrete Roof Tiles (MCRT) which is produced from local river sand. Aluminium roofing is provided as an alternative.
There is a general acceptance for the MCRT which is environmentally more appropriate and convenient. The youth in the respective areas have been trained by the DRH to produce the CEB and the MCRT. The youth are also used for the construction of the housing units under the supervision of DRH.
The project therefore has the potential of providing skills and employment to the
youth in the rural areas.
Mr. Speaker, it is expected that, all the ten (10) housing units under the pilot phase will be completed by the middle of December this year. Thereafter, the remaining balance out of the initial seed money will be used for the second phase of twenty housing units, ten each in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions early next year.
Mr. Speaker, lessons learnt from the pilot phase will enable DRH extend the project at a faster pace to other cocoa growing areas including Sefwi-Wiawso.
Mr. Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Would you be kind enough to repeat your question?
Mr. E. P. Aidoo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister whether cocoa farmers in Ghana do not deserve a better structure than the one being constructed.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we had 10 houses as a pilot project. The reason we went for these pilots is that we wanted to find out from the cocoa farmers whether they were satisfied with this structure; and what we have heard from them so far is that it is a good structure for them. So I do not know whether the hon. Member would want us to build any different structure. If he has seen any architectural problem with what we have, maybe he can point it out to us. But as far as we know, the farmers are happy with those structures.
Mr. E. P. Aidoo 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
hon. Minister mentioned various stages of construction of the houses for cocoa farmers. May I know from him the specific phase under which Sefwi-Wiawso has been captured?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I never mentioned where each of them in any of these districts have reached. What I was referring to were the 10 that we were doing now, the various stages at which they are. I did not mentioned districts or maybe communities. I was only referring to the levels at which we have reached in terms of the 10 that we are building now. Some of them have been completed, some of them are at roofing stage and some of them are at various other stages. That was what I meant by various stages, not in terms of space.
Mr. Sampson Ahi 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister the sort of criterion used in selecting the district for the first programme.
Prof. Gyan- Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for all cocoa projects that we have in this country, we use the level of production per cocoa district as the basis for our analysis. So it was based on that analysis that these were selected.
Mr. B.D.K. Adu 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Deputy Minister why good ¢15 billion is earmarked for such a project yet within a year, only 10 houses have been built and even not to completion. What is the problem?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is no problem. The main reason why we are doing that actually borders on the question as to whether the farmers liked it and that was why we wanted to have a pilot. Therefore, we used the first 10 to actually test the market. Now that we have realized tha the farmers are interested in
it, we will speed up in producing and in building the rest.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 10:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the hon. Minister's presentation, a total of ¢15 billion has been earmarked for this project and from this Answer, this is going to be used for 30 housing units. The question is, for affordable rural housing project for rural farmers, does he think that the unit cost of these houses makes sense in terms of getting housing for rural cocoa farmers?
Prof. Gyan-Baffuor 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I never gave the unit cost of a house, so if he knows it he should tell me. But maybe he is using the mathematics of it and estimating that on the ten houses, we are spending about ¢1.5 billion. So it is about ¢150 million per house. In fact, as you know ¢150 million per house is not too much for a cocoa farmer to pay over a period of ten years.
Mr. Sampson Ahi 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Minister's response to my question, he said that the three districts were selected based on their level of production. Is he confirming that Wassa Akropong which is the district of the former Western Regional Minister produces more cocoa than Juabeso and Wiawso?
Prof. Gyan-Baffuor 10:45 a.m.
No, Mr. Speaker, I am not presuming that.
Mr. S. M. E. K. Ackah 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister has indicated that to date, they have released ¢1.69 billion for the project. Some of the ten projects are still under construction. May I know whether this amount is covering the total estimated cost of all the projects or there is still something to be added.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the ¢1.6 billion that I quoted here will be for all the ten units.
Mr. C. S. Hodogbey 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question is, how much is the cost of one housing unit? The reason I am asking the question is, he has not answered the actual Question posed by the questioner. The Question was relating to Sefwi Wiawso and you only listed pilot projects in other areas. So when will Sefwi Wiawso actually benefit from the housing project and how much is the cost of one unit?
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Member for North Tongu, please, ask one supplementary question.
Mr. Hodogbey 10:45 a.m.
How much is the cost of one unit of housing in this particular pilot project?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:45 a.m.
Hon. Speaker, the cost of one unit is approximately ¢138 million.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister has indicated that ¢15 billion is earmarked for the project. He also indicated that ¢1.5 billion has been released. And his Answer also indicates that the ¢1.5 billion is for the ten houses. He says that that means a unit costs ¢138 million.
Mr. Speaker, he then indicates in a paragraph of his Answer that it is expected that all the ten housing units under the pilot phase will be completed by the middle of December this year. Thereafter, the remaining balance of the initial seed money will be used for the second phase of 20 housing units.
Mr. Speaker, is he saying that out of that ¢150 million which is the initial seed money there will be an amount reserved for 20 unit houses or that the 20 unit houses are going to come from the balance of the ¢13.5 billion? If that is the case, then how can the unit cost be ¢158 million or ¢138 million as he wants this
House to believe?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, the unit cost is ¢138 million. What I am saying here is that the balance between ¢15 billion and the ¢1.6 billion that have been released now, part of that balance will be used to pay for the 10 subsequent ones. Then the remaining amount will be used to answer his Question about Sefwi Wiawso, to roll the project out to all the other areas.
Mr. Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Question number 1084 -- Hon. Alfred Kwame Agbesi, Member of Parliament for Ashaiman.
Number of Foreigners Registered with the GIPC
Q. 1084. Mr. Alfred Kwame Agbesi asked the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning how many foreigners have registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to carry out local commercial distr ibution business throughout Ghana.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:45 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as at end of June 2007, the GIPC had registered 286 foreign-owned companies in the trading sector under the GIPC Act (Act 478) of 1994.
Mr. Speaker, as Ghana seeks to grow its economy, it will mean that we have to review our policies targeted towards an accelerated growth.
In reviewing these policies, we must ensure that any amendment instituted bearing in mind various agreements, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the fact that we live in a global village -- A policy initiative we undertake here could have an impact on activities elsewhere.
Mr. Speaker, under the current Regulations on Foreign Investment in trading activities, the GIPC Act (Act 478), the minimum equity capital required is US$300,000.00. The GIPC Board
currently endorsed views and concerns that the current levels on foreign equity capital are too small.
T h e B o a r d h a s a c c o r d i n g l y recommended an amendment to the GIPC Act 478 that would increase the minimum foreign equity capital from the present US$300,000.00 to US$1,000,000.00. This minimum equity capital has to be satisfied either by cash transfer or relevant capital goods only.
Goods for resell or stock-in-trade will not be accepted as part of the minimum foreign equity capital.
The Board has made a recommen- dation to amend section 39 of the GIPC Act to allow for this and other pertinent changes to be made.
Mr. Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Deputy Minister when the idea to amend section 39 of the Act was conceived and what is delaying the process towards the amendment.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
wish I could read the letter from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). That letter came out on the 30th of May 2007 and that was when the idea was hatched. In fact, it is going to be sent to Cabinet in the middle of November and then it would be sent to Parliament for parliamentary approval.
Mr. Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister whether he is aware that foreigners have virtually taken over the retail trade in Ghana and what steps the Ministry is taking to, at least, protect some of the young Ghanaian
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also share the concern of the hon. Member. First of all, foreigners are not allowed to be in our market-places and they are not allowed to keep kiosks. But then over the years this thing has been evolving. So the GIPC is going to make sure that those laws are enforced.
In addition to that, we are going to increase the capital requirement from $300,000.00 to $1 million so that it can actually be a gap that would prevent the influx to the trade. But at the same time, we would also make sure that this time around, it is not about bringing goods and telling us that these goods are about one million dollars and so allow me to do it. We want to have cash and very specific capital rather than goods in containers that would be used to do those assessment. And that means by so doing, we would be able to eliminate or reduce the influx.
Mr. Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Act,
it is provided that the Board is to see to provide and disseminate up-to-date information on incentives available to investors. I want to know from the hon. Minister whether any step have been taken to make available that information to Ghanaian investors in that field.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, every law that is passed in this House is available to everybody in this country. So I do not see why this Question -- But yes, it is available to them and whenever they go to GIPC they can be informed about the laws relating to investments.
Mr. Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not
asking whether the law is available. The law says that you must provide up-to- date information to enable investors to know -- Supposing I am a small investor
from the Volta Region or for that matter Ashaiman, the law is there, but what I am asking is that you must provide up-to-date information to enable me to know what is available -- where I should go to and what I should not do.
I ask this because the foreigners come with big big monies - dollars -- and so they are able to push me out. What incentives and up-to-date information has the Ministry provided to enable me move to the place to seek such information? This is the question I am asking, Mr. Speaker.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I still do not get it but if it is about what advertisement and what statements are being made not being enough, then we would take the advice and inform GIPC to make the information more available to the public.
Mr. Moses Dani Baah 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to find out whether this new minimum equity capital of $1 million would apply to both existing registered companies or only new and upcoming companies. I am asking this because there are already a large number of Chinese registered companies and there is the likelihood of more of them registering even before the law comes into force.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think this question requires Parliament itself to make their decision in terms of the retroactivity of the law. I am not so sure whether they can do that here. So let us wait until the law comes to the floor and then we can decide what to do about it.
Mr. H. F. Kamel 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, apart
from the minimum equity capital of three hundred thousand dollars, the Act also enjoins foreigners in the retail sector to employ, at least, ten Ghanaians. How far has the Ministry applied this demand and
Mr. Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Member, this does not appear to be a supplementary question. You may wish to come back properly.
Mr. Ayariga 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Deputy Minister's response, he admitted that there are many foreigners in direct retail in our various markets. In respect of that category, is it the view of the hon. Minister that this amendment is what is needed to deal with that category? Those trading in Makola, for instance, clearly, would not meet the three hundred thousand-dollar requirement. We do not need any legislative amendment to deal with a problem like that.
What is the Ministry doing to address the problem of visible foreign traders in our Makola, Ashaiman, et cetera, markets taking away jobs that are meant for Ghanaians by our various legislations?
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns of the hon. Member, but he also heard me say that in reviewing these policies, we must ensure that any amendment instituted address various agreements such as the World Trade Organisation and the fact that we live in a global village. Going into the market- place to make such operations should be done with caution.
Yes, we know that the law says that foreigners cannot be in markets. We can enforce that law, that they should not have kiosks. So the GIPC would try to enforce that law from now on. But as I said earlier on, this is a very dicey issue that we have to handle with caution.
STATEMENTS 11:05 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, the theme for this year is “The Right to Food 11:05 a.m.
Rural Women Produce and Provide”. There is no denying the fact that the right to food is a universal right and rural women are aware that there is the need to produce healthy and quality food in an amount sufficient to feed more than six billion people.
According to FAO, women produce -
More than 50 per cent of the food cultivated on the planet, with the ratio going up to 80 per cent in Africa;
60 per cent in Asia;
Between 30 and 40 per cent in Latin America and Western countries, and
In Africa, more than 80 per cent of food is produced by women.
Mr. Speaker, ironically, it also reported that -
Women own only two per cent of the land;
Receive only one per cent of all agricultural credit; while
Only five per cent of all agricultural extension resources are directed to women, who represent two-thirds of the world's unlettered population.
Also, the majority of the poor of our planet live in rural areas. 70 per cent of the poor in rural areas are women and their principal resource is agriculture.
In Ghana, of the female food crop
farmers, 82 per cent of women produced for the market, and not simply for home consumption. Women are also involved in cocoa farming, usually in an invisible fashion as their husbands' helpers. Rural women in Ghana constitute the majority of small and micro enterprise owners. This group of businesses is very large in Ghana, probably employing 25-33 per cent of the working population.
Out of these, about 60-80 per cent are located in rural areas. It is estimated that three-quarters of Ghanaian households depend on these small and micro enterprises for at least half of the household's income.
It is therefore important for all and sundry to acknowledge the fundamental contributions of women to household and national food security and the multiple roles rural women play throughout the entire food chain. From agricultural production to post-harvest processing and marketing as well as in nutrition and food safety, rural women around the world play a crucial role in fighting hunger and feeding the world.
Mr. Speaker, the battle for food security can be won only if the invaluable contribution made by women is recognized and, if the social, political and economic context empowers them to develop their potential, as farmers, equal actors of development and human beings. I call upon Government and other non-governmental organisations to come up with appropriate programmes and activities in recognition of the extra-ordinary contributions rural women make to the quality of lives, both in Ghana and around the world.
As a result of the important contri- butions by rural women farmers, I strongly recommend that practical actions be taken to promote their lot so that:
Rural women would have control
and financial independence over the fruit of their labour to guarantee continuous supply of high-quality products that will provide a steady income for them and their families.
A woman farmer must be able to own and run a farm with complete financial independence if she wishes to do so.
There will be improved marketing of their agricultural products, thanks to appropriate transport and sales infrastructure to provide outlets for their produce at good prices.
There will be fair rural development so that farmers can continue to live and support their families in rural areas (roads, schools, rural services, small businesses, and public services).
There will be sufficient earnings for agricultural products so that women farmers can remain in business year to year and make the investments necessary to increase production.
Mr. Speaker, it is a joy to note that while other countries have neither ratified the CEDAW, nor passed the Domestic Violence and Anti-Human Trafficking Acts, Ghana, our dear country with an able Parliament has taken the bull by the horns to ratify and pass these two important Acts after much scrutiny to enrich Bills that came from the Ministry. I say kudos to Parliament.
At this juncture, I want to urge the implementers to speed up the various institutions needed to make those Acts and others that enhance the dignity of women in this country.
I also want to encourage the Attorney- General and Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to speed up with the Property Rights of Spouse Bill currently being discussed to be brought
for passage as soon as practicable. All other organizations working to liberate rural women in Ghana also need to be commended.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that it is in the nation's interest that rural women farmers be supported and recognised so that their production capacity is improved and in turn this will contribute to the fight to eradicate poverty.
All measures must thus be taken to give women farmers and farmers the opportunity to produce enough food for all. Furthermore, it is necessary to support women farmers in their work by giving them the means to produce our food.
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC - Ho East) 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the Statement made my hon. Colleague, Member of Parliament for Tarkwa- Nsuaem (Mrs. Eugenia Kusi) on the World Rural Women's Day.
Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely important to recognise the work and the role the rural woman plays in our society and in our local community in particular. The rural woman is that woman who is voiceless, always in the background, yet goes quietly about her business and does her business to keep the family going.
As my hon. Colleague said, it is high time we commended our rural women on what they are doing in support of the country. We all know that it is the rural women who are the producers of majority of our foodstuff all over the world, as my hon. Colleague said, but yet remains the poorest.
Mr. Speaker, as a nation, we must commend our rural women for producing the bulk of our foodstuff and marketing it to support our country. It is therefore in place when a rural woman was recognised and adjudged the National Best Farmer of Ghana a couple of years ago.
Mr. Speaker, this country must also consider the setting up of cottage industries. I am saying this because some years back and in this particular year, women in my constituency suffered many post-harvest losses mainly in the production of tomatoes.
As we all know, tomato is a perishable stuff and when they overproduce, there would be a glut. And when there is a glut, it is the middlemen and women who actually go out with the rural woman and it results in the cheating of the rural woman when she has put a lot into the production of the tomato. It is therefore important that these cottage industries are put in place so that when there is even a glut, the women can go ahead to process the tomato and would not lose much as they have been doing.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot over-emphasise the need for the continuous support of our women to be self-sufficient with credit and loan facility. I know this is being done but I think we should do a lot more, so that the rural woman would become self-sufficient and reap, literally, what she sows. I know my hon. Colleague has said a lot, so I would not like to keep repeating what she has said already. I would like them to be supported and recognised for what they do so that their livelihoods and their lifestyles can also improve.
With these few words, I support the hon. Member who made the Statement and I say kudos to the rural women of Ghana.
Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP - Berekum): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC - Ho East) 11:15 a.m.
this Statement, which I consider to be a landmark Statement.
Mr. Speaker, I think the first point that we should take note of is the decision to declare one day set aside for rural women only. One may wonder why. And the answer is simple. All over the world, and particularly in Ghana, you would realise that it is the woman who lives in the rural area who is most vulnerable to men, to economics, to the society, indeed to practically all the challenges of life.
So it is very crucial that we set aside one day, just to lift the rural woman, put her on the pedestal and just look at her circumstances and see what best can be done to alleviate her suffering, lower her poverty and increase her quality of life.
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate. Of late, I have been criss-crossing the country -- [Hear! Hear!] - and at times, I get to some areas and the scenes that greet me, I feel so touched. I can never forget one scene I saw along the Bole-Bamboi route one evening. I stopped to buy yams and one of the ladies selling the yams -- A young lady of about 22 years, when you just look at her, you cannot just ignore her -- [Hear! Hear!]
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I realised, upon enquiries that she is a single-mother of two children, no husband, and worse of all, she is totally illiterate. So I wondered what she had been doing with all these 22 years of her life.

And Mr. Speaker, this is not an isolated case. When one travels between Hohoe, Nkwanta and Bimbilla, or when one travels between Asankragua and Bia, and when one travels between Tumu and Wa, Mr. Speaker, I feel sad because I see it
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:15 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Presidential Aspirant said that he made some enquiries and I am interested to know the kind of enquiries he made about the ladies he met.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (retd): Mr. Speaker, if he wants to know the nature of the enquiries, he can see me in my chambers. Mr. Speaker, I think that there are some NGOs which try to take advantage of the rural woman. They go to various offices in the name of improving the lot of the rural woman. They get assistance from governmental institutions and then the help does not reach the objective. Mr. Speaker, I think we should highlight this.
Again, Mr. Speaker, I think the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in particular should be tasked to take a special look at the needs and the profiles of the rural woman. If the various District Assemblies can concentrate on the various desks that they have set up for women, especially the rural woman, I think the matter would improve a little. At the same time, too, I think that we should take a second look at educational opportunities for women, especially in the rural area.
Mr. Speaker, one would realize that -- As I speak now, when one goes to Accra, Makola, one would see so many young girls below the age of 20 walking about as kayayee. Majority of them, I would say, over 95 per cent of them, come from the hinterland and even these are just kayayee.
When one goes to various houses, or homes one would see house-helps, young girls drafted from the various villages and the rural communities of our dear nation
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC - Wa Central) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. Member who made the Statement for such an important statement on the occasion of the celebration of Rural Women's Day in Ghana. Let me also take this opportunity to pay tribute to our women.
About 90 per cent of the Members of Parliament here have been children of rural women; they had their mothers put them at their backs and walked through dangerous paths to farms and to collect
firewood or to do some other work that would eventually help them to grow up to become Members of Parliament. It is an opportunity for us to pay this tribute and also begin to think about ways and means of ensuring that we influence policy in the direction that would permanently ensure that the rural woman does not remain the way she is since Adam.
Mr. Speaker, the problem and the painful issue about this is the fact that these women have not changed their circumstances since the time we knew them, since the time we were born. They are still the same people trodding along the streets, who farm and put their products at the road side; we drive by and buy from them. But whether one buys yam, cocoyam or whatever one buys on the street as one drives along, one should just think about the fact that it is a rural woman who had been working in the forest, who had been working on the farm and who has brought that food to our doorsteps.
Mr. Speaker, there is a bigger issue about it. It is an issue about how Ghana as a country is mobilizing our human resource to ensure that we can meet the challenge of the 21st Century. We cannot produce food and go out to buy it, market it in a way that reflects the 21st Century and then still produce it in a way that reflects the 20th Century Ghana; and the problem exists because we do not have a comprehensive approach to how to make use of the human resource base at the rural level.
The rural woman represents the back stalk; she represents the resilience of Ghanaians to fight to ensure that we do not give everything away; that we still are people who can feed ourselves to an extent. Every other thing in the road industry, in the construction industry, in the textile industry, in whatever form they are seen, all these are now in the hands

of foreigners either because we import them or because we bring the contractors here to produce for us. There is only one thing that is left and that thing is the fact that we produce our food from the forest and it is done partly and mostly by the rural woman.

Mr. Speaker, because of this single thing, it is important that we do not just let this Statement pass by as if it is just one of the Statements we make and then that is all. Let us take a deliberate approach in how we are going to tackle this or support the rural woman to get credit, support her to get some bit of education, support her to be able to market effectively the products of her labour. Mr. Speaker, until we can do this, until we can bring all the legislation to support this approach, we just talk and blow hot air and that is going to be more injurious to the rural woman.

Mr. Speaker, the reason is that if the rural woman produces eggs and we understand who she is and we have the opportunity to change her circumstance and we talk about it without taking any action, what it amounts to is making a mockery of her difficulty. There must not be a mooted approach to this problem; there must be a practical approach to it.

The problem is big and the problem is about food security. The problem is about fighting poverty and the person at the forefront of it is the rural woman and it is important that we take the requisite steps to do something about it.

Mr. Speaker, with this very simple contribution, I want to call on the Women Caucus in Parliament to present a paper to Parliament suggesting a policy direction and suggesting ways by which we can approach this problem. And I want to encourage the hon. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development

to come on board as well to present to Parliament how he is going to approach this problem devoid of the existing policy approach that we all know about.

Mrs. Angelina Baiden-Amissah (NPP

-- Shama): Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Statement made by the hon. Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem (Mrs. Gifty Eugenia Kusi) and to thank her for coming out with such a Statement.

Mr. Speaker, you will realize that women are important partners in life and this is the reason why the Almighty God created them to add to the man; and I wonder how the world was going to be without women. I wish to state that without women in homes, most homes are going to run helter-skelter. But the rural woman keeps suffering. The rural woman is always at loggerheads with either a partner or members of the family.

Mr. Speaker, rural women produce a lot of food to feed the whole country. We see a lot of women sitting on articulated trucks through the night enroute to the urban centre to sell. And when the rural woman sells, it is something small she gets as profit while those who work in-between them, whom I may call the middlemen or women especially the market queens, get more profit than they do.

Mr. Speaker, when we visit the rural areas, we see rural women cracking stones to sell to take care of households including their husbands. Mr. Speaker, we see rural women picking wild fruits to sell just to be able to make ends meet. Mr. Speaker, yet the woman suffers a lot of inequalities even in her own home, coming from marriage and sometimes from society.

The Government is doing a lot to help women but we are asking that it does

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Kojo Armah) 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, subclause (1), paragraph (a), delete “converts” and insert “changes or transforms the original identity of the property”.
Mr. Abraham Ossei Aidooh 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have discussed it with some of the Committee members -- but the word “transforms” in the scheme of the Bill, I think, is a misnomer. The general definition of money laundering goes with the word “transfers”. Mr. Speaker, the definition in the Bill, I think it is the better one. The purpose is that one does not convert. There is an offence by conversion where the offender treats the property as his own or transfers it. Mr. Speaker, this is in accordance with the standard practice, the definition in the Anti-Laundering money Laws.
I will therefore urge the Chairman to abandon amendment so that we still have “converts or transfers”. Mr. Speaker, the purpose is to deal with the origin of the property and not its original nature. When you say “transforms”, you are talking about the original nature as opposed to the illegal origins of the property and therefore that is confusing.
You cannot transform the origin. You can transform the nature of the property. But the law is dealing with the illegal origins and therefore when you transfer or you convert, you are hiding the illegal origin. But when you use the word “transforms”, you are talking about the change of the nature of the property which
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11:25 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that I share the position of the Majority Leader and accordingly add my voice in advising the Chairman of the Committee to withdraw these proposed amendments. If you read clause 1, it is defining money laundering and then the emphasis on 1(a) is a person seeking to convert or transfer a property emanating from that illegal activity which is defined. I think that we should maintain it as it is. He should withdraw the amendment so that we can maintain the object of this legislation or we stand to oppose his amendment if he refuses to withdraw it.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that the intention of the Committee is to deal with a number of problems. Whilst my hon. Colleagues who oppose the proposal of the Committee are focusing on the source of money which is usually a critical thing in money laundering issues, I think we should open our minds to the possibility of all forms of manipulation of money and property as a means of hiding money that originally is meant for laundering purposes.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at “converts” which they seek to redefine using the expression “changes or transforms the original identity of the property”, clearly, it will aid the processes of transferring the money if you are able to change the original identity of the money. And so if you focus only on the transfer of the money without looking at conduct that facilitates the process of hiding the money and not letting people know what the money is, you will miss an opportunity to deal with the crime.
Especially these days when there are so many financial instruments, bonds,
whatever, people can use all those instruments; you convert the money into some instruments and then you move that instrument from one location or one jurisdiction to the other and it will be difficult for any attempt at dealing with anti-money laundering to deal with a situation like that. So I admit that the object of anti-money laundering legislation is usually the source of the money and the movement of the money.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the practice of money laundering has become so sophisticated that people often convert it into other instruments for the purposes of moving it, and so a legislation that seeks to deal with the problem must also address this tactic of changing the character of the property in order to be able to facilitate the movement of that property. I think that there is some wisdom in extending the definition to cover the conversion of the money to something else that cannot be easily identified, and its transfer in that form from one jurisdiction to the other.

So I think that we should consider seriously this amendment and try to amend the definition to capture it.
Mr. John Ndebugre 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I crave the indulgence of the hon. Majority Leader to take a second look at the proposed amendment. The word “convert” is capable of conveying two different meanings -- physically change or illegally appropriate to one's use -- the civil offence of conversion -- that is the reason why the committee members felt that we should be clear in our minds whether we are talking of the civil offence of conversion or the physical transfor- mation of the thing from an illegal property to a seemingly legal property; that is why the amendment was proposed.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Is it to be deferred, Majority Leader?
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:35 a.m.
It may, but the
word “conversion”, in fact, means what he has said. It can mean appropriation or changing the nature of - [Interruption] -- that is right. Mr. Speaker, but when the word “conversion” is used with the word “transfer” then the obvious intention is that the “conversion” here must mean appropriating as against giving out, which is transfer, because as “convert or transfer” -- Therefore the definition that means you change its nature does not hold.
What is more, going by his own argument, the word “conversion” is broader than “changing”; it will then mean changing the nature or appropriating. So when you go by his argument it still holds that the wording in the Bill is better than the amendment that they proposed.
Mr. Yieleh Chireh 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that I support the amendment and oppose what he is saying. What he is canvassing is not correct because we are
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, “conveying” means transferring.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Let him go on.
Mr. Chireh 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying he is linking two things that are not linked. The words there are “or changes”. First, you can transform something -- unless you want us to use the word “transformed”. But you can change the nature of the thing that you got; if it is money, you can change it into a car and transfer it. That is why we think that it should be “change” and not “covert”. Because you can convert, for instance, a laundered car into something like that, so I am saying that the word here is to mean, “change the form of . . .” and not to transfer. And the transfer, once you use “or”, the transfer stands on its own and it is not linked to the change at all. That is why the change is better.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Chairman of the
Committee, do you need more time to look at this?
Mr. Armah 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think this same confusion came out at the committee stage, and as a committee we thought we should do the amendment to make it clearer. So I think we may have to flag this. I will have discussion with the Majority Leader on this and come back.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Are you saying we
should defer it or go on with it?
Mr. Armah 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want us to defer it.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Bawku, this matter is to be deferred.
Mr. Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is not in
relation to your ruling on this matter but to ask for a further permission. Honestly, it escaped me. I noticed that in the definition itself, it is said that, “a person commits an offence of money laundering if the person knows or ought to have known . . .”
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask for your permission; when we defer this matter, I would want to propose an amendment to the use of “ought to have known” - that is seeking permission from you so that we can debate the two proposals.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Clause 2 -- Assisting another Person to Benefit from the Proceeds of Unlawful Activity.
Are you reading from clause 2? -- [Pause] -- In any case it seems mine is different from what has been read. Anyway, whatever it is that clause 2 stands part of the Bill -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Chireh 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you
very much; the copy you read and what I have say “aiding” and “abetting”. But the “aiding” there is wrongly spelt so they should take note of that.
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon. Member, what
I have is “aiding and abetting money laundering activities”.
Mr. Chireh 11:35 a.m.
The spelling of “aiding” is wrong that is why I am saying he should take note of that; it is not an amendment.
Mr. Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if what you have has a different heading from what many of us have, if we go ahead and vote on the matter - [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, which one are we voting on? What you have and what other people in the House have? Secondly, my proposed amendment regarding the definition of the offence in the clause 2 that I also have still has the expression “ought to” in it, and during the time that you are permitting me to -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon. Members, I think that it would be proper that we defer this because it seems what I have is different from yours. Majority Leader, I think at this stage we may have to defer this matter and take it possibly tomorrow. I have just been shown another one which is quite different from mine. Majority Leader, any indications?
Mr. A. O. Aidooh 11:35 a.m.
We may then
adjourn the House. I move that the House be now adjourned.
Mr. John Tia 11:35 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to
second the motion for adjournment.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:35 a.m.