Debates of 13 Feb 2008

PRAYERS 10 a.m.

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



ACCRA 10 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Members, we do not have any Official Report for today. Item 3 -- Urgent Question for the Minister for the Interior. Hon. Stephen K. Balado Manu, Member of Parliament for Ahafo- Ano South.
Mr. K. A. Okerchire 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is absent. He has asked me with your permission to ask this Question on his behalf.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Please go ahead.


Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kwamena Bartels) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as my hon. Colleague rightly indicated, Pokukrom used to have a police station manned by three police personnel, but currently the station has been closed down. Mr. Speaker, at a point in time, it was realized that the three policemen could not cope with the volume of work at the police station because of the sheer size of the town coupled with the increasing socio- economic activities in the area. A decision was therefore taken to increase the number
of police officers at the station from three to ten but the Police Administration could not carry out this plan because of lack of office and residential accommodation for the extra personnel.
In the face of these problems, the three police officers were compelled under strenuous conditions to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mr. Speaker, the situation was worsened by a mob attack on two of the three policemen who, on the 27th of February 2007, went to a nearby town to effect the arrest of a suspect, resulting in very severe injuries to them and were admitted to hospital. The Police Administration had no option but to close down the station because of the insecurity posed to the three policemen.
Mr. Speaker, in the interim the Police Administration is making efforts to reopen the station by providing office, residential accommodation and other logistical requirements, and it is anticipated that the chief and elders, as well as the District Assembly would assist in this regard.
Mr. Okerchire 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for- tunately the questioner himself is here.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
No, continue with that. You have his instructions, so please go on -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Okerchire 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the instructions were limited. [Laughter] -- And once he is here, I will plead that he continues with the supplementary questions.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
You know the pattern of this House, if you do not have any supplementary questions we will go to other Questions. [Pause.]
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Item 4 -- Questions. Deputy Majority Whip, you know this has
Mr. Balado Manu 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
No, through him, please. Tell him the questions you want to ask, please.
Mr. Balado Manu 10 a.m.
Hon. Okerchiri, ask the hon. Minister on my behalf what time the arrest he talked about was made -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Okerchire 10 a.m.
Hon. Minister, at what time was the so-called arrest made? [Laughter.]
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this a very unorthodox way of asking questions through -- Mr. Speaker, I believe the directive is that he should pass through his questions but not through us all -- Okerchiri -- [Laughter] -- or it is done on the quiet, not to the hearing of the House and the Speaker. Because he is asking the question himself now, it is not through the Majority Chief Whip. But Mr. Speaker, I will plead that once the hon. Member is in and the instructions are limited, he should be permitted himself to ask the supplementary questions.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
I do hope that in the future hon. Members do not receive restricted instructions; the instructions should be general.
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you. I also thank the Minority Leader who intervened. I want the whole world to know that I was not anywhere doing anything private; I was at a Business Committee meeting of this House -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Deputy Whip?
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minority Leader for the intervention and I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for finally accepting that I should ask the question. Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister when the arrest took place, what time of the day.
Mr. Bartels 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my information is that the arrest was effected in the evening of the 27th.
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I inform the hon. Minister that the arrest was made dead in the night. Now I ask: with all these happenings, and this year being an election year, and he having accepted that the personnel at the police station were not even capable of policing the area effectively and that plans were being made to send more policemen there, may I know when within the year the police station would be reopened.
Mr. Bartels 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, before I answer the question about the time, I think we all ought as hon. Members of Parliament to be clear in our minds that it is absolutely wrong for anybody to take the law into his hands and decide that they are going to molest peace officers. It is wrong and I think the hon. Member would have to impress it upon his people that they have absolutely no right to attack peace officers. But be it as it may Mr. Speaker, I will ensure that the police station is opened as soon as possible.
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, accepting that and having been leading the crusade in my district and everywhere that attack on any individual, not only on a policeman, not only on a soldier is wrong moreso on a police and a peace- keeping officer, while I advise my people to desist from that wrongful act which I have already conveyed to them during my
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.

visits to the place, when we say: “as soon as possible -- It is a bit nebulous -- could the hon. Minister be a little more precise.

At least, if the three who were there could be sent back while we wait for more to be added -- The people of the area really need security and it is urgent that the police are there to protect lives and property in the area.
Mr. Bartels 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out in my answer, the three policemen were doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that is very, very difficult and too exacting for three policemen. That was why we were looking at ten. So I would be very grateful if the District Assembly, the chiefs and the Member of Parliament would assist the Police Service with accommodation for ten police officers. That will speed up the re-opening of the Police Station.
Mr. Manu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for the hon. Minister's information, the accom- modation for the ten policemen is ready now in Pokukrom. So sending policemen there today will not be a problem. I also assure him that the people of Ahafo-Ano South District, realizing the importance of police in the area would not harass and molest the police. One police station in the district has only one policeman, at Mpasaaso, and work is going on there without any hitch. However, I ask that more policemen be sent to Mpasaaso as well.
Mr. Speaker; This is not a question.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view of these very highly unacceptable postures that some of these communities take, would the Minister consider bonding, extracting some kind of undertaking from them, that they would sin no more as far as these issues are concerned. I think it is important that
they commit themselves to the rule of law by having an undertaking that they would not attack the policemen or peace officers whenever these issues happen. Would he consider the issue of extracting a bond of good behaviour or some kind of undertaking from them?
Mr. Bartels 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that is a very brilliant idea; we would seriously consider it at the Police Council before we open the police station in question.
Ms. Josephine Hilda Addoh 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister if a place has been earmarked to relocate Sofo Line Police Station since the Interchange is going to affect it.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may wish to ask this question at the appropriate time.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he would equally let the Police understand that they have to behave very professionally and not allow citizens to attack them in cases where they should not attack them at all.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, what is your question?
Mr. Pelpuo 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he just said that he would consider the hon. Member for New Juaben, Mr. Owusu-Agyemang's request that places where they have problems like Ahafo-Ano South where the Police are now going to be re-assigned there; that they should sign a bond of undertaking that they would accept the Police and that they would no longer attack them. I am asking whether he would equally advise the police to behave professionally and not allow citizens to suspect them and eventually attack them
Mr. Pelpuo 10:10 a.m.

in cases where they should not attack them at all.
Mr. Bartels 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we have been doing our best at the Police Council and in government to get the police to act professionally. So we would advise them to act professionally. But if the specific case of Pokukrom is the one the hon. Member is citing, I would like to inform him that they just went to arrest people and the community decided that they would not allow the people who have committed an offence to be arrested and they beat up the policemen; that is totally unacceptable.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Item 4 -- Questions.
ORAL ANSWERS TO 10:20 a.m.

QUESTIONS 10:20 a.m.


Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kwamena Bartels) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, under the Exim India Bank line of credit, the Ministry has just taken delivery of a number of Tata vehicles for the security agencies including the Police. I shall impress upon the Inspector-General of Police to allocate a vehicle to the Akontombra Police Post.
Mr. Cobbina 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister when he says that “I shall impress upon the IGP to allocate a vehicle to Akontombra Police Post”. Can the Minister tell this House when exactly the vehicle will be provided to Akontombra Police Post?
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am going
to speak with the IGP. I would not be able to tell you, tomorrow, or the day after, et cetera. But I will try and make sure that it is expedited. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Fodome Helu Police Post (Reopening)
Q. 1170. Mr. Prince J. Hayibor asked the Minister for the Interior when the Police Post at Fodome Helu in the Hohoe North Constituency would be reopened after it was closed down three years ago.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as explained earlier on when I appeared before the House, the Ministry has adopted a holistic approach in the provision of police stations/ posts for all districts and communities, et cetera lacking these facilities. The main problem has been financial constraints and as such we are sourcing for funds from both local and International sources to enable us provide these facilities.
It is true that the police post at Fodome has been closed down, and I would like to assure my hon. Colleague that the police station at Fodome like others that have been closed would be reopened as soon as we obtain funds from these sources.
Mr. Hayibor 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, now that the Minister has said that they were sourcing funds, I want to ask him to tell the House what practical steps they have taken in that direction and the agencies they have contacted so far.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier on, the India Exim Bank is giving us $24.7 million. It will come to this House for approval and that is to provide infrastructure and that will enable us provide the kind of infrastructure that is required for the re-opening of those police stations that have been closed down and for the expansion and completion of these
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.

other ones that are outstanding.
Mr. Hayibor 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want the hon. Minister to tell the House what definite steps they have put in place while we await the arrival of the funds to ensure that the people of Helu enjoy police protection.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will ask the Inspector-General of Police to look at the existing facilities and see if these existing facilities can be used so that they look at the possibility of re-opening the Fodome Police Station.
Mr. J. Z. Amenowode 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I am happy the hon. Minister is very conversant with the areas and knows the terrain. Fodome Helu is quite out of the main road and have some surrounding villages. In view of this year's activities the campaigns and the possibility of some unruly people disrupting rallies, et cetera, will the Minister assure us that he could expedite action so that by the third quarter, even if the police station would not be opened there will be police presence in all police stations, that have been closed down?
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we will do our best; I will speak with the IGP to do his best to ensure the reopening of the Fodome Police Station. But let me assure all hon. Colleagues that for the elections, there will be policemen and soldiers across the country at all polling stations to ensure that -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Minister, you should not be distracted. Go on.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
I will want to assure everyone that there will be policemen and soldiers and other service people at all the polling stations in all electoral areas to ensure that there is peace and tranquility and that we can have free and fair elections. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Krachi-East District Dormabin, etc (Police Post)
Q. 1174. Mr. Wisdom Gidisu asked the Minister for the Interior what plans the Ministry had to establish police posts at the following communities in Krachi- East District:
(i) Dormabin
(ii) Adumadum and
(iii) Asukawkaw.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the three towns namely Dormabin, Adumadum and Asukawkaw in the Krachi East District fall in the same category as other towns and communities in the country lacking these facilities. Efforts are being made by the Ministry to provide these facilities for these communities. The three towns mentioned would be taken care of in this exercise.
In the case of Asukawkaw, however, there is a police station at Katanga which is about 2-3 kilometres away. The station's jurisdiction covers the Asukawkaw community which lacks a police post.
Mr. W. Gidisu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister indicated in his Answer that efforts are being made by his Ministry to establish police posts at Dormabin, Asukawkaw and Katanga. Can he tell this House the specific efforts made by his Ministry so far to secure this facility?
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have said earlier in answer to other questions that we have been looking for the resources to be able to provide these facilities, and we will look at Adumadum, Dormabin and Asukawkaw as well. But as we said in the case of Asukawkaw, quite close to Asukawkaw is Katanga -- a resettlement town built by the VRA. So clearly, they already have a police station and they will look after Asukawkaw in the interim. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. W. Gidisu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
happy the Minister is actually making efforts to provide police stations for those communities. I only hope that he will expedite action on these issues so that we can as early as possible have police stations at these communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
West Akim District Fire Station (Fire tender)
Q. 1195. Mr. James Appietu-Ankrah asked the Minister for the Interior if there are any plans to replace the unserviceable fire tender in the West Akim District Fire Station at Asamankese.
Mr. Bartels 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the West Akim District Fire Station at Asamankese was allocated with a Layland Fire Tender on 14th December, 1995. The vehicle broke down in the year 2004 and it has not been possible to repair it because of lack of spare parts.
Mr. H. Owusu-Agyemang 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know how many tenders the Minister is expecting into the system in view of all the numerous fire outbreaks in the country and whether New Juaben North is included.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member himself started the project when he was Minister for the Interior. I am not certain of the number but I think it is over 66 new fire tenders which are expected in the country and which was actually started by him.
Mr. Yieleh Chireh 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Minister's Answer, he has indicated that they cannot find the spare parts to repair this tender that has broken down. I want to find out from him whether it is really the issue of spare parts or lack of funds.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is both.
Agbozume Police Station (Permanent Offices)
Q. 1196. Mr. Albert Kwasi Zigah asked the Minister for the Interior what plans the Ministry had to provide Agbozume Police Station with permanent offices and accommodation facilities.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the provision of permanent office/residential accom- modation for the police in the districts and communities they serve is a matter of great concern to the Ministry. As my Colleague is aware, I have indicated to the House that steps are being taken in a holistic manner to provide office and residential accommodation for all the security agencies including the police.
In the case of Agbozume, the police station has been in existence for the past 20 years and has been upgraded to a district police headquarters. Unfor- tunately, however, both the office and residential accommodation are private rented facilities. I wish to assure my hon. Colleague that with the Ministry's policy of the provision of mass accommodation for the Police Service, the Agbozume District Headquarters will be taken care of in the exercise.
Meanwhile, I wish to appeal to the District Assemblies to assist in this regard.
Mr. Zigah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the station has been in operation over the past 40 years and not 20 years. Mr. Speaker, I would recall that somewhere early 2006, thieves walked into the station and took a riffle simply because the rented premises were not designed for a police station. May I know from the hon. Minister what corrective measure his Ministry has to protect Agbozume police station from the thieves before funding is provided.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I said, if we approach the provision of these facilities in a holistic manner, the design of the various police stations and their accommodation will be such that we would not have the kind of unfortunate incident that occurred in Agbozume. But is it not tragic that thieves go to steal from a police station?
Mr. Zigah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer, he said steps are being taken in a holistic manner. As at the time of filing this Question, the station was under Aflao District Headquarters. Recently the station has been elevated to the district headquarters status. I want to know from the hon. Minister whether the state of accommodation facilities is not a factor to be considered in the elevation of a station to a district headquarters since the same premises is being used for both activities.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, they are a factor in taking into consideration the elevation of a police station to a higher level. But what had happened was that a lot more staff of higher rank were sent to the station and the station elevated to a higher level. So we believe that with the addition of other infrastructure facilities, it will come unto its own.
Mr. Zigah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister did indicate that funding was being sourced since last year 2007 for the security agencies. Now that we are in 2008, may I know from him when funds will be available for the facelift project for the security agencies.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the facility is coming before this House, I believe this Meeting and hopefully, we will all approve it. The worst case scenario is that it will be in the next Meeting, we will approve it and we will all make sure that it is put to good use quickly so that we can have these facilities in place.

Denu Police Station

Q. 1216. Mr. Albert Kwasi Zigah asked the Minister for the Interior when Denu police station would undergo major extension and rehabilitation to decongest the cells and enhance administrative functions.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in addition to measures being taken to provide office/residential accommodation for the police, a committee has been set up to process the list of all ongoing and uncompleted accommodation submitted by the police and the other security agencies to enable the Ministry source for funding to complete them.
The Committee in the course of the exercise will also embark on a nationwide infrastructural rehabilitation and extension works which will culminate in the provision of additional residential facilities as well as expansion of existing police cells in order to decongest the cells.
I wish to assure my hon. Colleague that Denu police station will be taken care of in this exercise.
Mr. Zigah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I speak, the CID Office is very, very small as it was constructed or built 52 years ago, and the Detective Administrative Officer has no permanent office. I want to know from the hon. Minister responsible for this sensitive institution what step his Ministry can adopt immediately as a short-term measure to alleviate this problem.
Mr. Bartels 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, expanding the small size of the cell is an infras- tructural job and that will require resources. Therefore, I will plead with my hon. Colleague and the entire Denu community to be patient with Government so that we approach this problem in a holistic manner, so that at the time when
we provide a new cell, we will be in a position to take care of the problem which has come up as a result of the smallness of the current cell.
Mr. Zigah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the CID office, not the cell.
Mr. Speaker, looking at its establish- ment in 1956 and the increasing population in the recent years, will the hon. Minister consider Denu as the district capital of the eastern gate to provide modern facilities to benefit the gateway with special reference to the crime wave at the border?
Mr. Bartels 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure my hon. Colleague that I will raise this at the Police Council.
Mr. Zigah 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Denu police station operates under Aflao District Headquarters. Aflao cells are always over-congested, therefore, the need for the suspects to be transferred from Aflao to Denu Cells which is also congested.
What immediate solution has his Ministry to decongest either cells or the Denu cells?
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Minister for the Interior, please deal with only Denu Police Station.
Mr. Bartels 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for protecting me from Aflao Police Cells.
In the case of Denu police cells, as I said, let me speak with the Inspector- General of Police and let us see what we can do in the interim. But expanding a cell is a major infrastructural project. So it might be necessary for us to await the funding we are talking about and then to look at the expansion. In the meantime, I think we will need to continue with
joggling the suspects in between Aflao and Denu.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Minister for the Interior, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions.
Item 5 - Statements - Statement by hon. Member for Oforikrom.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Ms. Elizabeth Agyemang (NPP - Oforikrom) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to commend Zoomlion Ghana Limited for their efforts at keeping Ghana clean.
Mr. Speaker, those insanitary conditions pose serious threat to human life and the importance of a clean environment and healthy living in the development of every nation cannot be overemphasized. It is in the light of this that, I rise to make this Statement to commend Zoomlion Ghana Limited in their efforts at keeping Ghana clean and ridding our environment of filth.
Mr. Speaker, a few years back, the sanitation situation in most parts of this country, to say the least, was very appalling and the need for an effective mechanism to check and control the rate at which Ghanaians generate waste became a matter of national concern.
Since the emergence of the company, Zoomlion has not only approached waste management issue professionally, but has equally focused on delivering quality waste management solutions that rely on current technical innovations. This measure serves as a great source of respect to the environment.
Mr. Speaker, the past year saw the arrival of many visitors into this country for various occasions ranging from the
Ms. Elizabeth Agyemang (NPP - Oforikrom) 10:40 a.m.

Golden Jubilee Celebrations, and the AU Summit among others. The management of sanitation during all those events was as remarkable as it enhanced the nation's image in the eyes of our numerous visitors.

Mr. Speaker, it is worth mentioning that, Zoomlion was responsible for the maintenance of all the Stadia that hosted the just ended 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations and a visit to any of the Stadia during and after matches did reveal the good job they were doing.

Mr. Speaker, in their effort to sensitize the public on the importance of sanitation, Zoomlion recently launched a public education campaign on sanitation. This programme will go a long way to complement the efforts of the various municipal and district assemblies in their waste management efforts and effectively manage waste at a minimal cost and ensure high environmental and sanitary standards.

Mr. Speaker, Zoomlion provides employment to many Ghanaians ranging from skilled to unskilled labour. The company in collaboration with the National Youth Employment Programme has provided employment to about nine thousand youth so far.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to suggest that, the issue of sanitation must not only be looked at holistically, but in particular adequate funds must be allocated to it to enable its effect to be adequately felt.

In 1999 for instance, the National Sanitation Policy document published by the Local Government Ministry identified inadequate funds to pay solid waste contractors as the bane of waste management and I wish to suggest that, regular payment of monies due waste management companies by the various municipal and district assemblies will go

a long way to enhance their operations and make them more effective.

I wish to also suggest that the issue of providing tax incentives for waste management companies be given a second look.

In conclusion Mr. Speaker, given the opportunity of the problem of sanitation in our communities, a greater percentage of the proposed airtime tax be voted to the waste management sector in order not only to meet the prime motive of sustaining the National Youth Employment Scheme, but to also realize the dream of cleanliness that undoubtedly leads to godliness.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr. Mohammed Ibn Abass (NDC - Bimbilla) 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity granted me to contribute to this Statement on the sanitation situation and the contribution of Zoomlion.
I think that the issue of sanitation in this country is a very important one and measures put in place to ensure that we have sanitation to ensure the good health of our people is in the right direction.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member, comment on the Statement. Do not drag us into any debate, please.
Mr. Abass 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point that I am making is that it is a good idea to continue to take measures to ensure that there is proper sanitation in this country, especially in our cities. Mr. Speaker, I think that in spite of the fact that Zoomlion is doing a great job, everybody will agree that they are receiving a lot of payments and I also believe that if any company worth its salt is given a similar job to do, they would do it and receive similar payment.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the sanitation situation, in spite of the contribution of Zoomlion still requires a lot of attention and we should focus on the areas where the sanitation situation is still a problem so as to ensure the health of our people so that this country would move forward.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Mr. Paul Okoh (NPP - Asutifi North) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. Mr. Speaker, I am a teacher by profession and any student who performs creditably or very well is commended. Despite the fact that the same teacher would be teaching a lot of students, some few who perform very well are commended to encourage them to do more.
Zoomlion is to be commended for the good work that they are doing. It is not every organization that is given the opportunity to perform that do the work very well and this is why I think it is in the right direction for the maker of this Statement to maybe single out Zoomlion for commendation.
Anybody who has travelled the length and breadth of this country wherever Zoomlion operates would testify that
Mr. Paul Okoh (NPP - Asutifi North) 10:50 a.m.

the sanitation problem that we used to face has improved very well. Mr. Speaker, this was the more reason why your Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise, when we gave our report on the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment's budget, commended that the workforce of Zoomlion needs to be scaled up.

Mr. Speaker, from the little science that I learnt, I know that malaria is caused by mosquito bites and that mosquitoes breed at areas where we have stagnant waters. And this is one of the things that Zoomlion is doing, cleaning the gutters and doing away with all these pools of stagnant water so that the country would be rid of malaria.

Mr. Speaker, I also know that the Government spends a lot of money in trying to do away with malaria in the country. So if Zoomlion's workforce is upgraded I think all these things would go down. Possibly, what would happen is that more people would be given employment. They would clean places, the environment would be clean and malaria would go down and the amount of money that the Government spends in trying to do away with malaria would also go down. The money that would accrue from this would be used for other things.

The maker of the Statement made a very useful point that there is the need for us to look at the talk time tax. Mr. Speaker, this is very welcome. If we do this it would rather give employment to so many people like the Zoomlion case that I am talking about.

Mr. Speaker, I would even want to add that this talk time tax should be talk time tax for employment. At this time I would want to admonish hon. Members and other

Ghanaians that those who had misgivings about this talk tax should think about it again and let us look at the thing from the stateman's point of view rather than seeing it in a partisan way because that would bring employment to our own people.

Mr. Speaker, while I still commend Zoomlion, I want to plead with them that they should extend their activities to areas where hon. Members of Parliament also reside, especially Sakumono so that the place can also be clean.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC - Wa West) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would say kudos to the hon. Member who made the Statement praising Zoomlion Police because effectively speaking, they have seen that Zoomlion has done a lot of work and it has impressed a lot of people. So they are confusing the National Youth Employment Programme with Zoomlion; why?
If you look at the background of this company and the people behind, these are Ghanaians from very humble beginnings who started the company and have linked up internationally to get technology to support what they are doing. Of course, the Government spends a lot of money on sanitation and we want our country to be clean.
If you look at the past few years that Zoomlion has been in this business, we have seen dramatic changes. We have had events like the Golden Jubilee Celebrations and other celebrations that have taken place and a day after, the grounds where these celebrations are held have been made clean again. I think that any time a Ghanaian is in the forefront trying to change a situation that we all deplore, we should commend that Ghanaian.
I also want again to say that Zoomlion is doing fantastically well but they need to focus on what they are doing. They should limit themselves to improving exactly what they have set out to do rather than expand beyond what they can manage. Indeed, I believe that if they focus and they get their act together they can be of more use and value to this country. But if they stray into other areas then you have a bigger organization and management problems become much more complex.
I know that Zoomlion has employed very well qualified professionals and administrators but if they expand beyond the limit of their competencies, they would have diminishing returns. That is why I would urge them to continue to do their good job. Obviously, one of the areas that I like them for is the planting of the flowers and the greening of the place. That is one of the areas that we should all look at.
We are talking about Valentine Day tomorrow and if there are no flowers, if there are no roses you cannot give anybody anything. So for the fact that they are greening Ghana, they are greening several places, they are really to be commended.
Once again, I would say they should keep to what they have set themselves to do. Again they should manage resource- fully and make sure that Ghanaians get value for the money that we would be using to support them.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang (NPP - New Juaben North) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you more sincerely for this opportunity. Mr. Speaker, certainly, we do not expect that the garbage that we create would be disposed off gratis, without paying for it. So I am at a loss at understanding why our hon. Colleague there thought that it could be free.
I think it is about time we recognized as a nation that the environment must be kept clean and for that matter it would cost us some money to do that. If a Ghanaian company as was said by hon. Yieleh Chireh, has initiated this and is doing well, then we must give praise where praise is due. I believe that if we have such companies replicated in several sectors within the economy, we shall be moving forward.
We have to develop this nation for ourselves and we must encourage our own indigenous people when they come in. So it is not a matter of saying that somebody is being spoon-fed. That we must pay for it is certain but Mr. Speaker, everybody is saying that Zoomlion has done very well. They are Effi Dzata, Kwame Sefa Kayi would say.
I think we must encourage them. But having said that, Mr. Speaker, we must also change our lifestyle in this country. We cannot continue to believe that when we make garbage in the house we must dump it into the gutter to block the waterways so that when there is flood it kills people.
Mr. Speaker, I would dare say and repeat it here again - I think we should ban plastic bags in this country. It has been done elsewhere and there was no wahala. We should ban the use of plastic bags in this country. People now even use them as means of going to toilet and they call them flying toilets. Mr. Speaker, unless we decide as a nation that we would not live with such indiscipline, we are into problems.
We should use something which is bio-degradable, something which can be recycled but not a situation where each and every year we have to spend money desilting the gutters because they are chocked with plastic waste. And today one of the very knowledgeable ladies in this society says that even using some of
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang (NPP - New Juaben North) 11 a.m.

these plastic can cause cancer.

So let us find other alternatives and let us begin to discipline ourselves to the extent that we do not throw these plastic waster and garbage into the gutters and into the waterways so that Zoomlion have less work to do. But for now, it is a God-sent organization which is keeping the places clean.

Indeed, I was at University of Ghana, Legon, where we had our own congress, and to see that within a matter of less than 24 hours the place had been cleaned, was commendable. I believe we should encourage them to do what they are doing.

Of course, within the bounds of value- for-money, nobody says that they must be overpaid as the hon. Member on the other side was trying to suggest. Nobody is saying they must be overpaid, but if they have been audited and they are doing a good job then certainly, Rt. Hon. Speaker, that is the way to go.

But let me end by saying that unless as a nation or a people we change our lifestyles and our ways and begin a appreciate that the good environment is the only one that we have in the country and that we must preserve it, and the water bodies preserved and not too human interventions creating all these problems, then we are in for a very, very major problem.

On this note, I hope that there can be a public education programme to tell us to change our ways, not to drop things as we drive in cars and on vehicles and to make sure - like they do in Singapore. People talk about Singapore; drop a piece of paper and you would be charged. You go to Malaysia and is the same. Discipline is the basis for every developmental process.

I think that we should not run away from that. And I encourage those in governmental authority and elsewhere to put in place means and ways of checking the people who are indisciplined in the society and who degrade the environment.

So I would like to add my voice to that of hon. Joseph Yieleh Chireh to commend Zoomlion for what they are doing. But they should not let it go into their heads, they must be more effective and they must strive to achieve more, rather than to rest on their oars.

Nii A. Namoale (NDC - Dade Kotopon): Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the Statement on the floor. Mr. Speaker, I really like the way Zoomlion is working. They are doing very good jobs in our communities. Mr. Speaker, I have seen that gradually Zoomlion is gaining the monopoly, and I wish the authorities would encourage other companies to compete with Zoomlion so that they would improve upon the good work they are doing. Mr. Speaker, I am also saying that, as we have Zoomlion cleaning the environment, we should have sanitary policemen fashioned in the way of Zoomlion so that they would have the power to prosecute at the court. When they get people throwing rubbish into our drains or dropping papers here and there, those sanitary policemen would arrest them and the law would take its course.
Mr. K. A. Okerchiri (NPP - Nkawkaw) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is very refreshing to hear this Statement made by the hon. Member for Oforikrom. Mr. Speaker, more often than not, in the past when you were talking about sanitation, you did it very much in despair; we were just throwing our hands in the air as if were giving up hope. But I am very happy that now when we talk about the sanitation situation there seems to be a ray of hope in the horizon.
Mr. Speaker, about three years ago, we visited the city of Shanghai, a city that has a population as near as that of Ghana and yet they are able to cope with the sanitation challenges. We happened to inquire from the Mayor as to how they were doing it and we were taken to a company and their treatment plant.
Mr. Speaker, it was so refreshing to note that even the waste, they were able to handle it in such a way that they got fertilizers and other byproducts that were very useful to the society.
Immediately we came back, we were fired by that imagination and we got in touch with some people who matter as far as managing waste is concerned. Mr. Speaker, there and then one's hope was dampened. We were told our situation in this country is not comparable to that of Shanghai and that we mix up products that are quite recyclable. We mix them up with those that we cannot recycle and therefore disaggregating then became a problem. Mr. Speaker, I became very, very disappointed because I thought that the reason why some of us have been to the university and some of us call ourselves experts, was that when such challenges come, we must match up to them instead of throwing our hands into the air.
Mr. Speaker, I would urge this company that not only should they end at what they are doing as the limit, but they should also think about treating the waste. It is so well when you collect them and dump them somewhere, but at a certain point in time the place becomes quite full of such waste that you may not even be able to get a place to dump them. That is where I urge them to accept that challenge of bracing up to treat these waste and let the byproducts become very beneficial to society.
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the hon. Member who made the Statement. The challenge that I raised to those who matter, those experts, is that no matter the odds they should try and help treat these wastes so as to avert and moderate the ill-effects of this sanitation problem of the society.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC - Tamale South) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the floor and to particularly commend the hon. Member who made the Statement for bringing public attention to the management of sanitation in general and the particular work of Zoomlion as against the CAN 2008 Tournament and the cleanliness of our stadia.
Mr. Speaker, to appreciate the weight of a statement is to consider the fact that we spend $750 million as a country - a conservative estimate - on the management of malaria which is a sanitary related disease, indeed, a preventable one if we are able to manage our environment or our community generally well. Mr. Speaker, my comment will have to do with appreciating where Zoomlion comes from; and I am particularly glad that the hon. Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment will be listening.
Mr. Speaker, the Government launched the National Youth Employment Programme, and under it were several modules - agrobusiness, teaching assistants, and then the sanitation module of it. By far, there is no doubt that the most successful has been that of the management of sanitation which is executed by Zoomlion.
But Mr. Speaker, it is not without Problems. And like she rightly stated, currently, Zoomlion employs not less than 9,000 of our young people basically with

very low educational standing, which is understandable, in order for them to earn some income and to contribute to it.

Only a few weeks ago, I was perusing an Order Paper and I saw a Question standing in the name of hon. Eric Opoku as to when persons working under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) would make contributions to the Social Security and National InsuranceTrust (SSNIT) Fund which to me is significant. How much do they earn a day?

As commendable as it is, you are talking of ¢500,000 to ¢700,000 a month. I hope that the Ministry would look at ways of adjusting it so that our young people can earn something much more decent so that they can make some contribution also to their social security in order to secure their future. So it must be properly situated that Zoomlion is only implementing the sanitation module of the NYEP.

Mr. Speaker, we are told that in some of the modules, they are in arrears of over six (6) months - the young people have not been paid. I can appreciate the Government's dilemma and difficulty now in beginning to look for new ways of funding a policy which they have been implementing in the last two years.

My discomfort has to do with air time tax. In order that I do not provoke debate, let me say that if you were fashioning out a policy of National Youth Employment Programme you ought to have thought through how you were going to fund it as a system. You came here making some paltry deductions from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and then the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 11:10 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, on a matter of relevance and also the way my hon. young nephew addresses us, he said, “you came”. In this House we address Mr. Speaker, we do not address individual hon. Members of Parliament.
So I do not know why he is breaching protocol by referring to my other hon. nephew as “you”. That is out of protocol. But on a more serious note, Mr. Speaker, we are speaking to the issue of what Zoomlion had done. If you make tangential arguments, that is just acceptable but this direct frontal attack on the hon. Minister and all these things, I think is out of order and misplaced. I think he must come properly before the House rather than begin to - The Orders are quite clear. On a matter of a point of relevance, I would like to direct his mind to the issue and the comments on the Statement the hon. young lady at the back there made.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, you
have had more than two minutes, please, wind up.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have been wondering what the two presidential aspirants have been doing since I cannot find their leader in the House. (Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang and hon. Dr. Apraku conferring.)
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, comment on the Statement.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for Kwadaso, do you have a point of order?
Ms. Addoh 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. It is a point of correction. Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Statement and the hon. Member was just suggesting that the Government channels money that can be accrued from the air time tax into managing this. It is not that the Government has not thought of where the funds would be coming from.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, please, conclude.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in con- clusion, I would like to join the hon. Member who made the Statement in commending Zoomlion for their effective management of sanitation and wish to call on the hon. Minister responsible for that sector to ensure the timely release of funding for the purpose of all the modules under the National Youth Employment Programme, in particular, that of the sanitation module, and also to consider expansion in numbers in order to cater for the teeming unemployed youth who can find some comfort under the sanitation module of the NYEP.
Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment (Nana Akomea) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to support the Statement that has been so eloquently made by my hon. Colleague.
Zoomlion is a company that offers waste and sanitation management services to the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment and we pay them for management and for services. So far they have employed 9,200 young people across every district in this country and all of us can testify to the impact that Zoomlion has
made on the waste and sanitation profile of this country, whether in the big cities or in the big towns or in the villages.
Mr. Speaker, when you visit the workshop of Zoomlion you will be impressed because at first glance you would think that all they offer is waste and sanitation. But when you go to the workshop all the tools that they use - the bicycles, the tricycles, the wheelbarrows - are assembled in Ghana at their workshop. So they have a core of young people that they have employed and who they train in welding and in fabrication, in metal work, in painting, and in assembling. It is a very fascinating training that they give to these young people who also come to the streets and do the cleaning.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 11:10 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who made the Statement and hon. Members who subsequently contributed to the Statement did indicate that Zoomlion has employed over 9,000 youth across this country. But in the hon. Minister's contribution he is talking about Zoomlion managing and providing a service. Since he is the hon. Minister, I am wondering whether they are misleading or he is misleading the House.
He is in a better position to state whether it is Zoomlion that has employed over 9,000 people or the Ministry through that module has employed 9,000 people and Zoomlion is simply providing technical management services to support the project.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, you have no point of order. He is only commenting on the Statement. Let him continue.
Nana Akomea 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend knows the true position. The true position is that the young people have been employed by the Ministry under the National Youth Employment Programme under the Waste and Sanitation Module. All Zoomlion is doing is offering management services.
Mr. Speaker, like I said, the young people are being trained. Now, they have added city beautification. So the young people are being trained in gardening, horticulture and painting. Aside that, when you go to the workshop, the young people are being trained on how to put together the machines that they use. But beyond that, we at the Ministry are discussing with Zoomlion a mechanism that would allow these young people to move beyond waste and sanitation.
So we are discussing the possibility of employees in the module, after a certain length of service, being given some amount so that they can go and better their grades or learn a trade or learn a vocation. These are all things that are coming on stream as we go into this year.
Mr. Speaker, we do not have a lot of time but let me comment briefly on the contribution made by my good Friend, hon. Haruna Iddrisu. On this business about people being owed six months salaries or allowances under the National Youth Employment Programme, let me take this opportunity to set the records straight.
Mr. Speaker, the funding arrangement of the programme was approved by this House and in the operationalisation of that
funding arrangement, there is a difficulty. The funding arrangement provides that 10 per cent of the GETFund, 10 per cent of the NHIS, 15 per cent of the DACF and 5 per cent of Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund should be ceded to the NYEP. These Funds are statutory funds.
They have their own regular schedules of disbursement. Disbursement from the Central Treasury into these Funds is done on a quarterly basis. So GETFund gets its disbursement on a quarterly basis; the District Assemblies Common Fund get its disbursement on a quarterly basis; same as NHIS, same as HIPC. So they also make their disbursement into the NYEP on a quarterly basis. Because we use our transfers to pay salaries, there are always in-built arrears of three months on our transfers to pay salaries. That is the basic situation and that has been occasioned by the funding arrangement. Because the disbursements take place every three (3) months, we have in-built arrears position of three months.

Sometimes when the disbursements from the sources delay, the arrears position goes into four months and so on. But you have cases where people claim their arrears for six months and nine months.

Mr. Speaker, what happens is that you have enlistment into the programme being done at the district level by District Chief Executives. Out of a certain exigency, they employ people in the teaching modules, in the nursing modules and so on without reference to the head office.

So you are presented with a fait accompli, four, five months down the line when people have been employed without your knowledge at head office

and the people have already been working for three, four months. And so you find out that people have been employed, they have been engaged and working for five months, six months, but they do not register them at head office; they are not registered on the payroll, and then you have to go back and regularize these.

This is the primary reason why you have people who have not been paid for six months, seven months and eight months. And I have a long list of such cases - letters in my office of employment done by DCEs and all kinds of local actors at the district level. This is one of the main reasons why we have this long overlap of arrears running into nine months and so on. But essentially, the funding arrangement that was approved by this House, which provides funding to the programme on a quarterly basis means that the programme can only start paying salaries quarterly. And if that formula arrangement is changed, I am sure the programme can be more timely in the payment of salaries.

We are discussing with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and we are discussing with other banking institutions to see if some advance can be made to us so that we can pay more timely if the funding arrangement cannot be changed.

Mr. Speaker, lastly, this business about the talk time tax and the comments made by my hon. Friend - I will urge this House to support the talk time tax when it comes because the talk time tax will not be an unnecessary burden on mobile phone users. Mr. Speaker, historically, the cost of airtime falls; it does not rise. As we speak, a minute of airtime is 1,400 old cedis. A minute of airtime is 1,400 old cedis - [Interruption] -
Mr. J. Y. Chireh 11:20 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think that you advised
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon. Minister, the point is that you should just make comments; do not drag us into any debate.
Nana Akomea 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much. My hon. Friend knows that what I am going to say will not provoke any debate. But for the purpose of time, I will hold down those comments until the Bill comes to Parliament, then we will have a thorough debate. But I have had informal debates about this with him, and he knows it is a good thing.
Mr. Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you.
Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
At the Commencement of Public Business, Item 6 - Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 11:20 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Item 7 - Committee Sittings. Chief Whip?
Mr. K. A. Okerchire 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, having finished the Business at the plenary and there being committee meetings, I respectfully move, that we adjourn this
Sitting until tomorrow 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr. J. Y. Chireh 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:20 a.m.