Debates of 19 Feb 2009

PRAYERS 11:15 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon Members, I invite the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader to accompany me to the Central Lobby to receive His Excellency the President and the Vice-President.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon Members, the House is privileged to have in our midst, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta Mills -- [Hear! Hear!] President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander- In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces - [Hear! Hear!]
I am sure the whole House joins me in welcoming to this august House His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
As Hon Members are aware His Excellency is in the House in accordance with article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to deliver a Message on the State of the Nation of Ghana to this honourable House.
Hon. Members, I have the greatest pleasure in inviting His Excellency the President of Ghana to deliver his Address -- Your Excellency?

ADDRESS 11:15 a.m.

Madam Speaker, let me come to Health Infrastructure. We propose the following 11:15 a.m.

The construction of a 100-bed General Hospital with a Malaria Research Centre at Teshie in Accra;

Completion of a regional hospital with staff housing at Wa;

Construction of six (6) district hospitals with staff housing at Adenta/Madina, Twifo-Praso, Konongo-Odumase, Wenchi, Tepa, and Salaga; and finally

Construction of two (2) district hospitals at Tarkwa and Bekwai;

The second phase for the rehabilitation of the Bolgatanga Hospital will continue.

Now Education

Madam Speaker, we are aware of the problems militating against our Education delivery and we have taken measures and initiatives; and we have the people to tackle all of these. We will ensure that there is the proper utilization and accounting for the Getfund.

Madam Speaker, one of the significant challenges facing us is the result of the recent reform, which reduced the duration of the senior high school education.

I am aware of the different views which have been expressed on this change and I believe that the proper way to tackle this is to provide a forum where this issue can be dispassionately discussed. At the end of the discussion we should be able to come out with concrete proposals which will ensure that we have quality education in the second cycle institutions for the benefit and to the satisfaction of teachers, students and parents.

The School Feeding Programme will be revived to benefit directly the most needy. [Interruption.] Our Government will ensure that all allowances due teachers are paid promptly. [Hear! Hear!]

Government will continue to support

tertiary institutions to provide quality education that would give satisfaction to both graduates and employers. Govern-ment notes with satisfaction the contribution of the private sector to expansion of tertiary education.

Now Art and Culture: We will ensure that choral and theatre festivals become an integral part of the school curricula.

We will encourage the School of Performing Arts and the National Commission on Culture to encourage the use of theatre for development in order to invigorate our young men and women and give them a sense of true national unity.


The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) will also focus on the development of the Jubilee field where recent oil discoveries have been made. It will also be tasked to ensure that Ghanaians take advantage of provisions in the law which insist on participation by Ghanaians in oil-related activities and support services.

Revenues from oil and gas will be used to support the economy and provide social investments in productive areas like roads, education, health, et cetera.

We will also pay special attention to the areas around the oil and gas fields and ensure that they get their full share of the development. We will have a Generation Fund to ensure that we put aside some of the resources available for future expansion for scientific research and for technical development.

In addition to the Tano-Cape Three Points basin where recent discoveries have been made GNPC will be tasked to
Madam Speaker, let me come to Health Infrastructure. We propose the following 11:15 a.m.

promote exploration in the Voltaian basin which onshore and covers a huge areas of our surface land.

Tema Oil Refinery and - [Inter- ruptions.] I have already mentioned the predicament of TOR and VRA and I believe that in the Finance Minister's Budget Statement more light will be thrown on this.

Information Technology: We will make sure that we expand the use of fixed and mobile phones and we encourage Information Technology Producers to have common services in order to reduce cost and promote efficiency.

Special Social Initiatives: The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs will be strengthened and resourced to establish gender units in the District Assemblies.

Now Madam Speaker, no one can deny that our three northern regions and Central Region remain four of the poorest regions in our country. In order to resolve the situation, we plan to establish the Savannah Development Agency to take care of the three northern regions and parts of Volta and Brong Ahafo which are contiguous to the Northern Region.

Now we come to an area that is close

Our goal is to move away from the

over-concentration on soccer and to some

extent boxing and encourage the lesser sports. We must unearth the potential in track and field and therefore we will give a new lease of life to inter-collegiate sports.

Now Foreign Affairs: We will remain fiercely Pan-Africanist and champion the cause of African Unity. Our foreign policy was fashioned for us by the founders of the nation based on positive neutrality.

We shall therefore remain members of the United Nations and also recognize its specialised agencies. We will remain members of the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement and we will take steps to participate in any measures or initiatives to ensure that there is peace in the world. However, we shall maintain stronger ties with our neighbours and make the necessary initiatives to ensure that we bring to fruition all the Protocols which have been signed since the establishment of the Economic Union of West African States; and also ensure the proper transfer and movement of goods and persons in our sub-region.

Madam Speaker, throughout my political life, I have always pledged that I
Madam Speaker, let me come to Health Infrastructure. We propose the following 11:15 a.m.

want to make a difference. [Hear! Hear!] I want to move away from the politics of vilification, backbiting and [Inter- ruptions] vindictiveness.

Indeed, Madam Speaker, our call for change is for the recognition of a new way of doing things. Even though we may hold different political views it is important that we all remember that Ghana is the only country that we have.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Order! Order!
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Order, please.
The President: It is important for us to promote consensus-building and in this regard, Madam Speaker, I think that this honourable House can set a very good example, your cooperation, your consensus-building will serve as an example to the rest of the country. [Interruptions.] And from what I have seen so far I have no doubt that we will be able to achieve this objective. [Hear! Hear!] It is important for us, especially as politicians not to abuse the confidence that the people of this country have reposed in us. Our people need help and there are certain factors which sometimes detract from our efforts at nation building.
I want to be an example. [Interruption] Yes.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
The President: As far as time consciousness is concerned we also would want to ensure that we make proper savings so that we will be able to satisfy the needs of the generality of our
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
The President: Madam Speaker, Hon Members, I thank you. [Interruptions] May God bless you and continue to make our nation great and strong. Madam Speaker, yeresesa mu na yako yen anim. [Uproar.]
Madam Speaker received the State of the Nation address from the President.
The Clerk received the Address from Madam Speaker and placed it on the Table.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon. Members, let me on behalf of this honourable House express gratitude to His Excellency the President for coming to this august House and delivering to us his Message on the state of the nation in accordance with article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Thank you, Mr. President.
Hon. Majority Leader, do you have any indication regarding the suspension of this House?
Majority Leader/Leader of the House (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:15 a.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, let me also on behalf of my Hon
Majority Leader/Leader of the House (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:15 a.m.

Colleagues, and my good self, thank His Excellency the President for the Message he just delivered to us and through us to the nation.

A few months ago, I did say on the other side of the House, that once you see the elephant jumping like a kangaroo - [Interruptions] - there is enough evidence that it is fatally wounded - [Interruptions] and I told my Hon Colleagues that we would be on this side of the House very soon and they would replace us on the other side of the House. Madam Speaker, the doubting Thomases wanted to use their hands to feel the wound to know that, that was Jesus.

We are here today, on the right side of Madam Speaker, tomorrow we could be on the left side of the Speaker. That is enough to tell all of us that we need to behave as leaders of this country.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Order, Order.
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the President in fulfilment of his constitutional obligation has appeared in this House to deliver his maiden State of the Nation Address. We have listened and we will digest his appeal for consensus-building. We have listened to him and we look forward to seeing the deeds behind the words - [Hear! Hear!]
On the spur of the moment we could

Madam Speaker, in seconding the
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
The motion moved by the Minority Leader as he was formery known - [Interruptions] - And now by happenstance transmogrified into the Majority Leader - [Inter-ruptions.]
Madam Speaker, we will not go the line of using foul language. We will be objective in analyzing the contents of the stage given to us by His Excellency, and on that note and in deference to His Excellency, I second the motion for adjournment until tomorrow 10 o'clock

in the forenoon.

Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:15 a.m.