Debates of 12 Mar 2009

PRAYERS 11:20 a.m.


PAPERS 11:20 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, can you move the motion?
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I understand that there are a few technical hitches and for that reason we cannot have the Report immediately circulated to Hon Members. In this event, if I may crave your indulgence, we may continue the debate on the motion, that is item number 5, until the Report is made available to Hon Members. So we may start with motion number 5.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, we move to item 5 on the Order Paper.
MOTIONS 11:20 a.m.

Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh) 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am very grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the debate and I am very glad that the Hon Minister for Finance ably moved this motion and gave ground work for us to be able to discuss the issues raised therein.
I want to say that as far as the Budget is concerned, it cannot capture all the words in policy documents that relate to each sector, that is why it must summarise and the only way you can find out whether the Budget is realistic, achievable and the figures would agree, would be when it comes to the implementation. As far as the Local Government sector is concerned and in line with our manifesto for 2008 Elections - [Interruptions] --Budget aims at deepening local level democracy, accelerate decentralisation and facilitate balance and even development of all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
In doing this, there is the need for us after twenty years of practice of decentralization to have a review and during the course of the year, a multiparty stakeholder review meeting would be held. In it all the efforts we have made in the past twenty years to decentralize would
be reviewed. The good steps that have been taken by various governments will be continued and where we have missed the steps, attempts would be made to review them.
In the meantime, what is in the Budget is for us to look at, first of all, operationa- lising the Local Government Service.

We passed a law here in 2003, Act 656 to complement Act 462, which is the Local Government Act. Unfortunately, the operationalisation has been stalled for a number of reasons. One, there have been conflicts in the laws themselves and the last Legislative Instrument that was passed by this House, also further creates conflicts as to austerity and work by each Authority. The Ministry intends therefore, to review this in the short-term to provide a proper legal framework for us to start the operationalisation of the Local Government Service Act.

Madam Speaker, we intend that the composite budget, which is the ultimate thing that we all want to come to this House, will be further improved upon by training, and the Budget has provided for further training of particularly the regional and district planning unit staff; so that hopefully, next year, we should be looking at the possibility of bringing a composite budget proposal to this House.

Each Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDA) will align all the decentralized departments and bring a composite budget for us to approve just like the current national Budget that we do. Instead of sectorally asking one department from the same district to come all the way to Accra for release of funds, all this would be done in a harmonic

manner and for speedy development of our nation.

Madam Speaker, one of the issues that has confronted this nation has been sanitation and again, looking at the statement that the President made here in this House on the state of the nation, steps have been taken to ensure that our cities are cleaner than we came and met them. And this will be further consolidated by a development of Environmental, Sani- tation, Policy and Strategy backed by an action plan and during the course of the year, I believe that Members of this House would be involved in some stakeholder meetings to fine-tune this policy.

Now, we have the issue of School Feeding Programme and that one again, is a very thorny issue because the objectives of the School Feeding Programme have been confused to just mean one hot meal for a student a day. But Madam Speaker, the real purpose of the School Feeding Programme, there were many objectives to be realised. One of them was to ensure that we have food security, we encourage local farmers to produce so that the produce they have is what is used as the local item diet for all the children. If you do so you encourage more farmers, so it covers agriculture. Now you need nutritious food to feed these children and you also require health and nutritionists to support the programme.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, what Order are you coming under?
Mr. Hammond 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, may I with your indulgence, assume that some of those who have been here for 12 years, 16 years and 8 years can fairly go round the -- [Some Hon Members -- No.] -- I can understand when the “Johny Just Comes” are out to perpetually reproduce the Standing Orders and others, but give us some indulgence so that we just explain the point.
There is a point of information. Madam Speaker, I think there is a series of them under Standing Order 92, I think it is -- [Laughter] (a) or (b), I do not have it.
Madam Speaker, the important point that I want to raise with respect to this is, we have known -- [Interruptions] -- We have sorted the question of Standing Order numbers out, you did not hear that one? Presidents come here and Madam Speaker, because of the length of time that they present their speeches they drink some water. Finance Ministers come to this House and again because of the time it takes them, they drink water.
Madam Speaker, for the first time,
for the eight years and about three months that I have been in this House, I am seeing an Hon Member who is just making a contribution and two minutes into his presentation he is drinking water. [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, what is going on, we need to understand. Indeed, Madam Speaker, whether it is parliamentary or it is part of our rules that Members could be drinking water when they are making contributions.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I will continue unless you ask me to sit down for a ruling which is not required at this stage.
Mr. M.K. Jumah 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am rising on Order 93 (4) on the issue of relevance Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister is making references on School Feeding Programme and some audit report and I am wondering how relevant they are to the Budget. If they are, please, make them clear for all of us to know.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
I think they are relevant, can you continue, please?
Mr. Chireh noon
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
As I indicated, the essence is to make sure that we restructure and follow the programme document in terms of putting in place a management that can ensure that the feeding actually takes place and that we get value for the money we are spending on the School Feeding Programme. It is in this light that I am talking about a review; it is not a review of the policy document but looking at the workings of the programme itself, particularly, the way that it was managed.
Of course, if one looked at it, the aim was to make sure deprived areas were selected to benefit. And this is in line with the Free Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme mandated in our Constitution. And because of that, we were to select these schools based on set criteria. Unfortunately, the choices were

Once again, this time round, we are going to ensure that local farmers will be encouraged. They must produce to supply and not the current trend where food items turn to --
Mr. Jumah noon
Madam Speaker, I am rising on Order 91 (b). The Hon Minister is obviously misleading this House. What we know and what has been presented to us is that all schools in Ghana are going to benefit from the School Feeding Programme; not some selected schools. If it is different, he should please clarify.
Mr. Chireh noon
Madam Speaker, the
programme document, which we are working with, has a start off time of 2005 to 2010. Indeed, if he says it is for all schools, why is it that my village school is not part of it? It was not selected -- [Interruptions] -- They were only two schools in my district-- [An Hon Member: Two schools each.] -- No.

Again, the element of ownership of the programme eventually is that it is not that the donors will continue to support us. But that we, as a country, to develop the point where District Assemblies together with all the agencies that are relevant in this programme would be able to take in a sip. And I know that for a fact, a number of

District Assemblies constructed what we called kitchens for various schools.

Madam Speaker, if you look at it, again we have been talking about ensuring decentralisation in terms of operationali- sation in the districts. The 17 decentralised departments were programmed to transfer from the central civil service to the Local Government Service, qualified personnel. And a lot of people have been talking about whether we have the capacity to manage the resources that are going there.

Should we wait until we get the personnel there? No. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government intends to accelerate this process and ensure, once we move resources to the District Assembly level, qualified people will be attracted to move there too.

That means improving on the infrastructure, improving upon schools, hospitals and clinics so that those officers who will work in these districts will also have confidence in their children getting good education and everybody else there getting good health. These are the things that are achievable with this Budget. And we will answer to the manifesto pledge that we made and ensure that come 2020 we will be returned to power -- [Hear! Hear!] And some friends, I am seeing there, will continue to be in opposition.
Mr. Chireh noon

Madam Speaker, one of the key issues of this Budget is about the Common Fund and as usual, we hope that with the revenue improvement measures that we are going to introduce, more money will be obtained and put in the District Assemblies Common Fund for the use of the Government.

Now, a lot of Hon Members have been asking me whether this year, we will have the District Assemblies Common Fund coming for our approval and all that. Yes, it is true. The formula will come. The District Development Fund for the Members of Parliament is a long-term programme that may take -- [Uproar] -- It is not immediate. That means it is not this year -- [Interruptions.] No, it is not this year -- [Uproar] -- Mechanisms and arrangements, either legal or administrative framework has to be put in place for a take-off of that programme.

In the meant ime, the Dis t r ic t Assemblies Common Fund will come as usual and Hon Members will approve it through the normal processes. Of course, we are working very seriously to improve upon the criteria which the formula is determined so that equity will be ensured.

Madam Speaker, this Budget, I have heard people comment about it. Some people said that it is a carbon copy of what they have been reading the past eight years. If it is so, why were they saying that it is sakawa - [Interruptions] - So it means that what we were saying was rather correct. We know that a lot of thoughts had gone into this Budget. I also know that the men and women in the NDC will ensure that there will be a difference and we will achieve the targets set in the Budget.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker noon
The next Hon Member to contribute will be Hon Ernest Debrah.
Mr. Ernest A. Debrah (NPP --Tano North) 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to support the motion by the Hon Minister for Finance, moved on 5th March, 2009 and seconded by the Hon Moses Asaga for the approval of the financial policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December,
Madam Speaker, let me first of all commend the Minister for Finance for the simple language used that made easy reading and easy understanding of the Budget. [Hear! Hear!] I however have a few comments and contributions to make, particularly on the section covering agriculture. My contributions would mainly be in three parts.
The first part would be the generality of the agricultural section, the second would be the target set in the agricultural section and the third would be the seeming shift towards commercial agriculture in Ghana.
Mr. S. K. Obodai 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to seek your guidance, because the practice of this House is that whenever we
are discussing the Budget, the Minister whose Budget is being discussed must be here. The Hon Minister is not here! [Interruptions.] Where is he? The Hon Minister is not here! Because some concerns would be raised which of course he has to address. So the Hon Minister must come. [Interruptions.] The Hon Member for Nabdam, Mr. Moses Asaga is not a Minister. The Hon Asaga is a nomination-reshuffled staff. [Laughter.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister's representatives are here -- [Uproar!] He is in the building. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker, the new Hon Members do not know; over the last 16 years when such Budgets are being discussed, if the Hon Minister is not around the representatives are there, they are taking notes and then there would be the Hansard, on the basis of which he would come and respond. So the new ones should know. There has never been a time that we have had the Hon Minister sitting through all the time, over the last 16 years. So he cannot say that it is a must.
Mr. Obodai 12:10 p.m.
He or his deputy must be here.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe the issue that has been raised by my Hon Colleague is very germane. The Hon Minister or any of the deputies ought to be in attendance. It is indeed true that in the years gone by my Hon Colleagues now on the other side were raising issues whenever the Hon Minister, after the presentation, was not in the Chamber; it is a matter of fact and nobody can dispute that.
But I know and appreciate the difficulty they find themselves in because the deputies have not been sworn in and the Hon Minister has to be in attendance,
maybe to some other business. So it is excusable. But I do not think that it is justifiable under any circumstance to say that the Hon Minister does not need to be present. That is not right. But we understand the difficulty. We may have to live with it for a while. If that is the argument, we understand, but let nobody attempt any justification of it.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, nobody has attempted to justify anything. We are just making statements of fact and I also said, what he said, I said it that the deputies have not been sworn in yet and cannot be here and that is why we have Chief Directors and others out there. That is what I said and I am saying that this is not the first time that we are having this situation.
This is a different time and different situation. The matter of it being wrong is neither here nor there. What I am saying is that nobody is justifying it; the Hon Minister unavoidably cannot be here; he is attending to other matters; he said he would join us very soon. So let us go back to history; we know what we are talking about.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not think that this should be a matter for litigation. Hon Moses Asaga is here, he bears me out that all these years, anytime that the Statement has been presented, a motion has been moved and this House was debating it and the Hon Minister or at least, one of his deputies was not in the Chamber, the matter was raised, which is what my Hon Colleague has just done.
Now, the point being made by my Hon Colleague, the Chief Whip for the Majority that it used to happen in the past, if it was right why were they raising issues? I think this is very commonsensical, Madam Speaker, with respect. So we are saying that it is not right, it is not justifiable.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, the point was raised that it was the convention and the Hon Minority Leader has said that we could carry on considering the difficulties of the deputies not having been sworn in. But I myself find that very soon the Hon Minister would be here because there is a motion standing in his name. But the Hon Minority Leader is saying we should carry on and so let us leave it here, carry on until the Hon Minister appears.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
have a problem with the last intervention by the Hon Member who spoke last. We know that it is “commonsensical”; it is commonsensical, nobody does not have common sense here. The commonsensical should have told him that people were objecting as he rightly said in those days when the Ministers were not here and this time he should also know the context within which this has happened -- [Interruptions] -- that this is a transitional period -- [Uproar!] -- And that is why we have not yet sworn in the Deputy
Ministers; they would have been here.
It is a special situation and I want to appeal to my Hon Friend Mr. Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu that he must mind the way he uses his words. We also understand the language to some extent. Nobody is a master of the language. Paul said even though we think we know, we do not know that much. Nobody is a master of any situation from archeology to zoology. So we must be very careful about the way we use words here. Yesterday it was against the Hon Member for North Tongu, Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey and it was ruled -- that “I want to say that the man is this, but I do not want to say it”, meanwhile he has said it. He knows it.
When you look at Order 93, it is clear; the issues have been clearly stated under Order 93 (2);
“It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blasphemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any other Member or to make personal allusions”.
I take strong exception to the words, “it is commonsensical”.

So Madam Speaker, I want the Hon Minority Leader to withdraw that aspect of his intervention that “it is common- sensical”. I want him to withdraw it.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, is it “commonsensical” he used or “nonsen- sical”?
Mr. E.T. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
He said it is
commonsensical. I am situating my objection in the context within which he made the statement.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member,
“commonsensical”, what is the meaning of it? I am quite sure of “nonsensical” but if it is “commonsensical” --
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think the context in which I used that word should inform anybody and everybody here that it is not offensive, it is not abusive, it is not insulting, it is not in the least blasphemous, it is not unbecoming. Madam Speaker, the point I made in the circumstance, I said, all this while my Hon Colleagues found it convenient to indicate to us that it is important to have the Minister or his deputies, any of them in the Chamber.
All this while they kept insisting and I do recollect that every now and then when the Minister or none of his deputies was in the Chamber we had to make calls to invite them. That is what we did. And I said that if we have to juxtapose the two situations, commonsensically, one would say that, yes, the same thing is now being expected. However, given the cir-cumstances and the exigencies of the times we are prepared to live with the situation where deputies have not been sworn in. So let us tolerate the situation and move on.
If anybody finds anything blas- phemous or imputing improper motives, Madam Speaker, with respect I do not know what that person is talking about. I do not think I have breached these rules; Madam Speaker, interpreting these rules are in your bosom. If you should tell me that I have gone against Order 93 (2) as my Hon Colleague is alleging, I do not find anything untoward about that. But interpreting it lies in your bosom. If you say that I have offended the rules, I am prepared to abide by your ruling.
For now however, Madam Speaker, I believe that I have not gone against any
section. I know my bounds and I have conducted myself accordingly within the confines of the rules and I believe that is what I have just done. Madam Speaker, in the context of usage I do not think that I have breached any rules.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, he has changed the rendition. We can call for the Hansard. What he has just said, if that is what he said, I would not have objected. He has changed the rendition, even the body language, “nobody”. He said “nobody” can justify the actions of the Ministers. It is commonsensical. I am clear of the context. He has changed the rendition. The Hansard office is there. We can call for the Hansard to see the initial rendition. I take strong objection to it.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, I am trying to build up a vocabulary of unparliamentary language and I think you would agree with me, I have not been here long but there are some words which are normally objected to as I come to realize.
Hon E. T. Mensah, your Hon Colleague has shown that he was using this in the terms -- If he has changed the wording it is to tell you the intention with which he used it and I do not think it is that offensive and that you could let it go.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I understand the word very well. [Interruption.] I will not. The Speaker has given me the floor. I have the floor.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
the second rendition is different from the initial rendition on the basis on which I took the objection. If he had said it the way he just said it, nobody would have reacted but the context within which this was said and I am saying that fortunately we have the Hansard office which captured
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Member, considering that he was even helping you -- An objection has been raised to the absence and he was saying that even though it is the convention he appreciates that the man is busy and cannot be here all the time - except that the body language I did not notice that, but the rendition, he has explained the spirit with which he made it. So I will urge you to understand and leave the matter.
Somebody was on his feet. Yes, Hon Debrah?
Mr. Debrah 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, as I said before the “commonsensical” and the “juxtaposition” and other interventions came in, I said although some of the programmes are couched as new initia- tives, they are all existing programmes initiated and implemented by the former Government, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration. And Madam Speaker, with your kind permission, I shall quote a few of the statements to support this and let us refer to page 65, paragraph 278 of the 2009 Budget, the “King James Version” and it is on veterinary and it says:
“Government will institute appro- priate measures to control the incidence and spread of Avian Influenza.”
Madam Speaker, if Hon Members would recall, in 2005/2006 there was Avian Influenza pandemic in South East Asia, in Europe, in Africa and eventually it hit the sub-region, West Africa in 2006, hit Ghana the same year. Before it hit Ghana,
measures were put in place to ensure that it would be under control when it did.
An Avian Influenza Work Group was set up with allied sectors and our development partners. We conducted passive and active surveillance. With the support of USAID we set up a laboratory to detect the virus, so when the virus eventually hit this country, it took us only two months to control it and to stop its spread and in three months Ghana had been declared an Avian Influenza free country.

It was with such an efficiency that the United Nations selected Ghana as a reference learning point for African countries with regard to the control and spread of Avian Influenza. The structures that were put in place are still in place. The group meets every three months, passive surveillance is done everyday and active surveillance is done every six months and report every six months to World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) about the Avian Influenza free state of Ghana.

With all these things, what new measures are needed for the control and spread of Avian Influenza in Ghana?

Again on the same page, the same paragraph, it is stated that:

“The Pong-Tamale and Accra veterinary laboratories will be enhanced to increase the manufacture of poultry and livestock vaccines locally.”

If you go page 61, paragraph 256 of the same Budget Statement and that is under 2008 Performance. The reading -- 256 and it states:

“. . . the Ministry produced 5.3 million doses of ND1-2 vaccine to help control endemic poultry

diseases such as Newcastle in rural poultry. About 122,800 doses of anthrax spore vaccine, 62,400 doses of Black vaccine and 47,000 doses of hemorrhagic septicaemia vaccine at Pong-Tamale to enhance the peri- urban cattle production.”

Let me move from veterinary to irrigation and I want you to move to page

67 --
Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan 12:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Colleague who is the immediate past Minister for Food and Agriculture, who is currently on permanent leave is beginning to mislead the nation. I quite like his interpretation of what is in the Budget but there is no word, “new” in these paragraphs but somehow he always concludes by saying “What new measure” nobody has stated the word “new” -- So if his attitude is to attack “new” it is not there. So I do not understand why he thinks a measure must necessarily be new. He should take that on board.
Mr. Debrah 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, whilst I would have asked him to wait for his turn, I want to say that if they are continuing, they should acknowledge what is there and then say they are going to continue instead of “they are going to enhance”.
On irrigation, I want to refer to page
67, paragraphs 288 and 289 of the Budget. With your permission, I quote:
“The Ministry will rehabilitate 41 dams and dugouts that were breached during the 2007 floods in 72 communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. In addition, the Ministry will complete the rehabilitation of the Tano Irrigation Project.”
Madam Speaker, in 2007 as a result of the floods that occurred in Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, some dugouts and dams were breached. By September 2008 pre-contract arrangements and procedures had been put in place and by December all pre-contract formalities had been completed for the rehabilitation of all these dams. Contract award letters had been awarded to the contractors.
What they are waiting for is advance mobilization, therefore, it can easily be stated that this has already been done. So they cannot now come and say that they shall rehabilitate these dams; because action has already been taken.
Let me finally end up this section by going to the portion that deals with poverty reduction; and I will move to page 285 and that is paragraph 1152 and that is the “almighty” Aveyime Rice Project. Madam Speaker, two weeks ago I said on the floor of this House that the Aveyime Rice Project had been reactivated. We have reactivated by a joint venture between private and public partnership. So as I speak right now, Aveyime Rice Project which is currently known as Bay Volta Limited has been reactivated under private/public partnership management.
Therefore, if they come to say that they are going to reactivate Aveyime Rice Project, I do not know what they are going to reactivate; the reactivated Aveyime Rice
Mr. David Tetteh Assumeng 12:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the former Minister for Food and Agriculture is clearly misleading this country as far as the Aveyime issue is concerned. I was at Aveyime last week. If you see machinery that has been allowed to stay at the mercy of the weather for the past seven years, you will not feel proud to come and stand here and say that that factory, that project has been revived. I am very shocked because the milling machine, the milling plant has been operating ever since.
I do not know whether that is what he is talking about. When one moves forward to the land preparation area, one could see tractors preparing the land. There are tractors preparing the land but I am saying that for him to come and feel proud and bold to say that that project is revived, to me, it is a shame and I want to advise that we should desist -- Because for the past seven years quality machinery, tractors that are big, that can plough very large acreage have been lying down for seven years and he is proud and he is saying it
on the floor today.
Madam Speaker, I think that the former Minister must address himself very well to this issue.
Thank you, very much.
Mr. Debrah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I do

Madam Speaker, all that I was reacting to was that I came to meet the situation, and we have reactivated Aveyime, and the Budget is capturing that Aveyime will be reactivated. And I am saying that it has already been activated.

Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, this is

in line with the thinking of President John Evans Atta Mills when he said in the State of the Nation Address, page two, the last paragraph and I quote:

“We will learn as a Nation to add to what is working, and to change course only when it is in the National interest to do so . . .”

I want to add in my own way that it is also necessary for us to learn as a nation to

acknowledge, appreciate and endorse what is good and what has been done that is good for this country no matter which part of the political lineage one is coming from; that is the beginning of nation building.

Madam Speaker, having said that I want to move to next section that I talked about, and that is targets set in the Budget, and I would refer to page 63, paragraph 266 of the Budget; and it states:

“Food Security and Emergency Preparedness:

Government will increase food produc t ion th rough the in - tensification of production on existing cropped lands for all food crops by expanding the areas under cultivation. Maize and rice production is expected to increase by 42.2 per cent and 22.8 per cent, respectively. The production of groundnuts, cowpea and soyabean are projected to increase by 25.4 per cent, 37.7 per cent and 11.5 per cent, respectively.”

Madam Speaker, if I want to continue; it says:

“Government will encourage farmers to expand the total acreage of cultivation in the areas devoted to maize, rice and groundnuts. The area under maize cultivation is expected to increase by 24 per cent while that under rice and groundnut cultivation are expected to increase by 9 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.”

Madam Speaker, these are very interesting figures. Target setting is not for nothing; targets must be achievable, targets must be challenging and targets must be time bound. This, I do not know whether it is time bound; but since it is 2009 Budget, then we presume that the 45

per cent increase in maize, 22.8 increase in rice are for the 2009 fiscal year.

Madam Speaker, if you look at the current production, and I will talk on maize alone, we produce 1.2 million metric tonnes of maize a year. If we are going to increase by 42 per cent, we are going to have an increase of 506,000 metric tonnes of maize a year. First, you need to prepare the land, and if you are in March and you are talking about 506,000 metric tonnes of maize, additional to what is produced, then I do not know what you are talking of.

You need to also look at planting material; certified seed to plant. Where are you going to get that from, if you have already not projected that into the planting season this year? These are figures that are going to go, not only to the agriculture GDP, but to the national GDP.

Madam Speaker, these figures are unachievable by any standard. They cannot be achieved by any standard. So I think when you are setting targets, you ought to have a critical look at that because you are going to factor this in the agriculture GDP and the national GDP. And as it is right now, I will advise that the Hon Minister goes back to look at these figures with bureaucrats so that in the mid-year review we can have these things corrected; other than that it is going to distort both our agriculture and the national GDP figures.

Madam Speaker, having said that, let

me move to the third point that I wanted to talk about, and that is shift towards commercial agriculture. And I would refer you to page 284, paragraphs 1148 and 1149 -- [Pause] -- and I quote:

“Funding for large scale commercial agriculture has always been the bane of the accelerated development in
Madam Speaker, paragraph 1151, and I quote 12:40 p.m.
“Government will review the current Land Administration Programme (LAP) to include the use of relevant institutions of Government to facilitate the survey, demarcation and registration of agricultural lands free of charge to promote large scale commercial agriculture.”
Madam Speaker, I looked at this and asked myself, are these measures enough to motivate investors to move into commercial agriculture? And the answer my Hon Good Friend would say is, no. [Interruption] -- There are some constraints to large scale commercial agriculture, and these are part of them.
One major constraint is the land acquisition processe itself, not the survey demarcation, but actually acquiring the land. Transaction cost in agriculture, that is both input and output cost, productivity, competitiveness and market access, lack of value addition and post-harvest losses.
Madam Speaker, agriculture is such
that one needs to grow in it. One cannot just move straight one day, and say, I am going to do commercial agriculture. We
therefore, need to faction an effective programme to support small-scale farmers to move into medium scale farming and then finally to large scale farming. And that is something that we need as a nation to do. Madam Speaker, this will surely move agriculture forward.
Madam Speaker, in conclusion,
this Budget does not support small- scale farmers who are the backbone of agriculture in this country.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
on a very light note, the Hon Member recalls that when he was the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture, each time he came here on that subject, I raised this issue of land and the problems that had bedevilled us. I want to know from him where he got to before he left off.
Mr. Debrah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
guess he had all the opportunities as Hon Member of this House to have called me as Hon Minister to answer that question. [Hear! Hear!] I am now on leave for three years, 10 months. When I resume, I will come and answer the question. [Laughter.]
Mr. E.T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
the leave will be for -- maybe more than eight years.
Mr. Debrah 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in-
terestingly the President in his State of the Nation Address made a very nice statement to support small-scale agri- culture.
Madam Speaker, the President said
that in addition to continuing the fertilizer subsidy, Government will put in place farm input systems to small-scale agriculture on credit basis. I did not read that in the Budget and I thought it was so important that it should have been included in the Budget since it was clearly reflected in the
President's State of the Nation Address.

All the programmes that we have, as I said, are old programmes that we are continuing. And as I said, it is in line with the thinking of the President, it is a very healthy development for this country and we will continue with that.

Madam Speaker, with all these things,

I support the motion on the ground that this is a maiden Budget of an incoming Administration and I think we had little time to prepare the Budget. I hope to see a comprehensive Budget where it will incorporate all their manifesto promises as well as new ideas next year.

On that note, I support the motion and urge my Colleagues to do same.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank you, Hon
Member. At this stage I will interrupt the motion No. 5 and move on to motion No. 12 on the Order Paper.
Hon. E. T. Mensah, can you move the
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
motion No. 12 stands in the name of the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee. And therefore, I want to seek your leave to move the motion on his behalf, he is unavoidably absent.
Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
Mr. E. T. Mensah (on behalf of
Chairman of the Committee) 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that notwith- standing the provisions of Standing Order
80 (1) which require that no motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the motion is given and the date on which the motion is moved, the motion for the adoption of the Ninth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nominations for Deputy Ministerial appointments may be moved today.
I beg to move.
Mr. Joseph Y. Chireh 12:50 p.m.
Speaker, I rise to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Ninth Report of the Appointments Committee
Mr. E. T. Mensah (on behalf of
Chairman of the Committee) 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Ninth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's nominations for Deputy Ministerial appointments.
In doing so, Madam Speaker, I wish
to present the Report of the Committee.
1.0 Introduction
His Excellency President J. E. A. Mills communicated to Parliament for prior approval of the nomination of the following persons for appointment as Deputy Ministers pursuant to article 79 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana:
1. Hon Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh -- Deputy Minister-designate for Education
2. Dr. Kwabena Donkor -- Deputy Minister-designate
for Energy
Mr. Asamoah Ofosu 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, fortunately I have not got --
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
He is moving a
Mr. Ofosu 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon
Colleagues here have expressed the same. We do not know what he is talking about. We have not received any Report which we are being urged to adopt.
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
The Report is
Mr. Ofosu 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, but
properly even if the Report were ready we should see it, read it and know the content. But he urges us to adopt a Committee Report we have not seen, we have not read Madam Speaker, with the greatest respect, I think this is most irregular.
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
You will get it. We
will pause for a few minutes for your copy to be served on you.
Mr. Ofosu 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it is
Mr. K. T. Hammond 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
the Hon Member can be very sure in his mind that some of us have already read it and there is no enactment in here which confines him to a mental home or a death warrant or anything. He can read it and the Hon Member can continue and wherever he is not sure we can help.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. If I may continue.
3. Hon Dr. Joseph Annan -- Deputy Minister-designate for Education
4. Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah
-- D e p u t y M i n i s t e r -
designate for Energy.
In accordance with Order 172 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, Madam Speaker, on Tuesday, 24th February 2009 referred the nominations to the Appoint- ments Committee for consideration and report.
The Committee subsequently met and determined modalities for the vetting of the nominees. The names of the nominees were published in the media in accordance with Order 172 (3) and memoranda were invited from the public on the suitability, conduct, experience and capability of the nominees.
Background checks were carried out on the nominees to ensure that they satisfy, among others, the requirements of article 94 of the Constitution. 2.0 Reference Documents
The following documents guided the Committee during deliberations and vetting of the nominees:
1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
2. Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana
3. Curricula Vitae of nominees
4. Reports from security agencies.
5. Reports from revenue agencies.
3.0 Procedure
On appearing before the Committee, nominees took the oath of a witness and answered questions on issues relating to their records of office, the positions to which they have been nominated and
issues of general national concern.
4.0 Observations and Recommendations
4.1 Hon Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh -- Deputy Minister- designate for Education
Hon. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh was born on 25th November 1945. She holds a Diploma in Physical Education from Specialist Training College, Winneba. She joined the Ghana Education Service in 1965 and rose to become an Assistant Director. She is currently the Member of Parliament for Twifu-Atti Morkwaa Constituency. Teachers not Familiar with Local Languages
The nominee said that even though teachers are trained in specific languages for specific regions, some end up in regions other than the ones they were trained for. This situation arises because either the quota for regions has been exhausted or a request for transfer to these regions has been made, among others.
These and other reasons have contributed to teachers being sent to regions where they are not familiar with the language. She however, advised that care should be taken to minimize these situations so that the students benefit from quality teaching of the local languages.
Study Leave
Hon Amoah-Tetteh indicated that it has been realized that a number of teachers pursue similar programmes during their study leave. This, she indicated was not good for the profession as specialty
would be limited to a few programmes. She therefore proposed that study leave should be granted in a way that teachers would be encouraged to pursue variety of programmes. She also advised teachers to undertake distance learning pro-grammes to enhance their skills whilst remaining at post.
Delay in the Payment of Newly Posted Teachers' Salaries
The nominee admitted that newly posted teachers' salaries have often been delayed. She however, attributed part of the problem to the newly posted teachers. She said the newly posted teachers are required to submit their last pay slips to their new region/district of posting which some do not do. Others also report late to the districts thus contributing to delays in the salaries.
She urged newly posted teachers to comply with these directives so that the delays are reduced if not eliminated.
Physical Education
Hon Elizabeth AmoahTetteh said the interest of students in physical education in schools is declining. This is because it is no longer attractive to them. This trend has affected a number of sporting disciplines in the schools.
She promised to discuss this issue with the Hon Minister for Education so as to encourage and motivate students to pursue this discipline. Other sporting activities would also be encouraged.
The Committee, by unanimous decision, recommends the nominee to the House for approval.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.

Deputy Minister-designate for Energy


Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah was born on 10th May, 1966. He graduated from the University of Maryland, USA in 2000 with MSc. Degree in Management. He also holds a B.A. (Hons) Degree in Law and Sociology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Hon. Emmanuel Buah is the Member of Parliament for Ellembele and has worked intensively on ensuring quality service delivery in the postal system in the USA. Extension of Electricity to Rural Schools

Hon Buah informed the Committee that as at now about fifty per ent (50%) of rural communities in Ghana have electricity. He indicated his preparedness to put in the necessary effort to significantly increase the percentage of rural communities that are linked to the national grid. He said he will work in collaboration with other agencies to study the feasibility of extending electricity to rural schools to facilitate learning.

Knowledge in the Energy Sector

The nominee said the fact that he has no formal training in energy will in no way affect his performance. He indicated that most of the problems in the energy sector today have to do with service delivery.

He said he will ensure that energy organizations focus on efficient service delivery. He said he would also collaborate with officials at the Ministry to make the required impact on the energy sector.

Oil Find

Hon Buah said the oil find is for the

entire nation and not for any group of persons. However, communities living within the catchment areas will be faced with a number of challenges associated with oil exploration including health hazards, crime, and urbanization.

It is therefore very important to involve these communities in all forms of decision- making relating to the exploration. He said he will not subscribe to allocation of a percentage of the oil revenue to commu- nities in the catchment areas of the oil find but stressed that there is the need for these communities to be fairly treated in the allocation of resources that will accrue out of the oil exploration.

Equity Ratio in Oil Find

The nominee said Ghana's share in the oil find is so small because investors are into the exploration purely for profit motive. He called on the collaboration and support of all to help protect the interest of the nation.

Tema Oil Refinery (TOR)

Hon Buah attributed the current debt at TOR to managerial inefficiency and smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries. He said he will work in collaboration with the sector Minister and all agencies to inject efficiency into the operation at TOR to help address this issue. Recommendation

The Committee, by unanimous decision, recommends the nominee to the House for approval.

5.0 Conclusion

The Committee has carried out its duty diligently in accordance with the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House with respect to the nominees contained in this report, namely:

1. Hon Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh --Deputy Minister-designate for Education

2. Dr. Kwabena Donkor -- Deputy Minister-designate for


3 . Hon Dr. Joseph Annan -- Deputy Minister-designate for Education

4. Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah -- Deputy Minister-designate for Energy

The Committee has satisfied itself that the above-mentioned nominees have fully met the requirements of the Constitution.

The Committee therefore, respectfully recommends by consensus to the House to adopt this Report and approve the nominees.

Respectfully submitted.
Mr. Moses A. Asaga (NDC) - Nabdam) 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion and then to make a few comments on the nominees who will soon become full Deputy Ministers.
Madam Speaker, as already alluded to by Hon K. T. Hammond, he already saw that all these nominees were very competent and the decision of the Appointments Committee really is by consensus and even as a result of that he asked his Colleague who has not read the Report to relax.
Mr. Hammond 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am so grateful to you. I would be so grateful if facts can be stated as they are. You were in this House and my Hon Colleagues were here. I only indicated to my Hon Good Friends out there that the document had been read and there was no collusion for high tech lynching in there so they should not worry about that.
At no point did I vouch for the credibility or the competence or otherwise of the people who appeared in there. I think this should be recorded. It should not be taken that I said they were all competent. I have my own reasons on the competence or otherwise of the nominees.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Continue, Hon Member.
Mr. Asaga 1 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I take in good faith his response.
But as a good friend who one time had intercourse with me in a hotel, I thought I should acknowledge his presence in the House. [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, these are just jokes between him and me.
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Can we move on now to serious business -- [Pause.] Hon Asaga, can you continue to second the motion.
Mr. Asaga 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on Dr. Joseph Annan, I think he is also well placed to be in the Ministry of Education and I would urge my Hon Colleagues to endorse Dr. Joseph Annan. For our friends, Dr. Donkor and then Hon Armah Kofi Buah, I think that they are also very competent. If you look at the academic -- [Inter-ruption.]
Mr. Hammond 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, a very serious point of order. Madam
Mr. Hammond 1 p.m.

Speaker, I think I heard him quite clearly, that he had intercourse with me in a particular hotel. [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, with respect, there is a history to the use of that word. There was a point in time in this House when we were on that side, I did use a “social or a personal intercourse” in this House and there was hullabaloo in here because they who were then sitting at this side did not understand what I meant by that.

But the way he has used it, it is prone to various interpretations. One might be that I had actually been to a particular hotel. Madam, I am not a very gamesome person or a social vehicle. I do not know the hotel he is talking about. Apart from his House -- No, I have not met him in his House -- [Laughter.] But some other areas -- The area of Parliament, Madam Speaker, we have not had any exclusivity between the two of us. So it should be recorded. I do not know him the way he has described -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Asaga 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank Hon K. T. Hammond for explaining that situation which had to be an energy business discussion in which he used the words, “he had intercourse with Moses Asaga”. So I am only -- But on that day he alluded to the fact that na mo, monte brofo anaa?
Madam Speaker, on a more serious note Hon Dr. Donkor has been in the petroleum sector and he was one time the Chief Executive of Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST) Limited. I have known him from school days when he was in Tamale Secondary School, forms one to five. Again, he was at Labone -- Sixth Form.
He used to play hockey as a hockey goalkeeper and his nickname was “Don King”. He travelled to the UK where he
was conferred with an MBA and Ph.D in Development Policy. As I already mentioned, he used to be the Chief Executive of BOST.
In the last eight years he has also been an advisor on energy to Prof. Mills and to the NDC Party. So I find him very, very competent to be a Deputy Minister for Energy.
On this note, I urge my Hon Colleagues to approve the four nominees.
Question proposed.
Prof. Samuel K. Amoako (NPP -- Akim Abuakwa North) 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I feel compelled to make a few comments in support of the motion because two of the nominees are going to be Deputy Ministers for Education and education happens to be my bread and butter. So I feel compelled to make a few comments as I support the motion.
Madam Speaker, first, a look at Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh, who is a teacher by training, and what she said under study leave. Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I would want to quote: Page 3 of the Report, under “Study Leave”, beginning with the third line:
“This, she indicated was not good for the profession as speciality would be limited to a few pro- grammes.”
She was speaking in connection with teachers being granted study leave.
In the State of the Nation Address by the President, it was mentioned that teachers' study leave would be limited because teachers would be encouraged to do distance learning. And I would want to point out that distance learning has not been very successful because of the level
of our technology. Many teachers who want to get involved with distance learning are not able to do that because they do not have access to the internet. Many of them do not even own television sets.
Secondly, in the President's Address, it was never mentioned, what he intends to do for special education. In this country, they do not make a difference between special education and education for the handicapped. Technically, there is a difference.
When we talk of special education, it means a programme that is specially designed for students who are not physically challenged but who are deficient in their intellectual capacity, that is to say, students with very low IQs. Students who suffer from dyslexia, who for instance, when they see “m” they think it is “w” or when they see “69” they think it is “96” that is different from education for the handicapped.

When we talk of education for the handicapped, we are talking of a programme designed for students who are normal in intellectual capacity but then who face some physical challenges. Madam Speaker, their intelligence quotients (IQs) are normal or above normal but they have physical disabilities, like the deaf and dump, the blind, those who have lost their limps, cripples, et cetera.

Madam Speaker, programmes should be designed separately for physically- challenged students and special education students. I think the Hon Minister and the Hon Deputy Ministers would take note of this and make accommodation for that.

Finally, I want to make a suggestion to the Deputy Ministers who are here. In this country we have 527 senior high schools and we have only 38 training

colleges. Meanwhile, we have graduands who come from the senior high schools who have no jobs. What I want to suggest is that, the Ministry of Education or the Ghana Education Service, should take steps to try and convert some of these senior high schools into training colleges, because those who come out of the training colleges have ready employment.

They come out and they have jobs rather than those who come from the senior high schools and have no jobs and only 10 per cent to 15 per cent find themselves in the tertiary institutions.

So a way to control unemployment is to covert some of these senior high schools into training colleges so that we can solve the perennial problem of shortage of teachers in our basic schools. And I believe that these two, very capable Deputy Ministers-desigate, would take this suggestion very seriously and try to convert some of them -- and I suggest one per region; one senior high school in a region to be converted into a training college would help solve the problem of shortage of teachers in the basic schools.

With these comments, Madam Speaker,

I support the motion.

Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan (NDC

-- Mion): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion in supporting the passage of these three gentlemen and a lady as Deputy Ministers. The four of them were fantastic during the vetting at the Appointments Committee and I particularly liked the intelligent manner in which they responded to technical questions.

Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh in particular is a lady I have known since I was a teenager in secondary school, she had done her work well, I have read
Prof. Samuel K. Amoako (NPP -- Akim Abuakwa North) 1:10 p.m.

Madam Speaker, I was saying I have known Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh when I was a student in the secondary school and -- [Interruptions.] I got to know her when she was already “Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh” in Tamale Training College and I was a student in Ghana Secondary School. So it could not have been any other relationship except a teacher and student relationship.

She is a fantastic woman. She has done her work well and I would not undermine her honesty. She retired on her birthday which is required of many Ghanaians although many people write affidavit to have new dates of birth. But this is a woman who did her work well and retired the very day she was born, sometime in

Dr. A. A. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on a
point of order. Madam Speaker, I think my good friend was going very well except he made this statement that she retired on the very day she was born -- [Laughter.] Maybe she retired on her birthday, she could not have retired the very day she was born. [Laughter.]
Dr. Alhassan 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
thank the Hon Member very much for the correction. Madam Speaker, she retired on her birthday and I think that it is good that such a disciplinarian is going to the Ministry of Education as a Deputy Minister. We could not have had anybody better than her.
Dr. Joseph Annan is a fantastic person. He has had a lot of international experience and I believe that he would bring that to bear on the issues that concern education in the Ministry.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, as already said by the Hon Moses Asaga, is fantastic when it comes to energy issues and I am not surprised that His Excellency the President decided on him to go and deputise. But I would like to make one suggestion in response to a question during the vetting about getting electricity connected to rural schools.
Sometimes the policy is to get electricity to the community, but I think it is important that where the electricity in the community is equally important. It is important that he works hard to help the Ministry engage rural communities, rural educational institutions so that they can have electricity and in the evenings they can also study in the night.
Lastly, on Hon Emmanuel Armah- Kofi Buah, he is very useful. I posed a question and I was very happy about his approach to energy issues in the country. He thinks that it does not have to be only counted in megawatts terms but also in terms of efficient delivery of energy as a service to the citizens of Ghana. I believe that if he goes to the Ministry and enforces that attitude, there would be some improvement in energy delivery to the citizens of this country.
With these few words, Madam Speaker,
I think I support their nomination and they should be passed without any problem.
Madam Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Kyei-Mensah-
Bonsu, do you want to put in a contribution? Because we are closing.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I may want to defer
to allow some of my Hon Colleagues to come in.
Dr. A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I promise you that I would not be too long. Madam Speaker, Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh is an Hon Member of Parliament (MP) I met in this House.
Madam Speaker, I think she is a very humble lady. In fact, she is so humble and she told me that her constituents joke that dem MP yi dee ofra ntama baako pe -- [Laughter.] She is very, very economic in her outfit and sending such a disciplinarian to the Ministry of Education, I think, is a good signal for this country.

Madam Speaker, I want to limit my serious comments to the energy area. In fact, I am really pleased that the President has appointed two deputies this time. Madam Speaker, in my work as a Minister in the then Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning my most difficult Ministry was the Ministry of Energy, not because the Ministers were difficult but the financial requirements of that Ministry is so big that any slight mistake can throw the whole economy off.

In fact, we are told that the deficit was high last year because we had to find almost $500 million to purchase crude oil just so that the Volta River Authority (VRA) can produce energy. People have always thought that such a Ministry should be run by people with expertise in energy. But I disagree. That is why I am glad that the Hon K. T. Hammond who was not in energy went there.

But the combination of a substantive Minister who has experience in energy and Dr. Donkor, who has some experience with Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST), and Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah who went to the University of Maryland and got his degree in management -- but that is way before I left the Maryland area so I know he is a younger brother -- It is a good thing because we need people with serious management experience in that area.

Madam Speaker, we are talking about BOST, we are talking about VRA, we are talking about ECG, we are talking about Tema Oil Refinery (TOR); all the contingent liabilities, the majority of them that cause trouble in the system for us to have off-budgetary expenditures are in that area. And I am so glad that His Excellency is putting two competent people in that Ministry.
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, never-
theless, I can vouch that when it came to the legal work Hon K. T. Hammond used
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.

his legal experience to review thoroughly most of our contracts. Madam Speaker, but when it came to spending, I do not believe that Hon K. T. Hammond was very prudent -- [Laughter.] Nevertheless, he was only a Deputy Minister so the final decision rested on his bosses. But I am convinced that the two deputies will ably assist Dr. Oteng Agyei in that area.

Madam Speaker, finally, I cannot understand why this Committee for every individual says “it is unanimous”, then when it comes to the “Conclusion” they say by “Consensus”. I am surprised. If each one is unanimous, commonsensically the conclusion should be “unanimous.” [Laughter.] So Madam Speaker, I want to advise the Committee members that this should not happen again.

This is about the third time that it has happened. If it is unanimous I think the records should say that it is unanimous so that in the future posterity would know that it was a unanimous recommendation they made.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Except that the
Standing Orders say “consensus”, is it not? The word used is that there should be “consensus”. Anyway, Hon E. T. Mensah, can you just wind up if you have anything to add.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
I want to thank all Hon Members for their contributions.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon. Members,
the House has accordingly approved the
following nominees for appointment as Deputy Ministers in accordance with article 79 (1) of the Constitution; and they are:
Mrs. Elizabeth Amoah-Tetteh -- Deputy Minister for Education
Dr. Joseph Annan -- Deputy Minister for Education
Dr. Kwabena Donkor -- Deputy Minister for Energy
Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah -- Deputy Minister for Energy.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate all nominees, especially the Members of Parliament among us who have received parliamen- tary approval for appointment as Deputy Ministers.
Hon Members, we are m oving back to item 5, that is, continuation of the debate on the Government's Financial Policy. The Hon Member who will speak next is Dr. Alhassan Yakubu.
Government's Financial Policy, 2009
  • [Resumption of debate from column 1558]
    Mr. Asaga 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he said he
    did not see anything new and that there was also no initiative to put money into people's pocket. But if one looks into the Budget, there are so many initiatives
    towards that. Mr. Speaker, the provision of school uniforms by itself alone is going to create so much employment. And it is going to put a lot of money in the pockets of our rural seamstresses. So, that alone by itself is money in people's pocket.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Member for Assin South, you may continue.
    Prof. Fobih 1:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that
    if you are providing 1.6 million children in needy areas with school uniforms or one million - [Interruptions.] Somewhere, sometimes it is 1.6, other times it is one million -- children in needy areas with school uniforms. Remember that parents who were really providing uniforms to these children are not going to provide them and therefore those who work on these uniforms are going to do the same work, this time paid by Government.
    So there is no change in employment, as it were. We can continue on and on, but let me confine myself, in making the justification, as to why I think there is no change and that it is an uninspiring Budget.
    Mr. Speaker, again we are told about the world economic situation which is making it impossible for the Government to really honour its pledge, particularly the promise made by His Excellency the President in the State of the Nation Address. But then, in 2007 when the NPP Government was facing the oil crisis in terms of high prices beyond the normal expectations set by Government, everybody and the whole world was shaken, these same standards were not applied.
    The world economic situation was worse as we saw it and yet reference was
    Prof. Fobih 1:40 p.m.

    not made to that but all that we heard being trumpeted was that there was no money in people's pocket and that the Government should do more to put money in people's pockets.

    This time round, when the fuel price has gone so low and even Government is expected to make reasonable reduction so that people would see the change, what we are seeing is just five per cent reduction which does not translate into cash into people's pockets at all; and rather the private car owners are benefiting because they can now buy more fuel, in simple economic terms. Rather, we see that commercial drivers are gaining, profiting from Government measure because they do not pass this on to the real consumers who are passengers

    Mr. Speaker, for economic measures

    which have social impact, it is really the beneficiary who should benefit, not just the user of the service.
    Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
    I rise on Order 91 (a). The
    Hon Member has made a statement that the reduction in fuel prices is only five per cent which would go to the pockets of very few people. He should not forget that those people, the owners of the vehicles who are going to enjoy are Ghanaians; the taxi drivers are Ghanaians. Is he saying that, that benefit which is going to the owners of vehicles should not be enjoyed by those people? Should not be enjoyed by the trotro drivers and therefore the passengers?
    What informed the decision of the NPP Government in December 2008 to reduce prices of fuel if the reduction would not go to the pockets of Ghanaians? What informed them in reducing the price in December?
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.

    Member, that is not a point of order. Hon Member for Assin South, please continue.
    Prof. Fobih 1:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the point I
    was making is that, the real beneficiaries of the reduction are not really benefiting; it is not reaching them but it is rather reaching the wrong type of persons. They may be Ghanaians, but that is not the purpose, the intentions of the reduction and that is what I am stressing here.
    Mr. Speaker, one thing I specifically find in the education section of the Budget is that, I find strong statements made there very intriguing and I would, with your indulgence, make reference to them on these pages. In the NDC manifesto, pages 10 to 15, it says the new NDC Government will reverse -- and that is the operative words:
    “the four year senior high school duration to three years.”
    Then in the State of the Nation Address, His Excellency the President, Prof. Atta Mills is also noted as saying:
    “. . . I am committed to providing a forum for a very dispassionate discussion on the matter. . .”

    That is the change from four years to three years. Then in the Budget Statement, page 151, paragraph 651, says and I quote:

    “. . . Government will convene an all-party conference on education reform.”

    You can see that the three statements quoted here or made reference to here have two different intentions. In one case, there is a mindset, a mindset which to me started in 1994 when the NDC Government itself set up a 50-member committee and the sub-education committee headed by Prof.

    Ayim made recommendation that the three-year programme was not functional, was not helping the system and that it should be increased to four years.

    The premise of the argument to retain the three-year programme is that there are so many things we have to put in place like infrastructure, quality of teaching and learning, learning materials and so on and so forth and once these things are put in place, then the need for the four-year programme was not necessary. But from 1994 up to 2007 some of these problems are still prevalent with us and how can we continue to sacrifice the lives and future of our young children by not willing to compromise on what is desirable for their development?

    So if the NPP Government has braved it out and refuted the argument that the economy cannot support it and has initiated concrete steps that is ushering us into a very successful four-year programme, which would improve the quality of secondary education in this country, and also have its effects in tertiary education, I do not see how the NDC Government would be still hooked to the 1994 concept that the economy cannot support the four-year programme, therefore let us stay with it.

    Indeed, a Government which is claiming to reduce waste, how can it stop a programme that is in its second year, students are in their second year, textbooks in the core subjects have been provided in all the schools now? We have paid the publishers, the printers and then you are just going to stop this. So what is the waste we are talking about? Indeed, what I consider to be a problem for the NDC Government, is a problem of having a perceptible view of the whole thing.

    The question of no classrooms, no dormitories, no dining halls sufficient to cater for the extra class which would

    be retained during the third year of the programme, is a question of management of space and time, supplemented of course by Government's input of infrastructure as well. But the infrastructure alone is not the solution.

    I challenge them to just convene a

    meeting of all the heads of second-cycle institutions and put this idea before them, just like the universities did when we were moving from the old tradition of instruction to the core-semesters system. We had a good consultancy based on brainstorming and we were able to manage effectively the time and spaces that we had in the universities.

    Do students actually eat in the dining halls throughout the whole day or they just go in for a specific time by the present arrangements, and have their meals and the rest of the hours of the day the whole place is empty and can that place not be used for some other students to also have their meals? Even think of the other spaces for the other activities in the school. Can we not really schedule programmes in such a way that some of these spaces which lie idle during most part of the day, be utilized by some of the students?

    So Mr. Speaker, I am saying that the “no money” or “the economy is weak, we cannot support this until we have built sufficient classrooms” and we are talking about - by our assessment alone, I think by the end of the reform we should be building 18,000 classrooms. Are we saying we have to build all these classrooms if we want to increase the number of classrooms in all the senior high schools before we start the four years? This is not going to be possible. What we should do is make shrewd and manageable arrangement in the system so that the present system can absorb part of the problem and then the rest of the problem which would be left can be handled also by Government. This is my view of it. So if they really want to
    Prof. Fobih 1:50 p.m.

    reduce cost, then it should not necessarily be a reversal of what is in place, moneys that have been put into resources to support the system and then just throw them aside as a waste.

    Mr. Speaker, again, we are told that an

    all party conference would be organized, and I asked myself, education as a social service, is it the preserve only of politicians or political parties? I believe education has its stakeholders and the stakeholders must be allowed and their views must be respected.

    Talk to the average headmaster or headmistress or average parent or average person who cares about education and he would tell you that the four-year programme, which aims at really using the first year to strengthen the academic background in the basic subjects which are the tools for learning at subsequent levels in the first year of the four-year programme, is a laudable idea.

    Talk of children coming from some of the remote junior high schools, sometimes you may not have the full complement of the specialist teachers because at that level the subjects are teacher-taught. They are subject teacher-taught classes. They are not just one teacher in the primary school as you see it but every subject has a specialist teacher, it is supposed to. We may not have the full complement in most of the schools for some time but somehow, some children manage, given the limited resources and the teachers there also try to do their best to help most of these children to at least pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to the point that they qualify to enter senior high schools.

    We are saying that these children, who by dint of hard work and effort, on both the students and teachers, have managed to go through the exams and qualify for senior high schools, when they enter these senior high schools to level up to the so-called advantaged ones who have got good systems in place, let us give them a thorough training in the basic subjects -- science, mathematics, social science and Information Communication Technology (ICT) and then from there they can all spring up.

    Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I can make a reference to one research which was done in 1975 by Prof. Yangman and Engmann. They did a study where in those days the Common Entrance was in place and some of the pupils who were from very poor or the “cyto” type of schools as they used to be called, managed to get into schools like Wesley Girls High School, St. Augustines College and the rest and then when they entered they were tracked; by the third year when they were choosing their subjects, these children who had come from such poor schools were rather doing much, much better than the pupils from the international schools.

    It was found out that after all we should not just use the pass mark of children or pupils to determine whether they should be placed in the Common Entrance selection system and since that time a policy was adopted whereby certain percentage of students were given special privileges in terms of the grade mark.

    I am saying that by the same token, if some students have managed to pass in senior high schools they should be given sufficient good grounding so that every student, regardless of the social background, geographical location or the type of school the child also might have attended they will level up and then develop, perhaps moving on to the other levels. And I can disclose that we were getting to the point where after
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Member, if I may just briefly interrupt you. Hon Members, having regard to the state of business of the House, Sitting will be held beyond the prescribed period in accordance with Standing Order 40 (3). Hon Member, you may please, continue.
    Prof. Fobih 1:50 p.m.
    The 110 resource personnel have already been trained and we are also in the process of retooling the centres and indeed, we even had a review that, for example, the resource centres which were established in the 1990s, there were so many problems which did not make them run efficiently -- conflicts between the resource officer and then the schools in which they were housed because maybe the headmaster or mistress wanted to use the vehicles that were allocated to the school and would not allow it to do its functional duty, or transportation of children from neighbour- hood schools could not be done because of poor arrangement and so on.
    So we are saying that we have already planned that these centres should be rehabilitated and they should rather encourage more science admission in those centres where the schools are housed so that the schools which house these resource centres would be science-biased.
    There would be more admission in science and the other humanities would also have the supplement or the complement. All these are arrangements which are in place and being implemented. So how come it is now going to be started?
    Furthermore, there is talk about
    incentives and motivation to teachers and I would say that just last year, the NPP Government in its move to motivate
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.

    and provide incentives for teachers, we paid GH ¢1,368 million in the form of assistance or subsidy to teachers who were on distance learning at the University of Education, Winneba and University of Cape Coast. So what is new that they are trying to talk about?

    We also again, for the first time in

    Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Ahmed (retd):

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Hon Member is making the presentation as if he was expecting that all the good things which are contained in the Budget should not have been implemented and mentioned. Indeed, if you are expecting that what all the good programmes and plans that you initiated were going to be stopped, I am afraid we are going to continue and enhance these things to the benefit of the Ghanaian children.
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the point
    I am making is, yes, we need to continue something that is good but we also need to acknowledge that we are continuing with something that is good. That is all I am saying but not to give the impression that you are starting everything new and that there is a change by starting something new, when in fact, you are only continuing
    what has already been done.
    So the new things that your change is bringing must be seen and felt by everybody and that is what I am saying that we are not seeing. We are not seeing any change, so if I describe the Budget as “no-change Budget” then it is on this premise that I am making that strong argument.
    I was continuing with the idea that giving incentive and motivation to teachers is not something new. We have done that through the giving of vehicles to District and Regional Directors. As I said, in the history of education in this country, headmasters and headmistresses have never been considered as very important in the management chain. One would expect that the headmaster or headmistress coming to Accra to do official business will have to join tro tro or some passenger vehicle.
    Dr. Jospeh S. Annan 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the Hon Professor did mention throughout his delivery that there is nothing new, there is nothing new. I would like to point out that His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills talked about justifiable continuity. Now, if you are continuing, it is not a matter of wanting something new but coming to do things better.
    I would like to remind our Friends on the other side that when the NDC was in power, as far as senior high school was concerned we built up to 474. They only managed to add 18 to it, so you can say that you are doing, you are doing - We want concrete evidence where you can show that you have done the work. We will support but please, give us a chance, let us implement what we are going to do. We have work ahead of us to do, so please, we are not going to destroy what they have done.
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy
    that my Colleague has acknowledged that the newness that he is talking about is not something really innovative but just continuation of what is on the ground. I am happy that it is done.
    If we are talking about infrastructure, I think our records stand high and tall in the education system, so I will not comment on that.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the
    Hon Professor said something a short while ago which was factually incorrect. The science resource centres were launched by the NDC; Harry Sawyerr was the Minister and we had mobile science centres. All these were allowed to run down over the last eight years and that is why we have put it there that we are coming to reorganize this same and then put it on the wheels that it was and even expand it.
    So it is not correct for him to say that it is something they did that we were talking about. It took them eight years and they did not do anything about it.
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my Colleague is behind in information. He is not up to date because all I am saying is that I am coming from the Ministry and I am telling him that we had started training 110 resource personnel last year. And the mobile system you ran - I think that I will go on to another --
    Finally, I commend the NDC Govern- ment for proposing to intensify enrolment drive and also increase access and the attainment of the universal completion at the primary level through the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme established by the NPP Government. What I am advising is that increasing the Capitation Grant to GH¢4.50 and claiming that they have really increased what we put in place, the GH¢3 by 50 per cent --
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am saying
    that I commend the NDC Government for intensifying in the Budget Statement, enrolment drive, increased access and also having as a vision, the attainment of universal primary completion. We have already reached 88 per cent completion at the primary level now, so if they improve on this, fine. But I am particularly happy that they are using the Capitation Grant system we established as well as the School Feeding Programme to promote this.
    Prof. Fobih 2 p.m.

    My concern is that raising the Capitation Grant from GH¢3 to GH¢4.50 and claiming that they have really increased it by 50 per cent is a misconception. This is because we are considering what the purpose of the Capitation Grant is, what it has to be at the school level so that abuses will not arise there. And I am saying that the GH¢3 that we put in place, the value of it with their 40 per cent inflation of the cedi now, is not the same as the 50 per cent increase of the value.

    The value is not the same so by just adding GH¢1.50 and claiming that they have increased it by 50 per cent and therefore you have done so much to put more value into the Capitation Grant itself is a misnomer. So they should look at it, it is about 10 per cent to 20 per cent real increase in terms of the value that will be in the school system; so this must be considered.

    I am again saying that, since the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme have done so well and we all acknowledge it and want to perpetuate it, by their own pledge and pronouncements, they should be extended as has been said in this House, to all schools, not only needy ones. Because we need to expand the enrolment to all children who are not in school and this is about 12 per cent of Ghanaian children.
    Mr. Avedzi 2:10 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the Hon Member made a statement that in real terms the GH¢3.0 that they were giving to children under the Capitation Grant was actually not GH¢3 in real value because of inflation.; and that if we have increased it to GH¢4.50, the percentage increase is actually not 50 per cent, I heard him clearly.
    I just want to tell him that, then they had in the past deceived Ghanaians that they were giving GH¢3.0; in real terms, it was not GH¢3.0. So the Hon Member should know that by this Government increasing it to GH¢4.50 currently, we have even increased it more than 50 per cent. [Hear! Hear!] -- That is the real terms; because if you were giving GH¢3.0 which value is actually not GH¢3.0, and we have increased it presently to GH¢4.50, our percentage increase is even more than 50 percent. So he should know.
    Prof. Fobih 2:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, what I am
    saying is that, yes, at our time, the inflation was about 20 per cent so it was not really at that GH¢3.0 by last year. But then, if we were increasing it this year in our Budget, we would have done more. We would have taken into account the real value of the GH¢3.0; that is what I am saying. So for them to claim that they have increased the GH¢3.0 they preached about by 50 per cent in value, that is what it should be.
    When they were thinking of providing shoes and uniforms and this and that, I told them that it was not a social welfare, so this is the point I am making, that in the real terms, your increase is not 50 per cent and so take note of it.
    Mr. Speaker, finally, I want to conclude
    my contribution on the Budget by making this statement that, I have seen that all the social arguments in favour of using a four-year programme to improve the system tend not to be listened to by the NDC Government. But I will caution them that His Excellency, the President, himself in his State of the Nation Address -- again on page 2 -- acknowledged that a house that is constantly rebuilding its foundation never reaches completion, let alone occupation.
    So if we continue to rebuild our educa- tional system just for the flimsy point that
    we have rejected it, we are not going to accept it anymore, then we are going to be in trouble. So the principle must be applied. This is because, to me, it is a very important statement made by His Excellency, and we should all go by it and it would help Ghana.
    Mr. David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC
    -- Shai Osudoku): Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief, and I want to cover the areas such as potable water delivery, affordable housing scheme, coastal protection works, introducing Ministry of Environ- ment, Science and Technology and then I will finish up on the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
    Mr. Speaker, I think that we need to
    support this Budget Statement because reading through the Budget, you realize that the Budget is very, very inspiring; it is also very progressive and very, very developmental.
    Mr. Speaker, I am saying so because on water delivery, the Budget has made provision for the construction of a new treatment plant at Akuse, for that matter Natsriku, and I think that this idea must be commended.
    Prof. Kwadwo Amoako 2:10 p.m.
    On a point
    of order. Mr. Speaker, the Hon Member is deceiving -- [Interruption]-- [Some Hon Members: What order? What order?] -- Mr. Speaker, Standing Order 91. Mr. Speaker, the Hon Member is

    just deceiving this House. He is using a terminology which is not known in this House. It is neither in the Budget nor known in this House, and it is also very unpalatable. We would like him to just withdraw that statement; there is no Kufuor gallon in our language, there is no Kufuor gallon in the Budget. And even if there is, these gallons are still in existence and are being used.

    Mr. Speaker, so we would like you to let him withdraw that statement. There is no Kufuor gallon, and please, when talking about Kufuor, he should use the word “President”. He is His Excellency, he is President Kufuor. I would like him to withdraw that statement about the Kufuor gallons.
    Mr. Assumeng 2:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my
    Hon Good Friend over there seems to be a stranger in Ghana because all over the streets of Accra, and all over, these yellow gallons which contain oil, after importing the oil into this country and using it, the next thing to do is to use it to fetch water to our homes. Therefore, the popular name that, that gallon gained is Kufuor gallon.
    However, if you want me to qualify it, then maybe -- what do you want me to say? [Laughter] -- So it is commonly known that that yellow gallon is called Kufuor gallon and that is all. Just as sometime ago, we had the chain, the Rawlings chain that we were saying.
    Mrs. Gifty Kusi 2:10 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I am the Deputy Minority Whip. We are in Parliament and we have language that we use here. Whatever we say here is going to the press, it is going to the Hansard, please. Mr. Speaker, he should withdraw that term that the market women are using. He is not in the market; he is not a market man. He is an Hon Member of this House. [Hear! Hear!] Therefore, he cannot use any statement
    Mr. Assumeng 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, by saying Kufuor gallons, I am not in any way imputing any ill motive; I am not.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Deputy Minority Whip, if you are formally pursuing that line, would you kindly refer to the appropriate Order so that you make your argument in full.
    Mrs. Kusi 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, Order 93 (2) and with your permission I quote:
    “It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blasphemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any other Member or to make personal allusions.”
    Mr. Speaker, Order 94 also says and with your permission I quote 2:20 p.m.
    “If a Member uses objectionable words and on being called to order fails to retract or explain the words and offer an apology to the satisfaction of Mr. Speaker . . .”
    Mr. Speaker, he has used words that this
    side of the House objects to; we object the use of those words. So we are waiting for your ruling.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, popular parlance may vary in so many undertones and sometime ago I
    remember people used to talk about HIPC Junction in very interesting circums- tances. Later it became quite a popular parlance. In the circumstances, the Hon Member may please continue.
    Mr. Assumeng 2:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just as I said, the construction of this new treatment plant will resolve the perennial water problems that are facing the people of Accra, Dodowa, Kodiabe, Doryumu, Ayikuma and its environs.
    Mr. Speaker, I am also happy that the Government of His Excellency President J. E. A. Mills will continue with the affordable housing scheme. So this should be commended because we are all aware that currently we have a shortfall as far as housing is concerned. So by introducing or continuing the housing scheme in areas like Accra, Ho, Sekondi/Takoradi, Sunyani, Cape Coast and Bolgatanga, I think this must be commended.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I was in Ada and I saw the way the tidal waves are disturbing the people of Ada. Mr. Speaker, if you get to the District Assembly in Ada, almost all the roads over there are entering the sea. Therefore, the provision made in the Budget to continue the coastal protection works must be commended by all of us because I believe that this will help resolve the coastal erosion and by this the people of Ada must be grateful to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for this commitment.
    Mr. Justice Joe Appiah 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on Order 91. My good Friend visited Ada yesterday because of these tidal waves. Mr. Speaker, we have the same problem in Keta, why did he not also visit Keta? He chose to visit only Ada; he should give us an answer for that. Tidal
    waves are also all over Keta but he chose to go only to Ada, I do not understand it.
    Mr. Assumeng 2:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I visited Ada because I am the Chairman of the Select Committee on Works and Housing. I was in the House yesterday when an S.O.S. (Save Our Souls) message came that the people of Ada were facing serious coastal problems as far as the tidal waves were concerned. So I had to move together with the Hon Narh Ashong to go and visit the place to get first-hand information and this shows how hard working we are, how serious we are as far as our Committee is concerned. We will, in due course, visit the areas you are talking about, Keta and as far as to Elubo.
    Mr. O. B. Amoah 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order, Order 91. Mr. Speaker, I want to make this very important comment. Yesterday the same statement was made by one Member of this House and today it is being repeated. Indeed, it is false for anybody to stand here to state that because the Ministry was reintegrated then the whole Ministry was scrapped.
    We had Ministry of Science and Technology and Environment all right. And Environment went to Ministry of Local Government and was called Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment; Science
    came to Ministry of Education, and became Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. Does it mean that it was scrapped?
    The impression being created is that he did not have any regard for Science and Technology and for that reason he just abandoned it but that is not true. Indeed, if you look at the budget that we spent, as the Hon Member for Techiman, the Hon Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi said yesterday, the kind of money we spent on science and technology, if you look at this year's Budget, it is nowhere near what the New Patriotic Party (NPP) spent. The figures are there.
    I am not responding to you, I am speaking to Mr. Speaker. So I beg of this Hon Member that everybody is listening, we had Ministry of Education, Science and Sports; we had Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment and because of this we still managed to cater for science and technology. That is the most important thing but I am saying that the budget we allocated to science and technology was far higher than what we have in this Budget for this year.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Assumeng 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my
    Hon Friend has imputed proper motive this time into what I said. This one is not improper, but he has imputed proper motive into what I said because the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology was very, very important to the development of this country. And we think that that Ministry should have been kept because I was a member of that Committee and I saw how we suffered.
    We had no Minister, so we were torn in-between two Ministries. We were going to the Ministry of Local Government,
    Mr. Addai-Nimo 2:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, Order 91. Mr. Speaker, in the past eight years the Hon Member was not the President of this country. Perhaps, if he were the President of this country, he could have decided to align or realign the Ministries that he chose to set up for the governance of this country. If ex-President Kufuor decided to add science and technology to the Ministry of Education, I believe that the Constitution of this Republic permitted him to do so.
    If this Administration has decided to have a Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, that is the prerogative of President J. E. A. Mills and therefore the Hon Member should not attempt to malign what ex-President Kufuor did in his Administration.
    As it has been stated in budgetary terms the amount of money that was voted for science and technology is nowhere matched by what has been budgeted for in this year's Budget. And therefore, I want my Hon Member to know this.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Assumeng 2:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my Hon Friend, his time is not yet and he is anxious to, maybe, speak for people to know that he is there, otherwise, he would have kept quiet for me to finish.
    Mr. Speaker, as we were saying, science is very important for the development of every nation, so showing commitment to that shows that the NDC is committed to science as the basis of development.
    I also want to commend the Govern- ment for the continuation of the National Youth Employment Programme which, this time round, is going to be under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This must be commended because I think that the National Youth Council that has been established as a statutory body would now take full control over that activity thereby making sure that the youth of this country are gainfully employed. Mr. Speaker, I believe that this would be done irrespective of any political colour.
    This Budget is really a Budget of hope;
    it is a Budget that can best be described as pro-poor and I believe that the people of my constituency would be very grateful because agriculture would be revamped; irrigation would be extended and the Kpong Irrigation Project would now see the light of day.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to wind up, but finally I think that we must also commend the Government for the provision of exercise books to schools. This must be commended. If there is anyone of us here who would not support this Budget, I believe that that person should rethink because I believe that this is a Budget of hope, a Budget that would bring development to our country.
    On this note, I want to urge all Hon Members in this House to continue to speak in favour of this Budget, describe
    it as developmental, and support it at the end of the day.
    Thank you and God bless you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    The last
    contributor would be Hon Gifty Ohene- Konadu, Member for Asante-Akim South.
    Mrs. Gifty Ohene-Konadu (NPP -- Asante-Akim South) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my voice to that of my Hon Colleagues in support of the Budget Statement which is also the economic policy for the year 2009 financial year. In doing so I want to raise a few gender issues.
    Mr. Speaker, it is gratifying to note that the present Administration has decided to continue some of the good works started by the previous Administration, which is the NPP Government. And one of such initiatives is the LEAP. The LEAP provides a very essential safety net for households which are poor and the statement that the Government will extend the emergency fund from 15,000 to 35,000 shows more than 100 per cent increase in the target beneficiaries and this will go a long way to bring the LEAP to many more deprived households. We expect that women would benefit from this initiative but it is not very clear whether women would benefit from this. And we expect at the end of the implementation that the data would be disaggregated so that we know exactly how many women are benefiting from this programme.
    The Government has also shown commitment to gender parity and has stated that it would support initiatives that are aimed to achieve the Millennium Development Index.
    Mr. Speaker, it stated that it would support initiatives to achieve the millennium development goals through material and also financial support and among others, it is stated that needy girls would also benefit from such supports. [Interruption.] I am referring to my notes. Such supports should target girls in their towns and villages of origin and should also focus on providing them with employable skills to prevent them from migrating to the big towns and cities where they are socially exploited and usually consigned to the fringes of society as either commercial sex workers or at best kayayei.
    Mr. Speaker, again, gender main- streaming is another area that the Government is committed to pursuing and in particular in the health sector. This sector is very important and building gender sensitivity into all facilities and also giving the needed training to the health workers will enable them to provide quality health care.
    Also, the Government's decision to provide all staff of the various MDAs with gender sensitive responsive skills in gender budgeting and planning and implementation by extending this training programme from the current three MDAs to 12 MDAs certainly, is an improvement and should be speeded up.
    Mr. Speaker, when you look at the large number of MDAs, the challenge then is how fast such an important issue of gender mainstreaming can be carried out to ensure that all units in formulating and implementing policies of governments are conscious of the gender needs of our society. When indeed Government is able to train 12 MDAs, it will ensure that policies are balanced and no one section of the society will feel left out and neglected.
    Mr. Speaker, my last comment relates to women's political participation. For an
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, from the Leadership point I am advised that item 6 on the Order Paper is not ready as part of the business for today.
    Mr. John T. Akologu 2:30 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is true. Mr. Speaker, we have come to the end of the business for today, so I would therefore appeal to you to adjourn the House. Before then however, Mr. Speaker, I want to crave the indulgence of Hon Members to stay back after adjournment for what we have now termed, “joint caucus meeting” for some
    Those who have been slated to travel to Nadowli in the Upper West Region to support the Leader of the House to bury his mother are reminded to prepare and leave at dawn tomorrow - those who would be going by the bus. They would report here and leave. Those who are going on their own too should see the Clerks-at-Table, they would direct them as to what to do.
    With this, Mr. Speaker, the business of the day has come to an end and your directives are needed.
  • The House was adjourned at 2.40 p.m. till 13th March, 2009, at 10.00 a.m.