Debates of 17 Mar 2009

PRAYERS 11 a.m.


Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, I have received communication from His Excellency the President, if I may read it. It is dated,
“12th March, 2009






OF GHANA 11 a.m.




PAPERS 11 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Item (5); Hon Members, we now continue with the debate on the motion to approve the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2009 moved by the Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor on Thursday, 5th March, 2009 and seconded by Mr. Moses Asaga on Tuesday, 10th March, 2009.
MOTIONS 11 a.m.

Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang (NPP -- New Juaben North) 11 a.m.
Madam Speaker, sincerest thanks for your recognition.
I want to make a short intervention and I am coming from the angle of what His
Excellency the President said in column 480, paragraph (2) of the Hansard of 19th of February and with your permission, I quote:
“Madam Speaker, I would like to appeal to Hon Members to join me in managing the economy during this difficult time.”
Earlier, H.E. the President had made reference to the difficult situation that the whole world was going through and that the financial meltdown could defy logic and economic rationality.
Madam Speaker, furthermore, if you go to column 481, H.E. the President says,
“. . . let me talk about the private sector. The men and women in the private sector, formal and informal
. . .”
And he goes on to indicate the fact that the private sector is going to be given a very major role to play in the economy as is the practice in modern times with the demise of communism and the rest.
Madam Speaker, so I speak from the point of view of the private sector, the privilege of which I had to participate as well as coming from the public sector where I have almost spent the greater part of my life.
Madam Speaker, my difficulty has been the fact that a few red flags must be raised so that we know precisely where we are going in line with what H.E. the President has asked us to do. So my comments must be seen in that light as positive and as designed to assist in that.
Furthermore, Madam Speaker, in the Daily Graphic of the 13th of March, “Economy gets thumps up”. This is a survey of 519 Chief Executive Officers
(CEOs) of the big companies which came as a result of what we call the Business Climate Survey that normally the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) undertakes. The cumulative effect of all these events also says that the outlook for 2009 is also quite positive, which is very exciting.
Madam Speaker, but there are few
things that are bothering me. For example, before the Budget was read -- and I have made this point elsewhere -- the prime rate was raised from 17 per cent to 18.5 per cent. Madam Speaker, in the present environment, globally, I do not know of any country where the prime rate has gone up instead of coming down. Indeed, in the United States of America it is between 0 per cent and 0.25 per cent, in the United Kingdom it is also by 1 per cent.
Madam Speaker, the prime rate indicates the confidence that the Central Bank has for the future; it predicts the future. And if we are to go by that understanding, then obviously we have a difficulty in understanding the raison d'etre why the prime rate should have gone up. In the worst case scenario, I think it should have come down.
Madam Speaker, there are other instruments of monetary policy that can be used but reading through the Budget, one sees that the effort of the Government may not necessarily be assisted by the increase in the prime rate. Madam Speaker, if we have a prime rate of 18. 5 per cent then we are speculating that we have a lending rate of over 30 per cent.
Madam Speaker, under the circum- stances, no private business can thrive if the prime rate is 18.5 per cent and for that matter the base rate is in some instances 29 per cent and 31 per cent or 35 per cent, with some lending institutions. There are other instruments for checking inflation
Mr. Moses Asaga 11 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I would not want to interrupt in this debate because I was one of the people who said we should allow people a free flow. Madam Speaker, but he mentioned the United States of America and United Kingdom where prime rates had gone down. The correction to that point is that they are experiencing a disinflation and we are experiencing an increase in inflation, so the comparison was not correct.
In inflationary periods, then the monetary tool is to raise the prime rate; the only reason why they are drilling down their prime rate is because their inflation is going down and they want to boost consumption there; so the comparison he is making is what I think is incorrect and misleading.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe that we have all been learning economics and it seems Mr. Asaga's interpretation is quite worrying. Madam Speaker, as far as I know, when an economy is heated, that is where you begin to raise the prime rate. But when an economy is in distress and feeble you do not do that; there are other means. He is going to quote for me -- [Interruptions] -- They are just diverting my attention.
Maybe, he is going to quote for me what happened in the far east. When there was the crisis in the Asian Tigers they went the unorthodox way and I want to suggest that that is not the way to go.
Madam Speaker, as I said, Friedman said that with inflation goes un-employment, he later on expatiated on it. So he cannot tell me that under the circumstances, that was the way to go. There seems to be a decoupling, a disconnection between the monetary policy and the fiscal policy,
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11 a.m.

Madam Speaker, as I said, the cost of business has become so difficult to the extent that the business survey indicated that their main concern is the high cost of credit and the high level of taxation, inflation, exchange rate and transportation. Madam Speaker, as I speak now, I have it on authority that a whole lot of things are happening because of the basics for the economy and the way that it is shaking, so to speak.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang is someone who will always ask for evidence and issue of mentioning names. He said he

Madam Speaker, he should mention the four; if I have mentioned one as Sikelele then he should mention the four that he has on authority.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my brother-in-law wants to know how much we are worth so that he can take it from the wife but that is not going to happen because banking is secret.
But Madam Speaker, on a very serious note, I think these are real. What I am saying is positively directed. Madam Speaker, if the prime rate is 18.5 per cent, I cannot, for the life of me, see how the base rates of banks could be made 29 per cent and then subsequently 29 plus 1 or plus 2 or plus 3. And what it has set to do is to make sure that the cost of doing business goes up.
That means that there can be no investment within the economy; the investment would go down and Madam Speaker, it would also mean therefore, that unemployment would go up. That is why I am saying that there is a disconnection between the two.
Madam Speaker, Ghana is following the example of the United Kingdom (UK). Madam Speaker, in the UK, the Monetary Policy Commission deliberations are all done in the open, not only the press releases are put down. So in this instance, we need to know what informed the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise the rate the way they did it.
Madam Speaker, the banks, as I say, are not poor. Again, the distinguished Minister for Finance answered to me that he believed that what I called the fat cards, that is the salaries in the banking sector are quite high because of the shortage of
Mr Owusu-Agyemang 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not know why the Hon E. T. Mensah is standing up -- [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
He wanted to catch my eye.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am helping to understand that there should be closer collaboration between fiscal policy and monetary policy and I believe that he cannot tell me that --[Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Honestly, you have caught my eye now. [Interruptions.] What Order are you standing on?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor is being too speculative and he is comparing konkonte, courtesy Asa Bee, with rice. Madam Speaker, he is talking about advanced countries. What this means is that he is comparing UK, the USA with a third- world country like Ghana and when it comes down he is being too speculative.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon E. T. Mensah,
are you seeking a point of elucidation? Because if you are, this is not the way you are to go about it.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am seeking point of elucidation because he is making references to points that he is not elucidating. [Interruptions.]
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon E. T. Mensah is well versed in sports not in economics. [Laughter.] He does not know that sometimes we have to make comparisons. Madam Speaker, the point that I was making, which does not seem to have gone down well with him is that -- [Inter- ruption] -- Ghana is not an island so when most countries in the world are trying to put up economic and stimulus packages, we cannot go to a situation whereby -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Osei-Prempeh 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, Hon E. T. Mensah said something which is going into the records. He said “konkonte courtesy Asa Bee”. Madam Speaker, what does “konkonte, courtesy Asa Bee” mean? [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, we should be serious. Madam Speaker, it is very unparliamentary and it should not be part of the records. Madam Speaker, I beg to say that it must be expunged from the records; there is no need for that.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I assume you have made a ruling on the submission by the distinguished Member for Nsuta-Kwamang-Beposo (Mr. Osei-Prempeh).
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Then I will let him explain himself because I am not too sure of what he is saying.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, Hon Asamoah-Boateng, a.k.a. Asa Bee, was a former Minister for Information
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, just as a point of reference for my good Friend out there, in the Budget, there is a section on “World Economic Outlook and Development”, if the Hon E. T. Mensah would listen, then he would understand that we have to situate Ghana's economy within the context of the world economy.
Madam Speaker, because of the
shortage of time, the point that I am making is that it is about time we got a financial services regulatory authority in this country. It is about time we got a financial ombudsman in this country. Madam Speaker, let me tell you my personal experience. I put my money in a 90-day deposit and I was told that I was going to get 19 to 20 per cent per annum (p.a.) or whatever it was. And then finally when I found out after about the 180 days, they were giving me only 5 per cent per annum and if you divide that by 40, I was getting 1 per cent. Madam Speaker, 1 per cent when your base rate is 29 per cent? That is daylight robbery!
So it is about time we got a financial services authority and a financial ombudsman as they have in the United Kingdom (UK). If we are following a system, we either follow it properly and fully or we do not. As it is now, the average Ghanaian, the average business person is not protected from the banks.

Madam Speaker, it cannot be the case that in UK -- Elsewhere in Malaysia,

Madam Speaker, what is most important is that at the end of the day because the cost of borrowing is so high, if we borrow at 32-33 per cent production will go down, there would be unemployment and that would completely throw this Budget out of the window because we would not have created any jobs; inflation would go up, the exchange rate would also suffer and that is what is happening now on a daily basis. Inflation last month, was nineteen point something; this month it is twenty point something. Again, the exchange rate was 1.1-1.2; now it is almost 1.4.

So the point that we are making is that in the spirit of what H.E. President J. E. A. Mills said, in the spirit of what the distinguished Dr. Duffuor said, it is about time that the disconnect between fiscal policy and monetary policy was taken care of. And all this hush, hush -- business where nobody knows what is happening should also be done away with.

On the Monetary Policy Committee, it is all Bank of Ghana employees and one or two other people. Where is the private sector to articulate the concerns of the private sector? And there we are, President Mills and Dr. Duffuor are all saying that we want to make sure that we grow the private sector. We cannot grow the private sector this way. And so I think that for me, personally, the Government should take urgent steps and set up this financial services regulatory authority and

the Ombudsman so that they would then justify why there is a 12 per cent difference between all these things.

Madam Speaker, based on this, I would like to support the motion and to say that I hope that the Government would take due cognisance of all these points and the other points that have been made by Colleagues on both sides of the aisle and at the end of the day, make sure that we are not overtaken by events.

We have been forewarned; we know what is happening in most economies and if we bury our heads in the sand like ostriches and think that, as my Friend said, this is Ghana, that is UK -- Economics is economics; it does not change anywhere. The circumstances may be different but at the end of the day, it is a matter of adjusting whatever measures we take. I believe that if we do that and we put our heads together, as demanded by H.E. the President, we shall move this nation forward.

Madam Speaker, on that note I beg to support the motion.
Mr. Simon E. Asimah (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to contribute to the motion which has been moved in this House and also the Budget Statement and Economic Policy that were presented by the Hon Dr. Kwabena Duffuor on the authority of the President of Ghana, H.E. President John Evans Atta Mills.
Madam Speaker, when this Budget was presented I took keen interest on the water component and I must say that the budget on the water component is realistic, it is achievable and it is people- centred. Madam Speaker, it is derived
from the democratic principles of the NDC Government and also based on the manifesto that was presented to the people of Ghana for which we are in power today.
Madam Speaker, I want to say that over the past eight years water delivery in this country has not seen much improvement.
Mr. Asimah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I know the Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, who was one-time the Minister for Works and Housing would have something to say. I can see him standing -- [Laughter.] But I want to say that I am not going to yield. Madam Speaker, this morning when I was driving down from the Spintex Road, Baatsonaa, I saw about 35 women -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, shall I take a point of order? Yes, Hon Member?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, this young man who used to be my employee is misleading the country. Madam Speaker, he knows that the urban water coverage moved from 31 per cent to 58 per cent in three years.

Madam Speaker, in the last four years the coverage of water in this country is unprecedented to the extent that the World Bank has said that that is one sector that we shall need the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). He is misleading the House. He knows it very well because he was an employee of Community Water and
Mr. Asimah 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I just want to give a little bit of statistics. But before I do that let me say that all that he is saying that water has improved can be seen on the streets of Accra where the Kufuor gallon is the order of the day. [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker, coming from my house to this august House I counted about 45 women and children carrying the yellow gallons. It is a clear indication that water supply to Greater Accra communities including Accra itself is so porous. Today, I can say that water is not flowing through the taps of many people in Accra.
Madam Speaker, I want to continue by saying that between 2000 and 2008 these are the coverage figures and I took them from the Community Water and Sanitation Statistics. You know I worked over there so I have the facts. Madam Speaker, in 2000 when we were leaving power, water coverage in small towns and small communities was 41 per cent; 2001 it was 41 per cent again, no movement; 2002 -- 41.28 per cent; 2003 -- 46.4 per cent; 2004 -- 51.7 per cent; 2005 -- 52.0 per cent; 2006 -- 52.9 per cent; 2007 -- 54.86 per cent.
Dr. A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague, a former employee of the CWSA, is he recounting the work that he did there and therefore he did not do any job that is why the numbers are not going up? Is that what he is saying? Is it a reflection of his performance? Madam Speaker, if it is a reflection of his performance then all the raises in salary he got as an employee ought to be taken back.
Mr. Asimah 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. I must put on record that before an employee can contribute to the development of this country, it depends on the attitude of Government. Madam Speaker, if one looks at this document that has been presented by this Government for approval, one will see clearly that the target that has been set will move forward the percentage coverage of water supply in the country. A quick analysis that I did reveals that come the end of 2009 we will be covering -- [Pause.]
Mr. Justice J. Appiah 11:40 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member should withdraw the words Kufuor gallon; it is unacceptable and unparlia-mentary. He should withdraw it right now. Madam Speaker, we do not accept that; it is unparliamentary to say Kufuor gallon; he should withdraw it. [Uproar.]
Mr. Asimah 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, it is
very pathetic that in this century of ours Ghana is the second to a war-torn country with cases of guinea worm infection. [Some Hon Members: Oh!] It is very pathetic. And Madam Speaker, I want to say that the analysis that I carried out with the Budget that has been presented, it showed clearly that 900,000 people will benefit from water and sanitation facilities at the end of 2009.
Madam Speaker, if you look at this document, you will even be more impressed to say that -- and I beg to quote from page 283, paragraph 1145:
“The five per cent contribution to the cost of water projects funded by donors and Government by District Assemblies and commu-nities will be abolished.”
Madam Speaker, this statement in this Budget is very, very laudable because it has actually made it very, very difficult for rural communities to get access to water.
For sanitation, there was nothing to write home about under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration. Sanitation coverage has been terribly low and there is nothing to write home about. We can all see, towards the end of last year the number of guinea worm cases, the number of cholera that hit this nation of ours and it was under the administration of the NPP Government. Madam Cecilia is standing up and she was also a contributory factor.
Ms. Cecilia A. Dapaah 11:40 a.m.
I am raising a point of order under Order 92. He is misleading this House.
Madam Speaker, this Hon Gentleman, apart from being a former Regional Manager -- I was also the Minister of State in charge of Water. I wish to challenge all his figures. He is seriously misleading Ghana and most especially this House. I do not see his problem. All the lists given in the Budget have been started by the NPP Government -- [Uproar] -- The water situation in Accra, as he is talking about, yes, it exists; but we have made serious interventions.
The east-west interconnection was done by the previous Government at a cost of $32 million. He is aware of it. He was in charge of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) as a Regional Manager. He should look into the Budget and tell us what his Government is going to add to what we have done.
In our interventions, we would make our Hon Colleagues aware of what is going on in the water sector. But he should not, and I wish to repeat with your kind permission, he should not mislead this House. He is a new Hon Colleague and he should learn to give us only the facts and nothing but the facts.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Asimah 11:40 a.m.
I think this book is what I am quoting from. I have made the analysis and I have said that come the end of 2009, we will be able to supply 900,000 people -- [Interruptions] -- Look, I know the standard that I used. That is what I am saying. If one looked at the target in the Budget Statement and one translates them using the standard, one will arrive at 900,000 people to be served. They will never be able to do it because I have worked there.
Madam Speaker, I want to conclude by
saying that the removal of the five per cent on water supply is a laudable idea and the Government must be commended.
Dr. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am really amazed at the former Regional Manager of CWSA, a former employee of that Ministry. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I want to read from page 102 of the same document that he is holding. And this is the report given to us by the Hon Minister. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I read:
“. . . At the end of 2007, coverage of rural water projects was at 54.86 per cent as against the expected 54.76
Mr. Asimah 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thanks so much for the intervention. I know these are meant to draw my attention and to confuse me, but I will never be confused. Madam Speaker, though I am a new Member of Parliament, I have the facts.
Madam Speaker, I want to say that if you look at the rehabilitation and expansion work that is contained in the Budget Statement, then there is nothing but to say that this Budget must be approved by all Hon Members herein gathered.
Madam Speaker, I believe that if we all approve this Budget, it is going to benefit all of us. Before coming here this morning, they all took their bath, they all drank water and they all did something with water and that is why we need to approve this Budget.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Dr. Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP - Manhyia) 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you for your kind permission for me to contribute
to this year's Budget debate.
It is interesting that the Budget read in this House can have such a contrasting label - Sakawa or better Budget. I can understand my Hon Colleagues from the other side calling it a better Budget, because all the ideas, 95 per cent, were carried on from the NPP Govern-ment. [Hear! Hear!] We believe that it is a Sakawa Budget because what they promised Ghana, as reflected in the President's State of the Nation Address, is not what they delivered in their Budget. They promised no new taxes and have raised airport tax. They promised no new taxes and have increased or restored taxes on rice, yellow maize and oil. No wonder, when one goes to the market, prices of everything are already skyrocketing.
Madam Speaker, they have already capitulated on a number of their economic indicators. They have promised in their manifesto that, at least, there will be eight per cent growth rate per year; they have already decided on 5.9 per cent. No wonder in their estimation, it will be in the year 2020 before Ghana attains the middle level income country where we wanted to take Ghana in 2015.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I rise on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I have with me here the Budget Statement which was ably presented by the Hon Minister for Finance on behalf of His Excellency the President.
My Hon Colleague preceded his statement by saying that this Budget is labelled Sakawa. Madam Speaker, there is no label on this Budget. Madam Speaker, he is free to give it his own personal
description; but that he should say so that this is his description of the Budget. But to say that this Budget has been so labelled as a Sakawa Budget, in my strongest view, is misleading and inaccurate, and therefore, he should be kind enough to take ownership of the labelling Sakawa, and proceed to deal with the Budget Statement.
Madam Speaker, I thank you.
Dr. Prempeh 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I will proceed to treat what my Hon Friend said; if he listened carefully, I will just want to brush it aside because I said, in this House, it is interesting that a Budget presented had been labelled by both sides differently; so I will go on.

Pay certificated teachers, an allowance of 15 per cent, broken; [Some Hon Members: Five.] -- Pay hardship allowance to teachers, broken; [Some Hon Members: Six.] Pay hardship allowance to certificated vocational and technical schools, broken; [Some Hon Members: Seven.] -- Expand school feeding programme to all, broken; [Some Hon Members: Eight.] -- Consult chiefs and traditional authorities in the appointment of the 30 per cent of District Assemblies, broken; [Some Hon Members: Nine.] -- Provide free insecticide-treated net -- [Interruption.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order.
Madam Speaker, my nephew is misleading this House. He is aware that President
Mills' Government is only two months and nine days old -- [Interruption] -- two months, what do you expect?
Madam Speaker, he also made a point that we are restoring taxes on rice, cooking oil, maize and yellow corn. He is aware as an Hon Member of this House that we are not taking it. It came on the Order Paper, it has been stood down and it is not going to come again. [Interruption.] So he cannot say that we have introduced -- [Interruption.]He said we had in-troduced it. We have not introduced it.
Madam Speaker, he also indicated that 2020 is too far away, and he feels that we can be a middle income country in 2015. He is aware as I do; look at the middle income countries; when people cannot get water to drink even in Accra. When our roads are so bad in this country; when in our universities, we have one thousand people at a lecture, do you think that we can get -- [Interruption] - We are being realistic by getting it to 2020.
Dr. Prempeh 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to proceed. Free insecticide- treated nets for all school children; all children under five years, promised in the page 75 of their manifesto, broken.
Madam Speaker, but more importantly, the NDC claims they are social democrats, and I was reading through the Budget Statement to find what are their intervention policies in this country to help the poor, the vulnerable, mothers and children.
Madam Speaker, they come from a tradition of “cash and carry”. We come from a tradition of National Health Insurance. [Interruption.] We established the School Feeding Programme, they have truncated it. We instituted the Supplementary Nutritional Programme for mothers, children and severely mal- nourished and school children; they are not

expanding it. We introduced the Capitation Grant; they are increasing it by a mere 50 per cent.

We introduced the free bus rides; we have heard nothing on it in this Budget. We introduced the delinking of parents and children from National Health Insurance, and we have not heard anything -- [Interruption] -- We introduced the free anti-retroviral system, and we have not heard any expansion. Madam Speaker, we introduced the Livelihood Empowerment Programme for the very vulnerable; all we hear is nothing.

Madam Speaker, for the first time in the history of this country, polio is eradicated. What do we hear from them? Nothing. Guinea worm in the whole world has been reduced in one single year by 84 per cent to less than 300 cases. Madam Speaker, why was it so? It was so because we abolished the five per cent that they are claiming now to be theirs, on all the communities that had guinea worm, we did not require them to pay five per cent before we provided borehole water.

Madam Speaker, that is an intervention policy of a good government, of a caring government, of a listening government and of a welfare government -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Not a government that promises to reduce taxes and increases taxes. [Hear! Hear!]

Madam Speaker, I want to talk about safe water because without safe water there cannot be any good health because most of our disease morbidity is water- related. In their Budget, they claim they are going to eradicate malaria, maybe, the advisors of the Budget went somewhere in Cuba to take this advice. Ghana is not a land, locked country; on a windless day the mosquito travels five kilometres, on a windy day it travels 25 kilometres; so when they tell us that they are going to

treat all people in Greater Accra Region with drugs to eradicate malaria, where did they get this advice from? This advice is bogus and fraudulent, to quote my Hon Friend.

Nii Amasah Namoale: On a point of

order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading the House. He said they introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, the National Health Insurance Scheme was introduced by the NDC -- [Uproar] -- We had the pilot projects. Madam Speaker, he is saying promises broken; we did not break any promise. Madam Speaker, at the hospitals, we brought “cash and carry”, yes, but as at that time, the cash and carry helped the country. Madam Speaker, pregnant women, children under five years of age were going to the hospital free.

Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is misleading this House, because as at the time we came into government, children were sitting under trees learning, in Greater Accra Region. When we left government, guinea worm eradication, we were the second best in Africa. When they came to power, they left with us being the last but one, apart from Sudan, a war-torn country. We were competing with Sudan at the last position.

Madam Speaker, the Hon Member should come again, and he should stop misleading this country, stop misleading this House, stop misleading himself.

Madam Speaker, thank you.
Dr. Prempeh noon
Madam Speaker, that is
yet again another obstrucification, this is yet again an Hon Member who has got up, not having anything to say, just wanting
us to hear his voice. He is not listening to what I am saying.

Madam Speaker, he claims they started the National Health Insurance Scheme. The first committee that was established in this country to start preparation for the National Health System was chaired by the most distinguished Ghanaian, called Prof. Konutey Ahulu and that was in 1970. Where was Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), National Democratic Congress (NDC)? Get your facts right.

Madam Speaker, it is very instructive to hear an Hon Member talking about safe water and talking about having about one thousand, three hundred boreholes. I have it on record, the same water provision in this country. I am not going to take the year as he was trying to deceive us; I am going to take the period between 1994 and 2000. The boreholes that were provided by the Government that was in charge of the country was only 3,804. Between 2001 and 2006 -- 8,191 boreholes were provided. [Interruptions.] That is a period.

Madam Speaker, I would like to proceed. This Budget Statement that was read by my Hon Senior Colleague, Dr. Duffuor, talks about a 54 per cent of rural water coverage exceeding the target that was set by an agency like the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) my Hon Colleague belonged to and worked for. He should be humble enough to acknowledge and respect CWSA for hitting above the target.

But Madam Speaker, that is not enough. We were in this House when a five per cent reduction in petrol was hailed as the panacea to Ghana's problem and 36 per cent increase in rural water coverage from 2001 to 2007 and a Member who worked at the CWSA is telling us it is
Alhaji M. M. Muntaka noon
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is seriously misleading this House. He is quoting figures without making reference to where he is quoting them from. Madam Speaker, even though he is a new Member of this House, he should go and pick the Budgets of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 and by the time he will finish reading these Budgets, he will see clearly what he is talking of and situate them properly and realize that he is grossly misleading this House.
Madam Speaker, in the 2006 Budget, the number of boreholes and water bodies that were supposed to be provided for our people, not even 10 per cent of them was achieved. It is in this House.
Madam Speaker, he is talking about drinking water. In his very constituency, precisely Buokrom Estates, Madam Speaker, between 2003 and 2008, for the first time in the history of that area they are facing water problems. He should come again and stop misleading this House because the figures that he is giving us, he should refer appropriately so that we will understand what he is talking of.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Member, I think it is enough now. This is a correction, we have heard enough.
Ms. C. A. Dapaah noon
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Colleague just said the Government provides boreholes and water bodies and I believe we need to
Ms. C. A. Dapaah noon

correct it. Government does not provide; these are natural entities that God created for us. Government cannot provide water bodies and Madam Speaker, the figures my Hon Colleague is churning out are all correct.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Dr. Prempeh noon
If we should pause for a moment and listen to submissions we would not make ugly noises in this House.
Mr. Fritz Baffour noon
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I think the youthful exuberance exuded by the Hon Member has made him make a statement that I think is unparliamentary; in using the word “ugly” noises. I do not think anybody has used ugly noise here; it is a debate and that is what should be said. So I think he should withdraw that term.
Madam Speaker noon
Shall I rule on that
point? He is saying that the word “ugly” noises is unparliamentary and I think it should not be “ugly” noises; “noises” but not “ugly noises”. Can you withdraw the “ugly”?
Dr. Prempeh 12:10 p.m.
It is noises -- [Inter- ruptions.] Madam Speaker, I withdraw “ugly” and insert “exuberant noises”, “misdirected noises”.
Madam Speaker, this Budget talks about training for health personnel and we looked through the Budget and we found only three health care institutions they are going to provide in the Northern, Volta, and Upper Regions. It just means that Ashanti, Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western are already done. Not only that, Madam Speaker, the training output of our medical institutions.
The medical schools have doubled their output.The nursing schools have tripled their output, the community health nurses have more than 8000 per cent output increase from 102 to over 1,841. All in all, the output of medical training institutions in this country has increased by sevenfold. That is a Government that is caring.
No wonder in the last thirty years, it is the last three years that we have seen the turn of brain drain subside. That is the Government that cares for the people, not a Government that practises cost recovery. Cost recovery in medical system is what brought about poverty and diseases that exacerbated these conditions.

Now you have a Government that has instituted the National Health Insurance Policy; instead of supporting the Government, we hear we are going to make national health universal. Now look at the 2008 Budget -- [Interruption] - Of course, Madam Speaker, we lost, I agree. [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, if you look at the 2008 Budget, paragraph 853, you will find that the universality of the National Health Insurance Scheme was started in 2008, not 2009.
Madam Speaker, I wanted to see the new policies 12:10 p.m.
60 per cent of our disease burden is with non-communicable diseases - high blood pressure, diabetes,
stroke, kidney diseases and things like that. I wanted to see new initiatives but there is nothing - absolute silence in this Budget. What does it say? “We will continue with the same.” No wonder they are continuing with the same good method.
That is why this Budget is christened a “Better Budget” in the thoughts of NDC, not in the thoughts of NPP because in the thoughts of this Minority, this Budget lacks ideas. This Budget, Madam Speaker, the reason why we call it “Sakawa”, is a complete recapitulation of the NDC promises that made them sit on your right side. Why do they not tell Ghanaians the truth for once, Madam Speaker?
I would want to end. I will offer my

The only countries that have been able to eradicate malaria was through feats of engineering -- [Interruption] - And to make it worse, I would consult freely for my Hon Colleagues - In this Budget when NPP introduced five million insect- treated mosquito nets, it led to a 32 per cent increase in pregnant women coverage, 31 per cent in children under 5. That is controlling disease in this country. What

did we hear from the Budget? Absolute silence!

Madam Speaker, they have to go back

and bring us a more honourable health Budget. The Budget they have provided does not do anything about our health system. To make it worse, the Budget talks about inter-linkages to make sure the health of the nation is preserved. And I will mention one -- a healthy mind is in a healthy body. In 2006, 2008, five stadia -- two brand new, two refurbished, one under construction. I was glad when Prof. John Atta Mills, my President came to this House and told us he was going to support Ghana in the hosting of the African Hockey Championship this year.

My Hon Colleague the Minister should tell me where in this Budget was a dime provided for hockey fields? Absolute none - [Interruption] - That is the stark poverty of ideas on this side. I wanted a Budget that I could support, I cannot support the health sector Budget here, nothing new, nothing new. [Hear! Hear!]
Alhaji Muntaka 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think my Colleague is seriously misleading this House when he says that in the Budget provided, there is no allocation for the construction of hockey pitches and fields that will enable us host the African Cup of Nations for hockey.
Madam Speaker, if he does not know because he is a new Member, he should know that appropriations are going to follow - [Interruption] - And the Budget here will be talking about the composite and then give you the total amount of money that will be provided. The details are going to come. So he should not expect to see that there will be ten cedis here provided for hockey pitches.
But I am assuring him Madam Speaker, we are going to have three pitches - one in Kumasi and two in Accra, and
Mr. Ambrose P. Dery 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports has made a very profound statement here that they have already started the construction of three stadia -- [Interruption.] They have already started, he said it. So I want to know whether before the appropriation, they had already started. We want that information, to know what it is. He said they had already started.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, yes I say again, my Hon Colleague has forgotten that in the last Parliament, before we rose -- the Minister for Finance is sitting right behind him -- we agreed to make provision for the first quarter and appropriations were made and then there were negotiations that they even started with regard to the construction of these pitches; and I am only reminding him that these constructions have begun by the demolition of structures on the site and preparation of the site - [Interruptions] - Yes, and I am telling him that we are on track to make sure that the pitches are provided.
Dr. Osei 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it is true that last November we did a vote on account for certain Ministries. Madam Speaker, but the Minister of State saying that the Minister for Finance is sitting behind him, he is grossly misleading this House. [Interruptions.] This is the Minister for Finance -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Yaw Effah-Baafi (NDC -- Kintampo South) 12:20 p.m.
Thank you very much Madam Speaker, for the opportunity
to speak to the motion which seeks to approve the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2009.
Madam Speaker, I will focus my submission on the aspects of the Financial Policy pertaining to Food and Agriculture. Madam Speaker, we are aware that agriculture is the mainstay of our country, contributing significantly to the total volume of goods and services produced in this country.
Madam Speaker, it is estimated that 35
per cent of our GDP is contributed to by agriculture, whilst at the same time the total net foreign exchange earnings, which is contributed to by food and agriculture stands at about 33 per cent; thanks largely to the cocoa sub-sector and the non- traditional export crops, especially fruits and vegetables. We are also aware that about 60 per cent of all jobs in this country is contributed to by agriculture -- either agriculture jobs or agriculture related jobs.
Madam Speaker, it is therefore, imperative that serious attention is paid to agriculture if the country is to make any substantial progress in all spheres. Madam Speaker, it is true that any substantial investment in agriculture could create more jobs for our people especially those living in farming communities.
Madam Speaker, since our agriculture is almost entirely rain-fed, one of the surest ways of creating more jobs for the people is for the Government to provide irrigation facilities so that agriculture can be undertaken during the dry season. Madam Speaker, records indicate that we have about 22 existing irrigation schemes and out of these 22 existing irrigation schemes, 10 are small scale, six are medium scale, and six are large scale.
It has also been found that out of the
total 22 existing schemes, the total land area covered is about 20,000 hectares. When this land area is compared with the total cultivable land of 13.7 million hectares, we can only say that the total land area under irrigation is far less than one per cent in this country. Madam Speaker, it therefore means that we have a very long way to go.
Though previous governments have made efforts to increase the land area under irrigation, we still have more to do if we are to develop agriculture. It therefore gladdened my heart, when provision was made in the Financial Policy for the development of irrigation schemes and the rehabilitation of old schemes.

In the Financial Policy, it has been

explicitly stated that 41 dams and dugouts that were bridged during the 2007 floods have been programmed for rehabilitation and this covers about 72 communities. Additionally, rehabilitation works on the Tono Irrigation Project have been programmed for completion.

The development of irrigation schemes

under two irrigation projects, that is the small-scale irrigation project and then small-farms irrigation project which were initiated in the previous Administration are going to be continued. I believe that when all these interventions and subsequent ones are implemented we will be able to expand the area under irrigation.

Madam Speaker, I would like to talk briefly about extension services. The development of agriculture hinges, among others, on three important areas which form a linkage, that is, research- agriculture-farmer linkage. One would find that the standard ratio of agricultural extension officer to farmer is 500, that

is, 1:500. But in our circumstances, we have one extension officer to about 1,000 farmers. So the dissemination of agricultural technology to farmers becomes very difficult. It is therefore important that we look at this area so that we can expand the area.

Madam Speaker, what the Budget Statement says is that we are going to employ the use of audio, visual and mobile vans as well as print and electronic mass media so that the dissemination of agricultural technologies will be very fast to farmers.
Mr. L. K. Alowe 12:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member seems to be misleading this House regarding rehabilitation of dams as a means of increasing jobs. In fact, the Budget Statement at page 67, paragraph 288 says, and with your permission I beg to quote:
“The Ministry will rehabilitate 41 dams and dugouts that were breached during the 2007 floods for 72 communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
. .”
May I point out that the rehabilitation of these dams were actually started by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. Forty-four dams were selected for rehabilitation under NPP Administration and these were advertised and proposals were requested from contractors to undertake those jobs.
The fact of the matter is that the bids were evaluated and the jobs were to be
Mr. Effah-Baafi 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, what the Hon former Minister for Food and Agriculture did indicate when he was making his submission was that studies had already been done, the rehabilitation had been awarded on contract, but the fact still remains that the implementation has not been done. What the Budget Statement is saying currently is that we are going to do the rehabilitation and we are going to make sure that the necessary funding is made available. So the important feature is that the implementation has still not been done.
Madam Speaker, what the Government seeks to do also is to strengthen the Agricultural Extension Services so that the department will be able to conduct demonstrations on crops and livestock so that improved practices can be adopted by farmers.
I would speak briefly about rice. Rice has become a staple food in Ghana but the local production still leaves a demand- supply gap which is filled annually by imports. Local rice producers are able to provide only one-third of the country's requirements whilst the remaining two- thirds is filled through imports and it is valued at about $500 million every year.
This figure is quite alarming, especially when it is juxtaposed against what pertains in 2000. The import bill as at 2000 was
$100 million. So when this is compared with $500 million it means that there has been a very high increase.
Madam Speaker, Governments over the years have made several efforts to improve agriculture development but in rice production, very little has been achieved. So what this Government seeks to do at the moment is to quickly revive the Aveyime Rice Project. Records indicate that the total land area covered by the Aveyime Rice Project is 3,177 hectares out of which 1,000 hectares are being prepared for cultivation this year under public-private partnership arrangements. I believe that if the whole area is put into cultivation we would be able to cut down on rice imports into this country.
Madam Speaker, Youth in Agriculture Development also found expression in the Budget Statement and the Government intends to train 1,200 youth in agricultural business. We are also seeking to empower Ghanaian youth by supporting them with inputs and fertiliser so that they can embark on the production of cereals such as maize, rice and sorghum. About 4,000 youths will also be supported with irrigation facilities and farm inputs so that crop production can be carried out during the dry season.
I believe that the youth in Ghana will welcome this arrangement so that it will also serve as a source of employment for most of them, especially those living in the farming communities.
Madam Speaker, the NDC Adminis- tration has shown commitment to the development of agriculture and this is evidenced by the fact that the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the 2009 Budget has been enhanced by about 84 per cent when this is related to the Budget Statement produced by the NPP Administration in 2001.
Madam Speaker, in 2008, the allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture was GH¢87,102,107 and it is found on page 96 of the 2008 Budget Statement and the allocation to Fisheries was

Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
The next Hon Member to contribute is Hon Dr. A. Akoto Osei.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Hammond, I have given the floor to Hon Dr. Osei. The floor is for Hon Dr. Osei. You have not contributed. You raised points of order, did you not?
Dr. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I was told that I would be speaking sometime after Hon K. T. Hammond.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Honestly, what happened was that, it was agreed that three contributers would be from either side of the House and I have got three from the Majority and four from the Minority so one had to be cancelled. We have heard two already, so the next one is Dr. Akoto Osei. Hon Hammond, I think your name was cancelled because you have contributed too much, not today.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, not to breach that arrangement,
but I thought that because the Chairman of the Committee on Finance would be winding up on the side of the Majority, he is no longer going to contribute. The point I am making is, if the Chairman should wind up on behalf of the Majority and the [Interruptions] -- Hon Minister comes, there would be two people contributing on the other side of the House; which is why we thought that we should have one more person from this side. But that is left to the discretion of Madam Speaker.
Mr. J. T. Akologu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the leadership role of the Minority Leader, he is trying to get his Members on board. But the truth of the matter is that the Hon Minister is going to wind up, he is going to comment on the issues that have been raised by both sides of the House. He is not really contributing, from Majority's view point, but he is reacting to the comments so we agreed that he was not part of the three to be taken from our side. That was the agreement, so as he put it, it is subject to your variation.
Thank you.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I rather thought that this was a matter for the Leadership because you agreed with me that there would be three from either side of the House and then the Hon Minister would wind up. That was my understanding.
Mr. Akologu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, that was it; you would recall that there are other things that the House is expected to do so let us keep to what has been agreed on.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, that is what we agreed on and unless you want us to go back and reconsider the matter; but that was the agreement before we came in; that three Members from either side and then the winding up by the Hon Minister.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, you would notice that when it comes to these things it is for the Minority Leader to even sum up contributions from the side of the Minority but because of the shortage of time, I agreed that I would stand down and let the Hon Dr. Osei, our Spokesperson do the wind-up on our part which is why I thought that maybe we could take one more person. But as I said, it is left to your own discretion; if you think that we should close it by Hon Dr. Osei's contribution, I would not over- stretch the matter.
Madam Speaker, as you do know, the contributions of Hon Members -- This is a very trivial interjection and I do not intend to do that. I was saying that any critical observer in this Chamber would notice that by way of enriching the documents before us, the critical issues have been raised by the Minority and so if you had the occasion to hear more from our side, it would serve the nation and the Hon Minister even better.
But as I said, I am not going to overstretch it; if you think that the chapter should be closed by calling Hon Dr. Osei, that is all right with us. I thought that you could afford to take one more, but if you think that given the constraints of time you have to call just Hon Dr. Osei to sum up, I have no worry at all about that.
Mr. Akologu 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think we should be consistent with our own decisions so I would entreat the House to let the original decision stay, and we would carry on.
Dr. A. A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 12:40 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the debate on the floor of this House, that this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December 2009.
Madam Speaker, in helping my side of the House to talk about the issues, I want to thank my senior Colleagues who have spoken so eloquently on several aspects of the Budget. My Hon Senior Minister for Agriculture, my Hon Colleague Prof. Gyan-Baffour, the Hon Isaac Osei and a few others have spoken on several issues and I want to thank them because it means that one does not have to get into all areas of the Budget.
Madam Speaker, I will for the purposes of acceding to the request by the Hon Minister for Finance to attempt to, as he said -- He needs our support for the implementation of the policies and programmes outlined in the Budget Statement and since he is the Hon Minister for Finance and his focus is on fiscal policy, I think that before I end up I will talk about the fiscal programme as it is in the Budget.
Madam Speaker, in preparing for this debate -- [Interruptions] -- The First Deputy Speaker is disrupting me, if you can tell him to - Madam Speaker, I thought it would be important as we discussed the debate this time, to go back a bit to memory lane and remind ourselves of some of the statements that had come from some senior Members of this House as they debated the Budget policy, almost exactly eight years ago.
With your permission I want to make reference to a few of our senior Colleagues as the debate was going on and I think it is important that we put it in context because some of the issues are coming up now.
Madam Speaker, first, I want to start with the Hon A. K. Asante (Amenfi West) at that time and the Hansard of March 15, 2001. With your permission, I want to quote:
“. . . what the New Patriotic Party
(NPP) Government has succeeded in doing is to overburden the ordinary Ghanaian with high fuel prices, high electricity bills, high water bills, high telephone bills and to pass forth falsehood upon falsehood to create the impression that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government has created hardship which is making it difficult for the NPP Government to fulfil its promises.”
This is Hon A. K. Asante (Amenfi West.)

Madam Speaker, I want to go on to the next contributor and that is Hon Dan Abodakpi, NDC Member of Parliament for Keta at that time, and this, I believe, is in the March 16 Hansard of 2001, columns 1998, 1999, and it is very instructive. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I want quote:

“Mr. Speaker, I make these initial comments in view of the continued use of the diversionary tactics to shift the public's attention from important issues of State that require our collective effort and attention in resolving. First, it was the sale of vehicles to ex-Ministers . . .” This is eight years ago, “then followed by payment of exgratia . . .” eight years ago; “then suddenly it is now the overpayment of ex gratia to appointees of NDC Government and the NDC's alleged deceit of IMF, et cetera.”

Madam Speaker, this is very instruc- tive; eight years ago, a senior Member was bringing our attention to the diversionary tactics relating to cars, ex-gratia and so on and so forth. Madam Speaker, how history

repeats itself. Madam Speaker, I want to go further and I am quoting extensively from Hon Dan Abodakpi's contributions because he is a former senior Member of this House and I respect his views.

Madam Speaker, in the same Hansard, columns 2007, 2008, March 16, and with your permission, I beg to quote:

“Mr. Speaker, this Budget has too many features that are outright anti-people and anti-business, which must be reviewed immediately, if Ghanaian business is not to suffocate under the sheer weight of these measures . . .”

He goes further to say:

“Some of these are the 150 per cent increase in airport tax. I shudder to think that we are promoting Ghana as a tourist destination, a destina- tion that is in competition with other locations within the sub-region. We should not do anything that would discourage people and divert tourists away from patronising Ghana as a tourism destination . . .”

Madam Speaker, he goes on further to say that -- and I hope the Hon Minister would listen to this:

“For which reason even though I know we need to mobilise a lot of resources, we should tread gingerly on some of these areas.”
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I wonder the relevance of all these references.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am surprised that he is denying his own colleague, like what Jesus said in the Bible, and he knows that denying his colleague is not good. [Laughter.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my intervention has nothing to do with denial, I only stated the facts.
Dr. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think my senior Colleague would agree that these comments, coming from former senior Members of the House eight years ago, give us the proper context in which to contribute to the debate on this particular Budget and the Hon Member was a senior spokesperson on trade at that time. Madam Speaker, he goes on to say, and that is on column 2010, and with your permission, I quote:
“The NDC party lost the election trying to project the truth of our situation to our people; and we lost for it. We are happy, but we are happy that we put the true picture before our people and that they had made a decision . . .”
Then he goes on further to quote a philosopher and here, he quoted Mr. Arthur Calwell. He said and I quote:

Madam Speaker, Hon Kwabena Adjei, former NDC Member for Biakoye and now Chairman of the National Democratic Congress Party and then immediate past Majority Leader, this is what he had to say and at column 2075. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I want to quote him: Madam Speaker, this is a quote from the Hon Mr. Chairman and my good friend Dr. Kwabena Adjei.

“. . . Mr. Speaker, it is said that a political party commits near political suicide when, in its quest for power, it raises people's expectations beyond reasonable limits. . .”

He said further:

Madam Speaker, this is what Hon Moses Asaga said on March 13, 2001, column 1642. Madam Speaker, with your permission, I want to quote:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to comment on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government. Mr. Speaker, the Budget can best be described as ‘half-baked' Budget with a high content of National

Democratic Congress (NDC) programmes and policies. Mr. Speaker, the Budget which is expected to be a Budget of positive change does not measure up to its description and does not address the high expectation of the Ghanaian public who were deceived into voting otherwise . . .”
Madam Speaker, this is the most important part. He said 12:40 p.m.
“. . . who were deceived into voting otherwise”.
Very unparliamentary language but he did say it. Madam Speaker, he said the Budget did not address the issue. Madam Speaker, why do I take us back to memory lane? I do that because I think that Hon Haruna Iddrisu, where is he? [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, he said when it comes to politics or the economy, we should be careful about the politics and I have quoted in extenso all of his colleagues, talking about the economy and using political economy to describe the Budget.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister started his assessment by making the following quotation; right from the start he says:

Madam Speaker, it is at page 1 of the Budget Highlights and with your permission I beg to quote:

“. . . All the macroeconomic targets for 2008 were missed”.

Madam Speaker, I want to go back to

2001, when we came into power. The NDC left in 2000. Let me go through the targets and the achievements.

In 2000, the targets were 5 per cent -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, the actual number was 3.7 per cent for the growth rate in GDP. Madam Speaker, inflation, target for 2000 was 12.5 per cent; Madam Speaker, the actual amount was 40.5 per cent. [Uproar.] Madam Speaker, the budget deficit target for 2000 was 6.1 but the amount realised was 8.5 in terms of deficit.
Mr. I. A. B. Fuseini 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise on Standing Order 93 (4) and with your permission, I quote:
“The speech of a Member must have reference to the subject matter under discussion.”

Madam Speaker, the consideration of the figures of 2001 respectfully has no relevance to the subject-matter under discussion and Madam Speaker, I pray you to direct him to limit his intervention and contribution to the matters that have reference to the Budget of 2009.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
Dr. Osei 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think I have yielded once and I am not yielding again. He cannot have a point of order upon a point of order so I will not yield.
Madam Speaker, on the last one, the target for import cover for 3 months and what was actually realized was for 2 weeks. Madam Speaker, I do not intend to talk about all these economic indicators except one and that is the growth, so that we focus our attention on the importance of growth.
Madam Speaker, why do I say that? It is because the NDC in its manifesto talks about helping to improve the living conditions of our people but without accelerated growth, this improvement cannot come.
Madam Speaker, as I looked through the Budget Statement and the performance of the NDC Government over a period, I want to talk about the indicator of income per capita and demonstrate that consistently since 1996 instead of moving forward in the right direction the growth in per capita income had been going backwards when the NDC Government was in power.
On the contrary, the information available would point to the fact that since 2001, we have consistently increased the growth in income per capita and thereby
putting more money into people's pockets. [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker, 1996, the growth rate in per capita income was 2.0, double the growth in population, that was in the NDC period. In 1997 -- 1.96 -- Aaya se. The following year it dipped even further to 1.42, that is 1998, then in 1999 it went to 1.69.
By the time the NDC Government left office in 2000, the growth in per capita income had dipped dramatically from 2.0 to 1.42. Madam Speaker, if you keep that trend, you would be taking money -- this is what it means -- from 2.0 per person growth rate it is down to 1.42; you have taken money out of people's pockets.
Mr. Moses Asaga 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, Hon Dr. Akoto Osei has been very consistent in the way he is churning the figures and I think that he must be very consistent. He told us he was going to look at macroeconomic figures. When it came to balance of payments he did not give the percentage balance of payments and I want Ghanaians to know it was almost 20 per cent as compared to the NDC era which was only 14 per cent. But Madam Speaker, what is very important, he said the NDC left government with a balance of payment deficit of GH¢197 million. The NPP is leaving government with minus 940 million -- [Uproar.]
Dr. Osei 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thought that he was coming on a point of order, I
do not know which Order he was coming on. Madam Speaker, it is important. The reason I am paying some attention to this growth issue is that issues have arisen as to the GDP growth rate for 2008. Madam Speaker, the Bank of Ghana in its monetary policy statement, issued not too long ago, and here we are talking about what it is for 2008, and here I want to quote the Bank of Ghana and this is on growth for 2008. It says:
“All the rural sector indicators during the year point to a relatively higher pace of economic activity than has been recorded in the past few years. The GSS, the official institution responsible for national statistics has a preliminary estimate of 6.2 per cent growth which is yet to be revised.”
This is the Bank of Ghana.
Madam Speaker, you would recall that sometime or early part of the year, the World Bank put out some information on the state of the economy and it brought some controversy. Here, let me quote even what the World Bank was saying. Madam Speaker, it says:
“Ghana Statistical Service forecast GDP to grow by 6.7 per cent in 2008 while it is difficult to assess the difficulty of this forecast as based on indirect indicators of supply and 15 year old base year not reflecting possible structural changes in the economy . . .”
Here the same World Bank, they say:
“a 6 to 8 per cent rate in real GDP is flexible in 2008.”
Madam Speaker, why do we have such difficulty in reviewing the growth rate of GDP in 2008? Madam Speaker, you would notice that I said per capita income
has been rising steadily from 1.62 to about 6 point something at the end 2007. For us to assess the 2008 we need to know what the growth rate is.

Madam Speaker, here I want to take all of us to a few pages. If you would indulge me, on pages 15 and 16 of the Budget Statement and we look at a few things there.

Madam Speaker, people looked at the growth to GDP and questions got raised. Let us go to page 15 and here I am pointing this out to the Hon Minister so that he and his team can begin to look at the data so that we will not have issues with data that is given out.

Madam Speaker, first, if you look at the growth in the agricultural sector, every time your forecast focus of 5.5 per cent in the crops and livestock sector and the actual amount realised is 5.5 per cent, the target is 5.5 per cent and the actual realised is 5.5 per cent. It should bring something to one's mind that something is not right. Here, the target is 5.5 per cent and we get exactly 5.5 per cent. The probability of getting this point estimate correct is too small. So, we need to look at that.

Madam Speaker, on Forestry, if you look at the balance of payments data, there is a volume increase of an estimate of 5.5 per cent. Here the growth is only 3.5 per cent against 3.0 per cent. So there is an inconsistency between the trade data and the real sector data.

Madam Speaker, if you go to page 16, here under growth, on the manufacturing sector, the target is 4.0 per cent and we hit at 4.0 per cent exactly. In the light of the evidence that the share of credit to the manufacturing sector tripled from 3.8 per cent to 10 per cent of the credit going to the private sector, Madam Speaker, we cannot
Dr. Osei 1 p.m.
have an increase in the share of the credit going to the manufacturing sector and then they hit exactly the target growth rate of 4.0 per cent. There is some inconsistency between the data on the banking sector and what we are showing here.
Madam Speaker, finally the one that really throws me off is the one on page 17. Madam Speaker, Government Services. What is Government Services? They have been talking about government expenditure going through the roof - overexpenditure, this and that. Then, we go into Government Services, we have spent a lot of money, then the target is 2.7 per cent and we get 2.7 per cent.
So the question is, all that expenditure, where did it go? Did it take an exit to the United Kingdom or what? It was all spent in here. There is nowhere, Madam Speaker; I insist that Government would have overspent that much and the value added in that sector will be the same as 2.7 per cent. There is complete incon-sistency. And I urge the Hon Minister for Finance to begin to - I know that the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is beginning to review the estimates but such matters trouble our minds.
Madam Speaker, when one puts all

Now, we go to 2009 and my Hon Colleagues want to take us backwards to a growth rate of 5.9 per cent. Madam Speaker, that will translate into a per capita income of 2.26 per cent from a high of 3.0 in 2001.

Madam Speaker, I suggest to them

that this is against their own manifesto of putting moneys in the pockets of people and thereby improving their livelihood. Three point zero per cent (3.0 per cent) in per capita income, and then they are moving it backwards to 2.26 per cent.

Madam Speaker, I want to suggest to the Hon Minister to seriously engage the people in GSS to assure - [Inter-ruptions] - We can have our own opinions on matters, but as the late Senator Moynihan said, we cannot have our own set of facts. This is inconsistent. And I think it is an area that I want the Hon Minister to look at.

Madam Speaker, as a party of modern social democrats, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its manifesto believes in funding development and the provision of essential services -- and this is in the manifesto -- through efficient, effective and equitable taxation of all citizens on the principles of affordability. Madam Speaker, I beg to quote:

“The New NDC government will not introduce any new taxes. Instead, we shall seek to improve tax revenue by introducing reforms in the tax administration, shifting . . . ”

Madam Speaker, the above from their manifesto is repeated in the Budget Statement almost verbatim. Then, they go on further, in the manifesto that:

“Tax policy will be used to encourage people to work. In-dividuals should be taxed less to create adequate incentive for work and increased productivity.”
Madam Speaker, it goes further 1 p.m.
“People should decide how to spend their money. The NDC's tax policy will be to increase the disposable income of individuals by reducing individual tax rate through the broadening of the tax bands.”

Madam Speaker, where is this in the Budget Statement?

Madam Speaker, anybody who has read this Budget Statement will look at three new taxes. And it says: “We will not introduce” -- Madam Speaker, is this Sakawa or what is this? - [Some Hon Members: Sakawa] Madam Speaker, they have increased the airport taxes and the manifesto says “We will not introduce any new taxes”. Madam Speaker, they have increased user fees and it says they will not.

Finally -- even though Hon E. T. Mensah talked about not bringing back the import tariffs because they have not seen that yet, the Hon Minister brought a memo, we have not debated it and Hon. E. T. Mensah is, on his own, withdrawing something that the Hon Minister has brought. The Budget Statement talks about restoring tariffs on oil, food.

Madam Speaker, if one puts all these together, the NDC is increasing taxes to the tune of almost GH¢90 million, taking money out of the pockets of Ghanaians. Madam Speaker, this is their manifesto. [Shows a document.] “We will not introduce new taxes.” I was trying, and I have read this very carefully; I thought that they said they will increase the disposable income by reducing individual tax rate through the broadening of the tax bands. I have looked through this whole book -- [shows a copy of the Budget Statement].

There is no place where tax bands have been broadened.

Madam Speaker, it can only mean that somebody forgot to put it in there and that is being very charitable. Or we are expecting the Hon Minister for Finance to come back to this House to broaden the tax base so that individual disposable income will rise?

Madam Speaker, I have just told you that we are increasing the per capita income from two point something to 3.0, they want to take us back to 2.6. We cannot take that. They need to come back here to show us how they are going to reduce taxes so that per capita income - more disposable income can be made available in the pockets of the Ghanaian public.

Madam Speaker, I am advising the Hon Minister for Finance because it appears that, after I looked through, there is a problem with the overall fiscal policy. Madam Speaker, why do I say that? It is his domain to make sure that the fiscal policy --
Mr. Asaga 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the former Hon Minister is still misleading Ghanaians in the sense that -- [Interruptions] -- Madam Speaker, this is very important. When Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang got up, he made a point that Ghana was not in isolation of the global world. And if Ghana is not in isolation and now we are having economic crisis all over, why would he then come and say -- [Interruptions] -- Why would Hon Akoto Osei deceive Ghanaians that it is possible to grow more than 6 per cent, when we have been told that all emerging economies will now grow at 3.3 per cent?
If we are going to grow at 5.9 per cent, I think that we should rather be commending the Government that we are able to grow at 5.9 per cent because the global target is 3.3 per cent; and Hon Dr.
Mr. Asaga 1:10 p.m.
Akoto Osei is deceiving Ghanaians.

All is not well in the global economy and we have also been affected by it, so he should tell Ghanaians the truth that Ghana is not insulated, and our growing at 5.9 per cent should be commended because it is above the 3.3 per cent that has been recommended.
Dr. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon
Good Friend here used the word which is very unparliamentary. He used this same word in 2001; the word “deceive”. In 2001, he was very unparliamentary; he is imputing motives to what I am saying. He is my Hon Good Friend but on this note, I cannot help but ask him to withdraw that statement because I do not want the people of Ghana to think that he has a character of always imputing improper motives.
Madam Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, shall
I rule on this.
The Hon Member is complaining about
the use of the word “deceive” instead of mislead. And either you correct it or withdraw the “deceive”.
Mr. Asaga 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, corrected.
Madam Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, he
said it is mislead, not deceive.
Dr. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I did not hear him withdraw -- [Uproar] -- Madam Speaker, as I said, for the Hon Minister for Finance, his main job is to come up with appropriate fiscal policy
to anchor the entire programme. Madam Speaker, with all due respect to my Senior Colleague, the way I have seen the fiscal programme as it is in the Budget, I am afraid, we are going to have trouble.
Madam Speaker, the entire crux of the fiscal programme is described on page 10 of the highlights. Generally speaking, the efforts to improve tax administration is worthwhile but so-called savings that they intend to get on page 10 is not possible.
Madam Speaker, I want to touch on the few things on page 10 which is at the core of the programme. Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister needs to anchor his fiscal programme so that things would work out.
Madam Speaker, on page 10 of the highlights -- I have already spoken on the revenue side, but even on the revenue side, Madam Speaker, let me sound a word of caution. Broadly speaking, I think that some of the revenue targets may be reached. Madam Speaker, you already know that this august House has reduced taxes on petroleum.
Madam Speaker, let me quote from the Budget Statement. This is last year, and with your permission, I quote:
“Petroleum taxes recorded an outturn of GH¢386.2 million, 21.2 per cent lower than the budget estimate of GH¢490.0 million . . .”

Madam Speaker, the outturn is GH¢386.2 million lower than a target of GH¢490.0 mill ion. The under performance, that is, they are trying to tell us the reason for this under performance:

“The unde rpe r fo rmance o f petroleum taxes was mainly a result of the downward revision of some petroleum taxes and levies, as well as a decline in the volume of petroleum products consumed.”

Madam Speaker, if you tell me that last year you could not reach your target because you reduced taxes; then in 2009, you are telling me that you have reduced taxes further, but you expect to make more than you did last year -- Madam Speaker, in 2009, they expect to get GH¢436 million in petroleum taxes. In 2008, you reduced it, 2009, we have already reduced it, and you expect to make more. Madam Speaker, this is completely inconsistent.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 1:10 p.m.
On a point of
order. Madam Speaker, the distinguished Ranking Member referred to page 10. Madam Speaker, but looking at page 10 of the document that I have in my hand, the total savings is only GH¢582. Their people who are writing the thing do not even understand; So I do not understand the thing. I want my Hon Good Friend to see whether indeed by saving GH¢582, one is able to affect the Budget in anyway. Five- hundred and eighty-two -- [Interruption] -- It is there, they do not even know how to write Budget Statements. So it is a difficulty.
Dr. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the point
there, and this is important for the Hon Minister for Finance, and he seems to pay attention. Madam Speaker, as I said, there is no way that two years in a roll, one reduces taxes and expects the yield to be more than the previous year's. Clearly, I
foresee a gap of at least GH¢100 million in the realization of the petroleum taxes, and I urge my Hon Senior Colleague to pay particular attention to this.
Madam Speaker, let me go on to the items on page 10 and explain why these items cannot bring the solution. Madam Speaker, the first item is the “rationali- zation of Ministries from 27 to 23 will save us four million Ghana cedis”. Madam Speaker, when you are talking about a GDP of over 17 billion, four million Ghana cedis, Madam Speaker, with all due respect - [Interruption] -- I think it is four million.
Madam Speaker, but more importantly, Hon Minister, this is serious 1:10 p.m.
the savings from the HIPC to Budget support. Madam Speaker, there is no savings from HIPC to Budget support. Madam Speaker, the HIPC revenue has already been accounted for. The only thing they are doing is splitting the moneys between MDAs and the Budget.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 1:10 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, there is something going on which must be stopped. Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang stood up and said: “Madam, Madam!” Anytime we are addressing the Speaker, we say Mr. Speaker. We have never addressed Mr. Speaker as Mister, Mister. The practice is catching up, we must stop it. “Madam Speaker”, there are other “Madams” here -- [Interruption] -- “Madam Speaker”, and not “Madam”.
Madam Speaker, it is not innocuous, it is important. It is very, very important; you are addressing Madam Speaker, say Madam Speaker, and not just “Madam”,. We must stop it. We were not addressing the men Speakers as “Mister”. “Mister”. It is Mr. Speaker or Madam Speaker.
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I concede
the fact that it is probably getting a bit warm for my Hon Senior Colleague, so he needs something to divert our attention a bit. Madam Speaker, I will use the words “Madam Speaker”.
Madam Speaker, I was looking at the items on page 10 to explain to the Hon Minister why those savings are not likely to be realized, and consequently, that is, the fiscal programme is not likely to be achieved.
Madam Speaker, on the matter of savings from the HIPC, I do not know -- [Interruption] -- the highlights. Please, page 10 of the highlights. It says: “Savings from HIPC to Budget Support.”
Madam Speaker, with all due respect,
the HIPC funds have already been accounted for. You cannot take 80 million that you are spending on the Budget support and call it savings. Madam Speaker, in the past the entire amount used to go to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

All they are saying is that we would divide it, keep GH¢80 million for the Budget, that cannot be savings. It is expenditure and somebody has really goofed here. Madam Speaker, on a matter of “Reduction in provision meant for the purchase of crude oil for VRA”, VRA is owing GH¢75 million - they have to pay at least GH¢75 million from last year.

If you purchased two crude cargoes, and say between GH¢80 and GH¢90 million, at the minimum what you are going to spend is over GH¢175 million

for Volta River Authority. The Budget that was launched in November had an amount of GH¢160 million. If you are saying you are saving GH¢100 million, you already owe GH¢175 million that you need to pay, how could you be saving GH¢100 million when at the minimum you have to pay GH¢175 million? Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I want to suggest that those savings are not likely to be realized.

Madam Speaker, the Hon E. T. Mensah a few minutes ago told us that they were no longer going to remove import tariffs on food. Is that right? He told us that they were no longer going to bring the Bill on taxes. Madam Speaker, they expect to make GH¢73 million and he said he was no longer going to bring it. [Interruption.] Which one is it? Either you are bringing it or you are not.
Mr. Ahi 1:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam
Speaker, I think that everybody was given fifteen minutes to talk and my Hon Friend has spoken well over an hour. So I think that it is about time you asked him to conclude and sit down so that another Member can also take the floor.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Try and wind up.
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am spending a lot of time in this area only because this is at the heart of the Minister's programme and he has asked us, he has requested and I am acceding to his request to make sure that we
contribute constructively. If the entire fiscal programme is on this page and it is breaking down, I have a duty and a moral responsibility to tell him. I will be failing the nation if I do not do that; so I beg you.
Madam Speaker, on the matter of delayed contribution to the West Africa Gas Pipeline, a lot of us have been reading this as if we understand what it means. Madam Speaker, what we are saying is that, they would be owing some GH¢45 million to the West Africa Gas Pipeline which they hope they can defer to 2010.
Madam Speaker, as I read in a newspaper today gas is coming on stream, first quarter, March 10. The regulation requires you to make a three-month payment ahead of time. You cannot, even if you wanted to defer. So Madam Speaker, those savings are not likely to be realized.
Mr. Asaga 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, Standing
Order 162 (2).

Yes, so he has varied the time; he is varying his time.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
What order? What
order were you referring to?
Mr. Asaga 1:20 p.m.
Order 162 (2) -- [Inter-
ruption] -- It is, read it.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Honourable, wind up now.
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe,
with all due respect that the Minister for Finance is taking copious notes on these points.
Madam Speaker, I was on the item, “Securitization of Social Security arrears” and most of us have read it as if we understand what it means. Madam Speaker, all it is saying is that we owe Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and we would beg them not to pay this year. Madam Speaker, you do not unilaterally decide not to pay without proper negotiation with them. So this House is being told that they will not pay the money that they owe SSNIT. Madam Speaker, and it is not very good.
Madam Speaker, finally, the last item talks about “Additional Communication Service Tax (Through effective moni- toring)”. Madam Speaker, it is my judgement that these savings are also not likely -- If we had put them altogether, Madam Speaker, it is my view that at least some close to GH¢400 million of these savings are not going to come through. Madam Speaker, if they do not, that is the gap that he would have to find money for.
Madam Speaker, it is most surprising that in anticipation of this gap the Hon Minister is already talking to people like the World Bank. So I urge him since he has the foresight and probably agrees with me that these matters are important; he has already taken the steps to talk with donors to ensure that some money is front loaded. So he knows what I am talking about.
Madam Speaker, if you add the fact that there is another GH¢100 million from petroleum revenue, all in all you are talking about GH¢500 million additional gap that is not likely to come. Madam Speaker, if this should not be filled, with
Dr. Osei 1:20 p.m.

Madam Speaker, already last week or the week before, the Minister has signalled to all of us that January, 2009 remittances fell by GH¢50 million. In his own calculation by the end of the year it would be GH¢600 million. He himself said it, I do not have the figures. What that means is that the stock of our reserves will go down. Madam Speaker, he himself has also said that our exports are likely to be adversely affected by the global recession which means that the stock of the reserves will go down again.

Madam Speaker, this Budget, in spite of all the things we know about the global recession has nothing to deal with the global crisis and Madam Speaker, this is unfortunate. I can only hope that the Minister will come back to this august House with proper provisions to tell us how to deal with these crisis. Madam Speaker, every nation is dealing with it. We cannot say that we know there is a crisis so we are waiting to rehearse.

Madam Speaker, I said thankfully the Minister has himself acknowledged that. I am urging him that he needs to get together with his staff, come back to this House with a new Budget -- [Hear! Hear!] As a consequence, I also want to urge him to amend his motion and call this an interim Budget because it is an interim Budget. It is good for him, it is good for us and it is also good for Ghana.

Madam Speaker, he is a well-respected economist, he has served at the Bank of Ghana for years, Madam Speaker, he will tell us. In 2001, he told us how the MDAs overspent by ¢900 billion and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at that

time took money from us for lying about their data. He does not want that to happen again and I agree with him.
Madam Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Are you winding up?
Dr. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, Hon Ahi has just come from the States and I am sure if we ask him, he will tell us how President Obama is doing it there -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker, in concluding, I think that in all fairness to the Minister for Finance, he came in at a time when there was too much rush and the Government had to fulfil a constitutional requirement -- That is granted. Having brought this to us and having noticed all these deficiencies we are expecting him to come back with the necessary corrective factors to cure the defects.
Madam Speaker, that is the only time that this country can move forward. Madam Speaker, as I told you, in some of the indicators so far, we are moving backwards -- [Interruptions.] We want to be able to move forward in the right direction.
This side of the House, I can assure you, will do anything and everything to assist the Minister to achieve these targets assuming that the right things are done. We are willing, we are able to offer constructive suggestions and anytime they call us to a forum, we will be glad to come back.
Thank you, Madam Speaker -- [Hear!
Mr. J. K. Avedzi (NDC -- Ketu North) 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak on the Budget Statement that was presented by the Hon Minister for Finance which was seconded by the Hon Member for Nabdam, Hon Moses Asaga.
Dr. Osei 1:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, he is misleading this House. This is serious. The Hon Minister for Finance expired in September; he is making reference to the Hon Minister for Finance who died in September. The former Hon Minister for Finance is not in this House. I was a Minister of State, not the Minister for Finance. He should be very careful, this is a very sensitive matter.
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon past Minister was the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry and on the demise of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning himself, he became the acting Minister for Finance.
Madam Speaker, as I was saying, the Hon Ranking Member now of the Finance Committee was using this platform to play to the gallery - [Interruption] I was not surprised at all.
Madam Speaker, before I go to the areas that I would cover, I will like to correct some of the impressions that he created.
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member had the opportunity for the past eight years to govern this country -- [Interruption.]
Dr. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I come on Order 93 (2) -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, I think, with your permission, he said that I was playing to the gallery. Madam Speaker, the Standing Order says it shall be out of order to use offensive language, et cetera and to impute improper motive.
Madam Speaker, he should withdraw that statement -- I find it objectionable that the Chairman of the Finance Committee would think that I am imputing improper motives -- a Ranking Member, telling me that I am playing to the gallery; I do not play to the gallery here. I am a duly elected representative of Old Tafo Constituency and I intend to make my - It is a very serious statement and I think he should withdraw it.
Madam Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, can you change the words “playing to the gallery”, because it is offensive?
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, what I was saying was that the Hon Member was misleading this House and therefore the whole country. That is what I mean by playing to the gallery”. [Interruption.] But if he feels strongly that he is not playing to the gallery, then the statement is withdrawn.
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Member in his submission, alluded to the fact that we had increased the airport tax --
Dr. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I res-
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
The Hon Member alluded to the fact that we as a government had increased the airport tax and he quoted some percentages. Let me inform him that in 2001, whilst they had increased the airport tax by 150 per cent to cover the West African Zone, which affects the people of Ghana mostly, we in an effort and looking at the welfare of the people of Ghana have increased it only by 50 per cent -- [Uproar] -- But that 50 per cent does not include the West African Zone.
It is targeted to affect foreigners who have a lot of money and that we want to --- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, this happened at the time when they had increased the airport tax by 150 per cent; there was no September 11. At the time we had increased the tax by 50 per cent, there was September 11 and we need to tighten the security at the Airport. So the main target for the increase in the airport tax is for the development of the airport facilities to provide security for the foreigners and the Ghanaians who use the airport facilities.
Mr. Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Member again, went ahead and tried to compare the performance of year 2000 and the performance of 2008. Madam Speaker, it is not proper at this time, eight or nine years down the line, we should be referring to what happened in year 2000. What we should be concerned with today, is to compare our performance in 2008 and what happened -- [interruption] --
Mr. Dery 1:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I come under Standing Order
92(1) (b). The Hon Member, Chairman of the Finance Committee, says that the airport tax has been increased for foreigners. I think that that is a very serious mis-statement because as far as I am concerned, he can say that it is increased for specific destinations. But if he says foreigners, does that mean that if I am travelling to those destinations and I am a Ghanaian, it does not affect me? This is a very serious point that I think should be made clear before this House.
Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I went ahead and explained the purpose of the tax, so if the use of “foreigners” is not correct, it is withdrawn. That the purpose of the tax is for specific destinations; it is for destinations outside the West African Zone. It is for travellers going outside the West African Zone, therefore, it is not mainly for foreigners.
Madam Speaker, comparing what happened in 2008 and 2009 and in 2000, it is something that we should not encourage as a House. We all know what happened in 2000 and for that reason the good people of Ghana voted for the NPP Government. Eight years down the line, why should we be comparing figures of 2008 and the year 2000? What we should be comparing ourselves with is whether we are growing, using the previous year as a base year.
So if you look at what happened in 2007 and what happened in 2008 you will know whether you are growing or not. So what the Hon Ranking Member did is not proper. He should not compare 2008 and 2007 and Madam Speaker, I am going to do that exactly for you to see.
Dr. Osei 1:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam
Speaker, with all due respect, he is contributing and he has a right to his opinion. But he cannot say that what I am doing is improper; he cannot use that language. He should make his con-tribution but he should not say it
is improper. Clearly, Standing Order 93 (2) frowns against that, he can make his contribution but he cannot impute improper motive on my part.
Madam Speaker 1:40 p.m.
There is nothing
wrong with comparing if it is relevant to what he is talking about; but carry on.
Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, if
you look at the highlights of the Budget Statement and you look at page 1, under the State of the Economy in 2008, in the 2008 Budget it was targeted to achieve a GDP growth of 7.0 per cent but as we have currently, the figure is 6.2 per cent, which means that we have not achieved the target that we set for ourselves.

Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr. Justice J. Appiah 1:40 p.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, I am quoting from Standing Order 93 (2), and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blas- phemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any other Member or to make personal allusions.”
The words my Hon Colleague used, “play to the gallery”, he has to withdraw them. He has to withdraw “play to the gallery”. The Hon Member who just
spoke was the immediate past Hon Minister in charge of Finance so whatever he says is correct - [Interruption.] Yes, it is true, and even the Hon Minister knows of him. So he should withdraw the word “blasphemous'. Because we do not want it in this House. He has to withdraw it. “Playing to the gallery” is not a good phrase to be used in this House.
Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not
know whether my Hon Colleague was asleep when I was talking. If he was not asleep then I think he also needs hearing aid, as said by the Hon Minority Leader.
Madam Speaker, when you look at the
gross international reserve, we have set for ourselves that at the end of 2008, we should have three months' import cover but at the end of the year it was only 1.8 months' import cover; we have also failed to achieve our target.
Again, the overall budget deficit was
targeted at 5.7 per cent at the end of 2008. What did we see at the end of 2008? The budget deficit at the end of 2008 was 14.9 per cent. We had failed to achieve our target.
Madam Speaker, if in the 2008 Budget Statement “we told the people of Ghana that we are moving forward” whether in the wrong or the right direction, now you can see from the performance of 2008 that that moving forward was moving forward in the wrong direction. This is because all the targets that we had set for ourselves, we had not been able to achieve them.
Madam Speaker, if you look at the Budget Statement, it is titled, “Investing in a Better Ghana”. You cannot define this Budget Statement differently from what has been captured in this document and it is investing in Ghana. Personally, I want to call the Budget a “Rescue Budget”.
Why is it a rescue Budget? Efforts
Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.

Madam Speaker, let me now shift my attention to other areas. If you look at the education sector, provision has been made for the education sector. There is a provision to provide uniforms for 1.6 million children; there is a provision to increase the Capitation Grant to 4.50 cedis; there is a provision to expand the coverage of the School Feeding Programme; all those things I have mentioned are contained in this Budget Statement.
Madam Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member, try and wind up.
Mr. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I will be concluding very soon. But as we struc- ture the national health insurance it will be possible for the people of Ghana to pay for the health insurance premium once in their life time. Once you pay you attend hospitals free of charge -- [Inter-ruption.]
Madam Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Time is up.
Mr. Kofi Frimpong 1:50 p.m.
On a point of order. I heard my Hon Good Friend say the National Democratic Congress (NDC) brought the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Madam Speaker, I want to tell him categorically that the NDC is anti-National Health Insurance [Inter- ruptions.] When the Bill was brought here, the NDC Parliamentarians walked out of the House, so we passed the Bill into an Act of Parliament without a single vote of the NDC [Interruptions.]
Now that we are trying to rescue the Budget and now that we are all trying that the “cedi will appreciate the dollar” we see that the NHIS has come to rescue Ghanaians [Laughter.] And now this gentleman who is a good friend of mine would want to have that advantage to their party. Madam Speaker, he is misleading this House, he should withdraw, apologise to the NPP Government and give us the credit for bringing the NHIS into being. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Honourable, carry on please and try and wind up, time is against us now.
Mr. Avedzi 1:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague opposite, actually I do not know what he is trying to arrive at. When the NDC introduced the NHIS, the pilots, it was opposed by the NPP when they were then in the minority here on the floor of this House. It was opposed by Dr. Addo-Kufuor.
He opposed it; therefore, he should not say we are anti-National Health Insurance. If we are really anti-National Health
Insurance, we would not say that we are going to have only one time payment. We are capable of doing it and we are going to do it.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I do not intend to rescue the Budget. But I want to set the records straight. Madam Speaker, first of all it is not true that when the NDC wanted to pilot the NHIS, Dr. Addo-Kufuor opposed it on the floor of this House. If my Hon Colleague can show us the source of his information. He is a relative infant in this House, let him show us.
The second thing is, Madam Speaker,
he is quoting from the Budget Statement and saying that Government intends to provide school uniforms to 1.6 million pupils. Madam Speaker, it is not in this Budget. Page 152, paragraph 659 which encapsulates this provides -- and for his elucidation, Madam Speaker, I will read:
”Government will ensure that all extra fees are abolished and school uniforms provided to one million pupils in basic schools . . .”
Madam Speaker, where is the 1.6 million coming from? Madam Speaker, I have said that I am not on a rescue mission for the Budget but let him reconcile this. The 1.6 we are hearing, that is a declaration of intent, which may be good. But what is in the Budget Statement, really, is for one million pupils and let the Hon Member advert his mind to that.
Madam Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, can
you wind up.
Mr. Avedzi 1:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Budget Statement, provision of GH¢11.5 million was allocated for the procurement of uniforms for school children at the cost of GH¢ 7 per uniform. I want him to do his calculation and tell me how much it worked up to -- [Interruptions.] It is GH¢11.5 million at the cost of GH¢7 per uniform that worked up to NG¢1.6 million -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Having regard to the state of business of the House, I hereby direct that the Sitting be held outside the prescribed period in accordance with Order 40 of the Standing Orders.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, a comedy of errors. No school pupil uses one uniform for one year. The position is to provide two per pupil and that is why they calculated with two. Now he is saying that by the computation, it is meant to cover 1.6 million. Madam Speaker, that is clearly an untruth and the statement as captured on page 152, is very explicit on this. I do not know what my Hon Colleague is alluding to. Is he amending what is obtained in this Budget document or what?
Mr. Avedzi 1:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, whether a school child uses three, four, or five uniforms a year we are providing 1.6 million uniforms. That is what we are saying. We are not saying we are giving five uniforms to one child.
I am going to the fiscal sector. At the time that the NDC Government took over on the 7th of January this year, the nation's outstanding payments which had not been effected, the road sector arrears alone was GH¢109 million -- [Interruptions.] See page two of the highlights. Madam Speaker, the non-road arrears which
Mr. Avedzi 2 p.m.
this Government would have to pay is GH¢453.5 million. These are the debts that they left behind for which we are going to effect payments.

Madam Speaker, there was an issue about Dr. Addo-Kufuor opposing the introduction of the NHIS on the floor of this House.

Madam Speaker, I have in my hand the Wednesday, 26th April, 2000 issue of the Evening News, where it was captured “NPP criticises National Health Insurance Scheme”. [Uproar.] Madam Speaker, it is here. Madam Speaker, if you would allow me, I can quote a few sentences -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker, it states that 2 p.m.
“The New Patriotic Party has stated that in the interest of the suffering people of Ghana, arrogance of power would not be allowed to stand in the way of useful suggestions. A statement signed by Dr. K. Addo-Kufuor, MP for Manhyia and Minority spokesman for health, in reaction to Mr. Moses Adibo, Deputy Minister for Health pronouncement on Ghana Health Insurance Scheme in April 25, 2000,
issue of the Accra Daily expressed concerned about the failure of the Government to heed to useful advice from the opposition.
Madam Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member,
please, conclude now, your time is finished.
Mr. Avedzi 2 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want
Dr. Richard Anane 2 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, obviously what the Hon Member on the other side is saying is just a mere recantation of what happened when a so-called newspaper brought some -- [Interruptions.] This is because he did not even tell the name of the newspaper.
Madam Speaker, if it is a newspaper report, it was not a report in the Hansard; that is the first thing. Second, Madam
Speaker, this is the Budget Statement for the year 2000 and I want to paraphrase a portion of the Budget Statement. Madam Speaker, paragraph 331, the Budget of Wednesday, 9th February, 2000 which was read by the Hon Kwame Preprah, I just want to read the last portion of that paragraph because all that he was saying was just a recantation of what we had been saying and what we had been telling them to do. Paragraph 7 says:
“They also say that we must invest more in health . . .”
That is what we were telling them.
“That however does not and cannot necessarily mean that we ought to withdraw hospital fees nationwide.”
Madam Speaker, this was the statement of the Hon Minister for Finance at the time. And at the conclusion portion of that paragraph, he said:
“. . . the Health Insurance Scheme, when it comes into operation, would further improve access as well as reduce the cost of health care.”

Madam Speaker, I also want to put it here that as the first Minister for Health in the Kufuor's Administration, I, as the Minister for Health in 2001, knew that there was no health insurance scheme which was national in the country. I was the one who initiated the National Health Insurance Scheme and Madam Speaker, I can say for a fact, yes, that, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust had tried to put up a national health insurance scheme but that never saw the light of day.

Yes, the Nkoranza Hospital had started one and that was what perhaps Dr. Addo- Kufuor was advising them to learn from because the “cash and carry” was killing the people of Ghana.

Therefore, it is never true that they had set up the National Health Insurance Scheme, it was never true that Addo- Kufuor said health insurance was never acceptable in the country and it would not work. Madam Speaker, it was also never said on the floor, and therefore, he should withdraw and set the record straight.
Mr. Avedzi 2 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am
very happy that the former Minister for Transportation was able to read in the Budget Statement for 2000 and mentioned health insurance in it. That shows that the NDC Government at the time was piloting the health insurance - [Interruptions.] I can cite Dodowa, Nkoranza as places where we were piloting -- [Interruption] -- and also at Damongo where we were piloting the health insurance. Madam Speaker, the reason for the piloting, they know -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker, in winding up, despite
the good things that the NPP claimed that they did for this country, the good people of Ghana who are the best judges, decided to vote for the NDC. [Hear! Hear!] They always promise and never deliver. We as a party in government, we have promised and as we have promised, we will make sure we deliver [Hear! Hear!] So we are going to deliver all that we have in the Budget Statement, and by the end of the year they are going to be realised.
Madam Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Minister, can
you wind up?
Minister for Finance (Dr. Kwabena
Duffuor): Madam Speaker, thank you
Madam Speaker 2:10 p.m.

I would like to thank you again for the comments and the contributions. Madam Speaker, I believe they would enrich the policy we are all examining.

Madam Speaker, over the past one week or so my technical team and I have been here listening to the debate and I must say that we have all enjoyed; we have not only been baptised, but we are now understanding this world.

Madam Speaker, my intention is not to respond to all the issues raised over the past two weeks but I would like to thank everybody here for their contributions. We are going back to examine the contributions and comments and make sure that we enrich the financial policy.

Madam Speaker, I would like to make a few points here. The Hon Minister of State, my brother Dr. Akoto Osei -- [Some Hon Members -- Former] -- Former, I am sorry -- [Interruptions.] I want him to come and help me, that is why I said -- [Interruption] -- Dr. Osei talked about 2001, what others said and did. One thing he forgot was that I was a member of the Economic Management Team for a whole year. And Madam Speaker, yes, those were difficult times; yes, we survived. I am saying all this because I have enjoyed his lecturing. [Hear! Hear!] Today, I have had basic economics lectures and I am very thankful to him.

When one looks at the 29th October memorandum written by the IMF on the performance of the Ghanaian economy during the first eight or nine months of 2001, it was clear that the performance was superior. Almost all the indicators had been met. We entered the year with a huge inflation as he has said because we have come out of crisis. It was over 43 per cent in February/March 2001. We talk of 40 per cent; 40 per cent was December 2000 but by February or March it was 43 per cent. By December, it was about 21 per cent.

Obviously, it means it was an aberration. We never intervened with one dollar but the cedi was stabilized. The Domestic Primary Balance which is the efficiency with which government manages the fiscal, it was 4.8 per cent of GDP. Indeed, it has been the highest ever in this country and it has been the highest since 2001 as Dr. Akoto Osei will admit. In 2001 the first nine months of the NPP, I will appreciate that had been the best year of NPP.

We are having to face extremely difficult situation and that is why we have designed this Budget. To me this Budget is like a New Testament. It is so different; it is indeed different and therefore I would urge you to read it seriously. We are not poor because we do not have the resources; we are poor because we do not know how to manage our resources. Therefore, the emphasis this year is on the efficiency in the management of our resources and I want to assure my younger brother that we would enforce and ensure that we do

what is right.

There were a few other things I would like to comment on. Looking at the Budget, Madam Speaker, we never introduced any new taxes. The taxes are all there - the airport tax, we only raised it from 50 to 75 for travellers outside the sub-region. It has been there for years; the NPP raised it from 20 to 42 in 2001. So it is not a new tax we have introduced. The other one -- [Interruption] -- Which one? Rice? Yes, I am happy you have raised that issue. Madam Speaker, we have no intention of restoring the tariffs on those foodstuffs -- rice -- [Interruptions.] I beg your pardon. Please, I tabled it but I am saying that we are stepping it down. [Interruptions.]
Dr. Osei 2:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in this
House there are proper procedures for withdrawing a motion on the floor of the House. As far as we are concerned, the Bill has been introduced, it has been laid and he cannot just say he has no intention of not bringing it. We do not do things that way. Madam Speaker, if one looks at the highlights, and as I pointed out to him, they expect to raise 43 million. If he is going to cure that defect he cannot do it in the way he is making it right now.
As far as this House is concerned, this Budget has talked about restoration. The Hon Minister on his own cannot, in winding up, say that he does not intend to -- We do not recognize that. He has to come back properly with a substantive motion to withdraw it. [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker, this is a Report of the Finance Committee.
Madam Speaker, this vindicates what I said about the softness of the fiscal programme because if we were expecting 43.6 and no longer -- [Interruption.] You are going to bring it back; there is a gap. How do you intend to fill the gap? So
Madam Speaker, with all due respect to my senior Colleague, we expect him to come back properly with a motion to officially withdraw the Report.
Mr. J. T. Akologu 2:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Colleague concluded on the right note. There is a procedure to withdraw this thing so when the right time comes the procedure will be followed. So he should not be in a hurry.
Dr. Duffuor 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, we
did mention in the Budget that there would be a mid-year review so I do not understand why he is worried. There is a procedure for withdrawing it, a procedure for bringing it back. So we are saying that we would have a mid-year review and it will be done at the right time.

Madam Speaker, of the Budget, I mentioned that our Budget is like the New Testament Bible -- [Hear! Hear!] -- It is so different. Madam Speaker, even those who expressed certain sentiments and describing the Budget in a very unflattering manner would agree that we do not discriminate in the Budget. Madam Speaker, they even accept that -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the point about the Bill being still in Parliament is of importance to us because Order 132 puts this matter beyond dispute:
“Either before the commencement of public business or at the commencement of any stage of a Bill, the Member in charge of the Bill may make a motion without notice for its withdrawal.”
Madam Speaker, so far, this has not happened. It has not happened. So the Bill is still in Parliament. And a declaration
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
with the greatest respect, I refer you to article 106, clause 14 of the Constitution and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“A Bill introduced in Parliament by or on behalf of the President shall not be delayed for more than three months in any committee of Parliament.”
Madam Speaker, if it is after three months, then people can be complaining. It is less than three months. So constitu- tionally, I do not see the source of their complaint. [Interruptions.] In fact, the Hon Minister is within the period provided for by the Constitution. But if it is after three months, then the complaint that they are raising will be very legitimate.
Mr. Akologu 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the
Hon Dr. A. A. Osei talked about procedure in this House. My Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader has referred us to Order 132. I also want us to look at Order 78 (h), (i) and (j). So the whole of Order 78 can be looked at seriously:
“Unless any Order otherwise provides, notice shall be given of any motion which it is proposed to make, except the following --
( h ) a m o t i o n f o r t h e withdrawal of a Bill;
(i) a motion for the withdrawal of a motion; . . .”
So at the time, notice is expected to be given. He is giving us notice that he will come at the appropriate time and address the concerns of this House.
Madam Speaker, I think that the Hon
Minister is right and should be allowed to carry on.
Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Members, I think the Hon Minister said at the appropriate time he will do the right thing. So let him carry on.
Yes, Hon Minister, please, continue.
Dr. Duffuor 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in
this year's Budget, the benefits are so widespread. They are so widespread that there are people who are even saying that this Budget could have been presented by my predecessors on the other side of the House.
The key reason, Madam Speaker, why
Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Dr. Duffuor 2:20 p.m.
He wants to be the

Madam Speaker, looking at the
Mr. S.B.K. Manu 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
come on Order 91 where the Hon Minister is misleading this House. He just made a statement that the President said he was going to be a father of all Ghanaians.
[Some Hon Members: Yes.] Madam Speaker, we are in this country where there is selective harassment of Ghanaians going on -- [Uproar.] And the President has said nothing. What is there to say that he is walking the talk? The President just paid lip-service to being a father for all. He is not walking the talk. So the Hon Minister is misleading the House.
Dr. Duffuor 2:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, as I
mentioned in my Budget Statement, I -- [interruption] --
Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, I was going to make a ruling because what I heard was that the Hon Minister said the President said. So what was wrong with what he quoted that the President said he was going to do that? [Uproar.]
Mr Manu 2:20 p.m.
What was wrong with what
Madam Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, can
you continue?
Dr. Duffuor 2:20 p.m.
Thank you, Madam
Speaker. Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my Budget Statement, this Budget is a Budget for every Ghanaian.
So once again, I am reaching out to both sides of the House in a non-partisan manner and I am asking all Hon Members to approve this financial policy to enable us implement the policies and to move the economy forward in the right way, so that we will achieve a better Ghana.
Madam Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Thank you. Hon Minister.
Question put -- [interruption] --

Sheikh I. C. Quaye: On a point of

order. Madam Speaker, thank you very much-- [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, when you put the Question, I saw the Hon Minister for Finance voting; and he has no right to vote here because he is not a Member of this House.
Madam Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Hon Members, I
will put the Question again.
Question put and motion agreed to.
That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December 2009.
Madam Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Hon Members,

We move on to item six on the Order Paper. The Hon E. T. Mensah?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
the motion stands in the name of the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee. I have his permission to move the motion, and I want to seek your leave to do so.
Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
Mr. E. T. Mensah (on behal f
of Chairman of the Committee): Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding 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
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Tenth Report of the Appointments Committee on the President's
Nominations for Deputy Ministerial Appointments
Mr. E.T. Mensah 2:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Tenth Report of the Appoint- ments Committee on the President's nominations for Deputy Ministerial appointments.
Madam Speaker, in doing so, I wish to present the Report of the Appointments 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 articles 79(1) and 256(2) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana:
1. Hon Reuben Nii Nortey Dua -- Deputy Minister-designate
Mr. E.T. Mensah 2:30 p.m.
for Youth and Sports
2. Hon. Henry Ford Kamel -- Deputy Minister-designate for
Lands and Natural Resources
3. Hon. John Gyetuah -- Deputy Minister-designate for Trade and Industry
4. Mr. Eric Opoku -- Deputy Minister-designate, Brong Ahafo Region
5. Mr. Kale Cezario -- Deputy Minister-designate for Upper West Region
6. Mr. Moses Mabengba -- Deputy Minister-designate for Northern Region
7. Ms. Hawawu Boya Gariba -- Deputy Minister-designate for Women and Children's Affairs
In accordance with Order 172 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, Madam
Speaker referred the nominations to the Appointments Committee on Tuesday, 24th February 2009 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

Nominees took the oath of a witness when they appeared before the Committee, and answered questions on issues relating to their backgrounds, 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 Reuben Nii Nortey Dua -- Deputy Minister-designate,Youth and Sports


Hon Reuben Nii Nortey Dua was born on 1st July 1953. He holds a Diploma in Journalism from GIJ, Post Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies and a Masters Degree from the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana.

He has an extensive working ex- perience in broadcast journalism with emphasis on sports. He joined the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in 1977 and rose through the ranks to become the Head of Sports/Outside Broadcast Department before joining Metro TV as the Head of Sports Department in 2005. Hon. Dua has lectured at the Ghana Institute of Journalism and is currently the Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku Constituency.


The nominee lamented that tracks and field events have received little attention over the years. This he attributed to the lack of adequate budgetary support. Salaries of National Coaches

Hon Dua informed the Committee that Ghana is operating in an international arena and cannot afford to pay Coaches based on our local salary levels. He stressed the need to pay Coaches well so that they can deliver. He suggested the development of programmes to encourage and support local Coaches to upgrade their knowledge.

Women Soccer

Hon Dua further informed the Committee that the main problem confronting Women Soccer in Ghana is the absence of a competitive league. He said, he will consult the Minister, so that women league matches will be organised all year round. More women teams will be encouraged and supported to participate in the league. The support of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will be sought to help develop the game at the local levels to help identify new talents.

Youth Training

The nominee stressed on the need to strengthen the operations of youth leadership training centres.

He indicated he will assist the Minister to set up counselling centres across the country to help give direction to the youth since some of the youth are on the street because they have not received the needed counselling on career develop-ment.

Amateur Boxing

Hon Dua lamented that boxers in Ghana are left to their fate and are deemed important only when they are needed for international tournaments. He said there is the need for the State to provide boxers with modern gymnasiums since most amateur boxers are from relatively
Mr. E.T. Mensah 2:30 p.m.

farming will be boosted through the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to be set up.


Mr. Kale Cezario indicated that out of 17 paramountcies in the region, six are vacant because of chieftaincy disputes. He promised to liaise with his Minister to find solutions to the conflicts and redirect the energies of the people into developmental activities.

Development Partners in Upper West Region

The nominee expressed gratitude to ADRA, Plan Ghana, Action Aid and other non-governmental development or- ganizations in the Upper West Region for their assistance to the people. He said these organizations have assisted in the areas of agriculture, health, education, micro- financing and skills development in the region. He envisaged future collaboration between the Regional Co-ordinating Council and these organizations to further develop the region.


According to the nominee, students all over the country have developed the phobia for mathematics as a subject and attributed this to the mode of teaching. He posited that mathematics is an easy subject that all should be encouraged to study. The nominee advocated that in order to make the learning of mathematics easy for pupils and students, teachers should be trained to practicalise the subject in order to demystify it.


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

Mr. Mabengba cited instances that he accompanied former Minister for the Interior, Hon Malik Alhassan Yakubu to negotiate for peace in certain parts in the North even when he was not a government official or MP. He said he has participated in several peace negotiations including church services, muslim prayers and even observing traditional rituals at various palaces all aimed at ensuring peace.

Sustaining peace in Northern Region

Mr. Moses Mabengba asserted that if given approval by the Committee he would work hard with other stakeholders to ensure peace in the Northern Region. This he would do by even ensuring recom- mendations submitted by various bodies set up to ensure peace in the North are implemented. He would liaise with the National Peace Council and create four (4) rapid response units, in Gambaga, Yendi, Domongo to maintain peace in the area. Mr Mabengba told the Committee that he would create committees specifically for peace building in the churches and mosques for early detection of conflicts in order to nip them in the bud.

Finally, the nominee said he would embark on dialogue and impress upon the people of the region that they are embarrassing northerners in particular and Ghanaians in general to the outside world by engaging themselves in wars.

Northern Regional Annual Floods

The nominee told the Committee that if given approval he would collaborate with NADMO to educate and discourage people from building structures in waterways. Further, he would react swiftly on issues of flooding by ensuring that adequate provisions are made for safety of property and life.


In answering a question in the

African Growth and Opportunity Act


On the AGOA initiative, the nominee stated that this is a good initiative. However, some of the local industries are not benefiting from this initiative because of some difficulties.

He indicated that he would work with the Minister to help address these problems facing the local industries so that they can benefit from the AGOA initiative.


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

4.4 Mr. Kale Cezario -- Deputy Minister- designate for Upper West Region


Mr. Kale Cezario was born on 7th of April, 1970 at Obuasi. He is a teacher by profession and holds a Bachelor of Technology in Education Degree; currently he is pursuing a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Human Resource Development. Mr. Kale Cezario is an Assistant Director in the Ghana Education Service.

Livestock Development

The nominee said the Upper West Region lamented the relatively short period of rains in the region and said this really affects farming in the region. He advocated the need to promote livestock farming. He said if given the approval, he would support the Regional Minister to implement the plans and programmes of the Government as indicated in the Party's manifesto as far as agriculture is concerned. According to him livestock

4.5 Mr. Moses Mabengba -- Deputy Minister -designate for Northern Region


Mr. Moses Mabengba was born on 11th March, 1956. He holds a Master of Arts (MA) Mathematics Education, from University of Leeds, UK and B.Ed (Hons) Mathematics from University College of Education, Winneba (UCEW). He is a former Member of Parliament for Saboba.

Statement on the 1994 Conflict in Northern Region

In reacting to a perception that the nominee was a warlord, Mr. Mabengba informed the Committee that contrary to that opinion he was a man of peace. The nominee recounted what prompted him to make a statement on the floor of Parliament during the Kokonba-Nanumba war, in 1994.

The nominee said a statement was made on the floor by Hon Mohammed Ibn Chambas on the conflict and attributed the cause of the war to the Kokombas, and as a leader of the Kokomba Caucus in Parliament he had to react to the statement. However, after making his statement he was suspended by the NDC after a Bill declaring a state of emergency in the Northern Region had been passed.

The nominee insisted that those who have doubt about his competence and see him as bellicose do not live in the Northern Region of Ghana. According to the nominee, on several occasions he has demonstrated his ability to rise above ethnicity to contribute to peace in the Northern Region. He said on 1st March 1994 he made a reconciliatory statement which paved the way for the end of the war.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:40 p.m.
Speaker, I rise to second the motion.
Question proposed.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu (NPP - Ahafo

Madam Speaker, in contributing to the
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. Manu 2:40 p.m.
Except that Madam
Speaker, I do not represent the people of Asunafo. So I could not have been a
like the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports to understand that I am not a member of the Appointments Committee. I am not therefore privy to whichever curriculum vitae that would have been presented to the Committee.
What I have in hand and what is being debated on the floor of the House, is the Committee's Report and believing what the Committee is capable of doing and having no reason to doubt the competency of the Clerk to the Committee and the Chairman of the Committee, I am going strictly by what the Committee has written and placed before this House. And as a teacher of the English Language, that is the interpretation I can give to what I have in hand.
Madam Speaker, he can be sure
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
the Hon Member, the Hon Balado Manu is right; this is the printer's devil. We corrected it and it went back and they put their hand there. As a matter of fact , it should read: “She started” -- So sorry about that.
Mr. Manu 2:40 p.m.
Thank you, Hon E. T. Mensah. Madam Speaker, I therefore take it that the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports would not see me as being mischievous. And if, with your indul- gence, I could ask the Hon Minister to withdraw that unpalatable word used against me, I can forgive him. I will not stress that he apologizes but if he can honourably withdraw that word, I would be most grateful to him.
Madam Speaker 2:40 p.m.
Hon Member,
objection has been taken to the word “mischievous”. Can you substitute another?
Alhaji Muntaka 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
Sankore and Settler Farmers
The nominee informed the Committee that his village is called ‘Sankore' and that it is a forest climatic area. He agreed that there are settler farmers in the village most of whom are from the three northern regions.
He promised to educate the people of the region that nationhood is about unity and therefore they should coexist peacefully to champion their develop- mental aspirations. He assured the Committee that he would not do anything to the detriment of settlers in the region.
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 Reuben Nii Nortey Dua -- Deputy Minister-designate for Youth and Sports 2. Hon Henry Ford Kamel -- Deputy Minister-des ignate for Lands and Natural Resources
3. Mr. Kale Cezario -- Deputy Minister-designate for Upper West Region
4. Hon John Gyetuah -- Deputy Minister-designate for Trade and Industry
5. Mr. Moses Mabengba -- Deputy Minis ter-des ignate
“Mugabe” for Asunafo.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:40 p.m.
Ahafo Ano South. [Laughter.]
Mr. Manu 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
will continue. Madam Speaker, if you look at the background of the Minister- designate, the first statement, and with your indulgence I quote:
“Born on 29th December, 1968 Ms. Hawawu Boya Gariba had her basic education at R. C. Primary School in 1973”.
Alhaji M. M. Muntaka 2:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the other side is being mischievous. I am saying this because this is the Report of the Committee; this is not her writing and in her curriculum vitae she indicated that she started the primary in 1973. So if he is reading the Report and he is trying to induce a meaning into this, then he should rather be referring that to the Committee Secretary or the Clerk to the Committee but not to Madam Boya.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Manu 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would
Mr. Fritz Frederic Baffour 2:40 p.m.
a point of correction. When the Hon Member said that he would expect that the perpetration would come from outside - any form of civil strife is negative. It cannot be alluded only to within the North or from outsiders attacking northerners. Therefore, I would like him to say that any form of civil strife within the borders of Ghana is a negative thing.
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 2:40 p.m.
On a
point of order. Madam Speaker, point of order on two instances and with your permission, Order 91(a). The advice to the nominated Deputy Minister to the Northern Region gives an impression that there is a place called North and he is going to tackle the problem in the North. That mistake has been made over and over and he has given that impression too.
It must be understood that he is going
to be the Deputy Regional Minister for Northern Region and not the north of Ghana. Besides that, he is going to superintend over affairs or deputising for the Regional Minister over several different types of ethnic groups which is the reason why they are not one people. He knows that he is a Basaare, there are Konkombas, there are Dagombas, there are Nanumbas, several other people. There is no place called North for a Regional Minister for the Northern Region to go and be a Deputy Minister. That correction must be made.
The second is, his use of the word
“unleach”. I do not think there is any word in English called “unleach”. Maybe, he wanted to call “unlease” -- [Inter- ruptions.] -- [An Hon Member: There is a word.]
Mr. Manu 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I take
his advice on the northern and the North. If I said North it was a slip of tongue but I take a very serious view of the fact that he is trying to challenge me, that there is no such word as “unleach” - [An Hon Member: unleash.] Unleash. I know your very self know, you know about the existence of such a word and I would not want to embarrass him by bringing an
said this, if they could play back and see what he said. After making that statement, he said “I could only wish her” and tying the reading of the sentence to the lady is what was my concern. I was saying that he was being mischievous and I stand by that because if he had just read it and moved on, that would have been different; but to say that “I can only wish her” is like you are tying this mistake to the lady which I felt it was not right. But once the Chairman of the Committee had drawn his attention, I will simply say he was being uncharitable with the lady with the statement by saying that he can only wish the lady well.
Madam Speaker 2:40 p.m.
I thought I heard
the word “mischievous”.
Alhaji Muntaka 2:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
I have withdrawn that he is being “mischievous” and substitute it with “being uncharitable” with the lady.
Mr. Manu 2:50 p.m.
As a younger Member of
this House, I can pardon him.

Madam Speaker, going to paragraph 4.6, where the Report talks about Hon or Mr. Moses Mabengba, Minister-designate for the Northern Region -- Please, I would like Hon Members to take note of the pronunciation of his name. That is the correct pronunciation - Mabengba - It is a Konkomba name and a Basaare name as such, so that is the correct name I have given. Mabengba is the name.

Madam Speaker, if you refer to that

Report, you would see that the Report says, and Madam Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:

“Finally, the nominee said he would embark on dialogue and impress upon the people of the region that they are embarrassing northerners in
Mr. Manu 2:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the
language I used was that if there was going to be a war in the North, one would have expected that people from without the North would have carried the war to the northerners and not they themselves taking up arms and being at one another's throat. I am not by this advocating that people from outside the North should take up arms against people in the North. I am being hypothetical in this sense.
Madam Speaker, the Report further
down, and with your indulgence, I would like to quote, states:
“This will lead to the revival of this programme and more sports men and women to be discovered. He said, he will encourage District Assemblies to form keep-fit clubs to encourage people to get involved in sports.”
Madam Speaker, there has been history
of keep-fit clubs in this country. Keep-fit clubs in themselves are not negative but, in the recent past history of this country, we have witnessed situations where keep-fit clubs, so designated, have been used as a ploy by groups to unleach mayhem on their - [Interruptions.] Please, I would not mind them because I know they are in a different world in relation to me so I will continue.
I was saying that there has been a history in this country where people have used or hidden behind keep-fit clubs to unleash mayhem and atrocities against their perceived political opponents. So as he is advocating for the creation of keep-fit clubs, I can only advise that he would be in a position to control and guide such keep-fit clubs so that they do not degenerate into armed groups and armed juntas against political opponents,
Madam Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Thank you, I wanted to close the debate, can you be short?
Nana Abu-Bonsra (NPP -- Fomena) 3 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to join my Hon Colleagues in congratulating the nominees put forward before us for approval. Indeed among those who are coming from Parliament as Colleague Members of Parliament, we can say so much about them but time would not permit that. Especially, Hon Henry Ford Kamel, whom, though we do not belong to the same party, I respect so much for his level headedness and especially his command over several languages in Ghana. I got to know him to be from the Volta Region, but through interactions I also got to know that he speaks about five or six languages and I think --
North, I get worried. What surprises me is this gentleman's humble disposition as he exhibited at the Appointments Committee during his vetting and particularly his readiness and willingness to accept suggestions that would bring about peace. He made a statement and if I may quote him.
Madam Speaker, at one point, he said that the message he has for his northern people is the fact that, yesterday is gone, a new day has dawned and therefore they should make progress.

Madam Speaker, I think my friend- to-be if I ever were to meet him, his statement was aptly captured, because the fact remains Madam Speaker, that we in this part of the world are far behind time as far as development and all other issues are concerned. The truth is that, the world is never ever going to wait for us, and that is what we have to advise ourselves about and therefore programme ourselves to join in the race which the world has begun long before us rather than always resorting to settling misunderstanding with violence and with things that tend to draw us back and not move us forward in the right direction.

I also really want to bring in this, if yesterday is gone and a new day has dawned and we need to make every effort to join the current revolution, be it the computer or the technology revolution, Madam Speaker, then we cannot accept what we are seeing presently.

Some of us are worried about moves being made by groups calling themselves Ga Adangme Youth Association in relation to the usage of a bungalow by the ex-President and the fact that they are threatening even to go on a demonstra- tion because they would not want the ex-President to use the property that is

Oxford Dictionary to open to the page.

I think when he gets back to Wa and when he goes to sit at the spot called the Tieber, the students who would come there would tell him that there is a word such as I said. [Interruptions.] Yes.

Madam Speaker, having given that caution to my brother who is going to be the Deputy Minister for the Northern Region, I would just want to say that, I congratulate him on his nomination and very soon, his approval pending his appointment by His Excellency the President and I would want to thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to also congratulate and make a contribution on this motion and I urge all and sundry in this House to vote massively for the motion.

I thank you Madam Speaker.
Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDC - Juaboso) 3 p.m.
Thank you Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to motion number 7 on the Order Paper.
Madam Speaker, I want to be very brief by commenting on two or three of the nominees, especially Hon Eric Opoku, who is my Friend. I know him to be very, very intelligent, industrious, affable and very generous. I know that he going to the Brong Ahafo Region is going to be a great asset in supporting the substantive Minister to administer affairs of the region.
Hon Eric Opoku is a very hardworking young man who has been a Member of Parliament before; in the last Parliament he was here and all of us saw how dynamic he was in executing his duties as a Member of Parliament. I wish him very well and I ask God to protect, guide and see him
[Interruptions.] he speaks Dagbani, he speaks Twi, he speaks virtually every language. That aside, I think it is also a joy to work with Hon Kamel, having served on one or two committees with him and I can almost say the same thing about Hon John Gyetuah and Hon Eric Opoku.
For the moment, I would like to situate my comments on the Honourable nominee for Deputy Regional Minister for Northern Region.
Madam Speaker, I did not happen to be in the Speakers Conference Room at the time this gentleman was being vetted. I only happened to have tuned on my radio in my car to listen to him and I was really impressed with the gentleman's performance that day. Indeed, if the gentleman under reference, Moses Mabengba is here in the House, I may not know because I have not met him before and I do not know whether he is black or fair in complexion.
But just listening to him I got touched and especially when I heard people like Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang and others on the Committee testifying about him and his personality and his love for peace, even in his answers and I was particularly touched with one of the statements that he made on that day and I think it has been paraphrased, at page 10, under the second paragraph under sustaining peace in the Northern Region which I think earlier on Hon Balado Manu also made reference to and I will therefore not need to read it.
I am particularly concerned about peace in the North as somebody having been born and bred in Obuasi where I grew up and have most of my friends of the northern decent. From the Dagarti, from Frafra and I have found them to be the best of friends anybody can have and therefore whenever I hear about disturbances up
Mr. E. T. Mensah 3 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to thank all my Hon Colleagues for their contribution but except to appeal to the Hon Member for Fomena (Nana Abu- Bonsra) to be cautious when he talks about issues which raise passion - issues about the Ga land and whatever. I grew up in Accra and Koforidua and my grandfather has large plots of land there and so, issues about land are issues which we should not just be talking about. And I took the last flower. [Interruption.] Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang said I took the last flower, I went and fished in his waters. [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker, on a more serious note, I thank you so much, I thank everybody and you may put the Question.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Madam Speaker 3 p.m.
Hon. Member,
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:
Mr. Reuben Nii Nortey Dua -- Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports
Mr. Henry Ford Kamel -- Deputy Minister, Lands and Natural Resources
Mr. John Gyetuah -- Deputy Minister for Trade
and Industry
Ms. Boya Hawawu Gariba -- Deputy Minister for Women and Children's Affairs
Mr. Moses Mabengba -- Deputy Minister for Northern Region
Mr. Eric Opoku -- Deputy Minister for Brong Ahafo Region. Mr. Cezario Kale -- Deputy Minister for Upper West Region.
Hon Members, may I take this opportunity to congratulate all the nominees, especially the Members of Parliament (MPs) amongst them, who have received parliamentary approval for appointments as Deputy Ministers.
Mr. J. T. Akologu 3 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
I just want to inform Hon Members that there would be a joint Caucus meeting immediately after adjournment. It is not the Committee of the Whole, it is not Closed Sitting, it is Caucus of the Whole or joint Caucus Meeting.
Madam Speaker 3 p.m.
Thank you, Hon
Members. Hon Members, this House will be adjourned to tomorrow Wednesday, 18th March, 2009 at ten o'clock in the forenoon.

  • The House was adjourned at 3.21 p.m. till 18th March 2009 at 10.00 a.m.
  • Mr. Joe Gidisu 3:21 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, on
    a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Colleague on the floor is not being relevant to the issue at stake and he is diverting attention to a situation which would generate debate, and this is not the best for the present motion on the floor.
    Nana Abu-Bonsra 3:21 p.m.
    Madam Speaker,
    Madam Speaker 3:21 p.m.
    No. Hon Member,
    all that he is saying is that we are trying to approve the Report.
    Nana Abu-Bonsra 3:21 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, I was referring to Hon Moses Mabengba's love for peace and that is what made me bring in this point that, let us all join him in seeking for peace for Ghana.
    Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    Mrs. Catherine Ablema Afeku (NPP
    - Evalue Gwira): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the brief moment to contribute to the motion on the floor, most especially as my Leader said, to make a few comments to congratulate all the