Members, I have exhausted the list provided by the Leadership of both sides of the House and I want to put the Question but if it is the thinking of the House that we should take one from each side then I would allow two minutes each. So I would call the Hon Member for Ayawaso West Wuogon.
Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare
(NPP - Ayawaso West Wuogon): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that most Hon Members who have contributed have already indicated the importance of this Ministry. Indeed, if you look at page 11 of the Committee's Report, one is tempted to say that this Ministry should be given the bulk of the country's Budget, if you look at the fact that 51 per cent of the population in Ghana are women, 30 per cent are children, culminating into a big number.
But sometimes I also think this statistics needs to be closely watched because the 51 per cent include girls, so again I think some of these statistics, we need to be concerned about how we present it.
Nevertheless, it is said that a good number of our population is affected by this Ministry. The Ministry has already embarked on a gender mainstreaming policy; and ensuring that most Ministries
are looking at how the budget affects men and women, boys and girls.
It is therefore important that the Ministry itself recognises that it would never have a budget sufficient to deal with this number and therefore that policy of gender mainstreaming must be taken to a next level; the next level meaning that we should as a matter of urgency, do indepth analysis on the key sector Ministries to see what percentage of the resources are being allocated to men as against women and boys as against girls -- boys and girls, the children under the Hon Minister's jurisdiction.
It is relevant because if you look at, say health budget, what is going into maternal and child care, what is going into immunisation, what is going into public health, or water and sanitation -- These are all important elements that would cumulatively contribute to the work that we want to do on behalf of women and children. Therefore, I am happy that they want to set up a unit to do gender disaggregated data and this would go beyond just tabulation but do a more indepth analysis to ensure the impact of certain policies and how they impact on women and children.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry would
have to do a lot of collaborative work. It recognises on page six a number of initiatives that other Ministries are undertaking and I would also urge that these should not be taken as a matter of course just bringing in people for a meeting. I think their monitoring department or directorate needs to be strengthened so that it is something they do periodically and ensure that issues that people have put on their budget to be addressed on behalf of women and children are actually implemented.
Lastly, when you look at the fact that
you are going to support early childhood and child protection committee in the district, I believe that perhaps -- I have not seen the full budget, but there is an issue of review of the Children's Act which I know initiatives have already started in previous years. Therefore, this is the time to relook at the Children's Act and begin to streamline some of the provisions, as a result of what we have learnt more than 10 years of its implementation.
Before I end, Mr. Speaker, just indulge me; when the Hon Minister spoke she said her budget was put as number nine, that was the last on the list. Just sitting where I was and even coming here, it took me sometime to even notice that the Hon Minister was in the House and it is because where her chair is, it is strategically positioned behind the Majority Leader such that she is not seen and both she and her deputies --
She moved just to show me that she was there but when she was sitting we could not see her. I do not know whether that is also part of the marginalisation but one would like to look critically and issues like that tend to give the perception that the Women and Children's Ministry is being marginalised.
On that note, Mr. Speaker, I share in the concerns that people have expressed that this Ministry is a very important Ministry, it needs the requisite resources and therefore, in supporting the motion for the approval of the budget that has been stated in the motion, I still believe that when supplementary budget is being made, they should consider this Ministry as a matter of priority.
Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah (NDC
- Ho East): Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice and to support the motion on the floor, moved
by the Hon Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, to approve the paltry sum of GH¢9,570,786 for the services of the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker, earlier contributors have said it that this sum is woefully inadequate. If any nation would develop fast, that nation must recognise its women and the children and therefore, to give a paltry sum of 9 million plus, I believe is not in the right direction at this time.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, all over the years, again have had its fair share of resource allocation to the Ministry in order to tackle its programmes and projects. It is a well- known fact, as earlier contributers have said, that we know that women are 51 per cent plus and therefore the national cake should also reflect that but it does not.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the programmes that the Ministry has been doing all over the years and the outlook for 2009, you would find out that the programmes do need a lot of resource allocation, which I believe would make the Ministry to be able to achieve the targets they want to achieve.
I am very happy to know that the Ministry intends to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to tackle this issue of rising maternal and infant mortality. I believe also that the Ministry of Health would see them as partners in this area so that we can reduce the maternal and infant mortality. I am also very happy that the Ministry intends to collaborate and train women in areas of the gender-responsive skills and gender- budget planning.
The Ministry has mentioned some of
the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and I am just wondering about our Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism. If you look at the Ministry of Tourism,
the larger number of people who work in the Ministry of Tourism are women. I would urge my Hon Colleague Minister to also consider putting the Ministry of Tourism on the list so that our women can also benefit from that, and of course, we would also like to address the issue of child-sex tourism that is affecting the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the allocation is woefully inadequate, this Ministry is a very, very important Ministry as others have said, so I would urge the Hon Minister for Finance to consider a supplementary budget when we are doing the review so that the Ministry can also benefit from more allocation.
Madam Speaker, with these few words,
I wish to urge all Hon Members to approve the amount of GH¢9,570,786 for the Services of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to deliver its program- mes for the year.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.