Debates of 23 Mar 2009

PRAYERS 10:50 a.m.


PAPERS 10:50 a.m.

Prof. G. Y. Gyan 10:50 a.m.

Reports of the Special Budget Commit- tee on the Annual Budget Estimates for the year 2009 of the following:

i. Commission on Human Rights and Adminis t ra t ive Just ice


ii. Electoral Commission (EC)

i i i . Nat ional Commiss ion for Civic Education (NCCE)

i v . N a t i o n a l M e d i a Commission (NMC)

By the Chairman of the Committee --

Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare for the year 2009.

By the Chairman of the Committee --

Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Finance for the year 2009.

By the Chairman of the Committee --

Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Tech- nology on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Tech- nology for the year 2009.

By the Chairman of the Committee --

Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year 2009.

ESTIMATES 10:50 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. J. K. Avedzi) 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion. And in doing so, I wish to present the Report of the Finance Committee on this issue.
1.0 Introduction
The 2009 Annual Estimates of the National Development Planning Commis- sion (NDPC) was laid in the House on Thursday, 5th March, 2009 and referred to the Finance Committee for con- sideration and report in accordance with the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House. This referral followed the presentation of the 2009 Budget Statement and Financial Policy of the Government to the House by the Hon Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.
The Committee, in considering the Estimates, met with the Director- General of the Commission, Dr. Regina O. Adutwum, a technical team from the Commission and officials of the Ministry of Finance and reports as follows:
2.0 Background
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) exists to advise the President on national development
planning policy and strategy, to prepare and ensure the effective implementation of approved national development plans and to coordinate the decentralized planning system.
3.0 Objectives
The objectives of the Commission, derived from the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) include the following:
To institutionalize and internalize planning, policy formulation and monitoring and evaluation systems at all levels.
To promote research and develop- ment at all sectors of the economy.
Institutionalize the mainstreaming of sustainable development policies.
Develop and retain human resource capacity at national, regional and district levels.
Promote coordination, harmoni- zation and ownership of develop- ment process.
To deepen pluralistic involvement in support of growth and poverty reduction; and
To strengthen the database for policy formulation and decision- making.
4.0 2009 Budget Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission
For the pursuance of the above-stated objectives, the sum of GH¢3,083,056 has been allocated to the Commission for the 2009 financial year. The breakdown is

presented below: Personal Emoluments

-- GH¢722, 986

Administration -- GH¢124,703

Service -- GH¢429,740

Investment (GOG) -- GH¢739,568

Investment (Donor) -- GH¢1,066,059

Total Investment -- GH¢1,805,627
TOTAL -- 11:10 a.m.

Dr. A. A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, as you were giving instructions, the Hon First Deputy Speaker was also giving instructions that we should be very brief. So I am confused as to who is in the Chair today -- [Laughter] -- I can see Madam Speaker in the Chair but I am getting instructions from my left. I do not know whether he is trying to take over or not. But that notwithstanding, I --
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I think he will take over soon -- [Hear! Hear!]
Dr Osei 11:10 a.m.
He will take over soon? [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the motion that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢3,083,056 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission for the 2009 fiscal year.
Madam Speaker, before I talk about
the Committee's Report, there is a serious constitutional issue that needs to be raised. And here, I refer to article 86 (3) of the Constitution and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“(3) The National Development Planning Commission shall be responsible to the President.”
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance has moved the motion. Under normal circumstances, for those institutions that are responsible to the President, it is the Chief of Staff who moves the motion.
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Chief of Staff is not a Minister of State and therefore he has no audience on the floor of this House. So, the issue of Chief of Staff does not come into this matter at all. But we all know that the whole Budget was presented on behalf of the President by the Hon Minister for Finance. And therefore any time the Hon Minister for Finance is here, he is doing business on behalf of the President. And I think it is in that capacity that the Hon Minister for Finance is here.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe the First Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho) cannot be more wrong today than he has done. Madam Speaker, he seems to be saying, by extension of his own argument, that the Hon Minister for Finance, because he submits the Budget on behalf of the President can take charge of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) --
[Interruptions] -- By extension of his argument, and he knows that he is wrong.
Madam Speaker, this, indeed, is the position and if the Hon Minister is acting on behalf of the President in this regard, all that the Hon Minister has to do is to lay the foundation that he is doing so on behalf of the President.
The First Deputy Speaker knows it very well and he cannot pretend to be ignorant; I know he knows better than that. Madam Speaker, so I would urge that we have the correct presentation by the Hon Minister responsible for Finance.
Dr. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, as you are fully aware, there are at least, five Ministers of State in the Office of the Presidency: Hon Seidu Amadu, Hon Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo and there are three others. So the First Deputy Speaker's statement cannot stand.

As my Hon Leader said, if the Hon Minister for Finance laid the foundation that he has been authorized, just like in the Budget, to present this motion, I would not have any problem with it. But I got confused as I read the Constitution, article

86, subclause (3) --

“(3) The National Development Planning Commission shall be res- ponsible to the President.”

Madam Speaker, all those agencies that are responsible to the President always have somebody from the Office of the President come to do that; that has been the tradition. I was confused if the tradition had been changed and therefore I need your guidance, Madam Speaker, on this matter before I can proceed on the motion.
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
I think the guidance has been provided by the Hon Minority Leader which states that he should lay the foundation, then you would become very clear. So Hon Minister, I think it is not too late to go back and correct things. [Hear! Hear!] Hon Minister?
Dr. Duffuor 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I move this motion on behalf of the President. [Laughter.]
Dr. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in this
House, when one amends a motion, one has to come properly. One cannot just get up -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, the Leadership in the House will agree with me that when a motion is being amended, there is a proper way; but if as the Speaker you waive the Orders of the House so that the motion is amended, I accept.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the motion now that the Hon Minister for Finance has come properly, with your indulgence, to speak on behalf of the motion on the floor.
Madam Speaker, having gone past the first constitutional thing, I want to come to a second matter that came before the Committee, which is that, now that -- the
Committee talks about it at page 4. The Director-General of the National Develop- ment Planning Commission (NDPC) suggested rather cautiously that now that the planning component of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has not, at least, been officially mentioned, then it is quite possible that the planning component might be delegated to that Commission.
Madam Speaker, I think it is incumbent upon the Minister for Finance to help us unravel this rather important dichotomy. As you are fully aware, article 87 of the Constitution lays down the functions of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). It is one of the few bodies that is identified explicitly in the Constitution and among other things, Madam Speaker, the NDPC shall at the request of the President or Parliament - and this is very important --
87(2) It says
“The Commission shall, at the request of the President, or Parliament, or on its own initiative” - “ do a series of things. One of them is to
“ ( b ) m a k e p r o p o s a l s f o r the development of multi- year rolling plans taking i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n t h e r e sou rce po t en t i a l and comparative advantage of the different districts of Ghana.”
Madam Speaker, as the current Government has moved the Vision from 2015 to 2020 then it even becomes more important that we understand exactly what the NDPC is going to do because this year ends the final year of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II).
What it means is that the Commission
Minister of State (Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo) 11:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I also rise to support the motion to allocate to the National Development Planning Commis- sion (NDPC) an amount of GH¢3,083,056, to help them carry out their constitutional responsibility this year, from the 2009 Budget Statement.
Madam Speaker, in supporting this motion I want to observe that the NDPC is the lead agency that supports policy development in this country. Of crucial importance, as noted by the Report itself is the fact that it has a responsibility to ensure that we internalize our policy direction and mainstream it to ensure sustainable development. And impor-tantly, it ensures the co-ordination, harmonization and ownership of our development process.
Madam Speaker, this is often a major problem when it comes to economic development policy of this country, how to internalize it and how to harmonise the process so that it becomes our own.
Most of the time we are accused of the fact that most policies that we undertake are imposed on us mainly because they do not originate from our thinkers; but an organization like this which is meant to be the lead agency that will bring us policy direction and that will ensure that those policies are part and parcel of our development process and are owned by us, Madam Speaker, we must take very, very seriously and support to the fullest.
Madam Speaker, if you look at the amount allocated, a chunk of it is coming from donor agencies or donor sources and that is something of some worry in this direction. The fear is this that, anytime we do not have enough money from donor
sources, what do we do with the National Development Planning Commission
Even so with over GH¢1 million coming from donor sources, the amount allocated to them is still not adequate. Supposing we do not get that support coming from donor sources, what happens to them? I think that we need to be much more serious, much more determined to ensure that we get this organization on its feet and running so that eventually we can have policy process that we can own.
Madam Speaker, crucial is the fact that our policies still hinge on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and poverty reduction still continues to be our major policy direction. I think that the NDPC should think beyond the fact that we want to reduce poverty. We should think to the effect that we want to ensure that there is growth which eventually will affect poverty reduction. If we think, in a very close manner, that all that we are doing is to reduce poverty, it means we are doing fire fighting, allow poverty to take place then we reduce it.
So I think this allocation is very important and I am supporting the earlier Hon Member who contributed, who said that we have to increase the amount of funding of this organization so that eventually they can have enough resources to be able to implement the policies and programmes that they have before them.
I also notice that they have worked into the programme, a system of monitoring and evaluating and there is something which is indicated there which is the peer review of districts in carrying out their programmes and ensuring the development planning process at the districts.
Madam Speaker, we have a trend in
Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour (NPP -- Wenchi) 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the motion by the Minister for Finance that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢3,083,056 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for the 2009 fiscal year.
I will begin by looking at the Report of your Committee and specifically on the top of page 4. I think what the authors wanted to say was, to initiate the preparation of the National Medium-Term Development Plan (NMTDP) and also initiate the preparation of the co-ordinated programme of social and economic development of Ghana, in addition to the National Special Development Policy Framework.
This aspect of it actually emanates from article 36 (5) of the Constitution which states that; and Madam Speaker, I quote with your indulgence:
“For the purposes of the foregoing clauses of this article, within two years after assuming office, the President shall present to Parlia- ment a co-ordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all the regions of Ghana.”
This is a constitutional mandate and the NDPC is required by law to really prepare
a co-ordinated programme for the new administration and for the President. And I think that is what was being referred to here in the Report.
So maybe, that part of the Report needs to be amended. Madam Speaker, because of that, it will mean that within the next two years, the National Development Planning Commission should speed up its process of presenting this co-ordinated programme to the House and that will require that they will need more resources.
But before I get there, our Budgets have been driven over the last eight years by the Growth Poverty Reduction Strategy 1 (GPRS I) and the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II). GPRS II expires at the end of this year which means that there is a vacuum created for the preparation of the Budget for 2010 and therefore, there has to be a programme in place by the end of the year and possibly, before even the Budget is read for next year, and remember next year's Budget will have to be read before the end of this year. This means that NDPC will have to work faster and that will require a lot of resources to do that.
Madam Speaker, when you look at the budget itself, the GH¢3,083,056 is not for the operations of NDPC alone. In fact, a major chunk, and of course, what we are referring to as donor component is not for the NDPC, that is for the Social Investment Fund and it is actually used for investment in schools, roads and in clinics all over the country.
Indeed, even the 739,568 investment, the GOG component, part of it will also have to be used to support the donor funds as a counterpart fund; which means that even the amount that goes to NDPC will still be much, much lower than what we see here.
What I think is that, of course, other Hon Members have talked about the
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Member, I
have already ruled on that --
Mr. Chireh 11:40 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I was just trying to make sure of the correction of the record. It is important. I am not challenging your ruling on the matter. I just wanted this House to be clear on the responsibilities that we all have.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
On a point order. Madam Speaker, as my Hon Colleague rightly acknowledged, you have made a ruling on it and I thought that that ruling was going to stand. But now that he has gone further, it must be proved to him that he is completely wrong.
Madam Speaker, article 86 (2) (vi) of our Constitution, it makes economic planning just an aspect of our development planning. So we have economic planning, social planning and environmental planning, and so he cannot, as it were, parcel out National Development Planning to the Ministry of Finance, he is completely wrong.
Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you. I know I am not completely wrong -- [Laughter] -- But since he says I am completely wrong, it is his opinion. I am talking about things that happen in this House which are facts.
Madam Speaker, I want to make a few comments on the Report of the Committee. If you look at page 4, paragraph 2, and if I have your permission, I will quote:
“Again the Commission will co- ordinate the support Sectors and Metropolitan, Municipal and
District Assemblies (MMDAs) to prepare and monitor Medium-Term Development Plans based on the
And paragraph 3, and I quote:
“NDPC will also prepare the 2008 Annual Progress Report on the implementation of GPRS II and support MMDAs to produce 2008 District Annual Progress Reports. Additionally, the 2008 Ghana Millennium Development Goals Report will be prepared.”
This is where my interest lies because the work of National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is so crucial in the work of MMDAs, in that they are to help train personnel particularly in composite budgeting, and this is one of the key issues that I will urge the NDPC, when it is reconstituted to take very seriously.
Madam Speaker, the NDPC plays a very important role; sometimes, people look only at the economic aspect of its functions. But if you look at the human settlement aspect, it is so key, and I believe that it should begin to emphasize that aspect as well. This is because currently, housing in urban centres and the rural settings are terribly bad and I believe that the NDPC should set standards and let us have the proper plan to deal with physical planning as well.
I support the motion that this House approves the amount for them even though it is inadequate.
Papa Owusu 11:50 a.m.

Sekondi): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor.

Madam Speaker, it ought to be emphasized and noted that the National
Papa Owusu noon
Development Planning Commission is a Commission that has one of its mandates to advise the President on development planning policy and strategy.
Madam Speaker, even though, as it has already been noted, it deals with an aspect of planning, that is economic planning, its remit is extremely large; that is why for me, I do not believe that the NDPC should be considered as an agency whose spokesperson is the Minister for Finance in this Government.
It is bigger than that, and what I will probably suggest is that the President, as he has to nominate certain Ministers of State to serve on the Commission, should make one of the Ministers at the Presidency responsible for the NDPC insofar as it advises the President on development planning and policy.
Madam Speaker, even though the NDPC is not an independent constitu- tional body, such as the National Media Commission, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), et cetera, I believe that it ought to be treated as such, and not to be seen as one of those agencies.
It is one body that is supposed to look at things in the national perspective rather than a partisan political perspective. That is why I am urging this Government, particularly, at the time when the Hon Minister is not responsible for economic planning, to pay important attention to this particular body. And it should also be noted, that according to article 87 (2) of the Constitution, and I quote:
“The Commission shall, at the request of the President, or Parlia- ment, or on its own initiative . . .”
Madam Speaker, I am emphasizing the
aspect that relates to Parliament.
Often times Parliament has waited for Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other independent bodies to submit reports to Parliament, and then Parliament would act on these reports. I am urging this House to take seriously its mandate under article 87 (2), and then probably let the committees responsible for Poverty Reduction and Finance look at the mandate of the NDPC and submit to the House in plenary, some sort of suggestions which would also guide us in monitoring the work of the NDPC so that it can meaningfully carry out its objective as stipulated in article 87 of the Constitution.
Madam Speaker, while Hon Members have noted the fact that the remuneration of the officers of the Commission is so unattractive, thereby leading to resignations, it also brings into focus this whole aspect of the remuneration of the public sector.
Madam Speaker, often times we rely a lot on consultations, and consultants are very good but they work with public servants who are paid paltry sums of money as their remuneration. We should look at this whole matter. I know that governments have been grappling with this problem but it is important in view of our long-term development, to arrive at a national consensus on this matter so that we ensure that we get the best out of the public service.
If a public servant is to work strenuous- ly and earn the same sum of money at the end of the month as another, who does not really do much work, it does not encourage the public service generally to give of its best, and we also need to look at this.
Madam Speaker, the last point that I wish to make is stated on page 3 of the Committee's Report. The last paragraph,
and it says:
“For the year 2009, the Commission will, subject to policy directives from the new Government, complete the preparation and costing of the National Long-Term Development Plan (NLTDP) . . .”
Madam Speaker, we are told that the NDPC has held extensive nationwide public consultations and dialogue on the draft National Long-Term Development Plan in Tamale, et cetera.
I would even suggest to this House, through its Finance Committee, to meet the NDPC for the NDPC to brief them as to where they have reached with this policy; so that even before they finish the final draft for the draft, probably, to be presented to this House, this House has some informal inputs into the develop- ment of this National Long-Term Develo- pment Plan.

It is important that we develop a long- term development plan.

One of the major challenges that had faced every Government is how to implement policies in such a way that will enable the Government to be returned to power at the next election. And sometimes it makes us sacrifice long-term planning because we are looking at a panacea for the immediate needs of the population and I am sure for every Government, including this present one, we can have some examples.

It is important that we should always look at the long-term vision and we can achieve a long-term vision only when we are able to come together as a nation and carve for ourselves a long-term planning that would be seen as belonging to the

nation and not to any particular admi- nistration.

With these words, Madam Speaker, I also support the motion.
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) noon
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to make a few observations while contributing to the motion on the floor, regarding the approval of the sum of GH¢3,083,056 for the Services of the National Development Planning Commission for the 2009 fiscal year, which motion has been ably moved by the Minister responsible for Finance.
Madam Speaker, at the very outset, that is after the presentation of the Annual Budget Estimates by the Minister responsible for Finance, we wanted a clarification of the position of the Minister because the document bears the name of the Hon Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and he signs as the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
We have moved on but I think we need to have this distinction made, particularly because national development planning is a major item on the menu of the country and indeed, they would be charting a developmental agenda for this country which would have a bearing on the Ministry of Finance, among other Ministries.
Madam Speaker, if the location of economic planning is within or under the ambit of the National Development Planning Commission, so be it. But unfortunately, the Constitution itself does not really help us with this distinction that it makes between economic planning, social planning, environmental planning and special planning as per article 86 (2) (vi) which I quoted.
Madam Speaker, the Constitution
Mr. Moses A. Asaga noon
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader was alluding to the fact that there has been a shift on the Vision. The original Vision was Vision 2020 and when they came into Government they decided to shift it to 2015. So if there was a shift, the shift actually was caused by them and like Hon Osafo-Maafo will say Na who causam? [Laughter.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, this point was rather a point of disorder -- [Laughter] -- But the important point that I made, and which the Hon Member for Nabdam would agree with me is that it has an effect on certain targets for productivity and GDP growth and so on. And so we must be very clear in our minds where it is that we have determined for ourselves the target time.
Of course, the date that was fixed earlier 2020, we had very good diagnosis from the then Hon Minority Leader, the venerable J. H. Mensah who diagnosed the vision as suffering from glaucoma in one eye and cataract in the other. And so we had to review it. But of course those
were days that we had not even discovered oil and the probability, with prudent fiscal management and better management of our resources is that we come forward rather than go backwards. That is the important point.
Madam Speaker, I was making the point about donor support. About 35 per cent of the resources allocated to the Commission is dependent on donor magnanimity and in these days, when we are alluding to the world crisis, financial crisis, fuel crisis, food crisis and the Minister himself, conceding that chances are that donor support may not come in as much as we anticipate, I believe that an important area, like determining or fashioning for ourselves a developmental agenda should not be so dependent on donor support.
If it is possible for Government of Ghana to mobilize resources internally to support the Commission, I think all the better for us.
Madam Speaker, with these few words, I support the motion on floor.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you Hon Member. Hon Minister for Finance can you wind up.
Dr. Duffuor 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I stand to express my sincere thanks, on behalf of the President, to this Honourable House and to the Hon Members for approving the amount allocated to the National Development Planning Commission.
Madam Speaker, we have taken note of the comments and contributions made by Hon Members and we will communicate all these to the appropriate quarters.
On that note, Madam Speaker, I will want to thank everyone here, once again on behalf of my President, for approving this amount.
Thank you very much.
Question put and motion agreed to.
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢3,083,056 for the Services of the National Development Planning Commission for the 2009 fiscal year.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Now we move on to item 6 Hon Minister for Employment and Social Welfare?
Deputy Majority Leader (Mr. John. T. Akologu): Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister for Employment and Social Welfare was not adequately informed about this item and he is unable to be here to present it. The same is the case for the Minister for Roads and Highways. Madam Speaker, we move to item 8.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
The Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development may move the motion numbered 8 on the Order Paper.

Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Mr. Joseph Y. Chireh) 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢179,102,552 for the Services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year 2009 fiscal year.
The sector allocation as provided within the medium-term expenditure framework for the 2009 financial year is detailed as follows. Government of Ghana GH¢46,620,153, donor contribution, GH¢81,055, 400 and HIPC allocation, GH¢41,427,000. Multilateral debt relief initiative is GH¢10,000.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. D. A. Azumah) 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to second the motion and in so doing, present the Report of the Committee.
1.0 Introduction
In accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 140 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Hon Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor on Thursday, 5th March, 2009 laid before Parliament the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of Ghana for the 2009 fiscal year.
In accordance with Order 140 (4) of the Standing Orders, the Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament referred the Draft Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development for consideration and report.
The Committee met on Wednesday, 18th March, 2009 and considered the Annual Estimates of the Sector Ministry and in accordance with article 179 of the Constitution and Order 181 of the Standing Orders report.
2.0 Acknowledgement
The Committee during its deliberations on the Estimates met with the sector Minister, Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Heads of the various Departments, Agencies and Projects of the Ministry and officials from the Ministry of Finance who made valuable contributions during the deliberations on the estimates. The Committee is, indeed, grateful to these persons for their contributions.
3.0 References
In discussing the Estimates, the following served as reference materials for the Committee:
a . The 1992 Cons t i t u t ion o f the Republic of Ghana
b. The Standing Orders of the House
c. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2009 financial year
d. Report of the Committee on the 2008 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and
e. The 2009 Draft Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
4.0 Mission of the Ministry
The Ministry has the mandate to ensure good governance and the balanced development of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) through the formulation of policies on governance, decentralization and rural development.
The Ministry also has the mandate to design and deliver systems that would set targets for and monitor the performance of these Assemblies. It also has the Mission
GOG IGF 12:20 p.m.

Mr. I. K. Asiamah (NPP 12:50 p.m.

Mponua): Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor. Madam Speaker, this particular Ministry is so critical to the development of the country and I commend highly the Committee's Report, except that I have some few observations to make.

Madam Speaker, under the School Feeding Programme for example, page 13, “The Committee recommends that a more reliable source of funding be used for the programme”. On page 14, for example, (d) of the recommendations is that the use of the portions of either the Communications Service Tax or Talk Time Tax or the GETFund.

Madam Speaker, I am happy that today we are making mention of the Communi-cations Service Tax and I am so much interested in that service tax, for the simple reason that if today we have seen more wisdom in the use of the Communications Service Tax to support the School Feeding Programme, Madam Speaker, when they said we were taxing the talk and that we were indeed stifling press freedom at the time and that we were
Mr. J. T. Akologu 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is misleading the House, especially as this issue of Communications Service Tax is not what we are discussing here. Besides, Madam Speaker, as for taking a position, it is the opinion of this side that it was a harsh measure and therefore was not necessary.
We introduced certain measures or policies in this House which were also kicked against. In fact, the GETFund is one policy and issue that was raised here and the other side, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), kicked against it. But they came back to this House boasting so much about how many schools they had built with the GETFund proceeds. So what he is talking, it is just his personal opinion and he should not be taken seriously. He is misleading the public.
Nana Akomea 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Friend is misleading the whole House and the whole nation -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, the GETFund was never opposed by the then Minority; that is not what happened. Madam Speaker, the GETFund actually came into being because the Minority had opposed an increase in the VAT from ten to twelve and a half per cent.
It was as a result of that opposition that they went back and dressed it as GETFund and then we all approved it. So actually the GETFund came because the Minority opposed a straightforward increase in the VAT from ten to twelve and a half per cent. That was why the GETFund came into being and please, he should not mislead the House.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you --
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, you know you have 5 minutes - Yes, that is the decision.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I believe that as Members of Parliament we should always walk the talk, that is very important. And that is the more reason why -- [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, my time, the 5 minutes already -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Akologu 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am happy that we have to be setting the records straight here and he has stated that the GETFund came about as a result of the Minority opposing an increase on VAT. Similarly, this talk tax was a kind of VAT that was to be introduced. When we told them that it was VAT they said, no, and then they went and put it on the talk tax and that was why we also opposed it.
Besides, Madam Speaker, the GETFund was strongly opposed on this floor led by Dr. K. K. Apraku who suggested that each community should be allowed to run its own mutual education fund. The records are there, so it is not as if we were just introducing anything and everybody accepted it. The records are there that they opposed the introduction of GETFund.
Nana Akomea 12:50 p.m.

Some Hon Members Sit down!
Madam Speaker 12:50 p.m.
You are eating into the time of Hon Asiamah.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 12:50 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I hope my time is not being taxed. Madam Speaker, I also notice some sort of funding, item No. (b), the use of produce from the National Lotteries. Madam Speaker, also it is on record that when we were debating the National Lottery Act,
then Minority Members now Majority, vehemently opposed the National Lottery Act. So I am wondering why they are talking of the operations of the National Lottery Authority. These are issues of concern; as Members of Parliament we should always walk the talk, that is more important.
Madam Speaker, the other issue I want to touch on is the use of certain words by the Committee members. Madam Speaker, I think this is a very important legislative forum and certain words should be carefully selected to reflect accurate happenings. Madam Speaker,
“The Committee also recommends that the Ministry ensures that activities of the School Feeding Programme secretariat be stream- lined to curb wastage and embezzle- ment.”
Mr. D. A. Azumah 1 p.m.
On a point of
Order! Madam Speaker, the Committee was privileged to get information that the reason why the Dutch Government decided to suspend their money was because there was embezzlement and corruption and the Dutch Government requested that the School Feeding Programme Secretariat should put its house in order before they could release any money. So, we are speaking on the point of fact and not on our own --
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
when you talk about allegations of corruption and embezzlement, they do not mean facts. Madam Speaker, this is a Committee's Report. [Shows a copy of the Committee's Report]. I am so much concerned about this Committee's Report. It is imputing wrong doing on an establishment and they are not here to defend themselves. So if it is stated categorically in a Committee's Report that there is embezzlement and corruption at an institution comprising of individuals, Madam Speaker, I believe the Committee must do well by withdrawing those words from the Report.
Madam Speaker, the other issue that I want to touch on is the proposed Members of Parliament Development Fund. Now the wrong impression out there is that Members of Parliament have started getting a fund set aside by this new Government. Madam Speaker, that erroneous impression must be corrected so that Members of Parliament would be free, because His Excellency the President made that statement on the floor of the House that they were going to set up Members of Parliament Development Fund that will cater for the needs of the Members of Parliament in our cons- tituencies.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister for

Local Government and Rural Develop- ment, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh did indicate in this House that it is a long -term project. How long is it going to be and when should we expect that project to come on board?

Madam Speaker, we should not deceive Ghanaians because they are out there expecting Members of Parliament to do more in terms of development projects -- [Interruptions]-- and when you have a President who comes to this House to assure Ghanaians that Members of Parliament are going to get special fund and at the end of the day it is not captured -- [Interruptions] -- are we being truthful to ourselves? Are we not deceiving Ghanaians by such a state-ment? [An Hon Member: Are we fighting?] We should be more serious to this House.
Mr. Azumah 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Madam Speaker, th i s par t icu la r contribution is completely out of place in this Report. He can only expect to discuss this when the formula for the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund comes to the floor. And that is the only time he can raise those observations. But for now, it is not part of the Budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, it does not form part of the Report of the Committee and I think that he cannot make any serious contribution towards that.
Mr. Akologu 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to draw the attention of my Hon Colleague; Asiamah -- today I got his name right. Asiamah -- or Esi and Ama -- [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker, the truth of the
matter is that this House has debated the Government's economic policy. The introduction of the MPs Development Fund is a policy or programme that the Government has introduced. Now, the Budget has to be approved before most of
Madam Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Asiamah, carry
on. But please, your time is running.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 1 p.m.
I thank you
Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, the absence of it in
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, when a policy is rolled out, one expects the policy to find expression in programmes and activities of the MDAs and that exactly is what my Hon Colleague is alluding to.
The first one in respect of the School Feeding Programme, a categorical statement was made that it was to curb embezzlement and he was saying that it has not been established as a matter of fact that anybody had embezzled. Yes, out there, there was that perception. We need to establish it and indeed if anybody is found to have embezzled, that person ought to be punished appro-priately.

He was saying that for it to be made part of the Committee's Report as if it had been established as a matter of fact, is out of place. That is all that he was saying. So, I do not see why anybody should say that he is out of order. I do not think so, at all. I think it is relating to the issues as the Committee has captured and I am not too sure, Madam Speaker, that my Hon Colleague is out order.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 1 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to conclude by saying that as a country, I believe that we should move greatly towards decentralisation. So far, I believe that if we are talking about sanitation, the best approach is to involve the Assem-blies in more sanitation programmes. It is important that they become more concerned with sanitation at the Assembly level.
Madam Speaker, I believe that what is more important in terms of sanction is to at least continue with what we have experienced over the years the private- public partnership. And a typical example is the role being played by Zoomlion Ghana Limited. I believe that company has done a lot with regard to sanitation in this country and at least, we should encourage similar companies to do more. But I believe that the private-public partnership in terms of sanitation delivery is what is going to save the situation.
Madam Speaker, with these few words, I urge Hon Members to support the motion on the floor.
Minister of State (Mr. Alhassan Azong) 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion.
I have some brief issues to mention in the areas of the Northern Rural Poverty Reduction Programme (NORPERP)
and the second is on the Community Rural Development Project. And Madam Speaker, I would raise some few concerns on certain behavioural aspects of the Budget.
The Northern Rural Poverty Reduction Programme, Madam Speaker, I have observed, if you look at the loan agreement that was entered into in 2003 and up till date, only a little over 26 per cent has been utilised. It is quite worrying and if this loan is supposed to end in March 2010, I do not know how we will be able to utilise the whole amount before the end of the agreement.
So I would urge the Ministry to expedite action on how requests are made on the various areas for utilization of the funds and if that is done I believe we may be able to cover a substantial part of it, but not all.

I would also want to urge the Ministry to see whether they can expand the scope of the stakeholders in terms of the capacity building. I can see only decentralized agencies, community-based organiza-tions; but if they could also include private-sector organizations that provide critical services to the District Assemblies, some women groups in the capacity building programmes so that they widen the scope of the utilization and hopefully by the project period we could be utilizating the whole amount, if not all.

The second concern is, Madam Speaker,

if this is an initiative that concerns poverty, and I would urge if it is possible to extend the facility to maybe the other two sister regions in the northern part of Ghana, that is, Upper East and Upper West.

Madam Speaker, the other one issue is

on community-based rural development programme. This is a World Bank facility and I would like to commend the initiators on thinking on the ground. They were able to come out of their project objectives, the project goals to respond to a need in northern Ghana.

Infrastructure is not part of their original programme; but because of the floods in northern Ghana they were able to include some roads that were badly affected by the floods. Contracts were awarded in the last quarter of 2008. Madam Speaker the contracts were awarded, but nothing was actually done and I want to believe that the way it is captured here, if not because some of us had the chance of being on the ground we would not have been able to know that this one covers roads.

I want it to be stated specifically that when it comes to the roads, please it was laudable yet nothing has been done and I want to urge the Ministry to take up that issue of ensuring that rural roads that were devastated by the floods are rehabilitated. This is one of the ways by which we can reduce poverty at the rural level.

Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Local

Government and Rural Development is an area where you come with beautiful ideas, beautiful plans and policies at the District Assembly level. But when it comes to implementation our attitudes affect a lot of physical development; our attitudes affect implementation. You can send a letter to the District Assembly for some work to be done, if you go and come the next time you cannot find that letter; another letter would have to be written. ought to be generated first before they can be disbursed.

With His Excellency the President trying to expand services to everybody in Ghana, trying to ensure that every Ghanaian lives a dignfied life, we must also change our attitudes. If we do not change our attitudes all what is kept here as a way of reducing the poverty of the
Mr. Joseph B. Aidoo (NPP -- Amenfi East) 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to also support the motion that is seeking the House's apaproval of the sum of 179,102,552 for the Services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the 2009 fiscal year and I want to start with the observation made by the Committee, that is, Observation (1).
Madam Speaker, we have been told that the cost of the programme for the year 2009 is around GH 63 million and the programme intends to expand enrolnment by about 22.9 per cent; that is up to about 800,000 pupils. Madam Speaker, this is a very important programme which is to enhance enrolment and also ensure attendance and then retention of pupils in the basic education level.
Madam Speaker, taking the budget estimates, we have been told that GH¢17 million has been allocated and this stands at about 26.6 per cent of the total amount required, leaving 73.4 per cent. Madam Speaker, the 26.6 per cent which has been allocated for the School Feeding Programme would be coming from the HIPC resources. Madam Speaker, we must bear in mind that the HIPC resources ought to be generated first before they can be disbursed.
So as at now we do not know in clear terms what proportion of money had been allocated to the School Feeding Programme; and more so we are not sure of how we are going to get the remaining 73.4 per cent, that is, to the tune of GH¢46,823,980. And this is something
which is very worrying to some of us in this House, judging from the fact that this is a very important programme which we are all in support of.
Madam Speaker, for that reason we want to call on the Minister for Finance to come very clear as to how the remaining amount is going to be generated or found for this programme.
The next issue which I want to touch on is about the Northern Region Poverty Reduction Programme which also aims at building the capacity of the decentralized local government, civil society and community-based organizations to respond better to the needs of the poorest stature of rural communities in the Northern Region.
Madam Speaker, this is a very important project which started in 2003 and it is well funded; it has $12.3 million loan facility. Unfortunately, only 26.36 per cent of this amount has been used over the period and the last span of the project is coming to an end in the next one and a half years. So this is another worrying area where we want the Hon Minister to look at critically to ensure that the resources that are available are utilized effectively and as speedily as possible.
I also want to touch on the community- based rural development project which is to ensure infrastructure development in the agricultural sector and also for social and human development. Madam Speaker, we are being told that the World Bank has agreed to take fully the funding of this important sector. In other words, the counterpart funding by Government is going to be dispensed of.

Madam Speaker, there is a caveat which has been given by the World Bank in the

sense that it has its own misgivings about the way the project is being implemented and for which reason we want the Minister to look at this area critically so that we can fully benefit from this amount.

Madam Speaker, finally I would
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, try
and wind up. Your five minutes is almost up.
Mr. J.B. Aidoo 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I agree with you. I know there had not been any interjection but then I want to make a very important point. And the point I am making is that the Ministry is now engaged in a number of constructional works. If we take major storm drains in Accra, in Kumasi, in Takoradi, these are being undertaken by the Ministry and a lot of resources have been committed to these projects.
Madam Speaker, the problem that we see is that the Ministry itself does not have the technical expertise to execute these projects and therefore quite often when these projects are done they are left with some problems, some consequences. For instance, if a storm drain is construc-ted in Accra they will finish without realigning
the storm drain to the lateral and the tertiary size of the road, so when it rains you will realize that you have a lot of spill over coming from the storm drain and then running into the road.
Madam Speaker, this gives a lot of worry to some of us and for which reason I want to believe that if the Ministry should continue undertaking such projects then there should be some kind of harmonization of all such programmes and the resources that are placed under the Ministry to be in tandem with areas or sectors of the Ministries which have the technical expertise to be able to execute such projects.
Madam Speaker, with these, I support the motion.
Madam Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Can the Hon
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development wind up quickly, please?
Mr. Chireh 1:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
first of all, let me thank everybody for the contributions they have made and particularly the Committee's recommen- dations. They are far reaching and this will guide the Ministry in the implemen-tation of the Budget.
Now there were a few things that were raised which sounded controversial but I think that these were not recom-mendations which impugn -- particularly the School Feeding Programme -- It did not impugn the integrity of anybody who was not in this House. It just said that we should streamline the activities of the Secretariat to curb wastage and embezzlement. Now this is a very innocuous and harmless statement anybody can make and therefore nobody should take issue with that.
Madam Speaker, a number of
recommendations were made but
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Members, motion number 9, the Hon Minister for Women and Children's Affairs.

Mr. J. T. Akologu 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, under
normal circumstances, I would not have stood up when a motion is being moved but the concern being expressed by the Hon Minister could rather be traced to the work of the Committee itself. We received these reports and arranged the business as and when the reports actually were confirmed and put before us. [Inter- ruption.] They laid it on Friday but the Report was not submitted to us. That is what accounted for it. So if the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs will let the Committee on Gender and Children sit up and work early enough they will always be treated as such.
Ms. Dansua 1:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Hon Minister has made a statement that is very, very serious. A committee of Parliament analyses the budget of her Ministry and she is telling us that after the Report had been written, she took charge of the Report and made
The Report even if it is a draft one is a property of this House and not hers, not for her Ministry. And she attends the meeting of the Committee as a Minister, she is only there in attendance and she cannot confiscate the Report of the Committee and then take it to her Ministry and effect corrections.
Mr. Speaker, she will require the agreement or concurrence of this House and she should not attempt the hijack of the Committee's Report another time. Maybe, we may try to forgive her this time around but next time around it will be inexcusable.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
I under-
stand what she was saying to mean that she facilitated the Committee for them to bring the Report in good time.
Ms Dansua 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you
very much. Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House considers and approves the sum of GH¢9,570,786.00 (nine million, five hundred and seventy thousand, seven hundred and eighty- six Ghana cedis) for the services of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) for the 2009 fiscal year. In doing so, I wish to inform the House that the MOWAC's budget conforms to all the relevant major Government policies for a better Ghana, which among others are:
The 2009 Budget Guidelines
GPRS II 1:30 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry's programme areas of emphasis will be 1:30 p.m.
1. Institutional capacity enhancement to promote gender equity and equality: In this regard, a gender mainstreaming focus will emphasize gender sensitive budgeting in all sectors' programmes to address women and children's issues. The staff of 14 sectors would be assisted to acquire gender res- ponsive skills in their approach to both budget planning and implementation.
2. Socio-economic empowerment of men and children and the vulnerable generally in society: A s t rengthening of women
through enhanced incomes and skills training to manage their businesses better should enable them participate more visibly in the decision-making process at local and national governance, promote their safe child bearing functions as well as the proper development of the child in which the mother plays a crucial role.
3. Protection of the rights of women and children: The Ministry will work in line with provisions in the national 1992 Constitution, the domestic laws as well as inter- national conventions, protocols and treaties to which Ghana has subscribed, to protect the human rights of women and children.
Specific activities will include:
(a) Implementation of National Plans of Action which have been formulated to facilitate addressing issues of domestic violence and human trafficking.
(b) Promotion of advocacy activi-
ties to create public awareness on the rights of women and children and sensitive women to take advantage of Government's interventions which are inten- ded to promote their welfare and that of children.
(c) Collaboration with the Ministry of Health to advocate strongly on maternal and child health issues and sensitize women more on such life-threatening diseases of women such as breast cancer, cervical cancer
and the HIV/AIDS menace.
(d) An enhanced implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) policy.
4. Human Resource Management: The gender mains t reaming programme requires improved skills on gender issues by staff of the sector to facilitate effective co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of gender budgeting, gender analysis and programme implementation across all sectors.
5. Collaboration with the private sector, UN System organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Women and Child related NGOs would be pursued to supplement GoG resource allocation towards execution of MOWAC's mandate.
6. Investment: An essential invest- ment activity is the construction of a five-storeyed office block to house the Ministry and its two departments. A provision of GH¢700,000.00 has therefore been made for the first phase of the project.
A budget estimaste of GH¢9,570,786.00 is hereby submitated, broken down into:
PE -- 1:30 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Sampson Ahi) 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the
motion and in seconding the motion I would like to present the Report of the Committee
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
Speaker, just two quick points. The Hon Member on the floor is seconding the motion moved by the Minister. [Interruption.] He is the Chairman -- [Interruption] Chairman of the Committee on Gender and Children. [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker, two quick observations.
The first one relates to what he himself just said that he is submitting a Report prepared by your Committee. Committees of Parliament are committees of Parliament, not committees of Mr. Speaker or Madam Speaker and I believe that the new Chairman of the Committee on Gender and Children will learn that a committee of Parliament is a committee of Parliament, not the committee of Mr. Speaker. That is the truth, that is the position.

Number two, he is contradicting the statement of the Hon Minister. The Hon Minister says that she took charge of the Report and effected corrections. Mr. Speaker, you came in to straighten the record that, yes, by what she did, she facilitated the writing of the Report. Now, he is saying that there was no interference whatsoever by the Hon Minister.
Mr. Akologu 1:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that
when the Chairman made the statement that there was no interference he was simply reacting to a statement by the Hon Minority Leader that the Hon Minister had confiscated the Report. So I think that was - [Interruption] -- He used the word “confiscated”. He said that as well as “hijacked it”. So the Hon Chairman was just reacting to that statement. We should allow the Chairman to present his Report and then we can make our contributions.
Mr. Ahi 1:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I said your
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Member, it is a standard parliamentary term to refer to - You know the Speaker chairs the Committee of Selection, and it is standard parliamentary term. But that is not why we are here. The essence of being here is to move the motion. So Chairman of the Committee, please, let us listen to you.
Distribution of GOG by Item
Item 1 (Personal Emoluments (P. E.)
= GH¢1, 302, 879.00
Item 2 (Administration)
= GH¢243, 881.00
Item 3 (Service)
= GH¢339, 894.00
Item 4 (Investment)
= GH¢806, 122.00
Total GOG
= GH¢2,752,775.00
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
On a point
(DV Implementation)
iii. U N D P / U N F P A = GH¢675,250.00 - for (Gender Mainstreaming)
IGF 1:40 p.m.

Mr. Ahi 1:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you. I am on page eight now.
i. African Development Bank (AfDB) = GH¢3.4 Million - for Gender R e s p o n s i v e S k i l l s Development Project (GRSCDP)
ii. Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (EKN) = GH¢1.5 million -- for
Observations and Recommendations
After a careful analysis of the 2009 Budget Allocation to MOWAC, the Committee made the following observations and recommendations:
1. AfDB Counterpart Funding of $1,697 Million
The Government of Ghana signed a Loan Agreement with the AfDB under the Ghana Gender Responsive Skills and Community Development Project for the period 2009 2013 involving a total amount of $14,632 million with $9.262 million (nine thousand, two hundred and sixty-two million dollars) and $3.673 million as Loan and Grant components respec-tively. The exchange rate as at the date of signature of the loan agreement was
UAI: $1.5566.
Under the agreement, Government is committed to provide an Annual Counterpart Funding of GH¢388,048.18 (three hundred and eighty-eight thousand, forty eight Ghana cedis, eighteen Ghana pesewas). The Committee noted that this amount is included in the
Investment Account.
2. Construction of Office Block
The Committee also observed that an essential investment activity is the construction of a five-storeyed office block to house the Ministry and its two departments. The available office space in MOWAC's present location is inadequate to accommodate even the minimum staff presently at post.
Your Committee also noted that it is essential to adequately staff, in particular, the PPMED to facilitate adequate policy initiation, co-ordination and monitoring of the sector which is mandated to cater
for the concerns of over 80 per cent of Ghana's population (51 per cent women and girls and 30 per cent boys).
3. IGF of GH¢49, 440.00
The Ministry projected an amount of GH¢11,872 (eleven thousand, eight hundred and seventy-two Ghana cedis) based on historical trends and envisaged improved economic climate for the period ending December, 2009. However, the Ministry of Finance has also projected GH¢49,440.00 (forty-nine thousand, four hundred and forty Ghana cedis) which, based on the Committee's critical analysis indicates that MOWAC cannot achieve the IGF target as contained in the 2009

Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government.

In 2008 the Department of Children generated an IGF of GH¢17,014.30 (seventeen thousand and fourteen Ghana cedis, thirty Ghana pesewas) due to the advantage it took of CAN 2008 Tournament and Ghana @ 50 celebrations. It is important to also note that only the Department of Children generates IGF through public use of the only children's park in Accra.

The Committee is of the opinion that this figure is not attainable because there would be no major national activities which would necessitate the use of the only operational children's park.

4. Donor Pledges

The erratic nature of delivery on multilateral financial pledges makes it difficult to use the GH¢6,768,571.00 (six million, seven hundred and sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and seventy-one Ghana cedis) as real cash at hand to effect implementation of plans. Also, the Donor component of MOWAC's 2009 budget is project-specific which does not allow activity vying. [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, this is one of the important Ministries so allow me to read the Report according to my own wish - [Laughter.]

More importantly, MOWAC is only a custodian of the money on behalf of many NGOs, CSOs, and selected MDAs which are implementing partners. With the recent credit crunch, if the Ministry is to depend on the donor support for its survival, the meager fund available to the Ministry would cripple its performance for the year under review.

The Committee also observed that the budgetary allocation for MOWAC

Question proposed.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
I refer
Hon Members to Standing Order 40 (3) and direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period.
Mrs. Gifty Ohene-Konadu (NPP
-- Asante Akim South): I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity given me to make very brief remarks while at the same time supporting the motion ably moved by the Hon Minister for Women and Children's Affairs in respect of the approval of the figure GH¢9,570,786 to enable the Ministry deliver on its mandate.
Mr. Speaker, I have two reasons for supporting this move and after giving my two reasons, I will also go ahead and state some reasons why women and children of this country are so disappointed with this budget.
The first reason is that, Ghana as a country has committed itself to ratifying quite a number of international, regional and also at the local level policy documents and that mandates her to address the issues of women and children of this country in a manner that will bring out their potentials so that they can contribute to developmental efforts of this country. Some of these treaties and conventions include the Copenhagen Programme of Action, the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies, Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and also in recent times, we have the Beijing Platform of Action, the African Union Charter on Human and People's Rights and also at the local level, we have the Domestic Violence Act and the National Gender Policy, among others.
The second reason is that, His Excellency President John Evans Atta

Mills, in his State of the Nation Address shows strong commitment to the issues of women and children's affairs and I will quote from the document. He said and with your permission, I quote:

“Under my administration, the Ministry of Women and Children will witness a significant budget increase and be strengthened to establish Gender Units in all District Assemblies and provide them with capacity to function optimally.”

The Ministry will also establish gender budgetary monitoring units in collaboration with Ministry of Finance to accelerate gender responsive budgeting and its implementation in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). What this means is that a significant financial commitment should be made to cater for issues of women and children of this country in line with this proposal.

But Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the Government is just paying lip-service to the women and children's advancement in this country in the sense that the sum allocated to the Ministry in terms of percentage is only 0.08 per cent of the total Government of Ghana Budget. And this even includes donor component. If you take out the donor component you are left with less than 0.02 per cent which is highly inadequate if you look at the mandate that the Ministry has to deliver on.

Mr. Speaker, we are all aware that resources are limited and there are a lot of competing demands on Government, but we should not compromise the issue of women and children for anything else. We should remember, Mr. Speaker, that women and children together constitute about 81 per cent of Ghana's total population. And as the saying goes, a smile on a mother and a child is an index
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
From the above observation, the Committee recommends that for this year a supplementary budget of GH¢635,436.16 (six hundred and thirty-five housand, four hundred and thirty-six Ghana cedis, sixteen Ghana pesewas) be made available to MOWAC considering the programmes it has to undertake in view of the enormity of its responsibilities for over 81 per cent of the population of women and girls (51 per cent) and boys (30 per cent) the Ministry has to cater for.

In conclusion, the Committee is mindful of the constraints on the national purse. However, considering huge economies of scale that shall accrue to the State if the Ministry is able to accomplish its mission and policy objectives, the Government should make the necessary effort to ensure that the Ministry is adequately resourced to enable it deliver on its legal mandate.

With this, Mr. Speaker, the Committee

accordingly recommends to the House for approval of the amount of GH¢9,570,786 (nine million, five hundred and seventy thousand, seven hundred and eighty-six Ghana cedis) for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) for the year 2009.

Respectfully submitted.
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
of the development and growth of any community.
With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion and urge my Colleagues to do same so that we approve the sum of GH¢9,570,786 for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs for the year 2009.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to support this motion.
Minister of State (Mr. Abdul-Rashid
Pelpuo): Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion to support the budget of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs for the year 2009.
Mr. Speaker, I think this is a very important Ministry, by the fact that it is tackling the problems of women and children who are the first line when it comes to poverty issues. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry addresses the problem of vulnerability. It addresses the problem to ensure that we reduce poverty among the most vulnerable members of society who are the women and children. And so we expect that at all times, that Ministry should be seen as a specialized Ministry that is at the forefront of our fight against poverty. If we are talking about poverty reduction and we say that the most hard hit are women and children, it presupposes that we take the Ministry seriously and with due allocation to the Ministry so we can be sure that within a year, that Ministry is able to carry out projects and programmes that eventually will go to have a total effect in our fight against poverty. And especially on the question about women and children who definitely, as I mentioned earlier, are the first line when it comes to the pain we suffer in poverty issues.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, when I looked at the programmes they run, the famous among them is to empower the vulnerable groups and there is a particular programme area which I think is very important.
On page 6 of the Report we are told the Ministry is going to collaborate with other stakeholders so that they will provide financial assistance and skill training in business management. This is crucial because in most instances monies that are doled out to individuals and organizations in order to fight poverty, and especially to women, are done without the requisite training and management skills. And when it happens that way they take the money and cannot pay back.
So in this particular instance where it is factored into the budget, we would want to encourage them to see that it is actually carried out so that not only are they going to be given training, but they would also be given skills to identify areas they can go into and be able to survive.

But there is an area there that I think they should modify, that is paragraph seven of the Report, where they talk about collaborating with the Ministry of Health for advocacy on maternal and child health issues.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very important area and advocacy is not just enough at all. We have to go beyond advocacy as far as the Ministry is concerned because advocacy simply means bringing to the notice of the people who are directly affected. But importantly, they must be helped, they must be given some training, they must be given some skill in understanding their own physiology and how to identify the problems as they confront them.

So instead of just providing advocacy

here, it must go beyond that to provide some understanding that the women will have of the problem that confront them. Mr. Speaker, I think that we are not taking this Ministry very seriously, concerning the amount of money coming from donor sources and concerning the difficulty involved in attracting funding from donor sources, depending on the year under review; and in this particular instance, this year is a very difficult year for everybody and we are in a situation where the world is suffering a financial crunch or a situation where most economies are in recess.

The donors are also suffering it and so to think that we will budget for an amount of money and give the bulk of it, coming from the donors, for an important Ministry like this handling very important issues - Mr. Speaker, I think we need to review the whole budget and think about how we can support them using locally generated funds so that we can hit the ground running rather than for them to depend on a source of funding which we cannot be very sure about.

I think that it is an issue we need to consider very closely. I am not saying donor funding is not important, but because of the situation in which we find ourselves, it is important that --
Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Member, you should be winding up now.
Mr. Pelpuo 2 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. So in
conclusion I recognize the importance of the Ministry and I want to encourage our Government to be more forthright in dealing with the Ministry and again to be more determined in projecting the Ministry as an important Ministry that is going to tackle the problem of poverty using women and children.
Therefore, I want to call on my Colleague Members of Parliament to support the motion so that we can have them operate efficiently and effectively with this budget.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Cecilia A. Dapaah (NPP -
Bantama): Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the motion on the floor of the House, ably moved by the Hon Minister urging the House to approve GH 9,570,786 to be used for the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker, we all know the importance of women and children's issues and we know that these issues are very important for the total development of our nation. We can sit here and assume that women and children's issues cut across board so they do not need a special fund or funding for the projects within the Ministry but I beg to differ, Mr. Speaker.
I believe the empowerment of women means the well-being and protection of our children and as we have just been told, the children and women of this nation constitute about 81 per cent of our population. This Ministry therefore needs all the support that they can get to be able to impact the lives of women. As we all know, the national purse is tight. There is global crunch but I do believe that when it comes to issues concerning women and children we must always find the money - [Interruptions]. Yes, our President said 40 per cent of positions will be allocated to women.
I was expecting that a huge chunk of the Budget also, 40 per cent, to say the least, will be devoted to women and children. And we will want to monitor - we know we are everywhere - we want to make sure that when the Ministry needs money, it does get the money because
  • Mr. G. K. Essilfie (NDC - Shama) 2:10 p.m.
    Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the oppor- tunity to support the motion on the floor relative to the approval of the 2009 fiscal year budget of the Ministry for Women and Children's Affairs in the amount of
    Mr. Speaker, I think we all agree that indeed, all the MDAs that have been identified in the Budget are important. But for me, I believe that the most important Ministry is the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. And why do I say so? This is because I believe that any nation that invests in her women and children, invests in the future of the nation. In view of that I share the call by some of the Hon Members that Government, should in future look at the budget of the Ministry and provide it with more funding for it to be able to assist our women to enable them to elevate themselves from poverty and enable them to be the foundation of our households.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to address two key areas in the outlook for 2009. The first area has to do with the provision of financial assistance and skills training in business management. As we all know, most of the time people who go into businesses on their own fall victims of not segregating the business finances from their personal finances.
    I would like to encourage that in the area of skill training in business management, our women are also taught to understand that they have to differentiate the business from their personal activities in order for
    them to sustain those businesses so that we do not end up having high losses from the financial support that we provide for them.
    Secondly, I would like to also touch on the skills training for the women in non-traditional income-generating areas. Mr. Speaker, I think this initiative is in the right direction, and I support that whole-heartedly but indeed, as I said, this skill training should also make women understand that the purpose is for them to improve their lot and be able to help their children and husbands and they should not think that those monies given to them are meant for other family responsibilities. That may not help the businesses that they are supposed to set up in order to help them to improve their living conditions.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to appeal to the Ministry to liaise with other concerned Ministries to look into the issue of child labour. I am very concerned when I go to a club or a bar or a pub in Ghana and see children under the legal maturity age serving alcohol in these places. I think that with these children going to these places and being exposed to alcohol and use of cigarettes, indeed, sort of makes them end up also picking up those habits which are bad vices for their livelihood.
    Mr. Essilfie 2:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would like to support and also entreat all my Colleagues here, both senior Colleagues and my equals who are the new fights in this House to support the Budget appropriation of GH¢9,570,786.00 for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs for the fiscal year 2009.
    I thank you, Mr. Speaker.
    Ms. Beatrice B. Boateng (NPP - New Juaben South) 2:20 p.m.
    for this honour done me. I wish to add my voice to the motion on the floor which has been ably moved by the Minister for Women and Children's Affairs and also add to what other Colleagues have already contributed.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw attention to the fact that when we talk about a Ministry like the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, we are talking about an all-in-all Ministry. All- in- all in the sense that when we talk about women, there cannot be men when there are no women. It is women who bring forth children and they grow to become men. With regard to that, I believe that whenever we talk about the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, I expect all and sundry to come on board to support this Ministry because without that they cannot have a living.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to say that all my Hon Colleagues here gathered are to support us to have this budgetary allocation approved. I am saying this because, if you listened to the motion as moved by the Minister, a lot of activities have been spelt out which are so important to our country Ghana that will eventually affect all, not just women and children, but men inclusive.

    One of the activities that I want to talk about is, we want to put up a magnificent structure to call it the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. This is because these two categories of people together form 81 per cent of the total percentage of the people in the country such that if you do not have a proper structure to be called Ministry for Women and Children's Affairs, then we are doing harm to our nation Ghana.

    Again, I think that we all know the sort of problems that normally befall women, and for that matter, render most of our children orphans. As a result, I am even thinking that we need a lot of funding to, if possible, put up good orphanage homes, one in each district so that we house some of these vulnerable children to have proper care; because after all, they are going to come up - they are the window of hope and they are gong to hold the future for us. If we do what we are doing now and we do not have a future then we are not doing much for our nation.

    Now, when you go into the budget you will realise that there is the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) component of it. We have all said that it is not realistic because 2008 was a special year. Two activities, namely the CAN 2008 and the Ghana@50 helped us to get some internally generated funds. I am not sure this year has any programme of that nature and for that matter we are not going to achieve this. Again, the only means of generating funds, we have learnt, is from the children's park and how much do children have?

    If children want to come they are going to get money from no other persons than their mothers and when we talk about the poverty line, it is the mothers who feel the brunt of it. And so if these same people are going to give money to the children for us to generate some income, then I am sorry, we cannot do much. As a result much should be done for us.

    Again, we cannot also rely on donor components because of the credit crunch that we have all talked about.

    Finally, I just want to say that if you invest in women and children you have done the best for the country just as Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey once said that “When you train a woman you train a nation but when you train a man you train an individual”.
  • [MS. BEATRICE B. BOATENG[ So I believe that all the activities lined up for us, if we are able to see them through we are going to have a better Ghana. As a result of that, I want all my Hon Colleagues to support us and see to it that this budgetary allocation of GH¢9,570,786 is approved. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity.
  • Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    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.
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Minister, you want to wind up, but do it very briefly.
    Ms. Dansua 2:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish
    first of all to express gratitude to all Hon Colleagues who have made useful contributions for the consideration of the Ministry.
    I also want to say that His Excellency the President has not paid lip-service to the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. He has shown commitment and I believe that with time, this would come with additional allocation of resources to enable us deliver on our mandate, of course, with the support of this Honourable House.
    Due to time constraints, I may not be
    able to comment on the issues individually but just to say that on the issue of advocacy, yes, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) intends to raise funds to procure equipment that would be put at strategic points in this country so that beyond advocacy, women can use the equipment for screening purposes, to enable them know their status as far as some of these debilitating diseases are concerned.
    On skills training, yes, we appreciate the fact that loan recovery is becoming very difficult; in spite of the training that has been given to some of these women groups, we still realise that recovery is difficult. So we are going to emphasise skills training and make it possible for them to be more efficient in the utilisation of the loans.
    Mr Speaker, I also want to add that we need to get our men to support the women at home, because it is due to some irresponsibility on the part of some men that makes it difficult for the women to utilise the loans that they take very effectively.
    So please, I want to use this opportunity to put out a call there to our men to support the running of the homes so that the moneys that the women take would be put to more effective use.
    On the issue of review of the Children's
    Act and all of that, the Ministry is in the process of re-engineering which also entails the review of the Gender and Children's Policy, the Children's Act and all related ones. So I want to assure Hon Colleagues that we would factor all their recommen- dations into the reengineering process.
    Finally, I want to assure you that we would be very transparent and accountable in the use of our resources both domestic and donor funds.
    Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 2:30 p.m.
    [Entered the
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:40 p.m.
    Speaker, as you have said, it is past 2.00 o'clock and the convention of this House is that you may adjourn without further prompting. But just to make a point. When we came to debating the Estimates for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Minister made a point which really needed the attention or response from the Minister responsible for Finance. Unfortunately, he had left after his own presentation. Equally so for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe we should send a clear signal to the Minister and his deputy. If he cannot be here his deputy must be here to have a feel of the sense of the House with respect to these comments that we are making so that he factors these comments into the Supplementary Budget that we are all anticipating. It is important that he registers a presence here throughout the discussion of the various Estimates for the various MDAs. Just that observation. If he cannot be here, at least, he has one deputy who must be encouraged to sit in.
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    But he
    was here this morning?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:40 p.m.
    He was
    here to move the motion on the National Development Planning Commission and immediately thereafter he left which is not what should be.
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Majority Leader?
    Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 2:40 p.m.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for welcoming me to the House. I think that the point raised by my Colleague the Minority Leader is taken in good faith and we will endeavour to get the Ministry always represented during Budget debates.
    It is very essential for the Ministry to get the inputs from Members so that they could, in the implementation, smoothen the rough edges of the Budget and also with the inputs from Members they could improve upon the budgeting for the nation in the subsequent years.
    So I think that that is a welcome comment or remark and I believe it is because sometimes the pressure of work, because I can see on the Order Paper that the Finance Committee is meeting to
    Mr. First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    you very much, Leaders of the House.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:40 p.m.