Debates of 28 Oct 2009

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.


Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon Members,
Correction of Votes and Proceedings of 27th October, 2009.
Page 1 … 6 --
Mr. J. J. Appiah 10:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
page 6 , item 19. I was captured as absent but I was in the House yesterday.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Clerk, please, he
was in the House. The records will be corrected.
Is there anything more on page 6? Page 7 --
Prof. (Emeritus) S. K. Amoako 10:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, page 7, item 6, the second line, next to the last word, the spelling of “nomination” is wrong. There is no “r” after “o”. The same mistake is repeated on the last line of the same paragraph. There is no “r” in “nomination”.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:05 a.m.
Speaker, while on that, item 6 (i) “Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor -- Minister-designate for Health”. But the second one, “Hon Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo --Minister of State at the Presidency-designate”, it seems to me that the correct rendition should be “Minister of State-designate at the Presidency”.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Yes, I think that is
it. Page 8 --
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 10:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the same paragraph of page 8, second line reads “. . . respective partisan political pursusion…” Again, there is a spelling mistake. It is “persuasion”, not “persusion”.
Then the next line, “ . . . and give priority to the national course . . .” The word there is “cause” and not “course”.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Thank you very
much. Pages 9, 10 --
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 10:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Yes, I think we have
to be consistent.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Page 11. . . 12.
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, under “Attendance”, item 2 (vii), “Mrs. Bernice Beatrice Boateng”. I know her to be Miss, not Mrs. [Laughter.] And the name should be “Beatrice Bernice Boateng” in that order. And then again, No. 9, “Emeritus” is missing again. [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I think after a few corrections of that they will get there.
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 10:20 a.m.
Thank you Madam.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Yes, any more on page12?
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the last correction. Item 11. The name is Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko- Mensah and not “Daro” Mensah.”
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
No wonder you are “Emeritus”. [Laughter.]
Thank you.
Hon Members , the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 27th October, 2009 as corrected is adopted as the true record of proceedings.
We move on to the Official Report of Friday, 28th August 2009.
Well, Honourables, we do not have copies of it, in which case we will skip that and move on to Tuesday, 27th October, 2009 Official Report.
Mr. Ernest K. Debrah 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I have got a few corrections to make. The first one is on paragraph 149, on the first line, “Mr. H. Iddrisu”. I think it is “Rightly so”. Madam Speaker, the ‘t' did not show.
The second one is on paragraph 165, the fifth line from the bottom. I wish I could go a little further. “Prairie Volta Company Limited as it is called now, was inaugurated in August 2008”; ‘inaugurated' should be ‘incorporated' and the “August” should be “May”, not “August” -- “May 2008”. Below that, “It was launched at Aveyime in August”. The “August” should be “May, 2008” not “August --”.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Thank you, Honou- rable.
Dr. A. A. Osei 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thought you referred us to the Official Report of Tuesday, 27th October, 2009.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I am also confused.

I am looking at Tuesday, 27th October,

Dr. Osei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where he was reading from.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Thanks for the correction. I am still searching for the paragraphs. We have abandoned that one for next time, so we are correcting that of Tuesday, 27th October, 2009.
Mr. Debrah 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, before we get to that, this correction should have been made yesterday and I am sorry to send you back one day. It should have been made yesterday, so this is in reference to Thursday, 27th August, 2009. That is Official Report that was brought in yesterday.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
All right, not everybody has got a copy of that. Honourable, which Report are you referring to?
Mr. Debrah 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am referring to the Official Report of Thursday, 27th August, 2009.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I have not got that and I do not think anybody else has that. We will correct them when we get copies of it.
Mr. Debrah 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think we had copies yesterday.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I do not have copies; do you have copies Honourables?
Some Hon Members 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
So Honourable, can we take it another time when we all have copies? Let us move on to today's, the 27th of October one.
Mr. Debrah 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think these copies were given to us yesterday,
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
But I do not have copies of that. I have not got my copy-- [Interruption.] We will surely correct it.
Dr. Osei 10:20 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on the 27th October, 2009 and I do not know if this is the practice of the House, but on the list of Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State, we already have Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor as a Cabinet Minister and Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo as a Minister of State.
I do not believe this House has had the opportunity to even review their nominations and I do not know how we can presume that the House will approve of them such that we name them Cabinet Minister and Minister of State respectively. It is premature for somebody to put their names here as it is here.
I think the proper thing is for us to give the chance to approve of their nominations and then at the appropriate time, designate them appropriately. But to put them here as Cabinet Minister and Minister of State when the Appointments Committee has not even looked at them, then the presumption is that this House has approved of them. So I think that it is a mistake.
Madam Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Honourable, I thought we had “Designate” there, is it not the first page, item 12? Dr. Benjamin Ku -- the spelling is even wrong. It is “Kumbuor”, not “Kunbuor.”
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:30 a.m.
Speaker, a Minister is a Minister. Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor is a Deputy Minister; he is not a Cabinet Minister, so his name ought not to appear. I am sure we should all agree.
Madam Speaker Under Cabinet
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:30 a.m.
The name
should not appear as designate. You are either a Cabinet Minister or not; you are either a Minister or you are not. The fact that one has been designated does not mean that his name ought to appear as a Cabinet Minister-designate; there is nothing like that.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. I believe that the Clerk's Office would correct it.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Majority
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
thank you very much. I do not have my Official Report here, but truly, we do not have “Cabinet Minister-designate”. It is the President who determines the members of his Cabinet; it is not determined by Parliament. So we have Ministers of State- designate, but not Cabinet Ministers.
The President could decide that the Minister for Health is not part of Cabinet; it has happened a number of times. So I think that one is wrong and the Hansard Office should correct it.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Clerk, I hope
you have noted it?
Some Hon Members 10:30 a.m.
Sit down! Sit down!
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Thank you, Hon
Member. Yes.
Mr. Anthony Evans Amoah 10:30 a.m.
Speaker, thank you. Madam Speaker, page iv, “Amoah, Anthony Evans”, the name of the constituency is “Mpohor Wassa East” not Mpohor Wassa”.
Thank you.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
“Mpohor Wassa”.
Yes, Hon Baffour?
Mr. Frederic Fritz Baffour 10:30 a.m.
Speaker, page (ii), number 19, “Dr. Nartey, Siaw-Sappore”; he stood down as nominee for the Deputy Minister for Communications but he has been put down as a Deputy Minister -- [Interruption] -- no, he did not, he stepped down.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
What page are you
referring to?
Mr. Baffour 10:30 a.m.
Number (ii), he stood
down. “Nartey, Siaw-Sappore”, number 19, as Deputy Minister for Communica- tions -- [Interruption]-- No! They stood him down, he did not appear before the Appointments Committee.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
I see. [Pause.]
Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 10:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, on page ii, number 14, the name is “Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah”, but it appears as Emmanuel Armah Buah”.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
“Mr. Emmanuel
Armah Buah, the correction is what?
Mr. Buah 10:30 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the
correction is “Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah”.
Madam Speaker 10:30 a.m.
“Kofi-Buah”? All
right, Thank you.
Any other corrections? [Pause] --
Hon Members, the Official Report of Tuesday, 27th October, 2009 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Then we move to item 3 - Statements. I have admitted two Statements, and we would start with Hon Clement Kofi Humado, Member of Parliament for Anlo.
Yes, Hon Member, can you deliver your Statement?
STATEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Thank you. Hon Members, this is the first Statement; we have another Statement and as you know, we have one hour to comment on both Statements. So if we will all be very brief because I know the next Statement will generate a lot more interest but they are all within one hour. Of course, we could increase it but let us be brief.
Hon Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka.
Alhaj i Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase): Madam Speaker, I rise to support the maker of
the Statement and to thank him for the Statement made on the floor of this House today. Madam Speaker, 17th October, 2009 is a special day for me as it happens to be my birth- day too.
Madam Speaker, the issue of poverty is a reality in Africa and the issue of eradicating poverty in Africa requires more effort than, unfortunately, the effort being made by African governments. Madam Speaker, there are so many dimensions to poverty. Basically, the most important ones that will help eradicate poverty are education, access to health and the elimination of inequalities.
Madam Speaker, with regard to education, if you look at the trend, taking the annual progress reports of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II), the figures indicate clearly that we are doing well even though there is a lot of disparity, depending on whether it is urban or rural or northern or southern.
But I even believe the figures are misleading. Why am I saying they are misleading? Madam Speaker, if you say every child that has been able to get aggregate 30 at the end of junior high school is deemed to have passed without having regard to access to the next level, that is the senior high school (SHS) then I want to question the basis for saying that such a person has passed.
Even looking at the same aggregate 6 to 30, you will say that between 2005 and now, we have made significant progress, moving from 62.1 per cent of those who sat for the examination to about 61.9 per cent in 2007. But Madam Speaker, I believe that we need to segregate these figures to show clearly how many of these teeming youth have been able to have access to the next level of education. Madam Speaker, it is not only about
Madam Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Today, I believe every Hon Member of Parliament sitting here will agree with me that he or she might have paid school fees for one or two and many more persons simply because of the quantum of school fees at the senior high school level today. It is clearly a barrier to access to education and the earlier all of us began to look at these figures and questioned what makes up the build-up to this huge amount of money -- If we do not do this, I will say money will be a big barrier to the poor having access to senior or higher education in this country.
Madam Speaker, the issue of school fees, I believe they say it is left to the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), the universities, and the polytechnics but I honestly believe the Committee on Education and probably, this whole House needs to invite them and see the breakdown. I believe that there might be items there that we can take off that will make education a bit more accessible to the poor.
If the level of school fees paid today was supposed to be paid some twenty years ago when some of us were in secondary school, then I have no doubt in my mind I would not have had secondary education. There are equally more poor and needy students today that need help.
Madam Speaker, with regard to health, yes, the issue of free treatment for pregnant women is a laudable one. But Madam Speaker, this only eliminates the financial barrier to access to health. But it does not take care of quality health. That is why the issue of maternal mortality seems to be getting out of hand in our country, even though our budget shows that huge sums of money are being pumped into that area.

We are not paying attention to the issue of the facilities. We are only paying lip- service, thinking that the National Health Insurance Scheme is there and once you have the card, you will have access to health but having the card is one thing and going to the hospital and accessing health care is another thing. The need to pay attention, to making sure that the facilities, at least, the minimum basic facilities are there that will enable the poor have access to quality health is a very important one.

Madam Speaker, I was given birth and attended to by the traditional birth attendants even though it was in Kumasi and it was very efficient. Twelve of us from my mother and eight of us were received by the traditional birth attendants. Today, we have modernized health and sophisticated it to the extent that we think that the traditional birth attendants could not be helpful.

I believe that we need to pay attention to the training of the traditional birth attendants. They could help us bring down the figures on maternal mortality because our facilities are not enough to take the challenge.

Madam Speaker, lastly, I want to talk about the inequalities. Madam Speaker, if you look at the trend, whether it is about education, it is health and the facilities that we have, you do not need to be told that it is skewed between the rural and the urban, between the North and the South and I do not think as a country we will be able to develop when a chunk of us are left behind.

Madam Speaker, if you look at the issue
Madam Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, try
and conclude.
Alhaji Muntaka 10:50 a.m.
And we begin to
take the bold steps and the measures to be able to address them.
I thank the maker of the Statement very much and I also thank Madam Speaker for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Hon
Dr. Opoku M. Prempeh (NPP --
Manhyia): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will thank the Hon Member for Anlo for making such a good contribution,
and my own brother, the Hon Member of Parliament for Asawase. I think he knows I support what he is saying.
Madam Speaker, in 1990, the level of poverty in Ghana was around 50 per cent. In 2001, it was around 48 per cent. In 2005, it was estimated to be around 25 per cent. That has been because of targeted government effect and directed government effort at reducing poverty, not lip-service, Madam Speaker.
By 2005 Ghana had already reduced her poverty level from 1990, specifically by the introduction of specific programmes aimed at the poor like the Livelihood Empowerment Project, like the School Feeding Programme that has brought about primary school gender parity -- for the first time in this country.
Madam Speaker, on the National Health Insurance Scheme system that my Brother from Asawase was saying, I agree with him on a lot of points but he must agree that in our quest to develop, some will get there before others. That should not be a bad thing. So if our mothers are getting free maternal health -- we both share the same hospital in Manhyia, which is now overflowing with pregnant women -- thank God that the Government will have resources to even improve the facilities in Manhyia for our mothers to have free maternal health care there.
It is not the best to be attended to by the traditional birth attendants. But when I was born, I was circumscised by a wanzam who lived in his community. It does not mean that the wanzam is the best thing that should ever happen in this country.
Madam Speaker, under the National Health Insurance Scheme, those over the age of 70 years and under l8 years are being treated free. Thank God for

that, but my problem is that we have a new Government that should extend the frontiers of the health delivery system in our country. As he said, if you have your card and there is no hospital facility, what is the worth of the card?

So, when I looked in the Government's Budget, this year's Budget and I found that from Bolgatanga right down to Weija, they are supposed to provide hospitals and up till this time, we have not heard even of a sod-cutting ceremony, then I get worried. When the economy has grown from 3.75 per cent in 2001 to 7.3 per cent in 2008, definitely, poverty is being reduced. When we then come to find that the estimates for this year is 5.9 and the World Bank is even saying that it is going to be 4.5, you and I must get worried. Are we moving forward or are we coming backwards -- [Hear! Hear!] That is what we have to think about.

Madam Speaker, I thank my Hon Friend for making such a contribution. Free school uniforms, yes, is a way of reducing poverty but extending school feeding to all schools probably will reduce poverty more than free school uniforms. That is what we have to think about in this country and that is why Parliament must assert itself; the Executive only should not determine the direction of develop-ment in this country. Parliament should be the focus of the development direction in this country.

Madam Speaker, I wish and pray that Ghana as we are trying to develop, our crises of leadership that we are finding would be limited. If for the next two, three years, the Government cannot employ people because of multilateral agency donor conditions, then we cannot be reducing poverty in this country.

For the next two years, as the Hon Member said, we have to think about how we are going to reduce poverty. If cocoa farmers in Ghana have to smuggle cocoa across the borders, as my Brother from

Juabeso Bia knows very well because the Government is not giving them a good producer price, we cannot be reducing poverty -- [Interruptions] -- Let me finish, my Brother, I will let him come.
Madam Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member.
Are you rising on a point of order?
Mr. Ahi 10:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon
Friend is misleading the House. Before, it is true that some farmers -- [Inter-ruptions] -- listen. It is true that some farmers were smuggling cocoa to la Cote d'Ivoire but that was when the new producer price had not been announced. After the new producer price was announced, it ceased. So I am educating him. If he is not aware, this is what is happening at the moment.
Dr. Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank
him for his brilliant interjection. When the producer price has gone down relative to the world market price compared to la Cote d'Ivoire, he is telling me it has ceased. The national security should not waste manpower sending people there to curtail smuggling.
Madam Speaker, basic education has been made free in this country, a government has introduced free school feeding and capitation grant. Another government has duly introduced free school uniform, that is the way to reduce poverty. That is the way to reduce teenage pregnancy, that is the way the country should go and I hope that we get the resources in this country to develop and reduce poverty further.
Thank you.
Mr. George Kuntu Blankson (NDC
-- Mfantseman East): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for allowing me to
Madam Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Let me hear the
Hon Member.
Dr. Kojo Appiah-Kubi 11 a.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, our Hon Colleague is totally misleading this House. As far as poverty is concerned, we can say that Ghana has gone a long way in reducing it. A lot has been done in this country, so my Hon Colleague cannot say that nothing concrete has been done. Let me give him the facts. Between 1998 and 2005, this country was able to remove 1.5 million people out of poverty; that is concrete. That is something concrete which has been done.
Between 1980 and 2005, extreme poverty was halved, getting to 1990 levels, that is something concrete which has been done in this country. Between 1990 and 2005, in terms of education, we have done massively well in increasing enrolment. So
Mr. Blankson 11 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my
Hon Colleague is talking about statistics. [Interruption.] No, no, no, hold on. Let me tell him.. If he likes I will take him to my constituency to go and look at the people there. Since we started this poverty strategy, how is their life there -- lifestyle?
Maybe, in his -- [Interruption] -- No, no, no, master, I am talking about what is in my constituency. If the living standard of my people is not increased to an appreciable level that will help them to live as human beings in a society, that poverty alleviation thing he is talking about is just a mirage.
Statistics have come, we have seen
so many things -- beautiful documents being written. They have not helped the people. What I am saying is that Ghana is an agricultural country and what we need is that if we are able to increase production -- agriculture-wise, it will help the people so that they can get something to feed themselves, export and at the same time raise revenue for the people to live on.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, I believe my
Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Honourable, I
thought the measure was that his village did not feel the effect of the statistics.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
Speaker, even that, with respect, he may allude to figures. He may allude to the depth of poverty. Even if it is in respect of the same number of people, he will be measuring in depth of the incidence and it relates definitely to statistics. So what is he telling this House?
Madam Speaker, with respect to my Hon Colleague, if he is saying he does not believe in statistics, let him give us the measure of whatever incidence, increase or depreciation; let him tell us.
Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Well, Hon Member, I do not think he really said he did not believe. He said despite the statistics, it did not affect his village. Anyway, thank you.
Mr. Blankson 11 a.m.
Madam Speaker, my Hon Counsel, I said I am basing it on the real situation in my constituency and I am telling him that if he doubts what I am saying, I will give him a free ride to Ekumfi and then he will go and see how they are living there. I hope he
understands me.
I am telling him that the only way we Ghanaians -- My Hon Colleague was talking about multinationals, multilateral donations which have not helped this country because we based all our strategies on donor funding and we are saying, let us go back to domestication to be able to identify the resources that we have, the resources that we as Ghanaians have so that if we are able to turn them to finished goods to be able to export them, that will help us so that nobody would go and depend upon the Government. If the people are living right, he as an Hon Member of Parliament will not suffer.
Mr. Blankson 11 a.m.
So if we are able to do the right thing, I am telling you that this country would move forward.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Dr. Osei,
were you going to define “financially challenged”?
Mr. Issac Osei 11 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think this is a new terminology -- “financially physically challenged”. I think the Hon Member should define it for us.
Madam Speaker 11 a.m.
Well, maybe, I will have to take judicial notice and include it in -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Daniel Botwe (NPP -- Okere) 11 a.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and I have to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and all those who have made very brilliant contributions to that.
Mr. Daniel Botwe (NPP -- Okere) 11:10 a.m.
the measure.
If you go to the Public Service, you go to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture or other Ministries, you will find a project vehicle -- four-wheel drive. Let us look at the budget, the amount of money that is spent on four-wheel drives and compare it to the number of extension officers we have in this country. I wish one day we would ask the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture the number of people who are in the extension service and let us check the ratio of extension officers to the number of farmers, whether they are getting the best farming practices in the country.

Go to Crop Research Institute, they will tell you what they have been able to do in their research findings. How many of these have been able to be transferred to the ordinary farmer and how is the ordinary farmer and for that matter the nation benefitting from it?

We keep talking about post-harvest losses -- Atomic Energy Commission, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, they might have done some work. They are all sitting on the shelves and yet monies are being pumped into conferences and seminars to discuss things that are already known.

Madam Speaker, if we keep on doing these things, we are being unfair to the people we came to represent, and the issue now is not about the statistics of it, but there should be a higher sense of urgency in tackling these things.

We cannot continue to do it, we cannot continue to quote statistics and celebrate World Poverty Day and all those things and I am sure some money was spent on renting canopies and having refreshment

to celebrate the Day and yet people are still poor. There is the need for a time action plan to tackle some of these things specifically.

Again, I think we should also take a bold decision as a nation. There is a guaranteed price for cocoa and we are all happy about that, but we should begin to face the reality; whether it is not time to at least have some guaranteed prices for some food crops especially maize, so that when farmers get their produce, they know that at least they would get some minimum guaranteed price.

If you take maize, it is patronised in almost every region in this country but in a situation where there is a bumper harvest, they sell it for about GH¢20.00 a bag and then in the lean season, it goes to, for example, GH¢60.00; the farmers are almost always poor. So you cannot talk about eradication of poverty when they are always producing and getting very low prices for their yields, it is very, very important.

Again, that is why when it comes to governance in general, there is the need to reduce partisanship and face the reality because once you represent the people -- and politics is about pursuing policies and programmes that would go to upgrade the quality of life of the citizen, that is all politics is about so far as I understand it. And that should be the measure.

But if day in and day out, you go to our villages, people's houses are collapsing. If you travel on the road from Accra to Kumasi, look left and right, go to Enyirensi you will see the roofing sheets and the buildings are collapsing, that cannot be so much of a country that is progressing.

It is important that we do something to move the people below the poverty line up and that calls for a high sense of urgency and Madam Speaker, that is what

governance is all about and that is why if you take the reigns of government, we should minimise the time we spend on finding faults and setting committees and commissions to achieve this purpose of governance.

We should reduce all these things and I do not tend to be partisan but maybe, that is why other people are so much concerned that to tackle the issue of poverty in this country, we need a team “A” and not a team “B” and therefore, for that purpose, all hands should be on deck.

Let us rely on all people who have the expertise to perform so that we would tackle the issue of poverty with a very high sense of urgency -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, that will -- [Interrup- tion.]
Mr. D. T. Assumeng 11:10 a.m.
On a point of
order. Madam Speaker, I will be very glad if the Hon Member could tell us the difference between team “A” and team
Mr. Botwe 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the point I was making is that, we draw on the expertise across board. All those who have something to contribute to this nation, they have had many people who have worked in so many organisations, international organisations and those who have even worked in this country.
So I am saying that let us have that high sense of urgency, there is still poverty, there are so many other very good intervention policies that have been introduced and really might have done something but there is still a lot that we have to do and we should have that passion to pursue policies and programmes that would go to upgrade the quality of life of the ordinary people of this country.
Madam Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Member -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for this opportunity and I am speaking as a team “A” member -- [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for coming out with these remarks at this time.
Madam Speaker, it is very important that the issue of poverty will have to be given a non-partisan look. The poverty reduction is affecting every corner of this country. Madam Speaker, I am very happy that Hon Members are giving their candid opinion on this issue and I think that we must all contribute to this matter to make sure that we find a lasting solution to the issue of poverty in this country.
Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah 11:10 a.m.
On a point of Order! Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague claims that he belongs to team “A”. So has he now accepted the fact that there are different teams in his Government and that people are struggling to belong to either team “A” or “B”? Is that an admission of fact in this current Administration that indeed, there are teams in Government and that people are struggling to belong to either team “A”, “B” or “C”? But I can bet him that he belongs to team “C” and not team “A” or “B” or better still a reserve player.
Mr. Assumeng 11:10 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I refuse to be in the team “C” as he said -- [Laughter] and I insist that I am a team “A” player.
Madam Speaker, as has been said, there have been several interventions as far as poverty reduction is concerned and as at today, we are not making a serious headway as far as poverty reduction is concerned. We are now talking about growth and it is good that we are talking about growth. But before we talk about growth, we must at least be able to do something about the reduction of poverty before we move on to the growth but all the same, these are terms that have been coined for us which we have to abide by.
Madam Speaker, today, if you go to my constituency, Shai Osudoku area, rice farmers are harvesting enough rice but they are complaining that we are not getting the required market for such produce and this is quite unfortunate. These are people who are labouring to produce but at the end of the day, they cannot get market for their produce and so the issue of poverty still remains with such people.
I believe that we need to give a holistic approach to the issue of poverty and I think we have a committee in charge of poverty reduction in this House. I believe that we need to give them some specific guidelines or specific task for them to perform to make sure that the issues that are preventing our moving forward as far as poverty reduction is concerned is tackled.
Madam Speaker, we cannot sit here and claim that everything is getting on
Mr. Assumeng 11:20 a.m.

well as far as our people in this country are concerned. The health sector that we are talking about would have to be looked into and I believe and hope that the one time payment that is being propounded by His Excellency the President will come into being so that people in this country will pay a one time premium and be able to enjoy quality health services.

Madam Speaker, the issue of School Feeding Programme and the rest, they are all laudable ideas but I believe that we should go beyond such programmes. This is because if you have a section of Ghanaian students enjoying food whereas we have many of them at the villages that are not enjoying it, this is a clear discrimination and I believe that now that the Government has decided to expand this programme, I believe that this objective would be attained.

Madam Speaker, as Parliamentarians, we are also grappled with some level of poverty and I believe that we would have the patience to do well to resolve this issue among our populace, so that as it is said that when a bottle is full, it would have a trickle down effect and that would come to reality. But when our people are beginning to enjoy, then we as Parliamentarians would also be happy that our being here is fruitful, that we are not here to enjoy at their expense.

Madam Speaker, I am very happy and grateful to the Hon Member who made the Statement and I believe that we shall continue to have adequate time in the near future to look into this issue and come out with some recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity, Madam


Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku (NPP

-- Evalue Gwira): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to

contribute to Hon Humado's Statement.

Madam Speaker, my take is on women and children. I think poverty affects women and children far more than our male counterparts, and in recent publications, we have heard that there would be more hunger across the world and we do know that children are highly affected by this phenomenon.

Madam Speaker, when you bring it

home, I think as a nation, we should come down to home-grown policies that would eradicate poverty once and for all. It is laudable that we are doing well with the Millennium Development Goals, it is laudable that Ghana Poverty Strategy is also ongoing but we can and we must come together as people giving non-partisan approach to solving poverty.

Today Madam Speaker, is a National Public Transport Day and this is being celebrated across the world, but if you take a real look at how we spend time on our roads, how we waste time to get back and forth, that in itself contributes to poverty.

We spend more than six hours stack in traffic and it reduces your productivity, it impacts on your approach to solving national issues and until we come out with a real comprehensive transport policy that would create an avenue for us to eradicate congestion, to create other forms of transportation other than roads, for example, concentrating on railways, I think we can make an impact in helping our women in the neighbouring areas that would transport their foodstuffs from the villages via rail to bring them to the market area and they would have a good price for their product and thereby impacting on their family, contribution in terms of eradicating, if not contributing to home economy.

Apart from that Madam Speaker, if
Mr. Assumeng 11:20 a.m.

you look round as my Hon Colleague had mentioned, poverty has affected women in terms of policies we have at home when it comes to children being educated where there are discriminatory practices, young girls are not actually allowed to go to school in certain areas still within our nation. And there are statistics to prove that when we educate girls, it actually enhances, empowers them and it reduces poverty and also has an impact in eradication of diseases.

These are all things that would come together to enhance our livelihood and also enhance the poverty reduction approach that we want to talk about as a nation. But I strongly believe that if we approach poverty reduction on a non-partisan approach instead of us looking at it from a party A or B, we are still sitting here grumbling and bickering with expansion of School Feeding Programme where people are being sacked, Ghanaians are being sacked. Are we not contributing to the poverty by removing people from jobs that would give them something to eat and help their families?

Madam Speaker, we stand up against poverty but we are actually contributing to poverty with our policies, and I really think it is time we looked at these things without looking through lenses of party politics and help Ghanaians regardless of their party affiliation. I stand up against poverty, but all Ghanaians must be given an equal shot at reducing poverty.

With these few words Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Thank you, Hon
Member. For a moment I thought there was something wrong with my microphone but when the Hon Member speaks I think it is very clear to me. I think I must mention that most of you, when you talk too near the microphone, I do not hear it too much.
But I must commend you, you have used your microphone well and every word came to me because I thought it was the fault of the gadget but it seems to me that the lady, the Hon Member really used her microphone very well.
I will take two each. There is nothing
on this side so I would take one more on this side. [Interruption.] Let us take one here and then one lady. Hon Member, our time is running short.
Deputy Minister for Energy (Mr.
Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) : Madam Speaker, I want to thank my Hon Colleague for the Statement on reduction of poverty. I think when it comes to poverty reduction, Madam Speaker, the Statement is on the fears and urgency of now and it requires all of us from both political aisle, and I am very happy that my Hon Colleagues in their contributions were all talking about the need for continuous, sustained policy to reduce poverty and that is why this present Government must be commended for this continuity of policy.
I must commend President Mills for
staying focused and keeping his eye on the ball without distractions. I think that when we talk about poverty Madam Speaker, I am very happy that my Hon Colleague talked about education, he talked about health and we must really go to the bottom.
When we talk about education and you go into a classroom and look into the eye of a teacher of Adubirim who is choking back tears because the classrooms have no roof or no windows; when you look into the eye of a twelve-year old child who has the gust, who has the grace, who has the ambition but he knows that the teacher standing in front of him cannot take him to the college that he dreams of, it requires the country to be united in our drive to
Madam Speaker 11:20 a.m.

Madam Speaker, I think on this occasion

and listening to my Hon Colleagues on this side, I see hope for Ghana, I see that in this Session of Parliament, we are going to have a united team from both sides coming out with constructive ideas on how to tackle our challenges in education, how to tackle the issues on health, how to deal with all these challenges in our cocoa industry.

Madam Speaker, when we talk about the cocoa industry -- I talk about my constituency; half of my constituency has the largest cocoa producers but not a single family even has the opportunity to get a COCOBOD scholarship because that community has been completely cut off.

Madam Speaker, when we talk about reducing poverty and I agree with my Hon Colleague that we together must realize and it is important to note that Hon Colleagues travel around the world and they see what other countries are doing, they are united in their focus, they are united in their drive. What do we see, what do we listen to when we listen to our media? It is about some tabloid news that has come for the day, it is constantly an issue that does not go to the bottom of reducing poverty.

Madam Speaker, I have the hope that with the united front together, recognizing the seriousness of poverty and the need for united front in tackling it, together we can address it and change the politics of our country for good.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Let take the last speaker.

Ms Beatrice Bernice Boateng (NPP

-- New Juaben South): Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the honour done me. I want to add my voice to the Statement on the floor and to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement and all other Colleagues who have also contributed to this Statement.

Madam Speaker, let me say that I

appreciate what has gone on because it tells one that people are becoming aware of their gender sensitivity in the sense that whenever we talk about poverty, our eyes readily go to the women and children. Women and children are always at the disadvantage end trying to make ends meet.

But then whenever we sit down to have strategies to solve these problems, women are out of them, they are not consulted -- and if even the women are not consulted, how can we say we are consulting the children?

Madam Speaker, in talking about

poverty, we cannot do away with statistics as people have already said. We should talk about who are the serious people who are affected by poverty and we have agreed here that it is the women and the children. Where are these women, where can they be found, what are they doing, what are their needs? I think these should be the things that should be considered when we want to talk about poverty eradication.

Normally, when we get people to come in to help us with strategies to sort of reduce poverty, we sit in mansions,
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.

international conference centres and the like to talk about these things when in effect the people who are suffering are at the grassroots.

They will be able to tell us their circumstances and what can be done for them. As a result, I want to plead with all of us as well as Government in general that henceforth, if we seriously want to reduce poverty, then in thinking about reducing them, the strategies, we should stop living in the mansions, go to the grass roots, get to the people who are suffering, ask them about their situations, what we think we can do for them -- because you know most women are into trading, most women are into farming but they are still unable to make ends meet, why because they might have some peculiar problems and we can only help them when we understand their circumstances.

So my plea is that, henceforth, in talking about poverty reduction, let us go to the grassroots, let us go to the people who are affected the most so that we are able to make an impact. Otherwise, we will continue talking about poverty reduction with other strategies and it would not get to the people who are mostly affected.

I thank all Hon Members for their contributions and I thank you, Madam Speaker, for the honour done me.
Madam Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Hon
Member. I think we should move to the next topic and that is a second Statement which would interest all of us.
Oh! Leader is up? Leader, I am sorry,
I did not see you.
Mr. Bagbin 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, just to say that, we need time to debate the Poverty
Reduction Programme in the country. From the comments made by Hon Members, I will not actually refer to them as comments because they were debating issues in a Statement but because of the enthusiasm, we could not raise points of order. But it is important for us as leaders to reorient our minds.
I think we all know that when a farmer is taking care of any animal or even growing plants, he is not fertilizing the plants for the sake of the plants. When you are feeding a cow, you are not just feeding it because you love it but because you are feeding it to grow to the state that you would want to enjoy it.
We have spoken about so many programmes but we all know that those programmes are funded from outside, they are not by ourselves. So we cannot be talking about reducing poverty when you are simply leaning on somebody else to feed you. We have to look at it seriously.
We are talking about transportation, we are talking about queues in cities, the rural people are waiting for days for vehicles and they do not get, and we get the foodstuffs from the villages. We are here talking about reduction of poverty when we know that throughout the country the houses that were built by our great- grand- fathers are the houses that our people are living in and they are hanging because of erosion.
So what kind of poverty reduction is this? We know that many more people are rushing to the cities because that is where you have the rat race and when you can behave well in the city, you would enjoy whether it is legal or illegal. And you say you are reducing poverty, I beg to differ. I think that we need really to change our focus, we need to change our attitudes, we need to change our minds.
LEAP is not home-grown, School Feeding Programme is not home-grown,
Mr. Bagbin 11:40 a.m.

Capitation Grant is not home-grown. We are relying heavily on people from outside. We were all educated from the villages. How many now come from the villages to universities?

Let us just take the list of scholarships, go through them and see how many are from the villages? Let us look at the children of cocoa farmers, how many of them have their children enjoying scholarships? And we want to develop, we cannot develop when we are not being equitable. We cannot develop when we are just being brainwashed by outside forces, and Parliament itself must have the capacity to go beyond the information and data that are given it by the Executive.

Much more of what we are looking at is just maybe for the purposes of being able to get further assistance from outside. We know that you have to present a good programme in order to benefit from a loan and sometimes, I say sometimes, those data, I take them with a pinch of salt because clearly in my eyes, I can see the difference. And what are we talking about?

We need a change, real change, and we need it now or else leadership will lose its salt and the people will soon look somewhere else. We need to do it now -- [Some Hon Members -- Today] -- Not today, now.

I have read many of the reports particularly the review reports and I doubt many of the data, statistics and conclusions and we have to look at them and try to redirect Government's focus to what is actually happening in our constituencies.

We are in touch with the people, not the technocrats in the offices. But I commend him highly and I commend Hon Members highly for their contri-butions.

I want to beg that Members should not be giving the impression that partisanship is not good. It is very very wrong to give that impression. If you are really talking about the position of your party, you should be encouraged because the parties have taken different positions, there are some areas that we agree and there are some areas we disagree. If what you are saying is not the party's position, that is not being partisanship.

We are trying to educate our people to think that multi-party democracy is not the right thing because everyday we hear people criticizing, others being partisan, you are not doing this, it is not correct. What is happening is not partisanship, it is parochialism. People are talking about themselves, not about their party positions and sometimes we are compelled to go against government's position because the government might not be towing your party's position.

That must come out clearly. So that we use our own conscience, not being pushed to rubber-stamp everything whether you disagree with it or not. That does not help the country -- [Hear! Hear!] I think we need to move together and make sure when you are talking about something, you are talking about what you believe as a set of values, principles and policies that can move the country in the direction that your party loves.

Let us encourage multi-party demo- cracy. Let us accept the fact that there is diversity, that we differ from many
Mr. Bagbin 11:40 a.m.

things. Because I grew up from the village fetching water from the pond. My thinking is different from the one who is brought up under the showers. He does not know how important water is; treated water is used to wash cars -- [Laughter] -- That is different. So, we think differently.

So, I agree that we need more time to debate this and we have to do it as another arm of government to redirect our governments, whether today or tomorrow's government, to do the right thing.

Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Leader.
Hon Minority Leader, I am thinking of giving you the last word. This is an important topic and if you will contribute, it will gladden my heart.
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
We had discussions, the Hon Majority Leader and I, and I thought that if he puts the icing on the cake, it would encapsulate the thinking of this House as an institution.
Madam Speaker, I believe that yes, indeed, the way we have travelled, we need really as a Parliament to debate rather dispassionately and as neutral arbiters the developmental agenda of government so that we would appropriately situate in the context of the circumstances of Ghanaians. Indeed, when we come to contracting loans, loans that are geared towards eradicating poverty, in this House, one sees what we do.
When we have capacity building for people in the institutions -- when we provide huge chunks to provide 4x4 to bureaucrats -- at the end of it all, very
THE 11:40 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader.
Hon Members, we are moving on to the second Statement which has come from Hon Stephen Ackah, Chairman for the Select Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture.
STATEMENTS 11:40 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Member.
Can we start? Members, we would start from this side of the House (Minority) today. You have 30 minutes to make comments on this Statement.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwima Mponua) 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I join my Hon Colleague and a young Chairman of Youth and Sports Committee in congratulating the Black Satellites for this wonderful great performance. Indeed, Madam Speaker, the Satellites were a delight to watch in Egypt. Indeed, they have made all of us proud and indeed, the entire Continent, for being the first African nation to win this Youth World Tournament.
Madam Speaker, I believe that the journey had not been that easy. The Satellites qualified to play in the African Championship team in September 2008. Indeed, in December 2008, they won the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup. In January 2009, they won the African Championship and in October 2009, the World Cup followed. So clearly, the journey had been very tough, challenging and indeed a glorious one.
Madam Speaker, it is important for us to allow institutions of State to work and particularly in this area, the Ghana Football Association (GFA). The GFA needs to be commended.
Madam Speaker, I chanced on the GFA's document; they have a business plan that started in the year 2006 and in that business plan, we must commend the GFA and their President for consistently progressing in their area of endeavour, that for me, is very significant.
Madam Speaker, in that document, I remember, it was stated that they would go to the World Cup in 2006, which they did. Not only did they go to the World Cup but they made all of us proud and indeed, the whole of Africa. After the tournament, we all heard that Ghana was ranked number one in Africa and fifteen in the world.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwima Mponua) 11:50 a.m.

Something that was unprecedented and very historic. For the first time in 2007, Ghana was ranked fifteen in the whole world. So that should tell us that when we have a body like GFA that is committed to fulfilling something they have all written down themselves and they are committed to the business plan, then that body needs to be commended. So I commend GFA President, Mr. Kofi Nyantakyi and his abled lieutenants for this wonderful feat they are chalking.

Madam Speaker, for me, what is also important is that the Satellites have done well. As a nation, what are we doing to motivate them to make sure that others soon to follow would do same and even do better? Madam Speaker, as we speak, come January next year, we are participating in the African Cup of Nations. June next year, we are going to the World Cup.

Madam Speaker, what is said and so said is that, after performing so wonderfully in bringing the cup -- and I remember when we arrived at the Airport, the Vice President met us and told us that at least when we meet the President there was going to be a package for us. Madam Speaker, we met the President and there was no package announced and the worst of it all, a committee has been set up, for what purpose?
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
When you say “we went there”, did you go there? [Laughter.]
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Madam

So Madam Speaker, one would have thought that after meeting the President, a handsome package was going to be announced. What is this business of a committee? To do what? [An Hon Member: To collect the money.] To collect money? So the Ministry of Youth and Sports and GFA cannot set up a desk to receive donations from individuals and corporate bodies? Why do we set up a committee? To me, the committee is a waste of time and a waste of scarce resources. [Hear! Hear!] We should be serious with our players.

Madam Speaker, as we speak, the players have left the country. They have not heard anything. They have been calling. What is there for us? Madam Speaker, the delay is taking away the bites. The delay is taking away the flavour and it is not the best for this country.

The players are out there calling their relatives; calling people they know what is it. What are we going to hear? The next morning all that we are told is that there is a committee that has been set up -- To go and do what? So I dismiss the committee and I want His Excellency to act and act expeditiously. He should act and act fast. The slowness is too much in this administration. We should act and act fast in areas that need urgent attention.

I took the sea water and I prayed every morning for the Satellites. Madam Speaker, I went to Mount Sinai where Moses took the Ten Commandments and prayed ceasingly for the Black Satellites.
Mr. S. M. E. K. Ackah 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague, the Ranking Member has made a statement which is incorrect. The issue is that, when we sent the Cup to the President at the Castle, he categorically stated that he would not just stand there and pronounce a package; he had to make a consultation so that when it comes up - [Interruption.]
The President said he wanted to make a presentation that is very befitting for the yeoman's job that the boys have done. The players were there. Nobody agitated that the President immediately did not pronounce a package and I think that is why he set up the committee so that whenever they mobilize and bring the package, it would be very befitting for the players. So there is nothing wrong with the setting up of the committee. It is being prepared so that the package we want would be given.
Madam Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, can you finish up? Your time is running.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 11:50 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. E. K. D. Adjaho 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I just want to suggest that matters of religion and matters of faith and the way my younger brother is going, I think that he may have to advise himself. He does not go trying, as it were, to attack somebody's faith as he is trying to do. “So-called T. B. Joshua”, I think it is unparliamentary to refer to somebody in that way.
Matters of faith, matters of religion are individual matters. What people believe in -- The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana has guaranteed the right of worship, so the way he is going about it, I think that it is not the proper way. He should proceed cautiously on the way he is going.
Madam Speaker noon
Thank you. Hon Member, the use of the word, “so-called”, in this regard, may be unparliamentary because of the freedom of -- [Inter- ruption] -- So he is taking objection and I think you should carry on without that word.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah noon
Madam Speaker, I did not attack the religion; so that impression -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, I did not attack the religion - [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Member, move on then.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah noon
Madam Speaker, thank you.
Madam Speaker, my Chairman's intervention is -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, what I said was that we went to the World Cup for two things; either to come home with the Cup or without the Cup. Yes, that is the main reason why every nation went to Egypt. We all went there hoping to win the
Cup. So within that period, what was Government doing in terms of a package for the players?

Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr. I. K. Asiamah noon
Thinking ahead
is what this country needs, so that is very important. Madam Speaker, I believe that as a country, we need to always think ahead so that players will be well motivated.
Madam Speaker, as I said, for me, I would like to end by thanking Ghanaians who all prayed, and all Ghanaians indeed, prayed for the team, so the gratitude and whatever it is, should go to all Ghanaians.
Madam Speaker noon
Yes, your time is up.
Mr. I . K. Asiamah noon
He is so instrumental in the success of the team. And I also thank the technical team headed by Mr. Sellas Tetteh for his ingenuity and indeed, for proving all skeptics wrong that, indeed, the African coach, given the opportunity would also do and excel in such world tournaments. Lastly, to the captain of the team, who is a team player, motivator and indeed, an inspirer;
the captain proved that, indeed, he is a matured captain, somebody who could bring all the players together, and he did that so beautifully.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to also participate in the World Cup Tournament. And also the supporters who bought their own tickets and came to Egypt to support the team; and indeed, to the President of Egypt, His Excellency Hosni Mubarak who announced to the whole country in Egypt that Ghana was the team of Africa. That for me, was so statesmanship and we need to commend His Excellency the President of Egypt for that wonderful effort.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari noon
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I have been on my feet for the past five minutes -- [Interruption] -- And I was up to object to certain statements that were coming out of the young man's mouth.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Member referred to “a certain Joshua”, who is not here to defend himself of some allegations levelled against him. Secondly, he says “any serious government”, implying that this Government is not serious. [Uproar.] Madam Speaker, you should not allow Hon Members to speak this way in this House. It is unparliamentary, uncompli- mentary and unbecoming of an Hon Member of this House.
Madam Speaker, I thought that he should be made to withdraw those two statements and apologise. He must withdraw them even though he is sitting down; he must be made to get up, withdraw and apologise. Madam Speaker, his language is most unbecoming, we should
Alhaji Sumani Abukari noon

not allow this to happen in this House -- and I seriously demand that he should be made to withdraw and apologise.
Alhaji Abukari noon
If the Hon Minority
Mr. Ofosu Asamoah noon
Madam Speaker, thank you. Madam Speaker, I thought the Hon Member was making a contribution to the Statement since the previous Hon Member who just spoke had ended.
But for him to stand up and be directing you is subversive -- [Laughter] -- he is subverting your powers -- [Laughter] -- that you should have told him to withdraw, you should have told him to do this “A” or “B”; Madam Speaker, if for nothing at all, you sit on the highest Bench of this country -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and since you assumed the Office, you have discharged your duties very well, and you deserve all the respect. It does not lie in the mouth of my senior Colleague to say that you should have done “A”, “B”, or “C”.
Madam Speaker, if he thinks he is the Speaker, he should assume your seat. [Hear! Hear!] I am sure his caucus considered him among all others and selected Hon Doe Adjaho to be your deputy -- [Laughter] -- So he should remain where he is, and if he wants to contribute to the Statement, he should do so -- [Hear! Hear!]
Thank you.
Madam Speaker noon
Hon Member, I was going to say that --[Interruption.]
Alhaji Abukari noon
Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague is certainly misleading himself, not this House because he ought to know that the Office of the Speaker is higher than that of the Chief Justice, he ought to know that; if he does not know that, let him know that today and now.
Madam Speaker noon
Well, Hon Members, let us finish with this. I thought after he had resumed his seat -- your point came after he had resumed his seat, so next time make a lot of noise so that before he sits down, we can ask him what he meant. Since he had already resumed his seat -- I did not really know whether what he meant was to attack this Government, so I cannot call him now. I would not want to recall him. So we shall drop the matter. Yes.
Minister for the Interior (Mr. Cletus Avoka) 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I wish to commend my Hon Colleague, the Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports for making this Statement. I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by him about the achievement of the team and the technical bench. I congratulate the team, the management of the team, the technical bench, supporters and fans, the Government and the good people of this country for the support we gave to the team.
Madam Speaker, I am a football fan and even though in matches, I would want my team to emerge victorious, I am normally particularly interested in the trend of the game, such that any time that my
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, I know the Hon Member for Zebilla who also is the Hon Minister for the Interior. Madam Speaker, he is also in charge of national security. Madam Speaker, I know my Colleague brings a lot of commitment and passion to any endeavour that he embarks on but to describe himself as a football fanatic because it is the short form of fanatic. [Laughter.] That he is a “football fanatic”, somebody who is committed to something unreasonably, that is the meaning of a fanatic.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Honourable, “fan”,
is not the short form of “fanatic fan”; is it not the same thing?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Yes, the
meaning, “fanatic”.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
All right, let us
hear what he means by “fanatic”; Hon Minister.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Speaker, if he wants to salvage himself by withdrawing, we will allow him but seriously, a fanatic cannot be in charge of our national security. A fanatic cannot be in charge of the Ministry of the Interior. Madam Speaker, if he is a fanatic, he is a danger to himself, he is a danger to this House, he is a danger to the Ministry and indeed, a danger to the national security where he is supposed to be in charge.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Minister, I
think you should withdraw the “fanatic”, use “fan” then.
Mr. Avoka 12:10 p.m.
There is a difference
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
A “fanatic” is
always causing people to worry about what they would do next. So I do not think you should be a “fanatic” but a fan, as a -- Minister. So I think you should withdraw the word “fanatic”. It only happens because you are a Minister for the Interior. Let us hear the Leader.
Mr. Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my
Colleague, the Minority Leader has succeeded in creating fun. Is that being fanatical? There is a great difference between “fan” and “fanatic”. There is a great difference. A world of difference of being a fan. A fan is not the same as fanatic, no, not at all.
“Fan” here is somebody who enjoys what is done. I am a football fan; it is not the same as a “football fanatic”. It is not. Completely different. “Fanatic” goes with fundamentalism. That is the definition that you gave, unreasonable, you are not reasoning again, you go beyond reason, that is fanatic and that is fundamentalism. There is a world of difference.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
What did the
Minister say? “Fanatic” or “fan”?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
He said
he is a football fan. Madam Speaker, football fan, the spelling of “fan” is “f-a-n”. Madam Speaker, “fundamental” is spelled with “fun”. I thought this was very elementary and the Hon Majority Leader ought not to have got himself involved in this at all. I thought he should know better.
Madam Speaker, clearly and without doubt and without any equivocation, “fan” is the short form of “fanatic”, he should get that straight and he should not engage in any verbal gymnastics. He should not go there at all; he should not, and get himself lost in the labyrinth. Madam Speaker, this is a lost cause for him, the Majority Leader, he should not endeavour to make any progress at all. This effort should not have any procreation.
He is a danger to himself and he is a danger to this Parliament. And Madam Speaker, this is not “fun” as he said. He said I succeeded in creating fun. That one is “fun” and he was talking about “fan” and indeed, Madam Speaker, I brought all seriousness to bear on the description that the Hon Minister gave to himself.
I was very serious about that and the Hon Majority Leader should not attempt whatsoever to make any importation, any extraneous importation into what I said. He should understand and know better.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, are you a fan or a fanatic of football yourself? I know you like football very much.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am an enthusiast, I am a passionate and I support football with passion, not unreasonably. I am not a fan; I cannot be a fan. I cannot be a fan.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
You are not a fan?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
I cannot
be a fan.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
I thought you were
a football fan?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
Speaker, not at all. Far be it from me, I am not a fan.
Mr. Bagbin 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it
is important for us to point out to the Minority Leader that he should not always end up confusing himself. He does not impress anybody by the use of words that do not actually convey meaning. Yes. All that he has said, he has just succeeded in confusing himself.
I simply raised the issue of “fun” to show that he made us laugh, it is a comic relief. My reference there was not talking about the “fan” and he cannot use that to try to undermine my understanding of English, no. I have a degree in English. [Hear! Hear!] So it is important even when he is talking in the House not to attack personalities, we do not do that here. He tries to belittle the minds of people, it is unfair, it is not reasonable, we do not do that. This is Parliament, we talk on issues.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:10 p.m.
Speaker, on this occasion, I will urge the Majority and Minority Leaders to lead this House. All these altercations do not advance the business of this House and please, let the Leadership always remember that they show the way and we follow.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you,
Honourable. Now, let us get on to -- Hon Minister, can you continue?
Mr. Avoka 12:10 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
intended to say that I am a football enthusiast. I am a football follower and I commit myself to the game when they are playing it. That is why I am saying that, I am not only just interested in the end result of the game but I normally want to follow the trend of the game such that when they are playing football and I am watching it, my concentration is such that I do not
even take telephone calls or take a meal -- or listen to anybody; I want to take the game minute by minute so that I can give an account to it and satisfy myself. This is what I was trying to say, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, aga ins t th i s
Madam Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, are you rising on a point of order?
Mr. Joe Ghartey 12:20 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for recognizing me. There are two matters of quick concern that I just want to refer to. The first one is that I heard him say at first that, he is an enthusiast of Liverpool Football Club. Now, Madam Speaker, it is of great concern to me because I used to be the Chairman of Sekondi Eleven Wise and indeed, what has happened in this country is that, increasingly, we are abandoning our local games.
The stadiums are empty. I think that as leaders, we should restrain our lives -- maybe, we have a local team as well. So maybe, say you are a fan of Real Tamale United (RTU), Accra Hearts of Oak or Kotoko before you say the Liverpool that is because Madam Speaker, it is important -- we are leading the youth and if we come here and talk about Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, in the Parliament of Ghana, when we have Accra Hearts of Oak, Berekum Chelsea and Arsenal, it is very serious.
Madam Speaker, the second point is that my Hon Colleague said a minute ago
that when he is watching football he does not even take a telephone call. I beg him, he is the Hon Minister for the Interior -- [Laughter] -- national security -- I am on my knees -- [Laughter] -- because if they call him that a Ministry or Parliament is burning and he is watching football, he would not take the call -- [Laughter] -- I beg him, I am on my knees, I beg him.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister for the Interior, be careful. That is why I am very careful when I call the Ministers. Carry on. We expect much more than a Member of Parliament (MP) from you.
Mr. Avoka 12:20 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. I take note of what my Colleague and the former Attorney-General has said. I have nothing to add or to subtract from it - [Laughter.] I will leave it there.
Madam Speaker, on a more serious note, I was saying that the tournament that we watched was in many particulars a departure from some of the previous tournaments that we had watched in Ghanaian teams. I am saying so against the backdrop of the skill, the flair, the professional commitment, et cetera of the team.
Madam Speaker, I am raising these issues to guide us so that we will be able to conquer the world in 2010 when we go to South Africa. I am raising these issues so that our coaches, players and the rest of them will guard themselves and let us go through the anxiety that we went through during the last tournament. Hon Colleagues will recall that in some matches we were on tenterhooks . Our match with Uruguay, we were leading two goals to nil and at the end of the day, we were struggling to maintain a draw.
Our match with South Africa, we were only happy for the referee to blow the whistle and then our match with Brazil, we all know what happened.
So I want to encourage our team to exhibit flair, commitment, dexterity so that even at the end of the day if we do not win the tournament, we will be satisfied that our team did very very well. Even though we won the Cup, I think that there is a lot to learn from Egypt so that we guard ourselves in the future.
Madam Speaker, I am saying so because of the fact that if you look at the whole tournament, the discipline is something we must address as a country. One, there were many yellow cards; two, there were two red cards, and more importantly, there was a red card in the last final match that we played and that red card came during the first half of the match. In fact, but for our resilience, to play ten men against eleven for about 90 minutes because he got the red card around the 35th or 38th minute and after 90 minutes, they went extra 30 minutes.
So we played 90 minutes with ten men as against eleven and that was a big task to the rest of the ten men on the field. The one who got the red card had put the rest of them under pressure, he had put the country under pressure and then we thank ourselves and God that we won the Cup.
So my point of contribution is that yes, we won the Cup but we must exhibit more professionalism and discipline on the pitch of play. If we are professionally disciplined, we would have reduced the number of yellow cards that we got. If we were disciplined on the field, we did not need to concede a red card during the first half of a final match. If you did so, you could easily lose the match not because you are not good but because you are numerically disadvantaged.
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 12:20 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to also support the Statement made by the Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports. Madam Speaker. I even thought yesterday which was the first time on resuming, we were going to talk about this but unfortunately, I thought the Chairman was biding his time for a more propitious time which in his view is today.
This Statement is a good one and it seeks to commend not only the technical people but the players and the Government for the support that they gave but also for the supporters and all people who prayed for the success of the team.
Madam Speaker, I think it is a very
good Statement and the maker should be commended. We should commend the players in particular for the quality of play. The passion of commitment, the tactical disposition of the team, the technical competence of the coaching staff and the resilience of the team as a collective.
My Hon Colleague who just spoke referred to the red cards and yellow cards that the players suffered. I believe honestly that the red card that was shown the Ghanaian player in the final play was indeed unmerited. It had no merit at all because the player who committed the offence, one, was not the last defender.
The person who had the ball was not in any scoring position. So even if the offence was observed by the referee and a card had to be shown, definitely, it could not have gone beyond a yellow card or a caution. Madam Speaker, I am indeed, clear in my mind that the referee was wrong in the decision that he made. However, he was the referee and he had the final say and that is not in any way to say that the player was wrong. Not at all.
But of course, the referee had the final decision and so his decision must be respected as indeed it was respected. Many coaches would have really revolted but our coach was really calm, which is why after the event, he was even commended for the tolerance that he showed because reviews of the play indicated that the referee was wrong.
Madam Speaker, I think that I cannot really agree with the position that the Government has taken on this by setting up a committee to determine the final package for the players. Madam Speaker, we have seen this before. In l978, when the Black Stars won the Nation's Cup which was hosted by Ghana at that time the Government at the time said that they were going to set up a committee to
determine the final package and the Head of State at the time said it could include the possibility of giving them estate houses.
Madam Speaker, it took more than 8 years to redeem this pledge by the PNDC and indeed, when it came to redeeming the pledge, they were given pieces of wax prints instead of the houses that were promised. No wonder between that time and the advent of Bukhard Ziese, this nation never qualified to participate in a nation's cup.
Mr. Avoka 12:30 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I did not hear my Hon Colleague and Minority Leader very well. He said that at the 1978 victory, he mentioned about the advent of something we have not done well again. Can I get that clear so that we can appreciate his argument?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Speaker, I said until the advent of Burkhard Ziese, the coach, we were struggling to qualify. Of course, after that victory, we needed to defend the cup which was what happened in Nigeria and we lost to Algeria and then subsequent to that, the Bouake disaster. After that, we never qualified; that is the point I am making. I believe if we listened to the players at the time - Adolf
Armah, Opoku Afriyie, Willie Klutse who played -- they told us that the nation should fulfil their pledge to them and the PNDC came to redeem the pledge.
But in those difficult years, we gave them half pieces of wax print each as compared to the estate houses that had been promised. I am saying that it is important that we recognise this historical antecedent, given the fact that the Nation's Cup is coming and the World Cup is also following and some of these players are going to be there, whether anybody likes it or not.
So if we set the records straight as far as these players are concerned, and of course, their consciences will be clear, they will know that they have to, maybe, put in extra commitment to win laurels for this country.
Madam Speaker, with the display of the
players, one expects that there will be that natural progression from the Satellites to the senior squad and then that will really enhance our game play. Unfortunately, over the years that has not been the trend.
We have had instances when in this country players have played for the Under- 17 squad, players who might have finished sixth form about six, eight years earlier, whom might be playing at the zenith of their career and therefore, naturally could not progress. We would be deceiving ourselves by this.
Madam Speaker, I know of an African
country which fielded a player for the Under-21; they placed second at the world stage, but the player got lost out three, four years after the event. I was a passionate follower of that particular player because he exhibited tremendous qualities and only to know that at the time that country was fielding him for the Under- 21, the man was already an Inspector of Police in the
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.

country's Police Service.

That cannot help the development of football in any country in Africa. If there are any such materials in our team, let them peel them off and use those of them who have the capacity to grow both in age and in their abilities in the game play and they will progress to enrich our play at the senior level.

Madam Speaker, we should express

appreciation and gratitude not only to Government but all other benefactors who also contributed in their own way to resource the team. Those of them who prayed, and Hon Members of Parliament who would not pick up their telephones when the players were playing. They were also passionate. Who knows, maybe, they affected the play of the boys on the field, they knowing that they had people back in Ghana who were so passionate about their own game play.

Madam Speaker, let us congratulate the

players once again. Let us congratulate the technical bench once again and also not forget that when we come to rewarding the players, we should not forget the position of the management of the team. They also deserve con-gratulations. If we had lost out, they would have been the first to be attacked.

The team manager and the head coach would have been the first to be attacked. Now everybody is talking about compensating the team and we seem not so much to be talking about the coach and the other people in the management team. Let us include all of them, reward them adequately so that the others would also be inspired.

Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Minority Leader, except you have said
so, I would have thought you were a fan yourself.
Mr. Bagbin 12:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think
that it is proper we thank everybody for the contributions towards the success at the games, and I am happy that the Hon Minority Leader unlike Hon Asiamah also thanked the Government. We all know that from that antecedent, experience is the best teacher.
It is not proper to always promise when you are not sure of delivery. Therefore, the promise in 1978 which was redeemed by another government, the PNDC, is something that is there to guide all of us. And we know the best way to go is always to hasten slowly. Again, we know the wheel of justice grinds slowly but surely it will get there. So it is not bad to be guided by experience; it is not bad to disagree with instant justice and then try as much as possible, within the circumstances of the time, to do what is just and I think that is what the Government is doing.
We thank everybody and I think it is
proper for this House to really officially communicate our congratulations to the Black Satellites, the management team and the Ministry for a yeoman's job. We should not just end it here by only making the Statement but we should communicate that to them. I think that can inspire and motivate them to do more for the country.
Thank you very much for this opportunity.
Madam Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Hon Leader. I think on this occasion, it is fitting that I add my voice in congratulating the Black Satellites for their sterling performance in the World Cup Tournament. Indeed, they have made Ghana and Africa proud, being the first African country to have won the tournament at the Under-20 level. Their performance is undoubtedly a demonstration of the fact that with determination and perseverance, any set
goal in life is achievable.
On the night of our success, it was forcefully brought home to me after hearing the loud joyful cries of all Ghanaians, that indeed, we are one people. It is hoped that Ghanaians as a whole would emulate the character exhibited by these young heroes by putting every effort to further the development of this nation together.
Once again, I say ayekoo and I think I would accept the recommendation that we write officially to congratulate the young ones for their successes and we wish them more successes in the future.
Thank you.
Leader, we have got to Commencement of Public Business, any indications?
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker - [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, I think that we should give an opportunity to the committees to continue to sit. We have a number of outstanding matters and we want to finish them before we move to the stage of the Budget. When we get to the Budget, we will scarcely have time for these other outstanding matters. So we would want to urge Hon Members to allow us take an adjournment till tomorrow so that the committees can meet to continue with the business.
I beg to move, that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 a.m. when we reconvene to continue with business.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
The motion has been moved and the next step is that we second it, are you seconding the motion?
I was going to ask the Minority Leader to second it. Is your Leader going to ask you to second the motion? [Pause.] Yes, Hon Minority Leader, can you second the motion?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I really do not know what my Hon Colleague is going to say. I do not know whether -- otherwise, I would second it.
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
No, I have called upon you to second the motion.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
All right. Madam Speaker, just before seconding the motion, let me recall that the Majority Leader referred to the business that talks about the Budget, that we may be expecting in the House anytime soon. Just this morning, we were discussing the date when it may be coming, whether the 12th or the 19th and we were saying that it should indeed come on the 12th.
Madam Speaker, if it would come on the 12th, then between now and 12th, we really have about, I think eight Sitting days -- 12th will be two weeks from tomorrow. So we have about eight Sitting days.
Madam Speaker, I noticed that we have six Questions listed for tomorrow. The draft agenda that was given to me last night indicates to me that there are about 300 Questions outstanding. If indeed, we have 300 Questions and we have just eight days and given the circumstances that we are going to be ushered into, I believe that when we come to discussing the Budget, we may have little space for Questions.
We may have to deal with the Budget in a space of about two/three weeks. That being the case, it would be suicidal to allow for Questions. In that case, we need really to have some understanding about
Madam Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Will they be satisfied? Because after an hour the rest would not be taken on the floor. That is why we list a few Questions at a time. If you say ten Questions, then if we take three Questions and exhaust the time, we defer the rest and the written reply is given. But think about that. List them, if you think we need to just list them.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
Madam Speaker, this is why I said maybe, we need to do some engineering. I believe that with some consultations, we can know how to get this sorted out.
Having said that, Madam Speaker, I think the issue really is the motion on the floor. After this, I would beg to second the motion.
The request that was made, I believe, has been taken into consideration and of course, the Chairman said that maybe, the Cup has to be presented to Madam Speaker who would receive it on behalf of Parliament so that at least, we would all take glory in what has been achieved by the team.
Madam Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:40 p.m.