Debates of 2 Dec 2009

PRAYERS 11:05 a.m.


Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Members, we commence Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.
We are on Votes and Proceedings dated Tuesday, 1st December, 2009. Pages 1
- 9 --
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Are you on page 9?
Mrs. Kusi 11:05 a.m.
Yes, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
I thought paragraph
4 was “Closing”. Page 9?
Mrs. Kusi 11:05 a.m.
After paragraph 4, the
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
“Holding” ?
Mrs. Kusi 11:05 a.m.
The spelling is wrong.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
All right, holding is
wrongly spelt. Thank you.
Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan 11:05 a.m.
Speaker, item 2, under “Attendance” v, the name is not “Abdul Raul-Tanko”. It is rather” Abdul-Rauf Tanko”; it is an “f” not an “I”.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Is it page 8 or 9?
Dr. Alhassan 11:05 a.m.
Page 9, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Hon Abdul-Raul
Tanko, is it wrong?
Dr. Alhassan 11:05 a.m.
Abdul-Rauf Tanko and
not Abdul Raul-Tanko.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Pages 10, 11, 12?
Hon Members , the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 1st December 2009 as corrected is adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Can we move to the Official Report dated Tuesday, 24th November 2009. Any corrections?
Hon Members, in the absence of any corrections, the Official Report of Tuesday, 24th November, 2009 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement. The Statement stands in the name of Hon Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan.
STATEMENTS 11:15 a.m.

Dr. A. Y. Alhassan (NDC -- Mion) 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, Friday, 4th of December, 2009 comes as the National Farmers' Day. I rise to speak on this important annual event set aside to celebrate the efforts of our gallant farmers and fisherfolks.
The National Farmers' Day is a very important event in the annals of our agrucultural history for the reason that, we as a nation have come to the realization that our development must be agriculture-led, since this is a sector that stands as the largest employment sector, foreign exchange earner and the highest contributor to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The first Friday of every December has therefore, been set aside to honour our hardworking farmers and fisherfolks
for their efforts in sustaining this very important sector. It is also to reward the farmers and fisherfolks who have distinguished themselves by working closely with the research and agricultural officers and utilized improved technologies to achieve commendable productivity.
Madam Speaker, the National Planning Committee has selected Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital as the venue for the celebration of this year's National Farmers' Day. The last time the Northern Region hosted the Farmers' Day was 21 years ago at Nyankpala. The chiefs and people of this region are therefore, grateful to be given the chance to host the Silver Jubilee version of the celebrations and showcase the best of the region. I wish to invite all Hon Members to join us at Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital on Friday, 4th December, 2009 for the climax of the celebration.
Madam Speaker, the theme for this year's celebration is “Accelerated Agricultural Modernization for Food Security and Economic Transformation”. The focus is on making farming scientific and very attractive, especially to our youth. No doubt, modernizing agriculture is a sure way of maximizing our land use system and achieving high productivity and growth in the economy.
While we as a people celebrate this event with all the pomp and pageantry that it deserves, there are, few issues that in my opinion, need to be taken on board for future programmes. Twenty-five years since the inception of the National Farmers' Day, the time has come for a review of the award scheme to include permanent training schemes of all award winners in agricultural training institu- tions. Knowledge acquired in practical agricultural technology skills will equip
them as trainers for other farmers in their various communities. This should further complement the efforts of our hard-working agricultural extension staff in technology transfer at the farm level.
Madam Speaker, I also wish to recommend that serious consideration should be given to the establishment of a multi-purpose agricultural technology village to serve as a centre of excellence where our farmers and people in the agricultural sector can acquire practical knowledge and skills in modern and improved methods in the industry for enhanced growth and productivity.
Previous governments and the current one all need to be commended for making various interventions available to farmers, who also rose to the challenge and contributed to the abundance we have today. There are still challenges, though farmers need easy access to long-term favourable credit facilities, ready markets, easy access to agricultural machinery (small-scale and large-scale), across board subsidization of farming inputs and access to extension services among others.
These challenges could only be overcome by more investment in the agricultural sector. For sustainable agricultural funding, Government should facilitate the passage of the Agricultural Development Fund Bill. This will guarantee a permanent solution to the problem of credit availability and access to our farmers and agri-business in general.
On this note, I wish to call on Hon Members, and indeed, the entire nation to congratulate and salute our gallant farmers and fisherfolks for their hard work and commitment to addressing the food security, raw material needs and export earnings of the country.
Madam Speaker, I wish to end my
Mrs. Frema Akosu Osei-Opare (NPP -- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement and also congratulate our hardworking farmers, particularly women farmers who contribute over 60 per cent of the labour that is used in production and post harvest activities.
Madam Speaker, if we are to think of food security, then it is clear that there needs to be an agricultural revolution in this country. We have had various attempts by successive Governments in trying to boost up the productivity of our farmers. But by and large, as of today, we do have majority of the farming methods as subsistence type of farming. It has not transformed from just feeding the family into a full- fledged agricultural business whereby people can really make serious profits.
So I believe that this time, we must take food security beyond just producing at a level for the family towards producing to feed the nation and having surplus for the buffer stock that is being proposed even in the Budget.
The few things I would like to suggest in contributing to this is to look at the role of extension; we have seen over the years a
Mrs. Frema Akosu Osei-Opare (NPP -- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 11:25 a.m.
I think the nation needs to come to terms with the realities of our time and begin to adopt a more sustainable extension system that would really reach out to the teeming farmers so that they can really benefit from the knowledge of research and therefore, transform their farming existence in order to boost production. I also want us to look very much at supporting farmers not only in production but throughout the chain, so that we will put in technology which will then help in storage, processing and marketing.
Sometime ago, efforts like this were started in Ghana. I recall my time as a lecturer at the University of Ghana, where we made a lot of effort in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to make sure that when things were produced, they were stored properly and processed into different forms that will then extend the shelf life, give more income to the farmers and ensure that the nation really had food security.
I want to say that while we are looking at an integrated way of supporting agriculture, we must look at the factors that really promote it. And in this call, I believe that the whole land tenure, where people just have some quarter of an acre, cannot really do the trick. We must be looking at either block farming, co-oporative approach and not just one family member having a small piece of land to just till and get something to eat, but rather coming together to really produce particular crops in such quantities that it can actually feed into the chain with processing factories and so on.

We can have a processing factory like Pwalugu Tomato Factory whereby any

type of tomato would go in. We need a specific type of tomato; we need a cultural practice that determines exactly when that should be harvested; but most importantly, we need the bulk and consistent production so that we will reach the goal that we want. So in commending the Hon Member who made the Statement, let us not just congratulate the farmer, but let us put in pragmatic measures that would really transform agriculture in this county so that the benefit of farming would be fully realized in our time.

I thank you, Madam Speaker, for the

opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Juaboso) 11:25 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs on the celebration of the 25th National Farmers' Day.
Madam Speaker, we all know that
agriculture is the lifeblood of Ghana's economy. It has been said, Madam Speaker, that over 60 per cent of Ghana's population is into agricultural activities. This means that, as a country, if we are able to show interest in developing the agricultural sector, we would get most of our youth who are unemployed into active employment, so that most of these social cankers would be solved.
Madam Speaker, as we celebrate the 25th National Farmers' Day, as a country, we all know that in the rural areas, where most of these farming activities take place, most of these farmers live in very deplorable situations or conditions. If we talk about their roads, we would find out that they are in a very bad state. It is in this light that I commend the Ghana COCOBOD for introducing rehabilitation
Mr. Joe Ghartey 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
Mr. Ahi 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I will not
mind him. [Laughter.] I said Government of NDC -- [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, this year, when the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning brought the mid- year review of the 2009 Budget, it was stated categorically that US$10 million had been voted to ensure that youth in this country are motivated and encouraged to go into agriculture. I want to urge the Government to ensure that this amount is used effectively to draw most of our youth who are walking around without doing anything, into agricultural activities.
Madam Speaker, last year alone, it was said that as a country, we imported over US$600 million worth of rice, which means that if we focus on local production of rice, we would create a lot of employment for our youth.
Mr. Ahi 11:25 a.m.
It is in this light that I want to commend the Government of NDC for reintroducing the tariff on importation of rice. This would encourage local rice producers to go into producing rice so that we can -- Whereas we would be offering employment to our youth, the economy also would be in very good shape. It has been said that any country which does not take manufacturing or production seriously would not have a good economy.
If we continue to import rice from outside, we are only trying to help to build somebody else's economy at the expense of Ghana's economy. So I think that this effort put in by the Government must be supported by all so that this important idea, suggestion and policy would be realized.
Madam Speaker, before I sit down, let
me draw small on the cocoa issue. Madam Speaker, as we celebrate the 25th Farmers' Day, I want to commend all cocoa farmers, and advise that -- We know that this Government is making an effort to ensure that they are rewarded excellently by their effort. If cocoa farmers are aware that this year alone, the Government has increased the cocoa price by 35 per cent over the previous cocoa price, then this should be a signal to all cocoa farmers that next year Government would pay more than 35 per cent to ensure that they do not labour in vain.

‘Mr. Joe Baidoe-Ansah: On a point of

order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor just said that Government has increased more than 35 per cent and I am wondering what it is; saying 35 per cent, of what?
Mr. Ahi 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, what I said
was that last year, a bag of cocoa was sold at ¢1,020,000 and this year, it is sold at ¢1,380,000. So by simple arithmetic, it has been increased by 35 per cent over the previous year's price. That is what I mean.
So Madam Speaker, before I conclude, I want to also congratulate all our gallant farmers and urge them on to do more because without them all of us sitting down here would not be here, because if we do not eat, we cannot work.
Mr. E. A. Debrah (NPP -- Tano North) 11:35 a.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for this opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Mion (Dr. Yakubu Alhassan) who is also the Chairman of the Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs.
Madam Speaker, that the farmers
are the backbone of this economy and therefore, the lifeblood of Ghana cannot be overemphasized. It is, therefore, commendable that previous Governments and the current Government have decided to set up a day to honour farmers of this country.
It is worthy of note that the first time that a farmer was awarded, he was given a cutlass, a pre-set radio and a pair of wellington boots. That was what the best farmer got for the first time. We have moved so much to the extent that the best farmer now gets a fully furnished house and that is quite commendable.
Madam Speaker, but as the Hon
Chairman said, there are a lot of challenges facing farmers in this country. In fact, the
farmer's work is so hazardous; he has to contend with not only rains, but the snakes and pests, and other creatures that trouble the farmer, yet his condition is not seriously looked at. People talk about roads for the farmer and they always talk about the feeder roads. In my opinion, the roads that the farmer actually needs are the farm tracks, and the farm roads that take the farmer from his village to his farm.
That is the road that he needs to bring his produce from the farm yet in the whole set-up, we do not have any institution taking care of farm tracks, and farm roads. Government takes care of feeder roads and farm tracks, and farm roads are not included under the feeder roads scheme. I think while we move on to honour farmers and to show appreciation to them we must look at the plight of the farmer, and look at how the farmer operates and see that we support him/her through the challenges that he/she faces.
A second challenge that a farmer faces is market for his produce. Madam Speaker, when we talk about market, we are not only looking for a buyer but a buyer who pays a good price that covers the cost incurred by the farmer, plus another amount of money as profit.
A lot of times we see farmers' produce go waste because they cannot get a buyer who will buy at a good price. This is the more reason why I believe that the Government which is the sole purchaser of cocoa farmers' produce, must pay a reasonably good price for the produce.
Madam Speaker, when my Hon Friend
from Juaboso (Mr. Sampson Ahi) was speaking, he said this year, Government had paid 35 per cent over the price that was paid to the farmer last year. The price
Mr. Sampson Ahi 11:35 a.m.

Alhaj i Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka -- rose --
Mr. Debrah 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, to halt this smuggling which is going on in articulated truck loads, in canoes and by head loads, we need to give a good producer price to the farmer -- [Hear! Hear!] And Madam Speaker, I, therefore, reiterate the stand that I took three days ago, that Government must immediately review upwards the cocoa producer price to the farmers of this country so that we can halt the smuggling which is “haemorrhaging” the economy of this country.
Madam Speaker, this is not about precedence. In the year 2007, Government fixed the cocoa price first at GH¢950,000 per tonne. Later when the Government realized that the world price had gone up it revised the producer price and moved it to GH¢1,020 per bag. So trying to raise the producer price upwards, in view of the current trend on the world market, is not new. It has been done before and I urge the Government to do that.
Having said that, Madam Speaker, I
want to join the Hon Chairman to call on this House to say a big Ayekoo to our farmers for the enormous work they have done for this country in the past and today.
Madam Speaker, with that I thank you.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Thank you. Is
some-body making a contribution on this side?
rose rose
Mr. Jabanyite 11:35 a.m.
Thank you, Madam
Speaker -- [Interruption] [Some Hon Members: “The Minister.”]
Madam Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Oh! I meant the
Minister, but we will come back to you. Let us hear the Hon Minister.
Minister for Transport (Mr. M. A.
Hammah): Madam Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement on the floor, and by so doing, congratulate the organizers of this year's Farmers' Day upon their hard work and commitment and also the gallant farmers and fisherfolks whose toil over the years has contributed to the development of this nation.
Madam Speaker, it is an undeniable fact that our economy is basically an agrarian one, and agriculture is the backbone of this economy. Statistics indicate that agriculture is the largest contributor to the GDP -- agriculture is the source of income to many of our people, our people who live in the rural areas; agriculture is the source of foreign exchange; agriculture is the source of employment, and more importantly, agriculture is a source of food security. Madam Speaker, it stands to reason that if we want to accelerate our economic development, we need to focus and concentrate on agricultural production.
Madam Speaker, once we are able to improve on production on all types of agriculture -- livestock, fishing, cocoa -- As we improve on the volume of agricultural produce, we would be
contributing to the development of this country, because we have large quantities of agricultural projects which should be ready and then we would be transporting.
As we transport them, we would be strengthening the services sector. As we also add value to the agricultural produce, we would also be strengthening the industrial sector. So simply by concentrating and improving on all types of agriculture, we would be fostering and strengthening linkages in all the broad sectors of the economy, namely, agriculture, industry and services.
Madam Speaker, as we celebrate the Farmers' Day, I think it is about time that we brought some of the problems that confront the farmers to the fore; and here, I would want to name just a few of them. I am sure my Hon Colleagues have spoken largely on most of them but some of them are quite critical. And as we celebrate this important day, we must bring them to the fore.
One has to do with the land tenure system. Madam Speaker, we have competing demands for the use of land, that is why I am a strong advocate of a comprehensive land use pattern. We have to have a comprehensive -- or develop a framework for land use in this country because we have competing demands for the use of land. We need land for roads, we need land for transportation, we need land for housing and we also need land for agriculture. These are all competing demands. How do we balance the land use in such a way that it would lead to a more sustainable economic development?
Madam Speaker, the second problem I want to talk about is post-harvest losses, which has been the bane of most of our farmers and fisherfolks. Madam Speaker, you would be surprised that when farm gate prices are declining, market prices increase and the reason is that most of our
farmers, those of them who live in the rural areas, because they do not have any means to store their crops and their produce, the queen mothers from Accra go to the farms, and the farmers are compelled to sell these foodstuffs at very reduced prices, because when they take them home, they have no means of storing them.

Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is also talking about marketing which is one of the challenges that confront our farmers and fisherfolks.

In talking about marketing we talk about roads, because most of the roads that link the farming communities are in very deplorable state. Madam Speaker, it is important that we improve upon the road network, so that at least, it would also improve on marketing of these farm produce. Otherwise, Madam Speaker, we would have a situation where these farmers cannot get their produce onto the markets, and in this case, it also discourages them because it cost them so much energy and money to farm and produce and if they cannot get them into the marketing centres, they only lose whatever investments they have put in.

Madam Speaker, this is why I am happy that in this year's Budget, if you look at the sector for the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Government has voted so much money for improving all the feeder roads. The idea is that Government knows very well that our inflation is food-indexed; the food component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is almost close to 60 per cent and Government recognises that.

The biggest challenge to us in increasing food prices, is the vehicle operation cost, because of the poor nature of the roads.

So once Government can tackle these roads and improve on the road surfacing of most of these feeder roads, we would be able to get these foodstuffs to the market at very reasonable prices. That would help to reduce the inflation which ultimately would also improve on our microeconomic environment.

Madam Speaker, after all, inflation is the greatest enemy to the sustenance of microeconomic stability. If inflation pushes up interest rate, it reduces private investment, it causes agitation for more wages; and more importantly, it discourages savings. So even producing food and making sure that we can reduce the price of foodstuffs that land on the market, we would be tackling the problem of inflation. Once we do that, we would be able to strengthen the microeconomic environment.

Madam Speaker, let me also say that by strengthening the microeconomic environment, we would also create the enabling environment that would allow the free flow of foreign direct investment; people would want to come to Ghana because of you and me, they would want to come to Ghana when the environment is quite all right, when the micro economic environment is right, when they know they would have a reasonable return on their investment.

So by tackling food, we can link it to an improved microeconomic situation that would also reduce a lot of demand for investors to flow into the country to help improve on our economy.

Madam Speaker, I would want to also

use this opportunity to commend the Government of the NDC for the disquiet, focused and well-organised interventions that we have in the Budget, because as I look into the Budget -- [Interruptions] -- I am talking about it; if you look into the Budget and at the agricultural sector, Madam Speaker, the interventions
Madam Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Talk about the Statement now; comment on the State- ment.
Mr. Hammah 11:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am commenting on it. So if you look at the Government's focus on -- If you look at the Government's interventions, as far as agriculture is concerned, they are quite commendable. I believe that once we are able to implement that -- [Interruptions] -- we would be able to improve on agriculture and ultimately, it would lead to a more sustained and accelerated economic growth.
Madam Speaker, on this note I want to salute the gallant farmers and fisherfolk for whose toil and sweat that this country has come this far.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Thank you Hon Member.
Mr. David Oppon-Kusi (NPP - Ofoase/Ayirebi) 11:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement on the floor.
Madam Speaker, on Friday, all of us, even those who have very little to do with farming are going to enjoy a holiday on behalf of the farmers, or even more appropriately, at the expense of farmers. Farmers in Ofoase/Ayirebi, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of a holiday. And I can say with certainty that about 70 per cent of them would still go to their farms.
It is my hope that we use these Farmers' Day to address specific issues that would help farmers to modernise their farming. Governments, day in and day out talk about modernising agriculture. Madam Speaker, modernising agriculture goes beyond providing tractors, combined harvesters and inputs like fertilizers. If
Mr. Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite(NDC -- Chereponi) 11:45 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the maker of the Statement on this august occasion.
We all agree that agriculture is, indeed, the backbone of this economy. Past Governments and the current Government and all actors in the supply chain have done their best to improve agriculture.
But much leaves to be desired and I believe that the problems of agriculture that span from lack of credit to farmers, lack of inputs, lack of good roads and all these things can be overcome if these measures are taken into consideration. It is high time that Ghana as an agricultural country went into specialisation of agriculture.
Two, we should establish out-grower schemes and co-operative societies and also develop produce buying companies. There are best practices and they are not very far from us. Even here in Ghana, I can mention a company that is known as Savannah Agricultural Farmers Company. This company has support from ECO in The Netherlands and also from the Association of Church Development Organization (ASDEV).
Mr. Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite(NDC -- Chereponi) 11:55 a.m.
What this company does is that, it liaises with farmers, then it aggregates the goods of farmers; it is able to aggregate these goods, sell them in large quantities. What this means is that, in commodity business, price is determined by volume, so if you aggregate a farmer's produce and you sell it in a bigger volume, the likelihood of you getting a market from the end consumer is very high.

But what we see here is that subsistent farming will continue to prevail because we do not specialize in the very crops that we produce. We do not also have middlemen who are the buying companies to buy these goods and also sell. So these problems will continue to be there if we do not change our practice. I think we can learn from what this smaller company is doing in the Northern Region and then if we incorporate it in the national agenda of this country, I think agriculture can be mechanized and it can really become a business.

Thank you Madam Speaker.

Mr. S. K. B. Manu (NPP -- Ahafo

Ano South): Madam Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made about Farmers' Day Celebration which is scheduled to take place on Friday, 4th December.

The importance of farming and farmers in the nation's development cannot be overemphasized. If we turn round in this country, from the days of our first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah -- the motorway, the harbour, the Prempeh colleges, the Achimota colleges and anything that is important in this country was built from the sweat and toil of the farmer, particularly the cocoa farmer. When I was a child, there was a song in this country and they said in the song:

“. . . whatever you do it was cocoa, if you buy cloth, cocoa, if you eat, cocoa. . .”
Mr. Asamoah Ofosu 11:55 a.m.
On a point
of order. Madam Speaker, I think my very good Friend and Hon Colleague is misleading this House and it is very dangerous, especially when we have pupils sitting in the gallery listening and taking away with them the debate we have here.
Prempeh College was not built by the farmers or sweat of anybody for that matter. It was built by the Asantehene. Achimota was built by the colonial government and not from the sweat of any cocoa farmer as he wants us to believe. [Laughter.] So that when the children go back and they are having history lessons and -- [Interruptions] -- the colonial government was taking away gold and other things, slaves, timber -- what is he talking about? I think he may correct himself.
The diamond from my constituency, the gold from Obuasi and the timber from Juaboso, Sefwi Wiawso and all the others, are they for farmers? May he correct himself and edify all of us?
Thank you.
Mr. Manu 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, people must
rather be prepared to learn. [Hear! Hear!] Because if you talk about the colonial government, the colonial government did not bring money from Britain to build Achimota College. The Asantehene who built Prempeh College, built the college from the proceeds he had from the cocoa. [Interruptions.]
Yes, so people who sit here and do not know their own history must go and
learn their history. If they do not have the privilege of reading history books, they can learn from some of us who are living examples of history.
Prof. A. M. Oquaye 11:55 a.m.
On a point of
order. Madam Speaker, for the sake of putting the records straight, Prempeh College was built with land given by the Asantehene and a token sum of money donated but essentially, by the Presbyterian and Methodist churches of the Republic of Ghana.
Mr. Manu 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Presbyterian Church may have built the College -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Did you attend
Prempeh College?
Mr. Joe Ghartey 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I
did not attend Prempeh College but he did not add that Prempeh College was built from the human resources of Mfantsipim School, the school I attended. [Laughter.] Our Senior Housemaster and our Masters went to start that school, it is true.
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Honourables, I
Dr. M. O. Prempeh 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
I stand here representing Manhyia and I am a student of Prempeh College, an ex-student or former student and the grandson of the Asantehene and my name is Matthew Opoku Prempeh.
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Your name is Hon
Dr. Prempeh 11:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in
all seriousness, the statement made by Hon Balado should be understood in the context that the people of Ashanti, represented by the Asantehene, have survived all these years and luckily in the last hundred years, based upon proceeds of cocoa, so that is true. What he said did not mean that there was a cocoa money sitting in Manhyia that was directly used to build Prempeh College.
Madam Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Honourable, I only called upon you to tell me what money was used.
Mr. Manu 11:55 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would

All that I was saying is that at the time when all these things were done in Ghana, the backbone of the economy hinged solidly on cocoa. That is the essence of what I am adding and I am saying that over the years, governments have paid lip-service to farmers.
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Well, I appreciate the
Hon Member for Bantama because, in fact and indeed, cocoa farmers from my constituency have built a lot of mansions in Bantama and Manhyia -- [Laughter] -- and other suburbs in Kumasi, Asafo and others. So maybe, she wants me to acknowledge that the “ebusua” house, the family house that she is living in Bantama was built from cocoa proceeds -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Oh, yes, I recognize that,
Mr. Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Your time is running, so please, continue.
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, whenever
I get up, people get up and distract me -- [Laughter]-- and before I am aware my time is up. Next time, I will not take kindly to that -- [Laughter] -- Oh, yes, I mean it. [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Member, I
noticed that the people you are talking about are people from your side. The people, all of them; is it not a good thing that they like you very much?
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am not
talking to any individual, I am talking to those people who are in that bad habit of disrupting me -- [Laughter] -- I am serious about it. I am very serious about it, and they should not be surprised if next
time I get at somebody unparliamentarily.
Thank you -- [Laughter] --
Mr. Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose
-- 12:05 p.m.

Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Member, you
would be courting trouble. Yes, Hon Opare-Ansah.
Mr. Opare-Ansah 12:05 p.m.
On a point of
order. Madam Speaker, you are in charge of proceedings in this House and you preside. And it rests with you to grant audience to Hon Members as far as taking the floor is concerned. The Hon Member making his contribution to the Statement seems to be issuing some threat, and I do not know if this threat is directed at Madam Speaker, who by right can grant anybody the right to speak on the floor or whether he is bypassing the Chair and threatening Hon Members directly.
But I wish to register that it is unfair and it is unparliamentary. We would want to believe that he meant it in the lighter vein. But he should take it that we are not intimidated by it. And certainly, we are sure Madam Speaker is not intimidated by it.
The Hon Member should understand that the comments offend our Standing Orders. All the comments that came out were actually made in good faith. It is part of proceedings in Parliament; I am sure we have been going through quite a hectic time debating the Budget. The day after tomorrow is the Farmers' Day; we are preparing to have a holiday, and so, if in the contributions to the Statement, Hon Members use the opportunity to make some light comments, I do not think the Hon Member should take offence.
So my Hon Colleague, al l the statements, I believe, were friendly fire
coming from his own side of the House, so he should kindly take lightly to it. I do not believe that any Hon Member meant to disrupt his excellent contribution.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Balado Manu,
I hear you issued threats, I do not think so at all? But is it your side of Members of Parliament who made points of order because you cannot make threats here? So, may I ask, if you did, to withdraw, please. We do not want you to put fear in anybody.
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am glad
that your Speakership did not hear what I said as a threat -- [Interruption] --
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
To me.
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, yes; that
is what I said, it was not a threat to you, and if it is not a threat to you, it could not have been a threat to anybody -- [Laughter] -- What I am saying is this; whenever I get up to speak these days, getting the chance to speak is not easy -- [Laughter] -- oh, yes; Leadership sent names. And when I have that opportunity to speak and people disrupt me, and I end up saying nothing, I would have lost my chance, I should not take kindly to it. I must complain.
And people who do that must not take me for granted. [Some Hon Members: Eh!] -- I am saying this to let them know that I am not happy with what they do. Meanwhile, upon your -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speake r,
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Well, Hon Member,
he has withdrawn, there is no more fear or threats. Hon Balado Manu, in which case,
kindly wind up. You did not finish your contribution, wind up.
Mr. Manu 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in
winding up, having said nothing -- [Laughter] -- I will just say that we congratulate all farmers particularly those in Ahafo Ano South.
Madam Speaker, I thank you.
Alhaj i Mohammed-Mubarak
Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase): Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs.
Madam Speaker, in adding my voice to the Statement, I would want to draw the attention of Government to some basic things that I believe; we could do to enhance the Ghanaian farmer.
Madam Speaker, the issue of credit today is really one thing that is killing or really pushing our dear farmers to the wall.
Madam Speaker, all of us know the history of cocoa; cocoa has supported this country like many Hon Members have said. Cocoa, up to day, in this country, is not purchased with the open market loan at the commercial rate, no. You will agree with me, year in and year out, we have a loan agreement coming to this House for Government to syndicate banks to help raise money to finance the purchases of cocoa.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:05 p.m.
Even the purchases of cocoa are being syndicated at an interest rate that is far lower than the commercial interest.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Hon Prempeh, I think Hon Members do not take too kindly to unnecessary -- [Interruption.]
Dr. Prempeh 12:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you. Hon Members should not take kindly to unnecessary interventions, but not when an Hon Member is misinforming the House. We were here last week when the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning produced a memorandum -- two weeks ago to the effect that the Trade Finance Facility COCOBOD enjoys is a loan agreement that does not come to Parliament.
Madam Speaker 12:05 p.m.
I never went to Ouagadougou; I want to correct that. [Uproar.]
Dr. Prempeh 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, so he should tell the House when COCOBOD's loan came to this House for us to ratify or agree.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker,
there are always waivers that are done with these moneys. And Madam Speaker, any time they have to go for those waivers, we as a Parliament get to know that Government is syndicating money for the purchases of cocoa. That is what I am trying to drive home.
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Honourable, try and
wind up. We have so much to do today. Time is up, try and wind up.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the syndication is at a lower interest rate. All I am saying is that, this arrangement should be put in place to assist the ordinary farmer because at the commercial rate, it is virtually impossible for our farmers to be able to produce to really make a living without running into losses. Madam Speaker, cocoa has a guarantee price. In a country where we are importing close to US$600 million worth of rice, we do not have a guarantee price for our rice farmers. It is the same with the maize producers.
Madam Speaker, in a year like this, when many of our Ghanaian farmers have gone into farming and produced so much rice and maize, we do not have a guarantee price. Madam Speaker, what is going to happen is that, the prices of these produce will nose-dive. It will go so low that it will be a disincentive for farmers next year to go in to produce. I will want to urge that we have so many companies in Ghana today, Madam Speaker, who import maize, well-dried maize and feed the poultry industry and then the breweries. I do not see why Government cannot intervene by making Ghanaian produce available on the market.
Cocoa is well produced in this country because everyone knows that once you have produced the cocoa, the issue of where to take it is not a problem. If we are able to get the breweries and the poultry farmers who are really interested in maize and Government can guarantee them the quantity and the tonnage that they require, then in turn organize the farmers and get these produce from them, dry them very well, I believe, it will do our innocent farmers a lot of good and it will help.
Madam Speaker, lastly, before I take
my seat, it is the issue of tariffs. Yes, I commend Government very well in this year's Budget for saying that we were
going to introduce the tariffs on rice and other produce that are being imported into this country. Tariffs alone will not be enough incentive for the farmers to be able to produce. I will urge that in subsequent years, Government should try and ring-fence these tariffs that we are going to put on imported produce, so that, that ring-fence revenue will be used directly to enhance -- if it is from poultry, to enhance the production of poultry in the country, if it is from rice, it is used in the production of rice in this country.
Madam Speaker, with these few words, I want to commend our farmers and also the Hon Member who made the Statement to say Ayekoo to all Ghanaian farmers.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Thank you.
Statements time is now ended.
Can we move on to item 4 -- Commencement of Public Business and the Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 12:15 p.m.

Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the Minister for the Interior is not available in the House because he is on an emergency trip to Austria and he has instructed the Minister for Roads and Highways to lay this Report for and on his behalf. [Interruption.] Sorry, the Minister cannot instruct his Colleague, he requested upon the instruction of His Excellency. So the Minister for Roads and Highways will do that on his behalf. By the Minister for Roads and High-ways (on behalf of the Minister for the Interior]
-- 12:15 p.m.

Madam Speaker 12:15 p.m.
We move on to
item 5. Hon Members, we now continue with the debate on the motion to approve
MOTIONS 12:25 p.m.

Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah- Bonsu) 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to contribute to the motion for the approval of the Financial Policy of Government for the year ending 31st December, 2010. Mr. Speaker, as you have indicated, I hope by this to bring to a closure the contribution by the Minority on this motion.
Over the past five Sitting days, we in the Minority have constructively engaged the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the fiscal year 2010, with a view to cleansing and improving the social, political and economic landscape as part of our contract with the good people of Ghana.
Thus far, Madam Speaker, juxtaposing
the quality of argument in the debate from the two sides of the divide, I believe the people of Ghana are in no doubt at all about the verdict regarding which side it is that has come out with solid analytical arguments.
Before I proceed, Madam Speaker, I believe the integrity of this document before us must be established. The Hon Member for Kwabre West (Mr. E. A. Owusu-Ansah), the other day took pains to make a point about the seemingly, indeed, what he considers a breach of the Constitution in respect of the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary matched with the request from the Judiciary which the President is obliged not to touch except send recommendation on any such request to Parliament. The Hon Member cited articles 125, 127 and 179 of the Constitution to buttress his observation.
Madam Speaker, one could make similar cases for the Auditor-General's outfit and also for Parliament in view of the amendment to the Parliamentary Service Act which this House passed in 2008. I should think that the Executive and Parliament need to hold a dialogue on the way forward on the points of entry into the national Budget for the allocations to these two independent arms of Government as well as the Audit Service to curtail any infractions. Perhaps, the Budget Bill which is intended for consideration and passage by this House may address this anomaly.
Madam Speaker, the other point about the integrity of the document before us is the authority behind it, which we all do know is the President of the Republic. Early this year, when the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning presented the Budget Statement of the NDC Administration, we were not too sure of his own designation. He had been
nominated and approved of as Minister for Finance. It was obvious that the portfolio of Economic Planning was not part of his Ministry. Economic Planning came to be added to his Ministry as an afterthought. The Minister's name had to be corrected three times to establish that he is one and the same person.
Madam Speaker, that indeed, was important because Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, as Minister for Finance and Economic Planning has been called upon and will be called upon to attach his name and signature to very important documents including agreements, conventions, treaties and protocols on behalf of the President of the Republic. That is why we needed to get both his name and the designation of his Ministry right from the very outset.
Madam Speaker, as I have indicated ,as per article 179 (1), it is the President of the Republic who causes or authorizes the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to submit to Parliament the Budget Statement and Economic Policy. This was done early this year for fiscal year 2009 and on November 18, 2009, for fiscal year 2010.
Madam Speaker, the President as Chief Executive of the Republic, has to attach his own name and append his signature to agreements, treaties, conventions and protocols on behalf of the Republic to establish the legitimacy of such documents. So the question to ask is, what is the name of our President - [Interruptions] - Madam Speaker, now, if you compare the document before us -- there are two documents. One is the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for 2009 fiscal year and it bears the name His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills. John stands on its own, Evans stands on its own, Atta stands on its
own and Mills stands on its own.
Madam Speaker, for 2010, the document before us which was submitted to this House, bears the name His Excellency John Evans Atta-Mills. This time “Atta and Mills” are hyphenated -- [Uproar.] Madam Speaker, Atta hyphen Mills and Atta without hyphen Mills cannot be one and the same person. It cannot be and we are not being told if, indeed, it is the same person -- that His Excellency, the President of this Republic, cannot spell his own name correctly -- [Interruptions]. Madam Speaker, this is very very serious. Madam Speaker, and I hope -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:25 p.m.
On a point of order.
Madam Speaker, the Minority Leader this time has moved from the arena of semantics to syntax. I hope he will be further dilating on the syntax incompatibility of the name of the President. He knows very well, whatever is the situation, whether Atta hyphen Mills meant the same person - [Uproar.] So this time round, it is the syntax. He is no more dealing with the semantics. He is no more in the world of semantics but rather in the world of syntax, so he should land properly.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I have never known that getting the name of a person correct or otherwise, is syntax. I have never known this. Madam Speaker, my Brother is now the Minister responsible for Roads and not the Minister responsible for Literature and Linguistics. I will forgive him.
Madam Speaker, this is the President's document and if he cannot get his name right on the document, then certainly, there is cause for concern and perhaps, one has to be guided accordingly in discussing and analyzing the Budget.
Madam Speaker, I only hope that nobody is going to say that this confusion

of identity has been orchestrated by the Kufuor Adminis-tration -- [Laughter.] Madam Speaker, that has become the sing-song of the day.

Madam Speaker, a year into the administration of the NDC Government, the Government is still in a state of lamentation. Whereas the Minister boldly did indicate in paragraph 4 that the NDC and I quote:

“Rather than engage in rhetoric on the state of affairs”.

He proceeds in paragraph 6, in apparent contradiction of himself, to loudly wail and I quote again:

Madam Speaker, he then cites “fiscal deficits” and “arrears due to contractors” and then the Minister adds a third factor, “huge judgement debt”.

Madam Speaker, when the NPP took over power in 2001, we are told the fiscal deficit was GH¢260 million compared with the current figure of GH¢2.6 billion. We need to contrast this with the gross national income of 2,000. I will presently come to that. On the face of it, the Hon Minister meant to establish that the figure is alarming because it has climbed up from 260 million to 2.6 billion, 10 times as the NPP met it.

Madam Speaker, yet, assuming that the NPP left the inheritance of 260 million unpaid and did not add a cent or a pesewa to the arrears, working by the interest rate of 50 per cent that the NDC saddled the economy with in 2000, the amount they left, assuming the NPP did not add a penny, the amount they left would now be standing at GH¢6.76 billion. Let them
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
But that is even something that could be explained. I refer to the country report of the IMF, their report on Ghana and the Ministry has been having extensive consultations and dialogue with the IMF. Page 6 of the document -- “Economic growth”, and I stick to bullet point 5.
“Economic growth rose to a two decade high” -
No, I am sorry. I would rather refer to bullet point 7.
“Fiscal deficit surged to 14.5 per cent of GDP reflecting rapid public spending growth with capital spending, energy subsidies and wage and salaries each rising by more than one percentage point of
Following earlier power shortages, new investments were made in thermal power capacity. Large subsidies were incurred when electricity tariffs were not adjusted to reflect the rising cost of power generation and public sector salaries were increased on average by more than 30 per cent, that is 15 per cent in real terms.”
Madam Speaker, that, indeed, is the explanation for these deficits and so it is not as if they were a product of reckless spending as we have been told elsewhere in the Budget. Madam Speaker, in the same way, one can dispense with the argument about huge arrears due to contractors.
The other affliction that the Hon Minister alluded to is huge judgement debts. The word “huge” suffered considerable assault in the hands of the Hon Minister on Wednesday, November 18. The Hon Member for Esikadu/
Ketan himself, a former Attorney-General attempted to give us a rundown of who caused those judgement debts. We had thought that the Hon Member for Esikadu/ Ketan might have been given space to throw some light on the matter of judgement debts since this is a matter of serious national concern.

Madam Speaker, it is interesting to learn from the Hon Minister that Government has established a unit to determine the extent of malfeasance in the award of contracts, which have caused these arrears. One can only hope that a unit would be established to probe into the contracts and agreements which occasioned the huge judgement debts that the Hon Minister lamented. The nation will then be able to establish where and whichever commissions and omissions resulted in which judgement debts.

Madam Speaker, against the backdrop of what the NDC is bemoaning and castigating the NPP Administration for, the facts speak for themselves. When the NPP took over in 2001, and we are not going to go on this path because we thought it is an outworn shibboleth. However, because the Hon Minister chooses to traverse that path, it is important to state the facts and figures in their correct perspective.

When the NPP took over in 2001, the

GDP growth rate for 2000 was 3.7 per cent. The Hon Minister knows that for a fact. At the time of the exit of the NPP in 2008, the rate registered 7.3 per cent. [Hear! Hear!] It is important to observe that Dr. Duffuor acknowledged that on the average, African countries in 2008 were expected to grow at 5.2 per cent. Those
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
Madam Speaker, we can refer to paragraph 21. It certainly was not a one- off or an unsustainable event as an Hon Deputy Minister has been striving and struggling to indicate. Indeed, in 2001, the GDP growth rate rose to 4.2 per cent; in 2002 it climbed to 4.5 per cent; in 2003, it was 5.2 per cent; in 2004, it was 5.7 per cent; 2005, it was 5.8 per cent, 2006, 6.4 per cent; in 2007, it registered 6.3 per cent and finally in 2008, it pushed to 7.3 per cent. [Hear! Hear!] That continuous trend, the consistent upward trend is unprecedented in the economic history of this country since independence. [Hear! Hear!] Since independence, we have not seen this before.
Now let me refer to the same document that I quoted from page 6, bullet point 5.
‘Economic growth rose to a two- decade high of 7.3 per cent in 2008. This reflected expansionary fiscal policies combined with an upward swing in private sector activity based on strong credit expansion, buoyant remittances and strong agricultural yield.”
For 2009, it is projected to slow based on policy tightening and spillovers from the global recession.

One can only hope that people, particularly those entrusted with managing a country would, to quote the Hon First Deputy Speaker, “they would be honest and truthful to Ghanaians if not to their consciences and to their God.” Madam

Speaker, resort to pedestrian propaganda would not be helpful in this.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:45 p.m.
On a point of order. Hon Minority Leader, for the first time is so possessed that he has decided to read his text instead of speaking out as he used to do. If that is the case, he can then distribute the materials to Hon Members to save him the time that he is using to read.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Speaker, when Hon Members are prompted to make such interjections, one could only look the other side and I intend to look the other side without responding to him. I am quoting facts and figures and because I do not want to mix up the facts and figures, I decided to refer copiously to what I have done. This is a formal response to a formal presentation by the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.

Madam Speaker, I have referred to paragraphs 17, 27 and 28 of the 2009 Budget Statement. I do not want to quote because the document is before all of us.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 12:45 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I
rise on a point of order and I am coming under, Order 92. My point is that, the Hon Minority Leader is breaching Order 89 and Madam Speaker, with your permission, I read:
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Speaker, this is an outworn argument and I will not respond to that.
Madam Speaker, let me flash back, when Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House were making their points in contributing to the debate, they were not even winding up and I can cite Hon Asaga, somebody from our side of the House rose to interrupt and I said because this is a serious document, we should allow space and so, if he does not know -- the Hon Member for Ashaiman needs self- redemption.
Madam Speaker, I know that he needs self-redemption. That is why he is resorting to this -- [Interruptions.] I will allow him to make his intervention. Madam Speaker, I will remain unruffled; he can assure himself and to quote Hon Ahi “I will not mind him”. [Laughter.]
Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Member, I
think they are happier when you speak without bending your head -- they are used to you doing that.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
That is
so, Madam Speaker, I will endeavour to do that to the best of my ability when I am not referring to figures. But when I am referring to figures, I must get my attention glued to what I have written in order not to confuse anybody.
Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Well, you are
entitled to refer.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Very well,
oh Solomon, who has come to judgment, a Daniel has come to judgment! [Laughter.] Madam Speaker I will continue.
Madam Speaker, as I was saying, in the matter of public debt stock, external and domestic debts, the critical or acid test is the measure against GDP or debt service. This will lead us to conclude whether or not debt stock is sustainable.
Madam Speaker, now, let us look at the figures 12:45 p.m.
for the year 2000, the total debt stock was GH¢5,121 million; Madam Speaker, the total debt stock for 2008 indeed, was GH¢8,554 million; but whereas the debt stock ratio in GDP in the year 2000 was 189 per cent, for 2008, it was only 50 per cent. So which debt stock is sustainable? Which one helps the country more? [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Member,
unless it is not a serious point of order, I think we should let the Hon Minority Leader finish.
Mr. Avedzi 12:45 p.m.
Madam Speaker, the
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Speaker, what the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Finance succeeded in doing really is a point of disorder. Madam
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:45 p.m.
Speaker, you could see the summersault that he did. He comes on a point of order and ends up supplying information which was not needed anyway.

Madam Speaker, debt service as a ratio of GDP in 2000, it was 14 per cent and for 2008; it was 7 per cent. [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker, these are the facts of the case, let nobody continue to confuse Ghanaians. [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in 2001, when the NPP inherited NDC, depreciation was 50 per cent, within one year, when the NPP took over, they were able to stabilise the cedi such that from 50 per cent depreciation, we climbed down in one year to 3.7 per cent. Who best managed this economy? Madam Speaker, indeed, over the entire eight year period of the NPP Administration, the cedi depreciated, that is using 2000 as a base here, the cedi depreciated by 58.2 per cent.
Madam Speaker, less than one year into the NDC Administration, the cedi has depreciated by over 32 per cent. Madam Speaker, these are worrisome,
Mr. Albert Abongo 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, my point of order is with regard to the ratings that the Hon Minority is talking about. We were moving at a very dangerous pace and so it is that momentum that has driven into this year and so the ratings have gone that way. [Interruptions.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not want to say to my Hon Friend, the Minister that this is comic relief. Madam Speaker, it is good to observe that the cedi has started to stabilise. We as a nation can build on the cedi stabilizing. Madam Speaker, it is good for us, let us entrench the stability, and on that platform, we can begin to re- grow the economy. It is the reason why the inversion of the strategy “growth and stability” could not be right and the Hon Minister knows that.

Madam Speaker, the Ministry and indeed, the Hon Minister have initiated measures in attempt to stabilise and they chose “stability and growth”, that certainly is questionable. But look at paragraph 15 -- if you look at paragraph 15, the Minister then makes a sudden u-turn and said no, I am wrong, it rather should be, “stability and growth”. So we can live with that, we can live with the inconsistencies, “growth and stability” turns round to be ‘stability and growth'. That is more like it, so we will live with that.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am sorry maybe, I am using a different Statement because what he is quoting is the same. It is not somersault of “stability and growth,” “growth and stability”, it is the same. Page 14 says “growth and stability”, page 15 also says “growth and stability”. I thought I was reading a different document; maybe, he should refer us to it because the paragraphs he is referring to are all “growth and stability”.
Then he should refer to a different paragraph and not what he is talking about. So, please, he should draw the attention of the House to the proper paragraph, not what he stated.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would presently refer to that. Madam Speaker, but I was talking about the five indicators as captured in paragraph 41. We missed all of them but one of the targets, the GDP growth was-1.2 per cent off the target we set for ourselves, the average inflation is the 3.8 per cent off the target we set, while end period inflation is -2.1 per cent off the target we set. The overall budget deficit of 9.4 per cent of GDP at the time when Government determined to be mean and lean and cut down drastically on investment is
noteworthy. It is very noteworthy but again, the target was also missed. Madam Speaker, we can talk about percentage terms and percentage deviations but I would not go into that. But we must add to this picture, the missed targets for depreciation, interest rates and per capita and the conclusion is obvious and that certainly cannot be a good picture.
Madam Speaker, all these happened at the time when the price of crude oil averaged not more than US$60 per barrel. Let us contrast this with the period when crude oil prices peakeded at US$147 per barrel. The financial turmoil which imperiled the world economy reached its maximum amplitude in 2007/2008 and certainly not in 2009.

Madam Speaker, in paragraph 45 of the Budget Statement, the Hon Minister makes a very startling, albeit harrowing disclosure. Madam Speaker, let me quote:

“Considering the harsh global economic and financial situation, and the worse-than-anticipated domestic economic situation, these macroeconomic targets really were overambitious, . . .”

Madam Speaker, those are the targets he set for us in 2009 Budget and now he is telling us that “these were really overambitious just as we stated in 2009 Budget Statement”. Madam Speaker, the
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.

Madam Speaker, in any event, if the Hon Minister knew all along that these figures were really overambitious and hence perhaps, unattainable, why did he use those target figures in the first place? Madam Speaker, government business should be accorded greater seriousness than fanciful journeys to nowhere.

Madam Speaker, the macroeconomic targets for 2010 have been stated. One, real GDP -- [Interruptions] -- We have not finished. Listen, we have not finished. Real GDP growth of 6.5 per cent from the outturn of 4.7 per cent against the budget target of 5.9 per c ent. Overall fiscal deficit of 7.5 per cent of GDP from the outturn of 10.5per cent against a target of 9.4 per cent. Overall inflation rate of 10.5 from the current 19 per cent against the target of 15.3 per cent. End of period inflation rate of 9.2 per cent from current 18.9 per cent against a target of 12.5 per cent. Gross international reserves of not less than 2.5 months of import cover.

Madam Speaker, the concern we express is that, by a return to the Bretton Wood Institutions, Government has been compelled to adopt a very restrictive macroeconomic framework that appears to target reduction in public expenditure, reduction in budget deficit and target inflation and try to equalize balance of

payments. The major shocks, namely, the financial meltdown, the upward flow of food prices and the sky-high fuel prices which shook the world economy in 2007/2008 call for massive capital injection in economies to stimulate growth and reinvigorate the economy.

The meanness displayed in the 2009 and 2010 Budgets by slashing investment would lead to four main results. Madam Speaker, it will sacrifice real growth, it will not lead to tackling the high unemployment rate in the country; it will not promote in any meaningful way the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and fourthly, it will do little to cure poverty in the country. Madam Speaker, indeed, it is most likely to even add to poverty in the country.

Madam Speaker, agricultural produc- tivity was not encouraging in 2009. The rains, indeed, have been good and the Hon Minister showed appreciation to God by alluding to the good rains. Some food crops without doubt, in particular plantain, cassava and yam responded well to the good rains. However, maize, millet, sorghum, all missed the target. Mr. Speaker, and in some cases, they performed at less than 40 per cent of the target.

Madam Speaker, Government promised to distribute 2 million chicken to farmers in 2009 but could only deliver 25,000 -- [Some Hon Members: Oh!] -- Madam Speaker, how do we justify the 7.0 per cent growth in agriculture with all these?

Madam Speaker, we also do know that there were serious difficulties in getting premix fuel out there to our fishers. How can anybody say that we had that quantum growth in the fishing industry? Madam Speaker, we need, and I will believe the Hon Minister would do this nation real good if he allows, or if he calls for a

oil palm plantations, this is why I say that this statement he is making is misleading this House. He should not be saying such things.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, this is vintage and characteristic of Yieleh Chireh, I will not descend down there and engage him.
Madam Speaker, as I was saying, it is high time that we put in much more effort to wean ourselves off over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture especially in the North which is close to Burkina Faso, which in recent times has resorted to artificial rains.

Madam Speaker, and indeed, the resort to artificial rain has a negative impact on rainfall patterns in the North. So, it is important that they have a re-look at the North. In fact, the artificial rainfall pattern really is disturbing our macro-climate up North. And indeed, as a country, I believe we need every effort to go into it to stem the tide of dryness that its afflicting our people.

Madam Speaker, I would want -- because we have spoken about cocoa this morning, I just want to make some remarks about it.

Madam Speaker, we all do know that relatively la Cote d'Ivoire now is paying in the region of 75 per cent net FOB to farmers and that is what is encouraging our farmers to smuggle our produce to Togo and Burkina Faso. So, we need to have a second look at this.

re-look at the figures in the agricultural sector. They are unconvincing. Madam Speaker, I appeal to the Minister to have a look at that.

The Hon Minister seeks to increase irrigation and mechanization to improve production and productivity. That is most appropriate and the Hon Minister must be commended.

What cannot be appropriate, Madam Speaker, is appropriation or dispropor- tionate appropriation of machines, tractors by high-heeled government officials -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Tractors should reach the real farmers and not any absentee farmers whether they operate from wherever --[Interruptions] - whether from the Castle or from Parliament, they should reach the real farmers out there. Madam Speaker, that is the way to increase productivity and production.
Mr. J. Y. Chireh 1:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. That my Hon Friend -- I am very reluctant to raise a point of order against him but he talks about tractors and other farm implements going to high-heeled government officials. I know that the Hon Minority Leader as he sits here is a cocoa farmer. How does he combine his cocoa farming with his parliamentary duties as a Minority Leader?
This statement -- the tractor is not a Benz car to be used and brought here, it is on the farm. In any case, those high officials you imagine they are, are doing so to assist other farmers -- [Interruption.] It is a policy. I remember, unlike in his Government's time when he was to give money to all Government officials including Members of Parliament to do
Madam Speaker 1:15 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr. Osei 1:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my Leader said the Majority Leader was operating from this “chair”. Madam Speaker, we have been told that there was a chair here which is no longer here. So I am not sure to which chair he is referring. He was operating from this side, but certainly, not this chair. That old chair was a juju chair.
Madam Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Hon Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu, I think that is an apt correction; is it not?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would certainly take that one on board. But I meant operating from this side and of course, where this seat that I am sitting on is supposed to be. That seat was just at this position.
Madam Speaker, I spoke about the

Madam Speaker, the most serious instrument is the shift from the specific

In any event, what is the wisdom in not releasing the money to farmers and applying the money on security personnel to patrol our borders? [Hear! Hear!] -- What is the economic wisdom in this? Madam Speaker, rather embarrassingly, an Hon Member whose constituency is a cocoa producing border constituency was only two weeks ago beating his chest in this Chamber that after Government had increased the producer price to the current level of about 71 per cent, smuggling had stopped completely in the cocoa producing border areas.

Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is a good Friend of mine, he is a very honourable person, he is a man of considerable zeal but that exercise was clearly not a good service to Ghana. It was not a good service to Ghana at all because the Ministry does know the harrowing experiences that they are going through now. And for an Honourable Member of Parliament to stand on the floor of this House to proclaim that smuggling had ceased ever since Government increased the producer price of cocoa is really most uncharitable to the farmers and to Ghanaians.

Madam Speaker, to encourage crops and livestock farmers, the Hon Member for Afigya-Sekyera East, Hon David Hennric Yeboah hit the nail on its head when he spoke the other day about easing up on credit facilities to farmers. Loans from banks to farmers at commercial interest rates is a veritable disincentive. Of course, that is not the making of this Government. We have lived with this for quite some time. It is important that as a nation, we come to grips with that. Government may accordingly wish to re- engage on this to determine a better way forward for all of us.

Madam Speaker, now, I want to talk about specific revenue enhancement measures. Madam Speaker, in paragraph 864 on page 300, Government intends, among other measures to introduce the following: restoration of import duties on food import, especially on rice, maize and vegetable oil.

Madam Speaker, it is important to understand the principle that underpinned the removal of taxes from these imported food products. Certainly, at the time of spiralling food prices worldwide, if those taxes had been maintained, we all do know, they would have fuelled inflation. Prices would have gone up on these products, which is why Government removed those taxes. And it explains why in those days, when demonstrations afflicted la Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Senegal on food prices, Ghana was spared.

Today, yes, food prices have gone down a bit which perhaps, explains why the Hon Minister is applying this resort. But the IMF and the World Bank have only last week issued a caution that it is possible that food prices may escalate again. So, it is important that we have a second look at this.

Madam Speaker, the point has been made about aiding and assisting in the demand of those items ably articulated by Prof. Gyan-Baffour, the Hon Member for Wenchi. Madam Speaker, one could only hope that the introduction of the import duties does not trigger a spiral in the prices of those food items.

Madam Speaker, Government, we are told, intends to increase monitoring of the communications service tax or talk-tax compliance. The Majority, only last year, vehemently opposed the introduction of this tax. And the Hon Majority Leader who then was the Hon Minority Leader and who was operating from this Chair --
Madam Speaker 1:25 p.m.
Yes, there is a point of order. Let us be serious now with the points of order so that we can move on.
Maj. (Dr.) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Madam Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is misleading this House. Madam Speaker, he said when the “talk tax” was introduced, this side opposed it and now we are very happy about the introduction of the “talk tax”.
But I wish to refer the Minority Leader to the period when VAT was introduced -- [Interruptions.] Indeed, his side, went on Kumepreko demonstrations and they ended with Siemepreko. But they applied the benefit of the GETFund and I wish to draw his attention to that.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I thought the Hon Colleague was going to contradict me in what I said. Madam Speaker, as I used to say, it is like he telling me that, you are accusing me of murder, but you also killed somebody somewhere. It does not make that commission less an offence.
Madam Speaker, the Official Report of Wednesday, 12th March, 2008, columns 1574 to 1579 would bear me out -- the contributions of the three persons that I have alluded to. But I have said that we
need to agree to move this nation forward. So it is good that they have made a u-turn and now they not only are saying that it should be upheld, they are going to set up a mechanism to monitor compliance. And so it is good they have found something worthy in the tax that was introduced.
Madam Speaker, I was talking about the reintroduction of the ad valorem tax. Let us examine the movement and the 2010 Budget. Madam Speaker, I told you that industry is already complaining. The Budget does not talk about the level of application; so we do not know. But if we have to go back to what existed before the advent of the NPP, as I said, it was 25 per cent on some products and 50 per cent on others.
Madam Speaker, we could examine the impact and one would come to realisation that if we consider beer, if we introduce the ad valorem on beer, the effect would be 120 per cent -- [Uproar!] --on tax on the current levels. Madam Speaker, for Malt, it is going to be 163 per cent -- [Uproar!] For the other soft drinks -- Coca-Cola, Fanta, Pepsi-Cola, it is going to be 162 per cent -- [Uproar!] -- and for Guinness Stout -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker, the Hon Colleague is asking me of the source; I would let him have it. It would be laid if he so wishes, if I have the directive from the Chair; since he is not in the Chair, I would go on. Madam Speaker, so that is it. So it would have a negative effect on industry. Madam Speaker, and it is important to note that indeed, it would certainly have a corresponding increase in the VAT component of these products and prices of these products to consumers certainly would go up.
Madam Speaker, because of the sky- rocketing taxes, nobody needs to tell us that volumes of production would drop. Madam Speaker, if volumes drop,
Benin, 3 per cent, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, South Africa, all of them are zero-rated. Madam Speaker, what are we doing? How do we make the environment competitive?

Clearly, there is no incentive to grow business. Taxes have become punitive and may I refer us to domestic investment. In 2008, it was GH¢800,000,000; today, as we speak, 2010 it is GH¢399,000,000. The economy cannot run on that. The almost GH¢400,000,000 is too paltry. Indeed, if inflation is factored into the figure of GH¢399,000,000, the real investment may not be higher than GH¢330,000,000. How many jobs will be generated by this? A climb-down drastically from GH¢800,000,000 in 2008 to GH¢330,000,000 for 2010?

We have been told by experts that the contribution in the economy, no thanks to a recline to the IMF and World Bank, and the application of their condi-tionalities, may lead to about 400-500,000 persons being rendered unemployed in the next two years. This cannot be good for any growth. Contributor after contributor from the Minority have criticized various aspects of the policies underpinning the Budget. This relates to the macroeconomic policies and programmes relating to efforts or lack of efforts to transform the structure of the economy, revenue mobilization; education; health; water and sanitation, food; livestock and cocoa; energy, forestry; petroleum; gender; environment; foreign affairs; security; trade and industry;above all, the Judiciary and even Parliament -- We have criticized not to engender a review and reform in order to prevent the stunted growth of our economy; we have criticized not to destroy.

We hope this Government will still listen to improve the socio-politico economic environment for Ghanaians. We

certainly, VAT collection will ultimately suffer and import will accordingly drop. Import duties would go down and tax revenue which otherwise should go to Government would also drop.

Madam Speaker, in the final analysis, if the tax component is punitive, manufacturers may have to lay off workers. I am using “may” because even as I indicated at the genesis, Government has not provided us with the levels; I am only referring to what obtained before the advent of the NPP Government which was 50 per cent and 25 per cent and it is commonsensical to go on that trajectory.

Madam Speaker, one may want to ask, what happened to the NDC manifesto pledge on page 45? They have indicated that “tax policy would be used to encourage people to work”. What do we see? What happened to the pledge to empower investors to expand and create new businesses as one can find on page 49 of the NDC manifesto? My Colleague the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is laughing but this is no laughing matter. He should be shedding tears on behalf of the common people of this country, he should not be laughing.

Madam Speaker, if we are to make the Ghanaian economy competitive and industry-destination in the sub-region, we have to compare and contrast the environment in the ECOWAS zone. Madam Speaker, if you look at the tax regime on the products that I cited, one realises that in la Cote d'Ivoire, it is 7.80 per cent. We are introducing taxes which will take us -- the destination is 120 per cent; theirs is 7.0 per cent, Burkina Faso is 10 per cent, and Ghana, if you introduce the 25 per cent would be the highest in the sub-region. Indeed, Togo is 5 per cent,
Madam Speaker 1:35 p.m.
Thank you very much, Minority Leader, for your very concise conclusion to this debate.
Thank you, quite concise; thank you.
May I call on the Majority Leader to conclude.
Majority Leader (Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin) 1:35 p.m.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make inputs into the Budget debate so that we could as a country improve upon our budgeting in order to achieve the agenda of a better Ghana. I commend you highly for giving ample space to the Minority to have their say. This is a vast departure from the past -- [Hear! Hear!] -- where as Minority Leader, I was given usually not more than twenty minutes -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 1:35 p.m.
As a Minority Leader?
Mr. Bagbin 1:35 p.m.
Madam Speaker, as Minority Leader then, I was given not more than twenty minutes -- [Interruptions] -- and anytime I attempted going beyond twenty minutes, I was always told: “last sentence” “your last word”, “your last sentence”. Madam Speaker never on any occasion told him “his last word or his last sentence”. This is a vast departure from the past. [Interruptions.] My Colleague took not less than one hour thirty minutes. Actually, I do not intend to take that time.
Madam Speaker 1:35 p.m.
Hon Leader, I hope by this statement, you do not intend to take two hours?
Mr. Bagbin 1:45 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I do not intend to turn myself into a Minority so that I want more space to have a say. No! [Hear! Hear!] They know that it is for the Majority to have their way but I know
everything. And it reads:

So the Budget is for growth and stability. My Hon Friend, the Minority Leader has stated the growth from when they took over up to 2008, when we crumbled. We have learnt our lessons as a country. We want to put solid structures in place so that as we grow, we do not repeat the mistakes of the past to crumble. [Hear! Hear!] And that is why this Budget is built on the basis of cautious growth. [Hear! Hear!] You must start on a sound foundation -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
Hon Member, let
us take a point of order.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:45 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader -- [Uproar] -- the Hon Majority Leader, in his submission, referred to “growth and stability” as had been indicated by the Hon Minister. And then in another breath, he has also referred to “stability and growth”. Madam Speaker, these two terms are not the same. Madam Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is insisting that the Budget Statement before us is about growth and stability. Madam Speaker, with your permission, if you go to page 328 -- [Interruption] -- paragraph 955; Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister has stated and I quote:
“However, there remain some down side risks, both domestic and external, which can derail or delay the stability and growth process in
that my Colleagues have done a good job, they have told us their views, which definitely, will be captured and factored into the Budget. When the estimates are brought before the House, my Colleagues once again, will have opportunity to make inputs into them. And as I told the Hon Former Minister for Justice and Attorney- General, at that time, he is at liberty to put across his views.
Madam Speaker, I want to start by drawing the attention of Hon Members to what the Budget says it is. It is very, very clear as to what the Budget says it is. And in fact, the theme itself is very pellucid -- [Interruption] -- Madam Speaker, the Budget says clearly at paragraph 11 of page 6, and I want to quote, Madam Speaker, with your permission:
“Madam Speaker, faced with these critical challenges, Government's 2009 budget was designed to focus on ensuring macroeconomic stability and fiscal consolidation within the context of national medium-term goal of sustained and accelerated growth.”
Madam Speaker, paragraph 13 1:45 p.m.
“Madam Speaker, with the fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic stability achieved through the implementation of bold and sound economic policies, coupled with the understanding and support of our people, the 2010 Budget ushers in, the governments' growth strategy framework towards a ‘Better Ghana'. This framework identifies a comprehensive set of policies to support Government's Medium Term Growth Strategy.” [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker, paragraph 14 seals
Madam Speaker 1:45 p.m.
Hon Majority
Leader, can I interrupt you for a minute? Hon Members, having regard to the state of business in the House, I direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period in accordance with order 40(3) of the Standing Orders of this House.
Thank you. Yes, Hon Leader, continue now. We have extended the time.
Mr. Bagbin 1:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, having stabilized and consolidated the macroeconomic situation in 2009, the only cautious step to take is to go growth and stability. Therefore, when people see an elephant -- [Interruption] -- when people see an umbrella and start asking that “why is it that the umbrella has no horns?” Clearly, an umbrella cannot have horns; so what my Hon Friends are reading into the Budget is not what the Budget said. It is not.
Madam Speaker, I have simply read a number of paragraphs for the attention of my Hon Colleagues who I want to implore to develop the culture of democracy and try to listen to dissent with attention than these interruptions. We have done that for my Hon Colleague, and we expect them to do so for me.

Madam Speaker, this Budget is drawing our attention to the fact that we could have achieved those growth targets that we set for 2009 if we were not compelled to try to grow businesses in Ghana instead of collapsing them.

Why am I saying this? The debt that was left was a debt of GH¢1.7 billion. That definitely could have been ignored but when you ignore it, it means you are telling Ghanaian businesses to collapse because they took loans from banks with

interest to execute the projects that were given to them by Government. If you do not pay for those arrears and you decide to start investing in different projects, you are collapsing those businesses. Even though the colours of those people seem to be otherwise, we as a Government decided that that was the proper path to chart - [Hear! Hear!] And we decided to pay the arrears.
Dr. Osei 1:55 p.m.
I was intensely listening to the Majority Leader when I realized that he could be misleading this House inadvertently. Madam Speaker, the reason is the following: His last statement implies that they had paid the arrears but let me read to him what the Minister said and please, listen. Paragraph 8:
“Madam Speaker, of particular concern is a large portion of arrears which arose from contracts that were in clear breach of the procurement law. There is an on-going audit to determine the extent of the malfeasance and our course of action will be determined upon its completion.”
Madam Speaker, your course of action will be determined upon its completion and he is saying that they have paid the arrears. So Madam Speaker, the two cannot be the same. They have not completed it, so he cannot be telling us that they have paid the arrears.
Mr. Bagbin 1:55 p.m.
My very good Friend, Hon Dr. Akoto Osei has tremendous experience, not only in managing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning but as a consultant at the Centre
for Economic and Policy Analysis (CEPA) and he knows very well that there is a lot of arrears in transition still not yet caught in the books of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. So as you pay, you add on.

My Colleagues tried raising some red herrings about the budget of the Judiciary, the Audit Service and the Parliamentary Service. Madam Speaker, you timely and timeously tried to draw their attention to the fact that you received communication from the President that those budgets should be laid before Parliament. Parliament approves the budget and the President's instructions are very clear.

He did not even attempt asking that we should reduce those budgets -- those of the Judiciary, Audit Service and Parliament. The letters were sent to us with clear instructions to proceed on those budgets and those estimates would be laid in this House. His Excellency the President has not made any attempt to reduce those budgets as it used to happen in previous years. So Hon Members should be assured that the budget that we submitted as an institution is the budget that has been sent by His Excellency to us to consider as part of the budget for 2010 -- no reduction. It shows how we prioritize the institution of Parliament in the governance equation.

There is no breach of the Constitution, there is no breach at all. His Excellency has not attempted to tickle our constitutional provisions at all . He is a Professor of Law. [Hear! Hear!] And many of us gathered, who are in the learned profession are his

“Stability and growth process in 2010”. So if in -- [Interruption]-- It is from the Hon Minister. So right from the onset, the Hon Minister refers to growth and stability, and then at the end, he is talking about stability and growth -- [Interruption] -- the two are different. The two are not the same. [Interruption] -- And the Hon Minister knows it.

The Hon Minister knows it that the two are not the same. So what is he talking about? He should tell us. And the Hon Majority Leader should not take these words on their face value because they have deeper meaning. [An Hon Member: Which is what?] “Growth and stability” is not the same as “stability and growth”.
Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Hon Member, are you asking me to rule on this or it is just a matter that “growth and stability” and “stability and growth” are not the same thing.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
If you do not ask me, I cannot comment.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 1:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, yes. But then I am just asking the Hon Majority Leader to be guided in his presentation. [Some Hon Members: By what?]
Madam Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader.
Mr. Bagbin 1:55 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it is clearly from our experience as a country that this Government decided to make sure that we step terra firma before we jump into medias res. In other words, this Government wants to build this country on solid foundation. You must have a firm, solid ground before you attempt to jump -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Into the
Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
My good Friend is very experienced and he knows that I was talking about the estimates we submitted to His Excellency the President and what he has sent to us -- [Interruptions] -- I am coming to the Budget Statement.
What we are debating is the Budget Statement which contains the policies and principles and programmes and sometimes there are some data; not all data is in this Budget and that is why second stages, it is for estimates of sectors brought here and Madam Speaker, was very clear that when the estimates come, we will discuss that issue.
Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
Hon Members, time is far spent. We have two -- apart from the Majority Leader, we have the Minister to sum up -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, just a
Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I simply, in using the figure, quoted His Excellency the former President George Agyekum Kufuor -- [Interruptions.]
Some Hon Members 2:05 p.m.
No, no. Withdraw it.
Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
I am sorry. John, I am sorry. John Agyekum Kufuor. He stated clearly to the whole world that that was what he managed to get for the Government, not for 20 years -- 8 billion dollars relief. It is there. Go and read -- [Interruptions] -- Madam Speaker, I said we in this House supported the Government and got the necessary approvals granted in this House.
Again, I mentioned that sovereign bond was floated on the international market and we again supported and got it approved -- 750 million dollars -- [Interruptions.] Definitely, when we approved the -- [Interruptions.] Government gave us an indication as to how the money will be spent. We supported it and they know the challenges that the Government faced in 2008, and how come that money was not expended according to the approval of Parliament?
The records are very clear as to how the money was spent and the amount that should have gone to roads and transport. The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is here himself; he can attest to how much he got. And we have huge road arrears as at today -- [Uproar.] As a country, we cannot, in any prudent management of the economy,
Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
I was not going to take points of order but being from the former Attorney-General, I have to take his. I do not know -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Joe Ghartey 2:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I would be grateful if I could be assisted by my Hon Colleague, the Majority Leader. He tells us that what was sent to the President in terms of the Judiciary, Parliament and the Audit Service is what the President communicated back to this House through Madam Speaker. He has shown me; he lifted a document which is different from this document.
Today, the document we are debating, for which the motion was moved and seconded, the document for which we are asked to vote, is this document. Those documents which accord with the constitutional provisions are within, with the greatest of respect, the bosom of he and the President. How can we then support this document if there are other documents which are related to the Financial Statement of 2010, which are not included in this document, which was also sent to this Parliament on the authority of the same President. [Interruptions.] As for my Friends at the back who will disturb from time to time, I will not mind them -- [Laughter.] They asked me sika no wo he, ewo Castle. Sika no wo Castle -- [Uproar.]
So Madam Speaker, I wish that the Hon Majority Leader may assist me to make up my mind when I am voting. He should assist me because we have been told by Hon Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah that the
few points before I take my seat. One is this; my Colleague, the Minority Leader referred to the down-grading of the rating B plus to C. That rating of C was based on the macroeconomic performance of 2008 -- [Hear! Hear!] -- not 2009 -- 2008; cross- check. The 2008 could not be the record of NDC -- [Hear! Hear!]
That is the record of the previous Administration but we recognize the challenges that we faced in 2007 and 2008; after all, when you go through your 2008 financial year budget that was presented to the House, if you read paragraph 44, it was very clear as to how you had the consistent growth for that five years during that period because the global economy consistently grew.
Ghana is living in the global world. Definitely, you have a lot of relief from HIPC and you had over 8 billion dollars -- [Uproar.] With all this, definitely, we in this House supported the Government. We supported the Government and even when they floated the sovereign bond and brought to this House, the 750 million dollar facility, we supported and approved that facility. Please, today, we have a record of how -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
That is the last point of order I will take.
Dr. Osei 2:05 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, as I keep on saying, he is inadvertently misleading this House. When he made his comment about the debt relief being 8 billion, all the Hon Ministers were shaking their heads. They know why -- [Interruptions] -- it is not 8 billion, and it is even over a period of 20 plus years. So it is not 8 billion; they were shaking their heads. So if he wants to talk about the debt relief -- He said the debt relief is 8 billion. It is not. So he should ask the Hon Ministers, they will tell him. It is not.
Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
I think you mentioned him.
Mr. Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker 2:05 p.m.
So I will hear from him. What is your point of order?
Dr. Anane 2:05 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in the presentation by the Hon Member of Parliament, who is the Hon Majority Leader, he said we had huge arrears in the road sector. Madam Speaker, the word “huge” has no meaning. Could the Hon Member tell this Parliament how much arrears this Government owes or the Government of Ghana owes in the road sector? Let him come forward and let us know what it means.
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, in the 750 million dollar eurobond money, the road sector was to receive $198.6 million. The road sector ended up getting ¢92.27 million. [Interruptions.] That is one area. My Hon Colleague, the former Minister, faced with that huge challenge, attempted contracting US$1 billion and came before this House to solicit our support; the advice came, the matter was withdrawn and the money did not flow in - [Some Hon Members: Oh!] That is a fact.
Some Hon Members 2:15 p.m.
Sit down!
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
So it is for him -- [Interruption.]
Dr. Anane 2:15 p.m.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, I am very sorry for
interjecting into the presentation by the Hon Majority Leader.
I believe the Hon Majority Leader does not seem to be putting things in their correct perspective. In the first place, that is why I raised the question about the word “huge”. In his attempt to answer, he could not even tell us what the “hugeness” was about.
Apart from that, the issue about the US$1 billion facility was not because we had a difference of about some US$60 million to deal with, that is why we were going for the US$1 billion facility. The Hon Majority Leader, who then was the Hon Minority Leader, does appreciate that this House gave us the permission to go and seek for the money, and we were in Washington for it; it is in our handingover notes for the Government to think about it and to continue with it.
We were going for the money not because of the difference, but because we felt that this country needed infras- tructural development, and to develop our country's infrastructure, there was the need for money to be searched for.
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Now, Hon Members, let us continue; it is getting to 3 o'clock.
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, my very good Friend, the former Minister for Roads and Transport simply supported what I said. The process is still ongoing to get that money to assist us to pay the arrears -- [Interruptions] If those -- [Interruption.] Please, keep your cool.
I will give you just an indication of only the roads sector, an indication of the arrears that were discovered immediately we took over power on only the road sector; I will not add transport. Just the
can ignore it. But when an Hon Member of Parliament, particularly so, by my very good Friend, the Hon Minority Leader, refers to it, giving the impression that those tractors were given to high government officials and not real farmers, definitely, he is misinforming the people of Ghana.

The Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture was very clear on this and he came on air to explain. The Hon Minister himself came on air and on television to explain this, but Hon Members are still trying to pretend as if nothing has happened; it is not fair.

I was surprised my Hon Colleague referred to rainfall pattern in the North being affected by the artificial rain in Burkina Faso. Year 2009 is one of the best seasons that we have had in agriculture in the three northern regions. The rainfall was very good, the harvest was excellent. [Hear! Hear!] So I am surprised he is trying to say that the artificial rains in Burkina Faso had affected the rainfall pattern in the North -- no basis, no foundation, nothing. [Interruption.] I am telling them as somebody from the North. So it is important that as Hon Members of Parliament, we check on these things before we come to proclaim them on the floor of the House.

Madam Speaker, I want to add that even though the Majority, when we were on this side of the House as Minority, criticised the Communications Service Tax and I

road sector. As at 31st December 2008, roads alone was US$125,509,474 -- that was for only roads. [Interruptions.] Outstanding -- only roads.
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Member, continue. If I allow this, it will be an argument, so I will not allow any more -- Hon Member, please, carry on.
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
It is important for us to clarify this issue about the distribution of tractors, because I was not expecting Hon Members to raise it and try to make political capital out of it. If we count the number of the tractors that were distributed, the Minority side had more tractors than the Majority side. [Some Hon Members: Oh! Shame!] The records are at the Ministry, and at that time, the Chief Director, who was in charge of the distribution, as at today, was and still is an elder of the NPP. [Some Hon Members: Shame!] Mr. Delle was in charge. He was the Chief Director, he was in charge of the distribution.
My Hon Colleagues here are aware, that they were given the opportunity to acquire as many as five (5) tractors each to establish - [Interruptions.] On my honour; I am saying this on my honour. So it is not - [Uproar.]
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Order! Order, please.
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
It is important that we clear it because it is coming from Parliament. When the people outside are playing politics with those things, we
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Member, what are you objecting to? I do not understand this to mean any bad thing. He says when it comes to telling your history -- I think he spoke well of you. It could be that -- You do not think that he is commending you rather? What did he say to -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Ghartey 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, because my friends opposite are so rowdy I can hardly hear you, so if I can hear you, again -- especially my friend from Shama, my neighbour.
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Member, I thought he was commending you that history will speak for you. Is that not what he said?
Mr. Ghartey 2:15 p.m.
Indeed, I thank him for his commendation. But Madam Speaker, the truth of the matter is that, what he is saying just now -- we were told on August 25 by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning that the judgement debt was as a result of the bad governance by the NPP. In paragraph 10 of this Budget, he talked about “flagrant disregard”.
Madam Speaker, how can he talk about “flagrant disregard” when, for example, in the case of City and Country Waste v The Attorney-General, which is reported in the
Supreme Court of Ghana Law Reports --Madam Speaker, where the Supreme Court has said that the contract that was entered into between City and Country Waste and Attorney-General was an illegal contract and the parties to the contract, the City and Country Waste belonged to Eddie Annan, who was a presidential candidate for the NDC.
The people who entered into that illegal contract, today, have not paid any price, but we are told that there are huge judgement debts, and those judgement debts include debts arising from these illegal contracts. How could he say that these judgement debts are huge debts made by us when we know that on December 6, 2000, Dr. Ato Quarshie entered into an agreement with regard to Construction Pioneers (CP) which was vehemently opposed to by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, in which the figures of the contract were inflated by 44 million Deutschmarks?
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Order! Oder! Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
Mr. Opare-Ansah 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, a moment ago the Hon Majority Leader seriously misled -- The benefit of technology is that I do not need to be on the floor to monitor proceedings in this House. So I heard the Hon Majority Leader denying the fact that the then opposition NDC in this Chamber opposed the Communications Service Tax.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:15 p.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Opare Ansah 2:15 p.m.
I am on a point of order against the Majority Leader, so he cannot -- [Uproar!.]
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Opare-Ansah 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am up on a point of order and I have not finished my submission -- [Uproar]
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Order, please. Well, if you both sit down, I think there will be order -- [Interruption.]
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:15 p.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Opare-Ansah 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker says we should both sit down for some order first.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 2:15 p.m.
All right.
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, shall we continue -- [Uproar!]
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to state clearly that I stated we criticised the Communications Service Tax which I termed “Talk Tax” but at the end of the day, we voted for it. That was what I stated here; I never stated - [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Members, shall we progress, please? Can you finish?
Mr. Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
Madam Speaker, it is clear that if my Hon Colleagues, even in opposition are putting up this attitude, you can imagine what attitude they put up when they were in Majority -- [Uproar!] But it is not that I agreed with all that my Hon Colleague stated, but I never raised a point of order; we tried as much as possible to control our people, we never raised points of order to overturn the -- [Interruptions.] One can disagree with a person but that does not mean it is a point of order -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.

clearly stated on the floor and renamed it “Talk Tax”, we all agreed that 20 per cent of that tax would be used to support youth employment, and when that was done, we all voted for the Communications Service Tax. Let it not be said anywhere, that we were against the tax and we did not vote for it.

Today, some of my Hon Friends opposite have stated that there is nothing in this Budget. Some have stated that this is the worst to have happened to this country. Does that mean, after we vote for this Budget, they are not going to support the construction of schools in their constituencies? [Hear! Hear!] Are they not going to do that? [An Hon Member: Tell them!]

Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague, the Member of Parliament -- the former Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, will have ample opportunity to put across his views on the judgement debts when we lay the estimates -- Again, as indicated by the Hon Minority Leader, there are other options, and nobody -- It is the right of the Minority to use other options to air their views. That they can do.

But clearly, the statements in the Budget have not in any way created the impression that those judgement debts were the fault of any particular Government. The statements talked
Madam Speaker 2:25 p.m.
Order! Order! Thank you, Hon Member. Hon Member, can you please, conclude?
Mr. Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am going to wind up. I simply want to draw the attention of my very good Friend, the Hon Minority Leader to the words he used when he was making his submission such as “infantile disorders”. Now that is “parliamentary” -- but just to tell people to imagine what used to happen is “unparliamentary”. [Laughter.]

Mr. Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose
-- 2:25 p.m.

Madam Speaker 2:25 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, I intend to go on listening to the Hon Majority Leader to conclude.
Mr. Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, that is dear to the hearts of all Ghanaians. In fact, His Excellency the President stated clearly that it was a priority to his Government and I am very, very happy with the continuation of some of the policies of the previous regime, and the initiation of new ones.
I think that as a country, we are improving both in our political culture and the management of our finances and the economy. According to the dictates of our Constitution, policies of previous regimes are to be continued by the succeeding regimes inasfar as they are for the betterment of mother Ghana. I think that it is not a crime.

In 1998 -- the records are clear; we are moving there again [Interruptions.] I do not usually want to be referring to my Hon Friend, Dr. Akoto Osei; when he was at the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), he saw the United Nations (UN) Report and everything. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Report was clear on it, and therefore, this Government is going to consciously invest in it and very, very soon, we would have enough food to eat even in this House. [Hear! Hear!]

The focus of the cocoa policies of Government is not just on producer price; no! We are looking at social security scheme for the farmers, we are looking at the housing scheme for the farmers, and we are looking at the issue of stabilization, so that we do not have this kind of ding- dong battle with the income of the cocoa farmers. So I believe that my Hon Friends should commend it highly and we want to make sure that all of us work to achieve the targets that are set in this Budget.

Again, I want to commend Hon Members for a very interesting debate. Hon Members would understand that very soon, the detailed estimates would come before them at their committees; we have tried getting enough committee rooms for committees to deliberate. We have directed that no committee should go to hold meetings in any Ministry; it is very important, because we want this document to be wholly owned by us.

We do not want Parliament to continue, to use the term of the Hon Minority Leader, to “operate in the belly of the Executive”. Efforts have been made in that direction and be assured that we are pushing further the frontiers of the liberties of democracy
Madam Speaker 2:25 p.m.
Unless we hear what it is about -- Hon Majority Leader, let us hear the Hon Minority Leader. Yes, Minority Leader, I am taking this from you just because you are the Leader. [Interruptions.]
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I am really coming on this point very reluctantly. Ordinarily, I should not be rising on a point of order to what my Hon Colleague is saying. But I think that, the implications that he just made that --

Madam Speaker, and for the information of my Hon Colleagues at the back, there is no room for hooting in this House -- [Uproar]-- There is no room for hooting and they should learn. [Uproar.]
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, as we agreed yesterday, if it is “shame”, well, you have ruled and it may be accepted, but we do not hoot in this room. And I think that if we should get into that shouting battle, this House would lose its decorum. I think that people should learn the rules of the House, and not reduce this House, which is supposed to be an august one into a market or a beer bar.
Madam Speaker, Ghana deserves better. If you listen to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, this certainly is
There is nothing wrong with the NDC Government continuing some of the policies of the NPP Government. And we should rather be commended highly instead of being condemned as following the policies, so that when it was being read by the Hon Minister, then they said “NPPI” -- It is not; they are national programmes that we all believe would help to improve the quality of life of Ghanaians.
We are simply adding and refining it -- and to use the word the Hon Minority Leader -- “cleansing” the bad-blotted aspects and making sure that we reap maximum returns from those investments -- We all know how dear the cocoa sector is, but it is important for Hon Members to be reminded that the first cocoa tree grew up in Osu; that is where the first cocoa tree was planted.

The important thing I want to address and bring to the attention of Hon Members is the fact that, there was conscious State effort by various governments to invest in that sector. And we can do so in many sectors with many crops, whether they are cash crops or food crops. If we do that in this country, that would help reduce poverty, earn income and create employment.

That is what the Government is doing by proposing this Budget. The taxes, the duties on imported rice, chicken and the rest are meant not just to generate revenue but to protect local production -- [Hear! Hear!] -- And in the near future, we
Mr. Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
Madam Speaker, I think that we have to commend you highly for presiding and making sure that the debate was very decorous and that we have come to a very sweet conclusion.
Madam Speaker, judging from the mood of the House, even though we have a number of items, I would want to crave your indulgence and that of the House to allow you to use your discretion to adjourn the House so that we could continue business tomorrow.
I think we commend Hon Members
for the turn-out, for the participation and for their clear views on a very important project, that is, the approval of the Budget.
I thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Yes, thank you, thank you very much, Hon Members.
Upon this note, I adjourn the House till Thursday, 3rd December, 2009 at 10.00 a.m.
Once again, thank you,, Hon Members.
ADJOURNMENT 12:25 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.53 p.m. till 3rd December, 2009 at 10.00 a.m.
  • Madam Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I thank the Majority Leader for also concluding within the appointed time. I must commend all of you for a lively debate and your maturity, especially the Leaders.
    I will now call upon the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to wind up -- and I mean wind up. Yes, Hon Minister? [Pause.] Hon Minister, I think if you stand here -- [Madam Speaker pointing to the Dispatch Box]-- we will hear. [Pause.] Yes -- Hon Minister, you have the floor, wind up, please.
    Dr. Kwabena Duffuor 2:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for allowing me to conclude the debate on
    Ghana for a transformed and a prosperous nation, that would provide opportunities for all Ghanaians. What we are looking for is opportunity for every Ghanaian for a better life, and we hope that a year by now, the results will testify to that.
    Madam Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, we thank you.
    Hon Members, we have come to the end of the debate and the only thing left is for me to put the Question.
    Madam Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I thought the rule was that after I put the Question, nobody speaks again. [Interruptions.]
    Dr. Osei 2:45 p.m.
    Madam Speaker, when you called for the vote, my impression was that only Members of Parliament are allowed to say “Ayes”, but I heard some Ministers also -- [Uproar.] -- Madam Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    Madam Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Well, that is a legitimate point. In which case -- Hon Members, this is a very legitimate point, and I have to put the Question again. [Hear! Hear!]
    Question put and motion agreed to:
    That the House approves the Financial Policy of Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2010.

    Madam Speaker, my commendation will not be complete if I do not extend it to the technical team, the management team, the Government and the entire nation for their moral and spiritual support.