Debates of 26 Jan 2010

PRAYERS 10:05 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Hon Members, I am happy to see almost -- I was going to say almost the whole Members -- but I cannot say that now. I am happy to see some Hon Members present here this morning. I hope Hon Members, in spite of the numerous engagements during the seasonal festivities at their constituencies had the opportunity to take some rest to start yet another busy Session.
I am thankful to the Almighty God for keeping us healthy and safe during the recess and back to Parliament House. I pray that the good Lord will continue to grant us divine mercies to see us through this Meeting and beyond. Hon Members, as you are aware, this Parliament, that is, the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic, its one year milestone was on 7th January, this year.
Indeed, it is good in every human endeavour to occasionally take sober reflection of one's activity in order to re-strategise, taking into account the
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.

weaknesses and failures. This we will do as an institution poised to deepening parliamentary democracy in Ghana. But in the interim, whatever the assessment of the performance of the House may be, let us leave it to the judgement of the people of Ghana and continue to strive on with purposefulness in the execution of the work here in this House.

A year ago when I had my baptism of fire in this Chamber, as a fresh Speaker, little did I know that I was going to get the co-operation of all shades of political colour in the House to successfully steer affairs here. But I must admit that the source where the fire was stoked has been one of my sources of inspiration in striving to be a good Speaker for all.

Hon Members, as we commence Sitting today, let us approach work for this Meeting and subsequent Meetings of the Session with dedication and thorough-ness for the wellbeing of our people in mind. We should be mindful that our thoughts and actions do not undermine those values. Indeed, we should endeavour to leave behind a legacy of hope and inspiration for the present and future generations.

Hon Members, as it has been the practice, Leadership as usual will ensure that the requisite plans and logistics are put in place to make your work for the Meeting comfortable. I will, however,

entreat you to register your presence at plenary and committee sittings of the House always.

On behalf of Leadership, I extend hearty greetings and welcome you to the House, Hon Members.

We move on to Correction of Votes and

Proceedings -- that is item 22.
Mr. Frederick Opare-Ansah 10:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we do not have the Votes and Proceedings.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Votes and Proceed-
ings, Clerk? We are trying to get copies for you, so can we stand this down and go on with work? We take item 3 then -- Urgent Question.
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:05 a.m.
Thank you,
Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, we are trying to get in touch with the Hon Minister as to whether he is on his way because they submitted the Answers and they are aware that the Questions are slated for today. So we may need to stand that down and move on to Statements where we will give space to the House to congratulate our gallant Black Stars.
The Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture is available to lead us in that direction. So with your leave and the indulgence of the House, I may want us to take item 5 now.
Madam Speaker 10:05 a.m.
Yes, Hon Members,
I have admitted a Statement so we move on to item 5 on the Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, can you read your statement?
STATEMENTS 10:15 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Thank you, Hon
Member. Yes, any comments?
Mr. David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 10:25 a.m.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker for this opportunity. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon Member for coming out with this very important Statement.
Madam Speaker, soon after the attack
on the Togolese team, I was of the view that Ghana could have pulled out as well from the game because I thought that an attack on one West African country is equally an attack on the other.
So I felt that as a sign of solidarity, Ghana could have pulled out as well from the game to show our solidarity and also to send signal that there is the need for various African Leaders to live up to expectation, because I thought that the security in that country falls squarely on the Angolan Authorities to make sure that the players were safe.
Madam Speaker, I was very happy that soon after that, the Presidency in Ghana issued some directive to the Angolan Authorities to make sure that the security of our players was taken care of and I thought that was also heeded to and we saw that since then, security in that country or in the team has improved.
Madam Speaker, I think that this should send a signal to African Leaders that there is the need for us to sit down and talk over issues; if the Angolan Authorities met with the rebels and had some dialogue, this problem would not have occurred. And so I am looking beyond the football
Mr. David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai Osudoku) 10:25 a.m.

at the need for Leaders to sit down and talk with one another so that this issue of rebels would cease.

Madam Speaker, I think that the Black Stars are doing well and it is our hope that at the end of it all Ghana shall emerge victorious. This is because Sport is a passion to the Ghanaian and this would equally harness our unity to make sure that the unity, in diversity grows from strength to strength, such that this nation would continue to see stability in development.

Thank you, Madam Speaker for this


Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye (NPP

-- Dome-Kwabenya): Madam Speaker, I rise to make a few contributions to the Statement on the floor of this Honourable House.

Madam Speaker, football is a very wonderful game, it arouses a lot of national interest and unity. Madam Speaker, it is a time that we see nationalism also on display.

Definitely, anytime they play our Anthem we all feel very proud and we see the flag all over the place globally.

Madam Speaker, the better our team performs, the more our Anthem is played and naturally the more we all become proud. For that matter, it becomes actually a very national affair.

Madam Speaker, at any given time, we see eleven gallant young men represen- ting Ghana, in short, our fate rests in their hands. They can let us down, they can make us proud. Madam Speaker, joy comes to many homes as a result of their performance and vice versa.

I believe that, we should, as a people, no matter what we do wherever we are --

carpenters, masons, architects whatever, see this as a call to God and country and if we should all do our various jobs, the way we expect our young men in the Black Stars to perform, definitely, this country would be a better place for all of us.

Madam Speaker, it is also a fact that no one can select himself to become a member of this team, and not only that, whoever is selected must subject himself to discipline and also team spirit.

In fact, the beauty about football as against many sports is that, it is not an individual display of business, it is a team affair. Particularly when we watch Egypt, we realize that it is a very cohesive team, not necessarily depending upon individual talents.

I believe that it should be a lesson in

other aspects of our human endeavour, that as people, we should eschew pulling down others and we should adopt the team spirit best exhibited in football in all the things that we do in various aspects of our national life and in nation building. We should also see the need to “die small” for our country.

Madam Speaker, it is beautiful to see young men obviously really tired but running and giving themselves virtually away, even at the risk and pain of their very limbs and life so that Ghana should shine. We salute them and we trust that we should continue to adopt this kind of spirit in all that we do in various areas, also remembering that no one can achieve excellence without training.

They definitely have subjected themselves to a lot of training, acquired skills and willing to employ these skills in order that we should all be satisfied as a nation. In the same way, the young people must continue to realize that no one can attain any height without training, without subjecting themselves to coaching.

In fact, the footballers, if they would not subject themselves to their coach would not do well. But they are not small boys, they are men. In fact many of them are earning huge sums of money, but the more they are able to subject themselves to the discipline of the coach and the person who is in authority, the better they would perform and we continue to realize this.

Madam Speaker, discipline, therefore, should continue to be part and parcel of our lives.

What happened to the Togolese team must be something that we have to talk about as Africans. We know how far we have come towards being accepted globally and when these incidences come, they are not seen only as a Togo affair, they are seen as ‘look at these Africans'.

It is important for us to, in this House, send word that, we would want South Africa to take the next game that will be held in their country, that global event very, very seriously; that they are representing the whole of Africa. It must be an Africa Union affair and security must not slack in any manner whatsoever, that the global civilized world of which we are part would have any reason to query Africa in any way whatsoever.

Madam Speaker, for these few words, I

thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua (NDC

-- Biakoye): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the commendations that are going to the Black Stars. Indeed, they have done very well because these are young men who are to step in for their senior colleagues who were injured. But in doing so, we should not forget the coach and the management team of the Black Stars who have done a good job to ensure that these young men were readily available to take the place of

the older men when they were not ready to take on the job because of the injuries.

The advice I want to give to the nation

and particularly, the football fraternity and to the management team of the Black Stars is that, there is the need to ensure that sports are developed from the juvenile level upwards, so that at any point in time, when the senior men are not in a position to do the job, the young men who have been trained and are ready can immediately stand in and take their places.

I think that if we do not go that way, a time would come when there would be a vacuum; when there is the need for the senior men to play and they are not in a position to play, we may not get the young ones to replace them.

Indeed, it is a good job well done and I hope and pray that the Black Stars would not end it there but they will continue and bring the cup home so that we would all enjoy with them.

With these few words, I want to thank

the management team, the Black Stars and all Ghanaians for supporting the team to this stage.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Isaac Kwame Asiamah 10:25 a.m.
-- rose
-- 10:25 a.m.

Madam Speaker 10:25 a.m.
Hon Asiamah, this
is a comment on the Statement that was made and you were not here. So please, restrict your comment to the Statement that was made. I looked round to see whether you were here but it is a Statement congratulating the Black Stars.
Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwima- Mponua) 10:35 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity. Madam
Mr. Isaac K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwima- Mponua) 10:35 a.m.

Speaker, this is just on a lighter note. You are looking younger and more attractive after the recess -- [Laughter.] It is unfortunate, I am a very young Member of Parliament but --

Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon Chairman and the maker of the Statement. I hope, as he did indicate, both of us were in Angola for the tournament. We went there to provide the right leadership and motivation to the team. Madam Speaker, I believe that this is a team that has over the years exhibited the determination and the highest spirit needed in modern football. The progressive nature of this team is very much welcome. Some of us are so glad that this is also a very young determined team, a team that has been tried and tested.

Madam Speaker, I am saying this because when I was the Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports, I did travel with some of the players when we went to Peru in 2005; the likes of Opoku Agyeman and company were there in Peru. And when we went to South Korea in 2007 some of them were also there.

Indeed, just recently in Egypt when they won the gold we were there with some of these young brilliant players. For me, I am inspired and motivated by the fact that indeed these young players have progressed over the years and that shows clearly -- it is a demonstration of the fact that indeed Ghana has a team.

Indeed, we have a future and indeed there is hope for Ghana football. That is the more reason why some of us would like to congratulate all the time, the leadership of Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi for doing so much well for Ghana football.

The Ghana Football Authority (GFA) leadership today must be congratulated all the time because they have the vision and the foresight. I remember when I read their Action Plan spanning 2006 to 2010,

that four-year action plan, whatever they said there is materialising today. That is why I said that indeed, this leadership has a vision and indeed it has the foresight for Ghana football.

Madam Speaker, football has about

three very important areas -- defence, midfield and forward. Clearly, we have a team --[Interruptions] -- that demonstrates all these vital areas in football. When it comes to defence, they are there; the midfield, and then now the new discovery, Kwadwo Asamoah, is such a fantastic guy there.

So clearly, Ghana indeed has a future in football. The attacking machinery -- Madam Speaker, I can tell you that with the young ones that we have discovered, I do not want to mention names because all of them are equally good and all of them are very important in the attacking machinery.

I know other Hon Members have said

a lot but Madam Speaker, I think that for Africans it is important for us to have realized that football is about promoting friendship and co-operation among ourselves and indeed the whole world.

What some of us witnessed there, especially the match between Ghana and Burkina Faso, after the match, right before some of us, Mr. Obuor was beaten. And we all know Mr. Obuor, the gentleman who has been carrying the African pot whenever the Black Stars play. In fact, it was so sad. Some of us were there to sympathize with him and I was there together with the Hon Minister, a very affable gentle Minister, Hon Rashid Pelpuo. [Interruptions.] Unfortunately -- I will come to the stability of the team -- [Interruptions] --Oh! That one, I will come to that because I just heard something and I do not know whether it is true or not -- whether somebody who is indeed -- [Interruptions] -- I will come to that.

Madam Speaker, indeed, it was so sad that football that is supposed to promote friendship and co-operation we have Ghanaians in Angola being intimidated and beaten up, it was so sad, and I am happy the leadership of the GFA took up the matter and indeed they worked on that issue and thank God at the last match we did not witness such brutality again. So that friendship should continue for African football.

Madam Speaker, some of us who have been keen supporters of football would appreciate the fact that stability in the team is very important and stability in leadership is also very important. It is so sad that after being part of leadership of the team in Angola, the Hon Minister who has provided leadership over there -- at least if for nothing at all the team he sent to Angola is delivering. If for nothing at all, that team that many Ghanaians did not have much hope in, that team is delivering - and the team is playing semi-finals, we are progressing. At least, let us wait for the end of the tournament if there is anything at all -- [Interruption.] Yes, we give respect to His Excellency, he has every right to reshuffle his Ministers at any time but not when a Minister is on such a crucial national assignment -- [Hear! Hear!] -- When he is at the war front fighting for mother Ghana, and he just hears on the phone that he has been reshuffled.

Madam Speaker, what is the signal out there? Indeed, this is somebody I was with in Angola and Madam Speaker, it is always difficult for Isaac Asiamah -- you know the way I criticize. So when today I tell you that this is a Minister -- and take it from me -- for me anytime I criticize, I do so objectively.

So is i t because we are ant i - development, we are anti-progress that anybody who becomes more progressive minded becomes an enemy of progress? Is it because this Government does not want progress in areas of vital national importance that when a Minister is delivering, that Minister goes away and another Minister -- [Interruptions.] Madam Speaker, I am speaking as a concerned Member of Parliament and as a Ghanaian.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Is it a point of order?
Mr. Ackah 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I stand on a point of order. Madam Speaker, I made a simple Statement to congratulate the Black Stars. My Ranking Member, I think, is out of order because he has no right in his capacity as a Ranking Member to challenge the President on his reshuffle. Whether he has reshuffled the Minister for Youth and Sports or not, that is not his business. So Madam Speaker, I think you must call him to order, he is digressing from the main topic we are discussing.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Yes, I do not think he is challenging the President -- [Hear! Hear!] I thought he was making a statement about the Black Stars. But please, leave that out and finish up.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker,
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Wind up.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 10:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am saying this, we are praying that the Black Stars win this Cup. Should they fail, some of us would not hesitate in blaming the appointing authority for this reshuffle and for this decision that may have far-reaching consequences on the team. Morale is definitely going to come down, I say so because this is an Hon Minister who has interacted and mingled with the players so much, they see him as a father. Indeed they love the Minister, I am telling you on authority because of his rapport with them.
Madam Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Yes, wind up now.
Mr. I. K. Asiamah 10:35 a.m.
That is His Excellency the President but Ghanaians will never forgive him should the Black Stars fail to bring the cup and the challenge is that we are bringing the cup. Should they not bring the cup, we will blame the President for bringing instability in the team and for bringing lack of foresightedness as we speak now. I say so because now the direction has been lost.
Minority Leader (Mr. Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to also associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture.
Madam Speaker, the Black Stars have qualified; the first nation in the tournament to do, for the semi-finals of the current tournament. We achieved this feat by defeating the host nation by one goal to nil. Madam Speaker, it has never been easy playing against a host nation which is why it is important to congratulate the Black Stars for this achievement.
Madam Speaker, this feat was also achieved in the presence of the President of the host country, and that is very significant, a President who is very passionate and enthusiastic about football.
The traditional sport of Angola is basketball; we all do know and yet we have a President who is inspiring the whole nation to rally behind the team, a very commendable effort by His Excellency the President. And that the Black Stars were able to rise to the zenith of their play to overcome the Black Antelopes is a performance that we should all be proud of.
Madam Speaker, the game play of the team, without doubt, lifted up the spirit of the nation. Because, admittedly, before that match, Ghanaians were a bit deflated because the game play of the Black Stars up to that level was not much to be enthused about. But again, the victory of the Black Stars could be better appreciated if one considers that it came against the backdrop of some questionable decisions by the people officiating the match.
Again, it is important to recognise that the current Black Stars are indeed an under-strength team which is dominated by Under-20 players. The fact of the matter is that, they are playing without about eight regular players, eight senior players including John Essien, the skipper, Stephen Appiah, Muntari, Laryea Kingson, John Mensah and Anthony Annan -- [Interruptions] -- Well, Madam Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the fact that I called Essien, John Essien, he is indeed Michael Essien.
Madam Speaker, again, one could also savour the victory against the background that the current crop is even injury- ravished and for them to have risen to the occasion is worthy of commendation. Madam Speaker, what this tells us is that with unity of purpose and determination, everything is achievable under the sun, with the help of God, of course.
Madam Speaker, it turns out that in the victory, two of our key players came out worse off. Asamoah Gyan who scored the goal, limped off and Anthony Annan ended up not well fit. One can only pray that they have sufficient recuperation to enable them face the task ahead, that is the next hurdle where we will confront Nigeria.
Madam Speaker, let us, while appreciating the success of the Black Stars, congratulate not only the players but the technical handlers and the supporters who have made it to Angola to provide the requisite environment to ginger up the players.
Madam Speaker, the next hurdle is against Nigeria. Yesterday, the display of Nigeria clearly indicated to us that there is nothing in big names. If big names cannot cohere and gel as a team,
they become vulnerable. Yesterday, Nigeria was exposed, not many of us had confidence in our players to travel this distance. We have come some way and we must urge them on to prepare and psyche themselves up. Nigeria is beatable and I believe that we can easily beat Nigeria.
But we need to improve our stamina. It looks like getting to the end, the players were getting quite tired.
Madam Speaker, the tactical and technical disposition of the team is not one that could excite connoisseurs of the game. But as the team travels on, we are getting the impression that they are improving by every game. What we are not too sure of is whether the technical handlers will have the time to blend these players who are not representing the country and those of them who are outside with injury to enable us present a winsome team in the World Cup. We can only hope for the best.
Madam Speaker, let me, in winding up, once again commend the team and hope to God that they will rise to the occasion and scale the hurdle of Nigeria to meet the team that will confront us in the finals.
Once again, Ayekoo to the players, the handlers and the supporters who are there with them in Angola.
Madam Speaker, thank you for the occasion.
Madam Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Minority Leader.
Yes, Hon Leader?
Majority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 10:45 a.m.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would just take a few minutes to add my voice to those of my Hon Colleagues in congratulating the Black Stars, coming from the Ministry, the management team,
Majority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 10:55 a.m.

the coach and the playing body itself.

Madam Speaker, their performance in Angola has mesmerised many people and I am sure that many of us did not give them a dog chance because as we are all aware, the team is riddled with a lot of injuries, particularly so when Michael Essien came out after the second-half not fit to continue. But here we are, with a lot of hope, and I think that we have now developed the confidence in the team. And that is what is exciting and satisfying to many of us.

We have the future, as a country, and given the opportunity, that is how the youth of this country can excel globally. Therefore, some of us are not just satisfied but feeling fulfilled that there are men and women, ready at anytime to take up the difficult task of leadership and to even perform better than we those who are in leadership now.

So Madam Speaker, this is the right time for us to communicate to the team and its management that we are solidly behind them, we commend them for the feat of defeating the host nation and we want to encourage and inspire them to carry through to the last moment, die a little more for Ghana and come back home with the Cup. That definitely will enhance the spirit that is already lingering in the nation; the spirit of unity, the spirit of togetherness; the spirit that Ghana is really the star of Africa and the spirit that we can together make Ghana a better place to live in.

So I would want to emphasise that we in this House are very happy with the performance of the team and the management, together with the Ministry. We want this commendation to be communicated to them as soon as possible. We would be behind them, we would be

glued to our television sets, we are with them, body, spirit and soul and we are sure the good Lord would see us through to the finals and we would come out the victors of this African Cup tournament.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Thank you, Hon Leader.
Can we now move on to the Correction of Votes and Proceedings, if you have your papers?

Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 21st December, 2009.
Pages 1- 26. Hon. Members, in the absence of any
corrections the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 21st December, 2009 is adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Leader, then we move on to
Question time.
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, yesterday, I came to the House in the evening to pick up my mail. This morning I came in and picked up the mail and as I entered, I was given this Votes and Proceedings, of 21st of December, 2009.
I do not know what is happening to the Parliamentary Service, but it would be interesting to find out why it is that we got it as we came in. Something might have gone amiss and I would like to know. It is important for the running of this House,
especially as our beloved Leader may be leaving, that we do things right. This is for 21st of December but I came in yesterday, there was nothing, I came in this morning, there was nothing; and as I came in, they gave me this. I have never seen it happen before.
What happened? Why did we get this thing as we entered the House? We would like to know so that the House can run properly.
Maybe, somebody must answer for this -- either the Clerks-at-the-Table or the Leadership. I want to know what happened. It is a legitimate question that I have put. If it is covering 21st of December, and today is 26th of January and we could not get the Votes and Proceedings out until now, then I want to know what happened. I want to know, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Leader now, can you tell us why the delay? Straighten things out first before, if you may, you go.
Mr. Bagbin 10:55 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think this is not part of Business on the floor of the House; it is quite secretarial. Maybe, the Hansard office had some difficulties in coming out with the Votes and Proceedings earlier than we all expected. It is true that it should have been put in our pigeon holes earlier than today but we even got into the Chamber before it was shared.
I anticipate that they encountered some problems; they have not drawn my attention to any of those problems, but that is the only possible reason I could give. They work throughout the night; sometimes they leave here midnight just because they have to put the Votes and Proceedings together. So if they could
not do that earlier then it meant there were some serious challenges that they met. But we would try and enquire from the Secretariat to see why and try to support and facilitate the earlier delivery of the Votes and Proceedings.
Thank you very much.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Can we now move on to the Urgent Question? Is the Hon Minister for Health here?
The next Question, the Urgent Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Kwabre East, Mr. Kofi Frimpong.
Hon Member, can you ask your Question? Hon Minister?


Mr. Frimpong 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister when exactly he will give the ambulance to the hospital as he is saying?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in our Answer, we did indicate alternatives, that when the alternative source of funding for the repair is achieved, that would be done immediately. In the alternative, when we receive the ambulances that we have already ordered for, that would be done. How soon will depend on when delivery is taken.
Mr. Frimpong 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would prefer the latter option since the vehicle is seriously damaged. It is seriously damaged so I would want him to assure me that he would also adhere to
the latter option to give us a new vehicle.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Is that a question?
Mr. Frimpong 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, yes.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Assurance and a question?
Mr. Frimpong 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, may I know from him whether he will go by the latter option?
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
That is very ingenious. Thank you for the Question.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am sure the Hon Member is aware that I have given him more than three assurances, except he wants one in this House, that we would seriously consider the latter option.
Mr. Frimpong 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I beg to express my gratitude to the Hon Minister for assuring me that he will give us a new ambulance for the hospital in my holy village. I believe him and that is why he has survived the tsunami. [Laughter.]
Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, he said the ambulance was conveying an official to the north. I thought ambulance convey people who are sick. Has ambulance now become a means of transport for the officials of the place? Is it not misuse of public property, an ambulance conveying officials to the north? They could have gone by another means of transport. So the question is, has he now decided to convert ambulances into means of transport for officials?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think I just actually skipped something in the Answer. The vehicle was returning “after having conveyed an official in an approved case”. This was a sick person that had been treated and the person was being returned.
Madam Speaker 11:05 a.m.
Can we move to the next Question which stands in the name of Hon Christopher Addae?


Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Health has no immediate plans to expand the Bibiani District Hospital. However, the Ministry is highly appreciative of the contribution of the District Assembly and the mining company in the district for constructing two new wards for the hospital.
The Ministry is monitoring attendance at the hospital following the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme and some laundry and other equipment were sent to the hospital when utilization was seen to be increasing. The Ministry will continue to monitor the situation in the hospital with the view to upgrading the hospital within the medium to long- term when utilization outstrips the existing infrastructure.
Mr. C. Addae 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister says there are no immediate plans to expand the Hospital and he is trying to give the impression that the facilities there are adequate to serve the people around. Will the Hon Minister tell us when exactly he would take the necessary steps to provide additional
facilities to make sure that the Hospital functions properly, as I know that the facilities there are not adequate for effective and efficient delivery of service there?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the upgrading of health facilities are governed by a set criteria and one of them is the patient-to-facility ratio. There are about 35 of such facilities that agitations are being made to get them upgraded. But when you look at the patient-to-facility ratio, you would find that you need more time to get to the equilibrium before this can be done.
One typical example which comes to mind is Tinga where continuously for six months, the average attendance at Out- Patient Department (OPD) had been ten. So, while it is important to agree with such a facility, priority is normally given to other areas. But we do appreciate that the Bibiani issue will come on board shortly.
Mr. C. Addae 11:05 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Hon Minister admitted that the District Assembly and the local mining company have provided two facilities for male and female wards. Would the Hon. Minister tell us when they would provide equipment for the wards because when you go to the wards, you would find out that we do not have adequate beds and other equipment. When will those be provided?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, western Region was one of the first regions to receive equipment for their health facilities, together with Brong Ahafo. We will make sure that we get in touch with the Regional Directorate to find out why distribution is delaying.
Mr. C. Addae 11:05 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I know that there is only one serving medical officer for that hospital, would the Hon Minister tell us when we can get an additional medical officer to support the only person at post now?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Ghana Health Service is currently carrying out this restructuring exercise and depending on the peculiar situation of Bibiani, if there is the need to get a second medical officer, that will be done, Madam Speaker.
Mr. J. Boahen Aidoo 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, in the Minister's Answer, he has indicated that the Ministry is monitoring attendance with the view to upgrading the hospital. By inference, the hospital will be upgraded only when utilization goes up. The question is, would the Hon Minister tell us the level of utilization of the hospital for which reason upgrading cannot be done now? At what level of utilization will the hospital be upgraded?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the details of such a question, certainly if we were given notice, we will be able to provide. But I can say for sure that the circumstances under which utilization is measured is based on a number of variables. We have to find out what is endemic in that particular area and to find out whether in those endemic areas the personnel facilities and other infrastructure that is there is coping with the particular prevalent health condition in that area.
The second one is to find out whether there are contiguous health facilities that absorb some particular clinical conditions which reduces the pressure. In some areas, it could just be in-and-out migration that determines this but if we are given sufficient notice on this, we can give this House a very detailed answer.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, will the Minister then agree to come to
the House again to brief us on this subject matter?
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
If you call him, if you ask him the Question again, of course he will come.
Mr. J. B. Aidoo 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I am
giving this indication because in his own Answer, he was very emphatic that the Ministry was monitoring attendance, and I felt that was the basis for the utilization measure that he was alluding to. If he is saying that he needs sufficient notice, then what I am asking is that is he prepared to appear in this House to give us information on the attendance and for that matter the utilization element for the upgrading of this hospital?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Surveillance Department does this almost on daily basis because they are health issues and the data must be relatively accurate. If the Hon Member is particularly interested in surveillance generally and how utilization goes on in the country, that we can do. If he wants a specific utilization data on Bibiani, that can be provided when the Ministry is asked to do so.
Madam Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Shall we move to the next Question in the name of Hon Stephen Yakubu (Binduri)?
Bawku Municipal Polyclinic Project (Commenement)
Q. 259. Mr. Stephen Yakubu asked the Minister for Health when the polyclinic project earmarked for Bawku Municipality and programmed to be sited at Binduri would commence.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, funding constraints have made it difficult for the Ministry of Health to upgrade existing health centres into polyclinics
nationwide. However, the Ministry is taking steps to strengthen the health centre at Binduri to an appreciable standard to meet the health needs of the community.
Further upgrading of the health centre into a polyclinic would commence as soon as funds are available.
Mr. Yakubu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, Binduri
is a very rural community, it has a relative population of about 30,000. It is part of Bawku Municipality and the whole Bawku Municipality has got only one hospital which has got its own problems. The Minister is telling me in his Answer that the Ministry is taking steps to strengthen the health centre at Binduri to an appreciable standard to meet the health needs of the community. May I know when and what appreciable standards the Minister is talking about?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the standards at a health centre are known, the standards of a polyclinic, a general hospital and a specialist hospital are known. Binduri is a health centre and the health centre normally requires different combination of components -- In some cases from a medical assistant to a number of midwives, to a number of community officers and to dispensary attendants. Comparing it to other health centres in the country, Binduri falls under a relatively advanced health centre.
Mr. Yakubu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I also want the Minister to tell me whether the Ministry has actually started sourcing funds for this project.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Yes, Madam Speaker. There are up to about seven funding sources that are on line. Some of them will be coming to this Honourable House. What is certain is that health centres,
Mr. Yakubu 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I also would like the Minister to actually give me a time frame, whether within the year, within two and a half years or what time frame we are looking at here.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:15 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we will get in touch with the Upper East Medical Directorate to give us a scientific basis for the time frame.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
The next Question stands in the name of Hon Kwasi Anno Ankamah (Atiwa).

Abomosu Health Centre (Upgrading)

Q. 260. Prof (Emeritus) Samuel Kwadwo Amoako (on behalf of Mr. Kwasi Anno Ankamah) asked the Minister for Health about the status of the upgrading of Abomosu Health Centre into a District Hospital.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Abomosu Health Centre is the main health delivery facility in the Abomosu Su-district of Atiwa. The Health Centre caters for the residents of Abomosu, Asunafo, Senkubemasi, Amonom, Akwadusu, Asamama, Akakom, et cetera. It covers a target population of about 23,930.
It is well equipped to provide all the basic primary health care services to its target population.
Besides, the Enyiresi Hospital is being supported by the Ministry to function as the district hospital according to the Ministry's policy. Abomosu is about 35 kilometres away from Enyiresi on the Anyinam-Nkawkaw road. Within the resource constraint, we as a Ministry have a policy not to locate two district hospitals

within this range that Abomosu finds itself with Enyiresi.

Abomosu may be considered sometime to come; but not under the current policy of the Ministry that guides the location of health facilities.
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:25 a.m.
Speaker, I am looking at the Answer of the Hon Minister; and referring to paragraph 3, the second sentence and I quote:
“Abomosu is about 35 kilometres away from Enyiresi on the Anyinam- Nkawkaw road.”
Madam Speaker, either the sentence was very poorly constructed or it is giving the impression that Abomosu is on the Kumasi-Nkawkaw road. Madam Speaker, that is not the case. May I know from the Hon Minister, what are the criteria used for selecting a district health centre?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Enyiresi-Nkawkaw road is simply a cardinal location to define where this health facility is; but one that does not necessarily imply that the facility is along the road. But that is the stretch, within which it could even be 35 kilometres inside.
The criteria for normally locating health centres are quite clear within the decentralized structure in the health system. A CHPS compound handles communities that are equivalent to a District Assembly's Unit Committee. A health centre approximates what we call, Area and Town Councils; so population is a major criteria in determining this. There are very exceptional cases in which population has not been a determining factor.
Prof. (Emeritus) Amoako 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, Abomosu is not on the main road of Anyinam-Nkawkaw road, it is removed. The capital for the district is Kwabeng, and Abomosu is about 10 kilometres away from Kwabeng. So what motivated the
siting of the District Health Centre on the main road rather than in the hinterland where it could serve the population better? Is the Hon Minister considering changing the district health centre from Enyiresi to Abomosu, where it would serve more than 24,000 people?
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I will plead with the Hon Member to give us the opportunity to go and find out exactly what consideration went into the siting at that time, and should this consideration not be relevant today, we will make the necessary changes.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Yes, thank you.
The next Question stands in the name of Hon Charles Hodogbey, Member of Parliament for North Tongu.
Mr. E.K. Bedzrah 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I ask your indulgence to ask the Question on behalf of Hon Charles Hodogbey.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Juapong Health Centre (Completion)
Q. 261. Mr. E.K. Bedzrah (on behalf of Mr. Charles Hodogbey): asked the Minister for Health when the Health Centre at Juapong, which started nearly eight years ago, would be completed and made operational.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
The Juapong Health
Centre project was started with funding from the Saudi Government. However, due to the slow pace of work by the contractor the project could not be completed when the Saudi funding arrangement ran its term and could not be extended.
The Ministry's priority in the 2010 financial year is to complete all projects near completion but abandoned because of budget constraints, and Juapong Health Centre will be completed as well.
Mr. Bedzrah 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Minister when exactly the project will be completed because the people of Juapong are suffering.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, the Juapong project is quite advanced. It is actually at the stage of roofing. What I can assure the Hon Member is that it will commence immediately the budgetary releases start. Our capital investment budget has captured the Juapong facility.
Mr. Bedzrah 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I would like the Government Assurances Committee to take this and we will follow up.
Madam Speaker, the second question is to find out from the Hon Minister what action has been taken against the contractor who started the project but could not complete it.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, there is a review committee that is handling uncompleted project within the health sector and to find out why most of them remain uncompleted, had been abandoned or there have been a slow start. When that committee finishes its work, we will be able to inform this House the appropriate measures that have been taken in accordance with the Procurement Act.
Mr. Kobla Mensah Woyome 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I just want to ask the Hon Minister, in the absence of this health facility, what measures have been put in place for the people of Juapong all this while, to actually help in accessing health care.
Dr. Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we will need some notice on this matter because we know that the catchment area for the Juapong Health Centre has a number of contiguous health facilities that they can access. But I will actually
need notice to be able to inform this House specifically what arrangements have been made.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Minister for Health, thank you very much for coming to the House to respond to our Questions.
Thank you very much.
We now move to Commencement of Public Business, and that is item 6 -- Laying of Papers. Hon Majority Leader, Laying of Papers, item 6 -- 6 (a) (i), by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. Bagbin 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I want to plead with the House to grant leave to the Hon Minister for Health to lay the Papers for and on behalf of Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Yes, any objection?
Mr. Ambrose P. Dery 11:25 a.m.
Madam Speaker, very well.
Madam Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Leader, no objection, you can do that. So laying of Papers, (a) (i).
PAPERS 11:25 a.m.

Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
6 (b), Minister for Energy?
Mr. Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I think
that we are now at 6 (b) and I will ask the same Minister for Health to lay the Paper on behalf of the Minister for Energy. The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning just came in -- he is not the type who hides.
By the Minister for Health (Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor) (on behalf of Minister for Energy) --
Petroleum Agreement amongst the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation on one hand and Afren Energy Ghana Limited, Gulf Atlantic Energy Limited and Mitsui E&P Ghana Keta Limited on the other hand for further exploration work in the Offshore Keta Contract Area.
Referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy.
Madam Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon Leader, any indications as to adjournment?
Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, we do have a number of matters
such as Bills and Agreements before so many committees. This Meeting is quite short, we have only approximately eight weeks to Sit. Therefore, we want to as much as possible use the time available for Committees to meet. So I want to call on Chairmen and Ranking Members of all Committees to immediately put in place a programme to start urgently considering the matters before them so that we could complete at least the uncompleted business before we rise on the 26th of March, 2010. Madam Speaker, I beg to move that we do adjourn the House to tomorrow and give room for committees to meet to consider the matters before them.
I beg to move.
Mr. Ambrose P. Dery 11:35 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:35 a.m.