Mr Speaker, I was saying that any nation that had seen some development, the so-called first world country -- developed countries have all done so by riding on the back of science, technology and innovation. And science, technology and innovation is cost- cutting.
Mr Speaker, agriculture, health, education, energy, all of these activities, if there is going to be advancement in any of these, it is rooted in science, technology and innovation. Indeed, Mr Speaker, the most topical matter in the world today is the environment. The issues of climate change and its impact on agriculture, the weather and everything, has become -- I would want to believe -- the most topical thing in the world.
Therefore, the imperatives are that, if we want to move from where we are today as a nation to the Utopia that all of us are looking forward to, then the nation must give a lot of attention and focus to science and technology.
Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, it does not appear that is what we are doing and I would want to use one of the agencies under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation as an example.
Mr Speaker, one of the major agencies is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and it has thirteen research institutions. If you look at the estimates, beyond compensation, there was a scanty allocation for services.
Indeed, out of the GH¢1,800,000, I would want to believe, probably, only GH¢800,000 went to them. If indeed, out of the services budget, they were able to have only about 15 per cent -- anything that has gone on there, had come out of their internally generated funds (IGFs).
Mr Speaker, out of these thirteen agencies, they were able to generate IGFs worth seven million Ghana cedis. If you divide it over the thirteen agencies, you would approximate and say every one of them was able to generate GH¢500,000.
Mr Speaker, in science and technology, if you want to do serious research, GH¢500,000 is the amount you would spend in one day. Therefore, we have created these fine institutions -- Forest Research Institute, Building and Road Research Institute, Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, and all of them are not funded
Mr Speaker, the impact or the result is what we see. We have had a Building and Road Research Institute in this country for over fifty years but if you go to our rural communities, there has been no impact whatsoever on rural housing. Therefore, the position we take is that, as the Hon Ranking Member said, it might be necessary for all of us to relook at science and technology. Sometimes, the notion is that it is like rocket science, but Mr Speaker, what we need to understand is that, it is what impacts on our lives every day.
Mr Speaker, the other thing I would want to talk about is that, in the deliberation -- I think one of the policies of the Ministry was to help with Information Communication Technology
(ICT) development and in the process, over the years -- I think that in the year 2012, Mr Speaker, an amount of GH¢54,000,000 was paid to one company to supply laptops. Indeed, they were asked to supply one hundred and eight thousand (108,000) laptops.
When some inquiries were made, the Hon Minister indicated to us that Government had decided to move ICT and everything related to it from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to the Ministry of Communi- cations.
When we wanted to find out as the representatives of the people, who have oversight responsibility of how the tax- payer 's money is used -- the Hon Minister's answer was, that function had been transferred and we thought that even in the transfer, in his handing over notes, he would be able to indicate to us what had happened with the laptops.