Debates of 26 Feb 2015

PRAYERS 10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon Members, may I invite the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Minority Leader to join me to receive His Excellency the President of the Republic at the Central Lobby.
Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon Members, the House is privileged to have the presence in the House His Excellency, Mr John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. [Hear! Hear!]
His Excellency the President is here in accordance with article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana to deliver a message on the state of the nation to this Honourable House.
On behalf of the Leadership and Hon Members of this august House, it is my privilege and singular honour to welcome His Excellency the President of the Republic to the House.

Hon Members, I also have the greatest pleasure in inviting His Excellency the President to deliver his Address.

Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
Rt. Hon Speaker, Your Excellency, the Vice President, Your Ladyship, the Chief Justice and Members of the Judiciary, Hon Members of Parliament, I feel honoured to stand once again before this august House, pursuant to article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, to present to you a message on the state of the nation.
Mr Speaker, as I enter the third year of my first term in office as President, I give praise to the Almighty God for continuing to preserve and pour His bountiful favour on our nation.
I also express my endless thanks to the people of Ghana for giving me the opportunity to serve. This is a sacred honour and trust that I swore in my oath as President, to always uphold.
Next week, Ghana will mark its 58th anniversary as an independent nation. The story of our nation, since its proclamation at the stroke of midnight 6th March 1957, by our nation's founder, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, has been, story of resilience.
That night, the euphoria in the air was palpable.
And as Dr Nkrumah uttered those famous words:
“At long last the battle is ended, and thus our beloved country Ghana, is free forever”,
Our fathers and mothers faced the future with joy and excitement.
Many of us were not born yet, but we are able to capture the mood of the moment both through the narrations given us by our elders and in the history books that we have grown up reading.
As Nkrumah said:
“Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all other things shall be added unto thee.”
All other things meant prosperity, good quality life, happiness and even wealth.
Fifty-eight long years later, we now know that the reality of life is one of the challenges. We have been in the pits together as a nation in times past when our neighbours described us as the nation where people queued for toilet paper.
In the early 1980s hunger stalked our land and we were compelled to take raw kenkey home to cook ourselves because we were afraid we would lose out if we allowed the kenkey seller to cook it.
We have also celebrated many victories together.
The story of Ghana is illustrated by a quote of the great African, Nelson Mandela. He said:
“The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
We have gone through many challenges as a nation, but our defining spirit as Ghanaians is that, we have picked ourselves up each time we have fallen and continued to walk on.
In our journey towards creating a prosperous and dignified life for our people, we may find ourselves sometimes in the wilderness. We may not agree on the destination. There are many who would complain of the hardships on this journey.
Indeed, there are even others who would suggest that life in bondage was far better. But as long as we believe, work together and hold on to our faith, we would create the country of prosperity that our people deserve.

We have climbed many hills together and we shall conquer many more in our journey of progress.

Mr Speaker, as I present this State of the Nation Address, our nation is confronted with one of such hills -- the challenge of providing adequate electricity to power industry, business and for residential consumption.

The effects and frustrations posed by the power deficit are clearly felt in our work places, our homes, schools and hospitals. The storage of food, academic activity, artisans such as barbers, hairdressers, welders, and healthcare providers, are all feeling the pinch of the power shortage.

Big businesses and industries are also suffering and threatening to lay off workers. As leader of this nation, by the grace of God, I, more than anyone else, understand the adverse impact of this energy shortfall on the growth of our economy.

We have been here before. In 1983, 1998 and 2006/7, we suffered a similar occurrence.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
In the past, what we have done has been to manage ourselves out of the situation. I do not intend to manage the situation as has been done in the past. I intend to fix it! [Hear! Hear!] I owe it to the Ghanaian people. I, John Dramani Mahama, will fix this energy challenge. [Hear! Hear!]
Perhaps, the impact of the energy shortage is felt much greater today, not only because of the growth of our economy, but also because many more people have access to electricity than in the past. Access to electricity in Ghana is 76 per cent and ranked second only to South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa.
Furthermore, changes in the archi- tectural design of many homes and offices, have resulted in a situation which requires the use of more air-conditioning to maintain a bearable temperature through most times of the year.
Increasing demand for power supply is also being driven by our rapidly growing population. All these, together with other structural and generational issues, have contributed to an electricity supply gap that has oscillated between 300 and 600 MW. The lessons we must learn from all this is for us to plan better for the future.
Firstly, our demand for power is estimated to be growing in excess of 10 per cent per annum. It means that conservatively, we would have to double our electricity supply capacity every eight years if we are to keep up with demand.
Following power purchase agreements we have entered into with several Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and plants that the Volta River Authority (VRA) is currently working on, we expect,
starting from this year and over the next five years, to inject 3,665 MW of power into our power transmission grid.
The breakdown is as follows:
Sunon Asogli (Phase II) -- 360MW
Sunon Asogli (Coal fired) -- 750MW
CenPower -- 350MW
Jacobsen Electro -- 360MW
Amandi -- 240MW
General Electric (GE) -- 1000MW
VRA (T4) -- 185MW
VRA Kpone Tema Power Plant (KTPP) -- 220MW
Mr Speaker, additionally, the completion of planned steam generation units on some current single cycle plants that we have, namely, Tema Thermal Plant (TT1), CENIT and KTPP would add another 330 MW of generation. When this planned addition of 3,800 MW to our generation is realised, it will assure our energy security into the future.
Secondly, since 1965, we have relied principally on hydro sources for our power supply. Our base load generation must now be shifted from hydro to thermal. Hydro power must become supple- mentary. In the last two years, because of low rainfall in the catchment area of the Volta Lake, the level of the Akosombo reservoir has fallen to a critical level.
Challenges with thermal generation has also meant that we have had to run our hydro plants at nearly full capacity during this period, thereby drawing down more water from the Volta Lake.
The result is that today, Akosombo, with an installed capacity of 1,020 MW, is currently supplying only at about 50 per cent. The Kpong Hydro Power Station has an installed capacity of 160 MW and is currently operating at about 70 per cent. The 400 MW Bui Hydro Plant is at about 58 per cent during our peak consumption period.
Thirdly, if we are to achieve energy security into the future, we must complete the reform of our power sector.
The new Ministry of Power is working urgently on proposals to restructure the power sector, beginning with the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Bui Power Authority (BPA). The intention would be to bring the management of our hydro plants under one entity.
This will lead to a consolidation of our thermal resources in partnership with Pension Fund Managers, like the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and other institutional investors. I believe that this will allow for focus and specialisation in these two critical power sectors of hydro and thermal.
If our plans for energy security are to succeed, radical restructuring of the downstream distribution sector must occur almost immediately. Under the new Millennium Challenge Compact, we have an opportunity to review, restructure and totally refocus the operations of, especially the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
I can guarantee to Ghanaians that we will transform the ECG into what we will all come to call “a truly customer- responsive, efficient and profitable organisation.” [Hear! Hear!] Admittedly, part of ECG's problems are the creation of government institutions that believe that
they are entitled to use power without paying for it.
That was possible in the days of cheap power from Akosombo. Today, with the entry of the private sector players and IPPs into the upstream generating sector, Government cannot continue to subsidise power.
In November last year, I carved out a new Ministry of Power from the former Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. This was meant to give a sharper focus and an effort to the resolution of the present energy shortfall.
As an immediate measure to resolve the current crisis, I have authorised this new Ministry of Power to procure and feed into the system, 1,000MW of emergency power. As I speak, guarantees are being finalised for the following emergency power plants:
Karpower ship (Turkey) -- 450MW
APR (UAE) -- 250MW
GE -- 300MW

Mr Speaker, the prospects of gas fired thermal generation look very bright. The Ghana Gas Plant at Atuabo is going through its inauguration phase and is currently supplying about 60 million standard cubic feet (mscf) of gas to the Aboadze enclave of thermal plants.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
lights have been installed. This has the potential to reduce consumption of power by lighted bulbs by up to 60 per cent. In addition, it is reported that the LED bulbs last longer, in some cases, as much as 15 years.
Agenda For Transformation
Mr Speaker, the agenda to transform the structure of the economy and position it as an export-driven rather than an import-dependent economy is on course. United as one people and with determined commitment to its attainment, we shall transform the structure of this economy.
As President, I am required by the provisions of article 36, clause 5 of our Constitution to present to Parliament, co- ordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all regions of Ghana within two years of assuming office.

Mr Speaker, this programme forms the core of my vision to transform -- and it covers a broad range of issues in the areas of social and economic development, infrastructure and institutional develop- ment. It also highlights a number of priority programmes and initiatives that Government will be pursuing in the short to medium-term.

I look forward, Mr Speaker, to the debate of the programme, which will feed into the preparation of a long-term national development plan by the National Development Planning Commission


Pillar 1: Putting People First

Mr Speaker, education remains the surest path to victory over ignorance, poverty and inequality. This is self - evident in the bold initiatives we continue to take to improve access, affordability, quality and relevance at all levels.

Basic Education

Mr Speaker, a decade and a half into the new millennium, we are providing, through our basic education programme, equitable access to good quality, child- friendly universal basic education.

Through improvements in infrastruc- ture and quality of teaching, provision of teaching and learning materials, manage- ment and supervision of schools, quality and access to basic education is being enhanced.

The policy was given a true meaning when one thousand, one hundred and eighty-one (1,181) candidates last week, had the chance to re-sit their BECE as private candidates. These are persons who, but for this golden opportunity, would have otherwise had their education truncated at the junior high school (JHS) level.

The story of Alex Dorbaareh is similar to that of many others aged between 16 and 56 years, who took advantage of this unique opportunity to better their grades with the hope of furthering their education.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
As a nation, we must and we are creating the necessary opportunities for all children of school going age to have access to quality education. We will continue to deliver social intervention programmes that will sustain access and reduce the cost of education to parents.

Mr Speaker, we will distribute

Six million (6,000,000) textbooks

Five hundred thousand (500,000) pieces of school uniforms

Fifteen million (15,000,000) exercise books to the children of Ghana

Thirty thousand (30,000) computers will also be distributed to schools across the country.

I am convinced that we have enough capacity locally to print this material in Ghana. I have asked the Hon Minister for Education to ensure that domestic printing houses are fully involved in the printing of this huge educational material.

Mr Speaker, there are more children in school now than ever before. At the close of the 2013/14 academic year, over 5.4 million children were registered and enrolled at the basic education level. This compares to a total enrolment figure of 4.6 million in the 2008/2009 academic year.

To consolidate our attainment of universal basic education, twenty-four thousand, one hundred and seventeen (24,117) out-of-school children were enrolled into school under the

Complementary Basic Education (CBE) programme, which began in 2014.

Through this, more of our rural poor were offered opportunities to be educated in four regions -- Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo. One hundred thousand (100,000) out-of- school children are being recruited this year to expand the programme to cover the remaining six regions.

Mr Speaker, our focus on quality education requires the enhancement of teaching skills. To that end, about one hundred and sixty thousand (160,000) teachers, representing 56 per cent of teachers at the basic education level received career development training.

Another one thousand (1,000) teachers have also undergone in-service training in line with the objective of improving the teaching of mathematics and science. We shall continue with our interventions to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics and science across the country.

We envisage that this will help us meet the target of 60:40 in favour of the sciences as against humanities at the tertiary level. This is in line with our national development objectives.

Mr Speaker, as this House is aware, gender parity at the basic level remains a major priority in our education policy. We have attained a 1:1 gender parity ratio. Over ninety-two thousand (92,000) girls have benefitted from the take-home ration programme in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.

Under the Global Partnership for Education Programme, fifty-five thousand (55,000) girls in junior high school will also receive scholarships, school uniforms, sandals, bags and school stationery.

I am pleased to report, Mr Speaker, that the school shift system, through which pupils run shifts due to lack of adequate classrooms, has now been eliminated in many of our districts. [Hear! Hear!] In Wa, Sunyani Municipal, Tarkwa, Dansoman, Krachi Ntsumuru in the Volta Region and many other areas, school children can no longer skip school to play truant hiding behind the excuse of the shift system.

Secondary Education

Mr Speaker, enrolment at the second cycle level has increased by about 10 per cent between 2013 and 2014. This is the direct result of the general improvement in teaching and learning and provision of critical infrastructure.

More than 1,000 different projects, ranging from dormitories, classrooms, dining halls, auditoriums and administra- tion blocks have been executed in secondary schools across the country.

Work will begin this year in 50 other locations.

Mr Speaker, we shall also commence the implementation of a number of interventions under a US$156 million World Bank Secondary Education Improvement Programme. The interven- tions include:

1. Improving facilities and quality of education in 125 existing secondary schools.

2. Providing ten thousand, four hundred (10,400) needy students with scholarships

3. Building the capacity of six thousand, five hundred (6,500) Mathematics, Science and ICT Teachers

4. Providing leadership training for heads of second cycle schools.

As you are aware, Mr Speaker, Hon Members of this House have approved adequate financing for this programme in the 2015 Budget.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.

In 2012, 31.19 per cent of the students attained grades A1-C6. In the worst performing year, 2007 only 10.58 per cent made grades A1-C6. This is followed closely by 12.95 per cent in 2008.

Mr Speaker, what this shows is that, if you invest in education, you will see the result. This shows progress. These statistics demonstrate modest gains that we are making in improving quality of education. But I will be the first to admit there is more room for improvement.

I will continue to work with all stakeholders to achieve measurable improvements in the results of our student over the next few years. I call on all parents and opinion leaders to join me to ensure that our students commit much more time, than ever before to their studies.


Mr Speaker, our policy thrust at the tertiary education level remains the maintenance of high standards, achieving equity and ensuring relevance within the context of producing high calibre manpower able to fit into the world of work and lead our transformation agenda.

In the 2013/2014 academic year, enrolment into universities increased by 7.1 per cent, 3.4 per cent for polytechnics and 63.8 per cent at the colleges of education.

Work on the main campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) located at Sokode Lokoe near Ho is almost complete. The university has also admitted its first batch of medical students.

At the University of Energy and National Resources, the first batch of

agriculture students has been admitted to the Dormaa Campus. Expansion works are continuing at the main campus in Sunyani.

In line with our policy to establish a public university in each region, Government has presented to Parliament, a Bill for the establishment of a University for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Region. [Hear! Hear!] Preparatory works for the construction of the university's main campus will commence this year.

Mr Speaker, I am impressed with the progress of work on two historic projects -- a new office complex for the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a new Secretariat for the Association of African Universities.

Government is also working towards our vision to improve access to quality education at the tertiary level, through the deployment of ICT in distance learning. In this regard, a US$37.5 million distance education ICT facility has been established, linking all the 10 regional distance education centres of the University of Ghana.

The facility also includes three thousand (3,000) internet-ready tablets for students, video conferencing facilities and smart lecture theatres.

Mr Speaker, in my address last year, I called for support from Hon Members and the academic fraternity for our decision to establish a National Research Fund. The time is now. A draft Bill for the establishment of the Fund is currently undergoing stakeholders' consultation and review. We need the co-operation of all stakeholders to operationalise the Fund.

Work on the conversion of poly- technics to technical universities will progress with the expected passage of the Technical Universities Bill in this House this year. Conversion of each polytechnic will be assessed based on equipment, faculty and strong collaboration with industry. The expected take-off date is September, 2016.

In preparation for the conversion, Government will scale up our interventions in the nation's polytechnics, including a rigorous staff development programme to meet our policy objectives. I am encouraged by the overwhelming endorsement of the conversion by faculty, students, industry and alumni of the polytechnics.

Mr Speaker, under the Skills Develop- ment Fund of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), which is developing skills and promoting technical and vocational training, over GH¢150 million in grants have been provided to five hundred and ten (510) grantees made up of institutions, businesses and associations.

Some of the beneficiaries are the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Jewellery Design and Technology Centre, Progressive Electronic Technicians Association of Ghana, Ghana National Association of Garages, Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers and the

Ghana Association of Electr ical Contractors. All these organisations have benefitted.

This year, grants totalling GH¢65 million have been earmarked to be disbursed to an estimated 100 private sector firms. Through these interventions, technical and vocational education graduates are being offered expanded opportunities to translate their knowledge and skills into the creation of more jobs, while at the same time, transferring their skills to others.

Mr Speaker, the implementation of these vital programmes and projects have been prioritised and adequately budgeted for. Indeed, the 2015 Budget allocates the biggest portion to the education sector of about GH¢6.7 billion..


Mr Speaker, still talking about budgetary allocations, we will this year spend over GH¢3 billion on the health sector. This huge allocation confirms our view that a good economy resides in the health of our people.

The hospitals include:

1. A 617-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital.

2. The 420-bed Ridge Hospital Expansion Project
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
3. A 104-bed Police Hospital Project; and this is a beautiful one.

5. The second phase of the Tamale Teaching Hospital Expansion Project which will add another 400 beds to the existing 400 beds

6. A 160-bed Upper West Regional Hospital is under construction

7. A 130-bed Maritime Hospital, Tema is under construction

8. The 295-bed Bolgatanga Regional Hospital is ongoing.

We have also completed and inaugurated for use, three distr ict hospitals in Ajumako, Essam and Zabzugu, and 19 health centres at the following locations: Amasaman, Doffor, Pokukrom, New Jejeti, Paakro, Gwollu, Funsi, Sang, Northern Buipe, Manso

Nkwanta, Abuakwa, Mase Sosekpe, Kedzi, Adamso, Kayoro, Timonde, Bonsu Nkwanta and Dadieso.

Mr Speaker, the provision of modern diagnostic and treatment equipment under the National Medical Equipment Replacement Programme has been expanded to cover 150 hospitals across the country.

All teaching hospitals, all regional hospitals, 125 district hospitals, 14 health centres and eight mobile clinics have all benefited from the programme. The equipment received by these institutions vary from new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomo- graphy (CT) Scan, Fluoroscopy, X-ray and Digital Mammography machines, Oxygen Plants, and Ambulances.

Under this programme, the nation's foremost teaching hospital at Korle Bu -- the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital received significant resources to respectively replace and rehabilitate obsolete equipment and theatres.

Mr Speaker, the Paediatric Surgery Theatre, which remained closed for almost eight years, the General Surgery Theatre, the Neo-natal Intensive Care and the Babies' Units have all been refurbished and are currently operational.

The St. Joseph Hospital in Nkwanta, the Adidome Hospital, the Dodo Pepesu Hospital and the Jasikan Government Hospital, all in the Volta Region have also benefited from the National Medical Equipment Replacement Programme.

Mr Speaker, outpatient utilisation of the National Health Insurance Scheme went up to twenty- seven million, four hundred thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢27.4 million) in 2014. This is a sure sign of the benefits of the Scheme to many of our citizenry.

We will strengthen the fraud detection capacity of the Scheme in order to eliminate, detect and sanction facilities and personnel who take advantage of the system. This week, a portion of outstanding claims is being disbursed to health providers. Government will work to review the Scheme to ensure its sustainability.

Mr Speaker, in January this year, the nation's health delivery effort was severely threatened by a fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores, which resulted in the loss of medicines and equipment estimated at GH¢356 million. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Short-term measures have been put in place to mitigate the impact of the fire including the ordering of very critical medicines to mitigate any r isk of widespread shortages. The Ministry of Health is reviewing the Health Sector Supply Chain Master Plan with a view to improving the system of procurement.

The new Health Commodity Supply Chain system will undertake procurements through framework contracts and use the economies of scale so derived to drive down prices to impact positively on health commodity security and the sustainability

of the National Health Insurance Scheme


This improved supply chain would also cover all other health facilities including the Central Pharmacy of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

We have made significant progress in reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS and we are on track to achieve vir tual elimination of mother to child transmission. We are also working with local pharmaceutical companies to expand domestic supply of anti-retroviral drugs.

Social protection

Mr Speaker, as part of our commitment to the protection of the vulnerable, over ten thousand (10,000) senior citizens are being provided free NHIS subscription in the Greater Accra, Central and Eastern regions.

Our senior citizens in communities such as La, Chorkor, Akoto Lante, Madina, Teshie, Ashaiman, Nima and Nungua are benefiting from this package, and we will be extending the exercise to other parts of the country.

Very often, orphans and abandoned children find themselves in situations that leave them homeless and vulnerable to the activities of social miscreants.

Mr Speaker, this is unacceptable, and in line with our social protection policy, eight hundred (800) orphans have been removed from previously inhumane environments and provided with shelter and care. Another one thousand, four hundred (1,400) caregivers were trained in all regions to support our social welfare programmes.

To protect abandoned children and orphans against exploitation and maltreatment, 62 orphanages whose operations fell below accepted standards, have been closed down.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in fulfilment of our manifesto promise, we have launched the Eban Elderly Welfare Card. This is a priority identity card that enables our senior citizens, 65 years and above, to travel at half fare on Metro Mass Transit buses across the country. The Eban card also gives our aged priority access in queues at banks, hospitals and other public palces. So far, one thousand two hundred (1,200) senior citizens have been registered and received their Eban cards and are enjoying the benefits.
This year, 150,000 of the poorest households are to benefit from the livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
Mr Speaker, as we work to meet the needs of people who live with disabilities through insistence on the provision of access to new and existing infrastructure, the provision of teaching and learning aids among others, Government is in discussions with the leadership of the Federation for Persons with Disability, to roll out this year, a new and sustainable youth employment model for five thousand (5000) persons with disability.
Mr Speaker, Government will this year, put a desirable focus on sporting disciplines when it comes to the sports arena other than only football. In order to contribute to their growth and the winning of more international medals in competitions, the so-called lesser known sports will receive attention.
In athletics, for example, consistent planning and the personal motivation of our young athletes earned Ghana our first Olympic Gold Medal in any sport, at any level. The 17-year old Martha Bissah from
Kumasi who was among 12 other athletes, who won medals at the African Championships in Morocco, went on to the Youth Olympic in China and snatched the gold medal. [Hear! Hear!] Young Martha and her family were filled with joy and excitement when I hosted them at the Flagstaff House last year.

Government will also partner with corporate Ghana to support the programmes of the various sporting associations this year, including the Swimming Association, which is producing very brilliant and fast swimmers winning medals in international competitions.

Mr Speaker, I wish to once again, congratulate the senior national team, the Black Stars for their performance at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament. Many Ghanaians had lost hope in the Black Stars ahead of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea. They gathered themselves together, rose from the ashes of Brazil 2014 and proved themselves.

This is not the first silver medal for the Black Stars, but the developments from Brazil is what has changed the dynamics here.

Let me urge the Ghana Football Association to put a lot more focus on the other national teams, just like it does for the senior national team, in order to adequately prepare them for their international competitions as well.

Also, the seeming total neglect of our local football league is a matter of concern

to our football loving fans. I wish to urge the Football Association (FA) to turn its attention to improving the quality of our local league and work towards making it attractive, exciting and worth following.

Pillar 2: Building A strong and resilient economy

Mr Speaker, a year ago, I shared with this august House my vision to transform the structure of the Ghanaian economy-- transformation through diversification, value addition to our primary products, the promotion and patronage of locally manufactured goods and services. This is intended to make us self-reliant and position the country as an export-led economy which would create decent jobs.

The economic benefits of a diversified and transformed economy are enormous. As a people, we must make a conscious effort to eat what we grow, and add value to our primary raw materials. This will support a stable economy and job creation, improved GDP per capita and enhanced standards of living for the people.

Mr Speaker, the initiatives that I introduced last year have already started bearing fruits. In the area of r ice cultivation, for example, local production increased by 60 per cent. According to the latest statistics from the Bank of Ghana, our rice import bill fell by a whopping 41 per cent, reducing from US$467.2 million in 2013 to US$275.1 million in 2014.

On my fraternal visits as ECOWAS Chairman to our sister countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, at the height of the Ebola crisis, I donated 100 tons of food products to the three countries.

It is expected that as the transforma- tion agenda gains traction, we would be able to reduce our import bill on other commodities and indeed, be able to export some of the surplus.

Mr Speaker, two weeks ago, I constituted a task force chaired by a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana to work on the modalities for the establish- ment of a Ghana Export and Import (EXIM) Bank. This Bank will consolidate all past efforts and become the key engine of the development of Ghana's exports.

The Ghana EXIM Bank will act as an intermediary between Government and exporters, and assist our exporters to compete internationally by providing insurance and finance facilities to support their overseas contracts.

Mr Speaker, in Komenda in the Central Region, a new sugar factory is under construction. When completed, this factory will enable us reduce significantly, the over US$300 million we spend annually on sugar imports.

We will also be able to support local industries, such as beverage and ice cream manufacturers, who require large quantities of sugar for their products. Ghana imports, on average, three hundred and seventy-five thousand (375,000) metric tons of sugar annually.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
In addition to the Komenda factory, discussions have been concluded for another sugar estate and factory in the Northern Region. Put together, the two plants should be able to reduce by more than 80 per cent the import bill on sugar in the coming years.
The establishment of these sugar plants will also create employment opportunities, especially for the youth in their host communities. The Komenda Sugar Factory alone will create seven thousand, three hundred (7,300) direct and indirect jobs, in addition to the savings on foreign exchange it will afford us.
Mr Speaker, the poultry subsector is one of the sub-sectors receiving major Government attention and benefiting from a policy to invest in strategic sectors to produce locally some of the products on which we are currently expending a huge amount of foreign exchange.
One year on, we have launched a 20 million broiler project with a target to reduce the importation of poultry by 40 per cent by the end of next year, 2016 and save this economy about US$150 million. Indeed, latest statistics show that we have begun to achieve a drop in poultry imports. It is estimated that we have achieved a drop of 30 per cent in poultry import from US$208.7 million to US$149 million.
Our poultry farmers are already reaping the benefits associated with the increased demand for their products on the domestic market as a result of this policy. The financial support we are giving to poultry farmers is enabling them increase their production to feed the local market. And as I was saying, the financial support to poultry farmers from the Export Development and Agricultural Investment
Fund is helping them re-organise their businesses and produce to meet local demand.
This year, an additional 200 poultry farmers will receive financial support as part of the broiler project.
Mr Speaker, Government has also extended support of GH¢51 million to a number of local pharmaceutical companies to expand their operations, retool their factories and obtain critical certification to enable them meet international export standards.
My working visits to Ernest Chemist and Tobinco Pharmaceuticals reaffirmed my belief in what Ghanaian industries can do when given the needed support. I am proud of the dominant role of indigenous Ghanaian entrepreneurs in this particular sector of industry.
This healthy partnership with our pharmaceutical companies, including Dannex and DanAdams, will continue and will be extended to other sectors to generate more work for the youth of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, these successes have been attained within the context of a transition to a lower middle-income country status and its attendant challenges, which include dwindling access to grants and concessionary financing from our development partners, and a growing demand for essential social services, by a growing and affluent middle class.
Notwithstanding the recent macro- economic challenges we face, investor confidence in Ghana continues to grow as a result of measures introduced to stabilise the economy. Last year, inflows from foreign direct investment stood at US$3.57 billion from 184 projects.
The oversubscription of the 2014 US$1billion Eurobond as well as the US$1.7billion syndicated loan for cocoa purchases is a further testimony of investor confidence in our economy. Our subsequent market activities will target the development of infrastructure and refinancing of the 2007 Eurobond.
The US$7 billion agreement for the development of the Sankofa field is easily, as I said previously, the single largest investment made in our petroleum sector to date.
Securing our bright medium term prospects

We have come this far as a result of the very fruitful stakeholder consultations during the National Economic Forum held at Senchi, in the Eastern Region, in May, 2014. This Forum gave valuable input into Government's fiscal consolidation policy which proved very useful in our negotiations with the IMF.

I wish to express the nation's gratitude to all those who made the Forum possible. All those who attended including some of you Hon Members of Parliament. Among many others, may I express the nation's gratitude to Her Ladyship the

Chief Justice, former President Jerry John Rawlings, Secretary-General of the TUC, and many labour leaders, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr Kwame Pianim, Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Dr Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University, and the late Sir, Engineer, Paul Victor Obeng, who regrettably passed on only a day after the Senchi consensus was arrived at.

May his soul rest in peace.

I also wish to commend the members of my Presidential Advisory Group on the Economy (PAGE) -- Mr Kwame Pianim features here again, Nana Oye Mansa, Dr. K.Y. Amoako, Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Kofi Wampah, Seth Emmanuel Terkper and of course, most of all, my hardworking Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah- Arthur. [Hear! Hear!] I have really benefited and continue to benefit from their tireless efforts and invaluable advice.

Mr Speaker, may I, at this point, commend our tripartite partners -- Organised Labour and Employers for the understanding and sacrifice that culminated in an early conclusion of this year 's wage negotiations. And in particular, for keeping the wage level within the budgeted limits. It demonstrates a commitment by our social partners to work collectively to improve the economy for our common good.

Collaboration with our social partners has seen a decline of the public sector wage bill, as a percentage of tax revenues from a high of 73 per cent in 2012 to 49 per cent at the end of 2014. We still have some way to go if we are to hit the recommended ECOWAS benchmark of 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission is expected to finalise work on the Categories 2 and 3 allowances.
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
Aggressive work is continuing on cleaning the payroll and ridding it of ghosts. Cabinet approved the recommendations of the inter-ministerial sub-committee and would work with the private sector and our development partners to achieve a Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) and a payroll that is decentralised and has integrity.
Cabinet approved additional measures in order to make adjustments to the budget following the dramatic decline in crude oil prices. It is estimated that Ghana stands to lose approximately US$700 million from oil exports if the price remains at current levels. I have asked the Hon Minister for Finance to engage with you Hon Members on the new measures.
Mr Speaker, as we did with the Sankofa (ENI-Vitol) Gas Agreement, other critical projects such as the GE Ghana 1000 project will be supported by Partial Risk Guarantees approved by Cabinet and Parliament. These alternative guarantee instruments will be issued by the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Mr Speaker, Government is working to strengthen the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to give it a greater degree of autonomy and decentralise its operations in the regions. A strategic plan for the NPRA will be launched this year.
I am confident the unresolved issues such as the unification and past credit and governance structure to manage the Tier Two Pensions will be addressed this year to the satisfaction of all parties.
I wish to assure all pensioners of the safety of and better investment returns on their pension funds. I advocate an
enhanced relationship of trust with Ghanaian workers, a partnership and collective action anchored in the national interest. On our part, we pledge to continue to work to achieve the strictest discipline in government expenditure.
In this regard, new initiatives would be rolled out this year to prevent the misuse of Government's fuel, telephone, electricity, water and other utilities in public establishments.
Real Sector Performance -- Agribusiness, Trade And Industry
Mr Speaker, in 2014, agriculture, industry and the services sectors continued on the trajectory of positive growth with significant outputs in the fisheries, livestock and the construction sub-sectors. It is worth noting that manufacturing has been identified as a major area where critical attention is needed.
I am, as a strategy, positioning Ghana to attract investors in the light industry area, who are currently looking for new destinations away from the increasing cost centres of China and other parts of South East Asia.
Mr Speaker, to ensure food security and to assure our hardworking farmers of appreciable returns on their investments, Government will distribute 180,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and continue with the agriculture mechanisation programme to make available in the districts more than 1,000 tractors and other implements including harvesters, threshers, reapers planters and sprayers for use by farmers.
More than GH¢120 million has been made available to the rice, poultry, shea, cashew and other agro-processing sub- sectors to boost production. Out of this, the rice production sub-sector alone received GH¢22 million.
Mr Speaker, over 60 per cent of animal protein in the diets of Ghanaians is fish. Indeed, annual fish consumption in Ghana is about 24kg per person, which is said to be above the world average of about 16.7kg per person.
Our demand for fish outstrips supply by 50 per cent. Government is determined to bridge the 50 per cent deficit through aquaculture development and the expansion of family fish farming across the entire coast and inland water communities of this country.
Government aims to reduce, in the short-term the importation of fish by at least, 20 per cent in the short-term. Among other measures, Government will this year, facilitate the acquisition of three thousand (3,000) outboard motors for our fishermen.
Mr Speaker, a new fisheries cold store has also been completed in New Takoradi for the storage and preservation of fish. Work is also progressing on the Fish Processing Factory at Elmina. I have asked Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to put together a revolving Fund for the benefit of our fishmongers along the fishing communities.
When I announced a GH¢10 million Fund for the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) Initiative, I assured the youth of Ghana that the initiative will be administered in a fair and non-partisan manner. Since its launch in August, 2014, the YES Secretariat has received a total of two thousand and forty-eight (2,048) applications.
Mr Speaker, forty-five per cent (45%) of the applications are for business start- ups in agriculture and agribusiness, 24 per cent to set up cottage industries and
thirty-one per cent (31) of the applications are, however, focused on the services sector.
This is an indication of the enthusiasm of our youth to take advantage of Government's initiative to go into entrepreneurship. The applications are currently being assessed.
Mr Speaker, let me thank this Honourable House for the debate, the amendments and the inputs that went into the passage of the Youth Employment Agency Bill. [Hear! Hear!] This Agency is envisaged to employ one hundred thousand (100,000) of our youth. This forms part of Government's efforts to create more jobs for the Ghanaian youth.
Mr Speaker, the cocoa industry continues to play a pivotal role in our economy. The producer price of cocoa has gone up by 62.74 per cent, that from three thousand, three hundred and ninety-two Ghana cedis (GH¢3,392.00) per tonne to five thousand, five hundred and twenty Ghana cedis (GH¢ 5,520.00) per tonne.

Ahead of that, it has recruited four thousand (4,000) people in 87 cocoa growing communities who have planted and are nursing the seedlings.

Mr Speaker, on the occasion of the second anniversary of my administration last month, I spent the day in the cocoa growing community of Assin Senchem in the Central Region. I was on the farm of a
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.

Mr Speaker, I have requested COCOBOD to unveil a programme to acquire land to engage more young people in cocoa farming.

Mr Speaker, markets play an important role in the socioeconomic development of our people. Markets support our women empowerment agenda, revenue mobilisa- tion efforts of the MMDAs and provide direct or indirect employment for a substantial proportion of the active labour force.

Historically, many of our important settlements including Kumasi and Cape Coast owe their rapid expansion to commerce and trade.

I am happy to report to the House that reconstruction work on the new Kotokuraba Market in Cape Coast and the Aboabo Market in Tamale are progressing steadily. [Hear! Hear!] Work on the Ho Central Market is ongoing and construction of the new Kumasi Central Market will begin soon.

Mr Speaker, tourism continues to be a major foreign exchange earner after gold, cocoa and foreign remittances. In 2014, a total of 319,000 direct and indirect jobs were created.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts will continue to promote

festivals and events such as the Homowo festival, Emancipation Day, Okwahuman Paragliding Festival, the National Chocolate Day, among others.

We shall continue to strengthen the linkages between hotels, catering and tourism by building capacity through the Hotel Catering and Tourism Training Institute (HOTCATT).

Through these efforts, the creative arts industry will be offered enhanced outlets for the industry to flourish. I look forward to an enhanced and mutually beneficial partnership between the creative arts industry and Government in the coming months.

Expanding Infrastructure for Growth

Mr Speaker, while we continue to build more hospitals and schools, other critical sectors such as water, roads, transport, ICT and telecommunication sectors continue to engage our attention. Development of key infrastructure is not only for job creation but also for general socioeconomic transformation.

It is estimated that Ghana suffers an infrastructural funding gap of about US$1.5 billion a year.

While creating a conducive environ- ment for the private sector to participate in infrastructure development, govern- ment in 2014 took a decisive step and started the process for the establishment of a Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund


The Fund, which is financed by receipts from a VAT levy and contributions from tax, which has a funding mechanism already approved by Parliament, 2.5 per cent of VAT receipts, the GIIF will serve as a vehicle to mobilise resources to scale- up the development of critical infrastructure in the country. It will also
Dramani Mahama) 10:15 a.m.
help in implementation of a more sustainable debt management strategy, which focuses on viable commercial projects with appreciable return on investment and repayment mechanisms through escrows and debt service accounts.
Mr Speaker, with the GIIF, we should reduce the funding gap for infrastructure projects considerably and execute projects needed to help drive our desired growth as a lower middle-income country.
Mr Speaker, we have spent in excess of US$1.1 billion on the construction of new water systems, and expansion of some existing ones across the country.
Water is a basic necessity of life, yet for many decades, vast sections of our people had no access to it, contributing to the spread of water-related diseases. Today, thanks to massive improvements in potable water supply, the World Health Organisation (WHO), after evaluating Ghana last year, revealed that we have successfully eradicated the guinea worm disease. [Hear! Hear!] We are awaiting the appropriate certification to that effect.
We have over the last two years reversed significantly the unacceptable hardship many of our women and children especially, go through in their search for water.
Across the length and breadth of the country, various water projects are ongoing and others are at various stages of completion. At the end of this year, 2015, we will be covering 76 per cent of the entire country, both rural and urban areas with good drinking water.
This is in fulfilment of the prescriptions of the National Water Policy and the work programme of the 2012 Manifesto of the

Mr Speaker, in fulfilment of the pledge I made during my Address last year to complete and deliver a number of major water projects, I am happy to report that on the eve of last year's Christmas, I inaugurated the Kpong Water Expansion Project and opened the valve to commence the flow of 20 million gallons of water to households and businesses, in the north-eastern part of Accra.

An additional 20 million gallons are available and scheduled to start flowing at the end of this month to achieve the set daily capacity of the plant, which is 40 million gallons of water per day.

For the over seven hundred thousand (700,000) residents whose taps were running for the first time in almost twenty years, it was the best Christmas gift I could have given them. These residents include those living in Adentan, Adjiriganor, Ashaley Botwe, North, East and West Legon, Madina, Haatso, Abokobi and other areas.

Mr Speaker, last year in July, we completed work on the Kpong Intake Rehabilitation Project, which is currently contributing 3.3 million gallons of water per day to the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Water System. Beneficiary communities include Dodowa, Ningo, Prampram all in the Greater Accra Region and the Akuapem Ridge in the Eastern Region.

Still on the water sector, we also completed the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area Water Supply Project, which has added nine million two hundred thousand (9.2 million) gallons per day to water supply in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. This has improved water supply to an estimated quarter of a million people.
Mr Speaker, the beneficiary commu- nities include 10:15 a.m.
1. Michel Camp, Afienya and surrounding areas
2. Ayitepa, Kponguno, Omankope, Doyumu and surrounding areas
3. Bawalashie, Oyibi, Amanfro and surrounding areas
4. Fafraha, Ayikuma, Abokobi, Pantang and surrounding areas
5. Aperade, Adukrom, Awukugua, Dawu and surrounding areas
7. Akropong, Mamfe, Amanokrom, Tutu and surrounding areas
7. New Senchi, Akrade, Senchi and surrounding areas
Mr Speaker, we have also introduced into our water production mix, a desalination water project, which is the first ever desalination plant in this country. The Teshie-Nungua plant is currently supplying 13.2 million gallons of water per day to about half a million people in Teshie, Nungua, the Teshie Military Barracks, Baatsona, Sakumono and parts of La- Dadekotopon.
Total water supply to the capital, Accra, has therefore, increased by more than 65.7 million gallons of water per day. Through these investments, we have been able to outstripped the demand for water in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area by 2.7 million gallons per day.
Mr Speaker, the vision to end totally the problems of water shortages has not been limited to the urban parts of the country or to Accra alone. New water
systems have been completed and inaugurated at Anyinam, Kibi, Osenase, Apedwa, Kwabeng and surrounding areas. The Asante Mampong Water Supply Project is also now supplying the inhabitants of Damang, Daaho, Basafour, Besease, Kyeremfaso, Krobo, Mpenya, Dadease, Bonkron, Nsuta, and Beposo with water. The Nsawam Water Supply Project and the Essakyir Water Project have also been completed.
From the Upper East and Upper West Regions through Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region down to Accra, many more projects are at various stages of completion to bring relief to our people, especially to our women and children.
Mr Speaker, we have already set in motion the processes to meet future demand in view of population growth. Plans are being finalised to undertake the following projects to ensure reliability and sustainability of water supply from 2015 to the year 2030. These include the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Phase 2, Weija Water Supply Expansion and the Asutsuare Water Supply Projects.
Mr Speaker, one other critical area of focus for Government is housing. The estimated housing deficit for Ghana is 1.7 million. Projects targeting the middle to lower income bracket and giving them an opportunity to own decent homes are being rolled out.
Largely focused in the towns and cities, include:
A five thousand (5,000) affordable housing project, which is underway at Saglemi in the Ningo District of the Greater Accra Region. The first 200 houses, I am informed, should
be ready for occupancy by the close of this year.
168 housing units with related infrastructure have been completed and handed over to the security services. Work on an additional three hundred and sixty-eight (368) housing units under the second phase of this project has also started.
Another five thousand (5,000) affordable housing units, branded “Nyame Dua Estates”, also in Kpone, are almost 70 per cent complete.
We have also made considerable progress towards completing a total of four thousand, seven hundred and twenty (4,720) affordable housing units in five regions of the country. These were started in 2006 under the Government of President Kufuor in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Eastern Regions.
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
A National Housing Policy
A Ghana Building Code and Review of Building Regulations
Legislation on Condominium Properties
Establishment of a Regulatory Agency for the real estate sector.
Mr Speaker, we are working on many road projects to open up the country to reduce road traffic accidents, boost
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.

The project would see investments of about GH¢1 billion in roads commencing this year and ending in 2019 during my second term in office. [Hear! Hear!] -- by the grace of God. These projects will be funded with a mix of cocoa infrastructure fund financing and Government of Ghana budgetary support.

Mr Speaker, in the Western Region work is progressing steadily on the 110 kilometres Agona Junction- Elubo road, the 94 kilometres Tarkwa-Bogoso- Ayamfuri road and the 52 kilometres Ayamfuri- Asawinso roads.

Other road works in the region that will see intensified work include Sefwi-Bekwai- Eshiem, Sefwi Wiawso- Akontombra, Prestea- Samreboi, Benchema-Oseikojokrom and the Juabeso- Bodi- Akontombra roads.

In Sekondi- Takoradi -- I am sure Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah would be happy about this -- [Laughter] -- twenty kilometres of the town roads that have been asphalted while work is about to start on another 25 kilometres. Construction work is also ongoing on the Kansaworodo bypass, Fijai bypass and Ntankofo link to help improve access within the twin city.

Mr Speaker, work has resumed on lots 2 and 4 of the eastern corridor road in the Volta Region. These are the Asikuma Junction-Kpeve, Dodo Pepesu- Nkwanta, Nkwanta-Oti Damanko stretches.

A number of roads have meanwhile been completed in the region and others are ongoing. These are, the Sogakope- Battor, Juapong-Fodzoku- Torgome, Kete Krachi-Buya, Ho-Fume, Worawora- Dambai, Bame- Dzolokpuita-Kpedze, Ho- Adidome, Adutor-Akutukope, among others. The others are, Metrikasa- Havedzi, Golokwati-Wli-Hohoe roads, Tadzewu town roads, and the Hohoe town roads.

Mr Speaker, here, in the capital, the various road projects are visible to all regular users of our roads. The East Legon enclave roads have been resurfaced and others reconstructed . The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange is changing the landscape of the centre of Accra while the works on the Giffard (El Wak) road is progressing smoothly. Even before it is opened fully to traffic, the benefits of the 37 - La Palm junction road are been felt.

The Awoshie- Pokuase road has been opened to traffic pending the final completion of works and other ancillary social intervention projects like markets, a hospital, schools and a lorry park. Also ongoing in Accra are the Burma Camp road phases 1 and 2, the Spintex road bypass, the Nungua-Sakumono Beach road and the Ashaiman highway road and the popular road.

This year, we will commence work on the redevelopment of the Accra-Tema motorway into a six-lane highway with interchanges. [Hear! Hear!] Resurfacing works will also take place on roads in North and South Kanda, James Town, Adabraka, Mamprobi, Chorkor, Adentan and Madina.

Mr Speaker, in the Northern Region, the 147-kilometre Fufulso-Sawla road is almost complete while the Buipe-Tamale
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.

road asphalt overlay has been completed. The Nakpanduri-Oti Damanko portion of the eastern corridor, I will join the people in that section of the road to cut the sod for commencement of road works on the 4th of March.

In the Central Region, work on the Kasoa interchange, which comes with a major community-upgrading component involving the construction of schools, hospitals and water projects would commence in the next few weeks. This project will remove one of the most frustrating bottlenecks in the country's road network.

The Kasoa bypass, Mankessim-Abura Dunkwa, Assin-Twifo Praso, Essiam town roads and the Breman Asikuma- Amanfopong road are but a few of the ongoing works to improve roads in the Central Region.

Mr Speaker, in the Eastern Region, work has resumed on the Kwafokrom- Apedwa road and it will be completed this year. Also to receive renewed attention this year are the Nsawam- Apedwa road, Nsawam-Aburi, the Suhum-Asamankese and Nkawkaw- Atibie roads. The Oterkpolu- Odumase road is ongoing.

Another 40 kilometres of Kumasi roads would be upgraded this year. Other major projects ongoing in the region include Bomfa Junction-Asiwa-Bekwai, Bekwai-

Ampaha-Asiwa, Kumawu-Timaate- Drobonso and Agyenkwaso-Anomabu- Gyadem roads.

Mr Speaker, in the Brong Ahafo Region, the Nsawkaw-Namase section of the Wenchi-Sampa road, Berekum-Sampa, Atebubu-Kwame Danso-Kwadwokrom, Goaso-Kukuom junction, Prang- Kintampo, Kintampo- Abease and these very critical roads, the Dormaa Ahenkro- Nkrankwanta roads are all receiving attention.

In the Upper East Region, the Navrongo-Tumu, Navrongo-Tono, Bolgatanga-Bongo and Wikongo-Tongo roads as well as the Bolgatanga-Bawku, Misiga-Kulungugu and Sandema-Wiesi roads are going to receive aggressive attention.

In the Upper West Region, the Nadowli-Lawra-Hamile, Wa-Bulenga and Wa-Dorimon, Wa-Han and Tumu-Han roads together with the construction of steel bridges on the Yala-Sombisi, Tantale- Tuvuu, Tuvuu-Labisi and Wa-Walewale roads demonstrate our commitment to giving the people of the region motorable roads.

Mr Speaker, the key initiative under the Cocoa Roads Project, which begins this year, is going to see bitumisation of a number of feeder, urban and highway roads, which are earmarked for construction. We have awarded the first phase of the project and contractors have been asked to mobilise to site.

I am mentioning the roads so that Hon Members can monitor them.

Under feeder roads, we have the following:

Ashanti Region

Bitumen surfacing of Ataase Nkwanta-Owusukrom feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Manfo- Subriso-Fanti feeder road

Central Region

Bitumen surfacing of Camp-Adjoum feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Brofuyedur- Odoo feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Nkwanta - Mempeasem feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Jamra - Adandan feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Ekwamoase - Ofabil feeder road

Eastern Region

Bitumen surfacing of Noyem- Winso-Amuana-Praso feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Mangoase- Kuku feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Chia-Brenase- Ofoase feeder road

Western Region

Bitumen surfacing of Akim Sekyere - Abekoase feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Juaboso- Dadieso feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Anto Dompem-Daboase feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Edwenase - Atobiase feeder road.
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
Volta Region
Bitumen surfacing of Dapaa Junction-Pampawie-Ahamansu feeder road
Bitumen surfacing of Lekanti- Nanankor feeder road
Bitumen surfacing of Aburubuwa- Obanda feeder road
Bitumen surfacing of Dodi Papaase- Mensahkrom-Asuboi feeder road
Brong -Ahafo Region
Bitumen surfacing of Dadiesoaba- Twabidi feeder foad
Bitumen surfacing of Dormaa Ahenkro-Baabianiha feeder foad
Bitumen surfacing and Rehabilita- tion of Antwirifo-Danyame feeder road
Rehabillitation of Asuadei Junction Asuadei feeder road
Under urban roads, the following roads have been earmarked:
Ashanti Region
Rehabilitation of selected roads in New Edubiase town
Rehabilitation of Bekwai town roads
Brong -Ahafo Region
Rehabilitation of Dormaa Ahenkro town roads
Construction of Goaso town roads
Central Region
Rehabilitation of Dunkwa town roads --
All these are under the Cocoa Road
Western Region
Rehabilitation of Sefwi Wiawso town roads
Rehabilitation of Daboase town roads
Eastern Region
Rehabilitation of Suhum town roads
Rehabilitation of Kyebi town roads -- [Uproar.] And I would personally invite my Colleague and Friend, Nana Akufo- Addo to join me when we commission this road -- [Hear! Hear!] I have been informed Nana Akufo-Addo is here; let me acknowledge his presence. [Hear! Hear!]
We spent 12 wonderful years in this Chamber and I am sure that anytime we come here, we have a strong sense of nostalgia being with you Hon Members of Parliament.

Construction of selected roads in Asamankese

Mr Speaker, under the Cocoa Roads Project, the following highways are to be constructed:

Ashanti Region

Upgrading of New Edubiase - Anomabo road

Upgrading of Amantia - Obuasewa road

Partial reconstruction of Obuasi Jn - Dunkwa - Ayanfuri road

Brong Ahafo Region

Upgrading of Gambia No.2 - Kyeremasu

Partial reconstruction of Tepa Junction-Goaso road

Upgrading of Kofibadukrom Junction - Kofibadukrom road

Central Region

Upgrading of Dunkwa - Twifo Praso - Assin Fosu road

Western Region

Upgrading of Akontombra-Sefwi Wiawso road

Upgrading of Daboase- Atieku road

Upgradng of Enchi - Dadieso road

Upgrading of Akontombra - Bodi road

Rehabilitation of Anyinabrem - Sui - Bodi Junction road

Upgrading of Adwofua - Oseikojo- krom road

Volta Region

Upgrading of Kete - Krachi - Buya

Upgrading of Shia Honuta Kpedze road

Eastern Region

Partial teconstruction of Suhum- Asamankese road

Partial reconstruction of Adieso - Asamankese road

Partial reconstruction of Nsawam (Adieso) - Asamankese road

Mr Speaker, Baba Jamal --

Partial reconstruction of Osenase - Akwatia road

Partial reconstruction of Apedwa - Kyebi - Bunso road

Partial reconstruction of Koforidua - Bunso road

All these under Cocoa Roads Projects.

Mr Speaker, a number of feeder roads have been selected under the second phase of the cocoa roads. Those will be awarded this year. These are in the last batch. They are:

Ashanti Region

Bitumen surfacing of Dawusaso- Ayiem-Dawenase feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Abodom- Dotom-Subriso feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Subriso Jn.- Subriso feeder road

Bitumen surfacing of Amanchia- Tetrem feeder foad

Rehabilitation of Nfensi-Asakraka- Nkontomire-Nerebehi feeder foad phase 1
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
Work will also start by the second quarter of this year on an ultra-modern international terminal to be known as Terminal 3. Procurement has been completed and we will soon cut the sod for the work to start.
Mr Speaker, in July last year, work began on the Tamale International Airport Project Phase 1. The first phase of the project will be completed by the end of the year. Phase II will see the construction of a modern terminal and a dedicated Hajj Terminal for Muslims embarking on the Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Mr Speaker, the first phase of the Kumasi International Airport project involving the modernisation of the runway, installation of critical Aeronautical Ground Lighting (AGL) System and Instrument Landing Systems among other equipment has been completed.

Phase 2 of the project will involve an ultra-modern terminal building and further extension of the runway to accommodate bigger aircraft.

Mr Speaker, Government is committed to the redevelopment of the railway industry in line with the recently completed Ghana Railway Master Plan. The plan entails the reconstruction and modernisation of the existing rail network to be followed by the extension of rail lines to other regions.

Suburban Rail Services will start on the Takoradi to Sekondi line, via Kojokrom in the third quarter to ease the ever- increasing road congestion and reduce travel time between the twin cities. The Ghana Railway Company will be deploying new air-conditioned diesel multiple train units on the line.

Other projects that are being developed by the Ghana Railway Development Authority include the reconstruction of the Accra to Nsawam and the Kumasi -- Ejisu suburban rail lines. The construction of these lines is strategic since they form sections of the main lines while their completion in the interim will help reduce the road congestion in Accra and Kumasi.

As part of the eastern railway line redevelopment plan, a rail link between the Tema Port and the Boankra Inland Port would be developed to improve the operational efficiency of the Tema Port and make it a preferred port especially for the shippers of our landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Mr Speaker, to provide the Ghanaian public with greater options and flexibility in road transport, public transportation is being improved through the acquisition of a total of four hundred and ninety (490) city buses to strengthen the operations of two public transport companies, namely, the Metro Mass Transit and the Intercity STC and the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project. Many of these buses have been designed to allow for easy access by persons with disability.

Mr Speaker, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has since September last year, commenced the enforcement of non-registration of vehicles without seat belts and compulsory installation of same. This is a key step towards ensuring the safety of

passengers and the reduction in casualties during road accidents.

This has become even more necessary in view of the road accident statistics gathered between January and September, 2014, which showed that 10,061 road traffic crashes were recorded in the country involving 15,600 vehicles and a staggering 1,441 deaths and 8,802 injuries were recorded. Mr Speaker, one would understand these statistics if any of these victims were one's relative.

ICT and Telecommunication

Mr Speaker, last year, I promised to complete the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Project, which will serve over 120 communities along the route from Ho to Bawku with a link from Yendi to Tamale. I wish to report that the project has been completed. [Hear! Hear!] The overall optic fibre installation is over eight hundred kilometres (800 km). The fibre has also been extended to the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho.

The project will open up the eastern corridor to the information super highway and offer not only teaching and learning opportunities but also bring the digital economy closer to the area.

Mr Speaker, a growing telecommunica- tions industry requires a dynamic regulatory framework, which ensures customer satisfaction, good return on investment and adequate participation of Ghanaians in the private sector.

To this end, in August, 2014, Cabinet approved four policies -- the Mobile Virtual Network Operating Licence, the Interconnect Clearing House Licence, the International Wholesale Carrier Licence and the Unified Telecom Licence. It is
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
Audit of the e-Government Platform Project, we commenced the construction of 20 enhanced Community Information Centres in all the ten regions. The centres are located in Keta, Battor, Techiman Krobo, Twifo Atti-Morkwa, Bodi, Effiduase, Glefe, Pantang Presby Cluster of Schools, Drobonso, Asuogya-man, Lambussie, Nandom, Welembelle, Sagnarigu, Pusiga, Nalerigu, Kpetoe, Talensi, Ofoase, Lassia-Tuolu. All these have received Community Information Centres. Ten (10) of these have been completed and ready for inauguration.
Transparent and Accountable Governance
Mr Speaker, good governance, transparency and the fight against corruption form an integral part of the agenda for transformation. The country's progress in this area has been commendable. Ghana ranks high in all major governance indicators -- human rights, transparency and rule of law assessments. We have a vibrant civil society and media, which operate in a very free and open environment.
Mr Speaker, I have remained resolute to the key principles of good governance as enshrined in our Constitution. This is because it is the right thing to do. Indeed, citizens involvement and participation in the development process are important ingredients in realising our development aspirations.
I will continue to engage our people through regular interaction with our chiefs, workers, religious leaders, farmers, students, the business community, market women and indeed, all segments of the populace. In the last year, our engagement and interaction with the citizenry were enhanced with the introduction of the Government for the People (G4P) forum.
The G4P forum provided a good platform for Government to explain the benefits of our policies and offer the people an opportunity to give feedback. We must make every effort to sustain the achievements we have made over the years in promoting good governance, enhancing accountability and combating corruption.
Decentralisation and Local Governance
Mr Speaker, Ghana has made significant progress towards achieving full decentralisation, despite the challenges with fiscal decentralisation. Last year, the internally generated funds of Metro- politan, Municipal and Distr ict Assemblies (MMDAs) increased as a result of the different programmes in place to achieve full fiscal decentralisation.
My resolve to address the sanitation challenge facing us has led to the creation of a comprehensive environmental sanitation programme, which has three components -- National Sanitation Day, Composting and Recycling and Waste Separation. So far, we have successfully marked a number of National Sanitation Days aimed at mobilising all of us to clean our environments.
Currently, the National Service Scheme is supporting the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development by deploying trained national service personnel to gather data on household disposal to serve as a basis for distribution of waste bins to households that currently have none.
The primary objective of these collaborative efforts is to arrest waste at the point of production and minimise our current environmental sanitation challenges. Ultimately, the national sanitation day initiative must be augmented and supported with behavioural change,
proper waste disposal and waste management systems. Let us all be committed to this.
District Assembly Elections
Mr Speaker, Distr ict Assembly elections are scheduled to take place next week. It is yet again an illustration of how far we have come as a nation in our quest to build an open, democratic, tolerant and responsible society.
Permit me to urge all Ghanaians to return to their respective polling stations to exercise their rights to choose the people they want to represent them in the local governance decision-making process.
Mr Speaker, this is the final major election to be undertaken by the Electoral Commission under the leadership of Dr Kwadwo Afari Djan before he attains his statutory retirement age.

I understand Dr Afari Djan is in the House. My respects.


Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana for the manner you went about your work in the past year and for your collaboration with the Executive in exercising oversight.

The Chamber has been reconfigured and equipped with modern communication gadgets to adequately accommodate all 275 MPs for the efficient and effective discharge of your legislative functions.

I am sure myself and Nana would have been surprised to see how elegant your Chamber is.

I am also informed that Hon Members would finally be able to be accommodated in their offices with the near completion of the Job 600 project.

Mr Speaker, I understand that other welfare matters are outstanding and I assure you that we will work, in collaboration with Parliament, to resolve those issues.

Mr Speaker, we will this year start work on the e-Parliament component of the US$97 million e-Transform Ghana Project. This will allow for a paperless flow of information and will enhance the operations and activities of the House.

I am particularly excited about the prospects of an improved citizen participation in governance under the e- Parliament Project. Nobody should say they were born before computers; you are all going to be involved.

I am sounding a note to my Friend Collins Dauda. We have e-Cabinet project too and I know the day that e-Cabinet works will be the day Hon Collins Dauda goes on his Tablet and works in Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, may I also commend you in particular and Hon Members for working to review the Standing Orders-- I was on the Standing Orders Committee

of the House -- and I am surprised it is taking this long -- This will improve and ensure increased efficiency of the House in performing your legislative functions. You are responding to changing trends of legislative practice and procedures.

Enhancing Rule of Law and Justice

Mr Speaker, we remain committed to a free and independent Judiciary and we continue to support measures aimed at ensuring efficient and speedy adminis- tration of justice.

The new court complex that will house 34 courts initiated by our late President Prof. John Atta Mills is nearing-- I am informed it is nearing completion.

Government has also provided three video-conferencing and tele-presence equipment to enable the Judicial Service conduct face-to-face interaction with Judges in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

In the next 18 months, we will disburse US$5 million for the e-Justice project with the sole objective of assisting in the speedy and efficient delivery of justice. This project also covers the Attorney- General's Department.

Combating Corruption

Mr Speaker, corruption is a canker that continues to plague our society.

Former President Kufuor once said: “Government pretends to pay workers, and workers pretend to work.” This statement was made at a time public sector pay was abysmal.

It is obvious at the time that many public sector workers made up their paltry incomes by taking illegal “tips' and “charges” from members of the public.

With the significant improvement in salaries occasioned by the Single Spine Salary Scheme (SSSS), there can be no justification for the continued bribes demanded from members of the public before they access essential social services, or the wanton misappropriation and theft of public resources that we see.

In every facet of life, we encounter corruption -- at the ports when business people under declare the value of goods to avoid paying the right duties to the State, drivers who drain fuel from Government vehicles, some officers take bribes from motorists for traffic infractions and I could go on with several other examples.

Yet, at every level, there are responsible officers who are to exercise oversight of the activities in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. If these were our private businesses, we surely would not accept the conduct that we see exhibited in the public service and that are continuously exposed in the reports of the Auditor-General on an annual basis.

Ghana is bleeding from all of these acts of mismanagement and malfeasance and leadership at all levels should take responsibility for their areas of oversight and I will make sure that we do so. We must all support the fight against corruption.

Recently, there are reports of a spate of suspicious fires that have gutted records or warehouses that were subjected to audit or about to be subjected to audit. Our directors, inspectors and all heads of institution must sit up.

Mr Speaker, Parliament, in July, 2014, adopted the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP) and Strategy. It is the overarching plan to combat corruption in the country and will be implemented.

In December, 2014, I established a high level implementation committee to be responsible for the implementation of NACAP. This high level committee will provide strategic policy guidance from the highest level of government to MDAs and other implementing partners as well as assist CHRAJ and the NDPC in monitoring the implementation of NACAP.

The process of investigation and prosecution of allegations of corruption, economic crimes and mismanagement by the EOCO and the AG's Department have been subjected to delay and have been unable to fulfil their mandate.

The institutions of State that are responsible for the task of investigating corruption must be strengthened legally and institutionally. I would like to invite Parliament to review the legal and institutional framework that supports the work of the investigative and prosecutorial agencies in order that they can live up to the expectations of an expectant and exasperated nation.

I have, as President, made strenuous efforts to expose, investigate and deal with matters of corruption within the constraints of the law. Our efforts at exposing corruption may result in an erroneous belief that the practice has become more pervasive now than before when in fact, the reverse is the case as evidenced in our performance in recent Transparency International (TI) Reports.

Let me take the opportunity again to urge all anti-graft institutions to promptly investigate allegations and take swift actions to protect the public purse and public resources. As President, I will continue to lend every support to these important institutions to ensure that we win total victory in the war against

malfeasance. As we play our part, I urge other arms of Government to support me to make corruption a high-risk activity.

Mr Speaker, let us make our institutions work and let us work together to create the framework to deal with this menace swiftly, impartially and fairly.

While we expose and fight corruption, we should also tighten systems to ensure that existing loopholes are sealed to avoid a recurrence. One major way to achieve this is with the use of information technology. There has been strong resistance in many instances in our roll out of technology in MDAs because many prefer the laxness of the manual system. We will invest and speed up technology uptake in all facets of national life.

Mr Speaker, last year, I authorised the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to conduct investigations into allegations of fraud in the National Service Scheme's payroll. The investigations revealed an organised system of misappropriating government funds through the insertion of ghost service personnel. Investigators have so far retrieved over GH¢20 million.

In addition, some officials of the Service are currently before court. The NSS, following the payroll scandal, also put in a new electronic payroll for all national service personnel enabling their payments to be loaded on their e-Zwich cards. This will help eliminate ghosts in the NSS pay- roll. Government has through this already saved an estimated GH¢26.5 million.

Prosecution of public officials involved in the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Authority (GYEEDA) is ongoing and moneys are being retrieved from the service providers. A new Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to replace GYEEDA has just been approved by Parliament.
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
celebrate this occasion and reflect on the struggles waged by our illustrious forbears to wean us off colonial domination and subjugation, there is now more than ever before, the need for an honest assessment of our own contributions towards the sustenance and development of our dear nation -- Ghana.
Mr Speaker, recently, we have been offered a stern test of our resolve and commitment to the course of our nation. Our response to this test is mirrored by the story of our aptly named national football team, the Black Stars, in the last year's competition.
The Black Stars of Ghana, after several failed attempts at qualifying for the World Cup, finally managed to do so in 2006 and they put up a creditable performance to the admiration of Ghanaians and the world at large. This brought immeasurable joy to an adoring nation.

This second performance on the world stage cemented our reputation as one of the most potent forces not only in African football but also on the world stage. It instilled in us a deep sense of national pride and we doted on the team.

Mr Speaker, based on this impressive record, expectations were high that a third straight appearance at the World Cup in Brazil will bring even greater laurels to this nation, especially at a time when our team had some of the most established players in the game.

Through a chain of events with which we are all very familiar, the Black Stars crushed out of that tournament in the most unexpected manner. The deep hurt and disappointment that greeted their unceremonious exit from the competition was to usher in a most regrettable phase in the relationship between the team and its once adoring fans, Ghanaians.

Suddenly, the high spirits that greeted every appearance of the Black Stars in a match was replaced with extreme skepticism and doubt. Our hope turned into despair and the vociferous support was supplanted by open hostility towards the Black Stars. Indeed, they were hooted at after some of the matches that they went to play. The Black Stars therefore, cut the image of forlorn orphans, abandoned by all and left to their fate.

For the first time in many years of the Balck Stars history, their participation in an international competition like the just ended African Cup of Nations was met with disinterest and a near total absence of support. There were widespread predictions of an early exit for the team from the tournament on account of the very tough opponents that they had been draw to play with.

The loss of their first match further strengthened this notion among large section of our population.

Mr Speaker, the Black Stars in their next match were, however, to demonstrate in dramatic fashion, the fabled resilience of the Ghanaian. With virtually the last kick of the game, our national team, led by Captain Asamoah Gyan, snatched survival in the tournament from the jaws of elimination.

They were then to move on and play some breath-taking football to beat all their next three opponents to qualify for the final of a tournament in which their own compatriots had written them off. Of

course, they lost to a formidable Ivorian side in the final but only the most eternal pessimist will doubt the quality of the performance they put up in that game before missing out on the trophy through the lottery of penalty kicks.

Mr Speaker, I have recounted the story of the Black Stars because it provides a vivid illustration yet of our story as a people, as Ghanaians. We have won laurels before and we can win more. We have a buoyant, smart and energetic people.

We were birthed as a nation, after centuries of spirited struggle by our forebears. They handed down to this present generation a nation with enormous potential, which had come to represent the beacon of hope for many nations which were held under the yoke of colonial domination.

Mr Speaker, like every great nation, we have been through rough patches in our history. We have been through periods of political and serious economic instability. We have made our mistakes and indeed, some wrong choices in the management of our affairs over the years.

Mr Speaker, we have at many points in our history emerged stronger from adversity. We are now an established and respected democracy after coming from prolonged periods of experimentation. This is what I mean when I say Ghana has victory in its DNA.

Our quest to build a prosperous, inclusive, free and just society is very much on course in spite of the temporary setbacks of erratic supply of power and slippages on the macroeconomic front.

Mr Speaker, even as these challenges are tackled head-on, there is compelling evidence of the unquestionable progress made in almost all aspects of our national life. Today, there are more of our children enrolled in school than ever before as a direct result of unprecedented opportunities made available to them. More girls are enrolled and are being kept in the classrooms. More women are holding responsible and sensitive positions in our country than was the case in the past.

Today, Ghanaians are more likely to receive better healthcare services than ever before because of significant investment and work done in the sector.

Today, we have succeeded in moving more of our citizens out of poverty and we have reduced hunger and malnutrition.

Mr Speaker, today, we have increased life expectancy over the 58 years of our nation's life from 45 years to 63 years.

Mr Speaker, today, millions of our compatriots who had to endure shortages of potable water have access to the vital commodity which has led us leading to the eradication of the guinea-worm disease.

Today, we have adopted more than ever, the use of ICT and telecommu- nications as a driver and a catalyst in our daily activities.

Our roads continue to be improved.

Some of the remotest parts of our country have been given access to electricity making, as I said, the rate of

access to electricity one of the highest on the continent.

Many other human development indicators are showing significant improvements in the lives of our people.

What we require is to sustain this momentum and to propel us to greater heights when we need is a renewed commitment to the progress and wellbeing of our nation. Nation building is not an easy task; it is a long and arduous one, which can only be undertaken through collective effort.

Mr Speaker, this effort must be anchored in unconditional love for our country; it must be anchored in hard work; it must be anchored in and an immutable sense of patriotism. [Hear! Hear!] This is the path treaded by those who came before us, through sheer valour and sacrifice, sweat and blood, toiled to secure our nation 58 years ago.

With patriotic zeal and a burning desire to ensure the progress and prosperity of our country, there will be no obstacle too high for us to surmount. No nation in this world has attained greatness without these values, that I have just talked about.

The greatest impediments in the way of patriotism and collective nation building are, however, unbridled cynicism and excessive partisanship-- two creeping phenomena, which we must guard against and expunge from our national psyche.

A cynical approach often leads to a craving for every national endeavour to end in failure in order to justify a deeply flawed perspective on national affairs. This psyche latches onto temporary problems to paint a picture of abject hopelessness.

Mr Speaker, partisan approach places premium on political calculation and gain above what should be the national interest.

On the airwaves, on a daily basis, we hear polarised views on critical national issues from people from all walks of life including those who should be sharing academic and professional perspectives with the general public. Unprintable expressions are sometimes allowed without caution or censorship.

Misuse of the internet is included in this. A conscious effort is thus made to either exaggerate or distort or concert the true picture that should emerge of our nation.

We must not allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of cynicism and extreme partisanship. Like the Black Stars, let us fashion out of the jagged rocks of fleeting setbacks, smooth stepping- stones to greater achievements.

Mr Speaker, I will add that in our case, let us score our goals to secure victory. Our history is replete with glorious tales of remarkable victories and successes. These must spur us on to achieve even far more than we can imagine.

So, on this auspicious occasion, as I end my third State of the Nation Address and as we commence festivities to mark our independence, I invite everyone, boy or girl, man or woman, rich or poor, religious believer or non-believer to shed off what divides us, concentrate on the many issues that unite us as a nation and let us work together to accelerate the progress made so far as we work to transform our country Ghana.

We owe it to our forebears whose toil and sacrifice led to the victory over those who sought to oppress us and keep us from realising our destiny as a great nation and laid down the building blocks for the progress we have made so far.

We owe it to our forebears, once again, to keep the unity and cohesion of our country. Together, we will build a strong and prosperous Ghana.
Mr Speaker, to further consolidate the gains, we are developing the following 10:15 a.m.
I urge families and educational institutions to continue to inculcate a sense of unity, patriotism and nationalism in our children. Destiny brought us together as one nation.

Mr Speaker, we owe it to ourselves as the successors of a generation that did this for us and perhaps, even more importantly, we owe it to our children and our children's children who deserve to live in a fully developed, prosperous, free and just society.

Mr Speaker, I thank you once again, for this opportunity.

May God bless our Homeland Ghana.
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Members, in accordance with Standing Order 58, I will wish to convey to His Excellency the President of the Republic, the gratitude of the House.
Hon Members, again, in accordance with the practice of this House, a formal communication would be forwarded to His Excellency the President after the House has thoroughly debated this Address.
Hon Majority Leader, do you have any indication regarding the adjournment of the House?
Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, after listening to His Excellency the President deliver his
Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, I saw the National Democratic Congress's (NDC's) Manifesto on your table -- [Laughter.]
Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 12:45 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to second the Motion moved by the Hon Majority Leader who is in a white cap. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I am in black and majority of my compatriots are in black. The symbolism of it, Mr Speaker, is that the nation is in distress. This is dum, dum and there is just one sor on the head of the Hon Majority Leader.

Mr Speaker, let nobody tomorrow, come to say that the President so much mesmerised the House, that we could not do anything but listen to him in silence.

Mr Speaker, the President has indicated to us -- and he quoted Nelson Mandela -- that the resilience of a person lies in his rising up every time he falls. That

Mr Speaker, the President told us in his Address, that we have been here before. Last year, he said the same thing, that we have been here before as a nation. We wanted to hear from the President, that we were there before and that we would put these things behind us.

The content of the Address, we would certainly deal with. But Mr Speaker, we have a catalogue of wishes of the President. We all know that we have to expect a reviewed budget. For the first time in the history of this Fourth Republic, the

nation is awaiting a reviewed budget. That should tell us where we are. We will deal with it.

Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:45 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.52 p.m. till Friday, 27th February, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.