Hon Minister can be assured of our support. Even Parliament, if we ask him how much budgetary allocation he had for housing, you would be sad.
I dare challenge each Hon Member of Parliament to one day decide that they would want to see where a policeman or soldier sleeps, then we would understand the state of housing in this country.
As I drive through the Tamale Airport, my heart bleeds. There is abundance of land for the Ministry of Defence and the Military, but go to their cubicles and you would understand how urgent it is for us as a country to be responding and supporting him.
Has he been able to provide accommodation for Hon Ministers? -- [Interruptions] -- If he does, I will remind him of one in front of him. Some do not have office accommodation. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, it means that we must deal -- That reminds me of a point our Hon Colleague, Hon Annoh-Dompreh, made. He has been in government before. He should not behave like he came yesterday. They ruled for eight years and could not resolve all the housing problems.
Do you want me to quote the Hon Minister? The Minister said he wants to deal with 1.7 million --
Mr Speaker, I enjoyed this quote. So since I am reminded, I will quote the Hon Minister. I believe the Government of the New Patriotic Party is in divine alignment.
It can only be divine -- [Laughter] -- That is why we have the sacred duty and I support the Hon Minister on that. It is sacred that he needs our support. But beyond prayers and divine, he needs to find the money.
He goes further wiping out the over one million housing units. The Hon Minister has an enormous challenge and task and he must be helped. We would help except that there are national constraints.
I like your frankness. I admire it but we need to do more about housing.
Mr Speaker, I conclude with the comment of the Hon Annoh-Dompreh. Again, Hon Minister, let us be sincere to the Ghanaian private sector. I used to be the Minister for Trade and Industry supervising the private sector. When the Ministry awards contracts and it decides that they will supply cement and iron rods, are they really partnering with the private sector of Ghana?
Mr Speaker, I said I will not reduce myself to petty partisan politics when it comes to housing. If I wanted to score cheap political points, I would give dates and times. But I am saying that the Hon Minister has the facts.
It is wrong and I am saying it is wrong, because I am making fundamental comments, it is the Government of Ghana which is weakening and destroying the private sector of this country.
When contractors go and borrow money to desilt our gutters, it takes one to two years to pay them. Do they think that can be a potent private sector? No! All the money is absorbed as interest and bank charges.
So, Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Minister has drawn our attention, which is expected of him to do. As we observe World Habitat Day today, I say on behalf of ordinary Ghanaians, including the security agencies like the police and the soldiers, that they want to enjoy the decent housing and we must be seen acting.
Mr Speaker, there is an erosion of public confidence even in our governance structures because of our inability to meet some of these basic needs. They do not have money for housing but they have money for other sectors. So, prioritisation.
My senior Hon Colleague has dealt with the new framework of the Ministry in terms of heads having focus. So, when we say non-partisanship, those of you who want to be partisan, like the housing projects which were commenced, we have had Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) come in.
Mr Speaker and the Hon Minister, you are encouraged. I had the rare privilege of being a supervising Minister for pensions. This country can make better use of pension money to finance housing and energy if we want to. With energy, the Norway experience is there. But Hon Minister for Works and Housing, you would need two visits.
Mr Speaker, without showing — I wish that Rt Hon Prof. Mike Oquaye was in the Chair. He led us to Morocco and I am sure when we came back, I have related that
the Hon Minister be encouraged to go to Morocco and Turkey for them to learn examples of how housing can change the circumstance of a people. When one is going on pension in Morocco, one has no headache, one knows where he or she would lay his or her head.
Mr Speaker, all the workers sitting in front of you, their bale is not the poor salary, but the fact that they have to mortgage the salary for two years' rent. That is the challenge we are called to deal with; that every Ghanaian worker — so it would be a certain relief if we provide housing.
Therefore we support them that financing and prioritisation of housing must be seen as a critical, social and urgent national need, not the rhetoric that I would mobilise money domestically. Where? Where are they going to mobilise it? Unless they want to come with new taxes.
The President is in Wa now, saying that he met empty coffers yet he is running a Government. No new taxes, he has got something. So they should come with something.
Mr Speaker, in concluding, I think I would want to commend the Hon Minister and as the Hon Second Deputy Speaker said, the Ministry of Works and Housing has room, they should focus on it. There is a lot of good lands within Accra for the high rise buildings they spoke about — if I get the page, what the workers need is not much. If you build the high rise buildings around town, it could accommodate them.
Mr Speaker, my concluding word, it affects productivity. When they wake up, they are worried about how to get to Ministries. Poor transport system, no housing regime and we say we want productivity. Where are we going to get it?