Debates of 27 Feb 2019

PRAYERS 11:02 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
Hon Members, I trust that the media are duly informed of the fact that for some technical difficulties in the system, we could not start until now.

Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
Hon Members, correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Votes and Proceedings dated, 26th February, 2019.
Page 1…7 --
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
Mr Ablakwa 11:02 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was here yesterday and took part in the debate but surprisingly, I have been marked absent with permission. I wonder when I requested the permission.
So, Mr Speaker, it should be corrected that I was present.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
And of course, it is duly recorded as well. They have to reconcile your participation with your presence.
Thank you very much.
Page 8 --
Mr Boniface 11:02 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know whether this is the right time but some time last week, I sought permission --
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
Hon Member, if it is Votes and Proceedings of some time last week, kindly contact the Table Office accordingly.
Mr Boniface 11:02 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was marked absent but I signed the form --
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
There were some difficulties which were corrected and you were not here.
Mr Boniface 11:02 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I want the records to capture it. That is why I am on my feet.
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
It would be duly captured. In fact, we said that all those affected should please contact the Table Office. It would be done accordingly.
Mr Boniface 11:02 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
Page 9…21?
Hon Members, the Votes and Pro- ceedings of Tuesday, 26thFebruary, 2019 as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Saturday, 15th December, 2018.]
  • Mr Speaker 11:02 a.m.
    Hon Members, the item numbered 3, Questions. Question 536.
    Hon Minister for Sanitation?
    - 11:12 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 11:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources is with us this morning.
    We got to know that the equipment were not functioning well, so she ran back to the Ministry. She is almost here with us to answer the Questions, so if we could stand the Questions down for about five minutes, for the Hon Minister to be in our midst.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, in the meantime, to maximise the application of time, we would --
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Majority Chief Whip.
    Mr Speaker, because of our system breakdown -- I believe I also saw the Hon Minister, so maybe, we may have to give her time.
    Mr Speaker, in that sense, if you do not mind, we may start with the Public Business, while we wait for the Hon Minister. That is a suggestion.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Very well, we would then move straight to Public Business. [Pause] --
    The Hon Minister is now graciously present. Hon Minister, you may take the relevant seat.
    Hon Members, we would take Question 536. By the Hon Member for Ningo-Prampram.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Akandoh 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence to ask Question 536 on behalf of the Hon Member for Ningo-Prampram.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Hon Member, you should first let me know whether you have his authority, because that is the procedure.
    Mr Akandoh 11:12 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker, I have his authority.


    WATER RESOURCE 11:12 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources (Mrs Cecilia A. Dapaah): Mr Speaker, the Afienya Electoral Area is
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister.
    Yes, Hon Member, are you satisfied?
    Hon Members, we would then move on to Question *537. By the Hon Member for Tolon.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Irregular Flow of Pipe-Borne Water in Tolon
    Mr Wahab W. Suhuyini asked the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources why pipe-borne water which was extended to Tolon and its environs does not flow regularly.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mrs Dapaah 11:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Dalun Water Treatment Plant which supplies potable water to Tolon was constructed in1972. To improve water supply, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) expanded the capacity of the water treatment plant from 2.4 MGD to 9.9 MGD in 2008.
    Currently, the average water production from the Dalun Water Treatment Plant is 7MGD, creating a deficit of about 2.9MGD while the current water demand 12.3MGD.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of the in- adequate daily production to meet current demands, regular supply of potable water to the people of Tolon and its environs is impeded.
    To ensure that potable water is available for use, water is being rationed by GWCL to the people of Tolon, Kumbungu, Savalungu Nanton Districts, Sagnerigu District, Tamale Metropolis and the surrounding communities.
    Tolon receives its ration of water on Mondays, 6:00 p.m. to Tuesdays 6:00p.m and on Thursdays, 6:00 pm to Fridays 6:00 p.m.
    To meet the water demand for Tolon and its environs up to the year 2040 planning horizon, Government is planning to construct a new 29.7MGD water treatment facility at Yapei.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Suhuyini 11:12 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to know that the reality on the ground is that it is only the Tolon Township and Nyankpala which receive water on those specified days.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Hon Members, Order!
    Hon Members, there is only one owner to the Question.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mrs Dapaah 11:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did say that they have a rationing calendar, so if there are any variations, then we would go to the drawing table and come back to the Hon Member.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Tolon, any further questions?
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for attending to the House.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Hon Member, you know the answer to your intended intervention. [Laughter.]
    Hon Minister, thank you for attending to the House and answering our Questions.
    Leadership, at this stage, how do we proceed?
    Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 11:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are ready for the debate. The Hon K. T. Hammond would set the ball rolling from our Side.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Hon Member, Motion listed 5 -- Continuation of the Debate.
    Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 11:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is 12 minutes.
    Mr Speaker 11:12 a.m.
    Hon Majority Chief Whip, how many minutes should he be given? You should just tell me because you have your agreement, and I would want to maintain and keep strictly to that.
    Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, for Hon Chairpersons and Hon Ranking Members, it is 15 minutes; for other Hon Members, it is 12 minutes.
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, let us agree on the ground rules, then I would apply them rigidly.
    Mr Iddrisu 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so; I concur with the Hon Majority Chief Whip.
    I appeal to Hon Colleagues to be as civil and decorous as possible, as that is your wish. They are to allow for a thorough debate, which would better our governance and the quality of life of our people.
    So I agree with him, that for Hon Chairpersons and Hon Ranking Members, 15 minutes is given. I know that you have your own way of accommodating the quality of statistics; we would then have 12 minutes for Hon Members. I so concur.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Member, you may proceed.
    MOTIONS 11:22 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Hon Member, in Parliament, we talk about “mislead”, not “deceive”.
    Mr Hammond 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw “deceive” and replace it with “mislead. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague may not really recall the history of exploration and oil discovery in this country. It started in earnest in May 2004 when I, under the
    ministerial authority of Hon Albert Kan- Dapaah, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kosmos Energy, which led to the first discovery in the year 2007.
    Mr Speaker, I would take you through the oil Agreements that were signed under the first New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration under ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor and the various discoveries.
    Somehow, scandalously, my Hon Colleague said yesterday that only two discoveries were made in Ghana under the first Administration of the NPP under ex- President Kufuor.
    He then went on to mention a lot of so- called discoveries that had purportedly taken place under the Administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which are all untruths.
    As I already said, in the year 2004, the first Agreement by Kosmos Energy was ratified by this House in July. We then moved on in the year 2006 to do the Shallow Water Tullow, and I brought the document here.
    Mr Speaker, I suspect it was under your able leadership that this particular document was brought to this House for ratification by Parliament. In March 2004, Tullow Oil, the current operators of the Jubilee Fields, also had their block ratified by this same House.
    We then moved on to Eni Ghana. At the time, it was not called Eni Ghana. At that time it was called Vitol -- that was on 15 th March, 2006 under the NPP Administration. We then moved on to June 2008 under the NPP Administration with the same Vitol.
    We then moved on to the one that seems to have become interesting, which
    is the Aker Block. That was ratified by this House, I suspect under your own leadership at the Ministry, on 8th February, 2006. We left after ratifying the second Aker Agreement on 5th November, 2008. All were under the first NPP Administration under ex-President Kufuor.
    Mr Speaker, let us look at the companies that have made discoveries in this country. Kosmos Energy was the first company that made a discovery in this country; we then had Tullow Oil and Eni Ghana, which was originally known as vitol.
    Subsequently, Eni Ghana farmed into that project. The next one was Hess Corporation, which used to be called Amerada Hess.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to tell you, more so, about the Hess Corporation Agreement that the President talked about under this particular paragraph.
    As I have indicated, it was the case that in the year 2006, this block was given to Hess Corporation, which was then called Amerada Hess Corporation. They went on and did their three dimensions.
    Subsequently, the Tema Lube Oil Company decided to farm into it and made discoveries after explorations and appraisals, after which the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) issue with la Cote d'Ivoire came to the fore and their operations were then abandoned.
    It was after the ITLOS judgment that Hess Corporation decided that they were no longer interested in developing the project. The reason being that they were in partnership with Exxon Mobil, which had made discovery of about five billion barrels of oil in Guyana.

    They decided it was not worth their bother to be in Ghana, so they moved on to Guyana. It was in that process that Aker Energy decided to farm-in in February, 2017, which the President talked about.

    The President knew what he talked about because he said in the paragraph that after many years of searching and not finding anything, it took the NPP Government to first discover oil in this country in the year 2007.

    Mr Speaker, the history of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) -- Mr Speaker, when you were at the Ministry, you enquired a lot about it. The activities of the company were distinguished by its reckless spending that nearly collapsed the institution.

    It was Aker Energy that did what you, Mr Speaker, would call the drilling of appraisal works following the grant of the block to them in the year 2006, which has indeed brought about this additional discovery that they have made in the block.

    They already had about 300 to 400 barrels of oil, and the new appraisal works have discovered between another 100 to 200, which makes the 550 barrels that we were talking about. Mr Speaker, it was always to the credit of the NPP Administration; the President got it spot on.

    From January 2009 to the year 2017 when the NDC took over, these were the companies that they granted oil blocks to; Erin Energy -- Mr Kasse Lawal is involved with it. There is a company called AMI, another Chief Afolabi is involved with it.
    Mr Hammond 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are also Springfield Energy, Eco (Atlantic) Oil and Gas, UBS Resources, Sahara Group Cola Medea, Britannia, Heritage, Blue Stars, Swiss Africa.

    Yesterday, I think while my Hon Colleague from Ellembelle Constituency got up to talk, he had forgotten that there were people with institutional memories who had personal involvement in the discovery of oil in this country and that is why he made those statements.

    Mr Speaker, I thought that we should exercise our powers under our Standing Orders to cite him for contempt of this House for misleading the people of Ghana and everybody.

    This is the list of the companies that the party on the opposite Side of the House brought in when they were in Government; not a single one of them had actually gone past the first three years exploration stage that we gave them.

    I would actually invite this House to ask the Hon Minister for Energy to abrogate all of `these contracts. If you look at the contracts, they were given three years in the first phase to do the appraisal, seismic data and so on and after that if there is the need, they are given extensions.

    All of these companies have gone past the three years and exhausted their extension period but with the exception of about two of them; Springfield Group --

    [Uproar.] -- Mr Speaker, Springfield Group has just started some 3D and then the Cola Medea which has also started their 3D seismic survey.

    These are the only two companies --
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    In conclusion?
    Mr Hammond 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I say to this House that they have been misled; the Hon Colleague who spoke yesterday told palpable untruth and that every drop of oil in this country has come about as a result of the first and second NPP Administrations -- [Uproar.] -- We must take credit for this and they must look into the mirror and bow down their collective heads in shame. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Hon Hammond, you may want to proceed appropriately whether by question or any other process by which you can initiate bringing the Hon Minister for Energy into the House for this purpose and not to say it generally.
    So please advise yourself and file the appropriate parliamentary process if you deem it necessary.
    Mr Hammond 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Hon Adam Mutawakilu?
    Mr Mutawakilu Adam (NDC -- Damongo) 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity to contribute to the State of the Nation Address ably moved by the Hon Minister for Information and seconded by the Ranking Member for the Defence and Interior Committee.
    Mr Speaker, Hon K.T. Hammond made it clear that Hess Corporation Agreement was signed in the year 2006 and the
    shareholding was 90 per cent for Hess Corporation and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) free carried interest of 10 per cent.

    Mr Speaker, let me mention them; Paradise Well, Hickory North, Beech, Cob, Almond, Pecan; Pecan was drilled on the 6th of December, 2012, and it is important as I would refer to it in my subsequent contribution.

    These are some of the discoveries that were made when these wells were drilled in a bid to reduce their risk, did a farm-in and that is why the Hon Member said -- Lukoil's farm-in, 38 per cent, fuel trade two per cent with GNPC's 10 per cent.

    Mr Speaker, let me refer to the misleading statement by the President. He said that they had signed an agreement in the year


    We are all aware that when a petroleum agreement is signed, article 268 of the 1992 Constitution requires parliamentary ratification if the President had truly signed a petroleum agreement with Aker
    Mr Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Adam 11:22 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, therefore, this did not need parliamentary ratification. With your permission, let me quote:
    “Change of ownership”
    “A contractor or sub-contractor shall not transfer a share of that con- tractor's or sub-contractor's incor- porated company in the Republic to a third party or affiliate without the written approval of (a) the Minister, in the case of a contractor, or”
    Mr Speaker, so, Hess Corporation was the contractor and therefore, they only required approval of the Hon Minister and that is why it did not come to Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, paragraph (b) talks about affiliation of sub-contractors and for them it requires approval from the Petroleum Commission and that is why I did not refer to the --
    After Aker Energy acquired the shares, on the 30th August, 2018 -- this is a press release. Aker Energy planned to make
    appraisal in October, 2018 and that was in reference to August, 2013.
    This means that Aker Energy was to make appraisal and one cannot make appraisal when they do not have the data on the field and because of the discoveries in 2012/2013, they used those data and narrowed on the Pekan Well that was drilled.
    That is why they say; ‘Aker Energy makes a substantial appraisal of the Pekan Well which is in reference to section 25(2) (b) -- This indicates whether an appraisal can result in a discovery or it is after a discovery has been made.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me read section 25(2)(b) 11:42 a.m.
    “Where petroleum activities result into a petroleum discovery, the contractor shall
    b. Provide the full particulars of the discovery in writing to the Minister and the Commission as soon as possible and in every event within a hundred days after the discovery, starting from where the discovery merits appraisal or not”.
    Mr Speaker, this means that if the discovery merits an appraisal without a discovery there cannot be an appraisal. So the President saying that he has signed a discovery agreement was misleading and therefore, the facts must be clear.
    Further, in the energy sector, especially power sector agencies -- Since 2017, the power sector agencies such as the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), the Northern Electrification Distribution Company (NEDCo) and Electricity Companyof Ghana (ECG) have been in serious distress as indicated by their financial positions.

    All things being equal, in 2019, they are expected to make a loss of GH¢346.95 million. Mr Speaker, one may ask what the effects of poor financial ratio are.

    Mr Speaker, their liquidity ratio is 0.92 to one. That means if we take their current assets, it cannot meet their current liabilities and as a result, the disbursement of a loan amount of US$163 million from African Development Bank (AFD) has been suspended.

    Mr Speaker, this loan was for the construction of a transmission line from Kumasi to Kintampo and to Bolgatanga to enable us to easily transmit power to Burkina Faso.

    Mr Speaker, the suspension of the disbursement of the loan has led to glare overruns of US$21 million. This is not good for mother Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, I would touch on ECG. In 2016, ECG made a profit of GH¢725 million, and in 2017, they made a loss of GH¢521 million and in 2018, about GH¢2 billion in losses.

    Mr Speaker, NEDCo in 2016 made a loss of GH¢1.3 million in 2017 they made a loss of GH¢ 10 million and in 2018, they made a loss of GH¢ 203 million. Meanwhile, this is a government that has inherited Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) where billions of Ghana cedis are raked in to ensure that these power sector agencies perform efficiently, but it is not reflecting.

    Where is the money? The money has been used. Mr Speaker, GH¢ 600 million of the money has been used for the payment of pension funds.

    Mr Speaker, I would talk about the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) and you are aware that since last two weeks, there has been a turf war between the CEO and the Board Chairman of the Company and this is not good for the morale of the staff.

    Further, since this Government came to power, GNPC has been used as a loan company. In 2017, US$100 million of GNPC funds, which is our money, was doled out to Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST). In 2018, US$60 million was doled to BOST and Government is now using GNPC as a special purpose vehicle to source for loans to pay energy sector Debt.

    Mr Speaker, in the GNPC work programme for 2019 that you referred to your Committee for consideration, the Hon Minister for Energy requested GNPC to go for a loan of US$250 million for the Ministry to use to pay energy sector debts.

    Mr Speaker, I do not think that this is the way we expect GNPC to run and this must stop because in six years they would not have access to funds from the budget. Mr Speaker, we think that this must be dealt with and appropriate attention should be given.

    Mr Speaker, the President also talked about solar energy and the fact that we have about 200 islands without electricity and so he would want to embark on mini grids.

    Mr Speaker, we thought that two years in power without any mini grid in any of these islands is not the best for Ghana and so President Akufo-Addo must sit up.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me read section 25(2)(b) 11:42 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, during the tenure of President Mahama, the following communities and islands were connected to solar energy; Peduakotope in Ada East District, Kodokope in Krachi East District, Aglakope in Krachi West District, Agigogome in Sene East District and Woyokope in Sene East District.

    Mr Speaker, these were communities that were connected to mini grids under President Mahama and in two years, they cannot even mention one or start one. This is an embarrassment and I am surprised that after two years in power, the President is talking about solar rooftops.

    Mr Speaker, President Mahama initiated it in 2015 and when they came they abandoned it. President Mahama's solar rooftops were not only geared towards public buildings -- First was for public buildings, second was to support small and medium scale enterprises such as tailors, hairdressers and barbers, and third was to encourage private people to mount solar panels on their buildings.

    Mr Speaker, he also brought about what was called net-metering which meant that if a person had a solar panel but his or her consumption is less, then the person should have an opportunity to make some income.

    So when the person had excess of power, he could go to Energy Commission or Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to sell to government, so that when you need it you buy it and at the end of the month it would be net off.

    It was called net-metering but all these were abandoned in 2017 and after two years they are now coming back to tell us that they would install solar panels at the

    Jubilee House. Mr Speaker, we cannot clap any hands for them.

    Mr Speaker, Volta River Authority (VRA) has been in a mess since this Government took over and they owe Ghana Gas US$735 million. VRA takes gas from ENI or Sankofa, Gye Nyame or Offshore Cape Three Points (OTCP) -- since the production of gas, VRA consumes the gas but has not been able to pay.

    During the first two months, it consumed 60 million standard cubic feet of gas at a cost of US$14.9 million but they have not been able to pay. Currently, they consume 120 million standard cubic feet of gas but they are still not able to pay and this is mounting debts.

    Meanwhile, the President tells us that he is investing ESLA to ensure that these State-owned enterprises in the energy sector would become efficient. Mr Speaker, I do not think that it is being applied very well and we would need to look at it very carefully.

    Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you very much for the opportunity given me.
    Mr Speaker 11:42 a.m.
    Hon Dr Yaw O. Adutwum.
    Deputy Minister for Education (Dr Yaw O. Adutwum) (MP): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak on the State of the Nation Address delivered by His Excellency the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
    Mr Speaker, the President presented an Address which was well-written and delivered and I think that it would go
    down the history of this Nation as one of the best State of the Nation Addresses that we have experienced.
    In the area of education, the President spoke about the introduction of the Free Senior High School programme and many other reforms that are taking place in the Ministry.
    Mr Speaker, when we talk about the Free Senior High School programme, I know there were many who --
    Mr Speaker 11:52 a.m.
    Hon Members, order! Otherwise, you truncate debate.
    Hon Deputy Minister, please, proceed.
    Dr Adutwum 11:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there were many naysayers who said it was not possible, but the President believed that it was possible, and in fact, it could be delivered.
    If you see what has happened after the introduction of Free Senior High School Programme, the number of disadvantaged students who have had the opportunity to access secondary education for the first time is a testimony to the fact that the great vision that he has laid and the anal he has really proffered is something that would lead to the transformation of our Nation.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot develop this Nation if we have two Ghanas; Ghana for the rich and Ghana for the poor. When you go to Ghana for the rich, they have access to secondary education; and when you go to Ghana for the poor, they do not have .
    When that happens, we are creating two nations where we do not have equity, a level playing field.
    Dr Adutwum 11:52 a.m.
    However, Free Senior High School is not just about access. The access question has been settled. It is also about equity. How do we ensure that children who go to our public schools have the chance to attend the best schools in the country?
    Through the leadership of my Hon Minister, the Affirmative Action Pro- gramme that was implemented, for the first time, has sent students to schools that they never imagined they would ever attend.

    It is also not just about access and equity but it is also about quality. That is why for the first time in the history of this nation, the Government has given grants to schools so that they can truly have interventions for students.

    Hitherto, it has been sink or swim. If one goes to the senior high school and he is the brightest student and does well, as teachers teach at their levels of understanding, what happens?

    But what happens to those who did not have the opportunity to have all the requisite skills in junior high schools before they entered high school. They were left to their fate.

    For the first time, we have an intervention grant, going to senior high schools so that when students come in and they are assessed and it is seen that there are deficiencies and that the student is not doing well in the English Language, or the Mathematics that students would be able to get the opportunity to be tutored by the same teachers who are teaching them in the classroom.

    Until this time, there was something that was called extra classes. How the extra classes worked was that, those who have the money would pay so that they would get extra tuition, and those who do not have the money would wait.

    The following day, when they go to the classroom, the lesson does not go back, but they continue, therefore, creating a gap or chasm between the rich and the poor which needed to be bridged. That is what this President is doing at this time in the history of our Nation.

    Now, we know that there was a talk about double track system and the need at that point last year to ensure that we truly did not leave any child behind.

    Therefore the double track system was introduced. When the double track system was introduced, the President and the Hon Minister made it clear that we will have an infrastructural development plan that would forever retire the double track system in five to seven years.

    Mr Speaker, I am excited to inform the House that the double track infrastructure development plan is on track through the Ghana Education Trust Fund's (GETFund) securitisation.

    This House actually approved the US$1.5 billion infrastructure plan, and we

    have begun the process of ensuring that every senior high school that is on double track gets the needed facilities so that when the students move on from form 1 to form 2, they would not have to be divided.

    That is to say that through this major infrastructure development, now when the form 1 students get to form 2, they would go together as one cohort, thereby retiring one year of double track.
    Mr Speaker 11:52 a.m.
    Hon Members, we are carrying on a debate on agreed principles and fundamentals. Please, give the other Side a chance mutually and let us proceed accordingly.
    Hon Member, you may go on.
    Dr Adutwum 11:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    I think we have said that double track is on track. [Laughter.] The gold and green students in form 1 are just about to finish their first semester just the same way we said it would work.
    I know many who, at the initial stages did not understand how it would work and were telling parents that their children were going to stay at home for six months. That is not the case.
    On 28th February, green track students would have finished their semester and would be continuing on with the second semester. This means the green track students would be there for four months.
    The gold track students have been there for four months. Form 2 students
    were there for four months, and each one of them, after four months, would enjoy their vacation. So, double tracking is working the way we predicted it would work, and in fact, it is working according to plan.
    Mr Speaker, when we come to Science, Engineering and Mathematics, no nation could transform itself with that, giving its students the requisite knowledge in that area. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is not a question of the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
    It is a combination of things that lend itself to creativity. STEM lends itself to creativity because it ensures that students work in a corroborative relationship. It ensures that students work on projects that have real meaning in their communities.
    That is why in our Manifesto, it was said that there were going to be 10 STEM centres across the country and we have delivered that. Contracts have been awarded, construction is about to begin and the STEM centres would be delivered.
    However, not only are we doing the regional STEM centres, we are also bringing STEM to the basic level in what we call the B-STEM.
    Junior high schools and primary schools across the country are going to get their STEM equipment and would be able to do projects; they would be able to do robots and computing and they are going to be able to engross themselves in the works of STEM in such a way that when they come out, they are coming out as critical thinkers.
    We cannot go through education without ensuring that students have the requisite skills to think and to innovate. If
    you would want to wait till they get to the university to do engineering and to be exposed to engineering, it would be too late.
    When they get to the university, we would by all means have engineering graduates, but we are not going to have engineering innovators. That is what the President is about. His visions are so clear.
    He does not want to leave any child behind. He would want to create a level playing field for all so that if you go to a private school, you do STEM, and when you come to the public school, you also do STEM.
    When we talk about all of this, it should also be situated within the context of changing the way students are taught and the way they learn.
    That is why the President announced that we are embarking on a major curricula reform: a curriculum reform that would ensure that we emphasise writing, reading, arithmetic and creativity; create a learning environment where the teacher is not a sage on stage, where the teacher knows it all, but a learning environment that would tap into the potential of every individual student that sits in the classroom; create a learning environment that builds on what we have already begun under the President, requiring a four-year bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for teaching in any classroom in this nation.
    We cannot talk about creating a first class education system when the very people who are supposed to lead the effort at educating our children are not well prepared to do so through no fault of their own.
    When you say that teachers should go to school for two years and do one year practicum and be able to teach like anybody else around the world, it was not
    Dr Adutwum 12:02 p.m.
    going to happen. So the President directed and ensured that beginning this past September, colleges of education began a four year degree programme.

    This is on course. It is part of our agenda to ensure that every child sits in front of a teacher who is fully equipped and can really and truly deliver the instruction to the betterment of that child, and of course, to the betterment of our Nation.

    Mr Speaker, the President is bent on changing the landscape of education, and he is not changing it for himself, so when he said he was in a hurry, he was in a hurry to correct 60 years of under-performance and under-achievement in our schools.

    He was in a hurry to ensure that the poor do not have to borrow money to send their children to private schools. He was in a hurry to ensure that our public schools delivered, and that is what we are doing in our public schools through this new curriculum.

    When we talk about education, we are not just talking about curriculum. We are also talking about instruction and assessmen; that is why we have something called Curriculum Instruction and Assessment (CIA).

    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, this President has a bold agenda for the transformation of this Nation. He wants to create tomorrow's future today so that children from different backgrounds can all come together and be part of this great nation's experience and forward marching.
    Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
    Hon Member, thank you very much.
    Hon Dr Kwabena Donkor?
    Dr Kwabena Donkor (NDC-- Pru East) 12:02 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Address ably presented by His Excellency the President of the Republic. I would applaud the President for fulfilling his constitutional obligation.
    Mr Speaker, I would start from page 16, paragraph 6, where His Excellency the President says:
    “The Ministry of Energy is undertaking steps to remove the transmission bottlenecks…”
    Mr Speaker, the President said this with regard to indigenous gas supply. Ordinarily, I would have been the first to praise the President and the Government of the Republic for taking steps to remove such bottlenecks, but when a government on coming into power meets a contract already signed with contractors mobilised, and suspends its project for nearly one- and-a-half years to investigate, and when the suspension results in our inability to meet our commitment, our inability to uptake the power from ENI and our inability to complete the reverse flow pipeline from the West to the East, then it is two years a little bit too late to de-bottleneck.
    You do not create a problem, attempt to solve the problem, and then expect to be applauded for solving the problem. It is important that, as a nation, moving forward, even when there is a new government in place, existing contractual obligations are respected, and especially, critical projects are carried on while various investigations are undertaken.
    We could have investigated whatever we felt needed to be investigated without stopping the contractor. Today we are paying nearly US$25 million a month to ENI as a result of the Government of Ghana not being ready to offtake the gas. If this is not causing financial loss, I do not know what it is.
    Mr Speaker, the President also made some commitment to renewable energy. I believe it is a step in the right direction, but this is also one-and-a-half years too late. There was a programme of rooftop solar panels which was a programme to cover all our public buildings with solar panels. The Government suspended this project, and for two years, we are now coming back to where we were.
    We must, as a people, develop a system that enables us to move away from these stop-go-stop-go tendencies, which tend to cost us not just money but a lot of time.
    Mr Speaker, if today the President in the State of the Nation Address expresses a commitment to rooftop solar, or to renewable energy as a whole, we want to see this mainstreamed into the manage- ment of the economy, not as a standalone energy issue.
    What are the incentives for our basic schools to have their rooftops populated with solar panels? What are the incentives for the private sector to move a lot of their non-critical needs from grid power to solar power? The management of the economy must be seen as a cohesive whole and not just bits that we tackle.
    Mr Speaker, I would kindly entreat speech writers and Hon Ministers not to mislead our President, and I say this
    because the President is the very embodiment of our nation, and therefore, anything coming out of his speech has a reflection on the Nation-state.
    Mr Speaker, no Petroleum Agreement was signed in 2017. Farm-in or farm-out is no petroleum agreement. This is so basic, and if a petroleum agreement had been signed, it would have come to this House.
    Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you rise on a point of correction?
    Mr Hammond 12:02 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
    I would accept correction. No petroleum agreement was signed in the year 2017. If you have any contradictory fact, state that and let us have a point of correction, otherwise, I would not accept anything else.
    Mr Hammond 12:02 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in that case it is a point of correction then.
    Mr Speaker, farming-in into an existing petroleum agreement is an agreement. That is what was done in 2017. You farm- in with all the documentary evidence and papers. Signatures are appended to a new agreement between the signing parties. That is an agreement.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:02 p.m.
    Hon Member, you may proceed.
    Dr Donkor 12:02 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we were to accept the position of my Hon Colleague, it would have meant that the Petroleum agreement would have been deposited in this House.
    Some Hon Members 12:12 p.m.
    Dr Donkor 12:12 p.m.
    I think it is no. There was no other option. Act 919 is so categorical about that. The country cannot do otherwise legally.
    Mr Speaker, I also see in the State of the Nation Address the Government taking credit for the passage of the General Petroleum Regulations.
    Mr Speaker, I was the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, when, with the help of Norwegians, we started drafting the General Petroleum Regulations.
    Therefore, for one to appropriate work that he had inherited without crediting people who had started it does not augur well for our national body politic.
    Mr Speaker, in the same vein, the State of the Nation Address talks about licensing rounds. Licensing rounds is a
    requirement by the Act passed by this House; both Sides of this House passed that requirement.
    We even resisted the temptation to give the Hon Minister some exception. This House in 2016 resisted that temptation and insisted that there must be licensing rounds.
    So, Mr Speaker, the novelty of licensing rounds for every frontier nation is what we have done. For a frontier nation, once an area is de-risked, then it becomes imperative in order to better manage the resource in order to better get value to undertake licensing rounds. This is what has been done.
    Mr Speaker, the power sub-sector faces such a horrendous challenge that its survival is at stake. The power sector is bedevilled with inadequate capitalisation.
    The capital base of GRIDCO, ECG, NEDCO and VRA has been eroded over the years and the basic challenge today is inadequate capital.
    Mr Speaker, when in the last tariff adjustment round the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) reduced tariffs for these entities, some of us then suggested that the shareholders and interestingly, for all these entities, there is normally a single shareholder -- the Ghanaian state.
    The shareholder then should inject capital into these entities. Mr Speaker, that has not been done, therefore, our entities are bleeding and that has not been addressed by the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker, the power sector is particularly affected anytime the cedi escapes from being arrested or the dollar escapes from the pockets of the law
    enforcement agent chief. About 70 per cent of the expenditure of the power sector is dollar denominated and their receivables are a cedi denominated.
    So anytime there is a massive depreciation, it becomes difficult for the entities to survive and when this is compounded by tariff reduction, then the liquidity position becomes worsened.
    Mr Speaker, these impact negatively on the management of the economy because power is a key ingredient to the successful management of businesses.
    Mr Speaker, let me use this opportunity to appeal for capital injection into the power sector. Let us invest to the support the power sector.
    Mr Speaker, GRIDCO, with the completion of 330 KVA line, would be able to reduce its technical losses by nearly one percentage point.
    We can only reduce these technical losses by investment and therefore, the true state of the Nation must be that we need to invest as a people in the power sector.
    Mr Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    And in conclusion?
    Dr Donkor 12:12 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, we are creating an unfavourable business climate with the power sector going through various pangs and therefore, we believe that policy affecting the power sector must be balanced.
    A challenge currently faced is that the power sector institutions cannot even clear materials from the Ports because of some policy changes by the Ministry of Finance, impacting negatively on the power sector.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to thank H. E. the President for obliging this House with the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Dr Donkor.
    Yes Hon Atta Akyea.
    Minister for Works and Housing (Mr Samuel A. Akyea)(MP) 12:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not take for granted the parliamentary space granted by Leadership to enable me to contribute to the Motion that we thank H. E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation Address which he delivered to this august House on Thursday, 21st February, 2019.
    Mr Speaker, it was obvious to everybody the turbo energy of the President -- a close to 75 years and his delivery and capacity -- and this was set against the huge propaganda which was so crude in nature that individuals have to even invent and manufacture hospital records that our President was challenged in the year 2016.
    Mr Speaker, the President's virtuoso performance was obvious to all and his Message was rich and his logic was irresistible. We should take notice of that.
    I would also want to submit that no country would advance when lives become the subculture and truth becomes offensive. We should learn to speak the truth at all times and give the devil his due.
    Mr Speaker, there is also no denying the fact that with the peaceful resolution of the ancient troubles of the Dagbon Kingdom by H. E. President Akufo-Addo, the President has graduated from an ordinary President to a Statesman.
    Minister for Works and Housing (Mr Samuel A. Akyea)(MP) 12:22 p.m.
    It takes a lot of wisdom to solve ancient troubles and he has done it so successfully.
    I was a bit surprised that an Hon Colleague on the other Side and a lawyer wanted to suggest that we should reopen the issues of Dagbon and find those who are supposed to be responsible for that dastardly act of the murder of the king. It was very distasteful so far as I was concerned.
    Mr Speaker, I was counsel in the case of the Republic vs Iddrisu Iddi alias Mbadugu and 14 others and that was a case which was being piloted by the NDC that they were going to find the killers and then the court pronounced on the matter as follows:

    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission and because of the suggestion that we should not let sleeping dogs lie, I would like to quote the concluding matter of the decision of His Lordship, E. K. Ayebi, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge. This is what the Judge said:

    “The obvious conclusion to reach is that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against each and every one of the accused because:

    “(a) the identity of the charred remains has not been proved positively as that of the Yaa- Naa.

    (b) The evidence against the accused, apart from being inconsistent, has been discredited as a result of

    cross-examination and it is dangerous to leave such discredited and unreliable evidence to the jury.

    That being so, I hold that the accused herein have no case to answer. That means that the submission made on behalf of the accused is upheld.”

    With respect, the NDC had a world of opportunity to bring to justice to the so- called individuals who might have murdered the Yaa-Naa and it was shot down ab initio because it was more of propaganda value than a judicial exercise.

    Let us rest this matter; let peace prevail in the realm and let development come to the good people of Dagbon which is very important for our progress.

    Mr Speaker, without a doubt, Ghana is blessed with a transgenerational thinker of a leader and this is what we have. On pages 5 and 6 of the State of the Nation Address, he pronounced himself thus and with your permission, I would like to quote.

    Relating to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Act 982, this is what the President said:

    “We have done this because we know the temptation to go on a spending binge will always be there, we know election years will come around and there will be pressure on government to splurge, and persua- sive arguments will be made that you have to stay in government to be able to implement your programmes. However, I am bent on running a responsible administration, mindful of the next generation, and not, merely, the next election.”

    For me, that was the highest point of what the President said.

    Mr Speaker, some leaders are merely conscious of elections. They are power hungry and believe that if you gave them eternity, they would perform.

    However, elections are given so that one performs. So, for instance, if anybody said he inherited a gross domestic product (GDP) of 7.3 per cent and upon leaving office, this GDP shrunk to 3.4 per cent, then I beg to tag such an individual as a prodigal son.

    I also want to state that this great country of ours is entitled to transgenerational thinkers as President instead of a prodigal son.

    We do not want a situation in which people believe that going to the Jubilee House, and for whatever, calculation -- I would not want to use the word “incompetence” -- the fortunes of this nation are reversed.

    Mr Speaker, let me come back home to what the President pronounced regarding my Ministry.
    Mr Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker,
    I heard my Hon Colleague just say that the GDP growth that the NDC inherited from President Kufuor was 7.6 per cent.
    That cannot be true. A review put it at 9.1 per cent and not 7.6 per cent, so he should allude to the fact, which is from 9.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent. That is the case.
    Mr Akyea 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the Hon Majority Leader for the
    correction. With all due respect, that would heighten the situation and also reaffirm the level of incompetence and also my argument that Ghana is deserving of transgenerational thinkers as President instead of a prodigal son.
    So from 9.3 per cent to 3.4 per cent -- I cannot imagine any good description that we could give than a prodigal arrangement which has reversed our fortunes. I thank the Hon Majority Leader for the correction as it makes good my argument.
    Mr Speaker, let me come to matters concerning my Ministry. I would like to quote from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on what the President said in relation to this very important infrastructural Ministry. With your permission, I would like to quote from page 10 of what has been distributed to every Hon Member.
    “Mr Speaker, when we are dealing with matters of good health, we must necessarily move on to shelter and housing. There is an acute shortage of user-friendly, decent housing for people in middle and low-income brackets in our country. This is a long-standing problem that gets worse with each passing day. It is time to tackle the issue and find a resolution. We are starting with the completion of the many abandoned projects dotted around the country. A consortium of local banks has raised 51 million dollars to fund the completion of the social housing units started by the Kufuor Administration in 2006 at Koforidua, Tamale and Ho.”
    Mr Speaker, I beg to make a correction, it was intended to be “Wa” and not “Ho”. [Interruption]. This is a decent admission and my Hon Friend should listen to what I am saying. I want to move on.
    Mr Akyea 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is what we call prodigal governance. When a whole Government would abandon the projects of a previous Government in violation of article 35(7) of the 1992 Constitution.
    That is why I am also saying that we would not abandon the Saglemi Housing Projects. We are ready to proceed with them and complete every good project that was started by the NDC Government.
    Mr Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Those on the other Side who said “Sit down”, would be punished by my letting the Hon Member speak.
    Mr Ahi 12:22 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker for this great opportunity.
    The Hon Minister is misleading the House by saying that the previous Government abandoned the housing projects initiated during Ex-President Kufuor's time.
    I just want to put it on record that we started working on the Kpone site, Borteyman site and Asokore site in Kumasi. There were six sites and we started working on three.
    Mr Akyea 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was expecting a contradictory statement that Koforidua, Tamale and Wa projects have been completed. They have not been com- pleted, so where are we?
    Mr Speaker, the President stated that we would complete the Seglemi housing units started by the NDC when we have solved the value-for-money issues. This is a very serious President.
    Mr Speaker, we are embarking on a very serious project in which every Hon Member of this Honourable House would give us good land, for us to build flats in the 275 constituencies.
    We believe that we cannot beautify Accra all the time at the expense of our rural folks. I am happy to say that for once, the propaganda has piped down and the good people that I am facing have yielded space and we would start this project and we would put up flats for their use.
    This is what good governance is about, that, in every constituency, we can start with at least three flats with the requisite amenities for our people to benefit from. The Hon Minority Leader could give them a name — The Akufo-Addo flats. We would invite him to christen them.
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Minister then you would be concluding.
    Mr Akyea 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot talk about affordable housing without the corresponding —
    Mr Iddrisu — rose —
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Member I will give you additional time.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, ordinarily, I would not want to interrupt an Hon Minister who is on his feet, but the Hon Minister, as I want to resist the temptation of interrupting him, just referenced me, the Hon Minority Leader and the naming of housing units.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want this Hon Minister to come back tomorrow to correct
    me, as he is seeking to correct the President when he knows he has no mandate whatsoever to have done what he is doing.
    When he refered to Ho and Wa, it was not within his remit. He should have guided the President with factual reference as to the locations of those projects.
    I would oblige him that as for correction, he should stay away from that trouble.
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    In conclusion?
    Mr Akyea 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought you said you would enlarge the time a bit for me to end. I will do my best to finish.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot talk about affordable housing, giving the income levels of our people, without creating the requisite mortgage regime.
    Plans are on foot for us to create the mortgage regime so that our people would move from being tenants to becoming house owners within the span of about 15 or 20 years as the case may be.
    Mr Speaker, there is a slum upgrading which is about to happen in the Nima area. We would not want to pay lip service to the fact that we have some Ghanaians who are living in slums.

    Mr Speaker, we cannot be in Ghana and would not address —
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Members, order!

    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Akyea 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are addressing the drainage challenges in this country, and if we look at the ancient troubles of the Odaw River, dating back to 1959, when Accra came to a standstill because of flood.
    Proper engineering arrangements are in place to address it. We should do a similar one to Dekyemso. The coastal area of this country is being protected, and because of time constraint, it is already in the message, so I would not want to tell you that everywhere property and lives are threatened by the ferocious sea.
    There is going to be coastal protection under the able leadership of this President.
    Mr Speaker, what about the Bagre Dam? We have had the benefit of the Volta River as a natural resource, and it has been going on for so long. We want to harvest the river —
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    And in conclusion?
    Mr Akyea 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, vintage President Akufo-Addo, the people of Abuakwa South in particular and Ghanaians in general, thank him for raising the standards of governance within such a short space of time. Let us build the future we cannot see. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Minister.
    Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC — Bawku Central) 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC — Bawku Central) 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to join Hon Colleagues to contribute to the debate on the Motion moved by the Hon Minister for Information and seconded by the Hon James Agalga.
    Mr Speaker, when Hon Kojo Oppong- Nkrumah moved the Motion, he sought to give us some guidance and direction on the ambit of the then debate on the Message on the State of the Nation and I recall him insisting that it was a mere message as stated in article 67 of the Constitution.
    Mr Speaker, the Message on the State of the Nation in this House is not a mere message that should be treated lightly. It is the Constitution's mechanism for a President to account to the people for his stewardship for the year preceding.
    Mr Speaker, article 67 should not be read alone. It must be read together with article 34 of the Constitution. Article 34 of the Constitution is very clear on this matter, and it says, and I beg to quote:
    “ (2) The President shall recall to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter;”…
    Mr Speaker, therefore, the standard for debating and assessing the Message on the State of the Nation is all the obligation imposed on the President in the Chapter on the Directive Principles of State Policy.
    That is why he is expected to come and account to us the steps he is taking to ensure the enjoyment of human rights, the right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to housing, the right to jobs, and the right to a sound economy that enables
    every Ghanaian to live decently. This is the standard that we should use to assess the quality in the content of the Message on the State of the Nation as delivered by the President.
    Mr Speaker, the President concluded his State of the Nation Address by a statement, and I wish to quote him, “Our nation is in good health.”
    Mr Speaker, at page 20 of the President's State of the Nation Address, he said that this year, one million, one hundred and forty-seven thousand, three hundred and sixty-six (1,147,366) Ghanaians lost their deposits with banks that collapsed.

    Mr Speaker, Menzgold Gold Dealer- ships is in coma; hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians cannot find their deposits and that is a nation that is in good health.

    Mr Speaker, our nation is not in good health. Our nation is suffering from serious malady. Our nation is, indeed, bleeding; it is bleeding profusely from certain developments.

    Mr Speaker, we are now plagued by the menace of vigilantism -- shooting left and right; killing and maiming, and this is the nation in good health.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, “shooting left and right” -- [Laughter] -- This kind of hyperbolic language is not appropriate for serious discourse. Otherwise, we may
    not have reached here this morning if “shooting left and right” is the order of the day. You will withdraw that, please.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not say that the shooting took place --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    You said, “Shooting left and right”, please. We all understand simple English. Kindly do the right thing and proceed.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I intend to withdraw it but just to --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, you do not intend to -- you will withdraw it.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, once I withdraw it --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, please. You would withdraw. Say you withdraw and then proceed.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    You would proceed.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, and in withdrawing, I intend to clarify --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    What is withdrawn is withdrawn, and that which is withdrawn cannot be clarified because it does not exist. Hon Member, you are a lawyer and you know that you cannot build anything on nothing.
    You would please proceed.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement, but emphasise --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Do not go ‘but' --
    Hon Ayariga, use your time well otherwise, I would soon stop you.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement.
    Mr Speaker, this country is suffering from certain fundamental flaws in our political arrangement and that is what I intend to emphasise in my contribution to the debate this afternoon.
    Mr Speaker, the institutions that we have for the distribution of social interventions are working in ways that do not ensure equity and fairness in terms of the benefits that are dispensed to people.
    Vigilantism, as we know it today, is a product of the flawed system for distributing political benefits, social and economic opportunities when political parties are in power, and we need to address that.
    Mr Speaker, I was hoping that when the President came to this House, he would address some of these major flawed systemic designs that we have.
    For instance, let us take Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). The President spoke about MASLOC and he indicated that about GH¢200 million has been allocated to MASLOC for distri- bution.
    Mr Speaker, what MASLOC is doing is in the nature of the work of a financial institution and yet, there is no legal framework that --
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose
    -- 12:42 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Opare-Ansah?
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah 12:42 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Friend opposite told this House that seven banks collapsed; that is factually incorrect. The banks in question -- the Government rather took steps to avert their collapse.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us be very careful because the autonomy of the Bank of Ghana as regulator is guaranteed by law and no one is going to tell this Honourable House that when the Bank of Ghana makes a prescription, Government must allow what it says is wrong to continue by way of governance. That would be bad governance and not good governance.
    Hon Member, please leave the matters on the Bank of Ghana's decisions away from the politics of our discussion.
    Hon Member, you may go on.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, whereas I agree with you that the Bank of Ghana is autonomous --
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, the Bank of Ghana says it is taking a certain action against a bank, upon its technical regulations, et cetera, would you recommend a government to do otherwise?
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are talking about the state of our nation.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    No, Please.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the banking and financial sector is part of the nation.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, you cannot indict a government for what a Central Bank describes as malfeasance. So, please withdraw that and proceed on other grounds and maximise the use of your time.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, is this a guidance or you are giving an instruction? I do not get the drift.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the rules of debate are clear and they are found in the Standing Orders. A ruling of the Speaker is a ruling and the Rt Hon Speaker ruled on an application made by the Hon Member for Suhum.
    So, if the Hon Member is now re- questing the Speaker to provide further and better particulars about the ruling that he has made, I do not see where he wants to operate from. The rules are clear.
    Mr Speaker, in any event, the Hon Ayariga completely misread what is obtained in paragraph 2 of page 20. He said categorically that a deposit of 1,147,366 Ghanaians were lost.
    It is a figment of his own imagination. He should read what is there; it is crystal clear. And he is saying that 1,147,366 Ghanaians lost their deposits. Where is he conjuring this from?
    Mr Speaker, this is a House of record.
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, technically and factually, withdraw that and proceed.
    Some Hon Members 12:42 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Those who would want to assist me, I will change my situation if you would want to make orders. For the time being, there is no co-Speaker here. I do not really like taunting; I would want to do my work with personalistic impersonality.
    Mr Ayariga 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do withdraw that portion of the statement but just to emphasise --
    Mr Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Member, if you are withdrawing, do so and proceed on another ground. I do not like “but” after withdrawals. [Laughter.] If you are withdrawing, do so because time is ticking.
    Mr Ayariga 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did withdraw.
    Mr Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Fine, then, you may proceed.
    Mr Ayariga 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issues about the banking sector and the financial sector --
    Mr Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Member, leave that area alone to the Bank of Ghana for now.
    Mr Ayariga 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot leave that area alone --
    Mr Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    In any case, Hon Lawyer, you know that aspect is sub judice. Am I lying? Leave that to the institution, Bank of Ghana, and also to the courts. Meanwhile, conclude.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no difficulty at all with the Hon Ayariga in taking guidance from you on the matter raised by the Hon Majority Leader, but
    may I, respectfully, refer you to paragraph 2 of page 20 of the Message on the State of the Nation, 2019, that the matter relating to the banking sector was introduced by the President and that is the debate that we are on.
    Mr Speaker, the second leg of your ruling is problematic. The Bank of Ghana is subject to the interrogation of the Parliament of Ghana on any matter of their regulation. If you would take that on board, we are fine. I do not think that --
    Mr Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    If anybody wants to use the supervisory powers, et cetera, of this Honourable House with regard to the Bank of Ghana, go by the appropriate procedure.
    Hon Ayariga, you would please conclude and in the process, the Hon First Deputy Speaker may take the Chair.
    Mr Ayariga 12:52 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Let me conclude by saying that the level of vigilantism that we see around us does not depict a nation in good health.
    Mr Speaker, the amount of money, GH¢12 billion, that we are having to spend to clean up the banking sector does not show a nation in good health.

    Mr Speaker, depositors moneys have been risked and what has happened and the actual loss of money that has occurred in the case of Menzgold does not show a nation whose economy and financial sector is in good health.

    Mr Speaker, last year, the President, in his State of the Nation Address, mentioned that he had cut sole-sourcing
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:57 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute more.
    Mr Ayariga 12:57 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we need to address the question of the financing of political parties and that of campaigns. I expect that as part of our governance reforms, we would see steps being taken in that direction.
    Mr Speaker, on that note, I would want to thank you for the opportunity and to indicate that I have doubts that the state of the nation is in good health.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:57 p.m.
    Hon Fuseini Issah, you have 12 minutes.
    Mr Fuseini Issah (NPP -- Okaikwei North) 12:57 p.m.
    I thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Message of the State of the Nation presented by the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
    Mr Speaker, in 2016, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) went into a General Elections and was given an overwhelming mandate by the good people of Ghana.
    The President and the Government of the NPP have kept their word as promised in the Manifesto and I would want to thank the President for a very good work done two years into his mandate. So far, so good!
    Mr Speaker, chapter one of our 2016 Manifesto is titled, “A Strong Economy Matters”. A strong economy matters indeed!
    What a strong economy does is that, existing companies grow and in the process of growth, there is investment. While they invest and businesses grow, they employ more people. In the process of employment, people earn income and the citizenry become prosperous.
    Similarly, the environment encourages new businesses to grow and while they also grow, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the aggregation of economic activities within the country grows. This is measured by a variable called the GDP growth rate.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot have a system that works; that gives us free compulsory basic education; that gives us good
    transportation which works; that gives us good health delivery without having a stable economy.
    Mr Speaker, between the year 2001 and 2008, the Government of the NPP under the leadership of H.E. J. A. Kufuor inherited an economy that was growing at the rate of 3.7 per cent. Steadily, over the period of 2001 to 2008, this economy grew up until we got to 9.1 per cent.
    The NPP handed over power to the Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NDC within 12 months of assuming power truncated the trajectory of growth and recorded 4.8 per cent in 2009.
    Mr Speaker, in 2011, with the commencement of oil industry, we had investment inflows, especially into our very young oil industry. It helped the economy to grow by 14.1 per cent and from 2011 up until 2016, we got into the decline mode again until we got to the point of 3.4 per cent. This is what the NDC bequeathed to the Government of the NPP.
    Following from the assumption of office of the NPP, the confidence that the citizenry got in the government within 12 months, the economy got back to the trajectory of growth in 2017. We recorded 8.5 per cent in 2017.
    In 2018, we further went up much better than the NDC had recorded in the past. We recorded 6.0 per cent relative to a projected growth rate of 5.6 per cent which means that the economy did well than it was even projected.
    Mr Speaker, in 2019, we have projected to grow at 7.6 per cent.
    Mr Fuseini Issah (NPP -- Okaikwei North) 12:57 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in sharp contrast again, in 2017, the debt accumulation rate was reduced to 16.65 per cent. In 2018, when we take out the cost of cleaning the banking sector, it is further reduced to 11. 47 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, the public debt at this stage had to be managed. It is not just the debt stock but the rate of accumulation and that is exactly what the Government of the NPP, under the leadership of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been able to achieve.
    Mr Speaker, we talk of macro-economic stability and it has got to stages where most Ghanaians are becoming experts in managing the economy. A stable economy revolves around three pillars: the first one being a disciplined monetary system; the second being a disciplined fiscal system; and the third being a strong financial sector.
    Mr Speaker, with the three pillars, the first one, which is a disciplined monetary system is taken care of by the Bank of Ghana Act, Act 612. What we had to do as a Government was to make sure that the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of Ghana was effective and had a hand on the monetary policy of the Government.
    Mr Speaker, in contrast, with the financial discipline and the fiscal discipline, we had to be innovative as a Government and move away from what we inherited.
    Mr Speaker, we inherited a fiscal discipline characterised by high levels of deficit, high public debt, high debt accumulation levels and a risk of being debt-distressed.
    Mr Speaker, having diagnosed this problem while we were in opposition in 2016, we told Ghanaians that when we get into power, we were going to rectify this and with your permission, I quote from page 15 of our 2016 Manifesto, paragraph
    “In this regard, New Patriotic Party Government will enact a Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) to bring comprehensiveness, accountability, transparency and stability to the entire budgetary process. Under this law, a Fiscal Council would be established to contribute to the accountability of Government, responsible for setting up medium- term fiscal policy anchors to guide fiscal policy as well as compliance.”
    Mr Speaker, the President, in reporting to this House on the Message on the State of the Nation on Thursday, 21st February, 2019, said, and I quote from page 5 of the State of the Nation Address:
    “We have passed the Fiscal Responsibility Law, Act 982, capping the deficit at 5 per cent by law…”
    Mr Speaker, he continues to say that he has put in place a Fiscal Responsibility Advisory Council to advise the President on relevant additional measures needed to maintain fiscal discipline.
    Mr Speaker, the Vice President of the Republic, H. E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is quoted as saying at the Ghana Economic Forum that this has never been done by any Government since independence and that this law would tie the hands of politicians including ourselves to maintain fiscal and monetary discipline.

    Mr Speaker, I want to thank the President for living up to his word.

    Mr Speaker, in 2016, the former President of the Republic, H. E. John Dramani Mahama, now the flagbearer of the NDC said to this House and I quote from page 20 of the 2016 State of the Nation Address:

    “Over the last five years, there has been the proliferation of micro- finance companies. These com- panies come under direct super- vision of the Bank of Ghana. Unfortunately, lack of effective supervision has resulted in many cases in which micro-finance companies licensed by the Bank of Ghana have breached the rules and created supposed pyramid schemes that have eventually come crashing down.”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:57 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute.
    Mr Issah 12:57 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he goes on to say:
    “One such case is DKM, with super high rate of between 50 and 55 per cent promised is believed to have caused a loss to its clients in excess of GH¢77 million. Many depositors have lost their livelihood. While our laws place this matter squarely in Bank of Ghana's ambit, Government has a concern for poor unsus- pecting Ghanaian clients who deserve to have been protected by a more robust inspection and supervisory regime by the Central Bank.”
    Mr Speaker, I believe the former President, now flagbearer knew that the
    extent of rot in the financial sector went beyond the micro-finance companies. It encompasses even universal banks and to some extent, other deposit-taking institutions including the likes of Menzgold.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:57 p.m.
    In conclusion?
    Mr Issah 12:57 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is shown adequately in the asset quality report of Bank of Ghana dating back to 2011, which showed that most of these banks had inadequate capital, high non-performing loans, and had corporate governance issues.
    Mr Speaker, within two years, 25 months of assumption of power, the Government of the New Patriotic Party cleaned up the banking sector and contrary to what my Colleague, Hon Ayariga, said, we have been able to save deposit of GH¢1.2 million for Ghanaians. We have been able to save almost 4000 jobs and we have been able to save investments.
    This is how we create a stable microeconomic system and when the macroeconomic system is stable, economic activities would pick up.
    My people in Akweteman, Nii Boye Town and Achimota would subsequently feel the effect of a stable microfinance economic system in their micro economies right in their pockets and with time, they would start enjoying the effect of this hard work of the Government of the New Patriotic Party.
    Mr Richard Acheampong (NDC -- Bia East) 1:12 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion captured as item numbered 5 on today's Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker, before I move on to my substantive contribution, I would like to refer the House to page 3 of the Message on the State of the Nation, presented by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo.
    Mr Speaker, on page 3, paragraph 4, with your indulgence I read, it says 1:12 a.m.
    “It is for this reason that we have re-aligned the national budget to ensure that every constituency gets the cedi equivalent of US$1 million a year for priority projects”.
    Mr Speaker, between 2017 and 2018, if we are to find an average, they say the exchange rate is GH¢4.5. Each constituency is supposed to have received an amount of GH¢ 9 million, and the President is calling on us to testify that something has been done in our various constituencies, but there is nothing there to show.
    So, if the President presents this to this House and calls on us to testify, then I am here to present to us that the amount of GH¢9 million per constituency has not been received. So, where is the money?
    Who is misleading the President for him to tell us that he has spent an amount of GH¢ 9 million per constituency in this country? We should put aside that of the 2019 allocation. So, this statement can never be true, and it is factually incorrect.
    Mr Speaker, meanwhile, looking at page 4 of the 2017 Message on the State of the
    Nation which was the first one that the President presented to this House. With your indulgence, I quote, and it says:
    “Mr Speaker, the increasing fiscal deficit were financed by increased borrowing. As at the beginning of 2009, Ghana's total debt stock was GH¢ 9.5 billion. By the end of 2016, the debt had ballooned to GH¢ 122 billion.”
    Mr Speaker, this is the President speaking. The President complains about an amount of GH¢122 billion. By the end of September 2018, our debt stock stood at an amount of GH¢159 billion. So, a President who complained about an amount of GH¢122 billion, had himself borrowed more than GH¢50 billion within two years, and there is nothing physical to show what the President used the money for.
    Mr Speaker, the Atuabo Gas Project is a beneficiary of the amount of GH¢122 billion Facility that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) constructed. As I speak, the Volta River Authority (VRA) is owing Atuabo Gas an amount of US$135 million. So, who borrowed for an investment? This is what the prudent administration did.
    We did not borrow for “chop-chop” and we did not borrow to do hand to mouth. We borrowed and invested the money, and these are the projects that can pay for themselves. Somebody should tell me whether there is a fiscal project that can pay for itself within these two years.
    So, what can this Government show for the amount of GH¢ 50 billion that was borrowed? Can they show the good people of this country that they borrowed an amount of GH¢50 billion and these are the manifestations of it? Yet, they tell us that all is well.
    Mr Speaker, how can all be well when people cannot make ends meet? When banks are collapsing, and when people cannot find jobs? We should look at the exchange rates, as we speak, yet they say all is well.
    Mr Speaker, on the same paragraph in the 2017 State of the Nation Address, the President complained about the GH¢ 14 billion interest rate that was supposed to be paid by the end of 2017. The projected interest rate for 2019 is GH¢18 billion.
    The person who complained of the GH¢14 billion interest rate is now going to pay an amount of GH¢18 billion, meaning there has been an additional amount of GH¢ 4 billion. My good friend, the Hon Fuseini, talked about borrowing, and he said that there was no problem with borrowing but with what we use the money for.
    Mr Speaker, we are going to spend an amount of about GH¢18 billion, and there is no fiscal space for Government to operate. If we go to the District Assemblies, it is really alarming. The Common Fund District Assemblies (DACF) has been capped, and there is no money for rural development.
    The One-District-One-Factory was mentioned, but can the President tell us whether there has been a single factory sited at any constituency in this country? They should mention just one factory built by this Administration.
    Now, they have turned the narrative that it is rather a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with Government, but this is not what the President promised the people of this country. So, the President is not walking the talk, and he is not giving out what he promised the good people of this country.
    Mr Speaker, again, the President complains about revenue mobilisation. I would refer the House to page 6 of the Message on the State of the Nation. It says, and with your indulgence, I read:
    “Mr Speaker, revenue mobilisation poses the biggest challenge in the management of our economy…” --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 a.m.
    Hon Member, hold on.
    Yes, Hon Member for New Juabeng South?
    Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah 1:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would just want to refer the House to the last paragraph of page 18. The Hon Member had said that the One-District- One-Factory Project had not taken off.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I quote 1:12 a.m.
    “Mr Speaker, the “One-District- One-Factory” policy has taken off, and 79 factories under the scheme are at various stages of operation or construction. Another 35 are going through credit appraisal.”
    Mr Speaker, so, the One-District-One- Factory policy is already in motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 a.m.
    Hon Member, your point is made.
    Hon Member, maybe, it is not in your constituency or district.
    Mr R. Acheampong 1:12 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was clear in my mind. I posed a gentle question that they should mention one constituency where one factory has been built -- just one constituency. [Interruption.]
    Mr R. Acheampong 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am quoting from page 6 of the Message on the State of the Nation. It says, and I quote:
    “Mr Speaker, revenue mobilisation poses the biggest challenge in the management of our economy, with the tax exemption policy in particular proving to be an Achilles heel, and a growing menace to fiscal stability and revenue generation. In the last eight years, tax exemptions in respect of import duty, import VAT, import NHIL and domestic VAT have grown from three hundred and ninety-two million Ghana cedis (GH¢ 392 million), that is 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2010, to GH¢4.66 billion, that is 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2018.”
    Mr Speaker, who is the President complaining to? Who grants the tax exemptions? Whose duty is it to generate the revenue?
    We have tasked the President and his administrators to generate revenue to meet our daily needs, so if Government is giving tax exemptions to the tune of GH¢ 4.66 billion, and he comes to this House to complain that tax exemptions are not helping Government to fund some projects, then the President is not doing his job well.
    Mr Speaker, it means that the President has failed everybody in this country. Because we have given him a four year mandate to deliver, but he comes to this House to complain that tax exemption is not giving space, meanwhile, he is the same person giving the tax exemptions to those people who import things into this country.
    So, what is the business of the President complaining to everybody in this
    country? Where are the men to generate the revenue for development? If he does not have the men, he should just say so, so that the competent ones would come and steer the affairs of this nation.
    Mr Speaker, I would again refer the House to page 7 of this same Message. The President made a very good statement here, and I would want to quote. He says: “It is the only way to ensure prosperity, and to protect our democracy.” Before then, the President said, and I quote:
    “Mr Speaker, sudden injection of oil revenue or a rise or fall in the price of gold or cocoa can make a dramatic difference to your financial situation, but there are no shortcuts to having an educated and a skilled workforce.” We have no choice but to provide our young people with quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for every Ghanaian”.
    Mr Speaker, hence, the introduction of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Programme. Just last week, it was in the news that Kasapin SHS final year students study under trees. How can such education be quality?
    The President tells us that he has given us quality education but people are studying under trees; people cannot get chairs to sit on, and there are no learning materials in schools.

    I heard the Hon Deputy Minister for Education say that they have given us Free SHS. The result of the free SHS and the space that we lack brought in the double track system.

    Who pays for the extra classes that are organised for the students? Has the Government organised any extra classes

    in this country? We, the Hon Members of Parliament, now pay for the extra classes, but we were told we have been given quality education.

    How could such education be quality? The President should walk the talk. The administrators of the country must make sure that what they commit to is delivered, so that people would take them seriously.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute more.
    Mr R. Acheampong 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with my one minute, I would just jump to the financial sector.
    The President told us that the economy is in good health. By the end of December 2016, the non-performing assets of the financial sector stood at GH¢6.1 billion. By the end of the year 2018, the non- performing assets stood at GH¢8.7 billion.
    Which one is better? We were told that they are managing the economy. This was a very abysmal performance by the Nana Addo Dankwa-led Administration. [Interruption.] Which debt are they talking about?
    Mr Speaker, there is a clear indication that all is not well. What happened to the cocoa roads? The President promised that they would do value-for-money audit. We have been told that the report is ready. As we speak, nobody has ever presented this document to us.
    Meanwhile, they said those contracts were inflated and they never existed. Now that they have finished with the report, they should show it to us so that we would be vindicated that we did something right. Where is the report?
    They cannot present the report because they have got to know that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    In conclusion --
    Mr R. Acheampong 1:22 p.m.
    We did something good, but they are causing financial loss to the State. They have abandoned all those contracts, and the roads have deteriorated to the extent that we would spend additional money to start the whole project again. Are they giving value for money and protecting the public purse?
    This cannot be the true state of the nation; we would present the true state of our nation to the good people of this country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member for Bantama, Mr Daniel Okyem Aboagye.
    Mr Daniel O. Aboagye (NPP --- Bantama) 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that is being debated.
    In so doing, I thank Mr President for coming to honour his constitutional duty by presenting the Message on the State of the Nation to us.
    Mr Speaker, the President could not have it any better than to say that the economy -- I beg to quote paragraph 3 on page 4 of his Statement:
    “Mr Speaker, the economy is at the heart of all we seek to do, it is the success of the economy that will guarantee an improvement in the quality of the life of our people.”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Member of Ningo-Prampram.
    Mr Samuel N. George 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, the Standing Orders says that the Business of this House shall be conducted in English. I just heard “anoma kokonekone” or something of the sort and I have not come across that word in English. I would like to know what it means.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    It is the name of a bird and you do not have to know all the names of birds in Ghana. He has translated what it means but the kokonekone is a name just like gyata. -- [Laughter.]
    Mr D. O. Aboagye 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you. To help my Hon Colleague on the other Side of the House, anoma kokonekone would be described as a deceitful bird or a bird that has the capacity to take more bullets without dying. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, we cannot debate the state of our economy without talking about the financial crisis that our Friends in the NDC took us through and they would come back to say, we collapsed seven banks and destroyed a number of jobs but the question our Nigerian friends would ask is; Na who cause am?
    This happened under the watch of our Friends in the NDC. We came to power, opened it up and we have been able to manage -- by what we did, today, almost
    1.2 --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute more.
    Mr D. O. Aboagye 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you. [Uproar] -- Sorry, I thought someone was upstanding. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I conclude by stating that we saved over 1.1million depositors, jobs, and businesses and so on. Let me also say that our Friends in the NDC would say that when the President was here -- because they do not have much to say, they only talk on the fringes and say that the President did not talk about foreign exchange.
    Mr D. O. Aboagye 1:32 p.m.
    We can look at the history as their first year in 2012, the depreciation of the cedi was 17 per cent while ours was 4.9 per cent. 14 per cent while ours was 7 per cent in their second year and in the year 2018, that is their third year, it was 31.3 per cent. We just began and it is about 8.16 per cent.

    I would conclude by borrowing the words of the President in his 2018 State of the Nation Address on page 3, paragraph 4 and I quote:

    “Mr Speaker, I do not suggest, in any way, that these headline- grabbing figures mean everywhere near solving our economic problems. I am saying, to borrow the language of economists, that, for the first time in a long while, our macroeconomic fundamentals are solid, and all the critical indices are pointing to the right direction”.

    Mr Speaker, I conclude by saying that if you want to describe us and our Hon Colleagues on the other Side -- I would borrow the words in John chapter 10 versus 10 and paraphrase by saying that; ‘We Hon Members in the NPP, we came that Ghanaians may have it and have it in abundance' and to say in Mark chapter 36 versus 5; ‘Do not be afraid --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Zanetor Rawlings?
    Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings (NDC -- Klottey Korley) 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Floor which is the Message on the State of the Nation presented by the President of the Republic of Ghana to the House of Parliament in the year 2019.
    Mr Speaker, I would also like to commend all Hon Members who have contributed to same. Just a comment to my Hon Colleague who just sat down, I wonder whether the clothes he is wearing are made in Ghana since he said we should wear made in Ghana items.
    Another little comment is to the Hon Minister for Works and Housing. He is not here as I was wondering if he could clarify the fact that he implied that, perhaps, the President does not have a flash toilet since he said that all residents of Nima are yet to have flash toilets.
    Mr Speaker, the President as co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has a huge responsibility because he is definitely aware of the fact that Ghana is being looked at with regard to her role in setting the pace on sanitation.
    Regarding sanitation, he mentioned the fact that this year being the Year of Return, the practice of open defecation cannot be accepted and I do not agree with him because we are currently ranked as second to South Sudan with regard to open defecation which is unfortunate.
    The speech writers of the President's State of the Nation Address may want to refer to some of the documents that provide us with the data on the current state of the environment such as the one I hold here which I shall present to the Table Office which talks about the state of the environment of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, in this, we find a lot of highlights or clarifications to some of the issues that the President, unfortunately, did make mention of in his Message on the State of the Nation.
    In speaking on the issue of tourism, for example, we cannot decouple sanitation from tourism because I doubt that many people would want to travel thousands of miles to Ghana to witness our filthy beaches or the fact that Accra is still far from being clear as the President himself admitted that the battle against the issue of filth in Accra has not been won yet.
    Unfortunately, the President was unable to provide us with how far things had gotten to with regard to the plastics and what has been done so far and to provide us with information on the linear approach towards waste management which would not solve this issue as it is not linear, but multidimensional and we cannot wait till we figure out what to do with our waste before we decide on how to recycle and reuse.
    Mr Speaker, the President spoke proudly about the fact that Anglogold Ashanti (Obuasi Mine) has been re- opened and that is great. However, it is not enough to talk about this and also to condemn galamsey as though the entire mining industry, it is only galamsey that affects the lives and livelihood of people.
    The research which I will submit to the Table Office shows that there is a high prevalence of sterility and infertility among men and women , respectively, who live in mining areas.
    So we cannot blame everything on galamsey. We need to look again at the mining industry and decide whether, as a
    nation, it is truly to our benefit and that of generations to come, whether we should indulge in the exploitation of all our mineral resources.
    All mineral resources are indeed finite in quantity and we must aim to look at renewable resources which would continue to provide the country with an income without the devastating effects that we see on our environment and in our people in this country.
    Mr Speaker, on the issue of climate change which was unfortunately not mentioned to the extent that it should have been, the temperature in Ghana has arisen by at least one degree since the 20th Century and -- [Interruption] -- it is also important to recognise the contribution of the old vehicles on our roads towards the high levels of greenhouse emissions in Ghana and in the increase in temperature.
    Unfortunately, though there are punitive measures in place against the importation of vehicles that are used and are over 10 years old, the practice still continues and thus endangers our liveli- hoods. Mr Speaker, I would repeat that all these pieces of information are in the document that has been submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
    Mr Speaker, the Kpong Black Volta and Oti water bodies have been overcome by water Hyacinth. This in itself is a threat to our source of normal drinking water and it furthermore points to the fact that our water bodies are very much polluted.
    The presence of water weeds is a direct relationship on the amount of con- tamination in the water bodies which did not find expression in the President's State of the Nation Address.
    Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings (NDC -- Klottey Korley) 12:42 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, the President mentioned our forts and castles and historical sites, but much to my dismay, the Osu Castle, the historical homes in Osu and the coastline in Osu were left out. I am sure this was probably to the dismay of the First Lady as well as the Rt Hon Speaker, Prof Aaron M. Oquaye, who are both indigenes of Osu.

    No mention was made of the archaeological dig in Osu which also contributes towards the tourism industry. As the Year of Return, one would have expected that some of these important findings would have been known in the President's Address.

    Mr Speaker, as co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the SONA was expected to have what is known as a system of environmental and economic accounting, the purpose of which gives us a clearer indication of what the state of the nation is. Unfortunately, it appears the speech writers of the President failed to do their research appropriately to make sure that the President honours his role as the co-Chair by ensuring that with what he delivers to the House, his role would be recognised by the world.

    Unfortunately, this did not find expression. However, we found that the same figures that regard allowance for disability in 2018 was repeated again in 2019 as was the issue of the President's intention to make sure that Accra was the cleanest city in Africa by 2020.

    In fact, in his Address, he did not say 2020 but he said by the end of his term and as we know according to our Constitution, the term limit is four years at a time and until the people of Ghana grants the mandate to be President again,

    the end of a term would be four years. Mr Speaker, so as per his own submission then it is 2020.

    Mr Speaker, we now have very high levels of hormones in our water and in some of the water bodies and the aquatic life has been found to be over 70 per cent changed to female. What does this mean to us as a people -- because a lot of the filters that are used to remove toxins from our water cannot remove hormones from our water?

    What are the steps being taken to ensure that this is being taken care of? Mr Speaker, in mentioning that he wishes to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa, one was expecting to see more of the enforcement aspect of things and the President actually mentioned what has happened to date. Unfortunately, Accra is still dirty and perhaps, even more so than before.

    Mr Speaker, next year is 2020 and everyone knows that it takes longer than a year to get a city like Accra back on its feet and in pristine condition.

    Mr Speaker, for him to be two years into his term and to tell us again that Accra would be the cleanest city on the continent may perhaps be stepping into an area that may be extending beyond what is possible unless one could see a concerted effort that includes the industries as well in taking part and making sure that this scourge of filth in our cities is brought into check.

    Mr Speaker, the President reminded us to take our health seriously and make sure that we look after ourselves. In mentioning sanitation, he talked about people taking individual responsibility for the sanitation of the city.

    This is all well and good but enforcement is important as well. A lot of the people who know about the sanitation issue are aware that they should look after themselves but it does not extend to the environment.

    Mr Speaker, it is rather unfortunate that in mentioning the issue of eating well, the President did not make mention of the School Feeding Programme, which if we say we must eat well to be a healthy nation then it should have featured because unfortunately we have not seen whether there is a case of a particular guideline which has been put in place guided by the nutritionist to make sure that all the school feeding programmes adhere directly to this which would make sure that Ghana is indeed healthy.

    Mr Speaker, again and unfortunately, it did not find expression in the President's State of the Nation Address.

    Mr Speaker, on the issue of development being sustainable, the report that I hold here which I have mentioned already indicates to us that we cannot continue to consider the environmental issues and sanitation as issues that are sidelined or issues that are not mainstream.

    Indeed, the sustainable development of this country requires that we put the environment at the core of every decision that we make and this means that every Ministry must be linked back to what the EPA has said about the state of the environment in Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister came in to speak about housing and I was not aware that Hon Members of Parliament have the mandate to provide lands for government housing projects but I think

    the Rt Hon Speaker might provide a little information on that.

    With regard to Odawna and the reengineering of the Odaw River, the fact remains that reengineering to prevent flooding is not the only issue. If one should go to the Odawna area right now, one would witness islands of plastic waste and non-biodegradable waste floating down the drain. Mr Speaker, that in itself cannot be solved simply by reengineering.

    A lot more needs to be done from the source and discipline must be reinforced in our society. Mr Speaker, we must look at the fact that we now have many more hot days in Ghana than ever before.

    If indeed the term of the President's place as co-Chair for the SDGs is to be one that leads a legacy of having made tangible changes in Ghana, then we hope that at the next SONA, we would not talk about intentions to start or launch sanitation brigades, which was inciden- tally launched last year -- so, I was quite confused when the President said it was yet to be launched or it was being launched.

    Mr Speaker, putting the empowerment into the hands of the people and reinforcement and enforcement of our laws are very important and I would like to thank the President once again for fulfilling his constitutional mandate to come here and present the Message on the State of the Nation.

    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Athony Effah.
    Mr Anthony Effah (NPP --Asikuma- Odoben-Brakwa) 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure and I thank you for the opportunity to support the Motion to thank the President on the delivery of his Message on the State of the Nation.
    Mr Speaker, I think a lot has been said about the banking industry and there has been misconceptions about what actually has transpired. I would not go into too much of the details except to say that these reforms were outstanding and they were needed way back in 2015 when the outside quality review report came out.
    In 2016, there was a follow-up review and the indications were that most of these banks were weak and action needed to be taken. Unfortunately, when these reports got to the Central Bank, no action was taken to reverse the deteriorating situation of the banks.
    Mr Speaker, what the Central Bank has done has these impacts on the economy. Mr Speaker, it costs the Government a total of about GH¢ 12.7 billion to do the clean- up and we know that there are still a few other institutions in the financial sector that needs to be dealt with.
    What we know is that, now the banking sector has emerged much stronger than before. The banking sector now has gained back the confidence that was lost in the past, and people are now willing to do even bigger businesses with the banks.
    Mr Speaker, now that the banks are better capitalised, they have the opportunity to do other transactions with the business. I understand even with one of the domestic banks, the need for factory or discounting long outstanding arrears to contractors is being considered. It is all because of expanded capital base of the banks.
    Mr Speaker, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has introduced new directives on corporate governance. What I would request is that, they push to ensure that the directives that have been submitted are completely followed so that the compliance rate gets higher.
    Mr Speaker, the establishment of the Stability Advisory Council will bring together all the major players of the financial sector so that difficulties that might be encountered or anticipated would be identified very early enough so that remedial actions would be taken.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to advise that Hon Members of this House take interest in the publications of the banking sector, which ordinarily would come out from about 15th March, 2019, so that we can see the real impact of the asset books of these banks, their liabilities and profitability, and to compare that after the banking sector reforms, whether or not, indeed, the banking sector --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, hold on.
    Hon Members, having regard to the state of Business of the House, I direct that the House sits outside the regular sitting hours.
    Hon Members you may continue.
    Mr Effah 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is also true that the regulator itself, that is BoG, is undertaking some reforms to ensure that how they supervise is improved. Basel 2 will be introduced and Basel 3. The final stages of these are all intended to enhance the supervision and regulation of the industry.
    Mr Speaker, I also took interest in the effect of all the various improvements in the macroeconomic indicators that have
    resulted in creating a good atmosphere to attract foreign businesses into the country. If I should consider, for instance, the hint by the President on what changes are likely to occur at the Ports.
    Ghanaian importers have consistently complained about increases in taxes, but we are witnesses to the situation that no request has come to this House for Government to increase any duties or taxes at the Ports yet because there are challenges, the Government has hinted that they could consider some review and also improve the administrative changes that have been introduced such as the automation and paperless system.
    Mr Speaker, when this is improved, it would attract more businesses and would encourage domestic businesses and importers to do their business at a low cost which would benefit the final consumer in the country.
    Mr Speaker, one other important point was mentioned regarding the possibility of a tax exemption Bill coming to this House. This is good news to Ghanaians because over the years, with the amount of tax waivers that have been granted in this House, even at the Committee level, we sometimes are worried about the amount of money we are giving away.
    This, which has been brought to the front burner, suggests the commitment of Government to ensure that we streamline all these processes so that we do not lose so much money in trying to do business with our business partners and importers.
    Mr Speaker, the automobile industry is well attracted to this country as a result of the right atmosphere that has been created by the development and our financial and economic system. We have
    information that Volkswagen, Nissan and even Renault have given indications that they want to set up assembling plants in Ghana.
    Because we use most of these vehicles, it would reduce the cost of running vehicles with the assembling plants in the country.
    Mr Speaker, again, because of the environment that we have created, the oil industry is also attracting big players in the sector. We have indications from ExxonMobil and Aker Energy.
    They have signed petroleum agreements already with the Government. That expanded exploration in the country would generate businesses, give us the royalties and the taxes that we would require to develop our country.
    Mr Speaker, this is good news. Also, companies such as BP (China) Holdings Limited, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Total have expressed interest in coming into the country.
    If we continue to work hard as a country to improve on the economic fundamentals and create opportunities for such businesses, I am sure Ghana will be a good place to live.
    Mr Speaker, it is worth-noting that as a result of the good governance of the country, we now have the AngloGold Ashanti, AngloGold Obuasi and newly- opened mines. The Hon Member who contributed last talked about it.
    This will give us new lives in Obuasi and its surrounding areas. The con- cessions that have been given would help the new investors and also establish some good development programmes for the beneficiary communities.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one more minute.
    Mr Effah 2:02 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Government has done so well, and the President has been very frank with Ghanaians to tell us what the situations are and what interventions we should expect so we get a good life as Ghanaians.
    I thank you Mr Speaker for this oppor- tunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 p.m.
    The next Hon Member to contribute is Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe. You have fifteen minutes.
    Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe (NDC-- Akatsi North) 2:02 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate aimed at thanking His Excellency the President for his Message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered last week.
    Mr Speaker, in the Address, on page 8, paragraph 1, with your permission, I would quote:
    “In September 2019, a new standards-based curriculum will be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in primary schools. This curriculum has drawn upon the best practices from all over the world, and will focus on making Ghanaian children confident, innovative, creative- thinking, digitally-literate, well- rounded, patriotic citizens. Mathe- matics, Science, Reading, Writing and Creativity are, therefore, at the heart of this new curriculum”.
    Mr Speaker, looking at the curriculum as it is that would be rolled out in September, there is something very important that is missing in the curriculum, and that is Religious and Moral Education (RME). In this country we know very well that in 2004, RME was dropped from the curriculum, and the various religious organisations spoke against it. In 2007, it was restored, and that has been a subject of learning in our basic schools.
    If the new curriculum is aimed at making the Ghanaian child confident, innovative and creative thinking to become like Archimedes, Plato, Aristotle and the others, with what morality are they going to do that? RME is aimed at building the
    morality of our children, so that no matter what they learn or know, with moral values, they can do very well as citizens of Ghana.
    So dropping moral education is not the best, and the Ministry of Education must re-look at the curriculum as it is now to be presented or rolled out in September. It would be a very serious omission on the part of the Ministry of Education and for that matter Government to remove RME from our curriculum.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 p.m.
    Hon Members, we would suspend Sitting for fifteen minutes.
    2.05 p.m. -- Sitting suspended.
    2.44 p.m. - Sitting resumed.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 p.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 p.m.
    In the circumstance, I would adjourn the House.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:02 p.m.