VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 5th March, 2010. Pages 1 - 6
Madam Speaker, at page 6, number 22, I have been put down as absent I believe my Sister and I and Hon E. T. Mensah and others were away at the ECOWAS Parliament. I crave your indulgence that the amendment be made that I was absent with permission.
Yes, thank you. Page 6 - any more on page 6? The Votes and Proceedings of 5th March, 2010 as corrected, is a opted as the true record of proceedings. We now move on to the Official Report of Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010. Hon Members, in the absence of any corrections, the Official Report of Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, you have received copies of the Addendum Order Paper comprising the Questions which come as item 3, after item 2. So We are now going to deal with the Questions.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Madam Speaker, Government policy with regard to basic school leavers who are unable to enter senior high school and the youth who drop out of primary and junior high schools is to provide them with apprenticeship training in both formal and informal sectors. Plans are far advanced to establish the National Apprenticeship Training Board under the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET). The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with NVTI and other agencies responsible for the apprentice- ship training in the country, Will be implementing the programme. The curriculum of the programme covers 25 identified skills areas and will include communication, entrepreneurial and
Madam Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, paragraph (1), line (5), said and with your permission, I quote: "Plans are far advanced to establish the National Apprenticeship Training Board. under the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET)." Madam Speaker, I want him to tell the House, the plans he has put in place to get this body established.
Madam Speaker, nominations to the Board have been made and we are getting ready to commission it as soon as possible.
Madam Speaker, youth unemployment is a serious problem confronting the country as at now and because some of these children are unable to continue their education, we see them drifting to the urban centres. If you drive along the streets of Accra, you see a lot of them. I want the Hon Minister to tell us the interim measures he has put in place while waiting for the establishment of these bodies and then the programmes he has talked about. What interim measures has he put in place to prevent the drifting of these children to urban areas for the non- existent jobs?
Madam Speaker, there are no immediate plans to solve the problem temporarily. That is why the Ministry and the Government for that matter, are running very fast on the issue of setting up the apprenticeship that will solve the problem in both the short and the long-term bases.
Madam Speaker, I want the Hon Minister to tell the House, how these young ones are going to get funding after their training, to begin business.
Madam Speaker, Government would make every effort to source funding for the payment of seed money for the establishment of the small businesses we expect them to establish.
Hon Members, I know that this is not constituency- specific. Let us control the number of questions that would be brought to the House because of the debate on the State of the Nation Address. So I think we have two more questions. Yes?
Madam Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister the question in relation to funding -- For the past several years, how much has been given to graduates of that status?
Madam Speaker, I am afraid I have not got the figures here. But I am aware that in all the pilots undertaken in the past, some moneys were paid out to the graduates of the scheme to enable them set themselves up in their businesses.
Madam Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister whether they have drawn up any guidelines or criterion for the selection of persons who are interested in the NVTI programme. The 15,000 they have ear- marked and also with regard to the TVET programme, which is going to be launched at Suame, whether there are any guidelines to guide those beneficiaries Who intend to take advantage of the programme.
Madam Speaker, there are guidelines. With regard to the apprenticeship, the guidelines will be advertised soon and the District Assemblies and the District Education Directorates will do the selection. With regard to the Suame scheme, I am not sure whether the guidelines have not been advertised. If they have not been, then we would take steps to have them advertised.
Madam Speaker, I want to know from the Hon Minister whether before this programme that he has elaborated commences in the near future, the Ministry would consider assisting those who are presently under the private training, like hairdressing, sewing - who are facing financial problems and cannot complete their training schedules.
Madam Speaker, Government would consider this proposal.
Madam Speaker, I Want to know from the Hon Minister when the Suame programme started.
Madam Speaker, the Suame project has been on the drawing board for a long time. We are nearing the preparations to launch it and that would be done, as I have said, in June this year.
Yes, we have had two from each side. Shall we move on One-Laptop-Per Child Q. 432. Mr Benito Owusu-Bio asked the Minister for Education how the first batch of "one-laptop-per child" were
Madam Speaker, last year, the Ministry of Education took delivery of a thousand (1,000) pieces of XO Laptops for the One- Laptop-Per Child (OLPC) Programme, under an agreement made between the Ghana One-Laptop-Per Child Foundation (GOLPCF) and the One- Laptop- Per Child Organisation of the USA in 2008 for the supply of 10,000 laptops for distribution nationwide. The consignment follows a pilot project implemented by the Ministry in two schools, namely, Kanda Estate ‘5' School in Accra and Bonsaso L/A Primary School in the Amansie West District of Ashanti Region. The Ministry of Education has found it necessary to review the scheme in terms of cost implication and sustainability. The Ministry, therefore, decided to extend the pilot programme and distribute the consignment accordingly. Regional Directors and District Directors of GES were invited to identity primary schools that had electricity and secure rooms for the computers. A final list of thirty (3O) beneficiary primary schools (three per region) was prepared. The distribution was done through Regional and District Directors to Head teachers to the beneficiary primary schools in August, 2009. The OLPC concept is in principle, a good programme but there are serious sustainability and security issues that need to be guaranteed before the programme can be continued, The Ministry is committed to deployment of ICT in the teaching and learning process and efforts are being made to provide class or laboratory solutions and not one- to-one solution at the pre-tertiary level in view of the capital intensive nature of ICT deployment.
Madam Speaker, could the Hon Minister tell the House how many laptops were given to Kanda Estate ‘5' School and Bonsaso L/A Primary School?
Madam Speaker, I am not quite sure of the number. I visited the Kanda Estate ‘5' School and I think I saw about 50 laptops in the class.
Madam Speaker, is the Hon Minister sure of the 50? [Laughter]
Madam Speaker, I am very sure.
Madam Speaker, could the Hon Minister give us the names of the 30 selected schools in the various districts and how many were given to each of these 30 schools?
Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, I will read the names of the schools.
Madam Speaker --- [interruption.]
Hon Member, I thought you had finished your three questions?
Madam Speaker, no. The list that he has mentioned has brought in additional questions that need to be answered by him.
Hon Member, well, if you had said additional questions -- But now that- you say additional questions, I do not know how many questions you are thinking of and I am not too happy. If it is one question, probably, you could crave my indulgence, but questions -- I do not know whether you are entitled to as many questions as you desire.
Madam Speaker, I will. ask only one question. In the Minister's Answer, he mentioned three schools from his own constituency and according to his Answer on the Order Paper, he stated 30 beneficiary primary schools, three per region. In his own constituency alone, three schools - [Interruption]
Madam Speaker, my Hon Friend is entirely wrong;
Madam Speaker, he is Wrong in the sense that consistent with the formula of distribution, three schools -[Interruption] My Hon Friend should please, listen otherwise, he would get into the same mistake. the Hon Member has made. Three schools per region and he is talking about three schools in a constituency, which is entirely wrong.
Madam Speaker, would the Hon Minister for Education consider liaising with the Minister for Energy, that as a matter of course, every community that has to have connection to the national grid has power extended to all basic schools in such communities in view of the importance of this programme?
Madam Speaker, I will endeavour, to do so, "In my own constituency, I have already started.
Madam Speaker, in his Answer, the Hon Minister said last year the Ministry of Education took delivery of a thousand pieces of XO laptops for the One-Laptop-Per Child Programme. Can he tell this august House how much these 1,000 laptops cost the Government of Ghana, and when it was paid for?
Madam Speaker, the consignment which was received was perceived to be a free consignment for distribution. Later on, we got to know that we had to pay for it at the cost of US$205 per laptop. We have sent a letter applying for funds from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) to pay for the 1,000 laptops we received last year.
Madam Speaker, my question was when it was paid for --- [Interruption] -And he said. that it was perceived -- [Interruption.] Madam Speaker, the reason I am saying that is that, the Hon Minister recalls that last year, there was a huge publication and he is aware that one Dr Akoto Osei had paid for some computers. Subsequently, it turned out that Dr Duffuor had paid for some computers. So if it was paid for last year, how can he say that the Ministry is now writing a letter for the MOFEP to pay? There is evidence that money was released through the Bank of Ghana (BOG) last year. So I am surprised that --- [Interruption] -- he is aware.
Hon Minister, are you aware?
Madam Speaker, I thought my Hon Colleague will spare us the headache of going into that controversy. The matter is still contentious; in fact, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating the matter. But there is pressure on us from the organization in the USA to pay for it. Therefore, SFO has advised that we could go ahead to pay for it while they continue with their investigations. And that is what we are now trying to do. So a letter has gone to the MOFEP seeking for funds to pay for it.
Madam Speaker, there are several deprived schools in the country. May I know from the Hon Minister when the allocation of these laptops would continue?
Madam Speaker, the One-Laptop-Per Child issue, which is the subject of the Question we are answering today, is being reviewed. We are not going to pursue that scheme. We are looking forward to a scheme which we call the E-School Programme, which will be jointly launched by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Communications with collaboration from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), in a programme which will make it possible for us to supply increasingly a large number of laptops into the school system, and that is the way forward.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister talks about serious security issues that need to be guaranteed. Can he tell us what security issues could arise from the supply of computers to school children?
Madam Speaker, the issue of security relates to security in the school itself, the security of the laptops - should we hand them over to the children to use in school or take them to the house. These are serious issues relating to the sustainability of the programme - [Interruption] - Yes, security.
Have we finished the two questions on each side? No?
Madam Speaker, thank you very much. Definitely, there must be a project paper explaining the rationale for this project, and he must have read it. Is it not the policy that these laptops were to enable school children have access to information throughout the day? And so, it was to be given to them to be taken home and to be brought back to school. So that while they were even at home, they could educate themselves. Is that not the basis of this whole One- Lap-top Per Child policy?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon Member for the point he has raised. Yes, there was a paper stating the objectives and so on, and stating in it the process of allowing the children to use these things. But if these proposals were foolproof, there will not be the need to pilot. We are studying the implementation of these objectives from the pilots. And we are still concerned about the two levels of security; the physical security and also the security of the material that these laptops would contain.
Yes, last question from this side. Maj.(Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Madam Speaker, Kanda Estate ‘5' is within the East Ayawaso Constituency, indeed, the pilot was started about six years ago, and it was for the entire cluster of schools and not only Kanda Estate ‘5'. I would like to know from the Hon Minister, in view of the fact that all those laptops which were supplied then are now out of use; then the ones that were also supplied subsequently are also out of use. Would the Hon Minister consider a special package for Kanda cluster of schools?
Madam Speaker, as I said in my Answer early on, when I visited the pilot in Kanda, there were a number of computers being used, and the children were very happy using these computers. I do not know when the Hon Member of Parliament for that constituency visited there, but if that is the situation, we would look at it and address the problem there. GETFund True Indebtedness (Forensic Audit) Mr Emmanuel K. Bedzrah asked the Minister for Education when forensic audit would be conducted. on Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to ascertain its true indebtedness.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education has plans to conduct forensic audit on the Ghana Education Trust Fund and has initiated moves to get the auditing done to, among other things, ascertain its disbursement practices over the years and outstanding commitments. The Board of GETFund constituted a sub-committee to develop the terms of reference to guide the conduct of the forensic audit. The sub- committee has completed its task. In line with Public Service Administrative rules, the GETFund Secretariat has written to the Auditor- General's Department for a review of the developed terms of reference and approval. Procurement of the services of a consultant will be done to undertake the audit immediately the GETFund Board gets approval from the Auditor-General's Department to proceed with the audit.
Madam Speaker, in 2009, our Minister for Finance and Economic Planning told us in this House that some MDAs and institutions had overspent and for almost a year now, the GETFund, one of the MDAs that overspent for over a year now, had not done any forensic auditing. Can he tell me when exactly the audit will be done on the GETFund? Thank you.
Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I cannot be precise. The situation is that as soon as the Board receives approval from the Auditor- General, the audit will start. Madam Speaker, we will pursue the matter. I think the questioner is urging the Ministry on to expedite action on the auditing. We will do so.
Madam Speaker, I will like to find out from the Minister, the over- expenditure -= can he tell us if other contractors or consultants are being paid or they have not been paid?
Madam Speaker, the information I have so far is that the deficit is around GH¢116 million.
Madam Speaker, with your permission, I will want to ask two questions. Madam Speaker, can the Minister tell us what specifically he means by forensic auditing? What is a forensic audit?
The enquiry I made on this issue indicates that this is a kind of auditing which will reveal the practices through which the disbursement of fluids of the GETFund were carried through. It will also indicate whether there are issues of overspending. They will also indicate whether there are commitments or debts that the GETFund should pay. This is so far my understanding of forensic audit, which is the subject of the Question.
Madam Speaker, I will go to the second question.
No, I have not agreed to two questions from you.
Madam Speaker, please.
Is it flowing from this Question?
Yes, it is flowing from this Question. I will go to the second question but I will advise the Hon Minister to look for the proper interpretation of forensic audit. What he is asking for is not forensic audit, he should look for a proper interpretation. But Madam Speaker, following from that, is the Minister aware that where an audit is not initiated by the Auditor- General, the Constitution, specifically article 187 (7a) and then 137 taken together demand that where an audit is not initiated by the Auditor-General, it must come through the President with the advice of the Council of State? is that what he is doing?
Madam Speaker, that is precisely what we are doing and that is why the Board of the GETFund is still awaiting. the response of the Auditor- General. It may come out that the advice he is proffering now will be the same advice that will come from the -Auditor- General. We are awaiting that response.
Madam Speaker, the Minister has given - [Interruption.]
Hon Member, you cannot have three questions. Any other questions?
Madam Speaker, the previous question said, "is he aware?" Madam Speaker, for the avoidance of doubt, if we can quote the relevant article in the 187 (7a)-- "In the performance of his functions under this Constitution or any other law the Auditor-General - (a) shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority, Then article 187 (8) reads: "Paragraph (a) of clause 7 of this article shall not preclude the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, from requesting the Auditor- General in the public interest, to audit, . .. , Madam Speaker, in an Answer to the Question, the Minister says the GETFund Secretariat has written to the Auditor- General, in line with the Public Service Administrative rules. There is no such thing. The GETFund Secretariat has written to the Auditor-General for a review. is the Minister not violating the Constitution? Is he aware that he is violating the Constitution? He has written, controlling the Auditor-General. He cannot. He does not have that power.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Member is out of order. Order number 67 (b) does not permit
Madam Speaker, I am aware that my good Friend, the Deputy Majority Leader is under probation. I know he is under training but I did not raise any argument. I quoted the relevant sections of the Constitution and I asked him a question, and then he got up - I laid the foundation to ask a question and I asked if he was aware of this provision in the Constitution. That was all I asked.
Then let us get the question and see what you will do with the answer. Debating will come afterwards.
Madam Speaker, he has just made a very fallacious statement and he must correct and withdraw it. I am not under probation, I am firmly confirmed as the Deputy Majority Leader -- [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker", I withdraw the word "probation". He is under training. [Laughter]
Madam Speaker, he should still go ahead and withdraw that as well. I have been in this House for the last five years; I know what I am. about and my Government knows what I am about. That is why the Hon Members here have elected me to be the Deputy Majority Leader of this House. [Hear! Hear.!]
Madam Speaker, he has been here for five years but certainly, not as the Deputy Majority Leader for five years. He just started being the Deputy Majority Leader.
But we do not make --
It is called in-service training.
Hon Member, withdraw the "training" again.
Madam Speaker, I withdraw. How does the Hon Minister reconcile his Answer which says, and Madam Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
Madam Speaker, he has not withdrawn the - [Interruption]
Oh, he has.
Madam Speaker, this is why I used the word. Madam Speaker is the only one who can rule on these matters. She said I have withdrawn and he has the audacity to question Madam Speaker. He should apologies to Madam Speaker. She has already ruled.
I think he did not hear you withdraw.
He did not hear me? This is why I used the word, "in-service training". I withdraw again. Has he heard me now?
Yes, Hon Member.
Madam Speaker, how does the Hon Minister reconcile his Answer and I want to quote him: "In line with Public Service Administrative rules, the GETFund Secretariat has Written to the Auditor-General's Department for a review of the developed terms of reference and approval . . ." with the relevant provisions of the Constitution which I stated earlier?
Madam Speaker, I am not quite clear with the issue. The Hon
The question has been answered. One more question from the Majority side and we move on.
Madam Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer and from the Question - "to ascertain if indebtedness . . ." Is the Hon Minister admitting that the GETFund is in debt?
Yes, Madam Speaker, I have admitted that the GETFund has an accumulated debt.
We move on to the next Question. But before we do that we will lay the Papers. We will move on to item 4 on the Order Paper -- Laying of Papers - and come back to the Questions.
Madam Speaker, this arrangement is necessary because of the urgent nature of this Report and also because the Hon Majority Chief Whip is the Chairman of the Committee and needs to go out right now.
I have agreed that we skip this and go back to it. Now, let us lay the Papers, Hon Member.
Hon Members, we move to the next Question, then.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Madam Speaker, the Ministry has an elaborate plan to improve and provide facilities in all senior high schools and technical institutes with emphasis on deprived institutions, for example, community schools with major
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister says dormitories would be provided as soon as resources are available. May I know from him what plans he has put in place for us to actually be very sure that the "soon" he is talking about would be really soon.
Madam Speaker, the latest step to assure the Hon Member of Parliament, is the GETFund formula that would be soon placed before this august House. Provision has been made for the construction of classrooms, dormitories and so on and so forth in that outlay of activities for the GETFund this fiscal year.
Madam Speaker, may I then take it from the Hon Minister that, looking at the urgency of this request, he is assuring this House that these dormitories would be part of the GETFund project this year?
I am assuring the Hon Member and all Hon Members who have a stake in the utilisation of the GETFund that if the appropriate revenue is accrued, we would be able to resource them adequately during the year. Senior High School at Atronie (Establishment) Q. 467. Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh asked the Minister for Education what plans the Ministry had to establish a senior high school at Atronie in the Sunyani Municipality.
Madam Speaker, it has not been the practice of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to establish senior high schools from scratch. It is normally the communities or individuals who initiate the move to establish senior high schools after which they apply for absorption into the public system. There are a number of senior high schools within the Sunyani Municipality. These include: Sunyani Senior High School, St. James Seminary Senior High School, Odumaseman Senior High School, Chiraa Senior High School, Twene- Amanfo Senior High School and Notre Dame Senior High School. These are expected to serve communities in the Atronie area. The stakeholders at Atronie could initiate the establishment of a new school with the help of the District Assembly, if Atronie is under serviced. However, the Ministry of Education is reviewing the policy on the establishment of second cycle institutions in the country. The emphasis is now on technical/vocational schools. As part of the review, the Ministry of Education would consult with the appropriate authorities on the sitting of second cycle schools. Atronie may be considered for the establishment of a technical/vocational institute.
Madam Speaker, before I follow up with supplementary questions, I want to correct an erroneous impression created in paragraph 2 of the Answer. The Hon Minister states that there are a number of senior high schools in the Sunyani Municipality and he mentioned them to
Madam Speaker Government will take the new initiative through due process and we have guidelines for the absorption of such schools. So we will do in respect of Atronie Senior High School or any initiative taken by the community or the stalk holders.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister says that the policy on the establishment of second cycle institutions is being reviewed and Atronie may be considered for the establishment of a technical/vocational institute. He said "maybe"; can he be definitive that when the time comes Atronie will be given a technical/vocational institute? Can he give that assurance?
Madam Speaker, surely, as I have indicated, the initiative being proposed will be considered as a community initiative that should receive Government support. Therefore, when that time comes, Atronie will be considered within the guideline for absorption of the school.
Madam Speaker, I am grateful for the answer. Thank you.
WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTIONS
Hon Hodogbey, I have just been told that you asked for a Written Answer and that you have already been given the Written Answer. Is that correct?
That is not correct, Madam Speaker.
You have not received a Written Answer?
Madam Speaker, I did receive the Written Answer but actually, I have been in this House long enough to know the difference between oral Questions and Written Questions. My Question was an oral Question but it has been down-graded or whatever it is - [Interruption]
Hon Member, we will come to that. If you go to the office, the Clerks will help you. You did indicate on your Question that you wanted a Written Answer and it has been sent to you. And I hereby direct that the Answer be printed in the Official Report in accordance with Order 64 (4).
Madam Speaker, there are 134 tertiary institutions that are currently operating under the supervision of the National Accreditation Board. These are: There are eight (8) foreign affiliated institutions that offer degree programmes of foreign institutions locally.
Madam Speaker, I am not doubting your directive. I went to the Clerk's office this morning and the Clerk was able to pull the Question, the Question shows - [Interruptions]
Can you give me the chance to explain, please?
Hon Member, we will take that one up afterwards, so let us go according to the schedule.
Madam Speaker, I did not request for a Written Answer but the Question was down-graded. Madam Speaker, I want to explain things to you.
Hon Members, I think we have finished with Question time and I will thank the Hon Minister for coming.
"Equal rights, Equal opportunities: Progress for all". And it is Worth noting that this year's celebration marks 15 years of the Beijing Declaration. But we need to remind ourselves that the celebration of this day must go beyond speeches, dining and wining. Rather, every country must use the day to review progress made on the implementation of the Platform for Action enshrined in the Beijing Declaration. For example, Madam Speaker, even though Ghana has experienced steady progress in the areas of women's access to justice, economic rights, governance, sexual and reproductive rights, evidence has shown that the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women has not been applied to the latter. While we still tackle the issue of law- making and legal reform, particularly in the area of securing formal equal rights of women, violence against women and girls in our social fibre still persists. The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) is yet to be fully capacitated to address these problems. Madam Speaker, What is equally worrying is the continuous problem of rural women to access' facilities such as potable Water, health, access to credit, ownership and control of land for economic activities. Madam Speaker, kayayoo is also a major blow to our social Welfare system. The system is unable to offer support to women in the rural areas in order to prevent them from migrating to the south in search of non-existent jobs. This activity of kayayoo use to serve as means of economic well-being. But now, it has become a nightmare and a serious setback to the development of our nation. Madam Speaker, indeed, there are several other atrocities that are perpetuated against Women and girls in this country. As a result, they suffer physical, economic, sexual and psychological abuse throughout their life. Some of these atrocities are carried out in the name of customs, traditions and culture. Every day, we hear reports of Women being beaten and thrown out of their marital homes. In other parts of the country brilliant girls are withdrawn from school to marry against their will, thereby denying the nation the future leaders and the human resource required for development Madam Speaker, not withstanding these challenges, Ghanaian women have made giant efforts in every sphere of life and deserve commendation. Madam Speaker, even as we speak today, Ghana's delegation is in NewYork to participate in the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women's Conference. To make a difference, Ghana is putting up a side event with the theme "Beyond Commitment to Responsive Institutional Structures". This will, among other things, enable the delegation to share its perspective and experiences in the evolution of the national machinery for ensuring gender equality and women's empowerment, at the same time, exploring the views and good practices of other countries. At this point, Madam Speaker, I will only ask for the need for a renewed commitment, and the challenge is for all sectors to take a fresh look at their attitudes towards gender equality issues and to give special attention to the development of women. Madam Speaker, Women in this country and across the globe require all partners, such as government, civil society organizations and the international community to play their roles effectively to enable us have a holistic approach to development to ensure "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for all". Madam Speaker, with your kind permission and on behalf of the Women Caucus and Parliament as a whole, I wish all women of this great country a happy International Women's Day, which was celebrated yesterday throughout the world. Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.
Madam Speaker I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member for Savelugu (Hajia Mary Boforo) in connection with the celebration of the International Women's Day and I am grateful for the opportunity. I urge all our friends from the media to highlight women today. They should capture all that we say today and make them headlines for tomorrow's Papers and subsequent days in the week. Madam Speaker, the theme is appropriate - "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All". It should be expected that this day and age when democratic dispensation has deepened, progress should come to all as a matter of course. But this has not happened in this country. In fact, activism, as far as promotion of gender equality is concerned, has waned in this country. Madam Speaker, let me recount attempts made by governments to promote gender equality in this country. Major changes have occurred in the status of women in some parts of the world but in Ghana, norms that restrict women to the home are still powerful in defining the activities that are deemed appropriate for women. I want to recount attempts made by various governments to promote gender equality in the country. Ghana, as a country, as we all know, is survived by six military coups d'etats and also six constitutional governments. The character of each regime differed in terms of the style of governance and also the extent of women's involvement. We all know that Ghana achieved independence in 1957. The "regime immediately after independence adopted - It was socialist- oriented but women-friendly. At that time, it adopted an affirmative action policy and by that it passed the Representative of the People's Act, which made provision for election of women into the National Assembly -- then it was called National Assembly but now, it is Parliament. This regime lasted until 1966 when it was overthrown in a military junta and democracy was restored again in 1969 to 1972. Again, the military took over and the style of governments at the time was characterized by autocracy for a period of seven years. Women's presence was not felt in formal authoritative positions but in informal sectors where they were highly successful traders. But Madam Speaker, what happened to the traders? They were beaten and branded as nation-Wreckers and their businesses were destroyed. Later, the military administration transformed into a democratic government and the mode of governance here was characterized by a highly centralized bureaucratic administrative system. Women were reduced at this time to cheer leaders. They dressed beautifully, sang and danced and made everybody happy, especially the men. [Laughter] But they were not part of the decision- making process.
Hon Member, are you a man to know whether they made them happy or not? [Laughter] I thought rather they would make the Women happy. Yes, anyway.
Madam Speaker, the. New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over from the previous Administration and they inherited the structures that were put in place by the previous Administrations. Immediately it took over, it established a Ministry for Women and Children's Affairs and gave it a Cabinet status. The
Ministry focused on economic empowerment of women by creating opportunities for women to have access to loans without having to go through cumbersome procedures that the banks required. Again, to consolidate the efforts made under the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), the then President, His Excellency J. A. Kufuor established a fund, which was called the Micro-Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and more women received credit from this centre to boost their businesses. Again, to give meaning to the gender mainstreaming at the time, guidelines were developed to guide gender mainstreaming efforts and Hon Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu of blessed memory also introduced gender responsive budgeting into the national budget to ensure that budgets of MDAs were broken down in a manner that catered for differentiated needs of men, women, boys and girls and also other vulnerable groups. With regard to women's participation in political processes, the NPP Government did very well. The numbers of women in executive positions were unprecedented in the history of the nation. Seventeen women were appointed to Ministerial positions. And other executive positions were filled with Women. The current Government, Madam Speaker, has not kept faith with the women of this country with regard to women's representation in political processes. Only 15 out of the 75 Ministers are women. Out of a total of 1,957 government appointees to Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, only 553 are women; ambassadorial positions, it is seven out of 44; Council of State, three out of 25. Madam Speaker, many are worried about the low numbers of Women in political processes, especially where decisions are made, including Parliament. We know that there is willingness on the part of the electorate to increase or vote for women in elected positions. But a number of factors make it less likely and also more difficult for women to run and get elected. First and foremost, women need to bring themselves up. Second, there is the need for them to be selected as candidates by the parties. And third, they need to be selected by the voters. It is accepted in general terms that a more equitable representation of women in Parliament is required to reflect exactly the composition of society to ensure that women's diverse interests are taken into account. Madam Speaker, I want to suggest that we revisit the Peoples' Representation Act of 1960 to allow for more women to be appointed to political decision-making positions because it is only when the numbers of women increase in positions where they can increase policy that we can talk about the theme, which is "Progress for All". Let me conclude by acknowledging the following women for the roles they played to give meaning to women's empowerment: Justice Annie Jiagge of blessed memory, Mrs Esther Ocloo, Katherine Tedam, a young lady from Chiana/Paga. At the time, she was the youngest Member of Parliament. Mrs Susana Alhassan, she was a Minister for Social Welfare, Mrs Florence Dolphine, Mrs Theresa Kufuor, Mrs Akpalu; Mrs Grace Nortey, Mrs Angela Dwarnena-Aboagye;
Thank you, Hon Member.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. Madam Speaker, International Women's Day, its commemoration and in observing this day, requires every one of us, both men and women, to reflect on how far women, the world over have come. It is a day to reflect on the progress We have made and also call for change. Madam Speaker, 100 years ago, women the world over were expected to stay at home and raise children. Women were defined by the men they married. And they were considered second class citizens without voting rights. Women comprised only 15 per cent of the working population. And most of them were single, young and in the teaching profession. And they were paid a fraction of what their male counterparts were paid. Madam Speaker, today, we have come a long way. In many parts of the world, significant successes have been chalked. Fifty per cent of the workforce is women; an average of about 18 per cent of parliamentary seats worldwide is held by women. We have women captains of industries; female presidents; female Speakers of Parliament, like your good- self, Madam Speaker. [Hear! Hear!] And females occupying very, very important positions in society. Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, although we have made a lot of progress in sub-Saharan Africa, Africa and specifically in Ghana, we do have a long Way to go. Women comprise 50 percent of the population of Ghana. And yet we are woefully represented in areas of governance, such as in our District Assemblies and also in our National Assembly. Madam Speaker, women suffer a lot of discrimination. Taking into account that our Constitution guarantees equal rights for all - equal opportunities for all -- regardless of whether one is a woman or a man and the fact that governments have shown good faith by taking steps as members of multilateral agencies, such as the United Nations (UN) and all the others. We have signed, ratified the elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women - the Domestic Violence Bill and others -- the reality on the ground is quite different. As much as women form the bulk of the informal sector, which is the backbone of our economy, we still have a lot of problems that make it very difficult for us to achieve a proper place in society.
Madam Speaker, this affects us in areas such as land ownership. Women have problems. It is, therefore, very difficult for most Women to access loans. We are not independent. We are subject to control, violence and maltreatment. And also, Women are being subjected to human trafficking Where they are made such promises, taken outside the country and are involved in all kinds of prostitution and inhuman practices. Madam Speaker, we operate a patriarchal family system in this country, which means that in most cases, we are not recognised as being at par with our male counterparts. Even in the home, it is said that the man is the head of the family. In social institutions, such as even in our religious cultures, we have been asked to be submissive to men. When we come to cultural practices, women are subjected to all kinds of very harmful traditional practices such as Trokosi, female genital mutilation (FGM), widowhood rites and the like. Madam Speaker, like I said earlier, a lot of progress has been made but we have a very long way to go. We are calling for a change. We are calling for all to do something and to ensure that we move forward and make sure that the woman gains her rightful place in society. On this day, I would like to commend the Civil Society Organizations for all the work that they have done but I ask them to intensify their efforts. I call on Government to operationalise the Domestic Violence Law and also to look at the issue of human trafficking critically and take steps to do something to curb it. I also call on H.E. the President to make good his promise to appoint up to 40 per cent women in government positions. I call upon government agencies, such as the police to ensure that women get justice when they are subjected to inhumane treatment in the home and otherwise. We call on traditional leaders to join the fight. I call on the media to ensure that women are projected in a very positive light and in doing so, I would urge media houses to turn away advertisements that show women in a very negative light. Especially, one would find advertisements of alcoholic beverages which show women as objects of pleasure. I will not specifically mention any but I believe we all know what I am talking about. I call on all political parties also to promote affirmative action and to increase the number of women candidates. I believe one sure way is by the quota system that would ensure that we have a certain number of women being presented as candidates. Madam Speaker, last but not least, I call on all women to see themselves in a very positive light and to support our counterparts who decide to go into, whether it is politics or the corporate world because if we have 51 per cent of this population or very close to that being women, then I think that we have a very large constituency that can cheer us on to be the trail blazers in order that we can reach where we need to reach. Madam Speaker, just before I came in, somebody stopped me at the foyer; he wanted to know whether Ghana is ready for a female president. Madam Speaker, I believe Ghana is ready. I believe there are so many women who are capable, who have the ability and are competent enough
Madam Speaker, I wanted to come on a point of clarification but I think he has ended. But if I would be allowed to clarify it. [Interruptions] Madam Speaker has given me the floor to talk - [ Interruption. ]
Madam Speaker, she said a lot of positions have been occupied by women, that your good self is a Speaker, the Chief Justice is a woman, the Director of Immigration is also a Woman and if women again want to take the position of a president, then Madam Speaker, it means that the whole nation is - they are on course. [Laughter]
Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity. Madam Speaker, I think that this Statement is a very important one- Even though we repeat it year-in-year-out, I think we do not repeat it Well enough to educate and to bring to the fore, the importance we ought to attach to rights of women in general. I support anything, any law, any decision that would enhance the position of women in our society and let everybody know how important women are. Madam Speaker, the good Lord Himself, after creating Adam realized that His creation was not complete without a Woman, so He created Eve to give Adam company so that the creation would be complete, so that they could multiply to fill the earth. [Interruptions.] We are told in my religion, that Adam and Eve were told to go, multiply and fill the earth. But the important thing I want all of us to note is that, even our Creator thought that it was necessary to have a woman by a man. So our Creator realized that men and women have to be equal. The fact that women were created from our ribs, does not diminish the importance. The good Lord could have made them from clay like he did to man. But in fact, the fact that they were even made from the ribs of man who had already been created and not from the clay that we were made from, for me, it signifies the purity and importance of womanhood. The woman was created from already created man. Madam Speaker, it is important to stress that he did not say that he was going to do it immediately but he would increase the percentage up to 40 per cent. If we have been listening to appointments that go on, that percentage is coming up gradually. Eventually, we would get to the 40 percent even before 2012. Madam Speaker, I think that, personally, the women here would testify,
Hon Member, I thought he explained by saying, "not only likes, but he loves them". [Laughter]
Madam Speaker, anytime I see a pregnant woman, I remember my days in my mother's womb - [ Laughter: ] I remember the nine months I spent there in all the comforts giving my mother all the misery, giving my mother sometimes headaches and sleepless nights; kicking and turning inside there. Madam Speaker, to the extent that when it was time for me to come out, I cried because I knew that the world was much more uncomfortable than I was feeling inside there. [Laughter] There is no child that is born that does not cry when it comes out, then it is not a live child. It is because of the comfort it feels in the womb. Madam Speaker, anytime I see a woman, I remember my wife who makes me comfortable in my house. [Laughter] Anytime I see a woman, I remember my daughters, lovely beautiful ladies - [Interruption] No, no, I do not have to, please. Anytime I see a woman, I remember the sweet comforting smiles that one gets when one leaves Work and goes home. [Laughter] Madam Speaker, this does not mean that women are to give men purely comfort --- [Interruption.]
On a point of clarification. Madam Speaker, he says anytime he sees a woman, some smiles come to his face. I just want to know if he is also referring to Madam Speaker. [Laughter]
Madam Speaker, with the greatest respect, rightly so. You all know that when Madam Speaker smiles, we are all happy, you know it. [Interruptions.] When she does not smile, you the same men complain that she has not smiled today. And rightly so, it is very important for us. Madam Speaker, I think that women ought to be raised to the same status as men in this country. There is no Way we can say that we are cherishing women's rights if we do not bring up women's position in our governments, in our parliaments, everywhere we go to, at least, 40, 49, 50 percent because they are more than us in this country. Madam Speaker, I would also say that women sometimes are their own enemies. The kayayei you see in the streets of Accra, most of them were imported, in fact, I would say, not just imported, they were sort of trafficked into Accra by other women. Unsuspecting innocent girls, I have talked to a number of them on my way to and from Tamale - even groups. When you see them in traffic and you talk to them, they say some women said they should come to Accra, they would be better off, so they followed them. They come and distribute them and make them carry things and they take the moneys and give them a percentage. Madam Speaker, I think that women ought to be educated
to desist from these practices and also to encourage some of our young ladies not to get involved in prostitution. I know when one talks about prostitution, it is not easy, because sometimes, in fact, most of the time, the Women that go into prostitution do not do so for the pleasure of it. They do it as a need to survive; they do it because that is the only way they can sometimes even get money to pay school fees. They do it because that is the only way they can help their own folks back home. So the men misuse them and give them paltry sums, and sometimes even infect them with diseases. I think here, it is a combination of the efforts of both men and women to see how much we can reduce prostitution to the barest minimum. The fact that they call it sex trade even makes it more unnatural for me. Madam Speaker, when you talk about women who have done extremely well for Womanhood in this country, there is no way one can forget Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings -- [Hear!] Hear!] The true champion of Women's rights in this country. This is a woman who led a women's delegation to Beijing to participate in the drafting of the women's declaration. And one cannot mention women who have helped other women without mentioning her. Even till today, she is still fighting and fighting for women wherever she is. Madam Speaker, there is no way one can mention women inspiring other women without mentioning the Rt. Hon Speaker of our Parliament. [ Hear! Hear! ] This is a woman who has risen from a State Attorney through Director of Prosecution, through the High Court, Appeal Court, Supreme Court, and now Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana. She is an inspiration for all women. She is a role model for all women, so to bring down a list without mentioning her is most unfair. [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker - [Interruptions] - I did not hear. Madam Speaker, I believe that - [Interruption.]
Well my name was mentioned, but it is very uncomfortable for the giver -
Madam Speaker, I was most uncomfortable but now, I am very comfortable if your name was mentioned.
Madam Speaker, I think that - Madam Speaker, with these few words, I support the Statement.
Yes, before he finishes, any point of order?
I also contribute in supporting the Statement to cheer up the women of this world and to liberate and free them forever.
Madam Speaker, I was actually raising a point of order, but it looks like he has finished.
well, I allowed once, so let us hear you. What were you going to say, the largeness of his heart or what?
Madam Speaker, that is actually an issue; and he also described Nana Oye Lithur as an NGO. I do not think she is a walking NGO.
She is what?
She works with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. It is an NGO, but she herself is not the NGO.
Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement. It is true that we need to empower women, as compared to other African countries, I believe that Ghana has been steadily improving the lot women. Madam Speaker, even in the case of education, you will realize that, in most of the mix second cycle institutions in this country, the girls are more than the boys, and on the average, the girls perform better. However, it appears that culturally, a lot of pressure is put on women in this country, even young women to the extent that women even feel threatened if they pursue higher education, of losing out in life, because, they may not get eligible men to marry. So a lot depends on the society and to its male members, particularly those of us who exercise authority in our homes, in our communities, in our society. Fathers should encourage their daughters, their nieces and their granddaughters to try and achieve the best that they can achieve in life. Madam Speaker, for some of us, women have played such an important role in our life that we sometimes wonder where we would have been without women and I can say that the three most important persons in my life are women and I make no apologies for that.
No sister? Carry on.
Madam Speaker, when it comes to politics, yes, it is true the President has said that up to 40 percent. But I think that the President's political party should do more, because if you look at representation in this House, women are far more under represented in the Government's party than in the Minority party. Of course, in terms of promoting women, in our political parties - we all acknowledge that We have strongholds, political parties have strongholds. The best commitment that political parties can make onto women empowerment, despite the fact that we are all equal, it must be by choice - is to support women to be parliamentary candidates in our respective strongholds. I must say that if you look at the Government party, well, we have quite a respectable number of women Members of Parliament from the Volta Region. Likewise when you come to the Minority, we have quite a substantial number relatively of women representing constituencies in the Ashanti Region. But it is important that we do far more. And you know from my experience, women are more sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. They are more compassionate. It has been amply demonstrated and I know that the Hon
On a point of order. My Hon Colleague is misleading the House. There is no constituency in Ghana called Chorkor --- [Laughter] - Chorkor is one of the strategic electoral areas in my constituency. [Hear! Hear!] And I am proud of Chorkor but I do not represent Chorkor as a constituency; it is an electoral area, so, please, correct yourself. Ablekuma South is the great constituency that I represent. [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker, that is true, but I said that for a reason. That is because every constituency has a special profile, and Hon Members reflect that special profile. I am therefore not surprised that the Hon Member from Ablekuma South is saying that Chorkor is strategic because he amply demonstrates that, indeed, Chorkor is a strategic electoral area in his constituency. He amply demonstrated it in this House, Madam Speaker, having said all that -- and I am from Sekondi - unfortunately, because of certain reasons, I do not amply reflect Asemansedo with Asimgado as the Hon Member knows. Madam Speaker, having said that, I believe we should continuously work at improving upon the lot of women. But I am urging politicians not to make pledges that they know they cannot fulfill. For the NDC to say that up to 40 per cent and then to have 5 per cent and to justify it by saying they are making progress, I can say that even without our pledge, the NPP did better when we were in Government. [Hear! H earl] Yes, so we should take this as a national issue and not as a partisan political tool to get advantage of Women votes. While we are urging women not to engage in certain trades, I will urge men not to patronize them. It is also important. Women are vulnerable, men should not take advantage of women. I am saying this; men should not take advantage of Women. I personally feel strongly about this -- [Interruptions] -- My Colleagues are saying that women are not vulnerable. All right, we agree, but why are you saying that we should do more for Women. Why? If they are not vulnerable, why should we do more for them? Do not let us, as it were, blow hot and cold, it is not good enough. All I am saying is that, we should continue in this direction and we should do more. I know that all the women who have occupied prominent positions in this country have done so on merit [Interruptions] - because opportunities have been created for women to aspire to the highest offices in the land, but as regards politics, it is application for troubles. That is why a lot of women dread getting involved, particularly the partisan one. But we as political parties, should in terms of our structures give more opportunity for very capable women to play major roles in the management of affairs of this country. I thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Deputy Minister for Education (Dr Joseph Samuel Annan) Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to associate myself also with the Statement. It is, indeed, a great day, and it has been said that every year we go through the motions of celebrating the International Women's Day. But Madam Speaker, I want to emphasise the point that, this day came
about because of the hard activism, it was political activism that has brought us to this day. The work was done by one Clara Zetkin, who was a social democrat in Germany. This is to emphasise the point that, the political activism that is required to bring about this kind of social change comes from progressive movements across the world So when we are talking about who have achieved what all over the world, in terms of bringing about the liberation and the emancipation of women, we have to remember which party is the most progressive party, which party has the greater commitment to bring about the change in women. So we should not be. playing, Madam Speaker, a game of figures, a game that says that we did better than that. What is the commitment of each and every party? We heard from the beginning that, some of the essential changes that brought about the emancipation of women in Ghana came under our first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. I think nobody is in any doubt that he can be described as one of the most progressive, if not the most progressive President we have had in this country. Madam Speaker, I just want to say that next year, I think, would be the centenary of the International Women's Day and I urge this House and indeed, the Government and all major stakeholders who are concerned, like we have heard so eloquently expressed today, particularly from men, how they support the emancipation of women, how we must ensure that Women have their equal places in politics, at the workplace and in society. I would seriously urge that, with the coming centenary, we start preparations to make sure that we mark next year, 2011, the centenary of the International Women's Day, with something special and renew bi-partisan commitment under our watch, the more progressive of the party to ensure that Women take their rightful place.
On a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Colleague said "under our watch". I am Wondering who is "our". Is it CPP or NDC or NPP he is talking about? He said "our". We are not sure what he means by that. If he can clarify it.
Madam Speaker, the explanation is clear, which government it is that is running the administration today - the NDC Government which is running the government today. Madam Speaker, let me conclude by saying that under our watch, as the progressive arm of politics in Ghana, we shall ensure that what has been said in this House, particularly in relation to next year, is taken seriously and that we mark the centenary as it deserves with concrete action and not mere words. I thank you.
I thank you, Hon Member. Hon Members, one hour has already passed since the Statement was read and We have a lot of work to do. But I think I will call one Hon Member, just one last Hon Member and it will be the Hon Second Deputy Speaker.
Thank very much, Madam Speaker, for the recognition. Madam Speaker, this is a very important issue before us and I have consistently said and written that the essence of the human being are two basic things; they are brain and brawn and in terms of intelligence, it cannot be disputed that women are equal to men, boys are equal to girls. It means, therefore, that our mental faculty being the essence of the human being, and since we are equally endowed by our Creator with this, any society that does not take the development of the girl or the woman seriously, is a loser abinitio in the development process because half of your resource is untapped and it is wasted. Madam Speaker, in our development effort, this is something that we just cannot ignore and it is a truism. You go to the universities today, persistently our prize winners have been women more than men, incidentally. Madam Speaker, from the policy perspective, we have to go beyond the rhetoric. If we care to know, there is a very interesting model in India where they worked -- Women in Banking, Women in Cottage Industry and allied actual policies that today they have got more than 25 banks in the southern part of India alone, exclusively for women, so as to empower them. It will definitely not be enough to say it and not to bring some of these policies into effect. Madam Speaker, when We come to our haphazard planning, most of those who are quickly affected are women. When we do the aabaeei and so on, that we all know about, the victims are mostly women. We should re-visit this issue and then work our planning policies in such a way that it would rather promote the capacity of our Women entrepreneurs. Many people, actually have been educated by the efforts of some of these Women and, Madam Speaker, we have to recognise the vulnerability of the female sex when we come to talk about the physical and other aspects and for that matter, protect the girl-child and the young woman in a particular way. After all, if two young people engage in an illicit sex act as students, the girl stops school and the boy continues. That, in itself, requires, a social intervention not only by way of education but also by way of certain policies that will help the girl-child in certain circumstances to continue. These cannot continue if we do not do something about certain policies that would enable a young woman to continue her education in such a misfortune. Very often, we also realise that, after all, when the men refuse to contribute towards the education and the growing up of the children, invariably, it -is left to women alone. And as a lawyer, sometimes I feel very ashamed about the inability of our law to bite hard enough to compel, I would say, not the men as such, but the other partner to also accept and contribute to the discontinuation that responsibilities come from both parties. In this connection, as lawmakers, I think we should not just be very straight but we should at the end of the day, establish a committee that would re-visit our laws because we are supposed to be making the laws and despite some of the difficulties in terms of Private Members' Bill, we can seriously consider some of these things and make positive contributions to the Executive-in this regard; and this is the way that we can help make positive contributions in this regard.
Madam Speaker, law on affirmative action in particular is long, long overdue. The law on affirmative action is long overdue. At the moment, I think we have 19 Hon Members of Parliament who are Women since we lost one Hon Member not too long ago and that certainly is not something to write home about. In terms of affirmative action, the law can be used as an instrument of social engineering so as to provide additional Women, the 230 apart, universal adult suffrage, a special election regionally or whatever that would allow additional Women to come as Women to correct the imbalance. These are matters which if we do not seriously tackle, then we will continue to simply make statements or sentimental expression and yet the fundamental problem will remain unsolved. Once more, I am respectfully saying that this Honourable House should establish a committee to look into this and come out with an appropriate recommendation. Madam Speaker, our Constitution is soon to be re-visited. I believe this is an opportunity for women to come out with suggestions. In fact, it has been said in many ways, that our Constitution itself is not gender sensitive. Apart from very serious omissions that all of us cannot go through at this moment, everything is ‘his' and there is never a "she" or "her" or gender neutral expressions in that regard and definitely, that is not good enough. I will call upon women to seriously stand up and be counted now that there is going to be a constitutional reform. We want to hear their voices. Madam, Speaker, I will want to bring to the attention of this Honourable House and with your permission, I will quote a quotation from the current learned Attorney-General of the Republic, which she made in 2003, which was a very considered statement in a public lecture: "It is my considered opinion, that there were not enough knowledgeable women in the drafting process of the 1992 Constitution. This is despite the fact that there were certain number of places specifically reserved for women's groups and the Assembly saw a preponderance of groups purportedly representing women's interest, such as the bakers, the hairdresser groups, at cetera who might have been unable to confidently articulate for a Bill of Rights for women. It must be remembered that during those times certain elements in society were deemed un- revolutionary groups such as the Ghana Bar Association and the National Union of Ghana Students, who might have included more knowledgeable women representatives, boycotted the entire proceedings of the Consultative Assembly." Madam Speaker, with this quotation as a hindsight, we believe that we have the knowledgeable women now and the present dispensation would give them the opportunity. So they should stand up and be counted. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
That is the end of Statement time. Hon Members, we have to debate the President's Message. So we continue with the debate to thank His Excellency the President for his State of the Nation Address delivered on Thursday, 25th February, 2010.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion to thank His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation. Madam Speaker, the tone of the President this year was more conciliatory than that of last year. It shows how much the President has moved from the campaign mood to governance mood and we applaud him. Madam Speaker, while I applaud the President for a shift in rhetoric, this year's Address was too cryptic and sketchy and not much in terms of details. I will therefore stick my comment to a few contradictory statements, some cordial linkages that look a bit spurious and some pronouncements that in my opinion seemed out of think with the character of the Presidency. Madam Speaker, I will begin on the economy. I have always brushed aside the public outcry that this Government is not seeing its way clear with regard to the economy, and when they say won nhunu so, that is what they really mean. I have brushed it aside, Madam Speaker, because I have high regard for those who constitute the economic management team. But Madam Speaker, the President, in the State of the Nation Address, has confirmed what I was really dreading and indeed, had made me to re-think my position and to agree with the public that there is confusion in the economic minds of the Government. Madam Speaker, earlier last year, a high powered Government representative characterized the economy as broke and quickly, the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning came back to say that no, it was not broke but it was challenged, and Madam Speaker, the President comes here and tells us now that the economy was overheated. The economy is broke, the economy is challenged, the economy is overheated. Madam Speaker, these are three contradictory descriptive statements of the economy in 2008, which in my opinion is very worrisome, and makes me wonder whether the Government appreciates the economy of Ghana sufficiently to really ensure effective management. Madam Speaker, if you go and see a doctor and you report of a headache and the doctor immediately gives you APC Without actually diagnosing it properly, the tendency is that your headache would not go away because fundamentally that is not the ailment that you are suffering from. And the more dangerous part of it is that maybe, you are not sick, maybe, you need to relax, then the doctor gives you some medication which has a very bad side effect. And Madam Speaker, what is happening now is exactly so. [Hear!] Hear!] These economic physicians have not been able to diagnose the alleged ills to the economy, if there was any at all, they
do not seem to know whether the economy is ill or is sick, they are not very sure What it is and they have started prescribing medicine and what we are seeing is the side effects. So Madam Speaker, the medication that has been given is actually translating into a side effect, that if we are not very careful, we cannot arrest the situation. Madam Speaker, "the economy is overheated" and that is what the President said, but when we say the economy is overheated, we are not saying that it is broke. So what I am sure, Madam Speaker, is happening is that, now, the President has come to the realization that maybe, the economic management team is saying that it was an overheated economy, so let us get a prescription for overheating. Madam Speaker, when you misdiagnose and really the economy, to my opinion; is not overheated, and you try to cool it down, you are cooling down an already cooled economy and what you get is a frozen economy -. [Uproar] They have frozen the economy of this country and unless the President decides to defreeze this economy -- what the people are saying is that, they do not have money in their pockets, which the President does not want to hear because he did not promise them, will actually become the order of the day. [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Madam Speaker, my Hon Brother on the opposite side of the House, who is on the floor speaking, is misleading the House. Madam Speaker, he is speaking English but the English that he is speaking, he should speak it in the proper context. Why do I say that?
Hon Member, the objection was the word "was", or "is".
Madam Speaker, I am sure my Friend up there was not listening. I said, 2008, so it necessarily had to be "was." That the economy was overheated, the economy was broke, the economy was challenged. That was the expression of the head of the Economic Management Team -- the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and the rest. So that is exactly what I am saying. So What I am saying, and I repeat, Madam Speaker, that if the economy is not over- heated and you claim it is overheated and you try to apply the brakes that would
Madam Speaker, I called the doctors and the people around and asked them what the problem was. They said the National Health Insurance Scheme owes them, about GH¢580,000 and they have not sent them a pesewa - [Some Hon Members - O-o-h!] When I asked them the doctor told me the maternity section did not even have gloves, much more drips, the Surgery Department did not have disinfectants much more stitches. Somebody came in with the head broken and what happened was what this doctor was telling me and he was shivering. He could not stitch it, he just covered it up and then sent the person to Sunyani. Madam Speaker, the problem facing this country is not about the law. The problem facing this country is that the people need health service and the President should make sure that the health service is delivered to the people and not come here with laws. Madam Speaker, on governance, the President was so brilliant, heuristically coming out with his categorization of poor African nations. The first category was African nations whose colonial
Your time is running -- 10 minutes.
Madam Speaker, I am a Ranking Member, so I am --
Very, very nice speech but -
Madam Speaker, I am a Ranking Member, so I have some extra time. Madam Speaker, but let me just try to wrap up.
Yes, carry on.
By looking at the flagship projects that the President said he was going to put up, Madam Speaker, the President needs to be lauded for that but he should not disproportionately, I mean about the oil, raise the expectations of Ghanaians. Madam Speaker, the oil that we have found so far, at its peak of production, is going to give us US$1 billion a year and this is not going to be additional to our Budget, which if they are not careful, they would think it is additional -- because once you become an oil producing country, these concessionary loans that We have been using to support our Budget would be cut off. Number two, this oil find, Madam Speaker, is not going to last for more than 1O years - what we have found now, and it is going to dry out very quickly. So nobody in his mind should think that we are going to use it as handouts to propel anybody into power because when we do that we do not have any money even to run the Budget. But Madam Speaker, the most important aspect of it is that, yes, I agree with the President that we should use it for some projects but we do not have to use it for the 1,000 projects that the President actually mentioned, because in 10 years time that project should be able to really give us resources that would enable us balance our Budgets without the resources that are available from oil. So Madam Speaker, what I would urge the President to do is that he should not be just a dreamer but he should be an effective implementer and he should really spend the resources not thinly over these 1,000 projects but on the few ones that can really replace the resources of oil when we have lost that. And in that case, when he does that, when he spreads it thinly, the legacy that he is going to leave behind would be public monuments of uncompleted projects.
Thank you, Hon Member. The next contributor is Hon Agbesi -- 10 minutes.
Madam Speaker, I Wish to contribute to the motion that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for the Message he delivered to this House. Madam Speaker, I want to state in the first instance that this Address by H.E. the President is, indeed, a welcome Address. Welcome in the sense that the President has given us hope. The
Yes, any point of order?
Madam Speaker, yes. With respect to my Hon Colleague from Ashaiman, he is misleading the House, misleading everybody. We were here, we heard the President speak, he did not say at any instance that he was leading the country to its final destination.
Well, I think that is his opinion - because he was not quoting from the President's Address.
Madam Speaker, no. He said the President said; he is attributing it to the President. The final destination of this country would arrive at the time when you are not in life, you would be dead, we would all be gone, you know, so What is he talking about? The President did not say that, do not misquote him.
Madam Speaker, in any case, I am not quoting the President. I am giving my view of what the President came here to say. And I am entitled to my view taking the Address into consideration. And he is also entitled to his view. So, it is my view that he is leading us to the final destination of this country. Madam Speaker, it is said that the President has fulfilled his constitutional obligation under article 67 of the Constitution. Madam Speaker, there is another constitutional obligation under article 34(2) of the Constitution. Madam Speaker, if you look through the whole of the Address, the President has addressed many spheres of life of the Ghanaian. In this Address, you will see that the President spoke on the economy. You will see that he referred us to the Budget that his Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning delivered to this House last year. The President went further, he spoke on agriculture, he spoke on employment, he spoke on education, health, housing, governance, security, drug, discipline, et cetera. Madam Speaker, if you go to article 34 (2) of the Constitution, these are some of the things the President is required to tell us in the year. And I want to say in my view, what the President has done in this Address has virtually covered most of the things that he is required to do under article 34 (2). In that wise, I would say, the President's Address has covered what he is supposed to do constitutionally in the year. And for that matter, he has fulfilled his duty as a President to this nation. Madam Speaker, as I said, the President has spoken on many things. But one thing that concerns me most is the issue of housing. If you look at the President's Address on housing, he said, and with your permission, I beg to quote: "Let me put it very bluntly The spectacle of homeless people and street children in our urban areas is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated!" Madam Speaker, this is a bare truth that in our cities, homelessness and streetism are the order of the day. Madam Speaker, a President that has recognised this and had gone further to say we should make
an effort to eradicate this, like I said from the beginning, that this Address is an address of hope because the President has seen what actually is the problem pertaining in the housing sector. He went further to say that the District Assemblies that we have now, must take that thing on board and use part of their Common Fund to provide accommodation for the low income group. Madam Speaker, if the President has recognised and tasked the Assemblies to use part of their Common Fund and provide accommodation for the less endowed people, it is welcome news. Madam Speaker, we are aware that in the districts, the Assemblies come face- to-face with people who are homeless. Take the issue of teachers -- newly - trained teachers who are posted to the districts, our police personnel, our students who have just left the universities and who have been employed at the districts, most of them are faced with accommodation problems. And it has been like that for years. But efforts are not being made towards total eradication of the housing problem. Madam Speaker, having recognised this and directing the Assemblies to work on this, I say it is a welcome Address and it is an Address that is hope for those who are homeless, for those who are on the streets. Madam Speaker, I would say, having identified housing as a problem and going further to say that the housing projects that have been initiated by the former Administration should be completed, tells me that the President is somebody who wants to build upon what has been started. I believe that this is a policy that all of us, as politicians, as administrators must take on board. Because most of the time, we tend to forget projects that have been initiated and start new ones which sometimes we never complete. But to continue projects that have been left uncompleted, particularly in the area of housing is a laudable idea and we politicians must continue with them. Most of the time, when we are elected into office, we try to abandon projects or ideas that have been initiated by our predecessors. I think that these are issues that the President has put before us and we as politicians and administrators, we need to take on board.
Wind up now.
I have noticed that another area that creates problems in the area of housing is the relationship between landlords and tenants, particularly those workers who find themselves in areas that they need to rent houses. Madam Speaker, we have had the Rent Act, 1963 (Act 220) for years -- 1963. And this Act which has provision on Landlord/Tenant is still in that form that it was made in 1963. I want to say that some of the problems that bring about housing conflicts stem from this Act 220, which was promulgated in 1963. Madam Speaker, we know that newly- employed people sometimes are asked to pay rent advance. Where some people are in accommodation for two, three years, when their rent expires, the landlords call, upon them to pay another rent advance which brings a problem to them. Madam Speaker, my plea is that this Rent Act and the Rent Control Law must be looked at and amended so that the provisions are brought to bear on the realities that we face today.
Hon Member, Wind up, ten minutes is gone.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the President went further to tell us about time consciousness And I believe that it is in a good direction that we should look at our attendance at functions that we have been invited. Madam Speaker, he went further to say that organisers of programmes should take note that if some Ministers are becoming perpetual late comers, they should be reported to the Presidency. This is a good directive because even the day after the Address was delivered to this House, Parliament itself, on that Friday did not Sit until 10:3 0 a.m. That even tells us that the directive from the President is not being complied with -
Hon Member, your time is now up.
Madam Speaker, I want to say that this -
Your time is up. Finish up and the next Hon Member will be called. I say wind up.
Madam Speaker, I want to" say finally, that is an inspiring Address delivered by the President. This is an Address of hope delivered by the President and it is a visionary Address by the President. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the President for his Address and I wish everybody to thank him for that matter.
Thank you. The next is the Hon Member for Asokwa (Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah).
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Thank you, Madam Speaker [Interruption]
Hon Member for Asokwa, you may continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to participate in the debate on the motion for the President's State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker, after listening to the President and also after carefully reading his speech, I am tempted to grade his performance as he used to do. But I do not Want to do it because when he did it last year, he stopped doing it this year. He realised there is some merit in not grading yourself. I also do not want to characterize this State of the Nation Address as a blunt and tasteless food which is garnished haphazardly with ingredients from the previous regime. Mr Speaker, if you compare the 2009 State of the Nation Address to the 2010, what you have to note is that there are more thematic areas in government that were covered in the 2009 State of the Nation
For your information, go and grab a copy of the 2003, the second one -- [Interruptions] Go and get a copy and compare the second State of the Nation Address and you would probably reach worse conclusions than I have reached. The President in his State of the Nation Address in 2009, attempted to discuss the governance reform agenda of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto and he did cover some areas, and with your permission, I want to quote him: " . . . elaboration of code of conduct in government that includes key information disclosures, ethics and anti-corruption measures." Mr Speaker, have the President's Ministers declare their assets yet? [Some Hon Members: No.] Mr Speaker, while I agree with the President that Ghana has become an example of African democracy, I also Want to use our local slang and parlance: Who born dog? [Laughter] If it was not the extraordinary and exemplary leadership provided by President Kufour, who would acknowledge the democratic credentials of Ghana that we are all proud of? [Interruptions] I am sure the seizure of cars, toilets, offices would definitely not put us on that pedestal that we are all bragging about. [Hear! Hear! ] Mr Speaker, the President talked about constructive criticisms. I Want to assure the President that constructive criticisms alone do not make a democracy. Decriminalisation of free speech, equality before the law, not selective justice; being sacked from your job because you do not share the same philosophical ideology of the NDC. Democracy does not mean that you sack school-feeding caterers because they were hired by the previous regime. Democracy does not mean that staff of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), mass sprayers, are sacked because they were hired by an NPP Government. Mr Speaker - [Interruptions] I am referring to notes, here. The President said, and with your permission, I will quote him again, that he was ". . . going to do away with the style of politics that mistook democratic transfer of power as an opportunity to wreck Vengeance." What do We call the blatant and unwarranted dismissals of public servants? Why are you still keeping Nana Akuffo- Addo's cars? Where is President Kufuor's office and why has his staff not been paid a year after he left office? Please, talk the talk and Walk the walk. Probably, you would leave a good legacy. I also agree with the President, especially his principle of making the right decisions rather than a quick decision. Mr Speaker, there are a lot of instances that the right decision is to make a quick decision. And one of those right decisions is to put money in people's pockets, quick and fast. [Interruptions] The President talked about the challenges, and with your permission, I quote: ". . . facing the Government in tackling the unsustainable Budget deficit. The arrears and unpaid bills, crippling judgment debts." -
Hon Member, you have two minutes.
Unpaid bills and budget deficits have been with us since- It is all over - if you are in government. But the mark of a good finance manager is to know when to pay your bills and to meet your deadlines. Well, for your information, up to when the NPP Government left office, they paid the bills. [Hear] H ear! ] As We speak, the Common Fund was up to date until January 7, 2009; GETFund was up to date. But look here, this is your legacy. The President also talked about giving school uniforms to school children - 1.6 of them; about 700 people [Interruptions]
Then he said he was going to give about 5 million-- [Interruptions.]
Order! Order! Hon Members, interruptions may mean more time.
Ten free textbooks - Mr President, when you promise children, you keep it.
- 165 schools have been budgeted for in this Budget. There are 5,227 schools under trees; with this pace it would take you 30 years -- that is going slow. Last but not least, the President talked about "so far, much better." Mr Speaker ---
You will conclude.
The cedi has depreciated? more than 23.3 percent since the President took over -
Hon Member, your concluding statement.
Yes, I am concluding. The GDP in 2008 -- that was when President Kufuor left office - was 7.4 percent; the following year, the figure changed, it subsided; it is 4.7 per cent and you call that "much better"? Mr Speaker, I have With me -- [Hon Member displayed two small cans] -- this is what is being fed to school children in Ghana; they are expired, rotten products that are being fed to school children today. [Interruptions] All the schools in the Ashanti Region. I have already reported this to the coordinator of School Feeding Programme and I have also reported to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and I am hoping that they will take the appropriate action. Mr Speaker, to conclude, in 2009, the President said he was going to maintain a lean government. In 2008, the Kufuor Administration budgeted 110 million -
Hon Members, if we do not keep to the time, we will not be able to just exhaust this list. So Hon Member, I must tell you, please, give your concluding sentence.
Mr Speaker, that is exactly what I am doing.
Hon Member, your last sentence.
Mr Speaker, if they would allow me to land. In 2008, the Kufuor Government allocated GH¢110 million for Government Machinery. In 2010, this Government that was preaching a lean government allocated GH¢358,674,404. That is the NDC lean government. To put
Hon Member, I am afraid you have to take your seat.
Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Hon Members, this is the only Way we can exhaust the list we have.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the motion to thank His Excellency the President for his wonderful Address delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 25th February, 2010. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to touch on some few areas beginning With unemployment. Unemployment is a major challenging issue facing this country and I will say that this must be tackled once and for all. It is in this light that the President noticed this and directing a lot of programmes to tackle the unemployment problem in the country. Mr Speaker, there are a number of unemployed youth on the streets. Our senior high school students, on leaving school come out without any practical qualifications as the President indicated. Mr Speaker, our university graduates are still perambulating on the streets without jobs. Some are holding First Degrees and since 2000, up to now, they are still on the streets without jobs. This, President Mills noticed and said, "no, this problem must stop". That is Why he is putting a lot of measures in place, like expansion of the manufacturing sector, agricultural industry sector and also has actually directed all sector Ministers to mainstream job creations into their programmes. Mr Speaker, this is a laudable idea and We need to commend the President for this. Mr Speaker, l believe strongly that unemployment issues would be things of the past -- very soon. Mr Speaker, I want to tackle the issue of education. I was so much overwhelmed when the President mentioned in his Address that a lot of educational programmes that are geared towards putting money into people's pockets have started bearing fruits -- that is the distribution of free uniforms. Gone were the days when people found it difficult to even buy knickers for their children to school. [An Hon Member: What are knickers?] Shorts. This time round, I think that it is going to be things of the past. Mr Speaker, I had a call yesterday from my constituency that distribution of school uniforms had been extended to Krachi District - [Hear! Hear!] And students started calling me to thank H.E. the President for this achievement. [Hear! Hear!] This is an achievement second to none. A President that is father for all, these are the signs that we will begin to see. Mr Speaker, the President has also directed that there is going to be free education for the disabled, improve the conditions of service for teachers. Most teachers find it very difficult to accept postings to rural areas just because of lack of suitable accommodation. Measures are now being put in place to motivate, to attract, to retain teachers in the rural areas. This is a laudable idea the President has noticed and he needs to be commended.
Hon Member, do you stand on a point of a specific order or correction?
Mr. Speaker, on a specific order. He is referring to me as having said that there was no need for having housing. Mr Speaker, I never said that and the Hon Gentleman has to correct that. I did not say that. What I said was that the cause of homelessness is not housing. The cause of homelessness is about the economic circumstance of the person and the people migrating from the North to the South. It has nothing to do with whether it was a good idea or bad idea, but what I said was that the diagnosis was wrong and that was not the cause.
Hon Member, continue.
Mr Speaker, but if he could recall --- If he could read this document carefully, there are a lot of programmes in place to actually retain the youth up North. I will not talk on this point so much -
Hon Member, please, continue with your own line of argument.
Mr. Speaker, I want to tackle the health aspect which is my area. Most of the bottlenecks in the health sector have to do with legislation. Most of these programmes need to be backed with legislation. That is why the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has already submitted a Bill to Cabinet for consideration. This Bill, when approved by Parliament, Mr Speaker, will help address most of these challenges such as claim management. It would also bring greater accountability and transparency in the operation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Mr Speaker, other Hon Colleagues raised this issue on the floor regarding the NHIS, and these things need to be clarified. Mr Speaker, an Hon Colleague said that the NHIS drug list has been cut down. This is factually incorrect. Mr Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, the drugs had been categorized into levels ranging from the CHPS compound; you get to the clinics, health centres, the hospitals and then the teaching hospitals - So, if you are operating a health centre, you cannot prescribe drugs belonging to a category, say a teaching hospital. That
Hon Member, wind up, please.
Mr. Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, he has directed for the expansion of regional hospitals. Our recent visit as a team -- the Health Committee team to Ridge Hospital reveals that the hospital is so congested, so crowded to the extent that patients - that is infusion has to be hanged on their necks, sleeping on benches while attending to health-care. This is very serious. That is why the President has directed that all regional hospitals should be expanded. And if this is done, it would accommodate -
Hon Member, your concluding sentence.
Mr Speaker, thank you. We have expansion of the district hospitals, that programme is in place to take care of all health problems in the rural areas; establishment of district pharmacy shops nationwide. These are all laudable health programmes to take care of the health sector. And Mr Speaker, if this is done, I think we will have no problem with health facilities.
Thank you. Hon Member, your last sentence. Hon Members, in terms of the -- [Interruption] Let us learn how to summarize so that we conclude.
Mr. Speaker, I have a lot to talk about, but it seems I have spent about five or six minutes of my time -
And you have other 15 Hon Members who also have a lot to talk about.
Mr Speaker, the housing project is a laudable programme for this nation. Go to our streets and you will see our young men and women sleeping in kiosks, on tables, et cetera -
So, Hon Member, your last sentence is that?
Mr Speaker, my last sentence is that the Government needs to be commended. His Excellency the President is father for all; he has everybody at heart, that is why he is putting pragmatic measures in place to take care of the challenges in the country.
Hon Member for Bimbilla, you have 10 minutes.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to thank the President for the State of the Nation Address, and in doing so, I would like to congratulate him for doing his constitutional duty.
"One year after our election, I am proud to stand before you and say with confidence -- "The State of the Nation is good!" The President goes ahead to say that: "If I am to be tempted to indulge in a bit of sloganeering and compare the state of Ghana today to when We took over a year ago, I can confidently say So Far - Much Better." Mr Speaker, it is easier said than done, but let us compare the actual figures on
Probably, he is rising to ask me my source --the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), submission of Annual Report, 2009. Mr Speaker, if they want, I will tender it for them to have a look at and compare records. Mr Speaker, let us look at a 93 kilogramme bag of millet, it was GH¢56.50; today, it is GH¢68.88, 22 percent increase -- [Some Hon Members: Oh!] -So far much better. Mr. Speaker, a 91 kilogram bag of cassava; in 2008, the average price was GH¢13.92, today, it is GH¢18.79, -- [Some Hon Members: Eh!] 35 per cent increase. Mr. Speaker, so far --- much better. Mr. Speaker, this is food, but let us go to the fishing industry. Mr. Speaker, an outboard motor, Yamaha model, 80 horse power - [Interruption] -- Yes, 80 -- was GH¢25 million, that is GH¢2,500; yes - [Interruption]
Yes, outboard motor, the big one-- [Interruption] - No, 180 - today, it is 45 million to 5O million -- [Interruptions] - please, I said 180 horse power, please. [Interruptions.]
The figures are these: Outboard Motor, Yamaha model, 1.8 horse power - [Laughter] No, Mr Speaker, I am looking at the figures -[Interruption] - it was GH¢25 million, that is ¢2,500. Today, it ranges between ¢45 million and ¢50 million, from shop to shop, that is ¢4,5OO to GH¢5,000; so far, so much better. [Interruptions]
Order! Order! The Hon Member has given the source and he will put it to the Table soon after. [Interruptions] Order! Hon Member, please, address the Chair and just continue.
Mr Speaker, the lorry fare from Accra, Agbogbloshie station to Bimbilla was GH¢8.50; today, it is GH¢12. Mr Speaker, ¢120,000 from ¢85,000, using the old cedis; so far, much better.
Hon Members, there will be orderly debate and all Hon Members will be entitled to make their own contributions.
Mr Speaker, the GDP growth in 2008 was seven point three per cent; today, the figure has been turned to 4.7 percent. So far, much better. Mr Speaker, the figures speak for themselves, so I will not say anything, the conclusion will be drawn by Ghanaians. 2008 was far much better than 2009; that is a fact and these are the figures I have given you. Every Ghanaian knows it. Mr Speaker, the President goes ahead on --[Interruptions]
Mr Speaker, the President goes ahead to say that in the specific sector of governance, they have moved strongly ahead to keep their manifesto, promises. I would not have gone there but once he talked about the manifesto, I would dissect the NDC manifesto for the President to see. Mr Speaker, on page 28 of this manifesto, paragraph 3, under public sector companies, bullet point 5, it is stated and I beg to quote: "As far as practicable, Ministers and Members of Parliament shall not be appointed to positions of Chairman and members of Boards of Directors of Public Sector companies in order to avoid conflict of interest . . ." Mr Speaker, what has happened? Where are they? They are all sitting down here. You Want me to mention your names? Mr Speaker, my own finance Chairman - Well, I will forget of the names but Mr Speaker, the names are there for all of us to see. Agbesi who has just spoken is a member of TOR-
Hon Member, you mean Hon Agbesi or you mean the Hon Member for Ashaiman?
Mr. Speaker, I mean Hon Agbesi, Mr Speaker. I withdraw that and put "Hon Agbesi". [Interruption] If you want me to continue, I will mention more names - [Laughter] The First Deputy Speaker is even part - He is the Chairman of the Board on National Health Insurance Authority. Mr Speaker, I can continue with the list. This is not good, it is not fair and they are not sincere with the people of Ghana. Mr Speaker, let me go to the next point. Mr Speaker, the manifesto says on page 45, that the tax policy of the NDC will be used to encourage people to work -
Hon Member, you may want to conclude and for that matter, there will be no interventions.
The tax policy of the NDC will be used to work. People will be taxed less to create adequate incentive and increase productivity. Mr Speaker, what have you seen? Ras Kimono will say "tax here and tax everywhere ". Mr Speaker, we are being choked to the neck with taxes, and he says "So far, - much better". Mr Speaker, employment opportunities for all who are willing and able to work, page 46. Mr Speaker, what do we see? It is now the President is directing the Ministers to bring a blueprint for employment opportunities. Did the President not have a blueprint before coming to power?
Hon Member, in conclusion?
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the almighty Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the President has failed this time to even mention it because it has become an albatross round his neck. Mr Speaker, he said the initial set-up capital shall be GH¢ 200 million; the people of the North unfortunately got GH¢25 million and he says Government shall add GH¢100 each year for 20 years. What do We see? Not only that, he says that once established, the Government of Ghana will lead a donor conference on northern Ghana with the aim of raising additional US$20 million from Ghana's development
Your last sentence.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, Yahuza Yakuhu, Majeed Alhassan, Hahib Mohammed Dagbana, Alhassan Shaibu Imoro Gundana are five innocent young boys languishing in Tamale Prisons for the fact that they are NDC members. Mr Speaker, I want to say I am happy that the former Minister for the Interior is here, he is now the Majority Leader, let Government release those guys or take them to court. otherwise, the people of the North will never forgive them. [Hear! Hear!] Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports (Mr Reuben Nii Nortey Dua): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to thank His Excellency the President, John Evans Atta Mills, for his State of the Nation Address which he delivered to this august House on Thursday, 25th February, 2010. Mr Speaker, it is gratifying that His Excellency in the early stages of his Address talked about sports. We all know sports is a unifying factor and for that matter, football is followed by most people in this country. He mentioned the exploits or successes of the Black Stars in the CAN 2010, which took place in Angola and the fact that our players did so well. Well, we can recall that when His Excellency the President addressed this House last year, he mentioned that he would try his best to ensure that the Black Stars qualified for the World Cup in South Africa and that indirectly meant a job for the Ministry of Youth and Sports. So we also upheld His Excellency the President's wish and did everything we could and the Black Stars qualified, not only for South Africa but for Angola. We have to thank His Excellency the President and the Government of Ghana for what they did in support of the players, their bonuses and their per diem, which spurred them on to the qualification. But we also need to add that through His Excellency's support, we do not only have the Black Stars qualifying but We haven the under- 20 female squad, the Black Princesses also qualifying for the World cup in June this year. So our women Under-20 have also qualified for the World Cup. And through His Excellency the president's support to the Under-2O hockey team, we have the Under-20 hockey team qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Singapore in August this year. Quite recently, they went to South Africa to win the Africa Olympic Tournament and they beat all teams including teams which Ghana had never beaten before as far as hockey is concerned. They beat South Africa, they beat Egypt, they beat Kenya, they beat all the teams and they took the gold in the tournament, thus qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Singapore. So a lot of progress, a lot of qualifications are coming our way and that points to the fact that it is so much better for our nation. Mr Speaker, the success of our youth in the hockey tournament stems from one thing. The fact that His Excellency, within a record time, built for us a hockey stadium with all facilities. The stadium has a lodging facility where the boys and girls lodge and train and the fact that he provided astro turf, the water-based modern astro turf at the stadium - This was Where the boys and girls trained before they could win the tournament. So all these facilities provided support or the health for the boys and our girls to compete in that tournament and this facility, as I have said early on; has a lodging facility. The stadium has a lodging facility and it can provide training ground for European teams during their training for their summer hockey tournaments. Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President also touched on the youth and then he made mention of the fact that there is the need for youth development. He pointed out that youth development has to be undertaken or has to be enhanced by the oil and gas, which will provide the industrial take-off for the country. Then he mentioned the aluminium industry, the petro-chemical industry, the fertiliser industry and the industrial chemical industry, the integrated iron and steel industry. We have to thank His Excellency the President for all these initiatives or all these efforts which are coming up because we believe strongly that it is true that our young people who are leaving the senior high schools and the university graduates are coming out without any jobs. But these are developments or industries which are ready and would offer the jobs for our people in future. To add to this performance or this effort, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) has introduced a lot of new modules and some of these modules include youth in dressmaking, youth in film making, ICT, mobile phone repairs, artisanship, shearnut butter processing, grasscutter rearing and bamboo processing and products and we believe that all these things have taken off. [Some Hon Members: Where?] If you go to the various districts, you will see the youth -- [Interruptions ]
Order! Nii Nortey Dua: If you go to the various districts, you will see the youth being trained in these things. It is not only the training, but when they are trained, they are set up to be on their own and to do their own businesses and their own trade. Other things His Excellency the President touched on in his State of the Nation Address include the developments which are going on in the various areas and as an Hon Member of Parliament who comes from a constituency, which is on the coastline of our country, I wish to mention that our fishermen are happy about the measures His Excellency the President has taken as far as premix fuel is concerned.
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
That is so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I also represent a constituency along the coast and the Hon Member is talking about fishermen being happy about What the Government has --- [Interruption]
Hon Member, that is no point of order. Hon Member, you may please, continue and that gives you further one minute. Nii Nortey Duah: Mr. Speaker, the fishermen are also happy about the measures or steps being taken about pair trawling, but what they would also want to be done is that the lights which people or some fishermen have been using to attract the fishes -- They would want something to be done about them. It is their colleagues who are using these lights in their fishing expeditions so they will Want something to be done as far as these lights are concerned.
Hon Member, please, conclude. Nii Nortey Duah: Please, I am concluding. Therefore, in my constituency Ledzokuku Constituency, We would be grateful if We will be connected to a 32-inch pipeline which is serving Coca Cola, Standard and other industrial companies like Kasapreko, et cetera. If our constituency is connected to this pipeline, our problem would be solved as far as Water is concerned. So we are appealing. Finally, Mr Speaker, we also want to say that as far as the National Health Insurance Scheme is concerned, we are very grateful to His Excellency the President for the 100-bed hospital which is being built in our constituency. It is going on so fast and it would be completed Within time so that We will be able to enjoy the National Health Insurance Programme. Mr Speaker, thank you so much for the opportunity to thank His Excellency the President for his Address to this august House.
Hon Members, considering the state of business in the House, I direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period in accordance With the Standing Orders. Hon Joe Baidoe-Ansah, you have 10 minutes.
Mr Speaker, I wish to support the motion. Mr Speaker, I feel very disappointed that the promise that the President gave the Western Region has not found space in the State of the Nation Address. Last year's Address spoke about the Savannah Accelerated Development Fund and also the CEDECOM Fund. So when - [Interruption] The Savannah Accelerated - [Uproar] Well, it is the same. Mr Speaker - [Interruption] Both describe vegetation -
Mr Speaker, the President was at the Jubilee Park in Takoradi late last year and he promised
Mr Speaker, concerning revenue from the oil industry and the way we are going to spend it, he said he had directed that a formula should be found. I would want to say that When they are considering that, how the revenue should be spent, they should know that they have made a promise to the Western Region, that 10 percent of the oil revenue Would be used for the Western Region.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr Speaker, I appreciate the concern of my Hon Brother on the floor, but he is completely out of order, in the sense that no agreed formula had been approved by Government. These are all suggestions that are going round. If it is his view that it should be 10 per cent, 20 percent or 40 per cent, Whatever percentage that he thinks is his view, he could articulate it, but he should not be saying that is the promise of Government. That promise is not indicated anywhere.
Hon Member, you will please, justify your 10 percent. I expected an intervention.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, when Mr John Mahama toured the Western Region -- This is The Spectator of 2nd - This is an event that took place -
Hon Member, address the Chair and go on.
Mr Speaker, this is a form that the Vice-President, in his campaign met - [Interruptions.] He was in the Western Region - [Interruption]
Order! Order! Hon Members, let the Hon Member land and then we can comment on that.
Mr Speaker, this is what he said and with your permission, I quote: "The National Democratic Congress running mate for the December poll, John Dramani Mahama, has commenced a campaign tour of the Western Region With a promise to use 10 percent of the oil revenue to develop the region." Mr Speaker -
Hon Member, you have not told us what newspaper, the date and so on. These are the relevant points before you even speak at length.
Mr Speaker, it is September 2, 2008 Spectator Mr Speaker, I am ready to table it.
And what page? Please, these things are not just done. You will read it to us first and then the page because these are very important, with regard to authenticity of document.
Mr Speaker, page 13 of September 2, 2008 issue of The Ghanaian Times, actually. [Uproar] But they are produced by the same company. I am ready to give it out, so the Table Office can have it for the records of this House.
Very well. You may continue.
And based on that promise, they won the majority of the seats in the Western Region. Mr Speaker, we expect of politicians that the promises that we make, we ensure that we fulfill them -
Hon Member, in conclusion.
Mr Speaker, I have just started -- [Interruption.]
Hon Members, there is a clock here and I am guided. What do you say in conclusion?
Mr Speaker, I would also want to state that on the issue of the drugs, the President said that cocaine - he said the records speak for themselves and Ghana is no longer an attractive destination for illicit drug trade and he makes no apology for it He should not make any apologies. Mr Speaker, the evidence is the contrary. what used to happen was a situation where we were arresting drug barons and drug peddlers in this country; those who were involved were arrested
Hon Members, Order! Order! And if the Hon Member will not be allowed to continue, his time will simply be expended. Hon Member, conclude but you will have your peace.
Mr Speaker, to quote the President, he said "We do not also want to wake up daily to find the front pages of our newspapers and the airwaves inundated with news about drug and drug barons."
Mr Speaker, which means that we are not doing as much as we used to do. When you want to talk about drugs or when you want to analyse whether you are working on drugs, you can find out from the actions and the action is that we were arresting people in this country and that was Why everyday we had news of arrests in the newspapers. Mr Speaker, this is a report from the United States (US) - [Interruptions]
Hon Members, let there be order.
Mr Speaker, it is a report that the US Drug Agency filed which has been used by a newspaper in Ghana. Mr Speaker, it says that "Federal Customs officials announced on Friday, that is 29th
Mr Speaker, with such news being reported in the United States, we cannot sit here and claim that the Government has done a lot. What existed previously was that Government went further to bring in the British desk for "Operation West Bridge". Government was working very hard to ensure that we arrested people. Mr Speaker, Government went to the extent of even arresting people not at the airport but people who were doing drugs in their homes. Homes were raided-
And in conclusion, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, so we cannot delude ourselves that we are doing a great job. In fact, since this Government came, they have not added one single equipment to what we already left, for them to claim that they have done the best. What they have done is to relax and be complacent. Mr Speaker, the President spoke about the integrated aluminium industry -
Hon Member, your concluding sentence therefore is?
Mr Speaker, my concluding sentence is that the President spoke about what they are doing, what this Government is doing to get an integrated aluminium programme going. But, Mr Speaker, in this House, before President Kufuor left office -
Hon Member, I am afraid you will have to end. You have exceeded your time -
I am quoting from the Hansard -
Hon Member, I am afraid. Hon Member, We have a tall list here and I am sure everybody wants to have an opportunity to contribute. That being so, we have to conclude at this stage. The next speaker will be Hon Haruna Bayirga, Member of Parliament for Sissala West. And please, no interruptions unless imperative. Hon Members, I think we can do away with the introductions and go to our points and then we do not need to be stopped. Very often, Hon members start with a long introduction. We knew what you are talking about. Hon member, please, make your contribution.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the State of the Nation Address by H.E. the President. If you compare this year's State of the Nation Address to that of last year it is very very clear that there is an improvement in the way the President presented his State of the Nation Address. Indeed, he called on all Ghanaians to come on board to help move the country forward. Mr Speaker, I would want to touch on only three areas, very briefly and one is on education. The free distribution of school uniforms, which is very laudable but it is at a slow pace and the President has indicated that hopefully, by the end of the year, it would have covered the whole country.
Mr Speaker, I have observed that these school uniforms are sewn in the metropolitan areas. I would wish that the sewing of these school uniforms should be done at the district level. At the communities where these schools are situated, we have thousand and one tailors and seamstresses spread across the Whole country. We are doing this so that we can generate employment in the districts, in the rural areas and at the community level so that this category of seamstresses and tailors would also improve on their conditions and financial standing. So I would want to suggest that the sewing of the school uniforms should not be based in the regional capitals, should not be based in the metropolitan areas but then materials should be supplied to the districts to enable them engage the artisans that we have there to sew the uniforms. I have also noted with happiness that the President said the schools under trees, he is tackling them very seriously and we hope that by getting to the end of the year, he would have done 90 per cent or more of that. The other area I want to touch on is housing. It is the responsibility of every government to provide affordable housing to its people. I have found out years on that this is an area that various governments are finding very difficult and I would want to urge the Government to take it very seriously. In Ghana here, we are too much based on cement, cement, cement. I have been always saying it year in, year out that if you go to the Building and Road Research Institute, they have come out with a lot of technologies, a lot of improved traditional housing technologies that we can apply to make housing affordable - meeting the climatic conditions, not the cement that any small sun, it is very hot, using the mud, using the local building materials that We can improve upon. These are areas that we tend to look down upon and we do not pay much attention to. I would like to urge the Government that coming to say they have asked the various District Assemblies to make sure that all the affordable projects that were started by the previous Government are completed, they should also look at improved technology using local materials in housing projects. I have also noted on the housing that the Government would Want to engage the military so that they could help with some of the infrastructural works in the country which in my opinion are very much in the right direction with the happy note that at the moment, if you go to the areas where we have our borders, inter-border crime is on the increase. In my area, you would get people crossing to come and rob people. Also, it would provide security in the areas and it will combat crime and help combat cross-border crime, and I would urge the Government that as quickly as possible, if it is starting, we should start from the communities that have boundaries with other countries round us. The other one, of course, is about Members of Parliament. The President has come out to say that Members of Parliament are going to enjoy some benefits. That is quite apart from the District Assemblies Common Fund, there is going to be an MPs Development Fund. I would want to say that it should not be as it happened last year. We need it now
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Address, 2010. Mr Speaker, a lot has been said already, so I would like to concentrate on areas which would inure to the benefit of Ghanaian industry. But let me preface this by saying that all of us today recognize the importance of democratic governance as a prerequisite for the development of the private business sector in our country. Indeed, the President Went ahead to say that Ghana, under the new atmosphere, has become an example of African democracy of which all Ghanaians should be proud. Mr Speaker, I would like to say that Ghana has not just become an example of African democracy. We know that after the metamorphosis of the PNDC into NDC in 1992, we started the process of democratic governance and this was deepened during the last eight years, that is 2000 to 2008 under President Kufuor and we are continuing that process. So it has been a process and it is not something which has just come in as a result of the ascension of President Mills to power. Mr Speaker, another aspect of democracy which I have to emphasise and which inures to the benefit of the business sector, is the element of competition which we find in the political arena but which we also find in the business sector. Mr Speaker, I would like, under the new atmosphere also to mention what the President said. He says he would always try to make a right decision rather than a quick decision. I would argue that the right decision needs not be a slow decision - needs not be a slow decision. But I would say that the President indicated that in his view, the state of the nation was good but he could not proceed to tell us about the state of the various sectors of the economy. He, however, takes refuge in the statement that the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning addressed sectoral performances in his 2010 Budget and therefore, he was concentrating on a few areas. However, under the flagship projects, I believe that a litany of promises have been made. And if these promises are fulfilled, then the country stands in very good stead. The President said, under Food and Food Security, that good quality
food is both the highest priority and the highest cost item and that he is determined to make it easier for everyone. He even goes further to say that he will marshal all resources at Ghana's disposal to meet this end, and end by saying that when We seek the people's mandate, they will judge our success in this task. So, clearly, the President is telling us that during his tenure of office, he will ensure that Ghanaians are very well fed. For me, this is also a pre-requisite for industrial production, as a well-fed force, properly looked after, will be a healthy Workforce for our people. But even though the President attempted to open his arms to all shades of opinion in the country, he was rather uncharitable when he talked, once again, about a run-down economy. And then as an apposite, he said that everybody knew the difficulties of the world financial system. Under oil and gas for industrial take off, the President announces that there will be an Oil and Gas Revenue Management Bill which is to be submitted to Parliament. I think this is very good. But I believe that What is required is a national consensus on the incidence of expenditure to be financed from oil resources. I think this is critical. And it is my contention that a multi-party approach, which should include all political parties and civil society groups, could assist us to reach this national consensus on the "use of oil revenues. To this, Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that a National Development Plan will be commissioned to enable Ghanaians to know where we should be in the next five years, ten years or even fifty years from now depending on the curve on which we expect to see our oil revenues. Many more promises are made for the industrial sector. The President said he would position the country in such a way as to develop an integrated aluminum industry, which I believe will be based on bauxite deposit at Nyinahin and also at Kyebi. He also talked about petrochemicals industry on the basis of natural gas and salt as well as fertiliser and caustic soda. So", these are major promises of government. Having said that, let me say that the business community requires stability of both political and economic conditions. And gradually, I think we are getting out of the period of instability, which he had in the immediate post-election phase. The business community also requires a regulatory and legal framework, which will enable businesses to expand and grow. We are worried about the influx of foreigners in retail trade. Today, we even see non-Ghanaians owning and driving taxis. Not only are Ghanaians losing jobs but the security implications are all too clear for all of us. And this is an area which I believe that Government will seek to address. In the Government's Budget for 2010, it was announced that the Tariffs Advisory Board had been set up. This, I believe, is good, But it remains an advisory
Hon Member, you have two minutes remaining.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me also say that the cost of doing business is very important to our people, especially both the availability and the access to utilities such as water and electricity. A lot of promises have been made here seeking to address this particular issue. But there is also, underlying all this cost of doing business, the increases in taxes and levies which the business community, especially those who are just on the mark-on the edge of the profit line are complaining about. So I would hope that the promises made by the President -- he would not, once again, refer to the remarks of Dr Akoto Osei and tell us that "man proposes but God disposes" as he said on that day. We hope that this time, he will mean What he says. He also indicated to us that considering all things, in his view, "so far, so much better". I thank you sincerely, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Thank you very much, Hon Member, particularly for keeping to the time. Hon Member for Nalerigu (Dr Tia Sugri) -- [Pause] The Hon Member is not here? Hon Member for Jomoro? In fact, we are moving to the last contributor, I believe. Hon Member for Gomoa West (Mr Francis Arthur)?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for permitting me to contribute to the debate to thank the President on his wonderful Sessional Address to this House. Mr Speaker, the President touched on a wide number of issues but I would want to dwell on a few things, especially on the economy. Mr. Speaker, the President indicated that as a result of challenges posed by the unsustainable budget deficits, arrears and unpaid bills and crippling judgment debts that the NDC Government inherited, he had to quickly put in place a special economic team to manage the state of affairs.
On food and food security, the President indicated that he has put in place a progressive agricultural policy which would help achieve lower food prices and more food security. Mr Speaker, this is also very refreshing. The President said it is sad to look at what has been happening over the years with response to the importation of food items into the country. Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that a short While ago, the country was importing close to 80 per cent of the rice that was being consumed in this country. Mr Speaker, this is an unpleasant situation. The President indicated that We have fertile land and the climate is also very good for the production of tomatoes, onions, plantain, rice, et cetera. It is, therefore, unjustifiable to continue importing rice and other foodstuffs into the country. Mr Speaker, the President has put in place the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to take care of the production of rice, maize, beans, et cetera in this country and the President; was bold enough to say that rice production has now increased to over 30 percent. This is also very refreshing. Mr Speaker, with reference to food security, the Government said it has put in place the Buffer Stock Management Agency which is going to take care of the excess food produce that usually comes after the bumper harvest. And Mr Speaker, that is where we usually have our farmers losing much of their produce and getting little revenue for it. Mr Speaker, the President indicated that by virtue of that he is setting in place about 12 warehouses which used to belong to the erstwhile Ghana Food Distribution Corporation (GFDC) for the operation of the Buffer Stock Management Agency. It is interesting to note that by 1986, the total protein intake in Ghana was far below the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) standard requirement and for that matter, serious interventions were put in place to take care of the food protein requirement. Mr Speaker, over the last six years, the situation has completely deteriorated. Mr Speaker, poultry farmers have been buying poultry feed at very expensive prices. The consequence of this is that, at the end of the production period, poultry parts and poultry birds are difficult to purchase on the local market. Businesswomen and businessmen took advantage of this situation and started importing chicken parts into the country.
The Government intends to increase the production of poultry, improve the poultry industry, especially in this country to make sure that we meet the protein requirement. Mr Speaker, the President indicated that he
intends to make judicious use of the oil and gas revenue. He said that he was going to see to it that our road networks and the electricity and water supply in this country are well taken care of. This is very refreshing in view of the fact that in my constituency, over the past eight years, that is, from 2001 to 2008, not one metre of road was tarred in the constituency and you would be surprise to know that it was during the campaign period that most roads in the country had been done. Mr Speaker, we are praying that when the oil revenue comes, the Government would make sure that road networks in the country are properly taken care of Mr Speaker, to talk on education, the President has decided to continue and expand the School Feeding Programme and this is a very laudable idea as it was initiated by the previous Administration. Mr Speaker, the Government has also said it wants to embark on free education for disabled children, science resource centres and the provision of infrastructural facilities in senior high schools. The removal of "schools under trees" and the elimination of school shift system has also been mentioned. Mr Speaker, these are all laudable ideas. I would only want to talk quickly about the science resource centres. Mr Speaker, the idea of the science resource centres was introduced during the previous NDC regime, but it was abandoned during the NPP regime; that is from 2001 to 2008 for unknown reasons. The result. is that in most science schools, science tutors had to battle themselves with broken pipette and burette, which in most cases, give inaccurate results. It is, therefore, very refreshing that the Government intends to re-introduce the science resource centres. Mr Speaker, the truth is that the implementation of the four-year senior high school programme is also unplanned. This is because, as I speak now, most heads of institution, parents and the government authorities are battling with how to cater for the incoming students in September as well as retaining the third- year students who would be in the fourth year. Mr Speaker, provisions were not made for adequate infrastructure, human resource, that is, teachers, textbooks, syllabi and other things. It is very refreshing to know that the Government intends to stop this programme in a very short time. Mr Speaker, permit me to quote an ancient Greek adage, which says and with your permission I quote: Ο φόβος του Θεού είναι η αρχή της σοφίας
"The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." Mr Speaker, there is no doubt the President is a man of God and it requires a man of God to bring out this vision as he has brought them to this House. I, therefore, want the whole House to help me thank the President in delivering this special Address.
Hon Members, Leadership have agreed at this stage that we could adjourn till tomorrow.
The House was adjourned at 2.28 p.m. till tomorrow Wednesday, 10th March, 2010 at 10.00 a.m.