VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 28th February, 2017.
No Statements have been admitted. At the Commencement of Public Business. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- the debate on the Address made by His Excellency the President to the House on the state of the nation continues.
[Continuation of debate from 28/02/ 2017]
Yes, Hon Member, you have the floor.
I am very grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make some comments on the State of the Nation Ad dress delivered to this august House by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Mr Speaker, I was particularly excited about some of the revelations that were made open in the Address, especially when it comes to the economy, health and education. Mr Speaker, talking about health, I believe strongly that Ghana as a country has done significantly well in managing very controversial issues such as maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and infant mortality. The current rate is still challenging. There is a lot we can do about them, but looking at the past 20 years, I believe maternal mortality from over 1,000 per 10,000 live births to below 1,000 to 600 is very remarkable. Mr Speaker, the President in his Address spoke about the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). I have heard some of my Hon Colleagues say that the whole Address actually spent just a paragraph and a line on the health sector. I do not believe that is wholly true and I will explain. Mr Speaker, the NHIS has faced some challenges over the years, especially with the ability to pay healthcare providers and the reasons are quite notorious. The first one is failure of the Government to pay the allocations meant for the NHIS on time. We have also had issues with the processing forms; we have had certain corruptible practices by some health providers. We have had instances where a man was cited as having had a caesarean section. Obviously, all is not well when it comes to the processing of forms. Mr Speaker, the details on how to restore the NHIS were not captured in the Address, but thankfully, in the 2016 Manifesto of the NPP, we itemised some of the details on how we were going to restore the NHIS to a good shape. The first one being prompt allocation of payments that are meant for the NHIS. The second one has to do with the introduction of the appropriate technology, so that the human factor is reduced when it comes to the processing. This is because, it is through this processing that we have all these issues of corruptible practices that lead to providers stating claims that they actually did not provide when it comes to service. Mr Speaker, the third one has to do with management at the National Health Insurance Authority itself. We have had revelations that show that, a lot can be done to improve the management of the funds that they receive. Mr Speaker, I believe strongly that the challenges we have had when it comes to paying healthcare providers, is a strong indication of how important the ability to pay is when it comes to healthcare delivery. We need to have an economy that is in good shape. In fact, our economy ought to be healthy before we can guarantee a healthy healthcare system. The mere fact that we have had nurses who have finished their training but find themselves protesting or demonstrating at the Ministries of Health and Finance is an indication of the fact that having a skilled workforce is not enough guarantee that we can provide an efficient healthcare system. We need to have the ability to pay. I would want to make an interesting revelation, which is, an economy which is buoyant and vibrant and not heavily laden with challenges, is in a better shape to guarantee an efficient health delivery system. And I was particularly excited, because of this knowledge I have, when I realised that the President stated ten key elements or ingredients of a programme that is intended to ensure the industrial transformation of the economy of this country. Anytime a country is transformed and more opportunities are created for the citizens, they have the purchasing power to pay for health insurance, buy premiums or pay from their pockets. You cannot speak of access to healthcare when the majority of the people in the country find it very difficult to pay for healthcare, either through premiums or directly from their pockets. Mr Speaker, the restoration of the trainee nurses' allowances is also a very significant contribution to better health outcomes in this country and I will explain why I believe strongly that the restoration of the allowances is not only an effort intended to fulfil a campaign promise. In fact, it is a very bold effort that would help bridge the poverty gap and protect the vulnerable. When nurses are able to finish their courses because of the support from allowances, at least, they would be able to stay in school, finish and engage in a
profitable job as nursing, so that they do not fall out on the wayside. Mr Speaker, one other interesting revelation that I would make is the correlation between education and better healthcare outcomes. I remember some few years ago, one Presidential candidate mentioned that, one of the ways of addressing maternal mortality is ‘Free Senior High School' (Free SHS) and a lot of people looked at it with contempt. They thought there was no correlation, but I would explain. Empirical evidence in our hospitals has shown that, when you have ten women die from pregnancy-related issues, about 89 per cent of them did not receive senior high school education. Mr Speaker, the lower one's education level, the greater one's risk of dying through pregnancy-related issues and the reasons are simple. There are three main delays that cause a lot of women to die through pregnancy; the first one has to do with delay in reporting to the hospital. And why do our women with lower education, delay? They delay because they do not even have the mental capacity to appreciate the conditions in which they find themselves. When you even explain to them that they should come to the hospital for antenatal visits, they tell you that, “my husband did not give me money for transport”. When women attain SHS or higher education and they are empowered, they do not wait for their husbands before reporting to the hospital when there is an emergency. They are able to do so themselves. So, ‘Free SHS' is a very vital ingredient in ensuring that women are empowered and delivered from the debilitating effects of maternal mortality. That is absolutely crucial. I would also like to make another interesting revelation. Mr Speaker, health should not only be seen from the angle of absence of disease. That is the trap in which a lot of us find ourselves. People go like, this country is a healthy nation because a lot of people do not have signs and symptoms. But in the 21st century, health is not defined as the absence of disease, but rather, the presence of factors that ensure that the quality of living of the people is enhanced, the environment is protected and opportunities are created. In this country, a lot of people go through stress. This is because, most are unemployed, some also are not able to meet demands with their salaries and wages. So, a lot of people in this country have high blood pressure. The 2014 Demographic Health Survey shows that 30 per cent of adults in this country have blood pressure. And what is more dangerous is that, out of the 30 per cent, only 30 per cent are aware of their status as hypertensives and out of the 30 per cent who are aware, only 30 per cent are on treatment and out of the 30 per cent on treatment, only 30 per cent have their blood pressure controlled. Mr Speaker, all that I want to say is that, when the economy of a country is in a good shape and the majority of its people can find jobs and their salaries are real salaries that can meet their expenditures, the average blood pressure of the country is also commendable and we have less cases of sudden deaths from strokes and other heart conditions. Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying that, going forward, health should not be viewed through the narrow angle of absence of disease; in the economy, there is a correlation, in education, there is a correlation to health and even in fixing roads, you avoid road traffic accidents and you can save a lot of lives. I am very grateful for the opportunity and I would like to end by saying that we all look forward to a country where we can harness our resources to provide better healthcare, provide better education, and secure a good future for all our children and our children's children. Mr Speaker, with these appropriate words, I find it very proper to end my submission. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you very much. Your timing is excellent.
Mr Speaker, I support the Motion to thank the President for coming to this House to deliver the State of the Nation Address. One of the issues I want to talk about can be found on page 11 of the Address on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Indeed, I also have the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Manifesto which described the NHIS in these words. And with your permission, I beg to quote: “The NHIS has collapsed over the past 8 years under the watch of the NDC government.” When the President came, he said, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Mr Speaker, we have to be healthy if we are to make a success of the plans and aspirations we have. The National Health Insurance Scheme remains the best option we have devised to ensure that as many
Hon Member, do you stand on a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my Hon Seniour Colleague on the other side of the House just made a serious remark and for the purposes of the Hansard, to try to associate being in a hurry with organising a coup, is a serious statement for him to make. Respectful, we would be gratefull if he would withdraw it.
Hon Member, could you make yourself very clear?
He is associating H. E. the President's statement of being in a hurry with staging a coup, which I feel is very serious.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. What am I supposed to withdraw? In any case, my statement --
Hon Chireh, in the search for constitutionalism and democracy in this country, no one enjoys references to coups in our forward march. Could you kindly withdraw any reference to coups and then proceed?
Mr Speaker, I have withdrawn that, but I wanted to illustrate a point. The point is that, if we look at section 14 of the Presidential Transition Act --
Hon Member, please, take your seat. I know the dynamics of this House. When something is to be withdrawn, let it be audible and we proceed. I would not have that from either side of the House. Make it very clear and honourable, then proceed.
I have withdrawn the statement referring to coups --
Then kindly proceed.
Mr Speaker, if you look at section 14 of the Presidential Transition Act 845, you would see in it that the President under the guise of some people's offices coming to an end by operation of law -- and they quote section 14. Unfortunately, it does not support that argument. Even yesterday, there were Hon Members on the other side of the House who argued that the Chief Executives of corporate bodies that had been removed was done under section 14 of Schedule 6.
“Persons appointed by the President or a Minister of State as members of Statutory Boards and Corporations.”
Hon Member, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, this is very simple. In providing for the various Constitutive Acts of these organisations, we take time when we have to look at the Boards and we would always insist that the Chief Executive is a member of the Board by virtue of his position. He is not a mere member or a political appointee. This has killed people who have risen through the ranks and possibly became heads of these institutions. We should not create that impression that, all those people did not qualify at that stage, and that, they should be hounded out. By the letters that were sent to them, some of them were given less than 24 hours to hand over. This is important. If a letter emanates from the Presidency to say that someone who was manning a big institution like COCOBOD, Ghana
Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and others should hand over by 5.30 p.m. the following day, it is not right. That is where the whole idea is so un-Ghanaian. The people should have been allowed to properly hand over. If they were even suspected to have committed offences, the method to solve them was not just a dismissal. They should have made sure that the proper things were done. Mr Speaker, they talked about promoting businesses, meanwhile, people are continuously being hounded. The businessess that are created are targeted by leakage of information that would destroy their future. If they would want, as they are claiming, to create more big companies, then they would need to -- Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Abena Osei- Asare?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the debate. In contributing to the debate on the State of the Nation Address, I would turn my attention to the nationalistic statement made by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo from paragraphs two to four of page 15.
“Mr Speaker, there is one subject on my mind that I wish to put before the House for consideration. I believe, in this 60th year of our nation, that the time is ripe for us to establish consensus on some national issues. It is important for us to have a conversation on how we name things that are of national importance to us all. I speak of the seat of the Presidency and Founder's Day. In my view, it is not right that, 60 years after independence, these matters are still at large. It does not inure to the dignity of the Ghanaian Republic that, such matters have become subject to political football. I believe we have to settle these matters once and for all, and in due course, I propose we have a national conversation and dialogue to this effect which, hopefully, will end in legislation that will reflect the national consensus.” Mr Speaker, for many years, the seat of the Presidency had been at the Osu Castle, which did not befit the status of a country like Ghana. Like Aso Rock in Nigeria, the Executive Mansion in Liberia, the White House in the United States of America and the Number 10 Downing Street in the United Kingdom, Ghana deserved a residency befitting of its sikaman name. Mr Speaker, it took the intervention of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and ex- President John Agyekum Kufuor to conceive the idea to build this current seat of the Presidency in the golden jubilee year of our independence [Hear! Hear!] Needless to say, our Friends on the opposite side resisted the idea and the former President, the late John Evans Atta Mills was reported to have stated that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would use this beautiful edifice as a poultry farm -- nkokobuo. When they assumed office, the late President Mills stayed at the Osu Castle throughout his reign renaming the “Golden Jubilee House”, the “Flagstaff House”. Mr Speaker, the name “Flagstaff” is a colonial name which was carried over by ex-President Kwame Nkrumah's Govern- ment. This has a colonial connotation and this is the very thing that our independence sought to move away from.
Hon Members, Order! We agreed on a smooth flow of the contributions.
Mr Speaker, so, the NPP Government built the seat of government and named it the “Golden Jubilee” which was reflective of the fact that in the golden jubilee year, we renewed our identity as a nation whereas the NDC that did not build the house renamed it “Flagstaff House”, thus taking us back. But President Akufo-Addo, not being petty --
On a point of order.
Hon Member, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, my question is: how can someone build a house for another to name it? The NPP Government built the seat of Government and named it the “Golden Jubilee House”, which was reflective of the fact that in the jubilee year, we renewed our identity as a nation, whereas the NDC that did not build a house, renamed it “Flagstaff House”, thus taking us back. Mr Speaker, I would want to talk about the debate on the Founder 's Day celebration. The opportunity was presented to the NDC to have a national holiday which would celebrate our founding fathers. They chose to have a Founder's Day, with the apostrophe before the letter “s”, which signifies a singular person. But the patriotic and consensus thing they should have done was to have a Founders' Day, with all those who contributed to the independence of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, several denominations of our legal tender, such as the GH¢20.00 I have here, have six heads. It is not for nothing that we portray these on our legal tender. Mr Speaker, the names here are: J. B. Danquah, Ako-Adjei, Akufo-Addo, Ofori Atta, Kwame Nkrumah and Obetsebi Lamptey. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, all these six names mentioned were key architects in the struggle for our independence. [Hear! Hear!] As a matter of fact, it was the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) Party in 1947 that invited Dr Kwame Nkrumah to become its General Secretary. [Hear! Hear!] The rest, Mr Speaker, is history. So, Mr Speaker, for anybody to suggest that Ghana has a ‘founder' and not ‘founders' would be a complete distortion of the facts of our history. [Hear! Hear!] We should celebrate ‘Founders' Day' with apostrophe after the ‘s', and not a ‘Founder's Day' with an apostrophe after the ‘r'. This will signify the group effort in the struggle towards independence. Mr Speaker, once again, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, by calling for national dialogue on this matter has shown that, he is fatherly, patriotic and has the nation at heart.
the naming of the Presidency and the Founders' Day Celebration would be subjected to national debates and possible legislation to settle these matters once and for all. Also, it is for all of us to show that we have matured and come to terms with our history as a nation.
Yes, Hon Ayine?
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to support the Motion to thank H. E. the President for his State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker, I wish to focus my contribution on the issue of corruption and the President's proposal to tackle it in a transparent manner by setting up the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Mr Speaker, I am sure we would all agree that corruption is a national problem, and it is a challenge we must overcome in our quest for economic and social development. Mr Speaker, several studies have shown that in low income and even middle income economies, corruption distorts prices in the market place, it undermines competition and it diverts resources from productive to unproductive sectors of the economy. Mr Speaker, we also know that in the political context, corruption distorts political and bureaucratic decision- making processes and it undermines the rule of law. Mr Speaker, on page 13 of the State of the Nation Address, particularly the last paragraph, Mr Speaker, the President asserts that and with your permission, I beg to qoute: “The rule of law should remain our guiding and unbending principle. Those of us in public service should acknowledge that corruption is one of the biggest concerns to the people of Ghana. It is the one subject on which a surprising number of people are willing to tolerate a waiver of due process”. Mr Speaker, I would want to emphasise the words “…a waiver of due process.” Mr Speaker, I was astounded when I read this Statement. This is because, there was no empirical basis for the assertion that a surprising number of our citizens are willing for us to waive constitutional protection and guarantees in order that we can fight corruption. Mr Speaker, were we going to set aside article 18 of the Constitution and engage in arrest without warrant or detention without trial, the invisible forces way? Is that what is implied by the waiver of due process by the President? There is no empirical evidence whatsoever supporting that assertion by the President.
Mr Speaker, in the justification --
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thought when the President made the statement the Hon Member quoted, that we acknowledge that corruption is a big issue and that surprisingly, it is one subject that a number of people are willing to tolerate a waiver of the due process, I think that the President talked about perceptions in the system. He wants us to go down on the lane of the letter of the meaning -- Mr Speaker, if that is the line that he wants to beat, where in the President's statement has it said that, he is willing to set aside due process as he is alluding now? [Interruption.] That was what he said, that the President said that, he is willing to set aside due process and he is not prepared to go down with him on that line. Where in the statement has the President said so? If you make attributions, you should be right.
Mr Speaker, I never said and I am sure I am on record, that, the President is willing to put aside constitutional guarantees in order to fight corruption. It was a rhetorical question that I asked. We are a deliberative Chamber, therefore, in our deliberations, we must be reflective in our thinking. I just raised that question for us to think around the possibility, no matter how remote, of putting aside constitutional protections in order to fight corruption. Mr Speaker, with what I have said, I am very hopeful, and I know and respect the President as a seasoned lawyer, that his proposal for the establishment of the Office of a Special Prosecutor is borne out of principle, and not sentiments.
Mr Speaker, one of the justifications for setting up the office of a Special Prosecutor given by the President is that it has worked in other jurisdictions. The President expressed the hope that it would work in Ghana. I would want to sound a note of caution that, the constitutional and political contexts are very important. The reason it has worked in other common law jurisdictions, such as the United States of America (USA), Canada and so on, is because, they have a constitutional and political system that respects the independence of institutions. I hope that, when the Office of the Special Prosecutor is set up, it would enjoy statutory independence in a manner that would allow it to function well as the President wants it to. Mr Speaker, the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor in common law jurisdictions has always been based upon one important consideration: That is, conflict of interest between the Attorney-General who is the constitu- tional repository of power to prosecute the person who has broken the criminal laws of the country. So, conflict of interest is a cardinal consideration. Mr Speaker, in our situation where, I am very certain, and we, the Minority side can predict with almost mathematical certainty that, the Office of the Prosecutor would aim at prosecuting former Ministers and appointees of the former Government -- [Interruption] -- Where in lies the conflict of interest? [Interruption.]
Order! Yes, Hon Andah?
On a point of order. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on the other side of the House is misleading the House. He made assertions that the intent to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor is to witch-hunt political opponents. I believe that is most uncalled for and irresponsible in this House.
Mr Speaker, I said I am predicting. The future is not here. Let us watch out and see whether serving Ministers and appointees of the President would be hauled before the courts of law by the Special Prosecutor. Let us mark it on the wall.
Hon Member, why do you not withdraw in a normal honourable manner? Why do you want to be speculative and futuristic? Others are not seeing the crystal ball through which you are seeing some futuristic matters. So, please, be factual and conclude.
Mr Speaker, I take the cue from the intimation by Mr Speaker, but I am speaking —
Mr Speaker, I withdraw my prediction —
Hon Members, both sides of the House should make it honourable for Hon Members to withdraw when necessary. Certain hecklings make withdrawal difficult. so let us all take notice of that. When an Hon Member is withdrawing honourably, there should be no catcalls that would make it rather difficult. Please, continue.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the protection that you are granting me — [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I wish to withdraw my prediction, that the Office of the Special Prosecutor would target only former appointees of the former government. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the direction that you provided is crystal clear. The former Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice then gets up to say, “I wish to withdraw” — Is he withdrawing or just expressing an intent to withdraw? Is he withdrawing or wishes to withdraw?
Mr Speaker, to make it patently clear, I withdraw the statement that the Office of the Special Prosecutor would target former appointees of the former government. [Hear! Hear!]
Hon Member, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, in my review of legislation and other practices and regulations in other jurisdictions on this matter, there are a number of issues that I would want to bring to the attention of Parliament. Mr Speaker, I know that H.E the President made it clear that he was going to bring a Bill for the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. I would want us to think clearly about —
In conclusion --
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want us to think clearly about the scope of crimes that would fall within the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor. The President mentioned corruption. But the question is, whether other economic crimes would fall within the scope of the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor —
Thank you, very much. Hon Members, we are getting to the end of the debate. We would have Hon Maj. Derek Oduro (retd), Hon Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka-Mubarak, the Hon Minority Leader and then the Hon Majority Leader. Maj. Derek Oduro (retd) (NPP — Nkoranza North): Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion to thank the President for the State of the Nation Address he delivered to Parliament on 21st February, 2017. Mr Speaker, I would want to start off by quoting from the Address, on page 12, paragraph 2, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Mr Speaker, our people can only prosper and flourish in an atmosphere of peace and security.” Mr Speaker, that is what the President said. It, therefore, means that peace and security is the first agenda to be handled before any other thing. Otherwise, nobody can flourish, improve or develop. Therefore, the priority given to peace and security is something that is dear to my heart when I heard the President mention it. Mr Speaker, the Ghana Police Service is at the frontline of delivering protection and security for the citizens, and the President mentioned that. Therefore, the Ghana Police Service needs to be adequately resourced to provide security for this nation. Mr Speaker, what do we see? The Police have woeful inadequacy in the logistical supply, therefore, their ability to perform professionally and efficiently is lacking. [MAJ. ODURO (RETD)] [MAJ. ODURO (RETD)] Mr Speaker, the President talked about recruitment into the Ghana Police Service. I believe he had in mind the present recruitment scam and other problems associated with recruitment into the Ghana Police Service and that is why he mentioned recruitment and training into the Service must be something that he would handle. Of late, we hear of police recruitment scams, fraudulent recruitments into the Service which have resulted in the dismissal of some recruits from the training centres. Mr Speaker, some of the recruits believe that they can outwit the system by providing false documents, but they do not know that, behind the scenes, the security agencies go and verify whatever documents that are brought. That led to the dismissal of the police recruits from the various training centres. I support that idea, and if the President says that recruitment and training would be given the needed attention, then that is what he needs. Mr Speaker, therefore, the welfare of those who have passed out and those who are already in the system must not be relegated to the background. Mr Speaker, the Police are suffering from accommodation problems. They have no adequate places to stay. How can the Police who are to give us protection and security, go about their normal duties and have no place to rest their heads when they come back home? This has been the problem for the nation. Therefore, if the President thinks and sees that, that is a problem and he is going to address it, I believe we must thank him for that. Mr Speaker, accommodation and the mounted bills; indebtedness to the Ghana Police Service, in all the other areas like food bills, electricity bills and other commitments, are still in arrears for the Police to address. This problem does not go to the Service alone. The Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Prisons Service and the like, all face similar problems. Therefore, if the President says he is going to address that problem, I think we should all be happy about it. The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is responsible for safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation. The President has promised to improve the combat readiness of GAF. This means that he is going to address the logistical bottlenecks of this force. He also talked about the welfare of GAF; accommodation is not left out but the most disturbing and intriguing problem that GAF faces is the challenge on allowances paid to the peacekeepers at the Mission areas, and I would want to quote --
Hon First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair. Hon Member, you may continue.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Member, wind up. Maj. Oduro (retd): The Governor then did not heed to them and that was what resulted in the firing and killing of Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey. Therefore, that initiated the independence of this country. Very soon, the 60 th Anniversary of Ghana's independence would be celebrated and that was initiated by these gallant soldiers.
Hon Member, wind up. Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, it is therefore worthy for them to be remembered. Mr Speaker, I conclude that the President is in a hurry to make sure that the security of this nation is not relegated to the background and always given priority attention. [Hear! Hear!] That is the reason I am happy that, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appointed his security bosses, the National Security Minister, the Defence Minister and the Interior Minister among the first appointments to be made. That means that security is at the heart of the President. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this contribution.
Mr Speaker, I rise to also speak to the Motion that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, 2017, which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017. Mr Speaker, I would want to first make reference to a statement made by the President on page 11 and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Mr Speaker, we have to be healthy if we are to make a success of the plans and aspirations we have. The National Health Insurance Scheme remains the best option we have devised to ensure that as many people as possible have access to health care in our clinics and hospitals. The scheme is not in a good state, and there are too many providers that are owed money. They are threatening to opt out and stop offering their services to the most vulnerable in our society. We shall restore the National Health Insurance Scheme to good health”. Mr Speaker, I would want to start from here. The interesting thing is that the President, in giving his 2017 State of the Nation Address, failed to acknowledge that he is inheriting a health delivery system that is far better than the one that his team left in 2008. Mr Speaker, the use of words like ‘revamp' and ‘restore' are all diversionary because, on the campaign platform, he was heard severally saying that, it is collapsed. He is now transmogrifying his words gradually by saying ‘revamp' and ‘restore'. Mr Speaker, if you take the definition of revamp, it means to reconstruct and rebuild, which also means something has collapsed, and you are reconstructing or rebuilding it. If you take the definition of ‘restore', among other things, it talks about renovation and rehabilitation; meaning that the health delivery system and National Health Insurance, in particular is in a “comatose” as my Hon Friend used the word yesterday. Mr Speaker, let me give some statistics to guide all of us to know where we are coming from, where we are and where we hope to be. If you take the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2014, clearly, it shows that child mortality in our country has improved tremendously from the year 2008. Whereas in the year 2008, it was 31, today, it is 19. Mr Speaker, children under age 5 in the year 2008, were dying at 80 per 1,000 children. Today, it is 60 per 1,000 children. If you take antenatal care, that is women who are pregnant and have access to supervised midwifery care, it used to be 96 deaths per 1,000 births .in the year 2008, today, it is 97. With skilled attendance; that is when a pregnant woman has skilled persons to assist her in delivery, in the year 2008, we could do only 59 per cent, today, we are doing 75 per cent. Mr Speaker, if you look at institutional maternal mortality; in the year 2008, 350 women were dying for every 100,000, today, we are at 143. These are tremendous improvements. I know that it is not good for any woman who is trying to give life to die, but as Dr Kwame Nkrumah said, ‘success is not determined by where you are, it is determined by how far you have come'. If in the year 2008, when His Excellency President Kufuor and his team were leaving Government, 350 were dying and today, we have 143, definitely, that is a huge improvement and we must acknowledge that before we try to add on. Mr Speaker, if you take cases of poliomyelitis, today, we are poliomyelitis- free. Yesterday, one of my Hon Colleagues talked about immunisation and its challenges. We cannot have a zero poliomyelitis -- in the country when the immunisation regime is weak and there are so many experts in this Chamber and they would tell you that it is because of the efficient immunisation system that we have, that is why we are poliomyelitis-free. Mr Speaker, if you take the years 2006 to 2008 Budgets, one of the major challenges of the then Government was how to deal with guinea worm. Since the year 2010 till date, we have zero guinea worm cases. This is because, it has been properly dealt with. If we take the incidence of tuberculosis, today, we have done so well that we are able to cure almost 86 per cent of all tuberculosis cases in our country. Mr Speaker, a look at the incidence of measles, since the year 2008; today, we have zeroed it. If we look at stillbirth, the rate has drastically reduced since the year 2008. When we talk of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and I quote the Ghana Health Service (GHS), it is on their website; as at today, 83 per cent of our citizens access health only through the NHIS. One cannot say the NHIS has collapsed when 83 per cent of the citizens continue to access health through the NHIS. Only 83 per cent --[Interruption]- - only 17 per cent of our population are accessing health through other means other than through the NHIS
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, with all due respect, I rise under Standing Order 93(4) and to intervene to say that the Hon Muntaka is misleading this House. All the attributions he has made, drawing a causal effect between NHIS and longevity, maternal mortality, still births and child survival rates, are not entirely correct. Mr Speaker, there are several confounding factors and indeed, all these rates came down and they preceded even the introduction of the Health Insurance. The Health Insurance was an intervention which was designed essentially for clinical care. All the public systems were in place before NHIS was introduced and I submit that a lot of the attributions that he makes are misguided and they cannot be borne by the facts.
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, after a point of order, I should not be craving for your attention, but I am concerned that there seems to be some deliberate efforts to interrupt and interject in order that a person's thinking may be undermined. Our Hon Colleagues on the opposite side of the House have every opportunity to contribute to the State of the Nation Address, but I take an objection where an Hon Member rises, raises a point of order without even stating the Standing Order and disrupts the person on the floor. Mr Speaker, I am not referring to you, but when the Speaker assumed the seat before you did, he was not judicious in allocating loss of time as a result of interruption which he promised at the onset of the debate that, if any person was disrupted, he would be generous in giving the person additional time. We have agreed that we should let the debate flow and if my Hon Colleague wants to debate with his statistics, he should quote his sources. The Hon Minority Chief Whip is relying on an official source. Mr Speaker, I am concerned that we should let the debate flow. Other than that, we could all specialise in the interruption. We are capable of responding to it. I believe that we should allow the debate to flow without these interjections.
Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the Hon Minority Leader is saying that he ordinarily would not want to do what he has just done. He has been doing so in a very unfettered manner. Mr Speaker, the issue that I have with the point he just made was questioning the Speaker's allotment of time to Hon Members on their feet. I thought that when the Speaker was in his seat, if he had any misgivings, he ought to have expressed it. The Speaker has left the Chamber and he now comes up, more or less, questioning the conduct of the Speaker and that indeed, is unacceptable. The Hon Minority Leader knows that, I do not intend to cause any delay to the smooth flow of delivery of the Hon Minority Chief Whip, even though I disagree with what he is saying, the fact that -- we can have 32 million people accessing a facility of a population of 27 million. It does not mean that they have oversubscribed. Mr Speaker, it is attendance register -- the number of times a person access and so we could have 50 million people accessing -- I disagree with him but I would not want to debate him. Let him have his smooth flow.
Hon Members, the Hon Minority Chief Whip would continue, but I wish to observe that in the case of the Hon Member for Sefwi-Wiawso, he quoted the Standing Order he was relying on, which is a permissible Standing Order to interject.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, continue.
Mr Speaker, I would need your guidance by ruling on what our Hon Colleague has done. I need your guidance as the Speaker and Chair of the House. He came on a point of order and I would need your guidance. What is your position and ruling on the matter?
Am I to be directed on how to lead this House? Hon Minority Chief Whip, please continue.
Hon Member, for the record, Bekwai Hospital has not seen any transformation.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, you have three minutes more. The three minutes I allowed you is what is left. Your twenty minutes is exhausted.
No! You have exhausted your twenty minutes but I will allow you three extra minutes for your conclusion.
Hon Member, hold on. Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my good Friend who is the Member of Parliament for Asawase made reference to President Nana Addo. There is no President Nana Addo. There is President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo. So, who is he referring to? Mr Speaker, this is a House of records, and he should not misquote his President's name.
Hon Members, Order! It is the turn of the Leaders now, and the Hon Minority Leader would start.
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Motion, that this Honourable House thanks H. E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017, and ably moved by the Hon Minister for Planning, Prof. George Yaw Gyan- Baffour and seconded by the Hon Member for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam who is Hon Ato Forson. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I refer you to the opening page of the President's message on the State of the Nation. Mr Speaker, the opening page reads: “MESSAGE ON THE STATE OF
THE NATION BY THE PRESIDENT
OF THE REPUBLIC, NANA ADDO
DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, ON
THE OCCASION OF THE STATE
OPENING OF PARLIAMENT ON
Hon Minority Leader, are you moving away from adumdum adumdum begyae? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, you understand the language better than I do. I am just looking for a future substitute for dumsor that will come. Mr Speaker, only a few months ago, the Ghanaian people, when there was dumsor, not presor -- Presor is futuristic -- We were told that that was incompetence. Today, it is financial and technical difficulties -- [Laughter.] It can only be in the thinking of the NPP. Mr Speaker, let it be said that no Government in the history of Ghana has invested in energy infrastructure more than the NDC Government -- [Hear! Hear!]. The FPSO which was named after President Kufuor, thanks to Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and their Administration -- [Interruption.] Whatever it is, Mr Speaker, even when there were challenges with the West African Gas Pipeline Project, they wake up, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo's way, they lampoon and discredit them. They say “debt.” If we invest close to US$1 billion in building a gas plant, that cannot be wasteful investment. If we invest over US$1 billion to improve water infras- tructure, just to name a few, Mr Speaker, it cannot be wasteful investment. We have Essakyer Water Supply Project for €20million; Teshie Water Project, US$150 million; Kpone Water Supply Expansion US$273 million. This is the water sector alone -- [Interruption.] I am still naming them. Mr Speaker, Akim Oda-Akwatia- Winneba Water Supply Project, US$164 million; Konongo-Kumawu-Kwahu Ridge Water Supply Project, US$236 million. So, within the water sector alone, we have US$1 billion invested. That is part of the US$28 billion they refer to as debt.
Mr Speaker, what was worrying was to do the market-women economics that I borrow at US$8 billion or US$7.3 billion in 2008 at an exchange rate of GH¢1.00 to a dollar -- [Interruption.] Do we pay the day we borrow money? Is it the day we honour our obligation? Then after 10 years, in calculating the same debt, they now convert it at the prevailing exchange rate -- [Interruption.] But that is what they did.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, that is a factual challenge so I will allow you.
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Minority Leader said is not factual. In fact, if he listened to the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee, he would have learnt the right way to do it. At the end of the year, we look at the stock of debt prevailing. The following year, we find the difference between the two stocks, then, we apply the exchange rate. That is how we do it and that is why the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee -- and it is in our records. It is their people who did what we call “the market women economics”. It is their people. Mr Speaker, he used the words “market women economic”. Could he explain to this House what he means? He should withdraw that statement. It is not correct.
Hon Minority Leader, “market women economics” was used -- It is not a women's issue; it is a non-parliamentary description, so, kindly withdraw and proceed.
Mr Speaker, my mother is a market woman and her understanding and appreciation of economics is not comparable to Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, and in that context
Hon Minority Leader, the “market women economics”, if there is, has not been played out in this Chamber or in the public sector, so kindly withdraw it so we can proceed. It is not part of what is done at the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Speaker, I should withdraw “market women economics”? Mr Speaker, I will define it. “Market women economics” is lack of appreciation for the depreciation of a currency relative to what was borrowed. That is what I have said.
Mr Speaker, I believe that inasmuch as the Hon Minority Leader has indicated to this House that his mother is a market woman, the women of this House and Ghana would take exception to the context in which he used that -- [Interruption.]
Hon Members, Order! Order!
Mr Speaker -- [Interruption] -- equally, there are men in the market who also trade. Indeed, the context in which the Hon Minority Leader used that phrase was to suggest that as an ignorant woman's way of understanding econo- mics. Mr Speaker, it is so derogatory to women who are in the market toiling and sweating to make ends meet and to make wards better people like we are. If we are going to express ourselves and use the expression in a very derogatory way -- we are the Leaders of this House and we should live by example. So, to call the economics on his Side as the ‘market women economics', I believe that the Hon Minority Leader went below the belt. He should apologise and retract same. I thank you.
Hon Minority Leader, I have already ruled; the description is derogatory. So, kindly withdraw and let us proceed.
Mr Speaker, the economics in Legon, at the Wall Street, and at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the Hon Minister understands it, are not the same economics in the market; it cannot. So, I refer to that type of economics of borrowing at GHc1, paying at GHc4.5 and still attributing it to the era when one borrowed. That is not the time one pays off his or her debt. Therefore, in the market, their understanding of economics is not the best, compared to our understanding of it. Mr Speaker, that is what I intend to convey and I want to stand by it. I have not used the words that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader chose to use to describe women. That is the word she used. The
Hon Minority Leader, kindly resume your seat. Standing Order 93 (2) states that: “It shall be out of order to use offensive, abusive, insulting, blasphemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to any other Member or to make personal allusions.” I believe it is on that that I ruled that the Hon Minority Leader should withdraw. I want your opinion on the matter.
Mr Speaker, our rules are clear that, and with your permission, I beg to quote Standing Order 92 (2) which says: “When a point of order has been stated the Member interrupting shall resume his seat and except by leave of Mr Speaker no other Member shall rise until Mr Speaker has decided the matter. When effect has been given to the decision, where necessary, the Member who was speaking shall be entitled to proceed with his speech unless the decision prevents him.” Mr Speaker, you have made the ruling and it is for the Hon Member to comply. So, I would plead with my Hon Colleague that, these are little matters that we do not have to haggle over. I guess he could do what is honourable and then we move on.
Mr Speaker, “market women” substituted for “those without basic acceptance of economic principles”. [Interruption.] Withdrawn and substituted; “Market women” withdrawn. Mr Speaker -- [Interruption] -- that would be their words; not my words. The understanding of market principles, demand and supply, laissez- faire, either in Suame or Abossey Okai, or Kakpadaa Nolli Market in Tamale, cannot be the same as our understanding of the depreciation of the Ghana cedi relative to it. The President was in a hurry to combat corruption, so little was said about the Right to Information Bill that he inherited. We need the sunshine laws to fight corruption and to make it a high risk activity. The President only promised that, he would bring legislation on assets declaration. What he intends to do with assets declaration, he did not provide any clarity -- whether he wants it expanded to include spouses, whether he wants public officers to be more accountable or what he wants the declaration to be. As I said, we would work with him, with the sunshine legislation, but he was mute on it. There are several other sectors of the economy that the President glossed over; the Communication sector and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and matters of digital transition, which are also important. We are told it is in the Budget Statement. Asset declaration too is in the Budget Statement. The Budget Statement would come and tell us what our asset declaration regime would look like. Mr Speaker, now on the economy. Throughout history -- [Interruption] - - How many minutes did they do in -- They boycotted it, this beautiful debate, they boycotted it -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I conclude on another matter which borders on the law. We have often heard people make reference to the Presidential Transition Act of 2012, (Act 845). Mr Speaker, we have seen instances since this Government was sworn in, that Chief Executives Officers are asked to proceed on leave in a fashion akin to some of our ugly past as a country. Reference is always made to the Presidential Transition Act when a Chief Executive is asked to vacate his office by 5.00 p.m. and another officer is appointed by 8.00 a.m. the next day. That is lawlessness! Every person has an employment contract with the Government of Ghana, and that employment contract must be respected. -- [Hear! Hear!]-- Nobody has a problem if they want to investigate and expose wrong doings, but they must respect the contractual rights of employees. -- [Hear! Hear!] When one is employed, one normally would require three to six months' notice before one's appointment is terminated. Mr Speaker, Chief Executives are being asked to go home. Whether it is the
Republic of Ghana, the first President and Prime Minister, is the founder of Ghana. The British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) acclaimed him the African of the Millennium. It is only people who would be living in the present, who would abandon and forget the past and his contributions to the development of this country and his role as a founder. The President must be in a hurry. He is in a hurry to end the many sufferings of Ghanaians. He is in a hurry to lampoon and discredit the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government. He is in a hurry to appreciate that, he has liabilities without acknowledging assets. He is in a hurry to say that, in another era where there is dumsor, not presor as we see tomorrow, it is due to technical and financial difficulties. Mr Speaker, my final comment is on the listing of the Volta River Authority (VRA) on the Stock Exchange. And with your permission, I beg to quote from page 10. “Overall, we have begun to develop a national electricity masterplan, which will also explore the benefits of listing VRA and GRIDco on the Stock Exchange.” They are exploring privatisation. When we list on the Stock Exchange-- Hon Dr A. A. Osei knows that , we walk to the Stock Exchange with assets and liabilities. We know the present balance sheet of VRA and GRIDco, and what value it would give us at the Stock Exchange. That does not take away the liabilities of those companies. We on this side introduced the Energy Sector Levy. It is being used to offset some of the energy related debts. It is also being used to pay off some of the debts. Even the Road Fund is benefitting from it. Yet, they do not see anything good in the NDC, in former President Mahama and his Administration; and in the last eight years. That is their judgement. Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that, this Honourable House thanks H. E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017. Mr Speaker, the state of a matter is, to quote the 21 st Century Chambers Dictionary, and with your permission; “The condition, situation or set of circumstances that pertains at a given time.” The state of Ghana therefore, is the present condition or situation of Ghana. The President's Address was required to state the policy outline of measures that are to be taken by the President to advance the cause of the country over the ensuing one-year period. The President's message is not intended to provide a shopping list of bolts and nuts. It is not a shopping list of acres of land to be cleared for maize cultivation. Mr Speaker, it is not a shopping list that would provide the number of four or five piglets, which is evidence based or conjured, to this House. It is not supposed to be a shopping list of shoe sizes for Hon Alban Bagbin or Hon Haruna Iddrisu. [Interruption.] That is not a State of the Nation Address. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, what did he hear?
Yes, Hon Second Deputy Speaker?
Mr Speaker, I am surprised to hear my good Hon Friend, the Hon Majority Leader refer to me this way. As the father of the House, [Hear! Hear!] -- I expect him to give honour to whom honour is due, and not to talk about my shoes. [Laughter.] He does not even know my shoe size; [Laughter.] -- but I would want to congratulate him for celebrating his 60th birthday.
Mr Speaker, the usual trait of the former Hon Majority Leader and currently the Hon Second Deputy Speaker -- I acknowledge him as the “Methuselah of the House”. [Interruption.] -- He is not the “father”; he is the “Methuselah” of the House. Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that, as a nation, we have grown used to the presentation of rather unnecessary and labyrinthine submissions. That is why the people of this House said that the President's Message was short of many things. Mr Speaker, the President, as if he anticipated the response from the eternal critics, set the ground rules at the very onset when he talked about his account in paragraph 4 of page 3 of the State of the Nation Address, and with your permissiion, I beg to quote: “This account will highlight some of the fundamental elements of the situation, and will not pretend to be a detailed, sectoral analysis of our condition. I leave that to the budget statement, to be delivered in ten days' time”. Mr Speaker, this statement should answer those whose penchant had been, “he did not touch”, “he failed to mention” and the so many, many thoughts. Mr Speaker, people have said in this House that the President did not say anything about the transition of three football coaches -- a State of the Nation Address. [Interruption.] He said it. Where is his forehead? [Laughter.] -- The Hon Suhuyini -- [Laughter.]
Hon Majority Leader, please, address the Chair.
Hon Suhuyini said the President did not mention the transition of three football coaches, and he was sad about that. Should a State of the Nation Address be turned into a dirge? [Interruption.] -- No, I said I was looking for his forehead. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, as the President said, he came to provide the highlights of some of the fundamental elements of the current situation of the country. Mr Speaker, the state of any country is heavily dependent on the economic muscle of that country, and that is why the President spent so long a time unveil the plague of our economic circumstances. Mr Speaker, for over four years, this country's Administrators have been in a state of denial about the real state of the economy. Sometimes, it appeared there
was a deliberate plan to mask the reality. For some three successive years that we have been in the House, whenever the President came to this House, he told us, and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote the former President. “our economic fundamentals remain strong and our mid-term prospects are very good” Reality check has indicated to us where we really are. Mr Speaker, it was this self-delusion, that caused the former President when he met some industrialists in Berlin, Germany, in January 2015 to declare to them that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of Ghana for 2014 was 7.1 per cent when in actual fact, the GDP growth rate for that year was 4.6. per cent. He said it was 7.1 per cent. [Interruption] -- I would refer them to the Ghanaian Times of February, 2015. [Interruption] -- the mistake was from the journalist? [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I have heard Hon Sam George today, more than two years on, he has told us that, it was an error. God should save this country. Mr Speaker, the growth rate which registered 4.6 per cent in that year, had the non-oil sector grow by 3.8 per cent. The figure was later reviewed downwards to 4.1 per cent by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana (BoG). The former Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, in his own contribution to the debate on the President's State of the Nation Address, strived to suggest that the average GDP growth rate under ex- Presidents John Atta Mills and John Mahama Administrations did better than under ex-President Kufuor's Adminis- tration. That can only be described as a perfect exercise in dis-ingenuity. First, the economy under ex-President Kufuor's Administration was not rebased until 2008. The ingredients in the basket of the computation in a rebased economy increased. Therefore, it is difficult to make an unqualified comparison between ex- President Kufuor's Administration non- rebased era GDP growth rate and the GDP growth rate in the re-based economy under ex-President Mills and Mahama Administration. We cannot compare the two; yet, we have people engaged in “voodoo economics” who would want to confuse the entire country. Mr Speaker, secondly, ex-President Kufuor's Administration, after dis- covering oil in commercial quantities in 2007, did not benefit from the proceeds of oil. It was rather ex-Presidents John Atta Mills and John Mahama Adminis-trations that fortunately benefited. In the event, it would appear rather disingenuous for any economist or accountant to wake up and compare, unqualifiedly, GDP, that is a GDP growth rate between a non-oil economy and an oil fuelled economy. That is very disingenuous. Mr Speaker, the GDP growth rate under ex-President Mill's Administration in 2009 was 4.0 per cent. This rose to 5.9 per cent in 2010 and registered 14.4 per cent unprecedented admittedly in 2011. About 7 per cent of the 14.4 per cent was attributable to oil, and that is a matter of fact. Yet, people would want to behave like ostriches -- as if a miracle had been performed. Mr Speaker, in 2012, the oil -- propelled GDP growth shrank to 7.1 per cent. When in 2013 GDP registered a growth of 7.7 per cent, the non-oil growth rate was lower than 5.6 per cent, which was the original projection in the Budget Statement. Mr Speaker, if the oil component is taken from the GDP growth rate under ex- Presidents Mill and Mahama Adminis- trations, the average GDP growth rate would be in the region of between 4.8 per cent and 4.9 per cent. The source is the Ghana Statistical Service. So, one wonders what kind of magic people would want to perform and delude Ghanaians to believe, as the former Hon Deputy Minister for Finance said, that the GDP growth rate under ex-Presidents Mill and Mahama Administrations was far better; and he quoted 6.8 per cent on the average. That is a colossal untruth. Mr Speaker, former President Kufuor's GDP growth rate averaged 5.8 per cent, but that was a non-rebase and non-oil economy. As I have told them, they should go to the Statistical Services Department and they would be told that if the oil component is taken out, the Mills- Mahama Administrations registered an average GDP growth rate between 4.8 per cent and 4.9 per cent. That is the reality. Clearly, Mr Speaker, economic management was better under the former President Kufuor Administration. So, any objective assessment of the economy will reveal weak and deteriorating fundamentals, including: one, declining real GDP growth; two, increasing inflation, and three, unprecedented double digit fiscal deficit for two years in a row; 2012 and 2013 --
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, he is a good Hon Friend, so, I will not relate to his conduct. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I take strong objection to the submission of the Hon Majority Leader in respect of two matters. Mr Speaker, about telephone numbers, never ever. It cannot be true; if you give him the rest of his life to prove it, he cannot. So he should withdraw it. It can never be true that I, Haruna, will ask that somebody's number be taken. How is this possible? I was not the managing director of any corporate entity. As an Hon Minister, he must be told that my telephone number too was taken away. Therefore, I take strong objection to that. He cannot portray me in that line. I have never supervised the dismissal of any person. He can provide record. Even when I took over in 2009, the person they had appointed worked with me close to two years: one year or one and a half years. He can check the records. So, he should withdraw those comments he is attributing to me.
Mr Speaker, in 2009 when the deed was performed, on a couple of occasions, I met him in the Division Room and I lamented my own travails. He said to me -- of course, I will not say those ones on the floor -- [Laughter] -- But he said that it was an impossibility. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member seated right behind him, Hon Collins Dauda -- I thought he had the patent right to that phraseology: “It is an impossibility; Akufo-Addo to become President, it is impossible.” [Laughter.] Today, here we are. Mr Speaker, in 2005, they withdrew the 020 telephone numbers and in their place --
Hon Majority Leader, your Hon Colleague on the other side has raised an issue which I think you must address. He said that something has been attributed to him which is not true. You would call it “colossal untruth”. I have come to learn that from you. I believe that fact must be ironed out before you proceed.
Mr Speaker, he said it is untruth. I know it is the truth that I have said. However, just to allow for the smooth conduct of Business, and because he remains an eternal Hon Friend, I would want to withdraw that one attributable -- I did not even attribute it to him personally. I spoke about the Hon Minister in charge at the time, which he was -- [Interruption] -- Yes, he was the Hon Minister. He superintended those events. But as I have said, I know what I am talking about but because he remains an eternal Hon Friend, and to allow for the smooth conduct of this Business of this House, Mr Speaker, I will withdraw that aspect.
Mr Speaker, it should not be because I am an eternal Hon Friend. It is because he must speak to facts. I will give an example. As Hon Minister in former President Mahama's Administration, I used 0244 354463, when it is dialed now, it is off. That cannot be anybody's decision, and that cannot be attributed to any person. So, he cannot be right in attributing that I superintend. No, Mr Speaker, I take strong exception to it. [Interruption.] He cannot associate me with that. If he lost his telephone number, he should say so - -- [Laughter] -- but he should not attribute it to me.
Hon Majority Leader, please proceed. The fact is that, you lost your telephone number while you were -- [Laughter] -- Whether, he superintended or otherwise, you cannot confirm.
Mr Speaker, he can describe it in any way he wishes, but I will move on. Mr Speaker, at the end of --
Let me recognise the Hon Second Deputy Speaker before you continue.
Mr Speaker, I was the Hon Majority Leader at the time in question he referred to. Mr Speaker, there was no such incident that was brought to my attention. My Hon Colleague is here. He could tell us the telephone numbers and the time that theirs were withdrewn. This is because nothing like that happened. Mr Speaker, when I queried my Hon Colleagues here, they said maybe, he is referring to the gota numbers? [Interruption.] -- Yes, because I did not take the gota number; nothing like that happened. Mr Speaker, from 2001, when there is a change, the telephone numbers that are given to officials for official duties are usually withdrawn. I used 0202012997; it was withdrawn -- [Interruption] -- I had to go and acquire my own. It took a long time before -- [Interruption.] -- Now, I have 0244 353026. Mr Speaker, I raised this because, our Standing Order 93(5) is clear on these things; referring to the conduct of an Hon Member. And the Hon Minority Leader whom he referred to, was then the Minister and an Hon Member of this House. I would quote it for the attention of my Hon Colleagues in the House.
“The conduct of Mr Speaker, Members, the Chief Justice and Judges of the Superior Court of Judicature shall not be raised, except upon a substantive motion, and in any amendment, Question to a member or remarks in a debate on a motion dealing with any other subject, reference to the conduct of the persons mentioned shall be out of order.” Mr Speaker, my very good Friend knows the rules very well. And he said he would withdraw just to allow the debate to flow. He is actually not withdrawing in good faith, but just to allow the debate to flow. It is unfair and unparliamentary. I want him to withdraw in good faith — [Hear! Hear!] I will also draw his attention to the fact that if he wants to refer to the conduct of the Hon Minority Leader, then he should come by a substantive Motion.
Mr Speaker, when a matter has been withdrawn, there is nothing before the House. So, for him to be commenting on what is nothing, I do not even see where he is coming from. This is because there is nothing before the House for now. In any event, the conduct that I referred to was not to the conduct of the Hon Minority Leader — [Interruption.] — But for now, there is nothing before the House which would warrant any further commentary.
Hon Majority Leader, there is nothing before the House on the Motion for withdrawal because you have withdrawn. Please proceed with the debate.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the protection. You are a Daniel who has come to judgement — [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, still on the economy, at the end of 2008, the public debt was GH¢9.5 billion. With a population of 22 million at that time, the per capita debt was GH¢431.82 — [Interruption] — Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Chief Whip had his turn, and he forwarded into so many areas. I will confine myself to some areas that I have defined for myself. Mr Speaker, today, with a debt stock of GH¢122 billion and a population projected to be at 27.5 million, the per capita debt has escalated from GH¢431.82 to GH¢4,436.36 — an increase of over 1000 per cent. That tells us how weak the fundamentals of the economy are. Mr Speaker, what it means is that, today, the interest that we are paying on this debt, which we did in 2016, was more than GH¢11 billion, and that figure is more than the GH¢9.5 billion, which was the total debt stock in 2008. Mr Speaker, that interest payment alone of the GH¢11 billion is more than the sum total of the entire budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Trade and Industry, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Food and Agriculture, Water Resources, Works and Housing, and the Ministry of Transport in 2016. Mr Speaker, that payment which the President spoke about is the erosion of the fiscal space that some of my Hon Colleagues do not understand or appreciate. Indeed the President needed to ungauze the wound to let us know the full extent of the problems confronting us as a nation. That is why the President indicates to us that we need to propel agricultural growth. And he is in a hurry to do that. Mr Speaker, we need to really ensure that our food processing, that is our industrialisation, is kick started once again. Mr Speaker, but to do that, we need the blood that would feed the programmes; agricultural growth and industrialisation. Indeed, that blood is electricity. It is the pivot of our development. Mr Speaker, we have heard in this Chamber, the former Deputy Minister in charge of that sector come to tell us that, the previous administrations almost did nothing apart from what they inherited from the administration of former President Kwame Nkrumah. And he said that total installed capacity before 2009 was below 1400 megawatts. Nothing can be further from the truth. Mr Speaker, following the 1982 to 1985 power crisis, the Volta River Authority (VRA) came up with a research Paper that defined the architecture of sustainable power generation beyond 1985. The rehabilitation of the 30 megawatts diesel plant at Tema which former President Kwame Nkrumah had procured in 1961 but had been lying fallow all that while, were rehabilitated under former President Jerry John Rawlings. Mr Speaker, in January 1988, under former President Jerry John Rawlings, we had the 220 megawatts Aboadze plant. That was the Takoradi-1 or T-1. It came onstream in 1998. In June 1999, we had the 110 megawatts steam turbine come on board on T-1. This cannot be hidden from anybody. Yet, the Hon Deputy Minister made it appear as if former President Rawlings did not add anything to our power generation. That is most unkind to the PNDC/NDC mark 1.
Mr Speaker, even if it started, the Hon Majority Leader should be factual when it came on stream. But he keeps saying “Rawlings, Rawlings”. There was a President of the Republic. He must appreciate and respect that.
Mr Speaker, I talked about Kufuor's Administration, Mills' Administration, and Mahama's Administration. The Hon Minority Leader sits in the Parliament of Ghana and refers to Clinton, Bush, without these prefixes. Clinton is known as President Clinton. Just like my friend and Hon Colleague, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, I refer
Mr Speaker, I still insist that, at least, I should be given my due share. At least, honourable. I am honourable — [Laughter] — I do not want to quote my Hon Colleague.
Mr Speaker, I will add, venerable distinguished honourable A. S. K. Bagbin — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, he is being disingenuous — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, when I said ‘venerable', the Hon Sampson Ahi said, ‘vulnerable' -- I did not say ‘vulnerable'. [Laughter.]
Hon Sampson Ahi?
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Majority Leader wants to hear my voice this afternoon. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I may have a hearing problem, but at least I am able to listen and hear well when he said ‘dis-in-enchanfrising' and so forth and so on. [Laughter.]
Hon Majority Leader, you are out of order. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Hon Ahi is a very good Friend; I would Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, the Rawlings' Government in 1998 further expanded the Aboadze Power Complex to roll out additional 330 megawatts. It was the Rawlings' Government again, that introduced under his watch this joint venture between Volta River Authority (VRA) and TAQA of Abu Dhabi -- United Arab Emirates. So, all these efforts were started, and for anybody to come to this House to say that it was the singular achievement of Presidents Mills/ Mahama Administration, it certainly cannot be right. Mr Speaker, under President Kufuor, from August 2006 to September, 2007, a few things happened as well. We had power crisis and then the Government procured and installed 126 megawatts diesel generating plants. Government also procured by lease, the 25 megawatts generating plant from the Trans Tema Power Limited and facilitated the rolling out of the 80 megawatts mines power plant; procured 6 million compact fluorescent bulbs to replace the incandescent bulbs which saved about 120 megawatts of power. Mr Speaker, learning useful lessons from the previous crisis, the Kufuor Administration in 2006, accelerated the works by VRA began on the 126 megawatts Tema Thermal 1 Power Plant (TT1PP) and by 2008, the Project was completed. Under Kufuor's Administration, VRA started the procurement and construction of the 50 megawatts Tema Thermal 2 Power Plant (TT2PP) and it is a matter of record and was completed by mid-2009. Mr Speaker, the construction of the 230 Kpone Thermal Plant --
Hon Member, there is a factual dispute and I would allow it.
Mr Speaker, this is a House of records. TT1PP indeed was started, but the 110 megawatts was not completed. As it has been stated, in 2009 when the Mills' Administration came, we had to look for money to continue with this Project and complete it. So, was not completed.
Well; then he said it. He said that it was completed in 2009.
Mr Speaker, the Kpone Thermal Plant Civil Works were far advanced and due for inauguration in July 2009. For reasons known to the previous Administration, the Project was abandoned and they only came back for continuation of works in 2014. Why they were left to rot, only they can tell. That is the extent of havoc that was done to this country. The former Minister is here and he can tell us what occasioned the stalling of the project. He was the Minister at the time. Mr Speaker, President Kufuor initiated the 400 megawatts -- [Interruption.] No, I just want us to know that we cannot leave with half-truths and untruths in this House. Mr Speaker, the 132 megawatts Takoradi 3 Power Point (T3PP) at Aboadze was started under President Kufuor and the project was continued by the NDC in 2009. The turbines at Akosombo were retrofitted to add on 108 megawatts production of electricity, yet, they say that nothing was done. How big can a person lie to this country? Mr Speaker, the 200 megawatts Sunon Asogli Power Plant was facilitated by President Kufuor. Also, the 126 megawatts of Sunon Power Plant which has been acquired by SSNIT and subsequently rechristened the CENIT Power Plant -- all of these things were there. For whatever reasons, people decided to abandon them to turn round to say that nothing was done because somebody preferred KAR Power and AMERI Power Plants which had to be routed from United States of America through Turkey to Dubai, then, to Ghana. That is the extent of havoc that has been done to this country. Mr Speaker, so, it cannot be true. In fact, manifestly, under President Kufuor's Administration, generation capacity that was added or commenced totalled 1,452 megawatts.
Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Member for Ellembele?
Mr Speaker, the Majority Leader in his delivery just stated that, in describing the addition of power plants, if you listened to his description, I never heard in the presentation at any point where he had said that, we actually completed the power plant and injected this much quantity of megawatts within this period. He kept saying ‘we facilitated', ‘we supported', ‘we began' -- but the point I tried to make here was that, in talking about the addition of AMERI and KAR POWER, he said “havoc”.
Hon Member, please resume your seat. Hon Members, as much as possible, I try to avoid interruption with the Leaders. So, you would notice that --
Mr Speaker, when businesses are collapsing and we are trying to add power, that is not havoc --
Hon Member, I asked you to resume your seat.
Mr Speaker, under President Rawlings --
Hon Majority Leader, I would first want to put this across. If there is a factual error that you would want to correct, I would allow you. But when you get up and you say, “he said…” -- I would please disallow that. So, please, let the Hon Majority Leader continue; this is not a factual interruption.
Mr Speaker, under President Rawlings, it is on record that 580 megawatts of power generation was added to the system. In fact, some were not completed, but came to be completed under President Kufuor. These efforts must be acknowledged but for anybody to get up in this House and say that everything is attributable to Mills/ Mahama Administration, it cannot be so and that is what I have stated. Mr Speaker, but we have to live with some realities. Today, power generation in Ghana has gone through the roof -- I am talking about the cost of production.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, with your guidance, and under normal circumstance, I would have allowed my Hon Leader to continue, but facts are facts. I spoke here with your permission yesterday and if you may permit me to re- phrase just one portion of what I said.
Could you tell us the factual error?
Mr Speaker, the factual error is that we did not state here that we did not inherit projects and continued them. I talked about the Bui Dam and said that we even had to raise additional, capital, having inherited it from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). That is one. Secondly, it is not --
I thought you were going to challenge the claim that power is more expensive --
Mr Speaker, I challenge the claim --
That is what I want to hear you on. The other one is --
Mr Speaker, he says that the rule of thumb is that when one does a 100MW, it would not cost more than 100 million. The Bui Dam that they claim they initiated, which is 400MW, cost us about 800 million. So how can he come to that conclusion and how can that rule of thumb stand in this House? Mr Speaker, let us get our facts right as you rightly said. He says that 95 per cent of Ivory Coast's power is thermal. It cannot be true. The combined demand of the Ivory Coast is just about half of Ghana's demand which is about a 1000MW. They have 600MW of hydro capacity. So, if they consume about a 1000MW and they have a 600MW hydro capacity, they do not even use crude oil. So, with the greatest of respect to my Hon Leader, please, as for facts, we cannot have different sources of facts. He could have his own opinion, I could have my own opinion but the facts cannot be altered.
Your point is well made.
Mr Speaker, thank you. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, first of all, I must acknowledge that the installed capacity hydro is about 560MW for Ivory Coast and 600MW. [Uproar.] Secondly, I am talking about the current situation. Today, for the hydro, they are generating less than 200MW and that is the point I am making to him. For a former Hon Minister who comes here to say that the installed capacity in Ghana is 2,800MW, I would not put any emphasis on what he is saying. Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that, the two of them were speaking at cross purposes, that is, between him and the Hon Minister and the rule of thumb when I said is thermal power, if he heard me. Anybody sitting here can google to the website of general electric (GE), 100MW is not more than US$100 million dollars. 200MW is about US$195 million dollars. I agree that, one would have to ferry it here once we procure it, prepare the site and then lift the power procured to the national grid. That is part of it but it cannot be that one spends about US$50 to US$60 million on that. It cannot be, and that is the point that I am making. Mr Speaker, so that is sending us where we are.
He is making an allegation. [Interruption.]
Hon Ras Mubarak would know that when one rises up in this House, one would have to catch the eye of the Speaker and one does not begin to talk into their microphone, please.
Mr Speaker, I have stated this -- I am not saying anything new. When we came to debating this -- the loan agreements, I said it here on the Floor of the House. At that time, I was on the Minority side. I stated it and nobody challenged it. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the truth would certainly come out and pretty soon [Uproar.] -- the Hon Suhuyini would not get up and gesticulate widely; he must grow up in this House.
Hon Members, please, I believe that at any time I allowed an intervention, instead of stating what is factually incorrect, you tend to make alternative arguments and that is why I am ignoring any intervention. So, Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, kindly continue.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Minority Leader when he said that the President would not deepen democracy with the invisible forces. Mr Speaker, I agree with him that, the conduct of that group must be called to order, I agree. I agree with him when he says that, the President would not deepen democracy with lawlessness, I agree. In equal measure, we were never able to deepen democracy with --
Mr Speaker, thank you very much --
Hon Majority Leader, please be guided by the objections.
Mr Speaker, I am guided, but the former Hon Majority Leader -- Hon A. S. K. Bagbin, most distinguished, I remember when he was the Hon Minority Leader, he even questioned the hand in the pocket by the current President when he was on the floor. He said he could not have his hand in his pockets when he talks to Hon Colleagues, that it is unparliamentary. Gestures are not recorded but he said that his hands in his pockets were unparliamentary. We are all learning. Mr Speaker, as I said early on, I agree with the Hon Minority Leader that we cannot deepen democracy with lawlessness and people who cross the red line regardless of which party is in Government, should be called to order. We cannot grow our democracy in that way. In like manner, for eight years when the Azoka Boys went on rampage, I did not see nor ever hear the saintly voices that are coming up now. I was at Chereponi when somebody operating from the Castle came and shot people at point blank and nothing was done. Mr Speaker, so, we should be careful, two wrongs, though, do not make a right. So, we should break that cycle of impunity. But people should be even in their condemnation and not just wake up one day -- belly wise -- and say that this is condemnable. They lived eight years with it and did not see anything wrong with it but today, they have discovered their voices -- two wrongs do not make a right and that is why I repeat that we must break that cycle. But in our bid to do that, let us own up to what our people did. It is better for us as a nation to heal the wounds. We do not just get up to say that -- as if we have arrived from the moon or Mercury. We do not do that.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I actually would not want to be part of the debate and that is why I did not contribute. Mr Speaker, but when my very good Friend, the Hon Majority Leader refers to incidences of the past and he wants to even up, then he should do so. Mr Speaker, at the time that they had the Azoka Boys, they had the Bamba Boys -- [Interruption] -- at the time they had the Azoka Boys, you had the Maxwell Boys and so many of them. Mr Speaker, the country decided that that was wrong and that they should be disbanded and they were so disbanded. You do not have the Bamba Boys any more, do you? You do not have the Azoka Boys and Maxwell Boys anymore -- [Interruption] -- I have never heard of Muntaka Boys. Mr Speaker, so when there is a new development, it is true that we should all condemn it, and the President was right and really hit the nail right on the head in condemning it by saying that he would not be part of it. So, my good Hon Friend should not go back to those eras again. It is incorrect.
Mr Speaker, when the Second Deputy Speaker spoke the way he has done, I thought that his Hon Colleagues would take a cue from that, but it is just one-sided condemnation every time. That is my beef that we should -- [Interruption] -- No, one-sided condemnation is not right, as if people have descended from Jupiter to Earth. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader talked about the fact that the figures used by the President are provisional figures. Mr Speaker, figures used in budgets are provisional and even the mid- year review figures are still provisional. So, how can -- [Interruption] -- Are you the time keeper? You spoke for 15 minutes -- are you the time keeper?
Mr Speaker, it is not entirely true that figures used in budgets are provisional. Some are provisional, some are estimates and some are factual. They are not all provisional -- actual figures. Mr Speaker, so he should not just say that figures used in budgets are provisional.
Mr Speaker, I am talking about growth rate indicators and they are all provisional. Let him challenge me on that. They are all provisional; so what is he talking about?
Hon Majority Leader, your allotted time is exhausted. I have allowed you more time to cover the space of interventions so kindly speed up.
Mr Speaker, I would speed up. Now, to a short comment on the Founder's Day Celebration; let everybody go and check the original Message on the State of the Nation Address, delivered by Prof Mills when he first spoke about that. The apostrophe is after the “s”. It was in subsequent years that they came to change it and brought it before the “s”. How disingenuous could people be -- [Interruption.] -- it is both before and after? [Laughter.] Just to remind us of our antecedents. Mr Speaker, so we must be factual with ourselves, and for instance, I agree that when President Nkrumah came, he injected fire into the independence struggle. Mr Speaker, but nobody could then say that because he did that, then he is the founder of this country. That could not be right.
Mr Speaker, just like South Africa is not Mandela's South Africa. He is not because he is not the only founding father of South Africa. How could he be? Oliver Tambo had preceded him -- [Interruption] -- So, you do not even know this. Mr Speaker, we have lived for a long time with people who would want to reconstruct the history of this country. Ghana does not have one founding father, she does not. So many people came on board; Robert Samuel Blay, S. G. Antor, Simon Diedong Dombo, et cetera -- all of them contributed their quota, but one person did very well -- herculean effort - - Dr Kwame Nkrumah. We appreciate that, but for anybody to say that he is the sole founder of this country could only be born out of untruthfulness. Mr Speaker, the issue about the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, I was surprised the Hon Minority Leader only likened the situation to what exists in the United States of America; but the United States is not a Commonwealth country. Best examples should exist in other Commonwealth countries; Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Philipines, Singapore, New Zealand -- let us compare and see where we are coming from. In any event, even though the Constitution provides in letter and spirit what you quote for us, how come we were able to establish the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO)? So do not impugn ill-motives. When the Bill comes before us, and we find that it is going to give us narrow strictures, then we are here to sanitise it with our own experience, and given what we have been doing in this House, we would do what is right for this country. So, Hon Colleagues should be rest assured that nothing would be done that, would seek to prosecute otherwise innocent people. It cannot be done. Mr Speaker, the President, in concluding, said to us on page 15, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “Mr. Speaker, in a few days' time, we shall mark the 60th anniversary of the independence of our country. Ebenezer, thus far has the Lord brought us. Mr. Speaker, we all know where we want Ghana to be, and we are aware we are not where we want to be or ought to be. We also know of the big dreams of our forefathers to build a self-reliant and self- sustaining nation that would take pride of place amongst the comity of nations. This anniversary provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our past and plan for the future. This is the Ghana we see - a new Ghana. We will put in place policies that will deliver sustainable growth and cut out corruption. We will set upon the path to build a Ghana that is not dependent on charity; a Ghana that is able to look after its people through intelligent management of the resources with which it has been endowed. This is our path, and this path offers a new Ghana.” Mr Speaker, the President clearly reminded us about the spirited struggle by past generations, our forebears and I quote former President John Mahama, who reminded us. I quote his words that our forebears handed down to this present generation, a nation with enormous potential. Mr Speaker, our forebears were not infatuated with selfishness and greed. It is important to remind ourselves of the words in the tune that the venerable musicologist Ephraim Amu churned out: Yen ara asase ni, Eye abooden de ma yen Mogya a Nananom hwie gu Nya de to ho ma yen Adu me ne wo nso so Se ye be ye bi atoaso Nimdee ntraso nkotokrane Ne apese-minko-minya Ato yen bra mo dem Na ye ‘sase ho do atom se To wit, “this is our land. It is an invaluable treasure to us. Blood was shed to protect it. It is now our turn to continue on that path. Dishonesty, lies, propaganda and selfishness wreak havoc on our national life and love for country has been completely lost.” Mr Speaker, this is the level of distress, despondency, exasperation, frustration and an encircling gloom that the President painted to us. I believe that, the plea of the President, is for all of us to rise and save Ghana from sinking. I join the President, and pray to God to grant us the fortitude to reposition Ghana to secure for ourselves and posterity, the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity, as the preamble of our 1992 Constitution enjoins us. Mr Speaker, God, indeed, should bless us. God, indeed, should bless our homeland, Ghana.
Hon Members, this is the end of the debate. At the conclusion of the debate, I shall put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, I shall, in accordance with Standing Order 52, formally convey the decision of the House to H. E. the President. Hon Majority Leader, any indication?
Mr Speaker, we have done a yeoman's job on the debate on the Motion to thank the President on the Message on the State of the Nation, which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017. The debate has been very healthy, generally, speaking, and we hope to improve upon that in the debate on the Budget that would be presented. Mr Speaker, having said so, and because we have exhausted the agenda for the day, I move that, this House takes an adjournment until tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. Mr Speaker, because tomorrow is the Budget's day, I would plead with members of the Business Committee to attend to the Business Committee and endeavour to be here at 8.30 am in order to deal with it and come to the House to listen to the presentation on the Estimates to be done by the Minister for Finance.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. And in doing so, so, it is true that the debate has been healthy, but it is also true that facts were in many cases attributed to the Member who made the Statement. When one has facts on thermal plants and he says one is to one, and he has a 270MW for a T3 power plant for 130MW, that cannot be facts. Mr Speaker, but the more important thing is when we agreed with you on the rules of the debate, we all could be interjecting and interrupting. If that is what makes the debate beautiful, let us know and agree to that. But when sometimes we hesitate, we see frequent interruptions which do not allow for the debate and that puts me in a difficulty. So, when we come to the debate on the Budget, I would want to be tied to the rules that we had agreed with you on at the pre-Sitting meeting that this should be the tenure of the debate. With that, I believe that you have been tolerant except that when it comes to debate on the Budget, we would want more space and more time. This is because, we were told that State of the Nation Address does not give clarity, and that, the clarity and details would be in the Budget. So you must give us an opportunity to interrogate the issues that would be in the bare. With that, I second the Motion for adjournment, and I suggest that we have a joint caucus meeting, so that we could solve the issue. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, this business of the Hon Minority Leader smuggling items into just a simple Business of seconding a Motion, in my opinion, we might have to decide on that. Mr Speaker, the Motion has been moved and seconded. You would soon put the Question. But in my opinion, we also have to come to some determination on his own way of trying to inject on -- I would leave it at that, then, you could put the Question.
It appears to me that the Leaders need more time. If you like, I would allow you more time.
Mr Speaker, it is an anticipation. He knows the rule that, we should not anticipate a Bill that would come the following day, 24 hours before it comes. It is coming tomorrow, and he would want to start the debate even now. He is in a hurry. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.35 p. m. till Thursday, 2nd March, 2017, at 10.00 a. m.