Madam Speaker, one very important word there is the "veterans". Madam Speaker, many of us, when the word "veteran" is mentioned, our minds go to the very old that served in the Gold Coast, or went to war who are very weak. But in actual sense, if you look at the military and the way they define the "veteran", it is anybody who has served, whether in the Gold Coast or Ghana, and served the Whole term and he is honourably released. So we have people who are 40 years plus who also qualify to be veterans.
Madam Speaker, this Bill is a very important one and I think it would be very interesting when we get to the Consideration Stage. We need to really be able to empower the military to take good care of our service-men, especially the veterans - men and women.
Madam Speaker, the phenomenon we are seeing today in our country, is that some of our veterans are as young as 45 years old. Some are even younger than 45 years old, meaning that they are released honourably at an age that they are still very active. Yes, the intention of the military is to release people at an age that they are still strong, so that they can do other things.
But with the challenge of unemployment in our country it goes to further worsens the plight of this innocent young person because he has served honourably, he has served his whole 25 years, he is being released at a time that he could not easily find employment. That is why I take this opportunity to commend the Ministry of Defence today. In their effort to establish the defence industrial
holding company with almost nine other sub-companies making up this industrial holding company, the intention is to create an avenue where the Veterans, after they have served honourably, could still gain employment in these companies that are being established, using their own funds and sourcing other funds.
Madam Speaker, it is a very good example because in Pakistan, in 1982, when they had these challenges, they established one company called Fuji Fertilizer Company. Today, that company in Pakistan employs close to 20,000 ex- service-men and women; it creates good employment avenues for them after they have served their country. And it is the generals who run it and it is run economically - and it is the leading fertilizer company in Pakistan.
Madam Speaker, it is by this that I commend the Ministry and hope that when we get to the details of the Bill, all of us would help contribute to ensure that the law that would be passed would enable the Ministry to be able to establish this company that would safeguard the future of veterans. Madam Speaker, relying on government alone, all of us will agree, would be extremely difficult to take good care of our veterans. It is better for us to find other ingenious ways of creating employment opportunities and creating other resources that would support the welfare of our veterans.
With these comments, Madam Speaker, I support and urge all my Hon Colleagues to support the Motion before us and hope that at the Consideration Stage, all of us --- as many as possible, would be interested and make sure that we get a very good law that would govern the veterans of our country.
Question put and Motion agreed to. The Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 was accordingly read a Second time.