Debates of 26 Feb 2013

PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.


  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 22nd February, 2013.]
  • [No correction was made to the Offi- cial Report of Wednesday,20th February, 2013.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, Motions I call on the Hon Member for Mion to move the Motion standing in his name.
    MOTIONS 10:30 a.m.

    Dr Ahmed Y. Alhassan (NDC -- Mion) 10:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speak- er, for this rare privilege to move a Motion to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Ma- hama, Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces -- [Hear! Hear!]-- for attending upon this House on Thursday, 21st February, 2013 to present his Message on the State of the Nation.
    Mr Speaker, this he did very well as per
    Dr Anthony A. Osei 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I have with me --
    Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Which Order has the Hon Member breached?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is reading a Motion which is not the correct Motion here.
    Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, which rule has the Hon Member breached?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, you have asked him to move a Motion -- [Interruptions.] I have here, an Order Paper and that Order Paper does not mention any Commander-in-Chief. So, he is misleading this House. He is grossly misleading this House. [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker, you know that we go by certain rules and this is the Motion that has been presented to us. If there is an amend- ment -- [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member for Mion wants to amend the Motion, he has a choice to do so. But I have not heard him proffer any amendment and he mentioned the “Com- mander-in-Chief.” The Hansard will attest to it. [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, order!
    He has the floor. The Hon Member has the floor.
    Hon Member, I do not think that the Hon Member has breached any rule. This is because we all know that it is a consti- tutional matter that the President of the Republic is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. So, by adding that, he does not in any way offend any of the rules of the House.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Dr Alhassan 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague knows fully well that His Excellency the President of the Republic is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, and I would not apologise for it.
    Mr Speaker, the President did so as
    determined by article 67 of the 1992 Constitution. And I must say this was a message that His Excellency, President Mahama delivered with calm disposition, very organised format and laced with the necessary sense of humour which has become cultural in our country.
    Mr Speaker, the content of the message was holistic, serious, focused and it recognised every facet of our Ghanaian life. I believe it also recognised the fact that every portion of the Ghanaian society has a contribution to make into building this country. Mr Speaker, the President could be paraphrased to have asked all Ghanaians to join him to build a better Ghana for all of us.
    For once, this was a message delivered by the President on the real state of the nation; no portion of it was dedicated to blaming any past leader for the difficul- ties of our time. It simply analysed the situation we are in today and made policy prescriptions on how we can collectively as a people get to the promised land and I believe the President must be commended for that. Indeed, rather than blame past leaders, he acknowledged the effort of past Presidents in bringing this country to where it is today.
    The policy is simply to mandate Ghanaians to join him to work hard to deliver this country. Mr Speaker, the President in his State of the Nation Ad- dress promised sterling leadership and he did not take for granted the confidence reposed in him by the good people of
    Ghana -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the President knows that many Ghanaians -- the good people of Ghana queued all day -- in certain cases, over two days to make him President. He could not have taken that effort for granted and I believe, a humble President, a modest President is one who acknowledges that he derives his leadership and his powers from the good people of his country.
    Mr Speaker, in detailing his vision for this country, the President came across very strongly and made us to understand that our transition from a low income country into a low middle income country is due to the effort of all Ghanaians and again, it requires Ghanaians to lift this country further up, so that we can enjoy the fruits of being a middle income coun- try. He was fast to add that it cannot be business as usual, we have to work hard to build this country further up. There is actually more work to be done and he has promised to lead the way.
    Mr Speaker, what the President was telling us was that our individual attitu- dinal relationship to our nation in public and private service must change. This is because we are now a middle-income country -- definitely, it cannot be business as usual. Mr Speaker, the President put his vision of this country on four pillars -- one, putting the people first; two, a strong and resilient economy; three, expanding infrastructure; and four, transparent and accountable governance.
    Mr Speaker, on pillar one, noting that his vision is captured on the social democratic credentials of the great party that he leads -- with social democracy as our ideology, he said that the most treasured asset of a country is its people and any investment in the development of the people of a country is not an effort in vain. Our youth need jobs, they need quality jobs to get quality salaries, so that
    Mr Speaker, on education, I have to quote the President. He said 10:50 a.m.
    “. . . sound and meaningful relevant education.”
    I repeat, “sound and meaningful relevant education”, emphasis being ex- pansion of educational opportunities to make those opportunities accessible and affordable for all -- rich, poor and vul- nerable irrespective of their geographical location within this country of ours. He also invited the private sector who have so far played a good role to expand the fortunes of education for many to enjoy to even do more, so that this vision can be realised.
    Mr Speaker, kindergarten education would be integrated into basic education, so that we can catch them young. Mr Speaker, schools under trees to be elimi- nated by the year 2016. The compulsory dimension of Free Universal Basic Educa- tion (FCUBE) to be given some emphasis through pro-poor initiatives, whether it be supply of uniforms, school feeding and then school feeding to progressively cover all public schools. We need to embrace this one.
    Mr Speaker, secondary education, to President Mahama, is to make good his campaign promise of providing 200 senior high schools within the next four years. Mr Speaker, this is not an empty promise and I believe the good people of Mion, my constituency, are awaiting to receive their secondary school.
    Mr Speaker, recognising the need for
    training and re-training for various oppor- tunities that would come about, I think that people have to sharpen their skills and take advantage of this. The President also promised that soon legislation would be brought to this House for the establish- ment of a public university in the Eastern Region.
    Mr Speaker, the emphasis on education must be paramount for all of us to support the President's vision for this sector of our national life. This is because it is said that when a man empties his pocket into his head, he had made the best investment and the returns on such an investment are forever.
    Mr Speaker, on health for all, the President said and with your permission, I beg to quote
    “. . . a sick population cannot gen- erate the productivity needed to maintain the acceleration of our economy.”
    Therefore, a healthy people must deliver a healthy economy. He noted that the healthcare system definitely has personnel deficits and service deficiencies. In tackling these problems, the President is promising an ultra modern teaching hos- pital for the University of Ghana, Legon.
    He is also promising regional hospitals in the Eastern and Upper East Regions and for work to continue on the regional hospital in the Upper West Region and to upgrade the Central and Volta Regional Hospitals into teaching hospitals for the training of doctors and other medical personnel to be facilitated. Twelve new district hospitals -- a new hospital in Kumasi -- Mr Speaker, the pressure on the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) would come down.
    Mr Speaker, a new hospital in Kumasi
    -- [Hear! Hear!] -- to bring down the pressure on KATH. I believe these are things that the good people of Kumasi will be looking forward to receiving
    in the next few years. Mr Speaker, the rural environments would not be left out. One thousand, six hundred Community (based) Health Planning and Services (CHIP) compounds would be built so that villages that are in my constituency and other constituencies would receive medical care irrespective of their location within their country.
    The National Health Insurance Scheme will be reviewed to make it more efficient and the Kintampo Rural Health Training Institute is to be upgraded into a university college, so that people who train can help to deliver better healthcare services and assist in midwifery and nurses training.
    Mr Speaker, contrary to the belief and the gloom and doom that visited the establishment of the Savanna Accelerat- ed Development Authority (SADA), the President did tell us that the SADA is up and working and indeed, it is serving as an example, so that other regional develop- ment agencies will be established. SADA supported 6,000 farmers in 2011, 16,000 farmers in 2012 -- and it is planting five (5) million trees to try and re-green the northern half of the country, providing 5,000 jobs in the process.
    Mr Speaker, without SADA, the 5,000 jobs will not have come about and I believe we need to applaud the initiative of the NDC Government, led by His Ex- cellency Prof Mills and His Excellency President John Mahama for establishing SADA. I believe that because of the suc- cesses SADA is achieving in the short time, the Western and Central Regional Co-ordinating Councils are to liaise and establish a western corridor development agency.
    Mr Speaker, the President has promised an economy that is resilient, and of course, he stated that Ghana's GDP growth was the envy of many across the world-- 14.4
    per cent in 2012. This is unprecedented in this country's history. Mr Speaker, it is significant to note that this is happening at a time an economy like the British econo- my is being downgraded from its current, status to something worse. Moody's, a credit rating agency has recently down- graded British economy.
    If we are going up and our colonial masters are moving in the opposite direc- tion, we need to applaud ourselves and those who are managing our economy. Of course, there are some significant challenges. However, inflation is being brought down and for the first time in the history of our country, inflation has remained a single digit for as long as 30 months. There were many who were skeptical and thought that somebody was manipulating the inflation figures to present the picture and I believe that this manipulation could not have gone on for 30 months.

    Mr Speaker, however, our wage bill has risen from two billion to over eight billion and I believe that something is going to be done about it. A lot of money government is generating is going into public pay and that is not good enough. Some reforms are being promised and these reforms will be detailed out in the Budget Statement, to try to raise tax and non-tax revenues, so that loopholes within the tax system can also be plugged for us to rake in more resources.

    This is because, as the President put it, the meat is now down to the bare bones and it is time for serious rethinking. I think the rest of the country must join the President in this vision to build a strong economy.

    Mr Speaker, the private sector, the President recognises, must be and con- tinue to be the engine of growth. This is why the President himself is chairing the
    Mr Speaker, on education, I have to quote the President. He said 10:50 a.m.

    private sector advisory council. That is how seriously His Excellency the Pres- ident takes the role of the private sector to build this economy of ours and the fact that the ease of doing business in Ghana has risen from the 92nd position globally to the 83rd position in 2012, clearly shows signs of Ghana being a destination of many business people. And I believe that our indigenous business environment must take advantage of this improvement in our business image as a country.

    Mr Speaker, the President has a vision to continue to deepen the modernisation of our agriculture for the creation of small jobs.

    Indeed, one of the cardinal targets of the President's vision when it comes to agriculture, is to increase the share of irrigated agriculture in our overall and agricultural development. I would want to repeat that countries like India, which suffered from hunger many, many decades ago, had to invest in irrigation agriculture, they had to grow the irrigation portions of their agriculture before they could make a success of it. Today, as we speak, Indian agriculture is 49 per cent irrigated and 51 per cent rain- fed.

    I believe that if the President has a vision to do irrigation in this country, we can only support it because it would raise and sustain our agricultural development.

    The President has promised that fer- tilizer subsidy would continue and other systems to get further boost including -- the delivery of improved seed, et cet- era, and the Accra-Plains irrigation project is ongoing and all these should add up to raising our agricultural profile, so that these good people of this country would be food secure and it should be possible to even export surpluses.

    Indeed, a couple of days ago, the Min- ister for Food and Agriculture, Hon Hu- mado promised maize farmers that there is market for their maize. Sometimes, maize farmers would produce maize and lament that there is no market. The com- pany established to mop up surpluses of agricultural produce exists and it is ready to buy any grain that farmers may have.

    The fertilizer plant at Shama in the Western Region is to be supported further, so that our fertilizer needs could be met locally and possibly for export.

    Mr Speaker, a good economy would have to thrive on a very sound infrastruc- tural system and that is why the President is saying that viable private sector in- vestment requires robust and functional infrastructure in terms of railways, roads that have to be sufficient and efficient, so that the economy can really develop.

    Communication infrastructure is supposed to be advanced, so that those of us who come from the northern part of the country, can also have uninterrupted communication system to relate to the rest of the country and indeed, the rest of the world.

    Four hundred thousand (400,000) laptop computers to be given to schools and students.

    Roads to be built -- the President said:

    “We have clear plans for the roads and transport sector, which, we will start implementing this year.

    Work is soon commencing on the northern segment of the Eastern corridor road, stretching from Oti- Damonko to Nakpanduri.”

    In other words, the good people of Bim- billa ,Yendi, Gushegu would all be happy that this project is coming up soon. There are other roads that he mentioned, to be brought to a significant level of completion during his term -- Kpando-Worawora., Dambai, Asankrangua- Enchi, Navron- go-Tumu, Achimota-Ofankor, Madi-

    na-Pantang, Suhum, Apedwa, La, Teshi, Dansoman, Accra and Kintampo roads. These are all roads across the country that would be done.

    Significantly, the President is saying also, that regional road programmes would see significant upgrades with critical road infrastructure, so that our major rural industry, that is, agriculture would also see some development. In other words, if these regional roads are well developed, it should be possible that agricultural pro- duce would reach markets to enrich our farmers and also to get urban consumers to have food that would not have perished before it gets to the market.

    A new interchange for the Kwame Nk- rumah Circle is promised by the President and using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement would tackle the multi-carriage Accra/Kumasi highway.

    Mr Speaker, air transport has seen some development of recent, passenger traffic has quadrupled in the last three years and 16 airlines used to operate in 2009, now 32 airlines. This is putting some pressure on our airport infrastructure and that is why feasibility for a new international airport in Accra is being considered in the Prampram area, I am told.

    Mr Speaker, Tamale, Kumasi, Sunyani and Takoradi Airports also to be looked at considerably.

    Mr Speaker, the President noticed that energy and petroleum are subjects that are very dear to the hearts of Ghanaians and with your permission, I beg to quote:

    “Mr Speaker, millions of Ghanaians and businesses are today experiencing very

    erratic and frustrating electricity supply.”

    Therefore, there is the need for some solutions to be found.

    The President has said that he is de- voting considerable energy to solving the

    energy crisis and he needs the co-operation of all Ghanaians.

    The West African gas pipeline is sched- uled to be completed by April and that would bring in some energy to upgrade the situation as we have it today, so that the blackout that we are experiencing would be a thing of the past.

    Indeed, just yesterday, the President was in the Western Region, the Aboadze Plant to see to what extent some more energy could be got from the plant even before they complete their works and I am happy to note that some bit of wattage has been put into the system. The President promised that by the end of this year, 500 megawatts of energy would be put into the national grid for industry to have un- interrupted supply of energy.

    In the long- term, Mr Speaker, by 2016, the generation capacity of this country should reach 5,000 megawatts of energy, which to a large extent, would put some comfort in our energy demands for quite some time.

    Mr Speaker, while we are thinking about urban environment enjoying power from the national grid, the villages or rural environments also need power. So for areas that are very remote from the national grid, the President is promising the distribution of solar lanterns and other forms of renewable energy systems for rural homes, so that in-house pollution and other health matters would be a thing of the past.

    Mr Speaker, all these cannot be done unless there is absolute security for our oil and gas infrastructure or installations that we have and the President made that a priority and that is why the Air Force, the Navy and the Army are being retooled to ensure that we establish a safe and secure corridor for our oil and gas installations, so says the President.
    Mr Speaker, on education, I have to quote the President. He said 11 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, in the fourth pillar of his vision in the statement, the President promises that he will lead a transparent and accountable Government and this means that there must be absolute support for independent agencies that should deliver very good outcome for the country. He promises to support the Electoral Com- mission that has supervised six general elections for this country to the admiration of the entire global community.

    He promises that the Judiciary will remain independent and will be supported both in terms of personnel development and also the infrastructure for delivery of justice. Civil society will have unlimited space to play their role in the governance of this country and freedom of worship, as enshrined in the Constitution will be upheld and supported. The peaceful co-existence of all religions is one that the President will continue to espouse and support.

    Mr Speaker, Parliament as an institution has not been left out and the President is saying that feasibility for the construction of a new Parliamentary Chamber Block and appropriate housing for Members of Parliament will be commenced.

    On the subject of narcotics trafficking and consumption, he said and with your permission: I beg to quote:

    “Mr Speaker, I am firmly committed in ensuring that Ghana is absolutely insulated from the illicit drug trade.”

    It must take a brave President to say so and he did just that.

    He said that agencies that are involved in this subject must co-ordinate very ef- ficiently, so that our youth are insulated from this very hazardous drug system. This is not a President who is just tinkering

    with the subject but he is saying that his Government will maintain a zero tolerance for drug trafficking. In other words, it does not matter who is involved, the person will be held accountable, if drug trafficking is the matter. National Security is extremely important and the President did say it is a priority for his mandate.

    The President did say that it is impor- tant for us to know that we are a country with a very rich history and diversity. And that diversity should not make us stress on our differences, it should actually make us work closer, so that we can take advan- tage of the strengths in our diversity for the development of this country and this is extremely important for us as citizens to embrace. I do believe that we need to abandon self-seeking tendencies and know that seeking leadership, as someone put it, is not to win a prize but to solicit acknowledgement to lead a people.

    After all, the best democrat is the one who accepts defeat in an election accept- ed by all to be free, fair and transparent. [Hear! Hear!] We have had very sterling examples of this type of people-- Prof John Evans Atta Mills lost elections and as a gentleman, he accepted defeat. This happened on two occasions. He accepted defeat. [Hear! Hear!] President John Agyekum Kufuor accepted defeat; he went back to the drawing board, prepared, came back and won the election. This is how we must conduct ourselves as a country and the people who seek to lead us must adopt this example at all times. [Hear! Hear!]

    Mr Speaker, the President reminds us that change does not happen overnight; it requires a lot of hard work, a lot of think- ing and a lot of analysis before we can get change to happen. And for those who believe that solving the power crisis or solving the water crisis is simply by going on radio to wish it, are completely wrong. It requires a lot of attack by intellectual prowess and resources to get a solution

    for all of us to enjoy.

    It is time, as Ghanaians, we ask our- selves what we should do for our country, not what our country should do for us. After all, it was said -- I say it was said by President Kennedy-- that it is time we ask ourselves what we want to do for our country and not what our country should do for us. After all, when you work for your country, you are actually working for yourself because you are a citizen of the nation.

    In conclusion, I would like to state that Ghana is the land of our birth. We have nowhere else to go and His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic, elected by the good people of this country on their own volition and who has the majority in this very House [Hear! Hear!]-- This President, who is humble, modest and connects with Ghanaians as individuals, has put his vision across. He has given us a vision of our country, fair as it might be.

    The least we can do as citizens is to support him, so that we can realize this vision together. After all, Presidents do not build countries; Presidents lead their citizens to build countries. The President has offered us the leadership that we want. As citizens, we should support this vision, so that we can realize a better Ghana for ourselves and for our children.

    I thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Emmanuel K. Bandua (NDC -- Biakoye) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to second this Motion, to thank the President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama for the State of the Nation Address, which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 21st February, 2013 which was ably moved by the Hon
    Member for Mion.
    Indeed, before I continue, I wish to congratulate His Excellency the President for the powerful message he put across to all on that day.
    In dealing with this issue, I wish to ob- serve that the President did not only indi- cate his programme for the nation and the achievements that the nation has secured over the years but he went on to tell us of the problems that confront the nation and his resolve and determination to confront these problems. May I even quote what the President said on that occasion after having listed some of the developments that has been achieved. He said:
    “Real challenges however, remain even as we have made these advanc- es. As a developing middle- income country, —”
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Which page are you referring to?
    Mr Bandua 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the introductory page 2, (ii), the third par- agraph.
    Mr Speaker, I will continue --
    “Real challenges however, remain even as we have made these advanc- es. As a developing middle-income country, there is still a lot more to be done to further reduce poverty, expand infrastructure and provide more social services for our people. These challenges are formidable, but they are not insurmountable.”
    tion, the President went on to indicate that he is prepared and ready to tackle these difficulties that confront the nation. It is in the light of these remarks by the Pres
    Mr Speaker, having made this observa 11:10 a.m.

    ident that I intend to look at this Address delivered to the nation.

    Mr Speaker, in dealing with the Ad- dress, I would lay emphasis on pillar three (3), which deals with expanding infrastruc- ture. My emphasis would be on housing and urban renewal, mining, TOR, roads, and maybe, what he said about building a place for Parliament to have our Meetings.

    Mr Speaker, as far as housing goes, the President himself acknowledged that indeed, he is prepared to facilitate the pro- vision of affordable houses in the country. He, however, went on to acknowledge that there are serious problems in the housing sector which have led to the charging of exorbitant rents and beyond this, we are faced with the problem of people taking high rent advances which are alien to our law.

    Mr Speaker, I wish to raise one very crucial problem that faces the housing sector, which maybe, has escaped us over the years. Many landlords in this country charge rent in foreign currencies. Mr Speaker, I wish to draw attention to the fact that there is a law prohibiting the charging of rent in external currency. Indeed, it is against our laws to quote and charge for prices of goods and services in foreign cur- rencies and I would refer Hon Members to the Exchange Control (Amendment) Law, 1986, (PNDCL 149). And Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would want to quote the relevant section of the law:

    Unauthorised payments in external currencies

    1A. For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that unless oth- erwise authorised by the Secretary responsible for Finance no Ghana resident shall receive in Ghana any external currency as payment for services rendered or for the sale of

    goods or property by him or as rent in respect of any property owned by him.”

    Mr Speaker, my emphasis is on “… as rent in respect of any property owned by him”.

    We realize that many of our landlords, in violation of this provision, have been charging rent in foreign currencies and nothing is being done about it. So, I would urge the Ministry of Finance and all the relevant authorities to rise up and deal with this problem.

    Mr Speaker, on urban renewal, the President has assured us he would ensure that steps are taken to provide facilities for good sanitation in our environment. He intends to provide toilet facilities, which was indicated in the Address. But I would want to say that there is a problem in this country. We realize that at many places, unauthorized structures are springing up and nobody seems to be taking notice of that.

    In fact, recently, Tema was showcased and the whole town had been taken over by squatters and the layout has been vir- tually destroyed. I think this problem is also in Accra and one such area that can be cited is Agbogbloshie. I would urge the relevant authorities to henceforth take steps to ensure that at least, people are prevented from putting up un-authorized structures and that they take immediate steps to ensure that people have access to facilities that would not enable them to engage in activities that result in the destruction of our environment. For in- stance, if toilet facilities are provided in the houses, I think this would go a long way to solve such problems.

    Then there is one problem also facing the nation -- many people build without permits. I think that this problem can be traced to the fact that when one goes in to get a building permit from the relevant authorities, there is delay and a lot of time

    is wasted -- and many people in their frustration would go on to build without even being granted the permission and this creates several problems for us.

    Mr Speaker, I would go on to mining. The President, in his Address, also identi- fied that, in fact, mining is a problem and said he would ensure that the laws, as far as mining goes, would be strictly enforced to ensure that at least, we get value for the mining activities that go on in the country. I would want to believe that this is what we should tackle seriously because small- scale mining has been a big problem in our country.

    We notice that recently when soldiers or policemen went to confront these ille- gal small-scale miners in Bekwai, they were attacked and brutalized. Recently, two Naval Officers lost their lives on the Pra River when they were trying to arrest miners who had done a lot of damage to the Pra River. In fact, the headwaters of the Pra River have been virtually silted off because of the mining activities of these illegal miners. I pray that immediate and strong steps are taken to ensure that these activities do not continue.

    But the problem that we realize in this country is that, these people engage in these activities in collusion or with the connivance with some of our traditional authorities and landlords. I believe that Government should find a way of getting in touch with these citizens, educate them and enable them realize that they are doing a great harm to this nation if they continue encouraging people to engage in such ille- gal activities, particularly during this time when many foreigners are invading this sector and destroying our environment.

    I would pray that the whole mining sector would have to be looked at and the laws that are in place reviewed. This is

    because it looks like the laws have become so outmoded that we do not get much benefit from the mining activities that are engaged in, in this country.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to talk a little about the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). The Government has indicated that it is going to restructure the whole organiza- tion to ensure that we get value for the investments that are put in there. I think it is on record that about US$30 million is being made available to TOR. But in the light of the discussions that are recently on air, coming from the workers at TOR, I believe there are some serious problems that the Government would have to delve into before it makes this money available.

    I would recommend that a committee be put in place to investigate the problems confronting TOR and let this committee come out with recommendations and solu- tions towards addressing these problems, otherwise, the money that would be given to this business would go to waste.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to talk a little about roads. We all acknowledge that a lot of development has taken place in the road sector but there are some problems in this sector that need to be looked at so that the infrastructural development in this sector would not be destroyed over- night. We realize that many drivers are in the habit of driving on the shoulders of the road, especially during peak traffic hours. I believe this attitude and habit of our drivers must be discouraged. I would urge the security agencies to be very tough and ruthless with drivers who drive on the shoulders of the road because they have no business doing that.

    Beyond the fact that these roads are destroyed by their activities, occasionally, accidents occur because of this reck- less-ness of some of our drivers and it would be in the interest of the nation that this attitude of our drivers is put to a halt.
    Mr Speaker, having made this observa 11:10 a.m.

    I would want to observe that motor cyclists are also in the habit of jumping traffic lights at many crossroads and I believe that this problem should also be addressed. It is in the interest of the nation that we do all these.

    Mr Speaker, I intend to wind up, but before I do that, I would want to appeal to the President, that he has indicated that he wants to build one structure for Parliament on this very premise that we are in -- the State House. I would want to reommend that it would be in the interest of the nation to acquire land somewhere near Accra or outside Accra, so that we start developing a parliamentary complex; this would do for the future.

    On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion.

    Question proposed.
    Mr Fritz F. Baffour (NDC -- Ableku- ma South) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion thanking His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parlia- ment on Thursday 21st February, 2013.
    Mr Baffour 11:22 a.m.
    Our party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is a social democratic party and as such, the four pil- lars that sustained the President's Message was putting people first, a strong and re- silient economy, expanding infrastructure, transparent and accoun- table governance.
    I will take the high points, the points that matter to the larger constituency, that
    Dr Hanna L Bisiw (NDC -- Tano South) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion moved by the Hon Member for Mion (Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan), that this Honourable House thanks His
    Dr Hanna L Bisiw (NDC -- Tano South) 11:30 a.m.

    Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation, which he de- livered to Parliament on Thursday 21st February, 2013.

    Mr Speaker, the President was here on that day in fulfilment of article 67 of Ghana's Constitution, which requires the President of the Republic of Ghana to deliver to Parliament a Message on the State of the Nation at the beginning of each Session of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, the President, in address- ing the House, said, and I beg to quote 11:30 a.m.
    “This Administration will pursue rapid economic development with a sense of urgency in order to create new jobs, particularly for our youth. In partnership with the private sector, we will expand our infrastructure in a manner that will accelerate economic growth.
    We will embark on an ambitious but realistic programme of building new roads and bridges; expand electricity generation to energise our economy; increase access to good drinking water and quality healthcare for our growing population; and improve sanitation and human security for all. We aim at transforming our schools, colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age with emphasis on technology and innovation.”
    Mr Speaker, the President spoke on four vital pillars. The first is”putting the people first”; second, “a strong and resilient economy”; third, “expanding infrastructure”; and fourth, “transparent and accountable government”.
    Mr Speaker, on the first pillar, putting
    the people first, His Excellency, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana, spoke about education. He said education is a key to development and we all know that even the Bible says, “for lack of knowledge my people perished.”
    His Excellency, the President informed us that any nation whose people do not have the required level of education would be left behind. Towards this end, he informed us that he would prioritise and expand access at all levels. This tells us, Mr Speaker, that we have a visionary President.
    Mr Speaker, His Excellency spoke about effective and practical integration of kindergarten -- I think the Hon Mem- bers who spoke have touched on that. I would like to touch on it because it is very important. This is because for every structure, the foundation is very important. A structure with a weak foundation will not stand. And the kindergartens are the foundation of our education.
    His Excellency spelt out the effective and practical integration of our kindergar- ten education into the education system in terms of the basic education, so that every child can get a head start. That is what I call “catch them young”. He also touched on the training of kindergarten teachers to ensure that our little ones are well educated with basic skills before they start primary school.
    Mr Speaker, it is still fresh in our minds, as a people, because of poor planning from leaders, who did not have the vision, as our current President has, decided to increase the three years of the senior high school (SHS) to four years, without building classrooms, without changing the syllabi, without books and kept our dear children under trees to study. And but for the in- tervention of God, and the good people of Ghana, these same leaders, without plan and vision, would have created a crisis for
    Mr Speaker, the President, in address- ing the House, said, and I beg to quote 11:30 a.m.
    us, with a free senior high school without thinking about access.
    Mr Speaker, the erstwhile New Patri-
    otic Party (NPP) Administration brought on us, as a people, the schools under trees phenomenon. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, with vision and prudent planning, eliminated over thousand schools under trees. And our President has once again assured us that, the exercise of eliminating schools under trees will continue and hope to be completed by the end of 2016.
    His Excellency the President also touched on the construction of 200 new community-based senior high schools, giving priority to districts that lack them. Mr Speaker, this will help increase access to secondary schools. And when one talks about access, one talks about quality.
    He also touched on the training of more qualified and well motivated teachers and administrative staff. Mr Speaker, he also touched on Government's intervention, that the Government will continue to deepen pro-poor interventions like the free school uniforms, free exercise books and free laptops.
    The School Feeding Programme will be progressively expanded to all public schools in rural communities. And Mr Speaker, I trust that His Excellency the President and the NDC will make sure that the school feeding programme goes to schools that really need it.
    He also spoke on the area of special
    education. He said Government would facilitate the completion of ongoing construction of assessment centres and equip our special education units with the necessary teaching and learning aids,
    including provision of appropriate devices for hearing by the visually impaired. I think this is very laudable.
    He has already even gone ahead and appointed a Minister of State who is visually impaired. It tells us that this is a President who has a vision and has all the people at heart. And he says that every- body is on board.
    He spoke about the new university that

    Mr Speaker, the President, on his first pillar -- putting people first, also spoke about the youth. When the President addressed the United Nations General Assembly, he stated that the youth are leaders of today and not the future. This has always been something I have always believed in -- that the youth are today's leaders and not future leaders. So, he also spoke about the opportunities for the youth.

    The GH¢10 million Youth Jobs and Enterprise Development Fund, he said, would be launched to encourage and sup- port young people to become successful entrepreneurs and create sustainable job opportunities. He also spoke about the Job and Enterprise Centres that would be established in all the regions to help un- employed. That, he would develop youth centres in districts to facilitate youth meet- ings, interactions, culture programmes, conferences, to input into District Assem- blies deliberative mechanisms.

    Mr Speaker, this point is going to help us or going to help the Ghanaian youth and our communities as a whole. This
    Mr Speaker, the President, in address- ing the House, said, and I beg to quote 11:30 a.m.

    is because when one goes to some of our districts, when our young ones do not have anything to do, they either are involved in activities that are not produc- tive but dangerous for our community. He spoke about the National Youth Achievers Award, which he, as a President, intro- duced last year.

    This tells the youth of Ghana that we have a President who has the youth at heart. We have a President that when we support him, he is going to drive us far. We have a President who sees the potential in us as youth and he is telling the youth of this country that he is a President who would not leave us behind. He says we are the leaders of today and so, in whichever capacity we find ourselves as young people of this nation, these are the opportunities that he has outlined for us to take advantage of. He said he is going to revamp all the youth leadership training institutes and utilise them for year-round training in youth leadership, civic education, patriotism and other nation- building. Here, I am very happy about the patriotism.

    This is because the young ones of today have to learn to make decisions that would enhance the development and progress of this nation. As young people, we have to learn to also support policies and ideas that would enhance our development.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to go on and conclude. I would jump all the pillars and go to the fourth pillar where His Excellen- cy the President spoke about strengthening Parliament.

    Mr Speaker, the fourth pillar was about transparent and accountable government and he spoke about strengthening Parlia- ment. As I said early on, as Hon Members of Parliament, he has promised that he

    would build a strong Parliament. This is because a strong Parliament is a strong democracy. Strengthening Parliament is also a crucial element in managing a suc- cessful transition to middle-income status. This includes ensuring that Parliament has the capacity to play its oversight role effectively.

    Mr Speaker, he enumerated a number of things. Now, as Hon Members of Parliament, for those who say they do not recognise the President, my question would be, would they take the offices being provided by His Excellency the President -- the Job 600? Would the laptops also be taken? We know that on the day of the State of the Nation Address, the whole Minority side staged a walkout but they did not during the khebab and ‘small chops' -- [Hear! Hear!] Probably, that one would also come up. When it gets there, we would act again as people who say we do not eat pork but when you prepare soup with pork, we ask you to take the meat out and we would take the soup.

    In conclusion, I would want to thank the President very much for addressing us as a nation and I would want to also assure him that he has a majority of Members of Parliament who are ready to take fully their parliamentary responsibilities under the laws and the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to support him. Those of us who say if we do not eat pork, we would not drink the soup, we would support him in advancing his “Better Ghana” agenda.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Simon E. Asimah (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the Motion ably moved by the Hon Member for Mion, Dr Yakubu Alhassan, to
    thank His Excellency the President for his Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 21st February, 2013.
    Mr Speaker, in the Message, His Ex- cellency said and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “As the elected President of this country, I wish to express my per- sonal gratitude to all Ghanaians for the trust and confidence entrusted in me.”
    Mr Speaker, we all know that His Ex- cellency is the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and he has control over the Ghana Police Service and these are the people, the personnel, who ensure our security without any political persua- sion. Whether you are NPP, NDC, CPP, PNC, the Commander-in-Chief protects you. So, it is very unfortunate that my Hon Colleagues on the other side, on that fateful day, walked out.

    Mr Speaker, one important thing for which I am very grateful to the President His Excellency, is his passionate love for housing and urban renewal. His Excel- lency said and I beg to quote:

    Mr Speaker, unlike the previous Gov- ernment, which would wake up one day and shout that we are building affordable houses at Borteyman, at Kpone, at Bek- wai, at Wa, at Koforidua without using any policy document, His Excellency the

    President is saying that he would present to this House, national housing policy. I believe strongly that when this policy doc- ument is presented, my Hon Colleagues at the other side would participate, so that we would come out with a very good national policy on housing.

    Mr Speaker, His Excellency also made it clear to us that he would make sure that we come out with urban renewal approaches. This would make sure that the decaying inner cities and the problems we have in some parts of our cities would be resolved. This would ensure that elec- tricity, water, roads, transport, shopping centres, are closer to the people. We all know that the housing industry has a large deficit of about 1.7 million units and the President is telling us that he would make sure that this problem is resolved, so that rent advances which are huge and are charged by the landlords, would be a thing of the past.

    Such that real estates prices would come down, so that our security services, the Police and those who protect us would have safe and comfortable accommo- dation, which they would have access to before they go on protecting us, whether you belong to NPP, NDC or PNC.

    Mr Speaker, we all know that even in the United States of America, after World War II, they also came up with urban renewal policies and programmes which led to the suitable physical environment which we all enjoy when we go there. We also know that President Thabo Mbeki in 2001, in his address to the nation on the state of the economy of South Africa, also focused on urban renewal of Pretoria and today, Pretoria has suitable physical environment with electricity, water, roads, transport and shopping centres.

    I think when the President said he is going to come out with Urban Renewal and National Housing Policy, these are the
    Mr Simon E. Asimah (NDC -- South Dayi) 11:40 a.m.

    Nii Amasah Namoale -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague made a statement which I do not understand. He is saying “unlike the previous Government”. Which of them? We have previous Government under Prof. Mills, previous Government of the NPP, previous Government of Jerry Rawlings, previous Government of Dr Bu- sia, previous Go./.vernment of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. So, which one? I would want my Hon Colleague to be specific, so that Parliament would know exactly what he is speaking about.
    Mr Asimah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know that once upon the time, there was a Government that came out with afforda- ble housing without knowing where the funding was coming from. They have littered the country with uncompleted affordable houses.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Member, please, make your point straight and avoid --
    Mr Asimah 11:50 a.m.
    This is the Government I am referring to. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, I would want to continue and touch on other key areas that His Excellency spoke about, especially in the area of water supply. He made it clear that he is very much aware of the precarious situation of water supply in some parts of
    Accra and this, he has assured us that he is fighting very hard to make sure that this thing becomes a thing of the past. Sooner or later, the yellow gallons which emerged during President Kufuor's time would vanish from the streets of Accra.
    Mr Speaker, this is a President who knows where he is going and he is saying that it is not going to be business as usu- al. It is for this reason that he has sought for funding for the Kpong Water Project, which we have been told, by 2015, would be completed.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to propose strongly to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, and the Command- er- in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President John Dramani Mahama, to look critically at the feasibility studies on the Sogakope/Lome Water Supply, which has been on the drawing board for some time, which Hon E. T. Mensah and Hon Bagbin brought into the front burner when they were sitting in the chair of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.

    This is because when these projects are completed, they would help alleviate the water problems in Akatsi, Tadzewu, Aflao and Sogakope and other communities along the road. I believe also that this pro- ject would strengthen the bond between Ghana and the Republic of Togo. This is because the resources of the Volta River would be shared between the Republic of Togo and Ghana.

    I believe strongly that when feasibility studies were presented, the cost of this project was in the neighbourhood, at that time, of US$118 million and I believe strongly His Excellency would look at this project and support it, so that it would become a reality.

    With these few words, I thank you very much for the opportunity and I call on my Hon Colleagues to always take part in parliamentary activities. This is because I consulted my constituents yesterday before coming to deliver and support this Message. I believe strongly that Hon Members should do well to respect their constituents because they have elected them to come here. They must not walk out on the President of the Republic of Ghana.

    I thank you very much for this oppor- tunity.
    Ms Laadi A.Ayamba (NDC -- Pu- siga) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Motion moved by the Hon Member of Parliament for Mion, Dr Yakubu Alhasan and seconded by the Hon Member of Parliament for Biakoye, Hon Bandua.
    Mr Speaker, the President of the Re- public of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama came to the House to deliver the State of the Nation Address in fulfilment of article 67 of the 1992 Con- stitution. The issues he addressed were issues that actually addressed everything, I should say, that Ghanaians expected and he delivered the Address based on four thematic areas.
    On these four thematic areas, one of the issues which most of us have always looked at, is the issue of water and most of us have played round with it, especially those of us who think that we would talk of
    things which we just believe others would ancore or agree with us.
    On the issue of water, the President made it clear that potable water would be expanded. May I put it on record that during the compilation of information led by the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, there are 2,603,078 (two million, six hundred and three thousand and seventy eight) boreholes free that were drilled by 2010 across the whole of Ghana? This is a well done job because most of our com- munities are not only in urban areas but in rural areas and this has gone down well with us. If there is going to be expansion, most of the communities that have not had water know very well that they would still get water and I believe that it is going to satisfy and also help our communities in the urban areas, where people continue talking and complaining about water.
    Mr Speaker, secondly, electricity has
    been a problem not only in the urban areas where we have had the chronology of al- ways saying dumso dumso or light off but also in our villages where we even have extended electricity. The President has made it clear that electricity would be ex- panded. These villages are going to have light and most of our rural communities are going to enjoy that light.
    During his Address on electricity, he
    also made mention that there are going to be solar lamps, which would be provided for most of these communities to replace lanterns that are being used with kerosene. I think this is very good and most of our rural communities would enjoy it and they would welcome it. They would not have to continue buying kerosene. I think it is a very commendable issue that we need to thank the President.
    The President also mentioned the issue of senior high schools (SHS). The issue of senior high schools has come up very
    Ms Laadi A.Ayamba (NDC -- Pu- siga) noon

    strongly and I think that, roughly, six years ago, we had the issue of extending our secondary schools to four years without considering the issue of accommodation.

    When the NDC Government came to power, it was one of the first issues that it had to address. This is because we had stu- dents who had to study under trees -- not only basic schools or kindergartens but in the senior high schools. Why did we have to extend the years, when in actual fact, we knew that we did not have classrooms? So, the NDC Government took up this issue and had to provide infrastructure, not only as classrooms, but even for other academic works -- our science laboratories and what have you. The NDC Government took it up and the President is saying it is going to continue. This would continue and this would help our rural folks.

    We have given the pass mark from junior high school to the senior high school as aggregate 40 or aggregate 42. Most of our pupils get even aggregate 32 and do not have schools to attend. So, in expanding the senior high schools, most of these pupils are going to have schools to attend rather than say they have passed but only having a system in place but then it does not work. So, the idea of expanding existing ones and building more senior high schools is very laudable and it is most welcome.

    On the issue of roads and bridges -- most of our communities north, south, east and west, especially the rural areas, do not have good roads. We know that the NDC Government has done a lot when it comes to road networking. We have the road network, that is the eastern corridor; we know the N1 has been completed with problems and once the President said that

    work is going to continue, we know there is going to be improvement on that road.

    So, it is not going to be a big deal to construct bridges or footpaths across that road where we have had problems. So, the issue of road networking -- more roads, more bridges is going to be very, very helpful not only to the urban areas but also, the rural areas where most of our cocoa, our groundnuts, our animals are being carried through, would have good access road network which would help them improve their economic activities.

    Mr Speaker, the President did not mince words in talking about the School Feeding Programme. The the School Feed- ing Programme is an activity that came up to support most of our rural schools. Most of the rural schools today -- and my constituency is a clear example -- have a lot of school feeding programmes taking place, and the enrolment in these schools has improved.

    If we would want to talk about basic education, we should try to make sure that all our children have the chance of being in school. If there are constraints, one of the constraints is poverty, where pupils are not able to go to school simply because they cannot afford the daily meals. The School Feeding Programme has come and most of these pupils are able to go to school because they know that by 11.00 or half past 11.00, they would have something to eat, so enrolment has improved.

    Once the President has made it clear that this is going to be improved further, we welcome it, it is the best for our chil- dren and we anticipate that all of us in this House are not going to joke on it because it is something that would help those whom we are nurturing.

    Mr Speaker, during the Address of the President, he mentioned the building of 10 teacher training colleges. Day in day

    out, we talk about senior high schools, our basic schools, our kindergartens, but then we forget, many a times, to think of those who would actually handle these children when they are in school -- the teachers. The teachers are first and foremost. This is because without them, even if you put the children in school, you would be making no point and we would have more children who would fall out of school. So, these 10 teacher training colleges are actually going to help in producing more teachers to teach in these schools.

    He also spoke of motivation for teach- ers. Motivation for teachers is not just a matter of maybe, increasing their salaries or giving them cake to eat; no. But even the in-service training which teachers would get to help them enhance their teaching and learning skills, is very necessary. And I think our teachers on hearing this would appreciate the effort of the President.

    Mr Speaker, I would not be done without mentioning the recognition of our President of women, children and the physically challenged. Women and chil- dren have always been on top of issues that are discussed in social interventions, and I am fully aware that the President has done well by appointing one of our physically challenged people as a Minister. That is a feather in the cap of the NDC.

    Mr Speaker, the President also spoke of giving Members of Parliament (MPs) laptops and making sure that our offices are connected to our constituencies. I think this is a very big achievement if it comes to stay and I know it would come to stay. This is because we are here representing our constituents and they need to know what is happening day in day out. This is a manifesto promise of the NDC and I believe that it would come to stay.

    Mr Speaker, with these words, I wish to associate myself with the Motion and I wish us all the best calling on our other

    Colleagues on the other side of the isle to join us to make sure that these things that have been put in place come to stay; this is not a matter of party but it is a matter of all Ghanaians.
    Mr Kwame G. Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support my Hon Friend who moved the Motion, that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for presenting the State of the Nation Address to us last Thursday, 21st February, 2013.
    In doing so, Mr Speaker, I believe the statement was spot on, it was relevant, it has got a lot of vision for this country. Mr Speaker, it is the true state of the nation and I personally believe anybody who presents anything in the form of a state of the nation by himself, herself or together with some other people is doing so at the figment of his own imagination and has no bearing at all -- [Hear! Hear!] -- on the true state of this nation and the destiny of this country.
    Mr Speaker, I come from a village called Adaklu. I was in the village over the weekend. I discussed some of these things with my colleagues and I believe that they have hope in the things the President dis- cussed in his State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker, I take, for instance, energy. The President is saying that by the end of February, 132 megawatts of energy would be added to the national grid. Around the same period of time, the Bui Dam would give us about 130 megawatts. By the end of April, we understand much more energy would be coming from Bui Dam.
    So, if the issue with my people is about
    the light going on and off, the President has given hope and a time to which my people can look up to. If you even talk about the vision which some people talk about, the President is saying and consist- ently, the NDC is saying that by the end of 2016, about 5,000 megawatts of energy would be available to Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, if this is not vision, what is it? Mr Speaker, I believe NDC as a Government is fair to the people of Ghana. The President was honest, straightforward -- he acknowledged the challenges we have as a country and he provided solu- tions which inform my believe that he has got the heart at the right place and he is moving this country in the right direction.
    I would want to touch briefly on healthcare. Mr Speaker, my opening statement on healthcare is this, that the NDC Government, arguably, I believe, provided or has invested more in health care infrastructure in this country than any other Government -- [Hear! Hear!] . That is what informs the fact that when the President talked about us building more district hospitals, regional hospitals and others, I believe he understands that we can only build this country with healthy people. So, that is a vision and a healthy people building a prosperous nation; that is what I call vision.
    I noticed when he was mentioning the district hospitals, he mentioned that we were going to build 12 but he only men- tioned 10. I would just make a request that one can come to Adaklu if we are looking for places to put the two.
    On housing, Mr Speaker, the President mentioned the fact that there is going to be a national housing policy that would include all stakeholders. I am very hopeful that when we are formulating this policy,

    we consider updating Ghana's building regulation or building code.

    Mr Speaker, some of the Stakeholders should include Ghana Institute of Archi- tects, Ghana Institute of Engineers, Sur- veyors and even the financial institutions.

    I believe this will lead to a housing policy that will truly address Ghana's housing policy.

    Mr Speaker, I always have to question myself sometimes, almost every signifi- cant building in this country that is being built or have been built in recent time have been designed and most of the time built by foreigners. How do we build our own heroes, our own Norman Forsters, our own Renzo Pianos? Almost every significant building is designed by foreigners. It gets so bad that sometimes you would see a project going on, if you look at the design, even the specifications are brought in from somewhere, either China or somewhere -- what do we train architects, engineers and others in this country to do -- only to supervise?

    I believe we can create our own na- tional heroes in this country if we allow some of these people to partner them at the inception of the project, so that we do not only have to buy completed designs, specifications, some of which do not actu- ally apply to us. I believe the President's vision for a new housing policy is in the right direction and I am very hopeful that what would come out of it would be a better place for all of us.

    Mr Speaker, on roads, I believe every- where in this country, a bit of improve- ment will be helpful. I am very sure the President is aware of this and has made commitment to continue with what we have done as a government and it is on this note that I would want to say that I believe in the President's vision. I believe

    it is a vision for this country, it is good and I urge all my Colleagues, even those on the other side to see this as a national programme and let us support it.

    On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Sanja Nanja (NDC -- Atebubu/ Amantin) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that this House thanks His Ex- cellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 21st February, 2013 and which was moved by Hon Mem- ber for Mion, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan.
    In the President's State of the Nation Address, he has actually proved that he is a visionary leader and he has this coun- try at heart and he is prepared to move this country to places. Even though the President mentioned several aspects of the economy, I would want to associate myself with two of the nagging issues in the Address, namely, education and health.
    We all acknowledge that the founda- tion of every country is education. A special mention must be made of the Pres- ident not promising to provide only quality education but affordable and accessible education, which is very important in our nation-building and we need to support the President to achieve this. One other area that we need to support the President to achieve his vision is health, which talks about the building of 1,600 CHIP compounds.
    In my view, it was a very refreshing news. This is because I come from a con- stituency where most of the communities, over 50 of them are rural communities without any health facility. As a result, women in labour have to be carried at times over 20 kilometres to get to the
    nearest health facility, which in many cases, cost us precious lives.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude here by commending the President for his vision for the rural poor and the vulnerable in society.
    Mr Mutawakilu Adam (NDC -- Da- mongo) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency the President for his Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 21st February, 2013.
    In so doing, Mr Speaker, I will first and foremost, say that the President outlined in the four thematic areas, the road map to the promised land and come 2016, Insha Allah, this would be achieved and his second term will be renewed.
    Mr Speaker, he covered a wide range of issues and if I would want to cover everything, it will take hours, so I will like to narrow to two items, first, page 7 (SADA) and the Western Corridor Devel- opment Authority.
    The President stated clearly that in the spirit of public private partnership, SADA facilitated partnership to establish three agro-processing factories-- a sheanut processing factory at Buipe, a rice mill at Nyankpala near Tamale and a vegetable oil factory at Tamale.
    Mr Speaker, within a spate of three years, we have been able to set up three factories under SADA. Mr Speaker, apart from providing direct jobs to the people, there are other economic benefits that come with it. One, farmers are assured of market for their rice and in terms of the sheanut processing factory, Mr Speak- er-- interesting things are happening in
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, do we have Hon Edward Dery in the House now?
    Mr Edward Dery 12:20 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, may I draw your attention to something very significant in the Order Paper. Page 3 (ii) “Dr Avea Ephraim Nsoh -- Minister - designate for the Upper West Region”. Mr Speaker, the Upper West Regional Min- ister was vetted last week and sworn in.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    The Clerks- -at-Table would take care of that.
    Mr Edward K. E. Dery (NDC-- Lambussie/Karni) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion moved by our Hon Member (Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan) that the President deserves a very big thank you from the House.
    In so doing, as social democrats, we as a Party believe that, and the President also believes that he is on course.
    He indicated that he is going to deliver within the promises of the NDC Manifesto and when you look at the four pillars, he itemized, it is not far-fetched from the NDC Manifesto and I believe he is on course. Article 67 of the Constitution gave him the sole prerogative as the duly elected President of this nation to deliver the State of the Nation Address, which he did. I will take just the number four of the four pillars.
    Transparent and accountable govern- ance -- I will also add that with prudent management-- because, yesterday, on my way to town, on one of the networks, I was listening to people complaining so much. When there is prudent management in the public sector, reducing extra expendi- tures, the transparency, accountability still comes under that-- we have a prudent
    management of the economy. Mr Speaker, I would want to touch on
    only one thing, SADA, where indeed, he indicated clearly that, he is going to estab- lish three agro-processing factories in the North. One is the sheanut factory at Buipe, rice mill at Nyankpala and the vegetable oil mill. I also heard from the Internet at the same time, some people complaining that the President did not touch on jobs.
    He intimated that he is going to create jobs in these three areas and somebody is thinking that he did not touch on the area of jobs at all. Is it that some people are feeling it is not in the right position or the right region? But I believe that it is job creation.
    It may interest you to know that the sheanut and sheabutter we all know and I believe a lot of Hon Members in this House can attest to the fact that sheabutter is one of the leading -- if not -- when you come to a commodity that we believe has a very good price on the international mar- ket -- So, I would be surprised if people are thinking, establishing a factory will not create jobs because going to create jobs for people to work--
    We have been complaining our people leaving the three northern regions and de- scending down, looking for jobs that are non-existent. I believe that if we have a factory, a good number of our brothers will get jobs and it will also reduce the burden and congestion in the cities.
    Now, the third item, vegetable oil mill. We all know in this country, we import everything, and it is not an exception to talk about vegetable oil. And if we can have a factory that will take care of that, it tells you, it is creating jobs. So, if someone is saying the President did not touch on job creation, I think these are the areas they should go back and look at very well
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think we have had enough by way of debate on His Excellency's Address to the House. We will continue with the debates tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I see that we have a number of committee meetings lined up for today, not less than seven.
    So, Majority Chief Whip, what do you say?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Mun- taka 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your endurance and patience.
    As you rightly mentioned, there are a number of committees that have been scheduled to meet and I beg to move, that the House stands adjourned until tomor- row at ten before noon.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speak- er, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:30 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.38 p.m. till Wednesday, 27th Febru- ary, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.
  • SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 12:38 p.m.

    SPACE FOR APPENDIX - 12:38 p.m.