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.