Debates of 25 Feb 2014

PRAYERS 9:55 a.m.

Mr Speaker 9:55 a.m.
Hon Members, may I invite the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Minority Leader to join me to receive His Excellency, the President at the Central Lobby.
Mr Speaker 9:55 a.m.
Hon Members, the House is privileged to have the presence of His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces in the House. [Hear! Hear!]
His Excellency, the President, is here in accordance with article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic to deliver a Message on the State of the Nation to this Honourable House.
On behalf of the Leadership and indeed all Hon Members of this august House, it is my privilege and singular honour to welcome His Excellency, the President of the Republic to the House.
Hon Members, I have the pleasure in inviting His Excellency the President to deliver his Message.
Your Excellency, you may now deliver your Message.
ADDRESS 9:55 a.m.

Dramani Mahama) 9:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency the Vice President, Your Ladyship the Chief Justice, Hon Members of Parliament, since the start of the Fourth Republic, every President, in fulfilment of article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, has stood before this august House once each year to address the state of our nation. It is my privilege, as President, to also stand before you today to present a message on the state of the nation.

As former Member of Parliament for 12 years, I am always filled with a sense of nostalgia anytime I step onto the grounds of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, we find ourselves at a unique place in history. Our beloved country, Ghana, is a nation in transition. We are on the cusp of many exciting new opportunities. We are on the verge of fulfilling the promises our forefathers and foremothers made about the destiny of our country and the determination of our people.

We are in the midst of change. And change can often feel uncomfortable, especially, as it pulls us away from the systems and practices with which we have become familiar, but are no longer serving our needs efficiently.

Without change, Mr Speaker, Ghana cannot grow. Change is what will propel us forward, as a nation, to all that lies ahead of us.

These new opportunities would enable us to transform ourselves from a lower middle-income, import-dependent developing country to a proud and robust, self-sufficient middle-income nation.

Mr Speaker, we have been here before, as a nation. We have been in transition, pushing our way past doubt and past darkness, to find the dawn of a new day. Ghana was created through change, a movement of the people in support of their collective vision. And then Ghana went on to influence change on the African continent and in effect, the course of the world.

Mr Speaker, last year in my first State of the Nation Address, I defined the four basic pillars around which my approach to governance and socio-economic transformation would revolve. They are: Putting People First; Building a Strong and Resilient Economy; Expanding Infrastructure for Growth and, Maintaining Transparent and Accountable Governance.

Today, as I talk about where we are as a nation, I also want to talk about who we are as a nation. I want to talk about the richness and diversity of our talent and innovation. I want to talk about the strength of our determination as a people. It is a determination that has always guided us towards victory in all of our endeavours.

We are a nation of 24 million. That's people, not products. Twenty-four million human lives: each one deserving access to the basic necessities of life; each one possessing unique ideas and skill sets to make Ghana better; each one holding more value to this country in its existence and potential than any other natural resource we have.

Mr Speaker, this is why my Government's first priority is, and will continue to be, our people. At the core of

every decision we make and every policy we implement, is the understanding that it would have a direct and positive impact on the day-to-day lives of the average Ghanaian citizen.

Pillar One: Putting people first

Gender, children and social protection

At the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, a prominent item on the Agenda was the topic of “inequality”. Various development and social justice organisations cited it as one of this decade's top global risks. Inequality among nations, as well as inequality within nations, has become a major flashpoint for social tension.

Mr Speaker, wealth disparity is of great concern to my Government. It is a threat to our stability as a nation and to our unity as a people. We are aiming to bridge the gap between the richest and poorest of our people. In the next two months, here in Accra, we will host a major international conference focusing on the theme of growing inequality in the world. We are proud to be hosting this conference and are eager to share our experiences with the rest of the world, and also gain insight from the other conference participants and the international community-at-large.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is a major instrument in our effort to create an all- inclusive society in which the weak and disadvantaged also have a stake in our nation's progress. The Ministry's primary mandate is to promote the welfare and protection of children, and to empower the vulnerable, the excluded, the aged, and persons living with disability, and to ensure true gender equality.

A lot of this Ministry's work involves advocacy and, in this regard, the Ministry has actively been involved in the drafting of the Affirmative Action Bill and the
Dramani Mahama) 9:55 a.m.

Intestate Succession and Property Rights of Spouses Bill. The Ministry also initiated the process for the validation of the Domestic Workers Regulation. These are pieces of legislations that are key to protecting the rights of our women and other vulnerable groups in our society.

The Ministry's flagship programme, however, is the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty, otherwise known as LEAP. Mr Speaker, through this programme, the Ministry has made cash grants to 74,000 of the poorest households in our country. This means that now, the poorest 74,000 families in Ghana would be able to afford food, clothing and the cost of basic transportation; now, these families would have access to healthcare and education; now, these families can even invest in some small income-generating activity.

[Order! I am not your co-equal.] [Laughter.]

Currently, the Ministry is implementing an electronic platform to deliver the grants to the beneficiaries using mobile phones.

Mobile devices are being distributed to the beneficiary families to enable them receive their transfers. With those mobile devices, many households would also, for the first time, be able to connect to the national communication network.

The LEAP programme is not intended to be a source of long-term support to the same set of families. The purpose of these cash grants is to empower the poor and the vulnerable. It is to create opportunities in order to give them a way out of poverty.

The programme ensures that the most impoverished among us can live in dignity. It offers them hope in their future possibilities, and a chance to participate in the collective future of our nation.

Mr Speaker, this Ministry is especially vigilant when it comes to the rights and protection of our children. The Ministry, together with the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit [DOVVSU] has led an awareness campaign against child marriage. As a result of this campaign, they have successfully extr icated numerous children forced into marriage and returned them to their families and studies.

The Ministry has also provided the equipment and taken tool kits to 25 institutions across the nation to facilitate the technical and vocational training of young people.

Finally, in other work, Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, convened a team of doctors to perform the necessary surgeries on women with obstetric fistula in the Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Central regions. In addition to offering these women relief from the pain and discomfort of this childbirth injury, these procedures have restored their dignity and sense of self-worth.

Mr Speaker, through our social intervention programmes, we must create safety nets that protect the poor and vulnerable. We must share the fruits of our growth equitably in order that we leave no one behind. This is the way we can guarantee that all our citizens are committed and have a stake in the survival and advancement of our nation.


Mr Speaker, it is this Government's vision to extend quality healthcare to all our people, irrespective of one's status in

society or geographical location. This involves the construction of new facilities and the training of health personnel.

Healthy people make a healthy nation. All around the world, it is recognised that, the costs and consequences of illness far outweigh the cost of making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to all.

Mr Speaker, to this end, Government is pursuing the vision of bringing healthcare to the doorsteps of our people in even the remotest of locations. We have been engaged in an aggressive rollout of Community (Based) Health Planning and Services (CHPS). The CHPS compounds are staffed with trained nurses, midwives, and other auxiliary health personnel.

They are located in rural and peri-urban communities, and they provide basic healthcare services including antenatal care to pregnant women. [Some Hon Members: Where?] -- At least, Bole Bamboi, my former constituency -- apologies to my Member of Parliament.

These compounds have greatly increased access to healthcare, especially, in deprived communities. They have cut down the distance our citizens have to travel to access healthcare. The CHPS compounds are also playing a prominent role in Ghana's steadily decreasing maternal mortality numbers. By 2016, we aim to construct an additional 1,600 new CHPS across the country.

To support this wonderful campaign, my colleagues and I in the Executive branch of Government have taken a voluntary ten per cent (10%) cut in salaries. These contributions would be used to construct more CHPS Compounds so that we can save the lives of more women during childbirth.

Mr Speaker, our policy is to provide every district with a modern health facility. The newly-constructed Tarkwa hospital has been equipped and is now opened to us.[Hear! Hear!] This has improved the quality of health in that catchment area. Work is ongoing on 12 new district hospitals, including Dodowa; Sekondi; Fomena and Garu-Tempane, while financing for an extra 9 is being concluded.

Mr Speaker, work is ongoing on a new teaching hospital for the University of Ghana. When completed, this new hospital will make quality tertiary healthcare readily available. It will also ease the pressure on the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Work is ongoing to upgrade the Ridge Hospital into a full- fledged regional hospital to serve the Greater Accra Region. Work on the Upper West Regional Hospital in Wa is progressing steadily.

Just a few weeks ago, I performed a ceremony to inaugurate the start of the Phase II of the upgrading and expansion works in Tamale hospital. This upgrading has made the Tamale hospital a Teaching Hospital a critical provider of tertiary care in the northern sector. This development also means that it is now possible for medical students from the University for Development Studies to perform their clinicals at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, instead of moving to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi to complete their studies.

Mr Speaker, in this time and age of modern medicine, in order to best serve patients, our healthcare facilities must maintain equipment that is state of the art and in good working order. Under the National Medical Equipment Replacement Programme, modern equipment has been supplied to 40 district hospitals. Other beneficiary hospitals are Ridge, Tema General, 37 Military, Children's Hospital, as well as Maamobi General Hospital. There were three teaching hospitals that also benefited: Tamala, Komfo Anokye, and Korle-Bu.
Dramani Mahama) 9:55 a.m.

Mr Speaker, Korle-Bu, Ghana's premier teaching hospital, benefited from equipment supplies and rehabilitation worth 276 million Ghana cedis. This expenditure covered the paediatrics theatre, which had been closed for more than 8 years. Children are now able to have their surgeries in a beautifully renovated theatre with first class equipment. [Hear! Hear!] Additional facilities covered by the expenditure were the neonatal, intensive care and baby units; the mammography centre, as well as the laundry and kitchen.

We are currently engaged in the expansion of health training facilities. More Nursing and Midwifery training and Medical Assistants training institutions are being opened. This means that, more skilled personnel are being graduated to serve in the health sector. So far, more than 3,000 medical personnel have been trained. These include medical assistants, midwives, public and community health nurses.

The net result of this additional access and availability of health personnel is reflected in the increasing life expectancy ratio in Ghana, which currently stands at about 65 years and is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another positive result of this, is the drop in institutional neonatal mortality from 5.8 per 1000 live births in 2012 to 2.3 per 1000 today. The average neonatal maternal mortality is also decreasing steadily. These are not just numbers; they represent human lives. These improvements mean that, more babies are surviving childbirth and more mothers' lives are being saved.

Mr Speaker, when it comes to saving lives, Ghana has been hugely successful in its efforts in the area of HIV/AIDS. Our prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS continues to decline and currently stands at 1.37 per

cent. The Ghana AIDS Commission continues to work towards implementa- tion of our 5-year strategic plan. The plan envisions a 50 per cent reduction in new infections by 2015, virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission and the placement of more infected persons on anti-retroviral therapies. We would mobilise funding for a massive scaling up of our anti-retroviral therapy programmes.

At the invitation of UNAIDS, I was invited to attend the Lancet Commission Conference, of HIV/AIDS. At the conference, I championed the cause of building local capacity in the African Pharmaceutical industry for the pro- duction of anti-retroviral therapies.

Mr Speaker, for this purpose, we have released GH¢50 million to the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to increase their capacity for the manu- facture of anti-retroviral drugs.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to announce that we are on track to exceed the target of a 50 per cent reduction in new infections by 2015. We are also leading the way in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 76 per cent reduction in new HIV infections among children.

Mr Speaker, education has proven to be the most effective tool in the battle against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The awareness that is gained through

education, is what prompts people to alter or stop engaging in behaviours and practices that place them at greater risk of infection. We would continue our public awareness campaigns, specifically, the ones targeting those populations at greatest risk.


When it comes to education, Mr Speaker, Government's top areas of focus are quality, access, and affordability. There was a time when our public school system was on track and on a par with the private schools here in Ghana, and anywhere else in the world. Where education is concerned, we have a history of being quite visionary.

When the Prince of Wales College, which later became Achimota, was established in 1924 as a co-educational facility, gender equality in education was far from the norm. In fact, most women the world over, did not even have the right to vote or own property. But in Ghana, girls and young women were being educated alongside their male counter- parts. And, rightfully, with that education came the expectation of comparable careers.

When the commission on higher education in the British colonies recommended that a single university be established in British West Africa and chose Ibadan, Nigeria as the location of that university, we Ghanaians protested this decision. We understood the value of education. We knew what the presence of an institution of higher learning would mean to our people, especially, to the future generations.

In the end, our protest was successful and that university which was established in 1948 as an affiliate of the University of

Mr Speaker, we must make education a priority again. The students of this nation deserve to have the confidence that comes from knowing that the education they are receiving will adequately prepare them to navigate this competitive global work- place. If our students are left behind, then we as a nation will also be left behind.

To this end, Government has been working to improve the quality of education, especially at the basic level. The main problems affecting this level are lack of teachers, lack of teaching and learning materials, and poor school infrastructure, especially, in the rural areas; and also, community apathy in the management of schools.

Government has been working to address these constraints. We are actively engaged in the process of building new school blocks to replace schools in sub- standard structures. In 1,900 com- munities, mostly rural, this has improved the environment in which children learn and enabled classes to be held all year round.

In urban schools, these additional facilities have enabled Government to progressively eliminate the shift system that had children attending school in turns. Science resource centres have also been rehabilitated across the country to facilitate the learning of science and mathematics.

Mr Speaker, the availability of teachers has been a major challenge. Because of constraints of paying teacher trainee allowances, Government previously imposed quotas on admissions into colleges of education. Annual admission to these colleges was therefore restricted to 9,000 trainees.
Dramani Mahama) 9:55 a.m.

With the recent decision to transfer teacher trainees onto the Ghana student loan trust, it has made it possible to increase the number of trainees in the colleges of education from the previous 9,000 to 15,000 this academic year. This would improve the supply of teachers and open up the opportunity to many young people who want to take up teaching as a profession.

Unfortunately, it has become apparent that, the training of these professionals does not always translate into an availability of teachers in all areas. Mr Speaker, I am concerned, and we all must be concerned, about the findings from a national staff rationalisation exercise just completed by the Ministry of Education. It is clear that we need to do better with the deployment of our teachers.

The current situation is that, in many regions, there is an excess of teachers in urban and peri-urban areas, but in the rural and other deprived communities, teachers are often in short supply. We cannot accept this educational divide between our urban and rural communities.

So, Mr Speaker, I am calling for a nationwide support for the Education Ministry and the Ghana Education Service as they take the necessary actions to implement a programme aimed at an immediate and comprehensive redeploy- ment and redistribution of teachers.

It is very important that all Metro- politan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, as well as Members of Parliament (MPs), and community leaders, take an active part in these efforts to address issues of education at the district and community levels. Together, we can and we must improve school management, performance and accountability across our nation.

Mr Speaker, the lack of instructional and learning materials is also being addressed through the supply of textbooks and exercise books to children in public schools across the country. Through this programme, more than 12 million books have been distributed to basic school children in the country, thus equipping them with the core tools they require for their education.

While Ghana has been successful in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on universal primary education, there still remain pockets where school enrolment is low. To address this, Government introduced the Complemen- tary Basic Education programme. This programme has facilitated teaching and learning for 25,000 out-of-school children. Classes under this programme are ongoing in the Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Brong Ahafo regions. Now, there are 25,000 children whose choices would not be limited by illiteracy; 25,000 children who can go on to become productive contributors to this society in ways they might never before have even imagined.

Mr Speaker, at the secondary level, access continues to be a major problem. Existing secondary schools have a capacity to absorb only 60 per cent of the students who qualify from Junior High School. Because of the high demand for secondary education, existing schools have been compelled to admit much higher than they were designed to accommodate. This has led to circumstances in which there are some schools with as many as 3000 students. This is significantly higher than the prescribed average of 1,500.

Government's programme to construct 200 new community day secondary schools is on track. [Interruptions.]Architectural drawings, designs and quantities have been completed, sites for the schools have

been selected, and the procurement process for the first batch of schools is currently ongoing. [Hear! Hear!]The start of construction works for these schools was held back in 2013 because of the detailed activities that went into the preparatory process.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to inform you that, we have made good progress on this project and I invite all of you Hon Members of this august House, to join me to break ground for the commencement of construction of the first 50 schools next month, precisely on the 3rd of March.

Mr Speaker, the most expensive segment of our education system, is the second cycle. We promised to rationalise fees in the secondary schools, in order to reduce the burden on parents. The Ministry of Education, after extensive stakeholder consultations, advertised a uniform list of approved fees for second cycle schools. Parents are advised to report any head of school that charges fees outside of those on the schedule published by the Ministry.

Further to this, the Ministry of Education, following consultations with stakeholders, has prepared a report on the road map for a progressive introduction of free secondary education in Ghana [Uproar] as required under the 1992 Constitution. This road map would be presented to Cabinet for approval and subsequent implementation. Under the guidance of this proposed road map, we can anticipate that fees for day students would be abolished at an estimated cost of GH¢71 million in 2015/2016.

Mr Speaker, access to tertiary education continues to expand with the increase of admission into public

universities and the participation of accredited private institutions in providing such education. While this has provided opportunity for many to gain university education, we must be mindful both for the quality of education provided and also the disciplines offered in our institutions of higher learning. Some universities may appear interested in only expanding enrolment to attract greater revenue and therefore waive the strict entry quali- fications required for study in university.

Additionally, many universities and tertiary institutions go for the softer course options and churn out graduates in business and the humanities at the expense of science, technology and allied courses which are increasingly in demand in an economy in transition from lower middle income to middle income status.

This is partly responsible for the increasing graduate unemployment level with which we are currently plagued. I have asked the Ministers for Education and Employment and Labour Relations to sponsor a joint survey of the professional and skill sets in demand in the Ghanaian labour market. Such a survey would provide students with guidance in selecting courses in areas where their opportunities for employment are brighter and also provide our universities with information to adjust the curricula and admissions to align with the demands of the job market.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to report to this august House today that, as stated in our 2012 NDC manifesto and indicated in my 2013 State of the Nation Address, the establishment of the first public university in the Eastern Region is becoming a reality.

The Prof. Benning-Amoako-Nuamah Committee has completed work on the nature, specialisation, proposed academic
Dramani Mahama) 9:55 a.m.

We had a situation where forex holdings on behalf of businesses and individuals in our commercial banks amounted to over $3 billion.

In addition, our economy had become increasingly dollarised. Hotel room rates, vehicles, rents, school fees, household appliances, consumer items, cosmetics, clothes and other items were all quoted in dollars. The obvious problem with this is that, the dollar is not our national currency. The currency of Ghana is the cedi, and the cedi would only gain strength if we begin to view and use it as that, our nation's only currency.

The Attorney-General and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) have been charged to monitor the situation and severely sanction any institution advertising rates or prices and charging in foreign currency. A directive to the same effect has also been issued to government agencies.

d. Transforming our economy

Mr Speaker, the basic structure of our economy has not changed from colonial times. The Gold Coast was designed by the colonial administration to be exporters of raw material and importers of finished goods. This is what best served their needs and purposes.

After independence, our first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, sought to break this vicious cycle by establishing numerous state- owned industries to produce consumer products for the domestic market as an import substitution measure. Unfor- tunately, the management of these state enterprises became a challenge and soon they turned into a very huge expense on the budget. A decision was therefore made to divest these enterprises to the

private sector. Unfortunately, in many cases, the domestic private sector was unable to leverage the financing needed to revamp these industries and bring them back into production.

Mr Speaker, the result is that, we are still largely dependent on the export of raw materials, gold, cocoa, timber, oil and mineral exports and on the import of finished goods. That is still the basic structure of our economy.

Mr Speaker, that was why in the beginning, I said that there was the need for change.

Mr Speaker, a fundamental problem of our economy is that, we do not make what we consume. This was the situation the late General Acheampong sought to address with the “Operation Feed Yourself and “Operation Feed Your Industries” programmes, which were aimed at strengthening Ghana's ability to be self-reliant.

Mr Speaker, in 2013 alone, we spent a whopping amount of almost $1.5 billion in foreign currency on the import of rice, sugar, wheat, tomato products, frozen fish, poultry and vegetable cooking oils. Rice accounted for $374 million, fish $283.3 million; wheat $226.7 million; poultry $169.2 million; cooking oils $127 million; and tomato products $112.1 million.

Mr Speaker, imagine if this money had been retained and spent in Ghana. Imagine if it had gone into the pockets of Ghanaian entrepreneurs who would, in turn, spend those Cedis at markets, restaurants, beauty shops, pharmacies, shopping centres and other Ghanaian enterprises.

When Ghanaians produce goods that other Ghanaians use, they are then able to re-invest that revenue back into the very communities that patronised them. The

money flows in a current, and it fortifies the nation's economy. Mr Speaker, that is the best use of a nation's currency. Imagine all that we could achieve, if in one year, we could spend as much in Cedis on locally produced rice, sugar, wheat, tomato products, frozen fish, poultry, vegetable and cooking oils, as we spent in dollars on those very same imported items last year. Just imagine!

Mr Speaker, as we all know, raw material exports are subject to price fluctuations on the international market. Countries that are dependent on raw material exports are therefore subject to wild cycles of booms and busts.

Mr Speaker, 57 years after independence, we need to take a pause and ask ourselves some critical questions. Can the current structure of our economy carry us to the next level? What changes must we make to create an economic structure that would serve our needs and purposes? [Interruptions] --

Order, Order! Tweea, mo nnyē din! Keep quiet and listen, it is a leson in economics

Mr Speaker, between 2012 and 2013, Ghana lost $1.3 billion in export revenues on account of the decline in cocoa and gold prices. At the same time, our import bill rose dramatically from about $7 billion in 2009 to $12 billion dollars in 2012.

Can we, as a nation, continue this unbridled importation of everything from plastic dolls to toothpicks? Must we continue to rely on a narrow band of raw material exports? Were we born to be a nation of only shopkeepers and traders? My definite response to these questions is a big NO!

Once more, Mr Speaker, we return to the need for change in order to facilitate growth. We must change the structure of

our economy. We must reduce the importation of items that we have a comparative advantage to produce. We must add value to our exports through primary, secondary and tertiary pro- cessing: add value to our cocoa by increased domestic processing; refine our gold before export; pursue Nkrumah's dream of an integrated bauxite and alumina industry and halt the export of raw bauxite. We must revamp Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), revive Bulk Oil Storage and Trans- portation Company Limited (BOST), Volta Aluminum Company Limted (VALCO), Tema Shipyard and Drydock and the many other strategic industries that serve as extra pillars for our economy.

Mr Speaker, in compliance with the Constitution, I am required to present this House with a medium term development framework before the close of this year. I have dialogued with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) that is working on this plan and urged them to come out with a plan that fundamentally addresses this weakness in the structure of our economy. I have specifically tasked them to handle the process in a way as to create a buy-in from all Ghanaians irrespective of political affiliation or societal status.

This is not a time to stand divided along any lines; this is not the time to stand on the sidelines; this is the time for us to stand together, as Ghanaians, on the side of Ghana.

In the interim, to kick start this process of transformation, I have tasked the Minister for Trade and Industry to request that the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund extend assistance to local investors for the increased production of poultry, rice, tomatoes, vegetable oil, and fish.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to inform you that, financing has been finalised for the construction of a new sugar processing plant in Komenda in the Central Region. This would reduce our importation of
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sugar. We are also in discussion with another private sector investor about the establishment of another sugar processing plant in the North near Savelugu. I have requested that the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry gives these two projects his personal and undivided attention.

Mr Speaker, I have also tasked the Hon Minister to speak with the operators of our flour mills and introduce incentives for the production of composite flours that incorporate more local flour from products like cassava, maize, sorghum et cetera. We did this successfully in the brewing industry, when we introduced a sliding scale of excise that has created an addition of more local products in the beer you drink. We can do this with floor too.

It is my intention to commence work this year on the realisation of the integrated bauxite and aluminium industry, including the revamping of VALCO.

A joint venture agreement between TOR and Petro Saudi is being finalised to revamp the operations of our oil refinery. This would reduce the huge amount of foreign exchange we expend on the importation of finished petroleum products.

Mr Speaker, there is more good news. Keep quiet and listen. The change and transformation is starting.

I have asked Cocobod to enter into a strategic partnership to produce jute sacks in Ghana. This would start by the importation of the jute fibres and the

sewing of the sacks locally. It would be eventually backward integrated into the production of kenaf and the weaving of the jute fibres locally. When this is achieved COCOBOD would be required to halt the importation of jute sacks and buy all its sacks from this factory.

I have asked the Board and manage- ment of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to encourage the local manufacture of electr ical products like cables, transformers, metre, et cetera, by pur- chasing from local producers who meet their quality standards.

Mr Speaker, this year, we will launch a broad campaign to encourage Ghanaians to buy made-in-Ghana goods. Any import item we buy as Ghanaians constitutes an export of jobs out of our country, especially, in respect of items for which we have a comparative advantage to produce.

Mr Speaker, last week I held several meetings with a host of leaders in the business community, from large cor- porations to medium and small-scale enterprises, companies as wide-ranging as Cal Bank, Finatrade, and Scancom to Sethi Industries, Beige Capital, Reroy Cables and Agbeve Herbal.

The purpose of these meetings was to open an honest and easy exchange of ideas and information between government and the private sector. The better we are able to assist one another, the faster we can all help to strengthen the economy by building a Ghana that is self-sufficient and successful.

Mr Speaker, I was encouraged and inspired by these meetings. The determined, hardworking, visionary men and women I met reaffirmed my belief that, Ghanaians are more than capable of creating industries to sustain this country. I met Mr Magnus Nunoo, President of the National Association of Sachet and

Packaged Water Producers. Mr Nunoo spoke to me with the eloquence and knowledge of an economist; and why not? Mr Nunoo attended schools in Cape Coast, Ningo and Labone; he read Economics and Sociology at Legon. Mr Nunoo introduced the packaging of water in sachets and he now employs over 100,000 people. Mr Nunoo even found value in his industry's waste, and became a proponent of commercial-scale plastic waste recycling.

Mr Speaker, at this same meeting, I also made the acquaintance of Mr Tony Senayah, of Horseman Shoes, a company he started in 2009 by buying and selling locally- made shoes from a manufacturer in La Paz. It had always been Mr Senayah's dream to build a vocational training institute. One day, he saw a business opportunity. He realised that a lot of the young people he knew were skilled at making shoes, but beyond that they didn't know how to make their work economically viable.

Mr Speaker, I can tell you, they rival any shoes produced anywhere in this world for those who are interested, they should come to the Speaker's chambers, I will remove them for inspection.
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.
the people as well as the products. Who we are as Ghanaians has always been the driving force behind what we do and how we do it. This country is more than capable of consistently delivering quality — in people, in
performance, in products—if only we demand it for ourselves.
Agriculture and food security
Mr Speaker, despite the fact that the agricultural sector has lost its prime spot as the largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the services sector, agriculture remains a key priority of Government. Government's vision to ensure food security in Ghana has been largely achieved. This has even been acknowledged by the international community.
Last year, 2013, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the AU/Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) recognized Ghana for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing hunger and malnutrition in advance of the 2015 target date.
The award was received by the Minister for Agriculture on my behalf, and it was dedicated to all the hardworking farmers of Ghana. Mr Speaker, I wish to recognise our former Presidents for achieving this feat. Former Presidents Rawlings, Kufour, Atta Mills of blessed memory are all recognised.
Mr Speaker, through the use of improved planting material, subsidised fertilizers, extension services, and access to credit, we have achieved surpluses in our traditional staple crops: cassava, yam, plantain and maize. This has enhanced food security in Ghana, as these foods are now plentiful in the market at reasonable prices.
And to continue on this positive note, Mr Speaker, I would like to report that, even with the huge volume and value of our rice imports, our local rice production has seen a significant increase of about 60 per cent. This has necessitated the establishment by the private sector of two new rice-processing factories in Nyankpala in the Northern Region and
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.

Sogakope in the Volta Region. Another rice processing factory is planned for Atsutuare in the Greater Accra Region. The private sector won't set up a factory if it is not viable.

Despite these successes, many challenges still confront the industry. Access to credit, lack of mechanised equipment for large-scale commercial rice production, non-availability of sufficient irrigated lands; all of these conditions constrain increased rice production. However, Government is focused on partnering with the private sector to eliminate as many of these constrains as possible.

Mr Speaker, in this regard, within the past year, the Government completed rehabilitation work on some viable irrigation schemes and added more than 1,200 hectares of land to the stock of irrigable land, mainly for rice production. Another 8,000 hectares have been added by the private sector, to supplement nearly 6,000 hectares of land in the three Northern regions alone; that makes a total of 15,200 hectares of land total, all devoted to rice cultivation.

Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, we achieved surpluses in our traditional staple crops including cassava. Cassava is the most consumed crop per capita in Ghana. An abundance of cassava, therefore, represents a good source of income for our farmers, but it also guarantees the availability of local foods such as banku, tuozafi, gari and kokonte and fufu which is the Minority Leader's favourite.

Mr Speaker, as I noted earlier, when left to our own devices, we Ghanaians are exceptionally innovative and industrious. Lately, cassava has also been serving as a profitable input for the brewery industry. With the introduction of a new sliding scale for excise tax based on the use of local inputs, the breweries have been incentivised to introduce sorghum and cassava into beer production. These new brands are proving to be quite popular with consumers.

This has been made possible as a result of the availability of over 6 million tons of extra cassava, over and above our national consumption. The introduction of improved varieties, plus a well- developed value chain as well as the development of business oriented viable Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) has been at the basis of this achievement.

Mr Speaker, we have sustained our programme of subsidies for fertiliser and improved seeds. The fertilizer subsidy programme has increased in quantity from below 50,000 metric tonnes in 2008 when it was initiated to 150,000 metric tonnes in 2013. This year, 2014, the subsidy is expected to cover a volume of 180,000 metric tonnes.

I am also pleased to report that, as a result of measures put in place, the incidence of smuggling of the product has largely been curtailed.

Under the livestock production programme, the Animal Production Division of the Ministry of Agriculture is assisting farmers in the sub-sector to improve the quality and quantity of meat they supply to the market.

Mr Speaker, Government's objective is to position agriculture as a truly viable and attractive area for private capital, just as we are seeing with mining, petroleum and housing. I call on the private sector to partner with us to create these new instruments that can allow us to share

both the risk and benefits of such large- scale undertakings, which will trigger a more sustainable transformation, to deliver prosperity to our people.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to report that, we are entering in some of these partnerships already in the area of irrigation development. Collaboration between Government institutions and private agribusiness groups from the Netherlands is underway to deliver almost 30,000 hectares of irrigated land under the Sissili-Kulpawn project in the West Mamprusi area of the Northern Region.

Mr Speaker, also, environmental impact assessment studies are also underway for a combined irrigation, flood control and hydroelectric power station at Pwalugu in the Upper East Region. The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) funded by the USAID and the World Bank is working with traditional authorities in the Nasia River Catchment area for another irrigation project.

Mr Speaker, as mentioned earlier, work would commence on a new sugar factory at Komenda this year. This would be supported with an irrigation scheme for high yield sugar cane plantation to feed the factory. The factory is expected to create jobs and employment, especially within the catchment area, and produce value-added by-products such as energy and alcohol.

Trade and industry

Since the establishment of the Free Zones in the early 90s, a lot of progress has been made in attracting serious investors into the export processing zone. Mr Speaker, the Export Processing Zone is being positioned to attract more export- oriented investments that can generate foreign exchange, create employment and improve livelihoods.

The Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) licensed 23 new companies that are expected to generate more than 10,000 new jobs over the next three years.

Mr Speaker, globalisation and trade liberalisation have brought in their wake a number of unfair trading practices such as dumping by foreign exporters. We are aware of the difficulties encountered by some domestic companies as a result of these unfair trading practices. To check these practices, we would, in the course of this year, submit to Parliament a Bill on the establishment of a Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), which would enable our nation to take advantage of the remedies on piracy, anti-dumping and countervailing measures.

The overall effect of this commission would be to boost our domestic and international competitiveness.

Local content boosting the Ghanaian private sector.

Mr Speaker, we have passed the local content law for the Oil and Gas industry. This would allow the Ghanaian private sector to participate fully in the multi- million dollar contracts awarded in the industry. With the passage of this bill, Ghanaian registered companies must quickly build capacity to compete in tenders advertised by the oil companies.

Mr Speaker, Government would also use its financial muscle to boost the Ghanaian private sector. Their success is everybody's success. Their prosperity is one that will ultimately benefit the entire nation. Ghanaian registered companies that are up to date in their corporate obligations would be given preference in bids under a revised Public Procurement Act soon to be laid before Parliament. Government agencies would be compelled to give first consideration in the
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.

procurement to goods and services made in Ghana. Value for money and quality will not be compromised in the process.

Ghana commodity exchange (GCX)

Mr Speaker, as part of efforts to create an orderly, transparent, and efficient marketing system for Ghana's key agricultural commodities to promote agricultural investment and enhance productivity, the Government has committed itself to the establishment of a Ghana commodity exchange (GCX) and associated warehouse receipt system


This move is to encourage market access and fair returns for smallholder farmers, and to facilitate the formalisation of informal agricultural trading activities. It is expected that, the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange would position it as a west african regional hub for commodity trading activities.

Economic partnership agreement (EPA)

Mr Speaker, regarding the economic partnership agreement with the EU, the West Africa Regional bloc is in negotiations. In the interest of regional solidarity, Ghana is committed to the collective position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in conformity with the region's common goal.

I am optimistic about the process of negotiation between the EU and ECOWAS, and thus believe that, an equitable and development-oriented regional EPA Agreement would be concluded in line with market access regulations. Ghana must, however, consider transitional measures to guarantee market access, seeing as a regional partnership agreement, would not

have been ratified before the deadline of 14th October of this year.

Mr Speaker, Government would support the Ghanaian industrial sector to enable it to generate jobs, reduce poverty, and increase manufactured exports. This would include affordable financial credit for retooling and expansion.

Ports and trade facilitation

As part of measures to decongest the ports and facilitate trade, more non- intrusive cargo scanners would be deployed in 2014 at the various ports and major border posts. I have also directed the Minister for Finance to initiate the revision of the relevant legislative instruments to extend the time for goods meant for warehousing from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. This would also facilitate the delivery of a twenty-four hour service by the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Mr Speaker, we would reduce the time and transaction costs of clearance at the ports. The case where importers must pay demurrages as a result of inefficiencies not caused by these importers, but by state agencies will be corrected.

Investment promotion

Mr Speaker, a new Ghana Investment Promotion Act is in force to regulate investment into the country. The GIPC supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has started embarking on aggressive trade and investment promotion activities in the coming years. We have plans to establish trade offices in China, Turkey, South Africa and Japan.


The Tourism and the creative sector are a major contributor to our economic growth.

In 2013, the sector maintained its position as the fourth (4th) highest foreign exchange earner after gold, cocoa and remittances from Ghanaians abroad. International arrivals and receipts grew by 10 per cent, rising from 903,300 in 2012 to 993,600 in 2013 resulting in an increase from US$ 1.7 billion to US$1.9 and contributing 4.7 per cent to GDP.

In terms of employment, a total of 319,000 jobs were created in both formal and informal tourism enterprises. With appropriate investments in this sector, tourism can become a leading revenue earner for our economy. We would also invest also in the creative industries which have become a major source of employment and income for thousands of our people.

Pillar Three: Expanding infrastructure for growth

Mr Speaker, just as the basic structure of our economy has remained virtually unchanged since our transition to a free, self-governing nation, our basic infrastructure has not been greatly expanded since the early days of our liberation. Back then, our population was significantly smaller and distributed more evenly between the urban and rural areas.

Mr Speaker, in 2000, Ghana's popula- tion was roughly 18.9 million; by 2010, it had increased by more than 30 per cent to 24.6 million. In order to sustain and enhance our projected rate of growth over the long term, it is absolutely necessary that, we develop and expand our infrastructure to support expanded economic activity and to guarantee rapid socio-economic development.

Current estimates indicate an annual funding gap of about four billion Ghana cedis if we are to effectively tackle our

infrastructure challenges and expand them as a catalyst for growth.

Mr. Speaker, following the announce- ment by the Hon Minister for Finance, when he presented the 2014 Budget Estimates to this august House, I have moved quickly to set up an Advisory team to lead the way for the operationalisation of the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Mr Speaker, we made clear commitments to the nation in the 2012 manifesto, to embark on an aggressive expansion of the country's infrastructure. Pursuant to this commitment, a number of major investments have been made as part of our strategic infrastructure programme in the road, transport, energy, water, housing and communications sectors.


Mr Speaker, every single day, we trust our roads to carry our children, spouses, parents and friends safely to and from school, work, appointments, villages and hometowns. We trust our roads for the reliable transport and delivery of food and beverages, clothing and other merchandise. When our roads are not adequately maintained or repaired, we face the possibility of losing precious lives, losing much-needed revenue and losing time that could have been better spent doing something other than sitting in traffic.

Mr Speaker, when I delivered the State of the Nation Address last year, I informed this House of my government's desire -- [Interruption] -- Sofoline is on track and it would be completed.Mr Speaker, I informed this House of my Government's desire to transform the Kwame Nkrumah Circle into a modern three-tier interchange to eliminate the human and vehicular congestion that has come to be associated with that very busy intersection.
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.

Within Accra, work is also progressing on a number of traffic improvement in the city. I must acknowledge the messages of appreciation received from residents of TeshieTebibiano. Does any of you live there? You would know what is happening in that area -- [Uproar] and surrounding communities, following the fast track rehabilitation of the road linking the area to the main Accra-Tema beach road. And it is popularly called the Bush Road. Several road works are ongoing in Accra under the urban roads project.

Mr Speaker, 30 kilometres of road have been completed in the Garden city of Kumasi [Uproar]. For those of you who do not know, ask your Minority Leader, he will tell you.Many of these are in the Suame and Asawase constituencies. And I know Hon Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka is also happy about that. I know the Hon Minority Leader would recognise these roads. Roads like Abawa Ruth, Bremang UGC, Sepe Dote, Abusuakruwa, Sawaba area, Adukrom, Asokore Mampong are all being rehabilitated. We will come to Manhyia. Otumfo the Asantehene is there. We would do the roads.

Mr Speaker, in 2013, significant progress was made on other important road work which is ongoing. I went and inspected it myself; projects in various parts of the country. These include: Tarkwa-Ayanfuri-Bogoso -- sectional repairs on Tarkwa-Prestea road, the Central Corridor road consisting of Nsawam By-Pass, Kwafokrom-Apedwa, Techiman-Kintampo, Buipe-Tamale overlay;the Eastern Corridor road, consisting of Asikuma Junction-Kpeve; Dodo-Pepesu- Nkwanta, Nkwanta- Oti Damanko and work is beginning by the Brazilian contractors on the Oti Damanko to Napkanduri stretch of the Eastern Corridor.

The Coastal Corridor roads have also been touched from theAflao-Agbozume- Akatsi, and Agona Junction to Elubo road; Accra East Corridor roads, that is Giffard and Burma Camp roads; and the Accra West Corridor, that is, the Awoshie- Pokuase road. And I urge all of you to go and see the work we have done on the Awoshie-Pokuase road. Does any one live there? you would know what is happening in that area -- [Uproar] [Interruption] -- Kwahu? We will touch Kwahu. When I went for the Easter celebrations the Kwahu Chiefs appealed to me to do the Kwahu roads, so we will look at them.

Work is continuing and the pace would increase on Walewale-Gambaga, Navrongo- Tumu, Tamale -Salaga, Kintampo-Abease and Atebubu-Kwame Danso road. Work will start this year on the Lawra-Han-Tumu road. And I know the Hon Majority Leader would be very happy about that. Installation of bridges is also ongoing, to open up the road from Walewale to Wa.

Mr Speaker, in 2013, across the country, we undertook critical maintenance work on a total of 15,405 km of trunk, urban and feeder roads. This year, in addition to ensuring speedy completion of the ongoing projects, we would commence a number of new road projects aimed at further opening up the country and facilitating the free movement of people as well as enhancing economic activity.

These projects include the 25km Kasoa bypass, and town roads in Sekondi- Takoradi, Nyarkrom, Gbwollu, Bole, Mamfi-Kumasi, Kpetoe, Moree, Old Tafo and Fomena-Anyasi.


Mr. Speaker, we have always been fond of referring to Ghana as the gateway to West Africa, but more and more, it is looking like Ghana is becoming a gateway to the rest of Africa as well. A reliable, efficient, cost-effective and modern transportation system is required to fast track our transition from a lower middle- income to a fully-fledged middle-income status.

To this end, we have, over the last few years, been putting in place the building blocks for reaching this goal.

A well-coordinated port infrastructure expansion programme has commenced and I had the privilege of cutting the Sod for the beginning of expansion of the Takoradi Habour. The purpose of these projects, Mr. Speaker, is to position the ports in readiness for enhanced port business, targeting our landlocked neighbours, larger vessels and the oil and gas sector.

Infrastructure development projects are major job creation avenues, and these ongoing works are creating thousands of jobs. As we prepare for the start of work on the upgrading of the Tamale Airport,

we can be assured of new job opportunities in the northern city of Tamale -- [Hear! Hear!].

This would be resulting from new and improved eco and cultural tourism opportunities, as well as supporting the agricultural sector by leveraging exports of fresh produce and agro-based industries.

Mr Speaker, work is progressing on the rehabilitation and expansion projects at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). The parking apron for wide-bodied aircraft has been completed. Expansion of the arrival hall would be carried out to create more space for the increased number of passengers arr iving at the Kotoka International Airport each day. Adver- tisements would soon be placed for the construction of a new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport. This terminal to be known as terminal 3 would take the pressure of terminal 2, so that, rehabilitation of that terminal can take off in earnest.

Mr Speaker, often when one sits in the airplane, one cannot see the work that is going on, on the runway, so I am not surprised. Mr Speaker, and this is the best part -- Runway, lights and modern navigation systems are being installed and work should be completed very soon -- [Hear! Hear!]Listen carefully.

Mr Speaker, this would allow aircrafts to land at all times through the day and night. Passengers arriving on long haul aircraft at night and wishing to continue directly to Kumasi would be able to connect by domestic carriers[Hear! Hear!]. Designs for aerodromes in Ho, Bolgatanga, and Cape Coast are being done and should be ready soon.
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.

Mr Speaker, during my tenure of office, Ghana would witness a revival of its railway transport service -- [Uproar] -- carting export produce to the ports and safely carrying commuters over various distances. As I speak, work on the Sekondi - Kojokrom railway line is on track.

I have asked a team comprising the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Transport to actualise my plans for the railway sector which includes the construction of a new rail link between Tema and the Boankra Inland Port and also the Western Rail line between Takoradi and Kumasi, as a way of attracting more interest and revenue-generating activity from our landlocked neighbours.

Mr Speaker, not only would this increase the life-span of our roads, but it would improve the speed with which goods bound for the northern sectors of Ghana are delivered and to our landlocked neighbours.


Mr Speaker, the damage caused in 2012 to the West African Gas Pipelines revealed the flaws, limitations and deficiencies of an outdated energy infrastructure that was being forced to operate beyond its capacity.

Mr Speaker, the pledge to ramp up our generation capacity to 5,000 megawatts from the current levels by 2016 is very much on course. While we were confronted with managing the dire power supply challenges of 2013, we were not short-sighted in our resolve; but we also started working towards making such crises a thing of the past.

In building what would be a resilient energy sector, we recognise that our quest

to expand the manufacturing sector and to enhanse industrialisation and transform the structure of the economy would depend on the availability of energy. Government is accordingly working to guarantee the required generation capacity, using a mix of generation sources including renewable energy, and supply from independent power producers and of course, from our long standing hydroprower.

A total of 534 megawatts of power generation was added in 2013, bringing our total generation capacity to 2,845. We are aggressively pursuing the completion of a number of additional power generation projects. These include the first phase of a 220 megawatt Kpone Thermal Power Plant, completion of the 110- megawatt T2 and the Volta River Authority's 12-megawatt solar project. Mr Speaker, many Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would also commence the construction of new power plants this year.

Mr Speaker, increased power generation capacity must be supported with a reliable transmission system. Government policy in this direction is aimed at developing an efficient, modern and non-congested transmission system by the year 2015.

To attain this, a number of projects were executed in 2013. Work was completed on the Kintampo sub-station to ensure the evacuation of power from the Bui Hydroelectric Dam and to also improve transmission of power to Kintampo and the Northern part of the country.

A state-of-the-art system control centre has been set up to improve supervisory control and a data acquisition system that now enables GRIDCO to perform economic dispatch of generating

units. Work on the Tumu - Han -Wa trans- mission project is progressing on schedule.

Mr Speaker, last year, we successfully secured funding for the 330kV Kumasi- Bolgatanga Transmission Line. We also commenced work to reinforce the power system in Ghana and ensure power transfer to Burkina Faso and other Sahelian countries as part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).

Arrangements are underway to secure additional funds for the implementation of the Prestea-Kumasi component of the transmission lines.

Mr Speaker, we are concerned with the customer responsiveness of our utility companies, and have accordingly charged the new Board of Directors to demand and ensure that the management of the companies draw up and implement efficient and effective customer and service management modules.

Mr Speaker, the implementation of projects under the National Electrification Scheme, in line with our ‘Energy for All Programme' has been stepped up. In 2013, electrification projects commenced in some 900 communities in Ghana.

Mr Speaker, steady progress continues to be made in the petroleum sub-sector. Average daily production from the Jubilee Oil Field is currently 102,969 barrels a day, with a year to date average daily production of 102,112 barrels a day.

The TEN field Plan of Development (PoD) has been approved, paving the way for the exploitation of reserves of about 245 million barrels of oil and 367 billion cubic feet of gas.

The Sankofa-GyeNyame appraisal activities have been completed. Both oil and non-associated gas discoveries have been declared commercial, with proven reserves of 116 million barrels of oil and in excess of 1,110 billion cubic feet of gas.

Four Petroleum agreements in the South Deepwater of Tano and East Cape Three Points are at various stages of approval and I know some of them are coming before you in this House.

Mr Speaker, the three components of the Gas infrastructure project, which consist of offshore pipeline, onshore pipeline and a processing plant have reached various levels of completion. The offshore pipeline is 95 per cent complete and awaiting pre-commissioning. We expect the plant to be operational in the 2nd half of the year. If we receive this gas, it would make our electricity supply more reliable.

Mr Speaker, as part of efforts to discourage the reliance on wood as a source of fuel, Government would launch an LPG promotion programme and this was done in Garu-Tempane last year - aimed at reversing the deleterious effect of the continuous burning of some 13 million tons of firewood per year is having on our environment.
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.


Mr. Speaker, we all know that water is life. Without it, neither we nor this planet could survive.However, this simple truth holds little meaning for a significant section of our people who do not as yet have access to potable water.

In Ghana, urban water coverage is currently estimated at 63 per cent, while rural water coverage stands at 64 per cent. Government's long-term objective in water provision is to guarantee universal access by 2025. In the short term, however, we are working to increase urban water coverage from the current level to 85 per cent by 2015 while taking rural water coverage to 76 per cent within the same period.

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area alone accounts for 60 per cent of the total urban water consumption in the country. By 2015, its projected daily demand would be 150 million gallons. Total water production from the Kpong and Weija treatment plants, which supply the Greater Accra region, stands at only 93 million gallons per day. This leaves a shortfall of 57 million gallons each day.

[An Hon Member:What are you doing about it?] --

I will tell you what I am doing about it -- [Laughter].

To bridge this gap, four key projects are currently ongoing and these projects, when completed between this year and 2015, would deliver a total of 65.3 additional million gallons of water per day to the existing production capacity. Between this year and 2015, the total water supply to the Greater Accra Metropolitan area will increase to 158.3 million gallons of water per day.This would be enough to

tackle the water demands in the area by the end of 2015. This would end the water starvation in the northern part of the city. So those of you who live in Adenta, Haatso, Agbogba, Madina, Abokobi and all others would receive water.

Mr Speaker, the projects are the Kpong water supply expansion, Kpong intake rehabilitation, Accra-Tema metropolitan area water supply and the Teshie- Nungua desalination.

Mr Speaker, there are dozens of other water projects at various stages of completion around the country which would add about 30 million gallons of water per day to the existing production capacity. Mr Speaker, we will eradicate the handling of the “Kufour gallon” -- [Uproar].

Mr Speaker, a number of projects intended to make water available to rural dwellers were vigorously pursued in 2013. These include the Damanko-Kpassa Water Supply Project, which would serve about 60,000 inhabitants in 13 communities in the Nkwanta North District of the Volta Region and several other projects. I commissioned the BukoDu small town water project recently.

Under the COCOBOD borehole project, over one thousand boreholes were sunk to serve 300,000 people, and under the Northern regional small water and sanitation project, 125,000 inhabitants in 14 districts are being targeted. Mr Speaker, these interventions coupled with other initiatives across the country have firmly put Ghana on the way to achieving the MDG goals on water.


Mr Speaker, available data puts the housing deficit in Ghana at a staggering 1.7 million housing units. There are a

number of interventions ongoing to help reduce the deficit. Work has commenced on a 5,000 units project at Ningo in the Greater Accra Region. This is part of what is billed to be a 9,120 unit affordable housing complex.

The quest to tackle the housing deficit is being handled not as a100 per cent government financed project, but through various forms of private sector participation. Another set of 15,000 affordable units would be constructed over the next five years.

I have, following discussions with some members of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), directed the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, and his colleague at the Water Resources, Works and Housing to discuss with the association a proposal for their contribution and involvement in the construction of affordable houses.

Mr Speaker, let me add that, various state agencies have been tasked to finance and complete the projects that were being undertaken under the Kufour administration. The Tema Development Corporation (TDC) is working on buildings at the Kpone site, while the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has taken over the construction of the units at Borteyman, Asokore-Mampong in Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale and Wa.


Mr Speaker, information and commu- nication technology can improve the quality of life of our people. Just think of all the ways we now use our mobile phones. In a relatively short period of time, this technology has become one of the most indispensable tools of trade,

health, banking, financial services, money transfer, social networking, and education as well as skills training.

In the face of global economic challenges, this sector in Ghana continues to register strong growth, contributing about 24.7 per cent to the Service Sector's share of GDP last year. This is partly due to an enabling and improved operating environment, infrastructural expansion and sustained competition. Telephone subscriptions for both mobile and fixed access lines increased by 10.5 per cent over the 2012 figure to over 25 million subscriber lines.

Last year, the sector recorded a total of about 28 million access lines, representing a penetration rate of 107.5 per cent with mobile telephony accounting for 106 per cent, representing over 27 million subscribers.

Mr Speaker, to further expand access to broadband infrastructure for increased Internet access in the country, the construction of the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic network commenced last year and so far, 107km of fibre out of the 780km stretch has been laid.

Pillar Four: Maintaining transparent and accountable governance

Mr Speaker, the most formidable pillar of our transition to middle-income status is our enviable and deepening record of constitutional governance and rule of law.

In the past year, Ghana has demon- strated, beyond every shred of doubt, about the resilience of our democracy. Together we are knitting the fabric of an inclusive, united and tolerant society. Together, we are moving forward on the path of democratic consolidation.

In the past year, I have sought to conduct a participatory and transparent administration by consulting regularly with selected interest groups to interact
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.

with and share ideas with them on government policy and to receive their inputs on issues of concern to them. I have met with religious and traditional leaders, with youth groups, persons with disability, women's groups, civil society organizations, anti-corruption coalition, market traders associations and several others, too numerous to mention.

I would continue these interactions with the good people of Ghana in order to get a better sense of their needs and, from their own mouths, gain a better insight of how they feel Government is or is not fully meeting its mandate to represent their needs.

Combating corruption

Mr Speaker, we will aggressively continue the fight against corruption -- [Uproar.] Corruption erodes national resources and deprives Government of the capacity to invest in our people. I wish to restate my unwavering commitment to continue an unrelenting battle against corruption. We will fight this battle on two fronts. Firstly, to put in place the measures to prevent corruption, and secondly, to pursue and punish persons who engage in corruption wherever it occurs-- [Uproar.]

Mr Speaker, in the past year, our commitment to the fight against corruption has been manifested in the actions we have taken. We have set up the Sole Commissioner office to investigate cases of Judgement Debts. We eagerly await his report, and would work with it to ensure that we get rid of this huge drain on our public resources.

While we await the completion of work by the Sole Commissioner for further action, I have asked the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice to

vigorously defend all actions brought against the State. In this regard, Government has successfully defended claims filed against the Government both within and outside Ghana, thereby halting payment of sums in excess of GH¢1 billion.

Last year, we set-up investigative committees to look into various allegations of corruption. This was a departure from the past, when other Governments refused to investigate corruption we had the courage to investigate and expose corruption -- [Uproar.] That is not the tradition with other Governments. We published the reports of the investigative committees and the Attorney General and Minister for Justice and EOCO are proceeding to act on the outcome of their investigations.

We completed and launched a Code of Ethics for public office holders. This code provides guidance to public officers in matters such as conflict of interest, abuse of office, and how to conduct themselves. I am sure if the District Chief Executive had read it, he would not have gotten angry because of “tweaa”.

We have embarked on a registration exercise of Government vehicles in order to prevent their misuse or theft.

I have made submission of reports of Audit Reports Implementation Committees (ARICs) a part of the performance criteria of Ministers and their Chief Directors.

I have asked the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to pursue prosecution of persons indicted in audit reports for the misappropriation of public funds.

For more transparency in procurement, we have directed for sole-sourcing applications to be justified to Cabinet by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) before submission to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

Mr Speaker, we have presented many pieces of anti-corruption legislation to this House for your consideration. The National Anti-Corruption Action Plan and Strategy has been laid before Parliament, as part of a series of anti-corruption legislation, including, the Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2013; the Conduct of Public Officers Bill, 2013; the Whistle Blowers (Amendment) Bill and the Right to Information Bill.

Mr Speaker, let me say, on a serious note; the existence of corruption in the system must not be a political baton with which we club each other on the head every few years instead of confronting the problem frontally. Corruption is not a problem that begins and ends with one Government; it is pervasive and virtually institutionalized.

It does not therefore help to segment corruption because it does not segment the harm that it causes to society. It hurts society as a whole, so, the fight against corruption must be wholistic.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has received my full encouragement and support to deal firmly with cases of corruption no matter under whose watch these acts of corruption occurred.

Law and order

Mr Speaker, indiscipline and lawlessness are fast becoming a part of our institutional fabric. They take the form of encroachment of public lands, sale of the same plot of land to multiple buyers, armed

land guards wreaking violence on innocent people. All these problems are becoming endemic in our society and are being exacerbated by growing urbanisation.

Part of the problem is associated with the negligence of heads of public institutions whose mandate it is to regulate these practices. In some cases, these very institutions condone and connive with the offenders, thereby appearing to provide legitimacy to their actions.

Recently, there has been a spate of demolitions, some ordered by the courts and others carried out by State agencies to evict squatters or encroachers from public lands. Ultimately, these demolitions create hardship for our citizens. Public institutions have a responsibility to act in a timely manner in protecting State-owned lands, and must do so. It doesn't help to go to sleep on one's rights, only to suddenly awake one day and seek to enforce those rights by measures as drastic as demolition and Rural Development.

I have therefore, tasked the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Local Government, and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to develop guidelines to regulate demolitions that are in conformity with the laws and statutes in such a way that, they respect the rights of citizens and at the same time, hold relevant public institutions culpable for their inactions at the outset of the problem.

We would strengthen our public insti- tutions to make them more transparent and public-friendly.

Mr Speaker, the fight against crime is being prosecuted vigorously by our security services. In pursuit of this, the Ghana Police Service, with the approval of Government, introduced visibility and accessibility patrols, alongside community policing, tent city systems and street
Mr Speaker, this is what I mean when I say “Made In Ghana” 9:55 a.m.
policing strategies. The formed police unit was also established to deal with public order management. Mr Speaker, I know you will all not deny this; I am happy to report that, there has been a steady reduction in crime with the introduction of the police visibility patrol in the main metropolies of Accra, Tema and Kumasi. [Hear! Hear!] All of you feel much safer today than you did some years in the past.
The Police Patrols' presence has also positively impacted the flow of vehicular traffic in those cities. These initiatives were meant to bring the services of the Police closer to the people and will be extended nationwide.
Mr Speaker, to improve the capacity of security agencies to provide internal security for human safety and protection, Government has facilitated the establishment of a Police Command and Staff College in Winneba and recruited 3,000 personnel with 1,900 of them in training at the various Police Training Schools across the country. This has led to the improvement in Police Population Ratio (PPR) from 1:824 in 2012 to 1:747 in 2013 as compared to 1:1300 in 2008.
This has brought us closer to the United Nations' benchmark of 1:500 (PPR). [Uproar.] Keep quiet and listen -- [Interruption] -- You should be writing down these statistics.
Hon Members, currently, the strength of the Police Service has increased from 29,117 in 2012 to 32,117 this year. Government has acquired two mobile clinic vans, six marine police speedboats, 14 “Maverick” armoured vehicles for crowd control and some communication equipment to aid operations.

Mr Speaker, high on the Government's priority, is the fight against trafficking in and use of illicit drugs -- [Uproar] -- Beyond taking steps to improve public education, our security agencies have stepped-up their operations in the fight against the abuse of, and trafficking in narcotics. Last year, NACOB facilitated the arrest of traffickers, and seizure of several kilograms of various illicit drugs and psychotropic substances including a recent case of 414 kg of cocaine [Uproar] -- Yes, with an approximate street value of GH¢115 million .

As part of our strategy to arrest the drug menace, NACOB has been facilitated to open eight additional regional offices, for which they have recruited 250 personnel who are currently undergoing training. Government has also initiated a draft Narcotics Control Commission's Bill to replace PNDCL 236, which established the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).

Mr Speaker, Ghanaians have proven time and time again that, we are a peaceful and harmonious people with no desire or tolerance for war or violence. We do not want “all die be die” [Uproar.] Even as our neighbours were engaged in civil unrest and bloodshed for lengthy periods, in their history, we did not allow it to spill over into our land. Within our borders there existed peace.

Government would do everything possible to ensure that, this continues to be the case. We will continue to work with the National Peace Council (NPC) to ensure a resolution of conflicts and bring lasting peace to areas that have been going through conflicts. We will continue to support the NPC to deliver on its mandate.

Mr Speaker, our Armed Forces continue to earn praise for their professionalism and performance, both within the country and abroad at the peacekeeping missions to which they are deployed. Despite the

esteem in which our Forces are held, Mr Speaker, the equipment and logistic situation of the Armed Forces was very pathetic. Lack of airplanes and helicopters; lack of naval vessels; lack of APCs, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), and engineering equipment forced our men and women in uniform to become the most ingenious improvisers you could ever find.

Mr Speaker, this situation has dramatically changed. Our waters are kept safe from pirates because the Navy has received seven new vessels. The Air Force role in ensuring national security and safety has been enhanced by the acquisition of CASA Troop Transport Aircrafts. Mr Speaker, our territorial integrity is ensured by the operation of Diamond surveillance and patrol aircrafts. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, medical evacuation and transport of food is enhance by Ml 17 heavy lift helicopters, and new Hangars for maintenance work.

The responsibilities of our Forces continue to increase. Apart from engagement in peacekeeping theatres in Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, we recently have been requested to deploy for air operations in Mali, and also to deploy 850 troops as part of the UN mission in South Sudan.

Mr Speaker, we are proud of the valiant men and women who serve Ghana and the world, on behalf of this nation, and Government is committed to doing what ever we can, to make sure they are able to conduct their service more safely and efficiently, in attire that is appropriate, with equipment that is available and an atmosphere that is befitting.


Mr Speaker, Ghana enjoys substantial praise both nationally and internationally, and has earned an enviable reputation as a burgeoning democracy in large part because of our strong Parliament -- [Interruption.] This is a very good commendation of you and I would advise that you keep quiet and listen --

The Parliament of the Republic of Ghana has led the way-in ground-breaking procedures and practices, becoming the hub of many Parliamentary Networks. Strengthening Parliament is therefore crucial to strengthening our democracy.

Mr Speaker, I will continue to work to enhance the dignity and respect of this august House. [Uproar.] We need to work closely to strengthen public input into the legislative process. After years of delay, I am pleased that Members of Parliament would soon have decent offices from which to conduct their business. The days of using our car trunks to conduct business will finally be a thing of the past -- [Uproar] -- I thought you would say; bo hobiom.

Mr Speaker, when I was a Member of this house, we used to conduct our business from the trunk of our cars. This Parliament is going to receive decent offices.

Mr Speaker, the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee has been working hard to fulfil the mandate given it and it is my hope that, very soon this, House will lend its unalloyed support to achieve the objectives of the Consti- tutional Review exercise.

Mr Speaker, work would commence on the reconfiguration of this Chamber to accommodate the increased number of MPs to 275 for effective legislative work to take place. Mr Speaker, when this is done, it would make you more comfortable.
Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
Hon Members, in accordance with Standing Order 58 of this House, I wish to convey to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana the gratitude of the House.
Hon Members, again, in line with the practice of this House, a formal communication would be forwarded to His Excellency, the President after the House has thoroughly debated this Address.

Hon Members, the application is from the Women's Caucus.

Hon Majority Leader, any indication with regard to the adjournment of the House?
Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 12:35 p.m.
Thank you, very much, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, before we formally thank His Excellency, the President, let me join you on behalf of the House to extend our gratitude to His Excellency for attending upon this House and to perform this all important constitutional function.

Mr Speaker, looking at the mood of the House and seeing my own Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader -- I noticed that, he had written so copiously that he has no space left on any of his papers. This actually pre-figures a very, very rigorous and all-encompassing debate in relation to the Message on the State of Nation presented today by His Excellency.

I certainly think that if the drums have not started, the dance should not begin.

On this note, I would like to move, that this House do adjourn to Wednesday, 26th February, 2014 in the forenoon.
Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in rising to second the Motion as proposed by the Hon Majority Leader, let me confess that
indeed, the Hon Majority Leader is right in saying that the paper that I brought is really filled-up.
I noticed though that it is a re-hash and indeed, a recycling of many of the things -- But the debate has not begun so, Mr Speaker, I would reserve my comments except to note that one important arm of Government was not mentioned. Maybe, it is stuck somewhere in the President's Statement. When we have the full complements we would see it.
Mr Speaker, His Excellency, the President on this occasion said “Boys mbre ye”. Indeed, I noticed that the people who were closest to him were really tired.
But we would bounce back and debate the matter. We reserve our energies for the fateful day. There are so many things that we can discuss.
But I am happy that in winding up, he said everybody should come together and he ended on a happy note for which reason, I may also want to end on a happy note by seconding the Motion moved by the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:35 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.40 p.m. till Wednesday, 26th February, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.