Debates of 12 Mar 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:55 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:55 a.m.

  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 11th March, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Wednesday, 5th March, 2014 for correction.
    Dr Stephen Nana Ato Arthur 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, column 1271, the source is “www.stats.. .” -- S-T-A-T-S -- “statsghana… (www.statghana.gov.gh)”.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well. Any further correction on the Official Report?
    Hon Members, the Official Report of Wednesday, 5th March, 2014 as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when we started with “Prayers”, it was observed that Mr Speaker was smiling throughout and even up to this time -- [Laughter] -- and some of us wanted to know the exiting that is prompting the Speaker to be so happy this morning. If it is his birthday, we would wish him --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Should I be sad or happy?
    Mr Kofi Frimpong 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it may be recalled that about two weeks ago, I made a Statement on Police brutalities on the good people of my constituency and you referred the matter to the Inspector- General of Police to report to the House in a week's time. One week, two weeks have elapsed and we have not heard anything from the Police. My people are still asking whether the Police have beaten them up and got away with that.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know the status of that Report.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, strictly speaking, you are out of order; you are making a statement, you did not get clearance from me. But it is true; the Clerk's office has written to the Inspector- General of Police,but they have not received any feedback. The Clerk has briefed me and I have asked him to do a follow-up and brief my office.
    Hon Members, we have one Statement today to commemorate International Women's Day, 2014. It is being made on behalf of the Women's Caucus by Hon Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, Deputy Majority Whip.
    STATEMENTS 11:05 a.m.

    Mrs Irene Naa-Torshie Addo (NPP-- Tema West) 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague, the Hon First Deputy Majority Chief Whip and Chairperson of the Women Caucus.
    Mr Speaker, the issues that have been raised by my Hon Colleague is one that have to be taken serious by this House, this Government and this country as a whole. Mr Speaker, for example, the appointment of women into Ministerial and other institutions has been on the decline and has been reduced to the passage of an Affirmative Action Law. This Bill which was to be brought to Parliament several years back has still been sitting at the Ministry level. Sometime ago, we were told that it is at the Cabinet level.
    Mr Speaker, frankly, we do not even need to increase the intake just by the Bill. The intake of women into Ministerial levels and high institutions and decision- making bodies can actually be done
    simply by the pen of the President. His Excellency the President, with all the powers enshrined in the Constitution to him, can actually on his own, as he decides to do a reshuffle, decide to put in as many women as he wants to -- [Interruption.] And that decision from thence would not be one of a legislation that never gets into Parliament.

    Mr Speaker, in commemorating this day, the International Women's Day, we would want say here, Mr Speaker, that the President should do better than is being done. We are looking forward, that at the next reshuffle, all the women Members of Parliament present would be in positions of decision making. [Hear! Hear!] Outside this House, Mr Speaker, our very intelligent and brilliant women -- and we are all aware that, when you educate a man, you educate an individual; when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.

    Indeed, if the President wants this country to move forward, it does not matter what he comes to tell us about economic indicators that people have stood up every day to challenge. Every day in this House, both sides have challenged everything he has said. They said that this country is not moving forward, economic indicators are not what he said they are; the development of this country is retarded.

    Mr Speaker, the reason for this is that, women are not at the helm of affairs. If we

    would want women to move forward, Mr Speaker, the women must be in decisionmaking.

    We are therefore, on this day, congratulating all women of this country, especially, the First Lady of this country, Mrs Lordina Mahama. We are asking her together with the President to do what is right. And what is right, Mr Speaker, is to put women into decision-making areas.

    Mr Speaker, somebody would ask why I say women. Why should somebody be made to cook and yet the person is not part of the dishing. The women of this country and the girl-child --
    Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho 11:15 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I have tried as much as possible to allow her to flow. But, Mr Speaker, she made a categorical statement, that the President and his wife must do what is right. To her, what is right is that the President must appoint more female Ministers to his Cabinet. So, the men who are now the Ministers, what the President has done is not right.
    Mr Speaker, is she the one to judge what the President is doing? Is she the one to mark the President? She should go by the Statement and stop that.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, continue.

    I would want to thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.


    Volta Regional Minister (Ms Helen A. Ntoso) (MP): Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made by the esteemed Hon Colleague, Hon Mary S. Boforo.

    The world theme and the Ghanaian theme for this celebration are very complimentary of each other.

    However, the bane of society that impedes equality for women has to do with the world's view of a male- dominance society which needs to change. This world view is the root cause of low represen- tation in governance. Therefore, in order for us to progress towards equality for women, our efforts must not only be geared towards legislation but more importantly, towards changing this world view that informs our culture of a male- domineering society.

    Mr Speaker, I call for all hands on deck. The Media, the music industry, corporate bodies, traditional authorities, politicians, NGOs should embark on an intensive conscientisation to change this social canker of a culture that is informed by a perception of a male-dominance society.

    Mr Speaker, it is only when we have made progress in this direction that women would be encouraged by society to compete without prejudice in governance.

    Mr Speaker, across the nations all over the world, women are longing to be free and this is our time to make contributions for the liberation of women towards achieving total inclusion and deserved recognition of women for socio-economic progress.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I fully support the Statement made by the Hon Colleague.
    Ms Esther Obeng Dappah (NPP -- Abirem) 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to support the
    Statement made by the Hon Member for Savelugu on this day as we celebrate women's achievement.
    Mr Speaker, International Women's Day celebrates the progress women have made in their struggles for equality and development and also focuses on what remains to be done to ensure there is equality for all.
    Ghana, Mr Speaker, has not yet attained the target of equality for all, but we are not where we were. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. And steps have been taken by various advocacy groups and previous govern- ments. Mr Speaker, these efforts have brought us to where we are at the moment. We are so grateful for every advocacy group, for example NGO's which have advocated for Ghana to move forward.
    Mr Speaker, we are expecting that sooner or later, the Affirmative Action being talked so much about would become law for women to have 40 per cent representation in Parliament. It is crucial that we attain 40 per cent representation. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would read these figures.
    The population of Ghana is approxi- mately 25 million. The number of women Hon Members of Parliament is 29. We are 29. The percentage of women in Ghana is about 52. There are approximately 13 million women in Ghana. Twenty-nine (29) Members of Parliament are representing 13 million women. So, each woman Member of Parliament is representing 448,275 women; one woman representing so many women.
    The men are 246 Members of Parliament and they are representing 12 million. So, one man is representing 48,780. Mr Speaker, this is an enormous task for women. The Women Caucus needs support.
    Mr Speaker, having spoken about the need to get support, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate some NGOs who have assisted us, Members of Parliament in our work to eradicate certain harmful cultural practices and they are still working with us on the Intestate Succession Bill and Spousal Property Right Bill. We salute them for the significant role that they are playing.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate care workers in homes. There are so many --
    Mr Speaker, throughout history, women have been associated with care and compassion worldwide. Up to 80 per cent of healthcare is provided in the home almost always by women. I would like to congratulate all nursing women, women who are caring for aged parents, sick husbands or other relations. Most of the works done by these women are unsupported, unrecognised and unpaid for and we need to say “thank you” to them.
  • [MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.]
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (Ms Hannah Serwaah Tetteh) (MP) 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with this Statement.
    Mr Speaker, I would very much like to be associated with the theme of this year's International Women's Day, “Inspiring Change.” But I would also like to point out that, change cannot happen unless we bring our male colleagues along with us. [Hear! Hear!] So, I think this is a celebration as much for men as it is for women. They are our fathers, our uncles, our brothers -- [An Hon Member: Another one.] Our husbands -- [Laughter] --and they are our major allies in the process of creating change. [Hear! Hear!]
    It is important for us to recognise that, because bringing change as far as women's status in society is concerned has to be a joint effort, we have to look at the roots of the challenges to our young girls, to our growing teenagers, to our
    Mrs Gifty Klenam (NPP -- Lower West Akim) 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
    I would want to congratulate the women of Ghana, especially, those in my constituency, Lower West Akim. The theme for this year 's celebration is, “Equality for all and total inclusion”. In fact, it is appropriate, especially, in Ghana here and at this point in time.
    Mr Speaker, President Kufuor in his own wisdom, having an intent for women, set up this Ministry and it is supposed to help and strengthen women and children in Ghana.
    Looking at how this Ministry is being run in the past five years, it looks as if it is more like an NGO. You would want to go to that Ministry and get assistance or
    information, and it is off putting. Even an Hon Member of Parliament, you are asked to sit at the reception and wait for over one and a half hours before you would be asked to see the Minister. The question I keep asking myself is, is it the same Ministry that is supposed to create women agenda in this country?
    Mr Speaker, just last week, the Ministry celebrated women in this country and the women caucus was not invited yet it was celebrated. And we ask ourselves, we want women to be leaders in this country, but we do not recognize the women caucus in Parliament who are the first call of politicians in Ghana, yet, we talk about promoting a women agenda.
    Mr Mahama Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry has a committee of this House which oversees its activities. Mr Speaker, I do not think that it is fair to create an impression that there is a particular Women Caucus that the Ministry is directly answerable to in this House. There is a committee and they are answerable to that committee.
    I think the Hon Member is wrong to create that impression.
    If there are women in that Committee, Mr Speaker, I am sure they have an opportunity to work with the Committee. But I think the Hon Member's statement keeps creating an impression that, because
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, I allowed you to speak without stopping you because you are the first person who has raised a point of order today. Yesterday, I was quite strict, and I intend to do the same thing today, that if one rises, one would show and indicate clearly what Order one is coming under, then we would take it from there.
    Secondly, your point, if I may just understand it is that, the Statement or the contribution to the Statement is being used for things that are not envisaged in our Standing Orders. Is that the point you are making, that the person who is contributing to a Statement is, perhaps, being unnecessarily argumentative or generating or provoking debate? You say it. Hon Ayariga, say it in a manner which is in the practice of the House. Say it!
    Mr Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
    That is so. Mr Speaker, I was drawing attention to the fact that, the Hon Member, in the manner in which she is proceeding in her contribution to the Statement, is making statements that would unnecessarily provoke debate. By our Standing Orders, when making a contribution to a Statement, you should avoid making statements that would provoke debate in the House, and that was exactly what I was referring to.
    Mr Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order 72.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Order 70(2) or 72?
    Mr Ayariga 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order 72 is what deals with Statements by Members.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    All right. Thank you.
    Hon Member, continue. By the time you finish, I will rule on this matter.
    Mrs Klenam 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a true observation and I am entitled to that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, continue to speak, at the end of your speech -- I am writing a ruling -- I will rule on it. If I rule against you, you would withdraw, but you may continue to speak. [Laughter.]
    Mrs Klenam 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, talking about the LEAP, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection was here a couple of weeks ago, last week or two weeks ago, and she said she was going to allot some of the LEAP Fund to the kayayei on the street. She categorically stated that the ages between the Kayayei as at today, is 6 to 35 years. If between 6 to 35 years, they are going to give them LEAP Fund, when they are 70 years, what are they going to give them?
    It is a wrong proportion and it is all because the Women Caucus is not factored in, in taking the decision who is due to be given something from LEAP. So, all that I am saying is that, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should consider seriously including the Women Caucus in this House in their programmes.
    Mr Speaker, talking about total inclusion, I am of the view that, looking at the trend, where this economy of our country is going, it is high time the President of this nation, our dear father, considered seriously including some expertise especially, from other political parties, to support the Ministry of Finance, which is being run as if it is a micro-finance, and we need collateral to be able to access our own funding -- [Interruption.] -- our Common Fund and so on.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, do you have a point of order?
    Ms Tetteh 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, I do, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the specific Order I am referring to is Order 30(f). The Hon Member just said that, the Ministry of Finance is being run like a micro-finance. I think that is entirely inappropriate and misleading. She should withdraw that statement.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, she has referred to Order 30(f). The Hon Member says it is misleading to describe the Ministry of Finance as a micro-finance.
    Mrs Klenam 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry, but I said “it is like”, I did not say “it is”. [Hear! Hear!] . I said “it is like it is being managed like a micro-finance, where one needs collateral to be able, to access his or her own statutory fund.”
    Ms Tetteh 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order 30(f), let me read it specifically because I think that it is important for us to refer to it and I beg to quote:
    “The following act or conduct shall constitute a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament;
    (f) deliberate misleading of Parliament or any of its Committees;

    Naa-Torshie Addo: Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member qualified the statement. She said that the Ministry of Finance is being run like a micro-finance company where one needs collateral to access one's own statutory funds. She is not misleading the House. We are in the House, we are not being able to access our own statutory funds, it is common knowledge.

    Personally, I do not see anything wrong with that; I do not think so. It was well qualified and that is the situation on the ground.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, is it a fact? I am not aware of it. Is it a fact that to access your own statutory fund, you must provide collateral?
    Naa-Torshie Addo: Mr Speaker, no. You do not have to. But the collateral was in relation to the micro-finance. It is the difficulty that is being brought up. She is not misleading the House; the House is
    aware of the difficulty and it is the difficulty that is being described. She is describing the difficulty.
    When one goes to a micro-finance company -- [Interruptions] -- even if one has the best plans, the difficulty in accessing, one needs a collateral. That is what they say. Even where we need to access our funds in this House, we go through so much; we have to explain ourselves, do this --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member thank you very much.
    The difficulty I also have is that, what she said is capable of being understood in various ways. So you have to get up and explain that the reference to micro- finance collateral was not -- so she should withdraw it and rephrase it if she wants to.
    She should just withdraw it and then move on very fast.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    I do not know if I have to upgrade the micro- finance to rural bank but -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Withdraw it first. Withdraw it and let us go.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    All I have to say --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    No, no, do not tell me what you have to say.
    Withdraw it first.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    Alright I withdraw, Mr Speaker, but it is still in the Hansard anyway. So --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, with the greatest of respect, once you withdraw -- yesterday I insisted -- Simply withdraw without qualification and go on. Withdraw your reference. What do you withdraw?
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    I withdraw.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    Accessing our statutory funds with all kinds of difficulty which we have not been able to Assess in the past --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    What do you withdraw?
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    I withdraw that one -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Withdraw which one? I believe that what you want to withdraw is your reference equating the Ministry of Finance to a micro finance institution.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    Well, that is one.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Is that what you are withdrawing?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, so you have withdrawn it.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    No, no, we are not in the classroom. Continue.
    Mrs Klenam 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, these are the two main points I would want to make and I would want to give thanks to everybody and every woman here.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you too.
    Hon Majority Leader, just before I recognise you, I think that I promised a ruling on the matter raised by Hon Ayariga. Hon Ayariga raised a point that the contributions to the Statement have the tendency of provoking debate. It is
    his view that, because it has the tendency of provoking debate, it flouts the Standing Orders. Statements are dealt with by part 10 of the Standing Orders -- Order 70, 71 and 72.
    These Orders describe different kinds of Statements. Order 70 (1) states that the Speaker may make a statement on a matter of redress to the House. Order 72 (2) says that a Minister of State may make an announcement on a statement of government policy.
    Order 71 is on ceremonial speeches. Order 72 is by statements of a Member and it is by the indulgence of the House and by leave of the Speaker and Order 73 talks to us about complaints or contempt of Parliament. Indeed, from Order 70 to Order 72 there is only one Order that talks about provoking debate and I read.
    Order 70 (2) and I beg to read;
    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which is deemed to be necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.”
    That is the only Order that restricts the rights or restricts the comments to be made by Members in a manner that should not provoke debate. All other statements that are described in part 10 do not have that restriction.
    It is my view that, this House is a House of debate and where the Legislature, where the makers of the Standing Orders wanted to exclude debate they specifically said so. I am of the considered view therefore that, statements by Members and comments to be made by other Members can provoke debate and I am willing to accept debate.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Ayariga 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker for your very wise ruling.
    Mr Speaker, I also perused those three provisions and I am left with no doubt that your ruling is most appropriate and very accurate. I noticed that ,when I was on my feet trying to make reference to the appropriate Standing Orders, you whispered loudly and I heard that, I should be looking at a particular page. When I looked there I saw those provisions.
    But Mr Speaker, I really intended to go to the rules on debate and I thought that some provisions in the rules relating to debate might have been more appropriate in supporting my Standing Orders than the specific provisions which I was led into sighting, in support of my Standing Orders -- [laughter].
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    When a lawyer starts speaking by praising you, you should be careful -- [Laughter]. The lawyer starts by praising you then ends up by condemning you but I will take that in good faith. At the appropriate time if you raise a matter relating to the rules of debate, I would also answer you appropriately.
    Thank you.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not been very comfortable that on a very important occasion like this, where we seek to celebrate the effort and struggles of the women in Ghana, we have allowed the debate to slide into areas that have the effect of diminishing the importance of the Statement that has been made.
    As I listened to the contributions, I had a second discomfort in which it seems to be like a women's game in which one woman is called from one side and after that another woman, as if the House is made up of only women and only they engage in this important matter.
    I am saying this to my menfolk that, they ought to be in the forefront standing side by side with our women to make sure that we give this statement that has been

    I think it is important because if women have to wait for reshuffles to be recognised, that puts women at a lower pedestal. I am saying this to get to two more critical points that I would want to register on the significance of this Statement and the struggles of our women over the years. I would like us to also caution that, indeed, we have no other option of the vehicle that we would use to recognise and institutionalise affirmative action in relation to women. So, law has become the only acceptable vehicle, but law is very limited as an acceptable vehicle for actually releasing rights of women.

    In fact, there is a woman activist who said that, law itself is a man. And if we are not careful and we resort to law, at the end of the day, it would end up rather dehumanizing women. There are very good examples of that.

    The second point, I hear, has to do with the smallness of the number of women Members of Parliament. And I said earlier that charity must begin at home. Even as the Statement on women is made, the person presiding is a man. The Majority side-- it is a man; the Minority side-- it is a man. And I guess these little things are important before we transport them to the national level.

    I understand that the context in which Parliament is celebrating this day is to begin to look at the role Parliament can play in the empowerment process.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.


    Mr Speaker, I also get worried about a lot of development policies that have come to this House in relation to women. We uncritically just allow them to go through without interrogating them. one of them has seen this idea of integrating women into the mainstream development. Let us be very careful.

    Indeed, I would also act like the activist lady lawyer said, that development itself again is a man. And what is significant is that the history of our development is exactly what dominates women. And women are running away from domination and we are integrating them into that domination by that mainstream development agenda.

    So, let us always integrate--What exactly is this mainstream? It is the mainstream of patriarchy and it is the patriarchy development structures over the years that have left our women where they are. So let us not just pick these things from development partners and try to uncritically replicate them in our own domestic policies.

    Mr Speaker, this makes us not to be involved in that gender tokenism, fair weather feminism that when the weather

    is blowing in this way --and using gender language to secure donor funds, then that is when we begin to think our women are important and I think this is very significant, Mr Speaker.

    Mr Speaker, lastly, I would like to add, that if you again watch our politics, while we encourage the fact that we should have many more women in high public offices and political offices, by our own political practices and democratic deficits, it becomes New Patriotic Party (NPP) men, National Democratic Congress (NDC) men fighting their battles and inviting NPP women and NDC women to come and join.

    So I would want to see the forefront struggle in the agenda setting, to also include the women. I believe if our women are involved right from the political party up to the leadership of our own governmental structures, perhaps some soberness in terms of the level of acrimony, that have engulfed us in this country would be reduced to the minimum. And for those of us who take these gender issues very serious, we should not always trivialise the issues any time issues concerning women are raised.

    I say this because, we are unconsciously socialised and educated in our institutions to disrespect women.And let me give you one example from eugenic science. If you start teaching children biology and your genetic denotation is that, a woman is negative and a man is positive, how would that scientist grow up to respect women? If you decide that you denote a woman as positive and a man as negative, would the heavens come down?

    I am just giving you one typical example to see how we have been unconsciously brought up to look down on women and we are not dealing with these fundamental structures of our own

    socialisation and we just cut in midstream to say we must learn to respect women. There must be a generation that would begin to show that even denoting woman as negative and man as positive was because, all the early scientists were men.

    Lastly,Mr Speaker, I would want to add, there is something that is coming up in the legislation dealing with the succession and spousal rights. We still have constitutional provisions that keep talking about the customary law as practices in communities and I can assure you that at the time those practices were taking place and our courts were deciding on them and institutionalising them as customary law, only male members met to actually decide on those essentials of our customary law. That is why it becomes important that when we begin to introduce issues of succession which is bound to cut in to customary law, we must begin to address and go into these details so that we do not uncritically reproduce these structures of patr iarchy that would continue to dominate the landscape.

    Thank you,Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you , Hon Hawa Koomson.
    Mrs Mavis H. Koomson(NPP -- Awutu-Senya East) 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, as we mark another milestone in the lives of women, it is worthy to appreciate all efforts in making our little corners shine.
    Mr Speaker, we through diverse ways make an impact in the lives of our families. We know that if women are well to do, the pressure on the families would reduce drastically. Mr Speaker, most women manage their homes even if they are married. They help their husbands in
    managing the homes, contributing financially and all sorts of things. It is for this fact we humbly say that hope is not lost in women. We have become better than we were.
    Mr Speaker, women in this country, especially, those who have had the opportunity to be educated are not even given their rightful place in the society and I would also want to join my senior Colleagues who have pleaded for women to be given their rightful positions.
    Mr Speaker, I would conclude by telling this House that God has given women intuitions and feminism and if used properly, the combination can easily jumble the brain of any man. I wish all beautiful women in the world and especially Ghanaian women a happy women's day.
    Thank you,Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member for Gomoa Central.
    Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ms Rachel Nana Adwo Appoh): Thank you,Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given me to support the Statement made by Hon Hajia Boforo.
    Mr Speaker, in adding my voice, I would want to congratulate all the women who have contributed to the Statement by my senior Hon Colleague and also congratulate women for the hardwork and support and their contribution to the national development growth.
    Mr Speaker, most of the Hon Members who spoke have emphasised the importance of promoting gender equality and women empowerment. Mr Speaker, the theme is to call on Government and any other thing that enforce gender equity. This is also to highlight the importance of men and the women working together to promote gender equality. That
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.


    is why when you look at the theme for the occasion, we have “equality for women through total inclusion”. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has realised we cannot do it all, therefore, we are inviting the men to join us. It has been the rumours all around that, there was a time a President wanted to give positions to some women and these women went to seek permission from their husbands and never came back.

    So, right now, we are inviting the men to join us to [Interruptions.] I said rumours — (Keep quiet)
    Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am on Standing Order 30(f) —
    Ms Appoh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me continue. We are saying that we want equity in everything —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    I have recognised Hon Isaac Asiamah.
    Ms Appoh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all right.
    Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am on Standing Order 30(f). Just for my Hon Colleague to clarify because she seems to be misleading this Honourable House -- which women after being considered and after consulting their husbands refused those appointments and never came back. I woud want to know from her which women did that.
    Ms Appoh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a clear indication that Hon Asiamah was not listening to me when I was making the contribution. I said rumours, please. Listen carefully. Listen carefully--
    [Interruption.]-- Rumours please, listen carefully. Mr Speaker, sorry. Mr Speaker, should I continue?
    What the women are saying is that, we want equity in everything. Equity in participating in decision- making, right to education and equity in access to productive resources.This is what we are asking the Government to do for women.
    In taking agriculture for instance, women are in charge of food security, this is because we produce about 50 to 60 per cent of food grown in this country, yet women lack access to production resources such as land, technology and credit facilities to even expand our farming produce.
    The source is the Gender Ministry's website.[Hear! Hear!]-- [Interruptions.] The Gender and Development Agenda is on the right course, I therefore, urge this august House to work together to fight the battles that confront women such us poverty, maternal mortality, child mortality, women losing their babies in hospitals, sexual harassment and defilement, human trafficking, domestic violence and other forms of abuse which degrade women.
    We need to change our attitudes on harmful traditional practices that concern women. It is all over that men are still beating their wives and the Gender Ministry is seriously against it.
    In spite of all these challenges, there have been some significant improvement in policies, legislation and programmes interventions on matters that concern women and I would state a few. LEAP is allocated to 80 to 85 per cent of women and this is a fact. We are also paying 100,000 beneficiaries currently, so those who want information on LEAP should contact the Ministry.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, a little bit too much detail. Today is State of the Nation Address. Just round this debate up and just contribute to
    the — a time would come that you would tell us all the nice things your Ministry is doing, but day, just — because we have to do State of the Nation and I was just taking a few — I called you because you are the Deputy Minister and we know you have so much information, but round it up so that you conclude and that we can make progress.
    Ms Appoh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I therefore, call on boys and men to support the women in fighting this course.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you. Thank you very much.
    Hon Member for — between the Hon Member for — Am not being fair, I am calling one more person. Between the two Hon Members at the back, they should decide among themselves who -- [Laughter] I would call only one of you, or if you cannot make up your mind, I would call somebody else.
    Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo (NPP-- Tema West) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest of respect, we were supposed to do this Statement last week. The Rt Hon Speaker asked us to do it today. He told us how many people he was going to let them contribute so we prepared.
    Mr Speaker, it is our day, please. Three more from each side, the Hon Elizabeth Sackey is senior, she has prepared. The Hon Freda Prempeh has prepared, the baby's mother out there has prepared. Mr Speaker, please.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    And so has Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu.
    Mrs Addo 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have even prepared to take our male counterparts out to lunch today. Indeed, Mr Speaker actually released the budget for it. That should tell you how important today is.
    Today, we are inviting a man each so if there are 30 women, then 30 men, we are taking them out together with our staff and Mr Speaker, we are not bribing you. [Laughter] We are going to ask to crave your indulgence to add a few more, maybe two on each side. Even as we push for the President to appoint more women than men. Thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much. Then let us take -- everybody go to the point five minutes. Do not stir controversy, no point of orders and then we finish it fast. Please do not be too controversial. Contribute and then, Hon member for Atiwa and I will call — five minutes.
    Mrs Abena Osei-Asare (NPP-- Atiwa East) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to also add my voice to the International Women's Day celebration. International Women's Day celebration is a time to reflect on progress made to call for change and to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by our ordinary women.
    This year's theme which is “Equality for women is progress for all” emphasises how gender equality, empowerment of women, women's full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social develop- ment.
    It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development. Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women, and more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements which include women are more durable.
    Parliament with more women enacts more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and other key social issues. The evidence is clear. Equality for women means progress for all. Thank you, Mr Speaker for the opportunity.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Member.
    Mr Murtala Muhammed Ibrahim (NDC -- Nanton) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity. [Interruption.] At least —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I have recognised you.
    Mr Ibrahim 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you. At least President Kufuor appointed a man as the Minister for Women and Gender. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by a Member of Parliament in commemora- ting the day for our gallant women. I have always had that penchant at any point in time, standing up for women at any point in time, in my life. I do so because I was one of the sons of several women and I was compelled by the circumstance to do what young girls at that time could do.
    I had the responsibility as a young boy who indeed would clean the house, wash the bowls at a time when my colleagues at that time were not engaged in that, simply because of the contribution women have made towards the growth, and the development of this state of ours, Ghana. It is also significant for us in comme- morating this day that we emphasise on gender equity rather than gender equality.
    Mr Solomon Namliit Boar 12:05 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Boar, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Solomon Namliit Boar 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Order number?
    Mr Solomon Namliit Boar 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the other side --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you are out of order.
    Mr Boar 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a point of clarification. My Hon Colleague said that he is a son of several women.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, your Order cannot be “yes, Mr Speaker”, when I asked you for the Order number, you said “Yes, Mr Speaker.”
    Tell me the Order number. Yes, continue. You have one and a half minutes more.
    Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish the disregard for the Standing Orders would be stopped in this House. Mr Speaker, I would emphasise that we should be looking at gender equity. I say this because there is already gender equality and because the schools are available for everybody, the opportunities created are available for everybody regardless of one's gender. What we need to be looking at are attempts -- either social or cultural -- that have indeed disadvantaged a particular group of persons in our society, in this case, women.
    We have in certain societies, where the girl-child is not deserving to go to school and I think that these are some of the issues we need to look at. I believe all of us together, if we forge ahead in unison and understanding that we need with our women folk, in the socio-economic development of our nation we would have a lot of successes.
    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I contribute to this Statement.
    Mrs Ama Pomaa Andoh (NPP -- Juaben) 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the Statement made. Practically, it is very, very difficult as a young woman to have a position as a parliamentarian. I really congratulate the women up here who have done so much to get here-- [Hear! Hear!]
    They have actually gone through lots of obstacles, and per the Statement made by the Hon Member; as a country, if we are to achieve the millennium develop- ment goals by 2015, a lot more need to be done. Women or young women especially, have to have the opportunity to take up these political positions in bridging the gap.
    Mr Speaker, women need more training, more networks and more partnerships in order to fill these positions. I would also like to congratulate the men here for encouraging us to stay on, this is because times are tough. Sometimes, we feel like giving up, but the men up here always encourage us to hold on a little more. [Hear! Hear!] In being fearless one has to be a change agent; in being fearless we have to be brave, we have to be bold; in being fearless, we have to be unreasonable. [Some Hon Members: No.] And in being unreasonable we do not accept the norms, we do not just become housewives or become nurses; we can equally become politicians.
    Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so. With religious passion I am following this important debate. But my Hon Colleague Member just referenced women aspiring to be politicians. Mr Speaker, you know there are those politicians who are successful including Members of Parliament here and the unsuccessful. I
    would want her to clarify; is she saying that they must aspire to political leadership -- President, Member of Parliament, Speaker, Deputy Speaker -- or she wants them to fall in the categories of politicians including the unsuccessful?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Minister, before you came there were some ground rules. I allowed you to speak because I thought you would be adequately briefed about those rules.
    Mrs Andoh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to say that, even for those who have not been successful in taking up these political leadership roles, they still have to hold on and even when they fail, they have failed to forward. If they are not successful it does not mean that they are failures. They can do it the next time and better luck to all the women in this country. [Hear! Hear!]
    Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (Dr Hannah L. Bisiw) (MP): Mr Speaker, I would want to add my voice to the Statement on the floor which seeks to commemorate International Women's Day. Mr Speaker, on this note I would wish to celebrate every woman in Ghana. When we talk about women, it is not only the educated women; when we talk about women and equality for women it is a progress for all through total inclusion. It is not only the women who had the opportunity to go to school.
    It includes every woman; it includes that uneducated woman who farms every day to make sure that her girl-child can have an education; it includes the plantain seller who roasts plantain all day by the road side in the sun to make sure that she pays the schools fees for her girl child.
    Mr Speaker, when it comes to women in politics we can look at Rwanda where we have 56 per cent of women Members of Parliament. I think that, as a nation, we
    Mrs Andoh 12:15 p.m.


    should make a conscious effort that the political parties, every safe seat that they have, we should leave, maybe, a certain percentage for women to contest. It does not mean that women are afraid of politicians. If we leave it for women to contest, we would get three, four women contesting and definitely a woman would come out successful.

    Mr Speaker, I wish to also say that we should all add our voices to terminate domestic violence. We should add our voices to terminate rape, sexual abuse even on our job sites where women are sexually harassed because of a job that they need. Mr Speaker, I wish to also encourage all of us, even our mothers who may be hearing my voice this moment, that we should encourage the girl-child education because once upon a time, one of our leaders, Dr Aggrey said:

    “When you educate a woman you educate a nation; when you educate a man you educate an individual.”

    Any time we eat our fufu we should celebrate a woman. At this point, Mr Speaker, I wish to say Ayekoo to all our mothers who died in the process of giving birth, who now have been disabled in the process of giving birth and who are still struggling to take care of us. To all of us, to those in Parliament, to those outside Parliament, the educated and the uneducated we say Ayekoo.
    Mrs Elizabeth K. T. Sackey (NPP -- Okaikwei North) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to also add my voice to the Statement made by the Hon Member for Savelugu, Hajia Mary Boforo. Mr Speaker, this reminds me of a strong woman, an icon, a feminist, of course, who
    in 1959 entered Parliament. And although she was belittled and overlooked she stood very firm. I am talking of the late Margaret Thatcher.
    Mr Speaker, while the Hon Majority Leader was making his statement, he did say that, the law is man and development is a man. This brings to thought what the late Margaret Thatcher once said. She said, in politics if you want anything said, ask a man; but if you want anything done, ask a woman. [Hear! Hear!] And this really brings out the strength of a woman.
    Women are always in action therefore, if my fellow colleagues are asking that there should be more women in decision making, I think all men should agree with us. This is because, even in the kitchen, to measure and know the amount of salt that can make the food taste well goes well with a woman than a man though the man can cook.
    Mr Speaker, it is indeed an undeniable fact that, if women are healthy and educated, their families would flourish. If women are free from violence, their families flourish. If women are industrious, their families flourish. And if they are resourceful, their families flourish.
    Mr Speaker, we have the chance to work and we make all it takes to help the men, yet more women are vulnerable and they suffer a lot. If one goes to DOVVSU, Mr Speaker, one would have much over there to talk of. If we are celebrating today, I would go a long way to say that it is the best thing to think of and to deliberate upon, especially, when we want to empower and to inspire a change.
    Mr Speaker, MargaretThatcher once said -- and this is an advice to women.
    “Watch your thoughts for they become words.”
    “Watch your words for they become action.”
    “Watch your actions for they become habits.”
    “Watch your habits for they become character.”
    “Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
    “Whatever you think you become”.
    And as the Good Book says, think of things that are pure, lovely, worthy of thanksgiving, meditate upon it and so it shall be.
    Mr Speaker, on that note, I would want to congratulate all women and to say a big Ayekoo to them and I ask that, the nation, as a whole, would deliberate and brainstorm upon this and see how best we can support our women to take up decision-making.
    Thank you very much and to my constituents, I say Ayekoo.
    Ms Freda A. O. Prempeh (NPP -- Tano North) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to also contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Hajia Mary Boforo.
    Mr Speaker, the story of women struggle for equality belongs to no single feminists nor to any one institution but to the collective effort of all.
    Mr Speaker, if we want to bridge the gap,then the issue of quotas and reserved seats for women should be addressed. Mr Speaker, cultural and traditional hindrances affecting women should also be addressed.
    Mr Speaker, as we celebrate women today, may I make a passionate appeal to the President to consider extending the maternity leave from three months to six months.
    Mr Speaker, child birth is a responsibility women undertake on behalf of humanity. Therefore, every mother deserves to have enough rest and recovery period to regain full health and her potential.
    Mr Speaker, may I also suggest that, the 30 per cent government appointees to the District Assemblies, 50 per cent of that appointment should be reserved for women.
    On this note, Mr Speaker, I would like to commend Hon Benjamin Kunbuor for assuring this House, especially, the women in this House, that when the opportunity avails itself, he would relinquish his seat to be contested for by women. -- [Hear! Hear!] --[An Hon Member: He said he was going to do it now.] --Thank you.
    Mr Speaker, I would also like to urge the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to expedite action on the Affirmative Action Bill.
    Mr Speaker, on this note, I again congratulate all women for their love, dedication and commitment to their families and to the nation as a whole.
    Thank you-- very much for this opportunity.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business, item number 4 -- Motion.
    MOTION 12:25 p.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from 11/03/14
  • Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho (NDC -- Madina) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, having listened to statements and contributions from the floor especially dominated by women on the importance of celebrating the International Women's Day, I would not want to bore you with any long contribution.
    Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho (NDC -- Madina) 12:25 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, the second reason why I would want to be very brief is that, looking at my Hon Colleagues around, straight away, I realised that a lot of the Hon Members of Parliament have already heeded to the advice of His Excellency, the President and even though today is not a Friday, as I watch both right and left, I see a lot of them wearing made-in- Ghana dresses.
    Mr Owusu 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, what I see the Hon Member on his feet wearing is a batakari and not a bubu. Mr Speaker, the record must reflect that he is wearing a batakari and not a bubu.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unfortunately, this is not a batakari; this is a fugu. It can never be a batakari. So, totally, he should not go there. We call this fugu and not a batakari. -- [An Hon Members: And a Chinese shirt.] -- Oh, this shirt is produced here. It is a ‘woodin shirt'.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    You started very nicely, that you would be brief but you have fallen into the trap of answering people.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, among the various pillars that the President mentioned, I would want to concentrate on one and that has to do with building a strong and resilient economy.
    Mr Speaker, in presenting the State of the Nation Address, the President was
    candid, he shared with us what is happening in the economy, what has happened over the year 2013 and he gives us his dream as to what he wants to happen in 2014.
    Mr Speaker, let me just reduce contributions to only four aspects. Mr Speaker, is it not true that importation of sugar alone, rice, tomatoes, poultry products and a few others, take as much as $1.5 billion of our foreign exchange? Mr Speaker, we all know that it is true. Any president whose aim is to reduce that must be commended by all.
    Mr Speaker, the President just did not come to say that he wanted to reduce it, he also told us the steps by which this call be reduced.
    As I speak to you now, all programmes and processes have been completed for the Komenda Sugar Factory to begin. The sword cutting is definitely going to take place in the first week of June and that is something that we all are going to witness. Is it not true that agriculture grew by 3.4 per cent last year as against 2 per cent in 2012? That is true. Is it not true that services grew by 9.1 per cent last year as against around 8 per cent the previous year? The answer is true.
    Mr Speaker, is it not true that industry grew by 9.2 per cent last year, the answer is that, it is true. So if these things are true, nobody is saying that the economy -- everything is moving on right but we are not living in isolation. Ghana is not an island to itself. Ghana is part of the global economy and whatever is happening in America, in the Far East, in China and in Yugoslavia has a direct bearing on what happens in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, we know what is happening in Russia. In Venezuela, we know what is happening. That is not to say that we are content. [Some Hon Members We do not know.]: If you do
    not know, then you are not doing your work as a Member of Parliament. You must know. If you do not know, then you are not -- In the midst of all these, last year -- Mr Speaker, somebody would ask me, “Your source?” I am quoting from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) -- [Interruption.] Before you ask, let me tell you before you ask. Hon Kofi, I knew you would jump and ask, “Your source,” so before you ask, GIPC Quarterly Report --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, there are 275 Members of Parliament and we do not want to -- you are mentioning Hon Kofi's name. Which Kofi were you talking about?
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you are right. But immediately you mention ‘Kofi' in this House,everybody knows, 90 per cent know that it is Hon Kofi Frimpong.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Now you have forced me to recognise Hon Kofi Frimpong. So if you want to mention a name, be careful what name you mention.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, you have the floor.
    Mr Kofi Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have decided not to heckle anybody in the House, so I was listening to my Hon Chairman. I do not know, exactly what I have done that should warrant the mentioning of my name. He should tell me why, otherwise, Mr Speaker, I would take him to the Privileges Committee. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Sorogho, you have the floor.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you Hon Kofi.
    Mr Speaker, in the midst of all what is happening around the world, Ghana still performed creditably. In the second quarter, 199 new companies were registered in Ghana. Out of that, 66 per cent were foreign-owned. It tells you that there is still investor confidence in Ghana, so more are coming.
    Mr Kofi Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am on a point of order. He is misleading this House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Point of order on what?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    About the figures he is quoting from GIPC.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Order number --
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order number 30, the one you have been referring --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Order number 30 what?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    Order number 30 (f). He is deliberately misleading the House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, what does 30 (f) say?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    30 (f) says that a Member who deliberately misleads Parliament should be called on a point of order.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, maybe your Standing Orders are not the same as mine but -- that is not what 30 (f) says. [Laughter.] Hon Kofi Frimpong, what does 30 (f) say?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, contempt of Parliament or breach of privileges -- Order 30.
    “30. The following acts or conduct shall constitute a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament.
    (f) deliberate misleading of Parliament or any of its Committees.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    So what are you calling --
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    I am just standing on a point of order.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    You cannot raise a point of order under Order 30. You must call on me to do something. You just read it.
    “The following acts or conduct shall constitute a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament.”
    Where there is a breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament, you must call upon me to do something. So you rise to call upon me to do something.
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    I will ask you to take him there. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    To take him where? To the Privileges Committee?
    Hon Member, we are told by Hon Kofi Frimpong that you are misleading the House, that your figures are not accurate and he says that if it is deliberate then I should refer you to the Privileges Committee because it is a breach of privilege.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to be very serious, I think before I started, if Hon Kofi Frimpong wants, I can put the Report that I am holding on. In fact, I gave copies, except that, he did not have time to read. -- [Interruption.] Yes. I am not quoting from anywhere. I am quoting from an official document, the GIPC Quarterly Report update, July 2013 from January up to December, 2013. So I am not --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    It is an important document, when you finish, lay it at the Table.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:35 p.m.
    I will hand it over.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Let us conclude.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is difficult but you said I should conclude, so I would conclude. But Mr Speaker --
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Spaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, are you not satisfied?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    No.
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    According to the same quarterly Report that he is talking about, the last quarter of the year, the --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Which year?
    Mr Frimpong 12:35 p.m.
    2013. The last quarter, the country declined by 19.53 per cent.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    I think that is the reason why the framers of the Standing Orders were of the view that, when there is debate as to being misled, it should go to the Committee of Privileges,
    then at privileges, the two parties can present their documents. But being the Ranking Member and the Chairman, I think you can meet afterwards and resolve -- Hon Kofi Frimpong, you are also contributing today, so you would have the opportunity to talk about these things.
    Hon Member, continue, please.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me say that, as I have already mentioned, there were 199 and out of that, 66 per cent were wholly foreign-owned. I do not know where Hon Kofi Frimpong is coming from and saying that I am misleading the House.
    I am saying that, there were 199 registered companies, and out of that, 66 per cent -- So why is he saying that I am misleading the House?
    Mr Speaker, the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, with your guidance managed to pass the (EDIF) law as a way of opening up and bringing in more companies to be able to get assistance from EDIF. This is to enable companies to benefit, so that they can expand their businesses and create more jobs.
    Mr Speaker, by the second week, a new rice mill is to be commissioned in Sogakope. The President's dream is that, Ghana should be a net exporter of rice and he is not only dreaming about that, he is putting measures and structures to achieve that.
    Mr Speaker, that is why among all the Hon Members who have contributed,
    about 80 per cent have said the President has done the right thing. I am happy that, among all those who have contributed, about 80 per cent of them are singing the same song, they would go round and come and say that the President has done the right thing.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Sorogho.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I cannot end without showing this.

    Mr Speaker, this is a sack which is manufactured by a company in Ghana called Jute Mills Ghana Limited. Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) alone imports about US$50 million worth of jute sacks for cocoa. Mr Speaker, if we can get this manufactured here, it means that for every year, we are going to save US$50 million. This is what some companies are doing and I urge all of you to support such companies.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, you would lay it on the Table.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:45 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was going to make my contribution on the statement by the President about the sound economic fundamentals, but circumstances have forced me to change my direction. I would want to do it differently.
    I would want to speak on the Single Spine which some newspapers have reported me wrongly on. I would want to go on record, Mr Speaker, that, I did not advocate for a freeze of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) Policy.
    Dr Bejamin B. Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I was just trying to draw the Hon Member's attention to the policy framework, and as I listened to what he indicated, it is basically to do with the Single Spine thing as distinct and the market premium arrangement which was not an original aspect of the Single Spine but was as a result of negotiations. What they are seeking to stop is the market premium element and not the Single Spine.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, is the Hon Member debating me? I am not sure. He has not called a point of order. I am just reading statements from the Budget Statements.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Continue, please.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    “Mr Speaker, the migration of the Public Service workers into the Single Spine Salary Structure is near completion. As of December, 2012 the Fairs Wages and Salaries Commission had successfully
    migrated about 478,566 public sector workers onto the SSSS representing 99.97 per cent.”
    Mr Speaker, in that same Budget Statement -- We are talking about deferment of full implementation.
    Mr Speaker, paragraph 1064 12:45 p.m.
    “Despite the current pressures on the wage bill, the labour front has been fraught with agitations on aspect of the SSPP such as market premium and categories 2 and 3 allowances which have further cost implications.”
    Mr Speaker, here is the big part 12:45 p.m.
    “The implementation of an interim market premium for the health and education sector, have faced serious challenges due mainly to the absence of market premium guidelines to guide the implementa- tion of market premium.”
    Mr Speaker, an interim measure is not full implementation. Mr Speaker, let me go on further. Paragraph 1066 -- No, let me go 1065 first:
    “Another area of concern is the rationalization, standardization and determination of categories 2 and 3 allowances. Judging from the negative effects of rushing the implementation …”
    Mr Speaker, let me repeat 12:45 p.m.
    “…judging from the negative effects of rushing the implemen- tation of the interim market premium, care will be taken not to rush the implementation of these allowances
    without first undertaking a thorough review of the diverse allowance structure…”
    Mr Speaker, this speaks about deferring full implementation.
    Mr Speaker, paragraph 1066 12:45 p.m.
    “Consistent with the White Paper, on the SSPP, the SSPP is to be implemented within a five-year period, therefore, aspects of the pay policy with huge fiscal implications will be spread over the five years --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, if you can just kindly refer us to the pages, the Hansard would capture it, then you can summarise. If you read the entire thing -- You know that we have a limited amount of time.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I am only reading, then I will not go further so that it would keep the time short.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    This is because I am looking at the time. For the record, it is simplier if you summarise and say that in the Budget Statement, this is what it says. I am looking at the time.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    I take your -- [Inter- ruption.]
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thanks for your guidance. We are following the Hon Member keenly.
    There are at times that he refers to the Budget Statement document and there are instances he refers to the State of the Nation Address. Let him say so expressly, so that we would know which document to follow and what issues he is relating to.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if my good Friend was listening, the first quotation came from page 9 of the State of the Nation Address. The next one came from the Budget Statement of 2012. The following one was on the Budget Statement of 2013. Now, I am going to the Budget Statement of 2014. Is that all right with the Hon Member?
    Page 184 -- Is that all right with the Hon Member? Market premium -- Mr Speaker, essentially, the Government is saying that:
    “As recommended at the Ho Forum, Government will implement the White Paper on Market Premium without further delay. To this effect, Government has directed the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Ghana Statistical Service to undertake a labour market survey...”
    Mr Speaker, to undertake the labour market survey to guide implementation of this aspect of the policy, it means you have not fully implemented it; you are deferring full implementation.
    Mr Speaker, on the matter of categories 2 and 3 allowance, this is what the Government is saying:
    “To ensure that this phase of the SSPP is sustainable, the FWSC and the Ministry of Finance will engage Organized Labour to ensure that the implementation of the categories 2 and 3 allowances is executed within Budget constraints and it is properly phased.”
    Mr Speaker, what the Government has said in all these statements are that, it is deferring full implementation of the Single Spine Programme (SSP) until certain things have been put in place. That was
    the statement that I made yesterday but not to freeze it. Mr Speaker, the SSP is a very good policy that came into being. If in implementing it, they have made mistakes, they should say so. It is not freezing it. It is deferring full implemen- tation and Government must openly say that it is deferring it -- It should have said so in all the Budget statements -- 3 years in a row. So it is nothing new.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Yes, I guess that we need to guide this debate and as somebody who is seized of Government's policy, it is not fair when these assertions are being made. There is no where that it has been said that there is a policy measure in deferring it.
    When you are implementing a policy, there are processes that are involved in implementing the policy, and I am saying that the only reason why we are seeing stag nation in relation to them is that, when you take your market premium, it had to be interim because organized labour introduced it and it was not part of the original architecture.
    Very soon, when we bring the original format of the Single Spine that was originated by the previous Government, we would not come across the issue of the market premium. Secondly, when you take the categories 2 and 3 allowances, they are not allowances that apply to all organizations and because some of them are occupation specific, they have to be harmonized and assessed in such a way that you are dealing with the core issue of Single Spine Structure (SSS), which is salary relativities.
    So, if you categories 2 and 3 to go and distort the relativities again, you would run into a problem. So who says that an implementation does not require that you evaluate, assess and continue? That is not a deferment.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I take your guidance. I know when the Majority Leader gets up, you allow him to speak -- I am not sure what point he is making -- It is not a point of order. I do not need him to elucidate that, so I am not sure what is going on.
    Dr Kunbour 12:55 p.m.
    I just wanted to clarify - - We have the practices in this House. Normally, when a matter is on, the Leadership can draw some direction in it. So you do not always have to come up on a point of information or point of order. But it is also part of the process in which you try to steer the debate so that it does not degenerate. That is my role as Majority Leader.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since I have been in Parliament, I know it is Mr Speaker who guides debates and not the Majority Leader. The Speaker is in the Chair for that purpose. If the Speaker, in his opinion, feels that I am not going the right direction, he would advise me. It is not up to the Majority Leader to take that responsibility from the Speaker.
    Dr Kunbour 12:55 p.m.
    The Speaker, is presiding but the House is handled by the Leaders and the Leaders assist the Speaker -- [Interruptions] -- Please listen, the Leaders assist the Speaker to keep order in the House. So do not just assume that it is the Speaker who is presiding. Why is it that when Mr Speaker wants to adjourn, he does not ask an Hon Member to get up and move a Motion for adjournment, but they always defer to the Leadership. That is your parliamentary practice. Even when the House gets unruly, the person presiding would ask the Leadership.
    It is in that context that I am drawing your attention to it and if I see that a particular debate or line would become acrimonious, I draw attention to it and correct it and we proceed.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Let me just say that yesterday, an Hon Member raised a matter outside the rules and because it is was a matter of national importance, I allowed it to go on and because this matter is an important matter, that was why I allowed the Hon Member to proceed. Also we must give some respect to our Leaders on both sides.
    That is why I allow when a Leader gets up or anybody on the Leadership bench gets up, I do not ask him the Order number. Any time that there is an interjection, I add an extra short time for you. So do not worry. Hon Member, just proceed.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, from January, 2014, the existing interim market premium paid to some workers would be abolished and replaced by market premium determined in consonance with the White Paper. Mr Speaker, I am not sure why the Majority Leader -- He is agreeing with me. The full implementation of the SSS is being deferred, that is a fact.
    We are in agreement and I am saying that, the caption that says “to freeze” is incorrect. But I want it on record that Government itself is deferring it for whatever reason. I have no difficulty with that.
    Mr Speaker, on the next matter of retrenchment, Mr Speaker, this Government has requested, and this Parliament has approved retrenchment already. This House, two weeks ago, approved a loan of US$30 million for a grant of ten million from IDA to retrench over 89 staff of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
    When you talk about retrenchment, it has started, why does not the Government not say so. This Parliament has approved the loan, so what are we talking about.
    Mr Speaker, what I am asking the Government to do is that, for people to follow what is going on, they should be open about it, so that we can debate the
    Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who is the Ranking Member for Finance, the issues that he is raising, he is trying to justify what he said publicly. The point is, what he said, he did not quote what Government has decided to do, as he is saying on the floor.
    He made a categorical statement which was an advice. So why is he now coming out to tell us, Government has said this or that therefore, what he said should be accepted.
    If he has to speak as the Ranking Member, he should have then made reference to what Government said when he spoke on radio and not a categorical statement from him as an advice. So he is misleading this House.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    My good Friend the Vice Chairman of the Committee has been away too long. I know he was sick, so, I would not attack him. Mr Speaker, if he was listening to me, I said, you read in the caption that Dr Akoto Osei said, freeze Single Spine Structure (SSS) and I am telling you that is not what I said, number one.
    Number two, I was not speaking on radio. The radio took it after 8.30 -- I spoke at Alisa Hotel in a business forum. Mr Speaker, if he was listening, what I said was, Government must defer full implementation of SSS. So when he says, I am being categorical, what is he referring to. I know he has been away for a while.
    Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that, on the issue of retrenchment, let it be on record that, this Parliament at the request of this Government, has already
    begun the process of retrenchment. So I am stating the obvious. What I am adding is that, if it is happening, let the public know so that -- [Interruptions] -- You approved a loan for ten million, do you not remember.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do have a lot of sympathy for the Hon Member, but this is not the appropriate forum to bring in a Press reportage. He has his remedy with the Press house that misquoted him. Nobody in this House has inflicted that burden on him. So at least, he should just spare this House that opportunity of having to address a challenge he has with the Media. That is all that I am saying.
    If the Media misreported him, he is entitled to a rejoinder but not to let it look like somebody in this House is attributing something to him, and he has to clear it on the floor of the House. This is all that I am saying.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect to the Majority Leader, I started with a quotation about the Single Spine in the State of the Nation Address, page 9. Does he want me to repeat it?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    No, please, continue.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, so I am not giving you a rejoinder. Some children from my constituency are here, so today, I would not try to -- [Interruptions]-- otherwise you can ask Hon Fifi Kwetey - - today, I would be nice.
    Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, let us as Ghanaians speak the truth because, if we do not do the right thing, it would not inure to the benefit of Ghanaians. So, if we are deferring full implementation, as it is in the Budget Statement, he should say so, so that Labour would be aware of it. I am aware the Government is in
    negotiations with Labour. I am aware that people are sensitive about the issue of retrenchment but the fact that we have approved the loan at the request of Government, testifies to the fact that, retrenchment has started in earnest. The cost of that retrenchment if you would recall -- for those of you who remember the loan -- It is US$6.4 million. We did even say it is cedis.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, we would be —
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the issue of the Single Spine, I think the debate is ongoing and we should do the right thing. On the soundness of the economic fundamentals, I beg to differ with His Excellency the President. When inflation has gone from his target of 9 per cent to 14 per cent, that cannot mean that the fundamentals are right.
    When a whole nation's Central Bank could only find US$20 million to defend our currency. The fundamentals cannot be said to be correct. In fact, the facts are that —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Haruna Iddrisu.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order to my Hon Colleague, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei and that there is no evidence to the effect that, the Central bank pumped in US$20 million. It is inaccurate and it is misleading and he should stop misleading this House with that unreliable statistics.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can tell my good Friend that I would not name the person at the Bank of Ghana but it is US$20 million. The fact is that, because our reserves are so low, even if for the purposes of argument, I want to accept his statement which is false, if in two
    months, your currency depreciates by 12 per cent, you cannot say the fundamentals are correct. I want to go on record that in November of last year, the Bank of Ghana in its wisdom signalled to all of us that, it was going to bring this policy in November. It waited till February, late February, to inject money, in the meantime, we had lost 12 per cent, that is serious. Yesterday, the businesses there were telling us that, some of them are collapsing.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I think that you should conclude.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Budget deficit has been double digits two years in a roll. We cannot say the fundamentals are right. —
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the current account has been in double digits two years in a roll, fundamentals cannot be correct. The question that we all ought to be thinking about, is how do we reverse these negative trends?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when I go to the store, the store manager does not ask if I am NDC or NPP.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Thank you. Hon Member, just one sentence.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a second.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Thirty seconds.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yesterday, some of us put up some real issues to debate. At the end of the day, what we have to ask is, how are we going to reduce the deficit. For now, the President himself said it is 12 per cent, I think it is about -- How are we going to do it?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Dr A. A. Osei.
    The students from your — What school is that?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Azaria.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Azaria?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Azaria, my Moslem community.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Very pretty young ladies.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    So, I can recognize and welcome the students from Azaria. Hon Dr A. A. Osei. -- Give me a wave.
    Thank you very much, thank you.
    Hon Dr A. A. Osei, now, some of your Members would not speak. You have taken some people's time, so, I am striking out three names from your list. Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. Or I extend your time as well to make up for 15 minutes not 10 minutes. Hon Dr A. A. Osei spoke for more than 10 minutes. Please, let us be fair.
    Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Richard Anane.
    Dr Richard Anane 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought I heard you say that because Hon Dr A. A. Osei had to speak —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    It was an aside. Thank you. Leave the discretion to me.
    Dr Anane 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Deputy Minister for Education (Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa) (MP): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. The President
    State of the Nation Address has been received widely by the good people of this country and the international community as a statement which was apt, which indeed captured the strides that we are making as a country.
    The President was honest, he was very candid and he spoke to relevant issues that confront the people of this country. The President said in his introduction and I quote:
    “We are a nation of 24 million. That is people not products. 24 million human lives, each one deserving access to the basic necessities of life; each one possessing unique ideas and skills 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 will have a direct and positive impact in the day to day lives of average Ghanaian citizens.”
    The State of the Nation Address was replete with good news for the men, women, youth and children of our country. I intend to focus on the youth.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama gave a major boost to young entrepreneurs in this country when he wore Horseman shoes which as he said was produced here in Ghana by a young man who I know very well, Mr Tonyi Senaya. He is a young man of less than 32 years who is —
    Mr Isaac K. Asiamah — rose —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, do you have a point of order? Order number?
    Mr Asiamah 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Colleague is misleading this House and I want your direction on that. He is speaking about a certain shoe that was bought in Dubai that came to this House. If indeed, that shoe was bought in Ghana, then it should be tabled in evidence. It should be tabled here.
    We want that shoe as evidence that it was indeed, produced in Ghana. We have it on record that the shoe was bought in Dubai so, he cannot come here and mislead this entire House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, everybody knows President Mahama is a man of integrity, he did show the shoe and he invited leadership to the Speaker's office to verify.
    Another major boost for young entrepreneurs was when he brought out for special mention the strides that Beige Capital is making; Mr Michael Henaku is another young entrepreneur. The point I am making is that it was unprecedented for a President--
    Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin 1:05 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Order what?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Standing Order 30(f). [Interruption.]
    My good fr iend Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa is misleading this House. Mr Speaker, this is a House of records. He has said that the President's Address has been acknowledged by the international community. To be sincere, apt, et cetera. I want my Hon Friend to quote one international body that has made a statement on the President's State of the Nation Address to justify --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    You can continue.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the President also touched on the housing deficit of 1.7 million, which is a major issue confronting young people in our country; very exorbitant rents, young people who are starting life do struggle with these exorbitant rent charges. The President did roll out a very bold and comprehensive programme to address the housing deficit.
    He said that 5,000 of affordable housing units have begun in earnest at Ningo; and these 5,000 housing units are being constructed.
    The President also said within the next five years, another 15,000 affordable housing units would be constructed. The President also said that, Ghana Real Estates Development Association (GREDA) have been brought on board to assist in another package. The President also said that, on President Kufuor's affordable houses, which have been uncompleted, he has tasked the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) to ensure that these affordable houses are completed.
    This certainly is gratifying to the youth of our country. On the action and implementation plan for the National Youth Policy which has been pending for a long time; we have never had an action and implementation plan since 1992, it is gratifying to note the President has said that this year, the action and implementation plan for the National Youth Policy has been finalised --
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, your constituency?
    Mr Agyemang 1:15 p.m.
    Asante Akim North, where the Fulanis are worrying us.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order? I have “banned” the use of Order 30 (f).
    Mr Agyemang 1:15 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, I would go by the same order. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague requested from the Hon Member the source where he quoted that a number of international bodies have acknowledged His Excellency's speech as the best that we have in Ghana and we wanted to get his source. I would beg your indulgence if he can acknowledge us --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    I am glad that you ended by saying that you beg my indulgence. Your Hon Colleague requested me to request the Hon Member; he speaks through the Speaker, the request ended with me; I did not request him to give me the information. Continue Hon Ablakwa.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your wise counsel. Mr Speaker, as I continue to enumerate the many good tidings in the State of the Nation Address for the youth of our country --
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, once again, I am under Order 30 (f). Mr Speaker, this is a House of records. He did indicate that the National Youth Plan has never had an action and an implementation plan. Mr Speaker, it is wrong. In 2008, it was given Executive approval; it had an action plan and an implementation plan. That is for the records.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you aware of that?
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, no, only last Saturday, I was on radio with the Minister at the time, Hon Nana Akomea. He said that it was a draft action plan; it was not given Cabinet approval. [Interruption.] Draft, that was what Nana Akomea said on News File only last Saturday. So the Minister who takes credit says it was a draft, it was not finalised; August, 2008 and I took part in that draft; then I was an activist. So, I know what I am talking about; it was not finalised.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am speaking on authority. I was then the Chairman of the Youth and Sports
    Committee. I was part of that process and I am telling him that in 2008, it was given Executive approval. All those documents are available; it was not draft document. Cabinet gave approval in 2008; this is on authority, when I Chaired the Committee on Youth and Sports. So please, he cannot come here and deceive us; it is not radio discussion, this is Parliament and I am speaking --
    So, it was on authority and that I was part of the process, I was part of everything when it was finalised. [Interruption.] All that happened was that they came in 2009 and hurriedly went and did wrong things. They had all the documents; it was launched by the then Vice President who is now President of Ghana. So please, this one, he should not contest it.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to say that this is a bone of contention. If we give ourselves time, you would allow the Hon Member to continue; then copies of the document that was given the Executive approval and the date on which the approval was given be submitted to this House for verification.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this is a controversial issue, but what I do not actually get from my Hon Colleague, Mr Ablakwa is that, he is referring to a discussion he had with a Minister on radio. Mr Speaker, I do not want to believe that this is an extension of that discussion. Therefore, whatever transpired there cannot be said to be a record.
    Our Hon Colleague is saying that, he has an emphatic document, which he can hold his neck to, that it was indeed, approved by the Executive. Like my Hon Colleague said, maybe, we can give ourselves time and allow them to bring the document to you.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, at that time, the Hon Member for Chiana/Paga (Abuga Pele) was the Ranking Member; we all took part.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Is he in the House?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:15 p.m.
    He is not here at the moment, but he can testify to it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, when an Hon Member states a fact, a categorical fact, and he gives us the basis of his belief. He said last week, he was in discussion with the Minister and he says that the Minister at the time said that. I want you to advise me Hon Osei-Owusu. He says that you challenged him, asking what the basis was and, he says: “My basis is Nana Akomea”. That is what he is saying. Nana Akomea of course, is not in the House, but he is using him as his basis.
    Then another Hon Member gets up and says that, no, I chaired the Committee and the thing happened during my term. At that stage, Hon Osei- Owusu, what do you advise that I do as Speaker?
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is another dimension which I would want to add. The Hon Ablakwa said he was on News File last Saturday with Nana Akomea. Mr Speaker, last Saturday, I was on News File and Hon Ablakwa was not on News File.[Uproar!]
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    I am referring to the previous one. [Interruption.]. Please, please.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Let us take it that it was a slip of tongue.
    But Hon Osei-Owusu, what do you advise that we do in the circumstances?
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was going to help the debate. Mr Speaker, the Action and Implementation Plan derives from the Youth Policy. The National Youth Policy was launched in 2010 by then Vice President Mahama, which he states on page (7) of the State of the Nation Address and with your permission, I beg to read. He says:
    “Mr Speaker, as government responds to the issues that confront the youth in our population, we are also mindful of the need to ensure that our young people are part of
    the process of finding the needed solutions. Following on the National Policy document launched in 2010, we have finalised work on an Action and Implementation Plan for the National Youth Policy.”
    So, it is not possible for an implementation plan, which is a derivative of the youth policy to have been finalised and given Executive approval in 2008, when the policy itself was launched in 2010. [Interruption.] So, you are misleading the House. The National Youth
    -- 1:15 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Ablakwa, I must confess that I am not an expert in when it was launched and so on. But I was just listening closely to you and what I heard from you was that, you were an activist before 2008 and you were part of a certain process. That process that you were part of, there was a policy.
    But the Implementation Plan was completed, because all we had was a draft. So the question of there being a policy or not is not an issue. That is what I got from you,that before 2008, there was a policy.
    The issue between you and Hon Asiamah was when the action plan or implementation plan was launched. Now, Hon Asiamah says that it was done in August, 2008. You say that you were part of that process. All that happened then was a draft. You were an activist, you were part of it; two weeks ago, Nana Akomea then the Minister had said something that supports your position.
    Hon Asiamah also is not speaking from a position of total ignorance because he was the Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports. You know that if you are a Chairman of a Committee in Parliament, a major thing such as this, you may remember.
    Dr Anane 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to help circumstances. Mr Speaker, policies and their evolution do not require assembling people to tell about them. So when policies are evolved and enacted by a Government, normally by the Executive, it may not need to have been sent to an Assembly for the people to know.
    I can tell you for a fact, I got a transport policy evolved. There is a transport policy, but I am not very sure whether Hon Members in this House today, may be aware of it. It is not so much as commissioning or doing anything; it is whether it has been done or not. When the Executive evolves a policy, the Executive may inform Parliament; it is not law, so the Executive may just inform Parliament about its evolution and about its presence.
    The Executive, when it likes to maybe, commission for public consumption. But it is for the use of the Executive and the people of the nation. So, I do not think that whether it was commissioned or not commissioned should be an issue. It is whether it has been done or not done.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    I think that Hon Ablakwa is perfectly capable of making his contribution when he takes this part out. So take this part out and let us take it from there.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Take that part out; just that part out.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    It is a fact. It is in the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    The commissioning?
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    So, what is the whole debate about then?
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    He is trying to challenge what the President has said and what I am repeating. I am only repeating what the President has said.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    But if it was stated in the State of the Nation Address, he cannot withdraw it.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Yes, I cannot withdraw.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, your name is here, so when it gets to your turn, you would have the opportunity to contribute. He cannot withdraw what is in the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a matter of fact that, on 3rd August, 2010, the National Youth Policy was launched, which the President is saying that an Action Implementation Plan has since been finalised. So, I am only stating a matter of fact and saying that the youth of this country are excited about this positive development.
    Mr Speaker, I must also add that, since 2012, the Skills Development Fund under COVET has been able to disburse an amount of GH¢22 million for skills and technology development for 28,000 youth. The youth of this country is also excited that the Eastern University which was promised is also on course, and as the
    President indicated, the draft Bill is on its way to Parliament.
    The two earlier universities which are babies of the NDC Government, the University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region are also witnessing significant growth, from 155 students at its inception to 535 students.
    The University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani has also witnessed a significant increase in enrolment from 150 students to 716 students.
    Mr Speaker, the conversion of all ten polytechnics into technical universities is also a matter which is of great interest to the youth of our country.
    The Tamale Teaching Hospital upgrading which has allowed University for Development Studies (UDS) medical students to now be able to do their clinicals in the Tamale Teaching Hospital instead of being transported all the way to Kumasi where they were doing their clinicals at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is also a matter of great interest to the youth of our country.
    It is also important to state that the President did indicate that there is a pragmatic and well thought-out roadmap for the progressive introduction of free secondary education.
    It is my hope, Mr Speaker, that the debate would now move from whose idea it is -- Since it is clear that 20 years before it became a political hot issue, it was enshrined in our 1992 Constitution -- To discussing how successful we can implement this intervention so that the progressive introduction of free secondary education would inure to the benefit of our people.
    Mr Speaker, I have listened to many of our Hon Colleagues say that there was nothing in the State of the Nation Address and that, there is nothing going on and that one cannot find any Better Ghana Agenda project around when we go to our constituencies. I wish to refer Mr Speaker, to the March 7th - 13th 2014 edition of the Weekend Finder. I found a story in that issue number 103, a front page story of great interest.
    The front page reads: “Nine at War with MP” and it has a very handsome looking picture of Hon Dr Owusu-Afriyie Akoto, the Hon Member for Kwadaso. In that story, the Weekend Finder reports that all nine Assembly members in Kwadaso Constituency in the Ashanti Region are fighting the Hon Member of Parliament for that area over who has the right to take credit for ongoing and completed development projects.
    While the Assembly Members want to be credited for the projects, the Hon Member of Parliament told the Weekend Finder that the Assembly Members do not have the clout to lobby for projects. The Assembly Members are angry because they want to take credit for --
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh 1:25 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, Order 30 (f).
    Mr Speaker, I heard Hon Okudjeto Ablakwa say that, fom the Skills Development Fund the Government has disbursed a certain amount to a certain number of youth groups across the country. I know for a fact that the Manifesto of this Government spoke about the Skills Development Fund. And even last year 's State of the Nation Address talked about it.
    Mr Speaker, I can speak on authority, especially in my constituency, that nobody has benefited from this Skills Development Fund. Let the Hon Member tell us: he either gives us evidence of disbursement or he should humbly withdraw that statement.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Continue.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am still quoting from the Weekend Finder which says:
    “The Assembly members are angry because they want to take credit for the projects to seek re-election in the upcoming Distr ict levels elections. They accused the MP of taking credit for the projects to seek re-election in 2016.”
    So, Mr Speaker, while our Hon Colleagues are saying that nothing is going on and that the Better Ghana has offered no hope, they are fighting in their Constituencies with their Assembly Members on taking credit for these projects. [Hear! Hear!] I think this is a classical manifestation -- [Interruption.]
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 1:25 p.m.
    On a point of order. He reads from a document, we do not have and mentions an Hon Colleague's name. So, the document must be tendered in evidence because the Hon Colleague is not here to respond to whatever he is reading.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can present this to the Table Office. It is a public document -- the Weekend Finder. And there has not been a rejoinder. Indeed, the Hon Member of Parliament spoke to the newspaper and said that he had the clout to lobby for these projects, which have manifested in his Constituency.

    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion.
    Mr Benjamin K. Ayeh (NPP -- Upper Denkyira West) 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, reading through the President's State of the Nation Address and that of the previous year's, if there is anything significantly observed, maybe, it is about the sizes of the two booklets and the change in the themes. I have been asking myself whether the President was able to use the four thematic areas outlined in his previous State of the Nation Address to achieve the theme for 2013, “Opportunity for All”.
    If he could not achieve that, then why do we have to believe the President if he tells this House that he is going to use the same thematic areas to structurally transform this economy and ask all of us to rise to the challenge.
    If we go to the first paragraph, I think, page 1, the last paragraph on that page. I crave your indulgence to quote something from that paragraph.
    The President says his “first priority is, and will continue to be, our people.”
    Then I ask myself, does he have other choices? Development is supposed to be about the people and nothing else: so what else could our priorities have been about but the people? As we speak now, the proportion of the active population who are available for work but are not working is frightening and that is why when I hear our Hon Colleagues talk about jobs having been created here and there, I get worried. According to TUC's Report for October last year, in spite of --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, you would lay it on the Table.
    Mr Ayeh 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in spite of the growth rates reported, there appear not to be any real growth as far as job creation and improvement in our living standards are concerned. As we speak now, over 45 per cent of the unemployed hands we have in this country fall within that youth category. Meanwhile, in spite of this situation, on annual basis, about 450,000 more of such youths are thrown into the job market, yet according to the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), only 5,000 of this number get formal employment.
    As a nation, are we thinking about the national security implications of this situation, the number of youth out there who are unemployed? Are we surprised about the rate of robbery going on within our country? Are we surprised of these little conflicts like what we just witnessed just yesterday or two days ago in the North, all because we have all these available hands not having jobs to do?
    I was at a court a couple of weeks ago, and the Judge made a comment that I think should be of interest to all of us. He said, it appears almost about 80 to 90 per cent of the people that he has thrown into jail are all between the ages of 19 to 25, and with much difficulty. In any case, he has to do his job so he keeps throwing these youthful hands behind bars and we sit down as a nation not doing anything about it.
    That was why some of us thought that the Ghana Youth Employment and Enterpreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) Programme could have come to at least help in a way, but what do we see? Even as we speak now, we are not very sure under which Ministry GYEEDA is placed.
    At Committee meetings, we have to struggle between the Minister for Youth and Sports and that of Employment of Labour Relations as far as disbursements to this GYEEDA Programme is concerned.
    Mr Speaker, the Kayayei phenomenon! It would interest you also to know that over 80 per cent of our brothers and sisters in this trade all come from the northern part of our country. That is why the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) programme, I believe, should have been given the much- needed attention with all the seriousness that we could.
    But again, what do we see? Statistics again available indicates that about 96 per cent of these youth who migrate from the North down South come here because of economic reasons. Yet we bring this laudable policy or programmes and we are not able to effectively implement it, to create the needed jobs for our youth.
    On the labour front, as we speak now, there seems to be some semblance of peace but then all is not well.
    Mr Speaker, all of a sudden, the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) has become an issue, and then I ask myself, what happened to this policy after it was heralded with brass-band music? Is the labour no more worth its due? If the labour is worth its due, then what is all this noise about SSPP.
    Why are we only looking at the income of our workers out there without looking at their expenditure patterns at a time when transport fairs, utility bills, school fees, everything is increasing? Why are we only worried about how much our workers are earning?
    Mr Speaker, it may interest you to note that, out of the 14 strikes recorded last year, eight of them related to the SSPP with over --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have two more minutes.
    Mr Ayeh 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, eight of them related to the SSPP with over 1 million people involved doing these strikes. Man hours lost was between 56 hours and 672
    Mr Ayeh 1:35 p.m.


    hours and cumulatively, as a nation, we lost between 56,672 million hours. Yet, what do we see? The Ministries and the agencies that are taxed or mandated to handle these labour issues, not only do they have their budgets cut down but even the little that was approved for them releases are not going. Are you surprised, Mr Speaker?

    I am not surprised that even the Labour Commission in spite of identifying some grey areas on Act 651 that they had to educate the public on, could not do anything. As we speak now, allowances to the Commissioners are in arrears from January, 2013 to date and Labour Commission could not perform because of lack of logistics.

    They could not perform any of their core functions as far as the year 2013 is concerned. Not a single one of their core functions could be performed.

    What are we doing to ourselves? All is not well as we have been told or heard from Dr Akoto Osei and from other sources with our SSPP. But I believe it needs a proper audit. When that is done, with all these thousands of ghost names we keep hearing right, left, centre, perhaps; something could be done about it. I am not sure that the challenge is with the policy itself. It is the implementation --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Be winding up.
    Mr Ayeh 1:35 p.m.
    It is the implementation that is going through some challenges and if we would sit down and look out for these challenges, I believe the SSPP would be a policy worth pursuing.
    In conclusion, the President talked about the introduction of free Senior High School (SHS). As we speak now, for the second year running, I have a free Senior
    Secondary School running in my constituency. [Some Hon Members: How?] They are asking how? I am not surprised that the President rushed to my hometown where this project is being implemented, a couple of days after delivering his State of the Nation Address. If as a Member of Parliament I could do this, then it should not be difficult for us as a nation, to implement this noble idea of providing education for our people.
    With these few words, I would want to once again thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Govers K. Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 1:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion thanking the President for delivering his State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to say that, I have heard some of my Colleagues have issues with the number of times the President was able to make us react to what he was presenting to us for the over two hours presentation; people have issues with why he made us giggle. I think any President who can speak for two hours and cannot make anybody giggle or laugh has got a serious problem.
    I think there is nowhere in the world that one can present a report or anything for two hours and expect everybody to be just mute. I think we should just understand that it is part of good presentation for one to touch base with the people.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to limit myself to just a single issue in the President's presentation and this is about law and order. I go to page 22; I think the last paragraph to the left hand side which is at the bottom.
    The President says and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, indiscipline and lawlessness are fast infecting the fabric of our society in the form of encroachment of public lands, sale of the same plot of land to multiple buyers, armed land guards wrecking violence on innocent people”.
    Mr Speaker, we have all heard these stories time and again of even Hon Members of Parliament investing their hard - earned savings into landed property and eventually losing it due to issues identified or enumerated here by the President. Mr Speaker, I think that as a people, we must just recognize that the solution to many of the problems we have lie in our hands.
    The Republic of Ghana took the trouble to pass the National Redemption Council Decree (NRDC), 175, which talks about conveyancing. Then in 2005, we passed the Stamp Duty Act, Act 689 as well. I am not a Lawyer, but if we read these two laws, they have very good intentions of creating some sanity in the way we offer or dispose of or acquire landed property in this country. But the two laws do not actually make it look like they are fit for the purpose; there is a disconnect somewhere.
    My understanding is that, what it takes is just for the Attorney-General to take a look at the two laws, to see how we can make these laws work. Currently, I can walk to anybody and say, I want to buy a piece of land and when he gives me the value and I can pay, I would probably write him a cheque or go to the bank, withdraw whatever amount of money that is in the bank and give it to him.
    The law says after that, you obtain the title transfer from the Lands Registry, and then somebody comes to access the property and gives you --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I am not supposed to take part in the debate. Can you resume your seat? I think that after these laws you are referring to, several laws relating to land have been passed: the Land Title Registration Act for example. There are so many other laws relating to land that have been passed.
    So a discourse from an Hon Member of Parliament suggesting that our laws on land are inadequate, when you yourself confessed in the beginning that you are not a Lawyer in this House of record, is on that somebody would pick up and take you out of context. So, I do not know.
    I feel a little uncomfortable presiding over this Session when I know subsequent to these two laws there are several others. I know of the Land Administration Project (LAP) and so on and so forth. I know what you are saying that in spite of all these laws people are breaking the law. But in spite of all the criminal laws, there are people still in prison.
    The fact that people are breaking the law does not necessarily mean that the laws are inadequate. But when you take 1975 Act, the Conveyancing Act and you take the Stamp Act, sometimes, is the Stamp Act is really about title to land? I do not know.
    Mr Agbodza 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the intervention. This is the point I am making -- That is why I said, I am not a Lawyer. We may have “X” number of legislation in this country, but the fact still remains that the purposes for which these laws were enacted never get addressed, to the extent that the President acknowledges the problems we have.
    Mr Samuel A. Akyea 1:45 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I hold a humble view that whatever submissions are being made relating to the State of the Nation Address should be relevant. The President never waded into the areas of the interpretation of law, applicability and the rest of it.
    So, I do not know where my Hon Colleague is going with this matter. Is he addressing the State of the Nation Address or he is into jurisprudence? I am a bit confused as to why he is trying to talk about the interpretation of law and the application of --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Atta Akyea, he is addressing the State of the Nation Address because the President, I believe, talked about land problems and said something about land. In any event, there was something about housing and so on. All those things are there and it has to do with land. Land is a major factor of production. I thought the question that he would have raised was whether the Stamp Act and the Conveyancing Act are the fundamental laws on land. I do not know.
    Mr Akyea 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought rather he should show how the Conveyancing Act and also the Stamp Act --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    No. I ruled that to discuss the State of the Nation Address and talk about land is relevant; he can talk about land. The question that I asked is, are those two Acts -- That is the question that I asked. As for the relevance, once he is talking about the State of the Nation Address, I ruled that if he decides that he is going to take it from the angle of land, it is relevant. My worry is the two acts. My worry is the two Acts that the focus is on.
    Mr Agbodza 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me just say this. I am not trying to interpret the law; I am not qualified to do that. For instance, he has just talked about conveyancing, and in most civilized countries, it would be impossible for you to do any land transaction without the person offering the land or the seller and the buyer having to contract conve- yancing solicitors to be able to do this.
    It would never happen. This is where my argument is. The whole point I am trying to make is that, we should be able to --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    So, you are suggesting, for example, that we should make it compulsory that any acquisition of land should involve lawyers?
    Mr Agbodza 1:45 p.m.
    Explicitly so.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    God bless you.
    Mr Agbodza 1:45 p.m.
    That it should be impossible for anybody to do so. My prescription is, if you were to see a landed property you have an interest in, after you negotiate the price with the person offering it, the next thing you need to do is to go and get a conveyancing solicitor. The Seller also gets a solicitor so you hand over the rest of the search and all the issues related to that to your conveyancing lawyer --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, in Ghana, the profession is fused, so just use “lawyer”. “Barrister” and “Solicitor”, unlike in the United Kingdom (UK), in Ghana, all barristers are solicitors. So, I agree with you but just use the word “lawyer”. In the UK, they have Conveyancing, solicitors and so on; we do not have that in Ghana.
    Mr Agbodza 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in other jurisdictions, they prefer to make them conveyances and others. That is fine.
    All I am saying is that, this country will be saved a lot of agony if it becomes illegal that Mr (a) would just offer a land to Mr (b) and then he would pay by cash. What about if the law makes it that only the lawyers can do that so if I make the offer and it is agreed, the payment is made to my lawyer, it is my lawyer that can send the payment to the person selling it.
    In that way, it is not possible for me to lose my money because the lawyer by his profession and code of conduct, would not go and do incomplete job in terms of search therefore, encouraging me to enter into an agreement when he knows that the person selling the land is not entitled to make that contract on my behalf.
    Even to Government, we are talking about raising revenue in this country. The Stamp Duty Act tries to make the State raise some revenue. What about if we make this law? What we would have done is that, the lawyer, before he passes on whatever money is due to the seller, would by law have to --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Adaklu, two minutes more.
    Mr Agbodza 1:55 a.m.
    He would by law, have to deduct whatever is due to the Government directly. So the buyer and the seller would
    have to pay that Stamp Duty upfront before the money gets into the hands of the seller. If the following day, they decide to sell the same land the same transaction would be paid for. In other words, the Government has got an interest in raising more revenue from this. I hear people say that, would amount to limiting the flow of land transaction in Ghana or it would increase the price; it would not. It is a tax based on transaction.
    We can even say that, for affordable housing -- Maybe, housing, if we are able to define it one day -- Maybe from zero to one hundred and fifty thousand attracts no stamp duty but for one hundred and fifty thousand to above 24 per cent. I believe that this would take away a lot of the pain and agony off the people of Ghana and also encourage investment because every development starts from a land somewhere --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Adaklu, thank you very much.
    Mr Agbodza 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Mr KwakuAgyeman-Manu (NPP -- Dorma Central) 1:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, very quickly, I would want to quote from the President's Address. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote from page 1 of the Address:” Today, as I talk about where we are as a Nation” -- That is so, Mr Speaker. The state of this nation's Address is all about where we are as a nation and that is what I just quoted from the President's own Address.
    But Mr Speaker, unfortunately, our President did not talk about so many things. The state of programmes and projects that we have launched with various objects -- Some of these objects are targeting at structural transformation of our economy, poverty reduction, wealth creation, bridging our infrastructural
    Mr KwakuAgyeman-Manu (NPP -- Dorma Central) 1:55 a.m.


    deficits, deepening our middle income status, and most of all, ensuring the realization of the achievement of the NDC Better Ghana Agenda. Mr Speaker, the President did not even mention the Better Ghana Agenda slogan in his State of the Nation Address -- [Interruptions] -- Mr Speaker, he knows why -- A failed agenda and therefore, he could not come here to even mention that slogan any longer.

    Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, the President left so much work undone. Just look at LEAP, the President said and I want to quote from page 5. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence: I will so do:

    “This means that now the poorest 74,000 families in Ghana will be able to afford food, clothing and the cost of basic transportation. Now these families will have access to health care and education.”
    Mr Benjamin K. Kpodo 1:55 a.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Kpodo 1:55 a.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Order number?
    Mr Kpodo 1:55 a.m.
    Your Hon Chief Whip is confusing me -- [Laughter.] Order 31.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    No. You cannot come under Order 31. Everybody has been mentioning it. Hon Agyeman Manu, continue, please.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I just quoted so much the President has enumerated as to what people receiving LEAP benefits can do. Mr Speaker, the President refused to tell us how much per household on
    monthly basis these 75,000 people are receiving and how it can enable them do so much that the President is talking about. Why did he not tell us how much it is? The President should tell us. Mr Speaker, he never mentioned the Media Fund. The computers -- And with the balance -- Where it is being disbursed. That is part of where we are.
    They allocate money to the Media to do some work -- That thing got lost -- And the President would not tell us the state of that thing.
    Mr Speaker, the President wants to fight corruption and I would like to quote Mr Speaker himself. “The damning Maputo Report”; That is how Rt Hon Adjaho in his seat told us here -- The President refused to talk about it. Where is that Report? The President refused to talk about it. What has happened to those who have been cited in that Report? There is so much the President did not want Ghanaians to know, but we know. Mr Speaker, --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Let us refrain from quoting the Speaker, especially, when he is not here.
    Mr Agyeman Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I withdraw my words but let me say that the Maputo Report -- So the Speaker should tell us -- It is about malfeasance, it is about moneys that have been misappropriated and the President would not tell us what it is. Mr Speaker, as I said, the President did not want us to know so much but I would want to tell Ghanaians what certain things are like. The state of our cocoa industry --
    Mr Richard M. Quashigah 1:55 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has just overlooked the caution you gave him, that he is not to refer to Mr Speaker as far as that Report is concerned or what Mr Speaker might have said. But then, he proceeded again, when somebody
    interrupted, that they should ask Mr Speaker about the Maputo Report. Mr Speaker, I think that he is grossly out of order and must be brought to order.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    It is quite unfortunate that my Hon Colleague was not listening to me. What I said was that, Mr Speaker said, “the damning Maputo Report” and I said I was withdrawing that word -- ‘the damning Maputo Report' -- I never made reference to Mr Speaker any longer. I did not say so.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    You are withdrawing the reference to Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought the portion you want the Hon Chairman for the Public Accounts Committee to withdraw was that, there was so much that the President did not want us to know. I think that was the portion you wanted him to withdraw.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    No. With respect that is his opinion. But what I wanted him to withdraw -- Even the Maputo Report -- I do not know what the Maputo Report itself is and he can refer to a report he -- But I did not want him to use the Speaker as a reference, especially, as Mr Speaker is not in the House, he is not presiding. Even if he was in the House, the rule of the thumb has always been that, do not involve Mr Speaker in your discussions.
    So, I wanted him to remove that reference to Mr Speaker. If he wanted to refer to the Report in his own capacity then he can; but he should not use the Speaker as a point of reference. That is all.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that -- [Inaudible] -- He was hiding a vital information from the people
    of Ghana. I think he is in that case imputing improper motives to the President of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    I remember -- I believe it is Hon Yieleh Chireh or one Hon Member who said yesterday that, his understanding of the contribution to the Motion on the State of the Nation Address is for him to say what he thought the President should have included, what he did not include, or what he should have excluded that he did not exclude.
    So the whole day, all we have been listening to is that, this Hon Member gets up and says the President should have said this or that. Some talk about labour, some others talk about different things.
    If an Hon Member says that the President should have said this but he did not say so, it is not improper motive. To say that then, it means that the Hon Member is restricted and the Hon Member gets up and says what the President said and expand on it. So please, I do not think he did it with some ill-will or mischief towards the President. In his view, a State of the Nation Address should have included this. That is his view.
    So let him continue and let him quickly bring this matter to a close.
    Hon Members, Order 40 (3) directs that since the House is Sitting outside its prescribed period, I should so direct. So, I direct that having regard to the state of the Business, the Sitting of the House for today should be held outside the prescribed period.
    Hon Members, once this direction is for the purpose of letting as many Hon Members whose names have been put down here the opportunity to comment on the State of the Nation Address -- I am informed that tomorrow, it is only Leadership who would comment. So even
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.


    though after a certain time the cameras would go, we also comment for the record. I am prepared to Sit in for as long as you are all prepared to Sit in, to ensure all the persons whose names are here have the opportunity to contribute.

    So, Hon Member, continue and as you continue be winding up.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hope you would adjust my time.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me continue. There is so much the President did not want Ghanaians to know. But we know some of them and I am going to tell Ghanaians what these are.
    I talked about the state of the cocoa industry -- Bonuses for five years; drastic reduction of mass spraying, not for sale chemicals on sale under the supervision of some people put in certain positions to even supervise this; reduction of production of the beans by some 30 per cent over the previous year; no more cocoa roads in any cocoa growing area.
    These are issues that could have been easily put in the President's Address. Nothing was said about them. Mr Speaker, what has happened to the investigations on the Report on the Savannah Acclerated Development Authority (SADA) issues.
    The SADA Akonfem, the SADA tree planting project during the harmattan in the North, the balance of the money borrowed, that was supposed to have been taken to the North for further activities which was left to the Ministry of Finance. What has happened to that? All these issues were never mentioned any where in the State of the Nation Address.
    The state of the SADA itself even now, the President is supposed to tell us where we are. So, where is SADA? That state was not in his Address.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, two more minutes.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what is even worse? The level of excitement generated when the beneficiaries who received these other monies got the monies into their pockets -- The level of excitement, the President never mentioned that. He never told anybody and the portion of the money that went into the yebediikeke campaign was never disclosed.
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa 1:55 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, Order 30 (f). The Hon Member said a portion of the SADA money was used for the yebediikeke campaign. This is unacceptable. He would have to adduce evidence or withdraw that. That is a criminal allegation -- Corruption -- That we have taken SADA money for campaign. Where is his evidence?
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if he has information on that matter, he should tell us. I challenge the President to come to the House to tell this House of that money, as it is speculated, what went into the campaign. Why did he not say so in the Address? That is what I am saying.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    But Hon Agyeman-Manu, that is not the method of debate in this House.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence can I continue?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, withdraw it.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. On your direction, I would like to withdraw that portion of my debate. Mr Speaker, I would now continue, after the withdrawal. The state of the other authorities that the late President Mills enumerated in his 17th February, 2011 State of the Nation Address and with your permission, Mr Speaker, I will quote from that Address:
    “The Estern Corridor Development Authority which will subsume the Central Region Development Authority.”
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, you do not have time to quote, please.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    The Eastern Corridor Development Authority, the Forest Belt Development Authority that comprises the Brong-Ahafo and Ashanti Regions. The President did not talk about the state in which these authorities are. So this is the type of job I think the President should come back to do. Mr Speaker, our President did not talk about the Ghana cedi and the mortgage of our oil, the prospects of disbursement and the state of the numerous projects it would have funded.
    The escrow account that continues to take the oil moneys that miners mortgaged into, the President did not talk about these. The interest that we continue to pay on undrawn balance -- These are all issues that I think should be addressed.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, in conclusion --
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is a lot. But in conclusion, on your directive, I would want to say that and I would quote again with your indulgence. Mr Speaker, allow me, please.
    The 74,000 households who would now be able to eat because of LEAP, how much they receive, I think we have every right and privilege to know. The children who were not able to attend school -- I am quoting from the President's Address. He talked about children who are now able to go to school.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    Hon Agyeman-Manu, thank you very much - - [Interruption.] If you decide to assist me to work, I will ask him to rise up again and continue talking.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 1:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, can I hear you again?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 a.m.
    No, I will not do that. Please, Hon Dr Sugri Tia.
    Hon Dr Sugri Tia, thank you.
    Dr Alfred Sugri Tia (NDC -- Nalerigu) 2:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President for the Message on the State of the Nation Address which he delivered to this House.
    Mr Speaker, my statement will dwell on two issues. The vision of the President on health and agriculture. The President indicated that, his Government's vision is to extend quality health care to all people irrespective of the geographical location in this country and to do that, he indicated that he was going to see to the training of more health personnel, construction of new health facilities, procurement of new equipment for these facilities.
    Mr Speaker, the President's vision is very laudable because if we take the Health Sector and develop one aspect of it and leave the others, we would soon not have the right quality of healthcare that we need. As we sit, Mr Speaker, the total number of health personnel,
    Dr Alfred Sugri Tia (NDC -- Nalerigu) 2:05 p.m.


    especially doctors in this country, are stated by the Medical and Dental Council as 4,230 doctors in both public and private sector that take care of all the health needs of the country. But the issue is that, 70 per cent of the 4,230 are located in four regions -- Greater Accra, Eastern Region, Ashanti Region and Central Region.

    Thirty per cent of all the doctors are now in the rest of the six regions. That means that distr ibution of critical personnel in the health sector is not fair. By the numbers we have 4,230 doctors in the whole country. This means with a population of 25 million, the doctor- population ratio is about 1:6,000. That is national.

    Now Greater Accra alone has 52 per cent of all the doctors; that is more than 2,000 and if you take that into consideration, all the other regions virtually have very few doctors. That is why it is a challenge for us to look at the health sector holistically.

    Now, Mr Speaker, apart from the doctors, the midwives who have been trained and employed right now in private and public sectors to help with safe delivery we have a total number of 4,262.

    This is from the Nurses and Midwives Council as of today. General nurses --- We have 21,169; and community health nurses, that is, certificated nurses, 12,345. These midwives are equally distributed in such a way that it is skewed towards the commercial centres -- Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern and Central Regions.

    So, we have a challenge if we have to deal with health issues in this country.We have to train more personnel. And the President is backing this with a vision. He has made the Ministry of Health to scale up the establishment of health training institutions.

    In fact, within the past few years, a lot of health training institutions have been established and the total number now stands about 78 countrywide, producing critical health personnel. Apart from that, the President indicated that, these personnel have to have facilities from where they would extend the services. He indicated that with the CHPS Compounds, about 1,600 CHPS compounds were going to be constructed countrywide at the village level.

    Then from the village level to the district level, his vision was that, every district should have a district hospital. From there, he is rehabilitating regional hospitals to take care of referrals. And even the teaching hospitals, the new hospital at Legon has come under construction; Tamale Teaching Hospital, the second phase has been brought on board and these are all going to train specialised manpower for the country.

    With this, we are going to be able to have enough health personnel to deal with all health problems.

    Mr Speaker, the CHPS Compounds - just last two weeks we went to Wa to inaugurate the commencement of work for 73 new CHPS Compounds which are provided by the Japan International Co- operation Agency (JICA). Out of their relationship with the Government, they realise that Ghana has all the good intentions, and they came in and realised that the health indicators in the Upper West Region were not the best.

    So all the 73 new CHPS Compounds are built there.We can see that the President's vision to bring on board more CHPS Compounds indicate that; he wants to extend health services to the people.

    Mr Speaker, the equipment that the President mentioned in his State of the Nation Address, using almost GH¢269 million to bring in state of the art equipment to fit into all the hospitals to

    enable the health personnel to do proper diagnosis of health issues before you can treat -- Without diagnosing a case properly we can never give proper treatment.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Dr Tia, two minutes more, please.
    Dr Tia 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just want to say that the President is aware that Ghana has signed on to the Millennium Development Goals of having maternal mortality reduced by 2015, next year. The target is supposed to be 185 deaths per 100,000. That means for every 100,000 women who deliver, by next year, we should have been hoping that only 185 of them would die. As we Sit today, for every 100,000 women, 350 of them die; as we Sit today, for every 1,000 children born, 82 of them die.
    By next year, we are supposed to have achieved the Millennium Development Goals of reducing it to 40 and that is why I see that his vision has been so laudable in this area, because if we do not have enough health personnel, we cannot achieve these objectives.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for this opportunity to contribute to the Motion.
    Mr Samuel Atta Akyea (NPP -- Abuakwa South) 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor relating to the State of the Nation Address by the President.
    Mr Speaker, over the past five years, I have observed that, the State of the Nation Address has become a constitutional ritual in which the President in flowery language whitewash the hydra-

    Mr Speaker, when it comes to the economy, the reality is not in books. Every Ghanaian of average intelligence can do his reality check. We can ascertain the health and the state of the economy. Let us hear the President on the economic performance. I find it very, very intriguing and with the permission of Mr Speaker, I would like to quote; I am reading the Official Report of Tuesday, 25th February, 2014; column 883:

    “Mr Speaker, despite the short-term challenges we face, our economic fundamentals remain sound, and our mid-term prospects are bright.”

    Oh, what a statement which is out of tune with the reality on the ground. One begins to wonder whether the economy of the Flagstaff House is different from the economy we live in. I would like to give a few examples for Mr Speaker, to know that it is all unpardonable hype and propaganda. There is nowhere in the world that the economic fundamentals of an economy are sound but all financial releases are in arrears.

    I repeat, there is nowhere in the world that anybody can posit that the economic fundamentals of that economy are good, nevertheless every release which would help the people of that economy are in arrears.

    Mr Speaker, the National Health Insurance, the releases are in arrears; the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is in arrears; the Members of Parliament (MPs) Common Fund are in arrears. When we come to even ordinary contractors, the ordinary contractors who have also submitted their certificates, the payments are in arrears.
    Mr Samuel Atta Akyea (NPP -- Abuakwa South) 2:15 p.m.


    I would come to this august House. The releases which are supposed to let Parliament function are also in arrears. We are so broke, Mr Speaker, to the point that -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I would want to bring the reality check right here. Right now, this Parliament has been reduced to an arm of Government with a cup in hand, that we need to see donors to even support us for us to converge in places for Committees to function. This is where we are; we cannot run away from this.
    Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is misleading this House. He is misleading this House because he is saying that releases to Parliament are in arrears. I can confirm to you that releases to Parliament are not in arrears.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Ato Forson --
    Mr Forson 2:15 p.m.
    Releases for the first quarter have been released to Parliament as far back as two weeks ago and it cannot be said to be in arrears and I would want him to apologise and withdraw.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Ato Forson, you cannot shout down the Speaker. You are speaking and I intervene, you stop speaking. Please do not try and shout down the Speaker. It is totally wrong.

    Hon Ato Forson, you have very good Friends in the House; do you not? But do not try it again; do not try and shout down the Speaker, please.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would try to ignore this but I am talking about reality check. If he could tell me whether or not the Committees of this House are functioning. I am on a very strategic Committee. We are at the behest and pleasure of some foreign donors for us to go and sit somewhere and they give us a paltry sum of GH¢400,000 for 72 hours.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to underline one very serious issue concerning the poverty of this economy. If you made reference to the Judiciary, the Constitution says clearly in article 127(1) that all the moneys that have been approved by this House for the benefit of this House should be released quarterly. Mr Speaker, if you check with the Chief Justice, they are in pathetic arrears. An arm of Government is being starved because moneys cannot be released.
    So, Mr Speaker, how can one talk about the fact that the fundamentals of the economy are good when everything is in arrears?
    Mr Speaker, the blood of every economy is its currency. Just check out how the Ghana cedi is performing against all the major international currencies. The economic fundamentals are not sound.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Member for Adaklu, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    I rise on a point of order. The Hon Member just said that even the Judiciary is --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Before you continue, tell us the Order, please?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    What is Order 30 (f)? [Laughter.]
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Can I read it? I think the rule is that we mention the Order. The last five Hon Members did not read it. So --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    I have a discretion. What is Order 30(f)?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    I can read it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, address the Chair.
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Order 30 (f).
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    What is Order 30 (f)?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Order 30(f) allows me when he is speaking -- [Uproar] -- Order 30(f) is on “deliberately misleading the House.”
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    So, Hon Member, you rise on a point of order that what the Hon Member is doing infringes on Order 30 (f). What are you inviting me to do? What should I do?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    I am inviting you to ask him to either substantiate what he is saying or withdraw it. What he said was that --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    No, Order 30 (f) does not say I should do that.
    What does it say I should do?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    He is misleading the House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    So, what does Order 30(f) ask me to do?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    So that the Speaker calls him to order.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    In what way?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Well, that would be your discretion. Either he withdraws or substantiates.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    All right, let me help you.
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    All right.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Order 30(f) says that, when one misleads the House it is a breach of parliamentary privilege or contempt of Parliament.
    So, you invite the Speaker to refer the person to the Privileges Committee or to ask him to withdraw. So, the withdrawal - - if he does not withdraw then he is referred.
    So, what you are asking is that the Speaker should refer him to the Privileges Committee because he is misleading the House. The Speaker would ask him to substantiate or withdraw.
    So, this Order 30 (f) go and read it well because tomorrow I am bringing another one.
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Atta Akyea, he says you are misleading the House.
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not say what he said. What he said is quite serious.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    What did he say?
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.
    He said that we should go -- the moneys allocated to the Judiciary are not being released to them and that we should go and ask the Chief
    Mr Agbodza 2:25 p.m.


    Justice. Can he tell us if there is any official document where the Chief Justice actually said that moneys for the Judiciary are not being released? If not, he should make that information available to the House or withdraw the statement.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, how can I be misleading the House when I am quoting the Constitution?
    Article 127 (6) of the Constitution provides with your permission, and I beg to quote:
    “Funds voted by Parliament, or charged on the Consolidated Fund by this Constitution for the Judiciary, shall be released to the Judiciary, in quarterly instalments.”
    And I am asserting here -- and if he does not know, he should go and find out -- that they do not even pay them according to the terms of the Constitution. This is what is happening.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, in law, there are certain facts that are known as notorious facts. They are facts that are available to everybody. Notorious facts are facts that are known generally and are in the public domain.
    Now, when the Hon Member was talking about the fact that releases have not been brought to Parliament, et cetera, we all accepted it because it is a notorious fact. But he is asserting that this release to the Judiciary is another notorious fact. If he has information to the contrary, please bring it. It is not a huge issue. You cannot make an issue out of it, in my view.
    Nii Lantey Vanderpuye -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, are you challenging my guidance?
    Some of these matters that are taken as a matter of notoriety, if you have evidence to the contrary then you bring it. There are some of these issues that the burden seems to shift. If I say, for example, that Independence Square is in Accra, unless you have information that the Indepen- dence Square is not in Accra -- do not know.
    Hon Atta Akyea, you just continue the process of winding up and concluding.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:25 p.m.
    Oh, my goodness!
    Mr Speaker, the blood of every economy is in its currency. Mr Speaker, check the health of the Ghana cedi. If you checked the health of the Ghana cedi and you set it against the major international currencies, the economic fundamentals cannot be sound. It is propaganda.
    Indeed and in fact, anybody who would want to test how the Ghana cedi is faring would realise that, the economy is anaemic. There is no blood in it.
    Mr Speaker, let us hear what the President said on the Single Spine Pay Policy.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Atta Akyea, you have two minutes.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:25 p.m.
    Goodness.
    The whole business about this Single Spine is the escape route of the NDC Government to explain away why they are not able to balance the books. That is what we are seeing now.
    But the question is, were they under any compulsion to implement the Single Spine Pay Policy? If they did not cost the health of the economy and could not do
    sound economic forecasting, why should they now complain? Did they not have proper analysis of how the economy was going to be? The trajectory that it was on, for them to start something for which they could not handle?
    Mr Speaker, it is common sense that, if one bites more than one can chew, one cannot blame anybody.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    One minute more.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:25 p.m.
    One minute.
    Mr Speaker, I would say something just in a minute and I would leave the rest.
    One thing of serious concern in my opinion is this attitude that we should develop a capacity for borrowing rather than the capacity to think, to solve the problem. If one looks at the State of the Nation Address, the President talked about the fact that we have not borrowed so much. But I am afraid, what is going on in this country is that, the future of our grandchildren is being mortgaged. A time is going to come that they would be saddled with excessive servicing of our compounding interest. This is where we are going.
    They are talking about infrastructural fund --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Conclude.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would conclude by saying that, some people were happy that the President came here and was just fulfilling his constitutional obligation under article 67. I hold the humble view that, those Hon Members of Parliament who were praising the
    President, I do not know whether they were looking for jobs. But I believe that we should not thank anybody for fulfilling his constitutional mandate.
    I would say that perhaps we should thank the President for the constitutional entertainment, the tweeea and the rest of them.

    Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry (Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye) (MP) : Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Motion ably moved by Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Member of Parliament for Tamale South to thank His Excellency the President for delivering on his constitutional mandate, the State of the Nation Address and the Motion ably seconded by Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah.

    For the first time in listening to His Excellency the President, I believe in the opinion that, candid leadership is a key to analysing problems and finding solutions to them. The President was candid, forthright, straight to the point, truthful to us and evoked all of us, our sensitivities as a group, as a people towards finding solutions to the problems that have bedevilled this country and this economy.

    I am grateful to the President that in addressing this, he started from a point where each and every one of us was awakened to our responsibility of knowing that we are in this House as a collective unit to contribute to the development of Ghana. He asked us to eschew partisanship and look at partnership towards development in our contribution to issues and to finding solutions to common problems.

    [NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE][NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE]

    I am particularly happy with the President's Address on page 11 and with your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote from paragraph 7. He said:

    “Can we, as a nation, continue this unbridled importation of everything from plastic dolls to toothpicks? Must we continue to rely on the 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, No.”

    Mr Speaker, this is the problem of our country. And I am happy that, in one of the most innovative ways of addressing this problem, the President introduced in his Address in paragraph 2 of page 8 that GH¢10 million Youth Enterprise Support Initiative to provide opportunities for innovation and the creation of decent jobs by the youth of Ghana through mentorship and support would be initiated.

    I am saying this because from the Ministry of Trade and Industry we have been able to analyse the wonderful innovations from some of our polytechnics --Takoradi Polytechnic, Koforidua Polytechnic, for example -- in the production of chip boards used for furniture like the ones we have in this House here. They produce these chip boards from ordinary elephant grass, sugarcane husk, corn husk and also the branch of palmnuts.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Hon Member for Abetifi, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Peter W. Pepera 2:35 p.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Pepera 2:35 p.m.
    Order 30 ( e ).
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Can you read it for us?
    Mr Pepera 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
    “Any act or conduct calculated or intended to deceive Parliament or any of its Committees.”
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye said that, all our furniture here is made of chip board which is definitely, factually inexact. Therefore, I can only presume that he is trying to say that we have chip board and maybe we do not have the solid Ghanaian -- I believe this is solid Ghanaian wood, timber.

    Nii Lantey: Mr Speaker, I would ignore my big Brother. He is my very good Friend. I know what he wants to achieve.

    Mr Speaker, you would bear with me that, some of the furniture in this House, chip boards were used for them. [Interruption.] Look at the side of the Table Office. Look at it. [Interruption.]What is it? What is it, Hon Kofi Frimpong?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, address the Chair. I am not in a position to rule whether it is chip board or not. So address the Chair.
    Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: So, what I am saying here is that, we are encouraging the students of Takoradi Polytechnic and Koforidua Polytechnic to go into serious production of these chip boards so that
    we would reduce the importation of similar products from Asia and other parts of the world.
    That is not the only issue. Our youth in Ho Polytechnic have been able to produce from their own ingenuity new system of palm extraction without going through the manual one which have been used over the period. It is our intention that, if we could as a people, support these our polytechnics so that they would improve upon their innovations, I am optimistic that importation of all these less and inferior products to the ones we have here, would be reduced and the amount of money, the over US$600 million we spend on the importation of some of these goods would find into the other areas of our national economy.
    Next, I would want to touch on the issue that is dear to my heart. Mr Speaker, we all would remember in this House, one of our own Friends doubted the ability of Government to pursue the policy of building the Cape Coast Stadium. The President mentioned it and I refer to page 8, paragraph 3.
    “Mr Speaker, construction of the superstructure of the Cape Coast Sports Stadium commenced in June
    2013…”

    Mr President, also mentioned the issue of sports --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Well, I know something which some people do not know.
    Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Mr Speaker will permit me to go ahead.
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:35 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Hon Atta Akyea, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Atta Akyea 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am a bit embarrassed, you are not a president yet, but yet, my Hon Colleague is addressing you as such. We all respect the future.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Atta Akyea, I have ruled on this matter already because Hon Namoale referred to me as Mr President and Hon Maj Oduro(retd) got up and asked why he is doing that, and I ruled that he is prophesying -- [Laughter.]
    So, anybody who does that has prophesied. I have ruled on this matter already, unless you want me to review my ruling.

    Nii Lantey Vandepuye: Mr Speaker, maybe, I am also tapping into that prophesy. The President talked about the construction of sports arenas. It is my firm belief that, our present lack of good materials to be nurtured to fill the national teams is as a result of the deterioration of our sports arenas. If we go through the whole country, a lot of our football parks are gone, especially in the Accra Metropolis, all the football parks have

    been turned into commercial shops. At such, those days when we had players springing up all over the place and so you could nurture and bring them up and all these things in the past -- it becomes difficult today, and no wonder I presume that the performances of our teams in international competitions, especially, the domestic teams in international competitions are not the best.

    Only Last week, almost all our teams were knocked out except Medeama Football Club. It is as a result of the fact that, we are losing the grounds to give opportunity for the creative abilities of these young ones to be nurtured; the same goes with our boxing arenas.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    I will give you two more minutes.

    It is important because, today, during the rainy season, we are unable to have any serious international activity which demands an indoor sporting facility. So, I would encourage and plead with our brothers and sisters to support this idea, that we would be able to collectively understand that the future of Ghana's sports is non-partisan, that we should all support the President's idea to have a fitting arena for the nation.
    Mr Kofi Frimpong (NPP -- Kwabre East) 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I go ahead to say anything about the State of the Nation Address, I would want to respond to certain statements made by the Hon Member, who just finished speaking. [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    No. Hon Member, you address me on the State of the Nation and then --
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the stadia that the Hon Member talked about, it was the NDC Government under the late Prof. Mills that promised us in the first State of the Nation Address, that they were going to build stadium in every district in Ghana within that year, and up to this time, there is no show.
    Mr Richard M. Quashigah 2:45 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I am coming under Order 30(f). It is obvious that, the Hon Colleague on the floor is misleading the House by saying that the late President Mills promised to build stadium in every district in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, I think it would be fair for him to augment what he said by some evidence. He should show us the evidence to that effect. This is because I cannot recall the late President Mills necessarily talking about stadium in every district in Ghana.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, where did the late Prof. Mills say that?
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if care is not taken, the type of debate, the richness

    Nii Lantey Vandepuye: Mr Speaker, I would want to --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye at the time was an Aide to the President.
    Nii Lantey Vandepuye: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for recognising that I used to hold that portfolio.
    Mr Speaker, I remember very well His Excellency the late President Mills saying that, Government is going to build a stadium in every region and a sports facility in districts in consultation with the District Assemblies, not a stadium. A sports facility is not a stadium. A sports facility could be a boxing ring, it could be a volleyball court, it could be a hockey pitch.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, take that on board and continue.
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member for his elucidation, but at the same time, I would want to enquire from them where are those facilities and where are the 10 regional stadia? Mr Speaker, it took former President Kufuor only two years to build four stadia in the country. It has taken them six good years. The Cape Coast Stadium is not yet built. That is for your information.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for your indulgence -- [Interruption] -- to talk about the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, are you now talking about the State of the Nation Address?
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    So the beginning was what?
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Preamble. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I would want to make a brief comment about the environment at that time. On attendance, since President John Mahama became the President of Ghana, it was the first time that he was addressing full Parliament. The Parliament House was packed to full capacity and everybody was here, the Gallery was filled with dignitaries like a former Head of State, some IMF officials --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Which former Head of State, please?
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Jerry Rawlings to be very precise.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 2:45 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the way Hon Kofi Frimpong is speaking, addressing you and putting his hand in his pocket and doing the trousers, I am wondering what he wants to -- He should address the Speaker of Parliament very well.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I saw his hand in his pocket, but he was pulling something out, that was why. But if the hand was just in the pocket, I would have -- He was pulling it. He pulls his trousers up and down. [Laughter.]
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want Hon Members to heckle me because the whole day, I have not heckled anybody, so I would want you to listen to me.
    Mr Frimpong 2:45 p.m.


    I am saying that, was the first time, actually, that the President was addressing the Parliament of Ghana, the House was full to capacity, the Gallery was filled with people like members of the IMF team that had earlier, on Monday, had a meeting with the Finance Committee and told us about the economy of Ghana and how bad the economy was and how the fundamentals are so weak.

    So, they opened their mouths when they heard the President saying that the fundamentals of the economy were so sound. [Interruption.] I belong to the Finance Committee -- they were shocked; I sat quite opposite to them. [Interruption.] They sat ‘over' you so you did not see anything. [Laughter.]

    Mr Speaker, while the place was so calm and waiting for the President to come, there was a shout, a voice from the wilderness saying, shall we stand up for the Chief Justice? Mr Speaker, it is not our tradition; let us be mindful of that. It is never the tradition of this House to stand up for the procession of the Chief Justice and the Judges. Always, when they come we are an Arm of Government, so when they come it is only the President that we stand up for and not the Chief Justice. We stand up for the Speaker also.

    So, we do not stand up for them. So, when they said so, I was reluctant but it should never be again. Then, the President started and we saw that --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, the way you are going, you would need about 3 hours, because you started with the preamble, you observed what was upstairs, then you observed the procession -- the way you are going, unless we give you about 3 hours.
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we saw the use of the teleprompter which is a commendable innovation in the delivery of the State of the Nation Address. I think next time we must employ the services of a sign language professional so that our people who are unfortunate and cannot hear what the President would say, that is the disabled, can also listen to the President and see whether they should vote for him or not.
    Mr Speaker, I will briefly talk about education because, I am a trained teacher myself. Now, the President spoke about education and I would want to talk about some areas briefly. Mr Speaker, I attended a meeting in my constituency and in the classroom to be precise, then I saw that the teacher -- [Interruption]on a Friday I should believe so, used a blue chalk to write on the board and somewhere along the line he continued with charcoal -- [Interruptions.]
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Chief Whip, Majority, do you have a point of order?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 2:55 p.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker. I would like Hon Kofi Frimpong to mention the name of the school in his consti- tuency which uses charcoal in teaching and learning. Shall he mention the name of the school, in his constituency in the Ashanti region?
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in his own town, they use charcoal to write on the board -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I went to his home town, they use charcoal to write on the board -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, it is all because -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Joe Gidisu 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Kofi Frimpong is a Friend and everybody

    Why is he not using his Member of Parliament Common Fund to buy even chalk for schools in his constituency?
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hope you are adding all these to my injury time. Mr Speaker, even my Common Fund is not coming. How can I use the Common Fund to buy chalk? The Government is supposed to give the teachers the Capitation Grant. If Government had paid the Capitation, they would not have used the charcoal, they would have used part of the Capitation Grant to buy the chalk. Government for two or three years, has not given the Capitation Grant to any school.
    Mr Speaker, what happened was that, the President made mention of the distribution of 12 million books to children. What the President failed to do was to say whether the books were exercise books or textbooks. The President made mention of the fact that he had supplied 12 million books to pupils but they did not tell us how many books each pupil is getting. In my constituency, I just called to check up from them.
    Mr Quashigah 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that this is a House of records and the comments made by our Colleague obviously is very serious in that charcoal being used in place of chalk on blackboards is a very serious statement.
    Mr Speaker, since this is a House of records, this will go into the records of this House and could possibly be carried by the media which will in its activities be informing and educating the Ghanaian people.
    Mr Speaker, I think as much as this is very serious, it will warrant that some evidence be adduced to substantiate what is being said. It is obvious that my Colleague on the other side wants to punctuate all that he is saying with some jokes and all that but this is a very serious matter and must be treated as such.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for ignoring him.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, tell us the name of the school.
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Even Akim Oda -- [Interruptions] -- Mr Speaker, the fact is that the schools have no chalk. Let them tell us that Government is supplying them with chalk -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    The name of the school.
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    They came to the District Assembly asking them to give them chalk because they were using charcoal -- the teachers--
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    But you went somewhere?
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    I went home -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Do you want to yield?
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think it is really shameful that this issue is being debated on this floor. Just last week, I was at a District Assembly meeting and the director of education --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    District Assembly, where?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 2:55 p.m.
    At Akim Oda-- [Interruption]-- Birim Central Municipality and they were asking -- [Interruptions]-- Ama Ntem Nkwanta, AME to be specific, and others in the constituency and it is not in an area where markets are the order or the norm. We are going back using charcoal and you are rather debating him on this floor. There are other problems that we have. Chalk costs only GH¢1.00 and for the whole of this academic year, it has not been supplied to any of the schools.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have supplied the name of the school.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    In my constituency
    rose
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, they have no points of order to make.
    Dr Alhassan 2:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, my confusion is -- first of all, what is being discussed is not blackboard, it is chalkboard.
    Secondly, if it is black and you are going to use charcoal which is also black to write on it, I wonder how the children can see what is being written. If you are telling a story that is real, can you change the colours so that we can appreciate what you are saying?
    rose
    Dr Alhassan 2:55 p.m.
    I have not finished.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    He has not finished.
    Dr Alhassan 2:55 p.m.
    I have not finished. And the fact that the Statement is overweighing him to a point where he had to yield to another Hon Member to relief him, makes me a bit nervous with what he is saying. He is a Colleague that I trust very much but I think it would be important that he is also specific about the school that he is talking about.
    Other than that, the record would not be right and I would have wished that he could humbly put that particular aspect of his contribution aside, so that the facts can be established before we carry on. There are people in the gallery and we are here to be educated and I do not think they want to be educated wrongly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that the point you made was that, there is shortage of chalk in some schools. You mentioned a school in your constituency. I think when you were asked to provide the name, I think --
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will tell you, it is not at Odododiodioo. It is the Abirem D.A. JSS. I would want to enquire from them whether the schools in their constituency have chalk.
    rose
    Mr Frimpong 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, do not allow them; they just want to heckle -- Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Alhassan 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I want my Friend's debate to flow but when you asked him to name the school, he yielded to the Hon Member behind him. I do not know how he is not conjuring the school simply because he has been asked to produce one. Let us be serious please.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, what happened was that, the Hon Member behind him was also indicating that in his constituency also, he has the same problem. You have a right to yield to somebody. Now, he has mentioned something in his constituency. It is all on the record.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    You want to make a contribution?
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member said that my Colleague here should be serious. I think we are all serious here. So, I think he has to withdraw that word. We are not joking -- he is very serious about what he is saying. Mr Speaker, he was talking about chalkboard and blackboard. Yes, it is called chalkboard, we all know from class one that, that is even more serious when we are using charcoal on a blackboard. That is what is actually very serious because in this case, because the thing is black and you use charcoal, you cannot even see and that is what makes it very serious
    -- 2:55 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong.
    Mr Kofi Frimpong 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, please, [Interruption.]
    Dr Y. Alhassan — rose —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Member.
    Dr Alhassan 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to withdraw the word “serious” from my submission, we are all serious. I do agree.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Frimpong 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to enquire from them whether their schools have chalk. If they have, then the Government is being discriminatory in supplying schools in NDC areas, because in my constituency, there is no chalk anywhere and I am serious about that. On the establishment of universities — [Interruption.]
    Mr Quashigah 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Clearly, it has been mentioned that this House is a House of seriousness and a House of records. Mr Speaker, I earlier came on a point of order, Standing Order 30(d) and it is obvious that our Colleague is misleading this House and a lot of the things he has said are scandalous, groundless and fabricated. This is because he has not been able to prove with any document to attest to what he is saying, that there is a school in his constituency which uses charcoal in place of chalk.
    Mr Speaker, I would crave your indulgence, humbly, that he completely withdraws all that he said as far as the use of charcoal in the classrooms are concerned.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, the proof is to the satisfaction of the Hon Speaker. When he first said that he was challenged, the challenge was that, he should name the school, then he yielded to another Member who named the school. Then he came back and there was an insistence that he should name the school, he has named the school, it is on record.
    Once he has named the school and it is on record, if you still believe there is a problem, there is a way to proceed. So, I am satisfied after he named the school that he has given enough grounding for us for the future. A word to the wise is enough.
    Continue.
    Mr Frimpong 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the State of the Nation as far as education is concerned, that we cannot even get chalk to write in our own constituency classrooms and we sit down and talk about proving. I am proving to him that there is no chalk in the system. I am proving to him that the establishment of the universities that qualify to be mushroom universities, would not help us in anyway.
    I thought the President would come and tell us that, they have built a number of halls of residence, laboratories and libraries that can accommodate these number of students. That is where I would have been convinced that the Government is on track in the establishment of the universities and not a matter of increasing the number of students in the universities without giving them accommodation.
    Look at the University of Ghana that, we attended, look and see the lecture halls. Now, they are studying under trees and he calls them universities. Mr Speaker, I am saying that, even at the universities, this is the actual state of the nation.
    Mr Quashigah 3:05 p.m.
    — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr Quashigah 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think it would be scandalous to admit into the records of this House that university lectures are being held under trees and that would warrant, that would require evidence if indeed, that is the case and the reason for which it -- is obvious that our Hon Colleague is grossly misleading this House. He must provide evidence. [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah, do not get too excited, you have made your point. Hon Kofi Frimpong,
    you mentioned the University of Ghana, you said we all went to -- it is true, we all went there. And you said that they are holding lectures under trees. It was not the University of Ghana? What did you say?
    Mr Frimpong 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was alluding to the fact that, when you go to the University of Ghana, you would see halls of residence, quality ones. You would see lecture theatres, laboratories, libraries -- Balme Library, hall libraries and I am saying that, we must tread cautiously in the establishment of the universities, so that we do not establish universities under trees. [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, I would have loved to give you the whole afternoon but -- [Laughter]
    Mr Frimpong 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on Parliament. The President made just a brief mention about Parliament and being a former Member of Parliament, I thought he was going to say a lot about Parliament, something to boost our performance in Parliament. He said that very soon, the Tower Block would be ready for our offices.
    This Tower Block was started in the year 1996, where a loan of $25 million was acquired from World Bank. Where is that money? The money was misappropriated, the money was misapplied, the money was not used for the Tower Block. If they had used the money for the Tower Block, it would not have cost us that much.
    It was in 2007 that President Kufuor in his wisdom, accessed another loan of US$30 million from SSNIT, let us stop and ask ourselves, how much this has cost us.
    Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful 3:05 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Mrs Owusu Akuffo 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I overheard Hon Quashigah say that the Hon Member on his feet was lying. I believe that, is imputing ill motives to the Hon Member of Parliament and Hon Quashigah should not use such language in the House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    So many comments go on quietly when Hon Members are talking to each other. Once it is not said on the microphone and it is not on the record, I would let it pass. Hon Quashigah, I would not allow you to comment.
    MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Frimpong 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know Hon Quashigah, he qualifies to be my son. He fears me, that is why he could not use the microphone; he is afraid of me.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, how can Hon Quashigah be your son? Are you not in your thirties yourself?
    Mr Frimpong 3:15 p.m.
    Myself, over 60 years. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah, he says you are young enough to be his son.
    Mr Quashigah 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Kofi Frimpong has just misled this House grossly. I do not know him from Adam, until I came to Parliament. He does not hail from where I hail from, he does not know my grandfather or grandmother and for which reason, I cannot call him father.
    Besides, if he is even older; he says he is 60 years; he may only be about 20 years older than I am, for which reason I cannot be his son. And I would crave his indulgence to withdraw that, or if he is yearning desirously that I become his son, he must discuss that with me in private.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Frimpong, people are urging upon me to ask you how many children you have, but I would not ask you. It is not relevant to the Address.
    Mr Frimpong 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a very more serious note, MPs are suffering. The other time, I met a past Leader of the House. I would not mind; entertaining his visitors in the foyer. Somebody who, about one and a half years ago, had a whole office to himself. He was entertaining his visitors at the foyer --
    The President came and he did not give us a dateline. He just mentioned that our offices would soon be ready. How soon is the soon? In 2009, we were promised that we were going to go into the offices that year. --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    In conclusion.
    Mr Frimpong 3:15 p.m.
    In conclusion, I am saying that, the President is continuing the works, whether good or bad of his immediate past President. And the immediate past President promised to establish MPs Development Fund. We are not hearing of that again. [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Kofi Frimpong, in conclusion.
    Mr Frimpong 3:15 p.m.
    In conclusion, the actual state of the nation is a nation -- [Interruption.] -- where the foreign direct investment is dwindling by 19.53 per cent.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Kofi Frimpong.
    Mr Appiah Boateng Joseph (NDC -- Afram Plains South) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama's State of the Nation Address on the 25th February, 2014.
    Mr Speaker, let me begin by saying that my understanding of the State of the Nation Address is an appraisal of socio- economic and political activities.

    Mr Speaker, any person who has read the President's State of the Nation Address -- [Interruption.] -- with an open mind, would understand that the President has a leadership quality that can turn the dream of this country into reality.

    Mr Speaker, during President Mahama's State of the Nation Address, he mentioned education, and that, he has given over 12 million textbooks and 12 million exercise books to the poor and needy school children, which I can testify to. This is because in my constituency Mr Speaker, Afram Plains South is one of the deprived areas and the most needy ones are the opposition. So they should rather appreciate the President's initiative and applaud him, but not to discredit his accomplishments --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    You said the most needy ones? I did not hear that statement.
    Mr Boateng 3:15 p.m.
    The most needy ones are the opposition.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    What do you mean by that?
    Mr Boateng 3:15 p.m.
    All right. In the Afram Plains South constituency, that is my constituency, we have different ethnic groups and some of the ethnic groups are fishermen, those from the north they grow yams and those from the Volta Region cultivate maize. But the Akans, who are part of us, they do not farm, because they think they would stay at home and buy food and others. So they are the needy ones and they are the opposition. [Interruption.]
    Several Hon Members -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Baffour Awuah, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Awuah 3:15 p.m.
    Yes Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague just said that, in his constituency, the people who benefited from the free textbooks were the most needy ones in the constituency and they happen to be in the opposition. When you pressed further for him to explain the opposition, he said they were the Akans who do not want to work.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to plead with my Hon Colleague to withdraw that particular statement, because, one, it is unfriendly, it is impugning ethnic sentiments and it should not be allowed to stay in our books. Mr Speaker, I would want you to urge him to withdraw.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, sit down. Hon Member, Chapter (6) of the Constitution on the Directive Principles of State Policy provides in 34 (1) as follows and I beg to quote:
    “(1) The Directive Principles of State Policy contained in this Chapter shall guide all citizens, Parliament, the President, the Judiciary, the Council of State, the Cabinet, political parties and other bodies and persons in applying or interpreting this Constitution or any other law and in taking and implementing any policy decisions, for the establishment of a just and free society.”
    Article 35 (5) also states as follows:
    “(5) The State shall actively promote
    …”
    I want silence please. I would not take kindly to any comments from anybody. It says that:
    (5) The State shall actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimina- tion and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, ethnic origin, gender or religion, creed or other beliefs.”
    We are all witnesses to what ethnic discrimination has done across Africa, and various countries. I find your statement most unfortunate and I invite you to withdraw it.
    Mr Boateng 3:15 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker. I am grateful and I have withdrawn that part.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    And on that note, I end your contribution. Thank you.
    Mr Boateng 3:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    And let me sound a note of caution, that we are one united country; that we as Members of Parliament should not say or do anything that creates the impression that we are a divided country.
    Secondly, the word “opposition” is no longer known in our body politic. We minority and majority, and it is for a purpose that they are all working together for one good. We should not divide our constituents or Ghana into different ethnic groups. That is not how the framers of our Constitution envisaged that we conduct ourselves.
    Prof. Dominic K. Fobih (NPP -- Assin South) 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Motion on the State of the Nation Address presented to this House on 25th February, 2014.

    I also observe on page 1, paragraphs 7 and 8 of his Address that the President acknowledges, and with your permission, I beg to quote:

    “We are a nation of 24 million. That's people not products. 24 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.”
    Prof. Dominic K. Fobih (NPP -- Assin South) 3:25 p.m.
    Yes, it is true that people matter particularly the youth of tomorrow. It is also true that it is people who build a nation. It is people who transform the natural resources of a country into prosperity and create opportunities for all. We should therefore, pay attention to the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow. We should check on what we think, what we plan and decide and what we do for our youth, who by and large, become the future leaders of our nation.
    It is in this context, that I commend the President for realising that the human material of this country is so important and so valuable that, no sacrifice is costly and should be costly to the nation and their leaders.

    We thereby, in this, also vindicate Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who have championed this cause as an important constitutional matter to be tackled.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah, are you on a point of order?
    Mr Quashigah 3:25 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker --
    Prof. Fobih 3:25 p.m.
    What is the Order number?
    Mr Quashigah 3:25 p.m.
    Order number 30(f).
    Prof. Fobih 3:25 p.m.
    What is it about, please because I am not prepared to yield? -- [Laughter]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah, it is 3:26 p.m. --
    Mr Quashigah 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point made by my Hon Senior Colleague is a very important one that ought to be corrected, this is because he is obviously misleading this House, that the progressive free SHS that was mentioned by the President vindicates Nana Akufo- Addo and the NPP obviously is not correct because, Mr Speaker, what Nana Akuffo-Addo advocated at the time is not in sync with what President Mahama said in his State of the Nation Address espoused on the floor of this House.
    Therefore, it would be very prudent to actually remain within the confines of the State of the Nation Address without diluting it with what was purported to have been said by some other person some time back because the two are not the same.
    Prof. Fobih 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I started by saying that, I am quoting directly what is in this Message. I am therefore, not misreporting what the President said, unless what is written here is a misreported written Message.
    I think that, that powerful message of advocating a free SHS education for Ghanaian youth, which was championed in the 2012 campaign by Nana Akufo- Addo and the NPP is so powerful and overwhelming that, the President could not even wait for a complete term to be

    But we should ask ourselves and many Ghanaians should do that. If anybody comes to say, well I will give you free Senior High education -- what kind of free senior high education? Not just free senior high education. You should ask. And why at the tail term of one's term? The year 2015/2016 is almost a campaign year and everybody knows how governments function during campaign years.

    So, what seriousness is the President going to attach to this introduction of a major policy issue like that? We should ask ourselves and not just rejoice.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, order.
    Prof. Fobih 3:35 p.m.
    Why should the President target day-students,when we do know very well that day-students are insignificant number of the secondary school student population we have in this country?
    One should ask himself or herself if there is a secondary school in one's town, how many of the students really are day student? This is a question. So, if it is something good for Ghanaian youth, why single out just a handful of students and not all the students? If we are going to
    pay for day-students -- after all what is the official fees? It is about GH¢232 to about two hundred and thirty something Ghana cedis.
    And this covers the official school charges. It is just that small money. So, why can the President just not boldly tackle the official fees that are allowed to be charged in the Senior Secondary schools and say day-students? Are day- students special? Is it a crime for somebody, say, from Tamale or Bolga to come to Cape Coast and not be a day- student but a border? We know the conveniences and the opportunities are spreading out to many of our people. So, we should not just take the face value of the free senior education package.
    I keep on asking again, why is it that in the midst of this heavy burden of statutory debts that the Government owes most of these Departments and Agencies, the President has chosen to build, not 50 as he failed last year, but even 100 secondary schools this year? The explanation was that, we were working on the designs. How many designs do we need? Just one.
    If you look back, when Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory was building the Ghana Educational Trust buildings, what you see in Apam, structures you see in many places, it is one design, but just spreaded all over the country. Are we going to have as many as 200 new secondary school designs or that we need one complete year to start it? That is food for thought.
    We should also ask ourselves when the Government is unable to even provide the statutory funding to GETFund.-- By December, 2013, government had only released 35 per cent of the GH¢691.5 million that is statutorily due to GETFund yet, government has padded all obligations on GETFund. GETFund has
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Arthur 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I have recognised you. Do not allow them to --
    Mr Arthur 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor is a senior Hon Member of this House and the documents, the plan, the specifications for these projects are out. He cannot say that the President by just putting a block or building one room, means that he is building a secondary school. The plan is out, the specifications are there, the areas that have been captured for the projects are also there.
    So please, if he does not have it, he is an old Hon Member, and he knows the process we go through before we come out with such a project. So please, I am sorry for him. If he has to withdraw the statement he should do it.
    Prof. Fobih 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he should be sorry for himself and not me because I am telling him --
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have another point of order?
    Mr Arthur 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, I gave him a directive and that was why I said that.What he is saying is a misleading statement, that the President --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, you cannot give him a directive. You made your point. I accepted it in good faith. I did not argue so let him continue with his contribution. Your position is also in the Hansard. His position would also be in the Hansard. History would judge all of us. But you cannot give him a directive, with respect.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your guidance on something. The Hon Colleague when he was winding up on his point of order stated that he is sorry for --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    And Prof. Fobih also said that he is rather sorry for him. So the ‘sorriness' has equalled out. They are both sorry for each other.
    Prof. Fobih 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have forgiven him. What I am talking about is something that I know myself. I have practised it. I have studied it so I am sure of what I am saying. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Arthur 3:35 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, he has just stated that, what he is saying, he is aware that the President could call one block, one classroom a secondary school. That was what he just said, that “what I am saying I am aware of that.” That was what he stated, that “what I am saying I am aware of that”, which implies that, he is aware that the President, could call a single block, a single classroom a secondary school and that is what I am opposing, that it is not factual anywhere. Wherever he knows there is one block, or classroom, that the President calls it a secondary school, I would want the Hon Member to tell the whole House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I stand corrected. What I heard him say was that, the President said he would do 50 last year and he did not even do a single block. So how come he is saying that he would do 100 this year? I
    did not hear him say that the President says one block -- He also said that as far as he is concerned, when you are building a Senior High School you need -- then he went on to say a lot of things.
    So what do you want him to do? To explain what he means or --
    Mr Arthur 3:35 p.m.
    He said, “what I am saying, I am aware of it” and Prof. Fobih can tell the whole House. He said the President cannot put one block there or one room and call it a secondary school.
    Prof. Fobih 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think he did not listen to me well. What I said was that, not even one block was laid in a year for the first batch of 50 Senior High Schools therefore, to expect that 100 Senior High Schools could be built this year, to me is impossible.
    He should not warn me, if he would warn me, then, he should warn his President, because he cannot say I would build 100 Senior High Schools in one year.
    He would start, as for that I agree, that he would start something.But he cannot say he would build, unless we all disagree on the use of the word “build”. So let us move ahead.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Prof. Fobih, I have added some time to yours but I believe you would be in the process of starting to come to an end. Let us continue.
    Prof. Fobih 3:35 p.m.
    I am a Ranking Member so I think I deserve some privilege a bit.
    Mrs Comfort D. Ghansah Cudjoe 3:45 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I would want to tell Hon Prof. Fobih that the funding for the project is ready, and I am assuring him that by August next, we would be commissioning all the 100 Secondary Schools.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Prof. Fobih, continue please.
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that, there is one important thing which the President failed to talk about, or mention. That in 2012, we had 200,000 Senior High School leavers, who were waiting to enter tertiary institutions. As the normal practice is, they would wait for about almost a year before the Universities do their admissions.
    Then in 2013, when they were due for admissions into these tertiary institutions, particularly, the Universities and so on, we unfortunately had the unpleasant experience of two batches of about 409,000 students, again joining this old batch of students whose time were due for them to be posted to different programmes in the tertiary institutions. So, in fact, in real sense, 200,000, 200,000, 200,000 that is about three batches, but in a composite way, we would say about 600,000 students.
    So it became a history problem, and no proper arrangement was done; only a few could be admitted into these tertiary institutions.
    The President has not been able to tell us, as at today, what plans he has for all these generation of students whose chances have been blocked because of the passage of two batches of students.
    This year, we are going to have another batch pass out to join the queue, so when would the time of those who have lost chances' come? Is it gone forever? The
    President is not thinking about the future of these students whose chances had been blocked because of the clash programme that we had.
    Worst still, the Secondary Schools were half empty; they were 50 per cent empty. All the Senior High Schools in this country, by the beginning of this academic year, they were half empty. They had only the first years and the second years; there are no third years and of course, the usual fourth years.
    They were half empty and that gave the Ministry chance to admit more students into these Senior High Schools, forgetting that, the classrooms which had soon been filled, in three years time. are going to pass out and the same problem of having two batches of students again in terms of the numbers would crop up again. Yet, we do not have any structure in place to take care of such things.
    This again, the President failed to talk about. So where are we going in the direction of education, in a situation where when problems come, we just sleep over them and that is the end? This is because people stopped talking about it so that is the end.
    So, Mr Speaker, a Quite a number of issues need to be attended to by His Excellency which he failed to address, particularly, in his State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker, because of time, I would move to the tertiary level.
    Mr Speaker, the President was saying that --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Prof. Fobih, with respect, if you can quickly wind --
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am almost completing.
    Mr Speaker, the President was saying that, the tertiary institutions, particularly, the Universities, were moving to softer programmes and as a result of that, students are not choosing science -- related subjects or programmes, that the Universities are not programming in the area of technology, science and so on, but they are moving to softer areas like the humanities, arts, et cetera.
    Mr Speaker, let us not deceive ourselves. The combination of science and humanities ratio has been in place since 1990s, when the University Rationalisation Committee was set up and they provided guidelines for all these things.
    Since that time, we have not been able to develop a serious policy and action plan that would bring us to that level, and that is why as I am talking today, we still have the 60:40 ratio remaining. I mean science students doing 40 per cent of the total intake and humanities and others doing 60 per cent, even as we talk today.
    Mr Speaker, with gender parity too, that is male/female ratio. We still have not attained the 50:50 ratio or the percentage that the Rationalisation Committee set up in that document. So, what is the President saying? I would expect him to rather come out with a policy, an action plan that would correct these anomalies for all.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah 3:45 p.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order
    91(3).
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    What does it say? Hon Prof. Fobih, continue while he looks for his Standing Orders. [Interruption.] Hon Joe Appiah Boateng, do not go away, I will recognise you. You will speak. You have to speak. I am told that this is your maiden speech, so I would recognise you. Do not worry, I would recognise him. It is his maiden speech. Everybody is given a window of opportunity to make his maiden speech. If he was an old Hon Member -- It is his maiden speech so I would recognise him. He should not worry.
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the President wants the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to collate professional skills that are required in the labour market -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, what is your point of order?
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Order 91(b). It says:
    “Debate may be interrupted --
    (b) by a matter privilege suddenly arising”.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    What is the matter of privilege suddenly arising?
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a seminal lecture, if you like, being given by the good old Professor and I would plead that you could give him some more time so that we could learn something from the Professor. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    This is a unique application, I have never come across it before; an application for extension of time.
    But the application cannot be granted, so Hon Professor, please conclude.
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the President wants the collation of all these professional skills for the consumption of the tertiary institutions, particularly, the universities, and for students to guide them to choose their programmes, I am saying that, we have guidance and counseling teachers in these institutions who know all these things and they are using it already on the ground. So it would not happen, it is just a repetition of what is already there.
    But what is important for the President is to come out with a policy now, that would condition students and institutions to really provide these expected courses and programmes for students to choose them. I would want to give one or two instances --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, in conclusion?
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    All right. Mr Speaker, the Government should provide scholarships to condition the universities, the tertiary institutions, to entice students to choose those areas that they want to direct them to. Condition them to do that, condition students minds --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Professor.
    Prof. Fobih 3:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Joseph Appiah Boateng, I am told that this is your maiden address, so I would forgive you all your trespasses but do not do it again. Just watch what you say.
    Mr Appiah J. Boateng (NDC -- Afram Plains South) 3:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    I have recognised you; speak.
    Hon Members, Order! Order!
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama's State of the Nation Address delivered on the 25th February, 2014.

    Mr Speaker, some Hon Members on the Minority side for the past two weeks or so have commented on His Excellency President John Mahama's Address as empty promises, recycling, boys abre,- dum so dum so. But Mr Speaker, I am not surprised to hear such comments from our comrades. Any person who has read the President's State of the Nation Address would agree that the President has a leadership quality which can turn the dreams of this country into reality -- [Hear! Hear!].
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, we do not clap in this House. You are completely out of order. Do not clap. Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he also spoke about education, which I just said and any good decision that is taken by the President is beneficial to the opposition.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    They are called the Minority, not Opposition.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, during President Mahama's State of the Nation Address, he mentioned patronising made in Ghana products. I think it is a laudable idea that would help the nation. So we should all patronize it. Mr Speaker, I would like to quote from the President's State of the Nation Address -- [Interruption].
    Mr Quashigah 3:55 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah do you have a point of order?
    Mr Quashigah 3:55 p.m.
    Rightly so Hon Speaker. Hon Speaker, it is obvious that the disorderly behavior of some Hon Members is not allowing the debate to flow and I would crave your indulgence to prevail in my Colleagues on the other side, especially, Hon Asiamah, to actually allow order to prevail in the House, so that the Hon Colleague can proceed with his debate in quietness.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    What you have said is very serious, because you are suggesting that the Speaker does not know what to do. It is very serious and it goes into the records -- you are suggesting that I am not in control.
    Dr Alhassan 3:55 p.m.
    Rt Hon Speaker, I wish to withdraw that on behalf of the Hon Member so that the debate can continue.
    Second Deputy Speaker: I accept the withdrawal. When such serious statements are made, we would give it to the leadership to do the right thing. I accept the withdrawal. Hon Quashigah is a good Hon Member of Parliament. I think he said it out of enthusiasm. Hon Asiamah, because it has been withdrawn, the reference to your name has also been withdrawn. Hon Member continue.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to quote from the President's State of the Nation Address, page 10 paragraph 6, with your indulgence
    -- 3:55 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Go ahead, Hon Member.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in 2013 alone, we spent a whopping amount of almost GH¢1.5 billion in foreign currency on the import of rice... Rice accounted for --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Order, order!
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    “Rice accounted for US$374 million, fish US$283.3 million, wheat US$226.7” --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, when you are quoting you can refer to the document. Anyway you have done well. You have quoted quite extensively without reference. It means that you have committed the document almost to memory. You can refer to the document.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    “Wheat US$226.7 million, cooking oils US$127 million tomato products US$112.1 million.”
    Mr Speaker, as a nation, we are being our own evil and shooting ourselves in the foot. As a nation, we should be serious. Mr Speaker every morning if we tune in to our radio and television stations all that we hear is politics. Politics of insults, blackmailing, character assassi- nation, unfounded allegations and so on and so forth. Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    I believe he was saying that -- Hon Member continue.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, during the presentation of the President's State of the Nation Address, he talked about patronising made in Ghana products. One typical example -- [interruption]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Order, order! It is only the Speaker who can tell you to go on. The Hon Members who are giving you signs and so on ignore them.
    Hon Members, if I do not have order I will not call you and if I do not call you we will all sit here. So let us decide: let us have some order, listen to him I am sure he is concluding -- that is all. Let us have some order Hon Members. I do not want to mention names.
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker. One typical example is Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo who has invented vehicles, television sets, aircrafts and so on but unfortunately Mr Speaker, as Ghanaians we are not patronising -- [Interruption] -- we are not patronising his products.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Hon Member in conclusion?
    Mr Boateng 3:55 p.m.
    In conclusion Mr Speaker, as a nation, we must put an end to cheap politics, put an end to petty partisan politics, favourtism, racism,
    tribalism and work together as a team to develop our nation. On this short note Mr Speaker, I thank you -- [Hear! Hear!].
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Hon Member thank you very much. We must put an end to favouritism, tribalism, all the isms. Thank you very much. I totally agree with you.
    Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah (NPP - Atwima Kwanwoma) 3:55 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for this golden opportunity to contribute to the Motion on number four, on the floor of the House. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would want to make reference to page 23 of the President's Address and that is about Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, the role of Parliament we all know, is crucial to the sustenance of our democracy Parliament indeed is the bedrock of our democracy. This House is a product of democracy. Mr Speaker, all of us are products of democracy therefore as the Peoples' representatives, the work we do is critical to the survival of our people.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, can I have some order?
    Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the past three/four years, the situation has worsened. As we speak here, Parliament, as I said in earlier time, is broke. This House is broke! I will say it again, it is broke.
    Committees cannot function.So when the President talks about Parliament being viable, being strong, what is the President talking about when under his watch, Parliament is collapsing? Under his watch this House is not functioning well.
    Let me give examples. We have a critical committee in this House -- other committees are also very critical --, but the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) work is about the final phase of the audit cycle of auditing. And auditing, you know ends with Parliament through the PAC.
    Let us ask ourselves: since this Parliamentary term began, not even a pesewa has come from the State to finance our activities. Everything we have done is through the work of the NGO somewhere, NGO somewhere.
    Mr Quashigah 4:05 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my colleague Hon Isaac Asiamah could talk about Parliament being broke without screaming. It was so deafening and could actually cause some havoc to our ears. I would crave your indulgence to prevail on him to tone down. I am sure we are not fighting here.
    Thank you Mr. Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah —
    Mr Isaac Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am expecting somebody differently to advice me on this, because he is worse than me when it comes to shouting.Quashigah is worse than me, so he should advise himself before he comes to advise Hon Isaac Asiamah, because when it comes to shouting, because he has trained as a propaganda secretary, all these years his job has been shouting , and shouting and shouting on Ghanaians. So please, he should rest his case, and let me be my normal self —do not tell me….
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Hon Quashigah—
    Mr Quashigah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that there is a mode in which we address
    ourselves in this House and to just mention my name Quashigah which indeed is my grandfather's name, I think it is inappropriate. At least being a Member of Parliament and on this floor; per our Standing Orders, he must actually preface it with Honourable.So, I am Hon Quashigah and he must be informed on that.
    Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Thank you Hon Quashigah. And it is honourable with a big “H”? It is the Assemblymen who have honourable with a small “h”. It is not an easy thing. He is Hon Quashigah. Hon Isaac Asiamah, he is Honourable Quashigah.
    Mr Isaac Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he is a colleague Honourable. I think the key point is that and it goes to all of us as Parliamentarians, that this is a House of accountability, a House of financial oversight that is being compromised. That is the essence of my contribution so that should well drum home that I am talking about providing some financial oversight as Parliament. And Mr Speaker, that has been compromised.
    It is not for me to say whether it is deliberate or not but the key point is that, because our duty is to check the Executive to make sure that they are financially accountable, one would stress the point, is it deliberate that we are constrained? Is it deliberate that we are not given the right resources so that we can check the excesses?
    DrAlhassan 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I really wish that the Hon Isaac Asiamah would put problems across without making it look as if it is an act — as if the Executive is acting deliberately —[Interruption.] Please, please, please the picture should not be painted that the problems of Parliament are being done deliberately by the Executive.
    That is just what I would want to caution.

    [NII LANTEY VANDERPUYE]Mr Isaac K. Asiamah: Mr. Speaker, the national purse is controlled by the Executive, so if funding is not forth coming, the place to lay the blame appropriately is with the Executive. This is because, they are in charge of our national purse, not Parliament here. So, I am saying that, if we are not getting releases to Parliament, and Parliament is constrained, the body to blame is the Executive, they control the national purse.

    As I go to some of our offices here, I can say of the Minority Secretariat that, the air-conditioning equipment has broken down; computers not running; even common A4 sheets are not available; Internet is not working; everything is in disarray in this House. Nothing seems to happen in this House, and is that what we call Parliament that is supposed to provide sound and effective viable oversight? This is certainly no. It is highly unacceptable and we should stand up and speak out as Members of Parliament.

    The frustrations of our former Leader, Hon A. S. K. Bagbin tell it all; Mr Speaker, the House's frustrations tell it all. This is a former Leader of this House who, maybe, in trying to portray the challenges we face, got caught up in that unfortunate situation. As we all know, this House has not been given the right resources to function as a Parliament.

    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?The last matter that he talked about, he has moved from that and I would not want you to go back to it.Yesterday, the matter was referred to Leadership. Leadership has not advised us yet. So, for me to say he should withdraw or amend and continue the matter, let us just move forward. Let us just move forward.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, every day morale amongst staff here keeps weakening, going down, and sinking. Mr Speaker, because if you are a staff and you cannot even get A4 sheets paper to work with, your computers are down, nothing -- psychologically you would be affected.
    Mr Agbodza 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    This morning I went to Hon Ahmed's office and I got two A4 sheets. So, if he is saying that we cannot even find A4 sheets in this House, that cannot be true. I have not lost any morale. I am ever ready to work as a Member of Parliament. He can speak for himself, but he should never generalise anything in this House. I am happy with the condition I have got as a Member of Parliament to work for the people of Ghana.
    Mr Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should speak as leaders, as Members of Parliament. We would want to speak for the people who work with us. He should please have concern for the workers; if he does not care about their work I care for them; I care. They campaigned on the message of “I care for you.” Is that the care message they gave Ghanaians? Let us be serious as --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, what is happening is that, when my microphone is on for some strange reason, everybody's microphone goes off. So wait--
    Nii Lantey Vanderpuye: Mr Speaker, with your indulgence I believe seriously that in addressing issues like this, as a Parliament, we have a Leadership. If we have such problems as a group, it is not for us as we Sit here to blame others. If
    we do that, what we are doing is that, in our houses, when we have problems we would be blaming our grandfathers instead of blaming ourselves if we cannot take care of our children. I believe seriously the issues at stake are issues that as Members of Parliament, we must address with our Leadership in Parliament and not be blaming some others.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the State of the Nation Address by the former President --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    The former President?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    The late-- Prof. John Atta Mills in 2012, Mr Speaker. He did indicate that, there are critical needs of Parliament, but also making sure that staffing needs are met. Mr Speaker, we were told Members of Parliament were going to be given support service in the area of research assistants. National service personnel have been brought on board. Mr Speaker, this is a critical area I would want Hon Members to listen to.
    We have quality human resource being wasted in this august House. People who have completed various levels of education; various courses. They are here to support us. Mr Speaker, the irony, the sad situation -- no offices for them to work; they hang around all over the place. Mr Speaker, I do not think it is fair for these young men and women who are here to support the work of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, it is disgraceful to this House that people who have so much cherished this august House in their various institutions -- some of them have dreamt to be here; they come here and the situation is so appalling that nobody can describe it. This is not indeed the best
    place for people like them to come to work just because we do not have offices for them. Are we happy about this appalling situation in which we find ourselves? It is something we must address.
    Mr Speaker, maybe, enough of Parliament; let me come to the youth aspects. Mr Speaker, it is not a matter of talking about the youth concerns, youth issues that would make the Ghanaian youth like or love your policies. It is about coming out with realistic achievable measures that would address their concerns. Number one concern about the youth of this country is jobs, jobs and jobs.
    Mr Speaker, they complete various levels of education and courses -- Junior High School (JHS), Senior High Schools (SHS), polytechnics, universities, and training colleges. Mr Speaker, they have no hope of securing jobs, not to talk of decent jobs.
    As we speak, the one that was introduced in 2006, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), that was supposed to absorb them temporarily so that this crisis that we are experiencing —these social vices would be a bit curtailed so that they can have something to depends on. As we speak now, that programme, that innovation that came with the last regime has collapsed under the watch of this President, President John Mahama. It has collapsed.
    Mr Quashigah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague talked about joblessness and emphasised it vehemently. I would want to ask if he can provide this House with statistics on the joblessness he is talking about. This is because he has repeated it over and over. We must support the kinds of things we say with statistics. I would crave your indulgence to prevail on him to give us some statistics on the joblessness of the nation.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this is not a House of propaganda; so we have ended the propaganda issue, we are moving forward. [Interruption.]
    Dr Ahmed Alhassan 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I really wish I did not have to interrupt Hon Isaac Asiamah. But now there is no NYEP; it is Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA). To relate unemployment among, youth to vices in society is not a good thing to do because it is never going to be the case that, when all youth are employed there would be no crime; it is not going to be the case. So if he can look at that situation and let us go forward.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, I think you have just a few minutes more.
    Mr Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    I think my senior Colleague -- or I think I came before him. I think we came in the same year; in terms of age, he is my senior and so I give him that respect. My senior Hon Colleague has even reminded me of a very sad situation and sad name -- GYEEDA. GYEEDA only came in as a vehicle for corruption, wastage and financial malpractice. [Interruption.] So, GYEEDA represents corruption, financial malfeasance. [Hear! Hear!] So, the name was added or was changed. The only thing -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Alhassan 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was not my intention to remind Hon Asiamah and to equate GYEEDA with all those words that he used. It should be in another context altogether. GYEEDA was not established as a vehicle to perpetuate
    those vices that he is talking about. We have a reason. So, he should please look at the issue in that context.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, do what is honourable and let us go.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I say GYEEDA was a machinery to create, loot and share, I have genuine reasons. Mr Speaker, there was a ministerial committee of inquiry established by this Government to look into the operations of GYEEDA. It was established that GH¢1.2 billion is unaccounted for.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    But Hon Asiamah, that does not mean that it was established for that purpose. If after its establishment, it is used for that purpose and that has happened, it does not mean that was why GYEEDA was established. So, let us do the noble and honourable thing. I know you are an honourable person and then we proceed.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Then I will say GYEEDA resulted --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    So what do we do to the first statement?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    With respect to the Chair, I humbly withdraw those words and replace them with ‘the resultant effect of GYEEDA is corruption, wastage, mismanagement, and above all, create, loot and share'. That is all that GYEEDA resulted in. That is the benefits we got from GYEEDA.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Has GYEEDA ceased to exist?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, no, but as we speak, GYEEDA has nothing to stand on. All the moneys pumped into GYEEDA went into private pockets --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, I believe that our Standing Orders are clear; that when a matter is before a court of law, we should not, discuss it. This GYEEDA matter is before a court of law. One of the persons who is accused --
    So please, with regard to what you described as “loot, create and share” that aspect of GYEEDA's history is before a court of law. So, you proceed in a very nice way.
    Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu?
    Mr Osei-Owusu 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing on GYEEDA specifically before the court. Somebody has been charged with the offence of causing financial loss to the State, probably, in relation to GYEEDA but it is not GYEEDA as an institution or anything relating to GYEEDA which is before the court. I thought that in order that we may not end up in a situation where we are gagged under Order 90(3) that the matter is in court and we cannot comment on it, we should be clear.
    There is a person being charged -- the Executive Officer or the Head of GYEEDA charged with an offence. It does not relate to the institution of GYEEDA per se.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    I have no intention to gag you or anybody else. When Hon Asiamah was commenting on GYEEDA, I did not stop him. Even if he had said that there was something wrong with GYEEDA, I would not have stopped him. But he said that GYEEDA was created for a certain purpose. The purpose that he said GYEEDA was created for -- that purpose now -- somebody has been charged for it. So, let us proceed in a manner that does not flout our laws. And I do not intend to gag anybody.
    Dr Alhassan 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in addition to your wise counsel, I really wish that individual roles in institutions that may be negative should not be used as a basis to condemn the entire institution.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much. That was smart so Hon Asiamah, you have two minutes more.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, everything I have said here is attributable to the document produced by the Ministerial Committee of Inquiry that looked into the operations of GYEEDA. They used words like “corruption”, “fraud”, and “stealing”. They were all part of the Report and I have read the entire Report. So, it is not anything that I am re- inventing. These are already in the Ministerial Committee of Inquiry Report that was produced and that report is available. Mr Speaker, that is why I used those words. As for a word, if I can replace “fraud” with “loot”, it is the same thing.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, please continue in a manner that is pleasant to the ears.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me go to the National Youth Policy that the President made reference to.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Hon Member from the Majority Front Bench?
    Dr Alhassan 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you made a ruling on this matter that the relevant documents should be produced in the House for us to verify where the matter stands.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think I am concluding but I would want this to be on record that what the President said in the State of the Nation Address on the National Youth Policy and Action Plan has just been introduced -- I would not want to use any word but I would say that it is not entirely true. This is because the President came to meet the National Youth Policy and the National Youth Action Plan and the National Youth Implementation Plan. All these documents were available. What the President did is what I would call the “decorative effect”.
    He went to launch it, just giving it decoration but the whole document was available. Everything was there. So, it is not anything new. What is most important now is the political will and commitment to implement the document to make sure the Ideals, the programmes contained in those documents are implemented to the letter. That is what Ghanaians want.
    Also the youth of this country would want to see and feel -- and not the continuation of the rhetorics or the mention of the Action and Implementation Plans --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Mr Bright E. K. Demordzi (NDC-- Botianor-Ngleshie Amanfro) 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that this Honourable House thanks His Excellency
    the President on the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Tuesday, 25th February, 2014 which was moved on Tuesday, 4th March, 2014 by the Hon Member for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu and seconded by the Hon Member for Sunyani West, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah.
    Mr Speaker, I was very glad to hear from the President on the State of the Nation, the Address, which I call the true state of the nation. Mr Speaker, why am I saying so? I am saying so because in the State of the Nation Address by the President, he made it clear -- He looked at past performance, that is the 2013 performance of the economy, the current state of the economy, the challenges facing the economy and he gave us prescriptions and solutions with regard to the short-term and future of the country.
    Mr Speaker, in the area of the economy, His Excellency the President looked at the performance the country recorded, that is, the one recorded in 2013. On critical areas with regard to the GDP, he talked about 7.4 per cent growth. In the area of the Service Sector, we recorded 9.2 per cent, and in the Industry Sector -- 9.1 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, I am very happy that in a specific area, which is agriculture -- If one compares the 2012 growth against the 2013, we are talking about over 100 per cent in the area of agriculture -- from 1.3 per cent in 2012 to 3.41 per cent in 2013. That is a tremendous improvement in the area of agriculture.
    Mr Speaker, this improvement in the area of agriculture was not just achieved on a silver platter. It is because of the prudent measures and programmes that were put in place in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, that is why we were able to achieve that feat. I am going to mention
    some of the programmes. I am talking about the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme. If one looks at it, in 2008, President Kufuor introduced the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme. At that time, about 43,000 metric tonnes of, fertilizer was subsidised. But as we speak, in 2013 we moved it to 150,000 metric metric tonnes. That is from GH¢20 million to about GH¢120 million in 2013. These are measures to improve soil productivity.
    In the area of seed subsidy, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has implemented seed subsidy. In 2012, about 12,000 metric tonnes of improved seeds were distributed to various farmers at different levels. In 2013, we are talking about 30,000 metric tonnes of improved seeds that were distributed. This was to improve agriculture in this country. I am talking about efficient management of the Agriculture Mechanisation Services Entrepreneural Centre (AMSEC) programme introduced in this country in 2009.
    As we speak, Mr Speaker, we have about 62 districts that have the AMSEC programme which was efficiently managed in 2013. That is how come we are recording food surplus all over this country. I am talking about our stable food.
    In the 2012 and 2013 crop season, we recorded about 2,000 to 20,000 metric tonnes of food surplus in the area of maize.
    Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei 4:25 p.m.
    On a point of Order.
    Mr Asafu-Adjei 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member said they have registered food
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am talking about the area of our staple food crops and I mentioned specifically maize. I am talking about 320,000 metric tonnes of food surplus that was recorded in the 2012/ 2013 crop season -- [Hear! Hear!] If you come to the area of cassava, we talk about 6.2 million metric tonnes surplus in 2012/ 2013 crop season. Then when we come to yam,2.1 million metric tons. It tells you that we are performing tremendously in the area of agriculture.[Hear!Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, let me mention something which the President mentioned in the Address. He said, Mr Speaker, “I am glad to hear that Ghana has been acknow- ledged by the UN International Community” -- I am talking about FAO and FARA -- for achieving the MDG of reducing hunger and malnutrition in advance of 2015 MDG goals.
    Kennedy N. Osie --rose--
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr K. N. Osei 4:35 p.m.
    Yes. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is misleading this House. The Hon Member just claimed that they have done well tremendously in terms of Agriculture. If he does not know, he should go and look at the performance. Even in the third quarter, agriculture recorded negative 3.8 per cent. He should go and check; 2013 third quarter performance. Yes, the Hon Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture is here, he can check it. Agriculture recorded negative 3.8 per cent, so --
    Some Hon Members 4:35 p.m.
    Which source?
    Mr K. N. Osei 4:35 p.m.
    They asked, which source? Not in food crop -- I am talking about performance of agriculture in general. These are facts and figures, just go and check. They can check from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. I am happy the Deputy Minister himself is here. So, he cannot mislead the House that agriculture has done so well to --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Today, the Hon Deputy Minister is the Acting Leader, so I do not know whether I should recognise him as -- all right -- the Deputy Minister, Acting Leader.
    Dr Alhassan 4:35 p.m.
    Yes, two privileges merged into one. But I think the confusion is that, the Hon Member on the other side is quoting quarterly records and the Hon Member on this side is quoting annual record. So yes, it can happen that in a certain quarter, growth may be negative. This is because there are dry seasons and we may not expect any output from agriculture.
    Thank you.
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Colleague is not a farmer. He should know that in the third quarter, farming activities reduce. I am talking about annual figures. He is talking about quarterly figures, so he should get his figures right. I am getting my figures from -- This is Agriculture in Ghana; Facts and Figures, 2012. He can go to the Ministry, he would get it, the fact is from there.
    Some Hon Members 4:35 p.m.
    In 2012 and 2013 it is not. It is the current one.
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that Ghana has been acknowledged by FARA and FAO for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with regard to hunger and malnutrition ahead of 2015. That is tremendous
    achievement. We are not talking about just West African recognitions, we are talking about United Nations (UN), FAO and FARA. And we are here and we cannot praise ourselves for doing very well.
    An Hon Member 4:35 p.m.
    A prophet is not honoured in his own home.
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    It is true that a prophet is not honoured in his own home. But in this era, when everybody knows that even in the dry season one can get maize to buy easily and we know that in the dry season, when it is difficult to buy tomato these days, one can just walk to the market to get some tomatoes at a very affordable price. It is because of the prudent economic measures put up by the Mahama Government. [Hear!Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, I would want to move to the area of communication.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Do not keep long in the area of communication. Just quickly land, move for two minutes and then--
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, communication is very important. It is in that vein that is why I am aware that the liberalization of the telecommunication sector was led by our current President, when he was the Minister for Communication.
    That created the enabling environment --
    Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague is misleading the House. He said Ghana's attainment of MDG against hunger earlier than 2015 is attributable to the present Government's effort. I think it is not correct. President Kufuor was actually given an award by President Lula Da-Silva because of this feat so he cannot credit this feat to the present Government. He should check his records and tell us.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue, please.
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said and I repeat, the liberalization of the telecom sector that led to the over hundred per cent penetration of the telephone in this country -- I am talking about 106 per cent telephone or mobile penetration, and 107 per cent telephone penetration in this country -- is as a result of prudent measures put up by the Mahama Government . He led the penetration of the telecom --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Did I hear you say that the penetration is 106 per cent?
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Yes, 106 per cent.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Over 100 per cent penetration?
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Yes, please.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Is that possible? Somebody should explain that to me please.
    Dr Alhassan 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you can have 106 per cent but there must be a reference figure. If it is 10 and you now have 16 or more than 10, then yes, you now have 20 something, so you now have more than 100 per cent increase.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, if we have a certain number of people in Ghana, let us say 25 million or 24million people. Now if one person has two phones, is it counted as double penetration or single penetration?
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Double penetration.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    He has penetrated twice. If he has four phones, he has penetrated four times. Then we can
    have about 400 per cent? What I understand is that 100 per cent is the total number -- 25 per cent. So, if you-- Well, continue. So in Parliament even though we are 275, the penetration can be 200 per cent.
    Hon Quashigah, how many lines do you have?
    The microphone was off , I want you to say it into the microphone.
    Mr Quashigah 4:35 p.m.
    I have about five different lines.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Demordzi 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what it means is that, if you have a total number of subscribers in this country, they are over the total number of the population. We are talking about 28 million lines in this country against about 25 or 26 million population. That is the implication. So, it tells you that we are doing very well in the area of communication. Mr Speaker, as a result of that --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, if I remember correctly, yesterday, there was a quotation from the President's State of the Nation Address, twice he talked about population. He stated 24 million, not 26. First he said 24 . Hon K.T. Hammond was the one who referred to it. First, he said the President said 24.6. It is all 24 and never 26. So for the record, but you continue.
    Mr Demordzi 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not going to challenge your ruling. But the --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    I would have been shocked if you had challenged it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    The man says how can it be?How can you refer to him as such on this floor? On this floor, he is Hon Quashigah. Quashigah is his grandfather's name and Honourable is the title he earned. Please, refer to him as such.
    Mr Osei-Owusu 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Keta who used to be the Propaganda Secretary for the NDC -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Mr Speaker, he has five lines, but it does not mean that everyone of the 24 plus million Ghanaians have access.
    So, the penetration or coverage as to the full total population of Ghanaians having access cannot be true. What it means is that there are 28 million lines.That is all. But the number of people that have cannot be the entire 24 million. Some people were delivered five days ago, some people were delivered but they cannot even talk; they do not have access and they have been counted.
    So, Mr Speaker, the 100 and over per cent coverage of Ghanaians cannot be possible.
    Dr Alhassan 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we have to clear this confusion a bit. I think the point that is being made is that, there are more lines than the number of people in the country; basically, that is what it means. It does not also mean that everybody would have a line. As the Hon Member from Keta said, he has five lines. Maybe, he has one, two or three for voice, he has one on his ipad, he has one on his internet facility at home, he has one on another machine elsewhere. So, it is
    possible for one person to have six lines and then when you get to the total, it would be more than the number of human beings who are in the country. That is what it means.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I would give you two minutes.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, how can a social democrat have five lines? Mr Speaker, this is strange. Hon Quashigah says he alone has five lines, a social democrat? He would not push for the common man on the ground, the common person, the common Ghanaian if he has five lines? He would be holding them like this, left and right phones.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, you mentioned Hon Quashigah's name so I will recognise him.
    Mr Quashigah 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is obvious that what Hon I. K. Asiamah has raised is irrelevant to the subject matter on the floor. But all the same, I would also want to respond to him that, people in their various capacities, per what they do may require two or three lines or more. So, per what I do as a Member of Parliament and also a member of the national executive of a political party, and also as a former lecturer, I am required to have a number of lines which, maybe, Hon I. K. Asiamah, who is representing his people and not even visiting his constituents, may not require.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon I. K. Asiamah and Hon Quashigah, you would want to change this into table tennis. I do not know whether it was an arrangement between the two of you. When he speaks, he would mention Hon Asiamah's name and then Hon Asiamah would speak and mention Hon Quashigah's name. So, I would ignore both of you.
    Hon Member, continue. Now, I give you one minute. Hon Quashigah has taken 30 seconds of your time, Hon Asiamah has taken another 30 second, so you have one minute.
    Mr Demordzi 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of all these things, it is clear that the ITU has a description on how to calculate these things. So, those who are finding it difficult can refer to the ITU site and they would get the description of how we calculate penetration rate and all that. But as a result of these programmes and the enabling environment, the contribution of the telecommunication sector to the share of the Service Sector is about 25 per cent. That is tremendous improvement.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to move from that area and say that, this Government is expanding the infrastructure base of the telecommunications sector in this country. The eastern corridor fibre optic broadband project -- about 700- kilometre fibre optic broadband project which starts from Ho to Garu connects about 120 towns in the eastern corridor.
    That is going to improve communica- tion and Internet service in this country. [Interruption.] I am saying that about 107 kilometres of that work has been completed already. If this is not a better Ghana, then what are we talking about? In the area of telecommunications, we keep improving.
    Mr Speaker, in concluding -- I want to conclude because I would not want you to ask me to conclude. I would want to conclude by thanking the President for considering those in the western side of Greater Accra and saying that in the second quarter of this year, he is going to construct a by-pass which would pass through my constituency -- I am talking
    about Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro. So those communities from here to Kasoa, Cape Coast and Takoradi would not suffer the traffic of the barrier again. [Hear! Hear!] You can pass through Bortianor and pass through Kokrobite and down to Nyanyanor and down to your Cape Coast --[Hear! Hear!] You can pass through Amanfro and pass through Bawjuase and go to your Cape Coast.
    I thank the President for giving me this opportunity.
    Thank you,Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Thank you. Can I pass through them and go to my Esikadu as well? I can go to my Esikadu as well? Thank you.
    Dr Alhassan 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted to crave your indulgence that the next Hon Member who would speak from that side would be the last one for the day so that the remainder can continue tomorrow before the Leaders wind up. This is for the fact that it is almost 5 o'clock and Hon Members are very exhausted. I can see that from the faces of the Clerks-at-the- Table also.
    Mr Awuah 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought you earlier mentioned that you wanted us to exhaust the list and since you have said that, I thought you would keep to your word. But if my Hon Colleague on the other side -- [Interruption.]Mr Speaker, as we were told when we were looking at the Business Statement for this particular week, today marks the formal conclusion of the debate on the part of Hon Members who are not Leaders.
    Tomorrow is reserved for only the two Leaders. So, Mr Speaker, because we still have quite a number of people who would want to express their views and did not have the opportunity, if you would not mind, I would plead that maybe, we exhaust the list.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon Owusu-Aduomi, your contribution? I want your contribution on the State of the Nation Address. The little debate we had, we are not tired; if we had continued three people would have finished by then.
    Hon Owusu-Aduomi, your contribution.
    Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi 4:55 p.m.
    Hon Speaker, I thought you were going to rule on whether we are tired or not but since -
    - 4:55 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, what is the feeling of the House.
    Let me get the feeling of the House.
    Mr Owusu-Aduomi 4:55 p.m.
    The feeling of the House is that, we are tired. I myself I am tired -- [Laughter] -- but if you would want me to make my contribution, I would thank you sincerely for this opportunity.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Let me just appeal to the leaders that, in the list, some of these names were in it two weeks ago, then they were deferred and they brought them to yesterday. Some have been sitting up patiently. We have left on the Minority side -- Hon Asafu-Adjei, Hon Kokofu, Hon Banda, Hon Joe Appiah, Hon Owusu-Aduomi. Then we have on the Majority side, Hon Dominic Napare, Hon Kwame Twumasi Ampofo, Hon
    Alhassan. I think that if we agree and if leadership could advise Mr Speaker, accordingly, tomorrow, I think if we can take three each, tomorrow, then the front Bench could talk because these numbers have been outstanding for two-three days. These days of grading and so on, everybody should be given an opportunity to speak. So, I do not know.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no objection. We can continue to exhaust the names.
    Mr Awuah 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I still stand by my earlier statement that we exhaust the list this evening.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, let me find out for the last time. Are we going to exhaust the list? Leadership? Back bench -- are we going to exhaust the list?
    Mr Awuah 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am getting a feeling from the backbench that Members are really tired --
    Some Hon Members 4:55 p.m.
    No!
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    So, Hon Members, I get the feeling that the back bench is not tired. They would want to exhaust the list. I will suspend Sitting for one minute. I will come back immediately.
    5.00 p.m. -- Sitting suspended.
    5.05p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
    Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi (NPP -- Ejisu) 4:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, the President was right in stating in paragraph 5 of page 16 and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “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.”
    However, Mr Speaker, maintenance has not been adequately done since 2009 when the NPP Administration left office. Mr Speaker, maintenance of our roads had consistently been low and I have reiterated this on the floor of the House severally, that, we are not paying attention at all to our road maintenance. In fact, average has been less than 50 per cent. Mr Speaker, I was surprised when the President smiled at the kilometres that have been maintained on page 17, paragraph (4), that 15,405 kilometres of trunk roads, urban and feeder roads were maintained in the 2013 fiscal year.
    Mr Speaker, this is amazing.
    Mr Speaker, from the 2013 Budget, when you go to 134, paragraph (521), 50,723 kilometres of roads, trunk roads, feeder roads and urban roads were planned for maintenance. However, only 15,405 kilometres were achieved. This amounts to 30 per cent of our maintenance. Mr Speaker, that is why we have huge backlog of maintenance on our truck roads, on our feeder roads and on our urban roads.
    It is not surprising at all Mr Speaker, that, when you travel on our roads, you see lack of maintenance. Potholes, bushy road sides, non-gravelled surfaces, corrugated surfaces, gulleys and so on and so forth. Mr Speaker, maintenance on our roads have not been adequate although the President knows that when you adequately maintain your roads, you save lives and you save costs.
    Mr Speaker, a study has been conducted between September and December 2012 by the Ministry of Roads and Highways and Ghana Statistical Service on National Transport, Household Survey Phase ll. This Project has been funded by the European Union and the Government of Ghana to support transport sector development. In this Report, it has shown clearly that poor roads all over the country, have been a significant obstacle in our socio-economic development of the nation.
    When you go to page 27, Table 3.1.1 of that Report, he said main difficulties faced in going to school, 60 per cent is due to bad roads - Main difficulties faced by the employed going to the workplace, 51.4 per cent, page 42 of Table 5.6; main difficulties faced by marketing farm produce, in that Report, when you go to page 50, Table 5.1.7, 59.2 percent, he says that is a problem.
    Main obstacle faced in going to the marketplace by rural folks, page 73, Table 6.3.0, 64.1 per cent, it says it was due to bad roads that they were not able to go to the market. When you go to page 82, Table 6.4.2, reasons for inability to reach health facility, 84.4 per cent indicate that it is due to bad roads. Indeed, bad roads are causing a lot of problems to our rural folks. In fact, the whole nation is retarding economically -- agriculture is going down because imagine when you farm and you are not able to go to the market, it demoralises the farmer to even expand or widen the farms.
    So, bad roads are causing a lot of problems to our nation. The main difficulty facing the Ministry of Roads and Highways is payment to contractors for work done. Payment for either routine maintenance, periodic maintenance, development works, upgrading works, et cetera, are unduly delayed. I was expecting the President to address this
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Thank you also.
    Mr Dominic Napare (NDC-- Sene East) 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the President's State of the Nation Address, moved by Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Member of Parliament for Tamale South.
    The action packed message delivered by the President was quite refreshing, and really shows that we are really on the path to transforming the country and the economy. [Hear! Hear!] We are so inspired by the inspirational and patriotic posture that invigorates us as people and we call on all to support this move.
    I would want to restrict my contribution to education and a bit of agriculture development.
    Mr Speaker, Ghanaians are so enthused by the Government's pragmatic measures put in place to improve access and quality education, especially, in the areas of classroom infrastructure, distribution of textbooks and others. Many classroom infrastructural projects constructed in our rural communities that give meaning to schooling point to a better future.
    I have many of these infrastructural developments in my constituency. To mention that of Kadjebi Senior High School and Kwame Danso Senior High School. We have a lot of that in the basic schools that are in progress and we think that, this is a way to improving the educational quality. This is because hitherto, we had most of our children studying under trees and this actually militated against their effective learning in the classroom.

    One other thing we would want to commend the Government for, is the training of teachers, which we saw a tremendous move last year, from 9,000 to 15,000, an increase of 6,000 teacher trainees. This really attests to the fact that, a lot is being done and this gives us hope that our education delivery would really see the great improvement we all desire for.

    Mr Speaker, we also see that in recruiting more of our youths to be trained as professionals is to provide them with employment, and this is going a long way to curb the unemployment problem we are all fighting against. As such, we all need to commend the President and the Government for this good initiative.

    Mr Speaker, another area we would want to talk about is, lack of teachers which result in student truancy, absenteeism and eventual drop out of schools. So, if we are able to improve upon teachers teaching in our classrooms, it would go a long way to retain our students in our schools for learning to improve and for us to get the desired education and quality delivery we are all yearning for.

    Mr Speaker, getting adequate teachers to teach in our schools is in the right direction, and our students are very proud of this move.

    Mr Speaker, Ghanaians are very proud and listening to the comments from our constituencies, based on the State of the Nation Address, point to the fact that, Ghanaians are really happy about the moves the Government is making to improve upon education.

    Mr Speaker, straying to agriculture, as I mentioned earlier, we were very happy about the mention that, rice processing plant is to be jointly established by the Government and the private sector. We all know that, the bane of the country today is the rate at which we import
    -- 4:55 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, two minutes more.
    Mr Napare 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said earlier this gives us hope that, our economy would be improved when we are able to process our locally produced rice to feed the country and eventually for export.
    There are many moves or strategies put in place to improve upon agriculture. Mention can be made of the expansion of irrigation schemes that the President mentioned in the State of the Nation Address on page 13.
    Mr Speaker, he indicated that the irrigation land has been increased from 1,200 hectares and the private sector is also adding 8,000 hectares of irrigation land, so we are eventually going to get about 15,200 hectares of land that would be irrigated. These farmers are very happy to hear this because, as we know, we eventually rely on rain-fed agriculture, which is not very helpful to us as a country.
    Mr Speaker, for want of time, I have seen you signalling me and for that matter, I would just end by saying that, a lot of the strategies that have been put in place in terms of fertilizer subsidy -- irrigation and even countries like the Netherlands and others are also going to help the country improve.
    Mr Ben Abdallah Banda (NPP -- Offinso South) 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Motion in relation to the President's Message on the State of the Nation.
    Mr Speaker, a lot has been said by my Hon Colleagues on this side with respect to the State of the Nation Address. I wish to dilate on very few issues.
    Mr Speaker, as usual and as we all know, very characteristic of our President, the 2014 State of the Nation Address was laden with a lot of promises and policies, which the President himself knows that he is not capable of bringing them into fruition.
    Mr Speaker, good governance is not about organising elections, winning elections and thinking of the next elections. Mr Speaker, good governance is about being action-oriented, being accountable to the people, being responsive to the needs of the people and being effective and abiding by and making good your promises.
    Mr Speaker, in the 2013 State of the Nation Address, the President stood before this august House and promised to work with the Judicial Council to continue the process of providing new and modern equipment and establishing on building modern courtrooms in order to improve the work of our judges.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh, on behalf of the President in the 2013/14 Budget Statement, did reiterate that, the NDC Government would extend the commercial court system to the circuit and districts courts. Mr Speaker, very surprisingly, when the President stood before this august House and delivered the State of the Nation Address, throughout the speech, nowhere did he make mention of
    the Judiciary, which is a very significant arm of Government. Mr Speaker, even though the Chief Justice and some of the superior court judges were present in this Chamber.The President did not give any update on the promises that he made in the 2013 State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order. Mr Speaker, this statement has been going on in this Chamber that nowhere in the State of the Nation Address did the President make mention of the Judiciary. Mr Speaker, may I humbly refer your good self to page 21, paragraph (4) of the State of the Nation Address, and with your permission I beg to read:
    “The Judiciary also remains a strong ally in our fight against crime, and the promotion of rule of law. I wish to place on record again that Government is committed to deepening collaboration among the various arms of government in our collective desire to build a stronger nation that fully respects law and order.”
    Mr Speaker, if this does not concern the Judiciary, then I do not know. And Mr Speaker, on record, no government everybody knows, that 34 courtroom are under serious construction. It is the NDC Government that got the loan that was approved here. Mr Speaker, we all approved that loan; 34 courtrooms are under construction. The President could not write all those things here.
    So if the President said little concerning the Judiciary, we should not expect the President to describe all the 34 courtrooms, the 18 High Courts and all
    other things that are taking place -- it cannot be so. So let us agree that something small has been said, then build upon that, then we continue.
    Mr Banda 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when the President appeared before this House, he spoke in the presence of all of us. And I believe the Hansard captured specifically what the President did say. Nowhere in the two-hour speech delivered by His Excellency the President did he ever make mention of the Judiciary as captured by the Hansard. So I am surprised that the Hon Member is saying that -- [Interrup- tion.] The official record does not say it, it does not capture it.
    Mr Justice Joe Appiah 5:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we were all here in this House when the President spoke.
    He did not mention anything about the Judiciary. So, if it is brought into this book, it delayed. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and Quashigah were all -- if His Excellency the President made mention of the Judiciary -- So they should not do that. It is a very bad record. It was not captured. That is why the whole document delayed. They must be truthful to themselves. They should not do that thing. It is not good. We have to help Mother Ghana. Please, do not do that, it is not good.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, I had calculated the amount of time that we needed to end, but at this stage, I think we should have rather brought our pajamas here, we may be ending tomorrow morning. So, these point of orders -- I do not know -- But Leader- ship?
    Mr Baffour Awuah 5:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I remember, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on the day of the Address, when he was seconding the Motion for adjournment did mention that he was surprised that the
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    Thank you.
    I will consider what you have said.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Banda 5:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that when the President came before this august House and delivered the Message on the State of the Nation, both local and foreign investors were eager to hear something concrete and definitive about the Judiciary.
    Mr Speaker, we all know that, a well- functioning court system presupposes that, disputes are resolved in a very speedy manner and decisions are tendered in a very expeditious manner. This goes a long way to aid in economic development.
    Mr Speaker, the true state of our Judiciary is that, most of our Judges still write in long-hand. Most of our High Courts are still not automated; not even to talk about the Circuit and the District Courts. Most of the automation equipment brought in during His Excellency, ex- President Kufuor's time have all broken down. They have not been repaired.
    Mr Speaker, it is very disheartening to note that, most of our court rooms are an eye-sore. Mr Speaker, the President says that he has asked the Attorney-General's
    Department to pursue prosecution of persons indicted in the Audit Report for the misappropriation of funds. Mr Speaker, the President must be joking, because how does he expect the Attorney- General's Department to embark on effective prosecution when the Attorney- General's Department does not even have common computers and accessories to be able to do their work?
    Mr Speaker, the Attorneys in the Attorney-General's Department lack sufficient vehicles to transport them from their offices to courts and back.
    Mr Speaker, the true state of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- General's Department is that, they cannot even pay the allowances of their staff and of their Board Members. They cannot even pay their electricity bills. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- General's Department cannot even pay its external solicitors.
    Mr Speaker, in 2013, Transparency International per its global barometer, indicted Ghana as being more corrupt than before. That for the past two -- [Interruption].
    Mr Quashigah 5:25 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that my Hon Colleague on the other Side described the President as “joking”. That he came into this House to joke.
    Apart from that, earlier we talked about the President not touching on the Judiciary and others claimed that the Official Report of the House should be the only record. Mr Speaker, I recall very well that, in this same House, when the President's State of the Nation Address was not in, and some Hon Members suggested that we should rely on the Official Report, the same Hon Members on the other side insisted that, we could not debate from that particular document.
    Yet, here we are, and having insisted that the President was taking too much time with the Address, the President decided to do a summary and for which reason they may not have heard him explicitly mentioning the Judiciary and that having been captured in the Official Report that has been brought to us for discussion, they are the same people playing the hypocrisy by saying that, the President did not touch on the Judiciary.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member should withdraw the phrase -- “President came here to joke.”
    Also, Hon Members on the other Side should shirk their hypocrisy and live up to reality.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    Let me just tell Hon Members that when one is raising a point of order and within that point of order one is rude, one says things like “hypocrisy”, I would not even recognise that, one has spoken. One should just say what one wants to say clearly, quietly and let us move on.
    Hon Banda, continue.
    Mr Banda 5:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, both the 2011 and the 2012 Auditor-General's Reports have established that, several billions of state moneys have been siphoned away. Mr Speaker, the year 2014 was heralded with all kinds of corruption allegations, stemming from SADA, to GYEEDA, to SUBAH and even to the Vicky Hammah scandal. Mr Speaker, this country is dangerously wobbling on its knees economically.
    A lot of my Hon Colleagues have already said that the MMDAs are owed about two to three quarters of the Common Fund.The Health fund, the HIPC
    fund as well as the Social Intervention Fund are all collapsing. This NDC government is collapsing all these statutory funds. Mr Speaker, this is unprecedented.
    Mr Speaker, the President in the 2013 State of the Nation Address did promise that he would strengthen the Parlia- mentary Committees so that they can do very effective work. But what have we witnessed in the past two years? What we have witnessed is that, the activities of the Parliamentary Committees have come to a standstill. Even moneys allegedly allocated to the Committees cannot be accessed. We are all witnesses to this phenomenon. Mr Speaker, the true state of our Parliament is that, everything has come to a standstill.
    Mr Speaker, the President in the 2013 State of the Nation Address did say that, Cabinet meetings would be rotated between Accra and the other regional capitals. Mr Speaker, the President did not give any updates on the promise that he made in that State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker, it is not only well designed laws and regulations that can fight corruption. We need -- [Interruption].
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    That is my signal to you now.
    Mr Banda 5:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not only well designed laws and regulations that can fight corruption. We need a well functioning court system. We need well- resourced and strong institutions purposed to fight corruption, as well as the political will on the side of the President in fighting corruption.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the true state of our nation is that, things have fallen apart, the centre cannot hold.
    Mr Banda 5:25 p.m.


    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Kwame T. Ampofo (NDC -- Sene West) 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    I will touch on infrastructure, specifically on roads. Mr Speaker, His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama said he was going to transform Kwame Nkrumah Circle into modern interchange. This is on pages 34 and 35 of the Hansard and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, when I delivered the State of the Nation Address last year,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.I am happy to report that I cut the sod for construction to begin on the interchange last year and work is currently ongoing.”
    Mr Speaker, the President is doing well on roads. This is the first time that there is going to be a modern interchange at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle . A sod has been cut already and the work is ongoing. We

    Mr Speaker, if you go to page 35 of the Hansard, he specifically talked about the ongoing roads and the one that they are going to start.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    I believe you meant page 35 of the State of the Nation Address and not the Hansard.
    Mr Ampofo 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is in the Hansard.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    It is on what page of the Hansard? Official Report of what date? Are you referring to the Official Report or what, because in the Hansard, we do not refer to page numbers, we refer to columns.
    When any document is captured into the Hansard, it is captured into the Official Report and it is captured in a particular fashion. When it is captured in that fashion,we number them in columns and not pages. If you are reading the State of the Nation Address, that one has the pages. If you say Official Report, give us the date and the column.
    Mr Ampofo 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am referring to the State of the Nation Address and Mr Speaker, I continue.
    “We are making similar progress on many other road projects in various parts of the country. We are on schedule to complete the 144 kilometre… road …”
    And it mentions so many roads there.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Hon Asiamah, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Asiamah 5:35 p.m.
    The late President Mills cut the sod for the construction of Atebubu- Kwame Danso-Road in 2009. He should tell us the state of that road and stop talking about roads all over the place. We would want to know the state --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    You are out of order Hon Asiamah.
    Mr Ampofo 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the sod was not cut in 2009. It was 2011 and I am telling you. Mr Speaker, from 2000 to 2008 the road was so muddy and slippery. By the good governance of the NDC, now the contractor has been able to widen the road and finished all the bridges. Even though the road is not completed, this year His Excellency said he was going to continue the road and it is in the State of the Nation Address.
    Mr Speaker, I will tackle corruption. Mr Speaker, His Excellency talked about corruption and specifically, he did talk about conflict of interest and that is where I want to emphasise my point -- conflict of interest.
    Mr Awuah 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that my Hon Colleague in referring to a ship, which was sold during the NPP era is perhaps referring to the drill ship. The President tasked the Judgement Debt Commission to look into all judgement debt issues, and the President in his Address stated that, the Judgement Debt Commissioner is yet to bring his
    report to the Presidency, and that the Presidency would act on the Report accordingly. So I do not see why something which is a subject of enquiry should be discussed on the floor of Parliament, when indeed no pronouncement has been made on it. So I think that my Hon Colleague is not being fair and that what he said should not be allowed to remain in the books of this House. He must be made to withdraw that particular statement.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, you know that this issue is before a Presidential Commission. Do not comment on it. So withdraw that statement and continue. Just withdraw it and continue.
    Mr Ampofo 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with due respect, I withdraw.
    In the year 2006, State of the Nation Address, 31st January 2006, by President Kufuor, he said ‘government was going to promote made in Ghana goods'. By 2007 when Ghana@ 50 was celebrated, all the cloths used to celebrate Ghana @ 50 were ordered from China.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 5:45 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to advise my Hon Colleague to be very careful when making certain remarks. Mr Speaker, when the NDC Government assumed office, they set up a Commission to look into matters relating to Ghana @50. At the hearing of Ghana @50, it came to light that some of the cloths which were used were printed by Ghana Textiles Printing (GTP).
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue with the amendment.
    Mr Ampofo 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said most of the cloths were ordered from China.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would say it is about time to come together as people of Ghana to move the nation forward. Mr Speaker, it is about time to put the blame game issue somewhere. It is about time for us to be nationalistic, for us to improve upon Ghana's economy and move the nation forward to create jobs for the youth.
    Mr Justice J. Appiah (NPP -- Ablekuma North) 5:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to read from the State of the Nation Address, on page 19, about water.
    It reads:
    “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”.
    Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence also to read from the 2014 Budget Statement and Economic Policy. It states:
    “Mr Speaker, under the Government's 20,000 boreholes Project, 536 boreholes drilled have been fitted with hand pumps this year. The rest are to be completed in 2014".
    Mr Speaker, 20,000 boreholes was what the NDC Administration said they were going to construct last year and we are in 2014. Out of 20,000 boreholes, 536 has been completed, the 19,464, when are they going to be completed? He is telling us it is going to be completed in 2014. Mr Speaker, the Government should be very serious and tell Ghanaians the truth. If these boreholes are constructed, it would help alleviate the plight of ordinary Ghanaians, men and women who have to travel several kilometres for water without success.
    Mr Speaker, now I am to touch on housing. Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence also to read again from page 20. It reads:
    “Mr Speaker, let me add that various state agencies have been tasked to finance and complete the projects abandoned by the Kufuor administration.”
    Mr Speaker, why would the NDC not complete these affordable housing projects? The President should be very truthful to Ghanaians in terms of house delivery. How can he meet the 1.7 million deficit when even one unit has not been completed by this Administration? Mr Speaker, this is an abysmal failure in terms of housing delivery in this country.
    Some Hon Members 5:45 p.m.
    You are reading.
    Mr Appiah 5:45 p.m.
    I am not reading; I am referring to my notes.
    Mr Speaker, on Education, this is very serious. May I also crave your indulgence to refer [Interruption.] I am waiting for the Speaker.
    “Government's programme to construct 200 new community day Secondary Schools is on track. 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”.
    Mr Speaker, the cutting of the sod for this very projects or the stage of the implementation of these projects is not true. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, there has not been any project evaluation, the contract sums have never been determined. They should tell us how much they are charging for one school. Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa was on air telling us that they are between GH¢5 million and GH6.5 million, which is which? There is no letter of award, yet he comes to tell us they are cutting sod.
    The sod cutting must be the last thing. Mr Speaker, we have to be very serious in this country. This country needs serious people. Mr Speaker, there is ample room for corruption if the contract sum has not even been determined.
    As of now, we do not know the cost of one project if it is true. Not even one project has been costed, there is no evaluation and they go to cut sod? It is wrong. This President must be very serious in this country; we are not joking in this country. We all have to be very serious in this country.
    Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 5:45 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the floor is making an emphatic statement, that the projects have not been costed, that nobody knows the value of the Projects. He is not the Consultant -- [Interruption.] I have heard a lot of people speak here without being interjected. He is not the consultant to the project, he has no idea -- [Interruption.] If he goes to the Ministry of Information and Media Relations, he can find that information. It is one thing trying to say that he does not have an information and pretending that he knows the information does not exist.
    So please he should go to the Ministry of Education, he would find it. The project should have started on site, if he wants to know the site, we can tell him.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Continue, Hon Member
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the contract has not been determined. Not even a final letter of award has been given to the contractor -- [Interruption] -- So can he tell me how much has been quoted for one project? There is no price on each project.
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if contracts are to be given to this House, there must be an evalua --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Joe Appiah, three minutes more.
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, now we are talking about the economy. Mr Speaker, the Guggisburg economy model cannot crank us into the future. We must diversify to the main economy as related to the 21st century.
    Mr Speaker, the President's speech sounded more like --
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Member for Odododiodioo, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Vanderpuye 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe seriously that if Hon Joe Appiah wants to know or seek information like what he is asking for, there is a procedure in this House that he can use. Either a Motion is moved or he can ask a Question to the Hon Minister for Education so that he can come to this House and tell us the cost of the project. He should not stand on the floor of this House and ask all these audacious questions which cannot be answered in this House at this material time.
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have been a contractor and I am still a contractor and I know what I am talking about. If a sod is to be cut, there must be an evaluation
    report and the contract sum must be determined --
    Several Hon Members -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Appiah, do you want to yield to your two Hon Colleagues in front of you?
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    To Mr Kwaku Agyemang- Manu.
    Mr Agyemang Manu 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised at the way my Hon Colleagues opposite me here are trying to heckle Hon Joe Appiah --[Interruption] -- for very valid submissions that he is making this afternoon.
    Mr Speaker, I followed the President on that programme very very seriously that particular day. When you are doing serious contract management, you cannot just go and do sod cutting when procurement processes have not been completed.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Thank you, thank you -- [Interruption] -- your microphone is off. In your absence, we configured the microphones, so now I can cut yours. Your microphone is off. This is a new technology that has been introduced so I can cut you off. Hon Joe Appiah, continue to wind up. You yielded to Hon Agyemang-Manu and he took two minutes of your time so you are left with 30 seconds. Your last sentence.
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the basic fact is that, a government that engages in so much indiscipline and recklessness in its expenditure, partly in an election year as the Mahama Administration did in 2012,
    would certainly live to reap a bad harvest. This is the disgrace confronting Ghana's economy. Mr Speaker, we need leaders who would think of a future generation --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Conclude, conclude, last sentence --
    Mr Appiah 5:55 p.m.
    In conclusion, we need leaders who can think for the future generation instead of thinking of the next general election.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Joe Appiah.
    Hon Members, in the contribution of Hon Banda he said that, the President did not mention the judiciary in the State of the Nation Address. As a subdebate, the Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip referred us to page 28 of the State of the Nation Address. And Hon Members, on page 21 it is stated:
    “The Judiciary also remains a strong ally in our fight against crime, and the promotion of the rule of law.”
    And it continues. So clearly, on that page there is a mention of the Judiciary.
    We were also told by Hon Baffour Awuah that on that day, the Hon Minority Leader, in seconding the Motion, made mention of the fact that the President did not mention the Judiciary. I am not here to rule on whether the President did mention it when he was speaking or not. But this raises a very interesting question. The question is “What is the President's State of the Nation Address”? Is it what he says or what he presents?
    Hon Members, when Hon Chairmen of Committees are presenting Reports to the House, they summarise and request that
    the Hansard captures the Report as it was read out in whole. The Budget Statement is another example of when the person presenting the Budget, the Minister for Finance, summarises and requests that it is captured as a whole.
    The President comes to Parliament, pursuant to Article 67 of the Constitution. The practice has been that, after the President delivers his Speech, he gives the copy to the Speaker and the Clerk receives the copy from the Speaker and lays it on the Table. Indeed, one would therefore, be tempted to come to the conclusion that, what is laid on the Table is the true Message on the State of the Nation, but not what is said by the President.
    The only difference between what the President does and what is done by the Chairmen of Committees and the Hon Minister for Finance is that, he does not say that the Hansard should capture what is being laid as if it was the Official Report of the House.
    In the United Kingdom, perhaps this is what lead to the practice being developed which is reported in Erskine May's, Parliamentary Practice, the 24th Edition, on page 159. The sub-heading is “Report of the Queen's Speech”. It says:
    “When the Houses are resumed in the afternoon, (that is, the afternoon after the Queen gives a Speech in the morning), the main business is for the Lord Speaker in the Lords, and the Speaker in the Commons, to report the Queen's speech. In the Lords, the Lord Speaker informs the House that the Queen has made a Speech and the copies are available in the Printed Paper Office.
    She directs that the terms of the Speech be printed in the Official Report, “(which seems to suggest that what is
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    printed in the Official Report is not what the Queen said, but what has been printed).”
    In the Commons, Mr Speaker states that for greater accuracy, he has to obtain a copy of the speech, which he directs to be printed in theVotes and Proceedings. “(Once again, what is printed is not what the Queen said but what has been written).”
    Our Constitution, in article 67 stipulates and I beg to quote:
    “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation.”
    The word “deliver” includes orally or by writing.
    It is my view therefore, that perhaps, going forward, we should adopt the practice in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, where after the President has delivered his Message of the State of the Nation, and when Mr Speaker has received a written copy, perhaps, he should report to us that he has received a written copy and he, Mr Speaker, must order that it is that copy that should be seen as the Official Report of what the President said.
    If that is done, perhaps we would not arrive at this juncture where this debate as to whether the President mentioned the Judiciary or did not mention the Judiciary. That I do not believe is a ruling, I believe it is just some guidance.

    Somebody has called me a Wiseman and it is a very dangerous title to have. [Interruption.] Hon Ampofo Twumasi was the one who spoke last, Hon Kokofu. [Interruption.] Hon Mumuni Alhassan?
    Mr Mumuni Alhassan (NDC -- Salaga North) 6:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor of the House, ably moved by Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South and Minister for Trade and Industry and seconded by Hon Baffour Awuah, Member for Sunyani West, to show appreciation to His Excellency the President for creditably delivering the message of the State of the Nation.
    In doing so, Mr Speaker, I would focus on the third basic pillar of President John Dramani Mahama's Government, which is expanding infrastructure for growth.
    Mr Speaker, you would all agree with me that, we need good roads to be able to move persons and goods smoothly and faster to enhance our daily lives and our businesses. In the Northern Region, apart from the trans-ECOWAS Road, that was improved by former President Rawlings, that connected three district capitals to the regional capitals with tarred roads, and later Yendi District, in the eight years under former President Kufuor, all other district capitals are linked up to Tamale on an un- tarred roads.

    Mr Speaker, this is the first time that a long stretch road is being constructed in this country and that is 147 kilometres.

    Mr Speaker, it is hoped that, the Government would find external funding for the early completion of the Tamale- Salaga Road which is a twin brother of the Tamale Fufulso Sawla Road because it has also seen numerous Budget Statements and State of the Nation's Addresses.

    In terms of Energy, Mr Speaker, especially electricity, since the Northern Region was hooked to the National Grid in the 1980s, it has recorded a coverage below average by the end of 2008. Today, under the Energy for All Programme, the Region benefited from 500 communities out of the 900 communities that were connected in 2013. [Hear! Hear!] This has raised electricity coverage in the Region above average and hoping to record about 80 per cent by the end of

    2016.

    Mr Speaker, the Salaga North Constituency where I am the maiden MP, when others did not want me to be here because, they did not want to support the creation of the new constituencies, I would not have been here; and they never would have enjoyed electricity in their lives. As I speak, 14 communities have been connected to the National Grid [Hear! Hear!] Thanks to the “Better Ghana Agenda”.

    Mr Speaker, Ghana is making tremen- dous progress in reducing crime rate in our society. Thanks to the Government and the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) for introducing the Police visibility; Police patrols, community policing programmes. It is therefore, important for more collaboration and co- operation among all security agencies for us to consolidate these gains that have been chalked.

    Mr Speaker, special attention should be geared towards the Ghana Prisons Service to expand their activities, especially, where they engage in agriculture activities so as to house more inmates. [Mr Speaker signals for winding up.] This would enable them to produce more food to feed their own and would not have to wholly rely on central Government releases.

    Mr Speaker, the Salaga local prisons for example, in 2013, with their few inmates, cultivated four acres of yam and harvested 4,400 kilogrammes of the crop. Out of their two acres pepper farm, they harvested 81 kilogrammes of pepper. [Mr Speaker signal for winding up. --

    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I urge every Ghanaian to embrace the President's call to arrest the fallen sense of selflessness and patriotism within our society. This would reduce corruption, absenteeism and lateness to our workplaces, especially, our immediate environment so that we have more output of work in our workplaces.

    Ghana is moving forward, we are not doing so badly, Mr Speaker, before the Fourth Republican Constitution. However, I want to ask a question; how many interchanges were in Ghana? [Mr Speaker puts off the Member microphone.] [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Hon Kokofu, this time we are using technology.
    Mr Henry K. Kokofu (NPP -- Bantama) 6:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor of the House. Mr Speaker, I wish to express sentiments and frustrations of many Ghanaians including constituents of Bantama Constituency.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    Hon Bisiw do you have a point of order?
    Dr Bisiw 6:15 p.m.
    Rightly so Mr Speaker. I am Doctor Hannah Bisiw. I am a Vertenary Doctor by profession and a politician by practice.

    Mr Speaker, my Colleague said that one of the flagship programmes that the NPP Administration brought was the National Health Insurance. I think that we also have to be straight with ourselves. I hold in my hand the newspaper, the Evening News, of Wednesday, April 26th 2000 -- NPP criticizes National Health Insurance Scheme - And the whole story is here to talk for itself. It was even criticized by Dr K. Addo Kufuor.

    He was the then NPP Member of Parliament for Manhyia. The National Health Insurance was started and piloted by the NDC Government -- [Hear! Hear!] -- And it continued to do so. This is the newspaper and it speaks for itself. Dua Nkwanta had one.

    Thank you, Hon Speaker.
    Mr Kofoku 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I may continue.
    Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah -- rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    Hon Member for Manhyia North, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Owusu -Amankwah 6:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I wanted to correct
    -- 6:15 p.m.

    An Hon Member 6:15 p.m.
    Order what?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    After 6.00 p.m., we have relaxed the rules. The rules have been relaxed after 6.00 p.m. You want me to be strict from morning till night? No!
    Mr Owusu Amankwa 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think such statements by the Hon Member for Tano South was very very unfortunate, in that Hon Dr Kufuor has consistently denied this wild allegation and I wonder why she keeps on alleging -- [Interruptions] -- It is never true.
    Some Hon Members 6:15 p.m.
    What is never true?
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 6:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague, Hon Dr Hanna Bisiw, in giving examples of where the National Health Insurance Scheme was piloted before 2001, mentioned Tano North as one of the places where it was piloted. Mr Speaker, I know very much about the project she talked about: it was the initiative of the Catholic Diocese then. It was purely the Sir John of God Hospital's Project and it had nothing to do with a national programme which was initiated by Government.
    So, I just want to set that record straight. Indeed, the first health insurance scheme in Ghana was established at Nkoranza by the St Theresa's Hospital and that one too was the initiative of the Catholic Church, it was never a national programme. So, Mr Speaker, I want to set the records straight on that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, what is the practice when you mention somebody's name when the person is not here. I am always uncomfortable about that practice but what has been the practice?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Dr Addo Kufuor is not here but I think the Minority Bench has spoken for him. So, I think we can rest the case there.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    That is why I like you. We will rest the case there.
    Mr Kokofu 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was talking about the National Health Insurance Scheme. I am not talking about any district health insurance scheme.
    Mr Speaker, if I may continue on the LEAP, I said a Deputy Minister serving under this Government had come out openly to condemn LEAP as a programme and here we are, the President has come praising it as a flagship programme. I challenge that Hon Member who came out openly --
    Mr Quashigah 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Colleague keeps mentioning a Deputy Minister, a Deputy Minister -- I am sure the Deputy Minister has a name. So if he is bold enough, he must mention the name and if he knows that what he is saying is of a truth, why must he have inhibitions of mentioning the name?
    Mr Kokofu 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, who the cap fits will surely wear it when the time comes. I am saying that I challenge that Hon Member and the Deputy Minister to come out openly and boldly to challenge or contradict what the President is saying. Otherwise, he has to come and apologise to the people of Ghana for saying that.
    Mr Quashigah 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Colleague has refused in perpetuity to mention who this Deputy Minister is and he is now asking that Deputy Minister to come and apologize openly and all that. I do not get it. He is either deceiving this House or he is just a coward who cannot mention who this Deputy Minister is.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, mention the name of that Deputy Minister.
    Mr Kokofu 6:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the name is Hon Murtala Mohammed.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    He is not a Deputy Minister, is he?
    Some Hon Members 6:15 p.m.
    He is a Deputy Minister.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
    Hon Murtala Mohammed? Sorry. I was thinking about Muntaka. I am sure he will be here tomorrow. So let us continue.
    Mr Kokofu 6:25 p.m.
    Moving on, the President talked about the health situation in the country. Deliberately or maybe forgetfully, he did not mention the Capitation on the
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Kokofu 6:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, before I bring the curtain down on today's contribution on the State of the Nation Address, the list that was given to me by both the Hon Minority Leader and Hon Majority Leader, there is only one name left. I think it is not fair to not let the Hon Member, who has sat here since the morning, contribute. So I have the privilege and pleasure of calling Hon Asafo Adjei to bring the curtain down for today.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 6:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, normally, we agree on eight names on each side but we deliberately gave ten so that in the absence of others, some might occupy the space. That is why we gave ten and if you had wanted us to give eleven, we could have done that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
    To tell you the truth, if you want somebody to speak, I do not know whether Hon George Loh has spoken. But if you want somebody to speak on your side, I will call the person. And I know you are always prepared, you are like Eveready battery. I would call the person because I do not think that it would be too nice on my part to let the Hon Member sit here since morning and then shut him out.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 6:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree.So if you call one, there then you call the Hon Member for Buem.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
    I will call him first. So, Hon Daniel Kwesi Ashiaman, Member of Parliament for Buem.
    Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiaman (NDC-- Buem) 6:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Motion thanking His Excellency the President for making a very laudable or giving us a very laudable State of the Nation Address.
    On this particular note, I would like to thank His Excellency the President and for that matter, focus my contribution on the agricultural sector. His Excellency the President said in his State of the Nation Address that, the time has come for change and that change is now.
    This country is on transition. And in the case of change, he made mention that change is very difficult for people to accept because, it actually stops one from practising the things that do not help this nation. As a marketer and a business person, taking agriculture, as His Excellency has said, into consideration, I am so convinced that it is only agriculture that can save this nation.
    This is because, taking a political look at the past Presidents of this country, one gets to find out that, His Excellency President Kwame Nkrumah had actually

    done very well in agriculture. We had State farms and youth brigades and we received a lot of funds through export of agriculture products especially, logs to foreign countries. So also, we talk about His Excellency Dr Busia who also did very well in agriculture in his regime and we realized that through records, agriculture has been the sole factor that propelled this country forward.

    He acquired our Godland about 35 thousand hectares of land in the Northern Region, 30 thousand hectares of land in the Volta Region to actually engage the youth in agricultural production especially, oil palm and cocoa.

    So also, when he moved to His Excellency the President Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, during his time, we can talk of “Operation Feed Yourself” and every school in this country was engaged in agriculture. Ghana was exporting maize to some parts of African countries during his time.

    Then we move to His Excellency President John Jerry Rawlings' regime where he came up with economic recovery programme and did very well in agriculture. In all that I am saying, Mr Speaker, agriculture has been the major booster of this economy and even if we check records up to today, we would find out that, agriculture has been taking leap on our GDP.

    If that is true, we come to President John Agyekum Kufuor's regime where he also really did well in agriculture and received awards.

    The Late Prof. Atta Mills also did very well in agriculture. So today, if His Excellency the President is telling us to actually move in to agriculture, I think that is the best way forward. What do we have to do as Members of Parliament? What I

    think we could do is how we can actually develop agricultural module for this country. This is because, taking agriculture into consideration, we can actually factor in every sector in the world into agriculture. Taking the youth, for example, the youth would go into plantations. If we plant trees, especially afforestation, we can get the plant medicines from those forests.

    If we plant crops, we can also get cereals that can be used by the biochemists to prepare or know how to prepare the canned foods for this nation. In that way, we are developing industrialisation in this country.

    So also can we look at the business sectors that these agricultural produce can generate. Take cocoa, for example; take the palm oil that is being used to actually get the Key Soap and the Frytol, cocoa that we get the chocolate from -- This is where my headache is, that since Hon Jake Obetsebi Lamptey declared Cocoa Day on Valentine's Day, the cocoa or chocolate that we take in this country, the design has not even changed.

    What are we doing as Ghanaians to actually factor these into our business development in this country? I think that should be our concern today, to push the nation forward.

    There is no time for us to sit down and only be monitoring the negative figures of International Monetary Fund (IMF). What are we doing as a nation to prop these figures for this nation to go forward? We can only be heard when we put our programmes and structures on the ground, not to sit down and wait for some people to tell us what we are doing or where we are going.

    We must also tell ourselves where we are going and that is why I imbibe in the agricultural development of this nation.

    Taking a company like Wienco into consideration, this company