Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion in approving the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year 2015.
Mr Speaker, before I make my contribution, I would like to provide clarity in respect of the contribution made by the Hon Member for Shai/Osudoku, when he made reference to my constituency and indeed, mentioned my name even though he withdrew it.
I need to state on record, Mr Speaker, that the funding for the Mampong Water Rehabilitation and Expansion Project was secured by the NPP while in government in 2008. And in accordance with the Directive Principles of State Policy, the Government led by the NDC continued to implement the project.
My constituents and my goodself are grateful to the Government of Ghana, which includes at that time, the NPP-led Government and of course, for now, the NDC-led Government. This is because, it has been a partnership in achieving this project.
Mr Speaker, my contribution on the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy for Ghana would be based on the environment, science and technology sector. Mr Speaker, if you look at the budget, it indicates a transformational agenda and so, it seeks to introduce a transformational agenda by the NDC-led Government.
First of all, I wonder whether the NDC- led Government has abandoned the “Better Ghana Agenda”, and subtly trying to introduce a transformational agenda. Indeed, any transformation requires that, there must be some underpinning circumstances. So, what does this budget seek to transform, so that we can secure a bright medium prospect for this country?
Mr Speaker, you can only undertake any transformational agenda if it is scientifically and technologically driven on the basis of sound and conducive environment. In this country and, in my opinion, Mr Speaker, there are two main governance Ministries.
The Finance Ministry, because whatever you do, you need financial resources for implementation and secondly, Environment, Science and Technology and Innovation because human development is driven by science and technology.
Mr Speaker, I would like to make reference to paragraph 449, which is on page 88 of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and with your kind permission, I beg to read. It states:
“Mr Speaker, in 2015, government will implement measures to under- take climate change and green economy programmes and projects that promote clean environment, job creation and poverty reduction. In addition, government will undertake Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR) leading to climate sensitive budgeting in the medium term”.
Mr Speaker, this is a fantastic statemnt in the paragraph. We want to achieve green economy; we want to reduce poverty; we want to make sure that we mitigate or adapt to climate change effect and we want to create jobs. But Mr Speaker, the question is, do we find the programmes and the projects which we seek to achieve in this budget?
The existence of mankind on this planet requires that the environment is clean. But without clean environment, Mr Speaker, then we have a difficulty ensuring our own existence and that of the generation yet unborn.
Mr Speaker, let me give this House this statistics. The World Bank, in its Country Environment Assessment of our dear country, Ghana, indicates that, ten per cent of our GDP is spent on environmental cure and repairing the damage to the environment and I would expatiate on this.
Assuming our GDP is even GH¢70 billion, ten per cent of it is GH¢7 billion and we spend that amount of money to
repair our own human induced activities in damaging the environment.
While that same amount of money could be used to accelerate the development of our country, we need to take a look at that. Mr Speaker, yes, as part of environmental difficulties, we have climate change. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, through Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) came up with a laudable programme, “let us embark on tree planting”. The reference was made by my Hon Colleague, the Hon Member for Effutu.
The GH¢33 million that was spent in 2012 to undertake tree planting in the SADA zone, what did we benefit from it? Here we are Mr Speaker, faced with desertification, flooding and global warming. But as part of mitigating these measures, we are encouraged to under- take tree planting. So, if we spend GH¢33 million on such a venture, and it does not yield the required outcome, then Mr Speaker, have we been prudent in the use of our scarce resources? That is the question that we need to ask ourselves.
Mr Speaker, we are concerned about water pollution; be it surface water pollution, underground water pollution, or rainfall water pollution and today, we have to spend more in treating our water. All these go to the 10 per cent that we spend on our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in repairing the damage that we have caused to our environment.
Mr Speaker, what about the effect of illegal mining? So, the quotation I read from paragraph 449, how is the NDC Government going to ensure that the resources that we have would give us that clean environment?