Debates of 1 Dec 2014

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:45 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:45 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceeds.
Page 1…7 --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Ms Grace Addo 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on page 7, I have been marked absent but I was absent with permission.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Which paragraph are you talking about?
Ms Grace Addo 10:45 a.m.
Page 7, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Yes. But which paragraph?
Ms Grace Addo 10:45 a.m.
Item 4, number 6.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Did you fill in the forms for obtaining permission?
Ms Grace Addo 10:45 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Very well.
Table Office, please, take note.
Page 8 . . . 19 --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry to take us back to page 8. There are some names that I have seen, which have been registered as absent but who clearly were with us.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
What page are you referring to?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I noticed the name of Hon Atta-Boafo Daniel Kingsley, who was with us last Friday. I also take note of the Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah who was here, and I can also vouch that I saw the Hon Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr on Friday.
Mr Speaker, these three persons were in the House with us.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Very well.
Table Office, please take note.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 28th November, 2014 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of preceedings
There are no Statements; there is no Official Report. So, we move on to --
Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, at the Commencement of Public Business, item number 4 -- Presentation of Papers.
Mr Speaker, item number 4 (a) and (b) are not ready to be laid. So, let us move on possibly to the debate on the budget.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Do we move on to item number 5? [Pause.]
ANNOUNCEMENTS 10:45 a.m.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE PRESIDENT 10:45 a.m.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you just informed us about the absence from Ghana by the President. Then appropriately, the communication to us, which has been read by you, is based on article 59 of the Constitution, which provides and with your permission, I beg to read:
“The President shall not leave Ghana without prior notification in writing, signed by him and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament.”
Mr Speaker, you have indicated to us that the President left on Saturday. Friday, this House sat and for the umpteenth time, the President leaves without any notification to us and after he has left and we come Sitting, the ensuing date, then the communication comes to us. It is most irregular and the attention of His Excellency the President must be drawn to this.
This should be pointed out to him, that it is irregular, how the nation and indeed, the House is being treated.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Well.
Hon Members, we do not know exactly what time of the day he left. I think we have to look at what time of the day he departed Ghana.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect, he left on Saturday. And the President, as a former Hon Member of this House, knows when Parliament is meeting, and the days on which we sit. So, if he is to communicate to Parliament before he leaves, he knows when to communicate to us.
So, if he has to leave on Sunday and Parliament is Sitting on Saturday, before that Sunday, the Communication should come to us on Saturday, at least, or perhaps, even before then. If we are Sitting
on Friday and he is supposed to leave on Saturday, the Communication should get to us the day of the Sitting before the President leaves.
Mr Speaker, that is the import of what I said.
Mr Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not think we should drag this matter. The President has not violated any rule. No rule has been sighted for which the President has violated. The President has duly informed this House in accordance with the Con- stitution. So, what rule has he breached? We should not drag this matter. The President is within his powers to inform Parliament as required by the Con- stitution. So, what is his problem? [Interruption.]
The President has informed Parliament as the Constitution requires, that he was leaving Ghana. So, what rule, what law or what part of the Constitution has he violated? If he were to cites it, we would be able to answer him. He has not violated any rule.
Mr Mahama Ayariga 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, clearly, I understand the legal and constitutional issues that have been raised. The Constitution talks about prior notification and the little issue that we need to resolve is the letter that was written to this House -- When was it dated and when was it received by this House?
We cannot blame the President for the day on which it was read to us in this House. The key thing is, when was it delivered here? And if we resolve that issue, then we can decide on whether it is an administrative lapse within our establishment or that the President failed to comply with the constitutional requirement.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, some further information. It was received in the Office of the Speaker on the 28th of November, 2014 at 5.40 p.m. I hope this satisfies the issue raised.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am surprised the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, in his intervention, said we should not drag this matter. Nobody was dragging it as at the time. It was an observation that had been made to Mr Speaker and making that observation amounts to dragging an issue. So, Mr Speaker, that intervention, with due respect to my Hon Colleague -- was very much unnecessary, the way he structured his own presentation.
But having said that, as you yourself said, the Communication got to the Office of the Speaker at 5.40 p.m. you said, which usually would have been the close of time.
Mr Speaker, the Constitution is clear that “prior notification”. That did not even talk about the date. The notice should be served to Mr Speaker before he leaves.
It is not even when it was written. If it was written on Tuesday and it was communicated to Mr Speaker on Saturday, it will not fulfil the constitutional provision.
So, Mr Speaker, we should all take notice and let the President know that it is irregular to have that kind of arrangement. That is what I sought to point out and we can take it from there.
Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Members, I do not want us to -- [Interruption.] --
Very well. What do you have to say?
Mr Ayariga 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the concerns have been taken note of. But the key issue also is that, there are often times when this House is on recess and a decision to travel is made while we are not Sitting and so, notification is given
to Mr Speaker. When we resume Sitting, it is read to this House. So, on this occasion, we cannot use this as an indication of irregularity, because it has also become a practice. Otherwise, what we are saying is that, at the beginning of the year, the President must give us notice of every trip and every travel. But sometimes, the travel decisions are made very late because these are international matters.
Sometimes it depends on the availa- bility of a counterpart President and the urgency of the matter that has to be dealt with. And sometimes, His Excellency the President himself confirms very late because some are emergencies. In this case, especially in the Gulf region as we are currently facing serious problems with energy and electricity, I know that the travel has to do with efforts to arrange for the generation of energy and electricity in this country. So, I take on board his concerns and I am sure His Excellency will also see from the Hansard the debate that has taken place. But I do not think this is an irregularity in terms of our consti- tutional dispensation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, the last contribution.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the former Minister for Information was stretching this point to a level of absurdity -- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, I was careful in what I said that when Parliament is meeting -- Parliament is in session and we are meeting now. I said that he knows, having been a former Hon Member of Parliament himself, when Parliament is in session, the meeting times and the Sitting days. And in particular, during such occasions, the information should come to us timeously. Then he is stretching it to the level of absurdity, that he should give us a calendar of his travels and so on; where is it coming from?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well,
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
Mr Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have taken the concerns raised by the Hon Minority Leader and we shall duly inform the presidency.
Mr Speaker, having said so, with your indulgence, we would move straight to the debate on the Financial Policy of the Government as captured in item number 5 on the Order Paper.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, we move to item number 5 on the Order Paper. I am yet to receive the names of the contri-butors from either side but Hon Members are informed that the arrangement now is for each Hon Member to contribute for a maximum of 10 minutes.
I believe the way the arrangement has been made, we are starting from the Majority side. It is the turn of Hon Mathias Asoma Puozaa --
MOTIONS 11:05 a.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from Friday, 28/11/14.]
  • Mr Mathias A. Puozaa (NDC -- Daffiama/Bussie/Issa) 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that has been debated on the floor since last week.
    Mr Speaker, the importance of education in the development of any country cannot be over- emphasised. The current low level of development of our country is often attributed to the wrong choices that we have made in our educational system since independence.
    South Korea and Malaysia, which attained political independence around the same period that we gained independence -- that was 1948 and 1957 respectively are counted among the developed countries in the world today because of the educational policies that they adopted after independence.
    Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has no oil, but its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the highest in that part of the world. This is because of the quality of the human material over there.
    Mr Speaker, a country's biggest resource therefore, is her people and much attention should be given to her development. As a country, we have come to realise this a bit late, and are now in a state of panic in trying to make a good choice for our education.
    I believe all governments, since independence, have had the best of intentions in introducing the educational reforms that we have gone through. This is because this country is aware that education is the only thing that would take it out from this current state.
    Mr Speaker, for some time now, the Ministry of Education has consistently received an average of about 25 per cent of the national annual budget, yet the sector has failed to produce returns commensurate with the huge national investment being made. Many have attributed this poor performance of the sector to poor management and administrative incompetence over the years. This view is confirmed by the excellent academic performance of private basic schools vis-à-vis public ones within same communities.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, I thought we agreed that if you have any point of order, channel it through your Leader or the Leadership, and we would take a look at it.
    Yes, Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Puozaa 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me quote part of paragraph 543 of the Budget Statement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague came to draw my attention to the fact that the Hon Member on the floor, the Chairman of the
    Committee on Education is reading his prepared statement. And I just told him that I reckon that a Budget Statement is a very serious document, and the Chairman of the Committee, because he has to be referring to facts and figures, if he has to read his entire prepared statement, I have nothing against it.
    But in other dispensations and established democracies of the United States of America (USA), Canada, Britain and so on, you would see them reading their interventions, especially when it relates to the budget and the President's State of the Union Address. That is what is done. So, I would beg your pardon, allow him to read.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Member, proceed?
    Mr Puozaa 11:05 a.m.
    Thank you, Hon Minority Leader, for allowing me to read.
    Mr Speaker, if I may continue, please, permit me to quote paragraph 543 of the Budget Statement, which states categoric- ally the measures that are being pursued to bring about sanity in the Ministry of Education.
    “…The Ministry adopted a policy of zero tolerance for teacher absenteeism, to enhance account- ability in schools, improve teacher presence and time on task. Quarterly monitoring and unannounced visits by the MoE, NIB and GES were carried out to about 11,594 basic schools. The School Report Card System was also introduced nationwide to improve monitoring of schools, teachers and students.”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, five more minutes to go.
    Mr Puozaa 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is every reason to expect this level of supervision to be sustained and improved since an independent national inspectorate board is now in place and represented nationwide. Its staff at the district level would be engaged on contract terms, and this is expected to make them more efficient.
    Also, payroll monitoring has revealed 14,895 under-utilised teachers in the urban centres and these have been reposted, although with some resistance to communities.
    Mr Speaker, I would skip to discuss the second cycle education system in the country as envisaged by the Hon Minister for Education.
    Government would continue to make secondary education more accessible to all who wish and are capable to pursue it. Funding has been procured to construct 23 new senior high schools and upgrade 50 existing ones. 10,400 brilliant but needy students who are mostly girls would be provided with scholarships under the project.
    In addition, the Ministry intends to improve the study of science and technology by establishing Science Resource Centres in 100 schools.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, begin to wind up. Your time is up.
    Mr Puozaa 11:15 a.m.
    In winding up, let me say a word on tertiary education. There is an increase on the enrolment in all tertiary institutions in this country, reflecting the increase at all pre-tertiary levels.
    There is presently over nine public universities, 10 polytechnics, 39 colleges of education, eight private colleges of education and 58 private tertiary
    institutions. These have all come up but are not yet enough to absorb the numerous qualified people that are walking the streets.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr Puozaa 11:15 a.m.
    To conclude, kindly permit me to put in a word for private universities.
    Mr Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Education, I was invited to the Fourth Graduation and Fifth Matriculation of Knutsford University. I was in the company of Hon Emmanuel Agyarko, Hon Member of Parliament for the area and what we noticed was that, 80 per cent of the students there were foreigners from Nigeria, as far as Turkey and Ivory Coast.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Thank you.
    The next person to make a contribution is Hon Prof. Dominic Fobih.
    Prof. Dominic K. Fobih (NPP -- Assin South) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, permit me to support the Motion and to make a few comments on the Government's Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the 2015 financial year presented to this House.
    Mr Speaker, according to the Ghana Millennium Development Goals Report -- July 2012 and item 555 on pages 105 and 106 of the Budget Statement, Ghana stands the chance of achieving the Millennium Development Goal II, that is, the attainment of Universal Basic Education by the year 2015. This is a laudable achievement for the nation and we must all be proud of.
    But this seems to be attained at a high human cost to the system because of government's neglect of attrition and transitional challenges in the system. Whereas we have the gross enrolment rate for kindergarten and basic school rising from 100.4 per cent to 104.1 per cent in 2013-2014 year, we realised that the figures that we have for junior high school (JHS) and senior high schools (SHS) are very deploring.
    In 2011-2012, the gross enrolment rate at the JHS was 80.6 per cent and that means the 100 per cent attainment we are thinking of in basic one has dropped to 80 per cent of the children who enrolled in primary one. Now, at the senior high school level, the figure is even very disturbing. It is 36.9 per cent, which means that out of the 100 per cent, that we seem to be attaining at the basic level, by the time the children are leaving JHS to SHS, we have only less than 40 per cent in the system and only 36 per cent of pupils will remain in the system at senior high school level.
    There is a high drop between the junior high school and the senior high school and that gap alone, we lose about 44 per cent of the pupils.
    From JHS to SHS, we lose as many as 44 per cent of the entire number of pupils who should be continuing their education. The figure for 2012-2013 is also alarming. At the junior high school, 82.2 per cent remain in the system by the time they get to that level. When they progress to senior
    high school, the figure becomes 36.8 per cent. Here again, between the junior high school and the senior high school, there is a high loss of 45.4 per cent reduction in the system.
    Mr Speaker, this shows that on average, from junior high school to senior high school, the number that drops out of the system is getting to about 63 per cent. 63 per cent of our pupils who start from primary one never end anywhere.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have five minutes left.
    Some Hon Members 11:15 a.m.
    He is a Ranking Member.
    Prof. Fobih 11:15 a.m.
    I am a Ranking Member, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    The arrangement was that the Ranking Member for the Finance Committee and Chairman for the Finance were given special dispensations. Beyond that, everybody else falls within the frame.
    Proceed, Hon Member.
    Prof. Fobih 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this situation is like pouring water into a basket and then the water leaks out. So, we are attaining 100 per cent, yet we do not seem to cater well for the entire population of pupils who should be in school and to have some level of education for their lives.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, can you translate that?
    Prof .Fobih 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that means ‘we would not listen to anybody or anything you say.'
    So, I would be very happy if this silence over the colleges of education means that Government has now understood our message and is acting accordingly.
    Mr Speaker, even in numerical terms, we are told that the trained teacher deficit at the basic level is about 64, 000. If the 38 colleges are churning out about 15, 000 teachers, then in about five years, the pressure would be reduced. So, the need for expansion is not there. It is a good decision that this is well taken by the Government.
    I would also like to mention that in 2013/2014, there was a backlog of three and four-year senior high school (SHS) leavers who were then ready to enter our tertiary institutions. The figure was 649, 000 in all, with 409,000 being third and fourth year students who had left SHS. If we reckon the year before, there were also 240,000 students waiting for admission before this backlog. So, in all, it makes 649,000. The system was able to, without the kind of arrangement that was made, absorb about 300,000 students.
    Mr Speaker, so, we have more than 300,000 students still sitting at home, and this year, we are going to have about 240,000 also leaving the SHS and wanting to go into our tertiary institutions. So, in all, we are expecting 500,000 students.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, unfortunately, your time is up.
    Prof Fobih 11:25 a.m.
    So, Mr Speaker, I am saying that we are leaving the future of these children to chance without any planning. From last year to this year, we have not seen or read any concrete plans made by the Government to absorb these abnormal number of students who are waiting to enter our tertiary institutions. So, where are we going?
    Mr Speaker, it is all because we have not made any plans for them. All that we hear is that the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) is seriously stucked with statutory funds and the Capitation Grant is not going to the schools for about a year now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Prof. Fobih 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the School Feeding Programme and the Scholarship Programme are in arrears, teacher's pensions are also defaulted and support for our educational agencies to perform is also denied. So, we have all sort of things worrying the system. That is why it does not function effectively.
    Mr Speaker, all these happenings are weakening the quality education that we are all striving for, and more importantly, even our confidence in the education system of Ghana. So, something needs to be addressed and the Budget Statement is the right place to start.
    The Government's Budget Statement and Economic Policy should have reflected all these major challenges in the system.
    Finally, Mr Speaker, there are too many strikes and demonstrations in the system, which would not help the system to succeed and achieve its main goal --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, time is up.
    Thank you very much.
    The next Hon Member to have the floor is in the person of Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa (NDC-- North Tongu) 11:25 a.m.
    I am very grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama.
    The Budget Statement which was very competently presented to this august House by the Hon Seth Terkpeh was under the theme, “Transformational Agenda: Securing the Bright Medium Term Prospects of the Economy”.
    Mr Speaker, we at the Ministry of Education are very excited that this year we have seen a substantial increase in our allocation from GH¢5.8 billion for the 2014 fiscal year to GH¢ 6.74 billion for the 2015 fiscal year. This clearly is a testimony to all and sundry that President John Dramani Mahama continues to place emphasis on education and that education remains the priority of his administration.
    Mr Speaker, it is imperative to point out that the Budget Statement makes provision for more visits to improve on monitoring and supervision at all levels of education.
    In 2014, 11,594 basic schools were visited by the National Inspectorate Board, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and staff of the Ministry of Education. There is even better allocation to improve on these visits and monitoring, so that the concerns which have been raised about improving quality education at the basic level are addressed. This increased monitoring and supervision would help address those issues with quality and other outcomes.
    Mr Speaker, the 2015 Budget Statement is replete with a lot of social interventions in the sector, which are targeted at improving quality access and equity. It is gratifying to note that in 2015, as many as 500,000 school uniforms would be procured for students at the basic education level.
    As many as 15 million exercise books would be procured and distributed to 36,685 basic schools. What is even more refreshing is that, these exercise books and textbooks would be printed locally in
    APPENDIX 11:25 a.m.

    O 11:25 a.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, five more minutes to go.
    Mr Ablakwa 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is this rebranding of the technical and vocational sector, which is also informing the President's vision.
    Again, allocation has been made in the 2015 Budget Statement to ensure that all the ten polytechnics are converted into technical universities. This would ensure that our polytechnic institutions are given their right of place, their products are properly integrated in the job market and the various aspects of competent based training are given to ensure that our young people look to polytechnic education as a viable option, and given the needed support.
    On teacher development, Mr Speaker, you would find out that in the Budget Statement, provision has been made for the recruitment of more teachers. Already, in 2014, a percentage of trained teachers increased from 51 per cent to 56 per cent; from 115,000, to about 152, 000.
    The Hon Minister for Finance eloquently stated that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health would not be affected by the net freeze on public sector recruitment.
    It is important to state that this shows the importance that His Excellency President Mahama attaches to the education sector and that the claims that there would be no employment and no recruitment of young persons, cannot be true as we intend to employ more teachers to improve the trained teacher ratio.
    It is important also to observe that in the 2015 Budget Statement, provision has been made for the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Region. The Eastern Region is the only
    region now without a public university and in line with the NDC Government's policy to ensure that all our ten regions have public universities, the Eastern Region can be assured that this University of Environment and Sustainable Development would take off.
    The people of this country know that they can trust us, because we have done it in the Brong Ahafo Region -- the University of Energy and Natural Resources; we did it in the Volta Region -- the University of Health and Allied Sciences and we would do it in the Eastern Region in 2015, when we hope to cut the sod for actual construction to begin.
    Mr Speaker, it is clear from the 2015 Budget Statement that education certainly is a priority. It has taken more than thirty per cent of the budget and we would continue to improve access at all levels, improve quality and also improve equity.
    We count on the good people of this country to support the Hon Minister for Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku- Agyemang as she leads these very impressive reforms in the sector to guarantee a great future for our country.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Yaw Owusu-Boateng (NPP -- Asene/Akroso/Manso) 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the chance to contribute to the Motion on the Budget Statement.
    Speaking to the issue that my Hon Colleague raised, we realise that he quoted figures which are not in the Budget
    Statement. For example, page 132, paragraph 746 of the Budget Statement, the money that has been allocated for the payment of day students in 2015 is not the GH¢42 million, which my Hon Colleague said. What is stated in the Budget Statement is GH¢18 million.

    Hon Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak - - rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Ordinarily, we would have allowed the debate to flow but what he was quoting was for only a term. He should check; it is from September to December. What the Hon Minister said was for the whole academic year. So, he should check the records and read it well -- [Uproar!] - so that he does not confuse the issues.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in spite of what they are saying, with your permission, I beg to quote what has been written in the Budget Statement, page 132, paragraph 746, the last portion.
    “Also, in line with government's plan of progressively making senior high school free, an amount of GH¢18.00 million has been provided to kick-start the programme in 2015.”

    So, what are they talking about? That is for the whole programme. [Interruption] -- To kick-start on an amount of -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, to go on to analyses, GH¢18.00 million has been approved to kick-start the programme. The school fees that have been approved by the Ministry of Education for this 2014/15 academic year for day students is GH¢355.00. If you multiply it by three terms, you would get GH¢1,065.00 per year. If you divide the GH¢18.00 million by GH¢1,065.00 per year, it is going to cater for 16,901 students and not the outrageous 365,000 students that he quoted on the floor. [Uproar!] We are in this House not for propaganda; we are here to make sure that facts are stated and not propaganda.
    Again, to make schools accessible in this country, the President promised Ghanaians that 50 new community day senior high schools would be built in a year. This thing has been shrouded in secrecy and we do not even see where the schools are. Yesterday, I heard the President talking in Bagabaga College of Education, that these schools would be inaugurated.
    I am telling you on record that I have been to Nyanoa, Upper West Akyem, only yesterday. The schools that have been awarded to Consar Limited at that place are in progress but it is not near any finishing stage. I do not know when they are going to finish with these schools, so that we get access to them. [Interruption] -- Where are they? Why are they not updating us on what is happening in the schools?
    I do not believe that these schools would see the light of day by the end of the four years that they have promised, that they would build the 200 secondary schools.
    Mr Speaker, in the course of the day, my Hon Colleague has said something which is already in existence --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, five more minutes to go --
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, since Prof Mills of blessed memory and His Excellency President Mahama's Adminis- tration took over six years ago, one of the things that they have been hammering on is access to education. They have been talking about quality and they have been talking about affordability.
    Let me start from the bottom -- affordability. If at the tertiary level, we have training colleges that used to be free but now students are paying GH¢ 4,000.00 per annum -- if we go to the secondary level, the approved secondary school fees for boarders is now running at GH¢ 700.00 per term. Multiplying GH¢ 700.00 by three is GH¢2,100.00 for one year.
    We can go on and on and talk about the high cost of school fees. At the university, as of today, if one is reading Arts or Social Sciences, the school fees are not less than GH¢2,000.00; if one is reading medicine, the school fees are not less than GH¢7,000.00 per year.
    This Budget Statement has told us that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country is GH¢34 billion --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, what is your source, the figures that you gave us?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is the Budget Statement -- the tables.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    No! The figures that you gave us.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    GH¢34 billion -- [Interruption] The school fees --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    No! I am talking about the --
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    I am a parent. Ask her; the Minister for Education is here.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    What is your source?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    My source is the Ministry of Education and the secondary schools. That is what is going out.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    You must have a source; you are quoting figures, that if you are reading a particular programme, you pay so much. And if you are reading some other programme, you pay so much; what is the source?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my source is the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) and they are saying that the school fees --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, you are talking about university education and now, you are talking about CHASS. The two are not the same [Uproar!] They are not the same.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with all due respect --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Do you have the evidence?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have finished with secondary education. I am on the university; university education fees are a public record. It is public record.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Do you have it?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you can just find out.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you have it?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    I am a parent myself --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    If you cannot produce it, then I would direct that it be expunged from the records - [Interruption.] You must produce the evidence [Uproar!]
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a public record.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    If you do not have the evidence, it should be expunged from the records. I direct that the figures that he gave concerning tertiary education be expunged from the records.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader? [Uproar!]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, first of all -- [Uproar!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Can we have some order, please?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that the rules of debate in this House are clear, that an Hon Member, when, he rises to speak must be heard in silence.
    The rules also provide that the Speaker shall not participate in a debate, with respect to the Chair. If any issue comes up on the floor, the Speaker gives directions but it is not for the Speaker to engage a person on the floor in a debate; that is number one.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, I asked for the source and I believe I have done right to ask for it. As the person chairing pro-ceedings, I have that right to demand the source. I remember when the Hon Member for Efutu made some pronouncements, churning out some figures, I asked for the source and he was able to produce it and we dealt with the matter.
    In the same vein, I believe I have the right to ask for the source. He is talking about figures concerning tertiary education and when I asked for the source, he was talking about the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) being the source. [Laughter.] CHASS is not tertiary education, so, he should give me the source. It is as simple as that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you are right in the observation of the distinction between the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools, and the other one -- I guess that name should even be changed because they are
    no longer called secondary schools but senior high schools. But Mr Speaker, that is another matter.
    Mr Speaker, he gives out figures, and with respect, the Hon Minister responsible for Education herself is here. If she is not comfortable with the figures or if she rises to contradict the figures -- [Interruption] -- The Hon Minister herself is here. So, I think --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, the Hon Minister's name has been listed as one of the persons to contribute to the Motion. I believe that when she has the floor, she will have the opportunity to address the issue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Speaker, so, that is it. That is why it will be premature to say that the figures should be expunged from the official records; I do not think so, at all.
    Mr Agbesi — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have indicated to the House that you asked the Hon Member for the source of his information. Mr Speaker, immediately, he responded, waved the budget and said it is in the Budget Statement.
    Mr Speaker, the Budget Statement has paragraphs, pages, sources and areas that one can quote from but he said it is from the Budget Statement.
    Mr Speaker, as the Speaker of the House, presiding over proceedings, you are right in trying to save what must be corrected and the image of the House. You are not by that engaging in debate. You are only saving the image of the House. So, if you asked for the source, it is for the education of the House and for the
    correctness of the statement being made by the Hon Member. So, Mr Speaker, you are right in asking for that, but there had been an earlier indication that any issue of point of order must be given through the Leaders.
    The Minister for Education and the Deputy Minister are here and they indicated to the Leadership what the real facts are. The Chief Whip got up but unfortunately, he did not catch your eye. That is the position, because they gave information to the Leadership. That is the reason the Chief Whip got up but did not catch your eye.
    So, Mr Speaker, you are right on course in your direction, that he should please, give the source. If the source is the Budget Statement, where in the Budget Statement? Which paragraph, which page? He cannot just say it is in the Budget Statement; he must be specific. So, Mr Speaker, I think that your direction is proper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, you may continue with your submission. Some amount of time has been eaten up. I will take account of that, so that we give you --
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your kindness.
    From this Budget Statement, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ghana's economy is GH¢34 billion and school fees are so astronomical that if you divide the
    34 billion by 25 million, the income per head per family is GH¢ 1,360 per year. This is from the Budget Statement.
    If people are paying school fees that are above GH¢ 4,000 per annum without toiletries and other things, then what kind of country do we live in? How do anyone get convinced that this society and our schools are affordable? Our schools are certainly not affordable. Are they?
    Some Hon Members 11:45 a.m.
    No!
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    They are not.
    So, the Government should work hard to make sure that the economy is repaired and the people of this country actually enjoy the kind of thing that they have been talking about.
    Affordability is limited by not only economic factors; it is also limited by the quality of our schools. That is the more reason our basic schools are falling into the hands of private people.
    In spite of Government consistently spending about 40 per cent of the budget over the years to cover basic education alone, nobody in this House will want his child to go to public basic school. Is it not true?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, you are expected to address the Chair. Do not let us go personal. Can you withdraw that portion?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    I withdraw it.
    Mr Speaker, but the fact is that most of us even in this House do not want our children to go to public basic schools though some of us were educated from that angle when the schools were better.
    Again, apart from affordability, the public basic schools and even the secondary schools are not of quality. With your permission, let me quote what the President said during the last State of Nation Address with regard to secondary education.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, five minutes left.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he even attests to the fact that our secondary schools have bigger problems which the budget does not address. We have not addressed the necessity to retool our secondary schools as well as our universities. Our polytechnics are nothing to write home about. The personal experience of my child who is studying at Accra Polytechnic -- NVTI Motor Vehicle Technician Part I -- is that he has never seen a Bedford truck. He says that is the one that they are using at the Accra Polytechnic. Is that the kind of education that we are talking about at this place? And is that the quality we have been talking about over the years?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    That is obviously not.

    Mr Speaker, in the course of last academic year, common chalk in the twenty-first century — When people use markers to write in our schools -- it became a political issue in this country and up till today, the District Assemblies are asking Members of Parliament to buy chalk and provide them — Is this the kind of quality that we are talking about?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    Where is our education leading us to? We should wake up and make sure that Ghanaians enjoy the fruits of their labour. After all, no Government in this country has been lucky to get an inflow of over GH¢ 1 billion from oil revenue. I thought this would be used — [Interruption.]
    Alhaji Muntaka — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe my Hon Colleague is really misleading this House.
    If in today's modern Ghana, where he is driving in a Land Cruiser, he wants his son to be shown Bedford in the school — [Laughter] — He should be consistent with — Is he driving a Bedford? — He is driving a Land Cruiser and that is why his son is expected to study at the Accra Polytechnic and not Bedford. Why should we be creating vehicles that have long left the system, simply because his son wanted to —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member, can you continue?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with all due respect, that was not exactly what I said. What I said was, I have my son, who is interested in cars, studying at the Accra Polytechnic today and the kind of vehicle that they are using for practicals — [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Chief Whip has even made the case worse. There is no vehicle called Land Cruiser [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Owusu-Boateng?
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said that my son who is interested in repairing cars is at the Accra Polytechnic and his report to me indicates that what they use for practicals is Bedford, which he had never seen in his life until he went to the Accra Polytechnic. That is why I am saying that the quality is not being addressed. The Hon Member and I know that most of our technical schools are not in their proper state --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have two more minutes to go.
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me take the advantage and talk about one thing that is also dear to my heart.
    Mr Speaker, your Select Committee on Education — we have visited basic level education schools in seven regions. Using the communities' score card, we are yet to discover a basic school, which the providers as well as the users who are saying that the school is good — most of them say it is fair, at best — most of the schools are branded bad. Is that the quality that we are talking about?
    Some Hon Members 11:55 a.m.
    No!
    Mr Owusu-Boateng 11:55 a.m.
    The same children are saying that our pre-schools are the worse in this country. They live in dusty rooms; no textbooks — nothing for them, yet we have a Budget Statement
    that is talking about pre-schools increasing in their numbers and a lot of children are there, and we are making a lot of farce about it. We need to work harder and get things done for our countrymen.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, we now have the Hon Minister for Education to take the floor —[Hear! Hear!]
    Minister for Education (Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang) 11:55 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker -- and Hon Members for their contributions to this very important — [Interruption.]
    Some Hon Members 11:55 a.m.
    We cannot hear you.
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 11:55 a.m.
    If you lower your voices, it may be a little better — [Uproar!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Minister, can you speak out louder?
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, at the Ministry, we are minded by the fact that Ghanaian children are capable and that we have good teachers, tutors, lecturers and the community that cares, a government that cares and therefore, the output could be better.
    Mr Speaker, in terms of the statistics, in addressing an Hon Member who talked about the diminishing number of students who entered the various sections as we moved along, the Hon Member knows very well that this is a very normal progression, especially if you look at the junior high schools (JHS) and the senior
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, is it a point of order?
    Hon Minister, the Hon Minority Leader is up on a point of order. Can we hear him?
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, having dealt with some preliminary issues, now goes on to say “How to answer the specific questions.” Is she purposed to answer questions or she is contributing to the debate on the budget? We would want to know.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I do not think that is fair.
    The Hon Minister is contributing and addressing issues raised earlier. I do not think there is anything wrong with that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not faulting her. After raising the preliminary issues, she now comes back to say: “Now, to deal with the specific questions…” and that is why I would want to know whether she is going to answer questions or contribute to the debate. We would want to know the rules of her engagement in this House.
    Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that this is not Question time. We are all aware that we are debating the budget, and so why —[Interruption] — I am telling you (Hon Minority Leader) that it is not Question time.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, please, address the Chair.
    Hon Minister for Education, you have the floor.
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to continue.
    The Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling continues to provide learning opportunities to increase access to education at all levels. That being the case, our children who are not able to continue are also taken care of. In the same vein, we are collaborating with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS) and then the Open University of the United Kingdom (UK) and Commonwealth of Learning as well to finalise our policy on Open and Distance Learning for the country and audio-visual lessons would be produced for
    Mathematics and Science. These are subjects that are giving our children a lot of trouble and therefore, the Ministry has prioritised these subjects. This year alone, we have trained over 500 teachers, drawn from the areas where the children are not doing so well, to ensure that the teachers are empowered and that the results go up.
    Mr Speaker, we are also very much aware that at the basic public schools, we have some challenges, and that is why we are strategising the way we are, to ensure that those who cannot afford to send their children to private schools also get quality education. What we noticed was that one very important variable was teacher presence and time spent on task. We inaugurated the University of Cape Coast last year to do a study for us and the results were not very amusing. We are therefore, stepping up our inspection of the schools and you can see that the budget has made allocations for us. This is very important.
    The major difference between the public basic schools and the private basic schools is teacher-presence. Therefore, we have every reason to hope that with the right collaboration, we would be able to turn things round.
    We are also aware of the number of people who are now voluntarily going to the colleges of education, not because it is free but because they wish to teach and this is a very important starting point for quality education delivery. We are also aware that, yes, given the numbers, in a few years, we may fill the deficits. But we should also be mindful that we have a very youthful population and that the population and the teacher deficit we have now would not be the same in five or ten years' time --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minister, you have five more minutes to go.
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 12:05 p.m.
    The Ministry knows. So, we are moving forward in training to ensure that we have all the number that we need to have.
    The confidence in the educational system is very high. This confidence has been confirmed this morning by the report that was given by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, who attended the graduation ceremony of the Knutsford University and he saw that 80 per cent were out of the country. This is a vote of confidence and it shows that our system is doing well and that the system should get better.
    We are also aware that the Constitution enjoins us to provide progressively free education at the secondary school level and therefore, all the number of pupils who are not able to get in -- This is statistics that has existed over the years. And our response is to ensure that we are creating more spaces, hence the Secondary Education Improvement Project to ensure that we are building more secondary schools and at the same time renovating the existing ones.
    So under this project, there are 50 schools that we are improving and there are 125 schools that we have selected for quality improvement. So, we are very much focus on quality delivery of education in this country.
    The contractors who are working on the current schools, they have the minimum -- absolute minimum -- of eighteen months to deliver. So, if inuaguration for the commencement of the project took place in March and by November when the visit was made, we have some in 40, 50 and 60 per cent. We are satisfied and we know that by the time we get there -- We are told we cannot even do one. We believe we can do more than one. And now, to improve --
    Mr Dominic B.A. Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister made a statement that the Constitution provides “a progressively free education” and I would want to read the two provisions in the Constitution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Order! Order! Order!
    Hon Member, which part of the Constitution are you referring to?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    Article 25 (1) (a).
    I would want to ask the Hon Minister -- “basic school shall be free, compulsory and available to all” -- Mr Speaker, she made a statement and I would want to find out from her whether this clause has been achieved. Because that was the statement she just made. Has it been achieved?
    [Hon Member: It is not Question time].
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    It is not Question time Mr Speaker, but that was the statement she made and I am asking her whether it has been achieved. [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Can we have some order in this House?
    Mr Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, here again, it is not Question time for the Hon Member to pose a question to the Hon Minister. He has the means to ask the Hon Minister about this. This is not the means; this is not the time.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Minister, please, continue with your presentation.
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Again, in line with providing quality education at the basic level, last year, for the first time, we were able to beat the pupil-textbook ratio. It had never happened.We were able to provide four textbooks to one child instead of what we inherited, which was three children to one book. [Hear! Hear!] And this year, along with teacher-presence, along with cutting down teacher absenteeism, we know very well that we are very much on a good road towards providing quality education and this year, three million more textbooks would be distributed. [Hear! Hear!]
    In terms of making the secondary education progressively free, we are targeting our expenditure and we are targeting those in day schools and to ensure that if one cannot afford to put a child in the boarding school, it does not mean that the child should be denied of secondary education.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minister, you have one more minute to go.
    Prof. Opoku-Agyemang 12:05 p.m.
    So, to sum up, Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude that the Ministry of Education is very much poised to provide accessible quality education at all levels of education in this country. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Benito Owusu-Bio.
    Is he in the Chamber?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are two Hon Members on the Committee on Lands and Forestry. So if he is not there the other Member --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    The other Hon Member is Hon Kokofu-Bantama.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    No! He is Hon Kokofu, representing Bantama. [Laugther.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you almost missed the boat. You have the floor.
    Mr Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP - Atwima- Nwabiagya North) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this debate on the Budget Statement for 2015.
    Mr Speaker, in contributing, I would be laying emphasis on the lands and forestry sector with special emphasis on land, anyway.
    Mr Speaker, in the 2014 Budget Statement, there was the mention of capacity building strategy, through Resource Development Plan under the Land Administration Project. Mr Speaker, however, in the 2015 Budget Statement, nothing of this sort is mentioned. And even in the 2014, nothing of that sort was done.
    Mr Speaker, currently, the Lands Commission is understaffed in almost all of its critical departments, especially the Evaluation and Survey Divisions and their Legal Department. Mr Speaker, it would be very surprising to note that in the entire establishment of the Lands Commission, there are only three lawyers. These lawyers have to always be in court and due to the pressure, sometimes it leads to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, do they not use the services of the Attorney-General's Department?
    Mr Owusu-Bio 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is another issue but then the Legal Department of the Lands Commission has a special knowledge about some of the history of these litigations and as a result, it is always better that they are there in court.
    Mr Speaker, three is not enough. They need more of them. Also in 2014, the budget stated that they were going to ensure the passage of the Land and Land Use Planning Bill into an Act. Nothing of this sort was mentioned in 2015. As we speak now, the Bill has not even found its way to Parliament and how are we going to be sure that in 2015, this Bill will come into an Act.
    Mr Speaker, not only the Land and Land Use Planning Bill but also the mother Bill, the Land Bill as well. For several years now, we keep on hearing that it is going to be laid, it is coming, it is being organised, yet until now, nothing has been mentioned. Nothing of any sort about the Land Bill has been mentioned in this budget. The Hon Minister said they were going to remove bottlenecks in acquiring Land Titles and Deeds by creating Customer Service and Access Units on pilot basis in selected regional and district offices, like Wa, Bolgatanga, Sekondi, Koforidua, Accra, Tarkwa and Winneba.
    Mr Speaker, it is interesting to note that as we speak now, nothing has been put on the ground for this to come into being. So, how are we sure this is going to happen? In 2010 thereabout, in this Chamber, we passed the Lands Commission Bill into an Act and the purpose for this particular Act, was to transform the Lands Commission into a new Lands Commission where we were going to have one stop offices. As we speak now, till now, the headquarters
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Mr Owusu-Bio 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is dangerous for investment. At least, we must be told what is happening and where they have reached; that is very important, so that it assures them of any uncertainties.
    In concluding, one may ask, by the end of 2015, will it be easier or quicker to acquire a Land Title in Ghana? The answer is, no. Will there be proper Land Use Planning and Regulation in this country? The answer is, no. Will there still be so many land litigations, land guards and communal land disputes in Ghana? The answer is a big, yes. Then I will say that this budget will not ensure any bright future for this country.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, the next Member to take the floor is Hon Woyome, Kobena Mensah. Is he here?
    Mr Kobena M. Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Can you speak out louder?
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 12:15 p.m.
    Sorry, Mr Speaker, there should be a small variation in the presenters.
    After Hon Owusu-Bio, we want Hon Amadu to follow on the issue --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon who?
    Mr Agbesi 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Amadu Seidu?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Are you talking about Hon Amadu Seidu?
    Mr Agbesi 12:15 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Very well,
    Hon Amadu Seidu, you have the floor.
    Alhaji Seidu Amadu (NDC -- Yapei/ Kusawgu) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to speak in support of the 2015 Budget Statement ably laid by the Hon Minister for Finance a few days ago.
    The lands and forestry sector has supported Ghana's economy over the years. At one point in time, if you took cocoa and gold out, it was forestry that contributed so much to Ghana's foreign exchange resources. Unfortunately however, the unprogrammed and unpredicted use of forest resources today, has reduced the forestry sector to a mere contributor to foreign exchange.
    Mr Speaker, this is not to say that the forestry sector is still not important to Ghana's economy but it still remains one of the vibrant sectors of the economy, which if well governed, will still contribute a lot to Ghana's foreign exchange earnings. If you look at Ghana's forest cover at the turn of the century, it was still so huge and was one of the areas where a lot of tropical wood was harvested and exported to the European Union. Unfortunately, this time round, Ghana is a pale shadow in the production of hard wood tropical timber, to an extent that it is even suggested that Ghana would soon start importing hard wood timber from Cameroon, which is a very sad reflection.
    It is precisely for this reason that Government has also come out with some proactive activities and programmes to arrest the degradation of our forests in this country by making sure that we do a lot of tree planting. For now, I know for sure that in the timber growing areas of the forest areas of Ghana, there has been a lot of plantation development. The only problem as of now that the sector faces, is the ability of the sector to maintain areas that have been planted with timber and I would want to appeal to the Ministry of Finance to do everything possible to make sure that trees that have been planted survive.
    Mr Speaker, there is also a Forest and Wildlife Development Management programme put in place to make sure that Ghana's wildlife and forest resources are managed in a manner that would secure for future generations, a lot of these materials that would end up earning a lot of foreign exchange for this country. The law on wildlife is already before Cabinet and it would not be long that it would come before this House for further consideration.
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to touch on the land administration of this country, which has been one area of concern to a lot of people in this country. Unless they also say that this programme is being supported by the World Bank and a lot of efforts are being made to make sure that every inch of land in this country that is either owned by traditional authorities or by individuals or by the State or by institutions are well choreographed to an extent that the management would be in such a way that it would reduce the element of confusion, multiple ownership and so on and so forth.
    Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, true that in this country, when you talk about land, land is one area that has been besieged
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have 5 more minutes to go.
    Alhaji Amadu 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    In recent times, there has been this kind of confusion between Ghana and her neighbours as to where one's maritime boundary starts and ends. I believe that under this programme, all these would be sorted out and everything shall be well for Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, it is also important to talk about the Land Use and Special Development Bill that would also soon come before this House. Under this Land Use and Special Development Bill, the idea is to make sure that Ghana, by law, is supposed to be a statutorily town planning area. Every Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assembly is a statutorily town planning area and this is the Bill that is supposed to capture everything about special planning.
    If you look at Ghana's economic development, we are doing very well in that sector. Special development has been the problem and that is how come we see a lot of unplanned areas, a lot of ghettos even within our urban areas. When this Bill is finally promulgated, Mr Speaker, it would streamline issues of special development and would enhance Ghana's economic development in general.
    For now, the Bill is with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. This is because it is an issue that falls clearly under the purview of Town and Country Planning under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as well. But because of the land aspect of it, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources also has a point to play to make sure that we come out with a holistic development plan that would, in future, enhance our activities in a manner that would promote the welfare and development of this country.
    Mr Speaker, let me also talk about the Survey and Mapping Division. This is one area where you cannot talk about special development without laying special emphasis on the role and contribution of this Division. This is because before any physical planning can be done, you need this Survey and Mapping to give you the cadastral maps that would form the basis of developing your co-ordinates for
    development. Unfortunately, this is one other area, that seems to face a lot of different problems when it comes to provision of equipment.
    I also would want to appeal to the Ministry of Finance, that, we should critically look at Survey and Mapping of the Lands Commission to make sure that we capacitate them with the relevant equipment and the necessary resources for them to be able to provide the basic cadastral maps that would constitute the base of our special development in this country.
    Mr Speaker, let me also say with the Forestry Commission, your Committee had the opportunity of visiting some of our forest reserves and one of the critical areas we have noticed is that, they are understaffed and they also lack equipment in terms of motorbikes and bicycles for them to monitor effectively in the forest reserves that we have, to protect them against poachers who continue poaching our timber resources from which we do not earn enough foreign income in terms of revenue.
    Mr Speaker, finally, let me also appeal to the Ministry of Finance, that the Lands Commission plays a major role when it comes to the collection of revenue for the Ghana Revenue Authority in terms of some duties. Unfortunately, in this House, we approve in situations where 3% of revenue generated or collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority is kept as motivational fees to support their activities.
    The Lands Commission that collects the bulk of this customs duty, that is virtually nothing. The internally generated funds
    (IGFs) is also never released to them. It happens with the forestry sector too.
    So, my appeal to the Hon Minister is to make sure that, at least, what is due them in terms of IGFs is given to capacitate these agencies, so that they can give off their best with the view to ensuring --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have 1 minute more to go.
    Alhaji Amadu 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Hon Members, the next Member to take the floor is Hon Member for Kokofu
    -- 12:25 p.m.

    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the name is Hon Kokofu and he repre- sents Bantama.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Very well.
    What I have here is Kokofu Bantama.
    Hon Kokofu, Member for Bantama?
    Mr Henry K. Kokofu (NPP -- Bantama) 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker for the opportunity to make a contribution.
    I would like to make a few comments and then give a highlight in the area of forestry and wildlife development and management.
    Mr Speaker, when it comes to natural resource management, it has a very rich historical antecedent. We have moved as a people from the cornucopian era where natural resources were thought to be infinite and that could be used anyhow and by anybody. So, it was plagued with the tragedy of the commons.
    Mr Speaker, we have moved through that point to protectionism and con- servationism. Now, we are at sustainable development and Ghana has so much embraced sustainable, manage-ment and development of our natural resources.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    Mr Kokofu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, zeroing in down to our forest heritage, with your permission, I may read the implementation of the Ghana's Shared Growth and Development Agenda, 2010 to 2013. The 2012 Annual Report, page 83, table 416, Restoration of Degraded Forest and Land Management. Here, it is the selected indicators that we are looking at.
    We are being told by the Report too that hectares of degraded forests, mining, dry and wetlands rehabilitated and restored forests -- we could not achieve our targets. When it comes to mining, wetlands and mangroves, lack of data -- that is what the Report says. So, it tells us that at the rate of deforestation, we could not achieve our target as well. It tells us that we are unable to meet our obligations in protecting and managing our forest estate.
    Mr Speaker, unfortunately for us, we can do propaganda with any other thing but when it comes to natural resource management, there is no place for it. The 2015 Budget Statement, page 78, paragraph 381. With your permission, I beg to read:
    “…The new policy has shifted focus from over reliance on timber harvesting to conservation of biodiversity and watershed management which will provide long term benefits to all Ghanaians. The policy also encourages reforestation and restoration of degraded landscapes.”
    MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:37 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Kokofu, continue.
    Mr Kokofu 12:37 p.m.
    Paragraph 385 says, and I beg to read --
    “The Ministry will ensure the reduction of impacts of climate change through forest adaptation and mitigation activities. This will enable the Ministry access result- based finance for the full imple- mentation of REDD+ activities to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.”
    Mr Speaker, if you go back to the page 89, paragraph 432 of the 2014 Budget Statement presented to this House -- and I beg to read --
    “The Ministry will continue the implementation of the National Plantations Development Pro- gramme in order to develop a sustainable resource base that will satisfy the future demand for industrial timber and enhance environmental quality. To this end, 49,639 hectares of existing plantations would be maintained”.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to emphasise here 12:37 p.m.
    “To this end, 49639 hectares of existing plantations would be maintained.”
    As we speak today, Mr Speaker, not a single pesewa -- not a penny has been given to the Forestry Commission to undertake this project and now, we are talking about arresting deforestation and degraded lands.
    The Ministry of Finance has not released funds to the Forestry Commission to undertake this venture. You go to the record and we were told in this House that Savannah Accelerated Development
    Authority (SADA) was given GH¢39 million to undertake plantation development.
    Mr Speaker, your Select Committee on Lands and Forestry took a trip last year to the Upper West Region to inspect plantation development. We did not see one hectare of SADA plantation there. Those that the Forestry Commission had embarked upon and established, lacked funds and resources to maintain them.
    Mr Speaker, are we not, as a people, paying lip service when it comes to natural resource management? Particularly, at paragraph 385 of this year's Budget Statement, we are talking about reduction of emission. That one cannot be done by wishful thinking; it cannot come just by itself. We need to put pragmatic efforts in there.
    We are talking about REDD+ here and for the information of others, REDD+ means, reduction of emission through deforestation and degradation of forest lands and it is connected with the climate change scenario.
    The phenomenon of climate change where rainfall patterns have changed, the intensity of sunshine -- and it is affecting every fabric of our human endeavour, including poverty, agriculture and everything. If as a nation we are serious enough to help mitigate the hardships of climate change, then we must take afforestation programmes very serious.
    In this Budget Statement, we do not see in any place, where there is an effort to help the Forestry Commission and for that matter, the Ministry itself to undertake such projects.
    The REDD+ is donor driven and it has a lifespan of about three years. One may ask, when the donor funding dries out, how are we going to sustain such things?
    The Budget Statement talks about Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Ghana Government and the European Union (EU) market. To some extent, there is also the Forest Laws Enforcement and Governance Trade (FLEGT). All these things are donor initiated. We, as a people, have not and continue not to put things down there -- the so-called home grown solutions to our challenges and problems. We need to see it in the sector.
    Mr Speaker, now, we have what is called the carbon trade, carbon sequestration or carbon sink. It is a known fact that emissions of greenhouse gases and that of the oil and gas industry that are flared into the environment to pollute the environment and then to deplete the ozone layer up there -- A major driving cause of this climate change has to be met by arresting these gases, and carbon dioxide is one of them.
    If you go to Norway, they spend billions of dollars each year re-injecting the gas into the belly of the earth. It is so expensive and requires a lot of technology. It is known --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:37 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Mr Kokofu 12:37 p.m.
    It is known that the most cheapest and natural way of trapping carbon to help clean the environment is the forest tree biomass. For that matter, we, having a tropical forest at our disposal, we are at an advantage to go out there to the carbon market and access it, find resources to expand our forest estate and make it intact without recourse to this so-called timber trade and cutting of trees.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is it the turn of Hon Woyome?
    Mr Kokofu 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Agbesi 12:45 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, Hon Woyome.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Woyome.
    Mr Kobena M. Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity that I add my voice to the Motion that this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2015, which was ably moved by the Hon Minister for Finance for and on behalf of the President of the country.
    In spite of the global economic challenge, which had impacted heavily on our country's Ghana, there have been significant achievements in the youth and sports sector. Government finalised and
    published the implementation of the plan of the National Youth Policy which was launched in 2010. The plan is currently before Cabinet for approval and it is expected to be launched latter part of this year, probably or early next year, hopefully.
    The plan seeks to ensure, Mr Speaker, a smooth scientific and systematic implementation of the priority areas of the policy for the progress and development of the youth of the country.
    Mr Speaker, the Government is negotiating with some development agents to rehabilitate all the 11 youth leadership and skills training institutes under the National Youth Authority. This would provide technical and financial support for the development of these institutions which have considerably run down over the years. It is expected that the Institute would provide long-term training programmes for the youth who are desirous of acquiring skills as a source of livelihood.
    Mr Speaker, the National Youth Authority successfully organised two important lectures to educate the youth of the country on the need to inculcate in themselves patr iotism -- that successfully went a long way to getting a number of the youth to appreciate the need to work for our mother country.
    The Ministry facilitated the participa- tion of the national football teams in various competition both locally and international. An example is the 2014 World Cup that took place in Brazil. Even though we were not able to make it from the group stage, I believe we should be happy to hear our qualification to take part in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2015 next year and that is really good news for this country and for all of us. We would make it.
    Mr Speaker, the National Women's team, the Black Queens qualified for the 2015 African Women's Champions to be held in Namibia and many other tournaments next year -- we would like you to witness them. In fact, Government did not concentrate on only football but also had some successes in the other sports, which we usually refer to as the lesser known sports. They are not lesser known sports but are very good sports that I think attention is currently focused on.
    Mr Speaker, at the 2014 Commonwealth games held in Glasgow, Scotland, Ghana participated in 10 disciplines -- athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, disabled sports, judo, shooting, swimming, table tennis and others. In all, this country was able to get three bronze medals in judo, hand boxing and some appreciable efforts in the other disciplines. If we continue with the implementation of the fantastic policies in that sector, I believe we would be able to improve dramatically in the next activities next year. There was one gold medal in the world youth Olympics in China. This is the first time we have ever made it as a country.
    Mr Speaker, we all appreciate the challenge in financing sports and that is one of the areas that we should applaud Government for -- the bold initiative and the plans of putting together a sport game which we all appreciate. That when it comes to this august House, we would all give it that special attention. This is because that would cure that problem to a greater extent and then we would be able to fashion out the strategy of getting the corporate institutions to support sports development in this country.
    I believe strongly the legal basis of engaging these corporate institutions needs to be put properly and that vigorously is being pursued. I believe strongly, when that is done, it would help
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    12. 55 p.m.
    Mr Woyome 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, these are among many plans and strategies that Government is putting in place to address the challenges facing our sports. And of course, in terms of building capacity, the college is strategically being equipped to meet that demand of training our own to take up the challenges and expect us to really move sports to that expected pedestal.
    Mr Speaker, Sports development is very important, and in fact, it is becoming a business in other jurisdictions. I believe that with the much talked about Sports Bill, I can only urge that it is worked on quickly, so that we can all have a working document that would spell out all the
    parameters for all stakeholders to participate effectively -- to promote sports across, and not only in terms of football and maybe -- yes, in terms of football, but it would be all encompassing, taking into consideration, all the other sporting activities.
    To touch a little on chieftaincy, Mr Speaker, there are some wonderful achievements by the Government because we have all -- and I know we would all appreciate the efforts by our chiefs in our various towns and villages, and the way they are able to solve myriads of problems that come before them from their subjects. There is the need to build their capacity, just to be able to deliver those services, and help promote the cohesion for development. If you read, Mr Speaker - may I refer you to the Budget Statement, page 114, paragraph 619. There has been some great achievement there, and Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection organised a workshop for Queen Mothers from each region with the aim of empowering them to play frontline roles in addressing challenges of infant mortality, early marriage and school dropouts.”
    These are just some of the issues that come before this wonderful traditional leaders, and I know that if this is supported, and their capacity built, we would go a long way in building a wonderful society at the grassroot, to foster that wonderful development that we are all hoping for.
    If you also look at some other achievements in that sector, -- Mr Speaker, paragraph 620 talks about some great works and with your permission, I beg to read;
    “Mr Speaker, the Ministry adjudicated 4 Chieftaincy cases through the judicial process and facilitated the appointment of 6 Counsels to the National House of Chiefs as well as 5 Regional Houses of Chiefs. In 2015, the Ministry will adjudicate cases by judicial process and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), respectively to reduce the backlog of cases before the Houses of Chiefs.”
    I would want to reiterate that this definitely has become potentially, a huge source of some strives in the districts, confusion, and that also threatens peace in those areas. I believe that when they build that capacity for them and supported in this way, we would be able to build a good and a very wonderful society that would advance the socioeconomic development of the various localities, and the country as a whole.
    With these few words Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Woyome, and not “Wayome”.
    Hon Grace Addo?
    Ms Grace Addo (NPP -- Manso- Nkwanta) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the debate on the floor, on the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2015 fiscal year.
    Mr Speaker, my submission is on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. This Ministry emerged from the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, which was created during the
    erstwhile administration under His Excellency, President Agyekum Kufuor, and the mandate was to ensure gender equality and also to solve all gender based issues.
    Mr Speaker, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came into power in 2008 and afterwards, changed the name from Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
    In 2007, because of the mandate of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), it tried and passed the Domestic Violence Act, and the Anti- Human Trafficking Act to end the domestic violence on women and children.
    Mr Speaker, six years down the lane, with NDC in power,it has not been able to implement this Act to ensure the safety of women and children. In 2013, the Budget Statement -- in paragraph 657 stated that the draft Legislative Instrument (L.I) was finalised, and submitted to the Attorney-General's (AG) Department for final drafting. Mr Speaker, nothing was done to it.
    Again, in the 2014 Budget Statement, in paragraph 763, the same L.I. was said to be finalised and submitted to the AG's department for final drafting. What do we see Mr Speaker? As I speak with you, nothing has been done. In this 2015 Budget Statement, paragraph 666 says that the L.I. has been finalised to be submitted to Parliament. The question, I ask, is Government committed to ensuring that this Bill is passed into law to ensure that women and children are protected as they have given the name to the Ministry?
    So, Mr Speaker, I ask again: Is this Government committed to ensuring that women and children's affairs are at their heart, to make sure that women do well? And we know, as the saying goes, “if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” So, if women do well, the whole nation also does well.
    Ms Grace Addo (NPP -- Manso- Nkwanta) 12:45 p.m.


    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is it a point of order from one of your Colleagues? Is that a point of order? Could you confer with her?
    This morning, I have been quietly looking at positions and I think points of order have been frowned upon. So, can you consult with her and --
    Mr Agbesi 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not follow what you are saying.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I am saying that a Member on the Majority side is on her feet and she has been on her feet for a while. I have seen her, but I am asking you whether I should recognise her.
    Mr Agbesi 1:05 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Grace Addo, will you continue?
    Ms Grace Addo 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that in the 2013 Budget Statement, LEAP was said to cover 73,042 house- holds and that it would be increased to cover 100,000 households in 2014.
    Mr Speaker, in 2014, the LEAP covered 77,006 households, which means that, the Government could not deliver on its promise.
    Ms Grace Addo 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I still contest the fact that the Ministry's name does not show commitment to protect our women and children because when we get to the rural areas,where majority of our children cannot afford three square meals a day, that social intervention programme, the school feeding programme, which was introduced by President Kufuor, is at the level of collapsing.
    Mr Speaker, the school feeding programmes are not paid for and therefore, most of our children have stopped going to school. I urge that the President should be up and doing in his quest to protect everybody in the nation, and to make sure that Ghanaians are fairly treated.
    Ms Laadi A. Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 1:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion on the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending, 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to concentrate on issues of the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, as has been renamed, which was formally the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs could not have had a better name than its current one.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry has its activities running through most Ministries and departments, especially the Social Welfare Department and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, to mention but a few.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry, after coming into being -- especially, the current Minister has taken up so many activities to ensure that its mandate is clearly catered for.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister knows very well that social protection and most of the activities are supposed to be undertaken carefully, especially to make sure that gender is mainstreamed with considera- tions to promoting the welfare and protection of children.
    Mr Speaker, most of the activities of the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry are tilted towards women.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister has undertaken a lot of activities. One of them, as was mentioned, is the LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) Programme. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the Ministry in 2014, catered for 75,000 households.
    In undertaking this activity with the 75,000 households, the Ministry was very mindful, and directed most of the funds and the payments to women, who cater for both the men and children in these households.
    Mr Speaker, the LEAP Programme is not for women -- or for that matter, those who take it to enjoy. It is meant to enhance livelihood.
    Mr Speaker, I can confidently say, reports have proved that most of these beneficiaries have used it to cater for their children who go to school, set up some businesses, which they run to support themselves. For sure, they are making good use of the money.
    Mr Speaker, in undertaking these activities, the Ministry has also made sure that health wise, in order to take care of the women --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Ms Ayamba 1:15 p.m.
    -- 82 women have had fistula repairs, 600 women have been sensitized on both child bearing and female genital mutilation.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Dominic Nitiwul?
    Mr Nitiwul 1:15 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member made some pronounced statements and one of them was that they are using the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). to pay school fees and some are using it to trade. I have tried to go to
    paragraph 660, which she mentioned but I realised that the LEAP matter was really at paragraph 661. I have tried to look at it and I cannot find it in that particular paragraph. Can she please, refer us to the source of the fact that they also use it to trade and they use it to pay school fees? It is not there. I have not seen it.
    Ms Ayamba 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate the Hon Member might have not listened and listened well to what I had said.
    Mr Speaker, I mentioned the issue of LEAP which was meant to support households, and I did say that the monies that were given to these people were not used for them to just sit and enjoy, but that they had used the monies to establish businesses, they had also used it to pay fees. I was only mentioning things that they had used the monies for.
    I never said these monies mentioned in this paragraph are being used for school fees. The page I referred to, is page 120, paragraph 661. I mentioned 120, paragraph 660 about the orphans. So, please, he should not misquote me.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on her feet is the Chairperson for the Committee on Gender and Social Protection. So, as part of her monitoring programmes, she has the opportunity to be interacting with beneficiaries and all those things. So, if she says that beneficiaries of LEAP are using it for paying school fees, setting up businesses and those things, I do not think she would be out of place.
    She is telling us what is really happening on the ground. And this is informing us that your Committees, Mr Speaker, are on the ground working.
    If we think everything should be on paper -- but if somebody says that LEAP is being used to pay school fees, then one is asking for source? Mr Speaker, she is telling you what your Committee is doing, how they are going from town to town, community to community, district to district and interacting -- whether the LEAP has a direct impact on the socio- economic development of Ghanaians. That is what she is doing.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker for the opportunity.
    Mr Nitiwul 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I asked the Hon Member, that she had stated that the beneficiaries were using LEAP proceeds to pay school fees and set up businesses, and that it was not meant for that, and she quoted a certain paragraph. She ended it by saying I did not listen, and she repeated exactly what we all heard. All I asked is not what he is saying. I am not asking Hon Ahmed Ibrahim.
    I am asking her where the source of that information is, that they are using it to pay school fees and using it to set up businesses, so that we can check it up. That is all. I am not asking her for explanation. He is telling me, I am asking her.
    Ms Ayamba 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the first place, I am the Chairperson of that Committee and I happened to be in a Conference with the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection -- and then the World Bank in which my Ranking Member, Hon Gifty Kusi was present and the beneficiaries were brought before that particular conference; and they mentioned what they have used these monies for and how they have set up businesses, used part of the proceeds of these activities that they undertake to pay school fees. So, I am not in any way looking for information outside my mandate as a Chairperson, Mr Speaker -- [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, you mentioned the name of Hon Gifty Kusi. You know, she had been standing for a long time and I had seen her but I had “not seen her”. You have dragged her into the fray, so I have no choice.
    Hon Gifty Kusi?
    Mrs Gifty E. Kusi 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Thank her, she was the one who has mentioned you.
    Mrs Kusi 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am also the Ranking Member for the Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection.
    I would want my Chairperson to produce the documents that say they use the money to pay school fees. In this Parliament, we deal with facts. Somebody can stand anywhere and say I am doing this. We cannot accept that. What we need is for her to quote the source if there was any publication.
    I was there. I heard people saying that they used it to pay school fees. There was no document to that effect. They did not produce -- [Interruption] -- So, we challenged them. In that conference, I said there was no document to show this. So, what they said was just lip service.
    There should be documents -- This is because anybody can go to a radio station and say anything. There was no document; nothing showed that somebody has done any study or anything. So, if there is anything that is coming from the Ministry, we would like to see those documents because we cannot accept lip service. At that conference, they could not produce any paper; people just came there to say “I am using the LEAP”.
    It was just a hearsay; it was for the press. We need documents to show. This Government is supposed to document and let us see. But you cannot bring anybody to come and say anything.
    Ms Ayamba 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unfortunately, much as people would rise in this House and say that we should not play politics with our activities in this House, I have realised that politics is being played. This is because I was in this conference with my Ranking Member. But once she has said it should be produced, I wish to --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, could you resume your seat?
    I always have a difficulty when politicians buy what non-politicians say, that we should not play politics. If we do not do politics, what would we be doing in this House? [Laughter.] We are politicians and we should not be shy. There is nothing to be shy about being a politician.
    In fact, politics is a good thing. It is the best form of government that we have decided for ourselves. Since 1992, we have been doing politics. We are not playing; it is our job. We come here as politicians and we talk politics, all for the good of Ghana. But we have allowed people to say that we should not play politics as if politics is an evil thing. We are running away from what we are doing. Then, what are we sitting here doing?
    Ms Ayamba 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in respect of the activities of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the
    Ministry has also closed down 45 orphanages which did not meet the requirement to have the right to operate.
    Mr Speaker, we have had the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection also discussing with us the Intestate Succession Bill which has been presented to this House and forwarded to a Committee of the House to discuss and bring back. We also have the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, which has also been laid in this House.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is still undertaking a lot of activities. I am well aware that in order that all its activities are not hidden from Hon Members, various districts that are benefitting from LEAP were attached to letters that were given to Members of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, in order that we do not have a situation where corruption would be another anthem, the Ministry has made sure that these monies that are to be paid to households are paid either electroni- cally through the post office, or through the banks directly, or on mobile money transfers directly to the households.
    Mr Speaker, this has been done to ensure that the beneficiaries get their monies directly. We would not want it to become a situation which, when corruption is being discussed, we would come out to say that it started from Adam, neither would we want it to become that we pinch ourselves a little and we take it as it is.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister is doing well -- and because she wants to make sure that all her activities are transparent enough, she works and works directly with the Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection, in which all of us are involved. We have met her, discussed issues of funding, our children -- the
    kayayei and she is up and doing. We would continue to give her the support and make sure that the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection comes to fruition as is expected and for the purpose for which it has been put in place.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, in the court, it is not everything you say that you must produce a source. There is something known as judicial notice, which is something that is obvious or wrong. But I do not know whether in Parliament -- I ignored that part about source because to tell you the truth, I was not sure of the answer myself, whether everything that somebody raises --
    For example, if the person says: “I am a member of the Committee, so, I know from personal knowledge” -- Does the person have to bring a source under the saying that this is sufficient? Could it be a source, so to speak? Could the person in Parliament say that “I am the source, I have the information?”
    Hon Minority Leader, two seconds or you are thinking about it, that everything must come from a paper source? I am wondering.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before you assumed the Chairship, a similar matter cropped up in respect of a Colleague on this side --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    In respect of education -- CHASS I was watching. The question was “CHASS.”
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, and then it was being suggested that he should produce the source of the information that he was giving.
    My own attitude was that we had the Minister for Education here and if she disagreed with the figures, she would have stood up to raise issues. The Minister knew that what the Hon Member was saying was right. Quoting from the various --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I hope you are not taking another bite at that cherry?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker. I am just explaining.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    We are moving forward.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker. I am just explaining.
    And he indicated to us that the other matter he was raising was contained in the Budget Statement just like our Hon Member here indicated to us a few moments ago.
    The rules of the House are very clear and I would want to quote order 67. --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Could you read, please?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Order 67, (1) (h) provides that:
    “a Question shall not be asked the answer to which is readily available in official publications;”
    And the Budget Statement is an official publication. So, if the person says that it is in the Budget Statement and you insist that he gives you the page or the paragraph, I believe it should not be entertained. This is because I am not too sure that if the Minister for Finance who presented this document on behalf of the President was asked on any matter, he would be able to produce or tell us the page and paragraph of the relevant matter that was raised on the floor. So, once
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Haruna Iddrisu? Just three or four minutes on this matter, then we continue.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance.
    I believe there is a presumption of what you are intending to introduce to this House as a parliamentary oath, which finds space not just in the Constitution but probably, we ought to have done it when we were looking at the Code of Conduct.
    I have looked at the Code of Conduct for the British Members of Parliament, which was issued by Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister. Indicative of that Code of Conduct, was that Members of Parliament and Ministers of State should endeavour to be as sincere and accurate as they appear before the august House, as a preliminary requirement of the British House of Commons.
    Mr Speaker, I was just coming to refer to a particular section of the Constitution, which says that when you are exercising
    any authority, do it in a manner which is candid as a provision --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Is it article 296?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, article 296, rightly Haruna so. And I wanted your guidance to quote it to support the position that you said.
    And as Hon Members of Parliament, who is the Executive? We do have the President; we have Hon Ministers of State who are largely Hon Members of Parliament. So, in everything that we do, a certain expectation is that we would be as sincere as possible and as accurate as possible.
    Mr Speaker, not an academic institution, but it is worthwhile if in the course of the debate, you can reference that, for instance, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) source or a Ghana Living Standard Survey source, or Ghana Statistical Service source. But I think as Hon Members of Parliament, maybe, Leadership would look at it as part of the training of particularly new entrants to this House to appreciate what is required of them when they are coming.
    Even with the budget debates, we need to get our Hon Colleagues to appreciate what is it that you can debate within the context of the budget.
    So, I think there is a presumption rightly by your guidance that we should assume that by our parliamentary oath, we owe the people of Ghana, we owe the respect of the authority and mandate of this House to be as accurate as possible.
    Mr Speaker, without introducing it, why then do we have perjury? I am not going too far, but it tells you that what is expected of a public officer when you are giving any relevant information, is to as much as possible be guided by the honesty of it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, there is a certain presumption of accuracy. I mean, as Hon Agbesi is aware of, in a court, when you say, I am speaking from the Bar, there is a certain presumption that what you are saying is right. So, let us continue. All I will say is that Hon Members should not be derailed with the shouts from behind; that is part of the parliamentary business.
    Hon Agbesi, it is not every source that I would ask for.
    Mr Agbesi 1:35 p.m.
    Yes, but Mr Speaker, in the situation that we are facing now, the Hon Member on her feet said she attended a conference or a workshop with the Hon Ranking Member of her Committee, when beneficiaries of the LEAP were brought to answer the question: “What did you use the money for?” This is an evidence from people -- A practical evidence coming from people who were beneficiaries of the programme. So, in that case, I would say that the two of them are talking on authority of what they observed in the field.
    So, when they come before this House and say this is what we observed in the field -- Your Committee sent us to the field, we observed this and this is the report. I think we do not need any document -- [Interruption.] We do not need any document from those two people on the Committee who are giving us a report of what they went to see. If not Mr Speaker, if you are sent on an international mission, you would come back with the report of what you observed, what you heard and what you learnt in those places.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi, what are you an authority on?
    Mr Agbesi 1:35 p.m.
    I am an authority on what I know, of what I -- [Interruption] -- Yes, I am an authority -- This is because it is not those who write books who are authorities. I am an authority in myself.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Agbesi.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Oh! Hon Minority Leader, this small aside, he wants to take the life of his own?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think what the last contributor said is not in dispute. That he was at a forum and this is what people came to say. He said they attended. I do not know whether it was a seminar. But it was a forum where she was present and she was present with the Hon Member for Tarkwa- Nsuaem (Hon Gifty Kusi).
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Let me just say, Hon Minority Leader, that my question, so to speak, was not so much on this particular issue. I was just throwing up some questions, so that you can use it as an example. But I will not rule on this particular matter.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the issue is about the people who appeared at the forum to give evidence on what they used the money to do -- maybe, pay the fees of their children or to start some trading. Do you -- the person at the forum just believe it and come to report that, well, this is what they have used their money for? Or perhaps, it becomes imperative to go behind the curtain to establish whether indeed, and in truth, that has been done. This is because in this country, we know that
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, as you were speaking, one Hon Member was asking what is your take on it, because you cannot be here or there? Or you want Mr Speaker's take on it? This time, Mr Speaker has no take. When the matter arises again, we will deal with it. Especially since it is not overruled this morning, I do not want to comment on it.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    You want to comment on this issue, Hon Ayariga?
    Mr Ayariga 1:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Oh! Hon Ayariga -- All right.
    Mr Ayariga 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a very interesting matter because the first basic rule is that we should be encouraged to have free unfettered debate. That is why the rules protect us outside the walls of this building, that there are certain things which we say here but we cannot be sued or taken on in the law courts, et cetera for what we have said.
    Now, the question of how much weight we should give to a debate and a contributor is a matter for us individually. If I made a statement and I am able to quote a report of a committee to support or substantiate it, then people would give it a different weight. If I just made a statement and say I observed at a conference, people would give a different weight to that.
    If I cite an authority, people would give a different weight to that. So, it is for us individually to decide how much weight we are going to give to the statement of an individual Hon Member.
    In my opinion, the practice of pushing the individual Hon Member to provide a source as the basis for proceeding in the debate, should not happen because we would decide how much weight we give to what that person has said. When however, as a strategy in the debate, you mistakenly seek to rely on another person, then you open yourself up.
    So, for instance, when she said an Hon Ranking Member was at the conference, then she opened herself up to the verification by that Hon Member. If the Hon Member gets up and says, no, she was not there or she was there and it was not said or show it by the report of the conference, that what she said transpired, then she has opened herself up to verification by that Hon Member. But if she had just insisted that on her own observance or proceedings at the
    conference, this was the testimony, it is left to us as individual Hon Members to decide whether we would give weight to what she has said. So, that is my small take on the matter.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Thank you.
    I allowed them to comment on it because we are all seeking to develop the rules and to understand and appreciate what we are doing. But we should also bear in mind that one cannot [Interruption] -- Can I have some order please?
    Hon Member, even though the seats are high, and I can still see you. Can I have some order?
    I was saying that, Hon Ayariga, what you are saying is correct. But when we look at order 30 (d), (e) and (f), what it means is that when somebody raises the issue with what one is saying, one is misleading the House or what one is saying is false, what one is saying is intended to deceive the House, then one has to either withdraw it or show the source.
    Once there is a presumption that what one is saying is right, by one's weight -- people may say that Hon Ayariga is the Minister for Youth and Sports; so, if he says something about sports, we have to take his word for it or by virtue of specialised knowledge that you have in an area or previous life and so on --
    But if you are speaking and your Hon Colleagues get up and ask what your source is, it means they have disbelieved you. And if they say that you are misleading the House, and you cannot show your source, then you are in violation of Order 30, and potentially, you are heading for contempt of Parliament.
    So, that is the reason of this issue of source -- But as you are saying, this is a question of opinion and so on. One may say: “I was at the Committee meeting and this is what I observed”. And as the Hon Minority Leader said, the Hon Member was correct. She said: “They told us so and so”; she did not verify it. She believed what they said. Then the Hon Ranking Member says even though they said it, “I do not believe it”. She is also entitled to her views.
    But let us put this little discourse to an end, and let us continue with the debate on the Budget Statement.
    Who is the next to speak?
    The next to speak is from the Minority side. It is Hon Azuma Sanda.
    Mr Namoro Sanda Azumah (NPP -- Chereponi) 1:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to speak to the Motion on the floor of this august House on the 2015 financial year.
    Mr Speaker, my focus --
    Some Hon Members 1:45 p.m.
    Financial year, financial year.
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:45 p.m.
    “Financial year”. This is what I said.
    Mr Speaker, in contributing to the debate, my focus is going to be on the issue of “kayayei” to wit “head potters” and the LEAP Programme. Other Hon Colleagues have mentioned the issue of LEAP. We have been told that in 2014, we had 77,006 household beneficiaries. The target for the 2014 financial year was 100,000 to 150,000 households. But we only achieved 77,006 with an amount of GH¢38 million.
    Mr Speaker, the 2015 Budget Statement has equally allocated GH¢38 million to the LEAP Programme, yet we are targeting 150,000 to 200,000 households. Can we say that this is realistic and transformational?
    Some Hon Members 1:45 p.m.
    No! Not at all.
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:45 p.m.
    This is because the same amount was for 2014, and the same amount is for 2015. So, look at the difference.
    Mr Speaker, even with the 77,000, we do not know how many women benefited and how many men benefited. So, the Budget Statement is gender blind. We ought to know how many women benefited and how many men benefited.
    Secondly, my Hon Colleague on the other side said that the beneficiaries are able to use the amount to pay school fees. Let us ask ourselves, how much school fees do we pay in Ghana today? It is GH¢700.00 and above. How much does each beneficiary get? It is GH¢45.00 to GH¢90.00. The highest is about GH¢90.00 and the lowest is about GH¢45.00. So, how can one use GH¢45.00 or GH¢90.00 to pay school fees? It is unrealistic; it is impossible.
    Mr Speaker, in the 2014 Budget Statement, we were told that the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) was going to collaborate with the Ministry to get very poor women in northern Ghana to support them. Now, this year's Budget Statement is silent on that. We are not even told whether SADA was able to do that. This is because we are all aware of the plight in which SADA finds itself. The amount that was given to SADA, the way it has been misappropriated, means that when it comes to gender issues, it is nil.
    Last year, the Ministry was given an amount of GH¢91 million. In this year's Budget Statement, it is GH¢43 million. It has been drastically reduced by about a half. How can the Ministry fulfil its mandate of gender equality? And can we say this Budget Statement is transforma- tional? It is not.
    Now, I would want to speak to the issue of kayayei. Everybody is aware of the kayayei phenomena in Ghana today. It is a disturbing issue. And the number of kayayei is estimated to be about 15,000 and the figure was from the Statement made by the Hon Minister herself on February 27, 2014 in this House.
    Now, no mention is made in this Budget Statement in support of the kayayei and we know that all these keyayei come from the three northern regions of the country. I have the breakdown of the kayeyei here. If we look at the Northern Region, Dagombas constitute about 51.4 per cent; Mamprusis constitute 29.7 per cent; Gonjas constitute 4.5 per cent; Sissalas constitute 5.9 per cent; Akans constitute 0.9 per cent; and others constitute 7.7 per cent. [Interruption.] --
    I said my source is from a presentation made by the Hon Minister on the floor of the House on February 27, 2014.
    Now, if we have all these people involving themselves in Kayayei either in Accra, Takoradi, Kumasi --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    There is no mention in the Budget Statement supporting the kayeyei -- [Interruption.]
    Hajia Mary S. Boforo -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Yes?
    Hajia Boforo: Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is giving us some figures and I would want to find out from him the source of his figures.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, were you here when --
    Hajia Boforo: Mr Speaker, I would want him to mention it.
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    I said the Minister's presentation in this House on February 27, 2014. It is here and if the Hon Member wants a copy, I will give her.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, what is the title of the document?
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    Statement by Hon Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection on the situation of Kayayei in Ghana.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Date, please?
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    The date is February 27, 2014. In this very House -- [Hear! Hear!]
    Now, we all know that the leader of this country is from the North and we have the issue of kayeyei confronting all of us and we are not able to allocate some funding for these people. When you go to Agbobloshie, Konkomba Market, Mallam Atta and Nima Markets, et cetera, you will find these people there -- Young girls and boys from the age of eight and above and the plight in which they find themselves -- where they sleep, et cetera.
    One interesting or funny thing is when these kayeyei carry the loads of people; at the end of the day, they are taxed from the little money that they get. It is an unfortunate situation and I use this occasion to call on this House to look into this issue of taxing them.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, how are they taxed?
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has their market tolls or tickets that they give them and they pay. They give them tickets -- It is life.
    We visited their place and it is a very serious issue. Something urgent should be done, so that they can also have a sigh of relief. At least, we know very well that if the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) had been managed very well, it would have helped these young people to stay back in the North. But unfortunately, SADA has been mismanaged and even in this 2015 Budget Statement, nothing is mentioned about SADA. Nothing is also mentioned about Kayeyei -- Double agony.
    If they go to the North, they are in trouble; in the South, they are in trouble; so what do we want these young boys and girls to do? We all remember from 2003 to 2008, when we had the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, there was some intervention and that was the period that they started to register them and to know the number of kayeyei living in Accra.
    That was the time that there was some sort of intervention for them. The young girls were trained in hairdressing, sewing, dressmaking or soap making and some of them were sent back to the North.
    We are even told that after sometime, some of them returned and that was because there was no intervention back in the North for them. That is why there was the need for SADA, so that we would to retain them in the North.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, having regard for the state of Business of the House, I would direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period.
    Hon Member, you have one more minute to conclude.
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    The issue of the kayeyei, please, the Government should be very serious and do something immediately about their plight.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, I do not think we have time to open to pages. Just conclude without opening to any page.
    In conclusion --
    Mr N. S. Azumah 1:55 p.m.
    If you open to page 178 on External Debt Service per MDA for 2015, we all know that we pay interest on a principal. That is when we take a loan from somebody we pay interest. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is paying an interest of about GH¢134, 238 on no principal.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Hon Agbesi?
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was wondering whether we have not exhausted our list.
    The list that has been submitted, I do not know whether we have exhausted it?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    The list has not been exhausted. The list of the Minority side has been exhausted but on the list of the Majority side, I have Hon Baba Jamal, Hon Amadu Bukari Sorogho, Hon Dominic Napare -- There are at least, three more names.
    So, I think we can bring it to an end today; we have done quite a bit for today --
    Unless the Hon Minority Leader has other names -- He does not. So, we will bring that to --
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that at this stage, we will bring the debate to an end and then go back to other Business on the Order Paper. And Mr Speaker, I beg your pardon --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to state for the records that before coming in here, the pre-Sitting meeting that we had with the First Deputy Speaker, he insisted that we had three contributors each and then move to consider the Customs Bill.
    I rather insisted that we should have six; that is six from either side. So for anybody to say that maybe, we agreed on eight or whatever, it is not true. It was a maximum of six from either side and then we go into the consideration of the Customs Bill.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Minority Leader.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we will move to Presentation of Papers.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    The Addendum?
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    No! The first one; item 4 on the main Order Paper -- Presentation of Papers.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, item 4 (a), by the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is engaged in another Business outside the House. With the indulgence of the House, I would want to lay the Paper on his behalf.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    I do not think there is any objection to that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as he has explained, the Hon Majority Leader is away and he wants to do it on his behalf. I do not think that there is any problem except he should know that while he is doing that, he is doing so as the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader, and not as the Leader of the House.
    Mr Agbesi 1:55 p.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker. I am laying it on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Item 4 (a)?
    PAPERS 2:05 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Item 4 a (ii)?
    By the Hon Deputy Majority Leader (on behalf of ) the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House --
    2012 Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda
    (GSGDA), 2010-2013.
    Referred to the Poverty Reduction Committee.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Item 4 (b), by the Chairman of the Committee. [Pause]-- Is item 4 (b) not ready?
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we have finished with item 4 (a).
    Mr Agbesi 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 4 (b) is not ready.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Then we should go to the Order Paper Addendum.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the joint Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises and Youth, Sports and Culture on the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, do you have any point of order?
    Mr Isaac Asiamah 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have just been given a copy of the Report. I expected that a draft copy should have come to me. But we have just agreed -- myself and the Chairman, that in case an issue has not been captured, we reserve the right to come back. That issue should be captured; I would want it to be on record, that if there are other issues that are not well captured here in the Report, we reserve the right to come back for further presentation. That is on record.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, do you -- It is rather --
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know what the Agreement has been made between the Hon Chairman of the Committee and the Hon Ranking Member.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    My concern is with what the Hon Ranking Member said, that he is “reserving the right”; the effect of that. Could he reserve his right; does he have a right?
    Once a report has been laid and it is distributed, when the opportunity comes, then you could raise issues. But is there a right that you could reserve? I am rather confused.
    Hon Minority Leader, is there a right that when they lay a report, I could get up
    and say, I agree, subject to -- “I reserve my right”? Is there a right that could be reserved? I was a little confused about the power to reserve one's r ight to comment later; lay the Report, subject to my right to comment later. The procedure is new to me.
    Hon Minority Leader, could you please, assist me?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree that it is not a normal way of doing business. But my understanding is that the laying of the document is supposed to fulfil some obligations that exist elsewhere. It is for that reason that they would want to do what they want to do today, so that they would fit into the time.
    The Hon Ranking Member said that certain issues were raised at the Committee level but he did not see the draft Report. So, it is now that he has been given the Report. He wants to look at it, trusting that those matters have been factored into it. If they have not, then they would come back. So, that is the issue that he has raised.
    I agree that it is not the normal way of doing business in this House, except if I heard them right, this is being done in fulfilment of some obligation. If that is true, then maybe, for the time being, it could stand. But if the Hon Ranking Member and the other Committee members discover that it is inappropriate, then the issue could come back.
    rose
    Mr Amenowode 2:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I am a bit surprised at this turn of events. The Hon Ranking Member at the other side raised an issue and I also referred him to his side of the House
    because he left the meeting when the final determinations were made. So, I referred him to see his people, that if that is the issue, we could do the necessary corrections.
    That was what I told the Hon Minority Leader in his presence. That is the issue; a very small issue --
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    rose
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought, as I did indicate, that at least, we have got to some agreement. But if he is opening up everything, then we could do justice to it.
    Mr Speaker, I did not leave any meeting. Members of the Committee were there and an issue came up, and Leadership got up and said that they were going to confer. We even had a break for some minutes; there was a break, that we should go and do more consultation on those issues that came up. When we went, instead of the Hon Chairman to have waited for --
    It was debt referral -- The other Ranking Member, Hon Ayeh, from the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise, he convened the meeting without consulting us; we were not there. So, if he had even waited for us, the meeting would have been at the instance of the issue I raised.
    We proposed and he agreed that we should have a break and confer, so that we could come back with an agreement. Instead of waiting for the leadership of our side, the Hon Chairman went ahead without consulting us and reconvened the meeting. That was what happened.
    Mr Speaker, so, we were not even there at the final meeting. So, these are the issues. Mr Speaker, we have many issues that we have raised, that the draft of the Report did not include. So, Mr Speaker, we would want the right thing to be done.
    Thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, the Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Amenowode 2:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    As I said earlier, the issue is a very small one, which I said we should discuss with his side and do the right thing. That is why I said I am mightily surprised at this turn of events --
    rose
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman does not understand the gravity of the whole matter.
    The Hon Ranking Member said it was a joint Committee's Report. He had not seen the Report until now and yet he is saying that there is an agreement that issues that his side raised, if they are not captured, should be included. And this Parliament must agree that they are included, and that is why he is now arresting the laying of the Paper.
    But the Hon Chairman of the Committee has spoiled the whole thing. This is because I am also aware that the Hon Ranking Member for Youth and Sports was not there when he concluded the meeting; his Deputy was not there; the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise was not there and his deputy was not there either.
    Mr Joseph Bipobo Naabu 2:15 p.m.
    They were there! They were there!
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    So, who concluded the meeting? [Interruption.] The Chairman of the Committee should tell us who concluded the meeting. I thought that these things were solved. Otherwise, if the leadership of the whole Minority on the Committee was not there, who concluded the meeting?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    I think the Report has been duly laid for the distribution of the House. The point has been made; we leave it at that for the time being and we proceed. You have reserved your right; we leave it at that for the time being and we proceed.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we all must agree that the practice of not having committee members, especially the leadership of committees go through these documents, is not the best. Let us establish that as a basis.
    Secondly, on the issue that is being raised by the Hon Ranking Member, we had some consultations and he strongly was of the opinion that they were a few things that they insisted should be included in the Report. Perusing it, he has not seen it. Maybe, he has not had time to read through well; maybe, it is captured. But he says that if it is not, then it should find expression in the Report.
    That was the point of agreement between him and the Hon Ranking Member.
    So, I believe that at this stage at least, we should not be splitting hairs. Let them meet and when they meet, if it has not covered the matters that they raised, then they can go back.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Then we see how we could introduce it; we see how we will proceed --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Absolutely.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.

    Should we come back to the original Order Paper? [Interruption] We have finished with the Order Paper Addendum; should we come back to the original Order Paper?
    Mr Agbesi 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the House is in your hands now because the Report has been laid and if there is any issue they can see --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, that one has been settled.
    Mr Agbesi 2:15 p.m.
    Yes; so, Mr Speaker, the House is in your hands.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Do you intend to --
    Yes, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    My understanding from the Hon Ranking Member is that, the Report does not reflect the position that was taken at the meeting. Insofar as a report is to be a comprehensive report, reflecting as much as possible, discussions that took place at the committee level, this Report does not do so. It does not do so because they did not see the draft and it is important that we emphasise as much as possible a report not being a report of an individual. This should be seen by all members of the committee, at worst, the Hon Ranking Members. We have all been working with committees. So, the Leadership, [Inter- ruption] -- Sorry, the leadership of the committees --
    So, if there is a report which has not been seen by the leadership, I just think that there is nothing wrong in deferring the laying; let them have a look and then when it is laid and debate starts, debates should proceed smoothly. I do not know the circumstances that took place at the Committee level but that is the information I am gathering from the Hon Ranking Member.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Unfortunately, it has already been laid and there is a certain level of agreement between the Hon Ranking Member and the Hon Chairman, that they would reconcile, if there is any problem; they will find a way to bring it back to the House.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the point.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    It has been laid now and the understanding was that because it had to meet certain conditions, they had to do the laying.
    If there are major points of disagreement -- That is the Hon Chairman meeting the Hon Ranking Member -- Then perhaps, it could be withdrawn, subsequently. We are not there yet.
    Perhaps, if it could be possible for them to reconcile and if they are able to reconcile, we will deal with it. So, Mr Speaker, I think that should be what should be established before we leave -- that if there are strong points of disagreements, the Hon Chairman would have to withdraw -- [Interruption] --
    But it has been laid. If they could reconcile, then we would deal with it, so that -- Maybe, we need some time --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, we have not reached that stage yet. So, I think all I would say is that the two of them should look at it -- We have agreed -- We took your advice, Hon Minority Leader. Now, you are taking us to another level.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    No, Hon Ranking Member. We cannot continue forever on this thing. So, thank you very much. Reconcile with the Hon Chairman; I know you know how to bring it back if you need to.
    Yes, Hon Agbesi, are we going to the Customs Bill, 2014? [Interruption.] We are not going to the Customs Bill, 2014? Then the House --
    Mr Agbesi 2:15 p.m.
    The Chairman of that Committee --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    He is not around --
    Mr Agbesi 2:15 p.m.
    He is not around.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    He is not available. All right.
    Yes?
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    But Mr Speaker, without going back to this matter of the Bill, I would want to state that --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    You should seek my leave -- [Interruption]
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, I would seek your leave and just refer --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    When you seek my leave, I should grant you the leave before you can go on.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    I am grateful. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, seek my leave.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    No! You cannot be grateful if you have not sought my leave.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I seek your leave --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    To do what?
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    To refer to the matter of Bills coming to this House [Interruption] -- Not just on this but other reports coming to this House --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    I grant you leave, Hon Member -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Nitiwul 2:15 p.m.
    I am most grateful.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to state that the practice of Bills and reports of committees coming to this House, which the Hon Ranking Members have not seen them and only see them on the floor of the House, must cease; it must cease.
    I remember it has happened several times on the Finance Committee; he is here. The Hon Ranking Member may not see a report; it only surfaces on the floor of the House. If it does not capture the position of Minority, then it becomes a big problem like this particular Bill, if I understand what he is saying -- [Interruption] --
    So, like this particular thing, because he has just looked at the conclusion -- he has not been able to read the whole Bill and he thinks that the conclusion does not capture what the Minority agreed to.
    So, this particular practice must stop because the report is a report of Parliament, not a report of either the Majority or the Minority. The moment it is laid, it is the report of Parliament and all views must be captured. So, for whatever reason, this practice must stop. Mr Speaker, if it does not stop, then it would not be the report of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Agbesi 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that you have brought this matter to an end and my Hon Colleague on the other side is trying to reopen it, which would also bring us to our feet.
    There has not been any instance that the Majority has forced a report on the Minority. He has not cited an instance where the Majority has forced a report on the Minority. Any report that comes to this
    House is discussed at the committee level and the report is brought to the House. So, to say that that practice must stop -- which practice?
    It is not the best to say that that practice must stop. You brought the matter to a close; we agreed. If there is any difference, it could be ironed out between the Hon Chairman and the Hon Ranking Member. We agreed to that position.
    So, if he comes out with another issue; which issue? Which practice? No, Mr Speaker. I think that sometimes we need to move as a House. I am always of the view that we move together. If it becomes necessary for any Minority view to be expressed in the report, nobody stops that. In this case, nobody is saying that there is a Minority view which is being suppressed. Nobody is saying so. So, why this accusation?
    Mr Speaker, you brought the matter to a close and let us leave it like that. If not, it will degenerate into something else.

    Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei?
    Dr A.A. Osei 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Minority Leader made reference to examples of the Finance Committee.
    Mr Speaker, I can confirm that several times, I have had to raise this objection and the reports were not laid. The Speaker, when he was the First Deputy Speaker, ensured that they were not laid because the reports were brought to me and they were going to be laid and I raised an objection.
    It is not an issue of Minority or Majority report; it is a report of the Committee of the House. Common sense and prudence will require that members of the committee should read it. In fact, under normal circumstances, every Hon Member should read it. But out of practice, we have agreed that leadership should at least, look at it, so that it reflects what happened at the committee.
    Clearly, if a leader on our side has not seen it, how is he going to report to his Hon Collegues? That is why he must see it, at least, on behalf of the committee. This is because if you do not need input from the other committee members, then you must as well just call a meeting any time you want. But this is a Committee of the House, not a Committee of the Majority or the Minority.
    We should follow the best practice for us. After all, we want consensus. If there is disagreement, we are going to vote. So, what is the problem? But at least, let it reflect the fact that at least, leadership has had the chance, not when they bring the Addendum Paper and then somebody runs to the Hon Ranking Member and says, “Here, this is a draft.”
    I think it is an insult to the integrity of the Hon Ranking Member and to the House. It should not happen. As leaders, we are urging the Hon Member to stop this bad practice. He is part of the Leadership.
    An Hon Member 2:25 p.m.
    He says he does not know --
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:25 p.m.
    He knows. [Laughter.]
    It has been raised on the floor of the House. He was a member of the Finance Committee when these issues came up. I would want to remind him.
    An Hon Member 2:25 p.m.
    He does not remember.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi?
    Mr Agbesi 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi, before you continue.
    The Hon Minority Leader, Hon Chairman of the Committee and then Hon Ranking Member, when we rise, let us meet in the Speaker's Lobby.
    I think that the process and procedure are quite simple. We introduce a Bill; first, we should refer it to a committee. The committee debates it -- I remember in the last Parliament, the Committee on -- Was it Energy, sat on a certain matter of conflict of interest -- At that time, the Hon Chairman of the Committee was Hon Moses Asaga. In Minority, I have seen several reports where the Majority and the Minority opinions have been expressed. It can be done.
    But even when you disagree with certain things, when they come to the Second Reading, you can bring them up as there are opportunities to bring them up. All is not lost. But let us meet and discuss it. So, as far as we are concerned, we bring this matter to a close. We have not made any orders; we have not given any guidance. The only request we make
    is that we should all meet and see how we can take the process forward. But as it stands now, the Report has been duly laid and it is for distribution.
    Thank you.
    Hon Members, we will meet in the Speaker's Lobby.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah — rose --
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 2:25 p.m.
    The understanding is that we have not been able to resolve the issue here. So, it should be on record, and we are going to continue with further consideration. I think this should be captured here.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    The understanding I have is that, according to our procedure, the Report has been duly laid -- But that is your difficulty, yes. And what you did was that you got up
    -- 2:25 p.m.

    Mr I. K. Asiamah 2:25 p.m.
    I did not catch your eye but I was on my feet when he was reading.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    But even after he finished speaking [Interruption] -- Do not worry. It is after 2.00 o'clock. We will close soon.
    Even after he finished speaking, when you got up, you did not tell me that you did not catch my eye. What you said to me was that you are not objecting to the laying of the Report, rather you were reserving the rights. That was why I quickly intervened and asked the Hon Minority Leader whether there was any such procedure as “reservation of rights.”
    Even at that stage, I was still not even told that what you intended to do was in fact, to arrest the Report but the Report had been duly laid. Hon Minority Leader, it has been laid. There is nothing -- My hands are tied. It is like evidence being given in court. The judge cannot remove the evidence; it is duly laid.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want us to revisit this matter --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Pardon me?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    I said, I do not want to revisit the reasons --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Thank you. And that is why we should meet in the Speaker's Lobby.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    But the arrangement behind the curtain --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Then do not bring it outside the curtain.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Right!
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    That is why we should meet in the Speaker's Lobby.
    Hon Members, thank you very much.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:25 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.32 p.m. till Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014 at 10.00 a.m
  • Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Ms Ayamba 1:15 p.m.
    82 women have had fistula repairs, 600 women have been sensitized on both child bearing and female genital mutilation.
    Mr Speaker, stakeholder consultations with twenty distr icts and forty communities in ten regions to obtain community input from seven thousand Ghanaians have been undertaken to make sure that the activities of the Ministery of Gender, Children and Social Protection are well catered for.
    Mr Speaker, on page 120, paragraph 660, 800 orphans have been provided with shelter and care, 1,406 people have been trained as caregivers.
    Mr Speaker, 2,234 children in orphanages have been re-united with their families, 45 orphanages have been closed down for not meeting the requirements.
    Mr Speaker, in taking care of these activities, the Minister herself has taken the trouble to go round to monitor and to ensure that these activities are well done. The Ministry has undertaken an exercise of registering the poor, elderly and needy in society on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
    Mr Speaker, in caring for the poor and needy also, the Minister made a Statement on the floor of this august House on the Kayayie, and in order to mitigate some of