Debates of 2 Dec 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 1st December, 2014.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, just so that the Votes and Proceedings shall capture what indeed, transpired on the floor of this House, I am certain in my mind that my distinguished Hon Colleague opposite was not with us in this Chamber yesterday. I know that he was undertaking very serious enterprises outside this Chamber in the interest of a course that he solemnly believes in.
Mr Speaker, certainly, the Hon Member was not with us and yet the Votes and Proceedings capture him as having been present in this House. That is very anomalous and must be corrected.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is right. At page 3 of the Votes and Proceedings, number 84, it is clearly stated that I was present. Yes, I was in the precints but not in the Chamber.

This is because as the Hon Member rightly stated, I was transacting some other official business and so, that should be corrected.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
So, what should it be? Should it be absent with permission or absent, simpliciter?
Mr Bagbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, absent with permission.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there is another one — that is number 66 on page 8, Hon Elizabeth K.T. Sackey (Mrs) —
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
It should be with per- mission —
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
With permission.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Table-Office to take note; it should be with permission.
Mr Kobla Mensah Woyome 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yesterday I was here —
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, apart from Leadership whom I try to relax the rules for — When it is time for Correction of Votes and Proceedings, as much as possible, let us try to be alert.
Mr Woyome 10:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker —
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Kindly see the Clerks-at- the-Table for correction —
Mr Woyome 10:40 a.m.
All right, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Monday, 1st December, 2014 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, we have the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum in the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.

We will start with Question number 174, standing in the name of the Hon Member for Tano North.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:40 a.m.

MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND 10:40 a.m.

PETROLEUM 10:40 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Minister?
rose
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, do you have a point of order?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know the correct designation of the Hon Minister. Is he still the Minister for Energy and Petroleum or
just Petroleum? I know there is a new creation -- Minister for Power -- and that is what I would want to know. What is the correct designation now?
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a point of disorder. -- [Laughter.] --
The Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum has been invited here to answer Questions on energy and petroleum and our Hon Colleague, the Hon Member for Tano North, correctly put the Question to him and the Question stands in the name of the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, who is to answer the Question and that is him. Nothing has changed.
He is still the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum and that is the Question that is before the House. So, I do not know why he is asking whether his designation has changed. If it so happens, he would be informed accordingly. This House would be informed and he knows it is by Instruments, not by radio announ- cements, which he knows very well.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I came in seeking information on a point of elucidation. So, by he saying that what I said or my intervention is a point of disorder; really, he got the fundamentals wrong. I came in on a point of elucidation and with respect to my Hon Colleague, Mr Speaker, may I call on him to withdraw that statement, that my own intervention was a point of disorder.
Mr Speaker, this is unfriendly and indeed, unparliamentary. Would he in that vein withdraw that and then I would proceed? Mr Speaker, this is not a day of fire. May I call on him to withdraw that?
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, do you have anything to say?
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
I do not know of any day of fire. I do not know of any day. We have the Standing Orders clearly and he rightly stood up to raise a point of order and that order could be for more information; yes, but his was a point of order.
But clearly, he knew the information and he was requesting for an information that he knew. He is my very good Friend, and if he says that that information was unfriendly, I would definitely not like to have unfriendly relations with him. So, taking a cue from him, I would withdraw that statement -- that it is the point of disorder. I can see that he is orderly dressed and so, I accept that --
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, we need to make progress and I think that we should refer for now to “the Hon Minister responsible for Energy and Petroleum” until the transitional issues are resolved.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
The reason I asked this question is -- I know these Questions were filed long before the separation that has come along. Now, I just wanted to know what the correct designation of the Hon Minister is.
Well, if we have Power, and there is an Hon Minister for Energy and Power, energy is not power and so on and so forth. But I just wanted to know. If he says to us that nothing has changed thus far, we would take it as it is.
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I correctly indicated that this is usually done by law and it is done by an Instrument. Clearly, from the Instrument, he is still the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum. We have a new Ministry that has been created for Power and the Instrument has been -- [Pause] --
So, the right thing has been done and he is still the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum.
Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Bisi community in Tano North forms part of the Ministry's ongoing SHEP-4 rural electrification project.
Installation works for High Voltage (HV), Low Voltage (LV) and substation have been completed in the community.
Customer service connections are currently ongoing and twenty-five (25) registered customers have been provided with meters and enjoying electricity supply.
The remaining communities, namely, Tano Ano, Agona, Asen and Atudrubesa, however, do not form part of any of the Ministry's ongoing electr ification projects. The communities will be considered for future electrification project in the district.
Ms Prempeh 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I know Tano Ano, Agona and Atudrubesa do not form part of the Ministry's ongoing project; my question is, when would these commu- nities be connected to the national grid?
Mr Buah 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Government is doing everything possible to ensure that we connect communities that do not have electricity projects. We are currently working with the Ministry of Finance to secure the necessary funding to be able to come to those communities. I have asked the district to compile the list of those communities that do not have electricity. So, as soon as we can secure the funding, we would come to the communities. I am sure we are going to do that as soon as possible.
Ms Prempeh 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister give us an assurance, exactly when he is talking about -- the time frame. Within what time are we looking at?
Mr Buah 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as you know, the Government's objective is to ensure that by the year 2020, we have universal access. This current Government is even more ambitious by saying that we should be able to connect all communities by the year 2016. So, we are working on this target to try to make sure that by the year 2016, we can reach as close to universal access. We are doing everything to find the necessary funding to get to these communities that do not have electricity.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Question number 175.

Ongoing electricity projects in Tano North District

Q.175. Ms Freda Akosua Prempeh asked the Minister for Energy and Petroleum when the ongoing electricity projects in the following communities in the Tano North Distr ict would be completed: (i) Ahyiayem (ii) Nsuaprem (iii) Mamponteng (iv) Onwe (v) Nkwantabisa.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Ahyiayem, Nsuapem, Onwe and Nkwatabisaform communities form part of the Ministry's ongoing SHEP-IV Rural Electrification Project in the Tano North District in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Installation works for High Voltage (HV) and Low Voltage (LV) have been completed in these communities. Transformers for substation works have been supplied to the sites and are expected to be energised by the end of December,
2014.
The Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) is currently co-ordina- ting the registration of customers whose premises have been wired. The list will subsequently be forwarded to the Ministry for release of the energy meters and accompanying service materials for
installation accordingly. The project in the communities are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.
Mamponteng community, however, does not form part of any of the Ministry's ongoing electrification projects. The community will be considered for future electrification project in the district.
Mrs Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in his Answer, said the projects in the communities ere expected to be energised by the first quarter of 2015. May I find out from him if this is an assurance to this House, that by the end of the first quarter of the year 2015, the good people of Ahyiayem, Nsuaprem and Mam- ponteng will have electricity in their communities?
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Minister?
Mr Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I took the trouble to call the contractor myself, Mega Anagkazo Company Limited, who is doing the work and I can assure the Hon Member that I am going to work with the contractor, so that we can meet the target that has been set.
Ms Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
The Minister also said that NEDCo is currently co-ordinating the registration of customers whose premises have been wired and so far, 25 people have been given their metres. I would want to find out from him when the rest of the community will receive their meters and what criterion --
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, you cannot do that. The 25 people relate to Question
174.
Mrs Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
No! It is 175. That is the Question I am asking. He is answering Question number 175.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, please, your question again?
Ms Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
The Hon Minister said that in Bisi, 25 members of the community have received their meters and I am just trying to find out when the rest of the community will also receive their meters.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
The 25 people you are talking about is in Answer number 174 and you are on Question number 175. I am not getting the “25” in the Answer provided by the Hon Minister.
Hon Member, can you help me?
Mrs Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, let me ask the question again.
Will the Hon Minister consider adding Mamponteng to the contractor's work, so that the people of Mamponteng will also have light since that is the only community left out within the catchment area when they started working? So, I would want to find out whether you would consider adding Mamponteng to the scope of work, so that they can also enjoy electricity.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Minister?
Mr Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, obviously, the communities, including Mamponteng are going to enjoy electricity and we are going to take that into account. As quickly as we can get funding, we would include Mamponteng to have electricity.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Very well.
Question number 188 standing in the name of the same Hon Member.
Oil prospecting in the Mankranho area
Q.188. Ms Freda Akosua Prempeh asked the Minister for Energy and Petroleum whether the Ministry was aware of oil prospecting, which was done in the
Mankranho area, and if so, when the Ministry was going to continue that project.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, over the years, Geological Survey has carried out geological mappings across Bechem-Nkwanta areas, including Mankranho and other parts of the Brong Ahafo Region up to the Western Region.
The Mankranho area is situated at the fringes of the bigger Voltaian Basin. The Mining Sector Support Project, funded by the EU has since acquired aeromagnetic and gravity survey over the entire basin.
Currently, reconnaissance studies to establish oil and gas prospectivity of the whole Voltaian Basin are ongoing. These studies will include the Mankranho area.
Ongoing activities include GNPC's preparations towards the drilling of six slim holes to be started early 2015.
These activities would be followed by the acquisition of seismic and full sensor gravity survey over the entire basin.
The outcome of these activities will lead to either further enhanced studies be carried out or the immediate award of blocks for exploratory activities to begin. Wherever Mankranho would be placed in the outcome study profile from the above activities would determine what kind of further work that would be carried out in the Mankranho area.
Mrs Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister if the Ministry has any record on oil prospecting or exploration done previously in the Mankranho area.
Mr Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Petroleum Com-mission has a lot of records of possibilities in the Voltaian Basin. The whole purpose of the slim hole and the work being done is to establish a petroleum system. That is what will lead to further work leading to the award of blocks and exploration. If that happens, we will communicate that to the communities. There is a lot of work that is at stake involving community engage- ments and others and those works are currently ongoing.
Ms Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I know, during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) era, a lot of feasibility studies were conducted in this area and I know that a lot of work has been done and some investors have been there. What has accounted for this delay and why has the project halted? I would want to find out what has accounted for the break, so that the Hon Minister can pursue this particular project.
Mr Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said, recognisance field work and selection of drilling sites, selection and award of drilling contracts, environmental health and safety work, are being done and community engagement in affected areas; all these actually take a lot of time. But I can assure the Hon Member that we are continuously working to establish a petroleum system, so that we can proceed from there.
Ms Prempeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, having read through the Hon Minister's Answer, I have seen a lot of technical jargons here and I believe the good people of Mankranho and my people would not understand them. We would want to find out specifically when Mankranho's project would commence.
Mr Buah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as you know, the Voltaian Basin covers almost 40 per cent of Ghana's land mass and it is important that the slim hole that is being done, is done to zero in on specific areas for further work. That is the purpose. Once we are able to zero in on the specific area for further work, the petroleum system would be established and further exploration would take place.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, we move to Question 189.
Hon Minority Leader, I thought we had a gentleman's agreement in my office this morning?
Hon Member for Yagaba/Kubori?

Connection of Yagaba/Kubori Constituency to national electricity

grid

Q.189. Mr Mustapha Ussif asked the Minister for Energy and Petroleum when the ongoing project to connect the Yagaba/Kubori Constituency to the national electricity grid would be completed.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, installation works in five communities, namely, Yagaba, Kubori, Logri No.1, Yizesi and Kunkwahave have been completed under the Northern Electrification Project being executed by Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation of China. These communities take their source of supply from the Fumbisi-Wiesi Electrification Project. The network has been completed and will be inaugurated by the 15th of December, 2014 to enable the five (5) mentioned communities to be connected to the national grid.
Mr Ussif 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker. I would like to find out from the Hon Minister whether he is aware that the whole constituency, Yabaga/Kubori Constituency, and in fact, the whole district, the Mampuruga Maduri District, not a single community is connected to the national grid as we speak.
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are very much aware of the accessibility rate of the district in question. It includes the three northern regions, to bring them to the national access rate and that is why we are focusing on bringing additional funding to electrify those communities in question.
As soon as we get funding, we would come into those communities and connect them to the national grid.
Mr Ussif 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he said the source supply for the five initial communities would be tapped from the Fumbisi-Wiesi Electrification Project.
Mr Speaker, I am also aware that as we speak, Wiesi has no electricity. Wiesi, the community where they are going to tap the source from, is not connected, yet he said by 15th December, 2014, Yagaba/ Kubori and Yezesi project would be inaugurated. So, I am wondering how they are going to get their source because he mentioned Wiesi and Wiesi, as we speak, is not connected.
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the communities in question are what I was talking about. I was talking about where the connection to these communities would come from. And I have said that they would be connected by 15th December, 2014.
I can assure the Hon Member that I am directly in touch with Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation of China,
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, we move to the next question.
Question number 215, Hon Grace Addo?
Camp, Banko, Abom, Tweapeasi, and Samanhyiakrom
(Connection to the national electricity grid)
Q.215. Ms. Grace Addo asked the Minister for Energy and Petroleum when the following communities in Manso- Nkwanta Constituency would be connected to the national electricity grid: (i) Camp (ii) Banko (iii) Abom (iv) Tweapean (v) Samanhyiakrom.
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Camp, Banko, Abom, Tweapeasi and Samanhyiakrom do not form part of the Ministry's ongoing electrification projects.
The Ministry has taken note of the communities and will consider them for connection to the national electricity grid when the necessary funding has been secured.
Ms Grace Addo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, when I read the Answer to my Question, I wondered whether the Hon Minister was connected to my District Chief Executive
(DCE).
Last week Friday, I was in the community, -- Camp, Banko, Saman- hyiakrom, Tweapeasi and indeed, Nyinahini -- which has been left out from this Question. Mr Speaker, I was informed that the DCE sent people to collect GH¢500.00 from each community because the Government was ready --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, you know things that we cannot easily verify on the floor of the House, we should be very careful about them.
Go on and ask your supplementary question.
Ms Grace Addo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, why I am saying this is that, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he said that they had not yet considered these communities to be connected to the national grid, yet my people called to inform me that the Government says it is prepared and the project is SHEP and therefore, their part should be to contribute to the project. Is the Hon Minister aware of this situation?
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not aware. What I am aware of is what I have stated. But I know that the District Assemblies, if they have enough budgetary --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Are you aware?
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
I am not aware. [Laughter.]
Ms Grace Addo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would find out again.
But I will continue to ask the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum when exactly these communities are going to benefit from the national grid.
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are working urgently to ensure that we have universal access, that all communities have access to electricity, even those that are off-grid communities. And I can assure the Hon Member that these communities would be connected as soon as we secure funding. We have targeted that we have been trying to do that, by 2016; we are going to do that.
Ms Grace Addo 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am still on my feet because these communities I am talking about are all less than 12 kilometres away from Kumasi. They are all suburbs of Pakyi No. 1 and No. 2. Gradually, they are assuming the status of an urban community and therefore, people are rushing to get land to establish their industries there.
Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister consider this necessary, that they would need the energy to go on with their projects?
Mr Buah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have two complementary projects; Government would get the funding and come and do a “thank you project” for these communi- ties. The communities, as she has stated, are within 20 kilometres of the network. If the communities are willing to purchase their own low voltage (LV) poles with the Member of Parliament's support, then they are prepared to wire their community.
If the Hon Member can really bring that community spirit and get the community involved, we the Ministry would support. That is what the Self-help Electrification Project (SHEP) is about.
So, if the Hon Member could lead that, then the Ministry would lead them and find a way to connect them faster than we could do with the “thank you projects” we are working on.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Minister, we thank you very much for attending upon the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
At the commencement of Public Business.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think we can now move on to item number 6.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Is that Report ready to be laid by the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy?
Mr Bagbin 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we can take item number 6. The Report is now being considered.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, item number 5 deferred. So, we move on to item number 6 -- Motions.
Where are we starting from? From the Minority side?
Hon Member for Nkoranza North?
MOTIONS 11 a.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from 01/12/ 2014]
  • rose
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11 a.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on his feet is mentioning some agencies owing contractors since last year. Can he tell this House, how much they owe the contractors and which contractors they owe? If he cannot, then he should withdraw the statement.
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Members, there is a well established principle in democratic Parliaments all over the world when it comes to debate of the budget of security agencies and I would want us as much as possible to be guided by those time tested principles.
    Hon Derek Oduro, what you are saying may be true but they are also asking that you provide the details.
    Hon Members, we will have time to look at the estimates of the various sector Ministries. That is when we will be looking at figures.
    At this stage, it is the principles of the budget. So, let us limit ourselves to the general policy of the budget. When we get to the allocations, those who are in debt, those who are not, those who have paid their debt, we will look at those things.
    Hon Members, I so rule and direct.
    Hon Derek Oduro, Member for Nkoranza North, you have the floor.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was just trying to say that, your ruling -- without seeming to challenge you -- may want to constrain you.
    The debt itself is in the budget. The Government itself has come to tell us that they owe. So, when somebody says that people are owed, that is the principle.
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, we are both saying the same thing. What I am saying is that, yes, it might be there, but there would be an opportunity for this House to look at the estimates. We may even decide whether the allocation to them is even sufficient to pay those arrears or debts we are talking about. We can look at the details.
    These are matters that will go to Committees and then it will fully be discussed by the committees and then they will bring reports to us. So, there is an opportunity.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, there is an opportunity.
    Mr Nitiwul 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I duly agree with you but the advice should rather go to those who are looking for the details. When the details are being sought after at the time that we would be looking at the estimates, he would give them. For now, the principle is that, they owe. Let us leave it at that.
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member for Nkoranza North, the principles, the policy.
    Maj .Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, I do not know why somebody would feel ashamed if I mention that Government and the agencies owe the contractors. Waiting for the estimates, as said by the Speaker -- the estimates will come to support what I am saying, that the agencies owe contractors for food, medicine, almost for everything --
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Oduro, kindly respect the Chair.
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) owes soldiers who have been released on pension.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Minister for Defence?
    Dr Kunbuor 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I listened to your ruling on this matter and I thought that all of us would be guided.
    My Hon Colleague who has served in the GAF before knows the strategic and security implications of putting in the public domain, what you call, “Strategic Challenges” of an Armed Forces of a sovereign country.
    It might come out innocuous; but how is the capability going to be assessed by other people in relation to putting this thing out? That is bare. We have financial challenges but to put it in the manner in which he is putting it, creates a lot of difficulties.
    He can go ahead and talk of the financial challenges that are common to all the MMDAs but to mention the Armed Forces, he knows how his Colleagues feel about matters like that.
    Maj Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, this is no secret because --
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member for Nkoranza North, ordinarily, I do not want to interfere.
    We have agreed that this debate should be as smooth as possible. Let us be guided by what I said early on.
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, why would we not mention? If Government owes nurses, teachers, doctors, what secret is it if I mention that they owe soldiers?
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, I am giving you the last chance. If you continue that way, I will cut you off because you are disrespecting the Chair. The rules are very clear and I am not going to take that from anybody.
    I said there is an opportunity to look at those things. Let us look at the policy. When we come to look at the estimates,
    APPENDIX 11 a.m.

    O 11 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, you started at eight minutes after 11; it is now 19 minutes after 11. But I will allow you to conclude. So, conclude.
    Maj. Oduro (retd.): I should conclude?
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought the general agreement was to give 15 minutes to lead Hon Members who contribute. Yesterday, we varied it because it was not a normal Sitting day and we said to ourselves that we were going to allow 10 minutes for each of the Hon Members who lead in the contribution. So, I thought that today being --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    I have been advised that it should be 10 minutes.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    That was in respect of yesterday. But today, I am not too sure that we came to any conclusion on that [Pause.] My Deputy is telling me that because of the numbers involved, it is being suggested that you give them 10 minutes.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    But entering the plenary hall, Mr Speaker, I saw several interventions. So, if you would allow him about three minutes --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, it is true Hon Minority Leader. When a Member dis- respects the ruling of the Chair, why should he be rewarded with more time. We agreed on how to go about the matter; your deputy was here; he agreed about
    how to deal with the issues he was raising on the floor of the House. There was a certain understanding, but the Hon Member decided to disrespect that direction. Are we rewarding him for disrespecting the Chair?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect to the Chair, I am not too sure that he showed disrespect. I think there was --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, when the Chair makes a ruling and an Hon Member decides to continue going contrary to the ruling of the Chair, it is a total disrespect to the Chair and that was what happened and that was what was attracting the points of order. But I will allow him to conclude.
    He is a senior Member of the House, I would give him two minutes for him to conclude.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for that and I think that matters relating to defence are part of the general evolution of the discussions in plenary in all Parliaments. Increasingly, Parliaments are taking control of defence matters; are how they should be prosecuted, is another matter. People think that, well, sensitive matters may not be discussed openly in plenary but, perhaps, maybe, in Closed Sittings.
    It is part of the evolution of parlia- mentary democracy. That is why I said I do not think that it was disrespectful. But that it was part of the sorting out of the general process of debating matters relating to defence and interior. So, I guess you would grant him space, the two minutes -- quarter loaf is still better than nothing.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    I will give him two minutes.
    Hon Members, I believe that this House should be properly briefed on all matters of defence and national security.
    That is my position and that is the position of the Chair. But how we debate it is a different matter.
    Hon Member for Nkoranza North, I will give you two minutes.
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Thank you for giving me two minutes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Additional two minutes, Hon Member. You have the floor.
    Maj Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, Government said they were going to construct a military hospital in Kumasi to cater for the northern sector of the Armed Forces. It has appeared in the budget for almost four years. As we speak now, every year, it is about 70 per cent complete. When is the hospital going to be completed? We do not know.
    Government also mentioned that almost all the Garrisons are going to have 20- bedroom hospital accommodation for what they call Medical Reception Centres (MRS) -- in the whole country.
    As we speak, not even a single block has been laid in any of the Garrisons. Why is it so? These are the questions that we are asking.

    Mr Speaker, let me land on the accommodation for the security agencies.

    Government tells us that they are going to complete the accommodation for members of the security agencies. Mr Speaker, as we speak, there are uncompleted buildings for all the security agencies throughout the whole country -- Takoradi, Ho, Sunyani and Accra,

    et. cetera. All these buildings are sitting there and rats and cockroaches have moved into them, which are about 70 to 80 per cent complete. Government thinks that they are going to construct new ones; what are we doing to complete the old accommodation for the members of the security agencies?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, your two minutes are up.
    Maj. Oduro (retd) : They are almost up or up?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    It is up.
    Maj. Oduro (retd) : Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Fritz Baffour.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Fritz F. Baffour (NDC -- Ablekuma South) 11:27 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion, that this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    The security of this nation, the protection of her borders and the public safety and protection of the citizens and their bonafide property are a key responsibility of the Government of Ghana and that are being done.
    A lot of questions are being asked about some of the logistics and infras- tructural development of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Ghana. One thing that I have realised is that ,there is a certain constituency in this country, that when ongoing projects are going on and they are not completed; those projects are deemed not to be in existence.
    At the moment, all throughout the Military Garrisons of the Republic of Ghana, the Security Services Garrisons and the various Camps, construction is going on for apartments and accommo- ation for those various services. [Hear! Hear!] As you know, the Armed Forces has got reputation for international peacekeeping throughout the world.
    They have served since 1960 in the Congo, Middle East, Liberia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali, and they have had observer status in so many places. They have a reputation and our Government has recognised that reputation and the responsibility of the Government to support the Armed Forces of this country. So, things have been done.
    Very recently, a hanger was built at the airport for the Air Force -- We have bought the necessary planes; the necessary inputs, at least, four ships are working along the coast, protecting our fishery areas and oil rigs. [Hear! Hear!] If this is not a responsibility that we are undertaking, then I do not know what is happening.
    The sterling performance of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service in peacekeeping is renowned throughout the world. Therefore, it is for us to know that, since they are bringing applaudings to this country, we really have to support them.
    So, certain things have been done. The Hon Member who spoke previously mentioned the hospital; it is something; that our Government is determined to complete. We did say that in 2015, 70 per cent would be completed, and that we know and they know, that the building is under construction and work is being done.
    The Police Hospital in Accra has gone very far in terms of construction. [Hear! Hear!] So, there is the “can-do” thing, that our Government has to ensure that this Government is supportive of the Ghana Armed Forces and the various security services.
    We have seen an improvement -- through innovative means, the Ghana Police has been able to use the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to acquire the necessary accommodation in certain police quarters in this country. That innovation has carried on to the visibility of the police in their operations, to the fact that we are apprehending hardened criminals and miscreants, and that certain things are being done to ensure that the people of Ghana are safe.
    There is still a lot more to be done, and the Government recognises that, and to that extent, we are doing so much to ensure that it happens. When we look at the disaster and conflict management aspect of our sector, we realise that the National Disaster Management Organi- sation (NADMO) has been given certain inputs and we need to reinforce their logistical support base. We know very well that the Ghana National Fire Service has received --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:27 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
    Mr Baffour 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    We know that the Ghana National Fire Service has received 80 fire tenders that would be given to various districts throughout the country, and that, a lot of work has been done in building fire stations. When we look at the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), which is a
    situation at the moment, we realised that at least, they have been effective throughout the period that we have been in Government.
    Mr Speaker, I have to go back and talk about the police; that the work that they have done has manifested in a reduction of crime. If we look at the statistics, it shows that crime is being reduced throughout the country.
    Now, let us look at the Gaming Commission, which is a very little known institution within the sector that my Committee oversees.
    The Gaming Commission has instituted measures with the help of the Financial Intelligence Centre to monitor the kind of revenue the gaming houses get; the casinos, and everything. So, gradually, the Gaming Commission itself is becoming a self-sufficient institution, and we hope that one day, it would be taken off and become something that would work on its own internal revenue.
    Before I sit down, I would like to say that this Financial Policy is committed to the support of the defence and interior sector of Government, and that this Government has always been one that has been in tune with the security and public safety situation of this country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of the Hon Kwaku Agyeman-Manu. [Interrup- tions.]
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (NPP-- Dormaa Central) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have taken a good look at the budget, and the more I try to read it, the more I get confused. This is because of the conflicting strategies that we are trying to use to do what they call “Trans- formational Agenda” -- and I would want to ask: Wat are we transforming?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Chief Whip? What do you have to say?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on his feet, has already said that he is confused, and I would want to know whether we should spend time, listening to a confused person. [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, you are out of order.
    Please, proceed, Hon Agyeman-Manu.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hope you are just buying time with this type of interjection. But I would want to tell my own friend, Hon Ahmed that, I, that the more I read the budget, the more I get confused. As I stand here, Mr Speaker, I am not reading the budget, so, how confused am I?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, please, proceed.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Let my Colleagues know that in my view, these types of interjections would not take me out of my trajectory, and I
    would be guided by my own principles to do what I want, no matter what type of hecklings they may want to come up with.
    Mr Speaker, I am demanding that they tell us what and how they have utilised the Eurobond that was contracted in the course of this year. That is nowhere in the budget. We want to know this, because they cannot just come and tell us that they have succeeded in contracting Eurobond, and they have utilised it to finance infrastructure. They should tell us what specific infrastructure they have been using that Eurobond for. They have kept quiet over it, and nobody would want to tell us this. But we demand to know.
    Mr Speaker, I have asked that it is transformational indeed, because what type of transformation is it?
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, let me read paragraph 121 of the budget that was read by my very good Friend, Hon Seth Terkpeh:
    “Ghana's successful structural transformation rests on three strategic interventions namely:
    strengthening and deepening the essential elements and institutions of good governance;”
    Mr Speaker, what are the institutions of good governance? Somebody should dare to tell me which particular institution of good governance we are investing so much to yield any good results that would give us the strengthened institution that would put us on that transformed agenda. It is nowhere.
    Mr Speaker;
    “promoting export-led growth through products that build up on Ghana's comparative strength in agricultural raw materials...”
    Mr Speaker, this is a strategy. But where is it going to be operationalised in this budget? Which sector is going to benefit from this so-called strategy we have put here? I will go on;
    “anchoring industrial development through prudent use of natural resources based on locally processed value addition...”
    Mr Speaker, what natural resource are we processing? What is the evidence of our intention to process any natural resource in our country in the medium- term to let us achieve that transformational agenda? Mr Speaker, what is the evidence in the budget that would tell us how we are even going to grow a particular resource, that we would process to add value, to achieve that transformational agenda that we are talking about? It is nowhere in the budget, and that is what makes me tell you that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me go on.
    Paragraph 122, is even sad, and I beg to quote:
    “The strategic direction for the medium term development policy will be to leverage Ghana's natural resource endowments and enhance agricultural potential and human resource for accelerated economic growth and job creation”.
    Mr Speaker, leveraging what resource endowments? Our oil is already leveraged. So, are we now going to leverage cocoa? Or what again are we going to leverage?
    Mr Speaker, when you read these things, apart from getting confused, what other option do you have?
    Mr Speaker, let me say again that, this is our intention, to tell us that we are going to continue to borrow, and I ask the Hon Finance Minister, and whoever is over there, and my Hon Colleagues, to tell me; do we still even have space to borrow? Let me read again, with your indulgence, paragraph 184.
    These things are very sad Mr Speaker, and we sit here and do not read and read some meaning into it. We say -- [Hear! Hear!]-- And we are pressing nobody.
    Mr Speaker, this is a very startling revelation from the same Finance Minister, who is talking about Transformational Agenda. When you have not stabilised the micro environment, how do you generate growth? And it manifests even in the growth projection for 2015. We crossed 4.7 per cent including oil in 2014, and we are transforming an economy, and you tell us that the first year of transformation, we would grow 3.9 per cent. What a sad thing.
    Mr Speaker, let us hear.
    “Total public debt is projected to assume unsustainable trajectory if primary deficit is at its past 10 year average of about 4.3 per cent or the local currency depreciates by 30 per cent in 2015”.
    This is the Finance Minister telling us his fears.
    If this happens, we are on a trajectory; that makes our debts thing unsustainable. Yet, we think of borrowing. Some part of the budget tells us the strategies we would use to continue to borrow. How do we achieve transformation?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me conclude in just two seconds.
    This budget, from my expert view and from the view of any good economist, will tell you that we are not going to achieve anything. Apart from hardships that the budget itself admits will be inflicted on us in 2015, we will go beyond the pain we are going through this year.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor, the Minister for Defence.
    Minister for Defence (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor)(MP) 11:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution to this Motion.

    But I guess that, one can be taken serious if he or she still presents his or her side of the view in a manner that is understood.

    In fact, I intend to make my contribution in the most civil --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, I hope you have not forgotten the arrangement? If you have a point of order, channel it through your Leadership.
    Yes, Hon Minister, proceed.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I also understand that this Motion is about the economic policy with a comeback on the estimates at the appropriate time of considering this budget.
    Mr Speaker, I have heard some concerns being raised, and I think that the stage we have reached now, those concerns will be better addressed holistically when we come to consider the estimates.
    We also intend as a Ministry and defence sector, to make sure that we engage our Parliamentary Committee on very important and equally sensitive issues at the time that we will consider the estimates.
    Mr Speaker, I only intend now to put a context on the policy that we have been implementing.

    I will invite Hon Members to visit the site in Afari to see it.

    The second consideration is that, the Afari Military Hospital is not a military sick bay; it is a serious state of the art architecture. That is why almost all the modern needs of a military hospital are being taken into consideration.

    I would like to also add that, there is no company or even a platoon level in any of the garrisons in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), where there is no ready health facility available.

    It would have been a proposal that every Garrison will get a smaller military facility. It has been on the drawing board. But the GMA prioritises and reviews things as the strategic demands of the time come. So, we do not work just like any other Metropolitan, Municipal or District (MMD).

    We do the prioritisation and know it is still on the board, but we are begining to address the health needs of the GAF from a very specific context. But that issue will be taken on board.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to register this point, that the global defence and security architecture have changed dramatically over the past two decades.

    The methods that we used two or three decades ago, are not the same ones that can be used. As a matter of policy, the Ministry of Defence has to revise its own defence policy, strategic arrangements and combat readiness at various levels. It happens not to be what is visible to the public.

    In fact, in January 2011, the Armed Forces Council came out with a very clear change in the defence policy. This is because, the old trends that we knew are beginning to recede to the background, and very sophisticated and new trends are coming. And so, we must adopt a defence strategy and policy that addresses the changing global trends.

    Mr Speaker, it is in this context that, you will see that the first major step that has taken place is that, the entire command structure of the GAF has changed.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:40 a.m.


    We had a Northern and Southern Command. Today, we have a Northern, Central and Southern Commands. [Hear! Hear!] These changes in the command structure are very --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Minister, you have five more minutes.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to plead with the Hon Minister, that his own presentation should be situated in the context of the economic policy. That is number one.
    Number two, Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister started by indicating to us that he will deliver his own presentation in a very calm voice. Now, he is pitching.
    Mr Speaker, so may I tell him to remove the beam in his eyes -- [Laughter.] I do not want to question the conduct of the Hon Minister. This is because I am well informed of our Standing Orders -- Order 93 (5), which provides that:
    “The conduct of Mr. Speaker, Members, the Chief Justice and Judges of the Superior Court of Judicature shall not be raised….”
    I am not raising his conduct. So, I thought that, he would also not do same even if it were by inference.
    Mr Speaker, let me rest my case because, you have told him that he has just five more minutes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will take a cue from the Hon Minority Leader, but more significantly, to always say the stanza in the Lord's Prayer, that the Lord should let me resist temptation.
    What is significant in what I have been trying to indicate has been why there is a policy shift in our defence posture, and why the command structure represents that policy shift.
    Most significantly that, the future trust is to make sure that every regional capital, at least, has a minimum of a military base for good reasons. I am happy to announce that as we speak, the joint operations (DJ) is on how we can get a military detachment in the Central Region, particularly in Cape Coast as we work towards getting full barracks for it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, can we have some order?
    Yes Hon Minister, please, proceed.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess that I have to draw my Colleagues' attention to the wording that has been used on the defence sector in the budget for them to understand.
    I am actually unpacking the loaded statement that has been put in terms of readiness to defend the territorial integrity of this country. Your territorial integrity defence has to do with capability, it has to do with morale, it has to do with technical capability, it has to do with many more things.
    So, I am just indicating to you that when you are talking about combat readiness, there are many things that go into it, and that it is significant for us to draw attention into how as a matter of policy, we are putting ourselves in readiness as a modernised Armed Forces to make sure that we discharge our main mandate.
    Mr Speaker, I would crave your indulgence to know, I am also the acting Minister for the Interior. So, that gives me additional leverage for Mr Speaker to allow me to be able to beat the entire security ground. This is because my Colleague Minister is on leave and I am acting as the Minister.
    Mr Speaker, all I need to indicate is that, security is one of the issues as a matter of policy --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Minister, you have one more minute.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    Security is one of the issues, as a matter of policy, that we take for granted. But it is when you have lost security like other countries have lost it, that you begin to see its value.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Keyi-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted us to indulge him, because he tells us that the Hon Minister responsible for the Interior is on leave. Just to remind him that in that case, he would be in charge of national security. Can he brief us on national security? -- [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    I hope the Hon Minority Leader is not usurping my position.
    Hon Minister, you are through.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:50 a.m.
    Thank you very much. But it is on the lighter side. The Minority Leader knows that national security matters are not discussed at the plenary. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, the next contributor is in the person of Hon Dr Appiah-Kubi.
    Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi (NPP-- Atwima Kwanwoma) 11:50 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to participate in the debate on the Budget and Economic Policy Statement of the Government of Ghana, 2015, presented by the Minister respon- sible for Finance on 19th November, 2014.
    Mr Speaker, according to a recent Afrobarometer survey, the topmost policy priority that Ghanaians would like the Government to address is, economic management. This is because the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians, and that is 82 per cent of Ghanaians believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.
    They hold that view because they do not believe the Government and the budget particular can address the major problems confronting this nation, and those problems include reducing poverty levels, creating jobs and improving economic and living conditions of the people of Ghana.
    Let me touch on the poverty challenge facing this country. Yes, income poverty levels appear to have reduced, but let us not forget that the poverty levels of this country are still higher than the poverty levels of the non oil producing lower middle income countries. And that is the question that people are asking themselves: “Where is this country heading towards”?
    Mr Speaker, today, about 6.7 million Ghanaians, equivalent to a quarter of the total population of Ghana do not earn GH¢ 1,314.00 a year. These people are so poor that they can barely afford food and other needs, and about 2. 2 million Ghanaians are so extremely poor that they do not earn an annual income of GH¢792.00, necessary to feed themselves.

    And these people are those living in Agbogbloshie, Fadama, Aboabo and largely, those living in the three northern regions. The farmers who produce the food for us to eat, ladies and gentlemen, let us ask ourselves: “Does this budget address the poverty needs of these people”? No.

    But in 2014 for instance, the Government's spending on cocoa activities to alleviate the plight of the poor in these areas did not only decline, it fell short of planned expenditures by about 27 per cent.

    Actual expenditure in the previous year, 2013, also fell short by 18.6 per cent. This situation is going to get worse in 2015. The total Government spending on cocoa activities is expected to fall relatively in 2015.

    By the way, what has happened to the targeted social interventions initiated by President Kufuor and President Mills' Administrations to alleviate poverty among the vulnerable people in Ghana? National Youth Employment - agye agu. School Feeding Programme?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Capitation Grant?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    National Health Insurance?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Free maternal healthcare?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Free Metro Mass Transport?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Free school uniforms?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Free exercise books and textbooks?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA)?
    Some Hon Members 11:50 a.m.
    Agye agu!
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Indeed --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, I did not hear the word clearly. Is it --
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Agye agu
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Agye agu. What does that mean?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Caput
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Can you translate it, Hon Member?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Caput. Indeed, Mr Speaker --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:50 a.m.
    On a point of Order.
    Mr Speaker, I hope my Hon Colleague would take what we are doing very serious. He kept mentioning things that nobody even knew their meaning, and he knew very well our Standing Orders are very clear.
    Mr Speaker, in any case, I heard him talking about free maternity --
    Dr Appiah-Kubi 11:50 a.m.
    Free maternal healthcare.
    Alhaji Muntaka 11:50 a.m.
    Free maternal healthcare. He said it has done what? He knows that, that is not true. He is saying that the free maternal healthcare is no longer in existence.
    Mr Speaker, we had the privilege of the Hon Minister for Health just last week being in this House. We had a detailed, factual information of what was on the ground. I do not know whether my Hon Colleague was either not in the House or when he was here, maybe, he was sleeping.
    I do not know what might have happened, but I think that he should be serious with what he is saying, because he kept mentioning words, and then you get some chorus response. You do not know what that is, because that is not part of our Standing Orders, and that is not how we conduct business of this House on the floor.
    So, I hope that he would be called to order, that if he is addressing the House, he should address us appropriately, and not be calling for some chorus response from the backbenchers.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Chief Whip who would want, perhaps, to emerge with his own characterisation -- You do not get up in this House and say to a Colleague Member that if he was in the Chamber, he was sleeping.
    Mr Speaker, those words are rather offensive, and he must withdraw them.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, Hon Majority Chief whip, can you please, withdraw that portion of the statement?
    Alhaji Muntaka noon
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry if that sounded offensive. I did not mean to hurt him. I withdraw that word. But the emphasis is that, the Minister for Health was here and we all heard the facts. I thought -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    That point has been made. So, once you have withdrawn the word and apologised, could we move on?
    Yes, Hon Member, could you proceed with your submission?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, yes indeed, the Minister was in the Chamber and he attempted to convince us about facts on the ground.
    In his own view, what the Minister did was not persuasive enough. That is the point that he is saying and he is entitled to his own subjective opinion. Allow him to also enrich himself with what he thinks is what obtains on the ground. And he is speaking to the issues.
    Mr Speaker, can we allow him to go on and stop the Majority Chief Whip from what he is doing?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon
    Mr Speaker, let me touch on SADA. Indeed, my heart bleeds when I think about SADA. Such a laudable initiative meant to promote development in the three northern regions and other savanna areas to reduce poverty in these areas.
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon


    In the three northern regions, they account for 57 per cent of the total population of Ghanaians who are extremely poor and SADA was supposed to reduce the poverty levels of these people. What has become of SADA?
    Some Hon Members noon
    Agye agu!
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon
    That is what I meant by agye agu.
    The Budget that we are debating does not provide a single line item to finance the pro-poor of SADA and you are telling me that “engye ngue”. Agye agu! In 2015
    -- noon

    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon Member, you have one more minute to go.
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon
    Oooh!
    Mr Speaker, indeed, it is no wonder that the majority of Ghanaians and that is 76 per cent, rate the performance of this Government in improving living standards as fairly bad and very bad.
    Mr Speaker, let me also touch on job creation. Concerning job creation, the less you talk about the budget, the better.
    The 2015 Budget treats job creation as a by-product of Governments economic policy and especially, a by-product of Government's fiscal policy; getting the fiscal policy right would create jobs. It does not work that way.
    The recent Ghana Statistical Service Report estimates the unemployment rate to be about 5.2 per cent and more than one-third of the working population are unemployed.
    Mr Speaker, allow me to compare the unemployment rate of --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon Member, please, conclude. Your time is up.
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon
    Mr Speaker, allow me to compare the unemployment rate of other countries like Burkina Faso. The unemployment rate of Burkina Faso is about 2.3 per cent. That of Ghana is 5.2 per cent, Madagascar is 2.6 per cent and the worst affected people who are unemployed are the youth.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon Member, I have told you that your time is up.
    Dr Appiah-Kubi noon
    Mr Speaker, what I would want to say is that, the rising unemployment challenge demands serious attention and political commitment. We must, as a matter of urgency, reverse the rising unemployment challenge -- [Interruption]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Thank you, Hon Member.
    Hon Members, the next person to take the floor is in the person of Hon Albert Abongo.
    Mr Albert Abongo (NDC -- Bongo) noon
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
    I rise to make my contribution and to urge this Honourable House to approve the Financial Policy Statement of the Government for the year ending 2015.
    Mr Speaker, I would limit my contribu- tion to the communication sector. Government has committed itself to the development of the overall infrastructure of this country and has not left out the communication sector.
    We all would agree that tactile con- nectivity and information dissemination is very important for speeding up productivity in all sectors of this economy. Government therefore, takes seriously, the development of ICT infrastructure and training through
    several interventions by agencies of the Ministry of Communications.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to mention just a few of the infrastructural developments that have taken place. We have the National Data Centre, which is currently under construction and you can see that, that is near completion physically.
    Mr Speaker, Government is also undertaking the 70/80kilogram eastern corridor fibre-optic project and that is measured to be about 60 per cent overall completion.
    Mr Speaker, there are also plans to pursue the western corridor offshore fibre- optic and network to serve the offshore oil platforms and the neigh-bouring Western Region areas. We can all see how important such a project is.
    Mr Speaker, Government is also undertaking the e-Government infrastruc- ture project with the construction of 90 long-term evolution sites, 30 of these sites are completed and the remaining are ongoing.
    Mr Speaker, the other sectors, like the Ghana Meteorological Services Department is also improving on its infrastructure and would soon receive a new radar communication system that would enable them to provide efficient and timely reporting on the weather conditions in the country.
    Mr Speaker, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), within the year, would also be licensing and opening up 20 new community radio stations for the dissemination of information in the local communities across the country.
    Mr Speaker, in 2015, there would be the construction of the Digital Terrestrial Television Infrastructure to enhance digital terrestrial television reception
    across the country as we now move to use digital television as a medium for communication.
    Mr Speaker, the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) which was established to provide investment in the electronic communica- tion sector is also doing well. They have already provided 100 institutions with internet connectivity. They have established ICT centres for the Ghana National Fire Service at its regional offices.
    Mr Speaker, 600 desktop computers to 40 Community Information Centres have been supplied and 40 community centres were opened in various communities across the country. They are also undertaking capacity building of nurses in the nursing schools and also building the capacities of the Community Information Centre Managers.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
    Mr Abongo noon
    -- for girls in secondary schools. Mr Speaker, for the excellent works that GIFEC has done over the years, they were recently awarded by the International Telecommunications Union for being an organisation that has been proactive in extending communication infrastructure to the rural communities in this country.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would say that this country needs efficient comm- unication infrastructure for, one, the efficient operations of our security set up. Education at all levels could be better enhanced if we have good internet connectivity right to the rural areas.
    Mr Alex K. Agyekum (NPP -- Mpohor) 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to link up the issue of unemployment, especially among our youth who are in their productive age. We just heard that the rate of unemploy- ment in our country is about 5.2 -- very high in the sub-region.
    Mr Speaker, the Government's Policy for new recruitment for 2015 is that, there is not going to be any new recruitment. If we are churning out almost 50,000 graduates every year and the public sector, as a policy by the Government, which says that no new recruitment, then the private sector, which is supposed to absorb them by the harsh economic policy of the Government, became virtually being crowded out because interest rates are high and the energy sector is just making industries unable to produce optimally.
    They are laying off workers and the private sector, which is supposed to recruit these people who are coming out, is also being crowded out. Mr Speaker, we are building up active youth that would have nothing to do and we all know the
    cliché that “the devil finds work for the idle hands”.
    Events happening in neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso should tell us that we need to put up policies that would create jobs for our teeming youth. Mr Speaker, I am asking the Hon Minister for Finance to bring out policies that would take care of this situation that we have.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    The Hon Member speaking has made a categorical statement, which if not corrected, would go against the country as a whole. He is saying that the Government's policy of non recruitment. The Hon Deputy Minister for Finance has hinted me that there is no policy of non recruitment but there is non- recruitment in over-staffed areas. [Interruption] So, he must complete it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Very well, point well taken.
    Yes, Hon Member --
    Mr A. K. Agyekum 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what we are saying is that we have a serious challenge at hand now. There should be a policy to absorb these teeming youth and I made reference to it here in Parliament.
    Every year not less than 100 national service personnel are engaged here and when they finish with their service, they are thrown into the street. You present a budget and you call this budget a budget of hope for the youth. Is that what you are telling us?
    Mr Speaker, coming back to security issues, when we have a lot of these productive youth who have nothing to do roaming in the streets, it has security implications.
    Secondly, Mr Speaker, in the 2015 Budget Statement, there were certain things that were reported in the 2014 Budget, which I was expecting the Hon Minister to make mention of. For example, we were told that the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in 2014 was going to do certain specific projects as outlined in the 2013 Budget.
    In 2014, we did not see anything and the flood situation in Accra attests to the fact. That is why in the 2015 Budget, they have not been able to report specifically what interventions they did as far as their activities were concerned.
    The National Peace Council -- Mr Speaker, if you read paragraph 712 of the 2015 Budget, it is just a photocopy of paragraph 806 of the 2014 Budget. What are we talking about? It is like when they are presenting the budget, they just lifted some sections and pasted them in the current budget. It means they do not have anything to do. They are just recycling statements in the previous budgets. They should go back and check that.
    Small arms -- Mr Speaker, we have difficulties in maintaining peace, especially in the North. In the 2014 Budget, it was reported that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
    Mr A. K. Agyekum 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was reported that they were going to mobilise the local blacksmiths into an association, give them an alternative livelihood programme but nothing was said about that particular programme in the 2015 Budget. So, if you report about a programme of activities that you are going to put up as far as security issues are concerned, and you do not record
    them, it is like just coming to satisfy a constitutional requirement -- they will present the budget. Whatever they have done in the previous year, they would not do anything about it and it would just be to come and promise additional ones.
    Mr Speaker, coming to the operational situation of our Armed Forces, we all agree that there are certain things that we ought to be discreet about the security situation. We need not mention these things in plenary. But I would want the Hon Minister for Defence, if he is around, to go down to the operational level.
    As a member of the Defence and Interior committee, I have visited the various Garrisons. I have gone to the various barracks and Members here would attest to the fact that nothing is being done as far as accommodation issues of our officers and men serving this country are concerned.
    On the STX loan, we were promised that they were going to use some of it to provide accommodation, but when it collapsed, what are they saying about it again? Now, we have affordable houses standing in the bush. Why can we not have a policy to go back and rehabilitate those houses for our security forces? Nothing has been said in this budget and we come here and we have a whole Minister preaching and telling us that all is well. We do not want to go into details because of the security implications, but I would want the Hon Ministers of Interior and Defence to go down to the operational level and see the kind of situation our men and officers are facing as far as accommodation is concerned.
    All of us here and back in our constituencies, know exactly what the police officers are going through. We come here and we pretend as if all is well with them. Mr Speaker, I am saying all
    Mr A. K. Agyekum 12:10 p.m.


    these things because I believe when we come to the estimates, we would be able to give specific figures to show that nothing is being done by this Government.
    An Hon Member 12:10 p.m.
    Will you drink water?
    Mr A. K. Agyekum 12:10 p.m.
    I will not -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I woould want the Hon Minister for Finance to be aware of the fact that we were here when we had a lot of fire outbreaks. As we speak now, no official report has been brought to Parliament for us to know the causes of those fire outbreaks. And now, we sit here and say that all is well and that we have been provided with fire tenders, et cetera.
    Look at the high-rise buildings in Accra alone. As we speak, the turn-table ladder that the Ghana National Fire Service uses, they have only five of them in the whole country. And as a member of this Committee, I am aware of the handicap of the Service in combating some of these emergencies. And the Hon Minister comes in here and tells the whole House that all is well. I would want the Hon Minister for Finance to ensure that the estimates that are given to these agencies are such that they would be able to procure those things, so that our country can rise up to the challenges when there is any fire outbreak.
    Mr Speaker, I will end by saying that, if you see a bending tree and you want to straighten it, you do not go and straighten
    its shadow, you tackle the tree itself. By straightening the tree, the shadow will also be straightened.
    Unfortunately, this Government is only tackling the shadow of the tree. The basics, that is, the thing that it is supposed to be doing. But the Government is not doing and rather it is tacking things that are non fundamental.
    I would wish that the Hon Minister takes back this budget and do a lot of homework, and come back to this House to present a budget that would stand the challenges which this country is facing.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, we now have Mr Ato Sarpong, the Deputy Minister for Communication to make a contribution.
    Deputy Minister for Communication (Mr Edward A. Sarpong): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I would continue from where the Hon Chairman of the Communication Committee, Hon Abongo left off, and start by saying that, over the last year, the period under review, Government commenced work on the National Business Processing Out- sourcing Centre at the former Public Works Department's (PWD's) ware- houses. When completed, that project is expected to create a little over 10,000 jobs.
    Mr Speaker, last year or so, we commenced the building of Community Information Centres. So far, we have constructed about 20 of these Community
    Information Centres. In addition, we are working on Regional Innovation Centres and we are ensuring that we have one Regional Innovation Centre in every region in Ghana. So, we are constructing ten Regional Innovation Centres.
    Mr Speaker, we are constructing the Regional Innovation Centres from monies and savings that we made from the Value for Money Audit that we carried out on the e-Ghana project. So far, we have completed two; five are due for completion by the end of December, and the remaining three, by the end of the first quarter of 2015. When the Business Processing Outsourcing Centre, the Community Information Centres, the Regional Innovation Centres are put together, they would create close to 11,000 jobs when completed in 2015.
    Mr Speaker, in addition, the Ministry of Communications believes that the strength and glory of the country lies in the capacity of our women, and therefore, under the year being reviewed, we commenced with what we call the Girls in Information Communication Technology (ICT) Project.
    The girls in ICT Project trained 411 girls across the eastern part of the country. In the next two weeks, we are training another 500 girls in the Volta Region, and in the first quarter of 2015, we have planned to train another 500 girls. When done, we believe the young girls would be adequately resourced and with the necessary capacity, when they leave or get out of school, they would be able to do something within a male dominated sector such as in ICT.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to refer you to some of the numbers within the industry. As at of 30th September 2014, the number of mobile and fixed telephone lines in Ghana were 30,075,702. If you compare the number in August of 2014 and in
    September of 2014 alone, within that one month period, the mobile subscriber base went up by 0.94 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, we can attribute this to three main things. The first one is the policies and regulations within the environment, the second is competition and the third is investment being made by the mobile network operators within the sector.
    In view of that, a couple of months ago, we went to Cabinet with new policies and framework aimed at changing and making the industry a lot more fluid than it used to be. We have four additional policies that we would be implementing in 2015. One is the inter-connected Networks House, which would bring transparency within the mobile telecommunication sector and also facilitate the assurance round our revenues.
    Secondly, we are introducing what we call the International Wholesale Traffic, and therefore, offering opportunity for Ghanaians and local entrepreneurs to be part of the mobile network industry. We are also introducing a Mobile Virtual Private Network Licence that would also be given to locals to be able to also participate in the sector.
    Mr Speaker, over the last one year, as the Hon Chairman of the Communication Committee said, we have invested and followed closely the eastern corridor fibre project. 780 kilometres of fibre is currently being deployed, and it is at various stages of completion, and it is expected that by the end of June 2015, the project would have been completed and would open up the eastern corridor of the country to many entrepreneurs as well as mobile operators to improve the quality of services within that sector.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, five minutes more.
    Mr Sarpong 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    We are not ending there. Going into 2015, we are looking at implementing the eastern corridor fibre-optic network as well, and the offshore project. A total of 670 kilometres of terrestrial fibre would be deployed as well as 370 kilometres of offshore fibre would be also deployed. When done, this nation would be the first, probably in Sub-Saharan Africa to have a nationwide fibre across the entire country. That would open up opportunities for business by our local entrepreneurs as well as our young, creative and innovative people who are coming out of school.
    Mr Speaker, the one-stop service centre to provide effective, efficient, transparent and accessible governance to the citizenry was inaugurated a couple of weeks ago at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Post Office. So far, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Free Zones Board, National Communications Authority (NCA), Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Water Company Limited and the Ghana Minerals Commission are all operating from that centre. So, it is a one- stop shop. You go there and anything that you would want to do with Government can be carried out there.
    Mr Speaker, the e-Transform Project has just been launched last week. The e- Transform project is with funding from the World Bank and it is supposed to enable us automate the e-Ghana Project that I call the hardware. The e-Transform Project which is more of a software and application that would enable us to automate a lot of the things that we do. It would include e-Health, e-Justice, e-
    Immigration, e-Parliament as well as research and development activities that would transform the economy.
    Mr Speaker, I am also happy to announce the Integrated National Security Communication Enhancement Network for the oil and gas enclave, which has made significant strides with the application of one or two core networks, installation of 35 Long Term Evolution (LTE) sites and Microwave access, construction of 11 pole location sites, completion of one intelligent video surveillance platform, and installation of 51 solar power sites. 500 mobile handsets have also been delivered.
    Mr Speaker, the Data Operational Protection Act was also operationalised during the year with the launch and setting up of the Commission, appointment of three executive directors and allocation of office for work to commence. They have up to date held two interactions with the public so far.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would say that for the year 2015; we would expand it to the western corridor, focus on completing the eastern corridor projects we would expand our National LTE infrastructure; we would make changes within the telecommunication environ- ment to ensure convergence and value for users and consumers become a reality. We would implement the e-Transform Project with a tag line of five years, but we would want to do this over a three year programme.
    We would go live with the National Data Centre just across; we would operationalise our ICT part in Tema; we would launch the Business Process Outsourcing Training and create over 11,000 jobs in Ghana.
    We would move our Government for people forum to the district level; we
    would strengthen an engagement between the people, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies from moving from 12 meet- the-press to 24 meet-the-press in 2015. And in addition, ensure that we create an enabling environment for the sector to grow.
    Mr Speaker, we would continue in the year ahead to focus on our mandate of two-way information flow and the creation of an environment that allows businesses to flourish, while offering Ghanaians, converged future proved telecommunica- tion framework that meet their aspirations for our individual and collective good.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much and I wish to call the House to approve the Government's fiscal policy for 2015.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Boniface Gambila Adagbila.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    None

    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I stood up for a long while and I was striving to catch your eye, unfortunately, I could not.
    The Hon Deputy Minister was really running us through a chronicle of the achievements of Government, what Government intends to do and so on. But Mr Speaker, what we are doing now is in respect of Standing Order 140 (2).
    We are debating the Financial Policy, the principles underpinning the policy. And yet you come to us with a chronicle of achievements, yet to be done and so on and so forth. This is most unfortunate. But we have to tolerate him because I am
    told that this is his first time of contributing to the Economic Policy of Government.
    So, we will live with it for the time being but to tell him that next time, he should respect the Standing Orders; debate the economic policy, the principles underpinning those policies. As simple as that.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Gambila?
    Mr Boniface Gambila Adagbila (NPP -- Nabdam) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, having listened to the debate over the last few days, I still have some concerns relating to the youth of this country.
    The youth issues of this country have a direct relationship to do with education. If we educate, train and develop a proper youth, it means that it will lead us to having quality human resource. If we have quality human resource, it presupposes that it will lead to an increase in productivity and an improvement in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country. And that in fact, will translate to improved living conditions for people of this country, especially the youth.
    We therefore, have to look at it critically, that once there is a high correlation between education and the youth, we have to seriously factor issues of education in line with the benefit to the youth of this country. It is not for nothing that the Constitution of 1992, Chapter 5, article 25 (1) (a) and (b), recognises the fundamental rights to education and article 38(2) specifies a number of objectives relating to education.
    One critical paragraph is where it states and I beg to quote, with your permission,
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    “the Government shall, within two years after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of this
    An Hon Member 12:30 p.m.
    Are you reading the statement?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I believe we all know that Members are entitled to refresh their memory with notes. So, please, allow him.
    Mr Adagbila 12:30 p.m.
    This presupposes that the two years and the following 10 years have elapsed and at this stage, we need to go fully to implement free education for every youth of this country and not by progressively implementing free school education.
    Since the time of Nkrumah, it has been progressively implemented. After Dr Nkrumah, free education had been progressively implemented. After Rawlings, it did; after Kufuor, it did. Now, it is the time for total implementation of free education --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you afford these past Presidents with some dignity. Just mentioning “Kufuor”, “Rawlings”, “Nkrumah”; I think you could do better than that.
    Mr Adagbila 12:30 p.m.
    I understand, Mr Speaker. Thank you. I take a cue from that. It is the normal parlance.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, sometimes, we are overly concerned with titles. I believe, if my memory serves me right, I have never heard you refer to the President of America as President Obama. You call him Obama and every-body knows that he is the President of the United States of America. You do not use the title.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, in the Chamber, we need to --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought that these things would be taken for granted, that we referred to Kufuor, Rawlings, Mills, John Mahama, and we know all of them are Presidents and have been Presidents of this Republic.
    So, with respect, Mr Speaker, I know what you mean but to the extent that we refer to Obama, John Major, Putin and so on, let us take it like that and I believe all of us would have to learn useful lessons to enrich our discourse in the House.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we should be very careful when we are commenting on certain issues. Even our Standing Orders clearly specify that Hon Members must be referred to by their appropriate titles.

    Thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Very well. Thank you.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, we are all learning and I would want to crave the indulgence of my Colleague that if indeed, there is no sin in him, he should cast the first stone -- [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, we need to accord respect to our former Presidents and sitting Presidents?
    Yes, Hon Member, please, continue with your submissions.
    Mr Adagbila 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, why do I relate the youth to education? If you look at our institutions, majority of the population are the youth in schools and this problem of school fees is critical and we need to look at it to the benefit of the youth.
    Issues of allowance; if you look at the nursing institutions, the training colleges, the polytechnics, their allowances, which have been withdrawn has a very serious impact on the youth and this Budget Statement needs to revisit its stand to support the youth in these areas, so that they get allowances to help themselves in the institutions.
    Having said this, the issue of the budget being transformational is a bit questionable and I am not seeing my way clear on how it can immediately transform the youth of this country.
    When I look at the Budget Statement from 2013 to 2014, a number of things that were supposed to be implemented had not been reported as being done.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one more minute.
    Mr Adagbila 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, 700 women were also supposed to be supported under the agri-business sub-programme. This has been silent since 2013 through to 2014. 3,200 youth in the Eastern, Ashanti, Western and Volta Regions were supposed to benefit from another agricultural programme, which never surfaced.
    Mr Speaker, I would suggest that the Budget Statement be reviewed in a way to recapture these things for the benefit of the youth.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up and you are citing a new subject matter.
    Mr Adagbila 12:40 p.m.
    You said five minutes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Your time is already up. I told you, “one minute”. So, your time is up.
    Mr Adagbila 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, then let me wind up.
    Mr Speaker, all the interventions of a multi course for sports in the regions have not been listened to. Again, they are silent in the Budget Statement, which is a repetition and it means nothing has been done.
    Mr Adagbila 12:40 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, we have still not heard about issues of youth development, and bridging the gap between the northern and southern sectors of the country under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the conclusion of the GH¢38 million for the dry season tree planting, guinea fowls and the Northern Region Students Union (NORSU), that have --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Thank you for your contribution.
    Hon Members, the next to take the floor is Hon Daniel Kwesi Ashiaman.
    Mr Daniel K. Ashiaman (NDC-- Buem) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana, presented in this Parliament on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 by the Minister for Finance, Hon Seth E. Terkpeh.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to look at the communications sector a bit and move forward. As the preamble of paragraph 506; it says, and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, the Ministry exists to facilitate the development of a reliable and cost-effective world- class communications infrastruc- ture and services, driven by appropriate technological innova- tions and a two-way free flow of timely information.”
    Mr Speaker, when we talk about a transformational agenda, this is the way to go, and this Budget Statement has actually touched on these issues. In the
    first place, we are looking at the National Communication Authority (NCA), the regulator of all the telecommunication services in this country. And it is doing all these, so that Ghanaians would actually enjoy their services effectively and efficiently.
    Mr Speaker, looking at the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), just as it has been mentioned, what is this subsidiary of communication doing for this nation? Helping schools, building masts for communication and utterly ensuring that the people in your village and my village got the communication gadgets to move on with learning of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
    Mr Speaker, we are also talking about the Meteorological Services Department under the Ministry of Communications, which is helping us, especially informa- tion on air transport to know that this is what pertains as far as the weather is concerned. They also help our farmers to actually know the times and the seasons of the year. If this is true, then it means it is very essential for us to embrace the communication policy for the 2015 Budget Statement. This is because it is leading us to move from one stage to the other.
    Mr Speaker, a visit to the Ghana House where we have the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and International Technology Services (ITS) reveals a lot of things, where this subsidiary under the Ministry of Communications is training Ghanaian youth to undertake lessons in information technology to help the telecommunication institutions in this country. This is about job creation for our youth.
    We are also talking about NITA, just as my Chairman and the Hon Deputy Minister have said, it has done a lot of
    things. The eastern corridor road that has been done, my district capital, Jasikan, has been connected. Also, moving to the western corridor, which is being planned to be deployed for us to know what is happening at our oil fields -- the Atuabo Gas Plant area, so that it would be battle ready.
    Mr Speaker, an Hon Member spoke this morning about the Ghana Navy not having vessels. I can assure him that if all these things are deployed, we may need the Navy though, but that would not be so essential. This is because with this information, by the press of a button, we know what is happening at our oil fields, and we would be battle ready to combat them.
    The gimmick under communication has created incubation centres at the Ghana House. What would these people do? These young women and men are creating software that could be used education- wise to do business at the point of sale.
    Thinking about communication, it is really the artery of business of this nation. Let not that alone --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
    Mr Ashiaman 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let not that alone -- when we move to the agricultural sector and trade and industry, information is essential for this nation, and the Ministry of Communications is leading the road. Why is it essential?
    It is always said that when a Ghanaian wants to move into business, we Ghanaians try to shut these businesses down. But moving to some areas, the private sector is providing services for this country and one would realise that Ghanaians are really working.
    Even though Subah Infosolutions Limited is not a Government set up. Our visit there last two weeks revealed that all that I heard about them being a corrupt institution, dear Ghanaians, is not true. .Go there and see what Ghanaians are doing. There may be problems along the line but it is our country and we need to support Ghanaians to grow businesses.
    If we can hail all those who come from outside the country to establish businesses in this country, letting our people alone in this country not to do business, who is going to be at the forefront at the development of this nation? It is us who must be doing that. How long does it take Ghanaians to change cassava and rice into beer? This is what has been happening, and it is time to transform this type of thing in this country, so that we could move forward.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I appreciate the exuberance of my Colleague on the floor. Mr Speaker, I was just saying that I really appreciate the exuberance of my Colleague making his contribution. Mr Speaker, I know beer is being extracted from cassava. [Interruptions.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, do not use the microphone when you have not been authorised by the Speaker to do so.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is worth emphasising that this is a House of discipline; it is a House of discipline and we do not shout across the aisle.
    Mr Speaker, I was making the point that my Hon Colleague said we were changing rice into beer; we were changing cassava into beer. We are extracting beer from cassava; we are extracting beer from rice. I do not know of any process of transforming rice into beer, and cassava into beer. My Hon Colleague should not be misleading Ghanaians by saying what he is saying. Let him address the matter properly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Well, Hon Minority Leader, I can appreciate where you are coming from; it is a question of terminology.
    Hon Member, please, proceed.
    Mr Ashiaman 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Hon Minority Leader.
    We are talking of transformation and we are looking at the way Ghana is now waking up to transform the produce that we have into other products.
    So, if that is true, it also comes with information technology. This is because I asked myself several times; how long should it take us to actually operate with this simple technology for us to get our beer rather than importing malt or other things from foreign countries.
    Even though we are in a world of business, I believe Ghanaians must use the comparative advantage that we have to grow what we do not have and eat what we can grow out of what we have. I believe that is the best way to go as a nation.
    So, Mr Speaker, I also --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one more minute.
    Mr Ashiaman 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    I would also like to urge all Ghanaians to embrace this Budget Statement for this nation. We should not always be crying wolf where there is no wolf because there is no country in this world that does not owe. Ghana is part of the globalised village and so, we need to actually accept the fact and look for the way forward.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Abena Osei-Asare.
    Mrs Abena Osei-Asare (NPP -- Atiwa East) 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    This 2015 Budget Statement is called a transformational budget but it has many repetitions from the 2014 Budget Statement. The first is page 134 of paragraph 672 of the 2014 Budget, which talks about a new triangular model that would help enhance employment opportunities.

    Again Mr Speaker, under the skills development agencies, we were told in 2014, that they were going to train 49,749 persons, yet just 8,227 persons were trained, translating to just 16.34 per cent.

    Mr Speaker, to add insults to injury, we are told they would train 47,809 persons in the 2015 Budget Statement. Are we interested in just numbers or we are interested in the wellbeing of Ghanaians?

    Mr Speaker, again, in the 2014 Budget Statement, we were told that 60 labour disputes were settled. In 2015, we have fifty per cent more than what we had in 2014. This is even a small number, looking at the harsh economic conditions in this country currently. [Interruption.] [Pause.]

    Mr Speaker, is the acquisition of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, do not allow the asides to distract you.
    Mrs Osei-Asare 12:50 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Please, concentrate on your submission.
    Mrs Osei-Asare 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, is the acquisition of an ICT infrastructure, as stated in paragraph 595 of the 2015 Budget Statement the panacea to the myriad of problems? [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, address the Chair.
    Mrs Osei-Asare 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.] I am only referring to my notes -- is the acquisition of an ICT infrastructure, as stated in paragraph 595 of the 2015 Budget Statement the panacea
    to the myriad of problems under the Pensions Scheme; not to talk about the Tier Two Pension issues?
    Mr Speaker, can you believe that all the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions that have been contributed by our hardworking civil servants since the beginning of January, 2014 to September, 2014, not a single cedi has been paid, according to this Budget Statement at page 164? [Interruption.] Where is the money? ‘Na sika no wo hen?'
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Please -- [Pause.] Very well; you have translated it, so go on.
    Mrs Osei-Asare 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, does the Government expect workers to come along with them during their transformational agenda? [Interruption.] I do not think so.
    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, we would want to see pragmatic solutions to the challenges facing the employment and labour industry.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Dr Hanna Bisiw.
    Dr Louisa Hanna Bisiw (NDC -- Tano South) 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice and support the Motion on the floor of the House.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would want to dwell on enhancing domestic production to reduce import. No country can survive on imports. It is true that anytime we import, we export employment to these countries where we import from and these very countries would also be importing employment from our country.
    Dr Louisa Hanna Bisiw (NDC -- Tano South) 12:50 p.m.


    When imports increase, unemployment increases -- Unemployment, especially in our youth, as it has been spoken of and trumpeted about here today.

    Mr Speaker, one of government policies to address this domestic production is the broiler project, that the Government has started. The broiler project intends to produce 20 million birds in a twelve-month calendar year in order to revamp the broiler industry.

    The industry went down from 80 per cent of local production for our local consumption to 20 per cent today, as we speak of local production, as against 80 per cent of imports. The project has started and it is creating a lot of jobs. Every ten thousand birds on a poultry farm creates 120 jobs on the farm and it is called direct employment.

    As I speak, from September when we started this project, we have 420,000 birds on the ground.

    It is being produced and it is being purchased. Mr Speaker, today, anybody who has to import into Ghana will have to purchase a 40 per cent of what he or she wants to bring into the country before the person is given the other 60 per cent.

    Mr Speaker, as Hon Members of Parliament, it will be good for us, especially those from the Ashanti Region -- and Kumasi, to visit Darko Farms to see the hunt of young women and young men who are boxing day old chicks to be supplied to these farms, those at the feed mill who are bagging the feed for the farms, and those at the slaughter houses also aiding in slaughtering these birds and the packaging and the loading of trucks to the various coldstores.

    Mr Speaker, we all know that if we do not go on the reduction of import to increase local production, it creates unemployment and when the youth is unemployed, what we do or what some unscrupulous persons in the society will do, is to use this very vulnerable youth to do very horrible things.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member, five more minutes.
    Dr Bisiw 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, if we do not create this employment, it means that our youth will be vulnerable and we will then also have dangerous youth on the streets since people will use them for illegal drug business. [Hear! Hear!]

    Mr Speaker, if anybody looks at this Budget Statement and calculates the employment that it will create, even for this policy where local production will go up. The 270 million we use every year to import, 40 per cent of that amount will stay in this country and it will be invested. And people are now coming in to bring their slaughtering machines to also participate in the poultry industry. If any person looks

    at this and says there is nothing in there, then Mr Speaker, it shows clearly that there are explorable, if not deplorable reasons behind all the efforts that have been mouthed up to discredit the budget. Mr Speaker, this, I will say in my local language “Saa adee wei wompe aa na wope deen?” and if “Akoke sa se deen koraa, ennye akrama fe“, which translates, if you do not like this, what else do you want? And no matter how the hen dances, the hawk will never like it.
    rose
    Dr Bisiw 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you -- and I know that the Hon Minority Leader will be our chief leader in the poultry industry. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, once again, I failed to attract your attention but the Hon Deputy Minister, who just waxed lyrical, indicated to us that from the introduction of the production of broilers in the system, the country is going to save US$132 million by 2016. What informed this? What is the source of this information?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    It is outside of her allotted time but I will permit her to indicate her source of information.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Dr Bisiw 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am speaking as the Hon Deputy Minister in charge of livestock -- [Hear! Hear!] At some time, I will calculate [Interruption] --
    When we start with the DOC, the calculation, the price, the import, the quantities that come per the reduction we have done this year, the amount that has been saved -- In calculation, the way forward -- Thus, the roadmap that we have done that we are embarking on, it is happening. By that time, that amount, if not more, would have been saved and this Government is committed to it and is not compromising and we will not -- [Hear! Hear!
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member, take your seat.
    Now, let us move on to Hon Okyere Agyekum --
    Bonsu — rose
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, I was not wrong when I said my Hon Colleague only waxed lyrical. Mr Speaker, I will liken what she just did to a preacher man who quotes the scriptures and is asked to produce evidence of where it is located in the scriptures and he says “Believe me, I am a pastor”. [Laughter.] That is exactly what she is saying.
    She is an Hon Deputy Minister, she has given us some information and she is telling us that if we gave her time, she would give us the roadmap and so on and so forth. If the document is not here and she cannot avail it now, she should tell us that, well, in due time or at the appropriate time, perhaps, she can give us the relevant information.
    What she is saying to us, I am not too sure is the way to produce evidence in this House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Okyere Agyekum?
    Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP -- Fanteakwa South) 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Budget Statement of the Government.
    Mr Speaker, I will like to concentrate on job creation. In the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President, John Dramani Mahama on 21st February, 2013 -- page 2, the President stated, with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, our people need jobs to live meaningful lives. Job creation and gainful employment will be the core of my priorities. I have directed the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to liaise with the Statistical Service to produce quarterly labour surveys to inform policy and planning.”
    Mr Speaker, I am yet to see a copy of the quarterly outlets. [Interruption.] In the Budget Statement of 2013, page 54, by the Minister for Finance on the 5th of March, 2013, it says, with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Government will work with the private sector to create and sustain employment. Government will work with the private sector to translate economic growth into job creation, especially for the youth”.

    Mr Speaker, is it any wonder that the jobs that were to ride on the back of economic growth have not happened? The private sector, whose growth was expected to create the job has been bombarded with filthy taxes, especially

    special import tax, road construction levy, astronomical increase in the price of water, electricity, fuel, transport, and of course, lack of power as a result of dumsor dum- sor.

    Mr Speaker, these conditions have collapsed many industries and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Where is the support that the Government promised the private sector in order for them to create the jobs?

    Mr Speaker, on page 109, column 580 of the 2015 Budget Statement, with your permission, it is stated, and I beg to quote:

    “Mr Speaker, Government recog- nises the incidence of unemploy- ment as a threat to national security.”

    I am sad to observe that in the year 2014, the Government's response to this national security threat resulted in the training of only 110 artisans and about 398 economic groups' across sectors were organised into vibrant co-operative societies.

    I wonder what is meant by “economic groups”.

    Mr Speaker, the universities churn out over 50,000 graduates every year — Other undergraduate institutions churn out over 300,000 every year. I am sad to say that in the 2015 Budget, the Government's response to this national security threats, is to train only 4,000 graduates in business skills. Are we facing squarely the national security threat that the budget itself complained about?
    Mr Okyere-Agyekum 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all the skills development training institutes in this country -- Management Develop- ment and Productivity Institute (MDPI), National Vocational Training Institute
    Mr Okyere-Agyekum 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we recognise that unemployment is --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go —
    Mr Okyere-Agyekum 1:10 p.m.
    If the response to this is to train 4,000 graduates, then we are doomed.
    Mr Speaker, youth employment programmes like the Ghana Youth Employment and Enterpreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and others have been destroyed by corruption. It is sad that GYEEDA, which claimed to have trained 457,779 youth in the year 2012 did not employ a single youth in 2014, yet over GH¢100 million was released to GYEEDA in the year 2014. May I know what that was for, especially when school feeding programme grants are in arrears? I would want to know what the GH¢400 million was used for by GYEEDA, which was virtually moribund and defunct in the year 2014.
    Mr Speaker, the Government should take the issue of unemployment and job creation serious and ensure that enough budgetary allocations are made to the job creating and skills development institutes like MDPI, NVTI, ICCES, and OIC instead of creating propaganda outfits like Youth Enterprise Support (YES), which budgeted to train 300,000 people in the year 2013 but it did not happen. They budgeted to train 300,000 people in the year 2014; it did not happen.
    In 2014, there was a big fanfare about the release of GH¢10 million to YES. I would like to know how many people have been trained in the year 2014, out of this GH¢10 million. This is because I do not see any provisions for 2014. Are we to believe that the programme has also become just another propaganda tool?
    Mr Speaker, as I said, GYEEDA had not trained anybody in the year 2014 and from a programme that claimed to have trained 458,000 people, we are now talking about 4,000. Is that the way to respond to a national security issue?
    Some Hon Members 1:10 p.m.
    No!
    Mr Okyere-Agyekum 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is about time we stopped playing propaganda with the youth employment issue, otherwise, we would one day find ourselves besieged in this House by the angry youth.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Ibrahim Ahmed.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given to me.
    My contribution on the Financial Policy is going to take a very serious dimension; rightly because of the past records of the various Budgets and the various Governments of this country.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 1:10 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, one serious thing that I am going to start with, is on the issue of security, and may I humbly refer us to page 129, paragraph 727, that is, Migration and Refugee Management Programme, and I beg to quote:

    “The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) organized educational campaigns to sensitize the public on migration and work permits and inspected factories, hotels, churches, dwelling places and mining sites leading to the arrest of 168 persons of various nationalities for breach of immigration laws, illegal mining and employment.”

    Mr Speaker, I end there.

    Mr Speaker, we are in an era where foreign nationals are invading our country. The Ghana Immigration Service is up and doing, but one unfortunate thing is -- If you look at the way the Ghana Immigration Service is going about the work that they are doing, I expected the acting Minister for the Interior and my good Friend, the Hon Minister for Finance to be here for us to take another look at the immigration issues.

    I would suggest that, it is about time we equipped and armed the Ghana Immigration Service. This is because we cannot send people with their bare hands to the border, in the bush to go and inspect migrants, sometimes who are well armed. There is no legal backing for the officers to be armed. It is time we did something about.

    Mr Speaker, I would come back to page 96. The Government did very well in giving us the various stages of completion of very important major development of roads in the country. If you look clearly, almost all of them are left with about three per cent to four per cent to be completed. But we should not look

    at security issues, as only the use of arms and other things. Some of us sometimes deliberately leave our vehicles and board public buses from Accra to Kumasi.

    Mr Speaker, I would refer us to one security threat and this budget seems to solve that. With your permission, may we read paragraph 503 on page 97, and I beg to quote:

    “The Government of Ghana is negotiating for funding for the following road projects:

    Completion of Have-Dodo Pepesu Road

    Completion of Nankpanduri-Bawku Road”.

    Mr Speaker, the one that I am referring to as an economic threat is the “Completion of Nsawam- Apedwa Road”.

    Mr Speaker, sometimes, when you board a commercial bus from here to Kumasi and you get to the portion between Nsawam and Apedwa, there are serious arguments among passengers and sometimes, the arguments become so heated that drivers have to stop and prevent these discussions and other things.

    Mr Speaker, I am referring to it as an economic threat and I know once the Minister for Finance said he is negotiating for funding to complete all those roads — Seriously, the Nsawam-Apedwa portion is going to be the number one priority. If not that all these roads can be completed --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance is here and if my memory serves me right, in respect of the Nsawam-Apedwa road, and Sofoline Interchange and Kumasi- Abuakwa road — I think they are both on the wings of the Eurobond and that is what they have told us. So, why does he come here and tell us that they are negotiating for funding for the following road projects?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    It is the same money — [Laughter] — Please, can he speak to it? Is it the same money? The Deputy Minister must tell us — [Laughter.]
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I referred to this particular road because of its economic importance and security threat when I sometimes board commercial buses. I am happy that funds are being negotiated and the road is going to be completed.
    When it comes to roads, I believe no government or no record can be compared to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government.
    Mr Speaker, clearly, I would even be wrong if I say when it comes to roads. I said I am taking “the today” to a certain level because I would want us as politicians or leaders of this country to engage ourselves sector by sector. The records that we have where politically, economically, and everything --
    Mr Speaker, by the end of the national debate, Ghanaians would be vindicated for not giving the NDC Government four and giving the New Patriotic Party (NPP)
    Government two, when it comes to judgment on electoral results. And I believe Ghanaians are going to confirm us in the year 2016 if this budget is implemented very well.
    Mr Speaker, so soon, the debate is shifting and our records are being forgotten --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader, is it a point of order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to help him in the comparison because he mentioned “judgment” and I thought he was going to add “debt”. So, can he add “debt” to it, so that it would be part of the equation.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    I hope that was meant for a joke.
    Hon Member, please, proceed.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a lighter note, I was referring to judgment in terms of electoral results. This is because in a democracy, one is assessed in four years and it is either retained or sacked. And most at times, we have had six major elections or six major judgments. We have won four and they have won two and we are heading towards the fifth one and very soon it would be five against two.
    Mr Speaker, on another very serious note. So soon, we have moved towards the era when we used to say the NDC Government has been able to set a record by setting an inflationary target that has not been achieved by any government in this country before. But do we eat inflation?
    Even in an era when the record that was set by our Hon Colleagues on the other side, at the end of 31st December, 2008 was 18.10 per cent, we have still not got there. After setting the single digit

    inflation, we have gone past their 18.1 per cent and they are saying that we are not doing well, “yenhu hyee”. Even when we have set a record which is higher than the records that we came to meet.

    Mr Speaker, beyond this, when one says that the NDC Government is not creating employment and the rest of them, in the energy sector alone, let us talk about training people in the gas sector. My Hon Colleague on the other hand said GYEEDA had not done anything. We just laid the GYEEDA Report yesterday. Have they forgotten about the number of people that were trained in gas institutions by GYEEDA in the last few year? Have they forgotten?

    Mr Speaker, we just completed the Ghana gas and I believe most of the youth are going to be working in that sector.

    You gave me five minutes and I cannot end without coming to my sector.

    Mr Speaker, I have with me major development strides --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    You have one more minute.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 1:20 p.m.
    They have been undertaken by this current administration. Go to the Ghana Education Service, the era where teachers used to come to Accra to check their records only to be told that because of bureaucracy and other things, their files cannot be traced; some files are missing; some documents are missing; they are dead and gone.
    If one goes to the Ghana Education Service (GES), about 250,000 files consisting of 4.7 million sheets have been digitized. All the records have been digitized. Mr Speaker, the whole country should go that way, so that just by the
    click of the mouse, the record appears. One does not need to come to Accra --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you, ,Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given me.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, the next Hon Member to take the floor is in the person of Hon (Mrs) Ursula Owusu Ekuful.
    Mrs Ursula G. Ekuful (NPP -- Ablekuma West) 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I acknowledge my pleasure in being referred to with my proper designation today. And this is the first time it has happened in the House. So, I appreciate it, Mr Speaker. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, if Government reduces inflation from 40 per cent to 18 per cent in eight years, I believe it deserves commendation. If another Government in six years reduces inflation from 18 per cent to 17 per cent and they ask that we congratulate them, then I ask myself, am I not getting something right? From 40 per cent to 18 per cent in eight years; and from 18 per cent to 17 per cent in six years; are we coming or we are going? That is the question we should, ask ourselves. And we were promised “a Better Ghana.”
    But that was an aside.
    Mr Speaker, in paragraph 196 of the Budget Statement, we are told of the wonderful work the National Security Council is doing, which includes reducing drug trafficking. And that also puzzles me. If the National Security Council can sit down for 12.5 kilogrammes of cocaine to be carried out of this country under their noses, without noticing, how can they
    assure us that they are indeed, working hard to reduce the drug menace and drug trafficking in this country?
    With all due respect, Mr Speaker, I would want us to discuss this issue dispassionately because it is a matter which affects, not just the reputation of the country but our entire livelihoods. So, it is not a matter of equalization. If 12.5 kilogrammes of cocaine can be carried out under our noses and the National Security Council wants us to congratulate them for sitting by and watching that happen --
    I am sad that the Hon Minister for Defence is not here. But I would have loved it if he had listened to this because -- They claim they provide protection for VIPs as well.
    Those VIPs they provide protection for are also enabled to use our VIP Lounge. Does it include the lady with many aliases -- Madam Ruby Adu-Gyamfi, alias Ametepey? Does it? And is that part of their mandate? I would be grateful if they do not just spark the rhetoric but act in a concrete manner to assure us that indeed, we can entrust our security into their hands and that they will be up and doing.
    In these days, even if you leave their luggage unattended to, it is removed and destroyed, and when you are checking in, you are asked whether you packed your bags yourself. And you are not expected to carry bags that you have not parked yourself and you are not aware of the content.
    If under the noses of our National Security Council, allegedly, 12.5 kilogrammes can be carried to a passenger on the aircraft in breach of all known security protocol the world over, then indeed, we are in very serious trouble.
    Finally, where are the itemisers which were procured and were working at our airports a few years ago during the NPP Administration, where every traveller, through our airports were required to put their thumbprints through a machine and if they had handled any drug within even the past month, it will show on that machine?
    Where are those machines now? They have disappeared from our airports. From the evidence that we are seeing currently, people are carrying hard drugs out of our airports with impunity. Yet our National Security Council says they are working hard to reduce drug trafficking; I wish them ayekoo.
    When the Hon Deputy Minister for Communications was speaking, he indicated that over 30 million mobile phone subscribers had been added on in the past year. I am a bit puzzled about where he got that information from because the Budget Statement states clearly --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Mrs Ekuful 1:30 a.m.
    The Budget Statement states clearly that we have 29,796,000 subscribers for both fixed and mobile phones and then 14,000 subscribers for mobile data. So, I am not sure where he got his 30 million plus subscribers from. But interestingly, even while the number of subscribers are going up, the income we are earning from the Communication Service Tax as projected is declining and this year, it is said to have declined by some 29 per cent over the projections that were made in the 2014 Budget. How did that happen?
    The budget is silent and does not give us any information how that occurred. While subscriber numbers are increasing,
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. The Deputy Minister for Communications has an issue with our Hon Colleague who is making her debate on the floor. It is about some issues she has raised, which the Ministry wants to react to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    The arrangement is that he should discuss it with you and then you present it. In the meantime, go ahead with your submission.
    Mrs Ekuful 1:30 a.m.
    We are also told that the Government is going to remove the tax that it imposed on smartphones and if my memory serves me right, Value Added Tax (VAT) on mobile devices was imposed last year or this year during the VAT increase debate. Despite the objections of the Minority, they went ahead and imposed VAT on not just smartphones but machetes and some other items.
    If now, they have seen the wisdom in the objections raised by the Minority and have now indicated that they are going to remove that tax, we are just saying that sometimes it pays to listen to the Minority. This is because sometimes, we speak words of wisdom and we act with the interest of the country at heart.
    Mr Speaker, the Community Informa- tion Centres are also laudable. However, without electricity, they are merely white elephants. So, until we fix the power issues we have, we can go about spending all the monies we have, putting
    rose
    Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the information the Hon Member is giving is not accurate, in the sense that she mentioned that as at September, 2014, the figure was 30,075,702. But the record as the Minister stated, is as at September this year. It is dated from 1994 to September this year. That is the figure and not this year; that is the correction he wants to make. So, she should take note that it is not this year but dates from 1994 to now.
    Mrs Ekuful 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, may I quote what the Budget Statement says, paragraph 509:
    “The total telephone subscription for both cellular and fixed lines in 2014, stood at 29,796,777…”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are making the correction. What you have said, up to August, is correct but we are saying, up to September. What she is saying -- as at September --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, your point has been made and captured. So, the matter should be put to rest.
    Hon Member, you have one minute to go.
    Mrs Ekuful 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, despite all these interruptions? All right. Thank you. I believe the Ministry of Communications is also in charge of information. However, the information they provided on the information aspect of their mandate, is completely sketchy and it makes me think that those working on that aspect of the Ministry must be feeling very much like they are poor cousins to those under the communications aspect of the Ministry.
    Apart from paragraph 514, which talks about the Meet the Press Series and paragraph 513, which talks about facilitating the passage of the Broadcas- ting, Kofi Annan International Centre of Excellence (KAICE) and Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) Bills. The entire presentation of the Ministry is totally silent on --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Thank you for your contribution.

    Use some other microphone if that one is not functioning.
    Ms Rachel F. Appoh (NDC-Gomoa Central) 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the 2015 financial year budget moved by the Minister for Finance and seconded by the Finance Committee Chairman. I am pleased with the contents and the theme for the 2015 Budget Statement. The budget is aimed at transforming the Ghanaian economy from its current position to a better one.
    This budget is detailed and balanced. So, I wonder how somebody can just get up and ask the Hon Minister to come again and make some correction in this Budget Statement. I do not know how that person has actually read this budget.
    In reading the budget critically, you can easily deduce that the Government wants to tackle the unemployment issue and it states clearly under job creation and
    development programmes how or the Government is going to tackle the unemployment issue. We can find that one in paragraph 582, which states, provision of entrepreneurial/business development skills to 4,000 unemployed graduates. It also states that the Government is going to strengthen and revamp the Graduate Business Support Scheme (GEBSS) and also mainstream the Ghana Youth Employment and Entre- preneurial Agency (GYEEDA) in the administrative structure and many more.
    Mr Speaker, we can easily tell that this is not going to create employment for only graduates but we are going to see artisans, farmers and other professionals.
    Last Tuesday, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader laid emphasis on the Unemploy-ment Graduate Association and created the impression that the Unemployment Graduate Association was formed only last year. I was a member of this Association in 2010 and 2011 --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister is telling us of an association that she belonged to. I would want to suggest to her that if indeed, she belonged to that Association, she would know its proper name. It is not “Unmployment” graduates. It is not! No! If she really belonged to that Association, she would know its correct name.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the name, is “Unemployed Graduates Association” But there is no difference in this.
    Mr Speaker, even though I was working as an Auditor, I decided to join that Association for my own special reasons.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader created the impression as if it was created last year, which I can say emphatically --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    They asked for the whereabout of your membership card. Do you have it here? [Laughter.]
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know whether they have it now. But at that time, we did not have any membership card. Even though I was working -- Mr Speaker, I can say emphatically that 80 per cent of the membership completed university between 2002 and 2009. At that time, whose Government was in power?
    Mr Speaker, they could not create jobs for these people. Now, we come to this august House and create the impression that the National Democratic Congress Government is not creating jobs for the people. Mr Speaker, when we do that, we may be misleading this august House. The Unemployed Graduates Association did not emerge just last year.
    Mr Speaker, under Social Protection and Gender, Government is committed --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Mon Member, you have five more minutes.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Spaker, Government is committed to expanding the social protection programme to reach more beneficiaries. If more appropriate strategies are implemented, Mr Speaker, it would enable the vulnerable to obtain some benefits required to rise above the poverty line.
    Mr Speaker, for that one too, last year --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I really hate interrupting my dear Colleague -- [Laughter] -- but she made an emphatic statement.
    We do know that the Association involving unemployed graduates was formed in the year 2010. Mr Speaker, she has told us that 80 per cent of those in membership at the time, were graduates who passed out between 2002 and 2008.
    Mr Speaker, what is the source of this information?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know how the Hon Minority Leader would want me to provide this. I have said that I was a member for two years though I was working. We communicate. I have friends. When you ask someone, the person will tell you he or she completed university in 2005, 2004 or 2006. They could not create jobs for these people.
    So, you do not come to this august House and create the impression as if we have committed a crime. Do not mislead this House, please --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect to my Hon Colleague, nobody has said that all the members in the Association passed out during the time of the NDC. So, for her to say that, that is the impression created, and people are misleading this House, I do not know anybody who has said so in this House.
    In any event, she has not proved her own allegation; this assertion that she has made, that 80 per cent of the members passed out between 2002 and 2009, Mr Speaker, at the time, there was no such association, anyway.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have your source of information?
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was a member. I can tell you where we attended meetings.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    No! Hon Member, that is not what we are interested in. We want documentary evidence of what you have said. If you do not have it, then --
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can get the information.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Do you have it here?
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, no.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, I direct that that portion of your submission be expunged from the records.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me say that, if you completed university in 2010, you would have done your National Service and you would have probably got a job around 2011 or 2012.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, I have already ruled on the matter. Can we move on to some other subject matter?
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I was on the social protection programmes. Mr Speaker, a beneficiary of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), a woman, was given GH¢90.00 last year -- I have photographs of this woman --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this woman traded in charcoal with this money. I can say that as of the time I went there -- in March, 2014 -- she had 20 bags of charcoal. It is an achievement of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. [Interruption.] You will get the source. So, this is what I am telling you.

    Mr Speaker, one area that I would want to touch on is the School Feeding Programme. I am passionate about it. This is to create jobs for our young ones and the caterers --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, some of the caterers are not cooking for the children; the children are not fed well --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Please, wind up.
    Ms Appoh 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe some of them are not cooking for the children. At the end of the day, they claim --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much. Hon Member, your time is up -- [Interruption.]
    Hon Members -- Order! Order!
    This brings us to the close of debate for today.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I need your guidance on this matter, especially for tomorrow. He said that an arrangement had been made, so that Hon Members -- This is a House of debate -- But now, our
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.


    capacity to debate has been arrested by this arrangement. So, you see that several Hon Members are not here. What is the point in coming here and getting up to debate, and you have to channel it through the Leadership?

    Tomorrow, Leadership will speak. Now, are we in a position to bring points of order against Leadership? This is because, now, we are not participating in the debate. So, I think Speakership should think about that arrangement. We are here to debate, not to do so through our Leaders.

    Now, people are not here -- [Interruption] -- It is not interesting. So, please, tomorrow, when our Leaders go to meet, through whom should we channel points of order? It is the Speakership. It has to be channelled through the back- benchers. Tomorrow, I would want to invite you to invite the backbenchers to stand up on a point of order against our Leadership. This is because, you have arrested their capacity to debate all week.

    Thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what Hon Dr Akoto Osei has said is something which we would look at when we adjourn.
    Mr Speaker, at this stage, I beg to move, that the House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just wanted to know from my
    Colleague whether the Paper in respect of item number 5 on page 2, has been laid.
    An Hon Member 1:50 p.m.
    The Chairman is not here.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
    If the Chairman is not here, anybody at all on the Committee can lay it, that is, if the Report is ready. Mr Speaker, if it is not ready, I would want to second the Motion moved by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
    Mr Speaker, before seconding the Motion, I think that on the point raised by the Hon Member for Old Tafo, that if Leaders are on their feet, points of order should be raised against them by the backbench. Mr Speaker, I believe that if we are not careful, it may lead to chaos in this House.
    Some Hon Members 1:50 p.m.
    No!
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
    I said, “if we are not careful, it may lead to chaos”.
    Mr Speaker, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government presented to Ghana was done on behalf of the President by the Minister responsible for Finance, Hon Seth E. Terkpeh.
    Mr Speaker, if I should contribute, my own contribution would encapsulate the presentations of my Hon Colleagues and then it would respond to issues raised or not raised in the document by the President.
    To say that in doing so, the backbench should be firing arrows, Mr Speaker, I believe that if you are not careful and do not manage the process -- [Interruption.] I am not afraid but sometimes, even when you are not afraid, you fear small.
    Mr Speaker, if you hear your own Senior Ranking Member say that we would fire you, I do not know what internal bleeding they would want to cause. But Mr Speaker, I think when it comes to debating the policy, we would relate the discourse to the principles underpinning it. I believe we would do just that tomorrow.
    Mr Speaker, on that note, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader for adjournment to tomorrow at 10.00 in the forenoon.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    All that I can say with regard to the point raised by the Hon Member for Old Tafo is the fact that, maybe, as we come in tomorrow, Leadership would look at the issue and fashion out some solution to the problem.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:50 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.53 p.m. till Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.