Debates of 2 Dec 2015

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Alex Kyeremeh 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading this House.
The first year fees include one off items, which are the school uniforms the house jerseys and exercise books. Parents are expected to buy these items for their wards. [Interruption] -- That is why we call it the Progressive Free Education; we would get there.
So, Mr Speaker, he is misleading this House.
In the second term, the day students are going to go to school almost for free. This is because, the second term fee is GH¢75 and the rest of the items are Parent Teacher Association (PTA) fees, which are agreed to by the teachers and parents to contribute to the welfare of their own children.
On the question of the difference between the GH¢12 million and GH¢18 million, we are yet to admit the first year students into the public schools. So, the difference of GH¢6 million would take care of the rest of the day students who are going to be enrolled this year.
Thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:26 p.m.
Hon Member, please, continue.
Mr Anim 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Deputy Minister has ended up misleading the House the more. [Hear! Hear!] It seems he does not know what he is saying.
Mr Speaker, I hold in my hand this document, which your Committee approved. I have read paragraph 2 where we approved:
“…the admission fees of first year day students would be absorbed.”
Mr Speaker, I think our constitutional mandate must compel the Hon Minister for Finance to do that. This is because they have only put in only GH¢12 million instead of GH¢18 million.
Mr Speaker, the utility --
rose
Mr Kyeremeh 12:26 p.m.
Yes, please.
Mr Speaker, I take strong exception to the fact that, my Hon Colleague is saying that I did not know what I was talking about.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:26 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, I cannot hear you.
Mr Kyeremeh 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague said that, I did not know what I was talking about, and I take a strong exception to that. I expect him to withdraw that because I knew what I was talking about. It is an insult to me.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:26 p.m.
Very well.

Order! Order!

Hon Member, did you make that statement?
Mr Anim 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I referred to a document that was approved by your Committee. [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:26 p.m.
Order! Order!
Hon Member, I asked you a simple question; did you make that statement?
Mr Anim 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, based on this document, I said that. Yes, he is misleading the House and it appears he does not know what he is saying. If he knows, this is the document and I can table it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:26 p.m.
Hon Member, I think that sometimes we get overboard. To say that he does not know what he is talking about is not appropriate. You can just withdraw that portion of your statement and let us make progress.
Mr Anim 12:26 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you say so, I do.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Then, continue with your submission.
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest to this House that, based on what I have said and the documentary proof that I have, I think this House, based on our Constitutional mandate must compel the Hon Minister Finance --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, he has done that. He has withdrawn the statement so there is no point.
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we must compel the President to absolve what we, as a Committee approved at the Budget hearing. [Interruption]-- And I would keep asking where the ¢66.13 million is?
Mr Speaker, I have the document here and I am ready to table it.
Mr Speaker --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, is it on a point of order?
Mr Forson 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, I come on a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is grossly misleading this House. He is misleading this House because obviously, the Committee on Education will approve a Budget Estimate.
Mr Speaker, it remains a Budget estimate until the releases are done. Often times, it goes through processes and the processes are tied to revenue and until you realise the revenue, you cannot do the releases accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the first year day students are already in school and as part of the GH¢38.00 which is that meagre the ¢20 approved fees must be paid and that is what your Committee approved. As part of our Constitutional mandate, I suggest that, this House must compel the Hon Minister for Finance to do so. [Hear!] [Hear!]
This is because, as part of the Appropriation Bill, that is what we passed into an Act. Other than that, Mr Speaker, this House would continue to approve Appropriation Bills into Acts and out of nowhere, our oversight responsibility to ensure, would not be upheld. Therefore, I would want this House to compel the Hon Minister for Finance to add the ¢20 approved fees that we as a Committee went and approved.
Mr Speaker, I would want us to take that direction. The Ministry continues to give the number of schools and when they give the number of schools, they add private schools and when they add private schools, they do not declare the number of contributions that private schools have churned out.
When you read article 25 (2) -- educational rights of our Constitution; it is there that, individuals, out of their own expense must build schools at all levels. So, why should Government quote figures
for number of schools and add private schools without declaring? For that matter, they quote 20,100 for kindergarten schools (kg) and 13,483 are just for public schools. The 6,617 are for private schools.
Why do they not say private schools also contributed 6,617 kg schools and they have churned out those figures as if it is all for the public schools, meanwhile private school development does not benefit from public funds?
Mr Speaker, I think we have to check on that also. I wonder why the Hon Minister for Finance still --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, you have five more minutes.
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I wonder why, and I would want to say that, day students must be able to go to school free. This is because, this is the information Government has sent around therefore, day students must go to school and go free.
Mr Speaker, I wonder why the Hon Minister for Finance still says that, the 2015 Budget allocation for the Ministry of Education, is ¢7.58 billion?
Mr Speaker, I wonder. This is because, I hold here, the Report of your Committee when we went for the Budget hearing, and appendix 4 (a), (b), 5 (a) of the 2015 Budget also shows that, we approved ¢6.74 billion.
Mr Speaker, if we say that, it is the GETFund, I also hold here, the Committee of the Whole's approval of the GetFund formula.
Mr Speaker, if you should even add that figure, then we even exceed the GH¢7.05 billion. I think the Hon Minister must explain this matter because, it is a serious one.
I say so because, at the end of the day, if we approve GH¢7.05 billion, then, why is it that, goods and services component of the Budget is being allocated onto Internally Generated Fund (IGF) when we know that, the trend in achieving IGF target in this country is very difficult.
We know we are entering an election year and donors would definitely slide their shoulders in the release of funds. So, Mr Speaker, I think that, the Hon Minister for Finance must make state- ments on this and be made to explain why he is still saying that, we approved 7. --
Mr Speaker, when you look at the medium-term expenditure framework, paragraph 1/1 and 1/2 -- Where the Appropriation Bill has been itemised.Mr Speaker, it still stands at GH¢6.74 --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, is it a point of order?
Mr Forson 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I thought we are debating Budget policies. The Hon Colleague is sending us to estimates. He is making reference to IGF as if IGF is not Government funds.
Mr Speaker, IGF is indeed, Government money and it should be accounted for as such. So there is nothing wrong for us to use IGF for the purposes of goods and services, so my Hon Colleague is grossly misleading this House.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, would you please, ask him to debate the policies and not the estimates.
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is 2015 Budget Statement that I am referring to and as a policy, when you go to the appendices 4 (a), (b) and 5 (a), of the 2015 of the Budget, -- he should go there and check.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, you have two more minutes.
Mr Anim 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was also talking about the GH¢7.058 and I am saying that, the medium term expenditure framework for 2015/2017 -- Education.
Mr Speaker, page 1/1 and 1/2 where the Appropriation Bill has been itemised and we still have here, GH¢6.74 billion. So, where from the ¢7.05 billion that the Hon Minister for Finance is quoting in the 2015 Budget Statement, that, it was what was passed for the Ministry of Education?
Mr Speaker, I think this is a serious matter, and, based on our mandate here, we need to look into this matter very well. The Hon Minister for Finance must come out clearly and explain to us.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Your time is up. [Hear!][Hear!]
Hon Minister, the Hon Member has concluded his submission and I do not know what point you want to raise.
Very well.
Hon Members, the next person to have the Floor is Hon Gabriel Essilfie.
Mr Essilfie 12:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion to approve the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2016.

Mr Speaker, my contribution would be concentrated on the agricultural sector. Mr Speaker, however, with your per- mission, before I delve into the agricultural sector, I would like to correct some misinformation or misconception which is normally created when we analyse our Budget.

Often times, we take the debt stock of the country and we simplistically take the population of the country and share it and we say every Ghanaian owes so much. While that may be true, after we took the debt and shared it among the people, from a financial analysis standpoint and as a professional accountant and a financial analyst, that calculation is incomplete. This is because, when you are analysing the equation financially, you just do not take the liability side, analyse it and distribute. You have to take the equation which is assets equal liabilities plus equity. And equity is assets minus liabilities.

So, if you are looking at the Budget Statement and you are taking the debt and distributing it to the population, is that not money which if borrowed, and put into investments and other things would inure to the benefit of the people? So, you would have to take the assets, analyse it and tell Ghanaians whether indeed, there is some equity created for the people of Ghana, which is the capital base that the country would have to move forward.
rose
Mr Awuah 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague started by saying that critics often times take the debt stock and divide it by the population and then he has a problem with that. I thought he was referring to the ratio or the way that it is calculated.
He was also referring to himself as an accountant, which I agree, but he would also agree with me as a professional, that, there are certain standard practices that he can never run away from. For instance, we do talk of per capita income, we do also talk of per capita debt. That is what we get by dividing our total stock by the population that we have. That one is a standard thing. We cannot do anything about it.
So, if he has a problem that we are not also talking about -- what the moneys have been used for, he should address it as such but not the calculation.
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
I think the Hon Member who is also the Hon Minority Deputy Whip on the Minority side was not listening. I specifically said that, the calculation and what is being passed round is incomplete. Exactly what he said,when we are analysing and he makes his point -- because we are educating the masses, including the young ones; the students. We should not take one side and talk about it. We have to make sure our analysis is complete. I am just alerting him that whenever we do these things, it makes us as Members of Parliament look like we do not know what we are talking about.
So, I am begging that, when we do these analysis, let us not be partisan and take the liability side and confuse the people. We analyse it properly so that
everybody would understand. I agree with him so he should not go there. Let me continue.
Mr Speaker, having said that, I will move to Agriculture. Often times again, whenever the Budget Statement is read, I hear people talking about Agriculture --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader, is it a point of order?
Mr Nitiwul 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Ordinarily, because we agreed not to interject, I did not want to interject him but Mr Speaker, I am forced to. When he says that because of lack of doing what he wants us to do, it would look as if Members of Parliament here do not know what we are doing, and people may perceive it like that.
But, Mr Speaker, the people, particularly, those of us on this side, have consistently used both debt and equity and we have used investment to analyse. I do not know what he is talking about. The Hon Ranking Member here and Dr Assibey-Yeboah said that the ratio of capital investment to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has dropped from 9.7 per cent during ex-President Kufuor's regime to 4.7 per cent. We take the money and use it for consumption as compared to
GDP.
We have said it here over and over and he even quoted that it was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lar- gade,who said that it has dropped. The amount of money ex-President Kufuor used vis-à-vis the GDP -- the income he
used was 9.7 per cent for investment purposes. Then they have used 4.7 per cent. We have said it here, Mr Speaker.
So, for him to say that we did not consider investment, so it would look as if Hon Members do not know what they are doing, is wrong. I do not think that he should say that.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
Mr Forson 12:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is misleading the House. He is misleading this House because, he is trying to make an analysis by comparing the fall in capital expenditure to mean that we are actually using the money for consumption.
Mr Speaker, that is not entirely the case. The reality is that, the drop in capital expenditure is as a result of the reduction in the deficit and reduction in public debt and does not necessarily mean that we are actually using the money for consumption.
He should check his facts.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, please proceed.
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I will make progress.
As I said, when we also analyse Government's funding in the agricultural sector, often times, we hear calculations that are made based on the direct investment to agriculture and we start quoting the Maputo Declaration. So, Mr Speaker, I took the trouble to get a copy of the Maputo Declaration and the Resolution that they made; Item 2 -- and with your permission, I read --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Can you table that before the House?
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I will read it and table it. I thought that the Maputo Declaration is something that Parliament has and can be referred to.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, but for the avoidance of doubt I want you to table it so that --
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
I will do that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Very well.
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
Item number 2 says -- [Interruption.]
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Awuah 12:40 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I think I would want to go by your ruling that he should table it. If he should finish reading it before he tables it and it turns out to be that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, please, table it and while photocopies are being made, you could touch on other issues that you would want to address.
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I can table it because whatever is here is right in my head. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Item number 2 -- the Implementation, to paraphrase it -- specifically, it is saying that, governments are supposed to put, at least, 10 per cent of their annual budget in agriculture and rural development --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, I just want to give some direction. When it comes to tabling a
document before this House, you come here and do the proper thing, so that we have no doubt in our minds.
But for now, we have taken it and we are making copies.
Please proceed.
Mr Essilfie 12:40 p.m.
At least, 10 per cent investment in agriculture and rural development. So, when we are doing calculation for agriculture, investment, we cannot just take the direct investment in agriculture because, the two of them are combined. So, the calculation --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, you have 10 more minutes.
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
The calculation should be based on the actual direct investment in the agriculture sector, plus the investment going into rural development in the agricultural communities, which include our farming fishing communities.
I would want us to be aware of that, so that, when we do this calculation, we do not take what is put into fisheries and agriculture in the Ministry and calculate it and say it was only 1.1 per cent investment. We should use it just as it is said, which includes investment in rural development.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, according to his own formula, how much has been invested in the agriculture sector in this Budget?
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just pointing out what the Maputo Declaration says. If I am going by the interpretation and if the Hon Member for Sekondi would want to know what actually has been invested, he should table a Question to the Hon Minister, and that would be given to him. [Hear! Hear!]
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is the Hon Member who is educating us. The Hon Member had made a statement about investment and he is saying that by the Maputo Declaration or global standards, he, as the Chairman of the Committee is telling us that, investment in agriculture includes works in sea defence and salaries for local government staff. I am asking him, how much then is the percentage of the investment which he is telling us --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, he is saying that, you can table a Question for the Hon Minister to come and answer.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:50 p.m.
I am asking him. This is because, this is “shamanomics”. [Laughter.] The Hon Minister for Finance will not come and say this.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip?
Mr A. Ibrahim 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want my former Leader to allow the Hon Chairman for the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs to make his submission. We are debating the principles. When we get to the estimates, the Hon Member would get him the figures.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, please, proceed. Use your microphone.
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
I would entreat the Hon Member from Sekondi to get a copy of the Maputo Declaration, and he would know exactly what I am talking about.
Mr Speaker, on Agriculture, yes; as Ghanaians, we all want our agriculture sector to grow, but just as has been said by the Hon Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture in charge of Crops, our agriculture is such that, it has some seasonal climatic issues, which whenever we are talking about agriculture, we need to consider. We know that, our agriculture is predominantly rain-fed. We also know that, in periods that the harmattan is very severe, agricultural productivity in the crop sector goes down.
In fact, in the year 2007, when we had a severe harmattan, agriculture productivity contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was minus 1.17 per cent. In the year 2015, the productivity as we say is zero per cent.Again, we can all bear with the fact that, in the year 2015, the same climatic condition occurred.
Even when we go to the area of cocoa production, and I have in my hand what really occurred --
Dr Owusu A. Akoto 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my good Friend, the Chairman of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs is misleading this House. The last time we had a drought in this country of any significance was in the year 2011. That year, in the forest zone, the minor rainfall failed us. That was the year we imported a lot of maize from Eastern Europe. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I am talking facts, please.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, to put everything beyond doubt, normally, with these things, we should have documentary evidence in support.
Dr Akoto 12:50 p.m.
Yes, I would provide. What I am saying is that, if one goes to the Ghana Meteorological Department, and look at the rainfall amounts and the pattern of the year 2011, compared to that of the year 2015, there was no drought in the year 2015 for us to have a zero growth. So he is misleading this House by attributing the zero growth in agriculture --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, I would prefer that you furnish us with this piece of evidence. Otherwise, allow him to make his argument. If it gets to your turn, you can counteract with your document.
Yes, Hon Member, please proceed.
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.

Mr Speaker, now, if we take crops out, in all the other areas of Agriculture, there was growth or stability. When one looks

at the area of livestock, its contribution to GDP was 5.3 per cent in the year 2014. In the year 2015, livestock contribution to GDP is 9.5 per cent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, you have three more minutes to go.
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when we go to our Fisheries sector, in the year 2014, growth was 5.6 per cent. In the year 2015, despite all the challenges we are facing with our fish stock, we ended up with 5.3 per cent. A lot of efforts are being made in the area of fisheries. As I speak, from the 8th to the 11th of this month, there is supposed to be a meeting which is the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea, and the whole essence of it is to again address unapproved fishing methods, light fishing, dynamite fishing and all that which are killing us.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Members, as much as possible, I would want to cut down the number of points of order.
Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Hon Member has made a pronouncement which, in fact, is detrimental to the Agriculture sector, and I would want to correct him, if you would allow, please.
Mr Speaker, my Chairman said that because of the rainfall pattern, the productivity and the growth rate are low. It is never so. Agriculture sector depends mostly on investment. The depreciation of the cedi, the low inputs provided to farmers and also the Government's inability --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, when you get the opportunity --
Mr Asafu-Adjei 12:50 p.m.
The Government's inability to construct irrigation --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Please, listen. Please, take your seat. When it gets to your turn, you can come up with this point. Otherwise, you would have Hon (Dr) Afriyie Akoto who would have his turn-- You can discuss it with him so that he counteracts whatever he is saying.
Mr Asafu-Adjei 12:50 p.m.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much.
Mr Essilfie 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I hope you are going to consider all my time which has been taken by them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I would give you two extra minutes.
Mr Essilfie 1 p.m.
Thank you.
I was speaking in the area of fisheries. In fact, in the year 2015, productivity was such that, fish import was reduced from 145,910.35 metric tonnes to 102,874.95 metric tonnes in the year 2015.
This yielded this country a savings of $38.79 million as far as fish import is concerned.
Mr Speaker, the Fishery sector also, in 2016 is creating what we call the Fisheries nucleus, which is the outgrower input support scheme, which would then serve 25 fishing communities along the Volta Lake. The essence of that is for them to take the productivity from 46,250 metric tonnes to 85,000 metric tonnes.
Mr Speaker, in addition, 900 direct jobs and 2,252 indirect jobs for women within the fish value chain would be created.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, begin to conclude.
Mr Essilfie 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when we go to the cocoa sector, exactly the point that I was making in the normal crop sector is being challenged, and I would refer anybody who would challenge me to go to 2007 and look at the pattern; they should go to 2015 and look at the pattern and they would see what I am talking about.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up.
Mr Essilfie 1 p.m.
So Mr Speaker, I thank you. This Government is doing a lot to improve the agriculture sector therefore, we should all support it. Alleluia! Amen.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Dr Afriyie Akoto.
Dr Owusu A. Akoto (NPP -- Kwadaso) 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to make a contribution to the Motion on the floor, which we are debating as of now.
Mr Speaker, it is with great pain that I observe in this year's Budget that, the Government admitted that, the growth in agriculture has been zero and the worse is that the major crop subsector where most of the nearly five million farmers in this country are positioned actually shrank by 1.7 per cent.
Mr Bright E. K. Demordzi 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member is misleading the House. It is not zero per cent. It is in the Budget Statement.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Very well. Point well taken.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.


Your point is well made. Please proceed.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, 0.04 per cent is in practice, zero. If he is not aware, I am telling him. Mathematically, it is zero.
Mr Speaker, even worse is the fact that, we have the crops sector actually shrinking by 1.7 per cent. Shrinking; not growing or being stagnant. But if we take this against the medium term trend, when this Government took over the affairs of this country in 2008, agriculture grew by 7.4 per cent. In 2009, it grew by 7.2 per cent and has been steadily coming down: by 5.3 per cent 0.7 per cent in 2011; and as I said, earlier there was a drought and that could be permitted. Since then, we have not seen any better performance in agriculture.
We are talking about a situation where logging and lumbering are taking a bigger share of growth in agriculture, and we know that we have been trying to conserve our forests. So if logging, which is deforestation becomes the leading light of growth in agriculture, then it is a very sad turn of events.
Mr Speaker, we have that, and this year, in the year 2015, as I said, there has been no drought like we experienced in 2007 and 2011, yet we are having shrinking of the sector rather than even stagnation of growth.
Mr Speaker, the target that was presented to us by the Hon Minister for Finance in his 2015 Budget was a growth target of 5.9 per cent for agriculture, yet we ended up with practically zero. And as I said, the major sector which is the crops sector is shrinking by 1.7 per cent.
Mr Speaker, one would ask why this constant decline in the growth of that sector; from 7 plus to now zero and heading towards minus. We can trace this to what had been presented to us by this Government in the seven years that they have been in existence through documents like this Budget.
Mr Speaker, we are talking about the allocation of resources to fisheries and aquaculture. As I said before, when this Government took over, the percentage of budgetary allocation to agriculture was 3.8 per cent. They steadily whittled it down to 1.1 per cent last year, and they have repeated it in this year's Budget to 1.1 per cent of the total allocation. GH¢50 billion for Ghana's development, and agriculture, including fisheries is being given 500 million plus.
Mr Speaker, 500 million plus would not even revive the agriculture of the Northern Region, let alone the whole of this country. So there is a huge shortage of resources in agriculture, to make the sector work, that is why we find the growth steadily going down.
Mr Speaker, the policies that this Government enunciated to improve agriculture has also been a total failure.
First of all, Mr Speaker, we are talking about a fertiliser subsidy programme which was inaugurated by President Kufuor in 2007 and this Government came and took it over. The last two years and last year 2014, in spite of the fact that the Hon Minister for Finance, who I hope, would be listening to me, is busily having a chat over there -- promised in his Budget of 2014 that there would be 180,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser imported into this country at subsidised prices for food crop farmers, nothing was done in that sector. The Government failed the farmers.
Mr Speaker, last year, by their own admission,2015, out of the 180,000 promised, again, only 90,000 was provided. Does this show the seriousness of this Government towards agriculture?
Dr O. A. Akoto 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, not only that, when we are talking about new tractor hire services, last year the Government promised that, they were going to create 41 new tractor hire services. The Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture is here. He would confirm it. Instead zero Agricultural Mechanisation Service Enterprises (AMSEC) was created throughout the year. So what happened to the money, which was supposed to be allocated to create the 41 tractor hire services?
Mr Speaker, not only that, the neglect of the existing hire services. Most of the tractors have broken down because of lack of spare parts and he knows it. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture knows it and the Government knows this. So, the farmers are being denied the impact of trying to mechanise their production in order to increase their productivity.
Mr Speaker, we are talking about irrigation. The great vision of the NDC Government which was Accra Plains Irrigation; where is it now? After four years of repeated pronouncements in the Budget; especially, in the last three budgets, there was no mention of the Accra Plains Irrigation Project. It means that, the Government has quietly dropped that scheme and is not giving any reason why such a major national strategic activity has been dropped.
Mr Speaker, in addition to that, I would want to veer into fisheries.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 1 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has indicated that, there is no mention of irrigation development. [Uproar]
Dr O. A. Akoto 1 p.m.
Accra Plain Irrigation Project.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
[Order! Order!]
He spoke about the Accra Plains Irrigation Project.
Mr H. Iddrisu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he said there is no mention -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, I may as well ask for the production of the Hansard. He built his basis very well.
Dr O. A .Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is what I call unnecessary intervention, totally unnecessary intervention in my presentation. It is hitting him where it hurts, and he is trying to find a way to stop me --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, it is not for you to describe it as such.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the marine fisheries sector which is the major source of protein for this country, since the height of nearly 300,000 metric tonnes catch in the mid-2000s, the catches have fallen steadily and rapidly under this Govern- ment, to the extent that the last two --
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.


and I am surprised that the Hon Member of Parliament for Shama is trying to create the impression that, the marine sector is now flourishing. It is not. It is collapsing. This is because, in the last two years, the total marine catch in this country has not even exceeded 30,000 tonnes, which is only 10 per cent of what it used to be ten years ago , cand we know the reason
-- 1:10 p.m.

Mr Essilfie 1:10 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, normally I would not give my Hon Ranking Member a point of order, but since he mentioned my name and tried to create the impression that in my submission I am trying to make people believe that the fisheries sector is all rosy, I would like to correct him.
My Hon Ranking Member knows that, there are problems in the marine sector. However, the fisheries sector is being sustained by aquaculture development, and that is why Government is making every effort to correct the agriculture sector. So, what he said, I never gave that impression and I would like to correct him.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I hope Mr Speaker is taking note of all these distractions which are taken from my numbers, and I would not make up those numbers.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, you have 10 more minutes to go.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, 15 more minutes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
10 minutes -- [Laughter.]
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am saying that, there has been a collapse in marine catches in this country from 300,000 metric tonnes ten years ago, to less than
30,000 metric tonnes, and we know the reasons.
There have been regulations brought to us, there have been laws made in this Chamber to govern the management of the fisheries sector but none of those have been implemented for political expediency. We are not even getting premix fuel for our fishermen, and I am sure that the Hon Member of Parliament for Shama would agree with me.
There is an acute shortage of premix fuel for canoe fishermen, and that is a fact. All the coasts right from Keta all the way beyond Shama to the other side, we are having these problems, and I was expecting this Budget to address these issues of the fishermen, but there is very little mention of that.
The only thing we know is that, because of the corruption in the system, the National Premix Fuel Committee was dissolved, and for four months there was no replacement. They have just formed another Committee, and we would like to hear the arrangements that they would make in order that our fishermen can have the premix fuel to go to sea.
Mr Speaker, I could go on and on and on, but let me come to my favourite subject, the cocoa sector, which is the most mismanaged of all the sectors in this country.
Former President Kufuor put in place two major projects of mass spraying and high technology and within two years doubled production in 2001 from 345,000 metric tonnes in two years to 756, 000 metric tonnes. He then put arrangements in place to reach 1 million metric tonnes in 2010/2011. Now what do we see? The cocoa sector is collapsing.
Mr Speaker, we are importing cocoa from Ivory Coast to feed our factories, and that is a fact. That in my view, is as the English would say “carrying coal to Newcastle”. Ivory Coast is carrying cocoa to Ghana to try and beat the demands of our processing factories which now have a capacity of about 360,000 metric tonnes. They cannot even have enough.
Mr Speaker, what is happening is that, all the bad policies and the corruption in the cocoa sector which is leading to the collapse are still with us today, and I was expecting the Hon Minister for Finance who is responsible directly for cocoa -- I wish the Ministry of Finance would be listening.
Mr Speaker, could we --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Go ahead with your submission. His Deputy is listening to you. Please, go ahead, you are eating up your own time.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Deputies are listening.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
You go ahead with your presentation.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
So, we are saying that, because the farmers are being cheated with -- [Interruption.]
Dr Edward Omane Boamah 1:10 p.m.
On a point of order. Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
The Hon Member is misleading the House significantly. To say that the cocoa sector is collapsing and that we are cheating farmers is very far from what is on the ground.
Mr Speaker, a sector that is witnessing a lot of overgrown farms being dealt with by this administration, coupled with the fact that there are a lot of old cocoa trees which the current administration is replacing, and this is the evidence; in the 2014/2015 cocoa season, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) replaced 50,000 trees with seedlings and in the 2015/2016 cocoa season COCOBOD has indicated replacing --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Minister, the points are well made, but they do not suffice to constitute a point of order. You could discuss with any of the latest speakers from that side, so that they would also counteract it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, all that my Hon Colleague wanted to say, which he said to me, off the microphone, was that, the cocoa sector has not collapsed. It is in decline. That was all that he said.
Mr Speaker, he should not allow himself to be coached by Hon Haruna Iddrisu, because he himself is not a good coach.
Mr Speaker, during the Progress Party era, there was a catch phrase that;”if you have nothing to say, do not say it here”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, please, we are not being fair to the Hon Member who is on the Floor.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, may I please remind you that I still have 10 minutes because of the distractions?
So Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that, this collapse in our industry -- internationally if production drops by 20 per cent it is a
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:10 p.m.


collapse, whether it is in Ecuador, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ghana or anywhere. So, there has been a collapse in production of cocoa, and the sooner we all admit it, the better.

We know the shipments which went out in the last 12 months. We could not even ship 500,000 metric tonnes, and I am challenging anybody to tell me that we were able to ship more than that. We have the figures. In the Budget, we can see it. It talks about it here.

Mr Speaker, on paragraph 64, where it talks about the amount of cocoa beans and products exported up to September 2015, almost equal to whatever he calls it, then it says that the realised cocoa beans increased by 22 per cent to settle at US$2,999 per ton, while the volume exported decreased by 21 per cent.

Mr Speaker, I do not recall in the history of the cocoa industry in this country where the volume of exports of cocoa has dropped by 21 per cent on the admission of the Government itself. The figures are here.Such a disastrous result could easily have been avoided if the two fundamental problems which faced the cocoa farmers were addressed. If the low producer price which is paid to them was addressed and the substantial cut in the allocation of chemicals for capsid and swollen shoot diseases were avoided and those chemicals adequately supplied to the farmers, we would not been where we are.

Mr Speaker, I am saying, with my knowledge of the industry, that if this situation continues, very soon, Ghana's production will not even reach half a million metric tonnes. That is something that I have been saying on this Floor for the past five years; the way the Government is heading this industry, it will lead to a
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Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan 1:20 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
My Hon Colleague makes a lot of fetish of the figures. I would want him to compare the average volume of cocoa produced between 2001 and 2008 and the average volume produced between 2009 and 2015 and tell me which figure is higher?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Very well.
Please proceed, Hon Member.
Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan 1:20 p.m.
Agriculture: Facts and Figures. Mr Speaker, they are here. Between 2001 and 2008, production never crossed 700,000 metric tonnes -- [Uproar.] From 2009 to date, it has been beyond 800,000 metric tonnes. Indeed, in 2011, it crossed the one million metric tonnes limit.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as you know, by the rules, I do not always have to yield to these interruptions. I see that Hon Sampson Ahi is up. Does he want to make a contribution?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, unless I give the green light, just go ahead with your presentation. Your time is up but I will give you two more minutes.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, five minutes -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, so we know why cocoa production is collapsing. Ivory Coast and Ghana have the same land area under cocoa; 1.7 million hectares for each country. Ivory Coast produced 1.7 million metric tonnes of cocoa last year; Mr Speaker we could hardly do 700,000 metric tonnes. Is that not a shame, Mr Speaker? It is a reflection of the failure of Government policies in the sector.
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Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Ahi, is it a point of order?
Mr Ahi 1:20 p.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading the House by saying that the cocoa sector is under decline because of low producer Price that we pay to cocoa farmers. He knows that this Government has paid the highest cocoa producer price to farmers. This is because, as we speak, we pay 74 per cent net freight on board (FOB) to cocoa farmers. The highest they could do in 2008 was 70 per cent of net FOB. The Hon Member knows it. How can he say that 74 per cent is lower than70 per cent? [An Hon Member: And Ivory Coast has always been higher than Ghana.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Very well. Yes, Hon Member?
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there is an Asante adage which says, “Se wu maame ewu na se wuse wadaa, ese woara”. -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, translated into English, what does that mean?
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, to wit, “If your mother is dead and you say she is sleeping, it is up to you.”
The farmers of Ghana are suffering, they complain about the low prices; their standard of living has dropped. If they produce one million metric tonnes, it is not the same as producing 700,000 metric tonnes.

Mr Speaker, still talking about the commitment of this Government, even the priority of agriculture in the economy, they are looking --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, begin to conclude.
Dr O. A. Akoto 1:20 p.m.
I am concluding, Mr Speaker.
Looking at the priority allocation from the oil money, the ABFA in 2015, only GH¢30 million was allocated to agriculture compared to capacity building of GH¢235 million -- [Uproar.] This amount for capacity building - When our poor farmers were allocated only GH¢30 million. Even then the total amount was not released. I think Hon Seth Terkper, the Minister for Finance will confirm this. My good Friend, Hon Cassiel Ato Forson will also confirm that.
Mr Speaker, we are in a very sorry state with our agriculture. It is affecting our food requirement --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up.
Dr O. A Akoto 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just summing up. I hope that the Government would take something out of our interventions here to change the way they are managing the agricultural sector.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Alex Kyeremeh.
Deputy Minister for Education (Mr Alex Kyeremeh) (MP): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that, this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2016.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Government.Over four years, it has been so gracious to the Ministry; it spends more than 27 per cent of its Budget on education. This is the highest in the sub region and around the world. It is about six per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and one of the best in the world.
Mr Speaker, education hinges on three areas; namely access to education, quality education and equity. This was formulated by the previous Government in 2008 when the Ghana Education Strategic Plan was formulated.
Under access to education, Ghana has performed tremendously well. It is one of the best in the sub region. The only problem we have is those out of school.
In 2005, the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) conducted a survey which revealed that about 500,000 children were out of school. The Ministry took this as a serious challenge. As I speak, we have a programme called Complementary Basic Education, which is trying to rope in all the children in the country. We have been able to identity more than 500,000 children in the country, mainly in the three northern regions: Northern, Upper West and Upper East and part of the Brong Ahafo Region.
What we do now is to organise these children in the evenings. We teach them
in their local languages and rope them into the main stream. This is to complement the existing formal education so, that we would be able to bring all of them into the main stream. This is progressing very well.
Last year, we were able to rope in about 24,000 out of school children into the main stream; this year we will rope in 55,000 of school children into the main stream. This is very commendable and we hope to achieve ‘education for all', for every child in this country.
Again, the Government is also trying to construct 123 Senior High Schools. This will address the three areas: Access, quality and equity. We say access because, we have been able to identify that --
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Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo, is it a point of order?
Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. This is a House of records. The Government has said it is trying to construct 200 Senior High Schools, not 123 senior high schools. So, for the Hon Member to mislead this House, I think he should withdraw.
Officially, the Hon Minister said 200 Senior High Schools and he said 123 senior high schools. So, which one is correct? -- [Interruption]-- It is a Government in confusion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have started 123 Senior High Schools. We started with 50 and added another 50. We have added 23. We will get to the 200 he is talking about. We cannot do all of them at once.
This will solve the problem of access to senior high schools. This is because, increase in numbers in senior high schools is becoming very alarming. Between 1999 and 2014, there has been a tremendous increase of those who want to access senior high schools in this country.
Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on his feet was here last week to answer a Question. He said that for 2016, they are not going to embark on any new project.
Mr Speaker, he is now saying that, they are currently working on 123 of the schools and that they are going to reach 200 by 2016. If they are not going to start a new project, how are they going to get to the 200?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, these are ongoing projects and we have a programme for the 200 Senior High Schools. These are not new programmes, they are old programmes and we are actualising them. They are not new projects.
Mr Speaker, this will solve the problem of limited access to senior high schools.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister is not really telling us the story. Access to secondary education, contrary to what he is saying, is not a problem; it is the distribution which is the problem.
There are so many of the schools that are undersubscribed. If he says he wants the schools to be nearer to the students, that is fine. However, access to secondary education is not really the problem.
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is his position. Our position is that, between 1999 and 2014, we have had an increase of more than 600 in those who want to access senior high school. It is all over the country.That is why we want to build new schools, so that we put them where the schools would be needed. We would put schools in such areas in the country so that children will be able to access the schools.
Again,we would want to decongest the old schools. You go to a school built for about 500 students and there are more than 1,500 to 2,000 students. If we are able to put up more schools, we will be able to decongest these existing schools and children would have the quality education we all desire.
We will also improve on all the social intervention programmes we have.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, you have four more minutes to go.
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
We will pay Capitation Grant. We will also increase school enrolment, by increasing coverage of School Feeding Programmes across the country, by the School Improvement Programme which the House approved by giving the Ministry a loan from the World Bank. We are also going to improve about 50 existing schools across the country.
Mr Speaker, on the question of equity, Ghana is doing marvellously well and the gender parity gap is now narrowing. Out of 100 children, we have about 49 girls and 51 boys. Ghana is doing very well in terms of equity in education. Ghana is touted as one of the best in the world.
Mr Speaker, on quality education, in the coming years we will continue the programme of zero tolerance for teacher
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.


absenteeism. As already indicated by one of my Hon Colleagues, we started with 27 per cent teacher absenteeism rate in this country. We have been able to reduce it to 11 per cent. Our target is to reduce it to a single digit.

We will improve the school manage- ment system and we call upon all the stakeholders in the country, including Members of Parliament, to help us in this direction.

We are talking to District Chief Executives who are clothed with an Act of Parliament, Act 506 to go round to assess the schools, provide them with their needs and check teacher absenteeism. We have had two meetings with them in the last years. We would want to continue with that so that we would be able to reduce teacher absenteeism in the country.

Mr Speaker, we are also suggesting that those teachers who are not in school should forfeit their salaries at the end of the month by the number of days they absented themselves from school. We will do that to reduce teacher absenteeism in the country. By so doing, we hope to increase the quality of education in this country.

One area of concern is the institutiona- lisation of the National Teaching Council (NTC) which we have been able to put together and appointed a director to oversee it. What we are going to do now is that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up. Please, wind- up.
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the NTC will register teachers and insist on their professionalism. This alone will have to increase the quality we all desire.
With these few words, I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Members, it is now the turn of Hon Yaw Owusu-Boateng.
Mr Yaw Owusu-Boateng (NPP -- Asene/Akroso/Manso) 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the debate that is ongoing about the principles of the Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker, to start with, let me make a few comments about the debate that has gone on education before I move to discuss some of the substantive issues that have been raised.
I have heard oftentimes in this House that, complementary basic education is the brainwork of the NDC Government. The ones who started complementary basic education are called Mr and Mrs Life. They were Danes.
They started complementary basic education, but this Government has never ever found it prudent to thank them for starting some idea which was not their brainwork but continue to say that they are the initiators of such a programme.
Mr Speaker, you will find out that, they have borrowed ideas over the years and the NDC is never grateful to the people who initiated it. For example, in 2012, it was the NPP that talked about free secondary education. Though it is in the Constitution, it was the NPP -- Everybody in this country --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, is it a point of order?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading this House. When we launched the Complementary Basic Education at Kintampo, we
acknowledged the ‘School of Life.' They were there and we have always shown appreciation to the ‘School of Life'. In fact, the complementary basic education is geared --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Where ‘School of Life' refers to whom? Is it the very person the Hon Member is talking about?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Yes. He said that we have not acknowledged the effort of Mr and Mrs Life by introducing complemen- tary basic education. That is not true. This is because at Kintampo, we acknowledged all of them and they know that we are modelling the complementary basic education in line with what they started.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful that for the first time in this House, the Hon Deputy Minister and his NDC cohorts have accepted the fact that complementary basic education was the brainchild of Mr and Mrs Life.
Again, everybody in this country knows that though it is in the 1992 Constitution, that progressively, we should have education to be free, it was the NPP's campaign in 2012 that actually wanted secondary school education to be free. This was copied by the NDC and they never gave us the credit that we actually wanted to push this idea and make it a reality.
Mr Speaker, establishing a university in the Eastern Region, the only region that did not have a public university, was also an idea of the NPP and they still do not want to give the credit to us. He just talked about it.
Today, if they are establishing Eastern Regional University, it was our brain child; it was not theirs. So far, they have been saying that, there is improved quality of education in this country. If anybody cares to know, they would find out that our education is one of the worst in the world.
Quite recently, in May, 2015, just this year, the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (O.E.C.D.) took seventy-six countries across the world and Ghana was the last when it came to quality. We were in the 76th position. So, I am surprised that in this House, we claim that the quality of Ghanaian education is getting to the apex.We are the worst in this world and we have to do our best to make sure that things do work.
Apart from that, we realise that increasingly, instead of this Government making sure that they use --
1. 40 p.m.
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Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, is it a point of order?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
What is it?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading this House. We do not have 76 countries in the world, we have more than 76 countries in this world. He is misleading this House, that we are the worst in the world. For his information, they compared education to GDP; if you are able to grow your education, what do you get at the end of it all?
I am here to tell him that, in West Africa, we are the best for three successive years. From 2012, 2013 and 2014, Ghana was adjudged the overall best in West African
Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Ghana presented fewer candidates whereas Nigeria presented more than a million candidates but Ghana was adjudged the best. We took the three coveted prizes in Freetown and Lagos last year.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
I said there was a survey by O.E. C.D. of 76 countries in the world, Ghana was among the countries and we placed in the 76th position; we are the worst. If the Hon Deputy Minister for Education would want to compare Ghana to other West African countries and believe that we are doing well, that is up to him.
Mr Speaker, you would realise that, even an independent assessment -- I have the document and I can table it. If we are talking about quality, there is an independent assessment of the current Budget by Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); copies are here, which I am tabling. If you go to the section on quality you would find out, the following. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
“Quantity constraints are certainly dramatic and impeach as well as on quality as when 150 students sit in a single class in this country”.
Is that the kind of quality that the Hon Deputy Minister for Education is talking about, to have 150 students sitting in a class?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, you have three more minutes to go.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Nevertheless, reforms have focused on programmes designed to increase demand rather than quantity or supply. The whole thing is that, we cannot have 150 pupils in a class and claim that we have quality.
Again, we are increasingly using the National Service Personnel instead of using trained teachers who are available. These teachers are being frustrated. This is because it is cheaper to employ National Service Personnel than using those professional teachers. The reason is that they pay the National Service Personnel GH¢350 and an average trained teacher takes about GH¢800.
As a result, the NDC Government is not prepared to use such trained teachers that would upgrade the quality or the standard of education rather than using the National Service Personnel.
We have heard time and again that the NDC Government wants to upgrade the technical schools into technical univer- sities and they are going to implement this in September, 2016. Up till today, I have not heard about teachers being upgraded or new infrastructure being put in these technical schools --
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Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, is it a point of order?
Mr Agbodza 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a House of record, the NDC Government never said that we were going to change technical schools to technical universities so, please, he can correct himself.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
I think it is polytechnics, right?
Yes?
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, paragraph 669, may I quote from the 2016 Budget Statement:
“Mr Speaker, as part of the process to upgrade polytechnics into Technical Universities, an expert panel was set up to assess polytechnics'…”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
That is the very point he is making. …
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
I mean it was a slip of the tongue --
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
All the same, we have not seen retooling of our technical schools; we have not seen new infrastructure in place; the lecturers in the polytechnics are still being upgraded and I wonder the kind of technical university that we are going to have. Furthermore, the Government promised us that they were going to --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Kyeremeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have asked the NIV to conduct a survey to approve schools which would be approved by this House and they have submitted their Report. They have asked all the polytechnics about the lecturers they would need at the various polytechnics.
So, it is not true that we have not done that; we have done that and very soon, next year, we will submit a Bill to this House so that, the House would have to approve the polytechnics we want to upgrade into technical universities.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Very well. It is just that, he has not seen anything.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are debating the Budget and it is not part of the Budget. It is not there; it is neither
here nor there. He is talking about something which is coming to the House in future. Today, I have not seen those things going on so I do not know what he is talking about.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
All right, Hon Member, begin to wind-up.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Again, you took a World Bank Loan and said you were going to supply sanitary pads to secondary school students. I have not seen any secondary school in Ghana that has received that. Where is the money?
Where are the 200 schools that you said you were going to build in four years?
Mr First Deputy Speaker Hon Member, may I ask you a question? The fact that you have not seen it, does not necessarily mean that, it is not there. I am not taking part in the debate but you said that, you have not seen. --
Mr Owusu-Boateng 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I put in a rhetorical question that, I do not know of any single school that they have supplied these sanitary pads to. If any one of them knows, he can supply us with the information. And I am a bit worried that you are joining the debate, too.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
I am not joining the debate. You are talking about yourself. If you had made an assertive statement that there is nothing like that, I would not have come in. However, you are saying you have not seen -- The fact that you have not seen does not necessarily mean that it does not exist. That is all I am saying.
Anyway, your time is up.
Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, just an indulgence; I realise that, the Hon Member for Yunyoo, Hon Joseph Bipoba Nabu is anxious to participate in this debate. I am just craving your indulgence, and the indulgence of the Majority to give my good friend an opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, his name is not on my list.
Hon Members, the next person to take the Floor is Hon Dr Omane Boamah, Minister for Communications.
Minister for Communications (Dr Edward O. Boamah) 1:50 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The 2016 Financial Year Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented to this august House by the Hon Minister for Finance on the authority of His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama has a lot of promises for Ghanaians. It certainly fits into the President's agenda to transform this nation and to make lives better for every Ghanaian.
The transformational agenda is being catalysed by Information Communication Technology (ICT) and telecommuni- cations and that is the reason we indicated that, in the year 2015, we have seen the subscription of cellular and fixed lines standing at 33,099,511. This compares to a figure of about a little over 11,000,000 as at the end of 2008. Also, in looking at mobile internet and fixed internet, that also stand at a little over 17,000,000 as we speak.
All these are derived from the enabling environment that Government has created in the country which also includes what the private sector is responding to positively. The assurance is also given that, as a result of improvement in both

fixed and mobile broadband, there would be more uptake in the use of internet for the development of the nation.

I take note of the fact that, Hon Members have spoken about the delays that we have witnessed in the migration from analog television broadcasting to digital television broadcasting. The fact of the matter remains that, the Antalya Declaration was as far back as 2016. From 2016, every country was expected to have migrated by June, 2015. Unfortunately, all the way from 2016 to June, 2015, Ghana was not able to migrate.
Mr Awuah 1:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I just want to understand the Hon Minister very well because, he is making reference to a time in 2016 where a fixed date for 2015 was set for the migration. We are yet to enter into 2016 so I just want to know whether he has mixed up the dates.
Dr Boamah 1:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not sure he heard me well. I am referring to the fact that, the Antalya Declaration was signed in 2006 and from 2006 to 2008, all the way to June, 2015 we did not migrate as a nation. We have still not migrated but the good news is that, as we speak, the migration process has commenced and the assurance is that, by the middle of 2016, we would have completed the migration process. In addition to that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
Hon Member, do you want to respond to the answer he gave?
Mr Awuah 1:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that the Hansard Department can be of assistance to us because I heard him mention 2016 but not 2006. So if he is admitting that what he said was a slip of the tongue I have no problem with it, but he cannot insist that he said 2006. It was rather 2016 that he mentioned.
Dr Boamah 1:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it still does not change the fact that between 2006 and 2008, the migration did not take place. I am saying that, under President John Dramani Mahama, the migration is taking place and by the middle of 2016, we would have completed the migration process. In terms of the distribution of the set-up boxes, Government would make an intervention.
As a social democratic Government, we believe that, the international agreement that says that we should migrate from analog to digital broadcasting must also be sensitive to the plight of the have-nots, but it may not be everyone who can change the television receiving set from analog to digital. Those ones would have to be supported with set-up boxes.
As a result, Government would procure some set-up boxes and ensure that, we distribute them to the have-nots and we promise transparency and equitable distribution. His Excellency the President in speaking to this august House last February during the State of the Nation Address also indicated that, we would complete the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Project.
I am proud to say that through the hard work and support of every Ghanaian, we have been able to complete the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Backbone Project. We are appreciative of the support that our --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
Hon Minister, you have three more minutes to go.
Dr Boamah 1:50 a.m.
This spans a distance of 808.35 kilometres. Running through several districts, it stretches from Ho to Bawku with a link from Yendi to Tamale. In 2016, Government would also ensure that the following tertiary institutions -- University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast, the Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology, St Theresa Training College, Ola Training College, University College of Education, Winneba, University of Development Studies and Sunyani Polytechnic -- Are all given enhanced ICT infrastructure.
Mr Speaker, we are convinced that with the right interventions put in place as a result of ensuring that ICT and telecommunication become the driver for the transformational agenda, the President's determination to transform this nation would be achieved.
Last but not least, let me put on record that the implementation of the Interconnect Clearing House, a policy that has been approved by Cabinet, is not intended and would never be used as a recording system for any purpose that anyone could think about. So, this is an assurance that we would want to offer this august House. It is a system that is going to ensure that even pipe approval for communication gadgets, quality of service monitoring et cetera are also taken care of, including revenue assurance.
On this note, Mr Speaker, I would want to end by indicating that the Government of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama is also applying ICT and technology in the area of fishing and that is why we are distr ibuting fishfinders, a Global Positioning System (GPS) to enhance fishing in the various fishing communities.
Let me assure you that, as a result of these interventions modern cold stores are being built, with some completed in Prampram, Nyanyanor, Shama, Sekondi- Takoradi, Half Assini and Kormantse. Also, the fisheries college at Anomabo is also being completed. Government is investing heavily in the fishing industry contrary to what the Hon Member wanted the House to believe.
Thank you very much.
Mr William A. Quaittoo (NPP -- Akim Oda) 1:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the name is Quaittoo.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
What is the name again?
Mr Quaittoo 1:50 a.m.
Quaittoo.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
Yes, that is what I said.
Mr Quaittoo 1:50 a.m.
You said, ‘Kettoo.'
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
No, Quaittoo. I know lawyer Quaittoo in Takoradi so I know your name; I am familiar with it.
Mr Quaittoo 1:50 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I am glad that the Hon Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture is still in the House. When the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs was speaking, he interjected by saying that from 2001 to 2008 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 a.m.
Hon Members, having regard to the time and nature of business, I direct that we sit beyond the stipulated time. Yes, Hon Member, continue.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
He said that from 2001 to 2008, we never had cocoa production at over 700,000 metric tonnes.
I would want to put it on record that, in 2003 and 2004 season, total production was 736,975 and that is almost 740,000 metric tonnes. And in 2005 and 2006, total production was 740,458 metric tonnes.

And in 2008, it was 710,642 metric tonnes. So, he should check his record. In all these years, we went above 700,000 metric tonnes.

Mr Speaker, I am going to speak only on cocoa and I am glad that the Hon Minister for Finance is in the House. We have a number of questions that is begging for answers.

Mr Speaker, if we look at paragraph 61 of the Budget Statement, it states that, merchandise exports decreased by 23.0 per cent in 2015, compared to 2014 due to falling commodity prices; and then he mentioned cocoa as one of those prices.

Mr Speaker, however, if you go to paragraph 64, again, it admits that, export price realised for that year or 2015, increased by 22 per cent to settle at US$2,990.9 per tonne. It indicates that, there was an appreciation in the international price of cocoa. So, why did he say that in paragraph 61, there has been falling prices in cocoa? This has been the song of this Government ever since President Mahama took over as the President.

In the last four to five years, they have been saying that our economy is not growing because of fallen cocoa prices. Mr Speaker, that is not true. We have been monitoring the commodity prices on the international market and for all these years, cocoa prices at the international market have stayed around averagely US$3,000.

So, if COCOBOD and for that matter the Ministry of Finance go to the international market and it is not able to get, a good price, it should not say that we are experiencing falling international cocoa prices. That is not the truth. They can check that.

Mr Speaker, again, there is another inconsistency with production target. In paragraph 394, it says that, target for 2015 and 2016, is 850,000 metric tonnes. In the same way, last year, they mentioned that, target for last year cocoa production was 850,000 metric tonnes. Mr Speaker, these figures are not known to this House. This is because, each time they come to this House with a target when they are going for the syndicated loan.

Last year, they were in this House with a proposed target of 950,000 metric tonnes, and later they revised it to 850,000 metric tonnes. They have done the same thing this year. They are saying that, when they were coming for approval for the syndicated loan, they mentioned a total target of 900,000 metric tonnes.

Again, in this Budget, we are seeing 850,000 metric tonnes. Is that a trick? Today, they have increased the target. When they are coming for the loan and later realise that they cannot produce, when it comes to the Budget Statement they reduce it. They should watch out, We are not sleeping. We have seen the figures and we would of course correct them.

The Hon Minister for Finance should respect this House and come clean whenever he is coming to this House with those figures.

Mr Speaker, again, I am wondering whether Ghana was able to pay her loan for 2014 and 2015 seasons.

The Minister for Finance is in the House here, but he is busily chatting. I would want him to listen to this question. This is because, it is very important to

me and to the entire country. Are we or were we able to pay our loan for 2014 and 2015 season?

If we look at paragraph 61, it says that, ‘cocoa beans export amounted to US$1.34 billion, by exporting a volume of about 448,000 metric tonnes.'

On the 2nd July, 2015, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, you have five more minutes to go.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
The Hon Deputy Minister for Finance was in this House to tell us that, in that year, we collateralised 640,000 metric tonnes, therefore, it was possible for us to pay our loan. But this is the case in the Budget, we are being told that, only 448,000 metric tonnes was exported by the end of September, 2015 and this amounted to US$1.34 billion. So, how did we pay our loan?
Mr Speaker, is it true that we had to go and borrow another US$500 million from some private company to go and pay our loan in order to qualify us for this year? That is the question I am posing to the Hon Minister for Finance. It is a story in the air and nobody would want to answer it. But the Hon Minister for Finance probably, can answer it. It is said that we had to borrow US$500 million from a private company before we were able to settle our loan.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, you know that you can table a Question for the Hon Minister to come and answer. It is within your power.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, I would do so.
Mr Speaker, when we do, the questions should be admitted. I have submitted several Questions which were never admitted and this is one of them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, you are yet to table the Question and you say, “it is one of them”.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am saying, Mr Djietror is aware. I posed a Question on cocoa and it was never admitted.
Mr Speaker, let us talk about the producer price of cocoa. Again, the Government is praising itself that it has increased the producer price of cocoa by 21.74 per cent. We are seriously ripping off cocoa farmers.
Mr Speaker, if you take the exchange rate that they themselves quoted in the dissemination of the producer price formula, they quoted GH¢3.8 as the exchange rate to the dollar. If you consider the average price on the international market, which I am being very modest to say about 3,100, you would arrive at a figure of about GH¢11,780 per tonne of cocoa.
Mr Speaker, GH¢11,780 and that is the gross Freight On Board (FOB). If you take about 70 per cent of this, the value you should get should be about 8,246 to wit, about GH¢515 per bag. And so, if you take the 70 per cent, this is the figure you would get.
If we are paying only GH¢6,720 only out of it, they would not praise themselves. This is because --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, are you on a point of order?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was trying to draw your attention to your earlier directive that, if the Hon Member could direct his Questions -- It appears rhetoric. But, since the Hon Minister for Finance is already here, I thought you would grant special leave for him to answer.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, you are out of order. You know the procedure.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why I am seeking your guidance.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, please, proceed.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, they are saying they are paying 70 per cent or more than 70 per cent of the net FOB of the receipts to farmers. Mr Speaker, I would want to say that, this is a cheat to cocoa farmers.
Mr Speaker, in determining the producer price of cocoa for the farmers, what is done is that; they take a huge chunk of some amount of money ranging between 14 to 18 per cent as industry cost, arrive at a certain amount and call that the net FOB and out of that, they calculate the 70 per cent or a little more than 70 per cent for the farmers.
Mr Speaker, if we do so, taking that 16 or 18 per cent and again, when you get the net profit and also give only the 70 per cent, when you add the two; it means that over 40 per cent, almost about 46 per cent of the cocoa farmer's gross income is taken out.
Mr Speaker, that is a cheating. You and I know that, those of us in the upper echelon of society are never taxed up to more than 25 per cent of our gross income. Nobody does that. Why should we take
about 46 per cent of the gross income of a cocoa farmer? That is cheating, and I think that this policy must change.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up, just wind-up.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the cocoa farmer pays for a lot of cost in the cocoa industry; Hitech, the Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control Programme (CODAPEC), the Cocoa Rehabilitation and Planting, Scholarship, Cocoa Roads, and so on.
Mr Speaker, who is monitoring this project to see that it is benefiting the cocoa farmer? There are several questions that beg for answers. Are all cocoa farmers benefiting from these projects for the huge sums of moneys allocated for these projects annually? Who is monitoring and evaluating the success or otherwise of these projects?
Mr Speaker, what percentage of farms is really treated annually with these chemicals? What about the method of
distributing the fertilizers. Is it true, as some farmers are saying, that political party cards are used in accessing these chemicals?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Member your time is up.
Mr Quaittoo 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, are the chemicals distributed on time? These are the several questions that we need to really find answers.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of today with regard to the debate on the Financial Policy. I think that at this point it is within my power to direct that we bring proceedings to a close and resume tomorrow at 10.00 in the forenoon.
ADJOURNMENT 2 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 2.11 p.m. till Thursday, 3rd December, 2015 at 10.00 a.m.