Yes, Hon Member for Amasaman?
Emmanuel Nii Okai Laryea (NDC -- Amasaman): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion on the floor, that this honourable House approves the sum of GH¢349,152,142.00 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the concluding part of the Report which is on page 19 on the Committee's Report.
“Development in the world is currently hinged on the development of science, technology and innovations. If Ghana is to move in tandem with developments in the world, then there is the need to ensure that. the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and its departments are well resourced. Total financial support should be given by the Ministry of Finance to its departments, especially the newly- created ones to ensure that they are properly established.”
[NII OKAI LARYEA] [NII OKAI LARYEA]
Mr Speaker, there is a recurring problem that every single year, we seem to do the same thing -- which is approving Estimates for the various Ministries and their Departments and Agencies and the release of those moneys to the Ministries becomes a problem.
Mr Speaker, in order to ensure that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation is able to carry out its activities in a timeous manner, I would plead with the Ministry of Finance that, releases to the Ministry are done in a timeous manner this year. At least, we cannot do business as usual. Things would have to change. We are in an era of change, so, things would have to change this year.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, the Ministry has a lot of important agencies under it, and there is the need for us to resource those departments and agencies very well for them to be able to undertake their activities.
Mr Speaker, through our deliberations with the Committee and other agencies, the attention of the Committee was drawn to the fact that, the Agency which is CSIR, is woefully under resourced. This is an organisation, when properly resourced would be able to advance the research in Ghana and beyond.
The attention of the Committee was also drawn to the fact that there is a particular variety of corn which is grown in South Africa which was identified by the CSIR which is the obatanpa species.
Mr Speaker, so, I believe that, if we are able to adequately resource them, they could carry out their work very well.
Mr Speaker, there is an interesting revelation also. The CSIR was able to develop a pozzolana lime and salt resistant brick. I believe a factory has been set up in Bawku and Sandema respectively.
Mr Speaker, you would be surprised to know that, this finding of the CSIR, is currently being used for the fencing of the Takoradi Thermal Power Station, which is situated in Aboadze.
Mr Speaker, I join my Hon Colleagues to say that, we cannot do business as usual. We are all aware that, change is here with us, so it is high time we did things differently.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to comment briefly on the encroachment of CSIR lands.
In my constituency for example, the Municipal Assembly, I believe sometime in 2013 or 2014, I sold land belonging to the CSIR to a private developer. I personally kicked against it. There was an Assembly member, who took the Assembly to court then, to seek redress. The result of that was that, the Assembly member was expelled and he was not allowed to take part in Assembly meetings. At the appropriate time, through the appropriate quarters, I will ask questions and I will have this situation addressed.
Mr Speaker, I would finally want to touch on the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority, which was set up as a result of an Act of this House in 2016, Act 192, and an Executive Instrument (E. I.)180, which sought to dissolve the then Town and Country Planning Department.
Mr Speaker, it is clear that, this is a new establishment and a very important one to say. It would be important that, this establishment is properly resourced for them to carry out their mandate.
Mr Speaker, there is the need for them to set up their head office as well as regional and district offices in the various MMDAs. A very sad revelation also came up, which I believe has been captured in the Report. This is where the then Town and Country Planning Department went into an agreement with SSNIT and leased a portion of their land, which is situated in a prime area, opposite the head office of SSNIT, the Pyramid House.
They were supposed to pay annual rent to the Town and Country Planning Department. As we speak, Mr Speaker, it has been twenty (20) years and beyond, and not a single penny has been paid to the Town and Country Planning Department.
I would also at the appropriate time, and with the appropriate quarters, see how best we could resolve this issue. So at least, if some portions of the moneys that are owed the Town and Country Planning Department are paid, they would have enough resources to undertake the activities that they are supposed to undertake this year.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion on the floor.
Thank you very much.