VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings dated Thursday, 6th July, 2017.
[No correction was made to the Votes a n d P r o c e e d i n g s o f T h u r s d a y , 6 th July, 2017].
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 29th June, 2017.]
Item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Business Statement. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee?
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 6th July, 2017 and arranged Business of the House for the Seventh Week ending Friday, 14th July, 2017.
Arrangement of Business Formal Communications by the Speaker Mr Speaker, you may read communica- tions to the House whenever they are available. Question(s) Mr Speaker, the Business Committee has programmed the following Ministers to respond to Questions asked of them during the week: No. of Question(s) i. Minister for Agriculture -- 3 ii. Minister for Finance -- 1 iii. Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs -- 1 iv. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice -- 1 v. Minister for Health -- 2 vi. Minister for Foreign Affairs -- 3 vii. Minister for Education -- 3 Total number of Questions -- 14 Mr Speaker, seven (7) Ministers are expected to attend upon the House to respond to fourteen (14) Questions during the week. The Questions are of the following types: i. Urgent -- 3; ii. Oral -- 11 Furthermore, Questions of urgent nature duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be scheduled for response by Ministers in the course of the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by Mr Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members, in accordance with Standing Order 72. Bills, Papers and Reports Mr Speaker, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Standing Order 119. Papers and Committee Reports may also be presented to the House. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Conclusion Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160(2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House, the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week under consideration. Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Agriculture what remedial action the Ministry is taking to tackle outbreak of the fall army worms which are destroy- ing large hectares of farmlands in most parts of the country. Questions -- *36. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Agriculture what steps the Ministry has taken to operationalise the dairy plant at Juapong in the Volta Region. *37. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Agriculture what plans the Government has to revive the Prairie Volta Limited, also known as Aveyime Rice Factory, in the North Tongu Constituency. *10. Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (Juaboso): To ask the Minister for Finance how much the nation had spent so far on the 60th Indepen- dence celebration. Mr Speaker, the Business Committee had programmed the Hon Minister for Finance to respond to a Question, which was slated to be answered a couple of weeks back. We programmed it for Tuesday, but events that played out just this morning suggest that the Hon Minister would not be available. He would be outside the jurisdiction on Tuesday, 11th July, 2017.
So, I would plead with the Hon Member, and indeed the House, that the Hon Minister be permitted to Answer to that Question the week after the following, which would mean Tuesday, 18th July, 2017. Statements Presentation of Papers -- (a) Annual Report of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) on the Management of Petroleum Revenues for the year 2014. (b) Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation to the convention on Biological diversity. (c) Report of the Committee of Selection on the re-composition of Committees of the House. Motions-- Adoption of the Report of the Committee of Selection on the re- composition of Committees of the House. Mr Speaker, as I indicated, the Technical Committee dealing with the review of the Standing Orders would meet the following weekend, and what it means is that, even when we approve of this re-engineered Committee system, we would hold office for just about three weeks. It is intended that, the review would be done, completed and adopted by the House before the House rises. That being the case, it would mean that, the transaction of Business would be facilitated by these Committees so as to be adopted by the House into the ensuing week, then we take it from there. Mr Speaker, I have had discussions with my Hon Colleagues, and I believe Leadership would agree on that and be in consultation with your goodself, as the Hon Chairman of the Committee of Selection, then, the House would stand to approve of it. Questions -- *52 Dr Clement A. Apaak (Builsa South): To ask the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs what stage the process of elevating more chiefs to the status of paramountcy has reached. *56 Dr Clement A. Apaak (Builsa South): To ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice what steps are being taken to establish a court in Builsa South. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions -- (a) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the Fulani herdsmen menace in the country. (b) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the use of live ammunition by the Police in the Dalun Community to control irate youth in 2016 during which Ganiu Abdul Rahman was hit in the leg by a stray bullet. Committee sittings. Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Health when the governing boards of the following agencies will be constituted: (i) Ghana Health Service, (ii) Food and Drugs Authority, (iii) National Health Insurance Authority, and (iv) Pharmacy Council. Questions -- *55. Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Yilo Krobo): To ask the Minister for Health when work would start on the construction of the Yilo Krobo Municipal Hospital. *67. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if reports of 7,000 Ghanaian immigrants facing deportation from the United States of America has come to the Ministry's attention and what the Ministry is doing about it. *68. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the plight of Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf States has come to the Ministry's attention and what is being done about it. *69. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu): To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if a Red Cross report of the demise of some Ghanaians in the Sahara Desert in northern Niger, which was broadcast by the BBC on June 1, 2017, has come to the Ministry's attention and if so, what is the Ministry's response? Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions Committee sittings. Urgent Question --
To ask the Minister for Education what necessitated the closure of the University of Education at Winneba, and what steps the Ministry has taken to resolve the challenges for the re- opening of the university. Questions -- *57. Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (Asawase): To ask the Minister for Education the number of mission schools in the country and their regional composition. *58. Mr Ernest Henry Norgbey (Ashaiman): To ask the Minister for Education when the construction of the Community Day Secondary School sited at Ashaiman Comm- unity 22 would be completed. Statements Presentation of Papers Motions Committee sittings.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader.
Yes, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the Business Statement, which has been ably read by the Hon Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Speaker, the first concern I have, and which I would want to seek your guidance, most humbly, is a ruling that you gave about a month ago, on the 6th of June, 2017. I hold in my hands the Hansard of the 6th of June, 2017. Mr Speaker, column 188. This was after I asked a Question of the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture about the Kintampo Waterfalls Disaster Report. Mr Speaker, you ruled and I beg to quote, with your kind permission; “Hon Minister, this is a House of accountability. You said your report will be available as soon as possible. Can you give this Honourable House some idea of the time frame, so that it could help as a benchmark for accountability?
Mr Speaker, at the next Sitting of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, we would make the report available to this august House.” Mr Speaker, it had been more than a month; I have checked, and the Kintampo Waterfalls Disaster Report has still not been brought to the House. Mr Speaker, I would want to raise this for your guidance on any further directive on this matter, so that we can have the Report, which the Hon Minister admitted is public and she will make public. Mr Speaker, the second issue that I rise to seek your guidance on, is about the ongoing debates outside this Chamber about how our committees work and how they are facilitated by Ministries, Depart- ments and Agencies (MDAs). I have chanced on an 8th March, 2013 speech by the former Rt Hon Speaker when he opened a budget workshop. He raised these issues and said that there was the need for the House to take action. This is because, if MDAs facilitate the work of Committees, then it would appear that they are calling the tune. “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. Mr Speaker, to the extent that these discussions continue, many civil society organisations have waded in. I would want to humbly appeal to you, if you could give some guidance on the way forward, so that we can regulate this. Is it legal or not? Is it acceptable? If it is, what should be the guidelines? This is because, now, Hon Members are walking around and there is a lot of suspicions and it is as though -- Some have even said that lawmaking is for sale and that if committees are not paid, Bills or Businesses that one has before the House would not be attended to. I believe that to the extent that this debate rages on and many people comment and make remarks that sometimes border on the disparaging, we may want to take a critical look at it, and see whether we can develop some mechanisms, moving forward, which would protect the image and sanctity of Parliament. Finally, Mr Speaker, on yesterday's Order Paper -- this is the third time this has happened to me -- I have come today prepared to ask Questions of the Hon Minister for Agriculture. I hold in my hands the Order Paper for Thursday, 6th. We are in June, 2017. I had been programmed to ask two Questions of the Hon Minister for Agriculture. Today's Order Paper surprisingly, does not feature the Questions. This is the third time this has happened to me in many weeks. Mr Speaker, now I see that, for the Business of the House for next week, it has been programmed for Tuesday. Now, there is no hope; I have really lost hope in these Business Statements, because, this is the third or fourth Business Statement where my Questions have been pro- grammed, but they do not happen, Mr Speaker. I am not told anything and I do not know why they disappear from the Order Paper on the day that I am to ask the Question. Mr Speaker, I therefore, rise to seek your guidance on this matter, which continues to reoccur. I do not know if it is a challenge with the Hon Ministers or if it is from our end, as a Parliament, in how we communicate to Hon Ministers of State? Mr Speaker, on the third consecutive week, the Questions programmed, Hon Ministers did not show up, and the Order Paper did not reflect what had been advertised on the previous day. Mr Speaker, it is becoming quite worrying, and I would like to seek your guidance on the way forward, so that we can all prepare adequately as Hon Members of Parliament, and when the Business Statement is read, we would know that we can count on it to really be a true reflection of what would happen in the ensuing week. Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
Yes, Hon Member?
Yes, Hon Member for Ningo-Prampram?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the Business Statement for next week. I filed an Urgent Question on a very pertinent issue -- That was why it was filed as an Urgent Question -- and it has to do with the Ministry of Fisheries and Acquaculture. Mr Speaker, this is the third week running and it has not found expression in the Business Statement. In fact, this morning, I have just been served my copy of a letter addressed to the Chief of Staff from the Concerned Greater Accra Region Canoes Fishermen Association. Mr Speaker, just last week, there was a brutal attack on our high seas, where nineteen canoes were destroyed, and currently, people are actually admitted in the hospitals. Mr Speaker, I would therefore, plead with Leadership that this Question, because of its urgent nature, finds expression in the Order Paper somewhere next week because it is critical to the coastal belt of our country. Mr Speaker, secondly, in March of this year, in the First Sitting of this House, I read a Statement on the gruesome murder of an elder statesman in my constituency. Mr Speaker, you were kind enough to give directives that the Ministry of the Interior should commence investigation into the matter. It has been nine weeks hence. In fact, we are entering the tenth week since I read the Statement. I followed up with a letter to the Ministry, and still there has been no work. Absolutely, nothing has been done as far as we are concerned, as per the response from the Ministry on your directive. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge you to impress upon the Ministry, the Hon Minister for the Interior and his Hon Deputy, who are both Hon Members of this House, that your directives carried grave weight and must be treated expeditiously. Mr Speaker, therefore, on behalf of the family of the late Mr Francis Tetteh Botchwey and my constituents in Dawhenya, I would want to crave your indulgence that you give life and fervour to your directive given to the Ministry of the Interior. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I would want to assure the Hon Majority Leader that I am well aware that this is not Question time. It is time for the House to adopt the Business Statement for the House. Mr Speaker, while I associate myself and call for its adoption, there is one matter that is critical. I recall that, on the 8th of June 2017, I moved a Motion on the implementation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the suspension of advertise- ments in the Media on the transition from the 17.5 per cent to three per cent VAT flat rate, following the Ghana Revenue Authority's (GRAs) advertisement on the postponement of the date for the implementation of the VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS). Mr Speaker, I am compelled to remind the Hon Majority Leader, though at the Sitting, the Hon First Deputy Speaker took over from him and gave the directives.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa first spoke and he related to a ruling that you made in respect of the Kintampo Waterfall Disaster. He said to us that you directed that at the next sitting of the Committee of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon Minister was required to submit a Report through this House to the public. Mr Speaker, that information from the Hon Member is inaccurate. Mr Speaker, you never referred any matter to the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture; you referred it to the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is shaking his head. That is in the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 4th April, 2017. Mr Speaker, as I keep indicating, the Business Committee does not suo moto generate issues and present to this House. We do so when matters are referred to us by the Table Office and indeed, from Mr Speaker's Office. We do not generate matters and present them to the House. Mr Speaker, let me also emphasise the point that, if Statements are made and rulings are made, we all know the normal processes that we have to resort to, to trace and track where we are or where that particular business is. Of course, we should insist, when we do not hear from the regular sources, what it is that must be done? Mr Speaker, once the Business Committee submits its Report, as happens in any Question time or any resort to seek information, an Hon Member may limit him/herself to the programme before us. Increasingly, there is the tendency for Hon Members to go outside the presentation made to the House and bring untangential matters that are not necessarily ancillary to the matters that are submitted to the House by the Business Committee. I find that increasingly very worrying. That is why, Mr Speaker, I would advise that the normal resort to pursuing some of these matters -- That is why we have Leadership of the various Cuacuses. We should route these things through the various Caucuses' Leadership.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader also associated himself with the issue raised by Hon Afenyo-Markin and Hon Okudjeto Ablakwa. So, I do not intend to respond to that except to say that because he is part of us, I thought that these matters would be raised at the level of the Committee. However, I grant him the right as an individual to come to the House and even attempt to disassociate himself from what we might have discussed at the Committee level. It is his right, but the Hon Minority Leader could spare us the agony of always responding to whatever he comes to say outside the consideration of the Business Committee of which he is a prominent member. He is not only a prominent member, but the Ranking Member as such. So, he should not attempt to cause “internal bleeding”. If he wanted to go and pray, he should not have asked the question. Mr Speaker, on the other matter, you gave the directive in respect of the application of the three (3) per cent VAT rate and asked that Leadership should involve the Finance Committee to invite the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and those other bodies -- the Hon Minority Leader quoted from the importers -- The Ghana Traders Association (GTA) and Association of Ghana Industries (AGIs). Mr Speaker, fortunately, the Finance Committee had taken the lead and invited the Ministry and those other bodies to a forum. They responded yesterday. So, I thought that Leadership should wait because we should not attempt to replicate what the Finance Committee has done. Immediately after that, they summoned the Ministry and those other bodies to a meeting which they complied with yesterday. I told the Leadership of the Committee that, they should furnish us with their findings, and when we interrogate the findings and it is necessary to have further discussions with those officials, we shall do so and appropriately report to plenary. But I thought that, what the Committee did yesterday was quite informative. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader in concluding that section 48 of the VAT Act has been breached, I would want to say to him that it is an incorrect position to adopt. I sat briefly at the Committee meeting yesterday and these articulations were made and the Hon Minister for Finance responded adequately to that. I believe outside the Chamber, people can go out and make their own political shenanigans, but certainly in this House, the truth must be told that there is no breach whatsoever. Mr Speaker, on the other matter on the last issue that was raised by the Hon Minority Leader, which was the affairs that involved the Gitmo two and the relevant Agreements, Conventions and Treaties which should come to this House for ratification, that certainly must be done. The Constitution is clear that, all Treaties, Agreements, Conventions and Protocols which are executed by the President shall be ratified by the House and since time immemorial, we have raised these issues. The Hon Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs in particular, and the Attorney-Generals and Ministers for Justice that we have had, have not responded sufficiently to these Treaties. Mr Speaker, we shall continue to do that. I would want to assure Hon Members that, last night, I was in consultation with the Table Office and we had the metrics for the ratification of these Treaties, Protocols, Conventions and Agreements submitted to the present Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice for them to use that vehicle to have those of them that are outstanding submitted to the House. Mr Speaker, for that reason, I have submitted what Protocols, Agreements, Treaties and Conventions that we have ratified since 2009 to Cabinet, for them to know which ones are outstanding, so that they would be immediately as possible and urgently as may be deemed fit, submit these to Parliament for ratification, especially those of them that are time bound. Mr Speaker, we shall continue to insist that what is right would be done to the good people of this country and some of us would demand that -- and we shall insist that the relevant Hon Ministers would come to respond to those that fall within the oversight responsibility of Parliament. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Members, notably, the issue of parastatals and their activities which relate to their assistance to Parliamentary Committees in any way whatsoever is on a very serious consideration by Leader- ship on both sides of the House. It was discussed today at the pre- Sitting meeting and I trust that in a week, we should have some directive -- Some common position upon which we shall act further on the matter. No one would sleep over it at all -- But all parameters of the issue must be seriously examined. We would recollect that the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture made a Statement in the House and at the same time there was a Question which related to that same matter, and the follow- up is something which Hon Members may in future check from the Table Office. That is one reason we would need our own Committee on Parliamentary Assurances so that we can do appropriate follow-ups. I believe this would also be taken up when we come to revise the Standing Orders. I would want to appeal to all Hon Members who are involved in the process to let us really hold the bull by the horns and complete that matter, since it goes a long way to affect rather adversely, the work of the House. Hon Members, on that, the Business Statement as presented is accordingly adopted. Hon Members, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Statements. Hon Members, there is a Statement which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Kumawu on Bauxite and VALCO.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to read a Statement on underexploited bauxite industry and its
Mr Speaker, let me first thank the Hon Member for this very important Statement ably made in support of the revival of a key industry that holds the key for job creation for our country. Mr Speaker, in my short period of time in this Parliament, I believe the discussion on VALCO and the need to revive it has been debated on several occasions. I believe that the Hon Member who made the Statement was right in talking about the fundamental problems we have in terms of having these natural resources, but our inability to add value to create the quantum leap in industrialisation has eluded us for so long. Mr Speaker, the fact remains that VALCO has a great potential for our country in terms of job creation, employ- ment and industries that can be created. But there is one problem, which is cheap power. How do we create that cheap power that is required for VALCO to be able to turn on all those units that are currently not operating? As it was rightly stated, VALCO currently operates on only one cell, so, the five cells are quite frankly idle — not operating, and in that estimation, it was right. In fact, the number 2.3 million is even less. Mr Speaker, the reason Tema, as a city known to have been the hub for jobs and empowerment is gone is because, VALCO died and died with the city. I believe the solution is a very simple one. Mr Speaker, I had the opportunity to lead a study on what would be required of us to use the bauxite deposit and revive them. The cost is not an easy one, but the key solution I understand is that, we may have to get to a point as a country where we decide that we are going to use our legacy hydro dedicated to this strategic industry, then decide that, thermal and other renewable sources are what other industries and the general public would use. Mr Speaker, if we all can make that decision and accept that the need to create the quantum leap in industrialisation is so critical that we must dedicate our hydro power to VALCO, that would be the key and the answer. I believe that it would help to address the challenges of jobs and industries that have eluded us. I believe that, the time has come for us not to debate the issue because the reality is that, it is really a possibility. We know VALCO can create jobs, but the reason it is not happening is because, we need cheaper power. Mr Speaker, cheaper power requires that somehow, government would have to take over and pay for the cost; it is an opportunity cost matter we are talking about. So we can really take advantage of what has been described. Mr Speaker, on that note, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and urge government to take a second look at this very robust report and opportunity for us to revive VALCO to create the industries and the jobs that we so much need in the country. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Statement delivered by the Hon Member for Kumawu (Mr Philip Basoah). Mr Speaker, indeed, it is really sad to see the level of unemployment in Ghana. We have been given some statistics in the year 2016 that there were some 270,000 and over graduates from the universities that are unemployed. That is actually very sad because, these are people who have been trained at a cost, some to their parents and some to the nation. People have gone to school, suffered and have been trained but there are no jobs for them, partly because we have not leveraged the opportunities we have in our natural resources. Mr Speaker, three years ago, I brought some investors from the United States of America. When they got to Ghana, they said, “We like Ghana very much”. One of the things they said was that the people can speak good English; they are trained and easy to communicate with -- These are opportunities for investment. However, because we do not have all it takes -- Because corruption is so high, one question they asked was “Daniel, who can we trust?” So, I believe that, if we set up the enabling environment by leveraging whatever we have in our natural resources, we can solve that problem of unemployment, especially graduate unemployment. Mr Speaker, in simple national income theory, you would know that consumption is part of growing the national income. For we know that consumption creates employment and income. There are multiplied effects from being able to get people to consume. All these people that are unemployed in our country, we are not getting the benefit of what we, as a country, could get from the consumption if they have the disposable income to do so. Mr Speaker, I would like to say that, we need to commend the Government for the efforts being taken to leverage the existing natural resources that we have to create employment, especially for the youth of this country. There would be many positive effects if government is able to do this. Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude by saying that, while we comment on the issue of unemployment, it is also important for us to tell all those who are employed to understand that there is a direct relationship between productivity and good working conditions. And that those of us who have secured jobs must do our best to increase our output. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Member for Kumawu for making this Statement. Mr Speaker, indeed, God has blessed this nation with a number of mineral
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you for granting me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Kumawu. Mr Speaker, I am happy to say that it does appear that there is consensus in this House that we need to solve the problem of unemployment in this country. All of us appear to agree that, one of the ways we can solve the problem is to take the path of industrialisation. Mr Speaker, we also agreed that, God has been kind to this country and has blessed us with enormous natural resources that if harnessed properly would go a long way to resolve the unemployment situation that confronts this country and has almost become a national security threat. Mr Speaker, the first President of our dear nation, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, had a very clear vision about what could be done and started the Volta River Authority (VRA) and subsequently, the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) Ltd. I believe that he was very clear in his mind on the path he was going. Unfortunately, he was only able to do part of it and as has been said in this House very clearly, after him, not much has been accomplished. I would want to say that it is not wholly true. Mr Speaker, in 2006, when all the challenges with electricity were up, VALCO decided to exit and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), under President Kufuor took the bold decision to buy 90 per cent shares of VALCO that Kaiser Aluminium was off-loading. It is said that to produce alumina comfortably, one needs to have electricity at the cost of between 3 and 4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Against the odds, President Kufuor asked that VALCO should keep running. But as it is, his regime was truncated in a general elections. I am happy to note that at the inception of another NPP Government, this matter has come up very strongly. His Excellency, the President, sent his Vice President to China and has come back with a mouth- watering deal. Mr Speaker, I believe that there is some consensus in this House. All of us agree that there is a need to proceed with the integrated aluminium industry. The ingredients are that; first, we must find a way to mine the bauxite. A second ingredient is that we must find a way to carry the bauxite from wherever it is mined to a refinery. Mr Speaker, all of us would agree that after we have refined it, it must go to VALCO. We must find a way to supply VALCO with electricity at 3 or 4 cents per kWh. After it is done, we can then be sure that there would be so many industries we can have out of the products from VALCO. Mr Speaker, the President has stated very clearly that part of this money would first be used to build the railway network. At the moment, we have bauxite and all of us agree that it makes no economic sense to carry bauxite by trucks from Awaso to Tema and Takoradi. If we are going to be efficient and get the returns that we expect, all of us would agree that the railway lines must be constructed. I would want to state that part of the money we would get from China would be used to construct railways and the refinery. For the electricity, I can only agree with the former Minister for Petroleum that we may need to dedicate the Akosombo hydroelectric dam, so that we would get power to VALCO at 3 to 4 cents per kWh.
Hon Members, the last two contributions.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement. First of all, I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for drawing our collective attention to the resources that we have been so endowed with by the good Lord. Mr Speaker, we all agree that the natural environment provides the bedrock on which every human endeavour and activity is undertaken, be it the mining of bauxite, gold or diamond. All of these can only take place within the context of what nature itself has provided. Mr Speaker, while I am tempted to make a few comments about a decision by the Hon Member who spoke before me, to link the Statement to current developments and a dialogue that has just begun, I would restrain myself, but would only highlight the fact that we need to be very circumspect in proposing ideas, engaging in conversations and agreements in ways that can come back to hurt us. I say so because, we are currently a country that exploits and exports various mineral resources. We all understand the value, but what is the price we pay for these expectations that we engage in vis-ą-vis the survival of our natural environment? Mr Speaker, it is very easy for us to catalogue the challenges we face as a nation; creating employment opportunities and adding value to our produce, but at what cost? Are we deciding now that we should no longer fully consider the implications of our natural environment even as we look at the quest to explore and exploit the resources that we know can enhance us? Mr Speaker, I would want to crave the indulgence of this House that while we can have these conversations, we must never forget that the environment is equally important and that in every policy proposal that we make and every Agreement that we seek to enter into, we must prioritise the health of our environment. If we destroy our environment in search of short-term benefits, not only are we destroying our own kind, but posterity would not forgive us. On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Hon Member, last contribution.
Yes, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, resources remain potential
Hon Member, have you unilaterally decided to yield to your Hon Colleague?
Mr Speaker, politely, yes. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful my Hon Colleague from the Effia Constituency has yielded. Mr Speaker, resources in the ground remain potentially useful as long as they remain in the ground. They are no use to the development of the society that sits on the resources if they are not exploited in any way. That is why it is important in today's economy to approach exploitation responsibly against the backdrop of environmental concerns, but with knowledge and investment. Mr Speaker, it is in that light that, it is important we recognise the major initiative of His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji (Dr) Mahamudu Bawumia, who has taken the current Government to engage the Chinese Government to bring in an accelerated plan of investment, infrastructure and the capacity to exploit these minerals responsibly in order to accelerate national development and growth. Mr Speaker, I call this new approach from Washington to China, a transition to effectiveness. We lament the impact of low investment while our people suffer unemployment. Why? This is because, the Washington Consensus has kept us back. We have signed onto the Washington Consensus and it tells us to cut social services, it raises taxes, does not attract investment and it tilts us towards aid and borrowing. The Consensus literally constricts our ability to grow our economies meaningfully. Today, we have the opportunity to move beyond the Consensus to a new model. A model that is going to use the resources that we are sitting on without productivity to leverage those with resources and knowledge, in order to free those resources for the benefit of the teeming unemployed youth of this country. Mr Speaker, even before the ink is dry on those Agreements, they are being assailed and assaulted on all sides. Mr Speaker --
Hon Member, your contribution would not engender debates nor controversy.
Mr Speaker, very well.
You would conclude.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we realise the necessity for a new approach to exploiting our natural resources. We have to move beyond aid, borrowing and find a more effective way of getting the material out of the ground and the way to go is to use that potential
Hon Members, we have another Statement on family planning and allied issues which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Nabdam. World Population Day
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this all important Statement on the World Population Day scheduled for 11th July on the theme -- Family Planning; Empowering People, Developing Nations. Mr Speaker, since 1989, the 11th of July is commemorated as the World Population Day. By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to stimulate discussions on the critical issues of population, including its relation with the environment and development. The recent rapid increase in human population over the past three centuries has raised concerns that the planet Earth may not be able to sustain present or future numbers of inhabitants. At the beginning of the 19th Century, during the industrial revolution, the world population grew significantly from 250 million people to 1 billion. Mr Speaker, also since 1950, due to medical advancement and an increase in agricultural production, we have seen a dramatic growth in the world population. At the turn of the 20th Century, the world population was estimated at 1.6 billion people. By 1940, it stood at 2.3 billion people. Currently, UN Population Assessment Report estimates the world population as 7.5 billion. It is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050 and 15 billion by 2100. Mr Speaker, the concept of over- population with its associated problems such as poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, global warming, pollution and deforestation made intellectuals such as Thomas Malthus to predict that mankind would outgrow its available resources. They, therefore, thought that wars, famine and other calamities were natural interventions to reduce popula- tion. Indeed, Malthus postulated in his theory that, there is a constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment for it. So, where the means of subsistence increases, population invariably increases, unless prevented by external factors such as natural disasters, earthquakes, wars, famine, diseases, plaques, et cetera. Mr Speaker, there is no need for natural disasters and calamities to control population growth. The antidote is in family planning. The family planning programme has decreased the fertility rate of women and enabled the contraceptive prevalence rate to increase. It is, therefore, not surprising that the theme for this year's celebration is Family Planning; Empowering People, Developing Nations. Mr Speaker, the world population day this year, coincides with the Family Planning Summit expected to take place in London. The United Kingdom Depart- ment for International Development will co-host the global summit with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development and Global Affairs Canada. There are also national programmes on this day which seek to focus attention on population issues. The Family Planning Summit would enable stakeholders to provide a platform for donors to complement and commit themselves, to assist poor but needy countries and find financial solutions to address the shortfall in the supply of contraceptives. It will also enable the family planning community to share experiences and display technical innovations that have the potential to accelerate progress in family planning. This can be achieved through short films, data visualisation and other dynamic story telling tools. Mr Speaker, an estimated 225 million women in developing countries who want to delay or stop childbearing are not using any method of contraception. The reason for this include cultural and religious reasons, lack of information and limited access to contraception and lack of co- operation from their male partners. The range of contraceptive methods over the last few decades has been increasing. They include the condoms, female contraceptives, and female hormonal preparations which can be in the form of pills or injections; intra uterine devices, Norplant's insertions, which last for about five years, Minilaporatomy with bilateral tubal ligation, the standard day's method and the male sterilisation (Vasectomy) for men to also remind ourselves about the male sterilisation or Vasectomy. Let us remember that vasectomy is not the same as sterilisation or castration. Mr Speaker, family planning is key to slowing unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impacts on the economy, environment and national development effort. For the first time in history, 300 million women and girls across 69 developing countries now use modern contraceptives. This has led to the prevention of 82 million unwanted pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths. Mr Speaker, access to voluntary family planning is a human right . It is also central to gender equality and women empower- ment; and is a key factor in reducing poverty. In Ghana, family planning is prioritised as a key strategy for addressing critical socioeconomic issues.
There would be four contributors. Please, those who have had the opportunity should kindly give way to others.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, let me kindly take this opportunity to congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing the attention of the House and the country to the benefits of engaging in population control. Mr Speaker, the World Population Day was set aside to make countries take a strong look at controlling the rates at which their populations are growing. If a country has an explosive population rate, they can make a lot of gains in terms of revenue mobilisation and resource allocation and yet the quality of life would still be low. This is because, they would have to divide their national income by their population to get their per capita income, which gives an indication of the quality of life in a particular country.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to an ably made Statement on family planning. Mr Speaker, I would like to contribute, angling my presentation on the issue of empowering people, particularly females. Sexual health, sexual rights, reproductive health and reproductive rights are very essential elements for family planning. You are aware of the current law on abortion. The current law on abortion limits the rights of women to have abortions. The law only allows for abortions in cases of rape, an imbecile or an idiot being pregnant or in the case of incest. The law does not allow for abortions in cases of social or economic reasons. Therefore, we need to look at this Legislation, so that women would have full rights in determining their reproductive status. Mr Speaker, we have several pieces of policy statements on sexual and repro- ductive rights. What we need as a country is a comprehensive policy on what we see as critical in family planning and reproductive health and reproductive rights. Mr Speaker, what we lack includes a comprehensive sexuality education policy in schools. Most teachers do not know what to teach or what not to teach when it comes to sexuality. I am aware of one community where the people had to beat the teachers because the teachers were teaching sexuality, which was reducing their opportunities to interact with the girls in the school. It is very important that we have a comprehensive sexuality education; teachers should know what to teach and what not to teach. Mr Speaker, we also have a problem of child marriage. We are told that one out of every five girls below the age of 18 marries. This should not be acceptable, but we are forced to accept the abuse of the rights of such children on the grounds of religion, culture and customs. Mr Speaker, I am aware that there is a framework that was developed with the support of United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF); a comprehen- sive framework, which spelt out strategies to help us solve the problem of child marriage. As you are aware, Ghana as a country, we are very good at writing documents, which are adopted by other African countries and well implemented while documentation gather dust in the country. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to congratulate my Hon Colleague, again, for drawing our attention to family planning, which links very well with our development agenda as a country. I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity.
Hon Alima Mahama? I thought Hon Alima was poised towards making a contribution.
Mr Speaker, I believe you are referring to Hon Patricia Appiagyei, the Hon Member for Asokwa Constituency. She is here.
Hon Patricia Appiagyei, you have been missing for some time -- [Laughter.] We would conclude with Hon Della Sowah.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make a contribution to the Statement. Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that we have reached a stage where family planning is a critical need for the progression and development of our nation. We have reached a point where population explosion is giving various governments a very difficult challenge to deal with. This is because it is not giving us the opportunity to plan and ensure that the resources available for the country are well distributed. As a result, this Population Day was established to ensure that we apply family planning adequately over all the populace so that as a people we do not experience population explosion. I would encourage the Government to set aside a sizeable amount of money to
Hon Member, thank you very much. This brings us to the end of Statements. Leadership, any indication as to adjournment?
Mr Speaker, as you have already indicated, we have to adjourn the House.
Would you move it?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House adjourns till Tuesday, 11th July, 2017.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 2.25 p.m. till Tuesday, 11th July, 2017 at 12.00 noon.