Debates of 16 February 2018

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 15th February, 2018.

[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 15 th February, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 3 -- Business Statement for the Fifth Week. Hon Chairman of the Business Committee and Leader of the House.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Speaker
Majority Leader/Chairman of the Business Committee (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu)

Mr Speaker, the Business Committee met on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, and arranged Business of the House for the Fifth Week ending 23rd February, 2018.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows

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 Hon Minister for Education to respond to an Urgent Question asked relating to public affairs with which the Minister is officially connected. Mr Speaker, any other Question of urgent nature may be programmed during the course of the week. Statements Mr Speaker, pursuant to Order 70 (2), Ministers of State may be permitted to make Statements of Government policy. Statements duly admitted by the Rt Hon Speaker may be made in the House by Hon Members in accordance with 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 Order 119. Papers and Committee reports may also be presented to the House. Referrals of Bills have been made to some Committees. The Business Committee expects such Committees to work on those referrals and submit their reports in order to facilitate consideration of same at plenary. Motions and Resolutions Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and and may be their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken during the week. Debate on the Message on the State of the Nation Mr Speaker, the Business Committee proposes that the debate on the Message on the State of the Nation be concluded on Thursday, 22nd February, 2018. 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 conside- ration. Questions Statements Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Mr Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as Special Prosecutor. Motions -- (a) Adoption of the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Mr Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as Special Prosecutor. (b) That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President, for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Continuation of debate) Second Reading of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Questions Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions -- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President, for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Continuation of debate) Committee sittings Questions Statements

Speaker
Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows

Presentation of Papers -- Report of the Finance Committee on the Concessional Credit Agreement between the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana and the EXIM Bank of India for an amount of one hundred and fifty million United States dollars (US$150,000,000.00) to finance the Strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSECs) Project. Motions -- That this Honourable House thanks H.E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation which he delivered to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. (Conclusion of debate) Consideration Stage of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings. Urgent Question -- Betty Nana Efua Krosbi Mensah (Afram Plains North): To ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry is taking immediate steps to establish the Donkorkrom Campus of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, per the provisions of Act 898 in view of mounting tension in the entire Kwahu Afram Plains Constituencies. Statements Presentation of Papers -- Motions -- Consideration Stage of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Third Reading of Bills -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017. Committee sittings.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Leader, thank you very much. Any contributions, Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. The Leader of Government Business has presented the Business Statement. Mr Speaker, what is of concern is the exercise of parliamentary oversight with Questions. You would note that with Questions that are referred to in the Business Statement, there is no reference to a specific Question standing in the

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, as the Hon Minority Leader knows, it is not the business of the Business Committee to programme Questions. The Questions must be admitted by you first, and when they have been transmitted to the various Ministers, then our attention would be drawn to programme the Questions accordingly. For now, we have no such indication, which is why I spoke to the officers at the Table Office to follow-up with your office. If there is any backlog, they would prompt us, then, we shall accordingly programme them. Mr Speaker, it explains the reason I said that if in due course, attention is drawn to such, it might be possible to programme them. For now, there is no such indication. And we cannot programme anything out of nothingness.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much. Hon Members, I trust we shall take the concerns of Leadership seriously so that we attend to this important matter of the debate on the State of the Nation Address. I am sure we all know that it is not parliamentary to make your contribution and leave the House. It is one of the things which is an abuse of the privileges of an Hon Member. It is clearly set out in our authoritative Erskine May and no person may leave the House immediately after making his or her statement. In other jurisdictions, a person may be taken to task for so doing, and we must definitely abide by the best practices.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

MOTIONS

[Resumption of debate from 15/02/ 2018]

Speaker
Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the debate on the State of the Nation Address that was presented to this House by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. Mr Speaker, we appreciate the fact that he heeded to his constitutional mandate and that the Statement was presented to this House as such. Mr Speaker, as the Ranking Member for the Gender and Children Committee, my contribution would touch on many sectors of the economy and the Ministries. Mr Speaker, I listened carefully to the end of the presentation, I was actually taken aback on the presentation because, I listened to the issues and hoped that I would hear something about job creation or jobs that have been taken on board or would be taken on board. Unfortunately, little was said about job creation on which the current government rolled on to come into governance. Mr Speaker, I recall very well that especially, the kayayei were a group of people who were used throughout the length and breadth of Ghana to talk about the need for job creation and the support that would be given to them. The youth were also part of it, and indeed, most of our graduates who have come out of the universities were also roped in. Mr Speaker, it was very funny that I never heard anything. The only thing I heard, which was even before the State of the Nation Address, was the 45,000 jobs that were supposedly said to have been created by the Hon Minister for Agriculture. Funny enough, questions came up and if one listens to how those 45,000 jobs were created, one would just wonder what we try to take Ghanaians for. Mr Speaker, if we sell a bag of fertilizer to an individual, and we tell him that for the fact that he got it at a reduced price, his wife and children who joined him on the farm were all counted as having been given jobs, that is very wonderful and interesting. I am wondering what we take Ghanaians for. I use “we” because we are the lawmakers. We have been elected to represent the people here. We are supposed to talk for them and that is why we are here. Yet, we listened to this. Mr Speaker, in my village, district and Constituency, Pusiga, if one even gives 100 bags to an individual for free, it is normal and fair, that his wife or wives, children and even other relatives come to support on the farm. It does not mean that one has given them employment. Mr Speaker, many a time, the other issue is that if one goes to pick people to apply fertilizer, would you say you have given them employment, when it is the one who has bought the fertilizer who would simply pay them one Ghana cedi or two Ghana cedi after which they never return there. What kind of employment is this? All these were counted as employment and we want to be praised? We cannot be praised because that is not what we said we wanted. Even the data itself -- when the President came, he spoke about 500,000 jobs, meanwhile the Hon Minister was talking about 45,000. So which is which and where are we? What are the jobs? What is the data and who are the people who have actually been employed or are yet to be employed? So Mr Speaker, let us be conscious of the things that we say and promises that we make, and that what we tell the public is what we would actually be held for. As we look at issues in this House, we must look at them in perspective and make sure that what we sit here and analyse, pass Bills and make the laws are the things we need to work on in order to support the Ghanaian public. Mr Speaker, on the issue of kayayei, I remember them holding their headpans and there were even messages that they were part of the groups that were contributing to the success of good governance. Today, Mr Speaker, when we just walk to the Ministries at Tudu, we would be surprised to see the number of women and children who are lying down and sleeping there. There are even no jobs for them to do. They cannot even get people who come to buy for them to carry. This is because, prices of goods have soared to the extent that people are not able to buy. Mr Speaker, for the first time in Pusiga -- and anybody could crosscheck -- we are selling a bowl, referred to as olonka of rice in this area at GH¢10. It has never happened in the history of Pusiga. For that matter, it is a big problem. Very few houses are able to even buy a bowl of rice, which we refer to as kuruwa to cook for the family. It is very difficult. Mr Speaker, if we go to Makola market today, one would realise that a small “paint rubber container of tomato which used to cost GH¢ 5 is now selling at a staggering price of GH¢25 - GH¢40, depending on which side one goes to. Mr Speaker, it is the trickling effect of petroleum prices which is causing this problem. A woman goes up north to Navrongo to buy only one crate of tomatoes to come and sell in Accra. Even if she buys it at a price of GH¢200 for instance, she comes to pick a vehicle and she is told that she has to pay GH¢300 because, the price of petroleum has gone up. When she comes to Accra, she has to now calculate not less than GH¢700 before she thinks of the profit she would make. Based on this, the woman might even sit there and would not be able to sell. At the end of the day, she goes back and begins to wonder how she would take care of her family.

Speaker
Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga)

Speaker
Some Hon Members

Only two?

Speaker
Ms Ayambea

Now, in her previous response, she had said that all of them were gainfully employed. Now, she tells us openly, and to the amazement of all of us, that two people were employed out of the 400 and that, is what we were able to do. Mr Speaker, I say this wary of the fact that this is a House of records. This House keeps the records for good and not for only this current generation. The records we have for today would stay for centuries, and our great great grandchildren would come and read them some day. So, when we are not consistent, a lot of questions come up. That is serious deceit, because if one came to this House and responded to a Question in the affirmative, that they are gainfully employed, then, in another question we are told that only two have been employed, what records are we keeping? Conflicting records of our work, when we are supposed to say the truth and present the right pictures of what goes on in our country, and that anybody who comes to this House is supposed to tell us nothing but the truth? This is what goes on. Mr Speaker, to continue with the kayayei, in the Minister's response on the 25th January, 2018, when I asked the number of people they would be training, she had mentioned that there would be 1,000 people to be trained in garment manufacturing and another 1,000 in hairdressing. Interestingly yesterday, the 15th of February, 2018, the record shows that there would be 1,000 people to be trained. If there would be 1,000 people to be trained, what are we actually putting across to Ghanaians? Mr Speaker, it is very important that we stand by our words and that whatever records we are keeping, and whatever activities we are undertaking, especially we women who are supposed to ensure that our colleague women are actually supported and taken care of, we should put issues correctly.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, in conclusion?

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, to conclude, I would want to state emphatically that it is very important that we support the education sector to make sure that the younger ones in nursery and primary schools, who form the base of education, are properly catered for. Mr Speaker, we have put emphasis and we would continue to do so on SHS. That place relies on the basic sector of education. So, let us ensure that the basic sector of education is also catered for. This is because, there was nothing mentioned about the basic sector of education in the State of the Nation Address 2018.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you, Hon Member. Yes, Hon Member for Asante Akim Central?

Speaker
Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (NPP -- Asante Akim Central)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor on His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the presentation of the Address. Mr Speaker, the most critical challenge inherited by the NPP Administration is the very unprecedented level of unemploy- ment, particularly among the youth. We inherited this from the previous Administration. This may make the realisation of the demographic dividend elusive and may increase social vices. Mr Speaker, official statistics show that within the labour force population, unemployment increased from 6.5 per cent to 9.1 per cent in 2015. It was as a result of the fact that as a country, we have not been able to structurally transform our economy to create the needed jobs for the teeming unemployed youth. Mr Speaker, to tackle this challenge in a more sustainable way, the NPP Government under the able Leadership of H. E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, has taken steps to bring about structural changes in the economy by modernising and transforming agricul- tural development linkages that would accelerate the industrialisation of our economy and developing major structures and projects that support the agricultural zones of the country and industrialisation agenda of government. Mr Speaker, the private sector is seen as the engine of growth and employment. It is therefore necessary that government creates the enabling environment for the private sector to grow. Mr Speaker, in this regard, the NPP Government led by H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been able to stabilise the economy by bringing inflation down from 15.4 per cent in December, 2016 to 11.8 per cent in December, 2017. That is a remarkable achievement, which makes the business environment more predictable. Mr Speaker, inter-bank rates have dropped. We have also provided reliable and cheap power to businesses and that has increased productivity. Mr Speaker, according to the Ghana Employers Association, about 13,000 people lost their jobs as a result of the power crisis. Today, under the NPP Government, the power crisis are no more and that has brought some hope in the labour market such that, enterprises need not lay off workers to remain in business. Formalising the informal sector is also an integral part of the structural economic transformation that the Government is championing. The completion of the National Identification and Property Titling Systems by the NPP Government would also boost confidence in the private sector to invest and create the needed jobs. Mr Speaker, therefore, I am confident that these interventions which are very significant would create job opportunities for Ghanaians in the country.

Speaker
Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi (NPP -- Asante Akim Central)

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Order! Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order or correction?

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong

Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman who is contributing to the SONA, 2018 is copiously reading his script. At least he could refresh his memory, but copiously reading is an upfront to our rules in this House. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, please continue.

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

Mr Speaker, under Extended Nurses Internship Programme, which is a collaboration between Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), government aims at recruiting 10,000 youth. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, it would be more parliamentary if you would keep your paper on your table. [Hear! Hear!]

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

I am most grateful, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
An Hon Member

He is reading figures; he cannot memorise them.

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

Mr Speaker, the Nurses Internship Programme which aims at recruiting 10,000 people would disperse the nurses into the clinics of the senior secondary schools. The H1N1 virus infection which occurred at an educational institution in Kumasi; Kumasi Academy, is a case in point. Therefore, government aims at recruiting these young nurses - Of course we have a lot of them who have graduated, especially from the private universities who do not have jobs. These nurses were never absorbed by the government. Mr Speaker, already, under the Graduate Paid Internship Programme, there is a programme to sign on 15,000

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Order!

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

Mr Speaker, Local Government Service alone has agreed to take 5000 graduates; Ghana Post, 100 graduates; Department of Cooperatives, 1000 graduates; Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Com- munications (GIFEC), 500 graduates; National Information Technology Agency (NITA), 700 graduates; Ministry of Youth and Sports, 5000 graduates and the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, 3000 graduates. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Order! Hon Members, in budgetary debate, the Chair would not ignore the fact that figures are of significance, and the figures are not just pronounced, while a person looks into the air. Hon Member, proceed and conclude.

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

Mr Speaker, another such programme that the Government intends to embark on is the Youth in Business Development, and this aims at recruiting 15,000 graduates. These young ones would be trained and dispersed to help the private businesses within the community. Mr Speaker, again, there is also the module of the Youth in Revenue Mobilisation, which also aims at recruiting 10,000 graduates. Finally, under the Youth Employment Agency, another 5,000 graduates are to be recruited under the Pharmacy Assistance Programme. Mr Speaker, I would now come to social interventions. I agree with my Hon sister on the other side of the House, when she says that there are problems in the north, especially at Pusiga. These were the problems that the erstwhile government proposed that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) should solve, especially in the north, but unfortunately, everybody in this Chamber knows what happened with it. Mr Speaker, this government continued and has rekindled the School Feeding Programme that almost died out. This Programme was started by President Agyekum Kufuor, and when the erstwhile government came into place, indeed, President Mahama in his State of the Nation Address in the year 2013, on page 4 of the Address, had this to say, and with your permission, I would read. It says: “The School Feeding Programme will be progressively expanded to all public basic schools in rural communities to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of the pupils…” Mr Speaker, unfortunately, we never saw this expansion, and the School Feeding Programme became heavily indebted.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, in conclusion?

Speaker
Mr Anyimadu-Antwi

Mr Speaker, in concluding, I would say that President Nana Akufo-Addo, had put a lot of other things in place, inclusive of the Senior High School education, which is now free. This is a very significant improvement in the lives of Ghanaians. Mr Speaker, President Mahama --

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Emmanuel Bedzrah?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (NDC --- Ho West)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion, and also to thank His Excellency the President for coming to this House in fulfilment of his constitutional mandate. Mr Speaker, I have gone through the State of the Nation Address and it has amazed me, because I was expecting His Excellency to tell us exactly the steps that he would take to fulfil the objectives that have been described in article 34 of our Constitution. Mr Speaker, permit me to quote paragraph 4 of page 1, the last line, in relation to the things that I saw, read and heard from His Excellency the President.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, he said, and I beg to quote

“Mr Speaker, at the beginning of each session of Parliament, the President has a duty to come to this House, as I have done today, to satisfy the constitutional require- ment of delivering to Parliament a Message on the State of the Nation….”

Speaker
Mr Speaker, again, he continues to say, and with your permission, I quote

“…that it is to report on how our nation is faring after this year of change, and to share the prospects we can look forward to in the year ahead.” Mr Speaker, the Constitution mandates the President to tell us the steps he is to take to make sure that we realise the objectives enshrined in Constitution. Mr Speaker, last year, the President read a 16-page State of the Nation Address. This year, he has increased it to 21 pages. In his 16-page Address last year, the President outlined a litany of promises that he claimed he was going to do, and steps that he would take to fulfil them. Mr Speaker, permit me to read out just three of them because of time. The seventh one says: “establishment of a multi- purpose industrial park in each of the ten regions.” The eighth one also states: “implementation of comprehensive programme for SME development targeting, primarily, regional and continental markets” and the last one, which is the thirteenth point, also says: “establishment of permanent consultative forum for public-private sector dialogue”. Mr Speaker, the President catalogued 13 items in his 2017 State of the Nation Address, and I thought that this year, I would have seen a catalogue of items that have been fulfilled out of these, so that I can know the key performance indicators that we can use to judge the President. Mr Speaker, therefore, this time around, if the President came again with another litany of promises, it shows clearly that he had come in fulfilment, only of his constitutional mandate, but had not told this House and the good people of Ghana, the steps that he was taking to fulfil those requirements. Mr Speaker, the President has acknowledged the fact that Ghana's multi- purpose democracy has reached 25 years of silver jubilee, and we all applauded. My expectation was that the President would have informed this country that indeed, his predecessors had started with what we call the Constitutional Review Programme. Mr Speaker, taxpayers' moneys have been spent on the Constitutional Review Programme, and so I was expecting His Excellency to come out to tell us that indeed, with the Constitutional Review Programme, this and that were some of the steps he was taking, either to throw away the White Paper, or to accept some of the recommendations from the Constitutional Review Programme. We are in 25 years -- silver jubilee -- of this democracy, and nothing has been said by His Excellency the President on the Constitutional Review Programme. Mr Speaker, indeed, the President has apologised for a Bill that he has promised to bring to this House. Mr Speaker, if we would want to fight corruption, then one of the things that I was expecting His Excellency to bring to this House was the Right to Information Bill. Last year, we were all told that the Right to Information Bill would be presented to this House. If really we would want to fight corruption, then we would indeed need the Special Prosecutor, but we would also need information from the Ministries, Departments and from all Agencies. But where is the Right to Information Act, and where is the Bill that we all worked on in the Sixth Parliament, to the extent that we had gotten to the Consideration Stage? This Bill did not find space in the President's State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker, indeed, are we really ready to fight corruption? Is it only about the Special Prosecutor? Or would we need information from other Ministries, Departments and Agencies that we can fight corruption with? This was also lacking in the President's State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker, when it comes to infrastructure, I am so passionate about development. But I have not seen anything about infrastructure in this State of the Nation Address. Why? My expectations have been dashed because the President only mentioned a few things. Mr Speaker, one of the key sectors in this country has to do with sanitation, and last month, January, no less a person than the Ambassador to Austria, H.E Andrew Banks, tweeted on his account about the sanitation in Ghana, and in it he said, “the scene this morning near our High Commission encouraged the local authority to step up its effort to meet the President at the Flag Staff House Ghana, promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020.” This is from no less a person than the Ambassador to Austria. Mr Speaker, we should go to our cities, and Accra that we all tout to be the cleanest city. Today, after one whole year in government, Accra is dirtier as per the assertion by a whole Ambassador. Are we going forward or coming backwards? That has to do with only one part of our infrastructure. Mr Speaker, the President also came to this House, and I would want to use this opportunity to correct Mr President on the Ewe that he spoke. As an Ewe, we do not say, “Nuveve du veve me wo da ne”, to which he wanted to say, “Nuveve, veveze me wodane le” — [Hear! Hear!] — This is the meaning of the fact that, if one wants to cook an important meal, one puts it in an important pot. [Interruption.] Yes he gave the translation but he should have asked me to do it for him. Mr Speaker, the President spoke about one of the major roads — a thousand kilometre road that spans from the southern sector to the northern sector,

Speaker
Mr Speaker, again, he continues to say, and with your permission, I quote

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, there is too much noise in the House. Some Hon Members are seated with their backs towards me and they have engaged in conversation. You know it is in contempt of the Mace. Hon Member, you may continue.

Speaker
Mr Bedzrah

Mr Speaker, thank you. So, if we listen to the words of the President, that the indices are pointing to economic stability and growth, I ask myself, what does economic stability and growth mean? It means there should be money in our pockets. So, I ask myself, are transport owners and taxi drivers happy with this Government? Are workers happy with this government? Are teachers happy with this Government?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much, Hon Member. Hon Member for Manhyia North? In the process, the Hon First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair. Hon Member you may continue.

Speaker
Mr Owusu Collins Amankwah (NPP — Manhyia North)

Mr Speaker, I am very grateful. Thank you for this unique opportunity. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that this Honourable House thanks H. E. the President for the Message on the State of the Nation delivered on Thursday, 8th February, 2018. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to commend H. E. the President for touching on almost all the critical sectors within the social structure. Mr Speaker, the President took time to address the issue of unemployment. In my view, this is one of the biggest legacies bequeathed to us by the previous NDC Administration. Mr Speaker, the President, in his Address, made it clear that the government would equip our youth with the needed skills in order to enable them to be more productive. Mr Speaker, the government has established the Nation Builders Corps with the sole aim of employing 100,000 young people in this country in this 2018 fiscal year. Mr Speaker, the President threw more light on the Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programme, which has already recruited 3,000 unemployed youth in this country. Mr Speaker, I do not want to bore this House with strides we are making in the agricultural sector. Our local farmers are very happy with the “Planting for Food and Jobs Programme”. Mr Speaker, on the issue of security; here I speak in my capacity as the Vice Chairman for the Committee on Defence and Interior. [Hear! Hear!] Government's total commitment to ensure public safety and also enhance security service delivery in this country is on course. The President has made a commitment of injecting a colossal amount of GH¢800 million, an equivalent of US$176 million within six months to equip the Ghana Police

Speaker
Mr Owusu Collins Amankwah (NPP — Manhyia North)

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE

CHAIR

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you would make your point without referring to anybody. You would move away from references and proceed.

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Mr Speaker, I would want to draw the conclusion that, the Hon Members supporters beseeched the Tamale Metropolis and vandalised almost all State owned enterprises, including the National Health Insurance Office, the Driver Vehicle Insurance Authority (DVLA) and they also burned their own party office.

Speaker
Mr James Agalga

-- rose --

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Mr Speaker, we were in this country in 2009 when NDC youth beat their own Regional Minister for Upper West -- [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Mr James Agalga

On a point of Order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is making misleading statements. I would be very grateful if he can furnish us with the source of the copious examples he attributes to the Hon Minority Leader and Member for Tamale South.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, I have advised you to move away from making references to individuals.

Speaker
Ms Sarah A. Safo

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I have advised him. Hon Member, move away from references to people and proceed.

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Mr Speaker, I thank you very much. But I think the records are there. There was an official publication in the Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times which are all State-owned Newspapers. Mr Speaker, the opposition party wants to create a gloomy picture about this country as if all is not well with us, with the sole aim to drive away foreign investors from investing in our economy. It is not appropriate to create such an erroneous impression. Mr Speaker, our noble Committee received a delegation from the Republic of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Province to be precise. Their mission was very simple, that they are in this country to learn from our best practices in terms of combatting crime and how best rule of law has become the order of the day -- that was just about two months ago. So, it would be very unfortunate for anybody to allude to the fact that as a country, we are in a state of insecurity. [Interruption.] That is not the case. Mr Speaker, I would want to state categorically, without any shred of contradiction, that Ghana is pretty safe. The records show that crime rate has reduced as compared to the previous years. [Interruption.] If we go through the policy outcome indicators and targets by both the Ministry of National Security and Ministry of the Interior, they suggest that crime has reduced drastically in this current Administration as compared to that of the previous Administration. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, it is important to emphasise the point that the distress Africa faces, which includes humanitarian crisis, violent extremism, terrorist financing, cross border crime, arm conflicts are emerging and multiplying. Even though they are compounded moreover by economic difficulties and climate change, I would want to state that, with a visionary President in the person Mr Speaker, we are doing very well as a country. Of course, if we want to say Ghana is safe and our economy is doing well, our friends on the other side of the that would challenge us. But as the President pointed out, facts are facts and one cannot argue about facts. Mr Speaker, once again, Ghana is working, and we strongly believe that with the commitment by the current Administration, this country would work to benefit -- [Interruption.] It is ongoing! It is because we are not working as a result of mismanagement by the incompetent NDC Administration. Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude and to say that as a country, we should not colourise crime. The President told us that crime has no colourisation, in that under NDC Administration, there were some acts of vigilantism in which some people were killed under their watch. We want to put it on record that even though it has been largely perceived that a vigilante group is aligned to a particular government or party, that cannot be used as a yardstick to imply that the party in power supports such acts, unlike what the NDC did when they were in Government.

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim Ahmed

On a point of order. Mr Speaker, you have guided my good friend on the other side of the House not to tow a certain path, but continuously, he keeps going on that path. Mr Speaker, he categorically stated that under NDC Administration, there was vigilantism and certain people were killed. I want him to bring evidence, else we expunge that portion from the Hansard. All I know is that under the NDC Administration, he himself was beaten by his Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Party -- chairman Wontumi. Mr Chairman, when that happened, chairman Wontumi was arrested and detained. Mr Speaker, we rescued him. If he does not know, I put it to him. He should bring the facts, and I am giving him one fact that happened. He himself was beaten up by chairman Wontumi. When that happened, we rescued him. Today, he is insulting the very system that rescued him from the hands of his own perpetrators. Mr Speaker, this is just a single thing I want to point to him, and I know this is one of the reasons you advised him not to go on that tangent.

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 67. The referrals that have been made to incidents that have occurred, that had put this country in a state of insecurity, that is being enumerated by the Hon Member for Manhyia North, Mr Speaker, these incidences were reported and published. Mr Speaker, our rules are so clear that when information is available in official publications, any Member has the right to refer to such incidents. Mr Speaker, unless we say that things that are reported in our newspapers, which is an emphasis of our freedom of speech, for Ghanaians to be put in the known of such incidents when they happened, can no longer be referred to, then Mr Speaker, I do not see why a State owned Press like Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times should still be allocated budgetary funding. Mr Speaker, if the Hon Deputy Whip does not want the Hon Member for Manhyia North to go on that tangent, he could have said so. We have lived in this country and we have seen a President who slapped his Vice President, and these are facts. Mr Speaker, if he wants to go down that tangent, we would also go down that tangent, but there must be decorum in this House. Where referrals are made to persons who are honourable -- the Hon Member for Manhyia is an Hon Member of this House, but he stood up and made referrals to incidents that happened outside this House. That is all right, but if he says today that the reports by the Hon Member of such an incident to the Police, which is a State institution, is now an NDC institution -- Mr Speaker, because there is rule of law in the political party called the NPP, that is why the Hon Member wants justice for something that was done to him that was not honourable. But, Mr Speaker, he cannot be stopped from making reference to things that have been reported in publications of this country, so he should be allowed to carry on, but if he wants to go down that tangent, we would also go down that tangent. Mr Speaker, on the 9th of December, 2015 -- it is on myjoyonline; NDC Youth on rampage in Tamale. Mr Speaker, is he fabricating all these stories? These were reported, and we have the proof. These are official publications, so why can the Hon Member not make references to same? Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Whip should learn the rules. The rules allow him to make references when there are publications which are official; NDC MP slaps another NDC MP. We were in this country. We saw it, in this House, and it was also reported. So, Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Deputy Chief Whip to the extent that, we should not go that tangent, but when they are reported, we can make references to same.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Leader --

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim Ahmed

Thank you, Mr Speaker --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

No, I am not asking you to speak. I am saying the Leaders, have done their worst, What more is there to say?

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim Ahmed

Mr Speaker, just that the order she quoted was condition for admissibility of questions, and she was even out of order from the onset, and I wonder why --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Leader, I have not given you the floor. Under Order 93 (2) -- I heard what everybody said. I am giving my ruling, and I am saying that under Standing Order 93 (2), personal allusions are forbidden in debates. As Leaders, I have guided the Hon Member on his feet to move away from making personal allusions. It is because he continued, that I admitted the objection, but in making the objection, the Hon Leader also fell into the same sin. Instead of directing the Hon Member on his feet onto the right path, you followed him onto the wrong path, and then that was also followed by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader. So, rather than the Leaders helping the Speaker to guide the House and bring order, they rather joined in the fray, so the three of you are out of order. Personal allusions are specifically to be avoided, please. This equalisation thing, I recall the last time we had a debate on the matter here. In my view, it should be points of shame for us as political groups, rather than points of reference; you did that, we did that. We should avoid discussion in this House by making references to crimes committed by other political parties.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I take a cue from your kind admonition. Mr Speaker, I would like to put it on record that I was not slapped, and that was the reason -- [Interruptions.]-- I decided not to pursue the case. That was the reason we dropped the charges, and I would like to put it on record. Mr Speaker --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Acheampong and the other Hon Members, please, resume your seats. Hon Member, continue.

Speaker
Mr Amankwah

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, truth hurts but I am not surprised that my Hon Friends on the other side of the House were on their feet creating tension here. Mr Speaker, as a country, we are doing very well and it behoves all of us to rally behind such a visionary President so that together, we create an environment that will maximise our welfare. With these few words, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, that brings us to the conclusion of the contributions to the debate to thank the President, for today. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo

Mr Speaker, rightly so. Obviously, today being Friday, Hon Members would mostly make their way towards their various constituencies and for that matter, we have decided to take a few contributions on the Message on the State of the Nation this morning as agreed at the pre-Sitting. Mr Speaker, so, having exhausted everything on the Order Paper, I humbly move that this House be adjourned till Tuesday at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well.

ADJOURNMENT