Business News of Friday, 28 February 2003

Source: .


The Hon.Minister of Finance, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo has presented the 2003 Budget Statement to Parliament(full text).

Balance of Payments Outlook

168. Mr. Speaker, in 2003, and in the medium-term, external sector policy will focus on building reserves to more comfortable levels. This will not only serve to cushion the economy against short-term external shocks, but also provide a basis for meeting sub-regional economic convergence criteria. To this end, technical, financial and other incentives will continue to be provided for increased production for export.

169. Balance of payments projections for 2003 show a brighter outlook than the outturn for 2002. The optimism is derived from the current stability in the general macro-economy, as well as the specific incentives, financial and otherwise, being provided by government for the export sector.

170. Export receipts are expected to grow by more than 10 per cent to US$2310.0 million. Cocoa is expected to contribute 27.0 per cent of this growth by generating US$613.5 million. Gold exports are also expected to grow by 10.0 per cent to contribute a third of total export earnings. Timber exports are also expected to amount to US$184.8 million, equivalent to about 8 per cent of total export receipts. Other exports including non-traditional exports are expected to yield US$750.8 million in 2003, and thus account for 30 per cent of total exports.

171. Merchandise imports are projected at US$3,156.3 million in 2003, out of which Oil imports are expected to account for 18 per cent amounting to US$559.3 million. The trade balance, consequently, is projected to record a deficit of US$846.3 million (13 per cent of GDP).

172. The services account is projected to record a net deficit US$297.8 million.

173. Unrequited transfers are expected to record a surplus of US$985.1 million, of which private unrequited remittances are projected at US$630.0 million, and official remittances US$355.1 million.

174. The current account balance (excluding official transfers) is projected to record a deficit of US$514.1 million, while including net official transfers, this deficit will reduce to US$159.0 million.

175. Total medium and long term capital inflows are projected at US$99.0 million. With an expected short term capital out flow of US$41.0 million the balance on the capital account amounts to US$58.0 million.

176. The surplus on the capital account will, however, not be enough to finance the projected deficit on the current account. Consequently, the overall balance of payments is projected to record a deficit of US$101.0 million.

177. It is, however, expected that exceptional financing in 2003 will amount to US$254.0 million. Of this, US$101.0 million will be used to finance the deficit in the balance of payments and the remaining US$153 million to beef up the country's external reserves.

External Debt Outlook

Debt Stock

178. Mr. Speaker, Ghana's total external debt for long and medium term including obligations to the IMF is expected to increase to about US$6,193.6 million for year 2003. This is made up of IMF obligations of US$382.0 million and US$5,811.6 million for other creditors.

179. Of the total debt stock, about 71.0 per cent will be owed to multilateral institutions, 25.0 per cent and 4.0 per cent to bilateral and commercial creditors respectively.

New Loans in 2003

180. The policy of contracting new loans with a minimum grant element of 35 per cent will be maintained. Government will also continue to seek maximum grants and debt relief from our development partners in order to operate within sustainable levels under the HIPC framework.


Infrastructure Services Sector

181. Mr. Speaker, as mentioned in His Excellency the President’s State of the Nation’s address to Parliament, opening up the country for long- term development will involve modernising the infrastructure to facilitate production and distribution, intra-regional trade and access to ports. This will also provide opportunities for jobs.

182. For the implementation of programmes and projects in 2003, under the Infrastructure Services sector, government has allocated ?1,663.5 billion representing 15.9 per cent of total discretionary expenditure.

Ministry Of Roads And Transport

183. Mr. Speaker, among the activities planned by the Ministry of Roads and Transport towards achieving the development objectives of the GPRS, are the development and rehabilitation of major highways and improvement of roads to major markets, as well as the upgrading or tarring of feeder roads.

Performance in 2002

184. Mr. Speaker, in fulfillment of His Excellency, the President’s promise, the following projects, among others, have started in earnest:

* Tema-Sogakope road;

* Tetteh Quarshie-Circle interchange road;

* Nkrumah Circle-Achimota road;

* Various sections of the Accra-Kumasi road;

* Bole-Bamboi road; and

* Bawdie-Asankragwa road.

185. In 2002 the Ghana Highway Authority completed 18,092 km of routine maintenance works out of the planned programme of 23,369 km. Under periodic maintenance, 797 km of road works were completed.

186. Mr. Speaker, the Department of Feeder Roads completed 19 bridges. Amongst these were:

* Agyei Nkwanta-Chichisa-Manso Amanfi road in the Western Region;

* Bonsu Nkwanta-Juabeso road in the Western Region;

* Abodom- Junction road in the Central Region; and

* Adugyaa Junction – Adugyaa road in the Central Region.

187. The Department of Urban Roads undertook various routine maintenance works on 2,844 km of the road network throughout the country.

188. A total of 86 km of roads were either resealed or resurfaced under the Department’s periodic maintenance programme.

189. Mr. Speaker, in the transport sub-sector, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority completed Phase 2 of the development of the Kotoka International Airport and was commissioned by H.E the President.

190. The works done under phase 2 comprised the following:

* the extension of the runway by 416 meters to allow for direct non-stop long haul flights from Accra by wide-bodied aircrafts;

* dedicated freight aprons for 3 wide-bodied aircrafts to increase parking capacity for cargo to boost export of non-traditional products; and

* expansion of departure check-in and waiting lounge to improve customer service delivery at the Airport.

191. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry has taken delivery of 75 buses out of the 100 that were ordered with Dutch Government support to improve the mass transportation system. The Ministry also received a donation of 47 buses out of 230 from Italy which have been used to form the nucleus of the Metro Mass Transit Company. The company started operations in October, 2002.

192. Mr. Speaker, the Accra-Nsawam railway shuttle carried over a million passengers between January and December last year.

193. The GPHA has completed deepening of the berths at Tema and Takoradi to accommodate bigger vehicles.

Outlook For 2003

194. Mr. Speaker, in line with the policy to develop and rehabilitate major highways to enhance intra-regional trade, works on the following highways were commissioned for construction by His Excellency, the President:

* Mallam-Kasoa road;
* Kasoa-Yamoransa road;
* Adenta-Manfe road;
* Abuakwa-Bibiani road; and
* Axim Junction-Tarkwa road.

195. Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that funds have also been secured for the construction of the Accra–Yamoransa road during the year.

196. Mr. Speaker, Government is pursuing its policy to construct and rehabilitate some major roads in the regions to link rural and urban markets. These include:

* Tamale-Yendi road in the Northern Region;

* Twifo-Praso Assin Fosu road and the Akyem-Achiasi-Akenkaasu-Brofoyedru in the Central Region;

* Agona-Junction-Tarkwa, the Bawdie-Asankragwa and the Sefwi Wiawso-Osei-Kojokrom roads in the Western Region;

* Jasikan-Brewaniase and the Kpando-Worawora in the Volta Region;

* Sekyere-Odumasi-Nkoranza, Ejura-Nkoranza roads, Sunyani-Ntotroso and Kuntunase-Ejisu roads in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions; and

* Kwahu Tafo-Adawso in the Eastern Region.

197. Mr. Speaker, under periodic maintenance, works on the following roads will continue in 2003.

* Walewale – Gambaga – Nalerigu in the Northern Region;

* Nanton Town Roads in Northern Region;
* Mankranso-Tepa in Ashanti Region;
* Ayanfuri – Diaso in Central Region; and
* Golokwati-Kane in the Volta Region.

198. Mr. Speaker, construction of 18 bridges including those over the following rivers will continue in 2003:

* Alabo river on the Amesiayakope-Osiabura Feeder Road in the Volta Region; and

* Natarbo River on the Jirapa-Douri-Lawra Feeder Road in the Upper West Region.

199. In addition, construction of 37 bridges will commence in the 4th quarter of the year countrywide.

200. Mr. Speaker, works on the under-listed roads and projects will start in the course of the year under the Department of Urban Roads:

* Inchaban-Sekondi-Adiembra-Effia Nkwanta and Africana roads;

* Tema Manhean and Ashaiman roads;

* Starlets, Ntsin and Castle roads in Cape Coast;

* Asafo Market interchange in Kumasi;

* High Street and the Central Business District Street in Accra; and

* Tamale City roads, bicycle paths and walkways.

201. Mr. Speaker, the Department of Feeder Roads will complete the rehabilitation of 2,600 km of feeder roads throughout the country in 2003. The following roads will be tarred under the Feeder and Ghana Highways Roads Programme:

* Nobekwa-Sankore and the Prang Kintampo roads in the Brong Ahafo Region;

* Nsawam-Pakro-Amangoase and Manso-Osenase roads in the Eastern Region;

* Sokode-Abutia-Juapong and Have-Kpando-Torkor roads in the Volta Region;

* Ashongman-Kitase roads in the Greater Accra Region;

* Tikobo No. 1-Bonyere and Axim Town roads,in the Western Region;

* Daban-Sokoban-Trede in the Ashanti Region;

* Gushiegu and Damongo Town roads in the Northern Region;

* Bawku-Narungu in the Upper East Region;

* Wa, Nandom, Hamile Town roads in the Upper West Region; and

* Ajumaku-Besease-Anyinabirem and Bawjiase-Agona Swedru roads in the Central Region.

202. In addition the rehabilitation of the Juapong-Vole-Adidome road will continue.

203. Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Railway Company will continue with work on the establishment of rail-based mass transit system within the Accra-Tema area and limited counter services within Kumasi and the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis to complement the road-based transport services in such areas. Meanwhile, a Transaction Advisor is expected to complete procurement proposals for concessioning of the rail infrastructure by November 2003 towards Government’s modernisation and expansion programme.

204. Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority will continue work on the extension and development of quay 2 at the Tema Port into a dedicated container terminal. It will also procure modern container cranes to equip the container terminal with cranes and deeper drafts for bulk carriers to reduce pressure on the Tema Port. Procurement processes are also on-going for the Takoradi Port development programme.

205. Mr. Speaker, under the mass transportation system, 250 high occupancy mass transport buses are expected in the year to augment the fleet. Services will be extended to Kumasi and will eventually cover other parts of the country.

206. Mr. Speaker, as part of Government’s strategic vision to develop an efficient inter-modal transport system in the country, a 400-acre inland port is to be developed at Boankra in the Ashanti Region. The port will make provision for the following facilities:
* container handling terminal;
* warehousing and Haulage Facilities;
* industrial and Export Processing Sites; and
* offices and Residential Facilities.

207. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Roads and Transport has been allocated a total of ?944.5 billion for its programmes for 2003.

Ministry of Communications and Technology

Performance In 2002

208. Mr. Speaker, in line with the GPRS objective of improving communications, the Ministry of Communications and Technology carried out the following telephone expansion programmes to increase telephone access to the rural communities in 2002:-

Hohoe - 5,000 lines;
Kpando - 4,000 lines;
Kibi - 60 lines;
Asiakwa - 30 lines;
Dompoase - 30 lines; and
New Edubiase - 30 lines.

209. To accelerate the rapid socio-economic development of the country, facilities such as Free-Phone Dialling on 8,000 lines and prepaid phone systems were provided.

210. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry re-negotiated existing Telecom Agreements aimed at liberalizing the sector, and brought to an end in February 2002 the exclusivity in voice telephony previously the preserve of Ghana Telecom (GT) and WESTEL;

211. Mr. Speaker, in an effort to make Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities accessible to the rural population, 10 sites, one in each region, has been identified for setting up Community Information Centres (CIC). Designs for these centres have already been completed.

212. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry also started work on the construction of a Centre of Excellence for ICT training at a cost of ?2 billion. In connection with this Centre of Excellence, twelve Ghanaians who pursued training programmes in India have since returned.

Outlook For 2003

213. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry’s objective is to continue the implementation of its GPRS programmes and activities by increasing telephone services to rural areas and also providing information communication facilities for schools. As a consequence, Ghana Telecom will roll out additional 400,000 fixed lines between 2003 and 2005.

214. Mr. Speaker, for the year 2003 the expansion of telephone facilities will be carried out in the following communities:

* Akatsi - 1,000 lines;
* Teshie-Nungua - 5,000 lines;
* Sekondi - 2,000 lines;
* Kumasi Main - 3,500 lines;
* Kwame Univ. of Sci & Tech. 5,000 lines; and

* Akyem Swedru/Achiase Jungle Warfare 2,000 lines.

215. Mr. Speaker, to promote ICT as a tool that facilitates the production, transmission and processing of information for competitiveness in the global market place, the Ministry will:

* facilitate the extension of the National Fibre Optic network to cover other regions; and

* promote the requisite capacity building framework to support human resource development and specialized technical skills. In this connection, the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence will commence skills development training in 2003.

216. Mr. Speaker, the Government will also use its position on the International Communications Union (ITU) Governing Council to advocate for the promotion of Africa’s rapid development of full inter-country information and communications connectivity system in support of the NEPAD initiatives on ICT.

217. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Communication and Technology has been allocated ?62.7 billion for its programmes in 2003.

Ministry of Works and Housing

Performance in 2002

218. Mr. Speaker, increasing access to safe water in rural areas especially in guinea worm endemic areas is one of the activities outlined in the GPRS medium term priority programmes.

219. To this end, Government undertook a number of projects in both urban and rural communities in 2002.

220. Mr. Speaker, under the programme of Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Government with the support of the development partners, spent ?187.7 billion to undertake the following projects:

* construction of 350 hand dug wells, 645 boreholes, 16 mechanized pipe systems, 10 gravity pipe systems, 3,117 household places of convenience and 88 institutional places of convenience;

* training of 1,330 Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committee members, 2,000 Hand pump caretakers, 12 partner organizations, 400 Area Mechanics and 100 Artisans to effectively and efficiently manage rural water and sanitation facilities; and

* rehabilitation of 1,000 boreholes and 500 hand-dug wells countrywide.

221. In addition, about ?73.8 billion was spent in 2002 to expand and rehabilitate water treatment works at Weija, Kpong, Barekese, Abesim, Winneba, New Tafo and Beposu/Nsuta. Some distribution networks in parts of West Accra and SSNIT flats in Sunyani were improved.

222. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry also undertook hydrological and housing projects. During the year, an amount of ?1.6 billion was spent to continue work on parts of Ada, Akplabanya, Prampram-Ningo, La, Phillip Quaicoe, Nkontompo and Prince Akatakyie coastline protection.

223. An amount of ?2.6 billion was also spent on some primary drainage works in various parts of the country.

224. Mr. Speaker, by the end of 2002, Government had spent approximately US$65.9 million on the Keta Sea Defence Project bringing work completed to date to about 80 per cent.

225. Land reclamation for habitation is now 60per cent complete and reclaimed areas for the resettlement of the inhabitants of Kedzi, Vodza and Adzido are ready for construction works to start. Dredging works are approximately 83per cent complete.

226. Mr. Speaker, stage 1 of the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration project component comprising the following major activities, was completed at the cost of approximately US$33.4 million:

* dredging of the lower lagoon and canalisation of the upper lagoon;
* channel improvement of the Kaneshie, Odaw and Korle and the Agbogbloshie canals;
* slope protection to the Kaneshie, Odaw and Korle canals, including the provision of gabion hydraulic jump structure in the Kaneshie canal; and
* landscaping, site reclamation and grassing of the pig farm including the existing refuse dump.

227. Mr. Speaker, for the Housing sub-sector, Government in 2002 issued a Bank of Ghana Guarantee to a Slovakian Construction Company for a supplier’s credit of US$41.35 million to facilitate the housing and infrastructure development programme.

228. Four consultants have been engaged at four different sites at Berekuso in the Eastern Region and Manchi-Kuntunanse, Oyarifa and Nsakina in the Greater Accra Region to prepare project documents for housing programmes.

Outlook for 2003

229. Mr. Speaker, in 2003 Government will continue to increase access to safe water and sanitary facilities in rural and urban areas, especially in guinea worm endemic areas and undertake other activities including coastal protection and drainage improvement. To this end, an amount of ?656.3 billion has been earmarked for the Ministry of Works and Housing in the 2003 budget to implement its programmes and projects.

230. Mr. Speaker, Government has allocated ?189.5 billion to enable the Community Water and Sanitation Agency continue with the rural water delivery programme as follows:

* construction of 306 new hand dug wells for 25 communities, 1,950 boreholes drilled for 60 communities, 52 mechanized pipe systems for 20 communities and 8 gravity pipe systems;

* construction of 3,428 household places of convenience, 97 institutional places of convenience and also rehabilitate 82 boreholes countrywide; and

* training of 1,450 Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Committees’ members, 1,500 Hand pump caretakers, 12 Partner Organizations, 400 Area mechanics and 120 Artisans to effectively and efficiently manage rural water and sanitation facilities.

231. Ghana Water Company Limited has also been allocated ?1.3 billion to undertake various rehabilitation programmes of water systems at Cape Coast and Winneba; and medium capacity water treatment plants at Sogakope, Keta, Ada Foah and Obuasi.

232. Government will continue the rehabilitation works on the low capacity water treatment plants at New Tafo, Beposu/Nsuta and Dwomo. Minor improvement on some water treatment plants in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions will also be carried out.

233. Mr. Speaker, an amount of ?1.2 billion has been earmarked for the improvement and expansion of the distribution network in the following water stations and areas: Pankrono, Tamale, Juapong, Mankrong-Ayensuako and Sunyani New SSNIT Flats. Other areas include Kwabenya, Nungua-Zongo, Gbawe, Adweso, New Town, Suhyiem, Kpeve and Have.

234. This year, Government will continue with coastal protection work in critical areas along the coastline especially at Akplabanya, Phillip Quaicoe, and Prince Akatakyie and start works on Essel Lagoon.

235. Mr. Speaker, an amount of ?3.0 billion has been earmarked for various primary drainage works in several parts of the country including:

* Teshie/Nungua in Greater Accra;
* Konongo-Odumase in Ashanti;
* Ayekoo-Ayekoo in Central;
* West Tanokrom in Western;
* Agormanya and Larteh in Eastern;
* Goaso in Brong Ahafo;
* Kadjebi in Volta;
* Zebilla in Upper East; and
* Buipe in Northern region.

236. Government has further allocated an amount of ?304.5 million for the construction of the remaining groyne, land reclamation at Kedzi and Vodza including the resettlement programme for the people of Adzido, Vodza and Kedzi.

237. It is envisaged that the following activities for stage II of the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project will be carried out:

* The final phase of the on-going off-shore investigations required to confirm the final technical parameters of the new sea outfall pipeline;
* Construction of the interceptor weir;
* Construction of the landline and new sea outfall pipe; and
* Construction of the two pumping stations and ancillary works.

238. Mr. Speaker, actual construction work on the US$10.0 million Tamale Storm Water Drainage Project is expected to commence this year.

239. Mr. Speaker, for the housing sub-sector, Government will continue to facilitate the construction of 20,000 and 90,000 various housing units for rentals and direct ownership respectively.

240. Mr. Speaker, Government has finally sourced a Supplier’s Credit of US$120 million for various projects in the housing sub-sector at Berekuso in the Eastern Region, Oyarifa and Manchi-Kuntenase in the Greater Accra Region, known as the “Housing The People Scheme” in fulfilment of the NPP Manifesto. The first phase of the project amounting to US$41.35 million will commence this year.

Economic Services Sector

241. Mr. Speaker, the Economic Services Sector consists of eight MDAs, three of which are to undertake priority activities under the GPRS. These are the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Lands and Forestry and Energy. The total allocation to the Economic Services Sector is ?969.6 billion in 2003 representing 9.3 per cent of total discretionary expenditure.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Performance in 2002

242. Mr. Speaker, one of the objectives of the Ministry of Agriculture is to modernize Agriculture based on Rural Development as outlined in the GRPS. In this direction, the Ministry undertook activities in the promotion of farm mechanization, provision of irrigation facilities, rehabilitation of fish hatcheries, provision of access to inputs for livestock, crop production and the promotion of the production of high value crops.

243. Consequently, the Ministry in 2002 was provided with about ?2.0 billion for the importation of essential spare parts to enable the Agricultural Mechanization Limited rehabilitate about 1,000 broken down tractors to promote mechanized farming. Rice threshers have been produced locally to improve the quality of local rice. Prototypes of cassava processors and sugarcane crushers have also been produced.

244. Mr. Speaker, rehabilitation and construction of 16 dams and dug-outs as well as the design for the construction of 30 additional dams were started during the year.

245. In addition, 82 Hand-dug wells were excavated and lined with cement for usage.

246. Mr. Speaker, in the fisheries sub-sector, a Pilot Aquaculture Centre, which is expected to produce fingerlings for fish farmers in the middle belt of the country, that is, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern and Volta Regions, was completed.

247. Mr. Speaker, the following measures were taken to improve access to crop production:

* through the President’s Special Initiative on cassava, the Root and Tuber Improvement Project supplied improved cassava varieties to farmers for planting on 1,050 ha. in 2002. This represents 53 per cent of the target of 2,000 ha;

* a total of ?112.0 million was disbursed by Agricultural Development Bank in Tamale to 141 women processors on group basis under the Lowland Rice Development Project. In addition, 153,977 transplantable hybrids were developed for transplanting by farmers; and

* under the Special Programme for Food Security, the Ministry has developed 120 ha of land for the cultivation of millet, sorghum, rice, plantain and vegetables through improved water control system in Bolgatanga, East Gonja, Tano, Jasikan, and Dangbe East districts.

248. Mr. Speaker, with regard to improving access to inputs for livestock production, 6,000 improved guinea keets from Belgium were brooded and distributed to farmers under the Upper West Agricultural Development Project.

249. Three Hundred and Sixteen Sahelian Rams and Billies were also procured from Burkina Faso for distribution to farmers.

250. Mr. Speaker, work continued on improving breeding stock of the indigenous cattle, sheep, goats and pigs at the six nucleus-breeding stations at Nungua, Amrahia, Ejura, Kintampo, Pong-Tamale and Babile to be distributed to participating breeders for multiplication and distribution to farmers nation-wide.

251. Mr. Speaker, in order to create market for farm produce and achieve import substitution in certain areas, the ministry is actively promoting the utilization of selected crops through processing, value addition, packaging and presentation. Rice is being processed into grits and flour for ‘omutuo’ and porridge.

252. Cassava, cocoyam and sweet potato are also being processed into flour for baking bread and pastries.

253. Sorghum and maize have been satisfactorily experimented in the beer industry. Guinness Ghana Ltd used some sorghum last year. Over the past 12 months Accra Brewery Ltd. used 2,500 tonnes of locally processed maize grits which represents about 5,000 tonnes of maize.

254. Mr. Speaker, in view of the prevailing policy of ensuring food security by maintaining strategic stocks in years of surplus production, the MOFA proposed the establishment of National Strategic Food Security Stocks and purchased 220,000 mini bags (11,000 tons) of white maize. The programme which is revolving is undertaken by the private sector and financed by the Agricultural Development Bank. This contributed to the stabilization of food prices in 2002. The year under review saw abundance of food throughout the year.

Outlook for 2003

255. Mr. Speaker, government will continue its programme to modernise agriculture. In this regard, MOFA will continue its programmes and projects which are targeted at ensuring food security and import substitution. To achieve these objectives in 2003, an amount of ?419.3 billion has been allocated to the Ministry.

256. In line with the GPRS policy on the promotion of farm mechanization, the Ministry will facilitate the establishment of tractor pools in 9 strategic areas on pilot basis, and continue the development of selected processing machines.

257. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will increase production of cereals, legumes, roots and tuber crops through the rehabilitation of broken down irrigation facilities, dams and boreholes, and making available improved seed and planting materials to farmers.

258. Mr. Speaker, under the fisheries sub-sector, the Ministry will make adequate and good quality fingerlings and other inputs available to farmers through the rehabilitation of 16 hatcheries in an effort to increase production of fish from fish farming. The Ministry will improve landing sites at 6 locations to make it easier for fishing trawlers to discharge their catch. The construction of new and the rehabilitation of old fish ponds will be undertaken to improve fish farming.

259. Mr. Speaker, to promote value addition and reduce post-harvest losses, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will promote the processing and preservation of selected commodities, namely, root and tuber crops, grains, fruits, vegetables and oil seeds.

260. Mr. Speaker, in line with the priorities of GPRS, the livestock sub-sector will increase the production of small ruminants through the improvement of indigenous breeds, development of improved forages and communal grazing grounds. The poultry industry will be revitalized.

261. In addition, the Ministry will facilitate marketing through the construction of access roads and farm tracks and promote the use of appropriate haulage vehicles for perishable crops.

262. The development of Farmer Based Organisations will be intensified this year.

Ministry of Lands and Forestry

Performance in 2002

263. Mr. Speaker, in 2002, the Ministry of Lands and Forestry raised 25 million plantation seedlings in nurseries throughout the country, and established 20,000 Ha of forest plantation. In addition, the Ministry maintained 30,000 km of existing forest boundaries and in the process created 82,000 jobs.

264. In the course of the year, 1.4 million cubic metres of Natural Forest Timber was harvested. This and other sources contributed to the realization of ?33.5 billion as Internally Generated Funds (IGF).

Outlook for 2003

265. Mr. Speaker, under the GPRS objective of creating the right institutional environment for entrepreneurial development, the Ministry of Lands and Forestry is to undertake land administration reforms among other activities. An allocation of ?125.5 billion has been made for the Ministry’s programmes in 2003.

266. Mr. Speaker, to arrest the deterioration of the nation’s forest resources, His Excellency the President launched a National Plantation Development Programme at Ayigbe in the Brong-Ahafo Region in September 2001. The target, which was initially set at 20,000 ha. per annum, has now been revised to 80,000 ha. per annum, to more than compensate for the annual deforestation rate of 65,000 ha.

267. Under the plantation programme for 2003, the Ministry intends to raise 25 million plantation seedlings in nurseries throughout the country and establish 20,000 ha of forest plantation. In addition, 30,000 km of forest reserve boundaries will be maintained.

268. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will also grant Timber Utilization Contracts in 2003 to streamline the harvesting of forest timber. Consequently, it is expected that 2 million cubic metres of natural forest timber will be harvested in addition to 500,000 cubic metres of timber plantation.

269. It is estimated that the Ministry will generate ?50 billion as IGF and create 100,000 jobs.

Ministry of Energy

Performance in 2002

270. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry’s objective under the GPRS is to provide reliable supply of quality energy services. To this end, activities identified to enable the Ministry achieve this objective include the implementation of a cost recovery pricing policy for energy and supply of rural electricity. Under the 2002 programme, the Ministry continued the implementation of the:

* third phase of the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP-3) to supply electricity to 650 communities in the country;

* electrification of the Volta Lake Settlement Township project in which 120 out of 150 communities were connected to the national grid and the project will be completed by June 2003; and

* electrification in the Western Region to benefit 110 communities where 30 per cent of work has been completed.

271. Mr. Speaker, in 2002 the four States in the West African Gas Pipeline Project have successfully negotiated and concluded the International Project Agreement and an Enabling draft legislation which contains the agreed harmonised legal and fiscal arrangements for the Project. Meanwhile, the Pre qualification process for identifying qualified contractors for the construction of the Pipeline has been completed.

272. Negotiations were finalized and agreements signed with oil companies for the exploration of crude in the country’s offshore basins following Cabinet approval and Parliamentary ratification.

273. Construction of a Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracker (RFCC) was completed and commissioned by His Excellency the President last year.

274. Mr. Speaker, under Phase one of the Rural Kerosene Distribution Improvement Programme, 700 surface tanks were fabricated and distributed to rural areas through the District Assemblies.

Outlook for 2003

275. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Energy will continue with the implementation of activities that will enable it achieve its objective in line with the GPRS. The Ministry has been allocated an amount of ?149.0 billion to implement its programmes for 2003.

276. Under the third phase of SHEP 3, extension of power to all the 650 communities will be completed in the course of the year.

277. Mr. Speaker, the SHEP 4 programme is to benefit an additional 2000 communities will commence this year.

278. Mr. Speaker, electrification of Nyinahin and 23 other communities in the Atwima District will be undertaken.

279. Mr. Speaker, new regional capitals Street Lighting Project to improve the aesthetic, social and security situation in all regional capitals and Tema will commence.

280. Electrification to benefit 110 communities in the Western Region will continue.

281. Mr. Speaker, phases II & III of the Rural Kerosene Distribution Improvement Programme comprising the fabrication of additional 1,800 tanks will be pursued this year

282. Mr. Speaker, identification, survey, selection and installation of photo-voltaic solar systems in communities in the three Northern Regions, and Eastern and Western Regions will be facilitated to increase access to modern energy to rural poor communities.

283. The Heads of States at the ECOWAS Summit in Dakar in January, 2003 signed the West African Gas Pipeline Treaty which contains inter-state commitments to support the Project. All three agreements, in the course of the year, will be presented to Parliament for ratification. It is the expectation of Government that, it can count on Honourable Members of this august House to consider the agreements with speed. Invitations to tender will be sent out this year.

Ministry for Private Sector Development

Performance in 2002

284. Mr. Speaker, strengthening the private sector is one of the key objectives of the GPRS. The Ministry for Private Sector Development (MPSD) carried out a number of activities aimed at reducing bottlenecks to private sector development and promoting entrepreneurship in agro business.

285. In furtherance of this objective, the Ministry organized workshops to identify bottlenecks in obtaining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits by the private sector and recommending measures to remove the identified bottlenecks.

286. The Government in 2001 instituted the Emergency Social Relief Programme with the goal to reduce poverty.

287. The Ministry also re-established the Country Development Framework working group which has successfully developed the relevant framework for addressing issues related to private sector development.

288. A draft Bill on the review of the Companies Code was submitted to Cabinet for approval.

289. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry facilitated the establishment of a food stock loan facility of ?50.0 billion to provide support to private sector entrepreneurs to stock food produce.

Outlook for 2003

290. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry plans to carry out a status review of all legal reforms currently underway relating to private sector development. These are: the Labour Law, Exchange Control Act, Bills of Exchange Act, and Financial Institutions Law as it applies to Non-bank Institutions.

291. The Ministry will also develop entrepreneurship training programmes and set up a business counseling unit as part of its capacity building and enterprise support.

292. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will review existing agencies that operate credit schemes for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and support the licensing of some of them as non-bank financial institutions dedicated to the SME sector.

293. Mr. Speaker, purchases of food stocks by the private sector operators using the ?50.0 billion facility will start in 2003.

294. To implement its work programme for the year the Ministry of Private Sector Development has been allocated ?6.1 billion.

Ministry of Environment and Science

Performance in 2002

295. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry intensified its public education and awareness campaign on the environment through media reportage, workshops and seminars, and programmes such as anti-bushfire campaigns. The cooperation of the communities and other stakeholder institutions reduced the incidence of bushfires in the past year.

296. Thirty more ‘environment desks’ were established in various public institutions and manned by 30 officers who received training to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency’s capacity to monitor compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

297. EPA granted 100 environmental permits for start-up projects in 2002.

298. Mr. Speaker, the Town and Country Planning Department initiated a project to open up 5km length of access roads at Kwabenya in the Ga District as a strategy for controlling Urban development.

299. The Rural Enterprise Project trained 236 master craftsmen and 1,898 rural dwellers to adopt improved technologies. About 3,600 small-scale entrepreneurs including women were trained in entrepreneurial skills to enhance their businesses.

300. Mr. Speaker, in line with the Government’s policy to increase food production, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its institutes in collaboration with MOFA released 2 new high yielding disease-resistant plantain hybrids for multiplication in Assin and Asante Akyem districts. New improved varieties of tomato, peanut, cowpea and sorghum were developed and are being multiplied for farmers.

301. The CSIR also supplied 126 forest nurseries in 5 regions with appropriate seedlings to support reforestation and land reclamation.

Outlook for 2003

302. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Environment and Science will undertake the following programmes in 2003:

* intensification of public education and awareness creation in the environment and science as tools for enhancing the quality of the environment, sustaining development and reducing poverty; and

* preservation of the Weija Lakeside and rehabilitation of the Watershed of the Akaa Waterfalls in the Eastern Region as part of land reclamation measures.

303. In order to reduce poverty and relieve pressure on land in rural communities, off-farm alternative livelihood training activities will be carried out in selected districts, namely: West Akyem, Aowin-Suaman, Jaman, Assin, Lower Denkyira, Kadjebi, Hohoe and Manya Krobo.

304. Mr. Speaker, to facilitate research and service delivery of the Ministry and its Departments and Agencies, rehabilitation of research laboratories, pilot plants and demonstration facilities will be carried out.

305. Mr. Speaker, Town and Country Planning Department will continue its urban development control strategy through the opening up of access roads in two regions. Projects at Assin Fosu (Central Region), New Drobo (Brong Ahafo Region) and Akim Oda (Eastern Region) will be implemented this year.

306. A total of ?133.5 billion has been earmarked for the Ministry of Environment and Science in 2003.

Ministry of Trade and Industry

Performance in 2002

307. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Trade and Industry plays a key role in the economic sector by carrying out activities aimed at providing support to small and medium-scale enterprises, that is, equipment to micro and small scale producers, establishing small enterprise zones in profitable locations and strengthening agencies and departments responsible for cluster and enterprise development.

308. All these activities are planned to enhance the achievement of the GPRS objectives of increasing production and employment by promoting agro-processing and improving productivity in the industrial and service sectors.

309. Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the Ministry’s programme for building capacity, Ghanaian entrepreneurs have received training in machine tools and auto parts technology in Punjab in India.

310. The Ghana Exports Promotion Council (GEPC), under a programme to enhance the capacity of exporters to take advantage of opportunities in the export market, identified nine export products including vegetables, sweet potatoes, spices, medicinal plants, cashew and mangoes for special attention.

311. Mr. Speaker, in implementing the strategies and programmes of the National Board for Small Scale Industry (NBSSI) in 2002, 117 tailor-made training programmes were organized for 3,285 potential and practising entrepreneurs. In addition, 239 Medium and Small Scale Entrepreneurs were supported to access formal credit totaling ?4.5 billion and 104 micro enterprises were provided with credit totaling ?100.2m through credit schemes operated by the NBSSI and the District Assemblies.

312. Mr. Speaker, other achievements by the Ministry are the following:

* Ghana Freezones Board registered 25 firms creating over 6,400 jobs in 2002 as against about 1,500 in 2001;

* establishment of the Ghana Investment Fund (GIF) to provide affordable capital to Industry;

* re-classification of yam by Legislative Instrument (LI) as a Traditional Export Commodity; and

* operationalisation of the Export Development Investment Fund (EDIF) which provided over ?60 billion to firms creating about 2,000 jobs.

Outlook for 2003

313. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to carry out programmes aimed at achieving the broad economic objectives under the GPRS. In this regard, a sum of ?102.7 billion has been allocated in 2003.

314. The creation of industrial estates, which focus on agro-food processing will be pursued.

315. The implementation of the Root and Tubers Improvement Project (RUTIP) will commence in 5 pilot districts.

316. Mr. Speaker, under the NBSSI programme of work, 10 additional Business Advisory Centres will be established in various districts to promote rural entrepreneurship, create employment opportunities, reduce rural-urban migration and increase income levels of the rural population.

317. Four hundred tailor-made entrepreneurial, managerial and technical skills training programmes will be established at 6 craft villages and production centres in five regions under the HIPC funded programmes.

318. Mr. Speaker, GEPC will expand the soya bean project to cover 7,000 persons in 3 regions and embark on activities to increase non-traditional exports by 15 per cent over 2002 levels.

President’s Special Initiatives.

319. Mr. Speaker, the President’s Special Initiatives are intended to stimulate private enterprise, improve productivity and create jobs both in agriculture production and in processing.

320. The initiative on textiles has started in earnest to take advantage of the U.S. Government’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as other markets in Europe.

321. About 50 Ghanaian medium sized garment-manufacturing companies are expected to commence production in the Tema Free Zone Enclave by the beginning of the second quarter of this year.

322. Mr. Speaker, an amount of US$1.2 million has been disbursed to purchase the Volta Garment Factory for the establishment of a Clothing Technology and Training Centre (C.T.T.C) where 8-week training programmes for up to 400 textile workers per batch, will commence this year.

323. Mr. Speaker, in addition, a model medium-sized commercial manufacturing unit with 300 workers will serve as demonstration centre for mass production of textiles. This project is expected to create about 70,000 jobs by 2005.

324. With the attainment of the AGOA visa status, Ghana now has access to the United States Market, duty and quota free. This privilege covers textiles and apparel as well as 6,400 other products.

325. Mr. Speaker, under the cassava initiative, the Ayensu Starch Company Limited has established a factory at Bawjiase and working with outgrower farms within the following contiguous districts: Awutu-Effutu-Senya, Gomoa, Agona Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa in the Central Region; Ga in the Greater Accra Region; and West Akim, Akwapim South, Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar in the Eastern Region.

326. About 5,000 farmers within these districts are being organized and assisted to cultivate cassava to be processed into high-grade industrial starch for export.

327. Mr. Speaker, the Special Initiative on Salt, Oil Palm and Cotton are due to take off this year. Government has facilitated the acquisition of US$40.0 million, which can be accessed by private ventures for production of salt for exports. The Committee on Oil Palm Initiative has also earmarked 100,000 ha of land to be planted over the next five years. This is expected to double current national output during the period.

328. Mr. Speaker, with regard to cotton production, talks are far advanced with a Mauritius company to set up a sub-regional cotton processing factory in Ghana with an initial investment of US$67 million.

Ministry of Mines

Performance in 2002

329. Mr. Speaker, under the 2002 work programme of the Ministry of Mines, 100 clay samples in the Eastern, Ashanti, Volta and Western Regions were found to be suitable for the manufacture of brick and tiles and electrical porcelain in all the regions. The data will be brought into the public domain for the benefit of both local and foreign investors.

330. The Ministry also granted mining licences to 10 companies during the year.

331. Mr. Speaker, a loan facility amounting to ?3.0 billion was granted to Elmina salt mining co-operative societies from HIPC funds.

332. The Ministry reviewed the existing legislation and drafted a new Mining Bill for the consideration of Parliament.

333. Mr. Speaker, the new draft bill seeks to revise the list of minerals included in the definition prescribed in the mining list to include salt, among others. It is expected that this innovation alone will see large investments in the salt industry, which will satisfy the enormous demand in the West African Sub-Region and beyond. The new law will also boost investment in gold mining.

Outlook for 2003

334. Mr. Speaker, in 2003, the Ministry will promote the training of the youth in the manufacture of clay products like electrical porcelain, beads, ceramic waves and bricks in collaboration with relevant training institutions.

335. The Ministry will also enhance the diversification of production of minerals especially industrial minerals such as salt. In addition, the Ministry will promote the development of alternate processing techniques for gold recovery by small-scale mines. To achieve these objectives, an amount of ?19.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry in 2003.

336. As stated in H.E. the President’s state of the nation address to Parliament, the biggest gold mining company in the world, Newmont Mining is commencing operations in Ghana to develop two mines in August. The initial investment will be US$450 million and will provide 500 direct jobs. Social Services Sector

337. Mr. Speaker, enhancing Social Services with emphasis on Health and Education is one of the five key priority areas of Government to accelerate development in the transformation of our economy. The GPRS recognizes that improving the health of the poor is crucial for reducing poverty given that ill health is both a consequence and a cause of poverty.

338. Mr. Speaker, education also opens doors for prosperity for the individual, which consequently affects the country as a whole. For the implementation of programmes in Health and Education and the other areas of the Social Sector ?4,068.9 billion has been allocated in 2003 representing 39.0 per cent of total discretionary expenditure.

Ministry of Health

Performance in 2002

339. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Health has as one of its key objectives, enhancing access to, and efficient delivery of health services.

340. Mr. Speaker, in pursuit of this objective in 2002, 15 out of 16 Rural Health Centres were completed. In addition two District Hospitals at Sogakope and Ada were completed and commissioned. Additionally, 15 Rural Health Centres whose construction began in 2002 are at various stages of completion. The upgrading of four health centers also began in 2002.

341. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry is supporting the construction of hostel and classroom facilities for Community Health Training Schools in Navrongo, Worawora and Fomena. Funds were allocated for the expansion of hostel and classroom facilities for existing Community Health Nursing Training Schools at Essiama and the Rural Health Training School at Kintampo.

342. Mr. Speaker, the preparation for the launch of a full-scale social type health insurance programme in the country was initiated last year. The policy framework was approved by Cabinet to implement the district-wide mutual health insurance in 42 districts.

343. Mr. Speaker, under the Public Health delivery programme, immunization of children against the 6 killer diseases was continued nationwide. In addition to this, emphasis was placed on communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. HIV control programme was given some added impetus with the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV as one of the focal issues. In the course of the year, mothers who had tested positive for HIV received drug treatment during labour and the same drug given to their babies after birth.

344. Mr. Speaker, the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme has been experiencing mixed fortunes over the years. Between January and June 2002 a total of 3,076 cases had been reported as against 3,239 for the same period in 2001.

345. Mr. Speaker, one of the focal points of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy is the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The emphasis here is not only on preventing new transmission and the spread of the disease but also to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/ AIDS and orphans of HIV/AIDS victims.

346. In an effort to increase awareness of the public and provide support for people living with HIV/AIDS, the Ministry produced two documents on anti-retroviral therapy and the management of the opportunistic infections as guidelines for the management of persons living with HIV/AIDS for use in training of clinicians.

347. Mr. Speaker, in collaboration with Family Health International (FHI), a pilot project Support Treatment and Anti Retroviral Therapy (START) was launched in March in the Manya Krobo district.

348. Mr. Speaker, as part of measures to retain health personnel, the Ministry set-up a Vehicle Revolving Fund for Health Workers. An amount of US$5.0 million was made available for setting up the fund. The ministry also purchased 73 saloon cars last year for distribution to health personnel in an effort to attract them to the rural and deprived areas of the country. In addition, the Ministry took delivery of 300 pick-ups and other vehicles bringing the total to 450 vehicles to augment the fleet of vehicles and improve service delivery.

349. Mr. Speaker, work on the Ghana College of Medicine and Surgery commenced in 2002.

Outlook for 2003

350. Mr. Speaker, in order to ensure that we achieve the objective of bridging the equity gaps in access to quality health and nutrition services as well as ensuring sustainable financing arrangements that protect the poor, the Ministry will in 2003:

* continue with the redistribution of health workers in favour of deprived areas;

* phase out the Cash and Carry system;

* implement the Health Insurance Scheme (HIS); and

* provide outreach services in deprived areas.

351. In this connection, the Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) arrangement will remain the key strategy for expanding service provision.

352. Mr. Speaker, the district-wide mutual health insurance schemes piloted in 42 districts in 2002 will be expanded to cover all other districts in 2003.

353. Under the investment programme of the Ministry, emphasis will be on:

* the CHPS infrastructure network;

* the development of model health centers;

* the expansion of existing health training institutions; and

* introduction of new schools.

354. Mr. Speaker, construction works on Gushiegu and Begoro hospitals will continue this year and some major rehabilitation works will be carried out in the Teaching Hospitals. Work on Bolgatanga Lagoon Hospital will commence this year; so will the upgrading of Polyclinics in Accra and Kumasi to full hospitals to ease pressure on Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

355. Diseases earmarked for eradication in the period include polio and guinea worm and those for elimination are Maternal and neonatal tetanus, leprosy, trachoma and filariasis.

356. Mr. Speaker, seven specific areas of service delivery remain the priority for 2003. These are HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, malaria, guinea worm, tuberculosis, reproductive and child health, expanded programme of immunization, and emergency care.

357. The programme of the Ministry for HIV/AIDS in 2003 is a continuation of the activities initiated in 2002 and aims at bringing down the zero prevalence infection rate from 3 per cent in 2002 to 2.5 per cent in 2003.

358. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will continue with inter-sectoral action and advocacy among the political, traditional and business leaders, especially in the introduction of prophylaxis for mother-to-child transmission, and post-exposure prophylaxis.

359. To carry out these activities, the Ministry of Health has been allocated an amount of ?1,154.6 billion representing 28.4 per cent of the total Social Sector Services allocation.

Ministry of Education

Performance in 2002

360. Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy emphasizes the provision of basic education as a key strategy for poverty reduction. In 2002 the Ministry of Education (MOE) implemented several activities under the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) programme as the major policy for basic education delivery with the objective of enhancing access, and improving quality of education.

361. In this respect, efforts were made to improve quality of education delivery. Ghana Education Service focused its attention on the training of classroom teachers. In the 2002 financial year 6,267 teachers were given in-service training to improve their pedagogical skills.

362. Mr. Speaker, in line with provision of quality education, Teachers Incentive Scheme was designed to attract and retain qualified teachers especially those working in remote areas. The following were procured at a cost of ?9.4 billion and distributed to classroom teachers in remote areas to ease their mobility to school:

* 500 motorbikes at the cost of ?4.995 billion;

* 9,000 Bicycles for male teachers at the cost of ?2.843 billion; and

* 5,400 Bicycles for female teachers at the cost of ?1.606 billion;

363. Mr. Speaker, a total of 4,383,428 textbooks worth ?14.194 billion covering core subjects in English, Maths, Science and Social Studies were distributed to all Basic Schools to improve the textbook to pupil ratio to a level of 1:1.

364. Mr. Speaker, infrastructural facilities completed at a total cost of ?172.2 billion at various levels of education to improve training and learning outcomes of pupils/students were as follows: * 1,556 Teachers Accommodation units at the cost of ?80.3 billion;

* 166 Classroom blocks at the cost of ?42.1 billion;

* 166 KVIP at the cost of ?1.12 billion; and

* 270,676 pieces of classroom furniture at the cost of ?48.7 billion.

365. In the secondary division, the following were carried out:

* an amount of ?36 billion was spent on the reprinting of English and Mathematics textbooks while ?14 billion was also spent in procuring textbooks on Integrated Science and Social Studies;

* twenty-two buildings in 17 Senior Secondary Schools were rehabilitated at the cost of ?699.7 million;

* forty additional infrastructural facilities in 37 Senior Secondary Schools which were under construction at the cost of ?1.5 billion have reached advanced stages of completion; and

* five Private Community Senior Secondary Schools were absorbed into the Public System of Education bringing the total number to 479.

366. Mr. Speaker, a number of programmes and projects were implemented to promote Science and Technical/Vocational studies to equip students with requisite skills. Some of the programmes and projects include the following:

* Science, Technical and Mathematics Education (STME) Clinics were organized for 8,000 girls in JSS and SSS; and

* 9 Vocational and Technical VOTEC Education Resource Centres were completed and handed over.

367. Mr. Speaker, the following projects were also completed in the tertiary sector, namely:

* the renovation of the Balme Library complex, construction of Law Faculty building and completion of the Chemistry Laboratory complex all at the University of Ghana, Legon;

* the rehabilitation of the Great Hall and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Department of Physics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST);

* rehabilitation and extension of laboratory and examination hall, completion of lecture hall with seating capacity for 1,500 students and completion of new halls of residence at the University of Cape Coast (UCC);

* completion of office block for lecturers computerisation and networking of distance education and rehabilitation of students hostel and auditorium at Kumasi campus of University College of Education, Winneba (UCEW);

* The completion of extension works to the library, students hostel and lecture halls at the Nyankpala campus of the University of Development Studies

368. In line with Government’s Policy to expand access to tertiary education and training, work on the establishment of Wa and Bolgatanga Polytechnics was completed and are ready to start the HND Programme.

369. Mr. Speaker, under the GPRS, the Ministry of Education is one of the Agencies that has programs with the objective of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. In 2002 the Ministry spent ?200 million on various HIV/AIDS programmes in Schools and Institutions to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS and STIs.

Outlook for 2003

370. Mr. Speaker, the 2003 budget of the Ministry of Education is geared towards the implementation of access to education, the reduction of gender disparities and skills development training as key medium term priority programmes of the GPRS for the education sector.

371. Attention will be focused on the following activities for the attainment of the key GPRS education sector priorities:

372. Mr. Speaker, on the rehabilitation and development of physical infrastructure, it is expected that 2,000 six-unit classroom blocks at the basic level in deprived areas will be rehabilitated. A total of 24 rehabilitation and 66 Construction projects costing ?9.180 billion will be undertaken in Senior Secondary Schools in rural areas.

373. Construction of 505 three-unit Classroom blocks, each with a KVIP for Basic Schools will commence this year.

374. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will continue work towards the provision of a model senior secondary school in each district as outlined in H.E. the President’s state of the nation’s address a few weeks ago. In initial phase, 30 senior secondary schools throughout the country have been identified to be brought up to standard as model schools. This will involve the provision of libraries, and science laboratories and equipment, rehabilitation of infrastructure and the provision of adequate teaching staff at a cost of about ?50 billion.

375. Mr. Speaker, an amount of ?105.5 billion has also been allocated in the 2003 budget to begin the process of attaching pre-schools to all basic schools that do not already have them. This scheme will involve the provision of infrastructure, teachers and the supply of teaching and learning materials.

376. The Ministry will provide material support for needy girls as a strategy for increasing girl’s enrollment as well as promoting their retention in school.

377. Efforts to equip pupils with requisite skills for world of work will be intensified. Vocational and Technical Resource Center Project to provide modern equipment and plant in 20 technical institutes will be completed this year. A total of ?1.4 billion has been provided for the project.

378. Other activities the Ministry will undertake this year include:

* in-service training of 18,000 teachers;

* Organisation of Performance Monitoring Test (PMT) and School Performance Appraisal Meetings (SPAM) in all Districts;

* increase in supply of teaching and learning materials in all schools; and

* strengthening accountability system in schools.

379. The total allocation to the Ministry of Education in 2003 is ?2,775.9 billion representing 68.2 per cent of the total Social Services Sector allocation.