Accra, Nov. 4, GNA - Parliament on Thursday empowered the Electoral Commission (EC) to procure election related materials and services for the conduct of the 2004 General Election without paying customs duty and levy totalling about 44 billion cedis.
The approval follows the adoption of a resolution and a request by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, for the exemption of the EC from payment of duties on both foreign and local materials and services that would be acquired for Election 2004. Earlier, before the commencement of public business, the House commended farmers for their hard work that had helped to sustain the development of the country despite the many challenges that confronted them.
The Members of Parliament (MP) were contributing to a statement made on the floor of the House by Dr Edward Baffoe-Bonnie, NPP Asokwa East, in commemoration of National Farmers' Day. The MPs deliberated on post harvest losses and access to markets and said those areas needed to be tackled to boost agriculture production and empower farmers.
Mr Stephen Balado Manu, NPP-Ahafo Ano South, urged the Government to step up its rural housing programme to ensure that farmers had decent accommodation.
Mr Kosi Kedem, NDC -Hohoe South, said it was important to establish more agro-based industries to absorb the surplus farm produce in the country and requested that farmers should also be made to get good prices for their produce.
Captain Effah-Dartey (rtd), a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, called for the building of more feeder roads and sining of boreholes to facilitate agriculture in the country. Ms Hannah Tetteh, NDC Awutu - Senya, said there was the need to link farmers to markets and requested that the President's Special Initiative on cassava, should be properly managed to ensure maximum benefits to the entire country.