President J.A. Kufuor responded to a number of questions and suggestions on a wide range of topics from a cross section of the public.
Below are some of the questions and suggestions from the forum: Q: Kojo Koomson: Mr. President, in 2004, I was in a drinking bar with my wife and some friends when some policemen with rifles also entered to have some drinks. When I asked them why they were in a bar with rifles, they got offended and beat me up mercilessly. I reported the matter to the police but up till now they have not even been invited to write their statements Mr. President what is being done about this case? President Kufuor: I will refer this matter to both the police and the political authorities in the region. The police and the regional administration should investigate this matter. If what you are saying happens to be the case, I assure you the appropriate action will be taken. Q: Evangelist Daniel Oppong: Mr. President, mine is more of a suggestion than a question Mr. President, people always say that Ghana is a hard place to live and we keep on visiting prayer camps every day without working. The little money we have is always taken away by pastors on Sundays. I want to tell Ghanaians they should use their hands to work instead of praying for seven days in a week for God to provide. President Kufuor: Daniel Oppong, I think I agree with you that we should work hard. Q: Kennedy: When the Sabat Motors retrenched workers without severance awards a committee was set up to deal with it but nothing has been heard about it. Mr. President we have dependants and all of us are suffering. Retrenched workers of Sabat Motors are dying. As I speak with you now, Mr. President most have died from hunger. Please help us. President Kufuor: The Sabat Motors case is already with the Attorney-General?s office. I would have wished to call the A-G himself to respond but as you know he assumed office not too long ago. I will urge the A-G to study the case and make recommendations to government on the basis of that. A-G: Mr. President, the case is already before court. President: Oh it is already before court so in order not to prejudice the outcome, I will wait. . Q: Afia Serwaa: Mr. President, I have been organizing women to clean our environment but when I approach the various District Assemblies, they feel reluctant to assist. President Kufuor: We have 138 District Assemblies in Ghana and I believe it would not be all of them who would show this unconcerned attitude. But I will urge all the assemblies to assist in environmental cleanliness. Your observation will be taken seriously. Q: Nana Appiah: I stand here on behalf of National Award Winners. Our offices here have been sealed off for some time now and the whole area is weedy please do something to ensure the re-opening of the offices for us. President Kufuor: I would have been happier if you had told me the reason why the office was sealed but as you have said I will ask for an investigation to be conducted and the appropriate action taken. Q: Agyepong: I know that the Council of State is a Constitutional body but it appears there is duplication of work here because Cabinet can also perform the same function of the Council of State. I think the Council of State should be scrapped. I Ans: I cannot agree with you that the Council of State should be scrapped because its role is different from the Cabinet apart from being a constitutional body. Cabinet is made up of members from the majority party and we share common views and opinions but a Council of State is composed of people who are appointed not because of their party affiliation. We have a former IGP, Chief of Defence Staff, a member of the clergy and others who are to make objective observations and give advice to the President and the government. In some countries they have the Senate which we don?t have here. Q: Dr. Asem Foforo: Recently, my wife who was about to deliver was admitted at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. She delivered prematurely and the baby had to be kept in an incubator for some time. By the time she was discharged my bill was ¢19.5 millions. I want to know if the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is operational in Korle Bu. We are suffering in Ghana. During the NDC's time it was not so. Now we can?t pay our water, electricity and hospital bills. . Ans: Dr Asem Foforo, you are trying to compare our government with the past government. I believe you were part of them. But under that regime it was cash and carry system and if you didn't have money you would have died. The NHIS is operational in many districts and many people like you have not registered but if you had registered, I believe you wouldn't have gone through such a problem. But being able to pay ¢19.5 million means you are a great man. Q: Victor Owusu: I want to know if a Bill is passed by Parliament a group of people can use their own means to change it. I am talking about the Copyright Bill. Ans: I am surprised the union is allowing itself to be taken for a ride. You should get a good lawyer to prosecute the case for you. Q: Adu-Gyamfi: Mr. President when you go around the Lake Bosomtwe area there are so many shoddy works going on. There are no access roads to the towns around the lake. I want to know what sin the people of Bosomtwe have committed against you that we are being treated this way. . President Kufuor: I am aware of [the fact that there are no access roads in the area but as I speak now contracts for the construction of roads to the towns around the Lake have been signed and work will commence soon. On the other hand, if you find out any shoddy jobs in the area please let the Regional Co-ordinating Council and the Ministry of Road Transport know. Q: The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) retrenched 780 workers in 1995 but have not paid any severance award to any of us. They only paid between six and eight months salaries to us. SSNIT called for out of court settlement when we took the matter up in court but they have failed to fulfil their part of the obligation. President Kufuor: SSNIT is supposed to be the biggest pension scheme operator in Ghana and I would be surprised if that was what happened but give me time to investige and if it is found to be true, government would bring pressure to bear on SSNIT to do the right thing. Q: By Emmanuel Asomaning: Mr. President, you and some of your Ministers have assured us the people of Bawjiase of the rehabilitation of the Bawjaise market but as I speak now, nothing has been done. . Ans: I may assure you all right but the first responsibility is with the District Assembly and I will urge them to look at it for you. Q: Emmanuel Sackey: Deaf people in Ghana are suffering from information barrier and nobody is helping us. When is the Disability Bill going to be passed to enable us also to acquire jobs? A: I will urge the Speaker of Parliament to pay attention to the Bill. In terms of employment opportunities, I think it is a matter of educating our employers. If one qualifies for a job, whether one is deaf or dumb should not be a stumbling block.