MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 25th August, 2011. Page 1... 9-
Mr Speaker, page 10, number 1, under "Opening", the last line, "The Hon Chairman, Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho Presided". "Presided" should be lower case and not capital.
Very well. Page ll. . . 14-
Mr Speaker, page 13, number xxvi, the name there is referring to the Hon Member for Wulensi and I know for sure that his surname is "Saani". So it should read "Mr lddi Saani" and not "Mr Saani Iddi". Then number xxxiii, "Maj. Derek Oduro (retd)". The "(retd)" should qualify "Major and not the other way round. Then finally, under "In Attendance", number iv, l\/Ir Enoch Tei Mensah", the "Tei" should be spelled "Teye" and not "Tei".
Very well. The Table Office to check, the right spelling of the Hon Members names and have them corrected.
Mr Speaker, page 14, number viii, "Mr K. O. Darko Mensah", the "Darko Mensah" is hyphenated.
It is a compound name?
Any other correction? [Pause] _ Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 25th August, 2011 as corrected, be adopted as the time record of proceedings.
[No Correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 23rd August, 2011]
[No Correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 24thAugusl, 2011]
No, Mr Speaker. 1 will apply that we defer item number 4.
Very well. Now we move straight to item number 5 on the Order Paper. Hon Members, yesterday, the Motion was moved and seconded and we deferred the debate on the matter. Now, it is for the consideration of the Honourable House-
Hon Ranking Member, yes, I will call you. I want to have an idea because I have a certain understanding with the Leadership - [Interruption] He seconded with liberty to come back in line with Standing Order 86 of our Standing Orders; so maybe, he will come in --
Mr Speaker, if a person seconds a Motion and signals that he may want to come back, that is permissible but it is at a later time, not immediately after he himself had - because if he had continued yesterday, he would be continuing. So Mr Speaker, clearly, he cannot come back immediately; it should go here.
Hon Member, that is precisely what I am going to do because he himself, in seconding the Motion, did indicate that without prejudice to -he quoted Standing Order 86 (4) (c); .so he cannot come in immediately. He can come after somebody else but not immediately.
Mr Speaker, I. will, with respect, before the debate commences, want your guidance on certain matters on which you had earlier ruled in the life of this Parliament. Mr Speaker, I am referring to your rulings at are contained in the Hansard of July andAugust last year, in which you ruled that subsidiary agreement - the Off-taker Agreement in respect of the STX Bill be laid along with the master agreement. Mr Speaker, in the Report before us, the Committee has referred to Subsidiary Agreements which have been defined as part of the master agreement, but I notice that those are not before the House. I want your guidance in view of the rulings you have made earlier. Mr Speaker, I am referring to the ruling you made on 15th July, 2010. I am referring to column 2455, the last paragraph, in which the Hon Anthony Akoto Osei asked whether the subsidiary agreements were - to be laid and you answered "absolutely". Then Mr Speaker, on 3rd August, on the same matter, you ruled that "the Addendum indicates among other things that the need to lay these two Papers if possible", and your good-self would make referrals to the joint Committees on Finance and Works and Housing. Mr Speaker, earlier, you had also made the same ruling on the matter and it is contained in column 3313, Hansard of 28th July, 2010. Mr Speaker, the Report before us refers to subsidiary agreements and the master agreement defines "agreement" to include the subsidiary agreements. I want your guidance, Mr Speaker, whether those Agreements, in view of your earlier rulings should not be laid before this House before we continue the debate.
If you want my guidance which is different from a ruling, my guidance is that the debate should continue -- [Laughter] -- And therefore, that is my guidance and the debate should continue. Hon Members, there is a difference between - in the first one - the previous one that you referred to, we did not have the master agreement and subsidiary agreements. The one that you were trying to quote a ruling or whatever I had said, I do not have the document before me here,
Mr Speaker, may I be further guided. Is it your ruling that the Subsidiary Agreements be not laid along with these ones in contrast distinction to your previous ruling?
Hon Member, look at the Motion before us. The motion before us is to approve a Master Agreement and that is the Motion. If they have not qualified ---
Mr Speaker, I agree, except that -- [Uproar] -- the Master Agreement defines agreement to include the Subsidiary Agreement.
Hon Member, do not overwork yourself over these matters. The Motion before us is to approve a Master Agreement. The one that you are trying to draw my attention to was a one-time approval. So Hon Members, I have so directed. Who is contributing from the Minority side?
None P Some Hon Members--"P. C." "P. C.," "P C."
Mr Speaker, I just want to take the opportunity to inform the august House that Leadership has agreed that, having regard to the exigencies of the situation, we would take four contributors from each side of the House and the Leadership or some other Member would wind up on behalf of each of the sides. So at the end of the day, We would be taking five there, five here. 1 Want you to be guided by this.
The Independent Member for Bekwai (Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu), you have the floor.
I am sorry, Mr Speaker, I only sought to raise this preliminary issue for your - [Interruption] -I am not on the floor to debate. I sought your guidance and you have given the guidance. Mr Speaker, that is all. A Mr First Deputy Speaker: Hon Member, at times when I sit here, and I do certain things, I speak to the Leadership so that we can have a smooth debate. The list I have here, your name is marked as contributor number one and that is why I called you. So if that is what you want to do, I have taken it that you have so spoken. Hon Akoto Osei?
Mr Speaker, I think that there is an error in that list. His name is not number one as a contributor. He only raised a preliminary issue, he is not a contributor.
My Brother, my Hon Member from Old Tafo, Hon Akoto Osei, once it has been explained that the Hon Member for Bekwai's intervention should not be taken as a contribution because it is only to raise a preliminary objection, he should look for somebody else to substitute and that is it. I have some other names here that I would use to do that purpose. Do you understand, please, Hon Akoto Osei?
You have three minutes more. You are entitled to speak for 15 minutes. You started by my time here at 10.59 am. So I am just drawing your attention to it.
Mr Speaker, I did not start at 10.59 a.m., with respect. ll.15 am.
MrSpeaker, with respect, I marked the time when my Hon Colleague started. When Hon Osei- Owusu started, it was exactly 10.55 a.m. He started at 11.06 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, I do not know the time that you are using. But I am using the Speaker's time - And it is here; therefore I also wrote 10.59 a.m. here; I have just not written it- when he started.
Mr Speaker, I do not have any problem with that. Mr Speaker, I abide by your ruling. The terms of the legal and constitutional issues we are raising is very simple. If Parliament proceeds to approve of this today and it is signed, in a year, potentially, this nation could be paying US$37.5 million without anything happening. Mr Speaker, there is nothing that tells us how long the process of negotiating for the Subsidiary Agreements are going to be. The affront fee of 7.5 per cent and the commitment fee could potentially lead to us paying and the essence is that, it would be better for us to have them here so that when we approve of them together, the projects can be implemented. Mr Speaker, that notwithstanding, let me list two areas, I will not delve into them; I will allow my Hon Colleagues to do that. Mr Speaker, yesterday when we were talking about allowing Hon Colleague to read the Committee's Report some Hon Members objected. Mr Speaker, the first thing I want to note, and this is significant. This Committee did not even discuss the terms and conditions of the loan.
Hon Minister, sit down; you would get the chance. Mr Speaker, the terms and conditions in the Master Facility Agreement are at variance with what is in the Committee's Report. Mr Speaker, let me repeat. The terms and conditions here are at variance with what is in the Committee's Report. Mr Speaker, this Parliament is faced with a grievous problem. My Hon Colleague would explain in further detail. If we allow the Committee's Report -- because he read it yesterday and he has not amended it, he has created a difficulty. Mr Speaker, let me refer to it, because I wanted my Hon Colleague -- So I would not go into detail. Upfront fees - 0.25 per cent per annum in the Committee's Report on page 4. Mr Speaker, the Master Facility Agreement, it is not 0.25 per cent per annum. It is not, read it Mr Speaker--
Mr Speaker, yesterday, when I was reading the Report, I corrected this portion of the Report that 0.25 per cent, which is the upfront payment is a flat percentage figure which is payable in two installments. If Hon Members listened to me yesterday, I stated this on the floor. I said it is 0.25 per cent flat, payable in two installments.
Mr Speaker, you have been in this House for a long time. You know the proper thing to do when an amendment is being brought to a report. It has not been done properly. So the Chairman should not purport to say that he has amended it. Mr Speaker, this is why we said that - I went back to read it last night and I realized that because we are rushing it- Anyway, Mr Speaker, as I said, my Hon Colleague would speak to the specific implications of such variance to it.
Hon Member conclude.
Mr Speaker, the third area that We need to look at is the problem- specific issues. Mr Speaker, one of them, I just want to mention briefly; my Hon Colleague would come back. Mr Speaker, if you look at page 8 of the Committee's Report- "Accra Metropolitan'ICT Enhanced Traffic Management Project." Aside from the estimated range which we have difficulty with, they are supposed to be used to pay the Nsawam road - Achimota-Ofankor, Dodowa-Tetteh Quarshie-Haatso and La Beach. Mr Speaker, we know that the Hon Minister has raised bonds and people have been invited to the Castle to be paid for these same roads. It is a fact. They were invited to the Castle and the contractors were aid for these roads and we in this Parliament are being asked to approve this amount so that they can also be paid_ Mr Speaker, we need more information. Mr Speaker, in summary, what I want to suggest - [Interruptions] --- what I want to suggest is that, in terms of the legal and technical issues, approving and signing at this time could be costly to this nation- The loan is purely commercial, highly costly, and it is surprising that the Finance Committee did not even discuss it. That is the first thing we expected them to discuss. Mr Speaker, finally, the specific projects have serious quality issues that my other Colleagues would address. At this point, I want to invite the Government to listen to these issues, withdraw the request at this time, and come back at the appropriate time so we can all support it.
Mr_ Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make some observations and comments having had the opportunity to second the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the joint Committee on the Master Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and CDB for US$3.0 billion. In doing so, Mr Speaker, let -me reference what was said by a respected Minister for Finance and Economic Planning in 2007 and with your permission, I quote: "The investment means of Government are huge" - --blessed memory of the late Hon Baah- Wiredu. Mr Speaker, the needs of Government continue to be huge and Ghana requires 2 to three billion dollars annually for lO years to address its infrastructure deficit". Source - Africa lntra-country Diagnostic Report 2010. Therefore, the move by Government to borrow US$3 billion, ought to be hailed by this august House and the people of Ghana as the single largest initiative by Government in our country's history to respond to the infrastructure deficit, albeit, with concentration on adding additional value beyond the discovery of oil. But at least, even before oil was discovered, there was some exploratory work done. Thanks to the regulatory and legal regime which was set up by the then Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). So Mr Speaker, let me also use this opportunity to take you down memory lane. Mr Speaker, let me begin with the month of July. In July, when our Hon Colleagues were on this side of the House, they had opportunity to go to
Canadian dollars or US dollars?
US dollars, Mr Speaker. [Interruption] Mr Speaker, at the time in July, the purpose of the loan, as we were told by the then Hon Minister, was to support Government's Investment plan. Mr Speaker, it was subsequently in November of the same year, following the success of getting the money, that the then Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of blessed memory, came back to this House, this time, with a Statement, to itemize what would go into which sector, having said that he needed a 750 million Eurobond. So it is not new to this House that we are asking for US$33 billion, specifically defined by the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning which was reported that this is to support infrastructure development in the oil enclave and many of it are even decided. Mr Speaker, they talk of gaps - I have in my possession here "Joint Memorandum to Parliament by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and Minister for Transportation on Loan Agreement between Government of Ghana and Commerze Bank, AG - Belgium for the supply of 150 Jonckheere buses spare parts, government concessionary financing" . dated 16th July 2008. Mr Speaker, I will lay it before this House. If you read the Annex 3, page 14, you would see "the following constitutional documents of the- borrower to be completed. Then you would see "the copy certified" to be completed. There were even issues -- interest rates undetermined -- [Interruption] - So Mr Speaker, this is not the first time that there are gaps in referrals to this House - [Interruption] - This is your document. Mr Speaker, still on the memory lane -- "Memorandum to Parliament from the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning on Mixed Credit Facility between Government of Ghana and Belgium in respect of 17,15 6,600 euros - Implementation of Koforidua Water Supply Project."
So Mr Speaker, I am taking the view that this august House must improve the way we do business and the way we scrutinize --- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend has just read a statement purporting to be a Parliament-Cabinet Memorandum. Mr Speaker, no such document has been brought to this House. Mr Speaker, no such document and I challenge him if he says he has to prove it. Mr Speaker, let us not create false impressions because we want to be populaced. He should tell me when that document was brought to this House. The late Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is gone, let us not destroy his credibility and try to - [Interruption] -- It is not fair.
Mr Speaker, I started my reference with the Hansard; I am still holding" the Official Report of 30th July, 2007, in respect of the 75.0 million euro. "Purpose of the borrowing, paragraph 3 -- The purpose of the bond issue is to raise capital to undertake priority infrastructure projects."
It took them subsequently in November, when the Hon Minister then came to indicate. And again, the November Official Report, Mr Speaker, when the Hon Minister said, for instance, 460 -- [Interruption] -- 200 million of it, 90 million of it would go into railways, 460 million would go to energy-
Hon Dr A. Osei, the Hon Minister is reading the Hansard, he has drawn our attention to it -- He is referring to a Hansard;
Mr Speaker, he purposely referred to a Cabinet Memorandum for 17 million euros; that is what I am referring to. We have no doubts about the Hansard; what I am challenging him is that for the 17 million euros that he said there is no interest rate, he should show the Hansard to us. He should not be disingenuous. There is a difference between 17 million euros and 750. Mr Speaker, ask him to produce that Hansard; that is what I am talking about.
Mr Speaker, it is interesting; I have made reference to a document which is the property of this House, not Cabinet Memorandum -- Joint Memorandum to Parliament by the Ministers for Finance and Economic Planing and Transport. This document was brought to this august House; it is here.
Hon Minister, is the document you are referring to signed? Is it signed?
Rightly so, MrSpeaker.
ls it signed?
Oh! Mr Speaker, I would even give you the Office of the President's letter -- [Uproar] -- it is signed; it is signed. I respect the dead. The Hon Baah- Wiredu is dead; I do not want to call his name, but he signed it; he signed it. I was just showing respect to him. It was signed by him; it is here.
Hon Minister, you may make a copy available to the Chair.
There is even a letter from the Office of the President, signed by the Secretary to Cabinet - [Interruption] Papa Owusu-"Ankomah: On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I do not intend to doubt the credibility of the Hon Minister for Communications, but he is referring to a document that was laid before the House. Every document that is laid before the House is captured in the Hansard so that we have the best evidence rule. So if the Hon Minister for Communications would want to demonstrate that a document was laid before this House in respect of a financial transaction in which no interest rate was stated, it is a major matter. I am appealing to Mr Speaker to urge Hon Members to produce the best evidence, otherwise, it will lead to the degeneration of the debate and that is really not what I believe Mr Speaker in this House would want. That is all.
Hon Member for Sekondi, I entirely agree with you, that was why I called for the document. When I get the document I will look at it myself and I may make some orders. That was why I asked him to make the document available to me.
Mr Speaker, I think that I am supporting what Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah has said. The point is that, whatever is laid is captured in the Hansard. So if he is referring to the Hansard, that is cool with us, but if he is referring to a document outside the Hansard, and Mr Speaker is going to look at it to make a determination, would he be making a determination as to whether it was laid? This is because if it was laid, it would be in the Hansard. Mr Speaker, I think that we should try to keep this debate within certain bounds before we have us alluding to documents that would be at large and would not serve our purpose, so let him restrict himself to the Hansard. Besides, Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Communications made a very important admission that when you are dealing with a document that is signed and the maker is not alive, you are, in fact, going down the road; that is unfair. This is because natural justice means he cannot respond. I believe that a practice that is prevalent can be obtained from the Hansard without doing the dead any disservice. So I would plead that we try to keep this debate within decent levels.
Hon Minister, make a copy of the document you are referring to available to me.
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I have asked my research people to assist me through the Library to bring copies of the Hansard which captures the Report while I continue with the debate. But I maintain that these memoranda were submitted to this House. Mr Speaker, let me also refer you to the Hansard of 24th July, 2007, paragraph 2280 in respect of a Buyer Credit Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Export/Import Bank of China ---
You have three minutes more. I am allowing you because of the interventions.
Mr Speaker, aBuyer Credit Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Export/Import Bank of China for an amount of US$5 62 million for financing of the Bui Hydroelectric Project. This was another case of borrowing to respond to a need of expanding our capacity in terms of increasing the megawatts of electricity that we produce. I am raising this on a more interesting point raised by the Committee. In 2007, at the time that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning asked Government to borrow the US$562 million, by their imagination and assumption, this should have been adequate and sufficient for the execution of the Bui Project. Today, an additional amount of US$168 million is required for the completion of the Bui Project - [Interruption ]- Additional funding. It means that the reason_ for having these ranges is to accommodate for purposes of flexibility to deal with some of these matters. This happened under their watch - Legitimate borrowing, good intentions. They meant to build the Bui Hydro power. Their estimation was US$562 million. Today, to complete the Bui Project, Government needs an additional US$168
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, let me conclude by referring to page 24 of your Committee's Report. In doing so, to plead with my Hon Colleagues in the Minority --- [Interruption.]
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, we are actually discussing a major issue here and that, in fact, figures have to be correctly stated. The cost of the Bui Dam was not US$568 million; it was US$621 million. The difference was to be paid by Ghana Government, 3 per cent of that. So, to stand here and say that the cost was this, and it has increased to that, is wrong. He should not try and throw dust into people's eyes. The Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning knows that Government pays US$62 million.
M Speaker, I may have to plead for time because I now have the Hansard in respect of the matters I was challenged to and it is important that I --
Hon Member, I am not going to allow you the time. If you have now got the Hansard, you just draw the House's attention to it.
Mr Speaker, the Hansard is 18th July, 2008-- Mixed Credit Facility, column 1728. I also have here the 16th July, 2008 Hansard in respect of the Joint Memorandum that I made reference to. I will make them available for their perusal. But Mr Speaker, I was concluding -
Mr Speaker, I was making reference to the position by the Minority, that Government ought to come here and ask for a letter of comfort from the borrower, and more specifically, link the Master Facility Agreement to the Subsidiary Agreement. I note with satisfaction that the Committee in its Report insisted that all Subsidiary Agreements should be brought to this House so the argument anywhere, whether in or outside this House, that Parliament would be denied an opportunity to perform its financial oversight is neither here nor there. Subsequent to this Agreement, that will be done. Mr Speaker, finally -
Hon Member, I do not want to -
Mr Speaker, my last word. I am also holding in my hand here, "Agricultural Modernization and the Establishment of the Fishing Sites"-- They contemplated it when they were on this side. This is a letter signed by the Hon Gladys Asmah, Minister for Fisheries dated 22nd August, 2008. Mr First Deputy Speaker; Hon Member, conclude.
She was making reference to the importance of those landing sites.
Hon Member, conclude.
We pledged a better Ghana; we will deliver a better Ghana, and we would expand modernized agriculture. [Hear! Hear!]
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor. Mr Speaker, I want to take off from where my Hon Ranking Member left. Before he signed off, he made a point about a fundamental difference between. the Cabinet Memorandum position on upfront payment and that of the loan document itself. Whereas the Cabinet Memorandum says it is per annum, that of the loan document says it is a one-time payment. Mr Speaker, the implications of the two are quite huge on the nation's finances so I would want you to establish whether we should go ahead to debate these two documents when there is a fundamental difference between the two. Mr Speaker, if we should take that of the Cabinet Memorandum, the upfront fee alone is going to cost the country US$93.47 million. But then if we take that which is in the document, it is going to cost the nation only US$75 million, a difference of US$862 million. Mr Speaker, I would want this to be established What should we do? Should we go ahead to debate this?
Hon Chairman of the Committee, you are sought to do some correction- Why? [ Uproar! ] Hon Members, did you hear what your own Member said? He has raised a very important issue. He said that we should establish it first; that is what he said. That is his language and we want to get this matter resolved. That is why 1 am calling the Chairman of the Committee. [Some Hon Members; No!] This is because he made a very important point. He said that we should know exactly whether it is a Cabinet Memorandum, or what exactly is in the document. That is why I asked to clarify the position.
MrSpeaker, I have been in this House for a very long time. If in the course of a debate an issue is raised by any Hon Member and another Hon Member rises to make a response and that Hon Member catches your eye, you call Him. But an Hon Member makes a point, a response is needed, no Hon Member rises to make any response, and then you comb the House and point to an Hon Member that, that Hon Member must rise up and make a response -- that action is rather new to this House. It is very new, it is a strange -
Hon Dr Akoto Osei raised t at point. The Chairman of the Committee got up and explained it. I do not want to rule him out with the rule of repetition. He made the point, he clarified it but he is repeating it. en he made the point, the Chairman of the Committee wot up on a point of order, I called him, and he corrected the position. But for whatever reason, the other Hon Member decided to repeat the same point. It is the same. [Some on Member: No!% It is the same upfront fees and he himself started by saying he would like to take off from where the Hon Ranking Member ended .
Mr Speaker, as I said earlier on, I did correct the mistake in the Report yesterday but if that should be done again, I will do it. The 0.25 per cent upfront payment is not per annum. It is a flat amount which is payable in two installments. The commitment fee is l per cent on the undrawn and on call amounts. I can refer you to the Master Facility Agreement on page 27, clause 11.1, "Upfront Fee".
"The borrower shall pay -"
You have drawn our attention to the page and that is enough.
Mr Speaker, the correction has been effected.
Hon Member for Sunyani West, kindly continue.
Mr Speaker, I am yielding to the Hon Ranking Member for -
Hon Member for Sunyani West, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to continue.
On a point of order Speaker, lam sorry. I just wanted to assist you. The Hon Member was referring to the Cabinet Memorandum accompanying the Agreement and not the Report. o I thought that, probably, the best person to answer for the Cabinet Memorandum will be the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and not the Hon Chairman. That is all.
Hon Members, I believe that when a document 18 referred to a committee to work on, the committee is supposed to deliberate and report to this House. I believe that if the committee had done its homework well,- they would have resolved that matter to know whether it was a flat fee or it was per annum.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order. They are hooting at you. They hoot at Mr Speaker, they are demeaning his status. Why? [ Uproar]
Hon Member for Sunyani West, continue.
Thank you , Mr Speaker, I would want to continue. The loan is going to attract an interest rate of six months libor plus 2.85 per cent in respect of the first and second trenches. In the case of the first tranche, the total interest that the nation is going to pay on the US$l.5 billion facility is US$776 million. In the case of the second tranche, the interest is going to be US$52O.5 million. [Some Hon Members: Bil] The two put together means that this loan is going-to attract a total interest of US$ l .278 billion. [Uproar] This will be about 40 per cent the value of the principal that we are taking. Indeed, this is very high. I would want to touch on the repayment of this facility. If you add the interest of US$776 million to US$ l.5 billion in the first tranche, it means that when due, Ghana will be asked to pay US$2.27 6 billion. Then in the second tranche, Ghana will have to pay an interest of US$502 million plus a principal of US$l.5 billion within five years. It means that in the case of the first tranche, we shall be paying US$227 million per annum and then for the second tranche, we also shall be paying US$400 million per annum.
Mr Speaker, it is estimated that at the peak of production, Ghana's stake in the oil will be US$l billion per annum. If indeed, Ghana's stake in the oil will be US$lbi1lion and the ABFA is 70 percent of the total take, then it means that what will be due for ABFA every year will be around US$700 million. If out of US$700 million, servicing of this loan alone is going to take US$627 million, then we should be treading cautiously. [Uproar] That is why some of us are saying that we should tread cautiously. Mr Speaker, one other problem that we have identified with this facility is that, even as we speak, Government is not too sure how much money it needs to implement the programmes that it wants to implement. I am saying this because the facility is for US$3 billion. If you look at some of the programmes "- We are told that we will need between US$150 and US$250 million, a gap of US$100 million. In the case of another, we will need between US$150 and US$500 million, a gap of US$350 million. Then in the case of some other, we will need between US$150 million and US$200 million, a difference of US$50 million. Even using a worse case scenario, Where we are using the upper limit, we will still be left with a surplus of US$200 million over-funding. Where will this be going? As we speak, we have not been told what that money will be used for. Meanwhile, the moment we commit ourselves to these funds, we shall be paying interest on them. That is why some of us are saying that, indeed, we are not against the object of the loan but what we are saying is that, it looks like we are rushing and therefore we need to take our time to be" able to ascertain exactly how much we will need to be able to implement this programme. Mr Speaker, before I sign off, let me say that at the committee meeting, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways was invited, and in his comment on the Eastern Corridor road, he made an emphatic statement that Government is no longer pursuing that particular facility. [interruption.] This is in the Report, please. We all know that in this House. when Government brings a Bill and it is no longer pursuing it, there is a procedure to follow. So, all the hopes that the people of Volta Region had that their road problems were going to be addressed by the Eastern Corridor loan, how are these going to be fulfilled? All the hopes that the people of Brong Ahafo had that their road problems were going to be fulfilled, how are they going to be met? 'Mr Joe K. Gidisu: On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague wants to cry more than the bereaved and he is misleading this House. As a Government, we are committed to not only the Eastern Corridor as a road network but to other roads. If he is listening to the airwaves - I want to use this platform to say that the Eastern Corridor roads -
Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, I called you because a certain attribution has been directed at you by an Hon Member and he did not end there. He went on and brought the Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions into it and that is what you have to explain. If it is true, then you do not have a point of order. If it is in the Report, then you do not have a point of order. [ Uproar. ] What is in the Report? Hon Members, what is in the Report is in the Report and there cannot be a point of order. He went on to make some other attributions, that they have abandoned the Eastern Corridor road in the Eastern Region and some roads in the Brong Ahafo Region. His name has been mentioned specifically and that is why I called him.
Mr Speaker, once my Hon Colleague is referring to portions of the Report: which indicate that Government had abandoned the Eastern Corridor and the Brong Ahafo Region, he should refer to the page of the Report; he should read it.
Mr Speaker, the Report at page 16, second paragraph, and with your permission I beg to quote: "The Committee was further informed that the US$l.8 billion loan from CBRD is no more being pursued due to technical challenges". It is there and that is what it is. [Interruptions] It is in the Report.
Mr Speaker, I want to use this platform to say that we are very soon coming to this House with a different facility targeted at the Eastern Corridor and that -- [ Uproar.]
Hon Members, let us have some order in this House. [Uproar]
On a point of order: Mr Speaker, the attitude of my Hon Friends and Colleagues in this House reminds me of my hey days in basic school. When we use to dribble and score goals and the other side were hacking us down, we had our supporters singing, "Do your duty, do not mind them, do your duty, do not mind them". So Mr Speaker, definitely, I am doing my duty, I will not mind all those submissions. Mr Speaker, my Colleague, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader did not read the paragraph properly. He left out an important sentence that clearly states that, some of those projects are captured under this facility. It is stated there and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I want to read it. It says "The committee was further informed that the $1.8 billion loan from CBRD is no more being pursued due to technical challenges. Therefore, some of the road projects that were slated under that facility ave been included for construction under this CDB Master Facility".
Mr Speaker, l think that the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing did not get the point. You had posed the question, if that submission was contained in the Report and I was referring to the page and the submission; that it was stated that for technical reasons it has been abandoned. Be that as it may, the Hon Member has gone ahead to say that some of the roads are included. What the Hon Member of Parliament for Sunyani West is saying is still valid. Which roads have been included and
Hon Member for Sunyani West, conclude.
Mr Speaker, in concluding, I want to say that I am a member of the Committee and I am privy to most of the documents which were made available to committee members. I want to put on record that the Eastern Corridor roads - all that which were supposed to be in the Volta Region, all that which were supposed to be in the Brong Ahafo Region - are no longer being pursued under this new Loan Agreement. [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, this is emphatic; including that of the Northern Region -
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, in concluding, what I want to say is that, yes, the objective of the loan is an excellent one; nobody has a problem with it. But in view of the problems we had with regard to the implementation of the STX deal, we have to be very careful. Let us step this loan down and make sure that all the necessary corrections are effected before we go ahead.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and to urge my Hon Friends and every Hon Member here to support this US$13 billion facility. Mr Speaker, before investors would want to commit huge sums of money like US$3 billion, they would have done a comparative study of all countries in Africa to see which country is best suited for such amount. We all know also that political stability is very, very important. Just last week, Ghana was rated as one of the top three most peaceful countries inAfi'ica. [Hear! Hear!] These are all good attributes of Ghana. Mr Speaker, in terms of a stable economy, we have a very stable currency now which is easily convertible and which allows investors to plan into their future. Nobody would invest in an economy where inflation is galloping. We now have single-digit inflation in Ghana. Mr Speaker, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have all agreed that our debt service sustainability can be managed by our expanded economy. All these factors have been put in place for the Chinese to be able to give us this US$33 billion facility. I think that Ghanaians must commend the Government that in two and half years, we have been able to source a US$3 billion facility which has never happened in Ghana before.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor is misleading the Hon Members in this room, people out there and the whole of Ghana- He is referring to our currency as convertible. Our currency is not convertible. Convertible in What? Mr Speaker, he just said everything is all right, our currency is convertible; convertible where? Mr Speaker, if he does not know what convertibility is, he should just go back and understand what it is. It is not convertible.
Mr Speaker, I am copying from former President Kufuor. When the new cedi was circulated, he said the Ghana cedi was now convertible to the dollar on a one-to-one basis. [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, on a point of order. Mr Speaker, what was said was the rate to the dollar. He did not say that the country's currency was convertible. Those are different concepts. So if he does not have it, he may wish to withdraw and continue.
Hon. Member, we all know that the cedi is not convertible. If even for purposes of argument somebody said it, you cannot come here and repeat it. So withdraw it.
Hon Member, withdraw. It is not convertible, please.
Mr Speaker, I continue with my submission --[Interruptions.]
Hon Moses Asaga, I say withdraw it. We all know that it is not convertible, so even assuming for purposes of argument somebody said it there, we know it is not; so please, withdraw.
Mr Speaker, 1 know that the Ghana cedi --[Interruptions.]
Hon Moses Asaga --
Mr Speaker, but on a more serious note -
Hon Moses Asaga, if you want to take part in this debate then you must respect the Chair.
Mr Speaker, I Withdraw the "convertibility". Mr Speaker, while withdrawing the "convertibility", I want to put on record that if you go to Ecobank today, you can convert the cedi to the rand. l want to put it on record today that if you go to Nigeria, at the airport, you can convert the cedi to the naira. I want to put it on record that if you go to Burkina Faso today, you can convert the cedi to the Burkina Faso CPA. I want to put it on record that if you go to Togo today, you can convert the cedi to the CFA. Mr Speaker, we are getting closer to convertibility -- [Hear! Hear!] I want to put on record that anytime the international currencies come put in West Africa and in Africa business, the Ghana cedi is always quoted. So as far as I am concerned, it is near convertibility and by
The Hon Member- [Interruptions]-- I do not know but the Hon Member has mentioned my name - [Interruptions] Mr Speaker, I look at this Report and I wonder what the Hon Member was doing. I look at the Master Facility and I wonder what the Member was doing. If the Hon Member has nothing to say, please, I am sure there are other Hon Members who have a lot to say, to assist us arrive at a decision. If he has nothing to say he should not mention my name. That is all.
Hon Moses Asaga, have you concluded?
I am still on the floor.
Then you have one minute more - I have asked you Whether you have concluded because I called Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah and I thought that was the reason you sat down. So start concluding, or have you concluded?
So in conclusion, I am very happy that the loan facility would be supporting a Sekondi Free Zone Project. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the floor. Mr Speaker, I just want to make one preliminary point before I move. I am very surprised that my Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House are bringing in a regional debate. When the issue of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) and other development organizations sprang up for regions, we all supported it and we all said it was important to have something for the Western Region, particularly, because of oil. It was that basic reason that informed us to suggest that, 10 per cent of the oil resources of this nation be given to Western Region -- four Members of Parliament (MPs) from this side of the House, that is, the left side of the House. Over the period of the life of this oil resources, it would have inured to the benefit of Western Region more than the US$l.8 billion that is currently given to them. Mr Speaker, we all fully support the projects that are embedded in this Loan Agreement but there are problems and it is our duty as Members of Parliament to point out these problems to .Government and to the Executive. It is the duty of the Executive to correct them so that we have a unified, sustained and compromised Agreement for the Chinese to see that we
are united. At least, STX has taught us a lesson. That is why I am urging the Government not to rush on this particular loan but to take the discussions and the points we are churning up very seriously. Mr Speaker, what are we being asked to approve? Four things -- We are being asked to give Government the opportunity to go and sign for a loan. We are being asked to give Government the opportunity to use the Annual Budget Funding Amount to pay for this loan. We are also being asked to allow Government to on-lend the money to government agencies; The last point is to use 40 per cent to give to Subsidiary Agreements. Mr Speaker, all the other things, we agreed not to deal with them in this House, so we are virtually dealing with one agreement, that is, to give Government the opportunity to sign an agreement with the Chinese. But Mr Speaker, if we sign this Agreement with the Chinese today, does it mean that we are ready to take. the money? No. The Agreement that has been given us, Schedule 13(2) tells us that until we sign the Subsidiary Agreements - and they are 12 in general - we are not going to lay our hands on the cash. So why do we not bring this Agreement to Parliament, plus the main loan and then we can all move and sign this Agreement? What is the rush for? Mr "Speaker, are we rushing just because we want to get someone to get cash into his pocket when we are not yet ready to take the cash? Mr Speaker, when you go to the gas infrastructure, we are being told that Parliament should give Government the opportunity to use US$100 million to purchase helicopters and I hope my Friend, Hon Asiamah is listening. We remember just about a month ago, Government brought a deal to buy aircraft. At that time, we knew the cost of the aircraft, we knew where they were coming from, the types and specifications. Today, we are now being told that we need a US$100 million to buy helicopters; we do not know how many we are buying, we do not know the specifications and the country we are buying them from. In fact, we do not even know how much each helicopter will cost. Mr Speaker, is that how a Parliament of the Republic of Ghana should operate? Is that what the people of Ghana have asked us to come and do here? No. Let us go, get these details and come and approve this loan. But the way it is, it is not good for the Republic of Ghana. "Accra Metropolitan ICT-enhanced Traffic Management: This includes an additional financing to enable accelerated completion of "stranded" road construction works on key congested road arteries for the metropolis, especially, l. Nsawam Road (Achimota- Ofankor segment); 241
2. Dodowa Road -Tetteh Quarshie Hatso ; and 3. La Beach Road. The project developer is the Urban Roads department amount is 150-200 million." Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning on 12th August, 2011, a Friday, went to the Castle, the seat of Government, to inform Government that he has raised a bond of GH¢305 million to complete these very roads and it was captured in the following day's issue of Daily Graphic and, let me read. Mr Speaker, it says: "In the four major roads the amount will cover -- 1. Roads in Kumasi and Accra and-the Government has released US$23 million for the Achimota-Ofankor road which is captured here, 2. Tetteh Quarshie-Madina road which is captured here." Mr Speaker, the question I am asking is, why are we being asked to approve a loan that Government has already sourced money for? What are we going to use the US$200 million for? ls the US$200 million- going into somebody's pocket or what? Mr Speaker, what is even more worrying is what is known as the Eastern Corridor Multi-modal Transportation Project". What that simply means is that, for the bulk movement of goods, especially petroleum and other goods from the South to the North, we normally use the road, that is through Kumasi, the central corridor. The idea is to have an alternative movement through water, Akosombo to Buipe and this was started in 2007 under Hon Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi-
Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, what point of order do you have?
Mr Speaker, my point of order is on the situation of those roads that he mentioned.
Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, the Hon Member quoted a Daily Graphic publication. He quoted a publication and attributed it to the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and not to you. The Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is here; it was not to you. So what is the point of order?
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague said among other things that in the light of the fact that there was an earlier provision for some of these roads, the current loan agreement that we have also provided for the same roads. Whether the money is going to go into somebody's pocket-- [Interruptions.] That is wrong- He is imputing --
Hon Majority Leader, a statement has been attributed to the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. He is here; he might want to use you when he is winding up, maybe he has decided to respond, when he is winding up. But he does not want to rise on a point of order. It is being attributed to him and him alone. It was not being attributed to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways.
Mr Speaker, with due respect, you do not seem to appreciate my intervention. I am saying that among other things he wondered whether the money was going to go into somebody's pocket. That is unparliamentary; that is imputing bad faith.
Hon Majority Leader, for purposes of argument, assuming that that statement has actually been made and those things are also being captured in this loan Agreement, is it not something to -- ls it not a legitimate issue to be raised? Assuming that the statement is true -- l am not saying that it is true-- Assuming that the publication is true-- that publication could be true or it could be false. But assuming that it is true, and that same project is also captured in the Report, is it not a legitimate issue to be raised in this House? Hon Nitiwul, continue. Excuse me; let me hear from the two Leaders.
Mr Speaker, I will plead with my Hon Colleague, the Majority Leader. I think thus far, we have not resorted to the use of foul and vile language; so he may allow the debate to flow because if we were to pursue it in that direction, what the Hon Minister responsible for Water Resources, Works and Housing said, when he alluded to his experiences in the basic school, that he was doing his job, people were hacking him down and that the chorus was that he should continue to do it and not mind - One could also say that it was in bad "taste but for purposes of allowing smooth -discourse, we allowed it. So he should not pursue that line, let us move on.
Mr Speaker, under the tranche A(2), we are being asked under the Eastern Corridor Multi-Modal Transport, to do this, that is upgrade the Volta lake Facilities component". That is upgrading of the ferries/pontoons and landing sites for Kpandu, Amankwakrom, Kete Krachi et cetera. Mr Speaker that is basically what we have been asked to do and nothing else from the request here. But Mr Speaker, the Government is requesting between US$150 million and US$500 million to do this particular thing. And we are given a pen drive, and under the pen drive eleven pontoons cost $55 million; each pontoon cost US$l million. That is even anew pontoon which means that it would be left with only the upgrading of the ports. From the feasibility studies we were given, the Akosombo Port will cost US$53 million and the Buipe Port will cost US$35 million. If we add, these, they will cost less than US$200 million. Mr Speaker, why are we being asked for $500 million? Mr Speaker, when Hon Prof. Ameyaw- Akumfi set up a committee to do the feasibility studies, there was a component of the railway that would have cost US$178 million. From what we are being shown that railway component is not there. Mr Speaker, there was also a rail maintenance work; that component is not
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I just want to state that in view of the inconsistencies, that this side of the House and I have pointed out we advise Government to hasten slowly, withdraw this loan, go back and amend the various portions; go back and reconcile the figures and come back to this House for all of us to approve the loan for the development that we all need. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Deputy Minister for Energy (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NIP): Mr Speaker, I rise in support of the recommendations of the joint Committee on Finance and Poverty Reduction Strategy and l urge my the Colleagues to support the facility. Mr Speaker, let me also take the opportunity to thank His Excellency Prof. John Evans Attah Mills for the initiative that led to this day. It was his visit to China in a landmark bilateral economic co- operation that resulted in this large facility that we are debating today. Mr Speaker, l would like to draw your attention to page 7 on one of the recommendations of the Committee. Mr Speaker, on page 7, "Tranche B l, Oil and Gas Sector Infrastructure Development - Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Project -" it talks about an offshore gathering pipeline and early phase gas processing plant, an onshore trunk pipe including gas dispatch facility, a retrofit ofTema Oil Refinery to enable processing of the natural liquids. In the second phase it talks about a Takoradi Petroleum Terminal Project to be managed by Bulk Oil Storage and Transport,(BOST). The first part is altogether about US$850 million and the second part for BOST is about US2O0 million. Mr Speaker, there is a real urgency about some of these projects that we are talking about. And Mr Speaker, let me draw your attention to the current production of oil and gas in the Jubilee Field and where we are and why I say this is very urgent. Mr Speaker, as I speak to you today, the associated gas that is being produced from the Jubilee Field is 94.20 cubic feet and this is dated from 21st August. There is 94.20 million standard cubic feet of gas ; 8.45 million standard cubic feet of that gas is being. used to power the FPSO and 84.3 0 million standard cubic feet of that gas is what is being reinjected. Mr Speaker, 1.72 million standard cubic feet is what is being flared, that is operationally being flared. And we have made a lot of progress to really reduce the amount of flaring. But Mr Speaker, why this is very important is because expert has told us that beginning from May, when we started the reinjection, 18 months to a maximum of 24 months, within which we can continue to reinject this gas, any attempt to continue will really put in jeopardy the reservoirs and ultimately result in the real damage to the oil production that we are all relying on. Mr Speaker, that is really why it is very critical that an amount of almost US$850 million on that gas facility must be approved. But more importantly, the portion that must also be approved, Mr Speaker, has to do with the portion that we are going to have BOST oversee, the terminals that would help this country to have strategic stocks. It is interesting that in the past weeks, as we had shortages of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), we talked about the need for the country to plan ahead, the need for the country to have infrastructure and to plan for the long-term so that we are not caught off guard. This project, especially the strategic stocks that BOST would oversee is the project that would really get us in that direction. But Mr Speaker, this gas infrastructure project is simply more than the pipelines being laid and the 120- kilometer pipelines being sent to Aboadze and the gas processing plant. Mr Speaker, yes, it is going to create jobs. Yes, it is going to really translate into helping our thermal plants, use gas as an alternative to crude oil which we are spending millions of dollars importing and this is really going
to translate into industries being created because, Mr Speaker, the reason for which industries collapse in Ghana is because of the cost of power and.on<:e we start getting gas We would be heading towards the dream that we have all been trying to pursue for years. Mr Speaker, we have been blessed as a country with so many natural resources. We are talking about bauxite, limestone, salt and so many others. The gas is what is going to give us the value additions that would finally lead this country into the kind of quantum leap in industrialization that has eluded us for so long. Mr Speaker, as we talk about industrialization, we must also focus on page ll of the Committee's Report. Mr Speaker, let me commend the Committee because they made a very important point on page. 11. It says, and with your permission I quote: "The Committee noted the need. for government to take the lead in implementing the first phase of the gas project so that the private sector could be brought on board in the second and subsequent phases." Mr Speaker, why is it so important? This strategic direction that is being taken by the Government of Ghana is What indeed is going to save this country in the long- run. The first phase of this project is critical. We already know We have discovered non-associated gas by international companies. They have been trying very hard to lead this gas infrastructure but the Government of Ghana is standing firm to lay the foundation of this gas infrastructure because our future industries depend on the gas and it is critical that, we lay this foundation with this money so that in the second phases, we can then bring these international companies to join. At that point the Government of Ghana and the people of Ghana can have some leverage in using gas to industrialize our country. Mr Speaker, as we talk about the importance of the gas and the need for us to quickly move on, we must again commend President Atta Mills for the urgency with which he has addressed this gas issue. Mr Speaker, we cannot blame anybody for where we are in terms of the gas development. We chose as a country to fast track the development of the Jubilee Field and because of that there is the need for us to catch up with the gas development. But Mr Speaker, there is one important point that was also made in the Committee's Report that is so critical that I need to point out and it has to do with the issue of local content. Mr Speaker, on page 10 of the Committee's Report, under the heading "Chinese Content and Local Content", and with your permission, 1 quote: "Under Clause 3 of the Master Facility Agreement, a minimum of 60 per cent of each of Tranche A and Tranche B facility is required to be paid to People's Republic of China (PRC) Contractors. It was explained to the Committee that this clause allows about 40 per-cent of the facility to be applied towards local content sourcing or sources other than the People's Republic of China." I am very happy that as a country, we are paying attention to issues of local content, local participation. Mr Speaker, in October, 20ll , when this Honourable House returns, the Ministry of Energy would be laying before this
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, indeed, when Western Region is strengthened, Ghana is better for it. The infrastructure development we are talking about, the railways we are talking about are going to whole projects.
Mr Speaker, let me conclude. Mr Speaker, we have been on a journey as a country. This journey was started long time ago by --
Hon Member, conclude.
I am concluding, Mr Speaker. It was started by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was pursued by Ex-President Rawlings; it was followed by Ex-President Kuffuor. But Mr Speaker, for the first time in the history of this country President Evans Atta -Mills is taking us to the finish line in a double, double way with this Facility - -
Hon _Osei- Mensah?
. And I urge my Hon Colleagues to support it. Thank you very much -- [Hear! Hear!] _
Mr Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the whole House and the whole country to a very dangerous phenomenon t at has been developing over the past one and a half years. Mr Speaker, what I have realized is that, any loan Agreement that would come to the floor of this House, that is pregnant with a lot of problems and a lot of inconsistencies. They are linked to certain sectors, certain people to make it more difficult for us to get an objective and an informed debate on the issue. And Mr Speaker, I want to give a few examples. The STX Loan Agreement was linked to the Ghana Police Service, the Embraer issue was linked to the Military, and now this particular issue is being linked to the Western Region.
We are not in this House to approve a facility for the Western Region. We are here to approve a facility for a number of projects for which the beneficiaries are not only the people of Western Region but several regions and Ghanaians as a whole. This must be put on record so that we can move ahead. Mr Speaker, We do support this Agreement. What We are concerned about is that, there are certain issues in the Agreement that need to be changed. That is what we are talking about. Mr Speaker, all the credit facilities that we have criticized, we do that because we pay due diligence and make cursory scrutiny of whatever Agreement that is brought to the floor and try to point out the various anomalies. It is not that we do not support the Agreement, we support the projects but those anomalies should be removed from the Agreement to make it perfect so that Ghanaians can benefit from whatever we are doing as a nation. Mr Speaker, when the Premier of China came to Ghana in 2007, he promised this country such projects, and they were using a vehicle that belonged to Hon Kennedy Agyapong. So how come we would say that We do not support the Agreement? We are against the things in the Agreement which we think are faulty and need to be corrected. Mr Speaker, first of all, let me move ahead. I want to draw the attention of the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and that of the whole House to this -- I beg to read from page 6 of the Memorandum, the last sentence of the second paragraph: "It is anticipated that this will also ease the burden of projects and commercial financing on the national budget or pure public debt by minimising the probability of commercial debt, crystallising as contingent liability of the government." Please, when we talk about contingent liability -- For instance, if one gives a guarantee to a company and the company does not pay, that is when it crystallises into a debt. So, what he is saying is wrong. He has turned the whole thing upside down. Commercial debt is a debt, so when docs it crystallise into a debt again? What are we talking about here? I want him to understand that this facility we are going to take is a debt. From day one that the amount is disbursed, it is a debt. So, we should not think that it is in the future that it is going to crystallise into a debt. It is a debt so long as the money is disbursed. So, that aspect that they have written is a mirage; look at it again. Mr Speaker, we say we are going for a loan and at the same time we are saying that some of the projects will be under- taken by Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT). The principle of BOT- my understanding of this particular principle is - For instance, Simon Osei-Mensah has a facility to develop, meanwhile, he does not have the financial resources,.he does not have the needed capital and he goes to Mr Speaker and request: "Mr Speaker, come and develop this form with your own resources, operate it, recover your money and then return it to me". But here we are taking a loan and we are talking about BOT. Where do we build, operate and transfer? What are we saying? Why are we talking about it? Why this inconsistency? Please, they
have to spare us this inconsistency they always bring to this House and any serious embarrassment because this document can go outside this country and people will think we do not understand the terminology that we use in this particular Chamber. Mr Speaker, we move on again. We are saying some of the projects could be financed by the various companies floating shares on the stock exchange. If they have the capacity and ability to float shares, it means they can raise long-term capital to finance the project, so why should we go for a loan and give to the people before they float shares? Or we do not understand the things we write? Do we not understand the things that we write in the Agreement? If they can float the shares, Why then do they go for a loan? Why do we not let them float the shares and raise their long -term capital to finance the various projects? So, if we finance them and they float the shares, where will the money be going? This is because already, we are told that the source of the repayment of the facility is from the ABFA, which is sales from our oil. And the Hon Moses Asaga says it is because of the macro economic stability in the country, that is why many countries or investors are turning to Ghana. It is their interest in our oil. STX - oil, China-- oil. What investment climate are we talking about? Please, the people are interested in our oil. When we were making arguments against section 5 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), even some people used certain words. I am sorry, but I have no other option but to mention them. Some words like baloney -- foolish. When we said that if we do not take care, we could have a government that can collateralise our oil revenue for about 20 years to 25 years and we will be locked up and we will not have access to the use of the revenue when even the need arises. People used such words to describe the Minority. Now, we have come back to it. Now, we come back to the issue we are talking about. And even the very Agreement they brought, they have not scrutinised the Agreement. Here, this is the first time I am seeing a project and the amount for the project is a range. They give a range of 150 to 200. This is the first time I am seeing this in this country -- range. So, which of them are we approving? Is it 150 or 200? Jesus Christ! Let us change the way we do things here. We are disgracing this country and it is time we have to change the way we do things to get things right. Mr Speaker, the commitment fee - Apart from issues on the per annum that Hon Member have raised, the one per cent is very, very high. Even if we remove the issue of the per annum, which will make it higher, the one per cent is very high for a facility of USS3 billion. It will mean that at the end, Ghana is going to pay a commitment of $30 million per year. If you add the per annum, it is going to be a year. Are we going to get value for money on this particular facility? Mr Speaker, we have to look at some of the issues we are raising. Mr Speaker, another serious problem is the duplication of funding for certain projects. My Hon Colleagues have raised some of these issues. Since 2009, we have been seeing in all the Budgets that, for landing beaches, money have been set aside and again in this facility we are approving money for landing beaches, we
Hon Member, conclude. .Mr Osei-Mensah: Where have those moneys gone to? We must ensure that we avoid those duplications. We do not need to approve money under a certain vote for a particular project and come under a different agreement and approve similar facility for the same project. It will be duplication and what my Hon Colleague, Hon Nitiwul asked about, where will that additional money go? Ghanaians need to be told. Mr Speaker, while I am landing --
Mr Speaker, I want to urge my Hon Colleagues that it is a fallacy when somebody says that these countries that are prepared to give us facilities is because of the investor confidence in us; it is because of the oil that they want from this country and we have committed ourselves under section 5 of the PRMA. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Mr Seth Terkpeh): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I wish to address, at a very early stage of my contribution, the issue of commitment and upfront fee. Mr Speaker, I have in my hands, as I speak, the Master Facility Agreement and the Agreement signed by the Republic of Ghana and Exim Bank of China. Mr Speaker, the commitment fees are the same, the language used in those Agreements are the same. The commitment fee in the Exim Agreement says that the borrower shall pay a commitment charge to the lender on the undisbursed and uncanceled amount of the loan. Mr Speaker, the impression that somehow we are paying on the facility itself is wrong. And this is the language that is used in the MFA which also states similarly that the borrower shall pay to the lender a commitment fee of an amount equal to one per cent per annum on the undrawn and uncanceled portion of the total commitment. Mr Speaker, let me also state that the impression that somehow when one pays an upfront or management fee, it is for the benefit of some individual is very unfortunate, because in the Bxim Bank Agreement, we have a management fee where the borrowers, which is the Republic of Ghana is required to pay to the lender a management fee in one lump sum at the rate of 0.3 per cent within 30 days after the effective days of these Agreements but not later than the first draw down. This is the language in the Exim Agreement. Mr Speaker, if you go to the Master Facility Agreement (MFA), the language there is that the borrower, the Republic of Ghana shall pay to the lender an upfront fee equal to 0.25 per cent of the total commitment of which half shall be paid on or before the 20 days after the execution date. Mr Speaker, note, 20 days and 24 days and then half shall be paid as a condition precedent on the first utilization under the first subsidiary agreement.
Mr Speaker, I have gone to this length just to demonstrate that we have two agreements from the same Chinese sources which are similar, therefore the impression being created is a very, very unfortunate one. Mr Speaker, as we move to become a middle-income country, it is also very important that we do not create the impression that somehow the cost of these facilities are exorbitant. Mr Speaker, the cost of the Euro Bond which was floated at 8.75 per cent, in ten years for the US750 million is approximately US$640 million. That is the interest only, it is US$640 million approximately. Mr Speaker, if you compare it to a facility which is 3 .0 billion which is costing us $600 million, you would agree with me that the terms on which the MFA is being secured is far more favourable than the terms on which we secured the Sovereign Bond. Mr Speaker, I say this because as we become a middle income country, we shall have less access to concessionary financing, like those from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank and from grants from donors and we would have to go to the market to secure funding for our projects. Therefore it is important that we do not create the impression to Ghanaians that somehow when you go to the market to secure these funding you are paying exorbitantly. Mr Speaker, let me address the issue of the loans. I think there is confusion between funding the Accra roads and the Eastern Corridor roads under the International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The 1.8 in the Report is with reference to the Eastern Corridor road under ICBC. What we are talking about in the MFA and the duplication basically is about the Accra roads. Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President was so concerned ab out the unfunding of the Accra and other major roads that he charged the Hon Minister to look for sources of funding to complete those roads. A Several Hon Members --rose--
Mr Speaker, a similar principle applies to the fact that we are -- [Interruptions] Mr Speaker, a similar principle applies somehow to the fact that the feasibility studies should be exactly US$3 .0 billion._Mr Speaker, if We secure funding of US$3 .0 billion nothing precludes us from securing other funding for the other projects.
Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member rose to correct pieces of misinformation that were being churned in the House by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. Unfortunately, he could not catch your eye. But we believe that those matters should not go unchallenged.
Hon Minority Leader, if you have the point you raise it, I will call on him to withdraw if he breached the rule- As much as possible -- Initially a lot of people got up and I decided to-- because they got up and raised issues which were really not points of order. So we cannot continue that way. The Hon Member for Nabdam, Mr Asaga got up and I did not call him. So if you have the issue, you can raise it, I will ask him - You are the Leader of the Minority; I would ask, if he breached the rule, to withdraw it.
Mr Speaker, no, it is him breaching the rule. He put out there untruths which we need to correct. Mr Speaker, first is a matter relating to a Cabinet memorandum and he sought to weave his way around. He cannot get up in this House and attempt to correct a Cabinet memorandum in the House and I thought the Ranking Member who was with them at the meeting would respond to it. He got up and because you were looking at just one side, you could not see him. I hope when I begin to talk, you would not recognize anybody from the other side. But he related to the Cabinet memorandum.
When Hon Osei-Mensah was on the floor, I was also looking at that side. [Uproar!] Hon Minority Leader, you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, the point that I was making relating to what he said -- The Cabinet memorandum is categorical that the charge is per annum. That is the Cabinet memorandum; we cannot contradict it by getting up -
Hon Member, I have asked the Table Office to give me the document you are referring to as Cabinet memorandum. In actual fact, it is not a Cabinet memorandum; it was a parliamentary memorandum from the Minister and that is what the Hon Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah was right on earlier. But you know, as the Hon Deputy Minister. for Finance and Economic Planning, he has his own style. We all agreed this morning in the Speaker's Lobby, that after the two Leaders have spoken we would allow the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to say some few words before we put the question. So I believe that he is waiting for that opportunity to clarify some of those issues. It is not a Cabinet memorandum, it is a Parliament memorandum. I have gone through the record; it is not a Cabinet memorandum.
Be that as it may, if it came from the Minister, who qualifies to correct it? Certainly not the Chairman of the Committee. But let me move on. Mr Speaker. before I proceed, it is important to correct a portion of the Report before us. The Committee in the conclusion of their Report--
Chairman of the Finance Committee, are you listening? They are referring to the Report. 1 .05p_m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee's report, page 24, the conclusion says, and with your permission, I quote :
"Upon critical examination of the Master Facility Agreement, the Committee by majority decision, finds that the Facility would contribute to provide pa comprehensive and accelerated infrastructure development across the country." Mr Speaker, this conclusion was not arrived at by the majority; the entire Committee agreed that the Master Facility Agreement would contribute to provide a comprehensive and accelerated infrastructural development for the country. How it was manufactured and contorted this way, only the Chairman can explain. Mr Speaker, page 23. The Chairman told us and I am referring to the last paragraph - "Hon Members of the Committee were of the opinion that the projects earmarked for funding under the Facility are critical to the nation's -development, especially the gas infrastructure development." Mr Avedzi -- rose -- _
That is totally false; it is totally false. Mr Speaker, but I proceed. Mr Speaker, as a country, we must all--
Why? They have mentioned your name, that is why I am calling you. As the Chairman of the Finance Committee what is your point of order?
Exactly so. Mr Speaker, on page 23, the Report is saying - "Hon Members of the Committee were of the opinion that the projects earmarked or funding under the facility are critical. . ." Well, if you go to page 24, it says - "upon critical examination of the Master Facility Agreement, the - Committee by majority decision f1nds_that t e facility would contribute to 4 provide a comprehensive and accelerated infrastructural development. . ." They mean two different things. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I do not know what the Hon Chairman understands by_what he has read. Mr Speaker, the Chairman yesterday, when he got to the last paragraph o page 23 emphasised that all members were of this opinion; and so what is he saying? [ Interruption.] -
Mr Speaker, but let me go on. The point I want to make is that the entire committee agreed upon critical examination, that the Master Facility Agreement "would contribute to provide a comprehensive and accelerated infrastructural development across the country." It was the entire Committee, not a section of the Committee. That is the point I want to make and I hope the Hon Former Majority Leader understands It. Mr Speaker, but I will proceed.
Hon Minority Leader, why? You know you must not address him. But now that you have mentioned him, I have no choice but to call him. If he had made a signal to you which you alone understood, you should not have referred to him publicly. Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my very good Friend and Colleague; the Hon Minority Leader, at least, should refer to me as a Senior accomplished Minority Leader for eight years .- [Hear! Hear!] And he should show some respect to his Seniors. But clearly, there is no contradiction in the two paragraphs. While the first paragraph is talking about the projects which they all agree are critical to the development of the nation, the second one on page 24, is talking about the Master Facility Agreement; people could disagree with that Facility. He is saying that it is the majority. The Hon Minority Leader is correcting him that it is not the majority but it is all of them. The only point I want to bring home is that there is no contradiction; there is no contradiction at all.
Mr Speaker, I was present at the meeting when the decision was taken. I believe that probably, through the writing of the Report, this might have been an oversight. I am urging the Hon Chairman to concede. The Hon Member for Tamale North would bear me witness as to what happened at the Committee. So it would not have been an oversight, please, I am telling you. This is because when the draft report was brought to the attention of the Hon Ranking Member, I pointed out to him that this particular statement was not a true reflection of what happened at the Committee and he said he would draw the attention of the Chairman to it. I think that is all.
Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee, if l get the point right, they are saying that this conclusion is not right and that you should delete by "majority decision". Is that right?
The fact that the Facility would. "contribute to provide a comprehensive and accelerated infrastructure development across the country"
And this is also home out of what the Hon Minority Leader referred to in the last paragraph of -
Hon Chairman, what is your difficulty? The Hon members of your Committee are saying that this one was not a majority decision; it was by all the members of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, it is very refreshing; it is very refreshing that this decision is taken by the whole Committee and I urge Hon Members to change the "portion that says "the majority of the Committee" to read "all Members of the Committee" - [Hear! Hear!] Dr A. A. Osei; Mr Speaker, I think that my Hon Senior Colleague is correct. Mr Speaker, when the issue was brought to my attention, l called my Chairman and said that given that we had consensus in a lot of issues, it was important that the Report capture the areas that we had consensus. And so the clerk was supposed to have changed it. l think this is the place where the last recommendation by the Hon Minister was removed, and so in the process something would have happened- But I want to ask my Chairman to agree to what we have --
Hon Members, so that portion is accordingly deleted from the Report.
Mr Speaker, to continue, when I said the former Majority Leader was disagreeing with what I was saying, I did not mention any name. And then you signaled the Hon Alban Bagbin to respond even though the Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah is also a former Majority Leader; but I would go on.
Hon Member, you said "former Minority and Majority Leader" - [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, as a country, we must all recognize the huge infrastructural deficit that we have and the need to fill the deficit. - So the declaration of intent by His Excellency the President must be commended by all of us, to address in a very bold manner, the deficit that confronts us as a nation. Mr Speaker, we certainly need to rehabilitate our railways. We need to retrofit the Takoradi Port. We need to enhance the intake into our food basket. The irrigation projects that the facility is talking about would all inure to the benefit of this country. The helicopters that need to be bought, we believe they are in the right direction. So we must commend the President for initiating this. Mr Speaker, we are all united in need to develop this country so it was absolutely unnecessary for our Hon Colleagues, National Democratic Congress Members of Parliament in the Western Region to hold a press conference ostensibly to play the card that New Patriotic Party Members of Parliament from the Western Region are against the facility. Mr Speaker, in the event, the Hon Armah-Kofi Buah and his Hon Colleagues who engaged in that rather misadventure were in obvious breach of Standing Order 95. They were in obvious breach of that. But he will grow up. He will learn that it was a misadventure and that they had no business engaging in that enterprise. Mr Speaker, as a country, we do not have the wherewithal to confront all our development problems. We will have to borrow to develop. What is Parliament required to do in the circumstance of borrowing? Mr Speaker, Parliament has the power of the purse and the power of the purse is exercised not only in the approval of the Budget but also in the contracting of loans. We have to make sure that we know exactly what the loans are going to be contracted for. Whether we are going to have value for money; whether we will be able to pay the economics of the loan, we need to know. Mr Speaker, thereafter, we also need to know the terms and conditions of the loan. That is what Parliament is required to do. Mr Speaker, we have been talking about the Master Facility Agreement, the (MFA). We are told that the (MFA) itself is part of a comprehensive project facility which was negotiated between the President and China when he went there in September, 2010 and that the total amount involved is in the region of US$ 10.4 billion. So one would want to ask, where is that Agreement to the Facility? Mr Speaker, if I may, I think this became a bit contentious when it was said that the amount involved was not US$14 billion. Later, it was said that it was not 14 billion but it was rather US$10.-4 billion and it was captured adequately by the Daily Graphic of September 21, 2010, when they said that they had contracted US$ 10.4 billion but US$3 billion was going to be used in the oil sector as part of the comprehensive finance project facility.
Mr Speaker, on the lines of what happened when we debated the STX, when We needed to see the Joint-Venture Agreement which involved the construction of 200,000 houses involving US$10 billion, when we called for it, Mr Speaker, you agreed and ruled that it should come for us to consider it alongside the other Agreements that ensued from the Joint-Venture Agreement. The first one that ensured was the Off- take Agreement involving Governments declaration of intent to purchase 90,000 out of the 200,00 houses. That one was brought to this House. From it ensued the 30,000 houses for the security services. Today, we are being given only one, the Master Facility Agreement. So Mr Speaker, where are we? [An Hon Member: We are here.] So he should tell us by what we did in approving of the STX that we are doing the wrong-thing, because we ought first to have seen the US$l0.4 billion which We call the Comprehensive Finance Project Facility. Where is that one? You have told us that it is from that that the US$93 billion is coming, Where is it? [Interruption] ls it coming? Where has it reached? Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is telling us it is coming, where has it reached? This is serious business and Parliament should not be seen as rubber-stamping anything that comes from the Executive. Who has seen the Comprehensive Finance Project Facility involving the US$104 billion? Nobody has seen it in this House. The Finance Committee Chairman has not seen it. The Finance Committee has not seen it. Mr Speaker, it is only the Deputy Minister probably who has seen the document. Where is it? [An Hon Member: Which Deputy Minister?] The Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Seth Terkpeh. Where is the Agreement and yet you are supposed just to take a portion of it and come and approve? This is most unusual and it has budgetary implications. Mr Speaker, we will come there. Mr Speaker, so these are our concerns. We are saying that the Facility that we are looking at is good, as a matter of principle anybody should be supporting it. The devil, as they say, lies in the detail. The details are also something else. Mr Speaker, the issues that I was raising, I have talked about two of them, the Comprehensive Finance Project Facility and the Master Facility Agreement, and the Subsidiary Agreements. This is because we do know that it is the composite of the Subsidiary Agreements that amount to the $3 billion, we have not seen it. We have not seen those Agreements. As part of the Master Facility Agreement; we are told that not until these ones are negotiated in the Subsidiary Agreements, we cannot access the amounts. So what are we doing? What are we doing by leading ourselves to the slaughter house, and once we approve of it, 20 days hence, we have to pay the commitment amounts affront when we have not accessed it. How long is it going to take us to negotiate the Subsidiary Agreements? We do not know: So if it takes us one year to negotiate a very good Agreement, right, we are going to access the money yet the commitments have to be paid. Is that a good thing to do? Mr Speaker, it is good that the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning has taken on board some suggestions regarding the filling in of the gaps. But
Was the first one signed or initialed?
Mr Speaker, it was initialed. Mr Speaker, with this one, there is nothing. So, what are we considering? Mr Speaker, there have been some fundamental changes, we agree. So what Agreement is before us? We should be careful. And there are immediate obligations if we approve. These are our worries. And we say what is contained in_ it is good but let us sanitize it and then do what is right. -Is it asking too much for better diligence to be done on this? ls it asking too much so that this country will have value for money? Is it asking too much? I hear a chorus of yes, yes, yes, yes" from the Majority side of the House. I do not know what service they are doing to this nation. If you chorus "yes, yes, yes, yes" --I had asked whether we have done better diligence-- [Interruption] .
Hon Minister, what is your point of order?
Mr Speaker, if you look at the amendment document -
Mr Speaker, my point of order is that, this Government is respecting the decisions of this House in which we have clearly signaled to Government that Parliament is not a rubber stamp. And that these Agreements should be signed and sealed before being brought to the House. And that we should be given opportunity to always make inputs before the final signing and sealing of those Agreements. So, there is a clear indication, and Parliament must be commended for refining the initial document that was brought and Parliament is still given opportunity to input, like he is doing, to this other Agreement that is before us, for final signature. So, I believe that, Parliament is doing the right thing. And it will be finalized and there is nothing wrong about it; there is nothing wrong about it.
Mr Speaker, I believe if the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing was not sitting at where he is sitting he would see better. Can I give him my spectacles? He would see better. In the amendedAgreement, and I refer to page 62 of the amendment Agreemed--
Hon Member, he has expressed his opinion, continue.
Mr Speaker, this opinion, I could describe it with some words but for deference for him, I will leave him. I want-the Hon Minister for Finance and the entire House to listen. In the amended Agreement, on page 62, par 3.3 - Evidence that the annual principal and interest payment due under the Master Facility Agreement and its Subsidiary agreement have been included in the current Annual Fiscal Budget for the Republic of Ghana.
And-that is in spite of the five- year grace. period. Has anybody adverted his mind to this? They are immediate obligations for us, let nobody mislead. us. It is a condition precedent and that is why we are asking them to sanitize it. We agree in principle that what proposal they are making, they are good, but really, it is said in Akan, and the Hon Minister understands that Wo fiti' preko twi we se a, mogya betu wo-- to wit, if you start with perhaps, a big chewing stick to cleanse your teeth, when you have not done so before, certainly your gum will bleed, that is what you are doing. So, nobody is saying that these things are not good. The proposals, we agree to them; many of them were even started by the Kufuor Administration-'- the landing sites, the construction of fishing harbours and so on, we agree to them but please, do a better thing. The Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is an astute banker. If I brought a proposal to his bank, and I have been there before, asking for a loan and I asked for ranges, between GH¢15O million and GH¢2OO million, will be all right for me? I tell you, my application will no go beyond the first desk. He knows that. [Laughter] My application will not go beyond the first desk in his bank. Today, he brings some proposals to us that this House should approve for him some amounts, between US 150 million and USD250 million for the construction of coastal fishing harbours and landing sites. Has he done any thorough appraisal of that business before coming up to Parliament? If l had submitted this to his bank, he would immediately tell them, "do not even see him, the man is not serious" but brings this to Parliament and he is asking us to approve of it. So, we agree that we need the coastal fishing harbours, landing sites, we need them, but certainly not in this form. That is all that we are telling him. He should go and do the right thing and come to us. He says to us, that we should give him--
Hon Minority Leader, how long do you want to go? I just want to have an idea. [Laughter] .
Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Majority Leader is urging me to speak for another 25 minutes, I will oblige him.
Mr Speaker, I said, he had been talking for over 25 minutes now. I did not say he has 25 minutes more.
It is true. He has been on his feet well over 25 minutes.
Mr Speaker, I would not take too long a time because the essential points have already been made. You need top construct Accra Metropolitan ITC-enhanced Traffic Management Project. The project, US$150 million to US$200 million, meanwhile, in compositing , he has used the ceilings to arrive at the US$3.O billion. So, where you make savings, what happens? Or does he not think that he is creating space for somebody to fill himself in? There are other matters relating to the terms and conditions that we can talk about. The range of.up to five years, we know, can be very risky because the Hon Minister knows that interest on the loan starts to accrue on the day the loan is closed and disbursement commences. And if we are not careful, the people advancing the money to us, could take
Mr Speaker, I am surprised my Colleague is saying this when he earlier said it was approved by all. But I just want to draw his attention to paragraph 2 at page 24 of the Report. It is because of the concerns he is raising that the Committee is asking us to give some type of approval and that the subsidiary agreements "will be negotiated and presented back to this House showing the details. This is a framework we are approving but the individual subsidiary agreements will be brought back to this House for us to debate them. So We are giving the framework approval; that is what is stated there and they emphasized it by suggesting that since the terms of the Agreement were not in question, approval should be given in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution. So we will have the opportunity to go through these subsidiary agreements one by one. That is my understanding.
Mr Speaker, can I yield one minute of my time to the Ranking Member? One minute and I will conclude in a Giffy.
Mr Speaker, my senior Colleague may have a point but I think he is missing the import of what the Minority Leader said. Let me give that example again and it is on page 62 of the Master Facility Agreement, if he can read it. It says that we must budget for principal and interest. This is in the Agreement. In the meantime, We have a grace period of five years. Grace period means that you do not pay the principal but the Agreement says pay every year. That is the type of sanitizing he is talking about. So you cannot ask to approve something that they themselves have given us a grace period for.
I think We are all united in -supporting the proposal, except we notice clearly in many areas that the terms and conditions are not good enough. We need to do better feasibility on the document before us in order for us to join hands with our Colleagues. I see my Colleague nodding profusely to what I am saying. That is how it should go. Mr Speaker, on that note, I will want to bring the curtain down by urging the Minister to take charge of this business, go and do what is right and come back and we shall support him. In this form, it will be very difficult for us to support. We have serious reservations. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Speaker of all -- [Interruption.]
‘Hon Members, order! Order! Let us listen to the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, let me first and foremost thank Hon Members for the frank debate. We are about concluding and 1 think that the issues that people have concerns here and there about are being expressed by Hon Members in a very frank and transparent manner, and we are grateful to them. I want to join the Hon Minority Leader in observing that if anything at all, as far as this Loan Agreement is concerned, this noble and august House ought to congratulate the NDC for the initiative, the vision and the courage that His Excellency the President and the Government had in acquiring the loan for the development of this country. Mr Speaker, we all appreciate the fact that at the end of the day, if we acquire this loan and address the concerns and the developmental issues envisaged in the Agreement, then Ghana will strengthen her position as a middle income country. Mr Speaker, there are very critical issues that the Agreement or the loan at the end of the day will be addressing. These include developments in the road and railway transport sectors, irrigation of Accra Plains, improvement in the fishing industry, energy, landing sites for our fishermen, just to mention a few.
Mr Speaker, I believe probably it is a slip of tongue. I do not expect that the Leader of this House will say that the situation we find ourselves in now as an oil producing country, going for a loan of US$3 billion is the same situation that we found ourselves in when we were going to HLPC. They are not the same situations at all. So I just wanted to correct that. They are different situations. So that comparison is misplaced and misleading the House.
I did not say the same; I said we find ourselves in similar circumstances. I did not say same. These are developmental challenges that we are facing today too.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, if I can get your guidance on this, this is a very, very important subject matter that we are discussing. Very serious concerns have been expressed by some Members who have spoken earlier; they are very important issues. This is the summing up by the Hon Majority Leader and we would have expected that he responds to the issues instead of saying this in politics which we do not understand. He should respond to the issues.
Hon Kan- Dapaah, he is not the last contributor, the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning will have a word.
Mr Speaker, but as the Leader of Government Business, we want him to respond to the issues and stop the politics.
Hon Kan- Dapaah, it is not true that he is the last person to speak on the matter; the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning will speak.
Mr Speaker, I agree that the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning will respond to the various issues raised, but the Hon Majority Leader; is not only a Majority Leader, when it comes to speaking with one voice for the House, he is the person, that is why he is the Leader of the House. He should push to ensure that we operate within the confines of law: the Constitution and our Standing Orders. He is urging us to put them aside, what is he saying? [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, this is a very serious indictment.
Mr Speaker, we have our structure of debate on this side of the House, it is not the duty of Hon Kan- Dapaah to tell us how we can structure
we have the Constitution, particularly article 181 of the Constitution and this loan Agreement is consistent with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, article 181. Similarly, this loan Agreement is consistent with the Loans Act of Ghana, 1970, (Act 335). So as far as the legal issues are concerned or the law of the country is concerned, we are following suit. So for my Hon Colleague to say that, as the Leader of the House I should be talking about the legalities and the rest of them, the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has had the opportunity of looking at this Agreement. Indeed, it was at his instance that we withdrew it and substituted the other one and he is in the Chamber. Mr Speaker, some of my Colleagues referred to the fact that Government has abandoned the Eastern Corridor road I think that was an unfortunate statement, it is not true. As the Chairman rightly pointed out and one of our Colleagues also did, if you look at the Committee's Report, it has been said among other things that that loan Agreement had technical challenges and this is what we are talking about here; and some of the issues on the Eastern corridor road would be addressed by this loan Agreement.
Mr Speaker, with respect to my senior Brother and Colleague, the Report is emphatic. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I read: "The Committee was further informed that the US$l.8 billion loan from CBRD is no more being pursued due to technical challenges." What does it mean?
MrSpeaker, I read: Yes, we agree. The gravamen of the matter, if Hon Alhaji Sorogho would. understand, is that, the US$l.8 billion Facility is no more being pursued, that is all that we have said. It has fallen by the wayside; it is not in the case of suspended animation; it has fallen flat. [Interruptions] .
Hon Members, I will suspend the House for two minutes and come back. 1.50 p.m. - Sitting suspended. 1.55 p.m. - Sitting resumed.
Hon Majority Leader, kindly continue. Hon Members, having regard to the state of business, I direct. that the House Sits outside the prescribed period in line with Standing Order 40 (3).
Mr Speaker, the point I was trying to make is that, as far as the Eastern Corridor roads are concerned, Government's commitment to undertake that project is still on course and even though some of the projects on those will be covered by this loan facility, Government is exploring other avenues of sourcing funding to complete the Eastern Corridor roads which are so dear to all of us in this country. The mere fact that the facility the Government was pursuing earlier had some technical challenges, does not mean that Government has abandoned the Eastern Corridor project; it is not true. Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, this Agreement has met the requirements of the legal regime of this country and to all intents and purposes, the only thing left for us to do in this august House is to approve of it. We are not an election Government, we are a Government that is national in character and we are a Government that is committed to balance and even. development of this country and that is our prime concern. Mr Speaker, let me conclude by making these two observations. If some of my Hon Colleagues might not have known, late yesterday in the evening and early part of this morning, I had the opportunity to listen and view on TV-- Firstly, the Railway Workers Union of Ghana has appealed to Members of Parliament (MPs) to approve of this loan facility without hesitation. The chiefs of the Western Region have addressed a press conference and extolled the virtues of this loan and appealed to all of us to approve of this loan facility.
Bonsu; Mr Speaker, would I appeal to the Hon Majority Leader to really stay away from this. Can he tell us, if any of the railway workers have read thisAgreement? Can he tell us if anybody
Hon Member, you have made -
To appreciate the point that the Hon Majority Leader is making? This cheap populism will not help this House at all. This resort to cheap populism will not help us.
Mr Speaker, this Agreement has been in the public domain. We in Parliament here should not forget that Ghanaians are now discerning; we cannot take the people of this country for granted. The Hon Minority Leader cannot mean that if a loan Agreement is brought to this House or any document that is brought here and people are interested in that agreement or document, they have no access to it or they cannot contribute
Mr Speaker, 1 said to the Majority Leader that he should not tread that path. When the chiefs, with respect to them, were asked, they said they had not read the Agreement. Nobody is undermining the integrity of the chiefs and the Railway workers, so he should not tread on that path. If he has his own misunderstanding of what I said, and he wants to go there, he should not, because it will not serve him nor the Government any good.
Hon Majority Leader, continue.
Mr Speaker, the point I am making, which my very good Friend on the other side of the House is brainstorming with me, is the fact that, I just want us to note that the chiefs of the Western Region have appealed to us to approve of this Agreement -- [Interruption]- I just want us to note that the Ghana Railway Workers Union has appealed to us to approve of this Agreement. If they were not aware, they would not be talking about it, simple. -- [Interruption] Mr Speaker, the truth is sometimes bitter to some people, but this is the fact of the matter. Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude by making this other observation. I recall that, one of our Hon Colleagues in his contribution, said among other things, that there was a fracas between His Excellency the Vice President and the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing on an STX, issue. It is not true. If that was not the statement, then l stand to correction. But if that was said, then I want Hon Members to understand that that is not true. I attended a meeting at the Presidency with the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing and the Vice President chaired the meeting on ST X only two days ago, that was last Wednesday. We discussed matters for several hours amicably. So there is no dispute between His Excellency the Vice President and any Minister nor the Hon Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing. It is a fabrication and wherever it has found itself, whether in the premedia or through some other means, it is not true. Mr Speaker, l want to appeal to Hon Colleagues, that once they agree with the spirit of the loan and once they agree with the substance of the loan, the only thing left is for all of us to collectively give approval to it. I thank you so much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that --
No, we have not got there yet. Hon Members have raised - they want to hear you briefly before I put the Question. Then we come to Motion number 6, that is, if you have anything to say, but if you do not have anything to say, then let me put the Question. We are still on item 5 .
Mr Speaker, let me thank the Leadership and the entire august House for their support in these challenging times.
Mr Speaker, for all those who took part in the debate, let me thank all of them on behalf of my Ministry and the Government for the inputs they have given us. Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the inputs will help to enrich the implementation of the infrastructural projects that we are going to embark on. Mr Speaker, in doing that, let me raise some few issues. Mr Speaker, I want to say it here now, that the STX project is not facing any danger. Indeed, what is happening is a quarrel between shareholders, which is normal in all businesses. Mr Speaker, let me make a few comments on the difference between framework agreement and master agreements. Under the AG Framework Agreement signed, we have three areas to look at now , we are talking about the agreement relating to the US$3.0 billion CDB facility. We are talking to EXIM Bank of China about US$60 billion facility. Therefore, I want to respond to the Hon Minority Leader's worry that we understand the difference between the two and we are working at that. Mr Speaker, a point was made that we are going to spend over US$3.0 billion. Yes, of course, the loan facility is USS3 .0 billion but the project cost would be more than that. This is because we have what we call owner contribution. There is a big difference between the loan size and the project cost and the two should be appreciated now. Mr Speaker, if we look at pages 4 and 5 of the Agreement, we would understand where we are coming from. After the approval by Parliament, we would look at the various Subsidiary Agreements and indeed in the world of finance, nobody is willing to sign an agreement when he is not ready to use the money. We want to assure this august House and the whole country that we would not sign an agreement and start paying fees when we are not ready to use the money. Mr Speaker, may I also take some time to explain the difference between fees and interest in finance and banking. Interest relate to annual fees but for fees, they relate to the quantum; upfront fees, you pay once; commitment fees relate to the undrawn ones. Mr Speaker--
Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, I think the point they are making is that, in your memorandum, page 8 of 12 under both tranches, we have per annum and that is what they wanted you to clarify. If it is an error, say it is an error and you just correct it for the record and then we move forward. Upfront fees is 0.25 per cent per annum for both tranches A and B and that is what they want you to clarify. That is all.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. The point I made was that, in banking and finance, the terms mean the same. So if here it has a different meaning, the -- Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Chairman of the Committee correcting that mistake, so do not let us carry it -
Hon Minister, all that they want to hear from you is to reconcile the Chairman's Report with the memorandum to Parliament and in it you can put per annum. Your own explanation says that, it is a one-time payment, they are fees; so you just have that thing corrected that look, it is a typographical error then we move forward
Mr Speaker, may I refer my Hon Colleagues to article 11 where the differences have been well spelt out. Mr Speaker, there was an issue on why we are talking about raising money for the Accra roads or the four major roads. Mr Speaker, for some time now, we have been talking about the need to raise funding from the World Bank, from our own sources and from the China Development Bank (CDB) to complete those projects. Mr Speaker, our view was that, whichever one came first would be used to alleviate the pains Ghanaians are going through on driving on those terrible roads which were left by my "Friends over there". Mr Speaker, we were lucky that we were able to raise bonds on our own, therefore work on these roads are going on right now. If we are lucky to get something from the World Bank, we would be able to retire the bonds; it is easier to retire your own bond than any loan from outside. So that is our strategy. We have not abandoned anything; we know what we are saying. Mr Speaker, once again, let me thank all of you present here for what you have done for us today. Mr Speaker, history is being made, therefore, the train which is moving very fast, all of us must make sure we get onto it. Mr Speaker, it is clear that now, our economy is enjoying the fastest growth rate in the whole world. Mr Speaker, our cocoa industry has now chalked almost one million tonnes. Mr Speaker, this facility of US$3.0 billion is one of the cheapest loans you can get in the world. Mr Speaker, it is just like a preference; we call it buyer's preference preferential loan; it is about 3 .35 per cent, therefore, one of the cheapest you can get. Mr Speaker, our inflation is now at 8.4 per cent. Mr Speaker, we are now attracting -- Our Treasury Bill (TB) rate is now below 10 per cent; it is about 9.26. Mr Speaker, we have never seen any best time like today; all the micro indicators are first class. Mr Speaker, we have taken into account all the concerns expressed by the Minority, therefore there is no doubt that they will vote massively for this.
Hon Minister, before I put the Question, I want to - the upfront fees at page 8 of your memorandum to Parliament, should it be "per annum" or it should be flat? The commitment there, should it also be "per annum" or what? That is because of the distinction between the interest and the fees; that is why - Hon Minister, these are records so it is important that we listen very well.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry but it is obvious that it is an error. The Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is not prepared to accept that it is an error; what else can you do?
No, he said the Hon Chairman of the Committee has corrected it.
MrSpeaker, I can confer, we need to get these things right. We did not correct this at the committee level because it was not an issue. However, the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning can correct it because it is a master facility agreement that -
That is Why I want that to be done so that the record -
He should follow the debate and take a hint from the Speaker.
Hon Member for Sekondi, that is why I want that to be done so that the record is clear and we are clear in our minds. Then I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, for both tranche A and tranche B, the u front fees should be flat, 0.25 per cent flat and the commitment fee is one per cent on the undisbursed amount. This applies to both A and B.
Very well. Thank you very much. Hon Members, that is the conclusion of the debate I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved: That this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Poverty Reduction Strategy on the Master Facility Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the China Development Bank (CDB) for a loan ofUS$ 3.0 Billion to finance Infrastructure Development Projects under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA)
THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Members, as l indicated earlier, I have allowed one Urgent Statement which is about half a page. No comment would be allowed.
Mr Speaker, at least, the Hon Minister for Information is in the Chamber and the Statement affects his Ministry. So it is only fair that he can say something after that.
Hon Majority Leader, once I have done that I would have to look for the Ranking Member from the Minority side also to respond. The Statement is a simple Statement which is not a controversial one. It is very clear and if the Hon Minister wants to take any action after listening to the Statement, he may do so. Time is not on our side.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to draw the attention of the Hon Minister for Information of the break in transmission of Ghana Television (GTV) coverage in the Volta Region for the past three months. Mr Speaker, television programs play major roles in national development; they inform citizens on national issues such as parliamentary debate, government policies, projects and programmes; they also entertain to relieve the audience of stress. This is a basic right as enshrined in article 21 (1) (t) of the 1992 Constitution which states among other things, and with your indulgence, Mr Speaker I quote: "All persons shall have the right to (f) information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society". It is pathetic Mr Speaker, that for the past three months, the people of the Volta Region have been denied this basic right of watching the only national television. This denial has led to misinformation in the region with regard to Governments Better GhanaAgenda policy. Mr Speaker, the recent Regional Policy Fair which was to showcase Government achievements, programmes and policy that was hosted by the region was aired live by GTV but unfortunately, the host region did not watch this important programme; it is a grave concern for the chiefs and people of th.e Volta Region. I am strongly recommending that this august House must compel the Ministry responsible to take the necessary action to restore transmission with immediate effect. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Hon Members, that is the end of the Urgent Statement. Hon Members, I thank all of you for your support and co-operation in responding to the Speaker's summon to the House to transact business. I also thank you sincerely for the support I received from both sides of the House this morning with regard to this debate. I do not know- whether the Leaders want to say anything otherwise I adjourn the House. On this note, the House --
It is after 2.00 o'c1ock, do you want to say anything?
Yes, Mr Speaker. I just want, on behalf of the august House, to thank you and then all of us here for our patriotic call to duty. Mr Speaker, it is not easy for us to come back from recess and given the numbers that we have here, almost a total or a full House, I think that it is commendable. So I want to express our gratitude and appreciation to Hon Members for their commitment to national duty and I hope that, at every material time when we do have opportunity to call them, they would respond like they have done today. We are grateful to you all.
Well, Mr Speaker, I thought if you were going to grant him space then perhaps you were going to call me first before the Majority Leader. But it does not really matter. I think we have applied critical thinking to the main business -
Hon Minority Leader, the question I asked was whether Leaders wanted to say anything, there was no response from you and he started to - that is the question I posed to the Leaders.
Thank you. Mr Speaker, just to reiterate the point that we have clone justice to the primary reason for summoning us here. We have done our best. We hope that even after the approval, Government would sit down and look at the points that we have raised, just so that some day nobody revisits this matter because we insist that this condition that it is in, is not the best. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Members, on this note, this House is adjourned sine die.