Debates of 29 May 2018

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, we have the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 24th May, 2018 for correction.

[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 24th May, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, at the commencement of Public Business -- Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we may commence Public Business and start with the presentation of Papers, items numbered 4 (a) and (b).

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, Hon Members, presentation of Papers by the Hon Minister for Communications.

Speaker
Mr Haruna Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, rightly as said by the Chair, the Hon Minister owes you that respect. I take it that, that bow was to acknowledge that you are in the Chair. She must now bow properly for the Paper to be laid.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister for Communications, the Hon Minority Leader did not see you bow properly. You may now bow.

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 4 (b) by the Hon Minister for Finance? [Interruption.] Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I would just want to seek your indulgence to have the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice submit the Paper to the House on behalf of the Minister for Finance.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, ordinarily we would ask, as we are expected to, where the Hon Minister for Finance is? I know the learned Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is not a numbers and petroleum person, but she has the capacity to lay a Paper. We would respect that; but where is the Hon Minister for Finance?

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, this House in regularising this arrangement had a law passed to establish the Petroleum Holding Fund. The Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is the principal advisor on legal matters to the President and I would want to suggest to the Hon Minority Leader that she is qualified to do this job. She has the competence and capacity to discharge this function effectively and efficiently.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, leave is granted for the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance. By the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice (on behalf of the Minister for Finance) -- Reconciliation Report on the Petroleum Holding Fund for the year 2017. Referred to the Committee on Finance.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to take the item numbered 5; Motion?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, yes, Motion listed as item 5 may be taken.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, item numbered 5; Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, you may move your Motion. [Pause] Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, as you know, when a Motion of this character is moved by an Hon Minister, the Hon Chairman of the sector Committee would support it with the Report of the Committee. Unfortunately, we have just noticed that the Hon Chairman of the Committee is not around. So, we would want to inquire if the Hon Vice-Chairman or, indeed, any Hon Member of the Committee could hold the fort; then we may go on.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, so what do you suggest? Should we stand it down?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we may have to stand it down for the time being.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. What about item numbered 6? This is because, I can see that the Hon Chairman is not in the Chamber.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, item numbered 6, in the circumstance, would suffer the same fate.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well; items numbered 5 and 6 are stood down. [Pause] -- Hon Majority Leader, in the circumstance, I would abide by your guidance. [Pause.]

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Finance Committee would have dealt with items numbered 7, 8 and 9; but they conferred this morning and informed me that they had wanted to stand them down and deal with them tomorrow. Mr Speaker, but happily, I guess they have now agreed that, at least, one of them could be taken today. I am informed by a signal that they are ready to take item numbered 9, which is the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds. We have the Hon Vice-Chairman and the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee in the Chamber. So, they could deal with it whiles we wait for another important matter that the Table Office is handling together with the Hon Member of Parliament for Bia East. So, we could deal with item numbered 9.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minority Leader, do you have a comment on this one?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Leader, may be akin to his role. He communicated with me that we could consider Motion numbered 9 on the Order Paper. So, I consulted the Hon Ranking Member, who thinks that we could take that. So, you may permit the Hon Vice- Chairman to lead the discussion on the Committee's Report. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well; item numbered 9 -- Motion, by the Hon Chairman of the Committee.

MOTIONS

Speaker
Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, hold on. Hon Member for Tamale Central?

Speaker
Alhaji Fuseini

Mr Speaker, we are dealing with item numbered 9, which is a Motion. I have not heard anybody move nor second the Motion and all of a sudden he is just presenting the Report. They have not moved the Motion; neither has anybody seconded it.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, please move the Motion and then you may present the Report. Hon Majority Leader, do you want to comment on that?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the item listed 9 is a Motion that the House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 Fiscal Year. The position of the Hon Member for Tamale Central is that, he must first announce that he is moving the Motion, and then proceed. Mr Speaker, it is a matter of style. The Hon Member could make the submission and say to us that, “arising out of this, I move …” It is a matter of style. Mr Speaker, but since you have insisted that he should move the Motion, I would not, in any way, attempt to dilute the directive that you have given; but I would like to tell my Hon Colleague, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, that it is a matter of style.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, I did not know that the Hon Majority Leader has matured from a “Mourinho” to a “Zidane”. He wants a trio at a go. He knows what is appropriate, but I am sure he is guiding the Hon Vice-Chairman who has missed his steps; he should look for it and proceed. [Laughter.] Thank you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Vice- Chairman, kindly move the Motion and then present the Report.

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report.

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Transfers to GIIF The Committee noted that an amount of GH¢29.2 million was transferred to the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF). The technical team clarified that this transfer was done prior to the repealing of the GIIF enabling law. The amount transferred was to fund on-going projects under the Fund. The Committee was assured that the projects undertaken during the period would be captured in the Annual Report of GIIF for 2017. Exploration in the Volta Basin The Committee was informed that exploratory works undertaken by GNPC in the Volta Basin was on course. The 2D seismic acquisitions and geo-chemical explorations have already begun. The relevant data are currently being gathered for the necessary analysis. The technical team indicated that they expect to complete the exploration works on the Volta basin as scheduled. Capping of the Budget for GNPC for 2018 The Committee was informed that for 2018, GNPC budgeted GH$1.6 billion to finance its operations including its exploration and development projects, among others. Unfortunately, as a result of the capping law, the amount allocated in the budget is GH¢1 billion. This will adversely impact GNPC undertaking its activities timeously. The team pleaded with the Ministry of Finance to consider the strategic role of GNPC in the economy and urge the Minister for Finance to exempt GNPC from the capping law. Saltpond Field decommissioning Following the termination of the Saltpond Field Petroleum Agreement, the Committee was informed that GNPC has commenced the decommissioning of the field. The cost of the decommissioning is estimated at US$850, 000. The Contract has been awarded. Withdrawal from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund In a response to whether there were withdrawals from the GSF for 2017, the Committee was informed that ABFA targets for all three quarters were met. Consequently, no withdrawals were made from the GSF. Net Profit on GPFs for 2017 The total net profit on the Ghana Petroleum Funds (GPFs) for the period January to September, 2017 amounted to US$7.03 million. This amount was higher by US$2.34 million over the 2016 amount of US$4.69 million. Of this amount, Ghana Heritage Fund contributed US$5.20 million and the Ghana Stabilisation Fund contributed US$1.83 million. Reporting Period for the Annual Report The Committee noted that though the Report was an Annual Report, it captured only three quarters of the period from January to September, 2017. It was explained that per the law, the Report is to be submitted alongside the Budget. As at the time the Budget was submitted in November, only three quarters of the data would normally be available for reporting. The Committee was informed that last quarter information for 2017 would be captured in the 2018 Report.

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Ranking Member?

Speaker
Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson (NDC-- Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam)

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, I would like to draw the attention of the House to pages 2 and 3 of the Report. Mr Speaker, you would notice that on page 2, the Report stated that, a total amount of US$389.57million was actually what was allocated from the Petroleum Fund of which part was used. On page 3, the breakdown has been given in the Report; clearly, the GNPC had about US$126,673,291 amounting to an excess of GH¢500 million. If you are to compare what GNPC actually had to what accrued to the Budget in the form of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), it had US$217,094,006 equivalent to about GH¢868 million. Mr Speaker, my concern here is that, it is about time we paid attention to what the GNPC uses their money for. I say this becaus clearly, what goes into the Budget for the entire country is almost similar to what is going for the GNPC and so inasmuch as we take our time to scrutinise what goes into the Budget, it is also important that we scrutinise what the GNPC uses the oil revenue for.

Speaker
Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson (NDC-- Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Where are the Hon Members on the Finance Committee on the Majority Side? Yes, Dr Ayew?

Speaker
Dr N. A. Afriye

(NPP--Effiduase/ Asokore): Mr Speaker, thank you. I beg to associate myself with the Report. Definitely, when we compare to actuals and where we are holding a system that is very much accounted to expected expenditure versus actuals, then I tend to really wonder where we hold the system so much accountable. Actually, they banked about US$362 million and about US$789 million was projected to have been banked. Mr Speaker, inasmuch as I believe that there has been various variations in the oil sector, especially in 2017, I believe that the allocations were appropriate. I would be very happy if the House would adopt this Report in this regard. Mr Speaker, thank you very much.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member for Central?

Speaker
Mr Benjamin K. Kpodo (NDC -- Ho Central)

Mr Speaker, thank you. I beg to contribute to the Motion which calls on the House to approve the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Mr Speaker, we considered the Report in detail and I would want to just restrict myself to two issues. Firstly, by an Act of Parliament, that is the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, we have excluded the local structures that we have -- the district assemblies -- from benefitting from the oil revenue. Mr Speaker, I am not a lawyer or a judge, but by a constitutional provision, article 252 (2), we are expected to give 5 per cent of the total revenue to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF). Mr Speaker, continuously and by that Act, we have excluded the DACF from benefitting from the oil revenue and I believe that this is unconstitutional. In fact, if we even take out the amount due to GNPC and the Petroleum Funds to the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, we would have ABFA which is generally used for everything. So, why can we not take 5 per cent of that to enhance the DACF? Mr Speaker, that is my first point. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Ranking Member has noted, the Fund is to be spent in a particular manner -- 70 per cent on infrastructure and 30 per cent on recurrent expenditure. Mr Speaker, but when we take the allocation to the education sector, I found on page 3 that the ABFA allocated GH¢211,717,458 to physical infrastructure and service delivery in Education. Mr Speaker, in fact, the heading is Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education. So GH¢202,379,893.20 was actually given to the education sector, but not even GH¢1 was spent on capital projects. The whole amount of GH¢196,379,893.02 went to the free senior high school policy; GH¢6 million went to scholarship claims and zero for infrastructure. Mr Speaker, when we go round we see many of our schools that still have classes under trees. If we go to the second cycle institutions too, we see that many of them are ill-equipped. In fact, in my constituency, Shia Senior High School does not have any proper building for classroom activities, but we have completely ignored infrastructure out of an amount of over GH¢202 million. Mr Speaker, I believe that the managers of the Fund have to reverse and rethink because they cannot use all the amount for physical infrastructure and service delivery in the education sector for the free senior high school policy. The previous Government started building E-blocks but we cannot see any of them progressing. Mr Speaker, many of them have been abandoned and the classroom facilities for the day students are not available or are in insufficient numbers.

Speaker
Mr Benjamin K. Kpodo (NDC -- Ho Central)

Speaker
Mr Anthony Effah (NPP -- Asikuma/ Odoben/Brakwa)

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for 2017 Fiscal Year. Mr Speaker, the Committee observed that most of the targets that were set to be achieved in 2017 were really not achieved. Mr Speaker, if we take the case of royalties from the Jubilee Royalties, the expectation was that about US$134 million would be attained but US$91.7 was rather achieved. Mr Speaker, it even goes through the payments to the Carried and Participating Interest. While US$379 million was expected, only US$247 million was achieved. Mr Speaker, it is also on record from the Report that the production of gas for the period also fell short because of the plant maintenance on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah. We realised that activities during 2017 in the Jubilee Fields had slumped because of the timing of the maintenance on the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah. Mr Speaker, we noted that so much work had taken place on the Volta Basin and the Report we gathered was that the project to find more petroleum in the Volta Basin is on course and we expect that with the completion of work on the Volta Basin, we could get more than the country was able to receive in the year 2017. Mr Speaker, the Report says in its conclusion that all the requirements under the Petroleum Management Act were satisfied. So, I would like to recommend that the House adopts the Report as presented by the Hon Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member for Yapei/Kusawgu?

Speaker
Mr John A. Jinapor (NDC -- Yapei/ Kusawgu)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, if you take what Ghana has achieved so far, since the inception of the production of oil, the total amount that has accrued to the nation amounts to US$3.98 billion. And so, if you take the seven-year period, even discounting the year 2011, it means that we are receiving about US$666 million per annum. That is the total amount we get as a country from all our oil resources. Mr Speaker, I am saying this because people tend to believe that once we have found oil, it means we get so much revenue. However, when you look at the amount that we actually get and even compare that to the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) and to the Special Petroleum Tax, it is a small figure. So in my opinion we should begin to interrogate what we are actually getting and what we are utilising that for. Mr Speaker, even with this, 41 per cent of this amount goes to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), 31 per cent goes to GNPC for its equity participation and all the other interests; 20 per cent goes to the Ghana Stabilisation Fund; and 8 per cent goes to the Ghana Heritage Fund. So, every year, when we receive an average of about US$666 million, only 41 per cent of that amount is actually meant for expenditure through the Budget. It is important that we understand some of these issues so that when we put so much expectation on our oil revenues, we tend to misalign our expectations, and it creates a problem. Mr Speaker, if you look at what we accrued in the year 2017, that was why I was surprised when the Hon Member who spoke previously made the assertion that we did not achieve what we intended to get. We got US$362 million in the year 2017, compared to US$172 million in the year 2016. So it means that for the year 2017, we got more than double the total amount we got in the year 2016. It tells you that in the year 2017, we got a lot of money compared to the year 2016, because the Jubilee Fields were producing, the Tweneboa Enyenra Ntomme (TEN) Oil Fields were producing and now we have the Sankofa Fields coming on board. So, yes, volumes are increasing, but even the prices were also increasing. It means that Government got a lot of money. However, Mr Speaker, my worry is with Ghana Gas Company Limited. As I speak to you, Ghana Gas Company Limited is indebted to a tune of about US$750 million; and the company is virtually collapsing. Indeed, last year, they supplied 2,216,000,000 standard cubic feet of gas, and not even one penny was paid to them last year. If you look at the table, it captures revenues received from petroleum lifting, but nothing is captured on gas sales. Mr Speaker, while we pass the ESLA to deal with the legacy debt of about US$9.2 billion, we are compounding the debt with what is happening from the year 2017 thereabouts. I believe this House should take a particular interest in this matter. If we continue on this trajectory, we are likely to collapse the system. Mr Speaker, finally, if you look at page 26, in table 11 of the full document, it tells you how ABFA were spent. A total of US$265 million was allocated. Out of that, we are told that physical infrastructure and service delivery in the education sector was US$202 million. But when you look at the details, not a penny of this money was spent on physical infrastructure. All the moneys went into goods and services. Mr Speaker, if we have an economy where we spend so much on goods and services, but nothing on physical infrastructure, eventually, we will collapse the economy. I would wish that in adopting this, we make recommendations to the Ministry in particular to ensure that, if they tell us they are spending money on physical infrastructure, they actually do that and

Speaker
Mr John A. Jinapor (NDC -- Yapei/ Kusawgu)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Leadership?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, may I indulge you to accommodate one more contribution from each Side. It is an important Report, and the amount of money that we are looking at is huge. I see the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, and so if you could accommodate just one additional person before Leadership winds up, I would appreciate it.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Minority Leader is applying that I allow one more contribution; it is the same thing I am hearing. I am not hearing anything new, but I would hear you on that application.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I agree with you that at a point in time, we were getting repetitive contributions, but because our Hon Colleague is the Ranking Member on the Committee on Energy and Petroleum --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

He is the Ranking Member on what?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, he was a former Minister of the sector. We may accord him some space to make a few remarks.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Then, it has to go to the Majority before it comes to the Minority. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member for Ellembele?

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC -- Ellembele)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would begin from where our Hon Colleagues took off. On page 4, on paragraph 4.6, the Report talks about gas production for the period up to September 2017. The total gas produced amounted to 31 million standard cubic feet. Out of this volume, 20 million standard cubic feet was exported to the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant. Mr Speaker, that is where I would talk about the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant and the future of that important strategic plant. Mr Speaker, it is very important. I believe the point has been made, and my Hon Colleague, in pointing it out, talked about GH¢ 850 million. It is not in cedis, it is in United States dollars, and that is how huge that amount is. Mr Speaker, it has a huge implication for our energy security. It would even get worse in the middle of this year when we begin production from the Oil Field Sankofa, where there are clear penalties for failure to pay. The Energy Sector Levies is dealing with the debt in the downstream sector. It is time for us to look at the Petroleum Revenue Management and deal with the issue of gas indebtedness. That is the only way that we can really protect the future of Ghana National Gas Company Limited (Ghana Gas); that is the only way that we can do the expansion that is required for Ghana Gas. As we know, Ghana Gas has maximum of 150 million standard cubic feet of gas. Already, with Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) Oil Field coming in, we are already reaching the maximum. It is time for us to look at how we can expand that plant. That plant is so strategic; it is so indebted; Ghana Gas cannot move an inch. So as we discuss this issue, it is important we talk about gas production and how we free up Ghana Gas to perform its very important function. Mr Speaker, I believe the point is also made about capping funding for Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). That is also very critical. This year, as the Committee has noted, GNPC was capped, and because of that they could only get GH¢ 1billion, and GNPC is now forced to go for loans at very high interest rates. It is important that we discuss the strategic importance of Ghana Gas. As we do that, we must also look at - I remember in the last two years there was a lot of debate here about what GNPC should do and what GNPC should not do. This year when we met the Committee and had a presentation, we saw GNPC being stretched all over the place, doing

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC -- Ellembele)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, hold on. Yes, Hon Member for Adansi Asokwa?

Speaker
Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond

On a point of order. Mr Speaker, there must be some clarification whether the Hon Member is really attempting to clarify issues or trying to conflict issues. Mr Speaker, this is because, I recall distinctly some parliamentary terms ago, when the Hon Member sat in a chair close to that end, rose on allocation like this when we were discussing these oil matters, and made the pronouncement that he thought the Western Region was worthy of the 10 per cent. Mr Speaker, it is important to recall. It is a little too soon for everybody to have forgotten. The Hon Member was the substantive Minister for Petroleum. He had the occasion to put in place, if he thought it was necessary, the 10 per cent that he talked about. Mr Speaker, it just happens that he did not do anything about the 10 per cent for Western Region. Is it not right that the same former Minister now gets up in this House and asks the NPP Government to now put the 10 per cent in place -- ?

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you are not raising a point of order. It is a point of contribution, which is not permitted. Yes, please continue.

Speaker
Mr Buah

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I believe the point is made, and the general important point is that we must equitably ensure that this oil revenue -- Quite frankly, this is a very finite resource, and we have all said it here that there is a time limit. Mr Speaker, the general point that has also been noted is that, we must now begin to make sure that we allocate the money in areas that can have serious impact. I agree that we are all at fault, that we stretch revenue so thin that we cannot even identify what we have done with revenue. Mr Speaker, I believe it is time, as we look at this, to try to make sure that we can spend this oil revenue on critical infrastructure to have impact, especially where our mouth is in the Western Region. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr Frist Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Minority Leader? 12. 43 p. m.

Speaker
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu)

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would refer you to your Committee's Report, in particular, page 3, and I would start with paragraph 4.3. Mr Speaker, I would urge Hon Members of this House -- In this House, we passed the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), and with your indulgence, let me quote the Long Title. It says; “An Act to provide the framework for the collection, allocation and management of petroleum revenue in a responsible, transparent, accountable and sustainable manner for the benefit of the citizens of Ghana in accordance with article 36 of the Constitution and for related matters”. Mr Speaker, article 36 for our purposes provides, and with your indulgence again, I would quote: “The State shall take all necessary action to ensure that the national economy is managed in such a manner as to maximise the rate of economic development…”

Speaker
Mr Speaker, this is my emphasis

“… to maximise the rate of economic development and to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every person in Ghana and to provide adequate means of livelihood and suitable employment and public assistance to the needy.” So Mr Speaker, even as we debate this issue, I am yet to find any allocation to the needy. Mr Speaker, I referred you to page 3. Let me take you to table 3, Utilisation of ABFA as at September, 2017.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, this is my emphasis

Speaker
Mr Patrick Boamah

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minority Leader, please hold on. Yes, Hon Member for Okaikoi Central?

Speaker
Mr Boamah

Mr Speaker, I believe we need some further clarification from the Hon Minority Leader. This Report is not a Report for the entire year for which he is making that calculation. This is just for three quarters. So, we want some clarification on what he is doing.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Minority Leader, please take on board the suggestion.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, anka ne ka beko soro; to wit, his budget would go up. Mr Speaker, he should go to the Report, the numbers and figures are not mine, it is in the Committee's Report. The Committee has reported. I refer to Table.2, so the Hon Member, follow through. Table.2 -- ABFA and GPFs he would see an amount of US$217,094,006. Has he seen the US dollar figure there? So he should just take the calculator on his mobile phone and multiply US$217,09,006 by 4; it does not give him GH¢796,315,251, it gives him more than that. It actually gives him GH¢886milion. The Ministry of Finance must account to this House how they spent GH¢886 milion and not GH¢796,315,251 -- [Interruptions] - Whether they are coming back. This is Parliament. Mr Speaker, but I would refer to a second document; Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds. On page 26, paragraph 68. With your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote verbatim for the Report to Parliament. It states: “Total spending on Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education amounted to GH¢202.38 million” Mr Speaker, this is my emphasis, the amount is made up of GH¢196.38 million paid to support the implementation of Government's Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy. That is not infrastructure, but we agree that it is a Government's policy. But when in their Report they provide again that GH¢202 million on page 3 as I referred to says Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education, we should begin to separate the two. Service delivery in Education can be allocated that amount, but when they say infrastructure, it is misleading because the money has not been spent on physical infrastructure. So I demand the expen- diture on Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education between 2017 and 2018.

Speaker
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member for Effutu, are you on a point of order?

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Exactly so, Mr Speaker. In the very eloquent submissions by the Hon Minority Leader whom I so

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Your point is made. That same issue has been —

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleagues off-record are asking for what I said. I would want to repeat for the avoidance of doubt that the Report is not for the whole year.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, I heard you. That is what matters. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, first of all, to my Hon Colleague, if I refer to a table -- I see no table on page 5. So if he has some optical challenges, he should consult the Hon Majority Leader. There is no table on page 5 so I could not have been referring to a table on page 5. Mr Speaker, I was just on the Petroleum Report, as I quoted, and I am saying that if it is Government's policy that we are spending on, it is justified. But we should categorise it; expenditure on Service Delivery, Government Policy-Free SHS then we justify the amount of money allocated for that and separate it from Physical Infrastructure. This is because I know that between 2017 and yesterday, this amount of money has been spent on Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education. If anybody in Government has evidence of expenditure on Physical Infrastructure, let him submit same to this august House and to the Ghanaian public. Mr Speaker, you would note that on page 26 as I referred to, it is GH¢196.38 million, in addition to some GH¢6 million which went to the Scholarship Secretariat. That rounds it up to GH¢202 million. Annual Budget Funding Amount -- it is not for nothing that in this House, we have provided that Government would periodically review the priority expenditure of the petroleum funds. This Government is free to do so pursuant to the law. I would conclude with paragraph 4.5, “Impact of changes in the World Oil Prices”. And with your permission, I beg to quote:

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu)

Mr Speaker, I am happy and extremely excited by the submission of the Hon Minority Leader. We should join hands in this pursuit and ensure that we spend the revenue from petroleum resources, knowing that petroleum is a finite product. We should make use of its revenue in a very judicious manner. Sometimes, one would wonder whether the Hon Minority Leader is a product of today. He is a product of yesterday and indeed, the day before yesterday. When we kept --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, the Second Deputy Speaker would take the seat from me.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

I would hold on, Mr Speaker.

MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, you may continue.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I was saying that some of the issues that the Hon Minority Leader has raised should concern all of us. Except that sometimes, I wonder whether he is being consistent. That is why I reminded him that he is not a product of even yesterday but a product of the day before yesterday. When we came to smithing the Petroleum Revenue Management Act and we wanted to listen to some of them, there were people who said that -- I remember when the Bill came to the House, some of us insisted that we should not spread ourselves thinly over vast stretches and that we should confine ourselves to defined areas. This is in order that we look over our shoulders after the exhaustion of the resource and we would be able to point to landmark issues to say to ourselves that this is what we applied the petroleum revenue on. Mr Speaker, I would not respond to the conjectures of the Hon Minority Leader. I am talking about the group as it was yesterday. I agree that we may have to take a second look at the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, in order for us to assure ourselves that as a country, we would have benefits from the resource. Not that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, we would wake up and realise that there are no landmark events in the history of this country that we could point fingers at, that this is what we would apply the monies on. I am happy that we see some allocation to road, rail and other critical infrastructure. Mr Speaker, remember I said at the time that we could perhaps dedicate the revenue to the construction of railways, maybe over a three-year period, and we would see what we would achieve by that. We decided to venture into Information Technology (IT) with it -- We applied substantial portion of the revenue made in a year on that, we would see the achievement, but allocating something for the purchase of insecticide to build human capacity and so on and so forth -- Mr Speaker, we should be careful as a nation where we are going - we are entering a slippery road. Except to assure the Hon Minority Leader, sometimes I get confused because the reports that we have been receiving usually cover a nine- month period, which is from January to September, and with what is left from October to December, usually, we do not apply critical eyes because that should tell us the true story. Mr Speaker, four years ago, I raised a similar concern that allocations to the real expenditure to the areas that we had applied allocations to were not adequately compensated as it were, and we were told at the time that the revenues would stream in between October and December, because we were told that in winter in Europe, petroleum prices usually go higher. When it eventually surfaced, there was nothing really to talk about in that regard. Mr Speaker, I believe that we should apply ourselves to the entire picture and then we would know how well we have fared in the allocation. For the Physical Infrastructure and Service Delivery in Education, GH¢211 million was budgeted for, we spent GH¢202 million and that is close to it. Mr Speaker, I do know also that in Agriculture, though Gh¢156 million was allocated, we remember with the occurrence of the Fall Army worms in 2017 and the introduction of the ‘‘Planting for Food and Jobs''mantra, so much was pumped into that. At a point in time, about GH¢200 million was allocated to ‘‘Planting for Food and Jobs'' which was outside the allocation. Maybe, if we looked at it carefully, we could see some balancing act that has been done. Subsequently, another GH¢ 176 million or so was added. We need to have a complete picture before we would be positioned to pass judgment. As it is, we are left in a quandary, and I believe Hon Eric Opoku who is the spokesperson on Agriculture would bear me out on this. We overspent on Agriculture last year. If we see that the allocation to Agriculture here does not measure up, how do we do the balancing? That would give us a better picture because if some moneys were vied and then pumped into Agriculture, certainly, it would be expected that allocation here would then find its way to that place -- those places where the moneys were vied for. That is why I said that we should look at the complete picture before we would be able to judge. Mr Speaker, Hon Armah Buah spoke about the fact that some people said that the headquarters of the petroleum system should be in the Western Region. That really is constitutional, and I believe that he would apply his mind to that. If we would want to change the Constitution, we should say so, but the same reason played out when people started that in the 1992 Constitution. The headquarters of cocoa production should be sited in Brong Ahafo Region or wherever. Initially it was the Ashanti Region and that is how come, by way of compensation, the Cocoa Clinic was to be located in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region even though they had a small clinic in Accra. Mr Speaker, it is something that we have injected into our own Constitution. If we believe that we must repudiate it, we should say so, but if anybody raises it, the person is only talking about constitutional provision and one cannot fault that person. Mr Speaker, I believe Hon Buah would bring himself to appreciate this. [Interruption.] I would yield to him.

Speaker
Mr Buah

rose

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Mr Buah

Mr Speaker, I was simply re- echoing what H. E. the President then in opposition and then when he was in power told the chiefs in the Western Region. That is exactly what I said -- that he would move the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) headquarters to the Western Region.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, today, if we have huge developments, and as we all anticipate to have flows from the Voltarian Basin, then we would change and move the headquarters from the Western Region to Keta in the Volta Region. Mr Speaker, people should learn to be realistic, and that was why I said that we should apply ourselves to the Constitution. If we would want to vary or amend it in a way, we should say so, but if anybody talks to the constitutional provision, we would not get up in the House and fault that person. Mr Speaker, I share some of the sentiments expressed by the Hon Minority Leader and I believe that we should be much more concerned about the expenditure -- what we apply the petroleum revenues to. Mr Speaker, to respond a bit to what Hon Jinapor said that the annual takings were in the region of GH¢ 666 million per annum and we earned GH¢ 389 million, he says it is not a short fall -- It is not a remarkable one. Clearly, the average anticipation, of the GH¢ 666 million that he mentioned should even go up year by year because we increase production now with the inclusion of the TEN Fields and the Sankofa. Certainly, it would be appreciating, and that is why it is important to ensure that whatever we have, we apply it judiciously, so that as I keep saying, we would be able, looking back to see where we applied the moneys to and whether they profited the people of this country. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the space.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, before I put the Question, I want clarification on two issues. The Hon Majority Leader also referred to one of them. Under paragraph 4.13 on page 5 in the Report which is ‘'Reporting Period for the Annual Report''. I would want to know whether in this 2017 Report, the last quarter of the 2016 was captured? That is what we were told by the officials who appeared before the Committee. Do you believe that the last quarter of 2017 would be captured in the preceding Report? Is that the case?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, yes, it is. The last quarter of 2017 is not part of our Report.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Yes, I know it is not part of the Report. What about the last quarter of 2016, is it part of this Report? Did you report on it, because I have not seen anything in that direction?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, it is not part of the Report.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, usually, the last quarter is supposed to be part of the budget presentation.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, precisely the point the Hon Majority Leader raised when he responded to some of the issues that we raised. Mr Speaker, I believe you should direct properly for accountability of all the quarters; 2016, 2017 — What happened between the period which is not captured under the reports that were submitted to us? That would be of particular interest to the House.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, for instance, if we take page 6 of the Report, which I beg to read

“During the deliberations, it came to the fore that Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has indicated it will require about US$986.13 million for implementa- tion of its programmes for the year, 2018. In view of this, it intends to take a loan of more than US$564.81 million to augment its resources to finance its activities for 2018. In the Budget, however, only GH¢1 billion was allocated to the Company. The Committee therefore urges the Finance Minister to take particular interest in the activities of GNPC, especially in the areas of their finances and borrowings.” Mr Speaker, what about Parliament? It should not just be Parliament. I believe your question is appropriate; we should ask for accountability for all the unaccounted quarters in respect of the use of the petroleum fund.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

I will simply draw the attention of the Committee to inquire into those periods so that we could get better guidance later on as to what happens to them. Even though they are captured in the Budget, constitutionally they should at least reflect in the Report.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I believe it is about the methodology applied by the Finance Committee. Even if it comes with the presentation of the Budget, it should be isolated and reported on so that we shall have the full complement of the report for the whole year. I believe that is how it should be done. But usually, when it comes, it is not isolated and reported on by the Finance Committee, and there appears to be some gap. For us to have the full complement, we should insist that the Finance Committee covers the remaining three- month period and report separately on that to this House, so that we shall have the full complement of the entirety of the year.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Exactly the position I would want the House to articulate and to guide the Committee on Finance. But the last one is at page 6 of the Report, under paragraph 5.2 — “Amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management law” “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to effect an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Law…” Is that what the Committee is asking the House to do?

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Exactly so?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, because if we look at the Order Paper for today —

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Are you recommending to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to amend the law?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, no. We would amend the law. We would like the Hon Minister for Finance to come to the House for the amendment to be made.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Is that what is in your Report? Mr K. A. Asiamah Mr Speaker, that is what you just read.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

I am quoting from paragraph 5.2: “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to effect an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Law…”

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, it is to initiate an amendment to it. Mr Speaker, if we look at the Order Paper for today, the last three months from 2017— Reconciliation Report on the Petroleum Holding Fund. Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin -- rose —

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Well, I see the Hon Member for Effutu on his feet. Do you want to assist the Hon Vice Chairman?

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, with respect and your leave, it is not clear what the Hon Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman of the Committee wants to do. Is it his intention to seek your leave to amend that aspect which says: “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to effect an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Law…” to a new phrase which would say: “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to initiate an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Law…” He should make it known if that is his intention. We do not know.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, from the explanation offered by the Hon Vice Chairman, I believe the import of this is that, they are urging the Hon Minister to trigger an amendment, so we would delete “effect” and insert “trigger”.

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong

Mr Speaker, if we take a look at the actual report which was laid in this House; The Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds for 2017 Fiscal Year, if we turn to page 16, it makes reference to the last lifting at the last quarter of 2016. It accounted for the last lifting in 2016 and added on the first quarter of 2017. But the Report did not state those lifting and that is why we are confused about what the Report is saying. If we take the reconciliation account, it would account for the last quarter of 2016, together with the first, second and the third quarter of 2017. But the Report was silent on the last quarter lifting of 2016. The Hon Vice Chairman should have explained to that effect so that if we do the reconciliation, we would see the carried-forward from 2016. That is why we raised the issue that if we say annual report and we are given up to September ending, then it could not be annual report, but reporting up to September ending.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

I think we have to end it here.

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, early on, the Hon Majority Leader was making a point regarding the Finance Committee having to separate reports and addressing us accordingly on same. Mr Speaker, but my confusion, and this is why I am bringing it up for clarification; situations where the Finance Committee engages GNPC for information, when same was not as a result of a referral made by this House, can the Finance Committee lay a report on an information that it has obtained suo motu? It is a bit confusing and I would want a clarification on this matter. Can the Finance Committee lay a report on a matter it has inquired into, suo motu?

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Well, you know the Speaker presides and gives guidance and rulings. I am aware that there have been two conflicting rulings in this matter by earlier Speakers. One Speaker thought that, yes, a committee could, on its own, initiate an action of oversight and report to the House but another thought otherwise.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, with the leave of the House, I would say, yes. [Interruption.]

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, would you address the Chair?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, with the leave of the House. [Pause]

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, with the leave of the House, what do we do?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, with the leave of the House, we would like to appeal to the Hon Minister responsible for Finance to come to the House and initiate measures to amend the Petroleum Revenue Amendment Law. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, by the rules, if the Hon Vice Chairman is seeking the leave of the House, he would be doing the wrong thing. It is the Rt. Hon Speaker; so I told him he should address the Rt. Hon Speaker and not his Hon Colleagues. His Hon Colleague has misled him. Hon Vice Chairman, you are seeking my leave to amend the Report of the Committee before the House?

Speaker
Mr K. A. Asiamah

Mr Speaker, exactly so. I would like to seek your leave to amend the Report of the Committee. I thank you.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, kindly amend that portion of the Report under paragraph 5.2 to read: “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to urge the Minister for Finance to initiate an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Law for the Report to be submitted in the first quarter of the following year in order to ensure that the Report captures the entire year under review.” I have a different view on it but that is what the Committee wants to submit. So, we take it as so amended. I would now put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, I have a Statement with me here; it is actually a tribute standing in the name of Mr Augustine Tawiah, the Member of Parliament for Bia West. This is being done on behalf of the Parliament of Ghana in memory of the Late Hon Michael Coffie Boampong; he was a former Member of Parliament. He is one of our Hon Colleagues who just lost the 2016 elections and passed away a few weeks ago. So, a tribute is to be made in his memory. Hon Members, I would want to grant permission to the Hon Member to do so now.

STATEMENTS

Speaker
Dr Augustine Tawiah (NDC -- Bia West)

Thank you Mr Speaker for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, Parliament was deeply saddened by the news of the passing on of Hon Michael Coffie Boampong which sad event occurred on the 29th of January, 2018 at the 37-Military Hospital in Accra. He became a Member of this August House in January 2001, having been elected to represent the people of Bia West in the Western Region on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (N.D.C) until the 6th of January, 2017. The late Hon Member (a.k.a M. C. Boampong) was born on 6th March, 1962 at Sefwi Essam in the Bia West District of the Western Region to the late Opanyin Kofi Boampong of La Cote d'Ivoire and the late Obaapanyin Abena Fremah Taatuo of Sefwi Essam. He had his Middle School Leaving Certificate at Essam L/A Middle in 1978 and continued his Secondary Education at Sefwi Wiawso Secondary School (SEWASS) where he obtained his ‘O' Level Certificate in June, 1983. Mr Speaker, he was then employed as a clerk with the Social Security Bank Limited, Essam Branch for two (2) years. Thereafter, he enrolled at the Kumasi Polytechnic in 1985 to study Business Administration and was awarded Diploma in Business Studies in 1987. In the same year, he was employed as a Clerk with the Internal Revenue Service and Stationed at Sefwi Oseikojokrom Border post. He rose through the ranks to attain the District Accountant position for the Wiawso-Bibiani operational area in the year 2000. In the same year, 2000, the late Hon M. C. Boampong won the bid for the first time to contest for the Bia Constituency Parliamentary seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which he won massively having obtained 76 per cent of the total votes cast. However, his party lost the Presidential seat to the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). He again represented the people of Bia in Parliament for 2005, 2009 and 2013 successively. Hon M. C. Boampong served on a number of Parliamentary Committees including the Committees on Mines and Energy, Poverty Reduction, Special Budget, Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs and Committee on Roads and Transport, the latter of which he chaired for quite some time. Mr Speaker, Hon M. C. Boampong, served his constituency and Mother Ghana with great devotion. Indeed, the good people of Bia and later Bia West will never forget the role he played in the creation of the Bia District out of Juaboso - Bia with its capital at Essam - Debiso in 2004. As a matter of fact, he was committed to social and infrastructural development of the area. During his tenure, the District saw significant improvement in school buildings and health infrastructure such as the New Ponkor D/A Primary, Nyame Bekyere D/A Primary and the Essam D/A Primary. Among others, he also contributed towards the establishment of Adjoafua Senior High School, the construction of a six (6) unit classroom block, the Essam

Speaker
Dr Augustine Tawiah (NDC -- Bia West)

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, this is a Statement under Standing Order 71, so we would permit a few comments from Hon Members. Yes, Hon Sampson Ahi?

Speaker
Mr Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Bodi)

I thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to pay tribute to my senior Colleague, the former Member of Partliament (MP), Hon M. C. Boampong.

Speaker
Mr Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Bodi)

Speaker
Mr Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Bodi)

Speaker
Mr Patrick Y. Boamah (NPP-- Okaikoi Central)

I thank you very much, Mr Speaker. It is very sad on this day to be paying tribute to a very calm, respectful and accommodating former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bia. Mr Speaker, I quite remember that I went to the 37 Military Hospital one day to visit a friend and I was told that one of our Hon Colleagues was in one of the wards. I did not know who it was, so I walked in and there was our own Colleague, Hon Boampong. So I asked what was wrong with him and he told me what he was suffering from. I did what I had to do as a friend and a Colleague. Mr Speaker, his interaction with us, first timers then, was very good. He gave us pieces of advice here and there. We always met downstairs. We had a place where we went to massage -- the reflexology. [Uproar!] He was a regular member there and would sit with us, talk to us as his junior brothers, and share experiences with us regardless of our age and where we came from.

Speaker
Mr Patrick Y. Boamah (NPP-- Okaikoi Central)

Speaker
Some Hon Members

rose

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Well, both of you are -- who is senior? [Interruptions.] [Laughter.] Hon Richard Acheampong?

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong (NDC -- Bia East)

Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, today is one of the saddest days in our lives. I would like to pay tribute to my former Hon Member of Parliament, Hon M. C. Boampong. He had paid his dues to Mother Ghana and the Parliament of Ghana. He served the country for about 16 years in this House. Mr Speaker, in the year 2007, as a young man, I wanted to contest Hon M. C. Boampong. The information got to him that I wanted to contest the seat. He called me on the phone and asked my reasons for contesting him because he had done well and provided everything the people needed. If we read the tribute, many projects were attributed to the late Hon Member. Unfortunately, he was voted against during our primaries in the year 2016. Per his interaction, he did not fight back. So I gave him another chance and went back to my job. I came back in 2011 to contest him again. We worked hand in hand as if nothing had happened. One afternoon, an Hon Colleague from the other Side of the House met me during my campaign programme and told him there was a young man who wanted to -- he said he was aware it was me and that he would deal with it when the time came. Fortunately, Bia East Constituency was created out of Constituency Bia. So, we went our separate ways. I did not disturb him any longer. We were so close. We shared many things in common. He is so nice and kind to almost everybody that came his way. Mr Speaker, this again brings to mind the welfare of Hon Members. This is because after he exited from this House -- we know that we spend a lot of money and resources during our primaries. So for someone who had lost his primaries, things were not all that well for the late Hon Member. What do we learn from his demise? He is gone; tomorrow, it would be our turn. It is either we would leave this House voluntarily or somebody would contest us and we would lose an election. How are we preparing for our exit? There is no welfare package for Hon Members. The notion out there is that Hon Members of Parliament are well endowed; we have more resources because we sit in big cars. People do not know that we take loans to procure those vehicles. We are called upon to support every expenditure. Even if Hon Members do not have it, we are to borrow to do those things. I just engaged a friend at the bank who told me that, had it not been for his transfer to the bank's Parliament House branch, he did not know the extent to which Hon Members were so poor, and the kind of loans Hon Members contract. So if one is unfortunate and voted against, one goes home as wretched as any other person on the street. So we have to also take care of our welfare and plan our exit. This is so that if we lose elections, at least, there would be a kind of cushion to sustain our lives, and we could live longer to take care of our families. Mr Speaker, I am guided by Standing Order 71. I do not need to speak much on this. All I would say is: Hon Boampong, damirifa due; due ne amanehunu. To wit, may his soul rest in perfect peace.

Speaker
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu)

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to give an account of my experience with our departed Hon Brother and Colleague. Mr Speaker, it is written that the wisest of men knows not how soon death would come. Death is the grand leveller of all human greatness. Mr Speaker, it is no doubt that our Hon Colleague was respected in this House. Like Hon Patrick Boamah said, when we came here in the year 2013 -- Of course, today, I am 40 years old and I have some grey hair. I was skinnier and younger in

Speaker
Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu)

age than today. Our respected departed Hon Brother took the burden on himself to educate and teach us parliamentary politics, relationship building, et cetera. Mr Speaker, I recall that one afternoon, when I was in Opposition, he bought some food and we shared lunch. He told me in Twi that -- I would not repeat it; I would go straight ahead. He said that in this House, one does not antagonise. We do that on radio; but here, we build friendships. He taught us that, and right from there we developed it. He told us that we the young men should bond. He gave us the example of Hon J. H. Mensah and Hon J. H. Owusu-Achampong of blessed memory. He even asked us to monitor the behaviour and the way Hon Dr A. A. Osei debated. He told us to watch their good relationships; they do not offend, but they made their points. Mr Speaker, he was the Hon Chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee. I was not an Hon Member of the Committee, but on numerous occasions, he invited me to visit as a friend so that if there were matters of blessed assurance, same could perhaps be extended. I could not honour any of such invitations. Mr Speaker, there was no doubt that he was indeed a man of honour. Hon Colleagues respected him; junior and senior Hon Colleagues respected him. It is unfortunate. When I watched the posters, I said that wow, my uncle is gone. Mr Speaker, in particular, I remember when he lost his primaries -- we know how devastating that could be. He came back well-composed and calm. He said that in life, one must prepare for anything that happens. He continued with his work. Mr Speaker, what lessons have I learnt from the life of our departed Hon Colleague? And what lessons could we learn from this? Our ability to endure in crises and manage each other -- politics would come and go. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) would come and go; but we remain Hon Sampson Ahi, Hon Kwame Agbodza, Hon Afenyo-Markin and Hon Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin. The “Messis” would remain the “Messis”, and my respected Hon Minority Leader would remain Hon Haruna Iddrisu. The relationship must be there. That is the best way we could identify ourselves. [Interruptions] -- I said the Hon Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, would remain Hon Haruna Iddrisu. Mr Speaker, this is not a moment of debate. I should not be provoked. We are paying tribute to a respected late Hon Colleague. Mr Speaker, our Hon Friend stood for building relationships. It is written somewhere, but I have forgotten that in some time past, people survived on their levels of intelligence, confidence and power. Today, it is team or relationship building. If you do not respect an Hon Colleague and do not keep a relationship, there will come a time when you realise that you burned some bridges and one day that you have to come back home, you cannot cross over. Mr Speaker, may our respected Hon Colleague rest in perfect peace. Not too long ago, our former President Jerry John Rawlings had anticipated going to Heaven and my Hon Colleague, Sampson Ahi has also said same a while ago. May I humbly also say that my desire is to meet the Maker in Heaven one day and with the assurance that our Hon Colleague is already there, it can only be our hope that we will meet there. Mr Speaker, of course, subject to doing all that is needful --

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, this is a very solemn occasion and so be guided.

Speaker
Mr Afenyo-Markin

Mr Speaker, so subject to doing all that is needful to give us a safe passage to that blessed Paradise, I thank you for the opportunity, and once again, may the soul of our Hon Colleague rest in perfect peace. My condolences to the family; his wife and children in particular and all those dependents he has left behind. May God bless his soul once again. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, in view of the state of Business of the House, I direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period. Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity and let me also thank Dr Augustine Tawiah -- Our Hon Colleague who has led the eulogy of our fomer Hon Colleague and Member -- Hon Michael Coffie Boampong. We have lost a calm, hardworking gentleman who was committed to the development of his area and in particular, rural Western region. Mr Speaker, I had the privilege to work with him when we arrived here in January, 2005 as an Hon Member on Mines and Energy. As Hon Colleagues have said, even in my youthfulness, he will spare time to share some counsel. We have therefore lost a counselor, a friend of the disabled persons; he was very committed in everything that he did, mindful of what was in each project that would benefit persons with disability. Mr Speaker, one day, as I walked the stairs here -- I am sure at that time, I was then Hon Minister for Communications. He indicated to me that in his area, he wanted a frequency modulation (FM) station and so, I turned to him and asked; what category? Was it community, commercial or public? Then he answered and said, he just wanted a radio station to serve his particular area and I said he should take the initiative to get appropriate documentation and apply same to the National Communications Authority (NCA) to see how we could facilitate the expansion of access to information in that area so that he could use that as a further tool to propagate some of his good works and the good works of many other areas. It is therefore with a heavy heart that we see his sudden departure and I can only wish him well. We share a moment of grief with his family and we wish and pray that he rests in the bosom of the Lord. Mr Speaker, I cannot, in paying this tribute -- I am sure that I have attempted, in the last few days, weeks and months to be in your shoes as Hon Minority Leader.

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

While in the Executive, I had the privilege to serve continuously for eight years, but I did not truly appreciate what Hon Members of Parliament went through while serving and outside service. Therefore having attempted to be in his shoes, I now understand what it means to be a former Hon Member of Parliament. As we get into this august House, our tastes, spending patterns and earnings change. The stress to our health and depression change, becoming a daily part of us. How to manage it, I am sure he is one of the few Hon Members who probably, like many -- Mr Speaker, I should thank the Rt. Hon Speaker and Hon Members of the Parliamentary Service Board that recently, we took a bold and courageous decision to allow former Hon Members of Parliament to access the clinic of Parliament. Daily, as I sit as the Hon Minority Leader, I am told, particularly by spouses that their husbands, former Hon Colleagues are not well and need support to do a scan or to get medication. Mr Speaker, therefore this House -- It is not just necessarily a matter of welfare, I am sure that I am working with my Hon Colleague, the Majority Leader together with the Rt. Hon Speaker and your good self. We should insist on the establishment of a Provident Fund dedicated to the Parliament of Ghana. If we do make a judicious use of that Provident Fund, it should be able to support many when they exit and when they are on retirement. So the death of the Hon Boampong and many of our Hon Colleagues in their prime -- I am told biblically that God's wish is that we live up to 70 years and there are those who pray to live longer than that and that person is watching me. Mr Speaker, may I thank the Hon Tawiah for including Hon Boampong. Do you want me to share what we have discussed? When they were paying tribute to Mr Appiah Menka, your burden increased. You know the numbers. Your numbers are still very small. You have to increase the numbers. Maybe we continue to do more for the rural folks. He was very concerned about the relationship between poor road network and cocoa and the fact that cocoa was a cash crop which was bringing in a lot of money for the Western region, yet the Region remained deprived. Let us eulogise his memory doing something for feeder roads and more durable roads for the people in the Western region. The NDC has lost a great asset in that area. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, is there any word?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I also rise to say a few words about the Hon Michael Coffie Boampong affectionately called M. C. Boampong whose sudden demise we mourn today. I got to know the Hon M. C. Boampong when entering this House for the first time, he came to tell me that he was at the time staying in my constituency and we struck a good bond from then on. Mr Speaker, he stayed there until a couple of years ago when he moved to live in his own structure. Mr Speaker, I

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I do not want to go on the wings of what the Hon Ahi said that he knows Father Abraham would provide him a good place in heaven and that he would wait till the time he meets him there. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the space provided.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, our late Hon Colleague was born on the 6th of March, 1962 at Sefwi Essam in the Bia West District of the Western Region. Therefore, he is a full blooded Ghanaian. Hon Members, please let us observe a minute silence.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

May his soul rest in peace. Amen. Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we have come to the end of proceedings for today. With the two other outstanding businesses, we told ourselves that we would confer with the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee but unfortunately we have not been able to resolve those matters so we would stand them down until another time. Mr Speaker, the time is past two o'clock so you may in your own volition adjourn the House even though the Motion could still be moved to that effect. Mr Speaker, it has become con- ventional, when we go beyond two o'clock the Speaker adjourns on his own accord. Mr Speaker, so, I would pray you to do what is conventional. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Well, Hon Minority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Iddrisu

Mr Speaker, we are in your hands since we have passed 2.00 p.m. I should state that, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee is on a delegation abroad together with some Hon Members and Leadership of Parliament. I was conferring with an Hon Member of the Committee to see whether their Reports could be taken, and it appeared that the Reports have not been generated or concluded upon. So, we might have to adjourn proceedings and look into other matters. Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr Second Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, I proceed to adjourn the House till tomorrow, Wednesday, at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.

ADJOURNMENT

The House was adjourned at 2.14 p.m. till Wednesday, 30th May, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.