VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings 0fFr1'day, 15th July, 2011.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 12th July, 2011.]
Let us go to the Commencement of Public Business-- Presentation of Papers- Hon Majority Leader, item 4 (a) (i). Minister for Finance and Economic Planning?
Madam Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence and humbly request that the Hon Minister for Defence lays item 4(a)(i) on behalf of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning. The Hon Deputy Minister is on his way here but has not arrived. With your kind permission, the Hon Minister for Defence can lay item 4(a) (i)- We will defer item 4(a)(ii) because it has to be explained and we hope that the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning will come and explain that one. I think the figure was US$250,000,000.00 but now it is US$267,000,000.00- He will have to come and explain to the House before we lay that one. So, we defer item 4(a)(ii),.then the report for item 4(b); yes, I will lay that one. But item 4(c) is not yet ready. That is the Finance Committee on the Supplementary Estimates- They will still meet today and tomorrow. Hopefully, they will lay the report. Item 4(d) is also ready for laying. Thank you.
Madam Speaker, as a matter of principle, I am not against the Hon Minister for Defence laying the Paper but I fail to see the need for the distinction. If the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is on the way here, then he might as well come and lay both. If he is not coming, then we can allow the Hon Minister forDefence to lay it. But if the idea is that he is on the way coming, then why do we not go to the others, lay those papers and he comes to lay both?
Madam Speaker, I have no objection, so we can defer item 4(a)(i) and J 4(a)(ii) and then do item 4 (b) and item 4 (d). As I said, item 4(0) is not yet ready. The Finance Committee meeting on the Supplementary Estimates and the Chairman of the Committee says that the report, hopefully, will be ready tomorrow. So, we will take 4(1)) and item 4(d).
What about item 4(c)? Leader, you said item 4 (c ) is not ready to be laid? No? What about item 4 (d) then?
Yes, Madam Speaker, item 4 (d) is not yet ready as I indicated . Sony, item 4(c) is not yet ready, (d) is ready. By the Chairman of the Committee Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Ghana Maritime Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011.
Item 4 (d) (ii), Chairman of the Committee? By the Chairman of the Committee Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Ghana Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill, 2011. By the Chairman of the Committee- Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Ghana Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2011.
Yes, Leader, we move to item 5 now.
That is so. The Hon Minister for Defence is here to move Motion numbered 5?
BILLS -SECOND READING
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 be now read a Second time. Madam Speaker, the purpose of this Bill is to revise and amen the law relating to military veterans and create a governing body vested with the authority to seek and protect their welfare. Madam Speaker, in 1960, the Ghana Legion Act was enacted to acknowledge the immense contribution of military veterans to the country's political emancipation and to world peace through the United Nations. The Ghana Legion Act was repealed by the Ghana Legion Decree 1974 (N RCD 285). The objects of this Decree were among others to provide for the welfare of military veterans in Ghana, foster among them the spirit of comradeship and to provide them with free legal aid when required. Madam Speaker, over the years, new issues of developments affecting the welfare of military veterans have arisen, which require urgent attention and redress. Madam Speaker, the need to make the law more relevant to military veterans and in particular to provide for a more efficient and effective governance, operational' administrative and financial framework to expeditiously manage all matters affecting their well-being necessitated the introduction of this Bill. Madam Speaker, it is my fervent hope that this august House would ensure the smooth passage of this Bill for the provision of a better legal frame-work for the management of the affairs of our military veterans. Madam Speaker, I thank you. A Question proposed.
Madam Speaker, I will crave your indulgence to support the Motion as moved by the Minister for Defence. In doing so, I will present the Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior. l .0 Introduction Pursuant to articles 103 (3) and 106 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders 125 and 158, the Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG) Bill, 2010 was presented and read the First time on 29th November, 2010 and subsequently referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior for consideration and report. 1.1 The Committee, in considering the Bill, met with the Hon Minister forDefence as well as officials of the Veterans Association of Ghana, the Attorney- General's Department and various stakeholders, and thoroughly deliberated on the provisions of the Bill. 1.2 The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and all the officials who attended upon it for their clarifications, valuable inputs and essential contri- butions made while examining the Bill. 2.0 References The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of the House; iii. The Ghana Legion Decree, 1974 (NRCD285); iv. Memorandum from the Veterans Association of Ghana; and v. Background notes received from the Ministry of Defence. 3.0 Background information On attainment of independence from Great Britain, the Ghana Legion Act, 1960 was enacted_ The object of the Act was not only to acknowledge the immense contribution of military service personnel to the country's political emancipation but also to world peace through service with the United Nations. More importantly, Government had recognised the state of frustration, despair and helplessness of veterans of World Wars I and 11, who had returned home only to realise there was no scheme in place for their resettlement and rehabilitation. In 1974, the Ghana Legion Act, 1960 was repealed and replaced with the Ghana Legion Decree, 1974 (NCRD 285). The objects of the Decree among others were to cater for the welfare of all ex-servicemen in Ghana, foster the spirit of comradeship among them and provide them with free legal aid. Though NCRD 285 seemed to have achieved its objectives, with time, new concerns arose regarding the welfare of veterans, necessitating a review of the Decree to make it more relevant to meet the needs of veterans in today's society. This Bill is being proposed to replace the Ghana Legion Decree, 1974 (NRCD 285) and to establish an entity to be called "The Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG)".
The Bill will consolidate and amend the existing laws in relation to veterans or ex- service-men and to create a governing body vested with authority to seek and protect the welfare of all eX-service personnel of the Gold Coast and Ghana. 4.0 Object of the Bill " The Bill seeks to revise and amend the law related to veterans and create a u governing body vested with authority to seek and protect the welfare of veterans of the Gold Coast and Ghana. This has become necessary as critical issues regarding the welfare of military veterans or ex-service personnel keep emerging. This necessitated the revision of NRCD 285 in order to make the law more relevant to veterans. ‘The numerous intended amendments to the existing law makes it expedient to re-enact the legislation, hence the-introduction of this Bill. 5.0 Sections of the Bill The Bill is divided into four main sections, namely: Veterans Administration; Regional, District and Local Councils; Financial and Administrative Provisions; and Miscellaneous Provisions. 6.0 Highlights of the clauses of the Bill The Bill consists of 28 clauses. Clause 1 establishes the Veterans Administration; as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal with the power to acquire movable and immovable property. Clause 2 provides for the objects of the Administration which include constituting a fraternity of persons who served in the Armed Forces of the Gold Coast and Ghana. Clause 3 spells out the functions of the Administration while clause 4 provides for the governing body of the Administration. Clause 5 deals with the tenure of Board members while clauses 6 and 7 also deal with meetings and disclosure of interests for members. Clause 8 deals with the establishment of committees. Clause 9 to 11 provide for standard provisions on allowances, regional and district offices. Clause 12 provides for the establishment of Regional Councils of the Adminis- tration in each regional capital and also spells out their membership and functions. Clause 13 establishes a Council of Regional Chairpersons while clause 14 establishes District and Local Manage- ment Councils which will perform functions assigned by the Regional Council. Clause 15 provides for the appointment of Executive Director of the Administration who may delegate functions of the office as spelt out in clause 16, but is not absolved from final responsibility. Clause 17 provides for appointment of other staff. Clause 18 to 20 look at the standard provisions on funds, accounts and audit, annual and other reports.
Clause 21 makes provision for the establishment of a Veterans Fund which will be used to cater for the welfare of veterans as well as for research and development projects. Clause 22 provides for the Administra- tion affilliating with the World Veterans Association or similar international organizations. Clause 23 empowers the Administration to hold lotteries or similar games for the furtherance of its objects while clause 24 exempts it from the payment of taxes in respect to its properties or activities. Clause 25 to 28 deal with regulations, interpretation, transitional provisions, repeal-land savings. 7.0 Observations 7.1 The Committee observed that the Bill seeks to rename the organisation and was unanimous that the term "Legion" was no longer appropriate because it is colonial and is an ancient Roman army term that refers to an organised active body. The modern term "Veterans" more aptly refers to ex-service-men. The word "Administration" better suits the objects of the organisation. 7.2 The Committee further noted that since the year 2000, an unsuccessful attempt to amend NRCD 285 was made, and then the organisation has unofficially been called the "Ghana Veterans Association" or "VAG". The word "Association" however, connotes a voluntary organisation, which does not promote the goals of the founders whose aim was to have all eX-service-men become automatic members of the organisation. The new name being proposed also fits the acronym "VAG". 7.3 The Committee observed that the Bill makes VAG the organisation responsible for the welfare and well being of all veterans, Without exception, from retirement to the grave. This conforms to the laudable intentions of the founders and therefore, makes registration of veterans unnecessary, making all ex- service-men automatic members. 7.4 The Committee was also of the view that the objects of NRCD have not met all the needs of ex-service-men having regard to current realities of life. The absence of a Board of Governors which made management of the organisation problematic has been catered for in section 4 of this Bill. 8.0 Proposed Amendments The Committee has carefully examined the provisions in the Bill clause by clause and proposes the following amendments: i. Clause 2 - Amendment proposed - paragraph (a), line 2, at end, add the following: "and honourably released". 1 ii. Clause 2 - Amendment proposed -- paragraph (e), sub-paragraph (i), delete "in their honour". iii. Clause 3 ---Amendment proposed - delete and insert the following: "3 . To achieve its objects, the Administration shall (a) ensure that proper attention is paid to the welfare of military veterans honourably released from the military and see to the maintenance and comfort of those who require special treatment, particularly
the disabled, the sick, the aged, the infirm, the needy and the destitute; (b) secure pensions, allowances, grants and war gratuities for military veterans, their de- pendants and widows and dependants of deceased military veterans; (c) establish, organise and regulate, regional, district and local councils or branches at convenient centres through- out the country; (d) raise and mobilise funds to assist the aged, sick, needy, disabled, infirm and destitute military veterans; and (e) perform any other functions conferred on it by this Act or that are ancillary to the objects of the Adminis- tration." iv. Clause 4 -Amendment proposed -subclause (1), paragraph (a), delete "nominated by the Minister". v. Clause 4 - Amendment proposed -subclause (1), paragraph (b), at end, add "Ministry of Defence". vi. Clause 4 -Amendment proposed --subclause (1), paragraph (c), delete "head of Legal" and insert "Director of Legal Services". vii. Clause 4 -Amendment proposed -subclause (1), paragraph (d), at end, add "not below the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel or its equivalent". viii Clause 4 --Amendment proposed -subclause (1), paragraph (e), line 1, delete "four" and insert "five"; ix. Clause 4 -Amendment proposed --subclause (1), add the following new paragraph: "two other persons nominated by the Minister one of Whom is a woman". x. Clause 5 - Amendment proposed -subclause (2), lines 1 and 2, delete "Executive Director of the Administration" and insert "members referred to in section 4(1)(b),(c)and(g)". xi. Clause 6 -Amendment proposed -subc1ause (3), line 1, delete "six" and insert "seven". Clause 10 -Amendment proposed --subc1ause (2), line 2, delete "public officers" and insert "staff'. Clause 12 --Amendment proposed -- delete and insert the following: "Establishment of regional councils of the Administration 12.(1) The Board shall establish regional councils in each regional capital. (2) A regional council shall comprise (a) a chairperson elected by members of the council from among themselves, (b) a secretary, (c) a treasurer, and (d) one representative from each of the district councils in the region elected by members of the dis- trict council.
(3) The quorum at a meeting of a regional council is two-thirds of the members of the regional council. (4) A regional council shall perform functions assigned to it by the Board and co-ordinate the activities of the district councils. (5) A member of a regional council shall hold office for a period of not more than four years and is eligible for reappointment but a member shall not be appointed for more than two terms." Xiv. Clause 13 -Amendment proposed - delete. xv. Clause 14 --Amendment proposed - delete and insert the following: "Establishment of district and local councils of the Administration 13.(1) The Board shall establish district and local councils in each administrative district or locality determined by the Board. (2) A district or local council shall comprise (a) a chairperson, (b) a secretary, (c) a treasurer, and (d) at least, five but not more than eight representatives, from each of the district or local councils. (3) Members of the Administration in the district or locality shall elect members of the district and local councils other than the secretary and the treasurer. (4) The regional executives shall supervise the election of the members of the district and local councils. (5) A district or local council shall perform the functions assigned to it by the Board. (6) A member of the district or local council shall hold office for a period of not more than four years and is eligible for reappoint- ment but a member shall not be appointed for more than two terms." xvi. Clause 15 -Amendment proposed -subclause (3), delete. xvii. Clause 17 -Amendment proposed -- Headnote, after "of" insert secretary and". . xviii. Clause 17 -Amendment proposed - subclause (1), delete and insert the following: "(l)The President shall in accor- dance with article 195 of the Constitution appoint . (a) A secretary to the Board, and (b) Other staff of the Administration that are necessary for the proper and effective performance of its functions. xix. Clause 18 -Amendment proposed --paragraph (a), delete "provided" and insert "approved".
xx. Clause 19 --Amendment proposed -subclause (4), line 1, delete "shall be".and insert "is". xxi. Clause 21 -Amendment proposed -subclause (1), line 2, delete "fixed" and further delete "under taken" and insert "undertaken". X'X1l. Clause 21 -Amendment proposed -- subclause (2), line 1, delete "fund" and insert "Fund". Clause 21-Amendment proposed -- subclause (4), line 1, delete "Board" and insert "Administration" and in line 2, at end, add "with approval of the Controller and Accountant-General". xxiv. Clause 22 -Amendment proposed -subclause (1), line 2, delete "Association" and insert "Federa- tion". ' XXV. Clause 25 -Amendment proposed -subclause (2), line 3, at end, add "or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years or to both". xxvi. Clause 27 -Amendment proposed - subclause (1), line 3, delete "Decree" and insert "Act". xxvii. Clause 27 -Amendment proposed - subclause (2), line 2, delete"Decree" and insert "Act". 9.0 Conclusion and recommendations The Ghana Legion Decree, 1974 (NRCD2 85) has become irrelevant and out of tune with the aims and objectives of the founders of the organi_sation.. It is therefore, imperative that we seek the Welfare of our senior citizens and review existing laws to legitimise the organisation with the view to promoting the welfare of Veterans. These gallant men and women have indeed, sacrificed for this nation and the world beyond and deserve our uncon- ditional attention in their days of desperation and want. This is because as the saying goes, "a country that does not recognise its heroes is not worth dying for." Subject to the amendments proposed, the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 is hereby recommended for passage by this august House, as it will provide for a more efficient and effective governance, operational and administration framework for addressing the many challenges affecting the welfare of veterans in Ghana. Respectfully submitted. Madam Speaker, we will later on propose to the House that we will bring a similar Bill to modernize and address the issues --- I still call all of them Veterans because many of them fought in the First and Second World Wars, but for retired ex-servicemen through the Gold Coast and Ghana, ex-service-men who served in the Police Service. Madam Speaker, the Act that governs their retirement is out of tune. I intend bringing another suggestion or a draft for the consideration of the House for ex- policemen who have served our Police Service from the Gold Coast through Ghana. I think they deserve also better treatment than we have now. Thank you Madam Speaker.
Hon Members, pursuant to Standing Order 127, a full debate shall arise on the principles of the Bill, on the basis of the explanatory Memorandum and the Report of the Committee. Hon Members could make their contributions at this stage.
Madam Speaker, the introduction of the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 is very laudable and most appropriate. Madam Speaker, it is our expectation that under this pa1ficularB_ill, if it becomes law, we would see more impetus being given to our veterans, more impetus being pushed into the existing Veterans Association of Ghana, in the sense that the Administration which is being proposed to set up would try to harness the resources of the veterans. Madam Speaker, the veterans, some of them retired at a very early age and were still very active and we need to make use of their experience and expertise. Madam Speaker, it is interesting to note that under the Bill, We have room for research and development to be undertaken by the Administration- It is our expectation that the new Administration would use this opportunity to promote research work among the veterans, having regard to the experience that they have acquired during the period of their active service. In most jurisdictions, research work which promotes good governance and equally technological development have found their resource from the Armed Forces of the various countries. It is our hope that in this case, this Administration would equally take the opportunity to encourage research Work by the veterans after they have left the service, so that they do not become a waste to the nation. Madam Speaker, it is also gratifying to note that under this particular Bill, the financial capacity of the Administration is being enhanced. Apart from the funds that would be approved by Parliament, donations and gifts and the dues which would be paid by the veterans, we also have a proposal for the setting up of a Veterans' Fund. Madam Speaker, we would like the various non-government organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders to take note of the p_TOp0S6d establishment of the Veterans' Fund, so that they can make contributions to this Fund to enrich the financial capacity of theAdministration. One of the objects of this Fund is to be A "applied for research and development work. So it is our hope' that various stakeholders would take note of the establishment of this Fund, so that they can have more money to undertake research work after they have honourably been released from the Ghana Armed Forces. Madam Speaker, it is also gratifying to note that under this -particular Bill, we have the governing" board 'which, membership has been broadened to include some non- veterans like representatives Ministry of ‘Employment -and social Welfare. and also from private persons.It is our hope that the inclusion of these ' bodies would also enrich the work of the governing board. We also take note of the fact that under this particular Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill 2010 , it is laudable to there is an attempt to decentralize the Administration by the creation of regional, district and local councils, so that they can take good care of -the.list of these veterans at the grass-roots level. Madam Speaker, in all, we find this Bill, very appropriate and it is coming at a time when we are all yearning for improvement in the welfare of the veterans of this country, those who have served this country very well during the Gold Coast period as well as when we emerged- independent under the name Ghana.
Madam Speaker, this Bill is a welcome one to the veterans of this country. Madam Speaker, "since the First and Second World Wars ended, these veterans who are part of us have been going through systems and conditions which I can describe as unfavourable. Madam Speaker, if you get to our communities, particularly the villages, most of them have retired and are living in their home-towns or villages in very deplorable situation. It is my case that if this Bill is in to see to the welfare of these veterans, then all of-A us whom these veterans have served in their various areas must support this Bill..And I want to urge Hon Members to support this Bill with all the force that we have because most of them who are our brothers, our senior brothers have contributed to this country; they have helped the system to stabilize and today, we have a very free system and their conditions must be made better by the passage of such Bills which go to their welfare. Madam Speaker, nothing can be good than this Bill and I want to urge all Hon Members to support this Bill. With these few words, Madam Speaker, I support the Bill.
Madam Speaker, I am very, very proud to support this Motion. I believe all who have served in our Armed Forces deserve recognition. In Australia and in New Zealand, all retiring soldiers are awarded national medals by the Queen. I do not even believe it should just be medals, we should go beyond medals. We must take good care of our ex-servicemen from retirement to the grave. The present situation where the large majority of our ex-servicemen retire into homelessness, into abject poverty and squalor must cease. And as the Report puts it, to day, the life of the ex-serviceman. is that of frustration, that of despair and that of helplessness. I think we should try to emulate the Americans. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with a Cabinet status and they have a lot of benefits - disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, survivors' benefits. Indeed, they have even burial benefits. In this country, earlier legislations have sought to acknowledge the immense contributions of our ex-servi_ce-men and that was appropriate. They have contributed immensely, even to the country's political emancipation and we should be grateful to them for the democracy that we have today. Madam Speaker, our ex-service-men have made us proud; they have made us very, very proud in the two world wars. They have made us very, very proud in the peacekeeping missions and they
continue to do so, and our country today is seen as about the most secure, the most peaceful country in Africa. This, to a very large extent, is due to the soldiers and we have to be very grateful to them. Let me also say that these soldiers are Well trained, so well trained, in fact, not only as soldiers but in many other disciplines and I think it is about time we recognised that they constitute an invaluable pool of skilled personnel once they leave the Service. Madam Speaker, in the United States of America again, many retired officers end up as lecturers in the university and this is because of the training that they get while serving as officers. And I think as a nation, we must recognise that ex-service- men, indeed, do constitute a very valuable pool of skilled manpower. Let me also take this opportunity to deplore the tendency for incoming governments to antagonise and retire rather shamefully, very hard working and experienced officers only because they are perceived to be associated with the outgoing government. This has persisted for far too long in this country and I do not believe it is help-full at all. I think serving officers must stand up to protect their colleagues when they are being antagonised for political reasons. This is not the best that we could have expected from a Bill of this nature but it is a very significant move and all of us must support it. A governing body which would be vested with authority to seek and protect the welfare of ex-service personnel in this country is what the Bill seeks to achieve and I think that it is very laudable. It will constitute, as the Report says, a fraternity of persons who served in the Armed Forces. Let me also, Madam Speaker, refer to the provision for the establishment of a Veterans Fund which would be used to cater for the welfare of the veterans. This is very important; this is very essential. But can we all resolve that this Fund should be well resourced, so that it will have the necessary funding to do the work that it is supposed to do? The Bill will make the Veterans Administration Ghana (VAG), the organisation responsible for the welfare and well being of all veterans. The significant thing here is that it is without exception. Today, you need to apply to join the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG). This Bill will make all retiring soldiers come under the umbrella of VAG, so that essential benefits will be provided to them. As I said, it would not be the best, or as it stands, we are not giving them what, say, the ex-service-men in America get but this is a very, very good step and I would want to urge all my Hon Colleagues in the House to support this Bill and not just support it, to feel very, very proud in supporting this Bill because we have an Armed Forces that all of us should be very proud of. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, I also rise to support the Bill and to encourage Hon Members to accept and to support it as well because of the fundamental principle it is addressing in our society today. Madam Speaker, it is long overdue. Today, we have the Legions Decree and the Decree connotes the earlier Legions Act which also had something to do with the colonial past. So right now, we are breaking away from any attachment of the
colonial administration to attempting to solve the problem of veterans to our own attempt to institute the administrative aspect of it and to ensure that it is covered by law; So I think that it is very important; it is crucial. It is also important because the young man or woman who agrees to go to the front-line, who agrees to join the Armed Forces, should have hope that there is something that they can fall on when they retire from the Armed Forces and that they should look at themselves as people who are also taken care of by the State and who we should be grateful to- So it is no longer the question of having served after a period of time and being given medals to show that you have served, without any other consideration, which would then have addressed the fundamental problem of your own life. So this is a very, very important Bill and I think that we "have to ensure very, very quickly, that we work on it and pass it. Madam Speaker, when people agree to sacrifice their lives to ensure that the integrity and the sovereignty of our State are upheld, these people must also be held in very high esteem. So the Bill will address, not an association which has been the description all along - the Veterans Association of Ghana - but it will address the very thorny issues about financial and administrative technicalities, which are the frameworks that are going to govern the operations of the veterans. It will now be streamlined in the law and it will enable a more formal way of addressing the administrative issues and the finances for running the Adminis- tration. I believe that this law is important and we need to all give it our support because in the end, it will give confidence to Your young people who are in the Armed Forces today and our many, many young people who would also hope to join the Armed Forces that the nation, the State of Ghana cares about them and has made this law to ensure that they are taken care of even when they retire from the Armed Forces. So I call on Hon Members to support it and I give it my support as well, so that we can pass this law as quickly as we can.
Madam Speaker, I am also happy that this Bill is in this Parliament-- and I want to talk about the wives and children of these veterans. They suffer loneliness when their husbands and their fathers go to war and when they come back in poor state, some of them are even nick named and some of them become disabled. They also suffer to take care of them and Madam Speaker, if there is nothing in terms of resources to hold onto, it becomes a very sad situation for the veterans. Madam Speaker, I think that the beneficiaries are now going to heave a sigh of relief When this Bill comes to stay. Madam Speaker, I know that welfare is good, they need to be catered for when they come back; but I am also happy that part of the object of this Bill is to honour them and I know that the Administration will do a lot of work by naming streets, parks, stadia, statues and many things after these veterans, so that their names would be in the memories of Ghanaians,
Madam Speaker, I want to call on all Hon Members to support the Motion on the floor, especially in relation to the role veterans the world over and Africa in particular played in bringing down colonialism. Madam Speaker, we all know that was it not for the African who went to the war in defence of human rights during the Second World War, perhaps, by now, we would not have attained our indepen- dence. And we know the role our brothers who returned from the War played in securing us our independence. Madam Speaker, it was the Second World War and the immediate impact of that War and what the African brothers saw during the War that culminated in the speed for the collapse of colonialism in Africa and round the Third World. Madam Speaker, it will be an under- statement to actually say that we should provide for our veterans. They deserve - to be seen as heroes for the African and the African Continent. Their role in breaking the myth of the white man, led to all the freedoms and the development that we all enjoy today. Perhaps, without their involvement and bravery during the War and the fact that they fought alongside the white man and realized that there was no reason for them to return to Africa and allow the white man they saw who died from the same bullet to rule them. Madam Speaker, I will call on all Hon Colleagues in this House, to provide not only the support for the Motion, but also to be seen to be interested in the welfare of our veterans, not only in Ghana but actually all overAfrica and over. Madam Speaker, the fact that this Bill provides for the'Veterans Administration to relate to other veteran bodies internationally, will provide the opportu- nity to the veterans in Ghana to demand the same rights. Especially, those who fought alongside their western compatriots in the Second World War to demand for the same rights as their colleagues are enjoying in the western world.
Interestingly, I always address you "Rt Hon Speaker" but the Official Records always say "Mr Speaker" or "Madam Speaker". I do not know why they do not quote that. I love to refer to you as"‘Rt Hon Speaker" because that is the proper title.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Report of the Committee, being a member of the Committee myself, and I would like to support my Chairman when he says that we should also look at the policemen. But then, one would also ask about the Ghana National Fire Service where they have all the problems. I think this is the first tip in our country in recognizing selfless dedication to duty to which many lives are lost. But locally, in situation the country, we lose more policemen and firemen than we lose military people. But maybe, on the outside, when they go on peacekeeping, we lose more people there. Indeed, the lots of the ex-servicemen were very bad. My own uncle, my mother's younger brother, served in Burma and in EastAfi'ica but at the end of the day, he died a pauper, a little cocoa farmer in Effiduase and nothing to really show for the sacrifice that he made. He was an illiterate, but he still fought and he always remembered Burma and East Africa, what they did there. Madam Speaker, one thing in the Bill that I really do not understand, which the Committee did not take is the Fund. I think We should be very clear enough, it should come like all other Funds; like the budget or the Ministry responsible must make provision for it. There must be a budget line for the Fund that the Administration would use in organizing itself and making sure that their welfare is taken care of. Most importantly, I think their pensions are not related to the Fund. The pensions are got separately and many a time they have difficulty accessing these pensions or like all pensions in the Third World and in Ghana in particular, they are very low. So the Welfare Fund will also go to supplement the pension. We need to take a look at the pension of these ex-service-men, firemen, policemen and women and all those who are in the security services. So it is very important that they have brought this B ill. Why they call it in the Report, the Veterans Bill of 2010, I do not know because this is 2011. I think it has to be changed. It just must be called the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill. I do not think 2010 or 20 11 is necessary. Madam Speaker, they are asked to contribute to the Fund. If you look at clause 18 (c), dues paid by the veterans - the people have no money, they are always being short changed and that is why we think that we should have a Fund
for them funded by the State and other generous donors. Now, you ask them to pay dues; what dues do they have to pay? The people who do not have it, we are asking them to pay dues. We did not capture this in our Report but I believe that it is out of place to ask them to pay dues. So if you look at clause 18 (c), I think that should be taken out. Maybe, we have to do it at the Consideration Stage. But having said that, this is one Bill that all sides of the House support and that we hope it would be given a sounding support by our Members and the necessary funds made available to the Fund for it to operate. I am concerned that in the Budget, whether it is the Ministry of Defence or Interior, whatever it is, specific budget lines are given to the Veterans Administration, Ghana Fund, so that the Hon Minister, is not stuck with finding money for it because it would have been approved in the Budget and hopefully, made available to them to administer by way of legislation or whatever you want to do So, I think that Madam Speaker, it has come a bit late but better late than never; let us also take a look at the other security services -Fire, Police, Immigration and so forth --I am not so sure but we could even add them because I think we are talking about people who put their lives on the line. Immigration - those in the border control areas, they do - and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) but not those who are just checking whether you brought in three pieces of shirt or four pieces of shirt, that one is not- otherwise, everybody, every organization would be asking for a Fund; that is why we must make sure that we have a cut-off point for veterans as it is done in most countries. Madam Speaker, with these, I commend the Committee, I commend the Hon Minister for bringing this to us and let us move ahead quickly and turn it into law, so that the Hon Minister will have the pleasure of administering this thing before he leaves because we do not want to delay it. So that would be the remit of the Hon Minister. God bless you.
Thank you, Hon Member.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Motion just. on two or three principles. And the first reason for which I support the Motion is looking at the role of the veterans in our nation building process. Madam Speaker, I Want to t_ake you back to the role that the ex-service-men played in our struggle for, independence and I want to start from what they did in the year 1948. And one should not lose sight of the fact that it was due to the negligence of the colonial masters or the neglect of our ex-service-men that brought about what we call the 28th February, 1948 riot. Madam Speaker, it was due to this incidence that brought about the formation of Watson Commission to look into the grievances of our ex-service-men that was staged by the colonial government and that brought about the formation of the Coussey Commission which drew our Constitution that brought about the 1951 general elections. So today, if out of these, Ghana is an independent nation, when issues concerning our veterans are being
discussed, one cannot just sit down except to support the Motion. Madam Speaker, if you look at the Bill clearly, clause 21 makes provision for the establishment of a Veterans Fund which would be used to cater for the welfare of veterans as well as research and development projects. I think we do not want to go back into what happened in 1948. Rather we want to have a clear information of what is happening to our veterans and that is why we are bringing this Bill. Therefore, I would like to suggest that we should move beyond that to look into what happens to even the children of our veterans. This is a profession where one enters at, maybe, age 23, then maybe, 15 years, 25 years, one becomes an ex- service-man. It is not like other institutions whereby one can work up to the age of 60 or the age of 55 before one retires. Therefore, if a soldier retires or becomes an ex-service-man, 14 years or 15 years after being' employed, I do not think such a person can take proper care of his children till the time that they complete universities before they retire. Madam Speaker, while I rise to support the Motion, I Want to' suggest that we should move beyond changing the name from Legion to Veterans; we should move beyond implementation or formation of the Veterans Fund and have a proper look at what happens to the children of our ex- service-men in the barracks. Sometimes, it becomes a challenge when one wants to join the eX-service-men. Where is he going to sleep? He has been imprisoned in the barracks for about 15 or 20 years. Now, he is going to leave the barracks to join the ex-service group? Which part of the country is he going to reside? These are critical issues and sometimes, if you go to the barracks and look at what happens to their children - most of them are not able to further their education to the highest peak. Most of them end up at senior high school. Most of them are not able to enter the tertiary, simply because the parents have a short span of employment. So when we are doing this, I will suggest that we look and think deep by going beyond the formation of the Fund and establishment something like a scholarship package for the children of ex-service-men. Madam Speaker, we can look at the proceeds that come from the peace- keeping process. When military men go on peacekeeping, the proceeds that the nation enjoys, part of it can be used in the form. of a scholarship package for the children of ex-service-men. And when this is done, then the biggest burden of the ex-service-men would be relieved and they can give a sigh of relief and indeed, it can become some kind of very productive venture for the nation. So with these few words, Madam Speaker, I support the Motion and urge all Colleagues to do same.
Madam Speaker, lam also on my feet to lend support to the Motion before the House. Madam Speaker, my beef on this matter is that the Bill, that is, after it has gone through all the stages, should not -come out as a facility that will only give handouts to our veterans. Madam Speaker, why am I saying this? In clause 21, an indication is given that a Veteran's Fund would be created. And Madam Speaker, the most important thing is that, some of our veterans, that is, they leave
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 and in so doing, commend wholeheartedly the Ministry of Defence for bringing out issues of relevance to our veterans. I am particularly happy because the gallant men and women who have served this nation, this Bill, once it is passed into an Act, will address some of the practical challenges they have faced over the years and I must commend the Hon Minister. Something that I saw that gladdens my heart is the decentralization proposal that he has put in this Bill that, at the end of the day, they will not have to travel to Accra but they will have branches and a replica of the centralized organization of the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) in the district capitals, so that men and women who have served our nation would have places in their localities to congregate and reminisce and share the good things they have done for mother Ghana. I am particularly interested in the Veterans' Fund. Madam Speaker, why I am interested in the Fund is that, you see a lot of our fathers, our mothers who have served gallantly and they have problems procuring their pensions. Even those who are - sometimes we can say it, really hurt through the process of serving Ghana where they are amputated, or they have medical challenges. If we have district level congregation where they can meet and share their challenges, I think they would be able to collect their meagre support at the local level. When you sometimes see the pensioners or ex-service-men travelling all the way to Accra to follow up on the small monies due them, it is quite sad. I have to use the word "sad" sparingly; it is because they are very old, they have served their nation and it should actually get to the point where the nation Ghana should be able to present these cheques
to them, if possible, at their homes. And if we have centres at the district level, if it is possible, their monies should be delivered to them at their local environs. I think it would also augur well to emulate the discipline they have acquired over the years in training through our military for young men and women to show respect that they have. endured all these years serving sacrificially. That kind of ethics can easily be imbibed as a result of seeing our ex-service-men and women being taken care of by your esteemed Ministry, by the Government, so that other generations coming would see that it is the path to follow, it is indeed, worth dying for your nation. I am so happy that this Bill has come during our time and we would be part of this history that during our time, we were able to make life a little better for the heroes and heroines who served mother Ghana, when some of us were not born. We still have people living, who served in Burma, who served in East Africa, who are still around and if it is indeed, possible, we must introduce a clause for them to volunteer at schools to share the glories, the good things that they endured. The key word is "discipline". It is really becoming a challenge in our schools where discipline is now becoming a word that is interchangeable with insults and heroes and heroines who have endured the era of Gold Coast, the era of independence and modern day Ghana, can be tapped to help us. This is because the military is synonymous with discipline, sacrifice and these moral nuggets can indeed, be taken care of by this laudable VAG Bill. I am sure they would have the motivation to support the endeavour and the challenges of the modern 21st Century and leadership crisis that they can easily help young men and Women to learn from their experience. We should not underrate the level of knowledge that our ex-service men have and if we create the enabling environment for them, 1 am sure we can tap into that knowledge and it would be of benefit to mother Ghana. I use this occasion also to congratulate the women who served alongside their men. I think inevitably, when we are taking care of veterans, it tends to say "ex- service-men". Madam Speaker, if there is a way to expand that to say "eX-service- men and women", even within this Bill, it would make women who silently have served also to feel appreciated by this laudable Bill. With these few words, I thank you for giving us the opportunity to make history. Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Mumba- rose...
Yes, Hon Member, last contribution. 11.5 a.m.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Motion before us, that has to do with the Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010. Madam Speaker, in doing so, I would want to refer you to the Memorandum that introduced this Bill to this House, and paragraph (1), with your indulgence, I beg to read: "The purpose of this Bill is to revise and amend the law related to the veterans and create a governing body vested with authority to seek and protect the welfare of veterans of the Gold Coast and Ghana."
Madam Speaker, one very important word there is the "veterans". Madam Speaker, many of us, when the word "veteran" is mentioned, our minds go to the very old that served in the Gold Coast, or went to war who are very weak. But in actual sense, if you look at the military and the way they define the "veteran", it is anybody who has served, whether in the Gold Coast or Ghana, and served the Whole term and he is honourably released. So we have people who are 40 years plus who also qualify to be veterans. Madam Speaker, this Bill is a very important one and I think it would be very interesting when we get to the Consideration Stage. We need to really be able to empower the military to take good care of our service-men, especially the veterans - men and women. Madam Speaker, the phenomenon we are seeing today in our country, is that some of our veterans are as young as 45 years old. Some are even younger than 45 years old, meaning that they are released honourably at an age that they are still very active. Yes, the intention of the military is to release people at an age that they are still strong, so that they can do other things. But with the challenge of unemployment in our country it goes to further worsens the plight of this innocent young person because he has served honourably, he has served his whole 25 years, he is being released at a time that he could not easily find employment. That is why I take this opportunity to commend the Ministry of Defence today. In their effort to establish the defence industrial holding company with almost nine other sub-companies making up this industrial holding company, the intention is to create an avenue where the Veterans, after they have served honourably, could still gain employment in these companies that are being established, using their own funds and sourcing other funds. Madam Speaker, it is a very good example because in Pakistan, in 1982, when they had these challenges, they established one company called Fuji Fertilizer Company. Today, that company in Pakistan employs close to 20,000 ex- service-men and women; it creates good employment avenues for them after they have served their country. And it is the generals who run it and it is run economically - and it is the leading fertilizer company in Pakistan. Madam Speaker, it is by this that I commend the Ministry and hope that when we get to the details of the Bill, all of us would help contribute to ensure that the law that would be passed would enable the Ministry to be able to establish this company that would safeguard the future of veterans. Madam Speaker, relying on government alone, all of us will agree, would be extremely difficult to take good care of our veterans. It is better for us to find other ingenious ways of creating employment opportunities and creating other resources that would support the welfare of our veterans. With these comments, Madam Speaker, I support and urge all my Hon Colleagues to support the Motion before us and hope that at the Consideration Stage, all of us --- as many as possible, would be interested and make sure that we get a very good law that would govern the veterans of our country. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Veterans Administration, Ghana Bill, 2010 was accordingly read a Second time.
Hon Pelpuo, are we going back to items 4(a) and (b)?
Yes, Madam Speaker. The Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning as has been indicated, is now with us and I would crave your indulgence to permit him to lay the Paper on behalf of the Minister - item (a)(i) and (ii). But he would have some explanations to give on (iii).
Yes, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning would lay the Paper; any objection? No objections?
Madam Speaker, before I lay the Paper, I wish to apologise to the House for coming late this morning.
Madam Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to explain that the item 4(a)(ii) was actually laid sometime last week and at the Committee stage, we recognized that the commu- nication to the House had indicated the loan amount to be US$250 million excluding the insurance elements that were included in the Memorandum. Therefore, the consensus was that I come to the House this morning to withdraw what was laid and to re-lay the Instrument to facilitate the work of the Committee.
Yes, no objection; you are withdrawing the former one laid and laying this?
Yes, Madam Speaker. So on this note, I wish to withdraw what was presented last week.
The Agreement which was laid last week is Withdrawn and the referral is also withdrawn. Then you are laying this today? Lay it. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Mr Seth Terkpeh) on behalf "of Minister for Finance and Economic Planning)- Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Deutsche Bank AG of New York, USA for an amount of US$267,000,000.00 to finance the supply and installation of medical equipment for selected health institutions nationwide. Referred to the joint Committee on Finance and Health.
The next item would be taken by the First Deputy Speaker, that is item number (6). [Pause] He is dressing to take the Chair; but we could start it - Motion number 6. Chairman, you may move Motion number 6.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Rep on of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the preparedness of National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to manage disaster in Ghana. Madam Speaker, in moving the Motion, I present the Report of the Committee. 1.0 Introduction Madam Speaker, the above Performance Audit Report was laid in the House on 8th June, 2009 in accordance with article 187 of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House. This Audit Report was referred to the PublicAccounts Committee in accordance with Standing Order 165 for examination and report. In examining this Report, the Committee met with Hon Kwasi Apea-Kubi, the then Deputy Minister for the Interior, the NADMO National Co-ordinator, Mr. Kofi Portuphy, and a technical team from the Ministry of the Interior and Ghana Audit Service. 2.0 Reason for the audit NADMO was established to manage disasters and other emergencies in the country. In carrying out its functions, however, the general public perceives NADMO not to be up to the task and is seen as existing only to distribute relief items. . The audit was to assess NADMO's preparedness to manage disasters in the country. 3.0 Audit findings, observations and recommendations 3.1 Lack of effective systems in place The Auditor-General was concerned with the absence of effective systems at NADMO. In particular, the Report mentioned that there were: 1. no disaster management plans/ hazard maps to discharge the functions of NADMO; 2. an in effective warning/ information dissemination system; 3. ineffective monitoring and evaluation of systems; 4. inaccurate data on the incidence of disasters; and 5. poor collaboration among key institutions and agencies. Management informed the Committee that since the Report was published, a lot had been done to position NADMO to deliver on its mandate. The composition of the Regional and District Management Committees have been improved and made active. The Regional Ministers and Assemblies are playing their roles as required by the law. The private sector has been roped in to assist in disaster management. The organization was also taking the needed steps to commission the rest of the bodies necessary for the effective functioning of NADMO including the National Disaster Committee to be chaired by the Interior Minister.
The National Co-ordinator also informed the Committee that the Organization had improved upon its collaboration and co-ordination with other key agencies to ensure the effective management of disaster in the country. NADMO is seeking ways to engage agencies such as the MMDAs and the Regional Co-ordinating Councils to respond to disasters. Communities in and around disaster areas are being trained on disaster awareness and their management. Observations and recommendations The Committee urges management to continue with its efforts to ensure that disasters are well managed. Management and the Disaster Management Committees should include key stakeholders from private sector and media in emergency response planning. The warning/ communication systems should be kept operational through periodic rehearsals. Further, radio, television announcements and mobile vans should be done before the onset of rains or bush-fires. 3.2 Staffing challenges NADMO did not have the required staff to perform its functions. It was also observed that existing staff were not properly trained. Management informed the Committee that it was difficult forNADMO to attract competent personnel as a result of poor remuneration. Those employed unfortunately were not well equipped. This has adversely affected the operations of the organization. To address this problem, management has lined up a number of training programmes to equip the staff. Further, there are structured on-the-job-training programmes in the regional offices for the field staff. On the issue of poor remuneration, management was of the view that with the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, the inequality would be addressed. This would motivate the staff and attract other competent personnel to the organization. Observations and recommendations The -Committee was worried about the perception that NADMO is considered an institution to provide social services to politicians and religious organizations. There is also the impression that the outfit was formed to provide jobs for a ruling party's sympathizers. To address this perception, the Committee reiterates the Auditor- General's recommendation that manage- ment should: a. develop a structure showing job qualification and entry requirements on which applicants could be interviewed and employed; b. ensure that less experienced officers having lower qualifications work under experienced ones with the requisite qualifications; c. ensure that employees with direct technical and operational res- ponsibilities during disasters are individuals with emergency or crisis management knowledge, training and experience; and d. a conscious effort should be made by governments to de- politicize the organization and allow it to win the confidence of the Ghanaian public. 3 .3 Lack of logistics NADMO has insufficient and inappro- priate relief items at the regional and district warehouses. It had office accommodation challenges and lacked tools and operating equipment.
Management confirmed the situation and informed the Committee that NADMO currently had only one per cent of the logistics it needs to manage disasters in the country. The National Co-ordinator informed the Committee that the organization was seeking support from the UN Disaster Fund for an amount of US$75 million to procure logistics. " Observations and recommendations The Committee was surprised to know that NADMO had only one per cent of the required logistics to operate. This meant that in the event of any major catastrophe, lots of lives could be lost. If disasters are to be well managed, the State must invest in NADMO. The Committee urges the Government to make adequate funds available to NADMO to ensure that it was properly positioned to combat disasters in the country. 4.0 Conclusion The Committee was concerned that NADMO reacts more to disasters rather than being proactive. The organization does not have the capacity to respond to large-scale disasters. Indeed, the Committee wondered whether successive Governments and NADMO are aware of the enormity of the responsibilities of NADMO in this age of widespread disasters worldwide. The Committee strongly recommends for the adoption of the House that in view of the crucial importance of the role of NADMO, the House directs Cabinet and Government to make adequate resource allocation to NADMO to ensure that it has the capacity to be fully functional. Disaster preparedness is very crucial particularly in this era of climate change where the weather is unpredictable. There is the need for an urgent action to assist NADMO address its teething problems to enable it play a meaningful role in saving life's and property during disasters. The Committee recommends to the House to adopt its Report on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the preparedness of NADMO to manage disaster in Ghana with the Committee's recommendations. Respectfully submitted.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in so doing, make a few comments. Mr Speaker, the time has come for us as a nation to decide what we would want NADMO to do. I recall that some time ago, when I happened to be the sector Minister, there was even a proposal to, as it were, change the structural design of NADMO and e_ven introduce a new Bill to replace the existing one. Mr Speaker, when it comes to disaster and its management, NADMO should be seen more as a co-ordination institution. For instance, if there is a disaster and there is the need for temporary bridges to be constructed, one would think that the GhanaArmed Forces would be best placed to do that. But the question we must ask ourselves is, presently, what is the relationship between the Ghana Anned Forces and NADMO? If there is even a bushfire, it is a disaster.
It would involve the Ghana National Fire Service and even in some developing countries, you have an aircraft putting out the fires. NADMO should be co- ordination; but what is the relationship? So it is important that we do not see NADMO as an institution that distributes relief items. Over the years, I am sure we have all come to appreciate the fact that even with distributing the items, we do not seem to have any strategy; it is even seen as a form of patronage. So if We really want to make NADMO the institution that can effectively discharge its statutory obligation, then we must have a core, a cadre, a core of well-skilled, well-motivated and well-trained personnel who can do that. In this country, if we ask, who are the foremost authorities on disaster preven- tion and management? I do not think that if you go to NADMO, you can get anyone there. . So much as I support the recommen- dation of the Committee, I believe that we should go beyond that - assess the effectiveness of NADMO ever since its associate establishment and see how we can change it to be able to meet the future challenges that we would have. It is important, as it was observed by the Hon Chairman, does NADMO effectively give out training even in schools? Assuming there is an earthquake, what should we be doing? How often does NADMO put up a programme for training for various communities? Even in terms of the structures, where we should have open spaces in communities, assuming there is an earthquake, where can we all go and congregate? So we should try as much as possible as a nation -- We have come very far as a nation and as was rightly observed, let us make NADMO a more professional institution unlike an institution where we see a lot of political patronage. I believe that we have the GhanaArmed Forces, the Ghana Police Service;, they serve the State and of course, one cannot rule out political patronage to some extent. But you do not make, an institution such that, any-time there is a change of government, it is like, the institution is direction-less. We have limited resources and the more we exhibit that form of political patronage, the worse it is for the country. I always say that the political class now has no excuse. We cannot have many more excuses. We cannot go on repeating wrong things that we have done over the years, but it takes a lot of political courage. Let us bear in mind that at the end of the day, all that the people will be looking for or asking is, what is the legacy? Let us not be interested in transient political advantage. And while we have long-term and medium-term - let us think about the long-term. The time has come for us to have a long-term plan for NADMO. That will make it more effective. Mr Speaker, I thank you. Question proposed
Mr Speaker, I support the Motion before us and in doing so, to say that as a county, we need to change our attitude. If you look at individuals and you ask what plan we even have towards unforeseen circumstances such as disasters, you will be very surprised to note that many of us, if not virtually all of us, do not even as individuals, prepare for the unforeseen.
The Report is saying they have only one per cent and you are saying they have -
Mr Speaker, I am saying that your Committee's Report clearly indicates that their readiness, it is just about one per cent, meaning, for 99 per cent, they are not ready. Mr Speaker, if you look at all of us, when we prepare out budgets in this country and this House has always approved it, we make room for contingency. In my opinion, I see the activities of NADMO as a contingency for the country. Yes, I will further agree perfectly with the Committee's Report about the politicization of this very important organization. But the difficulty is, who cause am? Who started it? But I will also take inspiration from what my Hon Senior Colleague from Sekondi mentioned, that for how long can we continue doing the tit for tat? There should be a break at a point and I think that the break should be now, that all of us should agree that if you are going to have NADMO, what should be the calibre of persons that will be at the national level? What should be the calibre of people that will be at the regional level? What should be the caliber of people that will be at the district level? So that there is a well-defined criterion. Mr Speaker, there is no way you can become an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) in our country if you are not a Commissioner. You cannot be a Regional Police Commander if you are not, at least, a Deputy Commissioner of Police. We need as a country, to be able to have this clear structure that will enable people with the necessary requisite knowledge and expertise to occupy those levels, so that we will be sure that when we say that this is the District NADMO Co-ordinator, at least, we know What he or she is capable of - then the material Will come to support. But even if you provide the materials and we are not careful about properly structuring it, I am sorry to say, We will continue to have the kind of deployment that we are seeing. When that happens, it is just like fire- fighting: you just rush there, you take some rice, some cups, some mat, et cetera. Are they really what are needed? So it is
I thought you were going to use the former Hon Minister for the Interior as an example. A1hajiMuntaka: MrSpeaker, evacuation plan for even Parliament here, how many of us who are Sitting in this Chamber know the evacuation plan of Parliament? Should something be happening, all of us would be running and knocking each other and if you are not careful, even the running and hitting each other is what is going to compound the disaster. Look at what happened at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium; many people died not because of what was happening, but through stampede because people were running over each other. So it is very, very important that we take this institution very seriously, so that we are clear on our minds what exactly we want them to do and we must find the resources to let them act, so that they will be able to protect us when the need arises. Yes, it is true, someone will say, "no, matter how you equip NADMO, there are certain things that will happen that they will not be able to handle". Even the United States of America had this challenge. Yes. Mr Speaker, let us take care of the minor ones. Let us not, let the minor ones kill us. If not the day the major ones will come, all of us will be finished. Mr Speaker, on this note, I urge my Hon Colleagues to support the recommen- dation of your Committee, not only, for it to be, with the greatest of respect, a talk- show, where we just talk, talk about it and at the end of the day, we do not act on it. Let me say that all of us have responsibilities as Members of Parliament because when our budgets come, we all tend to forget the many contributions we have been making. I believe that if our contributions are things that we jot down and take note of, when the Budget comes, we would ensure that the comments that we make reflects in the Budget that comes to this House and we will be getting somewhere. On this note, I urge my Hon Colleagues to support the Motion. I thank you for the opportunity. l 1.55 am.
Mr Speaker, I am also on my feet to support the Motion ably moved by the Chairman of the Committee. Mr Speaker, aside administration, two critical areas that will make NADMO move, I mean, logistics and staffing/ personnel are found wanting according to the Report. It is distressing to note from the Committee's Report that, if you
Do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I heard my Colleague say that the gentleman was a trained graduate teacher. I am asking, as a graduate teacher, what was he looking for there? He was supposed to be in the classroom where we do not have adequate teachers. Why would he not go to the district and be put at the SSS?
Mr Speaker, if I said "a graduate teacher", maybe, it was a slip of tongue. He was a graduate from the university and had even gone further to pursue his Masters, with eight years' experience as aRegional NADMO Officer. He was transferred not even to a district. but to a zonal office; I do not know whether it was done just to punish this gentleman or because of some political motivation, I cannot tell. This is exactly what this Committee's Report is -- this mischief -
Hon Members, the Hon Member for Sekondi made a point and the Hon Member for Asawase supported that the tit for tat must stop.
Mr Speaker, this mischief ought to be remedied.
Mr Speaker, I thought, with the intervention of Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah and supported by Hon Muntaka, my good Friend will just not touch on this issue. This is because the tit for tat is enough. When NDC lost the elections, almost all the NADMO staff - he was one of them who was sacked. He was saying that let us consign that, into the dustbin of history and move forward. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the example I am giving is just to lend support. Just to lend support to the very issue which the Hon Member for Sekondi and the Hon Member for Asawase have indicated- We must sort of remove this political clutch around NADMO and make sure that NADMO becomes a national institution working for the national interest. In that case, I believe, with the requisite staff and support, particularly in terms of logistics- It is very, very important because NADMO has to move when they have the logistics but if they are given just one per cent of their potential, I do not know What that one per cent could be used for in achieving results. This Report is very, very important and therefore, I would urge all Hon Members to support in the passage of the Motion. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, I will take two more.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to lend my support to the Report that has been put before us and share the sentiments of Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah, Hon Muntaka and my good Friends. As Hon Papa Owusu -Ankomah said, we have come to a time when we can no longer have any excuses for dealing with the issues that ought to be dealt with when it comes to strengthening our institutions. I want to say that when we talk about disasters, there are causes of those disasters. What we need to do is to deal with the real issues and not the symptoms. As Hon Muntaka said, what NADMO does is always fire-fighting. We need to prepare to prevent fire. What am I talking about? For instance, there are certain institutions that we need to create and strengthen and when we talk about floods, it is because of haphazard development. We have District Assemblies; many of them do not have any planning units to write home about. If the planning units were strong and were working, if the Building Inspection Division were following up, people would not build in flood waterways or in areas that they should not build - in open spaces, so that when there is rain, the water would find its natural course. It is important we think about strengthening the institutions which have the responsibility in ensuring that we prevent disasters. How many of the Assemblies have waste management departments to write home about'? People just dump refuse carelessly, abandon waste just anywhere and our gutters get silted. So when it rains for just two hours, it causes havoc. What we need to do is to ensure that these organisations and District Assemblies are supported to develop these structures, strengthen them and once that is done, I think that we will be making progress, we would be preventing disasters from taking place. Mr Speaker, a lot has been said, and I just want to end by -we have spoken about the calibre of personnel - if we do not have the structures and the institutions, there are people who are qualified, who would just go and see the offices and walk away. It is important that we deal with these issues. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I will also want to support the recommen- dation by the Public Accounts Committee. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a few comments on the Report. Mr Speaker, I think that it is quite evident that NADMO is a very important
institution and would need the support of all to be able to perform- The Report clearly indicates or identifies the challenges NADMO is confronted with and made possible proposals. Mr Speaker, if you go through the Whole Report, the bottom line is insufficient funding for NADMO to perform. I am rather a bit surprised that the House has not taken advantage of article 177 (l) of the Constitution which provides for the establishment of a Contingency Fund. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to say that the flamers had a very good intention to come out with this particular formulation. The formulation states and Mr Speaker, I beg to quote: "There shall be paid into the Contingency Fund moneys voted for the purpose by Parliament; and advances may be made from that Fund which are authorised by the committee responsible for financial measures in Parliament whenever that committee is satisfied that there has arisen an urgent or unforeseen need for expenditure for which no provision other exists to meet the need." The intention of the framers of the Constitution was that, yes, due to the insufficient allocation that may be made to the sector Ministries, there might be unforeseen expenditures that NADMO could grapple with and therefore, urged the House to establish a Fund such that moneys are accrued into it- and any-time there is any unforeseen situation, funds can be made available to them to operate. It even goes further to suggest that after expenditures are made a supple- mentary budget be brought from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to re-imburse them. So I want to urge the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to consider this particular provision quite critically, otherwise, as we continue to make this small allocation to the Ministry of the Interior to cater for NADMO, we will never make any breakthrough in the performance of NADMO. I believe that if we are able to get sufficient funding- the conditions of service for NADMO staff are nothing to write home about. If you hear about their salaries, you will not want to be a staff of NADMO at all. They do not have the required logistics -transportation. - when there is an urgent need for them to rush to a particular spot to observe or to report on an issue, they are always challenged. I think that all that the Report talks about is insufficient resources. I hope and pray that Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning will consider this issue very seriously -- and find out whether Parliament cannot establish a Contingency Fund which will go into solving other problems. We have a number of cases people are confronted With - people go there with kidney problems needing dialyses -and sometimes they are so poor that they cannot even make ends meet. If We were lucky, to have such a Fund in such critical situations, the Ministry of Health would be in a position to apply for Funds for such purposes. Mr Speaker, on that note, I thank you and hope that the Report will go a long way to address the concerns faced by the auditors. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, and let me thank Hon Members, for the many useful comments and contributions that they have made. Mr Speaker, two things have come out. There is significant insufficient funding and again, there is too much politicisation. But Mr Speaker, all these are at the expense of our collective safety. Let us as a House, resolve to give NADMO the priority that it deserves when it comes to allocating the financial resources of the country. Do not let us deceive ourselves into thinking that when there is a major disaster, support will come from outside are the country - by the time it comes, it may be too late for us. Again, Mr Speaker, when it comes to finding people to work for NADMO - this morning, we talked about soldiers. There are well-trained soldiers who are going on retirement at 45 years. These people are already well-trained to do the work that NADMO does and I think it will be useful to suggest to NADMO that they can also look up to the Armed Forces in getting personnel to work for them. All these young soldiers who are leaving at 45 years are probably already well prepared to serve in NADMO. With this, I want to thank Hon Members for the concern that they have shown and urge Leadership to take this matter up and ensure that our collective safety in this country can be assured at all times. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
The Clerk is to take steps to communicate the position of the House as captured in the Report to Cabinet in terms of resource allocation to NADMO -
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the performance Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the Information Technology Systems of St. Louis Secondary School, Kumasi. l .0 Introduction 1.1 The Report of the Auditor-General on the Information Technology Systems of St. Louis Secondary School was presented to Parliament on Wednesday, 9* June, 2010 in accordance with article 187 (5) of the 1992 Constitution. Pursuant to Order 165 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Audit Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for examination and report. 1.2 Subsequently, the Committee met on Friday, 6th May, 201 1 and examined the Report. The Acting Deputy Auditor General, Mr Yaw Agyei Sifah and his technical team, the Ashanti Regional Director of Education, Mr Joseph Kwabena Onyinah and the Headmistress of St. Louis Secondary School, Mrs Theresa Addae and her technical team were present at the ComInittee's meeting to offer clarifications on the referral. The Committee is grateful to the above mentioned officers for availing them- selves to assist the Committee in its deliberations.
2.0 Reference documents The Committee referred to the following documents during its deli- berations: a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; b- The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; and c. TheAudit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584). 3 .0 Background For the public sector in Ghana to be abreast of the advancement in Information Technology (IT), resources have been provided by Government and donor partners for the development of IT in the public sector. In line with this, some pre- university institutions in recent times have resorted to the computerisation of their systems to improve upon their service delivery. One of such institutions is the St. Louis Secondary School (currently known as St. Louis Senior High School). In accordance with section 11 (I) and (3) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584), the Auditor-General conducted an audit of the information systems of St. Louis Senior High School (S H S) to review and appraise the controls and procedures operated by management to ensure that information is reliable and the continued integrity of the school's critical systems (Student Records Management System) is safeguarded. It was also to assess the effectiveness of the overall management control over the IT function within the school. 4.0 Audit findings The Auditor-General's Report dis- closed a number of weaknesses in the management of the school's IT systems. Significant among them are: a. the absence of an information system strategy approved by senior management; b. poor controls over user access to data; c. the absence of the necessary technical documentation on installed IT applications; and d. the absence of back-up systems for ensuring continuity of the school's operations in the event of any system failure. 5.0 Observations and recommendations The Committee made the following observations during its deliberations: a. IT policy /strategy and control measures The Committee noted that following the audit finding, St. Louis SeniorHigh School has put measures in place to develop an IT policy and strategy. Currently, the school has an IT security policy and strategy as well as a back-up system. Proper control measures are in place to ensure that data input, processing and output transactions were accurate, completely processed, authorised and secured- Appropriate measures have also been put in place to protect the hardware, software, data, processes, document- tation, personnel, buildings and the entire computer environment. In addition to these measures, the school has also employed an Administrator to effectively manage its IT systems.
The Committee, however, recommends that the school management should seek technical assistance from the Ministry of Communications on its current compu- terisation arrangement to ensure that they are in line with recommended good practices in IT service management while adequately meeting the needs of the school. b. Technical documentation The Committee observed that there was still no technical documentation on how the application of the school's IT systems have been configured. This lapse, in the opinion of the Committee, would render the maintenance of the application very difficult should there be a change of hardware or/ and software. The Headmistress informed the Committee that efforts to contact the software developer to deliver the necessary technical documentation on the school's IT systems have proved futile. She assured the Committee that all efforts would be made to ensure that the software developer delivers the technical documentation to the school. The Committee recommends that as a matter of urgency, management should ensure that the software developer makes available to the school the necessary technical documentation on the school's IT systems for easy access to information. c. Computerisation of IT systems The Committee observed that St. Louis Senior High School did not seek technical advice from the Ministry of Education before embarking on its computerisation exercise. The Committee is of the view that even though information technology is gradually becoming a necessity, there is the need to ensure that IT policies of public institutions are consistent with the national ICT policy of the country. The Committee recommends that management of St. Louis SHS should contact the Ministry of Communications through the Ministry of Education for technical guidance. It also urges all educational institutions to consult the Ministry of Education before undertaking any computerisation exercise. 4.0 Conclusion The Committee commends St Louis SHS for computerising its students' records management and also implementing most of the Auditor-General's recommendations after the audit findings. The Committee urges management of the school to put measures in place to ensure that its IT systems are safeguarded In the light of the above, the Committee recommends to the House to adopt its Report on the Report of the Auditor- General on the information technology systems of St. Louis Secondary School, Kumasi. Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the floor and in seconding it I just want to make one observation. . First and foremost, I want to congratulate St Louis Senior High School, Kumasi for at least, taking this bold initiative to initiate Information Technology (IT) system in their school.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion on the floor, and in so doing, I wish to make some few comments. Mr Speaker, undoubtedly, IT system for any institution in this modern world is of paramount significance for efficient running of our institutions. Mr Speaker, again, I wish to underscore the importance of auditing; the fact that the system was audited, brought out some of the weaknesses in the implementation of the IT system in the school. As has already been said by the Chairman of the Committee, some of these anomalies have been rectified by the institution. However, some are still outstanding. Prominent among them is the technical docu- mentation of the software. Mr Speaker, sometimes, some of these software developers intentionally refuse to document the technical aspect of the software and hand them over to the implementers, so as to make them indispensable and then the sole controllers and owners of the software. We wish to state that they should endeavour to make these documents available to the management of the school, so that in the absence of the software developer, the continuity of the maintenance of the software and the hardware could be done. Other than that, if the software developer is no longer available, it would mean any difficulty the institution would face with the usage of this IT system, would be a serious problem, in the sense that, they may not have somebody who can rectify whatever anomaly that occurs. Again, Mr Speaker, we wish to insist that future development of such a system should strictly be in line with the national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy, so that we do not have divergent and different IT systems within different institutions in the country. With these few words, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate. Hon Chairman, do you Want to do winding up?
Mr Speaker, let me just say that I am most grateful for the very useful comments that have been made. Today, no institution can run away from the wonders of information technology and we commend all those educational institutions which have taken upon themselves to computerise. We want to encourage the educational institutions which have not started to embark on computerisation to be bold and start to it. Our advice though is that, before - [Interruptions] - emboldening themselves to start the process, they must look for advice. The Ministry of Education has an ICT policy as the Hon Member just said and it would be wrong for an educational institution to embark upon compute- risation without making sure that it suits the ICT policy of the Ministry of Education in respect of which they have a special unit headed by Rev.. Dadebor and we would urge all institutions which intend to computerise to take advantage of the technical support that is available. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly. Hon Members, we move to the Consideration Stage of the Renewable Energy Bill, 2010. But before then, can we take this Bill without the Hon Ministers? None of them is here. Renewable Energy Bill, 2010 at the Consideration Stage - Hon Majority Chief Whip, can we take it without-
Mr Speaker, I was just going to confirm that we contacted them and they are just entering the Chamber, so we can do it. Let us just start and they will join us.
Mr Speaker, let us start and give them about ten minutes and if they do not come, we will stop -- Mr Speaker, let us give them ten minutes, if they do not come in, we should stop because it is so technical. 1225 pm.
BILLS - CONSIDERATION STAGE
Hon Vice Chairman, after the amendment, how will the new clause 1, subclause (1), read?
Mr Speaker, it Will read as follows: "The object of this Act is to provide for development, management, utilisation for . sustainable manner"
Can I hear you again?
Mr Speaker, "The object of this Act is to provide for development, management, utilisation -
Hon Vice Chairman, you have left something out there. That is why I am giving you the second chance.
Mr Speaker, "The object of this Act is -to provide for the development, management and utilisation of renewable energy sources for sustainable manner."
Mr Speaker, it is not clear. He said line 2, we delete -
I thought he was moving it stage by stage. [Interruption] You will prefer that one? [Pause] Very well. Hon Vice Chairman, move the second one, so that I will put one Question.
Mr Speaker, the proposed amendment is that, clause l, subclause (2), paragraph (Lt), line I, delete "of" and insert-
Hon Vice Chairman, and in line 2, what you did first was to insert the words "development, management and" before "utilisation". That is What you did first and I was going to put the Question. If you look at your own amendment, there is a continuation which says, "delete all the words after 'for' and insert the following" That is What the Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip is talking about. Move it so that I put the Question.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition is as follows, "An Act to provide -
Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee, you have filed an amendment and the amendment stands in the name of the Committee. It is there; it is clear. You have moved the first leg of that amendment -
Mr Speaker, "'Ihe object of this Act is to provide -
No. Please, Vice Chairman, you have moved that one. There is another amendment in line 2 of clause 1 and that is what the Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip is talking about, that you should move all together, so that I will put one Question on them.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, subclause (1), line 2, "delete all words after "for" and insert the following: "the production of heat and power in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner".
Mr Speaker, if the indication is to delete all the words there and insert "the production of heat", that is, you delete all the words after "for" in line 2; if you are deleting all the words there and then you insert what has been advertised, I do not think you will get the proper rendition. This is because what has been advertised in today's Order Paper, unless, maybe, I am holding a different Order Paper, page 3, is that you delete all the words after "for" in line 2 and insert the following: "the production of heat and power in an efficient and environmentally" [Interruption] Then it should not be delete all the words after "for" in line 2.
Hon Vice Chairman, the Hon Member for Amenfi East is absolutely correct- There is a mistake in the amendment that you put there and you should have corrected it before moving it.
Mr Speaker, I have taken note of what he is trying to propose. It is in line 2 only and not with line -
I think the problem is with the way the amendment has been filed. If you are inserting, you insert between two items. You have given us one end but you have not given us the second end and that is the problem with the amendment that has been filed on the OrderPaper. [Interruption] Very well. It is clear now. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, subclause (2), paragraph (t), line l, delete "of" and insert "on" and also delete "consumption" and insert "utilisation". So that the new rendition will read as follows: "public education on renewable energy, production and utilisation" Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 1 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 2 - Meaning of renewable energy,
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, paragraph (t), after "landfill" add "gas".
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Vice Chairman, why he has chosen to give the meaning of "Renewable Energy" in the body of the Bill, instead of it being sent to the Interpretation section. This is because if you look at the Interpretation section, We have reference to the meaning of "renewable energy certificates, renewable energy product, renewable energy resource renewable energy sources, and renewable energy system". I think if the meaning of "renewable energy" appears in the Interpretation section, it will be. more elegant and consistent.
That question is for the Ministry why they brought the meaning of "renewable energy" so early in the Bill.
Mr Speaker, this was done on the advice of the Attorney-General's Office (AG's). Particularly so, as this place is a new area and anybody seeking to know the meaning must first look in the Bill instead of the Interpretation section. So at the discussion, when we met as a Committee, this matter came up and the AG's Office was adamant, that this is the way it should be. Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, what normally we find in the Bill, when definition is attempted in the body of the Bill, is a situation where the definition relates to a section of the Bill or a part of the Bill. In this part of the Bill, "renewable energy" means this or that but if it is something which covers the entirety of the Bill, I do not see why it should be here. In the Attorney-General's Office, at times they just bully us with some of these techniques. But we are here as legislators and we must do what we think is right consistently with the part of legislation that passes through this House.
What I will do is that, I will put the Question since the controversy is not about the amendment filed: we will keep on discussing among ourselves, so that by the time we conclude, we would take a decision as a House, whether to leave it in clause 2 or to move it to the Interpretation section of the Bill. Hon Member for Akropong, I think that is a fair position. Mr Boafo Thank you, Mr Speaker.
MrSpeaker, further to what he has just indicated, if you even take clause 1, where we have the object of the Bill, we are talking about "renewable energy sources". I was a bit baffled because if you look at the new rendition that had been given, whereby the object of this Bill is for development, management and utilization. If it is development, management and utilisation, then it is going to be the "development, management and utilisation of resources" and not the "sources". The two ought to be distinguished; it should be the "resources" that had to be developed, managed and utilised. If you say drafting is there, then when you go to the Interpretation section, there is the definition for "renewable energy resources" and renewable energy sources"; the two are different. So we must know which one is applying in this particular instance. Are we "developing, managing and utilising sources or resources"? 1 believe that it is the "resources" that we have to "develop" and "manage" and "utilise" and not the "sources". The "sources", yes, river is a source, wind is a source. But significantly, the resources ought to be developed.
Hon Member, we may take note of it, so that at the appropriate stage of the Bill, we work on that area. Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, with regard to what the Hon Member for Amenfi East (Mr J. B. Aidoo) said, when we want to find anything within the body of the Bill, we resort to the Long Title more than to the clause 1 and so forth. The Long Title deals with "renewable energy" and extension is given for electricity and heat generation and for related matters. So that is where We have to look at and not clause 1 which he referred to. We are mostly guided by the Long Title in determining what should go into the body of the Bill. Mr Speaker, I think what the drafts- persons brought to us is consistent and it is all right.
Very well, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
But I direct that we discuss to find out exactly where to locate it in the Bill. Clause 3 - Ministerial responsibility.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause 3, lines 1 and 2, "the formulation of the National Renewable Energy Policy for".
So what will be the new rendition?
Mr Speaker, the new rendition will be: "The Minister has responsibility for providing policy direction for the achievement of the object of this Act";
Mr Speaker, if the Chairman can help us by explaining why he wants the deletion of "for the formulation of the National Renewable Energy Policy and . " I think that is what we have been advocating for in this House. That is, national policies with regard to certain activities in the country. So we want to know why in this case we want to delete it. This is because I think it is necessary
Mr Speaker, that has been advisedly removed because the EnergyCommission is responsible for the formulation of energy matters in general and so, they have responsibility for that. We do not want to create a conflict between the Energy Commission and the Hon Minister, simplicita. We know that the Hon Minister-might have supervisory jurisdiction but with specific
Do you have the Energy Commission Act before you?
No, Mr Speaker. I will retrieve the Energy CommissionAct if you are minded that we look at it. But they have the authority and mandate for the formulation of energy policies in this country. So We do not want' to create -
Mr Speaker, normally, this is a routine clause that we add and it is always to give Ministerial direction to the governing body. For instance, in the case of this, it means that in the Energy Commission Bill, the Minister will give Ministerial directive; and it is just one Ministerial directive given of -the general policy of Government or of the country. So, the formulation does not arise at all. I mean this whole matter does not arise- But then it should not just be on policy, it should be to the Commission.
I thought that should be the reason we are deleting it; your second reason because by the rules of interpretation, if you put "National Energy Renewal Policy" then it means that that is the only area that the Minister has Ministerial responsibility. This is because you have expressly mentioned it. So it means that all other matters, he has no policy directive. I thought that should be the reason for deleting it.
Where it is also Mr Speaker, is not right. It is normally at the tip end there "Administrative Procedures"; that is where we normally will put it. So that it is just a Ministerial directive on every issue to the Commission. If it is already in this one, we should even entirely delete if there is a provision in the Energy Commission Bill for providing for Ministerial directive.
Mr Speaker, that is rightly so, but in addition to that, my clear understanding is that such a policy already exists. So the way it is couched, it looks like the policy is yet to be formulated. But such a policy already exists and the Energy Commission is responsible. Three, we should not create in the minds of people that there is exclusivity here and so We had to delete them. Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Health raised an issue which I think the Deputy Minister has not answered. He said that under the Energy Commission Act and also the Public Utilities Regulatory Act, if there is such a provision reserved for the Minister, then the provision here is otiose. If under those two Acts, we already have a provision which gives the Hon Minister for Energy the right to give policy directions to the Commission, then the provision here is of no significance.
Mr Speaker, it is very, very important that we have this clause here. We are assuming that all what the Ministerial directives or responsibilities are, as per the Energy Commission Bill, is with regard to formulation of national policy on renewable energy. But this one, you are establishing an Act and it has an object and you are saying that the responsibility of a Minister is to ensure that this particularAct we are establishing works, and they will take policy directions from the Hon Minister. So it is important that this one is there just to guide that this Act that we are establishing is also under the policy directive of the Hon Minister. So Mr Speaker, it is important that it remains.
Mr Speaker, I also want to support the stand taken by the Hon Member who spoke last. Leaving this provision here will re- in-force whatever provision that had been made in another Act. It does not take anything away from what we are doing. So I think it should stay to just re-inforce this particular arm of the Act.
Mr Speaker, in law making, if you do this, you are asking the Hon Minister to give policy direction, to Whom? Who should comply with it? That is why I am saying that if the Energy Commission Act provides for the Hon Minister to give policy directives, fine, then we do not need to repeat it here. In the case of the Public Utilities Regulatory Act, if a similar thing is provided for, fine. But as it is here, it is harmless and it has no direction - who should comply with
The point being made is that this is a specific legislation dealing with renewable energy.
That is why I am saying that we can put it here as it is; it does not harm anything. But my point is that who is it directing to do this? If it is for the achievement of the objectives, fine.
But that is -what is in the Bill anyway.
Hon Member for Akropong, do you have a point again?
Yes, Mr Speaker. If we go further in the Bill to clause 7 (2), a number of institutions have been listed that are to collaborate with the Commission. Mr Speaker, I want to pose a question; do I understand the situation to be that the Minister for Energy is being given the responsibility to give policy direction to those institutions, the Ghana Standards Authority, the Forestry Commission, the Lands Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Metro, National Petroleum Commission and so forth?
Hon Member, there is nothing there suggesting What you are saying. It is only saying that the Commission shall collaborate. So there is nothing saying that the Minister will give policy directives-
Mr Speaker, this is being pursued in view of the fact that under the clause that we are considering - clause 3, it does not specify to whom the policy direction should be given. So it leaves that open.
What is your response to that point?
Mr Speaker, the answer is in clause 4. Clause 4 vests the Commission with some responsibilities. Clause 4.(b) mandates or requires that the Commission establishes a platform for collaboration. Clause 8 is given an indication of the institutions that the Commission shall collaborate with in the promotion and development or utilisation of renewable energy sources. It is not the Minister, it is the Commission.
Yes, it is there. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 4 - Responsibilities of the Energy Commission.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause 4, paragraph (a), delete "tech- nologies" and insert "matters". So it reads, "The Energy Commission shall advise the Minister on renewable energy matters".
Mr Speaker, indeed, I drafted an amendment which I sent to the Table Office but unfortunately, it has not reflected yet.
On this particular clause?
Yes, indeed, just before this particular clause, after clause 3.
Is it clause 4 or clause 3?
Mr Speaker, well, it precedes Clause 4.
Then you may have to - you should have drawn our attention. You should have caught my eye immediately -
Mr Speaker, I rose -
Yes, I did not -- so I would suggest that we go on, maybe, at the Second Consideration Stage, then you move the amendment - This is because we have already put the Question on clause 3 under the rules.
I rose, Mr Speaker but I did not catch your eye, and it is so fun- damental to the entire Bill.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, indeed, I just mentioned to the First Deputy Speaker, who was in_ the Chair before you, that I rose but did not catch his eye on a very fundamental amendment that I had submitted which has not been reflected yet.
Hon Member, you may proceed. I like Consideration Stage to be flexible.
Mr Speaker, then I am proposing an amendment that would create a separate agency dedicated to the management of the renewable resources of this country -
Yes, Hon Member, you may proceed. M.rAdda: MrSpeaker, I beg to move, introduce a new clause sub-titled "Creation of Ghana Renewable Energy Authority".
Mr Speaker, the idea is that we need a dedicated agency top deal with our energy resources in this country. The practice now is that we have a directorate in the Ministry of Energy, we have the Energy Commission that is supposed to be dealing with the regulatory matters, and then we have the Volta River Authority (V RA) that is supposed to be dealing with generation. Mr Speaker, practically, as we speak, the VRA is trying to set up solar plants; the Energy Commission is trying to set up wind mills, but we have no dedicated implementing agency focused on this subject. Therefore, I think it would not do us any good at all to have three, four, five different agencies all dabbling in trying to harness our renewable energy resources for us to benefit from that as a nation. Therefore, it would be wise, as it is in many other jurisdictions, for us to have a dedicated agency, solely to renewable agencies and this amendment therefore, would compel us to set up a separate agency or authority dedicated to the management of renewable resources; and that is why 1 am saying that in that amendment, Mr Speaker, after the heading of "the Creation of Ghana Renewable Energy Authority", we would have one that would say: "There shall be established a Ghana Renewable Energy Authority to oversee and manage the harnessing of the nation's renewable energy potentials to the benefit of the country." Mr Speaker, I think it is so fundamental to the institutional arrangements that we have in this country. We would remove all kinds of institutional conflicts and would help us to manage this neatly. It would be a small, compact and dedicated authority that would represent the nation on these matters, which simply means that, any partner that wishes to get into any development arrangements with the Government, there would be a separate authority to deal with that. Now, we have the directorate in the Ministry of Energy that is supposed to be helping with the policy aspect of renewable energy, but at the same time too, they are being dragged into implementation. Then we move on to VRA and they are also going on their own trying to set up various plants. Then we have the Energy Commission that is not staying with this regulatory function alone but is even by this proposed Bill, going to be involved in the management of the funds that would come, from the renewable revenue resources. Mr Speaker, I think it is about time that we cleaned up the institutional arrange- ments in this country with regard to the energy sector and make sure that we have these dedicated agencies which we can monitor and help implement things efficiently for our benefit. Otherwise, in the future, we would have the Ministry, we have our Energy Commission, we have VRA or any other agency of government, all coming in, proposing to be involved in harnessing renewable energy resources and it would be difficult for us to know who is really responsible for what. When it comes to financial matters, Mr Speaker, it becomes even much more complicated. So Mr Speaker, my proposed amendment then is to create a separate Authority to manage this.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I want the Hon Member to take note that at this stage, unless he proposes completely what the structure of
that body would be -this is fundamental, as he is saying, to the law and that was debated at the Second Reading where he would have raised this and formulated the structure of this body and then present it to the Committee, and if the Committee thought that it was proper and for the promoters of the Bill to agree that they want to create a body like this - Now, if he at this stage is talking about creating of the body, what is the nature of that body? Who are going to be members? So that is why Mr Speaker, 1 was up on a point of order that this is not to be allowed at all. He should come properly. If he is also going to create new clauses, he can still file and say this is the clause he wants to introduce and whether this House would agree. But not on the clause 3, which we have voted on. These are the reasons I thought that Mr Speaker, you would advise the Hon Member to do the right thing.
Hon Minister, you would realise that I have a very flexible approach to Consideration Stage and that is without regard to wherever any idea comes from. In fact, that is the essence of it. The British Parliament is very well known for that flexibility in Consideration Stage. And you can see from the position of the Mace that it reflects that flexibility and fluidity. So, yes, sure, we could come further in detail, but I believe it is an appropriate matter to be raised at this particular time. But how we would take it up further, the agency, membership, numbers and so on, is - but if somebody brings a very good idea, I think the thing to do is to take it up and see what is the best way to help in making the law further.
Mr Speaker, I must confess that I myself have benefited from the flexibility approach that you adopt to provisions in this House and the seriousness with which you attach to Bills that you preside over. But Mr Speaker, the issue is simple- No matter how variously called, the authority already exists. And it exists in the Energy Commission. Simpliciter. Renewable energy is energy. Mr Speaker, if you looked at the Memorandum to the Bill, clauses 4 to 7, and with your indulgence, I beg to read: "Clauses 4 to 7 outline the respon- sibilities of various institutions. In clause 4; the Energy Commission is responsible for the provision of advice to the Minister on renewable energy technologies. It is also to ensure the collaboration between Government and the private sector and civil society for the promotion of renewable energy source, the provision of recommendations for financial incentives, and exemp- tions from customs, levies and other duties. "In addition, the Energy Com- mission has a role to play concerning the preparation of educational curriculum on efficient use of renewable energy sources, the promotion of local manufacture I of components to facilitate rapid growth of renewable energy sources and the promotion of training and support of local experts in the field of renewable energy". It is very encompassing. This is what an Authority does.
To further add to what you are saying, Hon Deputy Minister, you look at (1).
The (i) in the Bill?
No, (i) in what you just read. And (i) is even furthermore instructive.
Mr Speaker, I was reading the Memorandum.
Very well. If you looked at clause 4 (i)
It says: "Implement the provisions of this Act". So, Mr Speaker, that is the Authority. Mr Speaker, respectfully, the idea so canvassed is interesting to explore but we must be guided against duplicating functions. In fact, when we duplicate functions, we create tension and conflict. And that might impede the implemen- tation of the provisions of this Act. There is an Act; there is an Authority. Even the review of Ghana's law, clearly, the Commission is an Authority. So, I think that is already provided for under the law. Added to that, Mr Speaker, this is late in the day. I must concede that the Hon former Minister contributed tremendously.
Hon Deputy Minister, I am very happy about your other arguments but as for "late in the day", I do not think so at Consideration Stage. That is the policy.
Very well. I am just adding that indeed, he was virtually the Chairperson of the Committee when we met. I concede that this might come to him after the consideration of the Bill by the Committee. But if the Hon Member feels strongly about it - This is because even if we are going to create an Authority, the structure, composition, functions, and its impact on the general policy orientation of the Act - We have to understand all that before we can add that to the Bill as it presently exists. If he filed it in a written form, it will give us the benefit of scrutinising it and ensuring that it is consistent and compatible with. the Bill as it presently exists.
Mr Speaker, I have listened with rapt attention to what the Hon Deputy Minister stated. But his argument is based on justification for bringing this Bill. But Hon Kofi Adda's contention is outside the box. It will be helpful if we allowed Hon Kofi Adda to bring before this House his proposal, the structure, the functions of the Authority to see whether they are different from that of the Energy Commission, so that it would help this House. I think that is why We are here as legislators.
I agree with you. Hon Adda particularly, in view of clause 4 (i), do you see clearly there will be a duplication or would you want to now see this as covering the parameters that you had in mind?
Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, because of this subclause that I am proposing some of these amendments. Mr Speaker, in the energy function of this country, as we all know, there is a generation aspect, there is a transmission aspect, and there is distribution aspect. Above that we also have the regulatory functions of the likes of Energy Commission. In the petroleum sides we have got the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and others.
Hon Member, I think that is a very interesting proposal- Come formally; definitely, we are not even finishing with the Consideration Stage today. It will be taken on board accordingly. Are We on clause 4? -[Interruption] - We will not go into that argument any longer.
I am not going into that; I just want the procedure to be clear to this ‘House because we have voted on clause 3. What he is doing now is on Second Consideration - but we have voted. So, the matter - he wants to re- open it. I think the proper point to re-open this matter is during the Third Reading when we will arrest this process, by which time we would have been served with copies of the proposed amendments, so that we can consider that.
The flexibility of the Consideration‘Stage is such that you could have an amendment at clause 20 which will compel you now to reconsider clause 2. So, the vis-a-vis approach, in my view, is the best way of doing consideration. So, to my mind, it does not matter. The important thing is to let that be published. Let us consider whether it is worthwhile or not. And even if it means putting the Question again on clause 3, we will do so. I thank you.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, paragraph (a), delete "technologies"? and insert "matters". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, paragraph (c), line 1, delete "prepare in collaboration with" and insert "recommend and advise". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Madam Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, paragraph (e), line 1, before "recommend" insert "in consultation with the Public Utilities Regulatory Com- mission".
Mr Speaker, my observation relates more to elegance. If you look at the beginning of all the paragraphs, (a) to (i), you would see that they start with the verbs - "advise, create, prepare, recommend, promote and implement". Mr Speaker, would it not be more elegant if "in consultation with" comes at the end instead of at the beginning? We retain - "recommend financial incentives necessary for the development, production and utilisation of renewable energy resources in consultation with..."
So you want us to say "in, consultation With, recommend"?
No, we start with "recommend" and end with "in con- sultation with".
Yes, it has to be so, because you would realise that every sentence, if you may so call it, from (a) to (i) starts with some verb or the other. So l think that would be in order. Chairman of the Committee, do you appreciate that? Every sentence there starts with a verb and in style; that is how we go about it - advise, create, repair, recommend, promote and so on.
Mr Speaker, I think it should be after "recommend."
Very well. So it would be "recommend" and then it would be: "in consultation with . . ." Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
MrSpeaker, I beg to move, clause 4, paragraph (h), line 1, delete "technical" and further delete "bio-fuel" and insert "renewable energy" So that it would read, "promote the benefit of renewal energy". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, add the following new paragraph: "in consultation with relevant stakeholders, set targets for the development and utilisation of renewable energy sources"
Mr Speaker, there should be a further amendment to the proposed amendment, consistent with what we have been doing. It should read: "set targets in consultation with relevant stakeholders for the development and utilisation of renewable energy sources" So that it begins with a verb. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 4 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill Clause 6 - Public Utilities.
Mr Speaker, before the Chairman moves his amendment, I notice that nowadays, in some of these Bills which come to the House, we find this type of phraseology, that the law, is binding on somebody, as if when we pass this law, it is not going to be binding on the Energy Commission. I would have agreed if this law is to exempt the Energy Commission from being bound, But if the statement is to the effect that the law is
Are you taking us back or you are on clause 6?
Clause 6, so that the Chairman does not waste his breath in proposing the amendment. Mr Second Deputy Speaker; Clause 6 says: "public utility,_licensing at the nervy Commission, transmit distribute electricity. . . shall comply." Is it that if we_do not say here: "it shall comply", then it shall not comply? And if so, IS it an exercise Worthy to undertake? l.25 pm.
Clause 6 says - "A public utility licensed under the Energy Commission to transmit or distribute electricity, shall comply." So, is it that if we do not say here "it shall comply" then it shall not comply? And if so 1S it an exercise worthy to undertake? Its hall comply with the relevant provisions of this Act and in general Facilitate the attainment of the object of this Act. Is it an obligation that 1S now being imposed by this p1‘OV1_S1011 and for what purpose? That if this particular provision is not there, then would it be assumed that they would not comply? Or if so-
Mr Speaker, it does not appear some of us do understand and €1p1EfiG1&T6 the amendment that he is ta g to. I do not know if he can assist us. Mr Second Deputy Speaker". Clause 6 is there already; the Chairman has simply proposed a small amendment.He is an effect and he says it would be otiose to have it there- Hon Deputy Minister -
Mr Speaker, I think this provision is relevant. Mr Speaker, we all know that if a latter provision is inconsistent with an earlier provision, to the extent of the inconsistency, the earlier provision is amended. This Act is not doing that; this provision is not doing that. This provision recognises that as far back as 1997 - a law was passed in this country, in which certain utility companies had to operate. That law did not contemplate the provisions that are here. That law vested responsibilities in the public utility companies. This provision is just seeking to say that even though the parent Act did not vest them with responsibilities under that Act, under which they were licensed, they have responsibilities to comply with this Act- That is what the Act is saying.
Otherwise, a particular person, body or authority goes to do something and says "you look only at my enablingAct". And this in effect is saying, for the avoidance of doubt, let us look not only at the enabling Act but this new law as well; Hon Minister, do l get you right?
That is rightly so. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Boafo, would you agree with your learned Colleague?
Mr Speaker, I would have agreed if the Act 541 had stated that the public bodies licensed under the Energy Commission shall only be bound by the provisions of the Energy Commission Act. But that is not what the argument is. Otherwise, this particular clause would have to appear in subsequent legislations which did not anticipate the setting up of certain institutions. But that is not the function of the law.
Mr Speaker, indeed, l am going back to the amendment that is being proposed that we delete the transmission aspect as reflected in the clause. Well, my concern is that under clause 6, we are talking about public utility that is licensed by the Energy Commission. Mr Speaker, indeed, the transmission company itself should be bound by whatever provisions are going to be with this Act, working with the Energy Commission. So if we are going to amend the clause and remove "transmission", it means that we are keeping the transmission company, as we call it now - GRlDCo - out of the compliance mode that is required by them to stick to whatever provisions are in the Act. So I do not know why we have to take it out at this point in time. My view is that the clause stands good as it is and that "transmission" should be there in addition to the "distribution" and then we add the selling aspect.
So "transmit, distribute, sell"?
Yes. I agree with that, Mr Speaker.
Hon Chairman, if you would let us have your rendition again, for avoidance of doubt. In other words, taking those three words into account, kindly read what the entire clause should be.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, line 2, delete "transmit or" and after "distribute" insert "or sell". Mr. Speaker, it will read: "A public utility licensed under the Energy CommissionAct, 1997 (Act 541) to distribute or sell electricity, shall comply with the relevant provisions of this Act and in general, facilitate the attainment of the object of this Act."
Hon Adda would like us to retain "transmit"?
Mr Speaker, yes, indeed, I would like us to retain "transmit".
So - "transmit, distribute, sell". Hon Chairman, why should we delete "transmit"? What the Hon Adda is saying is that to transmit, distribute and sell, would capture the entire gamut of the activity.
Mr Speaker, the reason is that the clause deals with electricity distribution and sale, and not transmission.
Mr Speaker, the value chain, as it were in Energy, includes generation all the way through transmission to distribution and the selling point to the consumer. The provisions of this Act and the role of the Energy Commission compel GRlDCo, the transmission company today to work with them, the areas where they would need licence and permit, the areas where they would have to look at the standard benchmarks for wheeling charges for them. So I think if we leave them out here, it means that anything in the future that the Energy Commission and this Act give us to do-would mean that they are free to do
Mr Speaker, the provision used the Words "transmit" and "distribute". And the provision, if you look at it carefully, intended these words to be mutually exclusive- "transmit" or "distribute". These two words cannot be mutually exclusive because they denote two different things. GRlIDCo transmits at high voltages; GRIDCo does not distribute. So you would see clearly the intendment of the provision was for distribution, not transmission. So, at the Committee level, we came to the conclusion that we remove "transmit" because that was not the intendment. Anybody intending to distribute and to make it more user friendly, we added "or sell". So they are mutually exclusive - "distribute or sell" - at that level. Mr Speaker, that is why the amendment has been proposed that the word "transmit" which has to do with the conveyance of power at high voltages does not apply here. It is the conveyance of power at low voltages.
Hon Minister, you cannot contemplate any transmission at a lower level?
Mr Speaker, and that is it. Transmission at a lower level is distribution. [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to step back up to the heading of that clause, "public: utilities". It is a general statement in there. Mr Speaker, if the intendment of clause 6 here is to deal with distribution and selling, I agree and support it fully. My question is, where do" we deal with transmission companies? Why do we leave them out? Are they not coming under the remit of this Act to be and then the functions of the Energy Commission? Are they free of all the licensing requirements and obligations under this Bill and the functions of the Energy Commission? If we need to keep this solely for distribution and selling, I support that we keep it as such. But I think then there will be the need for us to look at the transmission side too separately. Otherwise, anybody who generates renewable energy, let us say from solar or wind more than what she or he needs or for commercial purposes, necessarily would have to deal with the transmission side. Somebody will have to pick it up. Therefore, all the standard applications, the licensing, the permits and so on and so forth that are required by the transmission company, this law or the functions of the Energy Commission have to deal with it somehow. Otherwise, they are free to deal with it as they please. That is why I think we should not leave transmission out of this. So to come back to the point, I agree with the distribution or selling, as they are proposing, but then we would need to separate subclause 4, "transmission" because transmission should not be left out.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, do you want to consciously leave out "transmission"? This is because it only means "carry a clause" and one may face that situation.
We contemplate distribution but not transmit transmission at even the lowest -
Mr Speaker, before you call on the Chairman. If you look at the Interpretation section, that is, page 22, there we find the meaning of "distribution utility". It means, a company that owns or operates equipment or facility that transmits or distributes. Mr Speaker, if you read this together with clause 6, then the understanding is that "distribute" includes "transmit".
In order not to put ourselves in unnecessary trouble, the line between "distribution and transmission" -- The word "transmit" is simply "carried across" in Latin. And look at our definition; it necessarily makes "transmission" coterminous within "distribution". So why do we now want to come to a dichotomy when we are talking about the body of the law and yet we talk about a complete fusion when we come to the definition? We would be landing ourselves in unnecessary trouble. I hope you see that, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, I agree entirely with you, that there appears on the reading of this provision to be a lacuna, a gap. If we remove "transmit" from it, where do we put it? But that is precisely what we are saying, that this Renewable Energy Bill says that when power is generated for renewable energy sources and fed into the national grid, it no longer becomes renewable energy. It now becomes energy being transmitted. So it will be difficult to begin to pin down Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to the responsibility to transmit that energy. This is because transmitting energy, again, Ghana consequent on the Power Sector Reforms created three institutions; one institution for generation, another for distribution and a third for transmission. We have generation -VRA, the trans- mission - GRIDCo; and distribution - Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) or Northern Electricity Department (NED), now NEDCO. When power is generated from renewable energy sources, it must comply with the provisions of this Act. When the generator of that power feeds the power into the national grid, it loses its power as renewable energy -
And the process of feeding into, is what? [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, we are saying that when you go further down the Act, you will see clearly that when a household generates renewable energy, or when a person - [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague, the Deputy Minister is not listening to you. In using renewable energy, you could -generate in large volumes. We should not rule out that- You could generate in large volumes just as Volta River Authority (VRA) is generating, just as Takoradi International Company (TAICO) and TAICO are generating, and when you do that, it has to be transmitted into the national grid and in the transmission [An Hon Member: No, 110.] Please, please. You remember that before the inception of GRTDCQ, it was the same VRA that was doing the generation and transmission. Before we established GRlDCo, it was VRA that was doing both. And then now we just find that maybe, because we want to improve efficiency, we decide to introduce a third one that is to be in charge of the transmission. You cannot assume that because you are generating renewable energy, the aspect of transmission will be missing. No! That is Why we must add that here.
Particularly, if we consider our own definition, how do we confuse ourselves then? The
Mr Speaker, thank you for calling me "Minister". I am sure I will come back as a Minister.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, more seriously, in my view, the argument is not on whether transmission and distribution are divided in a very bold manner or there is a thin line between them. There is a thin line between them. We are looking at governance here. We are looking at regulations. We are looking at provisions in the Act. Who should comply with them? All I am saying is that, if we have a transmission company, and as explained earlier by my Hon Colleague, Alhaji Muntaka, and an entity generates over and above what they need for their own consumption, then that is within a small entity; there is a real estate company that generates more than l megawatt of power; they want to feed into the system, it has to be taken up by GRlDCo and transmitted. Who will negotiate the standard; who will negotiate the standards; who will grant them the permits; who would give them the licence? In the Energy Commission, under the 1997 Act 541, so when should the public utility and the distribution adhere to. the rules and regulations of the Energy Commission? Then we come to transmission where excess power is being fed back into the system, who should govern them? Should we leave GRIDCQ out of it? That is all I am making. So we should find a way to capture under this clause, the governance arrangements for the performance of the functions of GRIDCQ, if any power comes into their system for distribution to another location. Mr Speaker, so, I would want to appeal to the Hon Chairman of the Committee and the Hon Minister to look seriously at the transmission side, that there must be some governance arrangement under this provision for transmission.
Mr Speaker, we have been advised by the Energy Commission that we can let it go. We will retain-
So that it will be "transmit, distribute or sell"? Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 6 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, in view of the state of business in the House at this time, I direct that Sitting be held beyond the prescribed hour. Clause 7 - Collaboration of relevant institutions.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7, subclause (2), paragraph (a), delete "Board" and insert "Authority". Question put and amendment agreed to.
We have other amendments.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7, subclause (2), add the following new paragraphs:
Mr Speaker, with the amendment of clause 7, subclauses (2), (3), the "Ghana Cocoa Board", I think it is now "Ghana Cocoa Authority", and if it is as such, then we may need to amend it appropriately. It is just like the conversion of Ghana Standards Board to Ghana Standards Authority.
Mr Speaker, we are not aware. We know that it is Ghana Cocoa Board and not Ghana CocoaAuthority. It is Ghana Cocoa Board. Mr Second Deputy Speaker! Hon Minister, do you intend to -
Mr Speaker, we may need to find out. Since the Ghana Standards Board was changed with others, we need to know the others, and if Ghana Cocoa Board is one of them, then it should be changed appropriately. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I think that the Ghana Cocoa Board is still Ghana Cocoa Board. The fundamental rule of engagement in this House is that we are presumed to know the state of the law before dealing- So, if you are saying that we need to find out, it becomes a bit of a difficulty. There is Ghana Cocoa Board, it is the Ghana Standards Board which has been changed into an Authority. But Ghana Cocoa Board remains an on-going concern in the commercial entity and it is a Board.
Mr Speaker, in our Committee's meeting, the Attorney-General's Depart- ment informed us that, as a result of the reforms in the legal sector, they are converting the Boards to Authorities. I do not know if any special provision was made for Ghana Cocoa Board to remain Board or to become Authority. If it is a going concern, it can be /a company or any other thing that needs to be specific. So, I think my Colleague's concern is quite relevant, unless he can sight and point out that, that was not part of the group of Boards in the State sector which are now going to be automatically called "Authorities". Then, there must be something dedicated to the Ghana Cocoa Board saying that they can remain aBoard or they can he a company or Authority or something of that sort. I am just trying to raise some caution, so that we do not go over something that might not reflect, well, consistently in our legal arrangement. Thank you.
Hon Minister, I see you are making a movement.
Mr Speaker, we are well advised that the Attorney-General's Office has checked, the Ghana Cocoa Board remains aBoard and Ghana Standards Board has been upgraded into an Authority. And that is clearly visible -
Not upgraded, changed.
MrSpeaker, changed, changed.
If you change Ghana Cocoa Board to Ghana Cocoa Authority, I would not think that is an upgrading. In fact, it may help give us problems in our cocoa relations. [Laughter]
MrSpeaker, we must nm away from those problems, so we remain "Ghana CocoaBoard". Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Boafo, it may not be too to hear you.
Mr Speaker, it is a small insertion that I had wanted to clause 7, paragraph (h), line 2."
You mean, you are still talking about clause 7?
Mr Speaker, clause 7. I am taking advantage of your flexibility to -
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7, after "in", insert "the". That is "in the Gazette. " So, after "in" insert "the".
‘Chairman, you have agreed? Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 7 as amended ordered to stand of the Bill. Clause 8 Requirement for licence.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8, subclause (2), delete and insert the following: "For purposes of this Act, the commercial activities in the renewable energy industry are - (a) production; (b) transportation; (0) storage; (d) distribution and sale; (e) importation; (ii) exportation; and (g) installation and maintenance".
Thank you, very much. Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, I do not have much problem with this proposed amendment but I just want to find out from the Hon Chairman why he has left out some of the original areas like; re- exportation, shipment, manufacturing, assembling, processing, refining and marketing. These are deleted from the proposed amendment. That is in the original -- those areas I mentioned are all included but in the proposed amendment, these areas have been left out. If I may go over again, that is paragraph 2 (0), re-exportation, 2 (e) shipment, 2 (g) manufacturing, 2 (h) assembling, 2 (j) processing, 2 (k) refining and 2(0) marketing. These are left out; if there are good reasons for - so that it may guide us in the interpretation of the Bill, when it becomes an Act.
Hon Chairman, marketing for example, will be taken care of by the new 2 (d) and distribution and sale but others are still apparently, conspicuously missing.
Mr Speaker, we say that the provision is too wide and it may be disincentive for investment. The amendment is therefore, intended to limit the kind of commercial activities that require licensing. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, what my Hon Chairman has said is indeed," true. We thought the commercial activities were too many and we needed to re-categorise them. Mr Speaker, I am particularly concerned about (c ), re- exportation and here again, I think we either through the Energy Commission or any other agency might provide all kinds of incentives to bring in renewable energy products into the country and to the benefit of Ghanaians But we know the way that our Business Committee undertakes the business activities. They may decide because they can make a better margin in Burkina Faso or Mali or somewhere, to kind of re-export these items. Why should we not scrutinise re-exportation and permit them to go out that way but take it out of this? I am looking carefully, I am not seeing it in there, I think if we brought in the items the importation is provided for and we are to re-export, I think it is important for the Commission to look at this commercial activity seriously. This is because the incentives that we gave to bring these items to the country, we can lose those incentives by selling the products cheaper outside. So my view is that it should be part of this. It should stay. For some of the other items, the re-categorisation process dealing with transport will take care of shipment and so on and so forth and then production will take care of manufacturing. and the rest of it. So my concern is more for (c ), Mr Speaker.
So What do we harbour against manufacturing?
Mr Speaker, I thought that that provision even though not expressly stated_so, has been captured under exportation. If you bring it in and you are licensed to export, the Energy Commission (EC) will monitor the material that you are exporting and I totally agree because you did not want to create a situation which will seem to be stifling -the operation of activities in the renewal energy sector and be seen to be superintending a lot of these activities. So that is why we said that we should limit it and we tried to compress it, for instance, shipment is transportation, production is there and so" marketing is the same. So we looked at it clearly and assembling is production and assembling. So we thought that if we did it so, exportation and re-exportation could come under exportation; that was precisely the reason
Mr Speaker, I do understand what the Hon Minister is talking about but there can be a distinction between Ghana helping an organisation to set up production facility in the country for renewable energy in parts and products and what have you. If we take those products and we are exporting them to different countries at the Consideration Stage, it will be very simple and straightforward and we will know what we are doing. But some unscrupulous business might bring in something under the pretext of adding onto our stock of renewable energy in the country but then cleverly re-export that. So I think if we added "re-exportation", just for the avoidance of doubt, it calls for all the regulatory agencies to look at that carefully and it tells the private companies that if you attempt to bring in something
Mr Speaker, he has provided the answer. He said "for the avoidance of doubt"- Mr Second Deputy Speaker-Exportation and re-exploitation-if you all agree-
MrSpeaker, I Want to suggest that We maintain (cl), the_proposed amendment. The (d) should remain "distribution" because disstri- bution can stand on its own, then we add (h), "sale and marketing". It looks as if we have left' "marketing" out and from the explanation by the Hon Minister, my understanding was that he is taking "sale and marketing" to be synonymous. But really, "sale" is completely different from "marketing". So we could put "sale and marketing" together and then "distribution" is entirely on its own. It is dangerous to think that "sales and marketing" are synonymous. They are not.
But if we then say "distribution, sale and marketing" in one line, will that be all right?
I do not have any problem. I do not have a problem with that. But I Want the marketing aspect to be reflected in the law. So if they are put together and it is not too long, no problem. Mr Second Deputy Speaker; Experts in marketing are very jealous of their discipline being regarded only as sale and we may as well take notice of that.
Mr Speaker, What the Committee Chairman and his group seek to achieve is to have brevity and in doing so, I want to believe that the relevance of some other aspects may be lost.
Please, give us some examples, then we proceed.
They try to lump "manufacturing", "assembling", "pro- cessing", all under "production", and you will all agree with me that manufacturing is quite different from assembling and also different from processing. They all take different dimensions. So why do they lump -
But are they all not mere processes in production?
Mr Speaker, that is Why 1 am saying that the law must be clear- the clarity of the law is also important. If we leave it this way, and then that clarity is lost eventually, it also creates a problem. Much as we want to be brief, coincides with what we are doing, you should not lose sight also of the clarity and the relevance of these aspects.
Mr Speaker, I do indeed, appreciate the contributions of my Colleagues. But I would like to ask a question whether "production" and "manufacturing" should be separated. My view is that if you talk about production, it includes the whole chain of .all the raw materials going in and being processed and ending up as a refined product. I think "manufacturing" can be part of that, the "processing" can be part of that but the "assembling" is what I am really not sure whether we can define that as "manu- facturing" or not.
Mr Speaker, I do agree with the concern of my Hon Colleague. With the "assembling", it can stand alone outside the production. As much as I agree to that, if you take the production process, it is not complete until the final product gets to the final Consumer. But within the "assembling" aspect which might even involve issues of spare parts and other things, I think that one can stand alone. Again, my Hon Colleague from Atiwa (Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah) also said we should make it "marketing and sales". What I am seeing here is that under "marketing", they have combined storage, distribution, sale, importation and exportation, and all of them do fall under marketing. So you would realise that all these items could be considered as part of marketing. So if you come down and state again that "marketing and sale" there would be some form of duplication maybe, that is why they left out "marketing" and maintained "sale" so that storage, sales, importation will fall under marketing.
Thank you very much, Hon Members. So what shall we add to "production" that will satisfy - We just want a solution. Maybe, you can consult with your Colleagues who seem to have a similar viewpoint and you can come out with what to propose.
Mr Speaker, what I am proposing is that, we can maintain up to (g) and add -
Talking about (a) in terms of production aspect and assembling and whatever -
Mr Speaker, what we are going to take out is only the "assembling" so that "assembling" would stand alone as (h), out of the "production".
Mr Speaker, I am beginning to worry. We had thought that with all these things, if an investor in this new era comes to look at the Bill and looks at the things that the Energy Commission (EC) would be monitoring, he might feel that "I cannot do anything without going to obtain a licence". So, let us try to, at least, create room for investors, to come in. That is why we think and to answer Hon Kofi -Adda's question, the whole production process, if you cast your mind back to any facility, includes assembling.
No car is produced in full without, let us say, the foundry and so on, until it has also been assembled.
But that is the production process.
Exactly. So I agree very much with you. Without assembling the car, the parts are not production.
So Mr Speaker, I think that "production" is very encompassing.
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Let us get what you have: a) Production; - b) Transportation; c) Storage; d) Distribution, sale; and marketing e) Importation; t) Exportation and re-exportation; and g) Installation and maintenance". Is there any specific area any Hon Member would want to fault, so that we conclude this now?
Mr Speaker, why I brought this issue out is that, I saw when I first read it, that instead of elimination, it-was rather more of combination than elimination of some of the areas. Mr Speaker, I think we do not need to extend beyond what we have agreed. If you consider production line as you rightly pointed out, "assembling" is one of the production lines, "refining", is production. So when the Vice Chairman got up and said they were eliminating certain things, I was taken aback.
So you are inclined to support the point of view of the Hon Deputy Minister?
Yes, Mr Speaker:
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8, add the following new subclause: "A person who engages in a commercial activity in the renewable energy industry without a licence issued by the Commission as provided under this Act, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not exceeding two thousand penalty units"
But just to start, Hon Vice Chairman, as your Colleagues are looking at this, ". . .on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding . . ." We usually would not want to say "a fine of not exceeding". You would not find that thing in law generally. I hope you are with me? It should read: ". . . fine not exceeding. . ." not". . . a fine of not exceeding . . ." ' Did you get that, Hon Vice Chairman? -Very well. Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, if we look further in the Bill, under clause 4'7, we have "Offences and penalties", that is the general offence and penalties. And this new clause seeks to add " special offence and penalty". So Mr Speaker, I would prefer it is prefixed with an expression as follows: "Despite the provisions of section 47 of this Act:A person who engages .." So that this is taken out of the provision of section 47, or in the alternative, we have to take it to the offences column, so that it becomes more elegant.
Hon Vice Chairman, in other words, if you want to keep it here, then we may want to have a prefix why we are doing so. Usually, we would want to say "notwithstanding", but the idea is, do we take it away all together to the offences section or we keep it with the introduction?
Mr Speaker, "not with- standing" was when Mr Speaker was in the Law School. [laughter] Mr Speaker, there has been a-new drafting -
There is a modern rendition?
Mr Speaker, there is a modem rendition, so we now use "despite" or "in spite". Mr Speaker, that is true; there is general offences section in this provision. We were thinking that having created the responsibility for persons who engage in commercial activities to obtain licences or do certain things, we should create an offence in that section for a breach of those provisions immediately. That is just the sense, that is just the reason, so that in reading that section, you would know that these are the things that you are supposed to do, and if you fail to do them, this is what follows; the likely consequences. That is just the reason it has been put there.
We can allow the drafts persons to work on this. If in their view, for drafting reasons, it should go to that portion, fine, so that we do not belabour this.
Mr Speaker, indeed, what the Hon Deputy Minister has said was the view of the Committee and so, l support it, except that I do not find in this amendment any term of imprisonment. I do not know whether the flouting of the licensing requirement is not so severe that we do not need any imprisonment. That is for the proponents of the Bill to tell us. But Mr Speaker, what I want to add, with your permission, is that if you go further to page 19, clause 47, the Committee Was concerned that these penalties were, perhaps, going to apply to every aspect of the Bill. If, for instance, under clause 40 (3), the Minister did not "within one month after receipt of the annual report submit the report to Parliament . . ." ls he going to be punished? Are there some penalty units and so on and so forth? That is part of what informed us specifically identifying the penalties for the licensing aspect. There is still an issue. When we get to that, we shall consider, whether these terms of penalties and offences should still apply to all aspects of the reporting requirement. So, Mr Speaker, I do agree with the Hon Minister but I think we should consider the terms of imprisonment, whether it is necessary or not for flouting the licensing requirement.
That underscores the approach in the Consideration Stage. We just have to be going to and fro.
Mr Speaker, I have said that I, myself, have been a beneficiary of this approach. We have not added the term of imprisonment because we have the Penalties and Fines Act. That will tell you exactly what a default in paying 2000 penalty units would mean by terms of imprisonment.
Hon Deputy Minister, you will see that when we come to clause 47, we do not only state
MrSpeaker,thatb1ings us back to what we said earlier, so that we can refer it to the drafts person to get the appropriate -
Penalty units and the j ail term as well.
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Deputy Minister has just raised, I am seeking explanation. Why are the penalty units under this particular provision, so high compared with that of the general penalties in clause 47? What makes this particular one to attract such a high penalty unit? Could he explain?
Hon Member, in effect, we are deferring this one, so that if you will not belabour the point so that the appropriate authority will advise. If it is the true intention of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to keep it without the option of an imprisonment, fine. But they must address their minds to it and advise us accordingly. This is because this kind of penalty exists in other parts of the law should be in tandem with all the various provisions. So I think the best thing is to stand it down. I believe that is a good point; we can end proceedings. Leadership, in the absence of anything I can see the Hon Leader's hands showing; there is nothing wonderful, and for that matter, the House would stand adjourned till tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon. I thank you very much, Hon Members.
The House was adjourned at 2.20 pm. till Tuesday, 19th July, 2011 at 10.00 am.