Debates of 15 Mar 2013

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:25 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:25 a.m.

  • [No corrections were made to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 14th March, 2013.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, Business Statement for the Eighth Week.
    Chairman of the Business Committee - - Hon Majority Leader.
    BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE 10:25 a.m.

    Minister for Government Business in Parliament/Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee met yesterday, Thursday, 14th of March, 2013 and arranged the business of the House for the eighth week ending on the 22nd of March, 2013 as follows:
    Mr Speaker, on Monday, the 18th of March, 2013, you may admit Statements. Significantly, a number of Papers may be laid based on the estimates of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that are coming in and if we look at the Statement on page 1 we will see a number of these Papers that would be laid.
    Minister for Government Business in Parliament/Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 10:25 a.m.
    Monday, 18th March, 2013.
    Statements
    Presentation of Papers --
    (a) 2011 Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), 2010-2013.
    (b) Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Develop- ment on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (c) Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (d) Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (e) Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (f) Report of the Committee on Works and Housing on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (g) Report of the Finance Committee on the annual budget estimates of the Government Machinery for the year ending 31st December
    2013.
    (h) Report of the Committee on Gender and Children on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (i) Report of the Committee on Communications on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Communications for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (j) Report of the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the year ending 31 st December, 2013.
    (k) Report of the Special Budget Committee on the annual budget estimates for the year ending 31st December 2013 of the following:
    i. Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
    ii. Electoral Commission (EC).
    iii. National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
    iv. National Media Com- mission (NMC).
    (l) Report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the annual budget estimates of the National Labour Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    Motion -- Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the amendment to the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the reform of the Executive Board and the increase in quotas of member countries.

    Committee sittings.

    Statements

    Presentation of Papers --

    (a) Report of the Finance Committee on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Finance for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (b) Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Justice for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (c) Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (d) Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (e) Report of the joint Committee on Lands and Forestry and Mines and Energy on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December,

    2013.

    (f) Report of the Committee on Health on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Health for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (g) Report of the Committee on Education on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Education for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (h) Report of the Finance Committee on the annual budget estimates of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (i) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (j) Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Transport for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (k) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    Motions --

    (a) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ ……

    for the services of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Local Government and Rural Development)

    (b) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration)

    (c) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Employment and Labour Relations)

    (d) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Roads and High- ways)

    (e) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing)

    (f) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of Government Machinery for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (g) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection)

    (h) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Communications for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Communications)

    (i) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the Services of the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the year ending 31st December 2013.

    (Minister for Trade and Industry)

    (j) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (k) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Electoral Commission (EC) for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (l) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (m) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the National Media Commission (NMC) for the year ending 31st December,

    2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (n) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the National Labour Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    Committee sittings.

    Statements

    Presentation of Papers --

    (a) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (b) Reports of the Special Budget Committee on the annual budget estimates for the year ending 31st December, 2013 of the following:

    i. Public Services Commission (PSC)

    ii. Audit Service

    iii. Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator.

    (c) Report of the Committee on Judiciary on the annual budget estimates of the Judicial Service for the year ending 31 st December, 2013.

    (d) Report of the Committee on Communications on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Information and Media Relations for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (e) Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Defence for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (f) Report of the Committee on Defence and Interior on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of the Interior for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (g) Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (h) Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the year ending 31st December,

    2013.

    (i) Report of the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism on the
    Minister for Government Business in Parliament/Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 10:25 a.m.
    annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (j) Report of the Finance Committee on the annual budget estimates of the Revenue Agencies for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (k) Report of the Special Budget Committee on the annual budget estimates of Parliament for the year ending 31st December 2013.
    (l) Report of the Finance Committee on the annual budget estimates of Other Government obliga- tions for the year ending 31st December 2013.
    Motions --
    (a) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Finance for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Finance)
    (b) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Justice for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)
    (c) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢…… for the services of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Energy and Petroleum)
    (d) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Environment, Science, Technology)
    (e) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December,
    2013.
    (Minister for Lands and Natural Resources)
    (f) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Health for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Health)
    (g) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Education for the year ending 31st December 2013.
    (Minister for Education)
    (h) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the National Development Planning Com- mission (NDPC) for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Finance)
    (i) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry
    of Youth and Sports for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Youth and Sports)
    (j) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Transport for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Transport)
    (k) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    (Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs)
    Committee sittings.

    Statements

    Presentation of Papers --

    Motions --

    (a) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Public Services Commission (PSC) for the year ending 31st December,

    2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (b) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Audit Service for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (c) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Office of the District Assemblies' Common Fund Administrator for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (d) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Judicial Service for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (e) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Information and Media Relations for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Information and Media Relations)

    (f) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Defence for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Defence)

    (g) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of the Interior for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for the Interior)

    (h) That this Honourable House approvesServices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Food and Agriculture)
    Minister for Government Business in Parliament/Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 10:25 a.m.


    (i) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development)

    (j) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts)

    (k) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of the Revenue Agencies for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    (l) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of Parliament for the year ending 31st December,

    2013.

    (Minister in Charge of Government Business in Parliament)

    (m) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ …… for the services of other Government obligations for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

    (Minister for Finance)

    Committee sittings.

    Statements

    Presentation and First Reading of Bills --

    The Appropriation Bill, 2013

    Presentation of Papers --

    Report of the Finance Committee on the Appropriation Bill, 2013

    Motions --

    (a) Second Reading of Bills--

    The Appropriation Bill, 2013

    (b) Third Reading of Bills--

    The Appropriation Bill, 2013

    Consideration Stage of Bills--

    The Appropriation Bill, 2013

    Committee sittings.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member for -- Is it Manhyia South?
    Dr Prempeh 10:25 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    I have got it right. Very well; let us hear you.
    Dr Prempeh 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I totally support what the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House just introduced as the Business Statement for the week -- realising the onerous responsibility on Parliament to make sure the country's budget is passed and Appropriations passed for business to continue.
    But, Mr Speaker, I would like the Hon Leader of the House to draw his attention to the fact that the Constitution we operate stipulates in article 187(5) that -- Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me quote:
    “187(5). The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which each of the accounts mentioned in clause (2) of this article relates, submit his report to Parliament and shall, in that report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited and to any other matter which in his opinion ought to be brought to the notice of Parliament.”
    It is such a vital component of the budget we are considering to know how Appropriations have been managed previously, Mr Speaker; and for the Auditor-General to be derelict in his responsibility and/or for the House not to demand this constitutional obligation, and/or if it has been presented, for us not to know what is in there -- we are omitting or overlooking a very important basis for our consideration of the sector Ministry's report.
    Mr Speaker, I would like you to use your good office to demand that this constitutional provision -- There is no reason we are breaching this aspect of the Constitution. To add to that, it is not only article 187(5) we are short of. Act 663, section (3)(1) talks about the Public Procurement Authority submitting its report as part of the Auditor-General's Report to the House.
    How can we have 2010 Public Procurement Authority Annual Report, 2010 and we would miss 2009 and 2011
    whereas we are even in 2013, not talk about 2013 itself?
    So, these are vital components of what we call the oversight responsibility of Parliament and if we claim or if we intend or if we are oversighting the Executive and we do not make sure that these reports and these things are brought to the House for deliberation, then I do not know if the most important aspect of the parliamentary job, we are not neglecting to the sideline.
    So Mr Speaker, I am begging; I am really, really on my knees begging that if we intend to do justice to the budget estimates, these reports, you should help the House to be conversant with these reports, so that we can help the people of Ghana.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we certainly take a cue of the concern on this matter in relation to the submission of the audited accounts.
    Mr Speaker, what is significant here is that, the article referred to by the Hon Member should be read against article 179 of the 1992 Constitution. This is because there is a clear distinction between the performance of the functions of the Auditor-General on public accounts and Parliament's role in actually debating and considering them, and the mandatory express requirement in article 179 that we should cause to be laid revenues and expenditures.
    As we engage that in relation to these committees, I am sure that at the various committee hearings, these issues of oversight and how previous appro- priations were spent could be taken on board while we look at the appropriate time to take on board the Auditor-General's report.
    Mr Osei B. Amoah 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, last week, I raised this matter and indeed, I even informed the House that as far as I am aware, the audited accounts for 2011 are lying in the Mails Room and I remember the Majority Leader said that he did not go to the Mails Room. Indeed, you said you will take up the matter. So, I am surprised that this matter is still coming up. This is because he is my senior when he made that remark; I could not respond. Probably, the issue is about handing over because this matter was raised last term
    -- 10:35 a.m.

    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, let us listen to him, then you can respond.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is just because of the specific error. I never said I did not go to the Mails Room. I said, “I have not been to the Mails Room”.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 10:35 a.m.
    Probably, not to hit below the belt, he has not been there since. [Laughter.] I am saying that probably, it is a handing over matter because the former Majority Leader --
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, the point has been made by the Hon Member for Manhyia South. You raised the point last week. In fact, I have been in contact with the Clerks-at-the-Table to find out what
    reports are there to be laid including the Auditor-General's Report, so that we can then take them up. They have not yet furnished me with all those reports. You would realise that even when you raised the matter, I called him to consult him again on that matter.
    Immediately my office is informed--But I want to put on record that since I assumed the Office of the Speaker, I have not received any communication from the Auditor-General in terms of any of his reports which I have not brought to the Business Committee to be programmed and to be laid. That is the reason I keep on making reference to the Clerk to Parliament to find out what were the outstanding reports if any that were not laid last year.
    Once I get feedback from the Clerks- at-the-Table and indeed, the Clerk's Office, we will be able to resolve this matter. These are constitutional obligations and no one can run away from them.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Why? You said you supported everything. Your only concern was raised and you were supported by Hon O. B. Amoah --
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to associate myself with the sentiments expressed but to observe that indeed, if we have to go by the constitutional imperative of discussing the budget for an ensuing year, in maybe, two, three months before the expiry of that financial year, it will be difficult dealing with the 2013 Budget, for instance, to go into the Audited Report of 2012 financial year. What we may succeed
    in doing really, as per the constitutional provision, will be dealing with the 2011 Audited Reports. We cannot before the presentation of the 2013 Budget, even in a regular financial year, deal with the audited reports for 2012 because we would not have entered the ensuing year.
    I think that is the matter that should confront all of us. But having said that, I have always insisted that the committees of Parliament have the requisite muscle to, while the Budget cycle is playing out, delve into value for money operations in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Our Standing Orders provide that enablement to the committees. So, they even, before waiting for audited reports, could deal with this.
    They could deal with that, and in particular, our Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises also have a special role to play. I think before we wait for the Auditor-General's Report, these committees could do their own investigations and then compare what they find with the budget estimates and the Appropriations as applied to the previous year.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I agree with you to a very large measure. I think they have been doing that. This is because when they invite them as part of the oversight responsibilities, they do not get clearance from the Speaker.
    I see it on the Order Paper every day and I read it on the internet, that they have invited the Minister for Health, they have invited VRA, they have invited -- they have summoned Ministers, they are inviting the MDAs and those things, when they can do some of these things and they do not take permission from the Speaker in doing those things. They have
    general oversight of those MDAs. So, I entirely agree with you in terms of the oversight responsibility.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the consideration of the Business Statement for the eighth week ending 22nd March, 2013.
    Hon Members, thank you very much.
    Hon Members, I have admitted one Urgent Statement standing in the name of the Hon Alhaji Bashir F. Alhassan, MP for Sagnarigu Constituency.
    STATEMENTS 10:35 a.m.

    Alhaji Bashir F. Alhassan (NDC -- Sagnarigu) 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for this opportunity to make a Statement to this august House on the clash between the people of Yilonaayili and Kulmanga in the Sagnarigu District of the Northern Region.
    Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, a long standing dispute between the two people, fraternal brothers living in a geographically contiguous territory of Yilonaayilo and Kulmanga, degenerated into a full blown conflict.
    Mr Speaker, in the ensuing confrontation, one person lost his life and several others sustained varying degrees of injury. It took the timely intervention of the security forces to bring order and normalcy to the area and people as well.
    Mr Speaker, this development is a matter of great regret and concern to the overwhelming majority of people of the area, in particular the people of Sagnarigu District and the constituency.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I have decided to take comments from only the Minority and Majority Leaders on this matter, so that we can proceed quickly to the debate on the financial policy.
    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, conflict, wherever, however, whenever they do occur, are not the best for the community, the locality, the region and indeed, the country as a whole. It does appear our Hon Colleague has already diagnosed the cause of the conflict, which according to him, is poverty and underdevelopment. I do not know of that, but he should know better.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member who made the Statement, listening to him, made some comments. He called for maximum restraint and again, he called on them to refrain from any action that may further breach the peace. He also talked about chiefs and other stakeholders working to ensure that the peace that has been achieved is sustainable.
    Finally, listening to him, he is commending the security forces for their swift and timely response. Mr Speaker, what else can one add to these words of caution, except perhaps, to only add, that while commending the security forces for their swift and timely response, perhaps, next time round, they should be more proactive to ensure that the conflict does not break out in the first place.
    This is because when it does break out, certain unfortunate repercussions and rape, certainly, would follow after the breakout of the conflict. Even when we secure peace thereafter, ramification could erupt anytime at any place and that still
    would be most unfortunate. So, while commending the security forces for their swift response, may we call on them to be very proactive next time.
    Mr Speaker, I believe it is a very relevant Statement, and maybe, as the Hon Member who made the Statement himself has proposed, we may let the security operatives get to know this Statement and for whatever necessary action to be continued, so that we sustain the peace that has been achieved at the place.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this Statement is timely inasmuch as it is very important and significant. We have witnessed over the years the lost of human lives and property in relation to these conflicts that break out from time to time.
    It is particularly significant that the Hon Member has asked for calm and also registered in the Statement that the state security agencies were up to the task in actually preventing an escalation.
    Mr Speaker, we do know that there is no society that can move on without conflict. What is disturbing is violent conflict. As long as we are different and we perceive society relatively differently, the disagreements are bound to come. It is when these disagreements degenerate into violence that it becomes problematic.
    I would like to add my voice to that of the Hon Minority Leader that as much as possible, we should bring this Statement to the attention of the relevant security agencies, to keep an eye on the developments in relation to the community in question. Quite often, conflicts are like
    waves; very difficult to rise. but when they rise, they are very difficult to break down. So, once we have been able to put in some stopgap measure to reduce or stop the violence, it does not mean the causes to the conflict have also disappeared. And to that extent, we must keep monitoring the development in those areas.
    I think it is a useful Statement, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I direct that the Statement and the comments by the two Leaders be served on the Hon Minister for the Interior.
    I so direct.
    Hon Members, at the commencement of Public Business, Presentation of Papers by the Minister for Finance.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Are you the Minister for Finance? [Laughter.]
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was looking in your direction and my head went a bit lower. [Laughter.]
    I wanted to crave your indulgence because the Hon Minister for Finance is attending to another urgent matter in relation to our processes within the House. He is before the Finance Committee to -- to lay the Paper on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, this is explained. He has explained the absence of the Hon Minister for Finance in the House, so --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I, ordinarily, would not have anything against it. But my worry is whether it would not amount to conflict of interest; he pleading his own cause?
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a Friday like this, I would ask the Lord to let me resist the temptation to respond. And I would still crave Mr Speaker's indulgence and that of the Hon Minority Leader for that matter to lay the Paper.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    PAPERS 10:45 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, we now move to item number 6 on the Order Paper -- Motion. [Pause.]
    Hon Members, where are we starting from? Is it from the Minority side or the Majority side? [Pause.] Very well.
    MOTIONS 10:55 a.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from 14/03/ 2013]
  • Prof. George Yaw Gyan-Baffour (NPP -- Wenchi) 10:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I will do so by impressing on the managers of the economy to begin
    thinking more deeply about the economy rather than tinkering on economic indicators.
    Mr Speaker, the problem facing this country is not merely a cyclical one. It is, indeed, structural; in fact, the structural component is even more potent than the cyclical problem and this structural problem has a long-term destructive effect on the economy. It is not about mere perennial shifts that require quick fixes such as drawing down reserves and focusing on textbook - made type of short- term prescriptions that are used to resolve macroeconomic disequilibrium.
    The problem facing this country, Mr Speaker, requires major structural solution. For instance, Mr Speaker, the free fall of the cedi that we witnessed towards the end of the year -- last year, has been explained away as if it is perennial and one-time issue. Mr Speaker, it points to a more fundamental weakness in the economy and this budget does not seem to have a clue about how to resolve it.
    Mr Speaker, the exchange rate was about GH¢1.1 to a dollar, in 2008, by 2010 it was GH¢1.50 per dollar and by December, it almost got to GH¢2.00 per dollar and it was about GH¢1.98. Mr Speaker, if the fundamental weakness in the economy is not systematically and boldly removed but left to management by crises, what we will see is that by 2014, the dollar will be about GH¢2.5 and by 2015, 2016, it will be about GH¢3.00 or more and as usual, the managers of the economy will come and tell us with nice words -- “macroeconomic stability”, “prudence” and all that without actually looking at the real cause of the problem.
    Mr Speaker, in the past four years and more so, in this year, the value of our imports far exceeded our exports. In 2012, we registered a balance of trade deficit of GH¢4.2 billion cedis. The deficit was mainly because our manufacturing companies that produce import substitutes in this country have all been
    allowed to collapse. Things that were made locally are now ever than before being imported.
    Mr Speaker, manufacturing share of GDP is declining and declining very fast- - from 6.9 per cent in 2009 to 6.7 per cent in 2011 and the trend is downwards. Our factories are now on endangered species list and instead of restoring and enhancing our production capacity that will increase growth and underpin stability, what we hear from managers of our economy is engaging in quick fixes with short-term solutions like mopping up liquidity, tight fiscal policies, tax increases and so on, which end up undermining economic growth.
    Mr Speaker, most of our foreign exchange, as we all know, come from cocoa, gold, diamond and now, oil. The prices of all these commodities are determined elsewhere in Chicago and London; we do not have much control over them. The only thing that probably we have much control over, is actually to do some manufacturing here -- manufacture our own products and sell.
    Instead of embarking on this serious industrialization where we can control the prices of our exports, so that we can improve our balance of trade, our balance of payments, the stability of our currency and increased growth of our economy, what we hear is like child's play and meaningless expressions such as fiscal consolidation, monetary prudence and all those kinds of things.
    Mr Speaker, the managers of this country and the economy must sit up, otherwise, by next year, we will come up with a deficit of about 50 per cent GDP or more. Mr Speaker, deficit per se is not a good thing but financing investment with
    deficits to spur economic growth is acceptable. It is, however, good to the extent that deficit translates into expansion in the economy and the growth in the economy can bring yields to pay for the deficits.
    Let me give you an example. In 2008, Mr Speaker, the deficit was about GH¢1.9 billion cedis and this was accompanied by an expansion of the economy from 6.5 per cent in 2007 to 8.4 per cent in 2008. In 2012, with a high deficit of 8.6 billion cedis, the oil economy shrunk from 14.4 to 7.1 and non-oil economy stayed unchanged.
    Mr Speaker, clearly, the deficit for 2012 did not lead to an expansion of the economy. This suggests that the deficit was used for consumption and not for production. And knowing our appetite for imports, it was used for unplanned consumption imports which resulted in leakages in the economy.
    Mr Speaker, this is a classical example of recklessness and wanton dissipation of Government resources and wasted deficits -- [Hear! Hear!]-- GH¢650 million cedis consumed by the Office of Government Machinery. [Interruption]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Ketu South, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Kwetey 10:55 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I just wanted to correct a wrong impression.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, you rise on point of order because the Member has done something which is outside the rules.
    Mr Kwetey 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member was misleading the House and I just wanted to correct the distortion.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    What statement is misleading?
    Mr Kwetey 10:55 a.m.
    The Hon Member actually said that the deficit that we had in 2012 did not lead to an expansion of the economy. Mr Speaker, I would want to state in plain language that that actually is incorrect. An economy that grew provisionally by 7.1 per cent in 2012 cannot be said to be an economy that contracted, especially when we know that in 2008 to 2012 every provisional figure that we had, was followed by actuals that were far bigger than the provisional.
    Prof Gyan-Baffour 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me go ahead because the Hon Member knows very well that he cannot look into a crystal ball and tell us here that when the Government Statistician comes up with the actuals, the figures will be up, it does not work out that way. We will just leave it. [Interruption]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, why? Are you raising a point of order against Hon Gyan-Baffour?
    Mr Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, point of information.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister himself said that, yes, the 7.1 per cent is a provisional figure but chances are that if the figure is reviewed, it may appropriately be between 8.5 per cent and 8.9 per cent, that still represents a climb-down from 14.4 per cent -- as simple as that.
    Mr Kwetey 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, point of information as well.
    When an economy grows by 14.4 per cent, especially in a year that the country started production of crude oil, that 14.4 per cent constitutes a larger base. Subsequent to that year, a growth of 7.1 per cent is not a scaling down of growth, it is actually an upward growth --[Hear! Hear!] So, for him to create the impression that just because there was a 14.4 per cent on the larger base, 7.1 per cent represents a scale- down, it is absolutely a distortion.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is trying to play tricks with statistics but the fact of the matter is that, yes, it spiked and it dropped. Even the non-oil economy stagnated; it did not improve and that is where the point is. Mr Speaker, this, I describe as a classical example of recklessness and wanton dissipation of government resources and it is a wasted deficit.
    Mr Speaker, the wasted deficit is for consumption. GH¢650 million consumed by the Office of Government Machinery, GH¢350 million consumed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and so on and so forth. Mr Speaker, the fiscal deficit in 2012, is an unplanned consumption-based deficit and it should not be entertained
    -- 11:05 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have one minute more.
    Prof Gyan-Baffour 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have counted their time on mine because I have just spoken for five minutes--
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, that is why I have decided to add two minutes to your time. [Laughter.]
    Prof Gyan-Baffour 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, seriously, this 2012 fiscal deficit also has a twin brother. The twin brother is called the current account deficit and it is even more dangerous than the one that we are referring to. Instead of the 12 per cent, that one is also 12.3 per cent of our GDP. So, we have a twin deficit, the deficit on the fiscal side and the deficit on the monetary side.
    Mr Speaker, that is why we saw all this free fall of the cedi last December. Of course, the remnants are still there and if we do not take care, we will still see a free fall of all the economic indicators in this year.
    Mr Speaker, on public debt, in 2001, the debt to GDP ratio in this country was about 180.8 per cent. That is why we described ourselves as highly indebted country. By 2008, the debt to GDP ratio had shrunk to 50 per cent of GDP; kudos to J. A. Kufuor. We were no longer a highly indebted country and with rebasing, it was realised that we were no longer poor. So, we were not poor and highly indebted under the second term of President Kufuor --
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, conclude; your time is up.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 11:05 a.m.
    However, the rate at which we are borrowing now, we are almost close to the HIPC threshold. Our debt GDP ratio now is close to about 90 per cent --
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Your time is up, so your last sentence.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are so many errors in this budget. In fact, last year, when there were errors in the supplementary budget, we said, let it go and they will come and bring an errata.
    This year, there are so many errors in there, and Mr Speaker, if we continue to allow them to get away with it, sooner than later, all the documents that we have here will be erroneous. So, I think that the Minister for Finance should really look at just two pages --
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Your time is up.
    Hon Member for Anlo?
    Minister for Food and Agriculture (Mr Clement K. Humado) (MP) 11:05 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion, that this Honorable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    In so doing, Mr Speaker, I would first of all like to make some general observations about the economic policy direction of the budget. In my view, a critical analysis of the economic policy direction of the budget shows that it is a budget of hope -- [Hear! Hear.] -- and establishes a clear roadmap that should lead Ghana to transit from a low income economy to a middle income economy.
    It also demonstrates very clearly how the challenges identified in the fiscal and the macroeconomic environment of 2012 would be addressed in order to ensure a strong and a powerful economy.
    Dr Mathew O. Prempeh 11:05 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, for the Minister for Food and Agriculture to be in this Chamber-- and I know for certain he was in the last Chamber-- to say that this budget is the one that is going to lead Ghana from a low income country to a middle income country, it is wrong.
    Dr Prempeh 11:05 a.m.
    It is wrong. We are already in a middle income country.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, that is not a point of order; that is his view; that is his opinion, please.
    Dr Prempeh 11:05 a.m.
    It is not a matter of opinion here, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member for Anlo, continue.
    Mr Humado 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would now like to turn to the agricultural sector of the budget.
    The presentation of the agricultural sector clearly shows a clear direction for agriculture. The basis is that we would want to accelerate the modernization of agriculture through the introduction of science and technology; the Budget Statement on agriculture clearly shows that. I would like to start with self- sufficiency in food crop production.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I heard the Hon Minister well, he spoke about roots and tubers and cited plantain as an example. [Laughter.] Is it a root or a tuber?
    Mr Humado 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sure the Minority Leader did not hear me well. I said roots and tubers and I started to enumerate the categories, cassava, yam and in our classification, plantain is lumped in that category. So, it is a technical definition and if you like, you can go and check. [Laughter.] That is the category of definition.
    Now what I am saying is that, we are producing roots and tubers beyond self- sufficiency and we are now even saddled with how to dispose of the extra production.
    We are working with the private sector to see how they can take off the excess production and turn it into agro- industry. In that regard, for example, Guinness Ghana Limited has come to our aid by using cassava now a main ingredient of the brewery of beer. That beer is called Root Beer; those who have not tasted it yet can go and try it.
    Also, we are working with the private sector to produce quality cassava flour that would be used in the bakery and confectionery industry. So, clearly, in terms of roots and tubers, we are over producing.
    Mr Dominic Nitiwul 11:15 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture and Member for Anlo is
    misleading this House. The Minister is aware that the country, for the first time, imported maize. In fact, during the election, they were distributing it all over. o, for him to say that we overproduced maize, is wrong. He knows it. For the first time in over 20 years, maize was imported into this country; so he is wrong.
    Mr Humado 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to correct my Hon Member.
    If you look at the statistics of importation, you must also go down to look at the type of maize that was imported. We can import seed maize for planting and you can import yellow maize for the feed mills industry. But white maize for local consumption is what I am referring to, that we have overproduced.
    I am not talking about seed maize which appears in the statistics of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. To the extent that right now, NAFCO has a stock of about 12,000 metric tonnes which we are now finding market for. The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has about 15,000 metric tonnes. FINATRADE has about 20,000 metric tonnes. SAVANNA Marketing Company has a stock of 20,000 metric tonnes and MASARA N'ARSIKI has a stock of 20,000 metric tonnes. These are based on letters written to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
    Last week, I had to approve export permit to a company in Kumasi called Premium Foods Limited to export 30,000 metric tonnes of maize to Mali. Are these indications that agriculture is dying in this country? They are rather indications that agriculture is growing and feeding the industry and contributing to a strong economy. Therefore, those who would want to mislead us that agriculture is dying, please, they need to revise their notes.
    Right now, I have an order from World Food Programme to be able to export maize to our neighbouring countries. Is that also a sign of a dying agriculture in Ghana? Agriculture continues to contribute to the export growth of this country. Pineapples, pawpaw, all horticultural products continue to contribute to the export earnings of this country.
    We also have plans to improve the irrigation facilities in this country. The Accra Plains Irrigation Scheme will be commenced this year and my brothers and sisters who are in the Ga-Adangbe and Osudoku will benefit from this scheme. We will also complete the rehabilitation of other smaller schemes throughout the country. We are working hand in hand with the private sector to increase grains warehousing facilities, so that we can accommodate the surpluses that we envisage at the end of this year. And in that regard, I just inaugurated a graze warehousing —
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up. But because of the intervention, I will give you one minute. Only one minute.
    Mr Humado 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, all these are good signs to show that agriculture in this country continues to grow from strength to strength. They are not signs of a dying agriculture sector in this country. I therefore, would want to assure this House and Ghanaians in general that under my leadership, agriculture will fulfil its role to be the main engine of growth to transform this economy from a low income status to a middle income status.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Isaac Osei, Member for Subin.
    Mr Isaac Osei (NPP -- Subin) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Budget Statement, 2013 and the Economic Policy of Government.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Dr Donkor 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is misleading the House.
    At the time the late Professor Atta Mills said Dzi wo fie asem, there was already a Ghanaian contingent in la Cote d'Ivoire helping to resolve the situation.
    Mr Isaac Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, all of us in this House know the facts better than my Colleague on the other side.
    But having said that, consistency of policy in the international arena is extremely vital for the comity of nations. our leaders, if they have to be respected and trusted to become players on the sub regional, on the international scene and also on the continental scene, they have to be consistent with their policies.
    It is not surprising therefore, that President Kufuor became ECOWAS Chairman twice, AU Chair and Ghana was also given a seat at G-8 meetings and on the UN Security Council. The 2013 Budget Statement recognises in paragraphs 718 to 721, the importance of pursuing goals of maintaining peace and stability in our sub-region and on a continental level and committing our country to the shared values of good governance, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.
    These values, as we are all aware, have for decades been held by the New Patriotic Party and its antecedents as being non-negotiable inalienable rights. Fortunately, Ghana has since 1992 agreed that if we wish to move forward as a country, all of us must share these values.
    Mr Speaker, after all, good governance is about how we use our resources for the benefit of the broad masses of our people. The generality of Ghanaians must benefit from the resources that we use but these resources have to be used in accordance with due process and law. In this House, next week, we shall pass into law, an Appropriation Bill which sets the limit or ceiling on the expenditures Government will make in the course of the year. Any extra expenditure over and above this, without approval from Parliament, breaks the law.
    From the Budget Statement of 2013, it is clear that the Government of Ghana has proceeded to spend GH¢2.8 billion without authority of Parliament. This is massive, in view of the fact that in July, 2012, the same Government came before us with a supplementary budget totalling GH¢2.6 billion. Mr Speaker, it appears that this House is losing its power of the purse and in fiscal matters, we ought to show greater oversight over the Executive. And we are indeed, condoning illegal acts of this Government.
    Mr Speaker, in the context of foreign policy, which country, which company or which entity would want to deal with a Government that passes a law and then proceeds to break that law with impunity? Perhaps, Mr Speaker, we need a multi- party framework to deal with this particular situation.
    Mr Speaker, let us talk about economic diplomacy, a concept which has been given space in paragraphs 722 and 723 of the Budget Statement. I commend the Hon Minister for articulating this idea of economic diplomacy and for continuing the process began in 2001 after President Kufuor took office. But Mr Speaker, the fruit of economic diplomacy can only be realised where the domestic economic policy is fair, is sound and is implementable.
    Mr Speaker, what do we see in the domestic policy space? A Government which misses all its fiscal targets in a single year, a Government which has no ability whatsoever to realise the estimates it had made with regard to revenue, and a Government with a voracious appetite to overspend and borrow to the extent that in a single year, the cost of borrowing has
    increased from 11 per cent to 23 per cent. Mr Speaker, so, the private sector of our country has no space to borrow and where they are able to access credit, they do so at punitive rates between 27 per cent and 33 per cent. Besides, we in this country, have no market for long-term funds. We cannot pretend that we are doing something right; we are not.
    In the area of accumulation of arrears and indebtedness of government to utility and petroleum sector companies, and with our budget deficits, others have clearly spoken to this subject and I would not belabour the point. Today, in Ghana, we use the word “challenge” as an euphemism for systems failure.
    This dum so dum so phenomenon, water shortages, absence of gas, the long queues at gas pumps -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, the limited manufacturing capacity of this country is being destroyed by this and when public sector managers of utilities cannot programme their routine and periodic maintenance schedules to the extent that even filters cannot be bought, filters cannot be replaced, and instead of conducting managerial and technical audit, we are talking about a challenge.
    Mr Speaker, with all these, the ends of economic diplomacy cannot be served. We go out there looking for investment. We go out there looking for opportunities for our country. Who is going to bring his investment into a country which is unable or unwilling to do simple basic things?
    Mr Speaker, the business of government is not business. The business of government is creating an enabling environment in which the private sector can prosper and create wealth -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the enabling environment must assure the country of good security and at least, at the very least, uninterrupted electricity supply and water provision.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member for Keta, do you have a point of order? What is your point of order?
    Mr Quashigah 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    This is because the Hon Member on the other side kept repeating that Government has the appetite of spending and spending and spending, creating the impression that Government spends for the wrong reasons. But we all know in this country that the Government of President John Dramani Mahama seeks to spend money for the good cause of this nation, and we all know too well that over and over again --
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member for Subin, continue. Hon Member for Subin, conclude anyway; your time is up. Yes, I know. Hon Member, the two of us cannot be talking at the same time, so, I am saying conclude.
    Mr Isaac Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the EU delegate said the country can only make gains if Government intensifies supervision, monitoring, transparency and build the capacity of business to compete internationally.
    Finally and in conclusion, our foreign policy has the promotion of Ghana's national interest as the primary goal and in this context, the country's image is
    critical. That the demeanour and comportment of our diplomats can enhance --
    Mr Isaac Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when Ghanaian students -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Your time is up.
    Mr Isaac Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you. But I would give this to the Table Office to capture everything that I have -- [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, unfortu- nately, it is only what you say on the floor that is captured.
    Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin (NDC -- Nadowli/Kaleo) 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    Mr Speaker, this budget is the right budget by the right President, at the right time -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, is it a point of order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:25 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, first of all, I know wise men do not proffer advice in the open, they do it behind the curtains; and when wise men jump into the fray and they are using very subjective and prescriptive language in the House, we need to be worried.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, that is not a point of order -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, clearly, I now understand that the Hon A. S. K. Bagbin is still looking for the star.
    Mr Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, surely, the star has come.
    Mr Speaker, I said this is the right budget because we all know that the year 2012 was a consumptive year. It was a consumptive year because there were a number of activities in the country that no government could have overlooked than to spend money.
    Mr Speaker, 2012 was an election year and in an election year, where our Friends on the opposite side insisted that we were not going to only do biometric registration, but we should also add verification. Mr Speaker, in order to secure the pillar of development, which is peace and to consolidate the democracy in this country, we had to spend money to make sure that the elections of 2012 were free, fair, peaceful and credible -- [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, we could not have done anything than to spend money.

    My Hon Colleagues know and we have been in this House for some time and that, when there is an election year, there are pressures from everywhere and we all know the posture of labour in 2012 and

    So, this is the right budget in spite of all the “kookaakookaa” going on in this country. Mr Speaker, as a country, we are making progress. We have been able to move from the time we were in the university, from live expectancy of 48 years to 64 years as of last year. Sixty- four years -- life expectancy is now 64 years in the country.

    The ladies now have life expectancy of 65 years and the gentlemen 63 years. These are records from the World Health Organisation and anybody can cross- check from it. Mr Speaker, so there are new challenges that are developing. We all see that at the age of 60, when people retire, we are still saying that they are young and they are pressures for us to up the retirement age.

    Mr Speaker, we all know that we are now being faced with the issue of obesity. Obesity, which shows that in spite of the fact that we are improving on our life expectancy, our nutritional value is something we have to look at. We are reminded that we are not taking good food. Mr Speaker, we have seen that we are looking at a balanced diet and therefore, the Ministry of Health is focusing on promotional and regenerative health. These are issues that are addressed in the budget.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader --
    Mr Nitiwul 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the lighter side, before I -- why are the three wise men all wearing white? [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you know you are out of order?
    Mr Nitiwul 11:35 a.m.
    But Mr Speaker, we have two Hon Colleagues of ours, the Hon Majority Chief Whip and the former Hon Majority Leader and now, a wise man in the House. The Hon Majority Chief Whip stated that, the mortality rate was over 700 as of 2008; the former Majority Leader is stating 450 -- [Interruption] -- Yes; that is what he said; that is what he said yesterday. That is what you said yesterday. So, Mr Speaker, who are we to
    believe? This is because the former Majority Leader is quoting a source and the Majority Chief Whip quoted a source yesterday; who are we to believe -- the wise man or the Hon Chief Whip?
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Majority Chief Whip, what figure did you give?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if my Hon Colleague did not hear me, let me repeat it. I said five years ago and that was before the 2008 one was done and the figure was over 700 and the Hon Minister would attest to it -- [Interruption] -- Yes; five years. That is why I said “five years ago”, that was before the 2008 census -- [Interruption] -- the census that was done in 2008, is only four years now.
    I am saying “five years ago” and that is different from what he is saying. This is because he is talking about the census that was done in 2008. 2008 till now, no; it is four years -- [Interruption] -- you do not know? Check your count -- 2008 to now is four years. We have just started 2013; so, it is four years and that was before then. So, I am right and the wise man is super right --[Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Nitiwul 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Bagbin, you have one minute to conclude.
    Mr Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, wise men think alike.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    You are supposed to conclude but because of the interventions, you have one minute to conclude.
    Mr Bagbin 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, our vision to produce a healthy population for national development is on course. We know, Mr Speaker, that this is multi-sectorial and as a country, I think we are doing well to ensure that a healthy and productive population, which reproduces itself safely, is what becomes the order of the day in Ghana.
    As Ghanaians, we are praised globally; unfortunately, we do not love ourselves and we keep on criticising and condemning ourselves. But we should rather commend our efforts. This is because we are seen as the light in Africa and the light we shall be.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr William O. Boafo (NPP -- Akropong North) 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to submit that so far as the Defence and Interior Ministries are concerned, on our part here, we do not see any hope in the 2013 Budget. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, if you go to the 2010 Budget, which was presented to this House, we were promised that we would have 250 smartly dressed, well-trained and well-equipped policemen and officers to visit various communities and educate them about community policing. Mr Speaker, where are they up to now?
    We were equally promised that we would have in our communities nationwide, 50 tent city projects, prefabricated houses or units. Mr Speaker, where are those tent cities? Mr Speaker, we were promised that with the
    police, they would give new uniforms to the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) and other personnel to improve their appearances within the communities. Mr Speaker, they are still wearing uniforms which are as white as the sands of the sea.
    Mr Speaker, the Ghana Police Service has drawn up a strategic national police plan, which spans over four years, from 2010 to 2014. Mr Speaker, we have less than two years to end this span period. But what is happening to that plan? Mr Speaker, we are sorry, we do not see any hope in the various promises given in the budget for the Police.
    Mr Speaker, in order to protect the oilfields and so forth, in addition to the activities of the Ghana Navy, we were promised marine police. Mr Speaker, we heard of marine police being established. But what about their activities, what about the equipment and the logistics? Mr Speaker, the budget does not give us any hope in respect of all these things that have been mentioned in the budget.
    Mr Speaker, the training programme is an issue which the budget promises, but we do not see any hope in its implementation. Why do I say so? Mr Speaker, for the whole of last year, only 100 policemen were trained in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of about 3,000 men and women. Mr Speaker, they have drawn up a programme for cyber crime investigation training.
    Mr Speaker, this has been on the drawing board for over one and a half years. It requires only an amount of less than GH¢500,000 to carry out this project. Up till now, nothing has been done; we do not see any hope at all in this budget.
    Mr Speaker, if we move to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), we have challenges there. We do not see hope, how these things can be carried out. We have
    Mr William O. Boafo (NPP -- Akropong North) 11:45 a.m.


    challenges relating to personnel management, welfare, logistics and infrastructural deficits. Mr Speaker, because of the budgetary constraint for the GIS, we do not see any hope at all since all these years these things have not been attended to.

    Mr Speaker, if we move to the Ghana National Fire Service, we were promised that we would have cadet corps in the schools, in the market places, in the lorry stations, and in the communities. These bodies would help to put out fire in its insipient stages. Mr Speaker, we do not see anything of that sort. The fires are still ravaging our communities.

    Mr Speaker, if we move to the Ghana Prisons Service, there is over- crowdedness. The Justice For All Programme is not being implemented as fast as it is required, to enable us reduce the over-crowdedness in the prisons. This decongestion exercise is very necessary for us so far as the prisons are concerned, in view of the poor sanitation in our prisons. Mr Speaker, there has not been any effort to implement any meaningful programme on correctional training for the Prisons Officers.

    Mr Speaker, we were promised that they would build a rehabilitation centre for the Narcotics Control Board (NARCOB), that is the Narcotics Division to serve as a centre for rehabilitation of drug addicts. Mr Speaker, we do not see anything of this sort. There is no hope for us at all.

    Mr Speaker, when you come to the Ghana Armed Forces, we cherish very much the role of the Ghana Armed Forces so far as the United Nations (UN) Peace- keeping operations are concerned. But Mr Speaker, what is happening to the UN operations? Mr Speaker, the feeding state

    or level at the UN operation areas is very poor, to the extent that those involved at times go out to buy their own food. Mr Speaker, if we want to maintain the reputation, the image that we have acquired so far, there is the need for us to pay attention to the UN Peacekeeping operations.

    Mr Speaker, we have been promised that they are going to re-kit them. Mr Speaker, if you conduct an investigation into the military, you would see that berets for the military have not been issued for so many years. Boots for the soldiers for last year, they were only issued for men below the rank of corporal. What about those above them? Mr Speaker, these are some of the things which give us no hope in the budget.

    If you visit the barracks, the garrisons, what you would see, Mr Speaker, is that the road network is very poor, the water supply is very poor. Mr Speaker, these are welfare issues which must be attended to. Mr Speaker, -- [Interruption.] The source is intelligence gathering. Mr Speaker, there is a promise to build a 500- bed hospital in Kumasi. Mr Speaker, the history of this particular construction gives us no hope at all. It would be recalled that the 500-bed hospital was originally destined for Kumasi. Later on, it was re- scheduled for Tamale.

    After that a decision was taken to site it at 37 Military Hospital whereby there was going to be an upgrading of the 37 Military Hospital; the third phase of the 37 Military Hospital together with the Military Receptions and Stations at the garrisons. But now, Mr Speaker, a decision has been taken to take it back to “Afari land” in Kumasi. Mr Speaker, how can we be sure that this time round, it is going to be “Afari land” and that it is not going to be in Sekondi-Takoradi, or it is going to be in Sowutuom or any other

    place? Mr Speaker, this is why we are saying that we do not have any hope at all so far as this budget is concerned for the Ministries of Defence and Interior.

    Mr Speaker, on page 217 of the budget proposals, the Minister informs us that they want to equip the Police in such a way to achieve peace and internal security and so forth. Mr Speaker, we are afraid that this would be a far-fetched objective in view of the fact that there is consistent political interference with the work of the Police.

    Mr Speaker, we recall that some time ago, there was an incident at Agbogbloshie which led to the maiming and the killing of people who were later identified to be New Patriotic Party (NPP) members. Mr Speaker, up till now, no proper investigations have been carried out and arrests made. Mr Speaker, we are also aware about the incident at Gushegu where about nine people identified as NPP members were arrested.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Motion, that this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, the President has presented to this House, the policies that he would implement in the coming year to alleviate whatever is worrying the people who voted for him.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government that was brought into this House was meant for all Ghanaians, not only those who voted for the President. So, for the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to rise up and say that this is really meant to satisfy those who voted for the President, Mr Speaker, it is most unfortunate and regrettable and I think the Hon Deputy Majority Leader may well advise himself.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Hon Minority Leader, today, realised that the President brought a budget and analysed projects that are going to benefit the people of Ghana who voted for him including the New Patriotic Party (NPP) -- including his party. And I am happy also that he is here with his team to debate the President's budget. Today, this budget that he is debating, the President's budget that he is debating is going to benefit the whole of Ghanaians. I am happy for that and I would take on board his concerns.
    Mr Speaker, in the President's State of the Nation Address, he recognised that there were some issues which were worrying Ghanaians. Indeed, he went further to say that these issues, these challenges, are making him not to be able to sleep in the night.
    -- 11:55 a.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have two minutes to go.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, justice for all -- People are in Nsawam, in other prisons without having justice and the President continues to relieve these people by giving them justice.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, whereas the Chair was very charitable to give some Hon Members who spoke earlier including the Hon Member, Hon A. S. K. Bagbin about 15 minutes, you say to my Colleague, Hon Member for Ashaiman that he has just two minutes.
    He started at 12 o'clock. So, I think he is short by four minutes and not two minutes. It would be most unfair to him. In spite of what he is saying, he has four minutes, Mr Speaker, with respect.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I came to meet the time put down by Mr Speaker as 11.46 a.m. We are going by a clock in front of us here and that is what we are using.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, the 11.46 a.m. was the Hon Boafo. My Hon Colleague started at 12 o'clock.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the budget, the President stated that our women, our traders need to be assisted, so, the issue of MASLOC that is helping our women to trade has also been taken on board. I think that this is a President who is seeing to the welfare of the people.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Sabi 11:55 a.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    When the results of the 2012 Elections were announced, they refused to partake in any activity like the vetting of the Hon Ministers. Today --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Please, go ahead, you have the floor.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Today, they are here --
    Mr Sabi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in his presentation, the Hon Member on the floor said Government has identified the health needs of the Brong Ahafo and that they should be happy to have five polyclinics. I would want to say that the people of the Brong Ahafo -- a lot of districts do not even have hospitals, and they are crying for hospitals. So, this move to build five polyclinics would not solve the problem. So, they would not be that happy for the Hon Member to claim as such.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    You are out of order.
    Please, proceed.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I would want to say finally is that, our Hon Colleagues are back to the House to do business. I would want to believe that debating the budget, will not be the last. I would want to believe that the Deputy Ministers who have been nominated,
    when their vetting comes on, they should come because if they do not do that, debating the budget and refusing to come and do other business of the House --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    And refusing to come to do other business on the floor of the House, is not something that is good for democracy and that they must learn from Mr Kwame Pianim --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Your time is up.
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    That they must learn from Mr Kwame Pianim who told them that they must have patience whenever results of elections are announced --
    Mr Agbesi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, it is your turn.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP-- Bimbilla) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to conclude the debate and wind up on the side of this House on the Motion, that this House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana ending 31 st December, 2013, which was presented to this House on the 5th of March, 2013.
    Mr Speaker, permit me again, to use the opportunity to thank the Hon Minority Leader for giving me the opportunity to conclude the debate. Ordinarily, he should have concluded the debate but giving me the opportunity, is a very unique one.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Haruna Iddrisu, do you have a point of order?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so. This is because I would want my Friend to be very accurate. In talking about the
    economy growing at GH¢30 billion, I did not hear him use the GDP. So, I do not know which aspect of the economy grew by GH¢30 billion. So, if he can be specific. I am following him curiously because he purports to be doing this on behalf of the Minority Leader. So, Mr Speaker, if he can be accurate, it will be useful.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I choose not to mind him because if he had opened his ears very well, I had used the word “GDP”. But even before I respond to the output, even before I respond to the fact that all sectors of the economy have grown in leaps and bounds -- It is important to bring something that is very critical to this House, so that as a House, we could take notice of it.
    Alhaji Sorogho 12:05 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, he made a statement. I would want him to go back. He said 12:05 p.m.
    “If he had opened his ears”. Please, I would want him to tell me how one can open the ears? You open your eyes; you listen carefully, but to say that if he had opened his ears. Can he show me how he wants him to open his ears?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe he was using it metaphorically.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much. But I even saw the Hon Member close the ears, so it was easy for me to use the words “open the ears”.
    Mr Speaker, he has given us the indication that the overexpenditure beyond the Appropriation Act of 2012, that is, the combined Appropriation Act of the main budget and the supplementary budget was GH¢2,818,974,507.
    Mr Seth E. Terkpeh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have before me, figures that go back to 2004, which show that the Appropriation was exceeded. We do concede that it is important that we look at this issue but to state that it is an attribute of the NDC Administration is not accurate.
    Mr Speaker, there has been Appropriation in excess of what the House has approved and I do not want to take the entire time but we have them in detail in terms of the budget and in terms of the outturn. There are practical issues involved; there is a budget norm involved and we can debate this issue and I acknowledge that we need to debate it but it should not be made to look as though it is an issue that is attributable to only the NDC Administration.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if a Government assumes the reign of governance and purports to improve on profligate expenditure and then outpaces the previous Administration, that certainly should raise eyebrows. But the point that was raised by my Hon Colleague, the Deputy Minority Leader was that this, indeed, is an affront to Parliament and breaches the provisions contained in the Appropriations Act; true or false?
    It is not whether somebody else has done it. It is like somebody who has been caught in an act of murder and when he is -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, can you please, tell the Majority Leader that there cannot be a point of order on a point of order?
    So the point that is being made is that, yes, if it was bad yesterday, today, it is worse on the platform of “Better Ghana” which purports to end the era of profligacy. That is the point that is being made.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since the Hon Minority Leader is taking the liberties of Leadership, I certainly will make a comment.
    The real issue in the Statement that the Hon Member made is this. That he who goes to equity must go with clean hands. So, the context is that, yes, if something was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today. But the one that caused the wrong yesterday, who has not got the modesty to apologise, it does not lie in the person's mouth to turn round and accuse others of it. This is the moral sense in it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, please, proceed.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are Members of Parliament. We have an oversight function to perform. We will not shirk that function because some other Governments some years ago, broke a particular rule. So, we would allow another Government to continue breaking that rule.
    Mr Speaker, the Government came to Parliament on 18th July, 2012 with a supplementary budget of GH¢2.6 billion. Mr Speaker, five months down the line, the Government overspends GH¢2.8 billion and you think we should not ask questions? [Some Hon Members: No!] Mr Speaker, it is simply illegal to spend beyond the Appropriation Act and let the Government know that it must stop and stop today.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:05 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, the second issue I would want to bring to the fore, is the uncontrolled overexpenditure that occurred in 2012. Mr Speaker, the uncontrolled over- expenditure by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) during the 2012 Budget, especially the last quarter, was outrightly reckless, if I am to borrow the words of the late President Atta Mills --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, because of the interventions, I have given you two more minutes.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the agreement was that because he is winding up in my place, he is to be accorded 30 minutes. That is the agreement. Mr Speaker, the witness is the Hon Majority Leader. So, Mr Speaker, let us all have patience. There is more to come.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, is that correct?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:15 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have just done five minutes.
    Mr Speaker, it is outrightly reckless, to borrow the words of the late President John Atta Mills --Such gargantuan, profligate expenditure over the approved budget is unprecedented in our history, and I am not sure that any government can match it.
    Mr Speaker, that is why Dr Joe Abbey said that 12:15 p.m.
    “We are Usain bolting' towards HIPC.” We know how Usain Bolt runs, the fastest man in the history of mankind
    --We are Usain bolting towards HIPC” -- by Dr Joe Abbey.
    Mr Speaker, the House and the people of Ghana must know why the Office of Government Machinery spent over GH¢600 million last year. The Hon Minister must explain. Mr Speaker, that figure alone can give our secondary school kids free education for one year. [Uproar.] That figure, that over- expenditure alone by the Office of the President, can give our secondary school kids one year of free secondary school education. [Interruption.]
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is grossly misleading this House. Mr Speaker, in the Hon Deputy Minority Leader's own words -- At one breath, he said “Office of Government Machinery,” at another breath, he said “Office of the President.”
    He knows that the Office of Government Machinery is completely different from the Office of the President. Why is he deliberately confusing the people of this country by continuously mentioning “Office of the President” when he knows that mentioning “Office of the President” is wrong? This is because while he is talking about Office of Government Machinery, he is saying “Office of the President.”
    Mr Speaker, he should make it very clear. What is he speaking of? This is because Mr Speaker, if it is the Office of the President, it is completely wrong because the Office of the President never overspent its budget.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, how do you respond to that?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe you mean the Hon Deputy Minority Leader.
    But the crux of the matter, the kernel of the issue is that, there was huge overspending -- GH¢600 million by the Office of Government Machinery, yes, and that is unprecedented in the affairs of this country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    So, now that the correction has been made, let us proceed.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon Majority Chief Whip for acknowledging that there was over- expenditure to the tune of over GH¢600 million.
    Mr Speaker, the social protection programmes spent in excess of GH¢700 million, especially in the last quarter. The Government and the Hon Minister must explain this. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of the Interior spent GH¢19 million, Ministry of Health spent GH¢27 million, Ministry of Education spent GH¢46 million, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology spent GH¢60 million. Mr Speaker, Ministry of Energy spent GH¢70 million.

    Mr Speaker, in the face of these, in the face of such huge overexpenditure, the Ministry of Health owes service pro- viders. So where did the money really go? The Ministry of Roads and Highways owes contractors over GH¢250 million. So, Mr Speaker, where did the money go?

    Mr Speaker, this House must send a very clear message to these Ministers of State -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the House must send a very clear message to these Ministers of State who actually controll the MDAs that such gross indiscipline cannot and will not be countenanced by this House any longer. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is really misleading this House. He is using words like “indiscipline” for Ministers of State. I think it is unbecoming. [Interruptions.] The accounts of the MDAs are yet to be audited by the Auditor-General. It is not proper for a Leader in this House to impugn wrongdoing on the part of Ministers.
    All these resources would be audited; so until an Auditor-General's Report has been assessed, analysed and scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee of this House, it is not proper for any Member of this House to impugn wrongdoing, malfeasance or corruption on the part of any Minister of State. I think it is very wrong.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, what do you say?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy
    the Hon Member is not questioning the overexpenditure, he is questioning the word “indiscipline.” I said the indiscipline in overexpenditure. I did not say they were indisciplined. They are two different things.
    Mr Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I was a Minister in 2012 and I am a very disciplined person. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I was the Minister for Health and in last year, Cuba changed her policy of supporting countries, not only Ghana, with medical officers. Therefore, we were called upon to pay for the Cuban Medical Brigade and that alone took GH¢15 million. It is not indiscipline. [Interruptions.] This is not indiscipline. This is to serve the good people of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, yes, Government is called upon to explain and it is right for this Parliament to call on Government to explain. But to use words like “indiscipline”, particularly, referring to your Colleague Ministers, I think it is unfair. It is very unfair and unparliamentary. It would be explained at the committee level; if he is not satisfied, he can take us on and the Auditor-General would do so. But to say we are indisciplined, it is not fair.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the distinction in the construction ought to be clear. He talks about fiscal indiscipline. Certainly, if there is an allocation of resources and you shoot through the roof, it can only be described as fiscal indiscipline.
    In any event, Mr Speaker, we have had cause to litigate this matter on the floor of this House. This is the first time the former Minister for Health is telling us that indeed, they encountered this challenge but beyond that, the figure that he quoted was GH¢27 million; he is alluding to GH¢15 million -- where are the other items? How does he explain? Mr Speaker, nobody should attempt to bamboozle anybody. He cannot bamboozle his way out of this. It is fiscal indiscipline -- pure and simple.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we are confusing a lot of issues. At least, Hon Members on the other side know that the fiscal side of every statement is dealing with revenue, when you are talking about the fiscal aspect. So when you say “fiscal indiscipline”, what do you mean?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, I believe that we all know that the Auditor-General will come out with his report and when that comes out, we will be in a position to determine what is what. Apart from that, the Public Accounts Committee will also deal with the issue. It is at this stage that we will be in a position to determine whether a particular Ministry has conducted itself in such a manner as to amount to fiscal indiscipline.
    I believe we are jumping the gun. If you could just avoid using that expression, then we will make some progress.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe my Deputy would advise himself on the way forward in particular, given the fact that we do not have much time at our disposal. Mr Speaker, however, if an allocation is made to a Ministry, Department or Agency, what is required is that the person can spend within limit.
    If you go above, it is certainly fiscal indiscipline --pure and simple.
    But Mr Speaker, with respect to the Chair, this House does not solely depend on the reports of the Auditor-General. Committees of Parliament can pry into these matters, individual members can pry into these matters and furnish us with the truth, that is the statutory position of partiamentary business anywhere in the world.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    But Hon Minority Leader, until that has been done, I believe that it will be premature. So, please, let us avoid using that expression and let us make some progress.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    When the committees are meeting and vetting the budget, the first thing they do, is to look at last year's expenditure. So even before the Auditor-General comes with his figures, we know the figures as Members of the House. I will give a response to the former Hon Majority Leader.
    Today, when we were looking at the Office of Government Machinery budget for example, we noticed that the Cuban Brigade, your outfit actually spent -- that is the Scholarships Secretariat-- GH¢14.5 million, not GH¢15 million cedis -- [Interruptions] -- Yes, and the Minister was there.
    But Mr Speaker, the Divestiture Implementation Committee--[Interrup- tions] -- You can go and correct that with the Scholarships Secretariat. Mr Speaker, the Divestiture Implementation Committee -- last year paid GH¢5 million into the Consolidated Fund--
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend is continuously misleading people. That expenditure is on the number of students that we have sent to Cuba. What I am talking about are medical officers that they sent to us and who are in Ghana. They are two different things.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much for adding more to the Cuban expenditure. But Mr Speaker, the Divestiture Implemen- tation Committee paid GH¢5 million cedis into the Consolidated Fund. It is not captured within the budget. It is captured as GH¢00.00 cedis. That is an explanation we need from the Minister. Mr Speaker, I have already stated earlier that in paragraphs 7 and 9 --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have six more minutes.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hope that the interruptions --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    The interruptions have been taken into account.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister has already stated on paragraphs 7 and 9 that all sectors were growing in leaps and bounds. Mr Speaker, that statement is untrue and very misleading. Very misleading because recently, during the commissioning of the Ghana Development Partners, the President of that body, when met Government, he said and I beg to quote:
    “Fiscal performance last year was poor, the last deficit poses serious risks to Ghana's continuous progress and success, it jeopardizes growth, opportunities and constraints new environment and adds to debt.”
    Mr Speaker, let me delve into some bit of history. If you inherit a two-billion deficit and you describe that as a run- down economy and you leave a deficit of 8.67 billion; what sort of economy is that?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Dr Prempeh, are you rising on a point of order?
    Dr Prempeh 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have a point of order.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, you are out of order.
    Dr Ahmed Y. Alhassan 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker. I will normally not interrupt my Hon Friend, the Deputy Minority Leader but since he has decided to go on a comparative analysis path, can he tell this country that the NPP Government never owed these bodies that he is counting? Can he tell this country that?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my time is short, so I will stick to my time.
    Alhaji Muntaka 12:35 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is talking about owing; I would want him to correct his records. Do Members of Parliament also owe?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, proceed.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the equivalent of COCOBOD in Nigeria, they produce about 240,000 metric tonnes and they make a global ceiling of about US$900 million. If Ghana produces over 800,000 metric tonnes, let the Government tell the people of Ghana how much we make from our cocoa.
    Dr Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Minority Leader is misleading the whole world. Does he know the relationship between the COCOBOD equivalent in Nigeria and the cocoa farmers in Nigeria and the relationship between COCOBOD in Ghana and farmers in Ghana? Cocoa farmers in Ghana receive 70 per cent of cocoa funds that come from export of cocoa. Can he tell us the figure from Nigeria?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, because of my time, I will not respond to the Hon Member.
    Mr Speaker, I said that the global figure that accrues to COCOBOD in Nigeria
    -- 12:35 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, is it that you do not have the figures or you refuse to respond?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I refuse to respond because he is wasting my time. If he had listened to me, Mr Speaker, I said the equivalent of COCOBOD makes a global ceiling of US$900 million. Let us know how much COCOBOD makes as a global celling and whatever you pay the farmers, you can deduct from it. That is what I said.
    Mr Speaker, public debt, this Government met a debt of 9.5 billion in 2009. They told the whole world that it was a rundown economy, we had overspent and we had nothing.
    Alhaji Muntaka 12:35 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is grossly misleading this House and this country. They left 9. something billion in terms of debt. But they equally left Asafo Interchange uncompleted, Sofoline uncompleted; they left Madina/Abokobi, Tamale Hospital uncompleted. All those ones are assets and liabilities, without source of funding.
    For you to fund those projects that they left -- where was he expecting Government to get that money? So, he must be comprehensive with what was left behind.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am speaking on behalf of the Minority Leader and at least, I deserve some bit of time to be able to iron out all the issues. This is because the interruptions were just unnecessary.
    Mr Speaker, public debt, in fact, I am very charitable to say it is 33.5 billion. That means I used one dollar to 1.7; today, if we were to use one dollar to 1.87, it would
    be close to GH¢35 billion, minus the Chinese loan.
    Mr Speaker, if this sort of borrowing spree does not stop, the youth of this nation will not forgive us because they would be paying these loans.
    Mr Speaker, that is why the rating agency downgraded Ghana. Mr Speaker, let me say that when the budget does not give us answers to the problems that worry the people of Ghana, which include an embarrassing erratic supply of electricity and water -- the high cost of living, we want answers in the budget high cost of doing business, we want answers in the budget -- unemployment both in formal and informal sector --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Hon Majority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Minister for Government Business in Parliament/ Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) (MP): Thank you very much Mr Speaker for giving me the opportunity to support the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I have had the hindsight of listening to everybody on this budget debate so far. And the debate on this budget seems to look very much like the proverbial elephant in the dark alley. [Laughter.] When somebody touches the ear, he says that is how the elephant looks like; when another person touches the tail, he says that is how the elephant looks like. Let us try and put this Budget Statement in its proper context, so that we can reconcile all the issues that have been raised here.
    Mr Speaker, article 179 of the Constitution requires that they submit to this House expenditure and revenues. Order 140 has characterized both the revenue and the expenditure as the
    MR SPEAKER
    Dr Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have also listened to this Budget Statement being actually either painted in absolute -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much; I did qualify my statement that this particular elephant was in the “dark alley”-- [Laughter] and what I intend to do is to bring the elephant out to the open-- [Laughter]--and there we would demystify the inability to characterize the elephant, and that is what I intend to do by providing this context.
    Mr Speaker, I have also heard contributions that have painted this Budget Statement either in absolute white or in absolute black colours. Unfortunately, reality is not in absolutely black or absolute white colours, it is in
    shades of grey and I thought that that is the context in which we can debate this. In fact, some of the words that we have used to describe the budget are that, it has less hope and it has been termed as a “hopeless budget”.
    But once we want to deal with reality and to engage both the revenue and expenditure side of the expenditure, Mr Speaker, I would want us to begin and handle this debate because we are currently in an evidence-based society, a society that is not based on metaphysical speculations but one that is based on evidence and science and that is what I intend to do in relation to this.
    Mr Speaker, what is significant about this Budget Statement is to have a Government that has the courage to actually admit what the deficiencies of the economy or its performance over the year are. [Hear! Hear!] I have had the opportunity of watching statements year after year and even where there is a deficit, the courage to admit, that there is a deficit, it is always missing.
    The second essential thing about this budget that we need to look at is that, the ability to identify the problem and to diagnose it properly and to prescribe measures to address them, is another salient future of this budget and I intend to go down to the facts and the evidence.
    Yes, we did admit a deficit of 12 per cent of GDP, and that admission has been made expressly in this budget. But what can you say? They say kafo didi but what is significant, is not just that there is a deficit, that is not the fundamental issue for today and for the future. The deficit has occurred. Any forward-looking population is looking at how they will address the deficit. And let me indicate, Mr Speaker, that in identifying this deficit, it has been stated very clearly with
    scientific precision how it occurred, and I expected that somebody would have told me in this debate that these were not the causes of the deficit.
    I would want, Mr Speaker, to let us refer to paragraph 87, and it says it clearly, there were shortfalls in corporate tax. Has anybody denied that? It says that there was a shortfall of grants from our development partners. Has anybody denied that?
    It says that the implementation of the single spine salary was one of the factors. Is there no single spine in this country? [Uproar.]He says that there is a higher interest rate; is that not a fact? Lastly, he says there is a higher spending on goods and services. These are the factors that have been identified, that have accounted for the deficit. What is significant is that -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Anthony A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, my good Friend and Leader of the House is misleading this House. Mr Speaker, if you add the numbers in paragraph 87, they do not add up to 12 per cent. Mr Speaker, in any case, if you tell me the deficit is 12 per cent, I would want to see 12 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, is it 12 per cent or 12.1 per cent? The Bank of Ghana has put out 12.1 per cent but what is more important, and he did not listen, is that in July, when the Minister came here and said “I expect 700 million in corporate income taxes”, we told him it will not come. So, if he comes and gives me optimistic numbers and it does not come, and turns round and says it is the reason -- The law to bring the money was not there --
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo, the Hon Majority Leader refers to paragraph 87 as the basis of his argument. Insofar as that document is before us and he refers to it as what he terms the cause, it will be right. If you are saying that there are more causes, that is also another matter and that may also be right. But he refers to paragraph 87 as the basis or the source given in the budget. That is the point that is being made.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    If the Hon Member had just held his horses for a few minutes, he would have got to know where exactly I am going.
    Beyond diagnosing the problem, there are measures that have been put in place and these measures are basically two- pronged. One, is to expand the tax base and two, to create efficiency in the tax system.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:45 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, you just said that-- you mentioned you have given prescriptions and mention one, otherwise, you will be re-arguing. It will be a point of argument but not a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have made your point.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am asking about alternatives to addressing the problem and not raising problems. But I can assure you that when the Hon Ranking Member was contributing I sat through his presentation from beginning to end, and that is why I am saying that we are looking for an alternative framework, one that addresses the problems that have been diagnosed and I said, I had not come across this consistently.
    It is important that we raise a significant issue on the fiscal deficit, particularly when we see the triggers of the fiscal deficit, I think much more needs to be done in this direction. If you see the poor performance due to non-payment of corporate tax, that is particularly worrying. Unfortunately, this House would also be called upon through the consequential legislation to ensure that this issue of corporate tax is addressed.

    Dr A. A. Osei —rose—
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you on a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he mentioned my name that when I was speaking, he sat through it; he did not— I want to remind him precisely what I said. I told him —
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, please, please —
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he mentioned my name.
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Please, yes, he mentioned your name but he did not attribute anything to you for you to respond. He said that he sat throughout, and he was responding to the Hon Deputy Minority Leader.
    Hon Member, the rules are very clear. You can interrupt when you get up to explain something whether it was attributed to you or not. He only said that when you were contributing, he sat throughout the process. He did not attribute anything to you which would allow you to interrupt. Our rules are very clear.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the best traditions of the profession I belong to, two people do not stand on their feet at the same time and that was why I acceded to resume my seat.
    I would want us to take a closer look at paragraph 182 to 230, and begin to look at the revenue measures that are being put in place to ensure that we address this issue. I also would want us to make a very clear distinction on the triggers of the deficit that are a one-off issue as against what is systemic and would continue.
    As Hon A.S.K.Bagbin indicated, 2012 was a very, very significant year in terms of Government expenditure. What we need to look at closely is, in 2013, 2014,
    2015, are we likely to have that large chunk of expenditure that culminated in the deficit recurring? This shows that we have been able to narrow down the problem of the deficit and we believe that the fiscal measures that are being put in place would be able to address the structural and systemic ones that are associated with the budget.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to also draw the Hon Minister for Finance's attention to the drawdown and outturn on the CDB facility.
    If given an amount of 1,381.7 million was what was projected in relation to the CDB and only 355 was the out-turn, I think one of the significant measures we have to put in place is to structure and actually engineer the triggers that would require a drawdown on the CDB facility. This is because that significantly would address a number of the shortfalls. I do not want Mr Speaker to join the phrase of overspending.
    Definitely, when your expenditures exceed Appropriation, it is significant that a red flag has been raised, and the responsibility of this House as Hon Member after Hon Member has said, it is not just necessarily to talk about it, but that we are going to take part of our responsibility in this development through our oversight functions and ensure that this does not occur again. I think this is a very significant point that we have to look at very closely.
    I have heard quite a number of issues that have been raised in relation to these figures and I would invite this House to take a second look at the point that I made initially. Overexpenditure in an Appro- priation is one side of the budget. Let us also be anticipating whether there will be
    recourse to this House if there is an undercollection of the revenue angle. This is because as we keep talking about the overspending, when it is the new year that will give you the actual outturn, we have a number of difficulties in that area. Once we are dealing with revenue and expenditures, let us deal with it in a holistic manner so that, yes, if we ask for a recourse, to explain why there has been an overexpenditure on the Appropriation, it should also be part of our responsibility to ask for why there is such a dramatic shortfall on the revenue aspect.
    This is the way, Mr Speaker, I believe we can move forward as a nation and this is the way in which I think no matter how much the two sides of the divide blame each other, no matter the pitches that we raise our voices in relation to these issues to, when we leave here, Ghana and the economy still remain what they are. So, it is actually my view that these debates should also translate into a concrete action of our own constitutional responsibilities to ensure that they do not recur.
    Otherwise, it is very easy, Mr Speaker, to actually destroy -- very, very easy, and very much like equally easy to criticise. What is significant is how we can build, and I am interested in seeing how Hon Members of this House would assist us build this country for prosperity and for those who would come after us - - [Hear! Hear!] There is a difference, Mr Speaker, I perfectly -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, does the Majority Leader concede that before you are able to offer the correct prescription, you must then be able to diagnose the sickness, what caused it? It is important. Mr Speaker, because he is just about winding up, the Minister, in paragraph 87, alludes to the

    slippage in 2012. He says to us that, and the Majority Leader quoted it, and that is why we are calling for candidness --

    “Shortfalls in revenue and grants combined with higher spending were the sources of the fiscal slippage in 2012.”

    What exactly does he mean by “higher spending”? You can spend on a budgeted for item because, maybe, in the course of the year, the price might have gone up. We are dealing with unbudgeted for expenditure and so, what is captured here does not even represent the entire truth. That is how it is; that is the point.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, if you choose to participate in a football match from the touchlines -- [Laughter] -- you are unlikely to appreciate what the difficulty on the actual pitch is.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, strictly point of order.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:55 p.m.
    It is really a point of order, Mr Speaker.
    When the Majority Leader said that if you choose to play a football match from the touchline -- in fact, we are actively on the field playing the football match -- [Interruption] --
    Mr Speaker, it is very important. You cannot solve a country's problem when the real problems have not been brought out. Mr Speaker, I would give you one example --
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, you are making -- it is not a point of order. My understanding of the use of the word “touchline” was referring to the Hon Minority Leader and not actually winding up for the Minority side but coming in. I think that was what he was referring to. He was not referring to the Minority as a group and it should be taken on the lighter side.
    Hon Majority Leader, continue.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know whether in his youthful days, the Majority Leader engaged in some footballing activities? He would have known that before you enter the pitch of play, you must warm up sufficiently -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, if you do not warm up and you enter the field, you would fumble.
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    So you are warming up?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was indeed, a footballer. I have seen a footballer and an athlete over-warm up and when the real race started. the person collapsed -- [Laughter.]
    All that I can tell the Deputy Minority Leader is that, when you go to somebody's funeral, do not weep more than the chief mourners -- [Laughter] -- otherwise, there is the temptation to say you know something about the death of the person. Otherwise, the Deputy Minority Leader understands the touchline metaphor very well.
    But let me conclude, Mr Speaker, that I do agree with all Hon Members who want to invoke the oversight powers of Parliament and the euphemism is that that would put Government on its toes. I am hundred per cent with the House on that matter. But Mr Speaker, there is a
    difference between putting a Government on its toes and seeking to bring a Government on its knees. And I would want this House to be able to make that distinction clearly, that while I would go with them at all lengths to put Government on its toes, I would not take any two steps with them to seek to bring Government on its knees.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    I now call on the Finance Minister too.
    Mr Seth Terkpeh 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity and also to Hon Members for a very lively debate of the budget.
    Inasmuch as I do appreciate very much the points that were made, I would like to start by saying that I vehemently disagree with the characterisation of this budget as one that is taking the country nowhere, and Mr Speaker, I would come back in due course to explain why I say so.
    But if you would permit me, Mr Speaker, to address a few points that were made on specific elements of the budget. Some of those have already been addressed by some Hon Members on both sides.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Dr Prempeh 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege here now.
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    I have observed that the two Leaders are each chewing something -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Terkpeh 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we were explaining the excess in a transparent manner as has not happened, usually in the presentation of the Budget. But Mr Speaker, to say that we could have forseen all the events even as late as July, again, would have been very bold.
    Mr Speaker, it is true that the corporate income taxes from petroleum experienced a shortfall and we did consult with the industry. Mr Speaker, the primary reason is that we could not meet the 100,000 or 110,000 barrels per day. The evidence is that when the industry hit that level in November and December, one of the companies actually paid US$40 million as corporate income taxes.
    What this means is that, if the unfortunate technical reasons had not occurred and we had hit a hundred and ten thousand barrels per day as envisaged, the deficit would not have been what it is. So there is evidence to show that we were not reckless at all in projecting the figures that were in the budget.
    Secondly, Mr Speaker, on this very topic, if you take the Single Spine Salary Structure, we have explained time and again that the arrears were to be paid over a period of two to three years including
    rose
    Mr Terkpeh 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, an amount of 107 million that was taken as equipment for BOST is in that debt stock. Mr Speaker, an amount of 400 million dollars that was taken for --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Ofosu Asamoah, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Ofosu 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance has just mentioned that we have lived in this country and seen times when teachers were on strike at a time when students were writing examinations. I think based upon that, he seemed to have learned his lessons and presented this budget. But is the Hon Minister aware that the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has served notice that right from Monday, they are going on strike and examinations are also beginning next week?
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, that is a point of argument; it is not a point of order.
    Mr Terkpeh 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, the Hon Member is confirming the types of pressures that were on the Government to make payments -- the very example he just gave shows precisely what I am saying, that we could not have stopped the payment of the arrears and the migration simply because we wanted to meet a target, and the example he gave of teachers going on strike -- and I heard the news, it was on premium -- is in place.
    We have been told that the Government is about to issue a White Paper on the premium. This is because the premium does not cut across board, yet the teachers are saying they are going on strike.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to give the impression that the Single Spine Salary Structure was a faulty policy but to make two points: We have said that we acknowledge the productivity that was required in the Public Services, which is

    why the Single Spine Salary Structure was also introduced.

    And it is a necessary policy. But we should also remind ourselves that this policy was introduced in 2009 as the Administration was coming into office without a precise estimate what it would cost -- [Interruption] -- and for almost one year, we had to negotiate the terms and basis for the Single Spine Salary Structure. We could have been in a worse situation than we are today if we had considered on the basis of the policy that was handed over to the Administration -- [Interruption]
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Minister, in trying to justify the payment of extra money to the so-called agitating doctors, is misleading this House. His statement that in 2009, there was no knowledge of what is involved, is palpably false. Mr Speaker, in 2009, when we put in money for December, allocation was made. [Interruption]
    Mr Speaker, what happened was that - - and it is fair -- they chose to study it and see -- [Interruption] -- that is no problem. But to say that we did not know where the money was, is wrong. Mr Speaker, this statement he is talking about, they did not know that -- he is misleading this House.
    With your permission, let me tell you why --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have made your point.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    In October, they did not know what -- Mr Speaker, it is not true. In July -- I would want to quote the Hon Minister --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    No, you made the point
    -- 1:05 p.m.

    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    That is on the Single Spine Salary Structure --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    The provision has been made; that is the point you made.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    He made a point about the October issue and I am saying that it is not true. In July, this is what the Hon Minister said and with your permission, I beg to quote --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    What document are you referring to?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 p.m.
    The supplementary budget. Mr Speaker, this is from the Hon Minister, not from me, July 18th , 2012, when he came to present the supplementary budget, page 24, paragraph 109 --
    “Madam Speaker, the migration of public sector employees to the single spine salary structure is virtually complete, with about 99.3 per cent of the workers now placed on the new structure. Payment of wage arrears resulting from the phased migration of employees to the new structure commenced in the first quarter, with the remaining amount of GH¢991 million expected to be paid by the end of July.”
    Mr Speaker he goes on --
    “This is in addition to the base pay increase of 18 per cent granted to public sector workers this year for which the arrears covering January to April would be paid in August...”
    Mr Speaker, finally --
    “The additional cost of the pay increase is estimated at GH¢1.1 billion, which will be met..”
    Mr Speaker, listen to this --
    “. . . which will be met”
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have made your point.
    Hon Minister --
    Mr Terkpeh 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, making an estimate for a payment that should be made in the current year, does not invalidate the point I was making. The point I was making was that there were some payments, particularly of the arrears that should have occurred in 2013, that were paid in 2012 as a result of additional pressure. This is the point that I was making.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, fortunately for us, there is a grey-head wise man in this Chamber who was the Minister responsible for employment and he is in the person of the Hon E. T. Mensah.
    In November, 2011, on the day of the presentation of the budget, he said that Government had done everything in respect of the single spine and that Government was ready, that workers should submit their plates to be served; right here in the Chamber.
    Mr Enoch T. Mensah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what we said was that Government was ready, we had finished migrating about 98 per cent and we also said that provisions were being made to meet the obligations. [Interruption.] When other things happened, we could not; that is what we said; that was exactly what he said, that we could not because of other things which occurred. But it is true that we were able to finish migrating 98 per cent at the time that I spoke here.
    Several Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, I called the Hon Member for Prampram because he made reference to him. I think that the Hon Minister should continue and conclude, so that I can put the Question on the Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with due respect, the wise man now, is saying that he said that they were putting programmes in place. [Interruption.] He said they had finished and that Government was ready and that workers should submit their plates; that was what he said. Now, he is saying that they were putting measures in place. That was not what he said; he said they were ready.
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, we cannot continue in that direction. The man said that that was not what he said; you were also not quoting him from any document; he was also not quoting from any document and we cannot continue that way.
    Hon Majority Leader, I saw you on your feet.
    Dr Kunbuor 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am getting worried about the order in which business is going on in relation to the tail end of this debate. This is because at some point, we did not know what exactly is going on, whether there is a point of order which invites another person to come and be part
    of the debate and to support the point of order. I think there is a difficulty. At least, let us agree to some order; any form of order alone, at least, is better than no order at all.
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you know that when the Leaders get up, because they speak for their sides, I always try to call them. There are quite a number of Hon Members on their feet today but I did not call them. But when the Leaders get up, you have to call them, because they represent their sides.
    Hon Members, as much as possible, let us minimise the intervention because he is winding up.
    The debate has virtually ended; he is just winding up to raise some issues. So, he is only winding up; let us listen to him, so that I can put the Question on the Motion.
    Mr Terkpeh 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I leave the topic of the debt stock, we are not suggesting in any way that the projects I have listed are not relevant to our development; indeed, they are. And as a very good example, today, we have problems with power and His Excellency the President has said that the reason for that unfortunate situation is because of the damage that was done to the West African Gas Pipeline.
    Mr Speaker, at a point in time in this House, we borrowed US$98.5 million for the West Africa Gas Pipeline, which is included in this debt stock. Mr Speaker, I made this point to show that it is not always that when you borrow, you are being profligate and we have said that we are on the path of accelerated development and we have demonstrated that the loans that we are taking are going into the productive sectors of the

    Mr Speaker, a lot has been said about the Office of Government Machinery and whether it is equivalent to the Office of the President, and an amount of GH¢600 million has been put out in the public. The two are different and the details can be provided. The Office of the President is part of the Office of Government Machinery, which has significant numbers of offices.

    Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that there is no way in which such an expenditure could have been foreseen as
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I get a little worried when the Hon Minister refers to unforeseen, unforeseen matters, because invariably, he is misleading the House.
    The Hon Minister is aware that the Constitution makes provision for a Contingency Fund. This Government has been in office; this is the fifth year, and even as he is winding up with all these unforeseen contingencies, he has never said that they have learned lessons and they are going to set up a Contingency Fund.
    The Hon Minister should not worsen the situation by giving excuses which are untenable so far as our Constitution is concerned.
    Mr Terkpeh 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not wish to provoke a debate on the contingency; it is a very important element of our Constitution. But as with the debate, we just had on appropriation, this is not an issue that can be attributed to only NDC Administration. In any case Mr Speaker, we do acknowledge the importance of having contingency funds and that is the reason, in spite of having a budget deficit and we could have gone into the Stabilisation Fund; we have never done that.
    This is because the Stabilisation Fund is a form of such contingency to cushion the budget. We had the option of cleaning the Stabilisation Fund, but it is because of the belief in the fact that it is important to have contingency to stabilise the fiscal situation that we left it. So, we do acknowledge the importance of that policy.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Minister, how many minutes more do you have to do the winding up? How many minutes more do you have to do the winding up?
    Mr Terkpeh 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would be done in the next five to 10 minutes.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us minimise the interruption as much as possible, so that we can conclude this debate. The good news is that, when we come to the estimates, the various sectors, including the Government Machinery, Parliament and all the MDAs would be looked at. Any Hon Member who wants to raise any issue in those areas, can raise them. So Hon Members, I would want to -- Unless it is a strict point of order, I am not going to take any point of order, so that we can conclude this debate.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know that, my Hon good Friend, a technical person, is trying to veer towards the political end. But if he makes a statement like -- Mr Speaker, let us be careful: “We could have gone to the Stabilisation Fund and clean it up.”
    Mr Speaker, you know, Parliament has control over the purse. He could not have gone into the Stabilisation Fund. This is the House that approves expenditure. It is there for a purpose, so he should not be making that statement. It is incorrect. We, as a Parliament ought to --
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    The point that I hear him make is that the Stabilisation Fund is supposed to support the budget. They could have used it. But he did not say they would not do so without following procedure, yes. He did not say they would do it without following the law or the procedure.
    Mr Terkpeh 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will be done in a few minutes.
    Mr Speaker, the other issue that has come up, which I wish to confirm for the benefit of Hon Members is that we follow the procedure, and you asked me to comment on this.
    We followed a procedure of attributing the debt recovery levy to the petroleum taxes and we do have the information; so what was done in the budget was a re- classification because that amount was under “Other Revenue Measures” and we have petroleum excise and other levies.
    So Mr Speaker, we do have the debt recovery levy of about GH¢305.1 million included in the estimates that are under petroleum taxes and other petroleum related taxes that are in that category, include the exploration levy --
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Which part of the budget would you find that figure? I have opened to page 276. Where would you find the three hundred and something million that you just mentioned?
    Mr Terkper 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, at page 276, if you go to the second bold heading which says “Taxes on domestic goods”, you have two categories there -- Excise duty and petroleum tax.
    We are saying that this is the line that --
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    I have seen it.
    Mr Terkpeh 1:25 p.m.
    All the petroleum taxes. Mr Speaker, thank you very much. So we do have the details and this is for the information of the House.
    Mr Speaker, let me end by stating that this is a budget that looks far into the future, which is why we say that it is for sustaining confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
    Two points that have not been debated in detail which I would hope would come up since the debate is not ended, is our strategy for consolidating our lower middle income country status.
    Mr Speaker, we gave the positives and the down sides of being a lower middle income country and we -- made recommendations, extensive ones, that would enable us consolidate this status.
    Secondly and finally, Mr Speaker, we also indicated that we are mindful of the extent to which the debt is increasing and we proposed detailed strategies for ensuring, for example, that when we borrow on commercial terms, we shall put this under an escrow arrangement, so that we do not put it on public debt.
    These are plans and policies that would consolidate our lower middle income country status and this is the path on which we wish to travel and it is definitely a budget that has the future of the country at heart.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate. I will now put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved:
    That this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given the number of committees that are waiting, I would like to respectfully move, that the House be adjourned to Monday, the 18th of March, 2013 at 10 in the forenoon.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, I thank you very much for your support and co- operation.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:25 p.m.