Debates of 25 Mar 2013

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 12:10 p.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 12:10 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I have the pleasure to introduce to you a delegation from the Portfolio Committee on Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, South Africa, who are on a five-day official visit to Ghana.
They are here, among others, to learn and share in our best practices in the management of sports, recreation, arts and culture and related policy issues. The visit is also intended to create the platform to deepen the already cordial relations between the two legislatures.
The delegation comprises the following:
Hon Nomktolisa Mtitshana
Hon Nonkosi Queenie Mvana
Hon Phumzile Justice Mungoni
Hon John Philip Korkie

Hon Nomfunda Jam Jam

Hon Jsackson Bike

Ms Cobongela Tsoma

Mr Mncedisi Mki.

Hon Members, on your behalf, I wish them a pleasant stay in the country and fruitful deliberations.

Hon Members, item 2 on the Order Paper -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 12:10 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 22nd March, 2013.
Page 1. . .10 --
Mr William O. Boafo 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, page 9, paragraph 11, sub-paragraphs (a) and (b). At the end of the Bill, the year is added but I think for Bills, years are not added because we do not know whether we would pass it in that year. I have a sample of the Bill here and on the Bill itself, no year is added. It is rather when we pass it that we add the year. It is “Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill” here. It is not “Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill,
2013”.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
At times, they add, at times they do not add. And you are right when you said you have a Bill where they have not added. I do not know; I will get the Clerks- at -the-Table. This is because the particular one that was laid last Friday, they have added the year. And we would see which one is the best practice.
But I entirely agree with you that there is no guarantee that the Bill would be passed this year; so, we should look for the best practice and adopt it in the future.
Mr Foster J. Andoh 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, page 7, item 4 number 7 -- “Andoh, Foster Joseph (Hemang/Lower Denkyira)” -- Mr Speaker, I was present on Friday but my name has been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well. Table Office to crosscheck and do the proper thing.
Page 10-15.
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 22nd March, 2013 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, we do not have any Official Report for today, so, we would move on to the Commencement of Public Business.
Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want us to skip Presentation of Papers for now and go to the Motions where we would take items numbers 8, 10 and 13.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, what about item number 4(b)? Is it also - - Can we not take that one or it is not yet ready?
Dr Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item number 4(b), we actually have not been advised yet by the Committee. This is because they had gone out for some consultation on this.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well. So, which item do you want us to take?
Dr Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, items numbers 8, 10, and 13. I was informed that item number 5 is for continuation but the Hon Minister is still on her way; so, we would start with items 8, 10 and 13 and we would go back to item 5 to complete it.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Minister for Education was in the House and was actually in my office but the House was not Sitting. I do not know
whether we cannot take the Question without her; I do not know.
Dr Kunbuor 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, certainly, I was not in the House on that day but I have been informed that she was here and so, it was about the conclusion of the debate.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, she was here this morning. She came and took permission; she stayed here for about two hours and when you were not Sitting, she decided to go and quickly do some assignment and come back.
I do not know whether we should take it, if there is nothing controversial about it -- but if there is an issue for her to clear, then we may have to defer it, so that we can make progress.
Who is the Hon Ranking Member on Education?
rose
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Prof. Fobih.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, Prof. Fobih is actually the Hon Ranking Member. I am the Hon Deputy Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Did you contribute last Friday?
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
You did?
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
What about Prof. Fobih?
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Hon Prof. has not spoken.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well. How many Hon Members spoke from each side of the House last Friday? I was not in the Chair; it was the Second Deputy Speaker.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so far as I remember, I was the only one.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
But the Motion was moved --
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Motion was moved by the Hon Minister
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
It was seconded and the Committee's Report was submitted?
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
And then you spoke?
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
So, we need one contribution from each side to conclude the debate?
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, at least --
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Yes, at least, one from each side.
Hon Majority Leader, do we defer it for the Hon Minister to come or you think --
Hon Deputy Ranking Member, I just would want to find out if there is anything that you think the Hon Minister 's presence might be needed here. This is because she actually came, waited for two hours and left. If you think we need her, then I would defer it. If we do not need her, we can put the Question, so that we make progress.
Mr Owusu-Boateng 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think there is the need for us to wind up, at least, some of us should be given the chance to speak. There are other Hon Members at the back who want to --
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, that is not the point. The House has agreed through your Leadership how many Hon Members
should contribute to a Motion and that is why I would want to find out where you have reached.
Now, I am only asking whether we want to make progress, so that we move forward. If we need to take two Hon Members or we should wait till the Minister is in -- I want to get the sense of the House.
Mr Joe K. Gidisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Committee. I did not speak anyway, but the point was that we were far advanced with the debate when the question of a quorum was raised. So, it might be perhaps necessary to take one Hon Member from each of the sides as winding up, as suggested by the Deputy Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well. Hon Members, I will defer it for the Minister to come.
Hon Majority Leader, which item should we take?
Hon Members, item number 8 on the Order Paper.
Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is so; while I would like to have a discussion with the Deputy Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, are we taking item number 8 on the Order Paper?
Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is because we have not had a pre- discussion on item number 8, I really did not look at it. Government Machinery has almost 30 sectors under it including the Regional Co-ordinating Councils. So, if we take one or two Hon Members, it may not -- So, I am just pleading with the Chair to at least, allow some few more Members, about two or three, to speak.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
But these are matters the Leaders should normally discuss early and inform the Speaker.
Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have actually taken a look at it, that is why I thought we could take item number 8 while I hold some more consultations with the Deputy Minority Leader to get the smooth movement of the Motions. This is because there are too many conflicting positions on this matter. So, let us take item number 8 and then we can revisit item number 5.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
As for item number 5, I have deferred it until the Hon Minister is in. The Deputy Minority Leader is saying that we should take more than two.
Hon Member, we have agreed with regard to Government Machinery for very good reasons because of the agencies under it. And I would want to find out from you what your position on it is. Should we add one more to make it three Members each? That is all l would want to find out from you.
Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that once a position has been reached by the Leadership, the floor is not a decent place to raise that. At least, let them bounce it of the entire Leadership and we keep the calendar consistent. If we think that we can accommodate what is there, every Hon Member of the House will be permitted to speak. So, I would want to have a discussion with the Deputy Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
While we start the debate and then you come and inform the Chair
-- 12:20 p.m.

Dr Anthony A. Osei 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the issue they are going to meet on relates to item number 8.
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
We cannot be waiting for them. That was why I said, let us start, when they come back --
CONSIDERATION OF ANNUAL 12:20 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion, that this Honoura- ble House approves the sum of
GH¢312,345,521 for the services of Government Machinery for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Mr Speaker, I present the Committee's Report.
Introduction
Following the presentation of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy
of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2013 by the Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terkpeh on Tuesday, 5th March 2013, the 2013 annual budget estimates of the Office of Government Machinery were referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 179 of the Constitution and Order 140 (4) of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Committee was assisted during its deliberations by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh, the Ministers of State at the Presidency, Hon Alhassan Azong and Hon Maj (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd), Chief Director at the Presidency, heads and technical teams from the various departments and agencies under Government Machinery and officials from the Ministry of Finance and reports as follows:
Reference documents
In considering the estimates for the Government Machinery, the Committee referred to and was guided by the following documents:
1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
2. The Standing Orders of the House.
3. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2013 financial year.
4. The 2013 budget estimates for the Government Machinery.
Background
Government Machinery embraces the Office of the President as the seat of Government, the Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs) and those organisations whose operations fall outside traditional areas of sectoral responsibility, for which the Office of the President (Government Machinery) exists to provide administrative, managerial and technical services.
The Office of Government Machinery comprises:
i. Office of the President.
ii. Office of the Head of Civil Service.
iii. Management Services.
iv. Scholarships Secretariat.
v. Public Records and Archives Administration Department.
vi. Ghana AIDS Commission.
vii.Commissions and Councils.
viii. National Identification Autho- rity.
ix. National Population Council.
x. Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.
xi. Internal Audit Agency.
xii. Savannah Accelerated Develop- ment Authority.
xiii.National Pensions Regulatory Authority.
xiv.Microfinance and Small Loans Centre.
xv. Office of the National Security.
xvi. Regional Co-ordinating Cou- ncils.
The main focus of Government Machinery is efficient service delivery for good governance through ensuring that all MDAs become transparent, accoun- table, efficient and responsive to the needs and direction of the country. This is to be achieved through the following activities:
1. Researching and collating information for Executive policy formulation and review.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 12:20 p.m.
status campaign”, working with the media on stigma and discrimination and film shows and drama.
Public Records and Archives Adminis- tration Department (PRAAD)
PRAAD developed a (draft) Records Management Policy/Regulations. Training programmes were also held for middle level personnel of the Civil Service at the Civil Service Training Centre. In addition, an orientation course was organised for newly recruited records class staff. Appraisal of semi-current records at the National Records Centre to ascertain their value as well as decongest the records centre is currently ongoing.
5.8 National Population Council (NPC)
The NPC was actively involved in the analysis of the 2010 Population and Housing Census data with respect to the publication of the main and thematic reports.
The final report of a research on Tourism, Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS in selected districts in the Central and Greater Accra regions was also produced.
The Council also produced a Population Stabilisation Report with the support of Partners in Population and Development (PPD).
A draft National Migration Policy was developed in collaboration with the Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana.
The 2013 annual estimates of Govern- ment Machinery
Key focus areas and policy objectives of Government Machinery for the 2013 financial year include:
Ensuring and sustaining of macroeconomic stability -- through sound fiscal policy management and improved fiscal resource mobilisation.
Human development, productivity and employment -- Enhanced management of HIV/AIDS, STI and TB response to promote healthy lifestyles.
Transparent and accountable governance -- Foster civic advocacy to nurture the culture of democracy, upgrade the capacity of the public and civil service for transparent, accountable, efficient, timely, effective performance and service delivery as well as deepen on-going institutionalisation and internalisation of policy for- mulation, planning and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems at all levels. Government Machinery will also ensure public safety and security and employ the use of evidenced -based decision-making.
For the implementation of the various programmes and activities, a total amount of three hundred and twelve million, three hundred and forty-five thousand, five hundred and twenty-one Ghana cedis (GH¢312,345,521) has been allocated to Government Machinery for the year 2013.
Out of this, two hundred and seventy- five million, six hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and forty-one Ghana cedis (GH¢275,609,541) is GoG, nine hundred and sixty-six thousand, six hundred and fifty Ghana cedis (GH¢966,650) is Donor, twenty million Ghana cedis (GH¢20,000,000) is ABFA and fifteen million, seven hundred and sixty- nine thousand, three hundred and thirty Ghana cedis (GH¢15,769,330) is IGF.
The breakdown is as follows:
GH¢
GH¢
Government of Ghana
Compensation for employees -- 135,572,334.00
Goods and services (MDAs) -- 98,113,522.00
Assets -- 41,923,685.00 Sub-total -- 275,609,541.00
Internagenerated funds (IGF)
Goods and services -- 15,415,571.00
Assets -- 353,759.00
Sub-total -- 15,769,330.00
Donor
Goods and services -- 193,330.00
Assets -- 773,320.00
Sub-total -- 966,650.00
ABFA -- 20,000,000.00
Total -- 312,345,521.00

The 2013 allocation by sector

Office of the President

The Office of the President caters for the following Departments General Administration, Office of the Chief of Staff (CoS), Vice President's Secretariat, Cabinet Secretariat, Press Secretariat, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), African Fund for Bio Fuels Development, State Enterprises Commission, Divestiture Implementation Committee, Policy Evaluation and Oversight Unit, Public Sector Reforms

Secretariat and Policy Co-ordination and Delivery Unit.

For the 2013 financial year, the Office of the President has been allocated the following amounts to cater for the respective expenditure items:

Compensation of employees -- GH¢7,303,753.00

Goods and services -- GH¢ 47,491,219.00

Assets -- GH¢8,322,775.00

Total -- GH¢63,117,747.00

Allocations to departments and units under Office of the President

The following represent allocations to the various divisions and agencies under the Office of the President:

General Administration -- GH¢11,474,674.00

Office of the Chief of Staff -- GH¢14,799,119.00

Vice President's Secretariat -- GH¢ 7,323,560.00

Cabinet Secretariat -- GH¢ 2,433,000.00

Press Secretariat -- GH¢600,000.00

Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) -- GH¢21,278,800.00

African Fund for Bio Fuels Development -- GH¢289,606.00

State Enterprises Commission -- GH¢705,234.00

Divesture Implementation Committee -- GH¢308,910.00

Policy Evaluation and Oversight Unit -- GH¢406,390.00

Public Sector Reforms Secretariat -- GH¢1,468,654.00

Policy Co-ordination and Delivery Unit -- GH¢2,029,800.00

Total GH¢63,117,747.00

7.3 Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS)

The Office of the Head of Civil Service has been allocated a total budgetary provision of GH¢7,104,320.00 to be disbursed in the 2013 financial year as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢1,188,540.00

Goods and services -- GH¢5,415,780.00

Assets -- GH¢500,000.00

TOTAL -- GH¢7,104,320.00
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 12:20 p.m.
This amount would be divided as follows:
Council of State -- GH¢1,142,600.00
Office of the Chief of State Protocol -- GH¢1,718,440.00
Total -- GH¢2,861,040.00
Office of the National Security
The Office of the National Security has been provided with a total of GH¢134,286,591.00 for the 2013 financial year to be disbursed as follows:
Compensation for employees -- GH¢109,111,125.00
Goods and services -- GH¢21,475,177.00
Assets -- GH¢3,700,289.00
Total -- GH¢134,286,591.00
Regional Coordinating Councils
A total amount of GH¢ 16,999,549.00 is allocated to Regional Coordinating Councils for the 2013 financial year to be disbursed as follows:
Compensation for employees -- GH¢ 5,692,807.00
Goods and services -- GH¢ 9,124,321.00
Assets -- GH¢ 2,182,421.00
Total -- GH¢16,999,549.00.
Specific allocations to the various Regional Co-ordinating Councils are as follows:
Greater Accra Region -- GH¢1,697,536.00
Volta Region -- GH¢1,520,250.00
Eastern Region -- GH¢1,764,451.00
Central Region -- GH¢1,660,042.00
Western Region -- GH¢1,731,168.00
Ashanti Region -- GH¢2,016,240.00

Brong Ahafo Region -- GH¢1,832,742.00

Northern Region -- GH¢1,762,392.00

Upper East Region -- GH¢1,564,464.00

Upper West Region -- GH¢1,450,264.00

TOTAL -- GH¢16,999,549.00

Ghana AIDS Commission

A budgetary amount of GH¢1,967,850.00 has been allocated to Ghana AIDS Commission to be disbursed as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢810,790.00

Goods and services -- GH¢935,060.00

Assets -- GH¢222,000.00

Total -- GH¢1,967,850.00

Scholarships Secretariat

An amount of GH¢32,465,305.00 has been allocated to the Scholarships Secretariat to be disbursed as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢1,516,855.00

Goods and services -- GH¢ 30,440,450.00

Assets -- GH¢ 500,000.00

Total -- GH¢32,465,305.00

The total budget of the Scholarships Secretariat would be spent as follows:

(1) General Administration -- GH¢30,998,390.00

(2) London Office -- GH¢ 1,466,915.00

Total -- GH¢32,465,305.00

National Identification Authority

An amount of GH¢2,405,630.00 has been allocated to the National Identification Authority (NIA) to be disbursed as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢ 847,850.00

Goods and services -- GH¢ 1,557,780.00

Total -- GH¢2,405,630.00

Office of the Administrator General

The office of the Administrator General has been allocated an amount of GH¢726,360.00 for the implementation of its programmes and activities for the 2013 financial year. The breakdown is as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢237,960.00

Goods and services -- GH¢189,200.00

Assets -- GH¢299,200.00

Total -- GH¢726,360.00

National Population Council

The National Population Council has been allocated an amount of GH¢1,881,224.00 for implementation of its programmes and activities for the 2013 financial year as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢ 816,624.00

Goods and services -- GH¢ 769,100.00

Assets -- GH¢ 295,500.00

Total -- GH¢1,881,224.00

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre

A budgetary amount of GH¢12,609,175.00 (this includes Donor funds of GH¢693,330.00 and IGFs of GH¢10,592,650.00) has been provided for the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to be utilised in the 2013 financial year as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢ 834,300.00

Goods and services -- GH¢10,921,116.00

Assets -- GH¢ 853,759.00

Total -- GH¢12,609,175.00

Internal Audit Agency

For purposes of fulfilling its mandate, the Internal Audit Agency has been allocated an amount of GH¢2,631,250.00 for the year 2013 to be spent as follows:

Compensation for employees -- GH¢1,279,950.00

Goods and services -- GH¢1,151,300.00

Assets -- GH¢ 200,000.00

Total -- GH¢2,631,250.00
SPACE FOR EXPENDITURE AREA - 12:20 p.m.

SPACE FOR EXPENDITURE AREA 12:20 p.m.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman is seeking to amend the Report and I do not see why. This is because it is a fact that was brought to the attention of the Committee. That particular paragraph was brought to the attention of the Committee and I believe that it is right that it should be in the Report unless there are some overriding reasons that the Chairman may proffer. I am not the Ranking Member.
The Ranking Member is not here. But certainly, I am personally aware that this fact was an issue. We requested that they bring further and better particulars and they brought them and I believe that they should remain in the Report.
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the reason is that, we do not want this to go into any controversy. This is because, if you read the sentence, it talked about the whole facility not coming through Parliament. For us not to go through this debate, I have discussed with the Hon Ranking Member and we have agreed that we should take it off. But Mr Speaker, if --
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member, the Hon Ranking Member is not here. The Hon Member for Sekondi who just spoke is a member of the Committee. So, Hon Chairman of the Committee, did you find out whether the law establishing the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), they have the authority to raise loans? Did you look at the law establishing SADA?
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. I have looked at the law establishing SADA; they have the mandate to raise loans. But
this one, because we did not want it to generate any debate, we thought we should delete it. But SADA has the mandate to raise loans. It is in the law.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Chairman. I believe he is amending to delete that paragraph; properly so, because the Committee itself did not come to this conclusion. As a matter of fact, one of the issues that some of us were going to raise is precisely this issue. So, it is not Committee's decision.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Ranking Member, you have just contradicted the Hon Member for Sekondi. He said the issue came before you documents were presented before you and you looked at them. The question is whether that point is factually correct.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sure about what I am saying. This last paragraph came by -- it is not the SADA people that gave it to us. It is a short memorandum that we requested, which the Minister for Finance brought to us later. And in those notes, some technical persons have given this reason. It is not the Committee that decided that. I am sure about that. It is information that was brought but the Committee did not agree on this matter.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Member for Sekondi, do you object to the deletion?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:30 p.m.
Yes. Mr Speaker, this was a statement that was made by the Ministry of Finance and it should remain in the record as something that was brought to the attention of the Committee by the Ministry of Finance. That is what I am saying. However, I will defer to the Hon Ranking Member if he says he is not averse to its deletion. I will not contest it. Mr Speaker, I will not contest it. The Hon Ranking Member has agreed to it and I will defer to the view of the Hon Ranking Member.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there are two things here, pure Committee's Report which comes with the sense of recommendations and what the Ministries, Departments and Agencies may give as presentation at the committee's hearings. Mr Speaker, like how it has been couched, including it per se does not mean that the Committee agrees or disagrees with the information
that has been given. But truly, if it is a reflection of the information that has been given by the Ministry, I do not know why specifically the Hon Chairman wants to delete it. This is because it is not wrong.
I may understand that raising an issue out of that as a consequence but it does not just by itself -- even if you read how it is said, it says: “The Committee was also informed…” So, I do not know why. Maybe, he has to give us further and better particulars why he wants to delete that. This is because now, it is a Report of the House; it is not a Report of the Committee --
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
It stands in the name of the Committee, so, if there are things that they would want to delete --
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, then they have to inform the whole House for us to give them the permission.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
That is why the Chairman was informing you, and that is why a member of the Committee is objecting; the Hon Ranking Member agrees with the Chairman and that is --
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the way it is reading, the impression is given that somebody or the Committee is agreeing that it should not have gone through the parliamentary approval process, and I am saying that is not the fight. If we want to put it -- Mr Speaker, what is here is verbatim of the information from the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance is saying that they did not bring it for parliamentary approval. If that is what we want to say here --
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
That is a statement of fact?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
That is what they are saying.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
That is a statement of fact, that this facility was not brought to the House for approval. That is a statement of fact. Whether it is wrong, is another matter. In my view, whether it is wrong or it is right, whether it is legal or illegal, whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional, is a totally different matter.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if that is the understanding that, that is what they are saying, then I do not have any problem.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Well, that is my understanding. This is because they did not say it was not brought -- trying to justify why they did not bring it. That sentence did not seek to justify --
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, then I understand why it should be deleted. This is because the sentence goes to justify why it was not brought and it is a matter of debate. This is because if they were saying that the Ministry informed the Committee that the board had not gone through parliamentary approval -- then we could have left it. But now, they are justifying it. This is because it is like a Government bond issue and necessarily -- That is the point.
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, maybe, for it not to generate into any debate, that is why I propose that we delete it. This is because if we go into that, even though we have the evidence that SADA has the power to go and borrow, we would just delete it and then move forward.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well. If the Chairman and the Ranking Member think so and the Hon Member who raised it says he is deferring to the Hon Ranking Member, so, then it is deleted.
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so that paragraph is deleted on page 4 of the Report.
Conclusion
The Committee, having critically examined the 2013 annual estimates of the Government Machinery, respectfully recommends to the House to approve the sum of three hundred and twelve million, three hundred and forty-five thousand, five hundred and twenty-one Ghana cedis (GH¢312,345,521) for the running of the Government Machinery for the Financial year commencing 1st January and ending 31st December, 2013.
Respectfully submitted.
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.


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Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence. When the Chairman was speaking, I was out there. There was a slight correction that I thought he should make.
On page 23, when we asked the SADA people to come back to us, I believe that on the guinea fowl project, the figure had gone to GH¢15 million and not GH¢12 million. That is the new information that they provided to us when we requested for additional information.
Mr Speaker, this is the paper that they gave us -- they came back with the GH¢15 million figure. Afforestation was GH¢32,498 million. So, Mr Speaker, I would like to crave your indulgence if we can amend the Report to include it. It is here.
Mr Avedzi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the document the Hon Member is referring to, I do not have a copy with me here. So, probably, I would need a copy to look at what he is talking about. This is because --
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, how do you do your committee's work?
Mr Avedzi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the information we captured here was the information provided to the Committee at the Committee level and we captured it. So, if they provided additional information which did not get to me, I would not be able to look at it. That is why I am asking for that document.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, maybe, he does not recall. We invited the Minister for Finance as well as the SADA Chief Executive Officer to bring additional information, that is where they have their account number from the bank. They did not give it to me. [Interuptions] -- Please, will you want to shut up? [Interruptions] -- Sorry, Mr Speaker -- [Uproar]!
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, the point was made on Friday that you should always address the Chair. If somebody decides not to address the Chair, that does not mean you should also do the same thing. If somebody decides not to address the Chair, that does not mean that it makes you right -- and unfortunately for you, you have the floor and you spoke into the microphone. His might not be captured while yours might be captured.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw that but Mr Speaker, it is important that the Members also --
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, I agree with you entirely. That is why you should have drawn my attention to it by addressing the Chair.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, your attention has been drawn, that is why I am withdrawing it.
Dr Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I guess that we have all observed and engaged in a number of things on this floor for quite some time now. I would like to indicate quite clearly that it is important that business of this House should proceed and proceed decently. This is because what we have observed is the length of wasted time on matters that could have been resolved between the Chairmen of the Committees and with Leadership. But consistently, it is becoming a pattern I would like to draw Mr Speaker's attention to, that as much as possible business of this House must proceed and proceed smoothly.
Mr Daniel Botwe 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, rightly so, I will like to add my voice to that of the Majority Leader. But Mr Speaker, it is also important that even though you said that yes, somebody may heckle, we all know that it is tolerated. But it is also important
that we do not impute improper motives. When somebody says that “I have this document from SADA”, even though he may not speak into the microphone and you pass the comment and it was given to you, it is like, why was it given to you and not the Chairman of the Committee or to the Speaker?
Mr Speaker, much as we tolerate heckling, it is also important that if individuals begin to make it their habit to provoke Members, it is important that they are also called to order by the Leadership of their various caucuses and that it will also help to promote business in the House and the decency we all want, we will get it. It is also very important.
Dr Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what I am actually drawing attention to is that, fortunately, this is a House in which the debate is governed by rules and it is clear that if you have the floor, regardless of what by-standers might be saying, you should focus on your privilege at that particular time, hoping that the Speaker will actually protect you against heckling. But the difficulty is that, if we make it a practice in this House that one would stop addressing Mr Speaker and do a side- show boxing and come back, you might come back, and there is no time for what one has to do.
We would do what we need to do as Leaders. But I am saying that both sides of the House are guilty and it is particularly disturbing when you see Leaders getting involved in heckling. So, when you lead people by heckling, what do you expect them to do? So, that is why I am saying that we must give good account of ourselves --
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that my good Friend is going
in that direction; it is unfortunate. I hope the statement that Leaders are involved in heckling is not what he meant to say. I sincerely believe that is not what he meant to say.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, the rules of this House are very clear. The Hon Member who is a Ranking Member has the floor. He is speaking. If anybody tries to heckle him or make comments which are unpalatable, he should draw my attention -- he should draw the Chair's attention to it for the Chair to do what is proper. But when the person decides to take over the powers of the Chair to address his concerns, it becomes difficult.
What I am saying is that you have the floor, you are speaking in the microphone, I would give you every protection -- you are speaking not only for yourself, you are speaking for your side, the Minority -- I expect you to draw my attention to it. But you decided to take the law into your own hands. That is where the problem begins.
Mr Nitiwul 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
I think the Majority Leader has already set the way forward for the solution of this problem. But Mr Speaker, it is very much true that we should be careful about encouraging individuals from shouting across even though they do not have the microphone. They may not be captured in the microphone --
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, I agree with you. What I am saying is that you should draw the Chair's attention to it to deal with that Member. That is the point I am making. I am not supporting anybody. I am saying draw my attention to it and I would give the necessary directives. But when you decide to respond to that person, then it is like you have taken over.
taking over your powers. It is not in my bosom to pretend that I am going to take over your powers.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, you have the floor, continue.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, we requested information from both the Minister for Finance and the CEO of SADA and they came back with this document dated 21st March, 2013, addressed to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance.
Mr Speaker, the reason I was forced to react was that, the Hon Member was imputing some rather strange reason that I am the only one who has it. That is why I was provoked. So, if that offends the Speaker, I am sorry and I have withdrawn the statement.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
I am not. What I am saying is that you just draw my attention to it and I will give you the necessary protection. That is the point I am making.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
So, Mr Speaker, that is what I was bringing to the Chairman's attention, that the document is available. It is just to correct the information. In fact, the distribution was that “guinea fowls” has gone to GH¢16 million and afforestration was a little down to GH¢32,498,000. That is the information I wanted to draw the Chairman's attention to.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, do you have that document?
Mr Avedzi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said early on, I do not have that document. So, that is why I was requesting that the Hon Member gives me a copy of the document, then we can do the necessary adjustment here. This is because if we do that, it would definitely affect the total here.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, if the Chairman says he has not got it, so, he wants to get the documents, so that he
can do the necessary adjustments, it is a legitimate request -- it is a very legitimate request and you should make it available to him, so that we can make progress.
Hon Members, at the end of looking at it, we can always correct anything in the Report, so that there is no cause for alarm. We are masters of our own procedures.
Mr Nitiwul 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Finance Committee as well and I can say that the first time we met SADA, they presented the information to us; that is exactly what reflected in the Report. But we requested for further information and they came the second day with this information and they gave it to the Chairman and distributed copies to everybody.
So, I am surprised that that denial is coming. But let us do the correction and then we can move forward. The second day is the day they gave that information, the CEO himself -- we had asked that we wanted the CEO himself to come and that was when he came and gave out that document to everybody. So, in my view, I am really surprised that it is not reflecting.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, let us continue -- at the end of the day, I will go back to the Chairman on this matter.
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
It is going to be led by the Hon Member for Sekondi and I would come at the end. We have agreed on the three but he will lead us.
Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, the decision taken now is that let the Chairman look at the figures. This is because he said that at the end of the day, the total under SADA will have to change. So, you will have to look at it to make the necessary changes.
Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not have a problem with that. But the problem is that, the change, if it so happens, affects the end result and everything about this Report. Mr Speaker, the GH¢15 million will make it GH¢90 million and GH¢90 million will affect the sum aggregate.
Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, last year -- but the Chairman said he wants to look at it, so that they would make the overall changes. Let us make progress.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP -- Sekondi) 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
Mr Speaker, it seems, in my view, that when it comes to approving estimates for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, a review of the previous year's activities is also in order. This is because increasingly, we all have realised that when it comes to accountability issues, we try to remedy a situation after the horse has bolted from the stables -- after the Auditor-General has submitted his accounts, et cetera. That is why it is important that in this debate, we also highlight general policy issues as well as comments on expenditure patterns for previous years.
Mr Speaker, if you consider the Office of Government Machinery, apart from certain institutions which may be termed “constitutional institutions”, there are also certain bodies which come directly under the President. I have had an occasion to comment that insofar as the President has considered it fit to appoint Ministers of State in the Presidency, it is important that we know the remit of these Ministers of State when it comes to their supervisory functions.
Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, it was the Minister of State who is responsible for Public Sector Reform and the one who moved this Motion, who represented the Office of the President. During the course of the deliberation, another Minister of State came and introduced himself, as being the Minister responsible for SADA. But Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that in this House, we do not know that there is any Minister responsible for SADA.
So, I am urging the Minister of State responsible for Government Business in Parliament, who also doubles as the Leader of this House, to get this information from the Presidency. This is because it is extremely important.
Mr Speaker, at the Committee level too, we had the office of National Security being represented by the National Security Co-ordinator. We know from the Security and Intelligence Agency Act, that the President must make a Minister responsible for National Security.
Indeed, in the previous Administration, I know that the Minister for the Interior was designated as the Minister responsible for National Security. And I am sure the Hon Leader of the House, who occupied that portfolio in the previous Administration, would confirm this.
Up till now, Mr Speaker, I do not know whether this House has been informed that there is a Minister designated by the President as being responsible for National Security and it is not only for the purpose of oversight. This is because the Office of National Security or the Minister responsible for National Security is supposed to submit an annual report to the House.
I refer, Mr Speaker, to section 17 of the Security and Intelligence Agency Act, 1996 and with your permission, I will read it in extenso. Section 17 (1) states;
Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim 12:50 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, as a member of the Committee, at no point in time did anybody appear before the Committee and told us that he was the Minister in charge of SADA. I heard the Hon Member say that he appeared and said that he was a Minister for SADA.
What I do know and I believe that all members of the Committee who were there know, Dr Mustapha appeared before the Committee and said he was a Minister of State and under his responsibilities, he is in charge of certain Government agencies under the Presidency, which include SADA. It is different from being a Minister in charge of SADA.
Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Member, what is the difference between what you said and what the Hon Member for Sekondi said?
Hon Member for Sekondi, continue.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as I was saying, we do not seem to have a national security policy and I know there are some experts in security matters who have emphasised the need to have such a policy. I would not want to refer to any individual Members of this House who have had the opportunity to make those statements. But as we go forward as a country, it is important that we take this particular matter extremely serious.
Mr Speaker, we have had the phenomenon over the years, of Ministries, Departments and Agencies generally spending more than monies appropriated to them under the budget and it has become a problem. I would want to urge Select Committees of this House to periodically invite Ministries to give an account of their expenditure pattern even before the end of the year. It will help us.
We have a situation where SADA overspent its budget by a whopping GH¢165 million; that is not small money. Mr Speaker, I would rephrase it-- [Interruptions] -- It is about 90 million but then, Mr Speaker, it came to the attention of the Committee and it has been recorded in its report that they took a loan -- [Interruption]
Mr Avedzi 1 p.m.
On a point of Order.
Mr Speaker, the total expenditure for SADA for 2012 was GH¢91 million and out of that money, GH¢ 21 million represents their normal operational expenses and GH¢ 70 million was into investment. That was why the issue about the money paid into SADA's account came up and the law confirms that SADA has the power to go and borrow. So, it is not the entire GH¢91 million which was spent in 2012 but GH¢70 million of that went into investments.
Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Members, I do not want us to go into debates for very good reasons. The Hon Member for Sekondi made a very fundamental statement and he did say that it is perennial -- Over- expenditure, I have seen it throughout my years as a Member of Parliament. What does the House do? I think that is the point that the Hon Member is raising. As for the figures, you have corrected them, so we should move on; we should make progress with the figures.
Hon Ranking Member.
Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman made reference to SADA being given the authority to go and borrow. One might think that --
Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, did he?
Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he did. He said the law allows SADA to borrow, which is true. But the borrowing that occurred was not done by SADA. It was the Ministry of Finance that went to do the borrowing. So I just wanted the records to be clear.
Mr Seth E. Terkpeh 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I explained in Committee that usually when an authority or even a State-owned Enterprise is required to borrow, sometimes their balance sheet will not allow them to borrow on their own and there are instances in this House where even well-established institutions like VRA and the rest -- COCOBOD borrows on its balance sheet through the Bond.
But in the case of VRA, GRIDCo and the others, which are commercial entities, because of the weak state of their balance sheet or because of the amounts involved, we have come to this House to borrow on their behalf. In the case of SADA, it is stated clearly in section 20(3), that the Minister responsible for Finance may provide a sovereign guarantee to the Authority to enable it contract a loan from
local and external financial institutions. And these are domestic.
Mr Speaker, as I explained, we took the precaution of ensuring that because it was domestic borrowing, it is recorded in the depository and therefore, reflected in the domestic debt that is reported in the budget. So, we offered all these explanations. We have taken the precaution of going through the procedures that are required to report on the facility.
Furthermore, once this facility is contracted on their behalf, even though we did not have a contingent liability provision, it is when SADA presents its comprehensive financial statement as is required under this Act, that they will have to provide detailed information about those transactions. As far as what we are doing is concerned, we are providing maximum information. This is because a subsidy is coming or borrowing is coming from Government as an obligation and that is the requirement that we are fulfilling before the House.
Papa Owusu Ankomah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, the Hon Minister for Finance has raised a lot of debatable issues and that is what this House is about —
Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Members, I have made the point from the beginning that I do not want us to go into those legal and constitutional arguments for very good reasons. This is because I do not determine the constitutionality or otherwise of an Act. Do you understand? So, let us make progress.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, views on these matters differ but I am pointing these out because they relate to our finances. We have had this perennial problem of overexpenditure. I made that point. Now, if you go to the budget, the Appropriations, how much was appropriated
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1 p.m.
to SADA for its services, GH¢30 million? And during the course of the year, they over-expended by GH¢60 million with a little more into their accounts. That is all I am saying. Would it not have been proper for this to have appeared in the budget as an allocation that will be made to them, whether it will come from depository or whatever? If the Committee had not made these enquiries, this fact would not have been brought to the attention of the House and that is the point I made. I would just make a last point.
Mr Speaker, before making the point, I would want to state that we have come a long way as a democracy. We have come a long way as a legislature and when it comes to matters of accountability, we should make progress. When you make progress as a democracy with elections, you should also make equal progress when it comes to the area of financial accountability. Over the years, we have had a line in the budget as “Contingency” but then, the Constitution states that there must be a Contingency Fund.
This has never been done but almost every time, it has been raised and I concede in these matters, the Executive should lead the way but of course, often times, the Executive sees Parliament as an institution that sort of restrains Executive from implementing its programmes. It is an unnecessary fetter. I agree because I have been in the Executive.
I have been in the Executive and it is a fact that there are some of these—but it is important because this time round, we have had a heavy deficit and what does the Hon Minister say? Oh, yes, when the people are going on strike, what do you do as a Government? We agree but you

cannot do it on your own; it must be regulated by the Constitution. So, I am urging the Minister for Finance as a matter of urgency, to ensure that within the shortest possible time, we have a law establishing the Contingency Fund. It would help all of us.

It would then also deepen Parliament's oversight of the Executive because the Contingency Fund, monies can only be taken from there with that of a committee including Mr Speaker. Is that not also under the Constitution? Then it helps us; it helps all of us as a country to have an input into what we may consider an emergency and of course, irrespective of the side of the aisle that we have, we also have the national interest at heart.

So, Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity and we would wish to emphasise the points that I have made:

1. It is important for effective governance that the Minister responsible for Government Business in Parliament gets the President to let us know the specific responsibilities of each Minister in the Presidency, so that we do not read it in the newspapers, which may be misrepresented.

2. The Minister who is going to be responsible for National Security, the annual reports of the intelli- gence agencies.

3. National Security Policy —
Papa OwusuAnkomah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, you were once the Minister for the Interior?
Papa OwusuAnkomah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, fortunately, I did not have ministerial responsibility for the intelligence agencies.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Member, I gave enough time because you were speaking for your side. So, I have treated you as the Acting Ranking Member on Finance and that is why I gave you all the time.
Hon Members, I invited the Minister for Education from a meeting and so, we may need to make quick progress, so that she can finish with her assignment and go back to the meeting.
rose
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, are you going to contribute to the debate?
Dr Kunbuor 1:10 p.m.
Yes; this is my opportu- nity to contribute to the debate.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Very well.
Dr Kunbuor 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Particularly, I am very glad to hear the former Attorney-General, the former Interior Minister and former Leader of this House --
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
You did not add “Educa- tion” -- [Laughter.]
Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, because I have not had any experience there.
Mr Speaker, as I listened to him, two things crossed my mind. There is almost no issue he touched on that I did not engage him on those issues when he was a Minister and I think it is gratifying that he gave the caveat that our democracy is maturing.
There are times that we also do not become unnecessarily partisan and that listening to good counsel, particularly, counsel coming from experienced Members of this House becomes significant. I am saying this because there is a very interesting scenario that the Hon Member has painted, that if they have complained in a village that a sheep is
missing and then for some unexplained reason, you are found handling the skin of the sheep, the likely inference is that, you stole the sheep. So, when he set up by saying that all these problems are perennial, it just means that NDC happened to be holding the skin of the lost sheep at a particular time.
So, it becomes very convenient for people who have grappled with those same problems in Government to be able to give us useful advice and I think the advice is useful. I must say so regardless of which Government is there.
Let us come to the issue of the security Minister. We have time and time again talked about section 17 of that Act and I remember Hon J. H. Mensah made his comments that we have not asked that the Report should be laid and should include what he described as “warlike stores”. But that we should be able to have in this House the constitutional aspects of our national security and that in my opinion, was relevant then as it was relevant under the previous Government and as it is relevant now.
It is a statutory requirement and it is one that we cannot gloss over inasmuch as it touches on Appropriation and that is why I think the Hon Member is right on this matter.
But he might not have had the opportunity to have oversight over the intelligence but he was sufficiently influential in Cabinet to have pressed for the report to be laid in this House. I say this because it links up with the security sector policy and I remember where my Hon Friend used to sit and where I used to sit, and when these debates on the national security came up, they were on record on this floor that Ghana had a National Security Policy. And I challenged them to produce the security policy and it was never produced.
Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 1:10 p.m.


As to constitutional issues and Leader of Government Business in Parliament -- my constitutional law has actually faded sufficiently. But what I do know in all the debates I have listened to, is that Parliament is increasingly becoming jealous of its independence as an arm of Government and would want to protect it as much as possible and I agree with that position of this House.

So, when a so-called Leader of Government Business must be seen subsuming Parliament under the Executive arm of Government, I am certainly not very comfortable but I do know there would be a co-ordinating role to link up the two because our Constitution, unlike other jurisdictions, have not expressly provided for a Minister for Government Business in Parliament.

One of the most useful things that I think when we are dealing with these Appropriations we should look at, is this, we have already debated the main policy issues.

I will be very glad if the various committee Chairmen can begin to pick up all the issues of concern and make sure that they exercise their oversight from one budget cycle to the other, so that we do not make it a ritual of perpetual complaints only at budget time. We do know that they say that if you cannot stop the chief mourner at any place, go and wait at where the corpse is, the chief mourner will come there. So, it is certainly the situation that if we cannot have our oversight over

Government, let us wait, they would come during the budget time and I think that is not a proactive position. We should make sure that while the committees complain --
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, do you want to challenge the record of Hon A. B. A Fuseini? -- [Laughter.]
Dr Kunbuor 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, not at all. Because his are particularly heavy and since you have reminded me, I think I will repeat one of it, that the most difficult person to wake up is the one who is not asleep -- [Laughter.] And I know there are many people on this floor who are not asleep but they want the Majority Leader to wake them up and that explains why I am finding it very difficult.
Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to support the Motion on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, in contributing to this debate, I must express my concern with respect to MASLOC. Government in 2012, released GH¢45 million to support the operations of MASLOC. However, if you look at 2009 to 2011 altogether, Government released a total of GH¢5 million.
If you further look at the 2013 budget, Government made only GH¢5 million provision for the operations of MASLOC. The question one would love to ask is whether or not the issues or the challenges that confront the private sector, the informal sector, those who need support from Government to be able to survive, to do their own businesses, those conditions have changed gargantuanly. Government had the
opportunity of purchasing about 349 vehicles under MASLOC for individuals to operate but in 2013, only GH¢5 million is allocated to MASLOC. Mr Speaker, the issue is whether the decision taken by Government was because we were in an election year.
Mr Speaker, if you go to the National Identification Authority, in this era where we want to promote private sector businesses to grow, where we want the cost of business to come down, it is important for Government to consider the significant role of National Identification Authority (NIA). And it is sad that for four years, not much was done for the National Identification Authority -- and if you look at the 2013 budget, Mr Speaker, only GH¢2.4 million is allocated for their operations.
Mr Speaker, if we really want to tell the investor community that as a country, we are serious in attracting the necessary investment to promote this economy -- house numbering, identification of individuals both Ghanaians and foreigners are very critical and it is important that once the Government is telling all Ghanaians that it is serious about managing this economy, getting people to invest in this country, getting the banks to support private businesses, NIA ought to be supported.
It was a good initiative by the Kufuor Government; it is important that Government supports it with sufficient funds to be able to do its work. Together, all of us can get the proper impetus to do our businesses if these are done. Also cost of business would go down because banks would know that they would not have a lot of difficulty in recovery. That ought to be done and I believe that what

Mr Speaker, we would now go to SADA. I agree that it is important for Government to reconcile what is happening in the northern sector and that of the southern sector. The initiative to invest in various projects in the Savannah areas is welcome. However, in a situation where Government invests GH¢33 million into afforestation and another GH¢12 million -- that is a provisional one, Mr Speaker, subject to the Finance Committee's Chairman confirming the later figures that were given to us by the SADA Chief Executive --

GH¢12 million was also invested into guinea fowl project.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, if Government is making investments through SADA to help alleviate poverty, we all support it. But the specifics ought to be furnished for all of us to satisfy ourselves that indeed, these are proper investments, there are no diversions and these are investments that the returns would yield positive results -- [Interruption]
Alhaji Muntaka 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am on a point of order.
The Hon Colleague is misleading the general public. Mr Speaker, to term the guinea fowl activity as no proper projects -- if he cares to know, in the North, it is as important as the fish pond in the South; it is as important as poultry in Kumasi and Accra. So, for the people of the North, investing in guinea fowl is already business that they are running and SADA's objective is to enhance the business that you are already in and very conversant with.
So, it is never an improper investment; he should get his facts right and stop misleading, thinking investing in guinea fowl farming is an improper investment. Mr Speaker, it cannot be an improper investment.
Mr Nitiwul 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, the Hon Member never said investing in guinea fowl -- [Interruption.] The Hon Member never said investing in guinea fowl is improper. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, it is very important because of the way he began it by looking at the North and the South; that is why I got up. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member said that investing GH¢33 million on tree planting and GH¢12 million -- The details should be made clear.
Mr Speaker, not only that; the Hon Member alludes that when you invest GH¢33 million in 2012 and the project is abandoned in 2013, it is even more important for this House to get the details.
Mr Speaker, when you invest GH¢12 million on a guinea fowl farm and the project is abandoned in 2013; it is not budgeted for in 2013. That is why the Hon Member is saying that the details should be brought. The Hon Member never said it is not important.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Members, all the points you are raising are not points of order. I do not know -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I know there are so many ways of heckling. But Mr Speaker, since my very senior Member was trying to quote me, it is important I draw the House --
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I said conclude.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:20 p.m.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, on Scholarship Secretariat, we have a London Office and I believe that a Government that says it wants to ensure a “Better Ghana” and wants to manage the resources of this country judiciously, ought to consider the way certain funds are expended in this country. How can we have a London Office of Scholarship Secretariat which Govern-

ment would continue to spend funds paying salaries? I believe that it is important that that office is closed down, so that Government saves itself of some revenue. And again, --
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up. [Interruption.] I asked you to conclude and you decide to raise the issue of the Scholarship Secretariat. I do not want to create the impression that I do not want to allow you; you have finished with that point. If you have any other point, there is another person who would contribute; give it to him to contribute.
Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie (NDC -- Shama) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Motion to approve the budget estimates for the Government Machinery for the year ending December 31, 2013. Mr Speaker, I would limit my comments to two key areas in the Report. And the first one is the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Centre
(MASLOC).
Mr Speaker, during our deliberations with the MASLOC Chief Executive, we learnt that in fact, at the time this Administration took over the affairs of this country and took over MASLOC, the recovery rate of loans that have been given out was only a paltry 5 per cent. [Interruption.] But today, with the good leadership -- [Interruption.]
Mr Ignatious Baffour Awuah 1:20 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Members, let us have order in the Chamber.
Mr Awuah 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is also true that when the Director indicated that the current recovery rate is 70 per cent, we requested for detailed schedule of the loans indicating the health of the loan. That never came. So Mr Speaker, -- [Interruption.] -- The new claim that the current recovery rate is 70 per cent is not supported by any document to the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Hon Member, that is a point of argument; it is not a point of order. He is only quoting what has been supplied to them at the Committee. You may also be right that they did not furnish you with the 70 per cent -- But it is not really a point of order.
Hon Member, very brief comment, because I want to put the Question.
Mr Essilfie 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, whether the rate was 5 or 6 per cent, it was still in a single digit recovery. [Hear! Hear!] Now, today, the rate of recovery is 70 per cent, which is double digit. So, indeed, it tells you that this Administration is very serious in working with the women and less privilege who really need loans to run their businesses. And also, the point has to be made that when we talk about only GH¢5 million being budgeted for, one has to understand that the MASLOC programme Fund is a revolving Fund. So, indeed, when they make collections, those collections are also loaned out.
So, I would just like all Hon Members here to understand that that MASLOC programme is actually improving and is even going to get better.
Mr Speaker, my final conclusion would be with the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC). I would just plead with the Hon Minister for Finance, based on
what has been put in the Report, which we have all read, that the necessary help is given to DIC for them to be able to get whatever is necessary to wrap up all these companies or businesses that are to be divested, so that they bring that matter to a closure.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I would like to entreat all my Hon Colleagues here to vote for these estimates for Government Machinery.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to just not directly go to the areas my Hon Colleagues have talked about but I would want to mention two issues that I find very important and in this matter, we should not treat as being partisan.
Mr Speaker, it is not for any other reason, and with your permission, I would want to quote, that this article is in our Constitution. With your permission, I would want to quote, article 181 (3).
“No loan shall be raised by the Government on behalf of itself or any other public institution or authority otherwise than by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.”
There is a reason that it is there and my advice to the Hon Minister for Finance is that, when in doubt, he should do the proper thing. Mr Speaker, why do I say that?
We all know that in a previous Government, at least, two people went to court and were subsequently jailed because somebody misinformed them that the loans did not need to come to Parliament.
Dr Kunbuor 1:30 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I guess that the Hon Member should stay away as much as possible on matters that are pending in court in which he is personally involved. This is because you have indicated a direction and I say that because the matter is pending and he is personally involved and it is being taken on the floor of the House, it can degenerate. Let us veer off
-- 1:30 p.m.

Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the merits. I am making a distinction between loans that have not been brought to Parliament for approval and those that were brought to Parliament for approval. Mine was brought to Parliament for approval.
I am only advising the Hon Minister for Finance. He can choose not to take it. When in doubt, let us do the right thing.
Mr Speaker, the excuse that was provided by the Hon Minister, I think it is not good for Parliament; we should protect ourselves. It is very clear; no loan, then we say “Oh, the law allows SADA to raise a loan” -- Mr Speaker, as we speak, there is a discrepancy between the amount that the Ministry gave SADA, that came to the Committee --
Mr Speaker, I will tell you what it is. It is clear that the balance of GH¢35 million is still with the Ministry but the SADA officials told the Committee that when they went to get the money, of the GH¢165
million, GH¢38 million had been disbursed and they do not know what it was for.
Mr Speaker, SADA is a very important project for this nation. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government talked about Northern Development Fund (NDF). This Government chose SADA; it was approved by this House. We have a responsibility as Members of Parliament to ensure that what is being done there, is done properly.
Had the Committee not probed further, we would not have known that they spent GH¢91 billion of what they call the Investment Fund. That is why I am saying that, when in doubt, let us do the right thing. Even if the law --
Mr Speaker, I think the proper thing, we should advise the Hon Minister to do even though some of the money has been spent. I think he should come to this House, seek approval for the amount that is left. I think historically, it will protect all of us and himself. But this excuse about, like all government bonds, the net -- That cannot be an excuse.
This money was raised for a specific project. [Interruption.] They are talking about NDF. Who knows about NDF here? The money was arranged by the United Bank of America for SADA, not for general government borrowing. That is the more reason it should be coming to this House for approval. What do we lose?
Mr Speaker, history has its way of doing things. It should be in our own interest that the Hon Minister does the proper thing and not provide them an excuse. That this is the submission I am making, that I would want to invite you to request the Hon Minister to come to this House to seek approval for this loan.
The interest is 14 per cent plus 2.75 for three years. Let us not hide behind some NDF funding, which is neither -- It would not wash. Twenty (20) years from now, we would not be here but somebody may decide just like in our case, somebody said I decided to fool Parliament but I am not worried. At least, it came to Parliament for approval. When it does not come to Parliament for approval, there can be consequences; we know about that.
Mr Speaker, the next thing is something even more serious and we, as a Parliament, must look at it closely. Mr Speaker, we have passed the National Pension Reform Act (NPRA). Mr Speaker, as I speak, guess what? It is about GH¢890 million that has been collected but nothing can happen to it because we have not -- [Interruption.] Oh!
Mr Speaker, the source in here is a letter written by Sam Pee Yalley, who is the National Pension Regulator Authority Chief Executive. They should listen. We, as Hon Members of Parliament want people to have access to investible funds. That is what it is about. This amount has been collected. We are talking about GH¢890 million. Then we talk about, “There is no money in the system”.
Mr Speaker, Parliament should be seeking to find out why this money has been invested and people cannot have access to it. We passed the Act. [An Hon Member: Where is it?] It is with the Bank of Ghana. I have no difficulty with that. I am saying that pension -- That Act was passed for a specific reason -- [Interruption.] To ensure among other things that more funds are available in the system, so that businesses can grow.
Five years later, we are Sitting here, happy to have passed the Act, happy that
GH¢890 million is in the bank and then people talk about “There is no money in the system”.
Parliament, we should wake up. This is the reason I support the Hon Majority Leader's admonition that we should be proactive and I am inviting this House to be proactive and invite the authorities at NPRA to see what we can do to facilitate their work.
Dr Kunbuor 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order to correct the impression on what the Hon Member is saying for two reasons.
One, that I was very much involved in the Pensions Act and two, that I have been involved on the steps that have been taken and it is not that matters were just lying down for five years. If you go and take the Act, there is a grace period for the implementation of the various tiers. Tier one is automatic like the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). Tier two which is the subject of the amount that the Hon Member is talking about -- Let me explain to him.
It is an occupational pension arrangement in which the employers have to appoint a trustee. All those agencies that led to that amount of money were agencies under Government and only Government was the employer.
There have been a lot of speculations, whether we should not fragment the number of government agencies and give them to different trustees. In a situation in which you have one subject matter of the trust, the matter is divided into different areas.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not unaware of these excuses that are being offered. My Hon good Friend should listen to me. I am saying that he and I, all of us here, need to -- Look, Mr Speaker, they have been given GH¢3 million only and we expect that -- The tenure of five years is irrelevant, if we keep underfunding them, and that is the point I am exalting that they should do better.
Mr Speaker, I am not unaware of all the processes. But part of the reason they are not functioning properly, is underfunding. So, he is supporting me that we should be more proactive and I am inviting all of us to invite the Hon Minister for Finance to increase their budget. That is all I am asking him to do.
They have to create regional offices; they do not have any. Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader and I are aware that there is some tension between the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer and we need to help them. That is all I am saying.
That was why I said this one is not partisan. I am interested, we are interested in making sure that the GH¢890 million is accessible to businesses. It will help all of us.
Mr Speaker, on that note, I urge all of us to support the Motion.
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate.
I want to find out whether the Hon Minister who moved the Motion wants to wind up.
Before then, have you scrutinised the documents given to you by the Ranking Member?
Mr Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I did so and I would want to amend the figures. On page 23, the Afforestation figure should read GH¢32,498.00 and the guinea fowl project should read GH¢15,000.00. Then the total will change to GH¢90,300.00.
Dr Prempeh 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would want to amend our document, so, he should speak up, so that we hear.
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member, I have got the amendment. The Table Office has got the amendment.
Hon Members, I refer you to Standing Order 40 (3) and direct that we Sit outside the prescribed period, having regard to the nature of business in the House.
rose
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Minister for Finance, do you want to say something?
Mr Terkpeh 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would wish to thank Hon Members for their invaluable contribution and in particular the issues that have been raised wth respect to overspending, which has been recurring, for which some consultation is required. The end period, accounting, in particular, we need to reconcile information coming to the House during the period of the budget and the requirement in the acts for
Boards, authorities and State-owned enterprises to prepare elaborate records, which are to be presented. We also take note of the contributions including the one by the Majority Leader on the Pension Fund as well as comments on Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
Mr Azong 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me seize this opportunity to thank Hon Members for the useful suggestions and to assure them that the concerns raised will be forwarded to the appropriate quarters for redress.
With these few words, I thank Hon Members and urge them to approve our estimates when the Question is put.
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister of State, Office of the President.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢312,345, 512 for the services of Government Machinery for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Dr Kunbuor 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we can continue with item 5 on the continuation of debate for the Ministry of Education.
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Members, item 5, continuation and conclusion of debate.
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 1:40 p.m.

Ms Rosemund C. Abrah (NPP -- Weija/Gbawe) 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you
for the opportunity granted me to support Motion number 5.

Mr Speaker, the policy focus of the Ministry of Education as contained in the 2013 Report among others:

(i) increased equitable access to education; and

(ii) increase quality in teaching and learning.

I am giving you the source. It is page 4, item 7.1 on the Education Committee's Report and on the budget estimates for

2013.

In the Budget Statement, Table 36, item 586, page 147, it has been established that there were increases in enrolment in the pre-tertiary levels for the 2011/12 academic year. These increases seemed very deceptive when compared with the net enrolment figures for the same period. For instance, the gross enrolment rate for primary declined from 83.6 per cent in 2009/ 2010 to 77.9 during the 2010/2011 academic year.

That of the junior high school (JHS) also declined from 47.8 per cent for 2009/ 2010 academic year to 46.1 per cent for the 2010/2011 academic year. My source is the Implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda

(GSGDA) 2010/2013 --
Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member for Weija/ Gbawe, this is your maiden speech and that was why when you started, I wanted
Ms Abrah 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am linking, everything is in the Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, we have concluded the debate on the principles of the financial policy, so, when you were going back to quote, I thought you were going to link it directly with the figures but I allowed you to continue, so that you lay some foundation. But as much as possible, the Motion is on the estimates for the Ministry of Education.
Ms Abrah 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, well, my second issue -- I am not speaking about the adequacy or inadequacy of the budget.

The observation of the Capitation Grant is that, there is usually a delay in the release of the funds. Added to that is the fact that, when the Capitation Grant is being released, it is never labeled, so there is a tendency for Government to skip some of the Grant. [Hear! Hear!] For example, in the Budget Statement for 2013, page 140, item 585, it has been stated that the Capitation Grant was released for only second and third terms.
Mr Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Members, order! Order!
Hon Member, you have the floor.
Ms Abrah 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that, with reference to the national service, there used to be and even still they are in the system, volunteer teachers who are made up of retired educationists, retired teachers, retired lecturers and even post-national service graduates who are prepared to work and help education especially in the deprived areas. And I would like us to focus more attention on this because we have a partnership with the British Volunteer Service Organisation (VSO) and I think it would help.
Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe (NDC -- Akatsi North) 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion, that this House approves the budget estimates for the Ministry of Education for 2013.
Mr Speaker, in the budget, there is provision for a number of activities to be taken by the Ministry of Education this year. Notably, is the construction of number of senior high schools in the deprived areas. Mr Speaker, it is interesting to note that in this 21st Century, there is a district in this country, which has no senior high school and that is Krachi Ntsumuru in the Volta Region.
Mr Speaker, what I am trying to say is that, Government's programme to construct 50 senior high schools this year, would help revive access to education to people at all levels in this country.
Mr Speaker, it is also in the budget to establish colleges of education this year [Hear! Hear!] It would interest us to note that in 1971, a Government in this country -- [Interruption.]
Some Hon Members 1:50 p.m.
Where were you?
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe 1:50 p.m.
I was a student at that time.
A Government in this country closed down 50 per cent of training colleges in this country and that was the beginning of teacher education problem in this country.
Prof. Dominic Kwaku Fobih 1:50 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the last speaker was misleading this House by saying that the cutting down of the number of training colleges actually killed teacher training programmes in this country. It is wholly untrue because at that time, we had more training colleges than the teachers we needed in the system. If you think of the
migration of teachers to Nigeria when we knew that we had excess teachers who could not be employed, then the statement that Hon Member is giving is baseless; it is not based on any fact. One rather would question the need to establish 10 colleges of education when indeed, the existing 38 colleges of education are under-utilised and we can increase the intake to more than 15,000 a year.
That would be cost-effective; it would be value for money than starting from the scratch to build 10 colleges of education and staffing them with principals and academic staff and administrative staff and so on.
So, Mr Speaker, I think we are being misled by the last speaker and I think that I have to correct it.
Mr Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, that is his point of view and your point of view too is also well taken. He thinks that if we had kept all the training colleges in 1972, maybe, the problem of teachers would not be. You also think otherwise. So, that is a different opinion you have.
Hon Member, continue and conclude. I want to put the Question.
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this country experienced exodus of teachers some years ago. If we had maintained that number of colleges at the time, Ghana would not have suffered that situation.
Mr Speaker, what I am trying to say is that, if we are able to establish these colleges of education, the number of teachers would increase over the years and we would not have this problem.
Mr Speaker, one important thing in the budget is for the Ghana Book Develop- ment Authority -- [Interruption] -- to promote the production of books in this country. Our children need to read a lot of books and for us -- [Interruption.]
Mr Nortsu-Kotoe 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, well, if those colleges were there training teachers, I am maintaining the fact that we would not have had the problems we faced a few years ago.
Mr Speaker, I was on the point that the Ghana Library Authority and the Book Development Authority need to be assisted, so that we can get more books into our schools for our children to read, so that they can speak good English and then do very well in the English Language, so that we would not say “we will hear the heat” but “we can feel the heat”.
On that note, I support the Motion.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Minister for Educa- tion, do you want to wind up?
Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang 2 p.m.
Yes Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
You have the floor.
Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all of you very much for your contributions to our request.
We have taken note of the number of recommendations you have made and I would like to commit my Ministry to ensure that we abide by them.
Mr Speaker we will continue to widen access, enhance quality and make our management even more effective.
In this vein, I beg to move.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢4,412, 695,383 for the services of the Ministry of Education for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Mr Agbesi 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we can take Motion number 10, on the Electoral Commission.
Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Members, item 10 on the Order Paper.
Minister for Finance?
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 2:05 p.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Hon House approves the sum of GH¢21,228,757.00 for the services of the Electoral Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Mr Speaker, in so doing, I wish to state that the Electoral Commission's justification for the current impasse in
expenditure allocations is reflected in their management of elections including the last elections as well as preparations that are under way for other elections that are likely to come this year.
Mr Speaker, as the Electoral Com- mission indicated because of the movement into the biometric registration era, they acquired quite a number of equipment which requires that they maintain those facilities over the period.
Mr Speaker, it is for this reason and other important functions performed by the Electoral Commission that we request the said amount for the smooth operations of the Electoral Commission.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I beg to move the Motion.
Chairman of the Committee (Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour) 2:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on behalf of the Chair, that is the Majority Leader. I am the de facto Chair.
Mr Speaker, as we agreed on last week, because I do this on behalf of the Majority Leader, I am only just going to read the report; and we will still have on our side to contribute and two on the other side will also contribute.
Introduction
The Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terpkeh presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2013 to Parliament on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
Pursuant to Order 140 (4) of the Standing Orders of the House, the annual budget estimates of the Electoral Commission (EC) was referred to the Committee on Special Budget for consideration and report.
The Committee met with the Electoral Commissioner, Dr Kwadwo Afari- Gyan, officials of the Commission and the Ministry of Finance and considered the estimates. The Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh was in attendance to offer clarifications on the allocations made to the EC.
The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister, the Electoral Commissioner and other officials for their inputs.
Reference documents
The Committee referred to the following documents in the discharge of its duties:
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Budget Statement and Eco- nomic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2012 financial year;
The Budget Statement and Econo- mic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2013 financial year.
Mission Statement
The mission of the Electoral Commission is to advance the course of democracy and good governance for enhanced develop- ment of Ghana by institutionalising free, fair and transparent elections to the acceptance of all stakeholders.
Chairman of the Committee (Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour) 2:05 p.m.
Performance in 2012
Table 1: Normal budget expenditure for 2012

Table 1 shows the EC's normal approved budget for 2012 totalling GH¢27,389,067. Out of the approved budget, only GH¢15,531,018.11 was released, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢11,858,048.89

Special budget expenditure for 2012

In the year 2012, the EC requested for additional funds of GH¢155,591,394 to cater for its special budget expenditure which was subsequently approved. The breakdown of expenditure for EC's special budget in year 2012 is attached as Appendix 1.

The Committee was informed that even though EC's request and approval was for an amount of GH¢155,591,394, the actual amount released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) was GH¢199,344,864 in excess of the amount applied for. This was as a result of the Biometric Voter Registration and Verification exercise and the 2012 elections as shown in the attached Appendix.

The Electoral Commissioner informed the Committee that the excess spending was first and foremost due to the change in the Field Operational Plan of the Commission with respect to the Biometric Voter Registration exercise. This affected the awareness plan of EC because awareness creation had to be undertaken at the end of every phase, including publication of the polling stations in both the print and electronic media and street announcements.

The Electoral Commissioner again informed the Committee that the additional cost in the 2012 elections (please refer to Appendix 1) was also as a result of additional cost incurred due to the increase in the number of polling stations from 21,000 to over 26,000 and the procurement of additional verification devices.

In the light of the above, EC achieved the following:

i. EC successfully conducted the biometric voter registration (March-June, 2012).

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6 - 2.00P.M.

ii. The EC successfully displayed the Provisional Voters' Register (Exhibition) nationwide in September, 2012.

iii. The EC successfully conducted Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in December, 2012.

Outlook for 2013

For year 2013, the EC will undertake the following:

a. The Commission would build capacity of electoral staff through refresher courses and training for optimum performance.

b. The Commission would develop a 5-year strategic plan by reviewing the performance of 2012 general elections and 3-year medium-term plan.

c.Construction of office accommo- dation to avoid interference and threat of compromising the independence of EC from landlords.

d. The Commission would educate Civil Society Organisations, Community Based Organisations, Faith Based Organisations, Youth Groups and Schools on the

electoral process and its purpose.

e. Expand and maintain EC's VSAT Wide Area Network to support continuous registration of voters.

f. To properly maintain and store all Biometric Voters' Registration (BVR) and Biometric Voters Verification (BW) Equipment for future use.

Provision for 2013 budget

For the implementation of its 2013 programmes and activities, an amount of twenty-one million, two hundred and twenty-eight thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven cedis GH¢21,228,757.00) has been allocated to EC. The b reakdown is as follows:

Compensation (Salaries and Allowances) -- GH¢10,582,170

Goods and services -- GH¢ 8,843,487

Assets -- GH¢1.803.100

Total -- GH¢21.228.757

EC's budgetary requirement for 2013 and the ceiling given by MoFEP is shown in table 2. It is evident from the table that MoF's allocation re- presents a shortfall of 62 per cent of the total budgetary requirement of

EC.

Table 2

Normal budgetary allocation for the Electoral Commission for

2013

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8 - 2.00P.M.
Chairman of the Committee (Prof. G. Y. Gyan-Baffour) 2:10 p.m.
For year 2013, EC would require a special budgetary allocation of an amount

of GH¢20,000,000.00 to cover some programmes and activities under Assets and Goods and Services. This is shown in table 3.

Table 3

Special budget of the Electoral Commission for 2013

7.0 Observations and recommendations

Special budgetary requirement

The Committee observed that for year 2013, EC intends to extend and carry out some maintenance work on its Wide Area Network (WAN) in 225 districts to enable it transfer voter registration from all regions to a Central Database. It would also re-demarcate electoral areas for District Assembly Elections for 2014.

The Committee noted that these activities, among others, were to be financed from EC's budgetary requirement of GH¢56,136,002. Unfortunately, this amount has been slashed down to GH¢21,228,757. The Committee noted that

this situation necessitated EC to request for a special budget of GH¢20,000,000.00 to enable it undertake the activities as shown in table 3.

In the opinion of the Committee, the activities of the EC as captured in table 3 are very critical to the mandate of the Commission and the development of Ghana's democracy. The Committee was therefore, not happy that the budgetary requirement of the EC was not met.

The Hon Minister for Finance informed the Committee that Government is committed to ensuring that all mandatory requirements and other special

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9 - 2.00P.M.

requests of EC are periodically catered for to enable it achieve its objectives. To this end, measures would be put in place to ensure that EC's budgetary require- ments are catered for under a Reserve Fund.

Accommodation

The EC is required by law to establish offices in all the regions and districts of the country and also to ensure that all electoral materials are properly stored. It came to the fore that EC has been confronted with lack of accommodation over the past years. The Committee noted that EC's District Offices are still in rented premises without adequate storage facilities.

The Committee considers this situation as worrisome and recommends that as a matter of urgency, the MoFEP should provide the EC with the necessary funds to enable it provide office accommodation in all districts of the country to safeguard the independence of the Commission.

Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) Equipment

For the year 2013, EC has planned to construct nine pre-fabricated storage facilities in the regions in order to protect its Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) equipment. The Committee noted that this activity has been captured under the special budgetary requirement of EC.

The Commissioner informed the Committee that the construction of pre- fabricated storage facilities is necessary because the BVR Equipment could be adversely affected by the environment if it is not stored under the right tempera- ture/condition.

The Committee is of the view that the construction of pre-fabricated storage facilities is pertinent if EC is to ensure the continuous and effective performance of its BVR equipment. The Committee therefore urges the MoF to ensure that EC is provided with adequate funds to enable it construct the pre-fabricated storage facilities as early as possible.

Conclusion

EC plays a pivotal role in the democratic dispensation of the country. The Committee is therefore, of the opinion that the Commission should be adequately resourced to enable it live up to its expectation. Taking into consideration the programmes and activities earmarked by EC for 2013, the Committee is of the view that its budgetary allocation is inadequate.

Notwithstanding the above, the Committee recommends to the House for approval, an amount of twenty-one million, two hundred and twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty-seven cedis (GH¢21,228,757.00) for the implementation of the programme and activities of the Electoral Commission for the 2013 financial year.

Respectfully submitted.
Mr Frank B. Agyen 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to draw your attention to the fact that time is gone beyond 2.00 p.m.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Member, you probably were not paying attention, the Mr Speaker gave the directive.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu)(MP) 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion for the approval of GH¢21,228,757 for the implementation of the programmes and activities of the Electoral Commission (EC) of the 2013 financial year.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, may I refer you to paragraph (7) of your Committee's Report, in particular the paragraph reading and with your indulgence, I beg to quote;
“The Hon Minister for Finance informed the Committee that Government is committed to ensuring that all mandatory requirements and other special request of the EC are periodically catered for to enable it achieve its objectives.”
I am deeply and very encouraged by this assurance, to one of our critical government's institution which is the independent EC of Ghana.
In fact Mr Speaker, in recent times, the Commission has come under some legitimate and sometimes illegitimate criticisms in the conduct of its operations but the truth remains that Mr Speaker, since the year 2000, they have contributed enormously to the growth of Ghana's democratic credentials as a very peaceful and stable country with demonstrable capacity for conducting free, fair and transparent elections.
Mr Speaker, that is why from the year 2000 through 2004 to 2008 and 2012, we have had successive change of the baton of power from one political party to other without any rancour - [Hear! Hear!] because of the very credibility of our EC.
We also have improved; we used to have ballot boxes which were non- transparent; we have moved to a redeemed of transparent ballot boxes.
Mr Speaker, two very good suggestions of our Friends of the other side of the House, we have now moved to biometric registration and biometric voting of voters [Hear! Hear!] This is which undoubtedly Mr Speaker, have contributed to the transparency of election in ensuring free and fair elections throughout the country.
Mr Speaker, may I refer you to page 3 of your Committee's Report and Mr Speaker, you would again be encouraged that Government is committed to building viable State institutions:
“The request of the Electoral Commission for 2012 was GH¢155,591,294 but Government in fact provided GH¢199,344,864 far above what the Commission requested for because Government was committed to the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.”
Which was parliamentary and presidential election.
Mr Speaker, my final comment is that, we need to move away and further improve the biometric regime into what I call an RFID technology which will allow for some improvement in what we witnessed in 2012.
-- 2:10 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Member, please, concentrate on the estimates.
Mr H. Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with these few comments, let me conclude by saying that EC must come to this august House for us to improve biometric registration and voting, not with a bar code but with an RFID technology which will cost Government between .99 cents per person to US$1 which will allow for more credible elections in future.
I thank you for the opportunity.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor of the House with a few comments to make.
Mr Speaker, it is not right for somebody to say that because of Government's building institutions, an agency or Commission or for that matter, a Ministry that only needed GH¢155,591,294 has been given a GH¢199,000 plus. If a responsible Government would give GH¢43 million over and above a budget a Ministry requires, for no apparent reason, then no wonder the budget deficit is 12 per cent.
Mr Chireh 2:10 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, my friend, Hon Prempeh is misleading the House. The reason is simple, that this House under the able Chairmanship of the Minority Leader as the Special Budget Committee Chairperson, was part and parcel of the insistence that anything EC needed should be given to them. They championed it; they wanted to ensure that EC was properly funded.
Today, you cannot be heard saying that they were given money they did not ask for; he cannot say that. Indeed, at every point, they were the ones who championed it. So, the Hon Member should stop misleading this House with what he is saying.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Matthew Prempeh, please, proceed with your arguments.
Dr Prempeh 2:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I would want to put on record that my argument of the basis that if the Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Trade and Industry and some other things, said on this floor that Government wanted to --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
You do not know the true designation? What do you mean by “other things”.
Dr Prempeh 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in the era of changes and re-alignments --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Haruna, what is your true designation?
Dr Prempeh 2:10 p.m.
So that I can address him properly.
Mr H. Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague knows my designation very well as Minister for Trade and Industry. There are other things I do with him; he should keep them away.
Dr Prempeh 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he made a comment that the Government has provided over and above the budget and I am saying that if that provision over and above was without foundation or basis, then the Government was irresponsible. But it is with the foundation that even after the provision of this whole sum, the Government owes EC as we speak, against last year's outturn of over GH¢30 million -- [Interruption]
Mr Mahama Ayariga 2:20 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon two Members said that they were involved in other things related to a sector Ministry. Mr Speaker, we would want to know what those “other things” are.
Dr Prempeh 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I never heard the Hon Haruna Iddrisu say “other things” involved in the Ministry; he never said that. So, for the record, he should not put that thing in his mouth to complicate matters further for him.
On the second issue, the Ghana Government owes EC over GH¢40 million out of last year's Appropriation. Besides, EC itself owes people that it does not pay and they are collapsing people's businesses as we speak, which they admitted to the Special Budget Committee. So, all is not rosy, we should not paint a picture that everything has been done.
I would like to comment on section 4.3, that EC successful conducted Biometric Voter Registration. I do not know how the Committee arrived at the use of the word “successful”. When we conduct Basic Education Certificate Education (BECE) examinations and 99.7 passed; it can be said to be very, very successful.
But the truth of that, is that the children cannot even spell their names, and that is a worry -- the quality. When EC cannot
tell us the true state, the number of people on the register, that it publishes one and says another, it gives the political parties a number and publishes on its website another number, and it says it is a mistake of “Ablakwa” proportions, then we have a problem. We do not recognise “success” in this sense.
If he is saying that EC successfully displayed the provisional register nationwide in September -- it is during the exhibition that we realised that over 200 polling stations across the country where human beings went to register, the provisional register declared a zero. The reason I am bringing out these things is that if we behave like ostriches and burying our heads in the sand and say all is rosy, we will be confronted with the problem of gargantuan proportions.
The third issue is, EC successfully conducted Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in December, 2012.
Hon Haruna Iddrisu , the spokesperson for EC in the House has led us to believe that the 2000 elections, the 2004 and the 2008 elections, because there was the smooth transitions, it means the conduct was perfect. Let me quote: EC in its own assessment has said that:
“For the leadership of the country, all those transitions, 2000 and 2008 could have been disastrous.”
Let us not forget that people went to court from NDC contesting EC's declaration in 2004 that the election —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Member, please, address the estimates.
Dr Prempeh 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, finally, we should come to the estimates.
Mr Speaker, I would like to say that EC, in the conduct of the 2012 elections, after all that money that had been given to them, they are still owing Ghanaians.
Dr Prempeh 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to conclude.
In the 2013 budget, provisions have not been made for those Ghanaian industries that are owed, how they are going to pay them. The Ministry of Finance has cut EC's budget and cut it so severely that the Committee had to call the Ministry of Finance to make extra provisions for EC, so that even the equipment that were bought in 2012 could be safely stored for subsequent elections.
I would like to end by saying, the 2012 elections has been said in other areas to have been free and fair -- free and fair. I would like to quote and end, what the CODEO told EC --
The CODEO however, urges EC to publish the election results of all polling stations in the country for the sake of transparency and verification”.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
All right.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
Mr Afred K. Agbesi (NDC --Ashaiman) 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not catch your eye early and my Hon Colleague has calmed down but I will contribute to the Motion.
EC as had been stated in their mission, their major preoccupation is to conduct elections and demarcate boundaries for election purposes. By the Report that they are debating, they had asked for a certain amount in the year 2012.
Even though the said amount was not given to them, they had successfully conducted the elections, done their biometric registrations and today, due to the successful conduct of the elections, we have an elected President of the nation.
[Hear! hear!] EC's budget as we have been told, was not all released to them but they had to ask for a special budget to do all that they must do. This is because they were given that special budget; it has resulted in what we see today. The result is that, we are operating an elected Government; we are having an elected President and we are having a Parliament. All my Colleagues here were all elected through the efforts of EC.
On this basis, it is something that we have to commend EC for bringing all of us to Parliament including the Members of the Minority Party who are sitting here.
I urge Hon Members to support this Motion and support the amount that it has asked for, to do more for this country.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
The last contributor otherwise, I will put the Question.
This brings us to the end of the debate.
Some Hon Members 2:20 p.m.
No!
Mr Boniface G. Adagbila 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, last contributor.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
All right,
Hon Member, go ahead.
Mr Boniface G. Adagbila (NPP -- Nabdam) 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as a member of the Special Budget Committee and having attended the session and listened to contributions, I would want to support the Motion for the release of funds to EC, so that we continue to have electoral activities properly done. However, I would want to express a couple of concerns for future improvement.
The first point is that I have observed that while other institutions are over-
spending, some institutions find their budgets cut, so they under-perform. EC, in 2012, in its normal budget, had a variance of over GH¢11 million, having asked for GH¢29 million, and were given something like GH¢15 million, that I believe affected their normal business.
However, because of the special nature of their business in 2012, EC applied for some sum of over GH¢155 million and a little more but were fortunate to have been given nearly over GH¢200 million. EC had made it known to the whole world and to Ghanaians that, the Government had met its full complements of finances for elections 2012.
However, from EC's own words, the Government still owes it slightly over GH¢30 million. If this is a deceit, then people have to be questioned. If the EC had all the moneys it required and Government still owes over GH¢30 million, we would want to know from EC, between EC and Government where the difference is.
Mr Speaker, in 2013 EC's request for something slightly over GH¢56 million for their normal budget request has also been cut to GH¢21 million; a variance of over 60 per cent. 1believe this will again affect their normal business.
If we look at Table 3 under paragraph 6 (3), EC made a request under Assets for its maintenance and licence payments of software and extending internet facilities to other communities or districts. Mr Speaker, they are requesting for a special fund of GH¢20 million, in other words, if they do not get the GH¢20 million, certain facilities, equipment and gadgets were going to suffer.

I would have expected that the request under the Table including prefabricated storage facilities in all the regions, demarcating electoral areas for District Assemblies in all the regions should have been done much earlier from the funds they had already requested and to extend to that. However, we believe that if the Hon Minister finds GH¢20 million for EC, we shall have excellent electoral activities for 2013.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, if you look at the mission of EC, it is very important. What is the mission of EC? “To advance the course of democracy and good governance for enhanced development of Ghana by institutionalising free, fair and transparent elections to the acceptance of all stakeholders”.

This is because of their shortfalls; I would say it is part of the non-satisfying of all stakeholders, that is why we are in court today. They need their full complements of funds, so that election results, will in future, not be questioned.

Several Hon Members -- rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Hon Member, I would like you to veer off this court case, just concentrate on the estimates. Let us avoid debates on this.
Mr Adagbila 2:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
As part of -- [Interruption.]I
Dr Kunbuor 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, just for purposes of the record, I would want to know whether the Hon Member is in court. Because any court matter, the parties are known and so, he needs to correct the record. If he is not a party to that suit, then he should correct it, that “a matter might be in court” but not that “we are in court”.
Mr Adagbila 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I made reference to the mission statement of EC and my statement was in reference to satisfying stakeholders and not court issue. I just linked it for the proper understanding of this stakeholder --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Hon Member, please, just correct it and let us move on.
Mr Adagbila 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the correc- tion is to the stakeholders, not that I am in court. I am not in court; certain stake- holders are in court.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Thank you. Move on and conclude.
Mr Adagbila 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in conclu- sion, for the sake of accountability and for the sake of transparency -- I would call on Mr Speaker to request EC to lay before this House a report on the 2012 elections for our satisfaction to be, able to push for more funding them, so that we can always have a free, fair and acceptable election to all stakeholders.
Mr Speaker, I also believe that EC has to conclude the offices for our constituencies, in particular, Nabdam Constituency is a new constituency and district and --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
Hon Member, your time is up. Sorry, I have asked you to conclude and you are moving to another area. Your time is up.
Mr Adagbila 2:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢21,228,757 for the services of the Electoral Commission (EC) for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 2:30 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee) 2:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker,
I beg to support the Motion, that this House approves the sum of GH¢26,898,412 for the activities and programmes of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- General's Department.
Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I would want to conclude by saying that the Committee is of the conviction that the Ministry of Justice would be seriously constrained in the execution of its activities for the year 2013.
The Committee accordingly entreats the House to urge the Government to take steps to address the shortfalls in the budgetary allocations to the Ministry.
Introduction
In accordance with article 179 (1) of the Constitution, the Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkpeh, on the authority of H.E. the President of the Republic presented to Parliament the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government for the 2013 financial year on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013.
Pursuant to article 103 (1) and (3) of the Constitution and Standing Orders 140 (4) and 179 of the House, the 2013 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Justice stood referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.
Deliberations
The Committee during the consi- deration of the estimates had the assistance of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justuice, Hon Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong and other officials from the Ministry and its agencies. Also in attendance were officials from the Ministry of Finance.
Chairman of the Committee) 2:30 p.m.
The Ministry will review the Data Protection Act, Veterans Administration Ghana Act, Presidential (Transition) Act and Mental Health Act and prepare the Memorandum of Understanding for its “Justice for All Programme” for effective delivery of justice in the country.
Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) will also intensify its operations

to mitigate economic and financial crimes, human trafficking and illegal cyber activities.

A total amount of twenty-six million, eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand, four hundred and twelve Ghana cedis (GH¢26,898,412) has been allocated to the Ministry of Justice. Details of the Budget Estimates for year 2013 are shown in the following Table.

Observations and recommendations

The Committee observed that the inadequate funding of the Ministry has had a telling effect on the activities of the Ministry. For example, the publication of the Ghana Law Reports is in arrears because the Council for Law Reporting is extremely under-funded and under- staffed.

The Legal Aid Scheme is also severely distressed for the same reasons. Lack of adequate funding has prevented the Ministry from employing qualified and experienced Attorneys to discharge the responsibilities assigned to the Ministry.

The Committee was informed that the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- General's Department budgeted for an

amount of fifty- eight million, one hundred and ninety-four thousand, nine hundred and fifty-four Ghana cedis, forty-six pesewas (GH¢58,194,954.46) to be able to undertake its programmes, but was given a ceiling of thirty-seven million, one hundred and eighty-six thousand, eighty- nine Ghana cedis (GH¢37,186,089.00) by the Ministry of Finance.

This ceiling was further reduced to twenty-six million, eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand, four hundred and twelve Ghana cedis (GH¢26,898,412.00). Under the circumstance, the Ministry have had to re-prioritise its activities and thereby suspend most of its activities including the construction of the Ministry' law House and offices for its agencies.

SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 11

- 2.30P.M.

The Ministry's Law House Project is a ten (10) storey-building with a two (2)- basement car park intended to properly house the Ministry but work came to a halt in 2010 as a result of lack of funds. An amount of twenty million Ghana cedis (GH¢20,000,000.00) would be required to complete the project.

However, the entire allocation for Assets for the Ministry and all its departments and agencies for the year is nine million, three hundred thousand, eighty hundred and thirty-five Ghana cedis (GH¢9,300,835.00). As indicated afore in the Report, this implies that the continuation of the project this year, would not be possible.

The reduction of the Ministry's budget to the level indicated afore will also make it difficult for the Ministry to address its logistical needs, such as vehicles, computers and other information and communication technology related facilities. Inadequate supply of computers for use by the Ministry delays the work of Attorneys as they have to rely on secretaries.

The reduction will again adversely affect the payment of subscription fee to affiliate International Associations or Bodies. The Ministry lacks means of transport to facilitate the movement of; Attorneys to and from courts; researchers of the Law Reform Commission to undertake field work; Company Inspectors of the Registrar- General's Department; and officers of the Economic and Organised Crime Office to undertake investigations.

The Committee again noted that the General Legal Council (GLC) had challenges with accommodation. With the increasing number of law students from

the University of Ghana, Legon, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Zenith College and other private institutions applying for admission into the Ghana School of Law, the GLC needs to expand its infras- tructure base to be able to accommodate them. As an interim measure, the GLC established two (2) campuses in rented apartments in Legon and Kumasi.

As a way of addressing the problem of funding for the GLC, the Ministry of Justice in 2010, made a request to the Ministsry of Finance to enable the Ghana School of Law retain some portion of its internally generated funds (IGFs). The request is still pending at the Ministry of Finance.

The Committee was informed that the Registrar-General's Department made significant strides with regard to office accommodation because it is the only agency under the Ministry which is by law permitted to retain some portion of its IGFs. The building to house the Head Office of the Department is close to completion. The Department has also established offices in Kumasi and Takoradi to expand its operations.

The Kumasi Office is to cater for the northern sector while the Takoradi Office is to complement the one in Accra. The Ministry of Justice also intends to apply for increment in the portion of IGFs retained by the Registrar-General's Department, so that it will be able to expand its operations to cover the whole country.

The Committee, therefore, appeals to the Ministry of Finance to kindly consider the requests to improve the financial position of the Ministry.
Chairman of the Committee) 2:40 p.m.
Conclusion
The Committee is of the conviction that the Ministry of Justice would be seriously constrained in the execution of its activities in the year 2013. The Committee accordingly entreats the House to urge the Government to take steps to address the shortfalls in the budgetary allocations to the Ministry.
In the meantime, the Committee recommends that the House approves the sum of twenty-six million, eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand, four hundred and twelve Ghana cedis (GH¢26,898,412.00) for the services of the Ministry of Justice for the 2013 financial Year.
Respectfully submitted.

Ranking Member of the Committee (Mr Ben Abdallah Banda): Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion for the approval of the sum of GH¢26,898, 412.00 for the services of the Ministry of Justice for the year ending 31st December,

2013.

Mr Speaker, as we all know, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney- General's Department play a very pivotal role in ensuring that cases brought against the State are well defended and those initiated on behalf of the State are well handled.

Mr Speaker, for instance, if a liquidator claim and for that matter, a civil matter is brought against the State and the matter is not well handled, we may end up at the end of the day having a devastating judgement debt levelled against the State. [Hear! Hear!] Mr Speaker, the conditions

of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General's Department therefore, ought to be attractive enough, so that well-qualified and experienced lawyers can be attracted to the Ministry and the few ones maintained.

Mr Speaker, what we have realised, experienced over the years is that, budget estimates submitted to the Ministry of Finance by the Ministry of Justice are normally grossly cut to such an extent that the Ministry is under-funded and handicapped in the performance of its work.

Mr Speaker, even when these paltry sums are accepted and approved by Parliament, the late release of this approved budget to the Ministry of Justice leaves much to be desired. Mr Speaker, meanwhile, there are a lot of departments and agencies that operate under the Ministry of Justice. For instance, the Legal Aid Scheme.

Mr Speaker, the Legal Aid Scheme was institutionalised for the sole aim of ensuring that, free legal services are brought to the doorstep of the poor. But Mr Speaker, it is saddening to note or to learn that, the Legal Aid Scheme does not have an office of its own. We are told that the Legal Aid Scheme is squatting on the premises of the Council for Law Reporting.

Mr Speaker, meanwhile, there are attempts by the Legal Aid Scheme to ensure that its operations are decentralised to the district level, so that the poor and the vulnerable can have easy access to its legal services. Mr Speaker, if

the second issue has to do with the Council for Law Reporting as the Chairman rightly pointed -- Mr Speaker, the Council for Law Reporting is a very important institution as its mandate is to ensure that Ghana Law Reports are printed and brought up to date, so that judges and lawyers, including Attorneys in the Attorney-General's Department can update their knowledge and experience.

But Mr Speaker, because the Council for Law Reporting is under-funded, it cannot attract experienced lawyers and maintain them in their office.

Mr Speaker, another serious challenge that is bedevilling the Attorney-General's Department, as it was intimated to us, is the persistent default judgement that are normally taken against the State.

This challenge or problem is attributable to the fact that, there are no adequate computers and accessories for the Attorneys in the Attorney-General's Department to do their work, expedite their work, process their work and take the work to the law courts instead of relying to a large extent on the Secretaries in the Attorney-General's Department who normally occasion delays.

Mr Speaker, it is on the basis that the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney- General's Department are saying that if the budget estimates that are sent to the Ministry of Finance are so grossly cut -- even when they are cut, the late releases of this approved budget leaves much to be desired, then the relevant law relating to their IGFs ought to be amended, so that as and when the approved budget estimates are not forthcoming, they can rely on their retained internally generated funds (IGFs), so that they can function and function properly.
Mr Baba Jamal M. Ahmed (NDC -- Akwatia) 2:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to support the Motion to approve the sum of GH¢26,898,412.00 for the services of the Ministry of Justice for the 2013 financial year.
Mr Speaker, my basic worry has always been the fact that, we have not been able to provide enough legal services to especially those who cannot afford to pay for the services of private lawyers. And this is one of the core responsibilities of the Ministry of Justice.
There are so many people languishing in jail today, not because they are guilty but because they could not afford the services of lawyers; that is why I support this Motion. But it is sad to note that even the money they requested for last year, which was approved, a little below it was actually released.
This year, if you look at the figure which has been proposed, it is even lower than what was released last year for their core business. That surely is a sad situation that I think that all of us as a country, need to take note of.
Mr William Boafo 2:50 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is seriously misleading this House. In his statement, he said that a lot of people find themselves in jail because they cannot
Mr William Boafo 2:50 p.m.


He has never practised in our courts; he does not know what goes on and he must learn what obtains in our Judiciary instead of indicting the Judges in Parliament.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Hon Member, I do not think it is a question of indicting the Judges. It is a situation where probably, if one does not have the services of lawyers, especially at the lower court level, we see all sorts of things happening. It is not as if he is indicting the Judiciary as such. It is a question of opinion, anyway, so we might as well let him be entitled to his opinion.
Can you move away from that area and progress?
Mr Ahmed 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your wise counsel.
I will move away but I would want my Hon Senior Colleague to know that you do not need to practise in the box to know what is happening in society. [Hear! Hear!] This is because it is -- All of us are aware that, a lot of people who go to court, they will be looking for a lawyer to save them and sometimes they are remanded just because they do not have access to --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
You promised to stay away from that, Hon Member. Please --
Mr Ahmed 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to, maybe, advise or give a word of advice to the Ministry of Justice to -- This time
there are a lot of -- Most of the time, when you look at -- Government recently brought out some directive that you cannot sign any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) unless it goes through the Ministry of Justice and that delayed a lot of MoUs on their desks because they go there and it takes months.
I think that it is important that when things like this come to the Ministry of Justice, this time that we are going to make sure that moneys are released on time, they make sure that people who are assigned to MoUs to really pass them, do them in good time to ensure that Government machinery runs.
On that humble note, I would want to support the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Last contributor.
Mr Frank B. Agyen (NPP -- Effiduase/ Asokore) 2:50 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. We are contributing to the budget estimates for the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's Department.
Mr Ayariga 2:50 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member is misleading the House. The Hon Member, if he looks at the Report, will also notice that the Legal Aid Board is also an agency under the Ministry with responsibility for providing legal aid. So, it is the department
of the Ministry that is lacking in resources and that is exactly what Hon Members on this side of the House are appealing for more resources.
So, while I agree with him that prosecutions are done by the Attorney- General's Department, but also legal representation to the poor and vulnerable who cannot afford it is also received from the Legal Aid Board over which the Ministry has an oversight responsibility. So, the appeal for an increased budgetary allocation is to this other department which takes care of defendants who would need legal representation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Hon Member, I would plead that you proceed with your contribution without reference to this issue. I do not think we need to --
Mr Agyen 2:50 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Otherwise, I was going to reply.
Mr Speaker, last year, the allocation to the Ministry of Justice and Attorney- General's Department was -- At least, more than GH¢29.7 million. This year, it is GH¢26.9 million. The reduction is so drastic that the Government should not expect the Attorney-General to perform so creditably with a reduced budget.
The mission of the Ministry shows that, it controls a whole lot of other offices. To mention a few, the Registrar-General's Department is one and the Law Reform Commission is another. It is only the Registrar-General's Department that has some sort of internally generated funds (IGFs), which are so limited, so inadequate, that they are not even able to break even to support the other organisations under the Ministry .
Mr Speaker, the personnel in the regions at the Attorney-General's Offices are so few that a few lawyers are serving the Attorney-General's Department in the regions. This makes it possible for many cases that need efficient and speedy prosecution to lag, to remain in the records of the Judiciary as cases pending because there are no lawyers to prosecute them. Some regions, Upper West, Upper East, have next to no representation at the Attorney-General's Offices.
Mr Speaker, there is this record in the Judicial Service annals, that at the Supreme Court, cases pending are about 80; at the Court of Appeal, cases pending are about 2,339; at the High Court, cases pending are about 21,501; at the Circuit Court, cases pending are about 34,788; at the District Court, cases pending are about 119,582. [Some Hon Members: Source!] From the Judicial Service records. It is there. It was distributed to all Hon Members of Parliament and you ought to know. Go and read yours.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Hon Member, address the Chair. You are the person being recorded.
Mr Agyen 2:50 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
What I am saying is that most of these cases are criminal cases and the criminal cases, particularly those which are higher than the ordinary misdemeanour and others, the indictable cases need lawyers to prosecute them. And because there are no lawyers, because there is no attraction from the Ministry of Justice for good lawyers to be there, they are not able to prosecute cases.
Mr Speaker, the amount allocated to the Ministry of Justice is so limited and so poor that there is the absolute need -- And here, I would want to advise the Hon Minister for Finance to be up and doing by making sure that he updates or grades upwards the allocation of the paltry sum of twenty- six million plus to the Attorney- General's Department.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢26,898,412 for the services of the Ministry of Justice for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Hon Members, at this juncture, I would like to direct that proceedings be suspended for one hour. It is 3.00 p.m. We will reconvene at 4.00 p.m.
Thank you.
3.00 p.m. -- Sitting suspended.
5.00 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:50 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader --
Dr Kunbuor 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item number
11.
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 2:50 p.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢51,552,918 for the services of the Audit Service for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Mr Speaker, the Audit Service is a key institution under the Constitution and various laws. It is the prime institution that is required to provide appropriate due diligence as well as investigation on the operations of Government Machinery in all its forms, whether it is a Ministry, Department or Agency, including some State-owned enterprises.
Mr Speaker, the work of the Service is seen whenever its reports are handled in particular by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of this House and also on the floor of the House. The Audit Service has been instituting several reforms aimed at improving its operations. It has chalked a lot of successes as a result of its diligence including various audit assignments by the United Nations(UN) and other bodies.
Mr Speaker, it is against this background that I move the Motion for the estimated amounts indicated for the consideration of this House.
Question proposed.
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on behalf of the Hon Chairman.
In doing so, I present the Report of your Committee.
Introduction
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year
ending 31st December, 2013 was presented to Parliament by the Minister for Finance Hon Seth Terkpeh on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 in accordance with article 179 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
Subsequently, the annual budget estimates of the Audit Service for the 2013 financial year was laid in the House on Wednesday, 20th March, 2012 by the Hon Majority Leader and Minister in charge of Government Business in Parliament, Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor in accordance with section 27 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) and section 156 (3) (4) of the Financial Administration Regulations, (L.I. 1802).
Mr Speaker thereafter referred the estimates to the Special Budget Committee for consideration and report pursuant to the Standing Orders of the House.
Deliberations
The Committee met with the Hon. Minister for Finance Mr Seth Terkpeh, the Auditor-General, Mr Richard Quartey and officials of the Audit Service and the Ministry of Finance and considered the referral.
The Committee extends its appreciation to the Hon Minister, the Auditor-General and all the officials for their inputs.
Reference documents
The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
c. The Ghana Audit Service Act, 2000, (Act 584).
d. The Audit Service Regulations,
2011 (C.I. 70).
e. The Financial Administration Regulations, (L.I. 1802).
f. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Go- vernment of Ghana for the 2013 financial year.
Mission Statement
The Audit Service exists as an independent organisation constitutionally mandated to promote good governance through its audits to ensure transparency, probity and accountability, in the utilisation of public funds by:
i. producing timely audit reports;
ii. applying modern auditing me- thods that are efficient and cost- effective; and
ii. promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public resources by all, so that value for money is realized in the delivery of goods and services.
It is expected that in undertaking these activities, the Audit Service would deliver its services competently and pro- fessionally, in accordance with inter- national auditing standards, maintain the highest standards of excellence, honesty and integrity, while creating an en- vironment for personal career develop- ment for its staff.
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 2:50 p.m.
Objectives
The Ghana Audit Service has set out the following objectives towards the realisation of its mission:
i. Improve the quality, timeliness and reliability of audit reports.
ii. Increase public access to audit reports.
iii. Promote increased accountability, probity and transparency in the use of public resources based on value for money principles.
iv. Improve the coverage of audits among public institutions.
v. Help increase the capacity of the Public and Civil Service for accountable, efficient, timely, effective performance and service delivery.
vi. Strengthen and support human resource delivery capacities.
Performance in 2012
i. For the year 2012, the Audit Service completed and presented to Parliament within the statutory time frame, the Reports on the Public Accounts of Ghana for 2011. Additionally, the Service completed audits of 2,330 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and their respective cost centres, 498 educational institutions, 149 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), 66 traditional councils, 34 direct audits, 110 review audits and half-year audit reports on the
Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana.
Outlook for 2013
In the 2013 financial year, the Ghana Audit Service will undertake a capacity building drive to enhance the skill levels of staffs of the Service to position the Service in readiness to meet with the auditing challenges that are emerging as results of new legislations and Public Sector Financial Management Reforms; increasing use of internationally recognized standards on audit and computerized and electronic auditing systems (IT).
The Service will undertake its core function of promoting good governance and accountability for the tax payer and contribute to national development through auditing and submission to Parliament the reports thereof. The Service will also continue its collaboration exercise with the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to resolve outstanding issues in the Auditor- General's Reports. These Reports will include:
ii. Annual report on the Public Accounts of Ghana.
iii. Annual report on Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
iv. Annual report on Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies and traditional councils.
v. Annual report on pre-university educational institutions.
vi. Half-year reports on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments of the Bank of Ghana.

vii.Annual report on Distr ict Assemblies Common Fund.

.

viii. Special audit reports requested

by Parliament, Office of the President, Heads of Ministries, Government Departments and other State agencies.

In addition, the Audit Service plans to include new and high risks areas in year 2013 audit activities, which would include procurement, forensic, special fund, value for money and IT audits. There is also a planned international assignment to New York and 45 Ghana Missions abroad to audit the UN Peacekeeping Account and Ghana's properties overseas respectively.

In addition, revenue management audit (taxation proceeds, grants, oil and gas exploration), performance audit on

physical infrastructure projects, public debts and loans/advances, Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme will be conducted by the Audit Service.

2013 Budgetary allocation

For the implementation of the above activities, an amount of fifty one million, five hundred and fifty-two thousand, nine hundred and nineteen cedis (GH¢51,552, 919.00) has been allocated to the Audit Service.

The allocation comprises a Government of Ghana (GoG) component of thirty-eight million and eighty-seven thousand cedis (GH¢38,087,0Q0.00) and a donor component of thirteen million, four hundred and sixty-five thousand, nine hundred and nineteen cedis GH¢13,465, 919.00). The breakdown by item of expenditure is shown in table 1.

SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE 8 - 5.00P.M.
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 2:50 p.m.
Analysis of 2013 budgetary requirement of the Audit Service and the allocation made to it as against the actual expenditure for 2012 is shown in table 2.

The above table depicts that large shortfalls were registered between the 2013 budgetary allocation and 2012 actual expenditure releases. For instance, the 2013 allocation for Goods and Services fell short of the 2012 actual releases by about 28 per cent, while that of Compensation reduced by 33 per cent. The votes for Assets appreciated marginally by 3 per cent. The total allocation for 2013 has largely been boosted by a rather large Donor allocation of GH¢13,465,918.00. This somehow distorts the true picture of the total allocation for the Audit Service.

Observations and recommendations

2013 Total budgetary allocation

Article 179 (2) (b) of the Constitution and section 45 (4) of the Audit Service Regulations, 2011 (C.I. 70) stipulate that

the administrative and development expenditure of the Audit Service should be forwarded directly to Parliament without any revision or amendment but with any recommendations that the President may make on the Estimates for consideration and approval by Parliament.

Despite the above legal provisions, the Committee noted with concern that just as in previous years, MoF revised the budgetary requirements of the Audit Service from GH¢87,145,845 to GH¢51,552,918 (59.16 per cent).

The Hon Minister for Finance informed the Committee that the budgetary requirement of the Audit Service was not done on purpose but had to be slashed down due to constraints on the national purse. This situation, he indicated, reflected in the allocations made to all

SPACE FOR TABLE 2 - PAGE

9 - 5.00P.M.

MDAs. He however, assured the Committee that measures would be put in place to ensure that the budgetary requirements especially with regard to goods and services of the Audit Service are met partly from the Contingency Vote and a supplementary budget should there be any.

The Committee recommends that a compromised solution in the form of a Pre- Budget Tripartite arrangement where representatives of the Office of the President, Audit Service and MoF meet before the budget proposals of the Service are presented to Parliament as provided under article 179 (2) (b) of the Constitution, section 45 (4) of C.I. 70, sections 27 of the Audit Service Act and 156 of the Financial Administration Regulations in subsequent years.

Compensation

For 2013, the Service has been allocated an amount of twenty-seven million cedis (GH¢27,000,000.00) for Compensation as against a budgetary requirement of GH¢67,303,703.00 and an actual Compensation vote of fifty-two million Ghana cedis (GH¢52,000,000.00) in

2012.

The Committee observed that in addition to the budgetary requirement of GH¢67,303,703, the Audit Service would require an additional amount of eleven million, one hundred and sixty-five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty- eight cedis (GH¢11,165,848.00) for payment of other allowances with respect to fuel, maintenance, clothing, among others which do not pass through the Integrated Personnel Payroll Database

(IPPD).

The Committee was of the view that even if the budgetary requirement of the Audit Service for 2013 could not be met,

an amount commensurate to actual expenditure on compensation in year 2012 should have been allocated to it. The Hon Minister assured the Committee that the shortfall in the allocation for Com- pensation of employees would definitely be catered for. He also informed the Committee that measures would be put in place to ensure that the Service's requirement for additional funds to cater for other allowances is catered for from the Reserve Fund.

Goods and Services

The Committee noted that an amount of GH¢6,040,995.00 has been allocated to the Audit Service from GoG for its activities under Goods and Services as against a budgetary requirement of GH¢10,068,325.00. The Auditor-General informed the Committee that the shortfall in the allocation would constrain the Audit Service in the delivery of its Constitutional mandate.

He stated that for instance, the Service would not be able to carry out financial audits of all the entities required under the laws of the country. This he said would result in the audit coverage lagging behind planned activities. Again, special planned audit activities in emerging and high risks areas such as procurement, forensic, special fund, value for money and IT Audits would have to be either deferred or suspended.

The Committee is of the opinion that considering the fact that activities under Goods and Services are pertinent to the core mandate of the Audit Service, it is imperative that Government provides it with adequate resources to fund it programmes and activities. A substantial slash in the budgetary requirement for goods and services will have much wider implication in the country's fight against corruption and corrupt practices.
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 2:50 p.m.
The Committee therefore, deems it important that the goods and services allocation of the Audit Service for 2013 be increased to at least, the levels of the 2012 actual expenditure of GH¢8,344,823.00 for goods and services.
The Hon Minister for Finance assured the Committee that the shortfall in the budgetary requirement for goods and services would be catered for should there be a supplementary budget.
Counterpart Funding
The Committee observed that counterpart funding for donor funded projects of the Audit Service have not been provided in the budgetary allocation. This situation indicates that the Audit Service would not be able to access the donor component of its allocation.
The Hon Minister for Finance informed the Committee that issues relating to counterpart funding would be dealt with under the Reserve Vote. Thus, the counterpart funding needs of the Audit Service would be granted as and when a request is made to MoFEP by the Audit Service.
Conclusion
The Audit Service plays a key oversight role in ensuring accountability, transparency and the promotion of good governance in the country. These are desirable virtues that are worthy of pursuit. It is, therefore, imperative that the Audit Service is adequately resourced to enable it deliver on its mandate.
In view of the above, the Committee recommends for approval, an amount of

fifty-one million, five hundred and fifty- two thousand, nine hundred and eighteen cedis (GH¢51,552,918.00) allocated to the Audit Service for the implementation of its programmes and activities for the year ending 31st December, 2013.

Respectfully submitted.
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 2:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I support this Motion and I ask all of Hon Members to also support it and vote for it.
Mr Speaker, brief comments. The Audit Service, as per the Constitution, all its activities including the money that they need for their operations are charged unto the Consolidated Fund, which means that every effort must be made to provide what they need to do their work. This is not possible because of the small envelops sometimes that the whole country has to share from.
It is also interesting that the Audit Service is not only auditing public institutions, which, not commercial. Some of the institutions that it is mandatory for Audit Service to audit are commercial in nature. They are commercial entities and therefore, the budget for auditing fees and all that. Therefore, if the Auditor-General can ask a private audit firm to go and do the audit there and they are paid the fees, there is no reason just because we cannot also get enough money for them -- the Audit Service should not also earn money from those commercial corporate bodies?
It is only reasonable because we do not provide them as per the Constitution. It is ostrich like if we ask other people who are private auditors to be paid fees and incidentally, it is the Auditor-General that appoints these people to do the auditing in these entities. I therefore, think that the legal opinion given by your
predecessor Ministry must be reviewed because until we are able to provide sufficient funds for the Auditor-General, we must allow them to generate some money. There is no reason when they ask somebody else to do the job, they can be paid but the Auditor-General himself does not even get the commission from those he authorises to do so.
I, therefore, think that this House must again look at the Audit Service. The law is there and I believe that this House will do itself good if we review the Audit Service Law to also allow them some internally generated funds (IGFs) through this kind of charges. If we do so, they will be able to do an efficient job. Indeed, they save a lot of money by the auditing they do. People are afraid of the Auditor-General and so, therefore, the corruption is reduced.
We must invest in it, so that a penny saved is a penny earned; or is it a pesewa saved is a pesewa earned?
In this respect, I urge all of Hon Members to support this Motion and let us approve the meagre amount that we have given but look at policy direction changes, so that we will do the right thing.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Auditor-General and the Audit Service perform a very, very important public duty -- very very, important, extremely important. They are probably the custodians of our probity and accountability rules and regulations. Whether we are spending within our limit or we are spending outside our limit, they are the custodians.
That is why in some other places, they want the Auditor-General to be part and parcel not of the Executive machinery but
of Parliament as an oversight res- ponsibility, so that they report directly - - one of the offices that should directly come under Parliament because of its oversight and critical functions.
Mr Speaker, just like the Public Service, their budget should be examined and approved in a particular way and we found out that most of the institutions, budgets are supposed to go that way, for a reason -- I do not know if they are called “transition blues” or something -- They all escaped that scrutiny. What do I mean by that?
Their budgets are supposed to go to the Office of the President, be referred to Parliament with a letter telling us how maybe, their budgets were cut or something. This year, that escaped us. So, I hope that the Ministry of Finance and the Committee in working out future things, will do the appropriate thing as per the Constitution.
For some funny reason, Mr Speaker, we find it difficult to implement the constitutional dictates and I think it should inform all of us when we get the chance to examine the constitutional review process when it comes up.
If we cut especially the service component of the budget of the Auditor- General, it is a key thing that -- Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend, the Minister for Finance is smiling -- And he knows that it is the key thing and it is like we are undermining that office.
No matter how we couch it, if the Auditor-General has constitutional obligations to Parliament and the people of Ghana and he needs a sum of money under “Goods and Services” and we cut that one to the bone -- I know it has already reached the bone, but if we now
decide to suck out the marrow out of even the bone that is left, then we are seriously hampering the work of the Auditor- General.
But I hope and pray that as we go along, the Hon Minister for Finance would find a way such that these things would not play on the floor of the House. He should find a way of engaging, together with the Presidency, these special bodies, so that the right thing is seen to be done, so that the Auditor-General can perform his functions as he should.
Mr Speaker, as a Committee, we took the chance to ask them about the functions of the Auditor-General, as stipulated in the Constitution. If they are going to ask for more funds, they must be seen to be fulfilling their obligations for the sum of moneys that have already been appropriated to them. So, I was very, very happy when I saw all these Reports that are going to be laid by the Hon Leader of the House on the Order Paper today.
We should support the Audit Service to make Ghana more transparent and accountable.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Alhaji Ibrahim D. Abubakari (NDC -- Salaga South) 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would not take much of your time. I would want to add a few things.
I support the statement made by my senior Colleague, Hon Yieleh Chireh, that if the Auditor-General can contract some of his functions to a private firm and that private firm can earn some money, why can the Auditor-General himself not do that thing for the money, or at least, ask the private firm to pay some commission to the Auditor-General?
When this is done, at least, it can generate some IGFs that would help the Auditor-General to do his work.
That is all I wanted to say and I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP -- Bekwai) 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that when either the Constitution or this House passes a legislation, requiring the Government to do something, this House should make sure that the law is followed. Mr Speaker, if we have passed a legislation charging the Government not to reduce the budgetary requirements of the Auditor-General, it does not lie in the mouth of the Minister for Finance to say, “I do not have enough in the kitty”.
We knew that there would always not be enough in the kitty, but we insisted that some institutions, some organisa- tions, for whatever reason, should be given priority.
Mr Speaker, I think, probably, this debate should be halted for you to determine whether in the face of the law, the Minister for Finance has the power to say that we do not have enough resources and for that reason, he cannot give them what the law says should be given to them. The Minister for Finance says we do not have enough. Did we not consider this before we put these things in the law?
Mr Speaker, I think we should not permit these blatant breaches of the law to pass. By and large, we are observing that when we give ceilings, we exceed without coming back to the House. When we pass laws, we overlook them and give reasons -- explanations. As a country, we seem to do better in explaining why we cannot follow the law than why we should make effort to follow the law.
Mr Speaker, I think this is one matter on which we should suspend the debate and determine by your goodself whether indeed, it is appropriate for the Minister for Finance to disregard the law and reduce the budget of the Auditor-General.
Mr Speaker, that is my contribution and I thank you very much.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate.
But I would like to comment that looking at page 8 of the Report, there is a recommendation before paragraph 9.2. I think it is useful that we look at the recommendation there and try to take steps to put that tripartite committee in place, while we also look at the possibility of policy changes to make sure that the Auditor-General's Department can make some money from auditing corporate bodies which are always prepared to pay.
On that note, I will put the Question unless --
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, you can put the Question. But the statement that the President has disregarded the Constitution --Mr Speaker, the Report itself at page 8 indicates that, the Hon Minister informed the Committee that all attempts should be made particularly from the contingency vote -- money should be made available from that vote to the Audit Service.
So, it is not a matter that the President has disregarded the Constitution but arrangements, sufficient enough, have been made for this outfit to get its money.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢51,552,918 for the services of the Audit Service for the year ending 31st December,
2013.
Mr Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if we can go back to item 4(d) for the Paper to be laid.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
Do you mean (d) for Daniel?
Mr Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker; (d) for Daniel.
MrFirst DeputySpeaker 5:10 p.m.
All right. Can we take it then?
Hon Chairman of the Committee --
PAPERS 5:10 p.m.

Mr Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would want to take item 12, but -- Mr Speaker, I would like to ask permission for the Hon Minister for Finance to move the Motion numbered
12.
MrFirst Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip? The Hon Deputy Majority Leader has asked for permission for the Hon Minister for Finance to move the Motion with regard to Parliamentary Service estimates in the absence of the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Daniel Botwe 5:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we agree. The Hon Minister for Finance can do that.
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 5:20 p.m.

Majority Leader) 5:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢109,293,102.00 for the services of Parliament for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Prof G. Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 5:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as usual, I rise to support the Motion and to present the Report on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee:
Introduction
The Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2013 to Parliament on Tuesday, 5th March, 2013 in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
Subsequently, the 2013 budget estimates of the Parliament of Ghana were laid in the House by the Hon Majority Leader and Minister in charge of Government Business in Parliament, Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbour in

accordance with articles 178 (1) (a) and 179 (2) (b) of the 1992 Constitution; section 15 of the Parliamentary Service Act, 1993 (Act 460) and section 15(a) of the Parliamentary Service (Amendment) Act, 2008 (Act 763).

Pursuant to Order 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Rt Hon Speaker referred the draft annual budget estimates of Parliament to the Special Budget Committee for consideration and report.

The Committee met with the Clerk to Parliament and officials of the Parliamentary Service and discussed the budget estimates of Parliament.

The Committee wishes to express its gratitude to the Clerk and his officials who acknowledged its invitation and attended upon it.

Reference documents

The Committee made reference to the following documents during its delibera- tions:

The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

The Budget Statement and Eco- nomic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2012 Financial Year

The mandate of Parliament

The Parliament of Ghana is mandated to exercise legislative, deliberative, financial, regulatory and oversight functions in accordance with articles 93(2) and 104 of the Constitution. Parliament is obligated to discharge its mandate effectively in furtherance of democracy, good governance and sound socio- economic development. In fulfilment of the above mandate, Parliament plays pivotal role in:

enacting the required legislations that provide the legal basis for accelerated wealth creation through private sector-led investments, within the framework guaranteed social protection of the vulnerable and exclude;

streamlining the exercise of power in furtherance of good democratic governance of the country; and

exercising oversight for the effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the medium-term development plans.

The medium-term strategic plan of Parliament (2012-2016)

The medium-term strategic plan of Parliament (2012-2016) is focused on building the capacity of Members of Parliament and the staff of the Parliamentary Service to be responsive to the internal and external service delivery responsibilities, towards the consoli- dation of Ghana's democratic develop- ment.

Five (5) strategic goals are being pursued under the plan for improved service delivery, accountability and responsiveness to citizens. They are as follows:

Strengthen the capacity of Members of Parliament (MPs) to effectively perform Parliament's legislative function.

Ensure Parliament's representa- tional function is made more relevant to the needs of the public.

Improve the ability of Parliament to exercise effective oversight over the Executive arm of Government.

Improve effectiveness and effi- ciency in the delivery of services through institutional strengthening.

Ensure that Parliament has adequate logistical support, physical and ICT infrastructure to sustain excellence in service delivery.

Performance in 2012

Despite the fact that, the year 2012 was an election year and Hon Members mainly focused on their re-election campaign, several achievements were recorded, some of which are mentioned as follows:

Parliamentary Business

A total of 369 Papers/Bills were presented to the House and 216 were processed and passed representing 58.5 per cent. These included, Bills, Legislative (L.l.s) and Constitutional Instruments (C.l.s) including the C.I. for the creation of 45 new constituencies (C.I. 78); Reports of Committees of the House, Loans and other Financial Agreements and tax waivers. 153 others were put on hold pending the submission of better and further particulars.

A Parliamentary oversight

For the year under review, Parliament continued to exercise its constitutional mandate of effective oversight over the use of state resources. In line with the aforementioned, several committees of the House reviewed the programmes and activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); and; paid monitoring visits to the projects and institutions under their ambit.

In accordance with article 187 of the Constitution, the Public Accounts Committee, for instance, held public sittings in Accra, Takoradi, Tamale, among others to consider the Reports of the Auditor-General and made a number of recommendations to Parliament.
Prof G. Y. Gyan-Baffour (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) 5:20 p.m.
Extraordinary programmes
Several programmes such as the State of the Nation Address, the emergency swearing-in ceremony of Vice President John Dramani Mahama to the Presidency after the passing on of President John Evans Atta Mills and the dissolution of Parliament were successfully hosted by Parliament in 2012.
Parliamentary outreach programme
In the course of the year, the Public Affairs Department held two Leadership Forums in the Greater Accra and Volta Regions to offer a platform for the Leadership of the House to air their views on proceedings and all matters concerning Parliament and the country at large. Five community engagement programmes were also conducted in the Dangbe East, Yilo
Krobo and Mfantsiman East and West Districts of the Eastern and Central Regions respectively. These were efforts aimed at bringing Parliament closer to the people.
Job 600 Conversion Project
Finally, work continued on the Job 600 conversion project and the e-Government project to upgrade the ICT infrastructure in the Chamber to improve business on the floor of the House.
Review of 2012 allocations
Breakdown of allocations for 2012
In the year under review, GH¢48,006,292.00 was allocated to Parliament. All the allocations were released, albeit sometimes late for the smooth running of work in the House. The breakdown is shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1 indicates that Parliament overspent its 2012 Compensation Votes by over 247 per cent, principally emanating from extra expenditure incurred as a result of the various emergency recalls of Parliament to deal with the Constitutional Instrument for the creation of 45 new constituencies (C.I 78) and other

important legislations. On the other hand, 87 per cent of the Assets Votes got retired to chest due to non-utilisation. Outlook for 2013

In 2013 Parliament, will continue to carry out its legislative and oversight responsibilities. In addition, some programmes and activities will include:

SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE

6 - 5.20 P.M.

a. The establishment of a fiscal analysis office

Complete the establishment of a Fiscal Analysis Office (FAO) to provide in-house capacity on fiscal, financial and budget analysis to enhance the performance of its legislative, representation and oversight functions. In addition, the World Bank's assistance to Parliament under the e-Government project to upgrade the ICT infrastructure to improve parliamentary business will be completed this year.

b. Reconfiguration of the existing Chamber

Expansion and reconfiguration of the existing Chamber to adequately accommodate the expanded membership of the House will be undertaken, while feasibility studies for the construction of a new Chamber will be commenced this year.

c. Completion of the Job 600 Offices Conversion Project

In the same vein, the completion of the Job 600 Offices Conversion Project will be earnestly pursued to provide Hon Members with the much-needed offices which will facilitate their work.

d. Establishment of MPs' Constituency Offices

The establishment of MPs' consti- tuency offices which was initiated by the Presidency in 2012 is expected to commence this year. Parliament is expected to assume full responsibility for the project to ensure proper co-ordination. The project forms part of the overall effort to bring Parliament closer to the citizenry.

e. Live Broadcast of Parliamentary Sitting and Proceedings

In the bid to bring Parliament closer to the electorate, a proposal for the establishment of a television channel solely for the live broadcast of Parliamentary Sittings and proceedings is awaiting Board's approval. The project is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

Budgetary allocation and source of funding for 2013

An amount of one hundred and nine million, two hundred and ninety-three thousand, one hundred and two Ghana cedis (GH¢109,293,102.00) has been allocated to Parliament for the implementation of its programmes and activities for the 2013 financial year. Out of this amount, GH¢47,369,491.00 is GoG, GH¢20,000,000.00 is from the SIP Funds, while GH¢41,923,611.00 is Donor funds.
rose
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, last year, I remember in this House --
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
Is this a point of order?
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. My point of order concerns these estimates.
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
No! Hon Member, can you allow the Hon Member to present his Report. After that if you have any --
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
With your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I will do that.
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
If we do not do that, the Motion will not be before the House for you to raise any points of order.
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Prof. Gyan-Baffour 5:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee recommends Members and staff of Parliament to wear distinct forms of identification to promote security in the precincts of Parliament.
Inadequate and insecure parking facilities
The Committee decried the parking situation in the House which has worsened with the increase in the numbers of MPs and urged the Clerk to consider the construction of a multi-storied parking
facility in the vicinity of Parliament to ease the situation.
State of the Lobbies of the Chamber Block
The Committee raised concerns with regard to the dilapidated state of the lobbies, particularly the broken and mismatched furniture in the first floor lobbies, the foyer and the rotunda on the ground floor of the Chamber Block. According to Members, the current state does not befit the status of this august House. The Clerk was tasked to do something about it.
However, the Clerk indicated that the procurement of furniture for the lobbies was a long-standing item on the agenda of the former Parliamentary Service Board, but for several reasons, action could not be taken on it. He was of the conviction that, this new Board will prioritise action on the proposal and grant approval for the procurement process to commence.
Conclusion
The country continues to demonstrate commitment to the maintenance, deepen- ing and consolidation of democracy and good governance in order to ensure sustainable growth and development. It is, therefore, imperative that Parliament be adequately resourced to enable it discharge its obligations effectively and efficiently in order to meet the needs of the citizenry. Parliament on its part will ensure that all resource inflows are judiciously utilised for the fulfilment of it objectives.
After a careful consideration of the estimates, the Special Budget Committee recommends to the House to approve the sum of one hundred and nine million, two
hundred and ninety-three thousand and one hundred and two Ghana cedis (GH¢l09,293,102.00) for Parliament to implement its programmes and activities for the 2013 financial year.
Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Now, Hon Member, is it a point of order? Let us hear you.
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, it is on a point of order.
Last year, before we rose for the elections, we passed in this House a loan arrangement for the construction of MPs constituency offices. Mr Speaker, I think it was roughly around US$16 million. Mr Speaker, we have here an amount of GH¢10 million cedis for the same purpose. Mr Speaker, I would want the Minister for Finance to reconcile the two amounts, whether this is an additional amount or this one is for some other expenses.
Mr Agbesi 5:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know whether my Hon Colleague is raising a point of order or he is making his contribution. Is it a point of order or a contribution?
Mr Speaker, when the Report was being presented, he got up and you advised him that the Report should be presented first. So, he should please, let us know whether this is a point of order or it is his contribution.
Mr Owusu-Bio 5:20 p.m.
It is a point of order on these same estimates because the figures do not add up, especially on the fact of the constituency offices. My attention has even been drawn to the fact that US$50 million was what was approved by this House.
Mr Speaker 5:20 p.m.
Hon Member, I do not consider this as a proper point of order. In the course of the debate, if you have the opportunity, you can raise the issue and we will look at it --
Dr Kunbuor 5:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when matters concern Parliament, we need to look at them a bit more closely. The so- called loan facility that was supposed to have been approved for the constituency offices, we should have followed up to find out the extent to which it had been realised. But for how many constituencies was it approved for? How many constituencies do we have now? [Interruptions.]
Wait! So, I am saying that, these are matters of details of implementation that are before the House Committee as of now and I am saying that, any appropriation that we have seen that is coming to Parliament should be handled within the context of previous appropriations and loan facilities that had been taken. And I am not sure it is in the interest of this august House to begin to open up these matters that are before the House Committee.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 5:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that is currently before us with regard to the budget of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we state again and again -- and again -- I know we have been saying it almost every year in and year out but we continue to be confronted with the challenge.
I am happy the Minister for Finance is here and I pray that the trend where Parliament is treated like any Ministries, Municipalities, Districts and Agencies (MMDAs) will change.
Mr Speaker, when Parliament is treated like any MMDA, you will get almost every expenditure from Parliament that has to go through the same bureaucracy as the
other MMDAs do and it causes excessive delay in the disbursement of resources to Parliament.
Mr Speaker, if Parliament is an arm of Government, we expect to be treated like the Judicial Service where they have their own treasury. I am informed that currently, we have been allocated a treasury number but it is left with its full implementation, where resources that are supposed to come to Parliament are put into that treasury, managed by that treasury, so that we do not have the kind of challenges that sometimes confront the running of this House.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we also try to find out what happens in other jurisdictions.
Mr Speaker, it is sad to say that issues that concern Members of Parliament, when they run through the mill like any other mill, we end up having some of it moving into the public and them creates the unnecessarily sensationalism when all of us know that they are not extraordinary issues that we are talking of, but they are coined and turned upside down and that puts this House in a very bad light.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we learn how it is done in other jurisdictions.
Mr Speaker, just in Kenya, it is not only the treasury for Parliament but they have treasury for Members of Parliament, so that resources that are supposed to target Members of Parliament do not go into the general pool where sometimes you get it being vired and it creates all the other associated problems that go with viring.
Mr Speaker, I am saying this in the light of what the Ministry of Finance has decided to do. If you look at page 7, paragraph (7d) of the Committee's Report, where they are talking about esta-
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 5:30 p.m.
blishment of MPs' constituency office and the allocation that has been put into the asset of Parliament's general resource allocation.
Mr Speaker, if you also look at paragraph 9.1 on page 9 where talks about the MPs' Development Fund, which we used to call HIPC Fund and now, Social Intervention Projects (SIP)-- If these resources are added to Parliament's resources as a global figure, the challenge that we are going to have, if we are treated like an MMDA, is that, this will be released on quarterly basis, and once it is released on quarterly basis, we are left at the mercy of the Administrator to determine where to put it.
There are 275 of us; we identify the projects that we want to make intervention in our various constituencies and it could be just tomorrow. If they treat us as MMDA and they release these monies on quarterly basis, who is going to receive the first, second, third or fourth tranche?
What they are going to do, if we are not careful to ring-fence these resources, so that while Members of Parliament apply like they used to do with the Ministry of Finance, it is treated en-block, we are going to begin having challenges in managing this House.
This is because when they bring the money, what they have, can only take care of 50 MPs. What criteria are they going to use to identify the first 50, and then the second, third and probably, the fourth, fifth and sixth groups? We need to begin thinking about it before we get there, other than that we are going to put ourselves in a situation that will be too difficult to manage these resources. It will go with a lot of suspicion; it will go with a lot of

other issues that may not be very good for the image of this House.

I would say, it is one of the best things that can happen to us, if we can manage them here. I would want to urge that a separate account should be developed for this particular resources, so that it does not become what normally comes into the general pool where it is vired for other activities only for us to begin sourcing and it will not be available.

Mr Speaker, I have to say -- and it has been repeated severally -- there cannot be democracy without Parliament. That is so because the only thing that makes democracy a democracy is the legislative arm.

Mr Speaker, in the worst form of military dictatorship, you still have resemblance of the executives. So, it is with the Judiciary, even if it is the tribunal. But the only thing that we lack is the legislative arm. Mr Speaker, when we want to strengthen our democracy, the focal point should be strengthening Parliament.
Mr Agbesi 5:30 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague has used the words “even if it is the tribunal” [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, our 1992 Constitution recognises tribunals-- regional, district tribunals and they are part of our laws. So the words “ even if” are derogatory and I urge my Hon Colleague to withdraw those words -- [Laughter.]
Alhaji Muntaka 5:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not only withdraw that, but even apologise to him because I learnt that he has been a chairman of tribunal before -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, what I mean is that even if it is a martial court where it --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Member, do not tread into dangerous waters. Please, stay out of that area. Do not say “even if it is a martial court”.
Alhaji Muntaka 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I take your clue.
Mr Speaker, regardless of whichever form of judicial system that you may have under a dictatorship, you will still have some resemblance of a Judiciary.
But what is lacking is the legislative arm and for a long period, because of the intermittent interventions by military—
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Member, begin to wind up.
Alhaji Muntaka 5:40 p.m.
Due to the intermittent interventions by military powers, we will always lack Parliament. But we are privileged to have for the past twenty years, a very smooth practice of legislative administration and we have had a very strong Parliament. And now, one of our own is the Speaker and one of our own is the President.
Mr Speaker, I believe the time to strengthen Parliament is now. And to strengthen Parliament, it can only be through its budget and the allocations that are done to budgets. I would want to urge that as we forge ahead -- it may be too late now to do so many things but when the opportunity comes for supplementary budgets and subsequent budgets, let us pay attention to strategically strengthen this particular arm of Government, to strengthen our
democracy, so that we continue to be the enviable democracy that the whole of Africa continue to look up to.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Before I call on the next Hon Member, I would like to direct that with regard to the Loan Agreement mentioned by an Hon Member earlier, the Office of the Clerk follows it up. We want to refer to the Hansard that captured it and then for the Office to follow up to see the state of affairs to assist us in arriving at some conclusions.
Dr Prempeh 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it was a brilliant ruling because that loan was secured through Fidelity Bank, that is GH¢50 million and the contract for the execution of the 230 houses, is waiting final signature. I just spoke to the contractors while —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Member, I have ruled on the matter.
Let us move on.
Dr Prempeh 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, yes. The reason we think it is going to affect the estimates is that, it is embedded in the Report. The Report says at page 8: “Table 2 depicts that the vote for assets is more than 45 per cent of the total 2013 allocation. This is as a result of the inclusion of certain one-off allocations for Hon MPs constituencies offices, for the completion of the Job 600 project, and the construction and rehabilitation of some residential accommodation for the Leadership of the House, among other projects”.
You would find that for the completion, the money has been accounted for, even though it was previously under Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. So, all these loans should be brought to the House, so that as my Hon Majority
Alhaji Muntaka 5:40 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague is misleading this House. It is true that some proposal was brought but it was never approved by this House for furnishing. No! This House never approved a loan for furnishing of Job 600. No! It never did anything for furnishing.
Dr A. A. Osei 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know if Hon Muntaka was a member of the Parliamentary Service Board of last year. The document came to the Finance Committee of last year. The Finance Committee completed its work, then Parliamentary Service Board, unknowing to Finance Committee decided not to pursue the matter because of a certain issue that they had. So, we are wondering why this matter has not been brought back.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Members, that is why I have directed that the Office of the Clerk should follow up on this matter and give us a feedback.
But whatever it is, let us make some progress because time is running out.
Dr Prempeh 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, another thing that I found with the budget of Parliament and I think they should have put in place a structure to avoid it is that, the committees of the House, more importantly, are allocated sums of money to enable them work.
I was a member of the Health Committee and my Hon Chairman is the Majority Chief Whip. Every time we sent a request for a release to enable the Committee embark on its oversight responsibility, we were told repeatedly, there was no money. Four years, we were told repeatedly, there was no money.
The Leadership of the House should envisage a system where the votes for the various committees are held by the Leadership, so that after moneys have been approved for, say, Committee on Trade and Industry-- and if he is going to request for money to go and do the job and we are told that there is no money, this Committee will never function.
Mr Chireh 5:40 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, my good Friend was making a point but he ended up saying Leadership. So, I would want him to clarify
it. Is he talking about committee leadership or the Leadership of the House?
Dr Prempeh 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is very, very important. It is not Leadership of the House. Committees are responsible to the House and for that matter, the Speaker. If we are going to allow a committee which is doing its oversight work to go to the Hon Majority Leader, not as Leader of the House, but as Majority Leader, before he refers it to the Speaker, it truncates the work of the House very, very badly.
Our experience of last four years has not been very good for us. So, a system must be fashioned where the works of committees are done such that they are not hampered and oversight is duly exercised. Mr Speaker, that is why I said that the clarification that he sought was very, very important. When this is done, Parliament can then go and ask for more money from the Consolidated Fund —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Member, begin to wind up.
Dr Prempeh 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was winding up--
Parliament to begin to go and find — I would like my — You have given a ruling, but I will tell this whole House that the Chinese grant of RMB50 million was for the furnishing of Job 600. We will still look for that money wherever it is. A Chinese grant of RMB 50 million in this House was for furnishing--
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
Hon Members, in the absence of any further — All right, can you sum up.
Dr Kunbuor 5:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me use this opportunity to thank all Hon Members for the interest that their own
estimates had generated. But we normally say that the one who is eating something should not have space to talk. So, I was surprised that we still had enough space to talk but most seriously, I guess that beyond the Committee's Report and these estimates, the House has to use its various institutions and mechanisms to begin to address a number of the issues that concern Hon Members of Parliament.
I was particularly taken aback when the two levels of leadership at the Committee and Leadership proper levels seem not to be synchronizing their ideas on how they operationalise the committees' allowances. Of course, it is just a question of communication.
If the committees work in isolation of Leadership, one is likely to run into that difficulty. But where there is communi- cation between the two, I do not think any member of Leadership will consciously want to frustrate or strangulate the committees financially. And I do not believe that this will happen, if it has ever happened at all.
Thank you very much.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
All right.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the debate--
rose
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
Order! Order!
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved:
That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢109,293,102 for the services of Parliament for the year ending 31st December, 2013.
Dr Kunbuor 5:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence for the Eighth Report of the Appointments Committee, item 4(c) to be laid.
PAPERS 5:50 p.m.

Dr Kunbuor 5:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we were expecting some two more Reports but we have been informed that they would be
ready tomorrow. We were also hoping that we would have some correspondence to enable us handle the issue on the Judiciary that the Second Deputy Speaker deferred the last time. But we have agreed that we would take up those matters first thing tomorrow morning. So, Mr Speaker the House is in your hands now.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
Hon Members, the House is accordingly adjourned till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
ADJOURNMENT 5:50 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 5.53 p.m. till 26th March, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.