Assin Praso Bridge and other related works. The road will be a two-way, two- lane single carriages with mechanically stabilised crush rock base and asphaltic concrete wearing course. The project also provides for two climbing lanes for slow moving trucks at the mountainous sections. As part of the project, a total of 127 culverts will also be replaced.
The project is divided into four phases based on time period for disbursement of specific amounts. The first phase of the project which involves mobilisation and execution of certain works has been completed and the second phase is about 10.6 per cent completed. The project is expected to be completed in December,
5.0 Required waiver
To ensure the execution of the project, there was the need to exempt the contractor from customs duties, internal taxes and other fiscal levies with respect to the supply of products and services and equipment necessary for the work in accordance with the provisions in article 10 (1) of the Grant Agreement and 8.3 of the contract Agreement. The amount of waiver required amounted to US$7,413, 611.00 or cedi equivalent.
Importance of the tax waiver
The Committee was informed that the N8 trunk route plays an important role in economic activities in Ghana. It is the main link for the Accra, Kumasi and Western economic blocs of the country, which is considered to be the golden triangle of Ghana's economy. It is also a major link between major production areas and the country's ports in Takoradi and Tema.
However, the poor state of the road is adversely affecting economic activities. The Committee noted that, the Assin Praso - Asante Bekwai section of the N8 road is worse affected. The proposed rehabilitation work on this part of the road therefore, is important to promote transportation of goods and farm products from production areas to the ports and other parts of the country.
Approval of the tax waiver
The Committee observed that the Ghana Revenue Authority, upon thorough assessment, granted an interim waiver on the assessed customs duties, VAT/NHIL, EDIF, ECOWAS levy, destina- tion inspec-tion fees, withholding tax liabilities, taxes and other levies amounting to US$7,413,611.00 on materials, equipment and services relating to the execution of the project.
The Committee, having carefully examined the referral, recommends to the House to adopt its Report and approve by Resolution, the request for waiver of customs duties, VAT/NHIL, EDIF, ECOWAS levies, destination inspection fees, withholding taxes, other taxes and levies amounting to seven million, four hundred and thirteen thousand, six hundred and eleven United States dollars (US$7,413,611.00) on goods and services relating to the execution of the Grant Agreement between the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the rehabilitation of the National Trunk Road N8 in accordance with article 174 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
Ranking Member of the Committee (Dr Anthony A. Osei): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the floor.
Mr Speaker, this request for waiver is not very controversial. The amount involved is not small, it is quite big. One of the things that we as a House have not done is that -- As you are well aware, grants do not have to come to Parliament for approval; very often we do not know much about them until the waiver comes.
I would want to urge that we adopt a policy where the Hon Minister can, at least, inform the House when they receive a grant, so that before the waiver comes, we are fully informed of the activities.
The contractor has done some work; he is in the second phase, and we are being asked to approve a waiver, so that he or she can continue. But it is known ahead of time that this letter would come. So, in the future, if the House can advise the Hon Ministers concerned to notify us that it would be coming, so that we know when the grant has come.
Otherwise, it is not very controversial and I urge all Hon Members to adopt the Motion to grant the request for the waiver in the amount here stated in the Report.
I thank you.