Debates of 18 Jun 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:15 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:15 a.m.

  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 17th June, 2014.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 13th June, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have a number of Questions standing in the names of Hon Members, and we would start with Question number 86.
    Yes?
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for the Interior is out of the country, and I would like to ask permission for the Deputy to answer the Questions.
    Deputy Minority Chief Whip -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I think we have no difficulty accepting that.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:15 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR 10:15 a.m.

    PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 4:18 p.m.

    OFFICIAL REPORT 4:18 p.m.

    CONTENTS 4:18 p.m.

    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS -- 4:18 p.m.

    PAPERS -- 4:18 p.m.

    SECOND READING OF BILLS -- 4:18 p.m.

    CONSIDERATION STAGE OF BILLS -- 4:18 p.m.

    THE 4:18 p.m.

    PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC 4:18 p.m.

    OF GHANA 4:18 p.m.

    MR SPEAKER
    PRAYERS 10:15 a.m.

    VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:15 a.m.

  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 17th June, 2014.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 13th June, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have a number of Questions standing in the names of Hon Members, and we would start with Question number 86.
    Yes?
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for the Interior is out of the country, and I would like to ask permission for the Deputy to answer the Questions.
    Deputy Minority Chief Whip -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I think we have no difficulty accepting that.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:15 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR 10:15 a.m.

    Mr Yeboah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, in the year 2011, the same Question was asked in the Chamber. The then Minister told us that, the Ministry had ordered 100 fire tenders, and that when the tenders arrived, Afigya-Sekyere East Constituency would be given one.
    I would want to know, is it the same tender that the Hon Minister in 2011 told us about which is still in the pipeline. talking about. Is that the one?
    Mr Agalga 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    As I said earlier in my response, there is the need to upgrade the fire post at Afigya-Sekyere to a fire station to make it possible for a fire tender to be allocated to the fire station.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to stress that fire tenders are very expensive, so, when they are assigned to a fire post such as we have in Afigya-Sekyere, it is exposed to the vagaries of the weather, and you can easily lose it. So, we are making efforts to have accommodation allocated for that fire post to be upgraded to a fire station, then the fire tender can be allocated.
    Mr Speaker, it is also important to state that, the tenders that were mentioned in 2011 are in a package. As we speak, 80 new tenders are being delivered. So far, close to 20 tenders have been delivered, and very soon the entire package would be delivered to enable us allocate one to his constituency.
    Thank you.
    Mr Yeboah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Deputy Minister, in 2011, when the Minister told us that the Ministry had ordered 100 fire tenders, and when they arrived, one would be given to us, did the Ministry not know that the Agona fire station was not suitable for a fire tender. Did he not know that?
    Mr Agalga 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry knew, but due to certain constraints, we rely on the Local Government Authorities to provide us with accommodation, and so we anticipated that the District Assembly would have made available to us adequate accommodation to house our personnel and equipment. Unfortunately, that did not happen, therefore that accounted for the postponement for the delivery of the fire tender.
    What is important is that, efforts are being made. We have been assured by the District Chief Executive that they are making frantic efforts to make
    accommodation available to us, so that we can upgrade the fire post into a fire station. Then the fire tender can be delivered.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Yes?
    Your last supplementary question.
    Mr Yeboah 10:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Hon Minister, are you sure the feasibility studies were conducted at the Afigya-Sekyere fire station, saying that there are only two fire officers there? I personally know that they are more than two. So, are you sure; are you reliable of your source?
    Mr Agalga 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have our men on the ground and we have been told that they have only two rooms which have been partitioned into an office and a bay. That is the information available to us and that information is reliable, Mr Speaker.
    Mr B. Awuah 10:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister in the Answer said that, the facility at Afigya-Sekyere East is a fire post and needs to be upgraded to a fire station. I would want to know from him, if he says say a facility is a fire post, what are the requirements that may have to be added so that it becomes a fire station?
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister.
    Mr Agalga 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in order for a fire post to be upgraded into a fire station, accommodation is key. This is because, if you have a fully-fledged fire station, that facility cannot be manned by only two personnel. So Accommodation is the first
    Mr Agalga 10:25 a.m.


    key requirement and that is why we said that in order to deliver the fire tender, the fire post at Afigya-Sekyere ought to be upgraded into a fire station.

    Mr Speaker, the problem with the fire post is that, they cannot house certain equipment like fire tenders.
    Mr Domonic B. A. Nitiwul 10:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I am sensing that the Hon Deputy Minister is saying that, for a tender to be allocated to a particular place, the fire post must be upgraded to a fire station or you must have a fire station in that place. What I would want to find out from him is, if a district or a municipality or an area decides to acquire their own fire post by putting up the structures, would the Ministry allocate a fire tender there?
    Mr Agalga 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if a locality provides their own accommodation to be considered as a fire post or station, the Ghana National Fire Service would have to inspect the facility to ensure that it meets the required standards, before a decision is taken whether to designate it as a fire post or a fire station.
    Mr Speaker, efforts are being made to provide Bimbilla with a fire tender.
    Mr Nitiwul 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank him for promising this House that Bimbilla would be provided with a fire tender and we need it next week.
    Mr Speaker, that is not what I am asking. Mr Speaker, what I am asking is that, what is the criteria for the fire station? This is because, if Bimbilla has over 300 towns and each of these towns decides to build a fire station, would the Ministry
    provide them with a fire tender? That is what I am asking; what is the criterion- is it at the district level, municipality level or by township? That is the criterion I am looking at; that anybody who just builds a fire station, the Ministry approves of it and say that it has met the standard, would the Ministry give a fire tender?
    Mr Agalga 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, a fire station is coterminous with a district while the post is coterminous with an area council, or a town which is not a district capital.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, we thank you very much for attending upon the House to respond to Questions for Hon Members.

    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we did get communication that the Hon Finance Minister is arriving this morning and we are in touch with him. We insist that we would want him to personally answer this Questions. So, I would want us to stay these Question around 11.00 a. m. to allow him to answer them personally for very good reasons, Mr Speaker.
    So we can defer that Questions standing in the name of the Hon Minister for Finance, and proceed with other business until he arrives.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, I have been informed by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance that, the Minister would want to be in the House at 11:00a.m. because he is not in the jurisdiction now. He would be arriving this morning and wants to handle the Questions personally, so we should stand them down for him, up to 11.00 a.m.
    The rules of the House allow for varying for the Order of Business and we may want to consider other businesses while we wait for him at 11.00a.m. If it is 11.00a.m and he is not here, then it is another matter for us to take. So, at this point, we would not want to take any further comments on the matter and let us defer the issue.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Yes?
    Mr Awuah 10:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, we agree with your directives, except that I looked at the Order Paper and the Answers are not there.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    I just got a copy of the Order Paper Addendum.
    Mr Awuah 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, nobody on my side has it.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    I agree entirely with you that it is not proper. The best thing is that, it should be printed with the original Order Paper; that is the standard practice of the House. Fortunately for us, since the Minister is not immediately available and it is 11.00 a.m., let them have it distributed. When it is 11.00 a. m., we can then take the matter further.
    Hon Majority Leader.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the light of that, we can take item number 5.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member, at the Commencement of Public Business-- Presentation of Papers. 5 a (i):
    PAPERS 10:25 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    5b- by the Minister for Finance.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:25 a.m.
    With Mr Speaker's indulgence, consequentially, I would ask that the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance should lay this Paper on behalf of the Finance Minister.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 10:25 a.m.
    Fair enough, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Finance.
    By the Deputy Minister for Finance (Mr Ato Forson on behalf of the Minister for Finance) --
    Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for an amount equivalent to one hundred and one million Special Drawing Rights (SDR 101,000,000 [US$156.0 million equivalent) to finance the Ghana Secondary School Education Improvement Project.
    Referred to the Finance Committee.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr B. Kunbuor 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can take item number 6.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
    MOTIONS 10:35 a.m.

    Minister for Finance) 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the
    provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date in which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the Second reading of the Customs Bill, 2014 be moved today.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion moved by the Deputy Minister for Finance.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Item number 7 on the Order paper.
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 10:35 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in addition I present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The Customs Bill was presented to Parliament and read the First time by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Tuesday, 4th March, 2014 and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Orders 169 and 125 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met with the Hon. Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr George Blankson, officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority and Attorney General's Department and deliberated on the referral.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon. Deputy Minister, the Commissioner- General and officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority and Attorney-General Department for attending upon it.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following documents at its deliberations:
    a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
    b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    c. Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Act, 1993
    (P.N.D.C.L 330)
    d. Customs House Agents (Licensing) Act, 1978 (S.M.C.D.
    188)
    e. Interpretation Act, 1960 (CA4)
    Background
    With the coming into force of the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791) which integrated the three main revenue collecting agencies as Divisions of the Authority, it has become necessary to harmonise and consolidate the adminis- trative provisions in the existing tax laws into one legislation to be known as the Revenue Administration Act and to reorganise and streamline the other residual operational and charging provisions into separate legislation.
    Currently, the provisions on customs operations are scattered in the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Manage- ment) Act, 1993 (P.N.D.C .L. 330), Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Manage- ment) (Amendment) Act, 2002 (Act 643) and the Customs House Agents (Licensing) Act, 1978 (S.M.C.D. 188) among others. Thus, this Bill seeks to provide a separate legislation in respect of customs matters.
    The enactment of the Bill will make the law more user-friendly and reduce the obstacles to compliance. This will invariably facilitate the implementation and optimisation of revenue collection.
    Purpose of the Bill
    The Bill seeks to revise and consolidate existing provisions in relation to the imposition of customs duties into one single Act to make it user- friendly and to provide for related matters.

    Divisions of the Bill

    The Customs Bill, 2014 is divided into nineteen (19) parts with one hundred and fifty-two (152) clauses.

    Clause 1 of the Bill provides for the imposition of duties and taxes on goods that are imported into the country or exported from the country.

    Exemptions from the imposition of customs duties and taxes are provided for in clause 2.

    Clause 3 mandates the Authority to conduct customs control including random checks on its own or in conjunction with cooperating foreign customs administrations based primarily on risk management.

    Clause 4 provides for the designation of customs-controlled areas by the Commissioner-General.

    Activities to be conducted in a customs-controlled area are provided for in clause 5.

    Conditions for the release of goods by the Commissioner-General are provided for in clause 6.

    Clause 7 provides for post-clearance audit by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

    Clause 8 deals with the registration of Authorised Economic Operators.

    Clause 9 places an obligation on an owner, importer, consignee, exporter, entry filer or any other person required to keep records under the Act to keep the records in its original form, which includes the electronic form, unless the Commissioner- General approves an alternative method of storage.

    Clause 10 provides for the Revenue Authority to establish a Customs Laboratory in accordance with the requirements of the World Customs Organisation.

    Clauses 11 to 14 make provision for customs information. They provide for a person who is directly or indirectly involved in the accomplishment of customs formality or in customs controls to provide the requisite documents and information to the Commissioner-General and that person is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the information and the authenticity of the documents provided.

    Clauses 15 to 30 provide for the arrival and departure of conveyance.

    Clause 15 defines a ‘master of a conveyance' as a person who is in charge of a conveyance or the agent of the Master.

    Clause 16 provides for the right of the Commissioner-General to specify a place where a conveyance which arrives in the country shall touch for purpose of mooring or unloading.

    Clause 17 provides for the master or an agent of a conveyance to make a report of the conveyance and the stores and cargo in the conveyance to the Commissioner- General within twenty-four hours after arrival from outside the country. The penalty for failure to make a report on the arrival of a conveyance is spelt out in clause 18.

    Clauses 19 to 20 stipulate the duties of a master, in relation to a conveyance, its cargo, stores, baggage, crew and passen- gers. These include the requirement to produce all books and documents in the custody or control of the master, breaking of bulk and the consequences of breaking

    bulk without knowledge and consent of the Commissioner-General.

    Clause 21 authorises the Com- missioner-General to direct at what particular part of a port or other place that a conveyance must moor or unload its cargo and a master who fails to comply with a directive of the Commissioner- General is liable to have the cargo forfeited to the State.

    Clause 22 deals with liability of goods other than cargo that is subject to forfeiture. It stipulates that goods other than cargo must not be taken out of a conveyance arriving from outside the country or delivered to a person aboard the conveyance unless the goods are for the consumption or use of the crew or passengers and the penalties and charges for a breach are spelt out in clause 23.

    Provisions are made under clause 24 for matters regarding stores of an aircraft or a ship. The clause gives discretion to a proper officer to permit the master of an aircraft or ship departing from a port in the country on a flight or voyage to a place outside the country, to take on board the conveyance stores for the use of the aircraft or ship and for the use of the master, crew and passengers. The Commissioner-General may require a master of a conveyance of stores to take appropriate steps to prevent unauthorised used of stores including sealing of the stores where necessary.

    Clause 25 deals with the departure of a conveyance from the country. A master or an agent of a conveyance which is leaving the country is required to deliver to the proper officer an entry outwards of the conveyance which must specify among other matters that goods left on board the conveyance are only goods

    required for use as stores and where necessary the master of the conveyance must obtain a certificate of rummage from the proper officer.

    Clause 26 prohibits a person from putting goods on board a conveyance for exportation or use as stores, or into a vessel to be water-borne except under specified conditions while clause 27 deals with goods for export or use as stores. It prohibits a person from putting on board an exporting ship, goods that have been put into a vessel to be water-borne to another ship for exportation or for use as stores, outside the limits of a port.

    It also authorises a proper officer on reasonable suspicion to open and examine all goods put on board a conveyance or brought to any place in the county to be put on board a conveyance for exporta- tion or for use as stores.

    Under clauses 28 and 29 an exporter is required to give security that the Commissioner-General may require before entering goods on board a conveyance for use as stores or for export or transfer. A master of a conveyance or an authorised agent is also required to immediately before of the departure of a conveyance from a port or any other place in the country, deliver to the proper office the content of the conveyance, and master or authorised agent who fails to comply with this provision is liable to pay a penalty equivalent to fifty penalty units, clause

    30.

    Clauses 31 to 42 deal with coasting trade, coasting, in clause 31, is described as trade by air or sea, from one part of the country to another part of the country. Under this clause, the Commissioner- General is given the discretion to impose conditions for the loading, unloading and movement of goods involved in coasting.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.


    user-friendly, reduce the obstacles to compliance and facilitate revenue collection at the countries entry points.

    Proposed Amendments by the Committee

    Clause 2 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) subclause (2), line 3, delete “duty” and insert “duties and taxes”.

    ii) subclause (3), delete “duty” and insert “duties and taxes”.

    Clause 4 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) subclause (1), paragraph (a) line 1, delete “and outside the customs territory” and insert “the country”.

    ii) subclause (5), line 2, before “processing” insert “type of” and delete all words after “allowed”.

    Clause 5 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) paragraph (d), after “ storage” insert “and processing”.

    ii) Insert a new subclause 2 as follows:

    “Goods that are stored in a custom controlled area with the permission of the proper officer prior to shipment are stored at the risk and expense of the exporter and are subject to rent and other charges that may be prescribed”.

    Clause 9 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (2), paragraph (a), line 1, delete “customs territory of the”.

    Clause 12 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) headnote, delete and insert “Customs Advance Ruling”.

    ii) subclause (6) (a) ( iv ), delete and insert “the production and expiration date”.

    iii) subclause (8) (a), delete “comma” after “only” and insert same after “Commissioner- General”.

    iv) subclause (11), delete and insert

    “(11) The Customs rule made by the Commissioner-General shall

    (a) be published, and

    (b) in respect of a request of an interested party, the party shall be notified not later than thirty days after the ruling is made subject to the removal of confidential information in the ruling”.

    Clause 15 -- Amendment proposed -- line 2, delete “or agent of the master”

    Clause 16 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) subclause (1) (c), line 1, delete “shall” after “place”.

    ii) Delete subclauses (6), (7) and (8)

    iii) subclause (9), line 2, after “thousand” insert “and not more than three thousand”.

    Clause 18 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) Headnote, delete and insert “Failure to make report or account for package reported”.

    ii). subclause (1) (b) delete and insert a new rendition as

    “(b) makes a report that contains false particulars”.

    iii). subclause (1), concluding paragraph, line 1, after “thousand” insert “and not more than three thousand”.

    iv).subclause (2), delete and insert the following:

    “(2) If a package reported is not-

    (a) duly unloaded, removed or deposited in custom-controlled area or any other place approved by the Commis- sioner-General, and entered and cleared from it in accordance with this Act; or

    (b) produced to the proper officer for deposit or deposited in a State warehouse in accor- dance with this Act, the master or the agent shall pay the duty on the package and in addition a penalty of three hundred per cent of the duty involved, unless the master or the agent explains to the satisfaction of the Commis- sioner-General the failure to deal with the package.

    v). subclause (3), line 1, delete “Sub- section (1) and insert “Subsection (2)”.

    Clause 19 -- Amendment proposed --

    subclause (3), line 2, after “hundred” insert “and not more than six hundred”.

    Clause 20 -- Amendment proposed --

    concluding paragraph, line 1, after “hundred” insert “and not more than one thousand five hundred”.

    Clause 21 -- Amendment proposed --

    subclause (10), line 2, after “hundred” insert “and not more than six hundred”.

    Clause 22 -- Amendment proposed --

    subclause (5), line 5, after “thousand” insert “and not more than three thousand”.

    Clause 23 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) subclause (1) (b), line 1, delete “of” and insert “for”.

    ii) subclause (3), line 4, delete all words after “than” and insert “four hundred and not more than one thousand two hundred penalty units”.

    Clause 24 -- Amendment proposed --

    subclause (3), line 2, delete “taking” and insert “taken”.

    Clause 25 -- Amendment proposed --

    insert the following new sub-clauses:

    “(5) the time when goods are exported is the time when the goods are put on board the exporting aircraft or ship.

    (6) where the goods are prohibited to be exported, the time when the goods are exported is the actual time at which the aircraft or ship departed from its final position, anchorage or berth within the country.

    (7) where the goods are exported overland or by inland waters the time of exportation is the time at which the goods pass across the boundaries of the country”.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.


    Clause 26 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3), line 4, delete “that may incur the duty” and insert “if any”

    Clause 28 -- Amendment proposed -- delete and insert the following

    “Loading of Goods other than cargo or stores

    28. (1) Despite anything to the contrary contained in this Act and subject to Regulations made under this Act, the proper officer may permit

    (a) the loading of passenger baggage; or

    (b) a person to take on board an aircraft or ship goods for sale or delivery to the passengers, officers or crew, or for any other purpose as the officer may allow, under such conditions as the officer may direct.

    (2) Goods shall be forfeited

    (a) where the goods not being part of the cargo or authorised stores of an aircraft or ship are found on an aircraft or ship which is about to proceed to a place outside the country;

    (b) where the goods remain on board an aircraft or ship from a voyage from a place outside the country; or

    (c) if an attempt is made to place the goods on board an aircraft or ship without the permission of, or contrary to any conditions directed by,

    the proper officer or otherwise contrary to this Act.”

    Clause 29 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), line 1 after “enter” insert “bonded”.

    ii). subclause (2), concluding paragraph line 3 delete the words “the total value of the goods” and insert “one hundred percentage of the value of the goods”.

    iii). subclause (3), line 1 after “where” insert “bonded

    iv). subclause (8), line 2, after “hundred” insert “and not more than six hundred”.

    v). subclause (9), delete

    19. Clause 30 -- Amendment proposed --

    i) subclause (3), concluding paragraph line 3 after “thou- sand” insert “and not more than three thousand”.

    ii)subclause (5), line 4, after “hundred” insert “and not more than three hundred”.

    iii) subclause (6), line 4, after “thousand” insert “and not more than six thousand”.

    iv).subclause (9), concluding paragraph, line 1, after “thousand” insert “and not more than six thousand”.

    Clause 31 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3) line 4 after “to” insert “hundred per cent of”

    Clause 36 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (1) , renumber (c ) and (b) as (b) and (c) respectively and

    concluding paragraph line 1, delete “eight hundred and fifty penalty units and insert “one thousand penalty units and not more than three thousand penalty units”

    Clause 37 -- Amendment proposed -- concluding paragraph line 1, delete “eight hundred and fifty penalty units” and insert “one thousand penalty units and not more than three thousand penalty units”.

    Clause 39 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3), concluding paragraph line 1 delete “ twice” and insert “two hundred per cent of

    Clause 40 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (2), line 2 after “to” insert one hundred percent of”

    Clause 43 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). sub clause (2) (a) (ii), line 1, delete “officer” and insert “one director or an employee” and in line 2, delete “house agency” and insert “business”.

    ii). sub-clause (2) (b) (ii), line 1, after “partner” insert “or an employee” and in lines 2 and 3, delete all words after “proficiency” and insert “ in customs business”.

    iii). subclause (3), line 3, after “agent” add “provided an employee of that body or institution holds a certificate of proficiency in customs business”.

    Clause 45 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3) (a) line 2, delete “steamship” and insert “conve- yance”

    Clause 46 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (5), line 1, delete “license” and insert “licence” and line 2, delete “licensee” and insert “licencee”

    ii). subclause (6), line 2, delete “license” and insert “licence”

    iii). subclause (7), line 1, delete “license” and insert “licence”

    iii) subclause (8) line 1 delete “licensee” and insert “licencee”

    Clause 47 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3) line 2, delete “licensee” and insert “licencee”

    Clause 48 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (5), delete

    Clause 51 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (2), line 3, delete “ninety- six hours” and insert “four working days”

    Clause 52 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). line 1, delete all words after “imported” and before “are” and insert “by a conveyance or inland water way or rail road”.

    ii). line 4 after “direct” insert “the importer or the agent” and in line 5 delete “aircraft or ship”.

    Clause 53 -- Amendment proposed -- Headnote, delete and insert “Deposit of goods in state warehouse”.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.


    Clause 57 -- Amendment proposed - - delete and insert the following

    “Importation of motor vehicle”

    57. The importation of a motor vehicle is as prescribed in the Schedule”

    Clause 59 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1) line 2, insert “and clear” after “enter” and delete “importation” and insert “final discharge of the ship or aircraft or in the case of motor vehicles imported overland the date on which it crossed the national borders into the country”

    ii). Subclause (3) line 2, delete all words after “includes” and insert “shall include the duty and taxes eligible on the motor vehicle.”

    Clause 62 -- Amendment proposed - - headnote, delete and insert “Application of Act 649”

    Clause 65 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause 1, line 2, delete “suspect” and insert “suspects”

    Clause 67 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (4) (e) line 1, delete “license” and insert “licence”

    ii). subclause (7), line 1, delete “may” and insert “shall”

    iii). subclause (9) (a) line 2, delete “for exported into the country” and insert for export from the country of origin”

    Clause 71 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (2) (e), line 2, delete “losses” and insert “loses”

    Clause 80 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (1) line 1, insert “a comma” after “warehouse”

    Clause 81 -- Amendment proposed - - subclause (2), line 5, delete “times” and insert “hundred percent of”

    Clause 82 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), line 3, after “hundred” insert “and not more than one thousand five hundred”

    ii). subclause (3) concluding paragraph after “hundred” insert “and not more than six hundred”

    Clause 83 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). delete subclause (1) and insert

    “(1) where goods entered to be warehoused are

    (a) Not duly warehouse;

    (b) Concealed or removed from the private bonded ware- house for the purpose of illegal mixing; or

    (c)Dealt with in any unauthorised manner, the goods are liable to forfeiture”

    ii). subclause (2) line 3, delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    iii). subclause (3) concluding para- graph line 2, delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    iv).subclause (4) line 4, delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    Clause 87 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (2) line 3, after “five” insert “and not more than fifteen”

    ii). subclause (3) line 3, after “five” insert “and not more than fifteen”

    Clause 90 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (2), concluding para- graph line 4 delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    45. Clause 91 -- Amendment proposed -- paragraph ( c), delete “re- warehouse” and insert “ex- warehouse”

    Clause 93 -- Amendment proposed --

    47. i). subclause (1) line 1, delete “maybe” and insert “may be”

    ii). subclause (2) line 1, delete all words after “is” and insert “includes the customs duty”

    iii). subclause (3) line 1, delete “duty for”

    Clause 95 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (7), lines 1 and 2, delete “necessary impose the prescribed penalty” and insert “there is a contravention of a provision of this Act, the proper officer may detain the goods”

    49. Clause 97 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (5),

    i) (a), delete “including” and insert “excluding” after “aboard”

    ii) (d) line 2, delete “accruing up to the point” and insert same before “where” in line 1 of concluding paragraph

    Clause 99 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), line 2), delete “the goods are”;

    ii). sub-clause (1) (a) line 1, before “folded” insert “the goods are”

    iii). subclause (2), line 1, delete “metres” and insert “metres and centimetres” and in line 2, delete “customs” and insert “custom”

    Clause 100 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), line 3 after “three” insert “hundred per cent of”

    ii). subclause (3) (a), delete and insert the following

    “(3) a penalty provided for in sub- sections (1) and (2), does not apply to a person who imports or holds folded woven goods.

    (a) Where the folded woven goods are shorter than indicated by the mark upon them by not more than

    (i) 10.26 centimetres in a piece marked 9.144 metres or under;

    (ii) 12.70 centimetres in a piece marked above 9.144 metres and up to 21.03 metres;

    (iii)17.78 centimetres in a piece marked 21.03 metres and up to 32.92 metres;

    (iv) 22.86 centimetres in a piece marked above 32.92 metres and up to 42.98 metres; or
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.


    (2) Where goods are forfeited, the importer or person obtaining delivery of the goods and any person who is involved in the use of the goods contrary to the conditions of the entry at a lower or zero rate shall incur a penalty equal to one hundred per cent of the duty payable on the goods.

    (3) An importer or person to whom the goods have been delivered shall produce the goods on demand to an officer or otherwise account for the goods to the satisfaction of the Commissioner-General, and if the importer fails to produce or account for the goods, the importer or that person shall incur a penalty equal to the value of the goods in addition to the duty payable”

    Clause 122 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), concluding paragraph, line 2, after “hundred” insert “and not more than seven thousand five hundred”

    ii). subclause (2) (a) line 2, delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    iii). subclause (2) (b) line 2, delete “less” and insert “more” and delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of”

    Clause 123 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (2) (a) and (b) at the end, insert “or”

    ii). subclause (2) (b) line 1, before “post” insert “registered”

    iii). subclause (2), paragraph (d) line 1, before “national” insert “a”

    iv).subclause (3), line 3, delete “thinks fit” after “Commissioner- General” and insert “considers appropriate”

    v). subclause (6), line 1, delete “and” after “seized” and insert “are not”

    vi).subclause (11), line 1, before “where” insert “despite sub- section (1) and in line 4, after “retained” insert “to abide the result of any claims in respect of the goods”

    vii).subclause (12), line 2, delete “knowingly concerned” and insert “involved”

    viii).subclause (12), line 5, delete “twice” and insert “two hundred per cent”

    Clause 124 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (7), line 1, delete “is” and insert “are”

    Clause 125 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). Head note, delete and insert “Disposal of goods”

    ii). subclause (4), line 3, delete “national newspaper” and insert “at least two state- owned daily newspapers”

    Clause 126 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (3), line 1, after “may” insert “in consultation with the Minister for Roads and Highways”

    Clause 127 -- Amendment proposed -- delete and insert the following new subclauses:

    “Shooting at a conveyance”

    127. A person who shoots at a conveyance in the service of the Authority commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty years.

    Shooting at an Officer

    128. A person who shoots at, maims, wounds or causes harm by any means to an Officer acting in the execution of the duty of the officer commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprison- ment of not more than twenty years.

    Offender going Armed

    129. (1) a person who is or has been engaged in the commission of an offence under this Act and who is armed with a firearm or other offensive weapon commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or to both.

    (2) A person who is armed with a firearm or other offensive weapon and who is found with goods liable to forfeiture under this Act commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or to both.

    Clause 128 -- Amendment proposed - - subclause (2), line 4, after “imprisonment” insert “of”

    Clause 129 -- Amendment proposed --

    i). subclause (1), line 4, delete “customs” insert “customs- controlled”

    ii). subclause (1), line 7 and 8, delete “less than the cedi equivalent of two thousand United States Dollars” and insert “more than two thousand five hundred penalty units”

    Clause 130 -- Amendment proposed - - subclause (1), line 2, before “five” and insert “not more than two thousand”

    Clause 134 -- Amendment proposed - - Headnote, delete and insert “uncustomed or prohibited goods offered for sale”

    Clause 135 -- Amendment proposed --

    i).subclause (1), concluding paragraph, line 3, delete “of the Authority” and in line 6, delete “or tax”

    ii). subclause (2) line 7, delete “times” and insert “hundred per cent of” and after “goods” add “and the conveyance shall be forfeited to the state”

    iii). subclause (4) (c), line 1, before “any” insert “with”

    iv).subclause (4) (d), delete all words before “staved” and insert “goods on board which have been”

    v). subclause (4), concluding paragraph line 5, after “hundred” insert “and not more than six hundred”

    Clause 141 -- Amendment proposed - - paragraph (b) delete “to”
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:35 a.m.


    Clause 144 -- Amendment proposed - - line 2, delete all words after “proceedings” and in line 3, delete “or a penalty”

    Clause 145 -- Amendment proposed -- subclause (1) (a), delete “concern” and insert “in relation to”.

    Clause 146 -- Amendment proposed -- line 3, delete “corroborated” and insert “conclusive”.

    Clause 147 -- Amendment proposed -- line 5, delete “it”.

    Clause 149 -- Amendment proposed
    -- 10:35 a.m.

    Mr Anthony Akoto Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 10:35 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    In moving the Motion, the Hon Deputy Minister talked about the object of the Bill. Essentially, it was to raise and consolidate existing provisions in relations to the imposition of customs duties and to provide for related -
    Mr Speaker, this is a very huge document and I think it is good that Customs is trying to streamline the various laws. They are at least as many as about ten different laws governing Customs. So it is good that they are being put under one particular document.
    Mr Speaker, you would find that, the Committee is offering lots of amendments and sometimes I wonder if the Committee is not even rewriting the Bill. But because the Bill has almost 152 provisions, the Committee would spend a lot of time to make sure that this time when we come
    SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 28
    - 10.35 AM
    here the House is fully satisfied with our work. Of late, the Speaker has been complaining about the work of the Finance Committee. So we spent a lot of time and I hope that this time you would commend us for the good work, I think we have done.
    With those few words, I offer my contribution.
    I thank you.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Yes Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 10:35 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    I also rise to speak to the issues before us and to say that it is good that the Ministry of Finance is taking steps to consolidate all the pieces of legislations or laws that governs their operation. But Mr Speaker, I would want to pre-empt the House that we should begin thinking before we get to Consideration stage.
    There is one aspect of their law that I think we need to pay attention to see how we can --
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, we are on a particular law.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:35 a.m.
    No, Mr Speaker, it is about the consolidation of the laws under Customs. I am saying that Customs have a law, for example, when you have to go and clear your goods at the Ports, you must necessarily use an agent.
    Mr Speaker, that policy needs to have some change. It should be optional. They should make the process simple, so that if I would want to do it myself, I should be able to do it.
    Now that we are talking about the principles of the laws, that are trying to consolidate, I am only trying to draw the House's attention that, when we get

    there, let us try to see what we can do. If they have a strong case on this, they should be able to be here to convince us. This is because, I feel strongly that people all over the world --
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Yes, point of order; Chairman, Public Accounts Committee.
    Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu 10:35 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    I would want to give my Colleague some little information. With the introduction of computers at the strong room it became very necessary that some initial documentation should be filled in before they can feed the systems to do the calculations to enable them collect their duties. If this had been allowed to single individual importers to do, it would mean they would have to train almost all of us to be able to do that work. That is why they opted that let us train some agents who would facilitate this process and I think that is about all.
    That is the information I would want to place for you, Mr Speaker.
    Dr Benjamin Kunbour 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, I guess, let us stay with our procedure.
    First of all, this is the Second Reading Stage. Let us hold our horses till we get to the Consideration Stage when we can canvass the specific clause.
    I thought we were referring to something in the memorandum that addresses this issue. If we start jumping into the Consideration Stage on specific provisions, we are likely to lose track of this all important Bill, Mr Speaker.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want your guidance here because, at least I have had the privilege of piloting many Bills in this House and I know that at the Second Reading, where we are talking about the principle, a lot more can be talked about, rather than only what is in the memorandum.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    The Hon Majority Chief Whip, at the second reading, you made reference to the memorandum of the Bill, the Bill itself and the Committee's Report. In raising that point, you have not referred to a particular clause of the Bill to canvass your argument. You have not referred to any particular clause of the Bill
    If you have done that -- that was why initially, I was trying to advise. If you have done that, you would be allowed to make your point. So which clause specifically are you referring to?
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am referring to Clause 1 of the Bill or even the memorandum where it says in the Memorandum that, and with your permission, I quote:
    “Clause 1 of the Bill provides for the imposition of duties and taxes on goods that are imported into the country or exported from the country. Exemptions from the imposition of Custom duties and taxes are provided for”…
    All right. So, in Clause 1 --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    There is nothing there about what you are talking about.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, taking a cue from what you yourself and the Majority Leader, have just made. I would hold my gun--
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    There are two ways of going about it. You can just raise it and leave it there, then at the Consideration Stage if you feel strongly about it and you think that it should be captured in this Bill, you can file the amendment and the House would take a decision on it.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was because I was caught on a point of order. I did not land on the issue, so I have not even finished making that -- because one of the major things that I saw was that, the memorandum did not give the opportunity for this Bill to be talked about.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, then you must find a particular clause that relates to the point you are making or you can make the point that it is a total omission; if it is a total omission, you must make a point that it is missing in the Bill. However, the point that is being made is that, if you think that it is very relevant to this Bill, at the Consideration Stage, you can file your amendment to see whether it is relevant to the current Bill before us.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was trying to follow the Majority Chief Whip and he says he is talking about Clause 1.
    Mr Speaker, what about Clause 1? Clause 1 is simply the imposition of rate of duty and I have not heard you say anything about it. Are you against the imposition of the rate of duty; is that what he is saying?
    Mr Speaker, when he got up --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    I have ruled on that matter already.
    Dr A.A. Osei 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I asked him if he had read the Committee's Report. He has not even read it, so I think that you should ask him to stop speaking so that we can move on.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have ruled on, the issue and I would not like to go on, but for him to say I have not read it; that is very unfortunate, this is because he was not with me and he could see that I had made reference to -- if I had not read it, I would not even know that that was in Clause 1.
    So Mr Speaker, having made a ruling on it, I would want to say that I would wait, when we get to the Consideration Stage, to take the issue but I must say it is a very useful exercise that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is taking steps to consolidate all the laws that Customs is trying to use to govern its operations.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Yes.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is why I said that he has not read it. It is not the GRA that is doing this. This is the policy of the Ministry of Finance through the GRA; the GRA cannot on its own just come and change the law. Please this is a policy matter.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague keeps missing the point. He knows that the Ministry of Finance, when it comes to the issue of revenue and its collection, it has an urgency. It is only brought to this House by the Ministry of Finance. So, when I make reference to the GRA, you cannot say it is wrong, because it is GRA that will facilitate the putting up together of this Bill, even though the Minister would need it.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, you are all saying the same thing.
    We should not push this matter further. Please continue.
    Alhaji Muntaka 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, like I rightly said, it is useful that all these laws are being put together to ensure consistency and also be able to take away all the contradictions that may exist in the split laws that we have.
    I take this opportunity to also support the Motion before us. Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I would want to put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The Customs Bill, 2014 was accor- dingly read a Second Time.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
    Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we can continue with the Excise Duty Bill, item 8.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, what I intend doing is that, in order to save time, we would start with the Excise Duty Bill 2013, which is at the Consideration Stage. When the Minister for Finance enters the Chamber at 11o'clock, as he promised, we would suspend the Consideration and take the Questions and then go back to the consideration of the Excise Duty Bill.
    I hope that is acceptable?
    Very well. Hon Members, the Excise Duty Bill 2013 at the Consideration Stage -- Mr First Deputy Speaker. [Pause].
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 10:45 a.m.

    STAGE 10:45 a.m.

  • [Resumption of Debate from 17/06/ 14]
  • Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Clause 14, we have the debate to continue. Mr Speaker, I would ask that we put the Question on clause 14; the issue that is being raised is about appeal procedure which we have captured under a new clause on page eight -- review of decision.
    So, we can put the question on Clause 14 and then adding the new clause will take care of any appeal that could be made by an aggrieved person.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    What is the relationship between Clause 14 which is ‘application for registration' and the ‘review decision'; what is the relationship?
    What you said, the relationship has been recaptured, so if it has been recaptured under ‘review decision', then how relevant is the Clause 14?
    Mr Avedzi 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Clause 14(4), says that, “where the Commissioner- General refuses to register an applicant, the Commissioner-General shall give reasons for the refusal” The issue that arose was, if that decision given by the Commissioner-General, the applicant is not satisfied, what options are available to the applicant to pursue?
    We were saying that the new clause that we are adding, which is a “review of decision”, if you read the 1, that is on page 8, it says:
    (1) An applicant dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner- General under section 14(4) may file an application with the Commissioner-General for a review of the decision.
    And that follows, that is the reason we are doing that.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    In other words, when we get there, then the Draftsperson would find where to locate the review decision.
    Mr Avedzi 10:55 a.m.
    Exactly so.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Ranking Member, I have been invited to put the Question on Clause
    14 —
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is in order.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Chairman, has there been any amendments to Clause 14? I was not in the Chair so that I would know the proper Question to put-- no amendments at all?
    Mr Avedzi 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there was no amendment to the Clause 14, you are to put the Question.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Very well
    Clause 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    Yes Hon Members, we would now take clause 34. Debate to continue--
    Hon Chairman?
    Mr Avedzi 10:57 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, clause 34; Amendment proposed “add the following new definition- Constitution means ownership and management structure”.
    Mr Speaker, we agreed that we defined ‘Constitution' under “interpretation section” to take care of the issue that we raised earlier, so we are providing the definition of ‘Constitution' to mean “ownership and management structure”.
    Mr Speaker, I so move.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    Hon Members I would put the Question —
    Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:57 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, which clause are we talking about?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    Clause 34.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:57 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do think the Question has been put on Clause 17 before this amendment. That is because originally, we had an Amendment on clause 17 which is now being abandoned and once we abandon that, then the Clause 34 comes into vein, but I do think the Question was ever put on clause 17.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    Chairman of the committee?
    Mr Avedzi 10:57 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we did that yesterday, where we put the Question on the Clause 17-- well we abandoned the amendment on the Clause 17 and that we would provide for the definition of ‘Constitution' under Clause 34 and that is what we are doing now, and so you have already put the Question on Clause 17 —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    I think that is correct, this is because I granted permission for the withdrawal of the proposed amendment.
    Hon Members, I believe I would now have to put the Question on the whole of Clause 34 as variously amended.
    Yes Hon Ranking Member?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    Hon Member, an amendment could be made without advertisement in the Order Paper and it is from that angle that we are looking at this particular amendment.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:57 a.m.
    If the putting of the Question includes his statement about the ‘Constitution' then I am all right.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:57 a.m.
    In fact, I have already put the Question with regard to his proposed amendment- Bringing in the definition of ‘Constitution' and so I am now putting the Question with regard to clause 34 as variously amended. Let me go over it again.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Clause 34 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    New Clause -- Assessment of Excise Duty and correction of return.
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause:
    “Assessment of Excise Duty and correction of return
    10. (1) where the Commissioner- General has reason to believe that:
    (a) a person shall become liable for the payment of an amount of Excise Duty but that person is unlikely to pay the amount;
    (b) a person, other than a manufacturer, enters for home used goods that are excisable and represents that Excise Duty is charged on the goods entered;
    (c) a manufacturer wrongly enters for exports or home use excisable goods; or applies the Excise Duty rates;
    (d) a manufacturer fails to submit a tax return specified in this Act or Regulations;
    (e) a return is incorrect or that any lawful Excise Duty has not been paid; or
    (f) section 15 applies to a person, the Commissioner-General,
    based on any information available, may make an assessment of the amount of Excise Duty payable by the person or of the amount of Excise Duty claimed by the person as payable in respect of the supply.
    (2) The person assessed:
    (a) under paragraph (a) of subsection (1), is the person required to account for the Excise Duty under this Act;
    (b) under paragraphs (b) or (c) of subsection (1), it is the person making the entry;
    (c) under paragraphs (d) or (e) of subsection (1), it is the person required to submit the return or required to pay the Excise Duty; or
    (d) under paragraph (f) is the person to whom section 15 applies.
    (3) The Commissioner-General may make the assessment for any period when he deems it necessary.
    (4) In the absence of a supply or return, the Commissioner- General may, based on the information available, estimate the Excise Duty payable by a person for the purposes of making the assessment.
    (5) A person who is not satisfied with a return submitted by that person may apply to the Commissioner-General in writing for authority to make an amendment to the original return.
    (6) For purposes of subsection (5), the applicant shall:
    (a) state in detail the grounds on which the application is made; and
    (b) submit the application not more than three months after the submission of the original return.
    (7) The Commissioner-General may, after considering an application under subsection (5):
    (a) approve or refuse to approve the application; and
    (b) make an assessment of the amount that, in the opinion of the Commissioner-General, is the amount of Excise duty payable under this Act.
    (8) Where an assessment has been made under this section, the Commissioner-General shall serve a notice of the assessment on the person assessed, and the notice shall state:
    (a) the Excise Duty payable:
    (b) the date that the Excise Duty is due and payable;
    (c) the place for payment of the Excise Duty; and
    (d) the procedure for objecting to the assessment.
    (9) An amount assessed under paragraphs (b), (c) or (e) of subsection (1) is for the purposes of this Act, an Excise Duty charged under this Act.”
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
    Ms Safo 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in respect of subclause 5, where the person is dissatisfied with the return submitted -- I am humbly appealing that we give timelines within which such an amendment can be made. It is giving room for any person who has an issue or is not satisfied with the return that has been submitted. That avenue, indeed, is a good avenue where one can come and amend.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman, that is a point well made. So, can you further amend that subclause?
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that is a very good proposal. We would further amend it and the new rendition would be:
    “A person who is not satisfied with a return submitted by that person may within thirty days apply to the Commissioner-General in writing for authority to make an amendment to the original return”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    For the avoidance of doubt, within 30 days of which date?
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Within 30 days of submitting the original return.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    If we are clear in our minds, I am all right.
    Mr Amoako-Attah 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is no need for the further amendment being proposed by the Hon Chairman because it is taken care of under subclause 6 (b). The whole of subclause 6, deals with subclause 5 and time limit that the Hon Member, raised is dealt with under subclause 6 (b).
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    So, the further amendment to subclause 5 should be abandoned.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, I believe you agree with them. It has been taken care of.
    Ms Safo 11:05 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. I agree.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    So, that is abandoned.
    Can I then go ahead and put the Question?
    Mr Boafo 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like the Hon Chairman to go over the new rendition under subclause 6.
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the new rendition under subclause 6 is:
    “For the purposes of subsection (5), the applicant shall:
    (a) state in detail the grounds on which the application is made; and
    (b) Submit the application not more than three months after the submission of the original return”.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker,
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Boafo, are you all right?
    Mr Boafo 11:05 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the amendment to sub-clause (3), which the
    Chairman has read as 11:15 a.m.
    “The Commissioner-General may make the assessment for any period when he deems it necessary”, that is the new amendment, amending the original which states “at any time”.
    Mr Speaker, it is my view, that the Commissioner-General making assess- ment at any time, is after he has deemed it necessary. So adding “deeming it necessary” in my opinion, is superfluous; as and when he makes an assessment, he
    considers the circumstances and if he deems it necessary, he does so. So adding that in my opinion, is superfluous and the amendment of that should not be added.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Chairman, I thought that the Committee is proposing that at “any time” be deleted and in its place, this further amendment to the original amendment.
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that, in the original one, “The Com- missioner-General may make the assessment at any time”; and “at any time” means that he has considered the circumstances and made the assessment.
    Therefore, to add that “when he deems it necessary” is superfluous. So the original statement should stand instead of the amendment that is proposed by the Chairman.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the reason we are further amending subclause (3) is this: “The Commissioner-General may make the assessment at any time”, for what period is that assessment going to cover? So, we are introducing a new element of the period which the assessment can cover. That is why I am saying “the Com- missioner-General may make the assessment for any period”.
    It could be three years, two years back, one year, six months or a month. So, the Commissioner-General is at liberty to make the assessment to cover any period and that is one leg of the amendment.
    The second leg is actually taking care of the “any time” which the original amendment was proposing, that when the Commissioner-General is now going to
    make the assessment for any period at any time, that is when he deems it necessary to do that assessment. So the way I understand the Hon Deputy Majority Leader's point is that “when he deems it necessary” is superfluous because by taking the decision to make the assessment, the Commissioner-General has already deemed it necessary.
    I will agree with that leg of it. So if he has agreed to the proposal that we should end at “for any period” and that the new rendition should be --
    “The Commissioner-General may make the assessment for any period” Without adding --
    “When he deems it necessary”,
    I would agree with him. But what is important is the period which the assessment should cover.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Ms Safo 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. If the new amendment should end at “for any period”, and with your permission, I will beg to read:
    “The Commissioner-General may make the amendment for any period”.
    It forms more of an incomplete sentence and inasmuch as using the word “may” (may do the assessment); the mere fact that we used “may” does not necessarily mean that the Commissioner-General has deemed it necessary at a point. The reason we added “for any period” was, if you leave the period open, then it leads to a lot of vagueness and ambiguity.
    So instead of “any time” -- “any time” can be “any time”, ten years and we have Statutes of Limitation that might apply, we restricted ourselves to “for a certain
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you. Hon Members, one side is saying it is superfluous and the other side is saying it is necessary; if it is superfluous then out of the abundance of caution, why do we not let it stand? If it is superfluous, we do not lose anything if it remains there. Hon Deputy Majority Leader --
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, anybody who makes a decision deems it necessary to make that decision. I do not see how one can make a decision without necessarily thinking that one wants to make a decision. A decision must be based on reasoning -- Then I do not know.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Yes Hon Member.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to add my voice to the position of my learned Sister and Hon Member, I think the gravamen of what she is trying to put across is to create certainty in the way we are couching the verdict. Issues of appeal are matters that are dealt with within a period; it is a matter of right and if you are that indolent and not ready to take the matter up, the law would not be on your side.
    So if you put “any time” there, “any time” could be anything and the law must not be subjected to any form of abuse, so Mr Speaker --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, the point in contention has to do with when he “deems it necessary”. While the Deputy Majority Leader is of the view that it is superfluous, the Hon Member feels that it is necessary that we indicate that when the Commissioner- General deems it necessary, he or she would carry out that exercise.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with that, I was coming to that. You are giving discretional power to an individual in authority and at any point in time, it is presumed that such discretionary power would be exercised in good faith. Therefore, I am in agreement with that preposition that, it should be when “he deems it fit” , with the understanding that, the Commissioner-General will not abuse such discretionary powers conferred on him by law.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should make progress. I withdraw my omission.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very well. Thank you very much . Yes, Hon Member --
    Mr Justice Joe Appiah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance promised to be here at 11 o'clock; it is now 11.15 and getting to 11.20. So I would want your guidance.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, we will deal with that. Let us continue with this. We are taking some proposed new bulky clauses.
    Let us go through with it then, after that, we can discuss this issue that you have raised.
    Hon Members, I will put the Question --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, I hope you are not sleeping. [Laughter.] Yes, Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, first, I want to find out from the Chairman how my rendition of subclause (7) (a) appeals to him? Instead of “approve”, we substitute “grant” and we further delete “to approve” so that my rendition will be:
    “that the Commissioner-General may after considering an appli- cation under Subsection 5 grant or refuse the application”.
    Instead of “approve or refuse to approve”, my new rendition would be:
    “grant or refuse to the application”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Chairman of the Committee do you follow the point he is making?
    Mr Avedzi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker I follow, it is all right.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very well, so it is a further amendment to the proposed one.
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    The second issue that I would want to raise with the Chairman is with respect to clause 7 (b), lines 2 and 3, where I find the expression “in the opinion of the Commissioner-General”.
    Mr Speaker, this appears to me very subjective and I do not know why the Chairman is in favour of that subjective right that he gives to the Commissioner- General. Is there any special reason why it should be “in the opinion of the Commissioner-General” instead of just a
    simple rendition that the Commissioner- General shall make an assessment of the amount that is the amount of Excise Duty payable under this Act instead of “in the opinion of the Commissioner-General? That makes it very subjective and very difficult to challenge.
    Mr Avedzi 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Clause 7, first of all, let me take the (a), where the Hon Member says; he should grant or refuse an application. I would want to ask that we still maintain the “approve” instead of the “grant” but delete “to approve”.
    So it would now read: “the Commissioner-General may, after considering the application under sub- section 5, approve or refuse the application”, instead of ‘grant' or ‘refuse', because all along, we have been using “approve” so let us not introduce a new terminology.
    So I will plead that we maintain the ‘approve' but delete ‘to approve'.So it will read “approve or refuse the application”. That is the (a).
    The (b), “make the assessment of the amount that in the opinion of the Commissioner-General is the amount of Excise Duty payable under this Act”. And Hon Boafo is saying that, we should delete ‘in the opinion of the Commissioner-General” or delete ‘in the opinion of', then it will read “make an assessment of the amount of Excise Duty payable under this Act”. So we delete ‘in the opinion of the Commissioner- General”.
    So, in lines 2 and 3, we delete ‘in the opinion of the Commissioner-General is'. Then it will now read: ‘to make an assessment that the amount is the --
    Mr W. O. Boafo, can you come again because it is not getting clearer whether the amount is the Excise Duty payable under this Act.
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    I think you are right.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Yes, I think so. So let it stay and then we would deal with it the way, the earlier one, we deal with it the way you have suggested.
    So, Hon Members…yes, Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, sub paragraph 8(d), the notice which the Commissioner- General sends to the applicant will include the procedure of objecting to the assessment. I think that this should rather be in the Regulations so that it is uniform and the person is aware of what he should do in the case of refusal, rather leaving it on individual basis.
    It should rather be part of the regulations which should guide on how to appeal or how to raise an objection or apply for reviews. That if an application is refused, then the procedure is dished out to the applicant but if it is standardized, if it is in the Regulations, there would be no need for taking it on individual basis.
    When an application is refused, it is known to the applicant how he should object to the refusal.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Boafo I am not too clear, can you expatiate it a little more? My understanding -- unless I understand you to be saying that that portion should be deleted and then made part of the Regulations when the Regulations are later considered -- Is that what you are saying?
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    Precisely so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Avedzi 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, so, what is the new rendition? We are deleting all various items that need to be stated “notice”. Is that what he is saying so that the clause will end at; ‘Where an assessment has been made under this section, the Commissioner-General shall serve a notice of assessment on the
    person at first. Are we ending it there or we go beyond that one?
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not saying that all the items stated under 8, that is, subparagraphs (a) to (d) should be deleted. All I am saying is that, in particular reference to (d), it appears to me the procedure which is prescribed by the Commissioner-General, so if it could be rather provided under clause 33 which deals with Regulations, then it will help the applicants to know in advance what to do when an application is refused and they want to raise an objection, instead of taking it on individual basis.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is the standard state of the art way of laying foundation for the procedure. The first thing is that when, you take what is supposed to be contained in the notice; the duty, the date, the place and the manner, provide a context for the detailed procedure in the Regulation which might even come as a standard form in the schedule.
    But that standard form must have a linkage with the parent Act so that it is not in excess of the Legislation.
    If you take all the other Tax procedures, you would always see that, this would be repeated in the Regulation and then amplified possibly with a schedule and a standard form. So, I guess that these are substantive issues they are not just matters of procedure.
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, well, I do not see the difference. It is what we say in the Akan parlance; poto gu mu ne hwie gu mu ne nyinaa ko nkwansen koro mu. So, it is all right.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Very well, unless you translate what you said in the language we use, the records will not capture what you said appropriately.
    “poto gu mu, hwie gu mu”, what does that mean, Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    I think Mr Speaker, understands it very well.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    I do, but for the record purposes.
    Mr Boafo 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, whether you grind onions or tomatoes, they all go into the same soup. I have no objection. [Laughter.]
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    That interpretation is not correct. --[Laughter.]
    I do not know what language he is interpreting now. He should come again. “Poto gu mu, hweie gu mu”.
    Mr Speaker, this is a refined way of putting it, I believe. I am not doing the Twi -- English here.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Very well, I think grind or mash.
    Hon Members, we have done enough by way of further amendments to this proposed new clause. Can I put the Question?
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I was going to make a repeat application but I would allow you to put the Question, and seek your leave to make a repeat application on the matter.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, I would put the Question --
    Sorry. Yes, Chairman?
    Mr Avedzi 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I want us to be clear on the 7 (b), before you put the Question. The new rendition is:
    “Make an assessment of the amounts of the Excise Duty payable under this Act.”
    So, in lines (2), (3) and (4), we are deleting; “in the opinion of the Commissioner -General, is the amount.”
    So, the new rendition would be: “make an assessment of the amounts of the Excise Duty payable on this Act.”
    Then in (a); we are maintaining “approve” and deleting “to approve.”
    The new rendition would be; “Approve or refuse the application”.
    I want this to be clear before you put the Question.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Very well.
    Thank you very much, I would put the Question.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Amoako-Attah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on 7 (b), I do not see the element of subjectivity being complained about here. Anytime we make mention of “Commissioner- General”, it is systemic. We are addressing an office, and not addressing an individual. The Commissioner-General relates to an office, so why are we saying that it is subjective?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Boafo, can you expatiate on the point? Since you raised the issue, can you address the point that he has raised?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu Ankomah 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    “Commissioner-General”, has been referred to in the first line. “The Commissioner-General may, after considering an application under subsection (5), make an assessment of the amount of Excise Duty payable under this Act”.
    It is certainly discretional. It is a discretion that you are investing in him. You do not even need; “in the opinion of the Commissioner-General”. In my view, it is repetitive, but he says he thinks that it is an office, and I say, the office had been referred to, in the first line; the “ Commissioner-General may”.
    Thank you very much. I am sure he understands it, and accepts my explanation.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    I think so too.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this is a term of Act, and there are legal consequences to it. This is what they refer to as; “the best judgement rule”.
    When the Commissioner exercises that peculiar discretion of the best judgement, the legal consequences on appeal are different, and I guess that is why they have rendered it this way, when they say; “in the opinion” --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    That has been deleted.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, but you see, the rendering of the best judgment rule is different. In fact, when you are challenging that particular best judgement rule, you
    challenge it legally in a different manner than when you are actually challenging an administrative opinion and discretion.
    That is what I am saying. There is a difference between this discretion which is quas-judicial, and an administrative discretion. They are two different things, so if we have removed that opinion, then it means that we want to leave it at the level of administrative discretion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Very well, I think we can move on. Can I now put the Question?
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, but before you go on, I have been reliably informed by the Office of the Clerk, that the Hon Minister for Finance, had his flight from Abuja delayed because the pilot scheduled to pilot the plane fell ill, and had to get a replacement. Therefore, his flight has been delayed. But we would still wait for him to get to Ghana, and to come and address us, as far as the answers are concerned, if there is time.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, before you assumed the seat, the Hon Speaker, then, said that he was giving him up to 11 o'clock, and that, in an event of him not being present at that time, he would ask his Deputy to answer the Question.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    That was not what he said. He did not say he would ask the Deputy to answer the Question. He said we would then consider what line of action to take.
    Mr Awuah 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, but Mr Speaker, we have had several occasions where in the absence of the substantive Minister, the Hon Deputy Ministers, have been made to answer Questions and the Deputy is here. So Mr Speaker, I do not see --
    Dr Kunbuor 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, unfortu- nately the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, was not here to brief the Deputy Whip.
    This matter was discussed, and the indication was that, at the time we were just about arranging for something else, the flight actually was airborne and a text had come to the Deputy to that effect.
    So, the Hon Speaker was of the view that since the House would be around till 2 o'clock to meet the Electoral Commission, immediately he arrives, he should come to the House.
    Let me also add that his personal presence in the House today is very important.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    The Majority Leader is right. Mr Speaker called us to brief us on this particular update regarding that particular matter. We did not really have much of a problem because we would be staying here till 2.00 p.m. We would give ourselves up to that time, and see what would happen, and if there is something to say, we can say it from 1.00 p.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, shall we then move on to --
    Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, what are you up for?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, subsequent to your ruling, I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that --
    Mr Speaker, the application for the review of the earlier ruling of the House, per what you just told us, did not come from an Hon Member. You said a Clerk had drawn your attention to the fact that the Minister's flight had delayed, but Mr Speaker, the earlier ruling by Mr Speaker, was based on a matter raised by an Hon Member.
    I think that the proper way is for an Hon Member; either the Majority Leader, or his Deputy, to bring a proper application to review the earlier decision, that the Minister is unable to come at 11.00 a.m. because of flight change --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, I hope you aware of the fact that one Hon Member raised the issue while we were considering this particular aspect of the Bill, and I asked him to hold on, and that after we have dealt with that aspect of the Bill, I would give him an appropriate response, and that is what I have done.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    The Hon Member would know that we are still at the Consideration Stage of a Bill, we simply are taking liberties. In fact, the original position was
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I beg to move,
    New Clause -- add the following new clause:
    “Failure to submit a return
    30. A manufacturer who fails to submit to the Commissioner- General an Excise Duty return by the due date is liable to a penalty of five hundred currency points and a further penalty of ten currency points for each day the failure continues”.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    v. New clause -- Add the following new Clause:
    “Failure to pay tax on due date.
    31. A manufacturer who fails to make a payment required under this Act to the Commissioner-General by the due date is liable to pay a
    penalty of fifteen per cent of the amount due and an interest of five per cent of the amount due for each day the failure continues”.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    New Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause -- Add the following new
    clause:
    “Official currency
    32. (1) The cedi is the official currency of this Act and, subject to any provision in a tax law to the contrary, amounts taken into account under a tax law shall be denominated in or converted into cedis.
    (2) Conversion of a foreign currency amount into cedis shall be at the Bank of Ghana inter-bank exchange rate applicable on the date the amount is to be taken into account.
    Despite subsection (1), Mr Speaker, let me further amend that, “that notwith- standing subsection (1), the Com- missioner- General may, on written --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Chairman, there is a question as to why you want to amend from “despite to notwithstanding”.
    Papa Owusu- Ankomah 11:45 a.m.
    The fact is that, it is now standard drafting language, instead of “notwithstanding” we use “despite”. It is now the new drafting language that is being used in Ghana.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Chairman, I think we would leave it as it is to stand.
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Ranking Member, are you up?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was just going to draw the Chairman's attention to this. I do not recall we discussed this but I would let him go ahead then I would raise an objection. This is because, this is a serious part we would have to look at. He should just go ahead.
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that--
    “(3) despite subsection (1), the Commissioner-General may, on written application or otherwise, require a person to take a foreign currency amount into account for the purposes of this Act.
    (4) A requirement of the Com- missioner-General under sub- section (3):
    (a) shall be in writing and may be by way of practice note;
    (b) may apply for one or more periods; and
    (c) may be subject to other conditions determined by the Commissioner-General.
    (5) The Commissioner-General shall take into consideration the volume of foreign currency activities conducted by the person in exercising a discretion under subsection (3).
    (6) The Commissioner-General may, by notice in writing and for reasonable cause, revoke a requirement under subsection
    (3).
    (7) For the purposes of this section, the date an amount is to be taken into account is the date the amount accrues, or is received, derived, incurred, paid or otherwise to be taken into account for the purposes of this Act”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I have to say is on subclause (3), but consequentially, if we accept that then subclauses 4, 5 and 6 would go away.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should not introduce a new element where we are giving the Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) power over foreign currency, which is the Bank of Ghana's responsibility. So, I think sub- clause (3), should go, and therefore sub- clauses (4), (5), and (6) would also be deleted. We should not introduce this element at all.
    I am inviting the Chairman to delete subclauses (3), therefore, (4), (5), and (6) consequentially would be deleted.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the heading of this Section is “official currency”. In this country, we know of one currency, which is the cedi. I cannot understand why this whole clause goes into conversion of foreign currency. Are we by saying that, admitting that, foreign currency should be converted, and that things should be priced in foreign currency, and we convert it to cedis?
    I would say, that let us stop at a place where we would say the official currency is the cedi.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member from Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:45 a.m.
    I do not know, but probably there is the need for an explanation. For instance, I know that if one is paying import duty at the harbour, it is denominated in dollars, and converted into cedis at inter- bank exchange rate and the rate changes daily. Probably, that is why this is being introduced for certain purposes because, Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) cannot be stated in cedis, it must be stated in dollars, and then converted.
    But as regards to the argument proffered by the Hon Member for Old Tafo, probably, we need some explanations from the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance. This is because, I do not know why in the original Bill, we do not have this elaborate provision, but it is now being introduced. If we have to drop it, fair enough, but --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Before the Chairman and the Deputy Minister respond, I would like to hear from the Hon Member for Wenchi.
    Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not seen this “official currency” in any economic discourse. Why are we referring to “official currency” as the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said? Do we not already have the Cedi as the legal tender in this country?
    Why do we have to define “official currency” and say that “in this Act”? Is there any Act where the official currency is not the cedi? What Act is that? Mr Speaker, it does not make sense.
    We should not try and define what is official currency and what is not official currency. The legal tender in this country is the cedi; that is all. So, we have to start by saying: “the cedi should be” not the “official currency of this country shall be the cedi in this Act”. In that Act, what should it be -- The Dollar, the Pound sterling or the Euro? Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member was right with what he was arguing about.
    Mr Forson 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am of the view that, we abandon the entire clause because, indeed, the Bank of Ghana Act regulates the official currency element.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    So, you want us to withdraw this proposed new clause?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is true that the Hon Deputy Minister wants to abandon it, but I think it came from their implementing agency. Before we do that, he might want to consult briefly so that we do not lose the whole thing.
    Mr Forson 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, I have done the consultation and we are fine with that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    All right. Hon Chairman, so you want to withdraw that --
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, based on the discussion and further information that we received, that Bank of Ghana Act definitely would regulate the foreign currency transaction here, we would want to abandon the amendment proposed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    The application is granted.

    Mr Chairman of the Committee, we move on to the next one.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that new clause, add the following new clause:
    “Review of decision
    (1) An applicant dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner- General under Section 14 (4) may file an application with the Commissioner-General for a review of the decision.
    (2) The application shall state the grounds of objection to the decision of the Commissioner- General.
    (3) The application for the review shall be filed within thirty days from the date of receipt of the decision of the Commissioner- General.
    (4) Despite subsection (3), an applicant may by written appli- cation, request for extension of time to file the application for review of the decision.
    (5) An application made under subsection (4) shall specify the grounds for the request.
    (6) The Commissioner-General may, where satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of time, approve the request made under subsection (5) and serve notice of the decision on the applicant.
    (7) An applicant dissatisfied with the decision of the Com- missioner-General on the review under subsection (1) may apply to the Minister within thirty days from the date of receipt of the decision”.
    Ms Safo 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the further amendment that has been made to subsection (6), I disagree with the amendment where the Chairman is proposing that we delete “grant an application” and substitute it with “approve the request”. I think the acceptable legal drafting language is “granting an application”, and whoever is dissatisfied with a decision in making an application to the Commissioner- General, so the discretion is with him to either grant such application.
    The word “approve” should not come here. I very much agree with where he is coming from, because in the previous provision where an application is made for a return, the word “approve” has been used consistently. But in this respect, it is dealing with a forum for review and it is more technical and legal. For that matter, it should stay as “grant the application” and not “approve the application”.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member would read subsection (4), it says:
    “Despite subsection (3), an applicant may be written appli- cation, request for extension…”
    So, the issue is about requesting for an extension, that is why we are saying that the subsection (6) should read as follows: “that the Commissioner-General may, where he is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension, would approve that request which is made in an application form.”
    He is making a request in an application form so, he is approving that request for the extension of the time. So, it is in line with the subsection (4), that is why we are changing the subsection (6) to fall in line with the subsection (4).
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the applicant is making an application requesting the Commissioner-General to extend the time for him. So, we think because he is requesting for the extension of the time, the Commissioner-General would then approve that request, which is actually the extension of the time, but that request is made in an application form.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    So, why do we not restrict ourselves to the application instead of ‘request' and so on? It is an application and it is either granted or refused on its own merit. [Pause.] So, Hon Chairman, I believe you would go with her as far as her proposed position goes.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not think changing it to “granting an application” would change the intent of what we are actually capturing. So, I would go with that suggestion. But subsection (6) should read that:
    “The Commissioner-General may, where satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of time, grant an application made under subsection (5) and serve notice of the decision on the application”.
    Mr Ben A. Banda 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to suggest that, with respect to subsection (6), the Commissioner-General is being given a discretion to grant an application. There has to be a time
    limitation within which the Commissioner- General may grant the application and when to serve the notice on the applicant; that is not being specified in the provision. For the sake of certainty, I think the Commissioner-General has to be given time limitation period.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member should propose the time that he thinks -- [Interruption.]
    Ms Safo 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the amendment being proposed by the Hon Member can be found in subsection (3), where it states that:
    “The application for the review shall be filed within thirty days from the date of the refusal of the registration” [Interruption] --
    I get him. He wants to talk about the extension of time so --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, assuming that the Commissioner-General feels like granting the application, what time frame are we giving the Commissioner- General within which to exercise this discretion? [Pause.]
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think since we have given the applicant thirty days to file for the review, we can also limit the time to the same thirty days for the Commissioner-General to also serve notice on the applicant. So --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Whatever the time frame, let us see the new rendition.
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the new rendition shall read as follows:
    “ The Commissioner-General may, when satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of the time, grant an application made under subsection (5) and serve notice of the decision on the applicant within thirty days”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you all right with the rendition?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    “…From the date of receipt of the application.”
    Let me take it again:
    “The Commissioner-General may, when satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the extension of the time, grant an application made under subsection (5) and serve notice of the decision on the applicant within thirty days from the date of receipt of the application”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member.
    Mr Darko-Mensah 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the number of days should be fourteen instead of thirty days to expedite the process because we are virtually looking at using this to generate revenue for the State. Therefore on our part, we should not be delaying. We should rather use the opportunity to collect money as quickly as possible.
    So, I think it should be fourteen days on the part of the Commissioner-General.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we would go with thirty days.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, I would put the Question. As many as are in favour of this new clause --
    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Amoako-Atta 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I have two issues. It looks like the timing would be consequential because if you take subclause (7), even though the appeal can go to the Ministerial level, there is also no time limit there. That is one.
    The second one, Mr Speaker, we know that the jurisdiction of the court cannot be ousted stead in any matter. Why is it that the review ends at the Ministerial level? For avoidance of doubt, can we insert:
    “A person who objects can access the court”?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that is automatic, we are dealing with administrative processes. If at the end of it all, you still are not satisfied, you cannot be prevented from going to court for redress. Without specifically stating it here, that is enshrined -- So you can go to court. After all those processes, if you are still not satisfied, you are free to go to court.
    Mr Amoako-Atta 12:05 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, shall I put the Question then?
    An Hon Member -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what about the period of limitation for the Minister to consider the application from the applicant in the case of a refusal by the Commissioner-General? It appears to be --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    All right, a time frame the Minister 's response. Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to apply for us to step it down and we would look at it. That should also bring us to the discussion on this then we look at it later.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Are you talking about the whole of the new clause or just that portion?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, the whole of the new clause.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    The whole of the new clause?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well. We would defer the consideration of the whole of that new clause but in the meantime, I want to add a “rider” to the approval given to the Question that I put with regard to the new clauses.
    With regard to all the new clauses that have been made part of the Bill, I direct that the draftspersons should clean them up. There are some few areas where we need to clean up so the draftspersons should be given that responsibility.
    Right, so with that Hon Members, we have come to the close of Consideration Stage for today.
    Very well, Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
    Mr Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance has not yet arrived and the Committee of the Whole is scheduled for 2.00 o'clock and having regard to the time now Mr Speaker, we would want to seek your indulgence to adjourn the House at this stage till tomorrow so that the Minister 's Questions can be taken tomorrow and the briefing by the Electoral Commissioner can also take place tomorrow.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Are you also deferring the appearance of the Electoral Commissioner before this House till tomorrow?
    Mr Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are looking at the time from now to 2: 00 p.m. that is why we are thinking of adjourning the House, so that issue can be taken on tomorrow.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Chief Whip?
    Mr Awuah 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to the best of my knowledge,it is the Hon Minister for Finance that we are aware would not be able to make it, but in the case of the Electoral Commissioner, we do not have any information to the contrary so perhaps we can break and reconvene at 2 o'clock to meet the Electoral Commissioner.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    I believe so too, unless the Deputy Majority Leader has something that we are not aware of.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can suspend Sitting now awaiting the arrival of the Electoral Commissioner.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well, Hon Members, Sitting is according suspended until 2.00 o'clock in the afternoon when we shall convene as a Committee of the Whole to receive the Electoral Commissioner.
    12.15 p. m. -- Sitting suspended.
    2.25 p. m. -- Sitting resumed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, the House is called to order. Hon Members will recall that this House has scheduled for today an interaction with the Electoral Commissioner. We would be going into a Committee of the Whole to carry out that exercise.

    Hon Members, the Electoral Com- missioner and his team are in the Chamber right now so, we would dissolve this

    House into a Committee of the Whole so that he can deliver his Message to us and then we would be in a position to ask questions.

    So, the House is accordingly dissolved into the Committee of the Whole.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:16 p.m.
    Hon Members, the House is called to order, please resume your seats -- [Pause.]
    ADJOURNMENT 4:16 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 4.18 p.m. till Thursday, 19th June, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.