Debates of 9 Jul 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:35 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:35 a.m.

  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 8th July, 2014.]
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 3rd July, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader? Is the Hon Minister responsible for Health in the House?
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, she is actually on her way. She had to do some slight assignment in relation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit. She is actually in traffic now. So, if we could vary the order of Business and stand it down briefly, she should be here.
    Mr Speaker, if you have a Statement, then you could take it, in view of that.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, the Minister responsible for Youth and Sports wants to make a Statement on the formation of a three -member committee of enquiry into

    Ghana's Black Stars participation in the 2014 FIFA Football Tournament.

    Hon Members, since yesterday I have taken some time to have discussions with the Leadership of the House on this matter, when my attention was drawn to it. Standing Order 70 (2) states that:

    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.”

    Hon Members, last week, I admitted a Motion from an Hon Member of this House, calling for a bi-partisan enquiry into the matter. I have given it a considerable thought whether it is prudent for this Statement to be taken in view of the pending Motion. I have looked at the rules and Standing Order 72 of the House. While Standing Order 72 gives the House some say, when a Member of the House wants to make a Statement, when it comes to Ministers, it is different.

    Hon Members, Standing Order 72 states, concerning Statements of Members, that:

    “ By the indulgence of the House and leave of Mr Speaker a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 ( Order of Business ) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public importance. Any statement other than a personal statement may be commented upon by other Members for a limited duration of time not exceeding one hour. The terms of any such proposed statement shall first be submitted to Mr Speaker.”

    So, once I have a say in Order 72, I do not have a say in Standing Order 70 (2). In view of the Motion, I thought it was not prudent but I cannot also prevent a Minister of State under Standing Order 70 (2), to come and say whatever he wants to say. It is on that basis and in consultation with the Leaders that , I have allowed the Statement to be made.

    I want to say that it does not in any way, affect the Motion to be moved on the floor of the House. I want to make this opening remarks before I call on the Minister to make the Statement.
    Papa Owusu - Ankomah 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not intend to challenge your ruling, but you made a statement which I find a little troubling. When you said that you do not have a discretion --
    Mr Speaker, you manage the affairs of this House, and you are in the Chair. The Standing Orders repose in you certain powers, and of course, you may err. If you err, it can be challenged by a Motion. What makes you think that you do not have any power when it comes to the Standing Orders? You may interpret them in a way, which Hon Members may disagree. But please, insofar as we are the masters of our own procedure, and you preside over the affairs of this House -- and you may interpret the Standing Orders at any time, you have the power to interpret them.
    If you consider it clear, that may be your interpretation, but please, not that you do not have an option. I just wanted to make this point, so that it does not provoke some debate at a later time in the life of Parliament.
    Thank you.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbour 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can get the concern of the Hon Member from Sekondi. I guess Mr Speaker's concern on this matter has to do with a number of fundamental principles; one in which within the context of freedom of expression in the House and the special privilege that has been given to Ministers, whether Members of this House or non-Members who would be entitled to all the rights and privileges of Members, even if they are not Mem- bers, one finds it difficult, such that you must have a very difficult objection before Mr Speaker can interpret it in a way that prevents a Statement from being made.
    I also understand that the foundation has been adequately laid by Mr Speaker, that whatever Statement made in this House would not have consequences whatsoever on a Motion that is pending. I am also certain that coming under Standing Order 72, the fact that the Hon Minister is to limit himself to facts and to situations that do not generate debate, falls in tangent with one that is not anticipatory of the pending Motion.
    I share Mr Speaker's dilemma, but I agree entirely with him. If he has to err, then he has to err this time on the freedom of expression.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, yes, you know I have enormous powers when it comes to the Standing Orders? I agree with the Hon Member for Sekondi.
    If you look at Standing Orders 5 and 6 -- Order 5 says that:
    “In case of doubt these Orders shall be interpreted by Mr Speaker as he deems fit.”
    If you look at Order 6, it says:
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to go with your direction al- right, except to suggest that because a Motion has been filed earlier, if it can be possible, the Minister should come and make the Statement and then we do not take any contributions from Members, so that at least, if there is any contribution, it would come when the Motion is moved.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Well, if that is what the House wants to do, I have no objection at all. We should also be very careful not to do anything to prejudice the Motion.
    Hon Majority Leader, there is a suggestion from the Hon Deputy Minority Whip.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not think we can take a very fast, firm position on this in the light of Order 70(2), that requires that some comments can be made but those comments should be ones that should not provoke debate.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    But Hon Majority Leader, how would you -- in view of the fact that there is a pending Motion -- That is why he is suggesting that we should reserve the comments, so that when the Motion is made, then whatever Statement is made today, can be taken together with the Motion. That is why he is making that suggestion.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, I do not disagree with the substance of that, but it is an option. After the Statement is made, if nobody rises, no comment would be made.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    The House can agree that on this occasion, in view of the pending Motion, we should proceed in a particular way. We are masters of our own procedure, as the Hon Member for Sekondi men- tioned early on, and we can decide to --
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker can direct that way, that he thinks in this particular --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Well, that is for the House to decide.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Well, that is why I said, for the House to oust itself from making a comment on a matter that is permissible by the Standing Orders, we can do that. But --
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I will go with the suggestion by the Hon Deputy Minority Whip, because it will be very difficult for one to pass a comment where one will not stray into the area of the pending Motion. That is the reason the Hon Deputy Minority Whip is making that decision.
    Yes?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minister, have you moved from the Ministry of Information and Media Relations? I will want to know. Have you moved from that Ministry or you are still in charge?
    Mr Mahama Ayariga 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am still in charge of Information and Media Relations, but substantively, the Minister for Youth and Sports. [Uproar.]
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Yes?
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this matter was crosschecked. We have a communication from the Chief Director of the Ministry to my office indicating that he will be substantive Minister from this morning onwards - working time.
    I have also been briefed that he has duly taken over as the substantive Minister for Youth and Sports-- [Uproar.] What I said was that the letter was a public document that was addressed to the House, in which they indicated -- In fact, he quoted a correspondence from the Office of the President on the matter.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it seems as if we keep on driving ourselves into a governance conundrum. Mr Speaker, we do not deal with civil servants when it comes to substantive appointments of the President and who is in charge of Ministries. I would have thought that the Hon Majority Leader, being the Leader of Government Business, would get the information from the Presidency and not from the Office of a Chief Director.
    Mr Speaker, let us bear in mind -- I must say that I personally feel strongly
    about these matters. Even though I am not anticipating, I have heard the Minister for Health is coming to address us; the Minister for Health, by public announce- ment, was designated to be somewhere else. All right?
    Now, it is the same with the Minister for Information and Media Relations, and you, Mr Speaker, had to enquire from him. That is my problem. The President should not put this House through this; he should not. For Mr Speaker to be asking a Minister whether he is the Minister -- Mr Speaker, it is not right. It does not advance our governance. I am pleading with the President and the Hon Majority Leader, let us get these things straight. We cannot continue like this; we cannot.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:45 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, precisely because you recognise me as the Minister in Charge of Government Business. It is certainly not prudent in neat and good governance for me to carry correspondence on these matters to this House as testimony. At least, as Majority Leader of this House, my word on some matters should also be taken in as much as it relates to Government.
    The context in which that communica- tion came from the Director was because we requested for some information and there was no substantive Minister at that time. So, he was communicating to us the arrangement of the transition; he referenced a letter that came from the Office of the President. So, in substance, it is information that came from the Office of the President, of which I have actual knowledge, and that is what I am bringing to the attention of this House.
    Certainly, I will not encourage bureaucrats to be dealing with the House, but one must look at the special circumstances of each case in which there is a lacuna. It is not -- well, I will not make that value judgment since I am addressing Mr Speaker on this matter.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Minister, is it not better, in the interest of good governance, for this House to be informed when there are changes? It is not a constitutional obligation; I admit. But it is these practices that give flesh to the Constitution. Would it not be better for us to know when these changes are made and from when for the record?
    I asked that so that when the Hon Minister comes in, they do not raise it. That was why I tried to preempt it ahead of time, having in mind what happened last two weeks. That is why I tried to raise it, so that I can get it cleared before he goes to the Dispatch Box. So, it would be better in the interest of good governance for the House to be informed. It is not a Constitutional obligation, but it is good for all of us, that this is what the position is.
    Dr Kunbuor 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, what happened before the assurance was given to this House was that it was communicated that the Constitutional requirements for nominees to be approved should be communicated separately. But the administrative decisions in moving Ministers -- so that those Ministers do not become perfect strangers in this House, should also be communicated.
    I believe it was in light of that, that the recent movement in the Ministry of Youth and Sports -- I got the information and a copy of the letter of that movement. [Interruption.] I am saying that the Chief
    Director quoted a letter from the -- [Interruption.] Yes, I did.
    Mr Daniel Botwe 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to crave your indulgence.
    My Hon Colleague rightly said that for over two weeks, this House has been discussing this matter. Mr Speaker, if we do not take ourselves serious, the people outside this House will also not take us serious. It is important. If Members of Parliament, who approve the nomination of Hon Ministers are not even sure at any point in time which Ministers are in charge of which Ministries, then what are we doing?
    I raised the issue the other time -- and that way about two weeks ago --that even the children who come here -- the school pupils who come here, when they go back, how do they answer who the Minister for a particular Ministry is or not?
    We were in this House when the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, who was supposed to have been moved to the Upper West Region said he was on leave and because of that he could not answer
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Are you taking us back?
    Mr Botwe 10:55 a.m.
    No! It is the context. Mr Speaker, it is in the same context.
    Mr Speaker, because of that he said he would not answer a Question. A few days after that event, the Hon Minister who would not answer a Question because he was on leave, was seen with the President on a tour of Volta Region inspecting roads. The following week, the Hon Minister came back to this House and said that he could now answer Questions because he was back from leave and he was in charge of the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
    Mr Speaker, we cannot continue to be taken lightly like that and it is because we are allowing it. I would therefore, call on Mr Speaker -- We are not even sure whether the Ministry of Youth and Sports
    has been handed over to the Hon Minister for Information and Media Relations who now wants to make a Statement as the substantive Minister for Youth and Sports. We are not sure of that. I do not know whether he is going to confirm that it has been handed over to him.
    In the same way, we also have another Minister scheduled to answer Questions on health. We all know that the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development is acting and working as the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development now; he is also the Minister for the Eastern Region. We are now vetting the person who is supposed to go to the Eastern Region.
    Mr Speaker, has he handed over to him? Is that why he is acting as the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development? The Minister is working as the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development now; has he already handed over? It is just confusing.
    I am saying that until we are satisfied with ourselves that he has handed over and he is the new substantive Minister for Youth and Sports, the House should not allow him to make a Statement.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip, the practice of the House is that if the Hon Majority Leader or the Leader of the House makes an announcement for a Statement to be made, unless you have evidence to the contrary, we have to take his word for it. He has made a categorical statement that he has received communication -- he made a statement, yes. He has been informed by referring to a letter from the Office of the President. So, that disposes of the issue.
    But Hon Members, we should also make room for a certain period of transition
    -- 10:55 a.m.

    Dr Kunbuor 10:55 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Mahama Ayariga, Minister responsible for Youth and Sports?
    Mr Botwe 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want us to be clear.
    Mr Speaker, are you saying that the Hon Majority Leader confirmed that he has received correspondence from the Office of the President? Is that what he is saying?
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    He said he had received correspondence from the Chief Director. That is what he said on the floor of the House, and they made reference to the letter from the Office of the President and that he has also been briefed. So, we have no reason to doubt what the Hon Majority Leader is saying. On that basis, I will call the new Minister responsible for Youth and Sports to move to --
    Dr Kunbuor 10:55 a.m.
    In fact, Mr Speaker, on a lighter note, I do know that people who are very distant from Government have always categorically told me about very otherwise official decisions in Govern- ment and it has always turned out to be true and I hold them in high esteem for that. They should extend the same courtesy to him.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Minister, you have the floor.
    STATEMENTS 10:55 a.m.

    Minister for Youth and Sports (Mr Mahama Ayariga) 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for indulging me pursuant to Order 70(2) of the Standing Orders, to make an announcement to this august House of the formation of three-member Ministerial Committee to review the organisation of the Ghana Black Stars participation in the 2014 Brazil FIFA Tournament and the performance of the team in Brazil and matters arising thereafter.
    Ghana qualified to participate in the 2014 FIFA Football Tournament in Brazil. The main institutions responsible for the organisation of Ghana's participation included Ghana's National Football Team, the Black Stars, Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, led by the former Minister, Hon Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
    Ghana started its preparation almost immediately after we qualified for the tournament. It was the third time we had qualified. We had performed creditably in the earlier tournaments even as new entrants.
    Mr Speaker, while the team and their managers were in Brazil, we received several media reports of problems in the
    camp of the Black Stars, including matters regarding the management of the finances of the team and discipline among the players. We received reports also of the suspension of some of the members of the team and alleged cases of assault. The conduct of the members of the team and the managers of Ghana's participation attracted negative media attention globally.
    Ultimately, when Ghana's Black Stars met their Portuguese counterpart in their final match of the first round, they were defeated and thus got eliminated from the first round of the tournament. The team has since returned home from Brazil.
    Immediately after the match with Portugal, President John Dramani Mahama granted a press interview during which he promised a review of what happened in relation to Ghana's participation in the tournament. This commitment was widely publicised by the local and international media. Pursuant to President John Dramani Mahama's directive, a committee has been set up to review Ghana's participation and unexpected early exit from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament in Brazil.
    The committee is made up of three persons. The members of the committee include Justice Senyo Dzamefeh, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Moses Foh Amoaning, a Lawyer and Sports Administrator and Mr Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, a Banker and Sports enthusiast.
    Mr Speaker, the terms of reference of the committee are 10:55 a.m.
    (a) to inquire into matters relating to Ghana Black Stars' preparation for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament;
    (b) to inquire into matters relating to the management of the Ghana Black Stars team and events in their camp during the tourna- ment;
    (c) to inquire into matters relating to Ghana's treatment of Ghanaian football fans who were sent to support the Black Stars by the Ministry of Youth and Sports;
    (d) advise Government on the financing of the activities of senior national team; and lastly,
    (e) to inquire into all other related matters of public interest concerning the organisation of Ghana's Black Stars' parti- cipation in the tournament.
    Mr Speaker, this Ministerial Committee would be directed to conclude its work within thir ty (30) days of their commissioning and to present their report immediately thereafter.
    Mr Speaker, Government will act on the recommendations of the Committee. Government believes that a forward- looking enquiry will expose lapses to engender reforms to improve the organisation of Ghana's participation in future football tournaments. We believe that all stakeholders will cooperate with the Committee. The President of the Ghana Football Association has already welcomed the enquiry.
    We have no doubt that the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) will have no objections to participating nations reviewing and enquiring into the poor performance of their teams with a view to carrying out reforms that will improve their
    nations' teams. Stronger teams will ensure more exciting FIFA tournaments in the future.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements, and as suggested, we leave it at that.
    Hon Members, item three on the order Paper.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Health is here.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Minister responsible for Health? -- [Pause.]
    Hon Members, we start with the Urgent Questions standing in the name of the Hon Member for Krachi East.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Krachi East called me and said he was unable to be in the House this morning, so, I should ask the Question on his behalf. I seek your leave and the leave of the House to do that.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Very well
    URGENT QUESTIONS 11:05 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF HEALTH 11:05 a.m.

    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Yes, do you have a point of order?
    Dr A.A. Osei 11:05 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. I thought he was asking for the Hon Member for Krachi East, not Krachi. He said “Krachi.”
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member for Ketu North, did you? That is the Hon Ranking Member --
    Mr Avedzi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said “Krachi East” -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Minister? -- [Pause]
    Hon Minister, it is an Urgent Question. Normally, the Answer is not printed, so what we will do is that we will go to the next Question while you make efforts to locate the Answer. So, we will move to Question number 101.

    Hon Member for Achiase, you have the floor.
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 11:05 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF HEALTH 11:05 a.m.

    Minister for Health(Ms Hanny-Sherry Ayittey) 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry is aware of the need for a major rehabilitation and expansion of the Achiase Health Post to an appreciable standard. The Ministry
    is in the process of arranging funding under various funding sources and I wish to establish that as soon as funds are made available, the Achiase Health Post will be renovated into a district hospital.
    Mr Amoah 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker , per the Answer, the Ministry is in the process of arranging funding under various funding sources. Can the Hon Minister assure the House and the people of Achiase that funds will be available in the 2015 budget for the project?
    Ms Ayittey 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the Hon Member of Parliament that the Ministry has some programmes in the pipeline and we are trying to seek for external funds. So, I am sure that this will be included.
    Mr Amoah 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what specific assurance? “Now looking for funding” is too vague. So, she should give us specific assurance with regard to the maintenance.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Your question again?
    Mr Amoah 11:05 a.m.
    We need timelines for the sourcing of the funds.
    Ms Ayittey 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the Hon Member that the Ministry would do its best to look for funds to upgrade the health post.
    Mr Amoah 11:05 a.m.
    The good people of Achiase are listening to what is going on here. They would like to know exactly when.
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member must also appreciate that the Ministry of Health would have to work with the Ministry of Finance. Even when we find the funds, we have to see that this can be accommodated in our budget for 2015 as we have stated. We are doing our best to ensure that funds will be made available.
    Mr Amoah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    You have exhausted your supplementary questions.
    Question number 102?
    Hon Members, the normal practice of this House is that, if the Question is constituency-specific, as much as possible, we limit it to the Hon Member in whose name the Question stands.
    Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
    Mr Ignatius Baffuor Awuah 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Your goodself recently talked about the issue of the quality of debates and Questions which come up on the floor. I cannot challenge your ruling. I would want to suggest that Questions may relate to a constituency but if the Answers are such that there are probing issues that need to be addressed, we should allow that to go, so that at least, we can also have quality Answers.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Whip, I agree with you. Yesterday, I did that when I called on the Hon Minority Leader to ask a number of questions. But if you want to ask a question, please do.
    Mr Awuah 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in an answer to a supplementary question, said that plans were underway and that as soon as funds were sourced, this project would
    be taken care of. I would want to know from the Hon Minister whether they have included this particular project in any of their programmes. If within say their development plan they have programmed it, she should let us know.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member asked that this should be programmed for the 2015 budget. We have not started with the 2015 budget. We would start that some time in August. But I believe that from the Ministry of Finance, we are not making provision for new programmes.
    So, for the 2015 budget, when we receive guidelines from the Ministry of Finance, we will be able to see what we can do.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Last question, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister tell us a bit about the Orio Programme, so that we can follow the Answer?
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    What is your question?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    The Question is, would she tell us what the Orio Programme is? Nobody knows about it.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Where are you getting your answer from?
    You are out of order.
    Question number 102. Hon Member for Prestea/Huni Valley.
    Bogoso Clinic Polyclinic (Upgrading)
    Q.102.Mr Francis Adu-Blay Koffie asked the Minister for Health when the Bogoso Clinic would be upgraded to a polyclinic status.
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Bogoso
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, Hon Akoto's question has been ruled out of order at this time, so it is not part of the record. Let us exhaust the supplementary questions of the Hon Member, then -- [Interruption]
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Akoto has not spoken.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei.
    Yes, supplementary question.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, may I know the date of the signing of the agreement for the commencement of the project?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the grant has been signed and the main commercial agreement would be signed between the Dutch Government and the Ministry of Finance.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am interested in the date and when --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    What is the difference between the date and the “when”? I want to get the question.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    I am interested in the date because when the date is announced, then I will know whether the date falls on Wednesday or Thursday.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, when did you sign the agreement?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the date would be fixed by the Minister for Finance.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, according to the Hon Minister's Answer, the agreement has already been signed. That is, according to the Answer provided here. But she is saying that the date would be fixed by the Ministry of Finance. So, I am confused about the two.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, when did the Ministry of Finance sign the agreement?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Orio Project is in two parts. We have the grant element and the loan element. So, the grant part has been signed. Now, the commercial loan element would have to be signed by the Ministry of Finance. It is sent to Cabinet for approval, and then onward to Parliament for approval.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Your last supplementary question. Or have you finished?
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    I am satisfied.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Akoto Osei.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, can the Minister give us a little brief about what the Orio Programme is?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Orio Programme is a Dutch facility with some Dutch banks which have come together, sponsored by the Dutch Government. So, there is a grant component and there is a loan component.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, Question number 103, standing in the name of the Hon Member for Prestea/Huni Valley.
    A new ultra-modern Government Hospital at Prestea
    (Construction)
    Q.103. Mr Francis Adu-Blay Koffie asked the Minister for Health what plans the Ministry had to construct a new ultra- modern government hospital at Prestea.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Ms Ayittey 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry has initiated steps and is sourcing for funds to set up hospitals in some selected towns. However, Prestea has been slated for the Orio Programme to be implemented in the Western Region.
    As you may be aware, the Ministry of Finance has signed the grant agreement paving the way for the implementation of the commercial phase to commence.
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in this vein I would urge the Hon Minister that the commencement of the project should be facilitated. This is because there is a lot of pressure on the Prestea Government Hospital since that is the only --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    What is your question?
    Mr Koffie 11:15 a.m.
    So, my question comes back to my earlier question, “when”?
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Minister.
    Ms Ayittey 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we will do our best to facilitate the early commencement of the project.
    Mr Koffie 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker. I am satisfied with the Answers.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Question number 104. Hon Member for Offinso South.
    Number of CHPS compounds in the Ashanti Region (January 2011 to
    December 2014) (Construction)
    Q.104. Mr Ben Abdallah Banda asked the Minister for Health how many CHPS compounds had been constructed in the Ashanti Region from January 2011 to December 2013, their locations and sources of funding.
    Ms Hanny-Sherry Ayittey 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I respond, I would like to make a small correction on the list that I provided. Instead of “Constructed”, it should be:
    “Plans for Construction from 2011 to 2014”

    Mr Speaker, from January 2011 to December 2013, 92 CHPS compounds have been constructed in the Ashanti Region. The details and locations of new CHPS compounds and their funding sources are attached.

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    - 11.25 A.M.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Very well -- [Interrup- tion] -- Hon Members, let us have order in the House.
    Yes Hon Member, your supplementary question --
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised because I do not know why the Hon Minister would like to change or amend my Question.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, the rules of the House allow it. We all do it. Committee Chairmen do it; any time you see there is some mistake, you can correct the records on the floor of the House.
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is no mistake in the Question that I asked.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    No! She is correcting her Answer that instead of “Constructed” it should be “Plans for construction from 2011 to 2014”.
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Then Mr Speaker, it means that the Hon Minister did not answer my Question.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, you might not be satisfied; that is why you have the opportunity to do a follow-up. That is the essence of supplementary questions, when you are not satisfied.
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the information given by the Hon Minister in relation to a lot of the CHPs compounds is incorrect. I would like to make specific references.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister claims that there is a CHPs compound at Ahafo Ano South. The community's name is “Ahwenewan”. Mr Speaker, I have cross- checked and the Hon Member of Parliament for that constituency is here. There is no CHPs compound there.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, that is “Plans for construction 2014”; that is the correction she made on the floor of the House.
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, even that, at page 18, the Hon Minister claims there is a CHIP compound at Amansie West. The community name is --
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    “Plans for construction.'
    Mr Banda 11:25 a.m.
    Yes I understand -- “Plans for construction.” No! but my Question did not ask for “Plans for construction” - - [Interruption] --
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister said there was a CHPS compound at Adinponso, page 17 --
    My next question is that in view of the reframing of her Answer, how many CHPS compounds have so far been constructed?
    Ms Ayittey 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have almost completed 980 CHPs compounds across the country -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Order! Please, let us allow the Hon Minister to answer the question. Why? Hon Members, let us have order. She has not finished. What is your problem?
    Ms Ayittey 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member wants specifically for the Ashanti Region, I would beg the House to allow me to bring you -- [Interruption]
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    Hon Member for Sekondi -- Hon Minister, take your seat.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:25 a.m.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    To refresh our memories, with your permission:
    “Question number 104 -- Mr Ben Abdallah Banda asked the Minister for Health how many CHPS compounds had been constructed in the Ashanti Region from January 2011 to December 2013, their locations and sources of funding”
    That is the Question.
    Ms Ayittey 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the project department provided 92 CHPs. When I reconciled, I realised that some of them have been slated for 2014. So, that is why I am asking the House, Mr Speaker, to allow that I can bring you the specific allocation. I would present it by tomorrow -- [Interruption] -- Tomorrow, I would bring it to the House. Because out of the 92, some are -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    I thought you had had your chance? I was going to call the Hon Member for Old Tafo.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo --
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am a bit worried. Just a few days ago, you talked about how Parliament must be seen to be on top of its work. I would want to appeal to the Hon Ministers that when Questions are asked and Answers are given, they should take time to look at them before they come here.
    This is because for the Answer to be amended here and not answer the Hon Member's Questions -- you know, his constituents are waiting for the Answer. And to say that she wants to be given time, the harm has been done. However, can you direct the Hon Minister to come back tomorrow to provide the Answer, so that the Hon Member can be satisfied?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know exactly under what procedure is the Hon Member coming? That, this is Question time and a question is supposed to be asked and he rose and was given an opportunity to ask a question and he is asking you to direct the Hon Minister to do a particular activity. There is a way in which that can be done but not using the opportunity to ask a supplementary question.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am assisting the Hon Majority Leader, so that the Business of this House would go smoothly. He should be concerned that this Question has not been answered. In his absence, we are assisting him, as he expects us to do, so that this House would be treated in the right way.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
    Yes, I do agree and appreciate his assistance, but he should do it in accordance with the Standing Orders.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just this morning, you referred to a certain part of the Standing Orders which provides that where there are no specific provisions made, you have the power to make certain orders. I believe it is in respect of this that the Hon Member - and indeed, Mr Speaker, I am worried --
    Mr Speaker, you have been in this House since its inception. What is happening these days is not right. It is definitely not right. And I do not want to say anything further but I am urging the Hon Leader of Government Business -- you see, Government Business should be taken serious. And the impression should not be given that Government is not on top of its work, please.
    Mr Speaker 11:25 a.m.
    What I would do is that -- Alright, let me hear from the Hon Majority Leader, then I will know the order to proceed.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:25 a.m.
    Certainly, nobody is giving an impression. Government is on top of its Business. I would want to make that emphatically and on record, because I have also been an Hon Member of this House and I can tell you that nothing is taking place now which has not happened in this House. I can recount very serious things which have happened in this House. But that is not to say an Hon
    Member cannot draw attention that we should improve. I understand the Hon Member to be saying the standards should not be lowered -- [Interruption] -- At best, we should maintain the standard or improve on it.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, this is Question time. The rules are very clear.
    Hon Minister, what I intend doing is that, I have been invited to invoke some of my privileges. I will ask you to provide the information to the Hon Member, and if the Hon Member is not satisfied, he can do a follow-up by way of a Question, and I will quickly admit that Question by way of a follow-up. That should resolve the issue.
    So, they should provide the specifics to the Hon Member in writing, and then he would interrogate the Answer. If he is not satisfied, he will come back to me with a Question or any tool available to him; he can come back with a follow-up Question. We have done that before; we will look at the Question, based on it and then you can do a follow-up. You can file a follow-up Question based on the information that they provide.
    Hon Members, let us not litigate this matter further. Those are my directives on the matter.
    Hon Members, Question number 105?
    Hon Member for Afigya Sekyere East?
    Theatre for Agona Government Hospital (Provision)
    Q.105.Mr Hennric David Yeboah asked the Minister for Health when the Agona Government Hospital would be provided a theatre.
    Ms Sherry Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry wishes to state that, according to the Ghana Health Service Planning for Hospitals at the district level, the Agona hospital has been ranked fourth (4th) for rehabilitation in the Ashanti Region. The Ministry is in the process of sourcing for funds to carry out the recommendation of the report.
    The Agona Government Hospital will benefit from this exercise as soon as funds are made available. The theatre in question was refurbished with the internally generated funds and funds from IPAS and Population Council in 2013 and has since April, 2014 been put to use.
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, the theatre started about five months ago. However, I would want to know who are the financiers she is calling, the “IPAS” and “Population Council”. Who are those people?
    Ms Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Population Council is the Ghana Population Council, and the IPAS received some support from our donor partners, and that were the funds that they used to rehabilitate the theatres.
    He doe not know the Ghana Population Council? The Population Council is a statutory body in Ghana. It is a statutory body -- National Population Council.
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the information is inadequate. This is because if they want to know more about the financiers of the hospital, then my name has to be there -- [Hear! Hear!]This is because --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, this is Question time. There is a way of asking that question. --
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    Is this the full list of the financiers?
    Ms Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, IPAS under the National Population Council, I know the Ghana National Population Council is a statutory body in Ghana.Does he know that? He does not know?
    He does not know the Ghana National Population Council? [Interruption] -- It is the Ghana National Population Council I am talking about. [Interruption] -- Is it not there; the IPAS. No! It is not.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister, do not engage Hon Akoto Osei. Ignore him.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was just providing information. There is a difference between --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, but is that the way to provide the information on the floor of the House?
    Hon Member, your supplementary question?
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is it Population Council or National Population Council? It is not here. That is why I would want to know.
    Ms Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    It is the National Population Council. If you are not sure, that is it.
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    National Population Council does not fund hospitals. Is she aware? [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us have some order.
    What was your question again?
    Mr Yeboah 11:35 a.m.
    Does the National Population Council finance hospitals?
    Ms Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, sometimes the donor partners route their funding through organisations, and I believe that this must have been one of the cases, that some funds were routed through the Council for certain projects. So, that is what is here.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Last supplementary question, Hon Akoto Osei?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, your question; the last supplementary question?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that it is the Population Council, a non-governmental organisa- tion (NGO) that funds hospitals and not the National Population Council. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Ms Ayittey 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am aware.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Members, we move to the Urgent Question.
    Hon Minister, are you ready with the Urgent Question now? [Interruption.] The Urgent on the Order Paper. Are you ready.

    Hon Minister for Health.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think I have just seen the Hon Member for Krachi East; he is sitting here.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member for Ketu North, why have you misled the House?
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not misled the House.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    But the Hon Member is here?
    Mr Avedzi 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, at the time I asked the Question, he was not in [Uproar] -- And when he came, he did not even report to me, that made me to ask --
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member for Krachi East, whom have you authorised to ask your Question on your behalf?
    Mr Wisdom Gidisu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am just coming from the hospital. I asked Hon Avedzi to ask the Question on my behalf. I just entered the Chamber. [Hear! Hear!]
    Hon Minister?
    Ms Ayittey 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker the Ministry of Health has the mobile clinic programme. We have an outreach programme and we would extend the service to the constituency and the communities around the Volta Lake.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, supplementary?
    Mr Wisdom Gidisu 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Papa Owusu- Ankomah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am wondering in what capacity the Hon Member for Krachi East is asking supplementary questions.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, I am not asking him to ask the mandatory three supplementary questions; I called for supplementary and I saw him on his feet. The Member whose Question he asked on his behalf was not on his feet, and he is a Member of the House.
    Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu- Ankomah 11:45 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, but you have only one supplementary question?
    Mr W. Gidisu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have listened attentively to the Minister for Health and I would want to thank her for the initiative being put in place to make sure they have people on the Island satisfied, so long as health issues are concerned.
    But I would want to ask the Hon Minister whether she is aware that the numerous communities on the Island or the Island communities are without even a single health facility to take care of these things. And this has actually necessitated the drowning of people in the Volta Lake.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Did you get the question? Very well.
    Ms Ayittey 11:45 a.m.
    Last year, we launched the outreach programme and the outreach team has programmed to visit the communities along the Volta Lake. We have comprehensive outreach clinics; we have a general van for internal medicine; we have a van for dental services; we have
    a van for eye and ear treatment and we have a van for digital chest filming. So, it is a very comprehensive outreach programme.
    I assure the Hon Member, that this year, the outreach team would be in the communities to take care of all the people there.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    I will take the last supplementary question.
    Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri?
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
    I know the Hon Minister is a respectable --
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Please, ask your question; supplementary question. Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, please, ask your question.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Ministers who attend upon this House must dress properly. If you take a good look at Hon -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    You are out of Order. Please, you are out of Order.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time.
    Hon Minister, we thank you very much.
    At the Commencement of Public Business.
    Hon Members, let us have order in the House.
    rose
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to crave your indulgence because my attention has just been drawn to a Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2209 that was laid in this House on or about April. There are indications that there are some detailed technical deficiencies with the L.I. and I would like to seek your leave to get the L.I. withdrawn.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Very well. You may go ahead.
    Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I beg to seek the leave of the House to withdraw the Customs Amendment Regulation, 2014, L.I. 2209 which was presented to the House on the 1st of April,
    2014.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, LI 2209 accordingly withdrawn and the referral to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, consequentially withdrawn too.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we could take item number 7?
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, Customs Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage.
    The Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, before we get into Consideration Stage, I would want to crave your indulgence to look at the item on page 13 of the Order Paper.
    I just need your guidance. I see that the Committee on Works and Housing is scheduled to meet with the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), and I am wondering if that is not a mistake.
    POTAG deals with education, so, I do not see how --
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, that aspect is not part of the Business of the House.
    Hon Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:52 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are we taking item number 6?
    Dr Kunbour 11:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we had actually commenced on item 7 on the Order Paper.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:52 a.m.
    The Customs Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 11:52 a.m.

    STAGE 11:52 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 11:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2 subclause (2), line 3, delete “duty” and insert “duties and taxes”.
    Mr Speaker, the clause, the headnote is talking about the exemption of duties and taxes and for that matter, the subclauses must reflect that position.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    I will put the Question on subclause (2), line 3 --
    Let us have some order here. Those who are going for committee meetings -- I will give you 30 seconds to excuse us. I do not want to name anybody for the record. Let us have some order.
    Those who are outside the Chamber but could be heard in the Chamber too. Contempt extends there. You could advise them to stop having that loud conversation or close the door.
    Thank you.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr James Klutse Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2 -- subclause (3), delete “duty” and insert “duties and taxes.”
    Mr Speaker, this is consequential to the first amendment that we did.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 4 -- Designation of Customs- Controlled Area.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, subclause (1), paragraph (a), line 1, delete “and outside the customs territory” and insert “the country”.
    Mr Speaker, the new rendition would read 11:55 a.m.
    “The Commissioner-General may designate an area within the country as a customs- controlled area for the purposes of administering or enforcing the provisions of this Act.”
    Mr Speaker, the Committee is of the view that “within the country” should be an appropriate phrase for the designation of an area to be known as the customs- controlled area, in order to have a better rendition and to capture the intent of that particular clause.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4, subclause (5), line 2, before “processing” insert “type of” and after “allowed” delete “by the Commissioner- General.”
    The new rendition will read:
    “The Commissioner-General may in relation to a customs- controlled area issue directive as to the type of processing that would be allowed.”
    That should end it, -- and delete “by the Commissioner-General.”
    Mr Speaker, the Committee is of the view that in order to capture the intent of the clause and to have a better rendition, the amendment is proposed.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 4 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 5 -- Activities in Customs Controlled Area.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5, paragraph (d), after “storage” and insert “and processing”.
    Mr Speaker, the activities that are done in the customs- controlled area would not include only the storage of imported goods, but also the storage and processing of imported goods under bond.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to seek further clarification from the Chairman on subclause (2) of clause 5, whose wording sounds more of a disclaimer. I am wondering if we should couch a disclaimer as part of a Bill or law. So, I would need further information on that.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Thank you for your intervention.
    If you could move it and explain--
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not yet moved the amendment. So, let me move it, so that she can make comments on it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Just to say that I am happy she raised it. This is because I was getting a little disturbed that nobody was raising anything. Either it meant that the Committee had done an excellent job, or perhaps, people were not too interested in it. But I am very happy that she has raised it. So, as you are moving it, then you will give us the explanation.
    Mr Avedzi 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not think that you have already formed your opinion on this.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    I do not have an opinion, but my concern is that, I want the House to participate in proceedings. This is a very important Bill. So, when everybody was quiet, I wondered if it is the case of a teacher teaching and everybody understands, or the teacher is teaching and nobody understands or is interested. That was the question I asked myself.
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5, add the following new subclause:
    “(2) Goods that are stored in a customs- 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.”
    Mr Speaker, the reason is that, the Commissioner-General designate an area within the country as a customs- controlled area and importers and exporters are allowed to store their goods in this controlled area by permission that would be given by a proper officer which has been defined in the Bill.
    That cannot be done at the expense of the Commissioner-General. Just as a car park and it is put there that he is parking this car here at his own risk. All valuable things in this car; parks it there at his own risk.
    So, if we are storing goods at the customs- controlled area, we are doing it at your own risk and expense. Therefore, if there is rent for us to pay, we do not expect the Commissioner-General to pay that rent for us but we would have to pay that rent. That is the essence of this new clause the Committee is proposing.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you. Now Hon Member?
    Ms Safo 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I understand the Chairman clearly, it is a clause that is intending to push liability or responsibility to somebody other than the Commissioner- General in a controlled area. I am not too comfortable with the drafting.
    Probably, it is couched in a way that makes one believe that it is rather a disclaimer rather than a clause that is establishing a responsibility or for that matter, shifting it to somebody other than would have been presumed to have been one that would bear that responsibility.
    So, Mr Speaker, probably, the draftspersons would want to look at it again especially when we are using the words “risk” and “at the expense” and all that. I am not too comfortable Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    So, Hon Member, is your problem with the way it is drafted or it is with what it intends to do? This is because we are told that it clearly intends to lay risk at somebody's doorstep, so to speak. So, is your problem with the drafting, the intention of the draftsperson or the intention of the law- maker?
    Ms Safo 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that the issue has to do with both; what it is intending to do and the wording itself. It is trite law that indeed, when goods are left in the care or it is being stored by someone in contractual agreement -- What this clause is seeking to do actually would be implied nonetheless.
    So, for one to make it express in a Bill or in a law, whatever it is intended for is already catered for, by the law which is implied. For that matter, I have a difficulty with how it is couched and whether indeed, we need it as part of this Bill.
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member is not even sure of what to do; whether she is completely against this clause or she is in favour of it but want the wording, how it is couched to be changed. If that is what she wants, I would agree with her and propose that she comes with a rendition that can capture what she wants.
    Mr Speaker, let me explain that designation of customs- controlled area does not mean that the Commissioner- General is providing a warehouse, for him to come and keep his goods. No! It is just a designation of an area. It could even be an open area where Commissioner-General designates as a customs- controlled area and if we are keeping our goods there, we are keeping them at our own risk. We do not push the responsibility to the Commissioner-General to pay for any loss that is incurred.
    So, the purpose of this clause is necessary, so that tomorrow importers and exporters do not go to the Commissioner- General and say, “we designated this area as a customs- controlled area”; I kept my goods there and the goods are lost and for that matter, pay me. So, it is very important.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member is sure about what she is saying. Her point is simply that the word “control” is vague here; what does “control” mean? If we have designated an area that we say we control and somebody comes to steal something, then you want me to bear the risk. So, what do we mean by control?
    There is no problem with the last part, that you remind them that there are charges and rent. But if you do not clarify the word “control”, then why should I bear the risk? Control means what? That is the issue she is raising, that the part about
    the “risk and expense”; “the expense” is related to the rent and charges but the issue is, “risk” and “control”. What do we mean by “control”? We say we are in control and I should pay a price for somebody coming in there to steal. Then what are we controlling? That is the issue she is raising.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Chairman, I am looking at the interpreta- tion section; have we defined control?
    Mr Avedzi 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the customs- controlled area has been defined on page 100. [Interruption] -- Page 100; the customs- controlled area means a place in the country designated by the Commissioner-General where the authority has control over goods, persons and conveyances.”
    Now, for custom purposes, the Commissioner-General or Customs, Excise and Preventive Services has control over those areas that when we keep goods there, there are processes that we go through if we want to take the goods from there.
    If we are bringing goods into the area, we go through those processes for the purposes of tax, so that we do not evade the tax.
    Now, if it is not in the control of the Commissioner-General, then anything could go on where people could evade taxes and other things. So, that is the purpose for which that area is being controlled by the Commissioner-General for the purposes of collecting tax. But the point here is that, if we are to pay rent there, the Commissioner-General does not pay the rent for us; we would pay to whoever owns the place.
    If it is a warehouse which is designated by the Commissioner-General as a
    customs- controlled area and we come and keep our goods there, you will pay rent to the owner of the warehouse. That is the point we are making. So, we have a contractual agreement between the owner of the place and us. For that matter, we do not shift the risk or responsibility for loss of the property to the Commissioner- General. We should have that with the owner of the warehouse. That is the point.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Patrick Boamah, before the ranking Member, please --
    Mr Boamah 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I looked at the definition for custom-controlled area and the Chairman has rightly read it out. My problem was, and I get the sense from the Hon Member who moved the motion, that we are talking about on whom liability would fall in the event of someone's goods not being properly catered for.
    If an area is designated and you are telling me that I will bear the risk and consequences thereof, I am going to pay the owner of the said designated area -- I have a contractual arrangement with the person. The State will also benefit in a way or in some form of taxes. So, we cannot absorb ourselves from that arrangement and that is the point she was trying to raise. He must come clear on that.
    Mr Avedzi 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I disagree with the Hon Member. Let us look at the current situation where we have bonded warehouse. In the current bonded warehouse that we have, who pays the rent if we keep our goods at the bonded warehouse?
    Mr Speaker, it is the property owner who pays the rent to the owner of the warehouse. One does not ask the Commissioner-General to do that. If the
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A Osei 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know whether Hon Naabu was going — [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, this is why Hon Adwoa Safo raised the issue earlier, that it appeared we were offering a disclaimer. There is no question that, if I go and rent a place to store my goods, I have to pay. But the word “control” here has not been defined in a way that the contract is fully understood.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with you that we should find a way that customs is not being made to pay for these liabilities, but it is because we have not defined the “control” properly. We just said “customs- controlled area is where we have control”. But if you tell me you have control and somebody comes in there to steal, is that my responsibility?
    Mr Speaker, the intention of the draftspersons is good, but something is lacking about the word “control” that says that if we are in control, then we are in control. If the police are in control of a building and somebody goes there to steal, then we say that the police should not bear the risk? It does not make sense.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the draftspersons should help us with a better definition of control, and then we can go along. For that reason, maybe, you can step this down for now and have the
    draftspersons convince us about the issue of control, so that we can go ahead. But it is not very clear right now.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Ordinarily, I should recognise the Finance Minister when he rises, but I want to recognise Hon Naabu. This is because he has a lot to offer to this interesting debate.
    I have recognised you, Hon Naabu. If you do not have something to say, you have to rise up and say that “I have nothing to say.”
    Mr Joseph Bipoba Naabu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that Hon Naabu has no question to answer. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, I am not asking you a question. I have been listening to your very insightful and interesting comments, and we are all trying to learn and enrich the debate. I am sure that you are in the position to assist us— Or what you wanted to say has already past?
    Mr Naabu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have nothing to say for now.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you. Hon Naabu says he has nothing to say for now and that when he has something to say, he would speak.
    Mr Seth Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the essence of the control is to secure the revenue. Because even the fact that we have applied to the Commissioner-General for an area to be designated as a custom- controlled area, as the Chairman said in a case of a bonded warehouse, it is a privilege.
    Mr Speaker, it does not put the entire responsibility on the Commissioner- General to secure everything there. Indeed, we are under an obligation to make sure that risk is minimal and even the losses we are talking about do not occur, which is why we are under bond and we secured the place with a bond.
    Mr Speaker, it would therefore, be contrary to the intentions of the purpose of control to also make the Commissioner- General responsible. This is because the terms for us applying for an area to be designated as “controlled area”, includes securing the place and making sure that it is safe and protects the revenue. We are looking at “control” in this sense as an operative word to secure the revenue.
    Mr Speaker, if we take a bonded warehouse, it is a situation where the goods are moved from the ports without the payments of any duty, stored in the premises and the duty becomes liable only when they are taken out of the premises.
    There is an enormous responsibility on whoever applies for such an area to make sure that the place is safe and so, to put the responsibility for risk back on the Commissioner-General, would be against the whole idea or notion of a controlled area.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Minister, your first sentence, when you stood up attracted me, because you defined what “control” meant and you said that “control is control only for the purposes of securing revenue.”
    When you look at the clause as it is, and you come and look at page 100 — clause (5) and page 100, do not ordinarily convey that meaning. What would we lose if we define “control” in terms of what you said, so that somebody does not go to
    court to define “control” as creating liability either for the Commissioner- General or for somebody else—Do we lose anything if we say that?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that out of the abundance of caution, we would be restricting—
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    We would be?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    We would be limiting —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    The power of the Commissioner-General?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Yes, the power of the Commissioner-General, because a lot of activities take place as the clause itself. For example, the loading, unloading, inspection, assessment and clearing of imported and exported goods. A lot of activities are taking place in the normal course of doing business.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    But is the Commissioner-General not interested in all of that because of revenue— because he would want to check the quality?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is why we should not limit the powers of the Commissioner-General and at the same time, extend the risk of any occurrences to him, because the primary responsibility is on the importer, to make sure that he secures the place for trade, as well as for customs purposes.
    Mr Speaker, apart from the revenue, that nothing illicit actually happens within the area such as bringing in a container from the port, even if it has undergone inspection, where the items in it are not exactly what they are meant to be — If one has contraband or any illegal activity, that itself is another offence. Yes, it may
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.


    affect, but it may even involve criminal offences such as opening a warehouse for the purposes of selling drugs, which is an offence. So, that one does not take the privilege of having a bonded warehouse — so, that is the only reason we say that, yes, revenue is important but customs has other responsibilities which includes security and storage of arms and others which would make it restrictive --
    Minister, can we say that 12:15 p.m.
    “Control is control for the purposes of the Commissioner-General exercising his duties in relation to customs and revenue”?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in essence, all the functions with which the Commissioner-General is charged under the Act.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Is anything wrong therefore, if we define “control”—we have defined “custom- controlled area”. But can we go ahead to also define “control”? That is what Hon Members are asking, for the avoidance of doubt.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for as long as it does not restrict the Commissioner- General from exercising his powers.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker
    So, can we proceed — Both of us are not against -- we are talking about these matters because we do not want to create a law that would create unnecessary litigations and so, I want clarity.
    Perhaps, as we proceed, we would come back to it and then the wise heads can put their heads together and quickly do a definition of “control” then somebody does a further amendment, we put it in and then we move ahead.
    12.25.am.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    So, can we proceed — Both of us are not against -- we are talking about these matters because we do not want to create a law that would create unnecessary litigations and so, I want clarity.
    Perhaps, as we proceed, we would come back to it and then the wise heads can put their heads together and quickly do a definition of “control” then somebody does a further amendment, we put it in and then we move ahead.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hesitate to say that we should define “control”, in the sense that control may have several literal meanings.
    Mr Speaker, if we say “a customs- controlled area”, we know that within the purview of the Act, the functions and what has to be done, I thought that our suggestion that within the functions which the Commissioner-General has to exercise, which may involve a lot of activities — but to go ahead and define “control”, it would be —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Let me take one more suggestion and then I put the Question or ask that we move on.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are trying to bring clarity to a matter to make sure that it is understood. If there is no clarity here -- As you said, let us think about the way to handle it, such that normally, people would not misconstrue it. We would want to protect the functions of the controller. If defining “control” and adding it to the interpretation will help us, let us think about it and move ahead. This is because we cannot assume that normally, everybody understands the word “control”.
    To the extent that we are not restricted, it would be alright. But if we leave it as it is, somebody could find a way to misuse the Act. That is what we are saying. So, we can go on.
    Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised because this issue came up at the Finance Committee meeting and it was exhausted with the kind of explanation given. Strangely, the Hon Ranking Member is asking questions on the very issues that we deliberated extensively. Please, it was explained. A
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, it is not true that it was exhausted. It is not true. It cannot be exhausted. We are here to improve upon legislation. When we come to the plenary and issues are raised, we need to interrogate it and move forward. But to say that he is surprised -- Look, this is the work of Parliament. This is not just going to radio. We are not just going to radio. We are trying to improve the legislation. He should learn.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    You wait, he is raising a point of order. So, you wait, when he finishes, I will give you the floor.
    Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when we are confronted with issues that we ourselves deliberated extensively on, we turn round to say this is not radio. But who says this is radio? The point I made is that, as an Hon Ranking Member, we exhausted this issue. Several questions were asked and in fact, the customs people were there, they gave further explanations. Now, he turns round and he wants to belittle the issues and tell me that this is not radio. But who does not understand that this is Parliament?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:25 p.m.
    As I recall, when we were deliberating on this part, the Hon Member was in his room in the hotel. He was not there when we were doing this. He came back later.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us put an end to this.
    Hon Members, my view is that, even from committee meetings to the House, he can change his view. I have always held the view that regardless of what happened at the committee meeting -- he can remind him that he had this view two days ago, so, I am surprised that he has changed his view. But everybody has a right to change his view.
    Even an Hon Chairman -- the Hon Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu- Ankomah, -- it was said by the Hon Member for Nadowli/Kaleo, Mr Alban Bagbin, that even the Chairman of a committee can disagree with his report; not even a Ranking Member, but Chairman. Hon Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, am I correct?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:25 p.m.
    You are very correct.
    The precise words of Hon Alban Sumani Bagbin, repeating the ruling of the late Rt. Hon Daniel Francis Annan that a Chairman, after even submitting the report, during the debate can reprobate because it is the report of a committee and not the report of the Chairman. Even as Chairman, he can change his mind.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Should I give you the last opportunity?
    Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
    Yes.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    I hope you are moving on?
    Mr M. M. Ibrahim 12:25 p.m.
    Yes.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    It is not fair for the Hon Ranking Member to say -- in fact, I would not want to use the words “he lied.” But he was just being economical with the truth. This

    is a House of facts. For him to make a statement that is absolutely inaccurate, that as at the time they were deliberating on this issue, I was in my hotel room. How come that I got to know that this thing was exhausted? How come that I got to know that the customs people gave further explanation? It is not fair and I expect the Hon Ranking Member to retract and apologise to me.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:25 p.m.
    For the sake of moving forward, I would not want to disclose all that happened in Koforidua. So, if my good Friend is offended by my saying that he was in his room, I withdraw that.
    Mr William O. Boafo 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a fair principle that once the Commissioner-General is going to collect something from the person who is using the customs-controlled area, it is incumbent upon him to provide some security. He should not leave the risk at the door step of the user only. It is fair. It is not in consonance with social democracy for the Hon Chairman to make that proposition.
    It is not in consonance with his own party's philosophy of social democracy. He must concede to the fact that the Commissioner-General should bear part of the responsibility for security in the area.
    Mr Speaker, we need to stress the fact that, we as a House must be able to stand on our own and not allow ourselves to be stampeded by a technocrat's advice. Otherwise, what is the use of our being called upon to review Bills which are brought to us in this House? Each time we come in plenary to consider some of these things; we are told that we have been advised by the experts at the Committee level. So, what is that?
    Stampeding us to accept advice from that level.
    At least, the essence of our involvement in the consideration of a Bill is that, we bring fresh ideas, fresh approaches and new dimensions to the Bill.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    rose rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Between the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Hon Minister for Finance, decide who will speak first.
    Mr Avedzi 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speker, I will speak first.
    Mr Speaker, there is one thing that we are missing here. We are working on a revenue Bill which is very important. We are also losing sight of the fact that if we would want to push the cost and responsibility for those areas to the Commissioner-General, we are not looking at the extent to which the Commissioner- General will be stretched. That is an issue we should look at. It is not a matter of saying that because they are also in control. Yes, they are in control in relation to customs. That is why the word is not “control” standing on its own.
    If you look at the headnote, it says “customs-control area” and the Commissioner-General is controlling that area in relation to custom duties -- custom related activities. You the importer or the exporter who keeps the goods there has an agreement with the owner of that place to provide security. If we would want to shift that to the Commissioner- General, we will be making a grave mistake that we will live to regret.
    So, Mr Speaker, the definition of “custom-controlled area”, we should not look at “control” standing on its own, but we should look at “control” in relation to “customs”. That will solve the problem.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 5 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you all for the very interesting discussion and I allowed it to go on because under our Interpretation Act, when they are interpreting laws in court, they look at the proceedings of Parliament. So, the various views that have been expressed so ably by Hon Members, if this question ever happens to go to court, the court will take the Hansard, look at the various views expressed and will arrive at its conclusion. Which way the court will go, I am not in a position to tell.
    Clauses 6 to 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 9 -- Records keeping.
    Mr Avedzi 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 9 subclause (2), paragraph (a), line 1, delete “customs territory of the”
    Mr Speaker, the new rendition will read,
    “A person specified in subsection 1 shall produce the records for examination, inspection and audit by the authority where that person imports goods into the country, files a drawback claim, files a refund claim and the rest.”
    Mr Avedzi 12:35 p.m.


    The inclusion of “customs territory” which has not been defined in the Bill will make the intent of that particular subclause unclear. So, importation of goods into the country is sufficient enough for you to make those records available for examination, inspection and the rest.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    The amendment is for the considera- tion of the House.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 9 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 10 to 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill
    Clause 12 -- Customs ruling
    Mr Avedzi 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12 -- headnote, after “Customs” insert “advance”
    The new headnote will be “customs advance ruling”. If you read the subclauses on clause 12, the headnote did not adequately capture the intent of the clause. So, the Committee is proposing the insertion of “advance”, to have “customs advance ruling” so that we can capture the intent of the clause adequately.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no difficulty with the amendment except that the proposed amendment by the Committee is slightly different from what has been advertised. In the Committee's, Report: it says,
    “Headnote, delete and insert customs advance ruling”; then somebody has changed it.
    The effect is the same, but I am worried about what has been presented to the
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:35 p.m.


    House being amended without due notice. If this was presented to the House, that should prevail; if there are further amendments -- [Interruptions] it is not the same because it could be that somebody can make a change and it can change the whole thing.

    When a committee presents a report to the House and it is adopted, that should be it. An amendment can be made on the floor of the House -- That is dangerous.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    I agree. What is adopted in the report is exactly what should appear. If there is some slight difference, I do not think even if in substance or form, perhaps, it would be good if we just move ahead, tomorrow, we will continue.
    Unless it is exactly the same and I know that even if it has been done, it has been done with the best of intentions. Or maybe, it is the printer's devil-- Maybe, it is a mistake.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee, will you agree with me or disagree with me.
    Mr Avedzi 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point raised by the Ranking Member is right. I have also seen it. But because it does not change the effect of what has been captured in the Order Paper, that is why - - But he is right. So, whatever the Committee proposed should be captured on the Order Paper adequately.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member for Dome/Kwabenya, then Hon Boafo.
    Ms Safo 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not on a point of order, it is on the clause we are discussing. So, if the Chairman could end his statement.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you; let us finish with this part, then I will recognise you.
    Ms Safo 12:35 p.m.
    Yes, very well. Thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Boafo, is it on this issue or it is on another issue? Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not see the difference in the introduction of the word “advance”, “customs advance ruling”. Also, on the face of it, I do not immediately understand the meaning of “customs advance ruling”. Reading the whole thing, it appears to be a ruling by the Commissioner-General.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    But Hon W. O. Boafo, the issue here before we go to the substance is that, the Ranking Member has said that what was captured by the Report and was adopted by House is not exactly the same as what appears in the Order Paper. The Chairman agrees with him but says that the substance has not changed. So, perhaps, we should agree to let it go as they say in court, for what it is worth.
    The question is that, can the Report be changed before it comes here? And I am of the view that it cannot and if there is anything at all, what should be advertised is what is in the Report, then when it comes to the floor, an amendment can be made. That is my view; unless you have a different view.
    Mr Boafo 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I quite appreciate the point that you are making, that if the Chairman intends to change the Report which he laid before us, which was fully debated, the Question was put and accepted by the House, then he should have drawn Mr Speaker's attention to the fact that he wants to effect a change and then we would see the extent or effect of
    the change. If it is going to be too adverse, we may not allow it. But without indicating anything to the Speaker whether he is changing and proceeding to make his own change, it is not the right thing to do.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    So on that note, Chairman of the Committee, what should we do to that clause? Should we move ahead and deal with it tomorrow, since we are going to deal with this Bill for two or three days?
    Mr Avedzi 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to hear from the Minister for Finance, then we will take a decision.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member raises a very important point which is whether you can ask for a ruling after you have cleared your goods, which I believe is the case. So “advance” implies that you are doing it in advance of the customs activity but as part of the appeal function, you may ask for a ruling and I know that we submitted the Bill. But I believe that the context suggests that the ruling should be left open either before or after.
    This is because the circumstance under which you can ask for an advance ruling as in the case of a classification, when you are looking at the tariff, you want certainty and you do not want to infringe on the law, then you ask for a ruling and the Commissioner-General may then publish it. But after the event, you may also ask for a ruling just for clarity for your future business activities.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    My little worry is that we have left the procedure and we are now going into substance.
    Ranking Member, do you abandon your procedural objection?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    I was not objecting. I was just bringing our attention. In fact, I have just been advised by the Clerk that in drafting, we do not delete some words and bring them back. That is supposed to be the style, if that is the norm, then it is alright. I would want to make sure that changes that could have substantive effect on the clause are not introduced. So, with that advice, we could go on.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    So, it means that this is, hopefully, one off a situation and then we maintain the position that what is in the Report should be what should be in the Order Paper and if a change is intended to be done, it should come by way of amendment.
    Based on the principle that was just told us by the Member for Sekondi, even the Chairman can advertise an amendment in his own name, rather than “Chairman of Committee”. So, I will go to the substance.
    The Minister for Finance has made a point, do you want to respond to it or comment on it?
    Ms Safo 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we have moved on to the substance, that is where I had an issue and it is in relation to the point ably raised by Hon W. O. Boafo as to the insertion of the word “advance” and for that matter, it would read. “customs advance ruling” and headnotes in the interpretation are a source of interpretation. For that matter, by the very look at headnotes --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    What section is that?
    Ms Safo 12:45 p.m.
    Under the Interpretations Acts?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    What section? --[Laughter]
    Continue. It is Trite Law.
    Ms Safo 12:45 p.m.
    In the Interpretations Act, it is clear that in the event of the interpretations of laws, headnotes are one of the sources and for that matter, we have to secure clarity and not burden ourselves with ambiguity --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    I believe it is section 10, but we are looking at --
    Ms Safo 12:45 p.m.
    So, Mr Speaker, what do they really intend to derive from adding “advance” to it? In legal terminology, if you are creating a scenario either than what is ordinarily known in the law, then it is only prudent and proper and for clarity purposes, to define it.
    During my entire legal study and during my entire ten years [Interruption} and for my ten years in Law, I will be ten years at the Bar this October, Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Then you are a senior lawyer!
    Ms Safo 12:45 p.m.
    I am a senior lawyer and for that matter, students of Law must learn to respect their seniors. [Hear! Hear!]
    With my ten years' experience at the Bar, I have heard of preliminary rulings and a ruling itself, and an appeal of that ruling. So, if you are creating an advance ruling for purposes of the Customs Bill - -I have looked through the entire definition section and I do not see a definition of “advance ruling” and if they are inserting “advance ruling” then they should be able to tell us properly what they mean and what really the grounds for that insertion that is being made.
    I thank you very much Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Last but not the least. After ten years at the Bar, we have forty years at the Bar.
    Hon Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, significantly, the Chairman proposed only an amendment to the heading, “customs advance, ruling” but he forgot to refer to clause 9.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, do you have a point of order?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:45 p.m.
    With your indulgence, you said that after the senior, another lawyer, forty years at the Bar -- I would just want to set the records straight: it is forty-four years.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    I guess this is the first in the history of Parliament, that Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah has raised a point of order against the Speaker, and I have ruled him not out of Order but in Order. He is correct.
    So, Hon W. Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 12:45 p.m.
    He severally refers to “custom ruling”. There is no reference to “customs advance ruling”. So, he should be consistent and leave --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, do you have a point of order? How many years at the Bar?
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, zero years at the Bar. But at this time, I would want to disagree with the one who is forty-four years at the Bar.
    Mr Speaker, the matter is not clause 9, we are dealing with clause 12 where this issue is. But my senior Friend is taking back to clause 9, and there is nothing like “customs ruling” in clause 9. So, I would want to address his mind that we have past clause 9, we are on clause 12. So, that is where he should be going.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    It is the way we went about the argument in a round-about way, that is why it even confused me.
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    He was talking about the Chairman making an amendment to the headnotes. That is not in clause 9.
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    It is clause 12 that we are talking about.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, legislation is not about being at the Bar.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    I know that.
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Sir.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon W. Boafo?
    Mr Boafo 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am on the right path by referring to clause 12. The reference in clause 12 is to customs ruling. So, it is enough to cover any ruling at all, whether it is an advance ruling or otherwise.
    So, the word “advance” does not advance the course of the clause in anyway at all, and it should be deleted.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you.
    I will put the Question now.
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    If it is immaterial, I crave the Chairman's indulgence to just step down the amendment. It does not change anything. Why should we be arguing something that is not substantial?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, what is your view on the matter?
    Mr Avedzi 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will abandon the amendment for now and after we have finished with all the proposed amendments under clause 12, I will come back if there is the need. So, I have abandoned it for now.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Why do I not make a suggestion? I have been advised that we are going to end at clause 14. So, instead of you going through the clause 12 and coming back, either we take the clauses 13 and 14 and come back tomorrow to start from clause 12 or we go your way. My suggestion is that we do the --
    Mr Avedzi 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can go by your suggestion.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Chairman. [Pause.]
    So, we will stand down clause 12 for tomorrow.
    Clause 13 -14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, these are busy times for your committees -- about six of them are going to meet this afternoon. On that note, I beg to move, that this House do now adjourn till 10.00 o'clock tomorrow in the forenoon.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Dr Akoto Osei should let the Hon Member for Tema Central second the Motion.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    I would say something.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    So after you say it, you let the Hon Member for Tema Central second the Motion.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to crave the indulgence of the Chairman. When we were doing the Customs and Excise Duty Bill, I thought it moved very quickly when we constituted a winnowing committee. So, I am suggesting that perhaps, that same Committee be properly constituted, so that we can go through some of these -- so that when we come, it would make things smoother.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Before the Hon Member seconds the Motion, let me just say, this brings us to the end of Consideration Stage for today.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 12:55 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Sorry. Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to ask for permission for a winnowing committee to be constituted by the leadership of the Committee to look at the entire Consideration Stage, so that when we come to the floor of the House, it can speed up work for us. So, I am asking that permission, if it is granted, we would constitute the committee and do most of the work there.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    It is so directed. Let me just say that even without this winnowing committee, the committee, has done quite well, work has gone on quite fast; you must congratulate yourselves.
    Mr Kofi Brako 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this great opportunity.
    I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:55 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.00 p.m. till Thursday, 10th July, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.