Debates of 17 Jul 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 11:45 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 11:45 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Hon Members, I will allow a few minutes for Members to get copies of the Votes and Proceedings before we proceed.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 16t h July, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Item number 3 on the Order Paper.
    11. 55 a. m.
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyong Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, we wanted to apply to vary the order of Business slightly. This is because, the Finance Committee is meeting so that the Paper could be laid for the Hon Chairman and Hon Ranking Member to withdraw for the meeting.
    So, we would want to go to item number
    6.
    Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyong Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, we wanted to apply to vary the order of Business slightly. This is because, the Finance Committee is meeting so that the Paper could be laid for the Hon Chairman and Hon Ranking Member to withdraw for the meeting.
    So, we would want to go to item number 6.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    I thought we would take item number 4 before we move to item 6.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    On the Urgent Question?
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, the Minister is in.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I appreciate that but I am just saying that, the Finance Committee is still sitting and the Hon Chairman had to come in for the laying of the Papers.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, but the Minister for Finance is here for item number 4, which is the Urgent Question.
    Very well, item number 6.
    Hon Majority Leader, do you want us to take item 6?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Item number 6(c) (i).
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister responsible for Energy and Petroleum is here and if indeed, it is intended that these Papers be laid, that is a lesser task than what is contained in item 6(c). Why can he not then lay the Papers as contained in item number (a), then we deal with the others?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    It is the Report that is going to be laid, it is not going to be taken.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    The point he is making is that, if it is laying of Papers, then let us lay the Papers that are ready to be laid including the one you have mentioned.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, that is Energy -- I was just cross-checking with them on the Minister and he is around.
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    Otherwise the Hon Deputy is here and he can lay it on his behalf.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    So, let us take the 6(c).
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    We can start with item 6(a)(i); with leave for the Hon Deputy to lay it on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    PAPERS 11:45 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, item 6(b) is ready to be laid?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Item number 6(b)?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    No, not 6(b) but 6(d). I have been informed that 6(c) is ready.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, 6(c), by the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    (i) Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e- Transform Project.
    (ii) Report of the Finance Committee on the Term Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. -- Banco Alemão (as Arranger) and Deutsche Bank AG, New York Branch (as Agent)

    for an amount of thirty-seven million United States dollars (US$37,000,000.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty- nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).

    (iii) Report of the Finance Committee on the SAIN Covered Export Credit Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - - Banco Alemão (as Arranger), Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (as Agent and Security Agent) and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito, a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme (PROEX) for an amount of one hundred and thirty-five million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$135,512,500.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty- nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, 6(c), by the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
    By the Chairman of the Committee -
    (i) Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights
    (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0
    million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project.
    (ii) Report of the Finance Committee on the Term Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. -- Banco Alemão (as Arranger) and Deutsche Bank AG, New York Branch (as

    Agent) for an amount of thirty- seven million United States dollars (US$37,000,000.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase

    I).

    (iii) Report of the Finance Committee on the SAIN Covered Export Credit Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - Banco Alemão (as Arranger), Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (as Agent and Security Agent) and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito, a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme (PROEX) for an amount of one hundred and thirty-five million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$135,512,500.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty- f ive thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase

    I).
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are the Papers on the Order Paper Addendum
    also ready?
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are the Papers on the Order Paper Addendum also ready?
    Dr Kunbuor 11:45 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order Paper Addendum, presentation of Papers, 1(a).
    By the Minister for Finance --
    On-Lending Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) for a Ghana cedi equivalent of one hundred and seventy-two million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$172,512,- 500.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelop-ment Project (Phase I) under the Credit Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank, New York Branch and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme (PROEX).
    Referred to the Finance Committee
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order Paper Addendum, presentation of Papers, 1(a).
    By the Minister for Finance --
    On-Lending Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) for a Ghana cedi equivalent of one hundred and seventy-two million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$172,512,- 500.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelop-ment Project (Phase I) under the Credit Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank, New York Branch and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme
    (PROEX).
    Referred to the Finance Committee
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    The Report on item 6 (d) by the Special Committee is ready.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Is it item 1(b)?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    The Report is not ready so I wanted us to go back to item 6(d) on the original Order Paper.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Special Committee on the Demolition Exercise Undertaken by the Tema Development Corpora-
    tion (TDC) at Adjei Kojo.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    The Report is not ready so I wanted us to go back to item 6(d) on the original Order Paper.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Special Committee on the Demolition Exercise Undertaken by the Tema Development Corpora- tion (TDC) at Adjei Kojo.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you
    earlier said, we could now go back to item number (4) once the Hon Minister for Finance is here.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you earlier said, we could now go back to item number (4) once the Hon Minister for Finance is here.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, Question time. We have in our midst the Hon Minister for Finance to respond to two urgent Questions from Hon Members. The first Urgent Question stands in the name of the Hon Member for Obuasi West.
    URGENT QUESTIONS 12:05 p.m.

    MINISTRY OF FINANCE 12:05 p.m.

    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you may recall, the country's fiscal position faced significant challenges on account of global and domestic factors, which also affected some of our payments including statutory obligations.
    We outlined these factors in the 2013 Budget Statement which was presented to this House to include expenditure overruns and revenue shortfalls from the Single Spine Salary Scheme implemen- tation, shortfalls in petroleum, that is, corporate income tax revenues, overruns in subsidy payments, which was also occasioned by the disruption in the supply of gas from the West African Gas pipeline and lower than expected grants from our development partners.
    Mr Speaker, in 2013, as noted in yesterday's mid-year review, additional setbacks emerged in the form of shortfall in gold and cocoa prices. This worsened
    the situation and also affected, more importantly, the supply of foreign exchange and support for the country's reserves.
    We have since outlined remedial measures in the homegrown programme that was initially presented to this House in the form of an urgent Statement.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of these factors, our non-oil tax revenues, excluding exemptions for 2013, amounted to GH¢ 12.7 billion, which was 18.7 per cent lower than the target of GH¢15.6 billion. The tax revenues are also the base for the determination and payment of statutory funds.
    Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that, under the Petroleum Revenue Manage- ment Act, oil revenues cannot be used to make this statutory payment. This is also the case with grants. Despite these shortfalls, wages and salary payments increased to GH¢ 8.2 billion, exceeding the GH¢7.5 billion estimate that was included in the budget. This was about 10 per cent increase.
    Mr Speaker, in addition to this, Government had to pay for wage and salary arrears of GH¢ 1.1 billion. We have since been monitoring these factors which we included in the 2014 Budget. Many of these payments, it must be noted, were in line with government's commitment to the implementation of the single spine pay policy.
    Mr Speaker, coupled with these interest payments, which is another statutory payment totalled GH¢4.4 billion, which was 37.6 per cent higher than the budget target of GH¢ 3.2 billion.
    Mr Speaker, these two expenditure items alone introduced further rigidities in the budget, and resulted in not just arrears in statutory fund payments but cuts in goods and services as well as

    capital expenditure across board for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and I must say, including this august House.

    Mr Speaker, while we recognise therefore our statutory payments obligation, we were confronted with practical problems associated with strikes and disruption in the smooth running of the economy, including critical social programmes such as education and health.

    Mr Speaker, with this rigidity in the expenditure budget and the significant tax revenue shortfalls, we had to rationalise expenditure on goods and services to GH¢1.4 billion against the budget target of 1.7 billion. It is in this regard that we also had to delay the payments to the Statutory Funds by about GH¢ 820 million. Despite some payments made in the year, just last week, efforts were made to release an amount of GH¢388 million for the Statutory Fund payment.

    Mr Speaker, we are managing the fiscal situation and we are committed to ensuring payments to Statutory Funds to enable the Fund managers to implement government's policies without delay.

    We would also submit a proposal to Cabinet on the implications of making full payment of Statutory Funds in periods when the nation faces economic challenges.
    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you may recall, the country's fiscal position faced significant challenges on account of global and domestic factors, which also affected some of our payments including statutory obligations.
    We outlined these factors in the 2013 Budget Statement which was presented to this House to include expenditure overruns and revenue shortfalls from the Single Spine Salary Scheme implemen-tation, shortfalls in petroleum, that is, corporate income tax revenues, overruns in subsidy payments, which was also occasioned by the disruption in the supply of gas from the West African Gas pipeline and lower than expected grants from our development partners.
    Mr Speaker, in 2013, as noted in yesterday's mid-year review, additional setbacks emerged in the form of shortfall in gold and cocoa prices. This worsened
    the situation and also affected, more importantly, the supply of foreign exchange and support for the country's reserves.
    We have since outlined remedial measures in the homegrown programme that was initially presented to this House in the form of an urgent Statement.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of these factors, our non-oil tax revenues, excluding exemptions for 2013, amounted to GH¢ 12.7 billion, which was 18.7 per cent lower than the target of GH¢15.6 billion. The tax revenues are also the base for the determination and payment of statutory funds.
    Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that, under the Petroleum Revenue Manage- ment Act, oil revenues cannot be used to make this statutory payment. This is also the case with grants. Despite these shortfalls, wages and salary payments increased to GH¢ 8.2 billion, exceeding the GH¢7.5 billion estimate that was included in the budget. This was about 10 per cent increase.
    Mr Speaker, in addition to this, Government had to pay for wage and salary arrears of GH¢ 1.1 billion. We have since been monitoring these factors which we included in the 2014 Budget. Many of these payments, it must be noted, were in line with government's commitment to the implementation of the single spine pay policy.
    Mr Speaker, coupled with these interest payments, which is another statutory payment totalled GH¢4.4 billion, which was 37.6 per cent higher than the budget target of GH¢ 3.2 billion.
    Mr Speaker, these two expenditure items alone introduced further rigidities in the budget, and resulted in not just arrears in statutory fund payments but cuts in goods and services as well as

    capital expenditure across board for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and I must say, including this august House.

    Mr Speaker, while we recognise therefore our statutory payments obligation, we were confronted with practical problems associated with strikes and disruption in the smooth running of the economy, including critical social programmes such as education and health.

    Mr Speaker, with this rigidity in the expenditure budget and the significant tax revenue shortfalls, we had to rationalise expenditure on goods and services to GH¢1.4 billion against the budget target of 1.7 billion. It is in this regard that we also had to delay the payments to the Statutory Funds by about GH¢ 820 million. Despite some payments made in the year, just last week, efforts were made to release an amount of GH¢388 million for the Statutory Fund payment.

    Mr Speaker, we are managing the fiscal situation and we are committed to ensuring payments to Statutory Funds to enable the Fund managers to implement government's policies without delay.

    We would also submit a proposal to Cabinet on the implications of making full payment of Statutory Funds in periods when the nation faces economic challenges.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has not responded to my Question at all.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I keep on reminding the House; that is why you have supplementary Questions to pursue the Minister. So, ask your supplementary Question.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:05 p.m.
    Dedicated levies and taxes are monies paid for specific purposes, with some of those purposed stated in law. The good people of Ghana and myself included, have paid these levies and taxes. Government has collected these monies -
    Mr Kwarteng 12:05 p.m.
    Dedicated levies and taxes are monies paid for specific purposes, with some of those purposed stated in law. The good people of Ghana and myself included, have paid these levies and taxes. Government has collected these monies --
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, ask your Question.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was laying the foundation.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, today is quite a busy day. You have laid sufficient foundation.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Question is; having collected this money, what has happened to it? What specifically has happened to the money that government has collected?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the answer is one of gravity but it is no different from what happened when arrears were accumulated prior to 2009. [Uproar.] When we have rigidities in the budget, we are unable to make these payments.
    Mr Speaker, I am aware and one of the measures that we have proposed is to - We have been consulting; there were instances in which the arrears for Statutory Fund payments were converted into debts to be repaid over a period of time.
    The point I am making is that, what is happening in this dispensation is not new and this is why I concluded -- Considering that this has happened across the political divide, it is the reason I concluded by saying that we would be submitting a Paper to Cabinet to consider what happens to statutory fund payments considering that they are very important and statutory in nature in periods of economic crises. We have taken certain critical measures and the co-operation of the heads of the Statutory Funds agent - their boss -- but it
    does not answer the question, Mr Speaker.
    This is something that has been dodging the nation and we believe that we have to submit a Paper to Cabinet and possibly to the House for consideration.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the answer is one of gravity but it is no different from what happened when arrears were accumulated prior to 2009. [Uproar.] When we have rigidities in the budget, we are unable to make these payments.
    Mr Speaker, I am aware and one of the measures that we have proposed is to -- We have been consulting; there were instances in which the arrears for Statutory Fund payments were converted into debts to be repaid over a period of time.
    The point I am making is that, what is happening in this dispensation is not new and this is why I concluded -- Considering that this has happened across the political divide, it is the reason I concluded by saying that we would be submitting a Paper to Cabinet to consider what happens to statutory fund payments considering that they are very important and statutory in nature in periods of
    economic crises. We have taken certain critical measures and the co-operation of the heads of the Statutory Funds agent - - their boss -- but it does not answer the question, Mr Speaker.
    This is something that has been dodging the nation and we believe that we have to submit a Paper to Cabinet and possibly to the House for consideration.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given that the National Health Insurance Levy, which is one of the Funds in arrears, is for the health of our people, does the answer not suggest that, those other things they have used the levies they collected for, those other things that they have used them to do are more important to them than the health of the people?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, not at all. It is similar to the delays in payments to other important social intervention programmes that we have. But I think it is also incumbent on institutions like the National Health Insurance to also prioritise in times like this so that they can stick to their core functions and not to be engaging in activities that also do not reflect the core priorities for which they have been established.
    Mr Kwarteng 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given that the Hon Minister was completely silent on the arrears on these Statutory Funds yesterday, when he presented the review, does this not suggest that they have no plans to pay into these Statutory Funds anytime soon?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the record I was not silent. I believe that we addressed the issue of arrears which includes the Statutory Funds. We actually did mention that payments were being made, so I was not silent at all.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the
    record I was not silent. I believe that we addressed the issue of arrears which includes the Statutory Funds. We actually did mention that payments were being made, so I was not silent at all.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the --
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the -
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given the fact that in justifying the difficulties that the Hon Minister has had in paying these Statutory Funds, given the fact that constantly he has been referring to the problems created by the Single Spine Salary regime, which we now know is taking just 57 per cent of tax revenue as compared to the figures that were quoted in the streets -- 80, 85 per cent and so on and so forth -- may we know from the Hon Minister -- and I hope the Minister is listening -
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given the fact that in justifying the difficulties that the Hon Minister has had in paying these Statutory Funds, given the fact that constantly he has been referring to the problems created by the Single Spine Salary regime, which we now know is taking just 57 per cent of tax revenue as compared to the figures that were quoted in the streets -- 80, 85 per cent and so on and so forth -- may we know from the Hon Minister -- and I hope the Minister is listening --
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to finish the question only for him to ask me to repeat it.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Please, please -- Hon Minority Leader, ask your question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    May I know from the Hon Minister, what were the levels that compensation was taking of the tax revenue before the introduction of the Single Spine Salary regime?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, may I get the second part of the question; it was not quite clear to me.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, in fact, it is a very legitimate request because I was listening to you but I did not get the second part of your question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you see the relevance of my observation. [Laughter.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you see the relevance of my observation. [Laughter.]
    The question to the Hon Minister is, he has constantly been referring to the difficulties imposed by the introduction of the Single Spine Salary regime as one of the causes of this default. Now, we know
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, even when the nation did not face the current difficulties -- prior to the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, it is also true that arrears of national health insurance were being accumulated.
    As I said, if we took the period prior to 2009 as normal, there were still an accumulation of arrears of payments on the National Health Insurance and other Statutory Funds. This means that, even in normal times, we had these challenges in meeting our full commitments to the Statutory Funds.
    We know also that even in those times,
    anytime we had events like the water level at the Akosombo Dam going down and affecting production across and revenues were not coming, we had these difficulties.
    The point I am making is that, difficulties or no difficulties, volatilities or no volatilities, there is the need probably for the Acts to recognise that any statutory payments should be responsive to certain developments in the economy.
    But to the Hon Minority Leader's question, the Single Spine Salary payments -- and I wish to put on record -- is not the only factor we have pointed to the problems in these payments. So, I just would want to -
    Secondly, when we quoted 70 per cent or 80 per cent, we were very careful and I would hope that we have either said that it is wages or compensation, and there is a difference. Compensation includes wages and gratuities and allowances, so some of the numbers that the Hon Minority Leader was quoting - all right -
    Mr Speaker, I can help by - all right, he is right, if he said compensation. The 57 per cent, yes, is wages but prior to that we started inching up, particularly with the implementation of the Ghana Universal Salary Scheme.
    From below 40 per cent, we inched up to close to 50 per cent already before the Single Spine Salary Scheme aggravated the situation. So a figure like 40 per cent is precisely what we have been saying that we wish to revert to those levels. If we want to revert to levels of 35 per cent, 38 per cent and 40 per cent, it means that 57 per cent is still high even though it is going down, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, even when the nation did not face the current difficulties -- prior to the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, it is also true that arrears of national health insurance were being accumulated.
    As I said, if we took the period prior to 2009 as normal, there were still an accumulation of arrears of payments on the National Health Insurance and other Statutory Funds. This means that, even in normal times, we had these challenges in meeting our full commitments to the Statutory Funds.
    We know also that even in those times, anytime we had events like the water level at the Akosombo Dam going down and affecting production across and revenues were not coming, we had these difficulties.
    The point I am making is that, difficulties or no difficulties, volatilities or no volatilities, there is the need probably for the Acts to recognise that any statutory payments should be responsive to certain developments in the economy.
    But to the Hon Minority Leader 's question, the Single Spine Salary payments -- and I wish to put on record -- is not the only factor we have pointed to the problems in these payments. So, I just would want to --
    Secondly, when we quoted 70 per cent or 80 per cent, we were very careful and I would hope that we have either said that it is wages or compensation, and there is a difference. Compensation includes wages and gratuities and allowances, so some of the numbers that the Hon Minority Leader was quoting -- all right --
    Mr Speaker, I can help by -- all right, he is right, if he said compensation. The 57 per cent, yes, is wages but prior to that we started inching up, particularly with the implementation of the Ghana Universal Salary Scheme.
    From below 40 per cent, we inched up to close to 50 per cent already before the Single Spine Salary Scheme aggravated the situation. So a figure like 40 per cent is precisely what we have been saying that we wish to revert to those levels. If we want to revert to levels of 35 per cent, 38 per cent and 40 per cent, it means that 57 per cent is still high even though it is going down, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this answer on the description of a fund- - the description of the ear of the elephant likening it to that of a fan. This is exactly what the Hon Minister has done.
    I asked the Hon Minister a specific question prior to the introduction -- and if I may be specific -- what was the level in 2008? And he is talking about if it were 30 or 35; “ifs” here. What was the level? The question was being asked of the Hon Minister, and he is capable.

    If the Hon Minister has not noticed, he may plead for that; but turning and swindling -- please, the question is his.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this answer on the description of a fund-- the description of the ear of the elephant likening it to that of a fan. This is exactly what the Hon Minister has done.
    I asked the Hon Minister a specific question prior to the introduction - and if I may be specific -- what was the level in 2008? And he is talking about if it were 30 or 35; “ifs” here. What was the level? The question was being asked of the Hon Minister, and he is capable.
    If the Hon Minister has not noticed, he may plead for that; but turning and swindling - please, the question is his.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    The question again.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    The question again.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    The level of the compensation, if you like, to decouple

    wages from compensation for 2008/2009 -
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    The level of the compensation, if you like, to decouple wages from compensation for 2008/
    2009 --
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Are you talking about compensation or wages, or both?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since he decided to go on that path, I just want to follow him there.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, are you talking about wages or compensation?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I spoke about compensation but he was disaggregating it, that is why I would want to follow him on that path. Could he tell us?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have computed the precise answer but we would make it available to the House. I cannot take it or remember it at the top of my head.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    He has provided an answer; he said he would make it available and that is an answer.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is indeed some answer.
    Mr Speaker, with the explanation that he has given us thus far, I significantly noticed that the Hon Minister does not include borrowing, unfettered borrowing and the servicing of debts.
    To what extent would the Hon Minister agree that the continuing borrowing and the concomitant servicing of the debts are major contributing factors to the difficulties that were created?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe I gave an elaborate background yesterday when I presented the mid-year review of the 2014 Budget. I reminded this august House and the nation that, ever since we emerged, we got debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
    when our ratios were down to about 28 per cent, between 2006 and 2008, we had increased the borrowing by about 10 percentage points of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    I said that, the borrowing continued, but they were channelled in many cases towards viable projects for which we are now implementing a debt recovery policy.
    Indeed, there has been borrowing, but if I may remind the House, part of the problems we faced also with respect to interest rates relate to the bonds which were issued in 2010 and 2011 to meet commitments that were put on the Budget, especially the “gang of six” which assumption was that, they would be paid out of regular payments; we deemed it fit to borrow to complete those projects.
    I believe today, there is evidence that some of these projects have become attractive in terms of - If you would take the Madina road, for example. We also indicated that we would continue to borrow and look for low term finance to complete these projects and also, more importantly, implement any new major capital project, rather than assume that we would be putting it on the Budget as has been done in the past.
    Mr Terkpeh 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe I gave an elaborate background yesterday when I presented the mid-year review of the 2014 Budget. I reminded this august House and the nation that, ever since we emerged, we got debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) when our ratios were down to about 28 per cent, between 2006 and 2008, we had increased the borrowing by about 10 percentage points of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    I said that, the borrowing continued, but they were channelled in many cases towards viable projects for which we are now implementing a debt recovery policy.
    Indeed, there has been borrowing, but if I may remind the House, part of the problems we faced also with respect to interest rates relate to the bonds which were issued in 2010 and 2011 to meet commitments that were put on the Budget, especially the “gang of six” which assumption was that, they would be paid out of regular payments; we deemed it fit to borrow to complete those projects.
    I believe today, there is evidence that some of these projects have become attractive in terms of -- If you would take the Madina road, for example. We also indicated that we would continue to borrow and look for low term finance to complete these projects and also, more importantly, implement any new major capital project, rather than assume that we would be putting it on the Budget as has been done in the past.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Minister, we thank you very much for coming to the House to respond to the Urgent Question.
    I gave him the chance to ask three questions, so that should be enough.
    Hon Majority Leader, do we have the Minister for Food and Agriculture in the House?
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Minister, we thank you very much for coming to the House to respond to the Urgent Question.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:25 p.m.
    The Hon Deputy Minister is currently here.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:25 p.m.
    The Hon Deputy Minister is currently here.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Very well.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:25 p.m.
    But Mr Speaker, would you want to defer item number 3 on the Order Paper?
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Could we just finish the Urgent Questions, then we could move to item number 3. It is only one Question.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture.
    Hon Osei Boakye.
    MINISTRY OF FOOD AND 12:25 p.m.

    AGRICULTURE 12:25 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Boakye 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to further ask the Hon Deputy Minister, to what extent would the late release of the subsidised fertiliser to farmers, affect agricultural production in general and food security in particular this year, since the rains would end very soon?
    Dr A.Y. Alhassan 12:25 p.m.
    There is no doubt that the fertiliser subsidy programme has really contributed to food security in the country. But may I add that, the fertiliser subsidy programme is one of many initiatives that are being implemented at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to get this country food security.
    Mr Boakye 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is most likely that the fertiliser that we are talking about, if it would come at all, would come very late; more or less by the close of the season. The possibility is that, the fertiliser would find its way into neighbouring countries.
    I would want to know if the Hon Deputy Minister has put something in place to check if there would be some sort of smuggling of the fertiliser if it comes in?
    Dr A.Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not get the portion which mentioned neighbouring countries. Could he please repeat?
    Mr Boakye 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am talking about possible smuggling of the fertiliser since it is coming in very late, even if it would come at all.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    He is saying there is the likelihood that the fertiliser would be smuggled out of the country.
    Dr A.Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do agree that time is of the essence and the cropping season is advanced, particularly, in the Northern part of the country where most of our food crops are produced.
    The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the security services have over the period, because of the experiences that we have had with the fertiliser subsidy programme, put in place some measures to ensure that fertiliser smuggling is reduced, mainly because of the price disparity between us and our neighbouring countries.
    I think some of the measures are really biting to the extent that there is less of fertiliser smuggling to neighbouring countries as I speak to you.
    Mr Boakye 12:35 p.m.
    Finally, Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether he is aware of the current prices of fertiliser in the market. I can say for sure that it ranges from GH¢52.00 to GH¢120.00 in some regions and I think it is not good for the country under this condition. What is he doing about that or saying to that?
    Mr Boakye 12:35 p.m.
    Finally, Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether he is aware of the current prices of fertiliser in the market. I can say for sure that it ranges from GH¢52.00 to GH¢120.00 in some regions and I think it is not good for the country under this condition. What is he doing about that or saying to that?
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, obviously, we do take into consideration the open market prices before the subsidy itself is fixed. So, it is unfortunate that the subsidy programme itself has not yet come on stream, therefore, farmers have to access fertiliser at the open market prices. But some efforts are still being made to ensure that we get the subsidies running as soon as indications come from the Ministry of Finance on the debts that I have already alluded to. [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Yes?
    Dr Bambangi 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, what steps have you taken to alert potential beneficiary farmers to enable them prepare to absorb the shock arising from the implementation lag of this year's subsidy program?
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said early on, the fertiliser subsidy programme is one of many initiatives that government is implementing to ensure that small-scale farmers access inputs at reasonable prices. For instance, the out- grower value chain fund which also sends out credit and grant to small-scale farmers and to the nuclear out-grower scheme for farmers to access.
    The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project has also issued grants to many nuclear farmers that work with small-scale farmers to the tune of more than GH¢25 million this very year.
    Mr Speaker, the CSIR-AGRA rice, a new rice variety, has recently been issued out to farmers. About forty tonnes of seeds have been given out and the Minister early on, had taken a decision to accompany the forty tonnes of seeds with the full complement of fertiliser with the seed.
    Lastly, as of yesterday, the Export Trade
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said early on, the fertiliser subsidy programme is one of many initiatives that government is implementing to ensure that small-scale farmers access inputs at reasonable prices. For instance, the out- grower value chain fund which also sends out credit and grant to small-scale farmers and to the nuclear out-grower scheme for farmers to access.
    The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project has also issued grants to many nuclear farmers that work with small-scale farmers to the tune of more than GH¢25 million this very year.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, today is rather a busy day. I thought that we should bring this to a close. But Hon Member for Kwadaso?
    Dr Owusu A. Akoto 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know that the Hon Deputy Minister is an expert in agronomy. We also know that the Government's fertiliser programme which was started by President Kufuor in 2008, is being carried forward by this Government since they took over in 2009.
    The question I am asking is; with the absence of subsidised fertiliser this year, what impact is it likely to have on food production for next year? This is because we know that the Peasant Farmers Association are saying that there would be shortage next year because they do not have subsidised fertiliser. Fertiliser prices have gone up from GH¢45.00 to
    GH¢ 100.00.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I thought you have asked your question. Are you answering the question?
    Dr Akoto 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, what impact the absence of subsidised fertiliser this growing season would have on food supply next year?
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already responded to a similar question that there is no doubt that the absence of the fertiliser to apply to our crops would definitely impact on the total harvest we would have at the end of the year. But that is a different matter from the issue of food shortage because if you are already in surplus for most of the crops that secure your food security, if I could say so, clearly the fact that there is a reduction in fertiliser application would not necessarily mean that there would be food shortage in the coming season.
    I do sympathise with the position of the peasant farmers association but I believe that the MoFA has adequate tools to put information together to advise government if there would be any food shortages at the end of 2014.
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already responded to a similar question that there is no doubt that the absence of
    the fertiliser to apply to our crops would definitely impact on the total harvest we would have at the end of the year. But that is a different matter from the issue of food shortage because if you are already in surplus for most of the crops that secure your food security, if I could say so, clearly the fact that there is a reduction in fertiliser application would not necessarily mean that there would be food shortage in the coming season.
    I do sympathise with the position of the peasant farmers association but I believe that the MoFA has adequate tools to put information together to advise government if there would be any food shortages at the end of 2014.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister has alluded on many occasions to food security in the system. May I know from the Hon Deputy Minister, if his definition of food security includes availability of food and stable pricing in food items?
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, MoFA's mandate is to make the food available. The question of how much it costs would be tied to the general economy.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Last question
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, does the Hon Minister admit that prices are predominantly hinged on demand and supply?
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Yes, I do agree.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:35 p.m.
    So, does he agree that with the high levels of food items in the system, it means that there is less supply of food items on the market?
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader must understand that prices would always be different depending on the time of the year. When farmers harvest, there is a glut and prices would always be down. When it is the lean season, prices would inch up because we are consuming as we approach the next farming season. But what we are saying is that, the food must be available before you can even talk about its cost which is the mandate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
    Dr A. Y. Alhassan 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader must understand that prices would always be different depending on the time of the year. When farmers harvest, there is a glut and prices
    would always be down. When it is the lean season, prices would inch up because we are consuming as we approach the next farming season. But what we are saying is that, the food must be available before you can even talk about its cost which is the mandate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, we thank you very much for coming to the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, can we take item number 3?
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    very well.
    BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE 12:35 p.m.

    Majority Leader/Chairman of the Business Committee (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 56 (2) and having regard to the exigencies of the state of business, the Business Committee met today, Thursday, 17th July 2014 and arranged supplementary Business of the House for the Sixth Week ending Friday, 18th July, 2014.
    Majority Leader/Chairman of the Business Committee (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 56 (2) and having regard to the exigencies of the state of business, the Business Committee met today, Thursday, 17th July 2014 and arranged supplementary Business of the House for the Sixth Week ending Friday, 18th July,
    2014.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 12:35 p.m.
    Arrangement of Business
    Papers and Reports
    Papers and Committee Reports are expected to be presented to the House.
    Motions and Resolutions
    Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken.
    Mid-year review of the Budget
    Mr Speaker, debate on the Motion
    “That this Honourable House adopts the Mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2014 financial year”
    may commence today.
    Supplementary estimate
    The Motion to approve the sum of GH¢3,196,855,671.00 as Supplementary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year may also be taken on Friday, 18th July, 2014.
    Health Walk
    The Business Committee takes this opportunity to inform all Hon Members that under the auspices of the Rt. Hon Speaker, a Health Walk, led by Mr Speaker, is being organised for all Members of Parliament and Staff of the Parliamentary Service. The Health Walk is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 19th July 2014, commencing from Parliament House at 6.30 a.m. The walk would be through specified routes and ending at the Parliament House.
    Mr Speaker, the House is expected to adjourn sine die on Friday, 18th July 2014.
    Conclusion
    Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 12:35 p.m.
    Arrangement of Business
    Papers and Reports
    Papers and Committee Reports are expected to be presented to the House.
    Motions and Resolutions
    Mr Speaker, Motions may be debated and their consequential Resolutions, if any, taken.
    Mid-year review of the Budget
    Mr Speaker, debate on the Motion
    “That this Honourable House adopts the Mid-year review of the Budget
    Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2014 financial year”
    may commence today.
    Supplementary estimate
    The Motion to approve the sum of GH¢3,196,855,671.00 as Supplementary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year may also be taken on Friday, 18th July, 2014.
    Health Walk
    The Business Committee takes this opportunity to inform all Hon Members that under the auspices of the Rt. Hon Speaker, a Health Walk, led by Mr Speaker, is being organised for all Members of Parliament and Staff of the Parliamentary Service. The Health Walk is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 19th July 2014, commencing from Parliament House at 6.30 a.m. The walk would be through specified routes and ending at the Parliament House.
    Mr Speaker, the House is expected to adjourn sine die on Friday, 18th July 2014.
    Conclusion
    Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this Honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week. Thursday, 17th July, 2014
    Presentation of Papers --
    (a) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and Sahara Energy Fields Ghana Limited for the Exploration for,
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 12:35 p.m.


    Presentation of Papers --

    (a) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, and Sahara Energy Fields Ghana Limited for the Exploration for, and Development and Produc- tion of Petroleum in respect of the Shallow Water Cape Three Points Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    (b) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, A-Z Petroleum Products Ghana Limited and Eco Atlantic Oil and Gas Ghana Limited for the Exploration for, and Develop- ment and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South-West Cape Three Points Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    (c) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, UB Resources Limited, Royalgate Ghana Limited and Houston Drilling Manage- ment (Ghana) Limited for the Exploration for, and Develop- ment and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Offshore Cape Three Points South Block.

    (d) Report of the Finance Committee on the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana and the International Develop- ment Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e- Transform Project.

    (e) Report of the Finance Committee on the Term Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - Banco Alemão (as Arranger) and Deutsche Bank AG, New York Branch (as Agent) for an amount of thirty-seven million United States Dollars (US$37,000,000.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty- nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States Dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).

    (f) Report of the Finance Committee on the SAIN Covered Export Credit Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - Banco Alemão (as Arranger), Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (as Agent and Security Agent) and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalization Programme (PROEX) for an amount of one hundred and thirty-five million, five hundred

    and twelve thousand, five hundred United States Dollars (US$135,512,500.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of Two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States Dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).

    (g) Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Develop- ment on the Commercial Contract among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, and Contracta Engenharia Ltda in respect of the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project.

    (h) Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the following:

    (i) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation GNPC Exploration and Produc- tion Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    (ii) Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development

    and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    (iii)Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Produc- tion Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Motions --

    (a) That this Honourable adopts the Mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2014 Financial Year.

    (Moved on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh).

    (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e- Transform Project.

    Consequential Resolution
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 12:35 p.m.
    Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. Banco Alemão (as Arranger) and Deutsche Bank AG, New York Branch (as Agent) for an amount of thirty- seven million United States Dollars (US$37,000,000.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase
    I).
    Consequential Resolution
    (c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the SAIN Covered Export Credit Facility Agreement among the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. Banco Alemão (as Arranger), Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (as Agent and Security Agent) and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme (PROEX) for an amount of one hundred and thirty-five million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$135,512,500.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty- f ive thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase
    I).
    Consequential Resolution
    (d) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the Commercial Contract among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, and Contrac ta Engen-haria Ltda in respect of the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project.
    Consequential Resolution

    Presentation of Papers --

    Report of the Finance Committee on the Supplementary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year.

    Motions --

    ( a ) T h a t t h i s H o n o u r a b l e House approves the sum of GH¢3,196,855,671.00 as Supple- mentary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year.

    (Moved on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh).

    (b) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Produc- tion Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and

    Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    (c) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    (d) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Explora t ion and Production Company Limited, Heri tage Explorat ion and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Produc- tion of Petroleum in respect of the South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    Committee Sittings.

    Respectfully submitted, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee accordingly submits its Report as follows 12:35 p.m.
    (b) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Term Facility Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - Banco Alemão (as Arranger) and Deutsche Bank AG, New York Branch (as Agent) for an amount of thirty-seven million United States Dollars (US$37,000,000.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty-nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).
    Consequential Resolution
    (c) Adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the SAIN Covered Export Credit Facility Agreement among the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana, Deutsche Bank S.A. - Banco Alemão (as Arranger), Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (as Agent and Security Agent) and its affiliates supported by Segurado Brasileira de Credito a Exportacao (SBCE) and the Brazilian Official Equalisation Programme (PROEX) for an amount of one hundred and thirty-five million, five hundred and twelve thousand, five hundred United States dollars (US$135,512,500.00) being part support of tranche 1 of a total amount of two hundred and fifty- nine million, four hundred and twenty-five thousand United States dollars (US$259, 425,000.00) to finance the Kumasi Central
    Market Redevelopment Project (Phase I).
    Consequential Resolution
    (d) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the Commercial Contract among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, and Contracta Engen-haria Ltda in respect of the Kumasi Central Market Redevelopment Project.
    Consequential Resolution

    Presentation of Papers --

    Report of the Finance Committee on the Supplementary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year.

    Motions --

    (a) That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢3,196,855,671.00 as Supple- mentary Estimate of Government for the 2014 Financial Year.

    (Moved on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh).

    (b) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Produc- tion Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production

    Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    (c) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    (d) Adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Produc- tion of Petroleum in respect of the South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.

    Consequential Resolution

    Committee Sittings.

    Respectfully submitted, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, that is the Supplementary Business Statement of the House.

    Hon Akoto Osei?
    Mr Anthony Akoto Osei 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was just going to ask the Majority Leader that conspicuously missing from the Supplementary Business estimate is a meeting of the Committee of the Whole. This is conspicuously missing from this Supplementary estimate because we have just been informed that we are rising tomorrow. Assuming that the Committee will build in some mechanisms to have a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, but it is not here.
    Perhaps, it is an oversight and I just want to bring it to your attention. [Interruption]-- Committee of the Whole, it is missing from the Business of the House because this tells us that we are rising tomorrow --
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Is it joint caucus meeting or Committee of the Whole?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:45 p.m.
    As the outgoing Leader of the House, it is important that we have a meeting of the Committee of the Whole. [Laughter.]
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Is the meeting now in my interest or the House's interest? [Laughter] If you want to give me a send off, I am ready; you can arrange that.
    Dr A. A.Osei 12:45 p.m.
    No, we would want to find out matters that can only be discussed
    Dr A. A.Osei 12:45 p.m.
    No, we would want to find out matters that can only be discussed --
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, they are asking for a Committee of the Whole --
    - 12:45 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, they are asking for a Committee of the Whole -
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Yes, we are still in consultation on some aspects of it and we
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Supplementary Business of the House.
    Supplementary Business of the House accordingly adopted.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Yes?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    If we can take item number 11 on the main Order Paper; the Minister has been here since morning.
    Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie -- rose —
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, wait, sit down; there was a certain understanding at Leadership --
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Yes, there is a consequential one asking for the suspension of the Standing Order which is item number 10.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    If we can take item number 11 on the main Order Paper; the Minister has been here since morning.
    Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie - rose
    Mr Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, wait, sit down; there was a certain understanding at Leadership -
    MOTIONS 12:45 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the Regional
    Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean may be moved today.
    Dr Owusu A. Akoto 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Report on Regional Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African
    States.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the Regional Convention on Fisheries Co- operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean may be moved today.
    Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the Regional Convention on Fisheries Co- operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
    In doing so, Mr Speaker, I would like to present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The Regional Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean was laid in Parliament on 24th June, 2014 and referred to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report to the House in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 176 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met on 7th July, 2014 with officials of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission and considered the Convention.
    In attendance at the meeting were the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon Nayon Bilijo, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mrs Rebecca Amorh Aboagye and other officials from the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission. The Committee is grateful to the Minister and his officials for their inputs and clarifications.
    Reference materials
    The Committee was guided by the following documents:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana;
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament;
    Background information
    The Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Co-operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (abbreviated as ATLAFCO in English and COMHAFAT in French), was created in 1989, as a regional fisheries body, following the Rabat Declaration adopted at the end of its meeting held in the Kingdom of Morocco from 30th March to 1st April, 1989. The headquarters of the Conference Secretariat is located in Rabat, Morocco.
    The objectives of ATLAFCO are to promote and strengthen regional co- operation on fisheries development and to co-ordinate and harmonise efforts and capacities for the conservation and exploitation of fisheries resources in the fisheries zones of African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
    The current membership of ATLAFCO is twenty two (22) out of which fourteen (14) have ratified the convention and the remaining eight (8) including Ghana are yet to ratify.
    Rationale for the establishment of
    ATLAFCO 12:45 p.m.

    Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs on the Regional Convention on Fisheries Co- operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
    In doing so, Mr Speaker, I would like to present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The Regional Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean was laid in Parliament on 24th June, 2014 and referred to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report to the House in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 176 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met on 7th July, 2014 with officials of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission and considered the Convention.
    In attendance at the meeting were the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon Nayon Bilijo, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mrs Rebecca Amorh Aboagye and other
    officials from the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission. The Committee is grateful to the Minister and his officials for their inputs and clarifications.
    Reference materials
    The Committee was guided by the following documents:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana;
    ii. The S tand ing Orde r s o f Parliament;
    Background information
    The Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Co-operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (abbreviated as ATLAFCO in English and COMHAFAT in French), was created in 1989, as a regional fisheries body, following the Rabat Declaration adopted at the end of its meeting held in the Kingdom of Morocco from 30th March to 1st April, 1989. The headquarters of the Conference Secretariat is located in Rabat, Morocco.
    The objectives of ATLAFCO are to
    promote and strengthen regional co- operation on fisheries development and to co-ordinate and harmonise efforts and capacities for the conservation and exploitation of fisheries resources in the fisheries zones of African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
    The current membership of ATLAFCO is twenty two (22) out of which fourteen (14) have ratified the convention and the remaining eight (8) including Ghana are yet to ratify.
    Rationale for the establishment of
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Yes Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr Owusu A. Akoto 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, I would like to make a few comments.
    Mr Speaker, as we have heard from the Report, Ghana has actively been a member of this Convention for all this time therefore, this Motion seeks to regularise a situation which already exists.
    Mr Speaker, as a very active member of the organisation, we know that we are having problems with fisheries in our seas, where for the past sixteen years marine catches have been falling drastically year by year, and we having to import substantial amounts of fish to supplement our protein requirements.
    Mr Speaker, we therefore hope that by regularising our position with this organisation, we would get some assistance from them to help us to police our marine resources, in order that the collapse in catches would be forestalled to turn around the fortunes of our fisheries.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
    Thank you.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    RESOLUTIONS 12:55 p.m.

    Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (Ms Hanny- Sherry Ayittey) 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 75 of the Constitution, any treaty, agreement, or convention executed by or under the authority of the President in the name of Ghana is made subject to ratification either by an Act of Parliament or by a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the Members of Parliament.
    IN ACCORDANCE with the said article 75 of the Constitution, the President has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development the Regional Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean on 24th June, 2014. NOW THEREFORE, this Honourable House hereby resolves to ratify the said Regional Convention on Fisheries Co-operation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
    Mr Essilfie 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are we starting the debate on the item (6)?
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:55 p.m.
    Yes Mr Speaker; the debate as contained in item (13) of page six
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Very well.

    Hon Minority Leader, you are the Ranking Member of the Business Committee so you can move the Motion. You know that ordinarily it is three (3) days so you are suspending the Standing Order 140 for us to start the debate today.

    Any Hon Member of the Business Committee could move the Motion because it is the Business Committee that has determined to suspend the Standing Order and start the debate today.

    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Please move the Motion. The Hon Chairman would second.
    Suspension of Standing Order 140 (3)
    Vice Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 140(3) which require that when the Motion for the approval of the Financial Policy of Government has been moved by the Minister for Finance, the debate on it shall stand adjourned for not less than three days, the Motion for the adoption of the Mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2014 Financial Year may be debated today.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
    Mr
    Speaker, I believe that the Deputy Majority Leader could also do it because he is the Vice Chairman of the Committee of course any Hon Member of the Committee could do that and certainly it must not be in the name of the Minister for Finance.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, even though the Hon Member has not stated any reason for the suspension of the Standing Orders.

    Mr Speaker, I posed a question to the Hon Deputy Majority Leader who is the Vice Chairman of the Business Committee; he is proposing that we stand down the relevant provisions of the Standing Orders to allow for the Motion to be debated.

    Mr Speaker, I was asking what reason informs that request in line with our Standing Order 3.
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, why are you going there?
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, item number 14 on the Order Paper -- Motion -- [Pause.]
    Majority Front Bench, get your axe together.
    Mr Agbesi 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in accordance with the discussion we had, we submitted our list.
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, why are you going there?
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    So, you should advise me because the first person on that list cannot be found in the Chamber and in any case, nobody is on his feet.
    Hon Minister for Trade and Industry?
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, item

    Majority Front Bench, get your axe together.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
    In transition to Employment, Mr Speaker. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Well, you are telling me.
    MOTIONS 1:05 p.m.

    Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that this House adopts the Mid- year review of Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for 2014 Financial Year.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh appeared before the House in a very open and candid manner to share with the people of Ghana, through its represen- tatives the state of the Ghanaian economy as a challenged economy and the necessity of a review in terms of Supplementary Estimates and to seek the approval of this august House for the approval of the Supplementary Estimates for 2014.
    Mr Speaker, it is significant for us to appreciate that, the management of an economy, particularly, the sustainability of it, must be above partisanship. We have been there before. In 2001, we were necessitated by developments of the global and domestic economies, we adopted HIPC. In 2008, necessitated by the same challenges we had to diverse major state assets in order to deal with the challenges of deficits that appeared at the time whether fiscal or budget deficits.
    We are again today, as we were reliably informed by the Hon Minister for Finance of a continuing decline in the prices of cocoa and gold -- our major export commodities. That means that, as the Hon Minister rightly reported, there has been major shortfall in government's revenue -- shortfall arising out of low imports and exports particularly, because the real economy has not been spurred to action, it has also contributed to those low revenue estimates.
    Mr Speaker, may I refer you, accordingly to paragraph 12. Accordingly, as the Hon Minister for Finance moved, that we give him approval for GH¢3,196,855,671.00 in conformity with article 179(8) of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of this august House. Mr Speaker, that also means the Hon Minister for Finance, on behalf of the President,
    oblige us with respect to the Constitutional provision in seeking this particular approval.
    Mr Speaker, it also, as was indicated by the Hon Minister, became very necessary for him to review his micro- economic targets, particularly those that were announced in the 2014 Budget Statement given that revenues are not up to expectation, and given that there is still an expenditure overrun arising out of his commitment to do an adjustment to Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) on workers' earnings.
    Mr Speaker, it is significant for us to add that, we need to take a definite decision on how to manage the public sector wages within the context of the Ho Consensus and Declaration. One could not agree more with the Hon Minister for Finance when he stated that it probably would be better that this year will conclude the negotiations in respect of public- sector wages for 2015 in order to give him fiscal space to plan ahead into the future.
    Mr Speaker, let me now turn on a few policy interventions -- those that are directly related. Mr Speaker, let us concede that, the performance of industry has not been the best arising out of an energy challenge. We will fix the power disruptions as a government. I have heard many quotes in the Media which quotes my Twi comment of adumdum adumdum begyae. Those of them who understand Twi very well, I did not say “adumdum adumdum agyae” -- I said “ebegyae”. We needed investment in the power sector, particularly, in the area of generation. We will increase the generational capacity.
    Mr Speaker, even more importantly is the completion of the gas project as the Hon Minister announced.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:05 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, yes, it is indeed true that the Hon Member on his feet did not say at the time that “adumdum adumdum agyae.” He did not say that because “adumdum adumdum agyae” means power outages have stopped. And indeed, at the time it had not stopped, he was saying that if the NDC was voted into power, it will come to a halt. That is why he said “adumdum adumdum begyae” - it will stop under the NDC. Today, where are we? He should answer that question.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was only giving an indication that energy remains a critical infrastructure to support industry.
    Government itself is not happy with the performance of industry. I think that even to have a situation where, as it was reported by the Hon Minister for Finance, the agriculture sector is contributing more than the service sector does not help our collective quest to change the structure of the Ghanaian economy which was a major challenge of President Mahama when he appeared before this House. Now, we should begin working on structural transformation of our economy.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Minister for Finance got it apt when he said that, there must be change in attitude, particularly, in the consumption of foreign imported goods. Today, we have just rice and sugar contributing to US$600 million per annum, yet we have capacity to produce rice domestically. I am particularly happy that through support of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) and a Committee chaired by the Hon Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, government is making available some GH¢20 million to support local rice production.
    The amount of money will be scaled up. Mr Speaker, a number of irrigation
    developments are taking place. One in the Volta Region for which a feasibility is being done -- Klekpo -- I hope I got the name right, along the Akatsi District of the Volta Region.
    Amantey in the Eastern Region, Tamli in the Upper East Region and Kamba in the Upper West Region. Long-term strategy of government to facilitate year- round farming in order that we can even promote the cultivation of horticultural and other vegetable crops for purposes of export.
    Mr Speaker, if we need to improve our foreign exchange --
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin 1:05 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Haruna Iddrisu is misleading this House. Mr Speaker, I say so because he said that, from the submission by the Hon Minister for Finance he sought to draw our attention to the fact that, the running of the economy must go beyond partisan interest. Mr Speaker, if that is the case, I beg to say that we on this side of the House have on numerous and several occasions drawn the attention of the --
    Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, that is not a point of order. You are out of order.
    Hon Minister, please.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin 1:05 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Haruna Iddrisu is misleading this House. Mr Speaker, I say so because he said that, from the submission by the Hon Minister for Finance he sought to draw our attention to the fact that, the running of the economy must go beyond partisan interest. Mr Speaker, if that is the case, I beg to say that we on this side of the House have on numerous and several occasions drawn the attention of the -
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you afford me the opportunity to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Seth Terkpeh, may I refer you to page 40 of the Mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and in particular to refer to the third and fifth paragraphs:
    “enforcing H.E. the President's directive for all MDAs and MMDAs to patronise made-in-Ghana products to preserve foreign exchange”.
    Mr Speaker, we are facilitating with the Hon Minister for Information and Media Relations and we will soon roll out a comprehensive strategy and plan for the promotion of made-in-Ghana goods. We will need to reduce our continuous consumption and appetite for imports and support the development of the export market.
    Mr Speaker, I am particularly happy again to note that, the Export Develop- ment and Agricultural Investment Fund has reached out and will soon be supporting Ghanaian farmers in Bawjiase and Nsawam for the production of pineapple. About thousand small holder farmers will be supported.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:15 p.m.
    Indeed it is not a good thing for me to be reporting that we have had to be doing imports of pineapple from Ivory Coast when we have the capacity to produce it in Ghana. So a number of small scale farmers will be supported to deal with it.
    Mr Speaker, let me conclude also by touching on the candid submission of the Minster for Finance, whether facilitated by minority constructive comments or advice from the China Development Bank (CDB). The Minister also reported that, part of the US$3 billion loan that was sourced from the CDB loan will now be capped at US$1.5 billion.
    Mr Speaker, what inspires and encourages me is that, US$100 million of that amount would be used for the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector of our economy to which the President has already initiated what he calls the Youth Enterprise Support Initiative for which GH¢10 million has now been made available for young people to have start-ups and to mentor young people into entrepreneurship.
    As I indicated, the management of public sector wages remains a major challenge and I believe that we will need to clearly enforce the newly determined market premium that will come into force in 2015 and I pray that we would get the understanding of labour in managing this particular issue.
    Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying that, even though we say the economy is challenged, there are those who would want to believe and those who say that the economy is in crisis. Like I reminded them, we have walked that path before in our immediate past as a country. You know the decisions you took in July/ August 2008 in order to deal with the critical gap when the economy was haemorrhaging at the time.
    I am confident that, government will weather the storm and what is important is that, the medium term prospects of our economy remain bright; we will deal head on with the challenges of the short term. I concede that the depreciation of the cedi has not been a healthy development for the Ghanaian private sector and has not helped in their planning.
    I believe that other interventions of Public-Private Partnership in infrastruc- ture development together with what was approved yesterday of the Cocoa Syndicated loan, will soar up our foreign exchange reserve to support the stability of the cedi.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you afford me the opportunity to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Seth Terkpeh, may I refer you to page 40 of the Mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and in particular to refer to the third and fifth paragraphs:
    “enforcing H.E. the President's direct ive for al l MDAs and MMDAs to patronise made-in- Ghana products to preserve foreign exchange”.
    Mr Speaker, we are facilitating with the Hon Minister for Information and Media Relations and we will soon roll out a comprehensive strategy and plan for the promotion of made-in-Ghana goods. We will need to reduce our continuous consumption and appetite for imports and support the development of the export market.
    Mr Speaker, I am particularly happy again to note that, the Export Develop- ment and Agricultural Investment Fund has reached out and will soon be supporting Ghanaian farmers in Bawjiase and Nsawam for the production of pineapple. About thousand small holder farmers will be supported.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:15 p.m.
    Indeed it is not a good thing for me to be reporting that we have had to be doing imports of pineapple from Ivory Coast when we have the capacity to produce it in Ghana. So a number of small scale farmers will be supported to deal with it.
    Mr Speaker, let me conclude also by touching on the candid submission of the Minster for Finance, whether facilitated by minority constructive comments or advice from the China Development Bank (CDB). The Minister also reported that, part of the US$3 billion loan that was sourced from the CDB loan will now be capped at US$1.5 billion.
    Mr Speaker, what inspires and encourages me is that, US$100 million of that amount would be used for the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector of our economy to which the President has already initiated what he calls the Youth Enterprise Support Initiative for which GH¢10 million has now been made available for young people to have start-ups and to mentor young people into entrepreneurship.
    As I indicated, the management of public sector wages remains a major challenge and I believe that we will need to clearly enforce the newly determined market premium that will come into force in 2015 and I pray that we would get the understanding of labour in managing this particular issue.
    Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying that, even though we say the economy is challenged, there are those who would want to believe and those who say that the economy is in crisis. Like I reminded them, we have walked that path before in our immediate past as a country. You know the decisions you took in July/August 2008 in order to deal with the critical gap
    when the economy was haemorrhaging at the time.
    I am confident that, government will weather the storm and what is important is that, the medium term prospects of our economy remain bright; we will deal head on with the challenges of the short term. I concede that the depreciation of the cedi has not been a healthy development for the Ghanaian private sector and has not helped in their planning.
    I believe that other interventions of Public-Private Partnership in infrastruc- ture development together with what was approved yesterday of the Cocoa Syndicated loan, will soar up our foreign exchange reserve to support the stability of the cedi.
    rose
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, may I know from the Hon Member on his feet what his definition of short term is? This is because, we know that the work programme of government for that one year; the Budget is the short term policy of government. Is he telling us that they would deal with the difficulties in one year?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since it is not Question time and the Minority Leader is well aware and is entitled to share his views on the mid-year review, I will deliberately proceed in concluding so that I will afford him an opportunity to make his own contribution to the Budget Statement.
    That leads me to the sincerity of the Minister for Finance and I will refer you to page 57 of the Budget Statement, in particular, paragraph 179, where he sought to inform this House about his intention to review the microeconomic target's overall GDP from 8.0 per cent to 7.1 per cent, non-oil real GDP growth revised from 7.4 per cent to 6.6 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, this is also another matter
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just for clarification. In the course of a presentation in this House by a Member, if any matter arises, a question could be asked of that Member on the spur of the moment. It does not have to wait till the period designated as Question time. May I refer the Member --
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, no ruling has been made on that so --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just for clarification. In the course of a presentation in this House by a Member, if any matter arises, a question could be asked of that Member on the spur of the moment. It does not have to wait till the period designated as Question time. May I refer the Member -
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he just said --
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Yes, but I rule on point of orders, so I have not ruled on that matter, neither have I ruled you out. So please, let him --
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, no ruling has been made on that so -
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is relevant because a few hours ago, in some corridors, we were hearing that the Hon Member on his feet was to be made whatever in this House, so for his elucidation, it is important that he gets to know that per our Standing Orders, that is Order 63, any Member on his feet making any Statement could be asked any relevant question at any given time.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he just said -
    Mr Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Yes, but I rule on point of orders, so I have not ruled on that matter, neither have I ruled you out. So please, let him -
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since I attach a lot of importance to that important seat he occupies -- Leading constructive criticisms of government, I would yield to answer his question. May I refer him to page 58 of the mid-year review Statement of the Minister; the short-term challenges include:
    “slow down in economic activity due to the energy crisis and exchange rate depreciation;
    rising interest rates leading to higher interest costs;
    implementation of the 10 per cent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to Government employees, effective May, 2014;
    slower-than-expected implementa- tion of utility and petroleum price adjustments; and
    exchange rate depreciation”.
    Each of these measures, government has a number of initiatives and strategies which he is responding to. For instance, energy, it is not just a question of satisfying industry. The US$800 million being invested in the gas infrastructure, if completed by the end of this year, will allow for some savings of foreign exchange in terms of crude procurement that we will make as a country.
    We have worked to improve transmis- sion lines; we have extended rural electrification to many other communities but industry and Ghanaians need to be assured of access to power which government will do.
    I also indicated that short-term comes to labour's understanding; at least, there was 10 per cent Cost of Living Allowance and it is my sincere hope and belief that, labour would engage with government to engage in resolving some of these salary adjustments even before the beginning of 2014 in order to allow for effective planning.
    Mr Kwaku A. Kwarteng (NPP -- Obuasi West) 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, I would like to say it for the record that, Ghana was declared Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2001 but Ghana had been HIPC long before.
    Secondly, the NDC Administration has been in power for more than five years. If we are still having power outages, we should be discussing why government strategies have failed and not be dabbling in semantics.
    In November, 2013, the Hon Minister for Finance came to this House to deliver his 2014 Budget Statement. As part of that Statement, he indicated that, the country had challenges and in that, he outlined certain measures and asked us to approve those measures so that we would have a turn around.
    When the Minister was coming here yesterday, some of us hoped that the
    Minister would deliver the positive outcomes of the measures he asked us to approve. Unfortunately Mr Speaker, that did not happen. Yesterday, the Minister provided us with some pieces of bad news.
    First, we were told that economic activities that would generate jobs would be much slower than the Government imagined at the time that the last Budget Statement was approved.
    Another bad news; that the rate at which prices of goods and services ould be rising would be worse than the Government itself anticipated at the time they presented the Budget Statement to us.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since I attach a lot of importance to that important seat he occupies -- Leading constructive criticisms of government, I would yield to answer his question. May I refer him to page 58 of the mid-year review Statement of the Minister; the short-term challenges
    include:
    “slow down in economic activity due to the energy crisis and exchange rate depreciation;
    rising interest rates leading to higher interest costs;
    implementation of the 10 per cent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to Government employees, effective May, 2014;
    slower-than-expected implementa- tion of utility and petroleum price adjustments; and
    exchange rate depreciation”.
    Each of these measures, government has a number of initiatives and strategies which he is responding to. For instance, energy, it is not just a question of satisfying industry. The US$800 million being invested in the gas infrastructure, if completed by the end of this year, will allow for some savings of foreign exchange in terms of crude procurement that we will make as a country.
    We have worked to improve transmis- sion lines; we have extended rural electrification to many other communities but industry and Ghanaians need to be assured of access to power which government will do.
    I also indicated that short-term comes to labour's understanding; at least, there was 10 per cent Cost of Living Allowance and it is my sincere hope and belief that, labour would engage with government to engage in resolving some of these salary adjustments even before the beginning of 2014 in order to allow for effective planning.
    Mr Speaker, with these words, I beg to second the Motion and I thank you for the
    rose
    Mr Kwaku A. Kwarteng (NPP - Obuasi West) 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, I would like to say it for the record that, Ghana was declared Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2001 but Ghana had been HIPC long before.
    Secondly, the NDC Administration has been in power for more than five years. If we are still having power outages, we should be discussing why government strategies have failed and not be dabbling in semantics.
    In November, 2013, the Hon Minister for Finance came to this House to deliver his 2014 Budget Statement. As part of that Statement, he indicated that, the country had challenges and in that, he outlined certain measures and asked us to approve those measures so that we would have a turn around.
    When the Minister was coming here yesterday, some of us hoped that the Minister would deliver the positive outcomes of the measures he asked us to approve. Unfortunately Mr Speaker, that did not happen. Yesterday, the Minister provided us with some pieces of bad news.
    First, we were told that economic activities that would generate jobs would be much slower than the Government imagined at the time that the last Budget Statement was approved.
    Another bad news; that the rate at which prices of goods and services ould be rising would be worse than the Government itself anticipated at the time they presented the Budget Statement to us.
    More bad news; that we were going to overspend our means as we were told,
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Mr G. K. Arthur 1:25 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. The Hon Member says the information from the Minister to the House is a bad news to the House. It is the facts on the ground that he was presenting to the House. So, we do not take it as a bad news. It is the facts on the ground.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, that is his opinion. He is expressing his opinion. Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:25 p.m.
    A bad news is news that is not good for you. And indeed, we have more bad news, that we are going to overspend our means by more than we anticipated in November, 2013 and not just overspend but the difference would be GH¢1.6 billion; that is what has dawn on government now.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:25 p.m.
    More bad news; tax revenue would be down by 16.3 per cent. Mr Speaker, more bad news; interest payments, monies we are paying because we have borrowed and borrowed. We are going to have to pay more of that in 2014 because government borrowing has gone up. So, money that should have gone into the provision of social services would have to go into interest payments.

    Mr Speaker, the Minister provided some more bad news, that the cedi would end up worse than he himself and the Government imagined at the time they presented the Budget Statement in November, 2013.

    Mr Speaker, the summary of all these is that, the economy is much more troubled than the Government itself imagined at the time. The Minister presented strategies for us to approve, so obviously, those strategies have failed.

    What we heard as strategies going forward, were old recycled lip services. These old recycled lip services that have plunged us in the economic difficulties we find ourselves now.

    The problems government should be dealing with in respect of our economy are pretty basic; on the income side, we have a narrow production base, a narrow export base, we are therefore, not generating enough foreign exchange to support our cedi, therefore, we are overspending our means. When a country spends more money than it can generate, it is not theory, it is mismanagement.

    On the expenditure side, Mr Speaker, we have a public sector expenditure structure that is fair ly r igid and government has been struggling to reduce this. What we ought to have heard from

    the Minister yesterday, were the reforms that would deal with these fundamental problems. We did not hear any of that, what we heard were as I indicated, blame on the Single Spine as though the workers of Ghana whose salaries are paid on the Single Spine are the cause of the problems of this country.

    Government, would have to deal with these crises seriously. There is no taking anybody's time in this and Mr Speaker, that is why I speak with this passion. This government has not provided in this mid year review why the strategies Govern- ment presented in November, last year, have turned out worse results for us. We should diagnose that.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:25 p.m.
    A bad news is news that is not good for you. And indeed, we have more bad news, that we are going to overspend our means by more than we anticipated in November, 2013 and not just overspend but the difference would be GH¢1.6 billion; that is what has dawn on government now.
    More bad news; tax revenue would be down by 16.3 per cent. Mr Speaker, more bad news; interest payments, monies we are paying because we have borrowed and borrowed. We are going to have to pay more of that in 2014 because government borrowing has gone up. So, money that should have gone into the provision of social services would have to go into interest payments.

    Mr Speaker, the Minister provided some more bad news, that the cedi would end up worse than he himself and the Government imagined at the time they presented the Budget Statement in November, 2013.

    Mr Speaker, the summary of all these is that, the economy is much more troubled than the Government itself imagined at the
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Ablakwa 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Very serious allegations are being made against the Government bothering on corruption and mismanage- ment. Hon Kwaku Kwarteng does not provide any evidence. It would be extremely unacceptable on the part of all of us if we encourage this kind of conduct.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, I think that to say -- On the floor that somebody is corrupt without substantiating is not proper on the floor of this House. Just withdraw and continue your contribution.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I refer my Colleague Member to the Auditor- General's Report. The Auditor -General's Report --
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Please, are you listening? I am saying that, withdraw and continue. Withdraw the “corruption” and continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not too sure that I heard the Colleague ascribe the corruption to any individual. He was talking about corruption in government.
    Mr Speaker, I think the rule is, the person must be afforded space to justify it and if he is not able to do it, then he would be called upon to withdraw. But space is not provided the person --
    Mr Kwarteng 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I refer my Colleague Member to the Auditor- General's Report. The Auditor -General's Report -
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I said that he should withdraw, let him withdraw and then we proceed.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would urge him to withdraw but are we now setting standards that nobody can talk about issues of corruption in this House?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not too sure that I heard the Colleague ascribe the corruption to any individual. He was talking about corruption in government.
    Mr Speaker, I think the rule is, the person must be afforded space to justify it and if he is not able to do it, then he would be called upon to withdraw. But space is not provided the person -
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    No, that is not what we are saying.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Then why not provide him the space to justify it?
    Mr Speaker, this is not known in this House, with respect to the Chair. If a person alleges corruption, the burden is on him to prove.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Let me explain to you why I asked him to withdraw. When he made the statement before the Deputy Minister came in -- You do not have to make statements at large. If he had been specific, I would have called him to substantiate that.
    You do not use the floor of the House to make statements at large. If he had been specific, I would have asked him to substantiate that. You cannot use the floor to just say something is happening because of corruption. He was very specific and I listened to him well. If he
    had mentioned somebody specific, I would have asked him to support that statement but he made it at large. That is why in order not to -- This is the floor of the House and our language should be very decorous and civil, that is why I am asking him to withdraw. If he has specific allegation, he should go ahead to use.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Then why not provide him the space to justify it?
    Mr Speaker, this is not known in this
    House, with respect to the Chair. If a person alleges corruption, the burden is on him to prove.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think I do not intend to challenge the point that is being made by the Chair at all. Except I thought that, if a person was building a case, the first case he made was in respect of corruption in government. Now, what are the examples that we can cite?
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Let me explain to you why I asked him to withdraw. When he made the statement before the Deputy Minister came in -- You do not have to make statements at large. If he had been specific, I would have called him to substantiate that.
    You do not use the floor of the House to make statements at large. If he had been specific, I would have asked him to substantiate that. You cannot use the floor to just say something is happening because of corruption. He was very specific and I listened to him well. If he had mentioned somebody specific, I would have asked him to support that statement but he made it at large. That is why in order not to -- This is the floor of the House and our language should be very decorous and civil, that is why I am asking him to withdraw. If he has specific allegation, he should go ahead to use.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    He did not even add government, I listened to him well Hon Minority Leader, he just did not add government; the tape is there they can play it. I listened carefully to him and an Hon Member took a point of order so I said he should withdraw.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since you are strongly urging, I would request my Colleague to respect the Chair and do that. But I think that in that case, the standards could be set anew in this House -- [Interruption.]

    I am not challenging the ruling but you can comment on it. Do not make wild gesticulations at me Hon Sorogho -- [Interruption] -- You understand. Look at what he is doing. If you have anything sensible, get up and say it.
    Mr Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    He did not even add government, I listened to him well Hon Minority Leader, he just did not add government; the tape is there they can play it. I listened carefully to him and an Hon Member took a point of order so I said he
    should withdraw.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since you are strongly urging, I would request my Colleague to respect the Chair and do that. But I think that in that case, the standards could be set anew in this House - [Interruption.]

    I am not challenging the ruling but you can comment on it. Do not make wild gesticulations at me Hon Sorogho - [Interruption] - You understand. Look at what he is doing. If you have anything sensible, get up and say it.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you see --
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you should always address the Chair and draw my attention to any disorder or somebody whose behaviour is out of the rules for me to rule. You do not get-up and respond to a Member who has not caught the Speaker's eye. You see, you do not do that.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    You should have drawn my attention to it.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    I respect that -- [Interruptions] -- but Mr Speaker, human as we are, the side kicks sometimes are more caustic.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you see -
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    You should have drawn my attention to it.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:35 p.m.
    I respect that - [Interruptions] - but Mr Speaker, human as we are, the side kicks sometimes are more caustic.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement you advised me to withdraw. I would like to emphasise that the kind of incidence of corruption uncovered by our Auditor-General and our own State agencies for which reason individuals are in court has to be fought more strongly otherwise, we do not develop. And it is the point I sought to make.
    Mr Speaker, in coming to the end of my submission, I would like to draw our attention to this; that the difficulties we are experiencing now are worsening by the years.
    For the third consecutive year, it looks like we are going to have double digit deficit. It calls for new measures to deal with these problems, and that is my worry that the review does not contain these measures.
    It is the measures that Mr Speaker, I am confident that a future New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government can implement -- [Interruptions] -- And deliver - A future NPP Administration --
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement you advised me to withdraw. I would like to emphasise that the kind of incidence of corruption uncovered by
    Mr Kwarteng 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to state for the record again --
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Conclude, your time is up. I gave Hon Haruna fifteen minutes. And because you were the first to start the debate, I also gave you fifteen minutes.
    You have had the fifteen minutes -- Including the interruptions and everything so please, conclude.
    Mr Kwarteng 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I invite this Administration to demonstrate, clearly, how we would get out of the economic woe in which we find ourselves.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker. [Hear! Hear]!
    Mr Kwarteng 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to state for the record again -
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Minister of State, Office of the President?
    Alhaji Abdul-Rashid H. Pelpuo (NDC-- Wa Central) 1:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and Supplementary Estimates for the Financial Year 2014 ably presented by the Finance Minister.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that, at every stage in our financial year, we do a review of the Financial Statement that was presented earlier in accordance with article 179(8) of the Constitution.
    It is important because of the changes and dynamics of the times when the economy goes through changes; and as a result of the fluctuations; the new challenges that are occurring; the contemporary events that are happening around the world, more and more it is becoming important that we take steps
    away from the mainstream economic management to review what is happening and then to re-launch ourselves into greater policy analysis and implementa- tion process.
    Mr Speaker, it is not as if this is the first time we are facing these challenges. In the immediate past government, when the Government faced challenges like this, they simplely raised their hands and declared HIPC in the nation.
    In 1982, when challenges faced the Government, what we did was to declare structural adjustment.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Minister of State, Office of the President?
    Alhaji Abdul-Rashid H. Pelpuo
    (NDC--Wa Central): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the mid-year review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy and Supplementary Estimates for the Financial Year 2014 ably presented by the Finance Minister.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that, at every stage in our financial year, we do a review of the Financial Statement that was presented earlier in accordance with article 179(8) of the Constitution.
    It is important because of the changes and dynamics of the times when the economy goes through changes; and as a result of the fluctuations; the new challenges that are occurring; the contemporary events that are happening around the world, more and more it is becoming important that we take steps away from the mainstream economic management to review what is happening and then to re-launch ourselves into greater policy analysis and implementa- tion process.
    Mr Speaker, it is not as if this is the first time we are facing these challenges. In the immediate past government, when the Government faced challenges like this, they simplely raised their hands and declared HIPC in the nation.
    In 1982, when challenges faced the Government, what we did was to declare structural adjustment.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Minister is grossly misleading this House. The decision to go HIPC was not created by the NPP Government. The decision to go HIPC and the conditions that created the word HIPC, and the fact that Ghana was HIPC were created by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government under former President Jerry Rawlings.
    By the time the election was over in 2000, Ghana was HIPC --
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you --
    Mr Nitiwul 1:35 p.m.
    No. Did you hear the statement he made? He said conditions that were faced by the previous government, all they did was to raise up their hands and declare Ghana HIPC.
    I am pointing out to him that when your debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was 1:3 -- You owed three times the amount of money you could raise. It was not a condition that was created by NPP.
    Mr Nitiwul 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Minister is grossly misleading this House. The decision to go HIPC was not created by the NPP Government. The decision to go HIPC and the conditions that created the word HIPC, and the fact that Ghana was HIPC were created by the National
    Democratic Congress (NDC) Government under former President Jerry Rawlings.
    By the time the election was over in 2000, Ghana was HIPC -
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority, he is saying that a particular Government declared HIPC. If he had said that it had been caused by that Government which declared it, then the point of order would have been sustained but he did not say that. He did not state who caused it.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you -
    Mr Nitiwul 1:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for saying that NPP did not cause it.
    Mr Speaker 1:35 p.m.
    He did not state who caused it, so that is not a point of order.
    Hon Minister, continue.
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know that HIPC was a package arranged by the World Bank. The first country in sub- Saharan African to reach the decision point was Uganda followed by Ghana.
    That decision was taken by a government that was unable to reflect its own commitment to address the challenges of the times.
    I am saying that, when a government faces a problem and is able to face those problems with confidence and offer solutions, that government must be commended but not is a situation where you simply say that I am submitting myself to another external management; manage me, I am highly indebted and poor and cannot manage my own affairs.
    Mr Speaker, it does not matter where the cause is coming from. What matters is that, the Government has taken upon itself the need to change the circumstances of the people. To say that you can no longer challenge it and would hand over your fortunes to the World Bank is something to comment about.
    Mr Speaker, in 1982, when these challenges faced government, they declared structural adjustment and we
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know that HIPC was a package arranged by the World Bank. The first country in sub- Saharan African to reach the decision point was Uganda followed by Ghana.
    That decis ion was taken by a government that was unable to reflect its own commitment to address the challenges of the times.
    I am saying that, when a government
    faces a problem and is able to face those problems with confidence and offer solutions, that government must be commended but not is a situation where you simply say that I am submitting myself to another external management; manage me, I am highly indebted and poor and cannot manage my own affairs.
    Mr Speaker, it does not matter where the cause is coming from. What matters is that, the Government has taken upon itself the need to change the circumstances of the people. To say that you can no longer challenge it and would hand over your fortunes to the World Bank is something to comment about.
    Mr Speaker, in 1982, when these challenges faced government, they declared structural adjustment and we came out of it successfully only for us to go HIPC.
    Mr Speaker, in 2014 - [Interruptions] - We are faced with the same cyclical challenge and this time round, we are not going to submit ourselves to any International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. We are saying there must be a home grown programme.
    This review is telling us that, there are substantive decisions we need to take; there are hard core decisions that we would have to take to repair the economy and to let it move and flourish.
    Mr Speaker, a number of challenges we faced in the course of the implementation of the Budget year, first of all, there are some shortfalls in our taxes and domestic revenue mobilisation.
    Mr Speaker, we are also aware of the - [Interruption] -- It is not our fault; the international system, the international economic order; the challenges that are facing us because of the fall in gold and cocoa prices. We are aware of the power shortage.
    I heard the Hon Member for Obuasi West talk about the power outage and the
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is tragic that a Minister of State should be talking like this. First of all, he starts by saying that, every month in this
    country this Government is adding hundred megawatts. Mr Speaker, you have been in government for more than six years now-- [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, would you call Hon Sorogho to order?
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    I thought the two of you went out to confer some few minutes ago.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is tragic that a Minister of State should be talking like this. First of all, he starts by saying that, every month in this country this Government is adding hundred megawatts. Mr Speaker, you have been in government for more than six years now-- [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, would you call Hon Sorogho to order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as usual, he would not listen--
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, let us go straight to the breach of the rules.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister says they have been adding hundred megawatts every month to power supply. They have been in government for more than five years and that would translate to the addition of more than 6,000 megawatts. Where is it?
    The Minister for Finance is here, tax revenue that they spent on emolument is 57 per cent, it has always been, when he spoke about 70 per cent and even sometimes -- On one occasion, he was talking about 75 per cent of tax revenue -- Was it on Metro TV, today, he is saying 70 per cent. It has never been 70 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance is here. When the Government failed to pay and they include arrears, they say that, that is how much of tax revenue that they are paying on compensation; that is incorrect.
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish my senior Colleague would pay more attention to what I am saying. I am saying that, in the past, we demanded hundred megawatts of energy every year -- [Interruptions.] Yes, that was the demand and I am saying that now, with an expanded economy, there is a hundred megawatts demand on monthly basis, no longer yearly --
    Some Hon Members 1:45 p.m.
    No.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister says they have been adding hundred megawatts every month to power supply. They have been in government for more than five years and that would translate to the addition of more than 6,000 megawatts. Where is it?
    The Minister for Finance is here, tax revenue that they spent on emolument is 57 per cent, it has always been, when he spoke about 70 per cent and even sometimes - On one occasion, he was talking about 75 per cent of tax revenue - Was it on Metro TV, today, he is saying 70 per cent. It has never been 70 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance is here. When the Government failed to pay and they include arrears, they say that, that
    is how much of tax revenue that they are paying on compensation; that is incorrect.
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Yes, I am talking about the demand and I am saying that this Budget has addressed that issue.
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish
    my senior Colleague would pay more attention to what I am saying. I am saying that, in the past, we demanded hundred megawatts of energy every year -- [Interruptions.] Yes, that was the demand and I am saying that now, with an expanded economy, there is a hundred megawatts demand on monthly basis, no longer yearly -
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Hon Member, raised a point of order. He is saying that he is talking about demand of hundred megawatts a month, so if that is what he means, let him continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, it could have been a slip, perhaps he meant demand, but the Hon Member said here that they “have been adding hundred” -- [Interruptions.] That is what he said, if maybe, he meant demand --
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Yes, he said he meant demand.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    He did not say demand.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, it could have been a slip, perhaps he meant demand, but the Hon Member said here that they “have been adding hundred” -- [Interruptions.] That is what he said, if maybe, he meant demand -
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Minister, what did you say?
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    I do not know why the Hon Minority Leader wants me to say we are “adding”, I am not talking about adding.
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Continue.
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that we were demanding hundred megawatts on yearly basis. Today, the economy has expanded, business activity has expanded, the economy now demands a hundred megawatts of energy on monthly basis.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that I am commending the Minister for Finance for identifying this problem and addressing the issue on the mid-year review of the Budget.
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    You have two minutes more --
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that we were demanding hundred megawatts on yearly basis. Today, the economy has expanded, business activity has expanded, the economy now demands a hundred megawatts of energy on monthly basis.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that I am commending the Minister for Finance for identifying this problem and addressing the issue on the mid-year review of the Budget.
    Mr Speaker, he has not only addressed that issue, he has addressed several other issues -
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Including our deficit which they left a budget of close to 14 per cent deficit. Today, the Minister for Finance is targeting a deficit of 8.1 per cent being revision from 8.5 to 8.8 per cent. I am saying that, this is a very positive approach to our economy.
    Mr Speaker, to conclude, I am happy that, we are not going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for a bailout. I am happy that measures are taken in this Budget to address the key issues of mobilizing domestic resources to address the challenges of the times and I am also very happy that this is a home grown solution to our problems.
    I would call on all of us to begin to see that Ghanaians can do it. They must be confident in what we do and we can achieve success depending on ourselves and listening to those who can do better.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    You have two minutes more -
    Alhaji Pelpuo 1:45 p.m.
    Including our deficit which they left a budget of close to 14 per cent deficit. Today, the Minister for Finance is targeting a deficit of 8.1 per cent being revision from 8.5 to 8.8 per cent. I am saying that, this is a very positive approach to our economy.
    Mr Speaker, to conclude, I am happy that, we are not going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for a bailout. I am happy that measures are taken in this Budget to address the key issues of mobilizing domestic resources to address the challenges of the times and I am also very happy that this is a home grown solution to our problems.
    I would call on all of us to begin to see that Ghanaians can do it. They must be confident in what we do and we can achieve success depending on ourselves and listening to those who can do better.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr James C. Yanwube (NPP -- Tatale/ Sanguli) 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this mid-year review Budget and the Supplementary Estimates for 2014.
    Mr Speaker, I am confused in this House. Hon Asiamah one time described the House as poor, we do not have money and was asked to withdraw the statement and he did. Subsequently, we are seeing Hon Members using challenges rather than crises. I am at a loss, what are we really facing now? Are we facing crises or are we facing challenges? That is what I want to know.
    The next question is this, Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister came here and he did not tell us specifically what he would do about our continuous depreciating cedi. He has said loud and clear that the cedi would hit GH¢4 to a dollar. What I am saying is this, if we are to describe the cedi, what should we say it is. Would it ever end one day?
    What I am saying is this, if we have succeeded at all in collecting all our judgment debts, would we have been in this situation?
    Another thing is that if we decided that we were going to collect all the monies that we paid to Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), to Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Construction Pioneers (CP), Isofoton , SUBA and so many of them, would we have been in this serious situation?
    Mr James C. Yanwube (NPP - Tatale/ Sanguli) 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this mid-year review
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you on a point of order?
    Mr G. K. Authur 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, strictly on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, he said if we had failed to pay all these judgment debts, the country would not have been in this situation. I want the Hon Member to know that
    payment of judgment debt is not collapsing the State, but rather helping it, because these judgment debts went up because of the interests on the debts. The debts were few but because they were not being --
    Mr Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, that is not a point of order. He is expressing his view, -- It is a point of argument.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr G. K. Authur 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, strictly on a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, he said if we had failed to pay all these judgment debts, the country would not have been in this situation. I want the Hon Member to know that payment of judgment debt is not collapsing the State, but rather helping it, because these judgment debts went up because of the interests on the debts. The debts were few but because they were not being -
    Mr Yanwube 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much, I am very grateful.
    I am simply saying that, if we are in this serious cedi mess, then the Minister must come clearly to tell us what he is doing specifically to get us out of the cedi mess. We have a government that is almost struggling to do everything, and the Government, rather than looking at these issues and solving the problem, we do not know what is happening.
    I am saying that, this is a manifestation of serious mismanagement, and I am afraid that if we continue that way, maybe, one day, we would run into a halt in this country.
    My second point is, the Minister said that we would one day come out of our woes, in other words, our economic woes. Let me ask a question -- Can we ever bring an end to this economic woes with this level of borrowing? With our appetite in borrowing, can we ever come out of it?
    I know, as a serious financial person - - What we have to do -- If one is advising somebody, in terms of how to negotiate his finances, the first thing you would say is that; “go and destroy all your credit cards” and the second thing would be; “go and pay off all your debts”. Now, if we are not paying off the debts and we are attracting more, where are we going?
    I am asking this question.
    Again, the Minister said that, in terms of lower pricing or lower tariffs, he is blaming everything on -- [Pause]-- It does not matter how I would say it, but I would say it anyway -- [Interruption.]
    Some Hon Members 1:55 p.m.
    Do not mind them, go ahead.
    Mr Yanwube 1:55 p.m.
    Now, we are blaming everything on fuel not being ready to power our turbines. We have to be very careful with the way we --
    Mr Yanwube 1:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much, I am very grateful.
    I am simply saying that, if we are in this serious cedi mess, then the Minister must come clearly to tell us what he is doing specifically to get us out of the cedi mess. We have a government that is almost struggling to do everything, and the Government, rather than looking at these issues and solving the problem, we do not know what is happening.
    I am saying that, this is a manifestation of serious mismanagement, and I am afraid that if we continue that way, maybe, one day, we would run into a halt in this country.
    My second point is, the Minister said that we would one day come out of our woes, in other words, our economic woes. Let me ask a question -- Can we ever bring an end to this economic woes with this level of borrowing? With our appetite in borrowing, can we ever come out of it?
    I know, as a serious financial person --
    What we have to do -- If one is advising somebody, in terms of how to negotiate his finances, the first thing you would say is that; “go and destroy all your credit cards” and the second thing would be; “go and pay off all your debts”. Now, if we are not paying off the debts and we are attracting more, where are we going?
    I am asking this question.
    Again, the Minister said that, in terms of lower pricing or lower tariffs, he is blaming everything on - [Pause]-- It does not matter how I would say it, but I would say it anyway - [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Members, having regard to the State of Business of the House, I direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period, in line with Standing Order 40 (3).
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Yanwube 1:55 p.m.
    Now, we are blaming everything on fuel not being ready to power our turbines. We have to be very careful with the way we -
    Mr Yanwube 2 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I am saying that I remember very well that just about two weeks ago, because of the Muslim fast, I asked one man who was my co-ordinator, to buy some items for my Muslim brothers, and I asked him to buy exactly those things that he bought the previous year, and let me say for a fact, I paid GH¢678 for those set of items. However, those same set of items are costing GH¢3,780 now -- why is that the case? It is mismanagement.
    The Minister wants us to give him about GH¢3 billion extra to spend. The question is, what is it for? Ghanaians down there; our brothers and sisters, do not even understand all the languages he has used here, for instance; “update the performance of 2003”. Ghanaians just do not understand that. All they want to know, is what he wants to spend the money on.
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Member, how can you be speculating on the floor? You know that yesterday, I referred the Supplementary Estimate to the Finance Committee, made up of both sides of the House, that are going to make recommendations to the House. Hon Members, let us be very careful with the language that we use on the floor. Do you know what it would mean?
    Please, you cannot get up on the Floor and be speculating. In any case, that matter is coming to the House for approval.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Yanwube 2 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I am saying that I remember very well that just about two weeks ago, because of the Muslim fast, I asked one man who was my co-ordinator, to buy some items for my Muslim brothers, and I asked him to buy exactly those things that he bought the previous year, and let me say for a fact, I paid GH¢678 for those set of items. However, those same set of items are costing GH¢3,780 now -- why is that the case? It is mismanagement.
    The Minister wants us to give him
    about GH¢3 billion extra to spend. The question is, what is it for? Ghanaians down there; our brothers and sisters, do not even understand all the languages he has used here, for instance; “update the performance of 2003”. Ghanaians just do not understand that. All they want to know, is what he wants to spend the money on.
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he was not really speculating, but what he actually said and meant was -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Member, how can you be speculating on the floor? You know that yesterday, I referred the Supplementary Estimate to the Finance Committee, made up of both sides of the House, that are going to make recommendations to the House. Hon Members, let us be very careful with the language that we use on the floor. Do you know what it would mean?
    Please, you cannot get up on the Floor and be speculating. In any case, that matter is coming to the House for approval.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    What he said, or meant?
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he was not really speculating, but what he actually said and meant was -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what he meant was that, the Minister is asking for extra GH¢3 billion, but he believes that the Minister should not have come to this House to ask for that money at all. That is what he is trying to say, because, the original GH¢32 billion we gave him, he has not seen what he has used it for, so, he should not even come here. He is not speculating. He knows that, the Minister has to come to this House, for the House to debate essentially each and every -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    What he said, or meant?
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you sure that was what the man meant?
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what he meant was that, the Minister is asking for extra GH¢3 billion, but he believes that the Minister should not have come to this House to ask for that money at all. That is what he is trying to say, because, the original GH¢32 billion we gave him, he has not seen what he has used it for, so, he should not even come here. He is not speculating. He knows that, the Minister has to come to this House, for the House to debate essentially each and every - [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Member, be careful with your language. You can still make your point, but choose your language carefully.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr Terkpeh 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of clarification.
    Indeed, the point made by the bench leader, baffles me, because, he has been very articulate in requesting that we respect the lines in appropriation, and not exceed. That means that even though I may have GH¢32 billion, if I need to vary those lines, I need to come to the House.
    So, his clarification is rather baffling, what we are saying is that, there are increases and there are decreases, and they are affecting various lines, and we are asking the House in the context of the previous estimate, to give us the approval to be able to do those changes.
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is precisely the point that the Hon Member made and I am also making, that we gave him the authority to go and pay Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), but this year; 2014 he has not paid a single cedi to GETFund. Has he come to the House to seek permission for us to do that? He has collected the money, the same with National Health insurance and Common Fund.
    Since we approved this year's budget, he has not released a single cedi to any of these Statutory Funds, from this year's budget. It is true.
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, there is official in this House that he has released the money --
    Mr Nitiwul 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is precisely the point that the Hon Member made and I am also making, that we gave him the authority to go and pay Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), but this year; 2014 he has not paid a single cedi to GETFund. Has he come to the House to seek permission for us to do that? He has collected the money, the same with National Health insurance and Common Fund.
    Since we approved this year's budget,
    he has not released a single cedi to any of these Statutory Funds, from this year's budget. It is true.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he has not paid the first and second quarters of the Common Fund. He has not paid --
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority
    Leader, there is official in this House that he has released the money -
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    This morning, the Minister in responding to a question stated that he had released GH¢287.9 million.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker that is paper release. There is no money in the bank. We can go to the Bank of Ghana and check the accounts whether there is money --
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he has not paid the first and second quarters of the Common Fund. He has not paid -
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do we not start the process by paper release?
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    This morning, the Minister in responding to a question stated that he had released GH¢287.9 million.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker that is paper release. There is no money in the bank. We can go to the Bank of Ghana and check the accounts whether there is money -
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the people of Ghana are looking for money in their accounts.
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do we not start the process by paper release?
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do we start the process by paper release?
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the people of Ghana are looking for money in their accounts.
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will not debate you, let me debate him. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, please continue and conclude.
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do we start the process by paper release?
    Mr Yanwube 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was coming to the point the Deputy Minority Leader raised. The Minister told us that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has modernised their programmes for receiving money, yet we do not see the equivalent going into our accounts. I have not seen money go into the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) and the previous quarter of my Common Fund. I do not want to repeat because that is what the Minister has promised.

    Mr Speaker, usually we budget in this House yet our budgets are never close to
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will not debate you, let me debate him. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Education?
    Deputy Minister for Education (Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa) (MP): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Mid-Year Review and Budget Estimates of the Government, ably presented to this House yesterday by the Finance Minister on the authority of H.E President John Dramani Mahama.
    Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the candour and sincerity of the Finance Minister when he spoke to challenges that confront us currently. I am encouraged by the fact that the Minister did not only acknowledge these challenges, but emphasised the measures that government is putting in place to address these challenges.
    Mr Speaker, I am also encouraged by the rallying call the Minister made in paragraph 3, which reads:
    Let me also convey through you, Mr Speaker, and the People's Representa- tives, President John Mahama's commitment, focus and determination to lead this nation out of our current temporary economic challenges. In doing so, I wish to communicate government's appreciation of the sacrifices, fortitude, and support of the people of Ghana. As a nation, we have r isen above many challenges before, and we shall rise again. Indeed, the signs of recovery are already beginning to show.
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, please continue and conclude.
    Mr Yanwube 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was coming to the point the Deputy Minority Leader raised. The Minister told us that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has modernised their programmes for receiving money, yet we do not see the equivalent going into our accounts. I have not seen money go into the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) and the previous quarter of my Common Fund. I do not want to repeat because that is what the Minister has promised.
    Mr Speaker, I got a letter telling me that Social Investment Fund (SIF) had been transferred to my accounts, but for two months, there was nothing there. I asked my accountant, and he told me it was not there. We asked somebody from the BoG, he also said it was not in the accounts. So please, who are you deceiving; is it
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Education?
    Deputy Minister for Education (Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa) (MP): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Mid-Year Review and Budget Estimates of the Government, ably presented to this House yesterday by the Finance Minister on the authority of H.E President John Dramani Mahama.
    Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the candour and sincerity of the Finance Minister when he spoke to challenges that confront us currently. I am encouraged by the fact that the Minister did not only acknowledge these challenges, but emphasised the measures that government is putting in place to address these challenges.
    Mr Speaker, I am also encouraged by the rallying call the Minister made in paragraph 3, which reads:
    Let me also convey through you, Mr Speaker, and the People's Representa- t ives , Pres ident John Mahama's commitment, focus and determination to lead this nation out of our current temporary economic challenges. In doing so, I wish to communicate government's appreciation of the sacrifices, fortitude, and support of the people of Ghana.
    As a nation, we have risen above many challenges before, and we shall rise again. Indeed, the signs of recovery are already beginning to show.
    Mr Speaker, these are very inspiring words, and coming from a political tradition that has done it before, I am even more inspired and encouraged.
    Mr Speaker, by the time this political tradition came to power in 1981, we were growing at negative10 per cent; that was our GDP growth, inflation was at 121 per cent in 1981, electricity coverage was below 20 per cent -
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, apart from challenging the figures that he is churning out, which I would want him to prove and give us the source, he said that their tradition came to power in 1981 when they overthrew Dr. Hilla Limann; I would want him to repeat that paragraph very well --
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, apart from challenging the figures that he is churning out, which I would want him to prove and give us the source, he said that their tradition came to power in 1981 when they overthrew Dr. Hilla Limann; I would want him to repeat that paragraph very well -
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Repeating is not -- [Laughter] -- why are you asking him to repeat it?
    Mr Nitiwul 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to hear him properly.
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Repeating is not - [Laughter] -- why are you asking him to repeat it?
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, under which order are you asking an Hon Member to repeat? -- [Laughter.]
    Hon Deputy Minister continue.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, perhaps, we took a leaf from 24th February, 1966, but the substantive point I am making is that, we will not shy away from our antecedents, and the fact still remains that we have shown, if one looks at the economic history of our country, that we have the capacity as a political tradition to develop this country; to build an economy, which is even stronger and robust than the minor challenges we have today.
    Mr Speaker, we have risen out of more severe challenges, and I talked about it when we were growing at negative 10 per cent, when inflation was around 121 per cent, when we had broken infrastructure; no regional hospitals, empty stores and long queues all over the place, yet we were able to rise to the challenge.
    Mr Speaker, a lot of times when our Colleagues paint a picture of gloom and doom, we need to be factual, that this is an economy that is not on its knees.
    Mr Speaker, the Finance Minister indicated that the first quarter of 2014, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was 6.7 per cent, that is phenomenal, the agricultural sector grew by 12. 7 per cent by the first quarter of this year, the services sector grew by 4.6 per cent, and industry grew by 1.1 per cent. These are all positive indicators. It is important that we do not continue to talk down on this economy, and create the impression -
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, under which order are you asking an Hon Member to repeat? - [Laughter.]
    Hon Deputy Minister continue.
    Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi 2:05 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is misleading the House. The figures that he is churning out are misleading; indeed the industrial sector declined by 1.1 per cent and did not grow by 1.1 per cent. Please he should read the text properly.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, perhaps, we took a leaf from 24th February, 1966, but the substantive point I am making is that, we will not shy away from our antecedents, and the fact still remains that we have shown, if one looks at the economic history of our country, that we have the capacity as a political tradition to develop this country; to build an economy, which is even stronger and robust than the
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    You have made your point.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker it depends on how one wants to present it. -- [Interruption] -- the fact --
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, yesterday, the Finance Minister gave us some figures, is what you are quoting in the document presented to the House?
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    You have made your
    point.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker it depends on how one wants to present it. - [Interruption] -- the fact -
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am using figures that the Finance Minister gave and I have indicated --
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Which page?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wrote them out and so I would locate the page and -- [Pause.]
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am using figures that the Finance Minister gave and I have indicated -
    Mr Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    The point is that the only figure, which is being challenged by the Hon Dr Appiah-Kubi is with regard to industry. He said that it did not grow by 1.1 per cent, but rather declined by 1.1 per cent.
    Was that not what you said? That is the only figure.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wrote them out and so I would locate the page and - [Pause.]
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Well, if that is the only figure, I am willing to concede. But I gave a number of indicators for the first quarter.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    It is only with the Industry.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    All right. I would grant him that, since I am not locating the paragraph. But I would look for it and come back.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    So, what you would do now is that, you would withdraw that figure until you come back --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, until I locate it, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well. It has been withdrawn.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    So, what you would do now is that, you would withdraw that figure until you come back -
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, but the point I am making is: this is not an economy in shambles, this is not an economy on its knees, this is an economy which remains the envy of many other African countries. Our GDP growth rate is still above the African average.
    rose
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, but the point I am making is: this is not an economy in shambles, this is not an economy on its knees, this is an economy which remains the envy of many other
    African countries. Our GDP growth rate is still above the African average.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, I do.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    What is your point of order?
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my point of order is that the Hon Member on the floor is misleading this House about the growth of Agriculture in the first quarter. He should show us where the evidence is in this document which was presented by the Hon Minister for Finance yesterday.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am referring to paragraph 63. The Hon Minister for Finance indicated and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, GDP grew by 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, down from 9.0 per cent in the corresponding period in 2013. In a marked departure from the sectoral performance in the first quarter of 2014, the Agriculture Sector led with a growth of 12.7 per cent, up from 6.7 per cent in the analogues quarter in 2013”.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    At the same page, it is stated that Industry declined by 1.1 per cent?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, I have conceded to that.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well. It is there; paragraph 63.
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I am very concerned about the way the Hon Member is going about it. If you go to page 8, paragraph 20, it is telling a totally different story from what he is claiming, on the Agriculture Sector -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, if you may allow me --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this confirms the point that this is an economy which is robust, strong and which has a lot of positives. There are challenges which the Hon Minister for Finance admitted, but indeed, the prospects are bright and we cannot run away from that. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, there is a document before us, you challenged him and asked him where he got the 12.7 per cent from, he referred to paragraph 63. I read paragraph 63 and I saw 12.7 there, if there is another document or another paragraph, he is not out of order, this is because he is referring to an official document before the House.
    If there is another figure, then it means that there is a problem with the documentation, it goes to argument. When you get the chance to speak you can draw the contradictions. But you cannot blame him for being out of order. He is within the order, because he is referring to a document before the House.
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I am very concerned about the way the Hon Member is going about it. If you go to page 8, paragraph 20, it is telling a totally different story from what he is claiming, on the Agriculture Sector - [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, if you may allow me -
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. I would come back on the issue.
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, there is a document before us, you challenged him and asked him where he got the 12.7 per cent from, he referred to paragraph 63. I read paragraph 63 and I saw 12.7 there, if there is another document or another paragraph, he is not out of order, this is because he is referring to an official document before the House.
    If there is another figure, then it means that there is a problem with the documentation, it goes to argument. When you get the chance to speak you can draw the contradictions. But you cannot blame him for being out of order. He is within the order, because he is referring to a document before the House.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, I cannot take a point of order on a point of order.
    Dr Akoto 2:15 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker. I would come back on the issue.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to make the point. I was emphasising the fact that this is an economy which is strong, robust and it is important that in our analysis, we do not continue to talk down the economy
    and create the impression as if Ghana is a failed state, as if we cannot pay salaries, as if there is no economic activity going on when official statistics indicate that there is remarkable growth in the Agriculture Sector, in the Services Sector and the overall GDP for the first quarter of 2014 is 6.7 per cent. This is not an economy which has crumbled.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to move to the Education Sector and to indicate that on page 43 of the Statement, the Hon Minister for Finance indicated that a national research facility has been created and funded with GH¢15 million. This would certainly come as welcome news to the Education Sector, because the concern has been that perhaps, with this national research facility, there is no political will. But considering the fact that page 43 of the Mid-year Budget Estimates reveal that the facility has been created and funded with GH¢15 million. That certainly is welcome news to those of us working in the Education Sector.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, I cannot take a point of order on a point of order.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague on his feet is entitled to say that there has been some growth in the Services Sector, but to say that the growth in the Service Sector was very remarkable, clearly, does not reflect in the figures that we have been given. Mr Speaker, may I take him to page 24, paragraph 67 and Mr Speaker, with your permission I quote:
    “Mr Speaker, the Services Sector grew by 4.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, down from 10.4 per cent in the corresponding period in
    2013”.
    Mr Speaker, that growth certainly cannot be remarkable. There has been some growth --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to make the point. I was emphasising the fact that this is an economy which is
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, that is his opinion. He is saying that in his view, it is remarkable, as somebody would also say that it is bad news.
    Mr Terkpeh 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when the 2013 base increases by 10 percentage points, the base increases therefore, if you do four per cent it is still impressive because it is on a bigger base. That is the performance; that is the point about Ghana's economy, that after the rebasing, the GDP increases and then after the discovery of oil and gas, the GDP increases and we still continue to grow on a much larger base. I think this is the point that needs to be made. So the one percentage growth point growth on 10 is generally lower than the one percentage point growth in 100.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not too sure that we are reading from the same page. By his own account, he said during the previous year, the first quarter, we grew by 10.4 per cent. Today, we are down; he himself is using the words that in the first quarter, it came down from 10 per cent in the corresponding year. He is saying to us that the 4.6 per cent growth is larger than the 10.4 per cent.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague on his feet is entitled to say that there has been some growth in the Services Sector, but to say that the growth in the Service Sector was very remarkable, clearly, does not reflect in the figures that we have been given. Mr Speaker, may I take him to page 24, paragraph 67 and Mr Speaker, with your permission I quote:
    “Mr Speaker, the Services Sector grew by 4.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, down from 10.4 per cent in the corresponding period
    in 2013”. Mr Speaker, that growth certainly
    cannot be remarkable. There has been some growth -
    Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    It depends on which rate you are using. That is his argument.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want him to confirm to us --
    Mr Terkpeh 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are doing a year on year comparison, and when you look at the progress of the rate of growth, it is on a larger base. When you do year on year comparison, then that is where we are saying it has slowed. But it by no means mean that the overall performance has declined.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think this whole thing was premised on the use of the words “remarkable growth”. So, if the Hon Minister is saying to us that the 4.6 growth is larger than the 10.4 per cent growth in last year, he should tell us. I would take it from there.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want him to confirm to us -
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sure the Hon Minority Leader would appreciate that four point six per cent is remarkable, 10.0 per cent can be spectacular or phenomenal. There are degrees in these expressions and descriptions and I do not think that we should be dragged into -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Isaac Osei 2:25 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I think the only thing we can say in this respect is that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing, but at a vastly depreciating rate.
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    That is not a point of order.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before my colleague moves on, now that he wants to do this compare and contrast, the next sentence that follows admits the slow growth is due mainly to lower growth rate, and is that still spectacular to him? We will accept that.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sure
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, a slow growth can still be remarkable. It is still better than the negative 10 per cent that this country used to grow at some time in our history, which this tradition took us from, and that is the fundamental point I have been making.
    sector and I was making the point that it is gladdening to note that the Finance Minister confirms that GH¢ 15 million has been put in the National Research Fund. I was also making the point that there is a lot to cheer about in the Education Sector
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    You have one minute more
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    The Hon Finance Minister talked about the 50 new Senior High Schools whose construction has began, the new facility to construct additional 23 Senior High Schools, to expand and rehabilitate additional 125 Senior High Schools, scholarships for 10,400 students, capitation grant for 5,651,000 students, 500,000 --
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    I asked him to conclude
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    You have one minute more
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    500,000 uniforms --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    The Hon Finance Minister talked about the 50 new Senior High Schools whose construction has began, the new facility to construct additional 23 Senior High Schools, to expand and rehabilitate additional 125 Senior High Schools, scholarships for 10,400 students, capitation grant for 5,651,000 students, 500,000 -
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Yes Hon Akoto-Osei?
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    I asked him to conclude
    Dr A.A.Osei 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, one of the Deputy Ministers of Education came to the Committee and categorically told us that out of the 50, only five had been started, but the Minister just said 50 had been started. It cannot be that 50 have been started. Five have been started, they are in the process of giving contracts to 45. This is a House of Records --
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    500,000 uniforms -
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Yes Hon Akoto-Osei?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Akoto Osei is only confirming what I said. Paragraph 161 indicates that 50 schools have been awarded on contract, so that is the rendition.
    The point also is that the Capitation Grant has not collapsed, as is being speculated. 5,600,000 children will benefit from that this year - Paragraph 162.
    The distribution of school uniforms has also not collapsed as is being purported elsewhere in the Ashanti Region. 500,000 pupils this year will receive free school uniforms as confirmed by the Finance Minister, and the point has to be made that there is a lot to cheer about.
    The Eastern University, we are told, that the Bill will come to this House this year, and I am happy that the Finance Minister's hometown will be receiving this University, and the Eastern Region which has been denied a public university so far as the history of our country is concerned will be seeing --
    Dr A.A.Osei 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, one of
    the Deputy Ministers of Education came to the Committee and categorically told us that out of the 50, only five had been started, but the Minister just said 50 had been started. It cannot be that 50 have been started. Five have been started, they are in the process of giving contracts to 45. This is a House of Records -
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister please conclude.
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    A public university. In concluding, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Finance Minister and indeed the President of the Republic of Ghana for all of these good tidings which have been brought to the attention of the good people of Ghana.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Akoto Osei is only confirming what I said. Paragraph 161 indicates that 50 schools have been awarded on contract, so that is the rendition.
    The point also is that the Capitation Grant has not collapsed, as is being speculated. 5,600,000 children will benefit from that this year - Paragraph 162.
    The distribution of school uniforms has also not collapsed as is being purported elsewhere in the Ashanti Region. 500,000 pupils this year will receive free school uniforms as confirmed by the Finance Minister, and the point has to be made that there is a lot to cheer about.
    The Eastern University, we are told,

    that the Bill will come to this House this year, and I am happy that the Finance Minister's hometown will be receiving this University, and the Eastern Region which has been denied a public university so far as the history of our country is concerned will be seeing -
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, early on, we were told that, the University proposed for the Eastern Region was going to be cited in Koforidua. It is most revealing that he is telling us that now it is the Minister of Finance's hometown that we are going to construct it. Mr Speaker, I would want a confirmation of this from the Finance Minister that, it is his hometown where this facility is going to be constructed.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker this question should not go to the Minister of Finance. It could go to the appropriate Ministry, not the Minister for Finance. No, this is not a question for him to answer.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the records we have never said Koforidua. Koforidua already has the All Nations University which is serving the people of Koforidua very well, and the Policy is to spread educational opportunities and spread access for all, and if the people of Yilo Krobo stand to benefit, I believe that they are also Ghanaians --
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Member for Wenchi?
    Prof George Y. Gyan-Baffour (NPP-- Wenchi) 2:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate. The essence of government is to improve the wellbeing of citizens in whatever actions that the Government takes. Mr Speaker, this supplementary budget and mid- year review of the 2014 Budget will not in any way improve the wellbeing of the citizens of this country. In fact, it tells us that life is going to be very difficult and harsh or worse for Ghanaians.
    Mr Speaker, all the economic indicators are treading in very dangerous territories. Our growth rate is projected to decline from 8 per cent to 7.1 per cent, even with oil. If you take oil out, it will actually drop to 66 per cent, which implies that the almighty oil is only growing at 0.5 per cent. This is very disturbing.
    Prices of goods and services will continue to increase by the day. Inflation according to the Finance Minister will rise to about 15 per cent, and government will continue to overspend, increasing the budget deficit from 8.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent, despite all the claims of fiscal prudence and ‘Better Ghana'.
    Mr Speaker, this supplementary budget is a meaningless exercise. It is not going to improve the welfare of the people but rather make life more difficult for Ghanaians.
    We are going to borrow more domestically, crowd out the Private Sector, increase interest rate paid by private operators, add more troubles to the already troubled traders, manufacturers and other private sector operators.
    Mr Speaker, these operators are already facing difficulties with power outages, difficulties with non-availability of affordable credit, difficulties with poor and expensive transportation cost, and we are going to add an increased interest rate as
    well, because of the crowding out effect. This Government has failed the people of Ghana woefully. It is time for them to pack and go.
    Mr Speaker, the people are tired --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the records we have never said Koforidua. Koforidua already has the All Nations University which is serving the people of Koforidua very well, and the Policy is to spread educational opportunities and spread access for all, and if the people of Yilo Krobo stand to benefit, I believe that they are also Ghanaians -
    rose
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Yes, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Agbesi 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my honourable Colleague has described the review exercise as a meaningless exercise. It only means that, the exercise Mr Speaker is presiding over is meaningless. What he himself is doing is meaningless. What we are doing here is meaningless. It is a serious statement to make that what we are doing is meaningless. Mr Speaker, it is a strong word he has used, and I hope that he can change it for another word.
    Prof George Y. Gyan-Baffour (NPP-- Wenchi) 2:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate. The essence of government is to improve the wellbeing of citizens in whatever actions that the Government takes. Mr Speaker, this supplementary budget and mid- year review of the 2014 Budget will not in any way improve the wellbeing of the citizens of this country. In fact, it tells us that life is going to be very difficult and harsh or worse for Ghanaians.
    Mr Speaker, all the economic indicators are treading in very dangerous territories. Our growth rate is projected to decline from 8 per cent to 7.1 per cent, even with oil. If you take oil out, it will actually drop to 66 per cent, which implies that the almighty oil is only growing at 0.5 per cent. This is very disturbing.
    Prices of goods and services will continue to increase by the day. Inflation according to the Finance Minister will rise to about 15 per cent, and government will continue to overspend, increasing the budget deficit from 8.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent, despite all the claims of fiscal prudence and ‘Better Ghana'.
    Mr Speaker, this supplementary budget is a meaningless exercise. It is not going to improve the welfare of the people but rather make life more difficult for Ghanaians.
    We are going to borrow more domestically, crowd out the Private Sector, increase interest rate paid by private operators, add more troubles to the already troubled traders, manufacturers and other private sector operators.
    Mr Speaker, these operators are already facing difficulties with power outages, difficulties with non-availability of affordable credit, difficulties with poor and expensive transportation cost, and we are going to add an increased interest rate as well, because of the crowding out
    effect. This Government has failed the people of Ghana woefully. It is time for them to pack and go.
    Mr Speaker, the people are tired -
    Mr Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Hon Member for Wenchi, I think that- how can you say the whole constitutional processes that we are undergoing is meaningless?
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I have said is that the Supplementary Budget is meaningless. It is not the process, but what is in the document has no meaning to anybody. It is not going to add anything to the Ghanaian. That is precisely what I am saying, not the process. The process is perfect. Mr Speaker is in control, so he is --
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    The Member for Wenchi is on his feet. [Laughter.]
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can never say that you are actually oversighting or doing something which is not meaningful. That is not my intention at all. What I said was that we are going to borrow excessively and crowding out the private sector even --
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I have said is that the Supplementary Budget is meaningless. It is not the process, but what is in the document has no meaning to anybody. It is not going to add anything to the Ghanaian. That is precisely what I am saying, not the process. The process is perfect. Mr Speaker is in control, so he is -
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if Hon Members are worried about the word “meaningless”, what I mean is that, it has no value and it would not add any value to what is there already.
    Mr Speaker, the people are tired and frustrated but they should not be dismayed. There is an alternative, ready, able and sincere to take over. The men and women are right here so Ghanaians should stay at peace.
    Mr Speaker, the managers of this economy do not seem to know what is wrong with the economy. How can you get the solution when you do not understand why things are the way they are now?
    Mr Speaker, the problems facing the economy are more structural --
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can never say that you are actually oversighting or doing something which is not meaningful. That is not my intention at all. What I said was that we are going to borrow excessively and crowding out the private sector even -
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, what is your Point of Order?
    Mr M. M. Ibrahim 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Review, in fact the Supplementary Budget
    occasioned the processes that are going on here. So to say that the Supplementary Budget is what he is referring to and not the processes is - Without the Supplementary Budget, these processes would not have been there. I think that it is appropriate that the good old Professor and an old Member of this House, withdraw that statement.
    Mr Ablakwa 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the good old Professor is misleading this House. He said there is an alternative out there that is ready and waiting, but the last time I checked, they did not even have a flag bearer. So if elections were to be held today, they would not even be on the ticket. They do not have a flag bearer. How can he say they are ready and waiting?
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if Hon Members are worried about the word “meaningless”, what I mean is that, it has no value and it would not add any value to what is there already.
    Mr Speaker, the people are tired and frustrated but they should not be dismayed. There is an alternative, ready, able and sincere to take over. The men and women are right here so Ghanaians should stay at peace.
    Mr Speaker, the managers of this economy do not seem to know what is wrong with the economy. How can you get the solution when you do not understand why things are the way they are now?
    Mr Speaker, the problems facing the economy are more structural -
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, that is not a point of order. Hon Members, let us make progress.
    Please, Member for Wenchi continue.
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, what is your Point of Order?
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the problems facing the economy are more structural and cannot be resolved with textbook fiscal or monetary policy prescriptions. It is all structural. You cannot manipulate the open market operations just to try and stabilise the economy.
    Mr Speaker, for example, the foreign exchange daily depreciation cannot be resolved yearly by throwing more foreign currency on the open market. The depreciation has a more fundamental cause. The demand for foreign exchange far exceeds the supply; it is as simple as that.
    So, the solution is to find a way to reduce the demand constantly and to increase the supply continuously. That is the challenge that the Government should bring to its mind to resolve the problem.
    It is not to go in there and take US$20 million and throw it to the market and when the market absorbs it, then you blame speculators. If I am a speculator and you tell me you are going to throw 20 million, why would I not go and take it? These are not the solutions.
    Mr Speaker, the Government is not looking where the solution is, and let me just give you a very simple example. Instead of bringing in crude oil at say, US$100 a barrel, and I am sure the Hon Minister for Energy is listening, to be processed by the Tema Oil Refinery, an equivalent quantity is brought in, finished product at about US$120. The effect is that for every barrel, you lose US$20 which could have reduced demand for dollars by same.
    Mr Speaker, assuming we import one million barrels of equivalent finished product, it means that we are throwing away about US$20 million, which we could have saved if we had brought in crude; used it in TOR; not export our jobs, then save foreign currency and ensure that the demands comes down and the exchange rate is taken care of.
    Mr Speaker, these are very simple structural problems that we are facing but because some people enjoy --
    Mr Ablakwa 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the good old Professor is misleading this House. He said there is an alternative out there that is ready and waiting, but the last time I checked, they did not even have a flag bearer. So if elections were to be held today, they would not even be on the ticket. They do not have a flag bearer. How can he say they are ready and waiting?
    Mr E. Armah-Kofi Buah 2:35 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order, Hon minister?
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, that is not a point of order. Hon Members, let us make progress.
    Please, Member for Wenchi continue.
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member in his submission is trying to imply that this government is not committed to making Tema Oil Refinery viable. I would want to say for the record that not too long ago, the President himself was here and talked about his vision for TOR and what we are doing now to revamp it.
    More importantly, the Hon Member was a champion for the deregulation of the downstream sector. In fact, the introduction of (BDCs) and the importation of products were championed by him. So, I think what he is saying is a real contradiction.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker,
    the problems facing the economy are more structural and cannot be resolved with textbook fiscal or monetary policy prescriptions. It is all structural. You cannot manipulate the open market operations just to try and stabilise the economy.
    Mr Speaker, for example, the foreign exchange daily depreciation cannot be resolved yearly by throwing more foreign currency on the open market. The depreciation has a more fundamental cause. The demand for foreign exchange far exceeds the supply; it is as simple as that.
    So, the solution is to find a way to reduce the demand constantly and to increase the supply continuously. That is the challenge that the Government should bring to its mind to resolve the problem.
    It is not to go in there and take US$20 million and throw it to the market and when the market absorbs it, then you blame speculators. If I am a speculator and you tell me you are going to throw 20 million, why would I not go and take it? These are not the solutions.
    Mr Speaker, the Government is not looking where the solution is, and let me just give you a very simple example. Instead of bringing in crude oil at say, US$100 a barrel, and I am sure the Hon Minister for Energy is listening, to be processed by the Tema Oil Refinery, an equivalent quantity is brought in, finished product at about US$120. The effect is that for every barrel, you lose US$20 which could have reduced demand for dollars by same.
    Mr Speaker, assuming we import one million barrels of equivalent finished product, it means that we are throwing away about US$20 million, which we could have saved if we had brought in
    crude; used it in TOR; not export our jobs, then save foreign currency and ensure that the demands comes down and the exchange rate is taken care of.
    Mr Speaker, these are very simple structural problems that we are facing but because some people enjoy -
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, the point as I understand him to be making is that, if you bring the crude and use the TOR then we would save some dollars. That is the point he is making. It may be true or not; I do not know, and I thought you were going to respond to that.
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the point. I think that you can only refine crude oil at TOR when it is quite frankly, cost effective.
    You do not process those crude at TOR when your losses are so high that in the end you are going to create debt for the Government of Ghana, and that is exactly what we are going to address.
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Member for Wenchi, please continue.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, those are the choices that government would have to make. If the cost locally is higher but you can save foreign exchange, and if the most critical problem facing this country is the exchange rate, you go for even a local cost which is higher than going in for a foreign exchange that would throw the whole country out of gear. That is exactly what I am saying.
    But Mr Speaker, the Government has been in power for so long, why is TOR still retrofitting and doing what at this point? You have done this for almost six years. You have not done it and you are now telling me that you have a vision, vision for what?
    Mr Speaker, the Government prefers to import finished petroleum products, increase demand for foreign exchange, export jobs from this country to other countries; depreciate the currency; only to pave way for someone to make money of Ghanaians by bringing in finished products.
    Mr Speaker, very simple things can actually resolve these problems; we do not have to go in and throw good money --
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    I thought you were also going to address the inefficiency at TOR. That is what the Hon Minister is saying.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the inefficiency at TOR? That is why he is the Minister. He oversights the place, so if there is inefficiency, he should go in there and resolve them. I am not going to be the one to tell him how to resolve the problem when he is the one in charge of that.
    Mr Speaker, the financing logic of this government is to borrow money for development and to spend the people's taxes on doubtful projects like Ghana Youth Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA); squander some in judgment debts and allow officials to pocket some with impunity. You want to borrow money for every project in this country.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, those are the choices that government would have to make. If the cost locally is higher but you can save foreign exchange, and if the most critical problem facing this country is the exchange rate, you go for even a local cost which is higher than going in for a foreign exchange that would throw the whole country out of gear. That is exactly what I am saying.
    But Mr Speaker, the Government has been in power for so long, why is TOR still retrofitting and doing what at this point? You have done this for almost six years. You have not done it and you are now telling me that you have a vision, vision for what?
    Mr Speaker, the Government prefers to import finished petroleum products, increase demand for foreign exchange, export jobs from this country to other countries; depreciate the currency; only to pave way for someone to make money of Ghanaians by bringing in finished products.
    Mr Speaker, very simple things can actually resolve these problems; we do not have to go in and throw good money -
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member just stated that: “to allow officials to pocket some”. He cannot make such statements on the floor of this House; he must be specific and tell us the officials that he is referring to.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker -
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to use the word “corruption” here because there is an --
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, if you say officials pocket money -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    The inefficiency at TOR that keeps on creating debts upon debts over the years, is the point the Minister is also making.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    What I am saying is that, the Minister has always been telling us that there are revenue short falls but when you go to the ports, you would see what I mean by that. Instead of collecting the money for government, they rather tell you to give them something for them to do your work for you. That is what is happening. If you do not know, you go there and see what is happening in the ports.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the inefficiency at TOR? That is why he is the
    Minister. He oversights the place, so if there is inefficiency, he should go in there and resolve them. I am not going to be the one to tell him how to resolve the problem when he is the one in charge of that.
    Mr Speaker, the financing logic of this government is to borrow money for development and to spend the people's taxes on doubtful projects like Ghana Youth Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA); squander some in judgment debts and allow officials to pocket some with impunity. You want to borrow money for every project in this country.
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not heard the Hon Member withdraw that statement that the officials are pocketing money. It has to be withdrawn.
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member just stated that: “to allow officials to pocket some”. He cannot make such statements on the floor of this House; he must be specific and tell us the officials that he is referring to.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to use the word “corruption” here because there is an -
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if that is offensive to my friend I withdraw that, but what I am saying is that, you have to oversight properly to ensure that the revenues that we get at the ports go into the Consolidated Fund. As he is telling us here, revenues are not coming, but people are bringing in the goods and the economy expanding, why is it so?
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Member for Wenchi, one minute more.
    Mr Speaker 2:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, if you say officials pocket money -- [Interruption.]
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    What I am saying is that, the Minister has always been telling us that there are revenue short falls but when you go to the ports, you would see what I mean by that. Instead of collecting the money for government, they rather tell you to give them something for them to do your work for you. That is what is happening. If you do not know, you go there and see what is happening in the ports.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:45 p.m.
    Yes Mr Speaker, one minute will do.
    Mr Speaker, becoming a middle income country should not be seen as a burden. What it means is that, the country is now richer and should not encourage borrowing so cheaply. We should rely on expanded revenue from the enlarged economy to finance all these projects.
    Mr Speaker, if you become richer and you cannot take care of yourself and your family and you continue to borrow excessively, you are being very irresponsible as an individual.
    Mr Speaker, if a country continues to borrow excessively even when it is deemed to be richer, then Mr Speaker, we are becoming irresponsible and we should not blame outsiders for not giving us concessional loans or grants and say that now, because we are a middle income economy, we are not getting the grants et cetera.
    We are a middle income economy because we are richer than we used to be, the concessional money would be given to the LDCs, so we will have to find a way to finance ourselves and not blame them.
    Mr Speaker, we have to be responsible as a nation, change our attitude that someone outside should come and build our country for us, think through our problems properly and find appropriate solutions without tinkering about the issues as if we are a rudderless country. Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I have decided this morning, in consultation with the Leadership that we take three contributions from each side and then suspend the debate, and move to take other Motions while we continue the debate tomorrow, hoping that by that time the Finance Committee Report on the Supplementary Estimates would also be available and we can become masters of our own procedure; and we can even combine both, but put separate Questions on the Motions; on the Supplementary Estimates and that of the Review.
    Now, we are suspending the debate on the Review so that we can take some other Business. But before we proceed, my attention has been drawn by the Clerks- at-the-Table to the fact that some Papers are ready to be laid. If they are ready, let us have them laid then we proceed.
    By the Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, 6(b) (i) --
    Mr Buah 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not heard
    the Hon Member withdraw that statement that the officials are pocketing money. It has to be withdrawn.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 2:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if that is offensive to my friend I withdraw that, but what I am saying is that, you have to oversight properly to ensure that the
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I also have here the Order Paper Addendum 2. Hon Deputy Majori ty Leader, the Papers --
    Mr Agbesi 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to be laid by the Hon Minister for Finance.
    PAPERS 2:45 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader --
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I have
    decided this morning, in consultation with the Leadership that we take three contributions from each side and then suspend the debate, and move to take other Motions while we continue the debate tomorrow, hoping that by that time the Finance Committee Report on the Supplementary Estimates would also be available and we can become masters of our own procedure; and we can even combine both, but put separate Questions on the Motions; on the Supplementary Estimates and that of the Review.
    Now, we are suspending the debate on the Review so that we can take some other Business. But before we proceed, my attention has been drawn by the Clerks- at-the-Table to the fact that some Papers are ready to be laid. If they are ready, let us have them laid then we proceed.
    By the Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, 6(b) (i) -
    Mr Agbesi 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should go back to item number 15 on the original Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I also have here the Order Paper Addendum 2. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the Papers -
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Before I do that, I have just received Communication from the President, Office of the President.
    COMMUNICATION FROM THE 2:45 p.m.

    PRESIDENT 2:45 p.m.

    OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 2:45 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader -
    Mr Agbesi 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should go back to item number 15 on the original Order Paper.
    STATE HOUSE 2:45 p.m.

    OSU-ACCRA 2:45 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Before I do that, I have just received Communication from the President, Office of the President.
    PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 2:45 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    The nomination is referred to the Appointments Committee for consideration and report.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know when this Communication is dated.
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    It is dated 16th July, 2014.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I may inquire, does this House accept honorary degrees?
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Accept what?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:45 p.m.
    Honorary degrees.
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Whether we accept?
    Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    It is dated 16th July,
    2014.
    Mr Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, in the first place, I am communicating to you what has been sent to the Office of the Hon Speaker.
    In the second place, I know that certain universities allow their people to use the title. In fact, I have been advised to start using my title.
    I think that the laws that we pass in the House, conferring powers of universities to confer honorary degrees means that it is legal for those to be used. [Interruption] -- I do not know that one.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought this was a matter that the Majority Leader could also pronounce on, since he has a “Doctor” in front of his name.
    Mr Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    What about the Dr Akoto Osei from Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    I was going to defer to my Majority Leader, because I think that we have similar sentiments.
    Dr Kunbuor 2:55 p.m.
    In fact, he had that title before me -- [Laughter] -- So he is in a better position to comment on it.
    Mr Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us make progress.
    Item numbered (15)?
    Mr Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, in the first place, I am communicating to you what has been sent to the Office of the Hon Speaker.
    In the second place, I know that certain universities allow their people to use the title. In fact, I have been advised to start using my title.
    I think that the laws that we pass in the House, conferring powers of universities to confer honorary degrees means that it is legal for those to be used. [Interruption] - I do not know that one.
    MOTIONS 2:55 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to

    move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Asso- ciation for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Government of Ghana/International Development Association -- Financing
    Agreement
    Dr Kunbuor 2:55 p.m.
    In fact, he had that title
    before me -- [Laughter] - So he is in a better position to comment on it.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so I present the Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The request for approval of the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Associa-
    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:55 p.m.
    Parliament and e-Justice including the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General's Department.
    Component 4: Project management support
    i. The Ministry of Communication (MoC) will serve as the Project executing agency. Given the multi-sectoral nature of the project, it will work with relevant sector agencies for the effective implementation of the project. The MoC has had extensive experience in implementing the e-Ghana project.
    ii. Taking cognisance of the multi- sectoral requirements of the
    project, an inter-Ministerial Oversight Committee would be established. The membership of this committee will be drawn from ministries that will be implemen- ting the project and other relevant institutions that may be identified.
    iii. Due to additional technical requirements of the e-Transform project, the MoC will constitute a Technical Team which will comprise the relevant sectors/ units, including Ministries of Finance, Education, Justice and Attorney General's Department, Health, Parliament, National Identification Authority and key beneficiary institutions.
    Terms of the facility
    The terms of the facility are as follows:
    Loan amount -- US$97 million
    Grace period -- 5 years
    Repayment period -- 20 years
    Maximum commitment charge -- 0.5 per cent per annum waived for 2014
    Service charge -- 0.75 per cent per annum on the withdrawn credit balance
    Interest rate -- 1.25 per cent per annum
    Observation
    Benefits of the facility
    The Hon Minister for Communications informed the Committee that per the economic and financial analysis carried out, the benefits to be derived from the project will far outweigh the cost.
    According to the Minister, the e- government applications, including those for digital identity, digital content and online services would generate revenue which will pave the way for efficient public sector operations such as more efficient and effective tax collection and more efficient and transparent payroll system.
    The Hon Minister added that the project component supporting policy and regulatory environment and institutional capacity building would help improve governance and create conducive environment for healthier private sector business. Specific benefits the Hon Minister mentioned include reduce transaction cost and innovation in software and hardware development.
    The Hon Minister also indicated that the citizenry will enjoy enhanced access to better government services such as improved access to quality education and health services; and opportunities for

    training and employment. Further, in addition to improving social safety nets in poorer communities, the project will also ensure that rural communities are able to access key services such as birth and death certificates, passport forms and driver licenses. This, in the view of the Minister, will make significant strides towards reducing poverty and accelerating shared prosperity.

    Project cost breakdown

    Providing the cost breakdown of the project, the Hon Minister for Communica- tions stated that cost of the project will be expended through the four complemen- tary parts as follows:

    Component Cost

    US$

    1. Enabling environment for electronic government and business -- 15,450,000.00

    2. Support for upgrading national identification system and online verification services -- 29,150,000.00

    3. Scale up applications to improve service delivery in priority sector -- 41,550,000.00

    4. Project management support -- 7,100,000.00

    5. Contingency -- 3,750,000.00

    Total -- 97,000,000.00

    The detail breakdown of the activities and cost of each component of the project is attached as appendix 1.

    Significance of the project

    Commenting on the importance of the facility, the Minister for Communications informed the Committee that, e-Transform project aims at modernising the country's ICT infrastructure to promote efficient and transparent service delivery and governance. He explained that the facility will help build on the country's ICT

    infrastructure and ensure that existing capacity is fully utilised. The project when fully implemented will improve public service delivery by state institutions in the areas of data storage, justice and healthcare among others. The e-Parliament component of the project will be implemented in consultation with the Parliamentary Service Board and Leadership of the House to ensure that
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the
    Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Asso- ciation for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project may be moved today.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:55 p.m.
    the real needs of Parliament are addressed through this programme. He further explained that, the implementation of the programme will help combat cybercrime which is very pervasive in the country.
    Conclusion
    The Committee after a careful examination of the facility is of the view that, expanding the countries telecommu- nication infrastructure will improve Ghana's business competitiveness and improve governance in the country. The Committee therefore recommends to the House to

    adopt its Report and approve by resolution, the request for the approval of the financing agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (US$97,000,000.00 equivalent) to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 7 of the Loans Act and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Government of Ghana/ International Development
    Association -- Financing Agreement
    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so I present the Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The request for approval of the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Associa-tion (IDA) for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (US$97,000,000.00 equivalent) to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project was presented to the House by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan on Tuesday, 15th July, 2014 in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker referred the request to the Finance Committee for consideration

    and report in accordance with Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

    Pursuan t to the r e fe r ra l , t he Committee met with the Hon Minister for Communication, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Hon Deputy Ministers for Finance, Messrs Kweku Ricketts-Hagan and Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Communications and considered the referral.

    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister, the Deputy Ministers and officials from the two Ministries for attending upon it.

    Reference

    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:

    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana;

    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; and

    Loans Act 1970 (Act 335)

    Background

    Over the last few years, there have been efforts by government to improve the country's information highway and ICT infrastructure to serve as a tool for accelerated growth and development. However, there is the need to take advantage of the proliferation and development of new technologies to close the gaps that exist in the telecommunica- tion sector to improve internet bandwidth and reduce prices. To address the existing gaps, Government is complementing private sector efforts in the sector with additional investments in communications infrastructure, especially in the under- served parts of Ghana.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:55 p.m.
    0.75 per cent per annum on the withdrawn
    credit balance
    Interest rate -- 1.25 per cent per annum
    Observation
    Benefits of the facility
    The Hon Minister for Communications informed the Committee that per the economic and financial analysis carried out, the benefits to be derived from the project will far outweigh the cost. According to the Minister, the e-government applications, including those for digital identity, digital content and online services would generate
    revenue which will pave the way for efficient public sector operations such as more efficient and effective tax collection and more efficient and transparent payroll system.
    The Hon Minister added that the project component supporting policy and regulatory environment and institutional capacity building would help improve governance and create conducive environment for healthier private sector business. Specific benefits the Hon Minister mentioned include reduce transaction cost and innovation in software and hardware development.
    The Hon Minister also indicated that the citizenry will enjoy enhanced access to better government services such as improved access to quality education and health services; and opportunities for training and employment. Further, in
    addition to improving social safety nets in poorer communities, the project will also ensure that rural communities are able to access key services such as birth and death certificates, passport forms and driver licenses. This, in the view of the Minister, will make significant strides towards reducing poverty and accelerating shared prosperity.
    Project cost breakdown
    Providing the cost breakdown of the project, the Hon Minister for Communica-tions stated that cost of the project will be expended through the four complemen-tary parts as follows:
    Component Cost
    US$
    1. Enabling environment for electronic government and business -- 15,450,000.00
    2. Support for upgrading national identification system and online verification services -- 29,150,000.00
    3. Scale up applications to improve service delivery in priority sector
    -- 41,550,000.00
    4. Project management support
    -- 7,100,000.00
    5 . C o n t i n g e n c y
    -- 3,750,000.00
    Total --
    97,000,000.00
    The detail breakdown of the activities
    and cost of each component of the project is attached as appendix 1.
    Significance of the project
    Commenting on the importance of the facility, the Minister for Communications informed the Committee that, e-Transform project aims at modernising the country's ICT infrastructure to promote efficient and transparent service delivery and governance. He explained that the facility will help build on the country's ICT infrastructure and ensure that existing capacity is fully utilised. The project when fully implemented will improve public service delivery by state institutions in the areas of data storage, justice and healthcare among others. The e-Parliament component of the project

    will be implemented in consultation with the Parliamentary Service Board and Leadership of the House to ensure that the real needs of Parliament are addressed through this programme. He further explained that, the implementation of the programme will help combat cybercrime which is very pervasive in the country.

    Conclusion

    The Committee after a careful examination of the facility is of the view that, expanding the countries telecommu- nication infrastructure will improve Ghana's business competitiveness and improve governance in the country. The Committee therefore recommends to

    the House to adopt its Report and approve by resolution, the request for the approval of the financing agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (US$97,000,000.00 equivalent) to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution, Section 7 of the Loans Act and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Yes, any seconder -- [Pause] -- Hon Ranking Member?
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in so doing, I would want to offer a few comments, and I wish the Minister for Finance would pay some attention to my comments.
    Mr Speaker, IDA facilities are good, but increasingly, it appears that the World Bank likes to create project implementation units with every loan that they contract. The last time if you would recall, when we were doing the education budget, that unit was worth about US$ 16 million.
    Mr Speaker, with this one, one would notice that about US$7 million is going to create this unit, and I think it is about time government looked into this very carefully.
    Mr Speaker, all these employees are already in place. What we find is that when one creates this, one creates a special group of people who, because in a way resources are given to them and they tend to spend a lot of money in purchasing new cars and so on.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to bring his attention to it so that in future he can raise this matter with the World Bank.
    Mr Speaker, the second reason is, I would want to support this programme because the capacity of two institutions are being upgraded; first is, the Judiciary and second is Parliament. But if one looks at the Committee's Report, paragraph 7.3, It is surprising that Parliament is supposed to be part of this project but we do not know anybody in Parliament that can brief us on this.
    SPACE FOR COMPONENTS - 2:55 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
    Yes, any seconder -- [Pause] -- Hon Ranking Member?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    I believe Hon Essilfie would be in a position to give us some --
    So, Hon Essilfie you have the floor.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in so doing, I would want to offer a few comments, and I wish the Minister for Finance would pay some attention to my comments.
    Mr Speaker, IDA facilities are good, but increasingly, it appears that the World Bank likes to create project implementation units with every loan that they contract. The last time if you would recall, when we were doing the education budget, that unit was worth about US$ 16 million.
    Mr Speaker, with this one, one would
    notice that about US$7 million is going to create this unit, and I think it is about time government looked into this very carefully.
    Mr Speaker, all these employees are already in place. What we find is that when one creates this, one creates a special group of people who, because in a way resources are given to them and they tend
    Mr Essilfie 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just wanted to make some clarification. I think if we set our minds back, in the last Parliament, Leadership put together the Interim Committee to look at the e-Parliament Project which the Clerk was the Chairman of the Committee and I was the Co- chairman.
    We did quite a bit of work but then we got to having to award the contract through the Parliamentary Service Board for this Project to start, but because of lack of funds that was stalled.
    So, this Project being part of the loan that we are facilitating, the need that rather

    we have seen or established and have therefore spoken briefly to the Minister responsible for Communications, is that before the World Bank comes up with their “no objection” and for the facility to be given; they have to come back to meet the e-Parliament Committee, for us to have a final discussion and redirect it, because the original estimates were done for e- Parliament in 2011.

    Now, we are in 2014 and again the 230 Hon Members have now become 275 Members and with the change in technology and all that, the scope of what would be done for the e-Parliament change. Therefore, that is what we are hoping, that once the loan is approved, the Minister already has expressed the need to engage us so that we can look at it again to make sure Parliament is not shortchanged. So, that is what it is.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3 p.m.
    to spend a lot of money in purchasing new cars and so on.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to bring his attention to it so that in future he can raise this matter with the World Bank.
    Mr Speaker, the second reason is, I would want to support this programme because the capacity of two institutions are being upgraded; first is, the Judiciary and second is Parliament. But if one looks at the Committee's Report, paragraph 7.3, It is surprising that Parliament is supposed to be part of this project but we do not know anybody in Parliament that can brief

    us on this.

    Mr Speaker, I am urging the Leadership of Parliament to look at this part carefully so that it would address the needs of Parliament, and not the needs of the project, because as far as we know, as of today nobody in Parliament knows about this Programme. So I urge the Hon Speaker and the Clerk-to-Parliament, who is administratively responsible for these projects to pay particular attention to it.

    Mr Speaker, this is a matter for the Clerk-to-Parliament, particularly the Parliamentary Service Board. We are supposed to be part of the project, but so far, I do not know anybody in Parliament who can speak authoritatively on this
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    I thank you for the information. That is precisely the -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Well, apart from that I believe the Minister himself is here, if he can also give us some update?
    Minister for Communications (Dr Edward O. Boamah) 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. If you refer to page 5 of 7 of the joint Memo to Parliament, you would realise that under component 4 -- Project Management Support -- Roman numeral (iii), we wrote and I beg to quote:
    “Due to additional technical require- ments of the e Transform Project, the Ministry of Communications (MoC) will constitute a Technical Team which will comprise the relevant sectors/units, including Ministries of Finance, Education, Justice and Attorney-General's Department, Health, Parliament, National Identification Authority and key beneficiary institutions.”
    We recognised that there would have to be some scalability factored into this. That was how come we made room for this.
    So, we would urge the Hon House to take random active interest in this aspect of the Memorandum so that there can be a good balance between the Parliamentary Service and Members of Parliament in terms of serving your needs and your interests.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you for the information Mr Minister and I thank the Hon Colleague for the information. That is precisely my point.
    Had we not elicited the information -- and you said that the last Parliament was when the Committee was constituted. The last Parliament's Committee cannot continue. There are new Members of Parliament and no information from the Committee has been brought to the plenary, so how are we supposed to know?
    Mr Speaker, I would want to urge you to reconstitute that Committee and the reason I asked was that, a Member of the last Committee, Mr Opam-Brown, said he is a Member of the Committee but he does not know what is happening. So, we can see that there is a gap. I think it is a good thing, that we need the technology here but I am urging that somebody brings our attention to it so that we can contribute to it.
    Mr Speaker, aside from those two things, I think it is clear that it is unfortunate that something that started in 2011 is now taking place. We should find a way to expedite these because certainly I can see cost overrides and we should not be doing that.
    I am told that the sector Ministry did its work but somehow we are running late. So I urge Hon Members to support the Motion for the adoption of the Report and the Resolution to approve the amount of US$97 Million for the e-Transform Project.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    I believe Hon Essilfie would be in a position to give us some -
    So, Hon Essilfie you have the floor.
    Mr Essilfie 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just wanted to make some clarification. I think if we set our minds back, in the last Parliament, Leadership put together the Interim Committee to look at the e-Parliament Project which the Clerk was the Chairman of the Committee and I was the Co- chairman.
    We did quite a bit of work but then we
    got to having to award the contract through the Parliamentary Service Board for this Project to start, but because of lack of funds that was stalled.
    So, this Project being part of the loan
    that we are facilitating, the need that rather we have seen or established and have therefore spoken briefly to the Minister responsible for Communications, is that before the World Bank comes up with their “no objection” and for the facility to be given; they have to come back to meet the e-Parliament Committee, for us to have a final discussion and redirect it, because the original estimates were done for e-Parliament in 2011.
    Now, we are in 2014 and again the 230 Hon Members have now become 275 Members and with the change in technology and all that, the scope of what would be done for the e-Parliament change. Therefore, that is what we are hoping, that once the loan is approved, the Minister already has expressed the need to engage us so that we can look at it again to
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Well, Hon Members, unless you want us to make contributions, I would have put the Question.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I almost got misled by the concluding comments of the Ranking Member of Finance when he said the Resolution. I thought that we were still taking the Motion which allows me an opportunity to contribute to the adoption of the Committee's Report and the approval of the amount as indicated in page 5 of your Committee's Report, in particular, paragraph 6. This is a -- [Interruption.]--
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    I was reading from page 7 of the Conclusion, “to adopt its Report and approve by Resolution.” I was just repeating that part of the Chairman's Report.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    I thank you for the information. That is precisely the - [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Well, apart from that I believe the Minister himself is here, if he can also give us some update?
    Minister for Communications (Dr
    Edward O. Boamah): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. If you refer to page 5 of 7 of the joint Memo to Parliament, you would realise that under component 4 -- Project Management Support - Roman numeral (iii), we wrote and I beg to quote:
    “Due to additional technical require- ments of the e Transform Project, the Ministry of Communications (MoC) will constitute a Technical Team which will comprise the relevant sectors/units, including Ministries of Finance, Education, Justice and Attorney-General's Department, Health, Parliament, National Identification Authority and key beneficiary institutions.”
    We recognised that there would have to be some scalability factored into this. That was how come we made room for this.
    So, we would urge the Hon House to take random active interest in this aspect of the Memorandum so that there can be a good balance between the Parliamentary Service and Members of Parliament in terms of serving your needs and your interests.
    rose
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you for the information Mr Minister and I thank the Hon Colleague for the information. That is precisely my point.

    Had we not elicited the information - and you said that the last Parliament was when the Committee was constituted. The last Parliament's Committee cannot continue. There are new Members of Parliament and no information from the Committee has been brought to the plenary, so how are we supposed to know?

    Mr Speaker, I would want to urge you to reconstitute that Committee and the reason I asked was that, a Member of the last Committee, Mr Opam-Brown, said he is a Member of the Committee but he does not know what is happening. So, we can see that there is a gap. I think it is a good thing, that we need the technology here but I am urging that somebody brings our attention to it so that we can contribute to it.

    Mr Speaker, aside from those two things, I think it is clear that it is unfortunate that something that started in 2011 is now taking place. We should find a way to expedite these because certainly I can see cost overrides and we should not be doing that.

    I am told that the sector Ministry did its work but somehow we are running late. So I urge Hon Members to support the Motion for the adoption of the Report and the Resolution to approve the amount of US$97 Million for the e-Transform Project.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not intend to contribute but since our Colleague has been at the Ministry for some time and I believe he knows quite a lot about this, maybe in his contribution.
    The issue raised by the Chairman of the Committee, that this project was started in 2011. In 2011, the number of Members of Parliament was 230, today it has gone 275; an increase of about 20 per cent.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I almost got misled by the concluding comments of the Ranking Member of Finance when he said the Resolution. I thought that we were still taking the Motion which allows me an opportunity to contribute to the adoption of the Committee's Report and
    the approval of the amount as indicated in page 5 of your Committee's Report, in particular, paragraph 6. This is a - [Interruption.]--
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Very well, if you can let the Minister for Communications interject before the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, makes his contribution.
    Dr Boamah 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Yes, it is true that it started in 2011 but this particular Agreement was negotiated in 2013, somewhere in August. At that time the number had escalated from the previous number to the present number. So, we tried as much as possible to take into consideration the current needs of Parliament.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not intend to contribute but since our Colleague has been at the Ministry for some time and I believe he knows quite a lot about this, maybe in his contribution.
    The issue raised by the Chairman of the Committee, that this project was started in 2011. In 2011, the number of Members of Parliament was 230, today it has gone 275; an increase of about 20 per cent.
    Now, how do we factor that one into this Project so that Parliament would not end up being shortchanged? If you can address that in his contribution, because that is where my interest really lies.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am really interested in the use of the terminology, “escalated”. That the number had escalated from 230 to 275. I am really interested in that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Minister, please, you have the floor.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu (NDC-- Tamale South) (MP) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Motion for the adoption and approval of the amount of US$ 97 million, a largely concessional facility by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to support the e-Transform Initiative.
    Mr Speaker, in making my contribution, let me just refer you to the very last page, paragraphs 3.4, and Mr Speaker, it is important to know that the e-Ghana Initiative is actually started long before
    2011.
    I recalled that in 2008 up to 2011, there was some initiative to build the infrastructure, which also came in to support legislation, the review of our communication and electronic status in order that it would reflect contemporary development within the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
    Mr Speaker, I just got back from the Trade Policy Review in Geneva where Ghana was given a lot of good commendations in terms of the development of ICT infrastructure in Ghana, and the kind of supporting legislation that we have.
    What is lacking in Ghana is what the Minister is seeking to do, e-applications. Having built infrastructure and supported it with the appropriate legislation, to what extent are we using ICT to improve the delivery of public services, including legislative work as we are doing? To what extent are we going to use it to improve the delivery of justice?
    I recalled that even during my time, I had the opportunity to travel with her Ladyship, the Chief Justice to Turkey to understudy what had won a United Nation (UN) prize in terms of the e-Justice System so that it became applicable in Ghana.
    I would just single out two things in addition to e-Parliament. Mr Speaker, for instance, e-Immigration.
    If you travel abroad and you come through Ghana, it is a harrowing experience just presenting your passport to the immigration official and having to spend 30 minutes to one hour just to be
    cleared at the point of entry. The same thing happens at the point of exit.
    We need to begin to quantify how much loss in terms of efficiency that happens, and that is why the e- Immigration System was developed which would allow for the building up of data at maybe four or five major points of entry. I recalled that, the procurement process for that was done including e-Procurement.
    Mr Speaker, the bottom line is that, the Minister would need to get the World Bank as is always done, particularly, regarding the question that was thrown to him. There would naturally be an advertisement which would invite some services, in the respect of the delivery of Parliament.
    Whoever responded to that bid would take in account the needs of Parliament and the number of Members of Parliament, and the Minister could negotiate with the World Bank before concluding a contract subject to what they issue as the ‘World Bank' No Objection. So, I whole heartedly support this.
    We were building the National Data Centre just behind this particular building which would support the flow of information.
    I would just give one other practical example. Mr Speaker, it is only in Ghana that when you have the birthdate of a person, you cannot access the personal data of that person. Anywhere in the world like in America, all they look for is your date of birth. Once they key in your date of birth, your Driver's Licence, the school you attended, when you graduated, the crimes committed and others would come automatically.
    I think that we have built a strong infrastructure, and we would need to work towards what is now popularly referred to as a paperless phenomenon. So that it is not just Parliament, even e-Cabinet; we would have to introduce a concept of e- Cabinet which would reduce the volume of paper that we use to do work.
    Mr Speaker, having said that, Members of Parliament must begin getting themselves ICT ready to be able to do work using the new technology of even smart phones, in order that we could remit information.
    Mr Speaker, for instance, you have Appointments Committee Meeting, and you would want to transfer the resumes of the candidates, you could say so via the system with a secret code that allows any person to do it. I am sure this is what is intended for the building up of the e- Parliament System and we need that for e- Justice.
    Mr Speaker, as you have experienced in your private life as a legal practitioner, when evidence is being given, you need an electronic system to be able to capture much of the information that is needed.
    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Committee's Report.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    Dr Boamah 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Yes, it is true that it started in 2011 but this particular Agreement was negotiated in 2013, somewhere in August. At that time the number had escalated from the previous number to the present number. So, we tried as much as possible to take
    into consideration the current needs of Parliament.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we could go to item 17 on the Order Paper, which is a Resolution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    The Resolution is by the Minister for Finance.
    RESOLUTIONS 3:15 p.m.

    Mr Haruna Iddrisu (NDC-- Tamale South) (MP) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Motion for the adoption and approval of the amount of US$ 97 million, a largely concessional facility by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to support the e-Transform Initiative.
    Mr Speaker, in making my contribution, let me just refer you to the very last page, paragraphs 3.4, and Mr Speaker, it is important to know that the e-Ghana Initiative is actually started long before
    2011.
    I recalled that in 2008 up to 2011, there was some initiative to build the infrastructure, which also came in to support legislation, the review of our communication and electronic status in order that it would reflect contemporary development within the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
    Mr Speaker, I just got back from the Trade Policy Review in Geneva where Ghana was given a lot of good commendations in terms of the development of ICT infrastructure in Ghana, and the kind of supporting legislation that we have.
    What is lacking in Ghana is what the
    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of the Republic of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by a Resolution of Parliament;
    PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), at the request of the Government of the Republic Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Asso-ciation for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project.
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 3:15 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Yes, any seconder?
    Where is the Chairman of the Committee?
    Could any Hon Member of the Committee present do that for us?
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    RESOLUTIONS 3:15 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, Resolution number 17 on the original Order Paper and on page 8 has been moved and seconded.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of the Republic of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by a Resolution of Parliament;
    PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution
    and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), at the request of the Government of the Republic Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Development Asso-ciation for an amount of sixty-four million, two hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 64,200,000.00) [US$97.0 million equivalent] to finance the proposed Ghana e-Transform Project.
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 3:15 p.m.

    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, there are some items listed under page 29 of the Order Paper. The first one is the Motion numbered item 7. These businesses are ready to be conducted, and upon consultations, we have agreed to take them now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Although they appear on the Provisional Order Paper for tomorrow?
    HEREBY RESOLVES AS 3:15 p.m.

    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Yes, although they are appearing on the Provisional Order Paper for tomorrow, we have agreed in view of the circumstances to take them now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Yes, any seconder?
    Where is the Chairman of the Committee?
    Could any Hon Member of the Committee present do that for us?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader? [Pause.]
    Hon Minority Leader, how do you respond to the proposal made by the Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was communicating with the Committee members, and they have indicated to me that they are ready. If they are ready, I guess we could take the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Very Well.
    In that case, we would move to Motion numbered 7 on the Provisional Order Paper for tomorrow, 18th July, 2014, on page 29.
    Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 3:15 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that, notwithstanding the provi- sions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the
    Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Motion numbered as item 7 on page 29 on the Order Paper is indeed for tomorrow, so I thought the application should be that, it would be lifted to today and be so considered.
    Dr Donkor 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as requested, thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    You would want to be as brief as possible -- [Laughter] -- Anyway, any seconder?
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, Motion numbered 7 on page 29 of today's Order Paper but slated for tomorrow has been moved and seconded.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that, notwithstanding the provi-sions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the substantive item is 8 on page 30 of the Order Paper.
    Report on Petroleum Agreement by and among Government of Ghana and
    Other Companies
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that, this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    You would want to be as brief as possible - [Laughter] - Anyway, any seconder?
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    OML 30 is one of the largest onshore licenses, by reserves, in Nigeria with gross proved and probable reserves of 1.1 billion barrels of oil, as estimated independently by RPS Energy Consultants Ltd, as at 31st March 2012. OML 30 achieved record peak production of 46,000bopd in September
    2013.
    Heritage operates four exploration blocks in Tanzania, three of which are considered to be geologically analogous to the Lake Albert Basin in Uganda.
    In 2013, Heritage expanded its portfolio into onshore Papua New Guinea through a farm-in to two licenses with an 80 per cent working interest in Petroleum Prospecting License 319 and Petroleum Retention License 13. Heritage also has interests in a producing field in Russia.
    In August 2011, Heritage acquired a controlling 51 per cent interest in Sahara Oil Services Holdings Limited (“Sahara Oil”) which owns the entire share capital of Sahara Oil Service Limited in Libya.
    GNPC exploration and production company limited
    Explorco is a subsidiary of GNPC established under the PNDCL 64. It was set up as a key vehicle for transforming GNPC into a fully commercial entity in which Ghanaians would hold commercial interest in exploration and production assets. Per the Agreement, Explorco will hold a commercial interest of 11.6 per cent in the Block.
    Ghana National Petroleum Corporation
    (GNPC)
    GNPC is a public corporation established by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act, 1983 (PNDCL 64). The Corporation by virtue of PNDCL 84 has the right to undertake exploration, development and production of petroleum over all blocks declared open for petroleum operations by the Minister for Energy and
    Petroleum. It is further authorised to enter into association with contractors for the purpose of exploration, development and production of petroleum by means of petroleum agreements.
    The GNPC has entered into association with GNPC Exploration Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil Plc and Blue STAR Exploration Ghana for the Block.
    The interest structure
    The interest structure of the partners is as follows:
    GNPC exploration production company limited, heritage oil plc and blue STAR exploration Ghana Ltd -- 89 per cent participating interest
    GNPC -- 11 per cent initial carried interest
    The GNPC may elect to have additional paying interest of 9 per cent in the event of discovery of oil in commercial quantities.
    The contract area
    The area applied for, covers the recently relinquished portion of Ultra Deepwater Keta Block, south eastern part of the Eni/Afren Keta Block. It is about 2,239 square kilometres. The Location Map is attached as Appendix I.
    Duration of the contract and work programme
    The Petroleum Agreement is for a total of twenty-five (25) years in the event of commercial discovery under article 23 of the Agreement. However, article 3 of the Agreement provides for an exploration period of seven (7) years after which the Agreement stands to expire if no commercial discovery is made.
    Work programme
    Article 4 of the Agreement commits the contractor to a minimum exploration programme in three phases comprising the Initial Exploration Period of two years, two and half years for the First Extension Period and another two and half years for the Second Extension Period.
    The detailed work programme and the minimum financial commitments are as follows:
    i) Initial exploration period
    This would last for a period of two (2) years. At this stage, the contractor would be required to reprocess existing 2D Seismic Data and acquire, process and interpret 1500km2 of 3D Seismic Data over the over applied contract area. The contractor 's minimum expenditure obligation for the work during this period is fifteen million United States dollars
    (US$15,000,000.00).
    ii) First extension period
    This stage is to last for a period of 2½ years. During this period, the contractor
    will drill one exploration well and expend a minimum of seventy-five million United States dollars (US$75,000,000.00).
    iii) Second extension period
    This would last for two and half (2½) years during which the contractor will drill one (1) exploration well and to also commit a minimum expenditure of seventy-five million United States dollars (US$75,000,000.00).
    The exploration operations are required by the proposed Agreement to commence as soon as practicable latest by 60 days after ratification of the Agreement by the House.
    Fiscal terms
    In the event of commercial discovery of oil in the Contract Area, the following fiscal benefits will accrue to the State under article 10 of the Agreement.
    Royalties and other entitlements
    On royalties and other entitlements, the State would benefit from oil and gas production at the rates (article 10.1 of the Agreement) provided in Table 1 below:

    SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE

    8 - 3.25P.M.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    The Domestic Gas Royalty of 6 per cent was strategically agreed to provide incentive for the contractor to meet its domestic gas supply obligations.
    Additional oil entitlements
    In the event of commercial oil discovery, the State will receive additional oil entitlements upon the attainment of agreed Rates of Return under article 10.2 of the Agreement as shown in Table 2 as follows:
    SPACE FOR Table 2 - PAGE 9 - 3.25P.M.
    Surface rentals
    The contractor would also pay surface rentals in respect of the remainder of the Contract Area at the beginning of each Contract Year (article 12) of the Agreement. The details are shown in Table 3 below:
    SPACE FOR Table 3 - PAGE 9 - 3.25 P.M.
    Legislative and regulatory provisions
    It was noted that new legislations or regulatory changes that will have an impact on the Petroleum Agreement after it has been approved is anticipated. For example, the proposed Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill will modify certain aspects of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law 1984 (PNCL 84) under which this Petroleum
    Agreement has been negotiated. Such changes may not apply to this Petroleum Agreement but to subsequent ones after the law comes into operation.
    Recent legislations that have been enacted and have an impact on the Petroleum Agreement include the Local Content and Local Participation Regulations, 2013 (L.I. 2204), which seeks to maximise the value-addition and job

    creation, and to develop local capacity as well as the Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act 821) to regulate and manage the utilisation of petroleum resources and to co-ordinate the policies in relation to them. The setting up of the Ghana Gas Company Limited, wholly State entity with the responsibility to build, own and operate infrastructure required to the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing or natural gas resources in the country also changes the existing landscape in the hauling of gas under the petroleum agreements.

    Training and technical support

    To ensure the establishment of programmes to train Ghanaians for work in petroleum operations and also for transfer of management and technical skills required for efficient conduct of petroleum operations, the contract has committed to make two payments to the GNPC for the stated purpose.

    The first is a lump sum of one million, five hundred thousand United States dollars ($1,500,000.00) as technology allowance to be paid within 30 days after the effective date of the Agreement. The second payment is in respect of the amount of two hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars (US$250,000.00) per each contract year which will be paid within 30 days after the effective date of the Agreement.

    Relinquishment

    Under article 5 of the Agreement, the contractor shall retain one hundred per cent (100%) of the contract area or sixty- seven per cent (67%) of the Contract area at the commencement of the First Extension Period. However, if on or before the expiration of the first extension period,

    the contractor elects to enter into the second extension period, the contractor shall retain an area not exceeding fifty per cent (50%) of the Contract Area at the commencement of the second extension period.

    Decommissioning and environmental management fund

    The Petroleum Agreement further makes provision for the establishment of a decommissioning and environmental management fund for the purpose of decommissioning and environmental management. A portion of the revenues from the production from the contract area will be paid into the Fund and will be used in financing decommissioning and any environmental accidents that may occur in the course of petroleum operations.

    As further security and in the event the monies accrued in the Decommissioning and Environmental Management Fund is not adequate to cover costs of decommissioning and any environmental incidents that may occur during operations, the contractor would be required to take an insurance cover to cater for any shortfall in the Fund.

    The Fund will be jointly managed by the contractor and GNPC.

    Performance bond

    Under the Agreement, the contractor shall furnish GNPC with a parent company guarantee to cover all of its performance obligations for the duration of the Petroleum Agreement. Of significance to the contractor's financial capabilities, the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund acquired a significant interest in Heritage parent company would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue STAR.

    Heritage and Blue STAR have also agreed on an arrangement in which the Heritage parent company would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue STAR.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the substantive item is 8 on page 30 of the Order Paper.
    Report on Petroleum Agreement by and among Government of Ghana
    and Other Companies
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    In seconding the Motion, all I intend to add to what the Chairman has indicated is that, any effort to get the exploration and possibly the development of that place, the Keta basin going, should be supported by this House.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, during the administration of President Kufuor, we thought that the one possible place that oil was going to be found was that area. I do recall the occasion when I was informed by GNPC that, we were about to hit oil in commercial quantities around that area, we stayed in the office till 12 midnight.
    Unfortunately, in the nature of these things, it did not quite happen. We then granted some extension to the company that was then exploring at the area to find out a bit more about the structure of the place, so we know exactly what was happening.
    I do support this Motion and that the House should give encouragement to these companies. But let us find out exactly what is going on there. We think it has a very good prospect and that in the fullness of time, we might have another ‘Jubilee' if even it is not named ‘Jubilee'; we would have something in that kind of quantity from around that area.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that, this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNTC Exploration Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue STAR Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of petroleum in respect of the ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Introduction
    The Pe t ro leum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GNPC Exploration Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil Plc and Blue STAR Exploration Ghana Limited in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana was laid in Parliament on Monday, 14th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Energy and
    Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah- Kofi Buah in accordance with article 268 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Consequent to this, the Draft Petroleum Agreement was referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to Orders 156 and 188 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and his Deputy, Hon Benjamin Kwaku Dagadu and other officials of the Ministry to consider the Petroleum Agreement. In attendance at the instance of the Committee were officials of the GNPC and the Petroleum Commission to assist in the deliberations.
    The Committee is grateful to the officials for their attendance and for providing clarifications to enrich its discussions on the Proposed Agreement.
    Reference documents
    The Committee was guided by the following documents during its delibera- tions:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
    ii. T h e S t a n d i n g O r d e r s o f Parliament;
    iii. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act, 1983 (PNDCL
    64);
    iv. The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 1984 (PNDCL
    84);
    v. The Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act, 821);
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, the Motion -- Yes, Hon Member?
    Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am really surprised that a Motion that was slated for tomorrow is being taken today. This is because we knew it would be tomorrow, so most of us do not even have the Report; I have not even read the Report.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should do the right thing. If we say it is tomorrow, it should be tomorrow, so that we would have ample time to scrutinise the Report. Why is it that it has been brought for today's Order Paper for us to talk about when we know that it is tomorrow? It is on the Provisional Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker, every Member of Parliament is entitled to scrutinise Papers here; we represent our constituencies but the Report is for tomorrow. It is because of that we did not bring our Reports today. [Interruption] Mr Speaker -- It is not fair.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    The GNPC may elect to have additional paying interest of 9 per cent in the event of discovery of oil in commercial quantities.
    The contract area
    The area applied for, covers the recently relinquished portion of Ultra Deepwater Keta Block, south eastern part of the Eni/ Afren Keta Block. It is about 2,239 square kilometres. The Location Map is attached as Appendix I.
    Duration of the contract and work programme
    The Petroleum Agreement is for a total of twenty-five (25) years in the event of commercial discovery under article 23 of the Agreement. However, article 3 of the Agreement provides for an exploration period of seven (7) years after which the Agreement stands to expire if no commercial discovery is made.
    Work programme
    Article 4 of the Agreement commits the contractor to a minimum exploration programme in three phases comprising the Initial Exploration Period of two years, two and half years for the First Extension Period and another two and half years for the Second Extension Period.
    The detailed work programme and the minimum financial commitments are as follows:
    i) Initial exploration period
    This would last for a period of two (2) years. At this stage, the contractor would be required to reprocess existing 2D Seismic Data and acquire, process and interpret 1500km2 of 3D Seismic
    Data over the over applied contract area. The contractor's minimum expenditure obligation for the work during this period is fifteen million United States dollars
    (US$15,000,000.00).
    ii) First extension period
    This stage is to last for a period of 2½ years. During this period, the contractor will drill one exploration well and expend a minimum of seventy-five million United States dollars (US$75,000,000.00).
    iii) Second extension period
    This would last for two and half (2½) years during which the contractor will drill one (1) exploration well and to also commit a minimum expenditure of seventy-five million United States dollars
    (US$75,000,000.00).
    The exploration operations are required by the proposed Agreement to commence as soon as practicable latest by 60 days after ratification of the Agreement by the House.
    Fiscal terms
    In the event of commercial discovery of oil in the Contract Area, the following fiscal benefits will accrue to the State under article 10 of the Agreement.
    Royalties and other entitlements
    On royalties and other entitlements, the State would benefit from oil and gas production at the rates (article 10.1 of the Agreement) provided in Table 1 below:
    The Domestic Gas Royalty of 6 per
    cent was strategically agreed to provide incentive for the contractor to meet its domestic gas supply obligations.
    Additional oil entitlements
    In the event of commercial oil discovery, the State will receive additional oil entitlements upon the attainment of agreed Rates of Return under article 10.2 of the Agreement as shown in Table 2 as follows:
    SPACE FOR Table
    2 - PAGE 9 - 3.25P.M.
    Surface rentals
    The contractor would also pay surface rentals in respect of the remainder of the Contract Area at the beginning of each Contract Year (article 12) of the Agreement. The details are shown in Table 3 below:
    SPACE FOR Table
    3 - PAGE 9 - 3.25 P.M.
    Legislative and regulatory provisions
    It was noted that new legislations or regulatory changes that will have an impact on the Petroleum Agreement after it has been approved is anticipated. For example, the proposed Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill will modify certain aspects of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law 1984 (PNCL 84) under which this Petroleum Agreement has been negotiated. Such changes may not apply to this Petroleum Agreement but to subsequent ones after the law comes into operation.
    Recent legislations that have been enacted and have an impact on the Petroleum Agreement include the Local Content and Local Participation Regulations, 2013 (L.I. 2204), which seeks to maximise the value-addition and job creation, and to develop local capacity as well as the Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act 821) to regulate and manage

    the utilisation of petroleum resources and to co-ordinate the policies in relation to them.

    SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE

    8 - 3.25P.M.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:25 p.m.
    The setting up of the Ghana Gas Company Limited, wholly State entity with the responsibility to build, own and operate infrastructure required to the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing or natural gas resources in the country
    also changes the existing landscape in the hauling of gas under the petroleum agreements.
    Training and technical support
    To ensure the establishment of programmes to train Ghanaians for work in petroleum operations and also for transfer of management and technical skills required
    for efficient conduct of petroleum operations, the contract has committed to make two payments to the GNPC for the stated purpose.
    The first is a lump sum of one million, five hundred thousand United States dollars ($1,500,000.00) as technology allowance to be paid within 30 days after the effective date of the Agreement. The second payment is in respect of the amount of two hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars (US$250,000.00) per each contract year which will be paid within 30 days after the effective date of the Agreement.
    Relinquishment
    Under article 5 of the Agreement, the contractor shall retain one hundred per cent (100%) of the contract area or sixty-seven per cent (67%) of the Contract area at the commencement of the First Extension Period. However, if on or before the expiration of the first extension period, the contractor elects to enter into the second extension period, the contractor shall retain an area not exceeding fifty per cent (50%) of the Contract Area at the commencement of the second extension period.
    Decommissioning and environmental management fund
    The Petroleum Agreement further makes provision for the establishment of a decommissioning and environmental management fund for the purpose of decommissioning and environmental management. A portion of the revenues from the production from the contract area will be paid into the Fund and will be used in financing decommissioning and any environmental accidents that may occur in the course of petroleum operations.
    As further security and in the event the monies accrued in the Decommissioning and Environmental Management Fund is not adequate to cover costs of decommissioning and any environmental incidents that may occur during operations, the contractor would be required to take an insurance cover to cater for any shortfall in the Fund.
    The Fund will be jointly managed by the contractor and GNPC.
    Performance bond
    Under the Agreement, the contractor shall furnish GNPC with a parent company guarantee to cover all of its performance obligations for the duration of the Petroleum Agreement. Of significance to the contractor's financial capabilities,
    the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund acquired a significant interest in Heritage parent company would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue STAR.
    Heritage and Blue STAR have also agreed on an arrangement in which the Heritage parent company would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue
    STAR.

    Joint management committee

    Per article 6 of the proposed Agree- ment, a Joint Management Committee (JMC) would be established by GNPC and the contractor not later than 30 days upon the effective date of the Agreement.

    The purpose of the JMC would be to oversee and supervise petroleum operations to ensure full compliance with the work programmes and development Plans. It is also to ensure that cost accounting, expenses and maintenance of records and reports relating to petroleum operations are carried out in accordance with the Agreement and procedures generally accepted in the international petroleum industry.

    Observations and recommendations

    The Committee made the following observations during consideration of the proposed Agreement:

    Improved benefits to the State

    The Committee noted that, the Agreement gives improved benefits to the State in the event of discovery of oil in commercial quantities. It was found that, the different fiscal elements under the Draft Agreement will provide the State an approximate of 67 per cent - 72 per cent of the net oil (i.e the total oil produced less exploration, development and production costs). This represents an improvement compared to those obtained in previous Petroleum Agreements in the same Basin with similar water depth.

    In addition, it was observed that, the oil discovery would encourage more exploration and production activities in the Basin which would lead to increased national oil and gas reserves and revenues for the country.

    Furthermore, a discovery would also lead to employment creation and the establishment of ancillary business by Ghanaians to serve the company's operations.

    Sanctioning foreign exchange transac- tions

    The Committee was gratified to note that, provisions were made for foreign exchange transactions to be sanctioned by the Bank of Ghana under article 13 of the Agreement. This, according to the Committee, represents marked departure from other Petroleum Agreements where such provisions are not incorporated. In the light of recent foreign currency challenges experienced by the country, the Committee viewed this as an important provision that would assist Bank of Ghana in its monetary policy decisions.

    It further noted that, the arrangement would also enable the Ghana Revenue Authority to monitor receipts of the contractor in ensuring that, the contractor pays the required taxes on transactions to Government.

    Modified stabilisation clause

    The Committee noted with satisfaction that the quality of stabilisation clauses found in previous Petroleum Agreements have been significantly modified in the Draft Petroleum Agreement.

    The Draft Agreement provides that the contractor will comply with all future changes in law and policy which may have effect on fiscal and economic terms of the Agreement. However, there is an avenue for the Parties to renegotiate the fiscal and economic terms where the contractor considers that a significant change in the circumstances prevailing at the time the Agreement was entered into has accrued to affect the economic balance of the Agreement.

    In the event of such a request, the onus would lie on the contractor to establish that
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Well, Hon Member, your point is well made but since we are the makers of our own rules and since both sides as well as members of the Committee agreed that we take it now, I believe we could do that because, tomorrow would be the last day of Sitting and there would be so much work.
    If we do not take advantage of some of these things and clear them from our Table today, we would have problems.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member was not within the building when the consensus was reached. The Minority Leader together with the leadership of the Majority agreed that, instead of an Addendum, the Provisional Order Paper should rather be converted into a substantive Paper so that we would avoid printing papers and all that. I think she was not here that is why. So, I crave your indulgence to let us proceed with the proceedings.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Yes, any seconder?
    rose
    SPACE FOR CONTRACT 3:25 p.m.

    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    In seconding the Motion, all I intend to add to what the Chairman has indicated is that, any effort to get the exploration and possibly the development of that place, the Keta basin going, should be supported by this House.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, during the administration of President Kufuor, we thought that the one possible place that oil was going to be found was that area. I do recall the occasion when I was informed by GNPC that, we were about to hit oil in commercial quantities around that area, we stayed in the office till 12 midnight.
    Unfortunately, in the nature of these things, it did not quite happen. We then granted some extension to the company that was then exploring at the area to find out a bit more about the structure of the place, so we know exactly what was happening.
    I do support this Motion and that the House should give encouragement to these companies. But let us find out exactly what is going on there. We think it has a very good prospect and that in the fullness of time, we might have another ‘Jubilee' if even it is not named ‘Jubilee'; we would have something in that kind of quantity from around that area.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:25 p.m.
    None

    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, the Motion - Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the companies that are involved in this; and I am raising this because, this is a bit late in the day when we are dealing with the allocation to such companies to begin exploration and possibly the development and production of petroleum.
    Mr Speaker, I am just looking at the arrangement. I would have wished that the track record of this company; First Heritage Oil was known to the House. I have seen that it has been listed on a Stoke Exchange. I would want to believe that it is a Stock Exchange not “Stoke exchange”; that is on page three of the Report.
    Then we are told that it is operating in Papua New Guinea, Malta, and Libya and so on. Yes, it may be operating there but what indeed is the track record of the company? I thought more would have been told to us. Then along the line, we are told that Heritage Oil and Blue Star -- BlueStar is a company that was incorporated in Ghana in June 2013; that is barely a year old. They are going to have 50 per cent shares or interest in these operations.
    Somewhere along the line, Mr Speaker, we are being told that they are proposing a joint operating company to rather operate the oil block and that joint operating company is GNPC Technical Services. So, it gets a bit murky there.
    What is that -- we want really to do serious exploration and possibly come with some discoveries which would lead us to production. But I am not too sure of this arrangement.
    I am not convinced totally that it is a neat way of doing things but the Minister of Energy is here.
    Maybe, he can throw more light on that because I am not really convinced about what you are doing at all.
    Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am really surprised that a Motion that was slated for tomorrow is being taken today. This is because we knew it would be tomorrow, so most of us do not even have the Report; I have not even read the
    Report.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should do the right thing. If we say it is tomorrow, it should be tomorrow, so that we would have ample time to scrutinise the Report. Why is it that it has been brought for today's Order Paper for us to talk about when we know that it is tomorrow? It is on the Provisional Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker, every Member of Parliament is entitled to scrutinise Papers here; we represent our constituencies but the Report is for tomorrow. It is because of that we did not bring our Reports today. [Interruption] Mr Speaker - It is not fair.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Very well; before the Minister does so, can the Chairman of the Committee respond to the question?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Well, Hon Member, your point is well made but since we are the makers of our own rules and since both sides as well as members of the Committee agreed that we take it now, I believe we could do that because, tomorrow would be the last day of Sitting and there would be so much work.
    If we do not take advantage of some of these things and clear them from our Table today, we would have problems.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr Kwabena Donkor 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee, in writing the Report called for and examined a number of documents.If we take Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited for example, it is a 50-250 listed company. We also enquired and it was confirmed that the company was actually in production in both Nigeria and Russia apart from having exploration rights and doing exploration work in a number of countries.
    Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited is a well-known indepen- dent oil producing company globally; they have a global profile. In terms of the joint company, the vision of GNPC and for that matter, I believe the Ministry, is that, GNPC should be empowered to become an operator. Until GNPC becomes an operator, other operators can always build up cost that might not necessarily be in the national interest. If GNPC becomes the operator, GNPC would be in a better position to ensure that the local content requirements of the country are met.

    A way of building GNPC's capacity to become an operator is to let them jointly handle the operation so that we do not have what we have in Jubilee Fields with Tullow alone being the operator, therefore, being able to take a number of decisions that the operator takes; by this, we are bringing GNPC in.

    We also examined the documentation of Blue Star Exploration. Even though the company is new, the players in the company have been in the Oil and Gas business; they are indigenous; a number of them have thirty years' experience and a number of them have supplied services to Jubilee Field.

    The essence of local participation is to get Ghanaians and Ghanaian companies to play a far more active role, so that you and I can hold Ghanaians democratically accountable. It is easier to hold Ghanaians democratically accountable than it is for us to hold foreign firms.

    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member was not within the building when the consensus was reached. The Minority Leader together with the leadership of the Majority agreed that, instead of an Addendum, the Provisional Order Paper should rather be converted into a substantive Paper so that we would avoid printing papers and all that. I think she was not here that is why. So, I crave your indulgence to let us proceed with the proceedings.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:25 p.m.
    Very well,
    Hon Member, do you have something
    Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think what has been said by the Chairman is important but quite frankly, the earlier proposal by this company was surprisingly exciting because in this particular Agreement, what it proposed that was for the first time, we have Ghanaian partnership in the spirit of the local content Legislative Instrument (LI). Not ordinary Ghanaians but these are Ghanaians who are going to be part of the operations and lead us to a process where we are going to have real Ghanaians with technical experience and industr ial experience for so many years and I think that is one of the plus for this whole experiment we are all excited about.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that if you look at the Agreement, it has been well negotiated. If you look at the physical take for the State and the fact that it went through a process where the Petroleum Agreement (PA) was negotiated by an inter-ministerial Government team made up of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General, GNPC, the Ministry itself and the fact that if you look at some of the provisions in a specially --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member; are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:25 p.m.
    None

    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    I just heard my Hon Minister say the Petroleum Agreement (PA) was negotiated by inter-ministerial team. In listening to the inter-ministerial team; I heard --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the companies that are involved in this; and I am raising this because, this is a bit late in the day when we are dealing with the allocation to such companies to begin exploration and possibly the development and production of petroleum.
    Mr Speaker, I am just looking at the arrangement. I would have wished that the track record of this company; First Heritage Oil was known to the House. I have seen that it has been listed on a Stoke Exchange. I would want to believe that it is a Stock Exchange not “Stoke exchange”; that is on page three of the Report.
    Then we are told that it is operating in Papua New Guinea, Malta, and Libya and so on. Yes, it may be operating there but what indeed is the track record of the company? I thought more would have been told to us. Then along the line, we are told that Heritage Oil and Blue Star - BlueStar is a company that was incorporated in Ghana in June 2013; that is barely a year old. They are going to have 50 per cent shares or interest in these operations.
    Somewhere along the line, Mr Speaker, we are being told that they are proposing a joint operating company to rather operate the oil block and that joint operating company is GNPC Technical Services. So, it gets a bit murky there. What is that - we want really to do serious exploration and possibly come with some discoveries which would lead us to production. But I am not too sure of this arrangement.
    I am not convinced totally that it is a neat way of doing things but the Minister of Energy is here.
    Maybe, he can throw more light on that because I am not really convinced about what you are doing at all.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Please use the microphone, I cannot hear you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Very well; before the Minister does so, can the Chairman of the Committee respond to the question?
    Dr Kwabena Donkor 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the
    Committee, in writing the Report called for and examined a number of documents. If we take Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited for example, it is a 50-250 listed company. We also enquired and it was confirmed that the company was actually in production in both Nigeria and Russia apart from having exploration rights and doing exploration work in a number of countries.
    Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited is a well-known indepen- dent oil producing company globally; they have a global profile. In terms of the joint company, the vision of GNPC and for that matter, I believe the Ministry, is that, GNPC should be empowered to become an operator. Until GNPC becomes an operator, other operators can always build up cost that might not necessarily be in the national interest. If GNPC becomes the operator, GNPC would be in a better position to ensure that the local content requirements of the country are met.
    A way of building GNPC's capacity to become an operator is to let them jointly handle the operation so that we do not have what we have in Jubilee Fields with Tullow alone being the operator, therefore, being able to take a number of decisions
    Dr Prempeh 3:35 p.m.
    In listening to the inter- ministerial team, I heard GRA which is Ghana Revenue Authority, I heard GNPC which is Ghana National Petroleum Company and they are not Ministries. So, list the inter-ministerial team you spoke about.
    Mr Buah 3:35 p.m.
    I was talking about the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney- General, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy. But obviously I was talking about the Agencies under them but thank you for the correction.
    More importantly, there is a proposal in this Agreement where there is going to be a technical service company being set up to help train Ghanaians and help build the capacity of GNPC.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think what has been said by the Chairman is important but quite frankly, the earlier proposal by this company was surprisingly exciting because in this particular Agreement, what it proposed that was for the first time, we have Ghanaian partnership in the spirit of the local content Legislative Instrument (LI). Not ordinary Ghanaians but these are Ghanaians who are going to be part of the operations and lead us to a process where we are going to have real Ghanaians with technical experience and industrial experience for so many years and I think that is one of the plus for this whole experiment we are all excited about.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that if you look at the Agreement, it has been well negotiated. If you look at the physical take for the State and the fact that it went through a process where the Petroleum Agreement (PA) was negotiated by an inter-ministerial Government team made up of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ministry of
    Justice and Attorney-General, GNPC, the Ministry itself and the fact that if you look at some of the provisions in a specially --
    rose rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member; are you up on a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:35 p.m.
    No, just a point of information.
    The Hon Minister said that, the vision they have. I would want to know from the Minister if the vision for the National Oil Company includes sponsoring people to Brazil. Is that part of their vision?
    Some Hon Members 3:35 p.m.
    Yes.
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    I just heard my Hon Minister say the Petroleum Agreement (PA) was negotiated by inter-ministerial team. In listening to the inter-ministerial team; I heard -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member, do you have some contributions to make towards the issues raised by the Minority Leader?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Please use the microphone, I cannot hear you.
    Dr Prempeh 3:35 p.m.
    In listening to the inter- ministerial team, I heard GRA which is Ghana Revenue Authority, I heard GNPC which is Ghana National Petroleum Company and they are not Ministries. So, list the inter-ministerial team you spoke about.
    Mr Kobina T. Hammond 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I share the sentiments of my Colleague with respect to that particular point that he made, whether the distribution of money to whatever, is part of it. I am so impeccably opposed to that. I think we are going to work on it subsequently but I think it has nothing to do with this Agreement going forward. So we get this Agreement -- well, if the Minister says that is part of the mision, I guess it is a slip on that one.
    It is not their mission; they should not be seen to be doing that, get millions and millions and whatever, Mr Speaker, we will deal with that at the appropriate time but for now, I think the Minister would want to wind up so we proceed with the other one.
    Thank you.
    Mr Buah 3:35 p.m.
    I was talking about the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney- General, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy. But obviously I was talking about the Agencies under them but thank you for the correction.
    More importantly, there is a proposal in this Agreement where there is going to be a technical service company being set up to help train Ghanaians and help build the capacity of GNPC.
    Mr Speaker, it ties in with the vision we have. We have to move to a place where the National Oil Company is not being carried. That the National Oil Company is actually going and taking these blocks and developing them and discovering oil one hundred per cent for the State, that is the direction we are going. I believe that with the technical strength and financial

    wherewithal of this company, everything we have had in this Agreement ties in with the vision that we are trying to get the National Oil Company to make.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Well, I believe he has done that already.
    Hon Members, I will put the Question -- yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought I raised a few issues that have not been responded to by the Minister, in respect of the participation interest. On page 3; the Report indicates to us that Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited have equal participation of 50 per cent interest. Now, if you come to page 4, we are told that the infrastructure of the partners is as follows: GNPC Exploration Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited -- 89 What is it?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, can you respond to that, Chairman of the Committee?
    Dr Donkor 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the 50 per cent only applies to the contractor group and even with them, there are three contractor groups. One with 36.9 per cent, and Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited with 36.9 per cent so the 50 per cent as captured, I believe it is misleading. They have 50 per cent with Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited but if you bring in Explorco and GNPC, then their interest is far less than 50 per cent and the details are in the Report, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:35 p.m.
    That is one of the issues that I raised. If that is the case, then let it reflect on page 3 so we know the actual interest because it is a mix-up, clearly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Chairman, is it possible to effect some amendments to what is in the Report to reflect the response that you have given so that it is proved beyond doubt?
    Mr Kobina T. Hammond 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I share the sentiments of my Colleague with respect to that particular point that he made, whether the distribution of money to whatever, is part of it. I am so impeccably opposed to that. I think we are going to work on it subsequently but I think it has nothing to do with this Agreement going forward. So we get this Agreement - well, if the Minister says that is part of the mision, I guess it is a slip on that one.
    It is not their mission; they should not be seen to be doing that, get millions and millions and whatever, Mr Speaker, we will deal with that at the appropriate time but for now, I think the Minister would want to wind up so we proceed with the other one.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Well, I believe he has done that already.
    Hon Members, I will put the Question - yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Dr Donkor 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, the details of the shareholding are all in the detailed Petroleum Agreement and would be captured correctly as it has been stated.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought I raised a few issues that have not been responded to by the Minister, in respect of the participation interest. On page 3; the Report indicates to us that Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited have equal participation of 50 per cent interest. Now, if you come to page 4, we are told that the infrastructure of the partners is as follows: GNPC Exploration Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited - 89 What is it?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, is it a point of order?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, respectively, I am craving your indulgence for your special guidance. Mr Speaker, we are all aware that this House is a House of procedure; we follow our rules. Mr Speaker, it is true that the Deputy Majority Leader sought leave of the House and our Leadership have agreed to take this, but Mr Speaker, I would want to be guided as to the specific rule that fortifies us in undertaking this--
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, as you are well aware, we are the makers of our own rules therefore, we are at liberty and it is along those lines that we have taken this. I do not know if you were here, there was an application made; I sought the views of the Minority. It was granted, it was indicated they were in consonance with it and then we went ahead and did whatever we have done.
    Hon Member, you are out of time.
    Table-Office, please take note at this stage, that the amendment be effected to the portion of the Report so that it reflects the response given by the Chairman of the Committee with regards to the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader.
    Subject to that I would to put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number (9) on the Order Paper; the consequential Resolution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum.
    RESOLUTIONS 3:45 p.m.

    Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament.
    Dr Donkor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, respectively, I am craving your indulgence for your special guidance. Mr Speaker, we are all aware that this House is a House of procedure; we follow our rules. Mr Speaker, it is true that the Deputy Majority Leader sought leave of the House and our Leadership have agreed to take this, but Mr Speaker, I would want to be guided as to the specific rule that fortifies us in undertaking this-
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    (10).
    MOTIONS 3:45 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr K.T Hammond 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded. I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament. IN PURSUANCE of the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution, the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Energy and Petroleum the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited,
    Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution hereby resolve to ratify the said Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the Ultra Deepwater East Keta Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, I believe that we would move on to Motion numbered (11).
    Chairman of the Committee?
    Petroleum Agreement by and among Government of Ghana, GNPC,
    Brittania-U Ghana Ltd in respect of South West Saltpond
    Block Offshore
    Dr Donkor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Chairman of the Committee ((Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to
    move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana
    Mr Speaker, in so doing I present the Report of the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee having performed all its due diligence, concluded that we were satisfied with the Agreement and that it is in the best interest of the State. It also meets the requirements of the laws relating to petroleum exploration on production in the country.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt this Report on ratify Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corperation, in respect of the West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana in accordance with article 268 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr K.T Hammond 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, I invite the House in supporting and agreeing to the Motion, to look particularly at what is at stake here.
    Dr Kunbuor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number (10).
    An Hon Member 3:45 p.m.
    How many size of block?
    MOTIONS 3:45 p.m.

    Mr K.T Hammond 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Hammond 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague asked me how many size of block —some block in the years gone by, were actually going for about 10,000km2. In the last few years, we have reduced them fundamentally to about 2,000km2. This is very tiny; only about 170km2.
    Mr Speaker, I add my voice to all that the Chairman has said and would invite the House to adopt the Motion as indicated by the Chairman.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded. I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded. It is for the consideration of the House.
    Question Proposed.
    Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh — rose —
    Hon Member, do you have anything to say?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon
    Members, I believe that we would move on to Motion numbered (11).
    Chairman of the Committee?
    Petroleum Agreement by and among Government of Ghana, GNPC, Brittania-U Ghana Ltd in respect of
    South West Saltpond Block Offshore
    Dr Prempeh 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to bring the Committee's attention to a recurring phenomenon —2million, 1million for training.
    Mr Speaker, as a House, this 1million, 2million going to Ghana National Petroleum Corperation (GNPC) a year — what is it really being used for?
    Mr Speaker, just this morning we were talking about enhanced payment to GNPC —1millioin, 2 million here — I have been counting; 7 million, 14 million.
    Mr Speaker, we have to open our eyes. These moneys going to GNPC negotiated under this Petroleum Agreement—I am starting to smell something funny.
    Mr Speaker, I do not understand, of all the moneys that go to GNPC for training and things—I support it, but here 2million

    Alhaji Inusah Fuseini — rose —
    Chairman of the Committee ((Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana
    Mr Speaker, in so doing I present the Report of the Committee.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Minister, are you up on a point of order?
    Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have known my Hon Colleague for a very long time but have never known him to be a blind person. His eyes are always opened, but this time I believe that he has opened it too wide that he is not seeing what is in the document.
    Mr Speaker, everything stated there has been stated for the benefit of this country and carefully thought through.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe we have to exercise our oversight responsibility to ensure that those moneys are well expended.
    Mr Hammond 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague asked me how many size of block some block in the years gone by, were actually going for about 10,000km2. In the last few years, we have reduced them fundamentally to about 2,000km2. This is very tiny; only about 170km2.
    Mr Speaker, I add my voice to all that the Chairman has said and would invite the House to adopt the Motion as indicated by the Chairman.
    Thank you.
    Dr Prempeh 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, we have to open our eyes because Seven Petroleum Agreement have been given —I have counted two here, one here and a half here — so that the Minister for Energy and Petroleum would take cognisance of these 2millions and 1millions and see what it is being used for.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded. It is for the consideration of the House.
    Question Proposed.
    Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh rose
    Hon Member, do you have anything
    to say?
    Dr Kunbuor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Motion 12
    Dr Prempeh 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would
    want to bring the Committee's attention to a recurring phenomenon 2million, 1million for training.
    Mr Speaker, as a House, this 1million, 2million going to Ghana National Petroleum Corperation (GNPC) a year what is it really being used for?
    Mr Speaker, just this morning we were talking about enhanced payment to GNPC 1millioin, 2 million here I have been counting; 7 million, 14 million.
    Mr Speaker, we have to open our eyes. These moneys going to GNPC negotiated under this Petroleum Agreement I am starting to smell something funny.
    Mr Speaker, I do not understand, of all the moneys that go to GNPC for training and things I support it, but here 2million
    Alhaji Inusah Fuseini rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Very well — Consequential Resolution.
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum?
    RESOLUTIONS 3:45 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon
    Minister, are you up on a point of order?
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament.
    IN PURSUANCE of the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution, the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Energy and Petroleum the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution hereby resolve to ratify the said Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini 3:45 p.m.
    Mr
    Speaker, I have known my Hon Colleague for a very long time but have never known him to be a blind person. His eyes are always opened, but this time I believe that he has opened it too wide that he is not seeing what is in the document.
    Mr Speaker, everything stated there has
    been stated for the benefit of this country and carefully thought through.
    Dr K. Donkor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon
    Member, I believe we have to exercise our oversight responsibility to ensure that those moneys are well expended.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded that we adopt the Resolution numbered 12 on the Order Paper at page 32.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Dr Prempeh 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, we have to open our eyes because Seven Petroleum Agreement have been given I have counted two here, one here and a half here so that the Minister for Energy and Petroleum would take cognisance of these 2millions and 1millions and see what it is being used for.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Motion 12
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since we are doing these Agreements together, I noticed that there are some disparities in the shareholding arrange- ments.
    Mr Speaker, for what we did in the first one —the royalty oil is 12.5 per cent; royalty domestic gas is 10 per cent.
    This one is five per cent, royalty gas export -- whereas one is 10 per cent this one is 7.5 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, there are other considerations that are also different. Since we are carrying the two together the same day, can we have the benefit of some further clarifications in this arrangement?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Very well Consequential Resolution.
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum?
    Dr Donkor 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this question was raised by the Committee. However, Mr Speaker, the issue is not always with the individual items but the totality of the Government's take. If you looked at this one, for example, the royalty is 12.5 per cent and it is extremely on the higher side so far.
    More importantly in this one, our national oil company has an initial carried- interest of 20 per cent, which is the highest I have ever seen. So, in negotiations, Mr Speaker, one may give in here but raise the bar there. But what is important is the totality of the Government's take. I believe this is a stronger Petroleum Exploration Agreement (PEA) in terms of the 20 per cent, the 12.5 per cent royalty.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe there are clearly other unanswered issues. But of course, we are doing this under considerable pressure and I would have wished that if we had it earlier, perhaps relevant questions would have been raised for better clarification.
    This is because we need to do the computation. Once he talks about the carried-interest and the royalty, we have to see the combined effect of the two before this House would be placed in a position to better appreciate the ultimate import of this. This is because, ultimately, it is the interest of the State that we should be looking at. Which yields a greater dividend? We should be looking at all these things. I am not too sure that the explanation that they are giving explains the concerns that I have raised.
    Well, because it is late in the day, perhaps -- certainly, it is not explanatory at all.
    RESOLUTIONS 3:45 p.m.

    Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament.
    IN PURSUANCE of the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution,
    the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Energy and Petroleum the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution hereby resolve to ratify the said Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Brittania-U Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Saltpond Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr Buah 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Speaker, we are talking about the Saltpond Basin. Obviously, we know the history of the Saltpond Basin and the risk there. Obviously, because of that it is all accounting for the interest there.
    Mr Speaker, the ultimate net -- the improved fiscal term of the Agreement, the State gets approximately 73 to 79 of the net oil depending on profitability. So, if one puts all that together and combines that with the risk, based on the fact that we did not have very good experience with oil discovery in this basin, then it is a very improved fiscal term for the State, that is why we are supporting it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, I would put the Question with regard to the Resolution.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Dr K. Donkor 3:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been moved and seconded that we adopt the Resolution numbered 12 on the Order Paper at page
    32.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Dr Kunbuor 3:55 p.m.
    Item 13.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since we are doing these Agreements together, I noticed that there are some disparities in the shareholding arrange- ments.
    Mr Speaker, for what we did in the first one the royalty oil is 12.5 per cent; royalty domestic gas is 10 per cent.
    This one is five per cent, royalty gas
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Item 13, I hope it is not chops and drinks?
    Dr Kunbour 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, well, it is getting closer.
    Dr Donkor 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this question was raised by the Committee. However, Mr Speaker, the issue is not always with the individual items but the totality of the Government's take. If you looked at this one, for example, the royalty is 12.5 per cent and it is extremely on the higher side so far.
    More importantly in this one, our
    national oil company has an initial carried- interest of 20 per cent, which is the highest I have ever seen. So, in negotiations, Mr Speaker, one may give in here but raise the bar there. But what is important is the totality of the Government's take. I believe this is a stronger Petroleum Exploration Agreement (PEA) in terms of the 20 per cent, the 12.5 per cent royalty.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe there are clearly other unanswered issues. But of course, we are doing this under considerable pressure and I would have wished that if we had it earlier, perhaps relevant questions would have been raised for better clarification. This is because we need to do the computation. Once he talks about the carried-interest and the royalty, we have to see the combined effect of the two before this House would be placed in a position to better appreciate the ultimate import of this. This is because, ultimately, it is the interest of the State that we should be looking at. Which yields a greater dividend? We should be looking at all these things. I am not too sure that the explanation that they are giving explains the concerns that I have raised.
    Well, because it is late in the day, perhaps - certainly, it is not explanatory
    at all.
    MOTIONS 3:55 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and date on which the Motion for is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration Ghana Limited and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr Buah 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Speaker, we are talking about the Saltpond Basin. Obviously, we know the history of the Saltpond Basin and the risk there. Obviously, because of that it is all accounting for the interest there.
    Mr Speaker, the ultimate net - the improved fiscal term of the Agreement, the State gets approximately 73 to 79 of the net oil depending on profitability. So, if one puts all that together and combines that with the risk, based on the fact that we did not have very good experience with oil discovery in this basin, then it is a very improved fiscal term for the State, that is why we are supporting it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, I would put the Question with regard to the Resolution.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, item number 14.
    Petroleum Agreement among Government of Ghana, GNPC, GNPC Exploration and Production Company,
    Heritage Exploration et cetera.
    Dr Kunbuor 3:55 p.m.
    Item 13.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Item 13, I hope it is not chops and drinks?
    Mr Titus Glover 3:55 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, we do not have a copy of the Report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman, please proceed.
    Dr Kunbour 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, well, it is getting closer.
    Dr Donkor 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Report, but I would want to highlights a few points and then conclude.
    Introduction
    The Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GNPC Exploration Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil Plc and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited in respect of the Offshore South West Tano Block, Offshore Ghana was laid in Parliament on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah in accordance with article 268 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Pursuant to Orders 156 and 188 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Agreement was subsequently referred to the Select Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and his Deputy, Hon Benjamin Kwaku Dagadu to consider the Agreement. Officials of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Petroleum Commission were also in attendance to assist in the deliberations.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and his Deputy as well as the Officials for their assistance during its deliberations.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee was guided by the following documents during its deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament;
    iii. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Law, 1983 (PNDCL
    64);
    iv. The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL
    84);
    v. The Petroleum Income Tax Law,
    1987 (PNDCL 188);
    vi. The Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act, 821);
    vii.The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490);
    viii. The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 1999 (L.I. 1652); and
    ix. The Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regula- tions 2013 (L.I. 2204).
    Background Information
    Heritage Oil plc. (“Heritage) and Blue STAR Exploration Ghana Limited (“Blue STAR”) showed interest in the Offshore South West Tano Block after it was relinquished by Tullow Oil and declared opened by the Minister. They visited the GNPC Data room and began a comprehen- sive review of data covering the block in early February 2014. Having reviewed the data, Heritage and BLUE STAR submitted a formal application to the Minister in late February, 2014 .The Minister approved application in March, 2014. The Minister approved the application in April, 2014.
    Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution requires that all Agreements or Leases involving natural resources shall be ratified by Parliament.
    It is in fulfillment of the above constitutional requirement that the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum laid in Parliament the Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GNPC Explora- tion Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil plc and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited in respect of the Offshore South West Tano Block, Offshore Ghana for its ratification.
    MOTIONS 3:55 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to

    move that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and date on which the Motion for is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration Ghana Limited and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr K. T. Hammond 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I
    beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, item number 14.
    Petroleum Agreement among Government of Ghana, GNPC,
    GNPC Exploration and Production Company, Heritage Exploration et
    cetera.
    Chairman of the Committee (Dr Kwabena Donkor) 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Agreement by and among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited, Heritage Exploration and Production Ghana Limited and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited
    for the Exploration for and Development and Production of Petroleum in respect of the South West Tano Block, Offshore of the Republic of Ghana.
    Dr Donkor 3:55 p.m.
    i) Initial exploration period
    This would last for a period of two and half (2½) years. At this stage, the contractor would be required to license and reprocess up to 175 km2 of existing 3D Seismic Data over the applied Contract Area and drill one (1) exploration well. The contractor 's Minimum Expenditure Obligation for the work during this period is Eighty Million United States Dollars
    (US$80,000,000.00).
    ii) First extension period
    This stage is to last for a period of two (2) years. During this period the contractor would be required to drill one (1) Exploration Well and expend a minimum expenditure of eighty million United States Dollars (US$80,000,000.00).
    iii) Second extension period
    This would last for one and half (1½) years during which the contractor would be required to drill one (1) Exploration Well and to commit a minimum expenditure of eighty million United States Dollars
    (US$80,000,000.00).
    The exploration operations are required by the Agreement to commence as soon as practicable, latest, by 60 days after ratification of the Agreement by Parliament.
    Relinquishment
    Under the agreement, there will be no relinquishment of the contract area during the Initial period. However, at the end of the First Extension Period, the contractor shall not retain an area exceeding 85 per
    cent of the contract area. At the end of the second extension period, the contractor would be required to relinquish the remaining contract area except for any discovery and/or development and production areas.
    Performance bond
    Upon the coming into effect of the Agreement, the contractor will provide a number of security-guarantees to demonstrate its financial capability to perform its work obligations under the Agreement.
    Under the proposed Agreement, the contractor shall furnish GNPC with a parent company guarantee to cover all of its performance obligations for the duration of the petroleum agreement. Of significance to contractor's financial capabilities, the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund acquired a significant interest in Heritage parent company which would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue STAR. Heritage and Blue STAR have also agreed on an arrangement in which the Heritage parent company would guarantee the performance obligations of Blue STAR.
    Fiscal terms
    In the event of commercial discovery of oil in the contract area, the following fiscal benefits will accrue to the State under Article 10 of the agreement.
    Royalties and other entitlements
    On royalties and other entitlements, the State would benefit from oil and gas production at the rates provided in the Table 1 below.
    Additional oil entitlements
    In the event of commercial oil discovery, the State will receive additional oil entitlements upon the attainment of agreed Rates of Return under Article 10.2 of the agreement as shown in Table 2 as follows:
    SPACE FOR Table 2 - PAGE 13 - 3.55PM
    Surface Rentals
    The contractor would also pay surface rentals in respect of the remainder of the contract Area at the beginning of each contract year (Article 12) of the agreement. The details are as shown in Table 3 below:
    SPACE FOR Table 3 - PAGE 13 - 3.55P.M.

    SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE

    12 - 3.55P.M.

    Training and technical support

    Under the Agreement, Heritage and Blue STAR shall pay to Explorco a lump sum of Ten Million United States Dollars (US$10,000,000.00) as technology allowance within 30 days after the effective date of the Agreement. This amount shall be used towards the establishment of a joint operating company (“Technical Services Company”) to be set-up between Explorco, Blue STAR and Heritage to operate oil and gas blocks in Ghana. The Technical Service Company

    shall then set up programmes in respect of education, training and technology transfer across its petroleum operations in the Republic of Ghana.

    In addition to the above sum, Heritage and Blue STAR shall pay a training allowance of two hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars (US$250,000.00) within 30 days of each contract year to GNPC.
    Dr Donkor 3:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Report, but I would want to highlights a few points and then conclude.
    Introduction
    The Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GNPC Explora t ion Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil Plc and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited in respect of the Offshore South West Tano Block, Offshore Ghana was laid in Parliament on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah in accordance with article 268 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Pursuant to Orders 156 and 188 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Agreement was subsequently referred to the Select Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah and his Deputy, Hon Benjamin Kwaku Dagadu to consider the Agreement. Officials of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Petroleum Commission were also in attendance to assist in the deliberations.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and his Deputy as well as the Officials for their assistance during its deliberations.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee was guided by the following documents during its deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
    ii. T h e S t a n d i n g O r d e r s o f Parliament;
    iii. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Law, 1983 (PNDCL
    64);
    iv. The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL
    84);
    v. The Petroleum Income Tax Law,
    1987 (PNDCL 188);
    vi. The Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act, 821);
    vii. The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490);
    viii. The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 1999 (L.I. 1652); and
    ix. The Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regula- tions 2013 (L.I. 2204).
    Background Information
    Heritage Oil plc. (“Heritage) and Blue STAR Exploration Ghana Limited (“Blue
    STAR”) showed interest in the Offshore South West Tano Block after it was relinquished by Tullow Oil and declared opened by the Minister. They visited the GNPC Data room and began a comprehen- sive review of data covering the block in early February 2014. Having reviewed the data, Heritage and BLUE STAR submitted a formal application to the Minister in late February, 2014 .The Minister approved application in March, 2014. The Minister approved the application in April, 2014.
    Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution requires that all Agreements or Leases involving natural resources shall be ratified by Parliament.
    It is in fulfillment of the above constitutional requirement that the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum laid in Parliament the Petroleum Agreement among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and GNPC Explora- tion Production Company Limited, Heritage Oil plc and Blue Star Exploration Ghana Limited in respect of the Offshore South West Tano Block, Offshore Ghana for its ratification.
    The applicants
    Heritage oil Plc. is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The Company was incorporated in January 1992 as Land and Marine Hydrocarbons Development Limited and the name was changed to Heritage Oil and Gas Limited in June, 1993. It has premium listing on the London Stoke Exchange. The Company is a member of The FTSE 250 Index and has exchangeable shares listed on the Toronto Stoke Exchange.
    Heritage Oil Plc. has producing assets in Nigeria and Russia and exploration assets in Tanzania, Papua New Guinea,
    Malta, Libya and Pakistan. Heritage oil Plc. is the operator in these entire licenses.
    Blue STAR Exploration Ghana Limited is a startup company incorporated on 28th June, 2013 in Ghana by an experienced team of Ghanaian upstream professionals with background in managing oil and gas development projects in Ghana and abroad. A majority share of the company is owned by Ghanaian citizens.
    Heritage and Blue STAR would have equal participation of 50 per cent interest each in the venture under an arrangement in which Heritage guarantees the performance obligations of Blue STAR. Heritage and Blue STAR proposed the incorporation of a Joint Operating Company (JOC), “GNPC Technical Services Company” to act as operator for the Block.
    The technical strength of the JOC, the operator of the Block, hinges on the technical capacity and expertise of Heritage. The technical expertise therefore of each senior member of the Heritage and Blue STAR teams ranges between 15-30 years, with several senior managers with over 20 years industry experience in deep-water exploration, field development and production. The projects handled by some of these professionals include Jubilee and TEN fields in Ghana and other fields in Angola. Their technical personnel have worked for high profile companies such as BP, Tullow Oil, Schlumberger, PetroCanada and Sonangol.
    Heritage is the operator (through Shoreline) for OML 30 which is located onshore Niger Delta in Nigeria. OML 30 comprises eight producing fields with associated infrastructure which includes an 850,000 bpd capacity Trans Forcados pipeline running from the Eriemu Field, within the license, to the Forcados River manifold. OML 30 has a 45 per cent
    interest in the pipeline.
    OML 30 is one of the largest onshore licenses, by reserves, in Nigeria with gross proved and probable reserves of 1.1 billion barrels of oil, as estimated independently by RPS Energy Consultants Ltd, as at 31 March 2012. OML 30 achieved record peak production of 46,000 bopd in September 2013.
    Heritage operates four exploration blocks in Tanzania, three of which are considered to be geologically analogous to the Lake Albert Basin in Uganda.
    In 2013, Heritage expanded its portfolio into onshore Papua New Guinea through a farm-in to two licenses with an 80per cent working interest in Petroleum Prospecting License 319 and Petroleum Retention License 13. Heritage also has interests in a producing field in Russia.
    In August 2011, Heritage acquired a controlling 51 per cent interest in Sahara Oil Services Holdings Limited (“Sahara Oil”) which owns the entire share capital of Sahara Oil Service Limited in Libya.
    GNPC exploration and production company limited
    Explorco is a subsidiary of GNPC established under the PNDCL 64. It was set up as a key vehicle for transforming GNPC into a fully commercial entity in which Ghanaians would hold commercial interest in exploration and production assets. Per the Agreement, Explorco will hold a commercial interest of 8.8 per cent in the Block.
    The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)
    The GNPC is a Public Corporation established by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act, 1983 (PNDCL 64). The Corporation by virtue of the
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member, let us hear you.
    Mr Hammond 3:55 p.m.
    What I intend to add is that, there has been very considerable improvement on some of the fiscal and regulatory regimes and more so this particular aspect of the fiscal regime which interests most.
    Government