Debates of 19 Nov 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:20 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 18th November, 2014.
Mr Yaw Effah-Baafi 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, page 1, item number 1, line 1, the word “eleven'' has been repeated. The House met at twenty-five minutes before eleven eleven''.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Very well.
Page 2 . . . 9 --
Mr Benito Owusu-Bio 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was present yesterday, but I have been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Very well.
Page 9 . . . 14 --
Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry to take you back to page 7. I was marked absent for yesterday but I was present.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Very well.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 18th November 2014, as corrected, are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Majority Leader, are we taking item 4 or item number 5?
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with your permission and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, I would want us to vary the order of Business and move to item number 5.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, item numbers on today's Order Paper -- Motions.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Majority Leader, you may now move the Motion item number 5 on the Order Paper.
MOTIONS 10:30 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.
Introduction
On Thursday, 4th July, 2013, the House approved a Motion moved by the then Majority Leader, Hon Benjamin Bewa- Nyog Kunbuor and seconded by the
Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul to compose an ad- hoc committee to make recommendations for a code of conduct for adoption by the House. This action was informed by earlier attempts of the House to have some standards to guide the conduct of Hon Members in the discharge of their duties.
It is trite knowing that the Parliament of Ghana has no specific document that contains a comprehensive code of ethics and conduct. Whatever rules of ethics or conduct guiding the appearance, comportment and conduct of Members of Parliament could be gathered from many sources.
Among these sources are: A section titled “Code of Conduct” and other rules of dos and don'ts in: A Guide to the Parliament of Ghana: the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and the consequent numerous laws in the country.
It will be recalled that between 2007 and 2010, efforts were made to enact a code of conduct for Parliament and Members of Parliament. A number of workshops were organised by the then Parliamentary Leadership and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to educate and build the capacity of (CHRAJ) Members and staff of Parliament on the subject of ethics and code of conduct for Members of Parliament.
The absence of such a code of conduct is of grave concern to Members of Parliament and Parliament as an institution. The absence of a code makes it very difficult to measure and assess the conduct of Hon Members to determine
whether they are acting within the acceptable perimeters of honourability. The views and sentiments expressed by the House on the 4th July, 2013 captured the frustration and dilemma of Hon Members. Following the debate, Mr Speaker directed that an ad-hoc committee should be set up.
Membership of the committee
Acting on the directives of Mr Speaker, an ad-hoc committee was set up at the conclusion of the debate. The committee which comprised the underlisted Members were further directed by Mr Speaker to commence work immediately and to submit its report to the House as soon as possible for consideration:
(i) Hon A. S. K. Bagbin -- Chairman
(ii) Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah -- Vice Chairman
(iii) Hon (Ms) Laadi Ayii Ayamba -- Member
(iv) Hon George Kofi Arthur -- Member
(v) Hon Isaac Osei -- Member
(vi) Hon Ahmed Ibrahim -- Member
(vii) Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah -- Member
Methodology
The Committee, at its maiden meeting, decided to appoint a sub-committee to submit a draft code for the consideration of the Committee. The Clerk to the Committee placed at the disposal of the Committee, a zero draft code as a guide to the sub-committee.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 10:30 a.m.
have legislated on various types of codes of conduct. These countries include Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, the Fiji Islands, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Namibia, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay and Zambia.
The Committee noted that the Second Deputy Speaker of our Parliament, Hon Joe Ghartey was the consultant and lead expert in drafting the code of conduct for the Parliament of Sierra Leone. The Committee commends Hon Joe Ghartey for drafting a good code of conduct for Sierra Leone and for making Ghana proud.
Scope of the code
The Committee believes, it is important to repeat ad nauseam, that a code of conduct serves as an inspirational biding guide and a constant reminder of what is an acceptable behaviour or conduct and what is not. In other words, it is intended to promote a political culture that places considerable emphasis on propriety, correctness, transparency and honesty of Members of Parliament. A code does not seek to control Hon Members but it simply acts as a measure of the true commitment of Members of Parliament to provide, promote and protect the common good. Members of Parliament ought not to turn this privileged opportunity to serve the public into self-service.
The draft code before Hon Members is simple, easy to read, accumulate and commit to memory. It consists of the seven (7) “Nolan Principles” as revised: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership and ten (10) Rules of Conduct. Admittedly, the ten Rules do not provide

detailed guidance to Members of Parliament on all situations and circumstances.

Consequently, the Committee recommends the compilation of a comprehensive guide or manual to provide details to help Members of Parliament navigate through the integrity challenges of the rather difficult and stormy public office.

The Committee proposes that a preamble precedes the seventeen (17) points or principles of ethics and codes. The Committee decided for ease of presentation to prepare a draft code and attach a copy to the Report for the consideration of the House.

It is important for Hon Members to note that, the obligations set out in this code are additional to those which apply to all Hon Members by virtue of the procedural and other rules of the House and rulings of the Chair, and to those which apply to Hon Members falling within the scope of the Ministerial Code.

Recommendations and conclusion

The Committee recommends the compilation of a guide/manual for the House and Members of Parliament. The development of a guide/manual to the code is crucial and necessary since the manual will outline in detail, the ethical issues raised by actions or inactions of Members of Parliament on each of the general principles of the draft code. It will also outline the processes and procedures to be followed by Hon Members in complying or applying the rules. The manual will further codify the appropriate remedial action to be taken or sanction to be imposed on a breach of a rule on an Hon Member when the House considers it necessary.

The Committee recommends the establishment of a standards or ethics committee with the responsibility of implementing and enforcing the code of conduct and reviewing the code from time to time, to make it a living document.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 10:40 a.m.


The Committee recommends the establishment of a Register of Interest for Hon Members to formally declare their financial, business, proprietary and other monetary interest.

--[Interruption] --

Yes, that is crucial. When you look at our Constitution, even though the work of a Member of Parliament is full time, because as a country, we are not in the position to provide all the support to Members- Members are given the opportunity to engage in business. It is important that we know where your interest is when there is a subject matter before the House, so that it is not self- serving.

Finally, the Committee recommends the draft code of conduct to the House and calls on Hon Members to unanimously adopt it. If Hon Members adopt this code and apply themselves to the rules therein, Hon Members would have effectively led in contributing to the virtues and values of society as successful people live by rules. And to quote Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), “laws control the lesser man...Right conduct controls the greater one”.

Respectfully submitted.

Appendix ‘1'

Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana

Introduction

The Members of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana resolved on the 4th day of July, 2013 to consummate the concerns and efforts of earlier Parliaments of the Republic to formally codify the rules of ethics and code of conduct for Members of Parliament of the Republic. Consequently, an ad hoc committee was established to submit a draft code of conduct for the con- sideration of the House. This code is the outcome of the work of the Committee.

The Committee looked at the codes of conduct of various institutions in Ghana

and relevant laws of Ghana. The views of Hon Members and some concerned citizens that the existing rules of ethics and conduct in Ghana's Parliament are too general in character, lacked clarity and scattered in numerous documents were also taken into consideration.

The Committee reviewed the literature on the subject and the codes of conduct of several Parliaments in the world. The Committee's work was also informed by international conventions, guidelines, working papers of the World Bank Institute and writings of experts on the subject.

A common characteristic of all these codes is the emphasis on the principle that Members of Parliament must at all times, conduct themselves in a manner that will tend to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action which would bring Parliament and its Hon Members into disrepute.

The code of conduct for the Parliament of Ghana reflects the ‘Nolan Principles' as revised -- selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership and further stresses the principles of loyalty to the State and the Constitution of the Republic.

In drafting the code, the Committee considered that while we should keep as close as possible to international standards, the political and ethical contexts of our country and the House should also be reflected in the code.

This code is therefore, a bold attempt at capturing in a summary form, all the rules of ethics and conduct in a formal document. For the purposes of Members of Parliament and drawing from the experience of other Parliaments, the code is in simple language, easy to read, understand, commit to memory and practice.

The code sets out the limits of what can and cannot be done. It can be considered both as a sword and a shield to Members of Parliament. This is a sword
PREAMBLE 10:40 a.m.

THE CODE 10:40 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Sekondi?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, I wish to state that this Committee was set up based on concerns raised in this House.
This House has been in existence since 1993. This is the Sixth Parliament. If there is any arm of Government that has been in the eye of the storm as far as the public is concerned, it is the Legislature.
Increasingly, Members are sometimes even in the quandary concerning what is proper conduct and what is not. Even during the course of our work, we are permitted to solicit funds to support committees. Which solicitation would be proper and which would be improper?
Even the matter of dressing -- Sometimes, we ask ourselves whether it is proper to enter this Chamber and sit here as a Member of Parliament with a cap and what type of cap should it be? We do not have -- whether it is a hat, agbada cap or a Muslim cap like that of the Minority Leader or even the Hon Member for Nkwanta South. I am sure all these things have agitated Hon Members. What is proper dressing? It is because of this that we believe this Code of Conduct is important for us.
Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that the Code of Conduct is supposed to be a guide. If we look at the draft that has been attached, it just lays out the general principles. It is the manual which would be developed thereafter, that would contain the very matters that should guide us.
In adopting this Report, the House would be adopting general principles. It is when it comes to the development of the manual that Hon Members ought to be very interested. We are not tying our hands as Members of Parliament. This is not intended to guide our private conducts on what we do in our homes. At least, it would provide a general draft on what is honourable and what is not.
At this stage, I would recall the school rules of my alma mater, Mfantsipim School. School rule number 1 is that, “Every student should act with common sense”. Then the other rules follow. This draft is in a similar vein and I would want to urge the House to adopt this Report.
We would be setting a standard which would be higher than the standard of any other institution in this country. We would be pacesetters. It is important because we are the repository of the trust of the people of this country and we should be prepared to even sanction ourselves if any of our members err. I, therefore, support this Motion and urge the House to adopt this Report.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
APPENDIX 10:50 a.m.

O 10:50 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, Motion moved and seconded. What I intend doing is to defer further debate on the matter because today is budget day, so that you continue the debate on this matter tomorrow and then, we move on to other items on the Order Paper.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if we could consider item number 6 and give an opportunity to the Hon Minister for Finance, whom I am told has been in the House for about one hour now, to present the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending, 31st December, 2015. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, item number 6 on the Order Paper -- Motions.
Hon Minister for Finance?
MOTIONS 11 a.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, on the authority of His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
2. Mr Speaker, I also beg, on the authority of His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution, permit me to present the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the year 2015 to this august House.

3. Furthermore, Mr Speaker, in accordance with section 48 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), permit me to present the 2014 Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds to the House.

4. It will be recalled that, exactly a year ago, precisely on Tuesday, 19th November 2013, I had the privilege of presenting the 2014 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to Parliament. Subsequently, on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014, I presented the Mid-Year Review and Supplementary Estimates to the 2014 Budget to this House again.

Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the House for approving both presentations and where necessary, passing relevant laws in support of the measures we proposed.

5. Mr Speaker, in those presentations, I outlined among others, measures to address the major causes of the twin Budget and Current Account deficits that occurred at the end of 2012. Moreover, after consolidating the policies and measures into the Home Grown Policy with inputs from the Senchi Forum, we presented them to the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of the consideration of the staff report on Ghana's Article IV Consultations that took place in February this year.

6. Mr Speaker, I stand before this august House to report that we have made progress in resolving several of these challenges. The successes that the measures have achieved include the following:

Completion of the migration of all public sector workers on the central payroll to the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) after many failed attempts in over two decades. This remarkable progress will help address many unfair features of the payroll system.

Clearing all outstanding SSSS- specific salary arrears of about GH¢3 billion that started to accumulate from the beginning of the programme in 2010.

Moreover, the Scheme now moves into the productivity phase, as part of the ongoing public sector-wide improvement or reform programme.

eliminating the spectre of long queues for fuel as well as the huge budget overruns of about GH¢339 million in 2012 and GH¢135 million in 2013 that resulted from past failures to adjust prices through the “automatic adjustment” pricing formula.

an improvement in the revenue estimation process of the production and sale of crude oil, thus, eliminating another of the major causes of the budget overrun which amount to about GH¢384 million.

A demonstration of our ability to raise both domestic and external funds to complete several projects that were put on Government budget without adequate source of funds.

7. Mr Speaker, notwithstanding these successes, however, our resolve at rebalancing the budget was severely tested again when the economy came under additional significant shocks in 2013. Many of these shocks continued into the 2014 fiscal year. The challenges we continue to face as a nation include major exogenous setbacks such as the following:

The continued disruption in the supply of gas from the West African Gas Power Pool (WAGP) from August, 2012 through August, 2014,

due to the damage caused to the pipeline. This has had significant adverse effects on power supply, national output, foreign exchange reserves, and tax revenues.

The fall in gold and cocoa prices which has had similar effects and require sacrifices by our hardworking cocoa farmers as well as Government in the form of curtailed producer price and export duty respectively. Hence, we have reason to commend our farmers and return the favour with the increase in producer price increase that was announced this year;

The sluggish inflow of grants from Development Partners for the third year in succession which is about 75 per cent below what was pledged to support the budget.

The slump in petroleum prices during the third quarter of 2014 has benefitted our automatic adjustment policy. However, it is also a factor that becomes important in our quest to utilise the petroleum funds under the PRMA for savings, stabilisation and investment.

8. Mr Speaker, besides the continuing adverse impact on national output as well as losses in foreign exchange and tax revenues, these latter setbacks had a major impact on the value of the Ghana cedi in early 2014. It took several additional bold efforts and the reversal of compliance measures announced by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to reverse and stabilise the currency. Thankfully, the Ghana cedi has started showing signs of recovery, which is an explicit enunciation of the recovery and bright near term prospects for the economy.

9. Mr Speaker, it was also at this critical juncture, however, that the Government decided to request the IMF for Balance of Payments support that only comes with a funded IMF programme. Indeed, the enhancements to the Home Grown Policies which would have expired in 2016/17 and the outcome of the Senchi Consultations have been used as vital input for the on- going programme discussions with the

IMF.

10. Mr Speaker, the discussions have been progressing well and at the appropriate time, when we expect the IMF Board to approve the programme, we will return to this House with an update.

Mr Speaker, some of us have expressed fears about the potential IMF programme. May I state that the nation has a record of implementing several IMF programmes in the past. On this occasion, we have the opportunity of providing inputs which this august House approved in the form of various measures that are in our home grown policy.

Furthermore, the discussion are taking place against the bright medium term prospects which I will be talking about pretty soon.

11. Mr Speaker, while Ghanaians and the markets were taking the essence of Ghana's announcement of an IMF programme in its stride, we achieved another important and significant success in launching of our third Sovereign Bond of US$1 billion in early September 2014. Similarly, on the same day as the Bond issue, the Ghana COCOBOD also signed an agreement for US$1.7 billion, which was the result of another successful bid to access the international capital markets.

12. I mention these latter events in my update because the success of the Sovereign Bond and COCOBOD programmes was against the expectations of many people both at home and abroad. We do not gloat; rather they provide us with the occasion to put the management of our economy in a more balanced perspective. As with the 2014 Mid-Year Review, the market activities were occasions to make a strong case for our positive and bright medium-term prospects.

13. Mr Speaker, while we are aware that some deliberately choose to ignore that narrative, permit me to restate some features of that promising outlook for our nation:

First, the economy continued to grow at respectable rates, led by the Agriculture and Service Sectors, even during the period that it was undergoing serious setbacks and challenges.

The completion of Ghana's own gas pipelines and processing plant to utilise the free 200 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas from the Jubilee fields is another opportunity for the medium term. Indeed, the “tie-in” of the pipelines with the FPSO and the Plant has been completed and the commissioning of gas flows from the oil fields to the plant has started.

Second, the future coming on stream of additional gas and crude oil production and supplies from the Sankofa and Tweneboa-Enyenra- Ntomme (TEN) fields as well as the prospects for further boosts to the economy from the energy sector have become even more promising with the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact II Agreement with the United States of America (USA).

14. Mr Speaker, indeed, the 2015 Budget will be unique in one major respect. It will usher the country into the gas era and Phase II oil and gas production. Hence, just as with the prudent foresight it exhibited in taking the nation into the crude oil era, the NDC Government is poised to:

first, propose amendments to enhance effective implementation of the Petroleum Revenue Manage- ment Act (PRMA) 2011, Act 815 to harness our oil resources for savings, stabilisation and develop- ment;

second, outline firm policies for the energy sector that include the following key elements:

i. implementation of the over US$ 400 million US MCC Compact II under the Power Africa Programme, that is planned to attract significant private investment into the energy sector; and

ii. a major overhaul of the pricing, tax and levy structure for energy, utilities and petroleum products;

third, a vigorous use of alternative financing instruments for energy and non-energy investments, mainly the insurance and partial risk guarantee (PRG) tools of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank to boost private sector participation in the sector and the economy;

fourth, as part of the new debt management strategy approved by this august House, we will continue

to enhance the use of oil and gas resources to leverage the Capital Markets for development of the energy sector; and

fifth, this last initiative will involve the issuing of energy bonds through plans that draw on synergies among the Balance Sheets of capable State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and the private sector. In this context we will also consider the possibility of a second line of longer term Cocoa Bonds by COCOBOD to fund its long term capital and infrastructure needs in order that it does not borrow from the short end of the market as it has been doing now.

15. Mr Speaker, this innovative financing plan is key for the energy sector, where recent negotiations involving gas pricing and GNPC's aggregator arrange- ments clearly suggest the need for strong Balance Sheets both of nation and our State-owned enterprises. It is in this context that we must see the relevance of
-- 11 a.m.

Some Hon Members 11 a.m.
Repeat! Repeat!
Self-Financing and On-Lending policies
111. Mr Speaker, an important element of the Government's new debt management strategy is to recover loans that are used to support commercial
Some Hon Members 11 a.m.
Consulted with the Attorney- General's Department, which has since advised that such loans should be approved by Parliament, unless otherwise stated.
Completed the drafting of a standard On-lending Agreement for use by all MDAs and MMDAs.
Escrow and debt Service Accounts have been opened at the BoG into which payment on the on-lent facilities will be made.
Continuous engagement with SOEs to ensure that the on-lending arrangement is fully implemented.
112. Mr Speaker, when operational, the process will be linked conceptually to the GIIF mechanism for all commercial projects through a revolving fund that can be used to execute more projects and alleviate the burden of quasi-public debt on the budget and taxpayers.
Status of On-lent Facilities
113. In accordance with the implementation of the new debt management strategies as outlined in 2014 Budget Statement, the Ministry of Finance initiated processes to operationalize all subsidiary/on-lent agreements between the Government of Ghana and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) since 2000. In all, nineteen (19) on- lent credit agreements have so far been reviewed.
The total commitment for the 19 on- lent credit facilities is estimated at US$853.48 million, out of which US$498.31 million is the disbursed outstanding debt as at September, 2014. The disbursed outstanding debt for the on-lent facilities constitutes about four (4) per cent of total external debt stock.
Debt Refinancing
114. Mr Speaker, as noted in the 2014 Budget, a major feature of the public debt is its relative short-term nature and high- interest cost. To address this situation, Government is using part of the 2014 eurobond proceeds and excess over the Cap of the Stabilisation Fund dedicated for debt repayment to refinance part of the short-term domestic debt.
Eurobond Issue
115. Mr Speaker, you may recall that Hon Members of this august House on 31 December, 2013, approved the issue and use of US$1.5 billion on the Eurobond market in 2014 of which US$1 billion was for capital expenditure in the 2014 Budget and up to US$ 500 million for the refinancing of existing debt. The prospectus will be distributed with this Budget.
116. The summary of the transaction is as presented in the Table 17.
SPACE FOR Table 17: Eurobond Issue Transaction Summary
PAGE 58 - 11.10A.M.

117. Mr Speaker, unlike earlier Eurobond transactions, the 2014 transaction coincided with the announcement of the potential programme discussions with the IMF. Despite this complication, we were able to achieve an impressive market result reflected in a competitive coupon rate of 8.125 per cent and an order book of US$2.9billion of which the Ghana Government accepted US$1billion.

118. Mr Speaker, the 2015 Budget has been developed within the broad framework of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II), 2014-2017 Document.

The medium term vision of Government as enshrined in the GSGDA II document is “A stable, united, inclusive and prosperous country with opportunities for all”.

119. Mr Speaker, the attainment of the medium term vision of government is based on the medium to long term national development policies which are aimed at accelerating socio-economic transforma- tion.

120. Ghana's successful structural transformation rests on three strategic interventions, namely:

strengthening and deepening the essential elements and institutions of good governance;
Some Hon Members 11 a.m.


Overall budget deficit equivalent to 6.5 per cent of GDP.

Gross international reserves of not less than three (3) months of import cover of goods and services.

Resource Mobilisation for 2015

138. Mr Speaker, total non-oil revenue and grants for the 2015 fiscal year is estimated at GH¢26,104.6 million, equivalent to 13.2 per cent of non-oil GDP representing 31.5 per cent increase over the projected outturn for 2014.

139. For the 2015 fiscal year, total revenue from oil that will accrue to the budget is estimated at GH¢4,203.7 million, or 31.9 per cent of GDP.

140. Thus, total revenue and grants including oil for the 2015 budget are estimated at GH¢32,406.2 million, equivalent to 24.0 per cent of GDP.

141. Domestic revenue, made up of tax and non-tax revenue is estimated at GH¢30,855.4 million, 28.9 per cent higher than the projected outturn for 2014.

142. Mr Speaker, total tax revenue is estimated at GH¢25,406.0 million, representing 18.8 per cent of GDP. This shows an increase of 31.0 per cent over the projected outturn for 2014.

Of this amount, non-oil tax revenue is estimated to grow by 25.0 per cent to GH¢23,124.1 million, equivalent to 18.8 per cent of non-oil GDP.

143. Taxes on income and property are estimated to increase by 28.6 per cent to GH¢11,228.6 million in 2015, accounting for 44.2 per cent of total tax revenue. Of this amount, royalties and corporate income tax from oil is estimated at GH¢2,282.0 million.

144. Taxes on goods and services are estimated at GH¢9,471.7 million, representing 46.7 per cent increase over the projected outturn for 2014 and 37.3 per cent of the estimated total tax revenue for 2015. The strong growth in taxes on domestic goods is mainly as a result of the policy measures on VAT and Petroleum.

145. The 2014 estimate for taxes on goods and services is made up of GH¢5,749.1 million for total VAT, while Excise taxes, National Health Insurance Levy and Communication Service tax are expected to yield GH¢2,426.8 million, GH¢1,003.1 million and GH¢292.8 million, respectively.

146. International trade taxes are estimated at GH¢4,705.7 million, representing 3.5 per cent of GDP and 18.5 per cent of total tax revenue. The estimate reflects an 11.8 per cent increase over the projected outturn for 2014. The increase in international trade taxes is expected to be largely driven by import duties, estimated to be about 75.4 per cent of the estimated international trade taxes for

2015.

147. Mr Speaker, non-tax revenue, comprising mainly fees and charges by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), dividends received from public enterprises and other internally-generated funds (IGFs) is estimated at GH¢5,266.8 million, equivalent to 3.9 per cent of GDP and representing 17.1 per cent of domestic revenue.

An amount of GH¢2,833.0 million is expected to be retained by MDAs for the funding of their activities and the rest lodged into the Consolidated Fund. A total amount of GH¢1,921.7 million is estimated as non-tax oil revenue.

148. Mr Speaker, Grants from develop- ment partners are estimated at GH¢1,550.8 million, equivalent to 1.1 per cent of GDP. The expected grants constitutes 4.8 per cent of the estimated total revenue and grants for 2015.

SPACE FOR Table 19: Summary of Revenue and Grants Estimates for 2015

PAGES 70&71 - BUDGET 2
Some Hon Members 11 a.m.
SPACE FOR Table 20: Summary of Expenditure Estimates for 2015
PAGES 73&74 - BUDGET 2
Overall Budget Balance and Financing for 2015
159. Mr Speaker, based on the revenue and expenditure estimates that I just presented, the 2014 Budget will result
in an overall budget deficit of GH¢8,815.9 million, equivalent to 6.5 per cent of GDP.
160. Financing of the deficit will be from both domestic and foreign sources. Net Domestic Financing is estimated at GH¢7,560.1 million, equivalent to 5.6 per cent of GDP, and financing from foreign sources are estimated at GH¢1,255.8 million, equivalent to 0.9 per cent of GDP.
SPACE FOR Table 21: Summary of Financing of the 2015 Budget Deficit
PAGES 74&75 - BUDGET 2
Projection of 2015 Petroleum Receipts
Benchmark Price
161. Mr Speaker, the benchmark price for 2015, which is calculated as a 7-year moving average in line with the PRMA, is estimated at US$99.3760 per barrel, up from US$93.3373 per barrel in 2014. The increase in the benchmark price is primarily due to the relatively higher historical price levels, starting from 2010.
162. The price data were sourced as follows:
Historical (2010-2013): ICE Dated Brent prices from Bloomberg;
Current year (2014): ICE Dated Brent prices from Bloomberg (January- July 2014);
Current year (2014): ICE Dated Brent futures from Bloomberg (August December); and
Forecast (2015-2016): ICE Dated Brent futures from Bloomberg.
163. Mr Speaker, Government is fully aware of the continuous decline of crude oil prices and its implications for our fiscal position for the rest of 2014 and 2015. Dated Brent price declined from a January average of US$107 to US$104 in July and below US$90 per barrel in October 2014.
In the early part of November, Dated Brent hit a 4-year low, reaching below US$80 per barrel. This has serious implications for the 2015 Budget as petroleum revenues could underperform if prices do not pick up to the level of the projected price.
164. Mr Speaker, the fact that the PRMA sets out the formula for calculating the benchmark price makes it difficult to set the projected price aside, since that could tantamount to a violation of the Law. Indeed, Government did not revise the projected prices for 2011-2014 in spite of indications at the time that actual prices would be higher than projected.

165. Consistent with section 12 of the PRMA, shortfalls in petroleum revenue emanating from unexpected volume or/ and price declines are mitigated by the withdrawals from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund. Thus, if crude oil prices remain below the benchmark price, the GSF will be used to augment the ABFA, in line with the PRMA.

166. Going forward, a proposal will be made in the PRMA (which is under review) to allow the Minister for Finance to propose a review of the Petroleum Benchmark Revenue, as stipulated in the First Schedule of the Law, if there are evident indicators that prices and output will change significantly in the course of the year.

167. The expected upstream gas price is US$2.90/million British thermal units (mmBtu), consistent with the set wet gas price by the regulator, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).

Benchmark Output

168. Mr Speaker, the 2015 crude oil benchmark output is estimated at

37,242,186 barrels, up from 33,955,644 barrels in 2014. This results in a daily production of approximately 102,033 barrels, up from the 93,029 barrels estimated for 2014. The increase in the projected benchmark output is as a result of the use of higher production volumes for the 3-year average, compared to what was used for 2014.

169. The output data was sourced from GNPC as follows:

Historical (2013): Actual Jubilee production data for 2013.

Current year (2014): Actual Jubilee production data for January-June.

Current year (2014): Projected Jubilee production data for July- December; and

Forecast (2015): Projected Jubilee production data for 2015.

The 2015 Benchmark Revenue

170. Mr Speaker, the total projected petroleum receipts for 2015 is US$1,236.37 million, as indicated in Table 22.
Some Hon Members 11 a.m.


Mr Speaker, the key components and growth under the GIFMIS and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) reforms include increasing efficiency in processing budget and financial accounting transactions; improvements in payroll and esta- blishment of a Human Resource Information Management System.

Mr Speaker, the first phase of the GIFMIS Project started in January this year and I am pleased to inform the House that it was completed on time and on schedule. It was used to prepare the detailed 2015 Estimates that we would present to the various committees of the House. Mr Speaker, when fully deployed, the system of budgeting and accounting will be of great benefit to the nation.

On programme-based budgeting, the 2014 Budget marked the first time that we shifted the basis for allocating funds, and the preparation of budgets, MDAs from activity-based -- for example travel and per diem -- to programme-based budgeting such as the winning of the African Cup of Nations.

The benefit is obvious. It will enable heads of institution and unit within an organisation to set targets that relate to more measurable objectives and goals.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to note that as part of the sensitisation programme, the Ministry of Finance staff have had the privilege of making a presentation of the

PBB to this august House and specific select committees. We will undertake a comprehensive review in 2015 to satisfy the budget execution process.

Mr Speaker, firstly the contracts database we have been established since 2011 will now have an electronic link to budget allocations. This, Ministries, departments and agencies will not be able to award contract beyond their budget and cash ceiling.

Furthermore, Mr Speaker, under the Financial Administration Act (FAA), all institutions on government budget are required to apply the GIFMIS system by interface or integration. Mr Speaker, this would be applied rigidly in 2015.

Mr Speaker, we have also come to realise that mart of the problem that we term as problems of the payroll are actually H/R management problem. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance, in conjunction with the Public Services Commission are putting in place a human resource management service system for the entire public servants.

On payroll management, we would ensure full implementation of the Electronic Payment Voucher System and conduct frequent payrolls.

We will use electronic warranting system remotely and this will ensure that Ministries and departments will continue to apply for their expenditures by using electronic warrants.

Mr Speaker, the public accounts submitted to the Public Accounts Committee by the Auditor-General will be based on these standards. Mr Speaker, two events would result in a gradual change in these situations. First, we are gradually incorporating modules that would ensure that we have accounts payable, accounts receivable and fixed asset management.

Secondly, Mr Speaker, I had the privilege to launch the adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standard which has been adopted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. These are significant developments that would improve the budget as well as the public accounts that are presented to the House.

Mr Speaker, inefficiencies in the procurement and use of vehicles and fuel by public institutions have been identified as one of the causes of waste and abuse in the use of national resources. In 2014, Government started a process to register government vehicles to monitor the situation.

These are noticeable by their green number plates. In 2015, electronic solutions will be used to rationalise the procurement and use of fuel for public institutions. This solution would ensure among others that fuel procured by Government is used only in designated vehicles. Full accounting for all fuel purchases would also be ensured. This will be done in conjunction with the ongoing vehicle re-registration exercise.

Performance in 2014 and Outlook for

2015

Mr Speaker, in 2015, the Government would implement initiatives to enforce the recommendations of the Auditor- General's Reports. This would involve sanctioning and possible prosecution of persons indicted by the Reports.

Audit Operations Programme

220. Mr Speaker, as a statutory requirement, Audit Service completed and presented the 2013 Public Account Reports on the internally generated funds

of selected MDAs and District Assemblies Common Fund to Parliament. The Service also completed the audit of 1,758 institutions of MDAs, 187 MMDAs, and 473 educational institutions, representing 70 per cent of planned audits.

The Government, in conjunction with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and other anti-corruption agencies will begin implementation of the anti-corruption action plan.

In addition, Government will strictly enforce the sanctions regime on payroll fraud and all other financial misconduct and indiscipline as outlined in section 8 of the Financial Administration Act.

221. In 2015, the Service will continue with its traditional regularity and financial audit of 3,450 audit entities which include MDAs, MMDAs, pre-university educational institutions as well as special audits.

222. The Service also conducted audits in procurement and contract adminis- tration; GSGDA programmes, MDBS, DDF, Urban Development Grant and Food Security; computerized and electronic systems in the public sector including GIFMIS and IPPD 2; revenue management, including the proceeds of taxation and grants; public debt and loans/advances; Capitation Grant and School Feeding Programme; performance of international audit assignments; and performance audits including physical infrastructure projects.

In 2015, the Service will continue to conduct audits as outlined above.

223. For the implementation of the above programmes and activities, an amount of GH¢125,527,610.00 has been allocated.
Some Hon Members 11 a.m.
Urban Water Management Programme
477. Mr Speaker, the Ministry con- tinued with its major expansion and rehabilitation works on the following projects; Kpong Water Supply Expansion to add 40MGD of water to the supply system is about 98 per cent complete. Production of water from the system will commence in 2015.
The Accra Tema Metropolitan Area (ATMA) Rural Water Supply Rehabilitation and Expansion Project is completed. The Project added 9.24MGD of water to the supply system this year.
Mr Speaker, subsector, to achieve Governments' target of delivering 76 per cent of urban water coverage by 2015 Government has put in place a number of projects.
Currently, the National Urban Water Supply (NUWS) stands at 257 MGD. However, the demand in Greater Accra alone is 150 MGD which is about 60 per cent of the national water demand.
To address the deficit, various interventions are being made to add a total of 63.3 MDG into the Ghana Water Supply System. The interventions include the following: The 3.3 MDG water treatment plant at Kpong is completed, and has been producing water since July 2014. These are to Dodowa, Ningo/Prampram and Akuapim Range areas.
The completion of nine (9) MDG (ATMA) Rural Water Supply by December, 2014 and a completion of 40 MDG and 13 MDG respectively of a treatment plant at Kpong and the sea water desalination plant at Teshie Nungua.

By the completion of these inter- ventions, 65.3 MDG would be added to the water supply in the Greater Accra Metropolitan area which will bridge the demand gap.

There are other interventions. The Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project is being carried out at an estimated cost of US$273 million with funding from the Ghana Government and China Exim Bank.

This is to improve water supply to areas including Adenta, Madina, Kwabenya - [Hear! Hear!] -- Ashongman, North East and West Legon, Ashaley Botwe, Haatso, Dome and other areas.

Mr Speaker, the Kpong intake expansion project carried out to improve efficiency by replacing all existing pumps is complete.

As part of the project, a treatment plant was built to increase the supply of water to the Accra Metropolitan area. Communities to benefit from the project include Dodoea, Ningo/Prampram and Akuapim Range.

478. Mr Speaker, the Mampong Water Supply Project was completed in May this year. Also, the Five Towns (Kibi, Osenase, Apedwa, Anyinam and Kwabeng) Water Supply Project which are to produce a total of 1.5MGD were also completed. Boreholes are being sunk for the Anyinam system, due to pollution of the surface water source.

479. The 3.16MGD Essakyir Water Supply Project was completed. In 2015, Government will extend the supply to other communities including Gomoa Maim, Ekumfi, Otuam, Mumford, Dago, Mbroboto, Ekumpoano, Muna, Aboano, Sefara, Esuehyia, Akra, Asaafa, Etwaa, Nakwa, Asokwa, Abeka, Ekumfi Swedru,

Essakyir, Ekroful, Otabenadze, Ataakwa and also extend to Apam town.

480. Mr Speaker, the Nsawam Water Supply Expansion Project to add 1.63MGD of water is expected to be completed this year whilst the Kumawu, Kwahu Ridge, Konongo Water Supply Project is 60 per cent complete and will add 8.47MGD of water to the supply system when completed.

The rehabilitation and expansion works of the Wa Water Supply Project and the Akim Oda, Akwatia, Winneba Water Supply Project are on-going. Work on the supply of water from Sekyere-Heman to Cape Coast and Sekondi-Takoradi is in progress.

481. Mr Speaker, in 2015, Government will initiate actions of the Upper East Regional water supply, and Sunyani Water Supply Expansion Project, Essiama Enclave Water Supply Project, rehabili- tation and expansion of water systems in Obuasi, Acherensua, Yendi, Agordome, Sogakope, Dwomo, Winneba, Begoro, Akwatia, Berekum and Dormaa Ahenkro.

Rural Water Management Programme

482. Mr Speaker, under the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) continued with the provision of potable water to rural communities with the following achievements: -- 782 boreholes out of the target of 1,200 in Central, Western, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions were success- fully drilled.

Drilling of boreholes in the Brong Ahafo Region, rehabilitation of 9 small town water systems in Upper West and Northern Regions, construction of 47 small town water systems are at various levels of completion. 250 institutional latrines out of the 450 were completed. In 2015, all civil works on the entire project will be completed.

483. Mr Speaker, under the Peri-Urban, Rural and Small Towns Water and Sanitation Projects in the Brong Ahafo Region, 11 out of 15 small town piped systems were completed, while 79 out of 101 institutional latrines were also completed.

484. Mr Speaker, five projects under the Northern Region Small Towns Water and Sanitation Projects (NORST) were completed in Bunkpurugu-1, Karaga-1, Yendi 2, and Nanumba North -1.

Three other projects at Binkera, Tanga, Makayili, and Tatali were completed. Fifteen more projects are at various stages of completion and will be inauguration in

2015.

485. Mr Speaker, Government is also undertaking water supply extension works at Akorkeri and Nkawkaw-Nkona-Kwaja small town water supply rehabilitation and expansion programmes which are at various stages of completion. In 2015, Government will continue work on both projects.

Infrastructure Management Programme

486. Mr Speaker, the Ministry com- pleted works on the Atorkor/ Dzita/ Anyanui Coastal Protection works in the Volta Region.

Similarly, the Ngyiresia Coastal Protection Works to protect the main Sekondi Essipong road from erosion and an eventual transportation dis-connect between Essipong and Sekondi was completed.

Additinally, other coastal protection works were initiated at various locations such as Aboadze, Sakumono, Nkontompo, Dansoman, Adjoa (New Takoradi) to protect the land, prevent further erosion and protect life and property are at various stages of completion.

487. Mr Speaker, the Ministry com- menced drainage improvement works to solve the perennial flooding and erosion problems and to mitigate the disaster risks

associated with flooding in various parts of the country including Agona Swedru, Nima, Sakaman and Goaso.

In 2015, works will be undertaken in Asankragua, Winneba, Ejura, Tepa, Taifa, Kumawu, Hwidiem and Tamale among others.

Human Settlement and Development Programme

488. Mr Speaker, under the Phase 1 of the construction of housing units for the Security Services, 168 housing units of 2 and 3 bedrooms were completed in Sakumono near Tema in the Greater Accra Region. The Phase II, comprising of 368 housing units commenced and will continue in 2015.

489. The construction of the 5,000 housing units at Saglemi-Ningo Prampram and the completion of 4,720 affordable housing units in Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Eastern Regions are on-going and will continue in 2015.

General Maintenance and Management Programme

490. Mr Speaker, the Ministry re- habilitated and refurbished 56¹ prestige bungalows. Six hundred and eighteen out of a target of 836 housing units under the Keta Sea Defence Resettlement Programme were completed. The resettlement programme will continue in

2015.

491. For the implementation of the above programmes and activities, an amount of GH¢463,103,420.00 has been allocated. Out of this, GH¢209,364,187.00 is GoG, GHµ 4,171,784.00 is IGF and GH¢249,567,449.00 is from Development Partners.

Ministry of Roads and Highways

492. Mr Speaker, the Ministry has the oversight responsibility for the develop- ment, maintenance and rehabilitation of the road network portfolio of Ghana.
TABLE FOR PROJECT 11 a.m.

JJJJSPSPACE FORSS 11 a.m.

JUDICIAL SERVICE 11 a.m.

SHS 11 a.m.

SPAC 11 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, Order! [Uproar.]
Hon Members, in accordance with Standing Order 140 (3), and within such time as the Business Committee may determine, debate on the Motion shall stand adjourned for not less than three days.
I also direct that the part of the budget relating to the Ministries and other relevant institutions shall stand committed respectively to the committees responsible for the subject matter to which the heads of the estimates relate, for consideration and report in accordance with the Standing Order 140 (4).
Furthermore, any part of the budget relating to revenue and expenditure shall stand committed to the Finance Committee in accordance with Standing Order 140 (5).
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have some Public Business.
My Hon Colleagues will recall we did not take item number 4, which deals with “Presentation and First Reading of Bills.” So, I would want us to take it before we go to the Order Paper Addendum.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, if the Papers are ready to be laid, with regard to the Judicial Service, the Audit Service and Parliament, then we can lay those ones. In terms of the estimates, we would have completed laying them and then we move on to the Bills.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is the same item, “Presentation and Laying of Papers.” So, if we want to take the --
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
So, we would have completed those ones and finished with the estimates? Then we would call on the Minister for Finance to lay the 2014 Annual Report on the Petroleum Fund, which under section 48 of the Petroleum Revenue Act, is to be presented with the budget, and then we move further to look at the Bills in that order.
Mr Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are guided by your counsel.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, I will want us to go to Order Paper Addendum, and presentation of Papers. The following Papers are to be presented; 1(a), Order Paper Addendum by the Minister for Finance.
PAPERS 11:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Members, Item 1(b) (i), by the Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
By the Majority Leader --
(b) (i) Annual Budget Estimates of the Audit Service for the
year 2015.
(ii) Annual Budget Estimates of Parliament for the year 2015.
Referred to the Special Budget Committee.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Item number 1(b) (iii), by the Majority Leader.

By the Majority Leader --

(iii) Annual Budget Estimates of the Judicial Service for the year 2015.

Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Members, we will have to go back to the original Order Paper -- “Presentation and First Reading of Bills.” We will start with the Transfer of Convicted Persons (Amendment) Bill, 2014, by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. [Interruptions.]
Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we acknow- ledge the enthusiasm of the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice. I would have to seek permission and want to do that now.
With your kind permission, Mr Speaker, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, for very compelling reasons, has not been present in the House. Therefore, kindly allow his deputy to lay this Bill on her behalf. The Hon deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney-General , Dr Dominic A. Ayine is available to lay the Bill.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has made an application for the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice to do the work, otherwise, to be performed by the substantive Minister. But the Hon Majority Leader himself is alluding to the enthusiasm of the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice.
Even after he made the application, before I could come in to support it, he rose up again.
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, I would not have anything against it except we must all notice where we are. If you have a presentation of a Budget Statement, an
analogue budget in a digital age, as reflected in the placards that people were holding, the black and white and the coloured ones, the distinction and differences were very clear. So, we can understand the momentary disequilibrium that is being suffered.
Mr Speaker, let me say that I have no objection to this situation.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Members, Presen- tation and First Reading of Bills.
BILLS -- FIRST READING 1:10 p.m.

Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Item number 2 (b), by the Minister for Finance.
The Special Petroleum Taxes Bill,
2014
An Act to impose a Special Petroleum Tax on selected petroleum products and to provide for related matters.
Presented by the Minister for Finance. Read the First time; referred to the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I will want to refer the House to Standing Order 119, which states:
“Where it is determined and certified by the appropriate Committee of the House appointed in that behalf that a particular Bill is of an urgent nature, that Bill may be introduced without publication. Copies of the Bill shall be distributed to Members and may be taken through all its stages in one day.”

Hon Members, there is precedent to support what I am suggesting to the House. It is for the Committee alone to advise the House, but not by Hon Members shouting on the floor.

We should allow the Committee to advise the House at the appropriate time.

Hon Members, for how long shall we suspend Sitting?

Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to pray that Hon Colleague Members kindly agree that you suspend Sitting for about one hour to allow the Finance Committee to consider whether the Bills that have been referred to them are of urgent nature. If they are, they will so report to the House, as you r ightly referred to the Standing Orders, and then the House can proceed to consider them.
So, we will depend on the decision of the Finance Committee on whether the Bills are of urgent nature.
I beg to move, that we suspend Sitting for one hour.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, I want your view on the issue of suspension.
Hon Members, look at the title of the Bill. Let the Committee come and advise the House, then we proceed.
The Hon Majority Leader has suggested one hour of suspension. Based on what the Committee will come and say, we will take it from there.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we also see the Special Petroleum Taxes Bill. I do not know whether it could be added for consideration by the Committee.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Come again, Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I said on the Addendum Order Paper, item 2 (b) -- I was wondering whether that could also not be referred to the Committee, so that we will consider the two at the same time.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
I have already referred all the two Bills to the Finance Committee. I have done that, and I am asking them to advise the House whether they are of an urgent nature. If they come back and say they are not of an urgent nature, then we will adjourn the House.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was only making an application, that maybe, the one on Energy could be added to them. If they find it worthy of giving it special consideration, it is for them.
Mr Speaker, this is an application. But I get the impression that because it did not come from you, Hon Members are saying, no, as if Mr Speaker is the Leader of Government Business. Mr Speaker is not the Leader of Government Business. So, I am just making the application to you; if they find it worthy, then they come and report to the House. That is all that I am saying.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Members, let us have order in the House.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for the suspension.
Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
One hour or two?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it would come from the Committee. But we would all have to standby to listen to
them, whether it is for an hour or one and a half hours. All that is required of us is to standby to listen to the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker 3 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, when are we coming back? When are we reconvening? The Clerks-at-theTable, I am being advised that we should come at

Hon Majority Leader, I am being advised that we should come by 3.00 o'clock.

01.23 p.m. -- Sitting suspended.

5.25 p.m. -- Sitting resumed
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Hon Members, let us have some order.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we now move to Order Paper Addendum 2 and on that, we would take item number 1.
We would listen to the Finance Committee on the referral. First, whether they are urgent matters, and second, the Report.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, item number 1 on Addendum 2, Presentation of Papers.
Chairman of the Committee?
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr A. A. Osei 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I need some guidance here.
The Majority Leader is saying that first, we would listen to the Committee on the advice whether it is urgent. But there is nothing here that says that. It says here -- “Presentation of Papers”. So, I am wondering where that is said on the Order Paper. We were given instructions by the Speaker to come and advise the House.
Now, if you want to do that, there should be a way. It does not show here. Here, it says “Presentation of Papers” by the Committee. So, we cannot sneak in another item that talks about advice. Unless we are assuming that the presentation of the Paper is where the advice is coming from. But we were given specific instructions. So, I felt we would find a way to address that specific directive by the Speaker before we get this Addendum.
We cannot just get Addendum that says we should deal with the Papers without dealing with the substantive issue of advice as directed by the Speaker. That has to be a proper way of doing that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I definitely know where the Ranking Member for Finance is coming from.
Mr Speaker, you were not in the Chair. It was Rt Hon Doe Adjaho who was in the Chair. So, after I referred to item 1 and cross-checked to see whether Hon Members had copies of Addendum 2, it was shown. I referred to item number 1, which is Presentation of Papers. I only did not read the title but tried to give you a background information. This is because it is part of the duties of Leadership to support the Speaker. So, I was giving background information on the Papers that were to be laid.
I never erred in anyway. But since he is a professional litigant [Laughter] -- he wants to continue to litigate me even when there is no case to litigate --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, could you withdraw the expression “professional litigant”? Please, do.
Mr Bagbin 3 p.m.
Well. From the Speaker, I definitely withdraw it and apologise to my very good Friend, Hon Dr Akoto Osei.
Dr A. A. Osei 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, even though I accept the apology, he did not have to apologise. I was not upset by it. He is a good Friend of mine. The reason I raised it was because you said the order was for the Chairman to advise. You said it. It might be misinterpreted because Mr First Deputy Speaker was in the Chamber. But I am saying that in laying the Paper, the Committee would respond to the Speaker's directive. So, we did not have to bring it there. He was in the Chamber when the directive was given. So, I thought he would say “item number 1”, simpliciter, then we move on.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
PAPERS 3 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has called for the Presentation of Papers and accordingly, it is has been complied with. And it is in respect of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014.
Mr Speaker, the relevant orders in our Standing Orders is Order 119, which reads 3 p.m.
“Where it is determined and certified by the appropriate Committee of the House appointed in that behalf that a particular Bill is of an urgent nature, that Bill may be introduced without publication. Copies of the Bill shall be distributed to Members and may be taken through all its stages in one day.”
Mr Speaker, it is my understanding that it is only after the Committee has met and certified that Bill as being of an urgent nature, that it can then be laid in this House. Now, we do not have the Bill laid. It is wrong procedurally to have done that.
The Order provides that it is for the Committee to establish that the Bill is of urgent nature and thereafter, the Bill then would have to be laid in the House. That is the simple language and construction of Order 119. We seem to have put the cart before the horse.
Mr Speaker, I would invite you to cause the proper thing to be done.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 5:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my very good Friend, the Minority Leader got it wrong. Before the Committee could report to the House whether a Bill is of urgent nature, something must be referred to the Committee. If not, how would they report on it whether it is urgent.
Something must be referred to them and the procedure in the House is that, that thing must be laid before it is referred to them. And this is what we have been following throughout. That was what I was drawing his attention to. What has changed? [Interruption] He is aware of it? And so , yes, I agree that the Committee would have to come back after the referral to tell us whether the Bill that is referred to them is of urgent nature.
If it is recommended by the Committee that it is of urgent nature, then by the Standing Order, we are to take it through all the stages in one day and pass it. That is my understanding of the Standing Order
119.
So, the Bill was laid and referred by Mr Speaker to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee met and the Report is what I have requested to be laid, which has been laid. The Report would now be distributed to Hon Members. It is in the Report that we would get to know the recommendations of the Finance Committee. And so, that is what it involves. We are right; we are on track and Mr Speaker, I would say that we should continue along that path.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect to my Hon Colleague, it is not what he thinks fit and appropriate. I am referring him to the Standing Order 119 and if he may read it for his own elucidation. The language is succinct; it is unambiguous and it comes without any revalidation.
Mr Speaker, he is filling in for us and he is telling us that we have been doing this throughout. If it is the wrong thing that we have been doing, do we need to continue on that path?
So, Mr Speaker, that is the point I am making. It is the issue that I am taking to
you. Well, if, maybe, for convenience, you would want to say that -- [Interruption] -- I would not want to further litigate it. But I think that it should be clear to everybody, including the Hon Majority Leader, that that is the language of the Standing Order. That it cannot be introduced here until the Committee certifies.
So, when you come by the advertisement of a report, when purportedly it has not been laid or it should not be laid or it ought not to have been laid, Mr Speaker, that is where the problem is. So, I am referring to a matter of procedure. Maybe, all that we have been doing all this while might not have been correct. The Hon Majority Leader says it is correct; he does not convince and persuade anyone by what he is doing. Mr Speaker, the language is clear in the Standing Orders.
Thank you very much.
Mr Bagbin 5:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we all know that by the 1992 Constitution, Bills, particularly of financial nature are initiated by the Executive and presented to the House.
Mr Speaker, the Order 119 says 5:35 p.m.
“Where it is determined and certi- fied by the appropriate Committee of the House appointed in that behalf that a particular Bill is of an urgent nature, that Bill may be introduced without publication…”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi --
Papa Owusu-Ankomah 5:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have had a practice in this House in dealing with Bills of an urgent nature. But upon a close reading of Order 119, there is obviously a problem. I am sure that as we review the Standing Orders, we could clarify it. This is because certainly, Mr Speaker, you introduce a Bill by laying it.
But where the Standing Orders say that after certifying that it is of an urgent nature, the Bill should be laid. Then supposedly, the Bill has to be introduced even without laying it -- technically. This is because introduction is laying. But we know that is really not possible in this House. So, how we have drafted the Standing Orders has put us in this conundrum.
But I could see that what we have done is in accordance with the practice of the House. However, it appears not to be consistent with the Standing Orders relating to urgent Bills as we have adopted as a House. So, all that we can say now or all that I will suggest is that we could go on and while we are reviewing our Standing Orders, draft it in a way that would make it clear. That is all.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is important that we appreciate that by the provisions of the Constitution and the same Standing Orders to which the Hon Majority and Minority Leaders have referred, we are masters of our own procedure. But Mr Speaker, may I refer you in particular to the very Order 119 and explain the spirit behind that in the Standing Orders. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, you see, they need to understand that there is a letter and there is a spirit. The requirements, our Hon Colleagues must appreciate -- including the Hon Minority Leader. Mr Speaker, for emphasis, let me read order 119. It says that --
“Where it is determined and certi- fied by the appropriate Committee of the House appointed in that behalf that a particular Bill is of an urgent nature, the Bill may be introduced without publication…”
Mr Speaker that is the remit of Order 119. It says that ordinarily, before you introduce a Bill, it must have been gazetted and gazetted for a certain number of days -- at least, 14 days.

But because this Order contemplates that, you want to take the Bill through all the stages within one day, Order 119 is to forgive you that you can proceed with that Bill without publication, nothing more. That was the intention of the framers of the Bill, that you can proceed with the Bill without publication. I can refer that further to provisions of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, in doing this, we are not only relying on Order 119. Even Order 122 is relevant. This is because this is of a tax nature; we are imposing a tax, and therefore, we would invoke Order 122. But

the Constitution says that for every Bill accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum, must have an official gazette notice. So, Order 119 is to allow this House, that because of urgency, you cannot defend this matter within one day, and wait for fourteen days for it to mature as a Bill within the contemplation of the Constitution.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Haruna Iddrisu is a very good Friend. [Interruptions.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect to him, I am failing to see the value addition that he has brought to bear on this debate. The language and tenure of that construction should be crystal clear to anybody. [Interruption]-- If there is a problem, let us admit that. But to say that there is no problem, I am failing to see what he is saying. [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Can we have some order, please?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in this House, the Finance Committee, for instance, is empowered to authorise the Minister for Finance where the need arises, even before the matter comes to plenary, to make withdrawal on the Contingency or Consolidated Fund for a specified purpose. The matter would not have even come to plenary. So, for anybody to argue that a referral should be made, is neither here nor there.
This is because article 177 of the Constitution should indicate to you that, in respect of the Finance Committee, they have the power to authorise the Minister for Finance in the events of a sudden contingency arising to do it, and then there after report back to Parliament.
So, Mr Speaker, clearly, as I said, I admit that we have been following a particular path. I would want to indicate that it is wrong what we have been doing all this while is wrong, and indeed, if we have a better construction, I am all for that. But for anybody to insist that it is a practice, and there is nothing wrong with it, I disagree entirely with them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, we could go on and on.
Let us hear from the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr Bagbin 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the combined effect of the constitutional provisions of the Standing Orders of this House gave the House the position that we should adopt a purposive interpretation of this Standing Orders to make meaning. This is because one cannot adopt what he is talking about. It is not practicable, and that is why Hon Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations talked about the spirit.
The combined effect of the articles in the Constitution and the Standing Orders give us only one option -- purposive interpretation of that Standing Order. And that is what we have been doing. So, I disagree that the House has been wrong. We have been correct throughout and we have been following the correct procedure, and we should continue to follow that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, I believe we have had enough of debate on this issue; it is an interesting point that has been raised. Fortunately, the Hon Member who raised it is a member of the Committee reviewing the Standing Orders. We would have to closely look at it. In the meantime, I believe we have to go the way we have been going over the period.
So, since the matter has been referred to the Finance Committee, they have met and taken certain decisions; we have to listen to them by way of the presentation of the Report and then after that we would take it from there. This is because in the body of the Report, they would indicate whether they decided that it is of urgent nature among other things.
So, Hon Members, I direct that the Chairman of the Committee presents his Report --
Sorry, the Hon Minister would move the Motion.
MOTIONS 5:45 p.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh) 5:45 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 Second Reading of the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
Mr James Klutse Avedzi 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion -- [Interruption.]
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, our Orders provide that, where the Standing Orders or part of it must be stood down, a person moving the Motion should state the reason for the application. Could we call on the Minister for Finance who moved the Motion to state the reasons for the proposal that he is submitting to the House?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
Well, Hon Minority Leader, at the time he was moving the Motion, you could have raised this point. Now, he has moved it, and it has been seconded.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is only when it has been seconded that it lends itself for consideration.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
BIILS -- SECOND READING 5:45 p.m.

Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time.
Question proposed.
Chairman of the Finance Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 5:45 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion for the Second Reading of the Special Petroleum Tax Bill,
2014.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee' Report.
Introduction
The Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 was presented to Parliament and read the First time by the Hon Minister for Finance on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 and
referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Committee was also to determine whether the Bill was of an urgent nature to be taken through all the stages in one day in accordance with article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met with the Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson and officials from the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority and deliberated on the referral.
The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister, officials from the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority 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.
The National Petroleum Authority Act 2005 (Act 691)
The Value Added Tax Act 2013 (Act
870)
Background
The 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of the Republic of Ghana outlined fiscal policies aimed at creating an even tax regime. The budget also outlines other tax adminis- trative measures aimed at improving efficiency in revenue generation.
The Special Petroleum Tax Bill is part of tax measure adopted by government to increase revenue generation and improve efficiency on revenue collection from petroleum products.
The proposed Special Petroleum Tax Act therefore, seeks to impose Special Petroleum tax on selected petroleum products.
Purpose of the Bill
The Bill seeks to impose a special petroleum tax on selected petroleum products.
Provisions of the Bill
The Bill is divided into five (5) sections and one schedule.
Section 1 imposes the Special Petroleum Act and imposes a duty on any person licensed to operate as an oil marketing company to charge the tax on the selected petroleum products.
Section 2 specifies the rate of tax which is proposed to be seventeen and a half percent (17.5%) on the ex-depot price of the selected petroleum products.
Section 3 authorises the Ghana Revenue Authority to collect the Tax.
Section 4 provides for the Com- missioner-General to pay all the taxes, penalties and interest collected under this Act into the consolidated Fund.
Section 5 deal with interpretations.
The Schedule provides a list of petroleum products to be affected. This includes: Petrol, Diesel, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Natural Petroleum Gas and Kerosene.
Observations
Urgency of the Bill
The Committee was informed that revenue target for 2015 Budget had taken into accounts revenues to be raised from the Special Petroleum Tax from November, 2014 to December, 2015.
The Deputy Minister further explained to the Committee that the introduction of the tax as outlined in the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government presented to Parliament today had become public knowledge. As a result, there was the need to promulgate the necessary legislation to give effect to its immediate implementation in order to avoid shortages of petroleum products due to potential hoarding.
By majority decision, the Committee was of the view that the Bill is of urgent nature and should therefore, be taken through all the stages in one day in accordance with Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Expected revenue from the tax
The Committee was informed that an amount of about GH¢1.541 billion is expected to be realised from the implementation of the Tax between November, 2014 and December, 2015.
The Minister explained that the amount will be used to support the implementation of the 2015 budget to meet social intervention goals. He said an amount of GH¢110 million which is expected to be realised from the implementation of the tax between now and 31st December 2014, would only be expended in 2015.
Possible effects of the proposed tax
The Deputy Minister for Finance informed the Committee that the imposition of the tax will lead to marginal price increases in petroleum products. He
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 a.m.
Hon Member, are you up on a point of order? What is it?
Hon Chairman, can you hold on.
Dr Prempeh 5:55 a.m.
On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee just told this House that a 17.5 per cent Special Petroleum Tax translates to 3 per cent. But Mr Speaker, in the Report, they have not shown this House how a 17.5 per cent Petroleum Tax increase translates to 3 per cent --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 a.m.
Why would you not hold your breath? He is presenting the Report, after that, it would be subjected to debate.
You are out of Order.
Hon Chairman, you can go ahead.
Mr Avedzi 5:55 a.m.
He attributed this to the combined effect of the review of the petroleum price build-up and the falling
prices of petroleum products in the international market. Because of these reasons, the net effect of the imposition of the Special Petroleum Tax will be a marginal change in the ex-pump price of petroleum products.
Conclusion
The Committee, having carefully examined the Bill and by majority decision, recommends to the House to adopt its Report and take the Special Petroleum Tax Bill through all the stages in one day in accordance with article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Respectfully Submitted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, at this stage, we will allow some debate to go on and after that, we put the Question.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Mr H. Iddrisu 5:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 a.m.
Hon Members, order! Order!

Order! Order!

Very well.

Hon Member, you have the floor.

Can we have some order!
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah (NPP -- New Juaben South) 5:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in presenting the budget this afternoon, the Minister for Finance introduced a Special Petroleum Tax of 17.5 per cent. Without mincing words, we are opposed to this new tax.
Mr Speaker, this new tax would bring untold hardships on the Ghanaian people. A tax on petroleum would lead to increases in transport fares, food prices and virtually all manner of goods. This tax cannot be supported by this fragile economy of ours, this tax would kill businesses.
So, is this President working for us?
Some Hon Members 5:55 a.m.
No!
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 6:05 a.m.
At a time when the Minister himself admits that crude oil prices are on the decline on the world market, he comes to the House and seeks to increase prices on petroleum products
-- 6:05 a.m.

Some Hon Members 6:05 a.m.
No.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this tax imposition is insensitive, inhumane and unnecessary. A sensitive caring Government would have taken measures to cushion the poor and vulnerable. No such considerations are being given here.
Mr Speaker, no one should make any mistake; petroleum prices are going up. This must be a matter of concern for all Members of Parliament. Do not be hoodwinked by those calculations in the Report. Those calculations are incorrect and are not going to be as stated here.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me state that this tax measure is criminal and it must be shelved.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Hon Members, order! Please, let us have some order. [Pause.]
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Motion ably moved by the Minster for Finance for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Order! Order!
Yes, Hon Minister, continue.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, let me particularly refer you to page 5 of your Committee's Report. Mr Speaker, for purposes of emphasis, let me quote with your permission:
“He attributed this to the combined effect of the review of the petroleum price build-up and the falling prices of petroleum products in the international market. Because of these reasons…”
Mr Speaker, the emphasis is now mine.
“…the net effect of the imposition of the Special Petroleum Tax will be a marginal change in the ex-pump price of petroleum products.”
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, is it on a point of order?
Hon Minister, there is a point of order here.
Dr A.A. Osei 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would not have got up to raise a point of order. But the Hon Minister made reference to a Committee's statement, which is not backed by any facts. These calculations here were supposed to provide the evidence for it to be included in the Paper.
We cannot certify that the numbers here are correct.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Hon Members, if you do not keep quiet, I will not hear the arguments or submissions being made. Please, could we have some order? Otherwise, the points being made would all be missed.
Hon Member, yes, let us hear you.
Dr A. A. Osei 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Committee has not done this House a favour. There was a request by Committee members that, if they want to include these net impacts, they should document the basis for arriving at these numbers.
Mr Speaker, I see that documentation is not here. So, he cannot make a categorical statement that, this is the net impact. This is a House of facts; if he would want to show that the net is 17.5 per cent, he must demonstrate to us. There is nothing to prove this fact.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Hon Member, when you have the opportunity, you could also raise this issue. Otherwise, we would be -- So, let him proceed.
Mr H. Iddrisu 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, precisely, the point I was making. It is not to suggest -- Indeed, Mr Speaker, it is not only erroneous and misleading but intended to throw dust in the eyes of many of the citizens of Ghana. To suggest that 17.5 per cent Special Petroleum Tax Levy would lead to a concomitant 17.5 per cent increment in the prices of petroleum products, is neither here nor there.
Mr Speaker, this is why I am referring to the Committee's Report. I have heard commentators publicly elsewhere debating that by the introduction of this tax regime, the prices of petroleum products would naturally and automatically increase by 17.5 per cent. Mr Speaker, I dare say that is not so. There would be increases but they would be marginal.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order? What is your point of order?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 6:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Colleague, the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations -- and Pensions -- is trying to tell us here that the imposition of this tax would not necessarily mean 17.5 per cent increase in the ex-pump price.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would quote from the same Report, and I would want him to listen.
“…the net effect of the imposition of the Special Petroleum Tax will be a marginal change in the ex-pump price of petroleum products.”
Mr Speaker, how do we arrive at this marginal change if the ex-pump price is at 17.5 per cent? There can never be any marginal change. I would challenge the Chairman of the Committee to go and correct the figures he is presenting here, and give details of what he is saying.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, as I told the Hon Member for Old Tafo, if you have the opportunity, put across your case and we will listen to you.
Yes, Hon Minister, begin to wind up.
Mr H. Iddrisu 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Colleague, the Hon Agyeman-Manu is a very good student of mathematics.
Mr Speaker, what I seek to establish is that, whatever increases arising out of this would not be proportional to 17.5 per cent.
Mr Speaker, I was going to ask the Hon A. B. A. Fuseini to support me with a proverb. I am minded that when you see a pregnant goat in the market, it means there is a pregnant problem at home.
This unusual tax is to respond to the growing fiscal and budget deficit that they are aware of. [Uproar.] It is not only a fact of 2009 or 2012, even in 2008 -- They ought to appreciate that when we talk about the twin deficit -- both fiscal and budget deficit -- it allows for the contraction of the economy which would not allow for the creation of jobs.

Mr Speaker, those shouting “be careful” know the economics better than me and they know that we cannot grow an economy when we continue to have a fiscal and a budget deficit for five years
-- 6:15 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Hon Member, please, conclude --
Mr H. Iddrisu 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I therefore, urge Hon Members who want us to stabilise this economy, not only microeconomic stability but put it on a scale that can support the generation of jobs, allow ease of the private sector and allow for job creation, to support this Motion.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Mr Kwaku A. Kwarteng (NPP -- Obuasi West) 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to oppose the Motion seeking to introduce this tax. But before I do that, Mr Speaker, I would like to advert the minds of this House to the context from which this law is coming. The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Act imposes a ceiling on prices of petroleum products in this country. Put in another way, nobody is allowed to charge the prices of fuel beyond limits imposed by law.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Order! Order! Order!
Mr Kwarteng 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, what the NPA has been saying is that, they are unable to charge prices below the ceiling imposed by law in accordance with reducing petroleum product prices on the international market because government must finance previous subsidies. Mr Speaker, this is unlawful.
If petroleum product prices on the international market are going down, per our laws, Government ought to be reducing fuel prices. [Hear! Hear!] But Mr Speaker, granted that Ghanaians are so understanding -- [Interruption] -- The NPA Act --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Hon Members, order! Order! Order!
Hon Member, you have the floor.
Hon Members, if we go on shouting this way, we will not make any progress.
I appeal to you to let us have some order, so that we could hear what the Hon Member is saying and then you will be able to address the issues when you are also given the opportunity to contribute to the debate.
Yes, you have the floor.
Mr Kwarteng 6:15 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, there is a saying that, “if you cannot find something for your in- laws, you do not rob them”. But that is exactly what we are seeing.

We have just been told that economic activities are slowing down. Is it the time to be imposing taxes on businesses and people who consume petroleum products? Is that the way we would want to redeem the economy from the crisis in which we find ourselves?

Mr Speaker, if Government, as my Colleague indicated, wants to raise money to finance State development, they ought to be looking at cutting the waste in order to make -- [Interruption] -- cut the waste and the corruption in order to make the savings that would finance the needs they are talking about -- [Hear! Hear!]

Mr Speaker, giving that the intention of Government is to alleviate the suffering and the pain of Ghanaians, it is completely unacceptable that at the time fuel prices are going down, at the time we should be telling Ghanaians --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Hon Member, you have already made that point. Could you move on -- [Uproar.]
Mr Kwarteng 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it is for emphasis. [Interruption.]
It is important to make the point again that when the prices of petroleum products on the international market go down, Ghanaians are entitled to the benefit. [Hear! Hear!] It cannot be that when exchange rate deteriorates, prices of petroleum products on the international market go up --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Hon Member, begin to wind up.
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah -- rose
-- 6:15 p.m.

Mr Kwarteng 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am winding up --
When prices of petroleum products on the international market --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Hon Minister, are you up on a point of order?
Mr Buah 6:15 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
The Hon Member is misleading the House. [Uproar.] We are not talking about --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr Buah 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not think the discussion here is about reviewing petroleum prices because of crude oil prices. We are talking about taxes; we could as well impose taxes anywhere [Uproar.] -- And so, the point he keeps making about crude oil prices, is completely misleading. We are talking about tax.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, please, conclude.
Mr Kwarteng 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in concluding, I would want to make the point that, it is not right that when prices of petroleum products on international market go up or when the exchange rate deteriorates, we increase fuel prices because, we say Ghanaians must bear the cost and then when the prices go down, we come back and impose taxes, so that we can increase it further.
Prices of petroleum products should be going down and not up. Mr Speaker, I see this as an attempt by Government to take moneys from suffering Ghanaians when Government ought to be alleviating our suffering.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 p.m.
Thank you very much --
Hon Members, I take the last contribution from this side and then I go to Leadership.
Minister for Food and Agriculture (Mr Fifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey)(MP) 6:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Hon Member, you have the floor; go ahead.
Mr Kwetey 6:25 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I rise in support of the Motion and in doing so, I would want to urge the whole House to fully support this very important measure in support of the development of the country.
Mr Speaker, as opposed to the view that this is going to bring hardship to the people of Ghana, I would want to say that, really, what the people of Ghana need

across the 275 constituencies represented in this House is development; what the people of Ghana need is potable water in all our constituencies; [Hear! Hear!] -- What the people of Ghana need are clinics in every single constituency; what the people of Ghana need is extension of electricity to every nook and cranny of Ghana.

And that is what development is about.

Mr Speaker, I wish to, particularly, commend the Ministry of Finance for being thoughtful enough not to bring about a tax increment like, for example, what we had in 2001 when petrol prices jumped from six thousand old cedis to ten thousand and the following year, jumped from ten thousand to twenty thousand. We are obviously very mindful of the need of not imposing such harsh tax increases on our people.

So, Mr Speaker, I wish to explain also that we need to start appreciating that, we are a lower middle income country and therefore, resources need to be raised to be able to push forward the development of our country.

Every single one of us here constantly makes clamour for more and more developments. They should know what it takes, that we need to be able to make marginal sacrifices for that development. Across the divide, we need to be able to embrace same for the forward movement of our country.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Can we have some quiet, please? [Interruptions.] Hon Members, let us have absolute quiet before we proceed any further.
Mr Kwetey 6:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, -- [Interruptions.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Hon Member, please, take your seat; let us have absolute quiet before you proceed, otherwise, we are not making any meaning out of the process. If you continue this way, you will not hear what the Hon Member is saying, so that you can also formulate some form of argument to counter whatever that person is saying. [Interruptions]-- Let us have absolute quiet. Shall we?
Some Hon Members 6:25 p.m.
No!
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Hon Members, do not tempt me to start mentioning names. [Uproar.] Please, let us have some quiet.
Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
Dr A. A. Osei 6:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture was speaking, he sought to mislead this House by suggesting that, suddenly, this Government has found the need for this.
Some Hon Members 6:25 p.m.
When?
Dr A. A. Osei 6:25 p.m.
In February. [Interruption]
Some Hon Members 6:25 p.m.
Where?
Dr A. A. Osei 6:25 p.m.
Go and read the IMF report. The first recommendation the IMF made to this Government in February, when the President came, was to raise this tax. This Government said we were alright; we do not need it.
So, what has happened between February and now? Tell us. Mr Speaker, he should tell us. They came in September and said the same thing. This Government said “Yentie obiaa”. Now, in November, they are telling us that they have seen the light.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Very well.
I believe we can hear from the Hon Minister for Finance and then we come back to --
Hon Minister for Finance, if you have any point to make.
Mr Terkpeh 6:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there has been these recommendations for a very long time as the Hon Member stated, but there were good reasons. If the Hon Member will recall, when we did a home grown policy, we extended the Value Added Tax (VAT) to the Financial Services and we also extended the VAT to the real state sector. It was prudent therefore, not to be rushing the other elements.
The only element of VAT that was left - and that is what we are doing now. So, there was every good reason in the home grown policy not to be introducing all of those taxes at the same time. What we are doing is a rationalisation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture, please, conclude?
Mr Kwetey 6:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would wish to conclude, that if for every gallon of premium, we were paying GH¢15.00, with this increment, we are looking at GH¢ 0.45p addition.
Some Hon Members 6:25 p.m.
Again?
Mr Kwetey 6:25 p.m.
I said for every GH¢ 15.00 per gallon that we were paying for premium, we are looking at an increment of GH¢0.45p, and that 45p, in reality, is bringing us major developments for the people of Old Tafo, Bimbilla and for the people of all our constituencies.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Now, Leadership? [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:25 p.m.
Are you ceding yours to him?
Mr Nitiwul 6:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, they got three and we got two. After the Hon Minister spoke, Hon Avedzi and the other Minister spoke. So, they had three and we had two. He is the last person before the one
-- 6:25 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Hon K. T. Hammond?
Mr Kwabena Tahir Hammond (NPP -- Adansi Asokwa) 6:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to contribute to the debate, but in doing so, I invite this Honourable House to join me to reject this Motion, which seeks to impose further financial burden on the good people of Ghana. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, it is sickening going through the Report presented by the Majority to this House. Mr Speaker, what the Majority says in this Report essentially is this, that the Government needs more revenue and for that matter, the good people of Ghana would have to be screwed up, they will have to be drained for more money for what my Hon Colleague says over there -- “for further development of the country.”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr Hammond 6:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Report suggests that by the end of December 2015, this imposition would have raised an amount of 1.5 billion Ghana cedis. Mr Speaker, the question I ask is this, the corruption at Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneural Authority (GYEEDA) level alone holds up to 1 billion. So, GYEEDA alone should have accounted for what the Government is now looking for in extra revenue from the good people of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, Woyome, Isofoton, Waterville, Akonfem gate -- put them together. Mr Speaker, what else is this Government asking from the good people of Ghana?
An Hon Member 6:35 p.m.
Where is the drillship money?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Order! Oder!
Hon Hammond, please, conclude.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Hon Member, please, conclude —
Mr Hammond 6:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am concluding.
To conclude, this whole document here has been a gargantually forged—the figures here have been cooked up. We all do know what constitutes the ex-depot price of petroleum products.
Who put these together to tell us that if we put the specific ex-depot price and add 15 per cent tax, we are going to get a minimal tax of 23.5 per cent? That was what my Hon Colleague, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei was talking about.
Mr Speaker, this document is a fraud; we should discard and reject this Majority document and in addition, discard the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Thank you very much.
We now move to the Leadership.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, you have the floor.
Hon Members, can we have some Order, please?
Hon Minority Leader?
Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bons) 6:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to also make a few comments about the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 that has been placed before us today, 19th November, 2014.
Mr Speaker, we have seen in this House the gymnastics that accompanied the referral of this Bill to the Finance Committee this morning. Ordinarily, as our Standing Orders provide, if referrals are made to any Committee, it is for that Committee to determine whether that Bill is an urgent Bill and for that reason, may have to be introduced without publication.
Mr Speaker, we heard the direction from the Chair to the Committee to consider that. The Committee does not need any prompting from the Chair—Mr Speaker, with respect, the Committee does not need any prompting from the Chair to determine whether any Bill is of an urgent nature.
Mr Speaker, having said that, article 106 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides, and I, with your permission, beg to quote;
“(2) No bill, other than such a bill as is referred to in paragraph (a) of article 108 of this Constitution, shall be introduced in Parliament unless—
(a) it is accompanied by an expla- natory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and principles of the bill, the defects of the existing law, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction; and”
Mr Speaker, we have a Bill before us and the memorandum only states, and with your permission, I beg to quote;
“The object of this Bill is to impose a special Petroleum Tax on selected petroleum products.
The Special Petroleum Tax is to be charged by persons licensed to operate as oil marketing companies under the National Petroleum Authority Act, 2005 (Act 691), on each supply of a petroleum product specified in the schedule.
For purposes of collecting the Special Petroleum Tax, this Bill applies with necessary modification, the provisions that deal with the collection of value added tax under the Value Added Tax Act, 2013(Act 870) and therefore, the input- output mechanism will operate”
Mr Speaker, what sense do we make out of this? What is intended in this memorandum? — Is it a memorandum?
Mr Speaker, what is this that is laid before us? The 1992 Constitution of Ghana, in article 106 (2) (a) is clear on what the nature and character of a memorandum is — Is that a memorandum? What does it suggest to us as a House?
Mr Speaker, I will proceed on this; we proceed on this memorandum to determine the Bill as being of urgent nature — On what basis?

Mr Speaker, the memorandum clearly does not provide any relevant information to this House at all to justify whether to consider it as a Bill of urgent nature.

Mr Speaker, we are now being told in the Report that the net increase in the price of premium is three (3) per cent; kerosene - 2.8 per cent, gas oil three (3) per cent; and MGO - 3.2 per cent.

Mr Speaker, the Bill provides in clause 2 that the rate of the tax is 17.5 per cent to be calculated on the ex-depot price of the petroleum product — As simple as that -- And so, for anybody to say that it is only three (3) per cent -- it is trying to throw dust into the eyes of the uninitiated.

Mr Speaker, the rate of the tax is provided in clause 2 and I am told that when they said that the rate of increase on the product would be three (3) per cent and 2.8 per cent, they were to provide justifications as what translates into those figures. As we speak, even the Committee members cannot justify that and the Committee members themselves are supposed to furnish the rest of us in plenary who are not Committee members with the details. And so, if there is any justification —
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 6:45 p.m.
If there is any justification, the Ministry, the Minister and the deputy who attended that meeting ought to have served that relevant information to the Committee, who would then have fed us in that Report.
Unfortunately, there is no such justification or any such indication how it translates into three (3) per cent or 2.8 per cent and for the MGO, 3.2 per cent.
Mr Speaker, we are all left in a quandary what percentages that are being given to us in this House.
Mr Speaker, the point has been made that, undoubtedly, this Bill is going to bring hardship on the good people of this country. Transportation fares are going to increase, and more importantly, food prices are going to be affected. Already, Mr Speaker, we are all bemoaning the escalation of food prices in this country.
Mr Speaker, only last week, we were told that the nation is going to experience shortages, and for that reason, high cost in the prices of maize -- and maize is a basic staple food in most parts of this country.
As if we are not sympathetic to the poor in the country, Mr Speaker, we are further going to cause the prices of maize to spiral and escalate. What are we doing to the poor in the society? The budget is supposed to be anti-poor, and today, we are telling ourselves that we do not care two hoots about what happens to the poor in society.
Mr Speaker, crude oil prices have tumbled from the US$147 per barrel, as we speak today, to US$75 per barrel -- Just about half. What are we saying to the prices? From US$115, it has now gone down to US$75.
Mr Speaker, that should tell us that ordinarily, the price -- when we have been told that the prices would reflect world market prices, then the prices naturally should have gone down by almost a third of the price.
Mr Speaker, in presenting this Report, the Committee's Chair, when it came to giving the figures, told this House that the price of premium is going to go up -- and he qualified it by only three (3) per cent.
He added “only,” even though there is not “only” in the Report. He said the price of kerosene is going to go up by only 2.8 per cent. That is what the rural people depend on; the price is going to go up by only 2.8 per cent. For gas oil, he says it is going to go up by only three (3) per cent.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Finance Committee can qualify those percentage increases as ‘'only” because his lot is good. Mr Speaker, it is well with his soul. That is why he can say that an increase in the price of kerosene by three (3) per cent is “only''. [Interrruption]-- Minister for Food and Agriculture, it is well with his soul. That is why unlike what he was doing in 2008, now, he can be shouting, “compare!” It is well with their souls.
So, today, they can look at the good people of this country and tell them that the price, 17.5 per cent increase is ‘'only.” God bless them. [Interruptions]-- It is only -- God bless them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:45 p.m.
Order! Order!
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 6:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would not be part of this.
Thank you very much.

First Deputy Speaker: Yes, Hon Majority Leader, you have the floor. [Pause]-- Can we have some order?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:50 p.m.
Order! Order!
Hon Majority Leader, you have the floor. [Pause]-- Can we have some order?
Hon Majority Leader, you have the floor.
Hon Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, it is sad that our Hon Colleagues on the Minority side walked out at the time the Hon Minority Leader himself was making a contribution to the Motion on the floor. It is the Leader of the Minority who was on the floor making his contribution.
It is surprising that they walked out at that time; they are entitled to do so. But this is an Honourable House and there are procedures and rules for boycotts and walkouts. With this, we were not even able to get the conclusive part of the submission that the Hon Minority Leader was making.
Definitely, Mr Speaker, we did not expect that we would get the full support of the Minority. This is because we picked the signals that they were not going to support it. But it is the manner in which they did the walk out that I think is unfortunate.
Mr Speaker, this is a Bill meant to, as much as possible, rectify the kind of distortions in our revenue generations. I think we would still have to relook at the demography of this country and we would learn that majority of our people, particularly in the rural areas and the urban poor are left with some basics that they need government to support them with.
Therefore, in looking at revenue generation, we would need to try to tax the opulent to put some social interventions in place for the benefit of the poor and marginalised. [Hear! Hear!] That is what this tax is meant to do.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:50 p.m.


We have a lot of Ghanaians who walk around. There are many areas in this country where there are no access to vehicles. We have in the urban centres where there are a clot of vehicles and where because of the low price comparatively with other countries of petroleum products, people have the leisure to use them at pleasure.

Mr Speaker, we understand their political philosophy as being elitist.

We represent the working class, the social democrats, the poor and marginalised in the society -- [Hear! Hear!] -- And we are very sensitive to the interests of the people of this country, and so, this is a budget that is meant to correct the distortions in the structural arrangements.

This is one of the most effective instruments that can generate revenue for us to try and put things r ight. I wholeheartedly support the Bill.

My Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader gave a lot of figures that were from his own imagination. The good people of Ghana are aware of the prices of petroleum now, whether on the international market or on the domestic market. So, they can determine.

We are definitely going to implement this Bill and the good people will be buying the products and they will see whether the increase is 17.5 per cent as being

trumpeted and carried by some media houses, or it is a marginal increase of about three per cent.

We are all going to see the price increases. It is important that in this House, we try as much as possible to be truthful in our presentation and that is why we want to underscore the importance of the code of conduct.

I got a bit worried, as to the level of the noise in the House and the kind of disorder that was displayed; and I remember that a Speaker ruled in this House how we should conduct ourselves. Unfortunately, that has gone to the dogs.

Be that as it may, we believe that this is a right Bill; we support it and I would want to encourage all my Colleagues to vote for it and we will collectively go out and explain in detail and simple man's language for the good people of Ghana to understand what we have done, and that it is in the interest of this country and not against the interest of the people.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Question put Motion agreed to.
The Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 was accordingly read a Second time.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 6:55 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker. We go to item 4 on page two of Addendum 2.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Finance?
MOTION 6:55 a.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 6:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 128(1), which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time, it shall pass through a Consideration Stage, which shall not be taken until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed, the Consideration Stage of the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 may be taken today.
Mr James K. Avedzi 6:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon
Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 6:55 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker, we would now take item 5.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 6:55 a.m.

STAGE 6:55 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 6:55 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker, we may now take item 6 on the Order Paper, Addendum 2.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Finance, item 6?
Suspension of Standing Order 131(1)
Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 6:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 131(1), which require that when a Bill has passed through the Consideration Stage, the Third Reading thereof shall not be taken until at least twenty-four hours have elapsed, the motion for the Third Reading of the Special Petroleum Tax Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
Mr James K. Avedzi 7:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put, Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 7:05 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 7:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we now take item 7.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 7:05 p.m.
Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Seth E. Terkpeh 7:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, before the Third Reading, if I may be permitted to make some few points.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 7:05 p.m.
Very well. Go ahead.
Mr Terkpeh 7:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Majority Leader has already spoken about the headline of 17.5 per cent that has been stated as the increase in the VAT rate and which is also put across particularly in various media and on some websites.

Mr Speaker, I stand corrected.
BILLS -- THIRD READING 7:05 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 7:05 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 7:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that in the absence of any more business, this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 in the forenoon, when we shall reconvene to continue with business.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 7:05 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, at this time of the day, do you need to move the Motion? I believe that it is within my power to close the Sitting.
ADJOURNMENT 7:05 p.m.