Debates of 11 Dec 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:35 a.m.

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

Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon Members , Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
At the Commencement of Public Business.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, item number 4 (d), Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
The Chairman who is the Majority Leader is engaged outside the House, I am a member of the Committee and I wish to lay the Paper on his behalf.
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Very well.
PAPERS 10:35 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon Members, I would want to know all the Papers that are here to

be laid. Even if the Chairman is not here, any member of the Committee here can lay it. But let us have them laid because time is running against us.
Mr Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we can then
take item number 4 (a), (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v)
By the Deputy Majority Leader (on behalf of the Chairman).
(i) Report of the Finance Committee on the Government Consent and Support Agreement (GCSA) between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Jacobsen Jelco Ghana Limited relating to a 360 MW Combined Cycle Dual Fuel Power Plant Facility at Aboadze.
(ii) R e p o r t o f t h e F i n a n c e Committee on the Government Acknowledgement and Consent Agreement be tween the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Jacobsen Jelco Ghana Limited and Eksportkredit Norge (as Lenders Agent) relating to a 360MW Combined Cycle Dual Fuel Power Plant Facility at Aboadze.
(iii) Report of the Finance Committee on the Government Consent and Support Agreement (GCSA) between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Amandi Energy Limited relating to a 190-240MW Combined Cycle Gas Power Plant Facility at Aboadze.
( iv ) Repor t o f the F inance Committee on the GCSA Deed of Acknowledgement and Consent Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Amandi Energy Limited and ECOBANK Ghana Limited
relating to a 190-240MW Combined Cycle Gas Power Plant Facility at Aboadze.
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Item 4 (a) (v). Is it not
ready? Any other Paper ready there under item 4 (a)? Let me hear from the Chairman of the Finance Committee. Any other Paper there?
Mr James K. Avedzi 10:35 a.m.
Yes Mr Speaker, items 4 (v) to 4 (viii) are not ready.
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Very well. What about 4(b)?
Mr Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
Item 4 (b) (i) is ready.
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
There is no item 4 (b) (i).
Mr Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
On page three. [Pause]
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Is it item 4 (h)?
Mr Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
Item 4 (b).
Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, guide the Chair properly. Is the item 4 (b) ready?
Mr Agbesi 10:35 a.m.
4 Item (b) is ready Mr Speaker.
By the Chairman of the joint Committee
- 10:35 a.m.

Dr Anthony A. Osei 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was advised by my leadership that there was an issue that you had discussed but you said that it could be raised only after the Paper had been laid. I was craving your indulgence to see if this is the proper time to raise that issue.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Yes, it is for laying. Once the Report is ready and I have - Because of the issue that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader drew my attention to yesterday in my Lobby, I said I would only want this Paper to be laid if I saw a copy of the Paper. I saw a copy of the Paper yesterday in the evening. So, it is there. When we come to debate it, whatever issue you want to raise, you can raise it for the House to take a decision on the matter, that is, if the House would take the decision; if it is for the Chair, then it is the Chair.
Dr A. A. Osei 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that issue is only at the bosom of the Speaker, not the House -- the issue I want to raise.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Very well. No problem.
Paper duly laid and it is for distribution.
Yes, which other Paper is ready to be laid?
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh rose
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
We are laying Papers. Hon Member for Manhyia South, are you going to lay a Paper?
Dr Prempeh 10:45 a.m.
No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Member, if there is a mistake, you raise it when it comes to the debate.
Dr Prempeh 10:45 a.m.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
I looked through the two Papers that were laid -
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Which of them?
Dr Prempeh 10:45 a.m.
Papers 4 (a) (iii) and 4

(a) (iv).
240MW. The Paper gave a breakdown of whether we are constructing a 190MW plant or a 240MW plant and they have requested, specifically for a certain sum of money that reflects only one of the two options
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Member, that is a point of argument. So, when it comes to debating the issue, you can raise it.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we can take item 4 (i) on page 3 then -
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Item 4 what?
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Item 4 (i).
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Pardon?
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Item 4(i).
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Very well.That is Committee on Works and Housing.
By the Chairman of the Committee--
Report of the Committee on Works and Housing on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing for the year ending 31st December,
2015.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Item 4 (j) (i).
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Item 4 (j) (i).
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, are you going to -
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, item 4 (j) (i) is ready.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority
Leader, you should guide the Chair properly.
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I said item 4 (j) -
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Item 4 (j) (ii)?
By the Chairman of the Committee
(ii) Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs for the year ending 31st December 2015.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is there any other Paper to be laid? I want us to exhaust the laying of the Papers before we move to any other item.
Mr Agbesi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, all the other Reports are not ready and so, with your indulgence, we may move to item 7 -- Motions.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
The Deputy Majority Leader has called for item number 7 on the Order Paper. Do you have any objection?
Mr Avedzi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, no. We can take it.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Member for Manhyia South?
Dr Prempeh 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was just bringing your attention to this. Yesterday, we adjourned in the middle of the Second Consideration because of numbers. That is where we should continue from or we want that one still to be suspended?
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Member for Manhyia South, at times, when you want to speak on the floor, consult your Leaders.
Item number 7 -- Motion?
Mr Avedzi 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Hon House approves the sum
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Are you now the new Minister for Finance?
Minister for Finance, you have the floor.
ANNUAL ESTIMATES 10:45 a.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 10:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢6,173,672 for the services of the National Development Planning Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
Hon Minister for Finance, is that all we are hearing from you? You are moving the Motion and you must tell this House why we should adopt the Motion for you.
Mr Terkpeh 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry.
Mr Speaker, the Report before the Committee is for the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance as well as the Commission were before the Committee to attend to the Committee.
Mr Speaker, the Report gives details of the 2014 performance as well as the 2015 allocation. The NDPC has been working very seriously on the medium- term plan, and they are also involved with our work -- Ghana Integrated Financial Manage- ment and Information System (GIFMIS), with the view to re-aligning the strategic elements of our public financial management system.
Mr Speaker, continuously, therefore, the work of the Commission remains a very important aspect of our economic management. It is in this regard that Mr Speaker, I entreat the House to consider the Report and approve it for the work of the Commission to function very well.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.

Question proposed.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K Avedzi) 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion to approve the sum of GH¢ 6,173,672 for the services of the NDPC for the year ending 31st December, 2015. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report.
Introduction
Following the presentation of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2015 by the Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terkpeh, on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014, the 2015 Annual Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) were referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 179 of the Constitution and Standing Order 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Committee met and discussed the Estimates with the Director-General of the NDPC, Dr Nii Noi Thompson and a technical team from the Commission and the Ministry of Finance and hereby present this Report.
The Committee expresses its gratitude to the Director-General and the technical team for attending upon the Committee for the deliberations.
Background

The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was established under articles 86 and 87 of the 1992 Constitution with a mandate to advise the President on development planning policy and strategy. The National Development Planning Commission Act, 1994 (Act 479) provides a legal framework which formally establishes the NDPC under the Office of the President.

Further the National Development Planning (Systems) Act, 1994 (Act 480) and the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) makes the NDPC the national coordinating body of the Decentralised Development Planning System in Ghana. NDPC therefore exist to advise the President of the Republic of Ghana (and Parliament upon request) on development policy and strategy, to prepare and ensure the effective implementation of approved national development Plans and Strategies and coordinate economic and social activities country-wide in a manner that will ensure accelerated and sustainable development of the country to enhance continuous improvement in the living standards of all Ghanaians.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the Commission for the medium term is to promote and sustain accelerated growth and sustaining middle- income status. In pursuit of this goal, the Commission has identified key policy objectives namely;

To strengthen policy planning and monitoring and evaluation process for equitable and balanced spatial and socioeconomic development.

To improve the responsiveness of the Public service in service delivery.

To e n h a n c e i n s t i t u t i o n a l a r r angemen t s fo r s ec to r i a l collaboration on poverty reduction.

To promote and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of performance in the public Services.

Performance in 2014

In pursuit of its mandate the Commission during the year under review achieved the following among others:

i. Completed work on the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II 2014-2017, the successor framework to

GSGDA I (2010-2013).

ii. Deve loped and p rov ided orientation on the planning guidelines for preparation of the Medium-term Development Plans by sector MDAs and District Assemblies.

iii. Monitored the implementation of

strategies to achieve the policy objectives in the GSGDA I and reported progress on the core national indicators in the 2013 Annual Progress Report (APR).

iv. Reviewed the national core i n d i c a t o r s t o t r a c k t h e implementation of the GSGDA II. A Legislative Instrument was drafted in line with Act 479 and 480 to strengthen coordination of the decentralised planning system.

v. Prepared a draft 2013 National Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the GSGDA

I.

vi. Trained all MDAs, MMDAs and all stakeholders including

selected Members of Parliament on the National Monitoring and Evaluation Manual to address the weaknesses in M&E reporting and strengthen their oversight responsibilities in tracking the implementation of development programs at the national and district levels.

Summary of budget allocation and performance in 2014

In the year 2014 the National Development Planning Commission
SPACE FOR TABLE 10:55 a.m.

  • [MR AVEDZI Employee Compensation -- GH¢ 3,401,475.00 Goods and Services -- GH¢1,772,197.00 Capital Expenditure -- GH¢1,000,000.00 Total allocation -- GH¢6,173,672.00 This allocation will be expended under the following core expenditure items of the Commission as follows: Management and Administration -- GH¢5,571,012.00 Development Policy -- GH¢240,000.00 Plan Coordination -- GH¢206,160.00 M&E -- GH¢156,500.00 Sub-total -- GH¢602,660.00 Total -- GH¢6,173,672.00 Observations and Recommendations Untimely and non-release of funds The Committee was informed during its deliberations that only GH¢2,933,993.11 out of a budgetary allocation of GH¢6,548,480.00, has been released to the Commission. The Committee also observed no release was made of the Commission's budgeted allocation for capital expenditure. As a result, the Commission could not acquire the needed logistics like computers and other office equipment. Further, due to the untimely and non release of funds, the average age of the most of Commission's vehicles is over ten years, resulting in high maintenance cost which exerts financial stress on the meagre resources of the Commission. Inadequate budgetary allocation The Committee was informed that for the year 2015, NDPC requires a total amount of GH¢20,511,995.80 to effectively carry out its planned programmes and projects. The Committee noted that for the year 2015, the Commission plans among others, to develop a national long term development policy framework, develop a comprehensive economic model for Ghana, establish a national spatial data base and also coordinate Ghana's transition to green economy. The Commission also plans to coordinate social protection interventions, review sector and district plans, facilitate the harmonisation and integration of district medium-term development plan, prepare the 2014 national annual progress report and organise M& E and statistics sector working group meetings. The Committee however, noted that the Commission has been allocated only GH¢6,173,672.00 for the 2015 financial year. But considering the strategic importance and the critical role of the Commission in national development, the need for adequate funding to enable the Commission carry out its constitutional mandate effectively cannot be over- emphasized. The Committee therefore, calls on the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the Commission is adequately resourced to enable it carry out its constitutional mandate effectively. D e v e l o p m e n t P a r t n e r s ' ( D P s ) Contribution The Committee noted during its deliberations that an amount of GH¢1.34m being DPs contribution to support the work of the Commission has been mentioned in the Commission's 2015 Programmed Based Budget Estimate. However, the provision did not reflect in the 2015 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government and the Commission also seemed not aware of this purported DPs' contribution. The Committee, therefore, calls on the Ministry of Finance to correct the anomaly and ensure the expected DPs' contribution is properly reflected. Conclusion The Committee carefully examined the 2015 Annual Estimates of the National Development Planning Commission and having regards to the strategic role of the Commission in the development drive of the country, recommends that, the House approves the sum of six million, one hundred and seventy-three thousand, six hundred and seventy-two Ghana cedis (GH¢6,173,672.00) to enable the Commission implement its programmes and activities for the 2015 financial year. Respectfully submitted.
  • Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, were you
    asking me to contribute?
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    If you are not ready, I will put the Question.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    It has been moved and seconded.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Yes, it has been moved.
    The Committee Report has been submitted and normally, it is the Ranking Member that follows. If you are not ready, I will put the Question.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    I am ready.
    I support the Motion that the House adopts the Committee's Report.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which of the items are we taking about?
    Mr Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
    Item 12. [Pause]
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Item 12.
    MOTIONS 10:55 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the joint Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy on the Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I sought your guidance. I do not know if this is the time that you want me to raise the issue.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    No! This is a procedural Motion to suspend the Standing Orders. It is not the substantive Motion.
    Any seconder?
    Mr Kobina T. Hammond 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Item number 13?
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon -
    Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your
    permission, I would want to, at this point, raise the issue that we were discussing.
    Mr Speaker, at the Committee's meeting, I made it known that there was an issue that you had ruled on earlier. And I refer to the Hansard of Monday, 6th January, 2014, on the matter of the Merchant Bank issue which was in court.
    Mr Speaker, it is a very important Hansard because you gave a written opinion on this issue. The issue was, if there is a matter in court, what should Parliament do?
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to go through the entire Hansard. The issue is that, a related matter to this Report is in court. There are three plaintiffs, of which I am one. The Judge is supposed to be ruling on it this morning. So, yesterday, I advised Leadership to seek your guidance because of the precedence that you set on January
    6, 2014.
    In that matter, you even reminded us that you had sent the Clerks to court to confirm that the matter was in court. So, I thought that it would not be wise for the Committee to go ahead without bringing the matter to your attention. This is why I wanted to seek your guidance, that this matter is in court - not this matter but a related matter.
    The part of the Term Sheet that we are being asked to approve, relates to the US$ 700 million and the court did not rule today. I am informed that it would be ruling on it this morning. So, I am seeking your guidance as per your earlier ruling to see if it is permissible for us to go ahead. That is all.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, yester- day, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader drew my attention to this matter. I tried to do some few consultations and I sent for the relief in court, the claim that the plaintiffs are seeking in court.
    Yesterday, I also asked that if the Committee's Report was ready, they should make a copy available for me, so that I could make an informed decision on this matter.
    I have looked at the Committee's Report and the plaintiffs' claim and my view on the matter is that, it will not prejudice the case in court.
    Hon Members, there was nowhere in the Committee's Report that the amount, the issue of the loan Agreement was even mentioned.
    In any case, whichever way the claim that the plaintiffs are seeking goes, it will not affect the issue of the gas project. It will not. I have my own view on the matter of what is in court but that is not the matter before us. The Motion is clear. It is the issue of the Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the GoG, GNPC, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Projects.
    That is the Motion before us now. If you read the Committee's Report, we are told that about eight billion is the total amount involved. Even with the Term Sheet, which ultimately is the matter that the plaintiffs are claiming, should come to this House, the court may rule in one way or the other. The court may decide that this matter should come to Parliament. If it comes to Parliament, we would be ceased with the jurisdiction and the House would take a decision.
    The other alternative is that, it should not come. Whichever way, I do not see how this discussion prejudices the Motion before us.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just for your information on the Term Sheet, the Committee's Report, unfortunately, did not inform this House that as part of that,
    there is a clause (9) there, which refers to the loan; it is clear in the Term Sheet. So at least, the House should know that even though it is not reflected there, it should have been. That is the point I would want to make.
    I respect your ruling and I thank you.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    I respect your ruling but just to state again that the clause (9) which I gave you a copy, states very clearly that Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) intends to take a US$700,000 loan. They went ahead to state specific directions that they want. My fear is that, if we are not careful and in the event that the court rules and brings back the loan, it would mean that our hands are tied as Parliament. We would have to pass it whether we like it according to these same terms.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, the jurisdiction that we are called upon to exercise now is different from the loan approval. Our hands would never be tied. For example, if the court rules that the loan Agreement should be brought to the House to be approved and we see a provision in it that is unconstitutional, should we go ahead and approve it? Please, the approval of this does not mean automatically that we are approving the loan Agreement.
    Mr Nitiwul 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the approval of the loan Agreement. I am talking about certain terms that have been stated in the Agreement. I would give you an example; they said that “… in no event shall the debt service repayment exceed US$180, 000,000 …” These are terms that have already been stated here. In the event that this comes to Parliament, are we going to differ? It forms part of the Agreement and there are several other terms that are stated about withdrawals, how to withdraw from the Escrow Account. All are stated here -- about how the US$700,000,000 needs
    to be acquired, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Let me hear from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Dr Akoto Osei wanted your guidance on an issue.
    Mr Speaker, you have given your guidance and your ruling. At this stage, I do not know what my Hon Colleagues are doing. You have given your ruling. So Mr Speaker, I think that the House must move forward; you have given your ruling.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, you know that the practice is that, when a Leader of the House gets up, as much as possible, I have to recognise and listen to him. He does not only speak for himself; he speaks also for his side of the House and therefore, it is important that I listen to him.
    Hon Members, that is my guidance on the matter. So, we move to item number 13 on the Order Paper.
    MOTIONS 11:05 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the joint Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy on the Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project.
    Introduction
    The request for approval of the Fiscal Support Agreement and the Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 11:05 a.m.


    channeled to other critical areas of the economy for speedy socio-economic transformation.

    Conclusions

    The Joint Committee having carefully examined the referral is of the view that the implementation of the Project is in line with government policy objective in achieving 5,000MW of installed Generation Capacity by 2016 to meet the growing electricity demand of the country. The Joint Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve the Fiscal Support Agreement and the Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) ENI Ghana Exploration and Production Limited and Vitol Upstream Ghana Limited in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project in accordance with Article 181 (5), 174 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond (NPP - Asansi Asokwa) 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in doing so, I humbly refer the House to paragraph 3 of page 2 of the Report, and to simply inform the House that it is clearly stated over there. The grievances which have subsequently led to this submittal issues we are discussing in the House today, were originally brought to this House on the 2nd of March, 2006.
    Mr Speaker, the Agreement in respect

    Question proposed.
    Minister for Energy and Petroleum (Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah) (MP) 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, and let me thank the Committee for a thorough work done.

    Mr Speaker, having said that, it is important to stress that these negotiations have taken almost two years -
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, but does it take away the point being made about March 2000? They said that it was brought here in 2006 - they have farmed into it in 2009. So, he is right and you are also right. So, continue.
    You have farmed into it --
    Mr Buah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the most important point to note is that, without a solid operator, which has the capacity to drill into deepwater, there was no way
    we could have made this discovery. But I do not think I would want to dwell on the point.
    Mr Speaker, what is important to note about the request, is clear. The reason a whole lot of security package had to be put together for this project to be possible was obviously because of the challenges we have with our State institutions, especially those in the power sector. Mr Speaker, this exactly goes to the point that was made earlier. We had a very hard time in reaching an agreement, and getting ENI and partners to be convinced to invest US$ 8 billion to do this project in bringing the oil and gas.
    Mr Speaker, it is clearly a lesson and a testament to the fact that we need to continue to strengthen the Electricity Company of Ghana, (ECG) and the Volta River Authority (VRA). That is really the fundamental issue, because it is obvious to us that the security package that is being sought is because these investors see risks and these risks can only be corrected if we have these institutions strengthened.
    Mr Speaker, it is also very important to talk about the importance of this project. The challenges we have had with procuring light crude oil for power generation and the unreliable gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline through Nigeria is something that has been stressed. But Mr Speaker, it is important to note that this project, which promised to deliver a minimum of about 50,000 barrels of oil and 180 million cubic feet of gas per day for twenty years, is so crucial in stabilising our power supply. So, I would urge Hon Members to support the approval of this physical package, so that this project can go forward, and under this Government, led by President Mahama -
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, wind up.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo, and Hon Ranking Member for the Finance Committee?
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 11:15 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, let me refer you to page 7 of the Committee's Report, so that we would begin to see the seriousness of what we are doing.
    The Committee alleges that the potential benefits would amount to US$11.115 billion. Mr Speaker, let me repeat, “US$11.115 billion”. Since I have been in Parliament, I do not think we have ever looked at any project that may have such potential benefit. So, it is incumbent upon us that we properly interrogate this matter.
    Mr Speaker, the Cabinet memorandum - not the Cabinet memorandum -- but the Executive approval was given on December 1st of this year. The Hon Minister just told us that they have taken two years to negotiate and this House in ten days - I am sure that most people have not even read it, but he is going to move to approve of it.
    Mr Speaker, if we want to assist the nation, we ought to do it in a manner that will make our people know that we are doing our work.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to remind them of the issue with the Ridge Hospital. If the Executive, with all its expertise, has taken two years -
    Mr Speaker, there are more important
    issues that I would want to raise. First of all, I would want to ask if most of us know exactly what we are approving? It says, “fiscal support”. What is it?
    Mr Speaker, the Committee has the right to put it here, but maybe, I will try and put it upfront, so that we know what we are doing. We are being asked to give tax incentives to the tune of at least, US$125 million.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 11:15 a.m.


    Mr Speaker, one of the things that was brought to our attention was that, we are being asked to assume that, for example, if the investors go and borrow money at two per cent, it should be deemed to be seven per cent. That is what we are being asked to approve, for whatever reasons.

    Mr Speaker, why is it that when I go to borrow at two per cent, this House must deem it to be seven per cent? What are the implications?

    Mr Speaker, apart from the US$125 million, there is another cash of US$125 million that Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) must put upfront. That adds up to US$250 million ab initio.

    Mr Speaker, clearly, the so-called

    private sector investors must think something about Ghana; they must think that we are not credit worthy. They demand that we go to the World Bank to borrow an additional US$ 150 million as backstopping to this -
    Mr Seth E. Terkpeh 11:15 a.m.
    None

    11. 25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister, do you have a point of order? You listen to him. I will give you the chance to respond.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Credit risk is at least, US$150 million. For us lay people, that brings this to almost US$ 400 million.
    In addition to that, the Government of Ghana, a sovereign nation must put up another US$100 million; all of this to protect the investors. So, who is protecting us?
    Mr Speaker, let me refer you to the memorandum that was sent to Parliament, and show you why it is important that we are very careful. That was why some of
    us went to court. With your permission, I beg to quote, page 6 of 10:
    “In addition, GNPC has agreed to invest US$300 million in pipeline/ receiving facilities.”
    Where is GNPC going to get this money from? You can find that in the Term Sheet that we are being asked to approve.
    Mr Speaker, let me refer you to the Term Sheet. With your permission, I beg to quote again:
    “GNPC intends to enter into a debt facility of an amount of up to US$ 700 million, with the tender of five years…the initial loan will be treated as if it is fully amortised on a straight-line bases over the five- year period”.
    No grace period. This is a loan that is not yet here.
    The debt service payment would be calculated on the basis of the actual principal advances and interest. Under no event shall the debt service payment exceed US$168 million. It is not known to this House because the loan has not come.
    Mr Speaker, this House itself passed an Act, the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA Act), which enjoins GNPC to bring its programmes and activities, so that this House shall approve of them each year.
    Mr Speaker, why are we going to approve for GNPC to spend US$300 million on a gas pipeline that we have not approved of yet? At least, I am not aware that the programmes and activities of GNPC have been brought to this House.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the Public Interest and Accountability Committee's (PIAC) Report of 2013, this House approved an amount for GNPC for certain
    specific things. Not only did they not spend it all, but they used US$32 million to pay for a Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) debt. This House said they should go and do “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, they did not do it, and this year, they have not brought their programmes and activities, but we are allowing them to go forward. Why are we managing GNPC this way? They misapply funds, and we want to go ahead and tell them to go on?
    Mr Speaker, worse yet, three years in a row, this House has approved moneys for GNPC. But every year, they have had a surplus averaging US$ 80 million.
    As we speak, GNPC has over US$241 million in their bank account. The Government does not have money to pay District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), statutory payments and others -- but we want to allow them to get into a transaction that is so complicated.
    Mr Speaker, if we want to help the nation, let us put some control measures on GNPC. That is why some of us think that even if we would want to approve of this, we have to be cautious.
    Mr Speaker, why has it been brought here now? This is because they have agreed that they need to pay US$ 300 million by January, 2015. Why should GNPC bind this House when they are misapplying funds we have given to them? We say that it will bring prudential benefits of US$ 11.1 billion. Should we put all things aside and say GNPC should do it?
    Mr Speaker, yesterday, we talked about this House and how we would want things to look like when we are gone. Mr Speaker, we spent more time to interrogate the Chinese loan than this.
    Mr Speaker, if this House wants to do Ghana a favour, we should take our time; we should not be pushed by somebody's
    binding constraints, that the Board must meet by a certain time. What about the “Board of the people of Ghana”? Do we not need time to study it properly? That is why we are brought here. Then we are worry when people say that Parliament is not doing its work.
    Mr Speaker, I have no objection to the project, but I think that we are not doing enough due diligence. I crave that this House sits to do that.
    I have already stated that GNPC took money from here and misapplied it. It is incumbent upon us to ask why, but we do not do that. We have passed the law that says that they should bring their programmes and activities; they have not done that, yet we are going to approve this. That was why I went to court.

    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development said I should go to court. Yes, we are in court. But at least, we know we are doing the right thing. One day, posterity will judge who is right.
    Mr Buah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member just stated that GNPC has misapplied funds. His debate is about
    GNPC.
    Mr Speaker, what we are talking about
    this morning is about the discovery of oil and gas, and whether we can produce it. If they have issues with GNPC, Mr Speaker, I will be happy to bring GNPC
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised. He should be happy that I am bringing to his attention these activities of GNPC. He should have told us that they have misapplied funds and not waited for me to raise these points. He says it is not about that. It is in the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) Report. He should tell this House why they have misapplied those funds, not me. -
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, wind up now.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    I think that if this House - Mr Speaker, I understand he says he wants the evidence --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Pardon?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    He says he wants the evidence.
    Mr Speaker, the PIACS Report is in the public domain. And as the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, he should be the first person to look at it. This is not
    a secret --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, wind up.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we want to do the Government of Ghana a favour, we should hasten slowly and do the proper thing. We are being asked to do this because somebody has committed us to some deadline, which should not bind us.
    It would be in our interest to interrogate these matters, so that when we approve it, at least, everybody would know that we did our job. As it is, I am afraid, we are not. We are rushing to approve a very big project in ten days and I do not think we are helping the Government of Ghana.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister for Finance?
    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the House for taking the Motion on this very important facility.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister, you are contributing? You are not winding up?
    Mr Terkpeh 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, I am contributing.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the debate --
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, you were on your feet and you want to raise a point and I said we should listen to him and later I will call you if you have any response to make -- in order that the debate on the floor be as smooth as possible. That is why I am calling you now. But if you think that you want to listen to more people before you come in, I will still give you the chance as the Minister for Finance.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to include my comments in the
    winding up and then move on to the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, I give you that opportunity.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:35 a.m.
    But on a few specific points.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    With this Motion, you are not going to do the winding up under the rules of this House because the Motion is in the name of the joint Committee. When the Hon Ranking Member of Finance was on the floor, you rose on a point of order. I thought that it was better to listen to him and then when you get the chance, you could respond.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in consultation with my Leadership, I prefer to wait.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Very well.
    Let me get the sense of the House.
    Am I getting anybody from the Majority side to speak? If there is nobody, I will take one or two more, then put the Question.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Mines and Energy on Committee?
    Dr Kwabena Donkor (NDC - Pru East) 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Motion and in so doing, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, one of the major causes of our current challenge with power supply is the
    fuel inadequacy in the system.
    Therefore, any project that addresses the issue of fuel, supply, particularly our own domestic fuel which would provide us with a secure indigenous source of supply and which would make it possible for the industrial expansion that we are all praying for, deserve the support of this House.
    Mr Speaker, in looking at the Agreement, we looked at some of the issues, especially in terms of cost. One of the major issues that have delayed our industrial development is the cost of power to industry. This project, especially with the contribution of GNPC to the capital cost, would enable us have gas at a price that is competitive and could support Ghanaian industry, and at a price that could re-enforce our national aspiration to be an industrial country, creating jobs for the teeming youth of this country.
    Mr Speaker, it is on this basis that your Committee, working jointly with our Hon Colleagues from the Finance Committee recommend this for the approval of this House.
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member for Assin Central?
    Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong (NPP - Assin Central) 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker for giving me this opportunity.
    What I would want to say to the Minister for Energy and Petroleum and the Committee members is that, anything concerning GNPC should not be politicised between the two parties -- NDC and NPP. It is GNPC.
    My Hon Colleague wanted evidence but I gave that evidence in the 2014 Budget when we Members of Parliament went to Koforidua. Maybe, you did not attend -
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Member for Assin Central, address the Chair.
    Mr Agyapong 11:35 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    The expenditure captured by GNPC in their expenditure -- My understanding of expenditure is simple. That is, monies that have been spent. Meanwhile, going through it line by line in a chronological order, I realised that US$60 million had been set aside, which was not used. Meanwhile, they came to the floor of the House asking for US$295 million.
    I challenged them and they clandestinely or secretly went away and came back to withdraw their budget and reduced it by US$60 million. So, anytime we talk about GNPC, we should have time to go through it and make sure it is in the interest of the country and not parties.
    Mr Speaker, we need time to go through this because whatever the outcome, it should be in the interest of the country. So, let us not politicise this but deal with the issues here.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Mr Buah 11:35 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
    Hon Minister, what is
    your point of order?
    Mr Buah 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I said is being misquoted.
    Mr Speaker, I am all for real scrutiny of GNPC and I argue that if that is what we want to do, we should create the forum and invite GNPC and do that. But that scrutiny of GNPC must be done on its own. I said that this debate about approval of this project must not be really mixed with the issues concerning GNPC.
    I am all for the scrutiny which I believe this House has the right to do.
    Mr Speaker, let me also point out that, this House approves loan amounts for GNPC, for project specific amount. Often you hear that those projects, for one reason or the other, have not been implemented. GNPC cannot spend that money and that is why you see some of those projects that are yet to come in those accounts.
    It is important that we create the forum that allows GNPC to be able to explain some of their expenditures, so that when Members have serious questions, they could be asked. I am saying that we cannot do that in the context of the approval of this very critical gas project.
    Mr Agyapong 11:45 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know which point of order the Hon Minister raised. What is the core mandate given to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and why is it that in 2013 they paid the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) debt? Do they have the right to pay the TOR debt? [Interruption] - Yes, he is the Hon Minister, so I would want him to go and check in the 2013 - [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, we are all for it; but we are
    pleading with you that you give us ample time to scrutinise this in the interest of the country. That is all we are saying.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I will take the Hon Member for Manhyia South and I will take the Hon Minister for Finance, then I will put the Question.
    Hon Member for Manhyia South, you have been on your feet for a very long time, so let us hear you.
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP - Manhyia South) 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was exercising while waiting to catch your eye.
    Mr Speaker, we on this side totally
    agree that we should support GNPC in executing this project for the benefit of mother Ghana. There is no controversy about that; absolutely no controversy.
    Mr Speaker, that was why in the formulation of the Petroleum Revenue Management Law, Parliament took particular interest in making sure that GNPC programme of work is approved year by year. This is because we know that funds allocated to GNPC will vary year by year.

    Mr Speaker, but what do we see? Every country that has discovered oil, or that has undergone the oil curse, is just precisely because their national oil company has got too powerful than anything in the country - so powerful that even ordinary workers there can write to the Hon Minister.

    Mr Speaker, why am I saying that? Two of my Hon Colleagues just highlighted two things and I would add a third one.

    The Hon Member for Tafo just talked about GNPC paying TOR's debt as captured by the PIAC Report. The Hon Member for Assin Central (Mr Ken Agyapong) has just talked about GNPC hiding US$60 million expenditure in banks.

    Mr Speaker, I am saying two things, and I have had caution to let us know that those sums of monies that GNPC had not appropriated, what are they doing with those monies? Nobody seems to care.

    Mr Speaker, when they brought the Petroleum Agreements, the sums of the money that the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum promised, that they would come to account for the one million, one point five million, United States dollars - up till now, the promise has not materialised.

    Mr Speaker, this project that we are going to approve for GNPC has a funding component. That funding component is what you and I should be interested in.

    The fact that GNPC has come with a funding component of US$700 million, that is evading scrutiny Mr Speaker, it is serious.

    Ghana is a commercial oil producer and if we are doing things right, that seven per cent interest rate on our loans should not apply, but we seem to suffer when it comes to interrogating GNPC. So, what has happened to the country? It has been published but it has not come to this House - It has been published that GNPC is assuming Ghana Gas Company --

    Mr Speaker, we are approving a project for GNPC to generate gas - they are generating gas -- we are going to process gas and we still do not have the scrutiny in this House to interrogate. What are we doing to ourselves, Mr Speaker? What are we doing to future generations of this country? Yes, the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum can get up and say that he is up for GNPC scrutiny, but when the issue of power shift arose in this House, that we are going to generate power to develop as a country - 450 megawatts - the power shift.

    Mr Speaker, some of us are aware that GNPC has had cause to write to the Ministry, that it is not part of their core mandate to produce power.

    They have written - I can show you the letters -- So, GNPC in one breath can
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Do you have the letter there?
    Dr Prempeh 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to table it, so, I do not have it here - [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member -
    Dr Prempeh 11:45 a.m.
    I am saying, Mr Speaker
    - 11:45 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, you just said that you have the letter here. You have made a statement. So, I am only asking you whether you have the letter here.
    Dr Prempeh 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that the Power Shift Agreement, the backer, the payer was GNPC - [Interruption] - The Hon Minister should not start asking whether I have the letter -- to embarrass things.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Minister, have you received any letter from GNPC in that direction?
    Mr Buah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have a letter from GNPC.
    Dr Prempeh 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum, who is now in this House on this date, is telling us - the budget estimate for the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum will come up and we would see.
    Mr Speaker, GNPC must be scrutinised. As a House, we have to look at GNPC and very well too. I know of banks with which GNPC has negotiated -- “We have US$240 million, give us this interest rate.” GNPC should be a national oil company which supports the development -- and the economy of Ghana.
    We have been to Norway - what their national oil company has done to transform the fortunes of that country. Instead of putting US$240 million in a bank outside the purview of the Hon Minister for Finance, give it to productive sectors of the economy, help industries grow, help small and medium scale industries grow in this country. Why are we going to form an Exim Bank when we have US$240 million? What is happening to the Ghana Infrastructure Fund? Can that money not be put into the Ghana Infrastructure Fund? We have to go for Eurobond -
    Please, in the management and governance of this country, we are all stakeholders. GNPC cannot be bigger than Ghana and GNPC cannot be bigger than the Parliament of Ghana. What do they have to hide?
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Mr Buah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you listen to the Hon Member and his debate, there is a lot of emotions about GNPC. [Interruption.] But Mr Speaker, anytime the issues -
    Mr Buah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a point I would want to make.
    Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Minister, what is your point of order?
    Mr Buah 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my point of order is that, the Hon Member is trying to imply that this House is not for a stronger national oil company that has the capacity to develop our basins and discover oil 100 per cent for Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, we have concerns about GNPC and the use of funds. I am saying that it is important that it is scrutinised, it is important that it is brought to check.
    But Mr Speaker, there is a strong argument that it is not fair for Ghana to continue, for example, in the Jubilee Fields to produce 105 barrels of oil and only have 13 barrels. When will our national oil company have the capacity to discover that oil, so that we can have all the 105 barrels? The argument he is making -
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Manhyia South -
    Mr Buah 11:55 a.m.
    If he has issues with GNPC, let us deal with them.
    Dr Prempeh 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can understand the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum. He is as passionate about energy as I am about GNPC. I do not doubt his passion. So, he should not critique my passion. All I am saying, Mr Speaker, is that whatever GNPC is doing, should affect every single Ghanaian.
    Mr Speaker, when the Jubilee Fields were found, Ghana was not a commercial oil producing country. Mistakes may have been made. It does not me an going forward, we should repeat them. The Hon Minister and I know - he has spoken about so many issues - Let us not create an untouchable institution.
    GNPC sponsored people to go and do all other activities; which were not part of their programme of work.
    Mr Speaker, just because GNPC collects so much, that is why the Hon Minister promised that they should come and account - I have not seen them come and account yet. So, if we say, let us err on the side of caution, it is not bad; it is to strengthen -
    Dr Prempeh 11:55 a.m.
    In a week's time, he may not be the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, and his constituents might ask him that when he became the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, did GNPC account? It might be somebody else --
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Dr Prempeh 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion -- [Interruption] -
    Why the haste? I would want to quote the Hon Member for Ningo/Prampram. He asked: “Why the rush?
    Why the rush?” This time it is “Why the haste?” “Why the haste?” What has GNPC got to hide?
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkpeh 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Motion. A number of points have been made, and I wish to clarify a few of them while I make my substantive contribution.
    Mr Speaker, GNPC, as we noted in the budget, is moving into a substantive role, and we must see what is going on now in that context. GNPC is going to be the aggregator for the gas that we produce, and
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Do you have a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    The Hon Minister is speaking as if somebody has said that GNPC should not have a multi-year perspective. That is not true. I reminded the Hon Minister that the law says, their work plan must come here for approval. It is for a reason that we put that in there. But more importantly,
    if one has evidence that in the previous year they misapplied the funds, that is the more reason we must scrutinise them. It is in the interest of the nation. So, nobody argues about not having a multi-year programme. But when one has evidence of malfeasance, one must bring an eye closer. That is what we are asking him to do.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, suffice me to say that we have a fundamental difference. The point I am making is that, making provision at the end of the year to spend in the subsequent year is not misapplication. It is prudent financial and fiscal management, and that is the point that I am making. It is for this reason -
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Assin Central?
    Mr Agyapong 11:55 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I disagree with the Hon Minister when he says that -
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    The point of disagreement is not a point of order because that is his view. You also have your view.
    Mr Agyapong 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have a point of order.
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    If it is a point of order, let me hear you.
    Mr Agyapong 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when one captures US$60 million as expenditure, one cannot say that one has set it aside. It has been captured as expenditure. What is the meaning of “expenditure”? So, the Hon Minister must come back again.
    Mr Terkpeh 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know
    the Hon Member to be a very astute businessman, and I do not think that he does not make provisions at the end of the year for capital expenditure; he does. I challenge him to bring his balance sheet. What is applicable to the business sector should be applicable to the State.
    Mr Speaker, I stand firm in saying that our State-owned enterprises must be encouraged to have a multi-year approach to capital expenditure. I am firm also, saying that the State should have a multi-year approach to financing capital expenditure.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me draw your attention to another provision of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act. The reason other petroleum companies elsewhere are strong is that they take over fiscal management.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Member for Effutu, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 11:55 a.m.
    Rightly so; Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
    I have listened to the Hon Minister for Finance. There is one fundamental point he has not made, and he keeps making a point, which is misleading.
    The question that begs for an answer is whether GNPC's assets, the guarantee it is going to provide in the event of default, would be limited to its own assets. This is because, Mr Speaker, with due respect, the concerns by Hon Members, particularly Hon Akoto Osei, which has led him to the court is to find out whether in the event of default, the financiers would fall only on the assets of GNPC. That is the issue at stake that begs for an answer. It is
    Mr Terkpeh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I responded to the Hon Member, that with the limited commercial law that I know from accounting, it is only when the courts pierce the veil that the liability would come to the shareholder.
    I respect the learned Member, but I believe that I am right in this regard that when one creates the corporate entity, and he contributes to the equity of the company, the first recourse to the courts is equity contribution. It is not to the entire assets of the shareholder. This is as much as valid for our companies operations as they are for private sector companies.
    Mr Speaker, I also mentioned and emphasised to him that in this particular Agreement, there is a hierarchy of safeguards that have been put in place. The first level of guarantee is the GNPC itself, which is why the flows of GNPC are very important and GNPC is required to put an Escrow place --
    Indeed, the second hierarchy, therefore, comes with the Partial Risk Guarantee, which the World Bank is providing. It is only in the event of these three defaults that the State would be called upon with the guarantee.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Point of Order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that the Minister is getting excited.
    The World Bank is giving Ghana Government a loan. So, it is not the World Bank that is providing it. He should not give the impression that it is from the World Bank; we are being forced to take a loan for the purpose. It is the taxpayer who is taking the burden.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr Terkpeh 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we did not misinform the House in that respect and the Hon Member knows that very well.
    In the Memorandum to Parliament, we did explain that we were going to encumber US$150 million of our International Development Association (IDA) resources just as our IDA resources were encumbered for the West African Gas Pipeline. That is the point I am making.
    But the term layer which I am pointing
    out is that, we are not giving absolute sovereign guarantee in this instance. The sovereign guarantee is limited to 100 million Ghana cedis in the event of default of payments for the gas. That, yes, it is a guarantee, but it is different from the absolute guarantees that we were offering in the past.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I entreat Members to vote for this.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader do you want to make a contribution? If you want to make a contribution then let me call one person from the other side of the House.
    Let me call Hon Agyeman-Manu before you come in, then we conclude.
    Hon Agyeman-Manu?
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (NPP - Dormaa Central) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Within the last few minutes, I have taken a good look at the Report and I would want to add my voice to my Hon Colleagues on this side, who are requesting that we should be given some more time for us to look at the Committee's Report, as well as the Agreements themselves, so that we can make an informed decision on this matter when it comes to whether we get the Resolution passed.
    Mr Speaker, I must say that at my level at financing and the level where I have been, when I read this Report, the only thing I could say was that the Agreement is quite complex and we need to understand certain things.
    I will make reference to some parts of page 7 of the Report and several other paragraphs that talk about price reduction for gas. We are making an investment and the benefit would be price reduction for gas. I was thinking that the Committee would tell this House, what cost benefit analysis they have done to say that we will get better benefit through the investment as against the price reduction.
    Chances are, when we invest even today, the benefits we shall get as compared to buying the price at the world market price might not even be beneficial to this country. That question is nowhere here; nobody is answering that. -
    Invest GH¢100 million -- sovereign guarantee; give tax benefits and you would get price reduction in the gas. What is this? So, why do we not take the full price of the gas and save our investments? Who has done any analysis to tell us which way we should go - financially or mathematically? It is not here and you are asking us to go and come and do this one in a matter of how many minutes, how many hours?
    Mr Speaker, not only there; the
    conclusion here -
    “The joint Committee, having carefully examined the . . . in line with government policy objective in achieving 5,000MW of installed Generation Capacity by 2016 …”
    This suggests to me that we have a generation capacity plant sitting there and that has no gas to be fed with. But that is not the case and I would want somebody to tell me. Will extra gas supply give us plant equipment machines to generate extra power in this country? That would also demand for more investments and again, it does not make this Report quite explanatory, as we see it even now.
    Mr Speaker, we are talking about guarantees and Ghana Government is going to guarantee; GNPC is given first level guarantee - I would want to quote the Hon Minister: “World Bank is giving partial guarantee” -- Again, somebody would have to explain how these various levels and types of guarantees are going to work. That is also not self-explanatory; that is why we are asking that, Mr Speaker, you give us some time to look at this thing very properly before we come and look at it at a later time.
    That is all I would want to say today but I would crave your indulgence that we do not pass this Resolution today. Let us come again, sometime next week, after some of us have taken a good look at it; correct what we think is not very good for the nation -- maybe, we would give some inputs in terms of suggestions to this particular Agreement before we take the Resolution.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much Mr
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Majority Leader is grossly misleading this House. The fact that ENI came to Ghana in 2006, does not mean that this project had been in the pipeline since then.
    The Minister has told us that they have
    been negotiating for two years. So, how could he say since 2006? Mr Speaker, he should go his way but at least, he should speak to the facts - two years.
    This is why we are saying that if the Hon Minister has been talking for two years, he should give us a few hours or days. Is that too much to ask?
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon
    Ranking Member for Finance is a member of the joint Committee that participated in this debate; he listened carefully and heard Hon Members talking about 2006. It is not from me. It is an Hon Member of your joint Committee who said that this whole matter came before the Government
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is misleading you there.
    Mr Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, one of the underpinnings of multi-party democracy is the development of tolerance; the tolerance to listen to others who disagree with you.
    My Hon good Friend cannot even tolerate the point that I disagree with him. He is not even catching the Speaker's eye and he got up and spoke. He is a very senior Hon Member of this House. [Interruptions]-- Please, he disagrees with me but the mention of the year 2006 is not from me.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Majority Leader is misleading the House and creating an impression which was not the impression the Hon Member sought to convey to this House.
    Mr Speaker, you just need to read pages 2 and 3 of the Report and it tells you the sequence of events. I am sure that if the Hon Majority Leader had adverted his attention to it, he would not make this assertion.
    Mr Speaker, let me just read one -
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, the point
    that he is making is that the process started in 2006.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, not this process.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    And that has been captured -
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, the Speaker is speaking. You take your seat.
    That is the essence of the point made by the Hon K.T. Hammond, that the process started in 2006 and that they started the process. We were also told on the floor of the House that another company farmed into it in 2009 and so, it is a process. We should look at this whole debate within that context of the process.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the process we are debating today started in March, 2013. The point they are making is that, the process we are debating today, or the Agreement we are looking at today, started in March, 2013.
    Mr Speaker, the original contract and the discovery may have been made far back as 2006, but the process - What they are asking for today and the Agreement that we are looking at started in March, 2013 when the discovery of gas was made.
    What they are saying is that, if the Government took two years, after 2013, to look at it, it is just right that Parliament is given more than a day. This is because the Committee has just given the Report to Hon Members. That is what they are asking for, Mr Speaker.
    The Majority Leader is misleading the House when he wants to give an impression that this whole process we are looking at started in 2006. That is what I am trying to correct.
    Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr Bagbin 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the process we are discussing today is an approval process of this Agreement before us.
    Mr Nitiwul 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader even makes the case very interesting. If the Minister for Finance mentioned US$ 700 million as part of the Budget Statement, if it is not part of the Consolidated Fund, why should he mention it in the Budget Statement in the first place? [Interruptions]-- I was listening. Why does he even mention it in the Budget Statement in the first place? This is because as far as we are concerned, that US$ 700 million is alien to this House and he mentioned it in the Budget Statement. And the Hon Majority Leader says that we should oversight. How
    do we oversight when nothing is brought to us? How do we oversight when GNPC has not brought it to this House?
    Mr Speaker, so, I agree with him that GNPC should come to this House -
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, once you agree with him, as leaders, what you should do is to start a process to bring GNPC under the oversight of this House. And there are processes in this House.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am really saying the same thing, that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is struggling to put across. That we have other processes of bringing GNPC to answer the questions that are being raised and that we should exploit those processes and not to allow the issues of GNPC to becloud our minds in approving this Agreement.
    Mr Speaker, I agree that we should urgently approve this project because the patience of the investors is running out.
    The information at my disposal is
    that, since 2006, as my Hon Colleagues have stated, efforts have been made by this investor to get this project through. We know because of your liturgy, the processes of this country are very liturgical and it is not only Ghana that is in need of energy. There are so many countries and we must show that we do not only have comparative advantage, but that we also have competitive advantage.
    Mr Speaker, we have come to a
    crossroad. The international Board of the company is holding a Board meeting to take a decision which companies to support for next year and that is based on decisions taken by various countries on
    projects that they are investing in their countries. So, we have to approve this, so that they can take a decision to allocate money to invest in this project next year. That is why as a Leader, I agreed and told the Committee to expedite action, so that we can save mother Ghana. Hon Members should be able to understand this.
    Mr Speaker, I am all hundred per cent with Hon Members who asked for further time to scrutinise the Agreements. If in the Report, the joint Committee had raised serious issues for us to refer for further scrutiny, I would have been all for them.
    Mr Speaker, I do not doubt the competence of the Hon Members of the joint Committee -- 43 Hon Members of Parliament and they are hundred per cent in agreement for its approval. That is from the Report. [Interruption] That is from the Report -- [Interruption.]
    Hon Nitiwul - rose -
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, why -
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker -
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Yes?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    The Hon Majority Leader knows that 43 Hon Members of Parliament cannot be more powerful than 275 Hon Members of Parliament.
    The Committee may have brought a Report, but this House reserves the right to throw it out or accept it. So, it is the decision of the House and not the 43 Hon Members.
    If he keeps going about this with the fact that 43 Hon Members were unanimous, as if that is binding on this House -
    Mr Speaker, in any case, commercial gas discovery was made between 2009 and 2012. The process kick-started in March, 2013. The Government took two years;
    allow this House to have some time.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, it is true that the Committee's Report is not binding on the House and it is equally true that this House works through its committees. [Interruption.] This House works through its committees. So, that is a very important qualification. We work through our committees.
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me say this before I continue.

    Mr Speaker, it is our duty to assist you to maintain law and order. We should not be the cause of disorder in the House.

    Hon Nitiwul - rose -
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority
    Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Majority Leader should not go in that direction. He knows what happened between him and the late Hon Peter Ala Adjetey. [Interruption] He should not go in that direction. I have said something and you have not complained. He should move on but he should not do what he wants to do. I would leave it at that.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader -
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want anybody to mislead and misinform the public. As Leader, no exchanges happened between the late Hon Peter Ala Adjetey and me. Nothing like that happened. [Interruption] The only occasion we disagreed was when he read a Statement [Interruption] Listen, I did not exchange words with him; I walked
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, please, continue -
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, I am not
    going to take any points of order on this matter. The Hon Deputy Minority Leader has spoken.
    Hon Majority Leader, continue.
    Mr Bagbin 12:25 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    I do not think the view that has been expressed, that this thing is being rushed through is right. That is my position.
    Mr Speaker, we all agree as a country that there is the urgent need for us to invest in the energy sector and that whatever we can do to fast track projects that are in the energy sector to produce more energy for industry, is what we should do.
    The issues that they have raised with respect to GNPC, I totally agree and I am saying we would use the other processes to bring GNPC to this House to answer those questions. But I plead with Hon Members to let us give a clear indication of this country's support for the investment that is being made at the Sankofa Oilfield. It is very important that the investors see our commitment and seriousness about investment in the oil sector.
    It is with this that I would want to urge
    Hon Members to wholeheartedly support the Motion.
    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the debate and I would want to urge Hon Members, that we cannot pretend that we are facing energy challenges in this country and if this process would help solve our energy
    challenges, as a House, we must try and speak with one voice.
    With regard to oversight, as the Hon Majority Leader rightly pointed out, Leadership should find ways and means of putting GNPC under scrutiny if they feel strongly that there are things being done there that are not in order.
    I would let us pursue it from that angle, so that we can draw a clear cut distinction between the development of this project and issues that Hon Members on the floor have with GNPC. Otherwise, if we are not very careful, we are going to throw away the baby with the bath water.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, we move to the consequential Resolution.
    Chairman of the Committee, if you look at the concluding part of the Committee's Report, you are asking the House to evoke its jurisdiction in two areas -- article 181 (5) and article 174 (2). But there is consequential Resolution for article 174 (2). So, I would for now put the Question on the consequential Resolution under article 181 (5) and then maybe, tomorrow, in the course of the day, you might want to bring the article 174 (2)'s jurisdiction if time would permit. Otherwise, we would take that one tomorrow. [Interruption] It is not here? Where is it?

    No! I am saying that it is not here because your Report is saying articles 181(5) and 174(2) but the Resolution we have here is only in respect of article

    181(5).

    Hon Minister, consequential Reso- lution item number 14 on the Order Paper.
    RESOLUTION 12:35 p.m.

    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkpeh) 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181(5) of the Constitution, the terms and conditions of any international business or economic transaction to which the Govern- ment of Ghana is a party shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by Parliament by a Resolution supported by the votes of a majority of all Members of Parliament;
    Pursuant to the provisions of the said article 181(5) of the Constitution, and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of a Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project.
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 12:35 p.m.

    H E R E B Y R E S O LV E A S 12:35 p.m.

    Mr James K. Avedzi 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?

    Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.

    I will want to have consultation with the Leadership of the House in my Lobby.

    Hon Members, Communication from the Office of the President. Let me just read it before we take the -
    Mr Bagbin 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker -
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader; there is a Communication. Let me read it, then we take the next item.
    Mr Bagbin 12:35 p.m.
    Oh, alright.
    ANNOUNCEMENTS 12:35 p.m.

    COMMUNICATION FROM THE 12:35 p.m.

    PRESIDENT 12:35 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, I have a Communication from the President.
    “9th December, 2014.
    THE RT. HON SPEAKER
    OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 12:35 p.m.

    PARLIAMENT HOUSER 12:35 p.m.

    ACCRA 12:35 p.m.

    PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 12:35 p.m.

    OF GHANA 12:35 p.m.

    Mr Bagbin 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is time for us to look at item number 8.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, item number 8, Minister for Finance?
    Mr Bagbin 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is an error; it is not the Minister for Finance. It should be the Chairman of the Special Budget Committee because this is on Audit Service. So, with your kind permission -
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    So, is it the Chairman that moves the Motion and the Chairman again submits the Committee Report?
    That is the challenge with the kind of arrangement that we are fashioning out with the independent constitutional bodies.
    Baffour — rose
    Prof Gyan-Baffour 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Majority Leader should actually move the Motion, then I will second the Motion and then read the Report.
    Mr Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Very well. He will move and then you will submit the Committee's Report. Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Members, item number 8 on the Order Paper, Minister for Finance?
    Mr Bagbin — rose -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have already sought the permission of the Chair to amend it to read the Majority Leader, not Minister for Finance.
    This is something that the Committee -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Majority Leader then?
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 12:40 p.m.

    Majority Leader (Mr A. S. K. Bagbin) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ 125,527,610 for the services of the Audit Service for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to reserve my right to contribute later in accordance with our Standing Orders and allow the pro tempore Chairman to present the Report of the Committee.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Prof. Gyan-Baffuor?
    Vice Chairman of the Committee (Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffuor) (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and as the Majority Leader just said, I will submit the Report.
    Introduction
    The Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkpeh presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2015 to Parliament on Wednesday, 19 th November, 2014 in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Pursuant to Order 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House, the Budget Estimates of the Ghana Audit Service were referred to the Special Budget Committee by the Hon Speaker for consideration and report.
    Deliberations
    In considering the referral, the Committee met with the Board member, Mr. Kodwo Ahlijah and two Deputy Auditor-Generals, Mr. Blessed Baffour Atta (F&A) and Mrs Roberta Amissah Appiah (CAD) and officials of the Audit Service and the Ministry of Finance.
    The Committee extends its profound appreciation to them for their invaluable input during the deliberations.
    Reference documents
    The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
    a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    c. The Budget Statement and
    Economic Policy of the Govern- ment of Ghana for the 2014 Financial Year.
    d. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Govern- ment of Ghana for the 2015 Financial Year.
    Mission statement
    The Audit Service is, one of the key oversight, accountability, monitoring and evaluation institutions in the governance process of this country. It exists to provide independent assurance to Parliament, other stakeholders, civil society organisations and citizenry, that public funds are not only fully utilised and accounted for, but also judiciously applied.
    Core functions
    The core functions of the Audit Service are to:
    i. ensure that the auditing activities of the Audit Service as spelt out in the Audit Service Act are carried out in accordance with best international practices; and
    ii. monitors the use and management of all Public funds and report to Parliament. This covers Constitutional, statutory and any other body or organisation es tabl ished by an Act of Parliament.
    Performance review for 2014
    The delays and erratic nature of release of funds for the implementation of programmes for the year under review, was a major obstacle to the execution of most of the planned activities of the Audit Service. Also, only 2.3 per cent of the funds for investment activities was released to the Service this year.
    SPACE FOR 12:40 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, the Motion has been
    moved and seconded. I do not know if we are going to take some debates on it, otherwise, I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 10, the estimates for the Public Services Commission.
    The Majority Leader and Chairman of the Special Budget Committee has just gone out. He is to move the Motion, and with your permission and indulgence of the House, I would want to move it on his behalf.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Very well. If that is the case, then we need to amend what is on the Order Paper as we did for the previous Motion. It should be taken by the Majority Leader.
    Yes
    Mr Daniel Botwe 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have
    Mr Daniel Botwe 12:45 p.m.


    no objection to that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 12:55 p.m.

    SPACE FOR TABLE 12:55 p.m.

    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC - Wa West) 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am looking at the request of the Committee, that the Ministry of Finance should allow the Public Services Commission to retain their internaly generated funds (IGFs). I recall that there was an Act of Parliament passed by this House, which listed Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on how much of what percentage of IGFs should be retained. The Committee should go beyond just this recommendation and find out what we should do to amend that Act, that includes the Public Services Commission to be able to even retain all the moneys that they can generate. I believe if we are able to do that it would not lie in the hands of the Ministry of Finance to decide.
    But listening to some of the agencies similar to the Public Services Commission during the consideration of the estimates, it appears to me that they applied and the Ministry of Finance permits them to do so. So, there must be a problem about what should be done. But I think fundamentally, we should look at including them in this subvented agencies Act, so that they will retain their IGFs.
    Thank you very much for permitting me to speak, Mr Speaker.

    Mr Kwabena O. Darko-Mensah (NPP -- Takoradi) Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the debate.

    Mr Speaker, in looking at the Report, on page 7, the Committee reports that the Public Services Commission is looking for GH¢9,172,777 for a headcount. I believe that over the last 15 years, public sector reform has been a major focus of all the Governments that have taken over in this country. Unfortunately, the issue of ghost names keep cropping up and cropping up. We are also aware that the National Identification Authority has been mandated to issue biometric Identification (ID) cards to identify Ghanaians and foreigners in this country.

    Unfortunately, because a lot of Ghanaians do not have this biometric identifiers, it is becoming a major problem for Government to track people who work in the Public Service. I therefore, believe that since we are spending oil money to cushion the Public Services Commission, it would be appropriate to raise proper money to ensure that every Ghanaian has the National Identification Card. And we can use that as an audit trail through the system to ensure that people can be checked to make sure that if they say that they work in company “A”, we are sure that we have the data in Accra to go and chase them and make sure they are really working. If they are not, then we can prosecute them.

    But this business of always going back to do a headcount, I believe it is a waste of money and we need to be able to make sure that every Ghanaian is able to get his card and be recognised in the system, so that fraud would be lessened and then

    Ghana can make a lot of savings rather than always spending money on recurrent expenditure. We all know that oil money is limited, and if it is limited, there is no point in always spending it on recurrent expenditure. It would rather be profitable if we invested it and then the profit we made out of those investments, we used as recurrent expenditure.

    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

    Question put and Motion agreed to.

    Resolved.

    That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢12,656.582 for the services of the Public Services Commission for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Agbesi 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    11.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, item number 11, Hon Members.
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 1:05 a.m.

    Prof George Y. Gyan-Baffour 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. This amount, GH¢222,850.00 as the Deputy Majority Leader said, is for the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and not for the Common Fund
    allocation.
    Introduction
    The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2015 was presented to Parliament on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkpeh, in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Pursuant to Order 140(4) of the Standing Orders of the House, Mr Speaker referred the draft Annual Budget Estimates of the Office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (OADACF) to the Special Budget Committee for consideration and report.
    The Commit tee met wi th the Administrator, Mr Kojo Fynn and the Accountant of the Office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, Mr Ebenezer Yemofio and considered the said estimates.
    The Committee extends its appreciation to the above mentioned persons for their input at the Committee's meeting. Reference documents
    The following documents were used by the Committee as reference materials:
    The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2014 financial year.
    The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 financial year.
    The Repor t o f the Spec ia l Budget Committee on the 2014 Budget Estimates the Office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund
    Prof George Y. Gyan-Baffour 1:05 a.m.


    Mission

    The Office of the Administrator of the DACF exists to essentially disburse and manage the District Assembly Fund effectively and efficiently through the use of information technology to Metro-politan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

    Core functions of DACF are:

    to propose a formula annually for the distribution of the DACF for parliamentary approval;

    to administer and distribute the monies paid into the DACF among MMDA's in accordance with approved formula;

    to report in writing to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development on how allocations made to MMDAs have been utilised; and

    to perform any other function that may be directed by the President

    Performance in 2014 The allocation and releases to the Office

    of the Administrator of the DACF for the year 2014 for its planned programmes and activities were three hundred and eleven thousand, eight hundred and thirty-three Ghana cedis (GH¢311,833.00).

    The office was able to execute the under- listed programmes

    Prepared and installed MIS Software System for capturing expenditure returns and supplementary budgets from MDAs.

    Refurbished the DACF Office.

    Organised review Regional Co- ordinating Councils (RCCs).

    Procured two (2) monitoring vehicles for monitoring projects and programmes of MMDAs.

    Presented 2014 DACF sharing formula for approval and transfer of quarterly allocations to MMDAs,

    RCCs and Members of Parliament.

    Presented 2013 Audited Accounts and Annual Reports.

    Trained staff.

    Procured Electricity Generation Plant for Office use to ensure constant power supply

    Outlook for 2015

    For the year 2015, the Office intends to step up its activities as follows:

    To procure two (2) additional cross country vehicles for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

    Increase the number of visits to Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assemblies in collaboration with the Regional Co-ordinating Councils.

    Present formula for approval.

    Report promptly to Parliament on the activities of the Fund.

    Continue to improve skills and knowledge of staff.

    Development of new modern office building between 2015 and 2016 fiscal years.

    Sponsor staff for external capacity building/training.

    Provision for 2015 Budget

    The Office of the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund has been allocated a sum of two hundred and twenty two thousand, eight hundred and fifty Ghana cedis (GH¢222,850.00) for 2015. This allocation is meant only for employee compensation.

    Observations and recommendations

    Allocation for 2014

    With regard to compensation of employees in 2014, an amount of GH¢

    311,833.00 was allocated. However, the total allocation for compensation of employees for the year 2015 is GH¢ 222,850.00 leading to a fall in Budget allocation from the subsequent year.

    The Committee was concerned about the expenditure trend and the basis for the reduction in the budgetary allocation for employee compensation to the OADACF for the year 2015 as compared to that of

    2014.

    It was also noted that no allocation was made for Goods and Services and Assets expenditure although the OADACF had submitted a proposal for an amount of GH¢6,333,596.00 for its operations. The Committee is of the opinion that, although the Office always relies on the retention of a percentage of the total DACF approved by Parliament for its goods and service expenditure, it was necessary that these expenditure be met from the GoG funds so that the retention of the 0.5% of Common Fund by the Office could be used for other operational purposes.

    The Committee deemed it very important for the Ministry of Finance to include the estimates for items 2 and 3 of the OADACF in the Annual Budget Statement to streamline its operations. In doing so, OADACF must make projections by taking into consideration the previous year's expenditure in making budget proposals for the two expenditure items.

    Delays in the release of funds to the MMDAs

    While the Committee focused mainly on the allocation to the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund, it also expressed displeasure about the continual delay in the release of funds on quarterly basis from the Ministry of Finance as directed by article 252 (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the DACF Act, 1993, Act 455 (3) which states that;

    “the allocation made by Parliament under Section 2 (of the Act) be paid into the Common Fund in quarterly installments.”

    The Committee strongly believes that, these delays and late releases do not only frustrate and impede development in the MMDAs but also perpetuate and escalate poverty among deprived communities.

    It is however, disturbing to note that the Ministry of Finance has not made any effort to rectify the anomaly. As a result, there are outstanding arrears in the statutory payments of the quarterly releases for about a year.

    The Committee once again, requests that the process for the release of the DACF allocation for 2014 be expedited to enable the Administrator of the DACF make disbursement.

    Conclusion

    The Special Budget Committee recommends to the House to approve the sum of two hundred and twenty-two thousand, eight hundred and fifty Ghana (GH¢222,850.00) to cater for Employee Compensation expenditure of the Office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund for the 2015 financial year.

    Respectfully submitted.

    1.16p.m. - Sitting suspended.

    3.55 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker. I would want us to consider the item on the Addendum, which is just to finalise the issue on the Resolution of waiver of taxes imposed by the Act on ENI. So, we will take the item -- it is one item on the Addendum.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, is the Minister for Finance here?
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me ask your kind permission and the indulgence of my Colleagues to allow the Deputy
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 a.m.


    Minister for Finance -- one of our Members to move the Motion for and on behalf of the Minister for Finance. The Minister for Finance, the last time I spoke to him, was on his way to your Committee meeting - [Pause] - I was told he had to rush to the Ministry to do something urgent. So, the Deputy Minister is around to move the Resolution on his behalf.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
    RESOLUTIONS 1:05 a.m.

    Minister for Finance) 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House is respectfully requested to adopt the following Resolution:
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 174 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament is empowered to confer power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by an Act of Parliament;
    THE EXERCISE of any power conferred on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax in favour of any person or authority is by the said provisions made subject to the prior approval of Parliament by resolution:
    BY THE COMBINED operation of the provisions of section 26 (2) of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 330), the Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503), the Export Development and Investment Fund Act, 2000 (Act 582), the Value Added Tax Act, 1998 (Act 546), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2000 (Act 579) and other existing laws
    and Regulations applicable to the collection of customs duties and other taxes on the importation of goods into Ghana, the Minister for Finance may exempt any statutory corporation, institution or individual from the payment of duties and taxes otherwise payable under the said laws and Regulations or waive or vary the requirement of such statutory corporation, institution or individual to pay such duties and taxes;
    IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the Constitution and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament a request by the Minister for Finance for the prior approval of Parliament the exercise by the Minister of the power conferred on him under the laws and Regulations relating to; (a) a tax deductibility of interest on shareholders and commercial loans (of actual interest cost) on the Contractor in the form of a demand 7 per cent interest charge on shareholder or commercial loans and a deemed debt to equity ratio of 2:1 of a present value amounting to US$105 million and (b) fiscal treatment of abandonment costs as production expenditure to allow the contractor to treat the cost of decommissioning as production expenditure to realise a net present value benefit amounting to US$20 million in respect of the Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project.
    NOW THEREFORE, this Honour-
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    You want to contribute?
    Very well.
    Question proposed.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh 1:05 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for your kind gesture.
    I rise to support the Motion and to make a terse statement in this regard. I would have loved that the Minister for Finance would have been in the House to, at least, listen to relevant sections of the Committee's Report, which talk about the delay in the release of the District Assemblies Common Fund.
    There is a clear constitutional provision and there is another clear Act of Parliament which make it clear without any equivocation, that these funds are supposed to be released on quarterly basis.
    Mr Speaker, the effects of the undue delay are grounded and it is affecting the ordinary Ghanaian. This is because in our bid as a country to ensure that we halve poverty, these attempts, actions and inactions on the part of the Ministry of Finance are negatively militating on the country's drive towards poverty reduction.
    I would want to make a passionate appeal to the Minister for Finance, particularly and also by extension, to His Excellency the President, that the continuous breach of the relevant section of our law, that is the DACF Act and the relevant section of the Constitution, which mandates the Ministry of Finance to pay these funds on a quarterly basis, is becoming unbecoming.
    Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that it was not for nothing that these laws
    were put there to be respected. I would want to make a passionate appeal that in moving forward -- as a country, we put this behind us so that we can think positively in moving ahead -- because even for 2014, we are in arrears, not to talk of 2015.
    I would want to make an appeal to you, that you add your voice, so that the DACF funds would be released on timeous basis to save the people of this country from grinding poverty.
    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved:
    That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢ 222,850 for the services of the Office of District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, we want to request that we suspend Sitting for a short time and then reconvene for the business of the day. If I may propose an hour break. It is the sense of the House that we suspend Sitting for one hour and reconvene for the rest of the business of the day.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, one hour is alright.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, the House stands suspended for one hour. The time now is 1:16 p.m. So, we are supposed to reconvene at 2:16 p.m.
    Thank you very much.

    able House hereby approves the exercise by the Minister responsible for Finance of the power granted by Parliament by Statute to waive; (a) a tax deductibility of interest on shareholders and commercial loans (of actual interest cost) on the Contractor in the form of a demand 7 per cent interest charge on shareholder or commercial loans and a deemed debt to equity ratio of 2:1 of a present value amounting to US$105 million; and (b) grant the fiscal treatment of abandonment costs as production expenditure to allow the contractor to treat the cost of decommissioning as production expenditure to realise a net present value benefit amounting to US$20 million in respect of the Fiscal Support Agreement and Security Package Term Sheet among the Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, ENI and Vitol in respect of the development of the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Oil and Gas Project.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, we now take item number 5 on the - [Interruption.]
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Resolution has been passed; no problem. But there is some language there that when we are passing Resolutions, we have to capture. Mr Speaker, just read there, if people understand what it says. Page 2 of the Addendum, number 4; “in the form of a demand 7 per cent interest charge on . . .”
    No! It has been passed but I am saying we are passing a Resolution, which the language does not make sense. We are instructing somebody to do something; at least, it must read well.
    Then come to paragraph 4, “. . . in the form of a demand 7 per cent interest charge on shareholder . . .” That language -- What does it mean? Read it! [Interruption] No! That is 4, where it starts with “(a) a tax deductibility . . . ”. Read the whole thing. At least, it should be clear, so that when people are implementing it, there would not be
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, can you assist us? If you have found something wrong, can you propose some form of an amendment?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want the Minister to tell us --
    “. . . a tax deductibility of interest on shareholder and commercial loans of actual interest cost on the contractor in the form of a demand 7 per cent interest charge. . . ”
    What does it mean?
    Mr Speaker, this is a Resolution coming from this august House and I am just saying that we should look at it again, so that if the right amendment can be made. Somebody was quoting from a memo- randum and they have quoted it wrongly. At least, let us be decent about what we do. Read it again, it would not make sense to you, please.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, what has been captured in the Resolution is exactly what we have in the document before us. It is further in the Agreement and the Committee also captured it. But if you look at what is there, saying that:
    (a) . . . tax deductibility of interest on shareholders and commercial
    loans (of actual interest cost) on the contractor in the form of a demand of 7 per cent interest charge on shareholders on commercial loans and a deemed debt of equity ratio of 2:1 of a present value amounting to USD 105 million . . . ”
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know where he is reading from. Yes, that is not what is on paragraph 4 but he said he quoted from the document. The document does not have what he is reading. It did not say “demand of 7 per cent” It said “. . . deemed 7 per cent . . .” not “demand”. Look at the document, page 4 of 10 “ . . . in the form of a deemed 7 per cent interest charge . . . ” not “demand”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    It is wrong. So, I am asking him to take his time and check it.
    Mr Haruna Iddrissu 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was going to support just the substitution of the word, “deemed” for “demand” as rightly suggested by Hon Dr A. Akoto Osei.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Which I was asking the Chairman to take his time and look at it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo, remember I asked you to assist us; let us formulate some form of amendment to what is there and then we move forward.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you are going to assist somebody, the person must be willing to be assisted. But he gets up and says, “Oh, it is incorrect”. So, how do you assist somebody who does not want to be assisted? - [Interruption.]
    My friend, conduct of the House -- do
    not talk like that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Isaac Osei?
    Mr Isaac Osei 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not only in the preamble, it is also in the actual Resolution. Then also, what surprises me is that, this nineteenth line sentence, there is very little clarity here, everything is bound together. It could have been broken down but maybe, that could be for the future. It is the nineteenth line, it is one sentence and it is very strange.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Hon Members, I believe that we take the amendment proposed by the Member for Old Tafo, substituting the word “deemed” for “demand” and then we can move forward and consequentially, wherever it appears, the draftspersons can take care of it.
    Are we alright? So, we go back and put the Question because we have had certain amendments effected to what is in there.
    So, Hon Members, I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to repeat what I said, that we should now take item 5 on the Order Paper. Item 5 is on page 6 of the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Members, I think item 5 -- we dealt with the Motion itself and the secondment and we deferred debate to today. So, we can take contributions from Members.
    Yes, Hon Member--
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 1:05 a.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from 10 th December, 2014.
  • Mr Isaac K. Asiamah (NPP -- Atwiwa-Mponua) 1:05 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion number 5 on the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker, informed by the recommendations of the National Security in the year 2006, the then Government set up the National Youth Employment Programme to deal with the rising standard of unemployment among the youth.
    Mr Speaker, before I proceed, I would want your guidance on article 252 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and of course, section 23 of the National Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014.
    Mr Speaker, because that section talks about the sources of money for the Fund and here, I see 15 per cent of monies accruing to the District Assemblies Common Fund should be dedicated to the programme.
    Mr Speaker, my concern is whether this does not conflict with article 252 (2) of the Constitution? That is a fundamental issue we need to address before we can even proceed.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that when we get to that stage, some amendments can be proposed to take care of this state of affairs. We are yet to go through clause by clause. When we get there, you can raise this matter and then we would look at it.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is the Second Reading, so, I thought we would have to deal with the - [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that at this stage of the Second Reading, the debate is on the policies and principles. So, when we get to the technical aspect, which is the Consideration Stage, we would be looking at the issue that he is raising now. But on the basis of policy and principle, what do you say of the Bill before us? That is where the debate is now.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think overall National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) as captured in the Budget Statement of 2008 and here, I would want to make reference to specificcally paragraphs 18 and 19. I beg to quote:
    “Mr Speaker, the overall objective of the programme is to empower the youth to enable them contribute more productively towards the socioeconomic and sustainable development of the nation. This is in line with Government's commitment to provide jobs for the youth as articulated in the GPRS II.
    Mr Speaker, 7 out of 10 employment modules have been rolled out and are being implemented across the length and breadth of the country. A total of 107,114 youth have been engaged on the seven modules as of August, 2007”.
    Mr Speaker, when the programme started, one would have thought that by now, at least, we would have made more progress and at least, not less than 700,000 youth would have been engaged in the
    programme.
    Mr Speaker, since 2009, when there was a change of Government, all that has been added is the change of the name to Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA). Mr Speaker, additional changes that have been added would only be abuse, nepotism and all the other abuses you can think of. That has crippled the Programme.
    Mr Speaker, yes, we believe that a legal framework is very important but the attempt by certain individuals to create the impression that the programme between 2006 and 2008 was not legal but it is indeed, fallacious and cannot stand the test of time.
    Mr Speaker, that argument i s unsustainable. The Programme in 2006 was conceived, discussed and approved by both Cabinet and Parliament. So, it had a law backing it. That is why when you look at the Bill in this form, it is just a repetition of the structure of the Programme that we had. Nothing has changed.
    Go through this Bill and look at the structure of the Programme between 2006 and 2008, nothing has changed. So, the issue clearly, is not about any fault of an Act but it is about the commitment of those people who run the Programme. How come that between 2006 and 2008, we never heard or had problems with the Programme but after 2009, all these problems came up at GYEEDA?
    Fundamentally, it has got to do with the commitment of individuals who run the Programme and it is something that we established. So, it must be on record that the Programme between 2006 and 2008 had that legal backing. Parliament approved of the Programme and it was working smoothly until 2009 when all these challenges and of course, problems
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have the floor. Please, proceed.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when there was a Ministerial Committee of Inquiry into GYEEDA their operations -- the report is here. When you go through it - endemic corruption. Mr Speaker, corruption be what?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon
    Majority Leader, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Bagbin 4:05 p.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    I would just want to plead with my Colleague on issue of relevance - This is because the report is talking about - We would have to, as a House, take action for it to be properly brought here for us to go through and debate it, and whoever is found wanting, we can take the necessary recommenda-tions for actions to be taken.
    But now, because of those problems that he is raising, we are trying to put in place, a framework that would prevent what happened. So, referring to it, I have no problem. It is just going to the details, I am trying to say that, yes, you can refer to it but now situate it in the Bill on the policy and principle, then we can go on.
    But this one, we would have to make sure we bring it to the House, so that we can debate it and let them take action. Nobody is going to support or shelve any person who has been found to have corrupted himself or herself in connection
    Mr Bagbin 4:05 p.m.


    with this matter. It is a very serious issue that we should take as a House and assist in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP). And so, I support that but he should not dwell on the details. He should deal with the Bill that is before us.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised the Hon Majority Leader is coercing - Let me use the word “persuading” my Colleague from going into the details.
    It is precisely because of the GYEEDA Report, that is why we have the current Bill that we are going through. As a result of this particular report and the action plan following this particular report, that is why we are currently going through. So, the Member making copious references to this Bill is just right. He refreshes the memory of the nation and the House to what happened and where we are today. That is why we debate. This is because we would want to lay a very solid foundation and the only way is to be able to point out what caused us to be where we are today.
    I think you should allow him to go full flow, so that we can make progress.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr Bagbin 4:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry to get up again.
    As I stand here, I have never had sight of those reports and I do not have a copy. So, this report is not before the House.
    I am not saying that he cannot refer to it. This is because it is not before the House, he cannot go into the details. He
    can refer to it. As I stand here, I do not have a copy. It has to be laid - [Interruption] -- because it has not come yet and so, to go through the details and be referring to it - I have no problem but this is not the opportune time for that detail because we are dealing with the Bill.
    Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi 4:05 p.m.
    It is a publication - [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:05 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Hon Members, please, let us respect procedure. You should be given the floor before you make any contribution.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker; the point made by Hon Majority Leader is valid. However, this is a document that was given to the Committee for its consideration. In considering it, I would therefore, suggest to the Hon Member for Atwima Mponua to lay it on the Table and then whatever he wants to do with it, he can do.
    This is because the Committee had the benefit of the report. So, really, it is part of the record. I even think that it should have been attached as an Appendix to the Report of the Committee.
    So, if the Hon Ranking Member is referring to it, for what it is worth, let him refer to it. But Hon members too are entitled just as the Committee Members had the benefit of looking at it, to have a look at it. So, if he lays it, I do not think the Hon Majority Leader would have any problem with it per se. He may not refer to it in detail; he may refer to even pages and later, we can refer to it.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Yes, a final word and then we move on.
    Mr Bagbin 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my attention was not drawn to the fact that this is part of the reference documents that were made available to the Committee. I just crosschecked from the Hon Minister, which meant that it is coming from official source, and so, he has every right to refer to it. I withdraw my objection.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Very well. Thank you very much.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, I am happy that the Hon Majority Leader has withdrawn his objection.
    Mr Speaker, as Hon Deputy Minority Leader was speaking, he brought this document up; “Ghana Action Paper on the Ministerial Impact Assessment and Review Committee on Ghana Youth and Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).” Mr Speaker, and it is also part of the official documents given to us by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
    Mr Speaker, when you read it, item (4) of the document, says and with your permission, I beg to quote;
    “The Ministerial Impact Assess- ment and Review Committee admits that they did not have access to all information they required and did not have enough time to get into greater details on certain other aspects of the report. It is also known that the Committee was unable to interrogate some of the individuals mentioned in the report.”
    Here is where I would support the point raised by the Leader of this House. Mr Speaker, even this document says that it is inadequate in terms of their investigation and that, they were not even able to investigate certain individuals who were connected to the GYEEDA scandal.
    Mr Speaker, that is the more reason the Committee is saying that the time for this work is not enough and that they needed more time to dig deeper. This is because this is a golden opportunity for Parliament to do proper oversight, proper enquiry.
    Mr Speaker, we have the powers of a High Court as a Committee and therefore, we could have done a better job than even a Ministerial Committee of Inquiry that does not have those powers. So, we have asked that we should be given more time, so that we can go deeper into the GYEEDA rot. After all, that is part of our work; our oversight goes into investigation of matters of national concern.
    Mr Speaker, as we speak, this document, the GYEEDA Report, 120- page document, the people who did it have admitted that they did not have enough time and also they could not invite certain individuals to appear before them.
    Here we have a golden opportunity as Parliament to go further into the issue. This is because we are told that certain things are still there that we need to unravel. So, the amount of GH¢1.5 billion could even go further.
    Mr Speaker, Parliament must provide proper oversight. Mr Speaker, the way we are working is not the best -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe your point is well made. At the appropriate time, Parliament would have to exercise its oversight responsibility to get the matter brought before the House. But for now, we are debating the principles and policies regarding this Bill.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.
    That is why I said that this is a golden opportunity. We would not have had any better time than this time, that we are considering this Bill. Mr Speaker, why am I saying so? When you go to section 23 of the Bill, it talks about sources of funding. Mr Speaker, they have done the computation of the
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:15 p.m.


    amount they would need next year.

    Mr Speaker, the way they lambasted this tax that has now become the backbone of this funding arrangement -- because 60 per cent of it is being used to support the National Youth Entrepre-neurial Programme (NYEP). So, when you put all of them together, for the year 2015, it comes to GH¢578, 000,000 that we need for 2015.

    Mr Speaker, aside that, they would need GH¢578,000,000 for next year, when individuals and corporate bodies owe them GH¢1.5 billion. And they want it to go free when even half of it could solve next year's problems and they could even expand the Programme -- even add to it, so that more youth would be on board? That is why we are saying, Mr Speaker, that this is a golden opportunity for Parliament to do mother Ghana good and that we should not under any circumstance, go ahead to rush this Bill.
    Mr Bagbin 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I empathise with my Hon Colleague, Ranking Member of the Committee of Youth and Sports.
    Now that the document is before the
    Committee through official sources, it is incumbent on the Committee to do the proper thing by taking action, summoning those involved to appear before and then presenting a report for us to debate and come out with our recommendations or actions that should be taken by Ghana, even if not Government.
    But as of now, yes, as I admitted, he can refer to it but he should relate it just to the Bill, so that we can pass it because the same document he is talking about recommends that we should legislate on the matter. So, he is right to refer to it because it is part of the implementation of the report and that is why we are bringing the legislation.
    But let them pass the legislation but not to give the impression that until this thing is delved into, then we are rushing through the Bill. That one is a wrong impression and that would be misleading because that is part of the implementation of the report. And so, I plead with the Hon Member to refer to it but relate it to the Bill and let us pass it and then the Hon Member's Committee would now get the opportunity to go into the details and submit a report for us to debate it.
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Majority Leader is missing the point of my Hon Ranking Member. All he is saying is that, because the report said they could not do a whole lot, it is premature to bring the Bill when some of the reforms have not been put in place. That is the point he is making. So, he said, before you rush to pass the Bill, they should do a proper assessment of how far they have come. And thus far, even the Committee says that it has not come far enough.
    So, they are running too fast forward to implement the Bill, for which about 20 per cent - For example, if only GH¢14.5 million of what is supposed to be recovered is lost -- the amount of GH¢1.5 billion, then why the rush? They
    need to know why they are only collecting GH¢14.5 million, so that they may not need to take money from those sources -- because it is available elsewhere.
    That is the exact point the Hon Ranking Member is making, that they should take their time, slow down, do their homework, when they do it, they may find that by the time they bring the Bill, the path would be smooth. That is the point the Hon Ranking Member is making.
    Mr Bagbin 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let us get these things clear.
    Before we came into the democratic experiment that we are experiencing now, we had to pass a Constitution. Do you understand? Yes -- and that constitutional provision compelled Parliament to within six months put some walls in place to establish some institutions, which would now have the mandate, based on the laws, to take some actions and implement things. So, it is this law that would empower the sector Ministers to do all the programmes that you are talking about.
    Now, we cannot allow them to be doing it without any regulation. No! We cannot do that because we have to pass the law, and now empower an institution, which would proceed properly, mandated by law, to implement the recommendations in the report. That is what we are doing, and that is the first legal step to take. And so, I have got him right, and the right thing to do, is to bring the Bill for us to pass it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Member, please, continue with your submissions, otherwise, we would be over stretching this point.
    You see, he holds the opinion that the matter is being rushed, and that certain things must be done before this Bill must
    be considered. Other people hold contrary views. So, let us all debate, and at the end of it, we would see where we stand.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that Parliament must do a thorough job in this regard.
    Mr Speaker, this is the Action Paper upon which all these issues are being dealt with, in terms of - in the passing of the legislations or to support it.
    This Action Paper, refer to a Committee of Inquiry's report. In the same Action Paper, it indicates that the Committee did not have enough time and also could not have the power to invite certain individuals. So, by common-sensical approach as Parliament, when the powers granted to committees of Parliament go beyond those powers of Ministerial committees, we have the powers to subpoena people.
    So, if we have this document by the Executive and we can go further to do proper scrutiny, then what prevents Parliament from doing so? That is the argument. Why do we not take our time?
    Mr Speaker, we are using just one month to resolve all the issues that took about three to four years -- the rot at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA). So, Mr Speaker, why do we not take our time to do proper scrutiny of the Ministry?
    So, that is the concern -- and it is in the Action Paper. Mr Speaker, the same Action Paper talks about retrieval of monies lost to the State. The Paper -- that is the source of this main debate -- talks about the retrieval of monies from individuals and corporate bodies to the State. The lost monies are in the Action Paper, and Mr Speaker, I beg to read here:
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.


    “Consequently, and in compliance with the principles of natural justice, EOCO and the Attorney- General's Department as well as Police CID have been directed to commence action against all persons and organizations cited in the Ministerial Committee's Report in respect of financial and administrative improprieties, as well as retrieval of monies to State.”

    Mr Speaker, it is here. So, how much have they been able to retrieve? They should tell Ghanaians how much they have been able to retrieve. So, as a Committee, Mr Speaker, we demanded that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice should even come and brief us on the status of the implementation of this report.

    What is the status? We do not know the status of the implementation, and yet based on that, we come and sit here as Parliament, to go ahead and do this? Mr Speaker, Ghana deserves better. So, all that we are asking is, how much have they been able to retrieve out of the amount of GH¢1.5 billion?

    Mr Speaker, the other issue is that, even the Report was about a rising debt of an amount of GH¢250 million, a separate one. But as we speak now, how much that debt has risen to, we do not know. So, we need full disclosure, and that in my view, we need to demand.

    Mr Speaker, when you go to the sources of funding, as we have said, that Fund is one area that we are going to take some monies from.

    Mr Speaker, when we met all these agencies, they told us that, indeed, they were not consulted, and they did not

    know anything about it, and that over the years, the monies they had been giving to GYEEDA, had been abused. I want to quote what Sam Garba of GETFund said:

    “We stopped payments to GYEEDA because of the gross abuses.”

    Mr Speaker, those were the words of Sam Garba. All these agencies are saying that they can no longer commit resources to support the Programme, and the Hon Minister and Deputy Minister were there. So, Mr Speaker, the Ministers themselves are constrained and are saying that they cannot commit more resources to support the Programme. So, they should convince us. Where are they going to get the other sources of funding? -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, you still have the floor, but begin to wind up. [Interruption.]
    Hon Members, Order! Order!
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is something that we need to take serious, and all that we seek to do, is for the Committee to take its time to do proper work for mother Ghana. Mr Speaker, as I indicated, this is a project that we started from the year 2006.
    Now, when we met the service providers, they could not provide a single list of beneficiaries and this is dangerous. Meanwhile, our monies had been paid. We asked of those under the education and health internship, and as we speak now, not even a single list was provided to the Committee.
    So, where did those monies go? And
    these are concerns that Parliament needs to take serious. As we speak now, some monies have been paid to certain so-called beneficiaries that we do not have the list. We do not have a single list to prove that those monies were indeed, paid to those
    beneficiaries.
    But here, we have Parliament going ahead to still approve of a Bill and of course, some monitory provisions to support the Programme. Mr Speaker, I do not think we would be doing ourselves any good if we should push forward this Bill in a hurried manner, because it would not help anybody.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:25 p.m.
    Please, Hon Members, let us have some order.
    Hon Member?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, another major issue is that, the Bill as it is now, has no mechanisms to fight corruption. We have gone through it, and there is nothing. Safeguards are not in the Bill. It is just a cut and paste of the existing structure, They just lifted it and brought it to Parliament. Nothing novel is in the Bill that would address the concerns that we are raising. There is nothing novelty in the Bill.
    So, that is another area Mr Speaker, that we need to look at, and also asking institutions to come out with their own programmes, just for the endorsement by the Agency. That is the worst of it all. The agency would just sit down without planning and service providers will just go with their own pre-arranged programmes, and that are accepted in whole, without any questions.
    That is one of the reasons we had these problems. So, we would want the Agency to be up to the task to ensure that there are mechanisms.
    Mr Speaker, the reason some of us are not enthused about the mere passage of this Bill is this. When you look at the report, it talks about violation of existing laws -- the Public Procurement and Financial Administration Acts. These are existing laws. So, what is the guarantee that you will pass the Bill to give GYEEDA the legal backing and the corruption will end?
    When you go through the report, the existing laws were all violated. Read it. Public Procurement -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, address the Chair.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:35 p.m.
    PPA and FAA Acts were violated --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, address the Chair. [Uproar.]
    Order! Order!
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, within a period of thirty days, they were able to sign twenty service contracts. How? So, when they do all these, which law at all can protect us?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon
    Member, can you conclude?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would kindly urge this House not to go ahead with the passage of this Bill. And as the Minority side, Mr Speaker, we have raised concerns for this House not
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Minister for Roads and Highways (Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini (MP) 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the passage for the consideration of the Bill and also to comment on the Report by the joint Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, and Youth, Sports and Culture.
    Mr Speaker, the issue that is before this House is whether it is legitimate, prudent and reasonable to provide a legal basis for the operation of the Youth Employ-ment Scheme and provide therein safeguards in view of people who will violate the framework that is put in place -- the legal framework that is put in place to ensure that the Youth Employment Programme of this country is founded on law and implemented as such.
    That issue is mutually exclusive from dealing with past improprieties committed under the Scheme that were not supported by law. We ought to get it clear.
    Mr Speaker, in dealing with the past improprieties, this Parliament cannot and should not take itself away from its prime duty to provide law in this country for the general obedience of the people.
    We will be shirking our responsibility as a law-making body, if we are invited to consider putting in place a legal framework for the operation of a programme or policy,
    then we say that we are not going to pass the law, and that, we are not even prepared to consider the legal framework, and that the arguments contained in the policy should not be considered until issues concerning the past operations of the Programme are considered. I do not think Mr Speaker, that will be the right way to proceed.
    I believe that the future generations of this country will call into question the rationale for staying away, imposing on ourselves a restriction to consider a Bill until past issues are considered.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Thank you very much.
    First, he used the question he asked
    and answered it to mislead everybody.
    Yes, because the moment the Bill is passed and the law is assented to, the GYEEDA operations will start.
    New money will be assigned, and we will start spending it. As of now, there is a hold on expenditure; nobody is spending. Our moneys are not being spent on GYEEDA any longer. But the moment we pass this, we will start spending. That is the connectivity.
    So, they mean that, they should deal with the past. Punish people, so that tomorrow, when this House passes the law, it will serve as a deterrent to others.
    Nobody is against the passage.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, at the appropriate time, you can also take the floor -
    Mr Nitiwul 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he said we were against the passage. Nobody is against it. We want it to be passed but not until the culprits are punished --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:35 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you will have your turn; you can make these submissions.
    In the meantime, Hon Minister, you have the floor.
    Alhaji Fuseini 4:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, everybody in this House, and indeed, I dare say that everybody in Ghana was shocked to the marrow, when the issue of improprieties were unearthed at GYEEDA.
    No one in his right senses will applaud those improprieties that were committed. All reasonable men will require that those who conducted themselves in such ways are held responsible for their actions.
    Mr Speaker, Government has taken bold steps to retrieve to the State what rightly, in its view, belongs to it.
    Mr Speaker, that is a process. Do we say that the passage of a Bill to found a programme on firm legal foundations should be subjugated to the retrieval and address of all these problems?
    The next question is, when do we anticipate that these issues that have been raised will be addressed? If we are going to hold the passage of this Bill in perpetuity, do we not think that we would be reneging on our duty as Hon Members of the House, to ensure that the proper thing is done?
    In this case, the proper thing to be done is the passage of this Bill and ensuring that the persons who violate the tenets of the law are punished in accordance with the law.
    Mr Speaker, I invite Hon Members of this august House -- right thinking Hon Members of this House - [Hear! Hear!] - to reconsider our decision -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon Minister, withdraw the word “right thinking” because all Hon Ministers of this House are right thinking.
    Alhaji Fuseini 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not in any way impugning that in this House, there are no right thinking Hon Members. All of us - I am reconfirming that in this House, there are only right thinking Hon Members --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    No! The way you put it, you were urging right thinking Hon Members of this House to do something. It means that there are some who are not right thinking.
    So, just withdraw that portion.
    Alhaji Fuseini 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was
    never intended to denigrate and call into question the thinking capacity of Hon Members in this House. It was to affirm that this House is constituted of right thinking persons - [Hear! Hear!] - but if Mr Speaker, it came out to portray and be perceived as though I was pursuing a path that sought to divide this House into right thinking and faulty thinking Hon Members. That was not my intention. I withdraw that aspect.
    I am saying that, it is our responsibility and duty, founded on the Constitution and the laws of this country, that Bills submitted by the Executive of this country
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah (MP -- Sekondi) 4:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
    Mr Speaker, in the performance of our duties, particularly that of law-making, we are guided by the provisions of the Constitution. With your permission, I would refer to article 106, clauses (4) (5) and (6).
    106 (4) says:
    “Whenever a bill is read the first time in Parliament, it shall be referred to the appropriate committee appointed under article 103 of this Constitution which shall examine the bill in detail and make all such inquiries in relation to it as the Committee considers expedient or necessary.”
    (5) “Where a bill has been deliberated upon by the appropr ia t e committee, it shall be reported to Parliament.”
    (6) “The report of the committee, together with the explanatory memorandum to the bill, shall form the basis for a full debate on the bill for its passage, with or without amendments, or its rejection, by Parliament.”
    Mr Speaker, I repeat 4:45 p.m.
    “The report of the committee, together with the explanatory memorandum to the bill, shall form the basis for a full debate on the bill for its passage, ...”
    Mr Speaker, this is complemented by our Standing Orders. And as I stated, the explanatory memorandum, together with the report, form the basis. Mr Speaker, Order 116 states and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “Every Bill shall be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and principles of the Bill, the defects of the existing law, if any, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction…”
    Mr Joseph Bipoba Naabu 4:45 p.m.
    You have spoken for too long. Sit down.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would urge the Hon Member to wait for his turn. I am anxious to hear his contribution on the floor of this House. He has assured me that he has moved away from cheer leading to contribution. I hope that even though he has not evinced the intention to do so, you will call him out of turn to contribute. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, it is important at this stage, for us to look at the explanatory memorandum, then understand the rationale behind this Bill.
    Mr Speaker, the two of us have the opportunity to serve in the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice. But when I look at the memorandum accompanying this Bill, what I can say is that, the Government draftspersons have not helped this House.
    Mr Speaker, what does the memo- randum say? That is all -- Look at the first two paragraphs, that is all it says.
    “The object of the Bill is to establish the Youth Employment Agency to develop, coordinate, supervise, and facilitate the creation of jobs for the youth.”
    The object! Then the second para- graph:
    “Following a series of Cabinet discussions, aimed at responding to the employment needs of the youth, it has become necessary to enact the Youth Employment Agency Bill.”
    The Agency is expected to coordinate all youth employment and entrepreneurial programmes.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Alhaji Fuseini 4:45 p.m.
    There is a rhetoric question thrown. It is “Where is the framework?” The Hon Member who threw the question is a senior member of the Bar, former Attorney-General. The framework is the Youth Employment Agency Bill -- The framework is the Youth Employment Agency.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:45 p.m.
    I believe
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 4:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, our Order 116 says:
    “…setting out in detail the policy and principles of the Bill, the defects of the existing law, if any, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction…”
    What are the policy and principles of this Bill? We know as a fact that, what is being done now or what is proposed under this Bill is being undertaken as we speak. Funds have been appropriated by this House for what this Bill seeks to do. So, what are the shortcomings in the existing arrangements that necessitated the introduction of this Bill? There is nothing in the explanatory memorandum.
    Mr Speaker, there is also something that worries me about this Government. There seems to be policy incoherence. Government says one thing, and does another.
    Mr Speaker, I would refer you to page 152 of the Budget Statement, paragraphs 860, 861 and 862, which, with your indulgence, I would refer to, in extenso:
    “Mr Speaker, the national budget is increasingly becoming inflexible to manage as well as to accommodate shocks and changes in government priorities. These are mainly due to the earmarking of a huge component of the budgetary resources as statutory transfers in addition to existing statutory liabilities, such as wages and salaries, amortisation, and interest payments.”
    861:
    “Most of the expenditures for
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 4:45 p.m.


    which these transfers are made invariably have to be funded from the Consolidated Fund, causing duplication of efforts. Furthermore, as a result of these inflexibilities, during downturns almost all the discretionary expenditures which are predominantly in the MDAs budget are funded by loans from domestic and foreign sources.”

    Mr Speaker, with emphasis, paragraph

    862:

    “Mr Speaker, in the medium term, government will realign expendi- tures under the Statutory Funds hitherto being catered for under the Consolidated Fund. Starting with the 2015 Budget and as a transitional arrangement, government will enhance the admin is t ra t ive process for aligning statutory fund expenditures to national policies and priorities.”

    Mr Speaker, when you seek to align funds, you do not legislate. This is because when you legislate, as the Minister himself stated, it ties your hands. When you look at this Bill, what are the sources of funding? District Assemblies Common Fund, Communications Service Tax, GETFund - What are we doing?

    We are here as a House to assist the Government to implement policies and execute projects that would benefit the people of this country. Why this fixation for bureaucracy? And the point made by the Hon Ranking Member is very appropriate.

    Governance requires strict compliance with policy focus. We just do not do things

    which appear to be inconsistent with policies Government has introduced in Parliament and Parliament has approved -- like the budget.

    I am submitting, Mr Speaker, that this Bill, even flies in the face of the principles underlying the Budget Statement and the Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 fiscal year, presented to this House on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 and approved by resolution. Mr Speaker, what is it? Talk about the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).

    Look, Mr Speaker, I am submitting that the sources of funding themselves fly in the face with existing laws and the Constitution. These are weighty matters that we ought to consider, whether to approve or not approve the Second Reading of this Bill.

    My Hon Colleague referred to the Constitution, where it says funds should be sent somewhere, Parliament cannot by law attach part of the funds for any purpose. Parliament cannot by law attach the funds by any purpose.

    We are supposed to have a formula for the DACF. It is the formula that determines how the funds should be used and not an Act of Parliament, which we are being asked to pass.

    The Hon Member - [Interruption] - I would conclude, so that he can contribute - [Laughter] - I will conclude. But please, he should listen to what I am saying. If he were listening with rapt attention, I am

    sure he would ask for more.

    Mr Speaker, having made these submissions, I am urging this House to reject the Report of the Committee on Youth and Employment, that this Bill goes through a Second Reading. And I am urging Government to reconsider, in the light of the statements made in the budget and the porous nature of this explanatory memorandum, to go and do better work and present it to this House.

    Mr Speaker, I always say that in a democracy, it is the majority that wins the vote but when it comes to the debate, that is not necessarily so.

    However, to enrich democracy, we listen to one another and by persuasive argument, come to a considered decision whether our fixed positions have not been swayed by close listening to other views. That is what enriches democracy and that is what will advance the course of this House.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader, do you want to make a contribution?
    Mr Bagbin 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister would want to speak after me. I am not concluding; I am just contributing - [Interruption] - After you have spoken, it would come to you, it would come to us. Do not worry - [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Hon Members, order, order!
    Hon Members, I thought I would take one from this end and take another from there and then get the Hon Minister to wind up?
    Mr Nitiwul 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are prepared to sit here till 11 p.m. There is
    no problem about that - [Interruption] - in fact, we are prepared to sit here till 11p.m. to debate this very well. So, there is no problem.
    Some Hon Members 4:55 p.m.
    You and who? [Interruption]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:55 p.m.
    Yes Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC - Ashaiman) 4:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Motion and urge Hon Members to support this Motion.
    Mr Speaker, two of your committees worked on this Bill and presented their Reports to the House.
    On page 2, paragraph 4.0 of the report, there is the “Object of the Bill” and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “The object of the Bill is to establish the Youth Employment Agency to develop, coordinate, supervise and facilitate the creation of jobs for the youth...”
    Mr Speaker, if you go to the Bill itself, in the memorandum to the Bill, it states and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “The Object of the Bill”
    And it is the same thing the Committee has stated in its Report.
    Mr Speaker, the argument has been made that the memorandum is not detailed, as the Hon Colleague stated, referring to Order 116 of our Standing Orders. Mr Speaker, I submit that the object as stated in the memorandum to the Bill satisfies what our Standing Order 116 requires. Our Standing Order 116 states and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Every Bill shall be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah?
    Mr Osei B. Amoah (NPP -- Akwapim South) 5:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to speak on the Motion, that the Youth Employment Agency Bill 2014 should now be read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, I believe, in all sincerity,
    that this Bill may have the best of intentions, but in my opinion, there is still a lot of work to be done. Indeed, the Cabinet may have to consider this Bill again.
    In the first place Mr Speaker, I remember very well that in 2009, the then Minister for Youth and Sports submitted a memo- randum to this House, that the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) had been taken from the Ministry of Employment to the then Ministry of Youth and Sports. Before 2009, the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Administration had “Manpower and Youth Development” as a Ministry. So, the NYEP was under the Ministry of Employment. What we had then was Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. So “youth” was under “manpower.”
    With the change of Government, we
    then had the Ministry of Youth and Sports. So, the “Employment” section taken from
    the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and then NYEP came under that Ministry.
    Mr Speaker, as we speak now, we have Ministry of Youth and Sports, but this Bill is being proposed and carried by the Ministry of Manpower or the new Ministry under Employment and Labour Relations. Right from the beginning, there is the problem of Ministerial control. Are we saying the Ministry, when it comes to employment, should now run the youth section of that Ministry of Youth and Sports? Should the National Youth Authority now be part of the Employment and Labour Relation? I believe, in that aspect alone, there is a problem of ministerial control.
    Mr Speaker, moving further, we are told that at the national level, one would have the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations in charge of the Youth Employment Agency; we will have the Board, the Chief Executive and the staff at the national level.
    Mr Speaker, if one goes to the regional
    level, we are told that it is the Regional Minister who is in charge of the Agency -- the Regional Minister who does not report to the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations is in charge of the this Employment Agency at the regional level. Indeed, the Bill says they can propose their own rules and procedure -- Therefore, running the Agency at the regional level. Meanwhile, this Regional Minister reports to the President and not to the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
    Then at the district level, this Agency is under a District Chief Executive who reports to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, and not the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
    Mr Speaker, right from the beginning,
    this structure cannot work. This is because
    we have a situation where - Indeed, I pity any Hon Minister who will run such a structure; he can run that at the national level but he cannot give instructions to the Regional Minister.
    Indeed, when it comes to the district level, that Administration is under the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. If one brings a structure like this, obviously, one is doomed to fail right from the beginning. And this is the fundamental problem that this Bill has.
    The Cabinet would have to consider this Bill again and align the structures very well, otherwise, this system cannot be run. I wonder how the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations would allow the Regional Minister to chair the Agency at the regional level.
    If one goes through the Bill, one would be told the function of the Regional Minister when it comes to this Agency. It could not work, Mr Speaker. That is the fundamental problem, that in my opinion, Cabinet should look at again. This is not for Parliament to make any amendment to it. It is the policy that should be addressed. That is the first thing.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Abuga 5:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is so.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is misleading the House.
    The s t ructure of GYEEDA as envisaged in the Bill is clearly defined. - [Interruption] - The part of the Regional Minister or the DCE participating, is just like what was set out in 2009. They had
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:05 p.m.
    Order! Order! Order!
    Can we have some order, please?
    Hon Member, please proceed.
    Mr Abuga 5:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is misleading the House because the picture he is painting is as if the Regional Minister or the DCE is the one who is going to run the NYEP at the regional or district level.
    Even before 2009, under their regime, there was a taskforce on which the Regional Minister was represented, and there was a taskforce at the district level where the DCE was represented. It did not mean that those personalities at the regional and district levels were the people running the programme at those levels.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to refer to clause 27 of the Bill -- establishment of Regional Committees, and with your permission, I beg to read;
    “The board shall, in consultation with the Minister responsible for a region, establish in each region, a regional committee consisting of
    (a) a chairperson who is the Regional Minister”
    That is the first aspect. Mr Speaker, if you go on to clause 28, it says and with your permission, I beg to read:
    “A regional committee shall assist the Board in carrying out the functions of the Board and shall, subject to the direction of the Board
    (a) be responsible for the imple- mentation of the policies of the Agency in the region; and
    (b) oversee the activities of the Agency in the region.”
    Obviously, it is the Regional Minister as the chairperson of this Agency who is in charge at the regional level. That is what this Bill says -- clauses 27 and 28 are clear on that.

    Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Muatapha Ahmed (retd) - rose -
    Mr Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you on a point of order?
    Yes, can we hear you. Are you up on a point of order?

    Maj. (Dr) Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Yes, Mr Speaker.

    The Hon Member is grossly misleading this Honourable House. There are similar arrangements in the regions where the Hon Ministers chair the committees. For example, the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC), the Regional Minister chairs the Regional Security Council. But the Regional Minister is not in charge of the military, neither is he in charge of the police and he does not report to them.

    But th i s i s an adminis t ra t ive

    arrangement that has been made, so that business can go on in the regions and at the district levels to make the business of government run smoothly.

    Mr Speaker, apart from that, this is a Bill that is now in the House. If the Hon Member feels very strongly about those things, he can propose amendments when we get to that stage. I believe that it is premature for him to attempt to confuse us with -

    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, I am saying that this is a policy matter. If that is how the Government wants the structure to run -- it was decided at the Cabinet level and I am saying that this structure does not exist anywhere and this structure would not work. We have a Minister at the top, running an Agency; when it comes to the region, everyone would expect that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Board at the national level would be able to control those who are running the Agency at the regional level and then they would also be able to control those running the Agency at the district level.
    But when we come to the regional and district levels, these are heads that are above the CEO and the Board. How
    then do we structure the directions and directives that the Minister is going to give under the Bill? That is problematic?
    Then, as I said, if we read the Report of the Committee, they talk about the Agency being part of the Civil Service. Indeed, the Committee itself is worried about this situation. In the Bill itself, I do not see why this Agency is supposed to be part of the Civil Service. Indeed, if you look at the appointments, et cetera, they should be part of the Public Service but not the Civil Service. This is because if we say it is part of the Civil Service -- and I am afraid, if we look at the Civil Service Act, this Agency, which is a special Agency, should be under the Office of the President.
    If we look at section 15 of the Civil Service Act, 15 (3) - In fact, if you start from section 15, it talks about special departments. Now, if we want to create this as a special department, then section 15 (3) says and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “A special department established under this Act shall be under the Office of the President.”
    So, if we are establishing a special department under the Civil Service, why is it under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations? These are fundamental policy issues that should be addressed before we move on with this Bill. If Cabinet took these decisions for us to have such a Bill, then indeed, Cabinet should reconsider this Bill and let us know what kind of structure that Cabinet wants us to have.
    As it stands now, it is against the law-- The Civil Service Act. As it stands now, it cannot be implemented and I have given the situation where even those we expect to run this Agency at the regional
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have made that point over and over again. Can you begin to conclude?
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Then we go on to the issue about
    Public Private Partnership (PPP). We are told that the Agency can engage private sector partner service providers and that the Agency shall grant approval for the engagement - Mr Speaker, with your permission, I am reading clause 17 (2):
    “The Agency shall grant approval for the engagement of a Private Sector Partner Service Provider in accordance with financial and administrative enactments.”
    Again, Mr Speaker, it shows that probably, this Bill was rushed through because the very fundamental problem that we have had with GYEEDA has been this issue of PPP where GYEEDA is in a position to just sole source so-called service providers and then tell us that they should come and partner us. Then they tell us that they have spent so much on the Agency, and they should come and pay them. That is why we are in this mess now.

    I thought you were told to make the effort to also contribute on the floor of the House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, begin to conclude.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:15 p.m.
    Here we are, Mr Speaker, we have admitted that there is a major issue with the structure that we had, that is why we are bringing in this Bill; that is why we want to bring out these policies. Now, we are going back to the same problem; indeed, there is an attempt to address this. If you read the Report of the Committee, what my Hon Colleague, Member of Parliament for Sekondi said, about the Fund --The Committee tells us that for the proposed amendments, they would want to take out the whole setting up of the Fund for the Agency. This, I think it is a policy issue; you want to set up a special Fund for youth -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, at the Consideration Stage, we can look at all these issues.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is not about Consideration Stage. It is the Government which has decided that it wants to set up a Fund for youth employment under clause 21. The Government wants to set up a Youth Employment Fund. Is that what the Government want to do? Is the Government changing its decision now? Is it going back to Cabinet for Cabinet to say that we do not need a Youth Employment Fund now? These are all issues that must be addressed.
    If you look at this whole Bill, as I said, it probably, was rushed through. And because it was rushed through, there is a problem with ministerial responsibility, ministerial control; there is a problem with the structure, and indeed, there is a problem onto whether it should be in the Civil Service or Public Service and we have not even addressed the issue of PPP -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up. You have said enough.
    Mr O. B. Amoah 5:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am concluding; these are concluding remarks.
    I have summarised all the issues that I have raised and because of that it would be fair to ask the Ministry to take back this Bill to Cabinet, look at it again, bring it in a far better form and we will all support it and make sure that we get a very viable Youth Employment Agency that will stand the test of time.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, because of the interest shown, I will take one more from each side and then we will get the Hon Minister to -
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Joseph N. Bukari (NDC-- Saboba) 5:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion of the joint Committee on Employment, Social Welfare, Sports and Culture on the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014.
    Mr Speaker, the issue of youth unemployment in the world is a worrying one for many countries, including Ghana. We have a lot of youth forming associations of unemployed graduates and other groups, indicating that the time has come for us, as a people or country, to consider putting in place a structure that would create jobs for our people.
    In my view, Mr Speaker, it is an opportune time for this House to put in place a legal framework that would give us the opportunity to establish the Youth Employment Agency that would seek to develop and create job opportunities for
    our youth. So, we seated in this House cannot afford to say that because of certain mistakes that took place in the “future”, we should fold our hands and sit down quietly in some corner and allow our youth not to be employed --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe you mean in the past and not in the “future”.
    Mr Bukari 5:25 p.m.
    In the past, Mr Speaker.
    It is for this reason that the Committee has put in place this Report to urge this House to adopt it, such that we could take the Bill through the Second Reading stage.
    Some of the issues raised by the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, that the Committee did not have enough time to go through the Bill, it could only be said that excuses are always given to issues one is not interested in.
    The Committee met on several occasions -- and from my counting, more than nine occasions. Information were sought for and given and documentations were provided to all of us on the Committee at all times. We looked at the Report and it got to a time, Mr Speaker, the issue was no more about the Bill but how we should conclude the Report. That alone took us three days; whether it should be by a majority decision or by consensus.
    Mr Speaker, we have to understand that even in 2005, the then Cabinet, at a retreat in Akosombo, had already proposed a way of financing the youth employment opportu-nities in the country. They had brought suggestions concerning the deductions from the District Assemblies Common Fund, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), to the Road Fund, to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund, to Survey Funds, to Investment Funds, to a total of GH¢ 1,108 trillion to fund this Youth Employment Agency.
    Mr Bukari 5:25 p.m.


    Mr Speaker, so, what we seek to do is to formalise these sources of funding for the Agency. It is therefore, not anything that is different. We should create a law that would help us establish what we seek to do as a people.

    So Mr Speaker, any other person who would want to show this House that time was not taken to consider the Bill may not in a way have considered himself when we were going through the Bill. We had enough of time and a lot of invitations from all other sectors that were part of the GYEEDA issues or the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).

    So, if we see all these issues and we still say that we should wait till a time where all legal issues would be addressed before we think of creating an agency to create employment, Mr Speaker, then that time may not come because we know legal issues do not take either one or two days to be resolved. So, must we fold our arms and allow our youth to be without employment?

    We would want to say that if for nothing at all, the ministerial committee that was put in place to investigate the issues alone, is one of the points to tell us that Government is committed to ensuring that justice is brought to whoever would have gone wrong.

    So, I would want to urge the House, that we adopt this Report and allow the House, to go through the second stage of reading the Bill and that it would be good

    for this country, that we would not have idle hands outside there. This is because we are employed by them to sit in this House, and when it is the turn for us to create a legal framework for them to also get jobs, we would stand up and say that we should defer that one. This is because we are not them; we should defer theirs and we would sit here and have jobs by the people whom we represent.

    So, I would want to end Mr Speaker, by urging this House, that we adopt this Report and ensure that we give the support to it and Government would have the opportunity to create jobs for our youth, such that we could have a force that would be working for the betterment of this country.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Isaac Osei?
    Mr Isaac Osei (NPP -- Subin) 5:25 p.m.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion.
    Mr Speaker, youth employment is a matter which should not divide this House on political lines. It is a matter which all of us are interested in and we would want to see the young people of our country in gainful employment.
    Mr Speaker, no one in this room is quarrelling about putting in place a legal framework which would enable us employ the youth, according to law. [Interruptions]-- Nobody in this House has said that we should not do that.
    Mr Speaker, certain points have been raised, which require clarity. First, the Hon Member for Sekondi talked about the porosity of the explanatory memorandum. It is very thin, according to our rules.
    He has urged us not to reject it outright but to go back and do some more work on it. This, I do not think is too hard for anybody to do.
    Secondly, Mr Speaker, if you look at the Report, there are clear weaknesses; the Report is not tight enough. For example, the Report, in one vein, is talking about a Youth Employment Agency, and in another vein, it is referring to a Youth Entrepreneurial Agency, and then it brings GYEEDA in.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the Report carefully, for example, in section 6.5, everybody knows that the Youth Employment Agency, which we are putting in place, is a new Agency and yet in section 6.5, we are talking about formalising already existing sources of funding of the Agency. When we put it this way, it is almost as if we are referring to GYEEDA.
    Thirdly, Mr Speaker, I do not really know where this Youth Entrepreneurial Agency is coming from. Mr Speaker, the Hon O.B. Amoah referred to sections 27, 28 and 29 of the Bill, where District Chief Executives and Regional Ministers are made heads of these institutions in their local areas.
    Mr Speaker, it may give the impression that we want to use them as political tools. For example, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and GETFund may have their own structure, where everybody reports to the head. But to use the Regional Minister to chair this Youth Employment Agency at the regional level, it is completely unacceptable. So, let us look at that one.
    Also, there is no need to put the
    political head of a district as head of this Agency. There is no need at all. So, let us do it properly and this is why I believe that it should go back.

    Having said this, Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Sekondi pointed out that in the Budget Statement, the Minister for Finance or the President complains about the inflexibility in the management of the economy.

    So, how can we talk about fiscal discipline, expenditure rationalisation and at the same time, be undertaking to expand our expenditure by absorbing this into what we say is the Civil Service? How can we do that?

    So, where in lies the space? We are further constricting the fiscal space which the Hon Minister for Finance would require in order to be able to operate the budget. If you consider the sources of funding, Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture referred to certain portions of the Constitution and I think we should take another look at it. Taking moneys from the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) may well be illegal. So, let us take a look at that again.

    Mr Speaker, on the basis of the high porosity of the memorandum and the weaknesses of this Report, I would suggest that we take a second look at it and not go ahead full stream. [Interruption] For those who are saying, no, perhaps, they should also contribute.

    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Thank you very much.

    You will want to contribute.

    Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought you would give the -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    No! I believe we have had enough - [Uproar.] We have had enough.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, unless you want to cede your right to somebody else.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this Bill is very important; so, I was just craving your indulgence to allow many more Hon Members to contribute. This is because we are helping the Government to govern through the Majority. If the Minority want to contribute, and somebody says, “No! No! No!” I do not understand. What is going on? [Interruption.] For the first time, the Minority says we would want to talk -- allow us to contribute. Then they say, “No! No! No! No! How can that be possible? [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, we think our Members -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, we have had enough by way of debate. Let us listen to your contribution if you have any and then we listen to the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Minister will wind up.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul(NPP--
    Bimbilla): Mr Speaker, if you say so.
    But Mr Speaker, I would want us to have a careful look at the conclusion of the Report. It came as a majority decision and I would want that to be established that at the Committee level, there were Hon Members who were highly against the Report coming to this House in the form in which it has come. That is why it has come as a majority decision Report.
    Mr Speaker, there were reasons the Hon Members, particularly on this side of the House were against it. One, the Hon Ranking Member has already stated that we believe this is not the right time for us to be looking at this Bill. [Interruption.] They can shout but that is our view.
    Mr Speaker, this is not the right time; this is budget time. Next week, we are going and somebody wants to thrust this Bill on to this House at this time. With all the controversies that have been raised in this House, we think that is the best way instead of getting consensus. If people would not forget, this side of the House, when we were in government, started this particular Youth Employment Scheme. So, there is nobody in this country, whether on the Minority side or Majority side, who would say that bringing in a Bill to create employment for the young people, is a bad thing; never! I do not think there is anybody in this country who would say that.
    But Mr Speaker, it is all wrong, insensitive and not morally good for this House, when the public out there thinks there is something seriously wrong with the way Government handled the GYEEDA Programme -- [Interruption] - Well, if I use “the GYEEDA” -- the Government handled the GYEEDA Programme because it used to be the NYEP and we had the GYEEDA Programme - and this House is rushing to pass this Bill.
    Mr Speaker, let us think again. We all want to support it but let us think again. [Interruption.] Seriously Mr Speaker, we want all of us as a country to have a Bill that we all support; we would all contribute to it and we would all help fine tune it but not this way.
    Mr Speaker, let me give some examples. The Hon O. B. Amoah asked some fundamental questions because this Bill passed through Cabinet. That is the thinking of Cabinet. We are helping the Government to govern through the Majority but that is the thinking of Cabinet that for the structure, we would have the Regional Ministers chairing the committees and their work is to oversee -
    If you go to clause 30, their work is to oversee the activities of the Agency in the districts and in the regions. [Interruption.] Clause 30 -- that is what it is says and at the district level, the District Chief Executive.

    Mr Speaker, we have the National Youth Agency under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, then we have the Youth Employment Agency under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations; how is that possible? Who is checking who? [Interruption] Mr Speaker, how?

    We should think again; we all want

    to support this Bill but Mr Speaker, I sympathise with the Hon Minister. We would support this Bill but we should think again. We are rushing; it is not good for this House. The image of the public out there about this House is not good, that the Majority would always stampede and use their numbers to let anything, whether it is good to pass. It is not good for us. [Interruption.] Of course, I am not running away from the fact and I am not talking about any Government but Mr Speaker--
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is it a point of order?
    Mr Agbesi 5:35 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    My Hon Colleague has used certain words that the Majority would stampede and use their numbers -
    Mr Speaker, the debate is on. We, at the Majority side, have not stampeded them. We have not asked that they should not debate. We have given them all the chance in the world. That is why he is debating now. Where are we stampeding and where are we using our majority?
    The debate is on. If he cannot debate, he should say so. [Interruption.] If he cannot debate, he should say so. He should not say we are using our numbers.
    Mr Speaker, that is what I want to say.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader, what do you say? The word “stampede”?
    Mr Nitiwul 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, do you believe what he is saying?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    The word “stampede”. I heard you use it.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said they use their numbers to vote. I did not talk about debate. [Uproar.] I said they use their numbers to vote.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I heard you use the word “stampede”. If you would want to withdraw it.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:35 p.m.
    Yes, but it is true; they stampede and vote. That is what I said.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, no; please, it looks -
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, because this Report has been laid, I would just make a cursory mention of a few things that have informed the view of the public.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    You still have not withdrawn the word “stampede”.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I can withdraw it and I have withdrawn it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Very well. Thank you.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what has informed the view of the public and the public is rightly against what we are doing now? The sentiments - go outside - everybody is talking about it; social media, radio stations and newspapers.
    It is because of what is contained in this Report that the Government itself brought it to this House.

    Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha (retd) — rose -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, is it a point of order?
    Maj. (Dr) (Alhaji) Mustapha Ahmed (retd): Mr Speaker, I have a point of order.
    I believe the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is deliberately throwing dust into our eyes. What is the relevance of the figures that he is quoting to the Bill? Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is raising points that are irrelevant to the Bill, that we are discussing. I would like to entreat him to stay on course and speak to the issue.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Hon Minister, I believe that it is part of the material given to the Committee by the Minister and therefore, he has every right to make reference to it.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you see, it is either he is a latecomer to this House when we took that decision or he was not listening. But thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, an amount of GH¢24.5 million was given to Asongtaba as a loan. In the same module, an amount of GH¢25.6 million was given to this same Asongtaba. And you know what, to equip the youth with technical skills in the use and maintenance of motor cycles, motor riding; [Interruption] GH¢50 million to train the youth on how to ride motorbikes. 50 million Ghana cedis, which is 500 billion old cedis, and you want us, when all these have gone wrong, instead of us to unite the nation, you want us to quickly pass this again for the public to come and beat us in this House? Mr Speaker, we will not be part of it. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, an amount of GH¢37.19 million was given to Asongtaba to train

    Mr Kobena M. Woyome — rose -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr K. M. Woyome 5:45 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to once again entreat the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, that what he is actually churning out here has no space in the legislation of a law that should cure all of that. This is because the introduction of this in the Committee's deliberation was to give some education to Committee members on what actually went wrong. You understand? So, we can all look at legislative means to cure all of these. What he is doing here, seriously, is totally irrelevant and has no base for this particular thing.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, please -
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Can we have some order?
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    You precisely need this information to form an opinion on whether we should wait or we should continue; that is what we are doing.
    Mr Speaker, nobody is saying that we do not support it. We are saying that wait, let us do some bit of work. People say we should continue. It is important to give out this information to make the Members understand.
    Mr Speaker, GH¢37.19 million was given to Asongtaba to train the youth in dress making, bead making, carving and drum making but Mr Speaker, they did not do it. They did not refund the money and nobody has asked them to pay for anything. Mr Speaker, GH¢50 million I told you about was spent on the motorbike,
    they did not train anybody. They took the money and that is it.
    Mr Speaker, let me continue. An
    amount of GH¢41.15 million was given to Asongtaba to train the youth in hair dressing, smock making, tie-and-dye, auto mechanic, guinea fowl rearing, soap making and carpentry. They did not do the training. They spent the money and nobody asked them to refund it. And you want us to pass this Bill?
    Mr Speaker--
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:45 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, I believe if you go through the Report, some recommendations have been made. We all agree that it was part of the material given to the Committee by the Ministry but we need to concentrate more on the Bill before us.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just allow me to summarise the views of this House from this side.
    I thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, an amount of GH¢15.19 million was given to CASHPRO to train youth in basket weaving in the Upper East Region of Ghana. They did not do it and nobody has asked them to refund the money.
    Mr Speaker, let me continue. An amount of GH¢58.1 million was given to Better Ghana Management Services Limited (BGMLL) to manage community in sanitation teaching health modules. Mr Speaker, when the Administrator of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) said they should bring the list of the beneficiaries, as we sit today, not a single name has been sent. That is the information the Committee gave us; not a single name has been sent to him. The money has been spent and not a single person has been prosecuted.
    Mr Speaker, when the Government set up this Committee, it met and sat with two companies; Zoomlion Ghana Limited and rlg. Zoomlion Ghana Limited was asked to pay GH¢140 million and rlg

    was asked to refund GH¢55 million which was interest free loan. Mr Speaker, he was called and given the interest free loan of GH¢55 million. He actually signed a contract with the Attorney-General to pay the full GH¢55 million. The whole of this year, he paid the first quarter and that ended it.

    Mr Speaker, today, the impression

    we are giving to the public is that we are rushing to pass this Bill. Nobody says we should not pass the Bill; in fact, whether we stay in this House, whether we vote against or for this Bill, or we walk out, even if the Majority refuses to listen to good counsel and insist that they will pass it, we still have the right to make changes to this Bill and we will bring changes if they do that.

    Mr Speaker, we should not rush this Bill. It has been introduced in this House but we should leave it like that and go back and do some bit of work on it.

    Mr Speaker, it is not good for us at all. The impression we are creating in this House for the public is not good for us. We agree that we need to have a legal framework. Fair enough. All of us agree but the way we are going about it with all this has not been touched and that was why I was very happy when the Majority Leader said that now this has been introduced into the House. If we want credibility as a House, Mr Speaker, what we need to do is to first tackle this as a House. Let the people have confidence in us and immediately we finish, we will come back to this Bill, unanimously pass it and get our young people to work.

    Mr Speaker, all the people of Ghana are not like you and me. We may not have the same behaviour. Maybe, the people in this House may be thinking about the welfare of the young people and would want to actually create jobs for them. Mr Speaker, it is not everybody who thinks like that. There are many people out there who will create the same problem that was created

    here when the GH¢1.5 billion went down the drain, if we are not careful.

    Mr Speaker, let me read something from this Report, if you will give me the opportunity:

    “Again, the Committee observes that the use of single source procurement processes for all the modules contracted was either as a result of non-involvement of the office of the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice or due to receiving uninformed and inadequate legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice.

    The whole Committee met, Mr Speaker -- the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice did not appear even a single day to brief the Committee. The Committee met and the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice did not even meet them one single day to brief them and to give them legal advice. How can you as a Committee meet and the Attorney-General's Department was not there to advise you?

    “Mr Speaker, some instances of reference to the Attorney-General were cited”. The Committee continues. Some instances of references to the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice were cited, where useful advice was provided.

    For instance, in a letter dated 29th June, 2011, the then Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice, Hon Ebo Barton-Oduro [Uproar] provided detailed promise and guidance on the youth in leather works and youth in transport modules. However, they got the advice but they did not take
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, I hope you do not want to drag me into the debate on the floor
    Mr Nitiwul 5:55 p.m.
    Exactly.
    Mr Speaker, your advice was
    ignored. That is what I am saying. The recommendations which were made were ignored and we are being asked
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have had enough time. Please, conclude.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are being asked to pass this Bill at this time. Our humble request from this side of the House is that we stay proceedings on this Bill. This is because the way it is, we are unable to continue with proceedings from this side of the House. That is the truth, and that is why every single one of us who got up from this side kept saying the same thing; stay proceeding -- we support it we will support you. We are in support of you. But this, we cannot support now. Let us unite as a nation and as House and deal with this Report. We will support you when you bring the Bill after we have finished with this. Let us gain credibility in the eyes of the public. But if you refuse you have the number, you can go ahead
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, conclude.
    Mr Nitiwul 5:55 p.m.
    But remember that there is a tomorrow [Interruptions] Mr Speaker, they have the numbers and they can go ahead, but they should remember that there is a tomorrow. Their own Government is prosecuting people in this House [Uproar] They do not know what tomorrow is. My advice is, let us unite this nation. We cannot divide the nation because of this Bill. I have been trying to make this same point over and over, that we can unite behind this Bill. The Majority should take their time and let us unite. They have introduced the Bill in this House.
    We understand where the Bill is coming from. They have introduced it and we support it, but they should hold on let us unite behind the Bill and let us make progress. But if they think they would not and would want to go on, we are happy to tell them that, for now, we would not
    be part of it. But we can be part of it as we move on in future. But the way things have gone now, we plead with them to hold on and let us deal with this and by the time we finish with this as a House and come back, not one person may contribute. It would be unanimous after the Chairman has read his Report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker I stand to contribute to the debate, that the Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time and in doing so, I would want to give an indication how far we have come. I would also want to emphasise the point that this House is the House that is entrusted with the power to make law, no other institution
    Some Hon Members 5:55 p.m.
    Good laws!
    Mr Bagbin 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, and then
    end up exhorting my Hon Colleagues, to let us consider what is before us with calm nerves. This country has been bedevilled with a serious problem of unemployment [Interruption] And the heavy weight of the unemployment is on the youth. Many Governments have made efforts until 2006 when the then Government formulated a policy and through that policy, they put in place a programme of youth employment and that programme was being implemented through the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

    Dr A. A Osei rose
    An Hon Member 5:55 p.m.
    Sit down! Sit down!
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo, you have the floor.
    Dr A. A Osei 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, a Minister of State sitting there saying, “sit down” and we are talking about code of conduct. Just this Friday, the Majority Leader was talking to us about code of conduct, and a Minister of State Listen to him. This is a Minister of State
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, I have not given him the floor and therefore, just address the Chair.
    Dr A. A Osei 5:55 p.m.
    Yes, but we are talking about a code of conduct for Hon Members [Uproar] which affects our integrity
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    I thought you were taking a point against the Hon Majority Leader?
    Dr A. A. Osei 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to correct the Hon Majority Leader, that the programme did not start under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It was under the Ministry of Employment first. That is what I wanted to correct.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 5:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the fact that it started from the Ministry of Employment. I stated earlier that it was under a programme. The policy, as to which Ministry should oversee the programme was that of Government decision and that is a policy matter. That is why when Bills come before the House, we insist that Ministers should appear before the Committee to tell the Committee the policy of Government.
    It is very important, and so, that is a policy matter. That is not a matter of legislation. But we can make inputs into the policy and that we are empowered to do.
    Mr Speaker, this Committee that was established in the early days of this Government, was to investigate the whole Programme from 2006 and that investigation covered both the previous Government and this Government.
    Mr Speaker, the Report we have, covers both periods. Definitely, the Programme was started in 2006 to 2008 -- two years. The investigations started in 2013 and so, you can see the number of years. From 2009 to 2013, is how many years? Four years and so, the lifespan of the Programme was more in this Government than in the previous regime.
    But Mr Speaker, one thing that they never referred to is that between 2006 to 2008, documents of that period could not be produced before the Committee. And Mr Speaker, it is at page 11 of the Report. I beg to read, with your permission:
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Oder! Order! Hon Members, order!
    Mr Bagbin 6:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, hence the Committee was unable to inquire into and comment on the regularities or otherwise of all the contracts executed prior to 2008. [Pause] -
    Mr Speaker that is one of the good reasons I am in support of this House taking time off and bringing this Committee to investigate this Report and submit a report to this House for us to debate --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 6:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Majority Leader quoted exactly what the Report said, I am happy that we should start immediately to look at the Report and investigate. But when you write to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for a document that should be lying at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, you will never get it.
    Mr Speaker, the Programme was under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and you are writing to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, how would you get that document? That is the reason they could not get it. And they do not consult. New Patriotic Party (NPP) was not in power. They never consulted anybody. Did they? Ask them --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr Bagbin 6:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, governance or government is continuous. He is creating a wrong impression. When a Government leaves power, he does not take away the documents. So, there was no need to consult those who were out of Government but to consult the institution. So, he cannot say that they did not consult those who were there and they are out of power. That is not correct.
    But Mr Speaker, let me go on. I would again want to reiterate the point that, the Committee should take time, go into this Report, summon the people before the Committee, investigate and write a report to this House for us to debate.
    Mr Speaker, this was a Programme
    which met challenges and the Committee has come out with a report and one of the recommendations is for us to pass a law. Now, the power to pass laws rests in this House. The duty of the Executive is to initiate the legislation because of provisions in our Constitution. But when they submit the draft law in the nature of a Bill to this House, we can change the first word to the last word. We have that power.
    So, if we have seen defects in the Bill, we have a process of improving on what has been brought to this House. And Mr Speaker, we have done it a number of times in this House.
    I listened to my Colleague, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah submit on the basis of article 106, that the memorandum accompanying the Bill is defective because article 106 is clear as to what should be contained in the memorandum.
    Mr Speaker, I would also read article 106. The relevant clause is 106 (2) (a). It says:
    “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 explanatory 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…”
    This was the relevant clause he quoted.
    Mr Speaker, he was talking about defects in the law. The defects in the law was that there was no law. The programme that was being implemented, there was no law. And so, a law is being introduced. It is when there is an existing law and there are defects, that in the memorandum, you include those defects and the proposal to
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 6:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know which Bill the Hon Majority Leader is looking at. He is probably thinking about amendment. With your permission, let me quote clause 21 of the Bill:
    “There is established by this Act, a Youth Employment Fund”.
    Please, it is in the Bill. I have read the headnote: “Establishment of the Youth Employment Fund”. So, what is it? What is establishment of a youth Fund?
    Mr Speaker, it is in the Bill. He wants to change it -- yes - But it is here. He is talking about what is in the Report and I am talking about what is in the Bill -
    Mr Speaker, these people do not understand what a Bill is. It is here - “Establishment of a youth development Fund”. And he is talking about a proposal in an amendment. The headnote is here and he is talking about a Committee's Report. I am not talking about a Committee's Report. I am talking about the Bill. So, he cannot say that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Your point is well made.
    on Majority Leader, can you respond?
    Mr Bagbin 6:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have passed laws here establishing Funds. The object of the law is always to establish a fund; the object of this law is to establish an Agency -- [Interruption.] Oh! God, please -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Please, allow him to land; he is making his argument.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    M r B a g b i n : Wa i t ! P l e a s e ! [Interruption.] Let us listen to one another.
    I know you are referring to a clause which is proposing, that we should establish a Fund but I am saying that this Bill is not to establish a Fund; the object of this Bill is to establish an Agency. Look at all the laws that we pass in this House establishing Funds -- it is District Assemblies Common Fund Act, it is - [Pause] - Road Fund, Ghana Education Trust Fund. So, in the Bill, there is a clause talking about the establishment of a Fund.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to emphasise again that we can change from the first to the last word. Immediately I read the Bill, I criticised the clauses of the Bill. But the policy and principles of the Bill are good, laudable and supported by all Ghanaians because we are looking for a sustainable solution to youth unemployment.

    So, we in this House, should use the power that the people have given us to make sure that we pass a law that would further the course of making sure that there is youth employment.

    Mr Speaker, the structure and the funding - It is true that at the appropriate

    time, particularly during the Consideration Stage, we would have to take a second look at the structure of the Agency that we are establishing. It is true that at the Consideration Stage, we would have to look at the source of funding for the Agency.

    These are issues that concern all of us and we agree that it will be done because we know that the proposal here is relying on unsustainable sources of financing and therefore, as legislators, it is our duty to make sure that we do not put something on nothing; it would fall. Again, it is our duty to make laws and not the duty of the Executive.

    There are debts to be collected and we can only as law makers and people exercising oversight, keep on putting pressure on Government to collect the money. However, we cannot let the delay or the failure to collect the money, rather take away our power to make laws. That definitely, cannot be the position that this House would take because on a daily basis, we would be facing these challenges with the Executive arm of Government.

    It is the reality of our time because our institutions are weak and the rule of law in Ghana still has so many people who are above the rule of law; we all know it. There are so many people who are still above the rule of law and that is why there is a difficulty in enforcing the law. So -
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, ignore the asides and make your submissions.
    Mr Bagbin 6:15 a.m.
    You know Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member and I, undertook a
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member, do you have any point to make?
    Very well, continue.
    Mr Nitiwul 6:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker - [Inter- ruptions.] The Ranking Member is giving proper leadership in the House. He is reflecting exactly what he learnt at GIMPA here and that is why he is going through the real tenets of good governance. One, accountability; two, probity; that is enshrined in our Constitution. Is that not right? So, he should praise him for that.
    6. 25 p.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, I realise that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is now the advocate for the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee.
    Anyway, that is on the lighter side.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 6:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to urge Colleagues to bring to bear the vast wisdom and experience that they have to make this law a good one. That is our duty and we should not run away from performing it; our reason being that, someone else failed to do his duty well and that definitely, cannot be.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy to hear from the Hon Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, I say, I am happy to hear I am not talking to Mr Speaker's hearing. I said me.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Anyway, Hon Majority Leader, I have not given him the floor; so, I have not heard anything.
    Mr Bagbin 6:15 a.m.
    No! I heard him say that he was not running away. So, I am happy to hear that. And so, I am inviting you to partner the Majority to make a good law that can govern the Programme that he puts in place, to make sure that we make unemployment of the youth a thing of the past. That is my call to him and I believe that this call would not fall on deaf ears.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, now, it is the turn of the Hon Minister to wind up.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 6:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity and indeed, the privilege to wind up on the debate on this very important subject of youth unemployment and the need to create a legal framework to guide the co-ordination of youth employment in our country.
    Mr Speaker, when I had cause during the Second Reading to move the Motion, I said that the world was concerned about growing unemployment and in particular, youth unemployment and therefore, we needed a concerted effort to deal with the problem.
    Mr Speaker, I ordinarily would have asked that I would want to see Hon Members of Parliament who are not for the employment of Ghanaian youth to stand. I see none. Mr Speaker, I see none because there is harmony and there is harmony because we all recognise the potentials of our young people as the health, the wealth and the future of our country.
    Mr Speaker, as I listened to the debate, I was reminded by a proverb my mother
    shared with me, that: You do not because of a visitor or a parasite, ask your wife not to cook for you because you may end up starving yourself.”
    I have heard the interesting debate of the Bill and the debate on the GYEEDA Report and Mr Speaker, it is awakening and I hope that my Hon Colleagues -- I refer the Hon Deputy Minority Leader to page 58 of the Report and essentially appreciate why we need a bi-partisan approach in dealing with this matter.
    Mr Speaker, I refer to page 58; it states
    and I beg to quote:
    “There is no evidence of compliance with the Public Procurement Act of 2003; the Committee did not see any evidence of the office of the Attorney-General or any Lawyer involved in the process or protecting the interest of the stay in the contracting process”.
    “Reference: a contract between Zoomlion, Hon Kofi Adda, and the next is Zoomlion, Hon Nana Akomea”.
    So, it means Mr Speaker, both of us are guilty of not respecting the laws of this country and not respecting the procurement processes -- [Uproar.] -- of this country and this is an opportunity to correct it. I do not want to go into the partisan politics of it. I am just saying Mr Speaker, part of the reason we need this legal framework, I would refer you to the White Paper again and I beg to quote:
    “Inadequate institutional legal framework, no law backing the establishment of NYEP/GYEEDA, no legislative enabling instrument to operationalise the law, no governing body executive management team, ill defined inadequate organisational structure”.
    It is to correct this defect that this Government-- and Mr Speaker, it is a unique character of our Government to improve on the initiatives of the New
    Patriotic Party's (NPP) Government. They initiated it in 2005, without a legislative process. They had no legal plan and we are seeking to improve it for them Mr Speaker and we would do rightly so.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 6:15 a.m.
    On a point of Order!
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague is misleading this House. Mr Speaker, it is not true that the present Government did improve on our initiative; they rather collapsed it. That is why we are here today. The Programme was running smoothly; they came and destroyed it and that is why we are here today.
    So, it is not true that they did improve on our initiatives; that is why some Hon Members are in court today. That is why the Programme is not running; the Programme that has recruited as at 2008, 108,000 people and today, cannot boast of even a single member of our community. So is that an improvement? Certainty not --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:15 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Minister, can you continue?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 6:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, precisely so, that we are saying that there would be a Board -- the operations of GYEEDA and with your permission Mr Speaker, let me go to page 68 of the Report, that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader and Hon Asiamah and my good Leader, so copiously referred to -- page 68, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, this is what we are enjoined to do, that steps should be taken to ensure that GYEEDA's procurement processes are informed by a procurement plan, developed in accordance with the terms of a strategic level plan, which is
    periodically reviewed. The procurement of service providers is carried out strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
    Mr Speaker, this, we undertake to provide leadership and that once we have this august House pass this Bill into law, we would go through a competitive process than before, not what happened in 2005 or 2008 or 2009. We would go even if it means in the international media, that we would do so in consultation with the laws of our country.
    What gladdens my heart Mr Speaker, is that, there is harmony, that we need a legal framework, an institutional structure that would co-ordinate the employment of the youth in our country.
    We do, Mr Speaker -- I have heard arguments about policy incoherence -- Mr Speaker, how I wish -- and I have been trained that I should never make reference to a dead person because that can keep people debating the comment I would make. But with respect to the late Hon Baah Wiredu, who played a significant role at the time, together with Mr Francis Poku, then as the National Security Co-ordinator -- it was because our Hon Colleagues opposite at the time in Government, conceived the growing unemployment as a national security crisis. It is still same today that we should treat youth unemployment and the growing inability of young people, graduates from polytechnics, universities and secondary schools without jobs as a threat to the peace and stability of our country.
    Therefore, when it comes to the funding mechanism, we would be guided by the brilliance of this House, that Mr Speaker, I made reference to the late Baah Wiredu. Let me go further. That was when we initiated Communications Service Tax. I remember my own words. I gave you some headache just as you are giving me
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Nitiwul 6:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me read the constitutional provision on why this Parliament would do that. I beg to quote article 252 (2) of the Constitution. It states:
    “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall annually make provision for the allocation of not less than five per cent of the total revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development; and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund in quarterly instalments.”
    That is the Constitution, though the Hon Minister is failing to do that. Article 252 (3) states:
    “The moneys accruing to the District Assemblies in the Common Fund shall be distributed among all the District Assemblies on the basis of a formula approved by Parliament.” You cannot take any amount. That is the constitutional provision that I am talking about.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 6:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, therefore, let me express gratitude to Hon Members and encourage our Colleagues opposite that youth unemployment is a very major concern to all of us and we need to support this institutional framework.
    Mr Speaker, let me assure you that, Government will implement fully as I indicated. There is some effort at recovery of some of the monies that my Colleagues referred to. There are some other actions that have been
    initiated by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
    Mr Speaker, with that, I would want to thank our Colleagues and to say that youth employment is a very critical matter. We need to support one another and we need to assure our young people.
    Mr Speaker, my final comment is on the urgency of the Bill. Many of our young people are relying on the stipends they got while engaged. At least, in every constituency, I can point to a beneficiary of youth employment. We will do same, but we would do so through an open, competitive bidding process. We will pay all outstanding money to those who are deserving and we will abrogate those contracts that are not worthy of proceeding funds.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Question put and Motion agreed to
    The Youth Employment Agency Bill, 2014 was accordingly read a Second time.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 6:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I got the sense of the House. Immediately I got up, my able Chairman of the Special Budget Committee, I believe that we have done a good job today. Members would need to take up some rest, so that we can continue tomorrow.
    I would want to appeal to Hon Members that, we should continue along this line, so that we can finish
    with the Business of the House. Tomorrow, I would be giving an indication as to the programme we are putting in place for us to finish with the Business of the House before the Christmas recess.
    I thank Hon Members and we are now in your hands.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:35 p.m.
    Hon Members, I must express my gratitude for the very able manner in which this debate on this particular Bill has been carried out in this Honourable House. I want to thank you.
    ADJOURNMENT 6:35 p.m.

  • The House was adjourned at 6.41 p.m. till Friday, 12th December, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.