Debates of 17 Dec 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 11:10 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 11:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, Correc- tion of Votes and Proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 9th December, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Member, Question time -- [Pause.]
    Hon Majority Leader, it is Question time. Do we have the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in the House?
    Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 11:10 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, we have two Urgent Questions for the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    We will start with Question numbered 3(a) on the Order Paper, standing in the name of the Hon Member for Adentan.
    URGENT QUESTIONS 11:10 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF LANDS AND 11:10 a.m.

    NATURAL RESOURCES 11:10 a.m.

    Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Nii Osah Mills) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, by an Executive Instrument number 214 of 1980, a parcel of land at Adentan-Accra, covering an area of approximately 614.42 acres, was compulsorily acquired under the State Lands Act 125 of 1962.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to stress that Government has fully paid compensation to the pre-acquisition owners.
    Mr Speaker, the land was acquired for the purpose of a remote receiving station for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority
    (GCAA).
    Mr Speaker, the GCAA subsequently developed part of the land into an air traffic control receiving station and staff quarters. The Authority has been in possession of the land since the date of the acquisition.
    Mr Speaker, as a result of dwindling developable land in Accra, a number of requests for the release of the land was made to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Lands Commission.
    Mr Speaker, all these demands have happened as a result of improved technologies in air traffic control and management, which led to the realisation that the GCAA does not need the entire stretch of the land in question to provide the services needed.
    Mr Speaker, the use of modern aviation technology and the ongoing re- engineering of business processes at the GCAA, influenced the decision of the Authority, that only a portion of the subject land is required to meet the intended objective of the acquisition; while the
    remaining portion can be utilised for other purposes to complement the overall objective that was envisaged at the date of acquisition.
    A series of discussions, therefore, ensued between the Lands Commission and the GCAA, with the view to utilising part of the land for other public projects.
    Mr Speaker, with this intention, a number of consultations were held with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Attorney-General's Department, as well as the pre-acquisition owners, on the appropriate mechanism to adopt, to ensure the highest and best use of the land to fulfill the national development agenda with respect to housing and other mixed uses.
    Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in consultation with the Lands Commission and the GCAA, submitted a memorandum to Cabinet to enable the Ministry re-zone the area.
    Mr Speaker, after considering the memorandum on the proposal for re- designation of the subject site, Cabinet directed the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to prepare a land use plan for the site. Accordingly, a land use plan for the site was prepared and subsequently approved by the Adentan Municipal Assembly.
    That land use plan is now the plan that is enforced for the re-zoning and the re- designation and then the mix use to which the land would now be put.
    Mr Speaker, in answering the Question, I believe the important aspects to stress are; one, the land in question was acquired for a public purpose; and two, the land in
    question has not been given back to the pre-acquisition owners, except to say that a certain portion, after discussions with the pre-acquisition owners, would be given to them.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minister, kindly resume your seat.
    Hon Member, do you have your supplementary questions?
    Nii Ashie-Moore: Precisely so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, your first supple- mentary question.
    Nii Ashie-Moore: Mr Speaker, I would like to further ask the Hon Minister if the allodial owners were given the first option to re-acquire the said land, as per the 1992 Constitution of Ghana -- clause 20(5).
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission
    -- 11:20 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, there is no need for you to quote the Constitution.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the simple answer is, no, and perhaps, I need to expatiate.
    Mr Speaker, I do not believe that the issue of giving the first option to the pre- acquisition owners arises in this particular instance.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, your second supplementary question.

    Nii Ashie-Moore: Mr Speaker, I would also like to ask the Hon Minister -- in his first submission, he said that the Adentan Municipal Assembly had approved the re- zoning of the land.

    Mr Speaker, being a member of the Municipal Assembly, where I have been part of all General Assembly meetings, no such document or discussion had been made at any general meeting.

    Mr Speaker, furthermore, I would like to know if compensation was paid to the allodial owners, and if yes, to whom, and when?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, for Adentan, what is your question? Are you talking about -- [Interruptions.] --
    Hon Members, let us have some order in the Chamber.
    You are mixing so many issues. Are you talking about the payment of compensation or you are talking about the fact that the Adentan Municipal Assembly has not approved any --
    So, which of them? You cannot put the two together; it should be one question at a time.
    So, Hon Member, which of the questions are you asking?
    Nii Ashie-Moore: Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, my question again is, has compensation been paid to the allodial owners?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minister? [Inter- ruptions.]
    Some Hon Members 11:20 a.m.
    When and to whom?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, it was paid to the pre-acquisition owners.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, your last supplementary question.

    Mr Speaker, I have sighted a document which is the Legislative Instrument (L.I.), that was used to acquire the land in 1961. It is now called Adentan Valley; 140 acres have been allocated to a business centre; 120 acres to a business hub; 150 acres have been allocated for a shopping mall.

    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, there is a proverb that says that --

    “if you do not have a sore on your leg, you would say that the fly is your best friend.”

    This is a matter that can happen to anybody in this House. I speak for the people of Adentan. So, please --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    What is your question, Hon Member?
    Nii Ashie-Moore: Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Minister if all stakeholders within the constituency or the Municipal Assembly were consulted before the re-zoning -- and although it is for an important social facility for the constituency -- was drawn up.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, if I understand the question well, basically, he is asking whether all stakeholders were consulted. And my simple answer again is, yes!
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Ningo/ Prampram?
    Mr Enoch Teye Mensah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in an answer to a supplementary question, whether the allodial owners were given the first option before the land was given out, the Hon Minister did not complete the answer. So, I would want him to let us know whether they were consulted, and whether they were given any option at all.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, my answer was clear. What I said was that, the issue does not arise in law, and therefore, it was a complete answer.
    Some Hon Members 11:20 a.m.
    The question is, why?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, it does not arise because in the first place, full compensation was paid; and in the second place, the land was acquired in 1980, and this was before the Constitutional provisions in article 20 -- [Interruptions] -- I beg your pardon?
    Respectfully, Mr Speaker, the land was acquired by the Executive Instrument number 214 of 1980, and I believe that my answer is sufficient.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister, kindly take your seat.
    Hon Member for Secondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to ask the Hon Minister, what the size of the land which has presently been re-zoned is and for what public use has it been re-zoned.
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the size of the land that has been presently re- zoned is 614.42 acres.
    Secondly, Mr Speaker, the purpose for which it has been re-zoned is mixed. It will be used for commercial purposes -- housing As we know in Ghana, we have different types of housing; we have high rise, medium, and perhaps, for those who can least afford, more affordable housing -- it will be for a mixed use.
    We also have malls, supermarkets and it will be, in a sense, a take-off from the airport city aspect. It will be an iconic project indeed, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, will this use be undertaken by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, any other public authority or private individuals?

    Yes.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Ho West? Then, Hon Titus-Glover.
    Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in an answer to a supplementary question by the Hon Member for Adentan, the Hon Minister mentioned that some stakeholders were consulted. May I find
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the consultations held included the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice as well as the pre-acquisition owners and the Adentan Municipal Assembly.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Titus-Glover, Member of Parliament for Tema East?
    Nii Kwartei Daniel Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I hold in my hands a letter dated 1st October, 2013, signed by the former Mayor of Adentan, Mr Nubly Kakra Vanlare to the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    With your permission, I beg to quote.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    What document are you holding?
    Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I would want to table it. It is from the Adentan Municipal Assembly -- a letter that was signed by the former Mayor to the former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Go ahead, Hon Member.
    Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, it is with regard to what exactly they want to do on the land. Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, it reads:
    “Public Conveyance Act, 1965, Act 302, Adentan site for remote receiving station redeveloping scheme.”
    Mr Speaker, this is what the land was to be used for as part of the acquisition, but we are breaching the Constitution, article 20 (6), and with your permission, I beg to quote, and --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, we all have copies of the Constitution, so, ask the question.
    Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, this is Ga land. I am speaking --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Titus-Glover, take your seat.
    Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    I have given you the floor; ask your question. We all have copies of the Constitution; we have made reference to article 20 (6).
    Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I would still want to re-emphasise on my question, that why were the allodial owners not given the first option when they decided to redesign the scheme on the land? This is because the Constitution tells us that they have to be consulted and given the first option. That question was not clearly answered.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, in my earlier remarks and answers, I stated that the pre-acquisition owners were consulted. I also stated that a certain acreage -- 42 acres or 43 acres have been set aside after discussions. So, that matter has been taken care of.
    An Hon Member 11:20 a.m.
    Aah! Out of 600 acres?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Members, I will move on. I will want to find out if the Hon Minority Leader will want to ask any question -- because -- I have given a number of Hon Members the chance -- so that we can --
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    There can only be one from each side when there is one on my right but there is no one on my right.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Deputy Majority Leader has greater vested interest than the Hon Majority Leader himself.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you know there is a way of knowing whether someone would want to ask a question or speak on the floor. The Hon Deputy Majority Leader has not indicated that in any way.
    Hon Minority Leader, I am managing the time. That is why I have called you. You can take all their questions and ask, so that we make progress.
    In fact, if I will call somebody, I will rather go for gender balance. So, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
    Ms Shirley A. Botchwey 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    From the Hon Minister's Answer, out of the 614 acres, only 42 or 43 acres representing about seven (7) per cent given back to the original owners of the land. The rest, about 93 per cent, obviously, has been given out to commercial concerns.
    The Hon Minister, in his Answer, snuck in the information that some of the land would be used for affordable housing.
    I would want to find out from the Hon Minister the acreage of the land which will be used for affordable housing out of the remaining acres.
    Secondly, I would want to serve notice to the Hon Minister that we will invite him again to this House to let us know who the owners of the commercial companies that the land went to.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, the second part of your comment is of no moment.
    Yes, Hon Minister, the first part.

    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, in answer to the first question, I would like to state that I do not have the figures with me and I do not have them off hand.

    Secondly, Mr Speaker, it is also true to say that among the mixed uses for the site would be schools, clinics, et cetera.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader? [Interruption.]

    Hon Members, should I move to the next Question?

    Hon Minority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has indicated to us in his Answer that the property was acquired for a specified public purpose, that is, in accordance with article 20 (5) of the 1992 Constitution, .
    An Hon Member 11:40 p.m.
    He is asking a question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    I am asking the Hon Minister a question and he says I should go on [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is asking a question based on article 20(6) of the Constitution. Am I right? And his question is and with your permission I beg to quote:
    “Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option…”
    Mr Speaker, I would like to comment on this. What I would like to say is this -- lt says, “if it is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired...”
    Mr Speaker, there are two options there. Provided the property is being used for the public interest --
    Mr Speaker, it has been shown that, for example, the Airport City for which some rose up and said that Airport City development was not in accordance with
    the use for which the land was acquired, but it was demonstrated and shown that provided services which the public can access and which facilitate tourism, the use of the airport and so on, then the issue of whether that land or site was being used for the public purpose was then answered.
    Mr Speaker, equally, if land is acquired for remote sensing, and clearly due to the advancement in the use of technologies, the huge land area acquired originally is far beyond the needs for which it was acquired, then Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would like to submit that, provided the land is used in such a way that the public benefits, then the first prong of article 20 (6) is observed. That is what I would like to say in respect of the question by the the Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted the Hon Minister to advert his mind to this; the property was acquired for a specific purpose, but the Hon Minister now comes under general public interest and converts it to a use under that umbrella, when they acquired it for a specified purpose.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    So, Mr Speaker, that is a question to him. It was acquired for a specific purpose. Now-- he is going on the other leg, because the constitutional provision relates to two legs -- a specified purpose and public interest. The question to him is, can he now, having acquired it for a specific purpose, recline and say to us that it is still in the public interest?
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    That is precisely what he is saying. He says that there are two legs to it -- specific purpose and public interest.
    Hon Minority Leader, the challenge which we have now is with regard to expressing of opinion under Standing Order 67(e). So, that is his opinion. He may be right; he may be wrong, but that is his opinion. If you look at Order 67, a question shall not solicit the expression of an opinion. That is his opinion; but you can ask a follow-up question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, so, would the Hon Minister tell us, who are the new owners of the parcel -- Who are the new owners?
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, there is not one owner. There are a number of owners, or a number of applicants who have applied, I should say.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have the list with me; and as I stand here, I cannot provide off the top of my head, all the names of the applicants, et cetera. But Mr Speaker, that is a matter that perhaps, at another time, if the need be, I could provide.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, alongside that, would the Hon Minister then assure us --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Please, take your seat.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the Minister would assure us, in coming back to the House, to give us a comprehensive list of the new owners -- and how much they paid. [Interruption]
    Mr Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Please, let us have order.
    Hon Minority Leader, that is for the House, especially through the Business Committee, to work out if it wants the Hon
    Minister to come to the House; it is something that can always be worked out for him to come.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us move to Question 3(b).
    Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri?
    Lease of land behind Nsawam Cannery -- (Executive
    Instrument)
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh asked the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources whether the parcel of land behind the Nsawam Cannery, which has Executive Instrument placed on it, had been leased out to a private individual or corporate body.
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence to answer the Question.
    Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to thank you for this invitation.
    Mr Speaker, the subject land is located at Nsawam in the Eastern Region. It is a parcel of land measuring 635.20 acres, which was compulsorily acquired by Executive Instrument number 31 of 1977 for pineapple production. The land abuts the site for Nsawam Food Processing Factory, and therefore, its acquisition was intended to support the operations of the food factory.
    Mr Speaker, the defunct Ghana Industrial Holding Company (GIHOC) was the beneficiary under the said acquisition. Following the folding up of GIHOC, the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), based on its mandate, entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Caridem Development Company Limited (the purchaser) on 5th October, 2000.

    The purchaser applied to the Lands Commission with a copy of the sale and purchase agreement on 8th October, 2012 for title perfection.

    Mr Speaker, the Eastern Regional Lands Commission on 4th October, 2013 granted a lease on the strength of the sale and purchase agreement from DIC to Caridem Development Company Limited, which has since been registered.

    Mr Speaker, Caridem Development Company limited, therefore, holds a 50- year lease from Government with effect from 1st September, 2013.

    Thank you very much.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to ask the Hon Minister, why has the Executive Instrument (E.I.) 31, 1977 with an intended purpose of using the land for pineapple production, coupled with the relevant constitutional provision -- article 20, which are two very important documents, been breached by the Government. As we speak, the land has been leased to an individual without the courtesy of recourse to the allodial owners of the land. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Did you get the question Hon Minister?
    Very well.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us have some order in the Chamber.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, from the Minister's own Answers, there is a breach of the 1992 Constitution and there is also a breach of the intended purpose of the Executive Instrument. How would the Hon Minister reconcile breaches that -
    - ?
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, if you think it is a breach, say so; because I did not hear the Hon Minister say there is a breach. Do not attribute it to the Hon Minister.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, in my opinion, it is a breach. So, how would the Hon Minister reconcile the leasing of that land to Caridem vis-à- vis the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the intended purpose of the E.I.?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the lease was granted pursuant to a sale and purchase agreement between the DIC, acting on behalf of Ghana Government and Caridem. As we are all aware, the DIC has the mandate as an agency of Government to handle the assets of a divested entity. This is exactly what happened.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Your last supplementary question.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully so.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Please, rephrase the question. I will not admit that question.
    Hon Member, the Hon Minister said it was the DIC and we may need to go and look at the DIC law. The DIC is not under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would rephrase my question.
    Is the Hon Minister aware that the allodial owners of the land are demanding the return of the said land to them?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, actually, I am not aware.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    I will take one supplementary question and move on to the Hon Minority Leader.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr Anthony Akoto Osei 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware that in the process of undertaking the sale and purchasing agreement, the DIC consulted the allodial owners?
    Nii Mills: Mr Speaker, no. I am not aware.
    Did I get the Hon Member right? He asked whether during the process --
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Minister, you have answered the question. Please, take your seat.
    Hon Member for Manhyia South?
    Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister's predecessor set up a committee specifically on that
    issue. That committee was going to look into transferring the land back to the owners. Is the Hon Minister saying that he is not aware that a ministerial committee was set up?
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Are you aware? The question is whether you are aware that your predecessor -- I do not know whether it is your immediate predecessor or which of them, set up a committee to go into that matter with the possibility of -- [Interruption.]
    Hon Members, order!
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, the month of October seems to be a very magical month in respect of the sale and acquisition of this property.
    You spoke about the first deal on 5th October, 2000, 8th October, 2012 and 4th October, 2013 - all transactions in October. October seems to be a very curious and magical month in this enterprise.
    Mr Speaker, now, the lease, which the Hon Minister alluded to was sealed on 4th October, 2013. And is he aware that the entire stretch, that parcel -- 635.20 acres of land-- the computation -- the payment, the calculation was GH¢5.00 per acre. Is he aware? Five Ghana cedis peracre. Is he aware? [Interruption] -- 2013 -- Is he aware of that?
    Mr Speaker noon
    Are you aware? [Interruption,]
    Hon Members, please let us have order in the Chamber.
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, I will say this, I am not aware -- [Interruption] -- and secondly, I do not have the documentation in my hands. I am not aware.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minister has a copy of the Lease Agreement. I am asking; has he at least, sighted that? He has not sighted it at all? [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, I am not asking whether he has it with him. Has he sighted the Lease Agreement?
    Mr Speaker noon
    Please, if you ask a question, ask the question and take your seat. Then I will know that you have finished.
    Hon Minority Leader, you see, when you ask a question and you are still standing on your feet, I am not sure whether to call the Hon Minister. So, if you ask the question, you resume your seat, then I will invite the Hon Minister to come. But when you are still standing, then I think --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, the question to the Hon Minister is, has he sighted the Lease Agreement of 4th October, 2013, which he himself has cited in his Answer?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the last few words that were spoken to me, I did not hear. I do not know whether he said I signed it; I am not sure. Did he say -- [Interruption] -- sighted? Oh, I see; I thought he said “signed”. Sighted; excuse me.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that we have a copy of the document in our files but I myself have not studied it in-depth.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, if I got the Hon Minister right, he said he had not sighted it in-depth. So, is that the case that he has sighted it?
    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Members, let us get the points right.
    My understanding of the information provided by the Hon Minister in response to the Question is to the effect that the
    transaction or the lease was between Caridem and the DIC. Therefore, it is not even between the Ministry and Caridem.
    So, Hon Minister, have you sighted the Lease Agreement?
    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, my answer is this that -- [Interruption] -- I have not myself read or studied the lease; I have not. I said that earlier. Then Mr Speaker, may I also add that actually, this particular agreement was between the DIC and Caridem. Perhaps, if follow-up questions would be asked, we can come and perhaps, answer more in detail, if that is required.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, I guess it would be very relevant for the Hon Minister to come back with further and better particulars, especially given the fact that in his own earlier life, he was at the Lands Commission. Mr Speaker, I guess it would be better --
    Mr Speaker noon
    But you see, we need to be fair. I know that the DIC, as a matter of record, is chaired by the Hon Minister for Finance. So, if you want to delve more into a transaction dealing with DIC, strictly speaking, the Hon Minister responsible then should be the Hon Minister for Finance, with particular reference to this particular transaction. But if it is the thinking of the House that we should reschedule the Hon Minister to come back, fine.
    Now, we are moving more into the DIC transaction. Of course, he raised the issue of the DIC relative to the Lease Agreement.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, it is for that reason that I am suggesting that we could have another forum to discuss this. This is because the DIC, they act on behalf of Government and they are supposed to take actions even if they
    are discretionary actions which should be in sync with public interest. And it should be congruent with the determination and purpose of Government for the acquisition of the parcel.
    So, we should be very careful about these things. But as I said, maybe, we can have another forum in view of the fact that originally, there is an undertaking by the Hon Minister that he could come back in order for us to prosecute other matters relating to the first Question. Maybe, we can tie in this one and make progress.
    Mr Speaker noon
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader --
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi noon
    Mr Speaker, perhaps, it may be of interest that if the Hon Minister is to come back to give whatever has happened with regard to DIC's sale of Government land, et cetera, it may include sale of Government properties and houses to individuals in this country -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are dealing with a specific issue, and in my view, this is not the first time that we are masters of our procedure. You remember when the Minister for Health came, we devised some mechanism by which he would come and brief the House. So, if he can devise a certain mechanism for him to come and brief the House -- You are an Hon Member and Deputy Leader of the House; if you will want to raise any other matter, you are at liberty to do so.

    Hon Minister, do you want to say something?

    Very well. I will allow you to say it.

    Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, I would just want to add some information.

    I would want to refocus our minds. It is clear in my statement that there was a sale and purchase agreement; let us not lose sight on that. The sale and purchase agreement, contained the consideration. So, when we speak of a GH¢5.00, let us juxtapose that with what we actually did in the sale and purchase agreement as being the true and actual consideration. Let us just keep that in mind.

    Thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, certainly, it should be taken into consideration. I also think that the Hon Minister knows of the existence of the Lands Valuation Board, and we should also enquire what value was put on the lands.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, this whole issue that you are talking about, we all know the history of this matter. So, let us see how best we can pursue this matter if that is the thinking of the House, then Leadership would make the necessary arrangements for the Minister to come back.
    Hon Minister, we thank you very much for attending upon the House to respond to Questions at this short notice.
    You are discharged.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, at the Commencement of Public Business --
    Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are ready for items 5 (a), (b), (d) and (f).
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Please, start.
    Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, (a), (b), (d) and (f) vi
    PAPERS 12:10 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Item number 5 (b), by the Chairman of the Committee.
    Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 5 (b), that is the Chairman of the Education Committee; I am told that they are still working on it. It is not yet ready. So, we would go to --
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    But you are the one who called for the item 5 (b), that is why I called for it? So, now, why are you behaving as if I am the one who mentioned it? You invited the Chair to -- So, we will defer that one.
    So, item number 5 (d)?
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Petroleum Commission's Annual Public Report on Petroleum Resources Activities for the year 2012.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Deputy Majority Leader, what about the Papers on the Order Paper Addendum? Are they ready to be laid?
    Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, Order Paper Addendum.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Fourteenth Report of the Appoint- ments Committee on H.E. the President's nomination for ministerial appointments.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamen- tary Affairs on the Right to Information Bill, 2013.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, we will defer Presentation of First Reading of Bills on the Order Paper Addendum.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I heard you call one of the items under (f) on page 3.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Yes, the (f) vi.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:10 p.m.
    We have not dealt with (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v). But my understanding is that, the other day when we came up for discussion in the House, issues were raised about the Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs), and some members of the Committee indicated that they thought that it was not worth bringing it to the House, whereas others disagreed.
    But I thought that the House should take a position on that. This is because, whatever information, is not meant for the Committee members alone, but for all of us in plenary. So, it should be the remit of the House to decide whether it is necessary.
    Mr Speaker, in my considered opinion, if we have not been doing them in the past, it is relevant. This is because it is an international business transaction, and indeed, to the extent that it would contribute to the over-exposure of Government, ultimately, and because also, it is a precondition for the consent agreement, it is critical that this House has a look at them.
    Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon Members of this House, we set up our Special Committee to work on article 181 (5). I believe that if the House is able to come out with this Report, and we have taken a position, all these confusions, disagreements and those things would be -- even the Supreme Court that has tried to interpret that article 181 (5), in one of their recent rulings in 2013, said that Parliament must come up with the necessary modifications.
    So, I agree. The issue cropped up on the floor of the House the other time, and there were divergent views. There is a process that once the matter has been referred to a committee, the committee must report on it, or the person who laid the report comes to withdraw it. But if it is not withdrawn, and it is with the committee, then the committee must report on it. So those are the two processes. Once it is referred to the committee, the committee has a duty to report on the referral to them, or the person who laid the report comes to withdraw it.
    Yes?
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry to say this, but it seems the Committee is reluctant to discharge the duties imposed upon it by this House. That is the impression that I have. This is because up till now, one week, nothing has happened. Meanwhile,
    it is very likely that a report would come out for consideration, and the performance of the Committee to me -- in my contribution, not to anticipate -- but I would raise it. This is because if a Committee of which a prominent member of this House is directing, has failed to discharge its duties, even after repeated concerns expressed on the floor of this House, it is a very serious matter.
    Having said that, Mr Speaker, we should be speaking about article 181 (5); it is Government business and the Majority Leader's immediate predecessor stalled proceedings, and said that because of Government's business, he thinks that we should hold on to this. And after that, nothing has happened.
    So, I am happy you are raising it. So, impliedly, it is directing the Committee to do its work, that is, article 181 -- and of course, the Committee on Mines and Energy to submit its report forthwith.
    I am not putting words in your mouth, Mr Speaker, but from your visage and the way you explained yourself, my understanding is that, the Committee should submit its report immediately. Oh yes, because they have finished with the report, they have finished with the consideration -- the Chairman is preparing to join the Executive --
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much and to note that as rightly observed by you, once there is a referral to this House of a matter laid, you do what is right per our Standing Orders in referring it to the appropriate Committee.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, we are talking about the Special Committee on 181 (5), that Parliament --
    Mr H. Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
    The fact that they have not met does not mean that there is no referral to your Committee. I thought I was quoting and if we would be patient enough and be guided by the senior lawyer seated by him -- Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I beg to quote article 181
    (5) --
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, first of all, we are not doing constitutional interpretation in this House. Secondly, for him to say that I should borrow from the wisdom of a senior lawyer behind me is most offensive. I would suggest to the Hon Minister, in spite of his own antecedents, that when it comes to understanding the Constitution and even our rules of procedure, he is way down the ranks.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if he is offended, it is accordingly withdrawn. But I was just referring to your Special Committee that article 181 (5) states that:
    “This article shall, with the necessary modifications by Parliament …”
    That is why this Committee must work diligently and expeditiously. This is because subsequent to the Supreme Court's ruling on a number of these transactions and to safeguard future decisions which may affect matters, have not been brought to this august House, I do agree that we need to take a position based on the modifications which might be something that the Attorney of the State, the Attorney-General, must work with Parliament on.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I got up only because I am a member of the Committee; and as my senior Hon Colleague said, the previous Hon Majority Leader, Hon Benjamin Kunbuor was the Chairman of the Committee. He gave us plenty documentation and then wrote to us and said that no more meetings till later.
    Now, we think that the new Hon Majority Leader, who is heading the Committee, should call us to a meeting, so that we can work. It is part of government business to lead us but they are not. That is the issue we are having.
    So, when he says the Attorney- General is consulting us; who is she consulting? She should be consulting the Special Committee and so far, no meeting has been called -- and it is almost a year.
    Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is a referral to a committee. So, I would agree with my Hon Colleague that what is necessary is that, Mr Speaker should ask the committee to bring its report. Then these arguments would come up for discussion.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, the Order Paper Addendum -- Presentation and First Reading of Bills --
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the intervention that I made -- the request contained therein which has been further enriched by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we should have a defined direction on what to do by the Committee.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    You mean the Committee on Mines and Energy?
    I have not withdrawn the referral from the Committee. So, there is a referral before the Committee. That is why I am saying there are two options; if the person who laid the document does not want the matter and wants to withdraw it, that goes with its consequences with the person who has come to lay the Paper and wants to withdraw it. But as long as it is not withdrawn, it is for the Committee to submit a report.
    So, if the Minister who laid that document has not withdrawn the document, then the Committee is obligated to submit a report.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am imploring you to direct the Committee to submit a report by tomorrow. You have the power. So, Mr Speaker; please, exercise your powers in this matter.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member for Sekondi, this is one occasion where I am very slow in exercising my powers. [Laughter.]
    As I indicated last Friday, the Chairman, the Ranking Member and the Minister came to my office and they were all on the same page. I told them that there are two
    things they have to do; if the referral is not withdrawn, then the Committee must submit a report.
    In my view, it is not within my mandate to withdraw the referral from them. It has been duly laid and I have referred it to the Committee; the Committee must bring a report so long as it is with them. If the Minister thinks that he is not supposed to bring a report and he brought it and it was an error, he must come and withdraw it. If he withdraws it and there are consequences with the withdrawal, he is responsible.
    That is the point I am making and you must agree with me, procedurally.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, procedurally, you are right.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Yes.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 12:20 p.m.
    But indeed, the withdrawal is a very dangerous step that the Minister would attempt to take because we have approved a Consent Agreement in respect of which references have been made to the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) as an Addendum. So, really, there are two documents in one.
    Mr Speaker, I get you -- this is about the third time you have indicated to the House the options available. But since that option has not been exercised by the Minister, he is not interested in coming to withdraw it. So, please, direct them to submit their report tomorrow.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, further to that, if any matter comes to this House and a referral is made to a committee, that committee is supposed to undertake that enterprise on behalf of the entire House. It can never be accepted that the leadership of that committee will conspire to meet the Speaker and say that we want to go on with this matter.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you are not being fair to the leadership of the Committee on this matter. There is no conspiracy and if there is any, who conspires and puts it in the open? [Laughter] Who conspires in the open?
    I informed the House last Friday -- and I am informing the House again -- if it was a conspiracy, I would not have informed the House. The point is that, we have not been approving PPAs; that was the information made available to me. So, that is the information.
    Yes, Hon Member for Adansi-Asokwa?
    Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, I am not so sure about what this is all about. When we met the the last time, we clearly sat down and had view on what to do. Subsequently, there was this other view that maybe -- and I said it on the floor the other day and I was asked to withdraw it. Maybe, we were doing something which may not be right. For two reasons -- [Interruptions] -- Could I please, complete?
    First, maybe, the reference itself, we may have drawn the Speaker's attention to it, and second, about what we were purporting to do.The reason was that, Mr Speaker, it came out that as a House, it may not have been a practice for us to be reviewing and approving PPAs. So, we took it up and had a further consultation.
    Mr Speaker, it seems, in my view, to be a straightforward matter. If the consensus of the House is that we should go, and if for nothing at all, for the mere reason that the matter was referred to the House, we should go and prepare and bring our reports. Mr Speaker, it is not difficult for us at all.
    Indeed, we already have a draft or so. So, I am not sure the bit about conspiracy and others. The Chairman and the Ranking Member-- Mr Speaker, there has not been any conspiracy at all. If it is that we should report to the House on that matter, if the Speaker rules, we have no difficulty; we would prepare and bring the document to this House.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I do not see any difficulty with this matter. We should not belabour this point; and let the point be made that, if a document is brought to the House and it is not within the mandate of the House to approve it, approving it would be an exercise in futility.
    The other day the issue of grants cropped up on the floor of the House and we said we should find a way of trying to resolve it in the future.
    I do not have a problem at all. But let us meet to see how we can resolve this matter. Let us make progress.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the statement has been made, that maybe, this House has never approved of a PPA. I am not sure. But I would want to assure the Speaker that the consent and deed of acknowledgement that we approved, take the PPA as a condition precedent. So, the House should be properly advised.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, it would have been different if the document had not been made available to the House. You
    want us to approve this but the document has not been made available to us. If the information has been made available to us to guide the House to take a decision, it is a different matter.
    So, they can bring a number of documents to the House but the power to approve -- whether we need to approve them to be effective is also another matter.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all I said was that, the approval of the concerned thing takes the approval of the PPA as a condition precedent. This is just for information.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, let us make progress. I will do further consultation on this matter.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi?
    Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 2 on the Order Paper Addendum -- The Chartered Institute of Taxation Bill to be presented by the Minister for Education
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Education --
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Is the Minister for Education here?
    Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
    She is not in the House.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is the Minister for Education here?
    Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister is not in the House and we would want to seek your permission for the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to lay the Paper on her behalf.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Very well.
    Ordinarily, if you go and print an Order Paper Addendum which shows that it is important and yet the substantive Minister introducing the information in the House is not present, I would not agree for any other Minister to lay the Paper on her behalf.
    I have just been informed that the Minister for Education is working on the annual estimates with the Select Committee. So, I will allow the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister. She is in the House working with the Committee. So, that is a reasonable excuse and therefore, I will allow him to lay it on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    Presentation and First Reading of Bills
    BILLS -- FIRST READING 12:30 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is there any other Paper to be laid before we move on to substantive matters?
    Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
    Not so. Mr Speaker, we have finished with the Papers; we will go to the item numbered 29.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, this morning, when we met in my Lobby, the impression I got from the Hon Majority Leader is different from what --
    Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
    Yes. Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the fact that you are yet to put the Question on item 28, so that we proceed to item number 29.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, I will put the Question on item number 28. [Interruptions.] Second Consideration Stage National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (Amendment) Bill 2014.
    BILLS -- SECOND CONSIDERATION 12:40 p.m.

    STAGE 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I have been waiting. I want you to --
    Do we need to suspend the Standing Orders for the Third Reading? That is why I have been waiting for some time -- procedurally --
    Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all that was done yesterday and we were to go to the Third Reading when a Motion was moved for us to go back to Second Reading and that was why you put the Question this morning. Once the Motion has been defeated, we go to the Third Reading.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Minister for Finance?
    Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister is at one of the committees at the moment and we would want to seek your permission for the Deputy Minister to take the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Which of the committees?
    Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
    Subsidiary Legislation Committee.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Any objections for Deputy Minister for Finance to move the Motion -- item number 29? [Interruption.] He is making an application for the Deputy Minister to move the Motion on behalf of the Minister.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, having been told that the Minister is appearing before the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, I would not have any difficulty at all, except to remind ourselves that because the Subsidiary Legislation Committee has been mentioned, I know that the Legislative Instrument -- in fact, a Constitutional Instrument -- emanating from the Electoral Commission is with them.
    Now, the Instrument has not matured and the Electoral Commission is going ahead to order some business to be conducted. On what basis? Mr Speaker, I believe the Electoral Commission should be called to order immediately.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    The matter is before Parliament --
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you know the rules? You know how this House has dealt with the Electoral Commission over the years and you know that that is possible? But you see, there is an application before us. So, we can take that one and then the other issue you have raised, you can take it with Leadership. If they want to be called, then we can find space to call them. I do not have a problem with that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with you but like a prominent member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said, I just wanted to kill “one stone with two birds” -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Very well --
    Deputy Minister for Finance?
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Item numbered 30 --
    Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
    Item number 30 -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Deputy Minister for Finance?
    Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
    Deputy Minister for Finance (Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson) (On behalf of the
    Minister for Finance) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1), which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, Forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the Second Reading of the Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Item number 31 --
    Deputy Minister for Finance?
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 12:40 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is to amend the Special Import Levy Act, 2013, Act (861) to extend the period of application of the Special Import Levy. Mr Speaker, the Levy was introduced on the 5th of August, 2013 to raise funds to stabilise the economy, which was suffering from external shocks.
    Mr Speaker, the factors that necessitated the introduction of the Levy still exist. Government has therefore, decided to extend the Levy from 2014 to 2017. One of the major factors facing the economy was the shortfall of revenue. Government then looked at a number of revenue handles to bring substantial income to fill the gap. In doing so, Mr Speaker, we looked at options that include imposition of tax on import.
    Mr Speaker, for the year 2014, we projected an amount of GH¢410,128,866.19 million. I can confirm that as of the second week of November, we have been able to raise an amount of GH¢374,327,581.65 million, leaving a total amount of GH¢35,081,254.54 million to collect before the year ends.
    Mr Speaker, for the year 2015, we have projected an amount of GH¢545,471,392.03 million.
    Question proposed.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have nothing to say.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was accordingly read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Item 32—Deputy Minister?
    MOTION 12:50 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Avedzi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, Motion moved and seconded. It is for the consideration of the House.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Item number 33 on the Order Paper — Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage.
    BILLS — CONSIDERATION STAGE
    Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, the clause—there is only one clause to the Bill.
    Section 1 of Act 861 amended
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
    Item number 34 — Deputy Minister?
    MOTION 12:50 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Item number 35—Deputy Minister?
    BILLS —THIRD READING
    Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2014
    Mr Agbesi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    36.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Can we take item 43, and then come back to item number 36?
    Mr Agbesi 12:50 p.m.
    Yes Mr Speaker, item 43 — the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Let us take item number 43 -- The National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 — the Second Reading and then we go back to the Financial Bills — I learnt the item number 42 is no longer necessary —[Pause.]
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, who is moving the Motion?
    Mr Agbesi 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would seek permission for the Deputy Minister for Finance to move the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Yes, but the Bill I have here stands in the name of the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. How come that we have the Minister for Finance?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Bill was laid by the Minister for Finance though it came in the name of the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. It was laid by the Minister for Finance on the first day. I wondered why but —
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Where was the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations at the time?
    Dr A.A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he was here, but it was advertised that it was to be moved by the Minister for Finance.
    BILLS —SECOND READING
    National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014
    Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is to amend the National Pensions Act of 2008 (Act 766), in particular to reduce the age for exemption from the first tier scheme and to provide for related matters.
    Mr Speaker, as you are aware, the National Pensions Act was passed in 2008, subsequently came into force in 2010 and its implementation is not without problems. Currently, Government is engaged with public workers' forum in court and at the appropriate time, subsequent to the ruling of the court, I would come back to this august House for a comprehensive review of the National Pensions Act 2008.
    Mr Speaker, the most significant change has to do with the age exemption under the Act. We are seeking to reduce it from 55 years to 50 years in order to allow for some workers to have some accrued returns and benefits, particularly those who would be benefiting from the lump sum payment.
    Mr Speaker, the National Pension Act envisages peer competition in pension management. However, the running of the second tier is now problematic and we are currently in court with organised labour. I do not intend to prejudice the work of the court, but rather to seek Hon Members' support.
    Mr Speaker, we would also seek an amendment to reduce the percentage for
    the calculation of the pensions and we have done this in consultations with organised labour, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), public sector workers and others.
    Another significant amendment would be for SSNIT to be empowered to be able to collect contributions and to punish, in particular, private sector operators, who may default in paying the pensions obligations.
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion, and in doing so, I present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was presented to Parliament by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu and read for the First time on Tuesday 9th December, 2014. The Rt Hon Speaker referred the Bill to the joint Committee of Finance and Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises for consideration and report, in accordance with article 174 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Orders 169, 125 and 184 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    Pursuant to the referral, the joint Committee met and discussed the Bill and was assisted by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations and his Deputy, the Director General of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Mr. Ernest Thompson, officials
    SPA CE FOR APPENDIX - 1 p.m.

    Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Bill was submitted to the joint Committee. So far, I have not seen the Hon Vice Chairman. I thought he was going to second the Motion since it is a joint Committee. But I am sure he would contribute.
    Mr Speaker, this is one time when both Committees sort of looked closely at the amendments.
    First of all, it has taken us quite a while to come up with the Act and for anybody to try and tamper with it in a short time, is not an easy matter. So, we really interrogated all the big stakeholders.
    This was one time where Labour, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the Ministry appeared to have some consensus. The crucial issue is that if there is an amendment, it should not make anybody worse off. That is number one.
    Number two, the basic functions under SSNIT should also be sustainable, and we asked them to attach and compare the benefits under Act 766 and PNDC Law 247 to assure ourselves that what they were saying was true. If you look at the Tables, it is quite clear that the amendments would not make any one worse off but would make them better off.
    More importantly, it is to make SSNIT more sustainable, according to the actuarial analysis. The amendments are not controversial and I urge all Hon Members to adopt the Report and the recommended amendments by the joint Committee.
    I thank you.
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    I will take one from each side, then I put the Question.
    Mr Joseph N. Bukari (NDC -- Saboba) 1 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, that was referred to the joint Committee, we met and discussed and looked at proposals of the amendments.
    Issues of pensions, Mr Speaker, when being discussed, should be done with some passion and care, because people, both formal and informal sectors during their active years, contribute a lot to develop their nation. As such Mr Speaker, when they go on retirement, they would also need something to be able to cushion them and take them through the period of retirement.
    They do not only work and contribute to their nation but they also contribute from their little salaries or earnings for a better day during retirement.
    Mr Speaker, the amendment seems to look at the exemptions which currently stands at 55 years and reduce it backward to 50 years, such that the scheme would be able to gather money and become more sustainable and then prevent it from unnecessary collapse or pressures that would lead to collapse.
    Mr Speaker, if we do not look at these amendments come January, 2015, some workers would be going on retirement and as such it would be difficult for their lump sums to be paid from the two-tiers.
    So, Mr Speaker, we would want to urge that this House looks at the amendments and take them through, such that come 2015, those who would be going on retirement would be able to go home properly. For this, Mr Speaker, I would beg that the House adopts the Report and take the amendment through all the stages.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP -- Bekwai) 1 p.m.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I am contributing to paragraph 62 of the Report. Mr Speaker, that paragraph discusses or purports to discuss the legal dispute between Labour and the Government on this Bill.
    Mr Speaker, it is obvious that the Committee took cognisance of the fact that the matter is pending before court. This matter pending before court relates to the management of the second-tier pension Fund.
    Mr Speaker, according to the Report, the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations assured them that the proposed amendment would not prejudice the matters before court. But Mr Speaker, I am looking at those who were present.
    The Committee does not appear to have spoken to Labour. So, they have spoken to one side of the disputants and have come to the conclusion that they would not prejudice the trial.
    Mr Speaker, we have to be cautious in view of our own precedent that we should not discuss matters that are pending before court, in view of Order 93 of our Standing Orders. If we open the discussions on this matter, we cannot be sure of which side will go and we may end up prejudicing the trial.
    Mr Speaker, as we sit here, we do not have the details of the matter before the court. I do not have them either. So, how are we confining ourselves to a discussion such that we would not prejudice the discussion or the trial?
    This is one matter in which the Report should have captured, the essence of the dispute in order to assure us that indeed, the Hon Minister's assurance is grounded in fact, and that it is not just by mere words.
    As we speak now, we are being asked to take the Hon Minister by his word only. But this Hon Minister is capable of making pronouncements which would later be difficult to fulfil. -- [Laughter] -- So, I would urge that we should be assured that the -- discussion is state land the details of the dispute is put before us, so that we are assured that we are not being lured into amending the subject-matter which is pending before the court.
    Mr Speaker, that is my contribution.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you, very much --
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Minister, I hope you will address his concerns in your winding up?
    Mr. H. Iddrisu 1:10 a.m.
    Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, let me use one minute to keep Hon Members of Parliament abreast with what is the matter in court.
    On the management of the second-tier pension, as you are aware, the revision of the law envisaged a three-tier scheme; the mandatory scheme to be managed by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT); a mandatory fully funded and privately managed occupational pension scheme; and a voluntary scheme.
    Mr Speaker, currently, what is before the court is the assertion by a section of public sector workers referred to as the Forum, contending that, they have gone
  • [MR H. IDDRISU through due process, through the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) Board and got approval to register four schemes and therefore, have the right to manage their pension funds. There is a substantial aspect of this pension money, which does not belong to public sector workers but to private sector workers who make contributions to Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). The argument of the Government of Ghana has been that as employer, it appointed a trustee to manage this Fund and that is the bone of contention. While Government says that it is right as the employer to have appointed Pension Alliance Trust, the workers say that they are also right in appointing four Fund Scheme Managers to manage the funds. We tried through dialogue to resolve this matter but both parties were unyielding. Therefore, we needed an independent arbiter in a competent court to make a decision who has the right and power to manage those schemes. That is not in issue as far as Hon Members are concerned. As I indicated earlier, Mr Speaker, the most significant of the amendment, the initial age for exemption was 55 years and there is evidence provided by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and organised labour that labourers and pensioners would be worse off with the 55 years. It does not give them a longer period for returns to accrue and one's benefits tomorrow per lump sum is the investment plus returns, less the administrative expenses of those who will manage that scheme. Significantly, Mr Speaker, even if I were to use the court case, the court gave some significant ruling yesterday and we looked into the matter in the first quarter of next year, which even makes this House taking some position more compelling. I do not intend to take more time but to plead with Hon Colleagues that this is very significant and we need industrial peace and harmony to manage pensions very well. This is because it is an emotive and sensitive issue and Government has no intention of making any pensioner worse off but rather give him critical assets. I just addressed the Ghana Pensioners' Association and we have their blessing to proceed. Indeed, Mr Speaker, before coming to the Committee, I had briefed the Secretary General of the TUC and Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSAG) and brought copies of their own petition on this matter to the Committee to be guided with in the decision that they take. Thank you Mr Speaker.
  • Mr Osei-Owusu 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no doubt that the Minister probably, has a good intention but if you look at the purpose of the Bill as captured in the Report, it is to amend the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766 to reduce the age of the exemption of the first-tier and bring clarity to the role of fund managers and trustees under the second-tier.
    He has admitted that indeed, the bone of contention is fund management; who can manage what? And this Bill is seeking to, so to speak, bring clarity. How else would we undermine the court's jurisdiction if we went ahead and discussed and made amendments to this Bill while this matter is still pending? That is one case in which we should tread cautiously.
    Mr H. Iddrisu 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you once again.
    If my Colleague would appreciate, we have the trustees and beneath the trustees are fund managers and beneath the fund managers are custodians. The custodians are largely financial institutions that
    would be the depository to receive whatever pension funds are allocated. The trustees would determine the fund managers.
    If I were to go to the matter in issue, I clearly would have come seeking an amendment to section 120 or 129 and that would be the germane of the issue in court, where one would have said that, to provide clarity, we simply would have said that we were positioning the employer in some role.
    So, I would plead with my Colleague that this is necessary and it does not prejudice the matter in court. Indeed, when the court rules, I would come back to this House for a comprehensive review of Act 766.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    I thought, to help my Colleague here, the Minister would go directly to that clarification that is being proposed to assure him. So, maybe, you can cite that particular clarification, so that he would be assured. But if you just say that “I do not intend to do that” -- There is a particular amendment and the clarification, I think, would assure him. So, I suggest --
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, could you assist the House?
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    Yes, he has the Report and it is in there.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, assist the House.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have given my Report to my Colleague, that is why I want him to state that particular amendment. And I think if he does, it might help him.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Hon Members, the Member for Bekwai has raised an issue and basing it on our rules, Standing Order 93. He is not inviting me to make a ruling
    at this stage but he is saying that, we should tread cautiously and I am also treading cautiously. But I have looked at the object of the Bill, the Committee's Report and in fact, I had a briefing from the Minister when the Bill was introduced for the first time.
    I tried to seek some guidance from him whether it would not infringe on our own Standing Orders. I have read the Committee's Report -- Hon Member, can you assist the House, now that you have the Report? [Pause.] No! It is not the Report of the Minister but the Report of the Committee. So, you or the Chairman should be able to assist the House.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    The Minister was there and he is so passionate about it and the question was asked directly to him -- if he can read the recommendation on page 6 -- [Pause.]
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo, please, assist the House. This is your Report -- he is referring to your Committee's Report.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    If the Speaker is directing me, I would oblige.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Yes, I am directing you. [Laughter.]
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 a.m.
    It is your own Committee. So, if you direct me, I will. I do not have the original Bill here, but I want to read: The amendment that is being sought is to advise the trustee, that is the Fund Manager's role on the investment of pension funds in different investments to minimise investment risks. The original Bill had a different word and it was not very clear but just to make sure that it is the word to advise. The trustee can accept or not to accept. There is no compulsion, only to advise. If the Chairman has the original Bill, he can tell us the original word.
    Mr Agbesi 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, if you could --
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Go back to item 36?
    Mr Agbesi 1:10 a.m.
    Yes, 36. [Pause.]
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
    MOTIONS 1:10 a.m.

    Minister for Finance) 1:10 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 Second Reading of the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 1:20 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 be now read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is to amend the Internal Revenue Act 2000, Act 592, to increase the cooperate income tax rate on export by Free Zone Enterprise after their CAPS holiday and to increase the withholding tax of directors' remuneration and for related matters.
    Mr Speaker, for the year 2015, we project a total revenue of GH¢45 million for these two tax handles. Mr Speaker, directors' fee is expected to bring in a total revenue of GH¢41 million while the free zones is expected to bring in a total revenue of GH¢4 million.
    Mr Speaker, the amount relating to free zones may look quite small but it is also important for us to ensure that we ensure equity and to strengthen tax compliance and tax administration by blocking an avenue of reclassification of revenue from domestic sources to the free zones sector.
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. And in so doing, I present your Committee's Report,
    Introduction
    The Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was presented to Parliament on behalf of the Minister for Finance by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour
    Relations, Mr Haruna Iddrisu and read the First time on Tuesday, 9th December, 2014. The Bill was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the House.
    Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met with the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. George Blankson, as well as officials from the Ministry of Finance, Attorney-General's Department and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and considered the referral.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister, the Commissioner- General and officials for their assistance during the deliberations.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791)
    Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act
    592)
    The Free Zones (Tax Concession) Regulations, 2010 (L.I. 1963)
    The Free Zones (Exclusion and Concession) Regulations, 2007 (L.I.
    1834)
    Background
    Although most directors earn income within the top income bracket which attracts 25 per cent income tax under the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592), the withholding tax on their income still remains at 10 per cent, leaving a substantial gap of about 15 per cent to be paid at the end of the year. In line with the Government's policy of ensuring tax equity, government intends to increase the withholding tax rate from the current level of 10 per cent to 20 per cent, leaving a possible balance of 5 per cent to be paid at the end of the year.
    Purpose of the Bill
    The Bill seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) to increase the withholding tax of directors' remuneration from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
    Provision of the Bill
    The Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 amends the First Schedule of Act 592 to increase directors' remuneration to 20 per cent.
    Observations
    Purpose of the amendment and expected yield
    The Deputy Minister informed the Committee that the aim of the Bill is to ensure equity in tax administration and to generate more resources to support the budget. He explained that the proposed amendment forms part of measures outlined in the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government aimed at streamlining the exemption regime and ensuring equity in tax administration. The expected yield is as follows:
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 1:20 p.m.


    Item Expected Amount

    Directors -- GH¢41 million

    Free Zones -- GH¢4 million

    Total -- GH¢45 million

    Amendments proposed

    The Committee proposed the following amendment to the Bill

    i. Clause 1-- Amendment proposed -- delete and insert the following:

    “First Schedule to Act 592 amended.

    1. The First Schedule to the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) is amended

    (a) in Part II by the substitution for paragraph 6B of “6B. The income tax rate applicable to exports of a free zone enterprise outside the domestic market is 15 per cent”, and

    (b) in Part IV by the substitution for paragraph 3 of

    “3. The rate of withholding tax applicable to payments under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 2 and section 84 is

    (a) in a case in which paragraph (a), (c) and (d) of subsection (1) of section 84 apply, 10 per cent

    (b) in case in which paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 84 applies, 20 per cent

    (c) in case in which paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section 84 applies, 7˝ per cent; and

    (d) in case in which subsection (2) of section 84 applies, 5 per cent”

    ii. Clause 1 -- Amendment proposed -- Insert the following new clause:

    “Revocation

    2. (1) The Free Zone (Tax Concession) Regulations, 2010 (L.I 1963) are revoked

    (2) The Free Zone (Exclusion and Concession) Regulations, 2007 (L.I 1834) are amended

    (a) by the revocation of regulation 2; and

    (b) by the revocation of the Second Schedule.”.

    iii. Long Title -- Amendment proposed -- delete the Long Title and insert the following:

    “AN ACT to amend the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) to increase the corporate income tax rate on exports by free zone enterprises after their tax holiday, to increase the withholding tax on the remuneration of directors and for related matters”.

    Conclusion

    The Committee has thoroughly examined the Bill and has realised the need to ensure equity in tax administration. The Committee therefore, recommends to the House to adopt its Report and take the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 through all the stages in accordance with article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.

    Respectfully submitted.

    Question proposed.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no contribution.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was accordingly read a Second time.
    MOTIONS 1:20 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 128 (1), which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time, it shall pass through a Consideration Stage, which shall not be taken until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed, the Consideration Stage of the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be taken today.
    Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Item numbered 39 -- [Pause.] The Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill at the Consideration Stage -- [Pause.]
    Dr A. A. Anthony Osei 1:20 p.m.
    I am trying to follow the style of the Deputy Majority Leader. He has just moved from the 40's to the 38 but the previous one said we should take the National Stabilisation Levy through all the stages; we did not but we are coming back to this one --
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, we have just realised that there are a number of amendments in the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill and that was why I did not take the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill. I have noticed that there are a number of amendments and I thought that Hon Members should take time.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is about the same, four, four --
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    No! We will be taking it; do not worry -- [Pause.]
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 1:20 p.m.

    STAGE 1:20 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, the clause delete and insert the following:
    “First Schedule to Act 592 amended.
    1. The First Schedule to the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) is amended
    (a) in Part II by the substitution for paragraph 6B of “6B. The income tax rate applicable to exports of a free zones enterprise outside the domestic market is 15 per cent”, and
    (b) in Part IV by the substitution for paragraph 3 of
    “3. The rate of withholding tax applicable to payments under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 2 and section 84 is
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, the microphone is working but the place is dark. But we need to see. I do not know.
    Hon Minority Leader --
    Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Please, we are making laws at this stage and we need to be sure that what we are amending, others can be part of it. I do not know whether we should suspend Sitting for a while, and immediately the lights are in, we come back. But let me --
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would plead that we suspend Sitting for about one hour and undertake other enterprises, by which time, I guess, upon our return, I would want to believe, everything would have been regularised and then we can deal with that.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    We should suspend Siting for one hour?
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what do you say?
    Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, these are temporary things. Maybe, in the next five minutes, the lights may come on. This is temporary. So, if Mr Speaker can --
    Mr Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    I understand what the Hon Minority Leader is saying. So, when we take the one hour, we will not take any break again when we come back, so that work will continue.
    Hon Members, do not forget that we have Carols Night this evening.
    Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, one hour is appropriate.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, we will suspend Sitting for an hour and then come back.
    Thank you very much.
    1.32 p.m. -- Sitting suspended
    3.40 p. m. -- Sitting resumed
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, we are going back to the Consideration Stage of the Internal Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014 -- [Pause.]
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
  • [Continuation of debate from column 3661]
  • Mr Avedzi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I moved the amendment and I tried to explain why such an amendment and I referred to Order 128
    (4).
    Mr Speaker, at the Committee, the Ministry of Finance proposed an amendment to increase the rate of income tax for free zones enterprises, which covers exports outside the domestic market from eight (8) per cent to 15 per cent.
    The Committee accepted this proposed amendment because we are guided by Order 128(4). Now, the subject-matter is about an increase in tax rate and the Bill is actually about increasing tax rate for remuneration of directors from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. The Committee accepted that because the subject-matter is not different from what we have in the Bill and that has resulted in the amendment we proposed to the clause.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman has given adequate explanation of why this amendment is being proposed. So --
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    First Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill
    Mr Avedzi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, New clause, add the following new
    clause:
    “Revocation
    2. (1) The Free Zones (Tax Concession) Regulations, 2010 (L.I 1963) are revoked.
    (2) The Free Zones (Exclusion and Concession) Regulations, 2007 (L.I 1834) are amended
    (a) by the revocation of regulation 2; and
    (b) by the revocation of the Second Schedule.”
    Mr Speaker, the amendment proposed is by increasing the tax rate of free zones enterprises from eight (8) per cent to 15 per cent resulted in the new clause for “Revocation” of this L.I. in order to conform with the new position.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Long Title --
    Mr Avedzi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title, line 1, before “withholding” insert “corporate income tax rate on exports by free zones enterprises after their tax holiday, to increase the”.
    Mr Speaker, the new rendition for the Long Title would read 1:30 a.m.
    “An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Act 2000, Act 592 to increase the corporate income tax rate on export by free zones enterprises after their tax holiday to increase the withholding tax on the remuneration of directors and for related matter.”
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe you put the Question on the last amendment proposed by the Committee but I did not really follow what the Hon Chairman said when he related to Order 128 (4) to justify an amendment that the Committee had proposed. If perhaps, he would go over it again. This is because I could not really follow the issue that he raised with respect to Order 128 (4).
    What was the purpose for the introduction of that amendment? Unfortunately, I do not have the Bill here. That is why I would want to follow the Hon Chairman in what he is saying.
    Mr Avedzi 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Bill has only a Schedule which proposes to increase the withholding tax for directors' remuneration from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. But there has been the need to also increase the corporate income tax rate for free zones enterprises which export outside the domestic market after the expiration of their tax holiday from eight (8) per cent to 15 per cent. This is an inclusion in the Bill; it is not part of the Bill. That is why I quoted Order 128 (4), which says and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “At the Consideration Stage of a Bill the House may make such amendments as it considers fit, provided that the amendments
    (including new clauses and new schedules) comply with the following conditions;
    (a) they must be relevant to the subject-matter of the Bill and to the subject-matter of the clause to which they relate.
    I am saying that the subject-matter is about an increase in tax rate. So, the new inclusion which is also an increase in the corporate tax rate from eight (8) per cent to 15 per cent is related to the first one which is an increase in tax rate from 10 per cent to 20 per cent for directors' remuneration. That was why we accepted the new inclusion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I hope you are alright with the explanation?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very clear with it but I thought that a stronger justification lay in article 108 of the Constitution, which provides and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by, or on behalf of, the President --
    (a) proceed upon a bill including an amendment to a bill, that, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following--
    It is coming from the Executive, on behalf of the President. So, if there is an amendment to that Bill, to the extent that the Bill is emanating from the presidency, Parliament is entitled to proffer that amendment. So, that is a stronger justification.
    Mr Avedzi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, exactly so. This was proposed by the Executive.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Members, because of the intervention of the Hon Minority Leader, the Question was not put to the last amendment proposed.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    The Long Title as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we now move to item number 40.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what is the number again?
    Mr Agbesi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    40.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item numbered 40 on the Order Paper.
    MOTIONS 3:50 a.m.

    Mr James K. Avedzi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, item number 41, Motion by the Minister for Finance.
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 3:50 a.m.

    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I tried to catch your eye before the Hon Deputy Minister moved the Motion. I was considering taking the Motion through a second Consideration stage, but given that you did not recognise me, I would take it like that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage-- item number 44.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item number 44 on the Order Paper -- Motion by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
    MOTIONS 3:50 a.m.

    Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwith- standing the provisions of Standing Order 128 (1), which require that when a Bill has been read a Second time, it shall pass through Consideration Stage, which shall not be taken until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed, the Consideration Stage of the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be taken today.
    Mr Avedzi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would continue with item number 45.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 at the Consideration Stage.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister moved the procedural Motion in respect of Motion number 44; what he moved was procedural. So, Mr Speaker, Standing Order 3 of our rules of procedure provides that and with our permission, I beg to quote:
    “Notwithstanding anything in these Orders, any order or part of an order may be suspended without notice with the consent of Mr Speaker and the majority of Members present.”
    But Mr Speaker, he proposes to do this, and he has come with a notice; so what he has done is in breach of our Standing Orders. That is what is advertised --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I do not follow you, so if you could go over the argument.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Motion that he sought to move, listed as item number 44, which he moved -- What he has done could have been done without notice, but he has done so on notice.
    Mr Speaker, that is in violation of our Standing Orders; that is number one. Number two, since he has opted to come with notice, Mr Speaker, he is obliged under Standing Order 3(2), to then state the reasons for the proposed suspension of the Standing Orders, and he has not done so.
    But he is a veteran Member of this House, that is the Hon Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:50 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do appreciate the view of the Hon Minority Leader, but you probably may recall that this was supposed to have been taken yesterday but for time and other exigencies, we had deferred its consideration to this time.
    Mr Speaker, I am not as old as he is in the House. Therefore, I will learn from old and best practice that we proceed to suspend the Standing Orders and accordingly go to the Consideration Stage of the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
    Mr Speaker, in view of some urgent matters of State that it will help us address in the coming year.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo.
    Dr A. A. Osei 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has been here for a while and he should not be intimidated -- [Laughter.] Standing Order 130 (1) says, “may”. So, if he choses to go in the other direction, he was in order. So, the issue is to provide the justification.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    And I believe that was the justification he gave. All right.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is totally wrong in -- [Laughter] . The suspension of the Standing Orders may or may not be done; that is what it means. This is because of the exigencies of time. But if we have to consider it under some urgency, then we are required to do that. So, there is no option.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the views have been taken on board. Let us move forward.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Very well.
    We will move straight on to the Consideration Stage.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATON STAGE 4 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee? Very well. Hon Members, there is no advertised amendment for clause 1 of the Bill.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to put in a blanket application. I proposed some amendments, which I forwarded to the Hon Minister for his consideration. I believe, having gone through, he realises that many of them are very germane to the Bill before us. Unfortunately, he has them; I do not have them now. So, I may just apply, subject to his own consideration, that the relevant ones should be taken on board. If he agrees, then we can go along.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister, do you confirm that?
    Mr H. Iddrisu 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, in my consultation with Leadership, the Hon Minority Leader made some referrals in respect of some amendments. So, I would urge that you direct that the drafts- persons at the Attorney-General's Department be guided after this process in terms of those proposed amendments, which are largely to make some of the renditions elegant.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    Very well.
    I accordingly direct. But there is not advertised amendment to clause 1.
    Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 2 -- Section 60 of Act 766 amended.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, subclause (4), line 3, after “contributions” insert “and returns”
    Mr Speaker, the new renditions will read 4 p.m.
    “Where a worker is exempted under subsection (1) but has already contributed to the second-tier scheme, the contributions and returns of the worker under the second-tier scheme shall be refunded to the Trust”.
    Mr Speaker, the purpose of this is that the contributions of the worker will definitely earn some returns. For this reason, in transferring that contribution, it must go along with the returns earned on that contribution to the Trust.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    There is no advertised amendment to clause 3.
    Dr A. A. Osei 4 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought the Clerk said, “clause 3 as amended.” I have not seen any amendment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4 p.m.
    No. There is no advertised amendment in respect of clause 3.
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:10 p.m.
    But she said “clause 3 as amended”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    No! I referred to clause 2 as amended early on.
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:10 p.m.
    All right.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Now, we are on clause 3.
    Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 4 to 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 12 -- Section109 of Act 766 amended
    Mr Avedzi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12, line 2, delete “(2)” and insert
    “(1)”
    Mr Speaker, the clause refers to subsection (1) but not subsection (2).
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 12 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 13 -- Section 120 of Act 766 amended.
    Mr Avedzi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 13, section 120, line 5, delete “Authority” and insert “Board”.
    The new rendition would read:
    “At the commencement of this Act, Occupational Pensions schemes, Provident Funds Schemes, Personal Pensions Schemes and other
    privately managed pensions schemes shall only be managed by trustees approved and licensed by the Board”.
    Mr Speaker, it is the Board but not the Authority.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 13 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 14 to section 147 of Act 766 amended
    Mr Avedzi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 14, opening statement, line 2, after “(a)” insert “and (b)”.
    The new rendition would be --
    “The Principal enactment is amended in section 147 by the substitution for paragraph (a) and (b) of subsection 1”.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Avedzi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 14, add the following new paragraph:
    “(b) advise the Trustee on the investment of pension funds in different investments to minimise investment risks”.
    The Bill talks about (a), which is
    “to advise the Trustee on the investment of pensions funds and assets in accordance with the provisions of this Act”.
    But we are adding that it should also advise the Trustee on the investment of pension funds in different investments to minimise investment risks, in order to spread the risks, so that they can earn more yields or returns for the contributors.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 14 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage with regard to the National Pension, (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can move to the Third Reading, which is item number 47 on the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    I believe that is also by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations and not the Minister for Finance?
    MOTION 4:10 p.m.

    Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwith- standing the provisions of Standing Order 131 (1), which require that when a Bill has passed through the Consideration Stage, the Third Reading thereof shall not be taken until at least, twenty-four hours have elapsed, the Motion for the Third Reading of the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
    Mr Avedzi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 48, that is the Third Reading.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Yes, item numbered 48 by the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 4:10 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection is in the House to move a Motion on the estimates for the Ministry. If we can go to item number 13 -- the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Item number 13. Is the Hon Minister in the House?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr S. K. Acheampong 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before item number 13, I come under Standing Order 80 (1).
    Mr Speaker, in reference to the Votes and Proceedings, this very Report was laid yesterday, and I believe, procedurally, in this House, before we take this Motion, at least, we need to respect the Orders and vary the time of laying of the said Report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you speak out? I cannot hear you.
    Mr S. K. Acheampong 4:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Standing Order 80 (1) says and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “ (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this Order, no motion shall be debated until at least forty- eight hours have elapsed (this period not including days on which the House does not sit) after notice as prescribed in Order 78 ( Notices of Motions) has been given”.
    Mr Speaker, the Votes and Proceedings of yesterday, the 16th of December, clearly tells us when this Report was laid. It spots item number (f), which says, and with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “(f) By the Hon Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, Mr Joseph Bukari Nikpe.
    Report of the joint Committee on Gender and Children and Employ- ment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for the year ending 31st December,
    2015."
    Mr Speaker, our Orders are not being respected. They have not been varied. The Motion must be applied for. Order 80(1) must be applied for. That is my concern.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, the practice in this House has been that when it comes to financial matters, especially estimates, we go the way we are going. That has been the practice.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, if you look at the Order Paper, because of that, applications have been made to waive that. So, we cannot say because of practice -- we go on record and explicitly waive them.
    So, we cannot say that is the practice. I respectfully disagree. That is why you see the procedural Motions being invoked. As the Hon Minority Leader said, unless of course, one comes by Order 3(1), and nobody has come by Order 3(1). So, with respect, we need to respect our procedures, so that we are not seen as --
    It is true we are masters of our own procedures, but some order is important.
    If that application had been made, I would agree with the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, that we have neither come by Order 3(1), nor provided for the “notwithstanding Order 80(1)”. So, with respect --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Member, since Order 3(1) saves the situation and we have used it in the previous Motion, just a few minutes back, we go that way and make some progress.
    There is a lot of urgency about what we are doing now because we need to approve the estimates for the various Ministries and Departments by a certain time frame.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what you have said is the practice of this House; when the estimates have been brought by way of a report, we list them once the Business Committee has programmed them and we
    take them as they come. That has been the practice. So, I actually do not see the point he is raising. This is the practice we have been going by in this House.
    So, Mr Speaker, I do not actually see the point he has raised because you can see the Order Paper has listed most of the estimates by way of Motions to be taken. This has been the practice of this House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what my Hon Colleague said was that he should first invoke Order 3(1) and then get the consensus. He has not done so. That is what he said. This is because it is not 48 hours. Right? Since it is not yet 48 hours, he must officially come by order 3(1). If that is what he wants to do, he has not done so. So, why does he not go by Order 3(1) and then we can move forward? But to do “takashi” -- Yesterday, did he see what happened when he did “takashi”? When it came to the counter Motion, then he said “yeeee!”, then he lost. So, we are cautioning him --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, what do you mean by “takashi”?
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yesterday there was a counter Motion.
    An Hon Member 4:20 p.m.
    What do you mean by “takashi”?
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, “takashi”? “Takashi” is “buga, buga”. [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    We are still at a loss. [Laughter.]
    Dr A. A. Osei 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, forcing your way without seeking consensus -- It is not fair.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Mohammed-MubarakMuntaka 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would want to crave the indulgence of our Hon Colleagues to help us to make some real progress. We know the Standing Orders but we are also very familiar with the convention in this House with regard to estimates. We just want to plead with our Hon Colleagues to enable us do this.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    So, Hon Majority Chief Whip, just invoke Order 3(1), so that we could move on.
    MOTIONS 4:20 p.m.

    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the indulgence of the House, I beg to move, that
    “Notwithstanding anything in these Orders, any order or part of an order may be suspended without notice with the consent of Mr Speaker and the majority of Members present”.
    To enable us carry out the business as advertised on the Order Paper this afternoon.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:20 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Minister, could you proceed?
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 4:20 p.m.

    Mrs (Nana) Oye Lithur 4:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢43,631,694 for the services of the Ministry of Gender,
    Children and Social Protection for the year ending 31st December 2015.
    Mr Speaker, this is under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework estimates. These are the programmes we implemented in 2014:
    We have finalised an Affirmative Action Bill and validation is ongoing.
    We have conducted fistula repairs for 82 women from across Ghana.
    We have submitted and defended our sixth and seventh CEDAW Report on the UN CEDAW Committee.
    We have submitted our Beijing plus 20 reports to the UN.
    We have finalised the National Gender Policy.
    We have finalised the National Child and Family Welfare Policies that have been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
    We are developing a Child Justice Policy.
    We have submitted our first and second reports to the Africa Union (AU) Expert Committee on the rights and welfare of the child.
    We have also submitted a similar report to the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
    We have finalised the Foster Care and Adoption Legislative Instrument and submitted it to the Attorney-General.
    We have provided shelter for 800 orphans and also re-united 2,234 children in orphanages with their families.
    We are establishing a central authority for adoption.
    We have placed a moratorium on adoption.
    We are also signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UT Life Insurance to renovate the Efua Sutherland Children's Park.
    We have submitted four Cabinet memoranda for consideration tomorrow: ratification of the Hague Convention, amendment of the Children's Act, Adoption of the Child and Welfare Policy and ratification of the UN Protocol Against Child Prostitution.
    Mr Speaker, under Social Development, we have achieved UN Millennium Development Goal number 1 and about halfing poverty. The current extreme poverty rate has reduced from 16.5 per cent in 2005/2006 to 8.4 per cent according to the Ghana Living Standard Survey 6 for 2014.
    We have provided cash grants to 77,006 households in 103 districts under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).
    We have successfully piloted electronic payment for LEAP and we would roll this up next year.
    We have received Cabinet's approval to coordinate all social protection programmes.
    We are receiving resources from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give cash transfers to 8,000 mothers with children under two years in the three northern regions.
    We have initiated a national diagnostic assessment of the Department of Social Welfare to enable it respond more effectively to the current needs of the Ghanaian society.
    Under World Bank grants, we are establishing a National Targeting Office and a National Household Registry to effectively target all social protection programmes and get beneficiaries.
    We have also established a desk for the aged and have established a National Advisory Committee to develop the National Aged Bill. We have drafting instructions for that.
    Together with the National Health Insurance Authority, we have registered 3,650 elderly persons above 65 years on the National Health Insurance Biometric registration free of charge.

    We have commissioned the National Volunteer Advisory Board and are creating a policy and database for volunteers.

    Our School of Social Work is being relocated to Madina and upgraded into a tertiary institution to become a centre of excellence for social protection in West Africa.

    We have received funding from the GETFund to construct an eighteen (18) classroom block, ICT library, tutorial rooms and administration block for our School of Social Work, which is in Osu.
    Mrs (Nana) Oye Lithur 4:20 p.m.


    1,165 persons with disability have received support and assistance.

    We have closed down the Bonyase Witch Camp and also reintegrated 55 inmates from there.

    Mr Speaker, we were allocated GH¢91,038,708. This was an increase from our budgetary allocation of last year. We had no release under CAPEX.
    Mr Speaker, this is our outlook for 2015 4:20 p.m.
    Just a few items we would list. We would be celebrating 40 years of the national machinery for women.
    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, we wish to state that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer has been separated from our Ministry's budget. We have been allocated GH¢43,631,694 as compared to 91 million cedis but this is because the LEAP transfer has been delinked and it is now under the Ministry of Finance as we requested last year. We are requesting for the Department of Social Welfare to retain 100 per cent of its IGFs, so that we can monitor orphanages and early childhood centres.
    Mr Speaker, for the next fiscal year, we would need GH¢43,631,694 for our operations.
    I respectfully move, that this august House approves our budget for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Ms Laadi A. Ayamba) 4:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support
    Chairman of the Committee (Ms Laadi A. Ayamba) 4:30 p.m.


    West, Volta and Central Regions and organised regional advocacy and sensitization durbars on fistula and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for 600 women in the Volta, Northern and Upper West Regions.

    The Ministry participated and presented a status report on gender issues in Ghana at the 57th and 58th sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and hosted a side event on ‘Assessing Ghana's implementa- tion of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls'. In addition, the Ministry submitted and defended Ghana's 6th and 7th CEDAW Report to the UN CEDAW Committee in October, 2014.

    The Ministry has submitted Ghana's Beijing +20 Reports to the UN after a review meeting was held with key stakeholders. In addition, a progress report on its implementation has been submitted to member states including the UN and the Africa Union.

    Children's rights promotion, protection and development

    As part of the process of finalising the National Child and Family Welfare Policies, stakeholder consultations were held in 10 regions, 20 Districts & and 40 Communities to obtain community inputs from over 7,000 Ghanaians to galvanize public support for the policy. The Policy is finalised and before Cabinet for approval.

    A Child Justice Policy is being developed and an Advisory Board has been inaugurated to guide the process. It is also seeking Cabinet approval to amend the Children's Act of 1998 to conform with the Child and Family Welfare Policy.

    Foster care and adoption regulations have also been finalized and are to be laid before Parliament for enactment.

    1. A review of the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy has been initiated.

    2. The Ministry initiated plans to renovate the Efua Sutherland and Dansoman Children's Parks as recreational centres for children. It also provided shelter and care for 800 orphans and trained 1,406 caregivers in all regions.

    3. Assisted in reuniting 2,234 children in orphanages with their families and closed down 62 orphanages that did not meet the requirements. The Ministry also placed moratorium on child adoption in Ghana to address current challenges and protect adopted children and their foster parents. A central adoption Authority is being established in line with the Hague Convention

    Social development

    Ghana has achieved UN Millennium Development Goal 1 by halving poverty. The current extreme poverty rate has reduced to 8.4 per cent from the 1990 levels.

    The Ministry provided cash grants to a total of 77,006 households in 103 Districts in all the 10 Regions under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme. Out of the total payment, 7,616 beneficiary households in 9 distr icts and 7 regions received electronic payments of the LEAP Grants in 3 piloted ecological zones for the purposes of ensuring timely and efficient transfer of cash to beneficiaries. The pilot is completed and electronic payments will be rolled-out for all beneficiary households in 2015.

    To enhance hearing capabilities of persons with hearing difficulties, the Ministry, with support from Starkey Hearing Foundation, equipped 2,100 beneficiaries with hearing aids to enable them communicate better.

    A desk for the aged has been established and a National Advisory Committee inaugurated to develop the National Aged Bill. In addition, the Ministry, together with the National Health Insurance Authority has registered 3650 out of a targeted 10,000 and also initiated a policy of implementing free public transport and priority access for the elderly on private transport, hospitals and banks respectively

    1,165 Persons living with Disability (PWD) have been identified and registered for various vocational skills and training.

    Domestic violence and human trafficking

    The Human Trafficking Management Board has been reconstituted to fully implement the Human Trafficking Act and the National Plan Action. A sensitization and awareness raising campaign to rescue and prevent trafficking of persons has been held and guidelines for the disbursement of the Human Trafficking Fund developed. The Ministry has made its first disbursement to victims of Domestic Violence in May, 2014 from the Domestic Violence Victim Support Fund.

    Outlook for 2015

    Funds allocated for the 2015 fiscal year

    For the implementation of activities for 2015 fiscal year, an amount of GH¢43,631,694 has been allocated. Out of this amount, GoG is GH¢23,725,775, IGFs is GH¢15,204 and donor fund is

    GH¢19,890,715

    Table 4: 2015 Budget Allocation

    SPACE FOR TABLE 4 - PAGE 11 - 4.30P.M.
    Mrs Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa- Nsuaem) 4:30 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, on page 7 of the Report, you have Table 3 that shows the items, amount approved, amount released and actual expenditure. I was wondering why those amounts were released but have not yet been spent. But the explanation we got was that, the remaining amount has not actually got to the Ministry because they had received warrants but the monies were not given.
    Mr Speaker, this is a Ministry that works with a lot of people. We have children, women, men, the disabled, the aged and so on. I would want to urge the Ministry of Finance, that if it knows that
    Mrs Kusi 4:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the LEAP that has been trumpeted all over. There is no money to finish it up. Mr Speaker, I do not think that this is good for the people of Ghana. This is because people are living in abject poverty -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Ms Ayamba 4:30 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mrs Kusi 4:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a Report laid in this House and the contents were made known to the Hon Minister and she agreed and accepted that they could not get the counterpart funding.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:30 p.m.
    Yes Hon Minister, is it a point of order?
    Mrs (Nana) Lithur 4:30 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. I never made such a statement at any Committee meeting and I wish for the records to be corrected as such.
    Mrs Kusi 4:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was a question I asked her. This is because it is part of my preparation for the budget hearing. [Uproar.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Ms Ayamba 4:40 p.m.
    Her document has suddenly turned to be a question.
    Mrs Kusi 4:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that, this is the Report of the Committee on Local Government, which I took to the Committee meeting and showed to them.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee's Report for this Parliament is what I am quoting. On page 24 of the Report for the Committee on Local Government, which is on LEAP, and LEAP is part of this Report. It says that;
    “The Committee observed with worry, the inability of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to utilise the US$ 5 million allocated under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) in respect of LEAP.”
    Mr Speaker, how come GSOP and the Ministry could not access the funds in 2014 -- because it could not carry out the assessment of 74,000 households instead of the 80,000 households, which is a precondition to access this Fund?
    “In addition the Government could not provide the necessary counter- part fund to enable us access donor funds for LEAP in 2014”
    Mr Speaker, I would also want to urge the Ministry on the Legislative Instruments (L.I.s) of the Domestic Violence Act and the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, which were passed in this House seven years ago. Up till now, the L.I.s are not ready. I heard it is now with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. I would want to urge her, that as much as it has delayed in that Ministry, once it gets to her Ministry, she should not also delay it. This is because the implementation of those Acts have been very difficult because of the absence of L.I.s.
    Mr Speaker, I was on the issue of LEAP when I had to go back to explain issues. From the Budget Statement that was read here, the Minister for Finance said that in 2015, they were going to increase it to GH¢200,000.00. When the budget was presented to this House again, at page 150 it said that it would cover GH¢150,000.00. Mr Speaker, which is which? What do we take? The inconsistencies are too much.
    Mr Speaker, in my opinion, we should be consistent. We should know that we are dealing with children, vulnerable people and whatever we say, we should do. We should not indulge in inconsistencies.
    Mr Speaker, if we said in last year's budget that we were going to increase it to GH¢100,000.00, and we have increased it by only GH¢4,000.00, which is 5.5 per
    cent, how then do we turn round to say we are going to increase it by GH¢37,000.00 or 123 per cent as the Minister for Finance said?
    Mr Speaker, we should quote realistic figures; figures that our economy can uphold, figures that we can work with. We cannot throw dust in people's eyes, and say that we would want to increase it by GH¢100,000.00 and increase it by GH¢4,000.00. -- [Hear! Hear!] -- And then we come back to say GH¢200,000.00. Who are we deceiving? We should be consistent.
    Mr Speaker, the Department of Gender gave us a list of beneficiaries of scholarship schemes that they had selected from various districts. I asked where the list was, and where the addresses of these people were for the Committee members to verify. As I speak, Mr Speaker, the list has not been provided. I think that they should get the list to us, so that as Committee members, we can verify that whatever they put in their Report, when we go to the communities, when we go to the districts, we would be able to find those people and identify them that these are the people who are benefiting from the scheme. I am still waiting for the list.
    Mr Speaker, on women empowerment, I think that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you start concluding? [Uproar.]
    Mrs Kusi 4:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry reported as the Report being discussed says that there is a project that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Gender Section has been funding women with fistula, and they
    were able to treat 82 women. It is a laudable programme. The Government of Ghana under that Ministry should be able to get funding for those women who are suffering. This is because yearly, we have about 3,000 to 4,000 women who suffer from obstetric fistula, and if it is only 82 that we are able to treat and that we are waiting for ECOWAS to bring us money to do this while our women are dying, I think it leaves much to be desired. We should look for money and fund this laudable project.
    Mr Speaker, when I read 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Budgets, the phrase “we”, “... is going to do it”, “I am going to do this”, “I would finalise this” are too many -- [Uproar] -- We have heard those phrases more often than not. We should get into action. We should see something happening.
    Mr Speaker, a case in point is the Efua Sutherland's Park. In 2012, it was said, “We are going to renovate it” “We are going to do this”, and in 2015 Budget, it has appeared again. When we asked the Director of Department of Children about the Memorandum with the UT Bank, he said that they were just cleaning the place -- “We are now going to sit down with them”; “We are going to”; we are finalising”. Those phrases are too many. We should act --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you wrap up?
    Mrs Kusi 4:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you so much.
    All that I am saying is that, we have to know there is no time to waste as regards the people that we are dealing with. The child cannot wait, the vulnerable cannot wait. Do not let us undertake programmes little by little, programmes that are insignificant, maybe, 82 out of 12 million women in Ghana. Is it insignificant? Let
    Mrs Kusi 4:40 p.m.


    us do something for our women and children, so that in future - this is because the Bible and the Quran say that we should look after the vunerable people who do not have it -- the poor. Blessed are the poor in heart.

    So Mr Speaker, let us look after these children and the vulnerable, so that in the end -- [Interruption] -- Matthew Chapter 5 -- so that in the end, we would know that we have done something for mother Ghana.

    I thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, I allowed her a lot of space because she is the Ranking Member.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved:
    That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢43,631,694 for the services of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 4:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let us move to item number 12; the Motion for the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. The Hon Minister has been here since morning to answer Questions, and he is still here. We would want to call upon him to take his Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 4:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Item number 12 on the Order Paper, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 4:50 p.m.

    Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Nii Osah Mills) 4:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢276,234,724 for the services of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, this amount is to be applied for the operations and services of the Ministry, respecting sustainable conservation, development and manage- ment of forest and wildlife resources, including the promotion of eco-tourism development and addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
    It also covers regulating activities in the mining industry, including tackling the menace of galamsey operations and undertaking capacity building for small scale miners, with the view to granting them identified areas for small scale mining, based on environmentally sound practices. It also includes promoting efficient land administration in the country through continuous streng-thening of the integration process of the four divisions of the Lands Commission.
    Mr Speaker, I therefore, call on this Honourable House to approve the said sum of GH¢276, 234, 724 for the activities of the Ministry for the year ending 31st December, 2015 accordingly.
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Alhaji Seidu Amadu) 4:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion to approve the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December, 2015, as ably moved by the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    Introduction
    The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 financial year was presented to Parliament by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Tekper on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The budget estimates of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources were accordingly referred to the Committee on Lands and Forestry and Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to Orders 140(4), 177 and 188 of the Standing Orders of the House.
    During the consideration of the referral, the Committee met with the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Nii Osah Mills, other officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and schedule officers from the Ministry of Finance. The Committee is grateful to them for their assistance.
    References
    The Committee used the underlisted as reference materials during its delibera- tions:
    (i) The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
    (ii) The Standing Orders of the House
    (iii)The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for the 2014 financial year
    (iv) The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for the 2015 financial year
    (v) The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2013- 2015 and the draft annual estimates for 2014 of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
    (vi) Report of the Committee on Lands and Forestry and Mines and Energy on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December,
    2014
    (vii) The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2015- 2017 and the Programme Based Budget (PBB) Estimates for 2015
    Agencies under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
    The Ministry has three (3) sectors, namely, Land, Forestry and Mines. The land sector is managed by two (2) agencies, that is, the Lands Commission (LC) and the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL). The forestry sector is also managed by the Forestry Commission (FC). The mines sector is managed by three (3) agencies and these are the Minerals Commission (MC), the Geological Survey Department (GSD) and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC).
    Chairman of the Committee (Alhaji Seidu Amadu) 4:50 p.m.


    Mission Statement of the Ministry

    The Mission Statement of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is to ensure sustainable management and utilisation of the nation's land, forest, wildlife and mineral resources for the socioeconomic development and growth of Ghana. This is to be achieved through:

    (i) efficient formulation, implementa- tion, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes of the sector agencies;

    (ii) efficient management of public and stool lands as a means to ensure equitable land delivery;

    (iii) promoting effective inter-agency and cross-sectoral linkages;

    (iv) promoting sustainable and efficient forest, wildlife and mineral resource management and utilisation;

    (v) creating an enabling environment for effective private sector participation; and

    (vi) promoting effective community participation in multiple uses of land, forest, wildlife and mineral resources.

    Objectives of the Ministry

    The Mission of the Ministry will be realised through the pursuit of the under- listed objectives:

    (i) Develop and manage sustainably, land, forest, wildlife and mineral resources.

    (ii) Facilitate equitable access, benefit sharing from and security to land, forest and mineral resources.

    (iii) Promote public awareness and local communities' participation in sustainable management and utilisation of forest, wildlife, land and mineral resources.

    (iv) Review, update and consolidate existing legislation and policies affecting natural resource management.

    (v) Promote and facilitate effective private sector participation in land service delivery, forest, wildlife and mineral resource management and utilisation.

    (vi) Develop and maintain effective institutional capacity and capability at the national, regional, district and community levels for land, forest, wildlife and mineral service delivery;

    (vii) Develop and research into problems of forest, wildlife, mineral resources and land use.

    (viii) Build regional and global linkages toward the management of natural resources.

    The Ministry's Performance for 2014

    Land Administration and Management

    In the year 2014, the Lands Commission developed a framework to streamline land registration processes in order to remove duplications and also ensure a stan- dardised and decentralised procedure for land registration across the country. This will reduce bottlenecks in acquiring land

    tittles and deeds and minimise direct contacts between clients and service providers. The framework will be implemented through the establishment of Customer Service and Access Units (CASUs) and piloted in the Regional and District Offices of the Commission in Wa, Bolgatanga, Tamale, Sekondi, Koforidua, Accra, Tarkwa, Winneba, Savelugu and Goaso.

    The Lands Commission also developed three (3) policies, namely, the Survey and Mapping Policy; the Geodetic Reference Network (GRN) and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Policy, to provide for the regulation, development, sharing and co- ordinating of all spatial products generated in the country.

    The overall objective of the policies is to ensure sustainable and integrated geo- spacial infrastructure framework for Ghana. The Commission is currently awaiting approval from Cabinet for their implementation.

    The OASL in the year under review increased its operational districts which also serve as collection points from eighty- one (81) to eighty-five (85) and refurbished ten (10) of the already existing ones with funds from the Land Administration Project (LAP Project).

    The OASL, at the time of the budget consideration, had also been able to mobilise an amount of thirty-three million, three hundred and forty-nine thousand, one hundred and twenty-six Ghana cedis, eleven pesewas (GH¢33,349,126.11) which is about 87 per cent of the targeted revenue of thirty-eight million, two hundred and thirty-forty thousand, six hundred and ninety Ghana cedis

    (GH¢38,234,690.00).

    Forestry and Wildlife Development and Management

    As part of efforts to strengthen law enforcement in the forestry sector, thirty- one (31) officers of the Forestry Commission were trained as Public Prosecutors and deployed to the various regions to prosecute forest offences which hitherto were performed by the Ghana Police Service.

    A national wood tracking system under the Voluntary Partnership Agree- ment between the Government of Ghana and the European Union (EU) was installed by the Forestry Commission to enable Ghana export timber products to the EU.

    Land and Maritime Boundary Management

    The Ministry continued the defence of Ghana's submission before the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in a series of sessions.

    In the year under review, the Ministry was able to finalise issues regarding submission and subsequently took its turn at the Plenary of the UN CLCS in New York in March to affirm recommendations of the sub-commission established to examine Ghana's submission.

    Ghana is currently awaiting the UNs final determination of its claim to extend the Country's Continental Shelf beyond two hundred (200) nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

    Mineral Resource Development and Management

    The Minerals Commission collaborated with the mining industry to develop the first edition of the Local Procurement List
    Mr Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP-- Atwima-Nwabiagya North) 5 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to support the Motion on the floor, that this House approves the sum of GH¢276,234,724 for the services of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, the total budget estimates ceiling for the Ministry for the implementation of its activities in 2015, is GH¢276,234,724. Mr Speaker, however, this is lower than what was allocated in 2014, and there has been a shortfall within that of about GH¢3,421,310.
    Apart from this reduction, Mr Speaker, releases to the Ministry have not been timely enough as indicated in Table 1 of the joint Committee's Report. As of September, 2014, only 8.09 per cent of what was approved for the Ministry this year for assets had been released due to delays in procurement processes.
    With this situation, what infrastructural development would one expect from the Ministry, its Departments and Agencies, particularly the Lands Commission?
    Mr Speaker, I am aware that projects come under assets and procurement processes before funds can be released for their execution. But the procurement process should not be unduly delayed.
    Mr Speaker, with the Lands Commission, it was established by Act 767 as part of the Public Sector Reform Programme and the Land Administration Project to substantially re-model the land sector to increase effectiveness and efficiency. Unfortunately, much has not been done to suggest that the law is being implemented well.
    This is because the new Lands Commission is not well resourced at all. Monies collected by the Lands Commission as stamp duties, out of which some could be retained to complement what it gets from GOAG are all paid to the Ghana Revenue Authority because there is no legal basis for retention.
    Mr Speaker, in the year 2008, during the consideration of this Bill for it to become an Act, this House then agreed that the percentage of the internally generated funds retention for the Lands Commission must be the prerogative of the Minister for Finance to decide. As we speak now, six years down the line, the percentage has still not been determined by the Minister for Finance.
    Mr Speaker, also the Committee, in its previous year 's Report on budget estimates has recommended that the Ministry should make arrangements to get some legislative proposals to Parliament that would allow the Lands Commission to retain some portions of its IGFs, but nothing has been done about this.
    Mr Speaker, just last year, you recommended that the debate on the floor about IGFs on the Lands Commission should be sent to the Ministry of Finance. Mr Speaker, as we speak now, this message has been relayed to them but nothing is being done about it.
    Mr Speaker, the Forestry Commission is able to undertake some of its activities. This is because it has the legal basis to retain some of the funds it generates internally. The Lands Commission could also do better if given the legal mandate to retain some of the IGFs. It is high time something was done about the situation.
    Mr Speaker, as we speak now, the sod has not been cut for the commencement of the new Lands Commission head- quarters building project. Mr Speaker, for the past three years, we have not been able to pay our counterpart funding for this project; we have not been able to do that. As we speak now, this has stalled the progress of this project.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that this project comes on stream because the one- stop-shop that we are talking about is all about this. People still complain that the
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5 p.m.
    Very short, indeed.
    Hon Member, you have spoken for everybody. I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Hon Members, we have so much work to do.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the convention has been that -- [Uproar.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Can we have some order, please?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the convention has been that, at least, when interventions are made, the Hon Minister in charge of that sector would be given the opportunity to, at least, react to some of the issues that might have been raised on the floor. That is number one.
    Number two, Mr Speaker, when we came to debating the principles, we could not afford much space to every Hon Member on the Committee to make an input. So, we said to ourselves that when we came to considering the estimates, we shall afford some space to them. We agree that we have very limited time but at least,
    if we had maybe, a couple of interventions from either side of the divide, it would inure to the benefit of the House. Otherwise, Mr Speaker, it makes no sense staying here.
    If Hon Members believe that they are deprived of the opportunity to raise relevant issues, then they might as well not even be in the Chamber and it would not maybe, inure to the benefit of the transaction of Business in this House. So, I would plead with you that we are accorded some space.
    At least, if you allow two people from either side to make some input before the Question is put, and at least, the sector Minister also be called upon to react to some of the issues -- the very germane issues -- that might have been raised in the course of the interventions of Hon Members.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Point well noted.
    What I will suggest would be that Hon Members should be as brief as possible, so that as many Hon Members as possible can have the opportunity to contribute.
    If we get the Motion moved and it is seconded by the Chairman of the Committee, we listen to the Ranking Member, we can take one from either side and then we put the Question. I believe that would be a fair arrangement.
    Very well --
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we agree with you.
    After the Chairman presents the Report, we take one contribution from each side in view of the fact that we still have [Interruption.] The Chairman, Ranking
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Yes, we are in your hands, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 16, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:10 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Members, item 16 on the Order Paper; Motion by the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture.
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 5:10 p.m.

    Minister for Food and Agriculture (Mr Fifi F. F. Kwetey) 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢411,821,430 for the services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    The amount, even though not fully adequate, is to invest in reprioritised activities of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year. In the year 2015, the Ministry's activities will focus on the consolidation of national food security - - through the application of modern technology as appropriate, increased mechanisation by the creation of more Agricultural Mechanization Services Enterprise Centres (AMSECs) and the development and expansion of irrigation through collaboration with the private sector.
    The Ministry of Food and Agriculture would also deepen collaboration with other Ministr ies, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Ministry of Trade
    and Industry, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice and so on and so forth to encourage more investment in agriculture by private sector and private capital.
    We would be working to contribute to import substitution and this would be pursued very vigorously. In particular, we wish to work hard towards increasing the production of the following value chains -- rice, maize, soya bean, poultry and vegetables. This increased production, should contribute significantly to the import substitution objective of Government and thereby contribute to the economic growth using agriculture as the investment vehicle.
    All these activities should translate into more jobs for our teeming youth, industrial progress, increased foreign exchange earnings and reduced imports. The key social intervention to drive the support of food production and productivity would be the implementation of the fertiliser subsidy programme. It is envisaged to support the distribution of 180,000 tonnes of fertiliser in the year 2015.
    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to say that past investments are beginning to result in agricultural growth as evidenced in the steady rise from 0.8 per cent in 2011; 2.3 per cent in 2012; 5.2 per cent in 2013 and an estimated 5.4 per cent in 2014. Approval of the Ministry's budget will therefore, lead to further progress in this growth.
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie) 5:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion to approve the budget estimates for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Gabriel K. Essilfie) 5:10 p.m.
    Management of Land and Environment Programme
    Collaborated with the Volta River Authority to facilitate the procurement of a consultant to produce an environmental impact assessment report for the flood control and hydro-electric power station at Pwalugu in the Upper East Region.
    Collaborated with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate and recommend a total of 247 pesticides for registration by the Pesticide Technical Committee. Out of this, 130 attained full registration, while 117 have been registered for restricted use.
    Science and Technology in Food and Agricultural Development Programme
    1.84 million and 700,000 doses of ND1- 2 vaccines were supplied to Niger and Gambia; respectfully. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to supply an additional 2 million to Niger has also been entered into;
    The e-Agriculture programme was launched in all ten (10) regions. Approximately 350,000 subscribers accessed the platform on test-run and this resulted in 38,000 active members.
    240,000 root stocks of cashew were raised at Wenchi Agricultural Station and CRIG Station at Bole in the Northern Region.
    The Ministry also collaborated with FAO to access various varieties of Quinoa (a cereal like millet) for adaptability trials in the agricultural stations.
    Cocoa Sector
    Achievement for 2014
    An amount of US$1.7 billion was raised in the syndicated loan market during 2014/ 15 cocoa season to facilitate the
    implementation of programmes and activities in the Cocoa sector.
    Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) exceeded its target of 830,000 tonnes of cocoa to a record of 896,187 tonnes of cocoa during the year.
    The producer price was reviewed upwards from GH¢3,392.00 per tonne to GH¢5,520.00 per tonne for the 2014/15 Cocoa season representing 62.74 per cent.
    The Cocoa Hi-Tech Fertiliser Application and the Cocoa Disease and Pests Control (CODAPEC) programmes were also continued during the year.
    Outlook for 2015
    The Committee noted that the Ministry intends to use its resource allocation for 2015 to achieve the following key outputs:
    Management and Administration
    Implement the Action Plan from the 2014 joint Sector Review;
    Update the Medium-Term Agricultural Investment Program 2011 - 2015 (METASIP I) to METASIP II.
    Commence the implementation of IFAD funded Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP).
    Publish and disseminate the 2014 Agricultural “Facts and Figures”
    Food Security and Emergency Preparedness Programme
    In 2015, the Ministry intends to subsidize a total of 180,000 mt of granular fertilizer at a cost of GH¢70 million to assist food crop farmers.
    Introduction of electronic targeting system in the distribution and payment for fertiliser and seed will be done on pilot
    basis in some selected regions with the aim of improving transparency and accountability in the use of public funds while enhancing farmers' access to fertiliser and seed.
    Under the Japanese Grant (2KR-2013) of US$3.3million, the Ministry will take delivery of agricultural machinery and equipment in 2015. They will be distributed to rice farmers in six (6) regions (Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Ashanti, Volta and Greater Accra).
    In 2015, an additional 41 AMSECs are targeted to be established to bring the total to 130. This will be done under a Brazilian Government credit facility for the supply of agricultural machinery and equipment worth US$95.0 m from Brazil.
    In addition to the rehabilitation works which are on going, in 2015 the Piiyiri and Sillibele Dams in the Upper West Region, Zakpalsi and Sakpe Dams in the Northern Region, Doba Dam in the Upper East Region, Keyime and Ohawu Dams in the Volta Region will be rehabilitated.
    In 2015, 120 hectares of cassava and yam planting materials will be produced. This is expected to increase yield as well as enhance farm level productivity from 19.13 mt/ha and 16.83 mt/ha in 2014 to 20.01mt/ha and 17.21 mt/ha for cassava and yam respectively in 2015.
    Will produce 60,000mt of rice, sorghum, cowpea, soybean, groundnut, cassava, yam, plantain and citrus as foundation seeds.
    Construct 25,000 mt capacity ware- houses to store 10,000 mt of rice, 10,000mt of maize and 5,000 mt of soya beans and other cereals.
    Increased Growth in Incomes Programme
    The Ministry plans to collaborate with the Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to increase local broiler chicken production by 60 per cent by the end of
    2016.
    It also plans to produce 32 million doses of ND1-2 vaccines to control poultry diseases in order to increase the poultry population by 8 per cent (from 67,961,000 birds to 73,423,000 in 2015).
    20 million broilers are targeted to be produced to yield 30,000 metric tonnes of poultry meat.
    It is projected that Ghana will save about US$132 million and reduce poultry import by 38.9 per cent.
    The Ministry also intends to select 20,000 small scale and commercial farmers from rice growing communities to cultivate a total of 300,000 hectares of rice. This is expected to yield 780,000 mt of rice and foreign exchange savings of US$624 million each year through import substitution.
    Marketing of Agricultural Produce and Products Programme:
    Collaborate with Wienco and other companies to support cotton farmers to produce for export.
    Continue to facilitate the manufac- turing of prototype of the flash dryers for the production of high quality cassava flour for the pastry industry.
    Management of Land Environment
    The Ministry intends to continue with the registration of pesticides in accordance with established laws to enhance productivity. Additionally, the Ministry will collaborate with the Ministry

    of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to start issuing “Green Label” certificates to hygienically- produced vegetable farmers. This is to ensure food safety.

    Application of Science and Technology in Food and Agricultural Development Science and Technology

    Procure 150 tunnels to kick-start pilot “Green House” schemes. This is expected to lead to the attraction of the youth in this modernised approach to vegetable production, thereby creating jobs.

    The Ministry plans to also produce thirty-two million doses of ND1-2 vaccines for both domestic and international markets in 2015.

    The Cocoa Sector

    COCOBOD intends to continue the free fertiliser application and (Hi-tech) programme for cocoa farmers during the 2014/15 crop year.

    The mass cocoa spraying exercise under the Cocoa Diseases and Pests Control Programme (CODAPEC) will be continued to help manage cocoa diseases and pests such as black pod and capsids.

    The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) spearheaded the implementation of the Coffee Revamping Programme and provided technical backstopping to increase production for export and local consumption. This programme will be continued.

    COCOBOD intends to also continue the implementation of the Scholarship Trust Fund, Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour, cocoa roads, replanting and rehabilitation of over-aged cocoa farms and farms affected by the swollen shoot disease programmes.

    It will also continue to develop new products from by-products of cocoa, coffee and shea.

    Budgetary Allocation for the 2015 Fiscal Year
    Dr Owusu A. Akoto (NPP—Kwadaso) 5:20 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to add my voice to that of the Chairman of the Committee in supporting the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, the Report as has been highlighted, is a true reflection of the discussions which went on when the Hon Minister and his experts appeared before
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:20 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture, please, pay attention.
    Dr Akoto 5:20 p.m.
    These comments are meant for his consumption but he is not paying any attention to what we are saying.
    We are saying that realistically, we should look at the situation in a proper
    costing. This is because in my own basic estimates, if we were to implement these projects -- even one of them — on the rice alone, we would need something equivalent of the total budget that has been allocated to the Ministry and I find that very unrealistic.
    Mr Speaker, we know that only 1.1 per cent of the total budget on the floor is being allocated to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. We know the problems that agriculture is facing and instead of increasing the budgetary resources to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, it is rather being cut back.

    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader, is it a point of order?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 5:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, a point of information.
    Dr Akoto 5:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am talking about the combination of resources allocated to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture together: it is only in the last two years that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development had been separated. So, in order to get the trend,
    you have to put the two together and so, I do not necessarily agree with the Minority Leader on that.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr William A. Quaittoo — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, you have the floor.
    Mr William Agyapong Quaittoo (NPP—Akim Oda) 5:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion on the floor and in doing so, I would like to remind all of us —[Interruptions.]— who have been to management school, a theory proposed by a man called Maslow. In Maslow's theory, he talks about the hierarchy of needs of every man, and the basic one we are told or we all know, is the physiological needs, that is food, shelter and some people have now added sex.
    Mr Speaker, as has been alluded to by the Ranking Member, over the years, from 2009 up to 2015, the amount of money allocated to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had been dwindling and over the last five to six years, it has been hovering around 1 per cent. Looking at this, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture's contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has also decreased over the same period, from 2009 to 2015.
    Mr Speaker, from 2009, agricultural contribution to GDP was 31.8 per cent; it came to 29.8 per cent in 2010; 25.6 per cent in 2011; 23 per cent in 2012; 21.9 per cent in 2013 and 20.6 per cent in 2014. As a scientist, if I plot this graph, I would get a
    straight line and so, I can easily predict agricultural contribution to GDP in 2015. This is serious and sad. Besides, Ghana was part of a declaration that was made in Maputo, with all Africans agreeing that if we want to see food security ensured, then at least, about 10 per cent of each Government's budgetary allocation should be given to agriculture and yet we see a decline in this budgetary allocation every year in Ghana.
    It is very sad. If we are not careful, a time may come, that of course, we may not even have food to eat and we would have to import.
    Mr Speaker, however, on nominal terms, there has been an increase of 34 per cent this year in the allocation to the agricultural sector. But in terms of percentage, there is still a decrease.
    Mr Speaker, when you look at the Budget Statement, on page 76, paragraph 369, it talks about GH¢411,821,430.00 allocated to the Ministry. That is what we are told by the Minister and that is what we find in the agricultural sector of the Budget Statement. However, if you go to page 133, paragraph 751, there is another allocation for agriculture and that value there is GH¢395.19 million. At the Committee meeting, the Ministry could not explain to us the meaning of that particular amount -- two allocations for the agricultural sector.

    Mr Essilfie — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Essilfie 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted to respond to what my Deputy Ranking Member said in terms of the budgetary numbers being different. That was something that came up at the Committee meeting. I did a follow-up and it was that the original amount was the GH¢395.19 million. But when the Ministry did some adjustment, that was when the total amount was kicked up to GH¢411,821,430 and somewhere the main MDA table shows the correct amount.
    The narrative of the page the Hon Member is talking about, that is where the GH¢395.19 million should have been GH¢411,821,430. So, that was the reason.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you proceed?
    Mr Qaittoo 5:30 p.m.
    Well, Mr Speaker, I am not convinced because the Ministry of Finance would have to come clear on those two figures. This is because they are all said to be an allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
    Mr Speaker, another thing about allocations in this Budget Statement is that, there is a substantial decrease in capital expenditure budget in this year's Budget Statement allocation. However, if you look at their policies, the Ministry is saying that this year, the spending focus would be over the medium-term, would be on capital expenditure.
    Yet if you look at the figures critically, this particular figure has been reduced by about 243 per cent. So, how can you reduce a budget for capital expenditure by 243 per cent and say again that the focus of your total expenditure would be on that particular expenditure or item? I do not get it. There is a contravention there and they have to come clear on that or they have to look at it, how we can
    build on the capital expenditure. This is because this area is very important -- building roads and so many amenities for agriculture to progress, is very important.
    Mr Speaker, another thing that we need to look at, is the fact that apart from the food security area, all the other expenditure items have reduced even though there is a nominal increase in the total budgetary allocation. And I do not see how administration, management and other things are going to be better managed if the budgetary allocation to all these items are reduced.
    However, there are two good things about the Budget Statement. If you look at the budgetary allocation to science and technology, of course, there is a percentage increase of about 1.3 per cent and that is good. Also food security has about 125 per cent. This means that probably, we want to ensure food security through science and technology. This is the only reason I stand up to support this allocation to the Ministry.
    With these few words, I support the Motion.
    Thank you.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, can we go to item number 9 -- Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:30 p.m.
    Very well.
    Item numbered 9 -- Motion by the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology.
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 5:30 p.m.

    Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Mr Akwasi Oppong Fosu) 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I respectfully beg to move, that this Honourable House approves an amount of GH¢243,399,833 allocated to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and its agencies for their programmes and activities in 2015.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation has the responsibility to ensure a balanced socioeconomic development through the formulation of environmentally sound policies and regulations as well as the promotion of scientific, technological and innovative practices and techniques.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, despite this constraint, the budget is committed to raise the necessary awareness and the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and also to ensure that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) become a key driver of the national development agenda through the programmes and activities outlined for the year 2015.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Commiittee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion to approve the amount of GH¢243,399,833 for the 2015 financial year, ending 31st December, 2015.
    Introduction
    In accordance with article 179 (1) of the Constitution, the Minister for Finance, Mr. Seth E. Terkper presented to Parliament, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for the 2015 financial year on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014. Pursuant to Orders 140 (4) and 185 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, Mr Speaker referred the Annual Budget Estimates of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology for consideration and report.
    Deliberations
    The Committee met on Monday, 15th December, 2014 and considered the budget estimates. The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon Akwasi Oppong-Fosu and his technical team from the departments and agencies under MESTI as well as officials from Ministry of Finance were in attendance to assist the Committee in the consideration of the budget estimates. The Committee is grateful to them for their attendance and inputs.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberation on the budget estimates:
    i. The 1992 Constitution
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament
    iii. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2015 financial year
    iv. The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490)
    Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP -- Mampong) 5:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to Motion number 9 on today's Order Paper, which is to seek for the approval of the sum of GH¢243,399,833 for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).
    I would make a brief observation as far as the Report is concerned. First, this is a very critical sector for our economy because whatever the other sectors do, impacts on either the environment or require research and development to undertake their activities.
    So, the environment, science, technology and innovation sector of our economy should be given the attention that it deserves. The services offered by this Ministry, indeed, are fundamental for our socioeconomic planning and development.
    Having said this, I would like to touch on one aspect of the services offered by this sector which deals with spatial planning and human settlement. This is an environmental issue. We are aware that in our country, land use is irregular, chaotic and inappropriate, therefore, by the use of the land, we impact on waste management as a whole.
    I believe the Town and Country Planning Department, which has been tasked with the mandate of ensuring structural and spatial planning for our country, should be resourced to do so.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to point out that, if you study the estimates of the Ministry, our development partners are not committed to spatial planning and human settlement. So, they do not even make any provision for that. The Ministry relies only on the budgetary allocation from the Government of Ghana and if the inflow is not forth coming and the releases are not made, then a department like the Town and Country Planning cannot work effectively.
    We see that, not only in the national capital but in all the ten regional capitals. In almost all the district capitals we have, our land use is chaotic and we need to resource the Department of Town and Country Planning to be effective and efficient in ensuring that our land use is proper.
    Mr Speaker, the second point I would want to make relates to research and development. As I said during the debates on the Budget Statement, it was observed that no country advances in development without recourse to research and development.
    That is why in countries like the United States of America, if the economy slows down and they want to put in stimulus and generate growth, a chunk amount of that stimulus package would go into research and development, and out of that would emerge new products onto the market.
    In our country, we are not given much. So, in our scientific community, it is sometimes disheartening to note that while they are paid to make research, the input and resources are not available for them to undertake the various researches.
    However, we know the effects that they have on agriculture -- the various researches that they have conducted that came out with rice varieties like Gbewaa, Sikamo and Efie ne Fie, which are all products of research and development. So, I would want to urge the Government of Ghana, that if indeed, we have to develop vigorously in this country, then research and development should be part of the fundamental tools in our economic planning.
    I would want to bring it to the attention of the House, again, that the development partners are not also committed to research and development in this country and that should tell us something. Once we develop that component of our economy, they know we can be sustainable in terms of food and we can also make inroads into mechanical items but they are not making any commitment to that.
    So, the Government should take it upon itself -- and that is why we have made a recommendation, as you read in item number 8.3 on page 11 of the Report about the utilisation and allocation of the annual budget funding from the Petroleum Revenue Management Act -- We think some amount of money every year should be dedicated for research, development and human settlement.
    Therefore, under capacity building, which is one component under the utilisation of the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), research and development should be taken care of. I believe that if we are able to do this consistently as a country, we would make a lot of progress.
    So, these two areas are critical for us; our human development and settlement, and our research and development. Young scientists are coming up. There are so many of them and we are told that they do not have anything to do but they are willing to do research which is realistic and not research that is only academic and we would not find any use for.
    Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to end here. Some other Hon Colleagues would want to make contributions, therefore, I request the House to approve the sum of GH¢243,399,833 for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
    I thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Noah Ben Azure (NDC -- Binduri) 5:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the budget estimates for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the 2015 financial year.
    Mr Speaker, permit me to refer to the Budget Statement, page 89, paragraph 452. And with your permission, I beg to quote:
    Mr Emmanuel K. Agyarko (NPP-- Ayawaso West Wuogon) 5:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to speak to the Motion numbered 9.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
    Can we have some quiet, please?
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Agyarko 5:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was saying that any nation that had seen some development, the so-called first world country -- developed countries have all done so by riding on the back of science, technology and innovation. And science, technology and innovation is cost- cutting.
    Mr Speaker, agriculture, health, education, energy, all of these activities, if there is going to be advancement in any of these, it is rooted in science, technology and innovation. Indeed, Mr Speaker, the most topical matter in the world today is the environment. The issues of climate change and its impact on agriculture, the weather and everything, has become -- I would want to believe -- the most topical thing in the world.
    Therefore, the imperatives are that, if we want to move from where we are today as a nation to the Utopia that all of us are looking forward to, then the nation must give a lot of attention and focus to science and technology.
    Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, it does not appear that is what we are doing and I would want to use one of the agencies under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation as an example.
    Mr Speaker, one of the major agencies is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and it has thirteen research institutions. If you look at the estimates, beyond compensation, there was a scanty allocation for services.
    Indeed, out of the GH¢1,800,000, I would want to believe, probably, only GH¢800,000 went to them. If indeed, out of the services budget, they were able to have only about 15 per cent -- anything that has gone on there, had come out of their internally generated funds (IGFs).
    Mr Speaker, out of these thirteen agencies, they were able to generate IGFs worth seven million Ghana cedis. If you divide it over the thirteen agencies, you would approximate and say every one of them was able to generate GH¢500,000.
    Mr Speaker, in science and technology, if you want to do serious research, GH¢500,000 is the amount you would spend in one day. Therefore, we have created these fine institutions -- Forest Research Institute, Building and Road Research Institute, Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, and all of them are not funded
    Mr Speaker, the impact or the result is what we see. We have had a Building and Road Research Institute in this country for over fifty years but if you go to our rural communities, there has been no impact whatsoever on rural housing. Therefore, the position we take is that, as the Hon Ranking Member said, it might be necessary for all of us to relook at science and technology. Sometimes, the notion is that it is like rocket science, but Mr Speaker, what we need to understand is that, it is what impacts on our lives every day.
    Mr Speaker, the other thing I would want to talk about is that, in the deliberation -- I think one of the policies of the Ministry was to help with Information Communication Technology
    (ICT) development and in the process, over the years -- I think that in the year 2012, Mr Speaker, an amount of GH¢54,000,000 was paid to one company to supply laptops. Indeed, they were asked to supply one hundred and eight thousand (108,000) laptops.
    When some inquiries were made, the Hon Minister indicated to us that Government had decided to move ICT and everything related to it from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to the Ministry of Communi- cations.
    When we wanted to find out as the representatives of the people, who have oversight responsibility of how the tax- payer 's money is used -- the Hon Minister's answer was, that function had been transferred and we thought that even in the transfer, in his handing over notes, he would be able to indicate to us what had happened with the laptops.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Asimah 5:50 p.m.
    Exactly so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 5:50 p.m.
    What is your point of order?
    Mr Asimah 5:50 p.m.
    The point of order I would want to raise is that, this issue came up but we agreed that as a Committee, there are other methods of actually getting the right information. At that Committee meeting, the Hon Minister was unable to give us the right figures. So, the figures that he is quoting over here, he is grossly misleading the House.
    Mr Agyarko 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I most respectfully disagree with the Hon Chairman of the Committee. We did not agree. Indeed, the position was if it was necessary, we could raise it on the floor of Parliament and that is exactly what I am attempting to do. Mr Speaker, we are not going out -- We are talking about the budget. Government allocated money; indeed, moneys were paid for this, and all we are asking is, has the contract been executed?
    As late as 2013, we asked about the same thing. Mr Speaker, if Government's money goes away, for the purposes of probity and accountability, we need to know. I would want to say that if we say that the Government cannot fund important agencies like the CSIR, the imperatives are that, we must ask where the money has gone to and I hope that we would be able to come out of this maze.
    Mr Speaker, the last thing I would want to say is, we did also find some difficulty with the way some of the moneys were used. Indeed, in one case, in the case of compensation, last year, for CSIR, the compensation was over GH¢127,000,000; today, they have a cap of GH¢9,000,000.
    The second one is that, again, in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the forecast was to collect over GH¢34,000,000 as IGFs but as of November, they had only collected GH¢22,000,000. However, in the 2015, they estimated to collect GH¢54,000,000.
    Mr Speaker, we must find a realistic way of doing these things, otherwise, it does look like -- sometimes, figures are just put together in an attempt to correct or make the deficit look good. Mr Speaker, it does not help. We need -- or probably, the agencies need to find a better way to
    estimate these things, so that the budget would be really and truly representative.
    With these few remarks, I would want to end.
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved:
    That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢243,399,833 for the services of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Agbesi 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have agreed to take one more Motion, that is, item number 17 for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item number 17 on the Order Paper. It is a Motion by the Hon Minister for Youth and Sports.
    Mr Agbesi 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I have been informed that the Hon Minister for the Interior would be travelling and that we should take his programme today. So, with your permission --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    What number is that one?
    Mr Agbesi 6 a.m.
    Item number 8 for the Ministry of the Interior.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    Very well.
    Item number 8 -- Motion by the Hon Minister for the Interior.
    Is the Hon Minister available in the House?
    Mr Agbesi 6 a.m.
    With your permission, Mr Speaker, we would want the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior -- [power outage] to take the Motion on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as explained by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we can accommodate that -- [Pause.]

    Which sign? Your dumsor dumsor. Your edum dum, edum dum, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. [Laughter.] So, we can have time for the evening's event. After this one, we can adjourn.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    ANNUAL ESTIMATES 6 a.m.

    Minister for the Interior) 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢1,195,558,180 for the services of the Ministry of the Interior for the year ending 31st December, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of the Interior is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the internal security of the country is maintained. To this end, it intends, through its agencies, to provide a safe and secure environment where socio-economic activities will thrive within the confines of the law. This will enable Ghana enhance her status as a middle income country and to achieve a higher growth and development.
    Mr Speaker, for the year 2015, the Ministry intends to undertake the following among others:
    The Ghana Police Service is to increase the level of protection of life and property, the rate of prevention, the detection of crimes and apprehension of offenders to enhance public confidence and satisfaction.
    The Ghana Prisons Service also intends to mechanise its agricultural activities to increase yield and also expand the rearing of animals and poultry to supplement Government budgetary allocation. It will continue the construction of the remand prison at James Camp Prison to contain the overcrowding situation and to minimise the transportation of hardened criminals to and from Nsawam Medium Security Prison to attend court sittings and hospitals in Accra on a daily basis.
    The Ghana National Fire Service will intensify public sensitisation on causes and prevention of fires and launch a national anti-bushfire campaign. It will also enhance its physical infrastructure and acquire adequate logistics to support its operations.
    The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) intends to embark on a massive border patrol and infrastructural development project throughout all (GIS) sector commands.
    Last but not least, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) will continue to undertake public education on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in all the 10 regions. It will organise radio programmes to educate the public on flood, fire disaster prevention and fire safety.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Fritz F. Baffour) 6 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and in doing so, I present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2015 financial year was presented to Parliament by the Hon Minister for Finance Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkper on Wednesday, 19th November, 2014 in accordance with article 179 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
    The draft budget estimates of the Ministry of the Interior were accordingly referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior for consideration and report, pursuant to Orders 140 (4) and 158 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee met with the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior and heads of agencies under the Ministry, as well as officials of the Ministry of Finance, to thoroughly deliberate on the estimates for the 2015 financial year.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister, heads of agencies and officials who acknowledged its invitation and attended upon it.
    Reference Documents
    Your Committee referred to the following documents during its delibera- tions:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    ii. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    iii. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government for the 2015 financial year.
    iv. The MTEF Programme Based Budget Estimates (2015) for the Ministry of the Interior.
    Mission of the Ministry of the Interior
    The Ministry of the Interior seeks to ensure the maintenance of peace, protection, internal security and stability for human safety and accelerated socio- economic development.
    The Ministry's mandate is carried out through the following agencies:
    (a) Ghana Police Service
    (b) Ghana Prisons Service
    (c) Ghana National Fire Service
    (GNFS)
    (d) Ghana Immigration Service (GIS)
    (e) National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO)
    (f) Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).
    Additionally, the Ministry has over- sight responsibility over the following:
    National Peace Council (NPC)
    Migration Unit (MU)
    Ghana Refugee Board (GRB)
    National Commission on Small Arms
    (NACSA)
    Gaming Commission (GC)
    Performance for 2014
    The Ministry, during the year 2014, undertook measures to ensure that internal security was maintained.
    The Ministry organised sensitisation workshops for Private Security Organisations (PSOs) on PSOs regulation. It has sent the Extradition and NADMO Bills to Cabinet for approval and onward submission to Parliament. Memoranda on the Narcotics Commission Bill, BNI and the Prisons Service Regulations are with the Attorney-General's Department for perusal.
    This move is aimed at improving the institutional capacity and operational effectiveness of the agencies.
    Ghana Police Service
    Internal security is a key variable in safeguarding good governance and sustaining development. In the year 2014, the Ghana Police Service developed a strategy to contain conflict situations nationwide. There is a marked impro- vement in police-population ratio (PPR) with a current staff strength of 32,117.
    The roll out of the Police Visibility Patrol nationwide has led to the reduction in major crimes by 14 per cent. Many of the hardened criminals have been arrested and prosecuted.
    Ghana Prisons Service
    The Ghana Prisons Service is mandated to ensure safe custody and welfare of prisoners and to undertake their reformation whenever practicable. Its major achievements in 2014 include, putting in place such measures as effective supervision, to reduce the number of escapees from 28 in 2013 to 15 as at 31st October. There was also reduction in recidivism (re-offending).
    The Service, in its quest to rehabilitate prisoners and successfully reintegrate them into society, introduced formal education to inmates. In line with this, the Service, in 2014, prepared and presented 13 candidates for the BECE and 62 candidates for the NVTI. The Service also prepared 10 candidates to write the 2014 November/December WASSCE.
    Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS)
    The Ghana National Fire Service exists to provide efficient and timely fire and rescue services, as well as to maintain and improve on public safety from fire and related emergencies. In 2014, the Service recorded a reduction in the incidence of fire outbreaks by 20 per cent of the 2013 figure and issued 8,005 fire certificates to organisations and establishments nationwide.
    The Service owes GH¢419,535.30 for fuel and has an outstanding bill of GH¢750,677.50 for National Health Insurance Premium.
    Ghana Immigration Service (GIS)
    The Service exists to operate a fair but firm immigration control that regulates and facilitates the movement of people through Ghana's borders, as well as to efficiently effect residence and work permit systems that meet the social and economic needs of the country. High points of 2014 are:
    Mr Kwame Seth Acheampong (NPP - - Mpraeso) 6:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion numbered 8.
    Mr Speaker, rightly so, I would want to follow from where the Chairman of the Committee ended in the conclusion. But I would want us to advert our minds to Table 1.0 on page 8 of the Committee's Report.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that the public safety sector is well looked at and well managed. Mr Speaker, if you look at assets under “items” in the said table, you realise that the Government of Ghana is providing GH¢4 million and then the
    Ministry is also generating GH¢6,284,416 in addition. If you go to the fourth row, which is on the donor/external support, that is a huge sum of GH¢37,184,303.
    Mr Speaker, it is worrying. Each and every year, we keep saying that we keep our main items which we are supposed to benefit -- These are assets of the State and then we relegate them to donors. Mr Speaker, it will surprise you that in the submission of the Ministry to us in Committee, the Ministry said -- at page 14 of the Report -- the Ministry has limited information on development partners funds.
    Mr Speaker, why do we keep allocating our monies where we cannot find them? We give allocations where we cannot find them. Over 80 per cent of assets are being allowed to be supported by donors. Mr Speaker, we cannot have that.
    Again, throughout the presentations, all the agencies reported of delayed releases. Mr Speaker, what do delayed releases do to the Ministry of the Interior?
    First and foremost, currently, going round in our media -- The Prisons Service -- It may interest this House to know that there are several undercover operations going on in the Ghana Prisons Service.
    Mr Speaker, it would interest you to note that a prisoner is being fed on a ration rate of GH¢1.80 -- averagely, a prisoner is being fed on 60 pesewas per meal in a day.
    Mr Speaker, how are we reforming the people? The prisoners are not in there for penal reasons but for reformation. And if we are going to reform people and we are not feeding them well, we give them hands to do whatever they would want to do.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have made those points. Can you conclude?
    Mr Acheampong 6:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would want to urge that the Hon Minister for Finance ensures that the medical bills of inmates and officers of the Ghana Prisons Service are paid, so that they would be able to offer us the protection we require.
    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved:
    That this Honourable House approves the sum of GH¢1,195,558,180 for the service of the Ministry of the Interior for the year ending 31st December,
    2015.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have a programme lined up for this evening and we have so far exhausted the business for the day. Mr Speaker, we are in your hands.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, I direct that this House stands adjourned till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Thank you for your indulgence and contributions.
    ADJOURNMENT 6:10 p.m.