Debates of 13 Feb 2015

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT 10:30 a.m.

OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 10:30 a.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 10:30 a.m.

OF GHANA 10:30 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 12th February, 2015.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Tuesday, 10th February, 2015 for correction.
Markin — rose
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, column 320, a Statement is being attributed to you but Mr Speaker -- I am told that you have said a Cabinet list would be in within a month.
“…But the information here is that the new Cabinet list would come out by the close of the week…”.
Mr Speaker, I am not too sure because I was not here.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
They said by the close of the week?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:30 a.m.
Yes.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
That was what I said.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, because my confusion is borne out of -
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Well, I cannot recollect; there is no problem. Everything is recorded. So, I will let the Editor of Debates crosscheck what I said; there should not be any problem.
Yes?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my confusion is borne out of the very issue of the composition of the Cabinet because -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Member, in fact, the reason I allowed you when the Hon Deputy Minority Leader caught my eye was because you clothed it as a constitutional issue and I thought that I should listen to you. That particular Hansard has been corrected early on and accepted as the true and fair record of proceedings of the House. But if it were a constitutional matter, we are all subject to the Constitution.
My information is, as of now, we have 18 Cabinet Ministers and I have the list of the 18. The maximum is 19. It is that one that we need now and that is what he said by the close -- whatever I said would be made available when it is done.
Once it is not more than 19, the President is within his constitutional mandate. So, Hon Members -
rose
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, what are you correcting? What are you correcting, Hon Member for Effutu, please. What are you correcting?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am correcting -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
What are you -
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with your leave -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
No! There is no leave here - [Laughter] - What are you correcting?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what I am correcting -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
That is what you have corrected. You were not even here when I said it.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what you have just said -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
You were somewhere - [Laughter] -- You were somewhere and I know where you were and you know I know. [Laughter.]
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sure that he is learning and if you allow him to speak - it is part of the learning curve. Otherwise, the Chair - he cannot be exchanging words. But Mr Speaker, he thought he heard that it was a month but you have rightly said that - It looks like you said a week because today is the end of the week -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, I think that he was right because I said something like a week; yes. But we will crosscheck what I said.
Mr Nitiwul 10:40 a.m.
Apart from that, Mr Speaker, if an Hon Minister is on record publicly to have said that the letter issued to him said that he should be in Cabinet -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Are you listening to me? You know that person does not appoint himself to the Cabinet. There is only one person who does that and that is the President. So, I will not trace my source and authority from any other person apart from the President.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Hon Afenyo-Markin was not here and we are correcting what happened on that day. How can somebody who was not here know exactly what happened and seem to be correcting it?
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, if you have nothing to correct, the Official Report
of Tuesday, 10th February, 2015 is adopted as the true record of proceedings.
rose
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, look at the inside of the cover of the Official Report - what do we refer to - it is not a page. It is not a column too. The other side of the cover page. [Interruption]-- the flipside. Look at it. [Pause] Have you read it?
Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I still need your guidance.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you mean where I quoted from, respectfully?
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
No! The flipside of the cover page. [Interruption.] Look at the flipside of the cover page.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Correction of errors.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Have you read it?
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
I have just read it. But Mr Speaker, my learned Friend has just said that I was not here.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Very well, Hon Members - Pardon me.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
He said I was not here but I was here in the afternoon, for the records.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
I was not here
at that material moment but I was here -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
He was referring to the time when the Votes and Proceedings were -
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Then he should say it well. He should put it in a -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Very well.
Mr Afenyo-Markin 10:40 a.m.
Yes, I am exceedingly grateful, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Very well, you are right.
Business Statement for the Third Week. Chairman of the Business Committee?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 10:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
The Chairman of the Committee is not available and I would want to present the Report on his behalf.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE 10:40 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Any comment on the Business Statement?
Hon Vice Chairman of the Business Committee and Hon Deputy Majority Leader, why are you programming the Second Reading of the Right to Information Bill on Wednesday?
Have you laid the Report? Because we were going to lay the Report this week, but we were told that it was not ready. So, when are you going to lay it, then we take the debate on Wednesday?
It is an important Bill and Hon Members must have copies in good time to study it, so that we can have an informed debate on the floor of the House. In the first place, it would not have matured. Of course, we can suspend the Standing Orders. It is a very important Bill and I do not think that laying it on Tuesday and taking it on Wednesday -
So, the Business Committee may have to look at that.
Yes, Hon Members for Ablekuma North and Tema East.
Mr Justice Joe Appiah 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my main concern is about the House Committee meeting on the “Job 600” edifice. It looks as if the project is still - We have just taken possession of the project and Hon Members are still transacting business in their car booths. Mr Speaker -
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Member for Ablekuma North, you know that you are completely out of order? [Laughter.] Let the House Committee meet and then you take it up from there. All the information that you need may be provided to you at that committee meeting.
Do you understand?
Mr J. J. Appiah 10:40 a.m.
I understand, Mr Speaker. But time is running fast and we need to get our offices.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Ablekuma North -
Mr J. J. Appiah 10:50 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
You know very well - I know you have the information and you know that you have all the information on that project and that work is going on. You know that furnishing is going on? You know because I know you have taken special interest in that project.
You have more information even than me sitting here as the Chair.
Mr J. J. Appiah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I know it.
Mr Speaker, I have the information.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Tema East?
Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I recall before we rose for the Christmas break, we experienced an embarrassment in the Chamber with regard to adumdum adumdum, to wit, the power outages. You set up an interim committee to look at these embarrass- ments with regard to these energy crises.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, coming from Tema East, which forms part of the industrial hub of this country where cold store operators are crying, because their fish is going bad, where you go to the hospitals and children in incubators and all that are suffering. I would respectfully want to indulge your permission in the coming week, if the Hon Minister for Power could be summoned to this House to give us a clear timeline.
This is because our people in Tema East are dying and businesses are collapsing.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, why are you hijacking the Business Statement?

Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I respectfully would want to know about the report of the Committee that you set up; they should come and tell us what is really happening.

It is very crucial, Mr Speaker - your own Committee which you set up.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Tema East, you know the processes.
Hon Members, any other comment?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you want to say something?
Mr Agbesi 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was going to comment on his statement but you have already replied him.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague was making reference to the Committee which was set up by you to investigate that particular event of the dumsor, that is, the power outage issue in the Chamber.
And through the recess period and for about the second week now - we are entering the third week - we expected that the business Committee would flash on the Business for next week, a presentation or Paper from that Committee for us to know what happened and how we are going to forestall that incident.
Mr Speaker, I think that was what my Hon Colleague talked about and it looks like we have veered off the road a bit.
Mr Speaker, would the Business Committee tell us when they would
schedule the presentation of that report from the Committee?
Mr Agbesi 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, rightly said, a Committee has been set up to look at the situation and if the report is ready, the Business Committee would bring it to the House. So, the Committee has not yet submitted the report; they are still in the process.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
We expect the Leadership of the House to put a little pressure on that Committee to work. Throughout the recess, some committees sat and travelled. This is a very important Committee and I thought we should have got their report by now.
We would want the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, who is coincidentally acting for the Chairman of the Business Committee today, to consult with the Chairman of that particular Committee and to inform him that the House is demanding their Report next week, so that we could schedule it for them to submit something to us.
Other than that, what would be the purpose? Next week, the power barges are coming and there would be no dumsor. So, what would be the purpose of that report in the House any longer?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Agbesi 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a good piece of advice. We shall see or talk to the Chairman and put pressure on him for the report to be brought.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, take it on board and find out what is happening with the Committee. This is because I have not seen any report from them. So, do a follow-up and let us know the status. That is all.
Mr Patrick Y. Boamah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I listened to President Barrack Obama deliver his State of the Union Address a couple of weeks ago and I would want to have an indication when our President will be in the House to deliver his State of the Nation Address in accordance with the Constitution?
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I thought the Leadership had informed you?
Mr Boamah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the dates keep changing and - [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
No date has been fixed. The date that has been fixed has not been changed. There is only one date that I am aware of, which is February 26th, 2015.
Mr Boamah 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, God bless you for the confirmation.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I am aware of this date since we resumed and we have conveyed this date to the Leadership of both sides of the House.
Mr Boamah 10:50 a.m.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, that
brings us to -
Hon Member for Tema East, what again do you have to say?
Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.


Speaker, this Report which you asked respectfully -
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Tema East, the Hon Member for Dormaa Central has made a suggestion to the acting Chairman of the Business Committee.
Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, I would want to put more adrenaline in the statement. This is because if we are accusing Hon Ministers of State of not doing what they are supposed to do in this House, and in this Chamber -- you have ruled that a committee is set up to furnish you with the reasons these lights have been so epileptic within a week and it is not coming -- I would like to implore that you should seriously demand that in the coming week, this report should be before you and let us deal with the matter. It looks as if they are joking with the ruling. [Hear!] [Hear!]
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Members, I will let the Hon Deputy Majority Leader brief me. And based on that, after he has done the consultations with the members of the Committee, if there is the need for me to give a directive from the Chair, I will do that.
I agree entirely with you that when we are calling people to order, we ourselves must make sure that we do the proper thing. That is a legitimate point which you have made.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the consideration of the Business Statement for the Third Week ending Friday, 20th February, 2015, which is accordingly adopted.
Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement today, standing in the name of the Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri Constituency.
Hon Member, you have the floor.
STATEMENTS 11 a.m.

Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP - Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the unique opportunity.
The summary of my Statement, basically, is calling on the Executive arm of government -
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, read your Statement.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Statement is titled, “Making the Scholarships Secretariat more effective”.
Mr Speaker, preliminary checks and investigations conducted into the operations of the Scholarship Secretariat revealed that apart from bursaries that are given to senior high schools, all other applications and operations are cen- tralised at the national capital.
Besides, there is no clearly laid down laws governing the operation of such an important agency of the State. This does not engender transparency and accounta- bility and as such, the situation must be reviewed.
Mr Speaker, the Scholarships Secretariat was established in January, 1960 as an extra ministerial body under the Office of the President. Its main object was to administer and exercise central control over scholarship awards for manpower development, to ensure effective manpower support for the various national development pro-grammes.
The Secretariat now has a mission to utilise Government funds, GETFund, and donor support for the provision of scholarships to brilliant but needy students

and qualified workers at a minimum assess cost for human resource development for the purpose of national growth and development.

The Secretariat issues five types of awards:

Thesis grant for postgraduate students.

Bursary grant for postgraduate students.

Long course allowance for medical students.

Disability allowance for physically challenged.

Hardship allowance for needy students.

Need for decentralisation

In all the cases of awarding the scholarship, centralisation seems to be restricting access to the facility. For instance, the scholarship award is intended to provide financial support to brilliant but needy students whose parents or guardians are financially handicapped. Manifestly, many financially handicapped parents reside in remote areas of our country with their brilliant but needy kids. Many of such people have never been to the nation's capital.

They do not know of the existence of the scholarship facility, or if they do, they are unfamiliar with the process of procuring the application forms. Some simply do not have the money to travel to Accra for the forms. That means that by its location alone, we have failed to make the agency accessible to the very people who are supposed to benefit from it. Additionally, they are put at a disadvantage of competing with other needy students who are closer to Accra or know some influential people who can follow up on the application forms

for them.

To buttress my point, according to the official website of the agency, in accessing the scholarship award, parents or guardians collect forms from the Scholarships Secretariat for completion, and the forms should be endorsed by school heads and District Chief Executives (DCEs). Many of our village folks have no relations resident in Accra who can readily accommodate them when they come to pick up scholarship forms. And how many can afford to stay in a hotel? In the event, a huge proportion of those who qualify and require the assistance are cut off.

Better services could be rendered to our people by making the Secretariat available in all regions, and possibly, districts; first, to increase accessibility, and second, to broaden the scope of the award to the doorsteps of the very people the award was instituted for.

Government should take steps to open regional secretariats in all the ten regions of the country, in a bid to bring the Scholarships Secretariat to the doorsteps of the ordinary Ghanaian. Subsequently, we can extend the service to the districts. A decentralised system will also allow for speedy processing of the forms, not forgetting that closeness to real needy students will establish more fairness in the awards because there will be people on the ground to verify those who really qualify for the award. A governing law

Mr Speaker, the operations of the Secretariat is not regulated by any statute. Everything is at the discretion of the National Co-ordinator.

There is the need for a law to be passed to effectively regulate the Secretariat to inject more transparency in the administration of the Secretariat.

This point is critical as we seek, to consolidate our democratic credentials as a country by ensuring neutrality of such an important agency of State. Second, it will enable professionals with expert knowledge in scholarship administration to ensure its effectiveness.

It is my fervent hope that this matter would elicit positive contributions, which would lead to the restructuring of the Scholarships Secretariat to the benefit of all deserving Ghanaians, irrespective of their ethnic, regional, religious, political backgrounds or creed or other beliefs.

Thank you.
Mr Joseph Z. Amenowode (NDC - Afadzato South) 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague at the other side.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, we will want to move to some important Motions, so, I want the comments to be as brief as possible, in line with the rules of the House.
Mr Amenowode 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to comment on only one aspect of this Statement, which is, access to scholarships by students.
We suggested the opening of offices in the regions but I would want to suggest that as in the olden days, when we were in school, the headmasters of schools helped their students who needed support by giving them the forms and processing them on their behalf while the Scholar- ships Secretariat liaised with the schools and awarded the students accordingly.
When you talk of access, if it is in the
Volta Region, somebody from Kete Krachi would face the same difficulties if the headquarters is in the region. So, I would say that as much as his suggestions are good, we should encourage headmasters and at best, district offices to help the students in the various regions to access the scholarships.
Mr Speaker, with these words, I support the Statement.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member, because of the point that you raised - the Hon Member, in his Statement, drew a distinction between bursaries and scholarships. He says that the bursaries are made available to the senior high schools. So, I thought that being an educationist, you would have clarified that position.
Mr Amenowode 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the bursaries and the scholarships are all from the same Government source. And in my days -- That is what I am trying to re-visit, the schools give out those forms to the students and help them access the scholarships. That is what I am suggesting we should re-visit.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Member for Ablekuma North?
Mr Justice J. Appiah (NPP - Ablekuma North) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, one may ask what scholarship is. Scholarship is, offering free tuition for bright and needy children.
The Scholarship Secretariat is only centralised in the Greater Accra Region. We need to decentralise the Secretariat in all the ten regions of this country in order to alleviate the plight of our citizens who
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, conclude.
Mr J. J. Appiah 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given to me.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, the Hon Member who made the Statement raised two critical issues, firstly, the issue of restructuring and decentralisation, and secondly, the legislation to regulate the process.
Those are the two critical issues that he has raised, and as much as possible, let us address the issue, so that the right signal could be sent out to those who would initiate the process.
Yes, Hon Member, conclude with your last sentence. [Laughter.] Or have you concluded? Your last sentence, Hon Member for Ablekuma North?
Mr J. J. Appiah 11:10 a.m.
Let us ensure the independence of the scheme in order to build confidence for all manner of people in the country. [Hear! Hear!]
Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakari (NDC - Salaga South) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker for this opportunity.
Let me first congratulate and commend the Hon Member who made this Statement, for the brilliant observation.
Mr Speaker, I would go to the need for making legislation to guide the Scholarships Secretariat. As he stated in the Statement, that this is left to the discretion of the National Co-ordinator for the Scholarships Secretariat, when people are used to discretion, it is subject to abuse. Therefore, I am also adding my voice to what the Hon Member who made the Statement said.
There is the need to let the Hon Member in charge of the Scholarships Secretariat bring a Bill for us to look at whether there is a way that we can regulate the Scholarships Secretariat. This can also enhance the decentralisation that he is calling for.
With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Collins Owusu-Amankwah (NPP - Manhyia North) 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, permit me to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement -- Hon Annoh- Dompreh.
Mr Speaker, I would want to urge the Scholarships Secretariat to be more proactive in terms of its dealings. It is better for the Secretariat to, as it were, publish the details of the scheme, including both local and international ones. How many people know that there is a Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme that one can access?
I would want to appeal to the Secretariat to be more transparent. We would want to know the quantum of foreign donations and also scholarships that come into the country --
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, let us be
very careful. When people are not on the floor of the House to defend themselves, we do not have to create the impression as though they are not transparent. Hon Member, if you have a particular experience, you can share it.
It is over 50 years, since 1960 and all successive governments have been following that same pattern. An Hon Member made a Statement and said that, the time has come for us to take a look at the issue. If we say they should make it transparent, then we are assuming that there is no transparency, there is an underhand dealing which we have evidence of -- They are not here to defend themsellves and it is likely to send a wrong signal.
As I said, They are not here to defend themselves. So, as much as possible, let us not lose sight of the important Statement that has been made by the Hon Member.
Mr Owusu-Amankwah 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Even though, you have set the parameter, which is to stick to the issue, that was my personal observation.
The Secretariat should be more proactive as I have already reiterated, in the sense of the kind of treatment that one would go through if he or she would want to access the scheme.
I am talking from personal experience. When one of my constituents approached me, that he had already applied for the scheme, but the conditions attached to the whole process were difficult to access. So, I would want to appeal to the Secretariat to be more open, so that Ghanaians could access and enjoy the scholarships.
Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (NDC - Juaboso) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Let me also
congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement.
Mr Speaker, I cannot but agree with the Hon Member who made the Statement, that the Scholarships Secretariat must be decentralised. If one would have to travel from my constituency, Juaboso to Accra and back one would need not less than GH¢200.00. And if we say somebody is needy, I would not be surprised that the person would find it difficult to raise GH¢200.00 just to access a scholarship. So, we should be able to decentralise it to the regions and districts, such that it would be easy for students to get access to the forms.
Mr Speaker, you would agree with me that when Hon Members travel to the various constituencies -- because they are accessible to their constituents, they hear a lot of stories regarding scholarships, financial assistance and what have you. If the Scholarships Secretariat is decentralised, it would go a long way to decrease the pressure, even on Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, as much as I agree with Hon Members who contributed to the Statement, that heads of institutions must help their students, in my opinion, it would be better that the forms are available in the various districts or regions, so that the students or their parents can easily access them.
Mr Speaker, again, a very critical issue has also been raised about statutes, I stand corrected. My attention has been drawn to the fact that it is not regulated by any statute and as a law making House, in my opinion, we should try to encourage, that we get laws to regulate this particular Secretariat.
If we are making laws, I do not think that we must put into consideration the size of the house that one belongs to because only God knows where one would find
himself in the shortest possible time. So, if we are making laws, we should make laws for the whole country. It is very important.
Mr Ben Abdallah Banda (NPP - Offinso South) 11:10 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri.
Mr Speaker, the Statement read by the Hon Member raises two critical issues. The first issue has to do with the need to have a legal regime in place to regulate the operations of the Secretariat, and secondly, the need for the Scholarships Secretariat to be decentralised, so that Ghanaians who live far and near could have easy and convenient access to the services of the Secretariat.
Mr Speaker, it is very worrying that since 1960, that the Scholarships Secretariat was institutionalised, there has not been any law put in place to regulate and smoothen the operations of the Secretariat. It is trite knowledge that wherever there is no law, there is bound to be a disorder. Fairness, equity, transparency and accountability are borne out of the operations of a proper legal regime.
Mr Speaker, people who are put at the helm of affairs in the absence of a law, are at liberty to exercise their discretionary powers, which in most cases, are abused -- Yes, the 1992 Constitution says that, discretionary powers must be exercised in a very fair and equitable manner. But Mr Speaker, it is trite knowledge that discretionary powers, the spirit and the letter of the provisions in the 1992 Constitution are not strictly adhered to.
Mr Speaker, there is therefore, the
need to have a legal regime in place, so that Scholarships Secretariat can be properly regulated, so that we could do away with perceived nepotism, tribalism and cronyism that have bedevilled many of our institutions.
Mr Speaker, we all want the right people to be targeted. It is a common knowledge that the unfortunate and the underprivileged ones are found in the remote areas of our country who most of the time, do not even know the existence of the Secretariat, let alone know the location of the Secretariat.
Mr Speaker, it is always said that, justice must be seen to be done. If justice must seen to be done, proper things must be put in their proper perspectives.
Mr Speaker, decentralisation is a key to ensuring speedy, less expensive and efficient delivery of services. There is too much concentration or centralisation in Accra. Many a times, if somebody wants to access a service, the person must come to Accra. If somebody wants a job, he must come to Accra. It is this disturbing phenomenon that has engendered rural- urban migration.
Mr Speaker, finally, if it is inconvenien- cing and very expensive to come to Accra for a scholarship form, then the purpose for which the Scholarships Secretariat was set up has been defeated.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
11. 20 a.m.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements.
I direct that a copy of the Statement and the comments made by Hon Members on the floor be forwarded to the Scholarships Secretariat for their immediate attention.
At the Commencement of Public Business, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have been informed by the Chairman of the Committee, that item 8 is ready to be moved.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, item 8 on the Order Paper -- Motions.
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee?
MOTIONS 11:10 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu) 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor- General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Pre-university educational institutions) for the financial years ended 31st December, 2010 and 2011.
Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to present your Committee's Report and I would crave the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues to pay some attention to the Report.
Introduction
In accordance with article 187 (2) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the Auditor-General conducted an audit of the accounts of Pre-university educational institutions in the country for the financial years ended 2010 and 2011. The Auditor-General's Reports on the audited accounts were subsequently laid in Parliament on Wednesday, 6th November, 2013 and Tuesday, 4th June, 2013 respectively. This was in fulfillment of article 187 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Pursuant to Order 165 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, the Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee by Mr Speaker for examination and report.
Purpose of the Audit
The Auditor-General conducted the audit to ascertain whether in his opinion:
i. the accounts of the pre-university educational institutions have been properly kept;
ii. all monies collected have been fully accounted for and rules, regulations and procedures established are sufficient to ensure effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of the revenue;
iii. monies have been judiciously used for the purposes for which they were appropriated and expenditures have been made as authorised;
iv. essential records have been maintained and the rules and procedures applied are sufficient to safeguard and control the Institution's property;
v. financial business has been conducted with due regard to economy, efficiency and effec- tiveness; and
vi. the annual accounts of the Institutions give a true and fair view of their financial position.
Methodology
To examine the Reports, the Committee grouped the regions of the country into four (4) zones as listed below:
Zone 1 -- Northern, Upper East and
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Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakari (NDC - Salaga South) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought this report was so important that - maybe, I will crave your indulgence that the Minister for Education should have been here, to listen to the issues raised in it. I would say that in future - I did not see the Deputy Minister here.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member for Salaga South, you are the Ranking Member of the Committee. Did you invite the Minister for Education to attend upon the House to listen to the debate?
Alhaji Abubakari 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought that the Leadership and the Table Office would do that, and not the members of the Committee.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Have you approached the Leadership of the House to do that?
Alhaji Abubakari 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we will take note of this, and correct that next time. We will make sure the Ministers responsible for whichever reports are read, would be here to participate in the debate.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Chairman of the Committee has read what is important. So, I will just say a few words.
Mr Speaker, during our Sitting, we realised that all the irregularities that occurred could be summarised basically into four. The non submission of financial statements by the institutions. In other words, at the end of the year, those various institutions failed to submit their accounts, balance sheets, income expenditure accounts, and cash flows et cetera, which are necessary to show their accountability.
There is also the cash irregularities, procurement irregularities, payroll irregularities, which most often Ghanaians call it “ghost names”. A lot of the payroll irregularities we have, are what we have summarised as “ghost names”, among others.
Mr Speaker, these are the basic things that occur year in, year out. In fact, if you take the audit reports for the past ten years, these four major irregularities always occur -- non submission of statements, cash irregularities, procurement, payroll fraud, et cetera.
In accordance with the audit report, Mr Speaker, most of these irregularities happened because of the blatant refusal of those officers responsible to observe the Regulations and the laws guiding this thing - in other words, the Financial Administration Act, the Procurement Act, and Internal Audit Agency Act and those various law -- and their refusal to observe these laws according to the Auditor-General.
The recommendation he made is that, those officers involved should be sanctioned but because the heads of those institutions refused to sanction them, these irregularities have continued year in, year out.
Mr Speaker, what we are saying is that, if we go into the Financial Administration Act, whenever a head of institution fails to sanction an officer who has caused financial indiscipline, that particular head of institution should be sanctioned in accordance with the law.
So, I am urging the House, that in
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the Report that we have read, all those financial breaches that have happened, the heads of institutions who failed to sanction those officers should be brought to book, in accordance with the law.

All the officers who should be

sanctioned should be sanctioned. This is in accordance with the Financial Administration Act. Otherwise, every year, we shall come here to repeat the same irregularities that have been happening until we are able to put sanctions on them to serve as a deterrent to others.

I do not want to say much because the

Hon Chairman has read the whole Report. All I would want to say is that, all these things have been happening because people are not punished when they breach the laws.

It is our duty - as we have an oversight duty over these people, to ensure that the necessary punishment is meted out to serve as deterrent to others.

With these few words, I would urge the House to support the Motion on the floor.

Thank you.

Question proposed.
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, before I open the floor, the Hon Chairman, in moving the Motion, raised a very important issue about this continuous year in and year out - I want us as a House - If it is only a routine thing that we come and do here, then, is that the way we should proceed?
Indeed, Hon Members, let me tell you that I was an Hon Member of the Public Accounts Committee at the time that the Audit Service Act was passed in the year 2000. Some of us, led by Hon Albert Kan-Dapaah and the late Hon Baah- Wiredu, decided to implement the Audit Report Implementation Committee to move the process forward. The original
Bill that came from the Executive, that provision was not in it.
Over the years, this process has continued. I do not know whether I should have - before I hand over the Chair to the Hon First Deputy Speaker, I do not know whether at the end of this debate, we should find ways of - This time, not the Leadership, but the leadership of the Public Accounts Committee, and a certain group to engage - to do some sort of engagement for us to find a way out.
I just want to throw these things out. It is going to be a ritual I am sorry, I am not supposed to take part in the debate. Because of the issues that are being raised on the floor of the House, I think that we need to highlight some of these issues, so that we know how, as a House, we are going to move the process forward, as the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
Hon Member for Sekondi?
Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP-- Sekondi) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
I was at the Finance Committee meeting, and monitoring proceedings here, but because I wanted to make a contribution here, I sought permission. It is in the same direction as what you have said.
Mr Speaker, we cannot continue like this. The Constitution provides us an avenue - We cannot continue lamenting. I went to the Hon Chairman and told him that I was upset with him. With his big coat, flowery English, lengthy Report, so what?
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would refer you, as I do almost every year to article 187 (6) of the Constitution.
With your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to read;
“Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint where necessary, in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it.”
Year in, year out, we come and what I say is that we express “woes of lamentations,” and we leave. It is too ritualistic. Mr Speaker, as you have said, I have also been here for a long time, but we cannot continue like this.
I see the Hon Chairman saying; “Finally, the Committee urges the Ghana Education Service (GES)”. Who should ensure that the GES employs are sanctioned? It should be this House. I am sure that, next year, all the Reports would be the same thing.
Last year, the Report they submitted was the same thing. In the year 2013 too, it was the same thing. Can we continue like this? Mr Speaker, the best way is to invoke the provisions of article 187(6), so that we cease from this yearly rituals.
Mr Speaker, I propose that -
Mr Speaker, I have said that the major problems that we face as a country -- I speak as someone who has had the singular benefit of moving round six Ministries. The problem is just one; it is our failure to comply with, or enforce regulations. Another problem is our inability to discipline -- That is it! We talk about corruption but what is it? People get away with financial murder in this country.
I am saying that, it is this House that should show the way. Mr Speaker, let us consider the provisions of article 187(6), and for once, let us follow up on the
process, so that we do not continue to be accused that we come to Parliament and just talk and talk and nothing happens, because every year, it is the same thing. Just as the Hon Ranking Member has stated, I know that he has been an Hon Member of this Committee for about seven years. Is that not correct? Likewise the Hon Chairman. But why?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker noon
Hon Members, on this point, I would have wished that the two Hon Leaders were here. I think that we need to do further consultation as a House, if possible, at Closed Sittings and then we explore some of these matters being raised, especially with regard to article 187(6) of the Constitution, so that as a House, speaking with one voice -- With the greatest respect, this is not a National Democratic Congress (NDC) or New Patriotic Party (NPP) matter.
I have been on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and I have been Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee for several years. I have been involved for several years on this Committee. As I sit down here, I have become Speaker and they bring reports and the things that we were talking about in the 1990s through the 2000s, and now, we are in 2015 and they are repeating themselves. I will suggest to Leadership, next week, they should let us look for an opportunity and see how we can create a forum to discuss these things and see whether we can look at article 187(6) in detail.
Hon First Deputy Speaker to take the
Chair.
Mr George K. Arthur (NDC - Amenfi Central) noon
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for also raising that issue. Severally, I have also raised the issue about the way we invite people to appear before the PAC. It is that we have to invite the head of the institution while the
people who committed the offence may be there. Comparatively, I can say that, this pre-university education institutions' Report has been one of the best Reports the Committee has been dealing with, in the sense that when we take this 2010/2011 Report, most of the institutions came along with the offenders -- where even a weak 70-year-old pensioner had to appear before the Committee and accept that he had misappropriated about GH¢15,000 and he was ready to pay with his pension pay.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:03 p.m.
Hon Member, I believe Mr Speaker had given the kind of directive that we need. So, as much as possible, I want us to cut down on the length of time we want to make our contributions.
Mr G. K. Arthur 12:03 p.m.
Mr Speaker, they come and pretend they do not even know the issues that have been raised in the Auditor-General's Report. Sometimes when you challenge them, they say that as for all the issues you have raised, like the common whatsapp messages:
“as for all of them I can take charge of them but as for this particular one I am not the one who did it.”
So, Mr Speaker, I think we need to find other ways of inviting these people and compelling them; we should not say that, it is not our responsibility to compel them to come and pay. Let us find means of compelling them to satisfy it before the Report is considered. They cannot allow this Report to come out for a year or two and they sit somewhere and pretend they do not even know what has come into the Report.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP - Dome/ Kwabenya) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Report of the Auditor-General that was before the PAC and to urge all Hon Members to support it.
Mr Speaker, as Hon Members who spoke earlier already enumerated, and Mr Speaker had given direction, I would want to touch on some of the irregularities that came before the Committee during our sittings.
One of the irregularities had to do with uncompetitive procurement. There was a huge number of institutions that failed to comply with the provisions under
the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act
663).
Mr Speaker, out of a total number of 102 institutions, of the 10 regions, we noticed that the knowledge they had about PPA and their responsibilities under the Act were not known to them. Some of them had not even seen copies of the Act, how much more to know responsibilities that they were to perform under the Act.
Mr Speaker, there were situations where they appeared to have done procurements without having a procurement plan. But the PPA requires all State institutions, of which they are part, to have at the beginning of every year, a procurement plan, which they will follow throughout the year.
Some appeared before the PAC without having a procurement plan. So, as and when they thought they had to do procurements, they did it without following the required procedures and laid down rules.
Again, there were situations where they had to call for tenders or contractors without necessarily opening the procurement process widely enough for competition. This is referred to as restrictive tendering under the Procure-ment Act.
If they decide to do that, the law requires them to invite alternative price quotations based on which they can decide one tenderer they would be procuring from. None of these were done as we engaged them on the Committee.
Again, Mr Speaker, most of them also did not have Entity Tender Committees and that is the beginning of having a good procurement system in your institution. This is because, they would be charged with the responsibility of going through and checking whether there is a procurement plan or they are following the Procurement Act. Most of the institutions do not have Entity Tender Committees. So,
if they do not have the committee upon which they were to act, then it is clear they will violate certain salient provisions in the Act.
Again, on the issue of sole-sourcing, Mr Speaker, the Procurement Act, in section 42 clearly states that it is a method of procurement which is allowed under the law. But most of them are under the impression that once they say sole-sourcing, it is something that is not allowed and so, they will not follow the laid down procedures.
Under the Act, sole-sourcing is a method that is approved and permissible. It just requires you to seek permission from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), that these are the reasons and the reasons are spelt out in the Act -- in the case of emergency, urgency, or where the Intellectual Property Rights involved and for that matter, you can buy it from only one source.
These are the conditions under which you can go sole-sourcing. But they do not go for the permission from the Public Procurement Authority and they do as they wish and then violate the laws.
In concluding, Mr Speaker, a lot has been said about giving PAC adequate teeth to bite and not necessarily going through this annual ritual. But in the Act, we have the laws and the laws have prescribed sanctions. So, we are urging that as it comes to plenary and the recommendations are given, most of these acts are made offences under the Act.
The Public Procurement Act, for instance, under section 92, states that if you violate any of the provisions in the Act, it amounts to criminal offence and for that matter, you ought to be prosecuted. So, we urge that when these recommendations come, your Honourable Chair could refer them to the Attorney-General to take the
necessary steps.
Once one person is punished for a
wrongdoing, it will act as a deterrent to others and it will shape our legal framework in such a way that, we just do not make laws for them to lie on the shelves, that when you break them, you face the consequences of your action.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
We will take two more and then put the Question.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Theophilus T. Chaie (NDC - Ablekuma Central) 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor.
I am very happy that Mr Speaker has directed that the Hon Leaders of the Committee should meet and look at how best we can find solutions to this canker, which is actually making it very difficult for us, as a country, to raise resources that will enhance our socio-economic development.
Most of our resources are being wasted, simply because people are not up to the task and punishment is not being meted out to people who go wayward to misappropriate funds.
Mr Speaker, after going through our work, what I realised was that, with the Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARICs) that were supposed to be established, the heads of these committees were the same heads in those institutions. And if an audit report is to come out, which indicts the head of the institution, you expect the same head of the institution to sit in the chair?
Mr Solomon Namliit Boar (NPP - Bunkpurugu) 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
I rise to support the adoption of the Report which was ably read by the PAC Chairman and urge my Hon Colleagues to do same. In doing so, I would like to comment on three key areas that I consider
very relevant. I would want to touch on non remittance of taxes, unauthorised payments and unearned salaries.
Mr Speaker, non remittance of taxes at the due date is a very serious breach. This was something that the Committee realised was so pervasive almost everywhere, that is, every institution. In fact, there were instances where just a day to the sitting of the Committee, some institutions went to pay their taxes.
Taxes that they deducted as far back as three years. This is something that I would want to urge the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to sit up as far as their monitoring role is concerned. This is because, in some instances, we tried to enquire from some institutions when was the last time GRA visited their premises and the answer was, “we do not know the last time they visited us”. This is something that is very serious and we have to encourage them to take it very serious.
The other issue has to do with unearned salaries. There were instances where some people were paid salaries that they were not supposed to be paid. Some even travelled outside; they were there schooling without getting the necessary authorisation from GES and yet they were receiving salaries.
This is something that is very serious and we are not doing this nation any good. It is something that we have to also take a look at seriously.
I am very excited that, your goodself has asked that our leadership should sit and take a serious look at it. It appears it is just business as usual or PAC is going to have a sitting with us. Then they try to massage some of the things they were supposed to do some three years ago that they did not do and they bring the documents and put them before you, that they have gone back to correct all the wrongs. This is not something that has to be encouraged.
The other issue has to do with
unauthorised payments. I will go to page 23, paragraph 3 of the Report. Mr Speaker, just permit me to read some excerpts there:
“The Committee, however, noted that one hundred and fifty (150) schools made payments to the tune of GH¢ 4,981,181.99 in the years 2010 and 2011 without attaching the relevant documents to the payment vouchers to authenticate the transactions”.
How come? If people did not get the necessary authority, how did the money leave the accounts of the various institutions?
This is the million dollar question that
we need to ask ourselves, and I think that we have to begin to inject a type of discipline into whatever we are doing as a Public Accounts Committee to ensure that as soon as you are cited as an institution, the next thing is not for you to come and say, “oh, we have now corrected the whole thing”. That particular institution should just be asked to pay the money back and if possible, we will move to the next level by ensuring that the necessary laws are meted out to such institutions.
This is because there are a lot of resources that are going down the drain and this country is dying every day and at the end of the day, everything is on the politicians. I think we have to take this serious so that the right punitive measures are meted out to the people.
On this note, I would want to thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Report.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, I hope you will agree with me that we have had enough on this Motion.
I will want to put the Question, unless the proposer of the Motion has something to say.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I just wanted to thank my Hon Colleagues for the manner in which they helped in debating the Report.
I would also urge, Mr Speaker, your goodself to adopt the recommendation that was submitted by our Hon Colleague from Sekondi, to ensure that Leadership would definitely meet on this matter as has been directed by Mr Speaker -- next week, we can look at the best ways forward in trying to get the Report implemented.
On that note, I would also crave your indulgence to request the Table Office to officially communicate the recommenda- tion of the Report to the auditees, so that if we are going to do any meaningful and reasonable follow-ups, we may not be found wanting because they would need to see the recommendations that we -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Can you please, go over the last bit? You want copies to be made available to -
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want your office to direct the Table Office to communicate the recommenda- tions in the Report to the auditees for implementation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
To whom, the Committee?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
The resolutions of the House.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, after adoption of the Report, we have observed that Parliament does not communicate the adopted Report to the
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the concern of the Hon Chairman of the Committee has virtually been addressed by Mr Speaker and Hon Papa Owusu Ankomah, with regard to article 187(6) of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Speaker is of the view that something needs to be done, to which we all agree. So, my Hon Colleague's concern, if we go by that article, then it means that a Committee invariably would be set up, which would go into this to see to the implementation of the recommendation that has been brought, which would then lead to the recommendations reaching the auditees. So, I believe Mr Speaker had taken on board and given some indications what should be done.
Mr Speaker, that is what I would want my Hon Colleague to be aware of because you have already covered that area.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon
Member?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think my Hon Colleague, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader seems to be getting my concern wrong.
My concern is a bit different from what Mr Speaker directed us to do. Mr Speaker wants the Leadership of the House and the Committee to meet sometime next week to discuss how best the provisions in the Constitution can be taken up.
But Mr Speaker, I am craving your indulgence, specifically to do some communication activity. This Report that we have, contains recommendations, either we meet next week, I think it is prudent and appropriate for us to communicate these recommendations to those that are supposed to take certain actions as has been adopted in this Report. And I believe it is a bit different from the generality of the follow-ups and ensuring implementation as Mr Speaker directed before he rose.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well. After the adoption of the Report, I will give that kind of directive to ensure that the necessary action is taken.
Hon Members, it has been moved and seconded, that this House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of pre-university educational institutions for the financial years ending 31st December, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Further to what Mr Speaker has already directed, I direct that the Table Office makes copies of this Report to the institutions that have to carry out, especially with the recommendations of the Report, so that they take the necessary action. That is
not to say that what Mr Speaker directed is going to be abandoned. We will do that in addition to this directive.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, if we can take item numbered
10.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well.
Item 10, by the Hon Chairman of the Committee? -- [Pause]--
Is the Hon Chairman of the Committee available?
MOTION 12:20 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon Edem Asimah) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (1986).
In doing so, I would like to present your Committee's Report,
Introduction
The Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (1986) was laid before Parliament on Tuesday, 17th June, 2014. Mr Speaker referred the Convention to the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology for consideration and report pursuant to article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 185 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Deliberations
The Committee met on 20th July, 2014 in Koforidua to consider the Convention. The Hon Deputy Minister for Environ-ment, Science, Technology and Innovations,
Hon Dr Bernice Heloo and the technical persons from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission were in attendance at the invitation of the Committee to assist in its deliberations on the Convention. The Committee is grateful to them for their attendance and input.
Reference Documents
The Committee had recourse to the following documents during the deliberations:
i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
ii. T h e S t a n d i n g O r d e r s o f Parliament.
iii. Convent ion on the Ear ly Notif ication of a Nuclear Accident
Background
The Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident was adopted in 1986 after the nuclear power plant accident in Chernobyl. It established a notification system in the event of a nuclear accident which has the potential for international trans-boundary release that could jeopardise the radiological safety of other nations.
The significance of the Convention is to place an obligation on the States to report the time any nuclear accident occurred, location of the accident, radiation releases and other essential data for assessing the gravity of the accident.
It is also the responsibility of the States to report any nuclear accident involving any nuclear reactor, nuclear fuel cycle facility, radioactive waste management facility and the use of radioisotopes for power generation in space objects among others. States are further enjoined to report notification of other nuclear accident that may not have been provided for, and notification is to be made to affected States directly or through the International
Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP - Mampong) 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology. This Motion, which is on the three related international Conventions within the nuclear technology environ- ment, requires that our country Ghana, as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also adopts this early notification of nuclear accidents should it happen in our country.
Mr Speaker, as I said, there are three Conventions which are all related and this is one of them. We all know that any time we mention the word “nuclear”, what comes to mind quickly is some kind of fear, that it is about mass destruction
or environmental destruction. Then we think about nuclear weapons. But nuclear technology is such an important technology, which we require in our human development.
So today, if we are being called upon
to ratify one of the Conventions, I believe it is in the appropriate direction.
This Convention came up following the nuclear accident that occurred in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986. In fact, it was a nuclear power plant where an accident occurred and radiations were emitted and up to date, Western Europe still experiences some of the radiations that were emitted out of the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in Ukraine.
We are also aware of the recent accident that occurred in Japan -- the Tsunami that occurred and as a result, a nuclear power plant was affected and human lives lost. We know that Japan alone could not contain the enormity of that nuclear accident. So, the Convention requires that if there is an accident, you notify the International Atomic Energy Agency and then they will also be able to mobilise all the support across the globe to come and support that particular country.
We cannot be excluded from this Convention because, radiation can be transmitted through the atmosphere and we can also be affected.
Mr Speaker, one may say that as a country, we are not so developed in nuclear technology, but here, we are thinking about how to resolve our electrical power crisis. We know that nuclear energy is one of the ways to go and so, in our electrical energy generation mix, we are as a country, considering nuclear energy.
As part of the framework which should be put in place, so that operators would find the comfort to come to the country
and invest in nuclear power plants for the production of electrical energy, it is just in order that we do ratify this Convention of early notification. As it was pointed out, there is no additional cost implication that would be imposed on us as a country on the ratification of the Convention.
Indeed, we would rather be benefitting, in my view, should any accident occur in any of our neighboring countries, even though we are aware that they are also not developed in terms of nuclear technology.
Since there is not going to be any additional cost on us as a country, we should just ratify to get the benefit out of it, I would urge the House to support this Motion for the consequential Resolution for the ratification of the Convention to come into force in this country.
I believe there are so many uses of nuclear technology. Let us not look at only the damaging effects of it, but if within the nuclear environment, it is well controlled, the uses are enormous.
Currently, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission applies some aspects of nuclear technology for food preservation. While we are thinking of going into full-scale use of nuclear energy, we need to have this as part of the technical framework that should be put in place to attract investors into the energy sector.
It is on this note that I urge the House to adopt the Report for the consequential Resolution to be taken.
Thank you very much.
Question put Motion agreed to
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would take the consequential Resolution, item number 11.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Very well. Leave is granted.
RESOLUTIONS 12:30 p.m.

Mr Simon E. Asimah 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item number
12.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee?
MOTIONS 12:40 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Simon E. Asimah) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Environ- ment, Science and Technology on the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (1986).
And in doing so, I beg to present the Committee's Report.
Introduction
The Convention on Assistance in case of Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (1986) was laid before Parliament on Tuesday 17th June, 2014. Mr Speaker referred the Convention to the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology for consideration and report pursuant to article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 185 the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Deliberations
The Committee met on 20th July, 2014 in Koforidua to consider the Convention. The Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Hon Dr Bernice Heloo and a technical team from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission were in attendance at the invitation of the Committee to assist in the deliberations on the Convention. The Committee is grateful to them for their attendance and input.
Reference Documents
The Committee had recourse to the following documents during the delibera- tions:
i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
ii. T h e S t a n d i n g O r d e r s o f Parliament
iii. The Convention on the Assistance in case of Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (1986)
Background
The Convention on Assistance in case of Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency is one of the immediate post Chernobyl Conventions, It was opened for signature in Vienna in September 1986 and entered into force in February, 1987.
The Convention provides a framework to expedite request for the provision of assistance in the event of a nuclear accident or a radiological emergency. The aim of the Convention is to ensure the safety of the public and of the environment, and encourage States to seek expert assistance to address radiological emergencies, be it trans- boundary. It also promotes,
facilitates and supports cooperation between State parties in time of need.
The Convention seeks to set out an international framework for cooperation among State parties and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which serves as the crucial point for such cooperation by routing information, support efforts and providing its available services.
Observations
The Committee observed that the significance of the Convention is to prevent nuclear and radiological accidents, minimise the consequences of any such accident and to facilitate the prompt provision of assistance in the event of a nuclear accident or radiological emergency.
The Committee further observed that the Convention would strengthen the international response to a nuclear accident or radiological emergency, including a terrorist or other malicious attack and provide a reciprocated assistance mechanism with the aim of minimising the consequences of such accidents or emergencies to protect life, property and the environment against the effect of any radioactive releases.
The Committee took note of the fact that, an African Regional Cooperation Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) Project exists between the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and the IAEA to establish a legal framework for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The essence of the project is to enable Ghana establish a proper legislation in the areas of emergency preparedness, the safe transport of radioactive material and to assist Ghana in the safe utilisation of nuclear technology and radiation sources
Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP-- Mampong) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, once again, I beg to second the Motion and urge the House to adopt the Report.
Mr Speaker, as you noticed, the earlier Motion, which is Motion number 10, talked about early notification in case of a nuclear accident. So, if you notify the International Atomic Energy Agency, then you might have to go to the next step in that process.
And the next step is that, if, as a country, an accident occurs and you need any assistance, you also have to seek that assistance through the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the focal point as an arm of the United Nations (UN), where such assistance could be
mobilised and channelled through that Agency to support the country.
This second Convention is just in line with the process of the nuclear technology environment. You would notify and then you would also have to seek and apply for assistance through the international community. So, I would want to add my voice to the Report and to urge the House that we need to adopt and to ratify the Convention to form part of the technical environment or framework for nuclear technology advancement in this country.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Resolution
captured in item number 3 is next.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
I believe
since we have given her leave, she can take it.
Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. The Hon Deputy Minister can take it.
RESOLUTIONS 12:40 p.m.

Mr Simon E. Asimah 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item 14.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Very well, Chairman of the Committee?
MOTIONS 12:40 p.m.

Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP- Mampong) 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, once again, I beg to second the Motion and to urge the House to adopt the Report on the Convention on Supplementary Compensa- tion of Nuclear Damage.
Mr Speaker, as of now, globally, it
is only in the United States of America (USA) where this Convention can be applicable because of the quantum of nuclear power plant and technology that they have. But we need to have this to be part of our technical framework, so that as we move on as a country and build more power plants, in future, when any accident occurs,and the liability involved, goes beyond a certain amount of money, then we can also apply through the International Atomic Energy Agency for supplementary compensation. But as of now, in real terms, this would not be applicable to us but we need it to be part of our technical framework for nuclear technology advancement.
It is on this note that I do support the Motion and urge the House to ratify the Convention.
Thank you.
Question put and Motion agreed to
Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, item 15
RESOLUTIONS 12:40 p.m.

Mr Simon E. Asimah 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr Agbesi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee is ready with item 6 It is a Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Item what - 6? Chairman of the Committee?
MOTIONS 12:50 p.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr George K. Arthur) 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy on the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II, 2014 - 2017 (Medium- Term National Development Policy Framework).
Introduction
The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda for the period 2014 to 2017 was laid in the House on the 4th December, 2014 and referred to the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy for examination and report, pursuant to the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Committee met with the Chairman
of the National Development Planning Commiss ion (NDPC), Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Director-General of the NDPC, Dr Nii Moi Thompson and officials from the Commission to consider the referral. The Committee wishes to express its appreciation to them.
To consider the document, the Committee also made reference to the following documents:
1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
2. The Co-ordinated Programme of the Economic and Social Development Policies, 2014-
2020
3. Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA)
II 2014- 2017.
Background
The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) is a medium-term national development policy framework and is the main vehicle for operationalising the President's Co- ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies.
The GSGDA is developed out of the co-ordinated programmes of the President and it contains the specific strategies to be implemented to systematically position the country towards the attainment of the President's vision and goals.
The GSGDA II, 2014 - 2017 is the fifth in the series of medium-term national development policy frameworks prepared over the past two decades. It has been prepared in the context that Ghana has attained lower middle-income status in 2010 and recorded significant expansion in the economy over the period of the previous GSGDA (2010-2013).
To ensure continuity, the GSGDA II
builds on the predecessor framework, drawing lessons from its successes and challenges to enhance overall develop- ment management and the transformation agenda that the co-ordinated programme represents.
The GSGDA II was prepared in a participatory manner, with the active involvement of public and private sector agencies as well as civil society groups including traditional authorities, using the mechanism of cross-sectorial planning groups as required by the National Development Planning Commission Act of 1994 (Act 479). It is to serve as a guide to the formulation of medium-term and annual development plans and budgets at sector and district levels.
The GSGDA II informs the sector and district medium-term plans prepared by the MDAs and the MMDAs, which forms the basis of the National Budget. It also forms the basis for donor co-ordination within the framework of the Paris declaration which requires all donors to co-ordinate their support towards approved budgets.
The GSGDA II has been submitted together with the President's Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2014-2017 to Parliament for approval as the basis for the economic and social transformation that the President intends for the economy.
Purpose
The purpose for preparing the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda is to operationalise the President's Vision captured in the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies for the period 2014-2020.
Observations
Duration of the GSGDA II
The Chairman of the Commission informed the Committee that the GSGDA II was actually derived from the President's Co-ordinated Programme on Economic and Social Policies, 2014-2020. The Agenda contains specific strategies which are to be implemented towards attaining the President's visions.
He said in preparing the document therefore, the various MDAs, MMDAs and the private sector were involved to carefully come out with this Agenda which is aimed at implementing the co-ordinated programme of the President. Therefore, it is the Agenda that operationalises the President's co-ordinated programme.
Even though the co-ordinated programme spans from 2014 to 2020, the GSGDA II covers the period 20i4 to 2017. It only details Government's intentions for four years only. At the end of the fourth year, another document would be prepared to succeed the current one.
Budget Preparation by MDAs and MMDAs
The Chairman of the Commission informed the Committee that all MDAs and MMDAs are expected to develop their annual programme of work from the GSGDA covering the period 2014 to 2017. He insisted that Parliament must ensure that annual budgets submitted by the various agencies should be consistent with the GSGDA II.
He urged Parliament to help ensure that the various MDAs actually implement the Agenda. He indicated that the only way the people of Ghana can realise the good things in the co-ordinated programme and the GSGDA, is when these programmes are timeously implemented.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr George K. Arthur) 12:50 p.m.


Private Sector Support

The Chairman reiterated an earlier comment that there are numerous policies and programmes aimed at supporting the private sector. Unfortunately, most of these programmes are conflicting and thus amounting to duplication of efforts. He called for
Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP-- Mampong) 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Chairman of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy, for the adoption of the Report on the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II.
Mr Speaker, if you notice, this document is long overdue in its submission and approval by this House. This is because it is supposed to be a document that covers the period, 2014 to 2017. But we are already in 2015 and we are now approving the document. So, one year has already lapsed. Nonetheless, as a House, we have a responsibility to discharge and therefore, it is appropriate.
Mr Speaker, at this stage, the document is more or less a detailed theoretical intention of what has to be done in our socioeconomic and political development framework. We find it that, over the years, since the commencement of our economic recovery programme in 1983, we have gone through a series of medium-term programmes -- Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I), GPRS II, and we are now in GSGDA I and GSGDA II. So, as a technical document, more of theory and the implementation have to be done by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
We urge the House to adopt the Report and during the implementation. As we go through the Annual Progress Report that would be submitted to the House from the various MDAs, we can definitely take on the achievements versus the target.
Mr Speaker, if you look at table 1 of page 4, where some projections on our economic growth have been listed, if you look at the item, “GDP (Oil Inclusive)”, it ranges from 8.3 in 2014 to 9.5 in 2015, 11.4 in 2016 and 13.2 in 2017. We find this to be an ambitious growth rate and so, we would be comparing with the achieved or the real growth as we move on as a country.
But if we need to make all these achievements, then the theories that have been propounded in the GSGDA II, its implementation must be focused.
Mr Speaker, we also noticed that this is a national planning document and how do we synchronise it with the annual budget that is required to fund these programmes, so that we can achieve this target that we have? I believe the Executive arm of Government would be more forthcoming and proactive for the achievement of the Report.
Mr Speaker, it is on this note that I support the Motion and also urge the House to adopt the Report.
Mr G. K. Arthur rose
Mr G. K. Arthur 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think the other Motion and this Motion move together because it is out of Motion 7 that we came out with Motion 6. If you would pardon me, if we can debate it once, as I move the other Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
If you had told us this earlier, we would have been done with it. But what is wrong with moving this Motion, getting it approved, and then we move to Motion 7?
Hon Members, any contributions?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not seeing the Resolutions for the Motions. So, maybe This is because I cannot see the Resolutions; they are just Motions. So, it does not matter the procedure we would go. If there were Resolutions and we needed to take one before the other that could be
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
The Chairman of the Committee will be in a better position to advise us. But I believe that the Motion suffices.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I believe we can now look at the Motion, item 7 on the Order Paper?
Mr Agbesi 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, Item 7.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
MOTIONS 1 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr George K. Arthur) 1 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, - [Interruption.]
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul — rose -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 a.m.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 1 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we need
to resolve this matter and I need your direction.
In Parliamentary practice, for example, if we are to go by just the Motions, have we really taken any decision as a House? [Pause.] This is because if there are decisions we need to take, then we have to take Resolutions.
That is my understanding. Mr Speaker, will there be real decisions that we can say that the additions - It is a Motion to adopt the Report. Yes, we have adopted the Report. Mr Speaker, so?
I believe that if there are decisions we need to take, then we need to resolve, that Parliament has taken this decision. But there are no Resolutions, so -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 a.m.
Normally, the Resolution is moved by the Hon Minister. With this one, I do not think we have any Minister responsible for this institution.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 1 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it only means that the document has been adopted as a working document. It is for us as a nation and as Ghanaians -- that is our document. So, we can refer to it; we can do anything with the document. It is the Report we are adopting for our use. We do not need a Resolution on it because we are not taking any Resolution to be sent to anybody.
It is for us and it is our document. So, we have to adopt it. This is because it was made by a body and was brought to us to be adopted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 a.m.
Very well. Hon Chairman?
MOTIONS 1 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr George K. Arthur) 1 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy on the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, 2014 2020 - an agenda for transformation.
Introduction
The Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies for the period 2014 to 2020 presented by H. E. John Dramani Mahama,
President of the Republic of Ghana, was laid in the House on 4th December, 2014 and referred to the Committee on Poverty Reduction Strategy for examination and report, pursuant to the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Committee met with the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commiss ion (NDPC), Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Director-General of the NDPC, Dr Nii Moi Thompson and officials from the Commission to consider the referral. The Committee wishes to express its appreciation to them.
To consider the document, the Committee also made reference to the following documents:
1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
2. The Co-ordinated Programme of the Economic and Social Development Policies, 2014-
2020
3. Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA)
II 2014- 2017
Background
Article 36 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides that “... within two years after assuming office, the President shall present to Parliament, a co-ordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all the regions of Ghana.
In accordance with this provision, H.E. the President has prepared his Government's Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies for the period 2014 to 2020.
The Coordinated programmes set out the policies, programmes and strategies for achieving the socioeconomic

transformation of the country.

The thrust of the Programmes is to help overcome the major economic and social challenges that the country faces and firmly put the economy on the path to social and economic transformation. It also seeks to address these and other challenges in the medium-term and beyond.

The Coordinated Programmes are also intended to be a reference point that informs the entire country as well as the international community of the enabling environment that the Government is providing for the overall development of the country. It takes into account Ghana's commitment and to promote regional economic integration as part of a broader strategy to strengthen good neighbour- liness and promote the economic interest of the country abroad.

It is in line with fulfilling the President's obligations under article 36 (5) that the President caused to be laid his Coordinated Programmes of Economic and Social Development Policies (2014-2020) in the House for approval.

Purpose of the Document

The Co-ordinated Programme was prepared in compliance to article 36 (5) which compels the President to present to Parliament a co-ordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all the regions of Ghana within two years upon assuming office.

Observations

The Committee observed that in designing the Co-ordinated Programme, the President was guided by the need to do the following:

Embark on extensive institutional reforms, including reforms in the energy sector, to free the growth potential of the economy and unleash the creativity and hard work of Ghanaians.

Attain and sustain macroeconomic stability.

Encourage Public-Private Partner- ships in the provision of critical socioeconomic infrastructure.

Deepen and broaden support for SMEs as the basis for building a strong and resilient economy that can withstand both domestic and external shocks.

Reduce our dependence on imports in favour of locally produced goods and services.

Develop a 21st Century labour force that can compete with the best from anywhere; and finally.

Build a just and caring society in which basic social services are available and accessible to all citizens no matter their socio- economic status.

The Chairman of the NDPC informed the Committee that the Programme is based on four (4) pillars namely:

Putting the people first

Building a Strong and Resilient Economy

Expanding Infrastructure for inclusive Growth

Maintaining Transparent and Accountable Governance.
Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh (NPP-- Mampong) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Chairman of the Committee on Poverty Reduction and to urge the House to adopt the Report. Mr Speaker, I would make a brief comment or contribution.
Our 1992 Constitution places an obligation on the President of the Republic of Ghana, that upon assumption of office, within two years, the President must come with a co-ordinated programme on socio-
economic development framework.
Mr Speaker, applying that constitu- t iona l p rov i s ion to our cur ren t circumstances, our sitting President has been in office and is already in the third year of his term and we are now debating a document that was supposed to have been submitted that takes care of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Mr Speaker, it is just to drum home the point that it would be more useful that in the future, such a document comes to this House early enough, so that we can all look at how the President intends to fashion the socioeconomic development of our country.
Secondly, Mr Speaker, the constitutional provision does not provide any time frame but as a Committee, we also noticed that the President's Co-ordinated Programme spans 2014-2020. We noticed that the mandate or term of office for the President ends on 7th January, 2017. So, in the likely event that the sitting President now does not get re-elected, what happens to this document beyond 2016?
So, our consideration was that this document should rather have been limited to the period that the President is in office.
We also noticed that perhaps, we need to have a National Development Planning Framework, out of which any President in the future can develop his or her co- ordinated programme to suit that National Development Planning Framework. Here again, we have this document which spans 2014-2020, and then the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) looks at 2014-2017 and beyond.
So, we need to find some consistency between this and I believe that the National Development Planning Framework should
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC-- Wa West) 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, first of all, let me thank the Committee for doing a thorough job on the document. This document was brought within the two years as you can refer to in our Constitution. It was our scheduling that has brought it after the two years. There are two things that I would want to talk about.
One of them is always the issue between the Ministry of Finance and the NDPC. The previous discussion, if you look at the Report, refers to that relationship, that the Government intends to separate the planning function from the finance function. The Report also urges
this House to ensure that what has been approved in the GSDSA II reflects in the budgets that are brought to this House.
I think that the onus is on Government to decide effectively how these two institutions function. The NDPC is to plan for the Ministry of Finance to outline the preparation of the budget, the year-on-year roll out of that plan and appropriately allocate resources to carry out what has been planned.
That is a very difficult thing. That is why in the same Report, we are talking about some programmes that are related and sometimes non-related and running independent of each other.
We also have a situation where the responsibility again is for government and the Hon Ministers to ensure that what they provide for the Ministry of Finance to allocate resources are in line, first of all, with this programme that we are discussing now and the earlier one that was approved.
But the issue is, what is my sector going to do? Does it fall in line with the approved programmes? Is it in the GSGDA II? If they are not, is there a compelling reason one would want some allocation of resources to a sector which are not provided for in this document?
If the Cabinet agrees, then that is the only time we can say this is what is happening. But we have not been involved as a Parliament in the preparation of the budget; the thing comes here already decided. We cannot be policemen at that stage and say that despite what has been given to us, we think it is not in the programme that the President has outlined to implement for the rest of his tenure. Therefore, the onus should still go back -
I have seen the recommendation of the Committee but I think it is misplaced. Government still has that responsibility to tidy up its acts, first of all, in making sure
that at the Cabinet level, in discussing the budget, the question they should be asking is, is it in our programme; is it relevant? If it is not, should we agree?
Secondly, the independent programmes that are running There is a need for somebody to co-ordinate this. It cannot be co-ordinated by the NDPC, neither can it be coordinated by the Ministry of Finance or the other sector Ministers that are doing those programmes. It has to be somebody in the Office of the President.
I will refer to the earlier practices that the 1992 Constitution allowed us ,where at one stage, there was somebody called Presidential Advisor on Governmental Affairs, in which case, that person can call the agencies that are implementing programmes that are running parallel to each other but which should be achieving the same objective.
In that direction, you can realign and make sure that maximum effect is achieved. But I also commend the President for submitting this document to us in the elaborate manner in which it was prepared. Now, all we need to do as a Parliament, is to ensure that resources that we can get locally to support the implementation of the programmes is done, where we have to approve loans to support this, we should be doing so.
The argument about over-borrowing does not come in. If we have a programme and we want to achieve a certain objective, we need to borrow and some countries borrow more than we do. It is only that in our case, some people think that we are over-borrowing. But if we also do not borrow, we cannot improve infrastructure to support the growth of our economy.
This is why I would urge all of us to support this Motion to approve the Report of the Committee and to approve the programmes that the President has
submitted to us as required in article - is it 35 (6)? What is the article? [Interruption.] I am not reading the Report; that is the thing.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr William Kwasi Sabi (NPP-- Dormaa East) 1:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
In relating to what the Hon Member just said, I would want to add my voice that a plan is as good as its implementation. It is only good when it is well implemented. So, as Parliament, we have the opportunity to also scrutinise and approve budgets.
I would want to make a proposal here, if the Hon Speaker can direct the Table Office, that NDPC, in the beginning of the budget preparation, will train, maybe, Hon Chairmen and Hon Ranking Members on these programmes that are within the national development programme, so that they can use that to also monitor the kind of budgets that will come to us. Then we could also check if MMDAs and other agencies also have plans that are within the National Development Plan.
If we do not do this, what is going to happen is that the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and other agencies would come with their plan and at the end of the day, they may fall outside this; especially when Parliament is adopting this as a working document and not as a Resolution, it becomes a tool that we can work with.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you
Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (Shai - Osudoku--NDC) 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I also beg to add my voice to the Motion.
I think that the Report is a well-crafted one, which when well implemented, would better the lot of our people.
Mr Speaker, the Report is inter-sectorial and it is very important for us to make sure that every sector of the economy fulfils the objective in the Report. By so doing, we would be seen as achieving the development of the people, improving upon the economy and building well the infrastructure base of the nation. Mr Speaker, good governance would also be adhered to. Mr Speaker, this is a Report which must receive bi-partisan support, so that we could be seen to be achieving our goals and objectives.
Mr Speaker, we cannot talk of building our infrastructural base without looking for sources of funding. That is why I would want to say that as a nation, we must sit down and arrive at how we could agree on the debt situation of this country. There is always the issue of over-borrowing and rising debt stock.
I believe that this is the time for us to agree because you cannot eat your cake and have it at the same time. We would have to agree that this is what we need to do. So, if we are developing our infrastructural base -- as a nation, we have to agree that we want to extend our railway line from Accra to Paga to develop the tourism base of that place.
We must agree as a nation to look for
sources of funding, so that if such money is attained, nobody would complain that there is high rise or rocketing debt stock.
Mr Speaker, water is very important and so, we also need investment in the water sector. Presently, your Committee on Works and Housing travelled to the three northern regions of this country and we saw the practicality on the ground. We were in the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions.
Mr Speaker, I think that as a nation, if we agree to develop, I am of the opinion that we can turn the drift of the youth from the North to the South in the reverse way looking at the resources that we have in the northern part of this country. We would have a situation where people would be moving to the North to develop economic activities.
Mr Speaker, I believe that this Report comes out day in, day out and every year. We should not just take it as a Report and put it somewhere. I believe that we must look at every part of the Report and see how we can implement them. It is very important.
So, this must not be politicised whether it is a four-year term Report. It is true that Government is limited to a four-year term but let us have a national programme that would cut across. So, if today, someone else is in the driving seat, that person would be seen developing the same Report that we are all talking about, but not just throw it away because it has been done by Government “A”. I do not think that would help us.
Mr Speaker, this country must move forward. We cannot continue marking time and pulling down one another in terms of development. No! Let us remain focused and take this Report as a non-partisan one, look at every part of it and make sure that we urge every sector to implement it.
When we do this, I believe that we would be serving the people of this country well.
Mr Speaker, I would want to urge that the Report be adopted but in the same vein, the Chair could also direct that every sector that is supposed to see to the implementation of any side of the Report should be adhered to. We could have the directive to have this done, so that it would not just be like reading a Report and putting it down but taking it and implementing it to the letter.
On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Thank you.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Dr Anthony Akoto Osei (Old Tafo --NPP) 1:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague who just spoke is asking you to direct the Ministries -- that is an Executive function. This is a programme that the President is required to present to us. If and when we approve of it, it is up to the Executive to implement it. The Chair cannot assume the power and direct the Ministries. However, we, as Members of Parliament, in our oversight responsibility, can begin to track the Ministries. But the Chair would be usurping the power of the Executive.
Mr Speaker, I do not know whether I ought to support the Motion to adopt the Report. By the time I finish, maybe, I would make up my mind because I am disturbed by a few things.
First of all, if you read the co-ordinated programme and the Committee's Report, that the GSGDA, II 2014 to 2017 is carved out of it, you would begin to ask if it is really carved out of it. Why do I say that?
Mr Speaker, I do not have the books here. But look at 2014 and 2015 in the document. It talks about the year 2014, that growth rate was above 8 per cent. The Hon Minister's budget talks about the growth rate of 4.2 per cent or 4.6 per cent. The Report is carved out of the document; at least, they should have the same numbers.
In the year 2015, the document talks about another 7 per cent or 8 per cent. The Minister gives us a budget, which talks about 3.9 per cent. Was it carved out of it or we are going in different directions? And this is what has been brought to Parliament, that we should adopt. So, whose should we take? The Minister's or the other one?
It is a big difficulty. Clearly, what is in the co-ordinated plan is way out of the window. And we are being asked to adopt the Report when we know it is false. What are we doing? We should ask them to revise the Report to make it consistent.
Mr Speaker, this is because we have already approved the Minister's budget which is carved out of that programme. And we are going to adopt a Report that implicitly approves what is coming? Whom are we fooling? If we want to take it serious, we need to think through it.
The two cannot be approved and we say we have approved the Report and those figures are correct. It is not good. We know both cannot be correct but we are going through a Motion to pretend that they both are--
Mr Speaker, Parliament must begin to take itself serious. That is why I am not sure I would want us to adopt it. I seem inclined to ask the Committee to go back and ask questions. When it came, the problem was fulfilling a constitutional
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to quote 1:30 a.m.
“During deliberations, concern was expressed on how to support the private sector, which is seen as the engine of growth. It came to the fore that, there are too many Government initiatives …”
So, if they are too many, why are we adopting the Report?
“…that are being implemented independently sometimes creating turf wars rather than inuring to the benefit of the country.”
That is the problem we have. They are
being very diplomatic, saying that there are wars. It is complete indiscipline and that is what we must curb.

Yes, I have the evidence; STX was not in the budget? Do not let me go there. This is serious. The Chairman of the NDPC has said it; the Committee has agreed and we are allowing it go. So, what happens is that, you have on the average, every Minister talking alone to somebody for 10 projects, completely unrelated to the budget and they would want us to push them. They would rush to the Speaker, the Clerk - “Oh, please, my programme”. You ask, “Is it in the budget? And it is not there. We are doing a lot of off-budgeting activities completely unrelated to what the President brings here.

As we speak, we have approved of the budget and I have heard several Ministries talking about “oh, a grant is coming, a loan is coming.” This has nothing to do with the budget. So, are we implementing the President's programme that he brings here or are we doing our own? What are we doing as a country?

The issue with the energy crisis is that it is not in the budget. It is not. What is in the budget is a Coordinated Programme to ensure that we have energy stability.

We have a crisis. So, we must have a mechanism to solve it. Then one would hear the Minister for Power saying that he is going to sign a Memorandum of

Understanding (MoU) and Parliament does not know of it. We did not approve it in the budget. But now, we hear that the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) is guaranteeing. We have not approved of GNPC's programmes and activities - further indiscipline.

If it is a national crisis, bring the issue here and let us debate it, so that at least, the people's representatives can support an effort to cure the short-term problem -- totally no coordination. Several Ministers I did not want to mention -- only the Minister for Power, several Ministers-- “Oh, soon we would do this”.

It is nowhere in the President's programme but Parliament, because it is a constitutional obligation, we write nice reports, we adopt it and say they should go and implement it. What are they implementing? Excuse my language, Mr Speaker; it is garbage; garbage in, garbage out! We ought to take ourselves serious. If the budget is a three-year carving out of the President's programme, let us see that there is alignment. Make sure and go through the details.

I have given you two examples - including the GDP growth rate - where there is no alignment between the budget and that. But we have approved the budget. So, now, should we be approving the coordinated plan or we are doing it because it is coming from the President? But the budget is also coming from the President.

So, what do we do? We have a serious dilemma. If we approve of both, where we know they are incorrect, we are making a big statement on ourselves. Maybe, we are just going through the Motions but I do not think that is what we want to do.

So Mr Speaker, I am really in a big dilemma. I think that maybe, we

should step down the Motion and ask the Committee to do something to reflect some of these inconsistencies. It is because of the constitutional obligation that we are going through this but we are asking them directly to go and review and come back. It will be a provisional kind of thing because it is not implementable.

Mr Speaker, they say the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme, on page 3; and with your permission ,I beg to quote:

“In responding to a question on the impact of an IMF programme, the Chairman of NDPC assured the Committee that an IMF installed package on the Coordinated Programmes would not affect the implementation …”

The IMF programme has nothing to do with this. It is a stabilisation programme that is being used to address an emergency. It has to have an impact on the programme. So, if the Committee accepts this, coming from the Chairman, who is my good Friend, I have a difficulty.

In fact, as we speak, we do not even know the content of the IMF programme. We are told that maybe, by April - and then we say that it will not affect it. It will. We have approved the budget, which is dead on arrival; the IMF programme will change it. The Minister says he will come back with a new budget and we are saying that it will not affect the programme.

Mr Speaker, already, it has affected it; why? The GDP growth cannot be 3.9 per cent because we have dumsor. For the next six months, output will fall, revenues will fall. So, to say that the IMF programme will not affect - is not right. In fact, the IMF is asking the Government to go and recalibrate the budget.

Recalibration here means go and change the numbers. So, Minister, if we do it properly, almost all the expenditures

that we have approved, would have to be revised.

It will affect the President's programme and we need to take cognisance of that. Let us not take these ones for granted. Such statements do not help us.

That is why I have a difficulty supporting the Motion. I have a serious difficulty.

Mr Speaker, this is a very important document, which is supposed to inform us from 2014 to 2020. Mr Speaker, in the year 2020, nobody can guarantee that they would be alive. But once we are alive today, let us do the proper thing; if it means spending more time to review it properly. It will inure to our interest.
rose
Mr Agbesi 1:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member on the floor keeps on repeating his issues over and over. He has over- flogged the issue he is debating. We know that we are talking about the programme that we are to adopt. But my plea is that he is going over the same things. That is my plea, Mr Speaker.
If he can come into some sort of -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, can you please wind up?
Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank my
good Friend. At least, this tells me he is listening. But as part of the Leadership of this House, I hope that given the serious concerns I have raised, he, as the Leader would give us directions whether we should step the Motion down.
I hope that -
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Arthur 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not challenging what the Hon Member has said, but we have finished moving the Motion on the GSDA II and we are on the Coordinated Programme.
The Hon Member raised other figures. In the Coordinated Programme, we do not have any figures in there raised; it is in the GSDA II that we have the figures which have already been moved.
We do not have any figures. So, where he raised the figures, is in the other document, not in this document under discussion.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect to my good Friend, the Chairman, I refer to page 4, first substantive paragraph:
“The coordinated programmes are to guide all the development programmes to accelerate the country into the medium-term. It is out of the Coordinated Programmes that the NDPC is expected to develop the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSDA)
II, 2012 -2017 …”
So, in that document, where did you get the numbers from?
Mr Arthur 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that document has already been dealt with.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
That is not the issue. You were not listening carefully.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Members, wait to be given the floor before you -
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, this is exactly the point. He dealt with a very bad document, which is coming from this. That is the point I am making, with false assumption about growth, and he said he - [Interruption.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Member, I asked you to wind up.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was winding up, until he brought the matter up.
I am drawing your attention to the fact that, even though we have approved that Motion, we should not have done so, and so, he should step this down and correct himself.
I hope the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, given all these that I have said, would let us step this Motion down, and for Leadership to meet on how best in terms of our procedure to take account of some of these things. Maybe, on what we have adopted, it is too soon -
Today is Friday, but I think if you and the other Leaders think through this, you could find a way and when we come back on Tuesday, we can move forward.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, a short one before the Hon Chairman of the Committee comes in.
The Hon Chairman made an application to you, that we should have looked and approved Motion number (7) before we go to Motion number (6). This is because Motion (7) influences what happens in Motion (6).
The Hon Chairman himself made that application. But because we had moved, we decided to move them together. He said that we should do them concurrently by moving them together, and so, we should look at the two since they wanted to look at them.
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee is saying is that, even if this House, which is a master of its procedures, had looked at the Motion, and had not adverted its mind to certain issues; it is for the Hon Chairman of the Committee to convince this House, that the matters that he raised were not important or true, or they were not in the documents or they do not have any serious influence on the document.
But if he says that it has been approved, in my view, it is neither here nor there. He should convince us that what he has raised is out of place, and maybe, we could understand it. Otherwise, since it is one country and we are moving together, he should take into consideration what he has said and the House should re-take a decision, which is normal.
We can make a Motion now, and it would be a normal Motion to rescind our decision and go back to whatever we wanted to say. It is not out of place. He must be able to prove that what he said is not true. We cannot make a bad document for the country. If there are problems, Mr Speaker, we must resolve those problems.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have consulted the Hon Chairman of the
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
I think that we will go by what has been proposed. We will stand down this Motion, have further discussions, and come back and take a look at it.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, please, take note and act accordingly. I will not put the Question, we would defer it.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
You have the floor, please go ahead.
Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 1:40 p.m.
Today being Friday, we have exhausted the items on the Order Paper, except the Customs Bill, 2014, which the Committee informed us that they would take on Tuesday.
So Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the House do adjourn till Tuesday, the 17th day of February, 2015, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr Donimic B. A. Nitiwul 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 1:40 p.m.