Debates of 17 Feb 2015

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 10:20 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, Com- munication from His Excellency the President …
“17th February, 2015
THE RT. HON. SPEAKER
OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 10:20 a.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 10:20 a.m.

ACCRA 10:20 a.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 10:20 a.m.

OF GHANA 10:20 a.m.

rose
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
As for Cabinet list, it is not subject to questioning.
Hon Member for Manhyia South?
Dr Prempeh 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, rightly so; it is the President's prerogative. I would just like to know whether it is an Executive Instrument (E.I.) or a signed letter. Is it the President communicating in a signed letter-- that is, a communication to the House or he is bringing it as an E.I.?
It is not a routine matter, because it is in the Constitution.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, I have looked at the law closely. When you are re-designating a new Ministry, you have
Dr Prempeh 10:30 a.m.
Yes, it is right. You are hundred per cent right; there is no problem.
Mr Speaker, my only problem is with the person who communicated this message to Parliament. Mr Speaker, the Constitution creates a Cabinet position and a non Cabinet position. So, even though the E.I. sets out the Ministries, it is not every Ministry that is automatically a Cabinet Ministry.
A Cabinet Ministry goes with a Cabinet Oath and a different Oath of Secrecy. That is why when a Cabinet Minister goes on leave or travels, it is another Cabinet Minister and not the deputy who acts.
That was why I was asking that, the communication that we received, who signed it?
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member, I am very much aware of the Standing Orders and the rules of this House. I did not read any communication; I informed Hon Members; I chose my words carefully. I did not read a communication.
Dr Prempeh 10:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Again, you are right. But Mr Speaker, still the principle holds --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
At this point, you are out of order.
Dr Prempeh 10:30 a.m.
The Cabinet Minister gets a higher salary than a non Cabinet one. So, we would like to know, whether this designation has effected some changes in salary. Mr Speaker, information comes only through communication from the President through you to the House. So, we would like to know who signed this one.
If a non Cabinet Minister writes to you and informs you --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member, the communication was addressed to the Clerk to Parliament.
Dr Prempeh 10:30 a.m.
Not even the Speaker?
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
No! It is done. That is why I did not read it. And in that communication, the Clerk was to bring it to my attention. That was why I did not read the communication.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members; Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, at the Commencement of Public Business.
Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think we should proceed straight to the Bill, which is item number 8 on page 2 of the Order Paper, and continue with the Consideration.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, the Customs Bill, 2014, at the Consideration Stage, item number 8 on the Order Paper.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo and Ranking Member on the Finance Committee?
Dr Anthony Akoto Osei 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would just like to find out from the Majority Leader, item number 4, when we left on Friday, there was some discussion on how to proceed. I would like to know, has any progress been made yet, and if so, exactly how are we going to handle that?
I do not know if the Deputy Majority Leader has briefed him. But there was some discussion that item number 4 should be discussed --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member for Old Tafo, the Hon Majority Leader was not here last Friday. Let us give him some time to do that consultation, so that when that item is called, he can then respond to it.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 10:30 a.m.

STAGE 10:30 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 151, add the following new subclause:
“(3) Despite the repeal PNDCL 330, the provisions in relation to the administration of PNDCL 330 apply to this Act with necessary modifications until altered, revoked or modified.”
Mr Speaker, the purpose is that, some of the clauses in the PNDCL 330 are still relevant at this moment, and that after the Customs Bill, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) would be coming out with a Revenue Administration Act, which would take care of those clauses which are still relevant in the PNDCL 330.
Mr Speaker, that is the reason for coming up with this new subclause.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Member, I thought that the subclause 2 solved the problem. But let me hear from the Hon Majority Leader.
Hon Majority Leader, kindly look at the amendment and look at the subclause 2 of the Bill.
Hon Member for Old Tafo, then Hon Member for Manhyia South, before I call the Majority Leader.
Dr A. A. Osei 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was wondering, we have not tackled clause 150. Is there any reason we went to clause 151?
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Member, I have been advised by the Clerks-at-the-Table that I should start from clause 151.
Dr A. A. Osei 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not believe so. We did not get there. I am surprised that they said we did; we did

not get there. We have not done clause 150 as far as I am concerned, and I think the Hon Chairman can attest to it.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
You have a point there. That is because on the Order Paper, there is clause 150, and there is no indication that, debate will continue. On the Order Paper, the Hon Member for Old Tafo is right, but the Clerks-at-the-Table are giving me different information. Let us try and see how we can resolve the matter. [Pause.]
I have been informed that, they started working on clause 150, but they did not complete. So, I would want us to go to a fresh one, so that they can come back to clause 150.
Dr Prempeh 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman and his Committee, in moving this particular amendment, there is a phrase there, and Mr Speaker, I beg to read:
“Despite the repeal of PNDCL 330, the provisions in relation to the administration of PNDCL 330 apply to this Act with necessary modification until altered, revoked or modified”.
Mr Speaker, I do not mind the words “…until altered, revoked or modified”. But “with necessary modification”-- Has that PNDCL 330, that he is making reference to, been modified in this new Customs Bill? Or this phrase “with necessary modification” probably, should be deleted? This is because, when we come to “until altered, revoked or modified”, it is enough. But with “necessary modification”, then we have “or modified.” “Modification” and “modified” cannot both be in the same sentence and mean different things.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
The Hon Member for Old Tafo, and then the Hon Minority Leader?
Dr A. A. Osei 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, clause 151(2), I believe, takes care of this. So, I do not know why we are bringing subclause 3. This is because, if we look at subclause 1(a), PNDCL 330 is in there. If we read subclause (2), it includes all of that. So, I do not see the necessity of this new subclause. So, we should --
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
That is the point I raised, that I need to be convinced. This is because, if you look at the amendment, they are saying “provisions in relation to administration of PNDCL 330”. Is it a particular capture of the PNDCL 330 that they would want to keep?
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think the proposed amendment is misconceived. I believe that it is an attempt to try and save some of the provisions of PNDCL 330, which they believe might be relevant to the current law.
But the way it has been captured, is repealing and not repealing. This is not the way we go in law. So, Mr Speaker, I think that the Chairman should withdraw that.
As of clause 151 (2), it is dealing with only statutory instrument, notices and others emanating from that PNDCL 330. But this is an attempt to save some provisions of the PNDC Law 330, which we can do. If we want them and we think they are still relevant, we then need to capture them in this law. That is a neater way to go about it than to try and go through a circumfluous and dubious way of making interpretation of the law rather very cumbersome and almost nullifying what they are trying to do.
So, I think that proposed amendment should be withdrawn.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Yes, I entirely agree with you. We need to draw a distinction between where we want to save acts done under the previous PNDCL 330, because the regulations will not come immediately. After the act, they have to pass through the process of coming out with new regulations, statutory instruments and notices. So, we can save those ones that have been done under the PNDCL 330. They should tell us exactly what they want to achieve with this.
As the Hon Majority Leader tried to point out, you cannot repeal PNDCL 330 and save it with necessary modifications and --
Yes, so what mischief do you want to deal with?
Mr Avedzi 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what we would want to achieve with the clause -- maybe, the wording posed is not right -- Under the GRA complete reorganisation, all the charging laws, would not have admini- strative clauses to them anymore.
So, it would be noticed that, when we were doing the Value Added Tax (VAT), we did not have administrative clauses in it. And what we are doing now, which is the Customs Bill, 2014, we will not have administrative clauses in it. When we do the Income Tax Law, we will still not have administrative clauses. All of them will be consolidated into Revenue Administration Act, which is yet to come.
Now, if by the passing of this Act, we repeal the PNDCL 330, it means that there will be a gap that those administrative clauses which are not contained in the Customs Bill now, need to be saved under the PNDCL 330. That is what we would want to achieve -- to save those
administrative clauses until the Revenue Administration Bill comes to Parliament and it is passed into law.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
But that is not what is here?
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you know in law, we say you cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. What the Hon Chairman of the Committee talked about is transitional provisions, and there is a way of capturing transitional provisions in our laws. That is what we should do, just to save, in the meantime, the provisions dealing with administration. That is not what has been captured now -- [Interruption.]
Yes, that is clause 152 -- But that is where it can be captured. This is because clause 152 deals with other transitional provisions. It did not include the issue of administration.
So, we would take that under clause 152 and capture it under “administration” as part of the transitional provisions.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
But it must be properly captured? The rendition here does not convey what it wants to achieve.
Mr Bagbin 10:40 a.m.
This is because, for this one, we say one cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the amendment proposed in 152 is withdrawn.
Mr Avedzi 10:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, when we move to clause 152, we will propose a new rendition.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon Members, in view of the fact that the amendment has been withdrawn, I will put the Question on clause 151.
Clause 151 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
We will defer transitional provisions until we get your rendition. Is that right?
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Chairman of the Committee, we can start from clause 12 now?

Clause 12 -- Customs ruling
Mr Avedzi 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12, Headnote, after “Customs” insert “advance”.
“Customs advance ruling”.
Mr Speaker, the issue at the time was whether the Commissioner-General can give an “advance ruling”. If you read the clause, you would notice that, an importer or a person who has an issue can apply to the Commissioner-General for ruling. So, the Committee is of the view, that when the Commissioner-General is applying the law to give a ruling, that should serve as
Mr Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is an introduction of a new terminology in law. I have never heard of “advance ruling”. I know about “preliminary ruling”, “interim ruling”, “interlocutory ruling” and “administrative decisions”, now “advance ruling”. In my view, it would be difficult to interpret.
From the explanation, what he is just trying to do is to talk about a “preliminary administrative ruling” of the Commissioner-General, which is subject to the judicial process and therefore, anybody dissatisfied with that “preli- minary administrative ruling” of the Commissioner-General can proceed to court.
So, Mr Speaker, we should put it in that clear terms instead of saying “Customs advance ruling”. In terms of adding “Customs”, you are talking about taking decisions; this one is not Customs; this is law.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, address the Chair; ignore their --
Mr Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
My Hon Chairman of the Committee is talking about term of arts in Customs where they have “Customs advance ruling”. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, we are legislating here. Definitely, we would take into consideration terms
of art, but it is a law that we are making for the use of the general public; therefore, we try as much as possible to use terms that somebody reading it can understand and apply the law. That is the attempt. So, if that term is such that we can explain it in much clearer and simpler term in everyday language, I think we should be permitted to do that. I would have preferred, subject to the draftspersons and my Hon Chairman, that we look at it as a “preliminary administrative ruling”.
Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the term “Customs advance ruling” is a term normally used at the customs industry. In fact, it is accredited by the World Customs Organisation and it is a well-used term. So, no matter what we do, we should be guided by the industrial term that we normally use in going through the procedures.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was just going to concur to what the Hon Majority Leader has said. It does not appear that that phrase is even used in any part of the body of the Bill. Where we are, I do not see it and it is supposed to be descriptive. So, if you are insisting that it is a term for the industry, then certainly, we may have to interpret it. But it is not expressed in the Interpretation section. So, if you insist, then we may have to define it. Just like the one that we did and I am still not convinced by what you said, in bringing the word “to” and so on and so forth.
We may then have to define those terminologies because they are most unfriendly to the user and this is meant for the general public, to any importer. They must understand; a first time importer may not understand it. Hon Chairman, you should understand that. So, if you insist that it is a term of the industry, if we buy into it, then we should define the expression in the Interpretation column.
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Minority Leader, that “advance ruling” is not mentioned in the clause itself. In fact, Mr Speaker, because we are amending the Headnote to read “Customs advance ruling”, wherever you see “Customs advance ruling”, it would have a consequential amendment, so that the body of the clause itself should be wherever you see “Customs ruling” it should read as “Customs advance ruling”.
I would want to add this amendment to the amendment I proposed, that anywhere the words “Customs ruling” are referred to in the Bill, they should be referred to as “Customs advance ruling”.
I also agree with the Hon Minority Leader that we have to define the term “Customs advance ruling” at the Interpretation column.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Members, I am at a loss, because I am yet to see where this word, “advance” is coming from. Hon Members say it is a term of art used in customs practices and procedures. I am a little at a loss because if you want a preliminary ruling to be given, describe it as such. I do not think that you lose anything because it is an administrative ruling that the Commissioner-General would be giving. If that cannot suffice, you are then free to go to court. I think the terminology is what is creating the problem.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said, this phraseology is meant to be descriptive. I would think that, where we have “customs ruling”, it rather should read “the preliminary ruling”. Rather in the “Interpretation,” we described it to mean, “in the industry, customs advance ruling.”

I think that would be much more reader fr iendly than the converse. This is because, laws are meant to be useful to the reader, even to the uninitiated. So, it is better we use that term in the body of the Bill. Then in the Interpretation, we would say that, this means, so and so in the industry. It is better that way.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond to the Hon Minority Leader's proposal?
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we can even make it simpler by saying, “Commissioner- General's ruling” because it is the Commissioner-General that is to give the ruling. I was drawing attention to the fact that if there is a term of art in the industry, then, the phrase is not complete. “Customs advance ruling”, is not good English. It should rather be -- “advance customs ruling” not “customs advance ruling”. The semantics are not correct.
Dr A. A. Osei 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am following the debate of Leadership and I agree with them. But I believe that, if it is a term of art that should be put there in proper English and then defined as a preliminary ruling in the Interpretation. This is a customs matter. So, people see “advance ruling” as -- [Interruption] -- Have I seen what? Yes, in the customs industry -- So, it comes readily to the people there.
Then for the uninitiated, we define it as a preliminary ruling, so that the customs people can relate to it. As the Hon Minister is saying, that appears to be interna- tionally done. If that is the case, then it will help. It will make sure that our customs laws are consistent with others.
Dr Prempeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if you bring the word “advance” here, it means a ruling taken before the event. How can you take a ruling before an event? That is why it is not a term of art. They should bring us the general Customs Tariff Regulation and show us.
Mr Speaker, the law, as you know -- I am not a lawyer. I attempted the law school and I abandoned it immediately. Mr Speaker, when anybody goes to buy - - this Customs Act -- after it is passed, the person should be able to read, understand and apply.
Mr Speaker, if we are going to write the Customs Act and make it the preserve of only customs officers, then it is probably different. “Customs advance ruling” -- when simply put, subsection (1) tells us what this ruling is about which is a preliminary ruling, why do we not say “customs ruling” and leave it and go and define it after it has been defined in section
1.
Mr Speaker, this “advance customs” and “customs advance”, presupposes that the customs has ruled even before the event takes place. Like you rightly said, it is wrong. What is wrong is wrong unless they can go and interpret it in a funny way; but Mr Speaker, it is wrong.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman? Can we arrive at some consensus?
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think it is the use of the word, “advance” that is creating all the confusion. Even though it is a term or art in the industry, we can withdraw the amendment and maintain “customs ruling” and define the “customs ruling” in the Interpretation section to mean “preliminary ruling given by the Commissioner-General”. I think that will solve the problem.
Dr A. A. Osei 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with my Hon Chairman. Going this route will be neater.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Very well.
In that case, would you want to withdraw the amendment?
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I accordingly withdraw the amendment.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, Hon Members, that one has been withdrawn but we still have further amendments to clause 12.
Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12, subclause (6), paragraph (a) sub-paragrph (iv), before “expiration” insert “production and”
That the new rendition will be, “the production and expiration date”.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Avedzi 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12 -- subclause (8), paragraph (a), line 1, delete “Commissioner-General only,” and insert “Commissioner-General, only”
Mr Speaker, it is just a matter of correcting the positioning of the comma.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Actually, this is for the draftsperson to handle. I believe that we will leave it in the draftsperson's hands.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12, subclause (11), delete and insert the following:
“(11) The Customs ruling made by the Commissioner-General
a) shall be published, or
b) in respect of a request of an interested party, the party shall be notified not later than thirty days after the ruling is made”.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 12 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 59 -- Forfeiture of overstayed motor vehicles.
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 59, subclause (1), line 2, after “enter” delete “the motor vehicle within sixty days after importation” and insert “and clear the motor vehicle within sixty days after final discharge of the ship or aircraft or in the case of motor vehicle import insert overland the date on which it crossed the national borders into the country”.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition will now read as follows,
“A person who imports a motor vehicle into the country and does not enter and clears the motor vehicle within sixty days after final discharge of the ship or aircraft or in the case of a motor vehicle imported overland the date on which it crossed the national borders into the country, shall forfeit the motor vehicle to the State”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I think it is clear. I will put the Question.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 59 -- subclause (3), line 2, after “method” delete “includes the duty and penalty payable on the motor vehicle but excludes any overstayed penalty” and insert “shall include the duty and taxes eligible on the motor.”
Mr Speaker, the new rendition will now read as follows,
“The price at which a forfeited motor vehicle is disposed of, whether by auction sale, allocation or any other method, shall include the duty and taxes eligible on the motor vehicle”.
Mr Speaker, the intention is that if there are any charges in terms of demurrage or overstay of a vehicle or a penalty in terms of overage, the price, the duty and the taxes payable or eligible on that motor vehicle shall definitely be part of the price at which it should be disposed of.
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Chairman of the Committee to explain further; it seems innocuous but it has grave implications. He has introduced the words “shall include” and he only talked about duty and taxes; he did not talk about penalties and any other things payable. If you do not talk about penalties and you say duties and taxes, demurrage will not come in, because demurrage is not a tax and it is not a duty.
So, I would want him to come clear because if you look at the rendition that exists, it talks about duty, taxes and penalties and other fees that are payable. Demurrage is not a penalty; it is a fee that you have to pay and duty is a separate thing.
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.


So Mr Speaker, I can understand that he wants to include everything. But if it is not, let us know, so that when you go and forfeit somebody's car and the person has not been able to pay his penalty and that is why you have forfeited it, you do not come back to the law -- and somebody who is going to buy it by auction or allocation will go free of not paying these same penalty and taxes.

It should include penalties and other fees. Unless we are going to define it somewhere, it is very dangerous. Mr Speaker, this, you know better.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you explain this?
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the amendment is saying that the price at which the vehicle will be disposed of, either through auction sale, allocation or any other method, shall include the duty and the taxes. Which means that the price is not only the duty and the taxes eligible on the motor vehicle. “It shall include”, means that there are other charges but you would not know how much charges would be on one vehicle.
We are not defining to show what constitutes the price of that vehicle. If we were defining, then we would list all the items and say duties and taxes, demurrage and penalties. But there are some of them which we are not certain. But what you are certain of, are the duties and taxes, which are eligible and must be paid to Government.
So, there could be one vehicle, which will attract demurrage and be overage. But there could be another one which could
only be the duty and taxes. So, we are saying that the price should include duties and taxes. In a case where there is no other charge, then the duty and the taxes would be only the price. But in any case, where other charges are added, then it will include the duties and the taxes and other charges. That is why the definition is going that way.
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, his explanation fits into what I was saying. Duties and taxes are not the only ones. But how he has phrased it now, we leave like that -- then it is possible that people would not pay the penalties and other fees because they are not stated. So, I agree with him but he should say, “it includes but shall not be limited to”, so that the other things are factored into it.
But if you leave it at “shall include duties and taxes” the penalties and other fees he is talking about have not been catered for. So, I am saying that I agree with him but he should then say, “shall include but not limited to duties and taxes” so that, at least, we will get our duties and taxes and if necessary, our fees and other things. But if we leave it like that, in the implementation of the law in six months, we would hear it from --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, do you understand what he is saying? It is just for the avoidance of doubt.
Dr Prempeh 11:10 a.m.
Avoidance of doubt!
Mr Avedzi 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I perfectly understood him but his point would come in if we were saying that the price of the forfeited motor vehicle shall be duty and taxes, but we are saying “include”.
If we were saying that “the price shall be duties and taxes”, then his point would come in but we are saying “include”, which means that there are other charges, which at the point of enacting this law, you would not know which of the vehicles would attract those other charges.
But what you are certain and sure of, is the “duties and taxes”, which we must put here.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, if you bring in “not limited to”, what would it lose? “Shall include but not limited to”.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if a vehicle is being disposed of and I am buying it, I am not going to pay any penalty. I did not occasion the penalty. So, I will only pay duties and taxes.
If you put it that “shall not be limited to duties and taxes”, I think it becomes superfluous. I am only paying duties and taxes. I am not paying penalties on this one because I did not cause the overstaying. I am just coming to buy it at auction, so, I do not pay any penalties. I only pay duties and taxes. So, it is sufficient as couched.
Mr Kwaku A. Kwarteng 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in order to appreciate why we should not accept what Hon Dr Prempeh is saying, we ought to understand what happens on the ground. These are vehicles imported to be cleared by the original importers. For one reason or the other, they are not able to do that within sixty days.
The law says that the State can dispose of the vehicles for the purpose of recovering the revenue. So, it is the duties. In fact, I would even have preferred a suggestion that we limit it to the duties. When this came up at the Committee level, it was debated and put in this language, so that if for some reason, the policy changes, we could see to what to add to the duties.
I think it is restrictive enough to open up and to suggest that people who are helping to recover revenue to the State would lose, if these vehicles were not cleared, to open a window that would suggest imposition of additional penalties, is completely unfair. I think we should leave it as it is. If we have any changes to make at all, we should limit them to the duties.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, let us be very cautious. The Bill that came to the Committee emphasised penalties. With your indulgence, let me read:
“…or any other method includes the duty and penalty payable on the motor vehicle but excludes any overstayed penalty.”
Mr Speaker, because the Committee did not want to accept that, they introduced a new thing. Why would the Committee not re-emphasise their intention to introduce the penalty by hiding it in the word “include”?
I have practised this particular area in my time as a Deputy Minister for Finance in charge of revenue. If you say that penalties are not included, what is the
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 11:20 a.m.


motivation for me to go and pay penalties to take an overstayed vehicle? I would allow the time to lapse, find somebody to front and take it without the penalties, then meet him somewhere to get it.

What we realised when I was there was the fact that even some officials arrange with roadside vehicle sellers to go and take those vehicles without the penalties, so that they can sell them cheaper at some profit. That was the more reason we thought that if we reduce or remove the element of penalties in the pricing of overstayed vehicles, then we are opening a window for people to go and do these things without penalties.

Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would suggest that we amend that portion to emphasise that penalties should be included.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Let us hear you.
Ms Sarah A. Safo 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that to add “not limited to” when we have used the word “include” is rather repetitive and superfluous. In drafting, when we use “include”, it means that the words that would follow includes. That is an example that you give, which is not limited to that only but there is room for other related issues like the one that is mentioned.
It is in the case that you use “means” in definitions. When you say, “it means”, then it is restrictive. It is only the ones that you mention in the legislation that is restricted to that.
This is ejusdem generis rule in interpretation which says that words that follow should take their words and meaning from the preceding word. So, when you use “includes”, it means that
the ones listed, there are avenues for other ones but are not stated in the Act. So, once we are using “includes”, you cannot say “but limited to.” This is because at the moment, when you use “includes”, it means it is not limited to. So, to put it in the wording of legislation, it is repetitive and superfluous. This is because interpretation gives room for that which includes “means”, not limited to.
So, we should allow it to stand the way it is. To add “includes” is just mere repetition.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Hon Ranking Member, let us hear from you.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am very surprised. The arguments they are using, they should accept the amendments. The State's interests are duties and taxes. Mr Speaker, these are forfeited vehicles which are being auctioned. The State did not anticipate that there would be a penalty. We want to recover what is due the State, then you say we should add “shall include but not limited”. That is what they are saying.
She has adduced arguments that debunk what they are saying. So it cannot be the reason for them not wanting the amendment. I am going to buy it. I did not cause issues for the penalty to be imposed. The State collects the duties and taxes, finito. That is what this is saying. Arguing for arguing sake, you have to get to the essence of what we are trying to do here and that is to collect the duties and taxes which are due the State.
This argument about “shall include but not limited to” does not go to the matter that we are talking about. That cannot be the reason for offering that amendment. They must come clean as the main reason. We cannot have that.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, let me hear from the Hon Agyeman-Manu and then the Hon Member from Takoradi before I come to the Hon Chairman of the Committee. You have had your fair share of the debate.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, whatever it is, I would want to find out from the Hon Finance Minister, why he is refusing to spell out the elements that can be included to the duties and taxes. What other things does he anticipate can be added to the duties and taxes?
So, if there are other things that can be added, then why does he not become specific to put those things even there, so that we remove the element of discretion on the part of officials. To add what? What else can be included to the duties, cost, et cetera? What is left out are the penalties. So, why do you put in “including”?
So, why do you not be specific as has been put in the Bill originally. There is a good reason the customs people put that there. So, if you tell us “including”, what are they going to include? They should tell us what they anticipate could be included and then let us list those things in there together with the taxes and the duties.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
People are confusing “overaged” with “overstayed”. We are not looking at “overaged”, just “overstayed”. If they advert their minds to that, perhaps, they would see why this is being offered. It is not “overaged”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Member for Takoradi?
Mr Kwabena O. Darko-Mensah 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe we need to include the penalties because when vehicles overstay, the Government loses revenue in view of time value of money. Therefore, if we take
it out, Government is going to lose that revenue.
Secondly, we know how people intentionally do not pick their cars and then they work through other people, for the cars to go to auction before they go and buy them. Most at times, the amount of moneys people pay for those vehicles are way below the duty they are supposed to pay. I think if we are able to put in the penalties, it would help us to recover the money, so that Government can have money to run the State. Otherwise, there is no point leaving it out. We need to include the penalty.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Before I get to the Hon Chairman, let us hear you.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in response to what the Hon Member for Takoradi just said, by including a penalty, it does not cure that pricing problem that he identified. Here, we are dealing with overstayed vehicles, cars which would have stayed over 60 days. I am now coming to buy the car at auction; the Government seeks to recover its duties and taxes. I am being made to pay penalties for not causing the overstaying of the vehicles at the port. That is unfair. I think --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, ignore them, address the Chair.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:20 a.m.
It is alright.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, you have heard the various arguments which have been advanced.
Mr Avedzi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that the definition given or the clause saying that “the clause shall include”, takes care of any other charges that we cannot anticipate at this time. If we should add or list various items that should constitute the price, we might not be fair to some
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Members, my understanding is that the expression used in the amendment gives us a situation which is not exhaustive. There is still room for other issues like penalties to be brought on board. So, let us put the Question.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 59 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 127 -- Offences against an officer.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 127, delete and insert the following:
Shooting at an Officer
128. A person who shoots at, maims, wounds or causes harm by any means to an officer acting in the execution of the duty of the officer commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty years.
Mr Speaker, we are proposing a further amendment to that. As at last week, the further amendment we proposed was that, in line 5, after “not” you insert “less than ten years and not more than twenty years”.
So, the new rendition would read:
“A person who shoots at, maims, wounds or causes harm by any means to an officer acting in the execution of the duty of the officer commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprison- ment of not less than ten years and not more than twenty years.”
Mr Speaker, the issue was that the ten years lower limit is too low depending on the gravity of the offence, that we should increase the lower and the upper limits. I was discussing with the Hon Ranking Member, that if we can increase the lower limit to fifteen year.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, there is something missing on the Order Paper. Clause 127, it says, “delete and insert the following”. There is nothing there. We had broken it down to three -- Now, there is only clause 128 on this Order Paper and that is where the confusion is.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the clause 127 has three subclauses and the initial proposed amendment was to delete the entire clause 127 and break the subclauses into three. So, the clause 127 now becomes 127 itself clauses 128 and 129. And as at last week, we had concluded on clause 127 itself and clause 129. We were left with clause 128.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Hon Chairman, we did not conclude on clause 127 because there was an argument between the penalties for shooting at the conveyance and shooting at the officer.
Mr Avedzi 11:30 a.m.
We concluded on shooting at the conveyance. It was ten and twenty years for the lower and upper limits. The issue we did not conclude was raised by yourself and it was the shooting of an officer. That it should not be the same penalty as we have in terms of shooting at conveyance.
So, we are proposing that for shooting at an officer, the lower limit should be fifteen years and the upper limit should be twenty-five years.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, first, I do not think we concluded on clause 127. We did not and that is why I was raising the argument that shooting at the conve- yance appears to have the same sanction as shooting at an officer.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Can the Clerks-at-the-Table assist us whether we concluded clause 127.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, which is number one.
Number two, clause 128, shooting an officer could lead to murder and if it is murder, the maximum cannot be twenty years. So, we should be careful. Shooting an officer could include killing the officer and can murder have a maximum of twenty year? I do not believe so.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, if you look at the proposed amendment, it does not talk about killing. It talks about maiming, wounding, causing harm by any means.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are “shooting at” and so, if the person shoots you, the person may either get you or not. And if the person does not get you, you are bound by the law -- But if

the person gets you and you die, then the Judge is forced to interpret it here, because it is murder.

Mr Speaker, apart from that, it says that “or causes harm by any means to an officer”. If I were to slap an officer today and blood oozes out from his ears, do I get twenty- five years for that slap? We should be very careful because this clause can be abused and I do not think that is right.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon Member, if you kill, the laws are there and there are no two ways -- but this one, if you either maim or cause harm, we are making provision for it. But when through investigation, they see you have committed murder, you are charged with murder.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
There are laws for causing harm and maiming. So, why should we differentiate between this and murder? This is because those laws exist.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Well, I do not know why they are bringing it in. We have it before us and all that I am saying is that if murder is left out, we have provision for it and it goes through a special process of indictment and so on.
Ms Safo 11:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, to add to what the Hon Deputy Minority Leader just raised, we are creating an offence under the Act and these offences are already captured in the Criminal Act of 1960 )Act 29). There are provisions for assaults, battering, attempted murder, murder and all the acts of causing unlawful harm, are all captured under the Criminals Act.
Mr Speaker, I am suggesting that we further amend it to cross reference to those actions that we intend to criminalise under this Act. Cross reference it to the respective offences that are already created and catered for under the Criminal Act rather than setting a time frame for imprisonment that might not necessarily sit well with the crimes that have been specified under the Criminal Act.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, have we looked at where this thing is coming from? It is looking at the conveyancing. Do you get it? That is why, probably, they want a special package for that one. In the cause of shooting at a conveyance, if you maim or cause harm to an officer, then this would flow. I do not know if --
Yes Hon Minister?
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe that the intent is to make it an offence to shoot at a conveyance. But what our Hon Colleagues are arguing very strongly is that, let the conviction term of sentence be commensurate to what is already in the existing laws in Ghana as punishment.
I am sure that as we vote on it, you can direct the Attorney-General and the draftsperson to make sure that once we create the offence, your consequential direction is that, they should make sure that whatever punishment is being meted out, is commensurate to what is applicable under the operation of the Criminal Act.
Mr Speaker, the only advice that my Hon Colleague, Ms Adwoa Safo failed to

add was, to give voluntary consultancy to the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, when the Hon Deputy Minority Leader said, and I beg to quote:

“you can shoot —you can attempt but you would not get the person”.

But he must be told that attempt is also criminalised under the Criminal Act. So, whether you were successful, just evincing the intention to shoot, would amount to an offence. But I do not agree with the very brilliant suggestions that she made, except that I hope the Hon Deputy Minority Leader would change his position.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, do I get the sense of the House that we want to relate whatever offence to the Criminal Code provision, which would take care of any punishment to be appropriately meted out?
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, if we go back to the Bill that we are looking at -- originally, the headnote was; “offences against an officer”. Then section 1 was talking about. “a person who shoots at the conveyance”.
Mr Speaker, the question that I am asking is, really, if the intent was about offences against an officer, do we need it here at all?
Mr Speaker, if I am in the conveyance, you may shoot at the conveyance and kill me, or maim me and cause harm to me. It is still shooting an officer. So, I do not see why customs wants this provision in there, because anytime one shoots anybody, it is an offence. Do we need this section there at all?
To avoid getting into the usual criminal procedures, I think we should delete this entire clause, so that we do not imagine that you can only shoot against a conveyance but not kill a person; I mean, it is impractical.
I could be in the conveyance and I would be maimed, then it would be the same as clause 128.
Hon Minister, I think you should advise customs, that if shooting anybody is an offence, it is an offence. Why do we select a “customs officer”? There is a section of the Bill on “obstruction of an officer”, which is alright. But shooting at anybody, is an offence that is catered for. Why must we put this in there?
Dr Owusu A. Akoto — rose —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Dr Owusu Akoto?
Dr O. A. Akoto 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that the points raised by my Hon Colleagues are very valid and since we have the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance here, maybe, we might call on him to give us the rationale for including this particular clause in this Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
Very well, Hon Member?
Ms Safo 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think that creating the offence in this Act is not necessarily unnecessary. It is, but as I earlier said, we cross-reference — And so, we can say that “subject to the provisions under the Criminal Offences Act, any person who…” then the offences can continue and then we can delete that “twenty years” and say “the related sentences as applied in the Criminal Offences Act”, so that reference is made.
You are creating an offence — It is an offence that we should create under the Act, but it is the sentencing, the conviction and the definition of the Act that constitutes the criminal offence —That is
why we should not group all of them together because they are separate. We can subject it to the provisions in the Criminal Offences Act.
Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson — rose —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not a lawyer, but what we seek to do here is to draw a distinction -- shooting any citizen, but rather shooting at a customs officer.
Mr Speaker, shooting at a customs officer, I think, is a serious offence, in the sense that, probably, a customs officer is at post and maybe, he or she is trying to prevent ammunition, or illicit trade coming into the country. An attempt to shoot at the customs officer should attract a different penalty from shooting at any other person.
I believe that this is something that we are trying to send. But I am not a lawyer and I believe we can look at it and discuss it as such.
Mr Nitiwul 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to explain to this House more. Is he saying that shooting at a customs officer should attract a higher penalty than shooting a Minister, a President, an Hon Member of Parliament, or any other ordinary citizen? He needs to explain that. He cannot say that.
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Deputy Minister saying that, shooting at a customs officer is more important than shooting a policeman when that policeman is supposed to bring law and order in the discharge of his duty? I think that that explanation does not sit well. Maybe, there is something he wants to say. But if he says that it does not sit well at all. He should say something.
Mr Forson 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what I did say is that, there is the need for us to draw a distinction between shooting at a citizen of Ghana and obviously, shooting at the customs officer —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, can you raise your voice a bit?
Mr Forson 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the role of a customs officer is a serious one, in the sense that, he or she is, indeed, a revenue officer. There is the need for us to protect the revenue officer, particularly a customs officer, who, at a point in time, may be at post at a border. At that point in time, the customs officer is preventing illicit trade coming in, or looking at revenue issues.
Mr Speaker, an attempt to shoot at the customs officer may pave way for items like ammunitions to come into the country. I believe that this is something that should attract a special penalty and that was what we were trying to draw a distinction at. I am not a lawyer, but I am trying to explain the rationale behind why we were trying to distinguish between the offence of shooting at a customs officer and other offences.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon Members, there is a bit of a problem here. From what I head from Hon Members, we want to imply that we should not do anything which would run contrary to the Criminal Offences Act. We should just make reference to it and then let it fall in line, so that whether it is a customs officer or any other ordinary citizen, we have the sanctions provided for in the Criminal Offences Act.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to plead with my good Friend, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to go and talk to the customs people and come back because we are all human beings. The President, who appoints the customs
officer -- if somebody shoots at him, the person should get a lighter sentence. Is that what the Hon Deputy Minister is saying? Let the customs people not think that — Yes, what they are performing is an important function and so, it is everybody's — So it is the Hon Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister, the policeman, and those who are catered for under our current laws. Under our current laws, I do not believe so. It is the same sentence and so, what is the problem?
Mr Speaker, it is a historical thing that they have been enjoying in the law. They should revisit that Act and realise that it cannot be the case that we will continue with this practice, unless there is a compelling reason. They are not offering any reason right now. That is why I am saying that, even the distinction between a “conveyance” and an “officer”— because I could be sitting as an officer in the conveyance.
What difference does it make? I think it is an old practice and they need to look at it and come back with a more compelling reason. So, I think that we should step it down.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Mr H. Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, just to persuade the Chairman of the Committee to be guided by your advice, and guided more by the submissions by my Hon Colleagues, may I refer you to page 96, section 140 of the Customs Bill, 2014, and I beg to quote:
“Where a provision of this Act is enforceable by the criminal laws, the provision is enforceable by the criminal procedure of Ghana.”
Mr Speaker, so, exactly what you advised, that we are anticipating that in implementing this legislation, we would be guided by existing laws, in particular, the Criminal Offences Act.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Members, I will put the Question? But then, we will ask the draftspersons to phrase it in a way to make it fall in line with the existing law. Are we alright?
Mr Nitiwul — rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I think you should give direction before you even put the Question, so that the right thing is done.
Mr Speaker, whatever you put here as a deterrent measure -- That is what I get from the Hon Deputy Minister -- For somebody who takes the law and knows that if you shoot or attempt to shoot the customs officer, you immediately attract a penalty; that is a deterrent measure I understand. But like Hon Member, yourself and the Hon Haruna Iddrisu also mentioned, it must be in line with our Criminal Act.
So, you give that direction, then we can move on. As for that one, I will not have a problem with that. Otherwise, Mr Speaker, a Judge in Kumasi gave somebody who stole a mobile phone 40 years imprisonment and if you shoot at a customs officer and they give you 25 years, have you not cheated that customs officer?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
The point is, we need to still amend --
Mr Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
Yes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
So, I will put the Question and then direct that the draftspersons handle it, such that it reflects or falls in line with the existing law.
Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
Dr A. A. Osei 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, just so, I can follow you, which one are you putting the Question on?
The reason I am asking is that, originally, there were three versions of clause 127 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, I have been advised and I have been shown the proceedings which show that we have dealt with a portion of clause 127 and agreed to it. So, we are now dealing with clause 128.
Yes, Hon Members, I will put the Question.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Member, I direct that the draftspersons use the appropriate language to make it fall in line with the Criminal Offences Act.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, I will put the Question with regard to clause 128 as amended.
Clause 128 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, may I seek your indulgence to take you back to the issue to do with advance ruling. I know we have dealt with it and I have just been given a copy of World Customs Organisation advance rulings. I read as follows:
The WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation includes in its Article 3 provisions on advance rulings:
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr A. A. Osei 11:50 a.m.
I believe you directed that the draftspersons should go back and make the appropriate changes, so that we go back to what Hon Bagbin was opposing -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker read something but you did not hear him. The issue was about the “advance ruling”. He just read something that brought clarity to why the “advance ruling” had to be there.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Very well.
If I can read it over for your benefit because you raised the point:
“In the World Customs Organisation, they have advanced rulings:
The WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation includes in its Article 3 provisions on advance rulings.
With the aim of providing advance and predictable information to stakeholders in order to facilitate compliance with customs require- ments, a number of customs administrations have already established a binding ruling programme, in accordance with the provisions of Standard 9.9 of the revised Kyoto Convention and the WCO recommendations and guidelines.”
So, this is like as it was being advocated for, that it was a term of art within the customs regime. Probably, we have to revisit the decision we took with regard to the rulings.
Mr H. Iddrisu — rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr H. Iddrisu 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, just to support that we will need, probably, to create a new headnote, which specifically should deal with the matter that you have referred to of “advanced ruling”.
In fact, global practice, even beyond the Kyoto Protocol, there is what we call the Bailey Recommendations, which is to improve the facilitation of trade and in particular, to reduce the term and risk of the clearance of goods and services globally. Ghana has come under some criticisms at the last World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting that I attended in Geneva.
I think your suggestion is apt and you should direct the draftspersons, together with the Ministry of Finance to have an improved rendition, which looks at a more pronounced role for customs even within the arena of trade facilitation.
I am aware that between the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry, we have debated over the years,
who should do what in terms of the classification and evaluation of goods and services in order to speed up the process of clearance.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with this new information, it means that the amendment, which was abandoned -- We have to come back to that amendment. So, if you would permit me, I will move that amendment.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, leave granted.
Mr Avedzi 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the body of the clause itself, there are references made to customs ruling. So, the amendment should be that in the headnote, insert “advance” after “customs” and then anywhere “customs ruling” is referred to in the body of the clause, should also have a consequential amendment to read as “customs advance ruling”.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
I direct that the draftspersons should deal with the various portions where we have “customs rulings” to fall in line with the heading that has been amended to read “customs advance ruling”.
Hon Members, we now move on to clause 145.
Clause 145 -- Burden of Proof
Mr Avedzi 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 145, subclause (1), paragraph (a),
line 1, delete “concerns” and insert “in relation to”.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition will read as follows 11:50 a.m.
“In proceedings under this Act, the following proofs shall lie on the person who asserts the fact:
(a) in relation to the place from which goods have been bought.”
Mr Speaker, this was outstanding last week because there were issues raised by Hon Bernard Ahiafor, Member of Parliament for Akatsi South and also from the Hon Member for Bekwai, that a burden of proof should not come from the person who asserts the fact. We did not conclude debate on this. Debate is to continue on it and so, Hon Members who have issues to raise, can do so.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
Mr H. Iddrisu noon
Mr Speaker, even before I proceed, let me indulge and seek your leave, that clause 145 (1), if the Hon Chairman has no objection, should read, “In any proceedings…” So, I would have asked for the insertion of a new word, “any” to read, “In any proceedings under this Act...” But Mr Speaker, this is similar to what we have just looked at where references have been made to the Criminal Code.
You cannot be making any reference to the burden of proof without reference to the Evidence Act and what prevails under it, depending upon whether the matter was criminal or civil. I think that your direction that whatever goes under this provision must sit with the provisions of the Evidence Act --
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr A. A. Osei noon
Mr Speaker, before I address the issue raised by the Hon Haruna, I would want to crave the indulgence of the Hon Chairman, that in that same clause, the word “that”, before each paragraph, should be removed and brought after, “…the fact” so that we do not have to repeat it all over for simplicity. So, the “that” will come after, “the fact”. Then in paragraph (a), it disappears, in paragraph (b), the “that” goes and so on and so forth.
But Mr Speaker, this issue we were debating the last time, what came up was that, in spite of the Evidence Decree or whatever he calls it -- [Interruption] -- what we were trying to argue here is that under this Customs Bill, when we say the burden of proof, for example, that the proper duty has been paid on the goods. In the first instance, you the importer should show proof that you have paid or not. But I, the customs officer, have a secondary proof to say that it is the right amount.
That is what the intention is here. So, it is not for the customs officer to say, “I am proving that you have paid or not” because you who paid or did not pay would have some evidence and the burden is for you to produce the evidence and then I have to prove otherwise, that it is a wrong duty. That is the intent here.
I do not know what is in the Evidence Act but the intent here is that you must produce the evidence; you must say that these goods have been lawfully imported by bringing the right documentation. It is not for the Customs Excise and Preventive Service to prove. So, you come with your documentation to prove that it has been
imported and then I would come and say, yes, but the assessment is wrong and so on and so forth. That is the intention here.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Member for Akatsi South.
Mr Bernard Ahiafor noon
Mr Speaker, we are talking about proceedings and proceedings are matters before a court of competent jurisdiction. So, we are not looking at a situation where it would be between the revenue officer and a customer.
Mr Speaker, proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction may be in two ways. We have criminal proceedings and civil proceedings. It is trite learning that he who asserts, must attempt to prove but not he who denies. We borrowed this principle from a Latin maxim, ‘ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat.' So, clearly -- [Interruption] -- which means, “He who asserts must attempt to prove but not he who denies” -- So, it is trite learning that in civil proceedings, the onus of proof is always on he who asserts and not he who denies.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, are you on a point of order? [Interruption.] What is the point of order?
Dr Prempeh noon
Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend recited some Latin incantations. I do not know whether it was prayer, speech or language.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
It was Latin and he translated it into English.
Dr Prempeh noon
But Mr Speaker, we missed the apostrophes and the commas. He should come again, so that we know the apostrophes and --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, you are out of order. [Laughter.]
Please, proceed.
Mr Ahiafor noon
Mr Speaker, on the other hand, a general principle in law is that, in a criminal proceedings, the onus is always on the prosecution to be established beyond reasonable doubt. This is clearly expatiated in the Evidence Act. So, the Evidence Act having taken care of the situation, there is absolutely no need having onus of proof in this particular Bill that we are considering.
Dr A. A. Osei noon
Mr Speaker, I do not know what harm we create by putting it here. This is because as he said -- I am not a lawyer -- he who asserts must prove. It is the taxpayer who is asserting that he has paid. That is why we are going with the Evidence Act. It does not do any harm. It is for the avoidance of doubt. That is all. [Interruption.] Putting it in there does not harm anything. Not all of us know that Evidence Act. So, you want me to now hire a lawyer to go and look for the Evidence Act?
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, that is why you have to engage the services of a lawyer and pay some fees.
Dr A. A. Osei noon
Mr Speaker, if we do that, we will be paying too much money to the lawyers when we do not need to pay. Ordinary, people like us should be able to understand this simple language. Now, he is saying I should go to the Evidence Act. The poor importer from a village will go and find a big book and pay a lawyer. It is not fair. [Interruption.] It does not cause any harm. So, I think we should keep it there.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Adwoa Safo, then the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations.
Ms Safo noon
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, just as the Hon Member who just gave us the Latin maxim -- “he who asserts must prove and not attempt to prove”. We must prove. The burden of proof is on you and so, I do not think that the provision in clause 145 is a total deviation of placing the onus of the burden of proof on whoever the law places the burden of proof on. But probably, because there has not been any cross- referencing to the Evidence Act, so that it would be subject to the provisions in the Evidence Act, then we can re-echo what it is in the Evidence Act in this provision.
This is because the one who is saying that I have paid the customs duties, is the one who is asserting that I have paid because he is supposed to have documentation to prove that, indeed, he has paid. So, he is asserting that he has paid and it is not shifting the burden in a civil proceeding to any other person other than who the law requires the burden to be on.
So, it is not a deviation but probably, to bear in mind that it is in line with the Evidence Act, we could just put it in.
Cross-referencing of other Acts in different Acts are things that are done in our drafting proceedings, so that it would eliminate that doubt whether it is in line with the Evidence Decree or it is actually a deviation.
I think as it stands now, it is in line with who ought to bear the burden of proof, which is the one who is asserting, who has paid the customs duties and is saying, “I have paid; these are my documents”. So, if the customs officer has any other reason to say that it is not it, then the burden will then shift. But as it stands now, I think it is in line with the Evidence Act.
Thank you.
Mr H. Iddrisu noon
Mr Speaker, thank you very much, once again.
My first attempt would be to answer the Hon Ranking Member for Finance who asked very strongly what harm it would cause.
Mr Speaker, like my Hon Colleague said, in the determination of any matter, Judges are guided by two principal issues -- the facts and the law; nothing more. In determining any matter, they look at the law on the matter. And there is a specific Evidence Act, which deals with matters relating to the burden of proof.
Where probably, Mr Speaker, the Chairman must give further explanation is that, there may be some proceedings at the level of customs and not at the level of the court, that within the premise of the port, a certain determination has to be made and they would want to rely on what evidence is provided by a customs official.
But Mr Speaker, why I think that this House must pay proper attention to this aspect and the entire Bill is that, it is in truism that there is a lot of fraud associated with the clearance of goods and services in this country. The Government is denied daily, huge resources in terms of under- evaluation, under-invoicing and other related matters.
But I would think that the Chairman must give us a better explanation. He is not talking of proceedings in court. If it is a proceeding in the court, then we are better guided by the Evidence Act. But I am envisaging a situation where a customs official at the port has to make a determination on a matter to which we would want to put some weight on what is done or said by that customs official.
But when in any proceedings, which I earlier referred him to in section 140 of the Constitution, it says even criminal proceedings. So, probably, we should have just said “procedures” because it means that the proceedings may be criminal or civil.
Mr Speaker, but I think that we would need to stand this issue down and consult further to find out what the proceedings under the Evidence Act are. Or you would probably put the Question and direct the draftspersons to ensure that we are respecting the law specific to this subject.
I thank you.
Dr A.A. Osei noon
Mr Speaker, just following what he said, would any harm be done if we replicate clause 142 under this but change the word “criminal” to “civil”? Would that do any harm? We should look at clause 140. So, wherever we see “criminal”, we should replace it with “civil”. Just immediately after the “burden of proof”. Would that capture his concern?
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Chairman of the Committee, your last word?
Mr Avedzi noon
Mr Speaker, the issue that has been discussed so far in relation to clause 145 is for the burden of proof. If what we are saying in this clause is a matter that is before any court of competent jurisdiction, then we would go by the suggestion to make reference to the Evidence Act, so that we do not put anything into this Act, which would go contrary to what we have in existing legislation.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Members, I will therefore put the Question but after that direct the draftspersons to use the language that would reflect the
fact that we are doing this in accordance with the existing law, which is specifically the Evidence Act.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
I further direct that the draftspersons be made to couch it in such language that would reflect the fact that we are doing this in consonance with the Evidence Act.
Clause 145 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Clause 150?
Mr Avedzi noon
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 150, add the following new interpretation:
“Members of the same family means:
(a) husband and wife
(b) parent and child
(c) brother and sister (whether by whole or half-blooded)
(d) brothers (whether by whole or half-blooded)
(e) sisters (whether by whole or half-blooded)
(f) grandparent and grandchild
(g) uncle and nephew
(h) uncle and niece
(i) aunt and nephew
(j) aunt and niece
(k) sisters-in-law
(l) brothers-in-law
(m)brothers-in-law and sisters-in- law
(n) parent-in-law and child-in-law”
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Chairman, for clarity, let me ask one question. What is the difference between “brothers-in-law” -- you have already said, “sister-in-law” and you said, “brothers-in-law” and you are now saying “brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law”. [Pause]-- You have already dealt with “brothers-in-law” and “sisters-in-law” separately and now, you are bringing the two together.
Mr Avedzi noon
Mr Speaker, I think this should be a typographical error. This is because we have “sisters-in-law” already -- [Pause.]
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh noon
Mr Speaker, I think that in view of the observation made by --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Member, I have not given you the floor.
Mr Chireh noon
Mr Speaker, I thought the way the Chairman --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Very well. You have the floor.
Mr Chireh noon
Thank you very much. The Chairman yielded to me.
Mr Speaker, but the point I am making is that we should delete item (m). The further amendment is that we should rather delete item (m) under clause 150 because (k) and (l) have specified the “brothers- in-law and the sisters-in-law”.
Mr Speaker, in the alternative, we could delete (k) and (l) and leave (m) but that is not needed. So, we should delete (m).
Dr Prempeh noon
Mr Speaker, I was going through the list and I think it is an oversight. For those of us who have a lot of cousins -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, you are not smiling because of the Central Region, Cape Coast. But Mr Speaker, cousins are important and some cousins cause more damage than brothers-in-law and fathers-in-law.
Mr Speaker, it is not only cousins but we cannot omit friends. Friends should be brought in. So, cousins and friends -- In this society, some friends are more than brothers, cousins and in-laws.
So, Mr Speaker, as a further amendment, we should put “cousins” as new (o) and family --
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
May I ask you? We have first, second and third cousins.
Dr Prempeh noon
Mr Speaker, they are cousins from the start.
So, Mr Speaker, I agree with you; you see the import of it. “Cousins” should be there. Whether first, second or third degree, it should be there.
Then we should come to friends. Mr Speaker, it is important that friends are more important than some of the people underlisted here. This is because some friends are even more dangerous than brothers.
So, “cousins and friends” should be allowed.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
No! If you bring in “friends” you are deviating, because the definition is in respect of members of the same family. So, friends do not come in.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you go through the list, for example, in (a), we are saying that “husband and wife” are family. So, “brothers-in-law” and “sisters-in-law” in (l) alone cannot stand here. It should be as written in (m).
So, we should delete (k) and (l) and say “brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law” are family. Just as we have listed from (a) to -- (n)
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well. I think it makes a lot of sense.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I oppose the inclusion of “friends” to the list.
Mr Nitiwul 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not know but the lawyers may help out. Some of these terms are very generic. This is because “siblings-in-law” for example, the daughters could also be referred to as a niece and then their sons could also be referred to as nephews. But they have no blood relations.

So, if I were married to a woman and I am no longer married to her, am I an ex- husband? Is it inclusive?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Very well.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Chairman of Committee, can you respond to these issues that have been raised?
Mr Nitiwul 12:20 p.m.
The Hon Chairman knows we have siblings-in-law and there are children, nieces and nephews but we have no blood relationship with them. Ex-wives, ex-husbands --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I find the definition problematic because family, as construed sociologically, has its perimeters. If you extend the definition of “a family” to mother-in-law, father-in-law and knowing and recognising that these relationships are not permanent, if the Hon Dr Prempeh chooses tomorrow that he wants to engage in what I have advised him to never do, that he wants to divorce, will the father-in-law and mother-in-law still be part of that family?
I think the Hon Chairman must respond to this.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Minister, probably, in that context, you will have to find out whether when the marriage was in subsistence, something passed away. After the divorce, they ceased to be related. [Laughter.]
Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, firstly, the amendment offered by my good Friend here, Hon Assibey-Yeboah, that we should delete (k) and (l), is not entirely alright. It is the same reason that we have (d) and (e) even though we have (c).
But Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister should remind us -- because there was a very extensive debate on this --
I cannot remember the reasons we made this extensive -- But the Hon Minister should remind us because it is not random and you would see that most of them are in pairs. So, there is a reason because there is a new clause and I was
just wondering if the Hon Minister or the customs officials can remind us on the genesis of this new clause since there was a special reason. It is not just random; I do not remember because I do not have all my notes here and if he could ask the customs officials here, it may help us to remember why we did this. It has been so long.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was just trying to get from the Hon Chairman and the Hon Minister whether this has something to do with usage in customs. If not, I think we already have in law the definition for family and so, we could adopt that definition, because we have in this country paternal and maternal families. These definitions that they have given do not apply to both; this list does not apply to both when we talk about the family in Ghana.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, can you give us the rationale behind this particular amemd- ment? Maybe, it will help us.
Mr Avedzi 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the rationale behind this proposed amendment is from clause 46, which is about licensing and transfer of licence. If you read clause 46
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Chairman, you can take your time and look for it while I listen to Hon Isaac Osei?
Mr Isaac Osei 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I tend to agree with what the Hon Majority Leader said. If we do have the definition of what “a family” is in the Matrimonial Causes Act, then we do not need this amendment with this list. For, who can deny that my children and brother 's children are relatives? That is why Hon Dr Prempeh wanted to extend it to include cousins, for example. We do not need all this.
So, this amendment should just be withdrawn; it is not necessary.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is why we are defining it. That is why we want it to have a separate meaning from the definition of “family” in the Matrimonial Causes Act. The reason is simple; this is about business relations. The Matrimonial Causes Act talks about marriage between
a man and a woman and how it should be handled, including divorce, inheritance and the rest of them. But this one is business relations, so that if you have a brother-in-law and you want to transfer the licence, then you need to define it.
The important thing is that we are defining this “family” here to only restrict its meaning to this Act. We cannot extend it beyond this Act because of --
But I would oppose what Hon Dr Prempeh said. This is because if we add “friends” and “cousins”, there is no class, it is so indefinite; third, fourth clan -- That is not correct. “Friend”? What type of friend? Family friend, girlfriend, boyfriend or what? So, the degree of friendship cannot be defined and that is why I think that we should not admit of -
- 12:20 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Bagbin 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if the intention is to group a class of blood relations, whom, we want to be entitled to transfer of licence, it should be differently captured. Now, we are saying, “'Members of the same family; means…”
When the ordinary citizens are reading the law and they come to a phrase “Members of the same family” and I am of a paternal family and you say that my sisters-in-law are members of my family, my family members would never agree. There is no way that they will ever allow that transfer of licence. They are just unknown; complete strangers.
We are legislating and now extending the meaning of “family” and that is why I keep on saying that we should be guided by the existing law. I do not think that the intention of the business relations is to expand the membership of the same family to include people who, in reality, are seen as strangers and not members of the family. That should not be the intention of the law.
Mr Firs t Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, what about qualifying it with this expression “for the purposes of this Act”?
Mr Bagbin 12:30 p.m.
We could say, “For the purposes of this Act, family means. . . ” But as has been requested, we would want to know the rationale. If we say, it is just a business that I am operating, and would want to transfer to members of my family, why should the law expand members of my family for me? We should bear that rationale. Is it part of industry practice?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
The Hon Chairman was in the process of answering that question, when he could not trace his records. So, I allowed him to go through his records while we listened to Hon Members.
Yes, Hon Chairman, are you ready now?
Mr Avedzi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have been able to locate the clause, clause 67 -- Customs Evaluation. And if one reads section 10, Mr Speaker, with your permission, it is as follows:
“In applying the comparison values to related party sales, the following shall be taken into consideration:”

That is section 10. The issue is about related party sales. Then going to section 11, it says, with your permission:

“For the purposes of this section, persons are deemed to be related only if:

(a) they are officers or directors of one another's business;

(b) they are legally recognised partners in business;

(c) they are employer and employee; and

(d) any person who directly or indirectly owns …”

It goes on, and when you come to (h), it says: “they are members of the same family”.

Being members of the same family, is too broad and for that matter, we would want to define what “members of the same family” means. That brought about this new definition.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Now, we understand you. So, we could move further.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Nitiwul 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we should be very careful using definitions, especially because of cultural differences.
My sister-in-law, in my tradition, has absolutely nothing to do with my family. She is not a member of my family. She cannot inherit me. She may come and visit her sister and that is all.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
What about to say, “for the purposes of this Act”?
Mr Nitiwul 12:30 p.m.
No! Mr Speaker, for the purposes of this Act, my sister-in-law becomes a member of my family? She is not a member of my family, not by law. I do not see why in this Bill, we would nicodemously bring her into my family, when she is not a member of my family at all.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, now that we have gone back to why we are defining it, I agree with the Hon Majority Leader. If there is a current definition of “family” as it is in the Matrimonial Causes Act, 367 or whatever it is -- [Interruption] -- We tried to be as inclusive as possible, but it could be very dangerous.
So, I would want to ask the Hon Chairman, that we should take this amendment as provided for in the Matrimonial Causes Act, 367. We are not defining “family”, because now, I do not even know why we should include cousins. So, in my opinion, we should accept the Hon Majority Leader 's argument and amend it appropriately.
Mr Chireh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the argument about the definition of “family” does not arise. What we were defining and for the purposes of this Act, are members of the same family. Those were the words used, and it is nebulous if we leave it like that. We do not know what the limit is. So, we were defining to include and exclude others.
Hon Prempeh included “friends” and “cousins”. We have disallowed that. We do not want that because it expands it beyond that. We were trying to give a
meaning to the phrase “members of the same family”, otherwise, we do not even say, “members of the same family”. One should say “members of the family”.
Which family? And how is the family's definition? I beg to ask that we should look at the definition of “family” in the Matrimonial Causes Act, 367, whether it makes sense with the business transaction that we would want to do or not. This is a business Act, and we are not saying that it should be equivalent to what is being defined there.
They have different meanings but the purposes, if the customs division did not think it is necessary for us to do this, they will not propose this.
I am still saying that, we should insist on defining “members of the family”, otherwise, it should be difficult to apply the law. If I say I am related to this person, how are we going to decide that? So, we were specifying who the relatives are. We are expanding; otherwise, are we talking about the nuclear family or the extended family? If you are also talking about the extended family, where are we going to cut off? So, in my opinion, “member of the same family” should still be included and defined.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Prempeh?
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, insofar as I can agree with the Hon Majority Leader, where her sisters-in-law are not part of the family, I can agree with the Hon Deputy Minority Leader, that his sisters- in-law are not part of the family.
Mr Speaker, there is no family in Ghana where one's cousin is not part of the family. There is no single group in Ghana where one's cousin is not part of his family. So, to eliminate “cousin” and bring “brother-
in-law”, I was wondering whether he did not say “ex-brother-in-law.” One cannot have an ex-cousin; once a cousin, always a cousin.
Mr Speaker, so, no matter the definition they would want to bundle round, the extent and the limitation, cousin should be prime. Just imagine your child and your sister's child, till they go to the grave, they are related, and they are cousins and family. So, how could one skip over “cousins” and bring “ex-wives” or “wives” “ husbands” no matter how long that relationship was?
One could have an ex-wife, but one can never have an ex-son, and one can never have an ex-daughter, and for that matter, an ex-nephew and ex-niece.
Mr Speaker, if one is talking about family, he should relate it to Ghana. Whereas I can agree with the Hon Majority Leader and the Hon Deputy Minority Leader that these are not part of the family, they cannot say their elder brothers' sons are not part of the family, neither can I ever say my sister 's daughters and my children are not cousins.
Mr Speaker, cousins should be first. In Ghana, the reality is that, those who are into business and others do it through their cousins more than anybody else; so, “cousins” should come.
I do not agree with the Hon Member for Wa West that mine has been thrown away. If we throw “cousins” away, apart from father and sister --
Mr Speaker, I must end by saying that, if we would want to go there, there is a definition that Wikipedia says, and I would want to read it:
“ ‘Family' is defined as the specific group of people that may be made up of partners, children, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grand- parents”.
“Cousins” can never be omitted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Where is that definition from?
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
Wikipedia. So Mr Speaker, if he forgot about “cousins”, it should be the second.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with the issue he is raising, we have defined “uncle”. We have defined “nephews” and “nieces”. We have included them.
Dr Prempeh 12:30 p.m.
What about cousins?
Mr Chireh 12:30 p.m.
He is talking about cousins, and who is a cousin? [Interruption] -- I am asking, who is a cousin if we have defined it to include this?
Again, we know that the English Language we are speaking, and in the law we are making, there are specific issues; otherwise, I would say everybody is my brother or sister. But we know that we do not have “cousins” in our languages. We do not even have “uncles” in our languages, in the sense of ones father's brother. He is one's father.
So, if we are talking about cousins, we do not have the word “cousins” in our languages. The person is either your brother or sister; you cannot say, one is your cousin. When one says “cousin”, one does not mean anything as far as our languages are concerned. When one says “uncle”, there is confusion. Is it your mother's brother, or your father's brother? In English, all these are defined and so, in law, we need to be specific.
If we leave it loosely like that, everybody would be a sister or a brother. But when I say a “cousin”, I do not have a translation of it in my language, whether the person is my brother or sister.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
He says he does not have the word “cousin” in his language and I agree but this is not his language, this is English Language.
Mr Speaker, we could step this down and define “family” as what Hon Bagbin said, it is enshrined in the Matrimonial Causes Act and go on. If it is defined in our law, it is just a waste of time.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, we need to make progress. We have been on this for quite some time.
Mr Nitiwul 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am surprised he said that the word “cousin” for example, is not in his language. Yes, especially, first cousins are an integral part of the family in the North because we are patrilineal. One's uncle's children are members of the family in the North because they are first cousins. Down South, they may not.
This is because one's sister's children or aunt's children may be his family members. In the North, one's uncle's children are rather his family members and his sister's children are not. My sister could go and marry a Frafra and they are Frafras. It has nothing to do with my tribe.
But here, they are my nieces and nephews but not family. They may be Dagombas or Frafras or Dagartis or Ashantis or they may even be white people because they are my sister 's children. She could go and marry a white man. But then my uncle's children --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
But the blood.
Mr Nitiwul 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, but my uncle's children, that is my father's brothers -- are members of my direct family in the North not in the South, not in the Akan society. So, we should note that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Members, let us listen to Hon Isaac Osei and then the Chairman of the Committee and then we will try to find a solution to this problem.
Mr Isaac Osei 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, truly, we should not belabour the point. I believe when the Hon Majority Leader was making his point, he made allusion to the different systems that we have in this country -- the patrilineal and matrilineal. If the definition is already in the law somewhere, then there is absolutely no reason we should try to define it here. We should not waste our time on this one. We have spent too much time on it. Really, we have a definition of “family”.
Let us keep it that way and then follow what the Hon Majority Leader said. This one, we do not need it. It is not going to add anything to the law if we define it in this manner, else, what Hon Opoku Prempeh said should be brought in and it would just go on and on and on.
Mr Speaker, so, with due respect, if we have the definition of “family”, let us keep it that way and not expand it for Hon Nitiwul to say “My sister's children are not mine and not part of my family” and so on; it is not necessary. Why should we get to --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would have to go by the proposal made by the Hon Majority Leader that we would have to abandon this new definition and then we will come back to clause 67(11) (h) to amend that one to read:
“they are members of a family as defined by the Matrimonial Causes Act.”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the reason I am getting up to oppose what they are saying is that they said the definition in the Matrimonial Causes Act is too expansive. So, the purpose was to restrict by this definition. That was what I was told by a member of the Committee.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon Member, please, address the Chair. Ignore those asides.
Mr Chireh 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so, a member of the Committee has given a reason why this was added. So, in fact, I tried to do a research to find out what the definition in the Matrimonial Causes Act is and to see whether it is so expansive that they want to restrict it by naming these people. Otherwise, if we rush and just say that because it is defined there, we should adopt it, it would be limitless.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Otherwise, I will want to suggest that I have requested a copy of the Matrimonial Causes Act. When it comes, we will be certain of the kind of definition that has been provided. If we can go by it, we will do so. But in the meantime, we will listen to you and probably, defer this one just for a few minutes and deal with other proposed amendments and we can come back to it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am struggling to know the purpose of what the Committee is proposing. I do so because we should know what underpins this amendment; why are they proposing this amendment? We need to know that and be very clear in our minds. This is because when we came to dealing with assets declaration, we restricted it to
public office holders. And when in this House, it was said that for the purposes of assets declaration, knowing how the family set-up is, we should include maybe, spouses, it was said that we should not do that because spouses may not be public office holders. Yet in this country, we know that office holders could do a lot of things in the name of their spouses, children, nephews and so on.
Mr Speaker, if we want to deal with corruption, we should revisit the matter. We said to ourselves that for the time being, we should restrict ourselves to just the public office holders and sub- sequently, we shall come to it. More than ten years after, we have not come back to it.
Mr Speaker, a lot of malfeasance is going on in this country because if anybody raises any issue, one would say that the person is not a public office holder. But we know of housewives who have come by some property through their spouses who are public office holders and yet we are not dealing with it. That is why I would want to know what is intended to be achieved by this proposal.
I get the principle that they want to establish. And that is why I am disappointed that the Chairman is retreating and saying that he is abandoning it. We should be very clear in our minds what is intended to be achieved.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Chairman, can you hold on a little? I received a request by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations for a proposed amendment, which is not advertised.
We are deferring the consideration of this while we look at his proposed amendment. This is because he has a meeting in the next few minutes. So, if you could listen to him, we would know what to do.
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your indulgence.
I am seeking your leave to propose an amendment and also seeking your guidance to direct that once it has been approved, it is an amendment which should stand in my name and that of the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, the Hon Member for Old Tafo and Hon Bernard Ahiafor.
Mr Speaker, it is on warehousing, and with your indulgence, I beg to read 12:40 p.m.
“Goods shall not be removed from a transit shed or other place of deposit to a warehouse or from one warehouse to another warehouse unless the goods can be received in the warehouse to which they are to be sent any time on any day, unless the proper officer may in any special circumstances otherwise direct.”
Mr Speaker, we want to make it flexible for Customs to be able to work 24/7 in Ghana to make our ports very competitive. And it is the case currently in Ivory Coast and Togo, where customs officials could work on a shift basis. The restriction has always been that goods could be warehoused only up to 3:30 p.m. and it did not allow for the flow of goods and services.
Mr Speaker, I have the Ranking Member for the Finance Committee, Hon Ahiafor together with the Ministry of Finance supporting it.
Mr Speaker, if I may add, there was a day I visited the port in my capacity then as Minister for Trade and Industry with the Deputy Minister for Finance and we were going to make a formal pronounce- ment on this matter and we were restrained by the restrictions of the 3.30 p. m.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I support this new amendment because I think it is about time we did like it is done elsewhere.
In most countries, customs are available 24/7, but the way our law is, we do not have that option. So, I think I would urge Hon Members to support this.
Not only would it generate revenue for Government, but businesses would be happy that anytime they want to get their goods, they can get this opportunity.
So, I would urge Hon Members to support this amendment.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank, you.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not have any objection to this amendment, but for the purposes of consistency, we do not have anything in the Bill that says, “transit shed”. So, if we can change “transit shed” to “customs control area”, it would conform to what we have in the Bill. That is the only thing that I would like to talk about.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Haruna Iddrisu, are you alright with his proposal?
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have no objection to the Chairman's response. But I am guided by L.I. 1060 in using the words “transit shed”, and that is how it is referred to by practice within customs. So, I am right, but I would not know what is informing his objection.
When goods are cleared, they have to be transported and sometimes they pile up before they get to the warehouse, and that is what is referred to by the freight
forwarders as a “transit shed”. It does no harm anyway Mr Speaker. In fact, I have culled much of this from the L. I. based on a personal official experience together with my Hon Colleague the Deputy Minister for Finance.
This is to allow Customs to be able to work 24/7 unless, otherwise, an officer directs that they are not able to do so.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, I will put the Question together with this further amendment.
Mr Ahiavor 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, before reading the amendment, I would like to propose that it be inserted in section 85 of the law.
Mr H. Iddrisu 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the amendment reads and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“Goods shall not be removed from a transit shed or other place of deposit to a warehouse or from one warehouse to another warehouse unless the goods can be received in the warehouse to which they are to be sent any time on any day, unless the proper officer shall in any special circumstances otherwise direct”.
So, it means that regardless of time, goods can move from a transit shed from one warehouse to another warehouse. Mr Speaker, this facilitates an opportunity for Ghana's customs to live like many other customs in the world where they can open day and night and allow for the free flow of goods and services.
We have provided “unless the proper officer”. This is because there may be special circumstances why the goods cannot move. They will make a determination at that point and that one can stay within the shed.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I believe it has already been moved and seconded.
Very well, let us listen to the Hon Member for Wa West and then the Hon Member for Manhyia South.
Mr Chireh 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman tried to amend by saying “customs controlled area”, but they want the specific word “shed” to be added. I think that there is no problem adding the “shed” because “shed” is a customs controlled area. So, the specific thing that he wanted us to do because of the definition in the Act itself, we could still adopt what they have moved.
In principle, this comes from those who have had working knowledge of what should be done.
I think that we should support this amendment and get it on, and we could still use the word “shed”. This is because it is a common terminology; it is still a customs controlled area.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Matthew Prempeh?
Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if you look at the rendition and the amendments made to the rendition, if time is taken out, then that whole amendment, Mr Speaker -- unless there is a law that restricts movement within warehouses -- If time is taken out, like the Hon Member who moved the amendment has taken out the 7:00p.m. because of 24 hours, then the amendment is not necessary.
Mr Speaker, if there is no law that says one cannot move goods from one warehouse to another warehouse unless within a specified time-- Is there a law like that? Then it makes sense.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
New clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would have liked to effect a little correction before the Question was put. I thought that the word “shall” rather should read “may”, “goods may not be removed from a customs controlled area or a transit shed”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
I direct the draftspersons to use the appropriate language.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
Right, because it should be “may” and not “shall”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, we are coming back to what we are yet to deal with on the Order Paper. I think it is clause 151.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Forson 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like us to go back to clause 43 (1).
Mr Forson 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to propose an amendment to clause 43 (1).
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
What is the proposed amendment?
Clause 43 --
Mr Forson 12:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 43, subclause (1), line 2, after “partnership”, insert “is wholly owned by an indigenous Ghanaian”.
Mr Speaker, the full rendition would read 12:50 p.m.
“43 (1) A company or partnership shall not engage in the business of customs house agent unless that company or partnership is
wholly owned by an indigenous Ghanaian and has been granted a licence by the Commissioner- General.”
Mr Speaker, this is to reserve the business of the customs house agent to an indigenous Ghanaian company.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Very well.
Chairman of the Committee, what do you say?
Mr Avedzi 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not have any objection to this amendment.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Very well.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Clause 43 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Clause 151.
Mr Avedzi 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, can we go to “the Schedule”? We need to recouch clause 151 and we have not yet done it. So, we can go to the Schedule.
Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think Hon Patrick Boamah has some information on clause 150 that may help us solve that problem.
The reference that was given to us by Hon Bagbin may not be the right one but Hon Boamah has gathered some information that may assist us solve that problem.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
I thought we had deferred that? Well, if it is not here, then let us see the way forward.
Mr Boamah 1 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Various legislations attempted to define “family”. This included the Whistle Blowers Act, 2006, Act (720) under section 17(3), and with your, permission, I beg to read:
“For the purposes of this section, family means spouse, father, mother, child, grandchild, brother and sister”.
Mr Speaker, if we go to the Land Title Registration Law, 1986, PNDCL 152 under section 139, it also gives an inexhaustive definition of “family” to include:
“…Any group of persons recognised by any applicable customary law as constituting a family or other corporate person with the capacity to be the single proprietor of land or interest in the land”.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Naabu, please, resume your seat.
Yes, go on.
Mr Boamah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, looking at the National Fire Service Regulation, 20013, Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 17(25), regulation 21, “family” is defined as “any spouse and children”.
Under the Child's Right Regulation, 2002, L.I. 1705, regulation 73, “family” means “immediate and extended families”.
So, Mr Speaker, you could see that various legislations attempted to give definition to “family” in respect of every act or regulation that Parliament decided to pass.
So, we cannot sit here to give an exhaustive definition of “family” in the face of some of these challenges that we
face. So, we can stick to the limited definition of “family” that we know in some of these regulations without attempting to expand the definition.
Thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, following from what Hon Boamah has said, I agree that we cannot have what we have, but even in the four different cases, there is no consistency. What we ought to do is to pick the one that fits in this domain.
In my view, I think the one on Land Title Registration Law seems to be the one that is most applicable without having to go through this.
But we cannot say that because there are four definitions, for example, the one in the Whistle Blowers Act, does not fit in here. I believe if he can read the one in the --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon Member, can you go over the one you referred to -- the Land Title Registration Law?
Mr Boamah 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Land Title Registration Law, 1986, PNDCL 152, section 13a, with your kind permision, I beg to read:
“Family includes any group of persons recognised by an applicable customary law as constituting a family, or a group or other corporate person with the capacity to be the single proprietor of land or interest in land…”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
I think the definition is interesting.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 1 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that is exactly why I am still insisting that our definition must be applicable to this law. This is because, “family” in the Land Title Registration Law talks about land, but this is about customs and transfer of licence. So, the expansion they are talking about -- we are not expanding. Indeed, we are rather defining and limiting. This is because, when we say “any group of” in customary law, it means that in my custom, if I say that these are the members of my family, that is it. In the Hon Member's custom, it will be a different category.
But it could also be seen that in each law we pass, we define “family” differently. And that is why we must define the “family” here to limit it to what we want it to be and the customs officials say that this is appropriate.
We cannot borrow from any law; we cannot refer or make cross reference to any law. We must do so for this law, and its meaning will be restricted to only this law. We cannot transfer the meaning.
That is why I think that we should maintain the definition. If we do not want to define it, and it is clear what members of the same family means, that is fine. But if we want to define it for business purposes, we must make sure this definition is there. I do not agree that we should go round looking for regulations and other acts to define “members of a family”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
All right.
Hon Members, can we look at it in this perspective that we are trying to narrow it down? From the various definitions that have been given, it does not look like there is a clear cut definition for “family” as far as this Bill we are dealing with is concerned.
Can we look at it and probably add the one of “cousins” as proposed by the Hon Dr Matthew O. Prempeh and then adjust this thing a bit? It does not have to do with business.
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in amending the list, I would suggest that we take out “sisters-in-law” and “brothers-in-law”, so that we could have from (a) to (j) and also add the “cousins”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond? He has made some proposal; he said we should retain or maintain (a) to (j) and leave “brothers-in-law” and “sisters-in-law” out; bring in “cousins”, and then he thinks we are at home and dry. Are you alright with it?
Mr Avedzi 1:10 p.m.
Yes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Very well.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, for (c); “brother and sister (whether by whole or half blooded)”. I thought that singular would include plural. So, why then come to (d) and say “brothers” and (e) “sisters”? I do not get the meaning. So, can we not just state “brother and sister (whether by whole or half blooded)”.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, you may have a family where the person only has “brothers” then the “sisters” would not apply brother and sister and then you have brothers and sisters and then (d) and (e) can equally be applicable.
Mr Boamah 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me refer you to article 11(3) of the Constitution, on customary law;
“For the purposes of this article, ‘customary law' means the rules of law which by custom are applicable to particular communities in Ghana”.
Mr Speaker, families form the basis of communities in Ghana. So, if we are unable to identify which particular family we are talking about, for example, you may go to the Volta Region, most of the communities there are patrilineal. Certain people may not form part of the family by virtue of they being patrilineal.
If you come to the Akan communities, most of the families there are matrilineal in shape. So, you must look at the peculiar customary setting to be able to define who can constitute or who is a member of the family. So, we must have a look at the constitutional definition of customary law to guide us in trying to shape this amendment.
Mr Chireh 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with what the Hon Minority Leader said. In English, when you say somebody is your brother or sister, it also includes half brother and sister. So, we do not need to separate or add in the parenthesis his half- brother. If we go strictly according to definition; but what he just said makes it difficult because there are several communities in Ghana. Different systems of identifying who inherits or who does not. That is why we cannot use the definition in the Constitution.
This is because the people who are going to the port or anywhere to deal with custom business would go and say I come from this village; this is my relative -- [Laughter.] And then he would say I am from this place. Now, he has even moved from his village and is in Accra; has he become patrilineal becaue he has come to Accra? The confusion is that, it is only in
the law court that a particular case arises referring to the community that they would go and even ask the experts in that area to tell what the customary law there is and whatever is taken on oath, there is the one used in interpreting the particular case and adjudicating on it, but not for constitutional definition with so many different tr ibes, ethnic groups and communities.
As he said, even in one, you would have both patrilineal inheritance and matrilineal inheritance. That is why we want to pass the Spouses Bill to resolve all these problems. I think that we should allow the definition of the Constitution to guide us.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Members, I would like us to address the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader and then we can move on. This is because if we go into what the Hon Member referred to as “customary law” and so on, we would be moving into very, very dangerous waters.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the problem we have relates to subsection (9) and therefore, the definition of clause
67(9);
“Where the buyer and seller are related, the importer shall prove that the relationship did not influence the price, or that the price closely approximates one of the following.”
Then because of that, you say for the purposes of this section, persons are deemed to be related only if they are members of the same family.
Mr Speaker, even if he is a friend, you have to prove that the friendship did not influence the price. So, I do not believe we even need (h) where we are trying to define who the family is. A friend is a relationship. I am saying that this (h) is giving us problems; let us abandon it,
Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 p.m.


whatever the relationship, prove that it did not influence the price; period. So, whether she is my sister-in-law or my girlfriend, it does not matter, -- [An Hon Member: Girlfriend?] Yes, it is a relationship. You have to prove. So, I do not see why we need (h) and therefore, we are trying to define what a family is. That is why we are defining it --

“For the purposes of this section, persons are deemed to be related only if…” Whether it is a friend or a family, they have to prove that that relationship did not influence the price. So, does it matter if it is my mother or father? I do not think we should be bothered with the word “family” here. Why?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond to that? First of all, deal with the Hon Minority Leader's issue first and this one following. [Pause.]
You were not following. I can let him repeat it.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo, he did not hear you when you made your submission. Can you go over it?
Dr A. A. Osei 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just thinking that this thing is giving us a hard time and I am trying to find out why we have it there? Subclause (9) is trying to say, for the purposes of relationship, let me have these definitions; (a) to (h) to limit what a relationship is. But I am saying whatever the relationship is, somebody must prove that that relationship did not influence the valuation price. That is what is being sought.
So, even if I am a family member, I am still going to have to prove that it did not influence it and I do not think that definition solves the problem of proving
that it did not influence it. You must be able to prove that it did not influence it. You would exclude a friend but even if you included a friend, I have to prove that my valuation is not being influenced by the relationship. So, where do we define family?
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, or you want to make some further contributions?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, to add to his point, if you read further, 67(9) says:
“Where the buyer and seller are related, the importer shall prove that the relationship did not influence the price, or that the price closely approximates one of the following:”
And it lists (a) and (b). So, there is some remedy here. If even there is an established relationship, the price should approximate the transaction value in sales between unrelated buyers and sellers of identical goods. So, I think, to support him, we might not need 11 (h).
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, please, respond.
Mr Avedzi 1:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, again, we have also been looking at the 69 (10) where we are comparing the values of related party sales. You take other issues into consideration and if the transaction took place between two parties and these two parties are related, as said in 11 from (a) to (h), it is assumed that once they are related, the value that would be placed on the item would have some consideration which might not reflect the actual or the real value of the item because of the related nature of the people involved in the transaction. That is why the issue about “family” comes in.
I think we should maintain the amendment that we proposed in the Order Paper, with a further proposal to delete subclause (m) where we have “brothers- in-law and sisters-in-law”. Then also, we delete subsclauses (k) and (l). If we delete subclauses (k) and (l), subclause (m) must be there - subclauses (k), (l), (m) and (n). So, we end at subsubclause (j).
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
And then you insert “cousins”.
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
And then insert “cousins”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Have you addressed the issue raised by the Hon Minority Leader about “brothers and sisters” and “brother and sister”?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, just to inform the Hon Chairman, the proposal was that, for subclause (c), for purposes of legal drafting, we delete the parenthesis -- So, “brother and sister” whether by whole or half-brothers and because singular connotes plural, I do not think that we need subclauses (d) and (e).
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, subclauses (d) and (e) refer to the plural -- “brothers and sisters”. But if you look at subclause (c), it says “brother and sister”. I do not know why it is done that way.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member for Wa West, can you help us?
Mr Chireh 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I agree with what the Hon Minority Leader is saying. When you say “brother and sister”, that should cover every other “brother or sister”. So, you do not need the plural to separate them. Once we take subclause (c), without even the “whole or half-
blooded” -- It is not the issue. Once you are a sister or brother, you are either the same mother or the same father with the person. So, that one, again, you just put “brother and sister”. We do not need subclauses (d) and (e). That is what he is saying and I agree that, that should be it. The list is too long and repeating itself.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Chairman of the Committee, how do you react to that, so that we can make some progress.
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, also, we will delete subclauses (d) and (e).
Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the amendment the Hon Minority Leader was offering was not “brother and sister”. He said “brother or sister”. So, we should be careful. I heard him say “or”. You are saying “and”. So, which is which?
Mr Chireh 1:20 p.m.
I am saying that, whether it is “brother or sister” or “brother and sister”, subclause (e) is limiting the definition to a “brother or sister”. Either way, in lawmaking, you can say, “brother or sister”. It does not really matter. You can say “brother and sister” but I prefer “brother or sister” in this case.
I did not hear him well, that is why I did not refer --
Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
That is the point I wanted to raise. You were saying “brother and sister”.
Mr Chireh 1:20 p.m.
No! It should be “brother or sister”.
Mr Assibey-Yeboah 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if we are deleting subclauses (d) and (e), then it should be “brothers or sisters” not “brother or sister”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Member, we normally draft in singular. So, that is the reason.
Mr Isaac Osei 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am very happy that, the Hon Chairman has accepted this. This concept of “whole and half-brothers” is completely un-Ghanaian. So, I am very happy that the Hon Chairman has accepted the proposal made by the Hon Minority Leader. A brother is a brother, whether it is quarter or half or whatever.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, I will put the Question.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Member for Old Tafo try to suggest an amendment. He is not being bold about that.
Mr Speaker, I heard him talk about “girlfriends and boyfriends” and so on. In other words, if he is bold about that - He wants to propose an amendment, that members of the same family means “persons in any amorous relationship”. Mr Speaker, he should be bold about that. If he is bold, then perhaps, I may support him.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Leader wanted to offer an amendment by way of coming by the backdoor. I did not write anything down. He has written it down. So, he intends to bring it through me -- [Laughter.] But if it is my Leader, I cannot object. So, I am only constrained. I need to know his intentions, so that if he wants to use me, then I will agree.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Hon Members, let me put the Question.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Members, out of the abundance of caution, we are saying that with regard to the proposed amendment which has just been carried, we are deleting
subclauses (d) and (e). We are retaining subclause (c). But use “or” instead of “and”. We are also deleting subclauses (k), (l) and (m) as well as subclause (n). And then we are introducing “cousins”. That is what we mean by this particular amendment. So, it is carried.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought that subclauses (k) and (l) were proposed to be deleted but subclause (m) encapsulates subclauses (k) and (l)? We are deleting “in-laws”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
The argument was put forward that we should leave out the “in-laws”.
Clause 150 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 151 -- Repeal and savings provisions.
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are abandoning the amendment but we will do it under clause 152. We will do it under transitional provisions.
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we have a Schedule. So, if we can take that amendment on page 5 of the Order Paper.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
Are we going to have a subclause for clause 152? All right.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
Are you referring to the Schedule? Would you want us to take that now? Very well.
Schedule.
Mr Avedzi 1:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Schedule -- add the following Schedule:
SPACE FOR SCHEDULE - PAGE 6 - 1.20P.M.
Mr Benito Owusu-Bio 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to propose an amendment to 1 (d).
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Are you proposing an amendment to the Schedule?
Mr Owusu-Bio 1:30 p.m.
Yes, to the Schedule, particularly 1 (d).
Mr Speaker, the wording should be “where the age exceeds fifteen years but does not exceed twenty-five years, the penalty charged should be fifty per cent.” So, fifteen years but does not exceed twenty-five years, fifty per cent. That is it -- between fifteen and twenty-five, fifty per cent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Very well.
Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Owusu-Bio 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have not ended.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
You are not through yet? Very well.
Mr Owusu-Bio 1:30 p.m.
Yes, I am not done.
Mr Speaker, and to introduce a new line, 1(e), and this should read, “where the age exceeds twenty-five years but does not exceed thirty-five years, seventy per cent”. And then Mr Speaker --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Are you through yet?
Mr Owusu-Bio 1:30 p.m.
No! I am not done yet, Mr Speaker.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I support his amendment, except to say that it is quite possible that a thirty-five year old Mercedes Benz may be much more functional than a one year Beaver. So, it is not only the sentimental value. In certain cases, functionality may be that the older car is better than the newer one. I agree; if I am bringing a car for sentimental value, then I should pay a price?
But he cannot conclude empirically that a twenty-five year old Mercedes Benz car is necessarily weaker than a five year old Peugeot. It may not be the case. It has to be subjected to empirical verification. But the point about discouraging generally, older cars, I think it is fair. But
to jump into this sweeping conclusion, I do not think it can be correct.
I have an old Mercedes Benz car bought in Ghana, which is environmentally better than its five year old --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond to the proposed further amendment?
Mr Avedzi 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to listen to Hon Dr Prempeh before I --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Very well.
You have the floor, Hon Prempeh.
Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to give about six reasons I support my Colleague, Hon Benito Owusu-Bio.
Mr Speaker, we have just been told while you are sitting in the Chair that the penalty is not revenue; that is my first point. We have been told here during this debate at this Consideration Stage that penalty is not revenue.
Mr Speaker, because of environmental reasons, there is no car that -- [Interruptions] I have not mentioned anybody's name. I will get there --
rose
Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. He is completely misleading this Honourable House. Nobody -- I know, today it has been said that penalty is not revenue. Nobody has said that, the --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
I agree with you.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:30 p.m.
He has to withdraw that statement.
Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, since he has agreed, I have apologised. But I heard him clearly. Mr Speaker, I would want to move on.
Mr Speaker, there is no car that is twenty-five years as we speak, that meets the environmental standards imposed by climate change and other conditions.
Mr Speaker, if you go to South America now, they are withdrawing cars more than twenty-five years from the market. For just that main reason, probably, I would have preferred even going for cars that are more than ten years.
If you go to mechanical engineers, they will tell you, you buy the car this year, they depreciate the value over five years. That is why even saloon cars in this country are sold to office holders after four years at discounted prices.
Mr Speaker, what my Hon Colleague is saying, if somebody brings that car that you want to impose penalty --
rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:30 p.m.
Are you up on a point of order?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have point of information.
Mr Speaker, in Cuba today, the Chevrolettes and Pontiacs of early 1950s are still in use, in circulation and they are environmentally sound.
Dr Prempeh 1:30 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
I am so excited, they do not meet the environmental standards of new cars now. That is what I have said -- and they do not. The fact that the cars are on the road for twenty-five years, that is not my issue, and they do not meet the str ict environmental emissions and so on. They do not.
But Mr Speaker, I would want to go further. If you impose a penalty on an over -- aged car because of environmental and other reasons of fifty per cent and the person who bought the car cannot pay and you are going to auction it and you say the penalties are not important --
Mr Speaker, what the Hon Colleague is saying is only important and can only work if we say and agree. That is why we are imposing penalties?
Mr Speaker, there are no subsidies on petroleum. First, there were subsidies on petroleum. So, you could say those cars were gas guzzlers, so, people should pay. Why?
Mr Speaker, if we are going by environmental standards, then we should start by saying that the cars with excessive emission levels are not needed in this country, but that is not what we are doing. We are imposing a blanket age limit, like my brother is saying for penalty. What is the reason for the penalty?
If the Hon Member for Old Tafo says his twenty-five year old Mercedes Benz is functional, probably, better than a one year Toyota, I might agree with him. But why is he being penalised? When he pays his duty, that is already high, and he pays his fuel cost, which is already high.
Mr Speaker, why are we unnecessarily imposing penalties? Why are we imposing penalties such that the number one trade in the country now is auctioning cars?
Mr Speaker, even though I agree with the amendment, we should look at the whole gamut of these penalties, 2.5, 5 litres -- it is too communist. We do not achieve --
If we cannot calculate the revenue we are going to get, should we impose a penalty if it is only duties and taxes that we are sure of?
Mr Isaac Osei 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would have supported my Hon Colleague who proposed this amendment except that the punitive levels of penalties that he suggests, are so small because of the values that we are going to work with.
We must have regulations. What I do not like about the Schedule here is that, there is no limit to the age. It just says “exceed 15 years.” So, you can bring in a 50 year old car and say that it is a classic car, therefore, I must bring it? I do not accept that. The value is almost negligible. Therefore, even if you charge a 100 per cent duty, you are not going to get any revenue from it.
What we should also think about is that, these old cars, even getting spare parts, is a difficulty. Therefore, people mould spares in Magazine and other places and they fix them and after a few weeks, you are in trouble. So, what I would have liked to see in the Schedule is a limit, a gap; if it is 20 years, it is 20 years and not “not exceeding 20 years”. So, all these last lines, (d) and (e) should actually be
removed and then we cap them at a level -- 15 years. This is because there would be cars within the country which are more than 15 years and those ones, we can understand.
Why go and bring in an old car of no specific value to anybody except yourself for sentimental reasons, that because it is a classic car while the economy would be suffering?
Hon Dr Prempeh said that, there is no subsidy on petroleum products. Fine, but the fact is that, these are gas guzzlers; they would use more gas when they should not and cause all kinds of problems for us in the environment.
Even though I can understand what my good Friend here is proposing, I do not think we should accept it but rather we should put a cap on the number of years for which we would allow vehicles to come into the country. Yes, not more than 15 years.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Ranking Member, then Hon Member for Wa West and then the Deputy Minister.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
I wanted to offer some information.
Mr Isaac Osei 1:40 p.m.
I do not know. Do not tell me I know when I do not know.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
So, why are you saying that it is necessarily a small value? It does not have to be. We are talking about the penalties and not the duties and taxes. Penalties, for your information, are relevant but they are not duties and taxes. I agree that we should move towards a situation where --
But Mr Speaker, I can assure him that some of those cars are taken through that because the people want to keep them, they adjust the cars such that they meet the environmental standards. That is why they are of sentimental value and they can ride them anywhere. Because they want to attach value, they go and adjust it such that they meet the current environmental standards, they bring them a higher value. So, we should be careful.
Yes, let us have a general rule, but let us not exclude people like Dr Prempeh who may want to bring in Lamborghini that is 50 years old. What is wrong? You will not get many of those but let us cover them.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Chireh 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
You see, these car owning people were dominating the whole -- but --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Hon Member?
Mr Chireh 1:40 p.m.
I withdraw it with apologies to all of you who have cars.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
Proceed.
Mr Chireh 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I quite agree with the argument that, we should look at banning cars that are of certain ages. But you see, we are passing a Customs Bill, which is targeting cash, which is money. The other reason this continues to come is that, we have particular people who cannot buy new cars. Therefore, when they buy these secondhand cars, they increase economic activities in the
country. So, we should not only look at the environmental case. Sustainability is good. But for this purpose, again, we must remind ourselves that it is a tax measure and not an environmental -- My Friend who is the Hon Chairman of the Committee of Environment, Science and Technology would want us to ban everything. Practically, it is very difficult and the moment we do that, we would have a difficulty.
But the argument about the ages of cars, there are collectors -- people who collect old cars and the older the car the higher the value. They too can be in Ghana and when they are importing those cars, they would look for 1921 model of something and when that one comes, how can we say that we are restricting the economic activity of some people whose desire it is to own these cars? You go into their warehouse and you see different types of old models.
Occasionally, you find in newspapers, people advertising for those makes of vehicles and the years. So, once we are making a law, we must consider this. But the range he is giving, does not solve the problem. If he is saying that, beyond 15 years, that is more rigorous. Beyond 15 years, then we can put a higher value there. If the environmental problems and the consumption of fuel we are talking about is the meaning he wants to attach to it. If you give a range, it does not solve the problem.
What is the value on which these penalties are to put? Is it the cost of the vehicle, the cost of importation-- Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) or Close of Business (COB)? The important thing is that, what value? Like some of my Hon Colleagues are arguing, the value of the car, if you want a Citroen or a Limousine made 20 years ago, it would still be higher than some of the cars that we know are available. We have to look at it in terms of first, the fact that, it is tax measure.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Forson 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the amendment moved by the Hon Member. I am saying this on two grounds. Obviously, on account of enhanced revenue, and secondly, on account of preventing dumping and its resultant emission problems in terms of environmental issues.
I believe it is an amendment that would go a long way to enhance revenue. No matter how you look at it, even though the Hon Member for --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
We cannot hear you clearly.
Are you supporting the further amendment proposed by Hon Owusu- Bio?
Mr Forson 1:40 p.m.
I rise to support the amendment ably moved by the Hon Member, the one that was moved earlier.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
You are supporting his Motion?
Mr Forson 1:40 p.m.
Yes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
Mr Speaker, in principle, I support the amendment proposed by the Hon Benito Owusu-Bio.
Some people are even proposing further, that, we put a cap on the number of years because the older the vehicle, the more it guzzles fuel. If you are looking at maybe, raking in more money from the tax end, when it comes here, it guzzles more fuel and you have to pay more to procure fuel. We all know that -- they also pollute the environment.
The older the vehicle, the more susceptible it is to accidents. That is the first thing. We should know this. So, what do we want to do? In principle, I support what they have said, except that we must look further in the direction of the penalties.
Mr Speaker, I say so because, for (b), for instance, we are saying that, where the age exceeds ten (10) years but does not exceed twelve (12) years, the CIF value is five per cent. Why do they propose that five per cent for motor cars and saloon vehicles yet when you come to commercial vehicles, you are saying 2.5 per cent? Most of the saloon vehicles that are imported end up as commercial vehicles.
They are the taxis that ply our routes. So, if you say that, the CIF value, that is, aged between 10 and 12 years should be five per cent on some vehicles whereas it should be 2.5 for commercial vehicles, Mr Speaker, I disagree.
The two are the same. Most of the saloon vehicles become commercial vehicles. So, I think that we should look at either bringing it down to 2.5 or for saloon vehicles, increasing it to be at par with the commercial vehicles.
But having said that, if for any reason you want to propose a cap on the age of vehicles, then as a country, we should also be committed to ensuring that vehicles
that ply our routes, once they are here, and they get to about twenty to thirty years, they should be taken off the roads.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Members, let us make progress.
We were looking at the further amendment made to (e) and (f) by Hon Owusu-Bio. We are also looking at what the Hon Minority Leader has indicated without proposing any specific amend- ment. If he wants to, he could also do it. We will look at all of them and then take a decision one way or the other.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Avedzi 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let us go by the amendment proposed by Hon Owusu- Bio to extend to (e) and (f). Let us not change the rates at which they have been proposed.
Mr Speaker, this was also considered in view of the 2015 Budget Statement that was approved by this House. They used this rate in estimating their revenue. So, it has a budget implication and reducing any rate here would have effect -- If we should accept the rate that we have here, then the one proposed by Hon Owusu- Bio should be accepted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Very well.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mrs Ursula Ekuful 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am getting a little worried. Is this all about money or we are also going to consider the environmental impact of allowing excessively overaged vehicles into the country -- and even the fact that, when you look at the commercial vehicles, they are carrying not just goods but people? Are we going to allow all these very old vehicles in and just impose a monetary penalty?
I think that we should be looking beyond money and be thinking about using these provisions to also secure the present and future health of our people - - the quality of the air we breathe.
In other countries, every vehicle is required to pass emission test every year before they are allowed to continue plying the roads. We do not have any such regulations here and we are opening the floodgate for the importation of every and any kind of vehicle at all into this country, regardless of the impact it is going to have on the environment.
I think that we should reconsider and cap or prohibit the importation of any vehicle over the age of 20 years. Even that is stretching it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Yes, Dr Assibey-Yeboah?
Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there are a lot of cars or buses on our roads which are overaged. Most of the new cars or buses being imported are in better conditions than the ones which are already on our roads.
So, you would have to let the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) do an emission test. If someone brings an overaged vehicle which does not pass emission test, then it cannot be on our roads.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Members, I believe you know that with regard to vehicles inside the country, there are rules and regulations. The DVLA tries to manage the situation. So, let us look at what is here and deal with it as much as possible.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr William Quaittoo 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my worry is that, when we only consider cars being imported in by their age, we are making a mistake, in the sense that, if you go to the countries where these cars are manufactured, they do not sell cars based on their ages. They look at their mileage, which would tell you the transmission that the car would have done. So, I do not see why we are only sticking to the age.
For instance, if you go to those places, you may go to a place where someone --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Hon Member, what if the mileage set up is defective, what happens?
Mr Quaittoo 1:50 p.m.
What if someone also buys a car and then puts it into a garage for ten years and it is not being used?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
So, by all means, you will have pluses and minuses, so --
Yes, Hon Kpodo. I see you up and I thought you wanted to make a contribution. [Pause] -- If you do not have any contribution to make, I am putting the Question with regard to Hon Owusu-Bio's further amendment.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Then I will put the Question with regard to the Hon Chairman's amendment.
Question put and amendment agreed to.
The Schedule as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
Yes, Hon Owusu-Bio?
Mr Owusu-Bio 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, based on my amendment, there would be the need for us to look at consequential issues on the other part of the section.
Mr Speaker, this is because we have to look at the commercial vehicles serving us as well and see how we would make it conform to what has just been accepted.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
I do not quite follow you.
Dr A. A. Osei 1:50 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he said, yes, without knowing what you were calling for. What we would want the Hon Chairman and the Hon Minister to look at is that --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
All right. Then could we get you to propose your amendment with regard to commercials?
Hon Members, having regard to the state of business, I direct that we Sit beyond the prescribe time.
Yes?
Dr Prempeh 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance and the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee should realise that laws are fairly applied. It is because he is here that I am raising this issue. CIF leads to a lot of revenue leakage.
Mr Speaker, do you know that when you land a Toyota Corolla 2.0 in Tema, in Kotoka International Airport or in Togo, the rates are different, because of where you have landed it? This is because we have said CIF means, Cost, Insurance and Freight. How I brought my car into this country — You are at the port assessing my duties and taxes. How does where and how I imported it into the country factor in your price?
Mr Speaker, it is very unfair. If somebody —I know I have the same car with the Hon Chairman -- Tundra — If I landed that Tundra in Togo and I used Aflao and I am paying the duty and the taxes, the Hon Chairman will pay differently from me who landed it in Tema.
That is the unfairness in using the CIF, because it means, Cost, Insurance and Freight. If somebody brings his car on land from Togo, how do we calculate the freight and the insurance? I would want us to look, maybe, not here, but think about it when we have time at the Finance Committee — The use of the CIF value is problematic insofar as —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Is Hon Owusu-Bio ready with his proposed amendment? Let us hear him.
Mr Owusu-Bio 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am proposing an amendment to 2 (e), and it should read: “Where the age exceeds twenty (20) years but does not exceed forty (40) years”.
Mr Speaker, forty (40) years because the bigger the engine of a vehicle, the more durable it is. Based on that we should make it forty (40) years.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
I need some education on that.
Mr Owusu-Bio 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, just cast your mind to the caterpillar and bulldozers that we have in Ghana here. Some of them are as old as Second World War — Yes, the engines of some of them were built during the Second World War and they are still durable and being used and they all also fall around this same —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Very well.
Any further amendments?
Mr Owusu-Bio 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, 1 (f); “where the age exceeds forty years”— that one, 100 per cent --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Very well.
Let us subject it to debate.
Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Forson 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I oppose this amendment on the grounds that we are making amendments to increase the duty for buses, coaches and vans and trucks, lorries and tipper trucks. These are vehicles that are of very significant importance to us as a country and if we are to increase the rate, they may not be able to come in to support national development.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I oppose it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Minority Leader, what do you then propose, because Hon Owusu-Bio is talking about forty (40) years, but the original is twenty (20) years maximum.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my proposal is that, it should be between twenty (20) years and thirty (30) years; that should be the 50 per cent, but above thirty (30) years, we can go 100 per cent. To discourage people from bringing in these vehicles —[Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, you remember, I think about ten years ago, we even capped the age? We were compelled to relax the rules because of these arguments that the Hon Deputy Minister is bringing and yet people raised counter issues that, no, we should be concerned about the lives of the people that they ferry.
I think that if we want to have — This is because we agreed that we are not there yet, to have maybe, new buses imported to ferry passengers on daily bases, then perhaps, we can relax it a bit. But between twenty (20) and thirty (30) years, I think it is good if we said, “50 per cent”—Above thirty (30) years, the Sprinters and the 208, to ferry passengers, it should be 100 per cent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Hon Chairman of the Committee and then Hon Owusu-Bio.
Mr Avedzi 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, when we look at the proposed amendment, in terms of revenue, I would have been supporting it because it brings in more revenue to Government. But the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) that proposed these caps, did it by looking at what happened in the industry and the experience that they have — the age of vehicles that are brought by our people for commercial purposes.
Mr Speaker, hardly before one would see a vehicle which is around twenty-five (25) years old. That is why he is saying that, if you look at the caps -- between ten (10) and twelve (12) years, it is only 2.5 per cent, from twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years, 10 per cent, then fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years, 30 per cent.
You can see the gap — They jump — fifteen (15) to twenty (20) years, 20 per cent and then above 20 years, 50 per cent. You see that they jump from 20 years to fifty (50) years. That alone is a deterrent for people who would want to bring in a vehicle which is above 20 years.
Mr Speaker, if they are saying that up to thirty (30) years, it should be 100 per cent -- [Pause]— If we say up to 30 years, 50 per cent, then this amendment we have here still falls within, because if it is 21 years up to 30 years, it is still 50 per cent and so, it falls within and we do not have any problem.
If we are now saying that beyond 30 years, 100 per cent -- Well, I do not even think that anybody would bring in a vehicle which is more than 30 — They would not — commercial vehicles, they would not.
Mr Owusu-Bio 2 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I intend to amend my amendment and to let it conform to what my Hon Minority Leader proposed. So, 2 (e), the new rendition should be: “where the age exceeds twenty
(20) years but does not exceed thirty (30) years —50 per cent of CIF value”.
Mr Speaker, a new line, 1 (f) —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
Are you talking about 2 (f) or?
Mr Owusu-Bio 2:10 p.m.
But Mr Speaker, let us go back to 2 (e) once more.
2 (e) “Where the age exceeds twenty (20) years but does not exceed twenty- five (25) years” the penalty should be 50 per cent.
Then a new line, 2 (f) “Where the age exceeds twenty-five (25) years”, it should be 100 per cent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Very well.
I hope Hon Members are with me and him?
Hon Members: Yes.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
He has made a further amendment of his further amendment.
So, Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond?
Mr Avedzi 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I oppose the amendment.
If the argument is that we should not bring in over-aged vehicles for commercial purposes, then we should even say that after twenty-five (25) years, no vehicle should be allowed into the country; that should have been a way of saving the lives of our people.
Somebody who intends to bring in the vehicle can be prepared to pay the 100 per cent penalty but it will have an effect on the people who board the vehicle. So, if that is the purpose, then we can say that after twenty-five (25) years or after thirty (30) years, do not bring it in at all.
Then we are on course but to say that to be deterrent, therefore, let us make it 100 per cent, I do not think that it is the best. So, we should go by this amendment that we have here in the Order Paper.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, first, he brings it down to twenty-five (25).
Mr Speaker, the reason is, if you start from Schedule b -- (b) is ten to twelve years, the range is just two (2) years. Then for (c), you have twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years, the range is three years. (d) is fifteen to twenty years, the range is five (5) years. And so, going by that, we should have a range and if you go by your own five, how you have calibrated it, then that one should be twenty to twenty-five.
Mr Speaker, in principle, I share the sentiments of the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Finance because it is the position that I espoused early on, except that if you go for a complete ban, then internally, we should be looking for ways of removing vehicles that are a certain age from the roads and you cannot do that.
If you are prepared to do that through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), then you can put a cap to say that above twenty-five years, no vehicle should come.
But if you do that, then commen- surately, internally, we should look to removing vehicles that are maybe, 30 years or so; you cannot do that. So, you say to yourself that alright, we allow for 20 to 25 but beyond that we go for 100 per cent. So, Mr Speaker, I agree with the new proposal from --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
I will put the Question again.
The Hon Owusu-Bio has proposed some two amendments, first with (c) under item number 2 and then to (e) and a further (f), which is a new clause. So, that is what we are putting the Question in respect of.
Question put --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
I think the Noes have it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Ayes have it. If they insist the Noes have it, then let us do a headcount to know the number of people in this House. [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader, you are asking for a headcount?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker that is so.
I think the Noes have it. But if they insist that the Ayes have it, then let us do a headcount. [Laughter.] [Interruption] -- Am sorry, the Ayes have it. [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Order! Order!
Hon Members, from what I heard, I thought the Noes had it.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that being the case, there have to be a headcount. [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Very well. If you insist there should be a headcount, so be it.

Clerks-at-the-Table, are you ready?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, there should not be any time for tarrying. I think that we should be principled.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
I cannot hear you.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
I think we should not drag this in order to drag people into this Chamber.
Mr Speaker, principles are principles, and I thought that with this matter, the Hon Chairman had no business swivelling round to tell people that shout “No”. I mean, what is this?
Mr Speaker, otherwise -- Clearly, we know what we are managing; we are managing a process. If they do not want us to manage, then the law should take its course.
Some Hon Members 2:10 p.m.
Which law?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
The law of the quantum of the voice vote -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Members, let us arrive at a compromise.
I do not think I am going to put the Question again. But Hon Members, we should realise that first of all, it is not necessarily the case that everybody on a particular side will vote in a particular manner; it is not necessarily the case. But I want to persuade the side of the Majority because looking at the proposed amendment, I do not think it does any
harm. Can we not arr ive at some compromise and get it through?
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
Mr Forson 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, an aspect of the amendments moved by Hon Owusu- Bio, I believe, can stand. Mr Speaker, I think that we can go ahead and limit it to up to 30 years and then cap it to 50 per cent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
We can go ahead and do what?
Mr Forson 2:10 p.m.
For compromise, I believe we can move the 20 years to up to 30 years and then cap it from there.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
We should move 20 up to 30?
Mr Forson 2:10 p.m.
Yes. He moved early on up to twenty-five years (25). So, we can move it up to 30 or 35 years and then cap it, and I believe that is --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Hon Owusu-Bio, we are trying to arrive at a compromise and we are making some proposals to you.
Mr Owusu-Bio 2:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I accept the new amendment.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
Very well.
Thank you very much.
So, we will put the Question now.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
Bonsu — rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I will say that with this, I bear witness that we have sufficient numbers to continue.
The Schedule as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage for today -- [Pause.]
Hon Members, I direct that this House stand adjourned till tomorrow at ten o' clock in the afternoon.
Thank you very much.
ADJOURNMENT 2:20 p.m.