Debates of 26 Mar 2015

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 12:50 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon Members, we are very sorry for the late start of proceedings this morning. We had a number of engagements that involved my two deputies and the Leadership of the House. That caused the delay.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 12:50 p.m.

  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.]
  • Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have one Official Report for correction -- the Official Report for Friday, 20th March,
    2015.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 20th March, 2015.]
  • Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with you. In accordance with Standing Order 53 (2), I would want to seek your leave for us to vary the order of Business as arranged in the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker, we would later talk on the issue of the Business Statement. But if we could take the Urgent Question and from there, we move to Public Business.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item numberd 4 on the Order Paper-- Urgent Questions.
    Hon Minister for Transport?
    Hon Member for Manhyia South, you have the floor.
    URGENT QUESTION 12:50 p.m.

    MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT 12:50 p.m.

    Minister for Transport (Mrs Dzifa Aku Attivor) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Kumasi Airport is one of the key domestic airports in the country, supporting domestic air travel. The Airport which was built in 1943 is one of our busiest domestic airports in the
    country. The Airport is currently served by Antrak, Africa World and Starbow Airlines and has an annual domestic passenger through put of about 450,000.
    Mr Speaker, there are two components to the Kumasi Airport Rehabilitation Project.
    They are:
    (a) Rehabi li tat ion of exist ing airfield pavements.
    (b)Provision and installation of aeronautical ground lighting system.
    Mr Speaker, the scope of works for the two components of the Kumasi Airport projects in question are as follows:
    (i) Rehabilitation of existing airfield pavements
    Patch repair works
    Correction of undulating surface
    Provision and placing of Asphalt Reinforcement Grid (ARG) on regulating course
    Provision and placing of 70 mm thick marshall asphalt on top of the ARG.
    Pavement marking
    Earthworks to the runway strip to ensure compliance with ICAO and GCAA requirements.
    50 mm thick wearing course (additional works)
    Construction of runway and link taxiway shoulders (additional works)
    Construction of drains round the link taxiway and aprons (addi- tional works)
    (ii) Aeronautical Ground Lighting Systems
    1. Design of AGL system
    2. Supply and installation of AGL system
    3. Training
    Project cost
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, a Question has been asked and the Hon Minister is answering it; what is the problem?
    Hon Minister, please proceed.
    Mrs Attivor 12:50 p.m.
    SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 4 - 12.50P.M.
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the cost breakdown does not affect the terminal. When is the terminal rehabilitation going to be done and under what phase?
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, your Question is on the cost breakdown and not on the terminal. Ask the question again because you are shifting it. So, rephrase the question and let me get it right.
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Question was on the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport and the Hon Minister's Answer has only spoken about the existing airfield and aeronautical ground lighting system. In her breakdown, nothing has been said about the terminal and the ancillary works around. At what phase is that going to be done because she has not announced that breakdown? [Interruptions.]
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member -- [Pause.]
    Could you rephrase the Question?
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my question -- so that you know that it is within. Was the total cost breakdown for the rehabilitation of the entire Kumasi Airport? For those of us who have had the privilege to use the airport, it is not only the runway, there is a terminal and ancillary services. The cost breakdown that she has just given excludes the terminal and other services.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member for Manhyia South, you can ask the question and mention the terminal but not in the way you are asking it, because you have not laid sufficient foundation. Based on your own Question before me, you could ask and mention the terminal. However, the way you are asking the question, I cannot admit it in that form. That is not supplementary.
    That is why I have given you enough opportunity to rephrase the question. You could rephrase the question and mention the terminal but the way you posed it does not make it supplementary.
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the breakdown for the rehabilitation of the existing airfield, the Hon Minister gave a breakdown of various items. There are six of them. Could she give an individual cost for every item?
    Mrs Attivor 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the second phase will look at the terminal building. Currently ongoing, is the master plan, which would be concluded in June. We have the hope that we would have concluded the process to enable us start work during the second half of 2016.
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is the question you did not want her to answer, and I asked her a different question.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Your supplementary question?
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are six items she gave on the rehabilitation of the existing runway, the 70 millimeters asphaltic overlay, the pavement, the concrete. She listed them. There are two main issues that she listed:
    a. Rehabilitation of the existing Airfield Pavements
    b. Provision and installation of aeronautical ground lighting system.
    Under the rehabilitation of the existing runway, there is a breakdown she gave and she just listed them; six of them. I am saying that she should give us the cost breakdown for each of the six items.
    Mrs Attivor 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker:
    1. The rehabilitation of the existing airfield pavement works which is
    US$23,829,271.48.
    2. Consultancy services for con- struction supervision of rehabi- litation of existing airfield pavement works, which is also
    US$409,829.42.
    3. Provision of aeronautical ground lighting systems at the airport
    -- US$ 4,659,547.79.
    4. Consultancy services for the provision of aeronautical ground lighting at the airport --
    US$194,449.21.
    The total cost is US$29,093,097.90.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Your last supplementary question.
    Dr Prempeh 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is my second one.
    The cost breakdown for US$23,829,271.48 is the simple question I asked. She has listed asphaltic overlay, aprons, drainage, which are part of the six items that came to the total of US$23,829,271.48. In that breakdown, how much does it cost for the drainage, the aprons and the asphaltic overlay? Those are the six items --[Interruption]-- If it is in that document, she should just table it and I would be satisfied and stop.

    Mr Speaker, my question is, what is the breakdown for the six items she listed, which constituted the US$23,829,271.48 -- the asphaltic overlay, the aprons, the drains? What are the costs that added up to the US$23,829,271.48? If it is in the document, she should please, table it.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Minister, if you have the detailed cost breakdown with regard to the rehabilitation -- You referred to patch repair works, correction of undulating surface and others. If you have the information, provide it. But if you do not have it, I will give you time to make it available to the House and therefore, the Hon Member.
    Mrs Attivor 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have in my hand, the cost breakdown of the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport and the rehabilitation of the existing airfield, pavement and the provision of aeronautical ground lighting system.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us be very honest with the Hon Minister.
    When Questions are asked, and we get to know what type of -- if the Hon Member has asked that he wants to be provided with the bill of quantities, then we are looking for the minutes details of everything.
    The Question did not ask for the bill of quantities. I am very clear in my mind as to -- but once the Hon Minister has given us a breakdown in terms of the rehabilitation, patch repair works, correction of undulating surface, and those elements she has mentioned on the floor, she must provide them. So, she has to follow up and provide the information on those ones.
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you are right. I would not have raised those issues because she mentioned them. The Question that was submitted was into bracket, “bill of quantities” and I am specific. The Table Office can provide the Question. I am not bothered if it has been omitted. But if it is in the document, all she has to do is to hand it over to the
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, my view on the matter is that, the Hon Minister, in response to the Question -- Let me make the point very clear for the records because you have raised it.
    When the Question was brought to me, there was something in brackets, which I did not know what it was. This is because I did not get the hand writing right. I asked the Clerks-at-the-Table to find out what was put in brackets and what it stood for. The “bill of quantities” was not written in full -- and I want to put it on record. I am very diligent with my work. It was something that was put in brackets and so, I asked the Clerks that I had to understand the Question before I admit it.
    When it came back to me, the “bill of quantities” was deleted. I did not ask them to delete anything. I said I did not know what had been put in brackets. There was something which was put in brackets, which was not written in full. So, I told the Clerks I did not know what was there.
    Dr Prempeh 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have never said that and I can never say that. Maybe, I was not in the country at the time the Clerk was looking for me.
    The Question was simple. The Hon Minister herself has enumerated six items that add up to US$23 million. What I am saying is, she should give each item a cost that adds up to the US$23 million.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, I direct that the Hon Minister provides the breakdown of those items she has provided in the Answer to be made available to the House for onward transmission to the Hon Member who asked the Question. [Interruptions.]
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I read the gestures of the Hon Minister correctly, when the Question was posed, she indicated that the “cost breakdown” was in the document she was bearing.
    Mr Speaker, I propose and suggest that the document be laid for the elucidation -- [Interruption.] It is a public document. Why should anybody say, no? For reasons of transparency and accountability, we would want the document the Hon Minister is holding to be laid here.
    Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is nothing to hide and I am happy my Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader said it is a public document. Therefore, if it is a public document, Hon Members have access to it.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, please.
    The Hon Minority Leader raised an issue and I just want to hear the view of the Hon Majority Leader and then I could give a guideline. They are the Hon Leaders who assist me, and that is why I called him.
    Hon Majority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I totally agree with you that the Hon Minister should submit the detailed cost on the items that constitute the issues raised by the Hon Member -- not the whole document. The whole document is available for the public and any Hon Member can go for it -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect to my Hon Colleague, he is an Hon Leader of the House -- [Interruption.]
    rose
    Mr Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Minority Leader is on the floor.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is an Hon Leader of the House, and the Hon Majority Leader. He should be very circumspect in the language he uses. That what has been done is “reckless heckling”. I think he should be careful with the language. He also says to a very
    responsible Hon Colleague and an Hon Member of Parliament, that “when you grow up”.
    Mr Speaker, he is the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House. That language is unacceptable and he must withdraw it before he continues. I thought he was assisting the Chair but rather the spice he has introduced is too pepperish for himself. May he humbly withdraw that portion of the contribution?
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know that my Hon Friend, the Hon Minority Leader is pepper-free and so, I am sure that is why he used the word “pepperish”, but there is no pepper in this. I was referring to the Hon Member from Suhum, that when he grows up and comes to sit on this Chair as Majority Leader and Leader of the House — that is a growth. I do not see what is wrong with this that I should withdraw— [Laughter] — He has not grown yet.
    An Hon Member 1:20 p.m.
    We do not have six star in Ghana.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    You do not understand [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, this was on a lighter side.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the request to you, was to request the Hon Majority Leader to withdraw some offensive language, and he just said that it was on a lighter note. Should that be construed as a way of withdrawing offensive language in this House? We can all follow that line if it is permitted.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, the Majority Leader is still on his feet —
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he is moving on and I do not want him to exhaust that line and then he would tell us that we did not bring his attention to it when he was there.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes — he is still on his feet.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my attention has just been drawn now specifically to the word; “reckless” heckling. The “heckling” is no problem, but the “reckless”.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with Mr Acheampong that “rumours” is not the problem but the “mongering” —[Laughter]— So, I agree and withdraw the “reckless”.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:20 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to help the Hon Majority Leader. It is an official publication. It is not a public document.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah is referring to Standing Order 67 (1) (h), which deals with admissibility of Questions.

    Mr Speaker, Parliament Sits in public and if one wants to participate in that public sitting, there is the public gallery. If it is a public document and one knows that the official public Minister to answer the Question is that of Transport, one should therefore know where that public is. So, if one is looking for it, he or she has to go to the Ministry of Transport. It is a public document.
    Mr Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, I have listened to the two Leaders. I have asked for a copy of the Answer from the Hon Minister, and I direct as follows. In giving the breakdown of the rehabilitation of exiting airfield pavements, she mentioned patch repair works, correction of undulating surface, provision and placing of Asphalt Reinforcement Grid (ARG) on regulating course. She continued and ended at construction of drains round the link taxiway and aprons.
    I direct that she makes that information available to the House by the close of today —[Hear! Hear!]— My under- standing is that, they can easily get it from the — But if the time is not reasonable, somebody can draw my attention to it. But as I said, it should be by the close of today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is some effort, but I thought that—I want to ask the Minister whether in construction, cost breakdown means the same as bill of quantities, because she is in that Ministry—[Pause]
    Mrs Attivor 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not understand the question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Question reads;
    “To ask the Minister for Transport, the total cost breakdown”—
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, can you rephrase your question?
    That is a very technical question in the sense that you are soliciting her opinion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we are witnessing something very new in this House. One asks the Hon Minister a question, and the Hon Majority Leader says that he did not hear. Is he the ears of the Hon Minister?
    Mr Speaker, if, as you have said, it is too technical for her, may I ask the Hon Minister for Transport -- since she kept referring to the Kumasi Airport as a domestic airport -- Is she the same person who went and declared that it is an international airport? And what do we make of the two declarations? International airport -- has it now been downgraded to a domestic airport?
    Mrs Attivor 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since December 9, thereabout, in 2014, Kumasi Airport has been declared an airport which can do international services. But currently, we only operate domestic services because nobody has applied to operate internationally.
    Thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the simple point is, any domestic airport of some standard could offer some international services. The bold declaration was that it was an international
    airport. So, the question is, is it now an international airport.
    Mrs Attivor 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Kumasi Airport has been declared an international airport. [Interruptions.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if that is so, why in her answers, she kept referring to it as a domestic airport? How do we reconcile the two statements? In all the answers, not less than four occasions, she has referred to it as a domestic airport.
    What is the status?
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    What is the question? [Laughter.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minister for Transport understood the question clearly.
    The question is, if as she says Kumasi Airport has been declared an international airport, why in her Answer, has she kept referring to Kumasi Airport as domestic airport as she has repeated same on not less than five occasions?
    Mrs Attivor 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the day of the inauguration, His Excellency the President flew in from Abuja to Kumasi International Airport.
    What I was referring to here is that, we currently have only domestic operations because no airline has applied to operate internationally.
    Thank you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, during the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations 2008 (CAN 2008), some countries flew directly from their various destinations and landed at the Tamale Airport. Does that qualify Tamale Airport to be referred to as an international airport?
  • [MR KYEI-MENSAH-BONSU} The South African team flew directly from Johannesburg and landed in Tamale. Does that qualify it by her analogy? [Interruption.]
  • Mr Bagbin 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is a constant reference to me but I have not addressed Mr Speaker. I have not spoken to Mr Speaker and I have not spoken to my Hon Colleague. There is nothing on record that I have said anything and then my Hon Colleague, the Minority Leader is constantly referring to me. I do not know what all this is about. [Laughter.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    But you are providing the answers for the Hon Minister for Transport?
    Mr Bagbin 1:30 p.m.
    I have not answered any question. Have I? No question has been posed to me.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Your question, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister, in her Answer, indicated to us that the President on the day of the inauguration flew in from Abuja directly to Kumasi and as far as she is concerned, whether by inference -- Mr Speaker, can you look at the Hon Majority Leader; he says he has not said anything? He is a Catholic and he has just left Lent Season [Laughter] -- Mr Speaker, I asked whether by that, the soccer team of South Africa flying from O. R. Tambo Inter-
    national Airport in Johannesburg directly to Tamale will qualify Tamale Airport to be described as an international airport.
    Mr Speaker, the second leg is that if we have an international airport, the basic facility will be for us to have an Immigra- tion Office and Customs Excise and Preventive Service Office. Mr Speaker, are they offering these services?
    Mrs Attivor 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not privy to the first information.
    For the Immigration Service and Customs Excise and Preventive Service, I want to believe that when we have a request to operate from Kumasi to the international world, all these provisions would be made.
    Thank you.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of -- [Interruptions.]
    Hon Members, we have spent some time on this Question. It is for a reason we decided not to take only the Urgent Question but to also vary the order of business, so that we can go to Public Business and to take the Urgent Question standing in the name of the Hon Member for Manhyia South.
    So, that was the application made by the Hon Majority Leader. We have decided not to even take Business of the House at this stage, so that we can move on to do some public business.

    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can now take item number 7 on the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, what business are we taking?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 7 -- Presentation of Papers.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item numbered 7 on the Order Paper -- Presentation of Papers.
    Item number 7 (a) (ii) by the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole.
    PAPERS 1:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Item number 7 (b) (i), Chairman of the Committee?
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    (i) Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Plan for an amount up to one billion United States dollars (US$1.00 billion) for the Refinancing of Existing Debt and Financing of the 2015 Capital Budget.
    Mr James K. Avedzi 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, sorry, I would want to amend the title of the Report. In line 1, insert “Eurobond” before “financing” for it to read,
    “Report of the Finance Committee on the Eurobond Financing Plan…”
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Item number 7 (b) (ii); Chairman of the Committee?
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    (ii) Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main for an amount of twenty-one million Euros (€21,000,000.00) to support the District Develop- ment Facility, Phase III (DDF III).
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, are we taking item 8?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker. We would just lay the Bills and then refer them for consideration.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Item number 8 (a), the Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, let us call on the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to lay the Paper for and on behalf of Hon Minister for Finance, who is on official assignment.
    Hon Alhaji Collins Dauda -- rose --
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Are you the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development or Water Resources, Works and Housing? [Laughter.] [Inter- ruption.] He understands why I am asking him the question. [Laughter.]
    Alhaji Collins Dauda 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am now the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    BILLS -- FIRST READING 1:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Item number 8 (b).
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Health is available to lay the Paper, for a good reason.
    Mr Speaker, as we all know, there has been some movements, and the nominee of His Excellency the President to the Ministry of Health is yet to get the prior approval of this House.
    The Ministry of Health is now being overseen by another Cabinet Minister but the Hon Deputy Minister for Health is available to do so for and on behalf of the substantive Minister.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my understanding of the directive from the Presidency is that, the substantive Ministers were supposed to hold on to their positions and hand over by the close of this month. [Interruption.]
    Yes, Mr Speaker, that is the directive from the Presidency.
    It is not that I have anything against my dear Hon Deputy Minister for Health. So, that would not be the usual explanation that the Hon Majority Leader
    may have to proffer. Notwithstanding that, indeed, Mr Speaker, I will yield to that application.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Health, on behalf of the Minister for Health.
    National Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2015
    An Act to amend the National Health Insurance Act, 2012, Act 852 to limit the scope of exemptions under the National Health Insurance Levy.
    Presented by the Deputy Minister for Health (on behalf of the Minister for Health). Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Health.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Item number 8 (c), Hon Minister for the Interior?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior is available to lay the Report for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for the Interior who has had to rush off to his constituency on an emergency matter.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, again, nothing really is against it, except to register the point that, if we have full- fledged Cabinet Minsters here, perhaps, they rather should be doing these things on behalf of the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers, especially, since I see the Attorney-General and Minister respon- sible for Justice here.
    I believe that we should be regulating our own procedures better because if we have fully- fledged Cabinet Ministers present and the substantive Ministers are not here, I think that in all correctness, the substantive should be doing that. They should be holding the fort for the substantive Ministers --
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, is it -- Well, let me hear from the Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the laying of a Paper goes beyond just bowing down. The Hon Minister laying the Paper could be called upon to give an idea about the Paper the person is laying, so that we have to be sure that the Hon Ministers available have those pieces of information.
    I act according to my instructions and that is what I have done and so, the Hon Deputy Minister -- that is why by our rules, I have to seek your leave and that is what I have just done. So, there is nothing wrong with that. I agree that we would endeavour to get the substantive Ministers to be laying the Papers instead of the Deputy Ministers. I do not object to it at all.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, I think that it is something we may need to look at seriously but for now, let us let the Hon Deputy Minister who is an Hon Member of this House lay --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:40 p.m.
    But Mr Speaker, before we proceed further, may we know who is giving instructions to the Hon Majority Leader in this matter?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I used it as a legal term. When you get a presentation of information from the right source to you, in legal terms, we say “instructions”. One receives instructions. That is why I used the term “instructions”. I am not being directed or dictated to by any person.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    The Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior on behalf of the Hon Minister for the Interior?
    Immigration Services Bill, 2015
    An Act to re-enact the Immigration Services Act, 1989, PNDC Law 226 to provide for further matters in respect of the Immigration Service and for related matters.
    Presented by the Deputy Minister for the Interior (on behalf of the Minister for the Interior). Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Item number 8 (d) by the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development is available to lay that Paper for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who is on an official duty and has not been able to make it.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Did you say you are the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development? [Laughter.]
    Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, on behalf of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
    Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2015
    An Act to consolidate and revise the laws relating to wildlife and protected areas, provide for implementation of international conventions on wildlife to which Ghana is a signatory and to provide for related matters.
    Presented by the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (on behalf of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources). Read the First time; referred to the Committee on Lands and Forestry.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, can we take item number 13 on the Order Paper?
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 a.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker. We were about to move to item number 12 before item 13.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item number 12, which is a Motion -- Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
    MOTIONS 1:50 a.m.

    Mr A. S. K. Bagbin 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.

    Hon Members, I direct that having regard to the state of business of the House, Sitting be held outside the prescribed period in accordance with Standing Order 40 (3).
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 1:50 a.m.

    STAGE 1:50 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee) 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3, subclause (1), line 2, delete “into” and insert “to”.
    Mr Speaker, this is because it makes for better reading. It says 1:50 a.m.
    “Where a request is made to the Republic under section 2, the convict may be transferred to Ghana without the consent of the convict
    …”
    Mr Speaker, in the Bill, it was “into”. Then we are replacing “to” with “into”.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    “Transferred into” and “transferred to”?
    Mr Loh 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is deleting “into” and inserting “to”. So, “transferred to”; so we insert “to”.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just listened to the Hon Member of the Committee -- [Pause.]
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I listened to him, but I could not get the explanation correctly.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    In fact, what they are trying to do is that, we delete the word “into” there and then insert “to”. According to him, it is for better reading; instead of “into Ghana”, it becomes “transfer to Ghana”. That was the explanation.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker,that is why I wanted to have the full complement of what we are doing. This is because some of us do not have the Act here.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    It will read as follows;
    “Where a request is made to the Republic under section 2, the convict may be transferred to Ghana without the consent of that convict…”
    In fact, it is really not a serious amendment.
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we looked into the language -- We transfer into things that we open and close, like bank accounts.
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    But they have to open the air space for you. [Laughter.] You have to get clearance.
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 a.m.
    It is a country; if you are transferring something or a person from a country to the other, you transfer “to”. And that is why we just want to make it more --
    Mr Speaker 1:50 a.m.
    It is a very straight- forward amendment.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, did I hear the Hon Majority Leader say that it really relates to some arrangements between Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK)? He said British --
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, this is an amendment Bill.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, and I am hearing on the side lines that he was saying some “British” and that is why I want to know, so that we know the direction.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you are out of order. This is because he has not caught my eye and he has not said anything on record.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    That is why I would want him to place it on record.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, the Long title.

    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Transfer of Convicted Persons (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

    Item number 14. Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice?

    Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.

    Suspension of Standing Order 131 (1)

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice (Mrs Marietta B. Appiah-Opong): Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 131(1) which require that when a Bill has passed through the Consideration Stage, the Third Reading thereof shall not be taken until at least, twenty-four hours have elapsed, the Motion for the Third Reading of the Transfer of Convicted Persons (Amendment) Bill, 2014 may be moved today.
    Mr George Loh 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, since we have the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice moving this Motion, may I remind her that in this House, our Standing Orders provide that when she moves any such Motion, she should indicate to us the reason for the proposed suspension that it is intended to be done. That is in respect of Standing Order 3 (2).
    May the distinguished Attorney- General and Minister for Justice tell us?
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, this Bill has been with us for a very long time. We are rising today and I thought that we should just dispose of it before we rise.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not want to consider this as one of the strategic interventions.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    It is a strategic guidance. [Laughter.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    But the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is here.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, I know that some representations have been made to your office. We cannot say everything on the floor of the House. Some interventions have been made to Leadership with regard to this Bill --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, I am not aware. Please, do not drag me into any suspicions. With respect, I am not aware.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, this Bill has been with us for a very long time -- as far back as -- almost a year -- 2014. [Pause.]
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Members, I cannot provide that information. About a year ago, they came to see me about this Bill -- not from the Executive arm of government but some of our partners. And they informed me that they were going to the Leaders. That was why I thought they had seen the two Leaders on this matter. That was why I made an allusion to that fact.
    Hon Members, item number 15.
    Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice?
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 2 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 2 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Bagbin 2:09 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    The Ministry of Finance together with the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee are ready to move Motion number 28.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:09 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, can I hear you again?
    Mr Bagbin 2:09 a.m.
    Motion 28.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:09 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:09 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know if there is a Motion number 28.
    He said Motion numbered 28. So, I am looking for it. I looked for it but I could not find it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    I believe it is the item numbered 28 on the Order Paper.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 2:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is
    given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to eight hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$819,750.00) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Gansu International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation under the China-aided New Century Career Training Institute Expansion Project at Dansoman may be moved today.
    Dr. A. A. Osei 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader, item numbered 29?
    Request for Waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, et cetera on
    Materials and Equipment for Use under the China-aided New Century Career
    Training Institute Expansion Project at Dansoman
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to eight hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$819,750.00) on project materials and
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:10 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I was patiently listening to the Hon Chairman of the Committee, and now he is going on to the Report. Nobody has any Report. We should do things in a very tidy fashion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, is that the situation?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    If that is it, then we will have to stand it down and make sure that Hon Members have copies.
  • [Continuation of debate from column 2454]
  • Mr Bagbin 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we could consider item number 17.
    My attention has been drawn to the fact that the other Reports have not been distributed yet, even though they were laid yesterday. With regard to item number 17, which is on the Rules of Engagement of Parliamentary Friendship Association, I have been informed that the Hon Osei Bonsu Amoah is ready to move the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, we will move to item numbered 17 on the Order Paper.
    Chairman of the Committee?
    Subsidiary Legislation on the Rules of Engagement of Parliamentary
    Friendship Associations
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Osei B. Amoah) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the Rules of Engagement of Parliamentary Friendship Associations.
    Introduction
    Following the adoption of the Report of the delegation of the Parliamentary Friendship Associations Management Committee on its study visit to France, the Management Committee was to ensure the implementation of the recommenda- tions contained in the report through the codification of a set of rules to regulate the establishment, management and funding of activities of Parliamentary Friendship Associations.
    The Management Committee drafted the set of rules for the stated purpose and laid it before the House. Subsequently, Mr Speaker referred the Rules to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on 13th March, 2015.
    The Committee, having considered the Report of the Parliamentary Friendship Associations Management Committee on the Rules of Engagement of Parliamentary Friendship Associations, do hereby report to the House as follows:
    Reference materials
    The Committee made references to the following documents during its delibera- tions:
    i. The 1992 Constitution
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament
    iii. Report of the delegation of the Parliamentary Friendship Asso- ciations Management Committee which visited France in 2014
    iv. Rules of Engagement of Parlia- mentary Friendship Asso- ciations
    v. The Hansard of Monday, 22nd December 2014
    Background and purpose
    Parliamentary Friendship Associations have been established in Parliament since the onset of the Fourth Republican Parliament. No such Association has ever made any effective contribution to the international relations of Parliament. Besides, where Associations have been established they hardly undertake any activity until they fizzle out within the term of Parliament or upon the exit of their founders from Parliament.
    The purpose of these Rules is to enable Parliament and the country as a whole, derive optimum benefits from Parliament's international dealings with sister Parliaments.
    This is to be achieved by the effective management of the processes by which Parliamentary Friendship Associations are established, the essence for which they are established, how they are funded, and especially, how they are to be maintained to have lifespans that transcend Parliamentary Terms just as Parliamentary Committees.
    Deliberations
    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by Hon Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, Hon Hajia Sulemana Alijata, all members of the Management Committee
    and Mr Richard Kwame Acheampong, Secretary to the Management Committee. The Committee is grateful to them for their inputs.
    Major provisions of the Rules
    The Rules are in two parts.
    Part one deals with the establishment of Parliamentary Friendship Associations. It sets out the processes by which Members of Parliament may initiate the establishment of Associations and the circumstances under which the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament may direct the establishment of such Associations.
    It also sets out the functions of Associations, the source of funding and the selection process of the Leadership of the Associations. Meetings of the Associations and their mode of reporting are also covered in Part 1.
    Part Two deals with the management structure that guarantees Parliamentary Friendship Associations, their vitality and the life span which transcends the term of a Parliament.
    This part also establishes the Forum which comprises the key leaders of the House, including the Speaker of Parliament, who is mandated with the responsibility of approving the creation of Associations and providing the Associations with strategic direction as well as the support needed.
    This part establishes the Management Committee and mandates the Committee with the role of overseeing the day-to-day running of Parliamentary Friendship Associations.
    Observations and Recommendation
    The Committee observed that adequate provisions have been made to ensure that Members of Parliament join
    PART I 2:10 p.m.

    PART II 2:10 p.m.

    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh (NDC - Wa West) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and urge all Hon Members to support it. This is because this is a novel thing that we are doing in this House, to have rules on how to form, maintain friendship associations and ensure that they perform the functions that they are supposed to perform.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, one of the recommendations in the Report that I would want to talk on is that, if one puts down a paper for those who would want to belong to United States (US) Association to put down their names, you would see names -- everybody would go and fill it. If one goes and says North Korea, or Togo, nobody would put up his or her name. So, it is important for us to look at these rules properly. Some people were putting down these names just because the country sounded nice and glamorous.
    We would want to promote peace, understanding and diplomacy. We would want to learn from other countries how their legislatures perform. Indeed, from the Report of the delegation that went to France, it is good that we also have rules, and we would want to see the leadership of these associations properly arranged. So, we have urged that the Management Committee should issue guidelines, so that it is not possible for just one side of the House to just form an association for all the executives to be from there.
    No! It has to be balanced and in accordance with the Constitution of Ghana and also our Standing Orders, where any sharing one does, whether on committees -- should reflect the different opinions in the House.
    We are also restricting Hon Members to belong to about five associations, so that it is not overloaded. I know some people who belong to more than ten and

    they hardly attended any meetings, so, those associations collapsed.

    Mr Speaker, this time round, we would want the Management Committee to ensure that there is activity. They must make sure that within a year, they do something. Whether it is a lecture they organise, invitation from somebody from the partner country to come and educate the Members the opportunities in business and educational facilities and all that, so that the whole idea of the friendship associations becomes meaningful. That is why I would urge all Hon Members to support this Motion.

    Mr Speaker, we have also gone because, strictly speaking, this is not enforceable in terms of punishment. It is to encourage. We have come under article 110 of the Constitution but from time to time, we would see how it functions and I believe that we would have a lot of benefits if we run them properly and make sure that the selections of these executives and those who would do these things do them for us to enlarge our information base about other countries and see how we could borrow from these people to do our jobs.

    I urge you to let them vote for the Motion.

    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

    Question put and Motion agreed to.

    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Bagbin 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let us take item 34, which is on page 16 of the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 34 on the Order Paper by the Chairman of the Committee.
    Chairman of Finance Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount of twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Accounts (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electr icity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not here. They just brought the other one.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    We are currently dealing with item numbered 34. Do you not have a copy?
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, they brought the earlier one that he got up first to move, which is item numbered 28 and we also have copies of item number 40 but this specific one, item number 34 is not available to us.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can take item numbered 40 on the Order Paper. I was told that item number 34 was ready, that is why I initially mentioned 34.
    Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
    Chairman of Finance Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for an amount of twenty- three million Special Drawing Rights (SDR23,000,000), [equivalent to thirty-six million, six hundred thousand United States dollars (US$36.6 million)] to co- finance the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Project (GASIP) may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    MOTIONS 2:20 p.m.

    Mr James K. Avedzi 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for an amount of twenty-three million Special Drawing Rights (SDR23,000,000), [equivalent to
    thirty-six million, six hundred thousand United States dollars (US$36.6 million)] to co-finance the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Project (GASIP).
    Mr Speaker,
    Introduction
    The request for approval of the Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agriculture Development for an amount of twenty three million Special Drawing Rights (SDR23,000,000), (equivalent to thirty- six million, six hundred thousand United States dollars(US$36.6 million) to co- finance the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment project was presented to the House by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkper on Friday, 20th March 2015, in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Mr Speaker referred the request to Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by the Hon Deputy Ministers for Finance and Food and Agriculture, Messrs Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Food and Agriculture.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Ministers and officials from the two Ministries for their assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
    i). The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
    ii). The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    iii).The Loans Act 1970 (Act 335); and
    iv).The Financing Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agriculture development for the Ghana Agricultural sector Investment Programme (GASIP).
    Background
    The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has implemented projects in the past under various donors including the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). Some of these projects were enclave projects covering only part of the country. Presently, the IFAD sponsored Northern Rural Growth Project (NRGP) covers only the SADA zone.
    The implementation of these projects has chalked several successful best practices and needed to be replicated and scaled up country wide to enable farmers in every part of the country to benefit. The MoFA therefore, recognises the need to coordinate and harmonise future investments in the agriculture sector in order to reduce duplication and also optimise the use of resources.
    This therefore, informed the design of the Ghana Agricultural Investment Programme (GASIP) which is based on the Medium Term Agricultural Investment Programme (METASIP). The GASIP is a flexible programme that provides opportunities for scaling up geographi- cally and supporting existing and new value chains to create opportunities for commercial agriculture businesses to integrate with smallholder farmers in a mutually inclusive manner.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP - Old Tafo) 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and to urge Hon Members to adopt the recommendation of the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, this GASIP Programme is a re-configuration of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NGRP) and anything that goes to improve the welfare of our farmers in particular, we have to support it since farming is at the heart of the economy.
    Mr Speaker, our mandate in particular, was to look at the terms and conditions and I refer Hon Members to page 3 of the Committee's Report. The loan really is for US$36.6 million. There is a grant amount in addition to the loan of US$10 million but the level of concessionarity of the grant element is quite high. It is 60.62 per cent. So, it is relatively cheap. It is as if we are borrowing at 40 per cent the original interest rate. We would not pay that part of it. So, I think, for that purpose and for the fact that the evidence that was presented to the Committee shows, the
    success of the predecessor programme, I urge all Hon Members to adopt the recommendations of the Committee and particularly adopt the Report.
    Question proposed.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to say a few things on this Report in contributing to its subsequent approval.
    Mr Speaker, my very concern is about implementation. It is true that the predecessor programme per the records that were made available to us was implemented successfully. Farmers are people who are in the informal sector and they really need the attention of Government.
    We are aware; and this is a matter of record -- how Government procured GH¢200 million for very laudable programmes like the tree planting to support people in the North -- the guinea fowl project, which has become known as the akonfem project, that unfortunately, could not be successfully implemented and to date, it has become a cost to the people of Ghana.
    This is because come November 2015, the people's pockets are going to be drained by a further GH¢99 million, because that facility was at a compound interest and Government of Ghana, which has a very high geared budget, is going to look for GH¢299 million.
    Mr Speaker, we know that the companies which received these moneys are yet to even refund them, yet Government is supposed to repay, because Government cannot afford to default. Therefore, the successful implementation of this initiative is very key. It is aimed at reducing poverty, and we do not want a situation where just like

    SADA, this project would fail. It would be an indictment, not only on the Government but on this House, that SADA failed -- we looked unconcerned and this one too has failed.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to be very optimistic, knowing how capable and hardworking the Hon Deputy Minister is, he would see to the implementation, so that we will be able to move on thereafter.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to associate myself with the earlier submission by my very senior Hon Member, Dr Akoto Osei in supporting this Report.

    Thank you.
    Prof. George Gyan-Baffour (NPP-- Wenchi) 2:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would want to make a very small contribution, but I am wondering if the Hon Minister for Finance can just listen to this one.
    I think the basic reason most of these things are brought to this House is that they are loans and they require that Parliament looks at them.
    When we look at page 3, item number 4, it says, “Terms and Conditions of the Loan”. And when we look at the structure, it says, “Loan Amount”, then it comes to the next item and says “Grant Amount”.
    Mr Speaker, when we mix them up that way, then it is not a loan. The grant itself is a grant. It is not a loan. If we put it under terms and conditions of the loan and then we put a grant in there, it does not make a very good sense, in my view.
    So, I am wondering why the structure is done this way and in fact, if one is not very careful, one would even assume that the Grant Amount, that US$ 10 million is part of the SDR 23 million.
    Mr Avedzi 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the main rationale of bringing the Grant Amount is for the information of the House.
    The Agreement that came indicated clearly that the loan amount is so much, and there is a grant component of US$10 million. If we do not disclose the grant component in the Report, then it looks like we are concealing that from the House.
    So, it is there as a piece of information for the House. That is why it is stated “Grant Amount”. In fact, it is a condition of the loan. We are taking a loan and they are giving us a grant. So, it is a condition. In most cases, it is used in computation
    of the grant element. So, it is important that we show it there for the House to know that this is a grant we are receiving as a result of contracting this loan, and the other terms and conditions are also indicated.
    Again, the main purpose is for the information of the House. It is not being used -- we are not going to pay that money back, and therefore, the interest rate and then commitment fee and service charge -- all those are not going to be affected by the grant.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Very well.
    Thank you very much.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    RESOLUTIONS 2:30 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and Sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of the Republic of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by a Resolution of Parliament;
    PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), at the request of the Government of the Republic Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of a Financing Agreement between the Govern- ment of the Republic of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development for an amount of twenty-three million Special Drawing Rights (SDR23,000,000), [equivalent to thirty-six million, six hundred thousand United States dollars
    MOTIONS 2:40 p.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from column 2419]
  • Chairman of the Finance Committee (Mr Avedzi) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to eight hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$819,750.00) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Gansu International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation under the China-aided New Century Career Training Institute Expansion Project at Dansoman.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I beg to present the Committee's Report. I would also want to inform the House that there is another waiver which the Committee has decided to put together with this Report. So, the Report I will present will cover the waiver. When we get there, I will inform the House accordingly.
    Mr Speaker,
    Introduction
    The two requests were presented to Parliament on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Thursday, 19th March, 2015. The Hon First Deputy Speaker referred the requests
    to the Finance Committee for considera- tion and report in accordance with article 174 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee was assisted by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, Commissioner- General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and officials from the Ministry of Finance and GRA during its deliberations of the referral. The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister and the officials for their support and assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    Background
    Parliament is respectfully informed that an Agreement on Technical and Economic Co-operation was signed on 30 th December, 2009 between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Ghana. The basis of the project is an exchange of letters dated 5th May, 2011 and 15th June, 2011 -- specifically, the contract signed on 6th August, 2012 by the China CITTIC General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Company Limited and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Design Drawings and related Technical Documents prepared by the China CITTIC General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Company Limited.

    (US$36.6 million)] to co-finance the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Project (GASIP).
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 2:40 p.m.

    Mr J. K. Avedzi 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Bagbin 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we could now take item number 28 at page 11 of the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, have the documents been distributed?
    Mr Avedzi 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have the Reports now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP-- Old Tafo) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I second the Motion, I would want to crave the indulgence of the Chairman --
    I think the words “cedi equivalent” are missing on the Order Paper, and it should have been amended, so that we capture the true -- We are in Ghana and our currency is cedis. So, we need to insert the words “cedi equivalent” of US$819,750.00, and the Report consequentially should do same.
    Mr Avedzi 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we agreed that if it is an import duty of which the invoices are in foreign currency, in this case, dollar, we will approve the dollar amount. But if it is a domestic tax, for instance, Value Added Tax (VAT), where the invoices are in cedis, we should approve that one in cedis
    So, if there is a component that is in dollars, which is a domestic tax, we can convert that one, and use the cedi equivalent of that amount.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as long as it is import duty in Ghana, it cannot be quoted in dollars. So, it should be the cedi equivalent, and that it will be done at the appropriate exchange rate. This is because if we use US$819,750.00, then it means the currency of exchange used is dollars. The cedi equivalent must come. That was the agreement we had. Irrespective of it, it has to be -- So, I believe it is proper that we
    capture it. We do not want to be seen as saying that people should be using dollars.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Well, Hon Deputy Minister, I thought from your Ministry, there is a directive to that effect. So, it will be in compliance with that directive.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:40 p.m.
    All right. Then the consequential action to the Report should be taken.
    Mr Speaker, I therefore, beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, it is interesting that we are adopting this Report where the Government of Ghana, as it were, requested the Chinese Government to reprogramme moneys that were going to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Medical School to solve a fundamental problem in T. I. Ahmadiyya and Akra M/ A Basic Schools in the Mfantsaman East and West Municipalities.

    On page -- sorry.

    Thank you for the correction.

    Mr Speaker, the terms of the tax waiver -- I would let my Hon Colleague on the Committee speak on some other aspects of the tax waiver. But this is something standard that we do. This is because as the Hon Chairman said, a condition for Ghana to fulfill is to grant this tax waiver, really, Parliament does not have a choice.

    More importantly, the project is ongoing. What is missing, however, I think it will be fair, even though it is a grant and the contract has been agreed between the Chinese Company and the Chinese Government, it will help this House if that contract was brought for our information, so that we know what is in there. It is true it is Chinese money, but assuming that we find that there is no value for money, we could advise the Chinese Government, that their company is cheating us.

    So, I think in future -- even though technically, it is not to be laid before us, I think for our information, I would advise that next time, that is made available for the information of Parliament. I will leave my Hon Colleague to talk on certain aspects.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Question proposed.
    Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion for the Report to be adopted, it is important to draw the attention of the Ministry of Finance to this important point, that in granting this waiver, there must be very strict monitoring systems to ensure that it is not abused.
    Mr Speaker, it is true that we have had some attachments, and based on them, we have considered this and we believe that the waiver be granted. But at the end of the day, what if there are some diversions? Customs officials who are supposed to be in charge of this must have certain systems in place to ensure that items which are exempted are needed for the project. If the person -- especially those who are supposed to be importing decide to import certain items and then divert same for some other unknown purposes, it is the State that loses revenue.
    So, Mr Speaker, that is what I believe the Ministry of Finance should take steps in addressing, so that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) would ensure that the right things are done to enable the country get the desired benefit from this project without losing revenue.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Resolution. Hon Deputy Minister?
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 2:40 p.m.
    Item numbered 30 -- the Resolution.
    RESOLUTIONS 2:40 p.m.

    Mr Forson 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 174 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament is empowered to confer power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by an Act of Parliament;
    THE EXERCISE of any power conferred on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax in favour of any person or authority is by the said provisions made subject to the prior approval of Parliament by Resolution;
    BY THE COMBINED operation of the provisions of section 26 (2) of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 330), the Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503), the Export Development and Investment Fund Act, 2000 (Act 582), the Value Added Tax Act, 1998 (Act 546), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2000 (Act 579) and other existing Laws and Regulations applicable to the collection of Customs duties and other taxes on the importation of goods into Ghana, the Minister for Finance may exempt any statutory corporation, institution or individual from the payment of duties and taxes
    otherwise payable under the said laws and Regulations or waive or vary the requirement of such statutory corporation, institution or individual to pay such duties and taxes;
    IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the Constitution and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament a request by the Minister for Finance for the prior approval of Parliament the exercise by the Minister of the power conferred on the Minister under the laws and Regulations relating to the waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to eight hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$819,750.00) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Gansu Interna- tional Corporation for Economic and Technical Co-operation under the China-aided New Century Career Training Institute Expansion Project at Dansoman.
    NOW THEREFORE, this Honourable House hereby approves the exercise by the Minister responsible for Finance of the power granted by Parliament by Statute to waive such Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other
    related taxes amounting to eight hundred and nineteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty United States dollars (US$819,750.00) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Gansu International Corporation for Economic and Technical Cooperation under the China-aided New Century Career Training Institute Expansion Project at Dansoman.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
    Mr J. K. Avedzi 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Financing Plan for an amount up to one billion United States dollars (US$1.00 billion) for the Refinancing of Existing Debt and Financing of the 2015 Capital Budget may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 2:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    44.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:40 p.m.
    Very well.
    Item numbered 44 on the Order Paper, by the Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 2:50 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Eurobond Financing Plan for an amount up to one billion United States dollars (US$1.00 billion) for the refinancing of existing debt and financing of the 2015 Capital Budget.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would want to present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The request for approval of Government of Ghana's Eurobond Refinancing Plan for an amount up to US$1.00 billion for the Refinancing of Existing Debt and Financing of the 2015 Capital Budget was presented to Parliament on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Wednesday, 25th March, 2015. Mr Speaker referred the request to the
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 2:50 a.m.
    Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Order 171 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and officials from the Ministry of Finance. The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister and the officials for their assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
    ii. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana
    iii. Loans Act, 1970, (Act 335)
    Background
    It will be recalled that in December , 2013, Cabinet and Parliament approved a 2014 Eurobond Funding Plan with the following elements:
    a) A ceiling of up to US$1.0 billion for debt refinancing and capital expenditures with an option to increase further by US$500 million (or a total of US$1.0 billion in favourable market conditions
    with the additional amount targeted at the refinancing of more expensive domestic and international debt.
    b) A further US$1.0 billion under a two-year master registration that can be tapped for specific projects as and when specific self-financing projects are ready for execution and subject to parlia-mentary approval of the relevant project documents.
    While Government issued a one billion Eurobond in 2014, no transactions were undertaken under the two-year master registration option because of the decision to establish the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) to focus on commercial infrastructure financing. In addition, the planned refinancing of the 2017 Eurobond did not take place because of unfavourable market conditions. An amount of US$250 million was, however, taken as seed capital for
    GIIF.
    The Government has proposed a Eurobond transaction in 2015 to achieve the refinancing of existing debts and provide cheaper and longer-term resources for financing the 2015 capital budget.
    Purpose and indicative utilisation of the issue
    The purpose of the bond issue is to refinance the existing debt and the 2015 capital budget. The indicative utilisation has been identified as follows:
    US$
    Liability management (External or domestic debt) -- 500 million
    Capital expenditures -- 500 million
    Total -- 1,000 million

    Observations

    Profile of Public Debt

    The Committee was informed that a profile of public debt indicates that 74 per cent of domestic debt is short- to medium term, with short-term debt constituting 36 per cent as at December 31, 2014. In addition, there are three Eurobonds outstanding with maturity profiles of 8.5 per cent for October 2017 (US$531m), 7.875 per cent August 2023 (US$1,000m) and 8.125 per cent January 2026 (US$1,000) respectively.

    The Hon. Minister emphasised that the current maturity profile of our domestic debt poses a number of challenges and so, the upcoming maturity of US$531 million in 2017 is of immediate concern. The bond issue for the financing of the existing debt will therefore create a fiscal space for a significant amount of domestic debt to be rolled over into longer maturity debt with lower interest costs.

    Impact on the overall Debt stock

    Responding to the Committee's concerns on the impact of the bond issue on the national debt stock and the ability of the country to honour its debt obligations, the Hon Deputy Minister pointed out that the impact of the Sovereign Bond issue will be relatively neutral with respect to the overall debt stock as it will mostly replace debt that is

    already included in the public debt stock. Further, the portion of the proceeds that would be used to finance capital expenditures in the 2015 budget will be in lieu of the previously projected domestic financing which is even more expensive.

    Conclusion

    The Committee has carefully examined the request and realised that the Bond issue will help raise the needed funds to accelerate infrastructural projects and also refinance the existing maturing debts. The Committee, therefore, respectfully recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve the request for approval of Government of Ghana's Eurobond Refinancing Plan for an amount up to US$1.00 billion for the refinancing of existing debt and financing of the 2015 Capital Budget in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution, section 7 of the Loans Act, 1970, Act 335 and Order 171 of the Standing Orders of the House.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP-- Old Tafo) 2:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. But before I contribute, Mr Speaker, I have a mixed feeling. This is because, I just received notice that utility prices have been increased. It has dampened my spirit. So, if my thoughts are not straight, then please, forgive me.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3 p.m.
    Hon Member, thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Member for Effutu.
    Question proposed.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 3 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when serious matters are being raised, it is not as if one does not have any love for his country, but we want to urge the Government to do that which is right for the benefit of Ghana.
    Moody has just downgraded Ghana, giving us a very bad outlook. Fitch has also confirmed a negative outlook. These are things that investors would consider in subscribing to the Bond we are about to issue.
    Mr Speaker, why are we going to raise additional money? Is it because of pure necessity or because we have perhaps, not properly monitored what we borrowed earlier and it has resulted in the need for extra money? I hold the view that we are still going to borrow because what we had in the past -- and I can cite several examples - what we borrowed in the past, we were not able to monitor its usage and it is costing us dearly.
    Mr Speaker, I have said it time without number and at the risk of being repetitive, I would say it one more time. Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) funds have gone down the drain and this country is going to pay for the cost. It adds up to the cost.
    Mr Speaker, the moneys that we are going to take, we have 1.6 billion US dollars for capital expenditure. This is captured at paragraph 4, page (2) of the Committee's Report. It is there in dollars. So, if one converts using the raw figures, 500 million US dollars is what is there.
    Mr Speaker, is the Ministry of Finance telling the whole country that this is not going to add onto the debt stock? Is that what the Ministry of Finance wants all of us to believe? That should be said. But Mr Speaker, why are we where we are? If
    Alhaji Amadu Sorogho 3:10 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I very much respect the views of my younger brother, but to stand here and be admonishing diplomats who are not supposed to mingle in the political affairs of counties that they serve, it is as if we are fanning the fire. Mr Speaker, I do not expect my younger brother to quote a diplomat and say that the diplomat is posing or “putting his mouth” into the political affairs of this country by directing Ghanaians how to handle the dumsor problem.
    Mr Speaker, I do not think it should come from his mouth; it is completely disgusting for us to allow diplomats to come and direct affairs the way he is portraying whoever that diplomat is.
    Mr Speaker, we must not sing that song here; it is not correct.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, back to my point. What I was trying to say is that if Ghanaians are critical on certain matters and same is perceived to be political comments, then the risk is that, somebody who is not supposed to
    comment will comment in a manner that will embarrass this country. That was what happened two weeks ago. This is a matter of record.
    I am not saying that diplomats be encouraged to be commenting on our domestic affairs. However, if we as Ghanaians, in particular this House, say things that Government seemed not to be following and doing the right thing, then they get encouraged to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, your point has been made. Let us keep at relevance and make some progress.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:10 p.m.
    I am grateful, Mr Speaker.
    We as Ghanaians must let this Government know and Mr Speaker, this is the only opportunity to say this, that the over-borrowing is too much. They cannot continue to borrow -- [Interruption.] Yes, because you have borrowed. You have over-borrowed and it is too much - - [Interruption.] Yes. It does matter.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, begin to wind up.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect not to -- This Government has borrowed, over-borrowed and is over-borrowing. The over- borrowing is too much. We do not seem to know what all these moneys are being used for -- [Interruption.] Yes.
    This morning, Mr Speaker, an Hon Minister struggled on the floor of this House in giving the breakdown for the Kumasi Airport -- US$29 million. When the opportunity came to give specific breakdowns, the Hon Minister fumbled
    -- 3:10 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 3:10 p.m.
    In concluding, I say that the funds that are to be borrowed must be used wisely this time for the benefit of Ghanaians.
    I thank you so much, Mr Speaker.
    Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour(NPP-- Wenchi) 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance is cultivating a very strong appetite for refinancing. Refinancing simply means, borrowing to pay for borrowed money. If we start borrowing in order to pay for loans -the implication of borrowed money is that, you are in big trouble. This is because, you cannot pay for your debt.
    If that is not the case, Mr Speaker, we should hold on to this refinancing -- as if we are refinancing mortgages, like a private individual. In the United States, when one is in trouble, then one says one is refinancing. Mr Speaker, that appetite should slow down.
    Mr Speaker, while we are talking about putting money down through the Heritage Fund for the future, we are trying all the time with this refinancing to actually push the debt into the future. This one is going to end by 2017. Why do we want to extend the life of something that is going to expire in 2017 to 2023 or 2025?
    Mr Speaker, we are pushing it to the Heritage Fund that we are trying to build. We are actually neutralising it. We have to be very careful because, we have already over-borrowed.
    Mr Speaker, my last point is this -- the Hon Member was talking about using dollars to pay for cedis. Mr Speaker, the simple matter is that, we acquire dollars by selling our gold. We collect taxes to pay for the domestic debt. So, we prefer selling our gold to pay for loans that we have borrowed domestically which we could have used domestic taxes to pay
    for. The premium on the dollar is too high for us to be moving into that direction.
    Mr Speaker, we would have -- Is it not about the interest rate? It is about the premium on the dollar. How do we acquire dollars? The exchange rate is actually out of control because we do not have dollars. Now, they want to go and borrow money in dollars that we will pay in dollars to pay for cedis locally?
    Mr Speaker, I think the Ministry of Finance should be very careful about this refinancing arrangement because it is not in the interest of this country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have had enough debate on this issue.
    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to also comment on the subject matter before us.
    Mr Speaker, we have been assured that the medium-term prospects of this country are good. The resort to this vehicle today should tell all of us that indeed, the chickens are coming home to roost. What we are doing today really should tell the world that indeed, we are on course to achieving the medium-term prospects which people describe as good and bright.
    Secondly, Mr Speaker, the Report carries the caption, “Approval of Government Eurobond Refinancing Plan”. We should be very blunt with ourselves. It is not a plan that we are approving. It is a borrowing -- [Interruption.] It is a refinancing plan involving borrowing. Let the world know that we are borrowing and let us not hide under any umbrella. This umbrella is torn -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order! Order!
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I resort to speaking to issues intelligently.
    Mr Speaker, I think we should be blunt with ourselves. The point has been made about borrowing so much. The huge -- [Interruption.] We have not finished and you would want us to move to the second -- Mr Speaker, you see the Hon Chairman of the Committee for Finance --
    Mr Speaker, the point has been made of the effect of the huge borrowings. Last year, we set aside GH¢6.2 billion to service our debts. At the end of the day, we paid more than GH¢8.2 billion.
    This year, we are setting aside GH¢9.6 billion. Mr Speaker, chances are that, given the plunge -- the downward cascade of the cedi, by the close of the year, we shall be nearing about GH¢12 billion in servicing our debts. Instead of managing, we are still going on the path of borrowing and borrowing.
    Mr Speaker, I dare suggest that by the close of this year, the debt servicing will certainly exceed GH¢11 billion. It will be in the neighbourhood of GH¢12 billion. That is if we are able to contain the downward decline of the cedi any further.
    The way we are spiralling downwards, Mr Speaker, if we are not careful, maybe, by June, if we are not able to contain what is happening now, the cedi would have crossed GH¢4.00 to -- Did I say June? By
    April, the cedi would have crossed GH¢4.00 to US$1.00. That is frightening.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I am worried that it is on this last day that Parliament is rising that we are doing this. This is a huge matter that should have engaged the attention of a full House; not when we have so few Hon Members populating the Chamber and we would want to do this. Mr Speaker, I am scared by the implication of this.
    Mr Speaker, the import of this, as we have been told, is substituting domestic financing for foreign financing. As has been alluded to by the Hon Ranking Member for Finance, this can only be a good practice if we are able to maintain a stable currency. If we are able to maintain a stable currency, then it will be a useful option for us.
    Mr Speaker, let us remind ourselves. In 1998, a facility was availed to local enterprises including the Darko Farms and others who were given about US$5.8 million dollars, I am told.
    Within 15 months, the cedi had depreciated from 2,450.00 to 7,200.00. In current terms, we are talking about 24 pesewas within fifteen months, to 72 pesewas. A depreciation of close to 200 per cent.
    It was impossible -- because the moneys were given to them in foreign currency; it then became impossible for them to pay -- private enterprise and that led to the collapse of all these, otherwise, giant private enterprises that we have in the country.
    What it means is that, if Government is not able to cage the free falling cedi, this would be an albatross on the neck of the nation, and that is the reality. So, the first
    point of call would be to try to manage the free fall of the cedi.
    If we are not able to do that, Mr Speaker, this would be a very dangerous resort. So, I have been listening and yearning to hear what stabilising factors have been put in place to stabilise the cedi in the first place before we assess this.
    I get the impression that people now want to do this with the thinking and belief that this rather would help us stabilise the cedi. That is why I am saying that I want to see and hear what stabilising factors have been put in place.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee is saying that he did not say that. Yes, that is why I am saying that I did not hear. I have been yearning to hear that. There is a deficit in this. This is the point I am making.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee was really listening to me. I have not said that you said that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please, address the Chair.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, caution him not to be intervening on the side lines and be making those remarks.
    Mr Speaker, the cedi, and I heard my Hon Colleague, the Hon Member for Old Tafo, the Hon Ranking Member for the Finance Committee say to us that, the depreciation of the cedi is about 12 per cent. We all know that it is even higher than that. At the time of the budget, it was 3.2 cedis to one dollar. Today, as we speak, it is 3.8.
    So, the depreciation is not 12 per cent; it is about 18.75 per cent. Mr Speaker, 3.2, 3.8, is 18.75 per cent depreciation within the first quarter of the year.
    Mr Speaker, this Hon Member is telling me that I should do my mathematics well. This is not mathematics; it is arithmetic
    -- 3:20 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, as much as possible, let us avoid the asides, so that the Hon Member can concentrate on his submission.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we should be careful the way we are threading; that is my worry. As I said, we should first look at how to stabilise the regime. If we are able to stabilise the regime and we go for these things, then it would inure to the benefit of the country. If we are not able to stabilise, it will become an albatross and indeed, as I am saying, we may end up going beyond GH¢12 billion of debt servicing alone this year. It is a reality.
    Mr Speaker, the other point that I would want to raise is, the Ministry is indicating to us the areas of application, what they are intended for. The Hon Minister says to us he is going to involve about 500 million in capital expenditures. What are the capital expenditures?
    Mr Speaker, we want a reiteration of this position because we all know what happened when we went for the first Eurobond. Some indications were given; they came to the Bank of Ghana and we all know what happened. Hon Minister, you know when some gulping down occurred? In spite of the protestations to the contrary, you know what happened? It came and Bank of Ghana swallowed it.
    Are we not heading towards the same direction? So, give us the full blessed assurance. Now, I see the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Government
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe that we have various avenues of addressing an issue like this. We can adopt those processes for getting the Hon Minister to come and brief us.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:20 p.m.
    All right, Appreciated.
    But the fundamentals, the foundations are wobbling. They should tell us the truth. As we speak today, even engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), they have not made full disclosures on exactly what is happening. Mr Speaker, we are kept in the dark.
    It is important that given the peculiar circumstances that you would try to look elsewhere for some financing schemes, but the proper things must be done, full disclosures must be given in the interest of transparent and accountable governance; let us know the direction.
    Mr Speaker, these are very few words indeed and subject to what I have said, I would grudgingly support this.
    However, Mr Speaker, I would plead with you that we need the numbers. Let the Hon Members come and know what we are doing -- you have the numbers?
    Mr Speaker, I would suggest to him that we do not have the numbers. Let all the Hon Members come and listen to what we are doing. Let every Hon Member satisfy themselves that what we are doing is right. I do not think it is right, given the circumstances and the fact that the Ministry is failing to tell us exactly where we are, what we owe, and so on and so “many” forth.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is very clear what we are called upon to do. I have listened to questions being posed what we are to do. The Committee's Report is clear in the Conclusion, that the Committee therefore, respectfully recommends to the House to adopt its Report and approve the request for approval of the Government of Ghana's Eurobond Refinancing Plan.

    We are to approve the Eurobond Refinancing Plan and the Hon Ranking Member who supported the Motion is aware that that is what this Motion is calling for. So, to ask the question what we are to do -- it is clear. From his own Report, this was what he has brought.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, is it a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:30 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    The Deputy Majority Leader is bringing me in and I do not want to get into that area. So, he should tell us what the plan is if he knows. What is it?
    It is his work; he should tell us if he knows. He says I know, but does he know it? What is the plan? He should tell us.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, I will plead with you to address the Chair as much as possible.
    Mr Agbesi 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, again, in the Committee's Report, on the Committee's concern on the impact of the Bond, the answer was provided by the Hon Deputy Minister, that the Bond would be relatively neutral with respect to the overall debt stock as it would mostly replace debt that is already included in the public debt stock.
    He is aware; this is not the first time we are dealing with Eurobond. This is because it has happened in this House before and surprisingly, he was on this side and took it. That has accounted for

    Mr Speaker, it was also asked what we are taking the loans for. They are aware what we are taking the loans for. Our hospitals and roads are being built. Do we ask where the money comes from? I urge Hon Members to approve this Report for us to do and continue to do the work we have been voted to do.

    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Consequential Resolution; Hon Deputy Minister?
    RESOLUTIONS 3:30 a.m.

    Minister for Finance) 3:30 a.m.
    I beg to move that,
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by Parliament by a Resolution supported by the votes of a majority of all Members of Parliament;
    BY THE PROVISIONS of section 5(1) of Act 335, the Minister responsible for Finance may issue the necessary bonds, promissory
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, if we could take item 31 --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, do you not think that it would be advisable for us to suspend Sitting for some time, so that Hon Members could be refreshed and then we come back later?
    Mr Agbesi 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we think that item 31 is just a short one. We have already debated it. So, it is just a matter of taking it. It would not take us more than five minutes to finish with item 31.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, no matter how short it is, I think we are quite exhausted. Let us suspend proceedings for 30 minutes.
    Very well.
    Thank you.
    3.34 p. m. -- Sitting suspended.
    5.10 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
    MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader? [Interruptions.]
    Hon Members, let us have some Order.
    Mr Agbesi 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have agreed to start with item numbered 19 -- National Health Insurance Formula.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 3:30 a.m.
    Item numbered 19.
    MOTIONS 3:30 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least,

    forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2015 may be moved today.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to
    Resolved accordingly.
    Proposed Formula for the Distribution of the National Health
    Insurance Fund for 2015
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2015.
    In so doing, I present your Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The proposed formula for disburse- ment of fhe National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2015 was laid before the House on Wednesday, 24th March,
    2015.
    Mr Speaker referred the proposed formula to the Committee of the Whole for considerat ion and report in accordance with Standing Order 196 of the House and article 103 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee, during its delibe- ra tions, referred to the fol lowing documents:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
    ii.The Standing Orders of the House
    iii.The National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (Act 852)
    iv. The Proposed Formula for 2015.
    Acknowledgement
    The Committee sought clarifications on the proposed formula from the following officials of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA):
    i. Mr Sylvester Mensah, Chief Executive Officer
    ii. Mr Alex Odoi Nartey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
    iii. Mr Ahmed Imoro, Director of Finance.
    The Hon Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe and the Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Cassiel Ato Forson were also present to assist the Committee.
    The Committee is most grateful to them.
    Background
    The Government of Ghana through the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) has planned its policy strategy of the
    SPACE FOR SOURCES - PAGE 3:30 a.m.

    Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) 3:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second this Motion and I urge Hon Members to support it. It is very important that we approve this formula, so that as quickly as possible, the money for this year can be released.
    It is absolutely necessary because, even though the money is not sufficient, any delay would also delay payment to providers. The problem of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is that of what I would call under funding and there are several reasons this is so.
    One important thing is that, if you see the attachments, you would see the rate of growth of subscription. It is increasing all the time and it means that many people are utilising the services of providers and thereby, increasing how much to be paid to providers.
    In 2005, the actuarial studies showed that if we were to rely on the two and a half per cent levy alone, by this year or by 2009, we were going to have the crises we are beginning to experience now. It is sometime we have always known.
    In the past also, any time we were approving this formula, there was always a figure that talked about the gap. This year, we insisted it should not be presented as a gap but as arrears owed providers. This is because, over the past few years, since the phenomenal growth of subscriber base of the Scheme, this problem has always persisted.
    Today, while approving this, we are also urging the Government to find ways and means of paying the providers what the Scheme owes them. If we do not do that to sustain confidence of the providers in this, then what we all have helped to build in this good policy of Social Insurance Levy, it would be a defeatist attitude.
    Government must find ways and means. Some people have asked me how Government should do so. I think what Government can do, is to do what they have been doing to pay road contractors and other contractors. If it also requires us to get some bonds, it should be done. If Government wants to solve this problem, it has to do so with stakeholder consultation very strongly.
    One of the difficulties is also, the number of exempt groups. We have those who are under 18, above 70, pregnant women and indigenes. The figure in terms of population is taking a big chunk. If the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributors are not going to be disadvantaged at the end of their service, then these are the people who earn income regularly and could be made to also pay the premiums.
    We have drawn the attention of the Ministry of Health to these and we think that where ever it is required for policy change and which we would not have the need for legislative intervention, the Ministry should act timely.
    I remember that about three years ago, there was a stakeholder meeting in which all these things were discussed. Recently, we discussed the same thing about the benefit package. And so, for the sustainability of this Scheme, these are the recommendations we are making.
    I urge all of you, my dear Hon Colleagues, to let us approve this with the clear understanding that, what has been provided for in the budget would not be able to take care of the problem of providers this year.
    One more thing is that, the National Health Insurance Authority has staff, running cost, operational cost and these are also coming from the same budget that we are approving, which should have solely gone to claims payment. This is the
    Dr Richard W. Anane (NPP— Nhyiaeso) 5:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, as has been espoused in the presentations from the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole and the secondment by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health, we have been considering the formula for 2015 and whatever the situation is, after going through, I believe we all do appreciate that we have to approve the formula, albeit, on condition that the Authority comes back to the House when there are certain changes, for the consideration of the House.
    Mr Speaker, even as we are doing that, we do appreciate that, out of the House— In the health terrain in the country, there

    seems to be some rumples and it is also for us to ensure and consider finding ways and means of sorting that out. In the Report of the Committee, page 5, paragraph 9.9, it is stated and I beg to read:

    “The average clam bill per active member in 2013 was GH¢80.03. In 2014 the cost rose to GH¢95.02 per active member. For 2015, the Authority projects a medical inflation of 16.3% and this is expected to increase medical cost and tariffs to 25% in 2015”.

    The Authority also plans to pursue vigorous cost efficiency reforms in 2014 and this expected to yield cost savings of 5% in claims for 2015".

    Mr Speaker, I make reference to this, for us to take note of the fact that, even as the years go by, the average cost per person, thus per patient who seeks for healthcare is rising. That should tell us that, in the formula, when we are looking at the budget of the National Health Insurance Authority, we should be seeing that the cost is rising and therefore, the allocation should also be rising.

    Mr Speaker, we do hope and expect that, yes, since this is an expanding economy and since in the main, the Health Insurance Fund depends on the Value Added Tax (VAT), the VAT accrual should be large enough to accommodate the changes that we anticipate to be happening.

    Mr Speaker, the frightening thing for 2015, is the shrinking of the economy because of certain happenings in the course of the year. Therefore, it puts some fear in some of us what should be done and that is also why some of us are concerned and worried about the fact that, Government seems to be flat-footed in taking certain measures.

    Mr Speaker, this cannot be addressed by just tinkering, but by bold measures. We expect Government to take note of the fact that, as far back as 2012, we called for a one per cent increase in the VAT for the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL). This had been done last year. There was an increase in the VAT.

    Mr Speaker, I am using this opportunity to draw Government's attention to see to the need to forcibly amend the GIF Law and the NHIF Law, so that at the end of the day, we can get the one per cent which can help to support this National Health Insurance Fund, which I believe can take care of the health of our people.

    This is because, one per cent increase can yield, not less than GH¢500 million, and that should, at least, help to close the gap which the Hon Colleague from Wa West was talking about, even though we do not want to call it a gap. We think that we should be looking at how we resolve our matters.

    Mr Speaker, yes, I would want to associate myself with the Motion, and also want to draw attention to the fact that we must tackle the issue boldly.

    With these few words, I associate myself with the Motion.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC—Asawase) 5:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support this Motion and to say that it is important that all of us try to do whatever we can to support the National Health Insurance Authority to be able to carry out its mandate.
    Mr Speaker, like the Chairman of the Committee on Health rightly said, in 2005, there was an actuarial work that was done which clearly showed that keeping to the 2.5 per cent of the National Health
    Insurance Levy, by 2009, it was going to dry. As a people, I thought that the best way to manage this would have been, to begin looking at other innovative methods to be able to deal with this before 2009. Unfortunately, we have all kept to the traditional way and we have come past 2009.
    Mr Speaker, as of today, if one looks through the formula, at the end of 2014, the outstanding gap that needs to be filled is GH¢456.40 million. Even if the reconciliation is done, what truly is collected, there is some anticipation of about GH¢30 or GH¢32 million that would be paid to the Authority.
    Mr Speaker, if one even takes that out, one would still be having an outstanding of over GH¢400 million. My concern is that, we should not play the ostrich. For the past three years, if one looks at the formulae, we have always identified this and said; “Ministry of Finance, find ways to cover this. . .” and yet nothing is done, and it is growing.
    By the end of this year, 2015, if no action is taken or nothing is done, what it is going to mean is that, we would end up having a gap of close to a billion. I do not think we want to wait and go for an Eurobond to just pay this off.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that we face the reality. National Health Insurance in many developing countries, is con- centrated on primary healthcare. What one can do for example, is that, the indigents, the children under 18 would have the wide benefit. But the rest of us would be having some benefits but not all.
    Mr Speaker, with the greatest respect, for example, why should my wife, simply because she is pregnant, have free maternal care? I can afford to pay. One introduces inequality, because those who can pay are taking it freely as well as those who cannot pay. We need to look at the
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh (NPP -- Manhyia South) 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in rising to support the approval of this formula, I would like to draw your attention to four main points. We agreed that the National Health Insurance Scheme is a social risk protection mechanism. Mr Speaker, the poor and the vulnerable in the society are those that need to be protected by the well of.
    I believe that if the country has moved into a common targeting mechanism where people are on benefits of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), they are the only ones who should be exempted under the National Health Insurance Trust (NHIT). This is because
    they have been identified by the nation as the poor and the vulnerable.
    Mr Speaker, if we have to improve the common targeting mechanism, so that only those who are qualified to be declared poor or for that matter, indigents under the mechanism, qualified for exemptions under the NHIS, that would be a huge cost containment. Like my Hon Friend just said, the number of people are exempted just because of age, beggar's belief. If you take those below 18 years and you add those above 70 years, you are already getting to about 60 or 62 per cent of the population.
    That is one of the reasons the Scheme is suffering. So, as a group and as Parliament, we have to start thinking about how to bring cost or expenditure down under the NHIS.
    Mr Speaker, the second issue about cost containment -- The single biggest item cost under the NHIS -- is the purchase of drugs -- medicines for the poor. Mr Speaker, I do not know why the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) that pays for the medication, cannot get into a sort of arrangement with recognised generic drug producers, so that those hospitals and service providers prescribing those drugs can get them at an approved rate from a National Health Insurance outlet.
    Mr Speaker, you cannot just understand why all the service providers can buy drugs from any source that they want and still bill the NHIS. We are not sure about some of the quality of the medicines and the prices. So, we have to start thinking about using the financial muscle of the NHIS to contain prices, especially with drugs in the country.
    Mr Speaker, after a whole year of the promise of the roll out of the capitation, if
    capitation is supposed to increase a cost containment measure, the whole of 2014, it has not been done. If the NHIA cannot roll out by now capitation across the length and breadth of the country, Mr Speaker, I do not know why Ashanti Region should be unduly suffering.
    It is just not right that only one-tenth of the country is undergoing capitation. When the NHIA comes to promise this House that they are rolling it in 2014 to three other regions, they could not do that. Why? What have the people in the Ashanti Region done to deserve that? We have to start looking at that as a House.
    Mr Speaker, this last issue I am going to raise has to do with the gap and the arrears that are being described. If 100 per cent of NHIS money is even given upfront like we start in 2014 or 2015, by the time we finish 2015, there would be a claim arrears of more than half a million Ghana cedis. That is the issue we have to confront.
    Mr Speaker, I also support Hon Members who said that it is high time some companies in this country that by the application of the law were not paying premium and were not contributing to our health insurance, should start contribu-ting. Mr Speaker, why should the mining companies not be contributing to the NHIS? It does not happen. If their employees get accidents, they take them to the same hospitals.
    The telecommunication companies, the Sim tax, the petroleum companies -- we have to think innovatively and boldly that the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) be so replenished that it would not be under strains and stresses. But that does not mean the NHIA should be given the authority to spend money as they want. Like my Hon Brother just said, too much of their moneys is going into
    Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 5:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it appears that we are all heading towards one direction and that is good.
    As I read the Report, all I can see are issues of finances -- financial problems -- accounting. The NHIS problem is not a health issue.
    Mr Speaker, let me tell you why. Page 3, paragraph 7 5:30 p.m.
    “However, the Ministry paid a total amount of GH¢1,063.20 million. Of this amount, GH¢332.20 relates to 2013 outstanding from Ministry of Finance while GH¢731 million was payment for 2014”.
    This business of carrying arrears all over is being brought in here on such a very important social issue. Mr Speaker, on health matters, the issue of arrears should not arise, because if there is a mistake, the consequence is death.
    Mr Speaker, let me go on to paragraph 8, which says 5:30 p.m.
    “As at January 1, 2014, the principal value of the Fund was GH¢159.92
    million but this balance decreased to GH¢104.32 million at the end of
    2014”
    There is a decrease in the principal value of the NHIF; we are going backwards.
    Mr Speaker, what is even more distressful is the last paragraph of page 3. With your permission, I beg to read:
    “Acceptable international practices require that for an insurance scheme to be sustainable, the scheme should have an investment cover of at least, 18 months. Currently, the Fund investment balance provides cover for only two and a half months”.
    Mr Speaker, eighteen months is the norm and we have two and a half months [Interruption] -- My Hon Friend, this is not politics; it is NHIS. Whether I have had it or you have it, the fact is that we do not have it, unless you want to be political. It is about health.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleagues talked about the gap. First of all, it would be dangerous for us as a House to allow the concept of the gap to be put on us without understanding what it is.
    Mr Speaker, when somebody wants money and he thinks that the money is coming from the Ministry of Finance, he would find means to spend it. This is called the moral hazard problem. This is because they are expecting that GH¢887.35 million would come from somewhere -- go and look at their budget.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend talked about salaries; GH¢133 million for who and for what? An insurance firm is not supposed to be this expensive because it must be driven by technology. Mr Speaker, we have here support to the Ministry of Health; what is this for? The Ministry of
    Health has its own budget. May we know what this is? Is it the salaries of people that is being put over there? And we are condoning in this expenditure and then we say that we have a gap?
    Mr Speaker, nationwide ICT system; how much has this cost us so far? We mean we do not have a nationwide ICT system that they can get on? The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has one. We have here instant ID card authentication which is biometric. How many biometric systems do we have in Ghana?
    The national identification card, National Insurance and yet we are saying that there is a gap. Of course, there would be a gap because we condone this type of expenditure.
    Some Hon Members 5:30 p.m.
    There is no area like that.
    Dr A. A. Osei 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my nephew is daring me but that notwithstanding --
    Dr A. A. Osei 5:40 p.m.


    What I am saying is that, yes, there may be a need to find some revenue sources but the most important urgent requirement is cut back in expenditure which we must enforce. I do not know the salaries there but I can bet their salaries are better than Hon Members of Parliament and we are keeping quiet. Are they efficient?

    Mr Speaker, I have gone to one office in Manhyia. It is not very efficient. This is why -- because they know the money will come.

    Support to district offices; for what? What support is it? They have been buying computers ever since it came into operation in 2003. How many computers do they need?

    Mr Speaker, this funding gap of GH¢887 million cannot be. But more importantly, the Government does not have to raise taxes. If we collect judgement debt moneys and Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) moneys, we can get half of this down to GH¢400 million.

    I have not gone to Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) yet. [Interruption.] Who? [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I think that this House must send a signal to the Board that they must begin to look at their expenses, otherwise, we should not condone this gap. It is too much.

    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance is here. I believe he gave an assurance yesterday that they would try and by the end of this month, at least, advance some moneys, so that the stress on the system can go down. But Mr Speaker, the issue is just not revenue. I agree claims have gone up but the Government of Ghana is doing fiscal consolidation.

    Everybody must be doing fiscal consolidation. Why are we allowing them to spend all these moneys? How many cars are they buying in a year?

    Mr Speaker, you go there and you would see. That should not -- That is not the way we would want to run the insurance -- We want to have a national health insurance scheme that is very efficient and as of now, I do not think they are being very efficient and we should make sure that they get more efficient.

    Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Members.
    I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, I looked in your direction but I put the Question before you jumped up. I am sorry. I am very sorry, especially the Hon Member for Berekum. I saw from your body language that you wanted to contribute. Unfortunately, the Ayes have it.
    Mr Agbesi 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 21.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
    Item 21; Chairman of the Committee.
    MOTIONS 5:40 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole
    on the proposed formula for distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2015 may be moved today.
    Mr Dominic Azimbe Azumah 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Proposed Formula for the Distribution of the District Assemblies
    Common Fund, 2015
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2015.
    Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would like to present the Report of your Committee. Before I do so, I would like to effect some correction at page 12 of the Report, the first paragraph; I pray that you grant me leave to delete the whole of that paragraph and in place thereof insert the following:
    “The Committee of the Whole recommends that the constituency Development Fund which is currently pegged at 4.5 per cent of the reserve Fund be increased to 5.5 per cent. This will enable Members of Parliament make significant impact on the development agenda of their respective constituencies.” [Inter- ruption] -- [Pause.]
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you raising a point of order?
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole just made some correction to the Report but the understanding of the Committee yesterday is not what is relayed in the correction that he just made. So, I just wanted to draw his attention to it, so that he effects the right correction.
    Mr Barton-Odro 5:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, at the Committee of the Whole, it was agreed that the figure for Hon Members of Parliament be increased by one per cent. So, it is this effect that has necessitated this amendment.
    Introduction
    The formula was laid before Parliament by the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Kwame Agbesi, on behalf of the Majority Leader on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 in accordance with article 252 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and section 7 (a) of the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455).
    Mr Speaker referred the proposed formula to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and report.
    The Committee of the Whole met on Wednesday, 25th March, 2014, deliberated on the proposed formula and reports accordingly.
    Background
    Parliament is mandated by article 252 (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455) to make provision for the allocation of not less than five per cent of the total revenue of Ghana to the District Assemblies Common Fund for the implementation of developmental programmes in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
    As of now, 7.5 per cent of the total tax revenue of Ghana is allocated to the District Assemblies Common Fund.
    By the provision of section 7(a) of the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455), the Administrator of the Fund is to propose annually for the consideration and approval of Parliament, a formula for sharing the Common Fund.
    Acknowledgment
    The Committee during its deliberations on the Formula met with the Hon Collins Dauda, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Administrator of the Distr ict Assemblies Common Fund, Mr Kojo Fynn as well as officials from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
    The Committee was grateful to these persons for their immense contributions to our deliberations.
    References
    In considering the formula, the Committee made references to the following documents:
    i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
    ii. The Local Government Act 1992 (Act 462)
    iii. The District Assemblies Common Fund Act 1993 ( Act 455)
    iv. The Standing Orders of Parliament
    v. The 2013 Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed Formula for sharing
    Mr Barton-Odro 5:40 p.m.
    Observations of the Scenarios
    Mr. Speaker, Comparison of all the Scenarios shows that each MMDAs had an increase and there is an indication that
    Scenario B presented even distribution followed by Scenario A. The Adminis- trator therefore, recommends Scenario B for the consideration and approval of the House. The details of Scenario B are as follows:
    SPACE FOR EQUALITY - PAGE 12 - 5.40 P.M.

    Allocation for 2015

    Mr Speaker, the annual allocation to the District Assemblies Common Fund in

    the 2015 Budget Statement is GH¢1,585,919,077. Details of the distribution of the Fund to MMDAs and provisions for Priority Interventions with comparative provisions for 2014 are in Table ‘A' below:

    Table A

    Comparative Annual Allocation of 2014 and 2013

    SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 13 - 5.40 P.M.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 5:40 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Hon Chairman of Committee?
    Mr Dominic A. Azumah (NDC-- Garu) 5:50 p.m.
    Thank you so much, Mr Speaker. I beg to second the Motion and in so doing, make a few comments about the formula.
    Mr Speaker, the 2015 formula has no major departure from what we approved for 2014. The Committee of the Whole critically examined the formula and but for a few recommendations that they made, the House would have generally accepted the proposal.
    Mr Speaker, the first issue which must be commended is about the national borehole concept. This is a concept that came about in 2014, where a provision of GH¢25 million was set aside. But for the financial challenges we had, not sufficient funding was made available to commence the project.

    Nonetheless, the DACF Administrator, together with the Ministry have contracted the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to critically look at this concept and make proposals, since they are the people on the ground handling the issues of water. Mr Speaker, the idea is to make a conscious effort to provide good drinking water to districts or communities which are lacking, using all the data available to the Community and Water Sanitation Agency.

    Mr Speaker, on hindsight, if we had started this project quite a long time ago, I am sure that a lot of communities would have benefited and we would have had good drinking water for most communities.

    Mr Speaker, the second important issue that came up was the issue of 2014, to quote with your permission, “the arrears of the 3rd and 4th quarters.” Mr Speaker, we had assurances from the Hon Deputy Finance Minister that a payment schedule has been arranged in a way that the third quarter of the last year 2014 would be made good in September this year and the last quarter of 2014, which is the fourth quarter would also be made good in 2016.

    But the good thing, Mr Speaker, is that the releases of 2015 are going to be very regular and at most, according to the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, the first or second week at the end of every quarter. So, we can be assured that the releases for the first quarter which would be done in April -- I am happy to say that the release letter has already been sent to the DACF Administrator covering the sum of about GH¢375 million, which is supposed to be the payment for the first quarter of

    2015.

    Now, the second quarter payment would hopefully be released in the second week of July, then the third quarter payments in October alongside that of the

    third quarter payments of 2014. We believe that if these releases are regular, it would make a better impact on the districts than it being in arrears.

    Mr Speaker, the other issue is the decision of the House to adjust Constituency Development Fund. The role of the Hon Members of Parliament (MP) must be felt in the constituencies. Indeed, constituents rely on Members of Parliament for their basic needs in terms of primary education, sanitation and everything they could think of.

    The burden is on Hon Members of Parliament to deliver. Unfortunately, the resources are not available. So, with this slight increment from GH¢4.5 million to GH¢5.5 million, it is the hope that a bit more funding would be made available to Hon Memebrs of Parliament to be able to achieve this kind of projection we are making.

    Mr Speaker, as I said, the formula has no much departure from that of 2014. So, I would want to call on my Hon Colleagues to massively adopt this Report and approve it to allow the DACF Administrator -- since expenditure can only commence at the end of each quarter -- so that immediately, at the end of this first quarter, they could proceed to make good all that the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance has told the Committee.

    On that note, Mr Speaker, I urge the House to adopt this Report.

    Thank you so much.

    Question proposed.
    Mr Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 5:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in approving the formula for the sharing of the DACF, Parliament derives its powers from article 252 (5) of the 1992 Constitution. And with your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to read:
    “…Parliament shall by law prescribe the functions and tenure of office of the Administrator in such a manner as will ensure the effective and equitable administration of the Distr ict Assemblies Common Fund.”
    Mr Speaker, from last year, the Government has introduced some deductions into the DACF. It is not distributed equitably for the benefit of the District Assemblies.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at page 8 of the Report, you would see what is written there as: “PRIORITY INTERVENTION PROJECTS”. Priority Intervention Projects like school feeding, sanitation, liquid and solid waste management, sanitation guards, seed capital for new Metropolitan, Municipal and Distr ict Assemblies (MMDAs) and the National Borehole Programme.
    Mr Speaker, these are policies of the Government which should look for other sources, rather than burdening the DACF. What is supposed to go directly to the Distr ict Assemblies for local level development -- Mr Speaker, when this came last year, we thought the Government was financially challenged and that there were no other sources for funding these interventions. Mr Speaker, it has come back to this House.
    If you should take note of article 252 (5) of the 1992 Constitution as I read, if you come to my constituency, how many sanitation guards do I need? The most unfortunate thing is that these allocations for the Priority Intervention Projects are deducted before the formula is applied for the District Assemblies to get their share of the DACF; it is not good.
    Other deductions which deprive the districts of the needed revenue should be stopped. As we speak now, what goes directly to the District Assemblies for
    Mr Clement K. Humado (Anlo -- NDC) 5:50 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the proposed formula for distributing the DACF for the year 2015.
    Mr Speaker, I have looked at the Report very closely and I am in agreement with most parts. I however, wish to comment on the intervention of the construction of boreholes for the provision of water. It is not in every constituency in Ghana that boreholes provide good drinking water. In my constituency, Anlo, for example, any attempt to construct boreholes, you would only have saline or salt water. And I believe that there are other constituencies that have special difficulties with respect to getting good drinking water from boreholes.
    In that regard, I would want to urge the Ghana Water Company or the Water and Sanitation Unit to exhibit some level of flexibility when it comes to this intervention and to allow for constituencies where it is difficult to get good drinking water from boreholes to come out with other proposals.
    In my constituency, for example, we do extension of pipe-borne water to
    communities that do not have good drinking water. I would like to urge that when it comes to the implementation of this component or priority intervention, such flexibility is allowed for some constituencies to make other proposals for this.
    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I urge my Hon Colleagues to adopt this Report.
    Thank you.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah (NPP -- Sunyani West) 6 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to the Motion on the floor. In doing so, I would want to support, especially the views expressed by Hon Gyamfi. If you look at the total allocation to the District Assemblies Common Fund for this year, the figure is GH¢1, 585, 919, 077.
    Mr Speaker, it is so sad that out of this figure, that is directly going to the District Assemblies, is slightly above GH¢600 million. This means that more than half of the total allocation to the DACF is going to be centralised here in Accra and disbursed from here instead of the moneys being transferred to the Assemblies for them to determine their priorities at their level.
    This defeats the purpose of the establishment of the Fund and of course, against the National Democratic Congress (NDC)'s manifesto. This is because it was stated that the funds would be released to the Assemblies for them to determine what they would use the moneys for.
    What is even more worrying is the fact that there are certain deductions that the policy, which underpins them, is unknown

    to this House. Why am I saying so? The late President of this nation, Prof. John E. F. Atta-Mills, in creating 46 new Assemblies, made a promise that he would give each new Assembly one million Ghana cedis. Mr Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, in the previous formulae that we approved in this House for 2011 and 2012, these payments were made. But here we are still allocating another GH¢37 million for the same purpose.
    [Microphone goes off]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you say what you said into the microphone for recording purposes.
    Mr D. A. Azumah 6 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what I said was just a point of correction, that the District Assemblies were created in 2012 but not 2011 -- just for his information.
    Mr Awuah 6 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I am happy he did not even attack the substance of what I said.
    The substance of what I said was that the promise was to give each Assembly one million Ghana cedis and which has been paid. But here is the case this particular formula is also doing a further allocation of GH¢37 million to the 46 Assemblies. Mr Speaker, that is where the equitable distribution issue comes in because these Assemblies would again equally share the residual amount with all the Assemblies.
    So, it means that they are benefitting twice and that is one thing that we should watch.
    Another problem --
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6 p.m.
    Hon Sorogho?
    Alhaji Sorogho 6 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, normally, I do not want to question his trend of argument but he started nicely by mentioning “newly created Assemblies.”
    How could he compare a newly created Assembly to an Assembly which has been in existence for 10, 15 or 20 years? I am saying this because my Assembly is among those that were newly created -- the La-Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly.
    Mr Speaker, the one million Ghana cedis could not even give us a decent place in terms of offices for the various departments. So, there is no way, even if you add GH¢ 1 million, we are going to cheat the old ones. I think if the Hon Member is going to talk about getting more money, so that each one can be equitably given, yes. But he should not say that when the new ones are given, they are going to receive double.
    That is where I just want to differ with him.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Awuah 6 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not against Government giving moneys to the Assemblies. That is not my worry at all. But if Government goes out there to make a promise, then Government must find money to meet that promise, not necessarily using the Common Fund -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6 p.m.
    Hon Sorogho?
    Alhaji Sorogho 6 p.m.
    All I would want to ask is, why does my Hon Brother, keep making that the “Common Fund money”, as if Common Fund money is not government money -- as if Common Fund money is not public money? Common Fund money is part of Government money.
    So, if Government is sharing it through a formula that we approve, what is the beef? It is still money belonging to the people of Ghana. So, what is the problem that he keeps on saying that Government should find another money and not Common Fund money?
    Mr Awuah 6 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that my Hon Brother just wants to derail my effort in contributing to this particular issue. But I will ignore him.

    Mr Speaker, another project which is also gaining attention here is the construction of rest stops on highways. Still using the argument of equitable distribution, I would want to believe that it is not every Assembly that is going to benefit from this. So, if Government finds it fit, that, yes, we should construct rest stops on highways, why should the moneys be taken from Common Fund?

    If a particular Assembly thinks that their priority is to have that, why do we not allow them to make the decision on their own? Why Government makes the central decision and forces it on the Assemblies?

    Mr Speaker, before I sit down, the last issue I would want to dwell on relates to what has come up in the Audit Report of the respective Assemblies. While Government struggles to get money and gives to the Assemblies, what is also left for the Assemblies to do is how prudently they use the funds.

    If you look at the audit report and issues which come up, sometimes some of them are so bad and the issues in them are such that they may not even encourage, especially policy makers and those of us in the Legislatiure to allocate further moneys to the Assemblies.

    I would want to use this opportunity to urge the District Assemblies to improve on their financial management aspect, especially their internal audit, so that at least, the issues which come up in the audit report would be minimised.

    On this note, I submit and also support that this Motion be carried.

    Thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Just before I put the Question, I will want all of us to refresh our memories by referring to Order 86 (3):
    “Ministers shall be referred to by their Ministerial titles. The Deputy Speakers and Deputy Ministers shall be referred to by the names of the offices held by them. All other Members shall be referred to as “Honourable” together with the name of their constituencies, that is “the Honourable Member for …”, where an Honourable Member has already been so described in a speech he may be further referred to as “My Honourable Friend” or “The Honourable Gentleman, Lady or Member”.
    So please, though we are brothers here, we do not refer to each other as “my Brother”.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the proposed formula for the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) in item number 23 could be taken.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 6:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2015 may be moved today.
    Mr Mathias A. Puozaa 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Proposed Formula for the Distribution of the Ghana Education
    Trust Fund (GETFund), 2015
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed formula for the distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2015.
    Introduction
    Pursuant to the provisions of section 8 (2) of the Ghana Education Trust Fund Act, 2000 (Act 581), the distribution formula for moneys expected to accrue to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2015 was laid in Parliament on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 and referred to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and report.
    The Committee subsequently met on Wednesday, 25 th March, 2014 and considered the referral.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister for Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang and the GETFund Administrator, Mr Sam Garba, for assist ing the Commit tee in considering the proposed formula.
    References
    The Committee availed itself of the following documents in the preparation of its Report:
    i. The Ghana Education Trust Fund Act, 2000 (Act 581)
    ii. The formula for the distribu- t ion of Proceeds of the GETFund for the year 2015
    iii.Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2015 fiscal year
    iv. The Standing Orders of the House.
    Mr Mathias A. Puozaa (NDC-- Daffiama/Bussic/Issa) 6:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Hon Chairman, and in so doing, let me repeat that the GETFund has been established to give supplementary support to budget allocations made by the Government to the Ministry of Education.
    Since its establishment, this has been going on very smoothly, and it seems GETFund is even getting to carry more than it was mandated to do. This is because, it is like any other expenses related to education, that do not fall within the main budget and are shifted to the GETFund, and these have been done faithfully.
    For instance, in this year, apart from taking care of the community-based senior
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:10 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order!
    Mr Puozaa 6:10 p.m.
    We are also aware that the GETFund is doing a lot of work in the provision of scholarships as well as the establishment and support of any other institution that is linked to education. For instance, we are aware that GETFund provides support to even private institutions. This year, GETFund intends to give support to the new universities. Yesterday, for instance, I was surprised that many Hon Colleagues had forgotten that the university that is meant to be established in the Eastern Region is already in due process -- its establishment is in due process.
    I wish to suggest that we no longer refer to it as a university located in the Eastern Region because it has a name. The Bill was laid here in Parliament and if Mr Speaker would not mind, I would want to read it out. It is: “The University of Environment and Sustainable Development”. So, Mr Speaker, the establishment of the university is in process, and whatever allocation is meant to support it is in the right direction. I think Hon Colleagues would overwhelmingly support the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I am also glad to point out that the GETFund has decided to give support to the new universities, especially the University of Health and Allied Sciences as well as the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani. The help to these universities is very crucial since it is supposed to give them the right foundation to build on. I
    Alhaji Muntaka 6:10 p.m.
    Conclude.
    Mr Puozaa 6:10 p.m.
    Yes, I will conclude.
    Since then, the kindergartens are supposed to form part of basic education, but this was not taken care of until this year when your Committee insisted that we have to make special allocations to them. That is being done. I am glad that for once, we are going to acknowledge them as such, and all kindergarten buildings would be seen as an integral part of the school, and therefore, receive some allocation.
    Hitherto, Mr Speaker, if you get to any basic school and you want to see the kindergarten, they would point somewhere to you in a round building or one that has been abandoned by students. From now, we are going to give the right basic fundamentals to these chaps. That is not all; GETFund has decided to give them the basic teaching and learning materials.
    So, I think that it is really a move in the right direction. And since giving a sound foundation to basic education is very important, I think that it is in order and everybody should support this Motion and let it go and give them the allocation of GH¢843,899.22.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP -- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 6:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion but before doing that, I would want to make a few interventions.
    First of all, if Hon Members could recall, last year, we had an unfortunate situation where GETFund cheques could not be honoured on several occasions. Let me use this opportunity to appeal --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, today is the last day of our Sitting, so, you contribute to the Motion. You cannot make a few interventions before you come and contribute to the Motion. So, just contribute and flow with it.
    Mr Annoh-Dompreh 6:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in making a cursory reference to the Report, I would wish to say that provision for scholarships would need to be much detailed. This is because as of my last check, the Scholarship Secretariat is bleeding profusely due to lack of funding and it is important that the Ministry comes clear in terms of accessing scholarships - - and the requirements made clear, so that Ghanaians would know what they have to go through to access scholarships.
    Mr Speaker, I find something interesting in the Report. Allocation for project Fund for each district was fixed at GH¢50,000.00. Across the country was GH¢13million and 700 plus. Now, it is surprising that if you look at e-School ICT projects, a whopping amount of GH¢45 million is allocated for this activity.
    Mr Speaker, the catch words there are “training and capacity building for teachers of ICT.” I am at a loss, how to reconcile the two. Members of Parliament who are involved in fiscal infrastructural projects are being given just this. Then I find training for ICT allocation of GH¢45 million very strange.
    Mr Speaker, to make matters worse, the Report goes ahead to say that it is going to be meant for training of ICT teachers. I am aware of the existence of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), which is supposed to play a complementary role to this aspect of the function captured in the Report. So, let me appeal to the Hon Minister for Education that that aspect needs to be looked at again.
    Mr Speaker, in moving forward as a nation, I truly recognise that ICT education is important but I think that the whopping amount budgeted for this function is out of place and the Ministry would have to look at it again.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 6:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion for the adoption of the proposed formula for the distribution of GETFund.
    Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the activities of GETFund have been so helpful, to not only the communities and the people out there but even to us in Parliament. I am saying this because most of the projects that have been undertaken by GETFund, if it had not been done, Members of Parliament would have been involved and would have had to struggle or run round to look for funds to undertake these projects.
    Mr Speaker, when we talk about the education of our pupils, GETFund has done a very good job in helping to eradicate schools under trees. GETFund is helping in giving scholarships, especially to the gir l-child. It is undertaking a lot of activities -- even in our tertiary institutions and all these
    projects that are being done is a very big help to all of us here and to the country as a whole.
    We say that education is key and we all know very well that without education, the development of any country cannot be seen to be the best. In this direction, GETFund is doing its best to see to it that education is supported.
    Mr Speaker, in this vein, I support and propose and wish to commend that this House should support the adoption of this formula.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Prof. Dominic K. Fobih (NPP -- Assin South) 6:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on your Report.
    The first thing is about the delayed or the sluggish release of funds or moneys that have to go into the GETFund. We see in paragraphs 4.1 and 5.0, which would be taken together with the conclusion that this situation is affecting the delivery of education and its quality very adversely -- and needs to be given due attention. We find that it disorganises the Ministry of Education's planned activities for the year and also the quality of service delivery in education.
    Mr Speaker, the consequences of this is that, many people are losing confidence in our public educational system and rather shifting the emphasis to private schools. This is a serious thing which we have to deal with as a country. I think the beginning is the appropriate use and disbursement of the funds to their rightful places and especially on timely basis. For instance, we find that the inspectorate directorate which was created for the purpose of ensuring quality is seriously undermined in its work.
    Mr Agbesi 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we could go back to the items on the Order Paper Addendum.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Order Paper Addendum -- Presentation of Papers?
    Mr Agbesi 6:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, Presentation of Papers.
    PAPERS 6:40 p.m.

    Mr Agbesi 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order Paper Addendum, item number 8.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Hon Minister for Health?
    Deputy Minister for Health (Dr Victor Asare Bampoe): Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Is that the Hon Deputy Minister or the Hon Minister?
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I thought you would ask permission for the Hon Deputy Minister?
    Mr Agbesi 6:40 p.m.
    Sorry, Mr Speaker, with your permission and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, I would ask that the Hon Deputy Minister takes the item on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy?
    Dr Akoto Osei 6:40 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I thought I just heard you say that the Paper had just been laid, and it was for distribution. And then we are going to the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, if the Paper had just been laid for distribution, how could we read it? Mr Speaker ruled and said it had just been laid for distribution. I did not say it. You cannot lay before Mr Speaker admitted it. So, what are we saying?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, today, they know that the time is far spent. Already, we have distributed the Report; the Hon Member is aware; he has got his copy. But Mr Speaker, for some reasons, we would appeal to our Hon Colleagues to accept it, so that we can go on. We know it is not the correct form.
    Thank you.
    MOTIONS 6:40 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh) 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, item 9.
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 6:40 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    Question proposed.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr J. Y. Chireh) 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in doing so, present the Report of the Committee on Health for this purpose.
    Introduction
    Mr Speaker, the National Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill was laid in the House on I Thursday, 26th March, 2016 and referred to the Committee on Health for consideration and report.
    To consider the Bill, the Committee met with Hon. Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe, Deputy Minister for Health and a technical team from the Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General's Department and reports as follows:
    References
    To consider the Bill, the Committee referred to the following documents:
    1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
    2. Standing Orders of the House
    3. The Value Added Tax Act 2013, Act 870
    4. The National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (Act 852)
    Object of the Bill
    The object of the Bill is to amend Part One of the Second Schedule (items 14 and 20) by deleting land, buildings, construction and financial services from the list of exempt goods and services.
    Certificate of Urgency
    In accordance with Order 119, the Committee determined that the Bill was of an urgent nature. The Committee
    noted that the bill was a financial bill which sough t to r a ise addi t ional revenue for the Nat ional Heal th Insurance Scheme.
    The Committee further noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme is in distress and require adequate funding to pay the service providers and the Bill seeks to amend the National Health Insurance Act, 2012 to expand the Scheme's sources of revenue.
    The Chief Executive of the Authority informed the Committee that any delay in the passage of the Bill will lead to a loss in potential revenue from this source.
    Lastly, the House is rising today and since the Bill is urgent in nature, the Committee recommends to the House that the Bill should be passed under the certificate of urgency.
    Observations
    Rational for the Amendment
    The Committee was informed that in Paragraph 846 of the Budget Statement approved by the House, the Finance Minister informed the House that, in view of the reviewed VAT Law passed in 2013; there was the need to amend the National Health Insurance Law to synchronise the two legislations.
    The Deputy Minister informed the Committee that both the previous VAT law and the National Health Insurance Law made provisions for the exemption of land, buildings construction and financial services from the payment of VAT and NHIL. However, the new VAT Law has removed the exemption cover and has made these services liable to VAT. In order to ensure consistency, there is the need to amend the National Health Insurance Law to be consistent with the VAT law as amended.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, you rose to second the Motion, that was your first sentence, and you ended also by seconding the Motion. But if you look at Standing Order 81, it provides that:
    “Unless otherwise provided in these Orders, every Motion unless made at the Second Reading or Consideration Stage of a Bill, must be seconded….”
    So, when a Motion is at the Consideration Stage or the Second Reading Stage, you do not second it, you present your report. That is my understanding; unless I am wrong.
    You did two things; you started by seconding the Motion, and then you ended by seconding the Motion. But by seconding the Motion, from my reading of Standing Order 81, it should not be so.
    Mr Chireh 6:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought I did not even second it the first time. So, if I did, I have seconded on two occasions. I urge my Hon Colleagues to consider what I said as presenting only the Report.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Dr Richard Anane, the Member for Nhyiaeso?
    Dr Richard Winfred Anane (NPP -- Nhyiaso) 6:40 p.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker for the opportunity to associate with the Motion on the floor.
    Mr Speaker, as captured in the Committee's Report, there were quite a few things which we thought attention should be drawn to.
    Mr Speaker, yes, attention was drawn to the fact that this Bill seeks to amend the NHIA Act, 2012 to expand the Scheme's source of revenue.
    Mr Speaker, in paragraph 4.1, on rational for the amendment, the Committee was informed that in paragraph 846 of the Budget Statement approved by the House, the Hon Minister for Finance informed the House that in view of the reviewed VAT law passed in 2013, there was the need to amend the National Health Insurance law to synchronise with the legislation. So, these were the bases and the reason for us to do what we did.
    Mr Speaker, in paragraph 4.2, of the Report, we are informed that by so doing, the Fund was most likely going to accrue an extra GH¢100 million into the NHIL. This, we thought was an attempt by Government to be able to at least, get extra money to sort out the problems that are currently confronting the NHIS.
    Therefore, Mr Speaker, while the Committee does acknowledge these efforts, the Committee would however, want the Ministries of Health and Finance to appreciate the need to come together for a more permanent solution to address the current crises, and the seeming problems that may confront the NHIA over the time.
    Mr Speaker, as have been stated elsewhere, to some of us, these actions amount to tinkering and therefore, we would wish that a more or bolder solution be taken, and that is about concurrently amending the GIF Act and the NHIA Act, and transferring the one per cent out of the 2.5 percentage points of the VAT allocated to the Ghana Infrastructure Fund (GIF).
    This means that the NHIA will then be getting about 40 per cent of the amount that has been allocated through the VAT to the GIF. That is what we believe will be a bolder attempt to resolve the problem instead of tinkering with and trying to get a GH¢100 million here and GH¢20 million there to try to resolve issue.
    That is fire-fighting and we do not believe that that is the real solution to the problem.
    Mr Speaker, we believe that by so doing, we would be getting around GH¢ 500,000,000 and that should be a very bold way of finding a solution to the problems confronting the National Health Insurance Authority.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to associate with the Motion on the floor. I would then ask Hon Members to support it, but then to impress upon Government to see the need for a bolder solution to the problem instead of the tinkering that we are seeing now.
    2573National Health Insurance 26 March, 2015 (Amdt) Bill, 2015 -- 2R 25742571 National Health Insurance 26 March, 2015 (Amdt) Bill, 2015 -- 2R 2572
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, did you want to contribute? I am sorry, you did not catch my eye.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The National Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2015, accordingly read a Second time.
    Hon Members, item number 10.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 6:50 p.m.

    STAGE 6:50 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh) 6:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, The Long Title -- line 2, delete “under the National Health Insurance Levy” and insert “in respect of exempt supplies”.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    The Long Title as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage.
    Item number 12 -- Hon Minister?
    Mr J. Y. Chireh 6:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 6:50 p.m.

    Mr Agbesi 6:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 2 on the Order Paper Addendum.
    Dr Prempeh 6:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are at a very crucial stage in the Business of the House, and I am wondering if the Whips can whip more people to come. This is because Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 6:50 p.m.
    Hon Dr Prempeh, the Whips are doing that.
    MOTIONS 6:50 p.m.

    Mr J. K. Avedzi 6:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 7 p.m.

    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 7 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman has mentioned one of the most important amendments being made to this Bill, which is the creation of the Ghana Revenue Authority General Refund Account.
    But clause 1 which amends section 3 of the VAT Act, paragraph 5.2:
    “To mandate a taxable person who is an estate developer who supplies an immovable property to account the tax payable under that section at a flat rate of 5 per cent”.
    Mr Speaker, this is another important amendment that we have to take note of.
    Mr Speaker, those are the few words I would want to add to the contribution.
    I thank you.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015 read the Second time.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7 p.m.
    Just a slight comment.
    I think this is one of the longest preamble I have ever seen to any Act.
    Mr J. K. Avedzi 7 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATAION 7 p.m.

    STAGE 7 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 7 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3 -- subclause (1), line 1 after “amount” insert “of”
    The new rendition will read;
    “the Minister shall set aside an amount of not more than 4 per cent.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 4-6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Long Title --
    Mr Avedzi 7 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title -- line 3, after “developers” insert “to establish Ghana Revenue Authority General Refund Account”
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    The Long Title as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7 p.m.
    That brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage.
    Hon Deputy Minister, item numbered
    (6).
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 7:10 p.m.

    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we go back to the main Order Paper, item number 31.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy,
    EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to fifty-one thousand, six hundred and thirteen Ghana cedis and thirty-seven Ghana pesewas (GH¢51,613.37 [VAT/NHIL]) and two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, two hundred and sixty-one United States dollars (US$268,261.00 [Customs duties]) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Geo- Engineering Corporation under the China- Aided Basic School Project at Otuam and Arkra in the Central Region may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with the Hon Chairman's permission, the earlier application applies that wherever we have dollars, the Clerks would put the cedi equivalent of the dollar amount. With that amendment, I beg to second the Motion.
    Deputy Speaker: I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    32.
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to fifty-one thousand, six hundred and thirteen Ghana cedis and thirty-seven Ghana pesewas
    (GH¢51,613.37 [VAT/NHIL]) the cedi equivalent of two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, two hundred and sixty-one United States dollars (US$268,261.00 (cedi equivalent)[Customs duties]) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Geo-Engineering Corporation under the China-Aided Basic School Project at Otuam and Arkra in the Central Region.
    Mr Speaker, I have presented the Report in the morning but I would read the conclusion that refers to this particular Motion.
    “That the Committee having carefully examined the referral recommends to the House to adopt and approve by Resolution in accordance with article 174 (2) of the Constitution. The request for waiver of import duty totalling GH¢51,613.37 and cedi equivalent of US$268,216 for the China-aided projects involving China Geo-Engineering Corpora- tion.
    Respectfully submitted”.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this Report was read earlier in the morning. So, Hon Members are conversant with the content of the Committee's Report.
    I beg to second the Motion that we adopt the Report.
    Question put and Motion agreed.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 33 -- Resolution.
    RESOLUTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House is respectfuly requested to adopt the following Resolution:
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 174 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament is empowered to confer power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by an Act of Parliament;
    THE EXERCISE of any power conferred on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax in favour of any person or authority is by the said provisions made subject to the prior approval of Parliament by Resolution;
    BY THE COMBINED operation of the provisions of section 26 (2) of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 330), the Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503), the Export Development and Investment Fund Act, 2000 (Act 582), the Value Added Tax Act, 1998 (Act 546), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2000 (Act 579) and other existing laws and Regulations applicable to the collection of customs duties and other taxes on the importation of goods into Ghana, the Minister for Finance may exempt any statutory corporation, institution or individual from the payment of duties and taxes otherwise payable under the said laws and regulations or waive or vary the requirement of such statutory corporation, institution or individual to pay such duties and taxes;
    Mr Avedzi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 25.
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to six million, twenty-four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three United States dollars and eight cents (US$6,024,823.08) on project materials and equipment to be
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP-- Old Tafo) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the request for waiver of Import Duty, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to six million, twenty-four thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three United States dollars and eight cents (US$6,024,823.08) (cedi equivalent) on project materials and equipment to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (authorised by the Chinese Government) under the China-aided Stadium Project in Cape Coast.
    Introduction
    The request for waiver of Import Duty, import VAT, ECOWAS levy, EDAIF levy, inspection fees withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to the cedi equivalent of six million, twenty-four thousand, eight hundred and twenty- three United States dollars, right cents (US$6,024,823.08)(cedi equivalant) on project materials and equipment to be procured locally or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Jiangxi Corporation for Interna-tional Economic and Technical Coopera-tion(authorised by the Chinese Govern-ment under China-aided Stadium Project in Cape Coast was presented to Parliament on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Thursday19th March, 2014.
    The Hon First Deputy Speaker referred the request to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174 (2) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and officials from the Ministry of Finance and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). The Committee is grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister and officials for their assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana;
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.


    Finance should ensure that the final waiver would be reassessed and verified by the Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) upon arrival of the items in the country. Further, the Monitoring Unit of the Tax Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance should conduct an audit of the items that would be imported or purchased locally to ensure that there is value for money and the items for which the exemption is being given are not diverted.

    Conclusion

    The Committee has carefully examined the referral and recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve by resolution, request for waiver of Import Duty, import VAT, ECOWAS levy, EDAIF levy, inspection fees, withholding tax and other related taxes amounting to four million, seven hundred and one thousand, three hundred and eighty United States dollars, sixty cents (US$4,701,380.60) and four million, eight hundred and seventeen thousand, nine hundred and ninety-two Ghana cedis, thir ty-five pesewas (GH¢4,817,992.35) on project materials and equipment to be procured locally or imported for use in the implementation of the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (authorised by the Chinese Government under China-aided stadium Project in Cape Coast in accordance with article 174 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

    Respectfully submitted.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. In so doing, just to make a brief comment. Mr Speaker, just like the earlier tax waivers, we are told that, these are grants that are being used to finance the projects.
    The contracts have been signed between the Chinese Government and Chinese company. For that reason, they have not been brought to Parliament. It does not have to be. It will only be fair that the respective Ministry, in this case, the Ministry for Youth and Sports, makes such contract available to us for our information so we know the content of this particular contract.
    With these few words, I urge Hon Members to adopt the Report of the Committee.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 27 -- Resolution.
    RESOLUTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    34
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.


    7. 20 p.m.
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount of twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Accounts (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electr icity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I thought you said you had five items? Now, they are about seven or eight.
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number
    35.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    Item number what?
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Item number 35.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    All right.
    MOTIONS 7:10 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Avedzi) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount of twenty- eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Accounts (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project.
    In so doing, I present the Report.
    Introduction
    The two requests were presented to the House on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Friday, 20th March, 2015 in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker referred the requests to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by the Hon Deputy Ministers for Finance and Power, Messrs Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and John Jinapor and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Power. The Committee is grateful to the Deputy Ministers and the officials for their assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana
    The Loans Act 1970 ( Act 335)
    Background
    The Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project draws on the ongoing Ghana Energy Development Access Programme (GEDAP) which is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and many other donor partners (DPs) including the World Bank and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
    (SECO).
    The main objective of the project is to improve the Ghanaian population's access to reliable and quality electricity services by reinforcing and extending ECG's distribution system and deploying off- grid systems.
    Under the first phase of GEDAP, the Bank invested in the Kumasi second Bulk Supply Point (BSP) and some High Voltage Distribution Systems (HVDS) in Accra and Kumasi. This phase is, therefore, intended to complement the earlier investment by focusing on reinforcement of the low voltage network within ECG's eastern and Western part of the Ashanti operational areas.
    Terms and Conditions of the Facility
    The facility is a 100 per cent credit facility with the following terms:
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP-- Old Tafo) 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I would have wanted not to say anything about this loan, but given the events of last couple of days, I am compelled to say something about this.
    Mr Speaker, this is the organisation that allegedly, in January of this year, put Ghana on the sanctions list. AfDB, in January of this year, in their own --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    You said they did what in January this year?
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:10 p.m.
    They told the world that they put Ghana on the sanctions list for a probable default in January. In February, they sent that information round. As they found that two days ago that it had been mentioned in a public lecture, they wrote a press release not acknowledging the fact that January was when they sanctioned Ghana and pretending that it was done in February.
    The inter office memorandum, I have it here -- Do you want me to read it? January, 2nd was the date of the sanction. The point is -- listen that if AfDB had made an administrative error, they should come clean. On January 31st you wrote a letter and sanctioned somebody, then in March, you are saying that Dr Bawumia is wrong.

    Mr Speaker, listen carefully, they made a mistake on January 31st administratively; one office did not contact the other. Instead of apologising to Ghana -- [Interruption.] -- they did not. They are pretending that they only sanctioned Ghana in February.

    As Ghanaians, we should be happy that I am chastising them for what they did wrong to Ghana. That is what I am doing. My Hon Colleague, Bugri Naabu is saying hehehe. What is it my Hon Friend, Bugri Naabu?

    Mr Speaker, I think that even though they are giving us a very concessionary loan, which I think we shall accept, it should not happen again that way, when Ghana has paid them and they internally do not communicate with each other -- they told the world in January that they had officially sanctioned Ghana.
    Mr Forson 7:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order to indeed, explain what happened at AfDB.
    Mr Speaker, inasmuch as we have to talk about what actually happened between AfDB and their internal memorandum, it is also important that we state the facts very clear. Mr Speaker, the AfDB never went public by sending a memorandum or putting on their website that Ghana had been sanctioned. There was an internal memorandum within the AfDB of which it was meant to go for approval to sanction Ghana based on errors that somebody had noticed.
    Mr Speaker, as a result, the initial memorandum from the AfDB said they noticed it the very same day and corrected it as such. So, the AfDB never went public by announcing to the world that Ghana had been sanctioned. It is important that we point that clear.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance of Ghana would be making this statement. Mr Speaker, with your permission I beg to quote,
    “February, 17…”
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the AfDB is an international organisation to which Ghana belongs --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi?
    Mr Agbesi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as much as my Hon Colleague, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee is entitled to make his point, l believe that he must supply the source of his information, not from his phone.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would be glad to. I shall forward it to Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, please, this is not politics. Ghana is a member of the AfDB. In fact, as I speak, we have a staff of Ghana representing Ghana at the headquarters. We subscribe membership fees -- our people work in AfDB, if they see an office memorandum that says something bad about Ghana, it is their obligation to report to us. That is why we sent them there. That is why you the Hon Minister, you are a director there.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:10 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, I have recognised the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
    Mr Avedzi 7:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what is the issue about Ghana being sanctioned by the AfDB? What surprises me and what the Hon Ranking Member of the Finance Committee is trying to defend is that, if the one who gave the lecture is actually on top of issues, he would have known that AfDB had never sanctioned Ghana and for that matter, they are even giving loans to Ghana as at the current time he was giving the lecture.
    If he has an internal memorandum, through whatever means, that Ghana was sanctioned and he was going to give a lecture two or three days ago at the same time that the same AfDB was giving loans to Ghana, he would have known that, after all, Ghana was not sanctioned and that the Bank was still giving loans to Ghana. But he went ahead and gave that lecture and he is here defending that thing, that he got a copy of the internal memorandum.
    He should know that Ghana was not sanctioned and that AfDB was still giving loans to Ghana.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, sometimes we get so politicised that even when we ought to defend our country, we are defending somebody who has messed us up. When I read it to you, you would know what it is. Dated February 17 -- [Interruption]
    Mr Agbesi 7:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have already made my point that if he has his source, he should bring it and let us debate it and not read from his phone. He cannot read from his phone because how do I know how he put that information on his phone?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, we are aware the procedure is that when you intend to rely on a document, you add the source, state it and lay it on the Table. The problem is that our Standing Orders are a little electronically challenged. I am at a loss how to proceed, but I intend to seek advice from two Hon Members. Is Hon Yieleh Chireh here?
    An Hon Member 7:30 p.m.
    No!
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:30 p.m.
    Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, I will seek advice from you first. If they ask that the document be laid if it is being read and then -- [Interruptions.]
    Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, if we could seek your guidance.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 7:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this has really brought to the fore the limitation of our Standing Orders. Fortunately, this was foreseen by the House. So, I believe we can take refuge in Order 6 and with your kind permission, I beg to read:
    “In all cases not provided for in these Orders Mr Speaker shall make provisions as he deems fit.”
    Mr Speaker, we are entirely at your mercy. Now, the Standing Orders are in your bosom and you can make provisions as you deem fit under these circumstances.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, you know I am not one to shirk responsibilities. I will want a contribution from the Majority as well. It is an interesting point. This is not the first time that I have seen Hon Members refer to their phones and we are all aware that there is a lot of information that one can get electronically. You can access the information from your iPad, computer or phone as they have all become important sources. The question is, what is the process of admitting such information and who is prepared to talk on this technical issue?
    Do you want to talk on this, Hon Member? I will take another comment.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 7:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    In seeking the guidance, I wanted to seek some clarification first before I bring my contribution.
    I think what Mr Speaker said was that when an Hon Member makes a rendition and decides to produce the source, do we lay the source, the information or paper containing the information that the Hon Member is making the reference to?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, we have always been thinking in terms of paper and that is the problem. So, we say “lay the paper” and the Hon
    Member would triumphantly carry his paper and come and lay it. But you and I agree -- I am not ruling on the authenticity or otherwise of the source; that there is a lot of information which is not -- In fact, I am told that in India, Estonia or one of these Parliaments, there is even no paper. These days you and I are aware that we receive our Votes and Proceedings and Standing Orders electronically. So, we are slowly coming to that divide.
    This morning, I was told by the Registrar of Companies that by April 16, God willing, you can register your company online. There is a e-Government project. So, if Parliament is still stuck in its own dinosauric ways, when it comes to paper -- Let me make my ruling.
    I am of the view that I would accept this, subject to the Hon Member providing the hard copy at the next Sitting. If he fails to provide the hard copy, he will apologise and it will be expunged from the records.
    So, Hon Member, continue.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I would be much obliged to provide you with the hard copy. I do not know what deadline you set.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:30 p.m.
    At the next Sitting.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:30 p.m.
    You will get it before then. The source is inter-office memorandum, African Development Bank -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Agbesi 7:30 p.m.
    By your direction --
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:30 p.m.
    Please, Mr Speaker has ruled, so, respect him. [Interruptions.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Members! Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I will also appreciate it if -- it is so late in the day.
    Hon Agbesi, are you challenging my ruling?
    Mr Agbesi 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have made your ruling. We have no reason to disagree with your ruling. But at the tail end of your ruling, you said you would accept it subject to the production of the hard copy. I just want to know when that would be produced.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    I said that by the next Sitting date. At the next Sitting date, if the hard copy has not been laid by then, it would be expunged from the records. I direct that this should be expunged --
    Yes Hon Ablakwa, I will call you.
    Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa 7:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I am seeking your guidance on a related matter. Are we allowed to refer to a document that is an internal memorandum, which is not yet a public document? The ruling is a very wise one which we all agree with, and I think it is very progressive. I am now speaking to a different matter which has to do with an internal memorandum which has been intercepted.
    Is it proper, administratively and legally for this august House to now accept that document when we do not even know how it was intercepted and whether it was even intercepted through lawful means? Are we permitted to utilise and access such a document?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, indeed, my guidance on the part of what has been said now is, we

    should admit it and then we can comment on it. I will then give the opportunity to any member who wants to comment on it and in commenting, the person can make these --

    Hon Akoto Osei, with respect, we want to conclude this matter very quickly and so, do not let us -- Please, continue.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    To Directors of Directors, et cetera.
    From A. Odukomaiya; Director, FFCO
    Subject: Regional Member States under sanctions as at 31st January, 2015.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Agbodza 7:40 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it looks like today, everybody wants to be “Mr Speaker”. It is only the Hon Speaker, who rules on matters like that. Please, respect the Chair.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, it is only the Hon Speaker too who decides that “only the Hon Speaker decides.” So, please, do not assist me.
    Can you resume your seat?
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Countries --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, do you have a copy of this document?
    Mr Agbodza 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if the document he is reading is the internal memorandum, then he is not even telling the truth. This is because, he must read the entire document with the title and everything. I have something similar, and so, what he is reading is different.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, continue -- [Interruptions.]
    Hon Members, please, let us have some Order. Hon Members, including those who are shouting “yes” and “no”, I will name and shame very soon.
    Hon Members, I will not allow -- when Mr Speaker is speaking, please, sit down. Let us bring this Sitting to a decent end; I am appealing to you. If we degenerate, it would start chaos and perhaps, I will do things which would not be too nice.
    Hon Akoto Osei, continue. When he finishes, I will give -- you have been advised that other people have similar documents and so, if you are reading it, be exact and do not edit.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it reads;
    “Countries where signature of new loan agreements, disbursements on all Bank Group on-going projects and the granting of any new loans have been suspended for arrears over one month are as follows: Djibouti, Ghana, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Woyome, do you have a point of order?
    Mr Woyome 7:40 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, actually, I would want to understand what my Hon Colleague is reading. Unfortunately, I do not understand French. Mr Speaker, I need your guidance on whatever he is reading, whether he would continue to read the French which I do not understand, and I would like to know whether it is proper and appropriate under this circumstance.
    Mr Daniel Botwe 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think you have given the ruling and it is important that all of us do not try to undermine it. If Hon Akoto Osei has been asked to read the text, we should allow him to finish and after that Hon Members, -- [Interruption.]
    Hon Members know that in our Standing Orders, if one makes a statement that is not in English, one is allowed to translate it. He should be allowed to finish making his statement and then, he would translate it. It is clear in the Standing Orders and I think that any attempt from Hon Members to keep on standing and wanting to be called is undermining the ruling. This is because, he will never finished reading.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for his information, I read the English version and my Hon Friend who is a French man asked me to read it all. I do not know whether he is tired or his mind is elsewhere. It is the French version of the English version that I read.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Akoto Osei, you have read the document that you have in English, and now, you are reading the French version?
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is because, they say I should read the full document. --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Who said it? I am at a lost. If you have read the English version, you do not need to read the French.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me continue on it then.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Who is commenting on it?
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am finishing. The effective date for Ghana; 2nd January, 2015. This letter is dated 17th February, 2015.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Is it a letter, or an internal memorandum?
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:40 p.m.
    It is an inter-office memorandum.
    Baba Jamal M. Ahmed: Mr Speaker, our Hon Colleague has read a statement and thus read a document that is supposed to be an internal memorandum.
    Mr Speaker, notwithstanding your ruling that we should accept what he has said subject to providing the hard copy, I think it is very sad that he makes reference to an internal memorandum of an institution that was unethically mentioned by someone at a lecture somewhere. It is very unethical; and the person who made this statement should have crosschecked to know that there was a reversal.
    Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Akwatia, who just walked into the Chamber, was not even
    privy to the Standing Order you read to the House concerning addressing Hon Colleagues.
    He walks into the House without even listening --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Thank you Hon Member.
    Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to seek your guidance on something.
    This is a House of Hon Members of Parliament. Mr Speaker, this is your House and it is your Chamber. If we have Hon Members who should have good manners and know how to talk in this House -- [Uproar] -- and they scream and throw their hands about -- [Interruption]
    Mr Gabriel Essilfie 7:40 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Dome Kwabenya should withdraw and apologise to this House for the use of “Hon Members, not having good manners”. That is an insult and it is improper. She should withdraw that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, withdraw the statement.
    Ms Safo 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not conclude my sentence and so, I would like to conclude. What I said Mr Speaker -- [Interruption]
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, resume your seat.
    Hon Member, I will not allow you to conclude. Withdraw your statement and then continue.
    Ms Safo 7:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I respect the Chair and I withdraw --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:40 p.m.
    Do not tell me whether you respect the Chair.
    Ms Safo 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement.
    My statement is that, when Hon Members of Parliament — Hon Member from Akwatia, Hon Baba Jamal M. Ahmed stood up and in trying to express his opinion, was on top of his voice, shouting and throwing his hands about — [Uproar] — This is not acceptable. He was reacting to a statement which was made by a senior Hon Member of this House —[Uproar] — If we want this House to have decorum in our arguments, then we should watch the way we speak — [Interruption]
    Baba Jamal M. Ahmed -- rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, I have recognised Hon Baba Jamal.
    Baba J. Ahmed: On a point of Order.
    Mr Speaker, in this House, despite the fact that we respect seniority, when we are here, we are all here as Hon Members of Parliament in our own rights, representing the good people of our various constituencies. I expressed an opinion, I do not know what the Hon Member is referring to, as speaking on top of my voice. My voice is a man's voice poised to express itself.
    An Hon Member made a statement, by reading or referring to a document and I am saying that it is not right to refer to an internal memorandum that has not been approved —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Baba Jamal, you have made your point.
    Hon Members, I am an Hon Member like you. I have been excited in speaking as an Hon Member before. Let us take this thing in our strides. I do not see anything wrong with the way Hon Baba Jamal spoke. As Hon Members, including
    myself, we sometimes get excited and use both hands and so on, I think it is all done in good faith.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just want to support your just concluded statement, that as much as possible, if all Hon Members of Parliament, from both sides could help you to manage this House by being decorous -- at least, we have a lot of business before us — to allow each other to be heard, so that we can make progress.
    I am just pleading with the Leadership opposite to help, so that we will together help you to manage this House to have some order to enable you carry the business of the day to an end. We would be grateful if we could all hear one another, so that we would make some progress.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    In fact, if Parliament was like a graveyard, it would be boring. There are times that these things happen.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Member for Dome/Kwabenya, on the substance of the argument, do you have a point of order or yours is to do with the — All right.
    Mr Ablakwa 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just want to state for the records that, contrary to an internal memorandum which is the beginning of preliminary processes, the African Development Bank, yesterday, 25th March, 2015, issued a statement and it stated and I beg to quote:
    “We wish to state that Ghana is current on all its obligations with the African Development Bank. Accordingly, Ghana is not on the list of countries under sanctions by the African Development Bank. The Bank wishes to state that, on 18th February, 2015, due to an administrative oversight, Ghana was erroneously

    included in the list of countries under sanctions by the African Development Bank. However, the error was detected that same day and a corrected list was immediately issued in replacement.”
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I need your guidance. I was contributing to a Motion and I sought your permission to read an inter-office memorandum. Suddenly, somebody is debating something that I have not even finished. I just need your guidance. I never finished —
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, I will recognise you in a minute. Before I recognise you, I will make the same order applicable to Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
    You should make the hard copy available by the next Sitting date or it would be expunged from the record.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there are two things. No one here has asked the Hon Member for the source of what he read —[Uproar.]
    Mr Speaker, secondly, what he read confirms what I said — Administrative what? What word did he use? On whose part? On the African Development Bank (ADB's) part? That is the point I was making. You know how nature works? That is why I said when people get up and said “hehehe” -- He is confirming what I said.
    Mr Speaker, the point I made was that, as Ghanaians, even though we are borrowing from them, if they make an administrative mistake, we should make them apologise to us and that is the essence of my argument—[Hear! Hear!] What I read to you indicate that, as of 17th February, they put us on sanctions --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Dr Akoto Osei, please, conclude.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:50 p.m.
    Do you understand what I am saying?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    Hon Dr Akoto Osei, I will take it that you have concluded. If you continue that conversation —
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, no! I am not talking to him. I am addressing the Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I said that the loan had a reasonable good grant element. We are accepting it, but the fact that we are borrowing from them, does not mean that when they make a mistake, we cannot speak our minds to that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 7:50 p.m.
    You have made that point.
    Dr A. A. Osei 7:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ablakwa 7:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to say that, to be fair to the African Development Bank, they said they had corrected the error the same day on their website — [Interruption]—We have seen the evidence of that. They did correct the error and this whole agenda is clear.
    A leading member of the Hon Member's party has made a mistake, and he does not want to apologise for misleading Ghanaians and he wants us to rather blame the African Development Bank. It is not fair. The African
    Development Bank made a mistake and corrected it that same day. Dr Bawumia had six weeks to prepare for his lecture. He had to just make sure that he came to read the facts and not to mislead his audience. So, he should not hold brief for Dr Bawumia.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Hon Members, there is a certain practice in this House, that we do not turn to bring people who are not present in the House into the argument. There is a certain convention we have developed. The main point is that the person is not here to defend himself. Nobody can defend himself better than the person.
    He made a point and you have also made your point. Do not let us make this our session, a session on anybody. I will not accept any more contributions on this matter —
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Hon Isaac K. Asiamah, do you have something to say?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    I will not reduce this to a discussion on Dr Bawumia because he is not here to defend himself. That has been our practice.
    Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, with respect --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin, are you Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?

    I have recognised Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, can you kindly repeat your statement? I did not here you well.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    That, when a person who is not a Member of Parliament but a member of the public, do we allow him to be made the subject matter of --
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 8 p.m.
    Certainly not, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    The answer from Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah is certainly, not. The answer from the Speaker is also certainly, not. I have curtailed that --
    Mr I. K. Asiamah — rose --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    No, Hon I. Asiamah, I will not recognise you.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 8 p.m.
    But what he said should be expunged from the records, which is the practice here. That whatever he has said about Dr Bawumia should be expunged from the records, so that we know that it has not been admitted here. That should be made clear.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    If I am going to direct that something be expunged from the records, then I will direct that the comments made by Hon Dr A. A. Osei, Hon Baba Jamal Ahmed, Hon Ablakwa, my dear Friend and all those comments about AfDB be expunged from the records and I do not think that it is so serious to be expunged from the records.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    We have two different views about something but I am saying that I will not allow it to continue.
    Hon Dr A. A. Osei, do you want me to expunge it from the records?
    Dr A. A. Osei 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know what I said that should be expunged.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    It is nothing.
    Dr A. A. Osei 8 p.m.
    Since you were saying that what I said should be expunged, I do not know what I said.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    What you said in relation to the Memorandum you read; do you want it to be expunged from the records?
    Dr A. A. Osei 8 p.m.
    You allowed me to read it and that is all.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Thank you Hon Members.
    Those who spoke softly and those who said their voices were bold or that they had manly voices, gesticulating with both left and r ight hands [Laughter,] and to all of you.
    Thank you.
    I will put the Question. [Interruption]. What is the Question?
    I will not tell you. If you are Sitting in this House and you are not following the Motion that was moved and seconded and it was for the consideration of the House and it was debated for a long time that Hon Baba Jamal who was not even here at the beginning came and contributed and you are telling me you do not know what we are doing, then I will not tell you.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Agbesi 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can take the Resolution on the item 36 -- Item number, 36.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Item numbered 36?
    RESOLUTIONS 8 p.m.

    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 8 p.m.

    Mr Avedzi 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Yes, Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 8 p.m.
    Item numbered 37.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 8 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least,
    forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the On-lending/Subsidiary Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for a Ghana cedi equivalent of twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Account (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project may be moved today.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Yes, Ranking Member?
    Dr A. A. Osei 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 8 p.m.
    Item 38.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Chairman of Committee?
    On-Lending/Subsidiary Agreement between Government of Ghana and the
    Electricity Company of Ghana to support Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the On-lending/Subsidiary Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for a Ghana cedi equivalent of twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Accounts (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project.

    So doing I present your Committee's Report.

    Introduction

    The two requests were presented to the House on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Friday, 20th March, 2015 in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker referred the requests to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.

    The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by the Hon Deputy Ministers forFinance and Power, Messrs. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and John Jinapor and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Power. The Committee is grateful to the Deputy Ministers and officials for their assistance.

    Reference

    The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:

    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana;

    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana;

    The Loans Act, 1970 ( Act 335).

    Background

    The Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and External Project draws on the ongoing Ghana Energy Develop- ment Access Programme (GEDAP) which is being supported by the African Develop-ment Bank (AfDB) and many other Donor Partners (DPs) including the World Bank and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

    The main objective of the project is to improve the Ghanaian population's access to reliable and quality electricity services by reinforcing and extending ECG's distribution system and deploying off- grid systems.

    Under the first Phase of GEDAP, the Bank invested in the Kumasi second Bulk Supply Point (BSP) and some High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) in Accra and Kumasi. This Phase is therefore intended to complement the earlier investment by focusing on reinforcement of the low voltage network within ECG's Eastern and Western part of the Ashanti operational areas.

    Terms and Conditions of the Facility

    The facility is a 100 per cent credit facility with the follows terms:
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 8 p.m.
    ADF Loan Amount -- UA 28.6 m (US$42.90 m)
    Grant Amount -- UA 19.86 m (US$29.79)
    Interest Rate on ADF Loan -- No interest charge
    Service Charge on ADF Loan -- 0.75 per cent per annum on the principal amount of the loan disbursement and
    outstanding from time to time
    Commitment Charge -- 0.50 per cent per annum on undisbursed portion of the ADF loan
    Grace Period -- 10 years
    Re-payment Period -- 40 years (exclusive of grace period). Re-payment of the principal commences 10 years from the date of this agreement, at the rate of 1 per cent per annum from the 11th to 20th year inclusive and the rate of 3 per cent per annum thereafter.
    Repayment shall be made semi-annually on 1st April and 1st October each year.
    Concessionality Rate -- 75.0 per cent.
    Components of the Project
    The project comprise three main components with each having sub- components. The components are described below:
    Component A: Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension
    This component involves activities that will improve the performance of ECG's distribution system. This component has five sub-components, to be implemented as follows:
    A.1. Construction of Kasoa BSP Substation: this will involve the construction of a new 161/33 kV 4x50/66 MVA Bulk Supply Point (BSP) substation at Kasoa and 33 kV circuits to link the BSP to the existing stations. This subcomponent will relieve the strain on the existing BSPs serving the rapidly growing Kasoa area.
    A.2. Construction of Juaboso BSP and Asankragwa Substation: There will be the construction of a new 161/33 kV,
    2X25/33 MVA BSP substation at Juabeso and 33kV circuits to link the BSP to existing stations as well as a new 33kV switching station and 33kV circuit to tie into existing network at Asankragwa. This subcomponent will relieve the strain on the existing BSPs serving the rapidly growing Juaboso area and provide redundancy and operational flexibility in the Asankragwa area.
    A.3. Distribution Network Reinforcement: This will involve the reinforcement of ECG's distribution network in the Eastern and Western parts of Ashanti Region. This subcomponent will add or replace network equipment (11 kV/400 V distribution transformers, ring mains units, etc) and materials (conductors, cables, poles, etc.) to improve voltage and supply reliability in the region.
    A.4. Grid Intensification: This will comprise the reinforcement of the existing power distribution system and extension of the system to cover the un-electrified portions of the peri-urban or rural communities in the Kasoa, Juaboso, Asankragwa and the Volta Region.
    A.5. Supervision Consultancy Services: This sub-component will make it possible for the hiring of a consultant who will be in charge of the management and supervision of the works.

    Component B: Off-grid Renewable Energy Electrification:

    This component involves activities that will deploy off-grid solar PV systems to electr ify 60 lakeside and island communities having more than 1,000 inhabitants and public facilities such as schools and clinics in 10 districts in the Volta and Eastern Regions. The component has two subcomponents:

    B.1. Supply and Installation of Solar Systems: Consists of the procurement and installation of one 500Wp solar PV system, three 100Wp solar systems for staff of the public facility, four, 100Wp solar street lighting systems and one 200Wp phone/battery charging services centre for each of the 60 target communities.

    B.2. Supervision Consultancy Services: Involves the hiring of a consultant to be in charge of the management and supervision of the works.

    Component C: Institutional Development and Capacity Building:

    This component will support interventions that would empower key institutions in the sector and enable them to discharge their mandates in accordance with practice performance standards. The component has six subcomponents:

    C.1. Renewable Energy Authority: This involves the recruitment of a consultant to define a framework for the establishment and operationalisation of the Renewable Energy Authority (REA) responsible for overseeing the implementation of renewable energy policies as defined by the Renewable Energy Law (Act 832) of the country.

    C.2. Geographic Information System: this will entail the implementation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) in ECG's network.

    C.3. Mini-micro Hydropower Studies: consist of the development/update of pre- feasibility studies for 10 medium-sized potential mini-hydropower sites.

    C.4. ECG Development: This will consist of the various training programmes to enhance the operational capacity of staff in areas of project management, engineering, procurement, SCADA operations, energy efficiency management, tariff designs, et cetera, and improve the institutions operational and financial performance to be agreed upon with the Bank during project implementation.

    C.5. Sector Development: This involves institutional development of the main sector stakeholders, including Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC); Energy Commission (EC); Ministry of Power (MoP); and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    C.6. Project Implementation Support: Procurement of vehicles, tools and equipment including multimeters, simulation software, power quality analyzers, safety equipment, trumeters, computers, printers, office software, etc required to ensure effective project implementation and management will be taken care of under this sub-component.

    Observations

    Justification for the Request: Justifying the need for the facility, the Deputy Minister for Power indicated that the growing urbanisation and robust economic growth in Ghana has significantly increased the country's

    demand for electricity. According to the Deputy Minister, currently, about 620 per cent of households nationwide have access to electricity, but only one- third of households have access to electricity in rural areas.

    The growth in electricity demand combined with insufficient investment in the electricity network development in the past, the Deputy Minister added has led to considerable strain on the distribution network.

    The Deputy Minister was therefore, hopeful that the project would reinforce and extend ECG's distribution system and help GoG to achieve its objectives of ensuring availability of reliable and universal access to energy services for domestic use and for export by 2020 as stipulated in the ESDP (2010).

    Project Cost:

    The Committee observed that the total project cost, includes a 10 per cent provision for contingencies (5 per cent for price escalation and 5 per cent for physical contingencies), is estimated at (UA56.17) million out of which twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Account (UA28.6m) (equivalent to forty-two million, nine hundred thousand United States dollars (US$42.9m) is the Loan Facility, and nineteen million eight hundred and sixty thousand Units of Account ( UA19.86m) ( equivalent to twenty- nine million, seven hundred and ninety thousand United State dollars (US$29.79m) is the Grant Amount.

    The difference of UA 7.71m (equivalent US$11.6m) which constitutes a counterpart funding, the Committee noted will be financed by Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

    However, considering the current financial standing of ECG and the fact that disbursement of the Facility will be contingent on the provision of the counterpart funding on the part of ECG, the Committee recommends to the Ministries of Finance and Power to ensure that the difference is timely provided by ECG to avoid non-disbursement on the part of the lender.

    On-Lending Agreement

    The Committee also noted that in line with Government's new debt management strategy and also as part of the efforts to build the capacity of SOEs to borrow on their own balance sheets, the loan component of the facility amounting to UA28.60m (equivalent US$42.90m) is being on-lend to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on the same terms for the implementation of the project.

    The Committee, further noted that to ensure commitment to the repayment of the On-Lend Facility by ECG, ESCROW accounts (Principal Repayment Account and the Interest Payment Account) have been opened with the Bank of Ghana into which ECG shall pay the principal, all commitment charges and service charges.

    The Committee, however, observed that all charges incurred in maintaining and withdrawing funds from the Escrow Account shall be paid by the Ministry of Finance.

    Conclusion

    The Committee having carefully examined the referral is of the view that the successful implementation of the project will help improve access to reliable and quality electr icity services by reinforcing and extending ECG's distribution system and deploying off- grid systems. Further the project will
    Dr A. A. Osei (NPP--Olde Tafo) 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on item number 38, I beg to second the Motion first and then I am ceding my contribution to my Hon Colleague here.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin (NPP - Effutu) 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution on this Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I am particularly happy that Government has deemed it fit and in accordance with the Constitution, we have this loan or On-lending/Subsidiary Agreement between the ECG and the company providing funding for the Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project.
    Mr Speaker, of course, the work of the ECG is very important and is key; we are all aware. It is, however, my hope that some other important national projects which are to be undertaken by ECG such as the Emergency Power Purchase Agreement between the ECG and Karpower, which strangely is being backed by a guarantee by the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) with a comfort letter from the Ministry of Finance, would be brought to this House for parliamentary scrutiny and approval.
    Mr Speaker, Government cannot choose to be selective in the way it approaches its responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, we are in an era of democratic accountability and transparency --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8 p.m.
    Is this matter in court?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, no! There is no matter in court. The references I am making are not matters in court.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    All right. It is because I read in the newspapers
    that there is a matter --
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what has been done is that, on the instructions of Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, I have written to Mr President to crave his indulgence to reconsider this decision of not bringing the Agreement to Parliament. So, it is not in court.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    But Hon Afenyo-Markin, in the finest tradition of the noble profession you belong to, when you write a petition on behalf of your client to a third party, you do not comment on it unless you receive a response. Am I correct?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, this is a matter already in this House. It has been raised on this very platform. So, I am making a contribution now in my capacity as a Member of Parliament and this is a matter of national interest. [Hear! Hear!] So, Mr Speaker, I am relating it to the very matter before us.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin, since this matter is not in court, I cannot stop you. All I can is that, from what I said, if you decide to take a cue, fine. If you think that you will want to continue, that is fine; you may continue.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    So, Mr Speaker, I am urging Government to ensure total compliance, ensure that it acts strictly within the confines of the law. Government cannot continue to be selective in the way it approaches its business and its relationship with this House.
    We get the Eurobond for approval. This facility has come to us for approval. So, the question is, what at all is in this power purchase agreement that Government is so adamant? [Interruption]. What at all is there? We have had the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) outgoing Director criticising the Government that this deal is too expensive and unsustainable.

    Mr Agbesi -- rose -- Listen to the Chair.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have not stopped me.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi.
    Mr Agbesi 8:10 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I am standing on a point of order on the issue of relevance --
    Mr Speaker, the fact that the Purchase Agreement has not been brought to this House, is a separate matter from the loan Agreement here, which is going to assist the Electricity Company of Ghana.
    The issue that has been raised by my Colleague, Hon Afenyo-Markin, is that Government is being selective in not bringing the Purchase Agreement to Parliament. I am saying that what is on the floor currently is the Motion captured in item 38, which is different from the fact that Government has not brought or Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has not brought the Purchase Agreement of another thing to this House.
    So, it is not relevant so far as the issue on the table is concerned.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is very relevant and I am grateful -
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    What is the relevance?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, [Interruption] Do you want me to justify the relevance?
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    I want you to tell me the relevance.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, the relevance here is that, we are dealing with two issues that contemporaneously are constitutional in nature and in one breadth, Government chooses to bring same for the consideration of the House.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    It is not relevant, Hon Afenyo-Markin.
    It is the same issue? Is it about the same transaction?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it has to do with Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) providing strength --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Is it about the same transaction?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, similar in nature; they are interrelated.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin, I uphold the point of order raised by Hon Agbesi. There is no relevance -- There is no nexus between what you are saying and what is here. I am not saying that what you are saying is wrong. No! But for our current situation, it is not too useful.
    Thank you.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    As Mr Speaker pleases.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I proceed.
    In this facility, we are told that no interest is being charged --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Hon Member for Sekondi, this “as Mr Speaker pleases”, do we use this court language here?

    Yes, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, I am sorry to bother you.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am sure the Hon Member has been influenced by his arguments before the Supreme Court. So, probably, he mistakenly took here to be the Supreme Court. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Then I have forgiven him. Hon Afenyo-Markin, I have forgiven you.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, this morning the Hon Majority Leader used “instructed” and when the Hon Minority Leader raised some objection as to the technicality, he explained that in the realms of the law, “instructed” means that he has firm information to proceed in a certain direction.
    Mr Speaker, all that I was trying to say is that, you ruled. You are well seated in the seat of this House. When your wisdom so directs, who am I, Mr Speaker? I am at your feet learning. That was why I said, “as Mr Speaker pleases”. But if that is so interpreted otherwise, I will replace same by saying that I have taken a cue.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Thank you.
    Continue.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I proceed.
    Having taken a cue and looking at the nature of this facility, it is so obvious that we are not being charged interest.
    However, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is charging some 0.75 per cent per annum. There is a commitment fee and the repayment is 40 years.
    Mr Speaker, the fact that we have 40 years to repay with the grace period of ten years, does not mean that this facility must be abused because we have a record. We have the Auditor-General in several Reports where Public Accounts Committee members have sat and --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Afenyo-Markin.
    I think you are in the process of concluding. Are you not?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    That, they have time and again, drawn the attention of this country to all the wanton abuse in the public sector. We procure a loan and it is to be used for a certain purpose, but it does not happen.
    Mr Speaker, for the 29th time, I will repeat that we have borrowed at a compound interest. [Interruption.] I am referring to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) [Uproar.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:10 p.m.
    Hon Afenyo-Markin, you are totally out of order.
    Please, resume your seat.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all that I am trying to say is that this facility, which is repayable, should not be used in a manner that the public would perceive this Government to be doing business as usual.
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:20 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi?
    Mr Agbesi 8:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as far as Hon Members of this House are concerned, every Hon Member must be given the chance to contribute. [Interruptions] --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:20 p.m.
    Hon Agbesi, I cannot hear you.
    Order! Order! Hon Members, please, let us hear the Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
    Mr Agbesi 8:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not think that Hon Members could gag any Hon Member from talking.
    Mr Speaker, I have listened to you give directions to the Hon Member for Effutu on one or two occasions. I think that he should be asked to take note and debate accordingly.
    But most of the time, Mr Speaker, he gets up and tries to put his case against the Government. Mr Speaker, I am not saying you should gag him, but you have given a direction which he must follow. Since you are in the Chair, you must be respected. I am pleading with him to respect the Chair.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:20 p.m.
    Hon Daniel Botwe?
    Mr Daniel Botwe 8:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think it is important that, just as the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said, we cannot gag people in the House. When these debates take place, Hon Members are free to advise and caution.
    What Hon Afenyo-Markin is saying is that this is a loan and the fact that the repayment period is 40 years, does not mean that it would not be repaid. It would
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:20 p.m.
    Hon Daniel Botwe, the question of relevance is not with regard to the latter part of his speech. It was about the constitutional matter - It was then that the question of relevance was raised and I asked him the relationship between the two. All I am saying is that nobody is seeking to gag anybody.
    I will, however, advise Hon Afenyo- Markin to try and conclude.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, like we experienced in the United States (US) Export-Import (Exim) loan, whereupon the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) was supposed to undertake some electri- fication projects in some rural areas, but certain cars ended up being purchased. Mr Speaker, it is a matter of public records that Lexus and some luxury cars were purchased; it is not my creation but it is a matter of track record.
    If the Auditor-General has come out to say that -- [Interruption] --
    rose
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 8:20 p.m.
    Hon Richard Quashigah, I am not recognising you.
    The Rt Hon Speaker is coming, please, sit down. [Pause] --
    MR SPEAKER
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader? [Pause] --
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    So, Mr Speaker, as I was saying, we have a situation where in the past, certain facilities were procured by ECG through the US Exim Facility. And per the Auditor- General's Report, certain vehicles were purchased which were not part of that very project.
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, you know this issue of the vehicles is before the Public Accounts Committee. So, please, when the Public Accounts Committee brings its Report, the issue would be debated.
    So, continue.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, basically, the point I am trying to drum home is that we should not have a situation whereby the public may think we procure a facility for a certain purpose, but we end up not using those funds judiciously for the intended purpose.
    Whatever way we look at this facility, it is repayable. Much as the initiative is commendable, it is the duty of the Executive, in ensuring the implementation of this project, to take steps that would make the facility that is being procured used for the intended purpose.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that our problem as a country, with respect to our indebtedness, can partly be blamed on our inability to utilise facilities which we procured for --
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, conclude.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, much as I support this facility, it is my prayer that the Government would do that, which is right in ensuring the funds are used wisely.
    Mr Agbesi 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have had a lot of contributors on this issue and the Hon Second Deputy Speaker was waiting to put the Question after the Hon Afenyo- Markin had ended his contribution.
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Item 39 on the Order Paper - -Consequential Resolution?
    RESOLUTIONS 8:25 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAS by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the Government of the Republic of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by a Resolution of Parliament;
    PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), at the request of the Government of the Republic
    Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of the On- lending/Subsidiary Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for a Ghana cedi equivalent of twenty-eight million, six hundred thousand Units of Account (UA28,600,000) [equivalent to US$42.90 million] to support the Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project.
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 8:25 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Abgesi 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can go to item 46 on page 23 of the Order Paper.
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Item 46 -Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    MOTIONS 8:25 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least, forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main for an amount of twenty-one million euros (€21,000,000.00) to support the District Development Facility, Phase III (DDF III) may be moved today.
    Dr A. A. Osei 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Speaker 8:25 p.m.
    Item 47 on the Order Paper.
    Government of Ghana/KfW, Frankfurt am Main Loan Agreement
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr James Klutse Avedzi) 8:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main for an amount of twenty-one million e(€21,000,000.00) to support the District Development Facility, Phase III (DDF III).
    Mr Speaker, I present the Committee's Report.
    Introduction
    The request for approval of the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main for an amount of twenty-one million euros (€21,000,000.00) to support the District Development Facility, Phase III (DDF III) was presented to the House on behalf of the Hon. Minister for Finance by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Cassiel Ato Baah Forson on Wednesday. 25 th March, 2015 in accordance with a181 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker referred the request to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
    Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met and considered the referral with the assistance of Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Hon Deputy Ministers for Finance and Local Government and Rural Development, Messrs Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and Emmanuel Kwodwo Agyekum and technical officers from the Ministries of Finance and Local Government and Rural Development.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister, Deputy Ministers and the officials from the two Ministries for the assistance.
    Reference
    The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
    The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
    The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana
    The Loans Act, 1970 ( Act 335)
    The Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main (“KfW”).
    Background
    The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in 2008, established the District Development Facility (DDF) in collaboration with its key development partners as part of efforts to increase efficiently, transparently and accountably, the performance of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
    Under the DDF, the Government mobilised financial resources as a discretionary funding incentive to those Assemblies which comply with rules, legal regulations and policies in the performance of their mandate. Compliance is determined through an assessment conducted annually using the Functional Organisational Assessment Tool (FOAT).
    The overall objective is to ensure efficient provision of basic community infrastructure and service delivery through judicious use of resources. Contributors to the District Development Fund (DDF) are the Government of Ghana and five Development partners specifically; the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA), German Development Bank (KfW), Agence Francaise de Development (AfD) and the Government of Switzerland through Swiss Confederation (SECO).
    The request therefore, is in respect of the German Development Bank (KfW) contribution to the programme.
    Objective
    The objective of the DDF is to:
    Mobilise additional financial resources for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies;
    provide incentive for performance for complying with Government of Ghana legal and regulatory framework;
    establish a link between performance assessments and capacity building support;
    ensure harmonised system for funding and capacity building support to MMDAs.
    Terms and Conditions of the Facility
    The facility has the following KfW terms:
    Loan amount -- €21.0 million
    Commitment fee -- 0.25 per cent per annum
    Interest -- 0.75 per annum
    Repayment period -- 30 years
    Grace period -- 10 years
    Maturity -- 40 years
    Grant element -- 60.17 per cent.
    Observations
    Background to the District Development Facility
    Commenting on the background to the facility and the programme, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development indicated that though there has been an increased volume of financial resources transferred to the Assemblies over the years, these have not matched the growing demand for services, hence the MMDAs have been faced with a financing gap that hampers their overall performance. The Minister added that as a result of this mismatch, MMDAs have
    Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP-- Old Tafo) 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. As it were, this is a District Development Fund (DDF) Facility which is intended to empower the District Assemblies. The important thing about this is that it is performance based and so, if a district does not do well, it does not get any or it gets very little. It is something that has been going on for some six or seven years and there are no issues with it.
    So, I urge Hon Members to adopt the Motion.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, listening to the Hon Ranking Member, there are no issues with it. So, I will put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, the Resolution?
    RESOLUTIONS 8:30 p.m.

    Minister for Finance) 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that
    WHEREAs by the provisions of article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), the terms and conditions of any loan raised by the
    Minister for Finance) 8:30 p.m.


    Government of the Republic of Ghana on behalf of itself or any public institution or authority shall not come into operation unless the said terms and conditions have been laid before Parliament and approved by a Resolution of Parliament;

    PURSUANT to the provisions of the said article 181 of the Constitution and sections 3 and 7 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335), at the request of the Government of the Republic of Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament the terms and conditions of a Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and KfW, Frankfurt am Main for an amount of twenty-one million euros (€21,000,000.00) to support the District Development Facility, Phase

    III (DDF III).
    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE 8:30 p.m.

    Chairman of Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Bagbin 8:30 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I have just been briefed that the House has done a yeoman's job and that the business on the Order Paper has been completed and it is left with the Closing Remarks.
    [Pause] -- Mr Speaker, I stand corrected. I would want to get the sense of the House -- That is the brief I have been given.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, you may recall that we deferred the presentation of the Business Statement. Do you intend to present it.
    Mr Bagbin 8:30 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker.
    When summoned by you, the Business Committee would do that.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    Very well. I agree entirely with you.
    Hon Minority Leader, do you have anything to say with regard to the Closing Remarks?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think in practice with parliamentary democracy, as established elsewhere, we need to do that. It represents an encapsulation of what has been done in the Meeting and I think that it is important that we state this fact. Even if it will be for some five or 10 minutes, is important that we state this.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    The Business Statement or the Closing Remarks?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect, I was not part of the Business Statement. I do not know what else to say to what the Hon Majority Leader, who is the Chairman of the Business Committee, has said.
    Mr Speaker 8:30 p.m.
    The Chairman of the Business Committee says that when the House reconvenes, he will present it. And I think that is alright.
    However, they can put the Business Statement in Hon Members' pigeonholes, to have an idea what we are likely to do when we reconvene.
    So, we now move to Closing Remarks.
    CLOSING REMARKS 8:30 p.m.

    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 8:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make these brief remarks.
    Mr Speaker, once again, by the grace of God and by dint of sheer enterprise, have successfully come to the end of our plenary Session for the First Meeting of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament. Accordingly and appropriately, we must show gratitude to God for granting us the favour of life, strength, vitality and vigour to go about our activities.
    Unquestionably, we have had an eventful Meeting, the high point of which was the President's presentation of his Message on the State of the Nation. As has become the practice of this House, it was subjected to intense scrutiny and debate. The trend of the debate followed the pattern of such subject matters -- the Majority benches praising to the high heavens every sentence of the President and the Minority benches critiquing every sentence.
    The Minority NPP parliamentary group, in the meantime, came out with what we considered to be the “Message on the True State of the Nation”. Juxtaposing the two, engendered a very healthy debate and further enriched the political discourse of this country.
    Mr Speaker, an emerging trend in these debates relating, especially to the two major epochal events in this House -- the Budget and Economic Policy as well as the Message on the State of the Nation -- is that, increasingly, space is being constricted and contracted, indeed, eroded for effective presenta- tion or debate by Hon Members.
    It is my suggestion that henceforth, for these two very important debates, we must expand the space and time to afford meaningful interventions, which would better inform and add value as well, as serve research and posterity better than the current practice of allocating not more than 10 minutes or sometimes five minutes to such serious debate.
    The current arrangement does not allow for any serious presentations by Hon Members. The usual four days or one week or a maximum of seven or eight days made up of not more than three hour daily deliberations that we afford for such scrutiny does not accord Members sufficient space and time. Mr Speaker, it is my suggestion that the House may have to re-look at this arrangement.
    Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate and most r egret table that the Dist r ict Assembly Elections could not come on as scheduled despite the huge sums of money -- about GH¢320 million, equivalent to about US$100 million spent on it. The Electoral Commission informs us that they would require additional GH¢90 million equivalent to about US$30million at the time the request was made to conduct the election, possibly in August, 2015.
    Mr Speaker, th is is where the intransigence of the Commission has taken the nation . To preven t the recur rence of the const itut ional challenge related to this, especially, ensuing from the dissolution of District Assemblies and the financial malfeasance
    Mr Speaker 8:40 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 8:40 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, we have successfully come to the end of the First Meeting of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. Glory be to God for the mercies, the grace and divine guidance throughout the period.
    Mr Speaker, the Meeting was very eventful. As it is the custom of every First Meeting, the President attended upon the House and delivered a Message on the State of the Nation in accordance with article 67 of the 1992 Constitution.
    Mr Speaker, the public had over the years expressed concern about the manner in which the President is often heckled during the ceremonial occasion of the State of the Nation Address. Mr Speaker and his predecessors and various Leaders of the House had time and again, appealed to Hon Members to heed to the concerns of the public.
    Mr Speaker, it is gratifying to note that Hon Members heeded this appeal and the President was heard in apt silence during the last Address. Parliament received rave approval and commendation from the public for the conduct of Members during the said occasion. The decorum exhibited during the Address by the President is evidence that this House is a listening Parliament.
    As representatives of the people, we will at all times reflect in our contributions and conduct, the views and interests of the people we serve.
    I wish once again, to commend all Members for the respect accorded the President on that ceremonial occasion.
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 8:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this House debated the Message of the President for more than a week. I am aware that you have already conveyed to H.E. the President, the thanks of this House for his Message on the State of the Nation. However, as Leader of Government Business in this House, I have also conveyed the views and concerns expressed by Members during the debate to the President. As a listening President, I am optimistic that he will study the views expressed and take appropriate action on them.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance also made a Statement, informing the House of the implications of the fall in crude oil prices on the world market on the 2015 Budget. Prior to the Statement, Members proffered different views the appropriate procedure to be adopted in apprising the House of the information. These views and positions were strongly canvassed but at the end of the day, the House reached a compromise and a Statement was made.
    Mr Speaker, gestures such as these have won this House international acclaim as a fast maturing democratic Parliament, and that no matter our differences, we can always reach a compromise. Members are always ready and willing to let go entrenched positions to achieve consensus for the betterment of our country.
    I wish to commend Hon Members, particularly my Hon Colleagues in Leadership, for the able manner in which we are able to resolve differences to pave way for the Ministers, particularly for Finance to present their business to the people elected representatives of the people.
    I am particularly concerned about the impact that the fall in prices of crude oil would make on our budget and I hope Hon Members would continue to make their views known on this matter, both within and without Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, during the course of the Meeting, the Supreme Court granted an injunction against holding of the District Level Elections which were scheduled for 3rd March, 2015. Flowing from the decision of the Court, the House invited the Electoral Commission, the Ministers for Finance and Local Government and Rural Development, for the Commission to brief the Committee of the Whole House on preparations towards the conduct of the elections, having regard to the decision of the Supreme Court.
    It is our hope that the various stakeholders will keep these commitments in order to resolve the lacuna created in the Constitution and the laws of the country.
    Mr Speaker, I present the summary of business for the First Meeting.

    Summary of Parliament Business for the First Meeting

    (Tuesday, 3rd February - Thursday, 26th March, 2015) Introduction

    The First Meeting of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic commenced on Tuesday, 3rd February, 2015. The House held a total of twenty-nine (29) Plenary Sittings within eight (8) Weeks, during which it performed its deliberative and legislative functions, among other duties.

    State of the Nations Address

    H.E. the President, Mr John Dramani Mahama on Thursday, 26th February, 2015, delivered to the House, a Message on the State of the Nation in pursuance of article 67 of the 1992 Constitution which requires the President to deliver to Parliament a Message on the State of the Nation at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before the dissolution of Parliament.

    Papers Presented

    Seventy-one (71) Papers were presented to the House. The Papers include, Bills, Reports from Committees of the House and Ministries, Departments and other Agencies (MDA's) among others.

    The details are outlined as follows: i. Bills -- 9 ii. Constitutional, Leagislative and Executive Instruments -- 3 iii. Loan /International Agreements -- 18 iv. Committee Report -- 14 v. Conventions -- 3 vi. Others -- 24 Total -- 71

    Bills The following Bills were presented to

    the House for consideration during this Meeting:

    i. Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill,

    2015;

    ii. Petroleum Revenue Management (Amendment) Bill, 2015;

    iii. Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015;

    iv. Income Tax Bill,; 2015;

    v. National Health Insurance Amendment (Bill), 2015;

    vi. Immigration Service Bill, 2015;

    vii. Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2015.

    Instruments

    Legislative/ Constitutional Instruments laid and considered by the House. These were:

    i. Subsidiary Legislative Instrument on Fees and Charges Amend- ment Instrument, 2014;

    ii. District Level Elections Regula- tions, 2015.
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 8:50 p.m.


    To the Clerk and his staff, we commend them for their support services during the period. It is our hope that they will continue to provide Hon Members and the House with quality and unbiased advice to enable them discharge their responsibilities. I could only wish them a Happy Easter and at least, a relief from the heavy pressures of work in the House.

    To our brothers and sisters in the media, particularly the parliamentary press corps, I thank them for their reportage of the Business of the House. There is no doubt that there have been great improvements in the reports that we received from them on the Business of the House. I know that there is room for improvement, and I would want to commit the support of the Leadership of the House to improve the capacity of members of the parliamentary press corps.

    Mr Speaker, I could only end by wishing everybody a Happy Easter and pray that we come back to the Second Meeting in good health, peace of mind and continue with the good work for the good people of Ghana.
    Mr Spealer 9 p.m.
    Hon Member, we have come to the end of the First Meeting of the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic. We must express
    Mr Spealer 9 p.m.
    our gratitude to the Almighty God for giving us the strength and good health to accomplish our mission satisfactorily for this First Meeting.
    I am grateful to my two deputies who have ably supported me in steering affairs of the House. I must also acknowledge the support and guidance I received from the Leadership, which have been essential in holding this House together and in resolving several issues which otherwise, would have been a drag on the pace of our work.
    Hon Members, let me commend you for the commitment, tenacity and endurance you displayed in the discharge of your work in the House. I thank you particularly for your understanding and co-operation in resolving matters during the few tense moments, which ensured that the transaction of Business in the House proceeded smoothly. I must also commend you for your very useful contributions which enriched the debate on the Motion to thank His Excellency, the President for his Message on the State of the Nation.
    I extend my gratitude to Hon Ministers who responded promptly to our invitations to answer Parliamentary Questions and carry through Government Business in the House relating to their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
    I do express my sincere thanks to the Clerk and his dedicated staff who provided the needed support for our work. I also thank the auxiliary services in the House -- the paramedics, the Ghana Fire
    Service and the Ghana Police Service detachment whose efforts are sometimes unseen and un-noticed, yet crucial for the successful conduct of our work.
    I also commend the work of the parliamentary press corps in providing media coverage for the House and its' proceedings.

    Hon Members, in a few days, we shall be celebrating Easter. As we break for the Easter recess, let us all reflect soberly on the lessons derived from the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I wish you all a Happy Easter celebration.

    Hon Members, before I conclude, however, I will like to take this opportunity to urge the Special Committee established by this Honourable House on article 181 of the Constitution to try and complete their work during the Easter recess.

    Hon Members, as we leave the precincts of Parliament for our respective homes and constituencies, it is my prayer that the Almighty God will grant us all good health, travelling mercies and shield us till we meet here again.
    ADJOURNMENT 9 p.m.