Debates of 23 Feb 2016

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:15 a.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:15 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings.
Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
Hon Members, we move on to the Correction of Official Reports.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 16th February, 2016.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is the Hon Minister for Finance here?
    Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have just been informed that he is on his way. He is not yet in the House.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Is item number 9 ready to be taken?
    Mr Agbesi 10:15 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, it is ready.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Chairman of the Appointments Committee -- item number
    9.
    MOTIONS 10:15 a.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ebo Barton-Odro) 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Seventeenth Report of the Appointments Committee on H.E. the President's Nominations for Ministerial Appointments.
    Mr Speaker, in moving the Motion, I would like to present the Report of your Committee regarding the nominations. Before I do so, Mr Speaker, I would like, through you, to request that some corrections be made at page 35 of 36.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, I posed the question to the House. Is it ready to be taken? Nobody got up. What type of behaviour is this? I posed a question -- Is it ready to be taken? Nobody said “No” or “Yes”. I called the Hon Member to move the Motion and then you are now on your feet to do what?
    Hon Deputy Minority Whip, I posed the question; is it ready to be taken?
    Mrs Irene N. T. Addo 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when you did, I said “No”. It was the Hon Majority Chief Whip who said “Yes”. I said “No” because I realised that all of us do not have the Report, so, I just want a few minutes --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, why did you say “No”?
    Mrs Irene Addo 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, please, can we have a few minutes?
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Member for Tema West, why did you say “No”?
    Mrs Irene Addo 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I tried to catch your eye but the Hon Majority Chief Whip rather caught your eye. Please, can you give us a few minutes to get the Reports in so that we can take them?
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, please, the whole world is watching us. We need to be serious in this House.
    Mrs Irene Addo 10:15 a.m.
    We are sorry, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    We need to be serious in this House. The whole world is watching us. I posed a question -- Is item number 9 on the Order Paper ready to be taken? Nobody was on his or her feet. On that basis, I called on the Hon Chairman of the Committee to move the Motion. Then all of a sudden, you are on your feet.
    Mrs Irene Addo 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, please, a few minutes for us to get the Report and then we can --
    Mr Speaker 10:15 a.m.
    I have a copy of the Report.
    Mrs Irene Addo 10:15 a.m.
    We do not have copies, Mr Speaker. They were not in our pigeon holes.
    Mr Barton-Odro 10:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think there is a little -- Yesterday, I stayed in the office throughout to make sure that it was ready for distribution.
    After the printing, when I called my secretary to follow up on the distribution, she was told that these days, they are not distributed into the pigeon holes; they wait for Hon Members to come into the
    Chamber and then they distribute them. Maybe, that is where the problem is coming from.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, who took that decision that we do not put Reports in pigeon holes? [Pause.]
    Hon Chairman of the Committee, have you been briefed by the Clerk to your Committee whether enough copies have been printed?
    Mr Barton-Odro 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, when the attempt was made after the printing to distribute the Reports, they were instructed that these days, that is not the way it is done and that, they would have to wait until this morning when Hon Members entered the Chamber.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Member, nobody has given that instruction. Anyway, Hon Members, we defer this matter and we suspend Sitting.
    Mr Barton-Odro 10:25 a.m.
    Is that it?
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    I learnt that the instruction is that if Hon Members are already in the Chamber, and the Reports are ready, there is no need to put them in their pigeon holes. They bring the Reports to them here.
    Yes, Hon Members, I want us to --
    Very well; the Hon Minister for Finance is in.
    Mr Agbesi 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance has just arrived. But Mr Speaker, before that, if we may go to lay some Papers as contained in item number 7 (a) (i) and (ii) and (d).
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, can we take the Questions?
    Mr Agbesi 10:25 a.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, in that case, we can take item number 4.
    Mr Speaker 10:25 a.m.
    Hon Members, this morning, I tried to get the Leadership to discuss whether the briefing on the microfinance companies should be taken at the Committee of the Whole or it should be taken at the plenary.
    Hon Members, it will be a Committee of the Whole where the media and everybody will be in. This is because strictly speaking, the Bank of Ghana is in charge of these companies and we need to also allow them to take part in the proceedings. If it is converted into a Committee of the Whole, they would help in responding to questions. But if it is taken at the plenary, only the Hon Minister will speak and respond to questions.
    I want Leadership to discuss among themselves and take a decision on the one more preferable to them. While they are at it, let us start with Questions.
    Question number 4, Urgent Question,
    Hon Member for Kwadaso?
    ORAL ANSWERS TO URGENT 10:25 a.m.

    QUESTIONS 10:25 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF FINANCE 10:25 a.m.

    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkper) 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) is a limited liability company listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange. We are shareholders. Therefore, we have requested the management of the CPC to furnish us with additional information regarding the factors that have led to the closure of two of its three factories.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to prevail on the House that when we receive this information, we will come to this Honourable House with accurate and factual reasons why the company closed two of its three manufacturing plants.
    We are in consultation with COCOBOD to expedite action as quickly as possible.
    Dr Akoto 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister telling this House that he has no idea what has led to the closure of the oldest manufacturing plant in Ghana? Is that what he is telling us?
    Mr Terkper 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is not what we are saying. We do recognise that Parliament is also a House of record and any information furnished to the House, must be comprehensive enough for the House to take it into account in its deliberations.
    It is for this reason that we do not wish to come to the House with piecemeal information. We want to provide the House with adequate information, including information which we have to source through the Security and Exchange Commission and the Ghana Stock Exchange.
    Dr Akoto 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, these two plants were shut down more than a month ago. Given its importance in the economy of this country, I would have expected that, by now, the Hon Minister, who is
    responsible for cocoa in this country, would have given some indication to furnish this House with further particulars.
    For the Hon Minister to come here and say that he has no idea, in my view, Mr Speaker, means that what is happening in Tema is way down the priority list of the Hon Minister. Am I right?
    Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Minister.
    Mr Terkper 10:25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in acknow- ledging the importance of the cocoa sector and the factory, in particular, I wish to also draw attention of the House to the fact that, it is a listed company and any statement which I make to the House, given the august nature of the House, should be comprehensive with respect to not just the operations but the interest of the shareholders.This is my point.
    Mr Speaker, I would prevail on the House to give us a little more time and we would return to the House, as we normally do, quite promptly to provide the requisite information.
    Mr Speaker, the House would agree that I have been prompt and forthcoming with information anytime I am requested to do so. I just wish to provide the House with as much information that is comprehensive for its deliberations.
    Dr Akoto 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance knows that, this company was 100 per cent owned by the people of Ghana. It floated shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the people of this country still hold, at least, 67 per cent of the shares. So, the major shareholder is represented by the Ministry of Finance.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, your question.
    Dr Akoto 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my question has to do with the urgency of the situation and what has been done about it up till now.
    It appears to me, from the answers he has given, there is nothing that can be done.
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, the Hon Minister made a point and I thought that you would pursue it from that angle. He said that “it is a limited liability company with shareholders” and there is a process under the Company's Code based upon which -- It is not one of the Ministries, Departments or Agencies (MDAs) directly under Government. That is the point the Hon Minister has made.
    I thought you would push the issue from that angle based on the answer he gave. The fact that it is a limited liability company, I thought you were going to take it from there.
    Dr Akoto 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my point is, how long do we have to wait for this information?
    Mr Terkper 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would treat this matter with urgency.
    [NII KWARTEI TITUS-GLOVER][MR TERKPER]

    As I stated, we have been in consultation with COCOBOD and representatives of the Government on the Board.

    As the Hon Member rightly said, this was a wholly owned Ghanaian company. However, Government has become majority shareholder. Therefore, we must respect minority rights because that is in the midst of investment activities in the country. Whatever we do should be in total consultation with the minority and taking into account the interest of the minority rights, as he rightly said, which is a key issue under the Company's Code.

    We also said it is not just a private holding. This is a listed holding and it could have impact on prices of the shares of the stock exchange.

    Mr Speaker, I promise this House that, we would come back as early as possible; we would prompt Leadership immediately we are ready and then return to the House.

    Maj. Derek Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, this Question borders on the closure of two out of the three big companies in this country.

    Mr Speaker, even though it is an Urgent Question, I believe the Question had been given to the Hon Minister far ahead of time. What prevented the Hon Minister from informing the Business Committee and for that matter Parliament, that he was not ready with the Answer?
    Mr Speaker 10:35 a.m.
    Hon Member, where did you get the information from, that, the Question was given to him long time ago?
    Hon Members, when you get to the floor of the House and pose questions, you should check your facts from the Clerks-at-the-Table before doing so. Do
    you know when the Question was sent to him for you to say it was sent to him long time?
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, I am a member of the Business Committee, and once we schedule him to appear before the House to give an Answer, we know he is fully prepared. Once no feedback was given to the Committee -- The Hon Minister was supposed to inform the Committee and the House that he was unprepared to give an Answer to Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, this is a surprise.
    Mr Terkper 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not say that we are not prepared. Part of the preparation involves consultations with the sector which we supervise; that is precisely what we are doing. The Question came in as an urgent one. This implies that we have to continue to get additional information before we come to the House.
    Mr Speaker, if I may, again, I prevail on Hon Members to give us a little time to come back to the House to provide them with the information that is required.
    As the Hon Member rightly said, there are three factories -- not companies -- involved. So, we are dealing with the closure of some of those factories which are not equivalent to companies. This means the three are all part of one company and the information we seek is about the closure which has implications for the company that owns the factories.
    Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover: Mr Speaker, the Cocoa Processing Company is situated right in my constituency. When the announcement came that the workers were to be sent home, I paid a visit to the plant. From the answers the Hon Minister is giving, I know they have a schedule officer for cocoa at the Ministry; one of his Deputies also serves on the Board.
    Mr Speaker, is it not possible that with the urgency of the situation and the economic effect that workers who have been sent home are suffering, the Hon Minister could summon the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD to his office to give him this information to share with us?
    Why has the Hon Minister not summoned the Chief Executive Officer to his office to give us exactly the information why this plant has been shut down and workers sent home?
    Mr Terkper 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have indeed held meetings with the Chief Executive of COCOBOD. We are talking about cocoa processing company and COCOBOD is working with us to get the information.
    We do have a Deputy who is on the Board of COCOBOD, not the processing company. We do have Government officials who are with the processing company. Getting comprehensive information is a management and Board issue, and we must also give some room for the management and the Board to go through whatever responses are provided to the Ministry before we come to the House.
    It is for these reasons that we are -- it is not as though we did not act with urgency. We have been in touch ever since the news broke; I would want to give the House that assurance.
    Mr Kweku Agyeman-Manu 10:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, foreign exchange earned by CPC is quite significant to the inflows to the Consolidated Fund.
    If the Hon Member of Parliament from Kwadaso had not asked this Question, the Hon Minister, knowing very well that we always split inflows from cocoa beans and
    processed cocoa, would he not have taken the initiative to find out what has happened? To the extent that six or eight weeks after cocoa processing has closed two factories, the Hon Minister comes to tell us he is now going to find out what has happened--
    Mr Speaker, It does not take two days for a company to close down two factories. So, did the Hon Minister not see when they were not paying dividends and inflows? What efforts did he make to find out what was happening to CPC?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not understand the question the Hon Member asked.
    Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders provide that, a Question should not be of excessive length. Mr Speaker, this question is of excessive length and therefore, does not qualify to be admitted. The Hon Member would end up getting everybody confused with the foundation he was laying.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, I want to draw your attention to Standing Order 68 (5), which says that:
    “No Member shall address the House upon any Question, nor in asking the Question shall any argument or opinion be offered.”
    So, there should be no address and argument.
    Hon Member for Dormaa Central, what is your question?
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my question was very simple; what private, personal, ministerial initiative has he taken up till today on finding out what has caused the problem in CPC?
    Mr Terkpeh 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in my official, not private capacity as Minister, as I stated earlier and let me restate; I have invited the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, which actually owns 30 per cent of the company. In fact, when we refer to 60 per cent, we refer to COCOBOD and Government's 30 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, part of the partial information I would have given to this House -- But I wanted it to be comprehensive -- COCOBOD together with Government are calling for an emergency meeting following discussions that have already been held with Management to give an elaborate report on the situation.
    Mr Speaker, this is the sort of partial information that would have led to — So, this is with respect to specific actions which I have taken together with my management team with respect to the matter on hand.
    We have actually invited COCOBOD and the Chief Executive for consultations and together, as the two majority shareholders put together, we are calling for emergency meeting which we are — In the interim, COCOBOD, on behalf of Government, has been having consul- tations and discussions with the management with the view to finding, not just answers but solutions to the issue at stake.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Last question.
    Hon Isaac Kwame Asiamah?
    Mr Isaac K. Asiamah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to find out whether the closure was sudden or anticipated?
    Mr Speaker, so far as we are concerned, we are told that —
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have asked the question; whether it was sudden or anticipated.
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, about six months ago, there were indications that their cash flows were pointing to that direction. So, what action did they take? It was something that was going to happen so what action did they take?
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    So, is the question about action taken or about whether it was sudden or anticipated? What is your question?
    Mr I. K. Asiamah 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is about planning. The cash flows indicated that this might happen one day. So, what action did they take?
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minister — If you understand the question.
    Mr Terkper 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, normally, when the financial statements of companies in which Government has shares are published, they are analysed and we duly do this. As with other State- owned enterprises, whether fully or partially owned, we follow up.
    So, in our normal routine work at the Ministry, through the Financial Services Division and the schedule officer at the Ministry —We ask follow up questions when we get financial statements and do an analysis which is also provided.
    Mr Speaker, it is clear that there are routine and other issues which come up such as the closure, which we would then go in and find out about more specifically, whether for technical, financial, managerial or other reasons. The reasons could be more than financial, as it is implied by the questions on dividends and the rest.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister expressed personal interest to answer the Question and he had to travel last week and so —
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, there are two Questions dealing with the issue of cocoa. This particular Question was transmitted to the Hon Minister only last Friday, 19th February, 2016 by the Table Office.
    There was an earlier one which was admitted which dealt with cocoa beans and I thought when the Hon Member for Nkoranza North made that categorical statement, I tried to draw his attention to it.
    There are two Questions. There is an earlier one which is Question number 514. That is item 5 which stands in the name of the same Hon Member for Kwadaso. That was early on. That was when he travelled. But this particular one was transmitted to him on Friday. Just for the records.
    Hon Minority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought the principle was about the same.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    You have the floor.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am utilising the floor that I have.
    Mr Speaker, when the indication came, I thought the Hon Minister was going to answer it upon his return, which is what he is doing. In my view, the issue that we are raising is very instructive — That he had it last Friday; he transmitted it and he is here today. Indeed, that is the spirit of Urgent Questions.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    So, you should commend him.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, so, I am pleased that you have found it relevant to transmit it early enough for him to come and respond. That is how it should be in this House.
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    So, you should commend the Chair.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am commending the Chair and urging you to act with such alacrity regarding Urgent Questions. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, going further, the Hon Minister tells us he has requested -- I am quoting his own words; he has requested additional information on the closure and when they have it, they would furnish this House with it.
    Mr Speaker, he opened some window and gave some information to us and he says to us that, that is partial information.
    Mr Speaker, what information does he have now which is of relevance to this House and to the people of this country? What is the gamut of information that he has in relation to the closure? We await the further and better particulars as and when he has it. But for now, what does he have? Can he tell us?
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, it is a relevant question that you have asked. My attitude is that, when a company is a listed company, what we do here affects the shares on the stock exchange. It is not a typical Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) and therefore, I do not know whether we should give him time as he has promised.
    So, the Business Committee would schedule him. Apart from Government, people have also made investments into
    Mr Speaker 10:45 a.m.


    the company and so information must be as published from the company in line with the Companies Act.

    Therefore, I would rather suggest that in the course of that, we pursue the path that he has suggested. The Business Committee programme him, give him a time period for him to get all the information from the company and come back to the House within a reasonable time with full information and not partial information.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was definitely going on that path with my subsequent question, but it looks like you want to detonate the pot of the question that I am carrying.
    Mr Speaker, he tells us that he has some information that he would furnish us with. Along the line, he decided to offer some information of what partial information he has. I am asking whether he would not furnish us with the full gamut of the information that he has?
    Mr Terkper 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe the statement I made was that, instead of coming to the House with partial information, I would wait for a more comprehensive and complete one to provide to the House.
    The very limited information that I have, which my staff and COCOBOD drew my attention to is that we are dealing with a listed company with minority interest and also that it is actually partial closure of factories contrary to the popular view that the whole company has ceased operation. I hinted on this in my Answer to the Question.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, from the other side, I still would be very much interested because I also purchased some shares in 2001. Since that time, I have not even had a penny as dividend declared to me.
    At least, at the time the investment was made, it was quite substantial but not a penny has been paid to me as dividend since 2001. So, from the other side, I would still be interested.
    However, Mr Speaker, since --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Are you declaring your interest?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Well, I have said so. Mr Speaker, the question is because I know, I now recognise the deterring factor but the Hon Minister tells us that he requires some time.
    Parliament works within the context of our own rules. How many days more do we give him to gather the information because we cannot wait on him ad infinitum? We cannot wait indefinitely.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Hon Minister, how long?
    Mr Terkper 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am glad at the recognition that there are minority interests in the company. Like those minority interests, it is a matter of concern to us also that the Government and indeed, COCOBOD have also not received dividends.
    Mr Speaker, to the more substantive question, as we normally do, we would consult with Leadership. The officials of COCOBOD are here in the Gallery and I believe they get the sense and mood of the House.
    So, we would consult with our representative on the Board as well as the management of COCOBOD on the urgency with which the House wants answers to this question and consult with Leadership as quickly as, maybe, tomorrow or Thursday and give them an indication on when we would come to the House with the answers. That would depend on how fast the Special Board Meeting can be convened.
    If it would be too far, being an emergency, we would prevail on them to see whether they can bring that meeting forward in order that the requisite information would be provided to the House.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know CPC and indeed, value addition to cocoa produce is very dear to the Ministry of Finance and its current Minister. These two plants have been closed for close to six weeks now.
    rose
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Do you have the information? If you have the information, provide it; if you do not have --
    Mr Agbesi 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have the information but --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    I am not calling you, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. I am dealing with the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Terkper 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not quite sure of the procedure in this particular instance. This is the reason I hesitated but, in my mind, I was going to treat this as additional information which would be useful to the House when we return with the Answers.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I ask a very innocuous question and he says that he would treat it as additional information.
    Mr Speaker, I also notice the protective shield that the Chair was offering -- [Interruption] -- Normally, when Questions are asked --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Is that the impression I have created?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    When questions are asked, the Hon Speaker would just call on the Hon Minister by saying, “Minister?” In this instance, I could see the delay --
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    No! Hon Member, it is because we are talking about the closure of CPC and you have now shifted to the loss that they have made in past years -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I did not say past years.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Oh, I see.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:55 a.m.
    I said the period of closure. I did not talk about past years. [Interruption.] The Hon Minister himself got it.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.
    Did he get the question? I see. [Laughter] -- Very well.
    Thank you for correcting me.
    Mr Speaker 10:55 a.m.


    We now move to Question number 514; Hon Member for Kwadaso?
    ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:55 a.m.

    MINISTRY OF FINANCE 10:55 a.m.

    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkper) 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, data from the Ghana Cocoa Board shows that, 15,500 tonnes of light crop cocoa beans were imported by Barry Callebaut Ghana Limited from la Cote d'Ivoire in the 2014/ 2015 crop year. The Ghana Cocoa Board granted permission for this importation.
    Indeed, Mr Speaker, this is not the first time cocoa beans are being imported into the country. Records available show that this started in 2005. In fact, in 2008, the same company, Barry Callebaut Ghana Limited, imported 15,500 tonnes of light crop cocoa beans into the country from Nigeria and Togo. They likewise imported 7,000 tonnes from Nigeria and 8,500 tonnes from Togo.
    Mr Speaker, I so submit.
    Dr Akoto 10:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance says that and I beg to quote:
    “The Ghana Cocoa Board granted permission for this importation.”
    Mr Speaker, what was the basis for granting permission for the importation of this consignment?
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the basis is the same as has been the case since the programme, I believe, was started and that is; COCOBOD normally restricts the supply from its light crops which is limited, therefore, any time the light crop is not adequate, it grants permission to the processors to bring in the produce. So, I believe that the policy has not changed.
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we know from the Budget Statement that the Hon Minister presented to this House, that the total production of cocoa last year -- 2014/2015 was only 740,000 metric tonnes of which 620,000 tonnes was pledged for the $1.8 billion that COCOBOD sought in debt abroad.
    Mr Speaker, what was left would be 120,000 tonnes and we know that the installed capacity of cocoa processing in this country among the either companies is 360,000 metric tonnes. Does this permission to import and importation have any anything to do with this shortfall?
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know.
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the first place, I would not consider production in excess of 700,000 tonnes as “only”, it is quite significant.
    Mr Speaker, secondly, the collatera- lisation also covers some domestic activities to the extent that, it is for purchases, therefore, it is -- I think that should do --
    Mr Speaker, as I said, there are other factors that are taken into account. For example, the price; this is because,
    Ghana's cocoa is a premium price, so, COCOBOD takes all these factors into account in making a decision for the importation of the crop.
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not at all satisfied with the answer given and I am not exactly sure of what the Hon Minister meant by all these explanations.
    Mr Speaker, let me come to the issue. The Hon Minister is trying hard to say that, the imported amount of 15,500 metric tonnes was light crop. How does he know it is light crop? This is from another country to a private company, how does he know that, that consignment of 15,500 metric tonnes was a light crop from
    COCOBOD?
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Hon Member, I thought the Answer is there. Can you ask another Question? Yes, if the Answer is already available. The information from COCOBOD -- It is there. The rule is that, if the information is already there, do not ask Questions on it. That is one of our rules.
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am questioning the basis for saying that it is light crop. How do they know it is light crop and not main crop from the la Cote d'Ivoire coming into the country? That is the Question.
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe what I said was COCOBOD's policy of -- I was talking about COCOBOD and its policy of sales is from a light crop and I said it is when they anticipate a shortfall, based on external demand which includes the light crop.
    Mr Speaker, COCOBOD grants the permission based on information and facts that are provided to the Board which they
    have to monitor, So, I will only assume that, COCOBOD is doing its work as effectively as possible based on declarations that are made. If they have any reason to -- Then they would take it up appropriately with the company.
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think there is a misunderstanding here. The Hon Minister is saying that, 15,500 metric tonnes of light crop cocoa beans were imported by Barry Callebaut Ghana Limited. Mr Speaker, I am asking, how did the Hon Minister know that the 15,500 metric tonnes was from the light crop of the country of origin? It is from la Cote d'Ivoire and not from Ghana.
    So, how did he know that it is light crop from la Cote d'Ivoire? That is the Question.
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think I get the import of the Question. My answer will be quite simple. COCOBOD has a means of verification including the characteristics of the two crops. That will be my answer at this stage.
    Mr Speaker, COCOBOD as I said, has been dealing in this since the year 2005 and I believe it has criteria for establishing the fact which the Hon Member wants to know.
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Question was covering one crop year from October, 2014 to September but the Hon Minister has gone a step further to give more information dating back 10 to 15 years yet, the information he gives are full of gaps.
    Mr Speaker, he talks about the records available showing that, imports started in the year 2005, then he jumps to year 2008 and stops there. I think that is really confusing the whole issue. This is because he is being selective --
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    So, what is your Question?
    Dr Akoto 11:05 a.m.
    My Question is, if he has the records as he claims, why did he not provide the full information from year 2005 till date but he hops from the year 2005 to 2008 and then to 2014/2015.
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Answer is clear from what I read. What I said was that, records available show that, this started in the year 2005.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, we did ask that question and it will seem as though there were no importations made during certain periods that they were provided from the domestic market, but we did actually ask for information, some of which have been archived, that is why we put the emphasis on “records available”.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is the problem when sometimes, public servants think that, they are trying to defend their Hon Ministers. I mean his question is apt. This is because he was selective from the years 2005 to 2008 when there is information available for all those years. It will help Parliament so that when we are making policy --
    Mr Speaker, in any case, an earlier Question was put to the Hon Minister that, there appeared to be a gap of the capacity of 360,000 metric tonnes of the processing companies.
    Hon Minister, importing 15,500 metric tonnes will obviously not fill the gap. Is he aware that, there was a shortfall in the production of the processing companies for that particular year and if so, how much was it?
    This is because installed capacity of 360,000 metric tonnes, we are importing 15,500 metric tonnes from Barry Callebaut
    Ghana Limited -- one suspects therefore that, most of the companies had a big shortfall in production.
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have that information at this point in time.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just want to know from the Hon Minister, at what cost was the 15,500 metric tonnes of light crop cocoa imported?
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Your Question again.
    Mr Awuah 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister, the cocoa which was imported into the country, at what cost was it imported?
    Mr Terkper 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, again, that will be corporate information from the companies which I do not have at this point in time. I can make the information available subsequently to the House. We could use other sources like the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), COCOBOD and monitoring but I do not have that information because I could not have anticipated it.
    Mr Speaker 11:05 a.m.
    Last Question.
    Mr William Agyapong Quaittoo 11:05 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister does not seem to have Answers to a lot of the Questions that we are asking. This is because in your absence at the last sitting, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker was in your seat and we posed questions on cocoa.
    The Hon Minister was not here so the questions were answered by the Hon Deputy Minister and the Second Deputy Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Ask your Question.
    Mr Quaittoo 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am coming to the Question. The Hon Minister made it clear, that the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD should be brought here for us to ask these Questions. This is because from what has happened now, this person
    -- 11:15 a.m.

    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, we know very well that the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD has no audience on the Floor of this House. How could he be brought to the Floor of this House? That was why I asked you what your Question was.
    Mr Quaittoo 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my question is; is it the reason CPC is closed down? Is it because we cannot meet our target of supplying cocoa beans to those private processers?
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Your question is out of order. Could you rephrase your Questions? We have finished with the closure of CPC under the Urgent Question. Now, we are talking about the importation of cocoa beans into the country.
    Mr Quaittoo 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, even if you look at the Answer critically, he said this policy started in the year 2005. But he goes on to say that; “In fact”, in 2008", which means that, no figure was quoted for importation in the year 2005.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member, that question was asked, and the Hon Minister said the record -- He asked about why the gap and the answer was, “ that was the information that was made available to him by COCOBOD”.
    So, what is your Question?
    Mr Quaittoo 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my question is; he goes back to say that the policy of importing cocoa beans into the country started in the year 2005, yet, he did not cite any figure for the year 2005.
    The figure he gave starts from the year 2008. So if there are figures, could he give us the figure for the year 2005?
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Absolutely. That is a relevant Question.
    Hon Minister, what was the figure for the year 2005? This is because you have introduced the year 2005 in your Answer.
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would endeavour to make information up if it is available from COCOBOD for the gap to the House.
    As I indicated, we clearly asked for that information but the indication was that, from their archives, this was what was available. But we would prevail on them to provide the House with the gap which is obvious to us.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Member for Anlo, then to the Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Clement K. Humado 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister for Finance if there is any law or regulation or policy banning the importation of cocoa or its products into Ghana.
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any law.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess the Hon Minister would know that, there is no law but there is a policy which allows for the importation of cocoa beans and even round logs to feed our mills.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to know from the Hon Minister, of the 740,000 metric tonnes of beans that was produced, what percentage of it was light crop?
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have that information also from the background material that I brought. So, again, we would take note and make the information available.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the resort to the importation of cocoa from, especially, producers in the sub region was because our own light crop beans increasingly is diminishing. The main crop is substituting the light crop beans production. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister agree that, that is affecting -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, I want the coaching to be over before I continue. Would he agree that, increasingly, the manufacturers are having difficulty procuring from local sources because they cannot access the local light crop bean?
    This is because they are increasingly diminishing and that is affecting not only their productivity but also the profitability of these companies?
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minister?
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I handled this issue once and I think one of the key issues at stake is that, the light crop is also provided at a discount, and some of the producers would want that discount to be extended to the main crop which makes it lead to a shortfall from
    COCOBOD.
    This is one among other issues. It would seem that, there is a need for a policy review. Indeed, the policy for allowing importation, given the premium nature of our crop is part of the solution to the extent that, the imported crops meet their standard.
    I believe there is a benefit to us from the value addition that comes from importing the crops and processing it at a higher value for export and additional production.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the price of the light crop beans is not discounted. Really, it is sold at the same price offered by Ivory Coast for her beans. It is not discounted. The main beans is sold at premium price, but the light crop beans is sold at the same price as the Ivorian beans. There is no discount. Does the Hon Minister appreciate this?
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as I said, I handled this issue some time ago as Deputy Minister, and my briefing notes also indicates clearly that, COCOBOD provides a discount on light crop beans when these are sold.
    So, this is the information that I have. We do discount the light crops.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question Time. Hon Minister, we thank you for attending upon the House to respond to questions from Hon Members.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Report of the Appointments Committee has now been distributed therefore before the Motion is moved, with your permission, could we lay some Papers, it is captured in item 7?
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what are you saying? You went to the Report of the Appointment Committee and you are now moving to the laying of Papers. What exactly are you saying?
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying that, the Report has been distributed, but before the Motion is moved, we would want to crave your indulgence to lay some Papers captured on item number 7.
    11. 25 a.m.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Members, laying of Papers would not consume enough time and so, let us go ahead and lay the Papers in line with Standing Order 53. Then we would move on to the other matters.
    Hon Members, Presentation of Papers, item number 7.
    7 (a), by the Hon Majority Leader and Leader of the House.
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would want to lay the Paper on behalf of the Majority Leader.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Very Well.
    PAPERS 11:15 a.m.

    Dr A. A. Osei 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the second one.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Item number 7 (d), by the Chairman of the Committee.
    By the Chairman of the Committee --
    Report of the Committee on Health on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service) and Oldelft Benelux B.V. of the Netherlands for the Procurement of Medical Equipment in the sum of eighteen million, eight hundred and forty-two thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-five euros (€18,842,335.00) to Support the Project for the Acceleration of Tuberculosis Case Detection in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Item number 7 (e); by the Chairman of the Committee.
    The Hon Chairman of the Committee is not here so I would move to item 8: Presentation and First Reading of Bills.
    Mr Agbesi 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, item number 8 is also not ready. If we could move to item number 9.
    Mr Ignatius B. Awuah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the acting Leader of the House is suggesting that we move to item number 9, which is a Motion to adopt the Seventeenth Report of the Appointments Committee.
    But we have a Statement by the Hon Minister for Finance on the microfinance institutions in the country. The Hon Minister is here and the whole House is anticipating that this Statement be made.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
    Mr Awuah 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was thinking you would rule on it.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon First Deputy --
    Statement by the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I recognise the directive that you have just issued. But I just wanted to know from the Deputy Majority Leader: the Presentation of Papers, we came to item number 8 and even though he had made application for it, when I inquired, he said the Reports are not ready. They are not Reports.
    They are just laying the Bills and there are some Hon Ministers here. Could they lay them on behalf of the substantive Hon Ministers? Unless the documents are not in the House.
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I agree with you but at times, you cannot be more Catholic than the Pope. He is the acting Leader in charge of Government Business. Even when I called the item number 7 (e), nobody was there to lay the Committee's Report.
    So Hon Minority Leader, we cannot be more Catholic than the Pope.
    Hon Minister, you have the Floor.
    Mr Terkper 11:15 a.m.
    Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:15 a.m.
    Do you have a copy of your Statement for the Chair?
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:31 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister for Finance?
    STATEMENTS 11:35 a.m.

    Minister for Finance (Mr Seth E. Terkper) 11:35 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the operations of Savings and Loans Companies and Microfinance Institutions in the country are regulated by the Bank of Ghana getting its mandate from the banking and non-banking financial institutions laws.
    Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) were not under any form of regulation until 2008, when the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Act, 2008 (Act 774) replaced Financial Institution (Non-Banking) Act, 1993 (PNDC Law 328) as the main law governing non-banking financial institutions. It mandated the Bank of Ghana to bring all categories of MFIs under regulation.
    Savings and Loans Companies and Deposit-taking Microfinance Institutions are regulated under the Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673) and Banking (Amendment) Act, 2007, (Act 738) while non-deposit taking institutions such as money lending companies and financial non-govern- mental organisations (FNGOs) are regulated under the NBFI Act, 2008, (Act
    774).

    MFIs in Ghana are grouped into four tiers as follows:

    a. Tier 1 -- are Savings and Loans Companies and Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) which are more formal institution. Capital requirements for savings and loans is GH¢15,000,000 and GH1,000,000 for RCBs.

    b. Tier 2 -- are deposit taking microfinance companies with the capital requirement of GH¢2,000,000.

    c. Tier 3 -- comprise non-deposit taking Money Lending Companies and Financial Non-Governmental Organisations (FNGOs) with a capital requirement of GH¢300,000.

    d. Tier 4 -- comprise individual Money Lenders and Susu collectors that are supervised and regulated by their umbrella associations under the supervision of BoG without minimum capital requirement.

    Currently, Bank of Ghana has issued operating licenses to 29 savings and loans companies and 558 tiers 2 and 3 institutions.

    Savings and loans companies differ from other MFIs with respect to a higher minimum capital requirement and the magnitude of operations.

    Update on DKM Diamond Microfinance Company Limited (DKMDML)

    DKM Diamond Microfinance Limited is a microfinance company with its head office in Sunyani. It has six (6) branches at Wenchi, Techiman, Bolgatanga, Wa, Bereku and Nkoranza. The company was incorporated on 3rd April, 2013 and was

    granted the licence to operate as a microfinance company on 25th October,

    2013.

    The company was attracting deposit from the public at a rate of interest between 40 per cent per quarter and 55 per cent for two months which were unrealistic and unsustainable. It also persistently violated the provisions in Act 673 such as limits on borrowings and credit exposures. All effort to address the problems by BoG proved futile.

    The conduct of DKMDML threatened the safety of customers' deposits and had the potential of adversely affecting banks, savings and loans companies, rural and community banks and other microfinance institutions operating in Sunyani and its environs.

    The Bank of Ghana therefore, requested the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to freeze the accounts of DKMDML and its affiliated companies to enable investigation into its affairs. A moratorium was also placed on its operations and Lobban, Hyde and Partners, a firm of Chartered Accountants, was appointed to carry out a special audit on the operations of DKMDML.

    The audit revealed that, total deposit liabilities of DKMDML amounted to GH¢115.24 million as against a total cash of GH¢10.8 million. An amount of GH¢77.26 million was diverted to DKMDML's subsidiary companies.

    The audit also confirmed weaknesses such as misreporting to BoG, mismatches of assets and liabilities, weak governance structures, among others.

    DKMDML has made several promises to pay its customer but there have not materialised. The Bank of Ghana has initiated action to revoke DKMDML's
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Minister.
    Hon Members, I do not know how we are going to go about it. We are going to allow Hon Members to ask questions for the Hon Minister to answer.
    Early on, if I heard the Rt Hon Speaker right, the indication was that we were going to decide on whether it should be at the Committee of the Whole or at Plenary. I do not think the information came back on which of the two options had been decided upon by the Leadership of the House. But since we have gone this far, I would prefer that we go this way and end the business.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Members, as I said early on, I do not know the form it should take, but I thought questions would be directed at the Hon Minister for responses rather than making statements that could generate a lot of --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Awuah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance came here to issue a Statement; he did not come here to answer a question. So, under normal circumstance, if an Hon Minister makes a Statement, Hon Members are allowed to comment on it and that is exactly what is being done now.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    If you go by the rules, the comments should not generate debate.
    Mr Awuah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is true. But in the same vein, the Statement should also not generate debate.
    Mr Speaker, if in the body of the Statement, there are issues which are debatable, then one would expect that in contributing, there would equally be debatable issues.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:45 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, let us take a look at the approval process in getting a licence. Among the Regulations,
    Mr Speaker, I would just but quote a few 11:45 a.m.
    “There shall be at least two shareholders with none of them holding less than 10 per cent of the total number of shares,”
    This is for a reason, I will come back to it later.
    Mr Speaker, again,
    “All tier-2 deposits taking micro- finance companies, shall require not less than GH¢2 million as minimum paid capital.”
    The Hon Minister alluded to that.
    “Not more than 25 per cent of the initial paidup capital shall be spent on property, plant and equipment, that is capital expenditure.”
    This is to say that at least, 75 per cent of the initial paid-up capital shall be in liquid-cash resources to support the operation of the microfinance company.
    Mr Speaker, since 2008, the approval process for most of these microfinance companies has not been stringent. In fact, most of these requirements that I have mentioned were not met. Pressure was brought on staff of the Bank to get some particular microfinance companies sail through the approval in principle process.

    Mr Speaker, this approval in principle process is funny, if you would permit me to say.

    The BoG says that, they may issue an approval in principle for a period of six months to an applicant on such terms and conditions as they may consider necessary and appropriate. If it is satisfied that:

    a) the applicant would carry on the business with integrity, prudence and the required professional competence, and

    b) The applicant has the capacity to raise the initial paid up capital required to hold a licence.

    Mr Speaker, an approval in principle is not a final licence and it does not permit one to carry on the business of banking or microfinance. If that is the case, why would they grant approval in principle, if it is not a final licence?

    The BoG was granting”approval in principle” to these microfinance firms and they would place this on their walls and attract unsuspecting depositors.

    Mr Speaker, granted that firms went through this ‘approval in principle' process, there is Regulation and supervision, the BoG has overall supervisory and Regulatory authority in all matters relating to banking and nonbanking financial business.

    In fact, their largest department in the bank is the Banking Supervision Department. It exercises its mandate to ensure that depositors' funds are safe, to ensure that firms are solvent and that they have good quality assets and they maintain adequate liquidity.

    Mr Speaker, you would note --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
    Hon Member, without cutting you short -- Hon Member, let us think about this seriously. Do you not think it would have been more beneficial to Hon Members if we had gone into a Committee of the Whole?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Before we started today's proceedings, Mr Speaker wanted a Committee of the Whole. The Hon Minister came fully equipped with a personnel from the Bank of Ghana so that when we go into Committee of the Whole, most of the questions would be directed at the BoG personnel to answer.
    We consulted Leadership and when we did the consultation, I went to the Hon Minority Leader and he said that because it has been advertised since last two weeks, the Press Corps and everybody is here, so it would be better for us if it is in the form of a Statement, which may not generate so much debate.
    However, if there are questions to be asked, after this, there must be a directive to sit in the Committee of the Whole for us to ask questions and then they can answer. That was what we resolved to do in the morning.
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    We have gone past that point. The Hon Minister has already made a public statement in the Chamber and it is only fit
    and proper that Hon Members are allowed to comment on the Statement.
    This does not preclude the House from resolving itself into a Committee of the Whole afterwards and inviting the Governor of the BoG to come and give us better and further particulars on issues that Hon Members may raise during the comments.
    Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini 11:45 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Your question is germane and straight to the point. Mr Speaker, even yesterday when I got the information that the Hon Finance Minister would be appearing before this House to give a Statement on the status of microfinance institutions as requested by Hon Members of the House, I asked myself, are the facts of the registration of these financial institutions exclusively in the possession of the Hon Minister for Finance? No! Who is directly responsible for supervising these microfinance institutions?
    [An Hon Member: Bank of Ghana.] -- [Interruption.]
    Alhaji Fuseini 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, how do we ensure -- This is about custody. This is about whether the person is fit to answer to the issues that the microfinance institutions have generated.
    Mr Speaker, the way out as a House was to bring BoG to answer the issues that Members of Parliament are concerned with. But we know as a matter of fact, that BoG can only appear before us in the Committee of the Whole and in an exclusive Sitting.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us have some order. I asked this question because I realised that the Hon Member's contribution raised quite a number of very pertinent issues. If we go the way we are going, it will mean that one can only make a contribution to the Statement and it ends there.
    But if we go into a Committee of the Whole, it should be possible for officials of BoG to answer some questions. We would want to find out what the problems are; what solutions can be available and then the way forward.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my good Friend, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is really trying to subvert the powers of this House.
    Mr Speaker, Standing Order 70 (2) reads and with your permission I quote 11:55 a.m.
    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy …”
    It did not say facts. Mr Speaker, if the Hon Minister would sit down and listen.
    I believe that once the Hon Minister has made a Statement, the House proceeds. We will find that because they are also bringing the Insurance Bill and the Special Deposit Bill, there would be a need, from what the Hon Minister said, to invite BoG before we even consider the Bills.
    One does not preclude the other. He cannot arrest what the House has decided on Standing Order 70 (2). He should just let us make the contributions. We would get an opportunity and I recommend that we invite them before we even consider the two Bills. We should not arrest the debate this House is engaged in right now.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor (NDC -- Nandom) 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess that we need to be a bit clear on what exactly this House is seeking to achieve.
    First of all, the Hon Minister for Finance has made a Statement and the context in which it was made is not a normal context. This is because, people were requesting for some type of information. Now, this case from which the Statement is issued has a very long background.
    What is going on right now -- we all know the rules and regulations on sector non disclosures on financial matters for both banking and non banking financial institutions.

    In fact, the only people who can give us that information are the custodians. The Bank of Ghana is not only under a Ministry. It has a wing on monetary policy that is independent of the Hon Minister. So, there are a number of stakeholders that are involved here.

    Therefore, I understood Mr Speaker to be saying that, let us be sure that we can make general contributions to the debate. But where it comes to making categorical and specific statements and accusations, let us make sure the other people are here to be heard.

    This is because, you cannot proceed, in trying to correct a wrong, by doing illegal things. As long as the people you are naming here do not have access to this floor to rebut the assertions that are being made, it is unfair for this House to continue to proceed in that way.

    The right to be heard is very significant and they do not have that opportunity to be heard on the floor. But there is a position in the parliamentary procedure that would make it possible for them to be heard equally like their accusers. That is very important because there are so many stories, Mr Speaker -- as storytellers in this matter --

    Sometimes, when you hear some of the statements that are being made, they are very, very unfortunate. I suggest that let us be very careful that we also do not open this House to a number of unfair attacks.

    Nobody is stopping anybody from making a contribution to the Statement. But you must really be above board in the categorical statements that you are making.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, if care is not taken, we would go on and on. Since we have chosen this path, let us go along with it. Make your contributions but make sure that you do not generate debate thereby. Then subsequently, if as a House, we think it is necessary to get BoG to appear before us as a Committee of the Whole to answer questions, we would do that.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would all recall that recently, BoG withdrew the licences of 70 microfinance and lending companies across the country. As a matter of fact, what BoG did was to withdraw an approval in principle that they had given to these 70 companies.
    In doing so, BoG stated that they were withdrawing the licenses due to the failure of these microfinance companies to maintain adequate capital. They were also doing so due to weak corporate governance structures and also for their non-provision for non-performing loans.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    No! I am not talking about dailies; I am talking about documentary evidence. If we do not have it, let us veer off that arena. Then when the time is up for BoG to appear before us, we can easily confront them with such facts. Otherwise, I find it difficult being in the Chair and allowing this kind of line of submission to continue.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:55 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is public knowledge that BoG has withdrawn licences for 70 companies. It is posted on their website. They also assigned reasons for withdrawing these licences.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    You need to furnish us with your source -- [Interruption.]
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:55 a.m.
    My source is the BoG website.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, provide it for us.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 11:55 a.m.
    The Bank of Ghana website?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    You have to make it available to us.
    Some Hon Members 12:05 p.m.
    No!
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    And think of a possible way forward. [Interruptions.]

    Let us have some order. Otherwise, we will be meeting a lot of impediments on our way.
    Some Hon Members 12:05 p.m.
    No! No!
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

    I believe it is too late in the day to go back to a Committee of the Whole or a Closed Sitting.

    Mr Speaker, we know the process we go through when an Hon Minister is permitted to come and make a Statement on the floor under Standing Order 70. That process was gone through and Mr Speaker admitted the Statement and the Hon Minister has come and submitted the Statement.

    We should let Hon Members continue to make the comments, and when the comments offend the rules, then you rule

    them out of order and allow the process to continue. This is because Standing Order 70 of our rules, the relevant one is Standing Order 70 (2) and with your, kind permission, I beg to quote:

    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.”

    Mr Speaker, I believe that is what is going on now, and if the Hon Member offends this rule, he should be ruled out of order. Mr Speaker, the operative words are very clear; facts, brief. So, I believe we should go on.

    Mr Speaker, I am fortified in this belief because, if we do not take time, we would subvert the authority of the Leadership of this House. Also, from experience,what happened after the last Closed Sitting, did not show it was Closed Sitting. We read everything in the dailies -- what transpired here, which we know offends our rules.

    Unless we take action to let people understand the meaning and import of Closed Siting, there will be no need to be referring to it as Closed Sitting when it is not closed. So, Mr Speaker, I plead with you to let the debate flow, let the comments by Hon Members flow and let us be vigilant to make sure that those comments are in consonance with our Standing Orders.

    It is too late in the day to go back to Closed Sitting.

    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Majority Leader that we allow the Hon Minister for Finance, who has come with his Statement to make the Statement, which he has done and to invite comments from Hon Members.
    Mr Speaker, if in the comments that ensued from Hon Members some technical issues are raised, which will require the direct intervention of the officials of Bank of Ghana, Mr Speaker may accordingly, request that we move to hear them offer to us further and better particulars about those issues. Until we get there, we may have to allow the comments from the Hon Members.
    Mr Speaker, and to say that we should cease further deliberations on this and move to Committee of the Whole, Mr Speaker, I beg to differ. This is because our Standing Orders provide that Hon Ministers --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, we have gone beyond that stage. Early on, I indicated that the matter was referred by Mr Speaker to the Leadership but I did not hear anything, and we have started towing a particular path, so we have to go that way.
    The only issue is that, if we are going that way, then we would have to apply the rules strictly so that if you are out of order, we rule you out of order. And it is not as if you are going to ask questions for the Hon Minister to come and answer. No; comments are all right. If we are on this same page, we move on.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue that I would want to raise is this, to the extent that the Hon Minister is officially connected with the Bank of Ghana, the Hon Minister may be able to respond to comments that come.
    Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders provide that Hon Ministers who come to answer Questions, answer Questions to which they are officially connected. That is the phraseology.
    The Hon Ministers are officially connected to a unit. If they are, then they are permitted under our rules to come and answer Questions.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Minister has competence, let us listen to the comments that may ensue from Hon Members and then we can take it from there.
    If they relate to technical issues that the Hon Minister himself says to us that he is unable to offer further comments on,then the House then agrees that we should solicit information from the Bank of Ghana, so be it.
    Mr Speaker, let me go back to the issue raised by the Hon Majority Leader. I believe when we met here last week Friday, because it is being suggested that some sanctions may have to be applied, Mr Speaker, let me go back to the indication that I gave, our Standing Orders provide that, in a Closed Sitting, the Speaker may, in consultation with the House and having regard to public interest, order the House to move into Closed Sitting.
    And to the extent that, no consultation is made, nobody can be --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, can you hear me? This is because you have heard the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, with respect, you have heard the Hon Majority Leader, so, hear me.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please, resume your seat.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Why should I resume my seat? You have heard the Hon Majority Leader -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    Please, you are talking about the non-consultation and so on and so forth. These issues were raised at the Closed Sitting and Mr Speaker gave a ruling on it. So, I do not want us to go back to it. Let us deal with what is before us.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to the extent that the Hon Majority Leader has resurrected the matter, you must grant me space to also articulate on the matter. He has resurrected the matter. He has raised it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
    The point he made about the Closed Sitting was that, information is out there in the public. He was not talking about consultation or non- consultation. So, these are two different issues.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, he raised the necessary sickle; if indeed, the path established by the Standing Orders had been followed.
    I suggest strongly that, that path was not followed, so, nobody can raise the necessary sickle. That is the issue that I am raising.
    Mr Speaker, I hope you appreciate the point that I have made.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Yes, the last contribution, then we would come back to the Hon Member.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let us make a distinction between the role of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) -- On purely monetary policy, the Hon Minister for Finance is an Hon Member of the Committee and it is not subject to the direction of anybody. The Hon Minister for Finance, cannot on the floor of this House, speak to monetary policy issues.
    Constitutionally, he does not have that authority, but on matters that he can speak to, we have no problem with it. But on matters that the Constitution debars him from speaking to --This is because he is not even the Hon Chairman of the Committee and he cannot claim -- [Interruption] -- look at your finances and see the composition of your Monetary Policy Committee and their powers.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, can we make some progress? The Hon Member who had the floor can continue with his contribution.

    If we go on this way, we would never -- Hon Member, you have the floor.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was coming to DKM, so, I would continue from there. An audit by the BoG, as stated by the Hon Minister for Finance showed that, DKM had GH¢115.2 million as deposits. They had invested this in their personal businesses and only GH¢10.8 million was sitting in their accounts.
    Mr Speaker, DKM operated what is known as a Ponzi Scheme; where they would entice prospective investors with high interest. It is like robbing Peter to
    pay Paul. So, DKM would offer 40 per cent; a quarter as interest or 55 per cent for two months. These unsustainable interest rates were maintained despite several warnings and discussions with the BoG.
    Mr Speaker, as at 11th May, 2015, DKM had used customers' deposits of GH¢ 16.06 million for capital expenditure. We would recall, I said that, the minimum paid up capital should be two million Ghana cedis of which only 25 per cent can go into capital expenditure; that would be about GH¢ 500,000.00. They had used GH¢ 16.06 million as capital expenditure.
    They also did not keep accurate and credible accounts of transactions in their books.
    Mr Speaker, what is dangerous is that, they were over exposed to their affiliate companies which are; DKM Mining Limited, DKM Transport Limited, DKM Shea Butter Limited, DKM Gas Filling Station and DKM Cement Depot. The over exposure was to the tune of GH¢ 76 million.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, I do not want you to take that path. You are completely out of order! Because, you are generating debate --
    Please, begin to wind up.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I only asked whether there were some invisible forces behind DKM?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    I said that, that is completely out of order, and it is merely speculative. You are out of order. Please wind up.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, all the five firms listed on the Order Paper, operate in the Brong Ahafo Region, and that is a fact. They are all headquartered in the Brong Ahafo Region.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to give a list of some other firms that have gone under water.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Yes, Hon Member for Shai-Osudoku?
    Mr David Tetteh Assumeng (NDC -- Shai-Osudoku) 12:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, only yesterday, one of my constituents informed me that he invested into this project, that is the DKM fund to the tune of GH¢ 17,000.00.
    Mr Speaker, as I am here today, the answer that I would want to take back to him is how he can get the money. As a poor person who managed to invest this money into this account, I should be able to help him get the money.
    That is why I am of the opinion that the second option that is being propounded by Leadership should be accepted, such that we would be able to have the BoG officials sitting down here to answer to me how a poor lecturer in my constituency can get back his GH¢
    17,000.00.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
    Hon Member, your point is well made.
    Yes, Hon Oduro?

    Maj. Derek Oduro (retd) (NPP -- Nkoranza North): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity given to me to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minister for Finance.

    Mr Speaker, the Statement was on the operations of Micro Finance Companies in the country.

    Mr Speaker, I am an Hon Member of the Business Committee, and the names that came up were these five companies -- DKM Diamond Microfinance, Little Drops Financial Services, God is Love Fun Club, Jaster Motors and Investment Company Ltd. and Care for Humanity Fun Club.

    Mr Speaker, they are more than that. We would be doing disservice to the people of the Brong Ahafo Region if we do not come up with other names that operated in that region; I am talking about micro finance companies.

    Mr Speaker, permit me to mention some few; DKM, God is Love, Jobbies, Express Link, Money Link, Supper Link, Nobble Dream, Little Drop, Jaster Motors, Eye Adom, Care for Humanity, Willie “J” --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, if you look at the Business Statement which was presented to this House, it did not limit the Minister for Finance to just these names listed. If you closely look at it, you would see that it includes others.
    We are looking at the whole nationalistic figure or picture. So, we do not need to go into all these details. What we need to do is — We have a problem with these companies and we need to find solutions to the problems that they have created and see the way forward.
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, I just mentioned them because these were the companies that operated in the Brong Ahafo Region. They made particular reference to only five of them. And these were the companies that operated, that is why I mentioned their names.
    Mr Speaker, we are happy that the Hon Minister for Finance mentioned the dates that one of them, DKM started operation. He mentioned that on the 3rd April, 2013 — I do not know whether that was the date that the licence was issued to them or the operational date.
    Mr Speaker, some of them had been in operation far before the date that the Hon Minister for Finance has given. Now, let us be very practical, it is the responsibility of Bank of Ghana (BOG) — The Constitution says in article 183, it mentions the responsibility of the Bank of Ghana and even the Minister for Finance when it comes to these microfinance operations and other businesses which are doing banking business.
    Mr Speaker, these companies started operating so many years ago; three to four years and it is the responsibility of the Bank of Ghana to have ensured that those who were operating illegally and those who have been given licences to operate and have gone beyond the threshold be stopped and brought to book.
    Why should Bank of Ghana sit down when it knows that these licences have been given to some of them and they are operating — collecting deposits? And indeed, these companies were paying the interests. They did not default until Bank of Ghana came in. We are laying the blame at the doorsteps of Bank of Ghana for having allowed these companies to operate for far too long.

    Mr Speaker, so many people suffered when there were bushfires, flood and accidents, and Government went to their aid. We are saying that —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, by the rules, your comments must be brief — [Uproar.]
    Maj. Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker, allow me because the people of my constituency suffered most, and the people from Brong Ahafo Region are the worst victims.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I guess that we also need to be careful about possible conflict of interest. I think it is important that if anybody is a victim or a beneficiary of this subject matter, it would not be fair for the person to use the floor of the House to make some of the statements that are made — [Interruption] —do not worry.
    All I am saying is that, the names of the depositors are there and are known. And if we are interested in going into the details of this matter — I am just drawing a caution that, it is unethical,should we use this floor to attack a particular company and it turns out that one is a victim or a beneficiary.
    Mr Speaker, so let us be careful — I would want it to go on record, and after that, we would take this debate beyond that point.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, begin to wind up.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Maj. Oduro (retd.): How are we going to get the money back? The people need their moneys.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Maj. Oduro (retd): So, the Hon Minister should tell us how the moneys would be paid to the customers —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Member, please resume your seat. Your time is up.
    Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini (NDC — Tamale Central) 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, clearly, what is happening on the microfinance scheme, particularly in the Brong Ahafo region, is totally unacceptable.
    Mr Speaker, it is unacceptable for people to invest their hard earned money and resources with the hope of making some profits and returns on them to lose them.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, the DKM, the one who had shouted indecently across the floor — indeed DKM has an office —
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:25 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, I thought my Hon Colleague was contributing. I just heard him say, the one who had shouted indecently across the floor. He should withdraw that statement. This is because only Mr Speaker can do that. It is not fair.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us go by the rules. Anybody who has not been given the floor by Mr Speaker does not have to stand up and make any statement, and any such statement is completely ignored. It is not part of the record.
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I ignore all the statements,apologise and I withdraw. But this House is a House of rules. If one disagrees with me, the Member should wait until it is his or her turn and then he or she can disagree with me on very civil grounds.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, DKM has an office in Tamale. It would be erroneous for anybody to think that — In fact, that office is located within the Tamale Central Constituency. So, it would be very erroneous for anybody to think — Indeed, we have not come here to make noise. We have come to debate and so, please, if we want to debate, we should wait and do so.
    Mr Speaker, it would be very erroneous for anybody to think that it is only the people of Brong Ahafo region who have
    been hard down by the activities of these micro finance institutions, and we must condemn, if we need to do so,those who have the responsibility of ensuring that people do not unduly suffer by the activities of micro finance institutions.
    Mr Speaker, sitting here, I wonder whether we have come or gone. What is happening had happened before so many years ago.
    Mr Speaker, R5 was everywhere assuring people of good returns on their money. People trooped across the country to invest in R5. R5 sank with a lot of the resources of people.
    Mr Speaker, Pyram was at Newtown.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Pyram received a lot of deposits --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Minister, please allow him.
    Dr Prempeh 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have a point of order on two issues. When the Hon Member for Nkoranza North cited a recital on Microfinance Companies that were not on the Order Paper, you cautioned him to desist because it was not on the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, the presumption is that there are Hon Members of Parliament who have been affected. Is that what you are saying?
    Dr Prempeh 12:35 p.m.
    No! Mr Speaker, that is not my presumption.
    Dr Prempeh 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Tamale Central, in his rendition of events in Tamale, clearly is an affected person. Why should we listen to the Hon Member for Tamale Central who is affected; whether he or his relative or constituents have been duped or not, he has been affected; Affectation does not mean personal.
    Mr Speaker, he is estopped from contributing. So, you would have to rule the Hon Member for Nandom out to allow him to continue his Statement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    The point of order is rather late. It is belated -- [Laughter.]
    Yes, Hon Member, please, begin to conclude.
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not invested in DKM. I have not invested in any of the micro finance institutions.
    Mr Speaker, what I said is that, it was so clear that their interest rates were very unsustainable. It was so clear for anybody to know that if we are promised a 40 up to 50 per cent interest on our investments, we should know that this is unsustainable.
    Even if they take the resources and buy treasury bills, how much returns would they get on it to be able to satisfy the 40 per cent that they have promised their customers?

    In fact, any sound thinking Ghanaian would have known that this scheme is unsustainable.

    Mr Speaker, what do we do in the circumstances? We said that having learnt from Pyram, R5 and Onward Investments, there are enough lessons for the Bank of Ghana to put in place institutional mechanisms to ensure that in future. this thing does not happen.

    Mr Speaker, it ought not to happen, it appears to me that we have not learnt enough. Even though I am not holding brief for the Bank of Ghana, they said that it is when the demand on withdrawals increase that the chain is broken and that the skeleton in the cupboard then becomes manifest. But insofar as they continue to rob Peter to pay Paul, it is sometimes difficult to note that these things are happening underground. But Mr Speaker --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Is it on a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know my Hon Colleague is very excited but he has to be very careful. This involves humans, so, when he uses words like, “any sound- thinking” person; Mr Speaker, there are right-thinking people who invested. Let us not denigrate them.
    So, I would want him to withdraw “any sound thinking' and change it because human beings are involved. We do not want anybody to misconstrue that we do not care. So, please, these are your constituents and we do not want anybody to misunderstand him.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, maybe, I have misconstrued my right thinking. I just said that if they had done their arithmetic -- [Interruption] -- If Hon Members of Parliament who are very concerned had educated their constituents a little -- [Interruption] -- look at the mathematics. If the Brong Ahafo people had told them
    -- 12:35 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Minister, these are issues that are rather sensitive.
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am just saying that I believe the Bank of Ghana should come out with institutional mechanisms to ensure that these things do not happen again and with that we can assure our constituents that everybody would be acting in a manner --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I agree with you in toto but when you start describing people who have become victims in that manner, you are likely to incite them into --
    Alhaji Fuseini 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in fact, this is not directed at any of those who have been affected. I made a general comment, if the people who have been affected would take it at heart, then I withdraw entirely. I made that as a general comment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you very much. Hon Members, I am beginning to get the sense of the House. From the contributions we have received so far, it looks like we are narrowing down on the Bank of Ghana.
    The impression I get is that, the Bank of Ghana should have put in place certain structures that could have prevented it. Again, this is not the first time this is happening in Ghana. It has happened before and so Bank of Ghana had a history to fall on and so on and so forth.
    I would want us to look at it from this angle. I know especially the Brong Ahafo Members of Parliament like Hon Agyeman- Manu are anxious to contribute, but it looks like the way we are going, we believe that we need to get some answers from officials of the Bank of Ghana relating specifically to these issues. Is that all right?
    Since the Bank of Ghana is a non- governmental institution or at least, it is considered as such, it cannot have space at plenary, but I believe if at a future date, we go into Close Sitting -- [Interruption] -- On a future date.
    We need answers, we want solu- tions. We can get the Hon Minister for Finance to come with Bank of Ghana officials and have some of the questions addressed. I do not know if you would agree with me.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Awuah 12:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, early on, there had been an agreement that we take four submissions from each side of the House. As of now, we have had two here and two there. So, if for nothing at all, at least, let us exhaust the four-four and then think of the way forward.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:35 p.m.
    Very well.
    I would not want to stifle anybody. We would take two more from either side of the House and then bring the proceeding to a close.
    Yes, Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
    Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (NPP-- Dormaa Central) 12:35 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Before I start, I would want to disclose my interest. I would want the whole House to accept and understand that I have never invested in any of the several microfinance companies or anything that is microfinance that is being discussed. Therefore, Hon Kunbuor's issue of conflict of interest cannot affect me.
    Mr Speaker, again, I wish and crave your indulgence that all 275 Member of Parliament should accept the fact that there is a problem that has been created by the operations of all these microfinance institutions in our country. That acceptance is very important for whatever contribution we shall make in this Chamber.
    Mr Speaker, we thank the Minister for Finance for coming to give a brief on the operations of these microfinance institutions. Some of my Hon Colleagues are talking about Bank of Ghana coming or we to call them.
    When there is a disaster in this country, who addresses Parliament? This should be seen as a national calamity -- A disaster -- For all of us and we as the representatives of the people should be given the privilege or right to talk about what is happening to our own people.
    Mr Speaker, let me tell you one thing that I have experienced. People who have queued in front of my door in my constituency, pleading that ‘MP, monka bi mma yen? What is supposed to be our responsibility? [Interruption] -- “MP, would you not say something about this problem on our behalf?” “MP, would you not talk for us?” It is not only me but almost all my Hon Colleagues from Brong Ahafo.
    Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance mentioned rightly, DKM has six branches; four of them in Brong Ahafo. So, whatever way they operated, greater part of their operations were concentrated in Brong Ahafo.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, I think the Hon Member is entitled to the prefix “Hon”. You just said Inusah without bringing the word “Hon” [Laughter.]
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I say, Inusah, he knows why; he is a very good Friend and our familiarity and so on
    -- 12:45 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    But the Hon Member from Nandom is also up.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am actually rising on a point of order. This is because in these debates and contributions, relevance is important but the innuendo that is created by his statement that, the fact that, I come from Upper West where there is likely to be a demonstration in relation to DKM Diamond Microfinance, what has that got to do with me? [Laughter.]
    So, I would want him to leave my name out of it and if he thinks he has a Brong
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, can you conclude?
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have not even started. The Hon Finance Minister talked about the operations of these finance companies but he did not mention the effects.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague from Dodowa, talked about what she is waiting to take away from this meeting, what to tell some of the people who have invested there in her constituency as well; whether they are going to get their money or they have lost all their investments.
    We were thinking that the Hon Minister for Finance would come and tell us like President Obama told America; that there is a package for all the victims but that did not happen. That is my thinking and you cannot take it away from me, that was what I was expecting from the Hon Minister for Finance. That never happened.
    Mr Speaker, individuals have suffered and I would not go to the extent of mentioning the trauma victims have gone through. Let us come to the financial sector. There are several things wrong with the way we are monitoring the financial sector in our country at the moment.
    Mr Speaker, since this issue came to my notice as far back as April, 2015, I have been to the non-Bank financial institution department of the Bank of Ghana on four different occasions.
    Mr Speaker, I have asked questions and would test the Hon Minister for Finance if you would permit me to ask his young
    men in the Ministry to compile the performance of all rural banks and even branches of High Street Banks for 2015 in Brong Ahafo and you would see what I talked about.
    Mr Speaker, I keep asking questions, who monitors very large depositors in our country? One operation, one particular person, a small unlicensed company, all of a sudden has a ¢30,000,000 in their bank accounts. Where is the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO)? Do we know what this money could do?

    Mr Speaker, somebody could form an army with ¢100,000,000 to go and sit somewhere along any border and start fighting Ghanaians and nobody would look at this for four years apart from the people who have suffered, the security implications --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, your point is well made.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have laws that we are not enforcing.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Your point is well made.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    So, where do we stand now? That is why we want the Hon
    Minister for Finance to see this as a problem in our country and come to brief us.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Can you please, conclude, bearing in mind that, your conclusion should be brief?
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want that the Hon Minister for Finance carries the sentiments of all of us including the Hon Majority and Minority Leaders and the entire Leadership of the House that, Parliament that has oversight responsibility of whatever Bank of Ghana does, is not very happy at all about what has happened.

    Mr Speaker, I would crave your indulgence to direct that we need the Bank of Ghana, I do not know --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Member, make sure that you do not dress yourself up in borrowed robes. [Laughter.]
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, I will take your counsel.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Very well.
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we need to meet them and we need to ask the Hon Minister for Finance again that, the President should know about what is happening. [Interruption] He has sat here with us -- Those of us -- [Interruption] The President does not know anything. We want the Hon Minister for Finance to carry the sentiments here.
    Mr Speaker, the only thing that would satisfy all of us from Brong Ahafo including Hon Ahmed is the fact that, Government comes up with some package, to seek some relief activity --
    Mr Agyeman-Manu 12:45 p.m.
    -- in Brong Ahafo. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
    Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC --Bawku Central) 12:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, definitely, this is a very serious matter. Many people have lost their deposits -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Can we have some Order, please?
    Mr Ayariga 12:45 p.m.
    As a result of what has happened, I am sure that across party lines, we are all equally committed to ensuring that, this matter is dealt with in the best way.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance's Statement does not in any way absolve the Bank of Ghana of the responsibility that it owes to depositors and which responsibility in this instance can be demonstrated not to have been satisfactorily performed.
    Mr Speaker, if we look at the Statement, it is clear, that, the Bank of Ghana was aware of the activities of this financial institution.What baffles me is the fact that, in the Statement, it is said that, they took steps but those steps proved futile and nothing was done.
    That is what baffles me, that the Bank would take steps and those steps would be futile and yet depositors would be depositing monies and the institution would be taking the money and we know the danger posed to depositors yet we took futile measures and we were satisfied with those futile measures.
    Mr Speaker, I think that at the core of this problem is the operations of the informal sector. Many of us like to operate informally and that has become a culture within our economy and people are cashing in on this culture.
    Names have been mentioned of so many financial institutions that are unlicensed and yet, they are within the system and taking deposits and Ghanaians are confident to go and make deposits and confident that they would live up to their responsibilities.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, during the debate on the floor of this House, I listened carefully but I do not exactly remember which Hon Member, but somebody alluded to something, indicating that, even though the institution was taking money without authorisation, they were honouring their obligations and that their failure to honour their obligations was rather as a result of the intervention of the Bank of Ghana. That was an indication made by somebody in this House.
    Mr Speaker, the fact that they were capable of temporally honouring their obligations did not mean, that, they were not endangering depositors by the way they were conducting their affairs.
    Mr Speaker, I therefore, urge that this debate should not be partisan and indeed, outside this House, reference and efforts have been made to tie certain political parties to what has happened in relation to this financial institution.
    Mr Speaker, an effort has been made by as high an office as the Presidency. When the President was addressing the media, he made references to what had happened to the DKM Diamond Microfinance and also made reference to the efforts being made by the security
    agencies to make sure that they were brought to book.
    So, the President indeed knows and has taken action and the bank has also taken action. We are all taking action; we are talking. Like you said, constituents would want to hear us talking.
    Mr Speaker, the reality is that many of us would like to operate in the informal sector and when we operate in the informal sector, these are the dangers that we expose ourselves to. I urge the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to live up to its responsibility.
    Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that the structure of the debate in this House today, gave us the opportunity to say anything about BoG and yet BoG does not have an opportunity to respond in the full glare of the media. This is unfortunate and there are so much damages to the reputation of an institution that is supposed to be independent and not supposed to be endangered the way we are endangering it.
    Unfortunately, the procedure we have adopted enables us to do that. All efforts by your goodself, Mr Speaker, to steer affairs in such a way that BoG does not suffer in the process of the Debate, I might be pardoned to say has not been very successful.
    Nevertheless, in my opinion, this House must be mindful of what it says, given that what we are dealing with is the reputation of our Central Bank. Inasmuch as we are concerned about the lives of our people and the deposits they have made, we must also be equally --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
    Hon Minister, your contribution is supposed
    to be brief, by the rules and so please, wind-up.
    Mr Ayariga 12:55 p.m.
    In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I would want us to know that there is a limit to the capacity of the Minister for Finance to deal with this issue. I therefore urge that this House should adopt a procedure to enable us bring before us the Leadership of BoG so that we can discuss with them how we can deal with this issue satisfactorily so that we can also communicate to our constituents.
    As you know, Bawku is not far away from Bolgatanga and so I cannot rule out the possibility that many of my constituents found their way to Bolgatanga to make some deposits. And so it is not only the people of the Brong- Ahafo Region but we are all very concerned.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, we would take one more from the Minority side. Yes, Hon Atta Akyea, then Hon Eric Opoku. Since you are the Regional Minister for the Brong- Ahafo Region, we would like to hear from you.
    Mr Samuel Atta Akyea 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have ceded to the Hon Dr Twum-Nuamah.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah (NPP -- Berekum East) 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
    The people of Ghana have rightly accepted a constitution to govern them. There are regulators which are supposed

    to protect and guard the interest of individual Ghanaians in this country and one of such regulators is BoG, to protect the interest of the individual Ghanaian against people taking away their deposits. We have other regulators.

    It baffles the mind of the common man that a regulator like BoG, with all the machinery at their possession would allow a financial institution to operate for more than two or three years, to take away their deposits and they are now told that the company was operating without the proper licence.

    Mr Speaker, these companies have offices in their various locations. They were paying tolls to the respective Assemblies where they were operating. They had police officers protecting their offices while they were operating. So, if an individual goes to such an enterprise, how would he know that this enterprise is operating illegally? After all these years, we are now told that some of them were not operating with the requisite licence.

    Mr Speaker, people in Ghana have suffered and the Government is supposed to ensure that the people of Ghana are treated fairly all the time. What the people are asking for is that because BoG, and for that matter, the Government did not protect their interest, by allowing these microfinance institutions to operate illegally, Government and BoG are liable for the loss they have incurred and so steps should be taken to ensure that they get their deposits paid to them.

    I am expecting the Hon Minister to conclude by telling us the pragmatic steps the Government is going to take to ensure that the depositors would get their moneys paid to them.

    My constituents are listening patiently. They would want to know what is going to happen from today, how they are going to get their moneys paid back to them.

    Mr Speaker, if you care to know, the effect of this phenomenon in the Brong Ahafo Region is seriously disturbing. A lot of people have died because of this. People have suffered strokes because of this. People have had their marriages cancelled because of this.

    We have women who took deposits from their husbands to them to pay because they have been divorced -- Broken homes, Mr Speaker.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, is it on a point of order? Yes, let us hear you.
    Mr Ayariga 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since this Debate started, there have been allegations of deaths, people have divorced, people have suffered strokes. Mr Speaker, no medical evidence has been proven to show that somebody has died as a result of the deposit.
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have attended 15 funerals in my constituency alone and the cases of death have all been linked to this microfinance problem.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, I guess you might be very rich. How much did you pay per funeral by way of donation? Anyway, that was by the side.
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is this difficult situation where somebody's mother died and they were going to organise the funeral in two months' time. He was given the money
    that would be used to pay for the mortuary fee in advance. He used this money to invest in this microfinance scheme. When it was time for them to go and take the body and bury, there was no money.
    They had to suspend the funeral for two additional months. [Laughter.] Some of us had to come in to support them to enable them organise the funeral. This is how far this situation has affected my people.
    Mr Speaker, it is a difficult situation, and so if a Colleague says it is a national disaster, we should accept this.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Please, begin to conclude.
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would want pragmatic steps from the Hon Minister for Finance and the Government on how we can solve this situation. Their moneys should be paid back if not economics in my constituency is dead. People cannot even have money to do anything.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Can you please, begin to conclude?
    Dr Twum-Nuamah 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would conclude by urging the Hon Minister for Finance and the Government to immediately furnish this House with pragmatic steps on how they are going to refund the deposits to the depositors and compensate them accordingly for all the losses they have incurred having their moneys locked up with these people for all these years.
    With these words, Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    The last contribution is going to come from the Hon Eric Opoku.
    Hon Minister for Defence?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as much as the Hon Brong Ahafo Minister would have an urge, it is important because the real owner of DKM Diamond Microfinance comes from my constituency and so it is important that at least, I would have half the time for the Hon Minister just to register one or two points in this matter.
    This is very important because, I do not know the statistics but the assumption is that people in the Brong Ahafo Region have suffered more than any other people. And I can tell you that if I show you the number of students who claim they cannot pay their school fees because their moneys are with DKM Diamond Microfinance, you would be amazed.
    So it is important that we put this in perspective.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
    Hon Minister, thank you for the information but the information is that Leadership have informed me that they agreed that we should take four contributions from either side. And that is why I am giving the last slot on the right hand side to Hon Eric Opoku.
    Mr Awuah 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the request --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr Awuah 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the request made by the Hon Member for Nandom should be turned down as you rightly did; in the sense that if we were to allow him to make a contribution just on the basis that
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Very well. Thank you very much.
    Hon Eric Opoku, please, do not forget; your contribution should be brief.
    Mr Eric Opoku (NDC -- Asunafo South) 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to associate with the Statement on the floor of this House.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, as Member of Parliament we have sworn to protect the interest of our people. And we have all done the duty to ensure that their welfare is maximised and protected. This House must not be divided over this matter at all. It is a serious matter that is affecting a large number of Ghanaians from all over the country.
    Mr Speaker, as the Regional Minister and Head of the Regional Security Council, I am privy to certain pieces of information that cannot be shared with the public. In Closed Sitting, I would be glad to disclose such information for the purpose of our discussion.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to state that we are dealing with two categories of groups. We have DKM as a registered microfinance institution and several other institutions as fun clubs. All the institutions that Hon Derek Oduro mentioned were fun clubs: Sharp Sharp
    Fun Club, Creative Fun Club, Care for Humanity Fun Club -- [Interruption] -- Please, listen.
    Mr Speaker, this is a very serious matter and the good people of our country expect us as Members of Parliament to look at how we could resolve this matter once and for all for them. Therefore, any attempt to trivialise this important matter must not be entertained in the House.
    That is why I always caution that over- politicisation is really impeding the development of our country. There is no need for us to politicise this matter.
    Mr Speaker, I was talking about the two categories of institutions we are dealing with. The first one is DKM and DKM according to the Statement made today, was licensed by the Bank of Ghana. Also, according to the Statement, at the time the Bank of Ghana was closing the institution, they had GH¢10.8 million while they had mobilised GH¢105.2 million, indicating that we have a deficit of over GH¢100 million.
    Mr Speaker, in the Statement, the Hon Minister has indicated that the process of liquidation has commenced and they want to use the proceeds to pay off the depositors. We need to know whether they have valued the assets and whether the assets can pay the over GH¢100 million we are talking about.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Dan Botwe 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was on my feet. The issue is that the Hon Member speaking gave the impression that we are trivialising matters here and it is certainly not Parliamentary. We cannot trivialise matters here and you can also not preside over matters that are being trivialised here -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, once he has made that statement, I crave your indulgence that he would withdraw it. We do not trivialise matters here. Unless he could make a reference and if at any point in time, anybody had trivialised a matter, he should have stood up on a point of order to draw your attention.
    So once we have not done that here, it should not be in the records of this House that we trivialise matters here. This is because we have not done that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    Mr Opoku 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I only cautioned that we should not trivialise the matter, I did not say we are trivialising the matter, I only sounded a caution -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, when it comes to issues like this, because they are so sensitive, the slightest word with some connotation affects people. So could you just withdraw that portion so that we make some progress?
    Mr Opoku 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if I said we are trivialising it, then I withdraw. But I am only sounding the caution that it is so sensitive and it must not be trivialised.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    When you say that we should not trivialise it, it is as if somebody has trivialised it and that is why I want you to withdraw.
    Mr Opoku 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Very well. Thank you.
    Mr Opoku 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, so we need to know, once the process of liquidation has started, whether the assets they have as an institution is enough to pay off the debts. It is very important. This is because what the public expects from us after all the comments, is what concrete steps are being taken to ensure that depositors get whatever they invested.
    It is very important. So we need to know from the Hon Minister where they have and how soon they would complete the process of liquidation and ensure that they get back their moneys. That is in respect of DKM.
    Mr Speaker, this is Parliament House; we make the laws and we know what is in the law. In the Banking Act and all other laws governing banking institutions in this country, if an institution takes deposits and mismanages the deposits of its clients, what is the position of the law on this matter?
    Is it on Government to go and dip its hands into the Consolidated Account to pay off the debts or we have processes to ensure that the money is recovered? That is what we need to look at. So those comments that Government should go and pay and all those things are unfortunate.We are the law makers. Is it the position of the law, as one aspect of it?
    Two, were those fun clubs licensed by Bank of Ghana? It is one thing that we need to know. If they are not licensed by Bank of Ghana, what specific law in this country regulates the activities of fun clubs? We need to understand that one too. This is because they operated the banking system under the guise of fun clubs.
    So, the Bank of Ghana, through our investigations, went to court, the court ruled that they were operating a fun club and that the Bank of Ghana had no
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    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, you have had a bite.
    Please, let us make some progress. I think that we all agreed that we should take two more from either side. We have done that. So, the next thing is for us to find out if the Hon Finance Minister could just wind-up. We would give him some space to probably wind up and then at the end of the day, we would be in a position to assess whether we need to take further steps.
    Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Bagbin 1:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Whips are both from the Brong Ahafo Region and I think that even though other parts of Ghana are also seriously affected,
    the perception is that the Brong Ahafo Region is more hit. Therefore, could you allow the Deputy Whips from the Brong Ahafo Region? They are only two: one from the Minority and the other from the Majority. After them the Leaders could make their comments.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Very well, we start with Hon Baffour Awuah.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (NPP-- Sunyani West) 1:15 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Speaker, just like Hon Agyeman- Manu, I would just like to state on record that I have no personal interest in the matter before us.
    Mr Speaker, I am saying this because it is circulating on social media that some of us who have been championing the cause of these depositors are doing so because we are depositors ourselves. Mr Speaker, I have no personal interest, neither does any of my Hon Colleagues on this side has any personal interest. I know that for a fact.
    Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that the debate is zeroed in on the activities of DKM. That is very unfortunate, because as it has been said earlier, the number of microfinance institutions involved numbers more than 15.
    In fact, if we should extend it nationwide, Bank of Ghana itself has suspended over 70 microfinance institutions, so to limit it to DKM alone is, let me use the words of my Regional Minister, “we are trivialising the issue”.
    Mr Speaker, in our region, it is estimated that the sums involved are about GH¢1 billion and this is bringing the whole economy of the region down. People are selling and people are not buying. The economy is at a standstill. School children are not going to school because their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees.
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah 1:15 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I would like my Hon Minority Whip to clarify that he is talking about GH¢1 billion. I hear the Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange is about one hundred and seventy something million dollars, so in effect, it could build about three Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchanges. Is that what he is saying?
    Mr Awuah 1:15 p.m.
    Exactly; I mean GH¢1 billion. The Hon Minister for Finance mentioned DKM alone as holding about GH¢115 million. It is estimated that God is Love alone has a total deposit of about GH¢350 million, so if we total all of them, it rounds up to within the range of about GH¢1 billion.
    Mr Speaker, we have heard the stories of R5 and the rest, but I would like to say that if there was ever any scam in the microfinance sector of this nation, this is perhaps the highest ever. It is a national disaster and must be treated as such.
    Mr Speaker, I was so amazed when I heard the Hon Minister saying that some of these microfinance institutions, and specifically DKM, was licensed. If a microfinance institution and for that matter, a finance institution is licensed, then it behoves Bank of Ghana to make sure that they operate within the law, so what happened between the two and a half years that they operated?
    What was Bank of Ghana doing? Were they sleeping on their rights?What was it that made them sleep on their rights? Was it pressure from somewhere?
    Mr Speaker, these are some of the things that our people would like to have answers to. What is so sad is that Bank of Ghana organised a forum in Sunyani for the depositors, and an official of Bank of Ghana said that out of the over 15 microfinance institutions, it was only one that they had given a licence and another one that they had given a provisional licence.
    This means that over 13 of them were operating without licence. Does it mean that in our country, anybody at all can get up and do whatever he wants without any regulation? And whose duty is it to make sure that when a person operates a business of banking in this country and the person does not have a licence, the person is brought to book?
    Mr Speaker, it clearly shows that somebody did not do his work well and that person must be brought to book. Otherwise, today, we would talk about it and leave it, and tomorrow, another such case would recur. What are we doing to make sure that our people receive their moneys back?
    Mr Speaker, what the ordinary depositor is waiting to hear is that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, they are going to get their money.
    Mr Speaker, I did not get that assurance from the Hon Minister's Statement. All that he said was that they were in the process of liquidating the assets of these microfinance institutions.
    Mr Speaker, I am from Sunyani. I returned from Sunyani, I got here this morning. I am telling you for a fact that if
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Deputy Majority Whip?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC-- Banda) 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a very brief comment on the Statement that was
    ably made by the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Speaker, if we may recall, I made this application two or three weeks ago about this serious issue happening in the Brong -Ahafo Region.
    Mr Speaker, from the time I made the application till 6.00 o'clock in the evening I had about 494 text messages from victims who had suffered because of the activities of these microfinance institutions. The public was waiting to hear from Parliament. What are our Member of Parliament saying about it? Mr Speaker, comments are that it is a national issue, a serious one of course, people are forecasting that there is going to be food shortage in the country.
    Mr Speaker, farmers in the Brong- Ahafo Region were depositing their moneys in these microfinance institutions. Some were withdrawing from their banks and sending it to DKM and some other microfinance institutions. So in short, some of these microfinance institutions held themselves out as the banker's bank in the Region.
    Mr Speaker, I think the earlier we took it as a national issue, very serious of course and tackled it, the better. But Mr Speaker, we should not discuss it in this way and just leave it. If we listened to the presentation very well and from reliable check a provisional licence was given to DKM microfinance institution in April 2013. We are in February, 2016.
    These illegalities had persisted for about three years. What we are hearing from this Statement is that, BoG is now processing to revoke the licence that was given to DKM Diamond Microfinance. Mr Speaker, why should we wait till this time?
    Mr Speaker, from reliable checks, I am also aware that some financial institutions from the Region lodged a formal complaint to BoG. We heard Ecobank, Ghana Commercial Bank, the National Investment Bank and mighty financial institutions from the Region crying because of the activities of DKM Diamond Microfinance, Mr Speaker, it is enough to tell us that the harm that has been caused in the Region is enough.
    Mr Speaker, they were given a provisional licence in April, 2013 to operate and given a substantive one in 25th October, 2013 and we are told that the first check took place in June, 2014. Mr Speaker, then what happened from April, 2013 to October, 2013 when they were given the provisional and the final licences and they operated for over a year before onsite investigation and examination happened?
    Mr Speaker, I think BoG has a lot to tell us. I would not like a situation where we would just jump into a hasty conclusion. We must do due diligence in this investigation.
    As my Regional Minister said, at the end of the day, we must be able to recoup the moneys that the victims have lost. The way forward and all that the people of the Brong Ahafo Region and the people of Ghana want to hear, all that victims of DKM Diamond Microfinance activities would want to hear is that they will receive their moneys.
    Mr Speaker, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. We have been voted for to be here, so let us use whatever authority and power that lay in our hands to make sure that we delve into the bottom of this issue and at the end of it all, Mr Speaker, certain strategies will come out.
    I have been told from a reliable source that -- Some of my Constituency executives are victims of this -- At a point somebody carried money to DKM Diamond Microfinance to deposit. They were fed-up with deposits; the managers there were fed-up.
    They asked the depositor that if he had that money, why does he not put it into other businesses?. If a microfinance company says this to a depositor, then it meant that they did not have the capacity to manage some of the deposits that they were given.
    At a point, Mr Speaker, those who collected the moneys from the various constituencies brought them to the bank, but some of them in the end, if thorough investigations are carried, it would be realised that most of the moneys they took from the depositors were not sent to the bank.
    Mr Speaker, we should not say it as if it was something which just happened. We must give it a clear directive and BoG has more questions to answer than the way we are taking it. Most people were just in a haste.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member, I think your point is made.
    Can we hear the Hon Finance Minister. Let us give him a bit of space to wind up.

    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP -- Suame) 1:25 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, article 183 (2) (c) provides, with your permission, I beg to read 1:25 p.m.
    “The Bank of Ghana shall encourage and promote economic development and the efficient utilisation of the resources of Ghana through effective and efficient operation of a banking and credit system in Ghana.”
    Mr Speaker, what were they doing in respect of the activities of these banks? How did it register on their own radar?
    Mr Speaker, article 183 (3) provides 1:25 p.m.
    “The Governor of the Bank of Ghana shall, for the purposes of this article, disallow any transaction or transfer involving directly or indirectly, any foreign exchange whether in or outside Ghana, which is contrary to law.”
    Mr Speaker, complaints were lodged that these people were directly changing moneys into hard currency and wherever they were depositing them, only God knows and yet they sat down aloof, unconcerned. This is in violent breach of article 183 (3) of the Constitution.
    So, certainly, as some of my Hon Colleagues have spoken about somebody sleeping on his job. That is why the entire nation, I would not say a region, has been thrown into such turmoil. If we were a nation, which had an eye on diligence, this certainly, would not have happened or at least travelled this far.
    Mr Speaker, the BoG is charged with supervising enterprises which take deposits, not only mainstream banks. They are supposed to monitor and supervise their activities. What happens? All deposit taking institutions come under the ambit of the BoG.
    So, they pretended that they did not know that they were doing that? When quite apart from the people who were saving, we were told the banks in the catchment area of these institutions also made representations to the BoG, if they did not hear from the victims, did they not hear from the mainstream banks as well?
    Mr Speaker, certainly, somebody is not being candid with the people of this country and somebody did not perform his functions.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Regional Minister for the Brong Ahafo Region, the region that apparently suffered most, has told us that the other clubs were registered as fun clubs. Yes, Mr Speaker, they were registered as fun clubs but they were taking deposits and the BoG ought to have intervened.
    In that case, they deceived the BoG and should have been charged, arrested and prosecuted for misleading and deceiving the people that they had taken the deposits from.
    Mr Speaker, the National Security, I believe, if it were other operations, would have entered the fray. The Regional

    Security Council (REGSEC) also existed. What were they doing all this while?

    Mr Speaker, we have two Bills before us now and ostensibly I believe, the combined effect of those Bills, once we pass them, would be to help cure some of the mischief that have ensued from the operations of the microfinance institutions.

    Mr Speaker, I would think that BoG may have to be invited to sit with Parliament, especially with the Finance Committee, to help us build much more rigidity into the systems such that these things would not have further procreation. Mr Speaker, we need to sit down with them because these things must not be allowed to happen again.

    Mr Speaker, in 1993 or thereabout, I guessed the matter came before Parliament and if you listened to the contributions that were made at the time, it was like treating the matter with kids' gloves. Is it the reason why the nation has seen the rebirth of these institutions? Once and for all, we must act decisively so that these things do not reappear on the national scene.

    Mr Speaker, I agree with the proposal by the Hon Member for Sunyani West that we should treat this as a national emergency.

    If for the time being, there are no provisions for that, the Ministry of Finance may have to make the right approach to the Finance Committee for purposes of rectifying this situation, because we are approaching the farming season and the farmers cannot be allowed to sit in limbo.
    Majority Leader (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 1:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in making my comment on this matter, I would first want to thank the Hon Member who actually -- I should not mention one Hon Member. They were many from the Brong Ahafo
    Region who did everything to get Leadership to bring the Hon Minister for Finance to make this Statement. That is what Hon Members of Parliament are expected to do. As representatives of the people, we represent their interest and that is exactly what the Members of Parliament (MPs) from Brong Ahafo have just done.
    As a House, Mr Speaker, it is important that the people see us as truly representing their interest. I am not surprised that the emotions and pains that the constituents expressed in this matter have found expression on the floor of the House. Comments were made by Hon Members with so much passion and I believe some of the comments even went beyond the Standing Orders.
    Mr Speaker, this is a serious matter; this is a matter that has affected members from all political parties. It is a matter on which we should collectively take action.
    Mr Speaker, I heard of this for the first time in my constituency, when at a meeting, a question was posed to me about DKM. Mr Speaker, I had to ask one of the members seated close to me what DKM was because I had never heard of that name before. Then they told me it was a microfinance company operating in the region -- Upper West Region.
    So, Mr Speaker, I had to take up the matter and I got in touch with the Chief Executive Officer of DKM and some of his staff. From their account, I also got in touch with BoG.
    Mr Speaker, the Statement that has been presented by the Hon Minister for Finance truly reflects the facts on the ground. Mr Speaker, we should go beyond that. From the contribution so far, it is clear that this is not just a financial matter; it is also a security matter.
    Mr Speaker, we also have to look at our justice system. This is because BoG could not regulate non-financial institutions -- susu associations and the rest. BoG attempted to do so but they took them to court and BoG was thrown out because they had no locus. These companies operating as susu collectors were taken to court but BoG's case was thrown out by the court because they had no locus.
    Mr Speaker, the only one that we could take BoG on is the one for which they issued a licence and a provisional licence. What we have experienced is regulatory failure. What led to this? We need to probe further to try and find solutions to strengthen the supervising function of BoG.
    Mr Speaker, we also have to go beyond that, we need to look at the justice system and we need to look at the Financial Intelligence Centre, which we established recently.
    It is important for us not to forget that the law on microfinance institutions was passed just in 2008. It is not surprising that many of these companies are springing up after that. It is true that we experienced a similar situation, in 1998 -- the Pyram was in 1998. After that, we still experienced some more of those. Around 1998, however, there was no law on the issue. There were general rules and regulations but they did not touch on microfinance institutions.
    So, Mr Speaker, it is a thing that we should not once again sweep under the carpet; we should take it seriously and try to take action.
    I am happy that during the debate, it has become clear that there is no political figure, including His Excellency the President, who is involved in this matter. I was happy to hear Hon Agyeman-Manu say that the President knows nothing about this. That is part of the allegations that are in the media and we need to be truthful in our national discourse.
    Mr Speaker, a lot has been said, but I would want to make a few recommendations for us all to look at. It is true that the Bank of Ghana can in one way or another, be held liable for what has happened. It has taken a lot more time for the Bank to act. There has been some inertia; there is some weakness and there are some lapses.
    In fact, when the Hon Member made his contributions, all the facts he stated were from the action that was taken by the Bank of Ghana. The Report on DKM and the rest are the documents he referred to. So Bank of Ghana did take some actions. This is because I know.
    The Bank of Ghana did take some actions but that was belated. The audit that was done by Lobban and Hyde and Partners were belated. So, Mr Speaker, I would want to propose that the Bank of Ghana should be called upon to underwrite the debt.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:45 p.m.
    Hon Members, can we let him land? He is making some recommendations; let us listen to him.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 1:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is a fact that DKM Microfinance Institution diverted a lot of the deposits to establish other private companies. In fact, the companies that are on record are six in number; DKM Mining Limited, DKM Transport Limited, DKM Sheabutter Limited, DKM Gas Filling Station, DKM Cement Depot Limited and DKM Airlines Limited.
    Mr Speaker, the Bank of Ghana should actually come with a bailout; they should underwrite it and then liquidate the assets of these companies to defray the debts.
    Mr Speaker, this is a national issue, we are trying as much as possible to improve on our savings as a nation. If we were to be a middle income country, my understanding is that, it should be not less than 22 per cent savings captured in the country. I think now, we are below 15 per cent and that is not good enough.
    In trying to make laws that will encourage many more people to deposit money in the financial institutions, we should not have this kind of shocks that would discourage people from saving with banks and financial institutions.
    Mr Speaker, it is also important for us to recommend to Ghanaians that, they have to look before they leap. It is important for them to look before they leap. Whatever they want to do, at least, there would be some people who would have more information for them to ask for advice before they go ahead.
    I gave an example of my constituents. That was the first time I heard of it. There are a lot of them that have saved with DKM Microfinance Company. We need, as representatives, to also educate our people. That is why I thought that, during this interaction, Hon Members would have focused also on the education.

    Mr Speaker, I think that this Statement has brought a lot of issues to the fore, I think that the contributions of Hon Members have shown that we are interested and we represent the interest of our people. I think that the Hon Minister for Finance, in winding up, should try to allay the fears of some, if not all of the depositors.

    At least, the Bank of Ghana should take this seriously and try to strengthen the supervisory division. I think that the other unlicensed companies truly fell within the ambit of the law. Before the law was passed in 2008, we had the Ghana Police Service issuing some permits or licenses for susu collection and all those things and that is still ongoing.

    Therefore, those that have committed crime, we should go ahead to enforce the law. We should not just allow it and say that once the moneys are refunded to our people, that should be all. No. We should clean the stables.We should try as much as possible to make sure that this thing never again happens in our country.

    In terms of Ministerial oversight, it is the Hon Minister for Finance and that is why we rightly invited him to come and make the Statement. So, I will leave the rest to the Hon Minister to wind up.

    Thank you Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, we will now invite the Hon Minister for Finance to wind up.
    But before he does so, having regard to the state of proceedings, I wish to direct that we Sit beyond the prescribed time by the rules.
    Yes, Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Terkper 1:55 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    It is clear from the contributions in the House, and even before this time, the contributions in public, that this is an issue which has grasp the attention of the nation.
    Mr Speaker, as has been pointed out, I would like to state that, BoG has come under a lot of scrutiny in the contributions. It is also important to note that BoG took some significant steps, some of which ended up in court, particularly, in areas where the jurisdiction of the bank with respect to funds that are diverted ostensibly to other areas, became an issue.
    In some instances where BoG lost the case, some of the cases are on appeal. I must also put on record that the courts have ruled in favour of the Bank in instances where they were going after assets that have been diverted. This is because these are also the sources which BoG would use to make sure that depositors receive their moneys.
    Mr Speaker, I also wish to state that we have a very large informal financial sector in the economy. This goes back -- I do not know how many years, in particular, the phenomenon of susu and other forms of informal contribution.
    Mr Speaker, the dilemma facing policy makers and BoG is that -- I have heard, for example,statements made even on the floor of the House that BoG is licensing too many of these institutions. The truth is that, it is better to bring them out in the open, into the regulatory framework, than leave them to be in the informal sector.
    This is because, as we see, the problem is with mobilising funds under the formal regulatory framework but using aliases which are nothing more than societies to perpetuate some of the problems that we are confronted with.
    There are other instances where these funds are mobilised and moved into other areas like real estates and others which are also clearly illegal.
    Mr Speaker, what is required is, as has been mentioned rightly by Hon Members who contributed from both sides of the aisles, to strengthen the supervisory powers of the Central Bank,particularly, with respect to going after funds that go in the direction of areas where they do not regulate.
    It is in this regard that I agree with the contribution, particularly, by Leadership, that as the Bills come to the floor, it is progressive. It was between 1993 and 2004 that we moved to put many of the institutions we are talking about today within a regulatory framework.
    Even though we had the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Act, which was too open to do anything for the Central Bank; and as the economy became more and more formal therefore, that Act which made the distinctions between deposit taking and non-deposit taking institutions was significant.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister.
    From the discussions that have taken place, it looks like Hon Members expected something more than what the Hon Minister for Finance has rolled out. From the contributions of Hon Members, they are looking at the possibility of some kind of a bailout as an interim measure, while we try to address the bigger problem. I believe he does not want to commit himself because he is not with the Bank of Ghana and they are the real people.
    From all the contributions we heard, it is clear that we want to hear from the Bank of Ghana. We are interested in getting them on board and finding out what the way forward should be like.
    So, I would like to leave it in the hands of Leadership, since they control the Business Committee, to think of the possibility of inviting both the Hon Minister for Finance and the Officials of the Bank of Ghana to a Committee of the Whole meeting where we can have the opportunity of interacting with officials of Bank of Ghana.
    Fortunately, some of them are here and they have heard the sentiments of Hon Members. So, it should not be anything new to them if a new date should be given to them to appear before us with the Hon Minister for Finance.
    I would like us to bring this Statement segment to a close while we look at other items on the Order Paper.
    Hon Minister for Finance, thank you for attending upon this House. We are grateful.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu — rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Member, yes, what is it?
    Hon Minister, I thought we have brought that segment to a close? You can liaise with Leadership as far as this issue is concerned.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want clarity on your directive. I heard Leadership, Committee of the Whole and that they are ready. What do we do? Is it a referral to the Committee of the Whole?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    I have directed that Leadership should decide on the way forward.
    Hon Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
    Mr Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am reliably informed that item number 7 (b), Papers for presentation has not been laid, but it is ready to be laid. The Hon Minister for Power is on official duty outside the country. But the Hon Minister for Finance who just gave us the — [Interruption.]
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader said “Minister for Power”. As far as this House is concerned, there is no “Minister for Power”. If the President, in terms of his internal administrative work, has appointed a Minister to oversee that Ministry, we do not know this as a House. So, as far as this House is concerned, there is no “Minister for Power”.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Leader for Government Business is in charge and wants to help Government, he should take some of the suggestions that we make in this House on board and let them be implemented. The President should write to this House that he has got a Minister so that this House would relate to that Minister. That is the proper thing.
    Mr Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance would lay the Paper for and on behalf of the Minister for Power. But, I have just been corrected that the Hon Minister for Finance has been written to as the substantive Cabinet Minister overseeing the Ministry of Power. So, rightly, he is here to lay that Paper — [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:05 p.m.
    Hon Members, I believe that nature abhors vacuum and there must be a way forward by all means. If we can — Sitting here, I am not aware. I do not know if any communication has come to the Rt Hon Speaker about this issue.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is no communication to the Rt Hon Speaker. He would have brought it to the attention of the House.
    I have raised this on many occasions and now the Hon Leader for Government Business says that he is reliably informed that — We do not know; when was this done? [Interruption]— If the President wants us to deal with a Minister as the Minister for Power, he should inform this House.
    That is the proper thing. This thing has been going on for far too long and now, look at the situation -- which we find ourselves.
    Mr Speaker, the President should be up and doing.We want better account- ability to improve upon governance.
    Mr Bagbin 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no problem with the request of my very good Friend, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah. If we are improving on governance, so be it. But I do not know when for the eight years, when they were in power, they wrote to us to inform us about — [Interruption]— we can check.
    We can go through the Hansard and find out on which occasion -- We can improve upon things; I accept that. His Excellency the President will officially write to the House; but that would be to improve on governance. It is not that it has been done; it is not something that is written in any law,which has been breached.
    But we are improving on governance; I learn from him.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think what the Hon Majority Leader, as Leader of Government Business, is informing this House about is in good order. But do we take it? This is a request that we have always made.
    In the morning, when we had to skip that particular item, I inquired from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, who asked us to skip, whether or not, the Paper was ready and if so, whether or not none of the other Hon Minsters who were in the Chamber could not have laid it on behalf of the substantive Minister.
    Mr Speaker, no answer was proffered.
    Mr Speaker, we are now told that there is a substantive Cabinet Minister who is, maybe, in charge for the time being.
    Mr Speaker, are we to take it that from now on, the Hon Ministers, who are put in charge when the substantive Cabinet Ministers are not available, would be the people to take charge of that responsibility, including shepherding Bills in the Chamber? Is that the understanding from now on?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, clearly the request from the House, through Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, is a genuine request and I am saying that, that is the way to improve on governance.
    When a Cabinet Minister is so mandated by His Excellency the President, he carries on the Business of the Sector until the Hon Minister for that Sector takes over. So, it includes piloting Bills on the Floor of the House. That is right -- [Interruption] -- Yes. As I said, His Excellency the President would formally communicate to the House.
    I believe that this is from the promptings of the House and that is good governance. There is no problem with that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    On that note, can we get the Hon Minister for Finance to stand in for the Minister for Power?
    PAPERS 2:15 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker; item 7 (e). [Interruption] -- It is just laying of a Report; item 7 (e) [Interruption.] Item 7 (c) is not ready.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Do you mean “e” for Edward?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    That is so, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Members, item 7 (e); Chairman of the Committee?

    By the Chairman of the Committee --

    Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item 8; both (a) and (b). Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation would lay that Paper for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. That is item 8 (a).
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Item 8 (a)?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Item numbered 8 (a).
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Whom are you asking permission for?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am asking your kind permission for the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to lay that Paper for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts; item 8 (a).
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to remind the Hon Majority Leader that when he requests your permission, I think, it goes with that of the House and not only the Chair.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Majority Leader whether the Hon Minister that he mentioned is the one who has been given authority at Cabinet level to hold the fort for the Hon Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts -- [Interruption] -- The Hon Minister is available so there is no need to mandate a Cabinet Minister to oversee -- [Interruption] -- She is on official duty out of the country. [Long Pause.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader? Hon Minority Leader, do you -- [Interruption] -- Very well. Then, let us get the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
    Yes, Hon Minister?
    BILLS -- FIRST READING 2:15 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Members, let us go back to item numbered 7 (b).
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission and the leave of the House, if the Hon Minister for Transport could lay the Paper, item numbered 8 (b) for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Communications who is on -- [Interruption.] No, item 8 (b). We have finished with item 7 (b), we are now on item 8 (b).
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, we dealt with item 7(b), but I did not give any directive as to the referral and that is why I would want to correct that error.
    So, it goes to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and Report. Item numbered 7 (b)[Interruption] -- The one from the Ministry of Power.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, with your kind permission and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues, if the Hon Minister for Transport could lay the Paper for and on behalf of the Minister for Communications who is on official duty outside the country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Majority Leader, which item is that? [Interruption] -- Item number 8(b)? [Interruption] Very well.

    Yes, Hon Minister?

    Electronic Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016

    AN ACT to amend the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) to provide for Clearing House Services through the Interconnect Clearing House and to provide for related matters.

    Presented by Hon Minister for Transport (on behalf of the Minister for Communications). Read the First time. Referred to the Committee on Communications.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given the remit of this Bill, I would want to plead that the referral should go to not only the Committee on Communications but also the Finance Committee because of --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Which Committee?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:15 p.m.
    The Finance Committee, the two of them.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Well, is that the feeling of the House?
    Mr Bagbin 2:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have no objection.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:15 p.m.
    Very well. It is accordingly directed that both the Committees for Communications as well as Finance should consider the Bill and report to this House.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that, again, because of the weight of this Bill and given the recent controversy before the Bill surfaced in this House. Mr Speaker, I believe it will do the image of Parliament a lot of good if the joint Committee is permitted, in line with Standing Order 200 to consider having Public Hearings on this.
    Mr Speaker, I say so because, there are a lot of suspicions and I do not think that, if the joint Committee sits in camera, it will help to clean up the environment. So, I will plead that, the joint Committee may be urged to hold public hearings on this so that, mistrust and suspicions are eroded. That is number one.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader, what says you?
    Mr Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the path that the House is deciding to go; that, it should rather be a rule not an exception for Committees to sit in public; that should be the rule in the new Standing Orders that is in the pipe line it is definitely capturing this and there is no harm in allowing Committees to sit in public.
    Mr Speaker, more so, the issue that the Hon Minority Leader raised is something that is of serious public concern and so, we will want to dispel the rumour that maybe, there is something to hide. There is nothing to hide so, they can sit in public.
    The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice could be in attendance and that one is not jointly but she should be in attendance and that will assist the
    Committee to submit this Report to us. What has been discussed is of national interest and concern to Hon Members of Parliament.
    Mr Speaker, I know a lot about it because I have personally intervened on many occasions on this matter but, we need to get the public rest assured that, the right thing is being done and is part of our function as a House to oversee the Executive, I think that is right.
    Mr Speaker, so, in your referral, you could add a directive for the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to attend officially upon the Committee, to ensure that the laws and rules are properly ironed out for the Consideration of the House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Well, thank you very much.
    Looking at how tight the schedule of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice could be, is it possible to direct that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice or her representative be in attendance? I ask that because it might not be possible for her to be at all these meetings.
    Mr Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the message was to the get the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to be adequately and effectively represented at the Committee level not the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice herself.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Well, in that regard, I wish to further direct that, the joint Committee hold the sittings in public, and that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice or her representative be in attendance to participate in the deliberations.
    I so direct.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a related matter. Sometimes, we have some representatives of some Ministries, being low ranking officers in the Ministry. I think that we should stress that, it cannot be below a certain rank and that will maybe really refresh and dignify the joint Committee sittings.
    Mr Speaker, this is because sometimes, in the Consideration of Annual Estimates, some officers appear and when issues are raised, they want to recline to do further consultations. We want people who are credible from the Attorney-General's Department to represent the Hon Minister and if her Deputy may not be available, then we need a really high ranking officer to be part of the deliberations.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    So, do I get you, Hon Minority Leader, to be indicating that, the representation should be of a certain minimum rank? I do not know how Hon Members feel about it.It should be possible to give that directive but whether it will be -- In reality, what can be carried out?
    Mr Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, not specifically the Minister or the Deputy Minister but, at least, a Director of that Ministry. I am aware that, this matter has come before the Ministry and there are some Directors that were overseeing it.
    I say this because of the pressure on the Hon Minister and Hon Deputy Minister and we do not want them to put Parliament on hold and delay our work but the Directors who are available, these are technical matters and there are very good Chief State Attorneys handling this matter, they could effectively and adequately represent the Hon Minister and her Deputy.
    Mr Speaker, if we can go down to a representative not below the rank of a Director or Chief State Attorney.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    With the Attorney-General's Department, can I say that, Principal State Attorney?
    Mr Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
    Principal State Attorney is quite acceptable.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Very well.
    I so direct, Hon Members.
    Mr Bagbin 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Item number 14 on the Order Paper.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Very well.
    Item number 14, Hon Chairman of the Committee.
    MOTIONS 2:25 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh) 2:25 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 Committee on Health on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service) and Oldelft Benelux B.V. of the Netherlands for the Procurement of Medical Equipment in The sum of eighteen million, eight hundred and forty-two thousand, three hundred and thirty-five euros (€18,842,335.00) to Support the Project for the Acceleration of Tuberculosis Case Detection in Ghana may be moved today.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:25 p.m.
    Any seconder?
    Dr Richard Winfred Anane 2:25 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a procedural Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, I cannot hear you.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:35 p.m.
    I said this is a procedural Motion, and I also know that this Report, Mr Speaker, came directly from the oven and got served on us.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    So is it oven fresh?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:35 p.m.
    It is oven fresh. Mr Speaker, we should know at least what is occasioning this; what is occasioning the haste? It has been whispered to me, but Mr Speaker, that is not official. We should know why straight from the oven we should come to consider this.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Mr Chireh 2:35 p.m.
    It is not straight from the oven. Indeed, when we were distributing the Report of the Appointments Committee, this Report too was distributed around the same time. It was ready since yesterday.
    It is because there is urgency about it that if we do not pass this resolution today, the effort we made last week to approve the Agreement for the Tuberculosis ends

    today. It would elapse, that is the urgency. It has to be taken today. That is why it is so.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not know what is going on. Last week, we were told that if we do not approve the loan at that time, everything would be over. [Interruption] I know that, but what I am saying if that was true, that should have come at the same time.

    I am saying that, if it was true for the loan, it would have been true for this. It is past 2 o'clock and, we have not eaten, yet they are compelling us to stay. Meanwhile, they have not made any arrangement. This is tyrannical.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Hon Member, if I remember right, it was the Paper that was laid. This is the Report on the Paper which was laid last week.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am aware of that because the Finance Committee had to deal with the loan under duress -- [Interruption.] -- That is true. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, it is duress for me when I do not eat before 2 o'clock, and I do not think straight. So if he has not made any arrangement, he should plead with us to stay.
    Mr Speaker, look at the number, we do not have the quorum to take a decision and pass it right now. He should not let us go there. He should plead with us to accommodate with this request. That is why I call this ‘dures'.
    Mr Bagbin 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was trying to rise on a point of order, but when he defined “duress”, I understood where he was coming from. I understand his duress to mean he has not eaten, and it is past 2 o'clock, and I sympathise with him. But this is a matter that I believe we can easily take. It is not controversial. It is in the national interest.
    I also support his view that people should be more open with Parliament than they are doing on these issues of time limits and the rest. That is quite a genuine concern, but I plead that we take the item.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Mr Isaac Osei 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, since the Hon (Dr) Akoto Osei says he cannot think straight, I would ask the Hon Majority Leader to try and alleviate him of this particular situation. He knows his situation. [Interruption]-- He said he cannot think straight, and if he cannot think straight, the earlier we closed, the better.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unless the appropriate arrangements are made, I cannot think straight. That is the condition.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Bagbin 2:35 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in this world it is also allowed not to think straight, and so he is playing that role. Sometimes one can think straight and at other times one cannot think straight, but we would make the appropriate arrangement to take care of him -- Oh, you would want to include yourself?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:35 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
    Report of the Health Committee on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana
    and Oldelft Benelux B. V. of the Netherlands for the Procurement of
    Medical Equipment
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Joseph Y. Chireh) 2:35 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 on Health on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service) and Oldelft Benelux B.V. of the Netherlands for the Procurement of Medical Equipment in the sum of eighteen million, eight hundred and forty-two thousand, three hundred and thirty-five euros (€18,842,335.00), to Support the Project for the Acceleration of Tuberculosis Case Detection in Ghana may be moved today.
    Introduction
    The Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Health/ Ghana Health Service) and Oldelft Benelux B. V. of the Netherlands for the Procurement of Medical Equipment to support the Project for the acceleration of Tuberculosis Case Detection in Ghana was laid in the House on Thursday, 18th February, 2016 and referred to the Committee on Health for consideration and report.
    The Committee met the Deputy Minister for Health, Hon Victor Bampoe and the technical team from the Ministry of Health to discuss the Contract Agreement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Any seconder?
    Dr Richard W. Anane (NPP -- Nhyiaeso) 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and in so doing, I wish to make a few --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Hon Ranking Member, I believe you get the sense of the House.
    Dr Anane 2:45 p.m.
    I do, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Then be as brief as possible.
    Dr Anane 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, much as I would want to be brief, I still think that there are a few points that ought to be raised for the attention of the House, so that the Ministry takes particular note of them.
    Mr Speaker, the Report emphasises, and it comes out clearly with the fact that, it is very necessary because of the fact that we are unable to put a real finger on our TB prevalence and that this project is going to help us to be able to manage our TB burden.
    The reason is that, whereas the WHO gives an estimate of the prevalence, it is found that the actual prevalence is about two times what the WHO may have made for us. That is why it is very necessary that we take this project very serious.
    Mr Speaker, what we want to emphasise on has to do with the contract document on the scope of the project. In paragraph 4 of this Report, this has been quoted extensively for the benefit of Hon Members. We also want to draw attention to the fact that, the sense that this conveys is that of a Build Operate and Own arrangement and not a direct purchase.
    The Committee drew the attention of the Ministry of Health to take particular note and to find ways and means of getting that amended because the equipment is being purchased directly by the Government of Ghana therefore it is not a matter of a build operate and own arrangement as conveyed in paragraph 4 of this Report.
    We thought that we had to clarify this in the House for the Ministry to take
    particular note so that at the end of the day, they eventually make the necessary corrections with the supplier and with the
    ORIO.
    Mr Speaker, we also want to bring to your attention the fact that the third paragraph of the contract agreement S.GCC 16.3 of the “Special Conditions of the Contract”, clarifying or stating that:
    “… in addition, the Purchaser shall ensure that all eligible expatriate staff for the project are exempted from taxes, duties and levies.”
    Mr Speaker, the Committee was again not very comfortable with that and we wanted this to be properly clarified. This is because, we do not want a situation where anything at all can be imported by the expatriate staff and be exempted from taxes. That one too was an area that we thought should be clarified.
    Mr Speaker, in addition, in the selection of the institutions or hospitals that were going to be the beneficiaries, we noted that some of the selected hospitals were beneficiaries in some previous arrangement. Therefore, we wanted the House to impress upon the Ministry to re-do the list for the right institutions to be selected so that we do not have institutions benefiting double when they do not really need it.
    Mr Speaker, these are just a few pieces of information which I thought we have to emphasise for the House to take note and give the appropriate directives on.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Question proposed.
    Dr Anthony A. Osei (NPP -- Old Tafo) 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have read the Committee's Report. First, I would want us to note that there is no recommendation for the House to accept the contract. It is to accept the Report. I am confused.
    The main work of the Committee, in my view, was to test the value of the contract; whether we are getting value for money.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Ranking Member, do you have a response?
    Dr Anane 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, because of the situation, especially emanating from the Hon Member not being able to think straight, we thought we had to cut down on some of the things that we ought to do. But looking at paragraph 6.3, we mentioned value for money.
    Mr Speaker, the reason why it is not necessary for the conclusion is that, this is a competitive bidding.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, is that a point of order?
    Dr Anane 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when it is competitively bidded for, the question of value for money does not arise. That is part of the procurement, therefore we do not need --
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:45 p.m.
    But Mr Speaker, if he does not wait for me to finish -- This is because I have read what he is saying and I know that. So what is the point? That is not what I am saying.
    I asked him what he was asking us to do. And he said “for us to adopt the Report”, which is what?
    Mr Speaker, here they are talking about going back to the taxes. If they dare do that, we have to go back and renegotiate. So why are they asking us to look at the issue of the taxes. It may be of concern to them but I submit to them that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:45 p.m.
    Very well.
    Chairman of the Committee, do you have any response?
    Mr Chireh 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is exactly the problem about saying that I should conclude. This is because we would have raised some of the issues. We took note of all that and what we are saying is that wherever it is possible, it should be done.
    We are talking about distribution and in the case of the distribution for instance, some of the places are new constructions and they would also be equipped with similar facilities.
    So, Mr Speaker, we cannot go and double supply. In the case of the taxes, we are saying that it is too broad. If one of the workers of this company has personal items, should he be tax exempted? Those are the issues that we raised in the Report.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:45 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I understand the issues but my point to them is that though they are troubled about that, we
    cannot do anything about it. This is because the ORIO Grant was given on specific tax exemptions, which this House agreed to earlier.
    So, they should raise the concerns but they should not say, “recommends to the House to urge the Ministry to amend the third paragraph”. It is not possible. This is because that is the condition on which the grant was given. So it is a concern but it is of no consequence to the work that we are doing.
    Mr Speaker, the final part that Hon Opoku Prempeh said the last paragraph is not.
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, let me read 2:45 p.m.
    “The Committee therefore recommends to the House to approve its Reports on the Contract Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana (Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service) and Oldelft Benelux B.V. of the Netherlands for the procurement of Medical Equipment to support the Project for the acceleration of Tuberclosis Case Detection in Ghana subject to its recommendation.”
    An Hon Member 2:45 p.m.
    It is implied.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    It is implied? That is the issue.
    Mr Speaker, implication is not enough. He should be specific. Let me ask, is the contract worth our while? That is what I am looking for, that he has examined it, and he can confirm that for example, one test tube is for US$2 and he accepts that. Then I am comfortable with it.

    Mr Speaker, the Members of the Health Committee are all up. I do not know what is wrong with them. They could debate, express their opinion. I am speaking for this House. That is why --
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order? Let us hear you.
    Dr Prempeh 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wonder why my Senior Colleague from Old Tafo is belabouring the point of taxes and VfM and for that matter all these issues that he is raising. He has a point.
    Mr Speaker, precisely what does the Finance Committee do when they are approving a loan? They go and lumber us with the loan they have approved. This is the third time it is happening. Even today it has happened.
    When we ask that when they are going to approve a loan we should take the supplier's credit and examine it in totality, the Finance Committee always say no, and I know those who say no.
    Mr Speaker, if we have found out that the loan that they approved -- The so- called ORIO Grant et cetera -- They think we do not know. It includes those taxes, but we find out that, some of the taxes they have approved are perditious.
    The only thing the Committee can recommend is to say that, these things should be looked at, and indeed, when we said it the technical staff from the
    Ministry of Health said they had to re- look at it, and that it was too much.
    Mr Speaker, why should we go and approve a loan with an agreement saying that, “every activity that the people who are coming here engage in is tax free”. Mr Speaker, when they go and eat waakye they can submit a bill and go and do it tax free?
    Mr Speaker, that is why we are being encumbered upon by loans that are approved years before we see the Suppliers Credit. That is why you remember --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Very well, let us listen to him.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is the issue with some Committee Members of this House. The Finance Committee does not take the decision on a referral. They sit in this House, the Speaker takes a decision and they blame the Finance Committee. Why do they not go to the source? We do not make the referrals, so what is he talking about, some people in the Finance Committee?
    He should stop this business. When he is in the House, he should make his point known and not wait for the decision to be made, before he comes through the back door.
    Mr Speaker, listen to what they are saying here 2:55 p.m.
    “The technical team intimated that though it was outright purchase of the equipment, these provisions have been provided in this contract to ensure that the equipment does not become obsolete”.
    Mr Speaker, do you understand that? Let me repeat. It is in the Report and I would like them to tell us what it means.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Let us allow the Hon Chairman to explain what they mean by it.
    Hon Chairman of the Committee, let us hear you.
    Mr Chireh 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what my Hon Friend is doing, if we all do this in the House no decision could be made.
    First of all, I was going to present and emphasise those points but he said no, I should conclude. I have concluded and now he is marking grammar in my Report. If he marks grammar, it does not help the matter.
    Mr Speaker, what I wanted him to know is that, because of that value for money issue, we asked the Ministry to get us some information as to the prices and they sent us a letter this morning. In the process, I would have been quoting from the letter.
    They did a comparative study of the prices, therefore, we think that the value for money issue has been answered. They assured us that they were going to get a letter from the Public Procurement Authority or value for money agents to support what they were doing.
    This is the letter. They have compared prices and this is from the Ministry. If he is talking about grammar, that is a different matter. If he is talking about the principle of what we are doing, we have in the
    overall interest of this country said that, we should approve this Motion -- I mean adopt the Report of the Committee and then approve the loan, but then he talks about “obsolete”. We are talking about “parts of the equipment that would be supplied”.
    Some would be running out. There would not be production, so if we take the supplies today, if we take the equipment today and by, tomorrow, it breaks down, we go to them and they say they are no longer producing that part, what are we then going to do?
    Mr Speaker, that is why we are saying that, it is important for the suppliers to continue for the next few years to provide these equipment, the proper parts. If the things become obsolete it means that within the period they have to replace it. This is all we are saying.
    Dr A.A.Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if that is all he is saying, I wish to state that my point is not about the previous paragraph. My point is that, whether it is an outright purchase or not it has nothing to do with the obsolescence of the equipment. The two are not related. That is not what he has captured here.
    Mr Speaker, we are here to critique and debate, but if he does not want us to discuss the Report, then we should just pass it. We do it all the time, there is nothing wrong with it.
    Mr Isaac Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when Dr Akoto Osei was speaking I thought he had an issue with the conclusion and the recommendation, and that the issue was that it was not explicit enough.
    I would have thought that he would have proceeded to give us the language to make it explicit, that is all. All the other things that he has said, if it boils down to
    this, then he should make it explicit, and then we go on and finish this thing, so that people do not suffer the same fate that we are suffering from as we speak.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is the point. As soon as I started every Hon Member of the Select Committee on this side of the House got up to protest.
    Mr Speaker, that is not how we discuss issues. If it is a point of order, it is a different matter. They got up to give explanations. We do not do that here.
    Mr Speaker, read the last one it is important. I asked the Hon Ranking Member, the loan approval was for €13.11 million. We are being told that the contract is €18,842,335.00. We need clarity to make sure of the contract value.
    The contract value does not have to equate the loan value, I know, but let us be sure, because with the earlier paper we got, the contract sum was about €21 million. So, what is the true contract value of the project, so that we are clear in our minds what it is that we are approving.
    It has moved from about €21 million to about €18 million. Is this the case? If it so, let us be sure. We agree that the project is an excellent project, but we do not want to come back and say that €21million has moved to €18million.
    Mr Speaker , €3 million is a lot of money, so let us be clear.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member for Old Tafo,you are asking questions and I think that the right thing to do is to ask the Hon Chairman to respond.
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I asked them to take notes, so that they could respond, but the Hon Member jumped up and said --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Chairman, have you taken notes?
    Mr Chireh 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have taken copious notes, but he is not allowing me to even write down the notes. He would take one point and jump to another.
    What we are saying, in effect is that, the Ministry that brought the documents to us, it is the same Ministry that brought the documents to the Finance Committee, and they approved them.
    When we received the contract agreement we looked at it based on the figures they gave us and we are looking at making sure that these things are done. Should we capture everything that we did in the Report?
    Mr Speaker, if the Finance Committee was working like that, we would not have many problems in this House, but that is not what they do, so we also know that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, could you please, withdraw that portion of your submission?
    Mr Chireh 2:55 p.m.
    We come here --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    Hon Member, could you withdraw that portion of your submission?
    Mr Chireh 2:55 p.m.
    The issues he is raising, we discussed them at the Committee and the Committee did a very thorough job. We know what we were trying to do --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:55 p.m.
    You see, you are now trying to create the impression that the Finance Committee has not been doing its work well. That is the
    Dr A. A. Osei 2:55 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you asked him to withdraw, and I am waiting for him to withdraw.
    Mr Chireh 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw what I said earlier, but the principle I was establishing is that, they raised certain issues at their meetings. All Committees of this House go to the details and ask critical questions. All those questions cannot be captured for the House to discuss. That was what I said; I did not say that they overlook anything. No, I did not say so.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is obvious -- What I am hearing -- But we are not perturbed; it is our right to ask questions that is why we are here. I am not worried about that. This is not the first and it is not going to be the last coming from this Committee.
    As long as I remain an Hon Member of this House, when I see something and I want to critique -- This is because, earlier, I told you I was under duress and I was not thinking straight, but he has made me think more straight now. [Laughter] -- [Interruption.]
    Some Hon Members 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, what he said is unparliamentary.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    No, what he is saying is about himself.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    It is about myself.
    Mr Isaac Osei 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Dr Prempeh is a Medical Officer, maybe, he has something to say.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Very well, let us hear him.
    Dr Prempeh 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, an issue has arisen that we are discussing and you are presiding over and tempers may have gone up and somebody has been made to withdraw and the next statement we hear is that, this is not the first time that it is coming from the Committee, it would come up again.
    It is casting a slur on the totality of the Health Committee and I think that for that bit, my Hon Senior Colleague should withdraw and then cool down. We are here to listen to him so he should cool down.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not warm at all, but truth is truth. If he wants me to withdraw what is the truth, it would be difficult. I said that this is not the first time it has come up -- It is factual -- [Interruption] -- That the Finance Committee goes and does this. He has made this Statement before -- Go and check the Hansard.
    So, if I say that then I am referring to what he has done before. I am not offended by it. Mr Speaker, if he is offended by this statement, then he cannot be in the House. That is why we are here -- To debate -- [Interruption] -- I am not offended. I am contributing to the debate.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I think that the project is a good one. What we have to be careful about, in my view, is to make sure that the contract sum is the right one. That is my worry. I know that it has changed since the last time it came here --
    if it is 18.84 per cent, let us confirm that, so we would be clear in our minds.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Very well.
    Yes, Hon Gifty Kusi?
    Mr Gifty E. Kusi (NPP -- Tarkwa- Nsuaem) 3:05 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    At the Committee level, there was something which I would want to bring out so that the Ministry would take note of it. We realised that the 48 hospitals that were selected, I wanted to know the criteria they used. There is no record or statistics showing where TB is prevalent. They promised to bring us the statistics for us to be sure that they are putting those machines at where it should be. Up till now, we have not got the statistics.
    Even though we all saw the need and that it was useful, but at least, we would need some facts to help us answer certain questions. So, please, the criteria they used in selecting these hospitals -- Why did they select all those hospitals? If they can give us the answer, please?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, is that in the right direction? Very well.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the worry is, some of the issues that were raised by the Hon Member for Old Tafo, I noticed that the conclusion, quite apart
    from the issue he raised, relating to urging this House to adopt the contract agreement, that is not explicit.
    I thought they would amend it, so that accordingly, we would know what we are doing because the language is to approve the Report and then what? We approve the Report on the adoption of the contract agreement, that is what they sought to say to us which is not really captured. So, we are left hanging about what it is that we have done. That is one point.
    Secondly, they made some observations and they are telling us that we should approve this Report subject to the recommendations. The recommen- dations are that, firstly; the project scope should be reworded to eliminate any doubt as to who should own and operate the facility.
    Mr Speaker, that ought to have been done at the very inception. It was not done and now we are doing this subject to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    My understanding is that once we adopt the Report, then those issues should be dealt with, this is because it constitutes part of the Report.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that would complicate the issue because as I said, these things ought to have been done at the very inception. They were not done there. Maybe, before the consideration of the loan Agreement itself -- That is where it should have happened. Now, that we have approved of the loan, we cannot then come back and say that we would want to review the Contract Agreement.
    That is the difficulty and that is why I thought that maybe you should have waited for us to really sanitise it first -- and then we would get to know exactly what we are doing. Otherwise, we would
    end up ridiculing ourselves -- That is the difficulty. It is not subject to what we are saying and otherwise we would run the House into difficulties.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:05 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, the Question has been put already but I would want to allow us to take a look at it. So, we can hear from the Hon Chairman of the Committee about the points that he has raised.
    Mr Chireh 3:05 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue he has raised in terms of the conclusions that we made about the adoption of the Report. After we said so, we also say that adopt the Resolution, for it to be complete. That, I agree with him.
    The other things we are suggesting there; first of all, we were told, for instance that during the negotiations some of the things could not be done. But in our view, if we think that there was a word that would make things specific, then when they go back after we have approved it, they would through that correct them where it is possible. That is why we are saying that these are suggestions that we are making to the Ministry.
    In essence, some Hon Members of the Committee were saying that we should change the scope by eliminating some of the paragraphs and we said no, it was not possible. This is because, the document that was brought to us was the one that was negotiated.
    But these suggestions that we are making is that if it is possible and it comes to the actual signing of the agreement, if they agree, then they should look at those that are possible. One of them that we think is possible is that the equipment cannot be supplied where there are some already.
    So, those can be renegotiated, but until this level had been reached, renegotiation cannot be done. We think that if the House is minded to direct the Ministry of Health to consider these suggestions we have made, then there is leeway.
    If it is not possible, then the ORIO grant that we are talking about -- first of all we know that when the thing was subject to international competitive bidding, the issue of value for money was slowed down and that is what -- Then we were looking at comparison of prices.
    But all the suggestions we have made, some of the Hon Members felt strongly about change and we said at that point it is not possible and we observed that. We are not asking this House to go into a cul de sac. We want the House to approve this Motion, adopt the Resolution and then we have an agreement. But in the process of signing, whatever is possible should be done.
    Dr A. A. Osei 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was following my Leader and I believe what he and the Hon Chairman are saying -- If you can direct that,”taking cognisance of the concerns” and not “subject to” so that our decision is not subject to. But if the Ministry takes cognisance of the Committee's concerns then it is all right.
    But if we say “subject to”, it is as if you can amend it and come back, it means it is complicated. But if it is “taking cognisance of the concerns”, we are on good footing, but “subject to” is troubling.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, the point he is making --
    Mr Chireh 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree that the direction should be -- Once you have put the Question --I have explained the issue and in line with what he is saying, anywhere it is possible for the negotiation to be done on the contract, it should be done according to our recommendation.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Very well. So that is the direction. Hon Deputy Minister for Health, please, take note so that you can carry it out as directed.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the lesson to learn as a House is that, usually, these difficulties arise when we have considered the loan Agreement or the Grant and then we come to the contract. It would be worth our while, going forward, to put the two together.
    So, if there are any discrepancies, they are remedied at that level and then we save ourselves. Otherwise, as I said, we may end up embarrassing ourselves. It appears not much due diligence was done at the level of approval of the loan facility. Going forward, we should devise a scheme to work together, the two sets of documents so we save ourselves this seeming embarrassment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Thank you very much. If we go about it that way, we would be able to avoid this kind of situation where it looks like there is a lacuna of a sort.
    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we can take the Resolution captured in item 16. We seek permission for the Hon Deputy Minister to take the Resolution on behalf of the Hon Minister.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, any objection?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker carry on.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Health -- item numbered 16.
    RESOLUTIONS 3:15 p.m.

    THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE HERE- 3:15 p.m.

    Mr Chireh 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.
    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if we can go to item 9.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Item 9 -- Chairman of the Committee.
    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we seek your permission to move the Motion on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee.
    Mr Daniel Botwe 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is common knowledge that the Hon Chairman of this Committee is Mr First

    Deputy Speaker. I do not think it would be proper for Mr First Deputy Speaker to be presiding over a Committee which he Chairs. For that reason, I do not think we would be able to take this Motion today.
    Mr Agbesi 3:15 p.m.
    What is your authority? On what ground? You have taken an objection against the Hon Chairman of the Committee. I am asking you for your authority in saying so.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I really thought that we were going to deal with this matter. The issue that the Hon Chief Whip for the Minority has raised is of relevance. This is because I do know that whenever the matter relating to Appointments Committee is to be taken by the House, the First Deputy Speaker, who is the Chairman of the Committee, is never in the Chair. So I would want to believe that maybe --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, can I ask you a question?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have liberty.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Some time past, while the current Rt Hon Speaker, was the First Deputy Speaker and therefore Chairman of that Committee, it turned out that he was in the Chair and you as Hon Ranking Member had to move the Motion. Am I right?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that was one in 1,000 scenarios and there was a reason for it. The Second Deputy Speaker was out of the jurisdiction and the substantive Speaker was indisposed. That was the reason we had to do that.
    Mr Speaker, in this case, the situation is not the same. For ethical reasons, I thought that the better arrangement would be -- Usually, you move it from
    here and I would second it. After the matter, if you have to preside, the substantive Speaker would then exit for you to preside. But for you to sit and preside in your own cause -- You are a lawyer above repute.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, currently, it is a fact that Mr Second Deputy Speaker is out of the jurisdiction and Mr Speaker is not in the best of health that is why this morning he had to cut short his period in the Chair. But if you insist that, that should be the case, fine, I have no problem with that.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let it not be said of me that I am insisting -- [Laughter.]Mr Speaker, I am just pointing it out.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    I used “you” in the plural form; not singular.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:15 p.m.
    Admitted. Mr Speaker, I thought that if it would not affect any arrangement, I would want us to maybe take it tomorrow morning, with respect to you and the Chair just so that nobody invokes anything against you. Mr Speaker, that is the only reason.
    Mr Cletus A. Avoka 3:15 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have keen interest in this Report and I have
    been in the House up to this time. But I seem to appreciate the intervention by the Hon Minority Leader that since you are the Hon Chairman of the Committee and you are going to preside, it does not appear natural under the circumstances.
    If it is not too late, I would want to support his submission that we can then take this matter first thing tomorrow when Mr Speaker would have been presiding and you would then, whether you are in or not, at least, your Vice Chairman could then move the Motion.
    For ethical reasons and I do not want somebody to undermine the integrity of these personnel and the work of this House, if only some few hours will assist us to get to the end of this matter. So I support the Hon Minority Leader's --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 3:15 p.m.
    Very well, Hon Member, I agree with you. Accordingly, we will defer the consideration of this Report until tomorrow morning.
    Well, looking at the time, I believe the closure is in my hands.
    ADJOURNMENT 3:15 p.m.