MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings. Hon Members, we do not have any Official Report to be corrected. An urgent Statement has been admitted and I would call upon the Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to make this Statement on the ordeals of the poor cashew farmers in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana. Mr Speaker, the cashew industry is critical for sustainable development, poverty reduction, and the development of this sector can be a powerful means of achieving inclusive growth. The cashew sector holds much promise and potential. Cashew productivity and rural employment can offer, and are indeed, offering increasing income to the poor and provide food security and income diversification to the vulnerable communities like Sampa, Banda, Hani, Debibi, Wenchi, Kintampo, Techiman, Bole/Bamboi and so on. The cashew sector has, however, suffered a major price reduction from GH¢4.50 per kilogram to GH¢2.50 per kilogram within one week, ostensibly, as a result of a directive of the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry with oversight respon- sibilities for trade regulations and controls under the Import and Export Law Act (503) section (13) of 1995 as amended in 2000 has issued the following Administrative directives on the purchase and export of raw cashew nuts. Henceforth, all traders and processers are to note that they are allowed to purchase raw cashew nuts during the main harvesting season from January- June but export of raw cashew nuts is permitted only after 31st May onwards. Any raw cashew nuts that are brought to the ports or borders of Ghana for Export between 31st March and 31st May 2016 shall be confiscated to the State. The public is hereby obliged to take note and comply with this directive.”
Can you please, read it out?
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote the Export and Import Act, 1995, Act 503, section 13: “The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make regulations -- (a) restricting or prohibiting the export or import of any goods;” Mr Speaker, no Legislative Instrument or regulation has been laid in this House --
Hon Member, you have indicated that from the directive, there is a reference to an amended version in 2000 of this particular law. Does it affect it?
Mr Speaker, no! I have that one here as well.
Can you read that one out?
Mr Speaker, section 13 of Act 503, as amended -- the principal enactment by the substitution of paragraph C, D and E and so, the paragraph A was not amended.
Very well. Proceed.
Mr Speaker, this directive by the Ministry is very weak and illegal. Under what law is the Ministry going to confiscate raw cashew nuts without any due process? First, the cashew industry is a private sector with a liberalised environment. This has attracted most of the youth into cashew production due to high prices and as a result of competition between local processing companies and their foreign counterparts. Mr Speaker, if we want to protect the few processing companies in the country, it must not be at the expense of the poor farmers who constitute the majority.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement read by the Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip. Mr Speaker, it is extremely surprising that he, in Leadership, would make a Statement to attack an Hon Minister of State [Interruptions.] -- of the Majority. This should not be encouraged. This is a sign of pure confusion on their side. [Hear! Hear!]
Hon Member, at this stage, we are not supposed to generate debate. You must make your contribution to the Statement.
Mr Speaker, this is serious business. So, I would not generate debate. I am putting the facts together to develop the points in order to land on a soft cushion. Mr Speaker, I think that this practice should never be encouraged. I say so because the Majority side have every channel to solve this problem with the Executive arm of Government, without necessarily dragging Hon Members of Parliament into this issue. What is this Statement seeking to achieve? Is it to appease the farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region or it is to fight for the people there because it is an election year?
Hon Member, as you have already indicated, please, do not generate debate. We are here as an arm of Government. If we see the Executive doing what we consider to be wrong and illegal, I think we owe it a duty to bring it to the fore and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.
Mr Speaker, I duly understand the position and I support it. We would all fight for the ordinary people of Brong Ahafo Region and the poor farmers.
Hon Member, again, you are generating debate. I want you to contribute to the Statement he has made. It does not matter who made it; just contribute to the Statement, please.
Mr Speaker, I am making my preliminary comments to set the tone before I come to the meat of the matter. Mr Speaker, let us be fair to the people of the Brong Ahafo Region, the companies and the Hon Minister. The Hon Minister has given a directive that, they should not export raw cashew nuts between a certain period up to 31st May, 2016. Mr Speaker, what are his reasons? It is to protect the 14 local companies that are processing cashew. This is because many people just export the raw cashew nuts outside Ghana. Unfortunately for the people of the Brong Ahafo and the people who are also working in these factories, only two factories are working. This is because the rest of the 12 companies do not get the raw cashew nuts. [Interruptions] There are 14 companies there but they do not get the raw cashew nuts. So, the Hon Minister thinks that the best policy is to stop --
Hon Member, because I did not want to descend into the arena of debate, I took pains to ask the Hon Member to read the relevant portions of the law. From what he read, it does appear that the Hon Minister has the power, but he can do it only through a Legislative Instrument. So, this administrative directive would not appear to be in line with the provisions of the law.
Mr Speaker, I will come to that aspect. I am just giving the reason behind what the Hon Minister did, which is good from an observer's view. Mr Speaker, that was why I used the phrase that “there is pure confusion”. It is not confusion on the part of the Majority side here, but on the part of Government appointees --
Hon Member, you are still dragging us into the debate. That is what I want us to avoid. Hon Deputy Minority Leader, stop using the word “confusion” and so on. This is because it would not help us.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member has made the Statement, and he believes that, the Hon Minister's statement is very weak and illegal. It appears that he is right in making that Statement. Mr Speaker, I would believe, as I have said earlier, the Hon Member, being an Hon Member and Leader of the Majority Side could have a better route to solve this problem.
Hon Member, you would admit that there are options opened to him and he is not bound.
Mr Speaker, I am also contributing to the Statement, and there are options also given to me to contribute to the Statement and make my point.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, could you please make your contribution to the Statement instead of dragging us into a debate?
Mr Speaker, I support his point that the timing is wrong; most traders who are pre-financed would suffer; the farmers would suffer; that illegal directive should be reversed; the Government should compensate the famers, if they have not done so; and the Government should stop taking illegal decisions that would make our people suffer, particularly, the people of Brong Ahafo Region. I also support his view that there is a possibility of processers taking advantage of the situation to enjoy a monopoly. So, there is a need for policy makers who are on the Majority side, to study alternative policies.
Hon Member, please, avoid that line of debate as much as possible.
Mr Speaker, I believe today you have -- I would leave it. Mr Speaker, I support that there is the need for the policy makers to study alternative policies of the cashew industry which would help the people. Mr Speaker, it is absolutely right that when we bring in a policy like this -- the whole idea is to support the companies against the people. No politician, whether on the Majority or Minority side, who represents the people, would support the companies. Though it is good -- they bring employment, but we would want to support our local industries. Mr Speaker, but there is a better way of doing it than bringing a policy that would seek to suppress the farmers, monopolise the trade in cashew production and processing, and indirectly punish the people we are helping. I support that. Mr Speaker, that is why when we are in government and we are policy makers, we should understand what we are doing. We must understand the system and the Ministry we are dealing with. Mr Speaker, this Statement has just come to expose -- as the Hon Member said early on, policy makers need to understand the policies that they are putting in place and bring out alternative measures to help our people. If this is allowed to stand, it would be dangerous for the farmers and it would not help them. Mr Speaker, I know, for example, my Hon Colleague from the Brong Ahafo Region wrote a similar Statement, which was supposed to have been taken yesterday, on the same matter. Mr Speaker, but unfortunately, it was not. It is on the same matter. Mr Speaker, I believe that if you would allow him, he could make copies to support exactly what the Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip has said. It is as if they planned it.
Hon Member, I would allow him to contribute.
All right. Thank you very much.
Please, wind up.
Mr Speaker, it tells you that, this particular problem is a major concern. The leaders in that area and I think that, a call to ask the Hon Minister to suspend that policy is in the right direction. Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, if you allow the Hon Member to contribute copiously from his Statement and give him enough time --
Do not read from the whole Statement but make a contribution.
Mr Speaker, I did not say he is reading the whole Statement but copiously from his Statement. Even if he is copiously reading from the Statement, I believe it would go further.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement made by my Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip. Mr Speaker, whereas we would want to agree that, the purpose for this directive was to ensure that all the 14 companies involved in cashew nut production do not collapse, we are of the view that, without the farmers producing, there cannot be any cashew nut production in Ghana. So, if there is anybody to be defended or covered by any policy, it should be for the farmers rather than the 14 companies that we are seeking to cover. Mr Speaker, we are of the view that, the farmers are also in business for profit and if we are to ensure the survival of cashew nut production in Ghana, we should ensure that, the farm gate is also protected. That is one of the reasons we should protect the thousands of farmers who are -- if we are even thinking about unemployment, I think it will be prudent for us to ensure that, the farmers who are in their thousands are rather protected and given all the necessary protection than the 14 companies who are in there. Mr Speaker, if the 14 companies would like to -- more or less, we are in a competitive world and nothing stops them from upping their prices and buying at the competitive price that other companies are buying. I think it is a bit unfair for our farmers to be made to suffer for something that they do not have any hand in. Mr Speaker, we have for this reason, been calling for a Cashew Marketing Board but this does not seem to be accepted by the powers that be. I think if we want to regulate the cashew market, then we need to establish a Cashew Marketing Board so that, we could have a
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader, can you identify the Hon Member who -- Very well.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
Hon Member, do not be tempted to read the whole of your Statement. You can summarise it.
Mr Speaker, I know what is in there, so, I am not even going to touch it. Mr Speaker, when it comes to cashew, I believe Jaman South, which happens to be my constituency or district is a big player in that industry. In the year 2014, Jaman South alone contributed over 10 per cent of the national production; that is 7,000. In the year 2005, our production level was at --
When you say 7,000; 7,000 what?
7,000 metric tonnes.
In the year 2005, we produced 1,250 metric tonnes and that is a jump of over 500 per cent. So, when it comes to cashew nuts my constituency is a big player. Mr Speaker, prior to the year 1983, cocoa was the mainstay of Jaman South but in the same year, there was a huge fire outbreak that destroyed all our cocoa farms. So, the people in the district embarked on cashew nut cultivation. Now, cashew nut is the mainstay of that district. Mr Speaker, I had almost all the things that my good Friend from Tain Constituency -- we are both from Tain Constituency. No! One is from Banda Constituency and the other is from Tain Constituency. I agree wholeheartedly with the Statement that was read this morning. I hope it is coming from their hearts but I am telling you that, they are doing this --
Hon Member, please, veer off the generation of debate.
All right. Mr Speaker, yesterday, I received about 50 phone calls from their home district complaining about the directives from the Ministry. This is because I am also partly from Tain and they know it. So, I routed this through the Minority Leadership and it was turned down but it is alright. At least, he has brought one that is going to address the whole situation. Mr Speaker, we are in agreement with what he said about the directive being illegal, if it is illegal and it is coming from the Majority side, I believe what the people of Jaman South and Ghana as a
Thank you very much. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor. Indeed, cashew nut production in Ghana underwent a lot of transformation from the years 2000 to 2010 as a result of a project called the Cashew Development Project, implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at that time. The main areas in which this project was implemented was the Brong Ahafo and parts of the Ashanti regions as well as the lower parts of the Upper West regions; the Bole area. Mr Speaker, this has raised the production of sheanuts over the years and we are currently exporting about 150,000 metric tonnes annually. At the end of this project, several issues arose and, the key issue was that of sustainability. How do we sustain the production of cashew nuts in the areas in which the project was implemented and this issue of quality standard became a priority? The Ministry has put in place measures to sustain the quality of cashew nuts being produced by the farmers in this area. We need to come out with friendly measures in order to sustain and improve the production of cashew nuts in these areas. This is because, we have our neighbouring country, Ivory Coast, competing with Ghana for the export of cashew nuts. If our measures are unfriendly to the farmers, they are likely to export through Ivory Coast and that would rather help Ivory Coast instead of Ghana. So, it is important that we put in place measures that would encourage the farmers to produce and meet quality standards, rather than discourage them. However, since this is a House of record, I wish to say that, the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture actually has the right to ban the transportation or export of unwholesome cashew nuts. When cashew nuts do not meet a certain quality standard for trade, then the Hon Minister has the right to do so. But in doing so, I
Hon Member for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker, I was wondering whether this was a debate. This is because he raised a certain issue and you are asking the Hon Member to comment on it -- it is a debate.
No! I am just drawing his attention -- [Interruption.] It is part of the Statement made by the Hon Member.
All right. Then
Hon Second Deputy Speaker?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to support the Hon Member who read the Statement. In supporting the Statement, I would just say that, what has happened with the cashew industry in the Brong Ahafo Region is representative of one of the greatest tragedies that has affected our country since independence.
“The Political History of West Africa”, that I read some years ago. He talked about the cocoa industry in the then Gold Coast at th I think that we need to help our farmers, when I am contributing, I would touch on reduced to GH¢2.00 and as I am speaking the turn of the 20 Century. It was said particularly, in the Brong Ahafo Region, and we need to at the same time, come up with measures that would help them and not only the measures that would discourage them and make them export through Ivory Coast. I support the Statement, except for that correction I have made, that the Hon Minister has the right to ban the trade of cashew nuts when it is found to be unwholesome. But that does not mean we should go along that route alone; we need to also find measures to help farmers --
Hon Member, I understand you perfectly. What about the issue raised by the Hon Member who made the Statement -- that he should have gone by way of a Legislative Instrument instead of an administrative action?
Mr Speaker, I think I would not like to dwell too much on that. I would have come by way of a Question to the Hon Minister to explain why he did that. that.
I took pains to question the Hon Member who made the Statement on that particular area that deals with the law. We are the lawmakers and that is where my interest lies.
Mr Speaker, inconclusion, I would like to urge the Ministry to come up with friendly regulatory measures and other measures that would assist our farmers in the producing areas, to increase production to generate foreign exchange for the country and to make some income for themselves and their households. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support the Statement made by the Hon Majority Chief Whip. I come from Jaman North, one of the leading producers of cashew and I know that there are three players in the industry: the local processors, the buyers and the farmers. today, the telephone calls I have received - most of the companies have dismissed about 750 workers since this policy was announced. So, as we speak, employment avenue is being closed down and like the Hon Member said, Sampa is closer to the border towns and if friendly measures are not taken, I am afraid most of these products would find their way into Ivory Coast. Most of the farmers have gone for bank loans, hoping that this year's season, they would be able to clear their debts and other issues. Now that these measures have come and the prices have dropped to GH¢2.00 or so, it means they cannot meet their loan obligations and this would affect them seriously. They would find themselves going to court. Mr Speaker, I rise to support what the Hon Leader has said and we should quickly draw the attention of the Hon Minister that this policy is not friendly to the farmers. Thank you, Mr Speaker. that the economy of the Gold Coast had been affected because cocoa prices had gone down. So, many years later; 59 years after independence, we have not been able to support one more crop to attain the status of cocoa in our nation. Unfortunately, some of the policies, intentionally or unintentionally, rather threatens the very existence of the development of some other cash crops. We are blessed with abundant land, rainfall, sunshine -- there are crops in this country that are the sole major cash crops in other countries . For example, banana, cashew, and coffee -- but as a nation, we have not been able to structure our affairs in such a way that, we can develop one more crop. And when cashew is seeking to rear its head, unfortunately, policies by way of administrative directives are threatening the very existence of it. We do not eat cocoa in its raw state, so, the question we must ask ourselves is that; why have our farmers faithfully planted cocoa since the time of Tetteh
Hon Member for Sekondi?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. This Statement also bristles with constitutional niceties.
Can we have some order please?
The directive by the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry is in the way of a decision taken by the Executive. As the Legislature, we are concerned about it and we want to take a decision that would remedy the seeming difficulties that some people are facing in this country. Mr Speaker, having regard to this situation, it is important that this House conveys its sentiments by way of a decision. We cannot take a decision based on a Statement. We can just express concern, but having regard to the tenor of the comments on the Statement made by the Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip, coupled with the Statement itself, I believe that it behoves this House to take a decision. I am urging Mr Speaker to assist the House by letting the Hon Second Deputy Majority Whip bring an urgent Motion which would generate a debate and then we would take a decision on it. This is because I have looked at some extracts of the Statements, and Mr Speaker, they are very weighty. It is directives on the export of raw cashew nuts by the Executive, which indeed is calling upon confiscation. It is far reaching. The only way we can let the Executive withdraw this directive is by informing the Executive that we as a House, have deep misgivings about this directive and are exercising our powers under our Standing Orders to request the Hon Minister to withdraw the directive, failing which probably, certain consequences may follow, and that is what should have been done. I thought that having regard to the circumstances surrounding this, probably some backdoor consultations could have been made, so that the Hon Minister in his own interest withdraws it. Mr Speaker, how on earth in this constitutional regime, can an Hon Minister, not by law, but by fiat -- it is so serious. It undermines the Constitution of this country and the law-making powers of this House. Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether it really came from the Hon Minister. I have my doubts, but it is important that --
Hon Member, let us not generate debate.
But that is what it is. I have read some extracts, and with your kind permission, it says, “The Ministry of Trade and Industry with oversight responsibilities for Trade regulations and controls under the Import and Export LawAct (503) Section (13) of 1995 as amended in 2000 has issued the following Administrative directives on the purchase and export…” Mr Speaker, how on earth can we regulate exports by administrative directives? Under which authority? Mr Speaker, I would not want to talk too much, but I think that, if we could even invite the Hon Minister -- because we are rising tomorrow -- to come and explain to the House how he exercised that power -- Mr Speaker, this is reminiscent of unconstitutional military dictatorships. Unfortunately, the Hon Minister is my good Friend, and he may have had the best of intentions, but the way he has gone about it makes a mockery of our Constitution, and he ought to be brought to order by the proper means, not by saying, “oh, give the Statement to him”, the expressions of the sentiments of the House, no! The House should take a decision that he should immediately reverse that administrative directive and resort to the law to give any directive. If it is by regulation, it would come here and we may decide that it is unconstitutional. Mr Speaker, it is serious. It says, “Any raw cashew nuts that are brought to the ports or borders of Ghana for export between 31st March and 31st May 2016 shall be confiscated to the State.” Mr Speaker, how? Hon Leader of the House, how on earth? Directive? Confiscating people's property to the State? How? Mr Speaker, asem no ye dzen, to wit, it is a difficult matter. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. We would take the last contribution from Prof. Gyan-Baffour. I think I get the sense of the House, so, let us take the last contribution.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I had a chance to be at the meeting where the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry and his officials met with these cashew farmers. The farmers were vehemently against this order, but the arrogance that came from that Ministry was such that I even got angry when they said that they had to find a way to process local raw materials, therefore they were going to create what they referred to as the export window, that is, where a person could only export during that period and could not export anywhere else. Mr Speaker, they were trying to compare that with the cocoa industry, but cocoa has a very structured marketing system. These cashew industries have been left to do things on their own. They do not have a marketing board. They do not have any of the structures that exist in the Cocoa Marketing Board (COCOBOD), and now they come back and say that they are going to regulate them.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to support this Statement. This Statement has been brought by the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, for and on behalf of the people --
Are you on a point of order?
On a point of order! Mr Speaker, I think our Standing Orders do not allow us to contribute on a Statement; it only allows us to comment. The Hon Deputy Majority Leader said he wants to contribute and that will make it a debate. So, if he could just comment and not contribute, I would appreciate it.
Hon Member, I believe it is a question of semantics. It is not a straight-jacket kind of thing. By making a comment, a person is contributing. Very well -- Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, this Statement is to bring the plight of the cashew farmers in the regions that have been mentioned in view of the directive of the Hon Minister. Mr Speaker, the Statement is concerned about the illegality of the decision of the Hon Minister, the fact that by the directive, the properties of these farmers are to be confiscated to the State without any due process. I believe that the main concern is the use of the words “due process”. Mr Speaker, the Statement went further to state that there was no Legislative Instrument (L. I.) to back the law that the Hon Minister used. Mr Speaker, I believe that when we enacted the 1992 Constitution, we declared to ourselves in a preamble to it that we would go by the rule of law, and that the principle that all powers of government spring from the sovereign will
Very well, thank you. I would like to find out whether the Hon Majority and Hon Minority Leaders would like to make some comments about this Statement. Yes, Hon Minority Leader? -- Very well. Yes, Hon Member for Dormaa Central?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the Hon Minority Leader for yielding to give me the opportunity to contribute and partially support my Hon Colleague from Banda who made this Statement. Mr Speaker, I have been a little bit saddened with this directive. My other Hon Colleagues have talked about issues of the confiscation and all that.This is not the first time the Ministry of Trade and Industry is coming up with instructions of such nature. Mr Speaker, importation of rice by road through the borders has been stopped with a directive. I cannot remember whether there was any L.I. or any permission from Parliament that gave the Hon Minister that permission, but the directive to stop rice transportation by road through the borders is operating. We directed some time back that textiles cannot be imported through Tema, but rather through Takoradi; with what legislation? I am very surprised that today, an Hon Member from the Majority Side is fighting the Cabinet Minister on this directive.
Hon Member, I do not know whether you were here in the early stages. I directed that we should not --
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for drawing my attention to that.
Hon Ahmed Ibrahim, sit down and let me do the talk for you. Mr Speaker, the cashew industry has faced a complex challenge in the Brong Ahafo Region; by climate, vegetation and the nature of the people there who are
Hon Member, is it on a point of order?
From rice importation, to DKM, Diamond Microfinance and the rest.
Hon Member, he has the floor, let us hear him.
Hon Sorogho, this is a friendly missile.
It can never be a friendly missile. Mr Speaker, how can he say that a policy taken by Government -- the recommendation was made by our Committee, which you were a member, that because 90 per cent rice imports over land, especially between Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire, came without taxes, so, every rice import was directed to pass through either the airport or the Takoradi Harbour. Mr Speaker, today, is he telling us that because smuggling stopped, his people are not working? He is happy on this floor telling Ghanaians that because the Government took a directive to stop people from smuggling rice into Ghana -- you support it. Are you saying that you were part of those people who were doing that? Mr Speaker, it is terrible.
Hon Member, I asked you whether it was on a point of order. I did not ask you to also enter into argument. Hon Member, begin to wind up.
Mr Speaker, you drew my attention to the fact that our contributions should not generate debate. But I would like to use this opportunity that has been created by my own Hon Friend to respond to him. How do you tell us from Dormaa and Brong Ahafo that we are smugglers? Are we smugglers? What have we been smuggling? Rice from La Cote d'Ivoire to Ghana? Is that what you would want to tell us? So, we are smugglers! Thank you for that. I would want this to be recorded in the Hansard.
Mr Speaker, I will continue.
Please, begin to wind up.
Mr Speaker, I will continue with the cashew matter -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I was making a very reasonable contribution on how some of these challenges can be resolved, prior to the intervention and I would want to continue in that direction. I will soon finish. Mr Speaker, I was talking about a board like the Cocoa Marketing Board that would see to marketing cashew nuts to stabilise prices for the farmers for us to get good incomes from our yields. Then I said that the impact could be very severe. Then again, the confiscation aspect of it -- Mr Speaker, the last thing I would want to say is that, my Colleague Hon Ahmed Ibrahim from Banda,in the last paragraph of the Statement, urges the House to call on the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry to suspend his directive.
Hon Member, I hope you would be more patriotic than that.
Mr Speaker, we can export by filling IG forms to export our crops. So, we shall export officially and we would not keep our crops for Government to come and confiscate. We could easily do that, and my Hon Colleague from Tain, as well as Banda and Wenchi would join me in that respect.
Hon Members, I would like to hear from the Leadership, starting with the Hon Minority Leader. Do you cede your position to the Hon Member for Dormaa? Do you still want to make a Statement? Very well.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a brief comment on the Statement made by the Second Deputy Majority Whip. Mr Speaker, when I listened to portions of the Statement by the Second Deputy Majority Whip, I got the impression that he was indeed concerned about the directives emanating from the Ministry of Trade and Industry relating to cashew nuts. Mr Speaker, clearly, this is a very strong Statement which is urging Parliament to take some steps. Mr Speaker, but as we do know, if a Statement is brought to this House and delivered, comments could be made. They are not supposed to generate debate and sometimes, depending on the gravity of the issue before us, Mr Speaker may direct that the Statement be served on the relevant Ministry. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, when that resort is applied, what is achieved is that, we seek to persuade the Ministry or the Hon Minister. The Statement or that directive would only have a persuasive influence. Mr Speaker, it is not enforceable on the Hon Minister. That is why the Hon Member for Sekondi proposed to us that, perhaps, if the Hon Member had come before us with a Motion, that would be compelling this House to take a particular decision or call on the Hon Minister or the Ministry to take a particular action. As it is now, it is difficult for us to see our way clearly on the face of the Statement that has been made in the House. Where Mr Speaker directs that the various comments made by Hon Members should even be included and be served on the Hon Minister, it is still persuasive. We are only persuading him to do something that he may not want to do. But if the Hon Member had come by a Motion and we had concluded and decided on that, and served on him, then, immediate action would be required of the Hon Minister. That is where we find ourselves, which is why I agree with the Hon Member for Sekondi that if he had come by a Motion, rather than a Statement, we would have served a better cause and purpose.
Thank you very much. Can we hear from the Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I would want to start my comment by thanking the maker of the Statement, the Hon Member of Parliament for Banda Constituency and also the other Hon Members of Parliament from Brong Ahafo Region, excluding Hon Agyeman-Manu, who excluded himself and thought that this was rather the Hon Member attacking his Cabinet Minister. Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with an Hon Member of Parliament from the Government side drawing the attention of an Hon Minister of State that, what he has done, has no legal basis. Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member should rather be commended. We are moving away from those inhibitions to seeing Parliament as an Arm of Government that is brought in to check excesses of the Executive. And this is one typical example of the excesses. The directive by the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry has no legal basis and in fact, even though he is my very good Friend, he just acted as Don Quixote. Mr Speaker, it is --
Hon Member, Don Quixote chasing windmills? Non-existent windmills? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, the concert was Don Quixote which is properly pronounced as “Don Quiyote” but we usually say, “Don Quixote.” It is what you have just said, he is just chasing it. This is because he has no legal basis for that directive and I think that, if he had any good intention at all, he should have sought legal support to do so. Mr Speaker, I did thank the Hon Members not just because they made the statements but the timeous manner in which they decided to seek the assistance of Parliament to try and bring the Hon Minister to order. I am happy that, the directive is still not mature and the farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region have not yet been affected. But Mr Speaker, I think that, Leadership, together with Speakership will have to take immediate action to get the Hon Minister to come out with another Statement withdrawing the directive. Mr Speaker, Governments throughout the world have fought not to encourage Arms of Government to be at each other's throat. And so, consensus building is what is encouraged. This is the first step, if caution is not taken, then we can move to the second step of taking a serious action, which is moving a Motion and then giving a decision. And if that is disobeyed by the Hon Minister, then we resort to article 82 of the Constitution. I am still the Hon Majority Leader.
Yes, Hon Member, is it a point of order?
Mr Speaker, it is a point of information. Probably, the Hon Majority Leader is saying that, we should first show a yellow card before moving to a red card. [Hear! Hear!!]
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. My good Friend Papa Owusu-Ankomah is very much interested in sports, particularly football, so, he is talking about yellow cards and red cards. I said caution, and now, he has interpreted caution to mean the yellow card. Mr Speaker, I think that is what we are doing now and I believe that the comments that have been made are all made in good faith and that at the end of the day, you would give a directive, and I am sure Leadership would assist the Speakership to make sure that, this rather illegal directive is taken off the face of this country as soon as possible. So, I commend the maker of the Statement again and the other Hon Members of Parliament from Brong Ahafo, and as I said, save Hon Agyeman-Manu, who thought that if it is not withdrawn, they would prefer taking the cashew nuts somewhere. That is so unpatriotic. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, I think that having listened to this House, I would wish to direct that, the Leadership meets with Mr Speaker, who is now acting as the President before the close of day, so that
Mr Speaker, we may now proceed to item number 4, which is Presentation of Papers.
Very well. Which of the Papers are ready for presentation? Are they all ready? Hon Members, item number 4. At the commencement of Public Business, Presentation of Papers. Item 4 (a) by the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development?
Mr Speaker, I cannot sight the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development now. I would want to plead and ask for your leave and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues for the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to lay this Paper for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is making application for an Hon Deputy Minister for Finance. There are two Deputies, who is he talking about?
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 4 (a) by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance on behalf of the Hon Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.
Yes, item numbered 4 (b) by the Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy? By the Chairman of the Committee -- (i) Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa. (ii) Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Development AgreementbetweentheGovernment of the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang.
Item 4 (c); by the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole?
Sorry, Mr Speaker, we are yet to meet on item numbered 4 (c). So, that one is not ready. But item 4 (d), the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee just stepped out -- Hon Agyeman-Manu.
He is here.
He is in the wrong place; that is why I could not locate him.
Very well. Item number 4 (d) by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. By the Chairman of the Committee -- (i) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of District Assemblies for the years ended 31st December 2010, 2011 and 2012. (ii) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-Generalonthe Management and Utilisation of the District Assemblies'CommonFund(DACF) and Other Statutory Funds for the years ended 31st December 2010, 2011and 2012. (iii) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Financial Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the Verification Study of Multi-Donor Budgetary Support Inflows (2010 - 2012). (iv) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Comprehen- sive Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the Audit of Unified Petroleum Price Fund for the period 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2012. (v) Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor- General on Phase One of the Land Administration Project (LAP-1).
Mr Speaker, if we could take item 5.
Item numbered 5 -- Presentation and First Reading of Bills -- Revenue Administration Bill, 2016 by the Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, the Minister for Finance is not present but he has mandated the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Ato Baah Forson to lay this Paper for and on his behalf. I would like to seek your leave and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues to allow him to do so.
BILLS -- FIRSTREADING
Mr Speaker, we know there are two Deputy Ministers for Finance. Probably, they might not have any particular designation, but it might help if administratively, they have designations for the Hon Majority Leader to refer to them by those designations. This is so that we would know which of them is being invited to lay any Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister, particularly, when the two of them are here. I know they are both Deputy Ministers. Probably, we could say Deputy Minister male and Deputy Minister female, or Deputy Minister MP and Deputy Minister non-MP. Probably, within the internal organisation of the Ministry of Finance, they have schedules, so, he could assist us.
Mr Speaker, I was specific, I mentioned his name. He is the Deputy Minister for Finance and the other one is the Deputy Minister responsible for Economic Strategy. [Interruption.] Not planning. That is the designation. You can disagree with that but that is it.
The Hon Second Deputy Speaker should hold himself in readiness to take over the Chair.
While waiting for the Hon Second Deputy Speaker, we could just take item 7. Accordingly, I repeat my application because it is just the Question to be put. Item 7, Question to be put.
Mr Speaker, just for the education of Hon Members herein present. Is policy equivalent to strategy?
It is not? Hon Majority Leader, is that coming from you? Could you speak into the microphone because I would want to hear from you?
Hon Minority Leader, please, address the Chair.
Mr Speaker, Ministers are sworn into office to assist the President in evolving policies, but the Hon Majority Leader is talking about economic strategies. Who formulates the policies then? That was what I wanted to find out from him, yet he declined to speak into the microphone.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is aware that policy is definitely the global term for us politicians leading the country -- the policy to govern the country -- you make policies and the politicians lead that. So, one person designated as the Minister for a sector and after the policy is formulated, by our Constitution, it is H. E. the President -- because Executive President -- Now, the Ministers lead those sectors to implement the policies. In doing so, they also apply instruments like strategies in the implementation, and that is exactly what this whole thing is about.
Mr Speaker, indeed and in truth, if a Ministry is not charged with the responsibility of formulating a policy for a particular sector, is it not strange to have that sector implementing strategies -- formulated by which Ministry? But, of course, in this era of turbulence, anything goes and it is understood.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance also deals with some aspect of economic management. But it is the economic planning that is taken away Constitutionally, to the National Development Planning Commission. But you cannot take away economic management completely from Finance.
Very well, Hon Members. The Second Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
Mr Speaker, according to the Web dictionary, “strategy” means,”an elaborate and systematic plan of action”. I am helping my very good friend the Hon Majority Leader.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, with respect, we are struggling to see the value addition to this debate but the Hon Majority Leader admits that they are also value additions. So, we rest the case.
Mr Speaker, the value is against him and that is why he cannot even see it. It is against his position. Mr Speaker, I did call on the House to consider item 7, which is just a Question to be put. I also repeat my application for the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance in charge of Finance to do so for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance. I crave the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues.
Hon Minority Leader, do you have any objection?
No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, we would take item 8.
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, if we can now take item 6, which is the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nominations for appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, item number 6.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House adopts the Eighteenth Report of the Appointment's Committee on H.E. the President's nomination for appointments as Deputy Regional Ministers. In doing so, I would present the Report of the Committee. Introduction In the exercise of the powers conferred on the President by article 256 (2) of the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama nominated two (2) persons for appointment as Deputy Regional Ministers and communicated same to Parliament on 4th March, 2016, for their prior approval. The nominations were subsequently referred to the Appointments Committee by the Rt. Hon Speaker for Consideration and Report pursuant to Order 172 of the Standing Orders of the House. The nominations are as follows: i) Mr Andrews Osei Okrah -- Deputy Regional Minister- designate for the Ashanti Region. ii) Dr Robert Bella Kuganab-Lem -- Deputy Regional Minister- Designate for the Upper East Region. Reference documents The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution; ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament; and iii. The Curriculum Vitae of the Nominees.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to support the Motion on the floor. Mr Speaker, the Committee met the two nominees, Mr Andrews Osei Okrah and Dr Robert Bella Kuganab-Lem; Deputy Regional Minister designate for the Ashanti and Upper East Regions respectively. Mr Speaker, as the Hon Chairman of the Committee said, the nominees largely carried themselves well in terms of composure and knowledge across the field. The Committee was relatively satisfied about responses to the questions that were posed to them, particularly, on knowledge about their region and certain issues they are expected to help address if they are given the nod to become Deputy Ministers by this House and of course by H. E. the President. Some Hon Members of the Committee tried to tease their knowledge and understanding as to the work of a Deputy Minister. One of them need to get a few understanding that, he has to deputise for his Minister, he has to work closely with the Minister to be able to achieve the dreams and objectives and principles set up by H. E. the President and the Executive. Mr Speaker, I was largely impressed; and other members of the Committee, in particular, were also impressed about the responses to the Question on the Agogo Fulani herdsmen. This is an issue which is not just prevalent in the Ashanti Region. It is all over the country. It is in the Northern, Eastern, and Brong Ahafo Regions — almost everywhere. Some of the answers he gave with regard to that were a bit forthcoming and right in myview. Mr Speaker, the nominee also dwelt a bit on youth unemployment in his region. He was very firm that he would assist the Hon Minister to pursue that programme in confronting the mass youth unemployment in the region, which is an issue that we all believe is a major problem and a security threat. This is because, there is a saying by our elders that, the devil finds work for the idle hands. If our young people complete tertiary institutions, the universities and polytechnics, even the junior high schools — By the design of our system, they have nothing doing, they have to find jobs for themselves.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion on the floor and to also urge the House to adopt the Report and approve the nomination of these two Deputy Ministers. Mr Speaker, the two Deputy Ministers were very composed and relaxed when they appeared before the committee and answered the questions very intelligently, especially, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister. One could see clearly that he understood the terrain in which he was going. He appeared to have very good knowledge about the region, the issues and complexity of it all.
Mr Speaker, I also want to support the Motion, and in doing so, make a few remarks. Mr Speaker, first of all, I would want to commend the two gentlemen for their appointments. If we look at the Report, the Deputy Minister designate for the Ashanti Region is very well vexed with the issues in the region. Mr Speaker, as of now my problem is how he is going to assist the Hon Regional Minister to work harder to solve those challenges, especially, the small scale mining operations. Mr Speaker, some of the small scale mining operations are legal, whereas we have the galamsey which are not legal. Mr Speaker, what is happening in the region is that, both the small scale mining operations and galamsey operations are done at a rate, which if we are not careful, would destroy all our environment and farm lands at a time. The sad thing is that, they are now mining in the forest reserves with impudence and that is a very serious issue. The Regional Security Council has made many efforts to stop them but the activities of these miners are still ongoing. Therefore, my plea to the Deputy Regional Minister Designate is to make himself available to the Regional Minister and the Regional Coordinating Council, so that the knowledge that he has about all these operations would support and assist the Regional Minister to bring these activities down. Mr Speaker, pollution of water bodies and destruction of farmlands, especially in the districts where we have these activities going on has affected the livelihoods of the people and it is a very
sad thing. Cocoa farms are being destroyed, water bodies are being polluted and the miners leave the pits without reclaiming the land. After they leave, some people, unfortunately fall in the pits and drown and that is the end of them. Mr Speaker, I would just want to ask the Deputy Regional Minister Designate to work hard, commit and dedicate himself to the region so that most of the challenges in the region would be addressed. I pray the House to support this Motion. Thank you. Baba Jamal MohammedAhmed(NDC -- Akwatia): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to support the Motion and to say that the two nominees who appeared before us clearly exhibited a high level of competence and signs of being effective on the job if given the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I think that the two nominees throughout the interview exhibited a high sense of knowledge in what they would actually be doing on the job. The only thing that was pointed out, naturally, because their backgrounds are not wholly political -- They were lecturers and they came from other fields. In fact, whether this is injury time or not seven months is a long time in politics. One can score two or three goals in injury time --
Just yesterday, we watched the Champions League and I think two goals were scored during injury time. Baba Ahmed: So whether this is injury time or not, the most important thing is that they are coming in at the time they are needed and I am very sure that they would deliver to the expectation of the appointing agency which is the President, and the endorsement that we are going to give them in this House. Mr Speaker, I urge all my Hon Colleagues to endorse these two people and give them the opportunity to serve Mother Ghana. Thank you.
Hon Darko-Mensah and then we move on to the Leaders.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice in support of the Report of the Appointments Committee. Mr Speaker, I have known Mr Andrews Osei Okrah for over fifteen years now. He took over the presidency of the Student Representative Council (SRC) after we had left the scene at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). I also know him to have initiated the SRC Hostel Project. Mr Speaker, looking through his responses at the vetting, I believe that there are key issues that need to be highlighted. First and foremost, he is a young man and if you take a lot of the young men who have been into politics
People like who?
Hon Samuel Yaw Edusei; he was my campaign manager when I was at KNUST.
And what were you?
Then there is somebody like the Hon Mohammed Muntaka who was also the campaign manager for the two at that time. We have other people like Mr Okrah himself who became the SRC President. Mr Speaker, there are key issues that he mentioned and I believe that when he gets into the Ashanti Region, he would be able to implement them. Recently, we are told that he published a book entitled “Transformational leadership: walking the talk”. The first question that you would ask yourself is that, at the Forestry Department -- we know for a fact that Ghana's forest reserves are being depleted. What happened? Are we going to see the same thing continue in the Ashanti Region? We have talked about rebranding agriculture so that young people would be interested and be part and parcel of agriculture. What are we going to do differently? We have seen mechanisms that did not go well in this country. Mr Speaker, we have also talked about galamsey and alternative livelihood processes. After the initial surge in posting of military personnel into galamsey areas to stop them, we know for a fact that galamsey still continues to take place in these areas. What has happened? Mr Speaker, if you talk about poverty in both the Ashanti and Upper East regions, we know that poverty is a major scourge in this country and on our conscience, so what are we going to do differently to make sure that poverty is done away with? What sustainable programmes are we going to put in place in the Ashanti and the Upper East Regions to make sure these things go away? Mr Speaker, we have had the opportunity in this country for a long period of time where educated young men and women continue to fail poor masses of this country, to the extent that, even a presidential candidate called Madam Akua Donkor, remarked that if educated people have governed this country and we still complain of problems, then she, who is uneducated, should be given the opportunity to do so. Mr Speaker, I believe that the poverty situation in the three northern regions is a major difficulty this country would have to work on and eliminate.This is because if you look at all the statistics that we have in this country, the major chunk of what brings down our statistics is the poverty levels that we have in the three northern regions. I believe that as the Deputy Regional Minister for the Upper East Region, he should look at new ways of making sure the poverty is done away with. To what extent are we going to make sure that the Upper East Region can attract investments so that the place can improve? These are the questions I believe these two Deputy Regional Ministers-designate would have to start looking at and support their substantive Ministers to be able to deliver on their mandates.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice in this regard. Having been presented as a person approved by consensus by the Committee that vetted him, there is little or no need to say anything about his nomination. It is believed that the Committee exhausted all that they needed to do about him and therefore, came out to recommend him. Mr Speaker, I have few words of caution for him. He has written a book in which he mentions certain outstanding characters whose lifestyle, discipline, profession and whatever have inspired him. It is therefore, incumbent upon him to live up to expectation and thread the footpath of those dignified personalities. I urge him to do just that. Mr Speaker, he is going to a region, with an emerging indiscipline among the youth. As somebody who has had a lot of work experience and knowledge - In fact, he is a knowledgeable person. I think, he should be able to stand political pressure and make sure that discipline, which is fading away among the youth in the Region, is restored. No matter the status of the people he would encounter, he should be able to call a spade a spade when the need arises. He should be able to caution those who would want to soil the good name of the Region. Mr Speaker, this is an election year and to be able to catch the eye of the President for the august position of a Deputy Regional Minister means a lot. While it is possible there were political considera- tions, it is also possible that he is presumed to be somebody who would be able to encourage the shifting of balance politically to the side of his party. I urge him to stand firm. In recent past, certain persons in the region who held positions misused those positions and toed the line of the party no matter what was wrong about the events they lent their support to. As an Hon Deputy Regional Minister, he is a statesman.
Hon Member, if you say that there might have been political considerations and then you give an example of these political considerations to be a situation where people misuse their positions, then you are equating politics with misuse of positions. They are two different things. This is a political appointment and not an administrative one. ADeputy Regional Minister is a political appointee but politics is not dirty. Therefore, I agree with you on the fact that the person is a political appointee but it does not mean that he
Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is just a word of caution I am giving to my brother, the incoming Deputy Regional Minister. The temptation is there --
If the person misuses his position, then he is not acting politically. Misuse of office is different from politics. Hon Akoto Osei, politics and misuse of office, are they the same?
Mr Speaker, they are not at all.
Hon Member, this is a House of record and you are a politician and a political actor. You are a Member of Parliament and a senior Lawyer. Continue.
Mr Speaker, in actual fact, misuse of position politically is not synonymous with one's personality and self-discipline, an understanding of what is good for Ghana. He is a statesman, having been appointed a Deputy Regional Minister for the Region and he must act as such. Mr Speaker, here we are in the Region considered to be one with the poorest road network. In fact, in the President's State of the Nation Address, H.E was short of words as he mentioned roads in Ashanti Region which were being considered or which had been considered. The records are there. I would urge him as a Deputy Regional Minister to make sure that the numerous poor roads in the region are given adequate attention with a view to transforming the Region's road network and to facilitate quick transfer of foods from those who produce to those who need -- quick transfer of cocoa from those who produce to where the centres are, that would facilitate the movement to the shore.
I will put the Question.
Would you want to contribute?[Interruption.] All right.
Mr Speaker, I would also add my voice in urging Hon Members to recommend the appointment of these gentlemen as Hon Deputy Regional Ministers. Mr Speaker, one thing which surprises me is the statement the nominee for the Ashanti Region, the Deputy Regional Minister-designate said at page 3 of 9 of the Report.
“Relating to the support he intends to offer the Regional Coordinating Council in executing the court order to avert further escalation of the Agogo-Fulani Herdsmen crisis, the
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Nominee did not say he did not have any idea. He said, he did not have a full appreciation. That does not amount to not having any idea. I think it was prudent on his part, not having read the court order, to put it that way. There is nothing wrong with that. Mr Speaker, that is a statement of honour and he should be commended rather than criticised. He said he did not have a full appreciation. It does not mean he does not have any idea at all.
Hon Akoto, that is your appreciation. I said that the Fulani issue has been raging on for some years now. Indeed, the Hon Member of Parliament for the Agogo area had even spoken on this matter when the Fulani issue came up. Mr Speaker, my issue it that --
Mr Speaker, I wonder if my Senior Colleague has a full appreciation of the happenings in Agogo. Does he have a full appreciation of it? [Interruption.] -- If one is not on the spot, he can never have a full appreciation. Let us commend him for that statement of honour. To admit that he did not have all the facts -- That is the kind of person we should commend and not lambast.
Unfortunately, I am not being vetted for a Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister. [Laughter.]For him who is going to occupy that position in the Ashanti Region, and it is my case -- I am not saying that he should have a full appreciation of the facts. Mr Speaker, I am not saying that he did not have anything at all. From the Report, I can not say so; and I would want to grant him the excuse. Mr Speaker, the point is that he is going to the Ashanti Region and he must be on top of the issues in the Region. Mr Speaker, on the nominee for the position of Deputy Minister for the Upper East Region, again, he also answered a question, which the Report captured on page 8 of 9, on research and District Assembly operations. Mr Speaker, here again, for a personality going to the Upper East Region as an Hon Deputy Minister, the security council under the operations of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) -- These are the two areas where answers were not forthcoming and the Committee reported on it.
Mr Speaker, unless I had a different Report, I think the Committee's language was, “…were not adequate”. The Committee never said he was not forthcoming. This is a House of record. Mr Speaker, I would like the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to know that I do not see anything about the nominee not being forthcoming. We have to be very careful. The Committee said it was not adequate; they did not say he was not forthcoming with the answers. Mr Speaker, not being forthcoming is almost saying that the Nominee was lying. So, please, we should be careful that we do not lambast the nominee for something that he has not done.
Thank you. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please conclude.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, by consensus, the Committee has recommended them for appointment. I hope, as the Committee said, when they get there, they would help the Hon Ministers, who would also bring them up to the level that is expected of them. Mr Speaker, I would agree with the Committee that the House recommends them to be appointed as Hon Deputy Regional Ministers with the clause that when they go, they would learn on the job.
Thank you. Hon Chairman of the Committee, would you want to say something?
Mr Speaker, I do not want to. I would just want to thank Hon Members for contributing to the debate. As we indicated, we hope that where there are shortfalls, when they get into office, they would be able to learn fast. Mr Speaker, these are two very brilliant people and we have no doubt in our minds that they would be able to perform. Thank you. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, it would not be out of place to congratulate the two Hon Deputy Ministers and to wish them the best. May the good Lord himself guide and keep them so that they succeed for Ghana. The Hon First Deputy Speaker to take the Chair.
Mr Speaker, item numbered 18 on page 8 of the Order Paper, which is a Motion -- The Report of the Representatives from the Parliament of Ghana to the 65th Session of the Executive Committee and the 37th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU).
Item numbered 18 on the Order Paper -- Hon Leader of the Delegation? 65th Session of the Executive Committee and the 37th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU)
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Representatives from the Parliament of Ghana to the 65th Session of the Executive Committee and the 37th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) held in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco from 29th October to 2nd November, 2014. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction The African Parliamentary Union (APU) was established on the 13th of February, 1976, as a continental inter- parliamentary organisation. The purpose of its formation was among others, to bring together the parliamentary institutions of all African States; and to contribute to the promotion of peace, democracy, good governance, sustainable development and social progress on the Continent. For this purpose, it holds annual conferences and organises parliamentary meetings with International Organisations and Institutions. In furtherance of its Objectives, the APU held the 65th Session of the Executive Committee and its 37th Conference in Rabat, at the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco from 29th October to 2nd November, 2014. The Parliament of Ghana was represented at the Conference by Hon Members and Staff of the Parliamentary Service to discuss issues concerning the advancement of the Continent. This Report gives an account of what transpired at the Conference and the contribution of the delegation to the Conference; the diverse roles played by the Ghanaian delegation to ensure effective participation of the country. Representatives from Ghana Ghana was among the twenty-three (23) member states which participated in the Executive Committee session and the Conference. The Representatives for the Parliament of Ghana were: i. Hon Ebo Barton-Odro -- First Deputy Speaker and Leader of the Delegation ii. Hon Abubakari Ibrahim Dey -- Member of Parliament for Salaga iii. Hon Joseph S. Amankwanor -- Member Parliament for Lower West Akim iv. Hon (Mrs) Mavis Hawa Koomson -- Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East. v. Ms Peace Fiawoyife -- Principal Assistant Clerk and Schedule Officer. vi. Mr John Sakpor -- Special Officer/ Aide to Mr Speaker. The 65th Executive Committee Session (Official) Opening Session The meeting of the Executive Committee was officially opened on the morning of Wednesday, 29th October, 2014.
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MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Thank you very much. Yes, any seconder? You have the floor.
Mr Speaker, thank you. In seconding the Motion, I would like to highlight a few issues concerning the fight on poverty. Mr Speaker, we all know the role of African women in our homes. Women take care of the family by providing them with all their needs to make sure that every member is happy in the home. Mr Speaker, African women contribute to the growth of their country when given the opportunity. Dr James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey once said and I beg to quote: “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation”. Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that when we empower a woman, we empower the economy. Mr Speaker, a country that empowers its women, empowers the economy, and for that matter, its stakeholders should adopt a holistic approach towards the implementation of empowerment of women. That would help fight poverty and promote the economy. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I beg to second the Motion. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion. Mr Speaker, in doing so, let me refer you to the attached appendix. I noted that, the first appendix was titled and I beg to quote: Resolution on “African countries building national capacities and promoting international cooperation to combat terrorism in all its forms”. Mr Speaker, I noted that, our attention is on the appendix III which is a Resolution on “Microfinance as a means of fighting poverty and promoting economic empowerment of women in Africa”. Mr Speaker, if you would indulge me to just contribute to this debate with the last paragraph of your Committee's Report and I beg to quote; “The delegation also called for training sessions and joint meetings with their counterparts elsewhere and entreated African Parliaments to address all the issues affecting the African Continent.” Mr Speaker, what are the issues affecting the African Continent? Poverty would necessarily be one if not at the head of it. Empowerment of women is also tied to some cultural practices within the African Continent which does not support the empowerment of women. So, when we are challenged by this body, we must through policy and legislation be seen in an effort to confront the problem that affect women. Mr Speaker, specific to microfinance, I am particularly glad that almost all of us Hon Members of Parliament here face challenges in the extent to which we are
Mr Speaker, we have this Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015 at the Consideration Stage. We intend to take some clauses before we proceed further. Therefore, if we could take item numbered 31 on page 21 of the Order Paper.
Item numbered what? Is it 31? Did you say 31?
Yes, Mr Speaker, 31.
Are you sure you are talking about page 29? [Pause.] Very well. Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015, at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION
Hon Chairman of the Committee, can you guide us? How far did we go the last time we dealt with it?
Mr Speaker, yesterday, we ended at clause 74 but we have outstanding issues to clear. That is, clauses 2, 13 and 27 as advertised on the Order Paper. So, if we could start from clause 2.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, subclause (1), insert “the authority is the regulatory body for this Act”.
Very well. Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations?
Mr Speaker, this is more elegant and better than what is in the original Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015 -- It reads and I beg to quote: “The Ghana Maritime Authority is the regulatory authority for this Act.” You have “Authority” repeat itself. So, there is no need to make reference to the Ghana Maritime Authority because the “Authority” any where in this Bill or in the Interpretation section, refers to the Ghana Maritime Authority. Mr Speaker, my issue would be for the Hon Chairman to give an explanation; would he want them to be the regulatory body to this Act? Is that enough? We said that beyond Regulation, there is a role of control and there is a role of prevention which is captured in the Long Title. Mr Speaker, let me refer you to the Long Title, so that you would appreciate why we said that -- if he says only ‘regulatory body', we would need to travel a little further.
“An ACT to provide for the prevention, regulation and control of maritime pollution within the territorial waters of Ghana…” It means that, the object of the Bill, as the Hon Minority Leader sought to propose yesterday, and supported by Hon Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, was that, we probably may have to introduce a new subclause which would look at the object. This is because if you say “only regulation”, what then would be ‘control and prevention'? Who is responsible for that? I believe, and the Hon Chairman knows that, it is the same Authority which must prevent and control. Unless they are using regulatory in a manner which means that, control and prevention are all regulatory related. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. I will not like us to put the cart before our horse. Hon Chairman, you have not moved your amendment, could you please do that? We are not ignoring the contribution that has been made by the Hon Minister but just move the amendment and then I can put the Question.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause 2, subclause (1), delete “Ghana Maritime” and after “Regulatory” delete “Authority” and insert “body”. The new rendition is: “The Authority is the regulatory body for this Act”.
Very well. I think you should delete “Authority” after the word “regulatory” and then that settles it.
Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Chairman needs to take into account what the Hon Minister said. This is because, I agree with the Hon Minister. As he said, unless you are defining ‘Regulation' to be ‘prevention and control' -- I have a difficulty. The head note would also have to be dealt with. The current amendment he is proposing does not adequately address the issues for which we deferred clause 2. Maybe,e can step it down and continue with the easier amendments and come back at the appropriate time --
If the Hon Chairman is ready we can take him on this particular amendment. Are you ready? Taking into account what was put across by the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations. So that once and for all, we will capture the right rendition and then move on.
Mr Speaker, we would define ‘Regulation' properly to include ‘prevention and control' at the Interpretation section.
Mr Speaker, there was a related issue with the headnote and I am not sure how -- So, does the headnote still remain “Regulatory Authority”?
Mr Speaker, these days, I am encouraged that there is a recent Supreme Court ruling and the other time I was challenged to quote it -- Which says that Parliamentary debate itself, unlike historically, today in Ghana, it is now a guide to Interpretation. So, once my Hon Colleague has raised this, we may refer this to the draftspersons to improve it. This is because, the head- note must reflect the subject to which that particular provision is addressing. I so submit. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
In that respect, I so direct that the draftsperson cleans it up, so that all of it is captured. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 2 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Hon Chairman, I believe we have dealt with the other clauses up to clause 13; have we not?
Mr Speaker, let us move to clause 74.
Should we skip clauses 13 and 27?
Yes! Let us skip and move to clause 74. again, Mr Speaker, you can guide the draftspersons to ensure that the number of penalty units commensurate to the concomitant punishment that should accompany the respective penalty unit.
Have I put the Question with regard to the proposed amendment, itemised as 31(iv) on the Order Paper? Question put and amendment agreed
Very well. Clause 74 then.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, We can take it on that account.
Before I go to the Hon Chairman, the Hon Member
Mr Speaker, yesterday, we had a case of 300,000 penalty units. Does that correspond to a life sentence? I to.
Clause clause 74, subclause (1), line (6), delete “one” and insert “ten”. It would now read: “Where a ship, or the master, or owner of a ship fails to comply with any requirement of this Part, Schedules or any Regulations made under section 116, 124, 130, 165 and 182, the master or owner and in the case of ship the master and the owner commit an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five hundred penalty units and not more than ten thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than four years or to both.” Thank you, Mr Speaker.
In effect, you are increasing it from one thousand to ten thousand.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Chairman can go further to explain whether he is pretty sure that ten thousand penalty units is equivalent to the four years which is accompanying the other part of it. Or he may have to be helped by the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. But for consistency for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, related to that, I think we have been told that the minimum must also conform to some minimum custodial sentence and it is currently missing. So, you may want to take that into account also.
Mr Speaker, we are guided by the penalties and for ten thousand, the Hon Chairman must be looking at not more than five years. So, if we can substitute the four years for five years then it sits with the amendment that he has so carried. Thank you.
Hon Members, I think that it will be appropriate to direct that the drafts-persons take a look at this and make sure that we have the right penalty unit commensurate with whatever offence there is.
Mr Speaker, as well as the custodial sentence.
That is correct. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, does it mean that in all the areas where we are to refer to fines in terms of imprisonment, using the penalty units, we refer all those to -- so, that we would not even be looking at it.
Yes, Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond to that?
The draftspersons at the Attorney-General's Department have all the penalty units and the imprisonment durations, so let us leave everything to them to handle. Although they brought some documents, but it would be better if we allowed them to do this on our behalf.
Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, it has been shifted to your camp. Do you have anything to say?
Mr Speaker, what he said is right. Usually, there would be an equivalence in terms of custodial sentence. But I do not have the documents for the penalty units here. So it is good to refer it to the drafters so that the equivalence would be ironed out neatly.
Thank you. We would refer it to the drafters to deal with it appropriately. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, clause 74, amendment proposed -- 74, item 31(v)
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 74, subclause (4), add the following new interpretation: “bilges” means the outer surface of the hull of a ship where the bottom of the ship curves to meet the vertical sides of the ship”
It is “ship”; S-H-I-P. Yes, Hon Members, Order! I would put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 74, subclause (4), interpretation of “oil tanker”, paragraph (b), line 1, after “substance”, insert “Tanker”.
Can you tell us the rationale behind this amendment?
Mr Speaker, we had problems with the interpretation of “oil tanker”. This is because Hon Members of the Committee were not so much abreast with how the oil -- There is a difference between ‘oil taker' and a ‘tanker', but in that section, we had oil tanker. It was just to clarify what they actually meant.
Yes, there was an Hon Member up here.
Mr Speaker, we were trying to explain the meaning of ‘oil tanker' in carrying substances. We realised that, at paragraph (b), the noxious liquid substance is not the problem. But it should be the noxious liquid substance tanker'. It is because we were defining ‘oil tanker'. And if I could read, it says: “oil tanker” means a ship constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in its cargo spaces and comprises among others” So, we were indicating the forms of carriers. It says: “(b) any Noxious Liquid Substance Tanker as defined in Chapter Three of this Part;”
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, as much as I agree with them, the word “carrier” would be better than “tanker”. The notion is that, we would want something that is conveying something. But he would want to define “oil tanker”, and he brings “tanker” in there again. It does not sound well. Instead of saying “liquid substance tanker”, they should say “liquid substance carrier”. Then, it would be consistent with what we did earlier. It is just like what is on paragraphs (a) and (c). We are using “carrier” for all the rest. It would be consistent with their own style to use “carrier” instead of “tanker”.
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, therefore, we would persuade the Hon Chairman to abandon the amendment and let “carrier” stay, since that is more holistic. Mr Speaker, for the street lawyer in Ghana, when one says; “oil tanker”, it might be referring to those lovely long tanks that are plying the routes. So, we should accept “carrier” instead.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the part we are looking at does not just refer to this. It talks about Part Three. The word “carrier” is not used in Part Three. They would want it to be in conformity with what is being addressed in Part Three of the Act. That is where we are going to. If you look at the Part Three, they kept using the word “tanker” all along instead of the word “carrier”. If one is going to use the word “carrier”, he would not refer to Part Three of this Part. Is that what he is proposing now? It says; “any Noxious Liquid Substance”, and they would want to add “Tanker” as defined in chapter three of this Part. Then it continues. So, one has to first find out what is in Chapter Three. By perusing, it tells me that it is mostly the word “tanker”. Unless we remove that aspect-- Otherwise, if we put in the word “carrier” and we do not amend the Part Three, and it is in variance with the word “carrier”, then, it becomes a problem.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you respond?
Mr Speaker, the definition of ‘oil tanker' means a ship constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in its cargo spaces and comprises among others, (a) a combination carrier. So, this is a standard rendition used in the industry. So we should not attempt to redefine it.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I may have to seek your leave since it is not an advertised amendment. Before you put the Question on the whole of clause 74, in respect of subclause 74(2), and I read: “(2) It is a defence for a person charged under subsection (1) to show that …” Mr Speaker, what does “to show that” mean? I am sure it means to lead evidence. Probably, that is what the intention should have been. This is because, if one says, to show that all reasonable precautions', this is a contested matter because we are saying the person would be defending his actions. I do not know whether the Hon Chairman and the Hon Minister have an objection, so maybe clause 74 (2) should read “It is a defence for a person charged under subsection (1) to lead evidence that all reasonable precautions were taken and all due diligence was exercised to avoid the commission of the offence”, unless “to show” is a term of art in law which means leading evidence.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, let us defer this -- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member was explaining something in clause 74, and I think the Hon Minority Leader has brought our minds to it, if we could go back. The reference to Part Three uses the word “tanker” all the way through, so, if we amend it to “carrier” then we may have to change it to “carrier” in Part Three. If we keep “tanker”, then the reference to Part Three would be consistent. It is referred to in Part Three, so, Hon Chairman, that earlier amendment of Part (b) to carrier, because you are referring to Part Three which uses “tanker”, that amendment should be “tanker”, because it is used in Part Three throughout. He was proposing an amendment of “substance” to “tanker”, and I suggested that we keep it at carrier, and he agreed. Now, if we refer to Part Three, the “tanker” is used, so the amendment must hold. So, my amendment should be abandoned.
Hon Member, you appear to be on all fours with the amendment that has been carried. Can I hear from the Hon Chairman? How do you respond to it?
Mr Speaker, that is exactly what we have done. It is “oil tanker”.
When I raised it, the Hon Minister also supported it, and he agreed, but if he did not agree then all is well.
Mr Speaker, it is defined clearly in the regulation, so we have actually read out the definition as we have it in the Bill itself. So, we are using the word “tanker”.
Very well. Let us look at the proposal by the Hon Minister with regard to clause 74 (2).
Mr Speaker, I have just consulted the Hon Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice and he agrees that the term “show” should be maintained.
Very well, thank you very much. Clause 74 as variously amended
Not at all, Mr Speaker.
So we would go through the process.
Mr Speaker, I rather thought that because there are no proposed amendments we could just lump them together by mentioning the numbers, and then you would put the Question. Then we would go straight to clause 83.
That is right. That is exactly what I am going to do, except that, the last time I tried this, there
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 94, subclause (1), line 2, after “contains” insert “such”. Mr Speaker, the new rendition is “Sections 84, 85, 89 and 91 do not apply to the discharge into the sea of a noxious liquid substance or a mixture which contains such a substance” Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 94 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. to.
“An officer in charge of an operation referred to in subsection (2) or (3) who fails to record the operation in contravention of subsection (5) shall pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of five hundred penalty units for each entry that should have been recorded. Question put and amendment agreed Clauses 99 as amended ordered to ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 83, subclause 4 --
Do I understand that we have dealt with the intervening clauses after clause 74? Hon Members, having regard to the state of proceedings, I direct that proceedings go beyond the stipulated time as per Order 40 (3) of the Standing Orders. Hon Chairman, you were up.
I thought you would put the Question on all the various clauses.
I have done so up till clause 74, but I do not know if we are to do something to clause 75 down to clause 83.
No! Mr Speaker, there are no amendments.
Are there no proposed amendments? were so many interventions that I had to keep going forward and coming backward. Clauses 75 to 82 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 83 -- Procedures and arran- gement manual
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 83 subclause (4), line 2, delete “an” and insert “the”. Mr Speaker, the whole clause would read, “Where a Ghanaian ship which is certified to carry category X, Y or Z substances contravenes subsection (1), an owner or master of the ship shall pay to the Authority the administrative penalty of three hundred penalty units”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 83 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 84 to 93 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 94 -- Exceptions Clause 95 and 96 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 97 -- Notification to organisa- tion regarding reception facilities
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 97 -- Headnote, after “to” insert “the”
“Notification to the organisation regarding the reception facilities”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 97 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 98 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 99 -- Cargo record book
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 99 subclause (6), line 3, delete “two” and insert “five”. stand part of the Bill. Clause 100 to 113 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 114 -- Shipboard marine pollution emergency plan for noxious liquid substances.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 114 -- subclause (5), line 3, delete “an” and insert “the”.
“Where a Ghanaian ship of one hundred and fifty gross tonnage or more which is certified to carry noxious liquid substances in bulk contravenes subsection (1), the owner or master of the ship shall pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of six hundred penalty units.
Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to explain to me the rationale behind this amendment. [Laughter.] -- [Pause.]
Very well, Hon Member, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 114 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 115 -- Offences.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 115, subclause (1), line 5, delete “an administrative penalty” and insert “a fine” and in line 6, delete “ten” and insert “one hundred”
“Where a ship or the owner or master of the ship, fails to comply with a requirement of this Chapter, a Schedule related to these sections or any Regulations made under this Chapter, the owner and the master of the ship commit an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five thousand penalty units and not more than one hundred thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than fifteen years or to both”.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, did he say ten thousand or one hundred -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, one hundred thousand penalty units. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 115 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clauses 116 -- 123 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 124 -- Regulations
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 124, paragraph (d), line 4, delete “caused” and insert “carried”.
“…inspections to be made by the Authority or a person authorised by the Authority, of a ship to which this Chapter applies to ensure compliance with the provisions on harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 124 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 125 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 126 -- Offences.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 126, subclause (1), line 4, delete “ten” and insert “one hundred” The new rendition would be: “An owner, a master or an agent of a ship that accepts goods for carriage by sea in contravention of section 118 (1) (a) commits an offence and is liable on summary
Do we have any more amendments to clause 126?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Which one? Item (xv)?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 126, subclause (2), line 4, delete “ten” and insert “one hundred”. The new rendition would be: “Subject to section 125 (2), a person who jettisons harmful substances in packaged form commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than one hundred thousand penalty units and in addition shall pay the cost which may be incurred in connection with the recovery of that substance”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 126, subclause (3), line 5, delete “ten” and insert “one hundred”.
“A person who fails to take the measures for the regulation of the washing of leakages overboard based on the physical, chemical and biological properties of harmful substances, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred penalty units and not more than one hundred thousand penalty units, unless that person can show that compliance with the measures will impair the safety of the ship and the lives of the persons on board the ship”.
Mr Speaker, if we just say that one should pay a fine, is it an administrative fine which is “one hundred thousand penalty units”? I ask that because there is -- [Interruption] -- No! It depends on where the money is going to. Are they talking of an administrative penalty -- [Interruption] -- without custodial sentence? All right. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, clause 126 (2) provides: “Subject to section 125 (2), a person who jettisons harmful substances in packaged form commits an offence …” What if the discharge is not in packages; does the person not commit an offence? Of course, on the ship, it may be in packaged form but in jettisoning, they may decide to unpack it and release it into the sea. It is still an offence. Why do we say that it must be in packaged form to constitute an offence?
Mr Speaker, Part Four is dedicated to offences relating to packaged form. If the Hon Minority Leader would look at the other offences we have dealt with in the Bill, one would notice that, they were not in packaged form.
Hon Minority Leader, are you all right with that?
Mr Speaker, I drew his attention to the provisions under Part Three and I was trying to look at where, if any, we have a similar provision which will not be in packaged form. That is what I am trying to look at. But otherwise, I see that, it is supposed to be covered under Part Three. I am looking at where exactly it would exist.
Mr Speaker, for instance, the control of discharge of oil is not under Part Three. I think that is under Part Two. So the Hon Minority Leader should look at clause 58.
Mr Speaker, I have seen that but it is different from -- For instance, when you come to Part Three, clause 23 is prohibition of incineration and indeed, prohibition of dumping of waste. It begins from clause 19. I am trying to look at how it is captured, that is the issue of dumping in unpackaged form. These ones talk about export of waste to other countries for dumping. I am trying to look at “dumping at sea”, not to “another country.”
Hon Members, if this is going to take --
Mr Speaker, let me just give the definition of “packaged form,” maybe, that would guide us. That is page 158. “Packaged form” means the forms of containment specified for harmful substances in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code” Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, I can see that, Hon Members are tired and there is the need for a short break so that we come back and possibly, continue with what we are doing. I direct that Sitting be suspended. The time now is 2. 21 p. m, when do we come back? 3. 21? One hour break? All right, Hon Members, we come back at 3.30 p. m. to continue with the process. Hon Members, this for now, brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage for today, for this particular Bill. Hon Members, Sitting is accordingly suspended until 3. 30 p.m. this afternoon. 2.23 p. m. -- Sitting suspended. 4.25 p.m. -- Sitting resumed
Hon Agbesi, any indication?[Pause.]
Mr Speaker, item number 9, is on the Subsidiary Legislation on the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016. I am informed by the Chairman of the Committee that this issue is to mature today, so, we need to take it urgently for the purposes of the coming election and registration.
Mr Speaker, they are not recommending that the regulations be annulled, so, after 21 days, it would automatically mature. But I know that the Administrator of the GETFund has been here since 9 a. m. [Interruption.] He was here yesterday. [Interruptions.] He is saying that it is urgent and I am saying that the Subsidiary Legislation Report is not urgent and is going to lapse, anyway.
Hon Agbesi, what is the position? [Pause.]
We are all concerned about the coming election, so, let us take this small Motion and move to the GETFund Formula. Mr Speaker, item 9.
Hon Members, do you have copies of the Report?
No, Mr Speaker.
Then we will go to something else and then later we will come back to it. [Pause]
Item 9. Hon O. B. Amoah, you are the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee. But Hon O. B. Amoah, you can lay it after we have done the GETFund Formula?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to present the Committee's Report. Introduction The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 91) was laid before Parliament on Friday, 12th February 2016, in accordance with article 11(7) of the Constitution. Pursuant to Orders 77 and 166 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, Rt. Hon Speaker referred the Instrument to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation for consideration and report. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during deliberations: i. The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana ii. Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; iii. Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451) iv. Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2012 (C.I. 72) Deliberations The Committee met with the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei and the two Deputy Chairpersons of the Commission. Representatives of the National
Who is the Hon Ranking Member? The Motion has been moved for us to adopt the Report. Will it not be seconded?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Mr Speaker, one would notice from paragraph 3 that, the Instrument has a double-edged sword. One is, one person is allowed to guarantee for five people, which is the Form One. Mr Speaker, there was contention as to whether the guarantee by one person or five people should be reduced to one or two. Eventually, there was no consensus so it was allowed to pass. Mr Speaker, my difficulty with that provision is that, the Electoral Commission (EC) somehow, in this Instrument wants to arrogate to itself the grant of citizenship by guarantee of a Form. I believe that grant of citizenship is a Constitutional duty which should not be in the EC's domain. But if the EC is going to get a form which is signed by two people whose names are in the register to allow them to be citizens of Ghana by way of allowing them to register and then giving them the Identification (ID) Card, then, I think five guarantees are too much. If that is to be accepted, I call on all Hon Members of the House to look at the penalty and the punishment provision which give a punishment of two years imprisonment if one infringes upon these provisions. There are offences and penalties. If one breaches the provisions, one is to pay a penalty of GH¢35,000 or goes to jail for two years or both. Mr Speaker, what I am proposing is that, if the deterrent aspect of the C. I. 91 is not taken up by all Hon Members of Parliament through our constituents by making sure that registering one's name or one's entitlement to register must be dependent on the fact that the person is a Ghanaian -- Just because we do not have ID cards or the Government has not done his work well so that Ghanaians do not have ID cards, and that we would want to create a loophole where those who not have ID cards can be granted the opportunity not to be disenfranchised, they come in
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the other Side is making reference to some information they have. This is a House of record. So, if he is alluding to some rumour that cannot be accepted on the floor of this House, especially if it has to do with a very sensitive matter as the general elections of this country, he must withdraw honourably or he justifies what he is saying with some proven document. Other than that, I think he is grossly out of order and he is misleading this House.
Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that, it is incumbent on all Hon Members of Parliament and the whole Ghanaian public to understand that the registration exercise that is going to come under C.I. 91 should not be taken lightly, and that the penalty and the punishment clause or provisions tell all of us that, it is purposely for Ghanaians and that if one is not a contractor and is not going to bring a foreigner to come in to register in Ghana, one does not have a problem. But if one does so, and is caught, he or she would be punished. We should let every Ghanaian understand and all the foreigners who are within our border areas should be made aware that, C.I. 91 is a different regime. We Ghanaians are serious, our Government is serious, the Electoral Commissioner is serious and Parliamen- tarians are serious about protecting our borders. This is because for us to manage our country well, for us to develop, we must make sure that our borders are sealed so that we do not have infiltrators. I am not saying for any moment that, we would not get infiltrators, but we have to minimise the infiltration. We have to bring it down so that if one commits the offence, one would be arrested and jailed. We would want this to be circulated all over the country so that people would not come and abuse our electoral process. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion and I ask that we work on the punishment regime.
(NDC -- Keta): Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. In doing so, I would want to commend the Committee for the work they have done so far.
Mr Speaker, in doing that, I also just want to clearly state that, we have situations where there are people who live across borders who are not necessarily citizens of those countries, but are citizens of Ghana. For instance, I have relations who live in Togo. Mr Speaker, as much as I have relations living within the fishing communities of Togo, same do I know that there are Hon Members from Brong Ahafo who have relations who also live just across the border and are not Ivoirians but are Ghanaians. So, in looking at the implementation of this law, we must be mindful of this fact that, it is not a matter of we saying that, because people are crossing from Togo, Burkina Faso or from La Cote d'Ivoire into Ghana during the registration period, for that matter, they are foreigners and so we put unnecessary impediments in their way. Mr Speaker, first of all, I think that what is important is for other people within the communities to be able to determine or be witnesses to the fact that these people indeed belong to those communities, and I do not think we should have any problem with that in place. Mr Speaker, with that, I support the Motion.
I will take one more from each side.
Mr Speaker, I believe that registration is the necessary first step for all elections, and therefore, passing this particular C.I. 91 is very important. Mr Speaker, recently, the Electoral Commissioner has been saying that the Electoral Commission is independent. We know they are independent. But the work they do is supposed to be done by the laws that we pass in this House. Mr Speaker, this C.I. 91 is so important because the last election had a lot of challenges. And like my Hon Colleague enumerated, this business of people trying to bring in illegal persons to register, is not proper. Mr Speaker, if we take section 8 of the C.I, it is clear that even registration officials who are appointed by the Electoral Commissioner (EC) are supposed to have their pictures and names pasted at the District Electoral Offices. This would help political parties to know those who are going to man their respective polling stations. Mr Speaker, this House approved GH¢1.2 billion for the Electoral Commission (EC) and appropriated GH¢850 million. It means that this election is well funded and therefore, nobody is expecting to have another tot-tot registration again in this country. Therefore, if the EC feels that it is independent, it is independent to cover every polling station of this country with this registration that we are going to have. Otherwise, I believe that the good people of this country would have to rise up and talk about it and stop them from doing the tot-tot registration in this country. Mr Speaker, the difficulties we tend to have with our elections in this country has to do, mostly with identification. We are today being told that Ghanaians do
Hon Members, I will take a few more. This is a matter of national interest.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor. Mr Speaker, it is good that we have laws that would guide the forthcoming registration exercise. But then, we should not lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of Ghanaians who are living across the various borders; from the North, to the South and from the East to the West. Mr Speaker, as I speak to you now, if you go to my constituency in the Western Region, there are Ashantis, Ewes, Krobos, who are farm labourers and are working in plantations in la Cote d'Ivoire. These people are not foreigners.
Hon Member, people are saying Ivoirians but do not mind them. I am also from the Western Region — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, maybe, they are not aware. Mr Speaker, if somebody goes across the border, it does not change the identity of the person as a Ghanaian. So, it is something that is clear on the ground. I want to pray that we do not, excuse my language, become hypocrites.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, with all due respect, I expect the Hon Member to speak to the C. I. 91 What he is saying is not what is in the C.I. This business of people crossing, and Ivoirians et cetera is not in the C. I. 91 The C.I has spelt out the grounds for registration-- who qualifies to register, objections, challenges, offences and penalties et cetera. These are the issues. But this business of people in the farm lands is not in the C.I. 91 Mr Speaker, he should please speak to the C.I. 91. He should take the report or the Instrument and speak to the C.I.
Hon Member, thankfully, you do not take instructions from your Hon Colleague from the other side. So continue.
Mr Speaker, thank you. You are good. May you live forever. I am surprised! I do not know whether my good brother, Hon O. B. listened to my Hon Colleague, Hon Darko-Mensah from Takoradi.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague just referred to an Hon Member of Parliament as O. B. What does he mean by O.B?
Mr Speaker, I am referring to my good Brother, Hon O. B. Amoah from Akuapem South — [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, let us all come together and embrace this system that we are now going through so that we can have a very credible register that after the elections, all of us will smile, and that nobody would have any chance to complain about anything.
I will recognise Hon Atta Akyea, but I will be grateful if I could receive some indication from the Leaders. So many Hon Members want to contribute. Should I take two or three? Hon E. T. Mensah wants to contribute — I have recognised Hon Atta Akyea, then after him, Hon E. T. Mensah. Let me take two more Hon Members and then we come to the Leadership. Yes, Hon Atta Akyea?
Mr Speaker, I am grateful to you for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, my chief concern is that, if care is not taken, we are going to flout the Constitution by the sheer fact that an individual who is a registered voter could just say, and just by mere saying, five other people should also be on the voters register. We know by law that, according to article 42, if one is not a citizen of Ghana, one cannot be a voter let alone wield a voter's ID Card. Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I would like to quote: “Every citizen of Ghana of 18 years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda”. So, Mr Speaker, by extension, immediately your name is lodged in the voter's register and you have a voter's registration card, that qualifies you to be a citizen of Ghana. But that is not the intendment of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, if you pay regard to the provisions on citizenship, it is a bit elaborate but I am tempted to quote it because of how it impinges on C.I. 91, Article 6 of the Constitution says, and with your permission I quote: “(1) Every person who, on the coming into force of this Constitution, is a citizen of Ghana by law shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana. (2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person born in or outside Ghana after the coming into force of this Constitution, shall become a citizen of Ghana at the date of his birth if either of his parents or grandparents is or was a citizen of Ghana. (3) A child of not more than seven years of age found in Ghana whose parents are not known
In the Eastern Region.
Who is that saying in the Eastern Region? Mr Speaker, you should call the person to own up because he has mentioned my region. What is the meaning of this? The coward should own up and apologise. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, we should be a law abiding nation and the only way the law will work is when those who flout the law are punished. If not, then impunity would reign supreme and we would be seen to be promoting it. It has been said that wherever you find impunity, it is just a retreat into chaos.
Hon Majority Leader, there are two people standing on the Majority side, so, I give the power to you to decide who should speak. [Pause.] The power is entirely in your hands as I have transferred the power to you today. The Hon Member cannot further delegate it because it is already a delegated power. [Laughter] [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Report and to talk about the processes that one has to go through to be registered. Mr Speaker, page 3 of the Report which talks about ‘qualification for registration' and that a person who applies for registration as a voter shall provide as evidence of identification either a passport, Driver's Licence, a National Identification Card or an existing voter registration card. Mr Speaker, if we want to go strictly by this mode of identification, we would deny majority of Ghanaians the right to register. Mr Speaker, let us ask ourselves how many Ghanaians have passports in this country? We are saying that, if one comes from a constituency and does not have; a passport, Driver's Licence or a National Identification Card, one should be denied registration and for that matter exercising his right to vote? Mr Speaker, I support the proposed recommendation that a registered voter should be allowed to, guarantee for five people. If we do that, we would have most of our people who live in the villages registered. I think that the EC has done very well, so, all of us must support this move that, if one does not have a passport, a driver's licence or a National Identification Card, that should not prevent one from registering to exercise one's franchise. I think that it is laudable and in the wisdom of the EC, this is the surest way to ensure that majority of Ghanaians who have attained 18 years and are willing to register to exercise their franchise, do so. Mr Speaker, so, for us --
Hon Ahi, you said we would end up in what?
“Dis-enfran-franchise” -- [Uproar!]
Hon Members, Order! Order!
In order not to disenfranchise our people, we should ensure that we allow registered people to guarantee for five people who would want to be registered. If we do that all Ghanaians --
Hon Ahi, resume your seat and let us have some order before you -- Hon Members, let us have some order, please. Hon Ahi, continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, in order for every Ghanaian citizen who is 18 years and above to be registered without being restricted to identification through the holding of passport, Driver's Licence and National Identification Cards. If we do that, most of our people who live in the villages would not vote. For that matter, I wholly support the proposal to allow a registered voter to guarantee for five people who would want to register, so that Ghanaian voters who would want to exercise their rights can have it guaranteed, so that they can also exercise their rights to vote. Mr Speaker, I do not agree with anybody who would say that because the C.I. 91 is a subsidiary to the Constitution, it is contradicting the Constitution and that this provision should be looked at again. I totally disagree. Mr Speaker, let us accept this proposal, so that people who live in the rural communities can be registered and when it comes to voting, they can exercise their right to vote.
I thank you very much, Hon Ahi. I think we would now go to -- [Interruption.] --There is one more on this side. We would now go to the Leaders. We have finished. [Interruption.] At the time we agreed on two each, we took Hon Atta Akyea and Hon Ahi. So, it is left with one each. Hon Member, one each and then Leadership.
I thank you, Mr Speaker. In relation to the last contribution, I did not think that there would be much heat in this room. after all, the provisions which Hon Ahi referred to were also in the C.I. 72 anyway. It is just that it has not been tested in court and I believe that Hon Atta Akyea was probably alluding to that. On the four methods of identifying yourself as a Ghanaian for purposes of registration, I can see that three of them, on the face of it, are all citizenship sensitive like the Passport, the National Identification Card and perhaps, the Voter's Identification Card. But I am not certain in my own mind whether a Driver's Licence has space on it for citizenship. If it has, then it also qualifies. So, that is the only point I wanted to make. The C.I. 72 contains the same provisions Hon Ahi referred to, and so it has just been adopted for this C.I. 91. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Onemore from the Majority Side. Hon Namoale, the last contribution before the Leaders. Nii Amasah Namoale (NDC--Dade Kotopon): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support the Motion and to take the side where Hon Atta Akyea raised a provision in the Constitution vis-a-vis the identification of the people. I think he may be right. But at the same time, in getting a Passport, a Driver's Licence and National Identification Card as a Ghanaian -- When a baby is born, Who would identify the baby who is brought to the Births and Deaths Registry to collect its certificate as a Ghanaian? It is the parents. When that baby is not given a birth certificate or not registered and grows up to about 16, 17 and gets to 18 years, and has not got any of these identifications, and the mother or father or any of the relatives go to the Births and Deaths centre or the Passport Office to say, ‘this is my son or daughter', and that ‘he or she is a Ghanaian', I think it is taken in good faith and the person is registered as a Ghanaian. It also goes that, if I do not have a Passport because I do not want to travel; I do not have a Drivers Licence because I live in the rural area and I am not a driver; I do not have a National Identification Card because I was not even aware that I should get one; and now I want to register to vote and I go to the voter's registration centre, is it because of the provision in the Constitution that this provision is going to contradict that they should not register me? Mr Speaker, so far as I have somebody who can identify me as a Ghanaian, as one's mother or father identifies him or her as a Ghanaian, it is the same thing. This is because the person doing the identification must swear an oath or sign something to show that if what he is saying is not right, then he submits himself to the laws of the land. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, do you want to contribute?
Mr Speaker, in rising to contribute to the debate, I would just want to make a few observations. The first relates to the over flogged matter that the Hon Member, who just spoke, alluded to. That is in respect of the identification or guaranteeing the identity of a potential voter. Mr Speaker, I am not too sure that what we are doing even sits well with the Constitution. Mr Speaker, the Constitution provides in article 42 that, every citizen of Ghana of 18 years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote, and is entitled to be registered as a voter for purposes of public elections and referenda. Mr Speaker, so, guaranteeing for a potential registrant is not only in respect of the citizenship of that person, but he is also vouching that the person is of sound mind. Could any ordinary person do that? The Constitution provides that, the person must be a Ghanaian, who is 18 years and above, and of sound mind. So, what would one be guaranteeing? Is the person guaranteeing for the citizenship, or for the fact that he is above 18 years or for the fact that he is of sound mind? Mr Speaker, it seems to me that we are glossing over that aspect. Could any individual guarantee that a person is of sound mind? I do not see it. I think that we need to really look at that. Mr Speaker, the Law provides for the evidence of identification. What identification are we talking about? We are talking about identification of citizenship -- So, why would we not even say that a person, who applies for registration as a voter, shall provide evidence of citizenship. That is what article 42 of the Constitution dwells on. What identification are we talking about? One
Mr Speaker, I stand to support the Motion. And in doing so, I draw the attention of the House to the fact that we have gone through a very tortuous journey. There had been a lot of consultations on this matter, which included the political parties we belong to and all stakeholders. It took time and diligence to get this thing crafted. Also, at the Committee level, they have done a good job. I have gone through the Report and I agree with the Committee and think that we should adopt the Report and approve the passage of C.I. 91 Mr Speaker, the issue of citizenship has gone beyond that of facts. It is a question of law. Ghanaians resident in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and all over the world are, by this provision, entitled to register to vote. That is the constitutional provision. So, whether it is in La Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso or USA, by this provision, they are entitled to register. By this provision and the Constitution, once they are citizens of Ghana, they are entitled to be registered. Mr Speaker, it is the process of getting all Ghanaians captured that is the challenge.
Mr Speaker, the law is clear in that direction. Mr Speaker, I believe that, the form is to give the opportunity to all of us to try as much as possible -- in fact, the issue that the Hon Minority Leader raised is an issue of integrity. If we are all honest people, then definitely, there would be no problem identifying people as Ghanaians, of sound mind, of this age and entitled to be registered as a voter. That should not be a problem. But we should not forget that, the requirements under the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) are so limited. Mr Speaker, if we are to go by only what is in the C.I., a lot of people will be left out and that right that has been conferred on them by the Constitution, would elude them. This is because, we have so many Ghanaians who are not in possession of Passports and do not have a Driver Licence, National Identification Cards nor Voter Identification cards. But by that provision, they are qualified and entitled to be registered and that is why the law is giving that opportunity for Ghanaians to at least guarantee five others who do not have these types of evidence to be registered as voters and I think that is good. Mr Speaker, that is what democracy is about. We should try as much as possible to increase the perimeters for so many people to participate in the governance of the country and so, I support it and I would want to urge all my Hon Colleagues to support that provision in particular and adopt the Report of the Committee. Mr Speaker, just this afternoon, when we had the meeting with the Electoral Commission (EC), this same issue cropped up [Uproar] and many of us who are not trained in the legal field take the issue of citizenship lightly. It is not that light and that is why I support the proposal that, some courts be designated to handle electoral matters, offenders must be expeditiously prosecuted and if found guilty, sanctioned punitively. I think that will be a deterrent and sanitize our system. Mr Speaker, so many of us are prone to breaking the law with impunity and this must stop. We would want to urge the Hon Chief Justice and the other stakeholders to resource the Chief Justice to establish more courts so that, some courts would be designated to handle electoral matters and I believe that, we should have other courts to handle issues of media irrelevancies. This is because it is important --
Hon Leader, I have not recognised them. Or you want to yield to them?
Mr Speaker, I was yielding to them because I saw--
All right. Who would you yield to?
Mr Speaker, I recognise Hon Justice Joe Appiah first. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, can the Hon Majority Leader define the phrase “media irrelevancies”? He should explain media irrelevancies; we do not know the meaning of media irrelevancies.
Hon Majority Leader, you made a good choice.
Mr Speaker, publications that infringe upon the law. That is what I meant by that phrase and so -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader should not put words in my mouth. He heard him and what he said.
Mr Speaker, I think that it is a good law and we should let it pass by adopting the Report. Thank you.
Hon Members, I will put the Question. I think this matter is rather closed. I have to take it again, because, is it a question of how loud we shout or how many people are shouting? My Friend Hon Joseph Bipoba Naabu, when it is a headcount, we will count Hon Naabu twice because of the way he shouts the aye. [Laughter]-- I think I must be fair. Question put and Motion agreed to.
I direct that the Table Office gives the Report and the sentiments relating to the establishment of courts, to the Chief Justice. Hon Members, I intend to give a ruling before we continue.
Mr Speaker, as a point of interest, indeed, when it comes to Subsidiary Legislation under article 11 subclause 7 (c); it is negative resolution that it passes, unless two-thirds of members of the House reject it. So, I wanted direction whether the ayes and no's can really solve it.
It has been advertised as a Report of the House and the House has adopted the Report, so, if somebody wants to lead a charge to satisfy the Constitutional provision, then the person should have filed a counter Motion or the person can file a Motion. When he files that Motion that we reject the Report and more than two-thirds reject it, then it is relevant. I think this is a matter -- I will just answer it very quickly. Hon Members, the Hon Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee has asked a very important question. The question is, why have we used this procedure with regard to Subsidiary Legislation? In doing so, he has referred us to the Constitution; article 11, subclause 7(c). I beg to quote: “Any Order, Rule or Regulation made by a person or authority under a power conferred by this Constitution or any other law shall
Mr Speaker, we can only thank you for your detailed ruling. In doing that, it is also important that we remind ourselves, for the records, that an earlier Speaker ruled that a Deputy Speaker is a Deputy Speaker and not the Speaker. By your own ruling, it means that, that precedent is binding. So, in spite of the effort you have made, the research that you have done and the education you have given us, your ruling is of doubtful legal validity --[Laughter] -- Just on the basis of lack of locus. This is because, even though you are presiding as Speaker, a Deputy Speaker is a Deputy Speaker. So, we thank you very much. We are guided by your ruling anyway, and -- 5.45 p.m.
I thought the Hon Bagbin would complete this. Well, we also thank God that Majority Leaders are Majority Leaders and nothing more. [Laughter.] I disagree with him. But the fact that I disagree with him is of no consequence because if he listened carefully, I said I am strengthened by his goodself and the Hon Speaker. This is because I quoted the Hon Speaker as a precedent. He suggested to the Speaker on that day that the President delivered the State of the Nation Address and the Hon Speaker agreed. So, I said that it is the Hon Speaker's view that I am expressing. I have given vent to the Hon Speaker's view. I agree with him and the Hon Speaker. Yes, Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu?
Mr Speaker, for starters, I disagree with what happened that day. Even though the time was a minute or two after 2.00 o'clock, the House was not entirely in the hands of the Hon Speaker. Mr Speaker, the same Erskine May would vindicate my position. I disagree with you on this ruling that you have given, I am about to -- Mr Speaker, I would not add anything. I disagree with you violently, but I bow to your ruling.
Yes, Hon Bagbin?
Mr Speaker, I believe my Hon Colleague wanted to say that he disagrees with you vehemently and not violently. He cannot disagree with you violently.
Hon Bagbin, even though he said “violently”, his violence was without violence. Yours was violent.
Do you mean my first response to your ruling was violent?
Yes, it was violent.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. May we now proceed to lay some Papers as stated on the Order Paper Addendum, and then handle item 33 on the GETFund. Order Paper Addendum item 1, Presentation of Papers.
Hon Afenyo-Markin, do you have something to say? You have been getting up even now and then.
Mr Speaker, I wanted a clarification on a point earlier made by the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, if you refer to our Standing Orders, at page 6, we have “Mr Speaker is defined to include a Member presiding at a Sitting”. Mr Speaker, you might recall, somewhere in June, I made an application at the time the Hon First Deputy Speaker was in the Chair. That application was with respect to the KarPower Agreement, where I held the view that it ought to come to Parliament for approval. Later on, when Mr Speaker himself was in the Chair, I repeated the application.The position Mr Speaker took was that, whatever had been previously said, the direction given by the Hon First Deputy Speaker was binding on the Chair. So, I only wanted a clarification, because at the time, I had not had the benefit of a ruling of this House that a Deputy Speaker --
Hon Afenyo-Markin, it is not a ruling. It is his view. Do not let us litigate the issue too far. Last three weeks, when we had the State of the Nation Address, somebody sought to tender in an electronic material. The Hon First Deputy Speaker was in the Chair. What he said was that, he recollect that the Hon Second Deputy Speaker ruled on the matter but he could forget what he said, therefore, he was waiting for him. That is his view. Do not let us litigate it further. The Standing Orders are clear. Let us continue. Hon Majority Leader, what item?
Mr Speaker, I said, Order Paper Addendum, item 1, presentation of Papers.
Hon Majority Leader?
Item 1(a) (ii).
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, are we doing up till item number 1(a) (iv)? All right. By Mr Cassiel Ato Forson (on behalf of the Minister for Finance) -- (ii) Request for Waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, Inspection Fees, Withholding tax, Corporate and Income Taxes other related taxes amounting to seven million, five hundred and thirty-four thousand, six hundred and seventy-nine United States dollars (US$7,534,679.00) for the offshore component and three million, five hundred and seventy-two thousand, five hundred and sixty- eight Ghana cedis and twenty pesewas(GH¢3,572,568.20) for the onshore/local component relating to project materials and equipment as well as services to be procured domestically or imported for use in the implementation of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the Republic of Korea acting through the Export-Import Bank of Korea to finance the implementation of the Wa Water Supply System Develop-ment Project. (iii) Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) for an amount of ninety million, four hundred and seventy-two thousand, three hundred and eighty-five United States dollars (US$90,472,385.00) for Financing and the Supply and Erection of Electrical Materials and Equipment for the Electrification of 1,033 Communities in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions, Phase I. Referred to on Finance Committee. Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Item(iv)? Mr Bagbin: Mr Speaker, item 1(a) (iv) is a Commercial Agreement from the Ministry of Power. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance is the same Minister overseeing the Ministry of Power, therefore, I would like to seek your leave and the indulgence of my Hon Colleagues to allow the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to do so for and on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance, who is responsible for the Ministry of Power.
Hon Minister for Finance? By Mr Cassiel Ato Forson (on behalf of the Minister for Finance) -- (iv) CommercialAgreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and China International Water and Electric Corporation for the Supply and Erection of Electrical Materials and Equipment for the Electrification of 1,033 Communities in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions, Phase I Referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy.
Mr Speaker, if we may now take item numbered 33 at page 28 of the Order Paper, which is the Committee of the Whole.
Are we going to clear the Chamber or we are going to -- So that we make that order before?
Mr Speaker, we would follow the usual Motions by suspending Sitting, then we would constitute the House into the Committee of the Whole. After that, we would resume Sitting.
Hon Members, the House is suspended and will reconvene after the Committee of the Whole. 6.00 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 7.40 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
Hon Majority Leader, what item number are we taking?
Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the fact that item 1 (b) on the Order Paper Addendum is ready for laying. In fact, we should have laid it with the earlier ones, but my attention was not drawn to it. So, if we could lay that before we proceed.
Item 1 (b) -- Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, if we could take item numbered 25 on page 10 of the Order Paper. We have done some discussions and winnowing of the proposed amendments there. So, I believe that Hon Members would stick to the understanding that some of them may be withdrawn. It is just a few proposed amendments that would be taken. That is the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Hon Members, the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016 at the Considera- tion Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION
Clause 1, amendment proposed in item 25 (i) on the Order Paper in the name of Hon Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin. [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, earlier, my Hon Junior Colleague told me that he was withdrawinghisamendments. [Interruption.] He toldme specifically.
Hon Member, I did not know that in Parliament, we have Hon Junior Colleagues.
Mr Speaker, in Parliament, he is my junior.
Hon Member, but the Standing Orders do not recognise that. He is an Hon Member; that is it. Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, does the Standing Orders recognise the term “Hon Junior Colleague”?
Mr Speaker, no, but it is gradually becoming a convention; “Hon Senior Colleague” or “Hon Junior Colleague”. So, we would take it like that. [Interruption.]
So, the amendment advertised as item 25 (i) on the Order Paper is accordingly withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause 1 paragraph (a) (1), line 3, delete “the Interconnect” and insert “an interconnect”. Mr Speaker, the purpose of this proposed amendment is to create the environment to enable the National Communication Authority (NCA) to license more than one Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) when the need arises. Mr Speaker, I have also seen that there is a proposed amendment by Hon Frederick Opare-Ansah, which is in the same line, except that we would need to further amend that one to suit what we would want to do. Mr Speaker, so if that is the accepted position of the House, I would drop my proposed amendment. When we come to the amendment of Hon Opare-Ansah, I would further amend that and then we would take it.
Mr Speaker, I would want to support my Hon Chairman, so that Hon Opare-Ansah can modify his amendment. He captures it a bit better than ours.
All right, the amendment proposed at item 25 (ii) on the Order Paper is hereby withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause 1 paragraph (a) (1), lines 3 and 4, delete “the Interconnect Clearing House” and insert “any of the Interconnect Clearing Houses licensed by the Authority.” The new rendition would therefore, read paragraph (a) (1), lines 3 and 4, delete “the Interconnect Clearing house” and insert the “Interconnect Clearinghouses licensed by the Authority”.
Mr Speaker, the further amendment proposed by Hon Opare- Ansah would not satisfy the position. That amendment would lead to the creation of more than one Interconnect Clearing House. The idea is to create one for now, but we would create the environment for future addition. I would further want to amend that, in line 3 of the proposed amendment, after “any”, delete “of the” and also delete “Interconnect Clearing Houses” and insert “Interconnect Clearing House”.
I thought the two of you had merged your amendments, you should have spoken with one voice.
Mr Speaker, you would listen to the new rendition then --
I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition is that, we delete “Interconnect Clearing House” and insert “any Interconnect Clearing House”. In that case, we would not create more than one at a go.
What I understand by what you have said is that, it gives the possibility and it is just a licensing procedure. Any Interconnect Clearing House licensed by the Authority. So, the Authority can license 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 -- That is how I understand it. They say I should put the Question. Hon Members, what is happening? Should I not put the Question?
Mr Speaker, I think that was the understanding of the consultation. The rendition should be “any Interconnect Clearing House licensed by the Authority”. That is what is being proposed.
I will put the Question. I can see that Hon Opare- Ansah agrees and has no objection to it. So, I would put the Question. I should take a decision whether it is aye or nay? I am but an Hon Second Deputy Speaker, so, how can I take a decision? Question put and Amendment agreed to.
This is a decision but I cannot rule so you are always -- I cannot rule you out of order? Hon Bagbin, I have ruled you out of order. [Laughter.] Clause 1 (iv)?
Mr Speaker, the effect of the amendment we just adopted covers what I seek to achieve under this one. So, I seek to abandon this one.
So, it is withdrawn. Your application to withdraw is granted and withdrawn.
Clause 1 (v)?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1 --Add the following new paragraphs: “(c) by the substitution of subsection (6) of: (6) (i) The Authority shall promptly decide an interconnection dispute referred to it within 14 days after the referral. (ii) Where a network operator fails to comply with an interconnection request and the Authority satisfies itself that there is no reasonable
Mr Speaker --
Is this the Communications Committee or the Finance Committee?
It is a joint Committee.
Who is the Hon Chairman of the Communications Committee?
Mr Speaker, I oppose the amendment. My opposition is based on existing provisions already in Act 775. Mr Speaker, Act 775, section 84 talks about dispute resolution which is adequately covered to resolve any dispute that may arise. Mr Speaker, again, if we go to section 97 of Act 775, under regulations and I beg to quote: (1) “The Minister may on advice of the Authority by legislative instrument make regulations generally to give effects to the provisions of this Act and shall in particular, make Regulations in relation to; (c) “interconnection which may contain, among others, the matters to be covered in every interconnection agreement.” Mr Speaker, we already have adequate provisions in the Act so, I oppose the amendment.
Mr Speaker, the Bill intends to repeal the section 20, subsections 3 to 7 of the Act. It was one of the points I raised. There are certain parts of the Act that if we repeal now -- [Interruption] -- We say we are going to wait for the Regulation, one of the things the Ministry of Communications said was that, they wanted the thing set-up immediately. Therefore, if we repeal the Act and say we are going to wait for the Regulation which he quoted -- In the original Bill, they said they repealed subsections 3 to 7. That is what they said. In sections 3 to 7, if we look at sections 6, of Act 775. Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
Hon Deputy Minister for Communications?
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity. As the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee indicated, we discussed this amendment and came to the conclusion that, we have enough laws that already exist for resolving disputes. Apart from Act 775, section 84 (a), (b) and (c), there is also Act 769, subsection 3, that talks about dispute resolution as well as Act 769 clause 3 (k) (4) that also talks about dispute resolution in respect of interconnection. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to read -- Functions of the Authority -- (3) (k) states that: “to investigate and resolve disputes … and (iv) in respect of the interconnection sharing facilities and utility installations;” So, in our opinion, there are already enough existing laws for resolving disputes in respect of interconnection. We do not intend to add additional clauses to already existing laws to resolve disputes.
Let me just ask a question of the Hon Member who proposed the amendment. Subsection 6 (i), seems to be a dispute resolution clause. The position I hear from Hon Members is that, it has been sufficiently catered for. If you could address that, perhaps --
Mr Speaker, if you look at the proposed Bill; 1 (b) talks about the repeal of subsections 3 to 7 of the parent Act and the clause for dispute resolution is one of those clauses to be repealed. So, I only tried to help by reinserting the portion that would help them through dispute resolution to enforce mandatory interconnection. If they are not happy with it, however, I am happy to drop it. So, I apply to withdraw it, Mr Speaker.
Hon Opare-Ansah, I think everybody is interested in dispute resolution.
Mr Speaker, I apply to withdraw it.
Hon Opare-Ansah has applied to withdraw it. The application is granted. The amendment has been withdrawn.
Item (vi) advertised in the name of Hon Opare- Ansah?
Mr Speaker, I beg to withdraw this one too.
Item(vii) standing in the name of Hon Kwaku Kwarteng. Hon Kwarteng, please, do not read the proposed amendment. Just explain it.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 1, Add the following new paragraphs: “Section 20 of Act 775 amended The Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) referred to in this Act as the principal enactment is amended in section 20 by the insertion of; “(9) The revenues due the State from communications service tax payable on the services of every Interconnect Clearing House shall be monitored and verified by the monitoring mechanism established in the Communica- tions Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013. “(10) The interconnect services provided by an Interconnect Clearing House to private service providers shall be paid for solely by those private service providers that use the services of that Interconnect Clearing House.” Mr Speaker, I rise to canvass support for (vii). As you indicated, I would make some quick remarks. I am proposing an amendment in section 20 of the principal enactment. My reasons are that at the moment, given the amendments we have made already, we are going to have a re-created room for the creation of multiple ICHs. Per the Communications Services Tax(Amendment) Act, 2013, all value addition services including interconnections are subject to Communications Services Tax (CST). At the moment, network operators; MTN, Airtel and the others are all paying Communications Services Tax on the interconnect services they provide for each other. If you go to the Memorandum, it states that the Interconnect Clearing House would also be doing some revenue monitoring and the monitoring that would lead to revenue assurance and all that. The issue then arises; who polices the policeman? If the ICH would play a role in revenue assurance, that is why, for the avoidance of doubt, I think it is important that we clearly state the services that would be delivered by any Interconnect Clearing House. It would be subject to a CST and the provisions in the CST (Amendment) Act that govern monitoring and revenue assurance would apply to them as well. These are my reasons for this amendment, Mr Speaker.
Hon Ranking Member for the Finance Committee?
Mr Speaker, I listened to my Hon Colleague and I would want to plead with him if he could withdraw this amendment. This is because there is another one that is more potent than the one he is proffering now. The
Mr Speaker, I agree. In fact, I would also want to step down the (10). Mr Speaker, I beg to withdrawthe (9) -- I support the fact that a later amendment could take care of the issues I raised here.
Hon Members, I am creating a window of opportunity and the Standing Orders are clear. I will decide what it is. Those who will want to withdraw should do so. There is no point for us to mention it and then you will say you are withdrawing. I am creating a window of opportunity and I will hold my horses for two minutes, if you will want to withdraw then withdraw now. If you advertise it and you withdraw then I will not be too happy with you -- [Interruption] -- You let us mention the number and then you move your amendment, argue beautifully, somebody gets up and within two seconds, you withdraw. What is that? The time is 8.07 p.m. Hon Afenyo-Markin, are you withdrawing?
Mr Speaker, until you face stiff opposition, you may not be in a position to know the potency of the opposition. So, Hon Kwarteng, ably moved and when --
Hon Afenyo-Markin, you just came in. Before you came in, there had been similar withdrawal. There was even one -- I do not want to mention names. I even supported the amendment. Before I knew what was happening, the proposer had left me in the cold; it was one of dispute resolution. He had been withdrawn. So, anybody who wants to withdraw should do so. Which clause are we on now? Is it item numbered 25 (viii) on the Order Paper? Hon O. B. Amoah, are you going to withdraw?
Mr Speaker, I would only withdraw based on superior argument.
“Section 20 of Act 775 amended The Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) referred to in this Act as the principal enactment is amended in section 20 by the insertion of; “(1) A Network operator or service provider shall within six months after the coming into force of this Act connect to an Interconnect Clearing House for the purpose of establishing and maintaining interconnection with any new service provider or routing
Mr Speaker, I would humbly ask the Hon Member to withdraw the proposed amendment. The Committee also recognised the fact that there is a need for transition. We have adequately covered the period as proposed in the transition period; the Committee has proposed that under a new subclause, that within six months, the interconnection through the ICH should be done by the mobile network operators. Mr Speaker, again, he talked about sanctions. We have also covered that one adequately in clause 2 of the Bill. The Committee has also proposed some amendment which we shall take under item 25 (ix) on the Order Paper. So, if the Hon Member could withdraw his amendment, his concerns would be addressed by the Committee's proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, this is an area the House should consider carefully. I totally agree with the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee, where he says one of the amendments seeks to create one month transition period. Mr Speaker, when we pass this Bill and it is assented to by the President into an Act, it takes immediate effect. With the six months window that we have given, we have already in the amendment disabled the peer-to-peer connection.
Let me listen to Hon Yieleh Chireh. Then, I would come to you.
Mr Speaker, the transitional provision takes effect only after the law has come into force. The law comes into force the day it is assented to, then the transitional provisions start running. That is why it is advisable for him to withdraw what he has proposed.
Hon Yieleh Chireh, the transitional provision is for what period?
It is six months.
And so if we already have transitional provisions --
The Committee has already provided for transitional provisions which cater for what he would want to do. There is no reason he would amend the same section when it has already been clarified. What my Hon Colleague the Hon Prempey said --
I think Hon O. B. Amoah has a message for us.
Mr Speaker, in the first place, there is nobody known as Hon Prempey. He is Matthew Opoku Prempeh. The Hon Chairman of the Committee is trying to convince us that what I have put together is similar to what he has proposed. I do not think they are the same. So, we should come to a certain agreement. As I see it now, the transitional provisions say that we should migrate within a certain time.
In the meantime, one either migrates or does not migrate. Yes, if they say one should migrate within six months means that, in the meantime, he is either migrated or not, so, we are migrating. One has a six-month window. Hon Members, please thecommunication experts are talking peer-to-peer connection. I am a simple person. When the Government passes a law and says that all car licenses should be yellow and blue and he gives us six months it means that within the six months, I have the chance to change my licence. Therefore, I have a six-month window. That is the way I understand it, but I stand corrected. Yes, Hon Opare-Ansah?
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Chairman of the Committee is right. There is a certain interconnection regime today and we are legislating to change that into a new regime. We are trying to provide for a transitional period. Until the expiration of the transitional period, the status quo remains. Therefore, until the operators have migrated onto the ICH, the expectation is that the peer-to-peer connection they have would remain in operation.
What is your advice?
My advice is that they yield to the position of the Committee so that we could take the Committee's advice.
Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?
Mr Speaker, I support it.
Sorry, Hon O. B. Amoah has a message for us.
Mr Speaker, I would yield to the Committee and withdraw the proposed amendment.
It was as if I was a prophet. That is why I said those who want to withdraw --
Mr Speaker, he yielded to superior argument, that is what he says -- [Laughter.]
His argument too was strong.
Yes, but not superior to this one.
In fact, I support him. If I had the opportunity to vote I would have voted for him. Clause 1 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 2 -- section 73, A inserted.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2, section 73A, delete and insert the following: “73A. (1) A network operator shall comply with the directives established by the Authority to: (a) prevent; (b) detect; and (c) disconnect the use of the subscriber identity module or the user identity module of that network operator, for terminating an international call on any network in Ghana as a local call: (2) A network operator who fails to comply with subsection (1), commits an offence and is liable to pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of two thousand penalty units per day for each subscriber identity module or user identity module used in terminating an international call as a local call”. Mr Speaker, clause 2 of the Bill says that anyone who uses the subscriber identity module or the SIM to terminate an international call as a local call commits an offence and it is punishable. The Committee is of the view that we should have a better rendition, first of all, to create the offence and also prescribe the punishment. That is what the Committee has proposed in clause 2 as captured in (ix).
I think it is quite simple. The Constitution says you must create the offence. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I was just looking at which conjunct to use, whether it is --
Hon Minority Leader, I cannot hear you.
Mr Speaker, I said I was looking at which conjunct to use, whether it should be “and” or “or”, but I think that in this case “and” is good. That is for (a), (b) and (c) listed. That is what I was looking at, but I think it is right with the “and”.
Hon Minority Leader, what is the difference in meaning, just for --
Mr Speaker, in this case, it is “and” and not “or”.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Minority Leader, that we add “or”.
He says “and” and you say “or”. The original was “or”.
It should be “and/or”.
Hon Yieleh Chireh, I have recognised you.
Mr Speaker, if it is about to prevent, detect and disconnect, these are separate activities. If in creating an offence we lump them together as “and”, it connotes that we have to prove that all the three have been committed. We can take one, however, if we put the “or”. That means if the person fails to prevent, or fails to detect, or fails to disconnect -- If we want to prove all at once before they constitute the offence, that is when normally we put the word “and”. If that is the intention, then it is fine.
I think he is right; it should be “or”. Hon Chairman, have you agreed to the “or”? Let us have you on record. This is a House of record.
Mr Speaker, the rendition would read -- we would delete “and” and insert “or”. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 2 -- Add the following new paragraph: “Section 73Aof Act 775 amended The Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) referred to in this Act as the principal enactment is amended by the insertion of a new subsection (3) after subsection (2) of section 73A: “(3) Aperson who uses a subscriber identity module or user identity module for terminating an international call on any network in Ghana as a local call, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand penalty units per day for each subscriber identity module or user identity module
Hon Kwarteng, help us. The process of this illegal activity involves how many different actors?
First, it involves people who buy SIM boxes.
We have catered for them.
We have not. They commit the actual offence. They transmit calls through the --
Hon Chairman -- Are you listening? I asked a question about the whole basis for the proposed amendment and he is arguing that there is a certain group of people within the illegal activity whom we have not catered for. For example, if you steal and you go and sell the goods, the person who stole as well as the person who bought the stolen goods can all be guilty of an offence. So, he is explaining to us who is not being punished in the whole illegal event.
Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that those who commit the actual SIM box fraud route their calls through the internet and then they terminate them using the local networks, so, you see the call as a local call. What we sought to do in the previous amendment was to say that the network operator must take steps to help the State fight this kind of crime. The question I am asking is, if we ask the network operators to help fight and we create an offence and a punishment, if they do not do that, what about the people who commit the act? So, what we seek to do by this amendment is to create an offence for those who actually use the network provider's facility to commit the fraud, create an offence and create a punishment for the actual SIM box fraud. That is what we seek to do by this amendment.
Hon Afenyo-Markin? Sorry, let me recognise Hon Yieleh Chireh and then I would come to you.
Mr Speaker, as much as I am concerned about dealing with those who are involved in the commission of the offence, I think that currently, people are investigated or dealt with under some law. Is there no law for the people to be investigated and prosecuted? There must be a law. If we want to duplicate, we may have a problem. If there is no law and the Hon Member is now proposing it, however, then I do not know.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Yieleh Chireh has made a very important point. In this country, we read in the newspapers of people being arrested, prosecuted and so on. Is there no existing law? Why are we creating a new law? Is the existing law not sufficient? What is the thought behind this?
Mr Speaker, I would want to yield to the Hon Deputy Minister to respond.
Hon Kwarteng, have you finished?
Mr Speaker, I would want to react to Hon Yieleh Chireh. I am the Deputy Ranking Member for the Committee on Communications. Any time we met the telecommunications service providers and questioned them about the weaknesses in their systems that allow these offenders to do SIM box fraud, they have raised a point about the absence of a law to prosecute. They also talked about the difficulty the law enforcement agencies have been experiencing in prosecuting some SIM box fraudsters. If there existed any law, I am sure we would not have found it necessary to do the amendment we did previously. Mr Speaker, there is no law. They have been trying. Of course, tax evasion and all that are prior provisions we could use if we do not have a specific law and that is what has happened. If we have the opportunity, I think we should create the offence and create a punishment for it and it will be fine.
Mr Speaker, we have a law on subscriber registration of SIM cards. It say a person cannot use a SIM card unless it is registered. There is a law that takes care of that. What we are trying to do is to use the SIM card to terminate international calls --
To do an illegal activity -- Which is to terminate international calls.
Yes, Mr Speaker; exactly. We feel we should take opportunity of this amendment.
According to the Hon Member, he seeks to assist you. This is because the person who has the SIM card and uses it for the illegal activity is not punished. It is the network operator who is punished. The Hon Member said this amendment will also punish the individual who use the network operator for that purpose. Is it correct?
Mr Speaker, it is very correct.
Hon Chairman, let me hear from you.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member states the punishment as “the offender is liable on summary conviction to a fine. We would want to further amend it to an administrative penalty payable to the Authority.
Mr Speaker, we are doing very well. I have looked at the time and it is twenty minutes to 9.00 o'clock. I would want to have an indication from the Leadership when we will close today and when we will come to Parliament tomorrow for the Finance Committee to have a meeting at 9.00 o'clock in the morning. Yaa bre!
Mr Speaker, if we agree that there should be sanctions for this offence, probably we should be able to leave it to the draftspersons to get us the right rendition. I do not think we should agree to the administrative fine. If we look at the Act, section 73 -- Offence of Act 775, the penalty is as follows: “Commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five year or to both.” This is the penalty for the offences under the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016. So, we can just marry it with what we are proposing and that will make it very neat and reasonable. I do not think administrative fine can help at all. We should go to the Act and look at that provision and see how we can marry it with what we have proposed. The corresponding penalty units or terms of imprisonment or both. That is what the Act says and I think we should stick to that.
Hon Chairman of the Committee -- Having listened to Hon O. B. Amoah and the Hon Deputy Minister, the two of them are at the meeting of minds. You will all agree that there is wrong that has to be punished. Is it asking too much from the two of you? You have about four experts there -- You can put your heads together while we continue. We will come back. Should I put the Question?
Mr Speaker, can I add this before you put the Question?
Have you agreed, Hon Chairman? I heard you move an amendment.
Mr Speaker, I thought you said that we should put our heads together and come up with something. The Hon Member said you want to put the Question and I am saying that you will not do that now; it will be after we put our heads together.
You will agree; just put your heads together.
Mr Speaker, since you have already dealt with the amendment proposed by the Hon Chairman of the Committee, that is item numbered (ix) on page 13 of the Order Paper, I would seek your clarification on
Mr Speaker, there is an omission. We will add “and service provider” so that it is consistent with what we have in the law.
Mr Speaker, that is in respect of item numbered ix.
Hon Minority Leader, sometimes, you speak loudly, but sometimes, we can hardly hear you. You can put on your microphone at the other side. Are you tired?
Mr Speaker, we are all exhausted. [Laughter.]
Sometimes, I can hear you loud and clear.
Mr Speaker, it is in respect of the one that we just agreed to. With your permission, I beg to read: “A network operator shall comply with the directives established by the Authority…” As the Hon Chairman read out: “To prevent; detect and disconnect”
Mr Speaker, the first line, numbered (ix) --
We have put that Question already.
Yes, we have omitted something. It should read: “A network operator or service provider…”
Hon Minority Leader, if we have already put that Question, should this not be at the Second Consideration Stage? Or can we say we are relaxing the rules?
Mr Speaker, I am making an appeal to relax the rules to --
Should I relax the rules?
Yes. To make that insertion, then you can go on.
I should relax the rules. Did you hear yourself well? To tell you the truth, I am not too clear on relaxing of rules. If the House believes that it can be done, I would do it for you. At 9 o'clock, anything goes -- [Laughter.] Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, the Question has been put and now the Hon Minority Leader is urging me to relax the rules and come back while there is a Second Consideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, there is limit to human endurance.
I agree but I want your last view on the matter. We have put the Question on the clause 1, can I relax the rules?
Mr Speaker, the rules are in your bosom. You can do entirely everything that pleases you to advance the course of this House.
Even though I am a Deputy Speaker?
You are the Speaker; we address you as “Mr Speaker” when you are sitting in the Chair.
I am a Speaker what? You have a Latin term you use -- pro tem --[Laughter]-- I am the available Speaker. Thank you very much. I will be making some few orders here and there. Hon Members, put your heads together. Hon Bagbin, can I have your advice? I have put the Question but the Hon Minority Leader is asking me to relax the rules. What is your view? Should I go to the Second Consideration Stage? I would want to be sure of what I am doing.
Mr Speaker, the Consideration Stage is said to be an informal stage so you can vary, amend or relax the rules to allow a proper rendition of the provisions of the Bill.
Hon Minority Leader, take it again then we will put the Question for the second time. We are going back to clause 2 -- the amendment in (ix).
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Clause 2, section 73A, delete and insert the following: “73A. (1) Anetwork operator or service provider shall comply with the directives established by the Authority to: (a) prevent; (b) detect; and (c) disconnect; the use of the subscriber identity module or the user identity module of that network operator, for terminating an international call on any network in Ghana as a local call: (2) A network operator or service provider who fails to comply with subsection (1), commits an offence and is liable to pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of two thousand penalty units per day for each subscriber identity module or user identity module used in terminating an international call as a local call.” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Quashigah, I do not see your name anywhere. Are you getting up to propose an amendment?
No! I just want to support --
What point is that?
Mr Speaker, you were urging the Hon Chairman and proponents of the amendment in (x) to try to put their heads together and come up with something. Mr Speaker, I would want to apply so that we take my amendment in (xi).
Which one is that?
Item (xi) on clause 2. Mr Speaker, all I have done there is to go a step further down the value chain to those who are engaged in SIM box fraud to prevent them from buying the SIM cards.
Hon Chairman, let me ask you a question. Are we going to finish today? Is that your aim?
Mr Speaker, I hope so.
There is no problem. Hon Chairman, please, add this and put your heads together. Hon Opare-Ansah's proposed amendment is in line with the previous one.
Mr Speaker, there is a law in one of the telecommunications Acts that says that, if one is under age, somebody could register a SIM card on his behalf. So, when they are going to consider, let them consider that aspect the law permits. That is all that I am saying.
Hon Prempeh, as they put their heads together, if you are not included-- [Laughter]-- Then there should not be -- I will not recognise any such meeting if you are not included. This is a very important Committee. Item (xii) -- Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 3 -- Interpretation of “Interconnect Clearing House”, delete and insert the following: “‘Interconnect Clearing House' means a centralised interconnection system”. Mr Speaker, the definition has already been given for “interconnection system” in Act 775. Therefore, the “Interconnection Clearing House” is defined as “a centralised interconnection system”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Item(xiii) -- Hon Opare-Ansah?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, New Clause -- Add the following new clause: “The Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) referred to in this Act as the principal enactment is amended by the insertion of; Scope of License of Interconnect Clearing House Services An Interconnect Clearing House shall provide the services specified in the license granted by the Authority except that, an Interconnect Clearing House shall not; (a) provide tax revenue assurance services; and (b) be responsible to account for tax revenue to Government”. Mr Speaker, this House, in the year 2013, approved an amendment to the Communications Service Tax. The very first paragraph of the explanatory memorandum that accompanied the Bill states:
Mr Speaker, generally, I do not oppose the proposed amendment by my Hon Colleague. This is because we know that, in the first place, the ICH function is going to be performed by a company duly registered in Ghana therefore, it is subject to corporate income tax that would be determined by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). Again, if they are also going to pay interconnecting rate, then they also cannot be doing the monitoring themselves. Again, the Communications Service Tax makes that provision as a duty of the GRA for revenue purposes to monitor, in order to collect the appropriate revenue for Government. So, if the amendment is seeking to say that, the scope of the license of the ICH services should not include or be responsible to account for tax revenue to Government also provide tax revenue assurance services, what I am not too clear about, is what the Hon Member means by saying provide tax revenue assurance services? If he says that, an ICH shall provide the services specified in the licence granted by the Authority except that, an ICH shall not provide tax revenue assurance service, what does he mean by that? If that is made clear, we will know whether we should support it. But I fully support the (b) should not be responsible to account for tax revenue to Government.
Mr Speaker,Act 864, which was ultimately the product of the 2013 Amendment of the Communications Service Tax, indicated that, the Hon Minister for Finance, in collaboration with Hon Minister for Communications will establish a monitoring mechanism for ensuring that, all the taxes that -- this is re-phrased but the effect is that, they will have a mechanism to monitor the taxes that are supposed to accrue to Government under that Act. So, all that this amendment seeks to do and Mr Speaker, the sense of it and the need for it, are contained in the Memorandum where you would get an idea of how Government is thinking as far as the establishment of the ICH is concerned in the page (v) of the accompanying memorandum to the Bill under consideration. In the first paragraph, the last three lines, Mr Speaker, if you would allow me to quote. It says that: “The mandatory interconnection will save Government the current course of investing and operating revenue assurances systems on national and international interconnect traffic”. So, it is clear that, Government is thinking of utilising the ICH which is to be established by this law to serve it for the purposes of revenue assurance. So, all I am seeking to do is to say that, indeed, the ICH would provide that common platform which was envisaged under Act 864. However, the entity that will be operating and providing the ICH services should not be the same entity that will utilise that common platform to provide for revenue assurance on behalf of Government. So, yes, you provide ICH infrastructure, it does provide the common platform and Government, through other entities, would be able to utilise that same platform to give it the necessary revenue assurance that it needs. That is the sense of what I try to propose.
Mr Speaker, if the services that are being provided by the ICH - the data and the traffic flow, the information provided will be adequate enough for the unit that is responsible for the revenue administration and is satisfied that, they can use that one to determine their revenue, what is wrong with that? The system is not saying that, GRA should depend solely on that data to determine the tax revenue. No, the system is not saying that. So, if GRA looks at the data and they think that, they need to appoint somebody to verify the data they are getting, they can go ahead and do it. And that is under the CST.
I will recognise Hon Joe Baidoe-Ansah.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think they are saying the same thing. What he is saying --
For the record, what who is saying?
Both of them are saying the same thing. What Hon Opare- Ansah is saying, which Hon Avedzi is also emphasising is that, the ICH must not be the same institution that should be monitoring revenue.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I just want to explain the process. As Hon Opare-Ansah indicated, the mandate is that, there should be a common platform, a platform that is available for the regulator to determine our traffic, and a platform that is also available for other State institutions to pick information that they may need for purposes of executing their mandate. So, the Interconnect Clearing House in our opinion, would be gathering some data and information, part of which the National Communications Authority (NCA) would use to tell all of us that the traffic coming into this country is so much. Also, part of which other State institutions may use. What we have indicated is that, the Interconnect Clearing House is not responsible for accounting for Government tax revenue. That is the responsibility of GRA and the Ministry of Finance and it is not a responsibility that the Ministry of Communications or the NCA wants to take upon themselves to do. It is GRA and Ministry of Finance's responsibility. During the public forum, it came out clearly that, that is not an area that we are going into, but, the Interconnect Clearing House would provide some information that could assist in verifying whether the taxes being paid by the mobile network operators are the numbers that they should pay.
So, is it the same?
Nothing stops GRA and the Ministry of Finance from further verifying that information. Yes, it is clear, and that is all we are saying. That is why the Hon Chairman is indicating --
Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah? I would come back to you Hon Minister. You have more than one --
Mr Speaker, I thought that since the Hon Deputy Minister is the sponsor, probably, he would have the last word. But, experience has shown that, there has been a lot of problems when legislation leaves a doubt. So, where we have an opportunity through legislation to make things clear, as the Hon Deputy Minister said early on, I believe it would be proper that we do so. The amendment proposed by the Hon Member for Suhum, Hon Opare-Ansah, is the same thing that the Hon Deputy Minister has proposed. Whatever the Interconnect Clearing House is going to do, that is not revenue and that is not what it is supposed to do. That is what I believe this amendment seeks to do. This is
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the proposed amendment. I have told my Hon Colleagues, the Chairman of the joint Committee, that is the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Hon Deputy Minister that we should not leave anything to doubt and we should also not leave a gap when we are legislating, following experiences we have gone through. We talk about responsibility. Is it part of the responsibility of an Interconnect Clearing House to deal with revenue assurances? No! So, once the responsibility is to create a common platform to clear interconnectivity -- that is it. A common platform to clear interconnectivity of service providers and that is what it is created for. Tax revenue in particular and all revenue, is the responsibility of the GRA, an agency under the Ministry of Finance. So, they cannot share that responsibility with an Interconnect Clearing House. We have seen from experience that, because of some interpretations given by some people of the law, they are tempted to give revenue assurances in the licences. It is so stated in the provisional licence that has been issued to Afriwave. So, to clear doubt, we want to exempt it in the law because, we have the opportunity to clarify the law and that is why there is this proposal. Do not leave it to doubt and do not allow any person to come in future and say they could do that just because of the credibility of the data and information that platform provides. We are all aware that the GRA would not only be depending on the Interconnect Clearing House for data and information, but also from the service providers. So, we cannot give that responsibility to the Interconnect Clearing House.That is why it is couched this way.
Hon Minister, I think you should throw in the towel. Hon Chairman, we would take it. It reminds me of the problems that used to occur between the Food and Drugs Board and Ghana Standards Board. When there are agencies and you do not define them carefully, then you run into all kinds of problems. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I believe quite sincerely that this is the most appropriate time to adjourn the House. We are tired, ya bre. [Laughter.] It is past 9.00 o'clock. I have been asking the Leadership and you heard me, but I think that it did not strike you; the question I asked earlier was about an indication of the time we are going to adjourn.
Hon Majority Leader, you heard the plea.
Mr Speaker, I actually empathise with my Hon Colleagues. This is because we have all been here since morning. I agree there is a level to endurance. I was only pleading that, if we could take, instead of continuing with the Consideration Stage, some short Motion -- [Interruption] -- It would not break any bone and it would also not hurt any flesh. It is just procedural Motions like items 12 and 13. We could just take them. The Reports are ready and they are not contentious. So, we can take them because we are rising tomorrow and we have some work to do. If we do not do that, tomorrow, we would close very late, later than what we are experiencing today. So, I am pleading for us to go up to 10. 00 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Majority Leader himself can attest to, all of us are very much exhausted. But if perchance there is any energy left in us, then I cannot understand why we cannot continue and finish with this Bill. In that case, why should he introduce another thing? Let us finish with this. If he has any energy left in him, we should complete this and know that we have finished with it instead of him introducing another foreign matter -- [Interruption] -- I know the Hon Minister has been here, but the Hon Deputy Minister has also been here all these while. I know he is senior to him anyway. But then, let us finish this.
Yes, Hon Isaac Osei?
Mr Speaker, it is obvious that, the Hon Leaders cannot agree. But Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah is known in this House for making very useful contributions. Just before the Hon Majority Leader spoke, he made another useful contribution which I agree with. I am sure most of the people in this House also agree with. It is very late and it is raining outside. Or we can go.
Hon Member, it is not raining inside.
Mr Speaker, I agree. But people are just tired and I think if it is time for us to go, we should go. Mr Speaker, what Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah said is very important.
Hon Majority Leader, what is your pleasure.
Mr Speaker, I get the sense of the House. The proposers of the amendments have indicated that, they intend withdrawing all the proposed amendments except one -- the “Transitional provisions”. So, we would have to continue and complete this.
We should stay inside -- It is safer inside.
Yes, Mr Speaker. It is safer here than in the rain. So, we can continue with Business. I am assuring the Hon Minority Leader that, I still have energy left. I trust him; he has some energy. So, let us finish the Consideration Stage of the Bill, then we would go to the next item.
Hon Members, this is the Leader of Government Business. But practice tells us -- We have been in this House for a while. Some of these works if we do not do them today, we would do them tomorrow. So, let us try and do a little more work today. Perhaps tomorrow, what we can do is that, we would not actually take a break. Those who would want to go and have their lunch can go and those who would remain to continue would continue. Hon Members, let us continue. This is because, if we come back, it would be waiting for us. We cannot run away from the work. What clause are we on please? We just finished number xii. We are on number xiv. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, New clause -- Add the following new clause: “The Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) referred to in this Act as the principal enactment is amended by the insertion of: Transitional provisions” 4. (1) Anetwork operator or service provider shall within six months after the coming into force of this Act, connect and route its traffic to other operators through an Interconnect Clearing House determined by the Authority. (2) A network operator or service provider that contravenes subsection (1), commits an offence and is liable to pay to the Authority an administrative penalty of ninety thousand penalty units; and in the case of a continuing offence to a further administrative penalty of two thousand penalty units per day”.
Hon Members, has anybody got any comment on that? Question put and amendment agreed to.
Yes, Hon Opare-Ansah, number xv.
Mr Speaker, I would like to withdraw my amendment.
All right. Amendment accordingly withdrawn.
Yes, Hon O. B. Amoah, number xvi.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, New Clause -- Add the following new clause:
Hon O. B. Amoah, there is an amendment that I call the Hon Amoah amendment which --
Mr Speaker that is the “Transition period”.
No, please listen to me. This provision that you are urging on us deals with “Regulations” -- This is not the first time. You have done it in previous Bills and the House has agreed with you. What I am asking is, what is the time period? Is it six months or one year?
Mr Speaker, the challenge is that, until they bring the Regulations, they cannot operate. So, I am even helping them to bring it within a shorter period. If we make it a year, they cannot operate without the Regulations. The memorandum to the Bill is saying that; “The Bill also repeals subsections (3) to (7) of section 20…” So, until you bring in the Regulations, how are you going to operate? I am helping them by saying that; “Within six months, bring the Regulations”. Indeed, I understand that the Regulations are even ready.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Chairman for the Subsidiary Legislation Committee is looking for work for himself now -- [Laughter] --He should say so. Otherwise, the repealed sections of Section 20 have to do with “peer” - “peer”. And the ‘peer' -- ‘peer' is not the - that is why they were repealed. But to say that if within six month they do not bring or pass the Regulations -- It is a procedural matter. There has to be consultation. He knows how to bring Regulations to this House. One cannot bring the Regulations without involving all stakeholders. We would wish that they bring these things as early as possible.
Hon Yieleh Chireh, Hon O. B. Amoah has a message for us.
Mr Speaker, I would just refer to the Memorandum and then, move on from there. It says, and I beg to quote: “The Bill also repeals --
Hon O. B. Amoah, is that the message?
Yes, Mr Speaker. That is the message.
No, we agree with you. But I thought you were --
Mr Speaker, the message would come just after the --
No, you give the message.
Mr Speaker, just to clarify what he said because it is going into the Hansard.
Mr Speaker, I beg to quote: “The Bill also repeals subsections (3) to (7) of section 20 of Act 775 because these provisions together with other new provisions will be part of the proposed Interconnect Clearing house Regulations”. Mr Speaker, so it will not operate without it. Mr Speaker, I am alright with it, if they now think that they need more time and that it should be within twelve months.
Thank you. That is the message. Did you hear the message? Hon O. B. Amoah says he has agreed to the twelve months. So the proposed amendment — it is not withdrawn. Hon O. B. Amoah, it is within twelve months?
Mr Speaker, within twelve months.
Hon Deputy Minister, you would do Regulations within twelve months. Would you not?
Mr Speaker, yes. There would definitely be Regulations. But I want to say that, even in the absence of that now, as we are saying there must be, there are enough powers in section (97) of Act 775 for NCA to advise the Minister on issues of guidelines and Regulations. But there would be Regulations coming to this House for approval.
Hon Deputy Minister, I think the thinking behind it is that, we have passed laws in this House, where we have said that there would be Regulations but the Regulations were never made. So this House has taken a certain informal position that, they give a time limit. Mr O. B. Amoah — rose --
Hon O. B. Amoah, do you have a new message or the old one?
Mr Speaker, I think the twelve months is all right. Indeed, I was referring to the Parent Act and there is no provision for Interconnect Clearing House.
Mr Speaker, this Bill was laid in this House on 23rd February, 2016, that was last week Tuesday. It is now almost 9:30 p.m.; just some nine days after it was laid and we are busily concluding its Consideration Stage. It is clear how serious the proponents of the Bill are in ensuring that, the Bill becomes law and the accompanying regulation laid in this House. Mr Speaker, I really do not think that this House needs to legislate the period within which they have the Regulations. I do not think it is necessary.
Hon O. B. Amoah, a new message? Question put and amendment negatived.
Hon Members, New clause advertised as (xvii).
Mr Speaker, there is a proposed amendment that, section 97 (3) be deleted from the Principal enactment.
“Despite the Statutory Instrument Act 1959, the penalty for contravention of the Regulation shall be a fine of not more than 2,000 penalty units.” Mr Speaker, as we speak, we do not have any Statutory Instrument Act, 1959. Indeed, the Interpretation Act has repealed that Act. I was just drawing our attention to it and to delete it because it is no more relevant — Section 52 of the Interpretation Act repeals the Statutory Instrument Act 1959. So we should just delete it from the principal enactment.
Hon Chairman, we are told it has been deleted by the Interpretation Act — section 52. He said we should delete it as pent. Do you have any problem? The Hon Member says that we should add this new clause. Do you have any problem with that?
Mr Speaker, section 52 of the Interpretation Act, 2009, (Act 792) says and I beg to quote: “The Interpretation Act: 1960 (CA 4) as amended by, a) The Interpretation Amendment Law 1982, PNDC Law 12. b) The Interpretation Amendment Act, 1961 (Act 92); and c) The Interpretation Amendment Act, 1962 (Act 146) and the Statutory Instrument Act (No. 52 of 1959). The Acts of the Parliament ofAct 1960 (CA7) and the Fines and Penalty Units Act, 2000 ( Act 572) are repealed” Mr Speaker that is it. And so that Act has been repealed.
Do you therefore agree with the proposed amendment? to.
Mr Speaker, that is so. Question put and amendment agreed
Hon O. We will suspend the Consideration Stage and do your Motions. They will then put their heads together and we will continue and finish when they come back. DevelopmentAgreementbetween the Government of Ghana and Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa
Mr Speaker, I Agreements. Officials of the Minerals Commission were in attendance to assist the Committee in its deliberations. The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and his Deputy and the officials B. Amoah, we thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. Hon Members, item (xviii).
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title -- line 2, delete “the Interconnect” and insert “an interconnect”. Mr Speaker, this is consequential to the amendment we passed in clause 1.
Mr Speaker, it is not consequential. This is because we used, “any”. I agree — even though it means the same. But when he says it is consequential then it means that we kept the “an” it is not consequential but this is correct. Question put and amendment agreed to. Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, you were supposed to put your heads together. Will you report back? [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I want to once again appeal to Hon Members so that we can take items numbered 12 and 13. They are very short.
Hon Majority Leader, we can completely finish this if we tarry for two minutes; we finish the Consideration Stage, go to the Motion, do the Third Reading before we go to — Or we should do the other two while we wait? Hon Members, we will suspend the Consideration Stage of the Electronic Communication (Amendment) Bill, 2016. That brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Electronic Communication (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for now.
Mr Speaker, itemnumbered 12 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Item 13 -- Chairman of the Committee. beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa. Introduction The Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills laid two (2) Development Agreements in Parliament on the 16th of March, 2016 for ratification in accordance with article 268 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 49 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Agreements are: i. The Development Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa ii. The Development Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang. The Development Agreements were subsequently referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to Order 188 of the Standing Orders of the House. Deliberations The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills and his Deputy, Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh and officials from the Ministry to consider the for their attendance and for providing clarifications to issues raised at the meeting. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under- listed documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament iii. The Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) iv. The Minerals and Mining Ad, 2006 (Act 703) v. The Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2010 (Act 794) vi. The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490) vii. The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 1999 (L.I. 1652) viii. The Minerals and Mining (Health, Safety and Technical) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182) ix. The Tarkwa and Damang Mining Leases Background Information The Government of Ghana in reversing the general stagnation in the mining industry in the early 1970s introduced a
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion and by doing that, I would like to make a few remarks and some observations.
It should be short.
It is very short, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, just to advert the mind of the House to the fact that the Development Agreement as presented gives some incentives which appear to be very sweetened. But this is to ensure that the gold mining industry is sustained. The conditions that prevailed in the past so far as Newmont Ghana was concerned were looked at critically and we believe that the terms that have been given in here makes this one worthwhile considering by the House. Thank you. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Item 13 is duly approved by the House. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we take the Consequential Resolution.
Item 14 -- Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.
Mr Speaker, for the correction of the record, I beg to move, WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource, of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament. BY THE PROVISIONSof section 43 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), where a mineral right is for mining or exploitation, the Government shall acquire a ten per cent free carried interest in the rights and obligations of the mineral operations in respect of which financial contribution shall not be paid by Government. BY THE PROVISIONS of sections 49 (1) and (3) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), the Ministerontheadvice of the Minerals Commission may enter intoadevelopmentagreement under a mining lease with a person where the proposed investment by the person will exceed five hundred million United States Dollars and the development agreement shall be subject to ratification by Parliament. IN PURSUANCE of the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution and the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Gold fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa. NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution and the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) hereby resolves to ratify the said Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Gold- fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa.
Chairman of the Committee, I guess you would now want to support the Resolution.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion.
I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
[Interruption] The Hon Alhaji Sorogho did not second it, he rather supported it.
Mr Speaker, as we all know that a good lawyer is the one who knows his law, but the best lawyer is the one who knows the judge. So, Motion number 15.
Just for the record, when he says a lawyer who knows the judge, he does not mean that he knows the judge in a bad way. What it means is that there are some judges who would allow you to speak for a long time
No, I have to clarify that when he says a good lawyer is the person who knows the judge, he means it in a positive way. For non-lawyers, when a lawyer says that you must know your judge, he means that you must know the kind of person you are appearing before. [Interruption.] I am the judge, there is only one judge in the Chamber now and that is the person presiding. So he must know me, otherwise, I will rule him out of order. [Laughter]
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 Mines and Energy on the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang may be moved today.
But the serious thing is that we were told that we are doing items 12 and 13, but we are now at item 15 and we seem to be going on. Who seconds the Motion, please?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. DevelopmentAgreementbetween the Governmentof Ghana(GoG) andAbosso Goldfields Limited, Damang
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang. Mr Speaker, by so doing, I wish to present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills laid two (2) Development Agreements in Parliament on the 16th of March, 2016 for ratification in accordance with article 268 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 49 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Agreements are: i. The Development Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Gold fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa; and ii. The Development Agreement between the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang. The Development Agreements were subsequently referred to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to Order 188 of the Standing Orders of the House. Deliberations The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills and his Deputy, Hon
[ALHAJI SOROGHO Integrated activity The operations in respect of the production areas shall, for the purposes of any law relating to the calculation of applicable taxes and duties, be applied separately to each mining operation. Accordingly, all write-offs, deductions, reliefs and allowances incurred by or on behalf of the company may be deducted from any of its income or profits arising from that operation for purposes of determining any applicable tax and duties. Termination payments On Termination Operation or mine closure in respect of Tarkwa and Damang leases GFGL shall pay or otherwise, satisfy any liabilities including taxes and duties and make appropriate provision as required by law for unknown or contingent liabilities and undertake reasonable efforts to collect all amount due to GFGL by any person. Exchange control The Revised Agreement stipulates that GFGL shall return to Ghana, a minimum of 30 per cent of the proceeds from sale of gold, except during the last two years of operations. If the gold is sold in Ghana, the quota shall be reduced by the amount of gold sold. This modifies the 2003 Investment Agreement which allowed the short-term, an enormous economic benefit may be obtained from the investment of two billion, five hundred and fifty million United Statesdollars (US$2,550,000,000.00) over the life of the mines. The amount comprises two billion United Statesdollars(US$2,000,000,000.00) for the Tarkwa Mine and five hundred and fifty million United States dollars (US$550,000,000.00) for the Damang Mine. These investment are to ensure the strategic vision to produce one million ounces (approximately 40 per cent increase on current annual production) within the next 3 years. The investments is expected to increase current production to one million ounces per year. This will go a long way to make the projects viable and also create more jobs despite the serious economic challenges facing the sector. Contributions of Gold Fields to the Economyof Ghana The officials of the Ministry informed the Committee that the Gold Fields Ghana Limited has demonstrated a good corporate responsibility since the commencement of its operations in the country. The Company has since 1993 paid over one billion United States dollars (US$1,000,000,000.00) to the Government of Ghana by way of corporate income Table 1: Royalty Rates under the Agreements SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE 19 - 9.30 P.M. Gold Fields Ghana Limited and its affiliates to deal in currencies in whatever manner it chooses. Observations The following observations were made by the Committee during its deliberations: Economic benefits The Committee was informed that though the State will lose some revenue in respect of the royalties and taxes in the taxes, royalties and dividends. Forinstance, in 2015, the Companypaidan amount of three hundred and nine million United States dollars (US$309,000,000.00) in direct taxes and one hundred and thirty-five millionUnited Sates dollars(US$135,000,000.00) in indirect taxes, bringingitscontributiontotax revenue to four hundred and forty four million UnitedStatesdollars(US$444,000,000.00). This makes Gold Fields the second largest tax payer in Ghana after Ghana Commercial Bank for 2015.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that WHEREAS by the provisions of article 268 (1) of the Constitution, any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of the Constitution is made subject to ratification by Parliament. BY THE PROVISIONSof section 43 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), where a mineral right is for mining or exploitation, the Government shall acquire a ten per cent free carried interest in the rights and obligations of the mineral operations in respect of which financial contribution shall not be paid by Government. BY THE PROVISIONS of sections 49 (1) and (3) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), the Ministerontheadvice of the Minerals Commission may enter into a development agreement under a mining lease with a person where the proposed investment by the person will exceed five hundred million United States dollars and the development agreement shall be subject to ratification by Parliament. IN PURSUANCE of the said Article 268 (1) of the Constitution and the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), the Government of Ghana has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources the Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang. NOW THEREFORE, this House in accordance with the said article 268 (1) of the Constitution and the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) hereby resolve to ratify the said Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
This is procedural and consequential. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I think that it is proper to thank you in particular and my Hon Colleagues for the patience, understanding, co-operation and the endurance. Mr Speaker, since the remaining proposed amendments to the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2016 are still being discussed, I think it is not proper for us to wait on them. I believe we can take a break, so that by tomorrow, they will have resolved all the outstanding issues, and then, we could add that to tomorrow's Business. So, Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, when we shall meet to continue with the Business of the House.
Thank you, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Members --[Interruption] -- Pardon? Do you have something to add?
Mr Speaker, I thought you had an announcement to make before the Motion.
Yes! Hon Members, this morning, Thursday, 17 March, 2016, a Statement captioned, “The Ordeals of Poor Cashew Farmers in the Brong Ahafo, and the Three Regions in the North”, was made by Hon Ahmed Ibrahim, Member of Parliament for Banda. The Statement raised pertinent issues including the absence of a law to back the directive issued by the Minister for Trade and Industry. In view of the potential negative impact of the directive, I direct that the proceedings on the Statement and the Statement be immediately transcribed and forwarded to the Hon Minister for his attention and immediate action. Hon Members, the Hon Majority Leader has moved for the House to be adjourned. Unfortunately, I will not call upon the Hon Minority Leader to second the Motion. The reason is very simple. Standing Order 98 states as follows: “Mr Speaker, shall be responsible for the observance of order in the House and of the rules of debate and his decision upon any point of order shall not be open to appeal and shall not be reviewed by the House, except upon a substantive Motion made after notice.” Hon Members, Standing Order 7, describes “Speaker' or “Mr Speaker” as a Member presiding at a Sitting. Indeed, when I made the ruling, I did not even make it in my capacity as Deputy Speaker. I made it in my capacity as the person presiding at the Sitting. My position has not changed and it is the practice that, after 2.00 o'clock, when Sitting has been extended, it is the person presiding who adjourns the House. Thank you.