Yes, Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, I would want to crave yourindulgence and that of the House to comeunder Standing Order 53 to vary theBusiness of the House, so that we takePresentation of Papers. This is because there are some urgentissues that concern some of the HonMinisters who are here. We need to gettheir Businesses done so that they canattend to their meetings. I would begrateful if we could take Presentation ofPapers first.
Hon Members, in linewith our rules, we would want to vary theBusiness of the House. Therefore, wemove to item number 6 on the Order Paper.Item 6 (a) -- Presentation of Papers bythe Attorney-General and Minister forJustice.
Mr Speaker, thisPaper, I am told, originally was supposedto have been laid by the Hon Minister forGender, Children and Social Protection butbecause it was advertised to be laid bythe Hon Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice, we had to invite her. But Iwould want to crave the indulgence of theHouse for the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice to do that on behalfof the Minister for Gender, Children andSocial Protection.
Let us get the point clear.Who is in charge of this Paper? Is thisRegulations coming from the Attorney-General's Office? Of course, they areinvolved in all these matters. Who put theAttorney-General there?
Mr Speaker, that isthe problem from the Table Office. I thinkit is a typographical error.
When you varied theBusiness for the Presentation of Papers,the first thing you should have done wasto correct it and then make an applicationfor the Attorney-General and Minister forJustice to lay the Paper on behalf of theMinister for Gender, Children and SocialProtection.
Mr Speaker, you areright. I have been up standing.Unfortunately, I could not catch your eyeuntil you called the Hon Minister.
Very well. Correct it and then make the application.
Mr Speaker, item 6 (a)by the Attorney-General and Minister ofJustice. It is a typographical error. It issupposed to be the Minister for Gender,Children and Social Protection. MrSpeaker, we would be grateful if thatcorrection is made.
Hon Members, clearly,there is an error there. In item number 6(a), delete Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice and substitute it with Ministerfor Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Mr Speaker,if the insertion of the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice is an error, then Iwill accept it and we can move on so that-- But if you say it is a typographicalerror, I do not understand.
Hon Deputy MinorityLeader, I said it is an error, so, we shoulddelete it and substitute it with “Ministerfor Gender, Children and SocialProtection”.
Mr Speaker, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has beeninvited to this House, so it could not havebeen a typographical error. If it is an error--
She has some otherBusiness here.
Mr Speaker, Iagree that it is an error which can becorrected, but it is an egregious error.This is because the Table Office liaiseswith the Government bench beforefinalising the Order Paper. So, if the Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice is in the Chamber tolay the Paper which was supposedly tobe laid by the Hon Minister for Gender,Children and Social Protection, theGovernment bench ought to have seenthis last night. I am saying this not to fault anybodybut it is also embarrassing to this Housefor a Minister to come with her name onthe Order Paper for the Governmentbench --
Hon Member, have youlooked at item number 14 on the OrderPaper? Look at item number 14 on theOrder Paper. I had the privilege of speaking to theHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice in my Lobby this morning, and sheinformed me that she is here because ofthat item. The first one is an error but she is nothere because of that.
Mr Speaker, Iam saying that we should not have suchan egregious error. That is the point I ammaking. Then it means that theGovernment bench is not doing its job.
I agree with you.
If you agreewith me, then that is all. That is the pointI am making.
But do not link yourstatement, which is factually incorrect,to the fact that the Hon Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice is here becauseof the presentation of that Paper?
Very well. Mr Speaker, I just hope that this errorwould not be repeated. The Hon MajorityChief Whip should liaise with the TableOffice before the Order Paper is printed.He is in charge of Government Business;the pro tem Leader of the House.
Hon Member for Sekondi,you are a former Leader of this House,and you have always been assisting --[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Ihave been assisting and indeed --
Or you are now in adifferent mood?
No! No! No!Mr Speaker, indeed, I am actually assisting.
Very well. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Iperfectly agree with my Hon Colleague.Unfortunately, I have been assigned theresponsibility of ensuring that all thesethings are done. So, it cannot be the faultof the Hon Majority Leader. Mr Speaker, this is what happened.Because of the challenge that we have,the Order Paper gets ready very late, butwe do this on phone. So, normally, itwould be sent to me and I would look at it.But because of the internet problem thatwe have, he would read it that thisparticular Minister has this Business andanother Minister has that.
That is the language tospeak from the Government bench whenthere is an error. [Laughter.] On behalf of the Minister for Gender,Children and Social Protection, the itemnumbered 6 (a) by the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Once again, we would want to craveyour indulgence for the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice to lay the Paperas item numbered 6 (b) on behalf of theMinister for Tourism, Culture and CreativeArts who is --
Hon Deputy MinorityLeader?
Mr Speaker, I do not wantto repeat the complaints, so, we wouldallow her.
Very well. On behalf of the Hon Minister forTourism, Culture and Creative Arts, by theHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice. Item numbered 6 (b) (i). By the Attorney-General and Minister forJustice (on behalf of the Minister forTourism, Culture and Creative Arts) -- (i) Tourism (Registration andLicensing of Food, Beverage andEntertainment Enterprise)Regulations, 2016. (ii) Tourism ( Registration andLicensing of Tourist Accommo-dation Enterprise) Regulations,2016. Referred to the Committee on SubsidiaryLegislation.
Yes, Hon Member forPusiga?
Mr Speaker, Iam sorry that I would have to, maybe, drawyou back to the item numbered 6 (a), theDomestic Violence Regulations, 2016, thatyou have just referred to the Committeeon Subsidiary Legislation. Mr Speaker, I thought it would havebeen a joint committee referral, includingthe Committee on Gender and Children.
Hon Members, these areRegulations, and under our Rules, theyare referred to the Committee onSubsidiary Legislation. Any Hon Memberwho wants to join the Committee ispermitted to do so under our Rules. Hon Member for Nkoranza North? Maj. Derek Oduro (retd): Mr Speaker,in most cases if --
Hon Member forNkoranza North, we are laying Papers. Maj. Oduro (retd): Yes, Mr Speaker, butwe have come back to item numbered 6(a). That is why I am taking the opportunity--
In fact, if it were a Bill, Iwould have added it, but this is aRegulation and it is totally within thedomain of the Committee on SubsidiaryLegislation. If it were a Bill, I would havesustained the application made by the HonMember for Pusiga, but these areRegulations. Yes?
Mr Speaker, can wekindly take items numbered 12, 13 and 14?
First Deputy Speaker totake the Chair. Hon Members, item numbered 12 onthe Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Hon Speaker, I wouldwant to do that on behalf of the HonChairman of the Committee who is out ofthe jurisdiction.
Are you a member of theCommittee?
Mr Speaker, I am the Hon ViceChairman of the Committee.
Absolutely. So, informthe House that the Hon Chairman is notaround and you would want to move theMotion on behalf of the Hon Chairman asthe Hon Vice Chairman. [Interruption.] Very well, please, proceed. Item numbered 12 -- Hon First DeputySpeaker takes the Chair.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, any seconder? [Pause.] I think it is procedural. So, I will putthe Question. Mr Nitiwul -- rose --
It isonly for the abridgement of time. Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, Iunderstand that it is a proceduralMotion, but at least, we should havesomebody seconding it. I did not seeanybody second the Motion. [Uproar.]But the Hansard has not captured --[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, when you go to therecords, it would be there that nobodyseconded the Motion. [Interruption.] Butnodding is not secondment?
MrSpeaker, I beg to second the Motion whichwas moved by the Hon Member --
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, the Motion has beenmoved and seconded. It is for me to put itbefore the House. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Yes, HonMajority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, Iindicated to the Hon Speaker that wewould take the items numbered 12, 13 and14. So, we would start with itemnumbered 13.
Very well. Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion.
Hon ViceChairman, I thought in the process youwould deal with the Report.
Mr Speaker, by so doing, Ipresent the Report of the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs on the Optional Protocol to theConvention Against Torture and OtherCruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatmentor Punishment. Mr Speaker -- Mr Nitiwul -- rose --
Yes, HonDeputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I do notunderstand the procedure we are using.This one is not procedural; it is a mainMotion. I expected that once he hasmoved the Motion, he will then presentthe Committee's Report. But he moved it,sat down and somebody seconded, andhe is now presenting the Committee'sReport. I do not understand.
I drew hisattention to the fact that he needed topresent the Report. So, that is what heis doing now.
Then, what Alhaji Soroghodid does not apply.
Yes, HonVice Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing documents during itsdeliberations. i. 1992 Constitution ii. Standing Orders of Parliament iii. Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) iv. United Nations ConventionAgainst Torture (1984) Background Torture and other cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatments are officiallyrecognised by the internationalcommunity as unacceptable assaults onhuman dignity. Since the Second World War, aconsiderable number of internationalinstruments have been adopted by agroup of countries to formally prohibittorture and inhuman or degradingtreatment or punishment. One of suchinstruments is the Universal Declarationof Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by theUnited Nations General Assembly in 1948,in response to the atrocities that occurredduring the Second World War. Article 5 ofthe UDHR states: “no one shall be subjectto cruel, inhuman or degrading treatmentor punishment”. In accordance with this Instrument, theprohibition of torture and other inhumantreatments is absolute and regarded aspart of International Customary Law. Inother words, the absolute prohibition ofall forms of torture and other inhumantreatment is binding on all states,regardless of whether they have ratifiedany human rights instruments or not. Despite the absolute prohibition oftorture and other inhuman treatments, noregion in the world has been able to freeitself completely from such awful abuses,partly due to challenges in theimplementation of the instruments. As a way of dealing with the challengestherefore, the United Nations (UN)Convention Against Torture (UNCAT),was adopted in December, 1984. The UNCAT requires States to takeeffective measures to prevent torture inany territory under their jurisdiction andforbids States to transport people to anycountry where there is reason to believethat they will be tortured. Article 1 of UNCAT defines torture as“any act by which severe pain or suffering,whether physical or mental, isintentionally inflicted on a person for suchpurposes as obtaining from him or a thirdperson information or a confession,punishing him for an act he or a thirdperson has committed or is suspected ofhaving committed, or intimidating orcoercing him, or a third person, or for anyreason based on discrimination of anykind, when such pain or suffering isinflicted by or at the instigation of or withthe consent or acquiescence of a publicofficial or other person acting in an officialcapacity. It does not include pain or sufferingarising only from, inherent in, or incidentalto, lawful sanctions”. Ghana ratified the UNCAT in 2000.However, the UNCAT has not achievedthe desired results due to lack ofmachinery capable of enhancing effectiveimplementation of the Convention. Theinternational Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) and the European Committee forthe Prevention of Torture and Inhumanor Degrading Treatment or Punishment(CPT) then came up with the idea of
regular visits to places of detention as away of complementing and intensifyingthe existing measures adopted byUNCAT. Experiences by ICRC and CPTdemonstrated that regular visits to placesof detention could be extremely effectivefor preventing torture and other forms ofinhuman treatments. It was found out that the visits enabledindependent experts to examine at first-hand by having interviews with personsdeprived of liberty at places of detentionand also dialogue with authorities, in casethere is the need to improve upon thesituation. The impact of the initiative by ICRC,CPT and other organisations led to astrong advocacy for a specific optionalprotocol to the UNCAT which willintroduce an international visitingmechanism to places of detentions. Someof the advocacy groups were internationalnon-governmental organisations (NGOs),particularly the Amnesty International andthe International Commission of Jurists. This led to the adoption of the“Optional Protocol to the ConventionAgainst Torture and other Cruel, Inhumanor Degrading Treatment or Punishment(OPCAT)” on 18th December, 2002, at the57th Session of the General Assembly ofthe United Nations. In June 2006, theOPCAT came into force. The OPCATbreaks new grounds within the UN rightssystem and seeks to complement theUNCAT but not to replace it. For thisreason, any State that has ratified theUNCAT, also has to ratify the OPCAT. Asof April 2016, eighty- one (81) States haveratified the Optional Protocol. Ghana has signed onto the protocolbut has not yet ratified it. The Countrywill be reviewed for the first time on its implementation of the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) at the 117th Session of the HumanRights Committee, scheduled for 24th and25th of June, 2016, in Geneva, Switzer-land. One of the issues that will beconsidered in the review is OPCAT. Thereis therefore the urgent need for theprotocol to be ratified before the review. Object of the Protocol The OPCAT aims at preventing tortureand other cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatments or punishments, byestablishing a system of regular visitsundertaken by independent internationaland national bodies to places ofdetention, where people are deprived oftheir liberty within the jurisdiction andcontrol of State parties (Article 1). Thelong-term objective of the OPCAT is tomitigate the risks of inhuman treatmentand build an environment where torturemay not occur. Observation The Committee observed that underarticle 2 of the protocol, a sub-committeeon Prevention of Torture and other Cruel,Inhuman or Degrading Treatment orPunishment Against Torture shall beestablished to provide support to Stateparties, to ensure success in theimplementation of the protocol. Thefunctions of the sub-committee onPrevention include the following: i. Visits to places of detentionwhere people are deprived oftheir liberty. ii. Offering advice, training andtechnical assistance to stateparties. iii. Making recommendations andobservations to the state parties with regard to nationalpreventive mechanisms for theprevention of torture and otherill-treatments. The expenditure to be incurred by thesub committee on prevention shall beborne by the United Nations (Article 25). The Committee noted that each Stateparty to the OPCAT has the responsibilityto designate or establish, maintain andundertake preventive mechanisms at thenational level to ensure effectiveimplementation of the Protocol (article 3). Article 26 stipulates that a special fundshall be set up in accordance with thefinancial procedures and regulations ofthe UN General Assembly, to helpimplement the recommendations made bythe sub-committee on prevention after avisit to a State party. The fund will also beused to support educational programmesof the national preventive mechanisms. The Committee also noted that theprovisions of the Protocol shall not affectthe obligations of the State parties underany regional convention, instituting asystem of visits to places of detention. Any State party may denounce theprotocol at any time by writtennotification, addressed to the Secretary-General of the UN, who shall thereafterinform the other state parties to UNCATand OPCAT. Conclusion The Committee, having examined theOPCAT thoroughly, is convinced that itsprovisions are in consonance with relatedinternational treaties such as UDHR andUNCAT, which Ghana has already ratified.The Protocol is also in conformity withthe provisions of the Constitution ofGhana. The country stands to benefit from theratification of the Protocol with theestablishment of the national preventivemechanism under the supervision of thesub-committee on prevention, to tacklethe root causes of torture and other formsof inhuman treatments. The Committee therefore recommendsto the House to adopt its Report and ratifythe Optional Protocol to the ConventionAgainst Torture and other Cruel, Inhumanor Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, I believe this is avery straightforward matter. This isbecause, already in our Constitution,there are provisions relating to personsnot being subject to inhuman treatment,torture, et cetera. However, when we adopt this Protocol,the standards become higher, becausethen, it is the global standards that we areusing. It is important that we do not endhere after the adoption of a Protocol suchas this. Government goes further to train,and educate, probably the securityservice, so that they get to realise thatwith us adopting this Protocol, standardsin terms of torture, et cetera, required ofus have become higher. That the abilityof Government is also expanded. Mr Speaker, indeed, we will admit thatsometimes, in the treatment of prisoners-- they are subjected to inhuman anddegrading treatment, and it is possible forthe United Nations (UN) to send a teamto come and look for us at our prisons, if
Thank youvery much. Any more contributions? In theabsence of any further contributions, Iwill put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Yes, HonMajority Chief Whip, I believe you aretalking about item number 14 -- TheResolution?
Mr Speaker, wewould want to crave your indulgence andthat of the House, for the Hon Ministerfor Roads and Highways to take thisResolution on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. She hasjust been called on an urgent issue, so,she had to step out. We will be grateful ifthe Minister for Roads and Highways willtake this Resolution on her behalf. It is aconsequential Resolution.
Yes, HonDeputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I understandthe Hon Majority Chief Whip, but I donot understand what is going on. AMotion that she moved, and she knowsthat within the next two minutes, she willbe moving another one and she could notwait? -- [Interruption] -- What isimportant? Is it about life and death?
HonMember, if you have worked at theAttorney-General's Department before,you will know what it entails. I do not wantto descend into the arena of debate. But ifyou will just allow us to --
Mr Speaker, I understandyou. It is just difficult but there is noproblem.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Yes, HonMajority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, now wecan go and take item 3.
Hon Members, the item numbered 3 --Business Statement.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HonMembers, in the absence of anycomments -- Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh -- rose --
Mr Speaker, Iwish to bring to your notice that not toolong ago, the country witnessed a sadaccident on the Volta Lake, which causedabout twenty lives to be lost, and the HonMember of Parliament for the area made aStatement. I also recalled that the Rt Hon Speaker,had given a directive that a report on thecontract for the removal of tree stumps inthat section of the Volta Lake should bebrought to the House. I wish to bring this to the notice of theBusiness Committee, if it is possible forthem to programme the Hon Minister forTransport to appear before thisHonourable House to give us a briefingon the new safety measures being put inplace by the Ministry to forestall futureoccurrence.
Very well. First of all, I need to find out, whetherthe Rt Hon Speaker made a directive ofthat nature. [Pause.] Hon Member, I have receivedinstructions that do not completelysupport what you are saying. Theinstructions are that, a particularCommittee was directed to follow it up, and bring a report to the House on thatsame issue. So, it does not appear as if it was theHon Minister who was directed to reportto the House. But be that as it may, I directthat we check from our records to seeexactly what happened, so that the TableOffice can follow up from there and getthe matter dealt with accordingly. Mr J. J. Appiah -- rose --
Mr Speaker, Iwould want to find out from Leadership,that ever since this House Committee was-- I mean that we have never met thewhole of this year. I would want to find out fromLeadership whether the House Committeeis no more, because this year we havenever had a meeting at all. Mr Speaker, it is very serious. TheHouse Committee has to meet officiallybecause the whole of this year we havenever met, and I would want to find outfrom Leadership, why it is so?
Mr Speaker, I do notknow whether committee meetings haveanything to do with the BusinessStatements. But be it as it may, I am theHon Vice Chairman of the Committee, so Iwould be grateful if the Hon Chairman ofthe Committee, who is here, would beasked that question. This is because Ihave not been given any information onwhy the House Committee does not meet,and I would not be able to answer thatquestion now. With this one, we are dealing with theBusiness Statements --
HonMember, we are dealing with the BusinessStatement. If a particular Committee hasnot been meeting, there is a way ofhandling that one. Hon Members, I accordingly direct thatthe Business Statement for the weekending, Friday, 1st July 2016, is herebyadopted. Hon Majority Chief Whip, you soughtpermission to vary the order of Business.We have not taken the Votes andProceedings yet.
Mr Speaker, I wantedto draw your attention that we can nowgo back to take them.
Very well. Votes and Proceedings and theOfficial Report
Hon Members,correction of Votes and Proceedings andthe Official Report. Any corrections? [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Thursday, 23rd June,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Wednesday, 15th June,2016.] Hon Members, the Rt Hon Speakeradmitted one Statement which stands inthe name of the Minister for the Interior.
Thank youvery much. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I rise tocomment on the policy Statement that wasmade by the Hon Deputy Minister for theInterior, on the occasion of the 2016World Drug Day. As he said, theinternational day against drug abuse andillicit trafficking started from Wednesday,22nd June, 2016 to Sunday, 26th June, 2016. We all know of the evil impact of drugson society. In terms of economy, it leadsto corruption, it leads to distortions thatcould affect the very essence of thecountry's economic wellbeing. In terms ofthe social aspect, family break-ups, thedestruction of youthful ambition and avery negative impact on the social aspectof the society. When we look at it, we know that drugabuse and illicit drug trafficking is a cankerand there have been very many initiativesto try and reduce the impact of this on oursociety. Some of the interventions includewhat we call prohibition, which means that,illicit drugs are outlawed. It also meansthat if you are caught in possession ofthese drugs, you are jailed. There is a new initiative that looks atdrug abuse, especially as a healthcondition and that if you are a drug addict,there has to be health considerations intrying to mitigate that situation, by lettingyou go before a medical board and we seehow we can reduce or get rid of youraddiction. That in itself, is now opened tocontention in the social norms. This isbecause some people believe that onceyou abuse drugs, then you are a criminal.But we want to get away from that. Andthe Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) Billhas taken that into consideration, andwhen it is put before the plenary, we wouldlook at it indepth and we would argue thepoints made. The trafficking of drugs, we realisedthe impact, and if I can cite some countriesin South and North America -- Thebreakdown of law and order is a result ofthe kind of monies switching around,which can be used to corrupt, and that iswhy I said, ‘distort society'. So, it is imperative that the theme forthis year's celebration is, ‘Listen First';and we direct that at our youth, so thatthey understand that drug abuse and drugtrafficking are not going to help oursociety. So, as I speak today, I speak toour youth, who listen to the experts. Listento the fact that, we as a developingcountry cannot afford a culture of drugabuse and drug trafficking. If it is there, we have to get rid of it asquickly as possible. Otherwise, thisnation, as it stands, would be in danger.We cannot have distortions in terms ofthe social and the economic aspects ofour country. So, ‘Listen First' is a veryimportant theme and we should follow it. On that note, I would like to thank theHon Deputy Minister for the Interior, forthe policy Statement and wish that ‘ListenFirst' becomes something that isembedded in our youth. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to associate myself with thepolicy Statement made by the Hon DeputyMinister for the Interior. In doing so, I would like to state that itis important for us to have such a theme.But it is also equally important forGovernment and especially, the Ministryto do all it can to ensure that, the NACOBBill that is being proposed arrives here ontime for us to solve the variousshortcomings in the current Act that wehave. The menace that drug abuse does toour youth and the country as a whole,cannot be overemphasised. Mr Speaker,if the Government actually wants tosomehow solve this menace, then it isimportant that we commit a lot of resourcesinto fighting drug abuse. Mr Speaker, if you look at the 2016Budget, you would see that the amount that is allocated to NACOB by itselfshows that we are oscillating betweenaction and inaction. We can not in oneway say that we want to do away withthis canker, but at the same time, whateverwill empower the agency that is supposedto work at it, we do not resource them well. So, in agreement with the Government,we should listen to those who engage inthis first, yes, we would listen but we musttake appropriate measures in addressingthe critical challenges that the agencycharged with solving this menace face. Mr Speaker, finally, I would also urgethe Ministry to liaise with the relevantagencies so that ultimately, when the draftBill finds itself here, all the nitty-gritty andthe various grey areas that those who areengaged in the drug use and abuse, thosegrey areas that they actually find in orderto indulge in this are addressed, so thatwe would have a system that is capableof actually eradicating this. Also, we must look at the issue ofWorld Health Organisation's (WHO's)stand of looking at drug addiction as ahealth problem, so that it is not alwaysthat we see those who are engaged in itas criminals but as having a healthproblem. So, when we are addressing allthese, we would not just condemn thembut see them as people who also needhelp. Mr Speaker, with these comments, Isupport the Statement. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity to comment on the Statementably presented by the Deputy Ministerfor the Interior. This day as recognised by our countryand by the world in general, is a veryimportant day. Drug and substance abusedestroy the human being. The youngperson as we all know is the cream ofsociety. Some people define the youth asthe spring of life. Generally, the targetsfor drug abuse are often the youth, theuninformed young person; children whoare still going through the formative yearsof their lives. When they are introducedto drugs, they are often led down the roadof self-destruction. Mr Speaker, it is important that ratherthan just celebrating it as an event, wetake it as a process of informing, educatingand ensuring that we embark on morepreventive measures, rather than curativemeasures at the downstream level of theprogramme of helping young people todiscover themselves and to understandhow it affects them and society when theytake drugs. Many of them as I said, are innocentand are led into the situation by adults.So, it is important that the education orsensitisation goes both ways. It targetsthe adult society but also targets theyouth as well. This is so that a combinationof efforts would tackle the challenge ofletting people know the danger facing theperson abusing drugs. That is why thecelebration as indicated by the HonDeputy Minister is important. I suppose that next year, before such aday, Parliament would be sensitisedenough so that we could develop our ownprogrammes and go down to thegrassroots to get involved in gettingpeople aware. We have seen andwitnessed what drugs have done to manycountries as their youth got hooked intoit. Afghanistan and the United States ofAmerica, as clear examples, have many of their young people destroyed becauseof drugs and it is a canker throughout theworld. So, it is important that we in Ghanakeep the date open and involve as manyinstitutions as possible so that we tackleit as a multi-sectorial attempt at addressingthe challenge of drug and substanceabuse. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Ithank you for the opportunity.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, forthis opportunity. This is a Statement for which I mustcommend the Hon Member who made it.In my view, it is not that deep, at least, itis thought provoking and has engagedthe attention of this House to the extentthat we all see drug or substance abuseto be very dangerous, harmful and a threatto the security of any State. Mr Speaker, drug or substance abuseis a persistent use of a drug in which theuser consumes the substance in amountsor with methods which are harmful tothemselves or others. So, that is one ofthe definitions one can give to drug orsubstance abuse. The effect is not onlyon you but also on others. That is why itis very dangerous; that the individualinvolved is not the only one feeling theimpact but it transcends beyond him orher. It also affects society and almost everyaspect of our lives. That is why it is verydangerous. Mr Speaker, globally, we are told thatabout 120 million people are involved inthis canker and that is something that isvery serious. Globally, we are told thatthere are about 120 million peopleinvolved in drug or substance abuse.This is very dangerous, particularly indeveloping countries because that iswhere the challenge is.
HonMembers, let us not drag ourselves intodebate; it should be factual and that is it. Yes, Hon Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem? Hon Asiamah, are you not yet through?
No, I am not done. Mr Speaker, he also told the House thatall regions are doing it except the UpperEast Region, and I wanted to know whythey are not part --[Interruption.][Laughter.] That was what he said, but itis curious for that Statement to be madethat all regions are involved except theUpper East Region. So, that reason should be proffered. Iam just being concerned as an HonMember of this House, that a region isbeing left out of the national celebration.So, as a Deputy Minister, he has theopportunity to tell this House why theUpper East Region is left out of thecelebration. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Very well. I would give him the opportunity torespond, but for gender balancingreasons, Hon Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, you have the floor.
Thank you Mr Speaker, forrecognising gender because we are partof this House. As Ghana joins the rest of the world tocelebrate this year's International Day ofDrug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking,with a declaration that the menace was athreat to national development, we allknow the effects of drug abuse. Familiesgo without food, are ejected, people arenot able to look after their kids and kids go out of school because their parents orguardians are involved in drugs. We all know the effects that drug abusebrings to the whole nation and ourdevelopment in whole. Most crimes andother vices stem from drug abuse. Peoplewould steal or rape others because theyare “high” and on drugs. It is thereforegood to ensure that education isintensified to help eliminate this menace. I would also want to advise people whopush the drugs. In every country in thisworld, you would find pushers, peoplewho sell drugs to others to make moneyto build mansions, et cetera.I advise themto stop because young people especiallythe youth, as we all know, are sufferingfrom drug abuse. This is because peerpressure sometimes is too strong to resist. Mr Speaker, it is good that we arecelebrating this day, and bringingattention to the fact that drug abuse issomething which is undesirable, and weall need to educate our people to ensurethat this society would be free from drugs. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Ireally commend the Hon Deputy Ministerfor bringing this issue to this House.
HonMembers, for reasons of time constraints,this would bring us to the end of thisStatement. But before then, a questionwas asked and I think the Hon DeputyMinister for the Interior would give us aresponse as to why the Upper East Regionis out of this whole exercise. Hon Deputy Minister, can you pleasedo us the favour?
Mr Speaker, the Upper EastRegion; my home region is left out of thisyear's World Drugs Day celebrations notbecause we spite the people of the region,but it is because the NACOB is in theprocess of setting up its offices in thatregion. All this while, the NACOB hasbeen limited in terms of its presence inmost of the regions. Fortunately, the Boardhas now been resourced by theGovernment of H. E, President JohnDramani Mahama, and it is in the processof setting up offices in the Upper EastRegion. So, when the offices are fullyfunctional, it is expected that insubsequent World Drugs Daycelebrations, the Upper East Regionwould be able to organise a function tocommemorate the occasion. Thank you.
HonMembers, this brings us to the end ofStatements. Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to come again under Standing Order53 to vary the order of Business. Insteadof us taking Questions, let us do itemnumber 15 which is the Third Reading ofthe Ghana Geological Survey AuthorityBill, 2015.
Very well. Hon Members, the item numbered 15. Before we get to it, I remember that Idirected the Committee to get in touchwith Hon Anyimadu-Antwi to sort a fewthings out. Has that been done?
MrSpeaker, we have agreed that in respectof clause 25, it should be taken through aSecond Consideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, I amsorry, but it is not at the ConsiderationStage. It is at the Third Reading. But Iwould want to crave your indulgence forthe Hon Deputy Minister who hasassisted us throughout in this Bill totake the Third Reading on behalf of theHon Minister.
Very well. Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, that is allright. We can allow him so that he canarrest it.
Yes, HonDeputy Minister? [Interruption] -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I begto move, that in respect of clause 25, thisBill should be taken through a SecondConsideration Stage.
Do we haveanybody seconding the Motion? Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I beg to secondthe Motion.
Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, in that light, the GhanaGeological Survey Authority Bill, 2015, atthe Second Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- SECONDCONSIDERATION STAGE
Yes, HonAnyimadu-Antwi, can you move youramendment now? Clause 25 -- Intellectual propertyrights.
Mr Speaker, I begto move, that in respect of clause 25 (1),line 2, we delete the words “a discovery,an invention or improvement in respectof the processes, apparatus andmachines”, and insert “any work”.
25 (1) “Subject to subsection (6) and(7), the intellectual property right inany work made by (a) an employee of the Authorityin the course of his employ-ment or other personsemployed by the Republicwho have been placed at thedisposal of the Authority”. Mr Speaker, I say this because theintellectual property laws in existencefrown on discovery. In fact, intellectualproperty laws that are known specifically,exclude discovery. Apart from that, whenintellectual property is mentioned it doesnot matter whether it is an invention orany other thing. This is becauseinventions, copyrights, trademarks comeunder intellectual property. So, with the words “intellectualproperty”, everything else is covered.That is why I move, that the words“discovery”, “invention” and “improve-ment” be dropped in place of “any work”.Then we add “in the course ofemployment of the employer”. This is because if the employer createsany intellectual property work whichhappens outside his employment, it is notright to say that the employer owns theintellectual property. It is only when theintellectual property is created in thecourse of the employee's employment andthat is also well known in the intellectualproperty circles. Mr Speaker, if I may go over again,clause 25 (1) should read; “25 (1) “Subject to subsection (6) and(7), the intellectual property right inany work made by (a) an employee of the Authorityin the course of his employ-ment or other personsemployed by the Republicwho have been placed at thedisposal of the Authority”. Mr Speaker, with respect, I would alsopray that this amendment be consequentialto sub-paragraphs (3), (4), (5) and (6).
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, I do notseem to have any serious problem, exceptthat the, (a), in which he wants us toadd “in the course of his employment”.The whole clause is about an employee who is working for the Authority. And soI do not know why we have to again add,“in the course of his employment”. So, I do not have any problem at allwith the first one and it runs down,because it then becomes a consequentialamendment throughout. We replace itwherever it appears. But, “in the courseof his employment” — because the wholething is about an employee of theAuthority and deals in that sense. Thatis the one I have a problem with.
Mr Speaker, ifsomeone should create a work and whenwe say, “in the course of his employment”— if the creation was made as part of theduties assigned to the employee — thatis “in the course of his employment”. Mr Speaker, somebody may be anemployee of the Authority but on his parttime, in the evenings, without using anymachines or apparatus of the Authority,may create something that is not evenrelated to what he or she does. Thatshould not be part of what he or she doesat the work, and the employer cannotclaim authority over it. It is only when it is related to his jobdescription and was done during his orher employment. In fact, this is within allintellectual property laws; it is inCopyright, Trademark, et cetera. It is onlywhen it is done in the course of his or heremployment and not any other thing.
Mr Speaker, I failto appreciate the proposed amendment bymy Hon Colleague. Respectfully, let merefer him to clause 15 — it is anticipatedthat even some of the work may be doneoutside the jurisdiction of Ghana. Mr Speaker, as I understand it, even inthe explanatory Memorandum, the policythrust is to be able to create an intellectual
HonMember, hold your breath. Let us listento the Hon Member for Manhyia South.
MrSpeaker, the first point is that, discoveryis simply not an intellectual property right.And so it is wrong for the Hon Minsterfor Employment and Labour Relations tosay that. Discovery cannot qualify underintellectual property.
That hasbeen accepted.
Mr Speaker, the secondissue is that, I disagree and support thequestion of the Hon Chairman on, “in thecourse of his employment”. If one isengaged by some of these sensitiveinstitutions, even in the financial circles;six months after one has even left theemployment, sometimes one is not evenallowed to work for another organisationthat does a similar job. Mr Speaker, this is because, peoplewould want to protect what the personhas learnt throughout his or heremployment in that institution. And so if one works in for instance, a financialinstitution and the person leaves today,by the laws of his or her employment, heor she is barred from joining anotherfinancial institution which does similarwork for maybe, one or two years, whichis part of his or her employment contract. Mr Speaker, so I do not seem tosupport, “in the course of hisemployment”, unless he is saying that,intellectual property, if it is not the courseof his or her employment — But theorganisation can also decide as part ofthe employment, that once a person worksthere he or she would have to do nothingelse that competes with what he or shedoes. Mr Speaker, so that second bit, Ibelieve if we leave it and it is interpretedby other bodies if it so arises — let usleave it to them. But I support the HonChairman on the second clause. I do notthink it is right for us to accept it.
HonMembers, we are now restrictingourselves to the question of employment.
Mr Speaker, what Iam suggesting is that, what the HonMember is trying to do is now having twoseparate amendments. So, let us takethe one that has been agreedunanimously; that is the issue of thediscovery and the invention, and theother one could be interrogated. It may become very difficult if he wantsto put them together. And so I would wantto crave your indulgence to get the HonMember to maybe, break them into two sothat we would deal with the first one andthe second would be dealt with separately.
Very well. Hon Member, can you please breakyour proposed amendment into two? Dothe first one which does not appear to becontroversial, I will put the Question, andwe would then come to the second leg.
Mr Speaker thatclause 25 subclause (1) should read, and Ibeg to quote: “Subject to subsections (6) and (7),the intellectual property right in anywork made by…” Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, we would now come to thesecond leg. Hon Chairman, do you want to make acomment?
Mr Speaker, I justwant to add that, since it is same runningdown, consequentially, we should havejust added that one to vote so that whereit appears —
Well, I directthat —
Mr Speaker, there isno problem with that one, but I would beghim to drop the second one. It is verydangerous. Mr Speaker, if in the course of my work,I go down somewhere, and see somethingwhich is so good and therefore decide toresign tomorrow, because perhaps thelessons I have learnt could give mesomething better outside than being in.So I offer my resignation, which is allowed,I go there and now want to practice it— Mr Speaker, it is so dangerous and Iam just begging him to drop it so that wecan just move ahead.
Let us listento him.
Mr Speaker, wemust be careful not to fuse intellectualproperty rights with other rights that arisewhen people go into employment inrespect of labour. Mr Speaker, an employer can contractand say within the next four years when aperson has left employment, he or she doesnot want the employee to do anythingsimilar to what he or she is doing. This isbecause, he or she would have transferredthe knowledge of the employer to anotherperson. Mr Speaker, this is a third aspect of aproperty which arises in respect ofintellectual creation; a property thatsomebody owns in respect of somethingthat he or she creates and these have beengrouped into different areas; copyrights,patterns, trademarks, topographies ofintegrated circuits, et cetera. Mr Speaker, the idea behind theprotection is to motivate the creators incoming out with more creations for thebenefit of society. This is becausesomebody may be in an employment, andit has been agreed that, in the absence ofany agreement to the contrary, suchintellectual property creation when made,is vested in the employer unlessotherwise determined. But this has been ruled that, it is onlywhen it could be said that the person wasan employee of the company and thecreation was made in the course of his orher employment.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I thinkthat if the Hon Member reads further downto clauses (a), (b) and (c), there is aproviso there and with your permission, Ibeg to quote: “other intellectual enterprise fundedor otherwise undertaken withresources of the Authority shallvest in the Authority, unlessotherwise agreed”. So, that is there -- “unless otherwiseagreed” means that there is an exception. Mr Speaker, it would be verydangerous to say that you can do a parttime job when you are doing that work.There is a very thin line that the eyes maynot even be able to see. Mr Speaker, inorder not to go there, we say no. If youcannot, you leave. The law court is thereso one can go to the court and challenge. Mr Speaker, but for now, I still insistthat we cannot allow that one. How canyou know -- is it in the night or day --that‘the person in the course of hisemployment'? It can be anywhere. He cando the work, send it home to go andcomplete. So, that one is dangerous andwe should not allow that.
Let us listento the Hon Member for Sekondi andthen the Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker,the argument advanced by the HonChairman has really convinced me of theneed for this amendment. The Chairman of the Committee saidthat it could be that the person woulddeliberately do the work outside thecourse of his employment and claim thatit was outside of his employment and sothe work does not belong to the authority-- let the courts decide. But the courtscannot decide when you have not put inthat expression that the Hon Member forAsante Akim Central has said. I agree with him, but it is not for us todecide. It is for the court to decide afterevidence has been adduced. That is so. It has not occurred to me but havingregard to the argument being advancedby the Hon Member for Madina, I am morethan convinced of the necessity to support this amendment. Of course, if we believethat there is a presumption that everythingyou do is during the course of youremployment, you can further amend it.But to say that because we want todiscourage persons from using theirprivate time to create works, why? Is it acontract of bondage or servitude? No! Mr Speaker, the fact that the personworks for the Authority does not mean heis owned by the Authority and if we arenot careful, that is what is going to happen. Of course, the mischief that the HonChairman of the Committee has broughtto our attention also exists but let that bedetermined by the court on the basis ofevidence adduced. So, I urge the House to support theamendment proposed by the HonAnyimadu-Antwi. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, Ithink they are all arguing about the samething. Mr Speaker, it depends on the calibreof persons you engage. If you engage arenowned researcher, professor, et cetera,who comes to the work with someexperience, they would normally makesure that in the contract agreement, theyare careful not to bind themselves in sucha way that they cannot think outside thecontext of the work that they do. So, the proviso, unless otherwiseagreed gives you the employee theopportunity when you are entering intothe relationship to set out parameters thatif I do this, it is not yours and if I do that,it is yours. So, “unless otherwise agreed”, Ibelieve takes care of the concerns of anyemployer who come into the employment that you are not bonded, by the mere factof having been employed and that youhave the liberty to negotiate some clausesthat would enable you to do other thingsto the extent that you are not stealing orappropriating something that belongs tothe authority. So there is still liberty givento the employee in the formulation “unlessotherwise agreed”. So, let us leave it that way. If you say‘in the course of his employment', it isvery difficult. What does that mean? Itdoes not necessarily mean when you sitat home and reflect on what happened inthe office and some ideas occur based onthe research work that is taking place inthe office but the thinking is done at home,then you would scribble that down andsay that this one is not in the course ofthe employment because I scribbled it athome. It is going to be very difficult.
Very well. Hon Minister, the debate is becomingvery interesting. Yes, Hon Member for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker, Imust confess that it was the argument ofthe Hon Chairman which convinced me tosupport the amendment. I have looked atit and you are right. I would urge my HonColleague in the light of the attention thathas been drawn by the Hon Minister forEnvironment, Science, Technology andInnovation to this. It must be subjectedto the contractual relationship - that is it.
Mr Speaker,what I would want to say is that, there aretwo things here. The first thing is that atthe time of the employment, the employeemay negotiate with the employer thatanything that I do should be sharedmoiety -- I would take 50 per cent andthe employer would take 50 per cent, that
HonMember, I think that the debate isinfluencing me in a certain direction. It is only that I would not want todisclose it but it looks like when you areentering into the contract of employment,you should be able to put out theparameters clearly, so that there would beno question of doubt. If you would want to withdraw thisportion of the amendment, that is fine.Otherwise, I would put the Question. Hon Members, I would put theQuestion with regard to the second limbof the Hon Member's proposed Question put and amendmentnegatived. Clause 25 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
HonMembers, for the avoidance of doubt, Idirect that the amendment in clause 25 (1),which has been agreed to, applieswherever it appears unless the contextotherwise indicates. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of the Second Consideration Stageof the Ghana Geological Survey AuthorityBill, 2015. Hon Members, so, we can now goback to the Motion numbered 15 on theOrder Paper -- The Hon Deputy Ministerfor the Hon Minister.
BILLS --THIRD READING
HonMembers, the Hon Second DeputySpeaker to take the Chair.
Mr Speaker, weshould go to Questions -- Item numbered4 on the Order Paper.
Very well. Is the Hon Minister in the Chamber? Hon Members, it is Question time. Thefirst Question stands in the name of theHon Member for Nsawam-Adoagyiri. Ishe in the Chamber?
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF ROADS ANDHIGHWAYS
Mr Speaker,Teshie Town Junction (New Efutu) andLantei Junction are communities situated2.0 kilometres and 2.4 kilometresrespectively on the Nsawam by-pass dualcarriageway road. The two towns arelocated in the Nsawam-AdoagyiriMunicipal Assembly of the EasternRegion. Current programme The contractor working on theNsawam by-pass dual carriageway roadis yet to complete the road project. The remaining road works to becompleted are the Adeiso section.Following the promise made last year, aVariation Order has been issued on themain contract to get the contractor toconstruct permanent overhead foot-bridges for the two communities. However, the contractor on the projecthas been instructed to swiftly carry outthe following safety remedial works aimedat reducing the risk of traffic crashes andcasualties within Lantei and TeshieTownships as well as the entire Nsawamby-pass: Speed calming measures to reducevehicular speeds in thecommunities; Enhanced road line markings toregulate vehicular flow andsegregate pedestrians from vehiclepaths. Meanwhile, the installation of diamondgrade information and warning signsalong the Nsawam by-pass has beencompleted by Messrs Skills Link
HonMember, any follow up questions?
Mr Speaker,rightly so. Mr Speaker, I have with me the OfficialReport for Friday, 24th July, 2015. MrSpeaker, this same Question was askedof the same Minister. With your kindindulgence, I would read relevant sectionsof his Answer then, in column 3650,paragraph 3: “So, Mr Speaker, what we are doingin the interim is to put speedreducing mechanisms -- rumblestripes, so that when people get tothose two towns, they will reducethe speed and be able to stop if aperson or animal crosses them inthe course of their movement.” Mr Speaker, again, a relevant sectionof the current Answer the Hon Ministerjust read, and I beg to quote: “The remaining road works to becompleted are the Adeiso section.Following the promise last year, aVariation Order has been issued onthe main contract to get thecontractor to construct permanentoverhead footbridges for the twocommunities.”
Mr Speaker, this year, Itold him what we are doing; I have notmade a promise. I said that a VariationOrder (VO) has been issued. So, it is workin progress. The contractor has beeninstructed to move swiftly; it is work inprogress and not a promise. They areactions being taken and not promisesbeing made.
Mr Speaker, theHon Minister says, “work in progress”;rightly so. Mr Speaker, a VO should havebeen issued. From checks I have done formore than a year, I have not sighted thatcontractor on that stretch of the road;unless he proves me otherwise. Mr Speaker, when did he issue that? Isthat VO issued in connection with the samecontractor or they are contracting a newperson in terms of this VO that he has justissued?
Mr Speaker, the VOwas issued in September, 2014. Mr Speaker,he is, however, right in saying that thecontractor is not in on site. This is becausehe has suspended works.
HonMember, your last follow up Question ifany?
Mr Speaker,thank you very much. How would the HonMinister reconcile the fact that in 2015, hehad made a promise that interim measureswould be put in place, particularly, in the Mr Speaker, one year down the line, heis now issuing a VO. Has he thought oflives being lost on that stretch of the roador it does not form part of the priorityprojects of the Ministry? How does heassure the good people of Nsawam-Adoagyiri, particularly, Lantei and Teshiethat this time around, the footbridge willindeed, be constructed per his words?
Mr Speaker, I think theHon Member got the Answer mixed up.Constructing permanent footbridges atLantei and Teshie are not temporary butpermanent solutions. Mr Speaker, the temporary solutionsare the strips; speed calming measure thatwe want to put in place to warn peoplewho would be approaching that spot. Thediamond grade information boards that wehave erected to warn people to reducespeeds. The VO was issued in the year2014 and in my Answer I said, temporarymeasures were being put in place. Thosetemporary measures he read out were thestrips -- The speed calming mechanismsthat we have put in place. Mr Speaker, I have just stated that thecontractor abandoned site in July, 2015and we have instructed him to swiftly goback and do those emergency temporarymeasures to reduce speed. This is becausewe value the people of Nsawan-Adoagyiri.So, they are two different things that weare talking about.
Very well. Hon Members, we move on to the nextQuestion.
MrSpeaker, thank you. My first question has to do with thefirst bullet point; the Hon Minister saidthat they have put in place speed calmingmeasures to reduce vehicular speed. Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister bespecific on the speed calming measuresthat are being put in place? This is becausethe emphasis on the Question is that theyare losing lives of school pupils.
I think hetalked about it but all the same --
Mr Speaker, we havethe speed ramps and we also have rumblestrips that we have put in place.
Very well. Hon Members, we move on to the nextQuestion which stands in the name of theHon Member for Suhum. Is he in theChamber? Otherwise we would move onto the next Question which stands in thename of the Hon Member for Achiase. Isthe Hon Member for Achiase here? Cannan-Achiase Road(Completion) Q. 512. Mr Robert Kwasi Amoah askedthe Minister for Roads and Highwayswhen the Cannan-Achiase Road, whichwas started over a year ago, would becompleted. Background
Mr Speaker, theCannan-Achiase Road is a 17 kilometressurfaced dressed road in poor condition. It is located in the Birim South Districtof the Eastern Region. Current programme Following repeated warnings to thecontractor to expedite the work which wentunheeded, the contract was terminated on15th April, 2016. Future programme The road will be repackaged forrehabilitation. The repackaging isexpected to be completed by the end ofSeptember, 2016. Upon completion, the procurementprocess would then commence.
Yes. Do youhave any follow up Question?
Mr Speaker, I wantto thank the Hon Minister for yet anotherattempt to rehabilitate this road. My worryis that, two previous attempts have failed.What is the assurance that this timeround, it is not going to be the usual oldstory?
Mr Speaker, we haveboth been failed by the contractor and sothis time round, we would find a seriouscontractor to go on site.
HonMember, are you through with yourfollow- up Questions?
Mr Speaker, per theAnswer given, procurement processwould begin after September whenrepackaging would be completed.Meanwhile the stretch between Bieni andAnomasi is not only in poor condition butvirtually unmotorable; no vehicles ply onit and people have to walk. When do weexpect the completion of this project?
Mr Speaker, I associatemyself with the sentiments raised and wewill expedite action immediately we getapproval for the Public ProcurementAuthority (PPA) to commence the works.
HonMember, are you all right? No more follow-ups?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Hon Members, let us not forget aboutthe fact that these are constituencyspecific Questions.
Mr Speaker,my constituency is next to thatconstituency, so, we are all affected bythat road.
He did notgive any indication that he was doing iton your behalf.
No, Mr Spealer.
What Iunderstand you to be saying is that, youbelong to the same constituency? Very well. I will allow you.
Mr Speaker, my worry is,his Question was about when the roadwould be completed. All the answers hehas given has not addressed thatQuestion. Mr Speaker, as a teacher --
HonMember, he has given you an answer. Hesays as soon as the PPA arrangement goesthrough. That is an answer; is it not?
Mr Speaker, is there anybudget for it as well as the Akim Oda bridgeas we speak?
HonMinister, is there any budget? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I havegiven the answer just like you rightly said.There are intervening third parties. Wehave to put in application to commenceprocurement. Until they sit on it and giveus the approval, we are not able to givespecifically the time to award. So, that is why I said that time wouldbegin to run immediately we get approvalfrom the PPA even if it is sole sourcing.
Yes, HonMembers, we move on to the nextQuestion which stands in the name of theHon Member for Tema East. Is he in theChamber?
Mr Speaker, theHon Member who asked that Question isnot here at the moment. Some pressingissue at the constituency has taken himaway and he has asked me --
Can youraise your voice a little? Tema Motorway -- Community 9(Easing Traffic Congestion) Q. 513. Mr Alex K. Agyekum (onbehalf of Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover) asked the Minister for Roads andHighways what effort the Ministry wasmaking to ease the traffic congestion onthe end of the Tema Motorway inCommunity 9.
Very well. Hon Minister? Background
Mr Speaker, theTemaMotorway roundabout is located in theTema Metropolis of the Greater- AccraRegion. The roundabout is under capacity tocontain the volume of vehicles using it,hence creating traffic congestion whichcauses delay in transporting goods to theTema Harbour and its environs. Future programme In the short-term, the Ministry ofRoads and Highways in collaborationwith the Ghana Ports and HarboursAuthority has completed a design toimprove on the capacity of the TemaMotorway by the provision of additionaldedicated right turning lanes or slip lanesand an additional circulatory lane to easetraffic congestion. The works would beundertaken as part of the preparatoryworks for the expansion of the Motorwayand the Tema Port. The Government of Ghana is in theprocess of securing a Japanese GrantSupport to construct an interchange at theTema Motorway Roundabout. The draftinterchange design drawings have beensubmitted by the Consultant and they arebeing reviewed by the Ghana HighwayAuthority.
HonMember, any follow up Question?
Rightly so, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the HonMinister when the draft interchangedesign drawings were submitted to theGhana Highway Authority.
Mr Speaker, a coupleof months ago.
Mr Speaker, fromthe Answers given by the Hon Minister,it appears the budget that was presentedto this very House -- It looks like the Ministry is now goingto design -- Mr Speaker, the phrase thatkeeps occurring is “in the process” -- Iwould like to find out from him whether allthese were not taken into considerationin the Ministry's budget that waspresented to this House. If they are nowgoing to design, then how was the finalbudget and others from the Ministry,presented to this House arrived at? This is because it is as if they are nowin the process of designing before theycan give it to the Ghana HighwayAuthority. Mr Speaker, that is my understandingand I would want him to clarify it.
Mr Speaker, I amunaware that the funds for the TemaMotorway Interchange was captured inthe Budget Statement that was read in thisHouse. We have always known that theGovernment of Japan would support thisproject in 2017, so it could not have beenin the Budget of 2016. We have alwaysknown that. Secondly, I stated that the Consultanthas completed the design of theinterchange and submitted same to theGhana Highway Authority for review. So,there is a design which is being reviewed.
HonMember, the last follow-up, if any?
Mr Speaker, Iwould like to find out from the HonMinister; since this is a very importantroad, if the funds that the Ministry is
Mr Speaker, I wouldprefer that my Hon Colleague would bean optimist and not a pessimist. The fundswould come; in the meantime, what we aredoing is to ease the congestion. That iswhat I have said. In collaboration with theGhana Ports and Harbours Authority, weare working to ease traffic congestionaround the Tema Motorway.
HonMembers, we would move on to the lastQuestion and that stands in the name ofHon Member for Manhyia North. [Pause.] Well, if he is not available to ask theQuestion --
MrSpeaker, Hon Collins Owusu-Amankwahtold me to ask the Question on his behalf.In fact, he called me yesterday, that forsome unavoidable reasons, he is unableto be here this morning. Mr Speaker, withyour leave then, I would proceed to askthe Question on his behalf.
Very well. You have the floor. Krofrom Township Entire Project(Completion ) Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (onbehalf of Mr Collins Owusu-Amankwah)asked the Minister for Roads andHighways when the contractor wouldresume work to complete the entire projectat Krofrom Township.
Yes, HonMinister? Background
Mr Speaker, Krofromis one of the ten sub-metros in the KumasiMetropolitan Assembly in the AshantiRegion. In 2012-2013, a contract was awardedfor the partial reconstruction of selectedroads in the Kumasi Metropolis to reducetraffic congestion. The contract includeda 4.1 km resealing and a 1kilometres partialreconstruction in Krofrom which has sincebeen completed.
Any follow-up question?
Mr Speaker, couldthe Hon Minister tell this House why thecontractor had to abandon the project?
HonMember, you are asking an impossiblequestion.
Mr Speaker, everycontract has a source of funding.
Thedecision is taken by the contractor.
Mr Speaker, Iwould rephrase. Hon Minister, could you tell this Housewhether the contractor was paid for thework that he did?
Mr Speaker, presently,I do not have records at the Ministry ofRoads and Highways which suggest thatthe contractor has not been paid.
Mr Speaker, thisproject has been abandoned for eightyears and it is very surprising for the HonMinister to say --[Interruption] --I amlaying the foundation -- Mr Speaker, Ineed your protection -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority ChiefWhip is fasting and he is heckling me earlythis morning.
Mr Speaker, it isvery surprising that the Hon Ministerbefore you is suggesting that he isunaware of any payment, yet he is actuallyanswering a Question specifically on theKrofrom Township Road. That being thecase, is the Hon Minister able to tell thisHouse whether it is the Government ofGhana that is funding this or the fundingis from a donor source.
Mr Speaker, abandonmentby contractors could arise from manyreasons. It could be that the contractor isindebted to the bank for which paymenthas been made and the bank has taken itsmoney and which incapacitates thecontractor. Mr Speaker, this project is fundedentirely and exclusively by theGovernment of Ghana.
HonMember, your last follow-up question.
Mr Speaker, Iwould like to know from the Hon Ministerwhether there was any tender leading tothe final award of this contract. If so, isthere any plan to abrogate the contractshould the contractor fail to resume work?
Mr Speaker, obviously,there was a tender for the award of thecontract. The Ministry is considering thepossibility of bringing in the -- Indeed,by the records at the Ministry of Roadsand Highways, the project, as defined, hasbeen completed. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Very well,reluctantly, I would allow you.
Mr Speaker, if the HonMinister for Roads and Highways wouldwant to be candid with us, he has to tellus -- [Interruption.]When was thoseworks completed and how much was paid?
No, HonMember. If you read the Answer to theQuestion, you would see that a portion ofit has been completed. It is there.
Mr Speaker, it is only aportion, and so --
Please, usethe microphone.
Mr Speaker, indeed, theHon Member who asked the Question wasthe one who misled me. [Laughter.] MyAnswer is very clear to the point: A 4.1kilometres of resealing and 1km of partialreconstruction was awarded. That is thecontract we are dealing with and thatworks have been completed.
Mr Speaker, that waswhy my Question was; the length ofKrofrom roads which far exceeds the4.1kilometres. So, we are asking aboutKrofrom town roads; when would therest be done?
HonMember, your question has beenanswered; so I do not think I would allowyou to ask any further question.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Minister said the contract wasabandoned by the contractor; obviously,it would have cost implication for the State.May we know from the Hon Ministerwhether he has taken steps to blacklistthis contractor who has not beenassiduous in executing the contract?
Mr Speaker, permit meto set the records straight. I did not saythe contract was abandoned. I wasresponding to the question of abandon-ment by the Hon Member who asked theQuestion. He sought to imply that thecontractor has abandoned the contractbecause of non-payment. I wasresponding to the issue of abandonmentwhich could arise from different causes. Inever said the contractor had abandonedthe project.
Mr Speaker, to hisknowledge, was there any abandonmentor not?
Mr Speaker, in fact,there was no abandonment in respect ofthe 4.1kilometres or the 1km that wasdelivered.
Very well.Hon Members, this brings us to the endof Question time. Hon Minister, thank you for attendingupon this House to answer Question. Yes, Majority Chief Whip? In the meantime, the Hon SecondDeputy Speaker is to take the Chair.
Mr Speaker, we wouldtake item numbered 20. That is RevenueAdministration Bill, 2016.
What pageis it on?
That is page 13.
HonMembers, the Revenue AdministrationBill, 2016 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 41, subclause (3), lines 2and 3, delete “a favourable” and insert“an unfavourable”. Mr Speaker, the intention is that, thenotice being referred to is about if theCommissioner-General made anunfavourable tax decision and not afavourable tax decision. Question put and amendment agreedto.
It is onpage 13.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 41, subclause (3), paragraph (b), line1, delete “sixty” and insert “ninety”. Mr Speaker, the Committee is of theview that the duration for the affectedperson to file a request for theCommissioner-General to make a decisionis too short. For that matter, the Committeeproposes an increase to, at least, three months for a tax payer to make the decisionto apply to the Commissioner-General. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 41, subclause (4), delete. Mr Speaker, this clause is not relatedto the issue under tax decision. So, we aredeleting the subclause (4) completely. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 41 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 42 -- Objection to a tax decision
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 42, subclauses (5) and (6), deleteand insert the following: “(5) An objection against a tax decisionshall not be entertained unless theperson has (a) in the case of import duties andtaxes, paid all outstandingtaxes including the full amountof the tax in dispute; and (b) in the case of other taxes, paidall outstanding taxes includingthirty per cent of the tax indispute. (6) Despite subsection (5), theCommissioner-General may waive,vary or suspend the requirementsof subsection (5) pending thedetermination of the objection ortake any other action that theCommissioner-General considers appropriate including the deposit ofsecurity. (7) The Commissioner-General shallbalance the need to maintain theintegrity of the disputeresolution procedure with theneed to protect Governmentrevenue and the integrity of thetax system as a whole inexercising a discretion undersubsection (6). (8) A tax decision to which anobjection is not made withinthirty days is final. (9) In this section, “tax decision”means the tax decision objectedto, as may have been amendedby an objection decision”. Mr Speaker, on clause 42, theCommittee proposes this amendmentunder subclause 5 to delete subclause 5completely and replace it with a newrendition. We also beg to move for somesubclauses from clause 45 to be movedinto clause 42. After a new rendition forsubclause 5, we will continue withsubclauses 6, 7, 8 and 9.
HonChairman, what is the meaning ofsubclause (7)? “(7) The Commissioner-General shallbalance the need to maintain theintegrity of the dispute resolutionprocedure with the need toprotect Government revenue andthe integrity of the tax system asa whole in exercising a discretionunder subsection (6)”. What is the meaning of this? What doyou intend to say?
Mr Speaker, the Commis-sioner-General has been given some powersto exercise. As the Commissioner in chargeof revenue and in using the powers givento him, he must exercise some judgementand ensure that there is a balance and thatthe integrity of his organisation ismaintained, while at the same time,revenue for Government is not lost. So, itis just to guide the Commissioner-Generalin exercising that power.
Yes, HonHaruna Iddrisu, is it not rather a mouthful?
Mr Speaker, if theHon Chairman would take guidance fromyou, would he not want to substitute theword “balance” with “factor”: “He shallfactor the need…” The word “balance” isa more difficult word. The intention is thatin determining Government's revenue, heshall be mindful of the integrity of thedispute resolution procedure againstmaintaining the integrity of the tax system. So I think that we could delete the word“balance” and substitute it with “factor”,which would mean that the Commissioner-General would take that aspect intoconsideration.
HonMinister, is it not a mouthful? Anytime heis to exercise his discretion -- article 23of the Constitution. So, what is thepurpose of this? Hon Afenyo-Markin, I hope you arepaying attention because I would soonask you for your view. What is thepurpose of this mouthful? As if in the othercases, people do not exercise theirdiscretion or they do not balance theirneeds. So, is it necessary? The HonChairman thinks it is necessary.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve it is necessary, despite the factthat we have provisions in theConstitution to deal with that. This wouldnot be in conflict position of theConstitution. It emphasises the fact thatit ought not to be arbitrary. This is becausehe has the power to waive, vary orsuspend. Assuming the amount in dispute isGH¢10 million and he decides to waive theentire payment for that period pending thedecision, I do not think it would be inconsonance with Government's revenue. Mr Speaker, however, if he says thatGH¢9 million should be paid out of it, it isalso going to undermine the disputeresolution system. At the end of the day,they may be asked to pay less. So, it isjust to emphasise that in all circumstances,he ought to weigh those two interests andno other interest should be taken intoconsideration.
I thoughtthe Hon Minister for Finance wanted toget up. Or he was just shifting his chair? Hon Minister for Finance, I amrecognising you and you are sitting downand saluting? You should stand when Icall you. Anyway, I would put the Question. Mr Avedzi -- rose --
Have youchanged your mind?
Mr Speaker, I just want toremind you that we are changing the word“balance” to “factor”.
MrSpeaker, with the indulgence of theChairman and in my capacity as acting Ranking Member -- my boss said I shouldstand in for him we want to use the word“consider” instead of “balance”. So he isguided accordingly to move hisamendment.
Mr Speaker, accepted.
So,“consider”? There is a further amendment in the firstline to replace balance with consider. So,the first line shall read: “The Commissioner-General shallconsider the need…” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Is thereany amendment to clause 42?
Mr Speaker, if Imay seek your leave and indulge you;clause 42(1) reads: “Subject to a tax law to thecontrary…” Mr Speaker, that is not elegant enough.Which tax law? If we are talking about thisAct or any, then why are we saying “…to a tax law to the contrary…”?
Mr Speaker, this Bill isgoing to be used for application of anumber of tax laws: income tax, VAT,Customs and all of them. So contrary toany of these, a tax law here refers to anyof them.
It is notall right.What section deals with repealsand savings? Is there a section on repealsand savings or there is no section for that?Or there are traditional provisions? Why are you subjecting this to a tax law? Whatis the rule of interpretation over which thelatter law takes precedence? Hon Chairman, what is the purpose ofsubjecting this law to other tax laws? Youtold us yesterday that this law was to dealwith administration. So, when it comes tomatters dealing with administration, it isyour wish and the wish of the House andyour Committee that this law would takeprecedence over all laws. So why are yousubjecting this law again to other tax laws?Why are you approbating and reprobating?That is why this law does not have theprovision on repeals and savings. This isbecause it does not seek to repeal anylaw.
Mr Speaker, Ithink that the Hon Minister for Finance,being a tax expert, can express his viewon the floor to guide all of us on thisparticular all-important matter.
Mr Speaker,this is a Revenue Administration Bill. It ismeant to guide the administration of allthe tax laws. He said that in applying this particularclause, we should consider the other taxlaws, not only this. It is just for emphasis.
So thewhole law is to be looked at together withthe other laws. Is this the neatest way tosay it, “subject to”? Hon Haruna Iddrisu? We do not wantto spend too much time on one clause.
Rightly so, MrSpeaker.
Sorry,Hon Muntaka, do we intend to finish thisBill today?
Mr Speaker, thedeliberation of the House would determinehow much we are able to do. If there are no controversies - becausethe International Trade Commission Billis also waiting.
And theSecurities Commission Bill?
No, not that one. Weare not taking that one.
Mr Speaker, it isnot elegant. We cannot say “subject to atax law to the contrary”. Probably, whatthe Hon Chairman should seek to do is, ifwe are guided by the headnote, “objectionto a tax decision”, a person who isdissatisfied with a tax decision notwithstanding or despite any other existingtax law may lodge an objection to thedecision with the Commissioner-Generalwithin 30 days of being notified of thattax decision.
But thatis not what they intend.Their intention isthat this provision should exist but it issubject to any other law. So, in applyingthis provision, we have to look at that law;if there are contrary provisions then thecontrary provisions in that law wouldapply. That is what they said . I would put the Question --
Mr Speaker, I would like tomake further amendments before theQuestion is put. In view of the clause 7where we have changed the word“balance” to “consider”, in line 3, weshould also replace “with” with “and”. So the new rendition would read; “The Commissioner-General shallconsider the need to maintain the integrity of the disciplinaryresolution procedure and the needto protect Government revenue”,not “with the need to protectGovernment revenue”. So once we change “balance”, we haveto change “with”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 42 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 43 -- Objection decision
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 4, subclause (3), line 4, delete“allow” and insert “disallow” Mr Speaker, it is to bring out theintention of this particular clause. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 43 subclause (4), delete Mr Speaker, again, this is also notrelevant at this particular place. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 43 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 44 -- Appeal against objectiondecision
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 44 line 2, delete “High” The new rendition would read “theCommissioner-General may appeal againstthe decision to the court within 30 days”.
Why areyou deleting “High”?
Mr Speaker, we aredeleting the “High” because we do nothave High Courts in all the districts wherethe Commissioner-General works, so, itcould be any court. It could be a lowercourt not necessarily from the High Court.That is why we are deleting “High” andmaintaining “Court”.
Sosomebody could go to the Magistrates'Court -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I rememberthis was a contentious issue, and theAttorney-General said that they defined“court” as High Court. That is what theAttorney-General said, I remember at thattime the definition of “court” was HighCourt, so he did not need to repeat “High”--[Interruptions]-- No! But it is thereason the Hon Chairman gave, that wecould take it to Magistrates' Court or, anyother court. It is not about taking it to any otherplace, because the Hon Chairman said wecould take it to any court.
Mr Speaker, Iam sorry. If we look at the interpretation section,page 76, “court” means High Court.
HonChairman, it is important that this was saidbecause of the interpretation.
Mr Speaker, that isthe more reason why we need to removethe “High”. This is because if we are goingto interpretation and we have defined“court”, then the simple thing is that wherein the Bill did we mention court? We did not mention “court”, we mentioned “HighCourt”, so, we should remove the “High”so that the definition would go to theinterpretation.
I agreewith you. So, this explanation that wecould go to every district court, we couldgo under a tree and so on -- courts undertrees and things like that -- is wrong --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I think theSupreme Court has started using thedebates on the floor, so, it is necessaryfor the Hon Chairman to abandon thatreason. It is very necessary for the HonChairman to abandon that reason, becausesomebody could refer to it one day. Heshould abandon it.
Mr Speaker, theessence is what transpired on the floor,and the conclusion is that, Mr Speakerhimself gave a better explanation, so,automatically, it nullifies whatever the HonChairman has said, so he does not needto withdraw his argument. This is becauseeven on the floor of the House, there wouldbe for and against but at the end of theday what we -- [Interruption.]
I havenot known it to be the practice of theHouse for us to ask people to withdraw orapologise for their opinions, so, I wouldnot ask him to do that. I think we all agreenow that it is “High Court”. There is a reason for the hallowedprinciple that when there is judicial reviewof administrative actions, the proper courtis the High Court. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 45 delete and insert the following: “Defects of appeal 45. An appeal against an objectiondecision does not operate as asuspension of the objectiondecision.” Mr Speaker, the rest have been movedto clause 42 early on.
HonAfenyo-Markin, the Acting RankingMember for Finance?
Mr Speaker, myworry is with respect to the practical effectof this provision. That is to say, if theperson has an objection to a decision andsame is being appealed against, and wesay that it does not amount to asuspension, are we trying to oust anyjurisdictional procedure that could beadopted for a stay of that objection?
Youknow that an appeal does not act as a stay.We know that principle to be a hallow inthe court.
Mr Speaker saidwith that in mind, we do not necessarilyneed to expressly say so. This is because,an appeal does not operate as a stay. Butthe impression I get here is that, evenwhere there is an appeal, and a personwants to apply for that temporary relieve of stay, by this, the person cannot. Thatis the impression I get. Unless there is --[Interruption] -- Then we should watchthis carefully. We read the rendition well?-- [Interruption.] --we do not need to,because that is the rule. An appeal doesnot operate as a stay so why legislate onit?
Mr Speaker, itis an appeal against a decision of a court.That does not operate as a stateprosecution -- [Interruption] -- That isnot a court. It is an administrativedecision. So, it being here is in order. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon DrHanna Bisiw, can I be of assistance toyou? I saw you rise up, but they pulledyou down. I know nobody can pull youdown. What were you saying?
Mr Speaker,somebody said ‘Brong Ahafo' is makingnoise?
Are you‘Brong Ahafo'?
Yes, Mr Speaker. I am fromBrong Ahafo. [Interruption] -- I am partof Brong Ahafo.
Mr Speaker, I think sheshould withdraw that. This is because firstof all, nobody said that. Mr Speaker, in this House you are theonly person clothed with the authority tocall people to speak. Nobody said that. Itis dangerous for her to say that somebodysaid ‘Brong Ahafo is making noise' whenit is not true. I would want her to withdrawthat statement, because when it is left inthe records it can be a problem one day. This country is very sensitive to regionaland tribal matters -- [Interruption.] -- itis not true. Nobody said that. She cannotcall anybody to say anything like that. Sheassumed she heard something, but in thisHouse nobody has said that, so sheshould withdraw it. [Interruption.]
Today,Hon Nitiwul is in top form. I think she saidit on a lighter side, and we will take it assuch. Clause 45 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 46 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 47 -- Extension of time forpaying tax.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 47, subclause (3), delete andinsert the following: “A taxpayer may re-apply to theCommissioner-General before theend of the extension period but anextension of time to pay tax shallnot exceed twelve month inaggregate'' Mr Speaker, this is to make it clearerthat a taxpayer may apply or re-apply tothe Commissioner-General for theextension of the period for the filing of hisreturn. This has not been capturedadequately in the Bill. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 47 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 48 to 54 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 55 -- Release of charge overassets
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Clause 55, subclause (2), paragraph (a),line 2, delete “Registrar of Lands” andinsert”Lands Commission” Mr Speaker, the proper title is LandsCommission. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 55, subclause (2), paragraph (b),line 1, delete “Registrar of Lands” andinsert”Executive Secretary of the LandsCommission” Clause 55 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 56 ordered to stand part of theBill Clause 57 -- Restraining orders
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 57, subclause (2), paragraph (b),line 1, delete “a premises, place” andinsert”premises, a place” Mr Speaker, this is just to bring properdescription of the words. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 57 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 58 to 67 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 68 -- Payment of tax refund
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 68, subclause (4), line 1, delete“thirty” and insert “fifty
“That the interest is calculated as50 per cent of the statutory rate andis for a period, as stated in the Bill.” Mr Speaker, the intention here is that,if the Commissioner-General is supposedto make a tax refund to a tax payer, butrefuses to do the refund, he must payinterest on this money to the tax payer. We are saying that the interest shouldbe calculated based on 50 per cent of thestatutory rate. So, if the statutory rate is20 per cent, then 50 per cent of that 20 percent is the rate that would apply, but not30 per cent. The Committee considers itto be too low, if it is 30 per cent.
Extensiveexplanation has been given. Do you haveany comment?
Mr Speaker, therewas a favourable response on this, so wehave no objection. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 68 ordered to stand part of theBill.
Mr Speaker, Iwanted to be double sure of one thing. Itis whether you are recognising me as thede facto Acting Ranking Member. This isbecause I am here and my boss istemporarily absent, so when there is theneed for --
HonAfenyo-Markin, that was why Irecognised you.
Very well, MrSpeaker. It was just for the records.
HonMember, you are the available RankingMember for Finance. [Interruptions.] Clauses 69 to 73 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 74 --Penalty for making falseor misleading statements
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 74, subclause (1), delete “withoutreasonable excuse”
“a person who…” then we wouldfollow with the paragraphs, that read: “A person, who without reasonableexcuse…” Mr Speaker, it is difficult to determinewhat that reasonable excuse is, and forthat matter, it becomes:
Mr Speaker,we are in favour of it, because, in terms oftax, we should try as much as possible tomake liability strict, when it comes topenalties, otherwise everybody will givean excuse. That is the reason why we aredeleting the expression: “withoutreasonable excuse.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 74, subclause (1), paragraphs (b), (c)and (d), delete rearrange as follows: “(b) omits from a statement made toa tax officer, any matter or thing without which the statement ismisleading in a material particular is liable to a penalty of (i) one hundred percent of the taxshortfall where the statementwas made without reasonableexcuse; or (ii) thirty percent of the tax shortfallin any other case. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, we areintroducing a new amendment to clause74, which is a new subclause. The new subclause would be capturedas subclause 5, then the rest will be re-numbered.
Can youread it for the record?
Mr Speaker, I beg to read: “In relation to the importation orexportation of goods, or in relationto the `trade of services orintangible property or any tax law,deliberately mistakes, or falsify aspecific price, quantity, volume,other substantive term of invoice,or value, for the purpose of taxinvasion, including manipulatingvalue added taxes, custom duties,income taxes, duties, levies and anyother form of taxes, or revenueallocated by government, is treatedas making a false or misleadingstatement to a tax officer” Mr Speaker, this is necessary because,the penalty for making false andmisleading statements -- it is better todefine what that misleading statement is.So, once a person falls within thisdefinition, he is considered as havingmade false or misleading statement andfor that matter, the penalty would apply.
HonMarkin-Afenyo, Acting RankingMember?
Mr Speaker, wehave no objection. We fully support him. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 74 as amended, ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clauses 75 - 77 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Clause78? Clause 78 -- Offence of failing tocomply with a tax law.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 78, line 6, after “more” insert “than” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 78 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 79 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 80 -- Offence of failing to paytax.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 80, paragraph (b), line 4, before“both” insert “to” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 81, subclause (1), paragraph (c),line 6, before “both” insert “to” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 81, subclause (1), paragraph (d), line 4, delete “one year” and insert “threemonths” Mr Speaker, for the term of imprisonment to correspond with thepenalty unit.
Hon Acting Ranking Member, I did not hearyour response.
Mr Speaker, because there was some extensiveconsultation, we are in full support of whatever -- yes, there was a consensus.The Hon Chairman of the Committee availed himself in all aspects.
Thankyou. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 81 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Clause82? Clause 82 -- Offence of impeding taxadministration.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 82, subclause (1), line 2, before“conviction” insert “summary”.
Mr Speaker, whatis the justification? There is nothing likesummary conviction. Conviction isconviction. Why the need to say summaryconviction?
Mr Speaker, if we insertthe new word, we have to read it asfollows; “A person who impedes or attemptsto impede the administration of a taxlaw commits an offence and isliable on summary conviction”.[Inter- ruptions.] I am not a lawyer but I know that --
HonChairman, you can use ‘summary' todescribe trial but not to describe theconviction. There is a summary trial.
Mr Speaker, heshould have taken a cue from me, but hewas adamant and went on.
No! HonActing Ranking Member, if you knew thecorrect thing, you should have said it.
Mr Speaker, wedrew his attention to it but sometimes --I know sometimes when there is pressure-- but that is all right, he is my HonChairman. He would abandon theamendment for the process to go on. Wehave summary trial, not summaryconviction.
Mr Speaker, you know verywell that, I am an accountant and he is alawyer. He, as the Hon Acting RankingMember of the Finance Committee, at theCommittee level, was fully involved and based on his advice, we put theword‘summary' there. So, I am surprisedthat he has turned three hundred and sixtydegrees (360o) as if this is not his ownword.
Mr Speaker,I can say for a fact that, the Hon ActingRanking Member was not present whenwe went to consider this one. So, it is nottrue that he was present when we wereconsidering this Bill. As a matter of fact,we advised the Hon Chairman when heinserted this one into the Bill. But thisChairman that we have --
No, HonMember, no.
Mr Speaker, it is surprisingthat, now, a lawyer has taken aneconomist to be his lawyer. But outsidethere, the economist would take the lawyeras his lawyer.
Butinside the Chamber --
Inside the Chamber, theopposite is the case.
Mr Speaker,silence is golden. On this occasion, Idecided to --
The mostinteresting comment that I have heard wasnot spoken into the microphone but theperson was saying that if he had turnedthree hundred and sixty degrees (360o),he would come to the same place. So, hecould not have turned three hundred andsixty degrees. But let us go on.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that, the Hon Chairman would takea cue and abandon --
The HonChairman has done that.
He has not.
HonChairman, what do we do to the summaryconviction which does not exist in law?
Mr Speaker, I accordinglywithdraw it. Clause 82 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clauses 83 - 84 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Clause85? Clause 85 -- Causing harm to a taxofficer.
Mr Speaker, based on thedecision that we took on clause 82, thefirst portion of the amendment proposedunder clause 85 is withdrawn. But I willcarry on with the second leg --
So, readthe new rendition.
Mr Speaker, the newrendition which I beg to read is, “A person who shoots at, maims,wounds or causes harm to a taxofficer acting in the execution of theduty of a tax officer, commits anoffence that is liable on convictionto a term of imprisonment of not lessthan twenty years.
Mr Speaker, theproblem with this is that whatever hasbeen mentioned here, “causing harm to aperson”, is an offence under our CriminalOffences Act. Now, the consequences ofsuch acts, when the person is convicted-- I am not too sure whether what we areproposing here is the same as what wehave in the Criminal Offences Act. If obstructing a public officer fromperforming a public duty and in theprocess, a criminal offence is committedand it is already legislated, I do not seewhy we have to make provision for it here. So, we might have to do a consultationon this provision. The point is that theCriminal Offences Act takes care of it. So,an offence under this would not bedifferent.
It is not anew offence.
Is there anyconflict?
As theHon Acting Member said, it is not a newoffence. When you have a Bill that createsoffences that do not exist already, thenyou provide for them in extenso andprovide punishment, et cetera. But thisis an offence that exists already, like‘obstruction of a public officer'. It existsin our Criminal Offences Act and has itspunishment. Either it is a misdemeanor,first or second degree felony. A lot of thoughts have gone into it andinto creating those offences under ourcriminal law. We want to leave it in that realm, so, we do not provide for a newpunishment here. That is the conventionalwisdom if I may say so.
Mr Speaker, this issue wasdiscussed extensively at the Committeelevel and it was explained that the TaxOfficer here, though he is a public officer,he is performing a specific duty in relationto revenue for the State. And because it involves an Officerwho is taking actions in order to demandor collect tax from the taxpayer, if that TaxOfficer is not protected by this law, bypunishing anyone who would harm him,and we want to rely on the traditionalCriminal Offences Act, then we would becreating a situation where it would bedifficult for these Tax Officers to put intheir maximum efforts in order to collectrevenue. Mr Speaker, if this law protects the TaxOfficer in terms of the revenue and thetaxpayer knows very well that, if a TaxOfficer is performing his duty and youcause harm to him by shooting at him,maiming, wounding et cetera, such andsuch is the punishment that is applicable.That then scares the taxpayer from doingthat. But if we think that depending onthe Criminal Offences Act, it would besufficient enough, then we will leave thatto the House. But the opinion of the Committee andproponents of the Bill, is that, becausethese Officers, and are also publicofficers, are dealing specifically withrevenue collection --
Mr Speaker, whatwe are questioning here is that, is thepenalty being imposed here in conflictwith what is in the Criminal Offences Act?If it conflicts with it, then it cannot stayhere. That is what you have to tell us, asto whether what is being imposed here conflicts with what is in the CriminalOffences Act. If it is not in conflict, thenit could stay.
HonMember, I would couch what he said inanother way because, the principle of thelatter laws amend earlier laws and one Actcannot conflict with another, so to speak.This is because it is only the Constitutionwhich is a superior law. They are of equal ranking in thehierarchy of laws. So, if there is aprovision in the Criminal Procedure Codeon obstruction of a public officer and thislaw creates another provision which isdifferent from that provision, then thisprovision in this law would takeprecedence over that because it is a latterlaw. The point I am making is that, thecriminal laws of our country; Acts 29 and30, were taught through carefully wherethe focus was criminal law. Some offencesare misdemeanours, some are seconddegree felonies and others are first degreefelonies. Each one has its punishment andthe courts have a range within which theycan operate maximum and minimumsentences. Therefore, if you are creating ormentioning an offence which has alreadybeen created, such as obstruction ofpublic officer -- Yes, the Tax Officer isvery important but what aboutobstructing the Police Officer, CustomsOfficer, and Environmental ProtectionAgency Officer? They are all public officers. If it is anoffence that exists already, I think thatconventional wisdom says that, we shouldleave it in the criminal law. If we arecreating a new offence, one that does not exist under our existing criminal law, thenthat is another question all together. Thatis all I am asking the Committee to take alook at. In the meantime, they are looking forthe criminal procedure, the relevantcriminal laws for us. So, if you do not mind,we would just stand it down and by thetime we finish, we would come back. It ismy intention that we finish this Bill today.
Mr Speaker, if I heardthe Hon Chairman very well, I think thathe was advancing an argument that theywant it to be more deterrent in this case. Ifwe compare the sanctions attached to theone in the Criminal Offences Act andCriminal Procedure Act and thisparticular one, -- this is higher than whatis in Act 30, then his argument may belooked at properly. I say so because, I do not think thatthere is anything wrong with creating aspecial offence under our tax system todeter people from attacking officers whoare being encouraged to collect taxes forus. It is rather a motivation that, if thatperson attacks the officer, he is liable tosuffer more. So, he or she would continueto sacrifice himself or herself for thecountry.
I wasgoing to defer but I would listen to a fewmore comments, then put the Question.
Mr Speaker, if wego by the argument of the Hon Chairmanand the well-respected Hon W. O. Boafo,then we might be creating uncertaintiesin our laws, using different standards topunish people for the same offence. Youcited an example; what if somebody injuresa Member of Parliament? What if somebody, God forbid, harmsthe President of this Republi, are wegoing to say that because the person is aPresident, we are going to look at itdifferently in terms of punishment? APolice Officer, a Soldier?
Mr Speaker, Ido not believe I have heard anyone saythat, the provision here is inconsistentwith the Constitution. Mr Speaker, we are dealing with aspecial group of people who collect taxes.They are venerable and we should alsoappreciate that we are all reluctant to paytax, except of course -- [Interruption] --.Where an officer has been entrusted withthe responsibility of collecting tax, weshould give them special protectionunless of course it is unconstitutional. Butspecial provisions must be made in theAct to protect them in the performance oftheir duties. The Hon Member has spoken aboutHon Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ido not think it is a good analogy. This isbecause we are protected by our StandingOrders and the Constitution. That is whythere is contempt of Parliament and the“going to and returning from”. Unless ofcourse the argument is that, this provisionis inconsistent with any law. Mr Speaker,I believe we should let it stand. I was asking a question about the‘summary' but I have been told that it hasbeen abandoned by the Committee. Mr Speaker, that is my contribution. Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Afenyo-Markin-- rose --
HonAfenyo-Markin, you know the principlein law that there must be an end tolitigation. That principle finds expressionin Parliament by the fact that we vote. Wehear each other, relax the rules and an HonMember is allowed to speak two or threetimes and after, we vote. The end tolitigation in Parliament is expressed byvoting. We have voted, I have declaredthe votes and as far as I am concerned,the matter has come to an end. In spite of all my admonishing, I cansee both the Hon Acting Ranking Memberand the Hon Acting Deputy Ranking,trying to catch my eye from the Chair.
Mr Speaker, justfor persuasive purpose --
Persuademe on what I have already done?
Mr Speaker, all Iwould want to say is that, Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah said that in all thearguments, there was no mention of aconstitutional breach. Mr Speaker, so, I had wanted to drawthe attention of the House to article 17 ofthe Constitution. Mr Speaker, it provides that, there shallbe equality before the law. And it furtherprovides that, discrimination would notbe entertained on several grounds whichseem not to be conclusive. Mr Speaker, the question is, if today,we say that a tax officer, because of thespecial functions he performs, ifsomebody injures him or her, that personmust suffer a more severe punishmentbecause of the special role of the taxofficer? However, if a police officer is going toprevent a crime from being committed andan armed robber deliberately shoots at thepolice officer and he is injured, the armedrobber would be subjected to the CriminalOffences Act in spite of the extent of injury.But with the tax officer, the accusedperson in that case is supposed to suffera more severe punishment. Mr Speaker, with respect, that wouldmean that, we are using different standardsto punish for the same offence. Mr Speaker, what I am saying is notbinding because a vote has already beentaken. I am only drawing your attentionand in that respect serve notice that, I mayhave to come under a Second ConsiderationStage.
HonMember, I thought you were servingnotice that, since in your view, you havebreached the Constitution, you weregoing to go to the Supreme Court. So, Iwas going to tell you that if you servenotice here, we cannot do anything aboutit. Yes, Hon W. O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, when oneconsiders this particular issue regardingcriminal sentencing and so forth, theConstitutional Provision which is in syncwith this preposition would rather befound in article 19 (7); that, nopunishment should be imposed which isseverer than the offence committed. That is the way the Hon Membershould channel his argument if he isrelying on any consistency. For thatmatter, to argue that the amendment whichhas been proposed by the Hon Chairmanis unconstitutional --
Mr Speaker, I believe thatwe should make progress -- but theyhave not been tried under clause 85.Nobody has been tried. [Interruption.] -- The Hon Member said that under thearticle 19 (7), Mr Speaker, I beg to quote; “No person who shows that he hasbeen tried by a competent court fora criminal offence and eitherconvicted or acquitted, shall againbe tried for that offence or for anyother criminal…” So, who tries them? Nobody -- andthat is what I asked. Mr Speaker, if one is being tried for anoffence under the Criminal Offences Act-- this law is not saying they should trya person again under the same offence.That is not what it is saying.
Since weare all discussing the article 17 that HonAfenyo-Markin mentioned, article 17 (4)says; “Nothing in this article shallprevent Parliament from enactinglaws that are reasonably necessaryto provide -- (a) for the implementation ofpolicies and programmesaimed at redressing social,economic or educationalimbalance in the Ghanaiansociety;”
Mr Speaker, withthe greatest respect, may I hear youagain?
HonMember, look at the whole of article 17 (4)before you go to the Supreme Court.
Mr Speaker, I amtalking about --
HonMember, I have no objection whatsoeverif you decide to go to the Supreme Court.In fact, it is good for us to test these thingsin court. And you said you would bring itback at the Second Consideration Stage? Clause 85 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto crave the indulgence of the House andyour approval, for us to go back to clause81. The reason is that, the new amendmentthat was carried under clause 74 has aconsequential effect on clause 81. So, weneed to provide a new amendment alsounder clause 81. But I completely forgotwhen we got to clause 81. So, if you wouldpermit me, I would move that amendmentunder 81.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 81, subclause (2), insert “section 74 (3), (4) and (5), applyfor the purpose of determining whatconstitutes a statement made to atax officer and when the statementis false or misleading”. Mr Speaker, because of the amendmentthat we made under clause 74, clause 81has a consequential effect and we needto provide this new amendment underclause 81. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 81 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 86 and 87 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 88 -- Power of search, seizureor arrest
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 88, subclause (2), paragraph (e),line 2, delete “a premises, place” andinsert “premises, a place”. Mr Speaker, this is to correspondwith clause 57 that we did earlier. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 88 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 89 to 94 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 95 -- Publication of names ofoffenders
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 95, subclause (1), line 1, after“Gazette” insert “on the website of theAuthority”. Mr Speaker, we are adding the websiteof the Authority for the publication ofnames of offenders.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve we should add, “and” — “Gazetteand”, but he said no, we should continue— Then we have to bring a comma.
Wewould direct the draftspersons to do that. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 95 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
I willdirect the draftspersons to also take intoaccount the comments of Hon Dr Assibey-Yeboah with regard to clause 95. Clauses 96 and 97 ordered to stand partof the Bill. clause 98 -- International arrangements
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 98, add the following newsubclause: “(7) For the purpose of this section,“competent authority of anothercountry” means the persondesignated by that country asthe competent authority for taxpurposes”. Mr Speaker, this is to define what acompetent authority of another countrymeans in context of this law. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 98 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 99 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 100 -- Binding practice notes
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 100, headnote, delete “Binding”. Mr Speaker, the whole clause talksabout practice notes and so, the words,“Binding practice notes”, does not fit intothe subclause—
HonChairman, I agree with you. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 100 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clauses 101 -- Issue of practice notes
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, headnote, delete “Issue of” Mr Speaker, it is same as we did withclause 100.
HonChairman, can you have two headnotesthat are the same? Hon Chairman, we are paying closeattention even though it seems as —Clause 100 is now, “practice notes”. Howcan clause 101 be —
Mr Speaker, I believe thisis an error and so, I would withdraw thatone and move the next one. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 101,subclause (1), line 2, after “Gazette” insert“on the website of the Authority”.
Wewould leave that to the draftspersons.They would take into account the earliercomment by Hon Dr Assibey-Yeboah onclause 95. Hon Members, the amendmentadvertised to clause 101 as item xxvi hasbeen abandoned. And so we are takingthe amendment advertised as item xxvii. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 101 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 102 -- Amendment orrevocation of practice notes.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 102, subclause (1), line 3, after“Gazette” insert “on the website of theAuthority and at least two dailynewspapers of national circulation”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 102 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 103 -- Binding private or classrulings
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 103, headnote, delete “Binding” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 103 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clauses 104 to 107 ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 108 -- Interpretation
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “publiclyavailable”, line 4, before “Revenue” insert“Ghana”. Mr Speaker, it would then read; “GhanaRevenue Authority”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “trustee”,after “trustee” delete “means”, and inparagraph (a), line 1, before “an” insert“means”. Mr Speaker, it is just to reposition the“means” in order to have a full meaningof what a “trustee” is. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “withholdingtax”, lines 2 and 3, delete “Division II ofPart Eight of” So, the new rendition would read: “withholding tax means income taxthat a withholding agent is requiredto withhold from a payment underthe Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896)”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 108 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 109 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 110 -- Transitional provisions
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 110, subclause (6), line 1, delete“liabilities” and insert “liability”. Mr Speaker, we are changing it fromplural to singular. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 110 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. New clause --
HonChairman of the Committee, look at page19 of the Order Paper. You advertisedsomething as New Clause.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,New Clause, add the following newclause: “111. The Minister shall, bypublication in the Gazette,specify when this Act shall comeinto force”.
HonChairman of the Committee, sorry. Why are you doing that? This isbecause the Insolvency Act of 1962 nevercame into force. They had such aprovision -- What is the need for thisprovision? Why is it that it does notbehave like all other Acts, so that as soonas the President signs, it comes into force?What is the purpose?
Mr Speaker, itis for the Minister for Finance to explain. Indeed, this was not originated by theCommittee. There were certain considerationsthat the Hon Minister proposed. So, at thisstage, I would seek the indulgence of theHouse for the Hon Minister to explain.[Pause.] Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, anexplanation was given that, this being aRevenue Administration Bill, there was theneed to embark on some education, etcetera, before it automatically becomesapplicable. So, this would give time to theMinister to engage with stakeholders andthe general public about the provisionsof this Bill. I am sure if the Chairman has anythingto add, but at this stage, Mr Speaker, youmay invite the Hon Minister to assist theCommittee.
HonMember for Sekondi, this is an invitationthat I cannot refuse. I would invite the Minister for Financeand I would remind him of the InsolvencyAct of 1962 (Act 153), Section 78 --Commencement: “This Act shall come into operationon such date as the Ministerresponsible for Justice may, bylegislative instrument, appoint, anddifferent dates may be appointed fordifferent provisions”. The Act never came into force, I thinkit was after 2007 or 2008, that we passedthe new Insolvency Act. Why do youwant this provision to be in the Act, HonMinister for Finance?
MrSpeaker, there are two primary reasons. The overriding reason is education, asthe Hon Member indicated. To supportthat, it has become quite obvious thatanytime tax laws are passed, despite theextensive consultations that go into thepassage, taxpayers always require someadditional information.
HonMember, having regard to the state ofBusiness, I direct that the House Sitsoutside the prescribed period inaccordance with Standing Order 40 (3). Please, continue.
Mr Speaker, as I wasexplaining, the second reason is that thiswould be the first time we areconsolidating all tax administrationprovisions in one law. This administrativeprovision refers, in various parts, to theExcise Act, the Customs Act, the IncomeTax Act and the Value Added Tax Act,which Parliament has already passed. In fact, some of these containadministrative provisions which are to berepealed by this Act. Therefore, it isconsidered that additional time should beallowed to educate taxpayers on whatprovisions are no longer applicable withrespect to the substantive laws and theconsolidation exercise which Ghana isdoing for the first time, and following thegood example other -- Mr Speaker, it would also allow timefor certain education bulletins, which thelaw makes provision for, to be completedand issued concurrently with the cominginto force of the Act. Mr Speaker, so, it is for good reasonsthat this request is laid before the House.
Mr Speaker, Iwould want to understand something. I am happy I have seen some very seniorHon Members, including yourself.[Interruption] -- No! I am not invitingthe Hon Second Deputy Speaker into thisdebate, but he would guide us. Mr Speaker, in our Constitution, weknow that when we pass laws, theybecome effective after the President hasassented to same. At least, that is the basicunderstanding I have. Mr Speaker, this issue of after thePresident has assented to the Bill, we aremaking a provision for when same wouldbecome effective -- Unfortunately, I have not really readthat provision and I do not seem toappreciate the rationale behind thisprovision. So, I would want two things. MrSpeaker, I would want to be educated. Ifwe look at our Constitution, on whichprovision are we anchoring thisprovision? Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister says thatthey need some time. How much timewould they need? Is it two or threemonths?
HonMember, with that one, you know how toask these questions. With the first issue, do not worry. Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, I amthe acting Hon Ranking Member.
I knowand that is why I allowed you the firsttime.
Mr Speaker, I wasmaking a third point.
HonYieleh Chireh, let him finish; let him makehis point.
Mr Speaker, sincethe Hon Minister suggested that they arenot ready with public education, whywould he want to rush the President toassent to the Bill when we finish? Mr Speaker, perhaps, the President canhold on until they are done with theeducation and then they advise him toassent to it. If that is what they want, sothat there would be no need to decidewhen --
MrSpeaker, I would start with an example. Afew days ago, it was published in the DailyGraphic and the Ghanaian Times --Newspapers; the new Acts that we passedon procurement. Mr Speaker, because itextensively amended portions of thatdocument, they have highlighted thosethings and set 1st July, 2016 as the date onwhich the Act would become operative. Mr Speaker, in law-making, we evenhave aspects of the law mentionedspecifically that they would come intoeffect after a certain period. The explanation given by the HonMinister is that so many laws have beenaffected and that is why we haveschedules indicating how those areashave been affected. Unless we give public education andlet people know that these are notoperational under the new law -We needtime to do that. Mr Speaker, particularlywith taxation, we require time for peopleto appreciate. So, I think this issue of commencementis not against any part of the Constitution.Indeed, it emphasises that we need to havethe law passed, assented to and then theeffective date can be indicated. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, Ihave listened to the arguments and it hasoccurred to me that this particularamendment may not necessarily beunconstitutional. Mr Speaker, however, we are the law-making body. In terms of the date ofeffectiveness of the law, it must reside inus. In principle, we cannot just enact lawand say that it may become effective atthe whim and pleasure of the Executive. Mr Speaker, you cited the example. Thatwas in the very early days of ourdemocracy. We have passed that stage. I agree with the Hon Minister and theHon Member for Wa West. Mr Speaker, that being the case,nothing stops us from setting a date,beyond which the Hon Minister cannotstart implementing the law. So, we couldsay two or three months. The law maycome into force not later than a certaindate. Then it would introduce a degree ofcertainty because then the power that wehave to make law is left to us. We cannotjust make laws and leave them at large. So, I would propose that the HonMinister here, I am sure, can give anindication as to the latest date he believes
Mr Speaker, Ithought my good Friend, Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah had entered into anagreement with me that while he is onretirement, I should take care of him inGovernment -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, clearly, the InterpretationAct, 2009, (792) has a provision on thismatter and that is section 17 (1) which saysand with your kind permission, I begquote: “The date of the commencement orcoming into force of an Act is thedate in accordance with clause (11)of article 106 of the Constitution onwhich it is published in the Gazetteor as otherwise specified in the Act”. Mr Speaker, article 106 (11) of theConstitution says and with your kindpermission again I beg to quote; “Without prejudice to the power ofParliament to postpone theoperation of a law, a bill shall notbecome law until it has been dulypassed and assented to inaccordance with the provisions ofthis Constitution and shall not comeinto force unless it has beenpublished in the Gazette.” Mr Speaker, so, we have that power topostpone the operation of the law. Youhave simply drawn our attention to thedangers involved in giving a blanketcheque by not specifying a date and you cited the Insolvency -- It did not comein force so, I do not know whether weshould say it is an Act. At least, there wasthe intention for it to be law but it did notbecome law. This is because it did notcome into force. It was passed byParliament.
It wasenacted. It was passed by Parliament andsigned by the President but had to thisdate --
Mr Speaker, what is thedate of the assent?
It is herebut because it had --
Mr Speaker, it should bepublished on the face of the Act.
This isbecause it had this clause. Like you said,that the Constitution also gave Parliamentthat power.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
So, if wepass this law today and the Presidentsigns it, it becomes an Act of Parliamentonly that it does not take effect.
Mr Speaker, I definitelyagree. It is all contained in the Act and theConstitution, but the reasons that havebeen adduced are weighty enough for usto consider a much longer time than threemonths. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister himselfis telling me that he believes that threemonths would be sufficient but becausewe are dealing with revenue, a lot of Acts,business and the issue of budgeting for ayear -- Usually, people submit their - based on those parameters, it mightunsettle the private sector and the privatesector would call on the Hon Minister fortime, that if they could let it start from nextyear, then they could prepare themselvestowards it. Mr Speaker, I thought that threemonths for it would be on the low sideand we are depending on the otheraspects of revenue which I do not know.We could give up to the six months tocome into force on the 1st January, 2017.That is the beginning of the fiscal year. Mr Speaker, by then the Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah would not be here andthat is his problem. [Interruption]-- Hewould come on the 5th of January, 2017 forthe House to be dissolved [Laughter]--So, he would be here and entitled to; thenafter that, we would refer to him as formerHon Member of Parliament, former HonMajority Leader, former Hon Minister ofState.
FormerHon Minister of State of?
Mr Speaker, of the formerformers.
FormerHon Minister of State of what Ministry?For example?
Ministry of Youth andSports, how many months? [Laughter]--Two months. The Ministry of the Interior,how many months? [Laughter] --
Ministries of Communications, Trade andIndustry.
Mr Speaker, inessence what we are doing is puttingtogether all the administrative provisionsin the different Acts. So, three monthsshould be sufficient because if one takes
Mr Speaker, for thereasons which I gave and as buttressedby other Legislators, I think I amconsidering that the fiscal year is 1stJanuary, 2017. Mr Speaker, I think it would be prudentto make the effective date 1st January, 2017which is the beginning of the fiscal year. Mr Speaker, a similar thing was actuallydone with the Income Tax Act. For theavoidance of doubt, when the Housepassed the Act, the effective date was 1stJanuary. As was rightly pointed out,taxpayers are complying, based on variousadministrative provisions and could becaught between two provisions. So, Iwould humbly suggest to the House that,to make it definite, the effective date wouldbe the beginning of the fiscal year.
Is thatthe sense of the House? Hon Chairman, give us the newrendition.
Mr Speaker, the new clausereads: “The Minister shall, by publication -- Mr Bagbin -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I beg topropose a new clause as follows: “This Act shall come into force onthe 1st of January, 2017”. Question put and amendment agreedto. The new clause as proposed orderedto stand part of the Bill. First Schedule -- section 11 and 108 --Transactions for which TaxpayerIdentification Number or Tax ClearanceCertificate is required.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule, clause 1, headnote, deleteand insert “The Taxpayer IdentificationNumber System”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule, clause 1, subclause (5),delete “Land Title Registry” and insert“Lands Commission”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule clause 1, subclause (12),delete. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule, clause 1, subclause (16),delete “Factories” and insert “Manufacturingcompanies”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule, clause 2, subclause (6), line3, delete “goods” and insert “goods,works”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,First Schedule, Part II, column headed“PURPOSE OF TRANSACTION”, thirdrow, line 2, delete “goods” and insert“goods, works”. Question put and amendment agreedto. First Schedule as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Second Schedule -- Section 108 -- TaxReturns and Assessments.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Second Schedule, clause 1, paragraph (d),line 1, delete “an account” and insert “areturn”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Second Schedule as amended orderedto stand part of the Bill. Third Schedule -- Section 109 --Consequential Amendments and Repeals.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Third Schedule, column headed “Howaffected”, second row, add the following: “(4) other public officers may betransferred or seconded to theAuthority or may otherwise giveassistance to the Authority”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Third Schedule, item 7, delete and insertthe following: “7. Value Added Tax, 2013 (Act 870)by the repeal of sections 57 and 66(3) -- 8.Value Added Tax, 2013 (Act 870)by the repeal of the Sixth Schedule. 9. Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896)by the repeal of the SeventhSchedule 10. Petroleum Income Tax Act, 1989(PNDCL 188) Repealed. 11. The Taxpayer IdentificationNumbering System Act, 2002 (Act632) Repealed”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Third Schedule as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. The Long Title ordered to stand partof the Bill.
HonMembers, that brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the RevenueAdministration Bill, 2016. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we haveOrder Paper Addendum and it is just layingof Papers and then we would come to the --
HonMembers, Order Paper Addendum --Presentation and First Reading of Bills.
Mr Speaker, we wouldtake item numbered 19 -- GhanaInternational Trade Commission Bill, 2014.
HonPapa Owusu-Ankomah, I saw you on yourfeet. The Ghana International TradeCommission Bill, 2014 at the ConsiderationStage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Mr Speaker,yesterday, we observed that theamendment needed not be. So, we areretaining clause 9 as it is in the originalBill.
So, areyou withdrawing this proposedamendment?
Yes, we are withdrawingthe proposed amendment. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.] Clause 9 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 10 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 11 -- Establishment of committeesof the Board
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 11, subclause (1), line 2, after“function” insert”of the Board”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 11, subclause (2), delete“may” and insert “shall” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, New Clause, add the followingnew clause after clause 11: “Without limiting section 11, thereis established a Technical AdvisoryCommittee consisting of onerepresentative of: (a) the Ministry responsible forTrade and Industry not belowthe rank of a Director; (b) the Ministry responsible forFinance not below the rank of aDirector; and (c) the Ministry responsible forAgriculture not below the rankof a Director”.
Mr Speaker, I wouldbe grateful if the Hon Chairman clearlyexplains this. This is because they weresupposed to be part of the governingbody and now they are being added tothe Technical Advisory Committee. Iwould want to know what the total numberof members of the Technical AdvisoryCommittee would be.
Mr Speaker, he wouldobserve that we are adding the three tothe five, but they would not beCommissioners. These are people fromGovernment, and so, we thought it mightnot be prudent to include them asCommissioners; they are technical people. So, if we put them together with theCommission, they would be eight, butthey are not Commissioners. They are justTechnical Advisory Committee.
HonBagbin does not seem to be happy.
Mr Speaker, I am still tryingto understand it, because the clause asproposed does not give any indicationthat these three nomination are part of oneother body. It just says: “Without limitingsection 11”, and section 11 deals with theestablishment of Committees of the Board. “Without limiting section 11, thereis established a Technical AdvisoryCommittee consisting of onerepresentative of …” So, the Technical Advisory Committeeis made up of only three members. Is thatthe intention?
Mr Speaker, yes.
This is because theinformation behind is like the three wouldbe added to the Commissioners. So, theywant the Technical Advisory Committeeto be made up of only three members?
No! We are not adding.It was just for clarity, that, originally, thesewere to be part of the Commission. Andwe thought that because they are part ofthe technical people, they would becoming from Ministries to just advise theCommission. So, they are not part of theCommission.
Now, this would be aCommittee of the Board?
We have already statedthat a Committee of the Board has to beChaired by a Member of the Board. Hejust said, “shall”. It was “may”, and heamended it to read, “shall”. “A Committee shall be chaired by amember of the Board”. That is clause 11(2).
So, itmeans a member of the Board must be partof the Technical Advisory Committee. You have to look at your change of“may” to “shall”.
A member of the Boardmust be part of this because this is asub-Committee of the Board and has tobe chaired by a member of the Board. Itcannot be made up of only three members.
Mr Speaker,additionally, I am getting worried. Eventhough the explanation given to mesideway is not known to the House, I amtempted to believe, maybe, if we are notcareful, it would be a nice way ofdistancing these three Ministries from theCommission. If you look at the original Bill, they werepart. We amended and said we were goingto create a Technical Advisory Committee.Yesterday, we said it is all right. Now, wehave come and it is only the three of them.If we are not careful, the tendency wouldbe to say they are just a TechnicalAdvisory Committee that would never sit,be called to advise and never be involvedin anything. Then, they would say, per the law, theyhave created something for them but theCommission would be carrying on withits work and these Ministries that have agreat role to play in the Commission wouldnot participate. Mr Speaker, I am tempted to think wemight have to go on if they are unable togive us a better explanation to add thesepeople to the Committee. It is veryimportant that these three Ministries knowwhat the Commission is doing. This isbecause they are talking about trade,which involves import and export, mostof which would affect these Ministries.
Mr Speaker, I want to addsomething to it. In the original Bill theybrought, they were part of it. Can they give the technical advice while being partof it, instead of taking them out andforming a Technical Committee andmeanwhile, their advice is not binding? Mr Speaker, from what I see, the adviceis not binding. If we are not careful, wewould set-up a Committee, and theywould never be used. So, I would want tofind out whether the work of theseMinistries they are talking about their workwould be useful or not. If the work of thetechnical people from these Ministrieswould be useful, let us take them back tothe way it was originally. Otherwise, we would have to say theiradvice is binding. But if they also say theadvice is binding, it would be a problemfor us to set up a technical AdvisoryBoard and say the advice is binding. Thatis my problem.
Mr Speaker, because ofthe adjudicating nature of the role of theCommission, it was our view that thisTechnical Committee would process allcomplaints that come before it, and theiradvice would be submitted to theCommission which would haveadjudicating responsibility. This is theimport of this amendment.
Mr Speaker, we wouldwant to stand this down so that we wouldbe able to make progress and a lot broadconsultation would be done and we wouldcome back to it.
Let mejust say two things very quickly. Let us also look at the GhanaInvestment Promotion Centre Act. It alsoestablishes a Technical AdvisoryCommittee and it was much moreextensive than this three membercommittee. They are not adding to anyfact, they are standing on their own. Hon Chairman, did I hear you say thereason you took the representative ofGovernment or the Ministries out of theCommission was because of theadjudicating role the Commission has? Isthe dispute between third parties andGovernment?
Mr Speaker, the disputeis between third parties and Governmentagencies like the Ghana Customs, Exciseand Preventive Service. So, if the Ministryof Finance comes in, what is going tohappen is that they are going to be judgesof the case that complains have beenbrought against them.
So, theywould be judges in their own courts?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
So, thatis why you took Government out of theCommission?
Yes, Mr Speaker. So thatthe Commission would be independent ofany Government interference.
Mr Speaker, the TechnicalCommittee is not by appointment of theBoard; it is a creature of the Act. They areonly giving us a composition of technicalcommittee by the Act, they are not tellingus their functions. We do not know whatthey are going to do. They just saidsomething about their function --
I think itshould be deferred.
Mr Speaker, so even theopening paragraph of the proposed amendment should be dropped. This isbecause it is a creation of the Act and it isnot in any way limiting the appointmentof a Committee by the Board.
HonChairman of the Committee, take all theseon board and let us defer it and come backto it next week. So, the new clause has been deferredand we would also take into accountclause 11, when we are considering itagain, even though we have put theQuestion on clause 11. This is because itis the same argument we are making thatwe do not want Government to be part ofthe Commission -- Then we should notlet the Commission come and be a Chairof the Sub-Committee. So, the Commissioner would sit on theSub-Committee where they would lookthrough the complaints and the sameCommissioner would metamorphose intoa judge and go and sit on the Commissionand hear the matter. So, let us consider it. Clause 12 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 13 -- Secretariat of the Commission
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 13, subclause (2), delete “thehead of Secretariat reports to the Board”.
Why areyou deleting it? Do you intend to putsomebody else at the head of theSecretariat? Is he the Chairman of theCommission, head of the Secretariat?
Mr Speaker, the Secretaryis --
You hadpreviously said that the ExecutiveSecretary is the head of the Secretariat andyou have now deleted it. So, I am askingwho is the head of Secretariat now?
Mr Speaker, the ExecutiveSecretary would be secretary to the Boardas proposed in this --
So, hewould not be head of the Secretariat.
Mr Speaker, the ExecutiveSecretary, being secretary to the Board,would be Executive Secretary of theSecretariat.
So, whyare you deleting this?
Mr Speaker,we have a Commission and there is anExecutive Secretary who is the ChiefExecutive. By law, he is the head of theSecretariat.
“The Executive Secretary maydelegate a function to an officer ofthe Commission but shall not berelieved of the ultimate responsibilityfor the performance of the delegatedfunction”.
Andclause 15(1)(a) says he is responsible forthe day to day administration. So, what ishe?
So, I do notknow whether the Secretariat is an entitybeing created by this Commission. As faras I am concerned, the Secretariat is just aSecretariat. The reason the Bill is sayingthat the Executive Secretary shall be thehead is to emphasise the fact that he isresponsible for everything that goes onin the Commission and the day to dayadministration. So, I am proposing that my brothernephew abandons the proposedamendment.
Mr Speaker, we withdrawthe proposed amendment.
Theproposed amendment is accordinglywithdrawn. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.] Clause13 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 14 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 15 -- Functions of theExecutive Secretary
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 15, subclause (1), paragraph (a), line2, before “Board” insert “Chairman of the”
Why isthe Executive Secretary only answerableto the Chairman of the Board? It is not anExecutive Chairman. Hon Chairman of the Committee, I wantto draw your attention to article 285 of theConstitution: “No person shall be appointed oract as the Chairman of thegoverning body of a publiccorporation or authority while heholds a position in the service ofthat corporation or authority”. So, you cannot create an ExecutiveChairman. Let that guide you in all yourproposed amendments. So, let us defer this one too.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that he should withdraw thisthing. It is not a question of deferring it.He should withdraw because he has notadvanced superior argument.
Mr Speaker, we withdrawthis amendment. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 15, Add the following newsubclause: “(3) The Executive Secretary shallbe Secretary to the Commissionand shall provide secretarialfunctions to the Board and allcommittees composed by theCommission”.
Mr Speaker,functions of the Executive Secretary asstated in clause 15 are adequate. Whywould they want to say that he is theSecretary to the Commission? He is asExecutive Secretary. They are stating theobvious.
I believethat yesterday, when the question on theBoard arose, the point was made there thatthe Executive Secretary is the Secretaryto the Board. Some people wanted him tobe a member but the prevailing view wasthat he is the Secretary to the Board. Hon Chairman, we are counting on youto do the honourable thing.
Mr Speaker, theCommittee wishes to withdraw theamendment.
HonChairman, you are an honourable man.Thank you very much. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.] Clause 15 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 16 -- Appointment of otherstaff
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 16, add the following newsubclause: “(4) Other public officers may betransferred or seconded tothe Commission or mayotherwise give assistance toit”.
Mr Speaker, Ifully support this amendment even withmy light weight. [Laughter.] Question put and amendment agreedto.
Just toask, is Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah theRanking Member for the Committee onTrade, Industry and Tourism?
Mr Speaker, itmay interest you to know that as a photofinish Minister for Trade and Industry --[Laughter] -- in 2008, I set-up thisCommission as an administrative body inthe Ministry and it has taken us so manyyears to formalise it. I complained to him.
Thankyou, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah. Specialknowledge and maybe, special interest aswell. Clause 16 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, paragraph (b), line 2,delete “its functions” and insert “thefunctions of the Commission”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, paragraph (c), delete andinsert the following: “(c) investment income that mayaccrue to the Commission”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 17, Paragraph (d), delete“donations, gifts and”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
I do not knowwhether it is a switch of conflict of interest,that is why we want to remove donationsand gifts. I was hoping that he could explain it tothe House.
After very deepdiscussions and deliberations, theCommittee felt that to define “gift” and“donations” is not easy, but “grants” wereaccepted because there are varioustechnical assistance that come in the formof grants, so those were acceptable. But “gifts” in our context, we did not knowwhat it meant.
So, whatis the difference if somebody makes adonation to the Commission, a philan-thropic donation? Yesterday, as I was going out, they wereholding the First National PhilanthropicConference at the Accra InternationalConference Centre. So, somebody dies and in his will, hedonates “x” amount. As we become richeras a nation, rich people emerge, they decideto follow the lead of Bill Gates and others,and you said we should not accept adonation unless it is a grant? A “grant” has a certain connotation.What is the difference between a “grant”and a “donation”, for example?
Mr Speaker, grant comesin the form of multi-lateral and bilateralagreements between governments, butwith donations, a church could come anddonate or a business could donatesomething to influence the decision of theCommission.
So, weaccept foreign donations which arecloaked as grants? Foreign donations arenow described as grants and then if achurch -- This is because in the PoliceService, for example, people give themcomputers, people build -- Is that agrant? This is because when I asked aboutgrants, you immediately went to multi-lateral and bilateral agreements.
Mr Speaker,we would not want those who potentiallymay have matters being brought before the Commission at a later date to be givingdonations or grants. It may lead toconfusion. For instance, if contractors who dealwith Parliament start giving gifts toParliament, it is a dangerous thing,because it has a potential of undulyinfluencing us in taking decisions. Consultants, engineers or contractorsrealise that Parliament is in need of avehicle, they could donate a vehicle. Thenext time the company bids for a contract,how can we stop it? So, just to avoid any potential conflictof interest, like Ghana Cement Limited(Ghacem) -- I know that Ghacem, forinstance, would definitely have someissues brought before the Commission, oreven the local manufacturers. Then theystart giving donations; electricalequipment, generator. And then thefollowing day they have some issuesbefore the Commission. But a grant coming from UnitedNations Development Programme(UNDP), European Union, UnitedKingdom Development Agency; those aregrants.
Are youassuming that the grant--
That is fromState to State. It is State to State or multi-lateral to State.
Thenwhy should it be in this Bill? Sorry, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Iam not arguing with you. I am justseeking --
You are notdebating.
No, I amnot debating,
Thankyou. Since you have experience in theMinistry of Trade and Industry, I just wantyou to assist this House. So, if it is State to State, then whyshould it be in this Bill? The State wouldgo and arrange the grant?
Mr Speaker, notnecessarily State to State.
I amrecognising the Hon Deputy Minister,because I think that if we are deleting that,then we delete the three.
Thank you,Mr Speaker. The kind of work they do --
Yes. The kind ofwork they do --
If they want toreceive gifts and donations, the likelihoodof them compromising on the very thingfor which the Commission wasestablished would be a problem. Assuming that you have a problem withregard to a local manufacturing cementcompany and that company happens togive gifts and donations to theCommission. Then the next day, they have problems with another foreign companythat brings same into this country, or evenwith another foreign company that isoperating in Ghana, the likelihood of themcompromising on the core principles ofthe Commission is something we do notwant to take chances on. So, we felt that donations and giftsshould be taken out. But a person couldgive grants, the Ministry of Finance orany multi-lateral company could givegrants to the Commission and that one--
HonDeputy Minister, some of the companiesare State-owned enterprises outside. Youare assuming that if it is a foreigner, theycannot be influenced. You have received a huge grant fromcountry “x”. The next day, there is adispute between a company from country“x” and your country. Your President andyour Attorney-General and Minister forJustice or Foreign Minister travel. One ofthe issues that would be on the stickynotes of the Head of State of that countryis that there is this company from ourcountry and you do not seem to betreating them well. Why are you assuming that grants arefrom the angel Gabriel, that one issacrosanct? If we are removing it, let us remove allthree. If the Ministry of Finance wants togo and arrange a grant, let them arrange itat their length and come and give it to theorganisation. Do not let us allow this organisationitself to be negotiating grants to country“x” -- Do you know what could happen?It could play on their minds, because asthey are sitting there, they have received a huge grant of US$10 million from acountry which is doing training, they havebuilt their building-- Every dispute of acompany from that country, their mindscould be influenced.
Mr Speaker, interms of these grants, they would not bebetween the Commission and the body.They may initiate discussions. It wouldbe between State and State. 3. 00 p.m.
So, itshould not be in this Act.
No! But I amsaying that if we put it there, it also atleast gives them some leverage that evenin the Act that sets-up the Commission,they can accept grants. It is on this basisthat we are initiating this discussion.
HonMember for Sekondi, you are aware that99.9 per cent of the time, I agree with you.It is not this one per cent that we woulddisagree on.
Mr Speaker,definitely, you can disagree with me. I haveno problem.Your disagreements may notinfluence us, because you do not haveany right to vote, when you Sit in theChair. [Laughter]
HonPapa Owusu-Ankomah, it was one formerChairman of a political party, whofamously said that there are many waysto kill a cat. It is true that I do not havethe right to vote, but I can defer.
Mr Speaker, I was mindedto support what the Chairman wanted todo, but after listening to Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah, I think that I shouldrather support you.
HonMember, I am not part of the debate.
I think I should supportthe reasoning that has been --[Interruption.] You see, with what he said, I thoughtthat grants can be between countries andState institutions. It is normal, it can bedone. If we look at the technical definitionof grants, it can be between country tocountry, and country to State institutions. In fact, it is a gift that is notrepayable. [Interruption.] Giving some-body money is not repayable, mostlybetween Government and Governmentorganisations, or State institutions. Mr Speaker, if we do not expect theCommission itself to be the party receivingit, and it should be through theGovernment, then we should be silent onit. This is because, if we are silent on it,then the law itself does not debar themfrom taking it anyway. It is when we put it that they shall notreceive it, that it becomes a problem. Butif we are silent on it and the Governmentdecides to give them a grant, then theycan receive it. [Interruption.] In clause 17, it says that:”funds of theCommission shall include…” Now, theChairman is deleting donations, gifts andleaving out grants. So, it means that theycan receive grants. The argument is that the grants thatwould be received may not necessarily bebetween the Commission itself andanybody that will bring it -- Anyorganisation, whether Government or anyState. If that is true -- This is because myargument was that we should leave them.They can take it from anybody that bringsgrants to them. But if we say that it can bethe Government that would take it andcome and give it to them, then we do notneed to put it here. If the United States (US) Governmentdecides to give them a grant, they shouldbe able to take it. That is the argumentthat Mr Speaker is putting across. The argument I am also putting acrossnow, reflects what somebody said,because he is not supposed to be part ofthe -- [Interruption.] We should look at the memorandum, itis there for us to make reference. It says: “The purpose of this Bill is toestablish the Ghana InternationalTrade Commission as an agencyresponsible for ensuring that theinternational trade of Ghana is inconformity with rules andregulations regarding internationaltrade.” Mr Speaker, we have our interest andsomebody else also has his interest. Ifthey give us a grant tomorrow -- Japangives us a grant tomorrow -- I am justusing Japan as an example. Mr Speaker, tomorrow, if your head ofstate goes there and there is some requestnote about some favour that they wouldwant us to do for them, then what do wedo? That is the question we are asking.
HonMembers, once the grant is State to State,can the Commission itself go andnegotiate to take money? It has to be part
Mr Speaker, in orderto keep our words to our Hon Colleagues,so that tomorrow, when an opportunitycomes and we say that we should go thisfar, they would consent. I would want topropose that we end the proceedings, sothat we would continue tomorrow.
HonMembers, we would defer clause 17 to ournext Sitting. That brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage for today. [Pause.] The House is accordingly adjournedtill next week.