Hon Members, the Clerkto Parliament has received the Writ ofElection for the Abetifi Constituency by-election, which was conducted onSaturday, 16th July, 2016 from the ElectoralCommission. At the close of poll, the New PatrioticParty candidate, Mr Bryan Acheampongwas declared the Member of Parliament-elect for the Abetifi Constituency --[Hear! Hear!] -- I will now invite theMember of Parliament elect, to join mehere to take his oath. [The Hon Member proceeds towardsMr Speaker.] [Mr Bryan Acheampong took andsubscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and theOath of a Member of Parliament.(Administeredby Mr Speaker) [Pause.]
Hon Minority Leader, anyadvice for the new Member of Parliamentfor Abetifi?
Mr Speaker, first of all, I He has come at a very late hour, onewould say, in the very dying embers ofthe activities that are transacted inParliament. He intends to contest in themain elections, and given the environmentthat prevails there, it is almost likely thathe would return to this House as an HonMember, after the elections of 2016. Mr Speaker, this period is supposed toserve as a period for him to learn the rulesof the game in Parliament; how businessis conducted, how he is supposed toconduct himself and how he is supposedto, within this short time, avail himself ofthe tools that are used in this House. Mr Speaker, there are two primedocuments that Hon Members ofParliament are required to avail themselvesof. The first is our rules of procedure,otherwise referred to as the StandingOrders of the House. The second is theConstitution of the Republic. The importance of the two documentsfind expression in the volume, indeed, thesize of the documents. They would tell himwhich one is much more important thanthe other, but it is required, if he wants toregister himself strongly as a goodMember of Parliament, who would registerstrongly in the firmament of this House toperuse not only the Constitution, but forpurposes of transacting business in thisHouse, the Standing Orders of the House. Mr Speaker, without the rules, he wouldnot be a good player, and I know the HonSpeaker would stand by to rule him eitheroff-side or having breached one law or anorder of the House, and that could be aserious embarrassment to him. I know that in many cases when thathas been applied, Hon Members havebecome tongue-tied thereafter, and notable to gather themselves up again toperform. So, it is important that, eventhough it is a very limited time, the HonMember is able to acquit himselfcreditably before us. For the time being, he would berequired to study how business isconducted in the House, perhaps, acouple of weeks -- I do not know howlong we would be staying in the House,with the various signals coming, butcertainly one signal would win the day. Mr Speaker, it is important for him,however long he stays in the Housebefore the conduct of elections, to learnthe rules and learn the rules very fast.There are many people in the House thathe could learn from. On our side, he is supposed to relateto the Hon Minority Chief Whip, Hon DanBotwe, fortunately for him, he is from thesame region. It should not be difficult forthe two of them to get along. As far as the application of the rulesis concerned, I believe watchingproceedings for the time being would doand the persons that I would recommendto him, where he is sitting, let him cast hiseyes across the spectrum of the House,and he would know those to learn goodpractice from. I do not intend to cite names,otherwise, some Hon Members may thinkthat I have not mentioned their names,and they may misinterpret the thinkingbehind the proposal. So, let him watchclosely and with clear eyes, not mistyeyes, those who acquit themselvescreditably in the House, and I believe hewould emerge. I have worked with him. I know hispedigree, but sometimes the rules aredifferent outside. Here in this House, wedeal with truthfulness, not propaganda. Mr Speaker, do I need to repeat that?We deal with truthfulness. Mr Richard Mawuli Quashigah--rose --
Mr Speaker,may I know the role of Hon Quashigah inthis? I know he used to be a formerpropaganda secretary, but for goodreason, that office has been abolished byhis own party, so, he should not thinkthat he is being mentioned in any way, orany innuendo or aspersion is being cast. Mr Speaker, we deal with truthfulnessand not propaganda, so, let him positionhimself to go to the bottom of any issueto avail himself of truthfulness. He needs truthfulness, with that hewould become experienced. He needswisdom as well. With these facilitiesavailable to him, and given his ownpedigree, I believe he would avail himselfand acquit himself creditably at the endof the day. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much forthe opportunity.
Hon Deputy MajorityLeader? Deputy Majority Leader (Mr Alfred K.Agbesi): Mr Speaker, I join my HonColleague in welcoming the new HonMember of Parliament to the House. It is for good reason that today he hasbeen sworn in to become an Hon Memberof Parliament in this House. He has taken
I hope that the HonMember, who is the newest in this House,has carefully listened to the statementsmade by the two Hon Leaders. I only wish to add, by way of advice,that, the Hon Member should rememberthat he is elected to represent all the peopleof Abetifi Constituency -- those whovoted for him and those who votedagainst him. He might even find out that in thecourse of his work, as an Hon Memberof Parliament, those who even votedagainst him, might end up being some ofhis best friends in the constituency. In this House, we agree to disagree. Itis on this note that, on behalf of theHouse, and indeed, on my own behalf, Icongratulate the new Hon Member for hiselection to this Honourable House. [Hear! Hear!] Leadership, what is the position of theHouse? Hon Deputy Majority Leader, when arewe taking item numbered 6 on the OrderPaper?
Mr Speaker, I have beeninformed by my Hon Leader that, thereare some issues to be cleared before item6 - the Constitutional (Amendment)Bill,2015, could be taken. So, we would stand it down fornow.When the issues are cleared, wewould inform the House.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I guess you wanted the Hon MajorityLeader and myself to confer on the matter,but unfortunately, it was not possible forus to have that engagement this morning. I am told that the Hon Majority Leaderhad to be at a Cabinet meeting thismorning. If that is the case, then he maynot be able to avail himself. In that regard,I guess the best thing for us to do is tostand it down for the time being, until suchconsultations have been conducted, thenwe can bring it to the front burner.
Hon Members, this is avery important Bill which deals with theamendment of the fundamental law of thisland. Therefore, it is important for HonMembers to be put on notice of the daythat we will take this Motion so that theycan be in the House to take part in thedebate. It was on the Order Paper yesterdaybut the Hon Majority Leader came to seeme in my office that he would like thematter to be taken today. If today we are Votes and Proceedings and theOfficial Report
Hon Members,Correction of Votes and Proceedings andthe Official Report. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Tuesday, 19th July,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Thursday, 7th July,2016.]
At the Commencementof Public Business -- Hon DeputyMajority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the itemscontained in item numbered 5 are notready to be laid. I would, with your permission, pleadfor us to move to item numbered 10 on theOrder Paper -- the Consideration Stageof the National Disaster ManagementOrganisation Bill, 2015.
Hon Members, Presentationof Papers -- item numbered 5 on the OrderPaper. Item 5(a) (i) -- [Pause]— Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I thoughtthat you made a statement on the floor ofthe House that the Papers are ready.
Mr Speaker, I said thatitem number 5 was not ready.
Very well. Hon Members, what is the position ofthe House with regard to item number 6on the Order Paper?
not taking it, any other day that you wouldwant to take it, let the Business Committeeor the Leadership inform the House so thatafter we have cleared whatever you wouldwant to clear, Hon Members would be puton proper notice as to when the debatewould take place.
Mr Speaker,though I am not supposed to be in chargeof Government Business, I believe that wecould possibly take it tomorrow so we areprepared for that.
I thought you were goingto consult your Hon Colleague opposite.
He is notavailable but certainly, before the close ofday today, I guess we would seeourselves. This is why I said we canprogramme to take it tomorrow.
It is important becausethere are consequences flowing fromwhatever decision this House would takewith regard to the Motion. The earlier thatdecision is taken by the House, the betterfor everybody, the political parties and theElectoral Commission. It is important forus to know when this Motion would betaken so we can all prepare for it. Item number 10 -- National DisasterManagement Organisation Bill, 2015, at theConsideration Stage. Mr First Deputy Speaker to take theChair.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Where is the HonChairman of the Committee on Defence
Mr Speaker,they could have made it clearer becausehow it has been put, is it a one off paymentor a yearly payment? Mr Speaker, that iswhere I would start from. If the intendment of the amendment isfor the DACF when they are bringing theformula to include NADMO, since theformula comes every year, then theamendment should have a connotationfor every year when that formula comes,an allocation should be made to NADMO.That is my first out. Mr Speaker, the second point is that,since we are here, if we go through thisBill, I did not see any fees and chargesbut clause 38 paragraph (b), the secondsource of funding says: which with yourpermmission I quote: “fees and charges accruing to theOrganisation in the performance ofits functions under this Act”. Mr Speaker, I have not seen any ‘feesand charges' anywhere so if they couldpoint that to me or else they should thinkabout it because --
Hon Member forManhyia South, please, we are looking ata particular amendment. If you have anyother concern with clause 38, you canraise it but let us take one issue at a time.
Mr Speaker, I would wantthem to improve the amendment to include“every year of presentation by theCommon Fund an allocation would bemade to NADMO”. Deputy Minister for the Interior (MrJames Agalga)(MP): Mr Speaker, whatwas deferred for further consultation hadto do with the quantum of money thatwould be allocated from the DACF whichis allocated to each district. That was theproblem Hon Members had. and Interior? Hon Chairman, are wemoving to clause 38?
Very well. Have you resolved the issue withregard to clause 38?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Clause 38 -- Sources of money for theFund.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 38, delete paragraph (c) and replaceit with “moneys allocated to theOrganisation from the DistrictAssemblies Common Fund byParliament in accordance with article252 of the Constitution.” Mr Speaker, we will define “Organisation”in the Interpretation. Some Hon Members -- rose --
Hon Members, this isclearer now. We have to subject it to theConstitution. Once they have subjectedit to the Constitution -- Hon Member for Bekwai, let me hearfrom you.
Mr Speaker,yesterday it was made clear that weshould avoid legislating on matters whichthe Constitution has already provided forand that the National DisasterManagement Organisation (NADMO)could submit claims they think theydeserve to the House at the time theHouse is approving the formula. This amendment, if carried, wouldnecessarily require Parliament to makeprovision for it, though Parliament maynot have the power to do so. The Constitution says DistrictAssemblies Common Fund (DACF)(DACF)should be used for a specificpurpose; it is defined clearly. It is onlythe power to make the formula that isgiven to this House. Yesterday there wasclear agreement in that respect. Mr Speaker, whether in agreeing orapproving the formula, we can introducethings which the Constitution has notgiven us the power to, is a major issuewe should look at. I really have a problemwith introducing any Bill here that kind ofreduces what the Constitution hasproposed for the development of theassemblies. Again, Mr Speaker, why should weallocate moneys for the assemblies to acentre in Accra and when there is disasterin the district, they apply to Accra to befunded? The money is intended for theassemblies anyway. Why not keep themoney there for them to and theybudget and plan for disasters? What happens if for a whole year thereis no disaster from a particular area andoften, only a few? Why should a portionof my money which should have come tome stay in Accra when it could have beenused for other things? If it is budgeted forin my district and I could not use it, it isstill there in my district. Mr Speaker, any attempt to circum-scribe the Common Fund by this Bill inany way should be deprecated.
MrSpeaker, I still need some clarification. Isit three per cent from DACF? --[Interruption.] Have you taken that? Allright.
We have done further consultationsand said that, rather than impose somepercentage point, we should now leavethe matter to the discretion of the Housein line with article 252 of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, I do not see how this isunconstitutional. This is because, we arein the process of enacting legislation andwe are saying that there is the need for usto establish a NADMO Fund. What weare looking at is to create a source ofmoney for the Fund.
Have you deleted thethree per cent?
Mr Speaker, that isprecisely the proposed amendment.
Hon Member for Bekwai,that is the reason, I would want my Deputyto take the Chair. The point being made is that they areonly saying a certain percentage. Soeffectively, it is the Common Fund thatwould do the allocation which isconsistent with the position you aretaking.
Mr Speaker, I have aproblem with that because theConstitution says “for development of theassemblies”. Disaster prevention --[interruptions.]
Hon Members, let uslisten to one another. We must agree todisagree. Let us listen to one another, thenwe can respond.
Mr Speaker, DisasterPrevention or Disaster Management Fund,why should it be from the Common Fund?
That is a differentargument. We are now at the Consi-deration Stage, there is an amendment --
It is unconstitutionalto take any money from the Common Fundfor any purpose other than developmentof the --
Hon Member for Bekwai,you have raised a point and I am takingit one by one. The other point youraised was that that percentage, would itgo to the district or national? When wecome to the formula, then we would decidewhether whatever is taken would remainin the district or go to the national. Thatwould be consistent, so, that is the pointthat you are making. That is why they arebringing this amendment and subjectingit to article 252 which takes precedenceover this Act.
Mr Speaker, thechallenge here is that this part is dealingwith a National Disaster Fund. That Fundwould not sit at that district but elsewhere.
Hon Deputy Minister,where would the Fund sit?
Mr Speaker, I am surethe Fund would sit in the headquarters --
Hon Member for Bekwai,take your seat. You have made your point.
Mr Speaker, the Fund isthe National Disaster Management Fund.It is important to state that the Bill makesprovision for the organisation to bedecentralised to the extent that at thelowest level, the District Chief Executivewho is also the head of Local Governmentat the district level, would chair the DistrictDisaster Management Committee. So, when decisions are taken at thatlevel, once the fund is available, they can
Hon DeputyMinister, are you up on a point of order?Let us hear you.
Mr Speaker, we haveproposed an amendment which wouldcompletely move away from the three percent that had been envisaged earlier. Sothere is a proposed amendment whichdoes not talk about three per cent now.The Hon Member is taking us back, withall due respect.
Mr Speaker, I amnot taking anybody back. It is the purposefor which this money is going to be put.We believe that there is ContingencyFund that, they can draw from. As for theCommon Fund, it is supposed to go tothe districts. Already, NADMO has beenfunded by Central Government. Why nowtake money from the grassroots and bringto the centre? I believe that is the argument we madehere, that, if the Common Fund reallybelieves that this time we need to makeprovision for NADMO, they would makethose provisions. But we should not usethe law to force us to put it in the formula.Otherwise it would be like the SocialDevelopment Fund that Prof. Atta Millsintroduced. We are virtually puttingtogether 30 percent of the Common Fundfor other projects, but we are doing sowithin the context of the formula. In this way, when we put it in the law,what we are virtually going to do is thatwe are going to be forced to put three percent in for NADMO which I believe iswrong. This is because, policy mightchange. To start with, the assemblies areeven complaining that they are not gettingenough of the money -- rely on it to prevent or mitigate disaster.So, it does not matter where the fundwould be lodged. Even if it is lodged atthe national, once the organisation isdecentralised and the decentralised natureof the organisation is --
The point he is making isthat if throughout the year, there is nodisaster in his constituency, then hisshare of the Common Fund as a districtwould be somewhere. That is one of thearguments that he is making.
Mr Speaker, nobody praysfor disaster to occur. We must be fullyprepared when disaster occurs to respondappropriately. If he is saying that,assuming disaster does not occur, whyshould his fund be allocated for disastermanagement, it presupposes that, wemust wait and when disaster strikes,before we start looking for funds tomanage it. That approach is not proper. We need to have a fund sittingsomewhere that we can rely on whendisaster occurs. That way it can be saidthat we are fully prepared to prevent andeven mitigate it. It is important.
MrSpeaker, I believe yesterday when we weretrying to resolve the problem, the ideawas to leave it for the formula to take careof it when it is needed. Currently, we arevirtually using this as a backdoorarrangement to force the hand ofParliament to make provision for three percent for national disaster. I believe it iswrong. This is because the purpose --[interruptions] Let me finish.
MrSpeaker, I believe strongly that, there isthe need for clarity. This is because, theHon Minister said, where the fundswould be lodged is neither here nor there.It is important that we specifically knowwhether it would be monies that would belodged at the national or district level. Andif it is at the national level, it wouldobviously conflict with what is in theBill. This is because, it says and MrSpeaker, with your indulgence I read; “(c) three per cent of the share ofthe District Assemblies CommonFund…”. [Interruptions.] Whatever percentage, will be for eachDistrict Assembly. “…for each District Assembly;” If it is for each district assembly, wouldthat presuppose that, it would be lodgedat the district level? This is because allthe assemblies would not have the sameamount no matter the percentage youtake. The Common Fund that goes to KetaMunicipality, differs from what goes toKetu District Assembly. So if it is threeper cent across board, then it means that --[Interruption.] I am only using that --Why should I not use it? That is what wehave now. We have not come up with anew percentage. Whatever percentage that would bearrived at, at the end of the day, we mustbe very clear where it is going to belodged at. This is because, if it is at thedistrict level, there would be disparitiesand I believe that is where the Hon DeputyMinister needs to clarify before we evenmove forward.
HonMember, the question of three per centhas been abandoned.
But they are usingthis one to force us to make provision forthem.
Yes, notnecessarily three per cent.
Not necessarilythree per cent but it is still the same thing.Even this one is more dangerous. One daythey would come and say that because itis in, give us 10 per cent. This is evenmore dangerous and I believe that --
HonMember, let us not forget --
I would alsopropose an amendment that --
HonMember, please hold your breath. Let usnot forget that when these disastersoccur, it is the assemblies that bear thebrunt. That is the reality on the ground.
Mr Speaker, so thatis the issue we are raising here. Whyshould the assembly that would bear thebrunt anyway, its major source of revenuebe taken and held in Accra. Then whenthere is disaster, they would apply to beprovided with part of their own money.That is what the creation of the Fund andits management is going to put at the headoffice and council and so on. If it is my money allocated to me fordevelopment -- you can maintain by lawthat, each assembly should reserve aportion of its Common Fund for disastermanagement and that would beappropriate within the assemblies. But forme to take the money, put it in Accra andwhen I have a disaster, apply to Accra for
Very well. Let us hear from the Hon DeputyMinister.
Mr Speaker, in practice, theNADMO has never encountered aproblem with the appropriate quarterswhere its funds should be lodged. Theproblem it has encountered over the entireperiod that it has existed is fundingchallenges. So, we identified the establishment ofa NADMO Fund to deal with the fundinggaps. Mr Speaker, the NADMO isdecentralised and it is important to stressthat it is an integral part of the districtassemblies. Each and every district in thecountry has a coordinator who is a headof department under the districtassembly's concept. So, when we beginto talk about district assemblies it is as ifthe NADMO is separate from theassemblies. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose --
HonMinority Leader, are you up on a Point ofOrder?
Mr Speaker,I am just seeking further information fromthe Hon Deputy Minister. Mr Speaker, he talked aboutdecentralising the NADMO. Is the funditself going to be decentralised as well?
HonMember, that is one of the issues that weare talking about now. As he said, thereare district managers or directors ofNADMO at every assembly.
Mr Speaker,that is taken as a giving but is the Fundgoing to be decentralised? I believe thereis some uncertainly about that, so if theHon Deputy Minister could respond tothat.
Yes, HonDeputy Minister, can you clarify thatsituation? What is it about the funding?
Mr Speaker, what we wouldwant to do is to have the Fund managedat the national level so that we canproperly account for the management ofthe Fund. If we look at the Bill, there are elaborateprovisions from accountability --
HonMembers, I would wish to direct that wedefer further consideration of thisproposed amendment for the Committeeand Hon Members to do some form ofwinnowing and come out with somethingmore acceptable to this House.
Mr Speaker,if I may, the Hon Deputy Minister had someconsultations with me and I thought thatif we left it to Parliament to determine inthe formula how the Fund should betransmitted from the Assembly's CommonFund, we could agree on some arrange-ments. I appreciate the issue raised by theHon Member for Bekwai. Indeed, it hadnot crossed my mind earlier, but I believeit is a very germane issue. The Constitution provides for theallocation of resources pursuant to theconcept of decentralisation that resourcesshould be transferred from the central levelto the district assembly level for theconduct of specific activities. Mr Speaker, I agree with the HonDeputy Minister that, the prevention andmanagement of disaster would situate wellwithin the transaction of activities by the Committee to go back -- I would pleadwith Hon Members who have raised someof these issues to be part of thewinnowing process when the time comesup, so that they can at that level, resolveall these issues and when we come backto plenary, it would be a straightforwardthing.
Mr Speaker, I rose whileMr Speaker was in the Chair, to bring tohis attention and for that matter the HonChairman and the Hon Deputy Minister,that in considering the source of moneyto the fund, since one subclause has beenstepped down -- there was another issueof subclause (b), and Mr Speaker, I beg toquote: “fees and charges accruing to theOrganisation in the performance ofits functions under this Act”. Mr Speaker, they should think throughcarefully and point -- I went through theBill but I have not seen anywhere thereare “fees and charges” to be paid for that.They would have to state it so that, wewould get to know and see if it isappropriate. Mr Speaker, I am just drawing theirattention to it.
Mr Speaker, I would onlywant the Hon Deputy Minister and theCommittee to take into account that thisis about the third time we are deferringthis clause. So, as they go back, theyshould do wider consultation so thatwhen they come, we would be able to takeit -- Particularly, the concern raised byour Hon Colleague on the other side. Mr Speaker, with the fund that theywould want to establish and the moneythat would go into it, if it is the DistrictAssemblies Common Fund that goes intothat Fund, then its usage is very important. In view of the fact that the Constitutionsays; it should be funds meant fordevelopment and if it is a fund meant fordevelopment at the lower level and it wouldgo and stand there without being used,developments would suffer. So, they should consider these thingswhiles they come back.
Let us hearfrom the Hon Deputy Minister. And as Ihave directed, we would defer furtherconsideration. Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior,it is important that we look at all theseconcerns that have been raised. Themoney originally is meant for develop-ment and now we are talking aboutdisaster management. It is not as if we arewhittling down the importance of disastermanagement. The other issue has also been raised,that if one's contribution goes into thenational coffers and there is no disasterin one's district for that particular year,what happens to that contribution that hasgone up there? These are some issues Iwould like you to address.
Mr Speaker, in thecircumstances, we would crave yourindulgence and stand down clause 38 forfurther consultations whiles we deal withthe other clauses. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance wanted to make someintervention in relation to the “fees andcharges” that the Hon Member forManhyia South raised.
Mr Speaker, I just wantedto draw the House's attention to the factthat, this very clause talks of the sourcesof money for the fund. Mr Speaker, the subclause (b) talksabout the fees and charges accruing tothe Organisation in the performance of itsfunction under this Act. Mr Speaker, we would recognise thatwe have Fees and Charges Act which wasbrought to this House by the Ministry ofFinance. Mr Speaker, often times, it is the HonMinister for Finance who submits aproposal to charge fees under certain Actslike this. I believe that, this one is notimposing a fee or charge but rather makinga provision that; should we, in future bringbefore this House, Fees and Charges,then, they would be able to pay thatmoney into this Fund for expenditurepurposes.
Very well. Hon Members, I do not want us tocontinue with this debate. I have directedthat, we defer further consideration ofclause 38 until the committee has lookedat all the concerns raised and gets back tous. So shall we move on? Hon Chairman of the Committee, do wemove on straight to clause 49?
Mr Speaker, someconcerns were raised on clause 44 whenwe said, and I beg to quote: “The Organisation is exempt fromthe payment of taxes, duties andlevies.”
“The Organisation is exempt fromtaxes, duties and levies in relationto specific disaster and emergencyresponse items listed as; donationsand gifts.” various assemblies pursuant to a muchcoordinated development agenda for thedistrict. But the issue then arises, that if adistrict's allocation is not utilised becausethere was no disaster, how is it to beapplied? Is it going to be applied by otherdistricts that would have suffered disaster,or what? I believe that is at the heart ofthe question raised by the Hon Member. We need to be very clear in our mindsabout that -- on whether maybe, goingforward, if it is possible that allocationswould be made on whatever percentagethat Parliament agrees on would be madeby each assembly. But, maybe, if we hit acertain ceiling as not applied, then it couldtip off back to the assembly for utilisation.Is it possible to consider it that way? It is something that we should engageour attention on. This is because,allocations made to the Assemblies aresupposed to be applied at the level of theAssemblies and not back to the centre.Otherwise, the concept of decentralisationwould be defeated. So, we must think through it well andsee whether we can agree with thedetermination of the formula.Whetherperhaps we would agree that yes, weshould re-fence this for the district, but ifit tips over a certain level, then maybe, itgoes back to the various assemblies inorder to help or facilitate development atthe districts. It is something that should engage theattention of the Committee.
These arepossibilities that can be considered by theCommittee. That is why I feel that, weshould defer consideration, get the
Mr Speaker, no. That isan amendment.
Mr Speaker, yes.
HonChairman, can you proceed?
Mr Speaker that was theamendment that we proposed to replaceof the clause 44, and that is: “The Organisation is exempt fromtaxes, duties and levies in relationto specific disaster and emergencyresponse items listed as; donationsand gifts”.
Well, HonMembers, I do not know — We are not intoo much of a hurry. This is because weare deferring some clauses, can we notget this properly advertised so that wewould think through it and make thenecessary contributions?
Mr Speaker, I was going tosay the same thing; that they should goand get it properly made, so that wecould follow the debate. Once we aredeferring clause 38, we should do same tothis one so that everything would be inplace when they come back — [Pause.]
HonMembers, I have been instructed that,from the records, indeed, the Questionwas put on clause 44 and it was agreedthat it should be part of the Bill. If theCommittee feels that there is the need torevisit it, it could be done at the SecondConsideration Stage. But for now, let usconcern ourselves with clauses 45 to 48which were deferred — From the Votes and Proceedings, these were deferred.Noamendments were advertised. So, Hon Members of the Committee,what do you say to these clauses; clauses45 to 48? They were deferred.
Mr Speaker, it isunfortunate that we have alreadyaccepted clause 44 — [Interruption.] MrSpeaker, my understanding is that, it wasnot accepted but rather abandoned. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Financewould object to clause 44 as it has beenvery much —
Which oneare you specifically talking about?
Mr Speaker, clause 44, theone relating to tax exemptions. Mr Speaker, we have reservationsagainst it.
So, shouldit be abandoned?
Mr Speaker, yes. It shouldbe abandoned. Mr Speaker, if I am given theopportunity, I would explain why wehave —
HonMember, even if it is abandoned, it couldbe revisited at the Second ConsiderationStage if the need arises. So for now, weshould take it that it is not being pursuednow, otherwise, we would go back andtake a second look at it. If it is necessary,we would look at it at a SecondConsideration Stage. But for now, we arelooking at clauses 45 to 48. Are there any—
Mr Speaker,it is interesting the zeal with which theHon Deputy Minister for Finance ispursuing the project against clause 44. Ithought this has been taken at the level of or the Chief Executive of the Department.It is wrong and that is the point that Iraised even though we had gone beyondit. I proposed that, msybr the Committeeshould have a second look at that, whichis what the Presiding Officer, the HonSecond Deputy Speaker then said weshould stand clauses, 45, 46 and 47 down,subject to that reconsideration at the levelof the Committee and not really a SecondConsideration Stage. And that was thedirective that came from the Chair. It wasbecause of the construction. I believe it isnot good enough.
HonMembers, can we hear from the committeeor the Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, the problemwe had was with the use of the phrase,“the Chief Executive of each Departmentor Agency”. Mr Speaker, the sense of the Housewas that, Departments or Agencies maynot be necessarily headed by ChiefExecutives and so we should delete “ChiefExecutives” and replace same with,“Heads” But Mr Speaker, in relation to theMinistries, generally, we did not have aproblem with the Chief Director takingresponsibility for the preparation of thedisaster management plan. So, we had theproposed amendment which is to delete‘Chief Executive' and replace same with‘head' to cure that problem where certaindepartments or agencies may not benecessarily headed by a Chief ExecutiveOfficer. Sometimes, the designation is different.We can have the Executive Secretary orsome other terminology which describesthe head of that particular agency. Cabinet, and there has been generalagreement that this should be the way itshould be. Mr Speaker, however, in the wisdom ofParliament, we believe there is a problemand we have to sniff it in a way to ensurethat there are no breaches, and thatrelevant tax is paid as and when it is due.I believe that should be the object of theHouse. But the spirited attempt by theHon Deputy Minister to indicate that theMinistry of Finance objects to it, cannotbe. This certainly would have had approvalfrom Cabinet before it came to Parliament.And I am surprised at the demeanour ofthe Hon Deputy Minister for Finance inthis matter. But Mr Speaker, I believe the rulingthat you gave is really a good one and wewould have to look at it. Mr Speaker, having said so, with clause45, I raised the issue that, we cannothave the responsibility dualised in themanner it has been captured. Clause 45(1) provides, and I beg to quote: “The Chief Director of each Ministryor the Chief Executive of eachDepartment or Agency shall ensurethat a disaster management plan isprepared…” Mr Speaker, my insistence was that,that responsibility could not be dualisedas the clause 45(1) provides. It cannot betaken as it has been captured in clause45(1). It is totally wrong. Mr Speaker, responsibility should beassigned to a specific person and itshould not be dualised; it should not beeither the Chief Director of the Ministry
So, HonMember, do I understand that you areproposing an amendment to clause 45,although no amendment has beenadvertised?
That is so, Mr Speaker.
Then canyou -- Yes?
Mr Speaker,the submission from the Hon DeputyMinister seems to cure just one aspect ofthe subsection. The Hon Deputy Minister for theInterior would agree with me that, inconferring responsibility or jurisdiction,it must be expressly done. It cannot bedualled. That is the issue I am raising, thatquite apart from the issue of the headshipthat he is articulating about propernomenclature to use, which cures whathe is proposing in respect of the use of“Chief Executive”. But the other issue which is much morefundamental is, whom jurisdiction isconferred on. It cannot be dualled the wayit is being expressed. That is the issue Iam raising. It must be on the shoulders ofa particular officer at any level and noteither or.
HonMinority Leader, I understand the pointthat you are making. But let me find out:do not the various Ministries andDepartments all have Chief Directors?
Mr Speaker, they do.
EveryMinistry has a Chief Director.Administratively, the other heads ofdepartment come under the Chief Director. Is that not right? So, if we give theresponsibility to the Chief Director, wouldwe not have taken care of everything?
Very well, Mr Speaker. But the only problem we would have isthat, there are some agencies of Statewhich do not come under the Ministries.[Interruption.] So, Agencies like the Export PromotionAuthority, et cetera. Some of them comedirectly under the Office of the President.
But in theOffice of the President, do we not have aChief Director? [Pause.] Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I understandthe point and would then propose thatwe delete, ‘or the Chief Executive of eachDepartment or Agency' and just leave itto read, ‘the Chief Director of eachMinistry', if that would cure the problem.
HonMembers, if by this type of rendition weare not leaving out any particularinstitution -- Then we have a problem. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, yes, bythat phraseology, we would. Now, there is a new term that I do notknow whether it has been legislated onyet. But if we use the term, ‘Chief SpendingOfficer', it covers everybody. The Ministries and Departments haveChief Directors. The Hon Minority Leadersays no, but that is it. Chief Spending Officercovers every agency. [Interruption.] Yes,please!
Mr Speaker, in respectof preparation of disaster plans, whatabout the Head of Administration? Inevery Ministry, Department and Agency(MDA), they have the Head ofAdministration, and we are charging thatperson to be the one responsible. Why is‘Principal Spending Officer' better than‘Head of Administration'?
It is because, we aredealing with regulations. When you takethe FAA, in every institution, one caneither be the Chief Director, ChiefExecutive or any other Officer, but the termused is the “Principal Spending Officer,”and that is accurate for everybody.
Well, HonMembers, I -- [Interruption.] Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker,the Hon Member for Salaga Southmentioned the FAA. If he could be morespecific on the actual provision, then itcan help this House. But just saying theFAA, is just too broad and nobody knowsexactly what he is talking about. So, ifhe could narrow it down. Mr Speaker, it is even being repealed.Last time, the Finance Committee and itis being amended under the PublicFinance Management Bill that would cometo this House very soon. So, he should be specific. Again, thatBill is also being amended currently toconsolidate it into the Public FinanceManagement Act. So, he has not helpedthe House in any way.
Very well. Hon Members, pardon me if I am ratherlay about some of these things, but doeswhat Hon Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakarispoke about cover, for example,Coordinating Directors who are notChief Directors, as we have at the DistrictAssembly level? It is like that in the Public FinanceManagement (PFM) that would cover --So, if we go to the Ghana NationalPetroleum Company (GNPC), there is aChief Spending Officer. If we go to GhanaRevenue Authority, the Chief ExecutiveOfficer is the Chief Spending Officer. The term “Chief Spending Officer”covers every institution. So, it would besufficient.
HonMember for Old Tafo, I would want to aska question. Does this Chief Spending Officer haveany legal basis?
Mr Speaker, the Houseis currently considering the PFM and --[Interruption.] -- Oh, it is not inanticipation. It has been laid before theHouse. We had these similar challenges,so, it has been coined to ensure that itcovers every institution. Now, yes, we are anticipating it but ifwe do not want to go there, we can alsosay, ‘the Head of Administration', whichwould amount to the same thing. But thetechnical term, I think would be better.
Yes, HonAlhaji Dey?
Yes, MrSpeaker, I quite agree with him but in theFinancial Administration Act (FAA), it isthe Principal Spending Officer of everyinstitution and not the Chief SpendingOfficer. That is what is used in theFinancial Administration Act. That wouldbe more consistent than the ChiefSpending Officer.
HonMembers, can we take a close look at theFAA that he is referring to, to seespecifically the kind of provision whichhas been made there and if it answers theconcerns we are raising, then we can --Are you saying, it is being amended, butdo we have to wait for the amendment?Does the amendment cover this particularexpression we are talking about?
Mr Speaker, that was why Iwanted the Hon Member to be specific. The amendment currently before theCommittee on Finance seeks toconsolidate all enactments that deal withour public financial administration system.The Financial Administration Act, theInternal Audit Act, the Public ProcurementAct and all that, are part of the Acts thatcheck and make sure that our financialadministration system in the public serviceis well checked. Mr Speaker, it is currently beingamended; but if he helps this House withthe specific provision, then we can knowwhether or not it is part of the amendmentcurrently before the Committee. If it is, there is no need to reinstate thatold provision, which stands to beamended in the near future. That is myinput, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Hon Members, may we defer furtherconsideration of clause 45?
Mr Speaker,I think that alongside clause 45, thedirective from the Chair yesterday was tostep down clauses 45 to 47 for furtherconsideration by the Committee. I thinkthat was well taken.
HonMinority Leader, which clauses?
Mr Speaker,clause 45, 46 and 47. This is because the three clauses sufferthe same affliction. We are talking aboutthe Regional Director and the DistrictDirector; duplication of responsibilities. Mr Speaker, also in clause 47, “(1) TheCouncil may authorise designated officers…” Who is the designated officer? Is itthe officer or agent of the organisation? Mr Speaker, that is why from clauses45 to 47, we said that we should step themdown for the Committee to have areconsideration. I think they are capableof doing that. We are getting somewhere. I guess we should just allow theCommittee to maybe invite other people,sit down and have a rethink. This isbecause I agree with the Chair that weshould tread cautiously, and not really bein a hurry to do the wrong thing. So, we would stop the debate here andgo to another Bill, subject to yourapproval.
Very well. Hon Members, but for that, we couldcontinue with clause 49 and so on, whilewe defer those ones before it. That is, ifwe can make some progress there.
Mr Speaker, very well. Clause 49 -- Compensation for damageto property.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 49, subclause (1), lines 4 and 5,delete “to the person or to the public orprivate institution.” Mr Speaker, the rationale is that theprovision is superfluous. This is becauseit is already mentioned in the Bill, wherewe say: “Where an officer, agent orvolunteer of the Organisation, in thedischarge of duty under this Act,damages the movable or immovableproperty of a person or of a public ora private institution, the Organisationshall pay compensation to theperson…” Mr Speaker, that is repetitive. So, weare saying, “shall pay compensation”.
Mr Speaker,I do not see the reason for the deletion.This is what we have been doing, or thestyle we have adopted. So, I guess what ought to be donethere is rather the deletion of the word“the” in line 4, and the insertion of theword, “that”. This is so that it would read: So, if the Hon Deputy Minister may,we can step the three clauses down --clause 45, 46 and 47.
Mr Speaker, I am not toosure about clauses 46 and 47. This isbecause clause 46 simply talks about theestablishment of a register, and clause 47talks about the powers of authorisedofficers. Mr Speaker, the contentious one wasclause 48. Even then, we have a proposalwhich is to abandon clause 48(1), andretain subclause (2), which would nowbecome subclause (1). Then we wouldchange the headnote by deleting“immunity and”.
Hon DeputyMinister, I agree with you perfectly. Hon Deputy Minister, but this morning,you have not advertised clauses 46 to 48.Although by the Votes and Proceedings,these clauses were deferred. So, I would have expected that youeither have some amendments to them thatyou would advertise, or you do not haveany amendments to them and then we putthe Question. So, let us be clear in our minds. Mr Agbesi -- rose --
Hon DeputyMajority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I think this isthe appropriate time for us to look at otherpending Bills. This is because from thelook of things, the Committee must go andclean everything and bring it back toplenary.
Mr Speaker,once again, let me indicate that, I havebeen away in eternity, so I do not knowwhat has been done in respect ofamendments proposed. Mr Speaker, but I have noticed that wehave used the word, “Organisation”. Iwould want to believe that, it refers to theNational Disaster ManagementOrganisation. If it does, then “Organisation” must beinterpreted to mean “National DisasterManagement Organisation”. If it has notbeen done, then it must be done.
Mr Speaker, it is indeedtrue that we ought to define “Organisation”to mean “National Disaster ManagementOrganisation” but we have proposed todo that when we get to the Interpretationclause which is clause 56. So, we wouldtake note of the Hon Minority Leader'sproposal.
Very well.Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, the amend-ment in clause 49 (2) (b) used the words“without a permit.” Mr Speaker, I rise onthis point because there are a lot of peoplewho have built without permits notbecause of their faults but in certain “Where an officer, agent orvolunteer of the Organisation in thedischarge of duty under this Actdamages the movable or immovableproperty of a person, public orprivate institution, the Organisationshall pay compensation to thatperson, public or private institution”. Mr Speaker, that is the drafting stylethat we have adopted. So, I am not sure itis necessary to call for a deletion.
HonChairman of the Committee, do you agreewith him?
Mr Speaker, I think that isalso agreeable. This is because it thengives it some substance, so that atcompensation, we do not leave it as --
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 49, subclause (2), line 2, delete “ata prohibited area” and insert thefollowing: “(a) at a prohibited area; or (b) without a permit”.
“(2) The compensation referred toin subsection (1) does not applyto a person who builds at aprohibited area”.
“(a) at a prohibited area; or circumstances due to the fault of the localauthority. There are a lot of people andthis clause, if accepted, would affect a lotof people. It is unfortunate --
Mr Speaker, I think itis obvious that by law we are all supposedto build with permits and so it is illegal foranybody to build any structure withoutpermit. So, we cannot say that there are alot of people, who have built structureswithout permit and for which reason weshould, as it were, amend the proposedamendment. Mr Speaker, it stands obviousthat if one does not have permit then onehas committed an illegality. That is itand that is the law. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, it is true thatwe have to build with permit and it is truethat if one builds without a permit thenone has committed an illegality -- MrSpeaker, like I keep saying, there arebuildings which were in existence withoutpermit and we would have to take thoseinto consideration. In fact, there arebuildings before I was born which haveno permit and I think that we should takethose into consideration.
Are yousaying that the number of years thereforeelevates it into a legal structure?
Mr Speaker, yes, thoseones for many years without permit.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the point isthat even it is in those areas that we wouldhave such disasters -- many people aregoing to be affected by this process. Mr Speaker, we should take a secondlook at that amendment. Mr Agalga -- rose -- Mr Osei-Owusu -- rose --
I wouldlet you have the last bite but let us hearfrom --
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, one thing that weshould bear in mind in discussing thisamendment is that firstly, there is roomfor persons who apply formally for apermit and after three months, if there isno refusal, to proceed. So, we should makea distinction between those persons whohave formally applied from those whomade no application at all. That is the firstissue. Secondly, this law, if passed, isprospective; it cannot be retroactive. So,it would apply to development of propertysubsequent to the passage of this Act.So, there is no reason to make a case forwhat has happened in the past. There areother legal processes for dealing with thatcase. Mr Speaker, but we should notencourage a situation where people wouldmake excuses at all -- that because ofdistrict assembly failure of this or that --Mr Speaker, because there would alwaysbe challenges which we must overcome.The district assemblies rule themselves.The Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill,2016 that we passed last week all haveregulations for dealing with thosechallenges. So, when people refuse or fail to u sethe law to ...... proper thing and they goon their own and make excuses, then wewould never have room to implement thethings about which we need to preventmismanagement and disaster management. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonMembers, could we take a second look atthe amendment you are proposing vis-à-vis the original rendition in the Bill? TheBill just talks about the fact that onewould not be entitled to compensation ifone has built in a prohibited area;whether one has a permit or one doesnot have a permit. Now, we are introducing an amendmentwhich would make a distinction and weare having problems -- you have built ina prohibited area or without a permit.
Mr Speaker, I think that ifone has a prohibited area then oneshould not build at all, but one couldhave a building without permit that couldcreate a problem and lead to a disaster.And if one does not have the permit thenthere is a problem with it. So, I do not see the contention in thisat all.
Mr Speaker, my point isthat, there are other State institutionscharged with the responsibility ofensuring that, people do not build withoutpermits. That function is vested in thedistrict assemblies -- local governmentresponsibility. For the purposes of effectivemanagement of disaster, we are saying thatwhen one builds in waterways, inprohibited areas, zoned as such, thenthere is the likelihood that one's conduct approval from the planning authority aswell as also constructing without permit?
What aboutthe situation where somebody builds in aprohibited area, but surreptitiously is ableto get a permit to back what he has put upthere? These things do happen. They arereal. A person might build in a prohibitedarea, but would have a permit. Whathappens to that?
Mr Speaker, that is why Iam saying that, if a person builds in aprohibited area with a permit, then thatmeans somebody has been negligent inhis job. Therefore, if it is a prohibited areaand there is an emergency -- We are talking about compensation.We are not talking about anything. It isabout compensation. What we are sayingis that, if a person has built in a prohibitedarea, he has broken the law, even if he hasthe permit. This is because, somebodyhas been negligent. It is a prohibited area,somebody has been negligent. Wecannot pay for somebody's negligence. Ido not think there is any contention here.
Yes, HonMinority Leader? Sorry, I gave you theopportunity after him. Please, let me listento him and I would come to you.
If the Hon Chairman saysa person builds in a prohibited area andsomebody was negligent, should I bepunished for somebody's negligence? Mr Speaker, in 1963, there were a lot ofpeople who built in South Tongu. In theconstruction of the Akosombo Dam, alltheir houses were destroyed. They hadpermits, but they were not compensated.If this law goes into effect and a similarthing happens, is he saying that people
Mr Speaker, Hon DeputyMajority Leader's concerns have evenbeen catered for by the phrase “prohibitedarea”. So, here, we are not talking aboutthose who build without permits per sebut those who do so at a prohibited area.Mr Speaker, because our concern here ishow to effectively deal with disastersituations; actions that could result indisaster. If an area has been zoned as aprohibited area for building and you goand build there -- This is because if thearea is prohibited, then first of all, youwould not even be granted a permit to putup a structure at the prohibited area.
Mr Speaker, theproposed amendment by the HonChairman is talking about two scenarios: “ (a) building at a prohibited area; or (b) without a permit”. So, it covers two different scenarios;one could be building in a prohibited areaand one could be building without apermit, not necessarily in a prohibitedarea. One could build without a permit inan area which is not prohibited. I believe the Hon Deputy Minister wasmisleading the House.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I concur withmy Hon Colleague. The issue is that, weare talking about the rule of law -- If onedoes not have the permit, then onecannot build. That is the way we shouldgo because, if we are seen to encouragethat kind of indiscipline which has causeddisasters throughout the country, then weshould not be here. So, if we say; “withouta permit”, let us stick to it. could occasion the occurrence of adisaster. So, our emphasis should be onthe prohibited area rather than sway intoareas that have already been catered forby other legislations. Mr Quashigah -- rose --
Mr Speaker, what weare arguing about is compensation in asituation, where disaster officers, in theprocess of carrying out their duties,damage movable or immovable properties. Mr Speaker, if in carrying out theirduties, a movable property gets damagedand the person has built without permit,whether they took permit from a planningofficer or not, is neither here nor there.The person has broken the law. The lawsays a person must have permit. So, ifone does not have permit, I believe he isnot entitled to any compensation. Whydo we have to burden the NADMO withcompensation to people who have brokenthe law? In my opinion, the Hon DeputyMinister should rather be arguing in thisvein rather than arguing that, even ifpeople build in areas that are notprohibited and they do not have permits,they should be compensated. Then, wewould deplete the fund that we areintending to create.
Mr Speaker, in my opinion,if we are to take a hint from the HonChairman, could we change “or” to “and”so that the two things are present for theperson to be denied compensationbecause that person does not have the
Very well. So, if I understand you, you are sayingthat, whether it is in a prohibited area ornot, if a person does not have a permit, heis out. If it is a prohibited area, the personis also out. Is that right. Are we ad idem?
Mr Speaker,in support of the amendment proposedby the Hon Chairman of the Committee, ifa person builds in a prohibited area, oneof two things would have occurred. Aperson may have a permit, properly so-called. Now, if a person is issued with a permitto build in a prohibited area, the area wouldhave been re-zoned. The re-zoning wouldno longer make that place prohibited.Occasionally, we have people goingbehind the curtain, issuing permits forpeople to build. In that case, they wouldhave built in a prohibited area without aproper permit, maybe a fake permit. Andthat person ought to be punished in muchthe same way as the person who gave theauthorisation. So, Mr Speaker, in either of them, aperson is culpable and does not stand toreap from any compensation. And so, Iagree fully with the proposal put forwardby the Committee.
Yes, HonMembers, I would put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, I would put the Question withregard to clause 49 as variously amendedstanding part of the Bill. Clause 49 as variously amendedordered to stand part of the Bill. who are in a whole area or a district, whothrough no fault of theirs, there is aconstruction, like the Akosombo Damand it overflows its banks and the wholearea is flooded, they would not be givenany compensation as it happened in theyear 1963? Mr Speaker, this clause is so importantand we have to look at it again.
MrSpeaker, the example given by the HonDeputy Majority Leader is different.When a dam is about to be constructed,studies would show you which areaswould be flooded. Under normalcircumstances, those areas might nothave been flooding, but because of thedam those areas would be flooded. Thatis a completely different issue that couldbe catered for and there is always thedetermination of who gets compensationbased on the feasibility. So, that cannotbe the issue. The truth is that, if we do not make it alaw, that once a person does not havebuilding permission and he builds, it isillegal, then people would find ways ofgoing round it. In my opinion, it is assimple as this. If a person does not havebuilding permission and he builds, if thebuilding gets removed, he does not getany entitlement of compensation at all. Itshould be as simple as that. If we begin to pick and choose, thenthere is the opportunity for somebody tosay, all right, he built at a time this law wasnot in existence. It is a very simple thing.Let us outlaw anybody who buildswithout permission, it is an illegality inthe country. That is the only way we couldsolve this.
Clause 50,Hon Members, the Hon Second DeputySpeaker to take the Chair. Clause 50 -- Request for information.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?[Pause.] Yes,let us hear you, Hon Chairman of theCommittee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 50 subclause (1), add the followingnew paragraph: “(a) an individual”. Mr Speaker, the rationale is to providefor the organisation to be able to requestfor information from an individual, as wellas the other bodies indicated.
Mr Speaker,the clause 50 is sequel to clause 49. Andclause 49 specifically mentions dealingwith movable or immovable property of aperson or public or private institution. Mr Speaker, earlier, we have dealt withthe Ministries, Departments and Agenciesand in my opinion, we should borrow thesame language from clause 49. It shouldbe “a person” and not “an individual”.
Mr Speaker, I do not haveany argument with that, so there isconformity.
Very well.Let us go back to clause 49. Question put and amendment agreedto.
So, I wouldcome back to clause 49, as variouslyamended standing part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker,what we are dealing with is clause 50, thejustification for the further amendment Ipredicated on clause 49, so it is still clause50.
Very well.Then I would put the Question with regardto the proposed amendment and itsfurther amendment.
Mr Speaker, I believe theword “individual” has not just been used.We know the meaning of “a person” inlaw, it is not only the natural person, butit also refers to artificial persons. But if welook at the list under clause 50 (1), the“individual” is more distinct than the useof “a person” that is referring to a naturalperson.
HonMinority Leader, how do you respond tohis proposal?
Mr Speaker,I am just looking at the reconciliationbetween clause 50 and clause 49. Clause49 uses the terminology, “a person” andclause 50 flows from that. That is the onlyreason I am suggesting that, for thepurposes of consistency, we should lookat the language in clause 49.
Mr Speaker, I think “aperson” is a better rendition because “aperson” here could refer to an individualas well as a corporate body. So, that isfine.
HonMembers, we have already put theQuestion and the ayes had it. Hon Members, the Second DeputySpeaker takes the Chair.
Mr Speaker,the issue I am raising is that clause 51provides: “(1) A person shall not: (a) obstruct … Mr Speaker, indeed, the head note is“Obstruction of officer or agent of theOrganisation” and it deals with obstructionscaused by a person. Now, clause 49 deals with compensationand I am saying that, we have provided adistinction between a person, a private orpublic institution and if I may, theMinistries, Departments and Agencies.But here, when we are dealing withobstruction, we are narrowing it down toa person. I am saying that unless the useof the word “a person” here is beingapplied in its generic form, it may not coverthe other bodies that we have listed, all ofwhich are also capable of obstruction.That is the issue that I am raising.
So, HonMinority Leader, you are saying that apublic institution can be guilty or involvedin obstruction and a private institutionalso can be involved in obstruction as wellas a person. So, when they are providingfor the causation of obstruction, theyshould take into account both the privateperson and the public person and shouldnot restrict it only to the person.
Mr Speaker,precisely. But the picture is confusingwhen we go to clauses 49 and 50, whichwe have just dealt with. That was why Isaid that, we should be cautious what wemean by “a person” under clause 51.
Mr Speaker, I think underclause 51, the reason “a person” is beingused is that, they are creating a criminaloffence and this is normally the languageused when criminalising an act oromission.
I agreewith you, but do you not think thatperhaps, we would resolve that problemif we define ‘a person'?
Mr Speaker, if we continuedefining “a person”, does it mean that inany Bill we are going to do that by ignoringthe jurisprudence of what “a person” is?
A personmeans ‘a natural or legal person.' Mr Boafo Mr Speaker, are we going todo that in every Bill that we pass here?There should be some assumptionunderlining whatever we do here, so faras the general law is concerned.
“a person”. We do not go to the extent ofsaying that --
Hon W.O. Boafo, thank you very much. I thinkyour point is well made and well taken. “Aperson” in our jurisprudence is definedto include the legal person, which includesa private or public institution. Clause 51, ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 52 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 53 ordered to stand part of theBill.
Clause54? Clause 54 - Regulations
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 54, paragraph (b), delete. Paragraph(b) states; “provide for the terms andconditions of service of members of the organisation. The rationale behind thedeletion is that, the terms and conditionsof service of the members of theorganisation should fall under the FairWages and Salaries Commission, aspertains to other public officers and notto be provided for by Regulations. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 54 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
I would stepdown clause 55, because clause 55 andclause 38 are linked like Siamese twins. Itis all about the District AssembliesCommon Fund. I would step it down. Clause 38 hasbeen stepped down, that has to do withthe District Assemblies' Common Fund.Clause 55 also deals with the DistrictAssemblies' Common Fund, so I wouldstep it down so that they are bothconsidered at the same time. Hon Prempeh, would you like to saysomething, as one of the Leaders, or as aMember of the Committee?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Although clause 38 had been steppeddown, in the same clause 38, I would liketo bring the Hon Minister or the HonChairman's attention to the clause that hasbeen stepped down which is fees andcharges. Fees and charges are brought under alegislative instrument (L.I.), so, in all theBills we consider in the House, those of‘fees and charges' are put underRegulations. They have put it in the main Bill, soevery time they want to bring ‘fees andcharges', which changes yearly, theyhave to come and amend the main Bill.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, I have been instructed thatclause 50 as amended stands part of theBill because the Question has alreadybeen put. Clause 50 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 51 -- Obstruction of officer oragent of the Organisation
Mr Speaker,we have just dealt with request forinformation from these categories ofbodies and persons listed in (a), (b), (c)and now the new (d). Clause 50 also spokeabout a person, private or publicinstitution broken down to Ministries,Departments and Agencies, non-governmental organisations and so on.But clause 51, narrows it down to “aperson”. Here, I think the use of the word“person” is the generic form. Is itappropriate, given where we have brokenit down from, person giving adifferentiation between the person as anindividual and Ministries, Departments andAgencies, that is public institutions, privateinstitutions and non-governmentalorganisation and so on --
HonMinority Leader, I cannot hear you.
Mr Speaker,you cannot hear me?
No,unless you do not want me to hear you.
HonMembers, I would like to proceed, since Isee that the Hon Minority Leader and theHon Deputy Minister are involved in adiscourse which the rest of the House isnot aware of, because they are notspeaking into the microphone. I would like to proceed. I have calledclause 56 and I would continueconsidering clause 56 unless somecompelling reason forces me to stop. Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 56, add the following newinterpretation: “‘District Assembly' includes aMetropolitan and MunicipalAssembly”
Is itnecessary? Which court would interpreta District Assembly not to include theMetropolitan or Municipal Assembly?
Mr Speaker, I defer to yourwisdom. That was the original rendition,so I would defer to you.
Do notabandon it so fast. What does the HonMinister say?
It was on the advice ofthe Hon Deputy Minister and myinclination that we abandoned it.
We haveall heard the Hon Chairman. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonChairman, you have another new clause.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,new clause add the following new clause: “Appointment of Secretary The Council shall appoint a servingofficer of the organisation assecretary to the Council.” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 56 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill
HonChairman of the Committee, please, lookat clause 58. Let us instead go to clause54 -- No, let me give you a better example --look at the title to the Bill on the first page. We see: “National Disaster Manage-ment Organisation”. So, do you see how“Organisation” is spelt? It is spelt with an“s”. Now, we should look at today's OrderPaper, page 5 -- the amendment that youjust took. Do you see how “Organisation” isspelt? It is spelt with a “z”. Which one iscorrect? [Pause.] So, Hon Chairman, I have been advisedthat the “z” that we see there is a mistake.It is a computer error, so “s” is the correctspelling. I am drawing their attention to the factthat, they have to move the fees andcharges from where it is. That is the onlyreference that is made in the whole Bill, soeven if we carry it, they cannot change itevery year unless they come and amendthe Parent Act. I am just drawing theirattention to it.
Mr Speaker, ‘fees andcharges' is listed as a source of thedisaster management fund only in clause38. So, I do not see how that can upsetthe legislative instrument or Instrumentsthat are passed from time to time toregulate fees and charges. We only listedit as a source of the Disaster ManagementFund, so its inclusion there does not reallyoffend any L.I. or Regulation.
Thankyou. I have stepped it down. Clause 56 -- Interpretation
Mr Speaker,the clause 54, just to take us back a bit --[Pause.]
Mr Speaker, “Minister”has been defined in the ‘interpretationclause' to mean Minister for the Interior.
Mr Speaker,I was just flashing back where we said thePresident may assign a Minister to be incharge of the Fund; I believe eventuallywe stepped that one down, or did wedelete it? I am not too sure.
Alright,that is fine
Mr Speaker,mostly we say Metropolitan, Municipaland District Assemblies (MMDAs), basedon the definition that a district assemblyhas a population of less than 75,000,municipal over 75,000 to 250,000 andmetropolitan assembly beyond 250,000people.
Whatyou are saying is technically correct, butcan anybody look at the whole Bill? Thewhole Bill talks about decentralisation inevery district. Can anybody seriously interpret thisBill, to take away the “MetropolitanAssemblies”? We cannot, it is notpossible.
Mr Speaker,the Constitution in article 295 definesDistrict Assembly to include ametropolitan and municipal Assembly.
I knewthat it was defined somewhere. I waslooking at the Interpretation Act. Hon Member, rest assured, yourconcerns have been taken care of. So, that has been abandoned, but thereis another amendment. The Hon Chairmanwould want to define ‘organisation' and Iagree with him. Who disagrees with the HonChairman?
Mr Speaker, I wanted “theorganisation,” with regard to anorganisation. Therefore: “the organisation” means the“National Disaster ManagementOrganisation”.
Mr Speaker, we shall doour best, and come back with goodresults.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, we can move to itemnumbered 11, on page 5 of the Order Paper-- the Ghana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015,at the Consideration Stage. [Pause] -- Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I mentioned theGhana AIDS Commission Bill first, butwith your permission, we can go to thePetroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill, 2016, at the Consideration Stage, itemnumbered 12, page 10 of the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker,the Petroleum (Exploration andProduction) Bill, 2015, which has been inthe incubation for over four years is amajor Bill that this House needs to dealwith. But looking at the circumstance thatwe find ourselves in now, I would pleadwith you that, we schedule theConsideration of this all important Bill, totomorrow -- respectfully.
HonMinority Leader, I could not agree withyou more, save that I have a slight plea tomake as well. When a Bill is advertisedand it has been started with even oneclause, it suddenly transforms into adifferent category for a Bill which has justbeen advertised and not started at all. If you look at page 5 of the Bill, thefirst three clauses are constitutional; it isa repetition of the Constitution. Youwould also notice that, the amendmentsstart from clause 7. The first three clausesare in the Constitution. So, if you wouldnot mind -- I say this because, if itcomes back tomorrow, we the samepeople have to sit and do it, and we wouldhave to do it before we rise. Let us do the first three clauses whichare constitutional, and then at least, wewould have started. From that, tomorrowwe can come fully prepared with bothgenerals of the Majority and the Minority,having advised their side sufficiently, thenwe do that. That is my view. Just the first clause which isconstitutional, then we would havestarted it. That puts it in a differentcategory. You and I know that,Consideration of Bills that we havestarted are in a different category fromthose which have just been advertisedand not started. Even if we take the first
Mr Speaker, I totallyagree with you. It is just that we wouldhave to look at some of the things that arenot advertised clearly. I was just goingthrough clause 5. Clause 5 makes referenceto clause 11. When you go to clause 11, italso makes reference to clause 7. MrSpeaker, we have to look at it, but I agreewith you. Those that are not advertised,we can take a couple of them. I would plead with you. There are fiveversions of the Petroleum (Exploration andProduction) Bill, 2016, so that we wouldknow which one we are actually dealingwith now. I just looked through my folderand I have seen four. I do not know whichone we are dealing with, so if they couldtell us precisely.
HonPrempeh, thank you. That was why Isaid we should restrict ourselves, at best,to the first page of the Bill. I looked atclause 5 as well, and that is what we areseeking to eliminate in the CompaniesAct. This cross-referencing confuseseverybody. If we can take clause 1, toindicate that at least we have started. Hon Member for Ablekuma West, nowthat you have been elevated to the highoffice of Leadership, I would want to hearyour views on the matter.
MrSpeaker, in view of the seriousness of thisBill and its implications for all of us --
Do notlet me regret recognising you.
It might be usefulif we took our time. There are severalversions. We all do not know which it is.If we are clear in our minds that we aredealing with this Bill tomorrow, then wewould all spend the night preparing foran interesting consideration of the Bill,instead of just taking the first clause.Tomorrow is just 24 hours away. clause, then we have started. Of course, Iam not in charge of Business in theHouse.
Mr Speaker, we agree withyou, and we plead with our HonColleagues to let us take some few clauses,because clauses 1 to 6 have no advertisedamendments. So, we can start with thoseones and see what happens.
Even ifwe get up to clause 3, at least, we havestarted.
Mr Speaker, I would pleadwith the Hon Deputy Majority Leader thathe should change and let us go to another-- If there are problems, they should juststop it, clean it up and come back later.
No, thereis no problem. The Minority Leader saysthis is such an important Bill. I agree withyou about the importance. He pleads thatwe take it tomorrow, where we are betterrepresented; Committee members arepresent. I totally agree with him. This is not the only Bill. This morning,Mr Speaker asked that this all importantBill to amend the Constitution be steppeddown, so that both sides of the Houseare properly briefed. A Bill that has not been advertised, andone that has been advertised and theconsideration has been commenced arein different categories. I wonderedwhether we could even take the firstclause which is the constitutional clause,then we will see that we have started it. Unless of course you insist, I am notthe Leader of the House; I am not in chargeof Government Business. I am just areferee.
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague made his position clear on oneof the clauses. During the Committee'sdeliberations, we did everything but heinsisted that that was how he wanted it If we are clear in our minds that wewould be ready to do Business on the Billtomorrow, the Hon Deputy Minister canindulge us so that we are better preparedto do justice to the consideration of thisvery important piece of legislation. I would urge that, instead of just takingthe first clause, let us hold our guns andthen come better prepared to deal with thismatter tomorrow.
Mr Speaker,my senior Colleague said there aredifferent versions. I would want to justput on record the version so that --[Interruption] It was laid, withdrawn andrelayed. The date of gazette is 15th June,2016. We are dealing with the 2016version.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, in view of thenew development that there are more thanone version, let us hold our horses tilltomorrow. Like the Securities CommissionBill, we had more than one version. Theversion that we are going to use is that ofthe 15th June, 2016 one. Tomorrow whenwe start it, it would be full steam ahead.
MrSpeaker, you are right by saying that sinceit was advertised, maybe, we could dosome work on it. Mr Speaker, we need to check thiselement of surprises in this House. I amtold that, for example, the Committeehad winnowing . They know I haveserious concerns, but nobody invited meto the winnowing session and I am amember of the Committee. This element of surprise, where theywant to pick some members out becausethey have genuine concerns, and they do to be. So, we accepted it and indicatedthat when we come to the floor ofParliament, we would debate it. The reasonwe had the winnowing yesterday was inrespect to the former Minister for Power,who had come out with a lot ofamendments, and we needed to have adiscussion with him to see how he couldwithdraw most of them. Hon Members were present and wemade it known. To be frank, both Sideswere present. The Hon Ranking Memberwas also present; Hon Mustapha, myselfand the Chairman of the Committee wereall present. We had a very lengthydeliberation with him and he agreed thatsome would come on the floor and withsome he had agreed to withdraw in thecourse of the Consideration. So, it is not like Hon Asiamah had anissue and we refused to invite him. Hemade his decision known at the Committeelevel that he was never going to withdrawit. So, I do not know why we should invitehim again on something that he has madeknown to us in all the meetings we hadwith him.
Hon ViceChairman, they say many are called butfew are chosen. Is that the case?
Mr Speaker, in thiscase, few are called. We do not have aSub-Committee of any Committee. If youare having winnowing, for example, tellHon Members that those who areinterested should attend, so that thosewho have genuine concerns would attendand we iron out their differences. It is nottrue that I have only one concern. Thereare other concerns I raised.
There isformal and informal winnowing. Also, ifyou have strong concerns, I hope you canpropose amendments.
Yes, Mr Speaker. Ihave a few amendments here.
Havethey been advertised?
Mr Speaker, theyhave been advertised.
Wewould debate them, do not worry. Youwould have your day. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
HonPrempeh, I am tempted not to see you. Doyou know that, looking at you and seeingyou are two different things? I can look atyou but I can say that I do not see you. Itmeans I would not recognise you. So, HonPrempeh, I am looking at you and I havealso seen you, so speak.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am just worried about my HonColleague from Atwima-Mponua'schoice of words; Winnowing Committee.We know that by definition, WinnowingCommittee is an interest Committee. Sowith Winnowing Committee, normally,since I came to this House, we call theLeadership of the Committee and HonMembers who have concerns. That is why if he says WinnowingCommittee -- I agree with him if he saysthe sub-committee of the EnergyCommittee. But winnowing has alwaysbeen an ‘interest committee.' If one isinterested in a particular thing, then onegoes for winnowing.
Thisinterest, in spite of all the winnowing theywent through with him, they could notconvince him. So, his position is clear andhe has advertised it. [Interruption.] His
Mr Speaker, we haveconsidered the proposed amendment andhave worked out the details. It shouldbring the total membership of theCommission to 21. We are agreeable tothe proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, then I wouldamend my amendment because it does notreflect what he has said. So, if the HonChairman would take that.
Youwould amend it to read what, so that I canput the Question?
I will amend it to read asfollows: I beg to move, clause 4, subclause (j)should be one representative eachnominated by the Christian Council, theGhana Pentecostal Council, the CatholicSecretariat --
HonKusi, I thought we were dealing with theamendment advertised as (i), first. I wantto follow you, that is why.
Mr Speaker, I said that weshould remove the “one representative”and insert “two representatives”. Weagreed the other time that, we shouldrather follow the first one in the first Billwhich reads, the Christian and Moslemgroup. The Christian group had four typesof groups like the first Bill. So, we shouldretain the rendition.
Haveyou got a copy of the original Bill?
Yes, Mr Speaker, it is onthe internet. not go bringing the whole thing up againfor the country to suffer. That is what weagreed on.
Mr Speaker, we accededto the suggestion of Hon Gifty Kusi thatwe should make more room for Christianand Muslim groups. That was the reasonwe accepted the advertised amendmentin subclause (1), to increase therepresentation of Christian groups to twoand the Muslim group also to two. Thatobviously increases the number of theCommission from what we envisaged tobe 19 to 21. Mr Speaker, that is why I said earlierthat we have accepted the advertisedamendment in clause 4 (1) to read: “delete‘one representative' andinsert “two representatives”.
“two representatives of theChristian groups and tworepresentatives of the Muslimgroup”.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman should explain it well. That day,I was also here. The contention was about the practicethat we already have in place. Over thelast few years that they have been goingto the Board, a number of Christian andMuslim groups have been included. Hon Gifty Kusi's concern is that, thesegroups have gone through and held thefort up till now. We do not want thesituation whereby we would make a lawand they would be kicked out. position is clear; they cannot change hismind. He is determined and so, he hasbrought it to the floor. Am I right?
Mr Speaker, this isa House of debate and persuasion. So thatpersuasion continues until we finally settleon a common ground.
Hon ViceChairman, you still have the opportunityto continue to persuade him. You can callhim for another round of winnowing.
After today, I would consulthim and continue --
What wewould do is that we would take this Billtomorrow. Hon Deputy Majority Leader,we would take it tomorrow.
That is all right.
HonMembers, should we go back to theGhana AIDS Commission Bill?
We would go back to theGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015, at theConsideration Stage. Item numbered 11on the Order Paper.
Is thatitem numbered 11 on page 5?
Yes, Mr Speaker, itemnumbered 11, page 5.
TheGhana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015, atthe Consideration Stage. Ghana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015 [Resumption of debate from 18/07/2016]
Clause 4,debate to continue, Hon Gifty EugeniaKusi, I recognise you.
Can youread it so that we look at the clause --
Mr Speaker, I take theHon Member's suggestion in good faith.Before that, however when we got toclause 41, the Committee had advertisedthe meaning of ‘Christian group.' Themeaning is that, the names that the HonMember for Tarkwa-Nsuaem mentioned arevery true; it is in the old Bill. But we havegone past the old Bill where we are toreduce numbers. The ‘Christian group' this time meansall those she is going to mention shouldmeet and nominate one person and thenthe Moslems would also nominate one. Ithought that was the general agreement,that we want to reduce the number from47 to 17. I wanted to even suggest moreremovals from the Board so that it wouldbecome a slim and more effective Boardbut I was persuaded to drop about six orseven amendments that I had on the sameclause 4. So, I thought in that same spiritthat, if she read clause 41 as beingproposed by Hon Chairman of theCommittee, we would have gotten there.Bringing all the various Christian groupswould not probably be right, now that weare in the intervention stage.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry HonMuntaka is not here, but we said that thosewho had helped to bring the AIDS issueto this level should not be disregarded.We agreed that we should keep them onso that they continue. This is becausethere are cases where in some countries,once the menace goes down, they changetheir methods and go back to the sameproblem. So, we would want to maintain thosepeople who helped the menace to go downto this current level. This is so that we do
HonMember, those who have been part of theBoard under section 3 of the old Act, Act613, for the Christian groups are; theChristian Council, the National CatholicSecretariat, the Ghana PentecostalCouncil and the Council of IndependentChurches. For the Muslim group, it is theAhmadiyya Mission and the Federationof Muslim Councils.
Mr Speaker, we should nottake any of these groups out; not at all.We should not make any law -- If we lookat the object of the Bill, they are to do thework when it comes to the anti-stigma provisions and the promotion andprotection of the rights of the people livingwith HIV. They have been doing all that work uptill now. Are we now going to fashion outa law that says we are taking them outand include only two Christian groups?Which of the two are we going to pickfrom the four? Mr Speaker, I do not believe it is fair.
Mr Speaker, I was nothere the last time this matter came up. Butseriously, why this fixation about “fourChristian groups and two Muslim groupswere part of the groups that brought HIVdown”, therefore, in making a law, wemust ensure that they are taken care of? I believe we should commend them forhaving been part of a process that hasreduced HIV and AIDS to someappreciable level. But that does not meanit is their preserve to be there. Whether itis one - We have been saying that whena group is large, it becomes unworthy andthey are unable to perform, and when agroup is small or it is a reasonable number,the impact is great. I would even imagine that, this issueof increasing it to 21 is really notnecessary. If there should be onerepresentation of the Christian group,then the Christian groups would meet andagree on who should represent them andthe Muslim group should also meet andagree on who should represent them. This is because clearly, in this country-- I am a strong Muslim. I am even apreacher.
HonMember, you said you are a strong what?
Mr Speaker, today, I senta memorandum to the Clerks-at-the-Table's Office about a new clause inaddition to clause 11. I had wanted to take it through aSecond Consideration Stage but I wasadvised that, since we are still at theConsideration Stage and this is a newclause, we could take it with yourpermission.
HonMember, please, give me a second.[Pause.] Hon Member, because it is a new clause-- I agree that the advice you got fromthe Clerks-at-the-Table was correct. It isnot Second Consideration. At this stage,we have not finished with theConsideration Stage, but we know thatwe always deal with the new clausessometimes at the end. So, I would advise that, you get itadvertised so that tomorrow, it would beon the Order Paper.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee, clause 19?
Mr Speaker, clause 19was one of the clauses we stood downthe other time. Mr Speaker, after consultation, we haveagreed to one, abandon the advertisedamendment; and two, make a furtheramendment to subclause (2).
HonChairman, move for the abandoning of theclause first.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,subclause (2), line 3, abandon.
Mr Speaker, I am evena preacher.
Of whatchurch please?
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to shelve that if you would permitme. Mr Speaker, I would advocate that theamendment being proposed should beabandoned and that we should reducethe number to the original 17 that wasproposed.
HonMembers, what I intend to do is to standclause 4 down. There are as many viewson clause 4 as their members and today,we are not going to have Extended Sitting.So, I would stand it down and move toclause 19. Clause 4 of the Bill has accordinglybeen stood down.
Mr Speaker, I believe that,it is a very wise decision. This is because,some of us would never have understoodwhy they should be taken out. I am verypassionate about that. I would never haveunderstood why. This is because, theHon Chairman has not given me anyconcrete reason they should be taken out.
Mr Speaker, your decisionis very wise. This is because I was goingto raise the issue that the Independentand Charismatic Churches to which mychurch belongs is not covered and neitheris the Council for Spiritual Churchescovered. Clause 19 -- Annual Report and otherreports. Dr Prempeh-- rose --
Mr Speaker, we seek yourleave to introduce a further amendmentto clause 19 by deleting subclause (2) inits entirety. Mr Speaker, the reason is that, it wasthe argument on the floor that, AnnualReports always include the auditedaccount which has been catered for inclause 19 (1). That is the reason we areabandoning clause 19 (2) .
Mr Speaker, I would havethought that, as the Hon Chairman wantedto move faster, emphasis does noteliminate anything. So, if it should beincluded and if we bring it here, it doesnot matter. Mr Speaker, that is not the point. Thepoint is that, there is a serious debate inthis Chamber about whether an auditedor Annual Report should include eitherthe Report of the Auditor-General ornot. That is the issue. If an auditedreport should include — [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the Financial Administra-tion Act makes it very clear when it talksabout an audited report or this rendition.It talks about the fact that the AnnualReport should include the Report of theAuditor-General. Mr Speaker, if the beef of the HonChairman is that, it subsumes in subclause(1), then let him drop it for emphasis sakeand let us continue. That is not the point.
Hon DrPrempeh, you have succeeded inconfusing me. I do not usually getconfused but you have succeeded inconfusing me now. So, forget about whatthe Hon Chairman wants and make yourpoint.
Mr Speaker, except to saythat, when we look through the FinancialAdministration Act, it gives the format thathas been replicated in all Bills and thatformat is the exact rendition that has beenbrought here; and the Hon Chairman isaware of that.
So, areyou supporting the Chairman's —
Mr Speaker, I was rathersaying that, if that is the Hon Chairman'sreason and because we want to advancefast, he should drop his amendment andlet us go on. Why delete subclause (2)?
“The Annual Report shall includethe report of the Auditor-General.” Mr Speaker, that means there could bean Annual Report that does not includethe Auditor-General's Report and that iswhy in the Financial Administration Act,of which a copy would be available at theClerks-at-the-Table, if we could lookthrough, it prescribes the format in whichthe Annual Report should go. Thatincludes, “…shall include the Report ofthe Auditor-General”.
Mr Speaker, if we look atclause 19 (1), and I beg to read: “The Board shall within one monthafter the receipt of the Audit Report covering the operations of the fundfor the year which the report relatesto the Minister.” “2. The annual report shallinclude the report of theAuditor-General.” Mr Speaker, it is a verbatimreproduction of how the FinancialAdministration Act prescribes AnnualReports and other reports. The reason heis taking it out is that, recently, there hasbeen a drift in position of this House thatsays, that was a mistake. People are evenchallenging the Financial AdministrationAct. Mr Speaker, till we amend the FinancialAdministration Act, this is the prescriptionand we should follow it, so that we do notgive the chance for any other sub-agencyto get any huhudious audited report andcome to the Chamber with an AnnualReport that does not include part of thereport of the Auditor-General.
Mr Speaker, in the lastone, we deleted that statement, whichsaid, “…shall include the report of theAuditor-General” because the words;“annual report” was defined in the Act.So, if we go to the interpretation section,“annual report” is defined to mean, thereport which shall include “the report ofthe Auditor-General.” But it is not definedhere at all.
Whenyou say the last one, what Act is that?
Mr Speaker, I haveforgotten the Act that we did. We deletedit. It was a financial act. We deleted itbecause the Annual Report was definedat the Interpretation section; but it is notdefined in this one. It was clearly definedin that one that, when we say an “annualreport”, it includes the report of the submit to the Minister an AnnualReport covering the activities andthe operations of the Commissionfor the year to which the reportrelates.” Mr Speaker, this clearly means thatbefore the Annual Report, there is anaudited report. Therefore, clause 19 (2) isno longer needed. We cannot have AnnualReport without the audit report. Therefore,we do not legislate over the absolute. Mr Speaker, the Annual Report wouldautomatically have the audit report as partof it. So, there is no need stating that,“The Annual Report shall include thereport of the Auditor-General”. Mr Speaker, with your leave, I supportthe proposed amendment, that clause 19(2) be deleted.
Mr Speaker, you just saidwe should suspend consideration of thePetroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill and continue tomorrow. Mr Speaker, if we go into that Bill,clause 69 says; “Annual Report and otherreports”. This is a verbatim reproductionfrom the Financial Administration Act andit includes exactly what I am saying. Mr Speaker, the Table Office can showyou abundance of all the Acts that wepassed which include the submission ofAnnual Reports in this House. It all saysin a subclause “…shall include the reportof the Auditor-General”. Mr Speaker, please, let me read clause69 of the Petroleum (Exploration andProduction) Bill and I beg to quote: “The Commission shall, within onemonth after the receipt of the auditreport, submit an Annual Report
Mr Speaker,I am not capable of answering thequestion that you are asking of me. But Mr Speaker, something justcrossed my mind and I would want theHon Chairman to have a second look atthat. It seems to me that, we have made afundamental mistake in the considerationof section 3.
Is itclause or section?
Mr Speaker,clause 3.
Is it theBill that you are talking about?
Mr Speaker,the Bill.
It isclause and not section.
Mr Speakerthe value may be the same in this —
It is notthe same. A section is when it becomes anAct.
Mr Speaker,I am not saying; it is the same. I said itmay be the same.
It is not.I have ruled that it is not.
Mr Speaker,but let me go on.
HonMinority Leader, first things first. The firstthing is that the value is not the same.
Mr Speaker,I have not insisted that it is the same. Ionly said that it may be the same.[Laughter.]
You didnot use “shall” -- [Laughter.] Hon Minority Leader, continue.
Mr Speaker,clause 3, begins as follows: “To achieve the object undersection 2…”.Section 2 is supra sothat is why I said that I am right touse section in this context.
“To achieve the object undersection 2, the Commission shall: a) formulate comprehensivepolicies and strategies on HIVand AIDS and establishprogramme priorities”. Mr Speaker, indeed, the formulation ofpolicy is by the Executive.
It is by theExecutive and it is constitutional. TheChairman of the Committee is shaking hishead -- It is constitutional. The body would be charged, perhaps, with theformulation of programmes and strategiesand not the policies because policydirective would come from the Presidentthrough the Minister. So, it is not right tosay that the Commission shall be chargedwith the formulation of policies. I thinkthat it should rather be programmes andstrategies, not policies. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the Chairman of theCommittee insists that I am wrong, so lethim respond and I would show him thathe is wrong constitutionally.
Holdyour horses today. Tomorrow, you canengage him with verbal fisticuffs. Let ushold our horses today. Hon Minority Leader, that is why inmost Acts, we have “the Minister shallgive policy directives”. Let us all thinkabout it. Hon Minority Leader, let us leave.Maybe, you can bring it up againtomorrow so we can relax the rules andlook at it. Hon Chairman of the Committee, thatis why in most Acts, we have “theMinister shall provide policy directives”.It is because of the position we have giventhe Executive Presidency, so you shouldlook at it.
Mr Speaker, this is apeculiar Bill. Originally, the Ghana AIDSCommission was fighting AIDS. Now, theAIDS Commission is taking steps inresponse to the prevalence of AIDS.Fundamentally, this Commission is notunder any specific Minister; it is thePresident who Chairs the Commission. Therefore, the Executive power isreserved or it is a preserve of theCommission itself. That is why thesponsors of the Bill are giving policyformulation to the Commission and not toany Minister. Auditor-General. So, we did not need torepeat it and that is why we deleted it. Butas it stands now, they did not — I tried togo to the Interpretation section to seewhether there is something called “annualreport” and what it means; but it is notdefined. Mr Speaker, if we were to take this Actalone and delete it and say, “annualreport”, we may not know what it includesunless we read it in conjunction with otherActs. So, maybe, the Hon Chairmanshould advert his mind to that and wewould see what could be done.
Mr Speaker, at the lastconsideration of this Bill, this samearguments came up and the proponentsof the deletion of this made reference todecisions earlier taken by this augustHouse to exclude such a provision inBills. We were persuaded by theirsubmissions and that was why I madethis further amendment today. Mr Speaker, I would crave yourindulgence to stand down clause 19 as wellfor further consideration in the light of theargument for today —
No, weare standing it down. We would all bebetter armed tomorrow with the FinancialAdministration Act and Hon Dominic B.A. Nitiwul would also do well to give usthe Act he is talking about so that wewould be better armed. This is becausewe are buffeting the Hon Chairman leftand right. We make our arguments, he agrees withus, he comes and we make counterarguments. Now the Hon Chairman is noteven sure which way he should go andneither am I. You are making both of usdizzy, so to speak.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Chairmanof the Committee, Hon Members insistthat the Sitting be extended. It is past 2o'clock and for the purposes ofadjourning the House, I direct that theHouse Sits outside the prescribed time. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,this is just to indicate to the Chairman ofthe Committee that, certainly thisCommission is not an adjunct of thePresidency; it is not. The Constitution isloud and clear that, policy emanates fromthe President who is assisted by CabinetMinisters. Cabinet Ministers exist as oneof two charges of the Cabinet to assistthe President in the evolution of policy.
But thePresident is not even bound to go throughCabinet Ministers, I believe you agree tothat.
That is whyI am saying that, it exists to only assistthe President.
Mr Speaker,so you cannot make the Commission anadjunct of the Presidency by saying thatthey would be charged with theformulation of policies. Mr Speaker, thatin itself would be unconstitutional. Ithought the Chairman of the Committeewould take a cue. But Mr Speaker, since you gave anindication that it would continue tomorrow-- I just brought it up for the Committeeto have, maybe, a second look and thinkit - through. It is not really to elicit debateat this time, but if the Chairman wants adebate, we are ready. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I can foreseeus running into some pitfalls if we are toassign policy directives to a Minister.Thisis because, if we look at the compositionof the governing body of the Commissionitself, firstly, it is Chaired by the President;secondly, there are several Ministers. Sothe question to ask is, which of theMinisters in the circumstances wouldcarry that responsibility?
My viewis that, none of them would. Thatresponsibility will be the President's.
So, if wetake away policy direction from theCommission, then the President wouldgive his own policy directives. So the Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister wouldcome before the House and perform thatduty on Friday.
HonMinority Leader, is that not the day thatwe would be mourning our departed HonColleague at the Forecourt of the StateHouse?
Mr Speaker,that is the very day. That is why I askedmy Hon Colleague, the Deputy MajorityLeader, whether indeed, this has beendiscussed by the Business Committee. This is a very important documentand indeed, a programme by Government.So, we ought to have considered it at theBusiness Committee level to determine themost appropriate day. If it may not be too late, I wouldpropose to my Hon Colleagues that werather go to the Business Committee, dealwith it and possibly handle it on Monday.[Interruption.] This is because Fridays are usually notvery good days.Of course, he does knowthat there is this outstanding funeralinvolving an Hon Colleague of ours. Ithought that, for that day, we ought togive priority to the Hon Colleague intransition. [Interruption.] We certainly would Sit on Friday butwe cannot do this major Business onFriday. That is my plea, that we go to theBusiness Committee to consider it.
I thinkthat the Leadership should take the matterup with the Hon Speaker and the HonMinister for Finance and give us direction President acts in two capacities; as thePresident, he gives policy directions; andas Chairman of the Committee, he Chairsthe meeting. Anyway, that is for tomorrow. So, letus hold our horses. I can see that so manyHon Members want to speak but I pleadwith you. I have the indication from theMajority Side. This brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the Ghana AIDSCommission Bill, 2015 for today. Mr Agbesi— rose --
Yes, doyou want to say something?
Mr Speaker, with the all duerespect, one Paper was to be laid but weskipped it. We would want to seek yourpermission to respectfully lay that Paperas contained in item 5 (c) by the Chairmanof the Committee.
Item 5 (c)-- Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, we would wantto inform the House and the country as awhole that, the Hon Minister for Financewould be in the House on Friday, the 22ndof July, 2016 to present the Mid-yearReview of the Budget Statement andEconomic Policy and SupplementaryEstimates of the Government for the 2016Financial Year.
Mr Speaker, we woulddiscuss it with the Hon Speaker on theway forward.