Hon Members, Communication from the Office of the President.
At this stage, I wouldinvite the Hon First Deputy Speaker totake the Chair while we move on to theCorrection of Votes and Proceedings.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, Correction of Votes andProceedings and the Official Report. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Tuesday, 15th March,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Thursday, 3rd March,2016.]
Mr Speaker,congratulations on your constitutionalelevation to the position of Rt HonSpeaker -- [Interruption.] I am saying it.You heard it from me and you are sayingthat who said that. Mr Speaker, I propose we take itemnumber 4 -- Presentation of Papers. Wehave a number of Papers to present to theHouse. Hon Ministers and my goodselfare available to lay them before theHouse.
Myunderstanding is that all of them areready to be laid. At the Commencement of PublicBusiness -- Presentation of Papers.
MrSpeaker, the Hon Majority Leader, inrising to draw attention to the order ofBusiness, said he was congratulating youon your elevation to the position of RtHon Speaker.
Very well,thank you very much. Hon Members, the item numbered 4(a) on the Order Paper by the HonMajority Leader and Leader of the House.
Item number4 (b) (i)? By the Minister for Lands and NaturalResources-- (i) Development Agreement betweenthe Government of the Republicof Ghana and Gold Fields GhanaLimited, Tarkwa. (ii) Development Agreement betweenthe Government of the Republicof Ghana and Abosso GoldfieldsLimited, Damang. Referred to the Committee on Minesand Energy.
Itemnumbered 4 (c). By the Minister for Petroleum -- The 2016 Programme of Activitiesof the Ghana National PetroleumCorporation (GNPC). Referred to the Committee on Minesand Energy.
HonMembers, the item numbered 4 (d) by theChairman of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr Speaker,though the Report is ready, the SecondDeputy Speaker is the Chairman of theCommittee of the Whole, unless you wantto grant that permission.
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I believe the Hon Deputy Majority Leader,if he were in the Chamber, would be in aposition to lay the document on behalf ofthe Committee.
I believe so,too. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, were youpresent at the Sitting?
Can youplease lay it on behalf of the SecondDeputy Speaker?
Exactly so. By Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi (on behalfof the Chairman of the Committee) -- Report of the Committee of theWhole on the Proposed Formula forDistributing the District Assemblies'Common Fund (DACF) for the year2016.
HonMembers, item number 4 (e). Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committeeon Health?
Mr Speaker,it was a joint referral; the Hon Chairmanof the Committee on Constitutional, Legaland Parliamentary Affairs is not herebut I am available. I am the Chairman ofthe Health Committee.
Very well. So, you can lay it on behalf of the jointCommittee. By Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (on behalf ofthe Chairman of the joint Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs and Health) -- Report of the joint Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs and Health on the GhanaAIDS Commission Bill, 2015.
Item number4 (f)? Do we have a member of the Committeepresent to do it for us?[Pause.] If we arenot ready to take it, then we will defer it.It is supposed to be laid by the HonChairman of the Privileges Committee. Is Hon Appiah-Pinkrah available in theChamber?
MrSpeaker, thank you for inviting me. I havealways wanted to make a strong positionon that. For some time now --[Interruptions.] Let me speak, please; allow me. TheCommittee Clerk has refused to givedocuments that are supposed to come tous. A document that we should have inour possession to enable us speak on it isstill with the Committee Clerk, I do nothave it.
Very well. Hon Members, on that note, we willdefer the laying of this particular Report. Yes, Hon Majority Leader? [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, while we waitfor what we all expect, if we could justtake item number 14. It is a matter thathas been debated and concluded and it isleft with just the Question being put. So,if we could take that while we wait for thearrival of the Chief Justice.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 14 onthe Order Paper. From what we have onthe Order Paper, the Motion has beenmoved, seconded and debated on. We areleft with the putting of the Question. So,item numbered 14.
Mr Speaker, Iam told that debate on the matter inrespect of the Question which has just They have concluded already, so, weare supposed to approve it ex post facto.We were supposed to try and see howbest we could do it in a way that wouldnot put the credibility of this augustHouse in question. How can one approvea work plan that has already been done expost facto? So, they were supposed togive some explanations.
HonMember, unfortunately, I have already putthe Question and I find it very difficult togo back to it.
Mr Speaker, this issue wasdebated and concluded. The issue thatmy Hon Colleague, Papa Owusu-Ankomah raised was raised another day.If they crosscheck from the Hansard, thedebate was concluded. It was only left withthe Question to be put and that is whathas happened; it has been put. As forapproving plans, the work plan must bedrawn before it is approved. So, it isalways ex post facto -- [Interruption] --it must be drawn. If he is talking about execution orimplementation, that is different. But fordrawing a work plan, we have to draw awork plan and submit it for approvalbefore it becomes a work plan to beimplemented. So, if he is talking about theimplementation, I agree with him. But ifyou are talking about the work plan,however, it has to be drawn first and thenapproved before implementation.
Mr Speaker, Ido not know if what the Hon MajorityLeader intends to say is that the workplan of Ghana National PetroleumCompany (GNPC) for 2015, was drawn andlaid before this House in 2016 for us toapprove. The law says --
No! It waslaid in 2015.
Mr Speaker,I just crosschecked from my HonColleague, the Member of Parliament forOld Tafo. I remember that when that mattercame up, I raised the issue. You were inthe Chair and gave the direction forLeadership to go and meet. So, Icrosschecked from him whether thatmatter was brought back to the floor fordebate. Mr Speaker, when the debate started, Iasked for your guidance and you thoughtissues that were brought up weregermane, so, you stopped the debate. Infact, they tried introducing the matteragain. Luckily for me, you were there andI informed you that Leadership and theCommittee had never met with GNPC, asyou directed, for us to fashion it. Youdirected and that direction has not beentaken. This is because the Leadership, withthe Committee Chairmen and Hon RankingMembers were to meet to resolve thematters that were raised. One was that weapproved a 2015 work plan in December2015, when the execution had taken place.That was the first point we raised. This matter was in Parliament in July,2015. So, I wanted to find out from himwhether the matter was brought back fordebate again, and whether Leadership hadmet with the Chairman and RankingMember together with GNPC officialsbecause that was your direction.
Hon DeputyMinority Leader, I agree with all the pointsthat you have raised, but when I assumedthe Chair this morning and made referenceto that particular Motion, if there werepoints like this that you wanted to raise,you could have raised them when I saidthat it had been debated on and I was onlyto put the Question. I said all of this, put the Question andgot all the responses. After that, I do notsee how I could go back to it. Equity aidsthe vigilant, not the indolent.
Mr Speaker, you were toofast. It took less than 30 seconds for theQuestion to be put. Secondly, I saw thatmy Hon Colleague was on his feet to drawyour attention to it and that is why afterthe Question was put, he still tried to drawyour attention to it. It is difficult to reverse what you havealready said; it is unhealthy for Parliament.If somebody has found a way of lettingParliament know, by putting it in the OrderPaper that there would be a Question tobe put when actually your direction wasnot followed, then it is wrong. This isbecause you have given a direction, it hasnot been followed through and somebodyhas actually put, it there that the Questionshould be put. How did it get into theOrder Paper?
Can we hearfrom the Hon Chairman of the Committeeand then Hon Quashigah? The HonMinister would be the last person tospeak.
MrSpeaker, the day we debated, the HonDeputy Minority Leader was not in theChamber. Let us be very frank withourselves; he was not here -- [Interruption.] -- Hold on. I would wanthim to recollect. The day we debated hewas not in the Chamber. The followingday, we continued and the Question wasto be put. Then he got up to challengecertain figures; namely “research”, “thebuilding of a research” and “the buildingof headquarters”. He thought it was not correct. I saidthat we were only debating the workprogramme; the budget had already beenapproved and what was left was the workprogramme that we would fit into thatbudget. Mr Speaker rightly said that if he didnot understand, the Hon Ranking Memberand myself should see what can be doneabout that. The Hon Ranking Member and myselfmet several times and agreed. So, we cameback and informed Mr Speaker that we hadcleared it and there was no problem. Mr Speaker said, if we had cleared it,then that was the end. So, I do not seewhy he is going back. It was the workprogramme, not a budget that we weregoing to debate. I remember I told the HonMember myself. It was agreed that the work programmefor the year 2016 should be laid. It is thepresentation which we have not debated.So, my brother -- [Interruption] -- No!He wanted it to precede this one and thatis why I said that.
MrSpeaker, I think this is a matter that hasbeen put to rest. A decision has alreadybeen taken and I do not see the point inus trying to undo what has already beendone. We should not belabour the point and unnecessarily delay Business of theHouse. Mr Speaker, this matter has been putto rest and we must move forward.
Yes, HonMember for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, I would wantto correct an impression given by the HonChairman of the Committee on Mines andEnergy. This House has never approved abudget for GNPC. We approved a transferof certain amounts -- it is not a budget. Itis not the same; we have to be very careful. The law requires us to approve thework programme and that is what we triedto avoid. The difficulty was that, it wascoming late, so, we thought the Houseshould find a way to regularise it. Thatwas our thought. That was not done. Itis a reflection of the way we do thingsand if that is how we would want to takeit, it is fine.
Yes, HonMajority Leader?
Mr Speaker, you did rightlyput the Question and the House hasclearly taken a decision. Per our StandingOrders we know what to do, if we want toreverse the decision taken by the House. Mr Speaker, I do not want to say thatthe memory of my Hon Colleague isplaying tricks with them. This is becausethat work plan was laid around June - July,2015. It was not laid around December, itwas laid on 12th July, 2015. It was in thepossession of the House. If the House took time to deliberateupon it and we have now taken thedecision in the year 2016, how cananybody else be blamed? We cannot beblamed. Mr Speaker, this one should be laid torest.
Very well. Hon Members, I have gone throughthe process of getting the House to take adecision. Let the matter rest there.Anybody who is interested in reviving itknows the procedure to adopt. Hon Members would recall that thismorning some communication wasreceived by Mr Speaker and it has beenread to this House. In that regard, the ChiefJustice of the Republic of Ghana isattending upon this House to perform afunction related to article 60 (11) and (12)as the Constitution of the Republic ofGhana. Hon Members, on that note, I shall atthis stage invite Mr Speaker for theadministration of the Oath by HerLadyship the Chief Justice. Would the Clerks-at-the-Table pleaseusher in the Chief Justice and Mr Speaker? [Mr Edward Doe Adjaho wasconducted into the Chamber.]
YourLadyship the Chief Justice, you may nowadminister the Oath. [Mr Edward Doe Adjaho took andsubscribed to the Oath of Allegiance andPresidential Oath administered by theChief Justice, Mrs Justice GeorginaTheodora Wood.]
HonMembers, can we have some order in theHouse? [Pause.]
Order!Order! Hon Members, we shall now move onto other Businesses of the House.
Mr Speaker, we may nowmove to item number 25, the Motion forthe Second Reading of the ElectronicCommunications (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
HonMembers, item number 25 on the OrderPaper — Motion by the Hon Minister forCommunications.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, that notwithstanding theprovisions of Standing Order 80 (1) whichrequire that no Motion shall be debateduntil at least forty-eight hours haveelapsed between the date on which noticeof the Motion is given and the date onwhich the Motion is moved, the Motionfor the Second Reading of the ElectronicCommunications (Amendment) Bill, 2016,may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, I begto second the Motion.
HonMembers, this is a straightforwardMotion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, item number26.
Item number26 — Motion, by the Hon Minister forCommunications. BILLS — SECOND READING Electronic Communications(Amendment) Bill, 2016
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, that the ElectronicCommunications (Amendment) Bill, 2016,be now read a Second time. Mr Speaker, the Electronic CommunicationsAct, as we have it presently, does notprovide explicitly for the use of anInterconnect Clearing House (ICH) to beimplemented within the Telecommu-nications Sector in a manner that wouldmake it mandatory. Mr Speaker, Government, on 21stAugust 2014, approved four policies,namely; the establishment of anInterconnect Clearing House system forthe regulation of telecommunications;introduction of an international wholesalecarrier licence, which in itself is dependenton the Interconnect Clearing House; theimplementation of a unified access servicelicence with early renewal of mobiletelecom licences; and last but not least,introduction of a mobile virtual networkoperations licence. Mr Speaker, this Amendment Billspecifically deals with the InterconnectClearing House. Some of the others that Ihave stated, are dependent on this,particularly, the International WholesaleCarrier Licence. Mr Speaker, the benefits of theInterconnect Clearing House arenumerous. For instance, Value AddedService Providers have demonstratedclearly and it is proven that they wouldhave a much sanitised environment if theyhave to deal with just a clearing houseoperator instead of dealing with multiplemobile network operators. The other benefits have to do with thefact that, for the mobile network operators,in the medium to long-term, we are goingto have a situation where their operationalcost and additional investment ininfrastructure, with respect tointerconnection would also be a thing ofthe past. Mr Speaker, again, reconciliation ofinterconnect rates and commitments thataccrue thereof will be reduced to the barestminimum. This is because, we are goingto have a non-competitor of the MobileNetwork Operators (MNOs) being incharge of the Interconnect ClearingHouse operations. Mr Speaker, last but not least, becausewe have extensively discussed this at thejoint Committee of Communications andFinance, I would want to add that, we arealso considering the introduction ofDomestic Roaming, a situation where ifone finds himself or herself in the remotestparts of the country and he or she isconnected to a particular mobile networkoperator and that network operator doesnot have very strong signals in thoseparts of the country and the person isunable to have access, the person mayhave another network operator that he orshe is not connected to. Mr Speaker, once we implement thatpolicy, one would also expect that, we aregoing to have higher volumes in terms ofinterconnection and with this in place andthe approval of the House, we are goingto have a situation where we would beable to address the conflicts andmisunderstandings among the variousmobile network operators in an easier way. Mr Speaker, let me add the last bit of it.After the migration process, in terms oftelevision broadcasting, we are seeing alot more, and we will even see a lot moreof spectrum becoming available. Presently,
Anyseconder? Ag. Chairman of the Committee (MrAhmed Ibrahim): Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion and in doing so, Ipresent the joint Committee's Report. Introduction The Electronic Communications(Amendment) Bill, 2016, was laid inParliament and read for the first time onTuesday, 23rd February 2016, and referredto the joint Committee on Communications Pursuant to the referral, the Committeemet with the Hon Minister for Commu-nications, the Hon Deputy Minister forCommunications, the Board Chairman ofthe National Communications Authority(NCA), the Director- General of the NCA,officials from the Ministry of Finance,Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),Ministry of Communications and the NCAas well as experts from the Attorney-General's Department. The Committee was also assisted in itsdeliberations by several members of thegeneral public who had submittedmemoranda to the Bill and appeared tospeak to same. The Committee is grateful to all theseofficials, experts and members of thegeneral public for attending upon it. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents during itsdeliberations: a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana b. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana c. The Electronic CommunicationsAct, 2008, (Act 775) d. The Electronic Communications(Amendment) Act, 2009, (Act786) e. The Subscriber Identity ModuleRegistration Regulation, 2011, L.I.2006 f. Memoranda submitted bymembers of the general public; Background The existing interconnection schemeused by telecommunications operators isthe peer-to-peer interconnection systemwhere each service provider directlyconnects some of its switching centres tothe switching centres of another serviceprovider within the same geographiclocation. This links one electronic communicationsservice to another to allow communicationbetween them. Under the existing system,there is insufficient interconnectioncapacity with some operators havingdifficulties expanding their interconnectroutes to other networks. This has led to severe congestion onthose routes and networks and has alsoaffected the quality of service of the callsmade on them. Currently, service providers use severaltechnologies and equipment types, andin some instances this has led to stand-off among operators where one operatorwants to interconnect on a certain schemewhich is different from the one preferredby another, not to mention the associatedincrease in capital expenditure. This has led to situations that causeddelays in expansion and also affected thequality of calls to those networks. As thenumber of links required increases underthe peer-to-peer scheme, so does theproblem of interoperability of equipmenttypes, which consequently delaysexpansions to improve quality of service. Under the peer-to-peer system, thereare difficulties to reconcile call detailrecords under dispute. Coupled with thecurrent complex interconnection architecture, the difficulties of call datarecords reconciliation have led to someoperators being burdened with highinterconnect rates, primarily because ofthe lack of a third party to facilitateaccurate reconciliation whereinterconnection rates are disputed. There is therefore a need fortransparent unbiased reconciliation forthe industry. The costs of interconnectionunder the peer-to-peer scheme have beenrising and there are anti-competitionpractices. New operators or newexpansions are delayed for as long as oneof the operators may choose to delay inallowing access to connectivity. Interconnection through an interconnectexchange operator will lead to networksimplicity, avoid the spaghetti networkarchitecture thereby enhancing efficiency. It will drastically reduce the number ofinterconnects and save the operationalfunds required by existing and newoperators to build new links. The cost of monitoring, maintaining,and upgrading the interconnect links willalso be saved when calls are routedthrough an interconnect exchangeoperator. Under an interconnect exchangesystem, the exchanges of a serviceoperator will only be responsible foranalysing and routing calls within theirnetwork. This will simplify theiroperational and co-ordination problems. The international platform to addressother industry challenges such as the lackof technical connect exchange will takeover the load of digit analysis for everyinteroperator call, and inter-circle call fromthe exchanges connected to it. This willlead to the faster switching of calls andwill guarantee improved quality of service. There will be simple, cost-effective andreliable points of interconnection and asthe peak traffic period of differentservices is not identical, an interconnectexchange will help to create a more efficientusage of the point of interconnects. The rationalisation of hardware andsoftware used with the new system willbe more cost effective, efficient anduniform for the service providers. Interconnect exchange serviceawareness will enable support of servicessuch as Voice over Internet Protocol,video, rich multimedia content, messagingapplications, mobile video messaging andvarious data services with an increasinghigher quality and reliable level of service. The Interconnect Clearing Housesystem seeks to address the challengesfaced with the existing interconnectionscheme and take advantage of theopportunities of a centralised redress tothe issues of stolen phones, uncertainsubscriber identity as well as to facilitateconnectivity with other platforms. When fully implemented, theInterconnect Clearing House operatorswill among other things, provide anefficient billing, and payment settlementprocess with a verifiable call detail record.It will provide a reliable, efficient andscalable network that will lead to thereduction of cases that require mediationby the National CommunicationsAuthority. It will provide cheaper service deliveryto subscribers as a result of the gains madewhen the cost of doing business is passedon to a subscriber in the form of lowertariffs. It will provide full interoperability ofvarious technologies and classes ofservice by various service providers. TheInterconnect Clearing House will operatea common platform to monitor traffic volumes in the country, operate theCentralised Subscriber Identity Registryand provide a common infrastructure forgovernment agencies to host informationcommunications technology systems andapplications and store confidential datasecurely. The use of an Interconnect ClearingHouse will generate much needed revenuefor the Government through a number ofways and drastically reduce revenue lostto the State. The Interconnect ClearingHouse will, for instance, contribute toreducing significantly the diversion ofrevenue through simboxing, and ensuringeffective active detection of sim box fraud,which has plagued the communicationsindustry and resulted in huge losses ofrevenue to the Government. The infrastructure to be deployed bythe Interconnect Clearing House will alsoensure that there is accurate record of alloff-net (interconnect traffic) calls suchthat the actual volume of traffic passedbetween the telecom operators will beproperly ascertained leading to anaccurate declaration of revenue bytelecom operators to State. Telecom operators in Ghana currentlydepend on international clearing housesfor the settlement of all roaming andinternational traffic. With the establishment of anInterconnect Clearing House, this servicewill now be provided locally in Ghana tocreate local employment and lead to thedevelopment of ICT expertise. Value added services will also belocalised. Currently, this is not happeningbecause, some of the services are beingprovided to local operators by inter-connect exchanges outside the country. The introduction of the InterconnectClearing House will improve the third partyvalue added service provision, mobileaggregation and reduce the issue of non-transparent revenue share agreements which exist between content providersand mobile network operators. Contentproviders will have a single point ofconnection to the other service providersfor service delivery and this will have apositive impact on the issuance andallocation of short code numbers andother numbering resources that are beingdeveloped. With regard to local content, theInterconnect Clearing house will help tobuild this. This is because locallyoriginated or generated content byapplication service providers will beoffered directly to subscribers or inpartnership with service providers whichis currently not the case with the peer-topeer-system. Mandatory interconnection is re-quired under the new system, especiallyto facilitate dynamic asymmetric inter-connection rates across the industry on amonthly basis. This will avert the risingcost of interconnection between serviceproviders because of the high capitalexpenditure of connecting six operatorswith multiple switch locations in differentcities as well as the high operating cost ofthis low utilisation between serviceproviders. The mandatory interconnection willsave Government the current cost ofinvesting and operating revenueassurance systems on national andinternational interconnect traffic. Purpose of the Bill The purpose of this Bill is to amendthe Electronic Communications Act, 2008(Act 775) to provide, among others, forclearing house services through theestablishment of an Interconnect Clearing House. This is a regulatory mechanismbeing deployed by the NationalCommunications Authority to addresssome of the current regulatory, technicaland financial challenges related tointerconnection in the electroniccommunications industry. The primary objectives of theintroduction of a clearing house are toassure cost effectiveness in interconnection,reduce the cost of interconnection andfacilitate interconnection for emergingservice and application providers andthereby make service delivery affordableto subscribers. The Bill The Bill has 3 clauses: 1. Clause 1 a. The obligation of a network operatorto provide interconnection of itselectronic communications networkwith the network of anotheroperator under the peer-to-peersystem, as in section 20 (1) of Act775, is replaced by the obligation ofproviding interconnection of itselectronic communication service orapplication through the Inter-connect Clearing House. Thedetails of the interconnectionsystem will be provided byguidelines issued by the NationalCommunications Authority. b. Subsections (3) to (7) of Section20 of Act 775 are repealed. This isbecause those provisions refermainly to issues related to peer-to-peer regime. 2. Clause 2 This clause introduces a new provisionthat seeks, through the imposition of fines,to prevent service and network operators
b. Fate of peer-to-peer The telecommunication operatorsexpressed anxiety about having toimmediately do away with the existingpeer-to-peer system due to their capitalinvestment in infrastructure. TheCommittee is therefore of the view thatthe peer-to-peer should run alongside theICH for no more than a period of sixmonths, to enable the industry adjust tothe imminent changes. Members thereforeproposed that the diction of the Bill mustexpressly cater for a transition period. c. Benefits of ICH to the Industry i. The Committee also observed thatsome individuals and groups,especially those engaged in thecreation and online sale ofsoftware and applications arevery happy about the ICHbecause, it would enable themacquire and monitor the data onthe sales and uses of theirservices. This would enable them knowclearly how much money is duethem and what improvementsthey need to make to their goodsand services. Hitherto, theyhave had to rely on the individual networks for suchinformation, which is hardlyforthcoming. The ICH wouldtherefore be a one-stop shop forthem. ii. Finally, the Committee observedthat despite the fear of itbecoming a regulated monopoly,all the stakeholders believed thatthe ICH would go a long way inclosely monitoring billing data aswell as sim boxing. Proposed amendments by the Committee The Committee after carefulconsideration of the Bill recommends thefollowing amendments to the House: a. Clause 1 -- Section 20 of Act 775 amended In section (a) (1), line 3 -- amendmentproposed -- after “through” substitute “anInterconnect” for “the interconnect” This is to allow the NCA the leeway tolicense more than one ICH in the future,should the industry dynamics change,and to ensure that a single ICH does notbecome a regulated monopoly. b. Clause 2 -- Section 73 A inserted Amendments proposed: Replace 73 Awith the following clauses: “Termination of an international call” 73 A (1) A network operator shallcomply with the directivesestablished by the Authority to (a) prevent; (b) detect; and (c) Disconnect the use of the subscriber identity moduleor the user identity module of that networkoperator, for terminating an internationalcall on any network in Ghana as a localcall. (2) A network operator who fails tocomply with subsection (1),commits an offence and is liableto pay to the Authority anadministrative penalty of twothousand penalty units per dayfor each subscriber identitymodule or user identity moduleused in terminating aninternational call as a local call. c. Clause 3 -- Section 101 of Act 775 amended Amendment proposed -- substitute thefollowing for the definition of InterconnectClearing House 1. “Interconnect Clearing House”means a centralised interconnectionsystem” d. New clause 4 inserted: Insert a new clause after clause 3 asfollows: “Transitional provisions” “4 (1) A network operator orservice provider shall within sixmonths after the coming intoforce of this Act, connect androute its traffic to other operatorsthrough an InterconnectClearing House determined bythe Authority.
Mr Speaker, as myColleague Hon Member indicated, we hadsome consultations with variousstakeholders in respect of thisinterconnection arrangements about thetelecommunications sector. Mr Speaker, the truth is that, there wasno clear consensus among thestakeholders that came. In fact, it is my view that largely thetelecommunications service providers didnot want an ICH at all. While there wereother stakeholders that endorsed thepolicy, I think we must be fair to thetelecommunications service providersand make the point that they havedisagreements. Mr Speaker, the disagreements arelinked to this. At the moment,interconnection is part of the technicalbusiness operations of the telecommunicationservice providers. If one makes a call froma mobile network to another, that call hasto be interconnected. That interconnectionhappens at a fee payable to the networkthat is interconnecting on behalf of thegenerating service provider. Now, what this amendment is seekingto do is to say they cannot do that throughtheir own arrangements. An ICH, licensedby the regulator, would do that for them. Ithink the concern the telecommunicationproviders expressed was the fact that Iowe it to my subscribers to deliver acertain quality of service, and they couldnot guarantee that a clearinghouse coulddo this for them. What this suggests to us is that, if weare going to have an ICH do what privateoperators are doing for themselves, then,there has to be proper regulation of the way this ICH will operate in order that thefears of the service providers would notmaterialise. Mr Speaker, it is also important to notethat, at the moment, the cost ofinterconnection is on the serviceproviders, and that cost, they meet bytaking part of what they charge consumersfor the calls they make. So, at the moment,public funds never go to supportinterconnection. Interconnection is partof the business operation of thetelecommunications service providers.They pay for it themselves through thecharges we pay. Mr Speaker, it is important that as weaccept an ICH, we make the necessaryrules and regulations to ensure thatsomehow, because a regulator appointedICH would be doing this interconnection,no part of the cost is transferred to thepublic purse. It is very important that wenote this. The next observation I would like tomake and draw our attention to isregulations to govern the way the ICH willoperate. If we look at the amendment, itsays, there would be an ICH and there is adefinition of what an ICH is. But that is allthere is. How it would operate and theguidelines through which they woulddeliver on this interconnection mandateare not stated in the amendment. The understanding we were given atthe Committee is that, this would be donethrough Regulation. Mr Speaker, it iscritical that this Regulation comes as soonas possible, so that the ICH would be whatwe have been told it would be -- acentralised system to interconnect callson behalf of telecom operators. Mr Speaker, as we enter the Consi-deration Stage, I would hope that we areable to see provisions that would makethis necessary before the work of the ICHcan begin. Without the Regulations, wecan never be sure that the assurances thatwe have been given at the Committee levelwould really materialise. With these, Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity.
Thank youvery much. Hon Member for Wa West?[Interruption] -- Very well. Hon Chairman of the Committee onFinance?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to support the Motion and askHon Members to also support the Motionand approve the Report of the jointCommittee on Communications andFinance. Mr Speaker, the joint Committee onCommunications and Finance inconsidering this Bill did a lot of work. Infact, the Committee had to meet for awhole day to take submissions from thesponsors of the Bill -- the Ministry ofCommunications and the NCA. We hadthe GRA represented and therepresentative of the Ministry of Financewas also at that meeting as well as therepresentative of the Ministry of Justiceand Attorney-General's Department. Mr Speaker, the Committee discussedthe benefits of this amendment by havingan ICH, which is the Interconnect ClearingHouse. We also looked at the challengesthat we would had, if we had this system.
HonChairman, do I understand you to besaying that you would couch it in such away that when NCA sees that there is theneed for a second ICH, it would not needto come back to this House before itcreates it?
Exactly so, Mr Speaker.They do not need to come back to thisHouse.
That is what we areProposing as an amendment to the Bill. The network operators also think thatthey have invested a lot of money alreadyin the peer-to-peer and that they areconcerned about their investment. Butwhat they failed to tell the Committee wasthat this was already a sunk cost. Whatthey should be thinking of should be thefuture cost; what additional cost is thenew system bringing to them? This is because, if it is a continuallypeer-to-peer, and a new network providerenters the industry, they would have toincur additional cost to connect to thatnew operator but with the ICH, whether10 or 20 new operators enter the industry,they do not need to incur any future cost.They failed to tell us that. So, theCommittee thinks that there is the needfor the ICH -- Not for them to be thinkingabout the cost that they have alreadyincurred in the peer-to-peer arrangement. Mr Speaker, so there is a lot of benefitsto be derived from this. For that matter, Iask the House to support the Motion andapprove it. I thank you.
Mr Speaker, in theconclusion and recommendations part ofthe Report, it is stated, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The Bill will also help in rectifyingmarket failures that have plaguedthe industry and led to significantlosses of revenue to the State overthe years.” Mr Speaker, at every opportunity, wehave heard the Government talk about theefficient information and communicationtechnology (ICT) and telecommunicationindustry that we have in Ghana. Mr Speaker, in the Budget Statement,which was presented in November, 2015,the Hon Minister for Finance talked aboutit. Even in the State of the Nation Address,2016, His Excellency the President alludedto the fact that we have an efficient ICTand telecommunication industry in thecountry. Mr Speaker, in the explanatorymemorandum accompanying the Bill,nowhere did the Government itselfmention market failure in the ICT andtelecommunication industry. Mr Speaker, rather, what we receivedat the Committee were varied opinionsfrom a number of people who appearedbefore the joint Committee. There was noagreement by Hon Members of the JointCommittee that there is market failure inthe ICT and telecommunication industry. Mr Speaker, so, I find it strange that itwould be inserted in the Report that dueto market failure that has plagued theindustry, we should set up an ICH. Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, ineconomics, if there is market failure, itwould mean that resources are notallocated efficiently. Here, we are setting up a regulatedmonopoly, which is supposed to be thecure to an industry where we have marketfailure. That cannot be. I would want to submit; that theportion be deleted from that Reportbecause it does not send a good signal toeven the investor community. Mr Speaker, if indeed there was marketfailure --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, it is his opinion that weshould delete that portion. I think that portion is necessary. Thedefinition that he has given, if we refer tothe explanatory Memorandum to the Billon page (ii), paragraph 3, reads, and I begto quote: with your permission; “The costs of interconnection underthe peer-to-peer scheme have beenrising and there are anti-competitionpractices. New operators or newexpansions are delayed…” Mr Speaker, so as long as one of theoperators may choose to delay inallowing access to connectivity, thisresults in market failure --[Interruptions.]-- It leads to revenue loss to the State. If a new operator is coming in and oneoperator says that it is not going to allowthe new operator to connect to its system,it would deprive that new operator andGovernment of revenue. Is that not amarket failure? [Interruption.]
Order!Order! Hon Chairman of the FinanceCommittee, can you land?
Mr Speaker, I am done.
Mr Speaker,ordinarily, if there is market failure, wewould expect prices to go up.[Interruption.]
HonMembers, please, let us have some order.Let us allow him to respond to the issuesraised by the Hon Chairman of the FinanceCommittee. [Interruption.] Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, whenI used to teach economics at the GhanaInstitute of Management and PublicAdministration (GIMPA), I would teachthis: whenever there is market failure,ordinarily, one would expect prices to goup. In the telecommunications industry inGhana, the price per minute has declinedfrom GH¢0.14p to even free night calls.Prices have rather been declining. Mr Speaker, if we send a signal to theinvestor community that there is marketfailure in the telecommunications industry-- Here, we have a switch from analogueto digital television. It is freeing up abandwidth. People are going to buy intothat. If we say there is market failure, it isgoing to affect the Government itself. Mr Speaker, so, I am helping theGovernment by saying that there is nomarket failure in the industry. That portionshould be deleted from the Report, so thatit does not go into the official records.
HonMember, could you look at the portion ofthe explanatory memorandum that theHon Chairman of the Finance Committeereferred to?
Mr Speaker, thatwas why I said that if our solution tomarket failure is creating a regulatedmonopoly, then we are moving from fryingpan into fire. This is because we have asystem where the peer-to-peer schemeallows for interconnection among theoperators. Now, we are going to have amonopoly; that would be a monster. So, if they are arguing that there ismarket failure, that is not the way to go. Itdoes not send a good signal to keep thatin the Report. Mr Speaker, again, in the Report, it issaid that the setting up of the ICH -- Dr Dominic A. Ayine-- rose --
On a point oforder. Mr Speaker, I am struggling tounderstand what the Hon Member'sconception of market failure is. This is because market failure could beas a result of regulatory inefficiencies.What we are doing here is to be able toallow the operators in the market tocommunicate efficiently in order toprevent a situation where information, forinstance, on finances are held asymme-trically by the operators. That would ratherlead to the market failure. Mr Speaker, this is a correction of thesituation. We are not creating a monopoly.The fact that it is going to be a clearinghouse does not mean that we are creatinga monopoly. We are creating an extensionof the regulator in order to ensure that theoperators in the market operate efficiently. So, I do not understand why he istalking about market failure in this context.
Mr Speaker, ifindeed, there is market failure, be itincomplete information or informationasymmetry as the Hon Member said, ithas to be manifested somehow and alsoshow in the price. Mr Speaker, we now have a regimewhere we even have free night calls, orone could pay GH¢2.00 to buy credit andspeak forever. Mr Speaker, I am sure --
Mr Speaker has beendoing it.
HonMember, please, do not draw me intothis. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, again,on the Report, I was an Hon Member ofthe joint Committee, so, you wouldunderstand why I am worried. Mr Speaker, the Report also says onthe last paragraph of page 3, and withyour permission, I beg to quote: “The use of an InterconnectClearing House will generate muchneeded revenue…” Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, in theconclusion section, the Report says thatrevenues are going to increase. Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing thatthe referral was made to the JointCommittee of Communication andFinance. This is because the Rt HonSpeaker, in his infinite wisdom, would havethought that there is some revenueconsideration. Mr Speaker, at Committee, officials ofthe Ministry of Finance and GhanaRevenue Authority (GRA) came there.Conspicuously missing was the HonMinister for Finance, his two Hon DeputyMinisters, the Commissioner-General ofthe GRA and all his other Commissioners.They were absent. Mr Speaker, when staff of the Ministryand the GRA were asked about therevenue implications of setting up theICH, they could not tell. They said thatsince this is going to be a new regime,until it starts operations, they cannot tellwhether there is going to be an increasein revenue. Mr Speaker, so how on earth could itbe smuggled into the Report that revenueis going to increase? Mr Speaker, the Hon Co-Chairmen mustexplain to us how revenue is going toincrease? If any Agency or Ministry ofGovernment can tell us about the revenueimplications of setting up the ICH, itshould be the GRA and by extension, theMinistry of Finance. They told theCommittee that they cannot tell whetherthere is going to be an increase or decreasein revenue. As a matter of fact, they have not doneany cost benefit analysis of the settingup of an Interconnect Clearing House(ICH). So, in the end, we could seerevenue declining; it is a possibility. Mr Speaker, so, those are my twocontentions in the Report; the aspect thattalks about an increase in revenue as aresult of the setting up of the ICH and thebit about market failure which is totallyoff the hook.
HonChairmen of the two Committees, can yourespond to this point being raised by theHon Member? You were not payingattention to the points that he raisedconcerning whether or not it is true that,with the creation of the ICH, it will increaserevenue. He, to the contrary is saying that theexperts in the area when they were quizzedat the Committee level said, they couldnot commit themselves as to whetherrevenue will increase or decrease. Is thatwhat happened at the Committee level? Iwould like to know.
Mr Speaker, the operators,because they were not comfortable,preferred the peer-to-peer. They were notprepared. The Ministry of Finance saysthat the information that would beprovided by ICH, is going to increase thevolume of the data as compared to thecurrent situation until we have the data.That is what they are saying and we agreedwith them. If the system provides aninformation that increases the number aswe are given by the NCA, then it will leadto more revenue and we believe that. They are saying that until they havethat data, they cannot say it will increase,because they are not actuallychampioning the whole thing. So, I agreewith what he is saying.
Mr Speaker, thank you verymuch for the opportunity to also supportthis Motion and to urge all Hon Membersto support it for the Second Reading topass. First, I would like to talk about thebenefits that have been captured on page6 of the Report.
HonMember, are you dealing with this sameissue which is being debated? I wantedus to clear this one.
All right. The issue thatwas raised was that, the promoters of theBill, gave us a presentation in which theyshowed that, if you looked at the ICH, itwas going to capture more accurateinformation in terms of traffic which willlead to a basis for Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA) to get more revenue. That was strongly canvassed by thepromoters of the Bill and as far as I amconcerned, that should reflect somewherewithout being cast or the statement ofdoubt by the Ministry officials or the GRAis no reason we should not be talkingabout it. They demonstrated because thecurrent situation where they asked for theinformation from the operators, it is nottoo certain whether the figures they gaveare correct or not, but with the ICH,accurate information will be provided andfor them, they will see an increase in thevolume of traffic that is captured bothexternally and internally. Therefore, mostlikely, there will be revenue increase.
Mr Speaker, I think theapplication that the Hon Member made iswhat we are looking at and the co-Hon Chairman actually agreed to the statementbeing made by the Hon Member for NewJuaben South that, when we askedspecifically, and I remember that I did askthem what the financial revenueimplication was? The Ministry was asked to answerand they said, they did not have thefigures and that they did not know. Thisis because they are not sure, in fact, theword they used was that, they are yet tobe convinced. That was the word theyused. Mr Speaker, so I think that, we shouldresolve that matter because the people weput in charge are the people at the Ministryof Finance. The word they used was that,they are yet to be convinced. So thatapplication, I think is in the right directionbecause the revenue aspect was not dealtwith. That was why the Committee actuallyagreed to the ICH. We never dealt withthe revenue aspect. Mr Speaker, so, we should re-look atthat conclusion aspect of this --
Very well. We now move to the Hon Minister forCommunications but let us hear from theHon Member from Old Tafo.
Mr Speaker, I thinkwhat my Hon Colleague is saying is that,if at the deliberations, there was noconsensus as to revenue increase ordecrease, we should not burden ourselvesputting it in here. It does not add to theReport recommendations. Moreso, we do not want the NationalCommunications Authority (NCA) to bedealing with the revenue aspect. That isnot their mandate and the Committee should not box them in that, theycategorically said there will be revenueloss then, he raises this problem that iscurrently ongoing. So, I think it is betterfor the Committee that, we follow whathappened at the Committee. Mr Speaker, what the Report said wasthat, for the TelecommunicationsCompanies (Telcos), they may not haveextra cost, that, they can say but as towhether or not revenue will be enhanced,that is not the mandate of either us or theMinistry of Communication, especiallywhen the Ministry of Finance made it apoint to say, that they could not concludeand what he is saying is that, theCommittee should not conclude that waybecause it did not happen that way and itdoes not help the recommendations. Thatis all he is saying.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee, please, letus hear you.
Mr Speaker, the conclusionfor revenue enhancement is based on theposition of the Ministry of Communicationand the NCA. The information that theypresented to us, especially the flow of thediagram shows that, more data will becaptured under the ICH. More data couldbe captured, currently, they do notcapture the entire traffic. Mr Speaker, now with the ICH, theywill capture the entire traffic and that datais what is going to be used by the GRAfor the revenue purposes. Based on that,it will lead to revenue enhancement andthat is the basis for the conclusion thatwe draw here. Mr Speaker, the information we tookfrom the Ministry of Finance and the GRA,for them to say that, they cannot tell if itwill lead to increase in revenue, weaccepted it because they are not
HonMembers, I am allowing this debate to flowon this particular issue, so that we will allbe clear in our minds as to the way forward.But ordinarily, a Committee or a JointCommittee has come out with a Reportand we are considering it and an HonMember is moving that, a portion of it bedeleted and so on. I believe that, there is a procedure fordoing that. But for now, we are debatingthe contents of the Report, we haveopinions which will defer by all means butthen, at the end of the day, when we cometo the Consideration Stage, we will havethe opportunity to deal with these,especially the point that has been raisedthat we need to have regulations to bepromulgated as early as possible. I thinkit is very important. So, I want us to takenote of that.
MrSpeaker, with the greatest respect, I believethat, the view of my Hon Colleague inmaking the application was to the effectthat, we as a joint Committee have cometo a certain conclusion and what thatconclusion means is that, we areemphatically saying that, with theseamendments, the revenue is going to beenhanced, but at the same platform, theGRA, that has the mandate to mobiliserevenue said it was yet to be convinced. In fact, to add to what they said, theHon Minister for Finance and his two HonDeputies were not there to at least speak on policy, indeed, this whole exercise willhelp enhance revenue; revenueassurance. So, all that we are saying is that, if theMinistry of Communications has aposition, it should so reflect. But if we asa Committee conclude that this is so, whena party which has a mandate under thesame amendment is saying “no -- we areyet to be convinced, we are not sure” howon earth can we conclude that it is alright? Mr Speaker, that is very critical.
Could wehear from the Hon Minister forCommunications?
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, I would just cite aboutthree examples and I am very sure HonMembers would be able to make up theirminds. I started my presentation byquoting the fact that Cabinet in 2014approved four policies. One of it is theInternational Wholesale Carrier ServiceLicence. What the operators within thisrealm do, is to aggregate additionalinternational traffic. They require an Interconnect ClearingHouse and if you talk to any of them whohas been licensed now, they will say thatthey are just waiting for the clearing houseservices to commence. What that meansis that additional traffic would be comingin and that additional traffic wouldnecessarily lead to enhancement ofrevenue. That is one. Secondly, we talked about newentrants and by new entrants in terms ofvoice, you can even see, presently, acompany like Surfline as a new entrant; assuming the NCA gives them the goahead to begin to deploy voice services.This is because per the present licenceconditions they are only mandated todeploy data services. The fact on the ground is that, all theVirtel Web Access (VWA) licence holdersat this stage have written to the Ministry,asking that we even give them certainconcessions which includes allowingthem to deploy within the voice domain. If that is also done, what it means isthat if you would have to make a call fromSurfline network to an existing mobilenetwork operator, you would also be goingthrough an inter-connect clearing house.That would also mean additional trafficand it stands to reason that that additionaltraffic would also have revenuegeneration implications. Last but not least, has to do with thevarious software developers and value --added service people who came and madepresentations to the joint Committee.They were all very clear that theestablishment of this would also enhancethe benefits that they generate from thesoftware that they develop and peopledownload and all that. Clearly, by analysing these, either youare looking at it from the view ofoperationalising International WholesaleCarrier Service Licence bringing inadditional traffic, value added serviceproviders, new entrants which in this casewould even include existing companieswho are providing data services such asSurfline. If at any point in time, the NCAdecides to license another mobile networkoperator, that entry into the market is evenmade easier by not going and knocking on the doors of the existing mobilenetwork operators. So, with these, I am very sure it wouldbe difficult for any analyses to be donewhich would arrive at a conclusion that ifthis is going to allow the InternationalWholesale Carrier Service Licenceoperation to be done; if this is going toenhance the jobs of value-added serviceproviders and if this is going to make thejob of new entrants easier, it is verydifficult to arrive at a conclusion that it isgoing to lead to diminished revenue. These are facts that would not becontradicted by anyone. InternationalWholesale Carrier Service licenseesrequires Interconnect Clearing House.Otherwise, they would have to go throughthe laborious process of knocking ondoors of existing Mobile NetworkOperators (MNOs). Thank you.
Very well. The last contribution on this issue andthen we would move on.
Mr Speaker, theHon Minister indicated that with otheroperators coming on board, volumes andthe traffic are going to be increased.Increased traffic does not necessarilymean revenue would increase. Yourrevenue is the volume multiplied by thetariff. So, if the volumes increase and thetariff decline, it does not mean that yourrevenue is going up. Now, you are arguing that the industryis inefficient and you are making it moreefficient. It means that price is going todecline, tariffs are going to go down. MrSpeaker, the Committee is not competentto pronounce on the revenue implications,neither is the NCA and the Ministry. Theright place to settle this matter is theMinistry of Finance and the GRA.
Yes, HonMember for Wa West, it is your turn tocontribute.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity. As I was indicating, if you look at theReport of the Committee, there are benefitsthat are to be derived from theestablishment of this ICH. Veryentrepreneurial young people were therein their numbers to support that they havevalue additions that they make -- andcurrently they are facing difficultiesgetting these value additions that theyhave made on the internet, get throughthe present system. What eventuallywould happen is that, with the ClearingHouse, they hope to benefit enormouslyfrom having access to this. Mr Speaker, I have heard this argumentabout the conclusion that is being madein the Committee's Report. Conclusionsare what the whole Committee hasdiscussed and agreements would not be;‘do you agree with this point of view?'An Hon Member of the Committee hasthe right to say “I do not agree with this”but that is not the basis for us to beremoving words or sentences. Again, based on conjecture you saidthat it is likely to increase or decrease.There is no law here. We are making aconclusion based on presentations thatwere made to us. So, as far as I amconcerned, this is what the Committee wasconvinced about -- that there would beincrease in the volume -- On the other argument about revenueor the Hon Ministers being absent -- theHon Ministers are not promoting any Bill.This is a technical Bill that is beingpromoted by the technical Ministry. Wejust mentioned the advantages that we aregoing to have with ICH. So, if we are talking about advantagesthat we are going to derive from it, whymust the Hon Minister for Finance or hisHon Deputies be there? We can only talkabout the likely benefits they can get, ifwe have a better system that is operatingand based on which you can deriverevenue -- [Interruption.] Dr Assibey-Yeboah -- rose --
HonMember, you may disagree with him butthat is not a proper point of order.Please, allow him to argue. I have givenyou the floor several times.
Mr Speaker, as far as I amconcerned, the issue is not about whetherthe conclusion is -- The conclusion is, as I said generally,we were given a presentation and we madeuse of the presentation. There is the lastpart which is talking about the marketfailure issue. Indeed, one of the presenters said that,one of the reasons for establishing theICH was to address market failures. In thatperson's view, he did not think there wasmarket failure.
HonMembers, in my opinion, we have hadenough debate. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker-- [Interruptions.]
HonMembers, order! Order!
Mr Speaker,with the greatest respect, I believe thatthis matter has just come up. In fact, theengine is just about revving up now. Weare in gear one. There are so many issuesto be addressed and I believe that wewould want the best for the system. There is a proposal submitted by theHon Minister for Communication and weneed it. Mr Speaker, we are at the level ofdebating the principle. The principle iswhat Hon Members are responding to. With respect, let me just notify themthat we are still in gear One. We have notgone anywhere at all. I might crave yourindulgence to listen to, at least, four otherHon Members from our side.
And whathappens to the other side?
Mr Speaker,the debate is not meant for equalisation.If people are not warming up to debate,should we compel them to debate? Thosewho are competent would rise up --
HonMembers, as a compromise, I would taketwo from each side.
Mr Speaker,like the Crown Agents report, one saideleven million is outstanding; the othersaid seven million is outstanding. There was a median. So, if you saytwo from each side, and I say, at least,they should be four -- in fact, I meantsix. [Laughter.] So, we can say that itshould be, at least, four.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, this morning,we agreed that in view of the Business ofthe day, contributions on items should belimited. Mr Speaker, so far, we have had abouttwo contributions from each Side. Wewould plead with the Hon Minority Leaderfor us to take two contributions from eachSide, after which you would put theQuestion. This is because we have a lotto do.
Mr Chairman, I wouldrather want to plead with the Majority thatif the Hon Speaker is cutting off time, it isbetter. This was from a joint Committee.There are forty-three Members whoconsidered this Bill. It is not oneCommittee. If we are cutting off time -- It is better if more people speak to theissues. This is because one person canmake one point which would help us.We are debating the principle and so as
Very well. Hon Members, three each. I direct thatwe have three contributions from eachside and then we will close the debate.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity.
We start thethree contributions from the Majority side. Yes, please, go ahead. You would have your three Membersto contribute, what is your problem? Yes, go ahead.
Mr Speaker, the issuesare clear and straightforward. With regardto revenue, a major challenge that ICHturns to deal with is “SIM boxing,” whichrobs government of a lot of revenue. Weunderstand that in some instances, GH¢40million is lost to the State annually through“SIM boxing”. Indeed, if the ICH is going to deal withthe situation, it only means thatGovernment is going to get more moneyto deal with the things Government wouldwant to do. So, making revenue an issueis neither here nor there. Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Ministeralluded to a number of factors that wouldlead to greater volume of traffic as a resultof new operators joining the system. Thisis because, as the situation is as far as thepeer-peer interconnection is for now,sometimes, it is very difficult for newentrants to enter the market. For those who are in the market, whenthe major market shareholders decide tointroduce new higher technology, it makesit difficult for other operators to join orinterconnect with them. That obviouslyaffects their operations and it has also ledin some instances to the issue ofreconciliation as far as revenue isconcerned. That has led to disputes. As we speak today, there are mattersin court. Mr Speaker, the ICH wouldobviously deal with such situationsbecause it would bring about a great levelof reconciliation and transparency withinthe industry. This is because all theoperators would be connected to the ICHand there will be a clearer and transparentbilling system through which all disputescould be resolved. Mr Speaker, on the issue of marketfailures, I do not know what definition myHon Colleague, who obviously is aneconomic guru, referred to. As far as Iknow, and having taught some degree ofmarketing, market failure is as a result ofinefficient allocation of goods andservices. If there is inefficiency in thesystem, apparently, we could talk aboutmarket failures. In the situation where consumers donot get the needed enhanced service, onecould talk about market failures. So, if forinstance, I am connected to MTN and Icall somebody on Vodafone but I get thenumber busy error message, that is marketfailure because the consumer does not getthe satisfaction that he requires. Therefore, market failure is not justabout revenue, it is also about the enduser; what the consumer derives from theservice that is provided at the end of theday. That is market failure. I can contendanybody on that score as far as themeaning of market failure goes.
On a point of order. MrSpeaker, he is misleading this House as ifwhat my Hon Colleague said was false. All he said was, in economics marketfailures show up in prices. That is whathe said.
He also saidthat, in marketing market failure couldcome as a result of poor service.
And that would showup in prices.
HonMembers, I believe you are talking abouttwo different issues which relate to thesame subject matter.
Mr Speaker, I said that,market failures do not only refer torevenue matters, but of course, theconsumer's satisfaction is necessarilyderogative for market failures. Mr Speaker, when we met as a jointcommittee, per the reports that came fromthe various members of the public beforeus, it was clear that it heavily weighed infavour of an ICH with the exception ofpeople who did not want a monopoly. Mr Speaker, the only people who hadsome fears were the operators. Only oneoperator came before us, that was MTN.They made their argument and superiorarguments were advanced which provedthat their fears were unfounded. Mr Speaker, in my opinion, this Houseshould just go ahead with this veryMotion and endorse it for us to moveforward. This is because, at the end of theday, it is going to give the Government ofGhana more revenue. It is also going togive we the consumers a better andefficient service. As a result, would alsolead to effective competition.
Thank you. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the ICH, but with a few caveats. Mr Speaker, the Interconnect ClearingHouse --
Mr Speaker, there is noICH before us -- There is a Motion totake the Report through the SecondReading. He said he is rising to supportthe ICH. Why?
HonMember, please, proceed.
Mr Speaker, Iscratched my head to find out whichother country —
I did notsee you scratch your head — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I am talkingabout my caveat -- to find out whichcountry has successfully done what weare about to do -- and I have not. It hasfailed for those who tried it and they haveabandoned it -- a single ICH example isPakistan; they are offering a peer-peeralong side an ICH for new entrants. Mr Speaker, I can understand the HonMinister for Communications when hesays that there are new entrants in themarket who need to have access to thesethings. So, there is a need to create anICH. That is why I am happy that theCommittee has moved away from amonopoly to a liberal system and thatthere is not going to be one -- We canfind that in the Consideration Stage. Mr Speaker, but the dangerous thingis that, this ICH is also a market operator.By the licence the Hon Minister tells ushe envisages to give to that ICH, he isnot only doing an ICH clearing house aservice but he is also bringing wholesaleinternational traffic. That makes itdifferent; he is now also a player. So, what are we trying to do? It re-emphasises the point that we do not evenwant a monopoly. This is because it is notonly a pure ICH but ICH doing otherservices. Mr Speaker, by law, interconnectionsince --
Yes, HonMinister, were you up on a point oforder?
Mr Speaker, I just want toprovide an information to him that theholder of the International WholesaleCarrier Licence or the holders are notoperators of ICH. So, he has to draw thedistinction. Mr Speaker, just as a Mobile NetworkOperator (MNO) would bring ininternational traffic, excess traffic couldalso be brought in. We felt that as part ofjob creation, giving opportunities to otherGhanaians to have a stake in thetelecommunications sector, there was theneed to provide this opportunity. In fact, the information from the NCAis that several companies, not operatorsof an ICH, have applied and they haveissued some interim licences, which aredifferent licensing that would needclearing house services to function. Thebenefit of the ICH here is that when onebrings in his traffic, instead of going toknock on the doors of any of the existing telecommunications companies forinterconnection, he would just have toknock on one or two, or three doors asthis House would determine when it comesto ICH. So, a wholesale carrier licence“C” is the same as a licence “C” forInterconnect Clearing House. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I said itbecomes a competitor. If three playersbring in differential wholesale, it becomesa competition. The ICH is supposed todo interconnection but they are given thelatitude to do other things. That is exactlywhat I said and thank God he hasconfirmed it. Mr Speaker, when he got up, I alsothought he would have said whichcountries do that. All those countries thathave ICH also allow peer to peer to run.There is the need for us to start thinking.In the interim that we are going to ICH,what is going to happen? In an untested technology, in thatsense of a monopoly in a country, whatare we going to do if it fails? Could wejust envisage a position where we wakeup and there is no interconnection? Couldwe just think about that? So, there is theneed to look at what is going to happen inthe interim before the technologybecomes tried and tested. Mr Speaker, since 9th January, 2009there is also a by-law that has allowed themobile network operators to interconnect;that is the section 20 we are going toamend. Mr Speaker, this accrued right that weare taking from them, have we thoughtabout compensating the operators? If not,what are we doing? Part of Ghana'sConstitution talks about people who haveinterests and rights being compensated,so we have to think about that. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister talkedabout the benefits of the ICH and he wenton and on. He also introduced domesticroaming which has got nothing to do withICH. He did not even talk about thebenefits of domestic roaming when he metthe Committee. So, why is he bringing ithere? Mr Speaker, there are countries whichdo not have a single ICH but do valueadded service efficiently. There arecountries which do not have ICH butwhere the additional cost he has talkedabout does not come in. There are alsocountries which do not have ICH but donot have problems with interconnection.
Mr Speaker, there are twothings to be corrected. The first has to dowith what he described as “what if thereis failure because we are talking about oneICH.” It looks like the Hon Member ismorbidly attached to the position thatGovernment took in terms of the ICH. Ifthat is the case, we welcome him to thatdomain and that would mean that he iseven debating the consensus that seemto have been established. Mr Speaker, let me come to the point ofsingle point of failure. It must beemphasised that within this ICH system,it is enough redundancy. For instance, wetalk about data center services and it isnot just about one data center service; itis not just about one data center. So, the issue of single point of failurehas long been addressed and I wouldwish that the Hon Member recalls all thediscussions that we had about singlepoint of failure because he was aprominent friend of the joint Committee.He was there on the two days. Mr Speaker, let me also address anissue here. He talks about domesticroaming that I do not even --
HonMinister, I would give you the opportunityto wind up at the end of the debate.
Mr Speaker, I know howitchy the Hon Minister for Communi-cations is, he wants to create the platformto answer every single question. But thequestions are food for thought for him.He is the one telling Cabinet and thisHouse that he is introducing an ICHthrough the Ministry of Communicationsand the National CommunicationsAuthority (NCA) a regulatory extensionthat is becoming a market player. A regulator becoming a player? He hasconfused his thoughts. He said in thisHouse that the ICH is a regulator. Aregulator would now bring internationalwholesale traffic; a regulator is becominga player. We do not allow that. That initself is going to constrain competition. So, a regulatory mechanism that doesnot stand on its own, that is beingallowed to become a player is even worse. I would like to continue. This ICH, ofthe two days that we have spent listeningto presentations, I never heard, not evenfrom the amendments that they haveproffered that would be coming, that NCAis going to regulate this so calledregulatory framework. That is even moredangerous.
Hon DeputyMajority Whip?
Mr Speaker, I justwant to know; if it is going to be four orthree people from this side and three fromthe other side, how long is each Memberto go?
HonMember, I would use my discretion, butas much as possible, Hon Members areadvised to be as brief as possible. Hon Member, you have had quite sometime now. Could you begin to wind up?
Mr Speaker, I was justgoing to conclude.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister used a term which is not familiarto this House; “prominent friend”. I havenever heard anything like that, so couldhe explain to us who a “prominent friend”is? I have looked in the Standing Ordersbut, it is not in it.
HonMember, while he was on his feet you didnot raise the point. He sits down and youwant to raise the point. Hon Member, begin to wind up.
Mr Speaker, I wouldencourage the Hon Minister to participatein our debates frequently to qualify as aFriend of the House. Already, by ourStanding Orders, he is a Member; but heshould visit us frequently enough tounderstand how the Standing Orderswork. That is why I ignored it. Mr Speaker, the issue that he raisedabout revenue, is not a rehash. It is sogermane to this debate. He went toCabinet to say emphatically that one ofthe benefits of the ICH is that it is goingto raise revenue and to assureGovernment of its revenue in raising therevenue. Mr Speaker, since the introduction ofmobile telephony in this country, volumeshave increased from year to year, withthe addition of services. Therefore, the mere fact that he is introducing ICH is notthe reason for the increase in volume, orthe volume capture, or revenue increase.He went to Cabinet to say however, thathe could reassure Government of revenue.
Mr Speaker, it is in theMemorandum to the Bill, so even if I wasnot there the evidence is there.
To put it thisway, you could refer to the Memorandum,but to say that he went to Cabinet to saythis and that, as though you werethere --
Mr Speaker, you and Iwere not there -- [Laughter.] He was, andwhen he was dancing, he reproduced it inthe Memorandum. What he did not attach is the scope oflicence. That is a more dangerous thing.When he went to Cabinet he attached thescope of licence that he wanted to awardto the ICH. When the memorandum camefrom Cabinet, I did not see the scope oflicence. Mr Speaker, as part of the scope oflicence -- That is why there is a policyfailure. There is a policy failure, not amarket failure. That policy he introducedfor Government's support envisaged thatthe Ministry of Communications wasgoing to do revenue assurance. Mr Speaker, could you start to think, ifthe Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority(GHAPOHA) through the Ministry ofTransport, came to this House to sayGHAPOHA is introducing a technologythat is going to increase Governmentrevenue, so, there should be no customsofficer at the port? Just come to think ofit, where would our revenue be assured? So, it is that policy failure --
HonMember, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, as a doctor,when we talk about market failure, thequestion would be, is my patient dyingwithout intervention? The patients woulddie with the market failure. Mr Speaker, one thing I can say is thatthere is a huge policy failure, and that ishis thoughts and his regulations. Withoutregulations this ICH cannot come in; andif we are bringing regulations we have tostart thinking about the accrued rights ofthose urban needs; and if we are talkingabout regulations, where are theregulations so that we could supportthem? Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well.Hon Member, your time is up.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to speak for the amendment ofthe Motion -- [Interruption] --amendment of the Bill. Mr Speaker, I rise to support theMotion. In that wise --
HonMember, you rise to support the Motion,I believe?
I am supporting theMotion.
Very well,go ahead.
Mr Speaker, I wasconspicuously at the weekend workshopwe had, and all that Hon Membersdiscussed over there were very good.
HonMember, what is it?
After all that was said, Iposed a question --
Please, hehas the floor.
Mr Speaker, I tried tofollow his argument, but I could allow.
After all that was said, Iposed a question to the experts from theNCA. We spoke about revenue generation,quick service delivery and all that. However, my question was, what isgoing to the youth of this nation who areto actually use this system to engagethemselves? I had my answer right. Theexperts told us, the NCA, that today whenwe WhatsApp, somebody gets moneyelsewhere in the world. When we go toFacebook, somebody gets moneyelsewhere in the world. By creating this congenial environment,the ICT youth of this country would beable to use their God-given talents.Whenwe go to Ghana House today, there arethese youth who are developing software,e-learners. What are they going to do withthat? So, this interconnected clearing houseis to pave way for the youth in this countryto engage themselves. This is because allover the world, we cry there are no jobs,but today the communications sector isbecoming a green environment from whichthe youth could get their jobs. Hitherto, during the peer-to-peerregime, we found out that the operator hadthe will or the unwillingness to rope a
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, the second Memberfrom the left hand side.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to theMotion on the floor. I would like to getyour guidance on how it was carried out. Mr Speaker, if you look at theCommittee's Report on page 1, underintroduction, and with your permission, Iquote: “The Committee was also assistedin its deliberations by severalmembers of the general public whohad submitted memoranda to theBill and appeared to speak to same.” Mr Speaker, save for this statement, Ido not see anywhere that the Committeecomplied with your directive to hold itssittings in public and I would like to hearyou make a pronouncement on that. Mr Speaker, in the Official Report of23rd February, 2016, column 1084, withyour permission, I quote, and I am quotingMr First Deputy Speaker; “ Well, in that regard, I wish tofurther direct that the jointCommittee hold the sittings inpublic, and that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice orher representative be in attendanceto participate in the deliberations. Iso direct.” Mr Speaker, I am not very sure whetherthe quotation from the Report that I gaveearlier satisfies your direction, but then Ileave that to you. Mr Speaker -- is Mr Speakerpronouncing on it?
Well, I needto find out from the Committee if thedirectives were complied with. Are you a member of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I am aMember of the Committee and indeed Isat in the meetings throughout. I have justdescribed to you --
Did you notraise any objection?
Mr Speaker, I raisedan objection at the Committee meetingsand an argument ensued as to thedirectives you gave. In fact, at the time, the Official Reportwas not ready and the Hon Chairmandirected that the Votes and Proceedingsbe brought. The matter was, however, laidaside before even the Votes andProceedings were ready. We all heard youclearly and your direction was for theCommittee to hold its sittings in public. So, I do not know whether Mr Speakeris satisfied with the job that has been done.
Well, let mefind out from the Chairpersons of theCommittee.
Mr Speaker, it istrue. That issue was raised at theCommittee meeting, and we sent for theVotes and Proceedings to look at thedecision which was taken on that day. Some Hon Members were of the viewthat the directive was that we should havenationwide consultations. They thoughtwe would go to all the regional capitals,as we did for the Right to Information Bill,so that we invite the public and sit in different places;but that would havetaken six months. Some of us were also of the view thatthe Votes and Proceedings be brought forus to see what the directive was. Clearlyspeaking, it was advertised, the publicwas invited and we sat for deliberations. It was against that background thatwhen the issue of Hon Dr Matthew O.Prempeh was raised, the Hon Ministersaid he is a “prominent friend”, becausehe did not seek any permission from meor my co-Chairman to be a friend to any ofthe Committees. He attended our meetingsas a public figure and he was admitted assuch.
Mr Speaker, theCommittee's Report, as submitted to thisHouse, is very clear on how it sat and thesort of involvement the public had. That was why I quoted, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote again: “The Committee was also assistedin its deliberations by severalmembers of the general public whohad submitted memoranda to theBill and appeared to speak to same.” Mr Speaker, the truth of the matter isthat, members of the public who hadsubmitted memoranda were invited tocome and speak to same. That is why I amasking you, Mr Speaker, because yougave the direction, if you are satisfied --
I believethere might have been a publicationinviting memoranda.
No! The publicationwas to invite memoranda, but the sittingof the Committee with regard to thevenue, the date and the time was notpublicly advertised. I am yet to see anewspaper publication that said the jointCommittee would sit at Mensvic Hotelfrom 9.00 a.m. on Saturday, for example.
HonMember, I believe that once there was anadvertisement to the effect that these jointCommittees would meet on this issue bysuch and such a date and that memorandawere invited from the public and there wasa time frame as to the receipt ofmemoranda, that is enough notice.
Mr Speaker, indeed,there was a publication to the effect thatthe issue had been referred to theCommittee and it was considering it. Italso invited memoranda from the generalpublic and the cut-off date was provided.When the Committee was going to do itspublic sitting, as directed by you, thepublic was not informed, Mr Speaker. In fact, it was on the morning of thefirst sitting day that those who hadsubmitted memoranda were invited bytelephone to appear before the Committee. So, if somebody did not submit amemorandum as a member of the generalpublic, he or she was excluded from thepublic sittings. Mr Speaker, you appear to becomfortable with this outcome.
I think so; Iam.
Mr Speaker iscomfortable with the outcome .[Laughter.] The substantive issues that wereraised at the Committee were quiteenormous. People attended the meetingsand some who spoke were in support of it while others gave reasons why theythought it should not happen the way ithappened. Mr Speaker, generally, one gets thesense that nobody is against theestablishment of an Interconnect ClearingHouse (ICH). It is just a question of howit will be implemented and how thetransition will happen. I think those arethe key issues. Mr Speaker, the first issue borders onthe mandatory nature of what theGovernment seeks to do by requesting allthe mobile network operators to abandontheir peer-to-peer connections and hookon to the ICH. Mr Speaker, there are two issues here. Theoperators can be asked to connect to the ICHphysically through telecommunication links.It does not have to be mandatorily requiredof them to pass their traffic through theirlink -- however, because of severalfactors. Mr Speaker, you know Takoradi andthe Market Circle very well. If anybodyhas a problem in their minds in trying toenvisage what the ICH and peer-to-peerlinks look like, look at Takoradi and theMarket Circle. A person can leave any place inTakoradi and go to the Market Circle andtake another link and go to another place.At the same time, there are otherconcentric routes that one could take fromsay Monkey Hill to Chapel Hill withoutgoing through the Market Circle. That iswhat we are talking about here with anICH and a peer-to-peer connection. The telecommunications companieshave invested enormous amounts ofresources over the years, in building peer-to-peer links. These links are not justwireless; some involve the burying of fibreoptic cables from one network operatingcentre to the other network operatingcentre. So, granted that we establish an ICH,and for all the things that Governmentwants to do, give new entrants easyaccessibility to the other networks,ensure that our people respect theinterconnect tariff regimes and all that, allthese can be achieved once everybodymandatorily provide a physical link to theICH, but they do not necessarily have topass their telecommunication traffic onthere. When we engaged the NCA, they madeus understand that as far as statistics andtraffic goes, anybody who has a physicallink to the ICH, whether it is aninterconnect traffic or on net traffic, wouldsend the data to the ICH. So, whether Ipass my interconnect traffic through theICH link or through peer-to-peer, at theend of the day, the data that I want wouldbe passed on to the ICH. It is themandatory data connect which is the firstproblem that we have. Mr Speaker, the second issue is withthe singularity of the ICH. I believe in thewisdom of the Committee, we haveproposed this amendment to try and getaround that by leaving room for thepossibility of another ICH being licensed. I disagree with the Hon Minister'scontention that enough redundancy hasbeen built into the ICH. Mr Speaker, there is no telecommunicationsystem anywhere on this planet which has100 per cent availability; there is none.Even the peer-to-peer systems we aredescribing, where every operator isconnected to the other and there areabout fifteen (15) connections logically,could still fail let alone a singulised ICHthat had redundancy built into itself. MrSpeaker, if you would allow us to do someprobability calculations here, you will see that the chances of it failing is so highthat we would be discussing a verydangerous topic. Mr Speaker, the other thing I wouldwant to talk about is the financialsustenance of the ICH. We are not veryclear in our minds about the kind of modelthat the ICH will operate. Is it going tocharge tariff of interconnection? Are theygoing to charge it from end users or it isgoing to come from the operators? Or isGovernment going to take the taxpayersmoney from somewhere and use it to payfor the services of the ICH? If so, where? When we did the 2016 Budget, I didnot see any provision made to pay for theservices of an ICH. We plan to implementthe ICH solution this year, how isGovernment going to finance theoperations of an ICH if it will be fundedby Government? By any stretch of imagination, MrSpeaker, why would I make calls and payinterconnect fee to my operator and theGovernment would take the taxpayer'smoney to pay an ICH to connect thetraffic? I cannot understand that. I believethe Hon Minister would do us all well bydigging a little deeper into that subject. Mr Speaker, in 2013, this Houseapproved and passed the CommunicationsServices Tax (Amendment) Act. In that Act,the purpose, as per the memorandum, wasto ensure that the revenue accruing tooperators under interconnection was tobe taxed under CST because the originalprovisions of CST did not includeinterconnection. So, the Ministry ofFinance came here and ensured thatindeed the interconnection charges werenow covered under CST. Mr Speaker, what it means then is that,any operator who is charged with theresponsibility of providing interconnectionservices is going to be subject to thepayment of CST. When I look at page (v) of the accompanying memorandum,Government seems to suggest inparagraph 1 and Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The mandatory interconnectionwill save Government the currentcost of investing and operatingrevenue assurance systems onnational and internationalinterconnect traffic.” Mr Speaker, this is a clear intention ofGovernment to use the ICH to do itsrevenue assurance function as perestablished law. Mr Speaker, I am contending that --As I have indicated, if the ICH is carryinginterconnect traffic and interconnect trafficitself is subject to tax as this House hasapproved by law, then how are we goingto ask the tax man to monitor himself? Theperson who is the subject of monitoringhimself wants to do the monitoring. Mr Speaker, whereas I agree that theICH provides a common platform throughwhich Government can easily do itsrevenue assurance monitoring, I disagreethat the same entity that would be licensedto perform the functions of an ICH, be it asingular entity or a multitude of them,should not, by any means, be allowed todo revenue assurance monitoring onbehalf of Government. Finally, Mr Speaker, it has been saidthat the ICH, when implemented, wouldhelp reduce the incidence of SIM boxing.Mr Speaker, I have struggled through thememorandum and the Bill itself andthrough the discussions that have beenheld to try and find out how an ICH canby itself reduce or eliminate SIM boxing. Mr Speaker, as long as there exists anarbiter in the tariff regime and theeconomic conditions of the populationremains as dire as it is today, there wouldalways be a means by which people wouldexplore the possibility of SIM boxing andexploit same. Therefore, my contention is that, weshould not be using the issue of reducingSIM box fraud as a reason why we wouldwant to put in an ICH. Without an ICH,we have been reading about the arrest ofSIM box operators through the efforts ofNCA, some of its contractors and the CID. When I listen to the arguments fromproponents of ICH, it is simply going tofollow in like manner, what those peopleare doing. We should therefore decouplethe issue of resolving SIM boxing fromthe establishment of an ICH. Mr Speaker, thank you for yourindulgence. Baba Jamal M. Ahmed (NDC --Akwatia): Mr Speaker, listening to the HonMember who just spoke and HonMembers of the Committee, one thing thatis clear to me is that any major player inthe industry would not like this ICH. Thisis because definitely the ICH wouldreduce their hold on the market and alsoreduce their influence in the entireindustry. I am not surprised when MTNappeared before the Committee. Surely,their disposition does not support thisICH. In my view -- [Interruption.] Dr A. A. Osei -- rose --
Is it on apoint of order?
Mr Speaker, for therecord, MTN did not appear before us.They had a representative speaking forthe industry. Baba Ahmed: There was arepresentation; they were there.[Interruption.]
MTN did not appearbefore us. Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, I am quotingan Hon Member of the Committee whomentioned that MTN had a representativethere. They presented a memorandum. The point is that, a representation wasmade. I have a feeling that their dispositiondoes not entirely agree with this ICH. Iknow any dominant figure in that industrywould not like this ICH. Let me also go tosay that --
Has heexplained himself well enough? --[Interruption.] Why?
No! MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, singling out MTN is myproblem. This is because MTN was notthere as MTN. Ghana Chamber ofTelecommunications represented all theservice providers. Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addorepresented the Chamber and he spoke.He represented MTN, Tigo and all theothers. So, it is unfair to single out MTN.
HonMember, you have heard what he said.They were all represented by one person.There might have been memoranda butthey were not physically present. Theywere represented by somebody as a team.They had a representative.
Mr Speaker, thememorandum was also from the GhanaChamber of Telecommunications.
HonMember, with this information -- Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, I go by theposition that the Hon Member haspresented that there was a representative. The point I seek to establish is thatfrom what is entailed in the Bill, I have thefeeling that it is unlikely any dominantplayer in the field would like this ICH. Thisis because it is definitely going to reducetheir influence and hold on the market.This time round, any person licensed toenter the industry would have it easierthan it used to be. Issues about dispute resolution orwhatever would also become easier. In myview, anything that increases value in callsin terms of clarity or ease of access is aplus for us. So, this Bill is targeted atensuring easy connectivity and datasharing. So, I do not see us fighting this Billand saying that it is going to lead to marketfailure and whatever. I hold the positionthat, as long as it is going to ensure thatwe have easier connectivity, it is going toresolve disputes easier, it is going tomake it easy for other players to enter themarket and I believe that is something thatall of us should support.
The lastcontributor, Hon Member for Effutu. Afterthat, the Hon Minister would have theopportunity to wind up.
Mr Speaker, I thank you forthe opportunity to add my voice to theMotion.
I thoughtthat one like the Savudrian case is deadand buried.
No! Mr Speaker,it is a different matter. Mr Speaker, thedirective you gave was to the effect that,two Committees should meet. It has been
Yes, HonDeputy Attorney-General and DeputyMinister for Justice, is it on a point oforder?
Yes. Mr Speaker, theproponent of this Bill is the Hon Ministerfor Communications. I understand and Iwas not in the House when the directivewas given that, a number of agencieswhose work may be implicated in the Bill,should take part in the deliberations. Now, the compliance with that directivedoes not necessarily mean that, all the HonMinisters and Hon Deputy Ministers fromthose Ministries must take part. Forinstance, I have reliable information that,the Head of the Tax Policy Unit, the TaxPolicy Advisor to the Hon Minister forFinance was at the meeting. That is sufficient for purposes of thedeliberations of the Committee. It is notthe case that, Ministers must attend forus to be able to say that, the directive hasbeen complied with. In any case, MrSpeaker, this Bill is being piloted by the Hon Minister for Communications andthat is why it is before this House. The Hon Minister was there himselfand his Deputies and technical men werealso there. So, I do not see the mischiefthat they are trying to cure by constantlymentioning the names of the Hon Ministerfor Finance and his Deputies. It does notadd any value to the debate.
Mr Speaker,normally, when your senior speaks, youdo not have to return the fire. But on thisoccasion, I disagree with my learnedsenior and Hon Deputy Attorney-Generaland Deputy Minister for Justice. Mr Speaker, when the tax policy advisorto the Hon Minister was asked certainquestions, with the greatest respect, hecould not address same. The purpose of this Bill, is two-fold --
Mr Speaker,the Hon Member has yielded to me on apoint of information. Mr Speaker, I want to place on recordthat the statement made by the HonDeputy Attorney-General and DeputyMinister for Justice is a very seriousstatement. I have had occasion, and theHon Deputy Majority Chief Whip wouldconfirm, that when it comes to policy,Ministers take responsibility andadvisors only give advice. When a Committee meets and isconsidering a Bill of far-ranging importancelike the Electronic Communications(Amendment) Bill, 2016, you need thosewho take responsibility for policy to bethere. Mr Speaker, that is why we have beenhaving problems with some of the Bills from Government. And we even havecontradictory statements being made bymembers of Cabinet. If that is the approach,the Hon Deputy Attorney-General andDeputy Minister for Justice, who is theDeputy Principal Legal Advisor toGovernment is giving Government, thenplease, let him reconsider. He could give an excuse that, it wasowing to pressure of work. But to say that,the tax policy advisor was there is notenough. He is an advisor; he is not thepolicy maker. Mr Speaker, you have beenin positions of authority; advisors arewhat they are. Those who take politicalresponsibility are those who determinepolicy. Otherwise, advisors would berunning the country. Point of information, thank you.
Very well. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, withthat intervention, I would not belabour thepoint. But it is important to remind thisHouse that the essence of this Bill, apartfrom the technical support, is also to giverevenue assurance. So, this Bill aims at, inone breath, providing a platform forGovernment to increase revenue and weknow, the body that has the constitutionalmandate to generate revenue or mobiliserevenue for Government, the GRA, workswith the Ministry of Finance. Mr Speaker, as we are debating thismatter, there are serious matters thatborder on revenue mobilisation. I do notthink the Hon Minister for Communications,my very good Friend, Dr Omane Boamah, aMedical Practitioner, et cetera, has thecompetence to deal with issues of finance.He cannot.
Do not lookat him as an individual, he has a team heworks with; experts.
Mr Speaker, inother words, I am trying to say that hedoes not have the mandate to deal withit. But Mr Speaker, if -- [Interruption.] Mr Mahama Ayariga -- rose --
Mr Speaker, before anymajor policy like this would come to thisHouse, it would have gone throughCabinet. In Cabinet, you have the HonMinister for Finance and he would havescrutinised the proposal of a sectorMinister in relation to any matter that hasfinancial implications. So, once it goes through Cabinetapproval, you can presume in this Housethat, the Hon Minister for Finance, whowas in Cabinet, did give his approval.Otherwise, it will not pass throughCabinet. This is because all others inCabinet would scrutinise the policy inrelation to their sectors. Let me also assure you that, it is notthe preserve of those who have studiedFinance to manage financial sectors. Youcan be a Medical Doctor and perhaps, bea better Finance Minister. [Hear! Hear!] So, let us not assume that, because Iread Law and he did Medicine orsomebody else did Architecture, wecannot do other things. Indeed, we haverecords of Lawyers who have been verygood Finance Ministers in this country.So, let us not assign the capacity to beFinance Ministers to only people whohave done Finance in one way or the other.It might help but it does not mean thatothers cannot also do it.
Mr Speaker, mygood Friend has totally misconstrued thepoint I was making. I said that the mandatewith respect to revenue mobilisation, isnot the responsibility of the Hon Ministerfor Communications. We need the HonMinister for Finance to speak to the issue.And he is not here; he was not also at theCommittee meeting. That is the point I wastrying to make. In any event, Mr Speaker, we did nothave any senior member at the Committeemeeting. Mr Speaker, on record, whenthey were asked to explain issues thatborder on revenue assurance, what thetax policy advisor said was that, so far,they do not feel convinced. Mr Speaker, that runs counter to whatmy Hon Colleague just said.
HonMember, I believe this point has beenmade by some other Hon Members. So,can we make some progress?
Mr Speaker, withthe greatest of respect, I have my ownline of argument. Though it may looksimilar, kindly grant me the audience. Mr Speaker, the reason being that, heis saying that once the matter was atCabinet, the presumption is that allmembers of Cabinet who were present oreven if they were not present, perhaps,are bound by same, so, they could notdirectly be present at our Committeedeliberations. Here is a situation where in the absenceof the Hon Minister and some seniormembers, an officer who came said thatthe Ministry was unconvinced. This is aserious matter. If an officer from theMinistry and Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) says that they are unconvincedabout the r evenue mobil isa t ionprospect --
HonMember, I keep repeating that this pointhas been made, so, you might as well justconclude.
Mr Speaker,without belabouring the point, I amworried about the success inimplementation. This is because if theagency that is supposed to benefit fromthis amendment is not convinced, then itis most likely that --
You aregoing back to the same point. HonMember, your time is up. Now, could we give the floor to the HonMinister to address the issues raised byHon Members? Does Leadership want tocontribute? Very well. Hon MinorityLeader, then Hon Majority Leader beforethe Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker, I havelistened attentively to Hon Colleagueswho have spoken to the ElectronicCommunications (Amendment) Bill, 2016before us. Any Bill that comes to us asthe Constitution provides, should beaccompanied by a Memorandum whichshould set out in detail, the policy andprinciple of the Bill. Mr Speaker, the policy and principlesof this Bill are set out in the first paragraphof the Memorandum which provides that; “The primary objectives of theintroduction of a clearing house areto assure cost effectiveness ininterconnection, reduce the cost ofinterconnection and facilitateinterconnection for emergingservice and application providersand thereby make service deliveryaffordable to subscribers.” These are the policy outlines set out. Mr Speaker, what mischief exists whichthis Bill seeks to cure, is then capturedunder the subsequent paragraphs, inparticular, beginning from paragraph 3,which is talking about the “less efficientuse of point of interconnects resulting incomplexity in the network architecture” asthe first reason. The second one is,“insufficient interconnection capacity” asof now. In the subsequent paragraphs of pages(ii) and (iii), there are other ancillaryservices mentioned from page (iii) whichinclude, “increasing higher quality andreliable level of service”. The “redress tothe issues of stolen phones, uncertainsubscriber identity and to facilitateconnectivity with other platforms”. To ensure an “efficient billing andpayment settlement process with averifiable call detail record.” Then four, to“operate a common platform to monitortraffic volumes in the country and providea common infrastructure for governmentagencies to host informationcommunications technology systems andapplications and store confidential datasecurely”. Mr Speaker, these are the otherancillary services. We are now told thatthe Interconnect Clearing House willgenerate much needed revenue forGovernment through a number of ways.That is where the problem is. If it is mentioned tangentially asancillary service, one would not worrybecause after all, it should be in built inthe system. But to go on to say that weare using this to mobilise tax revenue forGovernment is what the problem is about. That is why I agree with HonColleagues that in principle, it is goodintroducing this. If you have to amendprovisions in the original Bill to facilitate
Mr Speaker, we all agree thatgenerally, the policy is good and that it isgoing to improve the quality of service ofthe industry. We also agree that it is goingto reduce cost and enhance effectiveness.Going through the Bill, it is clear that thereare regulatory, technical and financialissues. The Hon Opare-Ansah gave an insightinto some of the technical and regulatoryissues, and we do not disagree with himgenerally on some of the points that hehas raised. My Hon Colleague, the Minority Leadertook us through the legal requirements ofa Bill and then drew attention through the Memorandum, to the challenges that wecall the defects of the law that this Billseeks to remedy. That is the essence ofthe Bill. There are only somedisagreements on the issue of financialresponsibility. There are some provisions that seemto be impinging on the mandate of theMinistry of Finance to be the oneresponsible for revenue generally. Theythink that the National CommunicationsAuthority (NCA) under the Ministry ofCommunications is trying to eat into theirarea. So, there have been somedisagreements there. What the Committee has done and Icommend it highly, is to encourage ahealthy discussion on these issues and Ithink that there is some consensus that isbeing built. The first is that it would notbe a monopoly situation. Experience hastaught us that it should not be a monopolysituation. It has also taught us that we shouldnot just open the gate so wide that wewould get the Nigerian experience whereso many companies rush into it, a numberof them collapse and then you now haveonly about three operating. Mr Speaker, all this is what hasinformed the Committee and some HonMembers of the Committee to proposeamendments to the Bill which we wouldbe dealing with at the ConsiderationStage. Mr Speaker, the other issue that wehave to look at is not just the regulatoryissue, but how we would look at the bodythat is being established -- the ICH. Is italso providing services? If so, would it be generating income? And if it is generatingincome, is that income subject to tax? --[Interruption] -- Yes! Why not! It issubject to tax. That is why the subject is being raisedthat, the ICH should not be allowed to bethe referee and the player in his own game.So, issues are being raised and there areproposals to try to improve upon that areatoo. Mr Speaker, the issue of caps box orSIM fraud is an issue some people believethat, once all these calls are routed througha centralised system, the ICH, it wouldreduce, not eliminate, SIM box fraud to aminimum. We have problems, for example, withKasapa which is a smaller telecommu-nications service operating with bigger ones-- [Interruption] -- It is now Expresso.Now, there are always problems withreconciliation. The call systems are suchthat, Expresso owes MTN and the otherlarger telecommunications a lot of revenueand there is always the problem ofreconciliation. That is where the NationalCommunications Authority (NCA) comesin. I do not think that the ICH would bebetter placed to handle this one. That isstill the function of the NCA. Mr Speaker, with regard to revenue, theproper Ministry is that of the Ministry ofFinance and the proper Agency is theGhana Revenue Authority. So, there wouldbe some proposals to try to improve uponthis area. I believe that the ICH should also besubject to tax. In the regulation that would come, we have to detail out these thingsfor us to make sure that we rather do notcreate conflict situations as has happenedto the peer-to-peer connectivity. Mr Speaker, a lot of work has been doneand Hon Members should focus at theConsideration Stage, to make sure that thephrases and language we would usewould resolve all these areas of doubt tomake it possible for the industry to growand to generate the revenue that is neededfor the country. Mr Speaker, with this, I alsowholeheartedly support the Motion andurge my Hon Colleagues to do the same.
HonMinister for Communications, please,wind up.
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to riseonce again. I would want to thank Hon Membersand the joint Committee for the healthydeliberations that we have had over thetwo day period that we met to considerthis very short Amendment Bill. Mr Speaker, the issue has been raisedabout policy and the involvement or non-involvement of the Ministry of Financeand the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). First, as Hon Mahama Ayarigaindicated, the Cabinet decision taken on21st August, 2014, and I would providethis to the Hansard for them to capture;it was very clear about what Governmentpolicy was and is as we speak now.
SPACE FOR LETTER - PAGE 4 - 1.30 P.M - In addition to that, the concept of ICHbecoming the common platform formonitoring of revenue and all that, is nota concept that was accepted by only theMinistry of Communications. I will also provide this letter written onthe 6th of June, 2014, to the Minister forCommunications; that is my goodself,and signed by the Hon Minister forFinance to the Hansard for them tocapture the contents as well.
So, this is another clear indication that,ICH serving as the common platform, isnot only something that was admitted bythe Ministry of Communications. As hasbeen said here, it has both technical andrevenue assuring benefits. The technical aspects are enormous. Itincludes reliable and efficient scalablenetwork type approval, centralisedsubscriber identity registry, centralisedequipment identity registry. Let me add that, the aspect aboutrevenue assurance is a by-product of allthese things about interconnection andall. As a nation, I am sure that if we wereasked to decide that an ICH operating fullyhas the core detail records that, if the GRAtook that Central Board of Revenue (CBR),they would be able to access the revenuethat is due them, should they be interestedin going for another option, that wouldmean additional expenditure, particularly,when you would have this either at nocost or minimal cost? That is the issuewhich is before us. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, when in theyear 2013, the Communications Service TaxAct was being amended, it imposed acertain responsibility on two HonMinisters; the Minister for Finance andthe Minister for Communications. The Ministry of Communicationsaccepted that responsibility even thoughat that particular time, I was unable to jointhe deliberations in Parliament. That is howGovernment works. So, I am very delightedthat at this stage, we have not heard peoplespeaking against the benefits of theimplementation of the ICH but rather wehear that members are even calling formore of such interventions. It is good for job-creation, it is goodfor new entrants and it is good forinnovation. We believe that at the end of the day,local participation in the telecommu-nications sector would be better servedif we allow the ICH to be implemented. Mr Speaker, thank you very much --[Hear! Hear!] --
HonMembers, this brings us to the end of thedebate. I will accordingly put theQuestion. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Electronic Communications(Amendment) Bill, 2016 was accordinglyread a Second time.
Mr Speaker, if we couldtake item 20 at page 7 of the Order Paper— the Third Reading of the NationalPetroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill,2015.
HonMembers, item 20 on the original OrderPaper — the Minister for Petroleum? BILLS — THIRD READING
HonMajority Leader? [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, we could justpresent some Papers. These are itemisedon the Order Paper Addendum so that wecan lay them and refer them to theappropriate Committees.
Mr Speaker, I believe thatit is in order, but in this particular instance,I would suggest that the CommercialAgreements are brought and laid virtuallythe same time. We should get theassurance that we can lay the CommercialAgreement this week, to be referred to theCommittee on Health to deal with. I hope VAMED rings a bell with us,when it comes to this Hospital building.This is because we have had thatexperience before —
HonMajority Leader, how do you respond tothe point he is raising?
Mr Speaker, so that theywould bring the Commercial Agreement. Ido not want to be mentioning names. I donot want to be dragging the names ofpeople inside this, but we shouldimmediately bring the CommercialAgreement.
Mr Speaker, we start fromone before we get to two. So, let us laythese Papers. We will deal with theCommercial Agreements. We havestarted laying them and they are beingreferred to the appropriate Committees. So, let us lay this, it would be referredto a Committee and we will bring theCommercial Agreements. Mr Speaker, so far, we have brought allthe requests that have been made by theHouse concerning the laying ofCommercial Agreements and they havebeen laid. So, I would want to assure myHon Colleague that, that would also bedone.
HonMajority Leader, can I, without appearingto be descending into the arena of debate, suggest that we deal with the Report ofthe Committee of the Whole so that theChairman of the Committee can move thatMotion and then take over the Chair fromme? So, we can work together? The Hon Second Deputy Speaker isthe Chairman of the Committee. TheReport is ready and so can we get thatdone and I would let him take over theChair after that, while I also —
Mr Speaker, we havediscussed that. We will just lay the Papersand then move on to that item — thelaying of Papers does not take time at all.
Very well. Hon Members, Order Paper Addendum— At the Commencement of PublicBusiness; Presentation of Papers by theHon Minister for Finance.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister for Finance has mandated theHon Deputy Minister for Finance, ourHon Colleague, Hon Cassiel Ato B.Forson to come and lay the Paper for andon his behalf.
Hon DeputyMinority Leader, any objection?
Mr Speaker, I have someassurance from the Hon Majority Leaderthat the Commercial Agreement would belaid as quickly as possible and so thatwould be fine.
Mr Speaker,from the indication, this House is expectedto rise sine die tomorrow per the OrderPaper. Whatever it is, I am a Member ofthe Finance Committee. These Paperspresented today have been referred to theCommittee. I just want to give notice that,having regard to the nature of the contract,it is very difficult for the Committee todiligently deal with this within two daysbefore we rise. Mr Speaker, the process has beengoing on within Government for over ayear before they came to this conclusion. I am just putting this on record: if we arerising on Friday and we are expected toconsider a Repor t on these loansbefore we rise, we may not be doingourselves —
Thank youfor the notice, but the adjournment sinedie would take place on Friday and notThursday.
Very well. But the Provisional Order Paper sayson page 42, item 12: “THE HOUSEEXPECTED TO ADJOURN SINE DIE”. Mr Speaker, whether it is today ortomorrow —
There hasbeen a change.
Mr Speaker,whether tomorrow or Friday, certainly, letus make haste slowly with some of thesethings.
Mr Speaker, I think it istoo early in the day for Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah to say that. We do not needthat notice. In fact, as he said, he is amember of the Committee. Once wereferred it to them, the Committee canreport to us that due to the nature of thebusiness, we need some time to deliberateon it and that is the time that we wouldlisten to them because they would giveus reasons. But we have referred it to them and wedid not even add any information to theeffect that they should report to us bytomorrow. So, I think he is anticipating -- This is because there is no certificate ofurgency.
Very well. Hon Members, item 10 on the originalOrder Paper -- Motion -- by theChairman of the Committee of the Whole.
Mr Speaker, asfar as I am concerned, copies of theReport have not been distributed to allHon Members. Probably, the Leaders andsome Hon Members have been givencopies; so the matter could be stood downfor us to have copies of the Report toenable us to meaningfully contribute tothe debate. [Pause.]
HonMember, I am informed that all HonMembers have received their copies. Mr Nitiwul — rose --
Yes, HonDeputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I am justinformed that the Ushers are distributingthem right now. I have not seen them hereand so we do not have it. The three of uson the front desk do not have it and thoseon the other Side do not also have it either.
[Pause.]Yes, I believe Hon Members now havecopies. Chairman of the Committee, can youmove the Motion?
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, that notwithstanding theprovisions of Standing Order 80 (1) whichrequire that no Motion shall be debateduntil at least forty-eight hours haveelapsed between the date on which noticeof the Motion is given and the date onwhich the Motion is moved, the Motionfor the adoption of the Report of theCommittee of the Whole on the ProposedFormula for Distributing the DistrictAssemblies' Common Fund (DACF) forthe year 2016 may be moved today. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Motion 11-- Chairman of the Committee. Proposed formula for DistributingDACF for the year 2016
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this Honourable House adoptsthe Report of the Committee of the Wholeon the Proposed Formula for Distributingthe District Assemblies' Common Fund(DACF) for the year 2016. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I wish topresent your Committee's Report. Introduction The Formula was laid before Parliamentby the Hon Majority Leader, Hon A. S. K.Bagbin on Tuesday, 15th March, 2016 inaccordance with article 252(2) of the 1992Constitution and section 7 (a) of theDistrict Assemblies Common Fund Act,1993 (Act 455). The Rt Hon Speaker referred theproposed Formula to the Committee of theWhole for consideration and report. The Committee of the Whole met onTuesday, 15th March, 2016, deliberated onthe proposed Formula and reportsaccordingly. Background Parliament is mandated by article 252(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana andthe District Assemblies Common FundAct, 1993 (Act 455) to make provision forthe allocation of not less than 5 per centof the total revenue of Ghana to theDistrict Assemblies Common Fund for theimplementation of developmentalprogrammes in the Metropolitan,Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs). As at now, 7.5 per cent of the total taxrevenue of Ghana is allocated to theDistrict Assemblies' Common Fund. By the provision of section 7 (a) of theDistrict Assemblies Common Fund Act1993 (Act 455), the Administrator of theFund is to propose annually for theconsideration and approval of Parliamenta formula for sharing the Common Fund. Acknowledgement The Committee during its deliberationson the Formula met with Hon CollinsDauda, Minister for Local Government andRural Development, the Administrator ofthe District Assemblies Common Fund, MrKojo Fynn as well as officials from theDistrict Assemblies Common Fund. The Committee is grateful to thesepersons for their immense contributionsto our deliberations. References In considering the Formula, theCommittee made references to thefollowing documents: i. The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana ii. The Local Government Act 1992Act 462 iii. The District AssembliesCommon Fund Act 1993 (Act455) iv. The Standing Orders ofParliament v. The 2015 Report of theCommittee of the Whole on theproposed Formula for sharingDistrict Assemblies, CommonFund vi. The 2016 proposed Formula forsharing of the District AssemblyCommon Fund. Principles underlying the Formula The Committee was informed by theAdministrator that the guiding principlesin choosing the factors and correspondingindications in developing the DACFFormula for 2016 remained the same as itwas in 2015. In developing the Formula, the “BasicNeeds'' approach to development wasadopted and considered as a factor in theFormula with the following as itsindicators: Health Service; Education Service; Water Coverage; Tarred Roads Coverage. Under the above factors, those whohave more facilities get less in order tobridge the development gap between theMMDAs.
Additionally, the Formula also takesinto account other factors such as: i. Responsiveness; ii. Service Pressure; iii. Equality; and iv. Reserve. Source of data The Committee was informed that Datafor the determination of the Formula isobtained from Central Sources. This is toprevent MMDAs from influencing thedata used and also to prevent falsification. Population The Committee was informed that theAdministrator obtained the data onpopulation from the Statistical Service.The population data used is that of the2010 population Census. Education The Committee was also informed thatthe Data on Education was obtained fromthe Ministry of Education. Data requiredincluded education facilities, pupil andtrained teacher population. The data oneducation covered all the MMDAs in thecountry. Health The data on Health was provided bythe Ministry of Health. The data providedincludes health facilities such as PublicHospitals, Clinics, Health Posts and CHPSCompounds as well as Doctors andNurses population. The data on the Health sectorcontinues to pose a challenge due to thefluid nature of human resourceprofessional in that sector, thereby creating disparity between the data andthe reality. Internally Generated Fund Local Government Account Unit of theController and Accountant-General'sDepartment provides data on MMDAsInternal Revenue Collection. Water coverage The Committee was further informedthat data on Water Coverage was sourcedfrom the Community Water and SanitationAgency and Ghana Water Company.Community Water and Sanitationprovided data on rural water coverage andGhana Water Company provided that ofurban Water Coverage. Tarred roads Tarred Roads data was obtained fromDepartment of Urban and Feeder Roads.Highways data is excluded as most of theMMDAs have highways passing throughthem. Application for 2016 The Committee was informed that the2016 Budget allocation included somePriority Interventions Programme (PIPs)under the Ministry of Local Governmentand Rural Development and the Ministryof Gender and Social Protection which areapplied to the two main modes oftransfers: (a) Indirect transfers In order not to interrupt plannedprogrammes of MMDAs, aportion of the Fund is set asideto be transferred indirectly to theMMDAs through the PriorityIntervention Progrmmes (PIPs)such as School Feeding, Sanitationand Waste Management andNational Policy on CapitaionGrants. (b) Direct transfer The remaining Fund would beapplied to the Formula forequitable distribution in 2016. Mr Speaker, the Committee observedthat the Administrator presented three (3)different Weighing Scenarios as follows: 2016 Proposed Weighting SPACE FOR TABLE - PAGE 6 - 1.50 P.M.
SPACE FOR TABLE ‘A' - PAGES 8 & 9 CONT.- 1.50 P.M. directly for application and the rest of thedisbursements are done by CentralGovernment under the various priorityinterventions. It is the view of the Committee that thissituation does not give ample oppor-tunity to District Assemblies to determinetheir own priorities. It also does not give room for evendistribution of the Fund as most priorityintervention are targeting some specificcommunities and projects, thus deprivingnon-beneficiary communities of their fairshare. Recommendations The Committee wishes to recommendto Government and the Administrator toconsider capturing the identifiable priorityinterventions by giving them the neededweightings under the various factors usedin the determination of the Formula by theAdministrator. The Committee wishes to further urgethe Minister responsible for Finance toensure timely release of funds in the 2016fiscal year in order not to continue withthe stifling conditions under whichMMDAs found themselves in 2015. Conclusion Mr Speaker, having carefullyconsidered the proposals for the sharingof the DACF for 2016, the Committeerecommends to the House to adopt itsReport and for the approval Scenario C ofthe Weighing Formula as the basis for thedistribution of an amount of GH¢2,013.9million allocated to the District AssembliesCommon Fund in the 2016 Budget. Respectfully submitted.
Yes, HonMember for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, you justsaw that the Report is just handed over tous. At least, we should be given a fewminutes to allow us to appear to belooking at it --
Very well. Hon Member, you were at the meetingyourself, were you not?
Yes, but I have not readthe Report.
Is thereanything in the Report which does notrepresent --
I cannot even detect ifthere is and that its the problem.[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motionon the floor and to make a few commentson the Report of the Committee of theWhole. Mr Speaker, the formula wasexhaustively discussed by this House andconcerns raised by Hon Members havebeen captured in the Report so that it canstreamline and improve the formula in thecoming years. Mr Speaker, just one important matterthat was raised and I would want to re-echo that. It is on page 10 of theCommittee's Report, in which HonMembers expressed worry about a ratherlarge chunk of the fund being used at theCentre and for that matter, a little amountbeing rather sent to the DistrictAssemblies. Mr Speaker, it is a matter that was raisedand the Administrator gave assurancesthat in future, steps would be taken tocorrect those things. But I think thatGovernment needs to also look at it. The issue is that most of these projectspeople tend to think that it is feeding intothe various District Assemblies and thatwhether they come from the Centre or atthe district level, they all go to the benefitof the Assemblies. Mr Speaker, there is no project in theFormula that would not go directly in oneway or the other to support the Districtassemblies in this country. Again, Acts462 and 455 of the DACF made provisionsthat allow the Hon Minister for Financeand the Hon Minister for LocalGovernment and Rural Development todetermine the expenditure. This is the leeway these sectorMinisters use to come out with thesepriority projects and until we get a way ofamending the Act, to remove thatparticular provision, some of thesechallenges would come year in, year out. Mr Speaker, I therefore think that theFund as it is should continue to increase.We started three years ago, with GH¢800billion. Last two years, it shot up to GH¢1.2billion, last year it got to GH¢1.6 billionand this year it is GH¢2.13 billion. So, there is a quantum leap and all wecan do is to make sure that supervisionand monitoring at the district level is veryeffective so that we can deliver to thepeople at the grassroots. If we calculatethe number of years the Fund has been inexistence, we should expect to see anappreciable level of development in theDistricts. I therefore, call on all Hon Members ofthis House to take the monitoring ofactivities very seriously and also to tryand attend District Assembly meetings sothat we could make input into thedevelopment. Sometimes, our absence allows theDistrict Chief Executives (DCEs) and forthat matter the whole Assembly to takedecisions which are not guided by thethinking of this House. I would urge HonMembers to try as much as possible toattend Assembly meetings and makecontributions to it so that we couldimprove the performance of the DistrictAssemblies for the benefit of the country. On that note, Mr Speaker, I thank youso much. Question proposed.
MrSpeaker, I listened to the Chairman of theCommittee on Local Government andRural Development and he mentioned thatthe provisions in the Local and DistrictAssemblies' Common Fund Act whichrequire the two Ministers to collaborateimpose this constraint. But I would wantto submit that those Acts cannot besuperior to the Constitution. This is because the Constitution as weread yesterday, article 256 (2) says: “shalldistribute” and that supersedes the Acts.That is why I am glad that the Committeein paragraph11.0, is making arecommendation which I think theGovernment should take seriously. It is possible to factor in these nationalpriorities itself in the formula by givingthem different weights. I believe if that isdone, all of us can be assured that we arenot in any way playing with theConstitution. My worry is that, one day, somebodymight decide to seek interpretation andParliament may be found wanting. So, Isupport the adoption of the Committee'sReport with that caution.
Thank youvery much. Hon Members, having regardto the state of proceedings, I direct thatthis House sits beyond the stipulated timeas in Standing Order 40 (3). Baba Jamal Mohammed Ahmed (NDC-- Akwatia): Thank you, Mr Speaker. Irise to support the Motion and alsoagreeing with the earlier Hon Memberswho spoke that the distribution from theCentre is worrying. It must be noted that going throughthe details of the distribution, we realisedyesterday that 89.1 per cent ends up inthe district and that is commendable. Itmeans that the Fund is serving thepurpose for which it was established. The only problem is that, some of thesefunds are distributed from the Centre andthis does not give the opportunity to theDistrict Assemblies to determine whatthey would want to do with it on their own.This is something that the Committee hascaptured and I think that the Governmentshould take it seriously. I would also want to urge all HonMembers while supporting this, toconsider especially, the monitoring aspectof the Project which is something that hasbeen raised and needs some emphasis.That is where a lot of the public accusesome Members of Parliament that, “youare given monitoring but we do not seeyou in the constituencies. We do not seeyou monitoring.” I think that we need to make ourselvesmore visible in the constituencies. Let usgo round and be seen at the projects, sothat we can re-engineer and restore theconfidence that the public has in us asthe representatives of the people. With these few words, I support theMotion.
Every penny should go to theAssemblies so that the AssemblyMembers can take the decisions, set theirpriorities and make sure their localcommunities improve for the good of thewhole country. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity.
Thank youvery much. Yes, Hon K. T. Hammond?
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker. I suspect that the Hon Minister forFinance or his Deputies are going tosuggest to me that this has to do with thetax laws of the country. Mr Speaker,indeed, if they have anything to do withthe tax laws, is it not a case that we canhandle it in a way as we can as Parliament? Mr Speaker, it is to do with thedisbursement of the moneys given us asMembers of Parliament for our projects. Mr Speaker, they make application tothe DCEs, District Finance Officer (DFO)and others who organise these things --when it comes to the payment, before wewould know, half of the moneys is goneinto some moneys they have taken back,moneys they have kept for this, moneysthat is gone into taxation -- Mr Speaker, we are taxed and ultimately,the money is given us for some projects.Our projects really are tiny ones. I thinkevery Hon Member is aware of what I am talking about. Mr Speaker, ultimately, themoney goes into some other disbursementdescribed as withholding tax--tax what?You would have to group so manypercentages of whatever -- Ultimately,the money is finished and not much getsaccomplished. As a House, we always talk about beingmasters of our own destiny. Mr Speaker,we are causing troubles with our owndestiny. We are not being charitable toour destiny. We should make sure that amechanism is put in place whereby themoneys given to us by the state for thatpurpose is protected. Can there not be any ring-fencing? Ican see the Hon Deputy Ministersconferring -- Hon Ato and the other ladyare not listening to me. Hon Ato, youbetter listen to me because this matter hasto do with you --
HonMember, please, address the Chair.
Mr Speaker, I know theMember is kindly listening to me but Ithought he would take notes, they werenot listening, I saw them chatting. Mr Speaker, it is a very serious matterand we should be thinking about it. I was not even going to develop thepoint about relationships with DCEs.Fortunately, some of us do not have thatkind of relationship with our DCEs. MrSpeaker, there are instances that gettingthe DCE and the Administration toactually give their consent for a projectgets tight. As I said, fortunately, I have agood relationship with my DCE but myconcern is what I have indicated. The Hon Deputy Ministers for Finance-- I guess their boss is not here, except ofcourse, he is the one hiding behind thetable. I hear my Hon Colleagues sayingthey cannot -- [Interruption] --Absolutely, something has to come to thisHouse first. If it is not coming and we can do ithere, then, with your permission, MrSpeaker, I invite the House. Let us dosomething about it, because I amcompletely heartbroken and unhappyabout the way the money is disbursed. The other day, we had what I call a tiffwith the DCE -- “Hon DCE, where is themoney?” “The answer was this has goneinto this. This percentage is that” and wecannot even buy cement and roofingsheets. Mr Speaker, remember in ourconstituencies, we do toilets, bridges,roads, schools, kindergartens (KGs), ifthere are no schools, boreholes, hospitalsand we pay school fees, in the end,how much is left? If the House can do something aboutit, that bit that is taken away should beadded to the money. If we as a House can,then the Executives through those whoare not listening should actually pay someattention to this matter. I think I have made my point. Theyshould support me because they are allsuffering from this. Thank you very much. Mongye so e![Hear! Hear!] [Uproar]
Thank youvery much -- [Interruption] -- No! Heis the lizard which fell from the iroko tree;if nobody would praise him, he wouldpraise himself.
Mr Speaker, that is theproverb. If nobody is praising me, whatdo I do? I have to sing the praises myself.[Laughter.]
Very well. Hon Members, I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I thought youwould give me a few minutes or so toconclude.
I thoughtthe way we went about his Motion, youdid not need anytime to wind-up.
I was not going to sayanything but the last contribution hascompelled me to say something for therecord. We must be careful not to give theimpression that we do all kinds of things.I heard the Hon Member who spoke, wedo roads, hospitals, et cetera. Mr Speaker, how much is the CommonFund? Our four years' Common Fundcannot do a single road -- One kilometreof road --The Hon Minister for Roadsand Highways is here and on a point ofinformation, I invite him to tell us howmuch one kilometre of road costs. Wecannot do it.
Mr Speaker, point oforder --
Hon K. T.Hammond, you do not have the floor. Ihave not given you the floor --[Interruption] -- The Hon Chairman ison the floor.
Mr Speaker, as far as thecontributions of Hon Members ofParliament are concerned, we must beclear on record about the procedure ofwhat goes to the constituency.
Thank youvery much. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, we have to goto item 5 on the Order Paper, which is theMotion to adopt the Report of theAppointments Committee. Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that youare in the Chair, you would need to do aswap to take the Motion.
Very well. If we are ready to do the Motion, let usannounce it while I direct that the HonSecond Deputy Speaker takes over theChair. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, which isthe next item we have to deal with on theOrder Paper?
Mr Speaker, in themeantime, we can go to item 7 on theOrder Paper, it is a Motion.
Itemnumbered 7 is a Motion by the HonMinister for Finance. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the HonMinister for Finance is not available.What will we do?
Mr Speaker, this morning,we asked permission for the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance, who has theauthority from the Hon Minister. So, we ask permission for the HonDeputy Minister for Finance to take theMotion on behalf of the Hon Minister forFinance.
Very well;the Hon Deputy Minister for the HonMinister for Finance.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion.
HonMembers, this is procedural. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, item number8 on the Order Paper.
Itemnumbered 8 by the Hon Deputy Ministeron behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance. Government of Ghana (GoG)/UnitedStates of America (USA) Treaty to theSecond Millennium Challenge Compact
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this Honourable House adoptsthe Report of the Finance Committee onthe Treaty to the Second Millennium
HonMembers, the Hon Second DeputySpeaker takes the Chair.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, in so doing, Ipresent your Committee's Report. Introduction The request for the ratification of theTreaty to the Second MillenniumChallenge Compact between the UnitedStates of America, acting through theMillennium Challenge Corporation, andthe Government of the Republic of Ghana,operating through the MillenniumDevelopment Authority (MiDA) for agrant amount of four hundred and ninety-eight million, two hundred thousandUnited States dollars (US$498,200,000)and a Government of Ghana contributionof thirty-seven million, three hundred andsixty- five thousand United States dollars(US$37,365,000) was presented by theHon Deputy Minister for Finance, MrCassiel Ato Baah Forson on behalf of theHon Minister for Finance on Tuesday, 1st March, 2016 in accordance with article 75of the 1992 Constitution. And in accordance with Order 169 ofthe Standing Orders of Parliament, the RtHon Speaker referred the agreement tothe Finance Committee for considerationand report. Reference documents The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents during theconsideration of the Treaty: The 1992 Constitution of Ghana The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana, and The Millennium Challenge CompactAgreement between the UnitedStates of America and the Republicof Ghana Deliberations The Committee was assisted by theHon Minister in-charge of DevelopmentAuthorities at the Presidency, Mr KwasiOppon-Fosu and the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance, Mrs Mona K.Quartey and other officials from theMinistry of Finance and MiDA. TheCommittee is grateful to them for theirassistance. Background The Millennium Challenge Compact isbetween the United States of America,acting through the Millennium ChallengeCorporation (MCC) a United Statesgovernment corporation and the Republicof Ghana acting through the MillenniumDevelopment Authority (MiDA). Ghana was selected as eligible todevelop this Compact prior to completionof a US$547 million compact whichentered into force in February 2007 andcompleted in February 2012.This wasaimed to reduce poverty by raising farmer incomes through private sector-ledagribusiness development and to enhancethe competitiveness of Ghana'sagricultural products in regional andinternational markets throughinvestments in agriculture, transportationand rural development. Ghana was subsequently namedeligible to develop the second Compact,and was also named as one of the four (4)countries to participate in the pilot projectfor the Partnership for Growth, aninitiative intended to create the nextgeneration of emerging markets througha better coordinated and strategicallyfocused United States Governmentprograms and resources. Based on an analysis of the obstaclesto economic growth, conducted jointly bya team made up of Government, UnitedStates Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID) and a group ofeconomist from MCC, three (3) keyconstraints to Ghana's economic growthwere identified: insufficient and unreliableelectrical power, lack of access to credit,and insecure land use of rights. TheGovernment selected the power sector asthe area of intervention for the proposedsecond compact. Throughout the development of thisCompact, the Government used aninclusive consultative process,conducting consultations across Ghanaand in the United States. Together withMCC, the Government has utilized otherformal mechanisms to solicit direct inputto inform project selection and designfrom relevant stakeholders at differentsteps in the process. Goals and objectives The goal of this Compact is to reducepoverty through economic growth inGhana. MCC's assistance will be provided in a manner that strengthens goodgovernance, economic freedom andinvestments in the people of Ghana.Specific objectives of the Programme areto: Increase private sector investmentand the productivity andprofitability of micro, small, mediumand large scale businesses; Increase employment opportunitiesfor men and women; and Raise earning potential from self-employment and improved socialoutcomes for men and women. Programme components The Programme consists of sixProjects. These are: i. The ECG Financial andOperational Turnaround Project ii. The NEDCo Financial andOperational Turnaround Project iii. the Regulatory Strengtheningand Capacity Building Project iv. the Access Project v. the Power Generation SectorImprovement Project; and vi. the Energy Efficiency andDemand Side ManagementProject Programme funding In accordance with Section 7.3 andupon entry into force of this Compact,MCC will grant the Government under theterms of the Compact, an amount not toexceed four hundred and ninety-eightmillion, two hundred thousand UnitedStates dollars (US$498,200,000)(“Programme Funding”), consisting of
Mr Speaker, I beg to second theMotion. Mr Speaker, this matter wasbrought under a different article in theConstitution, but we looked at it underarticle 181 (5). We did so earlier. It turnsout, however, that GoG and the USA havedecided that it should come under article75 of the Constitution -- Treaties andAgreements. Mr Speaker, the material is the same.We have checked it carefully. Nothing haschanged. So, I urge that there is no point indebating this; we should adopt it. This isbecause we have approved all theconcepts under article 181 (5). Mr Speaker, however, we thought whatshould have happened was that it shouldhave been referred to the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs. This is because it is a Treaty. Wesaid that in the conclusion, which is onpage 7 of the Report. Mr Speaker, otherwise, materiallynothing has changed. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, the Hon RankingMember has concluded the matter. I would want to urge you, Mr Speaker,it appears all Hon Members support thisMotion so you can put the Question.TheHon Ranking Member has put it beyonddoubt that, this is necessary andimportant and that we should just adoptit -- Mr Speaker, I invite you to put theQuestion.
Thankyou. Having said that, I would still recogniseHon Members. Hon Kwabena OkyereDarko-Mensah? Where is the DeputyAttorney -General and Deputy Ministerfor Justice. Has he left?
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Majority Leader said that,everything is in order, so, we shouldapprove the Motion but we are not up to50 per cent here. [Laughter.]
We arenot? Hon Darko-Mensah, I did not hearyou. Hon Dominic Azimbe Azumah?
Mr Speaker, mymajor difficulty --
Let merecognise Hon Azumah.
Mr Speaker, I amnot going on that tangent.
Mr Speaker, I wishthat, since we are approving a majorCompact like this, the details of whatwould accrue to Ghanaians are clearlystated. Mr Speaker, for instance, It talks aboutElectricity Company of Ghana (ECG)financial and operational turnaroundproject; Northern Electricity DistributionCompany (NEDCo) financial andoperational turnaround project;regulatory strengthening, access project,power generation, sector improvement,project and energy efficiency and demandside management project. Mr Speaker, if we take the ECG, recently,they have increased electricity tariffs andGhanaians are complaining. So, if they aregoing to turn around ECG, we want toknow exactly what the ECG is going tolook like in future when they use thismoney. We want to know how muchgeneration we are going to get from usingthis money. This is not the first time we have gotsome of these moneys into this country.If you take just AngloGold Ashanti Ghana,the royalty alone they generate for thiscountry is about US$416 million in the last10 years. This Project is going to last forsome years. What is so special about it? This is the kind of thing we want tohear so that, we could carry this messagehome, that in accepting this Compact anddoing this project, these are the thingsthat are going to happen. If Ghanaians pay so much forelectricity and they are going to take over500 million just to spend on the ECG, wewant to be told exactly what is going tohappen after they spend that kind ofmoney not on the people but just on anorganisation that we know we haverecently expanded -- Mr Speaker, this project would lead tothe privitisation of ECG. If we haveincreased the tariffs by then, what is thebasis? Why did they not increase it forGhanaians to manage and control? Thatis why we wanted to get this informationso that, when we approve it, ourconscience would be clear and we cansend the message home.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that,this Compact we are going to approvetoday was well thought through. It is asequence of the earlier Compact onPoverty Reduction in this country, I amsure the United States of America (USA)was certainly very satisfied with the usageof that as they have invited us to have aSecond Compact. I am so happy to hear that Ghana isamong the four countries selected tobenefit from this Compact and to addressa critical area of concern, that is energy. We all know of the recent pastchallenges we had and if this Compactwould help us address the energy needsof the country, especially now that we areembarking on vigorous rural electrificationseverywhere, we certainly need enoughenergy to run it. I am sure the decision to go into thisCompact would go to address theseconcerns. Mr Speaker, I think this is awelcomed thing and I urge the House tosupport the Report.
Mr Speaker, thank youvery much. Mr Speaker, I have one fundamentaland two other difficulties with this Report.Firstly, I am not so sure if we are doing theright thing today. There appears to havebeen a second Report because the last
Mr Speaker, it is notdifferent. It is exactly the same figures.That was the point I made to you. Nothinghas changed. I do not know which paperhe is holding but the total package isUS$535,565,000, part of it is provided bythe Government of Ghana (GoG). The USAgives US$498,200,000 and we provide therest. Nothing has changed. On that note,we can assure you that nothing haschanged.
Mr Speaker, if GoGprovides a certain component, do we ratifyor approve the payment effected by theGoG? That other document has a provisionof US$535,565,000 attached -- I did nothave the Order Paper for today.
Mr Speaker, copies ofthe document were distributed to all ofus. I can give him mine. [Pause.]
HonHammond, walking across and looking fordocuments -- I think I would bring yourcontribution to an end.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry,I did not --
Youcannot speak from where you are standing--
Mr Speaker, I am notfollowing your point.
Whenyou are contributing, the whole Housecannot be waiting for you while you walkacross and try to get a document.
No! Mr Speaker. I did that, because you were engagedwith the Clerk-at-the-Table. I could havegone on to make my point.
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague said it is not the case that, thetwo figures might be entirely the same. Istill dispute the point. This is because theone that I looked at the last time, was500 and a certain figure with all theattachments. We do not have that here. Mr Speaker, he makes the point that, itis because Government's Component isadded to this or that one. Do we have toapprove Government's provision in thisHouse? Mr Speaker, the other matter is also thelegal point that he raised. We seem to haveratified the other one which was anAgreement, I think the Compact groupnow says that, well, they want it to comeas a form of a Treaty because they wantTreaty ratifications. Mr Speaker, if it is a Treaty ratificationand we appear to have ratified anAgreement, then should they not bringback the whole document and lay theproper one before this House for theCommittee to -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I just wantto provide information to my HonColleague. The entire Agreement that hedoes not appear to remember has beenlaid before us; the same document. We allhave copies so they have brought it tous. What this House approved under article 181 (5) as an International EconomicAgreement, if you read the Report, youwould notice that, the USA thinks itshould come under article 75 and ourGovernment has agreed. So, they have laidit here for this House to do same. It was referred to the FinanceCommittee, but we thought that, normally,under article 75, it should be referred tothe Committee on Constitutional, Legaland Parliamentary Affairs and we tooknote of that. I do not know what figure heremembers but, the total figure is the same.For USA it is US$498,200,000 and the GoGcomponent is US$37,365,000. That iswhere we get the US$535,565,000 sonothing has changed on the numbers.
Mr Speaker, I do notdispute what he talked about. I think heand I are in tandem with the point that hehas made but that is not entirely my point. Mr Speaker, what has been brought,which has been approved under a certainprovision, what is the status of that one?Do we rescind that decision or we do not?That is my concern. Mr Speaker, he says we should not.Having decided that they were going byanother route, the other one has becomeredundant and we do not need it. Inaddition, we would have two if this shouldbe approved as a grant and InternationalFinancial Agreement. Would it also beratified as a Treaty? This same document,is that what we are going to do? Mr Speaker, be that as it may, myfundamental difficulty with this Compactis that it will essentially provide moneyso that Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) would effectively come to an end.We would not have an ECG as we have it.The items that have been identified inthere, the money is supposed to go into --Mr Speaker, I beg to quote: i. “The ECG Financial andOperational Turnaround Project ii. The NEDCo Financial andOperational Turnaround Project iii. The Regulatory Strengtheningand Capacity Building Project iv. The Access Project v. The Power Generation SectorImprovement Projects; and vi. The Energy Efficiency andDemand Side ManagementProject.” Mr Speaker, what are these? The lasttime the Millennium Challenge Compactgave over US$500 million, there weretangible things that were done with thatmoney. We all famously remember theGeorge Walker Bush N1 Motorway, theAgriculture and, other interventions thatwere undertaken by the first Compact. Mr Speaker, by its nature, the ECGbecomes the targeted entity, with theapproval of this particular loan. Therehave been so many attacks on the ECGand in the end we understand that theyare going to carve quite a good portion ofECG out and put it in, concession todispose it of completely. There is a difficulty here; I am not sosure this Compact is going to do very wellfor the country except to maybe complywith some International Monetary Fund(IMF) requirements. I am not personallycomfortable with what is going to happenas far as ECG is concerned. ECG has been
HonHammond, you would be concluding.
Mr Speaker, I am afraidthat the Compact -- [Interruption.] Mr Agbesi--rose --
Mr Speaker, I do not knowwhether the Hon Member is debating thisReport or he is speculating or he isconjuring things from his mind. I have theReport and I have not seen anywhere thatECG is going to be taken over. So, I wouldwant to know whether he is debating thisReport or otherwise. If not, please let usrestrict ourselves to the Report and moveon.
Mr Speaker, I do notknow whether my Hon Colleague has everknown me not to be speaking my mind. Ifhe asked whether I am speaking my mind,then the answer is plain yes, I am speakingmy mind. If he also asked if it is in referenceto the document, then Mr Speaker, Isuspect that he has not had time to readthe document. He should read it -- I amreferring to the document. Mr Speaker, this Compact is definitelynot going to inure to the benefit of ECG orthe whole nation. I am afraid that if this isapproved, it -- [Interruption] -- An HonMember said that it has been approved. I think the vote has not been taken yet butif it has been taken already then I am notsure of what we are doing now.
HonHammond, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, it ischarting a very dangerous path for whatbecomes of ECG. These are my concerns,Mr Speaker. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, I am going to bevery brief on this. We should be clear andforthcoming to Ghanaians on this wholeCompact arrangement. Truthfullyspeaking, this Compact arrangement isjust to sell ECG; let us agree.
Where isthat in the Report?
Mr Speaker, theytalk about concessioners for about 20years -- we have to be truthful toGhanaians that we are selling ECG. That isall. Baba J. M. Ahmed -- rose --
HonMember for Akwatia? Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, we arediscussing a Report and there is nowherein the Report that talks about selling ECG.I would want to make it clear because thenext time you would find Hon Asiamahout there, telling the press that theGovernment is going to sell ECG. It is not written anywhere, so if youwant to start any mischief now, it is clearthat there is nothing in the Report thatsays that the Government is going to sellECG..
HonMember for Akwatia, you can disagreewith him but all these other comments thatyou made -- Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, I withdrawthe word “mischief”.
There areabout two or three of your sentences thatI do not agree with. Anyway, Hon Asiamahdoes not seem to be worried himself. Howcan I cry more than the bereaved? Hon Asiamah, continue.
Mr Speaker, I think theHon Member should be very fair to HonAsiamah. He is an Hon Member of theCommittee and once the Committee hassaid on page -- [Interruption] -- No!Hon Asiamah is a member of theCommittee on Mines and Energy, but hehas a lot of information regarding ECG aswell. He is not a member of the FinanceCommittee but he is a member of theCommittee on Mines and Energy -- thatis what I was trying to say. Mr Speaker, the Committee says atpage 6, paragraph 3, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The Committee was also informedthat substantial progress has beenmade with respect to the ElectricityCompany of Ghana Restructuringand that Cabinet on the 11 th ofFebruary, 2016 approved thetransaction structure for the ECGPSP. GoG decisions has since beencommunicated to IFC.” So, Hon Asiamah is giving you in-depth knowledge about what is going onthere. It is for you to note it down andgive us the correct information; but foryou to say that there is nothing writtenabout ECG, you did not read it. Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, I have notsaid --
I have notrecognised you. Please, do not put on the microphone. Hon Asiamah?
Mr Speaker, let usgive ourselves that respect andrecognition. Mr Speaker, every Committeeof yours is a technical Committee --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the intention is not to sellECG so the Hon Colleague is misleadingthis House. This is because Private SectorParticipation does not mean selling anentity. It does not mean that and if hewants to be educated on that, we wouldtake him through the meaning of whatPrivate Sector Participation is. Private Sector Participation is toencourage the private sector to take partin the distribution of power. That does notmean that we are selling the ElectricityCompany of Ghana. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Some Hon Members -- rose --
Youcannot have a point of Order on a point ofOrder. I would not recognise anybodyapart from Hon Asiamah. Hon Members, when there is a point oforder taken against another Hon Member,after the Hon Member taking the pointof order, requesting or giving aninformation has spoken, I would have togo back to the Hon Member who was onhis feet before I can recognise anotherperson.
Mr Speaker, with allrespect, every Committee of yours is atechnical Committee willing to be advisedby you -- [Interruption.] Mr Hammond -- rose --
Hon K.T. Hammond, do you have a point oforder?
Mr Speaker, if my HonFriend gave ground, I was going to givehim information to add to what he talkedabout. I direct my Hon Colleague, if hehas given me ground, to look at page 6,the first, second and third paragraphs thatthe Leader looked at. Mr Speaker, these are specificparagraphs which deal with thepreparation to sell and dispose of ECG.That is the point he made.
Mr Speaker, as Iindicated, every Committee needs toinform this august House. So, the HonDeputy Minister should listen to me andbe well informed here. I would respect thataccordingly. Mr Speaker, with your permission,paragraph 3 of page 6 says, “the ElectricityCompany of Ghana Restructuring…”What does he mean by restructuring? Iwould want MiDA to come in here.
HonMinister for Roads and Highways?
Mr Speaker, theyshould tell us the kind of restructuringthey are doing. What kind of restructuringis that?
HonAsiamah, I am surprised.
Mr Speaker, my goodFriend is confusing selling withrestructuring involving private sectorparticipation. The desire of Government on policy isto inject efficiency. I am surprised,because the Hon Member is liberalminded. We are bringing in the privatesector to bring the private sectorexperiences in managing publiccorporations so that we could haveefficiency and quality of service of thosepublic utilities and companies. That iswhat we are doing. We are not selling. Indeed, Mr Speaker, if the Hon Asiamahis minded to enter into any relationshipwith a big financier in future, he could evenparticipate in the injection of cash.
Why, areyou suggesting that he does not have thefinance to enter a relationship? Why areyou underestimating Hon Asiamah'sfinancial capability?
Mr Speaker, I know heis a Member of Parliament and all of usdepend on the Common Fund.[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I havenot deviated from my ideology and mycore values, but the facts must be stated.I am contesting that they should comeforward and tell Ghanaians what they aredoing with ECG now. Mr Speaker, when we met with MiDA,as a Committee, it was clear to us that theintention here is to sell off ECG.
HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, the HonMember finds delight in mentioning theword “sale”. This is because he read fromthe Report which says “restructuring” buthe decided to use the word “sale”. Otherwords -- Private Sector Participation(PSP) refers to the restructuring we aretalking about. That gives concession fora part of work to be done efficiently. Therefoere, he should take himself outof the use of the word “sale”. If he cannotuse the word “restructuring”, he shoulduse the phrase “private sectorparticipation”.
Mr Speaker, for usto be clear as a House, let us --
HonAsiamah, you have made the point aboutthe sale four times. So, move on toanother point.
Mr Speaker, to beclear about what we are doing, let us inviteMiDA to come and brief this House andfor this House to be well informed beforewe go ahead with this Treaty. Mr Speaker, we cannot string wordstogether and come here to confuse theHouse. They should tell us what theymean by “private sector participation” inthis context. Mr Speaker, it is clear that the intentionof Government is to prepare ECG forcomplete sale. That is the point. Baba Ahmed: On a point of order. MrSpeaker, with all due respect to my Friend,if he is confused, I am not confused. Weare not confused. He said they havebundled some words to come and confusethe House with then. I am clear in my mindwhat I have read from the Report. The Report is to assist ECG to becomemore efficient. If he is confused, he couldfind ways to clear his confusion. With alldue respect, nobody is confused here. Sohe could make his point.
HonMember for Akwatia, I like - Hon Asiamah,you would be concluding.
Mr Speaker, I takeserious exception to the word the HonColleague used on me. This is Parliament. Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, he raised theissue. He said that they have boundwords together to come and confuse us. Iam telling him that I am not confused. Ifhe is confused, he could clear hisconfusion somewhere. I am clear in mymind on what I have read. So, what is heexception to talking? He used the word, and I am reacting toit.
Really, itis a point of order? I have recognised you a number oftimes. Is this really a point of order? Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, it was a pointof clarification. I just cleared it that I amnot confused --[Laughter] -- I justsought your direction that I was notconfused.
HonMember for Akwatia, I would give you asecond to show me from the StandingOrders the basis upon which you stoodup. If you are unable to show me, I wouldnot recognise you again today. Show me the basis upon which youstood up; where is the point ofclarification? Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, we are all atyour mercy, you know that.
How?[Laughter.] Baba Ahmed: When somebody says Iam not confused and I say I am, youcannot pin me to it. I am in your hands.
HonMember, I intended not to recognise youagain, but there is a passage in the Lord'sPrayer in which I take refuge. It says;forgive us our trespasses as we forgivethose who trespass against us. You areforgiven and so I would recognise youagain. Hon Atta Akyea, are you confused?
Mr Speaker, I am notconfused, but I have just heard thispollution in this House that we are at themercy of the Hon Speaker. I thought weare at the direction of the Speaker but notat his mercy.
All right.You are at my direction; sit down. Hon Atta Akyea, why have you sat?You are at my mercy. No! You are not atmy mercy. Hon Asiamah, have you finished? Justconclude in two sentences. Do not repeatwhat you have said already.
Mr Speaker, theysay this capital injection is to make ECGmore efficient. When we met them, theytold us they would need about US$2billion to make them more effctive. So, whatare they talking about? What kind ofpackage is this? They should tell uswhether that is what ECG needs. Mr Speaker, the whole thing is toposition ECG so that they sell it to getwhat they want. There is that kind offinancial retooling.
Thankyou very much.
They should notcome here and create the impression thatECG has been positioned for ourownership. ECG is going to be sold. Thatis the truth with this package, if we shouldgo ahead and approve of it.
Thankyou, Hon Asiamah. You have concluded. So, who would want to contribute?Hon Akoto Osei? It should be very short,please.
I am Hon Isaac Osei.
Have youseen that the confusion has affected me?
MrSpeaker, I would have thought that thisReport would not generate so muchexcitement, considering the fact that underarticle 181 (5) which is on InternationalBusiness Agreement which we haveapproved in this House. There are no new facts. The only thingis that, because of the requirement underthe Millennium Challenge Compact,section 4.6 -- Mr Hammond -- rose --
Hon K.T. Hammond, do you have a point oforder?
Mr Speaker, underarticle 104 of the Constitution, and ofcourse, Standing Order 48 (2), you realisethe point I am making. We do not haveenough numbers here to continue theproject. This has to do with a Treaty. TheConstitution mandates the specificnumber of people who should be here todiscuss this matter. So, the Constitution supplemented bythe Standing Order prevents the Housefrom proceeding with what we are doing.I so make the point.
Mr Speaker, article 104 isvery clear; if we do not have up to half ormore than half, we cannot take decisionsor Resolutions. But once he did not raisethe issue of quorum, it means we couldcontinue, but we cannot take a decision.We do not have that number. If thenumbers were very close, maybe we wouldleave it to your discretion. Mr Speaker, it is very clear. We maydiscuss it but for you to put the question,once he has drawn your attention, youmight not be able to do that, but we couldcontinue with the discussion. We couldtalk and do anything but I would pleadthat we defer the decision and look at ittomorrow.
Mr Speaker, we could endthe debate once we reserve the questionfor another day. As I said in mycontribution, the issue has been putbeyond doubt by the Hon RankingMember and what we are doing is justdebating and not taking a decision. So, asis said in the Standing Orders, we couldconclude the debate and then theQuestion could be put later.
HonMembers, I would recognise Hon IsaacOsei last, and then that would bring us tothe end of the debate. I am confident thatearly in the morning tomorrow, we wouldhave the numbers and put the Question.This is because I do not intend to assistyou to breach the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, I was sayingthat it is only because the Compact is atreaty between Ghana and the UnitedStates that is why we have brought thisthing back under article 75. Mr Speaker, having said this, to followup on the point made by Hon Asiamah, Ibelieve that if it is a PSP arrangementwhich is not intended to lead to a sale ofthe Electricity Company of Ghana, thenperhaps, the Hon Minister in summing up,may want to tell us what would be theparticipation of Ghana in the newstructure, that is going to happen afterthe restructuring process. This is because certainly, private sectorparticipation is not only involved in theoperational aspect but also in the structureand equity held in the Electricity Companyof Ghana. Mr Speaker, so I think it is importantthat we get a clear direction on that. ThatI believe would bring to rest, the matterconcerning whether it is a sale or arestructuring. What is the equity forGhana at the end of the restructuringprocess? Mr Speaker, secondly --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, in fact, youmust jealously guard --
I haverecognised you.
Yes. This is because --he is trying to usurp your position. Mr Speaker, I heard Hon AmbassadorOsei asked what the participation ofGhana is if it is not a sale. That is turningthe question upside down. It should be:what the participation of the private sectoris? This is because ECG is for Ghana. Sohe should not ask what the participationof Ghana is. It should be: “what is theparticipation of the private sector”?
Mr Speaker, with duerespect, I brought this matter up becauseHon Asiamah indicated that in his view, itwas a sale. I was saying that after therestructuring process, there must be anequity structure, which everybody shouldknow about and the participation of Ghanawould indicate whether it has been soldor not. So the point which has been madeby the Hon Gentleman, who just spoke, isneither here nor there. Mr Speaker, I also noticed that one ofthe aims of the Compact was to use theeconomic growth as a way of reducingpoverty. We have noticed that in thiscountry, over the last maybe two decades,where we have had consistent growth, alot of people have actually been lifted outof poverty. Mr Speaker, but in lifting the peopleout of poverty, the advantages have beenskewed, especially toward those of usliving in the urban areas and especially,those in services such as insurance,banking, and so on. Mr Speaker, so, if this particularCompact is going to assist us to look alsoat the production of electricity and so on,to assist us to look at the most vulnerablein our country, that is the rural food cropfarmers and so on, then this Compactwould be useful. Mr Speaker, I really think that all thearguments on this floor, from both Sidesare arguments which we must make. Butthe truth of the matter is that, this thinghas already been approved under onearticle but because it is a Treaty, we areseeking to pass a Resolution in compliancewith what the other side already has inthe Compact. That is why we are engagingourselves in this exercise. Mr Speaker, in my view, in spite of theissues raised about ECG, I think that thisReport should be adopted by this Houseand the Resolution passed. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to just makea very small point. Mr Speaker, I think we all recall thatthis House approved the Compact as akinto a loan under article 181(5) and samewas communicated to the US. However,they insist that Parliament approves it asa Treaty. One may ask himself why? It should also teach us something thatwhen it comes to certain issues, we shouldnever think that anything goes. That isnot to say that we were wrong in treatingarticle 181(5). That was the request madeby Government, that this House approvesthe Compact under article 181(5). The US said it was fine but it shouldbe done this way. It is because where ithas to deal with commitments of States,particularly in their country, they are verycareful not only to abide by their rules ornorms or regulations in form, but also insubstance. Mr Speaker, often, in our country, wethink that anything goes. And I dare saythat in case of their understanding withthe US, they would have conformed tothe letter and spirit of the rules, regulationsand laws that they have crafted forthemselves. So, in my view, this is a solitary lessonthat we should learn as a country. Shortcuts do not work. Let us try to do thingsin a way which would conform to our laws,so that when we are dealing with othercountries or we are dealing with otherindividuals when it comes to contracts,agreements, et cetera, we assure themthat we are abiding by our own laws,regulations and rules. I thank you, Mr Speaker, most gratefulfor this opportunity.
Thankyou, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah. Hon Chairman, would you like to passa comment? All right, that brings us to the end ofthe debate on the matter. Suffice it to say,if I may just ask the Hon Chairman a fewquestions, or point a few things out. Hon Chairman, this question ofacronyms, if you look on page 6, you havean acronym there, ECG, PSP. You haveanother acronym, IFC. All the acronyms,before them you state the name, forexample, when it comes to CompactImplementation Fund Disbursement youstate it before you put it in brackets. I have looked to see where I can findECG, PSP and IFC. I have not found it inany part of the document before theHouse.
Mr Speaker, I agree withyou. If I may expand that one, the ECG isthe Electricity Company of Ghana, and thePSP is Private Sector Participation.
Whatabout the IFC?
The IFC is there. It is theCompact Implementation Fund. Theparagraph before where the ECG, PSP is,it is there.
TheCompact Implementation Fund is CIF.This is IFC.
It is the Finance Corpo-ration which is the transaction advisor.
FinanceCorporation? Finance Corporation is FC.Say the full word, for the record.
HonChairman, you would have saved yourselfthe trouble if you had stated all theacronyms in full before you put them inbrackets. Also, when you go to paragraph 9, itsays, and with your permission I beg toquote: “The Committee is of the view that,since the Finance Committeeconsidered the request for theapproval of the Compact underArticle 181(5), the request for theratification should have beenreferred to the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and Parlia-Parliamentary, Affairs”. When you were considering it, did youreport back to the Speaker that theyshould refer the matter? You have receivedit, the Speaker referred the matter to yourCommittee. Your Committee went to sit as aCommittee and came to the conclusionthat the matter should have been referredto the Constitutional, Legal and
Mr Speaker, Iwould attempt to answer, since Isuggested that we do it this way. A referral had been made to us by theSpeaker. Rightly or wrongly, we had todeal with it. We could not tell Mr Speakerthat this was a referral that he should havemade to another Committee. But I suggestthat once we have -- particularly whenwe have dealt with it under article 181(5),we should draw the attention of the Houseto the fact that because it is a Treaty, it isnot a contract akin to a loan, but comesunder article 75. Mr Speaker, you know that when itcomes to ratification and approval, thereare two different scenarios. It is just liketreating subsidiary legislation. You eitheraccept or reject. When you are ratifying an agreement,it has already been executed. It is notduring the course of negotiation, but whenyou are approving, unless and until youhave approved, it has no legal effect, eventhough the consequences may be thesame. The processes are different. So, the Committee agreed that if thatwas the case, then when it is an agreementthat has to be ratified as a treaty, it is moreof a constitutional matter rather than afinancial matter, and I am saying that wecannot report back to Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker in his own wisdom decidedthat we should deal with it, and as aCommittee, we are competent enough todeal with it, but it is for future reference.Our attention was not drawn to it at the time Mr Speaker was referring to it, I amsure if Mr Speaker's attention had beendrawn to it he would have referred it tothe Constitutional, Legal and Parlia-mentary Affairs Committee. But MrSpeaker's attention was not drawn to it. It is just like a commercial agreementand the loan agreement. They are twodifferent things. Why is it that one goesto the relevant sector committee andthe other would go to the FinanceCommittee? [Interruption.] No! I am saying that it is the Housethat has said that we should deal with it.We cannot say that we cannot deal withit. Why? We are a Committee of the House.
Well,Hon Members, I am of the view that allthe Committees are the Speaker'sCommittees. Correctly, when the matter isreferred to a Committee, being theSpeaker's Committee, the Committee mustdeal with it. I think that if the Committee is of theview that it should have been referred toanother Committee, they could draw theSpeaker's attention to it. I have sat in this Chamber where theSpeaker has referred a matter to oneCommittee and people have either raisedobjection or indicated to the Speaker thatperhaps he should refer the matter toanother Committee, and the Speakers havechanged their minds or made it a jointreferral. Hon Chairman, but to put it in theReport of the Committee, I do not know. Iwould not have put it in the Report,because it is to undermine the wholeReport. That is the way I see it, butanyway, it is there already. The Committee stands by what it issaying, so I would not argue with theCommittee. I have accepted it, but in myview, the Committee perhaps should nothave put it in their Report. Secondly, we are told in thedeliberations that this matter came toParliament originally under article 181(5).It was approved under article 181(5).Then for some reason we have been toldit was a request by our partners that weshould also bring it under article 75. You have not explained this in yourReport. It should have been part of yourReport, the justification. Why are youbringing it back? It is not in the Report,though Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah as hespoke told us Parliament has already dealtwith this matter. Hon K. T. Hammond raised a point. Heraised the point that if we have dealt withthe matter under article 181(5) and we arecoming to deal with it under article 75,does it mean that the second one haslapsed and so on? The Committee should have availed usof their knowledge in this matter, but I amnot surprised that they did not sayanything about it, and perhaps, that waswhy they wanted to seek refuge with theCommittee on Constitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs. This is because theCommittee on Constitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs would not haveconcerned themselves only with financialmatters, but would also have concernedthemselves with the legal matters as well. On that note, I bring the debate on thismatter to an end.
Mr Speaker,page 5, under observation, “Regarding the legal basis for therequest, the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance indicated that the earlierapproval granted by Parliament wasgiven under article 181(5) of theConstitution. The Hon DeputyMinister added that in line withSection 4.6 of the CompactAgreement, the Second MillenniumChallenge Compact upon approvalwas also signed as a Treaty. In addition, section 7.1 of theCompact provides that Governmentwill proceed in a timely manner tocomplete all of its domesticrequirements for the Compact toenter the force and the ratificationamong others, is an importantcondition precedent to the entryinto force of the Compact.” That is the explanation that we have. Indeed, anytime Mr Speaker has madea reference on the floor of the House,certain suggestions may be made byLeadership. In this case, no issue wasraised on the floor.
So, it didnot --
No! MrSpeaker. It did not occur to anybody.
Did itnot cross anybody's mind?
No! Not eventhe Speakership. [Laughter.]
Not eventhe Hon Member for Sekondi.
Mr Speaker,who am I? I am a back bencher.[Laughter.]
Thankyou, I have come to the end. Yes, Hon Hammond?
Mr Speaker, it is inview of all these that we said that the thingmust go back to the appropriatecommittee. It is under the legal --
I rule youout of order. All Committees of Parliament arecommittees of the House.
Mr Speaker, he stooddown my article 104 and said we cannottake a decision, but he wants to take adecision [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, no, wewere not going to take a decision. We arewaiting to be back tomorrow. But whenwe come, we should not pretend that wehave concluded discussion on this matter.Mr Speaker, we could visit it by way ofthe point that has been made.
Thankyou very much, Hon Members. I direct that the debate on the itemnumbered 8 on the Order Paper has ended. Hon Members, in the light of thematters raised on whether we have thequorate number, it is clear from a casualobservation that we do not. So, thedecision will be taken tomorrow. I directthat it should be listed for tomorrow; theQuestion will be put tomorrow. We have come to the end of thisdebate.
Mr Speaker, do Iunderstand you, by your ruling, to meanthat the debate has been concluded?
Yes, thatis what I said. The Hon Deputy Majority Leaderwants me to emphasise. It does not matter.Sometimes, we ask these questions incourt. After the Judge has given adecision, we ask him, “My lord, do Iunderstand by what you said . . .?” it isfor emphasis. The debate has come to an end andthe Question would be put tomorrow. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, item number5.
HonMembers, item 5 -- Hon Minister forPetroleum? Mr Nitiwul-- rose --
Mr Speaker, for the itemnumbered 5, the Hon Chairman of theCommittee is not here; he is the Hon FirstDeputy Speaker. So, why will we be takingitem number 5?
Wecannot. The Hon Chairman of theCommittee is not here.
Mr Speaker, in thecircumstance, I would suggest that yoususpend the House for thirty minutes, sothat when we come back, we will go toother businesses.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, yesterday therewere a number of Bills at theConsideration Stage. I can see that theproponents of those Bills have been inthe House for a while and there is a lot ofwork to be done. If there are Papers or some simplethings to be done, let us do them for aboutfive or ten minutes.
Mr Speaker, if you want usto consider the Bills, then we can go tothe Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015 --[Laughter] -- item 35.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, if the only thingsleft are the two Bills: the MaritimePollution Bill, 2015, and the PublicProcurement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 --Are those the only things we have left?
Mr Speaker,the Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015, remindsme of a situation where a learned Judge ofthe Superior Court of judicature, anytimethere is a case and the lawyers bringvoluminous text books or references, helooks at the books and says, “Oh!,gentlemen, I think we have to take a firmdate.” Then on one occasion, a lawyerbrought a suitcase full of books and hid itunder the table. and the Judge said, hewill hear his argument. The lawyer thenbrought all his books out and the Judgesaid, “Oh! This will take about five hours,let us take a firm date. Mr Speaker, we have to take a firm datefor the Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015,looking at the volume. [Laughter.]
HonDeputy Minister for Transport?
MrSpeaker, it is not a very bulky document.It is actually relatively small. We haveseveral schedules attached to thedocument and that is the reason for itssize.
Yesterday, I gave a directive that youshould supply us with the Convention?Have you done that?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Copies have been given to HonMembers. [Pause.] Mr Speaker, if my memory serves meright, you advised us to bring it to serveas a guide. So, unless it is needed, I amsure we have definitions attached to theBill as well. Hon Members are invited torefer to same. [Pause.]
Hon DrA. A. Osei?
Mr Speaker, if I recall,your instructions were specific. Youmentioned certain individuals who mustget copies. I have been waiting sinceyesterday, but nothing has come to me. Iwas eager to read it. Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah wasmentioned, all the Leaders werementioned, Hon Dr Prempeh and nobodyhas brought anything to us. Those whowere not mentioned are not even here. Itis not fair. It appears that --[Interruption] -- I am saying that MrSpeaker gave specific directives that 50copies -- including certain individualswho were supposed to be given copies. We do not have it, but we are here. So,if anybody who is not here gets one,it is a problem.
We are waiting for yourguidance.
Mr Speaker, my sug-gestion is that, we should take some timeoff. We have been here all morning. Someof us have not eaten. We plead.
HonMembers, it is 3.08 p.m. I would want usto move with speed and purpose. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are thereany items that we can quickly do, then wesuspend Sitting, and come back laterfor the Consideration Stage? While wehave suspended Sitting then --
Mr Speaker, I am told,and I have no reason to doubt it, that wecan proceed with item 22, which the HonDeputy Minister has informed me that wecan finish within 8 minutes.
HonMembers, item 22 -- Hon DeputyMinister for Finance.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion and in so doing, Ipresent your Committee's Report. Introduction The Ghana Deposit Protection Bill,2015, was presented to Parliament andread for the First time on behalf of theMinister for Finance by the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato BaahForson on Tuesday, 12th May, 2015. Mr Speaker referred the Bill to theFinance Committee for considerationand report in accordance with article 174(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order169 of the Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana. The Committee was assisted in itsdeliberations by the Hon Minister forFinance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkper andhis two Deputies, Ms Mona K. Quarteyand Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, theGovernor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG),Dr Henry Wampah and his deputies,Attorneys from the attorney-General'sDepartment and officials from theMinistry of Finance and BoG. The Committee expresses its gratitudeto the Hon Minister and his Deputies,the Governor and his Deputies andofficials from the Ministry of Finance,Attorney-General's Department and theBoG for the assistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents during itsdeliberations: The 1992 Constitution of Ghana The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana The Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673);and The Banking (Amendment) Act,2007 (Act 738). Background A Deposit Protection Scheme seeksamong others, to safeguard the savingsof individual depositors in a country inorder to build up trust in the formal bankingsystem, and to contribute to thestabilisation and development of thefinancial system of that country. In its bid to add on to the overallfinancial safety net framework of thecountry, the Bank of Ghana in November2011, conducted a pre-feasibility studywhich assessed the Ghanaian bankingsystem, as well as the legal, supervisoryand political framework in terms of itsspecific characteristics and readiness fora deposit protection system. After a positive outcome, the firstanalysis was followed by a feasibilitystudy in July 2012, which proposed atangible outline of a deposit protectionscheme in Ghana based on the givenmacroeconomic framework, characteristicsof the national banking system andexisting supervision regulations. The Ghana Deposit Protection Bill,2015, therefore is to give effect to thefindings and to provide legal protectionto depositors in the country. Purpose of the Bill The object of the Bill is to establish aDeposit Protection Scheme to protect asmall depositor from loss incurred by thedepositor as a result of the occurrence ofan insured event, and to support thedevelopment of a safe, sound, efficientand stable market-based financial systemin Ghana; to establish the DepositProtection Fund which constitutes theassets of the Scheme and the DepositProtection Corporation, to manage theScheme efficiently and effectively towardsthe attainment of the objects of theScheme, amongst others. Divisions of the Bill The Bill has fifty-six (56) clauses.Clauses 1 and 2 deal with preliminaryprovisions. Clause 1 deals with appli-cation. Clause 2 provides that where aprovision in the Bill is inconsistent withthe provisions of another enactment thatdeals with the insurance of deposits ormatters relating to the insurance deposits,the provision in the Bill should prevail. Clause 3 to 8 deal with the esta- blishmentand membership of the Deposit-ProtectionScheme. The establishment of the DepositProtection Scheme is provided for in clause3. The object of the scheme is providedfor in clause 4. The membership of the Scheme isprovided for in clause 5. Clause 6 providesfor the issue of a certificate of membershipby the Board to a bank or a specialiseddeposit-taking institution that is a memberof the Scheme.
Clause 42 deals with investments. TheBoard is to formulate an investment policyto guide the deployment of the resourcesof the Fund. The target size of the Fund“A” and the Fund “B” are dealt with inclause 43. Clause 44 deals with financial reportingand external auditing. The Corporation isto maintain accounts and records inaccordance with International FinancialReporting Standards to reflect itsoperations and financial condition. Clause 45 deals with annual reportingand other reports. Financial planning andbudgeting are provided for in clause 46.Not later than the 31st of October of eachyear, the Board is to cause to be prepared,estimates of revenue and expenditure forthe Corporation for the ensuing year. Clause 47 provides for emergency orextraordinary funding. Accounting andbook-keeping is provided for in clause48. The Corporation is to organise itspolicies, accounting and book-keeping inaccordance with International FinancialReporting Standards. Miscellaneous provisions are dealtwith in clause 49 to 56. Clause 49 dealswith administrative sanctions. Theadministrative sanctions provided underthe Bill are not to preclude the applicationof other sanctions or criminal penalties asprovided for under any other enactment. Clause 50 provides that theCorporation is exempted from the paymentof income tax. Clause 51 deals with protection fromliability and indemnification. Publicinformation is dealt with in clause 52. Abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution is to openly display and makeavailable brochures, leaflets and othereducational materials to explain theScheme and its operations. A bank or specialised deposit-taking institutionwhich does not comply with theprovisions is liable to pay anadministrative penalty to the Corporation. The penalty for non-payment ofpremium is dealt with in clause 53. A bankor a specialised deposit-taking institutionthat fails to pay a premium as specifiedunder clauses 15, 16 and 17 is liable topay to the Corporation an administrativepenalty. Clause 54 deals with Regulations.Clause 55 deals with the interpretation ofwords used in the Bill. Finally transitionalprovisions are dealt with in clause 56. Observations Importance of the proposed legislation Touching on the importance of theproposed legislation, the Governor of theBank of Ghana stated that the InsuranceScheme that would be established underthe Act would protect small depositors inthe event of a financial institutionbecoming insolvent or distressed. The Governor emphasised that theexistence of deposit insurance providesdepositors with clarity, reassurance andconfidence and thereby promotingfinancial stability. He explained that like any otherbusiness, banks and other financialinstitutions can fail, however; knowingthat their savings are protected againstfailure helps depositors to feel confidentabout keeping their savings in banks andother financial institutions that would bemembers of the Scheme. This, in his viewwould help keep the financial systemstrong and beneficial to all. Coverage limit The Committee noted that on theoccurrence of an insured event, an insureddepositor would recover up to fivethousand Ghana cedis in the case ofdepositor of a bank and up to onethousand Ghana Cedis in the case of adepositor of a specialised deposit-takinginstitution. It was explained that though thethreshold may seemed low, it is meant toprotect small depositors who ordinarilyconstitute majority in many deposit-takinginstitutions and the vulnerable in thesociety. Further, a high threshold would meanhigh premium which would eventually bepassed on to the depositor in the form ofservice charges and interests. It wasadded that the proposed threshold seemsacceptable by the stakeholders, and sincethe Corporation would have the power toregularly review the coverage limits, itwould be appropriately reviewed as thescheme grows and circumstances dictate. Financing the Scheme The Committee learnt that the totalseed capital of cedi equivalent of twentymillion euros (€20,000,000.00) is envisagedto be equally contributed by theGovernment of Ghana and the Bank ofGhana. To ensure the continuous flow offund into the Scheme, members of theScheme (Banks and deposit-takingInstitutions) would be expected tocontribute an initial one-off premiumamounting to 0.1 per cent of the requiredminimum paid-up capital and annualpremium. The Scheme would also be permittedunder the Act to invest its funds. However, to guarantee that managersof the funds do not deviate from the coreobject of the Act, provision has been madeto ensure that the Scheme's investmentpolicy adheres to the principles of safetyand liquidity over returns. Amendments proposed The Committee after its deliberationsproposes the following amendments forthe consideration of the House: 1) Clause 4 -- amendment proposed-- paragraph (b), line 1, after“sound” delete “and” and insert “,”and after “efficient” insert “and”. 2) Clause 5 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (1), line 1, delete“55(3)” and insert “56(3)” and after“Bank” delete “and” and insert“or”. 3) Clause 6 -- amendment proposed --subclause (1), line 1, delete “Board”and insert “Corporation”. 4) Clause 7 -- amendment proposed -- a) subclause (1), paragraph (b), line1, delete “surrender” and insert“revocation”. b) subclause (4), paragraph (a),lines 1 and 2, respectively, delete“belongs” and “is” and insert“belong” and “are”. c) subclause (4), paragraph (b),sub-paragraph (ii), line 1, delete“compromises” and insert“compounds”. 5) Clause 8 -- amendment proposed -- a) subclause (1), paragraph (b), sub-paragraph (ii): delete “of thecessation” and closing sentenceof paragraph (b), insert “of the
HonMembers, Standing Order 127 provides: “On a motion being made that a Billbe now read a Second time, a fulldebate shall arise on the principleof the Bill on the basis of theexplanatory memorandum and thereport from the Committee.” Is this Bill the one that the Governor ofthe Bank of Ghana talked about?
Then wewould go for a break. When we come back,we would have a full debate on it. Thesetwo Bills would be considered after wecome back from suspension.
It is 3:23p.m. What time should we come back?
Mr Speaker, 4.00 p.m. --[Interruption.]
HonMembers, we should be prepared to sitfor a long time today. We would come backat 4.30 p.m. I would be in the Chair by 4.30p.m. and I would proceed. The Leader should be here and thosewho would want to contribute, make sureyou are here by 4.30 p.m. 3.25 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 5. 05 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
HonDeputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we were onitem 22, Motion and we were about tostart the debate after the Second Readingof the Ghana Deposit Protection Bill, 2015before the House was suspended.
So, item22. The Motion has been moved andseconded.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as the Hon DeputyMajority Leader said, before we left, wewere expected to contribute to the GhanaDeposit Protection Bill, 2015, the SecondReading.
Mr Speaker, this is a very important Billparticularly, in the light of what hashappened in the so called micro financeindustry and the alleged scandals thathave occurred. I believe we as the people'srepresentatives, ought to be concernedabout this type of instrument, which willallow, not all depositors but the smalldepositors to get protection for theirdeposits, either with banks or withspecialised deposit institutions. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, it is takingtoo long for this type of Bill to beintroduced in Ghana. So, there is a senseof urgency as far as I am concerned, sowhen we go back to our Constituenciesand we are asked, what are you doing interms of our savings, we might be able tosay that, now, there is a possibility that,when you save money and there is adisaster like the DKM DiamondMicrofinance (DKM), you would be ableto get some part of the money. But Mr Speaker, we have to be carefulwhen we are passing this information on.This is because the Bill does not intendto deal with large depositors perhaps, likeMembers of Parliament and so forth. It istalking about small depositors, who on theaverage, we are told save less than athousand Ghana cedis (GH¢ 1,000). When I say MPs and so forth, on thebasis of our incomes, the assumption, itis an assumption, it may not be correct,that, we are able to save more than that. But we represent people, majority ofwhom save and are described as smalldepositors. That is ninety per cent, we aretold, of the overall depositors in thesystem. I believe it is fair to say that, we arepart of the ten per cent. So, it is not for usbut it is for our constituents. As I said, it is unfortunate that, theDKM scandal has come about. Butnevertheless, I think it is important that,
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to contributeto the Motion. I would like to make fewremarks concerning the Ghana DepositProtection Bill, 2015. Mr Speaker, our ability to achieve theeconomic Development depends to a largeextent, on saving and depositmobilisation. A number of events havehappened recently in Ghana's financialsystem and have raised a number ofquestions. Mr Speaker, this has threatened theconfidence that the public has in thefinancial system. Inherent vulnerabilitiesand the risk coupled with the globalfinancial system have called for re-thinking of a legal and regulatory regime. Mr Speaker, Bank of Ghana isintroducing a deposit protection schemeto consolidate its mission of promotingconfidence in the financial system,especially, in relation to protecting thesavings of all depositors. We need to emphasise the importanceof striking the right balance between theprotection for small depositors on theother hand and not encouragingirresponsible behaviour by institutions onthe other hand. Mr Speaker, the important thing thatwe need to think about is the depositprotection scheme involving the multipleaccounts and joint accounts. There appears to be a public confusionabout whether the limit is per account orper deposit. About the protection, wewould want to know whether they aregoing to pay for the separate accountsthat individuals have got or it is going tobe for one account. Some might havedifferent accounts in one financialinstitution, so how is it going to betreated? This is what we need to thinkabout. On this note, Mr Speaker, I urge HonMembers to support the Motion.
Mr Speaker, the GhanaDeposit Protection Bill, 2015 is good. Weare in no doubt about that. It is alsoimportant to stress, however, that thiscannot be a substitute for properregulation of people who take otherspeoples money for the purposes ofpaying them some interests on itsubsequently when they need theirmoney. Mr Speaker, when the Governor of theBank of Ghana appeared before thisHouse and it was suggested to him thatregulation of that subsector had beenweak, he pointed out this Act as one ofthe interventions by the Bank of Ghanato address the situation. In my respectful opinion, this woulddo very little. At the Committee level, Iwas told it was GH¢5,000.00 and I amhearing that, subsequently, it has beenreviewed a bit upwards --
Mr Speaker, just to provideinformation that the GH¢5,000.00 has beenrevised to GH¢6,250.00 and theGH¢1,000.00 to GH¢1,250.00. That is in theReport as a proposed amendment.
The figures are stillsmall. It is just to make the point that thiswould protect the small depositors. Wehave been told that they constitute 90 percent of those who deposit their moneywith these money depositing institutions.You could have big depositors, however,who are cooperatives or who hold moneyin aggregate for some smaller depositors. We have seen this in the case of DKMDiamond Microfinance Limited, EdenMicrofinance, which is in my ownconstituency, and many other places. The fact still remains that this isinsufficient to address the problems wehave. It ought to be understood that it isnot a replacement for a proper regulationof that subsector. I identify with the ordersyou gave the other time, Mr Speaker, thatthe Governor ought to tell us what theyare doing in the case of those incidentsthat happened, and going forward, whatthey would do to protect depositors frompeople who from all indications are not inthe to do decent business. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion. I asked myself, if thisBill had existed would it have preventedwhat happened in this country? Thereason why I am asking this is simple.These pyramid schemes from the days ofR5 and Pyram, through OnwardInvestment, and the recent DKM saga --If the Bill had existed, would it haveprevented it? I do not believe so. This isbecause if it could have prevented it --
Mr Speaker, the Bill is notaimed at preventing the occurrence of thatevent. The Bill says that in the occurrenceof events of that nature, this should be acushion or help for the small depositors,so, please take that on board.
I just want to cautionmy Hon Friend that we should stay awayfrom personalities -- [Interruption.] He mentioned the Governor and I heardhim. He is a person, who becameGovernor.We are talking aboutinstitutions. It is alright to deal withinstitutions but the Vice President is aperson who was Governor, so, the HonMember should stay away from that.
Mr Speaker, I said that Iraised this issue of Onward Investment atthe vetting of the Vice President, whowas the former Governor and I am notgoing to change that. When Dr Wampahcame here, we raised the issue; and he isthe Governor. When good things come,we would credit the Governor; when badthings come, we would attach them to theGovernor. This did not start at this Governor'stime and I have not seen the Bank of Ghanado anything to prevent it from happening.For all we know, next week, it wouldhappen again. Let us ask the Bank ofGhana what powers they need to preventsuch things from happening. I believe thatwhen we pass this Bill, they would go tosleep and say that small depositors nowhave insurance, so, they should not goafter the banks. Let them bring things that wouldprevent banks, savings and loanscompanies and other financial institutionsfrom collapsing. That would help theeconomy of Ghana in a far better way thanto pass a law that would let them go tosleep and then we would have all theseproblems. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I rise to supportthe Motion on the floor. I want to emphasise that this step bythe Bank of Ghana is not a panacea forbanks and financial institutionsmismanaging their enterprises. The pointis that, if we have insurance covering some part of the funds invested, it stillleaves the rest of the deposits above theGH¢6,250.00 that the Hon Chairmancommented on to risk. Therefore, itbehoves banks and deposit-takinginstitutions to still manage theirenterprises properly. Insurance comeswith cost. If you deposit a huge sum of moneybut you cannot be protected up to acertain amount, then you need to becareful where you invest. People gopromising that if you bring GH¢1 million,they would give you GH¢1.5 million thenext day or in two months' time. Mr Speaker, we are our own firstprotectors. It is not the law that is goingto protect us. First we should be carefulnot to invest in enticing --
HonKpodo, what are we doing now?
Mr Speaker, I am sayingthat --
What arewe doing?
We are passing a law.
So, whatstage have we reached?
Mr Speaker, the SecondConsideration Stage.
All right.Read Standing Order -- It is the SecondReading of the Bill.
Sorry, Mr Speaker, it is theSecond Reading of the Bill.
StandingOrder 127 says: 127 (1) “… a full debate shall ariseon the principal of the Bill on thebasis of the explanatorymemorandum and the report fromthe Committee” Therefore, when you speak, refer to theMemorandum and the Report. This is notthe time to make general statements. I amgoing to be very strict on this matter; goto the point.
Mr Speaker, my concern isthat we might misconstrue this Bill to takecare of every risk that is associated withdeposits. That is why I tried to hit at that. Thank you for your direction. What is problematic to me about thisparticular Bill is that the deposit-takingfirms would be required to pay insurancein respect of all deposits of clients. Whenthere is a problem, however, they wouldbe protected only up to the GH¢6,250.00that the Hon Chairman talked about. In my opinion, that is not fair todepositors. When we get to theConsideration Stage I would like us to,ensure that we make the deposit-takinginstitutions pay insurance for only theamount or up to the amount that wouldbe covered when the risk arises. Mr Speaker, I support the Bill as itwould enhance the risk --
HonMember, thank you very much. You support the Bill. Please finish yoursentence.
Mr Speaker, I said I supportthe Motion, as it seeks to pass this Billinto a law.
Whenyou said that, I thought you had finishedthat is why I said “thank you”.Or wouldyou want to --
No, Mr Speaker.
Thankyou very much. Yes, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah?
Thank y ou, Mr Speaker, forthe opportunity to contribute to thedebate and to observe that this Bill is partof the general financial sector reforms thathave been ongoing in the financial sectorfor some years now. I believe that it is rather late, but betterlate than never. It is part of a series of Billsthat are designed to supervise the financialsector more effectively. The point has been made by the HonMember that, this Bill in and of itself, whenenacted into law, would not prevent thehappenings that occurred quite recently. However, I wish to assure the Housethat, there is another Bill that we are goingto debate on fairly shortly which wouldexpand the supervisory powers of theBank of Ghana (BoG) when it comes todealing with some other institutions. So,it is part of a package. I also wish to emphasise that, while thisBill is designed to protect small depositorsin the event of losing their deposits, weshould couple it with education ofdepositors so that, it is not all thatglitters that is gold. However, depositorshave a choice. When this Bill is enacted into law,coupled with aggressive public education,it would improve upon the confidencethat relatively small depositors have in thebanking system. Therefore, it wouldincrease the size of the bankablepopulation.
All right.I would put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Ghana Deposit Protection Bill,2015, is accordingly read a Second time. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose --
HonMinority Leader, I am sorry. I thought youand Hon Majority Leader were notinterested or did not want to contribute. What I would do is that --
Mr Speaker,do not worry since we have not done theConsideration. What I intend to do relatesto the Consideration. The principle isunderstood and I appreciate it. I just want to relate to the ceiling thatthey have provided. I thought in thesematters if we provided for specific sums --they should give themselves five yearsand it would become useless. I guess there should be someautomaticity perhaps in relation tominimum wage or as we have done withpenalty units. There can be someautomaticity. We do not have to amendthe threshold everytime. The principle iswell appreciated.
Thankyou very much. Yes, Hon Agbesi?
Mr Speaker, item number23.
Item 23 -- Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, ourunderstanding is that, the principles arejust about the same. In view of the time atour disposal we can take one or twocontributors and move on.
All right.Yes, Hon Member?
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I begto second the Motion and in so doing, Ipresent the Report of your Committee. Introduction The Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, 2015, waspresented to Parliament and read for theFirst time on behalf of the Minister forFinance by the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson onTuesday, 12th May, 2015.
Mr Speaker referred the Bill to theFinance Committee for consideration andreport in accordance with article 174 (1) ofthe 1992 Constitution and Order 169 ofthe Standing Orders of the Parliament ofGhana. The Committee was assisted in itsdeliberations by the Hon Minister ofFinance, Deputy Ministers for Finance,the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG)and his deputies and Officials from theMinistry of Finance, Attorney-General'sDepartment and BoG. The Committee isgrateful to the Hon Minister, DeputyMinisters and Officials from the Ministryof Finance, Attorney-General'sDepartment and the BoG for theassistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents during itsdeliberations: The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; The Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673);and The Banking (Amendment) Act,2007 (Act 738.) Background The financial sector reforms pursuedby the Government over the years havebegun yielding positive results. Thefinancial system is now relativelydiversified and the number of financialintermediaries and their scale of operationshave increased, notably in the bankingsector. Currently, the banking sectorconstitutes over seventy percent offinancial sector assets and fifty-fivepercent of the banking sector iscompetitive, and has grown rapidly inrecent years, particularly with respect todomestic banks, the banking system isfragmented, and concentration of bankingassets is relatively low. An efficient and effective bankingindustry is critical for the developmentprocess of the country. Generally, bankstake deposits and use them to financefirms, governments and individuals.Banks provide a safe place for economicagents such as firms, organisations, andindividuals to save money that is notimmediately needed by their owners. In this way, banks intermediatebetween depositors and borrowers andtransform short-term deposits into longterm loans. Banks also play an importantrole in ensuring an efficient and effectivepayment system and in transactionprocessing. To ensure that banks are able to playtheir requisite roles in the developmentprocess of the country, Government hastaken steps to enhance the performanceof the banking system. Key policies have been implementedover the past years to improve the bankingsector, especially in the area of bankingsupervision. It has consequently become necessaryto focus on addressing gaps andinconsistencies in the banking laws, anddeepening cooperation with regionalcounterparts to improve the regulationand supervision of foreign banks that areactive in the country. In addition, Government also needs toprovide appropriate mechanisms tominimise financial system stability andaddress emerging risks anchored oneffective supervisory and regulatorymeasures as well as the introduction of new schemes. The Bill therefore seeks toaddress these gaps and inconsistenciesin the banking laws as well as the emergingrisks. Purpose of the Bill The purpose of the Bill is to amend andconsolidate the laws relating to deposittaking, and to regulate institutions whichcarry out deposit-taking business. Divisions of the Bill The Bill is divided into eleven (11) partswith one hundred and sixty (160) clausesand three (3) Schedules. Clause 1 provides for the applicationof the Bill while clause 2 provides for theapplication of the companies Act, 1963(Act 179). The supervisory and regulatoryauthority of the Bank of Ghana is set outin clause 3 of the Bill. Eligibility to carry on deposit-takingbusiness is provided for in clause 4 whileclause 5 gives the Bank of Ghana, thelicensing authority. Clause 6 prohibits a person fromaccepting a deposit from the generalpublic or carrying on a deposit-takingbusiness in or from within the countryunless by or under the authority of alicence issued in accordance with the Bill. Clause 7 empowers a person who seeksto carry on a deposit-taking business toapply in writing to the Bank of Ghana fora licence while Clause 8 deals with thetype of licences that can be applied for. Clause 9 provides for the pre-requisitesfor a licence and clause 10 empowers the Bank of Ghana to issue a provisionalapproval for a specified licence to anapplicant on the terms and conditions thatthe Bank of Ghana considers appropriate. Circumstances under which aninvitation to the public to subscribe toshares is provided for under clause 11. Clause 12 provides for the finalapproval and issuance of a bankingspecialised deposit-taking institutionlicence whereas clause 13 prohibits aperson from transferring or assigning alicence granted by the Bank of Ghana. Clause 14 provides for the conditionsfor the issuance of a licence and theconditions under which an application fora license may be refused is specified underclause 15. Revocation of a licence is provided forunder clause 16 and the Bank of Ghana isrequired under clause 17 to keep andmaintain a register known as the “CentralRegister”. The activities that are permissibleunder a banking licence or a specialiseddeposit-taking licence are set out underclause 18. Clause 19 deals with restrictions oncommercial, agricultural activities andimmovable property. Clause 20 provides for the powers ofthe Bank of Ghana regarding unauthoriseddeposit-taking business. Clause 21 empowers the Bank of Ghanato cause the repayment of monies byunauthorised persons and clause 22 dealswith penalties for unauthorised deposit-taking business. Under clause 23, restrictive use of a“bank” is provided for.
Clauses 24, 25 and 26 provide fordisplay of licence, places of business tobe licensed and representative offices offoreign banks respectively. Under clause 27, a bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution is required, priorto an amendment to the company name,Regulations or other instruments underwhich the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution was established, tofurnish the particulars of the proposedamendment to the Bank of Ghana forapproval. Clause 28 to 35 deal with matters ofcapital and reserves of a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institutions.The requirement of minimum paid-upcapital and capital adequacy and othercapital requirements are set out underclause 28 and 29. The additional capitalrequirement in respect of special risks isset out in clause 30 while clause 31deals with capital adequacy requirementson a consolidated basis. Notification of non-compliance withcapital requirement is provided for inclause 32 whereas clause 33 provides apenalty for non-compliance with capitalrequirements. A bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution is obliged under clause 34 toestablish and maintain a Reserve Fund andclause 35 places a restriction ondeclaration and payment of interim or finaldividend. Clause 36 to 41 provide for the criticalissue of liquidity in the deposit-takingbusiness. Liquidity requirements isspecified under clause 36. Clause 37 empowers the Bank of Ghanato prescribe liquidity requirements under clause 36 that are to be applied on aconsolidated basis. Clause 38 gives the Bank of Ghana thediscretion to impose a higher liquidityrequirement than that prescribed underclause 36. Clause 39, 40 and 41 provide fornotification of non-compliance withminimum liquidity requirements, penaltiesfor non-compliance with liquidityrequirements and maintenance of NetOpen Position respectively. Clause 42 to 60 deal with matters ofownership and control. Clause 42 provides for the reporting ofgroup structures. Clause 43 deals withregistration requirement for financialholding companies while application forregistration is handled under clause 44. Clause 45 imposes a duty on a financialholding company to display at its headoffice a copy of the certificate for theinformation of the public. Clause 46 places a restriction on theactivities of financial holding companies. Clause 47 empowers the Bank of Ghanato require the restructuring of theownership of a bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution where the bankor specialised deposit-taking institutionis controlled by two or more persons. The Bank of Ghana is also empoweredto withdraw the registration of a financialholding company and require thedivestiture of a bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution licensed underthe Bill in clause 48. Clause 49 deals with transfer of sharesaffecting significant shareholding. Clause 50 and 51 provide fordisapproval of transfer of shares andrestriction or cap on ownershiprespectively. Clause 52 provides for sale ofbusinesses, mergers and amalgamationsand reconstructions while considerationand review of application for approval ofsale of businesses, mergers,amalgamations or reconstructionsrespectively are handled in clauses 53 and54. Penalties for non-compliance withclause 49 or 52 are set out in clause 55.Matters of corporate governance of abank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution or financial holding companyare provided for under clause 56. Clause 57 imposes a duty on the boardof directors or a director of a bank,specialised deposit-taking institution ora financial holding company to report ofthe entity's inability to meet its obligationsunder this Act. Clause 58 provides for thedisqualification of a director and keymanagement personnel whereas thestandard provision on disclosure ofinterest is set out in clause 59. The Bank of Ghana is given the powerunder clause 60 to intervene in theappointment of the key managementpersonnel of banks and specialiseddeposit-taking institutions. Clause 61 to 77 deal with restrictionson lending and investments. Clause 61 prohibits a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institutionsfrom granting advances, loans or creditfacilities including guarantees against thesecurity of the shares. Clause 62 and 63 deal with limits onfinancial exposures and financial exposurelimits on a consolidated basis. Clause 64 and 65 respectively placerestrictions on transactions with anaffiliate and purchase or transfer of certainassets from an affiliate and insider. Clause 66 also provides for restric-tions on inter-institutional placements andloans. Clause 67 and 68 deal with restrictionson financial exposures to insiders and theirrelated interests and limits on financialexposures to related parties on aconsolidated basis respectively. Under clause 69, any lending onpreferential terms to employees of a bankor specialised deposit-taking institutionmust be part of a formally-approvedemployment package or employee benefitsplan. Clause 70 sets out matters that a bank,specialised deposit-taking institution orfinancial holding company should satisfyitself of in considering the approval ofcredit facilities under clause 67. A bank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution, or financial holding companyis prohibited under clause 71 fromestablishing a subsidiary companywithout the prior written approval of theBank of Ghana. Clause 72 places a limit on investmentin respect of a subsidiary company of abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution. Limits on investment in respect ofother institutions is provided for underclause 73.
Clause 74 imposes an obligation on abank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution or financial holding companyto report to the Bank of Ghana, theparticulars of each large exposure,particulars of all lending to relatedinterests, and all investment under clause73. Each bank and specialised deposit-taking institution has an obligation underclause 75 to maintain and implement aproper policy of non-accrual of intereston non-performing loans andprovisioning for bad debts and otherexposures. With respect to the limits on foreignexchange businesses, the Bank of Ghanais empowered under clause 76 to prescriberestrictions on any foreign exchangebusiness of a bank or financial holdingcompany. In furtherance of prudential limits underthe Bill, the Bank of Ghana is empoweredunder clause 77 to impose stricter limitsfor all the banks or specialised deposit-taking institutions or financial holdingcompanies for classes of specialiseddeposit-taking institutions. Clause 78 to 90 deal with accounts andaudit. Guidelines on accounting standardsand disclosures in financial statements isprovided for under clause 78 whilepreparation and keeping of accountingrecords and financial statements arerespectively catered for under clauses 79and 80. The appointment of an auditor by abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution is set out in clause 81 and theBank of Ghana is required under clause82 to appoint an auditor for a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution where the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution is without an auditor fora continuous period for three months. The remuneration of an auditor isprovided for under clause 83. Clause 84and 85 respectively deal with the right ofan auditor to access information and thesubmission of auditor's report to the Bankof Ghana. Clause 86 empowers the Bank of Ghanato periodically arrange meetings with abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution in respect of the statutory auditof the bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution. The duties of an auditor to the Bank ofGhana are dealt with under clause 87. TheBank of Ghana may require an auditor toundertake special audit or obtainadditional information under clause 88.The appointment of an auditor may beterminated under clause 89. A bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution is required under clause 90, toexhibit at each of its branches or agenciesin a conspicuous place throughout theyear, a copy of the last audited financialstatements in respect of its operations. Clause 91 to 106 deal with the powersof the Bank of Ghana in respect ofsupervision and control. The Bank ofGhana may supervise banks andspecialised deposit-taking institutions,financial holding companies on a solobasis and financial groups on aconsolidated basis, clause 91. Further to its supervisory role, theBank of Ghana may issue directives underclause 92. A bank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution, financial holding company ora member of a financial group may be required under clause 93 to submitinformation or data relating to assets,liabilities, income, expenditure, affairs orany other matter. The Bank of Ghana may, under clause94 and 95, authorise a person to examine,investigate and scrutinise the affairs of abank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution. Financial holding company ora member of a financial group may takecustody of the records clause 96 and 97respectively. The information obtainedmay be verified under clause 98 and anexamination report submitted to the entityexamined under clause 99. Follow-up action on examination andother supervisory reports are set out inclause 100. The Bank of Ghana is respectivelyempowered under clause 101 and 102 toappoint an advisor for the chief executiveand also take remedial actions wherenecessary against bank, specialiseddeposit-taking institutions or a financialholding company. Under clause 103, the Bank of Ghanamay require that a director, keymanagement personnel and significantshareholder undertake remedial actionswhere necessary. Clause 104, 105 and 106 empowers theBank of Ghana to take prompt correctiveactions in respect of adequatelycapitalised banks, specialised deposit-taking institutions or financial holdingcompanies. Matters of official administration areindicated in clause 107 to 122.Thegrounds for appointing an officialadministrator as well as his powers are setout in clause 107 and 108 respectively. The Bank of Ghana's oversight of theofficial administrator is provided for underclause 109; and clause 110 obliges theofficial administrator to suspend paymentof any dividend or other form of capitaldistribution to the shareholders and anypayment to directors except for salariesor services provided to the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution. Moratorium and effect of officialadministration on proceedings andsuspension of right of termination arerespectively dealt with under clause 111and 112. Clause 113 and 114 impose anobligation on the official administrator totake control of a bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution and prepare anddeliver to the Bank of Ghana an inventoryof the assets and liabilities of the bankor specialised deposit-taking institutionand plan of action on the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution. The official administrator may, on thebasis of a report and with the approval ofthe Bank of Ghana, take steps to increasethe capital of the bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution by issuing newshares to existing shareholders underclause 115, issuing shares to newshareholders under clause 116 orundertake mergers, sales and otherrestructurings under clause 117. The official administrator is alsomandated under clause 118 to restructurethe liabilities of the bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution. The directors and key managementpersonnel of a bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution may be removedor replaced with the approval of the Bankof Ghana under clause 119, and clause 120obliges the official administrator to notifythe Bank of Ghana and initiate civil action
against shareholders, directors, keymanagement personnel, attorneys andother professionals if the administratorhas sufficient reason to believe that theyhave engaged or are engaging infraudulent activities. Expenses of the official administrationas well as termination of the officialadministration are provided for underclause 121 and 122 respectively. Clause 123 and 139 are on matters ofreceivership and liquidation. Conditions for mandatory revocationof license and initiation of receivershipare set out in clause 123 whereasqualifications and compensation of areceiver are provided for under clause 124. Notice and registration of thereceivership and oversight of Bank ofGhana over the receiver are respectivelydealt with under clause 125 and 126. The general powers of the receiver andthe effects of the receivership are set outin clause 127 and 128. Clause 129 empowers the receiver tohave unrestricted access to and controlover the offices, books of account,records, and other assets of the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution. The receiver has a duty under clause130 to establish a new financial positionfor the bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution, based on a determination ofliquidation values of the assets of the bankor specialised deposit-taking institution. The receiver is empowered to repudiatecontracts entered into by the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institutionbased on conditions set out under clause 131 or to set aside pre-receivershiptransactions entered into by the bank, orspecialised deposit-taking institution, asoutlined in clause 132. Clause 133 empowers the Bank ofGhana to prescribe the procedure fordetermining the validity and priority of aclaim. Claims relating to eligible financialcontract and the determination of prioritiesin payment of claims are provided for underclause 134 and 135 respectively. Termination of receivership and finalreporting to the Bank of Ghana are dealtwith under clause 136. Clause 137 deals with miscellaneousreceivership provisions whereasrelationship with other enactments areprovided for under clause 138. Clause 139 sets out the conditions fora voluntary wind-up. Clause 140 to 160 deal withmiscellaneous provisions. A person who is aggrieved with adecision of the Bank of Ghana in respectof issuance of a licence may petition theBank of Ghana for a review under clause140. Clause 141 and 142 provide for theimplication of an arbitration proceedingon an action of the Bank of Ghana and theconsideration for determining whether adefendant acted unlawfully or in anarbitrary or capricious manner respec-tively. Clause 143 provides for the transfer ofa current or savings account which hasnot been operated for a period of two yearsto a separate register of dormant accounts.A bank or specialised deposit-taking institution is prohibited under clause 144from creating a floating charge on anundertaking or property of the bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution. Clause 145 imposes a duty ofconfidentiality on the officials andemployees of the Bank of Ghana and aperson with access to the books,accounts, records financial statements orother documents, electronically orotherwise. A bank or specialised deposit-taking institution is required to take theoath of secrecy under clause 146. The Bank of Ghana may enter anagreement or arrangement forcoordination and the exchange ofinformation with the Ghana DepositProtection Corporation under, clause 147.The Bank of Ghana may discloseinformation relating to banks, specialiseddeposit-taking institutions or financialholding companies under circumstancesspecified under clause 148. A duty is imposed on the Bank ofGhana under clause 149 to submit a reporton the trend and progress of the businessof deposit-taking in the country. TheAttorney-General, the Bank of Ghana, anofficer of the Bank of Ghana, or any otherperson acting under the direction of theBank of Ghana is protected from liabilityand indemnified under clause 150. An administrative penalty imposedunder the Bill is to be considered as debtdue to the Bank of Ghana and isrecoverable under clause 151. Clause 152, 153 and 154 deal with theprosecution of offences and joinder ofoffences and general penaltiesrespectively. Clause 155 deals with Regulations.Words and expressions used in the Billhave been interpreted under clause 156. The Banking Act, 2004 (Act 673) andBanking (Amendment) Act, 2007 (Act 738)have been repealed under clause 157.Clause 158 and 159 provide for the validityof existing licenses and provisionsrespectively. Clause 160 requires a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institution thatowns a subsidiary company engaged inagricultural, commercial or industrialactivity or investment activities orproperties in breach of clause 19 of theBill to divest itself of the subsidiaries,investment activities or properties not laterthan one year after the coming into forceof the Bill. Observations Application of the Bill The Committee noted that the Billapplies to all banks, specialised deposit-taking institutions, financial holdingcompanies, and affiliates of banks,specialised deposit-taking institutions,and financial holding companies. Ithowever, does not apply to credit unionswhich are subject to licensing, andsupervision under the Non-Bank FinancialInstitutions Act, 2008 (Act 774). Relevance of the Bill Highlighting on the importance of theBill, the Deputy Minister for Financeindicated that the provisions of the Bill isin line with the vision of Government'sfinancial sector reform policies, whichseeks to make the financial sector of thecountry the preferred source of financefor domestic companies, promote efficientsavings mobilisation, enhance thecompetitiveness of the country's financialinstitutions, ensure a stronger and user-friendly regulatory regime, as well asachieving a deepened and a diversifieddomestic financial sector.
The Deputy Minister intimated that asthe country transitions to a full middleincome economy, there was the need toscale up the financial markets, particularly,banking to effectively mobilise financialresources from domestic and internationalmarkets to finance the accelerated growthprocess. The Deputy Minister was certain thatenactment of the Act will also benchmarkthe legal and regulatory frameworks setout in the Bill with international principlesand standard practices recognised byleading international financial standardsetters, including the Basel Committee ofBanking Supervisors (BCBS). This, theDeputy Minister believes, will helpdevelop further the banking industry andthe entire financial services sector. It was further indicated that there arecurrently distinctive gaps in theframeworks for bank resolution orinsolvency and the regulatory andsupervisory oversight of the financialsystem which undermine the capacity ofthe Bank of Ghana to deal with potentialcrisis. It was for instance cited that banks'conglomerates in the country's financialsector have been identified to havesubsidiary security firms, industrial andinsurance companies. And since the banks are notadequately supervised on a consolidatedbasis, it was possible that related intraparty lendings leaks out unnoticed andthe potential risks resulting from the inter-linkages may lead to systematic effects.The passage of the Bill, the DeputyMinister hopes, will help address thesechallenges. Expanded role of the Bank of Ghana The Committee observed that the Bankof Ghana is empowered with overallsupervisory and regulatory authority in all matters relating to deposit-takingbusiness. The Bank of Ghana is alsoresponsible, among others, for thepromotion of the safety and soundnessof banks and specialised deposit-takinginstitutions, consideration and proposalof reforms of the laws relating to deposit-taking business, and for dealing withunlawful or improper practices of banksand specialised deposit-takinginstitutions. It is worth mentioning that the role ofthe Bank of Ghana indicated under theBanking Act, 2004 (Act 673) has beenexpanded under the Bill for purposes ofclarity, consumer protection and anincrease in the supervisory powers of theBank of Ghana. Thus the Bank of Ghanahas the sole responsibility to licensebanks and specialised deposit-takinginstitutions, to grant approval to foreignbanks with respect to the establishmentof representative offices, and to registerfinancial holding companies. The Committee considers this positiveand hopes the BoG would take advantageof the provisions and improve on itsmonitory and supervisory roles in orderto curb unlawful and improper bankingpractices emerging in the industry. Thisthe Committee believes will help protectunsuspecting clients and customers frombeing victims of such unlawful andimproper practices. Amendments proposed The Committee after its considerationof the Bill proposes the followingamendments for the Consideration of theHouse: i. Clause 3 -- amendment proposed --Headnote, delete “Functions” andinsert “Role” ii. Clause 4 -- amendment roposed -- a. Headnote, delete and insert thefollowing “Deposit-takingbusiness” b. provide a new subclause (1) toread “(1) For the purpose of this Act,deposit-taking business means thebusiness of (a) taking money on deposit andmaking loans or other advancesof money; and (b) financial activities prescribed bythe Bank of Ghana for purposesof this definition” c. renumber the subsequentsubclauses accordingly. d. subclause (4), line 1, delete“may” and insert “shall” and line2, delete (2) and insert (3) iii. Clause 7 -- amendment proposed --subclause (2) a. paragraph (d) delete “or” andinsert “and” b. paragraph (e), line 1, delete“reports” and insert “report”and line 2, delete “projection”and insert “projections” c. paragraph (i), line 2, delete “or”and insert “and” iv. Clause 8 -- amendment proposed -- a. subclause (4), line 2, delete“following” after “the” and line3, insert the phrase “specified inthe First Schedule” after“institution”.
v. Clause10 -- amendment proposed --subclause (3), line 2, delete “(1)”and insert “(2)”. vi. Clause 11 --amendmentproposed -- subclause (3), line 2,delete “not more than” vii. Clause 17 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (2) (a), line 2, delete“bank” and “institution” and insert“banks” and “institutions”respectively. viii. Clause 19 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (6), line 5, delete “notmore than” ix. Clause 20 -- amendmentproposed -- subclause (3) a. paragraph (b), line 5, delete “the”after “pending” b. paragraph (c), line 3, delete “the”before “investigation” x. Clause 21 --amendment proposed --subclause (1) (a), delete all wordsafter “profits” and insert “accrued” xi. Clause 23 --amendment proposed-- subclause (7), line 2 delete “notmore than” xii.Clause 24 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (2), line 2, delete “notmore than” xiii. Clause 25 -- amendment proposed-- add new subclause (4) asfollows: “(4) in addition to the penaltyprescribed in sub-section (3), the Bank of Ghana may suspend theoperations of the branch, agency,mobilisation centre, head office orother operational or support centreof the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution involved, until thebank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution obtains approval fromthe Bank of Ghana” xiv. Clause 27 --amendment proposed-- subclause (3), line 3, “not morethan” xv. Clause 29 --amendment proposed-- subclause (6), line 5,delete “143”and insert “139” xvi. Clause 32 --amendment proposed-- subclause (2), line 4, delete “notmore than” xvii. Clause 33--amendment proposed -- subclause (2), line 4, delete “notmore than” xviii. Clause 34-- amendment proposed-- subclause (3), line 3, delete “notmore than” xix. Clause 35-- amendment proposed -- a. subclause (3), lines 4 and 5,delete “not more than” b. subclause 5, line 3, delete “notmore than” xx. Clause 36 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (6), lines 4 and 5,delete all words after “deficiency”and insert “for each day that thedeficiency persists” xxi. Clause 39 --amendment proposed -- subclause 2, line 3, delete “notmore than” xxii.Clause 40 --amendment proposed -- a. subclause (3), line 5, delete “notmore than” b. subclause (4), line 4, delete “notless than” c. subclause (6), line 6, delete allwords after “deficiency” andinsert “for each day that thedeficiency persists” xxiii. Clause 41 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (4), line 4, delete “whichexists on that day” xxiv. Clause 44 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (2) (v), line 1, delete“reports” and insert “report” andsubclause (4) (b), line 1, delete “the”before “key” and also delete “is”and insert “are” xxv. Clause 53 -- amendment proposed -- subclause 2, line 4, delete “51” andinsert “52”. xxvi. Clause 54 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (6), delete and insertthe following: “An acquisition of shares of a bankor specialised deposit-takinginstitution in connection with a takeover, merger or amalgamation of abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution shall meet therequirements of this Act beforeapplying for a review and approvalof such takeover, merger oramalgamation under the SecuritiesIndustry Act, 1993 PNDCL 333)” xxvii. Clause 58 -- amendmentproposed -- subclause (1) (g), line1, insert “written” after “prior” xxviii. Clause 59 --amendment proposed-- subclause (1) (b), line 2, delete“and” and insert “or” xxix. Clause 60 --amendment proposed -- a. insert a new subclause (3) as follows: “(3) despite subclause (2), where theBank of Ghana is satisfied thatexceptional circumstances exist, theBank of Ghana may approve theappointment of a Chief Executive orDeputy Chief Executive who is notordinarily resident in the country.” b. renumber the subsequentsubclauses accordingly. c. subclause (12), line 3, delete “notmore than” xxx. Clause 61 --amendment proposed-- subclause (4), line 3 delete “notmore than” xxxi. Clause 62 -- amendment proposed -- a. subclause (10), line 4, delete“percent” and insert “percentagepoint” b. subclause (11), line 3, delete“not more than” and after “twothousand” delete “and” xxxii.Clause 64 -- amendment proposed-- subclauses (4) and (5), line 3,delete “not more than” respectively. xxxiii. Clause 65 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (2), line 3, delete “notmore than” xxxiv. Clause 67-- amendment proposed-- subclause (8), line 3, delete “notmore than” xxxv. Clause 69 -- amendmentproposed -- a. subclause (3), line 3, delete “anemployee” and insert“employees” b. subclause (4) (a), line 2, deleteall words after “over exposure”and insert “for each day that theover-exposure persists” c. subclause (b), line 1, delete “notmore than” xxxvi. Clause 70 -- amendmentproposed -- subclause (6), line 3,delete “not more than” xxxvii. Clause 71-- amendment proposed-- subclause (3), line 3, delete “notmore than” xxxviii. Clause 72-- amendmentproposed -- subclause (3) (b), line 1,insert “of” after “case” and subclause(4), line 3, delete “not more than” xxxix. Clause 73 --amendment proposed -- a. subclause (2), line 1, delete thephrase “a body” and insert “twoor more bodies” b. subclause (7), lines 2 and 3,delete “a fine of not more than”and insert “ an administrativepenalty of” xl. Clause 74 -- amendment proposed -- subclause (2), insert “,” and insubclause (4), line 3, delete “notmore than” xli. Clause 75 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (4), line 3,delete “notmore than” xlii. Clause 76 -- amendment proposed-- subclause (2), line 3, delete “notmore than”
MrSpeaker, I rise to support the Motion.My Hon Colleague from Manhyia Southmade a point which I agree with, that is,the Ghana Deposit Protection Bill, 2015,is no substitute for proper regulation. It isthis Bill which sets the framework to allowthat insurance to take place. Mr Speaker, in fact and in reality, weshould pass this one before we can passthe Ghana Deposit Protection Bill, 2015. Ibelieve the Bank of Ghana is trying tostreamline all the laws relating toregulations and bring them into one place.It is now dividing it into Banks, and whatis called, Specialised Deposit-TakingInstitutions.
HonMember for Adentan, do you have a pointof order? — [Pause] Emmanuel Nii Ashie-Moore: MrSpeaker, no.
Then Iwould appreciate if you would remainseated while in the Chamber.
Mr Speaker, with thosefew words, I support the Motion.
I willcall Leadership now, then I will put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker, as has beenarticulated by the Hon Ranking Member,the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, 2015 is to help thiscountry and regulate — Can I meet the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader and the Hon Minority Leader inthe Speaker's Lobby? 5.40 p.m. — Sitting suspended. 5.47 p.m. -- Sitting resumed
Yes, HonMember for Suhum? You were on yourfeet.
Mr Speaker, Ithought the Hon Mrs Bawa-Mogtari wasa stranger here but I am told that she is aDeputy Minister. She speaks like the NewPatriotic Party's National Women'sOrganiser. [Laughter.]
HonMinority Leader? Hon Members, there is no cause foralarm; there is nothing to be worried about.An administrative matter arose and Idiscussed it with the Leaders. We haveresolved it, so let us proceed. It hasnothing to do with Hon Members. One Hon Member says that there mustbe right to information; when you passthe Right to Information Bill I will providethe information. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker,as I said, I guess the Banks andSpecialised Deposit-Taking InstitutionsBill, 2015, should be of relevance to all ofus. Mr Speaker, indeed, my worry or fearstems from the fact that, given what ishappening and given the fact that Parliament, even though we are notendowed with the powers to makeretroactive legislation, with respect tofinancial matters, we could have legislationcrafted to achieve that purpose. Mr Speaker, I was worried that perhapsthe motive would be informed by what hashappened and this is indeed to make alegislation to trap those institutions thatare now under national surveillance - Thatis my worry. If we can have the assurancethat it is not meant to trap them, then Iwould have the assurance that this Bill isworth supporting. Having said that, Mr Speaker, I lookedat the Constitution and the provisionscovering the activities and functions ofthe Bank of Ghana (BoG). I looked at theBank of Ghana Act, the functions that wehave alluded to now -- This Bill we arecrafting too can be situated in the contextof the Bank of Ghana Act. So, why not simply amend the Bank ofGhana Act but at the least pretext, we arecrafting a new law? Very soon we shallhave a proliferation of laws relating tofinancial transactions in this country andI do not think that is the way to go.
Mr Speaker, this is only toreplace the Banking Act and not the Bankof Ghana Law.
Why doyou say so?
Mr Speaker, we have theBank of Ghana Law and we have theBanking Act. This is to replace theBanking Act and not the Bank of GhanaLaw.
Is it toamend it?
Mr Speaker,I guess the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance is heading towards the very pointthat I am making. I think that if we attendedto the Bank of Ghana Act, a lot of thesethings could be done within that contextinstead of doing so at various times and atvarious stages. I think that if we looked atit carefully, we could consolidate the Bankof Ghana Act and be able then to perhapsattend to many of these things. Otherwise, as I said, we may very soonsaturate the environment with aproliferation of Acts. Those are the twoissues that I wanted to raise, Mr Speaker.Otherwise, I believe that the principle isappreciated and it might be supported.
Thankyou. I will put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, 2015 wasaccordingly read a Second Time.
Mr Speaker, item 24.
Item 24 --Minister for Finance.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker,I beg to move, that the Securities IndustryBill, 2015 be now read a Second time. Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is torevise and consolidate the law relating tothe securities industry. Mr Speaker, the Securities Industry Act,1993 (PNDCL 333) was enacted in 1993 toprovide a legal framework to regulate the securities industry and other relatedmatters. Mr Speaker, it was subsequentlyamended by the Securities Industry(Amendment) Act, 2000 (Act 590). Mr Speaker, it has however becomenecessary to further amend the SecuritiesIndustry Act, 1993 to accord with theinternational standards and best practicesas required by the InternationalOrganisation of Securities Commission(IOSCO). Mr Speaker, this is in conformity withthe IOSCO principles and objectives ofsecurities regulation, and to address theweakness identified in the existing law. MrSpeaker, the enactment of the Bill willremove the regulatory overlaps, clasp theloopholes in the existing law and removethe provisions that are obstacles to thefacilitation of the securities marketdevelopment.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion and present yourCommittee's Report. Introduction The Securities Industry Bill, 2015, waspresented to Parliament on behalf of theMinister for Finance by the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato BaahForson and read the First time on Tuesday,14thJuly, 2015. The Bill was subsequently referred tothe Finance Committee for considerationand report in accordance with article 174(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order169 and 125 of the Standing Order of theParliament of Ghana. The Hon Deputy Minister for Finance,Ms Mona K. Quartey, the Director-Generalof the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), Dr Adu A. Antwi and other officialsfrom the Ministry of Finance, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Attorney-General's Department assisted theCommittee in its deliberations.Representatives of the Institute ofChartered Accountants, Ghana alsoattended upon the Committee during itsdeliberations. The Committee is grateful to the HonDeputy Minister and the other officials forthe support and assistance. Reference The Committee referred to the followingadditional documents during itsdeliberations: a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana b. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana c. Securities Industry Law, 1993(PNDCL 333) d. Securities Industry (Amendment)Act, 2000 (Act 590) e. Companies Code, 1960 (Act 163) f. Interpretation Act, 1960 (CA4). Background The Security Industry Act, 1993(PNDCL 333) was enacted in 1993 toprovide a legal framework to regulate thesecurities industry and other relatedmatters. It was subsequently amended bythe Securities Industry (Amendment) Act,2000 (Act 590). It has however becomenecessary to further amend the SecurityIndustry Act, 1993 (PNDCL 333), to accordwith international standards and bestpractice as required by the InternationalOrganisation of Securities Commissions(IOSCO) in conformity with IOSCO'sprinciples and objectives of securities
Mr Speaker,an Hon Member rises to express a desire-- a mere wish -- that something mustbe done. How are we to consider that? Itis just an expression of a mere wish.
Do youhave the Report, or do you not? EveryHon Member must have a copy of theReport of the Committee and we want todiscourage --
Mr Speaker,as I stand here, I do not have it. I am justconsidering the wish the Hon Chairmanof the Finance Committee has expressed.I do not know whether it should beconsidered as a request.
Thankyou. Hon Akoto Osei?
MrSpeaker, the Securities ExchangeCommission (SEC) Bill, 2015 that is beforeus is long overdue. We have beenoperating in the securities market for along time but the laws that should helpthe SEC to regulate the industry seem tobe way behind time. Therefore, in a way,we are glad that the institution deems it fit
What“States” did you live in?
Mr Speaker, several --
No! Butwhat does the ‘States' mean? You usedto live in the States --
In the United States ofAmerica.
It is the country.
Whenyou say the ‘States', it is not the country.
I thought you knew itwhen I said the ‘States'.
I knewthat but not everybody knows where youstayed because the States is not aCountry.
Mr Speaker, when I saythe States, I mean Louisiana or Ohio orwhat have you. The point here is that,when you heard the name of thatinstitution, most large corporationspanicked. In Ghana, when you hear about theSEC, they would say, “Do not mind them”.Hopefully, this Bill would bring them tothe level of the kind of power that suchother institutes have and we need to dothat. When there is trouble in that industry,we are in trouble. I think that the principlebehind the amendments and the changesthat they bring would help the industry. When they talk about new products,derivatives and so forth and so on, inGhana, we do not have the laws to dealwith them per se - So, I support the HonChairman and the Hon Minister inbringing this Motion up and I urge HonMembers to support the adoption of theReport on the SEC Bill. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonPrempeh, two minutes --
Mr Speaker, mine is avery simple one. We were in this country when the Bankof Ghana published guidelines in thepapers as to deposit amounts one couldtake out. Mr Speaker, by the time we couldsay Jack, it had wreaked havoc. Threemonths down the line, they came back towithdraw it. Mr Speaker, I hope the Committee hastaken due cognisance of that and neveragain would they allow the Bank of Ghanato issue guidelines to destroy us.Everything should come from theirregulations --
HonMember, you are totally out of order. Whatare you talking about?
Mr Speaker, withrespect, this is not Bank of Ghana --[Interruption] --
Please!Please! Please! You are totally out of order,Hon Prempeh -- [Interruption] -- I willnot allow you to speak again.
Oh, Mr Speaker.
No! I willnot allow you.
Mr Speaker, if I am outof order --
Onanother matter --
On another matter?
Not onthis matter -- [Interruption] -- SEC
It was a mistake. It wassaid in error.
No! You,in particular, do not make such mistakes. Ihave so much confidence in you, I do notthink you can make such a mistake --[Laughter.] You are above mistakes. All right, Hon Prempeh, speak, but noton Bank of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, we shouldnot allow any regulator just to come byguidelines --[Interruption] -- MrSpeaker, this is the Banks and SpecialisedDeposit-Taking Institutions Bill, 2015 --[Interruption]--Oh, sorry. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I am glad, Iam not a Doctor. [Laughter.]
I will putthe Question -- Question put and Motion agreed to. The Securities Industry Bill, 2015 wasaccordingly read a Second time.
HonDeputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, item numbered29; the Public Procurement (Amendment)Bill, 2015 --[Interruption] --Yes.
Itemnumbered 29, the Public Procurement(Amendment) Bill, 2015 at theConsideration Stage. [Pause.] Yes, Hon Nitiwul?
Mr Speaker, I do notwant to challenge the Hon DeputyMajority Leader but he called us to do acertain Bill and then we suspended thatbecause he said we were not doing thatBill again. Now, he has come back --What is going on? Mr Speaker, he calledthe Bill and you gave the order but therewas a little issue, so, we suspended it.He is not calling that Bill. What is reallygoing on now? Mr Speaker, I would want him to explainto me why he is not calling that Bill now.[Interruption] --
Mr Speaker, the PublicProcurement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 isjust a small matter which we shall finishvery soon. So, Mr Speaker, if the Housewould indulge us to take just a small partof it. We shall come back to the MaritimePollution Bill, 2015.
Mr Speaker, then heshould have asked leave of you becausehe had called it, you agreed to it, but justthat there was an issue with it and yousaid we should break and come back. Thatissue was not cleared and now, he saysthere is something small -- I do not have a problem if he wants tochange his mind but he must seek theleave of Mr Speaker and tell him whyhe is changing his mind.
Mr Speaker, sensing themood of the House, we could take itemnumbered 35; the Maritime Pollution Bill,2015, at the Consideration Stage.
So, haveyou changed it again?
Mr Speaker, the mood ofthe House is towards a certain direction.We cannot stop or disrespect that; wewould have to go that way; item numbered35.
So, HonAgbesi, you have indicated to me that weshould take item numbered 29. I calleditem numbered 29 at the ConsiderationStage. Now, you are saying that you havelooked at the mood, so I should go toanother item.
Mr Speaker, we must movewith the time and if you sense the moodof the House, you cannot go against it.Mr Speaker, with due respect, if you couldgo to item numbered 35.
Mr Speaker, I wouldsupport his new direction and the call foryou to direct us to do the ConsiderationStage of the Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015.
So, weshould suspend the Consideration Stageof the Public Procurement (Amendment)Bill, 2015? Hon Members, we would go to theMaritime Pollution Bill, what item is that?
Mr Speaker, item 35 onpage 33 of the Order Paper.
TheMaritime Pollution Bill, 2015 at theConsideration Stage.
HonChairman of the Committee, the debate isto continue on clause 2.
Mr Speaker,clause 2 was deferred by the Hon FirstDeputy Speaker to a Second ConsiderationStage.
HonChairman, did you say the issue has notbeen resolved yet? [Interruption] -- Weshould go to clause 21. Clause 21 -- Obligations of authorisedperson.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 21, paragraph (a), line 1, delete“meeting” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 21 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 22 to 26 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 27 -- Offences
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 27, line 3, delete “fifteen” andinsert” three hundred”
“A person who contravenes section19, 23 or 24 commits an offence andis liable on summary conviction toa fine of not less than threethousand penalty units and notmore than three hundred thousandpenalty units or to a term ofimprisonment of not more than tenyears or to both.” Mr Speaker, this is just to ensureconformity with the law. [Pause] Mr Speaker, these are issues borderingpollution and it is an area that is verycostly, especially if pollution is to occuron our seas. Cleaning and restoration isvery punitive and, therefore, we have tomake the offences a little bit punitive toensure that people would be more carefulwhile using --
Mr Speaker, I am justwondering; from fifteen thousand penaltyunits to three hundred thousand penaltyunits -- the percentage is more than 100. Mr Speaker, I would want to know whythere is so much increment. [Interruption]Well, up to 100 per cent is all right.
HonChairman, do you want to yield to the HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, yes.
I havecalled you, so you get up and then yieldto the Hon Deputy Minister.
Mr Speaker, my HonDeputy Minister would answer that.
Mr Speaker, whatwe speak of are huge oil vessels coilingwithin our waters. First and foremost, even presently,very few Ghanaians really own any ofthese vessels. So, each time there is a spillor a threat of a spillage, we would sufferthe damage. So, we need to really introduce somepunitive measures to ensure that weprevent it, but when it unfortunatelyhappens, we also have adequatecompensation.
Mr Speaker, this mattercame up at the Committee level. In fact,that day, I happened to just walk in tolisten to it. The explanation that the officials gavemade a lot of sense to me. They said thatif we do not have serious punitivemeasures and then leave it at 15,000penalty units, and a penalty unit isequivalent to GH¢12 -- In this particularlaw, they are proposing dollars becauseof the international convention. So, wewould multiply by the number of penaltyunits. Mr Speaker, what people would do isto take waste and dump in our seas. Thisis because they know that they would justpay peanuts as penalty. So, it is apunitive and preventive measure. Mr Speaker, some of them were evensaying that 15,000 penalty units isrelatively too small. This is because peoplewho are carrying toxic waste, which theywould have paid millions of dollars todeposit in their countries' waters, wouldrather come to Ghana and pay some 15,000penalty units multiplied by GH¢12 and getaway with it. So, in my view, this House shouldrather look at increasing the rates ratherthan the 15,000 penalty units to the300,000 penalty units. Yes, even 300,000penalty units is small, because when theoil pollution happened with BP oil, theywere charged over US$4 billion. This isbecause we want to prevent people whowould deliberately take some toxic wasteand dump in our waters. And the act ofcleaning, the damage they will do -- thiscountry would be paying in billions ofdollars. The damage they would do to the sea,to aquatic life, in fact, the health of ourfishermen and so on. So, in my view, I donot think it should be a big problem at all.
Mr Speaker,I wonder whether the maximum custodialsentence of 10 years is equivalent to themaximum fine of 300,000 penalty units.That is quite in excess. Mr Speaker, secondly, we have aminimum fine of 3,000 penalty units butwe do not have a minimum custodialsentence. We only have a maximumcustodial sentence so, the custodialsentence can be from one day to 10 years.
Mr Speaker, I agree withthe Hon Senior W. O. Boafo. I think thatthat would bring consistency. I was alsowondering the equivalent of 300,000penalty units and whether it would be 20,30 years or life imprisonment. Mr Speaker, following the logic of theHon Chairman, the Hon Minister and myHon Leader, the lower limit then ismeaningless. In fact, that is where weshould consider. This is because 3,000penalty units and from what we have said,we want to discourage it. So that shoulddefinitely be raised. This is because it does not make senseand then you match it with the custodialequivalence that he has said. But, I sawthe lower limit as 3,000 penalty units andthen we say, it is punititve. It cannot be. So, Mr Speaker, if we really want it tobe punitive, I am willing to say that, thelower limit should be 300,000 penalty units.[Interruption.] Yes. The offence we aretalking about, 3,000 penalty units cannotbe. [Interruption.]
How much is apenalty unit?
They are proposingUS$1,200. That is too little for the logicthey are using. That 300,000 penalty unitsmay be all right but the 3,000 penalty unitsis really meaningless.
Mr Speaker, originally, I didnot advert my mind to the issue of thedumping of waste, but upon thisexplanation by the Hon Deputy MinorityLeader and the Hon Minister, I havechanged my mind and I would want it to be enhanced from 300,000 penalty unitsto a 1,000,000 penalty units. This isbecause to prevent the occurrence of sucha situation, we need to have a verypunitive measure for those who would beengaged in it. I have changed my mind; itshould be enhanced.
Mr Speaker, I speakin support of enhancing the penalty unitsfor dumping of waste on the lands ofGhana. Mr Speaker, as we speak, we justreturned from a certain meeting and somepeople are said to have dumped hugeamounts of waste at Tema. According tothem, the transporters take a lot of moneyfrom the industrialists; aboutUS$10,000,000 to come and dump thegoods here. So, if they are caught, there is noreason we should deal with them leniently.We should deal with them punitively sothat it will serve as a deterrent and thatthey would not attempt and when peoplehear of that, they would also not attemptto bring such materials to the country. Mr Speaker, I am in support ofincreasing the penalty units for those whowill dump. They have their collaboratorsin Ghana. This consignment that came, itcame in the name of somebody whoimports fertilizer [Interruption.] Yes, that,they are importing fertilizer and the nameis there, but when we traced it, it was awrong address. So, in that case, I believe that, themeasures should take into considerationthe transporters and also those acting asfront men for them so that it would serveas a deterrent.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that, we put a minimum so as notto tie the hands of the courts too muchwhere the offence is considered to be veryminimal. However, it is rather the maximum thatyou do not put a limit to so that,depending on the circumstance, a courtcould go as high as it considersnecessary. So, I would rather, that we amend it andnot put a maximum but rather maintain theminimum of 3,000 penalty units. This isbecause in certain circumstances, a courtmay even think that 3,000 penalty unitsmay be too much. So, in terms of punishment, therationale is as much as possible not toimpose or put an upper limit but rather, ifwe want to put a minimum, then we couldgo as low as possible so that thediscretion of the court would be exercisedin a manner that, would not unduly punishan offender whose offence is consideredunder the circumstance to be minimum.
Mr Speaker, I reallyappreciate the contributions of Hon (Papa)Owusu-Ankomah, but I just want to saythat, dumping of waste is a huge businessthat is being operated and it is somethingthat as a nation, we really need to imposesanctions that would deter people fromactually going into it. Mr Speaker, whether we should givea mimimum instead of a maximum, my HonMinister has something to say on it. So,Mr Speaker, let me yield to my HonMinister. Deputy Minister for Transport (MrsJoyce Bawa-Mogtari): Mr Speaker, thankyou very much. The Convention actuallyprescribes that, there should be mimimumand maximum fines. So, it is actually in thelanguage of the Convention and there issome sort of damage or waste dumpingthat is of a very minimal --
Can youread it to us, please? The provision of theConvention you are talking about, can youread it to us, please? [Pause.] Hon Deputy Minister, any time we referto the Convention, arm yourself with theprovision because I will ask you to readit.
Mr Speaker, I am holdinga document that was given to us titledCivil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage. Ido not know if that is the document. Thereis nothing about a limit here. Mr Speaker,but more importantly, I recall the BPincident -- If there was a limit, they couldnot have charged them US$4billion. So, I am surprised that they are sayingthe Convention.
Youmean the BP incident in the United Statesof America?
The amount was hugeand I am sure it is bigger than -- 300,000penalty units. That cannot be. So, if weare going by best practices, then weshould import what the Conventionsuggests and not just creating the number.It cannot determine a priori how it isgoing to be.
Mr Speaker, per the laws,the sanctions are not prescribed. It is leftto the discretion of the national authorities.So, we have that power to set the limits. Thank you.
So, thesuggestion now is that we should imposea minimum and not a maximum. So,somebody should withdraw thisamendment and then propose a new one.
Mr Speaker, in thesedumping incidents, you cannot even seta lower limit. The clause should be suchthat the assessment is done and theassessment should determine the penaltythat would be imposed. Like the HonMember said, it might be a small dumpingincident and the 3,000 penalty units mightbe way out of place, but it can be so hugethat even one million penalty units isnothing. If it involves a major oil spill --
Howmuch is 3,000 penalty units?
It is GH¢12 per penaltyunit. We should couch it such that thenational authorities would determine thecost of the dumping to the society andthen charge appropriately. I do not knowwhat they think.
Mr Speaker, we would thenpropose a minimum --
First ofall, withdraw what you have.
Mr Speaker, based on thevarious discussions that we have had, Ibeg to move, that we withdraw theamendment proposed to clause 27.
Amendment proposed for clause 27 asadvertised on page 34 of the Order Paperis withdrawn as prayed. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
Mr Speaker, let us move on.We would draft something and come back.So, let us move on to the next.
So, wehave deferred further consideration ofclause 27.
Mr Speaker, Iwould also suggest to the Hon Chairmanthat we get the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice's representatives toassist us. This is because I know that interms of these sanctions, fines becomeequivalent to certain prison terms. So, theymay then guide us in arriving atamendments which may not be in conflictwith our laws.
Mr Speaker, my HonMinister would also like to make somecomments.
When theHon Deputy Minister rises, I wouldrecognise her.
Thank you verymuch, Mr Speaker. Indeed, the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice actually hasprescribed fines under the sanctionsschedule. So, I believe we would actuallystand this down for the time being, wewould discuss it considering thesentiments that have been expressed andthen we would come back at a next stage. Clause 28 to 30 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Mr O. B. Amoah-- rose --
Yes, HonO. B. Amoah?
Mr Speaker, I havegone through the Bill and it is in variousparts. For almost each part, they have aclause on Regulations. I would want tofind out whether there is any special reason-- In respect of Part 3 which is what weare considering now, why they do nothave provisions for Regulations as far asthe prevention of marine pollution by dumping of waste and other matters at seaare concerned? It is a bit strange and awkward that forvarious parts, they have provisions onhow the Hon Minister would come by aLegislative Instrument to makeRegulations. But for this particular part, Ido not seem to find it and I would justwant to find out from the sponsors of theBill, the Hon Minister in particular, whetherthere is any reason why they do not haveprovisions on Regulations.
Mr Speaker, I am notgetting my Hon Colleague very clear. Ishe saying that in terms of the dumping ofwaste, there is no Regulation guiding howwaste should be handled? Is that what heis saying? Please, he should come again. Mr Speaker, before the Hon Membercomes in, there is a general provision forthe Hon Minister to make Regulationswhich we did earlier on. [Pause.]
Anyway,it is not all the parts that have Regulations.Part 4, for example, does not haveRegulations. So, its Part 4 and Part 3 -- itis not all of them.
Mr Speaker, if we goto 249 on page 148; they have tried to listall the issues under which they may makeRegulations. But it does not cover someof the aspects that we are dealing with,especially on this part. Are they saying that they would nothave any reason to come by a LegislativeInstrument and to make Regulations forthis part that we are looking at? If it is an oversight, we should find a way of puttingit in. Otherwise, they appear to say thatwhen it comes to this part, they wouldnot have any recourse to a LegislativeInstrument to make regulations.
Chairmanof the Committee, continue to think aboutit, then you would answer tomorrow. The old form of drafting was that therewas one clause on regulations which wasthe last clause or penultimate clause ofthe Bill. Now, I notice that when theyfinish one part, they would bringregulation. There are various clauses;clause 116 is about Regulations. There isanother clause; clause 182, which is alsoon Regulations. This might be the new testament; thenew form of drafting. Hon Minister, you do not need toanswer every question. The Chairman ofthe Subsidiary Legislation Committee isconcerned about subsidiary legislation.He is writing a book on subsidiarylegislation. His is an expert in subsidiarylegislation. That is why he is asking youthat question. When we rise, you candiscuss it with him. Clause 31 -- Interpretation.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 31, interpretation of “dumping”,paragraph (c), sub-paragraph (i), line 11,after “structures” insert “at sea”.
“(i) the disposal into the sea ofwastes or other matter incidental to,or derived from the normal operationof vessels, aircraft, offshoreinstallation, storage facilities andother man-made structures at sea
Mr Speaker, I see this,but if that is true, would he consider thesame for line 5, “waste or other matter”?He did it in line 7 but line 5 also has asimilar construction. I would want to knowwhether he would not do the same. Doeshe want to keep the “waste” on page 25? Mr Speaker, does he see that? He did itfor line 7. He went pass that line I amtalking about. [Interruption.] No, in line7, he has changed “wastes”. And I amsaying, in line 5, interpretation of --[Laughter.]
I wouldput the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 31, interpretation of “incinerationat sea; line 7, delete “wastes” and insert“waste” -- [Interruption.] It is a typographical error. It is for thedrafterspersons to take care of.
Mr Speaker, I was askinghim to look at line 5 and if a consequentialamendment should not be made.
That is another typographicalerror. He is right. The draftspersons wouldlook at that. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 31 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 32 to 51 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Clause 52 Clause 52 -- Report of Accident anddefects
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 52, subclause (1), paragraph (e),line 1, before “appointed” delete “the”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 52, subclause (2), delete and insertthe following: “(2) Where the ship is in a port of acountry where MARPOL is inforce, the master or owner of theship shall report the accident ordefect immediately to theappropriate authorities of thecountry. (3) The appointed surveyor orrecognised organisation shallascertain that the report hasbeen made to the appropriateauthorities of the country”.
HonChairman, do not do that. Look at yourStanding Orders, what does it say if thereare more --
Well taken, Mr Speaker.
HonMembers, the amendment is for yourconsideration. It is a long amendment so Iwould give you some more time.
Mr Speaker, I just wantto understand the amendment being madehere. It says: “subclause (2), delete andinsert the following: …” Then we have (2)and (3) but there is a (3) already in there.So, I am not sure if it is a new clause. Arethey keeping the current subclause (3)?Are we maintaining the old (3)? This isbecause if it was 2 (a) (b), I wouldunderstand.
MrSpeaker, I think the idea was to break thesubclause 2, into two paragraphs so wewould still be maintaining the (3) at theback. So, there should not have been (3)at the beginning of “The appointed”.They should have been two separatesentences.
So if wecarry this amendment, we would leave itfor the draftsperson to number.
Mr Speaker, did they wantsubclause (2) to have two paragraphs? So,the first one which they have capturedhere should be (2) (i) and the next onewould be (2) (ii)? If it is so, we understandit that way and not numbered as anothersubclause.
I thinkthe draftsperson would take all that wehave said into consideration.
Mr Speaker, by so doing,he has actually moved an amendment. Ifthey agree, then the amendment would befurther amended to reflect this one. HonOwusu-Aduomi has made furtheramendment.
HonChireh, the further amendment he hasmade is not substance. It is the numbering.The substance is the same.
Mr Speaker, it could be adirection to the draftspersons but oncehe said something which rectifies what weare seeing here, it amounts to anamendment to this amendment.
So,should we take the Hon Ranking Membersamendment first? And when we take thatand it is carried, then we go and take thesecond amendment? Hon Members, the amendment we aretaking is the same in substance but innumbering, the first subclause issubclause 2 (i) and what is 3 on the OrderPaper is subclause 2 (ii). Question put and amendment agreedto.
Thedraftsperson would take into account theproposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, I wasscratching my head. We have been goingthrough this Bill for some time and theHon Minister who is a Member ofParliament has been conspicuouslyabsent --
Mr Speaker, Minister forTransport?
Who isthe Minister for Transport?
Hon Fifi Fiavi Kwetey.So, if we could ask the Hon MajorityLeader to ensure sometimes, we need hisinput because these are matters of policy.That he comes to explain some of thesethings to us. He is a Member of Parliamentand for four days running, he has neverbeen here to support this Bill in anyway -- [Interruption] -- When and where ishe? -- [Interruption] -- That is evenmore serious if he was here. Mr Speaker, he should come tomorrowto help us speed things up.
Obviously,the Constitution says that DeputyMinisters shall assist their Ministers. I amconvinced that the Hon Deputy Ministeris not here on a frolic of her own. She ishere on the express instructions of herMinister, and I do not think she has givenus any reason to believe that she is notcompetent to act in his stead.
Mr Speaker, for therecords, it is not about competence at all.Since he became Minister for Transport,we have not seen him doing ministerialtransport work here.
He isgoing around on a tour. Did you not seethe Hon Minister for Youth and Sports inthe newspapers? You have not been aMinister before so you do notunderstand. Ask Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah or Hon Yieleh Chireh. When youare appointed as a Minister, you have togo on a nationwide tour.
Mr Speaker, you are rightbut this --
HonYieleh Chireh, if you are appointed to take
Mr Speaker, precisely so.You need to familiarise yourself with theactivities of the various agencies underyour Ministry. [Laughter.]
I am sureHon Papa Owusu-Ankomah would agreewith him.
Mr Speaker, tosome extent. Of course, I had the benefitof handling six Ministries. A Minister doesnot need to go round every time. Heshould determine his priority and the Billis a priority. That is the point.
It is amatter of style.
It is not amatter of style. This is Maritime PollutionBill dealing with a major area of policy whenit comes to maritime matters for the state.Of course, I do not know. I am sure he isinspecting some Metro Mass Transit.[Laughter.]
I did nothear that.
Mr Speaker, in actual fact,when we were about to move the Motion,he was here with me, but there aretechnicalities involved with this particularBill. He was not a Minister when westarted working at this Bill. It was the HonDeputy Minister who took us throughalmost everything, so she hasinstitutional memory. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 58, subclause (1), paragraph (b),delete “in Ghanaian waters” and insert“within Ghana's maritime jurisdiction”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 58 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 59 to 70 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
I wouldlike an indication from the Hon DeputyMajority Leader.
Mr Speaker, we haveagreed that we will end at 7.00 o'clock andat clause 70.
We arealready at clause 70.
Mr Speaker, Ithink that Part ends at clause 74. Eventhough there are some amendments, I donot think they are substantial. We couldtake them and complete that Part. Wewould resume probably at the nextMeeting and hope that we could do itbefore the elections.
If he would like us to goto clause 100, we will do it. Clause 71 -- Oil record book
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 71, subclause 19, line 2, after“Book”, delete “an” and insert “the” So, it would read “where a ship does not have an oilrecord book or fails to produce anoil record book, the owner or masterof the ship shall pay to the Authorityan administrative penalty of 600penalty units.” Thank you, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 71 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 72 to 73 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I thoughtmy Hon Colleague over there had a pointof order. He has been standing for a while,but he has not caught your eye, so, Iwonder. Clause 74 -- Offences and interpretation
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 74, subclause (1), line 6, delete“one” and insert “ten”.
It is in connection with fines.
So, itshould be 10,000 penalty units.
Wouldyou not like to defer that as well?
Yes, Mr Speaker --
Let usdefer it. Let us add it to the first one. Letus defer further Consideration of clause74, so, we end at clause 73. [Amendment deferred by leave of theHouse.]
Thatbrings us to the end of the ConsiderationStage of the Maritime Pollution Bill, 2015for today.
Mr Speaker, I think that wehave to specially thank our HonColleagues for their endurance.We wouldstill plead with Hon Members to endure alittle further for us to look at the PublicProcurement (Amendment) Bill and take afew clauses before we call it a day. Mr Speaker, item numbered 29 --Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill,2015 at the Consideration Stage.
HonNititwul, there is an arrangement. We maynot be able to proceed. Let us bring itto --
Mr Speaker, Irealised that since 3.00 o'clock, you havetried to get the Hon Agbesi to do one ortwo things on this Bill, so I concede. Thereis no problem.
Thankyou. The Public Procurement (Amendment)Bill, 2015 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
HonMembers, if you look at page 9 of the Order Paper, Schedule 1B1, theamendment proposed is to delete: “Chief Administrator”; “Majority Leader”; “Minority Leader”; “Chairperson of Public AccountsCommittee”; “Chairperson of Works Committee”, “Chairperson of a third parliamentarycommittee (selected by theSpeaker)”; “2 Members of Professional Bodies”and insert the following: “Clerk to Parliament”; In the original rendition Parliament wasactively involved. Now, Parliament'sinvolvement has been totally watereddown. I have been informed by theLeaders that they would want to bepresent when this matter is being debated. What we would do is to defer it and doit early tomorrow morning. Hon Members, we can take theamendments on page 10 of the Order Paper.That is all, which is instead of an“Attorney from the Attorney-General'sOffice”, insert “A Lawyer representingthe Attorney-General”. I do not know whyinstead of “Attorney” they would wantto insert “a Lawyer”. So, we can go to page 10.
Mr Speaker, I would wantus to start from page 9 (ii). That is notParliament, but Judiciary.
It fallswithin the same category.
Mr Speaker, they do nothave any problem. It is the Judiciary thatbrought this amendment to us.
So, whobrought the one on Parliament to you?Did you bring it yourself?
Mr Speaker, we doubtthat.
Yes, HonDr A. A. Osei?
Mr Speaker, there is afundamental issue on the one onParliament. The one we are proposing deals withthe Parliamentary Service Board, notParliament. We would want theLeadership to tell us, Parliament as aninstitution, what is our entity. Thus far,it has been combined, so, we need todeal with that. The one we are proposing is only forthe Parliamentary Service Board and thereis no reason why Hon Members ofParliament (MP's) should be concernedabout procurement for ParliamentaryService Board. But we must be concernedabout Parliament as an institution. We do not know what is happening.They buy the chairs -- [Interruption.]who does it for us? But we are responsiblefor it. So, that is the issue. That is why wewould want the Leadership to be here.
Hon DrA. A. Osei, we would consider thattomorrow. Hon Chairman of the Committee, let usconsider the institution as a whole. Let usstart from page 10 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, Schedule 1B 4,amendment proposed, column --[Laughter.]
When Icall it, the Clerks-at-the-Table would readthe side note before you get up. For theSchedules, nothing like that happens? Iwas accused of speed yesterday, but Ithink Hon Avedzi, you are now more thanUsain Bolt. [Laughter.] Hon Members, First Schedule. First Schedule -- Composition ofEntity Tender Committees -- Ministries,Departments and Agencies.
Wewould defer that. Yes, Schedule 1B4? Schedule 1B4 -- Category D Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Schedule 1B 4, column under “Regionaloffice of Subvented Agencies andGovernment Department”, third row,delete “Attorney from the Attorney-General's Office”, and insert the following: Mr Speaker, the Committee is of theview that at the regional level, for all thesubvented agencies, getting an Attorneyfrom the Attorney-General's Office mightbe difficult. So, we are proposing a lawyerrepresenting the Attorney-General.
HonSarah Adwoa Safo?
Thank you, MrSpeaker. I would want to be clear on somethingif the Chairman could come again. Mr Speaker, lawyers in the Ministryof Justice are referred to as Attorneys.We have State Attorneys, Senior StateAttorneys and all that. Attorney ordinarilymeans a lawyer. So, I do not know whythey are proposing this amendment,especially so, when the term “attorney”is how they are described in theinstitution. It is merely representative of theAttorney-General, who happens to be alawyer; they are referred to in theinstitution as attorney and there is nodifference. So, I do not know. He said they had problems with it.What kind of problems? This is becauseas far as the legal profession is concerned,they mean the same thing.
HonMember, read it. What was there previously was“Attorney from the Attorney-General'sOffice”, which means that someoneworking in the Attorney-General'sDepartment. What they are proposing is a lawyer oran attorney representing the Attorney-General. Which means that the person cancome from either private practice or fromthe Attorney-General's Office. That waswhat they said.
Mr Speaker, publicprocurement has to do with Governmentbuying goods, works and consultingservices. It deals with Government andthe lawyer or the attorney for the State isthe Attorney-General. So, it is in the rightdirection that the framers of the lawwanted to restrict it, to the Attorney-General's Department. Other than that, we leave the Attorney-General with widediscretion to go outside her institutionand bring other attorneys in.
But thatis the whole idea.
Mr Speaker, that is why I amsaying that when it comes to publicprocurement, it is not private procurement.It has to do with Government. So, if wewant to outsource the services of a Lawyeror bring an external lawyer that is adifferent arrangement. But to say that theAttorney-General can recommend anylawyer from private practice or any otherplace to represent her, is not the purposeof the Act.
Are youaware that it is happening now? As wespeak, private practitioners are sitting onProcurement Boards. I know a privatepractitioner who is actively attendingProcurement Board meetings at theKorle- Bu Teaching Hospital, who hasbeen appointed by the Hospital.
Mr Speaker, the fact that it ishappening does not mean it is --
I am justinforming you that it is happening.
It is happening but the factthat it is happening does not mean that,that is how it is supposed to be. In otherjurisdictions, public procurement isstrictly Government business. Themoment a private practitioner comes in,then you are either outsourcing or seekingthe services of an external solicitor. I havea problem with us giving the Attorney-General that wide discretion to go outsideher office.
Yourpoint is well made. Her point is that, we should restrict theactivities within the confines of theAttorney-General's office. Secondly, weshould not give an Attorney-General suchwide discretion to make it “job for theboys”, so to speak.
Mr Speaker, theamendment, as it stands, is in respect ofthe availability of staff of the Attorney-General's Department to be on all theTender Committees or Boards. Currently, we have private lawyers whoare on that Tender Committee becausethere are legal issues that come up so theirrole specifically is to guide the tendercommittees. Currently, it is private lawyersin many of the deprived areas. You cannothave enough Attorneys. In Accra, Kumasiand perhaps Takoradi and other places,we may have staff there who can do therepresentation. My problem is about representing theAttorney-General. It should not be“representing the Attorney-General”; itshould just be “a lawyer” and perhapsqualify that lawyer by seniority orwhatever. But it is encouraging the tendercommittees to have lawyers on the TenderCommittees to advise or guide them inthese things. If he is there as a private lawyer, heshould not be seen to be representing theAttorney-General. That would be aproblem because he is not an employee atthe Attorney-General's Department. Hecan only be there as a lawyer and in hiscapacity as a lawyer to guide them. I do not agree with the argument thatthis is public procurement and therefore,no private lawyer should be involved. Itshould be a lawyer of a certain standing.He should not be said to be representing the Attorney-General because he is not astaff of the Attorney-General'sDepartment.
Mr Speaker, I supportMr Yaw Kyere. As he said, the intent is tohave a lawyer from --
Who areyou supporting?
Hon Yieleh Chireh, alsoknown as Yaw Kyere. Mr Speaker, ideally, if we had enoughstaff at the Attorney-General'sDepartment, then we would put them onevery Tender Board so that they wouldrepresent the Attorney-General'sDepartment on the Legal issues.Practically, we cannot do that so the oldlanguage here says “Attorney from theAttorney-General's Office”. Assuming we do not have that one,then there is no lawyer doing that work.They do not go there in their privatecapacity. The intent is that, if theAttorney-General cannot find a staff fromthe Department, then they are free to hirea lawyer to represent the Attorney-General's interest as a legal representativeof the Attorney-General on a procuremententity. That is the intent.
There areabout two or three ideas that are beingurged upon Hon Members and we mustbe clear about that. There is one position of Hon AdwoaSafo, that it is wrong; it should be fromthe Attorney-General's Office. Hon YielehChireh is of the view that there can beprivate practitioners but they should notrepresent the Attorney-General. I am yetto ask him who would appoint them. Youare saying that there are privatepractitioners who should represent theAttorney-General.
Yes. That is the intentof --
So, youdisagree with Hon Yieleh Chireh?
No! I am notdisagreeing with him.
HonYieleh Chireh says they should notrepresent the Attorney-General.
No! He himself saidthere is the need for the Attorney-General's Office to be on every tenderentity. That is the intent, so, he cannotbe --
HonYieleh Chireh, we would want tounderstand your view and see the numberof --
Mr Speaker, my view isthat, if we had staff and if the Attorney-General's Department was spread all overall the districts and the regions, thepreferable thing would have been for themto send a representative from the Office. In view of the fact that we cannot haveofficers in these places -- Mr Speaker, you were an Attorney-General. You know that nobody wants tobe there in those rural areas. So you wouldnot have sufficient number of lawyers inthe Attorney-General's Department torepresent the Departmet on thesecommittees. Therefore, my point is that, why do wewant a lawyer to be on the TenderCommittee. Do lawyers have procurementskills? No! The current practice is that,the lawyers are there to guide all of them. In fact, in the case of DistrictAssemblies, you would see one lawyermoving from one District Assembly to another because there are a few of themin the districts. I am talking about theUpper West Region for instance. We haveone or two lawyers who are members ofthe same committee. Mr Speaker, if we would want to dothat, we are taking the person because ofhis legal expertise. He can guide themwhen they are doing things. Therefore,we cannot say that the Attorney-Generalshould appoint somebody and he shouldrepresent the Department so that after themeeting, he goes to brief the Attorney-General. That is where I have a littledifference with what Hon Akoto Osei said. What I am saying is that, if we wouldwant to appoint lawyers, know why youwould want to appoint them onto thesecommittees. If the Attorney-General getsthe lawyers, that is fine. But if theDepartment cannot get them and there arelawyers practising in the regions, get anylawyer in his own capacity to give legaladvice on these committees.
Mr Speaker, these areGovernment agencies not any other. Thatis why the Attorney-General's represen-tative, ordinarily, should be there. We aretalking about Government procurementnot the Attorney-General's procurement. It is preferable for the Government'slawyer to be there in the capacity asGovernment lawyer for Governmentprocurement. That is why we cannot justsay get any other lawyer. They are not goingthere on their own; they represent the Attorney-General as the Government's lawyer. Theyare going there as the Attorney-General'srepresentative not because they have theexpertise. That is the point. You are missing thewhole intent of the new classification. We want the Attorney-General's Staffto represent Government when it comesto Government procurement, not yours ormine. This is Government procurement.But as he said, practically, we do not havethem. So if the Attorney-General cannotfind anybody, then appoint somebody torepresent him and not that the lawyer goesthere in his own capacity. It would notwork.
Mr Speaker,this is an institutional representation andthe institution is the Attorney-General'sDepartment. Can we not change therendition to be “a representative from theAttorney-General's Department”? Ibelieve that would suffice.
If yousay “a representative from the Attorney-General's Department”, then you cannotappoint a private practitioner.
Mr Speaker, we canappoint a private lawyer who is arepresentative from that Department.
It shouldbe “a representative of” not “arepresentative from”. “A representativefrom” means he works there. It should be“a representative of”. Ms Safo -- rose --
HonAdwoa Safo, I will recognise you over andover again. I am reliably informed that youare an expert in that area. I would wantyou to listen to everybody and I wouldgive you another bite of the cherry.
Mr Speaker, it appears thatthe proposed amendment has some policyconsiderations behind it and thesuggestions coming from most HonMembers herein assembled, especiallyfrom the Hon Member for Dome/Kwabenya appears to vary the policybehind it. Mr Speaker, my suggestion is that, whydo we not throw it back to the Executiveto consider the policy and if they feel thatthere is the need to change, then we canabide by it and insert it in the law as wewant.
We are not here to formulatepolicies for them.
Mr Speaker, the PublicProcurement Act deals with publicinstitutions and the representation of theAttorney-General is critical in all theseinstitutions. Now, if the Attorney-General cannot getits own legal officers or lawyers to be onthese tender committees, it has to be toappoint somebody to represent theAttorney-General's Department, not justany lawyer. The person is representing theAttorney-General. It is the same thing which happens withthe Auditor-General's Department. TheAuditor-General is unable to appoint itsown auditors to audit all the publicinstitutions in Ghana and therefore, itappoints private practitioners to act onits behalf and report to the Auditor-General. So, I think in this case, we can adoptwhat the Auditor-General's Departmentdoes and then get the appointed lawyersof the Attorney-General's Department tobe on the Tender Committee. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, when Itake the point which was made by HonW. O. Boafo, I tend to agree with HonAdwoa Safo's point. As Hon Yieleh Chireh also said, thereare only a few lawyers practising in someof the most remote areas of the countryespecially, in his own region. I think it isvery difficult for the same lawyer whoprobably, represents all the businessmenin the area to be the representative of theAttorney-General in matters of publicprocurement. I think we should probably, just restrictit to the Attorney-General. It is not everyday that, there is a tender anyway so,somebody can attend.
What isyour view?
My view on the matteris that, if it is a policy matter, then it shouldbe referred to the Attorney-General, giventhe comments that we have made that wethink that, they should be lawyers orattorneys from the Attorney-General'sDepartment.
Mr Speaker, theamendment that the Committee isproposing says, “a lawyer representingthe Attorney-General”. Mr Speaker, we are not setting any limithere that, those lawyers at the Attorney-General's Department should maybe be aSenior State Attorney or Principal StateAttorney. We say, a lawyer. So, even the junior officers who areLawyers could represent the Attorney-General. In that case, the number wouldbe quite substantial to cover thesubverted agencies. This amendment is a better rendition.It is only when the number of lawyersavailable to the Attorney-General is notenough, that is how he or she would gobeyond the quantity in-house to gooutside and look for the private people. So, we are saying a lawyer, so, juniorofficers in the Attorney-General's Officealso qualify to represent the Office.
Mr Speaker, having listenedto the arguments made by other HonMembers, I think that, if we legislate thisway, it is going to be very dangerous. Mr Speaker, we all agree that theAttorney-General's Department hasissues with the attrition rate of lawyers.And if the Attorney-General actuallyneeds the services of other lawyers torepresent her in procurementproceedings, I believe that, that is strictlyan administrative engagement. The Attorney-General can decide that,I have less lawyers or attorneys withinand so, I am outsourcing or taking say,Zoya Kyei and Co as external solicitors.Anytime, you can choose a lawyer thereto represent me and later come and briefme. In other jurisdictions, in the UnitedStates of America, in England, nowheredo we legislate like this. Where you givethe Attorney-General an open cheque;you can choose any lawyer. So, what? Asand when she or he pleases or as andwhen she decides your face looks veryhandsome. So, I do not think that we have to giveher that much discretion. I think that, theway the earlier provision was, “AnAttorney from the Attorney-General'sDepartment” is good enough. Other arrangements with other private lawyersor non-staff of the Attorney-General'sDepartment can be arranged administratively.And we do not have to legislate that way, it istoo dangerous. I thank you.
Mr Speaker,I give you an example, we haveprofessionals like quantity surveyors,engineers, architects on Central TenderBoard. Many of these people have theirprivate practices. They do their jobsrightly. So, I think what she said is right;provided arrangements can be done onbehalf of the Attorney-General, I seenothing wrong with it at all. This is because the reality is that, forinstance, at Adaklu, I do not remember alawyer attending any tender meeting inmy district because we just do not havethem. So, we should open it up so that,we can have more people participating. So, I do not see anything wrong withwhat they are talking about.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.What I find wrong is that, you said,Attorney-General. If you said a lawyerrepresenting the Attorney-General'sDepartment, it is different. That was oneof the issues Hon Adwoa Safo raised. Why should it be the Attorney-General? It should be at least, theAttorney-General's Department. When theHon Chairman of the Committee wasspeaking, he was speaking to the effectthat, it should be open to even juniorlawyers in the Attorney-General'sDepartment. But how it has been couched, that isnot what it means. So, Mr Speaker, maybe,the Committee should speak to us better.
Whyshould it be the Attorney-General'sDepartment?
Mr Speaker, publicprocurement cannot be done by privatepeople like that. I am just giving anexample, you go to Upper East and thereare only two lawyers who are available inUpper East. They represent almost everyprivate entity or contractor orbusinessman in Upper East. Now, the Attorney-General, that wedid not even talk about, he should makesure --
That iswhat I am asking. One of your qualms isthat, they said, Attorney-General but theyshould have rather said the Attorney-General's Department. And I am askingyou why?
Mr Speaker, I said sobecause the Hon Chairman of theCommittee, those that brought theamendment said they wanted even juniormembers of the Attorney-General'sDepartment to able to represent theDepartment. That is what he just said.
TheAttorney-General is a constitutionalposition under article 88. So, when theysay, a representative of the Attorney-General, I do not see why you think that,the word, ‘Department', must be added.
Mr Speaker, the way thelaw itself was --
No! Hehas not finished, so, I will not recogniseyou. Let him finish.
Mr Speaker, theAttorney-General is different from theAttorney-General's Department. One is anindividual, a person so named. Another isan office with --
Attorney-General is an Office, it is not a person. It isa constitutional Office.
Yes, it is a constitutionaloffice and a person can be an office in theConstitution.
HonBagbin, this is good for the ConstitutionalLaw students. When they say theAttorney-General in law, are they referringto a person or they are referring to anoffice?
Mr Speaker, clearly, theyare referring to the office and not theperson.
That is what I said; theamendment, as couched, refers to theperson. In what way? “The Attorney-General”; the words used here “the” --[interruption]-- If you say; “Attorney-General”, I can understand that it is anoffice, but if you say “the Attorney-General”, I do not think that there are twoAttorney-Generals in this country.
When Iwas the Attorney-General, I was taken tocourt for contempt. The argument of thelawyer who took me to court was that ajudgment had been given against theAttorney-General's Office for the paymentof compensation based on unlawfuldismissal. I had refused to follow the order or paythe compensation to the person who hadbeen wrongfully dismissed; so, hebrought contempt against me as a person. One of the questions the judge askedhim was, “so, if I order that theAttorney-General, Mr Joe Ghartey becommitted for contempt and on the wayto Nsawam Prisons the Presidentreshuffles and makes you the Attorney-General, does that mean that they wouldhave to bring Mr Joe Ghartey back andthen put you in for contempt?” Therefore, it is an office. “The”, “an”,“is”, “where” refers to an office. That iswhy the courts have always maintainedthe view that when you see “Attorney-General”, it is an office you are describing.I would not engage in that discussion orargument, however; please, continue.
Mr Speaker, we mustunderstand the Hon Chairman'samendment. If we do not understand theamendment, we would just argue and atthe end of the day -- There are severallawyers employed by the State who workin the Attorney-General's Department. The whole amendment is that we havesubvented agencies that may findthemselves in the districts or regions andthe fear was that we might not haveenough lawyers from that office torepresent the Attorney-General everytime. So, we seek to give the Attorney-General the laxity to get additional lawyersoutside that Department to represent himor that Department. That is basically whatit is about.They could pick lawyers fromthe Department or from outside theDepartment to represent them. That isexactly what they are trying to do. If we do not understand it that way, wewould just pick at each other and haveproblems. I do not see why we must havethat problem because if we do not havean Attorney-General's lawyer -- I think in the whole Northern Region,we have about one or two lawyers. Now,if there are about 12 or 15 subventedagencies that work within and outside --Maybe, we have others in Bimbila andother places; that means that lawyers --Either they would have to get somebodyto always travel there -- So, that is thedifficulty they just tried to cure andnothing else; no mischief is intended.
Mr Speaker, I still maintainthat position. We have had situationswhere the Attorney-General had torepresent Ghana in an internationalarbitration and sometimes he or she wouldsolicit the services of lawyers outsideGhana. When they go as a team, they goin the name of Ghana.
Whenthe Attorney-General represent thecountry outside, under what law does theAttorney-General act?
No! It isthe Constitution that gives the Attorney-General that authority.
Yes, that gives her theauthority constitutionally.
This isbecause the Attorney-General is theprincipal legal advisor to Government.Article 88 (5) says that: “The Attorney-General shall beresponsible for the institution andconduct of all civil cases on behalfof the State…” You have said that even though theConstitution mentions all civil cases, theAttorney-General appoints other people. It is not necessary for us to put it thatway. I agree with you.
Very well. That is my view,Mr Speaker.
You havesaid that article 88 (5) of the Constitutionsays that; “The Attorney-General shall beresponsible for the institution andconduct of all civil cases on behalfof the State; and all civil proceedingsagainst the State shall be institutedagainst the Attorney-General asdefendant.” The first part, is about when theAttorney-General goes abroad”, eventhough the Constitution states that theAttorney-General is in charge of all civilcases, the Attorney-General can appointsomebody, an external solicitor abroad oreven in Ghana. So, you do not need tolegislate it for that to happen.
Very well. That is so, MrSpeaker.
So, whydo you not say that?When you sayattorney from the Attorney-General'soffice, if he or she appoints somebodyfrom outside, can somebody not say thatit is against the law? Why do you not saythat the Attorney-General or his or herrepresentative.
Very well, a representative ofthe Attorney-General.
Arepresentative of the Attorney-General?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
But thatis the amendment.
No! Mr Speaker, they saida lawyer.
Ofcourse, they cannot appoint a doctor, ithas to be a lawyer.
We have moved on--[Laughter] -- So, the Hon Chairman haschanged it. Very well, that should stand,Mr Speaker.
Whathave we agreed upon, Madam Expert?
The representative of theAttorney-General. I am told that the HonChairman has moved from the lawyerbusiness to that and I think -- Chairmanof the Committee?
TheChairman of the Committee is engaged ina serious discussion.
I would like to tell the HonChairman what I said to Mr Speaker. I saidthat we moved from “a lawyer representingthe Attorney-General” to “a representativeof the Attorney-General”. Is that where westand now?
What is the difference? Theuse of the word “lawyer” is because wewant somebody with a legal brain toadvise in procurement contracts. So, ifyou say a representative of the Attorney-General, it could be a labourer from theAttorney-General who has no legalknowledge to advise the Committee.
Mr Speaker, I justalluded to Hon Avedzi's statement thatanybody at all could represent theAttorney-General. That is all I tried to say,that anybody at all could represent theAttorney-General. I think he was wrongthere because no person can represent theAttorney-General, when he is not a legal person; especially, when he is going towork as a legal representative of theAttorney-General.
He saysthat by necessary implication, arepresentative of the Attorney-General isa lawyer. Hon Chairman of the FinanceCommittee, you said that you would doone page but we have not finished oneclause.
Mr Speaker, this runsthrough the rest of them so once weclear this one, the others would move fast.
I wouldrecognise the Hon Dr Ato Arthur and Iwould also recognise the Hon DeputyChief Whip from that side.
Mr Speaker,if we need a lawyer, we should say weneed a lawyer. If we say a representativeof the Attorney-General, to me, if theAttorney-General asks an engineer torepresent him or her, he or she would bea representative of the Attorney-Generalall right. A representative of the Attorney-General who might not necessarily be alawyer.
We have said all alongthat the policy is to have a legalrepresentative of the Attorney-General onall committees. I just want to give youinformation that we said “legalrepresentation from the Attorney-Generalon all public entities”.
Thank you verymuch. My senior man, I have been here throughout. But I still stand by what I havesaid. If you say a “representative of anAttorney-General”, it does not necessarilymean that representative is a lawyer.
So, youprefer the word “legal” -- A legalrepresentative -- Thank you very much. Yes, Hon Member? I have recognisedyou.
Mr Speaker,I am not a lawyer, but I know theembodiment. I am sure it is for a very goodreason that the Attorney-General's Officerequires that a lawyer be made the HonMinister for Justice and Attorney-General. Therefore, anybody who wouldrepresent the Attorney-General must alsocarry some legal -- [Interruption.]. Itis the office that is being represented. Thelaw says “Attorney-General's repre-sentative”. It is not the Attorney-Generalin person. He or she can decide, but it isthe Office. Mr Speaker, so let us go to theConstitution and look at what is there--[Interruption] -- It cannot be; it is not inhis person. It is the Office.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I would just want to findout from my Hon Friend, the former HonDeputy Minister, if we have an Attorney-General who decides to nominate anengineer or a chartered accountant torepresent him and that case goes to thecourts, for example, what does he think indeciding, the judge would do looking atthe face of the law?
Butthankfully, the judges do not look at theface of the law. Hon Bagbin is quietly listening to allof you. I would give him an opportunityto speak to you. Hon Member for Tema West?
MrSpeaker, I think it is clear what the letterand spirit of this Bill is about. But forclarity and to put everybody's mind at rest,the word “lawyer” should just be put in.Although I think it is implicit, it is better. Itmakes everybody feel comfortable. Obviously, I do not see the Attorney-General asking an engineer or any otherprofessional to represent him or her. Whenwe look at the policy that is being put up,we are looking for lawyers to be there;but they do not have enough. Let us just put “lawyer” and leteverybody be at peace.
Thankyou. I think that with that calm voice, I wouldjust take Hon Bagbin and put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker,the sense of the House is very clear. Theproblem is how to draft it to reflect thatsense. I think it is proper we just do notsay “attorney” or “lawyer”. If we shouldbe specific, we should say “stateAttorney”, which means that assistantsare not qualified; from “State Attorney”. Mr Speaker, then we should also talkabout lawyers of good standing. It is notall lawyers that effectively represent thechief legal adviser to the Government. So,we should talk about a Member of the BarAssociation of good standing and notjust a “lawyer”.
Not lessthan how many years at the Bar?
Mr Speaker, not just anymember. The member should be of goodstanding.
Please,would you put a number of years or wouldyou not? It should not be less than threeyears.
Mr Speaker, because I saidState Attorney, that means it is standard.
So, it isnot less than three years.
Mr Speaker, not less thanthree years. This is because if one is lessthan three years, one cannot be --
You aredisagreeing that their point --
Mr Speaker, I do not thinkAssistant State Attorneys have sufficientlegal practice to be able to advise suchbodies.
What doyou think about non-members of theAttorney-General's Office? Should theybe appointed? The argument here is that Honmembers are saying that we should notjust appoint lawyers from the Attorney-General's Office. We can also appointprivate practitioners.
Mr Speaker, that was whyI said”or a Member of the Bar Associationof good standing”.
A memberof the Bar Association can be of goodstanding when he is one year or one dayat the Bar. So, if your intention is a certainexperience, why do you not put “not lessthan three years” or something else?
Mr Speaker, if so, then itwould be not less than five years. Threeyears is still completing -- Mr Speaker, by the practice that Iadopted in my chambers, by three yearsold, we still pay them as part of a juniormember of the chambers. It is after threeyears that they mature to handle cases ontheir own.
Mr Speaker, while I agreewith my Hon Majority Leader, there canbe a situation where a lawyer can be lessthan five years, but very well-versed inthe Procurement Law. Mr Speaker, an example is Hon AdwoaSafo. She went in to do her masters in thatparticular field. By the time she came back,even in her first and second year, she wasall right for one to take her out onmeetings. She was even better than somelawyers. So, I do not know whether it is thematter of years that determines. We havelawyers in the second and the third year,who are not up to that level, who go tothe Supreme Court and win cases againstothers. So, I do not know whether it is thenumber of years, but the Attorney-Generalshould get lawyers that they believe areexperienced in the field. Perhaps, thatqualification. Mr Speaker, who is in good standing?Is it paying of dues? I can pay my dues,but it does not mean that I understandthe Procurement Law. I think we shouldlook at that.
Mr Speaker, there is adifference between theory and practice.One can have a first class in law; that istheory, but at practice, he or she could bethe worst practitioner. Winning cases in court does notnecessarily mean that it is because of thecompetence of the lawyer handling it. Itcould be a bad case. There are cases on which one goes tothe Supreme Court, one does not evenopen his or her mouth, yet one wins it.This is because the judges are very clear.The law is clear to them. So, it does not mean that one year old- In fact, the first case I handled at mychambers was at the Supreme Court. Thatwas the first time I entered the court as alawyer. My senior sent me there. Thejudges saw that this was a young lawyerof no experience and they took up the caseon my behalf. After that, they asked mewhere I came from and I answered, AkyemLaw Chambers. They said I had very goodseniors. That is it. It did not show mycompetence. Mr Speaker, so we are talking aboutexperience and there is good reason weare talking about equivalence. In almostall the laws we legislate, we evensometimes say, “a person not below adirector”. We have done that in a numberof laws. This is because there is goodreason for experience. Theory is good and that gives anindication of intelligence, but practice iswhat adds to the wisdom. That is whatthey need. Sometimes, the advice may notonly be on procurement. It would be oncase law and the experience could beshared with the Members at the TenderBoard meeting. So, it is not only academicacquisition. Mr Speaker, I believe, like you advised,if you want us to add the years it shouldbe, I think five years and above.
I willplead with the Hon Majority Leader toreconsider the five years. You know, it isbecause of —
Mr Speaker, you know thatone must have seven years of experienceat the Bar before the person is allowed topractice on his or her own.
It is nowten years.
Now, they have increasedit to ten years. And I am just saying fiveyears — [Interruption] — Five years issufficient. As a senior and five years oldin my Chambers, I have confidence to givehim a brief to go to court and handle acase on my behalf, but not below fiveyears.
So, ifyou agree, please, give us a newrendition. It is basically the same as:let us get a new rendition.
Mr Speaker, my proposalis; “A State Attorney”. This is because,by the experience, one cannot get to thatposition when the person is less than fiveyears at the Bar. Sometimes it is even eight,nine and ten years before a personbecomes State Attorney, or “A member ofthe Bar Association” — I added, “of goodstanding” — “of not less than five years”.
So, itshould be: “A representative of the Attorney-General who shall be an Attorneyand not below the rank of StateAttorney”, or “a member of the Ghana BarAssociation”. We have to draft it a little better. Theperson we are describing is going torepresent the Attorney-General. So howdo we draft it? Look at item (iii) on page10.
Mr Speaker, if we couldsay: “A representative of the Attorney-General of not less than five yearsstanding”.
Mr Speaker, that is all —[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, there are different typesof practice. Where we are now, we aredoing legislative law and that is part ofpractice. We have some in the banks andthey do not go to court. They are not partof advocacy; those who litigate in court.And we have some who even haveChambers but they are corporate lawyers,and there are some who are investmentlawyers, some are solicitors et cetera andthey are all practising law, like dentists,oncologists —
Mr Speaker, should weadd ‘be a private practitioner'. I think theperson cannot be a Member of Parliament— [Interruption] —though we areallowed to do some private work. So thatit does not go and fall in that ambit. Ithink we should be clear. It cannot be aMember of Parliament. We are allowed todo some work.
AMember of Parliament who wants to takeup, or is appointed to an office of profitappears before the Committee and theCommittee will not allow the person ifthey think that there would be a conflictof interest.
Mr Speaker, but what Iam saying is that, with this particular law,is it all right if it is a Member of Parliamentwho is a lawyer? Really? Mr Speaker, I think a Member ofParliament should not be —
Mr Speaker, I just want toseek clarification. Are we sticking to theword “attorney” or “a representative ofthe Attorney-General”?
Who isnot less than five years at the Bar and ofgood standing —
Mr Speaker, do we add, “atthe Bar” or “five years” standing of anyprofessional who is representing theAttorney-General? Mr Speaker, a legal representative? Mr Speaker, a representative, just asthe argument has earlier been raised onthe Floor. So is it five years at the Bar?Then it is qualified. Then we do not needthe “legal”. I am all right.
Mr Speaker, I am all rightwith the amendment.
Mr Speaker, I have aquestion. When the Hon Majority Leaderwas speaking, he said, “five years at theBar and of good standing”. Do allmembers have to belong to the Ghana BarAssociation? Is it compulsory?
Mr Speaker, so I cannotpractise if I am not a Member of the GhanaBar Association?
The Baris where the lawyers stand. There is aBench and there is a Bar.
Mr Speaker, he said BarAssociation and I just wanted to be sure.
Mr Speaker, all lawyers arecalled to the Bar. That is the first and sothe person is a Member of the Bar andthey form an Association. And from there,some opt to join the Bench. And so theyseize to be Members of the Bar. Apart fromthat, all the rest are Members of the Bar. Itis not like in the United Kingdom (UK)where there is separation.
Thankyou. I will put the Question. The amendment proposed by the HonMajority Leader is: “A representative of the Attorney-General of not less than five yearsat the Bar”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, we will now move on to theamendment advertised as (iv).
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Schedule 1B 4 -- Column under“Regional Hospitals”, seventh row, delete“Attorney from the Attorney-General'sOffice”, and insert the following: “A Lawyer representing theAttorney-General”. Mr Speaker, this amendment will followthe same line. This is because they are allat the Regional level.
HonAgbesi, do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, it is proper tothank Hon Members for their endurance.They have done very well; from about10.00 a.m. till this time. It would not begood to take too much of their liberties,and I think that we need to thank you foralso keeping Hon Members really alert.This is because of the way you handled the seat. We can see that in spite of thetime, Hon Members are still activelyparticipating, but at least, the spirit maybe willing but the body is weak and needsa rest. Mr Speaker, and so, with your kindpermission, may I plead that HonMembers take a bow and have a rest. Ithink that I do not need to move theMotion. I can see that we are entirely inyour hands.
Thatbrings us to the end of ConsiderationStage of the Public Procurement(Amendment) Bill, 2015 for today. Hon Majority Leader, I thank you. I promised you a ruling yesterday andI have not forgotten. I have finished theruling and I am waiting for someinformation from the Clerks-at-the-Table.When the ruling comes, then we all lookat it. So, when I see you in your chair andI am also in the Chair, then I will delivermy ruling. Hon Members, thank you. Today, the Majority Leader has givenme the power; he said that you are in myhands. Considering the way Hon Dr AtoArthur is looking at me, I will not maltreatyou even though you are in my hands.[Laughter.] The House is adjourned till tomorrowat 10.00 o'clock in the morning.