MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, in the light of the challenge wehave, concerning our microphone, I directthat we suspend Sitting for 20 minutes. 11.19 a.m. -- Sitting suspended. 11.30 a.m. -- Sitting resumed. Votes and Proceedings and theOfficial Report
HonMembers, Correction of Votes andProceedings and the Official Report. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Monday, 25th July,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Thursday, 14th July,2016.]
Mr Speaker, wewould lay some Papers advertised, as item4 (a), (c) (i) and (ii) and (d). They are readyto be laid.
Very well. Hon Members, at the Commencementof Public Business -- Presentation ofPapers. Item number 4 on the Order Paper.
I thoughtthat because some legal issue is involved,probably the Committee on Constitutional,Legal and Parliamentary Affairs could bepart of it. Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee,are you all right with it? Very well. Referred to the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker, I am informedthat item number 4 (b) is also ready to belaid.
“B” for Bortey. [Laughter.]
Very well. Item number 4 (b) by the Hon Ministerfor Fisheries and AquacultureDevelopment.
Mr Speaker, we would askpermission for the Hon Deputy Minister forFisheries and Aquaculture Development tolay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker,ordinarily, I would have agreed butperhaps, he could do us a favour if hetold us the whereabouts of thesubstantive Hon Minister.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, he wants toknow the whereabouts of the substantiveHon Minister.
Mr Speaker, my informationis that, the Hon Minister is currently withthe President undertaking an assignment.
Mr Speaker, I do notremember the last time the Hon Ministerherself came here. That is why I wasasking about her whereabouts.
Actually, Iwas with the Hon Minister in Cape Coastyesterday. I can confirm that.
Mr Speaker, then it ispossible she must also be here in Accratoday. You were there yesterday, andtoday, you are here in the Chair.
Dependingon the kind of programme she has for theCentral Region, I cannot vouch for her.
Mr Speaker, I believe wewould allow her to lay it.
Very well. Hon Deputy Minister on behalf of theMinister. By the Deputy Minister for Fisheries andAquaculture Development (on behalf ofthe Minister for Fisheries andAquaculture Development) -- (i) Agreement for the Implementa-tion of the provisions of theUnited Nations Convention onthe Law of the Sea of 10 th December, 1982, relating to theConservation and Managementof Straddling Fish Stocks andHighly Migratory Fish Stocks. (ii) Agreement on Port StateMeasures to Prevent, Deter andEliminate Illegal, Unreported andUnregulated Fishing. Referred to the Committee on Food,Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs
Mr Speaker, the items in(c) are ready.
HonMembers, item number (c) by theChairman of the Finance Committee. By the Chairman of the Committee -- (i) Report of the Finance Committeeon the Customs (Amendment)Bill, 2016. (ii) Report of the Finance Committeeon the Income Tax (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill, 2016.
Thankyou, Mr Speaker. I am sorry to say this, but Mr Speaker,some of us are not following what is goingon. We do not have the hard copy of theOrder Paper, and the electronic system isjammed. I am not privy to what is goingon. So, if Mr Speaker could help. Mr Speaker, I had raised this pointbefore, that if something could be doneabout the Order Paper, so that we couldhave enough copies. The electronicversion is not helping Hon Members tofollow up with proceedings. Mr Speakerdirected that the technical team shouldlook into that and report back to him.
Mr Speaker,we do not have the Reports. On our side,not even the Ranking Member has theReport.
HonChairman of the Committee, they aresaying that they do not have copies ofthe Report.
Mr Speaker, theReports are here. Now that it has beenlaid and directive has been given fordistribution, it would now be distributed.
Mr Speaker, we wouldstand that one down for the Reports to bedistributed.
So, whichitem are we taking?
Mr Speaker, we shall takeitem number 9.
Very well. Hon Members, item number 10 is stooddown, while we take item number 9 on theOrder Paper, by the Minister for theInterior.
Mr Speaker, again, I seekyour permission for the Hon DeputyMinister for the Interior to take item 9 onbehalf of the Minister.
Very well.Hon Deputy Minister for the Interior onbehalf of the Minister?
BILLS -- THIRD READING
Mr Speaker, we are sorry for that. We haveasked that additional Order Papers shouldbe printed. It is because of the directivethat normally we print just about hundredcopies, but the concern today is genuinebecause the system is down. So,additional Order Papers are being printed.I am very sure that very soon more thanenough would be in the Chamber.
Very well. Hon Members, we would move on toitem number 4 (c) (iii). By the Chairman of the Committee -- (iii)Report of the Finance Committee onthe Supplementary AppropriationBill, 2016.
Yes, HonMember, are you up?
Mr Speaker, the amountstated in the Report should not be indollars. It should be the cedi equivalent.The Report as it is, does not capture it.We do not accept United States dollars atour ports, and the tax waiver is the cediequivalent of a United States dollaramount, not the United States dollarequivalent. So, if the Clerks-at-the-Tablecould take that into consideration and dothat properly.
Very well,Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, it is noted. Weaccordingly amend the Report to read thecedi equivalent of the United States dollaramount. So, I agree with him. Social Development (BNDES) andthe Bankof Brazil supported by theBrazilian Official EqualisationProgramme (PROEX) to finance thedesign and civil engineering worksrelated to the construction of roadsthat comprise the Eastern corridorroad project, covering lots 5 and 6(Oti Damanko -Nakpanduri stretch- 209km).
Mr Speaker, itemnumber 4 (d) is ready. I would want to craveyour indulgence, and that of the Housefor the Deputy Majority Leader to lay iton behalf of the Committee since he is amember of the Committee.
Which oneis it?
It is item number 4(d). Hon Members, item number 4 (d) bythe Chairman of the Committee,represented by the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader. By the Deputy Majority Leader (Mr AlfredKwame Agbesi) on behalf of theChairman of the Committee) -- Report of the Committee onConstitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs on theCompanies (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister for Finance is in the House. Couldhe take item number 10?
Very well. Hon Members, item number 10 on theOrder Paper, by the Minister for Finance.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I believesufficient copies have been distributed forus to take item number 10.
HonMember, they have just received copies.In fairness to them, let them just browsethrough, while we look at other items andthen we can come back to it.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, we take item number 21, theTechnical Universities Bill, 2016, at theConsideration Stage.
HonMember, help me with the page number,please.
Mr Speaker, item number21 on page 12 of the Order Paper.
Very well. Hon Members, item number 21, theTechnical Universities Bill, 2016, at theConsideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Mr Speaker, we dealtwith clause 1, and it was with clauses 2and 3 that we were advised to reorganise.
So we havedealt with clause 1 already?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Then in thatcase, clause 2. [Pause.] Hon Members, I am advised that wedid up to clause 5, but there were someclauses which were deferred and I thoughtwe should clear those ones before wemove on.
Mr Speaker, theywere stood down for further consultation.I am not sure they have done thatconsultation. So, it is better for us toproceed -- [Interruption] -- Looking atthe time we closed yesterday, they couldnot have gone to do consultation. Mr Speaker, so, it is better to proceedfrom clause 6 and then come back to it.We still have a lot to do, instead of usspending all the time arguing.
Mr Speaker, the truth isthat we have really dealt with that, but wewill take what he says. In that case, wecome to clause --
HonMembers, in that case, we deal with clause6. Clause 6 -- Functions of a Council
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 6, paragraph (e), after “promote”insert “applied research including”.
So, whatwould the final rendition be?
Mr Speaker, it reads asfollows: “promote applied research includingthe provision of technologyinnovations and solutions to firmsand businesses as part of theoutreach activities of that technicaluniversity”; Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 6, paragraph (m), line 5, delete;“and”. Mr Speaker, that is the last line of thatparagraph. This is because we haveanother sub paragraph to be added.
You areasking us to delete something and insertanother.
Mr Speaker, we delete“and”.
Mr Speaker, allthat this amendment seeks to do is toprovide for discipline in the universityincluding staff and students. So, instead of “be responsible for thediscipline of staff of that technicaluniversity”, it is “be responsible fordiscipline in the technical university.”
In the wholeuniversity?
Mr Speaker,what we seek to do is that, there is aproposed addition which would comeafter “and”, so, we are deleting the “and”,so that we would add the “and” tosubclause (o). That is the idea, becausewe are adding it to make sure thatdiscipline is ensured in the institution. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,add the following new paragraph: “ensure that the academic staffhave relevant industry experience;and”
HonChairman, are you not skipping the onebefore (xi), clause 6, paragraph (m), line 5?
We deleted “and” toenable us include this additionalparagraph.
Yes, but youneed to move it so that we consider it.You have advertised it, you need to moveit. It is a straightforward one.
It is advertised.
Actually,rightly so. It should be a drafting matter,but once you have advertised it, I do notknow, I direct that the draftpersons takeinto consideration this particular one anddeal with it appropriately.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 6, add the following newparagraph: “ensure that the academic staffhave relevant industry experience;and”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 6 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 7 -- Establishment of Committees
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 7, add the following newsubclause: “(2) “A committee of the Councilcomprising both members andnon-members shall be chaired bya member of the Council”.
What is therationale behind it?
Mr Speaker,thank you for the opportunity. Looking at subclause (2), it means thatthe committee would comprise bothmembers and non-members, but where thecommittee comprises members and non-members, it is a member that would haveto chair that particular committee. Mr Speaker, that is the meaning I amgetting from this. So, I support theamendment proposed by the HonChairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, the HonMember is completely off tangent. Theamendment that is being debated, is theone that is proposed by the Hon Ministersitting by him, which says that we shoulddelete (2), and the (2) says that; “a committee comprised entirely ofnon-members shall be advisory”. The Hon Minister sitting by him saysthat we should delete that, and the HonMember says that it is not a wise decision.We should not do that, we shouldmaintain the two. So, I think we shouldnot follow that one.
HonChairman of the Committee, let us hearyou.
Clause 8 -- [Pause.]
HonChairman, I thought we were still at clause7, and it is in respect of the amendmentthat issues have been raised.
I think it was dropped bythe Hon Minister.
I put theQuestion before I saw the Hon Ministerup, so, I do not know what has happenedto the Hon Minister's proposal.
Mr Speaker, we are talkingof tenure of office of Council members,and the Vice Chancellor is at post until histerm is over. The others will be there foronly three years. The Vice Chancellor canbe in office for the two terms, as long ashe remains the Vice Chancellor.
Mr Speaker,my problem is that this particular clausethe Hon Chairman seeks to add is notabout tenure; it is about attendance atmeetings. So, he has to explain it. It says that: “where a member of the Council isabsent for three consecutivemeetings without reasonable cause,the office of that member shallbecome vacant”. So, who on the university Council doesnot represent an office?
Mr Speaker, is the HonMember really referring to clause 8 (2)?
HonChairman, he said that this particularclause deals with attendance at meetings,and if one defaults for a certain number oftimes in succession, without goodreason, then the seat becomes vacant. So, why do we want to exclude theVice Chancellor from that kind ofarrangement? That is what the HonPrempeh is trying to find out.
I think the Vice Chancelloris --
I canimagine the kind of confusion that woulderupt if the Vice Chancellor's positionbecomes vacant.
Mr Speaker, if absencefrom a meeting is a reason to remove aVice Chancellor, then we can leave theclause as it is. But if it is not a good
It is a phrase that goeswith all universities. Unfortunately, it wasnot in this Bill, so, we felt it was necessaryfor us to add it. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, weare dealing with establishment ofcommittees for a technical university, andtherefore, the members of Council isdefined, and defined in a manner that I amat a loss why they would even want tohave a committee of entirely non-members. Therefore, the Hon Chairman'sproposition, if he has no objection, clause7 (2) should be entirely deleted. Then weknow we have committees of the Council,which shall be standing or ad hoc, andmade up of members or non-members. Butnot a committee where we have all of itbeing non-members of the Council.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve the Hon Minister should not pushhis amendment. It says that we could havea committee of the Council comprisingnon-members, but such a committee canonly be advisory. We never knew asituation where it would necessitate theappointment of a committee of non-members, so, let us leave it at that. Itdoes no harm. If we delete it, it meansthat we are tying the hands of the Council.No! It depends on the subject matter. He says we should delete. That is theproposal by the Hon Minister forEmployment and Labour Relations. He isproposing that we delete it.
How do yourespond?
Mr Speaker, ifyou put the Question on the whole ofclause 7, mine would be redundant andwe could make progress.
Very well. Hon Members, In that case, I wouldput the Question with clause 7, asamended standing part of the Bill -- Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you,Mr Speaker. I wish to expand theamendment being proposed for clause 7(2), to be expanded to exclude theViceChancellor. Mr Speaker, I am saying so because --
HonMember, you are out of order. I havealready put the Question, the ayes had it,and I am putting the Question with regardto clause 7, as amended standing part ofthe Bill, and you are taking us back. Clause 7 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 8 -- Tenure of office of membersof the Council
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 8, subclause (2), line 1, after“Council”, insert “other than the ViceChancellor”. The Vice Chancellor's membership ofthe Council is a permanent thing, unlikethe other members.
Wouldthe Hon Chairman explain to the Housewhy he would want to exclude the ViceChancellor, who all of a sudden decidesnot to go for Council meetings?
Yes, HonMember for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker,the Vice Chancellor and the Registraroccupy certain offices, and the conditionsof their service are governed by thestatute of the university.
“A Rector shall hold office on theterms and conditions specified inthe letter of appointment.” Clause 16 (3) also says: “A Rector shall hold office for aterm of four years and is eligible forre-appointment for another termonly.”
HonMember, from what you have read, are wedescribing the Chief Executive as the ViceChancellor or as a Rector?
Mr Speaker, itis the Vice Chancellor because it was aconsequential amendment. We haveamended it, and so in clause 15, wherever“Rector” appears, it becomes “ViceChancellor”. So, I think that he/she has his/her ownterms and conditions, which are differentfrom the appointment of a member ofCouncil. That is why we proposed thatamendment.
Mr Speaker, I amtempted to persuade the Chairman toabandon his amendment. This is becausethe office of the Vice Chancellor isinseparable from the Vice Chancellor as amember of the Board. He serves on theBoard by virtue of his position as the ViceChancellor.
Mr Speaker, we stooddown item number 10, so, if we couldgo back to it.
Very well. I think Hon Members have had enoughtime to go through it. Item number 10 on the Order Paperwhich was stood down -- By the HonMinister for Finance.
Mr Speaker, I begto 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 PublicFinancial Management Bill, 2016 may bemoved today.
Mr Speaker, I riseto second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
HonMinister for Finance, item number 11?
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, thatthe Public Financial Management Bill,2016, be now read a Second time. enough reason to remove a ViceChancellor, then the amendment can betaken. This is because, what they would thenbe saying is that, if the Vice Chancellorfails to attend meetings for threeconsecutive times, without reasonablecause, he ceases to be the Vice Chancellor.That is how it is put. They would want to cure that by sayingthat, with the Vice Chancellor, he canabsent himself without reasonable causefor three consecutive times and he wouldstill remain the Vice Chancellor. That iswhat they are saying. Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu-- rose --
Yes, HonMember for Bekwai?
Mr Speaker, the ViceChancellor is the Chief Executive of theinstitution and he is on the Board by virtueof being the Chief Executive, so to speak. Mr Speaker, it is not practicable toremove the Vice Chancellor because he isabsent from meetings on three occasions.If we cannot remove him from his positionas the Vice Chancellor, then it does notappear, in my view, from the tenure ofthis, that it is intended to be a backdoorof removing a Vice Chancellor from hisposition. Mr Speaker, I agree that thisamendment is important, but it should notonly be for the Vice Chancellor; it shouldbe for the Registrar too as well. TheRegistrar of a university cannot beremoved only because he has been absentwithout excuse. If we are to approve theamendment, then we should add theRegistrar. We do not expect, for all practicalpurposes, that the Vice Chancellor of theinstitution would be absent for threeconsecutive meetings. But where he doesso without reasonable ground andjustification, he is deemed to have vacatedhis post. Which post? Is it with regard tohim being a member of the Board, or hisVice Chancellorship as the head of theinstitution?
If I may askyou a question, let us say that he vacateshis position as a member of the Board.Who will then occupy that position afterwe have removed him?
Mr Speaker, he isthere by virtue of his office, therefore, wewould persuade the Hon Chairman toabandon his amendment so that we canproceed.
Mr Speaker, Hon Membersshould draw their attention to clauses 15and 16. They tell us how the ViceChancellor can be removed.[Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, so, the amendment is agood one. If the Hon Minister forEducation were here --
That is whatI was coming to. I am minded to bring this to a close;when the Hon Minister herself, or one ofher Deputies is here, we can then dealwith the matter. Hon Members, that brings us to theend of the Consideration Stage of thisBill. We have deferred the considerationof this particular clause and theConsideration Stage of the TechnicalUniversities Bill, 2016, for today.
Is it on apoint of order?
Rightly so, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, our Standing Orders mustbe respected. The Standing Orders inrespect of the Second Reading is whereMr Speaker presides over the policyprinciples -- Why the Bill? Whichmischief do we seek to correct? The Hon Minister just moved theMotion for the Second Reading of the Bill,and we have seen the Hon Chairman rise.We need to be on board. What hasinformed this particular Bill. It is inaccordance with article 106 of theConstitution and we must standconvinced. Therefore, the Hon Chairman shouldhave allowed the Hon Minister to statethe policy principles before he started topresent his Report. He did not do that.
HonMinister, the Motion has been moved andit is being supported -- Your interventioncomes rather late.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that the Public FinancialManagement Bill, 2016, be read a Secondtime.
Can wehave some order in the House?
It is to consolidate anumber of public financial managementprovisions that are found in a number oflaws, and in some cases, Regulations. MrSpeaker, therefore, the primary need forus is to have an omnibus law that wouldregulate our public financial managementin a better way. Hence, the change in thetitle to Public Financial Management Bill.Some of these were found in the FinancialAdministration Act and the Loans Act inparticular. The Loans Act is dated as farback as 1970. Mr Speaker, the second reason also isto introduce a number of budgetresponsibility or accountability provisions,and some fiscal provisions that wouldenhance our public financial management. For example, Mr Speaker, it is importantthat we have in our public financialmanagement law, best practices in relationto public debt financing; the deficit,enhance further the fiscal risk that oftencome with quasi-fiscal institutions, likeState-owned Enterprises, Ministries,Departments and Agencies. Finally, Mr Speaker, it is also importantthat we improve the accounting andbudgeting for public financial manage-ment, through schemes like the treasurysingle account, as well as chart ofaccounts and the numerous things thatwe have implemented per either publicfinancial management reforms, or whatused to be the Ghana Integrated FinancialManage-ment Information System(GIFMIS) reforms. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents at itsdeliberations: The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana. The Interpretations Act, 1960(CA4); Petroleum Revenue ManagementAct, 2011 (Act 815); Civil Service Act, 1993 (PNDCL 327). Background As part of the structural reforms tostrengthen public finance and promotefiscal discipline, there is the need tostrengthen and consolidate existing lawsto regulate the financial management ofthe public sector within a macroeconomicand fiscal framework, as well as define theresponsibilities of persons entrusted withthe management and control of publicfunds, assets, liabilities and resources. The Public Financial Management Bill,forms part of the country's ongoing publicfinancial management reforms which aredesigned to address persistent weaknessesand promote discipline, transparency andaccountability in the management ofpublic funds. The legal framework for publicfinancial management is currentlyscattered among a number of differentlegislations. There is therefore, a need tointegrate all existing legislations into anoverreaching enactment which reflects amore coherent framework for the fiscalmanagement of the public sector. Mr Speaker, these are a number of verysound public financial management lawsas well as best practices which we areproposing to be included in the Bill that isbefore the House for consideration.
Mr Speaker, I rise to supportthe Motion moved by the Hon Minister,that the Public Financial Management Bill,2016 be read a Second time. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present yourCommittee's Report. Introduction The Public Financial Management Bill,2016, was presented to Parliament andread the First time by the Hon Minister ofFinance, Mr Emmanuel Seth Terkper, onFriday, 24th June, 2016, in accordancewith article 108 of the 1992 Constitution.Pursuant to Order 169 of the StandingOrders of the Parliament of Ghana, the RtHon Speaker referred the Bill to theFinance Committee for consideration andreport. The Committee was assisted in itsdeliberations by the Hon Minister forFinance, Mr Emmanuel Seth Terkper,Deputy Ministers for Finance, Mr CassielAto Baah Forson and Mrs MonahQuartey, the Controller and Accountant-General and officials from the Ministry ofFinance, Attorney-General's Department,the Audit Service, Controller andAccountant Generals' Department, GhanaRevenue Authority and the Head of CivilService. The Committee expresses its gratitudeto the Hon Minister, the Deputy Ministers,the Controller and Accountant-Generalofficials from the Ministry and variousagencies for attending upon it, andassisting in the deliberations.
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Conclusion and Recommendation The Committee has thoroughlyexamined the Bill and is convinced thatthe passage of the Bill will help strengthenpublic financial management, promotefiscal discipline and help consolidateexisting laws to regulate public financialmanagement in Ghana, to promotetransparency and accountability in theuse of public funds. The Committee therefore, recommendsto the House to adopt its Report, and passthe Public Financial Management Bill, 2016into law in accordance with article 106 ofthe Constitution and Orders 126 and 127of the Standing Orders of the House. Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support theMotion, that the Public FinancialManagement Bill, 2016, be now read aSecond time. Mr Speaker, I believe thisHouse must take this Motion very seriousfor a lot of reasons. It is a consolidationof two major laws, as the Hon Chairmansaid; the Financial Administration Act andthe Loans Act. In my view, it is an attempt to bringdiscipline among Government agencies inthe use of State resources. For thatreason, for the first time, there areproposed sanctions for persons who donot do the right things. The fire was notbiting enough, so there are proposedsanctions in this new Bill, that hopefully,would keep people in check. Mr Speaker, to put it blindly, the stateof the nation's public financial systemdepends on the discipline or otherwise ofchief account holders, in popularlanguage, the Ministers. If the Ministers decide to be indisciplined, then we are introuble. They can go round signing allkinds of contracts that would bind theGovernment. So, this is an attempt first,to check the political heads as well as thechief spending officers, that is the ChiefDirectors. An attempt is being made here,subject to the Constitution, to make surethat the Ministers are also subject toCabinet, to the extent that, article 76 (2) ofthe Constitution provides, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The Cabinet shall assist thePresident in the determination ofgeneral policy of the Government”.
Mr Speaker, theCommittee has taken cognisance of suchviews to ensure that, Chief Directors reportto their bosses, who are the Ministers andthey should in turn report to Cabinet andParliament; I believe it would be safer. Weadvised the Ministry to make the implementation work; people must feel thatthey understand what is going on. Anyperception that the Ministry of Financehas become a super Ministry woulddisrupt the implementation of the Bill.People must accept self-discipline toensure that Government finances are ingood shape. So, we must make sure that, in theconsolidation, the good parts of the fileare kept, while the good parts of theLoans Act that are consistent with theConstitution are also kept. Mr Speaker, one of the things we foundout was that, there was a subtle attemptby the sponsors of the Bill to go aroundParliament, with respect to article 181 (5),where there were exceptions opposed tothe conditions of article 181 (5). Parliament has its job; the Ministry hasits job. But to put in a legislation - I believewhen we get to that we would appreciateit. There is a Bill that sought to usurp thepowers of Parliament. I believe that wasnot the best. I believe on our advice, the Ministryhas accepted that, until we decide to giveout our powers in terms of article 181 (5),which we are still waiting for theLeadership for to propose the modifi-cations, the status quo must remain, sothat we do not find a Minister going tosign a contract because we have waivedit in the Bill. I believe those provisionshave been deleted. Overall, Mr Speaker, I believe this is agood instrument to check public financialmanagement if it is implemented properlyand to the extent that, people aresanctioned when they go wrong, I believeit is good. For the first time, if the Minister,for example, exceeds the AppropriationsAct, he would be held to account by thesanctions that have been proposed. However, it appears that people are abit soft on the kind of sanctions that wereproposed. I think Hon Members shouldadvert their minds to it when we come tothe sanctions. People thought that, whatwas proposed was too severe in certaincases, but I think if the sanctions do notbite, people would not be disciplined. With those few words, I urge HonMembers to pay attention to the provisionsof the Bill so that the House -- One of the things we would see is that-- Whether it is good or bad, this House isbeing asked to receive a lot of reportsdirectly. What we are going to do with itis a different matter. However, in my view, if the sectorcommittees would take those reports, thenthey can really exercise their oversightresponsibility over the sectors, withoutwaiting for a Budget. So, if there is aperformance report coming directly fromthe Chief Directors, not through theMinister, then each sector committeewould have the opportunity to see whatis happening in their Ministry. Right now,we do not do that and so our oversight ofMinistries are a bit weak. Moreover, I believe that there are verygood provisions in the Bill, and I wouldurge Hon Members to pay attention tothe proposed amendments so that wecan -- Mr Speaker, finally, as a side note, weare aware that, the passage and adoptionof this Bill is one of the prior actions thatthe Government has agreed to do with theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF). Whythe Government would do that, I do notknow. Parliament has its time-table and theExecutive has its time-table; butGovernment has agreed in writing, thatthe adoption and passage of this Bill andanother Bill is a prior action.
the peoples' representatives.We are risingon Friday and that is a very seriousdilemma we are in. Considering that thisis a very serious matter, may I request that,during or before the joint Caucus, somedecision is made. This is because there are 100 clausesin the Bill, and we are rising on Friday;do you expect us to stay here becausesomebody in Washington says we must?This is too serious. Hon Members shouldadvert their minds to it, especiallyLeadership. Are we minded to accept thisdictatorial request from a body that we donot elect? Mr Speaker, I am sending a signal toLeadership, the current pro-term leader,that this is a serious matter. Leader ofGovernment Business, I am moving thatwe adopt the Motion, but inconsideration, that a severe constraint isimposed on your members, yourmembers who report to their constituents,that we must adopt and pass it. I hopethat Leadership can hear us and theywould be minded that in considering thepassage of this Bill --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, he said that it is broughthere for us to adopt. No, it is for debate.At the end of the day, it is for the House;it is not a must that once they havebrought it, we must adopt it. It is for theconsideration of the House. At the end ofthe day, it depends on our debate anddecision.
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Majority Leader is not listening.Our Government, the Republic of Ghana,has signed an agreement with theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) , thata prior action for disbursement -- prior --He is a lawyer and he knows what it means -- That unless Parliament pass it -- I amnot saying we should agree with them,but they have signed it. For that reason,the Board meeting proposed for July hasbeen deferred. As we speak, we do notknow when the Board meeting would takeplace. He must be minded that hisGovernment has committed us, so we haveto look at the balance. We are going to debate this, but theconsequences could be severe. Already,you concede that it is not only the balanceof payments -- The Hon Minister spokeabout it in the Supplementary Budget thathe presented yesterday. If the IMF doesnot go to the board, the World Bank wouldnot provide budget support; and maybe,the Africa Development Bank (AfDB)would not. It is a delay in money -- Weare heading towards elections and wecannot afford, for anybody to dictate tous how we manage our country. So, thisis a very serious matter.
Mr Speaker, Irise on a point of relevance. This is a Billthat has been introduced. The HonMinister spoke to it and the Hon Chairmanhas presented -- The Hon Member madea good contribution by supporting it. Butall the other things about IMF do notbelong here because all Governments ofGhana have signed agreements withinternational bodies. They are trader points and this istransparency at its best, because it is nothidden anywhere. If they are calling foraccountability, it is not for us to questionit. We should be proud to pass a Bill thatwould ensure that there is responsibilityin what we do.
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague is a senior Member of thisHouse. No Government I know of, since 1992, has signed an agreement with theIMF that says that Parliament must“adopt and pass”. The agreement says“submission to Parliament”. There is adifference. “Adopt and pass” is not“submission”. So, please, it is veryrelevant. Let us state the facts. The Bill is for good accountability, butwe must decide what is good for us. Thatis my point. To say that all Governments-- He is misleading this House. He shouldwithdraw that statement, because it isfactually incorrect. I am minded to say thatwe must balance it, because we want theGovernment to proceed. It is very tricky because its timing doesnot help us. That is the point. As a patrioticGhanaian, I expect him to take this becauseit is relevant. He should not say that, thisis not partisan. We are Ghanaians lookingout for the welfare of our constituents andnot the welfare of an unelected Board inWashington. We are members of the IMF but we donot dictate to their Board when they meet,so they should also not dictate to us. I amsurprised that my senior Hon Colleagueis getting emotional. Why? I am sure thathe has agreed to withdraw his statement,but we should just be minded that wehave been given a serious matter that wemust balance properly. That is why I amappealing to Leadership. Today, the Hon Majority Leaderreminded me that we must pass it. I thensaid “Hon Majority Leader, they cannotdictate to us”. I told him today. Undercertain conditions, they can talk to us butthey cannot say we must pass it. After all,this is a House of debate. We should notbe compelled by that constraint; weshould be free to debate and then cometo a logical conclusion what is good forGhana. With those few words, Mr Speaker, Iask Hon Members to --
MrSpeaker, thank you very much for theopportunity to associate myself with theMotion ably moved by the Hon Ministerfor Finance, that the Public FinancialManagement Bill, 2016 be read a Secondtime. In so doing, I support the idea thatthis Bill is to address some inherentweaknesses; lack of credibility in thebudget process, unpredictability duringbudget execution, and in particular, limitedexpenditure controls and cash rationing,all of which contribute to the problem ofchronic and persistent arears. I just listened to my Hon Colleague,the Hon Ranking Member for the FinanceCommittee. I know that he is a consummateadherent of fiscal discipline. Therefore, having respect for fiscalvalues and principles, he should supportthis particular Bill which seeks tostrengthen and allow for more fiscaldiscipline and prudence, noting the issuesthat he has raised. Mr Speaker, mine is just with timelinesand I refer you to clause 20, page 15 of theBill; salary negotiations for public sector.There is already the Labour Act whichprovides for the tripartite, and I think thatthe Hon Minister for Finance can only dothis with prior consultation with theMinister responsible for Employment andLabour Relations. This is in terms ofdetermining salary and other compen-sation issues, which is largely driven bythe Fair Wages and Salaries Commission,which in itself was created by an Act ofParliament. Mr Speaker, I support the Hon RankingMember on one particular issue onfinance, which is that, we should desistfrom attempting to use an Act of Parliament to oust any constitutionalprovision. I say so referencing article 11of the Constitution which provides for thehierarchy of the laws. Therefore, when you come to clausessuch as clause 74, which arguably, theHon Chairman has agreed to delete, itwould have appeared that we attemptedto use an Act of Parliament to oust theprovisions of the Constitution. Thatwould be void to the extent that article 2of the Constitution encourages that theCommittee takes note of that. There are many other calendar periodsin it. For instance, the reporting, I havejust picked one issue, which the HonRanking Member for Finance raised, torespond to. Mr Speaker, this is not the first timeGhana has a relationship with the IMF. Iam sure he has supervised one in hiscapacity as an Hon Minister of State.Indeed, the Memorandum of Economicand Financial Policy (MEFP) is a publicdocument. He knows what governs therelationship between the Government ofGhana and the IMF, which was to achievefiscal consolidation. Mr Speaker, for instance, if one saysreporting on debt, I would refer him topage 38 of your Committee's Report --
On a point of order. MrSpeaker, the original MEFP which was notbrought to this House, is a publicdocument. Subsequent to that, a draftMEFP involving these prior actions is nota public document. This is becausenegotiations have not been concluded. This is why I said that, if it had beenbrought to Parliament for us to approve, are also timelines within the Constitution.This is because in this Bill, the role ofParliament, the Auditor-General and allconstitutional bodies must be in harmony. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Iassociate myself with the Motion.
Mr Speaker, I thankyou for the opportunity to add my voiceto the debate on the Public FinancialManagement Bill. Mr Speaker, if we look at paragraph 2,on page 2 of the Report, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “Again, Public Financial Managementhas experience systemic weaknessincluding lack of credibility in thebudge process, unpredictability duringbudget execution, limited expenditurecontrols and cash rationing all ofwhich contribute to the problem ofchronic and persistent arrears”. Mr Speaker, we are well aware thatGhana uses the Cash Management Systemto run the accounts of this country.Unfortunately, over the period, what weare realising is that Government continuesto have difficulties in the way this cash isbeing managed. Therefore, I thought that in bringingthis Bill to the House, we would havelooked at the Accrual System, wherebyevery expenditure that is made, whetherwe pay cash or not, would be recorded.That is the best way to check Governmentexpenditure so that there are no moresurprises, especially at the end of the yearwhen we have to put all the accountstogether. Mr Speaker, this Bill does not addressthat problem. I believe that we shouldhave used this major opportunity to move we would all be privy to it. He said that itis not a public document -- It does notmean that some of us do not know. We allknow that it is not a public document.
Mr Speaker, inconcluding, I would also hail someprovisions of this Bill, particularly, onmatters relating to debt managementobjectives and debt managementstrategy, and its sustainability. This isbecause my Hon Colleague knows thatwhat we need to avoid as a country isbeing declared debt distressed. For reporting purposes, for instance,yesterday, when the Hon Minister forFinance appeared before this augustHouse, he shared with us a decline in thedebt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)ratio. How can Hon Members satisfythemselves that the 64 per cent --Through this reporting, we would know.This is because we are the House whichapproves the loans. We must appreciatethe purposes of the loan and be interestedin the disbursement and impact of the loan. There are provisions in this Bill forreporting on debt management, whichwould come to this august House tosupport us, that tomorrow when heannounces this, we would have thedocuments ready to look at. Mr Speaker, I believe when we get tothe Consideration Stage, we would bemindful of the day; for instance, when toconclude salary negotiation. I do not believe that 31 st May ispracticable, given my experience and theexperience of my Hon Colleagues. We mayagree that it should be in August. There our accounting from the Cash System tothe Accrual System. Mr Speaker, we can make do with allthe laws, but if the human beings whomanage the laws are not qualified, there isgoing to be a difficulty in managing thefinances of our country. Mr Speaker, there have beengovernments that have managed evenwithout the laws, and their countriesimproved very well. Therefore, if we are thinking ofbringing a new law, I believe we need tostart looking at the possibility of makingsure that Government can recruit qualifiedaccountants. The 4,000-member staff ofthe Controller and Accountant-General'sDepartment, we know, do not even haveup to more than 200 qualified accountantsand that is very key. I believe that in coming up with thisBill, we should be able to put in certainclauses that would engender the Ministryand the Controller and Accountant-General's Department, to be able to recruitthe right people and make sure that theycan do the work that needs to be done. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister forFinance, in recent times, told us that he isimplementing the Government IntegratedFinancial Management InformationSystem (GIFMIS), and that new charts ofaccounts have also been prepared.Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot ofproblem with the system. Our own Committee on Roads andTransport, seems to have problem withreleases from the Ministry because of thatsystem. Mr Speaker, if we are implementing asystem that continues to give problems,we are sure that people would start givingexcuses and would find new ways of by-passing this system. I believe that in making some of theselaws, we should also consider some ofthese issues to ensure that this countrycan run very well. Mr Speaker, with these few words Isupport the Motion.
HonMembers, I would take two morecontributions. Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, Ithank you for the opportunity tocontribute to this Motion.
“… This Bill seeks to promote fiscaldiscipline and help consolidateexisting laws to regulate publicfinancial management in Ghana topromote transparency and accountabilityin the use of public funds”. Mr Speaker, the important question toask is, why this Government waited tillits eighth year --
HonMember, restrict yourself to the Reportbefore us. Let us not digress. The Reportis before us for our consideration.
Mr Speaker, I amspeaking to the issue before us. Mr Speaker, the reason I am contendingthat the Government has delayed undulyin bringing this to the House is because ithas only taken the intervention of the IMFto propose [Interruption] -- That is whywe are compelled to consider this as amatter of urgency.
HonMember, let us restrict ourselves to theReport before us.
Mr Speaker, thatis so. But what is clear --
On a point of order. MrSpeaker, the Hon Member is misleadingthe House. In fact, the reason for bringing thisBill to this House at this point is that whenone is doing reforms, one needs to decodeother processes which are in thelegislation. Therefore, the legislation hasbeen brought before this House as theHon Leader said, after we have gonethrough a number of processes whichneeded to be put in the law. Mr Speaker, this Bill is owned by theGovernment of Ghana. There is noimposition. It is part of the laws whichthis House has passed, including themany tax laws and financial laws. This ismeant to consolidate, as the Bill says, thePublic Financial Management Laws. So, it is not brought -- as a prioraction; I do understand. To say that wedelayed, and that is why we are beingpushed to bring it at this point, ismisleading. It is because of theunderstanding of the Fund that the Housewould be going on recess, which weattempted to explain.
On a point of order.MrSpeaker, thank you very much. Even though there is no point of orderagainst a point of order, I thought theHon Minister would jot down all thesepoints and then conclude. This is becausehe would not make the Hon Members flowand we would keep a long debate. If he could jot these points down, thenafter the contributions he can concludeso that the debate can flow and we canclose early.
Very well. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised at the Hon Minister for his longintervention. At least, at the Committee meeting, wewere made to understand that the cominginto force of this law is part of theconditionalities given by the IMF. Mr Speaker, why has he now changedhis story to say that it is a prior action andthat it has nothing to do with the IMF. Itis part of the conditionalities, and that isa matter of fact. It is not coming from myown head and he knows that.
HonMember, please, address the Chair.
Mr Speaker verywell. All I am saying is that, why wait —[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, whywait for the IMF to come and tell us —
HonMember please proceed.
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, one thing I am not sureabout is whether the passage of this lawis the reason the IMF has delayed indisbursing. This is because, I was on aprogramme this morning with the HonDeputy Minister for Communication, MrFelix Kwakye Ofosu, and his contentionwas that, the IMF Board has not met forthe past two months, and I am, inunderstanding this —
HonMember, please let us restrict ourselvesto the Report before us, and begin toconclude.
Mr Speaker, I amtrying to draw a correlation to find out —This is because we are being compelledto consider this, and I only want to findout if the IMF has delayed disbursement.This is because it is a matter of nationalinterest. We are here as representativesof the people.
HonMember, please look at the Reportotherwise I would cut you off.
Mr Speaker, all Iam trying to say is that, it is a good stepthat the government, no matter how late,is putting in place measures to ensurefiscal discipline. But once again, if we lookat page 5 of the Report, particularly,paragraph 3, and with your permission, Ibeg to quote: “The Committee also noted that theBill seeks to control borrowing bylocal government authorities, Mr Speaker, the Constitution providesin article 106 (6) — in talking about theSecond Reading, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The report of the committee,together with the explanatorymemorandum to the bill, shall formthe basis for a full debate on the billfor its passage with or withoutamendments, or its rejection, byParliament”. Mr Speaker, it is the explanatorymemorandum that sets out the policyunderpinning that Bill. So the HonMember should be allowed to speak tothe policy underpin, contained in thememorandum broadly. That is howdebate should be conducted during theSecond Reading of any Bill. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member shouldbe liberated to speak to the principleinvolved — [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the Hon Alhaji BukariSorogho is free to do his articulationswhenever he rises — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,every now and then, he would want thiscross-device communication. He shouldplease rise up and do his articulation. Wewould want to listen to him. We are allears. With respect to him, we would wantto hear him. I am tired of his shaking ofhead. He should rise up and do hisarticulation. Mr Speaker, my appeal to you —because I know that space is beingconstricted, not from the Chair, but fromother Hon Members, to try to restrict himto just the Report of the Committee. Butthe Constitution is very clear on this asto what informs the basis —
HonMember, that point has been made.Please, move on.
Very well. Mr Speaker, we are also aware thatUS$114 million —
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I am not a member of theCommittee which brought this Report.What transpired at the level of theCommittee is supposed to be containedin the Report to Hon Members who werenot in that Committee. My Hon Colleagueon his feet said that, this Bill was broughtas a conditionality imposed by the IMF. Mr Speaker, as I hold this Report, Ihave not seen anything like that in it. It isnot contained in it for that matter, and hisdebate is outside this Report. So, I beg tosay that, he should come to the Report.This is because, whatever transpiresoutside this Report cannot be on this floor.I say that he is out of order so you shouldrule him out.
Very well. Hon Member, can you conclude?
Mr Speaker, I amnot too sure whether my senior learnedcolleague and the able Hon DeputyMajority Leader of this House wants usto suspend debate on this matter and callfor the minutes. This is because, I made acategorical statement that, the HonMinister, at least, informed us. We had technocrats who were there toassist us, and this is a matter of record.And so if he says that it is not part of theReport, then I would beg to apply for leave,so that we stand down this matter andbring our minutes, so that he would be public corporations and Stateowned enterprises as part of acomprehensive framework for themanagement of public debt in thecountry.” Mr Speaker, what is not too clear iswhether the Hon Minister — Mr Speaker,I am compelled to close my eyes because,I feel intimidated by the looks of the HonMinister — I am not too clear whether theHon Minister is given the expressmandate not to sign off guarantees forState institutions like GNPC, inorderborrow without coming to this House —[Uproar] — This is because, there isambiguity though —[Uproar.]— MrSpeaker, I need your protection —
HonMembers, let us please have some order. Hon Member please begin to conclude.
Mr Speaker, whatis not clear and which appears ambiguousis that, this observation that we have madeas a Committee does not find expressprovision in the law. In one breath, we saythat, this Bill seeks to control borrowingby local government and other stateowned institutions. But we are aware that,the Hon Minister for Finance, forinstance, in the Karpower Agreement hassigned an undertaken — [Interruption.]
HonMember please conclude. Order! Order!
MrSpeaker, in granting space and time to theHon Member, I believe some HonMembers are trying to restrict him to theReport of the Committee.
I ignore theasides.
Mr Speaker,I am just appealing to you that, to theextent that he speaks to the principles andpolicy underpinned —
Very well. I am prepared to allow him, except that,he has spoken for far too long. I haveasked him to conclude several times.
Mr Speaker,against the backdrop of the variousinterjections and cross-purpose interjectionsincluding shaking of heads and widegesticulations from the Hon Member forMadina.
HonMember for Effutu, please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, youknow I will forever be grateful to you. As I said earlier, Mr Speaker, the lawdoes not appear to be too clear and if youlook at paragraph 4, which talks about --
HonMember, if the law does not appear tooclear, you have all the liberties under thesun to recommend or propose amendmentswhich would make it clearer at theConsideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, all Iam trying to say is that, it is expected thatas we progress to the Consideration Stage,some of these ambiguities would beaddressed so that the purpose of the Billwould not be defeated. This is because,the purpose of the Bill is clearly spelt outunder paragraph --
Thank youvery much.
Mr Speaker, Ithank you. [Hear! Hear!]
I will nowcall upon the Hon Minister for Finance towind up, taking into account, theconcerns raised by Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, I wish tothank Hon Members for their broadsupport of the Bill and recognising itsimportance in consolidating the PublicFinancial Management Laws and alsoimproving public financial management inthe country. Mr Speaker, I wish to state that, thepoint about the tripartite committee wasnot meant to change practice or the law. Itis about fiscal constraint and the need forpublic expenditures to be within whatParliament has appropriated. Therefore,the point being made is that, in the eventthe negotiations are not completed, theprovision required in the AppropriationsBill should be a guide. So, it is about restraints becausemost of the overruns we have had in thepast have had to do with negotiations thatcome after Parliament has passed theAppropriation Bill and we end up comingwith supplementary and other thingswhich lead to -- Mr Speaker, this issue can be looked atappropriately during the ConsiderationStage. Mr Speaker, I have made this pointalready but I also wish to say briefly that,it is important that the Bill came after wehad established the budget and financialaccounting processes, in order that theycould be incorporated. For example, the Treasury SingleAccount (TSA) is a very critical elementof cash management under the GIFMIS,which did not exist in the previous laws in its elaborate manner. Therefore,bringing the Bill to the end, that is thelegislation reforms to the end, after mostof the processes have been put in placewas the right thing to do. Prior action ornot, I just wish to stress that, this is a Billwhich clearly forms part of the GIFMIS ofPFM reforms. Inasmuch as it has becomea prior action, it should not be interpretedas though it is excessive reluctance byGovernment. Mr Speaker, the provision on approvalfor SOE borrowing is actually in the LoansAct, but it is not also meant to overrideanything which is dully the preserve ofParliament. It is in the same vein that weare currently working on the MunicipalBorrowing Bill, to regulate the MunicipalAuthorities. This is because, even in the advancedcountries, borrowing by municipal andState authorities and others can lead tovery serious fiscal slippages. So, this isthe context to which the guidance is beingprovided, so that we can minimise fiscalrisks. Mr Speaker, with this contribution, Iwish to urge Hon Members to vote forthe Bill. Thank you.
Would youwant to say something, Hon MinorityLeader?
Mr Speaker,just to enquire from the Minister forFinance. Mr Speaker, given the volume ofamendments that are being proposed, andthe fact that it is required of us to reallyattend to this before the negotiations,would it derogate from their efforts ifmaybe, because it is presented and
TheConstitution talks about the memorandumin addition to the contents of the Report.
Mr Speaker,absolutely! And the memorandum issupposed to contain in detail, the policyand principles of the Bill, the defects ofthe existing law; what are the defects ofthe existing regime? He is supposed tospeak to it, and with respect to theChair, he cannot be faulted. Mr Speaker, so, I am appealing toyou —
HonMember, I agree with you, but exceptthat nowhere has he referred to thememorandum.
Mr Speaker,I thought the memorandum would reallyrefer to the general principles and policy,to the extent that, he is speaking to it inbroad terms. Unless one would want tosay that, any time we speak to thememorandum, we should quote therelevant paragraph, page and sentence.
HonMinority Leader, he has referred to aportion of the Report and that, he doesnot see that portion reflected in the Billitself. That was his statement.
Mr Speaker,he is just doing a juxtaposition of whatthe principle — [Interruption] — and themasa masa from the Hon Alhaji Amadu B.Sorogho — Mr Speaker, please, granthim space to talk.
HonMember, please, address the Chair.
Mr Speaker,I am addressing you. Parliament is seen to be working on itdiligently before we adjourn sine die,would it cause any havoc to his efforts?
Mr Speaker, the practicalsituation facing us is a prior action, andwe have admitted that at the Committeelevel and we have also stated it. So, it is aprior action for the IMF going to the Board.A prior action must be distinguished fromthe performance criteria which wereagreed, which formed the basis for thereview. Indeed, there are about seven prioractions; the ones that require legislationare the PFM Bill, and the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill, which are before theHouse. Mr Speaker, so, the answer to theMinority Leader's question, I think theprimary consideration is that, prior action,means that the Board would not sit untilwe are seen to have worked on the actionwhich is why these Bills are being takenthrough fast-track -- But I must concedethat, at the work of the Committee and theHouse, we have dealt with many PFMissues in the House and at the Committee,and we had former Ministers and otherswho made very concrete contributions. I would want to entreat the House,since we have already started the processand it is far advanced to consider itspassage.
HonMembers, I would now put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Public Financial Management Bill,2016, was accordingly read a Second time.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader? Hon Members, before I call on the HonDeputy Majority Leader to guide us,specifically on Thursday, 21st July, 2016,the Hon Minister for Petroleum broughtbefore this House some Agreements. TheRt Hon Speaker, after taking them,referred them to the Mines and EnergyCommittee. It has come to his attention that,looking at the nature of those Agreements,there was the need to join the FinanceCommittee to the referral so that theywould both look at it and report to thisHouse. Accordingly, the order given earlier isamended by making it referable to the twoCommittees which are -- [Interruption.] Sorry, it is the Hon Minister for Powerwho brought it and not the Hon Ministerfor Petroleum. So, the two Committees canlook at it and report to this House for ourconsideration. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, itemnumbered 22 on the Order Paper;Petroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill, 2016 at the Consideration Stage.[Interruption.]
Item numbered 22;Petroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill, 2016 -- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, is there any problem?
Mr Speaker, HonColleagues did not hear the item number Imentioned, that is why there was noise.So, it is item numbered 22 on the OrderPaper.
Mr Speaker, the HonMember contacted this side of the Houseand we advised him that, there were itemsthat this House needed to pass for acertain reason before we can go on withthose items. But we have problems withitem numbered 22; so I asked him to stepit down. He is not interested.[Interruption.] We are not ready for it now, but, if hewould want to continue, he can. We donot have a problem.
Hon DeputyMajority Leader, what do you say?[Pause.] Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, looking at thenature of Business, I am informed that theCommittee you chaired would be havinga meeting now. There are other mattersfor Leadership to trash out, so, if wecould take a short suspension of Sitting,for us to iron out those things, then wewould reconvene to continue with theBusiness of the House.
Very well. Hon Members, the House issuspended for 30 minutes. Would that be allright, Hon Majority Leader? Thank you very much. 1.23 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 3.35 p.m. -- Sitting resumed
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMajority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, we weregoing to take item number 22 on the OrderPaper, which is the Petroleum (Explorationand Production) Bill, 2016 at theConsideration Stage.
HonMembers, the Petroleum (Exploration andProduction) Bill, 2016 at the ConsiderationStage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
HonMembers, there are no advertisedamendments to clause 1 to 6. I would wait for just a few minutes. Ifno Hon Member rises to propose anamendment, I would put the Question.
Mr Speaker, there areno proposed amendments; but accordingto the Hon Minority Leader, he saw a fewgrammatical mistakes. Mr Speaker, but he said it is a matterwith the draftsperson. We would liaisewith them and correct those few -- Mr Speaker, but it does not change theimport of the --
Thankyou. I would put the Question. When theHon Minority Leader comes, I would givehim space to point out the grammaticalcorrections he has seen. Otherwise, he can -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,actually, he did not say grammatical errors--
HonMember, I have not recognised you.
Mr Speaker, I beg yourpardon.
Please,sit down. I have not recognised you. Yes, Hon K. T. Hammond?
Mr Speaker, thank youvery much. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leaderdid not talk about grammatical errors. He actually said there were someconstitutional issues, which are of somerelevance to the preamble or the very firstparagraph. So, it is in that respect that his pointhas to be looked at.
All right. Hon Deputy Minority Leader, do youhave any indication whether the HonMinority Leader is on his way?
Mr Speaker, he is on hisway. He was not sure about the time ofthe resumption.
I wouldput the Question.When he comes, I canrelax the rules.
Mr Speaker, I wasthere when he was -- It had to do withclause 1. He said that the way it iscouched, he would have preferred that welifted it just as it is in the Constitution. This is because, according to him, thesame rendition finds expression -- Mr Speaker, I cannot remember theclause. He said that if we could repeat whatwas in the Constitution, that would bebetter. Mr Speaker, at least, that is what Iremember. Mr Speaker, as you have said, you cannow put the Question and then go on.When he comes, we may relax the rulesand come back. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
All right;I would put the Question. Clause 1 to 6 ordered to stand part ofthe Bill. Clause 7 -- Opening of an area
Mr Speaker, I begto move, clause 7, subclause (2), line 1,the rendition shall be amended to read: “The Minister shall, in collaborationwith the Commission and otherrelevant agencies…”
Mr Speaker, I do nothave any problem, except that theadvertised amendment on the Order Paperis not what he read. So, we are amending the advertisedamendment. Mr Speaker, I agree perfectly with him;the rendition is exactly what he read andnot what is captured in the advertisedamendment on the Order Paper.
DrKwabena Donkor, can you move theamendment again?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that after “with”, insert “theCommission and other” before it comesto “relevant”. Mr Speaker, that is exactly what heread.
For thedraftsperson, let us be clear. Dr Kwabena Donkor, what are youproposing now? Can you read the fullsentence?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 7, subclause (2), should read: “The Minister shall, in collaborationwith the Commission and otherrelevant Agencies…” Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakari -- rose --
HonMember are you opposed to it?
Mr Speaker, I justwant clarification. When he said “…theCommission and other Agencies..”. WhichCommission, and in any case, theCommission itself, is it not also anAgency? Mr Speaker, this is because the Agencyis a relevant Agency and he said the“…Commission and other relevantAgencies…”, the Commission too is anAgency --
HonMember, so, if they say ‘relevantagencies' and the Hon Minister consults
He hasbroken the law?
Mr Speaker, theCommission, has added to me --
You said,and I agree with you that theCommission is also a relevant agency. Iagree with you, so, if we do not say ‘theCommission' but we just say, ‘otherrelevant agencies' without saying ‘theCommission', and the Hon Ministerconsults other agencies like theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA),without consulting the Commission,would the Hon Minister have broken thelaw? The Hon Minister would not havebroken the law?
Mr Speaker, yes.
Do youwant to make it compulsory for the HonMinister to consult the PetroleumCommission (PC)?
Mr Speaker, thediscretion is to --
Mr Speaker, if we lookat clause 6, this is something that has todo with the Commission, and theCommission here, is the PetroleumCommission.
That isthe point.
So, by virtue ofeverything, the Commission must beconsulted and other relevant -- Theothers may be the EPA, DistrictAssemblies, Land Valuation Board, andso on, but the Commission -- Question put and amendment agreedto. processes of procurement have takenplace, then this particular provision --clause 10 (4) now says that the HonMinister has a discretion to now negateall these gains. To cancel all the tenderingprocesses for whatever reason, we do notknow. Mr Speaker, I believe this is the coreof this new Bill that we are proposing.The fundamental things that exist and thatis why I made reference to Standing Order116 that: “Every Bill shall be accompanied byan explanatory memorandum settingout in detail the policy and principlesof the Bill, the defects of the existinglaw…” Mr Speaker, the defects of the existingone is that, it is not transparent. As wespeak, the Hon Minister can decide to giveblocks to anybody at all he or she likes. So, we are now going to have a regimethat would be more competitive, to ensurethat, we have credible companies thatcome -- some of us, after all thisprocesses that we have gone through,now, an Hon Minister decides that we goback to the old regime and he or she willdecide that this company ‘A' or ‘B' getsthis contract or not. It is not the best. Letus take out this particular one and ensurethat we have a Bill that, when passed, canstand the test of time, so that peoplewould have confidence in the Bill. Mr Speaker, that was why I said thatif we do not take out this one, all thegains, like travels and expenditure wehave made would come to nothing. Mr Speaker, that is why I urge HonMembers of this House to ensure that,we take out this particular provision thatis negating all the gains we are making inthis new Bill. Mr Speaker, at that last hour, it comesout that the company deals in eithermoney laundering, or it has some securityimplications between two countries or anyother thing. Mr Speaker, are we saying that, simplybecause the determination has been made,the Hon Minister should go ahead and doit? We are saying that no. Mr Speaker, but we are saying that, inorder that we can agree with each other,this is a discretionary power. We aresaying that, subject to article 296 of theConstitution -- I am introducing a newamendment, so that it can cure whateverfears that it has. This is because, already,the Hon Minister can only exercise thatdiscretionary power in accordance withthe Constitution of the Republic ofGhana. Mr Speaker, so --
Mr Speaker, itprovides at what stage the Hon Ministercan exercise a discretionary power.
Article296 deals with discretionary power, andtells us that those who are exercisingdiscretionary powers must set out thebasis for the exercise of that discretionarypower. Are you suggesting that the HonMinister should make regulations toshow how he will exercise that power? Article 296 -- Hon Member, if you are suggestingthat the Hon Minister should makeRegulations to show how he/she wouldexercise that power, are you talking about296 (c)? Article 296 (a), (b) or (c)? Clause 7 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 8 and 9 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 10 -- Petroleum agreement
Mr Speaker, clause 10 (4)
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, clause 10 (4), delete. Mr Speaker, why am I making thisamendment? I want us to go to StandingOrder 116 --
Mr Speaker, thankyou.
It says: “Every Bill shall be accompanied byan explanatory memorandum settingout in detail the policy and principlesof the Bill, the defects of the existinglaw, if any, the remedies proposedto deal with those defects and thenecessity for its introduction…” Mr Speaker, this particular provisionnegates all the gains we are making so far,to make sure that we have a transparentand an accountable regime. Making surethat we have an industry that is sotransparent, and that would have theconfidence it needs. Mr Speaker, we are talking aboutprocurement here, and after all the
Mr Speaker, let us opposethis amendment. This is because theamendment is not talking about an HonMinister unilaterally giving out contracts. The processes would have been gonethrough, but information may come andit would necessitate that they cancel thething. It does not say that when it iscancelled, the Hon Minister will decide togive it to anybody. Mr Speaker, why is that so? This isbecause, they said despite all the thingsthat one would have followed, if there isany information or something compelling,that has come to the -- the Ministercannot be unilateral in this. He has to givereasons for doing so. Mr Speaker, the point here is that, itseems as though the Hon Minister canjust unilaterally award contracts. That isnot the intent of this provision, thereforeit should be rejected.
HonMember, you said the Hon Minister canunilaterally cancel contracts but hecannot award contracts? I want to know. Iheard what you said, that it is not aboutawarding contracts, but can the HonMinister cancel?
Mr Speaker, the issueabout the Hon Minister cancelingcontracts, they said an Hon Minister candecide not to enter into --
Thankyou. Hon Chairman?
Mr Speaker, we havedebated a lot on this issue. Let us take ascenario where three companies orwhatever companies will go through allthe processes. A determination is made --
All right.Article 296 (a) and (b) state: “(a) … that discretionary power shallbe deemed to imply a duty to befair and candid; (b) the exercise of the discretionarypower shall not be arbitrary,capricious or biased …”
Mr Speaker, it is veryclear that obviously --
TheAttorney-General and Minister for Justiceis smiling, but there is no meaning to hersmile. She is smiling, maybe because Ialso smiled -- No! I am not reading any meaning intoher smile. I am just telling you that I smiledand she also smiled.
That is why I alsosmiled, Mr Speaker.
I havealso been a former Attorney-General -- Hon W.O. Boafo? I would take two more on this matterand then we would move forward.
Mr Speaker, thank you somuch. I am entirely in agreement with HonAsiamah. Mr Speaker, putting theConstitution aside, here we are with a Billwhich starts with a caution, or even anexaltation to us, that, this Bill or Act mustbe applied in accordance with goodgovernance, transparency and the objectof the Act.
Whatabout international best practices?
Mr Speaker, I am referringto what is contained in the Bill itself --apart from international best practices. Mr Speaker, equally, the preamble toour Constitution requires us to be verytransparent and one of the transparencypillars that we have been able to build inthis country is the Public Procurement Actin addition to the Financial Act. Why arewe trying in this particular Act, in certainstages, to set aside the procurementprocess and ask the Hon Minister todirectly negotiate with contractors toaward them blocks? Mr Speaker, we arelaying a very bad foundation. We are not in the Second Reading, butI would urge the Hon Chairman of theCommittee to have a second look at clause10 -- If we would not be blamed byposterity for allowing this particular issuewe call discretion to prevail. If we gofurther to read clause 10, certainly, it isan advantage to the Hon Minister. Weknow in this country that immunitiesgranted to public officers turn out to beimpunities. Mr Speaker, this Parliament has a dutyto protect individuals collectively in thiscountry. We have a duty and we are nowtreading on a path where we seek to investand empower public officers more, againstindividuals and persons seeking interestto do business in this country. The history of this particular Actshould tell us where it is coming from,when it was made, and how it has beenremodelled during the time that it wasmade. What sort of regime is it that, wehad? It is even evident in the Bill that attimes, they referred to laws instead ofenactments. Mr Speaker, I would urge the HonChairman to go back and revise thisparticular provision in the Bill. It is notgood for us.
Thankyou. Hon W. O. Boafo, but there is clause10 (3) which states that: “A petroluem agreement shall onlybe entered into after an open,transparent and competitive publictender process”. Hon Chairman, is that different fromthe Public Procurement Law? It has its ownprocurement structure, does it?
Mr Speaker, even withthe Public Procurement Law, there areexceptions.
I amasking you a question that, as far aspetroleum agreements are concerned, theprocess is set out in the Act. So, the PublicProcurement Act does not apply topetroleum agreements?
Yes, Mr Speaker. It isthe same thing.
I amasking you.
It is open, transparent --you do not go by the Public ProcurementLaw as prescribed, but open, transparentand as prescribed -- Mr Speaker, there would be aRegulation, and it is the Regulation thatwould prescribe, so, we even agreed thatsome of these issues could be taken bythe Regulation. It is very clear and thereare so many instances where a petroleumagreement, after it had been entered into,had to be cancelled simply because of therealisation of what they did not knowbefore they entered into that agreement. So, if it comes out, then the HonMinister has the right, but must be guidedby article 296 of the 1992 Constitution,because that has already been granted bythe Constitution. Mr Kobina T. Hammond -- rose --
Hon K.T. Hammond?
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker. I am hearing commentsalready and unfortunately, I have themisfortune of disagreeing with my HonColleagues on the Committee. Mr Speaker, that particular clause hastaken us a very long time to distil into theform that we have. We should think moreof industry practice and experience, whenit comes to dealing with that particularclause. We are just not investing so muchpower into a particular Hon Minister --that is not what we are looking at. Mr Speaker, what went into thatparticular clause is what has become fairlynotorious; people come in here, they bidfor the blocks and then belatedly, certainmatters come to the fore. Some of themmay be in the form of national security --and the Hon Chairman has explained alittle of it. So, the view was that, we shouldbe careful that our national resource --
Hon K.T. Hammond, but can you not put clausesin an agreement that allows you to cancelthe agreement?
Mr Speaker, we did notdo that. What we did was the referencethat the Hon Chairman made to article 296.
Fromwhat you are saying, everything seemsabove board, then suddenly, certainmatters come to your attention. I agreewith you that is very possible; mattersinvolving national security, State security,international relations and so on. HonMember, but can you not put clauses inthe Petroleum Agreement which allow youto terminate in certain circumstances,rather than give the Hon Minister thatpower?
Mr Speaker, which onespecifically? We thought about it andthought that it was not that straight-forward. So, give a blanket clause, whichis that clause, but to be guided by what isin the Constitution. Mr Speaker, you andI accept that, when discretion is given toany particular person to exercise, there arelaws and regulations on how thediscretion is exercised. Specifically, we have referred to theprovisions in the Constitution, and if anyof these big companies come and bid andat the end of it, the decision is taken thatfor whatever reasons, we would notproceed with the outcome, then the bigboys could decide to go to court onwhatever it is. Mr Speaker, but we know,and we are guided by the constitutionalprovisions, that they should be fair, theyshould not be capricious. I do not need to go through that --but at least, article 296 of the Constitutionis there to guide whoever exercises thatdiscretion. Mr Speaker, but it has not beenput there just to boost the ego of aparticular Hon Minister. It is critical. I know my Hon Colleague has beenhitting against it from day one, that it isthe pit of the whole Bill. I disagree withhim. Mr Speaker, it does help and with theexperience that we have had in this area, it is important that you leave that clausein there, and for the discretion of whoeversits in there, to take a good look at thebids as they are brought in. I would not want to cite some of theexamples and experiences that we havehad, it is that bad. Ultimately, you wouldrealise that it was right to have done that. Mr Speaker, I urge the House that itshould be left in there, because if it does,and the Hon Minister exercises thediscretion on such basis that one findsoffensive, then the court is there to be thearbiter. Mr Mutawakilu Adam -- rose --
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, I believe this clause hasbeen debated over and over, but the oilindustry is a very complex industry. Apartfrom what the Hon Chairman has indicated,in petroleum bidding, every country hasa certain rate of returns it expects from theagreement.
Everycountry has what?
Mr Speaker, every country,if entering a petroleum agreement with anycompany, has a certain rate of returns thatit would expect to earn. It is not what isunder the ground, but it is what is in theagreement for them. That is the mainpurpose for entering any petroleumagreement. Therefore, this clause provided is goodin the sense that , even if three companiesbid, and at the end of day, the returns to
Mr Speaker, Iam certain that we all desire the best forour country. We also expect that thosewho have been entrusted with theresponsibility of overseeing themanagement of our resources, at everystage, would also want the best for ourcountry. Yet, we should also be guidedby our experiences as a country. In fact,we have had occasions where allegationshave been made against people inauthority, of abuse of power. Mr Speaker, this is the first time I haveseen in any law, such authority beinggranted a Minister. We have timber leasesand we have mining leases. Why is it thatin this case, we are giving the Ministerwide unfettered discretionary power. It isunfettered, and that is the danger. Talkingabout article 296, it applies to everyGhanaian who has been entrusted withdiscretion in public office. And so, itapplies to everybody. I do not disagreewith the principle, but the Minister mustbe guided. Mr Speaker, for instance, if there is aprovision that the Minister could do sowith the approval of Parliament, I mightnot have a problem with it. I do not have aproblem, but the amended Bill says, wherethe Minister exercises this option, theMinister must publish in the Gazette,reasons for this action within 30 workingdays. Why? If the Minister would want to abort theprocess, let him come to Parliament forapproval. That would enable Parliamentto also assess it. Then, it is somethingthat cannot be used capriciously. I haveheard the argument that, “oh, the personcould go to court”. The reality is that, weknow it is difficult. The people's right mightbe abused. I do not have a problem withthis. Expect that the Minister might saythat, oh, we know that these thingshappen. We know these things happen. Weshould not lead public officers intotemptation. This particular clause wouldlead them into temptation; temptation ofthe abuse of power. I am a human being. Ican always be tempted, but when I knowthere are rules, and the rules arecircumscribed, I know within those rules, Icannot go beyond it.
HonPapa Owusu-Ankomah, I thought youhave gone beyond temptation.
Ithought, like a serious wife, you are abovereproach.
No! It is onlyGod who is perfect. Even Jesus wastempted. And he prayed, that please, ohGod, let this cup be taken away from me;let this cup pass me by. Now, we aresaying that he should always give us theopportunity to take a sip from that cup. No, this is dangerous. And I do notthink as a House, we should include thisin the Bill. No witty argument has beenadvanced to convince me. I believe thatdiscretion could be given, but as it standsnow, it is completely unfettered.
Yes, I am justgiving you an extreme example. What arewe talking about? We had situations whereafter salute and so forth, things happen.Why would you want to quit?
I wouldnot encourage points of order. I wouldallow everybody to have his say. So,when the person resumes his seat, thenyou rise up to be recognised. If youdevelop the habit of rising while the personis on his feet, I would not recognise youat all. And I would recognise the HonMinister last. He should not worry. I woulddefinitely recognise him. I saw Hon Yieleh Chireh on his feet.Hon Yieleh Chireh, you have changed --I would call Hon Kwabena Donkor. But,yes, Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, the reasonpeople talk about article 296 is in thesubclause. In article 296, any person whois performing a function must indicate howthat is to be done. If you look at the subclause, it is as prescribed. And in lawmaking, when a person says, “asprescribed”, it means that the Ministershave to bring the regulations that certifiesthe Minister to cancel or refuse to enterthis. That is in accord with theConstitution. Secondly, there is no temptation. If theLegislative Instrument (L.I.) is broughthere and they say if these things arecertified, then the Minister could refuseto enter it. Once the Parliament of Ghanais still using it to control the Minister, thetemptation exists, unless a person doesnot know what to put inside theregulations, but “as prescribed”, it doesnot mean the Minister could decide onhis own to do things as my senior Friendis saying. That is not how ministers behave. Theyhave regulations, and the regulationswould tell them if those conditions arebreached.
HonYieleh Chireh, then why are they referringto the Constitution? Why did they notsay, “as prescribed by the regulations?”
Mr Speaker, they said that,a person who is performing anydiscretionary function should publish it.The publication is the regulation thatshows how we can do it. A lot of peoplehave raised issues about officers. TheElectoral Commission at one point wassent to court that they did not publish howthey were going to perform an action, andthey brought their ConstitutionalInstruments (C.I.s) here. So, the point I am making is that, withany person in that particular case, theMinister cannot just decide that he wouldnot enter into that agreement. It must bebrought by regulation, and this Housewould look, to see if it is enough --
HonMember, what is your authority that itmust be brought by regulation? Are youlooking at article 296 (c)?
Mr Speaker, looking at thesubclause, it says: “Despite subsection (3), theMinister may decide not to enterinto a petroleum agreement after thetender process as prescribed.” Mr Speaker, “as prescribed” means thatthey must bring regulations to this Houseto indicate at what time the Minister hasthat power to do so. [Interruption.] Thatis what it says. That satisfies article 296.
HonYieleh Chireh, I just want to get the driftof what you are saying. That satisfiesarticle 296 (c) or what?
Mr Speaker, (a) and (b).
Mr Speaker, afterworking all afternoon, I was trying to havea little lunch, and when I looked at myscreen, I stopped eating, just to comeand participate. So, I am sacrificing a lotbecause this issue is crucial. Mr Speaker, we are human beings, asmy senior Colleague said. Let us not leadthe Minister into temptation. Let us thinkabout protecting our Ministers, ourColleagues. This is a serious sensitivearea of oil, petroleum agreement -- billionsof dollars. They are human beings. Eventhe Pope can be tempted. Mr Speaker, let us simply protect theMinister by asking him to seek Cabinetapproval, so that he is protected.Otherwise, we are putting too muchpressure on that human being. It is notfair to any Minister. Mr Speaker, I can tell you that I haveworked in Government for eight years. NoMinister should be put in that position. Itis not healthy for the person. He needshis Colleagues in Cabinet to protect him,so that there is collective agreement andcollective responsibility. Mr Speaker, you were in Cabinet andyou know most Ministers perform betterwhen they have to convince theirColleagues in Cabinet. When they are ontheir own, it does not matter. That is whyCabinet, in whatever article says, “shallassist the President in general policyformulation.” That is why the collectiveresponsibility comes in. So, let us protectthe Minister and not allow him discretion. Let Cabinet oversee him, then we areprotecting him. Otherwise, the humanbeing, Minister, not Amoah or anybody,but even the Pope, can be tempted andwe should not allow that. Mr Speaker, you were a CabinetMinister and you know the history of allyour Colleagues who were Ministers forEnergy. You know the issues that comeup in the energy sector, where the EnergyMinisters are forced in front of CabinetMinisters to defend. So please, let us thinkfar and protect our Colleagues. Let us notbe personal and think that we are givingone Minister so much power over anasset such as oil, which would be gonein 20 years. Mr Speaker, if I am a Minister for fouror five years, I know the oil would befinished in 20 years. The probability ofbeing tempted is all in it.
HonAkoto Osei, does the Minister award orhe cancels?
Mr Speaker, the Ministermay decide not to enter into a petroleumagreement after a tender process. enter into the agreement. The entity boardand the rest go through the process. Butit is an individual, who is going to appenda signature. I think that is what this clauseis talking about. Mr Speaker, now at that stage, they aretrying to say that the Minister, who isgoing to sign the agreement can decidenot to sign. Mr Speaker, there should beanother reason he can decide not to sign.Maybe, from practical experience, thereis something that has been discovered inspite of the openness, the transparencyand the rest. At the end of the day, aMinister can discover that something hasgone wrong. And so some reason shouldbe stated. It should not be subjective. Itshould be objective. Mr Speaker, when I was Minister forWater Resources, Works and Housing, Idiscovered at the time of signing that acompany that won a tender through thetender process was actually incorporatedby some of the directors who processedthe tender. So, I refused to enter theagreement. I did not sign and had to gothrough the process. But that was areason which I used. In fact, I did a search at the RegistrarGeneral Department to discover that theywere the directors and shareholders. So,that could be the reason that clause isbeing used. But how to capture it now,we cannot just leave it as such. Maybe,we should add -- [Interruption] -- ithas been amended to include article 296?[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, our seniorColleague has emphasised my point. Thisis because there is that possibility. Let usnot leave that individual to decide byhimself. So, he can go back to Cabinetwith those reasons, and get the supportof his Colleagues which makes his armseven stronger. That is all we are saying.This is because it can happen. But let not that person say: he decides not to signafter an open, transparent, competitiveprocess. Then that one person says heslept on the wrong side of his bed, so hewould not sign. Let us not lead the Hon Minister intotemptation. We should deliver theMinister from evil. For thine is thekingdom.
The power andthe glory, forever and ever.
Mr Speaker, it is veryimportant --
HonMembers, I am going to take a veryunusual step. Usually, what we do is that,when there does not seem to be aconsensus, we stand it down and wecontinue. That would have been thenormal thing to do, but the Hon MajorityLeader would agree with me that we are inour last days, and so we do not want tobe standing things down here and there. In so doing, because of the nature ofthis thing, Hon Majority Leader, I wouldplead with you not to step it down. I wouldgive five minutes. When I come back, Iwould take one argument, then I wouldput the Question. Hon Majority Leader, I believe I invitedyou to give a clarification --
Which I was giving, and Idid not conclude.
I managed to agree withhim that it is not advisable to allow anindividual, howsoever called, to usesubjectivity to refuse to sign an agreement
In fact,Hon Yieleh Chireh, when you read it, whatis prescribed in the tender process is nothow the Minister cancels the contract.Read it well. It is the prescription in thetender process, and when you go to theregulations, they show how tender isdone. It is not about the exercise of thediscretion of the Minister. So what yousaid is not -- Hon Majority Leader, am I correct? Ijust read it and I thought that we shouldput that in perspective. Everybody would speak, so HonMembers, should be patient. Do not sitat the edge of your chair, Minister forPetroleum. Relax, you would speak.
Mr Speaker, I think yourinterpretation is right. The term “prescribe”there, is talking about the process --[Interruption.]
HonMembers, Order! Order! The Hon Majority Leader is on his feet.
Mr Speaker, it is talkingabout the process that has been outlinedin clause 10. The process to go throughin clause 10 before going to clause 10 (4).That is what it is talking about. It says: “Despite subsection (3), theMinister may decide not to enterinto a petroleum agreement after thetender process as prescribed”. Mr Speaker, that is what it is talkingabout. The fear that is being raised is thefear of an individual, refusing to enterinto an agreement that has gone throughan open and transparent -- As the wordsare used there -- Process. Mr Speaker, the only challenge there isthat, it is not the entity that is going to
Mr Speaker, from clause 1, the partiesinvolved are three; body corporate,Republic of Ghana, and corporation. Thecorporation there is referring to GNPC. Thebody corporate is referring to an investor,and the other is the Republic of Ghana. And so, we just have remove theMinister and put the Republic. It is theRepublic because, the Minister is goingto act on behalf of the Republic. So, whatthe Minister could do is to raise thatproblem for the attention of the Republicto decide. Sorry, it is not just the Minister. It goesbeyond that, because once it isdiscovered by the Minister, the Ministerwould raise the alarm. Then the processwould take it up again and go through;we do not want to put “Cabinet”, becauseit is not only Cabinet. It has to beprocessed. Sometimes we are here -- what are wedoing here? Parliament also from time totime, has insisted that we are not justrubber stamps, and we say that some ofthose drafts should come to us, to beapproved before they enter into them. So, that is why I wanted us to use“the Republic”, because that is the partyhere in clause 10 (1). We could say that;“despite subsection (3), the Republic ofGhana may decide not to enter into aPetroleum Agreement after the tenderprocess as prescribed”. So, it is not an individual.
Mr Speaker, undernormal circumstances, I would notdisagree with my Hon Majority Leader.My only problem is that, here, when wetalk about the Republic of Ghana, who
HonMembers, as I was in the Speaker's Lobby,I was looking at the close circuit televisionand I saw Hon K. T. Hammond shake thehand of the Hon Minister for Roads andHighways, so I am sure there is someagreement. I saw them in deep conversation, tryingto convince the Hon Majority Leader, whodid not look too convinced on television,but I do not know whether there issomething wrong. But I will not ask youwhy you shook hands, because I havestood it down, but I know that you aremoving towards some agreement. Clause 14 -- Duration. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I am worriedabout the vagueness of “not more than25 years”. If we are given the petroleumagreement, then there should be a statedtime frame that we know. So, I wouldprefer that we say, may be 20 or 25years, but not more than 25 years --Sometimes, we cannot even comparethings. Why should it be given tosomebody for 20 years, and to anotherfor 25 years? Let us have a stated periodof time, and start standardising thosetimes. would be acting for the Republic ofGhana? It should not be left to chance,unless we are saying that the Republicmeans the Executive President. The Republic as represented by whom?It is the Minister. That is the danger. TheMinister would be representing theRepublic. That is why I am saying, let ususe Cabinet, so that it is not the Minister,but it is a collective thing. This is becauseif we leave it as a Republic --
HonMembers, the persons who are expressingdifferent views could meet in the divisionroom. I am not going to spend the wholeafternoon on clause 10 (4), so the personswho are expressing different views mustmeet in the division room. I step down the whole of clause 10. Clause 11 to 13 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Mr Speaker, although --
HonMembers, the reason there is a divisionroom is that, you can discuss thesematters. The division room is just behindme, so if you want to continue discussingclause 10, and I encourage you to continuediscussing clause 10, please discuss it inthe division room.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Just yesterday on a different issue --
I havestepped down clause 10. He has gone to
Mr Speaker, Ithink it is 25 years maximum, and thereason is simple. All the petroleumagreements we have here in Ghana willtake about 30 years. In this law, we arereducing the years. If one goes to Nigeriaone will hear of “marginal fields”, whichis given to local companies to manage. The intention here in Ghana is that,within that 25 years, the companies wouldhave really recouped all their investments,and there would be resources and realopportunities for Ghanaians. That is whythe years have been reduced.
So, themaximum is 25 years. Is there a minimum?I think one of the questions being askedis whether there is a minimum.
Mr Speaker, it will be in thepetroleum agreement. But that is themaximum.
I thinkthat is fair.
Mr Speaker, with theexplanation he gave, these things are notdifficult to appreciate. If he is giving an exception to themarginal fields, then I am not worried.But why should a green field be given tosomebody for 25 years, and to anotherfor 20 years? That is the explanation Iwould want to know, if there is one. A marginal field, is however a field thatis really depleted, such that the operatorsdo not want to work on it again, and so itis given to local companies. So, it isdifferent, a marginal field is different froma green field.
But HonPrempeh, do you not want to give someroom, so that within a maximum of 25years, depending on each case, the capacity of the person, the circumstance ,the price of crude and the reserves found. Dr Donkor -- rose --
Mr Speaker, the 25 yearsis not sacrosanct. It is just the upper limit.The duration will be determined bynegotiations in the petroleum agreements. If the quantum of reserves in situ doesnot warrant 25 years, then the parties willhave a shorter period. Marginal fields, arenot necessarily depleting fields. A fieldcan be marginal if the quantum of reservesfound, is such that, it is just aboutprofitable, therefore, it can be declaredas being marginal. Thank you.
HonPrempeh, are you satisfied? Thank you. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 14 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 15 ordered to stand part of theBill.
Mr Speaker, Ihave an issue with clause 16. It says: “A contractor or a licensee shall notwithout the written approval of theMinister directly or indirectly assignthe interest of the contractor undera petroleum agreement, whether inwhole or in part, to a third party oran affiliate.” Mr Speaker, I feel that, even subject toparliamentary ratification would also beall right. Mr Speaker, I say this because whoeverthat person may be, nobody knowstomorrow. We have international issues,whereas that third party may come from acountry where we, as a nation, will not beall right with in future. As a result, itwould be very important that parliamentaryratification of such a change is needed.
“The extension of a petroleumagreement or the execution of a newpetroleum agreement is subject toratification by Parliament”. Mr Speaker, in this case parties willchange, so, it is not the same aspreviously. The initial parties havechanged,so, it becomes a different thing.We are doing this for posterity.
Mr Speaker, there is avast difference between the two clauses. He himself agrees to that, and he says:“the extension of a petroleum agreement”that is, a contractor, coming through theMinistry or whatever, needs parliamentaryratification. Parliament would have toapprove it for that contractor. If the samecontractor wants an extension, it is notthe same as a contractor, who afterworking, decides that within that period,he would want to sublet part of thecontract which --
HonSorogho, that is not the issue. Both the extension and the newagreement need parliamentary ratification. What is without Parliament ratification iswhen they are assigning the interest. Butyou said, when the same contractor wantsan extension, it also needs ratification. Or did I not hear you say that? Hon Sorogho, look at clauses 14 and16. Clause 14 depicts that whether it is anextension or a new agreement, one wouldneed approval. What the Hon Member is saying is that,in like manner, where you are changingparties, it is so fundamental that it mustalso come to Parliament. That is what heis saying.
Mr Speaker, if you readclause 16 very well, it does not even referto the physical land or whatever. Mr Speaker, let us read it very carefully.The sub title is “assignment”; that is ifyou would want to assign. It reads: “A contractor or a licensee shall notwithout the written approval of theMinister directly or indirectly assignthe interest of the contractor undera petroleum agreement, whether inwhole or in part, to a third party oran affiliate.” Mr Speaker, here, the word is the“interest”.
What isthe interest?
Mr Speaker, it could beshares, or any other thing, but not thesharing of the land or the concession.Thatcannot come to Parliament for approval.
HonSorogho, you are in potentially explosiveterritory. This is because when they say“assign interest”, what it means is that anything that you have, you can give.That is what it means. So, one can give inwhole or in part. It can be, the shares ofa company, the whole agreement, or allyour shares in a company. All of it isassigning your interest. So, when you said -- maybe, I amwrong, so the lawyers should come to myrescue. Maybe I am wrong on what theassignment means.
Mr Speaker, we have toremember that we are talking about anindustry that constantly requires lots ofmoney.Often, these companies look forpartners that would bring in the resourcesneeded to do the work. You wouldoccasionally see that they would giveaway five per cent or 10 per cent here orthere, to bring in partners to get theresources to do the work. We said that they cannot do that ontheir own, without the people of Ghanaknowing about it. We need to know thetype of partners who are going to be partof the agreement. In those circumstances,the Hon Minister, and obviously theGovernment, would have to know aboutit and accept -- For example, if you wouldrecall, we had PetroSA join the Jubilee,where a company --
I wouldwant to cut you short. What is the positionnow under the current law?
It is the same thing. That iswhat pertains now, where the company -- CEBA Oil, for example, their shares --PetroSA came in and became part ofJubilee, but that process must beapproved by the Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker, withrespect, what is the effect?--
Withrespect to whom?
Mr Speaker, withrespect to the Chair. It is just --respectfully.
We arenot in court. You continue.
That notwithstanding,we still have to give respect to the Chair. Mr Speaker, what is the effect of anassignment of interest in an agreement toa third party?
I hope itis a rhetorical question.
Mr Speaker, it is.
I hopeyou are not asking me to answer.
No, Mr Speaker.It is a rhetorical question. My understanding is that, the effect ofthis completely changes the wholeagreement in terms of the parties justbecause new parties may be involved.That is why a Minister would have toapprove. So, if the Hon Member argues thatsame should be referred to Parliament,and the Hon Chairman of the Committeesays it does not need parliamentaryapproval, or Parliament need not come in,I am taken aback. This is because, whenyou assign, if there is no need forParliament, then there is no need for theHon Minister to intervene. So, let us lookat it critically. It is not different from clause 14. Evenclause 14, where we talk about ratification,I have a problem with it. This is because“ratification” means the Hon Minister
I havestood clause 10 down.
Yes, I am just using it asan example.
It is not agood example because I have stood itdown.
Mr Speaker, in clause 17,a subcontractor has to go to theCommission -- not one person. It is aCommission that grants permission tochange. Then when it is to be assignedthe whole field -- [Interruption.] MyHon Colleague is getting it wrong. When a subcontractor is to be charged,he goes to the Commission. When thewhole field is to be charged, it remainsonly with the Hon Minister. That is theproblem my Hon Colleague and I have. If assignment can mean a whole fieldgoing to a different person -- Yes, theHon Minister wants the power to say thatif a person is not right, we should refusehim. I agree, but that refusal should notstay with only the Hon Minister. It is high time Parliament asserted itself.Ratification is not what we want; we wantapproval so that we can deal with thingsthat are inimical. It is high time we lookedat clause 14 to 17 and see what we can do. 5. 00 p.m.
I know, but he raised thatpoint that is why --
Mr Speaker,I understand him that is why I sat down.I was only going to say that if theagreement that the contractor has wouldsubstantially change, or if there is anychange at all, then it would be verydifficult to bring it to Parliament. But if itis about transfer of shares only, I do notknow what we would be doing.
Mr Speaker,the difficulty I have is with clauses 15and 16 --
Mr Speaker, the generalprinciple in clause 16 is right, becausethe owner of the resource must determinethe parties that he would want to deal with.So, it is right. The issue is where an assignment is aconstructive transfer. If the contractorassigns his interest in total, does it becomea constructive transfer of his right in thepetroleum agreement? If it becomes aconstructive transfer, does it needparliamentary approval? That is what weshould ask. That is why I think that Hon KwabenaDonkor's initial agreement, where theassignment is substantial, should cometo Parliament. When there is a substantial assignmentof an interest in the petroleum agreement,that would be a constructive transfer ofthe field.
Thiscomment by the Hon Minister for Roadsand Highways brought the Hon MajorityLeader to his feet. would do it, bring it to us and we wouldnot have the power to do anythingbecause it is to be ratified, and therefore,whatever he has agreed upon, all that weneed to do is to endorse it. Is it going to be a rubber stamp rolethat Parliament would have to play? Weshould consider the concerns he hasexpressed seriously. This is because thereis going to be an assignment. The partiesare not going to be the same. If it is goingto be a completely new thing, Parliamentand its jurisdiction must not be ousted onthis occasion.
Mr Speaker, what we aretalking about here is not changing thefiscal terms or the agreement in anyway.The inerest of Ghana, and by extension,Parliament's interest is to make sure thatthe agreement that has been negotiated -- the royalties, the entitlements -- are allin intact. None of these are going to beaffected. The test here is, is the companythat is coming into the country a companythat we as a country would want to dobusiness in Ghana? We believe theGovernment, represented by the Ministercan represent us in making sure that suchhappens.
Mr Speaker, when welook at clause 14 to 17, they are of thesame facts. Mr Speaker, clause 15, whichwe just voted on, talks about change ofownership -- assignment can lead tochange of ownership. Mr Speaker, just as you said, thedistinction between clauses 15 and 16, asfar as I am concerned -- If we take sharesout because clause 15 talks about shares-- So, if clause 15 has dealt with shares,then clause 16 cannot purport to deal with I support the Hon Member for Atwima-Nwabiagya North who said that it shouldcome to Parliament for approval.
Mr Speaker, let me take youback to Provisional National DefenceCouncil Law 84 (8). It says with yourpermission: “A petroleum agreement enteredinto under this Law shall not directlyor indirectly be assigned, in wholeor in part,by the holder of suchagreement to another personwithout the prior consent in writingto the Secretary.” Mr Speaker, what we are trying to dohere is to also promote investment. Wehave thousands of service companies. Ifthe Hon Member wants every assignmentby a contractor, or a mason, who isbuilding to come to Parliament forapproval, then business would come to astop. For a simple assignment that does notfundamentally change the fiscal terms orthe agreement that has been approved byParliament, I believe that the Hon Ministeris in a position to --
HonMinister, did you say there are thousandsof service companies?
Yes, these are subcontractors.
Clause 16deals with contractors. When you look atthe definition of “contractors” it says: “A contractor means a bodycorporate which has entered into apetroleum agreement ...” We are talking about service companies.
Mr Speaker, when you are-- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, Order! Order!! Hon Nitiwul, please, sit down. TheClerks distributing the documents, canyou pass the documents along, insteadof distributing them? Can you just givethem to the first person to be passedalong?
Mr Speaker, it is very clearthat a lot of Hon Members are passionateabout this Bill. Even when theamendments have not been advertised,you could see the interest that it hasgenerated. So, maybe, we should look atit again. My view is very clear. If you have acompany that has public interest, andyou want to transfer the shares, itobviously has to come before thepeople's representatives. There areprivate companies that -- Shell istransferring some or its shares toChevron -- [Interruptions] -- It isdifficult to ask these two companies tocome to Parliament. This is because once -- [Interruptions]-- It is the truth. If you sign an agreementwith Shell for twenty years and along theline, they decide to --
HonMembers, I stand corrected, but whathappens to the mining leases? I think mining leases come to Parliament. Iremember Hon Nii Osah Mills when theywanted to change --
Mr Speaker, I think, theconcerns that are being raised areaddressed in clause 20; Review of termsand conditions.
Let uslook at it please.
If you go to clause 20 (2),Mr Speaker, with your permission, it saysthat, “A petroleum agreement that isreviewed under subsection (1) issubject to ratification by Parliamentin accordance with article 268 of theConstitution, if the review resultsin material change.”
What isthe interpretation of ‘material change”?Has the material change” been defined?
Mr Speaker, review isdifferent. Review is when the terms of theagreement are being reviewed; whichterms have come before Parliament forratification. For instance, if we had saidthat, corporate tax is 50 per cent in theagreement, and that royalty is eight percent in the agreement, then thoseprovisions are being reviewed, becauseParliament had approved that, and thathas to come back to Parliament forratification. It is a different matter. In addressing the concerns of a changein parties of the agreement -- That is whatit means. A review is a change in parts ofthe agreement which are fundamental tothe agreement.
I havenot heard the Hon Majority Leader. Letme just hear the Hon Majority Leader. Doyou want the Hon Majority Leader to bethe last? we are on the floor, please let us listen toeach other. Perhaps the person speakingagrees with you, but if you do not listento the person, you may not know. Hon Majority Leader, please continue.Or you have finished? I just asked that, the party andmaterial --
Mr Speaker, you raised avery critical issue; whether the parties arematerial consideration in the process ofratification by Parliament. Mr Speaker, Ibelieve it is. We may not, as a country,want to enter into an agreement with“somebody”., Yes, I think so.
If Iremember correctly, you would alsoremember that, there was an agreement in2009 or 2010, involving a company where-- The Chairman of the Committee wasHon Moses Asaga. The then GhanaNational Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)Chief Executive had worked for thatcompany previously. The question ofconflict of interest was raised and MadamSpeaker deferred the matter and said that,the matter should go back to thecommittee. So, parties are material. Enough has been said on this and Iwould want to add this to the category ofstood down clauses for tomorrow. Clause16 is accordingly stood down. Clause 17 -- Sub-contracting
Mr Speaker, would theChairman of the Committee explain wherea specific written approval of theCommission directly or indirectly gives usan assignment of a sub-contractor --
You donot want him to --
Mr Speaker,clause 14 (3); “The extension of a petroleumagreement or the execution of a newpetroleum agreement is subject toratification by Parliament”. Mr Speaker, we know the process; weknow we pass resolutions. Now, if the termis for twenty-five years, the rights, theobligations and the terms are approvedor ratified by Parliament. So, there is noproblem. If you are extending above thetwenty-five years, it is also new and it hasto be approved. In clause 16, there is a parliamentaryratification already. The rights, theobligations and the terms are approvedby Parliament. It has three parties; oneparty is just assigning the same rights andobligations to a third person. Those rightsand obligations are already approved byParliament, so you do not needparliamentary ratification again. They are already ratified. [Interruption.]-- Nothing is changed in the agreementapart from the parties.
But HonMajority Leader, please, I am sorry I amnot supposed to -- I am just asking aquestion. When Parliament considered theNatural Resources Agreement, was theparty a material part of the considerationby Parliament? If it was, then perhaps --the Leader -- Hon Members, this is a very seriousBill that we are considering, and I wouldbe grateful that this kind of asides whensomebody is talking -- I would recogniseyou and you would speak. If you feelstrongly, and you want to discusssomething with your Hon Colleague, youcan step outside for a second. But when
I want him to give me anexplanation. If the argument of anassignment, as the Hon Deputy MinorityLeader said, is advocated across; it isnot necessary to come back to any personwho approved it in the first place. Why asub-contractor? If they assign it toanother subcontractor, should it go to theCommission for permission or priorapproval? Clause 17 (6) --
Mr Speaker, remember thatthe number one obligation of theCommission is first to ensure that theseservice companies are to allow localGhanaian participation. We are talkingabout a lot of service companies; caterersand others. We want to make sure that theCommission looks into these contracts,that jobs that are reserved for Ghanaiansare done by Ghanaians, and that they arenot going to be given to Ghanaians andtransferred to foreigners. That is whythese are very important. I think it is clear.
Let meask a question, please. The LegislativeInstrument (L. I.) on local content, is it theCommission that has the power to policeit?
Yes, Mr Speaker,L. I. 2204.
That iswhy you are saying these clauses --Clause 17 --
That is correct.
Mr Speaker, I havea problem with clause 17 (1). There is notime limit to the written approval by theCommission. I believe that we need tomake a change to add a timeline to whenthe Commission should respond to anyrequest for approval. If it is even sevendays, I think that would be all right.
Are youlistening, Hon Minister? The Hon Memberis saying that it is too open-ended. Heprefers a timeline, when you shouldrespond. He wants certainty on the writtenapproval, if it is one week, 10 years or onemonth.That is the hallmark of any goodinvestment law. Do you have an objectionto that?
It would be problematic. TheCommission deals with thousands ofthese service companies and there arealready guidelines on some of these,especially if you look at --
HonMinister, the Ghana InvestmentsPromotion Center has five days withinwhich to complete applications. One ofthe reasons we put that in the law, if Imay say, is because one of the hallmarksof a good investment law is certainty.There has to be certainty; timeliness andcertainty. Otherwise the Commission canput your document down forever. Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs? It isjust that the Commission has power to givewritten approval, whether or not theywould allow you to do business in Ghana;and people are asking for a timeline. TheCommission should respond to you withina certain time, which is not in the law. HonMinister, what is your view? Do you thinkthat there should be a time frame withinwhich the Commission must respond?
Thankyou, Mr Speaker, for making sure that Iparticipate in the proceedings of theHouse. I think it is in the interest of businessefficiency that there should be a definitetimeline so that whoever is applyingknows that, at least, within a certain periodof time, they can expect an answer in oneway or the other.
Thankyou very much, Hon Minister. I couldalmost predict your answer, having regardto your experience and expertise.
Mr Speaker, I agree to thatcompletely, but I think the PetroleumCommission has guidelines and timelinesfor application and their owncommitments. But I do not think thatthose belong to this law.
HonMinister, we are not going to finish withthis Act today, so, let us step it downand go to the next one. Today we want to finish this apart fromthe controversial ones. Clause 18 -- Pre-emption
Mr Speaker, onceagain, we need some clarity on clause 18.If we say the corporation shall have a pre-emption right to acquire the interest onthe same terms, as agreed with thepotential buyer, what exactly is the effectof that pre-emption right? Could the HonMinister --
Do youknow what the pre-emption right is?
Mr Speaker, thatis why I need --
Do youknow it?
Mr Speaker, in thiscontext, I am not sure whether it is usedas a term of art or it is a whole phraseologyput there to achieve a certain effect. I amnot too clear. I do not have a view; I wouldwant clarity on it so that I can appreciatethe context within which this is used.
Mr Speaker, we had a recentexperience if you would recall,--
Tell uswhat the right of pre-emption is.
That is what I am explaining,where a party decides to offload its sharesto another partner. We are saying here thatGNPC must have the right to match thatoffer before any other party.
Underthe Companies Act, you first offer existingshares to existing shareholders. That isthe same principle. Under the Companies Act, when youwant to offer shares to a third party, youfirst offer it to existing shareholders. GNPCis protecting the interest of Ghana. Whatthis means is that, instead of giving it toa third party, offer it to the people of Ghanathrough their national oil company. If thepeople of Ghana cannot purchase it, thenit can go to a third party. That is what isbeing said.
Mr Speaker, just to ask,why then should it be only the corporationand not all parties?
This isbecause the corporation holds theinterest on behalf of the people of Ghana.
So, it should apply toall the shareholders.
No,because we are protecting our naturalresources. Hon Akoto Osei, I hate toanswer you, because I am not supposedto contribute. But in this case, I wouldanswer. This is because we are protectingour natural resources as a nation.
Mr Speaker, did you sayyou were debating?
No, I saidI would answer. I did not say I woulddebate. Clause 18 ordered to stand part of theBill. [Pause.] Hon Owusu-Bio, do you havesomething to say about clause 19?
Mr Speaker, not onclause 19. I have something to say onclause 18, but the way --
It doesnot matter. What do you have to say onit?
Mr Speaker, clause 18also deals with disposal of interest by acontractor. As we discussed and debatedearlier --
You havenot been vindicated yet because we havestood it down.
Yes, Mr Speaker, it hasbeen debated but it has been stood down.We would need to stand that too downuntil the final determination of clause 16.
Myunderstanding of clauses 16 and 18 isdifferent. In clause 16, we are talking aboutthe process by which the person transfersthe interest. And you are talking aboutthe person who approves. You thinkParliament should approve it and someHon Members think the Commissionshould approve it, and other HonMembers think the Hon Minister shouldapprove it.
Mr Speaker, what yousaid is right. But my problem is with clause18 (3), and I beg to quote: “Where a contractor has enteredinto an agreement to dispose of allor part of the interest of thatcontractor under a petroleumagreement, the contractor shallnotify the Minister, the Commissionand the Corporation immediately ofthe consideration and the otherterms agreed”.
HonMember, you would have to read the Billas a whole. When we come to deal withclause 16, for example, it says: “Parliament shall approve” -- It is asif one is urging. If your view holds sway,it means it is a notification; Parliament hasapproved but they must notify others. Itis a notification process.
MrSpeaker, I believe that clause 18 (3) doesnot belong under “Pre-emption”. This isbecause I do not see how it relates to apre-emption right. It talks about, and Ibeg to quote; “Where a contractor has enteredinto an agreement to dispose of allor part of the interest of thatcontractor under a petroleumagreement, the contractor shall
Mr Speaker, I believe ifthe Hon Minister would take his time andlisten to my Hon Colleague's suggestion,they can amend clause 18 (3), so that[Interruption] -- It does not belongunder “pre-emption”. This is pre-emption.So, they can say “as prescribed undersubsection 1” then it would be consistentwith what he said. It belongs everywhereand that is the point. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister shouldamend it slightly and then we can moveon.
Mr Speaker, the reason thisis important is because, this clause isintended to alert Ghana of all sorts oftransactions, for us to determine whetherthey have made a threshold of pre-emption. We should know all the thingsthey are doing, so that we can make adecision.
HonMinister, the clause in the Bill, if thesuggestion is that, it is so importantand must stand alone, how does it affectyou? This is because you keep some andtake some. That is what we are doing here.We are entering into a number ofconcessions so that we would all arrive atagreements very quickly. So, if it is not dear to your heart, and itdoes not undermine the Bill, why do younot just concede, so that the next timesomebody also concedes in your favour?I do not know, but I stand corrected. Hon Members, discuss it, try and bringthe Hon Minister to your side. If youmanage to bring the Hon Minister and theHon Chairman to your side tomorrow, theywould raise it. We have already passedclause 18. I would ask that Hon Members payattention. This is because when I call the notify the Minister, the Commissionand the Corporation immediately ofthe consideration and the otherterms agreed”. Mr Speaker, it has nothing to do with“pre-emption”That is why I do not seewhy it fits in that clause.
Mr Speaker, I understand thepoint about the word “pre-emption” andwhere it is. The point the clause intendsto achieve is very clear. If a partner decides to do any sort oftransaction -- in this industry, these oilcompanies daily transactions, theychange their company's shareholding --Tullow PLC, they would put it in anothercompany here and there. So, everythingthey do, the Commission, GNPC and theHon Minister must be made aware.
HonMinister, what Hon Members are sayingis that, they do not have a problem withthe clause,but they do not think it dealsonly with the right of pre-emption. Youhave said it yourself, that they are doingall kinds of things. I agree. Some people come and take ablock, they invite other people, peoplego bankrupt, people float shares, otherpeople acquire the shares and all kinds oftransactions happen. But you would wantthat, in any transaction, there should benotification. Hon Members agreed with itand I have put the Question on it. The question that has been raised iswhether clause 18 (3) should appear inclause 18 (3), or it should be a separateclause which says “Notification”. That iswhat Hon Members --
Mr Speaker, I was justappealing to the Hon Minister to be calmand listen. My Hon Colleagues are saying that,the clause is so important. But when youhave the headnote, “Pre-emption” andyou do not even make a reference to itunder “Pre-emption”, it sounds weird. So, he should find a proper place tolocate and protect it. That is all we aresaying. We would want to make progress.
Mr Speaker, clause 18 (3)deals with all petroleum agreements. So, Ido agree that it is out of place in clause 18under “Pre-emption”. It should rather beunder clause 10 which deals with“Petroleum Agreement” so that it wouldcover all, including pre-emption, so thatany time under any agreement they wouldwant to do this, they would have to givenotice, whether it is pre-emption orwhether it is assignment; they would haveto give notice. Mr Speaker, I believe that is the properthing to do.
Mr Speaker, we wouldgo by what the Hon Majority Leader hassaid, and we would meet with thedraftpersons and make sure that --
HonMembers, the proposal is that clause 18(3) remains part of the Bill but underclause 10. Question put and amendment agreedto. clause, I would hesitate for a while, to seewhether somebody has an amendment.We are allowed to amend viva voce beforeI proceed. As far as clause 18 is concerned,please, continue discussing it. If youcome to an agreement, I am sure you canbring it up tomorrow.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that, as we have all discussed,there is no problem with it, but theyhave to stand alone. Mr Speaker, that should even comebefore clause 18. This is because wewould want the Hon Minister to be dulynotified with every transaction which iscorrect before the pre-emption. I believethat should be clause 18; and the clause18 should be clause 19. That clause canstand alone.
Mr Speaker, all thesetransactions are potential for GNPC andthe State to match and pre-empt. If we donot know these transactions, how wouldwe do that? The intention of this clause is to alertus to know about all these transactionsand whether we should match and pre-empt. That is why it belongs there. Some Hon Member -- rose --
Whenyou speak and the Hon Leaders get up, Icannot refuse them. My hands are tied bythe conventions of the House torecognise the front bench.When there isone from each side, I would plead withthe Hon Majority Leader to allow theMinority to have their say, and theywould have the last word. Clause 19 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 20 — Review of terms andconditions.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 20, subclauses (1) and (2)— “Review of terms and conditions”. Mr Speaker, if we read the subclauses(1) and (2), they cater for clauses 15 to 19.This is because they talk about terms andconditions. When we read it, it says, andI beg to quote: “(1)The terms of a petroleum agreementmay be reviewed by the parties tothe agreement where there is amaterial change in the circumstancesthat prevailed at (a) the time the agreement wasexecuted, or (b) the last review of theagreement. (2) A petroleum agreement that isreviewed under subsection (1) issubject to ratification by Parliamentin accordance with article 268 of theConstitution, if the review resultsin material change”. Mr Speaker, my contention is that, ifthere is change of ownership, it affectsthe parties to the agreement. If there is anassignment, whether to a party of theagreement or to another external person,it affects the parties to the agreement. Thisis because — [Interruption] — I lookedin this Bill and we have not defined“material change” — Please, show mewhere we have defined “material change”. Mr Speaker, they have not defined“material change” and so he should notask me, is it material? What is material? Mr Speaker, if it has to do with sub-contractors,it affects parties to theagreement. If it has to do with pre-emption, then it affects parties to theagreement; and if it is to do with transferof ownership or asset —
Pleasethere is another person speaking into themicrophone — [Pause.] Hon Members, what is happening?
Mr Speaker, it was ourHon — I would not mention the name. So, my belief is that, when we look athow clause 20 is structured, after goingthrough clause 15 to 19 —Maybe, the HonMinister for Petroleum could tell us whatis left out for this. I believe theinterpretation of clause 20 could coveranything from clause 16 to 19, and moreimportantly, it still comes to Parliament forratification.
Hon ViceChairman, do you think that “materialchange” should be defined for theavoidance of doubt?
Mr Speaker, this was anissue that came up several times, and werequested if the technical people couldhelp us define it. They also had difficulty;it is indicated that it was the AttorneyGeneral's Department that kept it there.But it is difficult to define. Mr Speaker, but if we look at “materialchange”, it mostly relates to the terms ofthe agreement. When the terms of theagreement change —
HonMember, they cannot hear you.
Mr Speaker, I said that itwas an issue that came up during ourdiscussions as a committee — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I believe it isa very important point that has beenraised. I believe “material change” mustbe defined. We had agreed that, forexample, “material change” is a change inthe fiscal terms. I completely agree thatwe have to specifically define it.
Mr Speaker, nottoo long ago, an assignment under clause16 was considered not to be material. Itwas argued that it would only change inform. That was the understanding I had— [Interruption] — All right. Mr Speaker,if not, then let me abandon it and moveahead. Mr Speaker, the phraseology; “materialchange” is just too wide in meaning —too subjective.
HonMember, you have not seen the definition.
Mr Speaker, thereis nothing.
But theHon Minister has just told us that theyare going to define it.
Mr Speaker, theywere not speaking into the microphone.The Hon Vice Chairman had theopportunity — We heard him when itgot to heckling, but we did not hear himwhen he was speaking. How would I haveknown?
I havenot known the Vice Chairman to be aheckler.
Mr Speaker, earlyon, the Vice Chairman was on the floor,and we saw the way he shouted when itcame to heckling.
He wasnot shouting.
Mr Speaker, no,but I could hear him — [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, there is no advertisedamendment. They have not talked aboutany definition of this in the interpretation.
HonMember for Effutu, I have told you now— I heard it and have told you that therewould be a definition of “material change”.Does that change your position?
Mr Speaker, itwould not, to the extent that they cannotgive their word on this. This is because Iheard the Hon Vice-Chairman of thecommittee say, it came up for discussionat the level of the committee —If indeed,it came up for discussion, why did theynot make provisions for it? —
HonAfenyo-Markin, what is in the Votes andProceedings — The green document-They are the decisions of the House. So,once they have said that they would givea definition, this is a matter that wouldbe in the Votes and Proceedings, and theywould give a definition tomorrow. I do notsee why we are too agitated about it.
Mr Speaker, under thatclause, I would also want to draw theattention of the promoters of the Bill, towhether the word is, “revision” or“review”. This is because review talksabout reassessment. But revision leads toa change. It is revision that leads to achange. So, I would understand if theyare talking about revision of terms andconditions. But review does not lead toa change. It is just assessing it.
Yes —review does not necessarily lead to achange.
So, it is “revision” and notjust “review”. Mr Speaker, we would want to pleadwith the promoters of the Bill, for us tostop here and lay a Paper before we moveto the Technical Universities Bill, 2016,which is very urgent. So, with your kindpermission, and the indulgence of my HonColleagues, if we could suspend furtherconsideration of the Petroleum (Explorationand Production) Bill, 2016, so that we couldget time to do some other Businesses.
I believewe would stand down clause 20, sincewe were discussing it. We have not putthe Question on clause 20. We willconsider the two issues that have beenraised; the definition of “material change”and also the recommendation by the HonMajority Leader that, “reviewing” doesnot necessarily mean change; “revision”means change. Let us bear that in mindtoo. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of the Consideration Stage of thePetroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill, 2016 for today — [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, if we couldpresent the Paper on Order PaperAddendum 2, which is a Report of one ofour Committees, that is the Committee onDefence and Interior on the PublicHolidays (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Presentation of Papers; Order PaperAddendum 2 -- Chairman of theCommittee?
Whenthey laid the Report, I said it is duly laidfor distribution. That is the time that itwould be distributed. So, we should
Mr Speaker, the copies areready and they would be distributed toHon Members. [Interruption.] It wouldbe taken tomorrow, and not today. Mr Speaker, we have another Paperwhich is on Order Paper Addendum,and it is by the Minister for Finance.
Presentationof Papers -- By the Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister for Finance, ourColleague,Hon Cassiel Ato Forson isavailable to lay the Paper for and on behalfof the Hon Minister for Finance, who youknow,had been with us this time. It is on awaiver of Import Duties, Import VAT andNHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDIF et cetera -on the Kumasi Central Marketredevelopment project.
TheMajority Leader set a trap. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance? By the Deputy Minister for Finance (MrCassiel A. B. Forson) (on behalf of theMinister for Finance) Request for waiver of Import Duties,Import VAT and NHIL,ECOWASLevy, EDIF, Inspection Fees,Withholding Taxes and other relatedtaxes amounting to the Cedi
Mr Speaker-- The Committee of the Whole isscheduled for today.
All right. Hon Members, when I say HonMembers, then one Hon Member shouldreply “today”. Hon Members? [Pause] I thought you would reply “today”.[Laughter.] The Hon Member did not say“today” again. Hon Members, concerning the meetingof the Committee of the Whole, yourLeaders are here. It is just a simple matterso consult your Leaders.
No! Mr Isaac K. Asiamah — rose --
Mr Speaker, lastweek, when we were reading the Business of the House, it was agreed that we aregoing to have it on Tuesday which istoday, and it was captured. So, we insistthat it should be today. Let us have itbefore we continue. Hon Members, am I telling lies? Let usjust use one hour for the Committee ofthe Whole, then we could continue. Wehave time for you.
HonAsiamah, you have made your point. I amsure that your point has registered and itis resonating in the Chamber, round theChamber, and even outside the Chamber,and your Leaders have heard you. Let us continue, I am sure that theywould respond to you soon. Thank you. Hon Majority Leader, what is the nextitem on the agenda?
Mr Speaker, we would nowconsider the Second Reading of theCompanies (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Attorney-General and Minister forJustice had been with us since morningand I think we should give her theopportunity to move the Second Readingof the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
That isitem numbered --
Mr Speaker, that is itemnumbered 18 on page 7 of the Order Paper.
Committee of theWhole! [Uproar.]
Dompreh — rose
Mr Speaker,thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, you can hear an uproarfrom the back bench here. We are worriedbecause the Business Statement capturedthat Tuesday, which is today, we aresupposed to have a Committee of theWhole meeting. Now, Mr Speaker, we are not hearinganything from Leadership. We would wantto know if we are still on course, asplanned to have a Committee of the Wholeon Tuesday, which is today. [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker, two issues;first, we never -- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, you asked for a Committee ofthe Whole. The Leader of the House hasgot up to address it. Let us please keepquiet and listen to him.
Mr Speaker, thank you verymuch. I just would want to plead with my HonColleagues to use the usual channels ofcommunication so that we can dobusiness together. It does not helpanybody when one wants to raise agenuine concern and we shout in ourseats or gyrate in such a way that it causesdisorder in the House. It is our duty to assist the Hon Speakerto maintain order in the House.
Order!Hon. Members, Order! Order!
Mr Speaker, I became aLeader because when I was at thebackbench, I listened to Leaders.[Uproar.] I am just pleading with my HonColleagues to learn, because I have drawna distinction between a joint Caucus anda Committee of the Whole. It is good for them to go and read theStanding Orders to see -- [Uproar.] So, Mr Speaker, we would be holdingthe joint Caucus meeting at the close ofBusiness -- [Interruption] -- We haveto finish the Business before we meet.
HonMembers, it is not for nothing that weaddress each other as Hon Members.What it means, among other things, isthat our word is our bond. The Leader hassaid that after we close, we shall hold ajoint Caucus meeting. We are aware --[Uproar] -- Hon Members, Order! I have kept quiet for a long timebecause I appreciate the fact that youhave some concerns. I have reached thestage that I am not prepared to keep quietagain. If anybody continues to causedisorder in the House, I will name theperson and ask the person to leave. I believe strongly that we must give --[Uproar] -- I am telling you. All right, Iwill name the first person. [Pause.] Some Hon Members -- rose --
I will notrecognise you, Hon Annoh-Dompreh --[Interruption] -- I will not recognise you.
Yes, Hon Member, I willrecognise you.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. You did say that, it is not for nothingthat we are called Hon Members.
I cannothear you, please.
You did say that it is notfor nothing that we are called HonMembers, so, we expect that our Leaderswould be truthful with us all thye time.[Interruption.] That is unacceptable. They shouldbe truthful with us so that, whatever theysay, we would comply. Thank you so much.
HonMember, the Business Statement saidthat, there would be a joint Caucusmeeting today. The day has not ended. I am preparedto give people the benefit of the doubt.[Pause.] Hon Member, please, I would advisethat, because of the nature of ourproceeding, just withdraw that.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.I humbly retract the word, “deceive”.
Thankyou. Hon Annoh-Dompreh, I would nowrecognise you.
Mr Speaker,thank you for your kindness and may youlive long. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I wish to know from theLeader of the House --
I thoughtyour prophecy would go further --[Laughter] -- But we would leave it there.
Mr Speaker, infact, you would live long. In fact, I wish to respectfully know fromthe Leader of the House, whether jointCaucus or Committee of the Whole? Ithink there is a particular reasonnecessitating that eminent meeting. Can the Leader of the House be --[Interruption] -- Not candid. Can heindicate or confirm, if indeed, we wouldhave a joint Caucus as advertised in theBusiness Statement? Then, respectfully,we would rest our case.
HonMajority Leader, I think you have said thatalready. Please, say it again. Just say it againfor the records.
Mr Speaker, if in thisHouse, we would not listen to eachother, we would have problems. I didstate that we would hold a joint Caucusmeeting at the close of Business today.That was what I said.
Thankyou. Hon Quaittoo, sorry to come back toyou. I have just been advised that whenyou withdraw a word, you would have toreplace it, otherwise, the sentence hangs.But I do not intend to ask you to replaceit, because I know that you did not intendany harm. So, I will direct that, the sentence beexpunged. Thank you very much. Hon Members, thank you for yourpatience. Yes, we are on the procedural Motionin item numbered 18; the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice?
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
HonMembers, Motion numbered 19 on theOrder Paper -- Hon Attorney-General andMinister for Justice.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion. In so doing, I present your Committee'sReport. Introduction The Companies (Amendment) Bill,2016 was presented to Parliament andread the First time on Monday, 18th July,2016. In accordance with article 106 (4)and (5) of the Constitution, and Order 179of the Standing Orders of the House, MrSpeaker referred the Bill to the Committeeon Constitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs for consideration and report. The Committee met to deliberate on thereferral. In attendance were the HonAttorney-General and Minister forJustice. Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, officials from the LegislativeDrafting Division of her Ministry andofficials from the Registrar-General'sDepartment. Members of the BusinessLaw Reform Committee of Experts werealso in attendance. The Committee isgrateful to them for their assistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing documents during its delibe-rations: i. 1992 Constitution; ii. Standing Orders of Parliament;and iii. The Companies Act, 1963 (Act179). Background The Companies Code came into force in1963, after Prof. Gower's Commission hadengaged with the private sector,particularly the business community andhad considered their views on newapproaches to company legislation. TheCompanies Code, 1963, now referred toas the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179), pursuant to the Laws of Ghana (RevisedEdition) Act, 1988 (Act 562). Due to changing circumstances andexperiences in the world of business, ithas become necessary to do a holisticreview of the Act, after decades of itsoperation. There is a global consensusthat, central registers of companies are themost effective way of indicatinginformation on the beneficial owners ofcompanies, to tackle corruption, moneylaundering and terrorism. This is because, experience the worldover has shown that, the identity ofbeneficial owners of some companies areshrouded in secrecy and this has thetendency of fuelling global corruption,money laundering, movement of illicitmoney inflows into countries andfinancing of terrorism. Ghana is also being called upon tointroduce certain provisions in its existingCompany Law, Act 179 in line with theprotocols in respect of best businesspractices that the country has accededto. In a pre-assessment workshop, heldin March, 2016, to ascertain Ghana's levelof compliance with the Financial ActionTask Force (FATF) recommendations, itemerged that there is a lacuna in theexisting Legislation in relation to thesubmission of details by shareholders ofcompanies on the beneficial ownership ofcompanies in Ghana. It was also noted by FAFT that theinformation in companies registerpertaining to legal ownership/control doesnot include information on beneficialownership. Again, there is no mechanismin place to verify the identity or owners ofcompanies, for purposes of fighting corruption, money laundering andfinancing terrorism. Ghana is due for the second round ofmutual evaluation, by the Inter-Governmental Action Group AgainstMoney Laundering in West Africa(GIABA) in September, 2016. Unfor-tunately, the holistic review of the lawcannot be done within the stipulated timefor the evaluation, and the country riskbeing blacklisted if its existing companylaw is not revised to ensure compliancewith FATF Recommendations. There is therefore, the urgent need toamend certain portions of the CompaniesAct, 1963 (Act 179), in line with FAFTeecommendations to avoid blacklisting, ashappened in February, 2012. Theprovisions being introduced, are to allowfor transparency in the operations ofcompanies in respect of beneficialownership arrangements. Hence theintroduction of the Bill. Object of the Bill The Bill seeks to provide for theinclusion of the names and particulars ofbeneficial owners of companies in theregister of members, establish a centralregister and to provide for related matters. Observation The Committee observed that, clause1 of the Bill seeks to amend section 27 ofthe Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179), torequire a subscriber of a company toprovide the details of the beneficial ownerin the register of members, in a situationwhere the subscriber is not the beneficialowner. The provision of the particulars ofactual owners of shares in the company'sregister of members, would enablebusinesses to identify who really owns the company. Companies are required toindicate during registration, the membersand beneficial owners who are politicallyexposed in the Register of Members. The Committee also noted theestablishment of a Central Register by theBill, which is to be kept and maintainedby the Registrar-General, both in manualand electronic forms. The Register issupposed to contain particulars requiredfor registration under sections 27, 32 and303 of Act 179, and any other informationthat the Registrar- General may require. The Central Register most importantly,must contain the nature of interestincluding the details of the legalarrangement in respect of the beneficialownership. The Registrar-General isenjoined to collaborate with competentauthorities for the purposes ofmaintaining, verifying and updating theRegister, and upon request and in timelymanner, make it available to the authoritiesfor inspection. The information in the Central Registerwould facilitate the tracking of corruptionon the part of members and beneficialowners of companies. Conclusion Throughout the world, the issue oftransparency has become very critical inthe operations of companies. Experiencehas shown that, people hide behindcomplex and opaque business organi-sations to evade tax, engage in corruptionand transnational organised crimes.Countries are therefore being compelledby international protocols to put thenecessary transparent measures in placeto combat illicit activities perpetrated bycompanies. As afore-indicated in the Report, Ghanais due for assessment on its compliancewith the recommendations of FAFT inSeptember, this year. The country wouldbe blacklisted if it fails in the evaluation. Judging from the exigencies of theHouse therefore, the Committeerecommends to the House to adopt itsReport and pass the Bill under certificateof urgency, in accordance with article106 (13) of the Constitution, and Order119 of the Standing Orders of the House,subject to the amendments proposed inthe attachment. Respectfully submitted.
MrSpeaker, this is just to support the Motion. In doing so, to say that this is basicallya Bill which is supposed to promotetransparency and lift the veil or cloak ofsecrecy, which normally surroundsownership of companies. Mr Speaker, this has become moreurgent because, there is in place a peerreview mechanism, which the Committeehas talked about, as mutual evaluationby the Intergovernmental Action GroupAgainst Money Laundering. Mr Speaker, all of us, as politicalleaders, ought to be interested in this. Thisis because, we appear to be practitionersof the secrecy, which often clouds theownership of companies. Mr Speaker, but if we have to meet theSeptember deadline for the peer review, then we ought to pass this Bill as soon aspossible. Mr Speaker, therefore, I support the Billand hope that we would pass it when wego through it. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, thank youfor the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I believe this Bill is in theright direction. Even in Ghana today, virtually, whenwe open bank accounts, we are marked aspolitically exposed persons. Mr Speaker, I believe there are othercategories of people that should also beincluded. This is because they also takecare of community assets and managethem; like chiefs. We should also find newways of adding people to the list.
It is nowan Act. The Criminal Code and all laws inGhana, since statute revision, are nowknown as Acts.
Mr Speaker, yes,it is the Criminal Act.
It is theCriminal Offences Act.
Mr Speaker,therefore, in the first place, I believe that,what we need to be looking at is to stopcrime, even though this may be acontinuation of trying to track down theuse of criminal proceeds. Mr Speaker, so I believe that what weare doing today is in the right directionand Hon Members should all support it. Mr Speaker, but in the next review, ourtask force should insist on expanding thelist. This is because, people, apart fromusing their immediate families, can alsouse their friends to hide proceeds ofcrime. Mr Speaker, thank you for theopportunity.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity tocontribute to the Motion on the floor. Mr Speaker, what this Bill seeks todo is what I will refer to as, lifting the veil.This is the famous thing where companiesare sent to court, companies are engagedin activities that -- One does not knowthose who are behind the company. Theyalways give the excuse that this is a limitedliability company and that it is a legalentity. Unless one goes further to knowthose behind it, any action we want totake, is sometimes difficult. Mr Speaker, that is the main reasonthis Bill which is before the Houseneeds our support. This is because wewill then know those who are behind thecompany, and in terms of actions that aredone -- corruption, et cetera -- Wewould know where to lay the blame orotherwise. Mr Speaker, so, it is on this basis that Isay this Bill is welcome. It should get thesupport of all of us so that we wouldknow that companies are not going to beclothed in a certain way, where we willnot know those behind them. It wouldmake it easy for one to know that, thisand that person is behind the company. Mr Speaker, on this note, I support thatwe should quickly pass this Bill so thatwe would not be found wanting as acountry.
Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity to contribute to theMotion on the Companies (Amendment)Bill, 2016. Mr Speaker, dealing with this, I think itis important for Hon Colleagues tounderstand that, this document before us is not the full remit of the Companies(Amendment) Bill, as originally construed. Mr Speaker, that document is a veryvoluminous document and given wherewe are, that is, a few days beforeadjournment, it so not possible toconsider the comprehensive proposalsrelating to amendments to the CompaniesAct, which explains why we have isolatedthese clauses to apply ourselves to them. Mr Speaker, it has become necessaryto deal with these few provisions in theCompanies Act because of issues thatwere raised in the London Forum, in whichour dear President, His Excellency JohnDramani Mahama participated, andassented to the communique that ensuedfrom that platform. Mr Speaker, the Forum dealt extensivelywith avenues for promoting corruptpractices, and as we deal with this, I thinkthe central issue as the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice hasraised, is in respect of the disclosure ofbeneficial interest. Mr Speaker, in Ghana, a few namespopped up in the Panama Papers, relatingto people taking some amounts andlodging in some accounts in Panama. Mr Speaker, also, in the area of publicprocurements, companies are formedovernight to source for contracts, andimproper disclosures are made and thenation loses millions of cedis, especially,in the area of turn-key projects. It isimportant that we trace and track suchcompanies. Mr Speaker, in the area of assetsaccumulation, it is known in this countrythat, people acquire properties and usethe names of their children and relatives to register such properties. Children whodo not pay taxes, earn income -- This isa well known secret, yet, people hide underthe fact that assets that are declared arenot supposed to be made public. From now on, once we go through this,one declares his or her assets and itbecomes public property and everybodygets to know. Mr Speaker, you do not enter -- Thatis why we are so much concentrating onpoliticians. One does not enter the arenaof politics, when one has just one houseand in four years, one acquires fourhouses. This is because, they know it iswrong, they register them in the names oftheir children and all of us politicians comeunder the gavel of public criticism. Mr Speaker, of course, I am not talkingonly of party politicians. When I talk ofpoliticians, all of them are included; publicservants are also in the area of politics.They are politicians, they may not bepartisan politicians, but they are -- civilservants. Mr Speaker, so, it is important that weopen the lid, uncork the bottle to alloweverybody to see what is going on andthe matter of peer review will compel us tobe very circumspect when we areentrusted with public authority, andinvested with authority not to use theoffice to create, loot and share. Mr Speaker, public service is what itis. One is a servant gatekeeper to thepublic purse, but not to use it to clotheoneself and swim in it to the detriment ofthe generality of our citizenry. Mr Speaker, so, beneficial interestdisclosures, plus other “cousins”; assetsdeclaration and of course, deepening theright to information.
Thankyou. Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Just aword. This is one of the sunshine legislationsthat we should all, wholeheartedly,support. As stated early on, it is meant toput in place the openness andtransparency in our business relations,and how we deal with each other. It ismeant to put in place a system, and someequipment that would throw light on allthe dark corners of our businesses andnot just zone members, but also look atthe beneficial owners. I believe that this is such an importantlegislation, and we advise that, due tothe urgency involved, these provisionsbe taken out of the comprehensive reviewof the Companies Act which is now put inthe Companies Bill and which is veryvoluminous for us to handle within thelimited space at our disposal. It was at thepost -- UK Conference that we advisedthat it should be done this way and I amhappy the Government, led by theAttorney-General and Minister for Justicein such a few days, managed to put thistogether for us to look at. It is not very difficult; it is just a fewprovisions, and I believe by tomorrow,we should be able to pass this Bill becausewe are going to have a second review ofthe country. It would be an assessment ofour readiness to fight corruption , and thisis one of the initiatives in the secondphase of the open governance that thewhole world is ascribing to. So, Mr Speaker, I whole heartedlysupport it, and I am sure that all HonMembers would commit themselves to it. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Thankyou very much. I would put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Companies (Amendment) Bill,2015 accordingly read a Second time.
HonMajority Leader, just two points. I lookedthrough the Bill and noted two interestingthings; one is “artificial politically exposedpersons”. I was wondering who anartificial politically exposed person is. Andanother one is “post office” -- noteverybody has a post box these days. Iwas wondering whether they would doemail or post box. Not everybody has apost office box these days. But I did notalso find an Interpretation section. I raise it because, we will rise in a fewdays time, and somebody may raise it.Everybody knows who a Head of Stateis, and who a Head of Government is. Butwe have a clause which says “an artificialpolitically exposed person” and it is notdefined. I wonder who an artificialpolitically exposed person is -- That isjust for the Hon Chairman of theCommittee. And you have also put down“email and post office” -- Whether itshould be ‘or post office box'. But that isjust for the Hon Chairman of theCommittee. [Interruption.] I am just talking about the last page,clause 9 (h): “Politically exposed personincludes an artificial politicallyexposed persons”. Everybody knows what a politicallyexposed person is.
Mr Speaker, we havechanged it.
Thankyou very much. The second issue for yourconsideration is that, you also put“residential address, email and post officebox”. Not everybody, today, has a postoffice box. So, look at that -- This isbecause, if it remains that way, itmeans that if one does not have a postoffice box, then one would havedifficulties. Anyway, that is for tomorrow.
Mr Speaker, we haveproposed amendments to it.
HonMajority Leader, we are at your beck andcall.
Mr Speaker, we have heldthe promoters of the TechnicalUniversities Bill, 2016 since morning, andwe would just want to take a few clausesfrom that Bill. [Pause.]
HonMembers, the Technical Universities Bill,2016 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
HonChairman of the Committee, this morningI heard it on closed circuit television, thatyou have not done the consultations.Have you done it now?
Mr Speaker, we have.
Pardonme. Have you done the consultation? CanI start from clause 2?
Mr Speaker, we stoppedat clause 8.
All right. Hon Chairman, let me go to clause 6; Iam leaving clauses 2, 3, 4 and 5. I would go to clause 6. Clause 8 -- Tenure of office ofmembers of the Council
Mr Speaker, this morning,we stopped at clause 8.
But thereare advertised amendments to clause 6.
In fact, we have alreadytaken clause 6. We stepped down clauses2 and 3, as you suggested yesterday. Wereally met on that, but it has beensuggested that we do that tomorrow.
HonMembers, Order! I cannot hear the HonChairman, please. Hon Chairman, what is advertised is --Have we taken clause 6 already?
Mr Speaker, yes. We arenow on clause 8.
All right.Thank you. So, we are on clause 8 now. Iwould step down clause 8 and go to clause9.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 9, subclause (6), delete “ViceRector” and insert “Pro Vice Chancellor”and do same wherever applicable in theBill and unless the context otherwiserequires. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker,with regards to clause 9, the Hon Chairmanhas moved an amendment in respect ofsubclause (6), but because we haveamended clause 5 to raise the compositionof the governing body, it would requireamending clause 9, to increase thequorate number. We have amended andincreased it by two, so, we neednecessarily to increase the quoratenumber from nine to eleven.
So, hasthe question of whether we would call thehead a “Rector” or “Principal” or “ViceChancellor” not been decided yet? If wehave decided, this is automatic. If wefinished it yesterday, this is automatic.Or is it not? I thought that if it is decidedthat we are going to have a ViceChancellor, the deputy of a ViceChancellor is a Pro Vice Chancellor. So, if they would want to change “ViceRector” to “Pro Vice Chancellor”, itshould not be a problem, or perhaps, I amnot following what is being done. Question put and amendment agreed.
Mr Speaker,mine has to do with subclause (2).
So,propose an amendment.
The quorumat a meeting of the Council is nine membersof that Council, including, at least, fourexternal members to the TechnicalUniversity. I am suggesting that, given the factthat we have increased the number in theCouncil, which is the governing board, weshould necessarily look at that. Then, also, the second line which talksabout, at least, four external members tothe Technical Universities. That mightalso go up.
What isyour suggestion?
Mr Speaker,certainly, in respect of the first line, whichtalks about nine members, it must go upto eleven members. That is an odd numberin respect of the composition of thequorate number. I am not too of theconsideration of the Committee, inrespect of the four external members,whether they would increase it to five orsix. Let us leave that one to the Committee.I guess in the first one, the quorate numbercertainly must go to eleven.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, we have noobjection to his suggestion.
You donot have objection to what? I would want to get a proposedamendment. I would want to get arendition.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that the external members should remain four, but the quorum should be steppedup to eleven. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 9 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 10 to 15 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 16 -- Rector of a technicaluniversity
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 16, subclause (1), line 2, after“Council”, insert “in accordance with thestatutes of a Technical University”.
Mr Speaker,permit me to take us back. In reality, I havenot gone through it, I am just following.Mr Speaker, going back to clause 14, youhave put the Question. That is why I ampleading with you to allow me to makethis observation. Clause 14 (4) provides: “(4) The Chancellor shall preside atCongregation, meetings …” It means that the Chancellor shallpreside at meetings. “…and ceremonies of the technicaluniversity at which the Chancelloris present.” Then we come to subclause (5): “(5) The Chancellor shall be servedwith summons, minutes andother documents related tomeetings of the Council …”
Myunderstanding is that, if the Chancellor ispresent at any place, he would preside.
Mr Speaker,I get the drift. This are meetings of thegoverning body. That is the council. TheChancellor may preside. I did not relatethe meeting to the governing body. I thinkit is right.
Thankyou. We are at clause 16. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 16, add the following newsubclause: “(7) “The Council shall, in making theappointment under subclause (1)take into consideration industryexperience”.
Mr Speaker, take whatinto consideration? Industry what?[Interruption.] Where is it?
Should itbe “relevant industry experience”?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
I do notthink there is any harm in that. So wewould add the friendly amendment to theproposed amendment. It is a technicaluniversity.
Mr Speaker, Ithink the amendment is very relevant inthe sense that we do not want theseuniversities to just become academicspaces. We want them to be able tomaintain their core functions. We wantthem to be able to maintain that outlook,that if a person has been a lecturersomewhere and does not have industrialexperience, he would not be considered. That should be clear and I believe thatwould help us to maintain the corefunctions of this university.
Thankyou very much, Hon Member. We added“relevant” to the proposed amendment: “The Council shall, in making theappointment under subclause (1),take into consideration relevantindustry experience.” Sorry. Prof. Fobih? Order! Order! Let us listen to Prof.Fobih.
Mr Speaker,the Pro Vice Chancellor is in a way, asenior member. That is an academicmember of the university, and thereforehas passed through the criteria forappointment, which is, the person musthave some industrial experience evenbefore being appointed to teach in thatuniversity. So, it is implied that he hassome experience. The question of relevant experiencehere should be industrial experience. Wehave various aspects of technical andvocational training programmes in theuniversity. So, if we say “relevantexperience”, the Pro Vice Chancellor is notbeing appointed as a Pro Vice Chancellorfor a specific faculty or departmental work,but for the general running of theuniversity. In other words, for administration.Therefore, if he has that wide experiencein industry, it helps him to do hisadministration as a supporting member ofthe executive. So, the word “relevant” to me, is notapplicable here. This is because he is notbeing appointed for a particular faculty ordepartment. He is being appointed as asupporting administrator for the entiretechnical university. And we have various aspects of technical and vocationaltraining going on in that university.Therefore, all that is needed is someindustrial experience, instead of adding“relevant”, which cannot be interpretedin anyway.
HonDeputy Minister for Education?
MrSpeaker, my understanding of “relevantindustry experience” is relevant to thebackground of the applicant who is beingconsidered to be Vice Chancellor. Let usface it: there is no human being who canclaim to have expertise in all industries inthe world. It is simply not possible. I underst and Prof. Fobih to mean that,as much as possible, if there is somebodywith some broad understanding ofvarious industries. But we would bestretching it; and are we sure that we canreally get somebody who would haveconsiderable expertise in all industries? Itis not possible. So, to narrow it down to “relevantindustry experience” puts us on a saferground, and we should go with what hasbeen amended. I do not think that weshould take away the “relevant” and askthe search committees to begin to lookfor prospective vice chancellors whohave general industrial experience. Thatwould be a bit too broad, and quitedifficult to achieve.
HonDeputy Minister for Education, I stand tobe corrected. But I understood him tomean that, if a person is becoming ViceChancellor, even if he does not haveindustry experience relevant to thesubjects being taught in that technicaluniversity, and he has experience in administering the affairs of a university, itis sufficient. This is because he is notgoing to head a particular department. Letus say they have engineering department,aviation department and otherdepartments, he is not going to head anyparticular department. He is the person who, maybe has aPhD in Public Administration, and he is aprofessor coming from maybe, theUniversity of Ghana, Legon, where he washead of the Business School, and he iscoming to head this technical universitynot because he has any industryexperience, but because he has experiencein the business of running a tertiaryinstitution. That is how I understood it. Yes, Hon Ablakwa?
Mr Speaker, we con-sidered this at the Committee and it isexactly what we want to avoid. If he isthat kind of person, he better think ofbecoming a Vice Chancellor in thetraditional universities. But for thetechnical university, we really want toidentify and encourage persons who havethe relevant industrial experience, andwho have the right technical backgroundto head the institutions. Mr Speaker, we do not want thequalification to be Vice Chancellor in atechnical university to be the same asqualification for Vice Chancellor in atraditional university. We want adistinction to be there. So the Committeediscussed it and that is exactly what weare trying to avoid. So there is no scopecrape or mission drift right from the wordgo from Vice Chancellor to lecturers. Everybody has industrial experienceand we know that the technicaluniversities are set up for a specificobjective. That is what we want toachieve.
Sorry, Iparaphrased what Prof. Fobih said.Maybe, that was not what he meant. So,I want to give him an opportunity.
Mr Speaker, I canunderstand if we put it this way, that thePro Vice Chancellor should have somerelevant experience related to industry,meaning that, he has to have some kindof experience about what is being done atthe university. For instance, we can takespecific examples like Cape Coast whichused to deal mostly with education. They said that the person must havesome experience related to education, notgeneral university work. That is what Iunderstand. But the reason we aredisagreeing with the Hon Deputy Ministeris the use of the word “relevant”. There are various aspects of technicaltraining going on in this university, andonce you have some aspect of industrialexperience, you are qualified to teachthere. You are equally qualified toadminister there. The Pro Vice Chancelloris an administrator, so if he qualifies toteach there, by having some relevantexperience in some field, then he has someaspect of industrial experience. He is equally qualified to run theadministration, and therefore if we say“relevant”, we are referring to a specifictype of industrial experience. This is whereI disagree.
Thankyou, Mr Speaker. I rise to share the position of Hon Prof.Fobih. The position of a Vice Chancelloror the Pro Vice Chancellor is a managerialone. My understanding of industry --[Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, from my understanding ofindustry, you would want to say that youhave the auto-engineering industry, theforestry industry, the banking industry.When you become --
HonMember, just to help you, that is why theyhave included the word “relevant”, toanswer your question, If they just sayindustry, they would go and bring abanker and say that he is from the bankingindustry -- timber industry, legal industry,medical industry, if we are not careful. We could stretch it, so that was whythey said “relevant”, which means that,when you come there you must be able topoint to one or two subjects or coursesthat are held there that you have expertisein. That is what they intend, so answer it.
Mr Speaker, many of thepolytechnics which are now going to beconverted into universities are runningdifferent programmes. They haveelectrical engineering, auto engineering,finance and banking. So, when we sayrelevant, and it is not defined, are wefocusing on one particular industry or weare focusing on all the --
HonMember, let me ask you a question. If thereare two candidates who are applying forthe position in a particular technicaluniversity which does not offer medicineor law, but offers engineering, whichwould you say is relevant?
Mr Speaker, I think thesethings would be done by the appropriatesearch committee --
HonMember, you do not want to answer thequestion. I would tell you the answer. The answer is that Parliament wants toguide the search committee. That is theanswer. You do not want to answer thequestion, so I have answered it for you.
Mr Speaker, Ialso believe that the use of the word“relevant” here is not applicable. It is notnecessary, because we are not talkingabout a department. We are not talkingabout a unit in a university. If we are looking for a head of, say,automotive engineering department, thenwe need somebody with experiencerelevant to automotive engineering. If we are looking for a head ofdepartment for aeronautics, then we needsomebody with experience relevant toaeronautics. But we are looking for a ViceChancellor. All that we need is somebodywith hands on experience in an industrialsector. He could have an experience inautomotive engineering, but it is notrelevant. The use of the word “relevant”-- [Interruption] -- No, we are nottalking about --
HonMembers, I would not --
We are looking forsomebody with hands-on experience, buthas worked in an industrial sector before.That is what we are looking for --
Mr Speaker, they arebullying me.
HonMember, you started from one position,but you allowed yourself to be bullied to another position. I believe that there aretwo positions here, clearly. There is onegroup that would want us to put in“relevant industry experience”. There isanother group that would like us to remainat “industry experience”. So, I would ask for somebody topropose the amendment. The first one isnot advertised. I would put the Question,then I would proceed according to therules. So, who is going to propose the firstamendment?
Mr Speaker, I begto move: “(7) “The Council shall, in makingthe appointment under subclause(1) take into considerationrelevant industry experience”.
That isthe amendment to clause 16 (7), asadvertised as (xvii). Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, clause 16(4), and that is the reason some HonMembers asked us why we are usingindustrial experience. I would like to offeran amendment there. It is not only theacademic and administrative head, but itshould be the Chief Technical Officer ofthe University. Mr Speaker, you might say it is simple.The reason I brought “relevant” there isthat, some of these polytechnics we arenow turning into technical universities docourses that are not technical in any senseand somebody might want to become aVice Chancellor.
HonDeputy Minister for Education, let me justpose a question. I would recognise you. Hon Deputy Minister for Education,some of these technical universities offermarketing and a lot of arts programmes,so, by saying relevant industryexperience, it means that somebody whohas experience in marketing could becomethe Vice Chancellor. Is that the situation? Because he seeksto narrow the relevance further to justtechnical relevance. That is what he seeksto do.
Mr Speaker, theamendment being proposed is, in myview, quite superficial, because clause 16(4) says: “A Rector is an academic andadministrative head and chiefdisciplinary officer of the technicaluniversity”. The question therefore is, what are theacademic programmes? The academicprogrammes that the technical universities are running are technical programmes, so,being the academic head, you are the chieftechnical officer. It is just an issue ofnomenclature. The academic programmes that thetechnical universities would be runningare technical programmes, so being theacademic head -- that is the terminologyused in the sector -- the Vice Chancelloris both the academic head and theadministrative head. For the technical universities, theacademic programmes they offer aretechnical programmes, and we havestated that clearly in the memorandum, inthe object of this Bill and all thedocuments that we have put together. TheDr Afeti Report, which would informeven the National Council for TertiaryEducation (NCTE) regulation of thesetechnical universities, spells out clearlywhat would be the allowable technicalprogrammes that these universities canofffer. So, I honestly do not think that thereis the need to insert “chief technicalofficer”. Once you are the academic head,the academic programmes being pursuedare these technical programmes. I think itdoes not hurt really, if we keep it as itis.
Mr Speaker, except to saythat, I have found no definition of“technical courses” in this Bill. What youjust said is not in the Bill. So, if the HonDeputy Minister is promising us thatthese universities are going to berestricted to these technical things, thenwe would get it directly. Most of these universities, Mr Speaker,offer courses, like you said, which arenot technical or vocational. I do not wantto mention any name. Insofar as they offercourses which are not technical, then we have to find a definition that would restrictthe Vice Chancellor who is not comingfrom that sector, or else we would havea problem. There are polytechnics which havebeen promoted into this league, whichhave many more students doing non-technical courses than technical courses.What do you say to that?
Mr Speaker, the position ofVice Chancellor requires other attributes.Currently, you need to be an associateprofessor or a professor before you canbecome a vice chancellor. If from the technical courses, like werefer to -- auto engineering, woodengineering -- we do not have a professorin that area, but in the business area, thereis a professor, who would be made theVice Chancellor? [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, do you think that we wouldhave a professor in a technical university,and we would go and bring a master'sholder to come and be the ViceChancellor? It would not work.
Mr Speaker, my goodFriend should try not to mix the traditionalcriterion for promotion to associateprofessor and professor in the traditionaluniversities to that of a technicaluniversity. This is because some of the criteria forpromotion in technical university shouldbe qualifications other than academic.There is no problem. You do not say thathe must be a professor or an associateprofessor. They could be promotedbecause of their experience in the relevantindustry.
HonAkoto Osei, you are an associateprofessor?
I was associate tenureprofessor. The difference with associatetenure professor is that, you have a jobfor life unless you resign.
That waswhat I wanted you to say. You are anAssociate Tenure Professor --
Of Economics. Mr Speaker, he has to be careful. Letus not bundle the two together. It is aspecial university, and the criterion forpromotion to associate professor andprofessor would be different from that inthe traditional university. You cannotbundle them. A person may have worked as amanaging director in the telecommunicationindustry with deep experience. That shouldbe able to qualify them for fullprofessorship -- [Interruption.] Theymay have a bachelor --
HonMembers, order! Hon Deputy Minister, is the gentlemanwho heads the Ghana TechnologyUniversity College (GTUC) a professor?Are you not sure?
Mr Speaker, please permitme to check. I would check quickly andget back.
Is he aprofessor? When he started heading theuniversity, I believe he was not a professorthen.
No, he wasnot. Mr Speaker, the point is that, to becomea professor depends on your contributionin your subject area and it can be academicor your contribution towards industry. Itcan be an invention or innovation. So,the issue about wanting professor orassociate professor does not arise at all. Mr Speaker, the fact is, we want todepart from the situation where we havehad polytechnics deviating from their coremandates. Therefore, we must establishsystems that would enable them attainwhat we would want them to. That is the reason yesterday, some ofus were of the view that we need to createan identity for the technical universities,to avoid people who have had stints withthe traditional universities influencing,like my Hon Colleague is trying to do. Somebody who has risen through theranks in a technical university can alsobecome a professor, depending on theperson's contribution, and the statutesthat would be extended by Council woulddetermine who becomes a professor orassociate professor, in a technicaluniversity. We do not need to use the samecriterion as somebody in a traditionaluniversity.
Mr Speaker,the polytechnics as they are now, awardBachelor of Technology (B. Tech), Masterof Technology (M. Tech) and (D. Tech)Doctor of Technology. Somebody with B.Tech, with a lot of experience in his fieldof study could be promoted to become aprofessor to head an institution. So, weshould not confuse the B.Sc. and M. Sc.with B. Tech, D. Tech, and then the areasin the polytechnics that we have. Theyaward B. Tech. We can have people in this countrywith M. Tech or D. Tech. With D. Tech,and with a lot of research work in your field of study, you could be promoted to aprofessor.
Mr Speaker, mycontribution to this debate on whether weshould add “chief technical officer” isthis: What do you want the head of atechnical university to be? By and large,you would want that person to be anadministrator. He must have thequalification, but I think we should notlegislate strange words into this. First, it is difficult to define whichtechnical area you would want that personto qualify in. That should be in the searchteam requirement. For the person, youshould add those things that wouldqualify the person. To head a technical university, youmust, by the selection -- and the peoplethat we recruited into the faculty arerequired to have technical background. In the end, let us look for whattraditionally, a Vice Chancellor or Rectorshould do, rather than pre-qualifyingthem. On the issue about the Ghana TelecomUniversity College (GTUC) head, I havebeen reading his articles in the GhanaianTimes frequently, and I do not see“Professor” there, but he certainly wouldbe a good administrator. So, people whoare trained along the line, who canadminister, who can make sure that theyalso offer intellectual leadership, are theones we should be talking about and notnecessarily technical people. If you say technical, it may be a narrowtechnical field, but he is heading auniversity with different disciplines. So,we should not add that one. Let us leaveit and the search team should put it in theirrequirements and anybody who has these,would have an advantage.
Mr Speaker, maybe, theHon Minister would have understood therationale. Mr Speaker, I am very worried!
Please,resume your seat. You would be the lastto speak because you proposed theamendment. I thought you rose to say thatyou are withdrawing, but if you are notwithdrawing, then you would be the lastto speak.
MrSpeaker, I think what my Hon Colleaguesaid does not hold water. This is because,if you look at the University of Ghana,they are not going into other fieldsbecause the Vice Chancellor is not atechnical person, and the Kwame NkrumahUniversity of Science and Technology(KNUST) is going to other fields. It is allabout policy. My issue is, are the technicaluniversities going to have otherhumanities courses, apart from thetechnical courses; for example, marketingor other fields? If they would have thosefaculties, would the professor in any ofthose other departments rise up one dayto become a Vice Chancellor or not, simplybecause he teaches a humanities course?Let us look at that also. If somebody teaches marketing fortwenty years in that particular technicaluniversity, and he rises through the ranks,can he become a Vice Chancellor one day?Let us look at that issue. Or he would bethere, marginalised and not motivated tobecome somebody one day? Please, letus look at that aspect too.
HonDarko-Mensah, then the Hon Minister andthen Hon Dr Prempeh?
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve the amendment that has beenproposed is very right, and we need toconsider it. Mr Speaker, let us take even thehospitals that we have. We have nurses,we have the laundry men, and we havebursars, but always for technical directionof these hospitals, we insist that, doctorsare heads of these institutions. All thesepeople, because of their rise through theranks and departments, they go througha lot of management courses, which isdifferent from the technical side of the jobthat they do. Therefore, if our mandate is to protectand ensure that these technical univer-sities maintain their core mandate, then Ibelieve that, adding the chief technicalofficer to the mandate to the ViceChancellor and the Pro Vice Chancellorsare in order. Mr Speaker, if you take why a lot ofthese universities are adding these otherhumanity courses, like marketing and allthat, it was only to boost their revenuegeneration and also to give them a certainleverage with arts and nothing more. In England, for a very long time, a lotof people did not appreciate thesetechnical courses, which for us in Ghana--
HonMembers, Order! Order! The Hon Member is making veryimportant points. For example, he said that,when you go to hospitals, there are otherprofessionals; there are hospitaladministrators, there are nurses and thereare ambulance men and all kinds of people,but the head of the hospital is a Doctor.That was what he said -- But you are not listening and that iswhy --
Mr Speaker, thatstatement he made attests to the fact that,our hospitals are not being run well. Thisis because we do not need doctors to runhospitals well, and that is why we haveproblems. So, it is not necessarily true.There are specialists trained to managehospitals, not doctors. Doctors do notlisten to anybody, they think they knowtoo much. That is the problem.
Mr Speaker, thereis a difference between hospitaladministrators and heads of thosehospitals. They are entirely different. Thepublic health management specialists areonly administrators, they are not the headsof the hospitals. [Interruption.] -- TheCEO of Korle-Bu is a doctor. [Inter-ruptions.] Korle-Bu is not messing up.
All right,Hon Members, I thought this was a simplematter, but the matter is a bit morecomplicated than I envisaged.
Mr Speaker, thematter is simple, it is simple biases thatHon Members want to bring into thisissue.
Everybody who speaks would suggestthat it is simple, and everybody makes itmore complicated. I heard somebody saythat, it is the Effiakwanta Hospital -- So, I would defer it. Meet and discussit— there is an assurance? Give us theassurance -- you can change my mind.
Mr Speaker, there is anassurance. There is an amendment thathas already been advertised; clause 3which would address Hon MatthewOpoku Prempeh's concern, which is that,a technical university shall not deviatefrom the core technical courses, for which it is established. I know that is the premisefor his suggestion, so, this amendmentaddresses that. Mr Speaker, to provide answers to yourquestions, I have checked on the GTUCissue. He is a doctor and not a professor.He is Dr Osei Danquah, and theexplanation I had from National Councilfor Tertiary Education (NCTE) is that, theydo not have a charter yet. It is a quasi-private university. After the review of the Ghana TelecomAgreement, we are now preparing to takeover the GTUC, that is why he is notreally of the status of a vice chancellorand that is why he is called the President.He is the President of the GTUC. But Mr Speaker—
I havebeen reading his articles and I think theyare good.
Mr Speaker, to furtherassure the House, I want to bring to ourattention the fact that, there are twomodels when it comes to headships. Onemodel, which is largely pursued in theUnited States of America, as most HonMembers know, is that, the Presidents orVice Chancellors are not academic heads. That model allows for just administratorsand fund-raisers. Once you can mobiliseresources, your tenure is assessed by that. Then we have the second model, whichis what we practise in Ghana, and whichwe have to be cognisant of. That modelmakes you both an academic head and anadministrative head. So, if in this Bill wewant to keep this model, which has beenthe conventional model, which we haveused for most of our higher educationalinstitutions, then we should keep thisrendition; “The Vice Chancellor will be both theacademic head and the administrativehead”. Being an academic head in a technicaluniversity, means that, he must have andabout means that, he must have relevantindustrial experience, and must have someknowhow about the programmes whichIt is essential.
Is it allthe courses or the technical courses?
Mr Speaker, not all thecourses. He will certainly emerge from anyof the technical departments, at least one.He will emerge from one.
Those who are raisingconcerns about marketing and otherbusiness programmes, we are phasingthem out. That is the whole concept. The gravamen of the issue is that, weare pursuing the technical university pathbecause we have seen that ourpolytechnics have deviated, and havebecome centres for marketing businessprogrammes. That is not what we wantas a country, so we are not going to allowthe technical universities to go that sameway. So, if you are a Doctor of Philosophy(PhD) holder, or a professor in amarketing department in the polytechnic-- Fortunately, at the tertiary sector, weallow for mobility. If you want to becomea Vice Chancellor, you are free to go to theUniversity of Ghana (Legon) or theUniversity of Cape Coast (UCC) or theKwame Nkrumah University of Scienceand Technology (KNUST). There you canrise to become Vice Chancellor and yourservices would be needed. There ismobility within the tertiary sector, but weare not going to continue with this part, where in the polytechnics and technicaluniversities, we have more than 70 percent of students pursuing marketing andbusiness programmes, yet we say thatwe are producing middle level manpowerwith skills in technical and vocationalfields. We do not want to go back to thatdangerous era. So, those who havesympathy for our colleagues who aremasters and Ph.D. holders, who wouldwant to rise to become Vice Chancellors --If you want to become a Vice Chancellor,you have the opportunity in any othertraditional university. But for the technicaluniversities, it is good that we encouragethose who are in the technical field. Ultimately, the technical universitieswould strictly offer technical programmes,and it is only people with technicalbackground who can rise to become ViceChancellors. So, I think that is a very clearmatter.
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister indicated that thesemarketing and other courses would bephased out. I just want to know whetherprovision has been made in thetransitional arrangements for the phasingout of the lecturers and professors whoteach these students, especially, thosestudents who are already in the first orsecond year. I just want to know, whetherany transitional arrangements have beenput in place. Reading the transitionalarrangements here, I did not seeanything like that.
Mr Speaker, Idisagree with some of the positions. Icannot see a university that is run withoutat least, one course in the humanities. Asa matter of fact, even in the traditionaluniversities, one is supposed to take whatthey call free elective and it must be acourse that is entirely outside the course
Mr Speaker,thank you for recognising me. From theway we are setting parameters and criteriafor selection of the Vice Chancellors, andas purported by Hon Ablakwa, there arecertain things that we have to considernow. In the traditional universities, theystart with one, but in this case, we areconverting not only one. So, if we restrictourselves to what the Hon Member said,we would find it difficult to find peoplefor the Vice Chancellor positions.[Interruption.] We should have taken what Prof. Fobihsaid. The problem has arisen because ofthe words we used; “relevant industrialexperience”. We should have used“technical experience” and then givenourselves some thresholds there. Thatwould have been better than this. It is anomnibus conversion that we are doing; itis not just one technical institute we areconsidering. The Hon Deputy Minister said thatwith this one, we would guard against -- Yes, we resolved that. Looking at thetraditional universities, the quotas for thesciences and humanities, what hashappened? If we say that the coremandate is technical, but we are justpushing them, five or six at a time -- havewe thought of students who would bequalified to be converted? So, on paperwe would establish the quotas andwhatever criteria or qualification. The reality of the fact is that, if webecome so strict and compartmentalisethese things, then there would come a timewhen we would have to come back tothe drawing board. So, let us digestthese things, leave emotions aside andlook at the practicality of events.
Mr Speaker, it isimportant for us to learn lessons from theearlier conversions which took place.Polytechnics were technical institutes andthey were converted to polytechnics. Wegave them a lot of liberty, and there was alot of laxity and we are where we are today.That is why we have all been guidedthat, this time, we should be a bit morerestrictive and define our objectives. I just want to assure Hon Membersthat, the National Council for TertiaryEducation (NCTE), which is the regulatorybody that approves programmes --
I do notwant to cut you short, but since you arethe Hon Minister sponsoring the Bill, Iwant to give you the last bite of the cherry.So, respectfully, if you could resume yourseat, I would recognise a few more peopleand then you would be able to put theicing on the cake, so to speak.
Mr Speaker, I think weare stretching this issue too much. To me,we have several universities, but this isone qualified with an adjective, “technical”. The key word is “technical”.I think our focus is on the fact that weknow the world can only run with scienceand technology. Therefore, we want totrain more people in that field, so that wedo not keep importing people from outsideto build our bridges and other buildingsfor us. Mr Speaker, the word is technical andthe courses -- I do not have the Bill, butI read it somewhere, and they havebeen defined. We have well definedprogrammes that the universities aregoing to run. The courses that are to berun in all the technical universities arecaptured here. So, if you are looking for a ViceChancellor, he or she should besomebody who is experienced in at least,one of those areas. Whether we haveplans for the transition from thepolytechnics to do those technicalcourses, a deadline can be set.
HonQuaittoo, where are the coursescaptured?
Mr Speaker, page 4,clause 3, they are all defined there.[Interruption] Read further, the aims andobjectives of a technical university.[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, the coreareas have been defined: “The aims are to provide highereducation in engendering, scienceand technology based disciplines...”
HonQuaittoo, please, resume your seat-- Hon Members, this is a House ofdebate. Let us allow the Hon Member tomake his point and I would give other HonMembers the opportunity to make theirpoints thereafter. I am not going to recognise any pointsof order. But if you stand up, I would giveyou the opportunity so that he canrespond. Why I am not going to recogniseany points of order is that, there wouldbe points of order upon points of order.There would be so many points of ordersthat we would even lose track of who issaying what. Hon Members, please, allow HonQuaittoo to finish his point, then wewould take it from there and know what todo. He is still on his feet, and we do notwant to truncate him. Hon Quaittoo, clause 3 (1) says: “The aims of a technical university areto provide higher education inengineering, science and technologybased disciplines, technical andvocational education and training,applied arts and related dis-ciplines…” That indicates the courses. My onlyworry is the “applied arts”. This isbecause applied arts can includemarketing --[Laughter] -- Hon Members, Order! Order! The Hon Member for the constituencynear my constituency, order! Hon Quaittoo, just finish and then wewould see what to do.
Mr Speaker, my point isthat if the “applied arts” is the problem letus all agree and delete it and concentrateon the technical subjects. If we are looking for a Vice Chancellor,the Vice Chancellor should haveexperience in one of those relevant areas.That is all. We do not want to have theseuniversities teaching marketing and thosecourses. We have enough of those ones.
HonMember, I have deferred furtherconsideration of clause 16. This isbecause we would continue ad infinitum.Hopefully, between today and tomorrow,we would be able to convince ourselves. Hon Members, I would defer furtherconsideration of clause 16 until tomorrow. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I sawyou on your feet.
Mr Speaker, I was going toappeal to you that we have had enoughof this debate on that clause. If it is yourpleasure, we should stand it down,continue tomorrow and go to anothermatter. I would want to call, subject to yourconvenience, the Motion numbered 14--
HonMembers, this brings us to the end ofthe Consideration Stage of the TechnicalUniversities Bill, 2016 for today. Hon Members, I thank you for yourlively contributions.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, if we can go to Order PaperAddendum 3 -- Presentation of Papers.By the Hon Minister for Trade andIndustry -- [Pause.]
HonMembers, Order Paper Addendum 3 --Presentation of Papers by the HonMinister for Trade and Industry.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, if we can ask the Hon Ministerfor Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration to lay the Paper on behalf ofthe Hon Minister for Trade and Industry.
Mr Speaker, we havebeen talking about these matters, and weexpect the Acting Leaders of GovernmentBusiness to take us serious. It is almost 7.30 p.m., We are asked toconsider this issue, and the Hon Ministerdoes not find it necessary to be here. The Hon Deputy Majority Leader doesnot tell us where the Hon Minister is.[Interruption.] We are talking about theHon Minister and not the Hon DeputyMinister. [Interruption.] The HonDeputy Majority Leader has not told uswhere the Hon Minister is. Please, theyshould take us serious. Mr Speaker, where is the Hon Ministerfor Trade and Industry? The Hon DeputyMajority Leader should explain. Mr Speaker, to be fair to us --
HonMembers, I am totally surprised that at7.30 p.m., you have so much energy to bejust stipulating across the aisle with suchforce. Please, let us maintain some order. Hon Members, if you have someobjection and you get up, I wouldrecognise you. I have recognised HonAkoto Osei, so, if anyone has anotherobjection, when he sits, that person canget up. Hon Members, I do not understandwhat is happening today. I do not knowwhether we have been given some glucoseor something. We seem to have so muchenergy; I wonder.
Mr Speaker, we wouldwant to assist the Leader of GovernmentBusiness to do Government Business. Butwe would want to be respected. We arestaying in late to do GovernmentBusiness. Mr Speaker, the least the Hon DeputyMajority Leader can do is to tell us whythe Hon Minister is not here and who isgoing to lay the Paper so that we wouldconsider that. It should not be consideredautomatically. That is what he did; I amsaying he should respect us.
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague, Hon Dr A. A. Osei—
HonMembers, I am surprised that there is noisegoing on at the Majority benches. HonDeputy Majority Leader, please, resumeyour seat. I am surprised that there is noisegoing on at your back bench when youare speaking. The meeting is still ongoingover there. Look at the back bench, I amsurprised. Hon Members, it is 7.30 p.m. please.We have managed the House quietly andwe want to keep everything in order. I ampleading with both sides of the Housefor the last time, let us pilot this part of theproceedings to a smooth end [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, there is adelegation — [Laughter] — Mr Speaker,my information is that, there is adelegation from Iran, meeting with the
President currently and the Hon Ministerfor Trade and Industry is at that meeting,facilitating that business at the moment.That is the reason we are asking yourpermission, for the Hon Minister forForeign Affairs and Regional Integrationto lay the Paper on behalf of the HonMinister.
As is thetradition in this House, when you ask forpermission for another Minister to standin for a Minister who is absent, we ask theother side whether they have anyobjection. So, Hon Minority Leader, doyou have any objection to that?
Mr Speaker,ordinarily, once such an application ismade, it should not be disputed, exceptthat, I do know for a fact that in themeetings that the delegation from Iran ishaving with the President, the Ministerresponsible for Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration, who has an integralrole in the meeting, is here — [Laughter.]So, that cannot be the reason. There maybe some other reasons, but certainly thatcannot be the reason.
Mr Speaker, I am actingupon the information I received[Laughter] — The delegation has twoaspects of the division, but the one whichinvolves the Ministry of Foreign Affairsand Regional Integration had been doneand what is left now is that whichinvolves the Ministry of Trade andIndustry. That is what is taking place —[Uproar.]
On thatnote, Hon Minority Leader, having madeyour point, do we allow the Hon Ministerto lay the Paper? Mr Kobina T. Hammond — rose --
HonMember, I called the Hon Minority Leader.You are not the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, there issomething in his mouth and so he hasyielded to me — [Laughter.]
HonMinority Leader, do you have anyobjection?
Mr Speaker,notwithstanding that, in my view, eventhough acknowledgeably, the informationthat was given to us was incorrect, wemay allow the Hon Minister responsiblefor Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration to lay the document.
Mr Speaker, can we beassured that there are enough copies fordistribution to Hon Members tonight?This is because if we are going to considerit properly, all of us should have a copy.We do not want the case of the LegislativeInstrument (L.I.) or other Papers to berepeated. I know that, per our StandingOrders, once it is laid, they shouldplease, ensure that there are enoughcopies.
MrSpeaker, could I respectfully request thatthe Agreement be referred to the jointCommittee on Trade, Industry andTourism and Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration? Mr Speaker, for the benefit of the HonRanking Member of the FinanceCommittee, I would also like to say andMr Ebenezer Ahumah Djietror wouldattest to it, that we delivered sufficientcopies to the House this evening to bedistributed to Hon Members of the House.
If I mayjust ask why you want it to go to the jointcommittee, is it because you presented it?
Mr Speaker, without tryingto usurp the functions of the Hon Ministerfor Trade and Industry, I believe that,given that this Agreement has gonethrough various iterations involving boththe Ministry of Trade and Industry andthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration, especially when wediscussed this at the regional level, wewould be better placed as the Ministry ofForeign Affairs and Regional Integrationto also provide the necessary information,to enable this House to take an informedposition on this Agreement. Mr Speaker, it is for this reason that Isuggest it should be referred to the jointCommittee.
Mr Speaker, I agree withthe Hon Minister on this matter. TheCommittee on Foreign Affairs is alreadyseized with information from theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA),and so, I believe her recommendation isright; but your decision is what we await.
HonMembers, I would strike a compromise.This is because if we refer it to the fullcomplement of both Committees, it may reduce our numbers here significantly. Iwill refer it just to the Committee on Trade,Industry and Tourism, but ask that theleadership of the Committee on ForeignAffairs join the Trade, Industry andTourism Committee to consider this matter.This is because of the fact that we are inour last days, and we would want HonMembers to take part in discussions. Hon Members, so three Memberseach; the Chairman, the Vice Chairman,Ranking Member, Deputy RankingMember and one other Member. ThreeMembers each of both sides should jointhis Committee. Hon Members, I believe the ratios inParliament is always that the Majorityhave the majority, and so, four HonMembers from the Majority side and threefrom the Minority Side, including theChairman, the Vice Chairman, the RankingMember and the Deputy Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker, we are talkingabout representation from the Committeeon Trade, Industry and Tourism, and weare thinking of ourselves as one body. Ifyou would want six members to attend, Ibelieve that would be appropriate.
HonMember, when you look at ourCommittees, they are always based oncertain ratios, and it is those ratios that Iam using. I thank you for your inter-vention, but I would keep the direction Igave.
Mr Speaker, it is a fewminutes to 8.00 p.m., the joint Caucus isgoing to hold a meeting after adjournment.At this stage, we are in your hands.
Mr Speaker,before you proceed to do what you arerequired to do under our rules, I wouldwant to remind us of the pendency of an issue that agitated the minds of this Houseyesterday, in respect of the LegislativeInstrument (L.I.) relating to theInterconnect Clearinghouse. Mr Speaker,it has not been resolved and I think manypeople in the House spoke about ityesterday. Some of those who earlierspoke later admitted that there is a problemwith the L. I. Mr Speaker, when we rose yesterday,the Speaker offered his advice about howto proceed. That far, officially, the Househas not been told anything, and so we donot know where we are as a House, giventhe fact that, by the close of this day,after midnight, if nothing is done, theInstrument becomes operational. So, itis important that we know what is at stakeand what it is that must be done beforewe rise. Mr Speaker, that we are all clearin our minds, but I do not want to repeatwhat issues came up yesterday.
Thankyou very much. Hon Members, the matter you haveraised bears two issues. I must confessthat in the heat of the moment, itcompletely escaped me. First of all, I havemade my position clear from the floorand I would not want to, even as theChair, the Question -- I think that it isbest practice. In the law courts, it is called recusingoneself. I spoke forcefully on it twice, so,if the matter is going to be considered,then the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament, orthe Hon First Deputy Speaker, would takethe Chair because I spoke about it. Secondly, and unfortunately, theStanding Orders are so constraining thatI cannot put a matter forward to beconsidered. So, with what you have said,your Hon Colleagues have heard that,including the Hon Majority Leader. So, I
need to hear from him and depending onwhat he says, I can then make the conse-quential orders. If I have to invite the HonFirst Deputy Speaker to come and takethe Chair, then I should do that. I can easilysuspend the Sitting and join the Caucusmeeting, while the Rt Hon Speaker orthe Hon First Deputy Speaker comes totake the Chair -- I would not sit andpreside over it. Hon Majority Leader, you heard yourColleague, the Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I heard theHon Minority Leader raise a veryimportant pending issue which weprogrammed today as item numbered 5,at page 4 of the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, it is an issue that I thinknot only this House, but all of us as anation, would have to ponder over andmaybe reconsider. As presentlyconstituted, we are faced with the samechallenge that we faced yesterday, andwe also know the effective date of theInstrument by law is today. So, as weadjourn Sitting today, the Instrumentwould be deemed to have come into forceby midnight because Parliament would notSit until tomorrow. Mr Speaker, we are also aware of theissues that were raised. I have been tryingto rally around to see how, as a House, wecould handle this very difficult issue. Ican only say that the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice has taken note ofthe issues that we raised on the floor andbecause of the challenge, there is no doubtthat the Instrument will come into forceafter midnight today. So, if there is any cleaning up to bedone, it would have to be done andresubmitted to the House for consideration. As it is now, there is not much we can do,because I do not have the mandate orauthority to withdraw the Instrument. TheInstrument was referred to a Committee,and the Committee has presented itsReport. The Report has been debated andthere is a division whether to annul or tolet it come into force; that is the tenure ofthe debate. Mr Speaker, so, that is the challengednow. I said, as presently constituted, theHouse can do very little. So, we wouldjust call on the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice to try as much aspossible to expedite action on this matter,and if need be, come back to the Housefor us to reconsider it. Mr Speaker, in themeantime, our hands are tied.
I would want to remindour Hon Majority Leader that the debatedid not end and I do not know how weshould deal with it. [Interruption.] No, Iam talking about the debate on the Motion-- It did not conclude. The Question hasnot been put so, at least, we should gothrough that part irrespective of whetherour hands are tied or not. We cannot letthe Question hang. [Interruption.] There was no Question and so Iexpect that, at least the Question shouldbe put so that we conclude the debate.
Mr Speaker, I thought Ispoke parliamentary language, and Ithought my Hon Colleagues understood. The Question was not put yesterdaybecause of one issue, and it is the sametoday. That is why I said our hands aretied. So, the Question cannot also be puttoday because of the same issue that wasraised yesterday. The Question is thereforepending. But I was addressing thesubstantive matter that in terms ofprocedure, it would still be pending andwe then would have to discuss and seehow to handle that.
Mr Speaker, the HonMajority Leader suggested that our handsmay be tied in this matter, but I am not sosure whether I comprehend what hesuggested. He actually compounded theproblem by suggesting that there are onlytwo options left for us; that we vote on itor allow the Instrument to go throughautomatically; we hear it might go throughby midnight. Mr Speaker, there is a third option andfor me, a better alternative. The Bill fromwhich the L.I. emanates was submitted tothis House by the Executive. The HonBagbin is the Leader of the House. He maynot have the ministerial responsibility towithdraw that, but we were here when hesought leave for a Minister to perform thefunction of another Minister. So, even though the Minister forCommunications, Dr Edward OmaneBoamah may be out of the country, thereis a very clear way out. Seek the authorityof the Executive, ask one of the Ministersto withdraw this matter before we are facedSupreme Court might be involved in thismatter; is that what we want? Mr Speaker, considering all thedifficulties that we discussed yesterday,this document must be withdrawn fromthe House because we would be headingtowards the Supreme Court.
Mr Speaker, there is nounanimity on the issue; some are for andothers are against. Mr Speaker, I am not speaking intongues. [Laughter.] I am speaking theHon Member's language, and I expecthim to understand his language becauseI cannot go further than that.
Yes, HonOkyere Darko-Mensah, before yourLeader.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that where we have reached alsobids the question of our procedure indealing with these L.I.s. I believe the last minute way ofhandling the Reports, just before the L.I.spass, should be looked at. I suggest thatmaybe, 14 days after it has been laidproperly, we should do the discussionsand work on the Report, so that some ofthese problems do not catch us on thetrail. I believe we should learn from thisparticular experience where there havebeen a major debate on an issue and wefind ourselves so tied up. I do not know whether the Leader ofthe House can speak with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, whethershe can also handle it so that we knowhow to go about it. This is because I haveseen her in the Chamber. If Parliament has found fault with itsown Report, it is better we correct it in-House than to allow a third party to takeus on. It would look as if we did not do agood job.
HonOkyere Darko-Mensah, you would realisethat, sitting in the Chamber yesterday, Ifirst raised the issue of the Reportcoming in rather late. If I raised the issue and I want tocomment on it, then I would become ajudge in my own court. That is what Iwould be doing. This is because, I raisedan issue and then transformed myself onto the Speakership, which is the highoffice, and then make far reaching rulingon the issue by using you as a steppingstone. I would not be allowed to do that.It is not proper.
History would not judge you and I,especially having regard to the proximityof your constituency to mine, and ourlong standing friendship, and the fact thatyou were my campaign managerpreviously. They would even think thatyou and I have arranged for this. Historywould even think that Takoradi andEsikadu have arranged to do this. TheWestern Region boys have arranged todo this. Please, do not lead me into temptation.[Laughter.] I would not go into thattemptation; I would not comment on it.But I thought you would raise anotherpoint, just agitating my mind, that I didnot raise yesterday. We know that under article 11 (7), theonly way in which one can annul this isby a two-thirds majority. All right, I willwait. I will not say anything. Yes, I think the time has come for us tomove on. Hon Minority Leader?
Yes, MrSpeaker, quite apart from your ownposition in this matter, the other is theissues that we have raised, which are verygermane, addressed by your goodself, theHon Minority Leader and the HonMajority Leader. When we thought thatwe should be able to carry the entire Housewith us, there were few dissenting voicesnot to stand it down. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the fact also is that, theHon Majority Leader has signalled --[Pause.] Where we are now, assumingyou are not even in the Chair, if theQuestion is put and we decide not toapprove of the Report, what does it mean? Going forward, we require two-thirdsof our Members to annul it. We do nothave the two-thirds number here. If theHouse should approve of the Report,given what was said, the House would bemaking a mockery of itself. So, I believe it is better, given whatthe Hon Majority Leader has said, that hehas had some engagement with the HonAttorney-General and Minister forJustice, to leave the Question still hangingso that, at least, it would be seen that therewas something irregular about this. TheHon Attorney-General and Minister forJustice would take a cue and do the properthing. Of course, against the fact that we donot have sufficient numbers to annul it, itwould naturally come into operation aftermidnight today. As a House, we cannotthen stop it. What needs to be done mustbe done by the Attorney-General'sDepartment. They should clean up thesystem and come back, maybe, when thenext Parliament meets, so that we have asecond look at it. Certainly, it is not the best that we have.There are several notes in the instrumentthat affect the parent Act, as we have said;there are certain new matters which havebeen introduced, which are not in theparent Act and so on. So, Mr Speaker, I guess it is better toleave it hanging so that it would registerthe position the House took, and allow itto come into operation with the effluxionof time. Mr Speaker, that is what I think weshould do. Let us leave it hanging.
HonMinority Leader, thank you very much. Hon Members, just for the records,Standing Order 109 states that: “No Question for decision in theHouse shall be proposed fordetermination unless there arepresent in the House not less thanone-half of all the Members of theHouse, and, except otherwiseprovided in the Constitution, theQuestion proposed shall bedetermined by the majority of thevotes of the Members present andvoting.” That is Standing Order 109. Article 11(7) (c) states that: “(7) Any Order, Rule or Regulation madeby a person or authority under a powerconferred by this Constitution or anyother law shall -- (c) come into force at theexpiration of twenty-onesitting days after being so laidunless Parliament, before theexpiration of the twenty-onedays, annuls the Order, Ruleor Regulation by the votes ofnot less than two-thirds of allthe members of Parliament”. Hon Members, the Members ofParliament present are 56 for the Majorityand 35 for the Minority, making a total of91. This does not satisfy the condition ofhalf of our number. I am of the considered view that when we look at article 11 (7)(c), for us to put the Question with regardto annulment or otherwise of a subsidiarylegislation, we need a minimum of two-thirds of our numbers, which is 188. We fall far short of that number, so, Ido not see any need or compulsion for meto invite the Rt Hon Speaker or the HonFirst Deputy Speaker to take the Chair forthe Question to be put. In any event, the Leader of GovernmentBusiness has made it clear to us that thisis the position. Our hands are tied. On that note, Hon Members, I believethat I have nothing more useful to add tothis issue and we can move on. [Pause.] Hon Members, should we adjourn? Allright. We would adjourn. Are there relatedissues? Hon Majority Leader, are we adjourningfor a joint Caucus meeting?
Mr Speaker, surely, therewould be a joint Caucus meeting.
Thankyou, Hon Majority Leader. I wasconvinced that you are an honourableman, so, your word would be your bond.