Hon Members, Correctionof Votes and Proceedings and the OfficialReport. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Tuesday, 26th July,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Friday, 15th July, 2016.]
Hon Members, at theCommencement of Public Business --Hon Deputy Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, itemsnumbered 4 (c) and (d) on the Order Paperare ready to be laid.
Hon Member, what aboutitem numbered 4 (a)?
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman is just entering and so, wecan --
The Hon RankingMember is here, so, if the Report isready, any of them could lay it. Is theReport ready, Hon Chairman and HonRanking Member?
Hon Ranking Member, isthe Report ready? Very well. Hon Chairman of the Committee, itemnumbered 4 (a) (i).
Items numbered 4 (a) (i)and (ii) By the Chairman of the Committee -- (i) Report of the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and Par-liamentary Affairs on the Presidential(Transition) (Amend-ment) Bill, 2016. (ii) Report of the Committee onConstitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs on theAgreement between the Republicof Ghana and the UnitedKingdom of Great Britain andNorthern Ireland on the transferof sentenced persons.
Item numbered 4 (b) By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the joint Committee onConstitutional, Legal and Parlia-mentary Affairs and Food,Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs onthe Host Country Agreementbetween the Government of theRepublic of Ghana and the Centrefor Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) regarding theestablishment of a sub-regionaloffice of CAB International inGhana.
Item numbered 4 (c) By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Environ-ment, Science and Technology on theParis Agreement on ClimateChange (December, 2015).
Item numbered 4 (d) By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee onDefence and Interior on theInterception of Postal Packets andTelecommunications Messages Bill,2015.
Mr Speaker, itemnumbered 4 (g). By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Committee on Genderand Children on the Children's(Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, if we could go to itemnumbered 28 on page 18 of the OrderPaper.
Technical UniversitiesBill, 2016 at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Is the Hon Chairman ofthe Committee here?
Very well. Which clause are we starting from? Mr First Deputy Speaker to take theChair. Yes, which clause?
Mr Speaker, we got toclause 16, but there were a few issuesand it was deferred. So, we could startwith clause 17. Mr Speaker, if you may allow Hon (Dr)Matthew Opoku Prempeh to continue withhis amendment on clause 16, because itwas extensively discussed.
Mr Speaker, I thoughtyesterday it was agreed that clause 16 -- Clause 16 -- Rector of a TechnicalUniversity.
“(7) “The Council shall, in making theappointment under subclause (1)take into consideration relevantexperience.” Mr Speaker, yesterday, we agreed withthe Committee that the appointment of theVice Chancellor is not just left to chancebut the person should have relevantexperience and expertise in that sector.
Mr Speaker,I rise to support the proposed amendmentexcept to further propose an amendmentto the proposed amendment by adding“and expertise” after “relevant experience”to make it complete.
MrSpeaker, I am inclined to disagree with theproposed amendment to the amendmenton the basis that this person would be afull professor. Once a person becomes aprofessor, it is considered that he or shehas some expertise in his or her area ofresearch or study.
Is it indicated in the Billthat the person should be a professor?
Mr Speaker, no.
My view is that when youagree to “experience”, I do not see whyyou should object to “expertise”. This isbecause, before one becomes a professor,based on your argument, that person mayhave acquired the experience and theexpertise, but once the Hon Chairmanassociates himself with that amendment,I do not see the harm it will do to the Billby adding “expertise”. If you agree withthe “experience”, why are you notagreeing to “expertise”? Because by thetime that person reaches the level ofprofessor --
Mr Speaker, what wehave agreed to is, “relevant industryexperience.”
It is not here in theamendment. They put the “relevantexperience”.
Mr Speaker, that was theagreement yesterday.
What we have here asthe amendment that has just been movedis, “relevant experience”.
Mr Speaker, no. It shouldbe “relevant industry experience.”
But we do not have the“industrial” there -- Mr Murtala M. Ibrahim -- rose --
Mr Speaker, theadvertised -- [Interruption.]
Are you on a point oforder?
Mr Speaker, yes.
What is your point oforder?
Mr Speaker, hehas to be asked to speak. He has beendoing that and I have --
In fact, you are right.
Hon Members, I was notin the Chair when you considered thismatter. That is why I am trying to invitethe First Deputy Speaker to continue, butif I could dispose of it before leaving theChair, then there is no problem. HonMembers, if it is going to take a longerperiod, then I would invite him to take theChair.
Mr Speaker, yesterday,the advertised amendment by theCommittee was “… industry experience”.Mr Speaker, I said that when you say“industry experience”, it might not berelevant to the university. I added thewords “relevant to the industryexperience.” So, the missing word is the“industry”; that is what they have toinsert.
Yes, let me hear from theHon Deputy Minister.
Mr Speaker, that isaccurate; it should be “relevant industryexperience.” Mr Speaker, that is why weare of the view that, adding “expertise”,when the person is already a professor --
If “industry” is used thenthere might not be the need to add“expertise”.
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, we never agreed. In fact --[Interruption.] There was a huge debate on the floorand some of us asked questions on whywe should demand that, for someone tobe a Vice Chancellor of a university --technical university, as it were -- theperson must have a technical experience.Mr Speaker, I asked a question that, if theargument is that he must have someexperience in one of the disciplines, thenwe could extend the argument by sayingthat he should have experience in all thedisciplines. One does not need to have --[Interruption.] The University is not run like a privatebusiness. There is a university council;and there is management. I said theycannot run a university based on theirown dictates. A university is run basedon the vision and mission of thatuniversity, and no Vice Chancellor couldtake a solitary decision to run a university. So, a person does not need to have, ifyou like, an experience in a particulardiscipline in that university to be able torun the university effectively. I believe we never agreed -- Thisissue generated huge debate on the floor.So it is not accurate to say that we agreedthat the person must have relevantexperience in industry. We never agreedto that.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, I would wantto remind the Hon Deputy Minister forTrade and Industry that, it was
Order!Order! Let us hear him.
Mr Speaker, we do notwant the technical universities to deviatefrom their mandate and mission. It is atechnical university, and we would wantwhoever rises to become a Vice Chancellorto have the relevant industry experiencefrom a technical department. That is thethrust of the argument. Once he is bothan academic and an administrative head,to say that we should leave out thatprovision, I believe that it is mostunfortunate. Mr Speaker, this is a straightforwardmatter; we have a provision in this Billthat the Vice Chancellor is both anacademic head and the head ofadministration. So, it should flow fromthere so that we could make someprogress.
HonMembers, the issue is whether this wasagreed at the Committee level; we are nowat plenary, so, we have to look at it. Doyou get me?
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, I never had anydisagreement on the issue of the relevantexperience. The position was that thetechnical demand as a matter of fact, we indicated here that running a universityis not just like running a private entity. MrSpeaker, I did indicate that, even in ourtraditional universities, it is incumbent onevery single student to take one corecourse as free elective, from a differentdiscipline. Now, if we do this, we wouldbe tying the hands of those who wouldrun the university from probably runningit effectively. If we want to extend that question --and I remember that issues of marketingand others came up -- then we mustdefine what a technical course is. MrSpeaker, the last time I checked, marketingcould be a technical course; law could bea technical course.In this modern world,the courses are not run as they wereseveral decades ago. So, we would needto be very clear. If we want to say that theperson must have some technicalbackground, then we would be reducingit to someone running a private entity, andtying the hands of those who otherwisewould have effectively run thoseuniversities. Universities have set down rules. Ibelieve we have teachers in this Housewho taught in the universities.They couldmake an input as to what constitutes aqualification to run a university, be it atechnical university, a humanityuniversity or whatever we would wantto describe it.
MrSpeaker, I agree with the Hon DeputyMinister for Trade and Industry; we didnot come to a final determination on this.Mr Speaker, clearly, there was apreponderance of opinions around theissue of industry experience. We are nottalking about technical experience.Nobody has said “relevant technicalexperience”. It does not exist.It looks like he is importing into that construction,additional wording. Mr Speaker, what isstated there is: “The Council shall, in making theappointment under sub clause (1)take into consideration relevantindustry experience”. Mr Speaker, we are not even talkingabout “the relevant industry experience”.Mr Speaker, there is no definite articlepreceding “industry”. “Industry” in thissense is generic and it cannot be restrictedto technical education. It is so becauseif you go back to clause 3 (1): which wityour permission states; “The aims of a technical universityare to provide higher education inengineering, science and technologybased disciplines …” After that we have: “… technical and vocationaleducation and training ...” So, if you apply industry knowledge inthis respect, then you could have aperson who has training in vocationaleducation assume the ViceChancellorship. I do not see where the problem of theHon Deputy Minister for Trade andIndustry comes from. As I have indicatedto him, “industry” here becomes a term ofart and it is used generically. So, heshould understand it in that perspectiveand then we could move on. Let it be known that the relevantexperience or competence is not qualifiedby a definite article. It says, “The Council shall, in making theappointment under sub clause (1),take into consideration relevantindustry experience.” Mr Speaker, there is an omission in theproposed amendment by Dr MatthewOpoku Prempeh which is before us today.There is an omission of the word “industry” which was contained inyesterday's proposed amendment, and Iwould want to believe that it is due to theprinters devil that we do not have theword “industry” here. Once we agree toit, then we could move on.
Mr Speaker, we haveto be clear about where we are. Theamendment proposed by Dr MatthewOpoku Prempeh is pending, and Iproposed a further amendment to hisamendment. No decision has been takenon what I proposed, and the HonMinority Leader has proposed somethingelse as an inclusion. Mr Speaker, I proposed that, after“experience” we should add “and expertise”. That has to be decided upon. If it isdefeated, we could go on to whether weshould add “industry” instead of“expertise”. However, as we speak now,the “industry” has come up and it appearsto be overarching the proposed amend-ment on which decision has not yet beentaken.
If I followedthe argument well, earlier there was theissue of whether there was the need forthe word “expertise” after having usedthe word “experience”. So, I thought thatwas being debated. We need to come tosome kind of understanding before wemove forward, but let us listen to the Hon(Prof.) Fobih.
MrSpeaker, I wanted to clarify some issueabout this, that a technical university, likesome specialised universities, performsunique functions in that institution. Forthat reason, the senior members, that is,
the academic staff must have some specialexperience related to their work. So, alsodo we want the leadership to have thatspecial practical experience, at least, in oneof the disciplines that are studied there,so that they would have betterunderstanding and appreciation of themission of the university. That is why in some of the professionalinstitutions like the University ofEducation, Winneba and the Universityof Cape Coast, et cetera¸ it was part ofthe conditions for employing a ViceChancellor. He must have somebackground in Education in addition tohis academic background, which perhapsmade him rose to the rank that he is in theuniversity as a professor or whatever. Mr Speaker, so, I also agree with theproposal that the person must have arelevant experience in one of the fields;the disciplines that are studied there.[Interruption.] I agree with what wefinally settled on yesterday, that theperson must have relevant experience inone of the disciplines. He cannot have experience in all thedisciplines, but once he has practicalexperience in one of the disciplines thatare studied in the technical universitywhich perhaps, is his subject ofinstruction and made him rise to the levelof maybe a professor, he is equallyqualified, if he has the academic backingto the ranking of Vice Chancellor. That isit.
Could wehear from the Committee? Hon DeputyMinister, you heard the issues raises.
Mr Speaker, as I saidearlier, once we have relevant industryexperience, I honestly think that suffices.At the National Council of TertiaryEducation and in the statutes of ouruniversities, the qualifications to become
a vice chancellor is spelt out. A personmust be a professor. And to rise to becomea professor, it is given that he would haveextensive knowledge in a particular field,which qualifies to be expertise. So, it would be superfluous to add“expertise” once a person has relevantindustry experience. We do not need toadd “expertise”. We do not really loseanything. If the House insists, I am quiteindifferent. I do not think we lose or gainanything by adding “expertise” whenwhoever rises to become a Vice Chancellorhas expertise. In my view, it is quitesuperfluous.
Mr Speaker, yesterday thisissue was debated and I am of the viewthat, it is a matter of course that everybodyfollowed the debate. But today, the matteris hovered up. However, the Hon DeputyMinister has summed up the debate onwhether there should be expertise. At theend of it all, what we were looking for hasbeen stated in clause 3. So, theconstruction of the amendment is that:which I beg to quote; “The Council shall, in making theappointment under subclause (1)take into consideration relevantindustry experience.” Mr Speaker, if “expertise” is added, itdoes not spoil anything. It does not takeanything out. So I plead that we shouldgo by that rendition and end this long andwinding debate which spanned over threehours yesterday, and this morning, we arestill on that.
HonMembers, I would listen to two morecontributions and we would take adecision.
MrSpeaker, with regard to relevant industryexperience, a few of the professors wouldhave that relevant industry experience.Are we saying we are going to makeprofessors into Vice Chancellors? Wemight have none who has industry to haveany experience. It is most likely that we would not getthem. So, why do we not end it at “relevantexperience” and leave how to define the“relevance” to the Council or any otherregulation that could come around. When we talk about industry, it isnebulous. What is industry? Everythingis in industry; in manufacturing, one couldlook at the electricity. So, maybe, weshould avoid using that particular wordand we would be all right.
You arevirtually repeating the same argumentover and over again.
Mr Speaker,there is a big difference here. Thisconvention is taking place due to theexperience that we have picked from theGerman system. They are moulded alongthe German system. In Germany, forinstance, even lecturers are supposed tohave hands on practical experience in anindustry. Regularly, they would have to leaveteaching and go to the industry to havehands-on experience. That is what we aresaying here, that they should havepractical industry experience, not justrelevant industry experience. Relevantwhat? [Interruptions.]
Relevant experiencein teaching or what? If we allow it to stayas it is, it could mean they should haverelevant experience in teaching. However,that is the usual thing that is done in theuniversities; everybody teaches. So, it is something which is alreadyimplied. What is a valued addition here isthe industrial hands on practicalexperience, which is required of anybodywho would want to head such aninstitution. Mr Richard M. Quashigah -- rose --
You aregoing to repeat an argument that has beenput forward. I am almost certain. Yes, allright, you have the floor.
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, for recognising me. Mr Speaker, clearly, I believe we arestruggling with grammar over here, in that,when we say something is relevant, itmeans it is important to the subject matterat hand. If we say”relevant experience”that suffices. What is this whole Bill, about? It isabout technical education et cetera. It isimplied. When we say “relevantexperience”, it is the kind of experiencethat is relevant to the subject matter. So,we do not have to belabour this particularissue. The “industry”, “technical” orwhatever, makes it only convoluted. Itwould only display our wordiness, the useof too many words to express one sameidea which could be said in fewer words. Ibelieve that is what we are struggling with. Mr Speaker, the way it is, it is excellent;it is perfect.When a person speaks to agrammarian, he would point to him thatwhat we have as of now, is the right one. 12. 45 p.m.
Thank youvery much. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister, your lastword?
Mr Speaker, I still wouldwant to appeal to the House that weshould leave it at “relevant industryexperience”. We do not need to add“expertise”. How are we going to define“expertise” and how sure are we that wecould really find people and all of that? Ithink it becomes quite unwieldy. Let usjust leave it at “relevant industryexperience”, it addresses all the concerns. Mr Speaker, that it the sense I get.
HonMembers, I think from where we stand,the amendment is as follows: “The Council shall, in making theappointment under subclause (1)take into consideration relevantindustry experience.” That is what we are looking at.[Interruption] -- The “industry” has notbeen taken out. It has been put back. So,that is what we are looking at, HonMembers.
Mr Speaker,the “industry” is missing on today's OrderPaper. It was there yesterday. That is whyI said that it is not really an addition; it isto bring back what obtained yesterday.
So, that isthe construction that confronted usyesterday.
Mr Speaker, today, the Hon Memberfor Bekwai seeks to add at the end of it,“and expertise”. I think that is the matterthat should engage us. Mr Speaker, if you want to put theQuestion, he has proposed a furtheramendment to that. So, you can put theQuestion on his. If it falls, the original isretained. I just suggested to him that if wehave the experience related to industry --we are talking about competence orexpertise in the industry. In any event, aperson must have the expertise before theexperience. Perhaps, the proper rendition wouldhave been “…take into considerationrelevant industry expertise andexperience.” That would be an overkill.This is because the expertise is related toindustry. Once we insert the “industry”,his own addition would not be neededany longer. If we had no “industry” there,then his own would be relevant. Mr Speaker, I would propose to youthat, put the Question on his firstproposed amendment. If he wins --
Maybe, heis minded to withdraw. If he is --
Mr Speaker,I am not sure. Looking at his demeanour, Iam not sure that he is minded to withdraw.[Laughter.]
HonMember, the re-introduction of “industry”into this amendment probably takes careof what you want to propose. If you insist,I would put the Question.
Mr Speaker, if youask me what “industry” is, I would not beable to define it. Which industry are wetalking about in this instance? In my view, a Vice Chancellor is a Chief Executive. So,the expertise required is not industrypractice. It is managerial. That is why ifwe use “expertise”, then we have a widearea to deal with, rather than restrict it to“industry”, which would be difficult todefine. I would rather wish that it is votedupon and if it is defeated, then it wouldbe record that, that amendment wasproposed. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonMembers, I would first put the Questionon the Hon Member for Bekwai's proposedamendment to what has been proposedby the Committee. That is the inclusion ofthe word, “expertise”. Question put and amendmentnegatived.
HonMembers, now I would put the Questionwith regard to the proposed amendmentby the Committee which has further beenamended by the inclusion of the word“industry”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 16 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 17 and 18 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 19 -- Functions of theAcademic Board;
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 19, paragraph (c), sub-paragraph(ii), after “degrees” insert “diplomas,certificates and other qualifications”.
What is therationale behind that? 12. 45 p.m.
Well, I amlost a little . Could you enlighten us a little?
Mr Speaker, if we look atthe various science research institutionsthat we have in this country, they allstarted with Librarians. Now, to be incharge of the library of any scienceresearch institute,the person needs tohave basic training in the sciences, atleast, a first degree in the sciences inaddition to their training as Librarian. If we check, the trend now is that, wehave Scientific Information Officers in thescience based research institutions. Wecould have Librarians as the ScientificInformation Officers who are going to bein charge of the cataloguing of books inthe library. But when it comes to themanagement, the person who headsscientific information in the library is theScientific Information Officer.
Is he notsupposed to be under the Librarian?
He is rankedhigher than the Librarian?
He is in charge of thelibrary.
Mr Speaker, Imust confess that I am not aware of thatadvancement in librarianship, however, hehas made a very good point. Why do wenot leave it to the statutes of theuniversity? They would invite applicants to beLibrarians, then they may say that theperson must have a first degree in thesciences, but the person would still becalled a Librarian. And that is what we allknow.
Mr Speaker, we put themin the correct order.
So, you aremaking sure that it covers all?
Yes, Mr Speaker. We wantto cover all that. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 19 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 20 -- Composition of theAcademic Board;
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 20, subclause (1), paragraph (d),delete “Institutes” and insert “Faculties,Institutes, Departments”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, clause 20, subclause (1),paragraph (g), delete “Librarian” andinsert “Scientific Information Officer”. Mr Speaker, we want to promotescience and technology. The Librarian isa member of the Academic Board. He issupposed to be a resource person, andhe is going to be involved in theformulation and implementation ofprogrammes. Therefore, there is the needfor us to have that basics for his inclusionin the formulation of courses. Mr Speaker, the other reason is that,the basic requirement for a ScientificInformation Officer is, at least, a firstdegree in any of the sciences, in additionto his training as a Librarian. That giveshim an added advantage when it comes tocontributing toward the development ofscience and technology in the veryinstitution we are trying to establish.
I have tried to google ScientificInformation Officer in Wikipedia. I havenot found it. But that does not mean thatwhat he is saying is not correct.After all,he is in academia, or he was in academiabefore he came and joined us, eventhough sometimes, looking at him, onewould not think that he is in academia. So, I agree. Let us not tie their hands.There may be some Scientific InformationOfficers. There are not too many though.We may get somebody who has scienceand then just librarianship. Librarianship involves more thanscience. However, nothing prevents atechnical university, in employing aLibrarian, to require that the person musthave a first degree in the sciences. I donot know about the Kwame NkrumahUniversity of Science and technology,which is supposed to be the foremostleading university in science. I am appealing to my Hon Colleague towithdraw his application. If he wants toput it in the statute, in an enactmentsetting up the university, it would createa problem.
Thank you so muchMr Speaker. Indeed, there may be some sciencerelated universities with ScientificInformation Officers, and we also havesome institutions now coming up withTechnology Information Officer. However, clearly, they are not peoplewho are higher than the Librarian. TheLibrarian has gone through thoroughtraining, and has been groomedspecifically for that job, so all otherdisciplines come under his management.Even if we have a Scientific Information Officer, he can only work within thatdepartment, but not replace the Librarian. In all universities, be they technical --and if we do a search, be it in Germany orother places that some of us have hadthings with, the Librarian is the one whois always on the council. So, I would crave the indulgence ofmy Hon Colleague to withdraw hisamendment, so that even if there wouldbe the need for a Scientific InformationOfficer, that would be left with theuniversity, to administratively deal withwhen they deem it fit.
Yes HonMember? Hon Deputy Minister, I will cometo you. You would also have your bite.
I think this amend-ment should be seen as harmless, becauseit is probably a new terminology our HonColleague has come up with, just to makethe job of a Librarian sound morefashionable. In any case, there is a course which isbeing offered by the universities,information studies, which also teacheslibrarianship. So, he probably wants towiden the scope of the work of theLibrarian. So, I would support his amendment,that a Scientific Information Officer,meaning somebody with informationstudies background --
Do you notthink that in the publication forapplications, they could indicate thatthe person must have this kind ofbackground, because -- [Interruption.]
There was a similarissue yesterday, and there was thisargument that the Act needs to guide the
Of course, butbecause people are averse to new things,they find it difficult to accept the fact thatsomebody could be called a ScientificInformation Officer rather than a Librarian.
Well, let ushear from the Hon Deputy Minister, Ipromised him.
Mr Speaker, since theamendment was proposed, I have donesome checks with the experts at theNational Council for Tertiary Education.The indication is that, the ScientificInformation Officer appears to exist onlyat CSIR. All the universities are still usingLibrarian. We have checked with the Librarians.They do not feel old fashioned by theirtitle “Librarian”, and it is also importantto appreciate the distinction between ourtechnical universities and CSIR. CSIR generates research. The technicaluniversities would largely apply theresearch, so they are two distinct entities.So, the advice received from the NationalCouncil for Tertiary Education is that, weshould keep it as it is; “Librarian”. Thereis no need to amend this time testedpractice. That is our view on it. Mr Kpodo-- rose --
I would giveyou the last bite of it, but let us hear fromhim.
MrSpeaker, it is not true that it is only CSIRthat uses that title “Scientific InformationOfficer”. All research institutions in Ghana --I have worked for Cocoa ResearchInstitute of Ghana for four years. Researchinstitutions use that title, and their job isquite different from the Librarian. implementers of the Act. There was asimilar argument concerning anotherclause. So, I do agree with you, but if we go bythe assumption that the Act should guidethe executors --
Because Iknow that currently,one could start as aLibrarian and rise to become a professor.
Yes, in theUniversity of Ghana, Legon, most of theLibrarians hold masters degrees. Theminimum qualification to become aLibrarian is a masters degree in most ofthe universities, .
Yes, so aspart of the qualification for one to beemployed, the institution could indicate.
What I knowis that, Scientific Information Officer is anew name for a Librarian. I have been aDeputy Scientific Information Officer atthe Council for Scientific and IndustrialResearch (CSIR). I had a science ordinarylevel (O'level) qualification, and the nameLibrarian and Scientific InformationOfficer are the same. The functions arethe same. The only thing that a Scientificinformation Officer is supposed to do isretrieve information, no matter the subjectmatter. If a person is a well-trained Librarianor Scientific Information Officer, theperson is supposed to be able to retrieveinformation whenever it becomesnecessary. So, that is only --
But HonMember, if they are the same then wecould go with one.
They are technical people who are alsoable to conduct research. So, they areput in those positions to coordinateresearch activities that go on in all thoseinstitutions. When we go to the Cocoa ResearchCentre for instance, they have thepathologist, the entomologist --everybody conducts some research oncocoa, coffee or something, and theScientific Research Officer is the one whocoordinates all the activities, so that therewould not be any overlapping researchactivities going on, because the resourcesare very scarce. Again, when you go to the CocoaResearch Centre, apart from the ScientificResearch Officer, they have a Librarian,and the Librarian works under theinformation management unit. He keepsinformation in the library. He retrieveswhichever information that someonemight want. The Scientific ResearchOfficer is totally different from the librarian. So, in this case, we have a universityand we would want somebody to keepinformation, so the Librarian is the best.
Very well. I would like to listen to the proposer ofthe amendment if he would like towithdraw. If he would not, I would goahead and put the Question.
Mr Speaker, if we look atthe role of the Librarian, as part of theAcademic Board -- The function of theAcademic Board is to fashion outprogrammes, and it is indeed veryimportant, if we would want to promote science and technology. We must havesome basis for that.Therefore, I wouldwant to stand by it, but -- [Interruptions]--I would want it to be on record that Isuggested it.
HonMember, are you not withdrawing?I was about to put the Question.
Mr Speaker, thoseproposing the change seemed to have twopositions. One says that it is the same asa Librarian, and the other says it is not.There is confusion in the argument theyare trying to put across. But it is even more dangerous if wepermit such a thing in our law. What isgoing to happen is that, we are going tochange the known lexicon in ourvocabulary. A Librarian will keep information,whether it is from the Research Officer, orwriter, at a place where he can help youretrieve. It is different from the personsthey are talking about -- the ResearchOfficer and so on. Mr Speaker, let us not get theimpression that technical universitystudents would not be found useful inhistory lessons. I recalled that I wrotesomething sometime ago, that the onlyreason the one took the best scienceaward was because he took his historylessons seriously. So, let us not assume that students oftechnical universities would not readliterature or history. A Librarian coverseveryone. Every material is in his charge;he holds them and can help you retrievethem. He organises them in such a waythat when you need them -- It is not the Registrar of a university,who is a secretary to the Rector. This isjust to draw your attention to it.
Mr Speaker,indeed, the Registrar's position -- I amreferring to clause 21, subclause (3)(a).The Registrar, as my Hon Colleaguehas said, is not a secretary to the office ofthe Rector. The Registrar has his own separateposition and duties to discharge in theuniversity. If we go to a normal setting,the office of the Vice Chancellor is mannedby an Assistant Registrar, and he doeshis work for him, but the office of theRegistrar is a separate position. He is in charge of the administration ofthe institution, so he cannot act as asecretary to the Rector or the ViceChancellor.
All right.Let us hear from the Deputy Minister. What do you say?
Mr Speaker, that isaccurate. We had discussed it at the Committeelevel.It is just that it has not been captured.It is actually supposed to be theChancellor, and not Rector. So, theRegistrar is supposed to serve the officeof the Chancellor, not Rector or ViceChancellor. That has been the standard practice inall the traditional universities, and with allthe other Bills that we have worked on inthis House. Recently, with the Universityof Ghana, University of Energy andNatural Resources and the University ofHealth and Allied Sciences, that has beenthe practice.
HonMembers, I think we have had enoughdebate on it, so I will put the Question. Question put and amendmentnegative. Clause 20 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
I think wehave some new proposed subclausesunder clause 20, so we would go to thoseones. We will deal with the first one - (xiv),under clause 20. Is it by the Chairman of the Committee? Clause 21 -- Registrar of a TechnicalUniversity.
Mr Speaker, we realisedthat the Bill did not have a place for aDirector of Finance, so the Committeedecided to create a place for it.
HonChairman, please, hold your breath alittle, because we need to deal with clause21 before we come to the one you aretalking about. So, Hon Members, clause 12.[Interruptions.] Dr Prempeh-- rose --
Yes, HonMember, what is it?
Mr Speaker, I would likethe Hon Minister to agree with me toeffect a change. Mr Speaker, making the Registrar of auniversity, a secretary to the Office of theRector is wrong. Every Vice Chancellorhas a secretary and a secretariat.
HonMembers, in that case, we would take itthat you are proposing an unadvertisedamendment to this particular clause, sothat the Registrar would become thesecretary in the Office of the Chancellor. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 21 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Now, wecan move to the issue of the new clause.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,new clause add the following new clauseafter clause 21: Director of Finance “(22) (1) The Council shall appointa Director of Finance for theTechnical University. (2) The Director of Finance shallperform such functions asprescribed in the Statutes. (3) The Director of Finance isresponsible to the Vice Chan-cellor in the performance of thefunctions of the Director ofFinance.”
Mr Speaker,I just re-entered and I took some briefingfrom my Hon Colleague who is the protem acting Minority Chief Whip. Mr Speaker, he has informed me that,for the Registrar, in respect of subclause(3), you have deleted more or lessparagraph (b) and indicated that theRegistrar is the secretary to the Office ofthe Council. I do not thinkt, it is necessary becauseclause 22 (1) takes care of that: which withyour permission I quote; “The Council may appoint any otherstaff as may be necessary for theeffective performance of the functionsof the technical university.” That is enough.
What aboutthe fact that they probably think that thereis the need to make it compulsory for thatposition to be created and for somebodyto be appointed to that office specifically?
Mr Speaker, I would haveagreed with the Hon Member, but thisamendment was proposed based onclause 9 (6) which says: “The Vice-Rector, the Registrar, andthe Director of Finance of atechnical university shall attendmeetings of the Council but are notentitled to vote.” We developed on this further byspelling out the functions of the officersmentioned here -- Vice Chancellor andRegistrar, but we left out the Director ofFinance. There was the view that weshould also make provision for theDirector of Finance. We can maintain thisbecause of clause 9 (6).
Mr Speaker, I agreewith the Hon Deputy Minister. Thisposition is so important for suchinstitutions that, aside clause 9 (6), wemust have a Director of Finance for theuniversity, otherwise, there would bechaos.
MrSpeaker, we need to have that clausethere. In the light of clause 9 (6) that hehas mentioned, most universities haveAccounts Officer. Here, since “Director of
HonMember, would you be satisfied with thatproposal?
No, Mr Speaker. I think the rendition: clause 21, subclause (1), and subclause (3) (b) is enoughto prove that he is secretary to theCouncil, and he is the administrator of theinstitution. We do not need to say that he issecretary to either the Chancellor or tothe Vice Chancellor. He is the chiefadministrator of the institution, and not asecretary to any of the officers.
Mr Speaker, I wish to referto Act 806 of the University of Ghana, withrespect to the Registrar. It says in 20 (2): “The Registrar shall hold office onthe terms and conditions specifiedin the letter of appointment inaccordance with the Statutes of theUniversity.” 20 (3) also says: “The Registrar is the secretary to the (a) Office of the Chancellor; (b) Council, and (c) Academic Board”; So, we are only asking that we shouldbe consistent with our practices in thisHouse. The Chancellor is not resident oncampus. He is largely a ceremonial head. Ihonestly do not think we should departfrom our established conventions. Mr Speaker, it cannot be the office ofthe Council. The Registrar is the secretaryto the Council. That is what is there --[Interruption] If we say ‘Office of theCouncil', then it is wrong.
It is to theOffice of the Chancellor. Hon Members, we have put theQuestion and it has been agreed to. If youthink there is the need for any furtheramendment, you know there is room forthat. Otherwise, we would go backwardand forward.
Mr Speaker, thisis just a correction. There is nothing like“Office of the Council”. Maybe, it wasinadvertent.
Is thereanything like the ‘Office of the Chancellor'?
Mr Speaker, ‘Chan-cellor' is different. You just mentioned‘Office of the Council'. That is what hedid not hear.
I mentioned‘Chancellor' -- ‘the Office of theChancellor'. That is what we voted on. We are at this new clause. If you haveany contribution to make, you have thefloor.
Mr Speaker, I do notthink there is the need for inclusion ofthis new clause -- “Director of Finance”.This is because clause 22 (1) takes care ofany other appointment that the universitymay deem necessary. In any case, why do we only prescribethe appointment of a Director of Finance?The university may also appoint aDirector of Administration or Director ofHuman Resources. Why do we not thenprescribe all these directorships?
Mr Speaker, I support theposition of the Hon Deputy Minister. Inmany jurisdictions, the principal officersof the institution need to be incorporatedinto the law governing the institution. The Registrar, the Director of Finance,Pro Vice Chancellor and the ViceChancellor are principal officers, and theirpositions and duties need to be spelt outin the law governing the institution.
It is good to know thatmy good Friend was a Director of Financeat the University of Education, Winneba.-- [Laughter]
Mr Speaker, I just wonderwhat you would expect in a wholeuniversity without a Director ofFinance.What are we going to expect inthat university? That, there would not bea Director of Finance or any office. Therewould be chaos. There should be andthere must be so, Mr Speaker, I think that—
Mr Speaker, I just wantedto say on the lighter note that, I noticed itwas becoming a battle of professionals;Director of Works for an Architect andDirector of Finance for the Accountants. Mr Speaker, I would want to propose aslight amendment to clause 22 (3), “The Director of Finance isresponsible to theVice Chancellor inthe performance of his functions”. Instead of ‘in the performance of thefunctions of the Director of Finance. Ithink it sounds repetitive.I think that ‘inthe performance of his functions' shouldbe all right. Finance” has been mentioned, it isnecessary we have that clause to have aDirector of Finance, to be relevant toclause 9 (6). We should add the clause. It is very necessary for it to be there,for the sake of emphasis and to ensurethat because we have mentioned that theVice Chancellor, the Registrar and theDirector of Finance should attend theCouncil meetings, we should have aDirector of Finance, so that it would be -- I believe we should add that clause.
Mr Speaker,if we say that we should add “Directorof Finance”, then we should also add“Director of Works”, Director of ICT” andall directors.
HonMembers, let us look at it closely. There isan omnibus clause which empowers theCouncil to appoint other staff. This one isspecific because it is very necessary. Ifyou do not have a Director of Financethere would be chaos.
Mr Speaker, we canhave it in the university statute.
Mr Speaker, it is a normthese days in all universities whereDirectors of Finance are co-opted asmembers of Councils. This is because anytime the Council meets, they would needto know the financial health of theinstitution, and it is only the Director ofFinance who has that capacity to do thateffectively. That is why these days we findDirectors of Finance as part of theCouncil, but they are not members of theCouncil; they are co-opted -- the reasonfor which it is pertinent is that, it isdefined in law.
Hon DeputyMinister, I know as a fact that we do notuse apostrophes in drafting, so, if you arestill insistent, we can leave it to thedraftspersons. They know better if theyshould leave it as it is or treat it as you areproposing. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, as I directed, the draftspersonsshould look at subclause (3), and dealwith it as appropriately.
Mr Speaker,I would suggest to the Hon DeputyMinister that we do not need to go back.This is because,that indeed, is the trendnow. Mr Speaker, if you put the Question onclause 22 as variously amended, I maycome back to clause 21. So, I am waitingfor you.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinority Leader was making reference tothe proposed amendment, that the HonDeputy Minister came out with, and hesays that is the trend. I do not think it iscast in stone. Even if it is the trend, this iswordy. I say so because, if we say that,the ‘Director of Finance is responsible tothe Vice Chancellor in the performance ofthe functions of the Director of Finance',it is wordy. It is implied, if you take out ‘of theDirector of Finance' and insert ‘his' as theHon Deputy Minister proposed, I thinkthat in grammar, that is well suited, thatwould be more accommodating and lesswordy than the way it is. So, if this is thetrend, I think trends are not cast in stonesand we should be able to make modern —
HonMember, the Question has been put andthe Ayes have it, so you are out of order. Hon Members, as directed, thedraftspersons would deal with thatproposed amendment to that particularclause by the Hon Deputy Minister forEducation. So, I can now go ahead and put theQuestion with regard to clause 22 asamended standing part of the Bill. [Pause] -- Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Mr Speaker, before youput the Question, I think the clause 22on the Order Paper is different from theclause 22—
I am goingto give directives. Hon Members, I further direct that thedraftspersons also see to the chronology.This is because we have a new subclause22 and we have the original clause 22.They should see to the arrangement ofthe clauses. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 22 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill.
we alreadyhave clause 22 in the Bill and that waswhy I directed that the draftspersonsshould deal with that one. So, we arenow coming to the original clause 22 ofthe Bill. Clause 22 -- Appointment of otherstaff of a technical university.
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I was just going to make two observations;the one has already been carried. Thesecond one, as I said earlier, relates toclause 21. It has to do with clause 21 (4),which with your permission states; “The Registrar is responsible to theRector for the day-to-day adminis-tration of the affairs of the technicaluniversity”. Not “that technical university.” Andclause 2 (5), “The Registrar may perform anyother functions provided for in theStatutes of the technical univer-sity”. Not “of the respective technicaluniversity”. So, we have to delete theword, “respective” in line 2, subclause(5), then, in line 2 of subclause (4), wedelete “that” and insert “the”. Mr Kpodo-- rose --
Mr Speaker, we have toexamine these amendments properly. The Bill is not specific to a singleuniversity, but it covers all the 10. That iswhy when one says “the Council”, onewould wonder whether there is oneCouncil for all the 10 universities. I thinkthat is what informed the insertion of “aCouncil”, so that each university wouldhave a Council. But where the Bill is specific to, forexample, Ho Technical University, then wecan make a reference to “the Council of
Mr Speaker, I want to askwho is being referred to as “a council”here? This is because such powers ofappointment, I think in this country, article195 of the Constitution covers it. So, when you say ‘a council mayappoint other staff', which council arewe talking about, and why are we notreferring to the Constitution for theseappointments?
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee? There is adefinition in the Interpretation column. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, we noted itat the Committee level, and we put adefinite article there, and it should be ‘thecouncil'. So, over here, anywhere thereis ‘a council', it should be ‘the Council'.We are referring to the University Council.
So, wouldyou want to propose that, so that yousubstitute ‘the' for ‘a'?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 22, line 1, delete “a Council”and insert “the Council.” So that everywhere ‘a Council'appears, it should be replaced with ‘theCouncil.' Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, in clause21, there is also this issue of ‘a Council'.So, if you can give directives --
HonMembers, I direct that whereverapplicable, this amendment is carried out. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose -- Ho Technical University”. That is wherethe confusion is, so we need to examine itmore critically to find out which insertion,“the” or “a”, would be appropriate.
Mr Speaker,it has been taken care of in theInterpretation column. If we have“Council” interpreted; “Council means thegoverning body of a technical universityestablished under section 5.” So, what heis raising is cured in the Interpretationestablished in section 5. We may then have to relate same tothe universities that may come thereafter,the four listed in that compartment. Weonly have to expand it to include thoseones, but I do not see where his problemis, since he is still shaking his head andfingers.
Mr Speaker, the definitiondid not refer to “a Council”, it just said“Council”. So, he cannot refer to “aCouncil” as “Council”. This is becausethere are 10 universities and that is whyprovision is being made for eachuniversity to be able to appoint “aCouncil”. That is what is creating thedifficulty.
Mr Speaker, I beg myjunior Colleague in Parliament, but notmy juniour Colleague in age,it is very clear.If we go to clause 5 and look at theInterpretation, it can only be “theCouncil”. There would be only oneCouncil if there is one university. If thereare ten, there is “the Council” and it cannotbe anything else. So, we cannot say “aCouncil”. Please, let us make progress.
Mr Speaker, just tosupport the position of my two HonColleagues. It is given that this Bill, whenit becomes an Act, is going to prescribe to all these ten Technical Universities, oneprescription. Therefore, it is seen from theperspective of being a singular item, thereason for which the definite article “the,becomes most suitable and appropriate.So, I would crave the indulgence of HonKpodo.
HonMembers, I would go ahead and put theQuestion. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Again,wherever it applies, I direct that it shouldtake effect. Clause 21 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 23 -- Internal organisation of atechnical university.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23, subclause (1), paragraph (a),lines 2 and 3, delete “Faculties, Schools,Centres, Departments, Institutes, andhostels of that technical university” andinsert the following: “Schools, Faculties, Institutes,Departments, Centres and hostelsof that Technical University”. This is to reorder them in the rightascending order. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 23 as amended ordered to standof the Bill.
Mr Speaker,I guess that the suggestion I am about topropose may be left to the draftspersons.It has to do with clause 23, and it states asfollows:
HonMember, can you hold your breath. Letus deal with this proposed amendment bythe Hon Minority Leader then, you cancome up with yours. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I wanted theHon Minister to explain the rationale ofsubclause (3). This is because it says: “The Council shall exercise thepowers referred to in subsection (1),only after consultation with theAcademic Board on matters whichin the opinion of that Council areacademic.” Meaning that, even after consultingthem, the Council can decide to do whatthey want. In matters academic, theAcademic Board is the final authority.[Interruption]--That is why I wouldwant them to explain. This is saying “mayconsult”.
I would liketo hear from the Committee. Bid your timeand let us hear their response.
Mr Speaker, I do not quiteunderstand what Hon Matthew Prempehrefers to as “matters of academic naturebeing final at the Academic Board”. Thisis because, I know that, decisions of theAcademic Board go to the Council forratification and approval. The Council is the highest decisionmaking body, so, it is not the case thatwhat transpires at the Academic Board isfinal. It still goes to the Council, so, I donot see anything wrong with thisprovision. This is because the Councilwould be seeking the advice of theAcademic Board on matters that areacademic. “(1) Subject to this Act, a Councilmay make arrangements that itconsiders appropriate for theinternal organisation of atechnical university…” Mr Speaker, the drafting style has beento repeat that pronoun, so thatappropriately, it may read; “Subject to this Act, a Council maymake arrangements that that Councilconsiders appropriate…” As I said earlier, we would leave it tothe draftspersons, but that has been thetrend.
I do notfollow the point that you are making.
The use ofthe pronoun “it”; “Subject to this Act, aCouncil may make arrangements that it…”The ‘it' obviously refers to the Council,“considers appropriate for the internalorganisation of a technical university…”.I say that the trend has been to repeat itso that appropriately, it may be capturedas; “Subject to this Act, a Council maymake arrangements that that Councilconsiders appropriate…”. That had been the trend and I amsaying that we may have to leave it to thedraftspersons. The trend is the latter.
I would goback and put the Question on clause 23.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto bring the Hon Deputy Minister'sattention to subclause (3), there issomething a bit unnerving: “The Council shall exercise thepowers referred to in subsection (1),only after consultation with theAcademic Board on matters, whichin the opinion of that Council areacademic.” This is because we do not want theCouncil usurping that mandate from theAcademic Board. So, on matters that areacademic, only the Academic Board canadvise the Council on that. So, that is the understanding.
Mr Speaker, I believethe language clearly defines how it isintended, that the Academic Board wouldbe the deciding factors. It says that and Ibeg to quote: 23 (3) “A Council shall exercise thepowers referred to in subsection(1), only after consultation withthe Academic Board...” Mr Speaker, so, it has restricted theirpowers when it comes under subclause(1), that it can only exercise this powerafter it has consulted with the AcademicBoard. That to me, is to give the opinionof the Academic Board supremacy inrespect of academic matters.
Mr Speaker, it isobvious that when it comes to academicmatters, the Academic Board becomes thereal engine in dealing with those matters.With the Council, it is all right. But theCouncil necessarily would have to tap intothe experience and expectations of theAcademic Board in taking some of thesedecisions. I believe it is the norm in all universitiesin Ghana, and even beyond. This isbecause it is academic and the AcademicBoard is obviously the engine. So, ifthey do not consult it and the Council,probably in their superficial knowledge ona particular matter decides to take a certaindecision, it may disrupt workings withinthe university community.
Very well. Hon Members, I believe we wouldcontinue. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,just to engage the attention of theacademics among us, Is this decision tobe done in “consultation” with theAcademic Board, or on the “advice” ofthe Academic Board? The two are not thesame. That is in exercise of the powersconferred.
HonMember, the Council could reject theadvice of the Academic Board.
Mr Speaker,that is why I am saying that we shouldprobe this from those among us who areacademics. Is it to be done in“consultation” with the academic Boardor that it should be done on their “advice”?
HonMember, if we restrict it to “advice”, itcould be dangerous. But if it is in“consultation”, they would present theirreport to the Council with their recom-mendations and the Council would have toheed but if we say on “advice”, then theCouncil is at liberty to accept or reject it.If it is in “consultation”, the Council couldbe going back and forth with them, and ifthere is something they do not reallyappreciate or understand, the AcademicBoard would be in the position to educatethe Council. So, if it is in “consultation”, I believe itis better.
Mr Speaker, that is why Iprobably raised it. This is because withacademic matters in the university, eventhough there is a Council -- That is whythe Vice Chancellor Chairs the Academic
HonMembers, we have settled the matter. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 23 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker,I guess the head note for clause 24,should read “Student representation” andnot “student grievance”. The Students Representatives Councildoes not exist only to attend to grievancesbut matters of -- [Interruption] -- Is it“student governance”? This is seriousoptical illusion -- [Laughter.]
HonMember, you would probably need to seeyour eye specialist.
Mr Speaker, I wasdiscussing with the Hon Chairman whythe heading of clause 24, which is“Student governance” would not ratherbe “Students Representative Council”.
HonMember, what are you proposing?
Mr Speaker, I am proposing“Students Representative Council” as theheadnote.
Mr Speaker, if we gointo the body of that clause, it is makingprovision for a Student RepresentativeCouncil. Governance is the omnibus, and
Mr Speaker, studentsgovernance to me, is a function of an office,an institution or a department. Students'Representative Council (SRC) is thecreation of the office, and then thefunction, or the duty that it would performis, students' governance. So, I believe we should create theoffice and give it the function to perform.That is why I say that the heading shouldread; “Students' Representative Council”as the office, the body, and then underthat body the function must flow.
Mr Speaker, I am afraid Ihave to disagree with my Leader. The headnote as it is now, is broad enough. If welook at the provisions under that, it is notonly dealing with what is happeningwithin the Students RepresentativeCouncil, but the inter-linkages; how theStudents' Representative Council shouldbe organised, how students should berepresented on other organs of theTechnical University and how the SRCshould derive its authority and all of that. So, it is broader than what is just goingon within the Students' RepresentativeCouncil. So, leaving it as, “Studentgovernance”, I believe is moreappropriate, broad enough and capturesthe essence of the provisions understudents governance. So, I would appeal to the House tomaintain it as it is; “Students governance”is broader and captures the sense.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw theamendment.
Very well. Board and the Registrar is the Secretaryto the Academic Board. That was why I wanted a strongerrelation that we are all talking about, thatthe University Council, just because it isa Council, cannot go about throwingaway the decisions of the AcademicBoard. This is because the AcademicBoard deals with promotions, awarding ofcertificate results and examinations whichare really germane to the university. I just wanted that explanation, that ifin “consultation” makes it better than“advice”, and makes it obligatory thatthey listen, or else it would go to and fro,like you are saying, I am very happy withthat.
Yes, weleave it like that.
Mr Speaker,the word “advice” is stronger in thiscontext than mere “consultation”. As for“consultation”, if a person mentions anitem or issue to another person andperhaps has not heard from the otherperson, he can say that he consulted theother person or mentioned it to him, andthe other person was not coming with aresponse, so he has taken a decision. Mr Speaker, the word “advice” isstronger in the sense that, giving their ownbackground, they offer expert advice. So,they are required to listen to them. Butthe word “consultation” is weaker.
HonMember, but it would be recorded inthe minutes of the Council.
Mr Speaker,I agree with that they were consultedand it was mentioned to them.
They evendebated on it -- [Laughter.] they should not choose to call that body aname other than “Students RepresentativeCouncil”. What is important is that, howeverthey choose to arrange their governance,these clauses would regulate how theydo it. The law is only providing the means ofregulating students' relationships[Interruption] -- Which one is not true?
“A Technical University shall havea Students' Representative Council”. Mr Speaker, the Council may give itselfa name but it should always be a Council.A “Students Representative Council” isnot a name. It is a body: “The Students' RepresentativeCouncil is responsible for representingstudents duly admitted and registeredto study...” Mr Speaker, what I am suggesting isthat, this clause is only giving agovernance arrangement by whichstudents' relationships would be built. Ido not believe that the heading shouldnecessarily be “Students' RepresentativeCouncil”.
Mr Speaker, I share inthe thought of the Hon Member forBekwai. This is because clearly, that iswhat it is “Students RepresentativeCouncil” (SRC), and we are talking aboutits governance; the governance of thestudents, to keeping them in check anddoing what is right. Mr Speaker, the way it stands is veryappropriate, and I do think there isanything wrong with the head note.
Very well. Hon Members, having regard to thetime, and the nature of proceedings, Idirect that proceedings continue beyondthe stipulated time, as per Order 40 (3) ofthe Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, I just wantto ask my good Friend to address his mindto clause 25 that we are coming to and ifwe read it, I believe the Hon DeputyMinister would be perfectly right. This isbecause, if we look at clause 25, that isthe only way we can do it.
Mr Speaker, I was onlyseeking to enhance the clause 5. It couldbe the other way round that, in drawingup the statutes, we could make referenceto clause 5, subclause (1) (l), just as we doin our Standing Orders, where we havereference to the Constitution — We liftprovisions into it, and so we can do asimilar thing. But I just wanted to “The Council of a technicaluniversity shall ensure theimplementation of this Act byStatutes which shall, in particular: a) regulate the…” Mr Speaker, otherwise, if we are notcareful, this may provide an umbrella Act— [Laughter] — It may serve as auniversal Act — [Laughter]— Withinwhich we may have to craft specific laws,or if we like, Acts for the various technicaluniversities. I do not think that is theintendment. If that is not so then let usget is clear: “The Council of a technicaluniversity shall ensure the imple-mentation of this Act by Statuteswhich shall, in particular: a) regulate the…” That would be better than what hasbeen done now.
Can we hearfrom the Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, we agreewith the Hon Minority Leader. This isbecause the intention is to have anumbrella Act — [Laughter] — or omnibusAct, which would cover all the technicaluniversities. We do not intend to passseparate Acts to cover every technicaluniversity. And so the amendment isaccepted.
Mr Speaker, the canopyis already defined in the Interpretation:“Council” means the governing body of atechnical university. I thought we havegiven the directive that where you see ‘aCouncil”, it is “the Council”. But theTechnical University is already embeddedin the Council. So, I do not think we needto bring it there again. Mr Kpodo — rose --
He haswithdrawn his proposal.
Mr Speaker, it is a differentissue. Mr Speaker, if we look at subclause (5)of clause 24, it provides, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The Statutes of a technicaluniversity may grant the Students'Representative Council representa-tion on appropriate bodies andorgans of that technical university.” Mr Speaker, when we go back to clause5, subclause (1) (l), already, the parentAct provides that the SRC would haveone representative on the Council, whichis also an organ for the major one, for thatmatter, of the technical university. cAndso I do not know whether the Statutes arenot usurping the powers of the Act in thisregard. Mr Speaker, if we could do some smallamendment to incorporate the provisionsin clause 5, subclause (1) (l) in thisprovision of clause 24 (5), that subject toclause 5 subclause (1) (l), the statues ofthe technical university may grantrepresentation on other bodies. Mr Speaker, this is because, the otherone, which is the major body; the Council,has already been provided for in the Act.But the statute is a subsidiary regulationsteading from the Act that establishesthe university.
Mr Speaker, I do not seeanything wrong with this provision. Themembership of the Council as spelt out,includes the Students' RepresentativeCouncil. But here, we are referring to andit says: enhance the provisions in subclause (5)of clause 24. So I do not have anyproblem if we take note of that.
Mr Speaker, I believethat, even with the further explanation byHon Benjamin K. Kpodo, it does not reallychange anything in the clause 24 vis-à-vis the clause 5, subclause (1) (l) that heis making reference to. Like the HonDeputy Minister indicated, the statutedefinitely talks about other —
But HonMember, he has conceded, and so I thinkwe should bring it to a close. So, Hon Members, I would put theQuestion with regard to clauses 24 and25 and continue with the rest, or maybe, itwould be better to continue with the rest.Clause 26 then — Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose -- Mr Speaker, I would want us to becareful about the way we have beenemploying certain words and descriptions.Clause 25 is; “Statutes of a technicaluniversity”.
“A Council shall ensure theimplementation of this Act byStatutes which shall, in particular: a) regulate the…” Mr Speaker, is it intended to also amend,“A Council” to, “The Council”? If it isdone that way, then it ought to read:
Mr Speaker, Ilooked at the context: “The Statutes of a technicaluniversity may …” The Hon Member used the word“may” because of the “appropriatebodies” and because of that, I am of theopinion that we should maintain theprovision as it is.
Very well. Yes, Hon Member?
I would like to differfrom my Leader and support maintainingthe clause as it is. Mr Speaker, this isbecause with the word “appropriate” whodetermines what is appropriate? In order not to get the students to bein conflict with any other person or highinstitution, I believe it would be better ifwe were to maintain it as it is. What is
Which wayto go?
That is to substitute“may” with “shall”. So, it would be“shall” instead of “may” as we have it inthe Bill.
Mr Speaker, as a formerstudent leader, I would want to go withthe “shall” so that we do not have asituation in the future, where a verydraconian university council would saythat it is a “may” and so we are not goingto give that privilege to the SRC to serveon any of the Boards, even includingCouncils. So, the “shall” is all right. At least, it makes room for the onerepresentation that the SRC has on theCouncil -- So, that is fine. Mr Speaker, if you would permit me,while we are at that, I just noticed a seriousomission. When we go to page 6 of theBill, the Membership of Council of aTechnical University, we have madeprovision for a representative of thegraduate students of the technicaluniversity. However, when we come to clause 24which deals with student governance,we have only made reference to SRC, withno mention of the Graduate Students'Association. So, we need to insert“Graduate Students”. So, I propose thatclause 24 (1) could be: ‘A technical university shall have aStudent Representative Council anda Graduate Students' Association”. Or, we should amend it to haverepresentation for undergraduates andgraduates. This is because the technicaluniversities would be offering post-graduate programmes. They would beoffering master's programmes and SRCserves --
Very well.So, we leave it at that. Hon Members, I think I did not mentionclause 25, when the Hon Minority Leadercame up with his comments on clause 24.So, for the avoidance of doubt, let mestart with clause 24 again. Clause 24 -- Student governance Hon Members, there are no proposedamendments to clause 24 through to 30,so -- Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose --
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,clause 24 (5): “The Statutes of a technicaluniversity may grant the Students'Representative Council representa-tion on appropriate bodies andorgans of that technical university.”
Whichone are you referring to?
Clause 24,Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, would it not be better torather state that “The Statutes of atechnical university shall grant theStudents' Representative Councilrepresentation on appropriate bodies andorgans”.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee or the HonDeputy Minister for Education?
Mr Speaker, we are finewith the amendment -- “may” or “shall”,except that we have to bear in mind that itis not all the bodies that the SRC hasrepresentation on. For example, the SRC appropriate and who determines that? Thestudents would then quarrel with Councilor the heads of the University as to whatmay be appropriate for the students, orfor the university. I believe that “shall”may be dangerous. Thank you.
Mr Speaker,in direct answer to my Hon Colleaguefrom Atwima Kwanwoma, who asked whodetermines the appropriate body, it isencapsulated in that construction, “Thestatute may grant” and we said that thelaw shall “grant the Students'Representative Council representation”on the relevant bodies”, relevant bodiesdefine” in the statute. So, I do not seewhy we are shifting away from that. Onidentified bodies, the law shall grant SRCrepresentation. That is what it means. Mr Speaker, he is a former lecturer andhe would want to associate with --Nobody said that there should be studentrepresentation on University TeachersAssociation (UTAG). It should not begranted by statute. So, the law itselfwould tell which bodies the SRC shouldhave representation on.
Mr Speaker, obviously,I was on the same path with the HonMember for Atwima-Kwanwama, lookingat the word “appropriate” once more, thenthat in itself makes it mandatory. At the end of the day, the statute hasindicated that this one is appropriate forstudent representation, then it becomesmandatory, and if it becomes mandatory,then the main thing there is evenredundant and the “shall” obviously,would qualify the word “appropriate”. So,I see the sense in the Hon MinorityLeader's proposition, and I think thatshould be the way to go largely. Thank you.
Are thegraduate students not part of SRC?
Mr Speaker, no! SRC isfor only undergraduate students and thenthe Graduate Students' Association is for-- But if you would want us to have ageneric term “student representation”, tocover undergraduates and graduates, thenlet us do that. Mr Speaker, but as it is here, SRC is foronly undergraduates, and our ownprevious provisions on the Membershipof Council, we have made room for clause5 (l), and I beg to quote: “One representative of theundergraduate students of thetechnical university elected by theStudents' Representative Council; Clause 5 (m): “One representative of the graduatestudents of the technical universityelected by the Graduate Students'Association”. So, Mr Speaker, we would have to payattention to that.
We wouldsoon have Doctorate Students' Asso-ciation -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, clause 24(2)says and I beg to quote: “The Students' RepresentativeCouncil is responsible for representingstudents duly admitted and registeredto study at that technical univer-sity.” It does not say graduates orundergraduates. It says students. Thereis nothing wrong with it, and they are allstudents at the university, be they
Hold yourbreath. I would give you the last bite, butlet me listen to views from other HonMembers. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Whip?
Mr Speaker, I thoughtwe were to finish with the clause 24 (5)before we come to the next level that hetook us to.
HonMember, we are dealing with clause 24. Iwas going to go through the list ofclauses which have no advertisedamendments, and the Hon MinorityLeader drew our attention to some portionin clause 24. So, we would want to clearthat before we move on to -- Yes, Hon Dr Anane?
Mr Speaker, Iwould want to side with the Hon DeputyMinister for Education. This is because,the reality on the ground today is that,the SRCs now, in practice, represent allthe undergraduate students and theyhave the Graduate Students' Associationof Ghana (GRASAG), which also acts outof the SRCs. So, if we are talking reality, then, wemust appreciate what is happening nowon the ground. Taking a cue from whatthe Hon Akoto Osei said, we could definewhat SRC means, or what it covers, sothat we would be clear about where weare moving. Association”. This is because we havealready made provision for the graduatestudents under the Council Membership. We have said a representative from theSRC would represent the undergraduates,and that one from the Graduate Students'Association would represent the graduatestudents. So, we ought to make provisionfor the graduate students as well, underStudent governance, for consistency.
Then Mr Speaker, inthe interpretation, he must define both,because “students cover both, but rightnow, neither SRC nor GRASAG is defined.So, if he does that, it would be all rightwith me.
Mr Speaker, I would wantthe Hon Minister to be aware that, instudent governance, there is no distinctionbetween GRASAG and SRC. SRC is not astudents' representative association. It isa Students' Representative Council, andGRASAG and all other associations are onSRC. Mr Speaker, GRASAG is given specialrepresentation on a university council,which I agree because they furtherparticular interests of the postgraduatestudents. But Mr Speaker, let me tell you for free.Hon Kofi Asante, a former Member ofParliament came back to the KwameNkrumah University of Science andTechnology (KNUST), to compete as SRCPresident. I was his campaign manager.He had finished, gone and came back, andwas doing his Masters -- [Interruption.] Postgraduate students compete forSRC presidency. [Interruption.] No, hedid not lose. He could not lose. MrSpeaker, graduate students compete forSRC presidency.
Mr Speaker, just toagree with Hon Dr Anane on that point.Apart from that, it is also a new norm inGhana today that we have GRASAG in allthe existing universities. I believe thereare certain things that should be commonto the technical universities and thetraditional ones, so that if there areGRASAGs recognised in the currentuniversities that we have, the new onesthat we are legislating on must also followthe same tradition. So, that is appropriate. If graduate students have beenmentioned in portions of the Bill, then it isnecessary to actually augment it in otherparts so that there would be harmony.Other than that, in the aspects that it hasbeen mentioned, it would hang and notserve any interests. We would still be a bit ol -fashioned ifwe do not actually go with the times. Whatis happening in other universities mustsocially apply in the new universities thatwe would have. So, I also support thatline of thought.
Hon DeputyMinister for Education, is it possible forus to get some amendment which wouldtake care of the issues raised by HonMembers, concerning Graduate Students'Association. This is because, andfortunately for us, the heading is Studentgovernance. So, if you could make a distinctionbetween the SRC and the GRASAG --We defer it so that you take your time andcouch it?
No, Mr Speaker. To us, itis a straightforward matter. We wouldplead with you to allow the draftspersonsto insert “the Graduate Students'
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I guess it is an emerging practice. I do notknow of any law governing theestablishment of any university thatmakes that distinction. Mr Speaker, if we would want to createit now, it is not as simple as that, when hesays that we should have in clause 24 (1): “A technical university shall have aStudents' Representative Council.” Flowing from what the Hon DeputyMinister said, a Graduate StudentsAssociation. We cannot leave it therebecause, in that case, the whole body ofclause 24 may have to change. This isbecause clause 24 (2) then goes on tosay and with your permission, I beg toquote: I know, and I support putting GRASAGon a University Council. I do not have aproblem, but when we talk about studentgovernance, it is SRC representing allassociations. We should not try andgradually separate GRASAG from that.
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to crave your indulgence --
I have notgiven the floor to you.
Sorry, Mr Speaker.
Let us listento the Hon Deputy Minister for Educationfirst about the issue raised, thatpostgraduate students are also membersof SRC, and therefore, can even competefor positions on it. Yes?
Mr Speaker, perhaps ourHon Colleague left the university too longago. If that was the case during his time, ithas changed. The SRC strictly representsundergraduates and then, we have theGRASAG, who are not members of SRC.They conduct their elections separately.They hold their meetings and their GeneralAssembly and Constitution are distinct. Indeed, if we look at the Membershipof the National Union of Ghana Students(NUGS), which I was President of in 2005,we recognised them distinctly. They areseparate; we have The GRASAGs andSRCs. Mr Speaker, his statement suggeststhat GRASAG are members of SRC, or acommittee or some subset of SRC. Theyare not. They are separate and twodifferent entities, and they have their owngovernance structures. “The Students' RepresentativeCouncil is responsible for…” Then, we must come and define whatthe Graduate Students Association isrequired to do. Mr Speaker, the Constitution for SRCis captured in subclause (3). We then haveto do same for the Constitution ofgraduate students. So, we cannot thenleave it at that. If indeed, he wants to buy into thepractice, then we have to completelychange the face and form of clause 24. Mr Speaker, but in the past, we havehad situations where medical students,students of architecture and postgraduatestudents had competed for the positionsof SRC. As I said, I am a “yesterday man”. If“today's persons” are saying that is thetrend, let us do it. Mr Speaker, but we would have to lookat the entire clause 24 and have areconstruction. It cannot just be that weamend clause 24 (1).
HonMembers, I am minded to direct that wedefer further consideration of this clause,so that we take our time to come out withsomething that would be acceptable.
Mr Speaker, I have somedocumentation that would help the“yesterday's man”, the Hon MinorityLeader.
I belong tothe “yesterday's men”. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I would wantto make reference to Act 806, theUniversity of Ghana Act. The HonMinority Leader said he is not aware ofthis development in other Acts. This isjust to draw attention that, under section11 of the University of Ghana Council,provision is made under paragraph (l): “(l) one representative of theundergraduate students of theuniversity elected by the StudentsRepresentative Council: (m) one representative of thepostgraduate students of theuniversity branch of thegraduate students association.” Mr Speaker, so that is the current trend.Undergraduates and graduate studentshave their own unique representation. Mr Speaker, this point of informationwould also help. The Hon Chairman of theCommittee has just spoken to GRASAG.They have petitioned your Committee onEducation, and they have indicated thatthey are not members of SRC; they are aunique body. Mr Speaker, so we need to reword thestudent governance. It is just a smalldrafting issue to capture the otherstudents.
Hon DeputyMinister, I beg to differ. We would deferfurther consideration of this clause, so thatthe Committee can take a second look atit.
Mr Speaker,but for the avoidance of doubt, the issuethat I raised had to do with studentgovernance. I do not know of any Act in respect ofthe Acts that we have done, covering thevarious tertiary institutions, theuniversities in particular, which has the
Mr Speaker, thoseassociations are different from SRC andGRASAG. These are the larger Councilsthat take care of the general welfare ofstudents.
GRASAGhas been able to warm its way upsomewhere on the ladder. I stand corrected, but I think SRC issupposed to take care of all students. Ifthere is a distinction, that is fine. We should find time so that everybodywould be convinced that the situation isnow different from the times that some ofus were in the universities.
Mr Speaker, I totallyagree with the rendition he read for theUniversity Council. It did not distinguisha Council that is GRASAG separately fromSRC. From what he just read, onerepresentative of the undergraduates andone representative of the postgraduatestudents from GRASAG, that is of theUniversity Council, which I accept. Mr Speaker, he should read it again.
Mr Speaker, let me read itagain: “one representative of theundergraduate students of thetechnical university elected by theStudents' Representative Council.”
Mr Speaker, I agree withhim on the University Council; but whenwe come to SRC as student governance,we would be opening ourselves tochallenges. This is because, whether welike it or not, even if GRASAG representsall the postgraduate students, they are aminute number of the universitypopulation. Mr Speaker, to give them a blanketexemption from the local governmentauthority in this Act, would be usurpingthe power of the local authority byParliament; which is not what we want todo. Mr Speaker, let us put “may” and letthem go and negotiate. The universitiescharge for everything; water, electricity,hostels, et cetera, and it goes into profit. Mr Speaker, that is my thinking.
Hon DeputyMinister, how do you respond?
Mr Speaker, we are in fullsupport. We would go with it.
Mr Speaker, I believewe need to be a bit careful. If we allow thelocal authorities to charge the universities--
They “maybe exempt”.
Mr Speaker, I have aproblem because these local authorities --I have a local authority like Bosomtwe;the Kumasi Polytechnic, for instance, hasacquired a large tract of land and if we donot take care, “may” means, they candecide not -- What about if they decide?
It is up tothem.
Mr Speaker, it couldeat into the resources of theseuniversities. I think we need to be verycareful in times when resources are veryscarce for these universities. So --
Mr Speaker, I would wantto find out from the Hon Deputy Minister GRASAG captured under studentgovernance. That was the point I made. I did not talk about membership of theCouncil. That one is given; everybodyknows that. I talked about the structureof student governance. It is not capturedanywhere. So, in this case, the “modern man” isnot different from the “yesterday man”.
Refusingto grow old. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I would justwant to say that under studentgovernance, we could allow for thedraftspersons to assist us make sure thatstudent governance is indeed, capturingall sides of the student fraternity. This isbecause of the membership of the Councilwe have here, so that we do not have theimpression created that we havecontradicted ourselves in our own Act. When it comes to membership of theCouncil, we have made provision forGRASAG.. Mr Speaker, but when it comesto student governance, we are totallysilent on graduate students. We are onlyreferencing SRC. Mr Speaker, if we want the headnote,“Student governance” to cover allstudents, I think we can simply do that. Itis tidier that way.
Hon DeputyMinister, we should not forget that wehave all sorts of associations on campus;the Ashanti Students' Union and the VoltaStudents' Union. They are all there. Theycome under the umbrella.
HonMembers, let us end here. I have directed that we defer furtherconsideration of this particular clause forthe Committee to revisit it and come backto us. Clause 25 to 29 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 30 -- Property and contractsof a technical university
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 30 (2) reads: “The halls, hostels and residentialfacilities for students, lecture halls,libraries, hospitals, staff quarters,bungalows, guest houses, recreationgrounds and any other tenements ofa technical university shall be exemptfrom the assessments and rateslevied by a local authority.” Mr Speaker, even from the Constitution,local authorities are self-governing units. I would have preferred the word “may”. Mr Speaker, we were here when theUniversity of Ghana started chargingpeople on their roads. Still today, theycharge; unless one goes from only oneentrance. Mr Speaker, come to think of it,recreational facilities and guest housesshould be exempt from local authoritytaxes and levies. Mr Speaker, let us use “may”, so thata technical university would come to anagreement. Now, students pay hostel fees. Theyare hostels operated privately for profitpurposes, which are certified by theuniversities and all sorts of things.
local authority decides, because of theactivities of a technical university'sfacilities and so on, just to place a smallrate to give them the enablement to controlall the problems that might be created,then they would have the legal backingto do it. Mr Speaker, in that regard, let uschange it and make it “may”. Thank you very much for theopportunity.
Mr Speaker, my responseto the question from the Hon Boafo isthat, the practice has been to use “shall”.They have been exempted. It is recentlythat on the matter of utilities, though thesecommercial centres pay the universitymanagement, we paid for utilities.However, we are negotiating with them,so that at least, they can take care of theutility. The current thinking is that, a lot ofthese freebies, and very liberal practicesare no longer sustainable. We have begunnegotiating with the management of theseinstitutions on the matter of utilities. Mr Speaker, my only concern might bethat, this House may appear quitediscriminatory. This is because for theother Acts that we have passed for theother universities, they have a “shall”,unless we will be looking at amending thatin the future. However, looking at what ishappening now, the current trend and thenegotiations we are holding with theuniversity management -- The HonDeputy Minister is here. They have been encouraging us to dothat, so that we can raise revenue to takecare of these institutions. This is becausewe still pay for the salaries, infrastructuralexpansions, equipment and all of that.
Mr Speaker, at thetime I read this, I did not consider theprivate investors in hostels now, whomhe has reminded us of. I think that is eventhe more reason the “may” is important. Mr Speaker, as soon as we bring auniversity into a community, we bring inmore people who put a lot more pressureon the facilities for the community. Whoshould repair them? Who should expandthat? Meanwhile, that private investorwould be charging commercial rates.Therefore, the rates that we charge -- TheDisrict Assemblies fix their rates, basedon the value of their property. So, the university may be the onlymajor source of revenue to the authoritywhy should they not? What is importantis that, the District Assembly fixes theproperty rate; the university may begranted a rebate and that is why ‘may' isimportant. Mr Speaker, because it is aneducational institution, we charge them50 per cent less than we will charge acommercial estate or a private property.We should not deprive the DistrictAssemblies of this source of income,because as a result of that institution, therewould be a lot more pressure on thefacilities of the community, which wouldbe pressured to expanded and so on. Several Hon Members -- rose --
I will cometo you. You have proposed this so, wewill come back to you. But let us hearfrom --
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the amendment that we substitutethe “shall” with “may” because that isvery appropriate. Mr Speaker, today, we are even thinkingof the universities taking care of salaries whether such places which are operatedfor commercial purposes are also taxexempt?
Mr Speaker, the basicunderlining factor for the tax exemption isbecause it is charitable, and it is foreducation and so on. But where peopleset up spots, hostels and so forth, forcommercial purposes, are they also for --
HonMember, if you could speak out louder. Itappears he cannot hear you.
Mr Speaker, I want to findout from the Hon Deputy Ministerwhether places of like nature, as itemisedunder the clause, which are operated forcommercial purposes are also subject tolocal exemptions?
Mr Speaker, I totallythrow my weight behind Hon (Dr)Prempeh's amendment. This is simplybecause, if we say they shall be exemptfrom all those ratings, it means we areplacing them outside the jurisdiction ofthe local authorities. Meanwhile, theiractivities must be the fuel for a localauthority development. Mr Speaker, because of the waste theywould generate, the noise pollution andso on, if we exempt them from all the taxes,we would be creating a very seriousproblem for the local authorities that aregoing to be in the areas where we are goingto have all those facilities for the technicaluniversities. Mr Speaker, let us give them a littleroom to manage their jurisdiction. Let usmake it “may” so that, in the event that a Mr Speaker, in terms of the currentthinking, I believe that the “may” ismost appropriate, so that there is roomfor negotiation moving forward.
Mr Speaker, Ithink the idea behind the “shall” is thatwe would find ourselves in a situationwhere Government is unable to providemost of the facilities in terms of hostels.Therefore, we want to encourage a lot moreprivate individuals to invest in hostels. Mr Speaker, if we put “may” there, thenthe university can decide, or the localauthorities may impose taxes that woulddiscourage people from investing in thatarea. Mr Speaker, we have -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, we have giventax exemptions to people whom we believeare going to bring in some development.What about the universities where -- Ifone goes to any university now, in termsof land, they do not have it. That is thereason a lot of them are unable to expand.Therefore, the private land that belongsto the individuals -- They should beencouraged, with such an exemption, sothey could also invest; otherwise, theymay do other things that may not help inthe development of the university. Mr Speaker, that is the reason we mustmaintain the “shall” and not “may”. Mr Kpodo -- rose --
No! Beforeyou come in, let me hear from him.
of Lecturers and all. Why? This is becausethe universities are generating so muchmoney in terms of Internally GeneratedFund (IGF). Mr Speaker, let us look at the privateuniversities. They are subject to payingtaxes to the local authorities, yet today'spublic universities, apart from makingsome little reservation for students whoare taken care of by Government, theycharge the majority of students atcommercial rates. It is true, because Ihave been there. Mr Speaker, we are very charitable inintroducing the “may”. They may beexempt from taxes. We all saw whathappened a few years ago at theUniversity of Ghana, with the road tollissue. Mr Speaker, clearly, I think it is justappropriate. We do not have to belabourthis particular issue. I support the schoolof thought, that it should be “may” andnot “shall”
Mr Speaker,I heard --
Are youabreast of the issues?
Mr Speaker, Ifollowed the debate in my office and thatis why I am here.
Mr Speaker,we are dealing with a State educationalinstitution. Throughout the history of thiscountry, public or State educationalinstitutions have been exempt from rates and taxes exigible by local governmentauthorities, through the LocalGovernment Act. Mr Speaker, these Stateinstitutions are not profit-making, so, wemight as well say that the precincts andproperties belonging to Parliament shouldalso be taxed by local authorities. Mr Speaker, but we cannot give theoption to the local authorities. By statute,it is Parliament that can state that theState institutions should be exempt. TheKorle- Bu Teaching Hospital also engagesin certain aspects of commercial activity;why then do we not let local authoritiescharge them? When we talk about taxesin this context, more or less, it refers tothe property rates. The universitiescannot even pay, and we are going toask central Government itself to pay? Thatis it. It is not a question of pampering. For example, IGF does not belong to aState institution. The failure of the Stateto monitor the financial activities ofinstitutions does not mean that we couldas well open the floodgates, that theyshould pay rates. Could you imagine, forexample, if Accra Polytechnic were to bepaying property rates? It is not a profitmaking venture, and they would not havethe resources to do so. I do not understand this. It would becontrary to all laid down norms andpractices relating to educationalinstitutions. Mr Speaker, I say this fromthe position of authority, because veryearly in my professional life, I was anexternal solicitor for Sekondi-Takoradi CityCouncil. We do not charge primaryschools. Do we want primary schools topay tax? [Interruption.] No! I am sayingthat it is an educational institution, ownedby the State. Not all primary schools are owned bythe Local Government Authorities. Wehave schools that are supposed to belong
Yes, HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I am mostgrateful. As I said earlier, we have anestablished convention, and they arealways exempted. However, there seemedto be a strong push now that we shoulddepart from the established policy.Especially, with reference to privatehostels, where the private investor makesprofits and nothing stops him from makingprofit. So, my view is that, if we could furtherclarify the activities taking place on thatland. Where it is the traditional functionsof the university, then they should beexempted. But where there is commercialactivity taking place and the university ismaking some earnings from thatcommercial activity, should they also beexempt from paying those charges? MrSpeaker, I believe this is a discussionthat we need to hold moving forward. Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson -- rose --
Yes, HonDeputy Minister for Finance?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Income Tax Actdistinguishes between a public university,or a university that is making profit, and aprivate university with a profit focus. Itdistinguishes between the two, by wayof tax obligation. Mr Speaker, the difficultyhere is that, I thought we are legislatingto bring into force a technical universitywhich is of public focus. Therefore, the objective is not to makeprofit. If the objective is not to make profit,then the Income Tax Act takes care of that,and it cannot be seen as an institutionthat should be paying taxes on its property.
Why Volta Hall? [Laughter.]
I am justgiving you an example.
HonMember, address the Chair. Ignore theasides.
Mr Speaker, sothis idea that we are going to give somediscretion to Local GovernmentAuthorities whether to tax technicaluniversities or universities, generally, isvery dangerous. It should not beencouraged. Mr Speaker, I urge the House not tosupport the amendment proposed by theHon Member for Manyhia South, andsupported by the Hon Member forBekwai. They should be charging theSeventh-Day Adventist (SDA) SeniorHigh School in Bekwai property rate.[Laughter.]
ignore. Why are these local authoritiesrequesting for more universities to be citedin their areas. This is because they believethat they stand to gain a lot.
HonMembers, listening to the debate, it is clearthat people are concerned about some ofthese private hostels, but we need to becareful as we go along. This is becausethe university per se might not have thefacilities to take on board all the studentsby way of accommodation. Without appearing to descend into thearena of debate, in my own constituency,because we have a university and apolytechnic, I know the number of times Ihave had to intervene when landlordscharge exorbitantly and studentscomplain, that we would have to strikemean and all of that. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I believe the intention behind the two isto make a distinction between facilitieswhich are owned by the university. Thoseones should be exempt. But if individualsenter the fray to provide, let us say,residential facilities, lecture halls and soforth, the motive is to make profit, andcertainly those must be subject to tax. So, we should make the distinction forthis one, to the extent that these facilitiesare owned by the university. Thoseowned by the university should not besubject to tax, but if they are privateproperty, then they shall be subject to tax.I believe the distinction should be madeclear.
Mr Speaker, I agreeperfectly with the Hon Minority Leader,that the hostels, halls and residentialfacilities that are referred to here, are thosethat are owned by the technical they become university towns, and we arenot careful with the exemptions, theCouncils would have very little source ofinternally generated fund. So, let ourdefinition be extremely clear. Where theentity is owned hundred per cent by thepublic university, then this exemptioncould come in. But where the universitygoes into partnership with a private sectorand sets up facilities, we should not visitexemptions on the District Assemblies.
HonMembers, we have debated this issue forquite some time. The thought I have,listening to you is that, we need to make adistinction between purely universityproperties vis-à-vis private propertiesserving the university students. Wecould have situations where the universityauthorities would have entered into anagreement with an investor to put up astructure which is used for commercialpurposes. So, we need to make clear distinctions.Can we therefore take a look at this intodetail so that we do not violate the lawthat the Hon Deputy Minister referred toearlier, while at the same time, we do notdo it in such a way that would stranglethe students? This is because at the endof the day, the students suffer. We wouldtax them and it would be passed on to thestudents. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I could notagree more with you. I believe that wherethe university owns the facility, it isunderstandable, but we are not talkingabout income tax, we are talking aboutrates and charges. So, the question ofprofit does not even arise. In any case, the fact that a privateentity puts up a place does not mean thatthe private entity is going to make profitanyway. So, the emphasis should be oncommerciality rather than profit making. Mr Speaker, if for some reason, theyenter into a commercial agreement with aprivate company, of which they woulduse their land to build a hostel, then thatbecomes a different item under the IncomeTax Act. And they would have to pay taxesunder that. So, Mr Speaker, I believe we shoulduse the word “shall” because the IncomeTax Act would definitely take care of that.It is different from -- [Interruption.] Dr Appiah-Kubi -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I wouldlike to support the use of the word “shall”in the sense that, these universities areestablished at a time when resources arewoefully inadequate. If these universitiesare going to be overburdened right fromthe beginning, with such huge demandsfrom the local authorities, I am tempted tothink that, if we do not take care, theywould crumble under that burden. Mr Speaker, for that matter, if we wouldwant to adopt this new thought, why dowe then not do so with all the universities,but rather choose to start with only thetechnical universities? If the time comesand the need becomes necessary to tax orbegin with the new thought, then we coulddo so for everybody. I would still requestand plead with my Hon Colleagues not tooverburden the new emerging universitieswith huge demands from the localauthorities. In any case, these universities are notonly overburdening the services of thelocal authorities; they also provide andadd a lot to the economies of these localauthorities. These are also value additionsto the local authorities that we tend to universities, and for that matter, they aretax exempt. However, where we have aprivate investor who wants to make profit,and for that matter enters into providing ahostel facility, he is in it to make profit,and for that matter, his profit would betaxed under the Income Tax Act. Mr Speaker, if you read the subclause(2), it would mean that all these facilitiesare owned by the universities. They areexempt from payment of tax and locallevies by the local authorities. However,if we read it to be a private person, thenwe are making a mistake. So, for theavoidance of doubt, we should qualify itthat these are properties owned by theuniversities.
Yes, HonMember for Pru?
Mr Speaker, I would urgethat this House should not be heldhostage by the past. Increasingly,universities are becoming sophisticatedcommercial institutions. Universities aregoing into partnership with the privatesector to put up facilities. Indeed, elsewhere, for example, myformer university, the University of Bristolhas over hundred limited liabilitycompanies owned by the university,purely for commercial purposes. This isbecause, when they come up withinventions and others, the universitycommercialises them; and in commer-cialising them, they set up commercial limitedliability companies. In that same way, we have new modelswhere universities and private companiescome up with joint projects. Some localareas are going to be university towns anduniversity cities, and especially for thesmaller local District Assemblies, when
Yes, HonW. O. Boafo? Then we would listen to --
Mr Speaker, I was on myfeet to emphasise that, here, we are moreconcerned with the local authority ratherthan the national authority. If we do nottake care, we would find this Houseflooded with memoranda seekingexemptions from payment of taxes andduties on materials which privateinvestors, who might be putting uphostels, would be asking this House towaive. So, we would have to be careful.
HonMembers, I think that, even if it shoulddeal with property rates and so on, westill have a few problems. When the ratesgo up, the Assemblies would want to makesome income apart from the DistrictAssemblies Common Fund. So, they getprofessionals to assess the rates for them.For example, in my own constituency, wehave problems. A lot of complaints havecome up, and rates have been increasedseveral times over. So, as I said, wewould end up with investors passing iton to students; it does happens. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I would wantto take a cue from your direction andappeal that the House goes along withwhat is captured here, which has been theestablished practice, so that we wouldcontinue to have these discussions and engagements. If moving forward wouldmean that we would have to amend whathas been the practice all over thesedecades, we could come back. As I said earlier, I am concerned withthe likely perception that, for the technicaluniversities, we are creating a specialdispensation for them, which is differentfrom what has been the practice all along,which all the other universities areenjoying. To be on safer grounds, let usproceed with “shall” as it is now. We couldhold these discussions later, and alwayscome back to this House if we would wantto make amendment.
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I thought the Chair captured the sense inthe debate that has gone on for some time.Maybe I am proposing, for the consi-deration of the Committee, that in line 3,after “university”, we might insert “thatare owned by the university” so that itwould read: “30 (2) The halls, hostels andresidential facilities for students,lecture halls, libraries, hospitals,staff quarters, bungalows, guesthouses, recreational groundsand any other tenements of atechnical university owned bythe university shall be exemptfrom the assessments and rateslevied by a local authority.”
Mr Speaker had alsoraised an issue which had not occurred tome earlier, about the private proprietor justtransferring the expense to the students.So, the students would bear the bruntanyway. If we exempt the privatecommercial operators, they would only
The HonDeputy Minister is trying to persuade usto drop this line so that it would be uniform,with the existing universities. Later, we cantake a look at it and amend it, so that itaffects every university. So, with this withdrawal, we are backto square one.
Mr Speaker, if we aremoving on, then there is the need for usto look at subclause (2) carefully. Itsays that: “The halls, hostels and residentialfacilities for students, lectures halls,libraries, hospitals, staff quarters,bungalows, guest houses, recreationgrounds and any other tenement fortechnical university shall be exemptfrom assessment and rates levied bya local authority.” Mr Speaker, I propose that we delete“assessment” and substitute in its placethe following: “… shall be exempts from rateslevied by a local authority”. This is because there is no need forassessment if they are going to exemptthem.
Mr Speaker,I guess we all acknowledge that theconstruction has a problem. The HonDeputy Minister says this is found inalmost all the enactments. So, he issaying that, now that our attention isdrawn to it, let them have a comprehensiveengagement with the other stakeholdersand come with a reviewed position. Itwould then affect all the other enactments.I think that is the position. If that is so,then we can allow it for the time being andcome back to it subsequently.
So HonMembers, I would put the Question withregard to clause 30 standing part of theBill. pass it on. If we say that the privatecommercial operators should now not beexempt, the concern is that, they wouldonly pass it on to the students. So, theywould only be making more profit. But thisis a matter that, as I said, we can allow, formore discussions with the Conference ofRectors of Polytechnics and ViceChancellors, Ghana, at a later time, so thatwe can make progress now. Mr Speaker, if there is the need to makeamendments in future, we would carry outa holistic amendment across board so thatwe do not appear to be creating a specialdispensation for the technical universities.This is because we have to also besensitive to those matters. Especially, asthe University of Ghana, Kwame NkrumahUniversity of Science and Technology,Cape Coast University and others havegone away with it; when it comes to thetechnical universities, we should notcreate a different dispensation. I am afraidthat it may raise some issues.
It mayappear that we are discriminatingagainst the technical universities.
Mr Speaker, on that note,I would probably say they shouldcontinue. But staff bungalows, staffquarters and hostels are not for profit.University teachers charge theGovernment for academic rates. Theynegotiate anyway. Staff bungalows andguest houses that we sleep in and pay forare operated in all universities for profit. Mr Speaker, I agree that, maybe, weshould let it pass. But let us think throughit. I do not see why staff bungalows andstaff quarters and hostels and halls ofresidence that are purely private and forprofit should be exempt.
Mr Speaker, I want to referto clause 30 (6), where the Council is givenborrowing powers. I am glad the HonDeputy Minister for Finance and theChairman of the Finance Committee areboth in the House, maybe, to guide usfrom the Public Financial Management(PFM) Bill, whether the university Councilcan be allowed to borrow money and usethe university assets as collateral.
Mr Speaker, just toprovide information, is a very popularpractice. They do it every day andsometimes, when they default, we haveto come and re-negotiate. It happensalways. This is because without that toothey would not get the support they needfrom the banks to carry out their expansionprojects. So, it is standard practice andit is also in all the other university Actsthat this House has passed.
Mr Speaker, I thoughtthe question is related to the new PFM,what they can do or not do. He shouldallow the Deputy Minister to tell us that itis standard practice. Maybe, under thePFM, there may be some ways that aredifferent. The new PFM is meant to bring somediscipline, so that the Vice Chancellorcannot just get up and sign a loan. As weare aware of the issue about theUniversity of Ghana, they are still tryingto get the Ministry of Finance to pay partof the loan that they borrowed. So, it isan issue. The PFM Act is meant to rationalise such behaviour. So, it is notbusiness as usual.Mr First Deputy Speaker: HonMembers, I think we are dealing with thisparticular clause. Clause 30 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 31 -- Funds of a technicaluniversity;
Mr Speaker,before the Chairman comes in, I think youhave put the Question on clause 29. Thisis just a minor amendment. “A technical university may hold aCongregation composed of thepersons prescribed by Statutes...” Mr Speaker, I am not too sure whetherit is “… prescribing persons by Statutes…” “A technical university may hold aCongregation composed of thepersons prescribed by Statutes…” I thought that it should rather be: “…composed of membershipprescribed by Statutes” not“persons prescribed by Statutes…”
Mr Speaker, here weused “persons” and we appeal that it beretained, because there are differentcategories of congregants as prescribedby statutes. We have the undergraduates,graduates and honorary awardees. So,persons prescribed by statutes shouldsuffice. This is because if we propose“membership”, not all those who receivethese degrees are necessarily members ofthe institute. I think this is fine; “…persons as prescribed byStatutes…”
Very well. Hon Members, clause 31 then. Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 31, subclause (3), lines 1 and 2,delete “school, centre or an institute”and insert the following: “school, faculty, institute, department,centre or any other unit”. We are on clause 31, that is (xvi). Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 31 ordered to stand part of theBill.
Clause 32? Alhaji Abubakari -- rose --
HonMember, are you up? Is it something onclause 32? What do you have? Please,use the microphone.
Mr Speaker, theheadnote, I discussed this with the HonMinister and the Hon Chairman. I am ofthe opinion that, instead of making it“internal audit unit”, we make it “internalaudit directorate or department” whichshould be headed by a director of internalaudit, a qualified accountant. The reason for this is that, most often,we use the term “internal audit”, and thenthe staff is perhaps someone with aHigher National Diploma (HND),employed as an internal auditor. Then we have a director of finance; wefound out that at the organisation, theyare not on equal level. The director offinance, who is a qualified accountant maybe working with an internal auditor whois just an HND holder, and he may try tobully him, making it very difficult for thecontrol we are looking for. So, I would advise that, instead ofhaving an internal audit unit, it should bea directorate or a department, headed bya director of internal audit, who is aqualified accountant. This would bring more internal control.That is why I believe we should add thatamendment to this.
Mr Speaker, if youlook at subclause (2), “the Council shall appointpersonnel required to ensure aneffective and efficient internal auditof a technical university”. Within the structure of establishmentsin the university, we already have thedirector of internal audit, so, there is noneed to put it in the Bill, that there shouldbe a director of internal audit. If we look at the director of finance, hehas entire control over the finance of theuniversity, so, there is no need to putthe director of internal audit in the Bill.
How do yourespond to that?
Yes, there is a need.I am talking from practical experience.When you observe, this is one of theconflicts between the internal audit unitand the director of finance. Most often,they would just put “internal auditor” andleave it there. When we state that the position shouldbe “director of audit” and he should be aqualified accountant, and we make itcompulsory, that gives him more power. Itgives him more authority to exercise thecontrol that the organisation is lookingfor. I believe that these are probablyoverlooked in most of the Acts that wepass here. For example, when we go to
Mr Speaker, controlis lacking in our system of accountability;we all know it. The trend now is that peopleshould be made accountable. If we give them the chance, they wouldemploy an Internal Auditor whom theythink fit, and they may qualify him. Butwhen we place emphasis on the fact thathe should be a director, a well-qualifiedChartered Accountant and we legislate it,there is no way they can depart from it.
Is it notpossible for that to come within thestatutes, for example?
I can see the point whichmy Hon Friend is making, except that,even in the case of the director of finance,we have not specified the qualifications.These are matters which can be doneadministratively. I believe that whether it is a charteredaccountant or not, we do not have to callhim a director. He could be an internalauditor and still be a qualified charteredaccountant and perform his duties assuch.
Very well,Hon Members. Could we therefore, put the Questionwith regard to clauses 32 and 33 standingpart of the Bill?
Mr Speaker, I am notarresting clauses 32 and 33. I am onlytrying to crave your indulgence to makean observation on clause 31, a veryfundamental observation. So, if you could put the Question onvlauses 32 and 33, I would crave yourindulgence in that regard.
But havewe not put the Question with regard toclause 31? We have.
Mr Speaker, I would like tomake an observation, relying on yourflexibility.
What is it?
Mr Speaker, under clause31 (2), we know that accounts of scientificcorporations are opened by theAccountant-General, with the approval ofthe Minister for Finance. Investment offunds of public corporations are also madewith the approval of the Ministry ofFinance. But here we are; in this Bill, itis otherwise. I would just like to make theobservation and crave your indulgence,so that you would be more flexible for usto go back and make the correction.
So, whatdo you propose should be the rendition?
Mr Speaker, the renditionshould be that the monies of theuniversity should be paid into an accountopened by the Council, with the approvalof the Accountant-General.
Hon DeputyMinister, you appear to be engaged insome discussion. He is raising a pointwhether it should not be the case thatincome generated by the universities should be paid into an account openedby the Controller and Accountant-General. Why is this different from whatgenerally prevails? That is the question.If it would entail too much by way ofdebate, we could -- Let us hear you.
Mr Speaker, I would liketo plead with you, to allow me to consultfurther on this matter. I have not paidattention to it. So, we could be allowed afew moments --
Can we hearfrom the Hon Ranking Member of theFinance Committee?
Mr Speaker, what myHon Senior Colleague wanted to remindus of, that under the current laws, in thiscase, the Financial AdministrationRegulation (FAR), the Council will openthe accounts, with the approval of eitherthe Controller or the Hon Minister forFinance. The new Public Financial Management(PFM) will have the same. Maybe, hismind has not been brought to it. I thinkthat was the point he tried to draw yourattention to. I am sure the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance can confirm it.
HonDeputy Minister, we have already dealtwith that particular clause, but he isdrawing our attention to this issue, so thatif we can consider it, even at the SecondConsideration Stage, then we do it, so thatit falls in line with the existing practice.
Mr Speaker, we will takenote.
HonMembers, I will put the Question withregard to clauses 32 and 33, standing partof the Bill. local government, we have most of thedirectors of finance and we have theinternal auditor. It creates a problem inmost of these organisations. I believe we should emphasise thatthere should be a director of internal audit,who should be a qualified charteredaccountant, to head that unit. He wouldthen recruit the staff he needs to carryout the function of control that we arelooking for.
Very well. Could we hear from the Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, theReports for most of the Motions are ready,so, I seek your indulgence to bringproceedings on this --
You are outof order. We are debating this issue andthen you cut in. Hon Members, I know that auditing isvery important, but I would have thoughtthat the provision here takes care of itadequately; otherwise, we would belegislating on very detailed things. Here we have; “the Council shall appoint per-sonnel required to ensure aneffective and efficient internal auditof a technical university.” Would that not be enough?
Mr Speaker,much as I agree with the Hon Member forSalaga South, I believe these are mattersthat should be left for implementation. The Hon Minister could direct evenhis representatives on the Council ofthese universities to ensure that some ofthese things are done. Clauses 32 - 33 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
HonMembers, at this stage, it would beappropriate to bring the ConsiderationStage of the Technical Universities Bill,2016 to a close for today. [Pause] -- Yes, Hon Majority Deputy Whip?
Mr Speaker, wewould take item numbered 5, on page 4 oftoday's Order Paper.
Itemnumbered 5 -- By the Chairman of theCommittee on Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, that this Honourable Houseadopts the Report of the Committee onForeign Affairs and Regioanal Integrationon the Agreement relating to theimplementation of part XI of the UnitedNations Convention on the Law of the Seaof 10th December, 1982. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I beg topresent the Committee's Report. Introduction The ratification of the Agreementrelating to the implementation of part XI of the United Nations Convention on theLaw of the Sea of 10th December, 1982was laid before Parliament on 8th March2016, and referred to the Committee onForeign Affairs and Regional Integration,in accordance with article 103 (3) of theConstitution and Order 183 of theStanding Orders of the House. Pursuant to a sitting held by theCommittee to consider the Agreement, theCommittee hereby reports to the Houseas follows: Reference materials The Committee made extensivereferences to the following documents: (i) The United Nations Conventionon the Law of the Sea of 10thDecember; 1982 (ii) The Constitution of theRepublic; (iii)The Standing Orders of theHouse. Background and purpose The Agreement relating to theimplementation of part XI of the UnitedNations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS) came into force on 28th July,1996, following its adoption on 28th July,1994 to regulate the seabed and relatedareas of the oceans beyond the limits ofcountries' national jurisdiction, withparticular reference to the exploration andexploitation of mineral resources underthe ocean bed. This follows challenges faced by someState parties of UNCLOS, in theimplementation of part XI as set out inthe Convention that established the ISA.The Convention (UNCLOS) which wasadopted on 10th December, 1982, inJamaica, established a legal order for theadministration of ocean space which administration included managingnavigational rights and the protection ofmarine species and their environment,among others. Challenges relating to theimplementation of Part XI of the UNCLOShad negatively affected the decision ofsome State parties to accede to theAgreement. Thus, the Agreement established avery elaborate set of rules to regulateconduct at the area which is the seabed,ocean floor, sub-soil and mineralresources found beyond the limits ofnational jurisdiction. It was a measureintended, among others, to elicit theaccession of countries to the Convention. Deliberations The Committee puts on record theinvaluable support of the sector Minister,Hon Hannah SerwaaTetteh, the ChiefDirector of the Ministry, AmbassadorLeslie Christian, the Director, Legal Bureau,Mrs Jane Aheto and the Director of thePolicy Planning, Monitoring andEvaluation Bureau, Mr Edwin Nii Adjei,who were present at the Committee'ssitting to assist in the Committee'sdeliberations. The Committee expresses its gratitudeto them for their immense contribution tothe Committee's work. Observations The Committee made the followingobservations during its work. Full membership rights The Committee observed that theAgreement came into force on 28th July,1996. Thereafter, it provides for countriesto be admitted thirty days after depositing their instruments of ratification with theSecretary-General of the United Nations.Ratification confers full membershiprights on a country, and officials of thecountry could benefit from training andsuch other technical assistance as ISAmight consider necessary, to enable thecountry have access to the resources ofthe ocean floor. Besides, the country is required toextend certain courtesies includingensuring that the right to the inviolabilityof the assets and communications of theISA, as well as the belongings ofpersonnel all over the world, isrespected. The Agreement therefore,requires ratification to facilitate itsapplication by State Parties. The strengthening of the InternationalSeabed Authority (ISA) The Agreement reinforces the provisionof UNCLOS that established ISA. TheAgreement was the outcome of informalconsultations that the Secretary-Generalof the United Nations undertook toidentify challenges that were encounteredin implementation of the UNCLOS, withparticular regard to the deep sea miningprovisions of the Convention. The Committee observed that theconsultations had been in two phases.The first involved identifying certainproblems that were pertinent to the States,the approach to their examination andrelated solution searching issues. Thesecond phase involved the detailedconsultations with country delegations inorder to emphasise precision. The Committee noted that, theAgreement reflects the thinking of theparticipating State parties and strengthensISA, to realise its enhanced mandate. Itmandates ISA to approve rules and
Mr Speaker, I alsorise to speak in support of the Motion,and urge Hon Members of this House, toadopt the Report of the Committee, so thatwe can ratify the Agreement relating tothe Implementation of Part XI of theUnited Nations Convention on the Lawof the Sea of 10th December, 1982. Mr Speaker, even though it mightsound a bit esoteric, because one asksoneself that, given that the area that theInternational Seabed Authority adminis-ters is neither part of our territorial waters,nor is it part of our exclusive economiczone, why is it imperative? Mr Speaker, this is because, under thislegal framework the countries of the worldhave agreed that, for the mineral that existon the seabed, that is not part of eitherthe territorial waters or the exclusiveeconomic zone of any nation, there shouldbe an administrative framework in place,to provide for the application of licenses,for exploration and for further activity, inorder to exploit those minerals. Mr Speaker, if we do not go ahead toratify this Agreement, what it means isthat, we will not be in the position to workwith other countries to obtain suchexploratory licenses, and to takeadvantage of those opportunities. Mr Speaker, another reason it isimportant for us to do so, is that, thedeveloping countries need certaininternational criteria, with regard to respect for human rights and the rule oflaw, who are established democracies, whohave the first priority in the sub region inapplying for the exploratory licenses andwho can work with other countries orother companies in exploring the seabedin order to be able to obtain whateverresources are present over there. Mr Speaker, as the Hon RankingMember has said, we have had our citizenas the Executive Secretary of theInternational Seabed Authority, who hasoccupied this position for two terms, andit is ironic that the country that he comesfrom has not ratified this Agreement. So,let us rectify this anomaly, ratify theAgreement so that we do not continue toembarrass ourselves, so that we takeadvantage of the opportunities under thispiece of international legislation. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, we move on to the Resolutionby the Minister for Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that this House adopts the Report of theCommittee on Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration on the ratification ofthe Agreement Relating to theImplementation of Part XI of the UnitedNations Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion.
Are we notdealing with the Resolution? Is that whatyou have dealt with? establish procedures necessary toevaluate and approve workplans of Stateparties, for exploration and exploitation inthe area. It sets up the enterprise under ISA tomonitor and assess developments in thedeep sea, including environmentalimpacts and related matters, whileconducting mining operations in the Area. The Committee observed that,ratification will enhance the legitimacy ofISA and will go a long way to strengtheningthe impact of UNCLOS which hasrevolutionised sea faring, and the use ofother resources of the oceanbed. Ghana's status Ghana signed the Agreement on 16thNovember, 1994, and now remains amongthe few countries that are yet to ratify it.While the country has an internationalobligation to ratify the Agreement, ourcontinuous delay in doing so underminesa son of the Land, Nii Allotey Oduntun,the Secretary- General of ISA, who has aresponsibility to canvass ratifications fromState parties. Recommendation/Conclusion In the light of the foregoing, it isrecommended that Parliament ratifies theAgreement to reinforce the governingregime that has been set for the area underthe jurisdiction of the InternationalSeabed Authority. The Committee accordingly urges theHouse to ratify the Agreement for theImplementation of Part XI of the UnitedNations Convention on the Law of the Seaof 10th December, 1982. Respectfully submitted.
The Clerks-at-the-Table think you have donesomething else.
Mr Speaker, she has moveda Motion rather than a Resolution. Sheshould move the Resolution now.
We woulddeal with the Resolution at itemnumbered 6, on the Order Paper beforewe move on to the Motion.
Mr Speaker, I crave yourindulgence. I did not use the appropriatewording. I was looking for it on myelectronic Order Paper and I got mixed up.
MrSpeaker, I beg to move, WHEREAS by the provisionsof article 75 of the Constitutionany treaty, agreement, orconvention executed by or underthe Authority of the President inthe name of Ghana is madesubject to ratification either byan Act of Parliament or by aResolution of Parliament sup-ported by the votes of more thanone-half of all the Members ofParliament. IN ACCORDANCE with the saidarticle 75 of the Constitution thePresident has caused to be laidbefore Parliament through theMinister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integrationthe Agreement relating to theimplementation of Part XI of theUnited Nations Convention onthe Law of the Sea. NOW THEREFORE, this HonourableHouse hereby resolves to ratify thesaid Agreement relating to theimplementation of Part XI of theUnited Nations Convention onthe Law of the Sea of 10thDecember, 1982.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister for Foreign Affairs and Regionalis a seasoned parliamentarian, so, shewould spare us by just saying itemnumbered 6. But since she read --
I knowwhere you are coming from.
She stopped at “Law ofthe Sea” which is not the full text of theResolution, so, she should complete it.She stopped at “Law of the Sea” and leftout “10th December, 1982 as …” --[Interruption.] No, she stopped. He heardit.
I read in full.
No, you did not. Therecords are there.
For theavoidance of doubt, Hon Minister, canyou just read out that portion?
Mr Speaker, am I requestedto read the whole thing all over again?
That bitwhich he claims you left out.
“United Nations Conventionon the Law of the Sea of 10th December,1982 on 8th March, 2016.” Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin --rose --
Yes, whatis it?
Mr Speaker, Iwanted clarification on this matter. TheHon Ranking Member for Finance hadalleged that, he did not hear the full textbeing read, but there were aspects thatperhaps, he did not hear and I also didnot hear, of which he did not complain.So, I wanted to crave your indulgence fora possible full reading of same. That iswhy I seek your leave. Mr Speaker, if you would not grant it, Iwill withdraw so that you do not rule meout.
If it pleases youthat we continue like that --
Thank youvery much.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Item 7 --Motion by the Chairman of the Committeeon Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration.
Mr Speaker, I begto move, that this Honourable Houseadopts the Report of the Committee onForeign Affairs and Regional Integration on the Protocol on the Privileges andImmunities of the International SeabedAuthority. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present yourCommittee's Report. Introduction The Protocol on Privileges andImmunities of the International SeabedAuthority was laid in Parliament on 8thMarch, 2016, in accordance with article75 (2) of the Constitution, and referred tothe Committee on Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration, in line with article103 (3} of the Constitution and Order 183of the Standing Orders of the House. TheCommittee, after holding a sitting toconsider the Protocol, hereby reports tothe House as follows: Reference materials (i) The United Nations Conventionon the Law of the Sea, 1982; (ii) The Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana; and (iii)The Standing Orders of theHouse. Background and purpose The United Nations Convention on theLaw of the Sea, which was adopted in1982 provided some guarantees for theprivileges and immunities of theInternational Seabed Authority (ISA),relative to the legal status of the Authorityin respect of its capacity to nave apersonality, capable of entering intocontract, acquiring of property and theability to sue and be sued. With time, those guarantees proved tobe inadequate in protecting all theprivileges and immunities of ISA. State
MrSpeaker, I rise to second the Motion forthe adoption of the Report of theCommittee. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I wish to drawattention to paragraph 3.3 of the Reportwhich shows that the Committee wasconcerned about the fact that so manyagreements are signed by variousMinistries, Departments and Agencies,and these international Agreementsought to be brought to Parliament forratification and it is not done. With respect to this, these privilegeswhich were contained in the 1982document -- more than 30 years ago, it isnow that we are ratifying them. We do notthink that is good enough. Delayed ratification of internationaltreaties and protocols The Committee observed withdispleasure, the prolonged delays inGhana's ratification and accession ofinternational protocols and agreements.The delays were noted to becoming rathercommon, as they appeared to be the norm,instead of an aberration. In the particularinstance, while the Protocol was adoptedin March 1998, Ghana signed it in January1999. The Committee noted that the over-seventeen years that it has taken to bringthe Protocol for ratification is unacceptableand excessively long, and this did notaugur well for the image of the countryinternationally. The Committee's enquiry into thecause of such delays revealed that, whilethe Ministry of Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration was the main agencythat facilitates the country's foreignrelations, the work of some otherMinistries, Departments and Agencies ofthe State also had some internationalcomponents which involved their periodicparticipation in international negotiations,resulting in the signing of treatiesrequiring ratification. The Committee recalls its earlieradmonition of officials of suchorganisations to notify the Ministry ofForeign Affairs and Regional Integration,through its Missions, whenever theyundertake such activities. This will enablethe Ministry play the required facilitatoryrole, both in the preparations towards themeetings and in the implementation oftheir outcomes which included ratificationof protocols and treaties that resulted fromthe meetings.
Mr Speaker, I believe thisis not a controversial matter. Indeed, it is Once we recognise these organisationsto be international organisations, whichits offices or agents are expected to beaccorded the normal diplomaticimmunities, we must also ma, so that wecan accord them those privileges andimmunities. Mr Speaker, in that regard, I would liketo urge Hon Members of the House toalso support the Motion and adopt theReport, so that we can follow thoughand ensure that we do the proper thing tobe able to complete this process. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Thank youvery much. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, we move on to the Resolution,item numbered 8 on page five of the OrderPaper, by the Hon Minister for ForeignAffairs and Regional Integration.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that WHEREAS by the provisionsof article 75 of the Constitutionany treaty, agreement, orconvention executed by or underthe Authority of the President inthe name of Ghana is madesubject to ratification either byan Act of Parliament or by aresolution of Parliament supportedby the votes of more than one-half of all the Members ofParliament. IN ACCORDANCE with thesaid article 75 of the Consti-tution, the President has causedto be laid before Parliamentthrough the Minister responsiblefor Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration the Protocol on thePrivileges and Immunities of theInternational Seabed Authorityon 8th March 2016. NOW THEREFORE, this HonourableHouse hereby resolves to ratifythe said Protocol on the Privi-leges and Immunities of theInternational Seabed Authority.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, can wekindly take item numbered 4 (f)?
HonMembers, at the Commencement of PublicBusiness, item numbered 4 --presentation of Papers by the HonChairman of the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker,before I lay the Paper, I would want tocorrect the title of the Report to read,Supplementary Estimates of Governmentfor 2016.
Mr Speaker, wemay take item numbered 9 on page 5 ofthe Order Paper.
HonMembers, item numbered 9 on the OrderPaper, by the Hon Chairman of theCommittee.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, thatnotwithstanding the provisions ofStanding Order 80 (1) which require thatno Motion shall be debated until at leastforty-eight hours have elapsed, betweenthe date on which notice of the Motion isgiven, and the date on which the Motionis moved, the Motion for the adoption ofthe Report of the Finance Committee onthe request for waiver of applicable taxesand levies, including import duties, importVAT, EDAIF, ECOWAS Levy, destinationinspection fees and other import charges,VAT and withholding tax liabilities, otherproject related imposts, including stampduty payment on the loan facility andspecified local taxes, amounting to thecedi equivalent of seventy-five million,seven hundred and twenty-six thousand,six hundred and seventy-three UnitedStates dollars (US$75,726,673.00), on theprocurement of supplies and services inrespect of the 360 MW Combined-CyclePower Project at Kpone in the GreaterAccra Region by Messrs Sunon AsogliPower (GH) Limited—Phase II may bemoved today.
Mr Speaker, wemay take item numbered 10 on page six ofthe Order Paper. Report of the Finance Committee onthe Request for Waiver of ApplicableTaxes and Levies including ImportDuties, Import VAT, etc.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this Honourable House adoptsthe Report of the Finance Committee onthe request for waiver of applicable taxesand levies, including import duties, importVAT, EDAIF, ECOWAS levy, destinationinspection fees and other import charges,VAT and withholding tax liabilities, otherproject related imposts including stampduty payment on the loan facility andspecified local taxes amounting to the cediequivalent of seventy-five million, sevenhundred and twenty-six thousand, sixhundred and seventy-three United Statesdollars (US$75,726,673.00), on theprocurement of supplies and services inrespect of the 360 MW Combined-CyclePower Project at Kpone in the GreaterAccra Region by Messrs Sunon AsogliPower (GH) Limited—Phase II. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present yourCommittee's Report, Introduction The request for waiver of applicabletaxes and levies, including import duties,import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS levy,EDAIF, inspection fees and other importcharges, VAT and withholding taxliabilities, other project related imposts including stamp duty payment on the loanfacility and specified local taxes,amounting to the cedi equivalent ofseventy-five million, seven hundred andtwenty-six thousand, six hundred andseventy-three United States dollars(US$75,726,673.00), on the procurement ofsupplies and services, in respect of the360 MW Combined Cycle Power Projectat Kpone in the Greater Accra Region byMessrs Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana)Limited -- Phase II, was presented toParliament by the Hon Deputy Ministerof Finance Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forsonon behalf of the Hon Minister for Financeon Tuesday, 14th June, 2016, inaccordance with article 174 (2) of the 1992Constitution. The Rt. Hon Speaker referred therequest to the Finance Committee forconsideration and report in accordancewith Order 169 of the Standing Orders ofthe Parliament of Ghana. Deliberations The Committee met and considered therequest with the assistance of the HonDeputy Minister for Finance, Mr CassielAto Baah Forson and officials from theMinistry of Finance and Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA). The Committee expresses its gratitudeto the Hon Deputy Minister and theofficials for attending upon it. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents at itsdeliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; of the phase I begun in 2011 andperformed reliably and efficiently insupplementing power generation capacityof the country. By 2014, Sunon Asogli had generatedabout 1307 GWH with 1253 GWH on-grid,which represented about 14 per cent ofthe total power supply in Ghana.Considering the good achievements ofthe Phase I, and the power supplyshortage in Ghana, Sunon Asogli resolvedto start the 360 MW Phase II project tohelp improve the power situation in thecountry. To this end, SunonAsogli entered intoa Power Purchase Agreement with theElectricity Company of Ghana (ECG) tosupply ECG with additional 360 MW ofpower. To facilitate the early completionof the project, and in line withGovernment's policy, the Ministry ofFinance is requesting for exemption ofappropriate taxes, duties, fees and othercharges relating to the execution of theproject. Required waiver To ensure the smooth execution of theproject, the Ministry of Finance is seekingfor tax exemption up to the cedi equivalentof US$75,726,673.00 on suppliers,services, goods and equipment requiredfor the implementation of the project. Thecomposition of the taxes is as follows: iii. Power Purchase Agreementbetween the Electricity Companyof Ghana (the Buyer) and SunonAsogli Power (Ghana) Limited(the seller) for the purchase ofelectrical energy. Background One of the major policy objectives ofGovernment is to increase the installedcapacity of the country's electricitygeneration to 5,000 MW. This ambitioustarget, coupled with the recent energycrisis, requires an accelerated effort toincrease generation, reinforce and expandthe electricity transmission grid to ensurereliable and secured evacuation of power,to meet the increasing national demand. To this end, Government hassupported the efforts of the ElectricityCompany of Ghana (ECG) to enter intoAgreements with Independent PowerProducers to complement its efforts toachieve this objective. Sunon Asogli was formed by ShenzenEnergy, as an independent powerproducing company to supplement thepower generation in Ghana. The aim ofSunon Asogli is to build, own and operatea 560 MW power plant, which consists ofPhase 1 project (200MW) and Phase IIproject (360MW). Commercial operations i. Customs Duties, VAT and Import charges -- US$36,284,288.00 ii. Domestic VAT and Withholding Taxes -- US$37,075,025.00 iii. Stamp Duty on loan amount of (US$473,472,000) -- US$ 2,367,360.00 Total -- US$75,726,673.00
MrSpeaker, I rise to second the Motionand in so doing, to remind Hon Membersof the House that this is a consequentialthing which does not require muchexplanation. The only problem we havethese days -- I just want to refer to thatsection of the Report, one of thedifficulties we have is that, sectorministries do not bring commercialAgreements for the projects that we aresupposed to assess the tax waiver on. So, very often, we are asked to approvea tax waiver but we do not know the valueof the project, and it is not the best. Wewant to urge Parliament to start insistingon that so that, at least, we would be seento be doing the work. Otherwise there isno difficulty with this. The proper clarification has been made,so it is the cedi equivalent rather than indollars. With those few words, I urge HonMembers to adopt the Report.
HonMembers, do we have the Minister forFinance or his deputy in the Chamber?[Pause.] We move on to the Resolution --
Mr Speaker,the Motion has been moved andseconded. I did not hear anythingthereafter, because I wanted to contribute. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, apropos what theHon Member for Old Tafo stated. ThisHouse is being called upon to dischargea constitutional duty. It is not per- Observation The Committee, having carefullyscrutinised the request, made thefollowing observations: Assessment of tax liabilities and thewaiver required The Committee noted that, in anattempt to ensure the availability ofadequate and reliable power forcommercial and domestic use, thegovernment has adopted as a policy togrant tax reliefs to persons willing toproduce power to supplement thecountry's energy needs. The policy is more relevant today,considering the fact that the countrycannot rely on the traditional hydroenergy as the main source of powergeneration. To this end, governmentintends to increase thermal generation inthe energy mix, to mitigate the effect offalling level of power generation fromhydro sources. The request for taxexemptions for the Sunon Asogli Powerproject is therefore consistent withgovernment's policy on the energy sector. Accordingly, the Ghana RevenueAuthority has assessed the applicabletaxes, duties and levies on equipment,materials and other general items requiredfor the execution of the project and haverecommended a total tax liability of thecedi equivalent of seventy-five million,seven hundred and twenty-six thousand,six hundred and seventy- three UnitedStates dollars (US$75,726,673.00) forwhich exemption should be granted. Justification for Government support Explaining the rationale for the decisionof government to grant the waiver, theDeputy Minister for Finance emphasised
Mr Speaker, the point that wasraised by my Hon Colleague, the RankingMember for the Finance Committee andreiterated by Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah,is a point that we should take seriously asa House. It is the way this arrangementcame, that is why we would encouragethat we all vote for it. Otherwise, I would have wished thatwe treat it like all others before we approveof it. Though it is a good start for thecountry, that the company would saythey really do not need Government'sguarantee, would fund the whole projectfrom start to finish, and would need justGovernment's contribution of what we callthe tax waiver -- It is a real contribution becauseGovernment is giving money out.Government is actually giving money outto the company, as its form of contribution,because Government should have taxedthem. But once Government is not taxingthem and giving them a tax waiver of thecedi equivalent of about US$75 million --If you multiply it by four, that gives you alot of money which is close to GH¢300million. These taxes should have come toGovernment, but Government saysbecause the project is beneficial to us,they should take it and complete it. Weshould try and use this module in otherareas like roads, water and otherinfrastructure so that we can freeourselves with some funds to do othermore important things. So, this conceptis good.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, this is precisely where theproblem is. They always come and saythat “if they bring in the taxes, the tariffswould go up”. But they never tell us byhow much. The Hon Deputy Minister for Power,has just said “it would go up”. But if weshould ask how much, they would saythey do not know, yet they say we shouldgive them the tax waiver.
Mr Speaker, that is anestablished fact. I would want to thank Hon Membersfor their concern. That is why we are allhere and we would learn from that. Act, 2013 (Act 872), the Value AddedTax Act, 2013 (Act 870), the ValueAdded Tax (Amendment) Act, 2015(Act 890) and other existing lawsand regulations applicable to thecollection of customs duties andother taxes on the importation ofgoods into Ghana, the Minister forFinance may exempt any statutorycorporation, institution or individualfrom the payment of duties and taxesotherwise payable under the saidlaws and regulations or waive orvary the requirement of suchstatutory corporation, institution orindividual to pay such duties andtaxes; IN ACCORDANCE with theprovisions of the Constitutionand at the request of theGovernment of Ghana actingthrough the Minister responsiblefor Finance, there has been laidbefore Parliament a request bythe Minister for Finance for theprior approval of Parliament, theexercise by him of his powerunder the laws and regulationsrelating to the waiver ofapplicable taxes and levies,including import duties, importVAT, EDAIF, ECOWAS levy,destination inspection Fees andother import charges, VAT andWithholding Tax liabilities, otherproject related imposts includingstamp duty payment on the loanfacility and specified local taxesamounting to the cedi equivalent ofSeventy-five million, seven hundredand twenty-six thousand, sixhundred and seventy-three UnitedStates dollars (US$75,726,673.00) onthe procurement of supplies andservices in respect of the 360MWCombined Cycle Power Project atKpone in the Greater Accra Regionby Messrs Sunon Asogli Power(GH) Limited—Phase II. company. This is the tax that the countryshould have collected from them, but weare giving it to them because we believeit is beneficial to us. These are the modelsthat we should look at. Mr Speaker, this is smart business forthe company. The country could havetaken this GH¢300,000,000.00, but thecountry looked at the pros and cons of it,and said that we need the project. In thelong run, the project would be verybeneficial to the country, although it is acommercial project,so, let us look at it. If the company were to go purelycommercial, how much would it cost theaverage citizen in terms of kilowatts perhour? If it is not purely commercial, andhas to fit into our tariff system, how muchwould it cost us? If that is the issue, wecan give them the tax component which isour contribution to the company. We should look at this model very wellas a Committee, and see whether that isthe way to go the next time. Other thanthat, I believe it is a good initiative and weshould encourage more companies tocome in and see what can be done. Like Isaid, we should encourage more businessminded people to do that in other fieldsand we can get our way through as acountry. I would ask Hon Members to supportthe Report of the Committee and vote forit. Deputy Minister for Power (Mr JohnAbdulai Jinapor): Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity given me to contributeto this Motion. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Iwould like to thank you, and also ask HonMembers to support the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, we now move on to itemnumbered 11 on the Order Paper --Resolution, by the Hon Minister forFinance.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to Resolved accordingly.
HonMembers, item numbered 13 on the OrderPaper -- Motion by the Chairman of theFinance Committee. Request for Waiver of Import Duties,Import VAT, et cetera, on the EasternCorridor Road Project Covering Lots 5and 6
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee onthe request for waiver of import duties,import VAT and NHIL, ECOWAS levy,EDIF, inspection fees, and other relatedtaxes amounting to the Cedi equivalent oftwenty-six million, nine hundred andseventeen thousand, two hundred andforty United States dollars and fifty cents(US$26,917,240.50), relating to projectmaterials and equipment, as well asservices to be procured in respect of theimplementation of the Export CreditAgreement between the Government ofthe Republic of Ghana and the NationalBank for Economic and Social Develop-ment (BNDES) and the Bank of Brazilsupported by the Brazilian OfficialEqualisationProgramme (PROEX), tofinance the design and civil engineeringworks related to the construction of roadsthat comprise the Eastern Corridor RoadProject, covering lots 5 and 6 (Oti-Damanko -Nakpanduri stretch - 209km). Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present yourCommittee's Report. Introduction The request for the waiver of importduties, import VAT and NHIL, ECOWASlevy, EDAIF, Inspection fees, and otherrelated taxes amounting to twenty-sixmillion, nine hundred and seventeenthousand, two hundred and forty UnitedStates dollars and fifty cents(US$26,917,240.50), relating to projectmaterials and equipment, as well asservices to be procured in respect of theimplementation of the Export CreditAgreement between the Government ofthe Republic of Ghana and the NationalBank of Economic and Social Develop-ment (BNDES) and the Bank of Brazil,supported by the Brazilian OfficialEqualisation Programme (PROEX), tofinance the design and civil engineering work relating to the construction of roadthat comprise the Eastern Corridor RoadProject, covering lots 5 and 6 (Oti -Damakgo-Nakpanduri stretch -209 km)was presented to Parliament on behalf ofthe Hon Minister for Finance , by the HonDeputy Minister for Finance Mr CassielAto Baah Forson on Tuesday, 19th July,2016 in accordance with article 174 (2)of the 1992 Constitution. The Rt Hon Speaker referred therequest to the Finance Committee forconsideration and report, in accordancewith Order 169 of the Standing Orders ofthe Parliament of Ghana. Deliberations The Committee met and considered therequest with the assistance of the Hon.Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. CassielAto Baah Forson and officials from theMinistry of Finance and Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA). The Committee expresses its gratitudeto the Hon Deputy Minister and officialsfor attending upon it to give theassistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing additional documents at itsdeliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; iii. Design Build Contract Agreementbetween the Government of theRepublic of Ghana, acting throughthe Ministry of Roads andHighways and the Ghana HighwaysAuthority and the joint venturemade up of Construtora AndradeGutierrez, S.A. and Construtora NOW THEREFORE, this HonourableHouse hereby approves the exerciseby the Minister responsible forFinance of the power granted tohim by Parliament by statute towaive such applicable taxes andlevies, including import duties,import VAT, EDAIF, ECOWASlevy, destination inspection feesand other import charges, VATand withholding tax liabilities,other project related impostsincluding stamp duty payment onthe loan facility and specified localtaxes amounting to the cediequivalent of seventy five million,seven hundred and twenty-sixthousand, six hundred andseventy-three United Statesdollars (US$75,726,673.00) on theprocurement of supplies andservices in respect of the 360MWCombined-Cycle Power Project atKpone in the Greater Accra Regionby Messrs Sunon Asogli Power(GH) Limited—Phase II.
Mr Speaker,I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to Resolved accordingly.
Yes, HonMajority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, we wouldtake items numbered 12, 13 and 14 in theOrder Paper.
Very well. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to
SPACE FOR TAX CATEGORY - PAGE 16 - 4.05P.M. The Hon Deputy Minister indicatedthat in its quest to maximise governmentrevenue and reduce to the barest minimumrevenue lost through waivers andexemptions, the Ministry of Finance,through its tax policy unit, upon athorough reassessment and negotiations,disallowed some of the items for whichthe exemption were being sought. The Ministry accordingly recommendedfor the approval of a waiver of up to twenty-six million, nine hundred and seventeenthousand, two hundred and forty UnitedStates dollars and fifty cent (US$26,917,240.50),on core project materials and equipmentrequired for the execution of the project. The Committee expressed concernabout the huge revenue lost to the Stateas a result of the delay in the rationalisationof the current tax concession regime. TheCommittee therefore entreats the HonMinister for Finance to expedite action onthe rationalisation of the tax concessionregime, in order to streamline itsapplication, reduce abuse and hugerevenue lost to the state. Parliamentary approval of the Contractagreement The Committee noted that, the worksContract Agreement for which the taxwaiver request is being sought is an Ranking Member of the Committee(Dr Anthony Akoto Osei): Mr Speaker, Irise to second the Motion, and in sodoing, I would want to crave theindulgence of the Hon Chairman to insertthe words, “the cedi equivalent” whereverin the Report there is an amount relatingto the tax waiver. But not on the amountof the loan. The loan was in dollars, butthe Report should have said the cediequivalent on the tax waiver we areseeking. Mr Speaker, unlike the previous onethat we talked about, where we asked thatthe Hon Minister brings the contract forour information, in case the Governmentof Ghana borrowed the amount, so alsothe Ministry was supposed to have laidthe contract in front of us for approval.So, I would want to bring your attentionto page 7, where we are recommending tothe House to direct the Hon Minister forRoads and Highways to present the workscontract Agreement for approval by thisHouse. It is not for our information butfor approval. Mr Speaker, the loan is worth US$242million. So, public funds are going to beused to pay, and certainly, article 181(5)is very clear on what we ought to do. Butsometimes I do not know whether it is justthat people have forgotten, but there is atendency not to bring contracts toParliament for us to look at. I do notunderstand it. They need the support ofthe representatives of the people so thatwe can all buy in. I believe this is one ofthe reasons the Ministry of Finance isbringing the new Public FinancialManagement (PFM) law. Mr Speaker, sector Ministers have atendency of thinking that they could sitin their offices and sign — This is a hugeamount; US$242 million. Somebody
HonMember, which parts are you talkingabout? Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Iam speaking figuratively — [Laughter.]— they will not. It is important. I speakfrom my experience as a member of theExecutive in various ministries for eightgood years. Mr Speaker, insofar as the Executiveis concerned — [Interruption] — UnlessParliament takes drastic measures, thesethings would continue and we would justcome, weep, moan —
Lament, andthen they would give us “fun-fool”respect — oh yes, do not worry, it will notoccur.
Where “fun-fool” respect means what?
They wouldpretend that they have taken whatever youhave said seriously — “let us say this —if this is what would enable us get theirapproval to continue with business asusual — why not”. Mr Speaker, and so, it is a seriousmatter. Mr Speaker, that would have done thisHouse better service. Then they also say that it wouldfacilitate trade between Ghana and theneighbouring countries of Burkina Faso,Mali and Niger. That again, is rationalisingthe need for this project. It is also important that they tell usthat, maybe,it would secure our goodsfrom Tema Harbour. If it has to go throughthe usual routes, this is the length ofroads that one may traverse, but if itpasses through this, and that is why weare making the statement that it wouldfacilitate trade between Ghana and itsneighbouring countries. Mr Speaker, the other matter that Iusually also relate to is the overalleconomic impact, because we are notdoing this road for just the beauty of it.We would want it to add value to the livesof the people of this country. We expectthis from them. That is what our StandingOrders provide. It is not just availing uswith the terms and conditions, but theyshould tell us the impact on theeconomy -- Mr Avedzi — rose --
Mr Speaker,I have not even finished my sentence andHon Avedzi, the ubiquitous Chairman ofthe Finance Committee gets up.[Laughter.] I mentioned your name in respect ofwhat? The Chairman of the Committee isso much allergic that he did not even hearme complete the sentence and he gets up,so, I would sit down.
HonMinority Leader, can you address theChair? reminded me that this could be the FordExpedition road. I do not know what theymeant by that. I have no idea if it istrue or false. So, we can see theconsequences if that is the case; thatpotholes are developing, et cetera and itraises issues about value for money. Mr Speaker, I just want to bring yourattention to the part -- thus theconsequential Act if we adopt the Report.Of course, I would want to ask HonMembers to adopt the Report because theroad had been done. But if, at least,Parliament would have been seized withthat contract, it could do what it wishesto do with it. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Iask Hon Members to support the Motionto adopt the Report of the Committee.
Thank youvery much. Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, howdo you respond to that portion of theReport?
Mr Speaker, the issue wasraised at the Committee, and we did explainthat this contract was awarded in 2012. Atthat time, the issue of article 181 (5) wasnot very topical. Mr Speaker, it was then decided thatwe would have to come back to thisHouse to present the CommercialAgreement. We have since communicatedto the sector Ministry, and I believe thatvery soon, they would come before theHouse to lay the Commercial Agreement.
Mr Speaker,the excuse given by the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance is really untenable.Once this House has to discharge a
HonDeputy Minister for Finance, I believe itis a serious issue. Gradually, our powersas a Parliament are being whittled awayand I do not think it is in our best interest.So, I think we need to get you to putpressure on the sector Ministry, to dowhat is right, even if it is ex post factum,which can look at the Agreement, etcetera.
Mr Speaker, just a fewwords on the approval for the request forwaiver. The Report makes a categoricalstatement on page 3, that the link is goingto serve as the fastest route for thetransportation of goods from productioncentres in the northern parts of thecountry to the southern zone for exportand local use. Mr Speaker, that is a very importantstatement. I thought that, having madethat categorical statement, the Committee,with the help of the Ministry, would havetold us the significant savings that wouldaccrue to the nation in respect of thesestatements. This is because it is important.It is one reason that is informing theconstruction of the road. Mr Speaker, so even though I believeit is a statement that really compels reason,I thought they should have gone beyondit and done this House better service by,at least, giving us some statistics that, yes,it is going to serve as the fastest route forthe transportation of goods fromproduction centres. Mr Speaker, the current route throughmaybe, Tamale, Kumasi, routing to theseother areas on the average, one wouldhave to spend so much time, butaccessing this route would reduce it by,maybe, average time of this or that.
Mr Speaker,I do not know the cause for this kneejerk reaction -- Immediately he hearshis name he gets up. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I think the other matterthat I have always been relating to is thecost of these projects. Let us know thecost per kilometre of the construction.Already, we are being told that portionsof the road constructed have startedgoing bad. So, we need to be told the costper kilometre. I have always insisted that the Ministerresponsible for Roads and Highwaysshould let us settle on some nationalaverage, so that if we go beyond, we knowthat perhaps, we are veering off and wewould need to come back. It is not possibleto have one unit to affect all roadsconstructed in this country. But certainly,we must, as a nation, settle on a range. So, if we say that constructing akilometre of road should cost us, maybe,between US$500,000 and 700,000,depending on the topography and therock structure, the terrain and so on, wewould be conversant with what we aredoing. Otherwise, we may have roadsconstructed at the cost of, maybe, US$1.7million per kilometre, whereas otherdouble-layered asphalt roads are beingconstructed at the cost of, maybe,US$700,000 and 600,000 per kilometre. Mr Speaker, it is difficult to justify whatwe are witnessing in the country thesedays, and that is why I say that we needthe Ministry of Roads and Highways toassemble the technical people and theexperts. Let them come with a nationalaverage cost for the construction of ourroads. It is unjustifiable and I believe thatwe could make tremendous savings andapply same to the delivery of other equallyimportant facilities, especially to our ruraldwellers. Mr Speaker, on this note, as you said, Ilend my voice to the Motion on the floorof the House. Thank you.
Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to. Hon Members, we move on to itemnumbered 14 on the Order Paper --Resolution? Minister for Finance.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
In themeantime, the Hon Second DeputySpeaker to take the Chair.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion moved by the HonDeputy Minister for Finance, and in sodoing , I present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2016was presented to Parliament and read theFirst time by the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forsonon Friday, 15th July, 2016 and referred tothe Finance Committee for considerationand report, in accordance with article 174(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Orders169 and 125 of the Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana. Pursuant to the referral, the Committeemet and discussed the Bill with theassistance of the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson,Commissioners from Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA), officials of the Ministryof Finance, and Attorneys from theAttorney-General's Department. The Committee is grateful to the HonDeputy Minister, Commissioners,Attorneys and officials for the assistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing documents at its deliberations: a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana b. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; c. Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891); d. Interpretation Act, 1960 (CA4). Background Parliament in 2015, passed the CustomsAct, 2015 (Act 891) into law. The Act seeksto reorganise and streamline all provisionson customs operations which hithertowere scattered in the different laws into asingle legislation. Following the passage of the Act, thecustoms division has implemented anumber of reforms, resulting in somechanges in operational practice. Prominentamong these changes are the implemen-tation of a National Single Window whichaims at facilitating trade and improvingrevenue generation. Again, the GhanaRevenue Authority also took over itstraditional function of classification,valuation and risk assessment which hasbeen performed by Destination InspectionCompanies since 2000. The GRA has also completed work onthe phase II of the National SingleWindow System and phase III, whichdeals with the implementation of theNational Single Window blue print whichis expected to begin in the second half of2016. There is therefore the need to amendAct 891 to provide for administrativestructures that allow for the effectiveimplementation of these systems and topromote effective coordination with othergovernment agencies. Purpose of the Bill The Bill seeks to amend Customs Act,2015 (Act 891), to provide for theestablishment of the National SingleWindow System and the establishment ofthe Risk Management Committee and theNational Risk Management Team to help
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
In themeantime, the Hon Second DeputySpeaker is to take the Chair. Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, we willtake item numbered 19 and 20 -- Customs(Amendment) Bill, Second Reading.
Very well. Item numbered 19 on the Order Paper --Motion by the Minister for Finance.
Mr Speaker, I riseto second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Itemnumbered 20 -- Customs (Amendment)Bill, 2016
Conclusion and recommendation The Committee, upon a thoroughexamination of the Bill, recommends tothe House to adopt its Report and passthe Customs (Amendment) Bill, 2016 intolaw, in accordance with article 106 of the1992 Constitution and Orders 126 and 127of the Standing Orders of the House. Respectfully submitted.
MrChairman, is the Report one which is onlyin your bosom?
I would go to theConclusion.
Do youwant to read the conclusion?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Why?Would the Hansard not capture that?
Mr Speaker, it is for thosewho are listening even in their offices toknow what we are doing.
All right.Thank you very much. Question proposed. Ranking Member of the Committee(Dr Anthony A. Osei): Mr Speaker, I riseto contribute to the Motion that theSecond Reading of the Customs(Amendment) Bill, 2016 be now read aSecond time. SPACE FOR AMENDMENT - PAGE 16. -4.25 P.M Mr Speaker, in so doing, I wouldwant to offer just a few comments. Therevision of the new customs law occurredsometime this year, and I was wonderingwhy at that time, even though the singlewindow project was in existence, it wasnot incorporated in the law. This new amendment seeks to, as itwere, regularise what I think is anadministrative feature of the GhanaRevenue Authority. Now, let us be very clear. The companythat is working for the GRA is only anagent. This belongs to the GRA and thatis where it should be. Customs collectionis under GRA, but I understand thatsince they are not in the position to takeover all the functions, because of capacityissues, it is likely that this companywould be there for a while, in transition. But, Mr Speaker, I would want to remindthe Hon Minister not to let it be permanent.Generally, if we do not allow the local peopleto be in charge of a project and we keepconsultants, the implementation would bevery bad, and I refer him to the PublicFinancial Management Reform Programme(PUFMARP), or Ghana IntegratedFinancial Management InformationSystem (GIFMIS). Now, it is different. So, I would pleadwith him that, as long as the Customsstaff are in charge, the consultants can bethere for a while, but there must be sometermination time, because if they are thereforever --
Mr Speaker, we shouldngo to item numbered 21.
Itemnumbered 21, Hon Deputy Minister forFinance?
Mr Speaker, I begto second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly. So, Mr Speaker, except for regularisingthis administration -- I think, in my view,it could have been done without anamendment, because in the customs Act,the Hon Minister under regulation issupposed to take steps to make sure thatthe Act becomes effective. But Mr Speaker,I can understand why given thecontroversies surrounding the DestinationInspection Companies (DICs), the GhanaSingle Window concept and BankswitchGhana Ltd, if they are regularised as weare it is safer for the Authority. Mr Speaker, there is a deficit in thecurrent structure, and this amendmentBill would cure that, in my view. So, I thinkit is in order and I urge Hon Members toadopt the Report of the Committee insupport of the Motion.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity to contribute to this debate.In doing so, I just wish to make a verybrief but important point. Mr Speaker, we are discussing theprinciple and I agree with the Committeethat this Bill be read a Second time. Mr Speaker, in the Report, theCommittee has made certain observationswhich will reflect during the ConsiderationStage. But it is important to state that, thisHouse, in enacting laws, should be verycareful the extent to which it gives poweror delegates its power to persons andauthorities to make regulations. Indeed, the Executive, in bringing thislaw were talking about its implementationthrough guidelines, matters which arematters of law. We have had a recentexperience where, even though some HonMembers had grave reservations aboutregulations, we could not annul thelegislation.
Yes, itemnumbered 22, I believe.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion moved by the HonDeputy Minister For Finance. Introduction The Income Tax (Amendment) (No. 2)Bill, 2016 was presented to Parliament andread the first time by the Hon DeputyMinister for Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato BaahForson on Friday, 15th July, 2016, andreferred to the Finance Committee forconsideration and report, in accordancewith article 174 (1) of the 1992 Constitutionand Orders 169 and 125 of the StandingOrders of the Parliament of Ghana. Pursuant to the referral, the Committeemet and considered the Bill with theassistance of the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson,the Commissioner-General of the GhanaRevenue Authority (GRA), Mr GeorgeBlankson, Commissioners, and otherofficials from GRA, Attorneys from theAttorney-General's Department andofficials from the Tax Policy Unit of theMinistry of Finance. The Committee is grateful to the HonDeputy Minister, the Commissioner-General, Commissioners and officials fromthe Ministry of Finance, GRA andAttorney- General's Department for theassistance. Reference The Committee referred to thefollowing documents at its deliberations: a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; b. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; c. Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896).
You haveraised an interesting point.
Mr Speaker, we needyour guidance.
Myguidance is that it was the printer's devil.
Mr Speaker, I acceptyour -- [Interruption] -- You are in theposition to know. Mr Speaker, but let us be careful whenwe are looking for money. How manypeople are we really talking about here interms of gift tax, that we want the law tocatch them? Sometimes, in our attempt to raise moremoney, we cause more trouble. In Ghana, when we are talking aboutgifts, do we have the capacity to monitorall those people? When we go to ourconstituencies and see the chiefs andgive them schnapps, are those gifts? Yes;under this law. So, are we going to follow to all theseplaces and check? Do we need toimplement this?
HonAkoto Osei, if somebody gives schnappsto a chief, who pays tax? Is it the chief orthe giver? Why? How much money are theygoing to collect? He should tell us. He didnot say. In fact, we would spend more moneychasing people than is necessary. This isbecause our culture requires that whenwe visit somebody, we take somethingthere; brandy or schnapps. Mr Speaker, politicians visit chiefs allthe time. Has the Hon Deputy Minsterreported that to us?
HonMember, but the law is yet to come intoeffect.
Mr Speaker, it is the law;they would be making it clearer.[Interruption.] That is why he said“inadvertently”. That is why he ischanging it; it is not clear. Mr Speaker, so, I am wondering; isthe Hon Deputy Minister saying that,once we pass the law, anytime he goes tohis constituency and visits the chiefs, heis going to report to the Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA) that he gave themschnapps?This is because that is theculture.
Arethere exceptions for donations in church?Are there any exceptions?
Mr Speaker, no; it isthe norm for chiefs.
So, arethere no exceptions in the law? Hon Member, I am asking that we aredebating the principles, and you made avery important point, that in our culture,we give gifts. Conclusion and recommendation The Committee, upon a thoroughexamination of the Bill recommends to theHouse to adopt its Report and pass theIncome Tax (Amendment) (No. 2), 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, Ijust need your guidance. The Hon Chairman supported theMotion. So, I do not know who secondedit.
Mr Speaker, this is theSecond Reading, so, it is not seconded.
MrSpeaker, item numbered 22 on the OrderPaper is a Motion, that the Income Tax(Amended) (No.2) Bill, 2016 be now readthe Second time. Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Ministerused a very interesting word. In the memorandum, the languagethere is: “…capital gains tax was maintained,that of gift tax was advertentlyreduced.” Mr Speaker, that is the memorandumbefore the House. That memorandum has not beenwithdrawn, and the Hon Deputy Ministercannot amend a memorandum on the floorof the House. So, when he says “inadvertently”, I donot know where he is getting that from.
Mr Speaker, if myunderstanding is correct, this law wouldsay that the chief must pay tax. MrSpeaker, but somebody must report. So, in our current culture, the conceptof gifts is so nebulous that if we comewith an Act purporting to catch people inthat category, we are wasting our time.This is because it is not implementable. Mr Speaker, when the District ChiefExecutive (DCE) is in his office, andpeople come and give him goats, this lawsays he should report it. Mr Speaker, they told us the reasonthey are bringing this law is that peopleare not reporting.
HonAkoto Osei, is it a live or dead goat that isgiven to the DCE?
Mr Speaker, some aredead because they are frozen; some arealive. [Laughter.] On a lighter note, MrSpeaker, we asked the Hon DeputyMinister that in the case where I have aFord Expedition, mine is not a gift, wouldhe consider that taxable under this law?He did not explain it to us. So, who is going to pay the tax? Is itthe State? This is because the Presidentdoes not pay taxes. So, sometimes, when we are bringinglaws, the intent may be good, but Iwonder how we are going to implement it.This is because our culture is not like theother places where other gifts, such asthose under capital gains, can be captured.It is a waste of our time. There are other proponents that Iaccept, but I have a problem with that partalone.
Mr Speaker, I rise to supportthe Motion on the floor. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague raiseda problem with the collection of small gifts.The fact that it will be difficult to implementsome parts of the law, does not mean thatwe cannot pass them. Mr Speaker, provisions in the law alsoform the basis for educating people whattype of behaviour we should put up. So,if we raise these issues in the laws andeducate the citizenry, at least they areaware of the provisions, and we cannotsay that everybody who knows the lawwill likely go against it. So, those citizenswho are aware and are conscious, will goby the provisions of the law. Mr Speaker, one thing I find veryimportant about this law is that, we aretrying to motivate outsiders to come and There are certain countries that, whenone is entering into a business transactionwith somebody, one is supposed to gowith a gift. It is not of any serious value. So, I am asking you, that are thereexceptions, if for example, I makedonations to a church?
Mr Speaker, myunderstanding of this Bill is that there areno exceptions. Mr Speaker, if we relate it to the Codeof Conduct, we may start having someceilings. Mr Speaker, but as far as they areconcerned, a gift is a gift. That is why I am asking why we arepassing a law that we know is not goingto be implementable, except to make itseem like we are doing the -- Mr Speaker, but as I said, there areother parts of the amendment Bill, whichI have no difficulty with. Mr Speaker, one of them, sometimeshas its good and bad side. They aretrying to give favours to foreigners whobuy our bonds; then we say, “localcontent”. So, if our people buy, would we givethem a break? The fact is that, if I go toNew York to buy a 30-year bond there, Iwould pay taxes. So, why are we generousto them? Mr Speaker, I understand that in ourcurrent circumstances, they are themajority buyers; but that is the morereason we should not let them be addictedto it. This is because if they get addictedto it, they would be here forever and thenwe cannot buy. participate in the domestic bond market,where they will not only wait for us tocome outside, float Eurobonds or otherbonds outside before they invest in ourbond market. They are coming here, theirreturns will be paid in cedis, which is thelocal currency. So, I think that it is a verygood means of bringing people to financeour activities in the country. Mr Speaker, with just these few words,I would like to support the Motion.
Mr Speaker, it is true that we, asa nation, are looking for very appropriateways of raising revenue to support ourdevelopment and all. Mr Speaker, again, it is pertinent toactually tax some types of gifts, butseriously, there is the need for us to lookat the kind of laws that we make. Theymust be laws that should be implement-able. If we are saying that we should taxmore residual -- All forms of gifts like theHon Ranking Member of the Committeeearlier espoused, will it be possible for usto implement a law, and then now goround, like the example he used; thechiefs, and tax the gifts that go to them? Ithink that it is going to be a herculeantask and the amount of money that maybe sunk into even implementing that lawwill far exceed how much we may evenget at the end of the day. Mr Speaker, what is the point in makinga law that you know you cannotimplement, and then say that it will serveas a guidance to educate people?Definitely, when we have laws, thereshould be, as it were, mechanisms topunish those who will break the law. Mr Speaker, so, I think we must be verycareful not to pass laws that we cannot implement or which will createunnecessary challenges and problems forus in the future. Mr Speaker, so, my humble view isthat, let us take a critical look at some ofthese before we actually enact them or elsethey will become an albatross around ournecks in the future. So, I will crave the indulgence of thisHouse to take a critical look at these sub-portions of the law. With these few words-- Mr Kpodo -- rose --
HonMember, do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, yes. I want toremind my Hon Colleague that, there isan old adage that; ‘everyday for thief man,one day for the master'. So, even if people are violating the law,one day, somebody will be caught and theattention of the general public will bebrought to it.
Mr Speaker, whywould we assume that we are coming outwith a law, though we are sure that peoplewill not go by it, we will one day catch thethief or the one who breaks the law? Mr Speaker, I do not think it sits withinthe remit of, I do not want to use anyoffensive words. It sits right. So, if thelaw -- we know we are not there yet,implementing such laws, we do notneed to have them on the statutes. Mr Speaker, I think if we are matured orwe get to that point, where it is possible,and we know that we can get theGhanaian populace to adhere to this law,then we look at it. Mr Speaker, for me, I think this issueof taxing all gifts is a bit --
What isthe principle?
Mr Speaker, the principle isthat it is only the President of this countrywho is exempted from paying tax.
Theprinciple -- Income brought into, derivedfrom -- What is the wording? What isthe source of tax in Ghana? Tell me.
Mr Speaker, the source oftax in Ghana is that income earned,received and brought into this country aresubject to be taxed.
Mr Speaker, derived is alsothe fourth one.
That waswhat I wanted to say.
Mr Speaker, fromemployment, investment or business.
You saidone and I wanted you to say all. HonChairman, you are a tax man but I am astudent of taxation. Hon Member for Obuasi, is it East? Is it Obuasi East or West?
Mr Speaker, ObuasiWest.
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, I thought I was going tolet it pass but since you mentioned myname, I would like to comment on whatmy Hon Colleague, Hon --
Mr Speaker, I think thatthe Hon Member got the whole issuewrong. Mr Speaker, if you read the purpose ofthe Bill, it is very clear and the last linesays: “…to remove ambiguity and tightenidentified loopholes to promoteequity, reduce tax avoidance andimprove compliance”. Mr Speaker, that is the purpose of thisBill. So, if he identifies an area as aloophole, that the tax cannot be collected,this Bill is rather bringing in strategies thatwill tighten the loopholes in order toensure that the revenue from those taxsources are collected. So, that is thepurpose of this Bill. He should ratherpromote and encourage it.
Mr Speaker, I agreewith the Hon Chairman of the Committeethat the Bill largely is intended to tightenloopholes and ensure that enoughrevenue is collected. Mr Speaker, but again, it has theelement of taxing all gifts, and that iswhere I have a worry, and I am alludingto an earlier example that was brought tothe fore by the Hon Ranking Member ofthe Committee, that if this law is passed,it will mean that even gifts to chiefsmust be taxed. Mr Speaker, if gifts to chiefs and allothers will be taxed, the question is,realistically, can we implement it? I amusing that as an example.
Mr Speaker, our tax law isvery clear. Everybody in this country whoearns an income, receives gifts, whoseincome is brought and received into thiscountry, is subject to tax with theexception of the President, it is clear.
You roseearlier, so, if you do not want to speak, Iwill not compel you.
Mr Speaker, it is all right.I am grateful for the opportunity and Iwould like to say something. Mr Speaker, laws are supposed toshape behaviour, and it is not intended,at all times, that we make laws to justpunish people for a particular conduct. Mr Speaker, can you imagine that justone person being punished for not payingtax on a particular gift? The education oneputs across to others who may becommitting similar offence is enormousand we should not be afraid simplybecause we may not be able to implement. Mr Speaker, the principle of taxing giftsis an old and accepted one. What this Bill,when it becomes law will be seeking todo, is to ensure that, the principle isupheld and I think we should support itso that the laws governing taxes on giftswould be tightened.
Mr Speaker, I want to contributeto the debate. First of all, I have heard this debate byHon Colleagues who are making it looklike we are going to introduce a new gifttax, but all the tax laws of this countryhave always included gift tax. Indeed, it isalso one of the things that, onceeverybody says they have received agift -- “this was gifted to me”, theissue is, did one pay any tax on it? Mr Speaker, it is something that wemust also quantify. Those who mentionedthe traditional rulers and chiefs areridiculing our own revered institutions.
Mr Speaker, I think myHon Colleague is grossly misleading thisHouse. Nobody is trying to ridicule therevered office of chiefs. In fact, all thosegifts are given in public and not in private.When you go and offer the schnapps, itis not in private, it is part of our culture. Mr Speaker, given the type of ourculture, the way we look at those thingsin law, we must be careful. That is all weare saying. This is because even if hereceives it for the kingdom, it goes to him.He cannot take and start to share amongeverybody. He keeps it in his kingdom.So, it is received by him, but it is notoffensive. It is our culture, and it is to show asign of respect. Mr Speaker, if you wantto tax that -- That is the difficulty I havewith the principle of saying that any othergift should be taxed. In fact, read thememorandum; they have said that in theprocess, they have cut it down but theyshould not have done so. That is whereI have a difficulty. So, we are not tryingto -- Mr Speaker, I am eligible to becomeBantamahene and I would be pursuing.So, my Hon Colleague should not thinkthat we are ridiculing them at all.
HonAkoto Osei, but the new Bantamahenewas just enstooled. One died -- howcould you --
Mr Speaker, I sent amessage to Otumfuo that we would allowthat guy, but next time we would pursueit.
So, youwould want to arrange for him to --
Mr Speaker, when I reachthe prime age of 85 years --
You wanthim to join the ancestors?
I did not say that.
All right.This is because the man has just come in-- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, and he isnot feeling well already.
HonAkoto Osei, do you have a hand in that?
Mr Speaker, I am apractising Catholic. I thank you.
Thankyou. Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, I tried todevelop my argument. If he and my HonColleague at the back did not mentiontraditional rulers or chiefs, then I wouldnot have raised the issue. Mr Speaker, weare talking as if we are introducing a gifttax in this law, when we have all read thememorandum and we have also read theReport of the Committee, and it is to clarifythis and avoid any confusion. Mr Speaker, the gifts that we are talkingabout -- what is it that we are saying isgiven in public? We should not mentionit at all. This is because, it is a culturethat we have practised over the years.Nobody goes to the chief's palace andsays that he should bring out all the gifts and let us assess the value and tax it.Nobody would do that. Mr Speaker, butthe important issue also is that, first andforemost, the laws that we pass about taxis for people to file the tax. If you fail andsomebody has evidence that you havefailed to file and you ought to file, thenthey would take you to task. Mr Speaker, he talked aboutcompliance, but I would want to talk aboutenforcement. When we are making a law,which seeks to educate the people alsoon the floor, as we talk, we should nottrivialise the issues at all. We should makesure that we raise cogent points thatpeople can follow. This law --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, my senior Hon Colleaguespoke about not trivialising the issue, andhe early on made reference to my very selfand the Hon Ranking Member of theCommittee. Mr Speaker, I do not think that it isanybody's intention to trivialise anymatter. I believe it is a matter that is at thecore of our tradition, and we need to reallyexamine the issues. Again, nobody isagainst compliance with the law, but weneed to be careful. That is all that we weretrying to put across. It is not a matter oftrivialising any matter for that reason, MrSpeaker. I just want my senior Hon Colleague totake cognisance of that. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, if they areopposed to the word “trivialise” then Iwithdraw it. Mr Speaker, but people heardthem and all of us know how tocharacterise what people say. So, it is notfor me to even tell anybody, buteverybody who heard the argumentswould know.
Would know what I meanby what I said. [Interruption.] Dr A. A. Osei -- rose --
But I have withdrawn theword. What is the issue? Why are youinterrupting me? You are not the Speaker.I am on the floor and I have not yielded.Why? When you were talking, I kept quietand I did not say anything. I kept quietand listened to your argument. Why areyou not allowing me to speak? So, the point I am making is that --
HonYieleh Chireh --
Mr Speaker, it is not fair.Honestly, the way he has been --
HonYieleh Chireh, I know of the very goodrelationship you have with Hon AkotoOsei. So, let us proceed. Hon Yileh Chireh, let us maintain that.You know our parliamentary business,when you are on your feet, another HonColleague could get up and they have theright to raise a point of order and so on. So, Hon Akoto Osei, do you have apoint of order?
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised at my Hon Senior Colleague. Itis out of respect for him, that is why I saidthat I least expected him to use the word“trivialise”. Mr Speaker, he is a senior HonColleague and I respect him but I do notunderstand why he has suddenly becomeso excited. I do not know whether he is a chief ornot. I could become a chief, and maybe,he intends to be a chief, too. I could be achief and so I cannot trivialise it. We maydisagree. I have talked about the difficultyof implementation. He said that when Iwas talking, he listened. It is his problem.I respect him and so when he used a wordlike “trivialise”, I was surprised. Mr Speaker, he is the last person Iexpect to use --
HonMember, but he has withdrawn it.
Mr Speaker, he said thathe has withdrawn it but people heard it. Itis not from his heart.
Whenpeople heard the “trivialising” -- Hon Akoto Osei, you are now askingme to rule on people's hearts -- whetherthe withdrawal is from the heart or --Where you are taking me, I do not havethe capacity.
Mr Speaker, when wecame to the House, there were somepeople like that -- when they act like thatit is so exciting. I am surprised. This is a House ofdebate.
It is allright. Hon Akoto Osei, thank you. Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, he has alsosaid that I am excited. What excitementhas he given me? He should alsowithdraw.
HonAkoto Osei, withdraw “shaken” as well.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw“shaken”.
And donot substitute it with anything. Do notreplace it. Hon Yieleh Chireh, continue.
Mr Speaker, in effect, whatI want to emphasise about this Bill andthe Motion is that, we want to clarify taxissues, and tax is very important. I heardsome of my Hon Colleagues ask abouthow much are we going to get it from it?They said, we would spend more resourcestrying to get the tax. Taxes are notnecessarily because we would get aquantum or a number of people whowould be in the tax bracket for us to beable to raise funds. It is a principle that, once a personearns income, invests and derive anybenefit, that person you would need topay, for the State to be able to guard whatthe person has earned. Therefore, any taxissue must be taken as one where we wantto see how much everybody could becompliant and based on that --
HonYieleh Chireh, I am sorry that I am alsointerrupting you, but I believe theaccountants would tell us that one of theprinciples of a good tax law is that, it mustnot cost you more than what you get fromthe tax. So, how much it would cost you, Ibelieve, is important. I do not know -- Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, asan accountant, is it not important?
Mr Speaker, it is importantfor us to clarify some of the points raisedhere.
He hasnot yielded to you. I am just asking you aquestion.
Mr Speaker, yes, what Iam about to say would feed into yourquestion. The tax authority, the GhanaRevenue Authority would rely onpersonal assessment. They would not setup a special taskforce to go round tocollect those taxes. Therefore, it is not going to cost themadditional money in collecting the tax.
I totallyagree with you. But I am asking you, intaxation, is it not the principle that itshould not cost one more to collect thetax than what he gets from the tax?
Mr Speaker, yes, theprinciple in taxation is that, a persondoes not use good money to chase badmoney, like using one Ghana cedi to chasefifty Ghana pesewas.
I justwanted to understand that. Yes, Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, what I saidearlier demonstrates that understanding,that even in collecting the tax, a personmust not just go after anybody whoreceives a gift; but sometimes, it isquantifiable. So, a person would know ifan item could bring real value in terms oftax collection. I know that. However, Mr Speaker, one principle ofcitizenship, sometimes for the qualificationof people to contest in elections, is for aperson to comply with the tax regime. So,my point is not just about the quantum ofmoney one gets from collecting the tax,but the principle of demonstrating thatthe taxes are the basis for any governmentactivity. That is it is important for us tolook at these clarifications on taxes thatare being brought in. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much forthe opportunity.
HonDeputy Minister, we would give you theopportunity to -- I am sure you are takingdown notes and so you would wind up. Iknow you are itching in your chairbecause you disagree with some of thethings that are being said, but take note.I am sure you would remember. Hon Member for Subin?
MrSpeaker, I just would want to rise tosupport the Motion for the adoption ofthe Report. In doing so, I would wish tosay that, to the extent that theinconsistencies in Act 896 are beingremoved by this amendment Bill, it is goodfor the country, so that there is a lot ofclarity in the laws that govern the taxeswe pay on incomes. Mr Speaker, I was particularly pleasedthat certain provisions that are made foragricultural enterprises, are sited outsidethe Accra-Tema Metropolitan area.However, in my opinion, the reasonsgiven by the Government for theexemption of taxes for the bonds that weissue on the international market is notstrong enough, considering the type ofcoupon rates that we have at the moment, which we know are dependent on the riskassessment of investors. I believe they get sufficient profits fromthe bonds that we issue, whether thesebonds are international or local. I cannotsee why we would want to discriminateagainst our own citizens, with respect tothe payment of tax simply because wewould want to attract some moneys fromoutside sources. That is an area that I amsure we would want to look at during theConsideration Stage. Mr Speaker, I also agree that withregard to the conflict with the definitionof mining area, and the various levels oftax treatment, it is good that all this isrationalised in this new amendment Bill. To that extent, I would say that weshould all support the Bill, subject to thecaveat that I have raised. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry.Just one point; in the explanatorymemorandum, on the fourth line, where itsays: “In so doing, coverage capital gainstax was maintained.” That of gift tax was advertentlyreduced.
I was a bit surprised. Ido not know whether it has been dealtwith already. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
It was a bit surprising.
Yes, HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I want tocorrect some of the impressions createdin the course of the debate. Mr Speaker, first, an issue was raisedon the issue relating to the gift tax. It isimportant I point to the fact that, giftshave always been taxed in the country. Infact, in the old income tax law, the IncomeTax Act, 2000, all forms of gifts wereaccordingly taxed. Mr Speaker, in doing the new IncomeTax Act, 2015, the gifts were inadvertentlyreduced, therefore creating the impressionthat only gifts derived from business,investments and employments are taxable.Later, we noticed this was a big loopholethat, if care is not taken, those involved inmoney laundering would be using that asan avenue to launder money. Mr Speaker, the impact here is not forrevenue. The impact here is to look forcompliance issue and to make sure thatwe close all money laundering loopholesin the Law. That is why I said earlier thatthe focus is not just for the revenue butto look at the loopholes and to clear allambiguities. Mr Speaker, also, let me say that thequestion relating to giving exemptions tothose buying our bonds is a choice thatwe face as a country. Ghana is not anisland; we are in a sub region. Ourneighbours are also in the bond market.They are also competing. Investors are competing, andobviously, they have choices to buyGhana bonds or buy Ivorian bonds and other bonds across the sub region. Aswe speak, we believe that imposing taxeson bonds would mean that Ghana wouldnot be very competitive. Therefore, sincewe have intentions to encourageforeigners to come to our market to investin our bonds, there is the need for us toremove the tax on bonds. Mr Speaker, let me also say that, as wespeak, we do not have taxes on thosebuying bonds. Those taxes haveaccordingly been removed. The oldIncome Tax (Amendment) (No.1) Act, 2015dealt with that issue. We removed thatearly on so, it is not correct that the localswho buy Ghanaian bonds are taxing them. Mr Speaker, again, there are otherincentives like the locational incentives.
Just forthe records, what Act was that?
Mr Speaker, the Income Tax(Amendment) (No.1) Bill, 2015.
Has itbecome and Act?
It has become an Act. MrSpeaker, I do not have the name of theAct here, but -- [Interruption.] So, thatissue was dealt with. Mr Speaker, finally, let me say that, theother incentives which we decided toprovide are to those who invest theirmoney in agro processing. An example iswhere the Government believes we shouldgive additional incentives to thosecompanies that have agreed to locatetheir industries outside Accra. Therefore,we have introduced locational incentivesto these companies that are located inthe regions and district capitals. Mr Speaker, in doing that, what we havesaid is that, instead of encouraging thosecompanies from zero rated after servingtheir concessional period, instead of moving them straight to 25 per cent, wehave decided to give a step approach,where some concessions would be givento those companies before they finallygraduate to 25 per cent. Mr Speaker, I urge Hon Members tosupport the Second reading of the Bill,and to support the policy, while we gothrough the Consideration Stage of theBill. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Income Tax (Amendment) (No. 2)Bill, 2016 accordingly read a Second time.
Mr Speaker, we wouldbe grateful to take items numbered 23 and24.
Mr Speaker, theHon Minister in moving the proceduralMotion, decided to give the object of theBill. I think that the item numbered 24.So, I would second the Motion, ignoringall those things that he said. So Mr Speaker, I rise to second theMotion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly
Itemnumbered 24, Hon Minister for Finance,kindly rely on your previous statement.
BILLS -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion and in so doing, Ipresent your Committee's Report. Introduction In accordance with article 179 (9) of the1992 Constitution, and Order 169 of theStanding Orders of Parliament of Ghana, the Supplementary Appropriation Bill,2016, was presented to Parliament onbehalf of the Hon Minister for Finance,by the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance,Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson and read forthe First time on Tuesday, 17 May, 2016and referred to the Finance Committee forconsideration and report to the house. Further to the referral, the Committeemet and discussed the Bill, with theassistance of the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson,and the technical team from the Ministryof Finance and reports to the House inaccordance with article 106(5) of theConstitution. The Committee is grateful to the Hon.Minister and his Deputies and thetechnical team for the assistance. References In examining the Bill, the Committeereferred to the following additionaldocuments: The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana; The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana; and The Mid-Year Review of the Budgetand Supplementary Estimates of theGovernment of Ghana for the 2015financial year. Background information After the approval of the 2015 Budgetby Parliament, there arose significantdevelopment in the economy. Thesedevelopments were mainly related to higherforeign-financed capital expenditure, dueto the exchange rate effects; rising inflation;impact of gold and cocoa prices; revisionsin the benchmark crude oil prices used in the Budget; additional spending relatedto flooding and financing of existing debtstock. As a result of these situations and theurgent need to manage issues quickly toensure that the adverse developments inthe fiscal deficit do not undermine themacroeconomic programme for the year,Parliament, upon the request on behalf ofH.E. the President approved a Supple-mentary Estimates of eight hundred andsixty-five million, seven hundred andeighty-nine thousand, three hundred andeighty Ghana cedis (GH¢865,789,380.00),to be funded from domestic and foreignsources, as well as excess amount fromthe stabilisation fund for debt repayment. It is therefore, in pursuance of article179 (9) of the 1992 Constitution that theSupplementary Appropriation Bill, 2016has been presented to Parliament. Object of the Bill The object of the Bill is to provide for2015 Supplementary Appropriation in thesum of eight hundred and sixty-five million,seven hundred and eighty-nine thousand,three hundred and eighty Ghana cedis(GH¢865,789,380.00), approved by Par-liament, to 2015 supplementary expenditureof Government. Clauses of the Bill The Bill has two (2) clauses and oneSchedule. Sum of money issued from theConsolidated Fund for the 2015 financialyear to meet the supplementary expenditureis provided for in clause 1, while clause 2deals with the commencement date of theAct. The Schedule to the Bill specifies thepurposes for which the sums wereappropriated. Observation Constitutional requirement The Committee noted that the Bill is inaccordance with article 179 (9) of theConstitution, which states that”where, inthe case of a financial year, asupplementary estimate has beenapproved by Parliament in accordancewith article (8) of this article, aSupplementary Appropriation Bill shall beintroduced into Parliament in the financialyear next, following the financial year towhich the estimate relates, providing forthe appropriation of the sum so approvedfor the purposes specified in theestimate”. Amendments proposed 1. Clause 1 -- amendment proposed --line 6, delete “XXXth day of XXX,2015” and insert “24th day of July,2015”. 2. Clause 1 -- amendment proposed --delete “XXXth day of XXX, 2015”and insert “24th day of July, 2015”. Recommendation and conclusion The Committee, having carefullyconsidered the Bill, recommends that theHouse adopts its Report and approve thesum of eight hundred and sixty-fivemillion, seven hundred and eighty-ninethousand, three hundred and eightyGhana cedis (GH¢865,789,380.00), issuedfrom the Consolidated Fund to meet the2015 supplementary expenditure ofGovernment. The Committee further recommends tothe House to pass the SupplementaryAppropriation Bill, 2016 into law inaccordance with article 106 of theConstitution and Orders 126 and 127 ofthe Standing Orders of the House. Respectfully submitted.
Mr Speaker,when the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance moved the procedural Motion, hewent further and got into the debate, as itwere. At that time, he could not have beendebating. When he got back to move theMotion itself, he said the HansardDepartment should capture what he saidearlier at which time he could not havesaid anything. So, it is null and void.How can the Hansard Department capturesomething which he should not havetalked about?
I declarethat it is voidable.
So, I do not knowwhat the Hansard Department wouldcapture.
Insupport of item numbered 24, he is relyingon what he said, with reference to itemnumbered 23. Thank you. I am thanking you forpointing it out to us.
What is yourdirection, Mr Speaker?
Mydirection is that, I have accepted that heis relying on what he said, in reference toitem numbered 23 in support of itemnumber 24. It is not void, because hespoke it. It is voidable and I can say that Iwould not recognise it; but I haverecognised it so that we make progress. Ifit was on a normal day, I would totallyagree, but two days to rising is abnormal. So, I thank you, Hon Assibey-Yeboah.You are becoming a master of procedure.
Mr Speaker, I amlearning at the feet of Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah.
You arelearning at the feet of Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah.
Mr Speaker, what we aredoing is to fulfil a Constitutionalobligation. So, I ask that you put theQuestion. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Supplementary Appropriation Bill,2016 was accordingly read a Second time.
Mr Speaker, we wouldcrave your indulgence to go to Order PaperAddendum 3 and take the items numbered1, 2 and 3.
Itemnumbered 2, Order Paper Addendum 3,Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, I rise to secondthe Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, Ineed your direction again. This Report was just -- [Interruption.]-- Let me make my point.
Speak tothe Chair.
Mr Speaker, wejust had a presentation of the Paper, butthe Report was in our possession ealier. Ihad the Report. Mr Speaker, I seek your direction. Is itpossible for Hon Members to haveReports before the Papers are presented?I have the Report; Hon Members have theReport before it is even presented in theHouse.
In theHouse, what we have been concernedabout is the other way round, thatReports, Legislative Instruments (L.Is.),various documents are presented late andthey are not available. So, I thought you were rather goingto congratulate yourself and the Housefor making them available almost simul-taneously, because I remember two daysago, the question was whether it shouldbe done simultaneously. It was donesimultaneously. I thought you were going to get-up andclap your hands; break parliamentaryprotocol and clap your hands, figuratively.
Mr Speaker, whena Paper is presented, you state that it isfor distribution. The Speaker said it wasfor distribution. We already had it, but yousaid it was for distribution.
Thankyou very much, Hon Assibey-Yeboah. Iknew you for “finance”, but increasinglyyou are becoming a man of procedure,because you have been sitting betweenHon Papa Owusu-Ankomah and HonAkoto Osei, two great men of procedure. Hon Akoto Osei, I saw you rise.
Mr Speaker, I asked himto refer to Order 75 (1).
I said it. Isaid that you are a man of procedure.Could you please, read it to us?
Mr Speaker, with yourpermission Order 75 (1) says: “As soon as sufficient copies of aPaper for distribution to Membershave been received in the Office ofthe Clerk notice of the presentationof that Paper may be placed on theOrder Paper…” It says as soon as sufficient copies areavailable with the Clerk. It does not saywhen it should be distributed. He mustassure us that sufficient copies areavailable for distribution, so I do not seeanything wrong with it.
Mr Speaker, whathe just read has no bearing on the point Iraised. I said that the Report was in mypossession even before it was presented --
Mr Speaker, his copywas given to him as a senior Member ofthe Committee, so it was not officiallydistributed to him, just so he could makecomments. He has been acting as in-comingDeputy Ranking Member.
I amsurprised that the Hon Chairman of thePublic Accounts Committee refers tohimself as a backbencher. If my memory serves me right, whenwe had offices in the basement of thisChamber, the only Committee Chairmanwho had an office was the PublicAccounts Committee. So, you rather should withdraw --[Laughter] -- That you are referring toyour high office as the --
Mr Speaker, mineis a privileged situation --
HonMember, withdraw. You cannot be a backbencher.
Mr Speaker, onyour directive, I withdraw.
You areon television every day, the whole nationknows you. Hon Members, where are we, please?We are to go to item numbered 3 on theOrder Paper Addendum 3. Hon Minister for Finance?
BILL -- SECOND READING
Mr Speaker, I rise to support theMotion moved by the Hon DeputyMinister, and to present your Committee'sReport. Introduction The Bank of Ghana (Amendment) Bill,2016 was presented to Parliament and readthe First time by the Hon Minister forFinance, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkper onWednesday, 29th June, 2016 in accordancewith article 108 of the 1992 Constitution.Pursuant to Order 169 of the StandingOrders of the Parliament of Ghana, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the FinanceCommittee for consideration and report. The Committee was assisted in itsdeliberations by the Hon DeputyMinisters for Finance, Mr Casiel Ato BaahForson and Mrs Monah Quartey, a DeputyGovernor of the Bank of Ghana andofficials from the Ministry of Finance,Bank of Ghana and the Attorney- General'sDepartment. The Committee expresses its gratitudeto the Hon Deputy Ministers, the DeputyGovernor and officials for assisting in thedeliberations. 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); Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612). Background As part of the structural reforms tostrengthen public finances and fiscaldiscipline, the Government of Ghanatogether with Bank of Ghana, haverealised the need to amend the Bank ofGhana Act, 2002 (Act 612), to bring it inline with international best practices. The Bill seeks to plug the loopholesidentified in Act 612, to allow the Bank ofGhana prepare its financial statements inaccordance with good corporate financialreporting standards. With technical assistance from the development partners,these loopholes were identified inconsequences of an examination ofcurrent international trends, and whatpertains in other jurisdictions. To significantly strengthen the centralBank's functional autonomy, governanceand ability to respond to banking sectorcrisis, the amendment seeks to separatethe autonomy provisions from otherobjectives of the Bank to strengthen theautonomy of Bank, of Ghana in theperformance of its functions. Furthermore,the amendment provides for thepreparation of the financial statements ofthe Bank, in compliance with internationalaccounting standards. Purpose of the Bill The purpose of the Bill is to amend theBank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612), tostrengthen the autonomy of the Bank inthe performance of its functions as acentral Bank and to strengthen thefinancial reporting system of the Bank ofGhana. Division of the Bill The Bill is divided into twenty-five(25) clauses, amending various section ofAct 612 and introducing new provisionsaimed at improving the financial reportingsystem in the Bank of Ghana. Clause 1 amends section 3 of Act 612by obliging the Bank to support thegeneral economic policy of theGovernment and to contribute to thepromotion and maintenance of financialstability in the country. Clause 2 introduces a new section 3 Awhich permits the Bank to establishdepartments and other administrativestructures, while clause 3, guarantees theindependence of the Bank of Ghana, withrespect to the performance of itsfunctions.
Mr Speaker, I rise tocontribute to the Motion. In the background, on page 2 of theReport, and with your permission I begquote; “ As part of the structural reformsto strengthen public finances andfiscal discipline, the Government ofGhana together with Bank of Ghanahave realised the need to amend theBank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act612)…” Mr Speaker, this conflicts with what isin the Bill. In paragraph 2 of thememorandum to the Bill, it says; “As part of structural reforms tostrengthen public finances and fiscaldiscipline, the Bank of Ghanatogether with development partners,notably the IMF, have concluded onthe relevance of amending the Bankof Ghana Act.” So, the Report went to change whatwas in the memorandum, that the Bank ofGhana together with the IMF have seenthe need for us to amend the Bank ofGhana Act. We are told that the Government andthe Bank of Ghana are those pushing through this amendment. So, we do notknow which is which. Is it the IMF andthe Bank of Ghana that are recommendingto us to amend the Bank of Ghana Act, orit is the Government and the Bank ofGhana? The memorandum is categorical, thatour development partners -- So I ask, asa sovereign country, would ourdevelopment partners, notably the IMF,recommend to us that we have to amendour Bank of Ghana Act? This is not right. So, we do not see theneed to amend the Bank of Ghana Actourselves, but somebody sittingsomewhere, comes and tells us that no,there is a problem with our Bank of GhanaAct, so we should amend it.
Mr Speaker, I believe thepoint raised by my Hon Colleague memberof the Finance Committee is that theCommittee considered that even thoughIMF made the recommendation toGovernment, Government is not beingforced by the IMF to prosecute this Bill.Government assess the recommenda-tionof IMF, together with what Bank of Ghana(BoG) needs to do to steady its operationalautonomy and brought this Bill to theHouse. In fact, the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance who moved the Motion, did soon behalf of Government, not IMF. Thatshould be made clear; there is nothing badabout making a recommendation. The Billhas been brought to the House byGovernment but not IMF.
Mr Speaker, I believethat --
HonAssibey-Yeboah, do you yield to HonAkoto Osei?
Mr Speaker, I will pleadwith the Hon Chairman of the Committeethat we all understand that -- If he goesstrictly by article 106 or 109, we agreedthat the way the memorandum is couchedis not the best. That is all he said. Nobody doubts that. Let him make his point, because thememorandum is categorical. It has left outthe Government of Ghana (GoG), whichshould argue for that. That is all he said.An observation on the poor memorandumis not negative, so to try and justify -- Ifwe lift the veil, we know what couldhappen. We do not want to say everythinghere. Please, allow my Hon Colleague toexpress himself properly.
Mr Speaker, evenbefore we started looking at the Bill,further amendments came in, which theCommittee has adopted. Everybodyknows that all these further amendmentscame from the Fund. Mr Speaker, BoG seeks more autonomyand there is nothing wrong with that. Acentral Bank deserves some autonomy.The crux of this Bill, Mr Speaker, is thisissue of zero financing. What it means isthat, BoG shall not make any advances tothe Government -- zero per cent financingper deficit. Mr Speaker, the Bank of Ghana Act asit is right now, permits the Bank to makeadvances to the Government up to 10 percent of tax revenue and this has been inexistence for a very long time. Mr Speaker, if they seek to amendthis, then they would have to tell us thedefect in the existing law. Up until thispoint, we have not complained that the 10per cent limit is injurious to our economy,and that is what has pertained all thiswhile. Somebody is forcing it down ourthroats, that BoG shall not make advancesto the Government. Mr Speaker, this is thecrux of this Bill: That BoG shall not makeadvances to the Government. Mr Speaker, this is premature. We are adeveloping economy. Government is thehundred per cent shareholder of BoG;Government owns BoG and we want totie our hands by passing a law which saysthat BoG shall not lend to the Government. In the sub-region, as part of measurestowards attaining a single currency, theEco, there are a number of convergencecriteria that all countries are supposed tomeet. Mr Speaker, one of the criteria is that,countries in the sub-region will borrowfrom their central banks up to that 10 percent limit, so it applies to Nigeria, theGambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia.However, only Ghana wants to tie itshands --
HonAssibey-Yeboah, is this the case that thecriterion sets a maximum, or is itcompulsory that you have to borrow upto 10 per cent or does it say that you haveto borrow up to a maximum of 10 per cent.In that case, zero per cent is within it. I get the point you are making. The firstpoint you made is that, we should not tieour hands because we are a developingcountry. Then you made a point about theconvergence criteria. If we say that we are not going toborrow, we have not flouted theconvergence criteria. This is because theconvergence criterion says zero per centto 10 per cent. If we went above 10 percent, then we can say that we have floutedthe criterion. I just want to understandwhat you said.
Mr Speaker, Iwould want to submit that somenegotiations have gone bad. Whoeverwent to negotiate with the Fund that theGovernment shall not borrow from thecentral Bank has done a great disserviceto the country. Mr Speaker, we passed appropriationwhere there is a deficit component. IfGovernment intends to run a deficit, theywould go a borrowing. If Government canborrow from a commercial bank, whyshould it not be able to borrow from thecentral Bank? If there is a deficit financing,I can borrow from everywhere, evenEurobond and commercial banks, but Icannot borrow from the central Bank. Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact --
HonAssibey-Yeboah, we are debating theprinciples and you have raised veryinteresting points. I know you are an expertin that area. What is the benefit in thiszero per cent?
Mr Speaker, in thepast, we had not ordinarily exceeded this10 per cent limit. In 2012, we exceeded that10 per cent limit. I believe somebody thinkswe are imprudent, we cannot manage ourown affairs, so we should not be giventhis room to borrow from the central bank. As a matter of fact, this year, there isan agreement with the Fund not to borrowfrom the central bank. Thus far,Government has not borrowed from thecentral Bank. We have lived within thatagreement thus far. The President hasbeen on a campaign trail, saying that weare going to adhere to the agreement withthe Fund. Mr Speaker, I also lived with that beliefthat we were not going to borrow fromthe central Bank until the SupplementaryBudget was presented. Mr Speaker, as I looked through theSupplementary Budget, I realised thateven though the Government programmeto do zero borrowing from BoG, in theSupplementary Budget, a certain amounthas been included in there. So, when theAppropriation Bill was passed,Government was not going to borrow fromthe central Bank as per the agreement inthe extended credit facility with the Fund. Just last night, when I went throughthe Supplementary Budget, there is afigure in there, GH¢1.6 billion. Already,even before the passage of this Bill,Government intends to abrogate theagreement with the Fund for the rest ofthe year and then go a borrowing --
HonAssibey-Yeboah, if we have not passedthis Act, at least, we have not broken anylaw. I follow your trend of submission. Ifyou borrow quickly before you pass theAct, then you have not broken any law.
Mr Speaker, thisis what the Hon Minister presented to theHouse.
I hopethe Hon Deputy Minister for Finance ispaying attention.
Mr Speaker, in thisreview of the Budget Statement andEconomic Policy, the Government sendssignals that we are not going to adhere tothis zero per cent financing agreementwith the IMF, but this same Governmentis the one sponsoring the Bill. The Bill says that BoG shall not makeadvances to the Government. Even righthere, there is a conflict on whether the
Government is indeed, committed to theprogramme with the Fund or not. Mr Speaker, the Committee hasrecommended that we reduce the 10 percent borrowing limit to five per cent. Ibelieve that is the proper thing to do, that,at least, now that revenues haveincreased five per cent of tax revenueswould be somewhere around GH¢1.5billion. So, we give Government that room,that in critical times, the Governmentcan go to the Bank of Ghana as the lenderof last resort, and borrow from the Bankof Ghana. Mr Speaker, again, since the existenceof Bank of Ghana, there has alwaysbeen a Government representative on theBoard of the Bank of Ghana. This Bill seeksto remove the Government's repre-sentative, who is the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance, from the Board of Bank ofGhana. Mr Speaker, if you go to England, theMinister for Finance appoints fourMembers of the Board of the Bank ofEngland. For example, I am a hundred percent shareholder, I own the bank and Icannot have a representative on theBoard. These are the things that ournegotiators have gone to sit down andagreed to with the Fund. So, theCommittee has done a very good job. All these Agreements, if you wouldpermit my language, these noose that wewant to tie around our necks, theCommittee is strongly opposed to it. Iwant this to be heard, far away inWashington, that the Committee isstrongly opposed to these draconianmeasures, antiquated that they want tohang around our necks. Mr Speaker, whenwe get to the Consideration Stage, wewould --
HonMember, you made a point that was quiteinteresting and I quickly checked. You saidthat in England, the Minister for Financeappoints four members, but in Ghana, thatis not the case. Have you seen clause 5?That is a very interesting point. When I looked at clause 5 of the Bill,the Minister for Finance appoints one andthe President appoint nine Members.
Mr Speaker, whenI made my submission, I drew yourattention to further amendments. Clause5, as you have before you, is gone. Theycame with these further amendmentswhich say the Ministry's representativeswould not have voting rights, as it were,and we have done away with that one too.
We havenot taken it yet.
Thank you, MrSpeaker.
I invitethe Hon Member for Madina.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contributeto the Motion requesting us to accept,adopt and approve the Report by theFinance Committee on the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill, 2016, and in particular,I wish to refer to the purpose of the Bill: “The purpose of the Bill is to amendthe Bank of Ghana Act (2002), Act612 to strengthen the autonomy ofthe bank in the performance of itsfunctions as a Central Bank and tostrengthen the financial reportingsystems of the Bank of Ghana”. Mr Speaker, if you read the purpose ofthe Bill, and you go on to read the variousclauses, I believe it is not exactlyreflecting the object of the Bill. This is because reading through, I see that themain reason is to tie the hands of Bank ofGhana from doing its constitutionalmandate. Mr Speaker, why do I say this? If yougo to the temporary advances that myHon Colleague, Dr Assibey-Yeboah justmentioned, we all know that the Bank ofGhana is not a private property, it is forthe country called Ghana. What moneythe Bank of Ghana has; it is not the bank'sprivate money. It is the aggregates of allmonies by Ghanaians that is kept therefor safekeeping by the Bank of Ghana. Mr Speaker, what is the essence ofmoney? Money does what it should do.That is what a friend of mine said. If youare in need and you have money, andyou leave the money in your room andyou say there is a law that tells you thateven when money is there, you cannotuse it because you want to strengthenthe autonomy of the bank, Mr Speaker, Ithink it is completely out of order. Mr Speaker, I want to accuse -- I donot know whether that is the correct word,the Ministry of Finance and in particular,the Hon Minister and his Deputies forallowing this Bill to even be discussed. Ido not see why we should sit and allowwhatever conditions, whatever institutionsyou can call Bretton Woods and whateverit is, to tie our hands by saying that, Bankof Ghana should have zero financing, zeroadvances. Mr Speaker, well, let me sit down andlet him --
Mr Speaker, for the HonChairman of the Committee on Mines andEnergy and a member of the FinanceCommittee to, in this Chamber, be allowedto accuse the Hon Minister for Finance and his Deputies for bringing this to theHouse, is totally out of order. Mr Speaker, this Bill came to the Housefrom Cabinet and the President. We werein this country when His Excellency thePresident ordered the Hon Minister forFinance to get into a programme with theIMF. So, how dare the Hon Member accusethe Hon Minister for Finance and hisDeputies, when the President has broughtthis policy document to this House? What policy initiatives or policy powerdo they have? Nothing. All policiesemanate from the Executive. He musttherefore, withdraw. The Hon Minister and his Deputiesonly advise. How can he accuse anadvisor or a messenger? So, please, heshould reframe it well.
Mr Speaker, it isinteresting listening to my Hon Colleague,Dr Prempeh going round. Mr Speaker, theHon Minister for Finance and hisDeputies are the ones who would advisethe President. I said that, either they didnot advise the President well or it is notwhat the President said that we arereading. Mr Speaker, --
That ishis opinion. When he finishes, I would letyou express your view as well.
Mr Speaker, I want tosay that the Committee cannot recommendthat Bank of Ghana should not be allowedto give advances to the country when thecountry is in need. There are lots of examples. Justrecently, the BREXIT, you know very wellthat when the United Kingdom (UK)decided to go out of EU, quickly, their Central Bank had to come in. Recently, inthe United States of America (USA),during the credit crunch, the Central Bankof the USA had to come in also. Why are we being asked not to allowthis thing to work? We must tell those whoare bringing this Bill that, we would notallow it. It is on this note that I would want tothank the Committee for rejecting what isbeing proposed. Mr Speaker, it cannot be done, the Bankof Ghana is our own property, and if thereis any time that we need them, they arebound to come and assist us. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonMember for Dormaa Central?
Mr Speaker, not verylong ago, the Minister for Finance saidthat he was practically working towardszero financing. So, what is our problem?Whether we pass the zero, five or ten, theMinister for Finance says he is workingtowards zero. When we startedborrowing, some of us cautioned that wewere pushing ourselves into verydangerous terrain but we were neverlistened to. Mr Speaker, if I bring you the Auditor-General's Report for Ministries, Departmentsand Agencies (MDAs), for 2013, there isan infraction based on the law that wehave, that, the Bank of Ghana should notlend more than 10 per cent of the previousyear's revenue, but we never disciplinedourselves to that extent. We broke the lawand when we called the Governor of theBank of Ghana, Dr Wampah, to come to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), hecame to tell us that, they had to do someamendments to even increase thethreshold. When they went to the Royal SenchiHotel, there was an attempt to try to pushthat in. When we pick the Senchi HomeGrown Policies, it is there. So, now, whatis our problem? The Committee isrecommending five per cent, change from10 per cent. The International MonetaryFund (IMF), the President and Ministerfor Finance say that, zero, so where do wego? I think we should listen to theMinister for Finance and peg it at zero percent to enable him arrive at that. That iswhat his target is. So, Mr Speaker, I do not think we needto come and debate and talk so much. Letus all listen to the Minister for Finance,support him and let him drive us towardszero financing from the Bank of Ghana. Itwould be healthy for our economy, andwhatever happens, all we have to do is,cut our expenditure and stop movingmonies where we should not. And we canpostpone certain things that we want todo. We cannot continue to go the way weare. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, this issue, or ourobsession with the IMF, coming into ouraffairs bothers me a lot. We are a memberof IMF and we do a lot of business withthem. It is not the latest Extended CreditFacility (ECF) arrangement with IMF thatGhana is experiencing for the first time.So, when we are members of aninternational community and we do thingsin collaboration with the union, we shouldnot make them monsters? We do these things in collaboration sowe should not paint them as monsters. Ifthey, indeed, made the proposal, theyhave brought it to us. The Executive bringspolicies here which they make into a Bill and Parliament is supposed to help modifyand mould it into a law, which would beimplemented in the country. Yet, whenthings are brought, we start shouting asif we do not have anything to do with theBill. So, we should not be obsessed withthe fact that the IMF has eavesdroppedinto some of our discussions we hold inmanaging the economy. Mr Speaker, borrowing at zero per centwas the initial proposal, but theCommittee sat, a bi-partisan discussionwas held on it and a modification has beenmade to be presented to the House fordebate. So, I do not know why we arejumping the gun, when we have notreached the Consideration Stage of theBill. Mr Speaker, Yes the Bank of Ghana alsosought autonomy from this Bill. But theCommittee again felt that, the autonomywas going to be too extreme. So, therewere modifications which will blend theGovernment's involvement in theactivities of the Bank. All these would beseen when we go into the ConsiderationStage of the Bill. On that basis, it is all wellfor the country and I support the Motion.
I amgoing to take two more contributions fromboth sides. I want advice from Leadership.So, Hon Nitiwul who and who should Irecognise?
Mr Speaker, I was havinga chat with the Hon Member, but it lookslike we have revised our notes. So, we cantake three here.
Threefrom each side, so, I would recogniseHon A. A. Osei. Then who else, HonNitiwul? I want you to advise me, today,my eyes cannot see.
The advice I received frommy Hon Ranking Member is that, thosehe prepared were Hon Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Hon A. A. Osei and Hon KwakuKwarteng.
All right.Hon Agbesi?
Of course, our Leader isin. Maybe, at the end of the threecontributions, from each side of theHouse, the Leaders would like to add toit.
I wouldask you for advice on who I shouldrecognise on your side when the timecomes. Do not worry, when they rise, Iwould ask you for advice. Or you can doyour consultation so that you wouldsupply me with the list.
Mr Speaker, I wouldhave liked to beg you to allow more peopleto contribute for a reason. The reason iswe all know that we have been told thatthis is a condition that we must fulfill forthe third disbursement of IMF programmeto be heard at the Board. Infact, we aretold further that, IMF and the Governmentagreed that, Parliament must adopt andpass it, not that it should be brought tous. So, you see the importance of why weshould allow more people to debate? Theyare asking that Members of this augustHouse should adopt and pass it and notthat they should bring it to us. For thatreason, your Chair sent the FinanceCommittee for four days, into the ruralarea called Akosombo. We spent nightsand days trying to fulfill that obligation.One of the reasons we have still not risenis because of this. So, it is important that, when anexternal authority purports to direct us,we should be allowed to vent out what we
feel about it. But this is between theLeadership and Mr Speaker. But if youwould let only three from each sidecontribute, I have nothing to say. I want to urge Hon Members, as wedebate the principles, to bring their mindsto the Consideration Stage. It is going tobe very important. This is because thereare certain issues that the Committee hashad to fight the Ministry of Finance, thesponsor. We were unable to support someof the issues that the Ministry --
Mr Speaker, during thecontribution of my Hon Colleague, HonDr Assibey-Yeboah, he mentioned that,we as a nation,were being dictated to byIMF to pass this Bill. The Chairman of theCommittee responded and was cate-gorically clear that, we were not beingdictated to, or prevailed upon by IMF topass this Bill. The Bill, according to theChairman, was brought by theGovernment before us. Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague; DrAkoto Osei, is also on the same line. Mr Speaker, in the second paragraphof the Memorandum to the Bill, it is statedclearly that, what the two Hon Membershave said is not the purpose for whichthe Bill was brought. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg toquote paragraph 2 of the Memorandum. “As part of the structural reformsto strengthen public finances andfiscal discipline, the Bank of Ghanatogether with development partners,notably the International MonetaryFund have concluded on therelevance of amending the Bank ofGhana Act ..” Mr Speaker, so, the partners haveconcluded on the relevance and that is it.It is not that the IMF is dictating to Ghanato pass this Bill. Mr Speaker, the contribution on thatpoint alone is not true. It is misleading theHouse, and for that matter, the countryas a whole.
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised that the Hon Deputy MajorityLeader, who is part of the Leadership ofthe House, who had agreed that we muststay to pass this Bill, said that it is notimportant. We were sent to Akosombo on theorders of the Rt Hon Speaker, becauseLeadership had decided that Ghananeeded to pass this Bill. Mr Speaker, when the Hon DeputyMajority Leader was quoting, I thoughthe would note that the “name of theGovernment of Ghana” was missing fromthat paragraph. He should read theCommittee's Report. The Committee tried to clean it up byinserting -- Mr Speaker, I would want to show theHon Deputy Majority Leader thedifference. What he read was; “the Bankof Ghana, together with developmentpartners notably IMF”. Mr Speaker, he should read what theCommittee said. On page two of the Committee's Report,it says: “The Government of Ghana togetherwith the Bank of Ghana”. Why did the Committee say that? Mr Speaker, as far as we are concerned,it is not the Bank of Ghana. This isbecause, the Bank of Ghana is part of theGovernment of Ghana. The Hon Ministerrepresents the President; he is the sponsorof this Bill. That was why we said the Memorandumwas defected and inadvertently -- Mr Speaker would say it is theprinter's devil. There is a big mistake inthe Memorandum and on the bases of therelevant article, we should reject it. Butwe understand the reality of ourGovernment, and not their Government.We represent the people of Ghana and wehave gone to sign an agreement whichimposes obligations on this House,whether we accept it or not. Mr Speaker, furthermore, you wouldrecall that we have argued here, that it isfor this reason the Ministry should havebrought the ECF programme for thepeople to approve, then when we supportit, it would be easy. This agreement that we have not citedofficially --
HonAkoto Osei, when you use an acronym,please, expand it in full, just for therecords.
Mr Speaker, ECF, isExtended Credit Facility. Mr Speaker, this is what we signed lastyear, that is supposed to give us overGH¢900,000,000.00 for three years. Mr Speaker, I am sure you have read it,and my Hon good Friend knows that aswe speak, if things were going well withit, the third disbursement would havecome after the third review. Mr Speaker, as we speak, we do notknow when it would come. But if we decidethat we would pass this Bill, maybe, theywould go to their Board. We are being asked to take a reactionjust so that our Government can moveforward. So, it is not trivial and theyshould be worried about what it is theyare being asked to do, whether or not itis helpful to the people of Ghana. Mr Speaker, this is not partisanpolitical party basis. This is thesovereignty. Mr Osei-Owusu -- rose --
HonAkoto Osei, would you yield to Hon Osei-Owusu?
Mr Speaker, if he ison a point of order, I would yield to himbut if it is not, I would not.
HonOsei-Owusu, are you on a point of Order,or you are seeking --
Mr Speaker, it is apoint of Order. Mr Speaker, the decision by the highestcourt of the land is that, any agreementinvolving international transaction of anysort, if it is not ratified by this House, isvoid and of no effect. Mr Speaker, here we are, debating aReport seeking to amend the Bank ofGhana Act, and in that, conditions thathave been agreed with something whichhas not been put before this House, andwhich, by the judgement of the highestcourt of the land, is void and of no effect,are being referred to and it is becomingthe basis of the agreement.
HonOsei-Owusu, I would give you anopportunity to contribute. This is not apoint of order. You have made your point and I believeif you rise, I may give you the chance tocontribute.
Mr Speaker, it is apoint of order.
Mr Speaker, I am not alawyer, but in this Bill, no reference is madeto ECF. [Interruption] -- I am implyingit, but it is not here. But I agree with him.That is why some people have taken thematter to court. So, we should let it staythere. I understand that judgement maybe coming soon, but how soon, I do notknow. That is why I did not want to gothere. Mr Speaker, I think Hon Membersshould pay attention, because thedecision we take involves us. I find itdifficult to oppose my Hon Friends; theHon Ministers. This is because, I feel thattheir hands have been tied and it is up tous the people of Ghana to save them. Isay so because, I am sure the HonMinister would get up to support it. Butin a way, we should save him for the sakeof Ghana.
Where isthe Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, he is noteven here to listen. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, he has steppedout to the washroom.
HonAkoto Osei, I would ask you to resumeyour seat while we wait for the HonMinister. For this, I would want the HonMinister to listen to this issue. This isbecause we expect him to respond. Very
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for allowing the Hon Minister tobe here to listen. Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, becauseof the issues involved, I am sympatheticto the Hon Minister. But unfortunately, as it has been noted,if he had found it necessary to bring theECF to us, perhaps, after we had approvedit, we would have found a way to see whatis happening. But it has not come yet, so,we would not go there. Mr Speaker, my Colleague; Hon DrAssibey-Yeboah has alluded to certainparts of the Bill, that I would not go to,yet. Mr Speaker, let us not get it wrong.Nobody, and I am not against the Bank ofGhana being autonomous, but operationalautonomy -- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, Order! Order! The background chattering is toomuch.
Mr Speaker, during thepresidency of ex-President Kufuor, theMinistry of Finance made a mistake, andin the Bank of Ghana Act, inserted somelanguage that says that; in the pursuanceof their functions, they are not subject toany authority. And since then the Bank ofGhana has been thinking that they aresome tin gods. This is because they sit inthat Castle, with elevators only forgovernors to set their own salaries.
But I alsothought in this House, there are elevatorsonly for Hon Members.
Mr Speaker, for HonMembers, yes, but here it is forgovernors. Three of them; Governor, FirstDeputy and Second Deputy, and not thestaff. But that is all right. But thatperception of independence has led tosome actions taken by the Bank of Ghana,which has not helped this nation. Mr Speaker, one example is theexchange rate rules that were brought. Wewoke up one night, and the governor hadtaken a decision and the Minister forFinance did not know. That is the type ofautonomy we do not want. After all,Government is a hundred per cent shareholder/owner of the Bank of Ghana. Mr Speaker, in fact, because of that,last year, the Bank of Ghana gaveGovernment dividends to the tune ofGH¢597 million. But the Bill has a clausethat says, they could not help theshareholder if in trouble. However, ifanother bank, that is a zero shareholderis in trouble, they should go and helpthem. Does it make sense? Mr Speaker,hundred per cent shareholder is theGovernment of Ghana. The Bill has aclause that says, do not come to me if youare in trouble? Mr Speaker, but for example, if GhanaCommercial Bank is in trouble, they shouldgo and help them. Does it make sense? Itdoes not. That is the type of thing that Isaid we have to pay attention to whenwe come to it clause by clause. It has tomake sense to the people of Ghana.[Interruption.] The issues about somebody dictatingofficially, of course, we have to pretendthat we do not have any communicationfrom IMF, because it has never comehere. But we know that, when we were inAkosombo, an IMF representative wasthere and in the middle of our discussions,further amendments came fromWashington. Mr Speaker, that is the problem; weare partners. It is supposed to bepartnership and not dependency. Ninehundred million Ghana cedis from threeyears? After all, the Government can goand borrow US$ 1billion in a year.Somebody wants to give nine hundredmillion Ghana cedis only for three years,and he says, put your hand behind you. Mr Buah — rose --
HonMinister for Petroleum, do you have apoint of order?
Mr Speaker, I heard my HonColleague mention, amendments comingfrom Washington. We are dealing with anindependent Ghana law. What is Washington doing here?
Mr Speaker, if my HonColleague could read paragraph 2 of theMemorandum, he would know what I amtalking about -- [Interruption.] It says, and with your permission, I begto quote: “the Bank of Ghana together withdevelopment partners, notably theInternational Monetary Fund haveconcluded on …” Mr Speaker, so, it is consistent withthis Memorandum if it is coming fromthere. But it is a serious matter. AsGhanaians, let us look at it. Mr Speaker, let us look at whathappened recently after BREXIT. AfterBREXIT, Governor of the Bank of Englandwent out and announced publicly thatthey were willing to do business, and putmoney in the system to help the BritishGovernment. He stated it publicly. Whatdid the Federal Reserve Board Chairmanin America say when they were havingtrouble? They put billions and billions ofdollars to save the United States ofAmerica (USA). Mr Speaker, when corporate Ghana isin trouble, Bank of Ghana ought to helpus. That is the essence of what we oughtto avoid. Some of the amendments go ina different direction, so, I do not believethat we are faced with a dilemma. We havea choice. Unfortunately, in the Budget which wasread in November by our President, hisMinister has worked under thatassumption of zero borrowing, and we willsee it if we go to the page. As my HonColleague said, in what was read only onTuesday, already, the Government hasbreached it. Mr Speaker, with respect, we can go topage 64 -- Domestic Net, Bank of Ghana,the last but one column. What does it say? “Programmed to January-May —0”. What does “programme” mean? But weshould look at actual, how much isprovisional; 1.634. They were preparednot to borrow, but we found out thatthey had borrowed 1.634. They havebreached the agreement already. Mr Speaker, I said that the principle inthe Bill purports to say, zero and that isimplied in their budget.[Interruption.]Domestic Net Bank of Ghana. They haveprogrammed, zero and the actual is 1.6.So, they themselves, the fact that theyhave breached it, may suggest that theydo not like it. Mr Forson — On a point of order Mr Speaker, the impression created bythe Hon Ranking Member of the FinanceCommittee is not correct. I say thisbecause, yes, the fiscal table makesmention of the Bank of Ghana, and the fact that, in the original budget, weenvisaged that, the financing would bezero. In the revised budget, the amountthere is for the purpose of drawing downon Government deposits and not to drawdown on Bank of Ghana's own financing.It is Government's deposits with the Bankof Ghana. Mr Speaker, these Governmentdeposits were those that were in the floatat the end of December, 2015, of whichwere carried over for the current fiscal year.At the time we were preparing the Budget,we did not envisage any Governmentdeposit that would be in the float, ofwhich we would carry it forward for thecurrent year. Mr Speaker, it is for that reason thatthis Supplementary Budget seeks toclarify this position and not to imply thatGovernment is going to borrow back.
HonDeputy Minister for Finance, you wouldbe given the opportunity to have the lastbite of the cherry. So, note what yourHon Colleagues say, that you disagreewith, and you would respond to themwhen I recognise you.
Mr Speaker, I do notwant to argue with my Hon Colleague, butI would want to remind him of a definition.The term here is, “Net” and I would leaveit like that, He knows what I am talkingabout so he should not talk to me about“deposit overflow Net,” and he shoulddefine Net. But I will go on. Mr Speaker, in any case, what we havehere is not what we approved, so if theHon Deputy Minister is now going tosay that the term “Net” is being defineddifferently, I would let him do that, butthis “Net” here is not what he talks about.He has change the whole definition, butthis is official, So, he should not let usget into that. He should not let us get into the principles. The principle is that,they are proposing that they do notborrow, and we are saying — Dr Assibey-Yeboah — On a point oforder. Mr Speaker, it is on what the HonDeputy Minister said. Mr Speaker, he misled the House.
HonMembers, I have a difficulty. This isbecause, we cannot have a point of orderon a point of order. Hon Minority Leader, is it possible?One Hon Member raises a point of orderagainst another Hon Member. The HonMember who raisied the point of ordermakes a statement of fact. Then anotherHon Member gets up and says that theHon Member who has raised the point ofOrder has misled the House, so, heraised a point of order against the HonMember who raised the point of order. Isit allowed under our rules?
Mr Speaker,first of all, a point of order would onlyarise when a Member is on his feet. In thefirst place, the Hon Member has sat down,so, technically, his own interventionwould be statute-backed. Secondly, one cannot really rise on apoint of order against another point oforder. Perhaps, even if he misled us, hewould then come on elucidation orclarification that, what he said purportedto have misled this House. So, that wouldbe the proper thing to do.
And thepoint of elucidation can only be expressedwhen the person on his feet is willing toyield. It is not as of right.
It is not asof right, Mr Speaker.
HonAkoto Osei, are you willing to yield? Iwould plead with you to start winding up.
I think that point is socrucial, but I will yield to him for a fewseconds. [Laughter.]
HonAkoto Osei, I must confess to you that Ithoroughly enjoy your exposition, butyou cannot talk forever. So, I would pleadwith you, that after he raises his point ofelucidation, you would wind up within asecond.
Mr Speaker, let usunderstand the procedure. Now, if Dr A.A. Osei yields to the Hon Member, is hecoming back or he yields and that is theend of his contribution? I would want tounderstand that from Mr Speaker. [Interruption.] It is far from that, I am not challengingMr Speaker, and I cannot challenge MrSpeaker. [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, intrying to explain the numbers in the fiscaltable here, the Minister said the1.6 billionGhana cedis is Government drawing downits deposit? I would want to find out ifthis has anything to do with the GH¢250million that the Government took to UBA?
HonMembers, Standing Order 92 (1) providesthat: “No Member shall interrupt anyother Member except:- (b) to elucidate some matterraised by the Memberspeaking in the course of hisspeech, provided that theMember speaking is willing togive way and resume his seat,and that the Member wishingto interrupt is called by MrSpeaker.” When the Deputy Minister for Financeraised a point of order and Hon DrAssibey-Yeboah disagreed with what hesaid, he could get up while the DeputyMinister was on his feet, and if the DeputyMinister had yielded, then he would havehad the opportunity to speak. But he did not get up then; he got upwhen Hon Dr Akoto Osei was speakingand the matter he wanted to elucidate wasnot raised by Dr Akoto Osei. It was ratherraised by the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance. So, perhaps, we should be guidedby Order 92 (1) (b). This is not a ruling, Iam just pointing out the Standing Orders. Hon Members, I believe when oneyields to another, it comes back to you.He does not lose his right. One yields fora particular purpose, may be, just toelucidate. So, it is as if the person onhis feet gives room for some superiorknowledge, or some kind of expertiseknowledge just for a comeback. I think itwould defeat the purpose of elucidationwhen one loses the right completely. Thisalso is not a ruling, but I am just pointingout the various rules. But I think Dr Akoto Osei has finished.
I am done, Mr Speaker. I hear you, so, I would try to wind upwith a few words. Mr Speaker, I think the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill that is before us is veryimportant. There are some significantamendments that are being proposed, andI would want to urge that, when we get tothe Consideration Stage, Hon Membersshould pay attention to the amendmentsthat are coming from the Committee. It is avery serious Bill and we should spend timeon it. Thank you.
HonMembers, I would want to draw theattention of the House to Standing Order99 (2) which says that: “Mr Speaker having called theattention of the House to theconduct of a Member who persistsin irrelevance or tedious repetitioneither of his own arguments or ofthe arguments used by otherMembers in debate, may direct theMember to discontinue hisspeech.” Dr Akoto Osei has spoken extensively.I would advise that we be discouragedfrom repeating ourselves. According toStanding Order 99 (2), that amounts todisorderly behaviour. So, if he has saidit already, he should please not repeat it.The same goes for both sides of theHouse. The Hon Member for Madina hasalso spoken extensively. Please, what hesaid should not be repeated. [Pause.] Yes, who will seek to catch my eye? orbecause of what I have said nobody iswilling to speak? [Laughter.] I amadvising Hon Members to say somethingdifferent.
Mr Speaker, it isobvious that this Bill would not serve thepurpose of the interest of the people ofGhana.
That hasbeen said already. Move on. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker,considering the fact that the Committeethat actually worked on this Report, andhas expressed reservations on page 6 --
Mr Speaker, the statementHon Quashigah made is very serious andhurling and we should not allow it to pass.When he says that “The Bill that has beenbrought would not serve the interest ofthe people of Ghana”, that Bill has aCabinet Memorandom attached to it. It was brought by Cabinet and thePresident sat through that Cabinettogether with the Ministers. So, I wouldwant the Hon Member to address his mindto it and come again with that statement.Mr Speaker, it is a very serious statement!
Mr Speaker, it does notmatter the quarters from which this Bill iscoming from. [Hear! Hear!] What mattersis what I feel or what I am convinced aboutas a Member of Parliament representingthe people of Keta.Is it in the best interestof the people of Keta? [Hear! Hear!]
HonQuashigah, I am disappointed in you. Which people did you say yourepresent? The people of where?
Mr Speaker, the peopleof Keta.
I amdisappointed in you because every time Ihave heard you say “the people of Keta”,I have heard you say the good people ofKeta. [Laughter.] Have they become bador now they are now ordinary? I amdisappointed in you. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, thepeople of Keta are very good people.
Thankyou, and I know that --
The reason for whichthey would continue to vote for me.
HonQuashigah, they are good people, alsobecause of the fact that my people are atAdina; one of the villages there, they areall good people. So, every time you sayit, please make sure you say ‘the goodpeople of Keta'.
Mr Speaker, thank youso much for reminding me that you are aconstituent. Mr Speaker, on page 6 of theCommittee's Report, it talks abouttemporary advance and references whichare made to section 30 of the Bank ofGhana Act, which allows the bank tomake advances and loans to Government,as well as make direct purchases from theGovernment on treasury bills or securitieset cetera. Now, Mr Speaker, the Committee saysit views the proposed amendment, whichseeks to prohibit the Bank from makingany advances to the Government, toodrastic and unacceptable.
HonQuashigah, that has been said already.Hon Sorogho has already blamed him.
Mr Speaker, I amsaying it in a different vein.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister for Finance is obviously part ofthe Executive. By extension, if we blamethe Hon Minister for Finance, we shouldblame the Executive also. But I believestrongly that, the Committee whichworked on this has expressed seriousreservations, then those of us here cannotdo otherwise than to reject the entiredocument. When it gets to the ConsiderationStage, we obviously would have to take aserious view of it. How can we have acentral Bank with monies that it holds --
Mr Speaker, he isgrossly misleading this House. I would want to remind him thatfactually, it is the President of this countrythat gave directions and instructions forthe Hon Minister for Finance to sign. So,if he would want to blame the right person,he should be blaming the President.
Mr Speaker, well, thereis no point for me in directly blaming thePresident. What are my reasons? The HonMinister for Finance is supposed to be aprofessional and technical expert toadvise the President on financial matters.So, if at the end of the day someconclusions are arrived at, it obviouslyshould be the Hon Minister for Financeand not the President necessarily.
Yes, MrSpeaker, I believe for him to suggest thatthe President is just a rubber stamp is amonumental embarrassment to him. Hedoes not appreciate economic matters --[Uproar] -- He said it in several ways,that the President does not appreciateeconomic matters and that the technicaland professional person is the HonMinister for Finance. How can he say this of the President?[Laughter.] Just a few years ago, he wasin charge of the Economic ManagementTeam of this Republic. So, what was hesitting there for? Please, he should withdraw that; I feelthis is a huge indictment on the President,that he does not understand economicissues and somebody comes in to advisehim and he rubberstamps it. Mr Speaker, this is serious, and I wouldwant my Hon Colleague to withdraw.
Order!Order! Order! [Interruption.] Hon Quashigah, they would want youto withdraw.
Sorry, Mr Speaker?
Theywould want you to withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I do notknow what my Hon Colleague on the otherside wants me to withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I alsoobviously find some mischief in the lastcomment of Hon Atta Akyea. It does notsurprise me because Hon Atta Akyea hasbeen consulting me on books that arerelated to Nazi Germany, and I haverecommended to him some books. So, heis becoming Gobellian. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I believehe is in breach of our Standing Orders. Heis imputing wrong motives to me, whenhe has given a premise, and he does nothave the courage of his conviction, tocome to the conclusion that the President,excuse me to say, cannot pilot theeconomy properly.
Hon AttaAkyea, instead of looking at me, you arelooking into the heavens. What is there?
Mr Speaker, I amlooking at the gentleman who is imputingwrong motives to me. Is he afraid of hisown premises and the arguments he ismaking?
I thoughtyou would ask him to withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I do nothave any ill motive. I love this countryand I am of the view that when even thePresident is ignorant about how theeconomy is being run, it should not besaid openly like this. That is what I am saying.
Hon AttaAkyea, so you are not worried about theNazi and the Gobellian -- [Interruption.]
All right.I would leave it. Continue --
Mr Speaker, obviously,I believe that this Bill does not sit wellwith us as a people, and as the representa-tives of the people, it would do us a lot ofgood if this Bill is amended to actuallysuit the interest of the people of Ghana.But as for the things that the Hon AttaAkyea said, I would treat them with a pinchof salt.
HonQuashigah, I appreciate the fact, thatamong ourselves across the aisle, we havevery close relations. But let me just cautionyou about two things. The first thing is that, when you aremaking a submission, and you mentionsomebody's name, I am compelled torecognise the person. So, in your lastsentence, you mentioned his name again.If he gets up, I am compelled to call him. The second thing is that, the Hansarddoes not record these relationships. So, itwould be read in four or five to ten years'time and the spirit in which --[Interruption.] I am rather surprised thatthe Hon Members of the Committee onSubsidiary Legislation would want to holdtheir meeting in the Chamber. [Inter-ruption] Some of the Hon Membersincluding Hon Naabu -- [Laughter.] Thank you. So, I am saying that, in a few years'time when we read it, the code print would
not capture the spirit of the time andpeople who are looking at it may give it adifferent interpretation. So, on that note,we must be careful -- [Interruption.] Hon Naabu, today, you would have tocontribute whether you like it or not --[Laughter.] Yes, Hon Muntaka?
Mr Speaker, I havealways been one who says that you wouldhave to let him speak when he wants to,but today, I am perfectly with you. He hasto contribute.
HonNaabu must contribute whether he likes itor not -- [Laughter.] Hon Members, Sitting is suspended fora few minutes. [Laughter.] 6.55 p.m. -- Sitting suspended 7.00 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
HonMembers, the last person who spoke wasHon Quashigah. We agreed that we wouldtake one more contribution and then wewould conclude. Hon Member, please, do not repeatwhat has been said.
Mr Speaker, you have alreadygiven the ground rules, and I am stillmindful of same. Mr Speaker, I thank you for theopportunity to add my voice to this veryMotion on the floor. Mr Speaker, but before I proceed,permit me to make reference to paragraph3, which is the background.
Is itparagraph 3 of the Memorandum or theReport?
Mr Speaker,paragraph 3 of the Report of theCommittee. It is the second paragraphof item number 3.0.
“To significantly strengthen theCentral Bank's functional autonomy,governance and ability to respondto banking sector crisis, theamendment seeks to separate theautonomy provisions from otherobjectives of the Bank to strengthenthe autonomy of the Bank of Ghanain the performance of its functions.” Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether asa Parliament, the people's representatives,who have the mandate to exerciseoversight, are going to legislate to oustour own jurisdiction and to also give theBank of Ghana that supposed autonomywhich would not make it responsible toParliament. Mr Speaker, I think this House may becreating a certain impunity that we wouldlater regret. Mr Speaker, as we speak, we know allinstitutions of State appear before us toapprove their budgets. I do not know, andI should be corrected if I am wrong,whether the Bank of Ghana as aninstitution of State or a public institution,has ever appeared before this augustHouse. Mr Speaker, by the way, even a moreimportant and compelling issue is theprovision under article 184. Mr Speaker, ifI have your leave, I would go there. MrSpeaker, the Bank of Ghana has decidednot to comply with that mandatoryprovision.
For therecord, can you read, please?
Mr Speaker, itprovides and with your permission I begto quote: “The Committee of Parliamentresponsible for financial measuresshall monitor the foreign exchangereceipts and payments or transfersof the Bank of Ghana in and outsideGhana and shall report on them toParliament once in every sixmonths.”
HonChairman of the Finance Committee, hasthis been happening? Have they beenmaking reports?
Mr Speaker, for now, thereports they bring go to the PublicAccounts Committee.(PAC). Mr Speaker, but we are now insistingthat they bring a six month report.[Interruption.] They bring the audited report of theforeign exchange, which goes to thePAC Mr Speaker, but the one referred to isthe unaudited one, which must come tothe Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker, the pointmy Hon Colleague made is correct. What
HonAkoto Osei, the Constitution is a livingdocument; it is not dead. It is not adocument that needs operationalisation.
Mr Speaker, Parliamenthas not operationalised it; it is not theCommittee. When they report to the PublicAccount Committee, it is in the Auditor-General's Act. [Interruption.]
HonAkoto Osei, the point you are making iswell noted, and it has been made by theHon Chairman that what comes to theP.A.C. are the audited accounts. The Hon Chairman is saying that hisreading of article 184 (1), which I agreewith, is the “unaudited accounts”. So, he agrees with you; do not worry.
Mr Speaker, it is notaccounts.
It is theaudited report.
Mr Speaker, it is theforeign exchange report. We brought this to the attention of theprevious Rt Hon Speaker. Parliament, asan institution, has not operationalised it.That is the point I am making.
Mr Speaker,article 184 (2) also provides: “The Bank of Ghana shall, not laterthan three months -- (a) after the end of the six monthsof its financial year; and (b) after the end of its financialyear, submit to the Auditor-General for audit, a statementof its foreign exchangereceipts and payments ortransfers in and outsideGhana.” Mr Speaker, notwithstanding any Actin existence, this constitutional provision,with respect, needs no interpretation. It isplain in meaning enough, and it gives usthe power. Mr Speaker, whereas the Bank of Ghanais complying with subsection (2), bysubmitting reports to the Auditor-General,as for us, because, perhaps, we cannotbite, the Bank of Ghana has not complied. Mr Speaker, to complicate matters ormake matters worse, and further weakenParliament, this supposed amendmentseeks to rather make it so autonomousthat we cannot even touch it. Mr Speaker, like what the Hon RankingMember submitted, there is a subsistentAct that has a different phraseology,which gives a way for them to say thatthey would have to do something else. Mr Speaker, we are going to get to theConsideration Stage, and I am urging HonMembers never to allow this Bill to pass,without bringing the necessary amend-ments to give effect to what theConstitution has provided. Mr Speaker, this is because if we donot do that, it would appear as though the International Monetary Fund (IMF)on whose suggestions -- I do not wantto use harsh words -- and advice this Billis being brought, would be the onlyauthority to supervise and control theactivities of the Bank of Ghana. Mr Speaker, but is the IMF recognisedby law in this country as a Stateinstitution? Does the IMF havesupervisory powers? No, it cannot be. Mr Speaker, for the purpose of therecords, even at Committee meetings, theIMF representative was seated rightthere. I do not know whether it was tomonitor how we conduct our business,whether it was for monitoring, whetherthey wanted to be sure that we wereactually doing our job? I just did not getit. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
HonPrempeh, do you have a point of order?
Mr Speaker, on a pointof order, the Hon Member for Effutu whois on the floor seeks to inform us, whenhe is an Hon Member of the FinanceCommittee what happened at theCommittee meeting. If he had such an obnoxious smell ofthe IMF representative, why did he notwalk her out?
Mr Speaker, thatis a very important matter. I am going toget to that point. Mr Speaker, the IMF representativewas there in her capacity as an augustguest of the Hon Minister for Finance whois temporarily absent in this Chamber.
I amrather at sea how you describe thepresence of a stranger. This is because whether the person, with respect, is theHead of State or a representative of aninternational institution or a senior highpupil from my constituency, they are allstrangers. They come at the invitation of the HonChairman of the Committee becauseeverybody who is in the House, is here atthe invitation of the Speaker, and atCommittee meetings, the Hon Chairmanexercises all the powers of the Speaker bynecessary implication. So, I am surprised that you are sayingan Hon Member was there as somebody'sguest. Even if the person was somebody'sguest, the Hon Chairman of the Committeewas the person who has the power, andthis is a very powerful Hon Chairman,indeed, to allow a stranger to sit in ameeting.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman exercised his power. So, formy good friend to say that the HonChairman did not use his power was notcorrect. He was acting for the Speaker asyou said. That is what happened. So,we thought that the Speaker knew.
No, donot get me wrong. The Speaker is not incontrol of committee meetings. Committeemeetings are controlled by the rules andthe rules say that the Hon Chairman ofthe Committee is the person who has thepower to do certain things includinginviting strangers into the meeting. I am saying that, the IMF representativeis essentially a stranger, the President ofTurkey, who came to the House to addressus was a stranger, anybody who comes toaddress a Committee is a stranger. Themembers of the public who come to thePublic Accounts Committee (PAC) are strangers. Anybody who is not an HonMember of Parliament is a stranger. Whenthe Chief Justice and the President comehere, they are strangers. Mr Atta Akyea -- rose--
Mr Speaker, yourposition on the matter is right but it seemsto me that so many things are beingdivulged here and there are more thingsthat we should ask. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether itwas the --
You arean Hon Member of the Committee? Areyou not?
No. I have never been.
Of theFinance Committee?
Mr Speaker, I thinkwhen I first came over.
Mr Speaker, if it is thecase, most probably, the IMF sponsoredthis meeting for the purpose of putting ittogether, then how would we push themaway if they financed the rendezvousand the rest of them? So, if there is something that we shouldknow --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, we aretalking about imputing motives. Please, wecan be right, but let us be careful. Imputingthat the IMF sponsored a parliamentarycommittee meeting, we have HonColleagues there and nobody can say thatabout the PAC, even though we knowthat they are mostly funded by thedevelopment partners. Let us be careful.
Mr Speaker, we can be right when wewant to be right but please let us notallow ourselves to be put in a corner,where we are imputing motives to HonColleagues. It is not correct.
We canmake a lot of these points --
Mr Speaker, I neverintended to impute any bad motives tothe Committee. But from what he said,I was just trying to conjecture how onewould sack the one responsible for one'scomfort over the weekend? That is all Iam saying.
Hon AttaAkyea, how do you know that?
Mr Speaker, we knowthat when -- [Interruption]-- Whenstake- holders are very much interested in--
HonAtta Akyea, please, you are out of order.It is going on record. Hon Members, a very simple matter. Imade a mistake, I need to correct it.Standing Order 7 says and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “stranger” means any person otherthan the President, Vice President,Mr. Speaker, Ministers and DeputyMinisters who are not Members ofthe House, a Member or an officerof the House;” So, it means that the President and theVice President are not strangers in theHouse. I remember that the currentPresident, when he was the Vice Presidentonce came into the House, and sat whereHon Ministers sit when they areanswering Questions and took part inproceedings. A President and the VicePresident can come and take part inproceedings if they so desire, becausethey are not strangers. But the Chief Justice is not a stranger and that isStanding Order 7.Secondly, Standing Order 199 says Ito quote; “No stranger shall be admitted toany meeting of a Committee withoutthe consent of the Chairman, unlessthe Committee decides that suchmeeting shall be held in public:Provided that the Chairman of theCommittee may, whenever he thinksfit, order the withdrawal of strangersfrom any meeting which is beingheld in public.” So, our rules give the Hon Chairmanthe power -- Mr Avedzi -- rose--
HonChairman, do you want to say something?
Mr Speaker, Hon AttaAkyea made a statement which needs tobe corrected. He said that the meeting toconsider this Bill was sponsored by theIMF -- [Interruption] -- well, that waswhat I heard. If he did not say that then let it be. Ijust want to make it clear that IMF neversponsored this, and for that matter, itwas done at the comfort of the Committee.We did not have it done by the IMF.
He hasput the records straight. If he did not saythat it is fine.
Mr Speaker, with duerespect, I never said that.
Thankyou. Please, the records will show whatyou said. Hon Members, please, there is thedanger that matters can degenerate. Therewill be so many interjections that we wouldeven forget who is on his feet. I have seen Hon K.T. Hammond itching to saysomething. I will give him one minute. Ireserve the right to stop him, and when Isay stop, I mean, stop. Hon K.T. Hammond, why are youpointing at someone?
Mr Speaker, Iactually thought that my Hon Colleaguehad finished but he said he was still onhis feet.
Beforeyou came in, the Leadership agreed onwho would contribute. I delegated mypower to the Leaders, because so manyHon Members wanted to contribute. Theyagreed that three people should contribute-- Hon Nitiwul, the Hon Member sittingby you, I delegated my power to him andHon Agbesi. So, if you are not on the list,this is the last contribution. I am sorry.
Mr Speaker, I acceptthat. What he just told me is that, helooked all over the place for me and he didnot realise that I was in a n urgent meetingout there, so he missed out. But heconcedes that in your usual discretion,you could give me the one minute, justone minute; 60 seconds to --
No. Theyhave already agreed. In fact, I was surprised when he didnot add your name, but I am suretomorrow, you will get the chance tospeak.
Mr Speaker, he just toldme but I think he has yielded to me tocontinue the rest for him. Should I finishwith it for you?
Youyielded because I will not allow you tocontinue.
Mr Speaker, I didnot know that he would want to come in.I had prepared on a few points and I pleadwith him to --
Mr Speaker, withrespect to the correction made, I nowchange the submission to mean that theIMF representative who was present withus, although, was a guest of the HonMinister, our Hon Chairman consented toher sitting in our meeting. The point I want to make is that, itwas just too irregular, considering the factthat they were giving us this extendedcredit facility, and they did not also hidethe amendment that had come from them.It was as if they wanted to sit in and bedouble sure that we were doing what theywanted the government to do. Mr Speaker, it appears, and because ithas been said, I would not belabour that.Until we do what is expected of thegovernment, we are not likely to get anymonies disbursed. It appears. Mr Speaker,now -- Alhaji Muntaka -- rose --
Mr Speaker, I ambegging my Hon Colleague to learn therules of this House. Most of the thingsthat he said were speculative and they arenot permitted by our rules. If he cares toknow, he is speculating and our rules donot allow for speculative statements.
HonMuntaka, speak to the Speaker.
Mr Speaker, our HonColleague is speculative in most of hisstatements and you are very much awarethat our rules do not allow speculation.Therefore, I would want to encourage myHon Colleague, that if he wants to speak,he should speak of facts and things thathappened but not to speculate. This isbecause our rules do not permitspeculation.
Mr Speaker, theHon Majority Chief Whip, who is mysenior Hon Colleague in this House seeksto correct me on a matter that he thinks Iam wrong on. Mr Speaker, but as soon ashe picked the Standing Orders, I also tookmine so that I go along with him. He saysthat our rules do not allow speculation. However, he did not quote the exactprovisions and I would want to believethat, in future, he would make availablethe specific provisions. That notwith-standing, I take note of his concerns andI would proceed. Mr Speaker, further to the earliersubmissions made, article 183 makescertain provisions. Article 183 establishesthe central Bank and 183 (1) to (3) talksabout the work of the Bank of Ghana, theBoard and who is going to be the head;the Governor and so on. Mr Speaker,could we -- and this is also for ourthoughts, when it gets to theConsideration Stage, in view of thisexpress provisions, come out with alegislation which would seek to create acertain autonomy, which the Constitutiondoes not provide for. Everybody knows that the central Bankis supposed to have a certain level ofautonomy, but to the extent that we arelegislating on this so-called autonomy,and creating the impression that nobodycould call them to order, Mr Speaker, thatis a very serious matter. Do not let us forget that in the President's State of theNation Address, he did mention thatbecause of lack of adequate supervision,we experienced what we heard in BrongAhafo Region. So, if today, Parliament in legislatingon Bank of Ghana is seeking to indirectlyoust its own jurisdiction, then who isgoing to see to it that if Bank of Ghana isgetting it wrong, there would be correctionfor them to do the right thing? Is the Bankof Ghana refunding the millions of cedisthat those poor farmers and petty tradershave lost? They are not. And today, because ofthe IMF -- and this one is not speculationand if I am speculating, the Hon DeputyMinister is here, he should correct me --we should legislate to first, oust ourjurisdiction and secondly, to breach theConstitution of the Republic of Ghana. MrSpeaker, this is a serious matter,particularly so, when the referral to yourCommittee was not based on a Cabinetapproval, but an Executive approval. MrSpeaker, that is even worse.
No, thereis nothing wrong with that.
Mr Speaker, verywell. Mr Speaker, in the context --
There isno context here. Let us get these thingsstraight; article 54 of the Constitutiongives Executive power to the President,and Cabinet assists the President. TheExecutive approval is allowed under ourConstitution, and if a government maydecide to use more of Cabinet approval, itis up to the government. But this is not aWestminster form of government. It isallowed.
Mr Speaker, wealways learn at your feet; being a formerAttorney-General and Minister of Justice.So, I would take a cue and withdraw thataspect. Mr Speaker, but I would borrow thewords of my Hon Member of Parliamentfor Keta, Hon Quashigah. That is where Icome from paternally. Mr Speaker, mymother is from Winneba and that is wherefor the time being, I am serving as theHon Member of Parliament. Mr Speaker, but when we get to Keta --[Interruption.] -- he is my Hon Member ofParliament, so, I am borrowing his words.Mr Speaker, in his submissions, a fewminutes ago, he said that even if thePresident had made a mistake in advising-- [Interruption.] Mr Quashigah -- rose ---
HonQuarshigah, why are you on your feet?
Mr Speaker, becauseHon Afenyo-Markin made reference to myvery self. It is true that paternally, he isfrom the Keta Constituency and he hasbeen visiting that place and even to theextent of attempting to buy a tractor forthe farmers there. So, if he says that “forthe time being”, it means he has intentionsof coming to contest the seat in Keta. MrSpeaker, I would advise him to remain inWinneba which is his mother's hometown.[Laughter.] Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
HonQuashigah, indeed, this is the mostimportant intervention that has beenmade today. Hon Afenyo-Markin, a wordto the wise is enough.
Mr Speaker, it isfor the time being but the decision ispermanent. I would remain on my mother'sland. Mr Speaker, in borrowing his ownwords, he said that if the President hasgiven an executive directive, it isincumbent upon the Hon Minister forFinance to provide the professionaladvice. These were his words, and I foundthat very persuasive enough and veryinstructive. I felt so encouraged that he boldlycame out with such a submission, beingon the Majority side. So, it means that anHon Member of this House is questioningthe decision of the President. Nobodystood up on a point of order -- not eventhe Hon Deputy Minister for Finance. Mr Speaker, I am anchoring my lastsubmission on that point he made, whichis part of our records. Mr Quashigah -- rose --
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, it is obvious that HonAfenyo-Markin has twisted what I said. Imade no reference to the President. MrSpeaker, what I said was that the HonMinister for Finance, together with hisDeputies who brought this Bill to theHouse, should obviously, reconsider theBill. I recall also that an Hon Member gotup to state that in reference, if I talk aboutthat Hon Minister for Finance, then I ammaking reference to the President. Thatwas when I talked about the Hon Ministerfor Finance being a professional and anexpert, who is supposed to give guidanceto the Executive on matters of finance.
Mr Speaker, by making that statement,it does not equate to me saying thePresident shall necessarily comply. I takereservation to what my junior Brother onthe other side has said.
HonAfenyo-Markin, conclude. In conclusion -- Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose--
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I believe I have a very happy observation.The observation is that, the suspensionof the Sitting that you caused -- Youcaused Sitting to be suspended for a briefperiod. The Speaker suspended Sitting fora brief moment, has done a lot of good tothe Hon Quashigah. It has really had asobering effect on the Hon Quashigah,and it is a very happy observation.[Laughter]
Mr Speaker, thestatement I was referring to --
HonMember, just conclude. You are capableof making your own statement. Justconclude, please. You have been speakingfor about thirty minutes, if I am not wrong.You have been speaking for quite a while,so just conclude.
Mr Speaker, inconclusion, I invite this august House,made up of 275 Hon Members,representing over twenty-five million Ghanaians, to stand firm, be decisive andprove to the whole world that, we havewhat it takes to assert ourselves, by notousting our own jurisdiction to create acertain autonomy for a public body thatwe later on might regret. I thank you, Mr Speaker for thisgracious opportunity. God bless you, MrSpeaker.
I thoughtyou were going to say “I so submit”. Butanyway, it is all right. Hon Majority Leader and HonMinority Leader, what is your pleasure? Imean, do you want to contribute? That iswhat I am asking for. If you do not, I wouldlet the Hon Minister wind up.
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister for Finance would bewinding up. So, I would defer to him. Iwould not contribute.
Then,Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I might want to yield my space and time tothe Hon K. T. Hammond. If I may yieldjust two minutes of my time to him, and Iwould speak for just about five minutes.
This isunprecedented. I have not seensomething like this before, that an HonMember could get up and say, well, hehas seven minutes, and he has given thisperson -- Very soon, you would get upand say, well, you are giving this persontwo minutes and that person one minutes.If you are on your feet, you could yield toHon K. T. Hammond. So, I would ask you to start. When youare on your feet, you could yield to him.So, start.
Mr Speaker,the issue I am raising, indeed, exists inmany jurisdictions, even though we donot practice it. Yet, it is something that Iwould want to recommend to the House.This is because, presently, the HonMajority Leader just walked in; he doesnot know what has gone on. Even though,if we have to vote, he is entitled to vote. So, it exists in many jurisdictions.
The twominutes, three minutes rule? Which oneis that; that you would yield for two orthree minutes to somebody?
Mr Speaker,in fact, normally, there is a prescribednumber, that a person might not gobeyond two.
Godbeing so good, we are reviewing theStanding Orders. So, when we get to thatpoint, do that. But as it stands, I wouldrecognise you, and under our StandingOrders, you could yield to him. Then, itcould come back to you.
So, Mr Speaker, thankyou for the opportunity for the space tocontribute, but at this point, I might wantto yield two minutes of my time to the HonK. T. Hammond. [Laughter.]
Hon K.T. Hammond, the time is 7:32 p.m., the HonMinority Leader says he is yielding twominutes. At 7:34, your time would be up.
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, and thank you very much myLeader. Mr Speaker, he has done what he hasdone, because when it comes to mattersas significant as this, we resort toextraordinary measures. I would want to put it on record that today, I have heardthe words that have never come out ofthe Majority side. Mr Speaker, the Government of whichthey are the representative in Parliament-- through the President, the Ministry ofFinance has seen it fit to prepare adocument like this and bring it toParliament for our debate.
You areholding in your hand the Report. TheReport is not the Report of theGovernment. It is the a Report of a --
Report of a Committee,but the item we are discussing, the Bill isproposed by the Government, the Reportof which is on that one. I would havethought that this side would come anddefend the proposal as espoused in theBill, on which there is this Report.[Interruption.]
Hon K.T. Hammond, could you resume your seat,please? My understanding of the stage we areis that, we are adopting the Report of theCommittee. The Committee is theCommittee of the House, made up of theMinority and the Majority Members. TheCommittee has made certain recommenda-tions, that certain parts of the Bill berejected. Members of the Minority as wellas the Majority at a meeting of mindsmight have agreed. That is the position. Please, continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I accept entirely the point that youmade. My point is that, the Hon Memberson this side, on this occasion, should notagree to the proposition as made. They are entitled to speak their minds. Therehave been many times that we bringReports and those on this side and thatside object to or do not object. My beef is the fact that, on thisoccasion, it is on the Bank of Ghana (BoG),an independent body. Government,through Cabinet, has gone through andthey presented the Bill to this House. Iwould have thought that, they wouldcome in here and spend their time tosupport the government, of which theyare the representatives. Mr Speaker, they are disowning theGovernment, and they are asking that theGovernment cannot pass this Bill.
On a point of order. MrSpeaker, as Members of Parliament, oneof our functions is to represent the peopleor constituents. It is not every action ofours that is attributed to our collective. Iam not happy with the way the HonMember said it. This is because,tomorrow, I might be taking a principalstand here, and it would affect me equally. I would want more Hon Members tospeak up. After all, we said Parliamentmust be emasculated. So, if today, HonMembers have found their voice, weshould support them and not try to be theMajority Whip of the Majority side.
Mr Speaker, maybe,when we get to that bridge, we would seehow to cross it-- with canoes orwhatever. Mr Speaker, it does not sit well for themto do what they are doing. They shouldhave supported this and I am calling --
Mr Speaker, thisevening, I do not know whether Hon K. T.Hammond prayed maghrib. I think if hecan go back to his office and praymaghrib and come back, he would reflectmore. What he is saying is totally out. Mr Speaker, there has been so manyinstances where the two parties agree todisagree on policies that come from theGovernment. Mr Speaker, the same Hon K. T.Hammond would say that Parliament is arubber stamp; that when something isbrought before us, instead of usdiscussing it and making our individualviews known, we just follow theGovernment. Today, Hon K.T. Hammondis saying that Hon Members on this sidecannot independently think for theirconstituents, and cannot independentlyassess what is good for the nation andthat anything at all that comes must besupported. Mr Speaker, there are so many thingsthat have been brought before uscollectively, and the two sides met andagreed that this one, we would not supportit. He knows what I am talking about.
Like? They knowwhat. That one, we all came together anddisagreed. For example, if the HonMinister for Finance does not perform, wewould not agree. That one is not a rubberstamp. Mr Speaker, he must stop what he issaying and go on to talk to the issues inthe Report. This is the Report of theCommittee made up of Hon Members fromboth sides. We argued on it and agreedthat this is not good for Ghana and so we shall defend it. So, he should not do thatat all. He is a senior Member of Parliamentand must know better.
Mr Speaker, I believeHon Sorogho has the right to disagreewith Hon Hammond's position. But I donot believe that he should question hisfaith. I do not believe that he should askwhether he prayed before coming here. Ithink that is terribly wrong. Is he sayingthat if he did not pray, it means he cannotthink properly? It is absolutely wrong andI do not think, that should be allowed tostay. Hon Hammond has the right to makethat point. This is because this is the firsttime the Government's side is funda-mentally disagreeing with a Bill that hascome to this House. So, if he has made apoint, and he disagrees with him, heshould disagree with him, period.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, when the HonMembers were speaking, I looked againat the Report. What I saw from the Reportwas that; the last paragraph in the Reportsays that the Committee, havingthoroughly examined the Bill, re-commends to the House to adopt theReport and pass the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill into law.” What the Committee did was that, thereare parts of the Bill that they disagreewith. It has happened several times in thisHouse. Even today, in the Petroleum(Exploration and Production) Bill, there areamendments which have been filed byMembers from the Majority side. HonKwabena Donkor has filed severalamendments. I have been here when Hon Ministersand so on have, on the floor, filed amendments to clauses or argued in favourof amendments to clauses in a Bill. So, it is not strange. What may besignificant about today is that, HonMembers feel very strongly about it. So,what is happening in my view, on thissame Order Paper if -- we look at thePetroleum (Exploration and Production)Bill, 2016, there are so many amendmentsproposed by Hon Members from theMajority side. I think we should be happythat we are exercising our oversightresponsibility together. I am proud of Parliament and I am happyto be part of such a Parliament. I think it issome Hon Members who have always saidthat Parliament should be independent. Infact, the proponent of the review of theConstitution to the Westminster systemargues that this system does not allowfor independence. Hon K. T. Hammond, your time is up.
Mr Speaker, I actuallyaccept the point you made. I am proud ofthem, that they are doing what they aredoing for the first time. Mr Speaker, you referred to thePetroleum Exploration and Production Bill2016. When we discussed it the other day,one single Hon Member from the Majorityside proposed some amendments but allof them were rejected by this side. This isthe very first time that, collectively, thoseon that side have found their voices andthey are talking about a major plan on thepolicy in the Bill that is presented by theGovernment. Mr Speaker, I recommend that theyshould dispense with the services of allof them. They should be de-selectedbecause they are not giving very goodsupport to the Government of the day.
Hon K.T. Hammond, I have not heard your viewon the matter. You have spent your twominutes talking about other people's view.
Mr Speaker, mypersonal view is that this is the mostatrocious clause which could ever havebeen brought to this floor. [Laughter.]
On thatnote, I thank you very much.
Mr Speaker,a Bill, when submitted to Parliament, isinformed by the Memorandum attachedto it, which seeks to provide someeducation to the House about what thepurpose of that Bill is; what mischief hasbeen found; and what proposals arecontained in the new piece of legislation.[Pause.] Mr Speaker, when a Bill is presented tothe House, once it takes possession of it,could propose amendments to that Bill.Except that, the amendments would notseek to change the policy drive containedin any piece of legislation. If it happensthat way, then it means the Bill may haveto be sent back to the proposers, to theextent that, the policy underpinning theBill would be brought into question. Thatis what Parliament is not required to do. If a Bill emanates from even a PrivateMember and it comes to the House,amendments are proposed to change thecause of that Bill. It ceases to be the Billsubmitted by the Private Member and thatPrivate Member must withdraw it. So, if a policy underpinning a Bill istorn into shreds, that Bill may have to bewithdrawn. Mr Speaker, it is the reason when wedealt with the Petroleum RevenueManagement Act, I made a point that,whereas Government had indicated thatthey were not going to use petroleumresources as collateral, and whereas onthe floor, an Hon Member proposed anamendment which was adopted by theHouse, to the contrary, I insisted that inthat case, the Bill must go back to thesponsors, the Executive, for it to agree toour own opinion, in that case, affect thepolicy underpinning the Bill. Otherwisethat amendment would contradict thepolicy contained in the memorandum. Mr Speaker, that has been my position.
HonKyei-Mensah-Bonsu, you are raising suchimportant points that I would like HonMembers to pay attention. I believe theyare such weighty points that HonMembers should pay attention. I am paying close attention. There areothers who are bent on distracting me fromthe back benches of both sides. So, please, let us pay attention. Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, could youmake the last point again?
We made thepoint about amendments proffered to aBill that comes before us. Theamendments are proposed from both Sidesof the House. It is the norm, except that ifany amendment is proposed to scuttle thepolicy underpinning a particular Bill, thatBill must be withdrawn, because the form,character and nature of that Bill ceases tobe the Bill that was first proposed by thesponsor. Mr Speaker, that is good parliamentarypractice, because it would then mean -- Isee the Hon Deputy Minister for Financeshaking his head. If he has a contraryopinion, perhaps, I would yield to him,and if he has any examples, let him citethem. Mr Speaker, I keep inviting you to letthe Hon Member for Madina make hisintervention, because anytime anybodyis talking, he makes wide gesticulationsand so on. Grant him space, let us listento him, for once. Mr Speaker, so, I am making a point,that if the amendment proposed by theHouse, indeed, from the Committee, isgoing to the grain of the Bill, it would meanthat Parliament would have gone beyondour own boundaries. If indeed, it affects the policy drive ofthe Bill, as contained in the Memo-randum, then the proper thing to do, as Icanvassed the other time -- This isbecause we cannot have a proposal fromGovernment that in this, we are not goingto do collaterisation. An Hon Membergets up to say let us do collaterisation,we all go with it. Perhaps, the Majoritysees the wisdom in that and makes a U-turn, contrary to the policy from theCabinet. That is unacceptable.Thisbecause the nature and form of the Bill iscompletely changed. That is why I said that, if in this case,as is being argued, the policyunderpinning this Bill is torn into shreds,if that is the case -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the Hon Leader ofGovernment Business is asking where isthe policy? I keep saying that, as theLeader of Government Business, he is asquatter in Government circles.
Mr Speaker, suddenly, theHon Minority Leader has turned to makeme the subject of his submission. I amsurprised, this is because he is to addressthe Speaker. I am not the Bill. Please, I just tried to draw his attentionto the fact that there is not just one policy,there are a number of policies. We coulddisagree with one and try to refine it as aHouse. But the proposals do notundermine the totality of the policies inthe Bill; and he should address that. I amjust drawing his attention as a goodfriend, silently. It was not part of the Hansard, but nowhe has made it part of the Hansard.
Mr Speaker,I am happy the Hon Majority Leaderimplies that whenever he makes any sidekicks, I should ignore him. This is becauseI thought he was drawing my attention toa matter of relevance. I suggest to himthat, before he entered, it had been arguedin extenso, that the policy underpinningthis Bill is breached. That is the point thatI am making. If that is the case, then of course, theproper thing to do is return the Bill to thesender, that is, to the Executive, thePresident. That is my point. So, Mr Speaker, matters relating tostrengthening the financial autonomy ofthe Bank of Ghana, as well as itsgovernance and positioning, the Bank ofGhana to be able to more appropriatelyrespond to banking sector crises, giventhe situation this nation has passedthrough in recent times, should becommendable.
Mr Speaker, strengthening financialreporting, as the Bill seeks to do, is alsocommendable. I heard an Hon Colleaguesay to us that, unfortunately, the Bill isbeing brought to Parliament at theinstance of the IMF, and that we shouldnot have entered this situation where IMFwould have to prompt us to do what weought to be doing as a nation. Mr Speaker may recollect that, whenwe had the engagement with the Bank ofGhana subsequent to the operations ofsome deposit-taking institutions, we hadoccasion to blame the Bank of Ghana fortheir negligence. I am happy that on the heels of ourown engagement with the Bank of Ghana,as part of addressing the issues that arose,they have brought this Bill. Mr Speaker, we are told that the Bankof Ghana does not act alone, but on thenudging of development partners. Wehave always talked about home-grownpolicies, and I thought that from thereon, we should have seen the lapses in theoperations of Bank of Ghana, to havemade these proposals. We waited until IMF began to promptus about loopholes in the operations ofthe Bank of Ghana, and then we wokeup and we are proud to say that we aredoing this in collaboration with the IMF.In my view, that is an indictment on ourown governance. I believe we should not have allowedthe situation to degenerate into thissituation, where IMF may have to wielda big stick before we rush to Parliament todo what we are required to do. Mr Speaker, originally, Parliament wasprogrammed to rise on Friday, 29th July,2016. That is just two days from now, andinto the dying embers of our Meeting -- Ibelieve this is the 12th week of --
HonMinority Leader, when you saidParliament was originally meant to rise --Has that changed? Do you have someinformation that we do not have?
Mr Speaker,I was prompted just three days ago, toobserve certain developments in respectof an Instrument that we are told wouldnot mature if we should rise on Friday,and that there would be the need to have,at least, one day Sitting in order to havethat Instrument mature. If, indeed, it is urgent as we are beingprompted, it may require Parliament, tohave another Sitting next week Mondayor perhaps, next Tuesday. I am not toosure. That is why I said “originallyprogrammed to rise on Friday”. I justtapped from the rumour mill; I am notmongering the rumour. This is what I wastold three days ago. Today, the HonMajority Leader and I had somediscussions on that. His own attentionwas drawn to it today, so, we are not toosure. As I said, if it is not very urgent, wemay still be able to rise on Friday. But if ithas some urgency, then perhaps, we mayhave to Sit on Monday or Tuesday tocomplete that cycle, I do not know. I amnot in charge of Government Business. Iam just throwing it up for considerationby the House. Mr Speaker, article 183 (2) (b) of theConstitution is very clear on the functionsof BoG.. Mr Speaker, if I may, it provides: “The Bank of Ghana shall -- (b) bethe sole custodian of State funds ofGhana both in and outside Ghanaand may, by notice published in theGazette, authorise any other personor authority to act as a custodian ofany such fund as may be specifiedin the notice.” Mr Speaker, BoG is the sole custodianof State funds. I cannot fathom anyreason if Government wants to know thestate of affairs -- the status of our fundswith the Bank. One can say that they arean independent authority, so,Government cannot even have anydialogue with them on that. Mr Speaker, the second leg of article183 (2) (b) is also interesting. It states andwith your permission, I beg to quote: “The Bank of Ghana shall -- (b) bethe sole custodian of State funds ofGhana both in and outside Ghanaand may, by notice published in theGazette, authorise any other personor authority to act as a custodian ofany such fund as may be specifiedin the notice.” Mr Speaker, we have heard and wehave been told in this very House thatsome State funds were lodged with somebanks without recourse to this provisionin the Constitution. A Motion has beenfiled to that effect, and as we speak today,space has not been granted for thatMotion to be heard in this House. Mr Speaker, I am sounding notice thatwe shall use whatever platform that isavailable to articulate this issue. It cannotbe that something wrong is deemed tohave been committed. Members ofParliament would want to inquire into thisand they are not granted space for the past one month or so, to make anyarticulation on this. Mr Speaker, at the appropriate time, thiswould be brought up. It is most improperthat Parliament should be denied theopportunity to discuss this, at least, inplenary.
“encourage and promote economicdevelopment and the efficientutilisation of the resources of Ghana…” Mr Speaker, a Government is electedto do just that. If BoG pursues any activitythat, in the view of the elected Government,would be at variance with this, are wesuggesting that Government cannotdialogue with BoG on this very importantmatter? I am afraid that when we overly hypethe independence of BoG, it mayultimately be to the detriment of theeconomic development of this country.That is why I agree with the Committeethat we need to be careful about overhyping the independence of BoG. Certainly, the elected Government mayhave to be provided space and theplatform to engage BoG on issues relatingto economic development. This is becauseit is the Government and not BoG that hasbeen elected to do just that. Mr Speaker, whatever BoG does iscomplementary to what the electedGovernment is charged to do. I agree withthe Committee that we should have asecond look at the degree of autonomythat we afford BoG. Mr Speaker, other matters have alreadybeen spoken about by Hon Colleagueswho have spoken before me, and I do notintend to overflog those issues because
Thankyou, Hon Minority Leader. I invite the HonDeputy Minister for Finance to wind up.
Thank you, Mr Speaker,for the opportunity to wind up. Mr Speaker, a good number of concernshave been raised on the floor. We havetaken good note of some of the concernsthat were raised. Mr Speaker, it is important that Iaddress some of the issues that have beenraised here, which relate to theindependence of the Central Bank, thezero financing and the IMF issue as well. Mr Speaker, for starters, let me quicklytouch on the issue of zero financing. TheMinistry of Finance stands by theargument that we are implementing zerofinancing, as we speak. We believe it isfeasible and it is about time we legislatedzero financing. Mr Speaker, we should recognise thatthe Central Bank financing to Governmentis hot money. That means if care is nottaken, and if Government is to rely onzero financing, the impact on monetarypolicy would be that -- Mr Speaker, it isquite inflationary and therefore, there isthe need for us to depart from financingthe budget through the Central Bank. Mr Speaker, we are of the view thatthere are alternative sources of financingGovernment Budget. Those alternativesare available in the market. Therefore, we believe that, in deepening the financialmarket, particularly the secondary market,the Ministry of Finance would be in aposition to finance our Budget through abond market. Mr Speaker, on this note, I stronglybelieve that Hon Members should supportthe Government in implementing the zerofinancing policy. Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Memberraised the issue relating to theconditionality imposed by IMF. MrSpeaker, prior action from IMF is for us toadopt and pass the BoG Bill. But indeed,the zero financing is not a prior action.This is because we are alreadyimplementing zero financing. FromJanuary this year, we have beensuccessful in implementing zero financing;we are still implementing it; and we willcontinue to implement it. Mr Speaker, the impression created thatin the Supplementary Estimates, as wasread by the Minister for Finance, we hadalready planned to breach zero financingis incorrect. Mr Speaker, what we havehere clearly indicates that, the Ministryof Finance is going to draw down onGovernment deposit and not necessaryto draw from the Central Bank as a formof financing. Mr Speaker, I believe this impressionshould be corrected; it should not beallowed to stand because that is not whatthe Supplementary Estimates stands for.Again, the issue raised on theindependence of the Central Bank isimportant.
Mr Speaker, this is aHouse of records. The Hon DeputyMinister knows, and I would want to putit on record that, technically speaking,what is in the Supplementary Estimatesis not what he says it is. This is a House of records. If his people have made amistake, he should say so. Net financingmeans “net” and he knows that. Weshould not play games with words. If his people have made a mistake, heshould go and correct it and not say thatthat is not what is there. That is thedefinition and he knows that. He shouldgo and ask the people at the Bank ofGhana. Let us not play games here. If hispeople have made a mistake, he shouldcorrect it and tell the House. He shouldnot tell me that net financing is not whatis in there. That is exactly what is in there.
Mr Speaker, it is not correctthat the Ministry of Finance has projectedto draw down from the Central Bank in aform of financing. That is not the intentionof the Supplementary Estimates. I earliersaid that, what we have there relates todraw down of Government depositsalready with the Central Bank. At thetime we prepared the original Budget inNovember last year, the intention thenwas not to draw down from the CentralBank. We obeyed that and we still do. Between December and January, theMinistry of Finance made certainpayments to statutory funds. After theMinistry made the payments, the statutoryfunds were not able to draw down onthose expenditures. For that reason, itbecame a float and stayed with the CentralBank. At that point, it became Governmentof Ghana's deposit. The intention here is for us to be ableto draw down on those CentralGovernment deposits that are held at theCentral Bank. This does not mean that wewill draw down from the Central Bank. Itis important that I correct that impression. Mr Speaker, to continue --
Hon A.A. Osei, there is a difference inexplanation --
Mr Speaker, it is not adifference. He is speaking aboutintentions. I am submitting to him, as heis the Deputy Minister for Finance, thatthe term “net deposits” means what itmeans. It is not his intention and hecannot change the definition. We have tobe straight with ourselves. He is talking about intentions and Igive that to him. But to tell this Housethat what is in the SupplementaryEstimates is not net borrowing, is wrongand he should not go there. He is myFriend and he knows that. Intentions -- Igive him intentions.
Hon A.A. Osei, that is your view and you haveexpressed it.
Mr Speaker, this is atechnical definition and not a view. It isinternationally accepted, coming from theBank of Ghana. He knows it, he is wrong.
Hon A.A. Osei, you have made your point; thatis the internationally accepted technicaldefinition. Thank you.
A House of records --
That iswhy I have thanked you --
It is not a view --
I havechanged that. You said it is aninternationally accepted technicaldefinition. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, drawing downon Government deposit is not the same asdrawing down or borrowing from a bank.If I have some money or deposit with abank, and I decide to draw down, it doesnot necessarily mean I am borrowing fromthe bank; we should understand that. Issues were raised relating to theindependence of the Central Bank. Istrongly believe that it is important wegive the Central Bank some element offunctional autonomy. Looking at the Bankof Ghana Act, the primary objective ofthe bank is to maintain price stability. The Central Bank cannot maintainprice stability if they do not haveindependence or autonomy. Mostimportantly, the Monetary PolicyCommittee of the Bank, which is aCommittee of the Bank and not of theBoard, needs to have an element ofautonomy, for them to be able to operatecarefully. Mr Speaker, in achieving the functionsof the Central Bank, it is important that weequip them and give them some elementsof autonomy, for them to be able tooperate. If I am to read the functions ofthe Central Bank, they are supposed toand Mr Speaker, with your permission, Ibeg to quote: “(a) formulate and implementmonetary policy aimed atachieving the objectives of theBank; (b) promote by monetary measuresthe stabilisation of the value ofthe currency within and outsideGhana; (c) institute measures which arelikely to have a favourable effecton the balance of payments, thestate of public finances and the general development of thenational economy.” Mr Speaker, among the lot, the CentralBank needs to have that autonomy. In theparent Act, the Minister for Financeappoints some of the members of theMonetary Policy Committee. ThisCommittee is supposed to be independentand they set the interest rate. Sometimes,the impression is created that the Ministerfor Finance may influence the MonetaryPolicy Committee. This is not a very good signal.Therefore, there is the need for us toamend the Act, to remove the Ministerfor Finance's appointment of somemembers of the Monetary PolicyCommittee. In doing so, thoseimpressions would be erased. Therefore,the Monetary Policy Committee of theBank would be able to exercise theirfunctions. That does not mean that they are notexercising their functions, but theimpression that has already been createdneeds to be erased. Among the lot that we are discussing,we believe that the Central Bank deservesthe autonomy and needs this functionalautonomy as we have discussed, or asthe Bill has proposed. Hon Membersshould look at it, justify it and maybe, votein favour of the amendment as proposedby the Minister for Finance.
Mr Speaker,in making this point about freeing thehand of the monetary team, would the HonDeputy Minister then agree -- This isbecause a lot of the work that they do ispredicated on the work of the GovernmentStatistician -- A lot of their input and noteverything. A lot comes from that department, yetit is the President who appoints the Government Statistician. Would that notultimately affect the consideration themonetary team may come up with? In thatregard, would he, as part of this reform,not suggest that the President be giventhe sole authority to appoint theGovernment Statistician as is doneelsewhere?
Mr Speaker, the centralBank of Ghana, in this case, the Bank ofGhana, remains the monetary institutionof the Republic of Ghana. The CentralBank needs that autonomy, as proposedby the Bill. We believe that some of theissues raised by Hon Members of thisHouse are valid. But I am appealing to Hon Membersthat we allow this Bill to go through theSecond Reading, and when we get to theConsideration Stage, we would be able tolook at the issues clause by clause anddebate them. At that point, I believe that HonMembers would understand the reasonsbehind what the Ministry of Finance hasproposed. We have adequate reasons tosupport every single clause that we haveproposed before this House. Thank you. [Hear! Hear!]
HonMembers, this brings us to the end of thedebate. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Bank of Ghana (Amendment) Bill,2016 accordingly read a Second time. [Pause] --
HonMuntaka, the Bank of Ghana (Amendment)Bill, 2016 has been duly read the Secondtime. What item are we going to consider?[Pause.]
Mr Speaker, we hadoriginally intended to go up to about 9.00p.m. but looking at the mood of the House,we are at your discretion.
HonMembers, the House stands adjourned tilltomorrow at 10.00 o 'clock in theforenoon. Thank you very much.