SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonMembers, clause 156.
Mr Speaker, the amendmentto clause 156 (vii); Interpretation of“deposit-taking business” is withdrawn.This is because we want to maintain theinterpretation of “deposit-takingbusiness” in the Bill. For this reason Ihave withdrawn the amendment.
Thankyou. The amendment is accordinglywithdrawn.
Mr Speaker, I beg to moveclause 156, Interpretation of “Purchaseon Assumption delete and insert“Purchase and Assumption” Mr Speaker, the right name should be,“Purchase and Assumption” and not,“Purchase on Assumption”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to moveclause 156 add the following newinterpretation: “net open position” means the sumof the foreign currency exposure ofa bank expressed as a percentageof that bank's net own funds takinginto consideration the following: (i) The net position of its totalforeign currency assets andliabilities; (ii) the position of spot andforward foreign exchangetransactions on the reportingdate; and (iii) the sum of all off-balancesheet obligations maturingwithin two working days ofthe reporting date or anyother period as may beprescribed by the Bank ofGhana”.
HonRanking Member, this is a longamendment. Have you looked at it, item(ix)?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 156, Interpretation of “net ownfunds” delete and insert the following: “‘net own funds' includes the sumtotal of share capital that has beenpaid-up, free reserves but excludesrevaluation reserves on Property,Plant and Equipment, other non-distributable reserves unless withthe approval of the Bank of Ghana,other than the Reserve Fundestablished under section 34,subject to netting out accumulatedlosses, goodwill and unwritten ofcapitalised expenditure includingpre-operating expenses anddeferred tax”.
HonRanking Member, have you seen it?
Mr Speaker, yes. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 156, Interpretation of “relatedinterest”, paragraph (c), delete. Mr Speaker, that “interpretation' is notrelevant so we propose deletion of that.
HonMembers, the deletion is allowed and theparagraph is deleted. Draftsperson to takenote. Item (xii).
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 156, add the following newinterpretation: “‘related persons' in relation to aninsider means a spouse, son,daughter, step son, step daughter,brother, sister, father, mother,cousin, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle,step-sister and step brother of aninsider”.
If I mayask, why the new interpretation? What is the difference between the oldand the new interpretation?
Mr Speaker, item (xi) talksabout, “related interest” but this is,“related persons” and it is a newinterpretation. [Pause.]
Whichpage of the Bill can “related persons” befound?
Mr Speaker, page 130.
All right. Hon Chairman, I want to defer this.“Related interest” has a different meaningfrom “related persons” so why do youwant to replace “related interest” by“related persons”? “Related interest” talksabout a firm and deals with insider trading.It says, “in relation to an insider; it means,a firm…”— And you have removed, “afirm”, et cetera — Or you have added anew interpretation and have not deletedanything?
Mr Speaker, we deletedparagraph (c) which talks about a spouse,son, daughter, step-son —
I see thepoint. So really, items (xi) and (xii) shouldhave been advertised as one amendment;delete (c) and insert —
Mr Speaker, delete (c) —Interpretation of “related interest” isbroken down into three, (a), (b), and (c).
I agreewith you, but I am saying that usually is itnot in the same advertised amendmentwhen you are deleting and inserting?
Mr Speaker, we are deletingthe (c) completely. We are not inserting anew one.
Iunderstand what you are saying. Hon Minority Leaders please assist us— Hon Alhaji Muntaka, I will ask for yourview. When you want to delete a provisionand insert a new provision, is it advertisedas the same amendment or you divide itinto two? — For instance, delete (c) andthe next amendment is, insert a new (c). Isit the same or separate?
Mr Speaker, item (xi) talksabout deletion of paragraph (c) ofinterpretation of “related interest”.
Which isfound on page 130 of the Bill?
Yes, that paragraph (c) isbeing deleted.
If weagree to move that then it would meanthat paragraph (c) no longer exists.
Mr Speaker, yes. But the next one, which is item (xii) isan interpretation of a new thing altogether,which is, “related persons”.
I nowunderstand. So, you are not replacingparagraph (c) with “related persons”. You are treating, “related persons” as aseparate interpretation. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 156, add the following newinterpretation: “‘supervisory structures includeunits, offices, departments or otheroutfits within the Bank of Ghanaauthorised by the Bank of Ghana tosupervise banks and SDIs.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, in view ofthe debate that took place and the rulingby the Rt Hon Speaker, items (xiv), (xv),(xvi), (xvii) and (xviii) are withdrawn.
HonMembers, as the Hon Ranking Memberhas rightly pointed out, in view of theruling by the Rt Hon Speaker, theamendments advertised as (xiv), (xv), (xvi),(xvii) and (xviii) are hereby withdrawn. Item (xix). Hon Members, before we come tothat -- Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 156 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. First Schedule -- Chairman of theCommittee?
Mr Speaker, my seniorColleague from Sekondi raised an issuethat I would want to bring to theChairman's attention. The First Schedule really tells us thatthere are two types of licences; one forbanks and one for specialised deposit-taking institutions. Those are definedunder clauses 8 (3) and (4). So thequestion is, since it is already in there,why do we put it in the Schedule? TheChairman of the Committee may considerthat and abandon any amendments to theFirst Schedule as clause 8 (3) and (4) whichsay the same thing.
Mr Speaker, I agree withthat position. I am even thinking further aboutwhether there is a need to even have theFirst Schedule in the Bill. If we agree thatwe do not need to have the First Schedulethen the new amendment should be“delete First Schedule completely”.
HonMembers, I will put the Question. [Pause.] Hon Minority Leader, you have aquizzical look on your face which meansthat you do not agree to what ishappening. Let us see if I can afford youthe opportunity to say what is on yourmind. Hon Minority Leader, so, what isweighing heavily on your mind?
Mr Speaker,I am just juxtaposing this new path thatwe would want to avail ourselves with theother path. Mr Speaker, with your own expositionthat the Schedule is part of the Act, if youdelete it now, what is the role of Parliamentgoing to be in the crafting of the Schedule? That is why I am not too sure of where weare treading --
I forgotfor a second that I have transitioned fromthe floor to the Chair of Speakership, so, Iwas going to say “Mr Speaker” when Iwas addressing the Hon Member.[Laughter.] In fact, it is even for that reason thatwe have to delete the Schedule because ifthe Schedule is very much part of the Actand the Act should rest as a whole, whatis the purpose of repeating what you havealready stated in clause 8 (3) and (4) in theSchedule? I believe that the point Hon Akoto Oseimade in support of what he had been toldby the Hon Member for Sekondi is that, itis already stated. So it serves no usefulpurpose to repeat it in the First Schedule.
Mr Speaker,in other words, we must delete it becauseit is superfluous. Thank you.
HonMinority Leader, you have taken thewords out of my mouth and I thank youfor that. I will accordingly put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto. The First Schedule accordinglydeleted. The Second Schedule ordered to standpart of the Bill. Third Schedule -- Part II -- Declarationof Confidentiality
Whatdoes the Constitution say?
Mr Speaker,the Constitution says -- “I ........ havingbeen appointed ...” That is what iscontained there. ‘The Member ofParliament having been elected ...”. So itshould have been “... having beenappointed ...” and not “being appointed”. It should therefore read, “having beenappointed”.
Mr Speaker, per theamendment the Hon Minority Leader istalking about we should delete “being”and say “having been appointed”. Itshould be ‘h-a-v-e' and ‘b-e-e-n'.
That iswhat the Constitution says.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
So, letus follow the Constitution. Hon Yieleh Chireh, move thatamendment.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that the amendment should be effected in the Second Schedule by removing “been”and subtitute “have been”.
So, youare talking about Second Schedule PartII? Chairman of the Committee, do youhave any objection?
Mr Speaker, I do not knowwhether it should be “have been” or“having been appointed”; it should be“having been appointed”.
Let usfollow what is in the Constitution. TheConstitution says “having been appointed”-- ‘b-e-e-n'. Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose --
Mr Speaker,there are various Parts andconsequentially, the Part II of the SecondSchedule suffers from the same affliction.So, consequentially, let us also amend it.Both Parts I and II have the same ailment.
So I givethe consequential order. Wherever “being” appears in theSchedule, we delete and substitute with“having been”. Question put and amendment agreedto. The Second Schedule as amendedordered to stand part of the Bill. Third Schedule -- Part I -- Oath ofConfidentiality IN THE HIGH COURT
Clerk-at-the-Table, read Part II as well. Third Schedule -- Part II -- Declarationof Confidentiality
HonMembers, I direct that wherever “being”appears, we delete and substitute with“having been”. Question put and amendment agreedto. The Third Schedule as amendedordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, we haveclauses 141 and 142 outstanding. So, weshould take them before we come to theLong Title.
Shouldwe take them today?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Chairmanof the Committee, should we take thattoday?
Yes, we take them now.
Why wasit outstanding?
Mr Speaker, there were someissues that cropped up during thediscussion and we have proposed a newamendment to further amend it. So, Iwould want to take them one after theother. In clause 141, the amendment proposedis to delete the entire clause 141 and insertan amendment which we have furtheramended. Mr Speaker, if you would permit me, Iwould move the new amendment that,clause 141 -- (1) Paragraph (b) line 2, after“institution”, insert “orwithdrawal of registration offinancial holding company”. Then in line 4 -- [Interruption] -- yes,on this one and not the Bill. We are further amending the proposedamendment on page 5. I am saying thatparagraph (b) of one line 2, after“institution” add, “or withdrawal ofregistration of financial holdingcompany”. Mr Speaker, in line 4 again, after“institution”, add “financial holdingcompany”.
HonChairman, I will not put this Question. Iwill ask you to do further consultation. Look at article 23 of the Constitution.Can you read article 23 of theConstitution? It states: “Administrative bodies andadministrative officials shall actfairly and reasonably and complywith the requirements imposed onthem by law and persons aggrievedby the exercise of such acts anddecisions shall have the right to seekredress before a court or othertribunal.”
Mr Speaker, if you readfrom clause 140 where it talks about thereview of the decision of BoG, anyone whois aggrieved under “Licensing” is giventhe opportunity to appeal to the BoGthrough this process. If this process is exhausted and theperson is still not satisfied, then he cango to court under clause 142 which isunder, “Review of decision througharbitration”. Mr Speaker, BoG explained to theCommittee that, this is to ensure that theaggrieved persons do no directly go tocourt anytime they are not happy about adecision of the Bank. They said that if thisis not created, it means that all the time,they would be going directly to the courtsfor redress, but this is created in order toallow them to find redress in-house. If that redress is not successful, theycan then go to the court to look forsolution. So, that is why they are creatingthis panel.
Thismeans subjecting the review of anadministrative decision to an arbitrarytribunal or body. Whereas arbitrationnormally is voluntary, you are compellingarbitration and saying that when the person is not satisfied with the decisionof the arbitration, then he can go to court. Hon Ayariga, what they are doing isthat, in this Act, if you are dissatisfiedwith administrative decision, by force orcompulsion of law, go before an arbitrationpanel set up under the Alternative DisputeResolution (ADR) Act. When you do thatand you are not satisfied, then you cango to court. I was wondering whether when one isdissatisfied with an arbitration -- Heresorts to court not in very limitedcircumstances? This is because arbitrationis supposed to be voluntary. When onegoes to court, can he challenge the awardas it were? What can one challenge? Is itnot very limited? Does it not take away some of your --Why should one be forced to go toarbitration? Does the ADR Act say thatone has to go to arbitration? Have we looked at the ADR Act? Whatcan one do when he is dissatisfied withan award under the ADR Act?
Mr Speaker,when one goes to arbitration, he is notsubjected to all the strict proceduralrequirements. Sometimes, one opens upbecause he is going for arbitration. If afterthat there is a court proceeding, it turnsto hurt him because during arbitration, onewould have given away a lot of thingsthat ordinarily, in court, he would noteasily give away. So, we might want to give finality tothe arbitrary award instead of subjectingit again to further litigation. Indeed, whatis the objective of trying to encouragepeople to do arbitration, if after that theycan still go to court? If they are not veryserious matters, then we might want to
Mr Speaker, first of all,I think that the headnote of clause 141should be amended to read, “Arbitrationproceedings”. If we accept that, then I think BoGmight seek to provide an avenue forarbitration and it should not becompulsory. So, we should change thatto “may”, instead of “shall”. This isbecause if one's licence is revoked, thereis an opportunity to go to an adjudicativepanel and arbitration is only voluntary. That is why the clause 142, which isthe next to this clause says that if one isnot happy after arbitration, he goes tocourt. But to say “shall”, I do not think itis right. First, we should change theheadnote and then amend the “shall” to“may”. That would give the opportunitythat people may need. It should not be compulsory. If it is, infact, it would be inconsistent with clause140 as clause 140 says one must go to thepanel. Part of clause 141 also says “go toarbitration”. It cannot be and I think theword should be, “may” rather than theproposed, “shall”.
Before Igo to the Hon Minority Leader, Hon YielehChireh, were you on your feet?
Mr Speaker, I think that ifyou look at the Bill, we have dealt withthe one on the adjudicating panel andthen, there is an arbitration panel. So, theyare two administrative bodies that theBoG would use to facilitate processeswithin the banking sector. So, obviously, in the case of thearbitration, I agree with what the HonRanking Member said about the headnoteand that was what I talked about all thetime. Mr Speaker, if you look at the Bill, itonly talks about review and why is reviewof a decision of the Bank on officialadministration, liquidation orreceivership --
Mr Speaker, I am on apoint of order. Mr Speaker, that is why the headnoteis wrong.
Mr Speaker, I am trying toland. This is because it is a revieweddecision. The Bank of Ghana has made adecision about declaring a personbankrupt or liquidated, and somebodymust come and administer or liquidate. MrSpeaker, so that is the determination ofthe Bank of Ghana. It is a decision madeby the Bank of Ghana. If somebody calls for a review, thechannel that the Bank of Ghana wouldprovide for the review is the arbitrationpanel. If we look at the adjudicative panel,it deals with licences and all those thingsrelated to it. So, they are separate issues.[Interruption.] --Which (b)? Mr Speaker, in the discussion with theBank of Ghana, I asked them, whichmandate they wanted specifically and for
HonYieleh Chireh, if you look at clause 141 (1)(b), it deals with revocation of a licence ofa bank or a specialised deposit-takinginstitution on grounds related to theirconditions.
Mr Speaker, I think that itshould not be there. This is because theadjudicative panel we dealt with in clause140 specifically talks about revocation oflicences.
Mr Speaker, underclause 140, it is an option. One is notrequired to go to the adjudicative panel. That is why under clause 141, one stillneeds to leave room for arbitration. Clause140 uses “may”; but under clause 140, westill do not give room for arbitration. Mr Speaker,if we say under clause 140it should be “shall”, that is a problem. Thatis why it is under clause 141, which isvoluntary. That is why the headnoteshould be “Arbitration proceedings”. Itis to give that option.
Mr Speaker, the officialsof the Bank of Ghana indicated that if welook at the adjudicative panel, it deals withthe revocation of licences. [Interruptions] I agree with him that this should alsobe “may”. We cannot force anybody togo into adjudication. If we repeatsubclause (1) (b) here, then the mandateis again swapped. I thought that wasclearly one for arbitration and the otherfor adjudication. Mr Speaker, if it is so, I asked a basicquestion; should we have twoadministrative bodies dealing with thesame problem? In this case, if we talk aboutadjudication and an Appeal or High Courtjudge presiding over a quasi-judicial body,that is a different matter. Mr Speaker, they have talked aboutarbitration using the law. In any case, wedo not need to put it in the law becauseanybody can go to court under the rulesof the Arbitration Act and say they wantarbitration. Mr Speaker, this is why I wanted clarityin terms of the mandate. Which panelhandles what? They explained that theadjudicative panel is to handle licencingissues; revocation or refusal of -When itcomes to receivership, that is wherearbitration starts. Mr Speaker, if they can tell us whichone they want, we would make theappropriate law.
HonChireh, can we make arbitrationcompulsory by an Act of Parliament?
Mr Speaker, that was thefirst thing I agreed on. I said that eitherway, one cannot be compelled. So, itshould be “may”. It cannot be “shall”. Mr Speaker, of course, when we say“shall”, in terms of law, there are some“shalls” that are not compulsory. There isone we call a “false shall”. These are termsthat are used. Preferably, in drafting now, sometimespeople use “must” or some other termwhich is more forceful. Mr Speaker, if we say “shall”, some ofthe “shalls” do not impose obligation atall. The court would look at the context inwhich that “shall” is used and make theappropriate decision.
Mr Speaker,I guess we are ad idem on the use of “may”in clause 141 (1) (c). This is because we cannot compel anybody to resort toarbitration. We cannot compel any partyto resort to arbitration. It is an option thatthe person may elect to avail himself orherself to. We cannot compel anybody.
“That person may resort toarbitration…” Mr Speaker, it is equally so, as we havein clause 140; it should be “may” and not“shall”. Mr Speaker, having said that on theamendment proposed by the HonChairman in respect of the preambularclause 141 (1), I indicated the other daythat one cannot be aggrieved withsomething. But one is aggrieved by anaction. So, it should rather read: “Where a person is aggrieved by adecision with the Bank of Ghana…” Mr Speaker, it is not “where a personis aggrieved with a decision…” It shouldread, “…by a decision…”That is the firstpoint. Mr Speaker, the second is theamendment that you proffered. Therevocation of the licence of a bank or aspecialised deposit-taking institution. We have now inserted certain wordsand said, “… or withdrawal of registration offinancial holding companies”. Mr Speaker, I think that both shouldinclude the definite article, “the”. “…or the withdrawal of theregistration of the financial holdingcompany…”
HonChairman, do you not want me to give youthe last bite of the cherry, or do you wantto play ping pong?
Mr Speaker, I need toprovide this information to guide thediscussion.
I wantedto recognise Hon Ayariga, but if youinsist, I would recognise you. Sorry, but from here, I would go to HonW. O. Boafo and then Hon Ayariga.
Mr Speaker, it is not clear ifwe use “may,” that anyone who isaggrieved by the decision of Bank ofGhana “may…”. If I do not want to utilisethat opportunity, is that the end or I couldgo to court. Which means that there isthe possibility that people may bypassthis option all the time and go to court.That is what the Bank wants to avoid --
Mr Speaker, Ido not know but individuals mayvoluntarily enter into a contract in whichthere is an arbitration clause. The fact thatthey go to court directly does not meanthat they are in breach of contract or thatthe action is wrong. The worst a court maydo is to instruct the parties to resort toarbitration and conclude the issue beforecome back to the court. So, we cannot in an enactment, compelpersons who believe that their rights havebeen breached to go to arbitration. No!However, I am sure in practice, they wouldnot resort to that. Who would want tolitigate with the Bank of Ghana anyway?This is because there is always a means of administratively ensuring that businessreally does not go the way the ownerwould want it to go. Mr Speaker, as a legislative body, wecannot legislate compulsory arbitration.That is why some Hon Colleagues suggestthat instead of “shall” -- [Interruption]-- to remain -- yes. Anyway, how oftenhave people been taking the Bank ofGhana to court for refusing them licences?I doubt whether I have heard of thisbefore. So, please let us give citizens theliberty to resort to the due process if theyso desire.
Mr Speaker, Ireally have a difficulty in appreciating whywe cannot legislate compulsory recourseto arbitration as an initial step before acourt action in matters of very technicalnature. I think that we need to considerthis position very carefully. There isdefinitely a very good reason why thebank would prefer that, when people areaggrieved, a panel of experts review thematter with the parties first. I understand that, basically, to be theessence of this kind of arbitration --before one would then run to the court.So, we should rather concentrate on howto reframe this clause to capture this intent.As I see it, if we say “shall” then itconfuses one to think that --[Interruption.] --It is not that we do notwant people to go to court, but then wecan compell them to resort to arbitrationautomatically even if they do not want toseek a remedy. I could be aggrieved and still not beinterested in seeking a remedy. I could beaggrieved by a decision; I couldcommunicate my grief but would still notwant to seek a remedy for some reason. Mr Speaker, if it remains the way it is, thatif I am aggrieved, I shall go to arbitration,it means that I am obliged to proceed toarbitration. Mr Speaker, the intent here is that if Idecide to seek redress then I have the firstoption of going to arbitration and then atechnical team is set up, they invite theparties to review the issues, and take adecision. So, we should rather rephrase itto capture this intent which I see as theintent of the proponents of the Bill. If Iam mistaken, I stand corrected by the HonChairman of the Committee who hasproposed this amendment. Mr Speaker, I have an even biggerconcern and it is that if you look at theentire amendment proposed, which isclause 141 subclause (1), is the option ofresorting to arbitration for redressapplicable only to clause (c) or clauses(a)and (b) are all affected? If they areaffected then we would have torestructure it because as it is now myreading of it is that it is only clause (c) --[Interruption.] -- Mr Speaker, I beg toread the way it is structured: “Where aperson is aggrieved -- [Interruption.]
We are going to take theone in the Bill. We would drop that one.So, your point is solid.
Mr Speaker, if that is thecase then I think we should review theclause because my understanding of it isthat, we would want to say that if you areaggrieved and you would want to seekredress, your first point of call isarbitration after which you could proceedto other quarters for further redress. Yourfirst point of call is arbitration. As it is now, the impression is that youmust compulsorily seek arbitration whether you want to seek redress or not.So, we would need to reframe this portionto capture the actual intent of theproponents of the Bill.
Hon W.O. Boafo?
Thank you, MrSpeaker. Mr Speaker, my first observation hasalready been touched upon by HonAyariga and it is about clause 141 (c), threelines from the bottom -- That should beseparated so that it could be read asapplicable to paragraph (a), (b) and (c).This is because as it is now, it is verydifficult to determine whether it applies to(a) as equally as (b). [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, the other observation thatI would like to make is that so far as theAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) isconcerned, I think we have the ADR whichthe parties could resort to if there is anarbitral clause in the agreement and ADRwhich the court would direct the partiesand also sometimes ADR created by theenactment. Mr Speaker, I have in mind the GhanaInvestment Promotion Act; the provisionrelating to the resort to arbitration in caseof dispute is created by statute. So, it isnot strange for us to see this Bill creatingan avenue for ADR. Mr Speaker, the third issue is aboutwhether parties can be compelled to go tothe arbitration. Mr Speaker, I would like us to look atthe provisions in the Ghana InvestmentsPromotion Centre (GIPC) Act to see thelanguage used there whether it is “may”or “shall”. That would also guide us as towhether we are using the proper languagein this particular Bill. Mr Speaker, lastly, I do not know theintention of the sponsors of the Bill, but Isee the provision for the arbitration asalternate, maybe, to the resort to the court.If that is alternate to the resort to the court,then we would have to make it clear in theproposed amendment to clause 141 bypreceding it with the fact that despite theprovisions in clause 142, a personaggrieved by the decision of the Bank ofGhana can also resort to the arbitration. Mr Speaker, these are my observations. Thank you.
HonMembers, as he was speaking, I was alsodoing some research. Your reference in theproposed amendment advertised as (i) onpage 5 is to the Alternative DisputeResolution Act, 2010 (Act 798). So, you bring the proposed arbitrationproceedings firmly within the remit orunder the scope of the ADR Act. I look atthe ADR Act and you seem to suggestsubsequently that if one is aggrieved withthe decision he can go to court. Clause142 says it should be decisions by courtor through arbitration. Am I correct? You are saying thatarbitration does not, as it were, rule outthe court; that if a person is dissatisfiedwith the arbitration decision, he can go tocourt. That is what you are saying.
Mr Speaker, because I wasnot allowed to finish the entire proposedamendment, that after (b), the (c) on theOrder Paper is abandoned and we aregoing back to the Bill to maintain the (c) inthe Bill.
Yes, Mr Speaker. So, weshould not read the (c) on the Order Paper.It is to be completely dropped and thenwe go back to the (c) and continue that itinvolves: “An action under section 103 to 106and the Bank of Ghana determinesthat there is a serious risk tofinancial stability or of a materialloss to that bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution.” Mr Speaker, we then come back to theOrder Paper and continue with the (2) and(3). So that is the new amendment.
So, HonChairman, in your opinion or based on theproposed amendment, a person has to gofor arbitration in some circumstances andyour view is that when the person isdissatisfied by the arbitral award, he couldgo to court. This is because I have heardyou say time and again that you do notwant people to just get up and go to court.So, it is a form of compulsory arbitration.Am I right?
Mr Speaker, as I said earlier,that is the position of the Bank, that aperson first finds redress from the Bankand if he is not successful, he goesthrough arbitration and if again he is nothappy, then he goes to court. So, that isthe intention of the Bank of Ghana.
So, asfar as adjudication of certain disputes areconcerned, the Bank has set up a three-tier system. A person starts with theiradjudicative panel, which has a chair-person not below the rank of the ChiefJustice and so on. When he is dissatisfiedwith that then he goes to an arbitraltribunal, and when he is dissatisfied withthat one too, then he goes to court. Lookat it again. Your first point of call is to an arbitraltribunal which is headed by a judge notbelow the rank of a Justice of the Court ofAppeal. From there the person goes to anarbitral tribunal. From there, he goes to acourt headed by a high court judge. Lookat the hierarchy again. That is my firstconcern. You start off with a body, whichis headed by somebody who is qualifiedto be a court of appeal judge. That isclause 141. I asked you the questions. From therethe person goes to an arbitral tribunal thatcan be headed by somebody who is oneyear at the Bar or somebody who is not alawyer. Then from there the person goesto court; and when going to court, he goesto the high court. Hon Chairman, let me advise you. Ilooked at the possibility of compulsoryarbitration under the GIPC Act and ADRis not compulsory. It is at the option ofthe investor. The former ExecutiveSecretary of GIPC is here and he canconfirm that. Interestingly, there iscompulsory arbitration under our laws andthat is in labour matters. When we look atthe Labour Act 2003, (Act 651), it talksabout compulsory arbitration. There are two kinds of arbitration:voluntary and compulsory arbitration.Compulsory arbitration starts from section164. It talks about what to do tocompulsory arbitration. Mr Speaker, with your permission I begto quote section 167(2) “An award published under sub-section 1 is final and binding on theparties, unless challenged in theCourt of Appeal on the question lawwithin seven days of the publicationof the award”. So, they have thought it through alittle bit more than we have thought it through here. If we leave it under the ADRAct somebody can argue in court thatsince it is an arbitration, it is governed bythe ADR Act. When we look at the ADRAct, it talks about the situations in whicha person can go to court and challengethe award. It is under section 58 that. A party under arbitration was undersome disability or incapacity. The lawapplicable to the arbitration agreement isnot valid. The applicant was not givennotice of the appointment of the arbitratoror proceedings or was unable to presentthe applicant's case. The award deals withthe dispute and so on. So, there are very limited situationsunder the ADR Act, where a court can setaside the arbitral award. Hon Chairman, I would defer totomorrow. This hierarchy of adjudicationthat starts with a court of appeal judge,goes to an arbitral tribunal and ends witha high court judge, I do not think I cansupport it.
Mr Speaker, I havehad some consultation with the HonChairman. I think we need to stand it downfor them to go and consider all that youhave said, restructure it and come. This isbecause yenyina nkrane mu ntete nkrane,to wit we cannot be in the midst of antsand be picking those ants that might haveclimbed unto our bodies. We really haveto get out of the ants and pick those thatare on us. So we have agreed that theywould stand it down.
Accordingly,clause 141 is stood down. We would standdown 142 as well. That brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage for the Banks andSpecialised Deposit-taking InstitutionsBill, 2015 for today.
That is page 30. Andthe Finance Committee will go and comeagain.
I hopethey will not come back today.
They will come backtoday.
I do notthink so. Hon Muntaka?
Not on that Bill?
Yes, buton that Bill, I advise them to seek advice.
For that Bill, theywould have to seek advice, but they wouldcome back on another Bill.
Noproblem. The Ghana International TradeCommission Bill, 2014 at the ConsiderationStage. Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah, wouldyou like to say something?
I was justadvising my brother and nephew to calmdown, you would be calling the clauses,and then if there are any amendments tomove, we would. He was thanking youand seeking to address you, and I said heshould make haste slowly.
Thankyou. Ghana International TradeCommission Bill, 2014 [Resumption of debate from 22/06/16] Clause 1 -- Establishment of theCommission
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, clause 1, subclause (2), line3, after “transaction” insert “relating tothe objects of the Commission”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 1 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
HonNitiwul, do you have something to tell us?
Mr Speaker,after moving the amendment and you wereputting the Question, the Hon Chairmanwas standing throughout, so, I waspointing to him what was going on,whether he was looking to catch your eyeto stop you or not. That was why I wasactually looking at you.
Thankyou, Hon Nitiwul. Clause 2 -- Objects of the Commission
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 2, subclause (1), paragraph (a), deleteand insert the following: “(a) oversee the compliance ofGhana with international traderules and regulations;” The rationale for the proposedamendment is for purposes of clarity. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMember for Yendi, I have put the Questionof the “ayes” as well as the “nos”, I havenot seen any response from you. And wehave been told that you cannot abstain,so, I will put the Question. I want to seewhich way you are voting. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 2 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 3 -- Functions of the Commission
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, subclause (1), paragraph(b), line 1, before “tariff” insert “to theMinister”.
What isthe purpose of that?
The new rendition wouldread; “study, identify and recommend tothe Minister tariff levels for specificsectors of the economy with dueregard to the effective rate ofprotection”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, subclause (1), paragraph(f), line 2, before “multilateral” insert“bilateral and”.
HonMinority Leader, I am reading your bodylanguage. You are not happy.
MrSpeaker, it really relates to the style ofdrafting that is being incorporated in this. For instance, we do not use thepossessive noun in drafting. Clause 3(1)(c) provides; “conduct studies and publishreports on the competitiveness ofGhana's tariff structure…” Mr Speaker, that is not how it is done,so, we would leave that to the Table Officeand the draftspersons. The same appliesto the clause 3 (1) (f), “monitor and advise the Minister onGhana's compliance...” Mr Speaker, the possessive noun isnot --
Whatwould you suggest?
I am sayingthat it may have to be --
” Thecompliance of Ghana with”?
Yes, MrSpeaker. So, that was why I said that theTable Office would liaise with thedraftspersons to do it right. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonChairman of the Committee, item (v), page31?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, subclause (1), paragraph(g), line 1, delete “it” and insert “theCommission”. So, the rendition would be; “enquire into and determinecomplaints brought before theCommission in relation to…” Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonChairman of the Committee, clause 3, item6?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 3, subclause (2), delete andinsert the following: “(2) In the performance of its functions,the Commission shall (a) ensure that the Commission isobjective and fair; and (b) seek to balance the competinginterests of; (i) persons that appear before theCommission; and (ii) persons indirectly affected bythe decisions and actions ofthe Commission.”
Chairmanof the Committee, it is fine. There is a fourline rule. If it is more than four lines, thenyou would not have to read the wholething. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker,I thought there is clause 3 (2) that heintends to delete and substitute.
Yes, Ihave put the Question on that.
Mr Speaker,have you put the Question on clause 3(2)?
Yes. I did not allow him to read. I used thefour line rule.
Mr Speaker,in that case, the proposal that I submittedin the use of the phrase “its functions”,we have moved away from thatconstruction: “In the performance of thefunctions of the Commission, theCommission shall,…” instead of saying:“ in the performance of its functions, theCommission shall…”. That is the new drafting style. It maybe repetitive, but that is how we do it forthe avoidance of doubt. Clause 3 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
HonMembers, I would direct that the TableOffice liaises with the draftsperson toensure that it is consistent with our modernmethod of drafting. Hon Members, in view of the state ofBusiness in this House, I direct, inaccordance with Standing Order 40 (3), thatSittings be held outside of the prescribedperiod. Clause 4 -- Independence of theCommission.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 4, subclause (1), line 4, delete“its functions” and insert” the functionsof the Commission”.
HonMinority Leader, I think this was what youtalked about. This is the the modern wayof putting it. Deputy Minister for the CentralRegion, I am looking at you. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 4, subclause (2), delete. Mr Speaker, the deletion is consequential,upon the draft of clause 3(2), to takeaccount of clause 4.
Thedeletion is consequential; we are told. Butit is consequential upon what?
Mr Speaker, it isconsequential upon the re-draft of clause3. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMember for Juaben, you are not allowedto abstain. Hon Member, I did not ask you to leave.I can see that you are moving your chair.Please, do not leave. Clause 4 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 5 -- Ministerial directives.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 5, subclause (1), line 2, after“policy” insert” other than matters underadjudication”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 5 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 6 -- Governing body of theCommission.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, subclause (1), paragraphs(a), (b), (c) and (d), delete and insert thefollowing: “(a) a chairperson who is a retiredJustice of the Superior Court ofJudicature or a person qualified tobe appointed as a Justice of theSuperior Court of Judicature; (c) one deputy chairperson; and (c) three other persons, at leastone of whom shall be awoman.”
HonMember, what is the justification? You are making a Judge the Chairmanand deputy Chairperson, what is thejustification?
Mr Speaker, the proposalis to maintain ministerial representativesas members of the governing body. Thiswas approved, and it was however agreedthat the ministerial representatives beconstituted as staff, standing technicaladvisory committee to the Commission.
HonMember, the question I am asking is, whenyou look at the original rendition, theChairperson is not of the legal fraternity.But you have included an amendment thatmakes the Chairperson a retired SuperiorCourt Judge. So, why are you now restricting thatposition to somebody who is a retiredJudge of a Superior Court? Is there areason?
Mr Speaker, the originalBoard was to be eight members, and it wasdecided that -- [Interruption.]
HonMember, before we come to themembership, we are talking aboutcompetence. Why have you prescribed acompetence requirement of a SuperiorCourt Judge for the Chairperson?
Mr Speaker, it is to givethe Commission the muscle if I must put itthat way.
Is it notbecause the Commission would beexercising some adjudicating role --taking certain decisions? That is why youthought that it should be somebody whohas some legal background like a Judge?.Is that not the reason?
That is the decision,because we needed to have somebodywith that standing to chair, and alsobecause it has adjudicating judicial -- Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and AlhajiMuntaka-- rose --
I knewthe Hon Minority Leader and the HonMuntaka wanted to throw a spanner in,the works. I do not see anybody from the Ministryof Trade here, but this is a very technicalBill. The Hon Minister is not here and hisDeputy is also not here. I do not knowwhether there is any agency which ispiloting this Bill because I do not see them. I believe the gentlemen here are fromthe Bank of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, let mesincerely admit that they were here in themorning, but looking at the nature of theBusiness and how it is arranged, we didnot anticipate that the Business wasgoing to drag that long. So, we asked them to go and come backtomorrow.
Noproblem, I will recognise you to continue.
Mr Speaker, it is verydifficult to accept the explanation that theHon Chairman of the Committee hasgiven. What is special about thisgoverning body is that, it requiressomebody -- This is because the originalBill itself did not talk about what the HonChairman is now proposing that you needa Chairperson who is a retired Justice ofthe Superior Court of Judicature or aperson qualified to be appointed as aJustice of the Superior Court of Judicature.
HonMuntaka, look at subclause (3) (g) and(h). You can even read it. I must confess that I attended themeeting of the Committee. So, I askedfor some of the explanations there. I askedthe Hon Chairman the question in orderfor him to educate us. We are all trying tomake laws, so, there is nothing wrong if Itell you what was the thinking at theCommittee level since I am not going tovote -- It was thought that one of the roles ofthis Commission was to resolve disputes.We were told that when you go toAmerica, one of the major roles of theirequivalent Commission is disputeresolution -- Dispute between importersand customs. This is because the aim isto facilitate trade. The Commission itselfresolves disputes. That is why the judge.
Is it not more ofsomebody with international tradeexperience? Imagine that you take a Judgeof a Superior Court and with the greatestof respect, Mr Speaker, who has very littleknowledge of international trade, yet theadjudication is not just going to beinterpretation of laws; it is going to beknowledge of international trade.
HonMuntaka, I do not disagree with you butwhy do we not combine the two? Whenyou look at the proposed paragraph (c) inthe amendment, they say “three otherperson, at least one of whom shall be awoman”. Perhaps they can say “threeother persons who shall have the relevantexpertise in international trade”. I agree with you because when youlook at the securities industry law forexample, they bring in the competencerequirement -- A person who hasknowledge in that area. Perhaps, we canhave the judge and we can say that eitherall the persons shall have someknowledge in international trade so that itis not just a judge, a Deputy Chairpersonor three other persons, at least one ofwhom shall be a woman”, but persons whohave some expertise. I agree with you because internationaltrade is a specialised area; it is not everylawyer or judge who has expertise in thatarea. I know Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomahbeing a lawyer of the Port of Takoradi hasexpertise in international trade.
Mr Speaker, withthese, if it is qualified with the knowledgeof international trade or at least, if not theChairperson but the other members, wecan then guarantee that the Board wouldbe constituted with some persons withsome knowledge of international trade. That would be better than the way itis. If you say the qualification is to be ajudge without having in mindinternational trade, the person would sitthere even though he would be veryknowledgeable in law, he may havedeficiency in international trade and --
In thesame way, if it is just three other persons,then they can appoint any three personsto be there. Hon Minority Leader, I sawyou on your feet. You arrested my attemptto put the Question.
Mr Speaker,originally, the composition involved,counting the Executive Secretary, eightpeople. Now, you have taken the positionof the Executive Secretary out; it is notcovered here. I do not know whether it isfor a purpose but I guess we need anExecutive Secretary. I also agree that thethree persons should also enter with theirown qualifications and competence. Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing thatthe original Bill indicated that we shouldhave a representative from the Ministryof Trade and Industry not below the rankof a Director who has certain expertise andthe other one from the Ministry of Financeand Ministry of Food and Agriculturebecause recognisably, these are the majorfields that the Commission would dealwith. The composition requires people withthe relevant competence in these areas.We just cannot leave anybody to enter.Otherwise, we shall see a situation whereparty chairmen and --
I did notwant to say that.
Partychairmen packed Boards with nocompetence and they go on variouserrands. Mr Speaker, we should not allowthat. Party chairmen and party executivespack Boards and they go on errands, MrSpeaker, using State money to do thingsthat they have little competence in.
Is this alecture on corporate governance of state?
Mr Speaker,we would want to deepen gooddemocratic governance. That is all that itis about and I think that we should, as anation, broaden the horizon of ourdemocratic governance.
HonChairman, there is clarity in what has beensaid. First of all, they would want you toexplain why you removed “ExecutiveSecretary”. I stand corrected the usualpractice is that the Executive Secretariesare members of the Governing Board. I believe when you were at the GhanaInvestment Promotion Centre, you werethe Executive Secretary. Hon Chairman, amI correct?
No! I was at the GhanaFree Zones Board. I was the ExecutiveSecretary but I was not a member of theBoard. The same thing applies to thePublic Services Commission. TheSecretary is the Secretary to theCommission but is not a member of theCommission. The Board is made up ofCommissioners.
HonChairman, what is your advice havingregard to your experience in PublicService?
In this particular case, welooked at the strength of the Commissionrather using the usual template and thatis why we did not -- [Interruption.] No!We did not remove the competence. That is why there is a technicalcommittee of professionals from trade,agriculture and finance. They are notgoing to be Members of the Commission.The Commission would be made up of fivepersons and there would be threepermanent commissioners. The others willcome in as and when they are needed.
Do youhave any objection to the suggestion thatthe Commission should have a certaincompetence? 2. 15 p. m.
I have no objection but Ibelieve that the selection or appointmentof these persons would definitely be anissue that would be considered.
HonChairman, there is a case in the Courtwhere the question of 28 was raised. Therewas a law that gave the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice the power to putyou in jail for 28 days without trial. Therewas an Attorney-General and Minister forJustice, the question was whether hecould do it cumulatively; 28 days after 28days? The Attorney-General and Ministerfor Justice said that, they should trust himthat he would not abuse his power andthe Court said that, it is dangerous in thenature of human to centre principlesaround men. If there is nothing wrong with puttingit in, why are we leaving it and saying that,we trust that this would be done? If wethink it is important, why are we not puttingit here? So, Hon Chairman, why do you notpropose that we just add the‘competence' and go on? Add thecompetence to read, “…who shall be competent in, whoshall have experience or expertisein international trade…” Just add that.
Wherewould you add it? You can say --
Mr Speaker, following onthe advice, which I think is very relevant,we would add “competence in internationaltrade”
HonMinority Leader, should we saycompetence or expertise?
Expertise in internationaltrade and law.
So,international trade, it could be Economics,it does not have to be law. Hon Minority Leader, should we put itas subclause (d)? Should we put it as anew subclause (d) or what? This isbecause it should apply to all the Membersof the Commission.
Mr Speaker,I think it started with the Chairperson.
It started withthe Chairperson of the Commission and saidthat, the Chairperson should be --
HonMinority Leader, I thought that, on youradvice and Hon Muntaka's advice, we hadagreed that, all the Members of the Board,from the Judge to the woman, to the threepersons and to the Deputy Chairperson,must have some expertise in international trade. So, my question is, where shouldwe put it in the drafting? Should we put itas a new subclause (d) and say that --
Mr Speaker, I wouldsuggest that, we create it as subclause(d) but it should apply to only subclauses(b) and (c). The reason I am saying this is, Iremember when we were doing the Collegeof Physicians and Surgeons Bill, and therewas a Bill before that required the personto be a specialist in about two fields andat the end of the day, it was difficult to getsuch a person. So, I think that, the waythe Chairperson is, it is easier to getsomebody who qualifies to be a Judge ofa Superior Court. So that you would thenput expertise to affect subclauses (b) and(c). If you add on top of the Chairperson,the additional expertise in internationaltrade, then now, you have to be strugglingto get a judge that has the competence ofbeing a judge and also the expertise ofbeing an international trade expert.
I agreewith you.
So, I would ratherwant that we do it as a new clause (d) butit should apply to only subclauses (b) and(c) so that the Deputy Chairperson andthen the other persons that are beingnominated including the woman, shouldhave some expertise in international trade.
HonAyariga, are you qualified to be a judge ofa Superior Court?
Mr Speaker, I should thinkso. I have not been practising but I havebeen old at the Bar. Mr Speaker, I have an issue with theposition that, we must say that, they musthave expertise in international trade. Mr
So, youcannot -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, if I travel toTogo several times to buy goods and comeback, that is some experience and expertisein international trade. This is because Ihave traded across borders. So, what doeshaving expertise in international tradeentail? That is my concern.
Mr Speaker, I wouldhelp him. For example, our own HonColleague, the Deputy Attorney-Generaland Deputy Minister for Justice is alawyer but the nature of cases he hashandled over the years, had given him somuch knowledge about trade and thelegalities around it.
Is he theonly person who has that?
No! Mr Speaker, Iwould mention some other names.
Mentionnames in the House.
If I take Prof. S. K.B. Asante --[Interruption]-- why areyou in hurry? I am mentioning the namesin ascending order. If you take Prof. S. K.B. Asante in international arbitration, sucha person even though he is a lawyer, hasdone so much in international trade. The Rt Hon Speaker sitting even though he is alawyer has done -- [Interruption]--MrSecond Deputy Speaker --[Interruption.]-- Hon Joe Ghartey. I am saying that, even though youmight think because the Second DeputySpeaker is a lawyer, you may think that heis restricted to some few areas. Butbecause of the nature of cases that he hashandled, he has a lot of exposure in thoseareas.
Thank you, MrSpeaker. I think that the Hon Majority ChiefWhip must concentrate on matters heunderstands quite clearly. He is veeringinto fields that he does not quite -- See,my Hon Colleague behind you is alsostretching his hands in disgust that whatare you saying? For the fact that he is a lawyer does heknow what lawyers do? You do not knowwhat they do, so, do not get involved inlawyers' activities. Concentrate on themanagement of the people on your sideand stop this legal argument; you do notcomprehend what it is all about. I am happy that, your Hon Colleague,my Brother behind you is in agreementwith the point I am saying. Lawyerstraverse all sorts of areas and they arecompetent in whatever they take. The question of specialisation is adifferent thing all together. So, do not startyour sentences by saying, “even though”or “despite”. That is not right, we do notdescribe lawyers as such. Mr Speaker, thank you.
And Imust also put on record that, Hon K. THammond is also an expert in internationaltrade. Hon Ayariga is also an expert ininternational trade.
Mr Speaker, you see whymy question is relevant? In all the examplesthat he has given, he has only mentionedlawyers. In all the examples, he has notmentioned a non-lawyer. From Prof. S. KB. Asante to your very goodself, to theHon Deputy Attorney-General andDeputy Minister for Justice, et cetera, heis talking about lawyers, and that is why Iam saying that, this whole idea that theperson must have expertise in --
And infact, he left out the Hon Minority Leader,who has expertise in international trade.
This is because he hasgone across borders trading. Is that thecase? Mr Speaker, so, I think that we shouldbe careful about introducing this. Let usleave it to the appointing authority.Usually, the appointing authorities aremindful of these things and you cannotinsist that it must be expertise in that area.That is why you have the Justice of theSuperior Court or somebody with thatqualification.
Mr Speaker, the Hon ChiefMajority Whip is right. This is becausewe have commercial courts and these arejudges who grow to become very good ininternational trade and commerce. Mr Speaker, but I would want to makean observation, during the week, we arepresented with Business for the Weekand each day, they list what we are toconsider in the House, so, we preparebefore we come. We study the Bills beforewe come and take them along.Then wecome to the House and we find strangeBills in the Order of Business. For example, in the Order of Businessfor today, this particular Bill, I do not thinkthat we have it. Some of us did not bring
our Bills along and we did not have theopportunity to study it before coming.Most Hon Members would confess to this.I just want to humbly draw the MajorityChief Whip's attention to it so that hewould take us into consideration and helpus. From here, I would go back and look atthe business for tomorrow from theBusiness Statement and prepare. I take itthat when I come tomorrow, that is whatwe are going to treat. Like today, I thoughtwe would be handling the SecurityIndustries Bill. So, I sat down andprepared very well for it, then well dodged.
Andwhen you came, the examiner had setdifferent questions. It is like preparing foran examination and the examiner settingdifferent questions.
Mr Speaker, with thegreatest respect to my Hon Colleague, ifhe takes the Business Statement for theweek, he would see that we have itemiseda number of Bills. It is true that it is anindication, but when we are on the floor,because we have advertised that thisnumber of Bills could be considered forthe week, I believe that it is the nature ofthe business that helps us to movearound. Other than that, we would haveclosed in the morning. In the morning when we werestruggling to get the Committee onFinance to come from the Committee todo the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, 2015, if we hadinsisted that because today we haddecided to prioritise that and they werenot in, we would have long closed. Thatwas why we indicated a number ofbusinesses. I know the difficulties and inconveniencesthat it creates when your anticipation isthat some particular ones would beemphasised and then at the end of theday, you come and then a good number ofthem is done. This is because today alone,we have done the Right to InformationBill, Banks and Specialised Deposit-takingInstitutions Bill and now we are doing this. We are anticipating in about 20 minutestime to go back to the RevenueAdministration Bill. There are too manybusinesses that are to be run and we aretrying to maximise the time. So, I hope HonColleagues would bear with us. Mr Speaker, like he said, if he takestoday's Order Paper, he would see thatwhat we are doing is in it. If he looks atyesterday's Order Paper, it was there. Ifhe takes the Business Statement of lastweek he would realise that what we wouldbe doing this week is indicated there. Andwhen we are communicating, it is true thatwe communicate which are the prioritiesthat we laid emphasis on. So, he shouldbear with us. Mr Speaker, if you would permit me, Iwould come back to the substantive issue.
Yes, Iwould take the last contribution and putthe Question. Are you proposing that weshould --
Mr Speaker, if youlook at most of the Bills that we have done,especially those that require sometechnical expertise, we always add “withrelevant expertise”.
So, addit and let me put the Question.
I would want tofurther amend clause 6 to read; “(b) one deputy chairperson withrelevant expertise; and (c) three other persons, at least oneof whom shall be a woman withrelevant expertise.”
So, hesaid that one deputy chairperson withrelevant expertise and three otherpersons --
He repeated the“relevant person with expertise” and thatis my worry.
So,relevant expertise should be included in(b) and (c)?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker,I noticed the demonstrable alacrity withwhich when Questions are put, you elicitresponses and then declare.
Wespeak and purpose based on the sense ofthe House.
Mr Speaker,I thought that now that we appreciatethese issues, we should position theissues that you have stranded out verywell. This is because we dealt with theposition of an Executive Secretary and Ido not know whether we have factoredthat into the amendment.
So, youhave no opposition to the suggestion byHon Muntaka but have suggested thatthe Executive Secretary should be part ofthe Board?
Mr Speaker,I have no issue against that. You mayrecollect that I proposed that some wayhad been provided in the original Billrelating to the fields that would berequired. Some competence would haveto be exhibited before one is appointed toserve on it. So, I agree, if a technicalcommittee is to be established, whoshould be the Secretary to the governingboard? We require a --
HonChairman of the Committee, I thought thatthe governing board needs a Secretary. Isthat not the position? Who is theSecretary to the governing board?
Yes, Mr Speaker. It hasnot been formed yet.
When itis formed, who would be the Secretaryunder the Bill?
The Executive Secretarywould be the Secretary but he would notbe a member.
Mr Speaker,the Chair proposed for the deletion of (a),(b),(c) and (d) in the Bill, which includesthe position of the Executive Secretary.With this, I say that if you insist that heshould not be a member of theCommission, he must still serve as aSecretary to the Board of the Commission.So, let us create that position for him ratherthan the deletion, and not have anybodyserve as a Secretary.
HonMinority Leader, would that not ratherfind better space in the functions of theExecutive Secretary?
Mr Speaker,usually, you are provided that theExecutive Secretary shall be the Secretaryof the governing body. So, there shouldbe a provision for that.
Do youhave any objection to that, HonChairman?
No objection, MrSpeaker.
So, whydo you not propose a further amendment?Hon Muntaka, would you do it for us,please?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 6, the Executive Secretaryshall be the -- [Interruption.] Yes, I said that clause 6, a newsubclause (2). I think that the draft-persons would do the numbering. Clause 6 -- amendment proposed --“The Executive Secretary shall be theSecretary to the Board.” Question put, amendment agreed to.
So, thereare two friendly amendments to theproposed amendment. The first friendlyamendment is add “relevant experience”to subclauses (c) and (d). The second oneis,”the Executive Secretary shall be theSecretary to the Board”, and thedraftsperson would decide whether tomake it clause 6 (1) and (2) or (d). Clause 6 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 7 -- Duties and Liabilities of aBoard
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 7, subclause (2), paragraph(b), line 2, delete “a material interest orrelational” and insert “an” Question put and amendment agreeto.
HonChairman, when I start to put theQuestion, it means that I have alreadyaccepted what you said and so you end.
Mr Speaker, early on, HonAlhaji Muntaka sought an amendment todefine “the expertise”of the members ofthe Board of the Commission. I drew theattention of the House that the appointingauthorities would normally take intocognisance the expertise of the person,but it has been provided for in the Bill. Ifwe look at clause 6 subclause (3), it says,and with your permmission I beg to quote: “The President shall in makingappointments under this sectionconsider the knowledge andexpertise of the persons and inparticular the knowledge of aperson…”
You areright. Let us do a friendly amendment tothe expertise.
Mr Speaker, I amsorry that my mind was never adverted tothis. Because of that, I would want to dropthe amendment that we did, with respectto the relevant expertise that had to affect(b) and (c).
Mr Speaker, sorry to drawyour attention, but I would have wishedthat anytime the Hon Chairman makes anamendment and reads it he should readthe whole sentence so that we follow. Itwould help us. Sometimes, we would lookfor it and want to know — It would becaptured when he reads the new renditionand we would know how it is supposedto be.
HonMember thank you.
Mr Speaker,the amendment proposed by theCommittee in respect of clause 7 does notmake sense at all. If the Hon Chairmancould explain to us what they mean bythat.
HonChairman, why did you propose thatamendment? Please, read the newrendition.
Mr Speaker, “Member of the Board has the samefunctionary…”
“be a party to an investigation,hearing, or proceeding concerninga matter in respect of which themember has an interest” Mr Speaker, it is written here as,“material or relational interest”.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman said that we delete, “a materialor relational interest” — [Interruption.] Hon Chairman, do you want us todelete, “a material or relational interest”and insert “an interest”? Is that what youwant for us to delete, “a material orrelational” so that we would now put, “an”and the whole thing would then end with,“an interest”?
MrSpeaker, I believe the amendment that weseek does not include, “interest” here. Theamendment is to delete “a material orrelational” and then replace that with, “an”— [Interruption.]
HonMember for Wenchi, be rest assured thatI am capable of multitasking. I soughtadvice on what you are talking about asyou speak and so continue.
Mr Speaker, whatI said was that, what appears in the OrderPaper should not include, “interest”.What we want to delete is, “a material orrelational” and in its place, we just add“an”.
HonChairman, after receiving quite a bit ofadvice, what do you suggest we do?
Mr Speaker, there is atypographical mistake.
So, whatis the correct rendition?
Mr Speaker, the correctrendition is — if we take our report —Ihope we have the report?
“b) be a party to an investigation,hearing, or proceeding concerninga matter in respect of which themember has an interest.”
Hon Chairman, what theHon Speaker asked is what you aredeleting. This is because, what you readis not what is here. So, just repeat whatthe Hon Ranking Member has done andwe would then move on. Do take leave ofthe Speaker and say that what is here isnot correct and you want to makechanges, and so you are deleting “amaterial or relational” and replacing thatwhole thing with —
I wouldtake it that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader has proposed the amendment andthat the Hon Chairman does not opposeit. So, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 7 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
HonRanking Member, I would be grateful ifyou are very alert. I know you are alertbut you would also be assisting us. Clause 8 -- Tenure of office ofMembers of the Board.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 8, subclause (7), delete
Mr Speaker, the clausedoes not apply to the Executive Secretarysince he is not a member of the Board. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 8 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 9 and 10 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
Mr Speaker, because someof us did not have the Bill, we may wantto read through when there is anamendment in order to be sure that itmakes sense, but with the ongoing speed,by the time he finishes, it is gone. Mr Speaker, I would give you anexample; clause 8. The Chairman of theCommittee has asked that we delete the whole of subclause 7 completely, and theexplanation is that, because the ExecutiveSecretary is not an ordinary member ofthe Board or -- is that what you said? Heis the secretary to the Board but he is nota member of the Board -- [Interruption] -- we have agreed that the ExecutiveSecretary, though a secretary, is not amember of the Board -- is that what wedid?
HonMembers, I have just been advised thatthere is a proposed amendment to clause9. So, I would relax the rules and allowthe Chairman to move it. Clause 9 -- Meetings of the Board
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 9, delete subclause (4) andinsert the following: The Chairperson shall preside atmeetings, et cetera.
HonChairman of the Committee, read the wholeclause. Chairman, do you have, et cetera,written there?
No, Mr Speaker.
“The chairperson shall preside atmeetings of the Board and in theabsence of the chairperson, thedeputy chairperson shall presideand in the absence of both deputychairpersons, a member of the Boardelected by the members present fromamong their number shall preside.”
Chairmanof the Committee, read the amendmentagain. Yes, Hon Nitiwul?
Mr Speaker, we do nothave an advertised amendment for clause9, but the Chairman is now introducing anamendment to clause 9.
Yes, it ispossible.
That iswhy I did not allow the Chairman to use etcetera. Since clause 9 is not advertised,he has to read it so that everybodyunderstands what he said. Hon Muntaka, you said that there isanother Bill you would want us to take?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the programme of theHouse was arranged in a way, and theFinance Committee was informed, becauseof the load of work that we gave them. Iwould be grateful if we could stop theGhana International Trade CommissionBill, 2014 at this stage so that they can goand advertise the amendment that theywant in the Order Paper. So that we cantake it properly.
So,Chairman of the Committee, advertiseyour proposed amendment to clause 9 inthe Order Paper and we would take ittomorrow.
Mr Speaker, like theHon Minority Leader suggested, theyhave now got the rendition they wantedclearly. So, if we could please take thatone.
All right. Let us take the proposed amendmentto clause 9.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 9, delete subclause 4 andinsert the following: “The chairperson shall preside atmeetings of the Board and in theabsence of the chairperson, thedeputy chairperson shall presideand in the absence of both deputychairperson, a member of the Boardelected by the members present fromamong their number shall preside.”
MrChairman, clause 9 (4) is what you havejust read?
Mr Speaker, yes.
So, whatis the difference between the proposedamendment and clause 9 (4). You cannot insert what is already there. That is why Hon Muntaka suggestedthat we take a bow at this stage and putour House in order.
Mr Speaker, unfor-tunately, I think that we should give themthe opportunity to clean it and get itadvertised later so that we can allappreciate and understand what they wantto do.
Thatbrings us to the end of the GhanaInternational Trade Commission Bill, 2014for today. Thank you. Hon Minister, if you could still remainin the House, because I think we wouldhave a word with you.
Mr Speaker, we wouldhave to go to Order Paper Addendum --the Revenue Administration Bill, 2016.
TheRevenue Administration Bill, 2016, at theConsideration Stage. Revenue Administration Bill, 2016 Clauses 1 and 2 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 3 -- Identification of tax officers
Chairmanof the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 3, subclause (2), paragraph (c),after “rank” insert “name”. Mr Speaker, the rendition wouldprovide for ‘to state the name, rank andstaff number of the tax officer'. Question put and amendment agreedto. ‘Clause 3 ordered to stand part ofthe Bill'.
Mr Speaker, you wouldneed to draw the attention of thedraftspersons that after the word “rank”they would need to put a comma.
That one isnot necessary.
It is. Mr Speaker needs todraw their attention to it, otherwise, itwould read ‘state the rank name'; MrSpeaker should do that.
It is automatic.
HonPapa Owusu-Ankomah, you haveexperience here.
Mr Speaker,this is not an amendment, it is automatic.
It isautomatic. The draftsperson takes care ofit.
Yes. He takescare of that.
Thedraftsperson takes care of everything thatdoes not change the substance. So, hewill take care of the commas among others.
Mr Speaker,I am sorry to take us back. You have put the Question on clause2. But Mr Speaker, clause 2(1) reads: “The Commissioner-General maydelegate functions specified undersection 14 of the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act 2009, (Act 791) to atax officer but shall not delegatefunctions to any other person, evenif that person is an expert or publicofficer assisting in performing afunction under section 4 or 5 of thisAct.” Mr Speaker, what does it mean? All itmeans is that, no function shall bedelegated to a non-tax officer. That is whatis implied by this. So, let us state it assuch. This is because he said to us thatwe should delegate functions to a taxofficer but outside that we cannot delegate the function of the GRA to any other non-tax officer. I think that is what is meant.So, let us be consistent with how theyhave captured it. I think that is the importof clause 2 (1).
Mr Speaker,the fact is that, if you look at clause 4, wehave assistance of experts -- with yourpermission, I quote: “The Commissioner-General mayengage experts, on the terms andconditions that the Commissioner-General considers necessary, toassist the Authority in the properperformance of the functions...” Mr Speaker, an expert may assist theCommissioner-General just like a taxofficer, except that, in delegatingfunctions, even if the person is an expertappointed by the Commissioner-General,he cannot delegate any functions underthis Act to him. [Interruption.] No! We have tax officer, and if he looksat the interpretation, there is who a taxofficer is. So, we do not have non-taxofficer. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leadermay believe that, that is the moreconvenient rendition, but there is nothingwrong with this one. It is explicit.
Thankyou. Even within the same Act, if there is alot of cross-referencing, it is not toocomfortable. For example, the CompaniesAct as it appears now, there is a lot ofcross-referencing. In fact, I see that on your seventh page,there are cross-references to three otherActs. Even in clause 2, there is cross-referencing to the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, Act 791. There isanother cross-referencing to the IncomeTax Act 2015, Act 896 and another cross-referencing to the Customs Act 2001, Act891. Is that the neatest way to do this? Isthere not a way of stating it without thecross-referencing or -- I do not know whether there is -- Thisis because, if I am reading this Act, by thetime I get to the page 7, I need three otherActs.
Mr Speaker, it is so becausethis is the Administration Act that appliesto all the tax laws that we have. Thosespecific tax laws, like the Value Added TaxAct, the Customs Act, the Income Tax Actand the Excise Duty Act, are all charginglaws. The administrative clauses havebeen taken out into this to supervise allthose charging laws. So, it is applicableto all these laws. We have to name them,that this Administrative Act applies tothese various tax laws that we have. It is even in paragraph 2 of thememorandum.
But wasit not possible to make this part of theGhana Revenue Authority Act? Why didyou need a separate Revenue Adminis-tration Act?
Mr Speaker, if you go tothe Income Tax Act, you would have thecharging provisions and administrativeprovisions.
So, the idea is to put all theadministrative provisions into one.
So, I amsad that we have embarked upon aprocess of consolidating our tax laws. Itstarted off with the consolidation of theadministration of the tax laws by way ofhaving a Ghana Revenue Authority. TheGhana Revenue Authority created aCommissioner-General and people who areresponsible for certain departments so tospeak. So, the question I am asking is that,why is this not part of the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act and I am asking it for apurpose. So, you speak into themicrophone and it goes into the recordsand it can be used by students of tax law.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think that, even if it was still part ofthe Ghana Revenue Authority Act, maybe, this would be a section of it.
Yes, thatis why I am asking.
References would still bemade to this specific charging law.
I agreewith you. I am asking why are you notjust making it - or is it a question of style? Would you want to do a multiplicity oftax laws; so many tax laws that everybodygets confused? Because, if you had madeit a part of the Ghana Revenue AuthorityAct, you would, first of all, have -- This Bill just shows what the GhanaRevenue Authority would do in respectof the administration of the various lawson taxation. But do not let me engage youunnecessarily. Let me just do my job --[Laughter.] I would have, perhaps,approached it a different way. Yes?
Thankyou. The advice that has been given is agood one. So, I will recognise the HonDeputy Minister.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Ghana Revenue Authority Actdeals with the structure of the GhanaRevenue Authority itself. You would recallthat, in the past, we used to have Customsstand alone and IRS also stood alone. TheAct seeks to amalgamate them as oneAuthority and thereby abolishing theformer VAT and IRS. Mr Speaker, you would also recall thatwe have the Income Tax Act, the CustomsAct, the Excise Act and the VAT Act itselfare all tax measures. However, there wasthe need for us to have a stand-aloneadministrative law; Revenue Administration.It is a normal practice across the world tohave a Revenue Administration Act,dealing specifically with the complianceelement of tax administration and that isthe reason we are bringing this law. It is todeal directly with compliance and not tomix it with the structure of the GhanaRevenue Authority. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
All right.I would not say whether you haveconvinced me or not but I willl continue. Where are we, please? [Interruption.]Have I put the Question on clause 3? Yes, Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu?
Mr Speaker,this whole discourse arose when I posedthe question. But for reasons of clarity,we are dealing with an express provisionrelating to who can exercise delegatedauthority and by this --
I thoughtwe were dealing with, who can authoritybe delegated to?
TheCommissioner-General has authority. Whocan he delegate that authority to?
And theysaid he can only delegate it to a tax officerand not to an expert or any other person.
Mr Speaker,I said that for the purposes of greaterclarity, we could say that: “The Commissioner-General maydelegate functions specified undersection 14 of the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act to a tax officer, butnot to any other person.” Mr Speaker, this is because “a person”has been defined, but -- [Interruption.] He has not looked at it, but he is askingme where. The Hon Member for Sekondiis a professional litigant. [Laughter.] MrSpeaker, that is on the lighter side. Mr Speaker, “a tax officer” has beendefined to mean an officer of the Authority.So, we would just say that it cannot bedelegated to a person who is not an officerof the Authority. I think that would makeit simpler.
HonMinority Leader, there are three differentcategories of people that are recognisedas far as this Bill is concerned. There is atax officer, the expert and the publicofficer. The public officer is somebody whomay be working in that office as a publicofficer, maybe a lawyer or -- but he is nota tax officer. The expert is somebody whohas been taken to advise him. They are saying the Commissioner-General cannot delegate power to any ofthe two. He can only delegate it to the taxofficer. Is that the correct understanding?
Mr Speaker,none of the two that you have listed canbe vested with power. Flowing from that,clause 2 (2) provides further that: “(2) For purposes of subsection (1),only a tax officer of the rank ofsenior revenue officer or aboveor specifically authorised by theCommissioner-General mayperform a delegated functionunder a tax law.” Mr Speaker, that is why I said, for theavoidance of doubt, let us state it in thatregard. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I can hear a chorus of just“no, no” from just one Hon Member whois behind me. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, the expert andthe public officer have been used in theBill. If we read further we would see it. This is making it clearer that, eventhough all these people are officers whoare relevant in this particular Bill, theCommissioner-General cannot delegatehis powers to any of them apart from a taxofficer. A tax officer has been defined --
HonChairman, do you have the GhanaRevenue Authority Act?
Mr Speaker, I do not have acopy here.
You needa copy. This is because I have a copy ofthe Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009,Act 791 in my hand. When I looked at section 14 of thatAct, I thought I would see the definitionof who a tax officer is. Then I went to thedefinition section. I was disappointed insection 14. This is because section 14does not even mention “tax officer”. Then I went to the definition section;it does not also mention who a “tax officer”is. So, the reference of this Bill to “taxofficer” is misleading. This is because “taxofficer” is not mentioned in the GhanaRevenue Authority Act, 2009 neither is itmentioned in section 14.
Mr Speaker, I think we havedefined who a “tax officer” is.[Interruption.] -- No! He is saying thatin this Bill, it has not been defined.
No, Inever said that.
Mr Speaker,section 14 of the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act, 2009 is talking about thefunctions of the Commissioner-General. What this Bill is saying is that thepowers of the Commissioner-General,under section 14 of the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act, 2009, can be delegated onlyto a tax officer under this Bill. So, forpurposes of who a tax officer is, it is thisBill that would be relevant. In respect of the authority that can bedelegated, it is in respect of section 14 ofthe Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009. Mr Speaker, I agree with you that itwould probably have been neater; butthese were very large Bills. To even addthis Bill to the Ghana Revenue AuthorityBill, 2009 would have made it unwieldy.
Do youmean the Revenue Administration Bill,2016?
Mr Speaker,the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009.That is what you said earlier, that thiscould have been embodied in the GhanaRevenue Authority Act. Mr Speaker, but here, we are exclusivelydealing with administration and nothingelse.
referencing. Unfortunately, it would have been verydifficult to have a comprehensive Bill; tohave the Value Added Tax Act and theCustoms Excise Preventive Act all in oneAct. That would have been unwieldy.Then we have the Ghana RevenueAuthority Act, 2009 and the RevenueAdministration Bill, 2016 when passed intoan Act in another Act. It would be too
Like inthe Company's Act.
Mr Speaker,well, as for the Company's Act, it hasalways been one enactment.
HonMember, but we are moving forward.
Mr Speaker,the Company's Act has always been oneenactment. Even with the present one, Idoubt if it could have been changed intosomething else.
It is thesame; one enactment.
Mr Speaker,but of course, we would take note of this.When those who come after us areenacting laws, probably, by that time, youwould be a consultant. This is becauseyou would have left active service andyou would give them -- just like Prof. V.C. R. A. C. Crabbe.
Thankyou very much. We would look at it tomorrow. Let us move on. We would want tomake progress; we are hastening slowly.
Mr Speaker,I want us to make progress. I thought that we already said that thedelegation of functions should be to a taxofficer only. Of course, the tax officer hasbeen defined. I was saying that we do notneed to be extra laborious with thosewords. Mr Speaker, but if Hon Members thinkthat we need them, as far as I amconcerned, it is an over cure. We do notneed them for any purpose.
HonMinority Leader, but if “a tax officer” hasbeen identified under this Bill, and notunder the Ghana Revenue Authority Act,2009, is the cross reference verynecessary? This is because we are talkingabout the power of the Commissioner-General under section 14. “(3) The Commissioner-General maydelegate a function ...” I think that is fine. We would makeprogress. The reference to section 14misled me to think that a “tax officer” isreferenced to section 14. It is fine. I seewhat they are talking about. Hon Chairman,what clause are we on? Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 4 -- Assistance of experts.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 4, subclause (3), line 2, delete “atax officer” and insert “the Commissioner-General or an officer authorised by theCommissioner-General”.
“An expert assisting the Authorityto perform a function shall besupervised by the Commissioner-General or an officer authorised bythe Commissioner-General.” Mr Speaker, the assistance being givenby the expert is to the Commissioner-General and he is the one who supervisesthe expert, and for that matter, if he himselfwould not be in a position to do that, hecould then delegate a senior officer to dothat on his behalf. The way it is couched,if we do not do the amendment, a taxofficer, as has been defined is actually astaff of the Ghana Revenue Authority,which means that even a junior officercould be supervising an expert. So, the amendment is that, the expertcould only be supervised by the one whoappoints him or who is assisting him, andthat is the Commissioner-General.
HonMembers, I would put the Question --
Mr Speaker,the reason I said no is that, in theConstitution, the President is endowedwith the authority to make severalappointments. Often times, he does notdo that. He delegates functions to HonMinisters and other subordinates toperform such functions for him. Now, in clause 2, we have said thatthese functions that have been vested inthe Commissioner-General may be doneby the Commissioner-General himself, orhe may delegate those functions. So, whydo we now go on to say that it should besupervised by the Commissioner-General?
Absolutely![Interruption.] Hon Chairman, could you listen to me?I know sometimes you are on short circuitas far as patience is concerned. Could youlisten to me?
I hopethat is also on the lighter side?
Mr Speaker,I should think. Mr Speaker, but I am saying that, if weare saying the Commissioner-General isthe one to deal with it and we have saidthat he may delegate the functions toanybody, so, do we need to go on to saythat he may delegate these functions tothese other people. This is because clause2 captures it -- it is to be done by theCommissioner-General and it should beassumed that he may delegate theperformance of those functions to otherpersons including tax officers.
Mr Speaker, theCommissioner-General may delegate hisfunctions under section 14 of the GRAAct to a tax officer. The grade from whichthe tax officer who qualifies to bedelegated -- it is not every tax officer.You must have from a certain rank beforethe Commissioner-General could delegatehis functions to you. So, if we do notamend clause 4 (3), then this would notbe in consonance with clause 2. This isbecause clause 2 says, and Mr Speaker, Ibeg to quote: “For purposes of subsection (1),only a tax officer of the rank of seniorrevenue officer or above orspecifically authorised by theCommissioner-General may performa delegated function...” So, the grade starts from a senior taxofficer. Clause 4 (3) only says a tax officer,so if we do not amend it, it would notcorrespond with clause 2 (2). Whichmeans that with clause 4 (3) -- any officer.That is why we are saying that in clause 4(3), we need to specify that only whenyou are authorised by the Commissioner-General. So, you could even be a juniorofficer but the Commissioner-Generalmust authorise you before you supervisethe expert.
Mr Speaker,I think we are speaking to the same issue.I do not disagree with him on theamendment that he is proffering. I am onlysaying that we could leave it atCommissioner-General because thedelegation of functions by theCommissioner-General was captured inclause 2. Mr Speaker, that is all that I amsaying. So, we do not need to go furtherdownstream; the delegative functionswould be exercised and there are specificpeople whom he could delegate thefunctions to. That is all that I am saying.
Mr Speaker, if we do not godown to say “authorised by theCommissioner-General” and we want torely on the clause 2 (1) and (2), it meansthat the Commissioner-General, byinference, junior officers who are also taxofficers cannot do that work. Mr Speaker,but that is not the intention. It couldhappen that in some district offices, wedo not even have a senior tax officer butthere are lower officers who could do thatjob for the Commissioner-General. The Commissioner-General would thenlook at the situation, that in this particulardistrict, we do not have any senior rankofficer, but that junior officer could do thatwork. So, he would then authorise him to go and do the supervision on his behalf.That is why we went down to explain that,once you are “authorised by theCommissioner-General”. If not, we wouldhave ended it at “Commissioner-General”,which means that it is only those people,who by clause 2 (2), qualify; from seniorrank and above would then do that job.Mr Speaker, but it cannot happen in allcases.
HonMembers, I was advised that the intentionis to adjourn at 3.30 p.m. and we have noteven finished the first page -- twoclauses. Anyway, I would put the Question. [Pause.] No! We cannot discuss ad infinitum.You have made your point. Or would you want to add somethingelse?
Mr Speaker,with respect. The President, as we havesaid could delegate functions, but theperson representing the President mustbe of some level. It cannot be that anyother person, at all, could be invested withdelegated authority to do a matter onbehalf -- to perform a function or aresponsibility on behalf of the President. It is not for nothing that you wouldusually require some level of personnelto conduct that activity on behalf of thePresident. Equally so, for the Commissioner-General, and I thought that there shouldbe some level. It cannot be any staff orany tax officer to perform that function.
That iswhy they are saying that if he has tospecifically --Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu: Mr Speaker,let me make an observation. I have a veryhostile category of Hon Members ofParliament behind me. Anytime I ammaking a point --
Yesterday, I heard you waxing lyricallyabout the advantages of what ishappening in the United Kingdom (UK),where when the Whip is not applied,people could break rank and speak theirmind. You were talking about represen-tational versus delegational -- today,your people behind you are expressinganother view and you are all over the placesaying that they are hostile. I amsurprised.
Mr Speaker,I still cling to that principle, except that itshould be structured.
So, Iwould put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 4 ordered to stand part of theBill.
Clause 5. Clauses 5 to 8 ordered to stand part ofthe Bill. Clause 9 -- Tax and Taxpayers
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 9, subclause (1), line 2, delete“fine”. Mr Speaker, “fine” is not a tax and bydefinition” “tax” means a duty, levy,charge, rate, interest, penalty and therest but not a “fine”, which is actuallydetermined by --
HonMinority Leader, are you in agreement withit?
Penalty is but “fine” is not.It is determined by the court. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 9 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 10 to 14 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 15 -- Cancellation, replacementor amendment of Taxpayer IdentificationNumber or Tax Clearance Certificate.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 15, subclause (1), line 3, after“Number” delete “Certificate”
“Tax Identification Number” but not“Tax Identification Number certificate”.
It is clear. Question put and amendment agreedto.
I think thenext two amendments are consequential.
They are consequential. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 15,subclause (1), paragraph (c), lines 2 and3, after “Number” delete “Certificate”respectively. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 15, subclause (2), line 2, after“Number” delete “Certificate”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 15 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker,with the intimidating statement made bymy Leader, I am constrained not to makeany comments. I just want you to take note.[Laughter.]
I wassurprised your silence has become veryloud. I was surprised by the extent of yoursilence. But I now understand. I do not know whether now we aredelegational or representational or acombination of the two. But I think thatthe sense of the House is that we stop atclause 19 because it is the end. Fromclause 20 is a major -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I was justhaving a chat with him. From clause 15, we jump to 21, 22, and26. Then we can close. [Interruption.] --Mr Speaker, we can go up to clause 40and it takes less than ten minutes.
Are yousure it is less than ten minutes?
Mr Speaker, Iknow that ordinarily, getting to clause 40would not be a problem. However, weknow that language, punctuations wouldbe raised on the floor. I would not attempt to name anyone. However, I am hopingthat with the advice of the Hon MinorityLeader, we would get there very soon. Clause 16 to 19 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 20 -- Official Language
Mr Speaker,we all do recognise that the officiallanguage of this country is English buteven in the transaction of business in thisChamber, we allow for any other languageto be used, provided that it could beinterpreted to the hearing of HonMembers of Parliament. Mr Speaker, within the court system,this thing also pertains. Why should wesay that English is the official languageof this country and the authorities mayrefuse to recognise a communication ordocument that is not in the officiallanguage?
Look atclause 21(2).
Mr Speaker,I have satisfied myself. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Iam sure you would now appreciate thepoint that I made. [Laughter.] Clause 20 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 21 -- Official currency
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 21, subclause (3), line 3, after “of”insert “keeping of records and submissionof accounts or any other taxtransaction under”.
“Despite subsection (1), theCommissioner-General may, on awritten application, require a personto take a foreign currency amountinto account for the purpose ofkeeping of records and submissionof accounts or any other taxtransaction under a tax law.”
Mr Speaker,we were just having some discussionshere in respect of the official currency. Isit Ghana cedi or cedi? This is becausecommunication from the Ministry ofFinance relating to all loan agreementscome and specify Ghana cedi and we write“GHC”.
Mr Speaker, it is “GHS”, butit is cedi.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Minister might respond to this.
Mr Speaker,when one is writing the cedi, he eitherwrites “GHS” and the amount or “GH” andthe amount. They are both acceptable.The word is “Ghana cedi” and not “Ghanacedis”.
Wheredid this “S” come from? It is the “S” likethe “$”.
Mr Speaker, I amholding a currency. In front of it is GH¢50,but the name is “Cedi”.
We areaware of that. Is there any currency thatthey write “GH”?
Mr Speaker, GHS isacceptable. Or GH¢.
Mr Speaker, Ithink it is because the sign of our cedi isnot global in application. One cannot useit on the computer, and so, they use “S”without any slash.
Well, Iwould not debate this issue any further. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 21 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 22 -- Forms and notices
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 22, subclause (3), add the followingnew paragraph: “(b) the website of the Authority”, Mr Speaker, we are saying that --
That proposal is notcapable of any controversy. I would putthe Question. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 22 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 23 to 25 ordered to stand partof the Bill. Clause 26 -- Electronic documentssystem
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (2), paragraph (a),line 1, delete “wish” and insert “arerequired”. So, it should be “registration ofpersons who are required to participate”and not “those people who wish”. It isnot the wish of the person but it is arequirement.
I think itis fairly clear. So, I would put theQuestion. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 26 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clauses 27 to 40 ordered to stand partof the Bill.
HonMembers, that brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the RevenueAdministration Bill, 2016 for today. Yes, Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu?
Mr Speaker,we are just dealing with a matter; how tocorrectly capture the name of ourcurrency, and I was saying that, in theagreements and loans that have beencoming to us, the Ministry has been usingGhana cedis. I was being doubted. MrSpeaker, check all of them. Even theCommittee itself always uses Ghana cediand not Cedi. So, if from now, the adviceis that we should conform and use cedis,it should be done. But that is what they have always donein this House. And I would refer to theReport of the Finance Committee on therequest of waiver of import duties, importvalue added tax, national health insurancelevy, Economic Community of WestAfrican States levy, EDAIF inspectionfees, withholding tax and other relatedtaxes on the GHS51,613,000.00 on the project materials and equipment to beprocured domestically or imported to beused in the implementation of the contractagreement between the Government ofGhana and China Gio Engineering. They came and this is what they said.Every time, they have used that. Let us beconsistent since this is a House of record.If they are giving us the indication thatindeed, it is a mistake, we know fromnow on, it should be cedis, simpliciter.
Yes, HonPapa Owusu-Ankomah?
Mr Speaker, itis for you to judge who is the professionallitigant. [Laughter.]
HonMembers, as far this is concerned, I would repeat the words that were repeated in thegood book, “let this cup pass over me”. Irefuse to judge in this matter. Like PontiusPilate, I wash my hands. This is a veryserious matter. I think they enteredParliament the same day or something likethat, and they would want me, “a merelatter day saint” to get involved in theirdispute. Hon Members, thank you very muchfor attending upon this House. We shallcontinue tomorrow, God willing at 10.00o'clock in the forenoon, or so soonthereafter as the good Lord Himselfwould permit us to meet.