Hon Members,Correction of Votes and Proceedings andthe Official Report. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Monday, 1st August,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Thursday, 21st July,2016.] Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I have been informed that, the FinanceCommittee is still meeting, so, we haveonly one Report to be laid in item numbered4 (a) on the Order Paper which isPresentation of Papers. The rest are yet to be ready.
Where is the HonChairman of the Committee? Is he around? Hon Members, Presentation of Papers-- item numbered 4 (a) by the HonChairman of the Committee.
Hon Deputy MajorityLeader, when do you intend taking thismatter?
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman of the Finance Committee hasarrived --
When are you taking --
Mr Speaker, we can takethe Public Financial Management Bill, 2016.
Please, when do youintend to take the Paper we just laid? It isone of the Papers that we have to ratifybefore we rise.
Mr Speaker, I do not followthe question.
A Paper has just been laid.You have called for a Paper to be laid andthe Hon Chairman of the Committee haslaid the Paper, yet the Hon Minister is inthe House? I am asking when you intendtaking this Motion?
Mr Speaker, I have beeninformed by the Hon Chairman of theCommittee that it could be taken today.
Very well. Hon Members, the Public FinancialManagement Bill, 2016 at the Considera-tion Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (1), opening phrase,line 2, before “control” insert“procurement or”.
“A person, acting in an office oremployment connected with theprocurement or control of Govern-ment stores”. Mr Speaker, the clause talks about“offences and penalties” and that anyonewho is in the control of stores -- We areadding “anyone who is in an employmentwhich is connected with procurement aswell.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon Chairman of theCommittee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (1), paragraph (g),line 2, delete “revenue” and insert“resources”.
No, not now.
Very well. Will you suspend the Standing Ordersfor it to be taken since it has not yetmatured?
Mr Speaker, yes. So thatwe could go straight to --
Anyway, let us go to theBill and maybe, in the course of the day ortomorrow --
Mr Speaker, if we couldmove to --
Hon Deputy MajorityLeader, I am asking this question because,we have the Hon Minister in the House,so that if he would have to go back to hisMinistry to do some work and when thetime is up for him to come, then he couldreturn. The rule is that, when a Paper islaid, we need 48 hours for it to mature. Wehave just laid the Paper; I am only askingthis question so that, the Hon Ministerfor Trade and Industry would know howto organise himself; whether to stay in theHouse or to go back to his Ministry andreturn later. That was why I asked you thisquestion.
Mr Speaker, I answeredthat we would take the item but notimmediately.
Very well. So, what item are we taking -- the PublicFinancial Management Bill, 2016?
Mr Speaker, PublicFinancial Management Bill, 2016,advertised as item numbered 50 on page37 of the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, if the HonChairman of the Committee would agree, Icould further amend it by saying “publicfinancial resources” to cover “finance”generally in this. If he agrees, “publicfunds” would be better.
How did you? Where isit? What is the definition?
Mr Speaker, “‘Public resources' mean publicrevenue including revenue acquiredthrough donation, bequest, borrow-ing, movable and fixed asset,deposit, receivables and rights”. It is defined.
Mr Speaker, it does notsolve the problem because, we have fixedassets, deposits and all that is there. Whatwe need to look at is dealing specifically with this, and in the first place, in thisparagraph (g), we were talking about publicrevenue. Mr Speaker, the way it is, in my opinion,we should not even amend it. It startswith “misuses or permits the misuse of anyGovernment property, which results in aloss of public revenue”. So, with the issueabout it being general, it is the paragraphitself that makes it general. Therefore, if there is any revenue to belost, it is all right, but the definition thathas been given means that we should notlimit it to only the Financial Managementas I indicated. That should not be thecase. This is because, the starting point isthat, it is government property and misuseof property.
Hon Member for WaWest, look at the definition itself. Thedefinition says: “‘Public resources' means publicrevenue”
Mr Speaker, yes, the earlierconcern we expressed was that, we arepassing a Financial Management Bill,therefore, we should restrict ourselves topublic funds. But, when I saw thedefinition, I was a bit confused because,it says “means” and “includes” at thesame time. We have not reached there yet,but it makes the argument confusing.
Hon Members, when weare creating an offence, we are guided bythe strict provisions of the Constitution,and we must be guided -- [Pause.] Hon Members, I would put theQuestion on the amendment, but you mighthave to do some further work on yourdefinition in the Bill. The definition itself says “mean public revenue”. The “publicrevenue” itself has not been defined. Youare creating an offence, and “publicrevenue itself has not been defined”. If you look at article 19(11) of theConstitution, it says: “No person shall be convicted of acriminal offence unless the offenceis defined and the penalty for it isprescribed in a written law.” Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to propose an amendment.
If you use the word‘resources', then you would have to goand work on the amendment. If we talkabout donation, what type of donation?Even if you look at the definition ofpublic resources, what source of donationwould it be?
Mr Speaker, I amoffering an amendment. Instead of“resources”, I would want to substitute“public funds” to make it germane to theBill.
We are creating anoffence, so, we must be very clear in ourminds what we would have to do for aperson to be convicted of the offence.
So, Mr Speaker, “funds”is germane to the Public FinancialManagement Bill, 2016, and “funds” isdefined in the Constitution. So, it is clearer.
Mr Speaker, I am of the viewthat, because we are going to work furtheron the definition of “public resources”,instead of defining “public resources” tomean “public revenue”, we would ratherchange the “revenue” to “funds” since wehave a definition for “funds”. So, we wouldhave: “Misuses or permits the misuse ofany Government property whichresults in a loss of public resources.”
Why are you using“resources” instead of “revenue”?
Mr Speaker, the use of“revenue” limits -- If the misuse resultsin the loss of government property whichis not necessarily revenue in nature, thenit would not be covered. But Mr Speaker,“resources” covers more than the lossbeing only revenue.[Pause.]
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, at times, when you use a wordwhich is too broad and also not defined inthe Bill, it creates its own problems. It isimportant that, when we are making laws,we try to introduce a certain level ofcertainty in the law. “Public resources”?“Why not public funds”? Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh -- rose --
Yes, Hon Member for WaWest?
Mr Speaker, this provisionis under the miscellaneous provisions.Therefore, what are we legislating for?Financial management. So, it should berelated directly to fund management orsomething that we could talk about interms of money arising out of it. Of course,resources broaden the scope but are wejust talking generally about publicresources? What are those publicresources? I believe that it is appropriateto limit it to funds, money or somethingrelated to what we are doing, rather thanjust say “resources.”
So, should we use “publicresources”? Well, if you would want touse it, you must make sure that in yourdefinition, you get it right when you cometo the interpretation column of the Bill.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (1), closing phrase,lines 4 and 5, delete “the fine andimprisonment”. That is on page 59 of the Bill.
Could you move theamendment again? I am not getting it.
Mr Speaker, clause 101,subclause (1), closing phrase, lines (4) and(5), delete “the fine and imprisonment”.So, the sentence would end at “to both”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Why are you making it amaximum of five years? Is it not better toleave the upper limit of the ten years andthen depending on the seriousness of theoffence --
Mr Speaker, itis stative because it says: “… on summary conviction to a termof imprisonment of not less than fiveyears and not more than ten yearsor to a fine of not less than twothousand, five hundred penaltyunits and not more …” Mr Speaker, it is a range; not theintention.
Yes, but the range is fromfive to ten years. Have you seen yourdefinition of “resources” in the Bill?
Yes, MrSpeaker. I have seen it. It says: “public resources' mean publicrevenue including revenue acquiredthrough donation, bequest, borrowing,movable and fixed asset, deposit,receivables and rights;”
As a House, are we alsonot interested in retrieving the money andrather throwing people into jail?
Mr Speaker,this does not preclude recovery.
Yes. But why do you notgive the sealing to be ten years and leavethe rest to the discretion of the judgebased on the practice?
Mr Speaker, itis precisely because of that, that the --
I want the House to takea second look at the lower end point. Asfor the ten years, it is all right but theHouse should take a look at the five years. years and a minimum of five years was allright. But the angle that you have brought,depending on the value of the offence --
Hon Chairman, you arecreating an offence. Hon Members, if a person takes anofficial vehicle without being authorisedand gets involved in an accident, and thecost of repairs is about GH¢1,000.00 orGH¢500.00 and he goes in for a minimumof five years, is that what you want tolegislate?
Mr Speaker, that is thepoint I want to come up with.
After you, I would hearfrom your Hon Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker, we can furtheramend to set the upper limit at ten yearsbut remove the lower limit so that it wouldstart from zero to ten. That would givediscretion to the judge to determinedepending on the value of the offence. So, Mr Speaker, if the House agrees tothat then we would remove “not less than”in both the fine and the imprisonment andthen maintain the upper limit of ten yearsin case of the imprisonment and in termsof the fine, not more than five thousandpenalty units or to both.
That is your suggestion.Let me hear from the Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker, followingyour queries, I want to agree with the HonChairman of the Committee but thesponsors have a range. So, in matchingthe ranges, when there is a penalty unit,one is pretty much forced to have theequivalence. But I think it makes sense tohave an upper limit for both. So, I agreewith the Chairman.
Mr Speaker,probably, the policy behind thisproposal --
So, if it is GH¢10.00, theperson should go in for five years? I ask this question because that is theeffect of what we are creating here. If youwant to prosecute somebody, even thecost of prosecution would be more thanthe amount of money involved. So, if it isGH¢100.00, the person would go in for fiveyears. That is the effect of what we arelegislating here.
Mr Speaker, itis a fair --
No! If only you agreethat if it is GH¢10.00 and you decided toprosecute that the person should go infor five years, fine. I would be ready toput the Question.
Mr Speaker,wherever there is a minimum, there is apolicy issue. Otherwise, we would neverhave a minimum sentence.
I agree but that does notmean that the policy issue cannot bereviewed.
I agree withyou too, Mr Speaker.
So, if it is GH¢10.00, theperson should go in for five years? Is thatwhat you are saying? This is because youcan prosecute for purposes of deterrence.So, the amount involved is GH¢10.00?
Mr Speaker, Iam sure the Hon Chairman of theCommittee has taken a cue.
Mr Speaker, the Committeewas of the view that, a maximum of ten and setting the minimum at zero to ten, Ithink the discretion between zero and tenyears is too wide. It may mean that thejudge would exercise a huge amount ofdiscretion. I think the gap is too wide andwe may probably have to close it.
Mr Speaker, I wouldthink that if we talk about zero to ten, zerois not any punishment. There ought to below minimum to take account of theseverity of the offence. So, I would amendit further by saying that, we should dosix months to ten years. I think theintention, if there is a policy direction inthis matter, was to ensure that, everybodyunderstood that there was a custodialsentence for the offence. Therefore, theremust be a custodial sentence. I agree tosome extent but the range is wide. We musthave a minimum; one year perhaps. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that, we should stand this down.I know that in terms of sentence, there isequivalence. If we say the minimum is somuch penalty units, then it must be --
That was why I said thatwe should fall on the draftspersons to giveus the equivalence. I can make a directionfrom the Chair. In terms of the custodialsentence, if we get it, if it is one year, I candirect that the equivalence in terms ofpenalty units should be --
Mr Speaker, I think thatthe draftspersons set the minimum at fiveyears. If it is too much for the minimum, Ithink we should come down to one or twoyears. In my view, two years and then, asthe Hon Chairman has said, maximum often years.
Hon Member, do youhave the equivalent of the penalty unitsfor the two years?
Not exactly, but itcannot be more than two years or a fineof -- Two years is all right.
Very well, let us continue.I would stand it down.
Mr Speaker,we are dealing with the ConsiderationStage of Bills, and we need the assistanceof the Legislative Drafting Division of theAttorney-General's Office. Unfortunately, it seems as if the liaisonhas not been good, so, we rarely havethem. It may help if we get them right.
So, let us continue withthe clause 101 while we stand thecustodial sentence component down. Hon Chairman, please, continue withyour amendments to clause 101.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (2), line 2, before“control” insert “procurement or”. This is consequential to the earlier one.
It is. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (4), delete. Mr Speaker, the clause says; “where a person fails to perform afunction or duty required under thisAct within a requisite time, thatperson commits an offence.” In our view, failure to perform a dutyshould not attract a penalty, so, theCommittee is proposing a completedeletion of subclause (4).
It is not the failure toperform every function that is criminal. Weare now trying to criminalise it here. If theyhave to satisfy the litmus test of theConstitution, then they have to mentionthe specific Acts and functions, failure ofwhich constitutes a crime.
MrSpeaker, I thought deleting it was theeasiest way for the Committee to suggest.They did not do the hard work that youare saying, because some failure like youhave said may constitute -- So, they have to do that hard workinstead of just deleting it, becausesomebody might intentionally --
Hon Members, even ifyou look at subclause (4), they are evengoing to prescribe it in Regulations andall that. We are creating an offence here atthe Consideration Stage of the Bill. Whenit is even put in a Regulation, the controlof this House would be so minimal. Letthe Regulation come. The way it is here, itis problematic. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, there are someother amendments proposed under clause101, but they have not been captured onthe Order Paper, so, I would like to movethem. It is an omission.
Have you written them?
Yes, Mr Speaker, I havewritten them. It is a correction. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, subclause(2), the last line, delete all the words after“to both”.
Please, take your time,you know it is not on the Order Paper, so,you should tell me, subclause (2), whichline?
I do not have a problemwith the upper limit. Even if it is increasedto 25 years depending on the severity ofthe offence, I do not have a problem.Looking at the offences that we arecreating here, we are making it a minimumof five years, but the cost of prosecutionwould be more expensive than the amountthat we would prosecute the person for. If you know the penalty units and youwant to inject a certain element ofdeterrence into it and even make it aminimum of one year there, I do not havea problem. The Hon Member for Sekondi saidthat, whenever we see a minimum, itmeans that, either there is a policydirection from the proposers of the Billor you put two years there, I would notbe bothered even with that. But for fiveyears?
Mr Speaker,actually, the trend now, is not to put aminimum.
Mr Speaker,but this being a financial management Bill,and knowing that we lose so much moneyevery year and we complain as a Houseevery time, probably, that is why thesponsors --
We can have a minimum-- you need the drafting section to guideyou with the calculation of the penaltyunits' limit. But five years for GH¢1,000.00or GH¢500.00 -- please -- Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance,then Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
MrSpeaker, with the Hon Chairman'samendment by removing the five years Then when we come to clause 101 (1) (a),any official or any employee who spendsmore than what is appropriated alsocommits an offence, and that iscriminalised. So, I would like to find out whetherthese two are to be maintained.
Mr Speaker, we believethat clause 101(1) (a) or from (a) to (j) relateto the employee who is in employmentwhich is connected to procurement orcontrol of government stores; orcollection, management and disbursementof amounts in respect of a public fund orpublic trust. Administrative penalty has theintention of punishing the officer forwhich the funds go to the entity, but thepenalty and the fine are done through aproper legal process. So, it is different from the administra-tive penalty. -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, if Iunderstood my Hon Senior Colleague'squestion; if the Principal Spending Officermentioned in clause 27 does what he does,he will face the administrative penalty. Ifhe is also in charge of procurement,control of government stores and so on,then it can be an additional responsibility. Generally speaking, others will fallunder clause 101, but he has a special roleunder clause 27 as the Principal SpendingOfficer. If he ventures into this area, thenit would be additional. [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I could see asituation where the Principal SpendingOfficer may be treated lightly as opposedto another officer.
Subclause (2), the last line.
This is drafting.
Mr Speaker, if we do notbring it up, how do we ensure that thedraftpersons would work on it? So, weneed to bring it up.
Very well. Please, move it. We should delete allthe words after “both” in the last line?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,subclause (3), paragraph (a), before“control”, insert “procurement or”. That makes it “procurement or controlof government stores”. It is consequential. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, subclause (3), closing phrase, lastline, delete all words after “both”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Any other amendmentsto clause 101 apart from the issue of fiveyears and ten years?
Mr Speaker,I would like to find out from the HonChairman whether the administrativepenalty imposed on the Chief SpendingOfficer under clause 27 (4) and (10) is inaddition to the offence under clause 101(1) (a). Mr Speaker, under clause 27 (4) and(10) read together, if the Spending Officercommits the government to any unautho-rised liability, he is liable to pay anadministrative penalty of GH¢2,000.00. Under clause 27, they just treat thePrincipal Spending Officer lightly bygiving him some administrative penalties,but with regard to the other officers, theyare criminalised under clause 101. This isunfair and discriminatory.
Hon Member, I willsuggest that we proceed. However, if youstill feel strongly about this, then you canfile the necessary amendment for us toconsider. [Pause] -- Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I remembervery well that when we were consideringclause 27 --
Please, we have passedthat point.
No! Mr Speaker, I amnot going back to that; I am only using aninformation from that clause. This particular issue came up and itwas explained to the House, that it was inaddition to specific penalties that wouldbe prescribed for the person who haderred. So, it was not only an administrativepenalty of the 2000 penalty units. Theperson will have those charges theyprescribed. That is what was explained tous; I remember that we raised an issue ofhow it could only be an administrativepenalty and we said that it was not anadministrative penalty alone, but it was inaddition to the criminal sanctions thatwould be prescribed. [Pause] --
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, please, look at clause 3 (a) and(b). Should there be an “or” between the(a) and (b)? Look at where the “or” has been placed.Is that where it should be? We have (a),(b), and (c).
Mr Speaker, I think thatafter (a), we should have “or”.
Very well. Can you move the amendment then?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 101, subclause (3), paragraph (a),at end, add the word “or”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Should we still have the“or “at the end of (b)?
Mr Speaker, I think thatthey all stand on their own, so, at the endof (b), we should have --
“Connected with thecontrol of government …” If one receivesconsideration -- Clause 101 says (3): “A person who promises, offers orgives money or any other valuableconsideration to another person,acting in an office or employment, (a) connected with the control ofgovernment stores, or …”
Mr Speaker, it also says or:
(b) “connected with thecollection, management ordisbursement of amounts inrespect of a public fund orpublic trust, or, (c) with the intention to influence(i) and (ii)”
Very well. Hon Members, should I put theQuestion on clause 101, or we shouldleave it so that, when we resolve theissue of penalty, then we come back to it?This is especially in view of the otherpoint that the Hon Member for AkwapimNorth has raised, so that we look at thoseoffences and this one too? Hon Members, should we defer it, orI should put the Question? Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, let us defer it.
Very well. So, I defer the Question on the entireclause 101. Clause 102 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 103 -- Penalties for unautho-rised borrowing, guarantees or lending
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 103, headnote, delete and insert“Penalty for contravention of this Act”. Mr Speaker, the subclauses talk aboutcontravention. The headnote does notactually capture the intention of theclause; but the new rendition captures theintention of clause 103. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 103 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 104 -- Waiver of sovereignimmunity Dr A. A. Osei -- rose --
Yes, Hon RankingMember?
Mr Speaker, I was goingto plead with the Hon Chairman to deleteclause 105. [Interruption.]
Hon Member, please,you have the floor. You are not supposedto be talking to the Hon Chairman.
Mr Speaker, I think thatclause 105 does not mean much yet. Weare legislating that the Hon Minister mayissue guidelines for the effectiveimplementation of this Act, but we havegone on to say that he must makeRegulations for its effective implemen-tation.
Hon Member, I wouldput the Question on clause 102, then I canlisten to you. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 102 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 105 -- Guidelines
Mr Speaker, there is noadvertised amendment but I would wantto propose an amendment. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 105,delete. If you look at clause 107 (1) (p), we askthe Hon Minister to make Regulations“for the effective implementation of thisAct”. In clause 105, we ask him to “issue forthe effective implementation of this Act”.So, clause 105 should not be maintained -- [Interruption] -- It says, “any othermatters that are necessary for the effectiveimplementation of this Act”. Why do weneed clause 105 again in the law? It isredundant.
Mr Speaker, Iam personally against the power beinggiven by Parliament to persons inauthority to issue guidelines which havethe effect of law. If guidelines are meantto have the effect of law, they must be inRegulations. We do not put them in thelaw. In fact, if the Hon Minister issues someadministrative guidelines, they remainguidelines; they are not laws. Here, thereare penalties for contravention of the law.If he issues a guideline and thensomebody refuses, to comply with them,does he commit a crime? If Ministers issue guidelines daily, thatpower is not given them by law. It is forthe purposes of administration. So, wedo not need to put it in the law, especiallywhen we are talking about “effectiveimplementation of this Act”. He can onlyeffectively implement the Act byRegulations and we have provided for it.So, I support the amendment proposedby the Hon Member for Old Tafo andRanking Member of the FinanceCommittee.
Mr Speaker, I am of theview that we can qualify “guideline” toread “administrative guideline”. It is important because the Minister forFinance has a timeline to meet in terms ofbudget submission to Parliament. He mustalso, through a guideline, instruct thecovered entities to follow that guidelineto ensure that he also meets the deadline. This cannot be done in a Regulationbecause, the issue of budget preparationvaries from year to year. For that matter,the guideline will enable the Hon Ministerin such a way that, every year, he issues aguideline which the Ministries,Departments and Agencies (MDAs) or thecovered entities must follow to ensurethat, he meets the deadline to submit thebudget to Parliament. So, I believe that,we can maintain this but we would haveto qualify “guideline” to read“administrative guideline”.
If you qualify it with“administrative”, what is the difference?The argument is that, it has the force oflaw once it finds expression in the Bill. If you look at clause 107 that the HonMember for Old Tafo drew the attentionof the House to, it covers almosteverything. I agree that, there is the needfor a certain minimum level of guidelinesbut it must be specified here. For example,budget ceilings. Normally, depending on your cashflow, the Minister might want to givebudget ceilings to the various MDAs, forexample. That one varies from year to year,and even at times, from quarter to quarter.We cannot legislate that. So, I thoughtthe Committee should have defined anarea that we are surrendering ourlegislative powers to the Minister in termsof our legislative authority. When you make it so broad, with eventhe Regulations which will come to theHouse, you would have defined the areasbut that would be for the House to decide.
Mr Speaker,clause 105 does not, in my opinion, givethe guidelines of the force of law. Itsimply empowers the Minister to issue theguidelines, but it does not --
Then remove it from theBill. If that is the argument you aremaking that it has not got the force of law,then why do you put it in the law?
Mr Speaker, out ofabundance of caution, it is important thatwe spell out what the Minister can andcannot do. We know that when you have--
If it has not got the forceof law, then it should not be in the law;then you have to agree with those whowant it to be deleted from the Bill. But, I would have thought that theCommittee would have defined the areasbecause even under the Regulation,because, we are delegating law making tothe Minister, that is why in clause 107, weare giving areas where the Minister canmake Regulations. But when it comes toguidelines, we could just say “for theeffective implementation of this Act”. Hon Chairman of the Committee, Ithought that your Committee would havecome with budget ceilings and others forthe areas but now you have left it broadly.I agree that there should be someguidelines here because it is noteverything that can come in the form ofRegulations.
Mr Speaker, ifyou look at the Bill, the example that wasgiven, on annual budget, in clause 21(1) (a), there, we say that “subject toCabinet approval, issue guidelines for thepreparation of the budget …” It is there. Mr Speaker, the danger is that, whereyou give the power to authorities to issueguidelines, they issue guidelines whichhave the force of law and circumventParliament like the Bank of Ghana. Howdid “mobile money” come into effect? Itcame to effect by guidelines because theysaid they have power under their law toissue guidelines. It is something that weshould stop. We are enacting law. If we would wantto delegate our power to make law toanyone, let it be through LegislativeInstrument (L.I.). We can only annul theL.I. by two-thirds. Mr Speaker, we shouldnot encourage that at all.
I agree; but I would havethought that the Committee would havedefined specific areas. [Interruption.]Where? [Pause.] Hon Members, for example, what aboutthe limit on borrowing by localgovernment authorities? It is the limit andyou have put it in the Regulations. Itshould be in the guidelines. So every time,you have to come and change theRegulations and lay it for 21 Sitting days?
Mr Speaker,there is nothing wrong with that. Thereshould not be a problem with 21 Sittingdays. The power to give limits to lendingis the power of Parliament and we havedelegated it. There should be noproblems. It is 21 Sitting days; it is not sixmonths. It is not going to happen quiteoften. Mr Speaker, let us ensure that ourlegislative power is guarded.
I agree with you. I wouldhave thought that, even if they want tocarve out new areas which are notcovered in clause 21, it should stand outbut it should not appear like this one. It istoo broad. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, I think if Iunderstood the earlier argument, it wasagainst generally having the Hon Ministerempowered to make guidelines. But fromclause 21, it is clear that, for the properfunctioning of this legislation in certainareas, the Hon Minister has to be givenpower to issue guidelines. So, clause 105is a general statement of a principle thatwe have already enacted, which is that,there is a power to issue guidelines. So, if you accept that, as clause 21 cangive the Hon Minister the power to issueguidelines, how can you oppose clause105 which then says that, for the effectiveimplementation of the Act generally --[Interruption] -- Yes, it is because there are specificprovisions relating to regulations andthose specific provisions are in clause 107where the regulations -- [Interruption.]Also, in relation to regulations, you haveto get an omnibus provision that says that,in other areas where there is the need tohave Regulations, the Hon Ministershould bring it before this House. In the same way, when you makespecific provisions regarding theissuance of guidelines, it is notforeseeable that, all circumstances forwhich the guidelines should be issued,may be captured at this time when we areenacting the legislation. So, we also createroom for that. [Interruption.] If I knew the example, we would havecaptured it now. But we may findourselves in a situation where in future,the Hon Minister would realise that, thereare matters that are not properly for him to come back to Parliament and they couldsimply be addressed by issuance ofguidelines. That is why clause 105 givesthe Hon Minister room to issue guidelinesin those circumstances. If we could be specific abouteverything, then these provisions thatyou are pointing at in clause 107 (b) wouldnot be necessary. If we could foresee allthe situations where Regulations shouldbe made, then we should not havesubclause (p). So, if we accept that, even in makingRegulations, we cannot foresee all thecircumstances, then we must also acceptthat, in the issuance of guidelines, evenunder clause 21, which you accept, wemay not be able to foresee all thecircumstances and therefore, we shouldhave a clause that enables the HonMinister when such issues arise, to issueguidelines.
Hon Deputy Minister forFinance, what are the possible areas thatguidelines can be issued? This is becausewhen I look at clause 107, you covered alot of grounds and I thought that, someof those things should rather be movedout. For example, borrowing limits and allthose thing should have been moved outand placed in clause 105. If you want to issue guidelines as tohow much a district assembly can borrow,what do you say?
Mr Speaker, we issuemajor guidelines. An example is when weissue Budget implementation guidelinesin the course of the year. Also, by yearend, we issue closing guidelines. How thecovered entities may have to end the year,and in particular, restrict them --
Is it not captured inclause 21?
Mr Speaker, what we havehere is not exhaustive. Mr Speaker, whatwe are trying to imply here or the intentionhere is to give the Hon Ministerresponsible for Finance the power toissue guidelines in the course of the year. As I said, within the year, we issue anumber of guidelines, not one particularguideline; we issue Budget implementa-tion guidelines, guidelines to localGovernment and others.
Are they not in clause21?
Mr Speaker, as I saidearlier , clause 21 is not exhaustive; clause27 is also not exhaustive. We have thestatutory authorities who would have tocome before this House to approve theirformula but we work with them before theformula is approved. We issue guidelinesfor them to work in a way that, the formulathat would come before Parliament wouldbe in line with the national budgets. These are guidelines that we issue. So,we believe that, it should be there.
Hon Deputy Minister forFinance, in the past, how have you beenissuing these guidelines? Has anybodyever challenged the guidelines that youhave issued or you have found them inother legislations? I want to find out whyit is here. Maybe, there is a certain mischiefor defect that you are trying to cure.
Mr Speaker, we have beenissuing guidelines in the past. In fact, thisyear, we have issued a number ofguidelines. But what we seek to do now isto look at the Loans Act and the FinancialAdministration Act and where there issome form of weakness -- For example,the Loans Act is even older than I am. Mr Speaker, we have not done anymajor amendment since the Loans Actcame into force. But what we are trying todo is to look at some of the weakprovisions in some of those Acts andaccordingly amend them. These are thingsthat we do and we think that, it is importantto give them some legal backing.
Mr Speaker, let us look atthe issue from the point of clause 107. Weare asking the Hon Minister to, byLegislative Instrument, make Regulations.Then at the end, that is, paragraph (p),because we know that all the items thatwe have listed are not exhaustive, we arecreating an opportunity for the HonMinister to add any other. So, we arecomfortable with that simply because weknow that, the list is not exhaustive. In clause 21, specific provision is madefor the Hon Minister to issue guidelinesfor Budgets and others. Now, clause 105makes this provision because what wehave done in clauses 21 and 27, andmaybe, any other clause which we cannoteven identify, are not exhaustive.
Why did you not makethis provision under clause 21?
Mr Speaker, it is becauseclause 21 is in relation to only Budgets;clause 27 is also limited to another item.But there could be one or other oneswhich are not covered under clauses 21and 27. So, let us make a general provisionso that, those that are inexhaustive canfall under clause 105 just as we did forclause 107 (p). So, let us look at it fromthat angle.
Hon Member forSekondi?
Mr Speaker, Iwish to state that, we are enacting a law,and by provisions of the law, we are giving room for its effective implementation bythe Hon Minister responsible for Finance.For purposes of effective implementation,we must do so by Regulations. Where we believe that guidelines arenecessary, we have restricted it to certainareas like the Budget Statement. All theexamples the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance has given relate to the BudgetStatement and that has been the practice. Mr Speaker, even Ministries andDepartments issue letters every day. Itshould not be half the force of law. Somehow these are administrativeinstructions and it is in accordance withthe Civil Service Practice or Code. Nowwe want the Minister for Finance, inimplementing an important law like thePublic Financial Management, to issueguidelines for its effective implementation.However, we have said that for its effectiveimplementation on any other matter heshould do so by Regulations. I do notknow why they are worried about it.
Mr Speaker, I wasgoing to agree with the amendment by theHon Minister, that too much meat wouldnot muddy the soup. If the guidelinesprovided for in the Act are not exhaustivetherefore we are giving that general onewhere the Minister would be so powerfulto issue --
Hon Second DeputyMajority Whip, let me make this point clear.We are making law. I want you to find outwhether there is precedence where theHon Minister would issue a guideline foreffective implementation of an Act. In thesame Act, the Hon Minister also makesprovision for Regulation for effectiveimplementation of the same Act. I have not seen it and I need to beguided. You say that he should come withRegulations for effective implementation.So, that is the problem, especially, whereyou have given a detailed list of the areaswhere the Regulation can be made. Earlier, you made provision forguidelines in clause 21. Then you cometo guidelines for effective implementationof the Act by a Regulation. Effectiveimplementation of the same Act byguidelines -- and we have not detailedthe areas where guidelines would bemade. Which areas? If you specify the areasof guidelines, I do not have a problembecause I know that issues might crop upwhich might not be covered.[Interruption.] But all are for theguidelines for effective implementation oftheRegulations. For me, that is where --But if there is precedence, you can guidethe Chair.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister must bear in mind the offencesand penalties under clause 101. Forexample, look at (b); it says that if a person, “refuses or fails to produce orsubmit any information requiredunder this Act…” The person can get a sentence of up toten years. So, does he want us to give theHon Minister a blanket authority so thatif he issues guidelines and a person doesnot produce it, he goes to jail? Thinkabout it. It is serious and we cannot justgive this blanket power for the HonMinister to send people to jail. If the Hon Chairman could tell us wherehe did it. [Interruption.] No! He shouldnot crave for that power because it can bedangerous. We never issue guidelines andRegulations for effective implementation.In any case, how have we been doing ituntil now?
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, if you could go and get someareas where guidelines can be issued. Thesubtlety of a law that you make is veryparamount. Even the area of Regulationsthat you have specified --You have givenus areas where he can make Regulations.The “where” in clause 105 is too broad. Ifyou could give an area that would refer toa position. When you just leave it at that, thenboth the guidelines for effectiveimplementation and Regulations foreffective implementation could create theirown challenges or problems. I agree that there might be an area thatwe might not need to come back to theHouse on every detail; I agree. But if thearea is specified, as we did in clause 21, itmakes it easier for everybodyto know theareas where guidelines can be issued. Is it possible to get some areas wherewe can issue the guidelines on? This isbecause we cannot have guidelines foreffective implementation and haveRegulations for effective implementation.
Mr Speaker, it would bedifficult to provide specific areas since itwould also not be exhaustive. Studyingthe sentiment of the House, I propose thatwe delete clause 105.
Hon Deputy Minister,that is your view. But I believe also thatthere could be some areas. I know thatthese areas, management of budget andso on, could be fluid. I thought that, ifthey could get some areas where --
Mr Speaker, all along, Ifollowed the argument but there is noreason we should have clause 105. Thisis because, clause 105 is normally the lastparagraph of the Regulations. In thatparagraph we talk about any other thing that would ensure that the Act isenforced. So, if you look at it, in clause107 (1) (p) it says: “Any other matters that arenecessary for the effectiveimplementation of this Act.” That is normally the case. But in ourlegislation, we normally have policydirectives and it is there. So, on theadministrative directives, who preventsthe Minister for Finance from issuingdirectives to Ministries, Departments andAgencies (MDA) that they should notspend beyond a certain amount eventhough we have approved it in thisHouse? There is no need for it. We shoulddelete it.
If you look at the Billcarefully, where it is necessary, we haveput it in there. All the important areas arecovered. Ceilings and so forth -- Theyare covered. Question put and Motion agreed to. Several Hon Members -- rose --
You are voting. If yousay no, it would not be there. Nobody hasmoved an amendment. [Interruption.]Who has moved the amendment? Nobodyhas moved an amendment.
Mr Speaker,the Table Office should be advising youon this matter because, you cannotremember everything. If you haveproposed the amendment, then youshould advise the Chair that there hasbeen an amendment which has beensupported.
Who moved theamendment?
Hon A. A.Osei did and I supported it. [Interruption]No, then we have debated and the HonMinister has accepted it. Question put and amendment agreedto.
There is no advertisedamendment for clause 106. So, before Imove on, you should get up so that Iwould know. You do not wait for me topose the Question. You are not supposedto catch my eye. I am supposed to catchyour eye.
Mr Speaker, I believethe Hon Minister should look at itbecause we have discussed it.
Hon Members, eventhough we have deleted clause 105, Ibelieve we should find a way of couchingthe guideline somehow to make room forother areas. The way it has been put inthe Bill is the problem. It is too broad andit can lead to confusion and abuse.
Mr Speaker, wediscussed the clause 106 and even thoughwe did not come to a conclusion --
Hon Member, please,move your amendment because we are atthe Consideration Stage. If you do nothave an amendment, I would put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister promised that, they would lookat it. The phrase “fiscal impact analysis”was not clear and it would affect everyMinistry, Department and Agency (MDA). What exactly are we talking about here?Any proposal coming to Parliament mustcome with a fiscal impact analysis. Maybe, the Hon Minister can explainto us what exactly they are thinking aboutso that people can advert their minds toit.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Ranking Member, the HonChairman, myself and some other HonMembers of the Committee, embarked ona tour to North America in the previousParliament. And everywhere we went, theFinance Ministry insisted that everylegislation that is brought before thelegislature must have a fiscal impactanalysis.
Hon Members, please, itcannot come by way of law. It can comeby way of Report. So, each time they comewith the legislation, do they have to comewith a Regulation?
Hon Member, look atsubclause (2).
Mr Speaker, itsays: “The fiscal impact analysis shall beprepared and submitted inaccordance with the Regulationmade by the Minister” Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister wouldprescribe the format of fiscal impactanalysis in the Regulation.
Hon Member, thesubclause 2 says: “The fiscal impact analysis shall beprepared and submitted in accor-dance with the Regulation”.
Mr Speaker, itis in accordance with the Regulation. Thatis what it means. It is not going to be leftat large. It is in accordance withRegulations that are going to be made bythe Hon Minister if it is not illegal.
Mr Speaker, clause106 (1) says, and with your permission, Ibeg to quote;
Hon Members, whatwould be the nation's cost of anylegislation that is brought to the House?
Mr Speaker, itis the fiscal impact. Probably they aresetting up a Board and it must have --
What is the cost and theimpact?
Mr Speaker,the blueprint or the format in theRegulations would be given and it wouldbe followed. Mr Speaker, in your previous life, youspoke about this. But now that you are inyour present life, I have realised thatthings are not the same because your eyeshave been opened to certain things whichwere not opened to you when you werewith us.
Hon Member, you are outof order.
Mr Speaker, Iagree. I am totally out of order and Iwithdraw my statement [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, in thisConstitution and in everyday talk we saythat Private Member's Bill is difficult topass. Part of the reason is that, theExecutive would have to decide whetherany proposal they are making to bringabout a law would incur expenditure onthe part of the public. That is why it is important for this fiscalimpact analysis to be made. If we wouldwant to restrict it to Financial Bills, that isone thing. But if we say “anything”, itmeans that those that do not have seriousfinancial impact analysis on it would pass. I do not think there should be anyproblem about this provision. We shouldlet it go. The implementation indicated earlier, ifwe look at subclause (2), it is by“Regulation”. What it means is that oneshould come in a form of Regulation. ThisHouse would look at what is in theRegulation, what is required to be doneand what is it we are looking for and whatwould pass. We have to set the minimum. If we thinkthat there is expenditure that should beincurred by the public, then we would lookat how it would affect our purse andwhether it can be contained within thespace. This is what we should do; thesecond part deals with that. I believe it is a good provision and weshould support it.
Mr Speaker, I appreciate theconcern expressed by the House and therobust effort by the Finance Committeeto ensure that this particular provisiongoes through. Mr Speaker, we could as well demandthat we should also have security impact analysis. This is because security iseverywhere. Everything borders onnational security. If we are going to bed itis about national security. Mr Speaker, we have to be very careful.Those of us who are concerned withsecurity would also demand securityimpact analysis; environmental, politicaland social securities would all come. Mr Speaker, the strength of the countrydoes not only stand on finance. There area lot of pillars. So, we would have to seriouslyconsider this provision.
Mr Speaker, I believe thatwe should begin to have a situation wherewhen there is a legislation before us, wewould also have a sense of what it wouldcost to implement that legislation. I believe that is what this simply means.That anybody who brings to us alegislative proposal should also give us asense of how much it would cost toimplement the legislation. Mr Speaker, it is already happening insome sense because, there are manyCabinet Memoranda that come in whichalways say “It would not cost much toimplement this policy initiative”. But weare not often told exactly how much thecost is. There is an attempt to evade thisenquiry by a general statement that, itwould not cost much to implement thispolicy proposal which then has to beimplemented through a specific legislativeregime. But when that legislation comesin, this House is not given the opportunityto have an appreciation of the financialimplications of what we have. By the time we realise, we have createda multiplicity of institutions and agenciesand processes, the implementation ofwhich cost money and then begin to heapsuch a huge financial burden on the publicpurse. When the Ministry of Finance runsinto crises in trying to fund these things,then, people see it as a problem of thefinancial sector. Mr Speaker, we need to know the costof bringing a proposal that is social innature, creating new agencies andcreating any new system, so that, thisHouse would be guided by how muchfinancial burdens they would imposeonthe citizens by enacting a specificlegislation.
Have you done the FiscalImpact Analyses on the last Bill that wepassed for you — the Hazardous Waste?
Mr Speaker, yes.
You have done it?
Mr Speaker, indeed, somelegislations come with positive financialimpacts. I say so because, they raiserevenues for the State. They createsystems for revenue generation.
Hon Members, I will putthe Question on the clause. Let me hearfrom the Hon Minister for Defence andthe Hon Ranking Member. I intend puttingthe Question.
MrSpeaker, I do appreciate the importanceand significance of fiscal discipline. Butwhat my Hon Colleague indicated wasthat, what people do not know is that,one's fiscal exposure is a very tiny aspectof one's state. If one decides to reducehis or her statecraft to fiscal space, it wouldfail, and I can give examples. We shouldtake Sierra Leone —
Hon Member, we are atthe amendment stage and not theprinciples.
Mr Speaker, exactly.WhatI am simply saying on this debate whichwould come up on this clause is that, onemust have a State that grows an economy.We do not have an economy in which wewant to put a State in. So I am saying that,yes, the fiscal space is useful, one canstructure it, but I would want to suggestthat, it is not every endeavour of Stateactivity that this must be made possible.There are reasons why this cannot go tosome areas.
Hon Members, youknow that the Constitution has given thisHouse the authority to pass certain Billsunder certificate of urgency in order toaddress immediate challenges. If fiscalimpact can take away those situations —simply because we are not makingexceptions to certain real situations andchallenges. If you want me to put theQuestion, I will do so. It is for you todecide. I can only guide the House.
Mr Speaker, I do nothave any problem with the principle, but Ibrought it up hoping that the Hon DeputyMinister would give us some idea of whathe is talking about.
Yes I will call him.
Mr Speaker, myunderstanding of the word “fiscal” means,expenditures and revenue — taxation. Butperhaps it is more than we mean here.Somebody used the concept ‘financial'.The two are not the same. So what exactlyare we talking about? This is because we are talking aboutevery legislation and it would have helpedus if, before coming here, we were giventhe fiscal impact analysis of this Bill as an example, then we would see our wayforward. Mr Speaker, this is serious stuff,Sothey should please let us appreciate whatthey are talking about.
Hon Members, the Billhas not defined ‘fiscal impact analysis.' Hon Members, let me hear from theHon Member for Wa Central, the DeputyMajority Chief Whip and then the HonMember for Ho Central.
Mr Speaker, sitting in Cabinet for everyBill that comes to Cabinet, and for allanalysis that are made, there is one thingthey ask for, which is part of the format inpresenting the Bill to Cabinet, and that is;the financial impact, and not fiscal impact. Mr Speaker, if the financial impactpasses through Cabinet, then it tells usthat that is the position of government atthat point, and when it comes toParliament we expect that, we pass it. Sowhen it is in Cabinet, and we believe thatfinancial impact is not a problem, and theanalysis are made and it is found to be anecessity, then we do not spare any effortin bringing about a law. This is because,the law regulates society. So we wouldnot spare finances because, at one pointone finds that there is so much money. Mr Speaker, I believe that this thingabout ‘fiscal impact' must be properlyexplained or else it should be changed to‘financial impact'. This is because, we doit every time we go to Cabinet. Baba Mohammed Jamal Ahmed: MrSpeaker, looking critically at the clausewhich says, and with respect I beg toquote: “Any legislation to be laid beforeParliament or proposal submitted forthe approval of Parliament shall beaccompanied by a fiscal impactanalysis stating the estimated effecton revenues and expenditures…” Mr Speaker, if care is not taken, thewords “Any legislation” — Mr Speaker, somebody can use this one— before one brings any legislation to belaid then they say; “what is the fiscalimpact analysis — you do not have it?”and because of that, the person has noright to even lay it.
with yourpermission: “The fiscal impact analysis shall beprepared and submitted inaccordance with the Regulations.” Mr Speaker, it means that, before oneeven brings the legislation to be laid, thefiscal impact analysis must also be ready.
Hon Members, we are notdebating the principles. At this stage, Iwant an amendment and I will put theQuestion to it. If I do not have anyamendment before me then you cannothold the Chair back.
MrSpeaker, the provision in this clause 106clearly states what is expected of anyonesubmitting a Bill. It says that the personshould indicate the estimated effect onrevenues and expenditures for thefinancial year in which the legislation orproposal is expected to come into effect,and this is very clear, as regards what issupposed to be done. Mr Speaker, I want to give an example.We have before us the Children's (Amendment) Bill, 2016. In clause 70 ofthat Bill, there is established under thisAct, the Foster Care Fund referred to as‘the Fund'. And clause 72 states— “Sources of the money for the Fundinclude moneys provided by theMinister responsible for Finance”. Mr Speaker, this must be stated, atleast, to accompany — otherwise — if thisis not indicated —
Hon Members, I do nothave any amendment before me now. TheHon Deputy Majority Chief Whip made apoint about “Any legislation”includes‘Regulations' — Then I heardsomebody say, why do we not use‘financial impact' instead of ‘fiscalimpact'? So far that is the summary. Letme hear from the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance.
Mr Speaker, in my opinion,this is one of the most important clausesin this Bill. I say so because, for instance,in recent times the Ministry of Financehas seen passage of laws that impose acharge on the Consolidated Fund ofwhich we are not aware of. It hits us bysurprise —
Are you not in Cabinet?Do not say that — withdraw.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw thatone. But the argument for instance, to saythat, there is a new law that says that thetop echelon of a particular institutionshould retire on their salaries. It isimportant that we know exactly how muchit is going to cost the State and for theMinistry of Finance to budget for itadequately. Mr Speaker, failure to have thatinformation may result in budget overran.The question that was raised by the HonAkoto Osei on the issue concerning thereal meaning of “fiscal impact” is verymuch explained in clause 106.
“Any legislation to be laid beforeParliament or proposal submitted forthe approval of Parliament shall beaccompanied by fiscal impactanalysis …”
“… stating the estimated effect onrevenues and expenditures for thefinancial year in which thelegislation or proposal is expectedto come into effect”. Mr Speaker, so, we are makingreference to revenue expenditure. Thefinancial impact that we talked about onlylooks at the expenditure side. For instance,if we are to --
Deputy Minister forFinance, what about if you use the phrase‘financial impact analysis' and yousay‘revenue and expenditure'?
Mr Speaker, “fiscal” isimportant; it supports what we termrevenue and expenditure and the mandateof the Ministry of Finance. We always use“fiscal” to explain the role of the Ministryof Finance to manage public funds andimpose taxes.
Hon Deputy Minister,should this be in the form of Regulationsor it should be by guidelines?
Mr Speaker, this shouldcome in the form of a regulation and notin the form of a guideline?
Hon Minister, whenwould you bring the Regulation to giveeffect to subsequent -- Because when we pass this Bill, what we are saying isthat, we are not going to take any otherBill. Once the President has assented tothis Bill, it means that all other Bills mustcome with the fiscal impact analysis, thatis in accordance with the Regulation. Andif the Regulation is not in existence --[Laughter] [Interruption.]
It does notapply.
What does not apply?
It means thatthis particular clause would not apply,because there are no regulations in respectof which one would submit the fiscal --
There is a law that saysthat, it should be accompanied by that.
It states asfollows; “The fiscal impact analysis shall beprepared”, mandatory, “andsubmitted in accordance with theRegulations”. If the Regulations have not been laid,one cannot have that -- that is all.
Hon Minister? Be brief in your submission and let mecome to the Deputy Majority Leader.
Mr Speaker, upon asecond thought, I feel that there are somevery fundamental issues implicated in this.Having thought about it, one wonderswhat the impact of this provision on thelaw making procedures which are alreadyspelt out in the Constitution are? Tolegislate, this is how we should go aboutit.
Hon Members, have youmade provision for pending Bills beforewe have the Regulations? [Pause.] Chairman of the Committee, have youmade that provision? [Pause.] Hon Deputy Majority Leader, let mehear you now as I would want to put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker, practically, ifthis provision goes into the law it wouldnot be possible to implement it in runningParliament as we have. So my view is that,that word “any” would be very difficultto implement. And we cannot run theHouse when we make legislation with theword “any.” It would be serious. I do notthink that it should go in. We would haveto amend it.
The last comment on thismatter -- Hon Kunbuor.
Mr Speaker, we need abit of guidance on this. If you look at thislegislation, the policy understanding fromthis proposal is that, they want a similarthing that has been put in the FinancialAdministration Act, in which any MDAthat has to carry out any activity must geta no objection from the Minister forFinance inasmuch as it has financialimplications. They would want to extendit to include ‘legislation'. The difficulty we are going to have hereis that, if we look at our FinancialAdministration Regulation, those are verydetailed. Mr Speaker, let Hon Members listen toone; you are going to repeal the FinancialAdministration Act and there is a clausethat says that regulations made under itwould continue to have effect -- that iswhat we have in this Bill. So, we mighttake out the Financial Administration Act,but have we aligned the Regulations onthat Act to what we are trying to dowithout conflict? That is what I wouldwant to draw our attention to. I am also saying that, if we alreadyhave a similar thing in our FinancialAdministration Regulation, that no MDAcan carry out any activity with financialimplications without the ‘no objection'from the Finance Minister, it addressesthe matter. If we want to apply it tolegislation, then we would be moving intoanother area that we need to be carefulabout. If we start by the time the Regulationscome and this Act comes into force, wewould need a fiscal assessment report onthe fiscal assessment regulations beforeit can go through and create a spendingspree which would put a lot of pressureon the Budget. But the way it is framed, itis not the policy consideration,we needto frame it differently.
Hon Members, once thisBill becomes law, any other legislation thatyou bring to this House must have thefiscal impact analysis. If the Regulation isnot ready, we would have to wait for thelegislation to come. We have not madeany transitional provision in theamendment, pending the coming intoeffect of the Regulation. You have notmade any provision --
Mr Speaker, it is there onpage 73.
Hon Member, why canthis not be in the form of a guideline? Thatis one of the areas --[Interruption.] Papa Owusu-Ankomah-- rose -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member for Sekondi,resume your seat. You do not have thefloor. Hon Members, I will defer this clause.It is a very important provision but I wouldwant to defer it.
Mr Speaker, Iam sure the Chairman of the FinanceCommittee would agree with me that Ihave raised this matter on severaloccasions when we come to considercertain proposals in the Committee. Whathe tells me is that, there is no legalrequirement. Chairman of the Committeeis that not correct? That there have beenoccasions when I have raised this at theCommittee and you have told me that thereis no legal requirement? Mr Speaker, we may have some issueswith the language -- the Hon RankingMember is talking about language. I agreewith him, let us defer it and if we thinkthat it is too wide, fine. But the HonMember for Defence is a member ofGovernment and I wonder why he did notraise these objections when the mattercame to Parliament. This is a major policy initiative byGovernment. That is why sometimes Icomplain about this Government of JohnMahama, President of the Republic.[Interruption.] Yes!
What has the Presidentdone in all these matters?
Mr Speaker,this is the President's Bill.
Yes, it is.
An in-housearrangement should be such that --
No! Hon Member, sincemy election to this House, documentshave always come from all the Presidentsthat I have met and we work on them here. They make mistakes and we correctthem. This is not the first time. Even whenyou were the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice.
Mr Speaker,we are talking about the policy --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I would justwant my Hon Colleague, the former Leaderof this House, to know that when I rise onthis floor, I rise to speak for the people ofNandom. [Hear! Hear!] When I go toCabinet, I talk as a Cabinet Minister.[Laughter.] It is not always that the interest of thepeople of Nandom is coterminous withthat of Cabinet. So there should be asituation in which I can say what myConstituents want as against whatCabinet wants. I want us to make that distinction veryclear, and that, it is not because this thingdid not come to Cabinet. I am on this floorand I have been given audience as an HonMember of Parliament, and I insist on that.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Minister should have said allthese during the Second Reading and notthe Consideration Stage.
Hon Members, I havedeferred clause 106. [Interruption.] Hon Chairman of the Committee, yourDeputy Chairman and Hon RankingMember, this is a very important provisionin the Bill, but let us look at the way thelanguage has been couched here. Yes, Hon Members, let us move on toclause 107. Clause 107 -- Regulations
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 107, subclause (1), paragraph (m),subparagraph (ii), line 1, after “structure”insert “of”. It would read: “the structure of subaccounts...” Question put and amendment agreedto
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 107, subclause (1), paragraph (n),line 2, delete “and”. Question put and amendment agreedto
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 107, subclause (1), paragraph (o),lines 1 and 2, delete “withoutParliamentary approval” and insert“approve”.
“prescribing the manner in whichthe Minister may, approve, abandon and remit claims by or on behalf ofGovernment or service.” Mr Speaker, this is the responsibilityof the Minister and not the Parliament ofGhana. So, we want to delete, “withoutParliamentary approval”, and insert,“approve”.
Hon Members, I will putthe Question -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,I think the rendition should rather be, “or”-- Where we have the last “and” shouldbe, “or” instead -- [Interruption] -- theMinister can either “abandon, approve orremit” and not “and remit”.
Yes, I think so. Hon Member, have you moved theamendment? This is because, youramendment is different from that of theHon Chairman.
That is so, MrSpeaker.
His amendment is toremove “Parliamentary approval”. So, letme put the Question on that of the HonChairman, then, I get back to yours. I hope you are not taking objection tothe amendment moved by the HonChairman of the Committee?
No, Mr Speaker. Iwant to further amend that to include --
Absolutely. So, what youshould have done was to have allowedme to put the Question on the amendment,then you come with yours. So, let me put the Question on theChairman's amendment first, then, I willcome to yours. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I begto move, clause 107, subclause (1),paragraph (o), line 2, delete “and” andinsert “or”. Question put and amendment agreedto
Mr Speaker, beforeyou put the Question on clause 107entirely, may I, with your indulgence --
Please, move youramendment.
Mr Speaker, I begto move, “The Minister may,…by legislativeinstrument…” Mr Speaker, throughout this Bill, wehave subjected the Hon Minister toCabinet. I recalled when there was a debatewhether it is Cabinet or the Presidency,you insisted on Cabinet. This Regulation must be developed inconsultation with Cabinet. It should notjust suo moto be an action by the HonMinister. This is because, we are talkingabout its Long Title which deals witheffective management of public finance,and the Regulations would cover anumber of major policy decisions whichshould not be limited to the single act ofthe Hon Minister.
“The Minister may, in consultationwith the Public ProcurementAuthority,…” Is that the only procurement entity? What happens to the Central TenderBoard? There are instances where areferral does not go to the PublicProcurement Board but my majoramendment is to subject the HonMinister's exercise of the LegislativeInstrument (L.I.) to Cabinet --
Please, move theamendment.
Mr Speaker, I begto move; clause 107 (1); “The Minister may, in consultationwith Cabinet by legislativeinstrument make Regulations...” Mr Speaker, I so submit. [Interruption.]I think ‘shall' is appropriate. “The Ministershall in consultation…”
Hon Minister forEmployment and Labour Relations, all thelaws we have passed in this House andthe L.I. to be issued under the Act, do wehave a provision for “in consultation withCabinet”? It goes without saying. Ihave not seen the rendition you aretrying to --
Mr Speaker, inmost legislations here, you say “inconsultation with the Board”. I can showyou, give me the Act of Parliament. It isalways done, Regulations are done “inconsultation with the Board” and for thispurpose --
In consultation with?
Mr Speaker, theGoverning Board in many other --
Yes. So, when the Boardis supposed to be a statutory Board whichhas its own legislative framework, there istherefore, the need to consult the Board.That is separate but this is an HonMinister, so --
Mr Speaker, forthe administration of the ContingencyFund, the Ministry of Finance recentlyintroduced a Sinking Fund. He could nothave done so without consulting theExecutive, and the Executive issues policyguidelines. Mr Speaker, the decisions here aremajor policy decisions that the HonMinister must take in consultation withCabinet. Mr Speaker, I can refer to earlierprovisions of the law where we saidreference must be made to Cabinet. Itcannot be --
Mr Speaker, the practiceto relay that Regulation is by HonMinisters, but no Hon Minister can justtake a Regulation and bring it here withoutpassing it through the Cabinet. Mr Speaker, now, if we want to addCabinet to this, it would really beunnecessary, particularly in this Bill. Thisis because, the way it has been couched,there is no way one can add ‘Cabinet' inmaking the Regulations. It would have togo to Cabinet and as it affects so manyMinistries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs), it is assumed that -- But howcan one say that an Hon Minister shouldmake a Regulation in consultation with theCabinet? Is it not anomalous. Mr Speaker, I say so because theMinister sits in Cabinet and he wants hisHon Colleagues to support him and thenwe say he should consult; how is hegoing to consult them? Should he call theCabinet meeting to consult them? Is it aworkshop? No.
Mr Speaker, not long ago,we have been witnesses to legislationsthat were brought here without usconsulting institutions. Mr Speaker, we have seen it. There wasa Legislation that was brought here --
Please, there is aparticular amendment, contribute to thatamendment.
Mr Speaker, all right. Youdo not want the reference now. So, it is such a major decision that theHon Minister himself wants to insert“consult an entity”. Should that entity bePublic Procurement Authority alone? Ithink what the Hon Minister said is thatthere has to be consul tation withother Hon Ministers because, thisone affects --
Please, the firstamendment is clause 107 (1) inconsultation with Cabinet. That is theamendment.
Mr Speaker, I ampositively in favour of that amendment.This Public Financial Management Bill isnot a Bill that would be operated by theMinistry of Finance, though he is theexecutor of most of the actions under thisBill. Mr Speaker, this Bill is in the bosom ofthe President, especially, if we want thePublic Financial Management to succeedin this country. So, with the Legislation,we should find a way the Hon Ministerwould take it to Cabinet for everybody tobe happy before it comes or else, the HonMinister may pick one or two of thevarious entities under clause 107 (1), andbring a Legislation that would causeproblems for us. Mr Speaker, so, we should ask the HonMinister for Finance how he can ensurethat, in bringing these Legislations toCabinet -- we just heard the Hon Ministerfor Defence speak on one particular clausethat he was not happy with. Mr Speaker, so, we have to force theHon Minister for Finance to do a widerconsultation with his own Hon Ministersbefore these Legislations in particular arebrought. Mr Speaker, I think we should supportthe Hon Minister for Employment andLabour Relations in ensuring thatLegislations under this Public FinancialManagement are not left only to the HonMinister for Finance or the procuremententity. [Pause] --
Hon Minister for ForeignAffairs and Regional Integration?
MrSpeaker, thank you very much. I wouldlike to support the amendments of the HonMinister for Employment and LabourRelations but, perhaps, also to strengthenit. Mr Speaker, we do not consult withCabinet, Cabinet approves and I think thatit is rather where we should ask the HonMinister to bring these Regulations forthe approval of Cabinet -- It is going tocreate a situation where we would haveto pay -- [Inaudible.]
Mr Speaker, I cannotpurport to know what is happening nowbut I cannot also imagine that anyLegislation that comes to Parliament doesnot go to Cabinet. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is onlyrepresenting the President, so, I do notknow if it is necessary. But I am surprisedthat the impression is being given thatsince Legislations come here we muststate in the law that, Cabinet must approveRegulations. Mr Speaker, since when did we do that,and with which Legislation have we everdone that? I am surprised. EveryLegislation as far as I know, that comeshere goes to Cabinet, but to put it in thelaw that Cabinet shall approve by L.I.regulations -- let us be careful. Mr Speaker, clause 107 (2) is notneeded. This is because, in theProcurement law, the Regulations thatcome out of there, is from the Hon Minister.So, this is redundant. Mr Speaker, the clause 107 (1), I amsurprised that we want to put ‘shall seekthe approval of Cabinet'. Please, let usthink through this properly. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister cannotdo anything on his own, it would be illegal.This, as we say, is a major policy thing, itis not a major policy decision of the HonMinister. It is the President who presidesat Cabinet. So, it is not the Hon Ministerwho brings it.
I would be surprised withthe arguments I hear on the floor, for anyHon Minister to introduce any Regulationhere without clearance from the President.
Mr Speaker,fortunately, I have had the opportunity toserve in a Cabinet for eight years in variouscapacities. Yes. A break of one year andsix months then. I resigned fromGovernment.
I thought it was less thaneight years. The period you werecampaigning to be a PresidentialCandidate must be subtracted from theeight years. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker,and I had also been the Attorney-Generaland Minister for Justice. Mr Speaker, theworkings of Cabinet are not guided by law. They are guided by internal Cabinetmemoranda. Let us not forget and let usnot elevate Cabinet to a status notenvisaged under our Constitution. MrSpeaker, I beg to refer you to article 76 (1)which states and with your permission, Ibeg to quote: “There shall be a Cabinet which shallconsist of the President, the Vice-President and not less than ten andnot more than nineteen Ministersof State.” (2) The Cabinet shall assist thePresident in the determina-tion of general policy of theGovernment.” So, how could we even put in the Billthat the Hon Minister, who the Presidentappoints for the efficient running of theState should consult Cabinet? No! MrSpeaker, it is strange. If by somecircumstances the administration ofGovernment is facing some problems, wedo not solve it through legislations. I could never imagine in theGovernment I served that, any proposalcould be brought to Parliament without itbeing considered by Cabinet or thePresident. We do not need to put it intolaw. Cabinet then becomes a body backedby law; hence legislation has to dosomething. Mr Speaker, when we talk about Cabinetapproval in Parliament, it is just for thepurposes of the effective running ofgovernment. After all, the President bringsExecutive approval and nothing is doneabout it. So, I urge that the Hon Ministerswho are making this proposal abandon it.It would be contrary to all notions ofeffective governance. Then we might as well say that the HonMinister shall submit it with the approvalof the President. What role has Cabinetgot to play under our Constitution in termsof approving this thing? [Interruption.]We approve --
Hon Members, I wouldlisten to the Hon Deputy Minister forFinance then I would put the Question onclause 107.
Mr Speaker, one of themajor innovations in this Bill is to involveCabinet. Looking at the FinancialAdministration Act and its Regulations,the involvement of Cabinet is quiteminimal. We felt that we would have toinvolve Cabinet in fiscal policies for SectorMinisters to get their full support in theform of buy-in. Mr Speaker, I felt that with the processof legislation, one would certainly go toCabinet before one comes before thisHouse to lay a Regulation. If the intentionis for us to clearly show Ghanaians andthe world that the involvement of Cabinetis important as we have already shown inthe other clauses, then I have noobjection against that. Mr Speaker, what we are doing is toclearly signal to the world that in fiscalpolicy and fiscal management, Cabinet isinvolved in a way that we could get acomplete buy-in. That is what we intendto do. If that is the intention then I haveno objection to it.
Mr Speaker, Iappreciate the arguments articulated byHon --
Add your amendment andlet me put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I begto move, clause 107 (1), after “Minister”insert “The Minister shall, prior to Cabinetapproval may by legislativeinstruments make Regulations.” Mr Speaker, let me proffer furtherexplanations --
Please, I would not allowyou. You have not filed an amendment andwe need to pass this Bill. If such a majorBill -- it could happen on the blind sideof the Executive -- if that is what you aresuggesting, then I do not get the point. I thought that you would take theadvice coming from the former Hon Leaderof the House and abandon youramendment so that I would put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker, listento me also. I would want to be heard. Mr Speaker, do not forget that you havesuspended the Standing Orders in pursuitof this. Therefore, a denial of someopportunity to clean the Bill.
Hon Minister, whichStanding Orders have I suspended andwhen did I suspend the Standing Orders?
Mr Speaker, inconsidering this Bill --
Please, you made acategorical statement --
Mr Speaker, it hasbeen withdrawn. I would come back to clause 107 and Ihave followed the argument of Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah. Mr Speaker, read theitems under the Regulations of clause 107-- one after the other and for each of them,I would give some guidance. TheRegulations --
Hon Minister, please --what I would not take at the ConsiderationStage is where Hon Members do not fileamendments, but halfway through, theywould want to take the whole House back.You are a member of the House, you are aCabinet Minister and this Bill passedthrough Cabinet, it has been in the House,amendments have been filed but you havenot filed any amendment. I would listen to you, but do it withinthe spirit of the Consideration Stage.Do not go back to the principles ofSecond Reading.
Mr Speaker, I willdo so. Mr Speaker, let me put it on record thatthe Table Office must take responsibility.I have filed amendments that have neverbeen advertised, therefore, they shouldproduce same for you. I am interested inthis. Mr Speaker, we are talking aboutdevelopment of Regulations and may Irefer you to the Long Title of the Bill...? “AN ACT to regulate the financialmanagement of the public sectorwithin a macroeconomic and fiscalframework; to define responsibilitiesof persons entrusted with themanagement and control of publicfunds, …” Mr Speaker, let me end there and cometo clause 107 -- and may I further referyou to the issues under clause 107 -- thisRegulations will border on: “… for the management ofGovernment assets.” We would want to take a decision onmanagement of government assets -- tosell or not to sell. Let us take the exampleof public lands; we are issuingRegulations and we say that,subject it to thorough scrutiny. We have seen instances where Hon Ministers havegiven out public lands for sale withoutthe collective approval. I have given youone example. Mr Speaker, I would dance forward --if you come to the administration of theContingency Fund --
All that you are doing isgoing to the principles.
Mr Speaker, it isnot the principles -- Mr Speaker, may I refer you to clause17 of the Bill -- Cabinet to adhere totargets and Fiscal Strategy Document. So, the referral to Cabinet is not animportation I am bringing. In severalclauses in the Bill, we have been told that“to Cabinet”. I share the same experiencewith my senior Hon Colleague -- in threemonths' time, I would have had the sameeight years' experience, and in my case-- unfettered. I have seen Hon Ministers come tothis House without recourse to Cabineton Regulations -- which is wrong. MrSpeaker, but that is not what I seek tocorrect. Public Financial Management isso important that, we cannot leave it tothe pleasure of the Hon Minister forFinance. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I beg to move, “The Minister shall, prior to Cabinetapproval may by LegislativeInstrument make Regulations tocover those issues.”
MrSpeaker, the Hon Haruna Iddrisu hasmade a categorical statement that, he hasseen Hon Ministers come to this Housewith Regulations without Cabinetapproval. Mr Speaker, Hon Ministersunder whose administration? He has tobe specific. Mr Speaker, is he referring to the currentAdministration, or which Administration?Perhaps, since he is very familiar with thepresent Administration, he is referring tothe present Administration or somethingwe do not know. I would want anexplanation. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker, we appear tobe losing sight of the arrangements, firston the hierarchy of laws; the basis for thevarious laws we make et cetera. Mr Speaker, Regulations are foundedon parent legislations. So structurally,unless Parliament deems it fit and requestsspecifically that the making of theRegulations by a Minister should beguided by a certain authority, theEnvironmental Protection Agency Actmakes provision that the Minister on theadvice of the Environmental ProtectionAgency Council may make Regulations.
Hon Member, theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)itself is governed by law. It is a statutorybody. Therefore it is important that theystand alone. It is not a departmentproperly, so called of a Ministry.Therefore, when the Minister does that,quite apart from the expertise that theyhave, it is important not to destroy thegovernance structure within the EPA. Itis important the Minister does thosethings, but not when he is part of theCabinet, an appointee of the President. If you would want to have a standaloneclause on a certain level of consultationwith the Cabinet, you could have it. Doyou get me?
Mr Speaker, that is whereI am driving at. My position is that, thepowers of a Minister to make Regulationsare circumscribed by the substantive
powers vested in the Minister by theparent legislation. One cannot makeRegulations on a matter that is alreadyspelt out in the parent legislation. So, ifthere is an issue in this House, thequestion we should ask is; in this parentlegislation, are there provisions regardingthe operation of a public account forwhich we think the Minister needs somefurther Regulations to be able to efficientlycarry it out? Are there specific Regulationsregarding recording and controllingexpenditure commitments and payments? If all of that are spelt out in the parentlegislation, then this House could say theMinister might make Regulationsregarding these matters in areas that wehave not spelt out in details. Who are thefinal authorities? It is this House that isthe final authority. We just do not want itto go through the initial hustle of asubstantive legislation. That is why wemake provision for subsidiary legislation. So, Mr Speaker, I do not think that it isnecessary to further circumscribe thepowers of the Minister by insisting thathe must go for a Cabinet approval. It isnot necessary. If we decide to do that aswe have done with a legislation like theEnvironmental Protection Agency Act, itis all right. It is within the powers of thisHouse to do that. I believe an argument that creates animpression that some Ministers would actin contravention of their own Cabinet, orthey would act outside the ambit of theirown Cabinet or they would act againstthe interest of their own Cabinet, is neitherhere nor there. Mr Speaker, we are dealing with alegislation, and we admit that thelegislation does not deal with all thedetails; so, we will give the Minister some power to make further Regulations. It isas simple as that. Mr Speaker; Hon Members, theproblem we are faced with here -- and Imade the point earlier when we werediscussing clause 105 -- it is because theprovisions of clause 107 are too detailed.As we have rightly pointed out,Regulations are to give effect to the parentlegislations. So, in spite of all theRegulations you have made, youmentioned a whole lot of areas. When itcomes to this House, the Committee wouldlook it up to see whether the issues youare making regulations on are within theParent Act itself. However, we have made a list of (a) to(p), as if we have not made provisions forall these areas, including penalties and allsort of things. I thought we could justamend it for the effective implementationof this Act, simpliciter. The problem isthe way this Regulations has beencouched. That is where the challenge is. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, Iappreciate my Hon Colleague's argument.As I indicated, I have seen a number ofBills here where it is subject to the Counciland subject to the Board. I have referredyou to clause 17 and to many instances inthe Bill where reference was made toCabinet.
Please, do you have aparticular Act where we put that-- WhichAct is that?
Mr Speaker, it isAct 525, Regulations: “The Minister on the recommenda-tion of the Council …”.
This is the GhanaHealth Service Teaching Hospital Act,1996. The argument was that -- This isnot all. I can give you hundred more ofthose examples.
Hon Minister, the GhanaHealth Service is a statutory body. Thatis the argument we are making.
Mr Speaker, justone final comment. If it pleases the House,for instance --
I want an example withCabinet, where Cabinet is quoted.
Mr Speaker, I saidwith this Public Financial ManagementBill, 2016, incorporating the Loans Act -- Iwould just give you one practical example,and if it pleases the House, we coulddance the way we want. I would urge theHon Ranking Member to pay particularattention. The Minister may by LegislativeInstrument make Regulations on, forinstance (k), for the limit on borrowing bypublic corporations and state enterprises. We would want to leave this to thediscretion of the Minister for Finance onborrowing. By what he said, he knowsthat by this provision he does not needto consult any person. The Minister suomoto would just decide to limit borrowing.The Hon Ranking Member knows. Heshould guide us with the financialimplications, such that when Governmentis going to take such major decisions onborrowing, it must be on therecommendations of Cabinet. This is because, the Hon RankingMember of the Finance Committee wouldnot want the country to be a debt riskbusiness country. He must go back toCabinet to consult and justify why hewould want particular areas of the economy to benefit from borrowing andwhy others must not? He said a Ministermust just decide to limit borrowing bypublic corporations. There are issues here. I am notsuggesting that Cabinet Ministers shouldnot respect the wish. I said we shouldimprove the Financial Administration Act.This is because we have such a fiscalstrategy document, where would thedocument emanate from? It is fromCabinet. He knows what debt means tofiscal strategy and monetary policy; I donot think that we should leave this to theMinister for Finance. It must be done onthe recommendation of Cabinet.
With your kindpermission it states; “There shall be paid into theContingency Fund moneys votedfor the purpose by Parliament; andadvances may be made from thatFund which are authorised by thecommittee responsible for financialmeasures in Parliament wheneverthat committee is satisfied that therehas arisen an urgent or unforeseenneed for expenditure …” Would he want the Minister to regulatethis? Contingency Fund is listed underclause 107 as one of the items which wouldbe regulated by this Regulations, and it isa major constitutional provision. I gaveyou the example of the Sinking Fundwhich has been introduced by the HonMinister, Seth Terkper. How could SinkingFund become part of our public financialmanagement other than being approvedby Cabinet? I humbly submit, if it is the wish of theHouse that we leave it to the Minister; wecould.
Yes, let me hear from theHon Ranking Member.
Mr Speaker, I think myHon Colleague might not have paidattention to what you said and what othershad said. Mr Speaker, yes, clause 107 (1) (c) isnot in order. In the Bill, we took it out. So,that needs to be amended. Mr Speakersays that the difficulty under clause 107is that, it is so specific. It creates problems.But what the rest of us are saying is that,we do not believe that the Minister woulddo these things without taking them toCabinet. It is automatic. The difficulty is that, they are sospecific here; it creates problems. We donot want to create the impression that weneed to state here that the Minister shallconsult Cabinet. He has referred to thepart where Cabinet is supposed to assist.So, it is in order. Mr Speaker, may I suggest that westand down clause 107 and make someconsultations so that we can all go in theright direction?
I have listened to all ofyou. The point is that, in the normal courseof things, Cabinet should be involved butI do not know if we want to put it beyonddoubt and state it. It would only mean thatwe want to be sure that more people areinvolved in the process. I agree that there are a number of itemsthat have been mentioned here; some ofwhich have their own source from theConstitution and the Contingency Fundand a whole lot of things. I earlier made apoint and I would want to say it againthat I would have thought that I even saidearlier that some of the guidelines that weare talking about should have found someof the things that we have mentioned here, how much District Assemblies can borrow.These are not things that should not be.There should be guidelines that are issuedat quarterly intervals. They are not thingsthat should be stated in here. There arethree things left now for me. Either I putthe Question on clause 107, defer it forfurther consultation or take anamendment. Hon Members, clause 107 is deferred. [Amendment deferred by leave of theHouse.] Clause 108 -- Interpretation.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “accountingstandards”, line 2, delete “approved” andinsert “adopted”.
Before we even come tothe issue of Auditor-General's in-volvement, what is the differencebetween adopted and approved withinthe contest of that amendment?
Mr Speaker, the standardsare developed by what we callinternationally accepted standards. Thesestandards which are developed by theinternational body need to be adopted bythe Controller and Accountant-General.So, if the accountancy bodies develop thestandards and the Controller andAccountant-General adopts it, it is notsomething that the Controller andAccountant-General is to approve. They are only to adopt it. They are notgoing to approve it. So, it is standardsthat are developed by the accountancybodies and adopted by the Controller andAccountant-General.
Hon Members, what isthe difference between “adopted” and“approved”?
Mr Speaker, “adopted”means that some people have approved itand it is a standard that they have to adoptto apply. “Approved” means that it wouldbe brought and they would decidewhether it meets their standards. But thisis an accounting professional body thathas approved their own. So, they need toadopt it.
Mr Speaker, I think weshould stick with the word “approved”.The reason is that, there is not onestandard. There is the internationalstandard and there are other standards. Iam saying that the “approved” here doesnot mean the “approved” they normallyuse. Mr Speaker, the Controller andAccountant-General would decide for thiscountry which standard we use and hehas to approve that standard. We havedifferent standards. So, the one that theController and Accountant-Generalapproves is the one that he is going touse. Of all the standards, the one heapproves --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, Ijust want to give an example.We are aHouse and we have our Standing Orders.There are so many Parliaments which haveStanding Orders. We can decide that forcertain purposes, we are going to use theStanding Orders of the House ofCommons. The House of Commons underthese circumstances, has its own StandingOrders.
It was approved.
Yes, MrSpeaker, which was approved by them. Wehave decided to adopt it for our purposes.We are not approving it. Mr Speaker, we have accountingstandards. There may be twenty of them. The Controller and Accountant-Generalmay decide that for our purposes, wewould use one.
Hon Members, theargument he is making is that these areinternational standards -- [Interruption]-- Are they local? Whatever. They arestandards known to the profession. Nowthey are adopting that standard of theprofession.
MrSpeaker, there can be internationalstandards and there can be localstandards as Hon Dr Prempeh said. Standards can be in different forms sowe can adopt any of the standards that fitour own locality, including internationalstandards, and this must be approved bythe Auditor-General because they audit.
Please, Hon Member, weare not there yet. The point now iswhether we should substitute “adopted”for “approved” before we come to thatissue. Hon Members, the proper term to useis “adopted”. Hon Members, I would just refer youto section 19 of the Audit Service Act. “The Auditor-General shall in auditof accounts under this Act adhereto methods that are consistent withemerging practices in governmentalauditing such as environmental andforensic audits adopted by theInternational Organisation ofSupreme Audit Institutions andother internationally recognisedbodies.” So, the standard should be adopted.We have used it in Act 584 of the AuditService Act, 2000. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “capitalexpenditure”, line 3, after “stock” insert“which is not expended within the year”. Mr Speaker, the Committee is of theview that the capital expenditure meansany expenditure for the creation oracquisition of fixed assets, inventory orother valuable physical stock which is notexpended within a year. That makes itcapital in nature. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “coveredentities”, opening phrase, delete “mean”and insert “means. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “coveredentities”, paragraph (c), delete “Departmentsand Agencies” and insert “Departments,Agencies and local authorities”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “coveredentities”, paragraph (f), delete “public”and insert “statutory”. So, it would read; “statutory funds”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “Division”,delete. Mr Speaker, we have substituted“division” with “public debt managementoffice”.
Mr Speaker, in (f), I donot know if the amendment makes sense.We are deleting “covered entities means”.Now we have changed public funds” to“statutory funds”. I do not believe that isan entity, unless we want to say “statutorybodies.” But public funds cannot be anentity defined under “covered entity.” Itis stated, but it cannot be an entity in thatsense. Maybe, he means the bodies.
It should be “statutorybodies”. -- [Pause] Hon Chairman, the entities are thebodies. It should be “bodies,” not “funds.”
Mr Speaker, the referencemade to the funds here explains thatParliament creates the funds and then thebodies that manage the funds are assumedto be covered under this definition. So, if mention is made of “statutoryfund”, we are referring to funds likeGETFund, Common Fund, HealthInsurance Fund and the rest.
But are they entities?Look at the categories that we have overthere; the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary,constitutional bodies, Ministries,Departments and Agencies, andautonomous agencies. Hon Chairman,look at the categories there, because thosederive their funds from public funds inanyway. They are all public funds; so, it shouldbe “statutory bodies”. In any case, all ofthem should be statutory bodies.
Mr Speaker, actually, theintention of the statutory funds is thesame as statutory bodies, so, if we changeit we would be talking about the samething. So, I would further amend to delete“public funds” and insert “statutorybodies.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Have I put the Questionon “division”? No, I have not. Let me putthe Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “economicclassifications”, delete and insert thefollowing: “‘economic classification' meansthe type of expenditure bygovernment in respect of compensa-tion, goods and services and capitalexpenditure;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Clause 108, Interpretation of “financingestimates”, delete and insert thefollowing: ‘“financing estimates' means a listof all sources of funds by which thebudget deficit will be financed;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Clause 108, Interpretation of “fiscalagent”, delete and insert the following: ‘“fiscal agent' means an institutionor organisation such as a bank orfinancial institution that act onbehalf of government performing various financial duties includingthe redemption of bonds, coupons,handling tax issues, replacement oflost or damaged securities and otherfinance related tasks;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “fiscal policydocument”, delete and insert thefollowing: “fiscal policy document' means anoutline of the revenue, expenditure,financing and debt managementdecisions of Government thatinfluences the economy;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “fiscal policyobjective”, line 1, delete “target” andinsert “targets”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, add the following newInterpretation: ‘“fixed asset' means a long termresource controlled by a coveredentity, public corporation or stateowned enterprise as a result of pastevents and from which futureeconomic benefits are expected toflow to the entity;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “guarantee”,delete and insert the following:
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, why are you putting a time limiton guarantee?
Mr Speaker, the time limithere refers to the time period and it is morethan 12 months. If the commitment to limitexpenditure is within one year, then it fallswithin the fiscal year for Government. Itwill not become a guarantee; oneguarantees if the payment is beyond oneyear. So, if oneguarantees that for the nextyear, or for two, three, or five years to come,one will make the payment, then itbecomes a guarantee. Once it is within thefiscal year or within the 12 months, it is nomore a guarantee. It is only a guarantee ifit is more than 12 months. That is why weare setting a minimum of 12 months here;it falls within the fiscal year forgovernment.
Mr Speaker, I do notknow what the Ministry seeks to achieve,but I can have a guarantee within a year. My understanding of a guarantee isthat, it is a commitment to fulfil somefinancial obligation, whether it is withinsix months or not, I do not know why theyare limiting it to a year. Some transactionswill require a guarantee for a year. Are wesaying that it is not a guarantee?
That really, is my point.A guarantee is a guarantee.
Mr Speaker, somebodysays that “a guarantee is a shoe”. I do notknow if he is referring to the one he iswearing. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, so, I think that if we putthe time limit on it, it may create a problem.What we should do is that --
Within the fiscal year, onecan make an undertaking. I do not know why you are putting atime limit on it.
Mr Speaker, the intentionhere is that, for the purposes of publicfinancial management and this Act, aguarantee should be an instrument tocommit to a transaction exceeding oneyear.
Hon Member, but thecurrent year in which one issues it for ayear would have authorised one to do so.
Mr Speaker, if the coveredentity has committed to settle a transactionwithin the year and it is within their budget,then that is a normal commitment made,and in the course of the year, they will usetheir budget allotment to settle it.But thatdoes not translate into a guarantee.
The guarantee is just anundertaking to fulfil an obligation. If onewants to do it, it should be guaranteed forone year. Do we need to put it in the Bill? I am asking you, Hon Chairman. Youare the one moving the amendment. Is a guarantee not a guarantee?
Mr Speaker, thisdifferentiates between an obligationwithin a year and beyond.
The Hon Minister cansay that they will not do it within a year,so, it will take two years.
Mr Speaker, once there is abudget approved by Parliament and theMinistry is going to ensure that it is paidfor within a year, it is not a guarantee.
Hon Member, why areyou creating problems for yourself whenthere is no problem? The people who brought the Bill didnot qualify it; and are you going to qualifyit?
Mr Speaker, inthe Bill, “guarantee” means an explicitundertaking by the issuer to guaranteefulfilment of a financial obligation forwhich the guarantee is issued. That is what it should be. But if theyare talking about the fact that it is for thepurposes of this Act, and so, it should bewithin a fiscal year, then they should sayso. It should be that the guarantee meansan explicit undertaking by the issuer toguarantee fulfilment of a financialobligation within a fiscal year.
If the policy is that, onewill not do it within the fiscal year, thenthat should be the policy, so that one willnot do it, such that, anytime one does it,he does it beyond the one year. If that is your policy, then you shouldnot do it. We do not have to legislate thosethings.
Mr Speaker,my understanding is that, for purposes ofpublic financial management in Ghana,when we talk about a guarantee by acovered entity, it is a guarantee whichwould be fulfilled in a period exceedingthe fiscal year.
Hon Member, who makesthe policy?
Mr Speaker, itis the Government.
But the Government didnot put it there?
Mr Speaker, itwas something that they later brought in.This is not the initiative of the Committee.
It is also not the initiativeof the President.
Mr Speaker, itis, so far as it comes from Government.
But is this the Bill thathas come from the President?
Mr Speaker,you know that as a matter of practice,sometimes --
Hon Chairman, why? The Bill itself has not got ten more than12 months, and you are stating that there?
Mr Speaker, theguarantee is in clause 68. The Hon Minister may correct me, butmy understanding of what they are tryingto do is that, they have experience ofentities committing government beyondthe fiscal year.
We have extensivelylegislated on that one. We have madeprovision for it, so, they cannot -- exceptthe Hon Minister.
A government guaranteeis subject to prior approval by Parliament.So, I do not know why we are trying toforce it beyond limits.
Yes, but the point is that,the context in which the word “guarantee”was used in clause 68, which we justreferred to, did not create that impression.So, why would you define it and createthat impression? We are interpreting the word“guarantee” as it is in clause 68. It did notcreate that impression, but you aredefining it to create problems. The onlytime the condition under which ‘guarantee'can be issued --
Mr Speaker, because of thetreatment of Government guarantees andits impact on Government debtsustainability, the intention here is for usto make sure that we issue guarantees thatcommit Government beyond one fiscalyear. Mr Speaker, if it is within the fiscalyear --
Who is going to issuethe guarantee?
Mr Speaker, the Ministryof Finance issues guarantees on behalfof Government.
So, what is yourproblem? If you know that it will create aproblem then do not issue it for less thana year.
Mr Speaker, if for instance,the obligation falls within one calendaryear, then it means he has adequatelycatered for it in the Budget and weshould indeed, expend it out of Budget.We do not necessarily need a Governmentguarantee.
No, look at clause 68.There is a condition precedent before youissue it. That should be enough.
Furthermore, clause 68(4) says they need Parliament's approvaland before we do that, they will have togive us time line.
Look at it, there is acondition precedent. Hon Chairman, withdraw youramendment and let us make progress.
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister should look at clause 68(4). If it requires parliamentary approval,they cannot set the time limit for us.
Hon Chairman, withdrawyour amendment and let us make progress.
Mr Speaker, I would wantHon Akoto Osei to withdraw theamendment on my behalf. [Laughter] -- Mr Speaker, I withdraw the amendment. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “internallygenerated funds”, line 2, delete“government agency” and insert“covered entity” and in line 3, delete“revenue agencies” and insert “GhanaRevenue Authority”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, add the following newinterpretation: “‘Medium Term National DevelopmentPlan' means a set of comprehensivedevelopment programmes, activitiesand projects initiated by theGovernment through Ministries,Departments and Agencies tosupport and give direction to theGovernment efforts;”
This is where you needto put a time limit on “Medium TermNational Development Plan”.
Mr Speaker, thetime limit is at the Interpretation column.It says, “not less than three years and notmore than five years.”
So, it is in the Bill.
Yes, it is in the Bill. Mr Speaker, I have a concern theredespite that. Usually, development plansare of three categories: short-term,medium-term and long-term. This is alegislation, why are we limiting it to themedium-term alone? I do not think --
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, normally, we have short-term,medium-term and long-term plans. Whyare you limiting it to medium-term? Thatis the question posed by the Hon Memberon the floor.
Mr Speaker, this is adefinition of the phrase “Medium TermNational Development Plan”. If we wouldwant to define “Long-Term NationalDevelopment Plan”, it would be differentfrom this.
Is the phrase “LongTerm National Development Plan” not inthe Bill?
It is not in the Bill.
Very well, you havedefined what is in the Bill.
Mr Speaker, it is theusual practice that those coordinatedplans are translated to medium-term three-year rolling plans. It is the usual practiceof all Governments.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto ask the Hon Chairman and the HonRanking Member why it was not relatedto the National Development PlanningCommission (NDPC), because they are incharge of the development of our mediumand long-term national developmentplans. They have not made any referencehere. They have only stated “throughMinistries, Departments and Agencies”which is not how the National MediumTerm Development Plan evolves. Whyhave they not made reference to theNDPC? [Interruption.] It is not here.
It is in the Bill. We havetalked about coordinated programmes.
Hon Members, havingregard to the state of Business in theHouse, I direct that we Sit outside theprescribed period. Hon Members, I will put the Question.
I asked a question.
What is the question?
The question is that,they made no reference to the NDPC. Ithas been stated in the definition that “… projects initiated by theGovernment through the Ministries,Departments and Agencies …” But that is not how the Medium TermNational Development Plan comes intobeing.
Mr Speaker, I am surethe Hon Member has been following theBill. Maybe, he forgot. Earlier, we madereference to coordinated programmes andthese come out of that. We made it subjectto that. [Interruption] -- It is notdifferent; that is what it is.
The point the HonMember raised is that, it is the NDPC thatis in charge of the Medium Term NationalDevelopment Plans. Have you madereference to it in the Bill? Otherwise, areyou going to develop these plans outsidethe NDPC? That is the issue the HonMember raised. I do not think that we candevelop these plans outside the NDPC.
Mr Speaker, reference ismade to Government and the body thatdevelops these plans for Government isthe NDPC. So, it is the NDPC that is goingto develop this plan for Government. Wedo not need to state it here. This isbecause that is the body that developedthe plan for Government.
Mr Speaker, my issue isthat, it would have been better. If we donot state it here, especially, when wehave said: “initiated by Government throughMinistries, Departments andAgencies coordinated by theNational Development PlanningCommission” --
Hon Chairman, do youaccept the involvement of the NDPC? Willthese plans involve the NDPC? That is afundamental question. If it will, then it mayhave to find expression here so that theyare also allowed to perform theirconstitutional function. If it is not, then Iwill put the Question in this form.
Mr Speaker, theconstitutional function is not medium-term. Let us be careful. Let us check. MrSpeaker, earlier in the Bill, we madereference to the coordinatedprogrammes and activities, but themedium-term is not --
Are the coordinatedprogrammes not developed by the NDPC?Is the NDPC not involved in the medium-term?
So is the President,the Ministers and the Ministries. I am notsure of what he means when he says“without making reference to them”. Howdoes it affect the Bill?
Mr Speaker, my proposalis to state “through Ministries, Depart-ment and Agencies, coordinated by theNational Development PlanningCommission”. [Interruption.] It does notchange the Bill. Mr Speaker, there is anagreement here. 2. 00 p.m.
Mr Speaker, hisamendment does not change the Bill, so,you can accept it and go on. --[Interruptions.] He said ‘coordinated' but if we do nothave it there, it does not matter as far as Iam concerned. But if it would help --
Hon Deputy Minister forFinance, do we need it there?
Mr Speaker, I have noobjection.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, after ‘agencies', in line 5, insert‘coordinated to the National DevelopmentPlanning Commission' and before to-- Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei -- rose --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I am notsure if in terms of coordination -- theMinistries have their own coordinatingdepartments. They coordinate their ownprogrammes and projects. So, why do wehave to link this to the NationalDevelopment Planning Commisssion?
Hon Ranking Member?
Mr Speaker -- I amtrying to find the article which mentionsthe National Development PlanningCommission in the Constitution wherearticle 87 states and with your permission,I beg to quote: “(1) The Commission shall advisethe President on developmentplanning policy and strategy.” (2)The Commission shall, at the requestof the President, or Parliament, oron its own initiative — (a) study and make strategicanalyses of macro-economicand structural reform options; (b) Make proposals for thedevelopment of multi-yearrolling plans taking intoconsideration …” That is the part that he is referring to.So, the coordination in that sense, wouldbe by them.
Monitor, evaluate andcoordinate development policies,programmes and projects.
Mr Speaker, since thereis an understanding my amendment --
I want to hear from theHon Member for Sekondi.
Mr Speaker, he has nocomment.
Hon Member for Sekondi,you have the floor.
Mr Speaker, Ihave no intention of saying anything. Ido not think I have anything useful to add.I think the amendment is totallyunnecessary. [Laughter.]
Hon Members, let me putthe Question in this form -- why, haveyou defined the word‘agencies'? Has theBill defined agencies? ‘agencies' canmean NDPC.
Mr Speaker, it cannot beagencies in the sense that, he said,‘initiated by Government throughMinistries, Departments and Agencies.Our understanding of ‘agencies' wouldnot include NDPC. In the normal workings of Government,Mr Speaker, after ‘agencies', I wanted toinsert ‘coordinated by the NDPC'.
Then why are we limitingit to ‘Ministries, Departments andAgencies'?
Mr Speaker, the FinanceCommittee limited it to only Ministries,Departments and Agencies. It is not me.My reference is that, all those plans wouldhave to come through the NDPC beforewe call it a medium-term plan or for thatmatter, a long-term plan.
But is Parliament part ofthe ‘agencies'?
Mr Speaker, they did noteven state it here.
Is the Judiciary part ofthe ‘agencies' by our definition? HonChairman of the Committee, is Parliamentpart of the “agencies” in this definition?
Mr Speaker, I do not thinkParliament is part of the agencies.
So, when we talk aboutMedium-Term National Development Plan,do we eliminate Parliament and otherconstitutional bodies?
Mr Speaker, we cannotdo that. So, we should further amend thisproperly.
Mr Speaker, we can changethe MDAs to read ‘covered entities' sothat, it covers all --
Mr Speaker, I hope wehave made a very useful contribution. Ifwe say ‘covered entities', there is acoordinating mechanism for the coveredentities. The NDPC comes to Parliamentto discuss our medium and long-termplans so that they include it in the nationalplan. That is why I am saying that --
So, if we mention coveredentities, does it include the NDPC?
Yes, then it can includethe NDPC.
So, there is no need touse the NDPC.
Yes, so, it is a better term. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “Medium-Term Fiscal Framework”, line 4, delete“with fiscal results at an aggregate level”. Mr Speaker, the new rendition wouldend at ‘performance'. “Medium-term Fiscal Frameworkmeans an annual rolling-three yearperiod over which the Governmentplans fiscal policy and likely budgetparameters to macro-economicperformance”. So, delete all words after‘performance.' Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Add the following newinterpretation: “‘monetary grants' means non-repayable funds received by acovered entity from an individual,body or institution for use by thecovered entity;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Add the following newinterpretation: “‘monetary policy objective' meansgoals that the credit controlmeasures adopted by the CentralBank of a country seeks toachieve;”
Mr Speaker,we already have monetary policy objectivebut he is proposing that, we add thefollowing new interpretation. But in theBill, there is monetary policy objective.Unless we are deleting the meaning andinserting this one -- [Interruption] --He said, add. If you look at page 69 of the Bill. Wehave, “Monetary policy objective meansexchange rates and interest ratesmanagement that has no directrelation to fiscal policy but mightbe affected by fiscal policyoperations.” So, we have to delete and insert.
Hon Chairman, there is adefinition in the Bill, so, we either delete,insert --
I propose thatafter “monetary” --
Please, which one isbetter, because the impression created bythe Committee is as though there is nodefinition.
Mr Speaker,the Chairman would have to delete andinsert. I propose that after “monetarypolicy objective”, delete all the wordsthereafter and insert the following --
By the way, which one isbetter?
The new one.
The first one is tooconvoluted. It is incorrect. What does thatmean? You cannot understand that one.
Hon Member for Sekondi,move your amendment now.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to move, Add the following newinterpretation: Delete “monetary policy objective' andall the words following and insert thefollowing: “'monetary policy objective' meansgoals that the credit controlmeasures adopted by the Bank ofGhana seeks to achieve;”
Mr Speaker, Isupport the amendment and urge the HonChairman to delete the words “CentralBank” and substitute them with “Bank ofGhana”.
That is what he has done.
Rightly so MrSpeaker. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “multi-yearceilings”, line 3, delete “three to fiveyears” and insert “more than twelvemonths”. Mr Speaker, the new rendition wouldread; “'multi-year ceilings' means theexplicit commitment of Governmentto limit expenditure within theestablished maximum level ofexpenditure for a period of more than12 months.
Why twelve months?
Mr Speaker, because it ismulti-year. So, it should be more than onecalendar year which is twelve months. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “multi-yearcontract”, line 1, before “supplies” insert“goods, works,” and in lines 2 and 3, delete“but not more than five programme years”. Mr Speaker, the new rendition wouldread; “multi-year contract' means acontract for the purchase of goods,works, supplies or services for aperiod of more than one programmeyear.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “multi-yearexpenditure commitment”, delete andinsert the following: ‘“multi-year expenditure commitment'means a contract, transaction, oragreement that binds the Governmentto a financial commitment for morethan one financial year or whichresults in a contingent liability, exceptwhere the financial commitment orcontingent liability is authorised byParliament;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108 -- Interpretation of “otherentities”, line 2, insert “in respect ofachievement of its policies”. Mr Speaker, the new rendition wouldread as follows; “'other entities' means a privateinstitution, an organisation or acompany that is of interest toGovernment in respect of achieve-ment of its policies.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove,clause 108 -- Add the following newinterpretation: “‘prepayment' means thesettlement of a debt or instalment paymentbefore its official due date;” Question put and amendment agreedto
Mr Speaker,I beg to move,clause 108 -- Interpretation of “publicfinances”, line 1, delete “mean” and insert“means”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “resourceenvelope”, delete and insert the following: ‘“resource envelope' means theoverall financial resources availableto Government for the fiscal year.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108 -- Interpretation of “specialfunds”, delete. Mr Speaker, we deleted the use of“special funds” in one of the clauses. It isunder “single treasury account”. So, wedo not use “special funds” any more inthe Bill, therefore we are deleting thedefinition. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “spendingplan”, delete and insert the following: ‘“spending plan' means a strategydocument that contains the cashflow of a covered entity of Govern-ment”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “supplier'scredit agreement”, line 3, delete “goods”and insert “goods, works” and in line 4,“goods” and insert “goods, works”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, Interpretation of “temporaryadvance”, delete. Mr Speaker, “temporary advance” wasalso changed earlier to “prepayment”.So,we are deleting that as well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, with the nextamendment which deals with the“Treasury Single Account”, I would needto verify, so, I would want to skip it. So,that I can move the next amendment whichis clause 108 roman numeral (xlix).
Hon Chairman, are youreinstating it?
Mr Speaker, I would needto verify it first.
Do you have to do morework on it?
Yes, Mr Speaker. I wouldhave to do some work on it. So, I would move the next amendment.
“‘unexpended' means a budgetaryappropriation based on whichcommitment has been made andexpenditure incurred but not yetpaid by the end of the financialyear;” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 108, interpretation of “virement”,line 2, delete “of a covered entity”.
“virement” means the reallocationof funds within the budget from onebudget line to another budget line”. So, it would not include “of a coveredentity”. [Pause] --
Hon Chairman, why areyou deleting “of a covered entity'?
Mr Speaker, once wemention “budget line”, it covers “coveredentity”.
If it is left there, would itcause any harm?
Mr Speaker, the HonMinister for Finance has the power underthe Act, to vire from one covered entity toanother covered entity. But if we say,“within of a covered entity”, it means thatthe virement can only be done for budgetline of that covered entity. The HonMinister cannot vire from one coveredentity to another. So, we are deleting that one, andlimiting it to “budget line”. So, the HonMinister for Finance can vire for onebudget line to another budget line withincovered entity and without covered entity.
Mr Speaker, if it is there,it does not hurt anything.
Very well. So, it should be beyond coveredentity”, so that it can cater for within andbeyond. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon Minister, I agreewith you. Where the Constitution hasprovided a definition, I direct that we usethe terms of the definition provided forby it. [Pause.] Hon Minister, is it “public office”, or“public officer”?
Mr Speaker, in theBill, it is “public officer”, but in theConstitution, it is “public office”. Mr Speaker, further in the Constitution,there are persons outside the publicservice, who by virtue of the offices theyhold are engaged in some public serviceactivity who must also be responsive tothis Act.
Hon Member, would youwant a definition to revolve “publicoffice”?
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve so. So that it captures those notcaptured under article 190, but who are in the Public Service. Especially, thosepersons who are heading Stateinstitutions and public corporations.
Hon Minister, the‘Interpretation Act' has provided adefinition. There is no definition of “publicofficer” in the Constitution, but there is adefinition of “public officer” in theInterpretation Act (Act) 792 of 2009. Andit defines it as; ‘public officer' includes the holderof public office and a personappointed to act in that office;” This is better because, the phrase“public office” is then covered. I direct that we should use thedefinition provided for in the‘Interpretation Act' of a “public officer”.
Mr Speaker, yesterday,there was an issue. It is different but Iwould want to bring it for yourconsideration. Mr Speaker, the reason I would wantto bring it for your kind consideration eventhough you have already given yourdirective is that, there is the evolvingconcept of the politically exposed personsand this concept seems to be capturedunder most of the laws that have to dowith people managing public funds. Thisis something which is now on the trend. Therefore when we talk aboutsomebody holding public office, at theend of the day it is about the managementof public resources and the possibility ofthe person being exposed to all kinds oftemptations -- so that the person mayget into corrupt practices or be bribable. Mr Speaker, that is how come this newand evolving concept seems to be takennotice of when we talk about this law. This is because, at the end of the day,it is to capture what is evolving and whatis already caused.
Mr Speaker, the issuethe Hon Member talks about came upunder the discussion on the Company'sCode. But to the extent that we are doingPublic Financial Management (PFM), theInterpretation Act is what we can use andnot what is being discussed. When it comes to the Company's Codewe would have to deal with that. But withthis one, we would have to deal strictlyby what the Constitution says.
Hon Members, I am notgoing to put the Question on the entireclause 108.
Mr Speaker, I have toabandon the amendment to the definitionof ‘Treasury Single Account' (TSA),which is supposed to be deleted in theOrder Paper. This is because we used theTSA in clause 46.
Therefore, the originalprovision in the Bill stands.
Mr Speaker, yes.
Very well. So, have you withdrawn the amend-ment?
Mr Speaker, I havewithdrawn the amendment.
Very well. Hon Members, in the course of theConsideration Stage, have we used anyterm that we have not defined? If we havenot then I will not put the Question on theclause 108 until we are sure of that. When we come to deal with alloutstanding matters of the Bill, then wecan look at the clause, take a decision andput the Question on clause 108 whichdeals with the interpretation. Clause 109 — Repeals and savings.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 109, subclause (4), line (2), after“relating” insert “to”
This is really a draftingissue anyway, but I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto draw the attention of the Hon Chairmanof the Finance Committee that theConstitutional definition of public serviceis wider than the remit in this —
I have directed that theyshould use the definition in theConstitution. Where there is no definitionin the Constitution, as it is in the caseof ‘public officer' then, they should usethe definition in the Interpretation Act. Clause 109 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 110 — Transitional provisions
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 110, subclause (1), line 1, delete“and” and insert “or”
“An internal audit officer or a publicofficer performing internal auditwork…” Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 110 as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. Clause 111 — Commencement ofsection 90 - 92
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 111, headnote, after “92”, add “and100”.
Hon Chairman, before Iput the Question, what do you intend toachieve by the clause 111?
Mr Speaker, clause 111talks about the commencement of somesections of the Act; that sections 90, 92and 100 shall come into force on the datethat the Minister, by publication in theGazette shall determine. There are specificsections which we want the Minister todetermine effective date through apublication in the Gazette.
Why are you selectingpart of the sections to come into forcewhile some — this is because, if you lookat the provisions of the Constitution,article 106 (11) states which with yourpermission I beg to quote: “Without prejudice to the power ofParliament to postpone theoperation of a law, a bill shall notbecome law until it has been dulypassed and assented to inaccordance with the provisions ofthis Constitution and shall not comeinto force unless it has beenpublished in the Gazette.” The Gazette publication that you haveput here is in line with the Constitution,but why are you selecting part?
Mr Speaker, clause 90 isabout Audit Committee, and in that clause,subclause (2) says, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “For the purpose of subsection (1),the Minister shall by Regulationsspecify (a) the number of Audit Committeesto be established in eachsector; (b) the qualification for appoint-ment to an Audit Committee;”
That is precisely the pointyou made that the kind of things you haveput under Regulations --
Mr Speaker, we are sayingthat the commencement of these sections,that is, 90 shall be determined by theMinister. This is because, he or she woulddo that by Regulation. It does not meanthat when this law comes into force, itwould automatically trigger — thesesections are saved for the Minister to dothat through a Regulation. That is whywe talk about sections 90, 91 and 92 whichis the composition of the Committee. Mr Speaker, I have also realised that—
At the end of the day,after Parliament has passed the Bill, andthe President has assented to it, it wouldhave to be published in the Gazette beforeit comes into operation. So, you would have to publish it in theGazette anyway.
Mr Speaker, that is thepurpose of this clause; that we are savingthe sections 90 to 92, despite thepublication in the Gazette of the entireAct, those sections; sections 90 to 92 canonly come into effect after the Minister,by Regulation, publishes it in a Gazettefor the effective date of those clauses. Mr Speaker, this is because theMinister would then come out todetermine which of the sectors or coveredentities would have the Audit Committeeas we have under section 90. That is thepurpose of clause 111.
Very well. Let me put the Question —
Mr Speaker, before you putthe Question, I have noticed that we havedeleted clause 100, so, I would have toabandon my proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, not onlythat. I believe, maybe, the Rt Hon Speakerwould have to give specific directions onhow he should go about it. This isbecause, other amendments and newclauses might affect the numbering. So,we may have to request the Rt HonSpeaker to do that. Mr Speaker, my main problem is withwhat they have done here.
If we do not pass thoseRegulations, those sections would notcome into force anyway —
Mr Speaker, precisely.This is because, the Hon Member left outclause 106 and why did he do that?
Without the Regulations,those sections would not come into forceanyway. That is the reason I am sayingthat, the Committee and the Ministry mustgo back and look at those items andsections that we want to be handled byRegulations. We need to look at themagain. If we do not look at those areasagain, Parliament would pass it and wewould face implementation challengeswith this Bill.
Mr Speaker, when wewere doing clause 106 (2); if I should read,with your kind permission: “The fiscal impact analysis shall beprepared and submitted inaccordance with the Regulations”. The argument is that, if you have notdone that Regulation, that whole clauseof 106 cannot apply. So, why have younot also brought it under clause 90 toclause 92 and then to clause 106? As MrSpeaker said earlier, there may be manymore that we have subjected toRegulations that we would need to comeup appropriately.
If the Regulations do notcome, they would not come into effectanyway. Are you not getting the point?You would have to come for twenty-oneSitting days, go back and prepare it withintwenty-one Sitting days and lay it hereand then we gazette it and wait for twenty-one Sitting days before it comes intooperation. Anyway, if you would want me to putthe Question, I would put it. If you wouldwant me to leave it like this, I would, andif you want me to delete it, I would dosame.
Mr Speaker, I agree that wedelete clause 111 so that I propose a newamendment. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 111,delete. Question put and amendment agreedto. [Clause 111 deleted by leave of theHouse] The Schedule -- Accounts to besubmitted.
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to know, does this Schedule reallybelong to the Law here? These are thingsthat do not belong in the Law per se in myview. We should put them in theRegulations, but you go and put thewhole list up to paragraph (q); of whattype of account should be submitted inthe law? -- I do not know -- Assumingthat you have left something out. You cannot be sure that everythingthat is needed -- supposing some newthings come up that you have notanticipated. I think you should look at itagain. We are not doing an examination inaccountancy, what is this?
Once we have not deletedit and it remains in the Bill, we have totake it. We have section 84 which remainsin the Bill which makes reference to theBill for now. When you decide to maybetake it through a Second ConsiderationStage and subsequently delete it, thenyou may have to. But now that sections84 and 85 -- I have made cross referenceto it, we would have to take it for now. Hon Chairman of the Committee -- Wehave only one Schedule.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,the Schedule, subclause 1, paragraph (f),delete and insert the following: “relevantnotes to the account”. Mr Speaker, we are deleting paragraph(f) and making it “relevant notes to theaccount”. Alhaji Dey Ibrahim Abubakari -- rose--
Yes, Hon AlhajiAbubakari?
Mr Speaker, I havea problem with the word “consolidated”because when you say that the balancesheet showing the consolidated assetsand then consolidated statement of thecash flow --
That is not the amendment.
Mr Speaker, I know.I have a problem with that one.[Interruption.]
There is a particularamendment there which has been movedplease. Let me put the Question on thatone and if there is another one in TheSchedule which you have a problem with,then you can move an amendment. Question put and amendment agreedto. Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, the amendmentas captured on the Order Paper did notactually capture the intention of theCommittee. I would abandon them andpropose a new amendment. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, theSchedule, paragraph (g) to (p), delete. Mr Speaker, this is because we havedeleted paragraph (f) already. We aredeleting all of them and that would betaken care of by “relevant notes to theaccount” which will take care of all ofthose Schedules.
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, are you sure that the ordinarypeople would understand?
Mr Speaker, yes. --
Mr Speaker, you made avery relevant statement -- would theordinary person understand it? Probably,not. That is why in the Interpretation, theChairman should state and define fromwhere they are deleting it and state anddefine “relevant notes of the account”and put these things there.[Interruption.] Which book would I find “relevantnotes to the account”? [Interruptions.]
Hon Members, please,you know that legislation is for theordinary people of this country and thatif they take the document, they shouldunderstand the document.
Mr Speaker, all I amsuggesting is that, if the Hon Chairmanbelieves what he believes, what he saidto you that when you say “relevant notesof the account”, it means paragraphs (g)to (p). He should put “relevant notes ofthe account” in the Interpretation andmake these references so that we cancontinue.
Mr Speaker, “notes to theaccount”, after the preparation of theaccount, the basis upon which theaccount --
Hon Member, the pointhe made is that, if you put it as “relevantnotes to the account”, you would have tooffer a definition. So, when we come backto clause 108, that gives a certain roughand general idea about notes to theaccount. It is a term of Act.
Mr Speaker, I do not thinkthat we need to define “notes to theaccount.” We are making the law for all ofus and I do not think that when we aremaking the law that covers medicine, weshould define every term in medicine inthe law.
Hon Member for KetuNorth, are you the one making thisstatement? [Laughter.] You are totallywrong. Hon Member for Wa West, they usedthe term, “relevant notes to the account”.[Interruption.] Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, what the HonMember for Manhyia South implies is thathe does not want the Accountants to dotheir work. Mr Speaker, this is a law --
Please, are you passingthe law to create jobs for a certainprofession? For now, please, go and rethink youramendment and come back. [Interruption.] Hon Members, order! I defer the Schedules. I will not put theQuestion. I am also deferring the LongTitle. Go and take all the outstandingmatters still pending, resolve them and
Yes, Hon Dr Appiah-Kubi? [Interruption.] There is no matterbefore us. So, what do you want tocomment on?
Mr Speaker, it isabout the Bill.
If it is about the Bill, deferit. We have not finished the ConsiderationStage. When we come back, then you canraise it.
Mr Speaker, I wouldjust want to offer some information.
We would come back. Is it on this Bill?
Yes, Mr Speaker, itconcerns this particular Bill.
Yes, we would come back.We have not completed the ConsiderationStage. So, when we come back to considerit, I will give you the chance to raise theissue you would want to raise. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what isthe sense of the House?
Mr Speaker, the sense ofthe House is for us to have an hoursuspension.
Hon Members, everybody'sconsole has the same time. So, let me use it. It is 2.49 p.m., roughly 3.00 o'clock. So,we would be back at 4.00 o'clock. The House is suspended for one hour. Yes?
Mr Speaker, yesterday,we suspended for one hour and weresumed in two hours. So, I hope that thistime --
Yes, but Hon Members,if we would want to stay here -- I have my target of Business I wouldwant to take. Hon Members, one hour means onehour. It is better because, this morning,for example, when I was there waiting toenter the Chamber, there was nobody hereas at 10.00 o'clock. It is also important that we close earlyand come back early. So, the earlier westart the better for us.
Mr Speaker, we on theFinance Committee have a number ofchallenges. There are a number of referralsto the Committee but we do not havetime to consider them.
Hon Chairman of theFinance Committee, come and do the Bankof Ghana (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at 4.00o'clock. We would take it for about twohours and then you can go and do yourreferrals so that we can take some otherlegislations.
Mr Speaker, that is if westart in exactly one hour from now.
Yes, we have to. The HonFirst Deputy Speaker is here. If for any reason he is not here, I wouldbe back at 4.00 o'clock. But the Hon FirstDeputy Speaker is here, and I believe, theHon Second Deputy Speaker is alsoaround. So, 4.00 o'clock means 4.00 o'clock.[Interruption.] Whoever takes over, either theDeputies or myself, by 4.00 o'clock, theperson would be Sitting here. 2.55 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 4.40 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
Yes, HonDeputy Majority Leader, I believe wewould take the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Mr Speaker, we have twoor three Papers to present before we go tothe main agenda. Mr Speaker, with your permission, wecan take item numbered 4 (c) on themain Order Paper -- page 3.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 4 (c) ontoday's Order Paper by the Hon Chairmanof the Committee.
Mr Speaker, it is a jointCommittee, how can they say “a Reportby the Committee on Mines and Energy”?
HonMembers, please, let us have some order.In order to save time, I believe we can granthim leave to amend orally so that whenthe Report is distributed, it would havethe right rendition by way of theCommittees responsible. Does the Report have the truerendition? It is by a joint Committee, butfor laying purposes, please, ask for leaveto amend it and then we will grant it.
MrSpeaker, I seek your leave for anamendment to item numbered 4 (c) on theOrder Paper to read as Report of thejoint Committee on Mines and Energy andFinance.
Very well. Leave granted.Table Office?
Mr Speaker, we can nowproceed to the Bank of Ghana (Amendment)Bill, 2016, item numbered 47, page 34 onthe Order Paper.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 47 onthe Order Paper -- Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill, 2016 at the Considera-tion Stage.
HonChairman of the Committee, could yourefresh our memory?
Mr Speaker, we couldstart from clause 6 which was stood downyesterday.
Very well. Hon Members, clause 6.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 6, add the following newsubsection 10: “(7) The members, other than theGovernor and the two DeputyGovernors shall be paidappropriate allowances to bedetermined by the Board inconsultation with the Minister.” Mr Speaker, the Bank determines theallowances to be paid by the Bank to themembers of the Board with the exceptionof the Governor and his two Deputies. This is done in consultation with theHon Minister before the allowances couldbe paid.
Very well. Dr Prempeh -- rose --
Mr Speaker, yesterday, adebate went on about this same issue andI wonder why the Finance Committee isbringing it back without an amendment. Itwas in relation to the Board of the Bankof Ghana determining its ownremunerations. I thought we made somesuggestions for further amendments.
Mr Speaker, a number ofBoards determine their own salaries inconsultation with the Hon Minister forFinance. The Board of the Ghana Revenue Authority determines their allowances inconsultation with the Hon Minister forFinance. So, the Bank of Ghanadetermining the allowances of themembers of the Board in consultation withthe Hon Minister for Finance is not anexception. We should accept it.
HonMember, at least, there is the requirementof a consultation with the Hon Minister. Ido not know if --
Mr Speaker, innormal corporate governance, it is theAnnual General Meeting that determinesand fixes the allowances and remunerationof Board members. Here, one could saythat the Annual General Meeting isrepresented by the Hon Minister. Normally, the remuneration isrecommended by the Board itself to theAnnual General Meeting. So, I think therendition is in accord with good corporategovernance, particularly, in this casewhere the Bank of Ghana is independent. So, I urge my Hon Colleague in thiscircumstance to accept it. Mr Speaker, Ijust want to ask; I know that the Governorand the Deputies are full time employeesand so, they are paid salaries, et cetera.And I know that, when there are meetings,sitting allowances are paid. With this, theyattend a meeting of a Board, then they arepaid a sitting allowance, but they are notpaid remuneration as members of theBoard. With this rendition, it means theywould not be paid any allowances. Thatis what this means and I believe that it isalso proper because they are remuneratedhandsomely and they would not workextra by attending Board meetings. Mr Speaker, in this I support theamendment proposed by the HonChairman.
Very well. Hon Members, I would put theQuestion. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 6 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
I believe wewould move to clause 18. Is that right? Clause 18 --
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 18, section 46 (a) subsection (1),lines 2 and 3, delete “non-bank financialinstitution” and insert “specialiseddeposit-taking institutions”. Mr Speaker, the Banks and SpecialisedDeposit-Taking Institutions Bill whichwas passed in this House has a new nameor designation for non-bank financialinstitutions. All of them are grouped underwhat we call specialised deposit-takinginstitutions. Mr Speaker, so, the amendment is todelete “non-bank financial institutions”and substitute it with “specialised deposit-taking institutions”. Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah -- rose --
HonAssibey-Yeboah, you were up?
Mr Speaker, thiswas the same amendment that was movedlast night and I drew the attention of theHouse to the fact that the intendment ofthe deletion of the phrase, “non-bank
Yes, HonChairman, how do you respond to that?
Mr Speaker, that is thereason the rendition in the Bill says: “The Bank may ...” -- This gives discretion to the Bank todetermine which of these non-bankfinancial specialised deposit-takinginstitutions qualifies. Mr Speaker, if we want to provide alist, we would end up providing a list ofall specialised deposit-taking institutions.
Mr Speaker, forexample, there is the real fear that if weleave it in the current rendition, theDiamond Microfinance (DKM) couldapply. They may legitimise an illegality.First of all, under normal circumstances -- I think it should be banks. The problemwe have in Ghana, is that, some savingsand loans companies are bigger thansome of our banks, and legitimately, if wedo not save them -- So, I am willing to include the savingsand loans and some finance houses likethe CDH Financial Holdings Limited withsome minimum capitalisation. But it is notevery specialised deposit-takinginstitution that they would want to save.Some of them should not be around,anyway. We do not want to give too muchdiscretion in this sense. That is why havingthe entire list of specialised deposit-taking institutions is not the best. We should take the decision on whichones, if they collapse, could affect thefinancial system. I am only in to beg that,some savings and loans companies, ifthey do not save -- So, we might want to set some limit ofcapital that is sufficient enough. But ifsome microfinance with three hundredGhana cedis are told to go and save, thatwould be very dangerous because thereare over two thousand of them. But we donot want that. We would want thefinancial system to be solid. So, weshould think about some level ofcapitalisation that would help us.
Mr Speaker, I agree withthe Hon Ranking Member that we need toprovide a minimum capitalisation that ifone's capital base is from a certain amountand above, he would qualify, so that wewould eliminate those we think are notstrong enough. We could continue. Wewould ask the bank to give us a minimumcapitalisation figure which we could insertin the law.
So, weshould step it down. Is that right? Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I stillcannot understand why they would wantto include some non-bank financialinstitutions. The Hon Ranking Memberhas indicated that, there are some savingsand loans institutions which are biggerthan banks. If they are bigger than banks,you should encourage them to becomebanks, they would qualify. So, we should be very cautious,especially, in giving such latitude to theBank of Ghana (BoG) to decide whoshould be included or not. Perhaps, thiscapitalisation limit which he is talkingabout might resolve the problem. But Iwould say that, as far as possible, wewould want the non-bank financialinstitutions to gradually graduate intobanks. There would be new ones which wouldtake their places. If the savings and loanscompanies are as big as the Hon RankingMember claims, then it is ourresponsibility to encourage them tobecome banks and for others to take theirplaces. There must be certain limits thatwe must set.
Mr Speaker, they canconsult the term they have used in linethree which I read, with your permission: “institutions which the bank hasdetermined to be illiquid butsolvent”. Mr Speaker, this is recipe for disaster.What do we mean by “illiquid butsolvent”? So, we are going to open theavenue for only the Bank, without anystated objective criteria to determinewhom we are going to help. As we go on, they should give us abetter ratio of what they mean by “illiquidbut solvent.” When they know thecapitalisation and what has happened.When the ratio is 0.7 or something else, itwould help, but this description,”illiquidbut solvent,” what does it mean?
Yes, HonDeputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, what wemeant here was to ensure that the CentralBank would be in the position to providesome liquidity to support some of thebanks that are liquid but solvent. Mr Speaker, the intention here was notonly to limit it to the banks. Sometimes,we have some of the specialised deposit-taking institutions that are bigger thansome of the banks. I know of savings andloans and finance houses which are biggerthan some of the “high street” banks. Itdoes not mean that, if they need someliquidity support, the Central Bank shouldnot be in a position to assist. In fact, what we are trying to do here isto encourage the Central Bank to providesome element of liquidity support.Normally, these supports are given tobanks and specialised deposit-takinginstitutions that are big enough to fail.
Yes, can wehear from the Hon Member for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker, toenable the BoG to be effective, they needto be empowered to effectively implementlegislations that confer power on them.But the history of the BoG itself does notgive us comfort to leave these things tothe Bank. These days, I am scared ofgiving discretion to authorities bylegislation. Others might refer to the provisions ofthe Constitution on discretionary powers,et cetera, but those clauses are honouredin the breach rather than in theirconformity. So, the spirit behind this is not too bad.However, I do not think the BoG has theresource to be helping banks. If you look at the conditions, it is notexhaustive enough. It says, the terms andconditions include requirement for theBanks or non-banks to provide adequatecollateral. The tenure of the emergencyliquidity assistance and interestchargeable, in my view those are noconditions. They are ordinary conditions.So, we have to include more stringentconditions and narrow the level ofdiscretion in the sense that it is not everyDKM Microfinance Limited that could saythat. For the Hon Deputy Minister to saythat we need to help local banks -- I wouldsuggest to the Hon Deputy Minister thatwhat the country needs to do is toencourage local banks to amalgamate. Wedo not want small banks that cannot raiseten million United States dollars on theirown, unless they syndicate or it isthrough foreign banks. If he is talkingabout supporting local banks, let usencourage the local banks to become bigand competitive and not to be virtuallyone man businesses. So, Mr Speaker, I believe the principlebehind this is not too bad, but please, letus get more comprehensive conditions.
Very well,the last contribution. I think, finally, wewould defer the consideration of thisparticular clause for the Committee to takea second look at it and come back.
Mr Speaker, first, let usremember that, this provision is not inthe current Act. Second, banks are generally wellsupervised by the Bank of Ghana and Ido not recall the Bank of Ghana allowingany banks to fail, which is normal. Mr Speaker, what happened was that,we introduced a new objective whichsays, “The Bank shall contribute to thepromotion and maintenance offinancial stability in the country”. Mr Speaker, when that is done,consequentially, something has to bedone to save the banks. So, that clausedeals with banks and non-bank financialinstitutions. So, the question is, the Bankof Ghana itself has been encouraged notto go in the area of specialised deposit-taking institutions for obvious reasons.They brought in something calledEmergency Liquidity Assistance. Mr Speaker, the UT Bank recently gotinto trouble and the Bank of Ghana wentin, had a receiver and the problem is beingsolved. I recall when I was on the Boardof Merchant Bank, the Governor called usand we got the shareholders to recapitaliseand Merchant Bank did not close down atthat time. When Agricultural DevelopmentBank (ADB) has trouble, Bank of Ghanawould do it. Mr Speaker, for banks, it is all right.The problem with these other specialiseddeposit-taking institutions is that, thesupervision is very weak. So, we shouldencourage people to move to the banks. Then when the Bank goes in to help them,because it has been supervising them verywell, it would be easier. Mr Speaker, so, I would suggest thatwe take out, the ‘specialised deposit-taking' institutions and leave it at thebanks. It would make financial stabilitybetter. Once we include them and we leaveroom for discretion, we would be headingtowards some dangerous ground. I urgethe Minister to have the Bank of Ghanado this only for banks. That wouldencourage these finance houses whowant to stay there -- I do not know why-- to move gradually to become banks;then they would be well-supervised sothat, when they are in trouble, they canbe helped.
Very well. I think that we would have to defer thefurther consideration of clause 18. This isbecause, looking at the otheramendments, they are almost on all fourswith the earlier one as a result of whichwe have to defer this.
Mr Speaker, I just want tobring this suggestion and see if it wouldbe accepted by the House. First, the issuethat is of concern is, what type ofspecialised deposit-taking institutionwould qualify? Second, the determination of the bankis also another issue. I have a newrendition to limit the specialised deposit-taking institutions to only specialiseddeposit-taking institutions other than themicro-finance institutions.
HonChairman, let us not be in a hurry. Let usdefer the further consideration of clause18 for the Committee to go back, take asecond look and then come back to us. So, Hon Members, we move on toclause 23.
Mr Speaker, yesterday,when we got to clause 23, the argumentwas that we should not subject this partto the Constitution. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 23,section 68A, line 1, delete “Subject to theprovisions of the Constitution”.
“Where there is any conflictbetween this Act and any otherenactment relating to banking andrelated matters, the provisions ofthis Act shall prevail.” Mr Speaker, we also removed the“finance”. So, the amendment which hasnot been advertised is the removal of the“finance”.
Mr Speaker, I raised anissue; perhaps, we need your guidanceon this. We have just passed a newBanking Bill, which is separate from theBank of Ghana Act. If I read this provision,we are making this supersede in case thereis inconsistency. But there werefundamental changes in the Banking Billthat this may not have anticipated. So, myinterpretation was that, if there is a conflictbetween the new Banking Act and thisBank of Ghana Act, this Bank of GhanaAct is not a banking matter per se. It is aBank of Ghana matter and not a bankingmatter. The language here relates to banking.In relation to banking, the superior Act isthe Banking Act. So, I am worried. Wherebanking is concerned, what we are doinghere concerns the Bank of Ghana's roleas a regulator. But the Banking Act isseparate. So, if we use “relating tobanking” and we make Bank of Ghana'sRegulation, I have a problem.
Yes, HonMember for Wa West, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, the Bank ofGhana Act is the one creating theregulator and because that is theregulator, the Act itself must supersedeany other Act. This is because even as hetalks about banking, it is the Bank ofGhana that supervises and regulates allthe other banks. That is my lay person'spoint of view. Mr Speaker, with the issue that heraised about which Act is superior, thesimple reason is that, in future, when weare dealing with the Banking Act, we canalso say that, it is presumed that, anyrecent law that seems to be contradictingthe earlier law means the law makers havechanged their minds. So, we would havechanged our minds to allow the BankingAct to supersede this. However, my argument is that, becausethis is the regulator, this Act should reallybe supreme.
Mr Speaker, Iagree with the point made by the HonMember for Wa West. We are thelegislators and we are saying that wherethere is any conflict between this Act andany other enactment relating to banking,finance and related matters, the provisionof this Act must prevail. We have agreedand deleted “finance”. I do not think thereis anything wrong with that.
Mr Speaker, my twosenior “Mugabe” Members of Parliamenthave spoken and I yield to them.[Laughter.]
Very well.Hon Members, I would -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,for purposes of the records, I am no longera “Mugabe”. This is because I havevoluntarily relinquished my seat.[Laughter.] The Hon Member for WaWest accepts that he is not only aMugabe, he is this other person, that shortPresident, Omar Bongo. This is becausehe says that unless his people decide thatthey no longer want him, he would stayon till he dies.
But HonMember, do not forget that you are stillthe sitting Member of Parliament[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, Iam the sitting Member of Parliament but Iam just paving way for my successor.[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, when my HonColleague said “that short man”, he wasdirectly looking at me. [Laughter.] In thiscountry, we know only one short man, andhe knows it. He knows who we refer to asa short man. [Laughter.]
But he didnot mention any name.
Mr Speaker, Isaid a President, Omar Bongo. Mugabe isnot a Ghanaian, Omar Bongo is not aGhanaian.
In Ghana, there is onlyone short man.
I do not knowthat man. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I am not a“Mugabe”, because this is my third termthat I am serving, and I want my people torenew my mandate for the fourth term. Onwhat the Hon Member said about dyingin Parliament, no! [Laughter.] In fact,
Mr Speaker, yesterday, Iraised the issue that, this particular clause68 (a) purports to create a situation wherethere would be a reversal of the principlethat; where there is a conflict, theprovisions of a latter Act prevails againstthat of an earlier Act. That was one of the reasons thisparticular proposal was flagged. Theamendment as it stands now, causes thesame problem. So, Mr Speaker, if we could qualify“enactment” with the preceding words“existing enactment”, then I believe wewould preserve that rule of law.
But HonMember, is there anything wrong with thelegislature deciding that a particular Actif there is a conflict supersedes any otherenactment? Are we prevented from doingthat?
Mr Speaker, that would alsohappen to be in conflict with anotherprinciple that, a Parliament cannot bindits successor.
Mr Speaker,we are not binding our successor. Wehave enacted this law. Tomorrow we couldamend it. So, what is the Hon Member
Mr Speaker, if it does notcome before the House for theamendment, then whatever the House hasenacted would prevail, and it is wrong.
At any time,we could decide to amend this one forsome other enactment to supersede, ifthere is a conflict.
Mr Speaker, I believe theconcern he is expressing should not bethere. We cannot bind any Parliament, andas I said earlier in my presentation, anytime a law is being passed and we want itto supersede this one, we would say so.By implication we would be amending thispart by that decision, and the latest oneas I said, the lawmakers have changed theirmind and decided that it should be adifferent thing altogether.
MrSpeaker, I believe this Parliament has donethat on several occasions, because thatis the general principle; later Acts if theyare inconsistent with earlier Acts, areamended to the extent of the incon-sistency. That is the principle, so, the onlyway we can deviate from the principle isto provide for it. Now everybody knows that we aredeviating from the principle and sayingthat, in relation to this particular activity, this Act supersedes. We are right. Wehave done it, and he knows that we havedone it in several Acts in this House. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 23 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, new clause, add the following newprovision: “Reporting to Parliament (1) The Bank of Ghana shall submit anannual report to Parliament; (2) The report shall include: (a) the conduct of activities in theexercise of the mandate of theCentral Bank under section 4; (b) any other relevant functionsbeing exercised by the CentralBank under various Acts ofParliament.” Yesterday after consultation, Imodified it.
Mr Speaker, I wouldlike to plead with my Hon Colleague toslightly amend his proposal, the newclause 1; “The Bank of Ghana shall submita semi-annual report”, as opposed toannual reports. Activities of the CentralBank are quite important. If we wait for ayear to be informed, we may missinformation that may be useful to ourwork, so, just as the Hon Minister comestwice, it would be useful for us to haveinformation on the conduct of monetarypolicy, at least, twice.
Twice a year, so “shallsubmit a semi-annual report to Parlia-ment”.
Is it bi-annual?
Bi-annual would be fine.
HonMember for Wa West? Hon Chairman, Iwould come to you.
Mr Speaker, finally,clause 2 (b), I believe 2 (b) is too general,if he could take it off without any materialdamage to the intention ; “any otherrelevant functions being exercised by theCentral Bank under various Acts ofParliament”. That is too general. So, Mr Speaker, we have; “The Bankof Ghana shall submit a bi-annual reportto Parliament, which shall include…” asopposed to “which shall include (a)”. AndI am pleading that we leave out (b).
Mr Speaker, bi-annual istwo years. It should be “semi” so, if yousay “bi-annual”, you are talking aboutevery two years.
He used theword “semi” and I rather suggested “bi-annual”.
Mr Speaker, I would wantus to look at article 184 of the Constitution.It reads: (1) “The Committee of Parliamentresponsible for financial measuresshall monitor the foreign exchange…” (2) “The Bank of Ghana shall, not laterthan three months -- (a) after the end of the first sixmonths of its financial year;and (b) after the end of its financialyear; submit to the Auditor-General for audit, a statementof its foreign exchangereceipts and payments ortransfers in and outsideGhana. (3) The Auditor-General shall, not laterthan three months after thesubmission of the statement referredto in clause (2) of this article, submithis report to Parliament on thestatement.” (4) Parliament shall debate the reportof the Auditor-General and appoint,where necessary, in the publicinterest, a committee to deal withany matters arising from the report.”
This one is being donereligiously. Ours is not audited; ours isthe raw data. The problem we have had,as you know, is that in their Act, it doesnot say “submit”. It says they shall beresponsible to Parliament and we have nottaken them on to get the report. I do not recall the last time a report onthis came. We are correcting thatoperational lacuna by saying “submit”.That way, the Finance Committee can doits work and submit to the House. So far, Ido not recall the last time we did it.
Mr Speaker, I support theamendment that Hon Prempeh made. Thereason is that, if you look at theconstitutional bodies that we havecreated, each one of them brings theirannual report to Parliament. That is why Iwould want us as Parliament to get annualreports from BoG separate from theprovision that is in the Constitution.
Let us takeour time. Let me hear from you and thenfrom the Hon Member for Sekondi. HonChairman of the Committee, you will havethe last bite of the cherry.
Mr Speaker,talking about the report of BoG, BoGprepares annual reports. It prepares themin addition to that quarterly reports ormonthly reports. Is the report that we aredemanding from BoG going to be a specialone or it is going to be the normal annualreport that BoG prepares?
That one issubmitted to the Auditor-General.
No! It prepares anannual report of its activities and thesereports are widely circulated.
Does it cometo Parliament?
That is what I amasking. Is it going to be a special reportmeant for Parliament alone or the annualreport of its --
HonMember, we would want to exercise someoversight responsibility because, wewere all taken aback by these problemswe had lately. We believe that, with anarrangement like that, we would be in aposition to monitor.
Mr Speaker,under the Constitution, BoG is anindependent body. However, unlike otherindependent constitutional bodies, we donot have that much opportunity to havean interface. Mr Speaker, they deal with amajor of our country's financial andeconomic standing. As Parliament, we donot have that opportunity to have aninterface. Mr Speaker, in other countries, even inthe United States, BoG has an interfacewith the Senate. [Interruption.]
Ehh, UnitedStates, BoG?
I am sorry, theFederal Reserve -- [Laughter.] They holdpublic hearings but we do not have it here. But in this country, anytime youattempt any innovation, people will tellyou that, it is not in the Constitution; thereis no law binding us. We have theopportunity now to encourage BoG tohave an interface. So, when they talk aboutmonetary policy, we are not controllingthem but they do not even brief the House.They have never come to brief theCommittee. No! They will never take theinitiative and it is part of Ghanaian culture. The Hon Chairman of the Committee isaware that, I have expressed a lot of worrybut he will tell you that, there is no lawwhich compels us as a Committee to invitethem. This is to serve as an avenue wherewe would then have an interface. It isimportant. We are not controlling them;we are not regulating them but it isimportant that we exercise some sort ofoversight and have an interface. As for the annual report, it is just like abrochure where you have thephotographs of board members and soforth. Is that what we are talking about?That is not what we are talking about.
HonMember, those things are not justbrochures. They contain solid information.
Mr Speaker, itis just like the annual report of a company.So, if you are exercising oversight, that isthe annual report. You will find theGovernor and the Deputies' faces, as wellas the members of the Board. That iscirculated to the general public; that isnot what we are interested in. I am surethis will not be a controversial amendmentas the Hon Chairman himself affirms.
Mr Speaker, BoGprepares monthly reports. It goes to theBoard of the Bank. Then they would havequarterly reports and semi-annual reports. These reports will talk about economicdevelopments, and prospects for thefuture. So, all that we require of them is tosubmit semi-annual reports, which wouldbrief us on happenings in the economy,and it happens everywhere. So, HonMembers should support these amend-ments, so that we will get reports from thebanks, and be better informed abouthappenings in the economy. Every six months, we get a report, andproper referral is made and we would havean interface with the Bank and putquestions where necessary.
HonMembers, I am beginning to get the trend.I think that most Hon Members are insupport of this amendment, but it is aquestion of whether it should be doneonce a year or twice a year.
Mr Speaker, we need to beclear on what we mean, by ‘annualreports or semi-annual reports. If we talkabout annual reports, we are talking abouta report that contains audited accountsof the entity. That was not what we weretalking about. We should define what wemean by annual report, so that we knowclearly, what we want from the Bank ofGhana. Once we mention annual report, theannual report of an entity or anorganisation, is the report of thatorganisation on the activities of thatorganisation, including the financialstatement audited by the Auditor-General.That is the definition of annual report.
I will gethim to respond to that, but let us listen toother contributors.
Mr Speaker, I wouldjust want to answer him, so that we moveforward. It is there under section (4) ofthe Act -- the functions of Bank of Ghana.This is there, but not the regular annualreport that the Hon Member talks about.The conduct of activities in the exerciseof the mandate of the Central Bank, undersection (4) specific. Section (4) lists thefunctions, and that is what he talks about.I mean section (4) in the current Act. Thatis what he is talking about. Mr Speaker, while I am on my feet --the Bank of Ghana's work is not like thework of any organisation. The MonetaryPolicy Committee meet six times in a yearto determine monetary policy whichaffects you and I. It will be too late, if wewait for a year, it will be too late. That waswhy I said summer. I am willing to go alongwith the summer, but if we wait for toolong, we will not know what is happening.
HonMember, we will come to that issue, butlet us settle on whether or not we wantsome kind of a report to be submitted toParliament. After we have agreed on that,then we will look at how often it shouldbe. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, andHon Member for Pru?
Mr Speaker, I have listenedto my Hon Colleague; the Hon PapaOwusu-Ankomah. Mr Speaker, we havesome independent institutions, like theJudiciary, the Electoral Commission, theNational Media Commission, et cetera.Parliament exercises oversight responsi-bility over those institutions, yet I do notsee those institutions reporting toParliament. For instance, their report, to the bestof my knowledge, goes to the Auditor-General, which the Public AccountsCommittee (PAC) debates and Parliamentcan ask any of those institutions to comeand brief it, as it happens with theElectoral Commission (EC). I do not see what this amendment seeksto do actually, by saying that Bank ofGhana must report to Parliament. I wouldwant to know if that report is different fromwhat we normally see other institutionsdo. If they do, then what it is asking for, inmy mind, is different from what theseindependent bodies are doing. We do nothave any arrangement that those peoplemust report directly to Parliament --
We arecreating that through this. When this problem arose, you realisedhow the constituents attacked us as HonMembers of Parliament to find solutionsto their problems. So, we need to have away to have an interface with them, sothat we know what is going on.
Mr Speaker, the bestexample I can give is the Judiciary. Whereis their report to Parliament?
HonMember, I do not think you mean thatthere are no such reports. The reports aresubmitted. It depends on what we wouldwant to use the reports for.
They are, but I am sayingthat by this amendment, he is saying thatthe Bank of Ghana shall report toParliament. [Interruption.]
Very well. Hon Member for Pru and then HonAlhaji Dey Abubakari.
Mr Speaker,while we are talking about the Bank ofGhana, we should also look at the dualityof its role -- Bank of Ghana as the Bankto the Government of Ghana, and Bank ofGhana as a regulator. If we look at almost all other regulatorybodies, such as the Petroleum Com-mission, they are required by their law, tosubmit an annual report to Parliament. So,let us see the Bank of Ghana in itsregulatory role. As a regulator, if they donot submit a report, then who supervisesthe regulator? We should look at it in thatcontext.
Mr Speaker, I thinkthat there is nothing wrong with askingthe Bank of Ghana to submit an annualreport. Annual Report is comprehensiveby itself. There is no annual report, whichdoes not have the Auditor's report. Anyannual report contains an audited report.We can check it. There is no annual reportwithout audited report. Since Bank of Ghana gives half yearlyreceipts and payments, they can alsosubmit annual reports at the end of everyyear, and that will suffice it. As far as I amconcerned, there is no annual reportwithout an audited report. We can checkit.
HonMembers, time is not on our side. Let usexpeditiously deal with this matter. TheHon Chairman asked a question, which I think is important. He asked for the typeof report we are asking for. I think that wewould need to deal with that.
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to clarifysome of these issues that are going on. The Bank of Ghana has, like the HonDr Kwabena Donkor said, a regulatoryrole, and is the Bank to the Government,but its role goes beyond that. If we lookat the mandate, where it is to stabilise thecurrency, the financial environment andto make sure that the financial systemworks, the kind of report that I think weshould require, as is the practice in otherjurisdictions, is the Monetary PolicyReport. It is not -- [Interruption] -- theoperational or annual reports or report ofits activities that become historical. Akin to the Budget Statement, whichthe Ministry of Finance comes here topresent, every economy is being managedon two fronts -- the Budget Statementlooking at the real sector, and governmentrevenue spending and creating whatevergap. It is the Bank of Ghana's role to lookat it, and formulate an appropriatemonetary policy that would achieve themandate we give it. If we keep it on the blind side and donot know whether the Monetary PolicyCommittee's remit is sufficient enough tocreate the target that are set in the Budget,we will not be doing the oversight so wellto be sure that the Bank of Ghana achievesits mandate as part of the --
HonMember, I want us to come to an abruptstart. What kind of report do you proposethey present to us?
Mr Speaker, monetarypolicy report as is the practice in severaleconomies is to give the signal whetherthe monetary policy formulated, which isa forward looking statement, is adequateto achieve the mandate we have givenBank of Ghana to stabilise the economyand the financial system.
HonMinister for Roads and Highways?
Mr Speaker, you askeda simple question: what report is he talkingabout? The report is there. Mr Speaker,unless we are not reading the amendment;the amendment says, ‘the Bank of Ghanashall submit an annual report --'[Interruption]-- So, the nature of thereport has been defined in the --[Interruption.]
Yes, HonMember, propose your amendment and wewould hear from the Hon Deputy Minister.
Mr Speaker, I want toread section 4 of the Bank of Ghana Act. “Formulate and implement monetarypolicy aimed at achieving theobjects of the bank”. Mr Speaker, it sinks well with what theHon Member for Effia said. That is onlyone. “Promote monetary measures,stabilisation of the value of thecurrency within and outside Ghana; Institute measures which are likelyto have a favourable effect on thebalance of payment, state of financeand the general development of thenational economy; Regulate, supervise and direct thebanking and credit system andensure the smooth operation of thefinancial sector; Promote, regulate and supervisepayment and settlement systems.”
“Support the general economy ofthe Government; Promote economic growth andeffective and efficient operation ofthe banking and credit systems andcontribute to the promotion andmaintenance of financial stability inthe country.” Mr Speaker, how can we lump allthese functions to Bank of Ghana and noteven think of seeing the report? All I amsaying is that, the report that they wouldbring should cover the functions that theyare operating and tell us --
HonMembers, I think we are clear now. HonDeputy Minister, I think, we know the kindof report we are expecting from them if weshould approve this proposed amendment.But should it be once a year or twice ayear?
Mr Speaker, I support theamendment ably made by the HonMember for Manhyia South. In my view,once a year would be appropriate but sincewe are looking at the functions of theCentral Bank, twice a year, makes nodifference. On that basis, we support theamendment.
HonMembers, I will put the Question on theamendment proposed on the Order PaperAddendum— Otherwise, I will put theQuestion once a year or twice a yearbefore I put the final one. Are we ad idem?Twice a year? Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, after wehave agreed, we have to set a time for themto bring the report. That is what we havenot done. We have to give them adeadline. But we can leave that to thedraftpersons to get a date for them tocome.
Mr Speaker, Iagree with the Hon Member for ManhyiaSouth. Just as in the Petroleum RevenueManagement (PRM) Act, I will proposeMarch 15 and September 15 dates. If you say semi-annual and the reportdoes not come by December or it comesinto the new year -- [Interruption]-- So,by March 15, and September 15 then thereports can come. Just as we get PRM, March, 15 andSeptember, 15 —
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to that? Otherwise, Hon DeputyMinister?
Mr Speaker, I do not thinkwe would have to legislate the date. Sincewe have mentioned twice a year, if forsome reasons we are to legislate the dateand something happens and Parliament isnot even Sitting, then it becomes aproblem. I suggest that, we leave it atsemi-annual and leave it to the CentralBank to make sure that, twice a year, theycan come to the House with the report.
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised. We have just gone through youreporting on PFM and we gave you a datein July, and they do monetary policy andyou said it should not matter? In fact, itshould be matching the time you comehere. The two go together; fiscal andmonetary policy. So, we should be consistent. When you come to Parliament,that date should match economic policy. We want to know about the economicpolicy, not that, we get fiscal policy at sometime and monetary policy at some othertime. It would be inconsistent, so, I amsurprised you said we should not give adate. It should match the time you wouldcome and give the mid-year report. We put July 31, is it not it? We want tosee development in the economy. By July,certain things have happened on the fiscalside, certain things would be happeningon the monetary side. The two aretogether.
So, what doyou propose?
Mr Speaker, I think inthe PFM, we said July 31 up to, so that,they can report up to the first six months.We have a similar language in PFM, so, ifyou can direct the draftpersons --
Mr Speaker, we have madeprogress by accepting this amendment,but dates, in themselves are not the issue.The financial year of the Government andthe public is 1st January, into December,31. Therefore, if we say semi-annual, it canonly be a report covering the first sixmonths. So, what I see is that, once weleave it like this, we would be able to getthe half-yearly report. If we also look at the calendar ofParliament, it is not all the time that weSit, so, the important thing is that, if it issemi-annual, then they must submit it soonafter the first half of the year is past, thenearly the following year, that is in January.It represents the activities that they haveundertaken, it is not like the remit of MPC.No! So, it should remain as we have said,and it will come the way it is.
Yes, Mr Speaker. We cancome back to clause 18.
Have youbeen able to do some work on it?
Mr Speaker, we have somerendition that we want to bring up forconsideration by Hon Members.[Interruption.] They did their consultation without meand I also did mine with you. Mr Speaker—
Before yougo on, the Hon Member for Subin was up,I do not know if the issue --
Mr Speaker, I was onlygoing to say that the Bank of Ghana isone institution in this country which hasa very good research department, andtheir data collection is first class. So, ifthey tell us that they would deliver on July31st, we must accept it. I guess that theywould have delivered on January 31st butfor the fact that, we have the holidaysand all that in there, I think that we shouldaccept that.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,a new rendition for section 46A (1), deletethe entire rendition and substitute it withthe following: So, we would delete the portion thatsays; “which the Bank has determined”.We are making it straightforward thatthese houses --
But whodetermines that?
The Bank. If the companyis solvent but illiquid, by the records ofthe company, it is clear that this bank isilliquid but solvent. The Bank woulddefinitely work on that. But if we acceptthat “the Bank determines” to be part ofit, I do not have any problem with that.
Mr Speaker, we shouldkeep “which the Bank has determined”.This is because somebody must make thatdetermination to be able to provide theassistance. So, we should keep it.
Mr Speaker, I asked aquestion, “illiquid but solvent”, whatdoes it mean? [Interruption.] The Bankwould know but we should know. It isdiscretion. When in America, they wantedto do the stress test, they published whatthey meant by stress test and then everybank fell into it. They might have a waybut that is discretion. Mr Speaker, in my view, what is writtenhere is English language. If the Bank thinksthat they have a specific meaning of“illiquid but solvent” -- The solvency Iunderstand, but “illiquid but solvent”,that is my problem. Then they shoulddefine what criteria “illiquid but solvent”is, then we support it.
Mr Speaker, a companycan be solvent, meaning it is making profitand is profitable. They can have atemporary liquidity problem which means they might have cash flow problems. Theycan have cash flow problems but thatdoes not mean that they are not profitable.That is what it means. It means that thecompany can be solvent, meaning thatobviously, they are profitable but mayhave some temporary cash flow problems.That is what it means.
Mr Speaker, you can besolvent and not make profit as well. So, itis not a matter of profit.
But what isyour problem? You are afraid that we areleaving the discretion completely to theBank of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, not onlythat, but how they apply that discretion.[Interruption.] Yes, I am very worried. TheHon Member for Sekondi raised this sameissue about giving discretion and howpeople are abusing this discretion. We allknow that we gave them the discretionbecause we thought they were thetechnical arm. When they brought thoserules, the country nearly fell apart and itwas discretion. We told them that they could publishby guidelines and they published byguidelines and Ghana erupted and wecould not say anything. Yes, we are givingthem the discretion but for “illiquid butsolvent”, my Hon Brother, I can sit down.But let it happen and we would see thatwe have given them too much power anddiscretion. But if you say so, I would dropit.
Mr Speaker, I do notwant to talk gloom. The Bank of Ghanadoes this all the time for banks. This ispart of their work for banks, so, it is notany strange thing that they are going topull out. That is what they do for the banks. All we have done is extend it to savingsand loans and finance houses. But thedefinition of ‘liquidity', let us leave it totheir professionalism. We cannot be so worried that theseprofessionals are -- They have to promotethe financial stability of the country. Theyhave to do the best. They do it for thebanks and we are asking them to extend itto these two. That is all, so, it is no bigdeal.
Mr Speaker, mypoint has been captured by the HonRanking Member of the FinanceCommittee that we are only seeking toexpand the remit. This would includesavings and loans and financial houses. Mr Speaker, my difficulty with the HonChairman which the Hon Ranking Memberalso raised, is the deletion of the word“determined”. Even if he has problemswith the word “determined”, we shouldstill improve it by saying; “that the Bankconsiders illiquid but solvent”, so that,at least, the Bank has a view that they aregiving this support because they considerit appropriate to do so. So, either he maintains the word“determined” or inserts “that the Bankconsiders illiquid but solvent”. This is sothat in the view of the Bank, you areilliquid but solvent and that is why theyare extending that secondary support toyou.
Mr Speaker, I amopposed to the amendment that theChairman of the Committee stated. Let usleave it at banks; they are well supervised.A bank would hardly fail. Sooner than later,you would see all manner of savings andloans companies coming up and thensomebody would sit at the Bank of Ghanaand they stretch a hand to them; “illiquidbut solvent”. It is dangerous, so, let us leave thefinance houses and the savings and loanscompanies and maintain the banks. These savings and loans institutionsare not well supervised. As a matter offact, it is policy at the Bank that attentionshould be paid to the big banks. They payattention to the big banks, so, a bankwould hardly fail. Whenever they see thatyou have such “illiquidity but solvency”,they quickly come in. We see it all the time.Let us not stretch this to savings andloans. All these mushroom savings and loansinstitutions are just waiting for us to passthis and then they would all go and queueat the Bank that they are illiquid butsolvent.
Chairmanof the Committee, how do you respond tothat?
Mr Speaker, our positionis that we should not limit it only to thebanks. The banks are big institutions andif you want to look at the companies thatdrive our Small and Medium-scaleEnterprises (SME) sector, it is thesefinance houses and savings and loanscompanies. They provide these smallloans to our SME sector. In fact, they aredriving the economy. They do not haveaccess to the banks. So, if we want to limitit to the banks, we do it at the detrimentof our SME sector. So, we should add them as well, so thatthey can have the opportunity, if theyare in difficulty, in terms of liquidity butare solvent. The Bank could help them,so that they could continue to providethese loan facilities to the SMEs in orderto ensure that they also stay in businessto promote economic activity in thiscountry.
HonChairman, is it possible to look at a cut-off point? If it is open-ended like this,anyone of them could come up. But if youstipulate that if you are up to a certainlevel by way of your cash flow orwhatever, then you qualify to come in forthis kind of assistance. Would that help?
Mr Speaker, I believethat we talked about a certain level ofcapital and it was agreed. Hon Chairmanand Hon Minister, you also agreed thatwe would have to find a way of havingcertain limits. That does not findexpression in the amendment. I have no doubt that the BoG wouldset up objective criteria for determiningwho is illiquid but solvent. But I am alsoworried about the movement of publicmoney into certain private institutionswhich in my view, are not as wellsupervised as the banks. I have been told that, now, they haveall been brought into the ambit of Banksupervision and so on. But the truth ofthe matter is that, they do not have thereputation which the established bankshave and that should give us concern. That is why we must set limits of thecapital which would enable them to qualifyfor any assistance from the BoG.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve in the opposition my HonColleague raised earlier. It is in respect ofwhether we are satisfied with the BoGplaying a primary supervisory role. In deed, they have a supervisiondepartment which watches over all otherfinancial institutions. I believe that the Hon Chairman andthe Hon Minister are affected by our mostrecent experience in “God is Love”,
“DKM” and others. Who was called to beresponsible? The Ghanaian public said itwas the BoG. Have they exercised theirmandate of supervision well? So, the fact that they are lax in it doesnot mean we necessarily should opposethe Hon Chairman's amendment. I believe that we should encourage, aspart of our recommendations that, the BoGstrengthens its supervision over all otherfinancial institutions to include the financeand savings houses. That is therecommendation of this House. But thatshould not affect any attempt by the HonChairman and the Committee to expandthe remit beyond the financial institutions.
HonMinister, what I am worried about is thatthere is no stated minimum capital thatwould entitle an individual to that kind ofcondition.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman's amendment, including“savings and loans” and “financehouses” to the bank, implies that, thesavings and loans houses have a minimumstated capital requirement before they canget a license. It is the same with the financehouses. They are already embedded in theamendment. Mr Speaker, I can quickly consult andgive you the amount. But I know that forthe savings and loans houses, it isGH¢15,000,000.00 for the minimum statedcapital.
Mr Speaker,according to article 183 (2) (a), the primeresponsibility of the BoG is to, and withyour permission, I beg to quote: “promote and maintain the stabilityof the currency of Ghana and directand regulate the currency systemin the interest of the economicprogress. . .” Mr Speaker, the question to ask iswhether the operations of theseinstitutions affect the strength of thecurrency -- [Interruption.] -- It does.And if it does, the BoG is required toregulate the institutions. And if they arerequired to regulate the institutions, Icannot understand why people shouldargue that it should not be included. If we admit that, the BoG has until now,been lax in its supervisory responsibility,they should be compelled to do that. Thisis because they are mandated under theConstitution to perform thatresponsibility. Mr Speaker, even though I have justentered the Chamber, I am convinced andpersuaded by the force of argumentoffered by the Hon Chairman of theCommittee.
Mr Speaker, if you can putthe Question on the proposedamendment, which is: “The Bank may, for the purpose ofsection 3 (2) (c), provide liquidityassistance to a bank or savings andloans company and finance housewhich the Bank has determined tobe illiquid but solvent.”
HonMember, you appear to be insisting onyour --
Mr Speaker, I hadwanted to draw the Hon Minority Leader'sattention to the fact that, we did not justget here. When we started, they hadincluded “microfinance” and “ruralbanks” in the list. It was after I opposed itinitially that they took them off the list.
Mr Speaker, theHon Member for Subin had mentionedtheir “capitalisation” which would havebeen the same for “savings and loans”. The point he actually wanted to makewas about their asset value. This isbecause two savings and loansinstitutions might have different assetvalues. So, if the Hon Chairman would insiston including “finance houses” and“savings and loans”, then it has to becouched in a certain way that, if there isa savings and loans institution which isbigger than a bank, then it would qualify.This is because, some savings and loanscompanies are bigger than banks in termsof their valuations. If that is the case,then they would be qualified. Otherwise,it is dangerous leaving this one as it is.
HonChairman of the Committee, do you getthe point the Hon Member is making?There might be mad rush if we leave itopen ended and if we do not institute somerestrictions one way or the other toensure that, whoever is coming forgoodies qualifies.
Mr Speaker, the restrictionis that, it must be a savings and loanscompany or a finance house and besolvent but illiquid. It is the bank that would determine that.If one is solvent but illiquid, then theycould support it with liquidity. In terms of capital and asset value, itwould differ. But once one qualifies as asavings and loans company, one musthave the minimum capital requirement. Itis the qualification which must beacquired. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, we have other portions ofclause 18 that we have to deal with.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 18, section (46)(a), subsection 3 (a),lines 1 and 2, delete “non-bank financialinstitution” and insert “savings and loanscompany and finance house”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, the nextamendment is also consequential. I beg to move, clause 18, section 46(A) subsection 4. Question put and amendment agreedto Clause 18 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
Mr Speaker,I just looked at the amendment that hasbeen proposed for subsection 4. It reads,and with your permission, I beg to quote: “For purposes of this section,“emergency liquidity assistance”means the provision by the Bank ofmoney as a loan to a solvent bankor ...” And the amendment follows: “…that is facing temporary liquiditychallenges”. Mr Speaker, the emphasis is on the word“temporary”. If that is the case, then,the use of the word “temporary” shouldfind expression in section 46 (A) (1) aswell. This is because it does not obtainthere; it only surfaces in section 46 (4). Mr Speaker, so, I would just want topropose to the Chair and indeed, theCommittee that, they should include thatin section 46 (1) (a). This is because weare talking about temporary situation.
Mr Speaker, I would wantthe Hon Minority Leader to really explainwhat the “temporary” is supposed to do.This is because the Bank might havedetermined that they are illiquid butsolvent and it would advance credit tothem — What would be temporary aboutthat credit? Mr Speaker, I agree with him that it is atemporary emergency measure, but if theBank has agreed that they are illiquid butsolvent and it is going to grant thatassistance, what does “temporary” do?Saying that, it is temporary does notchange the assistance. Is the “temporary”going to mean that they should pay backwithin a certain time or what? So, if hecould explain the “temporary” that hewants to insert in that amendment. I donot think it is necessary, but if he couldexplain it, we could accept it.
HonChairman of the Committee, are we on thesame page? Very well. So, we are now moving to the newclause; is that it?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,new clause -- Add the following newclause: “Investment of balances on theConsolidated Fund The Minister may authorise theBank of Ghana through the Con-troller and Accountant General to invest any sum standing to thecredit of the Consolidated Fund orGovernment Account position”other than Government ownsecurities.” Mr Speaker, this amendment wasdebated yesterday but the Question wasnot put. This is just to say that, it isconsequential. It is totally lifted fromclause 50 of the Public Financial Mana-gement Bill, 2016 that is currently beingdebated. Mr Speaker, the intention is to allowthe Minister responsible for Finance toinvest any amount standing to the creditin the Consolidated Fund in a way thatthe Government can also benefit from itsbalances. Mr Speaker, it is in the same vein that,the Hon Minister is charged interestanytime he has credit balances in hisaccount. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, that brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage —
Mr Speaker, the Long Title.
No! We willtake the Long Title later when we havedealt with those matters which have beendeferred; or have we cleared all of them?
Mr Speaker, yes, we havedone all of them.
Very well. Question put and agreed to. Long Title ordered to stand part of theBill. BILLS — THIRD READING
Mr Speaker, we can takeitem numbered 46 at page 32 of the OrderPaper — Companies (Amendment) Bill,2016 at the Consideration Stage.
Is the HonChairman of the Committee in theChamber?
Very well. Hon Members, the Companies(Amendment) Bill, 2016 at theConsideration Stage. BILLS — CONSIDERATIONSTAGE Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016
HonChairman of the Committee, could yourefresh our memories about this.
Mr Speaker, wegot to clause 7 yesterday.
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Very well. Hon Members, clause 7 —
Mr Speaker, please, letme correct an impression that was created seizing or freezing, andconfiscating criminal assets;authorities receiving reports oncross-border transportation ofcurrency and Bearer NegotiableInstruments, and authorities thathave anti-money laundering andcombating the financing ofterrorism supervisory ormonitoring responsibilities aimedat ensuring compliance byfinancial institutions anddesignated non-financialbusiness and professions withanti-money laundering andcombating the financing ofterrorism requirements.” Mr Speaker, the new subclause (4)captures what is in the original subclause(4) and that is to say we are bringing adefinition of what is meant by “competentauthorities” in the Bill. The new rendition would read: “For the purpose of this section,“competent authority” meansauthority” means all publicauthorities with designatedresponsibilities for combatingmoney laundering or terrorismfinancing, in particular, theFinancial Intelligence Units andthe authorities that have thefunction of investigating orprosecuting money laundering,associated predicate offencesand terrorist financing andseizing or freezing, andconfiscating criminal assets;authorities receiving reports oncross-border transportation ofcurrency and Bearer NegotiableInstruments, and authorities thathave anti-money laundering andcombating the financing ofterrorism supervisory ormonitoring responsibilities aimed
HonMembers, this brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the Bank of Ghana(Amendment) Bill, 2016 for now. Hon Members, the Hon SecondDeputy Speaker is to take the Chair — Hon Deputy Majority Leader,[Interruption] I believe that we wouldmove on to the Companies (Amendment)Bill, 2016.
Mr Speaker, Third Reading— items numbered 48 and 49 at page 37on the Order Paper.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 48 onthe Order Paper by the Minister forFinance.
Mr Speaker, I beg to secondthe Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, item numbered 49 on the OrderPaper. yesterday. Hon Members felt we weredeleting the original section 331 of theAct — No! We are rather inserting a newclause 331 (a) after section 331 of the Act.That amendment was carried yesterday. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 7,section 331, subsection (3), paragraph (a),delete “co-operate with other relevant”and insert “collaborate with othercompetent”.
“The Registrar shall (a) Collaborate with other competentauthorities for the purpose ofmaintaining verifying andupdating the register; and” Mr Speaker, the Committee felt thatthe words, “collaborate with othercompetent authorities” is a betterexpression than, “co-operate with otherrelevant authorities”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 7, subclause (4), delete andinsert the following: “For the purpose of this section,“competent authority” means allpublic authorities with designatedresponsibilities for combatingmoney laundering or terrorismfinancing, in particular, theFinancial Intelligence Units andthe authorities that have thefunction of investigating orprosecuting money laundering,associated predicate offencesand terrorist financing and
“The Registrar shall collaborate withother competent authorities for thepurpose of maintaining, verifyingand updating the register;” and (b) provides: b) “on request, and in a timelymanner, make the registeravailable to the relevantauthorities for inspection”. The Hon Chairman of the Committeedid not amend that portion but he wentfurther to define “competent authority”.What is the difference between“competent authority” and “relevantauthority”?
Mr Speaker, I concedeto the amendment in subclause (b). Theamendment of “competence” in place of“relevance” should be consequential tosubclause (3) (b). are to investigate -- We are not definingtheir function. You are just indicating whois involved; you just have to make surethat you have those who do theinvestigation, but not to refute what theirfunction is. As I said early on, he should start withthe Financial Intelligence Agency; that is,the body charged with the law toimplement it. Other competent authoritieswill include the Police and any otherinvestigative body. So, you just indicatethose. But the repetition of their sanctionand the kind of crime they have committeddo not help us to understand what isgoing on.
So, youare opposing the amendment?
As it currently stands, itis bad and should be refined.
Yousuggest that we maintain what is there? Hon Members, if you oppose anamendment and want to suggestsomething, then let us hear you. If youjust oppose by saying that it should berejected -- Let us know what you rose upto do.
Mr Speaker, because theamendment itself is long, what I said wasthat, if we would want to indicatecompetent authority, we should start withthe one that the law says they shouldhandle. We could then talk about thoseauthorities that do the investigation andthat should be it. Mr Speaker, as we talk, because of thelong nature of this amendment, it is notpossible to just get up and amend it. Iwould prefer that we stand it down andhave a small meeting to discuss it. at ensuring compliance byfinancial institutions anddesignated non-financialbusiness and professions withanti-money laundering andcombating the financing ofterrorism requirements”. Mr Speaker, this is to indicate in a veryelaborate manner, the agencies or relevantauthorities that have something to do withmoney laundering, anti-money launderingand terrorism financing, et cetera.
HonMinority Leader, you were up early on.
Mr Speaker,first of all, the amendment proposed bythe Chairman of the Committee is just toolengthy. He may want to break it down tosegments. That is the first thing. Mr Speaker, the second observation isthat he defines “competent authority” butelsewhere, he has used “relevantauthority”. So, what is the differencebetween “competent authority” and“relevant authority”?
HonMembers, in the meantime, the HonSecond Deputy Speaker takes the Chair.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Yes, HonMinority Leader, I think you were on yourfeet.
Mr Speaker,yes, I was. Mr Speaker, in relation to the definitionof what is “competent authority”, I alsoconcede that, there would be a need forus to give a definition of what a competentauthority is. But if you go to subclause(7), what is “competent authority” hasbeen listed --
What is“relevant authority” or “competentauthority”?
Mr Speaker, it is“competent authority”. In the Bill, it was“relevant authority” but we were advisedthat the list here may not be exhaustiveand they would rather prefer to give thebroad outline of the functions, so that ifthere is any organisation which is left outhere, it may still perform the duty if it hasthat task of performing that function ofcombating terrorism and moneylaundering. Mr Speaker, the list in subclause 7 (a)to (g) is believed not to be exhaustiveenough hence the substitution with thisvery wide description of what is“competent authority” -- [Pause.] Mr Speaker, so, you may direct thedraftsperson to break the new renditioninto subclauses.
Mr Speaker, as the HonMinority Leader said, the way thisdefinition is given is too winding. But wehave one competent authority that dealswith this. So, I thought that the HonChairman of the Committee would just say“For the purposes of this section,‘competent authority' means the FinancialIntelligence Agency”; and then add therest. But repeating the things that they
MrSpeaker, indeed, it is true that theproposed amendment is winding, but ifwe look at the original rendition, I think itsits well and really captures theexpectation that these proposedamendments want to put across. Mr Speaker, when we replace “relevantauthorities” with “competent authority”,then it can read: “For the purpose of this section,“competent authority” includes thefollowing…” Then the clause 7 (4) (g) says: “and any other authority or agencyauthorised in writing by theMinister.” Mr Speaker, that would take care of allothers that we could envisage properly inthe future but which are not included inwhat has been captured here. I oppose this one and propose that wemaintain what is originally in the Bill withthe replacement of “relevant” with“competence”.
Why isthe Ghana Police Service not included inthat list?
Mr Speaker, that iswhy it is taken care of by clause 7 (4) (g)which says; “and any other authority or agencyauthorised…”
Whenyou say Economic and Organised Crimeand so on, is it not obvious that if we havea list that deals with crime, the primaryagency for dealing with crime in Ghana isthe Ghana Police Service? So, my question is; if you would usethis “list approach”, why do you excludethe Police?
Mr Speaker, to mymind, I would imagine that when it comesto money laundering and the rest, thefrontline institutions would obviously bethe National Security, Ghana RevenueAuthority (GRA), Financial IntelligenceCentre (FIC), Economic and OrganisedCrime Office (EOCO), Commission onHuman Right and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ), and of course, NarcoticsControl Board (NACOB).
HonMember, are you aware that the GhanaPolice Service has a section that deals withorganised crime, narcotics and all thoseareas and that they are frontlines in allthese areas? They have a section thatdeals with corruption, money laundering,et cetera. The various laws have notexcluded their jurisdiction. Hon Afenyo-Markin, what is theposition? Are the Police not competent toinvestigate crimes of money laundering,organised crimes and so on? I ask youbecause I know you have done somecases in the Supreme Court on theseissues.
MrSpeaker, the Anti-Money Laundering Actand the Economic and Organised CrimeOffice Act did not oust the jurisdiction ofthe Ghana Police Service in investigatingsuch crimes. In fact, the Police still have the powerto freeze accounts for the purpose ofinvestigations and they have their ownapproach. They go ex-parte and theyrepeat same on notice if they needextended time. Mr Speaker, if we come to the FIC, theyare supposed to deal with all theinvestigative agencies, includingNational Security. By the way, FIC is notan intelligence agency. It is supposed todisseminate information. They are part ofthe Egmont. So, the Police are still part of theentities that fight crime, money launderingand other offences.
Theyfight crimes on narcotics and so on, Am Iright? I said the Police are also involved inthe fight against narcotics.
Mr Speaker, forthe purpose of enforcement, they have acoordinating mandate. When it comes tothe specific investigation on narcotics, Iam sure we have a body in charge of that,but they coordinate with the Police.
HonAfenyo-Markin, I am informing youbecause I have worked in that area. Thejurisdiction of the Police in narcotics isnot ousted and they can also act fully innarcotic matters. They have indeed actedin narcotic matters. There are several cases that I canmention. While I was the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, it waseven the Police who were involved.
Mr Speaker, I donot disagree with you.
I hopeyou do not.
Mr Speaker, I donot disagree with you. It is a matter of factthat they do.
So HonQuashigah, I said that if you arerecommending the “list approach”, thenyou must include the Police.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Sopropose your amendment. I will put theQuestion on your proposed amendmentbefore I come to this one because, yoursis the latest.
“the Ghana Police Service”
HonChairman, would you want to assist him?
Mr Speaker, I have notasked for the assistance of Hon Afenyo-Markin.
HonChairman, do you agree to his proposedamendment?
Yes, Mr Speaker. If we look at the Anti-MoneyLaundering Act, Act 874, the Ghana PoliceService is one of the competent authoritieslisted out there. In fact, in that Act, thereare as many as 17 Agencies.
Yes. So, Mr Speaker, Iwould want to propose a furtheramendment to list some of theorganisations here, so as to capture theidea.
Mr Speaker, the NationalSecurity Council embodies very specificAgencies. Indeed, the Secretariat of theCouncil is even different from the Council. Mr Speaker, quite often, we take theSecretariat to mean the Council. TheCouncil itself is not institutionallycomposed; it is made up of very specificofficers. If we are going to use theNational Security Council, I would ratherthink we would use the constituentinstitutions and then add the NationalSecurity Secretariat.
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve that if we modify the currentamendment, we can still get the definitionof “competent authority”.
“For the purposes of thissection, “competent authority”means all public authorities withdesignated responsibilities forcombating money laundering or
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 7, subclause 4 -- Hon Afenyo-Markin -- rose --
Do youhave a point of order?
Mr Speaker, myHon Colleague said Anti-MoneyLaundering Act, Act 874. The Parent Actis Act 749. It is the (amendment) Act thatis Act 874. We have been taught here tonormally quote the Parent Act, Act 749.This is just for the purposes of the record.
Mr Speaker, I am dulyguided. Thank you. Mr Speaker, for the purposes of theAnti-Money Laundering Act as amendedby Act 874, I propose a new rendition tothis section: “Competent Authority” includes; (a) the National Security Council; (b)the Ghana Revenue Authority; (c) Financial Intelligence Centre; (d) Economic and OrganisedCrime Office; (e) Commission on Human Rightsand Administrative Justice; (f) Narcotics Control Board; (g) Ghana Police Service; and (h) any other authority or agencyauthorised in writing by theMinister.”
Mr Speaker, I havea little worry. Unfortunately, I do not haveone available immediately and so, I mayborrow the Hon Minority Leader'sConstitution if he grants me the chance. terrorism financing in particular,the Financial IntelligenceAgency and the authority thathave the function ofinvestigating or prosecutingmoney laundering.”
HonMember, is it a proposed amendment?
Mr Speaker, that is myproposed amendment.
So,yours is the last proposed amendment,then I would have to put the Question onit?
Mr Speaker, the rest isall about the functions of theseinstitutions.
I willput the Question on your proposedamendment. That is the way it is done. The Questionis first put on the last proposedamendment. Then we come down. You have proposed an amendment tothe original amendment on the OrderPaper, but it stops at “…moneylaundering”. Let me ask whether the originalproponents of the amendment agree tothat? Hon Chairman, another amendmenthas been proposed, but they have nowgone back to your original amendment.
Mr Speaker, if we acceptthat amendment, there would still be theneed for us to come in with a subclause toinclude the other functions on the list.
HonChairman, do you want to continue this,or you would want to go back to the “listapproach”? This is the “function approach”, butyou originally had the “list or institutionalapproach”; these are the institutions. Butwhat you have here as the amendment arethe functions. Which one do you prefer? Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose --
HonMembers, we cannot have the discussionad infinitum. I pray that we all follow it. There is aproposed amendment, which has beenadvertised. The Hon Deputy Minister forFood and Agriculture has proposed anamendment to that proposed amendment.That is the latest proposed amendment. Ihave to put the Question on that. If he does not get it, then we can goback to the amendment that has beenproposed by Hon Quashigah, which is alist. Hon Quashigah said we shouldmaintain the list in the original Act andadd “Ghana Police Service”. I stated that the proposed amendmentdeals with the functions of variousinstitutions. The original one mentions theinstitutions. So we have to decide whichone we want. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,there are indeed three amendments. TheHon Chairman himself has proposed anamendment to the advertised amendment;the Hon Member for Keta came withanother amendment; and then we havethis latest amendment. Mr Speaker, my worry about the lastestamendment proposed by the Hon DeputyMinister for Food and Agriculture is themention of the “Financial IntelligenceAgency”.
Mr Speaker, in fact,I did not hear what he said. I am up on adifferent matter. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, as you rightly said,nobody has mentioned any name. Mr Speaker, I am one of the leadlawyers who fight against people whoabuse the rights of Ghanaians wholegitimately acquire property. I fightagainst individuals who encourageimpunity in the Public Service Institutionsthrough institutions.
HonMembers, we have to arrive at oneconclusion or the other. If we continuethis discussion ad infinitum, I would stepit down. Otherwise, we would have to takeanother amendment.
Mr Speaker, I heardmy Hon Colleague say that he is a “leadlawyer”. Is that what he said? [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, you know that it is a bigproblem for a junior lawyer to accord tohimself that position.
It is true;it is a big problem. So, you are one of the lawyers but letother people judge.
Mr Speaker, letme qualify what I said. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roadsand Highways is very much my senior. Soin relative terms, he is right; but in absoluteterms, situating --
HonAfenyo-Markin, please do not land. Wewould enter a different territory. You know our position as a Bar oncertain things. You know the Americanapproach to law, where certain things areallowed; and the British approach, whichis more restrictive or conservative. Certainaccolades must be conferred on you byothers. I do not want to go there. When yousaid it, I hoped that -- I know you said itin jest and not with all seriousness. So Iwas just letting it pass. This is because a lawyer cannotdescribe himself as a “lead lawyer”.
Mr Speaker, wealways learn.
Becauseof our ethics.
Mr Speaker, youare an expert in Company law and it isknown.
I havenever described myself like that.
Mr Speaker, youcan be described as a lead lawyer in thearea of Company law --
HonAfenyo-Markin, I described you as anexpert, take it as that. That was why I Mr Speaker, there is no body called“Financial Intelligence Agency”. That iswhy we should look at it; that amendmentcould not carry, though. This is because the “FinancialIntelligence Agency” is unknown to ourlaws.
HonMembers, but where is “FinancialIntelligence Agency” written?
Mr Speaker,we have “Financial Intelligence Unit”,which is not statutorily constituted.
Yes, weshould use “Unit” and not “Agency”.
Mr Speaker,he said, “Financial Intelligence Agency”. I said to him that there is no bodyknown as “Financial IntelligenceAgency”.
HonMembers, we are going to put theQuestions on the various amendments.The one that falls would fall, and the lastman would remain standing. So, if an Hon Member has anotheramendment, he should propose it.
Mr Speaker, the HonMember who proposed the latestamendment said that he wanted to changethe word “Agency” to “Centre”. That isofficially in the Act. So we can take thatone with the understanding that it is notan unknown body. [Interruptions.] Mr Afenyo-Markin -- rose --
recognised you and there is no problemwith that. Do not describe yourself as such.That is what our profession asks us todo. If you describe me as an expert, I willtake it in all humility but I will neverdescribe myself as such. So, these days,when one comes out of the law school onFriday, by Monday, one goes on radio,and by Tuesday, one becomes a legalluminary. Yes, Hon Chireh, what are you? A leadlawyer or what?
Mr Speaker, no. I am still apupil. Mr Speaker, the financial intelligencecenter was established under the Anti-money laundering Act, therefore itoperates under the Financial IntelligenceUnits (FIU). I want to further amend thisto capture what is legally in existence andthat should be the Financial IntelligenceCenter.
Mr Speaker,a further amendment to delete the word“all” in line 2 for it to read; “For the purpose of this section,“competent authority” includespublic authorities with designatedresponsibilities for combatingmoney laundering or terrorismfinancing…”
You saidwe should delete the ward “all”
We shoulddelete “all” in line 2.
In line 3or line 2? There is no “all” in line 2.
Mr Speaker,“all” not ‘or'.
Mr Speaker --
But donot say it, let somebody say it for you.
Mr Speaker, I takea cue. We continue to learn at your feet. Isaid so in a context but I have taken youradvice. Next time I will put it in a betterway.
Mr Speaker, theHon Chairman of the Committee raisedissues about the National SecurityCouncil and followed it with --
We haveabandoned that.
Mr Speaker, yes,but does that mean that we would not beconsidering the Police Service specificallyif we are abandoning that?
What wehave done is that, we have abandonedthe list. There were two approaches; ifyou look at the original Bill, they had a listwhich does not include the Police Service. I raised the point that it must includethe Police Service but the proposedamendment by the Hon Chairman was atotal abandonment of the list approach toan offence approach and to a functionsapproach. In this amendment, he is now puttingthe Financial Intelligence Center and thisseems to be a combination of some sort.We have abandoned that one completely,so the issue does not arise.
Mr Speaker, withrespect, what then is the new rendition? Mr Speaker, subclause (3) says; “The Registrar shall; (a) collaborate with other competentrelevant authorities for thepurpose of maintaining, verifyingand updating the register; and (b) on request and in a timelymanner, make the registeravailable to the competentauthorities for inspection”. Mr Speaker, subclause (4) thenprovides; “Subject to section 335 A, whereunder a section of this Act, otherthan sections 27, 32 and 303, adocument or particulars are requiredto be registered by the Registrar,registration shall be effected byinserting the document or makingthe appropriate entries of theparticulars in the Central Register”. Mr Speaker, what we went to do is todelete this and substitute it with what wehave done. I am really struggling to seehow indeed that can replace what iscontained in this. This is because, that isjust referring to a process.
Mr Speaker, my responseto it is that, originally the Bill envisagedthat we delete section 331 of the Act. Mr Speaker, if I may read section 331of the Act, it performs the functions thatare in subclause 4. Now, in the new rendition, section 331stays in its entirety, we are only insertingsection 331 (a). So, what is contained insubclause 4 which we have deleted nowis the original section 331 of the Act. Yes,it is there.
All right.I think that is friendly enough. HonMinority Leader, could you give us therendition for the last time? So that the tableOffice captures the amendment that weare putting across. Sorry, before you giveus the rendition. Hon Chairman, do youhave a problem with that?
Mr Speaker, I have aproblem with the deletion of the word “all”but I do not have a problem with the word‘includes'.
Why doyou have a problem with “all”?Do youthink if they delete “all”, it takes away allor what? It means public institution soevery public institution. It does not matter.
Mr Speaker, then if I mayjust go further from where the Hon DeputyMinister stopped and added “moneylaundering associated predicate offencesin terrorist financing.”
HonMembers, when he adds that it will notbring the world to an end. The sky willnot fall on our heads. So, the Question is on clause 7, theproposal is, the amendment advertised,we end at “terrorist financing”, we delete“all” and insert “financial intelligencecenter” instead of “financial intelligenceunit”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonAfenyo-Markin, let me say something. Forthe records, I confess that you are one ofthe leading lawyers in this area, fightingfor people whose assets have been seizedunder this. I know you have done cases in theSupreme Court and so on and continue tofight for the poor.
The newrendition is that: “For the purpose of this section,“competent authority” means publicauthorities with designatedresponsibilities for combatingmoney laundering or terrorismfinancing in particular, the FinancialIntelligence Centre and theauthorities that have the functionof investigating or prosecutingmoney laundering, associatedpredicate offences and terroristfinancing.” Hon Chairman, am I right?
Mr Speaker, yes, you areright.
We haveput the Question. Hon Afenyo-Markin, letus move on. It has become like a tabletennis match between me and you; Ping-Pong..Mr Amoatey: Mr Speaker --
Mr Speaker,we have dealt with the amendments.Indeed, we have re-engineered it. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 7, subclause (4), as amendedordered to stand part of the Bill. I would want to go to the next one.
Mr Speaker,I noticed the relevance of thatamendment, but what I am worried aboutis that, the deletion that has been effectedin subclause (4) which obtains in theamendment Bill, that flows fromsubclause (3), Mr Speaker, if I may read; “Where, under a section of this Act,a document or any particularsrequire to be registered by theRegistrar, registration shall beeffected by inserting the documentor making the appropriate entries ofthe particulars in the file maintainedat the Companies RegistrationOffice in relation to the companyconcerned”.
Mr Speaker --
Mr Speaker, if I may justadd one more information. Originally, wehad just one register but with the insertionof section 33 (a), there has been created acentral register which caters for all of thethings we are now doing.
Mr Speaker,in the original clause (4) of the(Amedment) Bill before us, sections 27,32 and 303 are exempted. What is theimport of that?
Mr Speaker, if Iunderstand, the effect of (4) is subject tosection 33 (5) (a), where: “Under a section of this Act, otherthan section 27, 32 and 303, adocument or particulars are requiredto be registered by the Registrar,registration shall be effected byinserting the document.” Mr Speaker, I am saying that by andlarge it is the same thing that we have inclause 33 (1) of the Act. I see no change.
At acertain point, I would have to put theQuestion.
Mr Speaker,the point I am making here is that, (33) 1establishes --
We havemoved on. We have put the Question andnow we have gone to the next one whichis “subclause (5), delete”. That is the onewe are dealing with now.
No! Wehave finished with the subclause(4).
Mr Speaker,I am just asking that 33 (1) creates a centralregister, but the (4) seeks to oust or exemptsections, 27, 32 and 303 and he is quietabout that. Rather he has proposed to usnew subclause (4), which we have allagreed to. I would want to know whatbecomes of the exemptions captured insections 27, 32 and 303. That is what I would want to find out,so that we would do the right thingbecause I do not have the original andthat is why I am requiring from the HonChairman whether the new amendment sitswell with the original (4) contained in the(Amendment) Bill.
Mr Speaker, sections 27,32 and 303 have all been amended by thisBill.
Thankyou. So, I will put the Question on theamendment advertised as (iii), that is, thedeletion of subclause (5) of clause 7. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 7, subclause (6), delete. Mr Speaker, the subclause (6) as is inthe Bill is part of the 33 (1) (a) in the Act.Mr Speaker, I am referring to the relevantsection.
HonMembers, when we are dealing with theCompanies (Amendment) Bill, 2016, wehave to have the Companies Act with us.The Hon Chairman cannot read the Billand then read the Act.[Interruption.] All right. Read the Act please.
Mr Speaker, in the Act, itis 331(3). So, what is contained insubclause (6) is already in the Act.
To putthis there would be a duplication.
That is so, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 7, subclause (7), delete. Mr Speaker, this is because we havealready inserted it as subclause (4).
That wasthe long debate we had. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 7 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 8 -- Section 336 of Act 179amended.
There isno advertised amendment.
Mr Speaker, it was carriedyesterday. We dealt with it yesterday.
Thankyou. Clause 9 -- First Schedule to Act 179amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 9, definition of “politicallyexposed person” delete and insert thefollowing: “politically exposed person” includes (a) a person who is or has beenentrusted with a prominentpublic function in thiscountry, a foreign country oran international organisation,including (i) Head of state or Head ofgovernment; (ii) senior political, government, judicialor military official; (iii) a person who is or has been anexecutive in a foreign country of astate owned company; and (b) a person who is or has been asenior political party officialin a foreign country andincludes any immediate familymembers or close associatesof that person”. Mr Speaker, as I indicated yesterday,the definition of “politically exposedperson” is one of the clauses transposedfrom the Anti-Money Laundering(Amendment) Act. The addition in thisrendition is the “official in a foreigncountry”.
HonChairman, why do you have to use“politically exposed?” Not all these peopleare ‘politically exposed'. You can say
Mr Speaker, “politicallyexposed person” is a term of art which isnow used in the anti-money launderingand anti-terrorism activities. I hold in myhand, the Financial Action Tax Force(FATF) recommendations and this is howthey look at politically exposed persons.Mr Speaker, with your permission I beg toread: “Foreign politically exposedpersons are individuals who are orhave been entrusted with prominentpublic functions by a foreigncountry, for example, Heads ofState or Heads of government,senior politicians, senior govern-ment, judicial or military officials,senior executives of State ownedcorporations, important politicalparty officials.”
“Individuals who are or have beenentrusted domestically withprominent public functions, forexample Heads of State or ofgovernment, senior politicians,senior government, judicial ormillitary officials, senior executivesof state owned corporations,important political party officials.” et cetera. Mr Speaker, the sponsors of the Billdrew our attention to the fact that, this isa term which has been used in our ownAnti-Money Laundering (Amendment)Act. We have adopted it and the focus nowis to bring on board international civilservants. That is why we haveincorporated in the Bill, a person who is,or has been a senior political party officialin a foreign country, et cetera. Mr Speaker, this is the idea.
Mr Speaker, Iunderstand that ‘politically exposedperson' is a term of art as the Hon Chairmansaid. But I would want to know whetherin this definition, he includes, for example,Chief Directors of Ministries? Where doeshe fix them?Are they within the seniorgovernment officials that he talks about?
Mr Speaker, they aresenior government officials.
So, Ministers are alsosenior government officials. Would he saythat?
Thequestion is, when they add the military,would it not be for historical reasons, sincethe military has historically taken the reigns
of power? So, in America, the head of thechief of joint staff is a politically exposedperson? Hon Member, I would go from the backto the front.
MrSpeaker, the expression “senior politicalofficial” is still not known in Ghana. Everypolitician is a politician. Where does apolitician become a senior political figure?Is it a Member of Parliament (MP), anAssemblyman or it is somebody who hasjust become an MP who becomes a seniorpolitical figure? Let us distinguish a politician fromother institutions. If a person is a politicalfigure, he is a political figure. What is this‘senior political figure' about?
Mr Speaker, I hope wetake our time to probably throw out thisdefinition. Like you said, what do we meanby ‘political exposed'? He just read thedocument; Financial Action Task Force,which has brought a suggested definitionthat is all of a sudden pervading theatmosphere and polluting it. There was adebate on this same issue in the House ofCommons, on the 20th of March 20l6 youcould google it.
I amreading it.
Are you reading it? It isthere. I was at that time in the House ofCommons, and an Hon Member ofParliament, I would not mention the name;the person who spoke was highlyindignant about the fact that, the definitionincludes over ten thousand people in theUnited Kingdom, even from the House ofCommons alone. Simply because, all ofone's relations by the definition are politically exposed. It is causing havoc inthe United Kingdom to the extent that thebanks, as conservative as they are, arenot willing to even open accounts forpolitically exposed persons. The debateis online. So, when he comes to this House andsays: “(a) A person who is or has beenentrusted with a prominentpublic function in the country...” It includes chiefs. Is that what he wouldwant to do? Mr Speaker, is the chief apolitically exposed person? It is not about business. There is Statebusiness. Then, when we take the chiefs,with the Zongo Hene that he says shouldbe included, if he takes the relations ofthe Zongo Hene, it is nebulous.We haveto throw away this definition. I wouldprefer “an exposed person”, and we woulddefine that. But this “politically exposed”does not say political parties. Soeverybody in decision making would oneday be considered as politically exposedperson. Mr Speaker, I went to open a bankaccount at Barclays Bank just at the RidgeRoundabout. I took my passport with meas identification. After taking my houseaddress and all my details, after a month,I went and they gave me back mydocuments and said they were sorrybecause I was politically exposed. Whatis the meaning of that? Are theycriminalising me before I do any badthing?
They didit to me.
Did they do it to you?And is that what you would want in thiscountry? Does he want people to keeptheir monies under their beds?
I wouldbe going from the back to the front. I havenoticed that the front bench would wantto speak. I would recognise you after Ihave come from the back. Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I justwanted to know who a senior governmentofficial is. Does it mean ‘directors', ‘deputydirectors'? Where does it stop?
Thatquestion has been asked. I would plead with Hon Members. Therules are clear. When you are beingrepetitive, I can stop you. Do not repeat.You can speak, but do not repeat, please.
Mr Speaker, I justwanted to know because, if you go to civilservants, you would not know where asenior public servant starts and where itends.
Thankyou very much. I agree with him. He says he would wantto know who a senior public officer is? Ithink that is defined by the public service.It is rather who a senior politician is? If you go and tell my constituencychairman that he is not a senior politician,he would be very annoyed with you. Hehas been in politics since the year 1992. Ifyou exclude him, he would be veryannoyed with you because as far as he isconcerned, he is a senior politician. Another question that we must askourselves is on family; where does thefamily end in Ghana?
Is it the nuclear family?
It is thenuclear family, but you have not said it.Have you said it?
No! Mr Speaker, we havenot said it. But saying nuclear family,upon a second thought, I might not betempted to push for it.
HonChairman, you have imported a foreigndefinition without culturalising it. This isbecause in England, when onesays‘family', everybody thinks about thenuclear family. In Ghana, somebody mightbe closer to his nephew than even to hisson. So when you say ‘family' in Ghana,what do you mean? What do you meanby close associates, are they friends, bestman or what? Hon Hammond, do you want to speak?I saw you on your feet. Well, if you do notwant to speak, that person would want tospeak. Hon Kwabena Donkor?
Mr Speaker, my concernwas with the “relations”. It is such anomnibus term.Who are the ‘relations'? Arethey a person's friends, concubines,daughters or spouses? So, if we leaverelations undefined then --
HonMembers, of course, if you have morethan one spouse, the relation must be yourspouses. That follows. If you have morethan one spouse, our law recognises thepossibility of more than one spouse. So,if you have more than one spouse, it isrecognised.
Mr Speaker, my concernis the ‘associate spouses'.
HonChief Whip, before the Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, I would humbly suggest thatthis be stood down for serious thoughtsto be put in before tomorrow, then we takeit. Mr Speaker, the reason is this, whenyou say; procurement officer, for example,is he an exposed person? These arepersons that when you look at what ishappening in the system, they have a lotof influence. But in terms of whether it isat the district level or at the Ministry level,in ranking, they would not qualify assenior officers within Ministries or districtassemblies. So, in my opinion, it is betterto give detailed qualification ordescription of the person that we wouldwant to refer to. When we say ‘family', like you rightlysaid, I have forty other siblings from thesame father. My father's children alone areforty-one, so, I have other forty siblings.When you go to my father's siblings, theyare seventeen. We are more than twohundred, from my grandfather. So, to what extent does the “closeassociates” hold?
HonMuntaka, then your family is a pollingstation. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, pardon?
Yourimmediate family is a polling station.
It is more than apolling station.
Nowonder you are in Parliament. Mr Speaker, most importantly, when wesay “close associates”, to what extent? Aclassmate at primary school, secondaryschool, university or in the neighbour-hood that one grew in? Let us be careful. In our efforts tocreate a law, we should think of itsenforcement and the extent to which it canbe interpreted. Otherwise, what wouldhappen is that, the exposed person wouldlose everybody around him. This isbecause, if a person is a politically exposedperson, all his relations would not wantto get near him. Maybe, before he cameinto politics, there were many relationswho were into business. By this definition, they would all haveto distance themselves and what it wouldmean is that, this exposed persons we talkabout would be highly isolated. This isbecause, people would not want toassociate with him. The reason is that,ifthey are seen having any relationship withhim, one day their businesses could besubjects of interrogation. So, Mr Speaker, let us be careful aboutwhat we really want to do, so that, we getthere. This is because if we talk aboutterrorism and money laundering, it is adifferent issue. With this one, we aretalking about Companies (Amendment)Bill. The gravity of money laundering,terrorism and setting up a company aredifferent. Mr Speaker, let us be careful. Let usnot lift from money laundry or terrorismand impose it in the Companies Act. Itwould be very dangerous.
MrSpeaker, I am rightly on the side of HonMuntaka. In fact, initially when the debatewas going on, he threw some bomb as ifhe was against us, but in the course ofthe debate, he has come to a certain linethat we need to really look at. Mr Speaker, I remember that before Igot into Parliament, my bankers came tome to specifically mark me as a ‘politicallyexposed person'. Therefore, when I getmy rent paid into my account from outsidethe country, they always check and Iexplained to them where I get the moneyfrom. Mr Speaker, what we are seeingcurrently is that, virtually everybody isunder suspicion. And if everybody isunder suspicion -- [Interruption.]
HonMembers, order! Order! -- You are allpolitically exposed. It affects you directly.
Mr Speaker, if allof us are under suspicion, nobody wouldbe a suspect. I believe that the coreobjective of this law, is to be able to locate those who are into illicit money andmoneys from terrorism and other trades. Mr Speaker, I believe that, we need todo the definition properly so that the rightpeople are tracked or investigated and notjust anybody. Mr Speaker, if we are not careful, wewould no more have friends. If we are notcareful, people would not even come closeto us even to campaign for us. If we arenot careful, the noble profession ofpolitics would be criminalised. We haveto be careful. When people want to givetheir lives to society, it should never becriminalised. Why should a chief who hasjust been installed to be a custodian ofhis people be criminalised just becausewe are passing a law? I believe that, we should go back andtake a critical look at how we do thesethings. Mr Speaker, recently, when the Britishor United Kingdom's (UK) Prime Ministercalled for the Corruption Conference, inmy opinion, it was because his name hadappeared in the Panama Papers and wasonly finding a way to clear himself. Thatwas why he quickly organised that pro-gramme. Mr Speaker, one would realise that, theEuropeans have been faster than us. TheUnited Kingdom, for instance, has a lot ofterritories that are tax havens. Meanwhile,they keep London as sacrosanct whilesthey do their businesses all across thosehavens which are under British controland are British territories. The same thinghappened with the Swiss. They kept stolen money from Africafor a very long time and never mentionedit until they recently made profit over profiton those monies. Mr Speaker, I believe that, we shoulddefine this “politically exposed person”in our own context, and make sure that,in doing so, we ensure that we do notcriminalise politicians and law-abidingcitizens of this country. We must makesure we do not criminalise strong,hardworking businessmen in ourcommunities and we also do notcriminalise businesses. With these few words, I thank you forthe opportunity to add my voice.
Thankyou very much, Hon Member. When youhold a position of trust, “To whom muchis given, much is expected”. I am playingthe devil's advocate.
Mr Speaker, I just want todraw your attention to the fact that, theway the debate is going, I do not see thepossibility of ending it on this point. I wishthat we have at least three more importantones to tackle before 10:00 p.m. Yesterday,we closed at 10.00 p.m.
HonDeputy Majority Leader, thank you verymuch. Hon Members, as the Hon DeputyMajority Leader said, perhaps there areas many views as there are Members. So Ithink that the Chairman would create theopportunity tomorrow where you mayinvite Members. Perhaps, by the time weend today, we should make an announce-ment on the floor concerning the time andvenue, so that Hon Members who wantto express themselves on this issue woulddo so. In that way by the time we come ontothe floor, at least we would have reacheda consensus of some sort. I make this suggestion because of thefact that, we are going to rise soon and you and I know that, we want to pass thisBill. Once the Hon Deputy Majority Leaderhas spoken, I would not take anymorecomments. We would deal with ittomorrow. Hon Chairman, in which room are yougoing to hold your meeting and at whattime? I saw your Clerk going up and down.So I would wait for you to confer with himso that you announce to us before weclose.
Mr Speaker, let meadvertise here and now, that we would dothe winnowing tomorrow at 1.00 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we woulddo it in Hon Agbesi's Conference room.[Laughter.]
HonAgbesi, do you have a problem with that?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Myconcern is that, this particular definitionis taking the whole time. We can move tothe next clause.
HonAgbesi, you were not listening to him. Ihave taken your suggestion; hook line andsinker. We are moving to the next one. Wewant to make arrangements, so that wedo not come to this position tomorrow. I asked the Chairman where they woulddo the winnowing and he said it wouldtake place at your Conference room at 1:00p.m.
Mr Speaker, on the ninthfloor, East Wing. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonMembers, the Constitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs Committee would bemeeting on the ninth floor, East Wing at1.00 p.m. and I am sure that the Clerks-at-the-Table would also put it on the OrderPaper.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, section 7, paragraph (a),line 1, delete “present” and in line 2, after“name” add “of the beneficial owner”. Mr Speaker, let me do a furtheramendment here, a consequentialamendment as we did here yesterday;“The full name and any formal or othernames of the beneficial owner”.
Mr Speaker,I believe the suffix of the beneficial owneris unnecessary because, in the openingsentence we have “the followingpersonal and particulars of everybeneficial owner of the company”, so wedo not need that.
You areright. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, section 7, paragraph (d),line 1, delete “residential address andpostal address”.
Why areyou deleting that?
Mr Speaker, we areplacing it in another paragraph. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10 -- Section 7, paragraph(e), delete and insert the following: “the nature of the interest includingthe details of the legal arrangementin respect of the beneficialownership”. Mr Speaker, we believe that this is aclearer rendition than what is in the original(e). Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, Clause 10 -- Section 7, add thefollowing new paragraphs: “(e) residential, postal and emailaddress, if any; (f) place of work and positionheld; and”. Mr Speaker, that is what we have justdeleted in (d).
Mr Speaker,(e) says; “residential, postal and emailaddress, if any”. The “if any” would qualify all theprovisions, so, it says “the residentialaddress of the person if any”, “the postaladdress of the person if any”.
Wewould direct the draftsperson to --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,the “if any” should be deleted.
HonKyei-Mensah-Bonsu, it is not everybodywho has a postal address, so, if we writeresidential, postal and email address,somebody goes to register and they askhim, “What is your post box?” The person does not have one. They say if he doesnot have that information, they are notgoing to register him, because he doesnot have adequate information. I agree with you that everybody has aresidential address, so, residentialaddresses must not be “if any”.
Thatprecisely is what I have said.
I agreewith you, but not everybody has a postaladdress, and not everybody has an emailaddress.
Mr Speaker,not everybody would have a telephonenumber, but the (c) was not amended.
So, weshould draft it and make sure that we donot create new conditions for people, sothat they have to have telephone numbers,they have to have postal addresses,especially, postal addresses. Today a lotof people do not have postal addresses.
Mr Speaker,the issue is, if the provision is made andthe person does not have it, he may justsay that, it is not available or it is notapplicable. That is what it means. We donot say that “telephone number if any”. So, let us leave it without the “if any”qualification, and if a person does nothave, they would just say “notapplicable”. [Interruption.]
HonMembers, order! Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, should wenot leave it to the draftspersons? Becausean officious public official would say that if one cannot satisfy these conditionsthen, that is it. You are not officious, if you had beenthere we would not have faced a problem.But we do these things for “bad” people,not for good people. Hon Chairman, what is your view?
Mr Speaker, I am withyou entirely, it is possible that we mayhave somebody without a postal address,and there are a lot of people who may nothave email addresses.That is why we areusing the words “if any”. If you have it, provide it.
But atleast, everybody must have a residentialaddress.
Yes, Mr Speaker, that waswhy I agreed with you when you directedthat the draftspersons must look at it andgive us the appropriate rendition.
Mr Speaker, whena person is living in a hut in the villagewithout a road, what would be theresidential address?
I havetravelled all over the country, now, mostof the places have -- [Interruption.]
Those at theriverside; people are living in huts andthere is no road there, no house number.How would they get a residentialaddress? Baba Jamal M. Ahmed: Definitely,those people would not be capable ofregistering companies.
Wewould direct the draftsperson. Thedraftsperson would take into account allthe discussions we have had. We could
make that direction and then draftaccordingly. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 10 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill.
HonMembers, we have stood down clause 9,and that brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage for the Companies(Amendment) Bill, 2016 for today.
Mr Speaker, Presentationof Papers, Order Paper Addendum 2, bythe Hon Minister for Finance. Mr Speaker, with your permission, ifthe Hon Deputy Minister could --
I assumethat he sought for permission thismorning, so that permission is still valid.
Mr Speaker, we still havethe Order Paper Addendum. At theCommencement of Public Business, aMotion.
Wouldyou not take Roman numeral (ii) on thatpage? Let us take Roman numeral (ii) onthat page.
I am sorry, I had theimpression that --
All right,so, Roman numeral (ii). By the Deputy Minister for Finance (MrCassiel Ato Baah Forson) (on behalf ofthe Minister for Finance)-- Request for waiver of ImportDuties, Import VAT and NHIL,ECOWAS Levy, EDIF, InspectionFees, Withholding Taxes andother related taxes and impostsamounting to the Cediequivalent of twenty million,three hundred and seventythousand, nine hundred andforty-five United States dollars(US$20,370,945) relating toprocurement of project materialsand equipment includingapproved services, to beprocured domestically orimported for use in theimplementation of the projectAgreement between the GhanaPorts and Harbours Authority(GPHA), and the CanadianCommercial Corporation (CCC),for the design and constructionof the Rapheal Unity KumedzroTerminal Ghana Ltd. (UnityTerminal, Kpone). Referred to the Finance Committee.
HonMember, is there a problem?
Mr Speaker, Ithought you had finished with your ruling,so, I wanted to --
Yes, whatis it?
Mr Speaker, whenyou see such waivers, we thought thatthe Commercial Agreement between theGhana Ports and Harbours Authority(GPHA) and the company would also comein, so that we understand the bases forthe --
HonMember, raise it when they come back toreport.
Mr Speaker, we should takeitem numbered 1 on the Addendum OrderPaper -- at the Commencement of PublicBusiness -- Motion, standing in the nameof the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, we seek yourpermission for an Hon Member of theCommittee to move the Motion on behalfof the Hon Chairman.
HonMinority Leader, do you have anyobjection?
Mr Speaker, before theMotion is moved, I would want acorrection to be made that the Report isthat of a joint Committee on Trade,Industry and Tourism and Foreign Affairs.
Mr Speaker, a jointCommittee on Trade, Industry andTourism, and Foreign Affairs.
HonIsaac Osei, it was I who mixed the order. Itwas not a joint Committee. I just askedthe Leadership to join it. It was not a jointCommittee, but I gave the order for it tobe made that way.
Mr Speaker, this isproblematic.The Report which came outis clearly the Report of the joint Committeeon Trade, Industry and Tourism andForeign Affairs. This is because othermembers of the Foreign Affairs Committeeattended outside the --
HonIsaac Osei, any Hon Member of Parliamentcan attend any committee meeting. It isnot the attendance that makes it a jointCommittee, but the referral. For example, if all the members of theCommittee on Constitutional, Legal andParliamentary Affairs decided to attendthe meeting, it would still not beconsidered a joint Committee.
Mr Speaker, if it is so,then we must amend the Report, becauseit is quite obvious that it says “jointCommittee”.
Theheading of the Report must be amendedas well as the body of the Report; it mustbe stated “in attendance” to capture thepeople who were asked to attend. That iswhat should be stated.
Mr Speaker,I beg to move, that notwithstanding theprovisions of Standing Order 80 (1) whichrequire that no Motion shall be debateduntil at least forty-eight hours haveelapsed between the date on which noticeof the Motion is given and the date onwhich the Motion is moved, the Motionfor the adoption of the Report of theCommittee on Trade, Industry andTourism on the Stepping Stone EconomicPartnership Agreement Between Ghana,of One Part, and the European Communityand Its Member States, of the Other Part,to Protect the Future of Ghana's Exportsto the European Union Market may bemoved today.
Whoseconds the Motion?
MrSpeaker, in what capacity did the HonMember move the Motion? That is myconcern.
HonMembers, who seconds the Motion?
Mr Speaker, I find itdifficult to second the Motion because Iam not a member of the Committee onTrade, Industry and Tourism.
But youwere specifically asked to attend.
Mr Speaker, I did notattend that meeting, even though I amseized of the facts, and would havesupported the Motion, anyway.
Whoattended the meeting and can second theMotion?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
HonMembers, item numbered 2 on the OrderPaper. Ratification of the Stepping StoneEconomic Partnership Agreementbetween GOG, of the One Part and EUCommunity and Its Member States, ofthe Other Part
MrSpeaker, I beg to move, that thisHonourable House adopts the Report ofthe Committee on Trade, Industry andTourism on the Stepping Stone EconomicPartnership Agreement Between Ghana,of the One Part, and the EuropeanCommunity and Its Member States, of theOther Part, to Protect the Future ofGhana's Exports to the European UnionMarket. Mr Speaker, I will urge the HansardDepartment to capture the whole Reportas presented. I will just draw a few remarksfrom the conclusion and recommendationof the Report. The Committee has thoroughlyexamined the agreement and is of the viewthat, the ratification of this agreement byGhana would inevitably help to improvethe competitiveness of the private sector,serve as impetus to diversification andvalue addition as well as ensure thatGhana's export to the European Union isnot disrupted.
HonMember, is what you are reading in theReport?
Mr Speaker, it is in theReport.
Do youthink that you should continue to read? [Interruption] -- I do not favour the reading of theconclusion. When you say the Report should beadmitted or taken as having been read, Iwould prefer that you end there. I am notin support of you saying that, and readingthe conclusion again.
Mr Speaker, we --
The HonMember says that the HansardDepartment should capture it, while hereads the conclusion. But while theHansard Department captures it, it iscaptured with the conclusion and notwithout it. So, Hon Member, I do not want you toread the conclusion, because the HansardDepartment has already captured it. Ithought you were going to make theamendments. You should amend the titleas the Hon Isaac Osei said. What is the title of the Report you holdin your hands?
Mr Speaker, it is: Reportof the joint Committee on Trade, Industryand Tourism and Foreign Affairs on theRatification of the AgreementEstablishing a Stepping Stone EconomicPartnership Agreement between Ghana,on the one part, and the EuropeanCommunity and its Member States, on theother Part.
Wouldyou want to keep it as such?
No, Mr Speaker. I will take a cue from you and amendthe Report to read: “Report of theCommittee on Trade, Industry andTourism.” Introduction The Ratification of the Agreementestablishing a Stepping Stone EconomicPartnership Agreement between Ghana,on the one part, and the EuropeanCommunity and its Member States, on theother part was laid in Parliament onTuesday, 26th July, 2016. The Rt HonSpeaker referred the Agreement to theJoint Committee on Trade, Industry andTourism and Foreign Affairs forconsideration and report pursuant toarticle 75 of the 1992 Constitution andOrders 159 and 183 of the Standing Ordersof the House. Acknowledgement The Minister for Trade and Industry,Hon Ekwow Spio-Garbrah; the Ministerfor Foreign Affairs and RegionalIntegration, Hon Hannah Tetteh; and theDirector of Foreign Relations of theMinistry of Trade, Mr Anthony K. Nyame-Baafi were in attendance to assist theCommittee in its deliberations. TheCommittee is grateful to them for theirinputs. Reference documents In considering the Agreement, theCommittee availed itself of the followingdocuments: The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana;
Now, theMotion has been moved. Any seconder?
Mr Speaker, I beg to secondthe Motion.
HonMinister, you are holding a Report, so, youcan say something.
Mr Speaker, I would like to--
I am notcutting you short, but that is the practiceI have adopted. I am sorry. Hon Minister, you can say something,because you have the Report. We wouldwant to have the benefit of your thoughts.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second theMotion and to beg this Honourable Houseto approve the Report of the jointCommittee on Trade, Industry andTourism. Effectively, it will amount to aratification of the Stepping Stone InterimEconomic Partnership Agreement betweenGhana and the European Union.
This particular Agreement and thenegotiation of this Agreement has quitesome genesis. Previously, Ghana and other African,Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countriesenjoyed duty free market access to theEuropean Union, under varioussignatories of the Lomé Conventions --I, II, III and IV. However, by the time the LoméConvention IV came to an end, whathappened was that there were othercountries who were members of the WorldTrade Organisation (WTO), whoprotested that, the preferences that weregiven by the European Union under thoseconventions to ACP member States were
not compatible with the WTO Regula-tions. As such, there was the need to preventfurther such agreement from being enteredinto, as a result of which, when the nextagreement, which was the CotonouPartnership Agreement, was entered into,the EU obtained a waiver to allow thatagreement to run until the end of 2007. It was anticipated that, within thatperiod, the various groupings withinAfrican, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)States that had been defined fornegotiations would have concluded theEconomic Partnership Agreements (EPA)with the EU. In our case, it was anticipatedthat, that was going to be the EconomicCommunity of West African States(ECOWAS) Partnership Agreement withthe EU. As of the end of December 2007, theEPA between the EU and ECOWAS wasnot concluded. So, at the time, it wasdecided to negotiate an initial interim EPAto protect Ghana's market access to theEU. That interim EPA is what we are beingcalled on to ratify today. Mr Speaker, itwill continue to give our export duty-freeand quota-free access to that market. Mr Speaker, the reason this is importantis because, we have built up the non-traditional export sector largely on theback of this preferential market access.Over the last couple of years, in any year,about 35 per cent to 40 per cent of ourexports go to the EU. A lot of these arevalue added exports or exports that wouldotherwise be covered by quotas. In the event that we did not havepreferential market access, these exportswould not be competitive with similarcompeting products from other non-ACPStates mainly from Latin America and Asia. The fact of the matter is that, there aresome countries that would continue tohave duty free access to the EU marketbecause they are classified as “leastdeveloping countries” and can continueto export to that market under the“Everything but Arms Initiative”. Ghanadoes not come within that categorisationand therefore will not qualify. Within the West African region, we arefour countries that do not qualify formarket access under the “Everything ButArms Initiative”: Nigeria, Ghana, La Coted'Ivoire and Cape Verde. Mr Speaker, the reason we do not havean ECOWAS EPA is because, Nigeria andThe Gambia have refused to sign theAgreement and the arrangement was that,all 15 ECOWAS member States wouldhave to sign and two-thirds ratify for theAgreement to come into effect. Mr Speaker, it is not entirely surprisingthat, Nigeria has taken that stancebecause, over 90 per cent of their exportin any event are oil. As far as theirmanufacturing sector is concerned, themarket of over 160 million people is asignificantly large market for them not tobe worried by the impact of the inabilityto export out of the region. However, Mr Speaker, for us, we do nothave the same luxury. Therefore, there isthe need to protect, not only the jobs ofpeople who are employed in thebusinesses that directly export to the EU,but also the jobs of people who areemployed in businesses that supply tothose companies. When you look at the effect that hasbeen created by the development of thesupply chains of businesses which exportto the EU, Mr Speaker, you will see that, ifwe do not take steps to protect this marketaccess, there will be a significant loss ofjobs within a very short period of time. Mr Speaker, the opening that we arerequested to do -- The opening of marketaccess is not going to be an immediatereduction of all duties of all EU importscoming into Ghana. Under the Agreement,what happens is that, there are going tobe three 5-year phases. Within those 5-year phases, we have categorised thegroups of tariff bans that would beliberalised. Mr Speaker, the reason I believe it wasnegotiated that way, was to give us timeto be able to adapt and also put in placethe requisite measures to ensure that, thisAgreement was implemented fairly. Mr Speaker, before I sit down, I wouldlike to add that, one of the reasons thisAgreement and the continued marketaccess on these terms is important for usis because, apart from the fact that ourproducts have had duty-free and quota-free access, it is only products that metthe rules of origin criteria that wereallowed to have duty-free and quota-freeaccess. Rules of origin meant that, you had tohave 85 per cent local content. It is that 85per cent local content that has created thelocal supply chains. This means that,businesses other than those businessesthat directly export would be impacted ifthis Agreement is not signed. Mr Speaker, we must also be aware that,given the fact that our immediateneighbour, La Cote d'Ivoire has signedan interim EPA with the EU at the timewhen it was initially negotiated and at thetime when we were continuing with theECOWAS EPA negotiations, they are nowin a position where they are sitting pretty. With or without an ECOWAS EPA, theyhave confirmed that, they will continue to have market access to the EU. So it hasallowed that whole element of con-sistency and stability for businesses thathave the EU as their target market whohave located in La Cote d'Ivoire and whoare producing in Ghana. Businesses inGhana that fear that they would not beable to continue to have that marketaccess are already making plans to moveto La Cote d'Ivoire, if necessary. Mr Speaker, the loss of jobs for us andthe impact on our economy would betremendous. For these reasons, I believethat, notwithstanding the fact that this isnot a perfect Agreement -- Indeed, we allwould prefer to have a situation where wewould continue to have market access onmuch more favourable terms in order tobe able to maintain the preferences andthe businesses we have and support thejobs we have. I would urge this House to adopt theReport of the Committee to ratify theAgreement so that we can haveconsistency for our private sector thatrelies on market access to the EU market. Question proposed.
Thankyou, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity tosupport this Motion. Mr Speaker, if we all agree that, whatwe want in this country is an export ledgrowth strategy using industrialisation asthe platform for achieving this, then wemust of necessity support this Motion. In 2007, Ghana and the EU signed theinterim EPA. It was part of the processwhich should have led to an EU/ECOWASAgreement. As of 2014, all the WestAfrican countries had signed with theexception of The Gambia, Mauritania andNigeria. What it does for us is that itmaintains the duty-free access for all our produce. All our exports to the EUwould be duty-free and quota-free. There is also the carrot of US$6.5 billionwhich the EU wants to invest to supportcapacity building in West Africancountries. We must have access to this.Within the capacity building framework,there is technical assistance, especially,for sanitary and physto-sanitarymeasures. I believe these are measures which arepart of the technical barriers to trade whichwe do not really understand properly inthis country. Sometimes, it makes itdifficult for us to export especiallyhorticulturals to the EU market. There are many products of interest toGhana which, if we do not sign, we wouldlose out on; we would be rendereduncompetitive. Some of these products arecocoa paste, cocoa butter and cocoapowder. Tuna as well as the horticulturals,especially, banana and pineapples, forexample, will attract all kinds of buyers. The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairsand Regional Integration has talked aboutthe possible loss of jobs if we do notcontinue to have access to the market. Iwould want to add that more importantthan the jobs, are the livelihoods of thedependants of all these people workingin the various industries. There is also the question ofexternalities which can be enjoyed at themoment. If you look at all these products,they all have linkages through the wholesupply chain. For example, at the ports, new facilitieshave been made available and Whifferships have been docking here on ourshores twice a week to take out ourhorticultural products. That would stop. So, it is important that, for the stability ofour jobs, we should have this. We maywell lose out on all the terminals that wehave put up for exports if we do not signthis Agreement. In addition, we also have recourse totrade remedies such as anti-dumpingmeasures, countervailing duties andsafeguards. It is important; we mustremember that, we have recently justpassed the Ghana International TradeCommission Law, which gives usframework for dealing with these tradepolicy measures. Mr Speaker, if you look at the maincountries which account for about 46 percent of our exports, countries like TheNetherlands, Italy, Belgium and the UnitedKingdom are all part of this. When wewere discussing this, somebody wastalking about the UK and BREXIT and allthat. The UK would be bound by theAgreement that we would sign todaybecause of the fact that, there is a periodwithin which they would be able to exitfrom the European Union (EU). So, Mr Speaker, I would like this Houseto support this Motion and approve andadopt the Report of the Committee onTrade, Industry and Tourism. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
After ithas been so eloquently moved by the HonChairman, who made a very niceamendment, seconded by the HonMinister who waxed lyrically and gave usa historical analysis, and my Hon IsaacOsei who has, as it were, put the icing onthe cake, I do not intend to recogniseanybody else. Thank you. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Resolution. Dr Appiah-Kubi -- rose --
HonMember, do you want to say something?Speak.
Mr Speaker, yes, Iwanted to say something. Indeed, theEconomic Partnership Agreement (EPA)has been said to offer a lot of advantagesas my Hon Colleagues have narrated. Butwe also do not need to lose sight of theother side of the coin, which other peoplehave also represented.
I wouldadopt the unusual measure by, eventhough we have put the Question— haveI declared the results? So, I would allowyou to speak. Even if I have declared theresult, Hon Member, speak for fiveminutes but please, do not repeat. It issuch a serious issue that I would like youto speak for five minutes.
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant us to advert our minds to the factthat, there are also people, institutions andorganisations in this country which havecautioned us to tread cautiously in signingon to this Agreement. These people arewarning us that, this country stands tolose a lot more than what we stand to gain. There are also stakeholder consultationswhich are currently going on and I wouldhave wished that we also listen to thesestakeholders, who are cautioning us totread cautiously. Indeed, if you look atthis Report, for instance, it does not informus adequately about what we stand togain. If you look at the observations, itcontains things like, “it was brought toour attention”, and “the Committee wasinformed.” These are observations which do notallow us to make an informed decisionsabout the EPA. I would have wished that,the Committee would have informed us orwould have personally, analysed theinformation that they received from otherbodies and not just tell us that, they wereinformed about it; it was brought to theirattention, et cetera. I do not think it isenough for the Report to contain suchthings.
HonMember, I am not stopping you but doyou have a copy of the Report?
Mr Speaker, I have acopy of the Report.
And thepoint you are making is that, there is notenough information in the Report?
There is not enoughinformation in the Report to make us takeinformed decisions about the EPA. Withyour permission, I may want to cite a fewof these observations. Paragraph 6.1, forinstance, which talks about socio-economic impacts, says that, “it wasbrought to the attention of theCommittee”. After getting that information, did theCommittee subject it to verification? No,it was not done. It was just taken forgranted that --
Are youpart of the Committee?
No, I am not part ofthe Committee.
But thereis an assumption that, they subjecteverything they get to verification.
Yes, aftera Committee of Parliament --You are onother Committees; when third partiescome to inform you about an issue, yousubject it to analysis.
Yes, but then theyshould have also given us a bit of theinformation that they had and how theysubjected that information to furtheranalysis. That was not done. Mr Speaker, once again, I would wantus to tread cautiously in signing up tothis EPA because there are otherstakeholders who are seriously warningus of dire consequences if we were to signup to this EPA. With these few words, I would like toend it. This is because, apparently, thecountry has signed up to it and there islittle that we can do. But I would side withthose stakeholders who have beenwarning us to tread cautiously and notjust adopt it in the belief that, it wouldprovide us with so many advantages. In any case, why is the EU forcing usto sign an Agreement with them if theybelieve in free trade? It is said that, this isan attempt on the part of the Europeansto shift the trade from the Eastern Asiansto Europe because they are losing agreater share of the trade with Africans,and the ACP to the Eastern Asians. This Agreement is supposed to allowthem to recoup the loss of the shares intrade. We as well as the ACP countriesshould be very careful if we want to reapadvantages from free trade. With these few words, I would like tosay that, we need to tread cautiously inthe adoption of this Agreement. Thank you very much.
I haveput the Question already. -- [Pause.] Hon Members, before I put theQuestion, I intentionally said certainthings hoping that somebody would rise.I said that after the Hon Chairman hasspoken, the Hon Minister and Hon IsaacOsei spoke. I did not see anybody on hisfeet. So, what I would do is that --[Interruption.] Hon Members, let us have some order,please. Hon Prempeh, let us have someorder, please. You do not sit down andkeep on speaking, please. [Interruption.]Did I mention a name? [Interruption.]Hon Prempeh, I am sorry; do not go away.[Interruption.] Yes, I would say I am sorryto you; it does not make me any different.[Interruption.] I mentioned his name, forthe record; Hon Sorogho, he was not theonly person speaking, but I was lookingat him. I do not want to mention the othernames. I have been advised. Just now, if wewant to continue, we have to file a Motionfor Rescission but there is a window ofopportunity. We are coming to theResolution and I would allow you tocontribute. After the Motion the next item is theResolution. I have already taken theMotion, so if you would contribute, youhave to file a Motion of Rescission tochange the decision that I have made. Ihave been advised by the Clerks-at-the-Table that there is a window ofopportunity. We are now about to takethe Resolution. Before we take theResolution, I would allow you to speak.So, let us go to the next item.[Interruption.] Do you have a problem? [Interruption.]First, let us take the Resolution and then Iwould allow a few Hon Members tocomment and the Hon Minister would alsorespond at that time. Hon Minister, I wouldlet other Hon Members speak and youwould have the last bite of the cherry. Thisis a very serious matter that is of greatinterest to the people of Ghana and I amsure the Government as well. So, we wouldtake one or two comments. Item numbered 3 on the AddendumOrder Paper. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, WHEREAS by the provisions ofarticle 75 of the Constitution anytreaty, agreement, or conventionexecuted by or under theAuthority of the President in thename of Ghana is made subjectto ratification either by an Act ofParliament or by a resolution ofParliament supported by thevotes of more than one-half ofall the Members of Parliament. IN ACCORDANCE with the saidarticle 75 of the Constitution thePresident has caused to be laidbefore Parliament through theMinister responsible for ForeignAffairs and Regional Integrationthe Stepping Stone EconomicPartnership Agreement BetweenGhana, of the Other Part, and theEuropean Community and its Member States, of the Other Part,to Protect the Future of Ghana'sExports to the European UnionMarket on 26th July 2016. NOW THEREFORE, this Honou-rable House hereby resolves toratify the said Stepping StoneEconomic Partnership AgreementBetween Ghana, of the OtherPart, and the European Com-munity and its Member States,of the Other Part, to Protect theFuture of Ghana's Exports to theEuropean Union Market.
Mr Speaker, Ibeg to second the Motion for the adoptionof the Resolution. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker -- Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond -- rose--
Mr Speaker, onthe point --
Point oforder against whom?
Mr Speaker, if youheard me out, probably, you mightappreciate the point that I want to make. Mr Speaker, this is the first time that Iam hearing that when the Question hasbeen put by Mr Speaker and agreed andwe go on to the Resolution, it becomesthe subject for another debate. I do notunderstand. Do we have to debate that orit follows as a matter of course?
Hon K.T. Hammond, every Motion, even theMotion for abridgement of time is for theconsideration of the House. When we say
Mr Speaker, thisparticular ratification that we are about todo is a very important one, in that, it isgoing to affect the future of trade in Ghanaespecially, when we talk about a verybig trading bloc like the European Union(EU). Mr Speaker, as a result, and with yourpermission, I would want to quote ourConstitution, based on article 104 whichsays that: “Except as otherwise provided inthis Constitution, matters inParliament shall be determined bythe votes of the majority ofmembers present and voting, withat least half of all the members ofParliament present.” Mr Speaker, this is a very importantdecision that we are about to make andlooking around, I do not think that we havethe 50 per cent majority in this House totake such a decision. So I wait for yourguidance on this issue.
Mr Speaker, theHon Member has made an application. Myview is that, the application must begrounded on facts. Without disagreeingwith him, I believe that before making theapplication, he must support it with thenumber that is present which, accordingto him, is not sufficient to take a decision. I did not hear him include that in hisapplication, except that he has made theapplication by throwing that to the Chairfor the Chair to proceed with a count. My view is that, he should comeproperly by saying that this is the number.In the absence of that, it may be too late.This is because, he is raising aconstitutional issue, that we have taken adecision but we do not have the numbers.To admit so, he must state clearly that thisis the number we have, and according tohim, it does not make up for the numberconstitutionally required to take adecision. That is what I want to know. Iwant a clarification because he has raiseda constitutional issue.
I mustconfess that I am dumbfounded becauseI bent over backwards to relax the rules toallow people to contribute. I could havesaid it was a procedural Motion and I couldhave called it. Even though Hon Members contributedto the Motion, after that I noticed that,the same Hon Members still wanted tocontribute and that was why I decided totake this rather unusual route. Hon K. T. Hammond advised me but Idid not take his advice. He advised that Ishould go ahead and put the Question onthe Resolution. I opened a window ofopportunity only for me to be faced withthis issue. I am surprised. This is because we havetwo days to rise. What I worry about isthat if we do not do the work today, wewould do it tomorrow. Some of you can get up, go out andcome back in. But some of us, when we sithere, we are virtually under arrest until weadjourn. If a constitutional issue has beenraised, as far as I am concerned -- Myposition has always been that if an issueis notraised before the decision is taken,I assume, unless I am shown otherwise,that we have the numbers. The first Motion has already gone.With the Resolution, I would check andsee whether we have the numbers. Hon Member, as far as I am concerned,the Motion is gone. That one you wouldhave to rescind it by showing evidencethat, we did not have the numbers at thetime. With the second Resolution - I havebeen advised that we do not have thenumber so I would defer it. We would proceed and debateeverything. When we finish with thedebate, I would defer the Question. Mrs Gifty Klenam -- rose --
HonMember, I saw you on your feet. Wouldyou like to contribute?
Mr Speaker, Ghana is anagricultural country and we all believe that,in our greatest wish, anything that wemanufacture or produce in this country,we are able to access the market with them. As it stands now, as a nation, onewould ask, what are we good at be it inmanufacturing or producing to be able toaccess this market to our advantage? We had this same opportunity withAGOA over the years and we were notable to export anything. We are kind ofplaying football with the bigger nation;we do not have anything to takeadvantage of. The little things that we manufacturein this country are not going to open updoors for us; we have to add value to whatwe produce. However, we do not have thecapacity. As a nation the Government should beable to strengthen us to manufacturethings on our own, so that we can alsoexport. We are virtually not producing much.So, if we open our markets to them to bringin their goods -- What do we export? Howdo we also create jobs for our youth? The manufacturing industries that weseek to trade with, if they bring theirfinished goods here, what do we have toexport? That has been my concern. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Baba Jamal Mohammed Ahmed (NDC-- Akwatia): Mr Speaker, thank you verymuch for the opportunity to contribute. [BABA AHMED] [MR DARKO-MENSAH] It is true that we may not have the samecapacity as the European countries tocompete with them on the same basis. I listened to the Hon Minister carefullywhen he said that, these Agreements maynot be the best, but in the interim, we needit to protect the little that we have. It is a fact that a lot of companies arerelocating to other countries because theythink they do not have enoughadvantages here. So, if we argue that wedo not have the capacity and for thatmatter, they would flood our economy, italso means that the little that we have, wewould lose it. So, in the interim, we would needsomething that we can hold on to whilewe explore the bigger ones, especially,when we come under the umbrella of theEconomic Community of West AfricanStates (ECOWAS) to be able to stand onour own. For now, I believe that the Agreement,as it went, is something that we need whilewe look forward to other things.
Mr Speaker, I believethat as a country, we somehow believe inthe Economic Partnership Agreement(EPA), and that is why we signed theinterim Agreement. Mr Speaker, my biggest difficulty hasbeen the inability of the Committee to havedone a cost-benefit analysis in terms offigures for us to see how much we gain orlose over the period that it would guideus in our development programs andenable us to compete properly. Mr Speaker, we have been told that,there is a development agreement worth about GH¢6.5 billion that would go intothe development of our local industriesand organisations so that we would beable to export. When the Hon Minister for ForeignAffairs and Regional Integration, whoused to be the former Hon Minister forTrade and Industry was speaking, wewere not told what practical steps thosemoneys are going to be put to so as tomake the Ghanaian exporter competitive. Mr Speaker, if we decide not to engagein that area, then it means that when wesign the stepping stone Agreement or thefull EPA, then naturally we would notbenefit. In fact, we might be net losers.This is because, if we take what wehave here, one of the key components ofimport or export from Europe is supposedto be manufactured goods from Europe. We know that currently, we are virtuallynot competitive in that area. Therefore, ifwe are going to get over GH¢6.5 billion, towhat extent are we also going to startexporting some manufactured goods sothat we can make more money? Mr Speaker, if we take the industralisa-tion of Europe, especially, Britain wewould realise that, the ability to importraw materials always made them richerthan the countries that exported those rawmaterials. Therefore, if Ghana is only going toexport raw materials just because the EPAsays that we are going to get duty-freeand quota-free access, how long are wegoing to be rich by exporting such rawmaterials? I therefore believe that for us to becompetitive, we need to look at how weare going to utilise the GH¢6.5 billion tomake a lot of our companies produce value added products for exports. That is howwe can become competitive andprosperous as a nation. Mr Speaker, with these few words, Ithank you for the opportunity given meto add my voice.
Yes, HonDonkor, you moved the Motion.
Mr Speaker, in talkingabout this interim EPA, we must beconscious of the fact that Ghanaproduces exactly almost the same set ofcommodities as La Cote d'Ivoire. Almostevery single thing we produce,la Coted'Ivoire also produces and we export tothe same market. La Cote d'Ivoire has signed theAgreement and rightly so. Therefore, if wedo not sign, we would deliberately putourselves at a competitive disadvantage.This is because, even in investment,companies, both indigenous andmultinationals would rather relocate to LaCote d'Ivoire and take advantage of theirmarket in the short to medium term thanto stay in Ghana. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister forForeign Affairs and Regional Integrationsaid, yes, this is not the most perfectdocument. Since Lomé 1, we have not hada perfect cooperation Agreement. Yetother countries using the same Agreementhave been able to make considerableprogress while others have not. The realissue is how we as a people work thesystem to our benefit. Mr Speaker, I would therefore pleadwith this House to look upon thedocument as the best option we havetoday.
I wouldtake one more Member from the Minorityside of the House and I would ask theHon Minister to wind up.
Thank you, Mr Speaker—
Are youyielding? I have recognised you —
You have recognisedMr Kwame Asafu-Adjei.
Yes,because you have spoken already.
Mr Speaker,the major beneficiary for this Agreementis the private sector. I am not sure if theprivate sectors in Ghana are prepared totake this challenge, reason being this: ourinfrastructure has not well developed,especially, those in the rural areas,particularly, a farmer at Nsuta who tries toexport pineapple, mango and also yam tothe European Union (EU) countries. Mr Speaker, they would be competingwith (CPU) countries where they are welldeveloped, their infrastructure muchbetter. So until we train the private sector, the engine of growth that we are talkingabout, they have the money to do whatthey are supposed to do —in time, if theystart exporting, then there is the need forsustainability. If a private man is given to export, say,10 tonnes of maize or mangoes to theEuropean Union, there will come a timewhen we would not have enough moneyto do that export. Then the Europeanswould cancel the contract. Mr Speaker, it means that there is theneed for us to first train and empower theprivate sector to build our infrastructure,and to have inter-regional trade. When wegrade from inter-regional trade, then wecan favourably compete with theEuropean Union. Mr Speaker, with these few points, Ithank you for giving me the opportunity.
Thankyou too. Hon Minister, do you want to wind up?
Mr Speaker, I believe thatHon Colleagues on both sides of theHouse have raised important issues. Mr Speaker, I started by saying thatthis is not a perfect Agreement. But thepoint is that, whenever we find ourselvesconfronted with a situation where we haveto make a choice, we always have toassess what is in our interest. Mr Speaker,at the time when I was being vetted forthe position of Minister for Trade andIndustry —
HonMinister, this is such an importantAgreement. Where is the Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, he was hereearlier. I do not know where he is rightnow.
All right.Please continue.
Mr Speaker, when I wasasked about the EPA, I said it wasimportant that Ghana should negotiate inher best interest. Mr Speaker, what is the situation weare confronted with which is the reasonwhy we are bringing this Agreement toParliament at this time? The European Union has served noticethat any country that does not have eithera regional EPA Agreement or that it is adeveloping or middle-income country anddoes not benefit from everything but armsarrangement, and does not have an InterimEconomic Partnership Agreement will nolonger have duty-free, quota-free accessto the EU market by 1st October, 2016. Mr Speaker, that puts us in a situationwhere we have to make a decision now.And that is the reason we are heretoday. Mr Speaker, I have also heard thepoints made by Hon Members, which arelegitimate concerns about what happensto the Ghanaian private sector. If I mayexpatiate a bit. The situation we findourselves in is this; indeed products thatare largely unprocessed, raw materialswould be allowed to go to the EuropeanUnion market duty-free, even if we didnot sign the Interim Economic PartnershipAgreement. Mr Speaker, what would happen is that,products that would otherwise be affectedby quotas or those where we haveprogressive value addition, tariffescalation, would be the products that would no longer qualify for duty-freeentry into the EU market. As a result, the value addition that hastaken place under our efforts to promotenon-traditional export would simplycollapse because, those are thebusinesses that would be most affectedby the non-signing of the InterimEconomic Partnership Agreement. Mr Speaker, so there would be no ‘BlueSkies' at Nsawam, there would be noGhana Rubber Estates in the WesternRegion, there would be no Golden Exoticsin the Greater Accra Region because,bananas were affected by quotas,therefore, there was only a certain amountthat we could export every year andwithout the quota-free, duty-free access,all of that production would simply notbe viable in terms of competition comingfrom Latin-American countries, where wehave huge banana plantations that areable to produce at a more competitive rate. Mr Speaker, the same would apply topineapples, to canned tuna, and toprocessed wood products. So what wouldhappen is that, at every stage where wehave had either interim value addition, orfinished products such as finished foodproducts, where the tariffs are relativelyhigh, those are the businesses that wouldbe affected by non-signing, an InterimEconomic Partnership Agreement. Mr Speaker, that is the reason thevalue addition that has taken place in oureconomy, and those jobs associated withit in those communities would suffer. Mr Speaker, I made a point in myoriginal comment that, in order to qualifyfor duty-free, quota-free access to the EUmarkets, we needed to have 85 per centlocal content. By the terms of thisAgreement, anything coming from theEuropean Union into our market wouldalso require to have the same percentageof local content. So, it is not going to be a situationwhere partially made in China or made inany part of Eastern Europe that is non-EU, packaged in the EU label and sent toGhana under this arrangement, whichwould then of course undercut our localmanufacturing in other areas where wehave manufacturing. Mr Speaker, so that arrangement,because we are supposed to have anAgreement that liberates substantially all-trade that allows for reciprocity and forthe export and the qualification ofproducts to benefit from those tariffpreferences only where we have thesignificant and requisite amount of localcontent. Mr Speaker, I agree that a pineapplefarmer with maybe, 2 acres of pineappleon his own would not be able to export tothe European Union. He probably wouldfind it difficult to package, send to theairport and do the cost of shipping. It isprecisely because we have large farmerswho are able to aggregate the productionof smaller farmers and who are able to buyit, package it and send it as their ownproduce into the European Union that wehave smaller farmers benefit from thismarket access simply because they supplyto larger companies. Mr Speaker, I just would want to usethe example of Blue Skies again. Mr Speaker, Blue Skies is a companythat does what we would consider to bevery limited value addition. At the end ofthe day, what is it that they do, they takefruits, pill them, chop them, have themfridge-ready packed and export to theEuropean Union. The difference between the costs ofthe product with that value addition vis-à-vis the cost of pineapples that have notbeen subjected to that kind of treatmentis significantly different, and without thetariff protection, they would have no
HonMembers, let us have some order.
Mr Speaker, what heinformed me was that, at the time when hewas negotiating this Agreement on behalfof Ghana, he asked the Association ofGhana Industries (AGI) to give him a listof the products that were manufacturedin Ghana so that they would be containedwithin that 20 per cent exemption inrespect of products because we werenever planning to liberalise our tariffs. Sothat the protection that currently existwould continue to exist. Mr Speaker, since then, there may havebeen new products that are alsomanufactured in Ghana but which may nothave come within that 20 per bracket. Butthen effort was made to protect the localmanufacturing sector. Mr Speaker, if we look at the traderelations that Ghana has with the rest ofthe world at the moment, the fact of thematter is that, the lowest cost manufacturein the world right now is China. In fact, weimported GH¢5.6 billion worth of goodsfrom China in 2014. Mr Speaker, while we talk about exportcoming from China into Ghana, there isequally much more export going fromChina into the European Union where theproducts are not subjected to tariffs andwhere indeed, those that meet the localcontent requirements would come at thesame cost at which they sell in theEuropean market. Products from China arestill much more competitive than thoseproducts manufactured over there. Mr Speaker, so the issue is not so muchabout protecting part of the market for theEuropean nations vis a vis the Asiancountries. The issue for us and the reasonwe need to take a decision, is that, we havesome companies that have made an effortnot to produce raw materials but toactually do value addition. Those companies that are doing thosevalue additions employ Ghanaians. Thosecompanies also have other Ghanaiancompanies who do not export anythingbut who supply to them, and as a resultof which those businesses exist. Mr Speaker, if we do not rectify thisAgreement, by the 1st of October, thosebusinesses would be out of business. MrSpeaker, that is what we have to look at.There are issues about whether we are going to be able to compete and have theright kind of quality to be able to meet theEuropean market standards. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Trade andIndustry has a programme called TRAQUE-- the Trade Related Quality EnablingFramework Programme -- it started whenI was the Minister for Trade and Industry.The whole point of that programme is tohelp build the capacity of local businesses,to be able to meet the health and phaetonsanitary standards and other standardsto be able to import to the EuropeanUnion. Mr Speaker, when we were negotiatingthe ECOWAS EPA, we were going to havean EPA development programme of theequivalent of over 6.5 billion euros to helpto, as it were, businesses within theECOWAS region to support theirbusinesses to become more competitiveand go into the EU markets. Mr Speaker, those countries thatactually go through the process ofsigning and ratifying an IEPA which wecall on the House to do right now wouldbe the countries that would be in theposition to benefit from those funds thathave been allocated. Mr Speaker, under the currentarrangement that we have, my under-standing, though I no longer hold theTrade portfolio, is that the trackprogramme has been expanded in order toprovide the capacity building support forGhanaian businesses that are interestedin developing themselves to meet thatmarket. There are also funds available from theEuropean Investment Bank for businessesthat need those capacity requirements andwant to export into the European Union. They are all unlent through Ghanaianbanks. Mr Speaker, there is also the issueabout the lack of availability of the cost-benefit analysis. Mr Speaker, this debateon the EPA has been going on for at leastthe last ten years and in the course of thatdebate, we have always been exposed towhat our fears are. We have never thoughtabout what our losses would be. The fear of the future is put in front ofus and we are not looking at what it is thatwe have at the moment, and based on that,we are being asked to take a decision. Mr Speaker, when it comes to themanufacturing sector, the example that isalways held up to us is that, Nigeria isnot signing the IEPA, so, why is Ghanasigning the IEPA? The point I am makingto this House is that, Nigeria has over 180million people. With or without Europeanmarket access, they have a hugemarket oftheir own, so they have no reason to wantto explore other markets because they arenot in the same space. Additional to that,over 90 per cent of the exports currentlyare still oil but we are not like that. Beforewe discovered oil, we were largely anagricultural exporting nation -- Mr Afenyo-Markin — rose --
HonMember, if it is a point of order, you wouldhave to tell me the point of order you arecoming under.
Mr Speaker, withthe greatest respect --
If you arenot sure take your seat. Hon Afenyo-Markin, I would take note“with the greatest respect”, just tell methe order that you are coming under andthen I would recognise you.
Mr Speaker, weare masters of our rules and --
HonAfenyo-Markin, we are not masters of ourrules. Let me tell you who the master ofthe rules is. [Laughter.] [Interruptions] Hon Members, if you continue withthat, then, I am sorry. If you continuecalling names, I will also name and shame.I would not allow that to happen while Ipreside. Do not call anybody any name.The Bible says that the first personwithout sin should throw the first stone. I would not allow Hon Members to beridiculed by other Hon Members. When Iam not here, you can do it. I am sure thatmy other Senior Colleagues would alsonot allow it. Let us respect ourselves. Hon Afenyo-Markin, article 110 saysthat: “Subject to the provisions of thisConstitution, Parliament may, bystanding orders, regulate its ownprocedure”. It is on that basis that we made ourStanding Orders. Our Standing Ordersguides us and it states in Order 6 that: “In all cases not provided for inthese Orders Mr Speaker shall makeprovisions as he deems fit”. So, Hon Afenyo-Markin, we are nottogether, masters of our rules, Mr Speakeris master of the rules. I do not recognise you. Sit down.
Mr Speaker, I would windup. I think I have the sense of the House. Mr Speaker, what I would want toimpress upon this House is that, thereason we are being asked to take thisdecision is not because we would want tohandicap our future. It is because wewould want to protect our present tocreate a predictable investment frameworkthat would allow us to attract investmentthat is geared towards that market, whichwould allow us to expand ourmanufacturing base. Mr Speaker, it is on that note that Iwould like to call on Hon Members of thisHouse to support the Resolution and topass it, in order to ensure that themanufacturing jobs that we have arealready protected -- [Interruption.] No!We are on the Resolution. So that themanufacturing jobs that we have created;so that the non-traditional export base thatwe have created; the Ghanaians who aredependent on these markets for their jobswould have their jobs protected. Thank you.
HonMembers, I like relaxing the rules so thatwe all have an opportunity to contribute.When you insist strictly on the rules, Iwould also insist strictly on the rules sothat we all move forward in that vein. I am not going to put any Questionbecause I have been told by the Clerks at-the-Table about article 104, that we do nothave half of the Hon Members in theChamber. I would defer the Question andask that the bell be rung. But we shallcontinue with the debate in other matters. Hon Members, so, the Question onthis Resolution is deferred till we have thenumbers. Yes, Hon Muntaka?
Mr Speaker, we wouldmake an attempt to look at items numbered20, 21 and 22. They follow each other andwe can still leave the Questions fortomorrow.
Itemnumbered 20 -- Motion?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that notwithstanding the provisionsof Standing Order 80 (1) which require thatno Motion shall be debated until at leastforty-eight hours have elapsed betweenthe date on which notice of the Motion isgiven and the date on which the Motionis moved, the Motion for the adoption ofthe Report of the Finance Committee onthe Indemnity Agreements between theGovernment of the Republic of Ghana andthe International Development Association(IDA) and the International Bank forReconstruction and Development (IBRD)in support of a US$500 million World BankIDA Guarantee and a US$200 million WorldBank IBRD Guarantee for the Developmentof the Sankofa Gye Nyame Oil and GasProject may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, I beg tosecond the Motion.
TheMotion has been moved and seconded.The Question would be put tomorrow. Yes, what item? [Interruption.] I willnot put the Question. It would be deferredtill tomorrow.What item is next?
Mr Speaker, this is aprocedural Motion.
Article104 does not exclude procedural Motion.
Mr Speaker, withoutthis, we would not be able to move to thenext number on the Order Paper. So, looking at the time of the day, wewould be in your hands.
All right. Hon Members, since there are Motionsthat we would want to consider and adecision has to be taken on all of them,but we do not have the numbers to takethe decision, we would have to adjournproceedings till tomorrow. So, we would meet tomorrow at 10.00o'clock in the forenoon. Thank you very much for attendingupon the House.