MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Majority Leader, continue.
Mr Speaker, as I said, most of the Hon Members did not get up to say anything about the late Nana Asante-Frempong because, they simply did not know him. They did not meet him here in the Chamber. It tells a lot about what we are doing to ourselves as a nation. He served for two terms; between 1997 and 2005. Yet, most of the Hon Members here did not meet him, so they cannot say anything about him. It is the reason why as a nation, we should question whether what we are doing to promote democracy in this country is serving the purpose. Often times, we invite various political parties to do serious introspection about what methods they use to select their Parliamentary Candidates and whether that serves this nation as well as our Parliament well. Mr Speaker, I believe we can interrogate that subject matter some other day. Mr Speaker, suffice it to say that, I first met the late Nana Asante-Frempong in 1991 in the formative years of the Danquah-Busia Club. The Club had met at Antoa, and subsequently at a place called Krobo in the constituency. We had gone there to open a chapter in those two places. That was the first time I met Nana Asante-Frempong. He belonged, at the time, to the Constituent Assembly that crafted the 1992
Constitution. And when he came, he expressed interest in contesting any future election on the ticket of any party that would emerge from the Danquah- Busia-Dombo Tradition. Mr Speaker, as I said, that was the first time I met him. The Hon Nana Asante- Frempong, in 1992, came to contest the primaries of the constituency on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He lost to one Obiri Yeboah. In 1992, the NPP boycotted the Parliamentary elections. Mr Obiri Yeboah went back to Canada, and when everybody thought that because the Party had boycotted the 1992 elections, he would be fielded to contest the election in 1996 -- and he himself had assured that he would come down -- at the last hour, he could not come down and that is how come the late Nana Asante-Frempong came to contest. He won the elections at the time by the slimmest of margin -- by one vote. That is at the constituency level, and then got to represent the constituency on the ticket of the NPP. Mr Speaker, as the tribute provides, subsequent to that, there was a heated primaries that was conducted for the 2004 Elections. Three Frempongs went to contest; the incumbent MP at the time, the late Nana Asante-Frempong; the Hon Kofi Frimpong, who dislodged him; and Prof. Kwame Frimpong of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). That was the “battle of the Frimpongs”. Incidentally, the Chairman of the constituency at the time also bore the name, Frimpong. So, Mr Speaker, if you were not a Frimpong, you were not part of the equation. Mr Speaker, the late Nana Asante- Frempong was, indeed, a self-made man. He was an astute Kente weaver he engaged Kente weavers in the Wonoo enclave and he also had his own company which was called Wonoo Ventures. Mr Speaker, for a very long time, he was an Executive Member of the Association of Ghana Industries, even before he came to Parliament. Wonoo Ventures had outlets not only in Ghana here. It was headquartered in Kumasi, with an outlet in Accra, but it also had three outlets in California, Atlanta-Georgia and New York in the United States of America. Mr Speaker, when he lost the primaries of 2004, he did not recline and ostracise himself from the affairs of the party; he got deeply involved in whatever went on in the constituency. He was the lead figure in the Ashanti Region who brought together the former Members of Parliament (MP). The meetings of that group were always held in his house until two years ago, when he fell sick and it became almost impossible for him to actively participate in the activities of the forum for former MPs. When I last visited him, which was about six months ago, he bemoaned the fate of former MPs and asked whether we could constantly engage them in any business that we did, especially workshops, to tap on their vast experience. Mr Speaker, but for the fact that he owned a very successful enterprise, he would have been in considerable difficulty, taking care of himself on his sick bed. That should tell us to revisit this matter about some pension scheme for MPs. This is because many of them leave very successful businesses or positions in the Public and Civil Service to come to Parliament, serve for one, two or three terms and when they leave Parliament, they cannot go back to their old positions. This is especially because they might have become politically tainted. So, it is important that we revisit this issue instead of allow our former Colleagues to live lives that one could only describe as penury. Mr Speaker, we are told that the burial and funeral arrangements are slated for this weekend. So, I would want to use this occasion to appeal to my Hon Colleagues, to be in attendance at the funeral of the late Nana Asante Frempong which would be held in Kumasi. I am told it would be at his residence, which is close to the Georgia Roundabout in Kumasi. Mr Speaker, I can only pray for his soul and also pray for the family that is left behind. May the Almighty God grant him eternal rest.
Hon Members, at this juncture, I would invite all of us to observe a minute's silence in memory of the late Nana Asante Frempong.
May the soul of the late Hon Asante-Frempong and all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace. Amen. At the Commencement of Public Business, item numbered 6 -- Presentation of Papers by the Chairman of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation.
Mr Speaker, not to pre-empt the matter before us, which is captured as item numbered 6, but I am informed that the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee would travel out of the jursidiction over the weekend. So, we could take the Report tomorrow.
Very well. Is the Hon Minority Chief Whip trying to prevent the Chairman from addressing me?
Mr Speaker, I had planned to travel tomorrow and for which reason, we wanted to abridge time. There was somebody in this Chamber who was against the abridgement of time. All of a sudden, he is also in favour of the abridgement of time because he also has to travel on Saturday. So, I have changed my mind. I may not travel again. [Laughter.] Hon Muntaka, I think we need to resolve this matter through some other mechanism. Mr Speaker, as Leadership may deem it fit, we may take it tomorrow.
Very well. Chairman of the Committee, are we ready to go back to clause 2?
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of debate from 28-02- 2018.]
Mr Speaker, let us continue from clause 14.
Very well. Clause 2 (8) and clause 13 were stood down.
Mr Speaker, as you know, I was not in the Chamber yesterday, but I just noticed the construction for clause 13 (1). I do not know how it was dealt with, but the construction is totally wrong in clause 13 (1). I do not know how it was dealt with, where the use of Fiscal Electronic Device is truncated as a result of it being stolen or being disabled. Mr Speaker, that construction would be totally wrong. It would mean that the Fiscal Electronic Device is truncated as a result of a continuing process of it being stolen -- as a result of it having been stolen, but not being stolen because that would mean a continuing process.
Hon Majority Leader, we stood the whole of clause 13 down, so we are proceeding with clause 14. Clause 14 was deferred because there were issues with the whole clause.
Mr Speaker, I appreciate it, but we wish to tell the Hon Committee Members to have a look at the construction of clause 13 (1)
Very well. Clause 14 -- Maintenance of records extracted from Fiscal Electronic Device
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 14, delete and insert the following: “14. The Authority shall extract records maintained in the internal memory of a Fiscal Electronic Device and shall keep the records for at least six years where the Device (a) is de-activated by the Authority; (b) has reached its maximum operational capacity; or (c) is rendered un-operational.”
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee should, at least, give us the reasons behind the new rendition. If he would want to change the entire clause with a new rendition, he should tell us. We were not present at the meeting, he was present and so he should have a reason for the amendment. He should kindly explain to us the reason behind his new rendition so that we could appreciate it.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you rose whiles he was on his feet, so he yielded to you.
Mr Speaker, in the original clause 14 in the Bill, the phrase ‘‘where the Fiscal Electronic Device'' was used over and over again in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c). So, to make it neater, we decided to introduce it in the opening sentence and delete it from the paragraphs. Mr Speaker, again, instead of the use of the words ‘‘Fiscal Electronic Device'', we would want to use the word ‘‘Device''. The word ‘'Device'' has been defined in the Interpretation section, and so it is just a neater way of getting it so that we do not repeat the words ‘‘where the Fiscal Electronic Device'' in each of the paragraphs. That is the reason for the new rendition. Mr Speaker, in essence, we would want to delete the whole of clause 14 and insert what is on the Order Paper.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee informed us that the word ‘‘Device'' has been interpreted to mean the ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device''. If that is the case, then we do not even need to repeat the words ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'' in the second line. This is because it is not the first time it has been used, so in that case we could say; “The Authority shall extract records maintained in the internal memory of a Device and shall keep the records for at least six years where that Device…''.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I disagree with the Hon Majority Leader. This is because in the Bill itself, it is the ‘'Use of Fiscal Electronic Device Bill''. The term ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'', is a technical one, so in some sections of the Bill, it is retained to draw attention to what we are doing, so we cannot use the word ‘'Device'' throughout. Even though the word ‘'Device'' has been defined, in some areas, we would still use the word ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device''.
Mr Speaker, as I said, I was not here yesterday, but if the ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'' is the same device the Hon Chairman of the Committee is talking about, the explanation he has given now certainly cannot hold and that was why I made a distinction. The first one, we could say ‘'a Device''; and the second one would be ‘'that Device''. That is how the construction should be, unless, maybe, at various places, the word ‘'Device'' refers to different things, but if it is the same ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'', I do not see the point of disagreement at all.
Mr Speaker, in the opening sentence, we used the words ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'' for which reason, subsequently, we would want to use the word ‘'Device'' so that we would not even have to go to the Interpretation section to know that the word ‘‘Device'' which has been used refers to the ‘'Fiscal Electronic Device'' as used in the first sentence.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, the proposal in the advertised amendment in clause 14 line 3 that the word “the'', which is before the word ‘‘Device'' should be replaced with ‘'that Device'', I believe is legitimate. This is because not all “the Devices'' would reach their maximum stage at the same time, so anyone which has attained a six-year-use period, it is that Device that this one would apply to. Therefore, the word ‘'that'' is appropriate. I believe we should further amend the amendment by replacing “the'' with “Device'' --
Mr Speaker, I did not address that issue. What I addressed was the use of the words ‘‘Fiscal Electronic Device'' and the word ‘‘Device''. As for the replacement of the word ‘'the'' with the word ‘‘that'', I have no objection to it.
Hon Members, the amendment is further amended in the last but one letter in line 3 by deleting ‘'the'' and replacing it with ‘‘that''.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I get the sense of the amendment, but in line 2 of the proposed amendment, it is instructive to see that an indefinite article was used; and in line 3, a definite article was used. The definite article refers to the use of the phrase ‘‘Fiscal Electronic Device'', so, there are two indicators. The definite article and the capital ‘‘D'' shows clearly that one refers g to the Fiscal Electronic Device that has been used in line 2. So I do not know where the word ‘‘that Device'' would come from again. If these two are read together, it could only mean that one refers to the Fiscal Electronic Device because of the use of the capital ‘‘D'' and the definite article.
Hon Member, please look at it again. It says: “The Authority shall extract records maintained in the internal memory of a Fiscal Electronic Device and shall keep the record for at least six years where the Device” — Which one? —
Mr Speaker, “the device” now refers to a Fiscal Electronic Device, and so when we read it, it says, “The Authority shall extract records maintained in the internal memory of a Fiscal Electronic Device and shall keep the records for at least six years where the Device” — “Where the device” refers to the “Fiscal Electronic Device”.
Mr Speaker, I am in support of his argument, that we maintain, “the” — [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I was earlier addressing the issue of the Fiscal Electronic Device and the “Device” being used in place of “Fiscal Electronic Device” and then you drew my attention to that. I believe his argument is solid and I am in support of it, having conferred with the then Attorney- General (AG) and Minister for Justice.
Mr Speaker, it looks like the Hon Chairman of the Committee is supporting everybody — [Laughter] — But it is only the wise that changes his mind. Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee should carefully look at the issue raised earlier and consider it. This is because when we look at the Interpretation Section, where we have chosen to define “Device” by saying and we say, “Device” means, “a Fiscal Electronic Device” — We now come to the body of the Bill and we still want to keep the full name -- His attention is being drawn to it but says, no, he does not want to be using “device” throughout. Then why did we define it? This is because if we look further, the “Fiscal Electronic Device” is also defined. Once we have provided a definition to “Device” to mean, “Fiscal Electronic Device”, it is simple to be used throughout the Bill, unless, as we did for the “backup” yesterday, it has a different name. That is not about this Fiscal Electronic Device. The “backup” was different. There, we can use the full name. But where we have provided the definition and we still want to constantly use the full name in the body of the Bill, then we have to do one of two things; either we delete the definition so that we do not have any interpretation for the “Device” and we only keep the Fiscal Electronic Device, or we keep the interpretation and then in the body of the Bill, for consistency, we simply delete all the repetition of “Fiscal Electronic Device” and maintain “Device” because we have chosen to define it.
Mr Speaker, in that case, then we would rather delete the definition of “Device” when we get there so that it flows as we have it now.
Mr Speaker, what that would mean then is that, we would have to go back clause 1 and wherever we have “Device”, to render it in its full compliment. This is because we have done that. If we look at, for instance clause 3 subclause (3), it reads: “The supplier shall before the activation of the Fiscal Electronic Device, train the person in the appropriate use of the Device” It follows throughout. What they have done is to use the full name in any subclause and subsequently use the word “Device”. In that case, we would have to go back and repeat it wherever “Device” is used. That is the task that he is burdening himself with.
Hon Members, I would want to be sure. Do we want to maintain the full name and define it as well or delete all? Whatever decision we come to, I would give the consequential orders regarding them. But we have to come to a conclusion in one way or the other.
Mr Speaker, just as the Hon Majority Leader pointed out, wherever we have used “Device”, we would have opened with, “Fiscal Electronic Device”. “Device” is not a stand
Very well. Hon Member for Ho Central?
Mr Speaker, I believe we still have to make distinctions regarding the devices. Some of the devices are backups, while we have the normal ones for operational purposes. If we just substitute “Fiscal Electronic Device” for every device that we see, that can also bring some confusion. This is because we have some which are backups and some which are the normal operational ones. Yesterday, when we were doing either clause 6 or clause 4, we brought this out clearly. That was why we abandoned an amendment proposed by the Hon Minority Leader and Hon Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor.
Mr Speaker, I believe we can make progress. This is because, as I said, wherever we have used “Device”, we would have used “Fiscal Electronic Device” earlier in the sentence. So we would delete the definition of “Device” in the Interpretation section.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 14 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 16 — Supply of Fiscal Electronic Device
Mr Speaker, I beg to move the amendment on behalf of Hon Haruna Iddrisu and Hon Rockson- Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor.
Very well. You may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 16 (1), line 2, delete “another person for use” and insert “a person specified in the First Schedule of this Act” Mr Speaker, the First Schedule describes a person as a taxable person, and makes reference to the Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870). The reason for this is that, the original rendition makes the restriction general without any discrimination. This is to make it specific, but when we say “a person”, we are talking about a taxable person and not anyone else.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, I agree with the amendment, except to advise that if we look at the next amendment proposed, it achieves what the Hon Member talked about. In my view, it is in a neater way. So, if the Hon Member can step his amendment down so that we all adopt the amendment that follows, I believe it would serve our purpose. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the way it is put in the Bill, the Committee did not find it necessary to change it to non-taxable person as specified because, we would want to make it general. It is not necessarily those who are taxable who may be -- There could be somebody who had supplied a fraudulent or a fake device to another person. That person may also not even be a “taxable person” but the word here is not how specific one would be. It is another person because “a person” then, as we all know, can be a company, an individual or whatever. But changing it to be specific does not accord with what we have said. I believe that if we look at the way it flows, it is just a normal construction in legislation. If we would now want to say as specified -- why are we specifying? It could be another person who is not even specified who would be given. So, the law covers everybody.
Mr Speaker, we were told that, part of the reason for having this Device is to minimise leakage. It would be surprising for somebody who already wants to evade tax, who is not registered, to go and take the Device to use. So, this is specific -- it is about those who have been registered to use the device. I do not see why if one is not registered, to use this Device, one would go and steal it or get it from somebody to use. So, it is specific; this person is a “taxable person” and not anybody else. Thank you.
Hon Member, are you going to say anything differently? You appear to agree with him. What we need to do now is to reconcile the proposed amendment by those we are representing and the next amendment which seeks to achieve the same thing through different means.
Mr Speaker, I can go with the Hon Deputy Minister's amendment.
Mr Speaker, I believe the proposal by the Hon Minority Leader and Hon Rockson- Nelson Dafeamekpor is a better one. I say so because, if we go back to clauses 10 and 11, we have that description. In fact, even in clause 9 where “a person” is specified in the section; clause 10 uses the same construction and clause 11 also uses the same construction. So, I believe that proposal is better than just changing it to read “a taxable person”. So he should stick to his principle and not waiver.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister talked about some further amendments and takes -- [Interruption] -- Which is the next one? If you do not refer to the clause, we would not know what you have referred to as the “next one”.
Item numbered (vi) on page 4 on the Order Paper. It also seeks to amend the same clause by replacing another with “taxable” which would read a “taxable person”. But the first proposal is that person as mentioned in the First Schedule of the Bill. The Hon Majority Leader said that we have already used that in clause 9 so if we use that again, it would be consistent with what has previously been used.
Mr Speaker, in any event, we are not just talking about “any taxable person” but a taxable person under the VAT Act and that would be the full complement. It is the same construction we have in clause 9 -- a person specified in the First Schedule -- So, let us be consistent with that.
Mr Speaker, the interpretation of “Fiscal Electronic Device” on page 16 of the Bill is “a machine designed for use in business” --
Hon Member, we are on clause 16 and we are talking about amendment to do with “taxable person” or “person” under --
Yes, Mr Speaker. I am coming to that one. Clause 16 says that: “A person shall not supply a Fiscal Electronic Device to” -- The debate is whether it should be ‘another person' or the person specified in the First Schedule. Mr Speaker, my argument is that, if we go with just “another person”, then what we would have sought to do would be to proscribe the sale of a Fiscal Electronic Device by anybody or supplied by anybody within our jurisdiction other than for this purpose. My understanding of what this law has now defined “Fiscal Electronic Device” to mean, is a device that somebody else, even for his own revenue tracking in his business, may choose to use. That is the definition here. That is the reason I support the view that it should be restricted to the First Schedule else we would be proscribing its use for any other purpose within the jurisdiction. That is the reason I support that it should be restricted to the First Schedule.
Mr Speaker, the amendment we seek to move in clause (vi) -- inserting “taxable” in front of “person” is because “taxable person” is what is used in the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, in this Bill, Clause 9 reads: “A person specified in the First Schedule shall keep an Inspection Booklet in respect of the Fiscal Electronic Device.” We say the person specified in the Schedule. So, I believe we should use what is consistent with this Act and not the VAT Act.
Mr Speaker, the “person” in this Bill actually is using the Schedule which is the provision in the VAT Act. So, no matter how long it takes, we have to repeat what the Hon Member has proposed. That is as specified in the First Schedule. In that case, we do not need to repeat all the things that are in the First Schedule. It is a better construction.
So, I would put the Question on the amendment proposed in Roman numeral (v). Question put and amendment agreed to.
In that case, Hon Chairman of the Committee, consequentially, the proposed amendment in (vi) will have to be abandoned.
Very well, Mr Speaker. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House
So, I would put the Question on the entire clause 16. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 17 -- Qualification for licensing of Fiscal Electronic Device supplier
There is no proposed amendment to clause 17.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I just would want some clarity with respect to clause 16 (2). Is the person who contravenes subsection 1 the supplier, the recipient or both?
Mr Speaker, it is to both. [Pause.]
I think it is only the supplier because the responsibility is on the person who is being supplied to be honest. “(1) A person shall not supply a Fiscal Electronic Device…” So, it is the person on whom the responsibility is placed not to supply the Device to a person who is not captured under the First Schedule.
Mr Speaker, I agree with that. I actually answered the question as to whether we need to make it just the supplier, or the receiver as well. Perhaps, the remedy would really be to ensure that, it really covers both. It should cover both because it is intended that, especially, the retailers use devices supplied by licensed suppliers -- Mr Speaker, I think the intention of the policy is to ensure that retailers do not just go anywhere to get these devices and use them; it would be helpful to make it an offence also for the purposes of what we intended to do to make it an offence for the offender and receiver.
Let us be clear. What would the person who has received it but has not registered it do with it?
Mr Speaker, the person may well use it to dispense receipts and to serve our purpose, but in that case, we can never guarantee that Device has the exact specification. It may well be a Device that can even hide sales. That is why it will be helpful that the recipients are also discouraged from doing this.
Let me listen to the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation.
Mr Speaker, I want to encourage the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to abandon his amendment. The decision has been made specifically to apply to the supplier so he cannot just, as an afterthought, decide that he feels like he wants to apply it to the recipient. That is a very dangerous move because it has serious implications. I think that he should abandon it. Cabinet has decided to go a certain way and he cannot just come here -- [Interruption.] -- Please, it is not a matter of being -- They are sponsoring the policy and then they want to, on their own, change the policy. [Interruption.] No. This is poor guidance. [Laughter] --
Yes, Hon Member for Wa West? I will come to you later.
In any case, nobody has proposed any further amendment. We have taken the decision on clause 16 so we would move on.
Do you want to propose an amendment to clause 16?
Mr Speaker, no. But based on the interpretation that the Hon Deputy Minister is giving, it means that he has the intention of targeting the recipient as well. So, in that case, he should come back with the new clause that should target the recipient as well. This is because, if the So, if that is what he intends it to be, then he should come back with a new clause.
Yes, I propose we move on.
Mr Speaker, to avoid the confusion that the Hon Deputy Minister -- because I asked the question to seek clarification. But if there should be any doubt, why can we not describe the supplier as captured in the Third Schedule? Just as we have done for clauses 9, 10 and 11. Where a person specified in the First Schedule -- This is because the supplier is also described in the Third Schedule.
Sorry, I am not following you. I did not get it.
Mr Speaker, I said that if there should be any doubt in anybody's mind, it could be cured by tying the person to clause 16 -- to the supplier as described in the Third Schedule. So, we could say that: “A person specified in the Third Schedule”.
With all due deference to Hon Colleagues, there is no doubt anywhere. He probably intended that the receiver should also be punished but the law, as it is now, there is no doubt in it and I think we should proceed. Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 18 -- Application for licence as Fiscal Electronic Device supplier. Yes, Hon Kpodo, there is no advertised amendment but if you will propose one --
Mr Speaker, I would want to propose an amendment to clause 18 although there is no advertised amendment for that. I have read through and discovered that the procedure is completely left to the Commissioner-General. So I would want to propose an amendment as follows: “The Commissioner-General shall apply the relevant provisions of the Public Procurement Act, (Act 663) as amended by Act 914 in selecting and licensing a supplier of fiscal electronic device”.
Yes, Hon Member, are you done?
Mr Speaker, I was waiting for you.
Yes, I have listened to you. Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, the Hon Benjamin Kpodo proposed that we should probably introduce a new clause directing the Commissioner- General to abide by the law. I would have thought that it is a matter of course.
Mr Speaker, this is not procurement; licensing is not procurement. If you look at the Procurement Act, it clearly states the situation of procurement that is covered by the Act. Licensing is not procurement and can never be done under the Procurement Act.
Yes, Hon Leader?
Mr Speaker, I disagree with the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance. This is because , we are yet to get there, but if you look at clause 26, when it comes to the “manufacturers”, where the fiscal electronic device is manufactured, they agreed to use “procurement”. There is a procedure for licensing. So we cannot just leave it because if we look at clause 18, as it stands, we would totally leave it to the discretion of the Commissioner-General. So, he has to do that with the laid down procedure for licensing within the Procurement Act. Mr Speaker, that is very important, so to be consistent, we would need to state it just as we stated in clause 26 when it came to manufacturing. Mr Speaker, this paragraph would have to come before we follow it up with the others.
Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, I am surprised that my Hon Friend and Hon Colleague is going in this direction. Mr Speaker, the Commissioner-General must abide by the law as a matter of course. He cannot do what he wants to do on his own. Otherwise, every legislation would make reference to a kind of Act. Mr Speaker, manufacturing is different, and the Commissioner-General is a State agent who, as a matter of course, must automatically abide by the Act. [Interruption.] The manufacturer is not.
Mr Speaker, where my Hon Colleague wants the amendment to be made is a matter that is very difficult to understand. I think that if we are so minded, then it would be easier to put it in clause 35, which has to do with Regulations. Mr Speaker, people apply to be licensed. Therefore any method that must be used should be a Regulation or Guideline for how it should be done. I believe that instead of specifying how it should be done by using the Procurement Act -- If he feels strongly about it, then he should rather propose an amendment in clause 35, which deals with Regulations.
Let me ask the lawyers about the processes under which they obtained their licence to practise? Do they come under the Public Procurement Act? There are procedures one must follow to apply for a licence to be able to sell equipment. Once those procedures have been followed then the person could apply. If he disagrees and says no, then the person would have to follow the processes for remedy. So I do not think that the Public Procurement Act comes in at all.
Mr Speaker, just to add that the Hon Minority Chief Whip referred to clause 26, which deals with the manufacturer. The manufacturer procures the equipment, but we are dealing with the supplier who is being licensed. So, no procurement takes place in the case of the supplier and so the Public Procurement Act does not come in at all.
Yes, Hon Member for Adaklu?
Mr Speaker, he convinced me initially, but this is not about procurement; it is simply about the licence. So we should be able to separate it because it has nothing to do with procurement. I would urge my Hon Friend to abandon this, so that we could make progress because yesterday we spent some time trying to understand this.
Very well. Hon Member for Ho Central?
Mr Speaker, the premise for which I made the proposal is that, the Commissioner-General shall receive applications and he shall select or refuse. Mr Speaker, but what are the conditions for him to select or refuse an application?
Article 296 shall guide him.
Mr Speaker, that was why I said that he should come through the procedure for selecting consultants, because if he is a licensed supplier, then he would provide those services. Mr Speaker, we realised yesterday that if one would have to be there for 24 hours, he would be called to repair or fix the equipment to make them work. So he must be selected through a process that is transparent and that is why I made the proposal.
This is like the licensing of an electrician by the Energy Commission, where their rules says that for an electrician to be eligible to even wire houses, he must be licensed. If the electrician applies for the licence, he only has to meet the requirement to be qualified to wire houses. I believe that it is the same thing; it does not require any selection, so to speak. So the Commissioner-General would be guided by the rules under the Constitution. Hon Leader?
Mr Speaker, I entirely agree with you because we should not overstretch this business of procurement; otherwise, by the necessary implications that Hon Kpodo wants to afflict this House with, if an outfit wants to engage the services of employees, then the Public Procurement Law would have to be applied. Mr Speaker, this is overstretching the understanding of procurement.
Very well. I would put the Question on clause 18.
Hon Deputy Minister for Aviation?
Mr Speaker, I have an amendment to make on clause 18 (4) which reads: “The Authority shall consider the application and may grant or refuse the licence within sixty days from the date of acknowledging receipt of the application.” Mr Speaker, I believe that 60 days is a very long time; and it must be reduced to 30 days because we need to be business friendly and ensure that if there are more applications they could be processed as quickly as possible. This is because there is already 14 days within which there has to be an acknowledgment of a receipt of an application. So when we add 14 days to 60 days, we are talking about 74 days -- these are not normal days, but working days. So by the time we count them, we would get into four months. I believe that we need to change it to a maximum of 30 days, so that the applications -- Mr Speaker, this is a new project, and we would need to encourage more people to submit applications, get online and start working with the devices, so that we could generate more revenues. So, I strongly believe that it should at most be 30 days because the 60 days is too long.
Mr Speaker, the 60 days is the upper limit. So, it is not to say that if an application is put in, then a response would be given after the acknowledge- ment of receipt. Mr Speaker, it is precisely for the reason he gave that this is a new initiative. It would then be necessary, depending on the capacity of the applicant of the licence and to verify their capacity to do so, because this is a nationwide programme. I think that it is safer to leave the upper limit as 60 days, so that the Commissioner- General would have the liberty to go beyond the 30 days if that is required. Mr Speaker, I am confident that, if the Commissioner-General could do it in 30 days, the law does not make it impossible for him to do so. Therefore, I find the provision harmless. If in the course of time it is seen that applications are unduly delayed before they get responded to, then we may consider varying this upper limit.
Hon Member for Adaklu?
Mr Speaker, I agree entirely with the Hon Deputy Minister because the words there are “within sixty days.” Nobody is saying that it must necessarily be held for 60 days; we said “60 days” because, when an application is made, the authorities should be able to do due diligence. They may even ask a person to provide further and better particulars for the determination of that application. So, I believe that we should stay the rendition as it is because it would not harm anything. If we rather reduce it to 30 days, then the Authority may be compelled to act within that period, which may even be detrimental to the applicant because if they are unable to confirm after the 30 days they may actually reject the application. This is because enough information was not provided. So, I believe that we should stay the rendition.
Mr Speaker, I disagree with him because we would want to make this country business -- friendly. If we would want to change our attitude, we need to put in the laws that deliver certainty. Therefore, I believe that if they have 14 days to just receive and acknowledge receipts and we add another 60 days, adding up to 74 days, it is very long. Mr Speaker, yes, the licence -- It is the licence to be a supplier that I am talking about. This is because we need more of the equipment in the system. If they work with 30 days and it does not work, they could come for 60 days. For now, let us limit them to 30 days. That is better than the other way round.
Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, in my opinion, his proposal should be rejected. Firstly, when one would want to register somebody as a supplier, since the person would not manufacture the thing here and supply, it would imply one visiting even the companies there, whether they are ready to do it. and their capacity. It requires time, if he is to supply to other people. I believe that, because we have not put it into effect, this advice could best come from those who have handled these procedures. At this stage, if we just unilaterally decide to reduce the timeframe, it would not help us. Rather, it is better for us to leave it since it is within. Mr Speaker, in any case, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is interested in getting suppliers. By the business sense that he talked about, they would not want to frustrate it by waiting until the sixtieth day before they do that. It is because of the due diligence, the travel time and all other things, that one would want to find out about the person that would make it impossible to categorise it into 30 days. Mr Speaker, I beg him to abandon his proposal.
I would put the Question on it, so that we would proceed.
Hon Chairman, I would want to curtail discussions on this matter. I intend to curtail the discussions so far. Nobody is giving any further reason to continue. We do not need a compromise; either he abandons his proposal, or I put the Question. Question put and amendment negatived. Clause 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 19 -- Issue of licence
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 19, subclause (3), delete.
“The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board, by legislative instrument, make Regulations to prescribe the maximum number of suppliers that may be licensed by the Authority.” Mr Speaker, I do not think there is any need for this. The Authority could license as many people as possible. In any case, the more, the better What would be the rationale to restrict, by law, the number of the suppliers? Are they saying other people cannot do the same business? I believe it is misplaced.
Yes, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, I would want to crave the indulgence of my Hon Colleague to accept an amendment to his proposal. I believe with the way he is reading, without the recommendation, the Hon Minister cannot do it. I believe a better rendition would be “... may in consultation with the Board” rather than “upon the recommendation”. I believe that should be better, but the idea of restriction is important. So, Mr Speaker, I propose an amendment that --
Hon Minister and all those proposing the amendment, even before that, without subclause 3, could the Director-General not decide that he has stopped, issuing any licence? Does he need a Regulation to hold his hand? We have given him the absolute drive to determine who is entitled to license and so on. So, why do we need to make Regulations to determine the end and the -- This is because he would be the man on the spot to determine how many we need at any point in time. Should we constrain him by legislation?
Mr Speaker, the Director-General reacts to policy. He cannot just, on his own, make policies on the limit. That is a policy decision. He cannot make that decision; he is an operational person. So, the policy decision as to the ceiling must come from a different body and not the Director- General.
Yes, Mr Speaker, we need to remember that if there was no limit and an applicant puts in an application for a licence and the applicant was denied, he may want to challenge the Commissioner-General why he or she cannot be granted an application when the law says --
Let us look at clause 5, subclause 2: “The Authority shall, when an application made under subsection 2 is refused, state the reasons for the refusal.” So, if the reason is that I have sufficient number of suppliers in the system, is that not legitimate? You know how slow we are in changing rules. Once we put the limit, it would take a long time to remove the limit if it becomes necessary.
I have a lot -- No, let me hear from my Hon Friend in the middle. I have not heard his voice in a while.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity. I am looking at clause 35, which gives the power to make Regulations for the efficient and effective implementation of this Act. So what is it that they would not be able to do under clause 35 such that we need to necessarily put clause 19 subclause 3 here? So, I support the amendment based on that ground that whatever is supposed to be done by clause 19, subclause 3 could be taken care of by clause 35.
I believe that should settle it. Yes, Hon Member for Wa West?
Mr Speaker, I think the concern of Hon Kpodo could be addressed here if we have an amendment. The Instrument should not determine the number. It should describe the conditions for issuing a licence instead of determining the number. The number is very easy, but if they prescribe conditions as he wanted us to use the procurement procedure — If we prescribe the conditions for acquiring the licence, then that would be in the Regulations, but it would not be used to determine the number. We all know the saturation point. So, instead, if he agrees, we would do a further amendment to prescribe the conditions for issuing the licence.
So, I think the amendment to remove clause 13 is well placed.
Mr Speaker, you would put the Question on one amendment and not the entirety of the clause.
All right. Let us deal with that first. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon K. T. Hammond, you are welcome. It has been a long while. I am happy to see you. We want to benefit from your experience. I hope you are not leaving the Chamber anytime soon?
Mr Speaker, how are you? I have not seen you for a while? [Laughter.]
That confirms that you have not been present in the Chamber often.
Yes, Mr Speaker, for a good reason, which I lettered the Hon Majority Leader and the Leader of the House to keep you posted of. In fact, he has just told me that there is a meeting of the Committee on Energy, so I should attend. So that was why I thought I was leaving on your blind side — [Laughter] — but you saw me attempting to leave. It is all down to the Hon Majority Leader. I guess he would explain.
I have just been advised by Hon Members of the Committee that the meeting has been adjourned.
Well, he has misinformed -- [Laughter:]
Mr Speaker, I know Hon K. T. Hammond is not a Christian, but I know that he knows a lot about the Bible. Let me remind him of an injunction, “Thou shall not bear false witness” — [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, just a minor on clause 19 — the Repair of Fiscal Electronic Devices.
Clause 19 (1). I think it would be better if it is singularised. So, “install and repair, a fiscal electronic device” instead of “fiscal electronic devices”.
Hon Chairman, are you following the proposed amendment or the Hon Deputy Minister? The Hon Leader of the House has proposed an amendment to clause 19 (l) and I want you to pay attention so we can discuss it. Hon Leader, proceed.
Mr Speaker, that is the first one, but it is a minor one.
Hon Leader, I do not think the Hon Chairman and the Hon Deputy Minister followed you, so if you may repeat the first one.
Mr Speaker, I just said that in the last line in clause 19 (1), we have to singularise the “fiscal electronic device” and not make it “fiscal electronic devices”. That is a minor amendment, which I believe the Hon Chairman would take on board. But the second one, the Issue of Licence, it is stated: “Where an applicant satisfies the qualification and conditions required for the issue of a licence, the Authority shall approve the application and issue of a licence to the applicant to purchase, supply, install and repair Fiscal Electronic Device.” Mr Speaker, there are four endeavours that the person must engage in — purchase, supply, install and repair. If we go to the Schedule relating to supply, it mentions all these except the installation. It mentions “purchase, supply and repair.”
Hon Kpodo, do you see that your worry has been covered under the Third Schedule? Who ever qualifies to be licensed under the electronic device is already covered here. Hon Leader, I still cannot find the suggestion you made on Third Schedule.
Mr Speaker, I said that in clause 19(1), four endeavours have been mentioned before the issuance of a licence. The applicant should be able to purchase, supply, install and repair a fiscal electronic device; but if we go to the Third Schedule, which relates to qualification to be licensed, there they talk about the purchase, the supply and repair, but not installation.
Which particular one?
Mr Speaker, under the Third Schedule, (c) for instance, talks about the supply; and (d) is on maintenance, which in that case relates to repair. Then “purchase” is also covered in one of them — (h) and (e) -- but not “installation”. It is not covered anywhere. One could argue that supply could involve supplying the fiscal item and installing. If that is the case, then we do not need to provide for installation in clause 19(1). If it is relevant to provide it, it must find its expression in the Third Schedule.
Very well. Hon Chairman and Hon Deputy Minister, take note to either amend clause 19(1) or the Third Schedule to provide for “installation”.
Mr Speaker, in as much as I oppose the amendment he has moved, I am unable to challenge him. So I just want to —
No, he is not proposing an amendment now. He is bringing it to your attention that --
Mr Speaker, he has proposed that we have to delete “install”, but I do not want to challenge him.
Very well. So what is the position?
Mr Speaker, I agree with the position canvassed by the Hon Majority Leader.
Where do you propose that we cut or add?
Mr Speaker, I need your guidance. Am I permitted to propose amendments?
The amendment is either to clause 19 or the Schedule.
Mr Speaker, I think the amendment should be in the Schedule.
Very well. So, when we get to the Schedule, we would add “supply” to include “installation”. Then the second amendment to clause 19 has to be taken now.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 19, add the following new subclause: “(3) A supplier who is issued a license under this section shall display the license at the business premises of the supplier”.
Mr Speaker, I do not understand why -- If one is a supplier of Toyota vehicles, one knows what they do. Does one need a licence on the door to suggest what one does? What are we talking about? Just a hand held device or something, and we are making it look like it is an installation of a nuclear reactor or something like that. Mr Speaker, I do not think this is necessary. Let us not forget that many business premises -- we can have a business premise that does not give a direct door to itself. A young entrepreneur could have a shared office, and the door does not belong to him or her alone; so, I think this is going too far. There is no need to display on a door that I supply books, pens, electronic device and so on. It is displayed where the gentleman takes a rest at his office. It is still within the premises, if he sticks on the door, where he has a nap in the office. He pastes it at the back of the bench, it is still within the premises. I do not think this is necessary.
Hon Member for Tamale North?
Mr Speaker, I would advise my Hon good Friend -- I know he is a quantity surveyor -- or architect? I would advise him to abandon his opposition. Indeed, it is precisely because in licensing matters, the presumption that one has a licence shifts to him or her. If one sells devices, I would presume that one has a licence. The presumption that one sells it because one has a licence is shifted to the person. So, what we are trying to do is that a customs officer who comes to inspect one's premises would not ask where his or her license is. He would see it there. One would have satisfied that presumption that one has a licence. That is the essence. My difficulty actually is that if one fails to display the licence, what happens? It seems we have not provided for it. It is mandatory here -- “shall display”. So if one fails to display, what happens? That is my problem, but it has to be displayed.
A licence can always be revoked if you breach its terms. If a lawyer fails to display his licence, what happens?
In our matter, if you fail to display your -- In fact, you do not even display your licence.
You are supposed to place it on your premises.
One is supposed to place it on the premises, but not for the purposes of touting. But here, it is for the purpose of satisfying the presumption that indeed, one is licensed to sell. It is for that purpose.
So, Mr Speaker, if there is a failure, what happens?
That is the question I am asking you. If you fail to display it, what happens?
Then they would now ask you where your licence is, and if you fail to produce it, they punish you.
Mr Speaker, that is the reason for which the Supreme Court has ruled that any court process that you file, you must disclose the particulars of your licence on the process, else it would be invalid.
It is the same thing here. If the person is selling, then probably in the invoices, it must display that he is a licensed supplier. But he raises the issue; if we want to differentiate between who are licensed suppliers and any other person selling an electronic sales device, how can we ensure that those we have licensed are clearly distinguishable from those who are selling any other, if people may refuse to display their licences?
Mr Speaker, the issue of displaying is mandatory because almost all those who supply, if one is a pharmacist, as I am, one cannot dispense and sell to people when they cannot see their licence displayed. This is the supplier. He talked about people who may not have the means. It is not about the means. One has an office, so anybody who wants to transact business with the person would come to his or her office, and that is where they expect him or her to display it. Now, the other issue about presumption is that if one goes to the person and he says he is a licensed supplier, he has to prove that he is; but if one sees -- even if one sees the displayed licence and it has expired or been cancelled, one would know. So, it has to be mandatory because one is providing a service that is supposed to be licensed for one to do, and where one puts it really -- It is important that one puts it where one works-- the office.
Mr Speaker, in respect of the point you raised about how a retailer would distinguish between licensed suppliers and those who are not licensed, as part of the Regulations, the Commissioner-General would be required to publish all licences, so that if one is a retailer, at least, one has information as to whom one may go to. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Very well, I will put the Question now. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 19 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 20 -- Purchase, Supply and Activation of Fiscal Electronic Device
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 20, headnote, delete “Purchase”. Mr Speaker, the supplier supplies the fiscal electronic device and does not purchase same, so the headnote is misleading. It creates the impression that the supplier purchases, supplies and activates the fiscal electronic device; but the purchase function is not part of the supplier's duties. So, that is why we are deleting “purchase”.
Look at the body of the clause -- Anyway, let me listen to the Hon Leader.
Mr Speaker, the purchase or ability to purchase is part of the qualification criteria set out in the Third Schedule, unless the Hon Chairman says that we should disregard that. Clearly, it is important that we have it there. There should be a demonstrable capacity for the person to supply, and to purchase and supply.
In addition to that, if you go to 19 (1), the licence itself covers the licence to purchase, install and supply. That is what the Hon Leader referred to, that we cover purchase and supply, but exclude install. So, we have to reconcile it properly.
Mr Speaker, if we go further, there is a proposed amendment to further delete “purchase”. Now the Third Schedule that the Hon Majority Leader references, respectfully, the Third Schedule has been significantly amended. If you go further, and if you look in the Order Paper, you would see that the Third Schedule itself has also been significantly --
In that case, the removal of purchase should start from clause 19(1), where the licensing to be a supplier starts.
Mr Speaker, even the body of the clause itself—
Hon Member, hold on, the Hon Chairman is still on his feet. Let me finish with him.
Mr Speaker, if we could stand it down and then --
It would be appropriate to reconcile all the places you need to amend. Very well. So, should we — Sorry, Hon Leader?
Mr Speaker, the amendment that the Hon Member brought to our attention to, that is captured on page 11 of the Order Paper, even though we are not there, they are dwelling on ability to acquire. What does it mean? — [Interruption.] Page 11. Mr Speaker, so, if we stand it down, it would be just to delay the House.
They would consult with the draftspersons. That is why we would need to move on. So, I would rather go on to clause 21 in which there is no advertised amendment. Hon Members, I would defer the Question on the decision on clause 20 and go to clause 21. Clause 21 ordered to stand part of the bill. Clause 22 — Validity of licence
The advertised amendment is in the name of Hon Haruna Iddrisu and Hon Rockson- Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor.
Mr Speaker, first of all, “may be renewed” cannot be deleted and “renewable” inserted. It would not make sense. Maybe, we would further qualify it with the word “is” — “is renewable annually”. But that imposes an obligation on the person to whatever it takes to renew. The person may decline interest. If he does that, is he required to renew? He is not. So, it may be renewed annually subject to the interest of the person.
Mr Speaker, that brings to mind a very important point. The items are supplied to people to use. There is an obligation that, over the period of which the equipment would be in use, the supplier is obliged to maintain and do other things. So, does he actually have a choice not to renew his licence as long as the equipment is in use? I do not think so. In that case, there are two suppliers -- the supplier of the equipment and a distributor or supplier of a service. Maybe, the Hon Minister could explain to us. Could there be a supplier who can decide not to renew his licence after he supplies for a year and get out of business?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member's concerns have been taken care of in proposed amendments if we go down the lin in clause 23, and even before that, in clause 22; that is the amendment that I would move. So, if he could hasten slowly and we move all of those, his concerns would be taken care of.
Mr Speaker, after I listened to my Hon Colleagues, I am worried. We should remind ourselves; in a situation where a supplier supplies fiscal electronic device and it breaks down, he is given 24 hours to fix it. If he supplies the equipment and within the year, he says that he is not interested in renewing his licence -- He is the supplier of the device and he is supposed to maintain it, so that the people in business can run their businesses. What is the implication? If we are not careful, people would just buy the devices and distribute them, but because of the maintenance — There are laws governing replacement, maintenance. If the person says he has folded up and he is no longer interested in renewing his licence or if the device breaks down and as the supplier who knows the makeup of the device, what happens? Yesterday, we said the person had 24 hours to fix a faulty device. We should find a way to deal with it, so that people do not just sell the device and then later fold up and ask users to go and see the Commissioner-General or the authorities to find ways to deal with it. That may become a problem. It may be true that a person may go in as a supplier with the hope that it would be profitable, but he would later realise that it is not as profitable as he thought and he may run into losses. He would then want to fold up because he cannot pay salaries and other things, and he would want to run away from those responsibilities. What about the people he has supplied the device to? What happens to them and their businesses? Mr Speaker, I think we would need to find a way to deal with it, so that we would protect both ends. We may have to stand it down, or if the Hon Deputy Minister could find a way to deal with it, I think it would be helpful.
Mr Speaker, the Honand and I have taken note of it. In the Regulation, we must make provision for those situations. Mr Speaker, the understanding now is that, once a person supplies, he has the responsibility for maintenance. So, if a supplier folds up — a business person may want to fold up -- we cannot stop them from doing so. We would need to put in the Regulation, an arrangement that assigns such a person to another supplier. So, we have taken note of that and we would capture it in the Regulation.
Yes, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, I wonder; in clause 22, we are talking about validity of a licence. If it is valid for three years, how could it be renewed annually? A person does not have to go every year to renew it. So, the time of validity could be extended, but not to renew it every year. So, the Hon Chairman and the Hon Deputy Minister should take note. If it is valid for three years, it does not have to be renewed every year.
Hon Member, do you have your driver,s licence on you?
Mr Speaker, I would have to check.
Then check; if anybody has his or her driver's licence, it would be seen that it is valid for six years, but it is renewed every two years.
Mr Speaker, why?
That is so.
Mr Speaker, I am talking about the Bill.
No, the reason is that for the period you are supposed to hold it, we would want to be sure that you are actually available.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity. I appreciate the argument being canvassed in view of the fact that, if one supplies, that person should be in continuous business to maintain it. But at the end of the day, once the licence has an expiration period, we cannot put the supplier under obligation to renew that particular licence because I have right to continue doing the business or not. So, we should look at the rendition in such a way, to take into account the right of the businessman to do the business or not. So, I am tempted to agree with the Hon Deputy Minister that the Regulation should put arrangement in place, so that any person who supplies the device and has decided not to renew the licence, the Regulation should, in a way, put a maintenance obligation on that person with respect to the equipment that, that person has supplied.
I believe what the Hon Deputy Minister said makes arrangement for that person to be taken care of better, because it is the same thing as saying though you have stopped business, you keep running this one. That may not be healthy.
Mr Speaker, if he permits me to move my amendment so that in clause 22, we would now change --
Let us deal with his amendment. Is he withdrawing or moving it? Let us finish with the first amendment, that is the item numbered 7 (xi).
Mr Speaker, I would have been more comfortable if -- He has got an opportunity to give me a gist of the rendition that he wants to bring up so that
If you would want to continue to move your own amendment, move it. Otherwise, you should withdraw it --
Mr Speaker, I can withdraw it, but like the Hon Deputy Minister said, we may actually just push it. The reality is that, it would catch up with us. This is basically like selling an equipment and having a warranty. So, the supplier or manufacturer is the one who is obliged to carry out the warranty. We said it should be for three years-- I do not even understand why it should be three years. I believe with equipment like this, one should be able to renew Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic) -- his licence annually whether you have three or ten years, as you rightly said with driver's licence. It is because, all of a sudden, after you run the equipment for six months, there is a major default, something that is inherent with the equipment, IT or mechanical part, which the Authority may decide that they no longer want to deal with you, because your equipment cannot be remedied. I think this clause should stay. I would prefer that it stays. If Hon Colleagues think it is not relevant, then we can take a vote on it. I strongly believe that if we leave it the way it is, we may be --
Mr Speaker, I said earlier that the Hon Member's concerns would be addressed if we go further down. In clause 22, we would want to change the number of years for which the licence is valid from three to five years. That is the first thing I would want to do in clause 22. Here, we are not talking about renewal. Then, if you go further down where we actually have the headnote, “Renewal of Licence”, then, we would want to propose the amendment in the item 7 (xiv): “Despite section 22, a licence issued is renewable annually.” Mr Speaker, that is why I advised the Hon Member to abandon his amendment and if I move all these amendment it would take care of all his concerns.
Mr Speaker, I am all right with the amendment captured as (xiv). However, he makes my work more difficult. I was worried about the three years. Now they have made it five years. -- Mr Speaker, what exactly is he trying to --
This is the Consideration Stage. If you move a Motion, you have to discuss it or abandon it. Now, you are going on and asking questions of the other person. I will put the Question and we would take votes on it.
Mr Speaker, I will abandon mine. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House.
Hon Chairman, do you also have a proposed amendment on clause 22?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Clause 22, lines 1 and 2, delete “three years and may be renewed annually” and insert “five years”. Mr Speaker, first, we would want to, in clause 22, just deal with the validity. So, “renewal” is being taken out completely. Mr Speaker, this is a capital intensive investment. If we go further down the Schedules, people would invest a lot of money and if they are given licence for just three years, I do not think those who would get into this business are guaranteed that they would be able to recoup their investments after three years.
Every year, they will renew.
I am on my feet, why are these people -- [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, so, the amendment here is that we change the period of validity from three to five years.
Mr Speaker, I disagree with the Hon Chairman. He talked about IT equipment, and as we know, the rate at which technology is evolving, three years is all right. He should find out the lifespan of point of sales device itself. Some of them cannot go beyond two years and this is also a new area we are going into. So, if we lock it for five years, we may open the Commissioner-General or the Authority --
Hon Member, we are talking about the validity of the licence.
That is what I said. Mr Speaker, it is linked to the machine. He is the supplier. We should not disjoint them. He is taking the licence to supply the equipment, and I said that we should not lock the period to be long because when it is long, if we are not very careful, someone may supply an equipment that is virtually obsolete because the system has changed. Now, we say that he has five years to keep them. But if it is to be renewed annually for three years, it would give more opportunity for whatever the person supplies to be more compliant. If we are not careful and we say five years, in my humble opinion, we may have the opportunity for people to litigate unnecessarily, though we may say it is renewable every year, it is just like the driver's licence. Mr Speaker, we cannot just say change what I am holding. I will only take it to them to paste a new date on it, but not to change the card itself. But when the expiry date comes, we can then say that we have to change the whole card for them and one may have to pay at a cost. That is why I want to draw your attention. If we do not make it five years, it means that the person can tell you that he will supply this one for the period. That is what he has and he has a licence to to do supply. But if it is three years, it is much easier for one to ask for innovations and new technology to be used. That is why I think that we maintain the three years.
Hon Member for Wa West, I would want you to come to my rescue.
The argumen the Hon Chief Whip made is not correct. First of all, the issue is that this five-year period is a licence that has been issued. As the Hon Deputy Minister said, one has been issued a licence to supply these devices. Nobody asked him to go and order the old devices and keep them for five years before he comes. No. Whatever he has supplied for this year, he must look at the market and the changes in it. But if he is required every three years - If we licensed somebody to supply this and we say it is only valid for three years, that may not be the case. If it is five years, it is better for the business person. Now annually, he would renew it. That shows that annually, if there is any assessment to be made, that is fine. But this one is to help the business person. You cannot just for three years, license somebody and then in the third year, you say you would not renew the licence. I believe that for purposes of the fact that it is a new venture that we are going into, it should really be the five years. That helps people to plan better. But his equipment being obsolete does not arise. This is because anybody who now applies to you for supply of the equipment would expect the latest in the market.
Hon Members, I think there is no issue. If you have five years and the lifespan of the equipment is three years, that is even better. This is because you are still within your period and then you can quickly replace the software and your licence to work within that period. So my licence is different from what I would do with the licence. The challenges the Hon Member raised are the supply challenges but it is the licence holder who can solve the supply challenges so, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to.
It is 2.00 o'clock and having regard to — Hon Majority Leader, it is 2.00 o'clock.
Mr Speaker, the Committee members themselves are moving into another meeting, but if it is possible to do up to clause 24, so we close that chapter -- This is because from clause 25, we have --[Interruption]-- Mr Speaker, I hear a chorus of “oh ohs” from behind.
Mr Speaker-- [Inaudible]
Well, his back extends all the way to the wall.
Mr Speaker, I now remember a ruling from the late Justice Annan. An incident happened in this House and as part of the ruling, he said, who the cap fits should wear it -- [Laughter] -- Mr Speaker, the benches behind me are hugely populated, yet one person is assuming that I am referring to him. Mr Speaker, if the cap fits him, he should wear it. Mr Speaker, as I said initially, I believe the Committee members would want to move to another meeting for which reason, with the time reading two minutes after 2.00 o'clock, I guess you may adjourn the House.
Very well. Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage. I would adjourn the House until Friday, 2nd March, 2018 at 10.00 in the forenoon.