VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 21st March, 2018. Any corrections?
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 8th March, 2018.]
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
Mr. Speaker, it is the case that, there is a bilateral educational exchange programme between the Ministry of Education, Ghana and Hungary for the period of 2016-2017. Pursuant to terms of the Agreement, the host State, in this case Hungary, is required to provide free tuition, accommodation, medical insurance and a monthly stipend determined in accordance with the laws of Hungary. On the part of Ghana, the government is expected to undertake the cost of travel for the students. This obligation was honoured when government paid the travel expenses of two cohorts of 48 and then 49 students respectively. Mr Speaker, I am advised that the Scholarship Secretariat is to provide the students with an additional monthly stipend of US$500.00 per student. The House may therefore wish to invite the sector Minister to furnish us with information on the specificities of this arrangement to provide the students with additional stipend. I am however, able to confirm to the House that the Government of Ghana has not breached any obligations under the Agreement. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. Just to indicate that, the Scholarship Secretariat is still under the Office of the President and not the Hon Minister for Education. The concern I have, which informs this Question is that, the Ghana counterpart obligation — Mr Speaker, concerning the US$500 per student for over a year, we had not honoured that part of our obligation. The information I have is that, just a few weeks ago we began to honour them but we are still in arrears. So if the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs could assure this House that, she can check on this particular aspect because the Hungarians are doing their part very accurately and committedly. We have been lacking on the part of the stipends and that is what informed this Question. So if the Hon Minister could please assure the House that she can carry out some follow-ups in this direction. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Speaker, I do assure this House that I would do the follow- ups as suggested by the Hon Member. I thank you.
Hon Members, Question starred 321. Allegation of corruption in the processing of Ghanaian Passports at Ghana's Permanent Missions to the UN Q. 321. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration what the Ministry had done about allegations of corruption in the processing of Ghanaian passports at Ghana's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.
Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Member for the Question. Mr Speaker, allegations of corruption in the processing of Ghanaian passports at our Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, as alluded to in this Question, has not come to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Mr Speaker, it would therefore, be appreciated, if the Hon. Ranking Member may be requested to provide further particulars regarding this specific allegation to enable me respond adequately. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Ablakwa, you have a question more to ask.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, for this particular Question, in all humility, I need to apologise to the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. I should have said ‘visa processing' and not ‘passport processing'. That is what the allegation of corruption had been about. I do know that there is an ongoing probe at the New York Mission. So it is about ‘visas' and not “passports”. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the Hon Minister would want me to come again or she has something to share? But I apologise most sincerely, since it is my fault. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, it is very fair. I do concede. Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
Hon Member, may I advise that, in the subsequent Question, you give a clue to the Hon Minister and provide specific cases. Otherwise it would be a Question in vacuum, which would be very impossible to answer specifically. Hon Minister, thank you very much for coming to answer the Questions. Hon Minister for Energy?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Hon Minister had indicated his presence in the House, but unfortunately, he had been called back to the Presidency. So the Hon Deputy Minister, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo would answer the Question on behalf of the Hon Minister for Energy. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon Deputy Minister for Energy? [Pause.] Yes, Hon Mubarak?
MINSTRY OF ENERGY
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Energy has outlined the following solar energy programmes for implementation by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement and the National Renewable Energy Master Plan (2018- 2030): a) Attainment of utility scale solar electricity from 22.5 Mega Watts to 250 Mega Watts with the possibility of increasing to 800 Mega Watts, based on grid upgrade and anticipated drop in the price of solar panels. b) Scaling up the installation of 200,000 distributed solar rooftop systems (200MW) for households, commercial and public government facilities in urban and selected non- electrified rural communities. c) Establishment of 55 solar based mini-grid electrification systems with an average capacity of 100 kilo Watts for islands and hard- to-reach communities. d) Deployment of 2 (two) million solar lanterns to replace kerosene lanterns currently being used by rural non-electrified households. e) Provision of up to 50,000 solar irrigation systems to complement the Government's agricultural initiatives. Mr Speaker, specifically, over the next three years, Solar Energy is expected to contribute about 200 to 300 Mega Watts of power in the energy mix when broken down as follows: 1. Utility Scale Solar Farms: 150-250 Mega Watts. 2. Distributed Rooftop solar systems: 20 Mega Watts. 3. Solar based Mini-grids for Islands and hard-to-reach communities: 3.2 Mega Watts. 4. Solar streetlighting: 7.0 Mega Watts. 5. Solar lanterns: 2.0 Mega Watts 6. Solar Irrigation systems: 8.8 Mega Watts. In pursuit of the above programmes, it is to be noted that, the Ministry's plans to use solar as an alternative source of energy are on course.
Hon Member, you have one additional question.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister for the Answer. With the scaling up of installation of 200,000 distributed solar rooftop systems, would it include Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)? Is the plan to wean MDAs off the national grid to solar? Mr Speaker, finally, on the deployment of two million solar lanterns to replace kerosene lanterns, what would be the mode of distribution? Is there any specific criteria for distribution? Thank you.
Mr Speaker, the answer to the first half of the Hon Member's question is yes, the 200,000 solar rooftop systems for households include MMDs and schools, rural communities and even some urban communities. However, the emphasis is really on rural communities where we do not currently have the national grid. The second leg of the question is the mode of distribution of the two million lanterns. It started under the previous government. The government procured the lanterns and gave up to 75 per cent discount on them. Currently, the lanterns we have available are being sold at GH¢25 instead of something in a region of GH¢ 100. So that is how it would be done. Hon Members are entreated and encouraged to procure some for their constituents. Thank you.
Hon Member for Abirem?
Hon Member, we have agreed on some modalities. We have advised the House to allow on one supplementary question for the owner of the Question.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to ask this Question. Extension of Electricity to Abenaso, Obuobetwaw and Asoase *324. Mr John Frimpong Osei asked the Minister for Energy when electricity would be extended to the following communities in the Abirem Constituency: (i) Abenaso (ii) Obuobetwaw (iii) Asoase.
Mr Speaker, I thank you. Obuobetwaw community has been captured under the Phase-II of the CWE- 5 Regions Electrification Project. The national electricity grid will be extended to the community when funding has been secured. It is to be noted that, the Ministry is currently implementing the phase-I project, which is expected to be completed by end of 2018. Abenaso and Asoase communities do not form part of any of the on-going projects currently being executed by the Ministry of Energy. These communities have been noted and would be considered in future electrification projects.
Yes, Hon Member, any further question? Otherwise, we would move on to Question numbered 325 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, from the Hon Deputy Minister's Answer, I think their Ministry is yet to secure funding for the phase- II of the project. May I know if he has some timelines for us, so that when I get back to my constituency, I could inform them adequately?
Mr Speaker, the funding process normally is a discussion or an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the entity that is providing the funding; in this case, China International Water and Electrification Corporation (CWE). It normally does not take too long, but in this case I am not in a position to give the Hon Member a specific date as to when the Agreement and the Funding would be in place.
Question numbered 325 -- Hon Member for Abirem?
I am grateful, Mr Speaker. Commencement of CWE - 5 Regions Electrification Project in Amanfokrom, Bramkrom et cetera. Communities. *325. Mr John Frimpong Osei asked the Minister for Energy when the electrification project under the CWE-5 Regions would commence in the following communities in the Abirem Constituency: (i) Amanfokrom (ii) Bramkrom (iii) Addokrom (iv) Obohema (v) Bepotuntum (vi) Sakapia (vii) Domeabra (viii) Kontenase (ix) Abuabena (x) Dodoworaso.
Mr Speaker, Amanfokrom, Addokrom, Abohema, Bepotuntum, Sakapia, Domeabra, Kontenase, Abuabena and Dodoworaso in the Abirem Constituency have been captured to benefit under the phase-II of the CWE-5 Regions project. The national electricity grid will be extended to these communities when funding has been secured. The Ministry is currently implementing the phase-I project, which has been scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. Bramkrom community has been earmarked to benefit under the phase-II of the electrification for selected communities in the Eastern, Volta and Northern Regions. The national electricity grid will be extended to the community when funding has been secured. Phase-I of the project has commenced with detailed designs and is being executed by China Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful. There are no further questions.
Hon Member for Central Tongu? Connection of Communities to the National Electricity Grid (Kpevenu-Tsati et, cetera) *334. Mr Alexander Roosevelt Hottordze asked the Minister for Energy when the following communities would be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Kpevenu-Tsati (ii) Akpakope (iii) Kukudor (iv) Dzendukope (v) Mankukope (vi) Adiekpe-Korfedeke (vii) Mafi- Kpogede (viii) Ayidzoekope (ix) Samkope (x) Tagbadzae (xi) Norviwode (xii) Bekpo/ Agorvodza (xiii) Bakpa-Kpogede (xiv) Agorkpoe (xv) Kpewu (xvi) Bakpa-Dokpo (xvii) Temfor (xviii) Tsame-Kpedzeglo.
Mr Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to forgive me if I get the pronunciation of some of the names wrong. Kpevenu-Tsati, Akpakope, Kukudor, Dzendukope, Mankukope, Adiekpe- Korfedeke, Mafi-Kpogede, Ayidzoekope, Samkope, Tagbadzae, Norviwode, Bekpo/ Agorvodza, Bakpa-Kpogede, Agorkpoe, Kpewu, Bakpa-Dokpo, Temfor and Tsame- Kpedzeglo communities do not form part of any of the on-going projects currently being executed by the Ministry of Energy. These communities have been noted and would be considered in future electrification projects.
Mr Speaker, please, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister how soon these communities would be hooked to the National Electricity Grid?
Hon Deputy Minister, how soon?
Mr Speaker, as previously stated, hopefully, this would form part of the phase-II of the CWE-5 project. Again, it depends on the negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and the entity. Mr Speaker, I cannot hazard any guess as to when that negotiation would be completed. As soon as it is completed, they would be considered.
Thank you very much. Hon Member for Ejura-Sekyedumase? Connection to Electricity Grid -- Samarikrom, Kojokrom, et cetera) *335. Mr Muhammad Bawah Braimah asked the Minister for Energy when the following communities would be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Samarikrom (ii) Kojokrom (iii) Dukukrom (iv) Moshikuraa (v) Hiawoanwu Newtown (vi) Kasei Newtown (vii) Sunkwae (viii) Nkwanta Newtown (ix) Kabrekura (x) Krampong (xi) J. K. Akuraa (xii) Bayon Newtown (xiii) Nkrama (xiv) Kantakani No. 2 (xv) Nkyansie.
Mr Speaker, Samarikrom, Kojokrom, Dukukrom, Moshikuraa, Kasei Newtown, Sunkwae, Nkwanta Newtown, Kabrekuraa, Krampong, J. K. Akuraa, Bayon Newtown, Nkrama and Kantankani no.2 communities form part of the second phase of the upcoming Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP IV) in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions Project, being funded by the India EXIM Bank through the Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). In line with the guidelines of the Indian EXIM Bank, the project is currently in the phase of selecting an Indian Project Management Consultant. This will be followed by the selection of a contractor through a bidding process for the execution of works.
Hon Member, you have one question.
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister what immediate future electrification programme is available for Hiawoanwu Newtown and Nkyansie to be added on?
Mr Speaker, just in case the Hon Member did not catch the last paragraph of the Answer, I would like to, with your indulgence, repeat it. “Hiawoanwu and Nkyansie communities do not form part of any of the on-going projects being implemented by the Ministry and would be considered in future electrification projects.”
Hon Member for Lambussie-Karni?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, with your permission, if I may --
You may ask the Question on his behalf. Connection of Communities to the National Electricity Grid (Cheboggo, Tappuma, et cetera) Q.336. Mr Ras Mubarak (on behalf of Mr Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery) asked the Minister for Energy when the following communities would be connected to the National Electricity Grid: (i) Cheboggo (ii) Tappuma (iii) Bognuo (iv) Dahile (v) Kpare (vi) Baazu (vii) Karni Danpuo/Kalsegle (viii) Kokoligu (ix) Chetu (x) Kalegan (xi) Nyubulle (xii) Gyerigan (xiii) Kuutawie.
Mr Speaker, the above mentioned communities in the Lambussie/ Karni Constituency have been captured under five (5) different packages under the Self-Help Electrification Programme. Dahile is included in one of the packages under the SHEP-4 project. The community initially procured substandard LV poles which were later replaced by the Ministry. Following an inspection of the network constructed, the project engineers, Northern Electricity Distribution Company detected some defects. The defects are yet to be corrected by the contractor who has abandoned the site. The Ministry is considering the replacement of the contractor in order to avoid further delays. Package 2 forms part of the SHEP 4 and includes Tappuma and Cheboggo communities. These communities also procured substandard LV poles. These poles have been completely replaced at Tappuma and installation works on them completed. HV works have been completed and transformers installed, awaiting commissioning. Mr Speaker, at Cheboggo, 150 pieces of the 300 substandard LV poles procured by the communities have been replaced by the Ministry. The Ministry has procured some LV poles and will replace the remaining substandard ones to allow for completion of works. Packages 3 and 4 involve five communities namely Kpare (Ext.), Kalsegle, Danpuo, Baazu and Bognuo under the SHEP-4. All HV poles have been sent to the communities with planting ongoing. Some LV poles have been sent to these communities and are yet to be planted. The fifth package includes Chetu, Kokoligu and Kuutawie communities under the SHEP-5. HV works have been completed in these communities. LV works are ongoing. Mr Speaker, the reason for the delays in completion of these projects is as a result of shortage of some critical materials, namely conductors and pole top accessories. The Ministry is in the process of procuring these materials to allow for the completion of works in these communities by the end of 2018. The remaining communities, namely Kalegan, Nyubulle and Gyerigan do not form part of any of the on-going electrification projects being undertaken by the Ministry. The communities have been noted and would be considered for future electrification projects when funding is secured.
Mr Speaker, I would yield to Hon Edward Dery in whose name the Question stands to ask a follow-up question.
The owner of the Question would ask one supplementary question. No yieldings.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, you are not allowed. Owner of the Question, you were not here. So Hon Mubarak, please continue.
Mr Speaker, what are the timelines upon which they intend to implement this, and could he assure the House whether or not it would be done this year?
Mr Speaker, the timelines are very much dependent on the availability of materials. The materials have been coming in, but they have been going out. They are not nearly enough to satisfy all the works that are ongoing. So I am sure and I assure the Hon Member that, as soon as it gets to his end, he would be serviced. As to the time, I am afraid I cannot give him any specific date.
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Minister. You are discharged. Thank you for coming to answer our Questions. Question time is over. Hon Members, item numbered 4 -- Statements. Today being a commemorative day, we are compelled to admit a Statement filed by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health, Hon Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah. He may make his Statement. Please, is the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee in the House?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member is not available in the House. He is in the person of Hon Yieleh Chireh.
But if the Hon Deputy Ranking Member is present, he or she may respond.
The Hon Deputy Ranking Member is in.
That is all that we have the time for as we agreed. Hon Member, you may make your Statement. Then, the Hon Deputy Ranking Member would comment on it.
Mr Speaker, typically, World TB Day is launched in March 24. However, 24th March falls on weekend, so Ghana has strategically opted to launch the day on March 22nd, 2018 to create the necessary attention TB deserves. Mr Speaker, members of the Par- liamentary Select Committee on Health in 2015, signed the Global Declaration that urges the signatories to commit to using all the means at their disposal to urge sustained action from the Government of Ghana to secure the necessary international and domestic resources to combat tuberculosis, and press for the prioritisation of the disease on the county's political agenda. The theme for this year's commemora- tion reinforces the dire need to get leaders who will stand up and be counted as leaders in the fight against TB. We have cautioned before that TB is easy to Cure and is Fatal to Ignore. Ghana has recorded its first Case of XDR-TB (extensively drug resistant TB) and the implication for the country, if further ignored, can be disastrous. It is an early warning wake up call for all stakeholders to stand up and be counted as leaders for ending Tuberculosis. The Theme for this year's World TB Day is: “Wanted: leaders for TB free Ghana.” It has been Adapted from the Global Theme: “Wanted: leaders for TB free World”. The theme is relevant for ending the global TB epidemic. Mr Speaker, the 42-year-01d fisherman confirmed to have XDR-TB is predictably dead. We need to wait patiently to see the consequences of this death on the living, so a surveillance system is in place to monitor the situation. The death of the patient is a blow to the family and immediate dependents, and correlates well, such that the leading cause of antimicrobial resistance death is from tuberculosis. M Speaker, now, we should be worried, because anyone one of us here stands the risk of exposure to XDR-TB in the cause of our duties. XDR-TB has dire consequences and high fatality within PLHIV, and vulnerable populations. At a point, TB Caucus has pointed out that Ghana was at a crossroad for TB control, and we needed to urgently act to halt and reverse the situation. Mr Speaker, after attaining lower middle income country status, the financing mechanism to support the core strategy to prevent development of drug resistant TB cases such as XDR-TB is withdrawn. We must act swiftly. The social protection schemes, such as National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is not sufficient to support patients to go through eight months treatment to achieve cure. Mr Speaker, we urgently need to provide GH¢6 million annually to prevent the emerging crisis of Multi drug resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant TB.(XDR-TB). TB is such a formidable enemy that, in combination with HlV, it poses national security and food security threats, and also affect productive workforce. Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude that the world is creating leaders and committing to ending TB. A multi-sectoral response is the most appropriate action to take. A UN General Assembly (UNGA] meeting in September this year is set to discuss Tuberculosis. All Heads of States are expected to attend to commit to ending TB. We are hopeful that the President of the Republic of Ghana, who is also the Chief Patron of the Ghana Society for Prevention of Tuberculosis will be in attendance. Together, we would form the leadership to end TB. TB is an African emergency. Thank you.
Thank you very much Hon Member for this well researched Statement.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the brilliant Statement made by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health, the Hon (Dr) Twum-Nuamah. Mr Speaker, with the advent of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), we have relegated prevention of diseases and health promotion. As you are aware, vaccination is very critical in controlling TB. For the past years or so, we have been alerted of the lack of vaccines to vaccinate young ones, so that TB and other diseases could be controlled. Mr Speaker, in this presentation, about GH¢6 million is needed to prevent the upsurge of drug resistant TB. We have to go back to the basis and do the right thing so that our population is prevented from TB infection. Mr Speaker, what do we do? Is it simple to control TB through things like; one covering his or her mouth when coughing, education and prevention, availability of ventilation; not living in crowded areas. These things could prevent TB. We do not have the resources to spend so much in hospitals when we are already sick. Mr Speaker, if you go to a hospital today and see the number of people at the hospital for the first time, it is so alarming. Could you imagine a day when you go to the hospital and there are no new patients, how much money would be saved? If that money which is saved is channelled into disease prevention and health promotion, I believe we could improve on our lives and do better things for our society. Mr Speaker, I look towards a day when we could significantly improve on our health prevention and disease control. That could be done, and that is what is within our control. We do not manufacture the drugs for TB treatment, we have to import these drugs with hard currencies, which we do not have. The best approach is to go back to the basics and ensure that we have health promotion and disease prevention.
Thank you very much. That ends Statements' time. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business. Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper -- Presentation of Papers. Item numbered 5 (a), Chairman of the Committee --
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to ask permission to lay the Report of the Committee of the Whole due to the absence of the Hon First Deputy Speaker and the Hon Second Deputy Speaker. I ask the permission to lay the Paper on their behalf.
Is the Report ready?
Mr Speaker, the Report is ready. We have engaged the Minority; it is being printed. They have agreed that we lay the said Report.
Could the Report be laid?
Yes, Mr Speaker, we would want to lay the Report. It is ready.
Yes, let us proceed.
Item numbered 5 (b) (i) - - Report of the Joint Committee Mines and Energy and Finance?
Mr Speaker, that Report captured in item numbered 5 (b) (i) is not ready for laying.
Are both items numbered 5 (b) (i) and (ii) not ready?
Mr Speaker, it is rightly so.
Item numbered 5 (c) -- Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, item numbered 5 (c) is ready, and I ask permission for the Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee to lay that Paper.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the indication I have from the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee is that, item numbered 5 (c) is not ready. So, I do not know where the Hon Vice-Chairman of the Committee is coming from. The Report for this Agreement is not ready. [Interruption.]
Hon Members, we have a very tall Order Paper. Let us be Business- like today. Is the Report ready or not ? Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the indication I have had from the Hon Chairman of the Committee is that the Report is ready, but it would not be taken today. We are laying it; it would be taken tomorrow.
Hon Members, if the Report is ready, it is ready. If it is not ready, let us negotiate. If there is negotiation and there is an understanding, I will proceed. It clearly appears there was no negotiation, and no progress was made. Item numbered 5 (d) --
Mr Speaker, item numbered 5 (d) (i) is not ready, but item numbered (d) (ii) is ready, and the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee would lay it. Item numbered (d) (ii) -- By Chairman of the Committee -- (ii) Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts of up to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of one hundred and seventy six million, seven hundred and ninety-nine thousand, one hundred and ninety-three United States Dollars (US$176,799,193.00) for fifteen years on equipment and materials to be procured for the Implementation of the National Identification Project.
Item 6, -- Motion. Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, in accordance with Order 53 of our Standing Orders I would want us to vary the order of Business and proceed to Motion numbered 1 on the Order Paper Addendum, which is the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy.
Order Paper Addendum.
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
Hon Members, if there is anyone who has not got copies, may the Table Office assist, but I have. Almost invariably, those were late arrivers. If you are late in arriving and there is a Paper you do not have, you quietly ask from the Table Office. This is because, if you sit and protest, you are only betraying your lateness.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the 2018 Work Programme of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction The 2018 Programme of Activities of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was laid in Parliament on Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018 by the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei on behalf of the Hon Minister for Energy, Mr Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko in accordance with Section 7(3) (b) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815). The Rt Hon Speaker subsequently referred the Programme of Activities to the Select Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to Order 188 of the Standing Orders of Parliament. Deliberations The Committee met on 4th February and 9th March, 2018 and considered the Programme of Activities. Present at the meeting were the Hon. Minister for Energy, Mr Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, Deputy Minister for Energy in- charge of Finance and Infrastructure, Hon Joseph Cudjoe and Officials of GNPC led by the Chief Executive, Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong. The Committee is grateful to the Minister and Officials of GNPC for attending upon the Committee to provide clarifications to the content of the Programme of Activities. Reference Documents The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; ii. The Standing Orders of Parlia- ment; iii.The Petroleum Revenue Management Act,-2011 (Act 815); iv.The Petroleum Revenue Manage- ment (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 893); v.The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919); vi.The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act, 1983 (PNDCL 64); and vii. The 2017 Programme of Activities the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation. Background Information The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was established in 1984 through the promulgation of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Law, 1983 (PNDC Law 64). Under section 2 (1) of the PNDC Law 64, the Corporation is mandated to undertake the exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum in the country. In pursuit of the above stated objectives, the Corporation is enjoined to ensure that the country derives the possible maximum benefits from the exploitation of the petroleum resources, the development of national capabilities along the entire petroleum value chain, and the conduct of petroleum activities is in such a manner that minimise potential adverse effect on the environment and the people. To deliver on the above objectives, the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) was passed in April 2011 to commit part of the proceeds from the sale of petroleum resources to the Corporation. Section 7(3) (b) of Act 815 mandates the Corporation to submit its Annual Programme of Activities to Parliament for approval as a measure to ensure prudent use of funds allocated to the Corporation. It was in fulfilment of this legal injunction that the Minister for Energy presented the 2018 Programme of Activities of the Corporation to Parliament for approval. Vision and Mission of GNPC The vision of the GNPC is to become a global Oil and Gas Company whose operations will have a profound impact on the quality of life of the people of Ghana. As per its Mission statement, the Corporation commits to lead the sustainable exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum resources of Ghana. Strategic Objectives for 2018 The key strategic objectives as set out by GNPC for the year 2018 are to: i. To efficiently manage upstream petroleum operations to achieve at least 95 per cent of agreed targets; ii. To achieve additional 26 per cent of work required to find hydrocarbon presence in the Voltarian basin; iii. To catalyse strategic invest- ments along the gas value chain by reaching a capital investment decision on at least one gas utilisation project and complete feasibility studies on another project; iv. To ensure timely and cost- effective execution of 25 per cent of all preparatory works for the capital projects; v. To enhance GNPC's impact on host communities and other stakeholders through Education and Training, Economic Empowerment and Environment and Social services by achieving at least 95 per cent of agreed targets; vi. To improve the institutional capacity to manage petroleum operations with focus on developing systems, processes, standard operating procedures and policies; and vii.To prudently manage the Corporation's financial resources to maximise benefits from petroleum operations by achieving not lower than 95 per cent of its financial targets. Key Achievements for 2017 The Corporation together with its partners achieve the following during the year under review (2017): Reserves Reserve position of 1,198.6 Mmboe was achieved as at Sept, 2017; exceeding 2017 target by 8 per cent. The Reserves were made up of 851.6 MMbbls of oil and 2.014 TCF of gas (347 mmboe). Oil and Gas Production Achieved First Oil production from, the Sankofa-Gye-Nyame field on 20th May 2017, three months ahead of planned date in August. A total of 40.7 mmbbls of oil were produced from the three (3) producing fields -Jubilee (24.3 mmbls), Tweneboa- Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) (14.25 mmbls) and Sankofa-Gye-Nyame (SGN) (2.15 mmbbls). Average daily production for the period was 154,372.53 bopd, 9.5 per cent above the planned target of 141,004 bopd. Disposal Six (6) cargoes totaling 5.79 mmbbls were lifted by GNPC on behalf of Ghana Group (Jubilee - 4 and TEN - 2). Revenue realised from the liftings was US$289.71
Thank you very much, Hon Member. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the commendation of this Committee for the adoption of the Report to approve the GNPC 2018 programme of activities. Mr Speaker, I would be very brief because of the clue you have given us. First of all, it was indicated on page 11 of the Report that, the OCTP project so far has given us a savings of US$691 million and there had been recommendations from the ENI and partners on how that US$691 million should be utilised. Mr Speaker, let me commend the Committee for the direction they have taken in terms of how those savings should be applied. The recommendation that somehow it would increase gas production of 300 MMScf, quite frankly is a nonstarter and I believe that, the Committee has recommended that we should stay within the 180 MMScf to allow other gas projects to come in overtime and that is a very important consideration. Mr Speaker, in talking about the OCTP, it is very important to note that, the first oil was achieved on time -- May, 2017. I also noted that, the FPSO was also completed and was appropriately named after President J. A Kufuor. But Mr Speaker, let me make these two very important points. We are progressing and deepening our democracy as a country. I think everybody knows when the NPP Government came into power, it would be impossible for them to have done anything with the OCTP project and they would complete an FPSO and make sure the first oil arrives. Mr Speaker, I was at the commissioning and I sat at the back. President Mahama was not invited and no mention of the people who led the effort was made. In fact, it was President Mahama who actually named the FPSO after J. A. Kufuor and that is the record. I think it is important as we move forward that, credit is given where credit is due. Mr Speaker, as we move forward, we also know the effort that the previous administration has put in building the gas plant. Mr Speaker, the gas plant is in place and supporting gas production, but I noted in this Report, page 4, paragraph 7.8, that we have created a West Coast Gas Ghana Limited to manage the gas nomination system. Mr Speaker, we need to probe into this matter. We need to really understand it. I understand that, going forward we would have gas, possibly, HESS would bring gas, so there is the need for different gas to go through the system, but we do not need private entities to supply VRA with gas, and to also put a mark up on it. Is that what it is? I have not said that. I believe we need to really understand what this is all about. It is very important we understand that. Earlier in the year, we talked about the need for LNG, and there are a lot of projects that were proposed. Mr Speaker, I remember there was a controversy about the previous administration having brought too much LNG projects. GNPC has spent millions on one of these LNG gas quantum. Certainly, we have a new government and that project has been thrown away. We now have Gazprom, and we are going to spend another money on it. Mr Speaker, this must stop. Even as we talk about this, yesterday I made a very important point. We are talking about Exxon Mobil coming to Ghana. Yes, they are in Ghana. They are in Ghana because the NDC Administration brought them. We spent two years negotiating this Agreement, signed an MOU, and the only reason we did not approve it was because, the Bank of Ghana raised issues, some fiscal rules that had to be complied with. So when this government came and followed up on those Agreements, all that this government had to do was to say that we the NDC spent over two years negotiating this Agreement. Somehow, it is being celebrated outside. The Agreement is not even in Parliament, it has not even been ratified. It is not even here, and somehow we have made the whole of Ghana know that, there is a petroleum Agreement, signed and sealed. Mr Speaker, as we talk about giving credit, the fact that there is a new government does not mean that, we should throw away experts who have been in the industry for years. We need them. We need strong experts in the Petroleum Commission; the national oil company, and they must be there. These are professionals we need, and that is very important. Mr Speaker, moving along on page 10 paragraph 9.3.3, the Report talked about-
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I hold in my hand a Report of the Select Committee on Mines and Energy on the 2018 programme of activities of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
Mr Speaker, on page 10 of the Report, the Committee --
Mr Speaker, on page 10 of the Report, the Committee talked about the Ghana Boundary Report -- [Interruption]
Mr Speaker, I would. Please give me one second.
Page 10, line what?
Line 9.3. “Following successful resolution of the Boundary Dispute between Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire, it was important that Ghana takes the necessary steps to implement the terms of the judgment as delivered on 23rd September, 2017. An amount of US$ 4 million has therefore been budgeted towards this regard”. Mr Speaker, this is very important --
Hon Member, now that you have read it, I would rule. When you use this now as a way of talking about people who are employed and have been dis-employed, then you are definitely off tangent, so you are out of order, and you may well conclude by saying something else.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think the point you made-
What I thought is not the issue now. You are not to run commentary on what I said. Proceed and conclude.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I think it is important that, after the successful resolution of our dispute with La Cote d'Ivoire --
Hon Member, now I would say withdraw those comments and then conclude.
Mr Speaker, I withdrew the comments. After you made the comments I withdrew and I am --
Then conclude without any such deviation.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I believe it is important that we secure our borders with our neighbours. The lesson from the dispute with La Cote d'Ivoire is a very important one, and it is very commendable that the Maritime Secretariat would continue with the budget to deal with our border issues with Togo, Nigeria and others. It is important that, we address all these issues to make sure that, our territorial integrity is secured. Mr Speaker, with these few words, thank you.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. I refer to paragraph 12.6 of the Report, where GNPC has been given the authorisation to begin with the construction of the office accommodation complex. Mr Speaker, I believe this is the right way to go. If you go to a lot of government offices at the Ministries, apart from the Ministry of Communication, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the state of our offices are appalling. Mr Speaker, if you take an agency like GNPC, with all the investments they are making and attracting, GNPC needs a modern edifice, and so I am happy that this project would finally take off. Mr Speaker, again, if you look at the corporate social responsibility projects that GNPC is now undertaking, there is a focus on education and training, economic empowerment, the environment and social amenities. Mr Speaker, this is a mild departure from what we used to experience in the past, where GNPC veered into all manner of investments. I believe the focus on education with emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as technical skills and special needs education is in the right direction, and the management should be commended. Mr Speaker, again, GNPC is going to procure marine patrol vessels. Mr Speaker, our territorial waters need to be protected. As it is now, the partners hire vessels and it costs them in excess of US$10,000 a day. Now, by the approval of this Report, GNPC would procure their own marine vessels of course from a private entity. These vessels would pay for themselves in a matter of five years and the beautiful thing about this facility is that, it would revert to the Ghana Naval Force after five years. Mr Speaker, so, I think the direction GNPC is pursuing now is a good one but in the past they would sponsor the Black Stars of Ghana and get into all manner of issues and Parliament would not be happy. But these have not been seen now and so I would urge Hon Members to fully support this Motion for the approval of the work programme of GNPC.
Leadership or your Hon nominees?
Mr Speaker, I would yield to the Hon Ranking Member of the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to this Motion and in doing so I would like to draw the attention of the House to page 16 of the Committee's Report, particularly, paragraph 12.1 under Budget Financing where it says and I beg to quote; “It was observed that, an amount of US$356.43 million is expected to be received by the GNPC for the year 2018.” Mr Speaker, line 2 says that “The Corporation however requires a total of US$986.13 million for implementation of its Programme of Activities for the year, leaving a funding gap of US$629.70 million. The Committee was informed that the funding gap would be financed
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of correction or order?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I am on a point of correction. Mr Speaker, in the matter of Dr Assibey- Yeboah vs ECG And Three Others
Hon Member, at least let him finish. Hon Member, are you not able to control your temper? Hon Members, some of these things do not add dignity to this Honourable House. The Hon Member is on his feet so let him finish then the next thing I would do is to -- [Interruption.] Well, tell me when you will finish your protestations?
Mr Speaker, the contention of my respected Hon Member, Hon Ato Forson is to the effect that the debt of GNPC is part of public debts within the context of his argument. I am drawing his attention to a Supreme Court ruling in the matter of Dr Assibey-Yeboah vs ECG And Three Others whereupon a similar matter came to bear. At the time when we were on the Minority side of the House, our contention was that GNPC issued a bank guarantee which failed to come to this House, that amounted to a breach of article 181 of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, the Supreme Court's view, among others, was to the extent that, GNPC was relying on its balance sheet, and it is a commercial corporation, it did not need to come to this House. Therefore if his argument this afternoon is to the effect that, the borrowing by GNPC would amount to an increase in the public debt then I say that he should look at the context of that judgment where Dr Assibey-Yeboah's arguments were dismissed and limited him to the very issue. Mr Speaker, it is not right and that is my argument. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Member, you may well advise yourself particularly with regard to the law as to the statement you made, because of the advice that you have just been given that, these are different transactions. So it is not a public debt affair unless you could say otherwise. Hon Members, we are going by the law and we are bound to go by the law, particularly in this Honourable House. If you do not have anything to support it thank your Hon Friend for advising you to advise yourself.
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, for the records, the GNPC is a Corporation and it has an owner which is the Republic of Ghana. If GNPC is to borrow and they fail to pay, then it becomes a contingent liability on the State. Mr Speaker, in preparing --
Hon Member, it is not for us to just say what we fancy. It has been brought to your honourable attention that, this is the finding of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana, so please move away from that tangent and conclude.
Mr Speaker, it is important that I draw the attention of the House to when the national debt is being prepared.
Hon Members, nobody would stand in this Honourable House and argue what the Supreme Court has ruled upon. That is a fait accompli and so proceed to conclude.
Mr Speaker, let me continue my point. Mr Speaker, let me refer you to page 13 item 11. 1 -- Corporate Head Office, Accra. GNPC has budgeted to spend an amount of US$20 million to build their head office in Accra and they have also said that they would refurbish the Petroleum House with an amount of GH¢13.4 million. Mr Speaker, again, GNPC said that they would build a Corporate Operational Head Office in Takoradi with an amount of US$10 million. I ask myself if GNPC is a Real Estate company to spend so much money in building head offices? They are building a head office in Takoradi with an amount of US$10 million?
Hon Member, you have not been given permission to reply. Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, let me also refer you to page 11, paragraph 9.36 -- Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited. Mr Speaker, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) again has projected an amount of US$24.78 million for the purposes of investing in a gold mine company. Mr Speaker, it is about time we encouraged GNPC to stay within their mandate and not to deviate from what they have been asked to do. Mr Speaker, in the 2018 Budget Statement, GNPC would spend GH¢300 million for the purposes of building agricultural roads. I believe that this is a deviation from the mandate of GNPC and we should get them to do the right thing. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Majority Leadership, you may want to concede to the Hon Minister because we are not going to go on any further. We have got a lot of Business, otherwise, the Hon Minister would lose his slot.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Hon Minister would wind up but I would want to yield my slot to Hon Oppong- Nkrumah, then the Hon Minister would conclude.
Hon Member, you do not tell me that; you conclude. I have given you the opportunity to contribute. Go on.
Mr Speaker, I am not concluding.
Hon Member, make your contribution. I am not saying it is a conclusion. I said that you should make your contribution and leave the rest to me.
Mr Speaker, I said I am yielding to a Member of the Committee to speak and it is Hon Oppong-Nkrumah.
Hon Member of the Committee, please, conclude. I did not hear that. Please, there is too much noise. I cannot even hear Hon Members sometimes. Deputy Minister for Information (Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah) (MP): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate --
He is not a member of the Committee.
Order! The Hon Deputy Majority Leader has the right to concede to whomever she wills.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader stated that Hon Oppong- Nkrumah is a member of the Mines and Energy Committee.
Hon Member, are you a Member of the Committee? I agree with the Hon Buah. It must not go on the record that the Hon Member has been given the opportunity to contribute because he is a Member of the Committee. He is being given the opportunity because the Hon Deputy Majority Leader has conceded to him. Hon Member, you may continue in that capacity.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your ruling. Mr Speaker, mine is a very simple contribution on paragraph 9.1.2 of your Committee's Report. It speaks about the need for us to invest some more in our ability to get a lot more from our oil resources. Mr Speaker, this country is blessed with a lot of natural resources. Our history gives us a clear indication that in the area of gold for example, some of the earlier negotiations that we made left us with a situation where we ourselves know we do not get much from our gold resources. In the area of petroleum, this House was generous enough to pass the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) which provides a more enhanced revenue management regime for our petroleum resources. Mr Speaker, a lot of what we get from the little in petroleum comes from our carried interest in the fields that currently function. That is why it is exciting to know that GNPC, as part of its 2018 programme, seeks to inject a lot more money to participate in some of the oil blocks that are ahead of us. Mr Speaker, if we do not do that, as the Report we considered yesterday, we would be left with just a little that we get from our carried interest. Mr Speaker, the Committee's Report says that the GNPC, — with your leave, I beg to read briefly: “ … in 2018, the Corporation intends to contribute an amount of US$92.39 million in respect of Explorco's interest in the following Petroleum Agreements detailed in Table 2 below:” The table outlines the various contract areas and projects that the GNPC seeks to put more money in. This is a very prudent investment because it is this that would ensure that, perhaps, in the years to come, when we come to consider the Petroleum Holding Fund Account, we would have been able to yield a lot more into it because we have put more into our oil blocks that are drilled out there. Mr Speaker, on the matters of what amounts to contingent liability and what does not, the rules in this House are quite clear that, your ruling may not be subjected to a debate on the Floor of the House except by formal Motion -—
Hon Member, contribute.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, this is a significant investment that GNPC intends to do with part of the money that it would get for this year 2018 and we even encourage it to do more in the years ahead so that the oil resources that we have been endowed with may not just be taken away, and we would be left with pittance in carried interest, but as we contribute in participating interest, we would get a lot more from it. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minister, any concluding remarks?
Mr Speaker, I give thanks to you and Hon Members of this Honourable House for the opportunity to ask for the support of this House for the programmes of GNPC. Mr Speaker, the importance of this request rests largely on the fact that, Ghana is now an emerging oil producing country and we must pay particular attention to the development and growth of our national oil company. Mr Speaker, I have taken judicious notice of the comments and the observations made, but I would not have served this House well if I do not expand on some of the comments. So permit me Mr Speaker, to outline four (4) points as observations and comments. Mr Speaker, the first has to do with the management of the gas system. We have appointed a nomination company to manage the gas account because our gas system is not a one way street. Sooner than later, we would have found out that, there would be other gas producers and there ought to be an independent manager of the gas account so that, everybody's mind would be put to rest as to their input and takeout. So Mr Speaker, the gas accounting manager does not inject any gas in to the system. He simply monitors and makes sure that the remote metering stations account properly for the different injections of gas from different producers.
Mr Speaker, a point has been made about ExxonMobil. Mr Speaker, a nation is an ongoing entity and we would not deny that the ExxonMobil contract was on the table when we got into Office, but it had been stalled on four key points. We were able to unravel the juggernaut and bring the pie home. If it is credit that Hon Members on the opposite side look for, we can give them some. Mr Speaker, a point had been made about the talent in the energy sector as if there is a wholesale dismissal of experts and experience or expertise. Mr Speaker, no particular groups of people have a monopoly over expertise. It is within the province of the Executive to employ and deploy from the pool of talent as it -—
Hon Minister, that matter was overruled, so please, conclude. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, a point was made about GNPC headquarters that costs US$20 million. Mr Speaker, if you go into the details and track the history, we have been able to negotiate it down from a US$76 million tag to a US$20 million tag. Our Hon Friends on the opposite side of the House ought to take cognisance of that and give us the credit that we have been able to climb down from US$76 million to US$20 million. Mr Speaker, let me convey through you my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to your Committee for the high level of cooperation and the quality of the deliberations that we went through.
I thought, having commended the Committee, that was the conclusion? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I thank you and the House for supporting the Request. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Avedzi — rose —
Hon Member, do you stand on a particular point of whatever?
Mr Speaker, there is a fundamental error in the Report which needs to be corrected. If the Hon Chairman of the Committee can listen to me. —
Very well. Page?
Mr Speaker, on page 16 of 21 of the Report. [Interruption.]
Hon Members, order!
Page 16 of 21, paragraph 12.1, the total amount needed by the corporation is quoted as US$986.13 million and the Report has an appendix which has a total expenditure requirement of GNPC as US$926.13 million. There is a difference of US$60 million. If the Hon Chairman could correct it or tell us which of the two figures is the correct one? Since the appendix talks about US$926.13 million and your Report also talks about US$986.13 million.
Figures reconciliation, which is which? Hon Deputy Minority Leader, if you could please help to resolve this matter. In fact, the moment you rose, I felt it was for a point of correction and that was why I asked whether it was for a point of correction and I allowed it. I happen to know the Hon Members of the House, you know! And that also directs my rulings -[Laughter.] So please, tell us something as to the reconciliation.
Mr Speaker, the observation made by the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is correct. There is a little — what is not fundamental, there was an Addendum on this particular Request which was brought to the Committee.
Hon Member, in these matters, on behalf of the Committee, you would simply reconcile quickly with the Hon Deputy Minority Leader and then, you would tell us the correct figure and we would proceed. So the two of you can meet. Meanwhile, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we would come back to this in a moment, but what do we take? Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I am only saying we are going to have these figures reconciled and then I will put the Question on those figures. But we do not put the Question in the midst of the muddy waters. So, to maximise time, what do we take?
Mr Speaker, I have seen the Hon Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee trying to reconcile with the Hon Deputy Minority Leader. So just as you said, we would have to, probably, suspend and come back as agreed at pre- Sitting for them to reconcile the figures.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, is there any other issue that we can take at the moment?
Mr Speaker, we can take the Motion numbered 21 on the Order Paper which is the Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017, at the Consideration Stage. Mr Speaker, respectfully, before we move on to the Bill, I have the indication that the Hon Deputy Minority Leader and the Hon Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee have met behind the scenes and have settled on the figure. So we would have the Hon Deputy Minority Leader give his endorsement and then you could put the Question before we go on to the Bill. Thank you.
Very well. Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, an Addendum to the Appendix has been shown to me which has US$ 60 million as an amount of additional requirement. So, I would ask that the Addendum be attached to the Report and be captured by the Official Report so that it becomes a full Report of the Committee.
The Addendum is to be attached accordingly, to make the Report full and complete. Also, on page 13, bullet 12, there is a correction that the year, “2017” should be 2018. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I have an indication from the Hon Deputy Majority Leader that, we could continue with the item numbered 23 on page 16 of the Order paper.
Item numbered 23, Ghana Deposit Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2018, at the Consideration Stage. Hon Chairman, since some work has been done already, direct us to exactly where we are.
Mr Speaker, with this Bill, we are not starting with the amendments. We have not done any work on this Bill thus far. So we would now begin with the consideration stage of the Bill.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
Hon Members, there is no listed amendment for clause 3.
Mr Speaker, there is no advertised amendment but I seek your leave --
In clause 3?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move clause (3), subclause (6), delete. Originally, we wanted to insert after subsection (5), a subsection (6) but after winnowing and consultations, we have decided to abandon that amendment. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 4 -- Section 7 of Act 931 amended
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 4 -- subclause (4), line 2, delete “paragraph” and in lines 3 and 4, delete “or to a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years or to both”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 4 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 5 -- Section 10 of Act 931 amended
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5 -- paragraph (a), line 1, after “investment” insert “of that fund” Question put and amendement agreed to.
Hon Chairman, any further amendment?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, could we go back to --
No, let us finish with this.
Very well, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 5 -- paragraph (b), line 1, after “investment” insert “of that fund”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 5 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Chairman, did you want to take us back?
Mr Speaker, in clause 3, where I moved that subclause (6) be deleted, the impression created to the Table Office was as though we deleted all of clause 3. In actual fact, the amendment was to delete paragraph (d). Mr Speaker, with your leave, I beg to move, clause 3, paragraph (d), delete. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 3 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 6 -- Section 13 of Act 931 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6 -- delete and insert the following: 13. (1) With the exception of the following, a bank or specialised deposit-taking institution shall insure with the Scheme, deposits held at that bank or specialised deposittaking institution: (a) a deposit for which a depositor has not been identified; (b) a deposit that is frozen in compliance with an order of a court; (c) a deposit that belongs to (i) a director or a key management personnel; (ii) a director or a key management personnel who has worked with the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution for at least three years preceding the occurrence of the insured event; or (iii) an accounting or audit firm, a partner of that accounting or audit firm, and a manager of that audit firm or accounting firm who is in charge of performing the external audit of the financial statements of the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution for at least the three years preceding the occurrence of an insured event; (iv) a deposit that is used as a collateral for a loan or other obligation with the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution; (d) a deposit held in a bank or specialised deposit-taking institution by a financial institution, pension fund, retirement fund, insurance company, collective investment undertaking, local government, central government and administrative authority; and (e) a deposit held in a foreign branch of a bank or a specialised deposit-taking institution incorporated in Ghana, and a subsidiary of that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution operating in a foreign country.
Mr Speaker, all of what is in paragraph (iv) on pages 17 and 18 would be inserted. Mr Speaker, we would want to replace what is in clause 6 entirely with what we have on pages 17 and 18 on the Order Paper.
And the purpose is what persuades it.
Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, it came to the fore that, this was a better rendition than what was in the Bill. In the Bill and in the Act itself, there were some exclusions and the categories of persons who were excluded did not come out well. So this would be a neater rendition. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation would want to propose a further amendment.
Mr Speaker, with the indulgence of the Hon Chairman of the Committee, I would want to make some minor amendments. Mr Speaker, clause 6, line 3, subclause (13), paragraph (1) (c) (iii) after the word ‘'audit'', the word ‘'firm'' should be deleted so that it would not be repetitive.
‘'…a manager of that audit or accounting firm…'' Mr Speaker, also in clause 6, line 4, subclause (13), paragraph (i)(d) of clause 6, I believe there is a word missing. After the words ‘'investment undertaking'', we should insert the word ‘'by'' that it would be: ‘'… undertaking by local government, central government and administrative authority''… Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee does not have any problem with the amendment I have proposed.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, have you reconciled?
Mr Speaker, I have no objection to the first amendment the Hon Minister proposed in line 3 of paragraph (1) (c) (iii) of subclause (13) of clause 6. However, I oppose the second amendment he proposed in line 4 of paragraph (1) (d) of subclause (13) of clause 6 which he sought to insert the word ‘'by'' after the words ‘'undertaking''. Mr Speaker, these words stand alone so the word ‘'by'' should not be inserted. It should read: ‘'a deposit held in a bank or specialised deposit-taking institution by a financial institution, pension fund, retirement fund, insurance company, collective investment undertaking, local government, central government and administrative authority…''.
‘'a deposit held in a bank by a collective investment undertaking''.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is right. The amendment would introduce another ‘'by'', but the first ‘'by'' would qualify all those institutions and funds. So there would be no need for another ‘'by'' to be inserted.
Mr Speaker, I have a problem with the justification by the Hon Chairman of the Committee. His argument is that, this new amendment provides a better rendition. This amendment is not all about rendition. It introduces new provisions, so he should say so and tell this House what has informed all these whole amendments. But to simply say that it offers a better rendition, as if some phrases were used and because there is an ambiguity or a ruling in a court and they would want to clarify and it makes the law easier to be understood and all that -- That is not the case. Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee must give better particulars and explain in full the rationale behind the amendment he proposed. Mr Speaker, I so invite him to do so accordingly, through you.
Hon Yieleh Chireh?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is not hiding behind -- Ideally, by now we should have the Ghana Deposit Protection Act by us and also have the Bill which we seek to amend. Mr Speaker, the Committee's Report goes into detail as to why the amendment has been proposed, so if any explanation is needed, one would refer to the Committee's Report on that particular amendment, but if he is not satisfied, that is all right. Mr Speaker, on the other hand, if we look at what is in the original Act and what has been proposed, we would see what had been removed and what had been added. If the Hon Chairman of the Committee is to give all these explanations it would be good, but if he cannot, it does not detract us from agreeing with him to pass that amendment.
I believe it is very clear and we can make progress.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, please, give me the opportunity to rise in the position of Hon Bernard Ahiafor because, once again, my console system does not work. Mr Speaker, please, I would want the Hon Chairman of the Committee to explain to me the exceptions of the list of people or organisations. Could he explain to me why if a depositor could not be identified, that deposit should not be insured and why directors' deposit should not be insured. I am told that the directors take the decision to do investment with people's money so if their moneys get missing, there is nothing wrong with it. I believe the idea about this Bill is very crucial to protect depositors. I do not believe that there should be exceptions why whose money, should be insured or not. I am not sure this is explanatory, especially, with clause 6 subclause (13), paragraph (1) (a). Just because someone cannot be identified does not mean his or her money should not be insured.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, if I may explain to the Hon Colleague, the rationale behind the exclusions. Mr Speaker, normally, the Bill deals with depositors -- how to protect small depositors. In fact, the situation would be that, a director or a key management of a company may know about the true situation of the company but would want to take advantage of the Depositor's Protection Bill. Mr Speaker, the whole idea here is to ensure for instance, that the accountant or the external auditor of the company definitely knows about the financial status of the company, and for that matter, it would not be appropriate for us to include that person to take the benefit of the Depositor's Protection Bill. It is for that reason that the Bank of Ghana proposed that, the Basle Convention allows this exclusion. So we should tighten them in line with international best practice. It is international best practice that we are actually going by. Mr Speaker, again on the clause 6, subclause (13) (1a) that which he raised issues with, I beg to read: “a deposit for which the depositor has not been identified.” Mr Speaker, how can we pay insurance to a person if we have not identified the person?
“a deposit that is frozen in compliance with an order of a court.” It has already been frozen so why do we have to go ahead and pay insurance on it? For whatever reason, it has been frozen by court.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, reconcile with us and let us move on.
Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, we are just re-couching all of subsection (13). We are going by a direct positive approach. Previously in the Act, for example, subsection (13) (1a) reads, and I beg to quote: “an account for which a depositor has not been identified”. Mr Speaker, now, we are saying that, should be changed to, “a deposit for which a depositor has not been identified.” So instead of saying, “an account for which a depositor has not been identified”, we are now saying, “a deposit”. This is because, all through the law, we used “deposit” and not “account”. So I believe there is clarity.
Mr Speaker, I disagree with the Hon Chairman of the Committee — I am a Member of the Committee and I raised this very issue at the Committee level.
May I make it clear? You are very much out of order if you would want a Member of the Committee to stick to the position of the Committee at the Consideration Stage. It is very honourable to say, for instance, “I supported this at the Committee stage but upon further reflection at the Consideration Stage, I believe we should adopt another pathway.” That is the duty of an Honourable Member. So let us stop that argument and let everyone express a view. Even if he had a contrary opinion at the Committee stage. This is a very important part of it and that is the essence of the Consideration Stage in the work of Parliament. Hon Member please go on.
Mr Speaker, I take a cue. Mr Speaker, my contention has to do with clause 6 subclause (13) (1) (a), which reads, “a deposit for which a depositor has not been identified”. Mr Speaker, if a depositor has not been identified, that account would be classified as a dormant account and even interests are charged on it. So when the person comes back, you activate the account and pay premium on the account. So an account on which a premium has been paid, and we are saying that, that account should be excluded from insurance package. I do not think we are doing something good for ourselves. Mr Speaker, assuming I deposit my money with you, I travelled overseas for twenty years, my account is declared dormant, if I identify myself through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, you would activate the account. But we are saying that for a failure of a bank, I would not be qualified for insurance premium? I do not think it is the best practice. So we need to have a second look at subclause (13) (1) (a) in particular. This is because we pay interest on a dormant account. As soon as they are activated, interests are calculated based on the number of years the account was declared dormant. If we are going to pay interest on a dormant account being activated, we cannot say they are not qualified for insurance premium. Mr Chireh — rose --
Hon Yieleh Chireh, let us put all these together.
Mr Speaker, in banking and in all financial transactions, one does not encourage faceless people to put deposits, unless we want to go to offshore banking, where whatever one does — But if somebody has deposited in a bank and we do not know the person but want to insure, and in fact, if we look at the Act that we have passed, there is a part where that person must make some contribution towards the insurance or get payment. So we should not encourage people who do not exist or want to hide the money in the banking system. Mr Speaker, in any case, we are making these amendments because it was tested against other Acts that have been passed, and they found ours not to be consistent. This is a provision that discourages people to make deposits without identification. One cannot do that in banking. If the person does, and perhaps wants to go and hide money somewhere, he or she could do so, but not in this country. So it is just a principle of who is putting the money and we calculate insurance for the person. I do not think it is fair.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, so the common ground is?
Mr Speaker, I side with Hon Yieleh Chireh. In Deposit Insurance, we provide protection for known depositors. So if we do not know the customer, we cannot provide protection. Mr Speaker, dormant accounts of known beneficiaries are protected. But for unknown faceless individuals, we cannot protect their accounts. So you could put the Question for us to make progress.
Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Chairman of the Committtee say that, you should put the Question. But I have a problem with subclause (13) (2). If they are on that, the amendment seeks to empower the Minister and the Board by a Legislative Instrument (L.I) to review the list. Indeed, what we are considering is a Bill which would turn into an Act. We cannot use a Legislative Instru- ment to amend a provision in the Act, and this is what subclause (13) (2) seeks to do. I believe that amendment should not be allowed to pass. Otherwise, we would be creating a situation where when the Act needs to be amended, we would have to use an L.I to amend it. If the Act is to be amended, they should bring an Amendment Bill here to amend that particular provision in the Act. We cannot use an L.I to amend the Act. So the subclause (13) (2) here must be thrown out.
That is why the reconciliation is very important, as to what applies to the L.I and that of the Bill. At the end of the day, the Act would supersede the L.I. which we all know. We would take the last two contributions.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the Hon Chairman of the Committee proposes subclause (13) (1) (b) as part of the exclusion. Mr Speaker, a court process does not operate ad infinitum. It comes to an end, and when it does so, there would be a determination. So the fact that funds being held in an account is a subject of a court order, does not mean it should not be insured. The Court would determine where it should fall. So, if it is money that should be returned to the State, the State has the right that, the fund in that account is protected adequately under this policy. So, I disagree that it should qualify as part of the exceptions here. Mr Speaker, secondly, sometimes in drafting, one understands better when one leaves the controlling sentence. So, I would attempt to do so here: “… a bank or specialised deposit- taking institution shall insure with the Scheme, deposits held at that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution:” ‘with the exception of the following'. Mr Speaker, again, we are saying that ‘the following' that qualify as an exception, with clause 13 (1) (e): “a deposit held in a foreign branch of a bank or a specialised deposit- taking institution incorporated in Ghana, and a subsidiary of that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution incorporated in Ghana, and a subsidiary of that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution operating in a foreign country.” Do we say they should be exempted from being insured under this policy? Mr Speaker, I believe it is very important that it is not exempted, because if it is a bank that is established in Ghana but has a subsidiary in London, and there are Ghanaians who have deposited their funds with the branch in London, we cannot say that the bank ought not to insure the deposit that the branch in London holds. So, let us advert our minds to some of these situations.
Hon Member, I thank you very much. The time is far spent and we would come back to continue for quite a time. Therefore, we would suspend Sitting to 2.00 o'clock, after which we would extend the time in view of the Business before us. Meanwhile, Hon Chairman of the Committee, kindly reconcile with your relevant Friends and bring us a conclusion. Business is suspended till 2.00 o'clock. Thank you. 1.05 p.m -- Sitting suspended. 2.52 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
Hon Members, we would continue with the Consideration Stage. We are still on clause 6 -- Yes, Hon Member, do we have any compromise on it?
Mr Speaker, we con- sidered clause 6 on page 17 of the Order Paper. We were on an amendment to clause 6, section 13 (1) of the Bill. You advised the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Finance to talk to his “relevant Friends”; as you put it, to agree on the exception list. I do not know whether they are still meeting, but they are not here for us to continue with the amendment proposed under clause 6 which is on section 13 (1) and (2) of the Act.
Hon Member, may I please interrupt? Is it possible for us to go through the other clauses where there are no listed amendments so that, at least, we would have made progress? When they come, we would just take this wholly and conclude. I hope you are with me.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
For example, we could take from clause 16 onwards, which have no listed amendments. If no Hon Member has any, we would admit them and go on, and come back to the other end. That in my mind could make us progress. So, I could call clause 16 since there is no listed amendment.
Yes, Hon Member?
Hon O. B. Amoah, would you expressly move and delete?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6 -- delete and insert the following: 13. (1) With the exception of the following, a bank or specialised deposit-taking institution shall insure with the Scheme, deposits held at that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution: (a) a deposit for which a depositor has not been identified; (b) a deposit that is frozen in compliance with an order of a court; (c) a deposit that belongs to (i) a director or a key management personnel; (ii) a director or a key management personnel who has worked with the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution for at least three years preceding the occurrence of the insured event; or (iii) an accounting or audit firm, a partner of that accounting or audit firm, and a manager of that audit firm or accounting firm who is in charge of performing the external audit of the financial statements of the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution for at least the three years preceding the occurrence of an insured event; (iv) a deposit that is used as a collateral for a loan or other obligation with the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution; (d) a deposit held in a bank or specialised deposit-taking institution by a financial institution, pension fund, retirement fund, insurance company, collective investment undertaking, local government, central government and administrative authority; and (e) a deposit held in a foreign branch of a bank or a specialised deposit-taking institution incorporated in Ghana, and a subsidiary of that bank or specialised deposit-taking institution operating in a foreign country. (2) The Minister may, in consultation with the Board, by a legislative instrument, review the list in subsection (1).” This is because it seeks to use a Legislative Instrument to amend a parent Act, which the Constitution frowns upon.
I would put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 6 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 8 -- Section 21 of Act 931 amended.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee? Mr Oppong-Nkrumah (on behalf of the
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8 -- delete and insert the following: “8. The principal enactment is amended in section 21 (a) by the insertion after subsection (1), of “(1A) An employee of the Corporation may, in consultation with the Bank of Ghana, enter the premises of the bank or specialised deposit-taking institution for the purpose of inspecting deposit-related records and activities of that bank or specialised deposit- taking institution.”; and (b) by an insertion after “penalty units” in the closing paragraph of subsection (2), of “and fifty penalty units for each day that the offence continues”. This is a tidier rendition of the earlier provision in the draft.
It is just to polish that process. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 8 as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 9 -- Section 24 of Act 931 amended.
Hon Members, there is no listed amendment. [Interruption] -- Yes, are you talking on clause 9?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. I was drawing your attention to the fact that, there is no advertised amendment. So, if you could put the Question on it.
Yes, there is no advertised amendment, but I thought I saw the Hon Minority Leader --
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I just took the Ghana Deposit Protection Act, 2016 (Act 931) and I looked at the substitution of the functions of the Corporation in section 24, which we are amending. Now, it has section 24 (1) (a), (b) up to (n). In the original Act, I beg to quote section 24 (2): “Despite paragraph (n) of subsection (1), the Corporation shall not grant a credit or make a donation to any person.” Now, subclause (n) states: “do any other thing incidental to the efficient performance of the functions specified in the preceding paragraphs.” So let us go back to the original rendition and situate it well. I believe that it is not subclause (n).
What is there? Subclause (n)?
Mr Speaker, originally, it was “m” as in “man”. We introduced a new subclause (m) in the Bill. If the Hon Minority Leader would take a look, there is a new subclause (m) in the Bill. As a matter of fact, that is the only addition; but when the Bill came, they rather did a deletion of the entire section --
Then we should safely leave it to the draftspersons.
Yes, so there is a new subclause (m). So the one he has referred to would become subclause (n) and not subclause (m), as it is in the Act.
I see. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 9 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, but you have to direct the draftsperson to take note of the order in which the items are listed. I have no problem with the Question that you put.
Very well. For that purpose, I direct that the draftspersons should take note of the order and assist. Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 11 -- Section 28 of Act 931 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Clause 11 -- delete. Mr Speaker, the amendment was to say that, the Corporation may request to join the Bank of Ghana and members of the scheme for examination. Mr Speaker, but this is not necessary because somewhere in the Act, that provision has been made so we would delete it entirely. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 11 ordered not to stand part of the Bill. Clause 12 -- Section 39 of Act 139 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 12 -- paragraph (b), line 1, before “court” insert “a”.
“(b) required by law or by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.” Mr Speaker, this is a simple straight- forward matter. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 12 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 13 -- Section 40 of Act 139 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 13 -- headnote before “Funds” insert “Sources of”.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I want the Hon Chairman to look at the “Funds and expenses of the Corporation.” “The sources of funds for the Corporation are: (a) capital contributions from the Government …; (b) withdrawals from the Reserve Fund; (c) grants received from the Government and donors;” Mr Speaker, any money to be received from the government must necessarily have parliamentary approval. So the Hon Chairman must advert his mind to that and put a rendition that would say “moneys approved by Parliament.” I cannot see how this institution could function with any moneys that come from the government, but has not been appropriated.
Thank you very much. Hon Chairman?
Mr Speaker, for the government to also spend any moneys, it would have been approved by Parliament. So moneys from government would have been approved by Parliament. I believe that it is implied that, if the Government gives money to the Corporation, then it would be moneys approved by Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I have not seen any legislation that has left this House where under sources of funding, we do not make a general proviso saying “moneys approved by Parliament”. When we say that capital contributions from the government, does it mean that at any day or any time, somebody who is in government, would just say that he or she has contributed? Mr Speaker, no. Mr Speaker, it must be moneys that are approved by Parliament.
So for the sake of certainty, how should we reframe this?
Mr Speaker, if I have your leave, I would submit that as a new subclause (a), the rest could follow and drive from it. So at any time that we even have grants that are received from the Government, we would presume by law that, it is moneys approved by Parliament.
Very well. Could you propose a new rendition?
Mr Speaker, we have no objection except to say that the Hon Minority Leader should propose a new amendment.
Mr Speaker, I beg to propose a further amendment that under 40 (1), “Funds and expenses of the Corporation”, we should add a new subclause; “Moneys approved by Parliament”. Mr Speaker, then the rest could follow. We would be protected that anytime the government spends on the institution, it would be presumed that it is legally justified with the approval from Parliament. Mr Speaker, but the rest could stand.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 14 -- add the following new paragraphs: “(e) by the deletion of “accounts” in the definition of “depositor”; (f) by the deletion of the definition of “eligible deposits”; (g) by the deletion of the definition of “insurable deposits”; and (h) by the deletion of “an event that necessitates” in the definition of “insured event”. Mr Speaker, section 53 is the Interpretation Section, and the Bill proposes to delete some definitions and add few new ones proposed as (e), (f), (g) and (h). So, the ones in the Act are being deleted and the following inserted.
Mr Speaker, with your leave, I would want the Hon Chairman to lead us. What is his justification? The Interpretation column is derived from the context and contents of the Bill. The words that he is deleting have variously been used in the Bill. For instance, why would he want the deletion of the definition of a “member of family”? What is wrong with it? Why would he want the deletion of the definition of “scheme of arrangement” which has been used in the Bill? If he could provide further explanation to convince us, then that would be useful.
Mr Speaker, for example, we are deleting “member of family” because earlier, the “member of family” was used in the Act; but it has been deleted. Mr Speaker, now, “pay box” is a technical term in deposit insurance, so we are now inserting “pay box” means a deposit insurer who is only responsible for the reimbursement of insured deposit on. . .” -- “This is a technical term, so we would define it. Now, on reconstruction and scheme of arrangement, these are not schemes that we employ in our financial circles. So, these have also been deleted from the Act and the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I support all that; but in respect of (d), by the deletion of the definition of “scheme of arrangement, I am opposed to that. Why would they delete it? This is because, as defined in the Ghana Deposit Protection Act (Act 931), ‘scheme of arrangement' means any change in the rights and liabilities of members, debenture holders or characters of debenture holders and characters in the regulations of a company. In my view, that should be maintained but the rest could stand.
Hon Chairman, agreed?
Mr Speaker, I have no objection.
Mr Speaker, because we have scientific ways of determining whether the words have been used in the Bill, if they look at the soft copy they could tell. Once it is not used anywhere in the Bill, we cannot define it unless he has evidence that it is still part of the Act. That is why I say that. If he does not have the evidence, it means they would have checked to see that this is a term in the Act. Once it has not been used anywhere, one cannot define it. If one defines it, it would be redundant.
Mr Speaker, probably, you would put the Question with a directive to the draftsperson to take note.
That is all. That is exactly what I was going to do. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 14 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 15 -- Section 54 of Act 931 amended.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 15 -- section 54 (2), lines 1 and 2, delete “twenty-four months after the coming into force of this Act, insure depositors” and insert “30th September, 2019, insure deposits”. Mr Speaker, one of the challenges that this Act has faced is its commencement. Earlier, this Act was to be operationalised six months after the President had assented to it. As we speak, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has not operationalised this scheme. So the Bill that came to Parliament suggested that we insert “24 months after the coming into force of this Act”. Mr Speaker, at the Committee level, there was disagreement as to whether the 24 months would start counting from the date of assent of the original Act, the first time it was assented to by the President, or when this amended Bill is passed and assented to; what was the reference point. So we rather decided to put a specific date, “30th September, 2019”. That would take away all confusion. That is the essence of this amendment.
Mr Speaker, I have a difficulty with the Hon Chairman's concluding words. The law-making process is regulated by articles 106, 107 108 and 109 of the Constitution. In particular, when Bills are passed by Parliament, the President has a certain constitutional obligation to assent to it within a time period. Failure to do so, the President must be seen to have referred it to the Council of State. I just would want to refer to it. I believe article 106 of the Constitution, particularly article 106, section (7) and section (8). Therefore the Hon Chairman in proposing — it is for this House to decide the commencement date, but we cannot determine when the President should assent to it. This House could make a determination on what the effective date of this Act is, then, we proceed further. Constitutionally, we cannot determine the process and the time limits granted to the President to assent to a Bill or give an explanation why he refuses to assent to a Bill.
Hon Member, do you agree?
Mr Speaker, I believe we are confusing the issues here. Originally, when this Act was assented to, we said in section 54 (2) of the Act that: “The Corporation shall insure depositors of existing banks and SDIs not otherwise excluded under 13, six months after the coming into force of this Act.” This Act came into force in October 2016. So, by April, 2017, the Scheme should have been operationalised. The BoG told us that, they had had challenges. As of now, there are still challenges. Therefore, in bringing an amendment Bill to the House, they have now put in the amendment Bill that this should come into force not later than 24 months after the coming into force of this Act. Mr Speaker, then the confusion was that if the 24 months was the reference point, is it 24 months from the coming into force of the Act or 24 months after the coming into force of the amended Act? We resolved that to take away any confusion, we put a specific date; not later than “30th September, 2019”. So, as to the issue of the constitutional imperatives, whether the President would assent to it in seven days or not, those are not the issues at play here.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 15 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. The Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage.
Hon Members, thank you for this cooperation. The Consideration Stage is an utmost task. This brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Ghana Deposit-Protection Bill. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any further indications?
Mr Speaker, we would have to take Motions numbered 8 and 9 on the Order Paper and with your permission, I would want to move the said Motion for the Committee of the Whole on the Formula of the DACF on behalf of the Hon First Deputy Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee who is out of the jurisdiction.
Item numbered 8.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) for the year 2018. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction The proposed Formula for the Distribution of the District Assemblies' Common Fund for the year 2018, was presented to Parliament by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon, Sarah Adwoa Safo, on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader on Tuesday 20th March, 2018 in accordance with Article 252 of the 1992 Constitution and Sections 125 and 129 (a) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), and referred to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and report. Subsequently, the Committee met on Wednesday 21st March, 2018 and considered the referral. The Committee was grateful to the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, represented by the Deputy Minister, Hon Augustine Collins Ntim, the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo; as well as officials from the District Assemblies' Common Fund for their invaluable contribution during the deliberations on the proposed Formula. References In considering the Formula, the Committee made references to the following documents: i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; ii. The Local Governance Act (2016), Act 936; iii. The Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947); iv. The Appropriation Act (No.2) 2017 (Act 951); v. The Standing Orders of Parliament; and vi. The 2017 Report of the Committee of the Whole on the proposed Formula for Sharing District Assemblies Common Fund. Background Article 252 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 126 (1) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) enjoins Parliament to make provision for the allocation of not less than 55 per cent of the total revenue of the country to the District Assemblies Common Fund for the implementation of development programmes in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Section 129 (a) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), enjoins the Administrator of the Fund to propose annually for the consideration and approval of Parliament a formula for the distribution of DACF. Principles Underlying the Formula In developing the Formula, the Administrator was guided by the “Basic Needs” approach to development with the following indicators:
drastically reduced funds that should accrue to the DACF. For instance, prior to the enactment of Act 947, 7.5 per cent of total tax revenue was earmarked for the DACF. This implies that, the estimated amount for the Fund for year 2018, would have been about Gh¢ 2.71 billion (based on 7.5 per cent of total tax revenue for 2018). However due to the provisions of Act 947 which capped the total allocation to the Fund at 5 per cent, the total amount due the Fund for 2018, is Gh¢1 ,812,144,435.00. It was noted that having capped the amount due the Fund to 5 per cent, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for 2018 Fiscal Year made further allocations from the 5% due the Fund to finance other Projects and Programmes. For instance,at page 184 of the Budget Statement, the following allocations have been made to finance Government priority projects: i. National Builders Corp Gh¢ 300,000,000.00; ii. National School Feeding Programme Gh¢ 423,795,450.00; and iii. Planting for Food and Jobs Gh¢ 300,000,000.00. This implied that total amount available to the Administrator to disburse to the Assemblies is Gh¢ 788,348,985.00. The Committee is of the view that the amount left for the Fund to disburse to the various MMDAs is woefully inadequate. The shortfall will seriously impair the planned activities of the MMDAs who needed these funds to complete the numerous projects being undertaken by the Assemblies. In order not to defeat the purpose for which the DACF was established, the Committee recommends that, the Ministry of Finance should strictly adhere to the provisions of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947) and not further offload programmes unto the already capped funds of the Fund. District Assemblies Common Fund Responsiveness Factor Grant (DACF RFG) The Committee was informed that from 2018, the DACF will manage and disburse the District Development Fund (DDF), the Donor Partner Support to MMDAs. The Committee was informed that the decision to allow the DACF manage and disburse the DDF as part of the Responsiveness Factor component of DACF is to strengthen the performance based grant for improved service delivery as well as incorporate the achievements of the DDF/ FOAT into the DACF Responsiveness Factor. The main strategy is to use the District Performance Assessment Tool (DPAT), which is a common assessment tool to evaluate all MMDAs and the result used to allocate and distribute the DACF RFG due to all the Assemblies. The Administrator noted that managing the DDF would help improve disbursement of the DDF, as funds would be made available as counterpart funding support. She noted that in the past, the Ministry of Finance either delayed or was unable to make funds available for the counterpart funding support and this stalled disbursement of funds from the donors to the DDF. An amount of US$20miliion has therefore been earmarked in this year's formula as counterpart fund for the DDF. MMDAs Allocation The Committee was happy to observe that the Government's policy objective to redirect at least 50 per cent of DACF to the MMDAs directly had been fulfilled. It was noted that, a total of Gh¢ 964,974,315.00 representing 53.25 per cent would be disbursed directly to the Assemblies. Although the Administrator promised last year to wean off some national programmes from the Fund and increase further the direct allocation to MMDAs, it could not achieve it. However, it was noted that the amount allocated to cover National priority education programmes to be undertaken by the Ministry of Education was however reduced from Gh¢ 70.l million in 2017 to Gh¢ 20 million in 2018. The Committee urged the Adminis- trator to increase the allocation to undertake educational programmes, given that basic education is one of the primary responsibilities of the Assemblies. The Administrator accepted the recommendation and increased the allocation from Gh¢20 million to Gh¢40 million. Institutional Transfers The Committee was informed that, the financial obligations of the following organisations require that DACF provides funding for the implementation of their programmes. They are: a) Youth Employment Agency (Section23 (c) of Act 887 -- 10 per cent. b) National Youth Authority (Section 17 (b) of Act 939) -- 5 per cent. c) National Disaster Mgt. Organisation (Section 39 (c) of Act 927 -- 1.50 per cent. An amount of Gh¢ 299.1 4 million was therefore allocated to cater for the above organisations in 2018. The Committee was further informed about an apparent overlap in the provision of funds to the above organisations. It was noted that these organisations benefit directly from other sources of funds and there is therefore the need to review the funding sources to some of the institutions stated in the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947). Newly established MMDAs The Committee was informed that a total of thirty-eight (38) new Assemblies have been established, bringing the total number of MMDAs to benefit from the Fund in 2018 to 254. Since the 38 new MMDAs were recently inaugurated, the Administrator could not provide separate data on the affected Assemblies. She indicated that the new Assemblies would have to depend on the data of their parent Assemblies, for their share of the Fund. The Committee implored the Administrator and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to do everything within their power to ensure that the needed data for the new Assembles was provided to enable them access their fair share of the allocation.
The Committee further requested the Administrator to provide adequate seed capital and funding to enable the newly established Assemblies to take off successfully. Construction of the district courts. The Committee noted that there was the need to strengthen governance at the local level and that justice delivery was a key component in that regard. It was noted that whereas almost all structures and Agencies at the local level have been supported with the Fund, the judiciary has over the years been neglected. It was noted that most of the court buildings at the local level are in deplorable state.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, I would like to draw the House's attention to page 5 of the memorandum to Parliament.
“It was noted that having capped the amount due the Fund to 5 per cent, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for 2018 Fiscal Year made further allocations from the 5 per cent due the Fund to finance other Projects and Programmes. For instance at page 184 of the Budget Statement, the following allocations have been made to finance Government priority projects: i. National Builders' Corp GH¢ 300,000,000.00; ii. National School Feeding Programme GH¢423,795,450.00; and iii. Planting for Food and Jobs GH¢ 300,000,000.00.” Mr Speaker, if we are to add these three items together, it means an amount of GH¢ 788.3 million had been taken from the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Mr Speaker, before the cap, the amount that should have accrued to the District Assemblies' Common Fund was approximately GH¢ 2.7 billion. After the cap, the amount that has been accrued, which is supposed to go to the District Assemblies' Common Fund for the year 2018, is about GH¢ 1.8 billion. Mr Speaker, for some strange reasons, another GH¢ 788 million has been taken from the District Assemblies' Common Fund, leaving a balance less than a billion, Ghana cedis. Mr Speaker, if we are to look at page 9 of the District Assemblies' Common Fund, another transfer would be made from the District Assemblies' Common Fund. In fact, looking at institutional transfers, an amount of GH¢ 299 million would be deducted from the DACF from the centre. Again, at the national level, another GH¢ 210 million would be deducted from the DACF, and another GH¢ 241 million would also be deducted from the District Assemblies' Common Fund. Mr Speaker, I gave all these statistics to prove a point. What I am trying to say here is that, the 254 District Assemblies would get only GH¢ 38 million to share among themselves. This is because the remaining amount would actually be spent in Accra. I do not think this is the way it should go.
the money for the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme would not be given to the Assemblies to spend. If we look at the National Builders, Corp, which is a national programme, we were employing people to work
Hon Member, this is a perennial problem. In that sense, it has existed since whatever. The thing is empowering the Assemblies with appropriate procurement systems, so that more can be given unto them. So at this stage, we are not talking about all these bigger principles that we all know and have been doing academic work for ages. So please, conclude.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, the capping law was introduced in 2017. It is something new. Mr Speaker, again, the National Builders' Corp is a new programme that was announced in the 2018 Budget Statement. The “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme was announced in the 2018 Budget Statement. Again, the National School Feeding Programme of which GH¢ 423 million would be used to service, is also a new programme. They are not existing programmes. Mr Speaker, the point I am trying to raise is that only GH¢ 38 million would be left for the Assemblies. I think that it is something that, as a House, we should be interested in and advise the Hon Minister for Finance to ensure that going forward, the mandate of the District Assemblies are protected by way of ensuring that, funds that are supposed to go to the Assemblies are disbursed to them. Other than that, we would collapse the assemblies. This is what I would like to caution. Thank you Mr Speaker. Question proposed.
One from each Side of the House then Leadership.
Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Order! I decide on the order. I have recognised him -- [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion.
Hon Members, we have a tall order, and we are going to be very business-like this afternoon. Hon Members, Order! Hon Member, please go on.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. If you look at the allocations made in 2018 and even back to 2017, you would realise that under three Acts -- the National Youth Authority Act, the Youth Employment Agency Act and the National Disaster Management Organisation's Act, up to 16.5 per cent of the amounts due or that accrue to the District Assemblies Common Fund have been taken out of the amount which is supposed to go to the districts for development. They have been consumed by these three Acts. It has become an albatross on the Fund, such that the moneys which should be going to the Assemblies are held back. The more serious aspect of it is that, the Common Fund is expected to account for these allocations. What is happening now is that the Ministry of Finance deducts the money directly and forwards it to the various agencies especially -- [Interruption.] yesterday, I was holding a letter here authorising the Controller and Accountant-General to send the money to the YEA account, and that leaves the Common Fund in a position not able to account for the moneys that are sent there. [Interruption.] Sometimes, when the Authorities are in difficulty, they approach the Fund for some advances, but when you go over the Common Fund and give them money directly, recovery becomes a problem.
This is one thing which Parliament can perhaps take steps to legislate on, so let us move on upon the status quo.
Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that, because of the special initiatives which are captured on page 184 of the 2018 Budget submitted, the money appears to be going to the assemblies, but they are being re-fixed for “Planting for Food and Jobs” which is an Agric Ministry assignment, and other things, or school feeding --
Hon Member, you may conclude. Let me advise that this Hon House -- when we realised that- because of various researches we have done on this matter, it has been there since 1989. These are some of the gaps in our decentralisation process, whether Common Fund or we called it something else, and maybe Hon Members would now like to hold the bull by the horn and then find some of the lapses which make decentralisation rather tricky and the moneys do not go to where they should go to. What administrative lapses are there and how can we make laws to remove those lapses? Otherwise, we shall lament every year. As Parliamentarians, there is something we can do about it. Anyway, Hon Member, conclude.
Mr Speaker, I am guided by standing order 90, and I would therefore proceed and conclude. Mr Speaker, talking about moneys, on page 5 of the Report, it is said to be GH¢ 2.71 billion, based on 7.5 per cent. We would like to note that since 2017, there had not been any purported allocation above 5 per cent. Everything had been brought down to 5 per cent. There is no talk about 7.5 per cent any longer, and the 5 per cent is not yet even on total revenue. It is only on tax revenue. These also contribute to the very small amounts that go to the Assemblies, so what we are asking for as a Committee is that, these three Acts should be amended to release the funds to the Common Fund. We should amend them and find other sources for the operations of the Youth Authority, the YEA and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO). These laws should be amended so as to free funds for the District Assemblies. Mr Speaker, with these words, I support the approval of the Report.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity. Mr Speaker, before I speak to the Report, I would like Hon Members to make a small correction on page 4 of the Report. Table 2 scenario B, the ‘responsive- ness' the figure there should be 10 instead of 8. It is revenue improvement 5, budget implementation 5. That makes it 10 instead of 8, so that correction should be made. Mr Speaker, Hon Members of the Committee discussed the issue of the National Builders' Corps, National School Feeding Programme, and then “Planting for Food and Jobs”, and indeed, the Administrator assured the Committee that these Funds under the three major programmes are to be sent directly to the districts. The Funds would not be disbursed in Accra here, as the Hon Ato Forson wanted to impress upon us. It had been agreed that these programmes are programmes in the districts, so the funding should go directly to the districts for the districts to disburse. They are part of the Common Fund which would be sent to the districts for disbursement. Mr Speaker, again the Hon Kpodo said that for the National Youth Authority Act, Youth Employment Agency and NADMO, the Acts should be amended. I would say that just recently in 2016, when the NDC was in power and the Hon Minority Leader was then the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, he championed the provision in these particular Acts, so if now they think we should amend it, it is good advice. We should all look at it. The Executive would be advised. If the Executive thinks that this advice is prudent, they would have to bring a Bill here for the amendment, but I would just like to draw attention, that it is during the administration of the NDC, when the Hon Minority Leader was the Hon Minister, he brought this and the whole House accepted it. I think it is for a good cause and if it is to be amended, time would tell. Mr Speaker, the DDF under paragraph 7.2 of the Report is a very critical Fund for the districts. Unfortunately, for a number of years, the counterpart funds from Government was not paid so the development partners also did not fulfil their part of the arrangement and the DDF more or less, was in arrears; it nearly collapsed. As far back as 2013, we had even stopped allocating DDF to the assemblies. Mr Speaker, thankfully, towards the last part of 2017, the government released US$20 million, equivalent of GH¢87 million at that time, to revive DDF. Beyond that, DDF had been incorporated into the DACF so that, the government would always be in the position to provide the counterpart funding for the donor partners to also bring their share and this would enhance the funding going to the Assemblies. Mr Speaker, I believe it is a very good thing and we should commend the government for coming to the aid of the assemblies and providing US$20 million as far as the DDF is concerned. Mr Speaker, by and large, this is a very good Report and I urge Hon Members to support the Motion and for us to agree to the recommendation that we approve scenario B of the waiting formula as the basis for the sharing of an amount of GH¢1,812,144,435 allocated to the DACF in the 2018 Budget Statement.
Minority Leadership, any brief comments?
Mr Speaker, I would be brief. I beg to speak in favour of the Motion and to urge Hon Colleagues to support it.
Do you stand on a point of order or correction?
Mr Speaker, I normally would not want to interrupt the Hon Minority Leader. Indeed, this matter came up at the Committee level and our attention was drawn to the fact that instead of GH¢1,840,596,743 it should rather be GH¢1,812,144,435. That was what we took. Mr Speaker, it is from the Hon Deputy Ranking Member, Hon Kpodo. He gave us the figure. The Appropriation Act gave us GH¢1,812,144,435 instead of GH¢1,840,596,743 that the Hon Minority Leader referred to in the Budget Statement. We looked at the Appropriation Act and came up with GH¢1,812,144,435.
We are not talking about the Budget Statement; we are talking about what is now before this Honourable House as it demands. Please, shall we move on the basis of that? Any further comment? Please go ahead.
Mr Speaker, I have referred to the Appropriation Act number 12 of 2017 and the figure is consistent with what we have here, GH¢1,812,144,435, which is the official figure we should go with. But going forward, we should avoid these disparities. Mr Speaker, I would speak just in respect of one major policy issue and I would even wish that, it becomes your direction. Mr Speaker, if you look at DACF, it is based on the notion on decentralisation and devolution of power. We have made tremendous progress in the 30 years of decentralisation since PNDC Law 207 was passed. Mr Speaker, if you look at the allocation, there are three Arms of Government within the ambit of separation of powers -- the Executive, Hon Ministers and Local Government. Parliament is taken care of. The missing link is the Judiciary. I have not seen any effort being made to support the judicial organ of State with some of these resources. A strong suggestion had been made which had been captured in paragraph 7.6 of your Committee's Report for the construction of district courts. Mr Speaker, going forward, it should become an integral part of every other DACF. Every year, DACF must make an effort and take appropriate steps to support the Chief Justice and the Judiciary to provide for governance at the level of the district court for the administration of justice. We cannot load all these funding to Parliament and the Executive when the Judiciary keeps suffering. Mr Speaker, my wish is that, it becomes a legacy of this Parliament that every other time that the DACF formula is provided for, some room be made to support the Judiciary. A cursory look at the status of the courts across the country is worrying. We agree with our governance system and I believe that, the peace and stability of the country is better safeguarded through a strong Judiciary. So, I would make that strong recommendation. Mr Speaker, this House would appropriately have to look at what the Hon Kpodo raised and what Hon Ato Forson mentioned. We know government flagship projects are National Builder's Corps and payment of allowances to teachers and nursing trainees provided for in this Statutory Fund which has been earmarked. Mr Speaker, it is only fair that, I respond to the Hon Deputy Minister that, yes, I was the Hon Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations with supervision for the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) that shepherded the Youth Employment Act. I did so on the basis of the Ministerial Review Committee's Report which mandated that it was necessary to have a legal regime to run that important institution to provide jobs for young people. It is important, as we all did that we earmark that money of Communication Service Tax together with the DACF to support youth employment. Mr Speaker, the Constitution says that 5 per cent of total Government revenue. There had been years we had come to 7.5 per cent of Government revenue. As a House, we need to take a look at this particular issue. I believe it would serve our purpose better if we have 7.5 per cent of the total Government revenue dedicated to the DACF for decentralisation purposes. Mr Speaker, the President has increased the number of assemblies by 38. It is a good thing to decentralise, but what provision do we have in this DACF to cater for the newly-created districts? Mr Speaker, my final comment is a correction and I hope the Hon Deputy Minister would agree with me. When we go to the principle I raised about the Judiciary in the Report, they have described it as “Seed Capital for District Courts”. I do not think that that is the appropriate rendition. I have seen allocation of GH¢10 million, 0.55 per cent of the total amount. It should be “Support to the Judiciary for District Courts”; it should not read, “Seed Capital for District Courts”. So, if he accepts the Report -- Mr Speaker, we must maintain that the money must go to the ground. It should not remain at the headquarters in Accra. That is centralisation within decen- tralisation. Mr Speaker, my final words, the Hon Minister for Finance is doing double counting -- capping and realignment. When he realigns and prioritises and caps in addition, that is a double sledge he uses. When he realigns and takes GH¢300 million for Nation Builders' Corps, then they are already denying the DACF of GH¢300 million. If we do not give them the total revenue as earned, we would deny them to undertake development projects and very soon, we will all suffer the consequences of it on the ground.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity.
Please let us apply brevity. The work ahead of us is big.
Mr Speaker, I would be very brief. Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion to approve the formula for distributing the District Assemblies' Common Fund for the year 2018. Mr Speaker, contrary to a statement made by an Hon Member that Government has failed to fulfil its promise to pay more than 50 per cent of the Common Fund directly to the District Assemblies, the Report states on page 6 that, the Committee was happy to observe that Government policy objective to re-direct, at least, 50 per cent of the DACF to the District Assemblies had been fulfilled. Mr Speaker it was noted that a total amount of GH¢964,974,315.00 representing 53.25 per cent would be disbursed directly to the assemblies. So, it is not true for anyone to suggest to this House that, government is doing under 50 per cent. The Report that we approve does not support that claim. Mr Speaker, it is also refreshing to note that the Fund had made provision for the newly created District Assemblies, which were recently inaugurated. They are starting off very well with their counterparts or the existing district assemblies because provision had been made. In the past, they used to be starved, at least, for the first year of their existence. So I think this is also commendable that the Fund has made provision for the newly created District Assemblies. Mr Speaker, the formula or the scenario that has been approved shows that, if you have less water, we give you more money. That is, if the water coverage in your district is low, you would get more money. But I think that we need to monitor whether portions of the moneys that the assemblies get for lack of water in their jurisdictions is committed to the provision of water. Otherwise every year, they would claim they do not have water and they would get more money and may not improve the water situation in their districts. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, item numbered 12 on the Order Paper.
Item 12, the procedural Motion?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of sixty six million, six hundred and eighty-one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight United States dollars (US$66,681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/ Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrification Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP IV) may be moved today.
Hon Members, this is the way we save time, we all know the Motion and what has been put down there. We all have the Order Paper; there is no need in reading— Hon Chairman, I am commending you. There is no need in reading that whole thing seriatim.
Mr Speaker, taking a cue from the Hon Chairman, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, you may move the substantive Motion. Request for Waiver of Import Duties, VAT, et cetera for the Implementation of Turnkey Rural Electrification Project
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of sixty-six million, six hundred and eighty-one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight United States dollars (US$66,681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/ Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrification Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP IV).
Introduction The Request for the waiver of import duties, import VAT/NHIL, EXIM Levy, ECOWAS Levy and SIL amounting to US$66,681,968 (equivalent of GHc295,114,387.96) on equipment and materials to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois, USA for the Rural Electrification Project in selected communities in Ghana under the National Electrification Scheme and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP-IV) was laid in the House on 7th March, 2018 in accordance with article 174 (2) of the Constitution, and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report pursuant to the Standing Orders of the House.
Mr Speaker, if you look at page 3 of the Committee's Report, item numbered 4.1, the last paragraph, it says and I beg to quote: “At the Committee meeting, the Deputy Minister for Energy informed the Committee that about seventy (70) per cent of the project has been completed.” Mr Speaker, again, if you look at the same page 3, the second paragraph of paragraph 4.3, also says that: “So far, temporal permits amounting to US$36,656,740.00 have been issued…”. Mr Speaker, if you try to reconcile the two, you would notice that, 70 per cent of the work has so far been completed. So it presupposes that, the remaining work is about 30 per cent. Yet we have granted US$36million as temporal permit representing -- out of the US$66million. Mr Speaker, my concern is that, with 30 per cent of the job remaining, we should not go ahead to approve a tax exemption of about US$30million for Weldy/Lamont. Mr Speaker, I believe the time has come for the Ministry of Finance to work with the Ghana Revenue Authority to ensure that the tax exemption system is not abused. I believe that, the regime would have to look at ways of monitoring these tax exemptions. Mr Speaker, I do not think that for the remaining 30 per cent, they would require a tax exemption to waive taxes up to US$30 million on equipment. Mr Speaker, it is too much. I do not say that we should not approve it. We should approve it with caution by asking the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority, to ensure that, mechanisms would be put in place to ensure that, the required taxes are exempted, so that it is not subject to abuse. We approve serious taxes in this House, and I do not think that we should allow the basis of these taxes to be eroded by giving tax exemptions to businesses which abuse the system. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, one from each side of the House. There is unanimity on this already.
Hon Member, do you want to point out a couple of points? If you want to point out something specifically, do so and then let us --
Yes, Mr Speaker. I am grateful for the opportunity. Very quickly, I will speak in support of this Motion. My comment is on the use of what is described as temporal permits for clearing goods. As your Committee's Report makes us understand, the initial Agreement was signed many years ago, and the work was supposed to have been completed by December, 2017. As we consider this, about 70 per cent of the work has already been done. What has been a bit worrying is that, all these years as the work went on, the proper thing, which was to apply to this House for the necessary tax exemption, was not done. The project went on under what was described as temporal permits for tax exemptions. Mr Speaker, the Committee at its meeting, reminded itself and the agencies that brought this before it that, this was a practice that ought to be discontinued. Also, moving on, as soon as these Agreements were signed and work was to be done, the necessary assessments should be done and the proper exemptions granted by this House. Taxation and the excuse from taxation is a function of Parliament and not for any other Arm of Government. It is a function that we intend to guard jealously. Therefore we have conveyed that to the various agencies that are in charge of projects like this. We are encouraged that in the future, such temporal permits would not be used. The proper thing would be done; assessment would be done and the exemptions would be granted before the project would commence. Mr Speaker, with that said, I support this Motion. Thank you.
Thank you. A brief one.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion captured --
Hon Member, we know you rise to --
As my Hon Chairman presented --
Your comments please. Your contribution.
Mr Speaker, the contract or is left with about 30 per cent for the completion of this project.
Hon Member, my view is that go on.
Mr Speaker, I am on track. This contract was signed in 2008 but the most painful aspect is that, many of the communities have been completed and connected to the grid but they do not have metres. Some of them do not have transformers. Some Hon Members of Parliament (MP) and District Assemblies have provided streetlights for many communities. At night, if you walk around, you would see lights in the communities. Yet when the people in the communities go back to their rooms, there are no lights This has compelled them to illegally connect the electricity to their rooms. The inefficiency of the electricity suppliers is part of the cause, because the people cannot see light on the streets and go and sleep in darkness. Therefore if we approve this facility, it would help the contractor to clear the materials at the port so that many communities would get the metres and transformers.
Item numbered 14 on the Order Paper -- Resolution. The Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, respectfully with your leave, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Kwaku A. Kwarteng, would do so on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance.
Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, WHEREAS by the provisions of article 174 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament is empowered to confer power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by an Act of Parliament; THE EXERCISE of any power conferred on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax in favour of any person or authority is by the said provisions made subject to the prior approval of Parliament by resolution; BY THE COMBINED operation of the provisions of section 150 (i) of the Customs Act of 2015, (Act 891), the Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503), the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Fund Act, 2013 (Act 872), the Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 890), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act 948) and other existing Laws and Regulations applicable to the collection of Customs duties and other taxes on the importation of goods into Ghana, the Minister for Finance may exempt any statutory corporation, institution or individual from the payment of duties and taxes otherwise payable under the said Laws and Regulations or waive or vary the requirement of such statutory corporation, institution or individuals to pay such duties and taxes; IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the Constitution and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister responsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament a request by the Minister for Finance for the prior approval of Parliament the exercise by him of his power under the Laws and Regulations relating to the waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of sixty-six million, six hundred and eighty-one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight United States dollars (US$66,681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrifica- tion Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP IV). NOW THEREFORE, this Honourable House hereby approves the exercise by the Minister responsible for Finance of the power granted to him by Parliament by Statute to waive such Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of sixty-six Million, six hundred and eighty- one thousand, nine hundred and Sixty-Eight United States Dollars (US$66,681,968.00) [equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrification Project in selected communities under the National Electrification Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Programme (SHEP IV).
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Motion numbered 19 on page 12 of the Order Paper could be taken.
Motion numbered 19?
Mr Speaker, we would take Motion numbered 18 which is a procedural Motion, then we would take the Motion numbered 19, which is a substantive one.
Motion numbered 18, Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity may be moved today.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Now to the substantive. Item numbered 19?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Hon Member, please go on. Do not be distracted.
In doing so, I present the Committee's Report. [Laughter] That is it, the Motion is moved and I have presented it.
Hon Member, are you having a personal debate? [Interruption.]
In moving this Motion, I beg to present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Hon Deputy Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ms Patricia Appiagyei on behalf of the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Yaw Frimpong Boateng, on 11th July, 2017, laid before the House the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to Convention on Biological Diversity. Pursuant to article 75 (2) (b) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 185, Mre Speaker referred the Protocol to the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology for consideration and report to the House. Acknowledgement The Committee met with the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Frimpong Boateng and Officials from his Ministry and the Attorney-Generals Department. The Committee is grateful to all who participated in the deliberation for the elucidation provided on the Convention. Reference Documents The Committee referred to the following documents during deliberations; a. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana; b. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana; c. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation to Convention on Biological Diversity. Background Information Ghana is deemed to be endowed with a rich stock of biological diversity. One of the biggest challenges of this century is, however, the constant loss of biodiversity. Data gathered in 2013 on the biodiversity in Ghana showed that it is comprised of 2,974 indigenous plant species. 43 were noted to be endemic and 253 introduced plant species. The Report also showed that 34 plants, 17 mammals, 10 birds, 5 reptiles, 103 higher plants and 1 butterfly species were threatened. To ensure the preservation of these species, Ghana signed the Convention on Biological Diversity on 12th June, 1992 and ratified same on 27th November, 1994. This was followed by the establishment of the National Biosafety Authority and the Biodiversity/Biosafety Unit at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to implement the requirements under the Convention. The Country is, however, yet to realise fully the benefits under the Convention because it is yet to draw up a comprehensive national policy on biodiversity to drive the necessary interventions that would facilitate the sustainable management of the biological resources to the benefit of the population. In 2011, Ghana passed the Biosafety Act 2011 (Act 831) to satisfy the Nagoya- Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. However, Ghana is yet to ratify the other supplementary Protocol relating to the Convention: 1. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing from the utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ratification of the Protocol would ensure the development of key interventions such as the National Policy on Domestication of Operational Protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It will also grant Ghana access to resources and other forms of support from the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat and other multilateral sources such as the Global Environment Facility to implement programmes that would enhance biodiversity conservation and management in the country. Financial Implications The ratification and subsequent implementation of the provisions under the Protocol will require additional human and financial support from Government. The existing implementing Agencies under the various Ministries will continue to implement the provisions of the Protocol within the framework of their existing mandates based on regular budgetary allocations or development assistance from our Development Partners. Extra funds would, however, be needed to scale up communication and additional requirements under the Protocol. Provisions under the Protocol The Protocol is made up of thirty six (36) Articles. The Articles are captured under the following headings; Article one (1) -- Objectives of the Protocol; Article Two (2) -- Definition of terms under the Protocol; Article Three (3) -- Scope of the Protocol; Article Four (4) -- Relationship with International Agreements and Instruments; Article Five (5) -- Fair and equitable benefit sharing; Article Six (6) --Access to genetic resources;
review to ensure that the right measures are in place to protect our biologicals. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations should ensure that necessary inventory of our biological resources are carried out to prevent them from being genetically modified by other countries. Entry into Force The Protocol is expected to enter into force nineteen (19) days after deposit of the fiftieth (50th) instrument accepted, approved and ratified by a State or regional economic integration organisations that are parties to the Convention. Currently, 196 member countries have acceded to the Convention on Biological Diversity and 105 others have ratified, accepted or approved the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing from the utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Acceptance and adoption of the Protocol by the Parliament of Ghana would bring the number of states that have acceded to the Protocol to 106. In Africa however, only 33 countries have signed onto the Protocol. The Committee recommends that, the Protocol should be deposited at the Secretariat of the Convention immediately it is approved to enable Ghana profit from provisions under the Protocol. Conclusion It is imperative that Ghana protects the intellectual property of its genetic resources and also reduce the risk of bio- piracy which is the creation of biological products from native species without consent or compensation to the country of origin. The Committee therefore, recommends to the House for adoption and ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the fair and equitable sharing from the utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Respectfully submitted. Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in doing so, I would make two comments. Mr Speaker, the first comment is the fact that we have signed a lot of Conventions to protect biological diversity, unfortunately, we have not been able to really benefit fully from most of them. Mr Speaker, this very Convention, when ratified, would help to bring into fruition and reality, some of the Protocols we have already agreed to.
Order! Hon Members, the background noise is too much.
Mr Speaker, one thing that is hampering the passage of the Plant Breeders Bill is the doubt that some people, who are against the Bill, have insofar as our genetic resources are concerned.
Hon Members, item numbered 20 on the Order Paper. Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, the Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development would do so on behalf of the Hon Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we would take item numbered 21. You directed the Committee to go for winnowing so that there would be straight forward amendments. Hon Members have resolved most of the amendments.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, would the Committee of the Whole meet?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. It will take place right after this.
Very well. I would want Hon Members to know that we would start Sitting at 10.00 a.m. tomorrow, so that we could deal with all those matters that relate to the last days. Hon Members who would ask Questions should kindly be warned to be on time. When the time is due for Questions and the Hon Member is not available, his or her Question would be forfeited.
The House was adjourned at 4.19 p.m. till Friday, 23rd March, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.