Debates of 25 January 2018

MR SPEAKER

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Memberb, item numbered 2, correction of Votes and Proceedings. [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 24th January, 2018]. Item numbered 3,Urgent Question, which stands in the name of the Hon Member of Parliament for Adaklu to the Hon Minister for Railway Development. Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, ordinarily, the Urgent Question must be taken ahead of the ordinary Questions. I would just like to plead that we allow for the Questions standing in the name of Hon Laadi Ayii Ayamba, Member for Pusiga, to be asked first. The Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has been with us since 9:30 a.m., and she is to attend Cabinet meeting, so if we could allow her to answer these Questions, then thereafter, the Urgent Question could be asked.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister for Gender, would you kindly take the relevant seat? Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I put in an application for the Hon Minister for Gender, and I think you granted that.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes. Hon Laadi Ayamba?

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDREN

AND SOCIAL PROTECTION

Speaker
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba)

Mr Speaker, permit me to say good morning to this august House, and I would like to wish you a happy new year. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is poised to see to the fulfilment of the NPP Government's pledge to the people of Ghana, to build a fair and inclusive society which ensures that all citizens share in the country's wealth and prosperity through the establishment of a well-funded and functioning welfare system which addresses the needs of the weak, marginalised, vulnerable and socially excluded. Policy Landscape In view of this, Mr Speaker, the Ministry has developed several policies aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the vulnerable and excluded in our society. These include the Child and Family Welfare Policy, the Human Trafficking Act, the Disability Act, the National Gender Policy, Ageing and Social Protection Policies, among others. The Ministry is also working on the accompanying legislative frame-works to facilitate the implemen-tation of these policies, such as the Ageing Bill, and the Affirmative Action Bill, while identifying and bridging policy gaps in areas such as streetism. To this end, the Ministry is developing a policy framework and strategic plan to bring an end to streetism and the kayayei phenomena within the next five years. Mr Speaker, the Ageing Policy was formulated in 2010 to mainstream ageing into national development. An Ageing Bill is being developed in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Department and other stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of the policy. Several initiatives have been undertaken to implement the policy, including the celebration of Senior Citizens Day on 1st July, acquisition of the “Freedom Pass” which is aimed at facilitating access to social services including NHIS and free bus rides. Mr Speaker, the Ministry has moved away from institutional care, placing emphasis on day care facilities and safe places for the aged. There are no national nursing homes apart from one home for the destitute at Bekwai, with 15 staff managing the facility. The Ministry will close down all witches' camps and put the productive aged poor to work through startups and skills training with LEAP Cash-Plus. Mr Speaker, the Question that was asked was whether the home for the elderly have geriatrics. I would want to believe that the Hon Member of Parliament for Pusiga meant geriatricians. There are, however, only two geriatric doctors in the whole of Ghana. Day care centres for the aged therefore do not have geriatric specialists attached to them. Both the ageing policy and medium-term plan of the Ministry aims at advocating for the training of geriatric doctors to serve Ghana's ageing population.

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, from the response of the Hon Minister, in paragraph 6, she stated, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The Ministry has moved away from institutional care placing emphasis on day care facilities and safe places for the aged.” Mr Speaker, could the Hon Minister tell us the number of facilities there are and where they are located? Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, inasmuch as we are moving away, we still have one. We are into stakeholder discussions to organise more for the nation.

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, I appreciate the fact that there are only two geriatric doctors in the country. From the response of the Hon Minister, the Ministry plans to train some more -- The Hon Minister mentioned in her response that we have only one nursing home in Bekwai with fifteen (15) staff managing the facility. Mr Speaker, I would want to know whether the Hon Minister has put in place

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, the Hon Ayamba's intention is noted and we would take it into consideration.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Armah-Kofi Buah?

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The earlier sopplementary question was whether the Hon Minister had put any measures in place to address the issue that was raised. In answering my question, the Hon Minister could also address that. My question is whether the Hon Minister has the statistics on the level of neglect of the elderly. Is it getting worse or better across the country?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, we have not yet done any such study. We would embark on it and the data would be provided. Mr Speaker, on the issue of the doctors, I do not have the information of what they do. That was why I said that we would take it on board.

Speaker
Some Hon Members

rose

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Hon Minister mentioned in paragraph 6 of her Answer, that the Ministry would close down all witches camps. I would like to know the plans that exist to ensure the safety of the women. This is because, integrating them into society may expose them to further harm. Thank you.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, recent reports on alleged witches being burnt is harrowing. So, the issue of reintegrating them is of serious concern to the Ministry. Mr Speaker, we have visited the Gambaga witches camp and we have put some of them on the LEAP. With the new LEAP, the intention is that for those who can be reintegrated, the discussions between the communities and the alleged witches would go on. However, some of them do not want to go back to their communities. This is because, they feel that any time something bad happens in the community, they would be the first to be accused. For instance, if somebody's child dies or there is any mishap. Mr Speaker, because of that with the new LEAP, we intend to provide the productive ones with skills training, and wherever they would want to stay, we would support them with productive inclusion to live on their own. The whole idea is about their wellbeing. If they do not feel safe enough to stay in their original homes, then we would have to help them to resettle. Thank you very much.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Members, Question number 258. Accommodation and Social Amenities for Women and Girls living on Streets of Urban Areas *258. Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (Pusiga): asked the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection what measures the Ministry had put in place to ensure that the women and girls already living on the streets of urban areas get accommodation and social amenities.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the categories of women and children in the street, include hawkers, kayayei, commercial sex workers, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and their attendants, girls of school-going age, the destitutes, foreign families, (often women and children), and persons with mental health problems. Ongoing Programmes Mr Speaker, apart from the development of policies and legislative frameworks, the Ministry has also been promoting their productive inclusion into Ghanaian society. In 2016, 400 Kayayei were trained in secretaryship, catering, hairdressing, beads and hat-making and repair of mobile phones, and some of them have since been gainfully employed. There are arrangements to train and employ about 1000 more in the garments manufacturing sector and another 1000 in hairdressing this year. The second phase of LEAP Cash Plus focuses on productive inclusion and will therefore provide seed capital for caregivers of Orphans Vulnerable Children (OVCs), exiting from LEAP. In February 2017, the Ministry held a Kayayei conference to discuss issues pertaining to their welfare and also celebrated mothers' day with them. The Ministry with support from UNFPA, runs reproductive health workshops for kayayei at three market centres at Okaishie, Kasoa and Madina markets, where they are provided health education, breast cancer screening, and sensitisation on domestic violence. Mr Speaker, the Ministry is working feverishly towards the NPP Government's manifesto promise of shelters for those without accommodation, including women and children. Inasmuch as we are providing shelters for the Kayayei does not mean that we want to encourage them to stay in Accra. However, we are working with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and other agencies to provide them with skills training. To this end, the Ministry has received several proposals from the private sector for public-private partnerships aimed at providing high rise, low-cost and affordable shelter for the poor and socially excluded, especially women and children. In the interim, a few government shelters have been identified for refurbishment, and offers have been received from the private sector with proposals for joint management arrangements for private shelters. Way Forward Mr Speaker, in order to comprehensively deal with the issue of streetism and kayayei menace, the Ministry has also launched an Operation Get Off the Streets Now for a Better Life Campaign which is aimed at mapping and creating a database of these groups to ascertain their numbers and characteristics with the aim of designing tailor-made programmes to address the varied causes of their challenges.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, from the response of the Hon Minister in paragraph 2, the Hon Minister states that 400 Kayayei were trained in the year 2016. Mr Speaker, I would want to know, whether the Hon Minister could tell us how many Kayayeis were trained in 2017, the areas of their training and if they have been gainfully employed?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, for the year 2017, we did not train any kayayei. We did not have the funds, and so we would be doing the training of 2000 kayayei this year.

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Minister was candid in that response. Mr Speaker, from the response of the Hon Minister under paragraph 15, I would want to know the number of persons that the Ministry would support to live in the low-cost and affordable shelters. I would want to know how much it would cost, and whether the Ministry has budgeted for this activity.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, as indicated, we are having stakeholder meetings, and so, the cost has not yet been given. As and when that would be given, we would let the Hon Member know. Mr Speaker, we have a series of stakeholder meetings to deliberate on the execution and implementation, and indeed, we would come up with a kayayei Policy. Thank you.

Speaker
Ms Ayamba

Mr Speaker, under paragraph, the Hon Minister mentions shelters identified for the kayayei. I would want to know if she could tell us how many they are, where they are located, how much it would cost to refurbish each one, and if there is a budget to that?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, we have shelters run with private individuals. I cannot give the numbers right now, but in every region, we intend to ensure that we have safe places for the Kayayeis, but I cannot give the Hon Member the cost either.

Speaker
Dr Heloo

Mr Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister where the proposed garment factories would be sited? This is because, paragraph two states that there are arrangements to train and employ1000 more in garment manufacturing. So, I would like to know where the manufacturing factories would be located, and when those girls would be employed in such factories?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, we have gone into agreement with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that has 1,000 machines and they are going to start the identification of the girls through the mapping programme that I mentioned earlier. So, the mapping is supposed to take about three months to complete, and that would give us the date of when we would start engaging them to learn alternative skills in the garments industry.

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong

Mr Speaker, I would want to refer the Hon Minister to paragraph 4 of her Answer, and with your permission, I would like to quote. It says: “Mr Speaker, the Ministry is working feverishly towards the NPP Government's manifesto promise of shelters for those without accommodation, including women and children…”. Mr Speaker, all of us are aware that our streets are flooded with beggars, and some of them spend the night on the streets. So while awaiting the implementation of the National Patriotic Party's (NPP) manifesto by providing the shelter, I would want to know the measures that the Ministry is putting in place to take off all the children from our streets, so that there would be sanity on the streets.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, as indicated earlier, we have launched the “Operation Get Off the Streets” campaign and we have identified the hot spots nationwide, as well as the various shelters. Mr Speaker, we would need to look at the numbers, and that is what the mapping would provide, to be able to let us know how many would need to be re-integrated with their families, how many would need shelter and whether the shelters that are around would be able to accommodate the numbers? So, through the mapping and the various discussions we have with the various shelters, we would be able to provide that information when we finish with the data collection. Mr Speaker, the issue of families living on the streets is another issue that we addressed in the “Operation Get Off the Streets”. Some of them are foreigners, and so, we are engaging the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to find out whether we can send them back. If we cannot, then in discussions, they would also have to be part of the shelters that we are talking about. Mr Speaker, some of the children run away from homes and some of them are orphans. In the discussions, we would be able to find out whether there was abuse at some homes, and whether that was the reason they run away. Mr Speaker, I met a young boy, who had actually run away from home from Togo. He walked and hitch hiked his way to Accra. Mr Speaker, another boy comes from Ashiaman. I asked why he was on the streets, and he said that he did not have school uniform. We were able to locate his family and re-integrated him back, only for him to run back after two months. The boy was brought back to me, and I asked

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Speaker
Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso

Mr Speaker, Hon Ayamba generalised her Question about shelters, but I would want to be specific because in paragraph 4 of the Hon Minister's Answer, she said: “Inasmuch as we are providing shelters for the kayeyei does not mean that we want to encourage them to stay in Accra.” Can she be specific where the shelters are in Accra?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister, where are the shelters?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, I did not bring the figures and the data. So, on another day and occasion, I will bring the list of the shelters and where you can find them.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Ayariga, the last question.

Speaker
Mr Mahama Ayariga

Mr Speaker, the Question was asked about the location of the garment factories, just to indicate that there are garment factories at Adjabeng, not far from the major scene of the kayayei activity which the Hon Minister can take advantage of. The issue is Kayayei itself is a dehumanising exercise of porters carrying load from market stalls to where vehicles are parked. So, it is a problem of the design of our markets. That is why there are no kayayei at Accra Mall. Hon Minister, in your kayayei policy that you mentioned, that Government will develop, do you intend to end once and for all the dehumanising practice of kayayei by advocating, demanding and compelling that local government authorities, redesign their markets to remove the necessity of porterage of the goods from the stalls to where the vehicles are parked?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, basically, no human being should be a donkey and the dehumanising nature of the existence of kayayei is at the core of everything that I do personally, given the fact that I also come from the northern part of this country. And so, because of that and through the various dialogues that we have held with them, we have actually got the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to design a trolley that can navigate our markets. We have also asked Gratis Foundation to do another variation and it does not meet the needs of our markets because, even carrying the load is hazardous to their health. And so, we are in talks with Gratis Foundation and KNUST as well as some private partners to design a trolley that would be robust and manageable in our markets so that we create jobs for them in the area of porterage. If one would want to be a porter, then with the District Assemblies, he or she can be engaged as a porter. Also, for those of them who are of school going age, the mapping will indicate and then we will send them to school. Those who can be part of the garment industry, hairdressing or any skill that they are interested in, we intend, through the new LEAP, Cash-Plus, to move them away from the handouts and give them a hand up so that we give them skills training and also support them to start up their activities. Mr Speaker, we are also in talks with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as well as the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) so that the hotel as well as the food processing industries can engage some of them. Indeed, some of the 400 kayayei that we trained have been gainfully employed in some of these -- I do not want to mention their names -- place in hotel and fast food industries. Mr Speaker, I also propose that for various activities in the area of catering for various Ministries, we have trained the kayayei in catering. And so, instead of getting food delivered from somewhere else, it is an avenue for the kayayei to have jobs and fends for themselves. So, we have a holistic programme to end kayayei in the next five years. It is a solid programme and we are going to come with a policy. We have a kayayei module for the Youth Employment Agency (YEA). For as long as there is a kayayo, then the work of the Hon Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection is not over.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Minority Leadership?

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister said they have provided shelter for kayayei. She went further to say: “To this end, the Ministry has received several proposals from private sector for public-private partnerships aimed at providing high rise, low-cost and affordable shelter for the poor and socially excluded, especially women and children.” Hon Minister, are you sure that all those people you have enumerated in your Answer are going to benefit from this public-private partnership high rise buildings you are going to build?

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, before I answer that, there was a question about markets. The issue of modernising markets has come up and we had a national conference

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, my question was; is she sure that all those women and socially excluded in her Answer would benefit from the facilities she spoke about? That was the simple question I asked, before I proceed to the second question as Leadership.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Minister, look into the crystal ball and answer the question.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

Mr Speaker, I thought that I answered by saying that it is as sure as the day would come and the night would come. That is surety enough. That is because day and night always come.

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim

She mentioned the socially excluded in her Answer, and I quote: “Mr Speaker, the categories of women and children in the street, include hawkers, kayayei, commer- cial sex workers, PWDs and their attendants, girls of school-going age, the destitute, foreign families…” Is she sure? She said she is sure. Is she going to build these high rise buildings for the commercial sex workers as well? Is that what she is telling us?

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Member, that is not a question. Hon Minister, stay comfortably in your seat.

Speaker
Ms Djaba

This is Ghana we are talking about, this very blessed nation that has achieved so much. A leader in democracy; it is possible and it has been done in other jurisdictions. We need to have big dreams for our people, especially the very vulnerable. I used to live in England and was able to stay in places like that. I know that this country could do better and that is where we are headed, to ensure that we improve upon the lives of the very vulnerable.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The Hon Minister is entitled to have the audacity of hope as per Obama. That would bring us to the end of Questions. Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House and answering Questions. Item numbered 4, Statements. At the commencement of Public Business-- I am afraid, I was looking for Hon Ablakwa this morning to discuss some aspects of a pending Statement. We would discuss that and admit it tomorrow, if possible. Hon Majority Leader, is the Hon Minister ready?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Yes, Mr Speaker. The Hon Minister has sent the Hon Deputy Minister to stand in for him to answer the Question. Since it is just one Question, we would allow that. After that there is a Motion in the name of the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Because he has to join his Hon Colleagues on the Special Committee, we may also allow him to move his Motion and then retreat to join his Hon Colleagues. For the time being, we could deal with the Question for the Hon Minister for Railways Development.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

In effect, the Hon Deputy Minister is in the House to answer the Question on behalf of the Hon Minister?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, that is so.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Deputy Minority Leader, any difficulty?

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

No objection, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Very well. Hon Deputy Minister, you may please take the relevant seat. Hon Member for Adaklu, you may please ask your Question

URGENT QUESTIONS

Speaker
Mr Abodza

Mr Speaker, I would want to ask the Hon Deputy Minister to take a look at paragraph four of his Answer. It would be noticed that he linked much of the safety to defective lines, level crossings and the nature of the coaches. Mr Speaker, I would want to know if he would say that the accidents we have had so far were mainly due to lack of maintenance of the lines, the nature of the coaches and the fact that there are no level crossing mechanisms at some of the places. In other words, they were the responsibility of the operator; GRCL, and so, somebody could say that the accident occurred because of lack maintenance. Would he agree to that?

Speaker
Mr Agyenim-Boateng

Mr Speaker, I would agree with the Hon Member that it was partly due to the lack of maintenance, but it is also because of the current state of the lines -- we are dealing with lines that were constructed somewhere in the 1800's; 1898 to about 1913. Mr Speaker, currently, rail lines have moved from narrow gauges to standard gauges. We are looking at a wider gauge which is like four feet eight inches as opposed to the previous gauges that were three feet six inches. Mr Speaker, maintenance is an issue, but then alignment is also another issue that we would have to deal with. With the lines we had and what we currently use, about 30 per cent are still operational for manganese transportation. We would look at these lines that were purposely built for transportation of minerals and not so much for the use of passengers. So, the alignments are not fit for purpose. Mr Speaker, currently, we are trying to realign and so, we would have lines that would be fit for transportation of people and goods. We would do realignment in the new construction and we would avoid sharp curves and also use current technology to avoid the kind of derailment the Hon Member talked about. Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Member, but the lines are also obsolete and for that matter, beyond maintenance, so we would have to realign them.

Speaker
Mr Abodza

Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Deputy Minister to tell us whether his Ministry, through the agencies, do have regular professional development courses in safety for their staff, especially, those who work on tracks and the coaches. I would want to know whether they have a culture where regularly, the staff who work on the lines and those who work in the coaches have continuous professional development in safety, and if this record is available to be checked.

Speaker
Mr Agyenim-Boateng

Mr Speaker, it is not the staff of the Ministry, but it is the staff of the GRCL. That was why I mentioned in the Answer that there is an understanding with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to retrain them on the current technology that we have. So that has been done for the GRCL.

Speaker
Mr Abodza

Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Deputy Minister to tell us how the public gets the understanding of the safety regime they expect around their installations, especially, their railway lines and stations. I would want to know how they go about to educate the public on the safety regime around their railway installations; rail lines and railway stations. How would one know what he or she would do if he or she is approaching a railway line or how would a person get to know what he or she is supposed to do when he or she is at the railway station to ensure he or she is part of the safety regime.

Speaker
Mr Agyenim-Boateng

Mr Speaker, we have currently engaged communities where we have new constructions. For instances, with the lines between Tema and Akosombo, we have engaged the various communities along the route of 85km to get them to understand that the new rails that would come on board are faster than the previous ones. There are trains that would travel about the speed of 120km per hour as against what we have currently which is about 30km. Community engagements are on-going and we recently had one major engagement at the Achimota Station, where we had the derailment. Mr Speaker, the communities are engaged and we would make sure that people would get to understand that they would have to know that the trains could be dangerous, especially, in our system where there are so many encroachments.

Speaker
Mr Agyenim-Boateng

Speaker
Mr Agyenim-Boateng

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Leadership, do you have any questions? [Pause.] -- Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Minister, for attending to the House to answer the Question. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business -- item numbered 5; Motion. Hon Chairman of the Committee?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we can now deal with item numbered 5.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

We cannot proceed with items numbered 5 and 6? Can we proceed with item numbered 7?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we can have item numbered 5.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, yes, that was what I announced. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?

MOTIONS

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Implementation of Local Content in the Oil and Gas Sector in Ghana. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Implementation of Local Content in the oil and gas sector of Ghana was presented to the House on Wednesday 15th March, 2017, in accordance with article 187 of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House. The Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for examination and report pursuant to the 1992 Constitution and Order 165 of the Standing Orders of Parliament. To examine the Report, the Committee was assisted by officials from Audit Service, Ministry of Energy and the Petroleum Commission. The Committee expresses its profound gratitude to the officials for the assistance. References The Committee referred to the following relevant documents: 1. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 2. The Standing Orders of Parliament of Ghana 3. Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Act, 1983 (PNDCL 64) 4. Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 1984 (PNDCL 84) 5. Petroleum Commission Act, 2011 (Act 821); and 6. The Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations (LI 2204). Background Following the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in Ghana, there was the need to develop local capacity to allow indigenous Ghanaians and Ghanaian businesses participate in the emerging oil and gas industry. In an effort to ensure that the country maximises its benefits from the oil discovery, the Ghana Local Content and Local Participation Bill, 2013 was passed into law. The Act aims at ensuring that Ghanaians are prioritised in terms of employment in the petroleum industry so as to derive the maximum benefit from the country's resources. The law is also to ensure that Ghana's petroleum resources benefit Ghanaians, while allowing foreign oil companies to optimise the returns on their investment. To operationalise the Act, a Legislative Instrument (L.I. 2204) was promulgated. The L.I. 2204 seeks to promote the maximisation of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, business and financing in the petroleum industry value chain and their retention in the country; develop local capacities in the petroleum industry value chain through education, skills transfer and expertise development, transfer of technology and know-how and active research and development programmes; achieve the minimum local employment level and in-country spending for the provision of goods and services in the petroleum industry value

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

(6) companies in 2015 and five (5) companies in 2016. The Commission also inspected twenty-six (26) companies in Q1 2017. Issues raised after the inspection were communicated to companies to ensure they were addressed. The Compliance Department of the Commis- sion also performed ad-hoc visits to companies to ascertain information provided in registration documents. The Committee noted that section (e) and (d) of the Petroleum Commission's Act and Regulation 44 of L.I. 2204 mandates the Commission to monitor petroleum activities, undertake audits and inspections and ensure compliance with all applicable laws governing the industry including compliance to local content requirements. The Committee urges the Commission to comply with the recommendation of the Auditor-General to establish a dedicated department within the Commission to be responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation of local content in the oil and gas industry. Improving Local Participation The Committee was informed by the Ag Chief Executive of the Petroleum Commission that in addition to the measures outlined in L.I. 2204, the Commission has put in place many other measures to ensure the full participation of Ghanaians in the industry. The Commission is unbundling contracts to make it possible for local companies to participate and bid for such contracts. Also, all foreign companies participating in the upstream industry must do so in partnership with local companies. The Commission stated that since the inception of this policy, of all petroleum agreements granted to multinational oil companies, there is an equity holding for a local company. On the development of human resource capacity in the oil and gas sector, the Ag CEO explained to the Committee that, upon the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities, efforts were put in place by government to develop human capacity to allow Ghanaians participate fully in the oil field. Regrettably, however, most of the skills were developed in the areas such as oil and gas management which are not useful to the industry. Technical skills in areas such as drilling were not developed. This has led to the oil companies engaging expatriate staff to handle these critical areas of the sector. To address the shortcomings and to develop required skills among Ghanaians, the Commission had undertaken a comprehensive audit to determine the skills available in the country and requirement of the industry. The outcome of the audit indicates that many trained graduates and professionals could not be employed because they lacked practical skills. To address the situation, the Commission has developed the Ghana Upstream Internship Programme (GUIP), to give practical upstream training and experience to young graduates. He indicated that the petroleum sector is highly technical and a little mistake or negligence could have severe devastating consequences. Hence the need to give extensive practical training to young professionals to make them employable in the sector. The Committee was further informed that talk is on-going with selected technical universities and polytechnics to create centres of excellence for training of technical skills required for the oil and gas sector. Conclusion The Auditor-General was generally satisfied with the legal and regulatory regimes in place to ensure the full implementation of local content in the oil and gas sector. The Auditor-General also expressed satisfaction about the establishment of the required institutions and the monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place to ensure that lOCs comply with the local content rules and regulations in the country. The Committee, having carefully examined the Report is satisfied with the planned activities and the regulatory framework in place to improve Ghana's Local Content and local participation in the oil and gas sector. The Committee noted that the agencies tasked to implement the programme are also on course. Programme outline of the Commission, when properly implemented will further contribute to an improved local content regime and local participation in the sector. The Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt its Report on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor- General on the implementation of local Content in the oil and gas sector of Ghana, in accordance with Standing Order 165 of the Parliament of Ghana. Respectfully submitted.

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Thank you very much Hon Chairman.

Speaker
Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP — Fanteakwa South)

Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion ably moved by my Hon Chairman.

Speaker
Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP — Fanteakwa South)

Speaker
Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP — Fanteakwa South)

Speaker
Mr Speaker

The First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair. Hon Member, you may continue.

Speaker
Mr Okyere-Agyekum

Mr Speaker, about 150 Ghanaian graduates have actually been trained and are being placed in the various upstream oil companies. There was a programme to train technical and vocational skills people so that they would be at the lower end of the industry, and this is being done in collaboration with the international oil companies and the relevant universities. There were also collaborations between the Petroleum Commission and the various stakeholders like the Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and other stakeholders to make sure that jobs that we have the expertise in and can be done by Ghanaians would not go to expatriates. Mr Speaker, all in all, I believe the Commission has done well within the short period that they have operated, to make sure that jobs go to Ghanaians and that Ghanaian companies participate in the purchase and supply of materials needed for the equipment, and we need to urge the Ministry to continue to support them to do that. Question proposed 12.48 p. m. —

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

Speaker
Dr Clement A. Apaak (NDC — Builsa South)

Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak in support of the Report as a Member of the Public Accounts Committee. Mr Speaker, it is very clear that the Committee certainly has taken its responsibility very seriously. Obviously, the Report that we are considering is certainly new as far as the history of the oil and gas industry is concerned. As a people, we have decided that in the exploration of our God-given resources, we should make room and encourage the full participation of the citizens of this country. It is within that context that I just want to raise two issues. Mr Speaker, if you look at page 7 of the Committee's Report, under item 6.2 -- Skills and Capacity of Local Companies - - it is very clear that while efforts are being made to ensure that --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, do you have a different Report because in my report, it is 6.3 --

Speaker
Dr Apaak

Thank you for the correction, Mr Speaker. It is 6.3 -- Skills and Capacity of Local Companies.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well.

Speaker
Dr Apaak

Mr Speaker, the point I seek to make is that while efforts are being made to ensure that our Ghanaian businesses and producers take advantage of the local content component of the oil and gas industry, it was determined that some of the local companies tend to even import the produce that they are expected to supply to the companies engaged in this industry. In many ways, this certainly does not give effect to the purposes for which we are advocating for the full participation of indigenous Ghanaians. So, I would want to use this opportunity to encourage players in the industry who really seek to maximise the local content opportunity, to do what is right by making sure that they procure and supply from the local terrain, at least, the food items needed by these companies for the upkeep of their staff. Mr Speaker, the last point I would want to make before I take my seat is also a determination that has been made around a discrimination that has to do with the waiver on taxes on some petroleum products. If you look at page 8 for example, it talks about the Chief Executive Officer lamenting about the current practice where most indigenous companies are not enjoying a waiver in the import of other petroleum products which would enhance their work but rather the international oil companies seem to be enjoying those waivers. I believe going on, these are some matters that we believe the Ministry and Parliament would have to take a second look at, so that we would not short- change our local players in the oil and gas industry.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, before you resume your seat, the Report does not determine who grants the tax waiver. Can you guide us?

Speaker
Dr Apaak

Mr Speaker, I am looking at the last paragraph of page 8. It says: “The Committee is of the view that reliance on importation by local firms as against in-country produc- tion and fabrication could derail the laudable objectives of the local content policy by shifting most of the profits in the industry to foreign entities operating outside the shores of Ghana. Further, the restriction of tax waivers on the importation of petroleum equip-ment to only IOCs is discriminatory and does not promote the competitiveness of local firms to bid for the supply of such equipment.” Mr Speaker, this is what I am making reference to.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Maybe, the Hon Chairman would later guide us, because to the best of my knowledge, it is only this House that can grant tax waivers. So, who is administering the tax waivers and discriminating against Ghanaian companies? I think the Report should have explored this path, and I would want to be addressed on that one. Hon Member for Takoradi?

Speaker
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah (NPP -- Takoradi)

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I am very happy the audit report has been released and we are discussing it. If you take Legislative Instrument (L. I.) 2204, one of the major focuses has to do with local content and how it is applied. The National Petroleum Commission has that mandate to implement the L. I. If this Report tells us that they have not been able to do the necessary audit, then we ask ourselves to what extent are we also able to implement the L.I on local content. Mr Speaker, presently, we know that five years after the passage of the local content law, goods and services of the oil companies should have a 50 per cent local Ghanaian participation or those goods and services are supposed to be sourced locally in this country.

Speaker
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah (NPP -- Takoradi)

Speaker
Mr R. Acheampong

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member for Bia East?

Speaker
Mr Richard Acheampong

Mr Speaker, I can read from the screen that it is Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey speaking but the voice is that of a male and the picture is also a male -- I am confused. [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you are out of order. I thought you were going to assist in the debate. [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Darko-Mensah

Mr Speaker, if you take paragraph 4 of item 6.6, the last statement reads: “He indicated that, the petroleum sector is highly technical and a little mistake or negligence could have severe devastating consequences. Hence the need to give extensive practical training to young professionals to make them employable in the sector.” Mr Speaker, anytime we want to give a Ghanaian an opportunity, we bring lots of caveats. We have universities that are training our young men and women. Are we saying that the universities are not training them well after going through school for four years? Is that what we are saying? I believe not. I believe that our universities are doing very well. If the oil companies have problems, they should have the necessary industrial-academic relationships, so that the young men could be trained within the four years that they are in school to do the job. They are giving every excuse why Ghanaians cannot do it, but others can. It is not proper. I believe we need to look at this critically and make sure it is done. The last but not the least has to do with the Local Content Fund. I believe that when the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill came to Parliament, I was one of the few people who supported it that we needed to make the Local Content Fund very big, so that Ghanaians could draw from it and do bigger projects. Mr Speaker, people borrow money outside of this country at one, two and three per cents, but borrow money at our banks here and pay 30 per cent. Naturally, even if we give them an additional 10 per cent mark up for their bids, they would still not be competitive. They would just not be competitive. Therefore, I find it extremely difficult that as of now, the Petroleum Commission has not been able to set up the Fund. This further deepens the woes of Ghanaians, and also gives more oppor- tunities to foreigners to take away what dearly belongs to us in terms of local content. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you very much for the opportunity.

Speaker
Some Hon Members

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, former Hon Minister for Petroleum?

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC-- Ellembelle)

I thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute. Mr Speaker, the Local Content and Local Participation Regulation, L.I. 2204, as has been stated earlier, was passed to prioritise the interest of Ghanaians in terms of employment, and to make sure that they are in the forefront of the industry. When we started, we had three key objectives; how we manage our revenue from oil. So, we passed the Ghana Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815) to ensure that is in place. Critically, the issue of how Ghanaians would take over the industry drove us to really fight to pass the Local Content and Local Participation Regulation, L.I. 2204. Mr Speaker, as has been indicated, the Petroleum Commission, which is the custodian of this Regulation, has made a lot of progress on some of the guidelines that were expected to be in place. It has been stated, for example, that the Joint Venture Guidelines and the Tender Guidelines have been put in place.

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC-- Ellembelle)

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah (NDC-- Ellembelle)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon-- Member for Ningo-Prampram? Leadership would get their chance.

Speaker
Mr Samuel N. George (NDC-Ningo-- Prampram)

I thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I would want to comment on the Committee's Report on the Implemen- tation of the Local Content in the Oil and Gas Sector of Ghana. Mr Speaker, one of the key issues, for me, when we met with the Commission at the Committee's sitting had to do with the relationship between the Commission and other State enterprises. Chief among them are the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), our National Security and the Ghana Navy. I looked at the roles that these State institutions play in enforcing the work of the Commission. We have a Local Content Law that is clear on the number of Ghanaians who should operate within the sector. I had cause to challenge the Commission on the data that they had provided as the number of Ghanaians who work in the industry. This is because we had reports with evidence of other nationals from the West African sub region who posed as Ghanaians. They work and are captured as Ghanaians in the oil sector. This was reported as we met our local content requirement, whereas majority of these so- called Ghanaians are not truly Ghanaians. So, we asked them the amount of work the Commission had done to verify the data that has come from some of these service providers in the oil sector of those who claim are Ghanaians. Have they done checks through National Security, the GIS, the Birth and Death Registry, and the Passport Office to be sure that these holders of Ghanaian Passports, who claim to be Ghanaian citizens, are truly and really so. Mr Speaker, my Senior Colleague, Hon Benjamin Kpodo, just mentioned one of the major problems that we realise, which is captured here in paragraph 6.4 of the Report. It says that he financed two people to go to Aberdeen and London to study Oil and Gas Law and Management. That is a major flaw with most of the funding put aside for capacity building in our country for over the past seven to eight years. Mr Speaker, our oil and gas sector does not have a demand for oil and gas management degree and masters programmes holders. There is a real need for geophysicists, substructure engineers and petrochemical engineers; these are the real needs that we have. When we take the list of the beneficiaries of our capacity building schemes to Aberdeen, Norway, London, Dublin and so on, we realise that we have sent almost 70 to 80 per cent to build their capacities in oil and gas management. After they finish the oil and gas management course, they come back to manage unemployment in Ghana because they are unemployed, and there is really no need for them. Even oil and gas accountants -- how many oil and gas accountants do we need in our sector at the moment?

Speaker
Mr Kpodo

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member for Ho Central, do you have a point of order?

Speaker
Mr Kpodo

Mr Speaker, yes. He made reference to me that I have trained oil and gas lawyers and management people, and it is useless. The order is that they are very useful, but he said that they are not very useful in the -- They are very useful, and I would want him to advert his mind to the fact that we need managers, accountants and lawyers in the oil and gas industry.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Please, conclude your contribution.

Speaker
Mr George

Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Nobody has said that we would not need them; but if as a country, we invest our taxpayers' moneys or oil revenues into capacity building, let us ask ourselves; proportionately, what number of engineers and geophysicists do we need in that sector as against managers and lawyers? How many oil and gas lawyers do we need in that sector as against the current prevalence of geophysicists? These are the real issues that we should ask ourselves. What are our priorities as a country, and where are we putting our money? Why is it that many of the oil and gas management masters degrees holders we have, who we have sponsored, walk the streets of Accra unemployed? Mr Speaker, we have Ghanaian geophysicists being recruited from the universities today. So --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, I am even more concerned with the Hon Member's mannerisms. He keeps pointing his finger in your face, and it is very serious. It is as if he is fighting you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Deputy Majority Leader, thank you for your “protection”; but I am yet to read any part of our Standing Orders that deals with gestures of the hand or the head. If any comes to my attention, I will use that to rule on the House. Please, you have two minutes to wind up.

Speaker
Mr George

Mr Speaker, thank you. Advisedly, I put my hands behind my back. -- [Laughter.] The Hon Deputy Leader is tying my hands. Mr Speaker, the Commission has made the point known to us, that they are making strenuous efforts to liaise with the world of academia here in Ghana. I still believe that Ghana is a preferred destination, and we could actually educate a major earner for ourselves in this country and the sub-region. So, it was welcoming to hear the Commission say that they have started engaging my alma mater, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Regional Maritime University, other stakeholder universities and technical institutions to build capacity within Ghana. It will be cheaper for the State to train these individuals locally. We have fine Ghanaian engineers from across the world that we could attract if we put in place the right systems and support mechanisms in our tertiary institutions. Mr Speaker, I believe that, as a country, we need to get our priorities right.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

I will come to the Leaders. We have said enough about the same things. Yes, Hon First Deputy Minority Whip?

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda)

Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. I will just go straight to the point. On page 8, paragraph 6.4, with your permission, I quote: “Ensuring Ghanaians acquire Skills in demand in the oil and gas Industry. The Auditor-General established in his audit that there is currently shortage of relevant skills in the industry although there is high rate unemployment among graduate engineers and technicians due to lack of practical experience in the Oil and Gas sector (upstream) operations.” Mr Speaker, I believe this is a critical issue. As a country, we must tackle this issue holistically. Laws could be made. It is sad that in this day and age, we are all crying of unemployment and the ways to combat it to make sure that we create jobs for the teeming youth. It is not a case of the unavailability of people. There are people, but it is a case of the skills needed. This is simply because there is a serious gap between academia and industry. It is unfortunate that people were trained -- What needs assessment was done to make sure that these were the specific skills needed before they were sent for training? Mr Speaker, if we want to make serious considerations on the disparity between fees that were paid, as against the needed skills, it might not even be up to those that were trained. I believe it is about time that when the nation needs certain skills -- they said that a nationwide exercise was embarked upon and about 150 graduates were recruited and trained. Mr Speaker, how come that we embarked upon a nationwide exercise, 150 graduates are selected, but we still talk the of shortage of the needed skills? It is about time, and that is why this House passed the Technical Universities Bill; turning the polytechnics into technical universities.

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda)

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, those from the Banda Constituency are afraid of the sea. [Laughter.]

Speaker
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, rightly so, and that is the problem. Mr Speaker, clearly, I believe that the earlier we came together to open everything up -- I do not think the information on the nationwide coverage to select 150 people to go for this scholarship which we talked about publicly -- I do not think that I even got this information. There may have been certain engineers who could dive under the sea to fix the bolts and nuts, but they did not have this information. Mr Speaker, going forward and holistically, I call for a national exercise, where the next time we want to solve this issue, we would put everything aside and advertise it. We may get certain intelligent students who would want to deny their self-comfort, learn and study or do these courses to solve this problem. Mr Speaker, I know that it is a lot. The Report is well written, and the Committee did a very good job; it has come out with some of those weaknesses. I do not think that next time when another Report is brought to this House on the same issue of local content, the things we see now would still be contained therein. Mr Speaker, once it is has come out, we must find a way to solve it. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Deputy Majority Leader?

Speaker
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya)

Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Report by the Public Accounts Committee, which is before the House. Mr Speaker, many have enumerated the importance of having a transparent procurement system in the energy and petroleum sector. Mr Speaker, it is very true that many of our local contractors who bid for these contracts do not have the financial capacity, and to some extent, the technical capacity to undertake some of these contracts, so should they be given to them? Mr Speaker, I believe it is in the interest of the people of this country, and the need for us to also build the capacity of these locals to compete equally with our foreign partners who come to bid for these contracts. That was why the local content law was passed, so that a section of these contracts in the energy sector would be reserved for our local contractors. Mr Speaker, it is so clear in paragraph 6.3, on page 7 of the Report: “The Chief Executive of the Commission explained that, the Commission conducted a value chain analysis to identify job areas where local firms can effectively compete. Based on the outcome of the analysis, the Commission reserved goods and services for indigenous companies …” Mr Speaker, so we cannot hide behind the fact that when it comes to the actual project work, which we call “works”, in procurement, it is so huge and financially involving that our locals cannot compete. Mr Speaker, but a starting point for us as a country, which we have passed as law in the Local Content Law, was to enable our contractors start on a lower basis; which is bidding for contracts in the area of goods and services. Unfortunately, in the area of services, for instance, where they provide catering and other labour services for these companies, we still find foreigners. Even with cleaning services, we still have foreigners in that area. Mr Speaker, so if we have made a law for ourselves to reserve a portion for our own, then we would need to implement it effectively to obtain the needed results; but if we leave the foreigners to also veer into that restricted area, then they would take away everything from us. Mr Speaker, we are endowed with natural resources, and we believe that the communities where these resources are found should see the direct benefits or impacts in their lives. I think we should protect the goods and services aspects that we have reserved for our locals. Mr Speaker, again, I would want to say that when it comes to the capacities of our local companies, financial muscles in the energy or petroleum sector is a very important part of it. We have been told in the Report that even when Ghanaian contractors win some of these contracts, they have realised that they end up importing many of these things from our foreign partners or foreign countries. Mr Speaker, this could be seen at paragraph 4, on page 8 of the Report. It says that the Chief Executive lamented the current practice where indigenous companies prefer to import items when contracts are awarded to them, instead of establishing facilities to undertake production in the country. Mr Speaker, that is why we should all commend His Excellency the President for introducing the One District, One Factory project. Mr Speaker, if we have factories that produce locally, it would reduce the number of imports that come in, and we could reserve our foreign exchange. -- [Interruption.] The Report says so. It

Speaker
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya)

[MS SAFO says that even when the locals win these contracts, we do not have the industries to supply. That is why we should have industries established in Ghana. The One District, One Factory project is most important, and it would end up creating jobs for our people and our teeming youth who are out there. We would get our factories, and our contractors would be able to build the capacity of supplying when the need arises. Mr Speaker, in the area of procurement in the energy sector, we are told that certain guidelines ought to be drafted to aid them to set out the needed procedures that ought to occur in the procurement process. Mr Speaker, but whether there is a guideline or not, on the hierarchy of statutes, I believe that guidelines is at the bottom; it is not even recognised. This Honourable House has passed a law, and we have a Legislative Instrument also backing it. We cannot hide behind a common guideline to say that because we do not have a guideline for bidding and evaluation in the energy sector, that is why we have here the current situation on our hands. Mr Speaker, it is a matter of committing ourselves to implement these laws that we have made, but they are not just made for the shelves. Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to urge the Honourable House to adopt the Report of the Auditor-General. I believe that moving forward, the findings of the Auditor-General would guide us in the future in order for us not to commit similar mistakes. Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you. [Hear! Hear!]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Chairman of the Committee, I have issues that I want you to address. First, we have raised the issue of tax waivers -- some people get tax waivers, but others do not get; the losers are the Ghanaian companies. I am not aware that any such request for tax waivers has been brought before this House. So, who grants those tax waivers and why? Secondly, the Report suggests that companies in the petroleum sector refuse to abide by the laws we have made. I do not see any recommendation that some people are to be sanctioned. There is nowhere in this world that you breach the rules -- at least, some fines. If there were Ghanaian companies operating in countries of those oil fields and they failed to meet the local content rules, the Petroleum Authority would slap fines on them. We should not admit the excuses they give. They should find the Ghanaians to do the work. We should not admit their excuses and say that there is lack of capacity. Is it the lack of capacity to supply water or to clean the premises? Why are they giving contracts for cleaning and others to foreign companies, and suggesting that there is lack of capacity? The supply of vegetables and all those things are from them. So, for me, the Report is to address those things and recommend that the Petroleum Commission should slap fines on them. Otherwise, they would continue to give excuses as long as we also accept that we lack capacity in this respect. Maybe, you would want to address the House on why there are no sanctions against either the Commission or the operators in your effort.

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Mr Speaker, on your second issue, basically, it is an advice to the Committee and, probably, the Commis- sion. That is why the Commission is in place; it is a regulator of the companies that operate in that sector. So, any sanction for violating all the laws or any of the laws that we have under the sector should be applied by the Commission. That is why the Petroleum Commission exists; but I take your advice, that if the Commission is not doing it, the Committee should also recommend for action to be taken. Mr Speaker, on the first one, the Report talks about the local companies not benefiting from these tax waivers. First of all, the local companies are not supposed to import. This is because they need to produce the goods here to feed them. That is why we call it local content. We also know that there are some inputs that would definitely be imported by them. The reason there is discrimination is that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) which operate in the sector, like Tullow and the rest -- it is because the petroleum agreement that we have with them, which Parliament actually passed, has an element that allows them to have tax waivers. So, that is the point, the tax waiver is coming for these IOCs.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Does the agreement cover things that are available here? To the best of my knowledge, the things that are not available, which are critical for the operations, are what we exempted them from bringing in. That should not be extended to cover bringing in apples and so on.

Speaker
Mr Avedzi

Mr Speaker, if you read the Report, it talks about the major equipment that are imported by these companies which are tax exempt. When the local company that has the sub-contract also import some equipment to do the work, they are not covered by the waiver. That is where the discrimination comes from. It is a lesson that when we look at anything of this nature again, we would know how to handle it. So Mr Speaker, these are the areas. Then also, on the issue the Hon Member for Takoradi raised -- that the Report is not a good one simply because data was not provided on the level of the attainment of the objectives of the Commission, I do not think that should make the Report a bad one. Mr Speaker, we are issuing a Report on the report of the Auditor-General. So the content of the report of the Auditor-General is what we work on, after we have received more explanation and information from the Petroleum Commission and the Ministry. So, Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member should advert himself to the angle that our Report is based on the Auditor-General's Report, and what we have found out as we discussed the Report. Mr Speaker, I thank Hon Members for their contribution on this Motion, and I plead that we all adopt the Report as recommended by the Committee. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Question put and Motion agreed to.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 6. Hon Cahirman of the Committee

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Disposal of Government Vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service. Mr Speaker, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction The Performance Audit Report of the Auditor General on the disposal of Government vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service was laid before the House on Wednesday, 15th March, 2017, in accordance with article 187 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Pursuant to Order 165 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for consideration and report. Deliberations In considering the Report, the Committee held public hearings and invited officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service to deliberate on the findings of the Report. Acknowledgement The Committee wishes to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the Hon Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr Dele Nura, the Hon Deputy Minister of Health, Hon Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Domelevo and his technical team for their assistance and cooperation during the deliberations of the Committee. Furthermore, the Committee wishes to extend its appreciation to the German International Cooperation (GIZ), the GTV for providing live coverage as well as other media houses, both electronic and print for covering the proceedings of the Committee. Reference Documents The Committee made reference to the following documents in the course of its deliberations: i. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana ii. The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana iii. The Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) iv. The Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) v. The Financial Administration Regulation 2004 (L.I. 1802) and vi. The Auction Sales Act, 1989 (PNDCL 230). Background The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is the Government Agency responsible for the development and growth of the agricultural sector in Ghana while the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on the other hand is established under Act 525 1996, to provide and manage comprehensive and accessible health services with special emphasis on primary health care to the entire nation, in accordance with national policies. In order to realise their broad objectives, Government allocates funds to these Agencies for the purchase of vehicles and other equipment necessary for the effective formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes. The vehicles and equipment acquired usually get aged and become obsolete necessitating their disposal, especially so when the continuous usage is proven to be inefficient and counter-productive to the purpose for which they were acquired. The Public Procurement Act of 2003, Act 663 as well as other laws and regulations passed by the Parliament of Ghana set out the processes by which these obsolete and unserviceable vehicles and equipment are to be disposed off. Some institutions over the years have undertaken the disposal of vehicles and equipment but failed to observe the laid down rules and this has, on several occasions, led to public outcry on either suspected unfair practices or alleged loss of revenue to the State. The above situations motivated the Auditor-General to conduct performance audit on the disposal of Government vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service between the years 2011 and 2013. Purpose and Objectives of the Audit The purpose of the Audit was to determine whether the MoFA and the GHS identified and assessed vehicles earmarked for disposal in a transparent manner. It was also to find out whether the two institutions ensured that the auction process was competitive and that all proceeds from the disposal were duly accounted for within the required time frame. Observations Ministry of Food and Agriculture The Committee made the following observations in the course of its deliberations. Delay in Accounting for Auction Proceeds The Committee observed that contrary to section 15 (1) of the Financial Administration Regulation (FAR), which states that “any public officer or revenue collector who collects or receives public and trust moneys shall issue official receipts for them and pay them into the relevant Public Fund Bank Account within twenty-four hours of receipt, except in exceptional cases to be identified by the Minister”; the Ministry did not account for the auction proceeds within the required time of 24hrs. The delay was up to 29 months. The Committee was therefore of the view that there was a breach of financial discipline on the part of the Ministry, as section 21 of the FAR states “that failure to comply with regulations on collections, accounting and disclosure of Non-Tax Revenue including Internally Generated Funds is a breach of financial discipline”. The Committee was of further view that the delayed payment of proceeds from the auction sale into the Non-Tax Revenue Account (NTRA) at the Bank of Ghana denied government the needed revenue to undertake its activities.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Even though the auction took place on the 4th and 5th of July 2013, payments were only made into the NTRA in August 2014. Violation of relevant legislations on Auction The Committee made reference to section 29 of the Auction Sales Act, 1989 (PNDCL 230) and observed the following; i. The vehicles were already allocated and prices determined by the valuation of the State Transport Company. Section 29 of the Auction Sales Act states that “where a property for sale is bought by or on behalf of the vendor, the Commission shall not exceed 3 per cent of the amount of which the asset has been so bought”. ii. Therefore, the vendor, being Government had sold its vehicles to its own employees (i.e. staff of MoFA) and had to pay three per cent Commission as it was evident that members of the public did not participate in the auction that took place at the Ministry. The auctioneer should have taken three per cent for the sale that took place at the Ministry, but he took seven per cent commission in contraven- tion of section 29 (3) of the Auction Sales Act. iii.The auctioneer further violated sections l8 (2) of the Auction Sales Act which states that the auctioneer is liable if he does not pay proceeds from the sale of properties or assets within ten (10) days of auction. Responding to these observations, the auctioneer agreed that he committed some infractions during the process. He admitted he did not take part in allocating vehicles and that the reserved prices were determined by state Transport Company and allocated to the staff. He, however, told the committee that some of the vehicles were sold above the reserved prices. The auctioneer admitted that his actions are in violation of section 18 (2) and section 29 of Auction Sales Act, and pleaded for leniency. The Chief Director responsible at the Ministry also admitted to the fact that there had been negligence on their part with respect to the guidelines on disposal for goods and equipment, and explained that since the report of the Auditor- General was issued in 2013, they have since amended their ways of conducting similar exercise in the Ministry. The Chief Director also pleaded for leniency and apologised unreservedly on behalf of the Ministry for the lapses and promised that the situation will not be repeated under his watch. Observations - Ghana Health Service The Committee made the following observations with respect to auction sale of vehicles by the Ghana Heath Service: Delay in response to Audit queries and Withdrawal of Written Response Submitted to the Public Accounts Committee. The Committee observed that though the Ghana Health Service was granted 30 days by the Auditor-General to respond to the queries raised by the Auditor- General, as required by section 29 of the Audit Service Act, it took the Ghana Health Service 60 days to respond to the observations of the Auditor- General. The Committee also found out that the written response of the GHS submitted to the Committee sought to cast doubt on the work of the Auditor-General for not acting according to the responses they offered long after the period provided by section 29 of the Audit Service Act. The Committee, however, granted leave to the Director-General of the GHS to withdraw the written response submitted and apologise to the Committee and the Auditor General. Delay in the Payment of Proceeds from the Sale of Vehicles The Committee observed that GHS had auctioned most of the vehicles to their staff and moneys realised from the sale of the vehicles totalling GH¢75, 860 were accounted for by the auctioneer on two different dates, amounting to GH¢45,650 and GH¢30,210 respectively to the GHS. However, these amounts were held by GHS beyond the stipulated time within which they should be lodged into the Non- Tax Revenue Account (NTRA). The Committee expressed concern, that proceeds from the sale was held by GHS and paid into the NTRA accounts on the 24th April 2017, about 72 hours before the Public Accounts Committee sitting commenced on 26th April 2017. It also came to light that the auctioneer paid proceeds to the GHS within the stipulated 10-day period in accordance with the Auction Sales Act. The Director of Finance informed the Committee that the GHS has autonomous finance departments in all the regions and was not aware about the delay in the payments into the NTRA, until she saw it in the Audit Report. Non-Payment of Proceeds of Auctioned vehicles by Shelta Mart The Committee observed that the auctioneer, Mr Felix Aduadjoe of Shelta Mart, did not account for proceeds from sale of vehicles and demanded to know what measures were put in place by GHS to retrieve the moneys? Again, the Committee noted that Shelta Mart has been indicted by the previous PAC for same reasons of non-accountability after an audit review, and questioned why GHS contracted him again? The Director-General informed the Committee that GHS does not have any standing agreement with Shelta Mart or any other auctioneer. He explained that the auctioneers are appointed by the Office of the Chief of Staff. The Committee was informed that the GHS had sent three formal communi- cations to the auctioneer to remind him of his indebtedness to GHS on the following dates: 19th March, 2014 and 15th April 2014. All efforts by the GHS to get Shelter Mart to pay have proved futile. The GHS has therefore reported the matter to the Police, as it is now beyond their control. The Director General informed the Committee that upon receipt of a letter summoning GHS to appear before the Committee, the transport division contacted the Police to get the Auctioneer to appear before the Committee, but was told the auctioneer, Shelta Mart, was sick and was receiving treatment at a herbal treatment centre in his village. SPACE FOR TABLE 1, PAGE 18, 1.30 PM Technical Assessment Team The Committee observed that the head of transport constituted the technical committee instead of the Director General as the head of the entity as required by the law. The Committee was therefore of the view that there was lack of adequate checks and balances within the GHS. The GHS explained that it had been the practice to set up a technical team to perform a technical assessment in the various regions and submit a request to the Director General. The Director General then directs the transport unit to set up a technical team to review the submissions from the regions and send their recommendations back to the Director General. The GHS stated that the situation has been rectified to reflect the requirements of the law when their attention was drawn to it by the Auditor-General. Status of Auction of Vehicles in the Eastern Region The Committee noted that nine auctions were carried out in different regions during the period under review as indicated in Table 1 below: The Committee enquired why auctions in the Eastern Region had not been carried out since August 2014. The Director General informed the Committee that the Eastern Region's request for auction had not been granted by the Office of the Chief of Staff. He however further informed the Committee that approval for the disposal of the vehicles for the Eastern Region was later granted. Recommendations Ministry of Food and Agriculture Unprofessional Conduct of the Auctioneer Mr Alexander Adjei Considering the unprofessional conduct of the auctioneer, Mr Alexander Adjei in the process of the auction sale, the Committee recommends to the Ghana Auctioneers Registration Board to suspend his licence and re-examine his competence at the end of the suspension term before granting him licence to operate in Ghana. Furthermore, the Auditor-General should initiate the process to recover the undeserved commission he paid to himself in the process and if practicable, charge interest for the period he held the money and any other relevant money outside the stipulated time given by law. The Auditor General should evaluate the transport, accommodation and other incidental costs incurred by Mr Alexander Adjei in traveling around the country to conduct auction for the Ministry and submit same to the MoFA to be paid to Mr. Alexander Adjei for the expenses he incurred on behalf of the Ministry. The Committee recommends to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the GRA to ensure that Mr Alexander Adjei (Alex Mart) meets all his tax obligations under the transaction and file his tax returns accordingly and report to the Committee through the Auditor-General. Ghana Health Service Non-Payment of Proceeds of Auctioned vehicles by Shelter Mart The Committee recommends to the GHS to take steps, including legal action if necessary, to retrieve the sum of GH¢ 44,125 of auction proceeds under the custody of Mr Felix Aduadjoe of Shelter Mart. The Committee further recommends to the Auctioneers Registration Board to revoke the License of Shelter Mart and prevent him from practicing as an auctioneer in Ghana with immediate effect. Recommendation to Government Establishment of Independent Auction Valuation Board or Authority The Committee also wishes to recommend to Government to consider establishing an independent valuation

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi)

Speaker
Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP -- Fanteakwa South)

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Mr Chairman, in doing so, I would make a few observations. Mr Speaker, after going through the Report of the Auditor- General, one cannot help but notice that almost every law under the Auctioneers Act and the Public Procurement Act has been abused. Mr Speaker, there were situations where auction proceeds had not been paid at all into Government chest and delays of over three years in paying the proceeds into the Government chest had occurred, the vehicles had clearly been valued very low. We noticed situations where vehicles had been carried away while payment had not been effected. There were situations

Speaker
Mr Kofi Okyere-Agyekum (NPP -- Fanteakwa South)

Speaker
Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi (NDC -- Lower Manya Krobo)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion before us. Mr Speaker, I believe the Committee did some good job, but the recommendations -- Mr Speaker, after going through the Report -- As I listened to my Hon Colleague, he said some of the vehicles were shared among staff, and the auctioneer was just brought in to regularise it. In the Report, the staff of the Ministry accepted the fact that there were infractions; they made mistakes and they pleaded for leniency. The auctioneer also accepted that he made mistakes and pleaded for leniency. In their recommendation, they said the auctioneer should be sanctioned, but they have left out the staff of the Ministry. What about that? Are we being fair? If it is not right for the auctioneer to just come and regularise what the Ministry has allocated to themselves, then it is also not right to leave the Ministry out and sanction the auctioneer alone. So, Mr Speaker, I am very sure, although we do not have the details here, if we should go into details, the people who did not pay or the delays that arose in the payment, I am very sure that it would be as a result of the vehicles that were allocated to staff. I am sure that anybody who would come from outside to come and purchase any of these vehicles would come prepared. It is the staff who were allocated the vehicles even before the auctioneer came in to regularise it, who would be keeping their money without paying. Mr Speaker, I think we have some good findings in the Report, but I disagree with the recommendation. If they would want to punish the auctioneer, then they should punish both the auctioneer and also punish those at the Ministry, especially the Chief Director who pleaded for clemency for them. I believe both of them pleaded, therefore, if we want to punish, let us punish both of them. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr Alexander K. Kom Abban

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Alexander Kom Abban?

Speaker
Mr Alexander K. K. Abban (NPP -- Gomoa West)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to contribute to the debate. Mr Speaker, I would like to restrict my contribution to the recommendation made in paragraph 9.0 on the unprofessional conduct of Mr Alexander Adjei. I heard my Hon Colleague on the other side who just spoke before me. Mr Speaker, if we look at the conduct of Mr Alexander Adjei, there is a serious suspicion about his own proficiency in his area of work. He seemed to have no knowledge at all about the Auction Sales law, which, I believe, is his tool of practice. If we should share the blame, he professes to be the auctioneer, so we could proceed on the assumption that he knows the tool of his trade and the rules that govern it. If he is just motivated by the financial rewards that he would get,

Speaker
Mr Alexander K. K. Abban (NPP -- Gomoa West)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, guide me. There are two groups; the auctioneer, who is a private person; and the Ministry's Chief Director, who is the person paid to protect the public purse? What did they say about the fees that was paid to the auctioneer? Did your Committee veer into that?

Speaker
Mr Abban

Sorry, Mr Speaker?

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Did the Committee investigate why the Ministry's Chief Director or the head of procurement agree that the person should take far more than he was entitled to under the law?

Speaker
Mr Abban

Mr Speaker, we did, but it appears that both the people from the Ministry and the auctioneer were at fault. They did not know the law. Mr Speaker, I think that since the auctioneer is the one who professes to know the law on that and he has been licensed as such, the blame should be on him rather than the Ministry because he was required to know. As to how it was done, he felt that he was only to regularise somebody's misdeeds. So he said, ‘‘let me just go; after all, once I tell them that I am entitled to seven per cent, they would just take it''.

Speaker
Mr Abban

Speaker
Some Hon Members

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Member for Wa Central?

Speaker
Dr Abdul-Rashid H. Pelpuo (NDC -- Wa Central)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also rise to contribute to the Motion on the floor regarding the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the performance of Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Disposal of Government vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service. Mr Speaker, I have often felt very bad that there is a lot of pretence on how we respond to situations like this. This is not the first time I have seen that auction was not done the proper way and auctioneers have faulted the law. It had always been the case. Mr Speaker, I have seen situations where an auctioneer would go to the point of auction, and only one vehicle is auctioned out of a hundred of them. I had a situation where I called the auctioneer to complain on why I bought an auctioned vehicle and I was told that it had been sold already, and when we went to the spot, nothing was auctioned. Mr Speaker, I was told that I should have called the auctioneer earlier, so that he would have arranged for the vehicle for me. It is all over in the country; that is how these things are done. The wrong has become the norm. So, this is a clear example; it is a tip of the iceberg of many things that happen around us --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, please hold one. Hon Members, having regard to the state of business, I direct that we sit outside the regular Sitting hours.

Speaker
Dr Pelpuo

Mr Speaker, that is just a tip of the iceberg of how vehicles are auctioned in this country. There is a deliberate interference by people in politics, influential people in society and significant individuals. That makes it impossible for the auctioneer to do his work well, and he enjoys it because he gets a lot of perks out of them. If such interferences do not come, he would go out of his way to request for them, so he could make some gain out of them. Mr Speaker, it is also in the Report that the procedures are often undermined. There is no transparency. Wrong procedures are followed and individuals who are not supposed to gain out of these acutions are the ones who sit at home and are allocated vehicles et cetera. Mr Speaker, I am very happy that this Report recommends that the auctioneer who circumvented all the processes and did everything he could to make sure the proper thing was not done is to be sanctioned, and his licence withdrawn. This would be exemplary, and it would form the basis upon which we tackle such issues. It would also vicariously influence other people who would possibly do the same thing. I think that the Report, to that extent, is very good. Mr Speaker, the present situation, as observed by the Auditor-General and the Committee, should apply across board. I am happy the Hon Minister of State in charge of Procurement is here. I think she should have been part of the resource people to tackle the issue. Once she was there, I would ask that you direct her to find out what the previous auctioneers had done, whether they followed the procedure and how auctions should be done, going into the future, so that we would be confident that what is contained in the Report is not just applicable to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service alone. Going forward, there must be an existing framework which is already part of the law, which should be followed by everybody. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, the Hon Member for Nsuta Kwaman Beposo would be the last contributor before I come to the Leaders of the House.

Speaker
Mr Kwame Asafu Adjei (NPP -- Nsuta Kwaman Beposo)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I would like us to have a look at the last paragraph on page 5 of the Committee's Report. It states, and I read: “The Committee further observed the inability of the Ministry to tell exactly the location of the vehicles at the time of the auction…” Mr Speaker, this is very challenging for the Ministry, because they have the Directorate for Agriculture Mechan- isation, which is responsible for monitoring the location of all vehicles within the Ministry. Mr Speaker, it is very amazing, for the Chief Director to come out that he cannot locate or find out where these vehicles were, and the Committee should not have taken this lightly.

Speaker
Mr E. K. Bedzrah

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you should please hold on. Yes, Hon available Leader?

Speaker
Mr E. K. Bedzrah

Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is speaking from the Minority side. That clearly shows that he has crossed carpets.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you are out of order. The Hon Member is speaking from his seat. Yes, Hon Member, you should continue.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, where is your seat? Your seat is the next one. Is that right? Hon Member, your seat is the one to your left. Is that right? Where you are sitting now, you have moved one step to your right. [Interruption.] --

Speaker
Mr K. A. Adjei

Mr Speaker, there is one Adjei here and there is another there, so at times, we swap. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, I am of the view that the Director for Agricultural Engineering should have been sanctioned before your Committee, to demonstrate why vehicles, which he is in charge of monitoring and evaluating, could not be found. Mr Speaker, besides that there is the need for the Ministry itself to allocate some of these unserviceable vehicles to the staff of the Ministry. There are many vehicles across the country, and unfortunately, majority of the staff within the Ministry do not have vehicles to do their monitoring activities -- to visit farms and so on. Mr Speaker, I have gone round and seen that most of these vehicles are serviceable. I do not know the criteria they used to inform your Committee that those vehicles were not serviceable. Mr Speaker, if we take a look at the Crop Services Directorate, there are so many vehicles there. If we go on to the Extension Services Directorate, there are many vehicles there, yet each year, Government, has to spend huge sums of money to buy new vehicles for the Ministry. Mr Speaker, there is the need for your Committee, when they are presenting their Report -- I do not know if they took the opportunity to visit the sites or the Directorates under the Ministry of Agriculture. The next time they do that, they should take a trip to have a look at those Directorates at the national level, and also at the district levels. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I appreciate the time given to me. Thank you very much.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Minority Leadership?

Speaker
Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah (NDC -- Ho West)

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the Motion. Mr Speaker, there are a few things that I have observed from your Committee's Report. The first one has to do with the breaches of our laws. This House has passed three different laws; the first one is the Public Procurement Act, which has been amended, but which has been breached. Mr Speaker, the second one has to do with Auction Sales Act, which has also been breached by the two parties, and then the Financial Administration Regulation, which has been passed by this House, which has also been breached. Mr Speaker, your Committee, in their recommendation, did not tell this House that when one breaches the law, the sanctions that have been prescribed by those laws should be applied. However, they came out to tell us that the parties who have breached the law should be sanctioned. I do not believe that is a good job. Whatever action that should be taken should be taken in accordance with our own laws, which have been breached, and which were passed by this House.

Speaker
Mr Speaker, as I read through this Report, the question I ask myself is

“how were the auctioneers procured?” Were they just taken from the streets to auction or did they go through any procurement process so that there would be value for money for the consultant called “the auctioneer”? If it was not done, then first and foremost, we must hold the Ghana Health Service accountable, as well as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Mr Speaker, if the consultants were not procured properly, then it means the foundation of this whole auction has a problem. The second thing I have also observed is the fact that in your Committee's Report, after they prescribed all the sanctions, they left out the Ministry and the various Departments and Agencies, and put all the blame, as my Hon Colleague said, on the auctioneers. There were two parties involved in this issue: the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as well as the Ghana Health Service, so these two parties must be involved and sanctioned as well. Mr Speaker, what should we do to these people so that these infractions on our laws -- we cannot continue to pass laws in this House, which would just be abused or people would decide to do things their own way. We cannot continue like that. What kind of country are we governing? If we really want to do the right thing, then this House must be respected. If a law is passed by this House, it must be respected. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Majority Leadership?

Speaker
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya)

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I rise to comment on the Report of the Auditor-General, as presented by the Public Accounts Committee, on the disposal of Government vehicles by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and Ghana Heallth Service (GHS). Mr Speaker, from the Report that has been presented by the Committee, we were told that there was a lack of transparency in the process of auctioning by the auctioneer. It is not in doubt that this very act by officials of these two State institutions violated the Auction Sales Act, 1989 (PNDC Law, 230). This law sets out categorically how auctions ought to be done when they are being done in public institutions. Mr Speaker, if people are found to be infringing or violating the law, then we would need to evoke the proper sanctions that ought to be evoked. Mr Speaker, the third law that I quoted indicates that if an institution of public nature intends to auction, first of all, it needs to be advertised in a widely read State newspaper. But we are told that, out of the 24 vehicles or items that were auctioned, only one was advertised. Mr Speaker, if you look at page 6 of the Committee's Report, it says that there was only one in the Volta Region that was published on the 3rd and 4th July, 2013.

Speaker
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Leader, even that, the day of the publication was just the day before the auction.

Speaker
Ms Safo

Mr Speaker, that is so, which is also not the best practice in auctioning. Mr Speaker, many civil society organisations, as well as legal practitioners have raised the issue about the findings of the Auditor-General and the work of the Public Accounts Committee -- whether that invocation of the constitutional provision to surcharge some of these wrongdoers is being done or that indeed, it is just a public talk. We do the Report and at the end of the day, it sits in our records. Mr Speaker, thankfully, that is the reason this House has passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill into law. Mr Speaker, I remember in the scope and the functions or objectives of the law, some of the things that the Special Prosecutor would prosecute are offences that are related to some of these practices which are conceived to be corrupt. Mr Speaker, again, in the Report, we are told that the Public Procurement Act - - this is not the first time -- Mr Speaker, if you look at the Auditor-General's Report over the years, about 80 per cent of the findings of the Auditor-General are procurement breaches or malpractices. Mr Speaker, that is why I believe in the best wisdom of the Government, in drafting the Office of the Special Prosecutor law, made it one of the offences or scopes within which the Special Prosecutor would operate. It has stated specifically that offences that are created under the Public Procurement Act -- Mr Speaker, if you look at section 93 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003, Act 663, as amended by Act 914, it spells out clearly. It has listed a number of actions that when you do as a public office, in the area of public procurement, would be considered as an offence under the law. Mr Speaker, if one does not follow the right procurement procedure, if contracts are given without the right transparency that is expected, these offences are spelt out. It is a long list. Mr Speaker, I believe the question that has been asked by many of my Hon Colleagues, including the Hon Member who just spoke, Hon Bedzrah is that, what are we doing? What is the way forward? Mr Speaker, I would borrow a popular adage that goes agya ebaw o, agya ebaw o, agya anya abeduru. To wit ‘‘our daddy, is coming, our daddy is coming, now our daddy has arrived''. Mr Speaker, we now have the Office of the Special Prosecutor Law and it has stated specifically that some of the offences that would be prosecuted by this independent Special Prosecutor would be offences that are created under the Public Procurement Act, and also offences that are conceived to be corrupt practices. Mr Speaker, it is only an improvement in our democratic dispensation and oversight function as well as our commitment to fighting corruption in this country. This is because this thing had been in the Auditor-General's Report for so many years, and we have been lambasted by many out there, that after the Public Account Committee Report, then what happens? Today, we know what happens. Some of these offences qualify within the scope and ambit of the Special Prosecutor's function and we believe that when he is properly brought before this House, we would decide whether we would support the nomination by His Excellency the President or not. I believe that we need that drastic step and measure to fight corruption and procurement offences qualify same under such malpractices. Mr Speaker, on this note, I would want to thank you for the opportunity and urge the House to adopt the Report.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, I have an issue with -- The Report certainly appears to be short in its recommendations. We have all observed that there are no recommenda- tions about what to do with the public officials who either participated or superintended the breaches, and the House appears not to be happy. If you do not agree with me, you can say so. We think that the public officials in those Ministries should also be cited for sanctioning. I have noted some of the things that have been observed by the Committee but I do not understand them. For example, they said, “it is a breach of financial discipline”. There is no law called “financial discipline”. If it is a breach of the Public Financial Administration Regulation, we should say so. However, after we have observed that they have breached the rules, we do not make any recommendations. Are we entitled as a House, in debating this Committee's Report, to ask them to go back or amend the Report ourselves and recommend that the specific public officials be identified and sanctioned? I would seek your guidance in this matter.

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I agree with you that there are too many infractions that have been committed by various people -- the auctioneer, and indeed, some public servants. Mr Speaker, I noticed that the auctioneer himself abused the processes of auctioning. It is strange to observe, as the Committee has indicated to us, that there was just one advertisement out of 24 auctions and then, even that one, he had just two advertisements - one on 3rd July, 2013 and one on 4th July, 2013. Then the auction was done on 4th July, 2013, the very day of the second publication. That certainly is incongruous. Mr Speaker, on the 23 other auctions, we are told there were reserved prices and out of the 23, only one auction had prices higher than the reserved price itself. Mr Speaker, the Committee informed us about the professional incompetence of the auctioneer, as he himself appeared ignorant of the laws regulating his own profession. We have an auctioneer who admits that he decided to personally deduct seven (7) per cent commission from the total proceeds on his own accord. He then paid the balance into a non-tax revenue account of the Bank of Ghana. Mr Speaker, meanwhile, we have been informed by the Committee that beginning from the date he took the money, he had not met his withholding tax obligations. These are very serious matters. He has

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, on this matter, I want to hear the Minority Leadership, that the Question should not be put on the Report but it should be sent back to the Committee to properly advise the House. Hon Available Leader?

Speaker
Mr Ibrahim

Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Majority Leader raised two issues, one of which is that the Report goes back like you said, or we comply with article 187 (6) which calls for the establishment of the public interest committee to look into the matter. If the Report should go and comes back, would it come for us to debate it again? If so, what action would be taken, because it is plenary? Or are we to comply with what article 187 (6) says on the constitutional formation of the Public interest committee? This is because this might not be the only Auditor-General's Report that we would deal with. When we read the provision very well, it is interesting at the stage where the Report of the Auditor- General has been debated. The debate takes place in plenary. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has submitted its Report and it has been debated. After the debate, what next? I believe that is where the Constitution is important. The Hon Deputy Majority Leader talked about the Special Prosecutor. There are so many options, but on this particular one, the Constitution has been very emphatic. Are we to form the public interest committee, and which is it, so that going forward, when issues like these come up, they could be referred to that Committee. This is because, when I consulted the Members of the Committee, they said there were other recommendations that I believe are not in the Report. So clearly, it put me in a fix as whether we should form the Committee or not. If we do, I think that the public interest committee might go further. Is it going to implement the Report? What specific recommendations would they make? What would we want to achieve at the end of it all? I would stand by the position of article 187 (6), just as the Hon Majority Leader said. This is because that is what the Constitution calls for.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, I think we have not renched there yet. It is when we are satisfied with the Report that if we decide to take the line suggested by article 187 (6), then it is every Auditor-General's Report. However, we are dealing with a specific one; we think its recommendations are not adequate. So, I would rather direct that the Report goes back with specific instructions, and that is what I am going to do now. Hon Members, I direct that the Committee goes back, sift out the specific public officials who have caused an infraction of any law and recommend that the appropriate sanctions be applied to those public officials in accordance with the law. Secondly, the auctioneer, in addition to the sanctions recommended, we should look at the law he has breached and the appropriate sanctions be applied. I so direct.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, not to derogate from what you have said, I think it is important I clear the issues that I have raised. As you clarified, I said that when we wanted to do this some time back, it was pointed out to us that if we established the committee, it would deal with all reports that come before us. That was why I said that it should not be on the spur of the moment decision to constitute an ad hoc committee to deal with just one particular matter. Mr Speaker, Hon Samuel George provided some further information to me. I told him that unfortunately, because what he told me is not captured in the Report, if we should adopt the Report, it would not include those observations and recommendation from the Committee. This is because, if we adopt the Report, we adopt its contents minus what he told me. That is why it is important not to, in any way cast doubt on the competence of the people populating the Committee. I know they can do the right thing and that was why I said that it is better that it comes. So, they should sift through these recommendations and let them come to us. Then the House would be positioned to do what is right by chronicling what is intended to be done. That is how it should be done.

Speaker
Mr Quashigah

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Committee, we would want to express our profound thanks to Hon

Speaker
Mr Quashigah

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member for Keta, all these matters have been canvassed but we believe that it is not sufficient. Some breaches of the law have occurred and recommendations must be made in respect of them. Some public officials were negligent or non-compliant of the law -- some recommendations in respect of those, that is why I have directed that the Report should go back to the Committee. The Committee should do all that is outstanding and report back. I would not put the Question on the Report. The decision on the Report would be deferred. I would want to direct that the Report should go back to the Committee for them to add other recommendations that they believe are amenable from the Report. The Report made observations, but conclu- sions are not sufficient. So, I direct that, the Committee should take the Report back and make the appropriate recommen- dation. Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to take Motion listed as item numbered 7 on the Order Paper?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, no. We agreed with the Committee, that that one would be done tomorrow or possibly, next week.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, in that regard, I am ready to adjourn the House, unless there is any other matter.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the announcement to Hon Colleagues is that we have been informed by the military establishment that some function would be performed tomorrow which would disturb the House after 12.00 noon. Mr Speaker, that would mean that we would have to Sit earlier than the regular time -- possibly, to Sit at 9.00 a.m. so that by 12.00 noon, we would have adjourned proceedings. Mr Speaker, that is the announcement I would want to make. Thank you very much.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, on that note the House is adjourned.

ADJOURNMENT

The House was adjourned at 2.34 p.m. till Friday, 26th January, 2018, at 9.00 a.m.