VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, correction of Votes and Proceedings dated Friday, 2nd March, 2018.
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 2nd March, 2018.]
[No corrections were made to the Official Report editions of Thursday, 15th February, 2018 and Friday, 16 th February, 2018.]
Hon Members, item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Urgent Question to the Hon Minister for Works and Housing, who may please take the chair and it stands in the name of the Hon Member for Adaklu.
MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING
Mr Speaker, the city of Accra is a low-lying land exposed below sea level. The city experienced its major rain-induced flooding, post- independence, in 1959, which brought the city to a standstill. Normal life was seriously disrupted and vehicular movement was negatively affected. Indeed, Ghana ranks high among African countries most exposed to risks from multiple weather-related hazards. In the last 20 years, Ghana had suffered seven (7) major floods; most prominently were the ones that occurred in 1991, and more recently those of 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2015. Flooding in the north has had a large spatial coverage while that in the south has been limited to the cities and has resulted largely from land use changes. A further concern is that Ghana's rainfall varies on decadal time scales. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ghana experienced three serious droughts. Since then, flooding has become a severe problem while drought has receded. The country, until most recently, has relied heavily on reactive measures, which often focus on recovery instead of
(i) updating the hydro and urban, geographical mapping and conduct of hydro-geological studies on a basin-by-basin basis and this is capital intensive (ii) assessment of the cost of removing obstructions and comparison with other options, that is, creating diversions for water movements; (iii) identification of sources of finance for mitigation measures; (iv) awareness creation in order to get support from the general public, that is our bad sanitation habits, people who would tip faeces into drain the rest of it; (v) demolition and removal of buildings and structures on water ways; (vi) dredging and desilting of hot spots, that is, deepening and widening of channels and retention basins and ponds; (vii) building the capacity of Regional Spatial Planning Committees, District Spatial Planning Committees and Technical Sub- Committees for effective enforcement of regulations, (viii) routine maintenance of functional drains to undertake remedial works on some existing culverts to maintain their stability, that is reconstruction of wing-walls, toes and aprons of culverts; (ix) reconstruction of culverts and bridges; and (x) establishing the Ghana Hydrological Authority. In the 2018 financial year, an amount of GH¢5,500,000.00 has been approved to undertake these short term measures. This is as a direct result of how the national envelope is challenged. Mr Speaker, in this regard, dredging or desilting works have commenced on the following drains: (i) South Kaneshie drain, (ii) Awudome Cemetery area drains including the Ring road West roadside drains, (iii) Adabraka-Odawnaa Drains, and (iv) Asylum down main stormwater drain. Similarly, construction works have also commenced on the following drains: (i) South Odorkor drains from First Light to the main underground storm water drain under the Kaneshie-Obetsebi Lamptey Circle road, (ii) Baale drain outfall at Mallam, (iii) Adabraka Odawna drain to outfall into the Odaw drain, (iv) Culvert at Agbogba, and (v) Gbawe Electricity sub- station area drain. Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Works and Housing is currently finalizing the procurement process for some additional works to be undertaken on other critical drains within the city, that is, Santa Maria, Sowutuom, Madina Maye Hot, Roman Ridge, Hatso-Papao, West Legon Pipe, Madina Ritz Area, Gbawe-Lafa, Ashiyie Culvert, Dormi Market, North Legon and Lapaz. Medium-term measures include: (i) dredging and desilting of drains and the flood retention basin/ ponds and removal of all obstructions; (ii) construction of new drains and sea defense structures; (iii) reconstruction of poorly functioning drains; (iv) revision of existing land use and Spatial Plans, (v) revision of the Guidelines, Manuals and Planning Standards; (vi) preparation of a Structure Plan for GAMA; (vii) support the passage of the Legislative Instrument on the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016, Act 925 to enhance enforcement; (viii) support the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the recruitment of Planning Inspectors to monitor and ensure that development on the ground conforms to the plans; (ix) support the establishment of Inter-Jurisdictional Coordination of Drainage Management; (xii) to create awareness to sensitize and educate the public; and (xiii) undertake some minimal resettlement and community upgrading.
(i) enforcement of planning and land- use control regulations, (ii) enforcement of buffer zones and (iii) extension and full implementation of land use and drainage master- plans. In arriving at the total cost to mitigate the impact of flooding in Accra, there is the need for a feasibility study. Currently, one feasibility study is ongoing covering
Hon Minister, thank you. Any follow-up question from the Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, yes. Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister's response talks about a long list of challenges which we often hear about. But my first question is whether the Hon Minister mentioned anything new which he did not meet at the Ministry; I am talking about the plans that if we had resources, we would have addressed these things. I would want to know if he said anything new than what we already know about the reasons Accra gets flooded.
Mr Speaker, what is new is bringing in world class, top-notch engineering so that we would have underground drainage. We would never have open gutters in some of the sensitive areas. So that when we have filth, it would go underground. Mr Speaker, if you travel to some countries, you would not see sewage and filth with your eyes; it is an underground arrangement. What we have done is that, all the engineers would come together from wherever with their best plans then, under a competitive bidding, we would choose somebody who would give us a world class underground sewage system in the Odaw area and the rest of it. And for the first time in the life of this country, we would not have the kind of misery we have suffered because of rain- induced flooding. Mr Speaker, so it is an engineering challenge and we are working on it. It is not just by the snap of the finger to get the world class competitive engineers to fix this. Countries like Amsterdam, Israel and Brazil are helping us do that. So when engineering and all the issues are put together, we would probably come to this House for approval so that, the best person who can fix this problem would do it. It would cost us huge sums of money, but we need to solve it once and for all. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I did not have anything new from what the Hon Minister said, but that is his answer. In any case, he did not talk about any underground drainage -- I had been a friend of the Committee for so long and this issue of underground drainage had often come up. Mr Speaker, the question I asked was for the Hon Minister to tell us what he is doing because the rains are imminent. In the Hon Minister's Answer, he said that he had been given a paltry some of GH¢5,500,000.00 to do this. Is the Hon Minister telling the people of Accra and Ghana that he does not have a solution to the problem? This is because, indeed when the rains set in, the floods will come? My second question is, should we expect Accra to be flooded since he has already said it that GH¢5,500,000.00 would not solve it?
Mr Speaker, we should not expect Accra to flood provided the quick- fixes are followed always. What are the quick-fixes? It is simple; they have given us money for people to de-silt. So desilting is ongoing and they are dredging the Odaw River. When we take out the filth, there we would have an easy flow, then we would not have this kind of spill over which is always disastrous. This is the immediate solution which is palliative. But I think for Ghana to have a permanent solution, we should visit places where we would not see filth floating in drains. We would not smell odour and see sewage. Everything would be underground. It would cost this country huge sums of money, but we better start to have a permanent fix than to have this perennial challenge of getting moneys from the Ministry to do de-silting and bad habits that would bring back the filth into the drains. That would never end. So, I am talking about a permanent fix, but in the interim, we are working so that when we de-silt, which simply means that, when we clear the drains, we would have a free flow and there would not be spill overs for us to experience what we went through the last time.
Mr Speaker, thank you for my last question. The Hon Minister provided some useful answers including phasing the work in short-term, medium- term and long-term. Sadly, the enforcement part came in the long- term. May I ask the Hon Minister if we do not have existing laws which if we properly enforce today, could address part of this problem? I ask this because, he put them in phase three which is the long-term. Could we not bring enforcement to phase one to address part of the problem?
Mr Speaker, the laws exist. It is all about the enforcement. I do not want to veer into the remit of the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and that is why I talk about collaboration. We know that at the local level, we would have to enforce laws. People who believe that the gutters are an extension of their house and that, when they have lots of filths piled up and all their unwanted materials, they tip them into the drains and the channels get blocked. Where is our sense of the Town Council Guards (Town Guards) system that we used to know? So, Mr Speaker, with due respect, the Hon Member would spare me the trouble of saying things that the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development should say, so that, we enforce it freely for people to be punished when they do not respect laws of hygiene and sanitation. So, Mr Speaker, it is ongoing, but we need to enforce it rigorously and that would bring about attitudinal change.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would yield to the Ranking Member for the Committee of Works and Housing, Hon Sampson Ahi.
Mr Speaker, in the Minister's Answer, he said that successive Governments have employed ad hoc measures in addressing problems of flooding in Accra. I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether with the steps he has taken so far, he could give assurance to the people living in Accra that, this year, they would be free from flooding during the rains?
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague who used to be a Deputy Minister in that powerful Ministry wants me to play God and I decline to do that. I do not know the extent of the rains coming but I can only assure him that, what is humanly possible, which is a de-silting process to give us an interim solution would be done. But it would be very difficult to assure this august House that Ghana could contain the flooding when we do not even know the extent and level of the rains. If he cares to know, I believe in some of the American States, with all their underground powers of drainage, when the rains were very intensive, there were spill overs. So, Mr Speaker, I would not want to play God, but I can assure you that the Ministry would not go to bed. We would do what is needful and leave the rest to the elements. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Hon Minister, for attending to the House and answering our Questions. You are discharged. Question listed 3 (b) which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Amenfi West and directed to the Hon Minister for Agriculture?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, as you rightly said, the Question is intended to be asked of the Hon Minister for Agriculture who has indicated to my good self that he is in an urgent meeting at the Presidency, but has sent his Deputy to answer the said Question on his behalf. So, Mr Speaker, I am asking leave of you and the indulgence of the Minority that we engage the Hon Deputy Minister and Agriculture to answer the Question.
Mr Speaker, this is the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana and for best practice even at the Westminster, Hon Ministers are to account to the representatives of the people and the use of Questions is an oversight instrument. May the Hon Deputy Majority Leader provide better particulars of the whereabouts of the Hon Minister? We have no difficulty with our Hon Colleague and Deputy Minister answering the Question, but they must give us good justification why they are not able to appear before this august House. Before the Hon Deputy Majority Leader asks for the application, where is the Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, before I made my application to ask leave of you for the Hon Deputy Minister to answer the said Question, I said categorically that the Hon Minister for Agriculture is currently in a meeting at the Presidency. Having the respect and due reverence for this House, he did not just absent himself but sent his able Deputy Minister for Agriculture. I believe the Hon Minority Leader knows that the Hon Deputy Minister is also capable. On that note, I would ask leave of you to accept my application for the Deputy Minister to answer the Urgent Question which stands in the name of the Minister for Agriculture.
Thank you, except that the hours of Sitting of Parliament are well known to all relevant authorities. Hon Minister, parliamentary hours are known and the other day the Hon Minority Chief Whip made an important point as to asking Questions at the appropriate time because people are entitled to come in and listen to Answers to their Questions, which I ruled in favour of. Therefore, kindly let the Executive to be duly advised that appointments and meetings should be arranged mindful of parliamentary timetable. That is the way to cooperate so that every wing would operate efficaciously. Hon Deputy Majority Leader, please, let this be conveyed accordingly. Hon Deputy Minister?
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Amenfi West, you may ask your Question.
Mr Speaker, I rise to seek your permission to ask the Question on behalf of my Hon Colleague.
The Hon Member who asked the Urgent Question is conspicuously absent. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague is on his way from the constituency after attending the 6th March ceremony.
Please, ask the Question.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister, who said that, that stretch of road has been suspended for technical people to assess the extent of technical audit, when the technical audit would be completed?
Mr Speaker, the final Report of this technical audit is at the concluding stage. I assure the Hon Member that very soon, the Report would be ready and the contractor would be asked to go back to site to continue with the work.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister said that the road was awarded in May, 2016 and was expected to be completed in the year 2019. In view of the suspension, would he agree with me that the contractual date to end the contract cannot be met and that it should be varied?
Mr Speaker, if there is the need for such a review to be done, I can assure the Hon Member that the technical people will advise us and we will take steps to ensure that we work within the time frame to complete the project.
Hon Member, your last question?
Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Minister said that the LBCs in that area have put some measures in place and therefore, evacuation of cocoa from the communities to the depots will not be affected. Could he tell us some of the specific steps taken by the LBCs to ensure that the cocoa is evacuated from the communities to the depots?
Mr Speaker, in response to the Hon Member's question, I did not know that he would want such follow-up questions in terms of details as to what specific measures we have put in place, but I can make it available to the Hon Member to also have full details as to the specific measures. He asked for specific measures, which are not contained in the Answers but I can make it available to the House.
Thank you very much. Now, I would have thought that this relates specifically to Samreboi depot. Hon Member, you may ask one question.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your indulgence. Mr Speaker, the Question actually is how the licensed cocoa buying company would transport or convey cocoa from the buying centres to the depot in Samreboi? The answers he provided all relate to how the roads will be constructed, but the cocoa are not up there. I would want to know from the Hon Minister how he would get the cocoa that is locked up at the buying centres to the depots? That is the question. If it were about the roads, it would have been referred to the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, but it is about cocoa.
Mr Speaker, I earlier on stated that cocoa tonnage of 22,685 is expected to be evacuated from that area. As we speak, 20,924 tonnes have been evacuated from the various communities to the Samreboi Depot. So it tells you that something has been done. The target that COCOBOD wants to get in terms of tonnage, they have been able to evacuate. I do not think that there is a real issue to be addressed.
Question *283 in the name of the Hon Member of Parliament for Garu to the same Hon Minister. Hon Member for Garu? [Pause] --
Mr Speaker, may I seek your leave to ask the Question on behalf of the Hon Member?
Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, earlier, issues were raised about the appearance and preparedness of Hon Ministers to appear before your good Hon Self to answer Questions, on which the Leadership of the Majority side of the House has taken your advice in good faith. Mr Speaker, we also expect that the Hon Minority Leader would ensure that Hon Members on his side who have filed Questions would also be in the Chamber to ask the Questions. It takes two to tango. So, if we do not bring the Hon Ministers and he also does not bring his Hon Members, then we make Mr Speaker's work very difficult. Mr Speaker, we have taken a decision that we would ensure, so we need the same assurance from the Hon Minority Leader that Hon Members who file Questions would be in the Chamber to ask same. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, be assured that Hon Members would live up to the calling. We note that yesterday was 6th March, and it was a day to mark the anniversary of the independence of Ghana. Many Hon Members chose to go to their constituencies to do so. Mr Speaker, it was the 61st Anniversary celebration that your goodself together with His Excellency the President and President Buhari were honoured. So, many Hon Members chose to visit their constituencies, and they have not been able to return because of the distance. Mr Speaker, but I have noted the concern of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, and I expected that she would be guided by your ruling. Mr Speaker, we
Hon Minority Leader, since you have brought in 6th March anniversary, then all Hon Ministers were equally involved in the celebration. [Laughter.] Reciprocity is the soul of business; every business relationship must have the quid pro quo. What is more, which actually strengthens the point of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader is that, I looked to my left and right to see if anyone had been duly authorised to ask the Question on behalf of the Hon Member. It took quite some time, with all manner of consultations, before I noticed a duly authorised Hon Member. So, Hon Members should endeavour to be present to ask their Questions. Hon Member, you may ask the Question.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
Hon Minister, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, that would be all for me. I would yield to the Hon Minority Leader.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I have followed the Answer by the Hon Deputy Minister. I was the able Hon Minister for the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2014 who initiated this support for the development of the irrigation facilities covering Tamne in the Upper East Region, Amate in the Eastern Region and Mpoame in the Central Region. Mr Speaker, I am disappointed that not much progress has been made; but in the Hon Deputy Minister 's Answer, he indicated under Phase II that: “It is worth mentioning that there is a budgetary allocation in the 2018 ABFA budget to commence the construction of Tamne Phase II.” Mr Speaker, I have the Budget Statement for 2018, and page 183 is the allocation from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA); it is zero under irrigation infrastructure. When Hon Ministers appear before Parliament, as a code of conduct in Westminster, they are expected to be accurate and sincere in their Answers. Mr Speaker, may the Hon Deputy Minister provide further elucidation on the provision in the Budget Statement for irrigation development Phase II as he claims in his Answer on page 22.
Hon Deputy Minister?
Hon Member, do you rise on a point of order?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Minority Leader rather should give us more information. To just take the Budget Statement and point to a page and suggest that there was no allocation for irrigation development is untrue. The allocations are made to Ministries. So, how could he dig down to say there was no allocation made for irrigation development? That is untrue, and he cannot pose that on the Hon Deputy Minister. It is most unfair. Allocations are made to Ministries, unless he is able to prove to us that the allocations made to the Ministry of Agriculture has nothing for irrigation, he cannot ask him to answer this question.
Hon Minister, are you in the position to answer the question?
Mr Speaker, a chunk of the budget was allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture. As part of the plan of its activities, some of the money would be used to start the Phase II. So, if the Hon Minority Leader would want details, I could get the breakdown from the Ministry for him on a later date. If he allows me, I would do that. Mr Iddrisu -- rose --
Thank you very much. The Answer has been clearly given as I see it. If any Hon Member wants further details including specific ones, that person may ask specifically and the Hon Minister would come and give accordingly. I have ruled on this matter. Hon Minister, we thank you very much for attending to the House and answering our Questions. Hon Members, order! Hon Minister, you may make your Statement.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to make a Statement on the alleged sale of African migrants in Libya. In October 2017, there were media reports about an alleged sale of African migrants as slaves in Tripoli and other parts of Libya. The reports were supported by a video footage that had been obtained by the American Cable News Network (CNN). In the said video recording, a male voice, which was identified as that of an auctioneer, was heard shouting out the price tags for the migrants who had been put on sale. Consequent to the report, I convened a meeting with other partner Ministries and Agencies on 5th December, 2017, to discuss the Government's intervention policies to protect Ghanaians in Libya. Present at the meeting were the Minister for the Interior, Hon Ambrose Dery; the Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon Bright Wireko Brobbey; the Comptroller- General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi; and the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Amb. Albert F. Yankey. The meeting decided that a fact-finding team be sent to Libya to ascertain the facts on the ground and to establish the extent of the involvement of Ghanaians in the
Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for this well-considered Statement made to the House. Hon Members, any contributions and comments? [Pause.] I take it that Hon Members are —
Markin — rose
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, under normal circumstances, after a Statement like this, my very respected Hon Ranking Member for Foreign Affairs would rise on his feet. [Interruption.]
Hon Member, if you have a contribution, please, make it. These jabs are part of the problems in this House. So, let us just make contributions without them. Do you have any contribution to make?
Mr Speaker, it is so.
Mr Speaker, from what the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has just told us, my first position is that it is important for her and her Hon Colleagues to make a strong statement at the African Union (AU) level. The African Union must rise to the occasion in ensuring a functional Government in Libya. We need a Government with effective internal security to address some of these things in Tripoli. That is the first and foremost step we, as Africans, must take. So far, it appears that just as the AU was silent when the Libya political crisis began, it still watches unconcerned, and this is very troubling. Mr Speaker, secondly, I believe African nations are members of the United Nations. The UN, with its proactiveness in loudly condemning the political situation in Libya some eight years ago, should also be proactive and loud enough at this stage, so that some of these challenges would be well-addressed. Mr Speaker, coming home, I commend the Hon Minister for the steps she took in putting together a team to undertake this all-important fact finding. Of course, when we are fed with rumours, statements and speculations that we cannot verify, it becomes worrying and people take political advantage. So, it is good she took that step. Mr Speaker, the most important thing is that people take these perilous journeys because of the need to realise economic means. People do not feel comfortable where they live. Sometimes, people do not feel assured. I was worried when she said that about 16 of them come from the Central Region. Mr Speaker, we also know that our government is taking steps to roll out policies to address the concerns of our people. Mr Speaker, only yesterday, I heard in the news, perhaps, the news came a day before yesterday, that electricity tariffs have been slashed; 17 per cent for households, some 30 per cent for industries and 20 per cent for other sectors. These are major reliefs that I am sure, would help the private sector to make savings to employ more. Mr Speaker, we are aware of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy, which we have to embrace and ensure that Ghanaians — [Interruption.] Does he want to rise on a point of order? Mr Speaker, my Hon Friends are intimidating me. They have to be quiet and listen to me. Mr Speaker, we know that education is key for development. We should embrace the bold steps taken in initiating and implementing the Free SHS. This is because if our people are well-educated and they acquire skills, they would not lose hope. Mr Speaker, sometimes, we talk about unemployment and the impression is created that in all sectors, we do not have space. Mr Speaker, today, if we want the best tilers to tile our houses, we would not get many Ghanaians in that field. Many come from Togo,and real estate developers attest to it and I know many Hon Colleagues attest to that. With Plaster of Paris (P. O. P.), we would not get many Ghanaians in that sector. These are critical areas that we need to concentrate on and support the Government's drive in ensuring that people get training in such areas to fill the gap. Mr Speaker, I know my Hon Colleagues on the Minority side of the House are anxious to make their own views known in this House. I would end here and give them the opportunity to express their views on the Statement. Thank you.
Any contribution from Leadership? Minority Leadership? Majority Leadership?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would yield to the Hon Member for Offinso South and Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
Hon Member, you may.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. Mr Speaker, let me also thank the Hon Member who made this Statement for bringing to the attention of Parliament the insecurity situation in Libya. Mr Speaker, the Statement says that there are quite a number of Ghanaians in Libya who currently go through the tormenting situation that is currently unfolding in Libya. The Statement says that the Central Region had the highest number of people, 16, Brong Ahafo has 15, Western Region has 11, Ashanti Region has 9, the
Thank you very much. Hon Minister, do you intend to make any concluding remarks?
No, Mr Speaker. The Statement was meant to bring facts before this noble House, and I believe that it has done that, therefore, I would just like to thank you for the opportunity and my Hon Colleagues for obliging me. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Hon Minister. The second Statement relates to World Kidney Day, which is today, in the name of Hon Dr Okoe Boye.
WORLD KIDNEY DAY
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful to you, for giving me the opportunity to make this statement in celebration of “WORLD KIDNEY DAY”. The 8th of March, each year, is celebrated as World Kidney Day as a means of raising awareness about the important role our kidney play in the overall health of the human body and to bring attention to the conditions that are most popular for causing Kidney disease. Mr Speaker, the kidneys are bean- shaped organs about the size of a human fist that sit opposite each other on both the left and right side of the body. (that is each individual has a pair of kidneys). The kidneys perform the important role of processing waste and getting it out of the body in the form of urine. Any condition of the kidney that makes it unable to process and remove waste from the body is referred to as kidney disease or “Renal Failure”. Mr Speaker, there are many causes of kidney disease, but the three most important of public health concerns are: i. Hypertension; ii. Diabetes; and iii. Abuse of herbal preparations Mr Speaker, the theme for World Kidney Day 2018 is “YOUR KIDNEY HEALTH, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY”. The theme is most appropriate because the majority of kidney diseases in this country are caused by undiagnosed, untreated Hypertension as well as undiagnosed or untreated Diabetes. The result of not getting hypertension treated over a significant period is kidney damage and for that matter, kidney disease. Diabetes mellitus, has great potential to damage our kidneys when not treated and the potential is further enhanced when diabetes co-exists with hypertension in the same individual. The cost of managing both Hypertension and Diabetes is so cheap compared to the cost of managing kidney disease. Mortality rate (that is, Deaths due to disease) is high in kidney disease compared to Hypertension and Diabetes. Mr Speaker, it is against this background that on World Kidney Day we say firmly that, your kidney health is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to get your blood pressure checked and your blood sugar measured. When you do not get some of these medical screenings done, you jeopardise your kidney health and put your life at risk. I am happy to note that Mr Speaker, together with the leadership of Parliament, has given permission to the Ghana kidney Association to check the blood pressure and blood sugar of all Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff today, Wednesday, 7th March, 2018, between the hours of 8a.m. and 3p.m. at the Parliamentary Clinic in the Job 600 building. The medical team from the Ghana Kidney Association would also check for proteins in the urine, the single most important test required to diagnose kidney disease. Mr Speaker, only ten per cent of those with kidney diseases in Ghana know of their status, the rest, including most of us in this chamber, myself inclusive, do not know whether we have it or not since early stages of kidney disease come with no symptoms at all; I repeat the early symptoms of Kidney disease come with ZERO symptoms. That is why I commend Mr Speaker and the Leadership of Parliament for permitting all Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff to get screened for kidney disease and two of the most notorious causes of the condition. Some symptoms of kidney disease include dry and itchy skin, chronic fatigue (that is, feeling tired always), swelling of the feet always, et cetera.
Thank you very much, Hon Dr Okoe Boye.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by Hon Dr Okoe Boye on the occasion of World Kidney Day. Mr Speaker, it is instructive that we to know that kidney disease has causes. Indeed, many people that have kidney diseases -- even for all of us, who are supposed to be enlightened -- many times, we think kidney diseases or diseases that are rare are caused by something else other than the real causes. We make all sorts of attributions. We would hear people say that it was because somebody has taken him to juju or he stepped on something and so on. Mr Speaker, kidney diseases have causes and they have been enumerated. It is said that the disease is caused by hy- pertension, diabetes and the abuse of herbal preparations. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member clearly indicated to us that hypertension and dia- betes are silent. When somebody has hy- pertension or diabetes, he or she would probably not know that he or she has hypertension. The only way a person can find out that he has it is to regularly moni- tor his or her blood pressure. Mr Speaker, it costs, next to nothing to do that. It costs next to nothing to buy a blood pressure monitoring kit. If we are able to do that, I would want to believe that we would save ourselves from a very dreadful situation along the line. Again, one could always find out whether they have diabetes or not by get- ting a small kit which does not cost too much. Indeed, Mr Speaker, generally, anybody who is forty (40) years is prone to either diabetes, hypertension or both. It would be helpful for all of us to know this. Par- ticularly, with respect, I would like to speak to all of us as Hon Members of Parliament: it would be helpful that all of us buy blood pressure monitoring kits and blood sugar monitoring kits and do it once in a while. If we are able to do these, we would save ourselves from kidney disease. Mr Speaker, the other one, which we would need to do more about, is the abuse of herbal products. Even though there are rules and regulations, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is supposed to control the advertisements of all these herbal prod- ucts. It is a very difficult area. The FDA would tell us that they do not regulate the content and all of it. This makes people take undue advantage. Mr Speaker, you would hear on the airwaves about a cure for virtually every- thing now and all of these are herbal. I would want to place on record that most of the claims they make for these herbal preparations are not true. But it has be- come so rampant and it is almost getting out of hand. Another thing, lately, has been the advertising of alcoholic beverages under various guises. This bitters and that bit- ters. I would want to say again that the claims they make about all these things are far-fetched. It is known that, the com- position of these extracts creates a big problem for the kidney. Because this is a House of records, I am careful to give fig- ures. Mr Speaker, if we go back to the Department of Pathology at the medical schools to find out, probably half of the people who are dying from kidney diseases were on these so-called bitters and herbal medicines. Mr Speaker, as a House, we must begin to consider and do something about these unbridled advertisements that take place on our airwaves. Having said this, I think that if we are able to take care of the causes, then the effects would not be there. Mr Speaker, to conclude, I would want to emphasise again, that the real causes are known and all of us as a people must pay attention to the causes. It does not cost much to do these things. If we do them, we would save ourselves from the consequences of kidney diseases. I would want to congratulate Hon Dr Okoe Boye for making this very important Statement, and I would want to encourage all Hon Members here that when we leave the Chamber, we must all go and have our blood pressure and blood sugar levels checked. It would be a life saver.
Thank you, Hon Mem- ber.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would want to thank Hon Dr Okoe Boye for the very good Statement he has made on the floor this morning. I would want to send a special congratulatory mes- sage to a well-known Ghanaian, Oheneba and his programme on Oman FM, on which he has been highlighting on kidney dis- ease and its related causes. I do not want us to look at hyperten- sion and diabetes as the only causes of kidney disease. But from the repeated state- ments I have heard from him, it is also for us to know what causes hypertension and diabetes. This is because, he has lamented over the period about the things that make us get hypertension and diabetes, which lead to kidney failures. Just as the two Hon Members who spoke said, most of the illnesses we have among the youth these days; those close to 40 years, are all related to hypertension and diabetes. He talks about the food we eat and the water we drink, and to a greater extent, the high sugar content of some of the food we eat and the low fibre content in the food we eat. He also talked about exercise, and he reminded us that a lot of us carry a lot of unnecessary weight, which is some- times related to the fact that we eat very late in the night. At the end of the day, most of us arrive home around 9 p.m., and we would want to eat before we sleep. The foods we take in are not probably digested before we go to bed. So, Mr Speaker, I would want to appeal that just as the two Hon Members who spoke said, we would need to watch food we eat, the water we drink and our sugar intake on daily basis before we go to check our sugar and hypertension levels.
Yes, Leadership? Minor- ity Leadership? Majority Leadership? Thank you. That brings us to the end of State- ments time. At the Commencement of Public Busi- ness, item listed 6 -- Presentation of Pa- pers. Item numbered 6 (a) -- by the Hon Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your leave to present that Paper for and on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader/ Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who is currently out of the jurisdiction.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Item numbered 6 (b) -- by the Hon Minister for Finance. Item listed 6 (b) (i).
Mr Speaker, again, I would like to ask your leave to allow the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation to lay the Papers on behalf of the Hon Minis- ter for Finance.
Thank you. Hon Minis- ter? By the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation (Dr Anthony A. Osei) (on be half of the Minister for Finance) -- (i) Protocol between the Republic of Ghana and the Swiss Confedera- tion amending the Convention of 23rd July, 2008 between the Re- public of Ghana and the Swiss Confederation for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income, on Capital and on Capital Gains and its Pro- tocol. Referred to the Joint Committee on Finance and Foreign Affairs.
Item numbered 6 (b) (ii). By the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation (Dr Anthony A. Osei) (on be half of the Minister for Finance) -- (ii) Request for waiver of Import Du- ties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, and other approved imposts amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of sixty-six million, six hundred and eighty-one thou- sand, nine hundred and sixty- eight United States dollars (US$66,681,968.00) equivalent to GH¢295,114,387.96] on materials and equipment to be imported by the Ministry of Energy and Weldy/Lamont Associates Inc. of Illinois for the implementation of the Turnkey Rural Electrifica- tion Project in selected commu- nities under the National Electri- fication Scheme (NES) and the Self Help Electrification Pro- gramme (SHEP IV). Referred to the Finance Committee.
Item 6 (c) -- Chairman of the Committee? By the Chairman of the Committee -- Report of the Finance Committee on the Loan Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the African Development Fund for an amount not exceeding the equivalent of twenty-seven mil- lion, eight hundred and sixty-four thou- sand, seven hundred and fifty Units of Accounts (UA27,864,750) [equivalent to US$39.01 million] to finance the Sa- vannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP).
Item numbered 7 -- Mo- tion.
Mr Speaker, if we can defer this to tomorrow since we just laid the Paper and it is for distribution.
Item numbered 7?
Items numbered 7, 8 and 9. We can defer these to tomorrow so that Hon Members would have suffi- cient time to go through the Report.
We would take those items tomorrow. We would then move on to item listed 10.
Mr Speaker, we started with item numbered 11 on page 8 of the Order Paper last week; The Taxation (Use of Fis- cal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017, was started last week, so I would want to crave your indulgence; we could finish with that one before we move on to item numbered 10.
Hon Member, are you talk- ing about item numbered 11?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. It is on page 8 of the Order Paper -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017. It is at the Consideration Stage and I am informed --
Please, which page of the Order Paper?
Mr Speaker, page 8, and we are on clause 23.
Item numbered 11? Be- fore we go to item 10?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
Very well. Item numbered 11 -- Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017 at the Consideration Stage.
Which clause are we up to since we have clause 2 listed as “debate to continue”?
Mr Speaker, we debated clause 2. We have resolved the issues in clause 2. We can go ahead and put the Question on it. Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Chairman, would you please -- Clause 8 -- Defective or mal function- ing Fiscal Electric Device.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8, subclause (6), lines 3 to 5 --
Does that mean that the other clauses have been dealt with?
Yes, Mr Speaker. We had already put the Question on all. We got to clause 23. These were outstand- ing issues.
Very well, you may go with that.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8, subclasue (6), lines 3 to 5, delete “or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than four years, or to both”. Mr Speaker, clause 8 (6) as we have it now in the Bill was intended to impose a custodial sentence and we have resolved that, that custodial sentence be taken off.
Mr Speaker, I do not understand why that portion is being deleted. The Hon Minister is here, he should offer some explanation. This is because Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and other agencies of Government, if you default on some of their commitments and you are sent to court, you are either asked to pay a fine or you are sent to jail. So, I would want the Hon Minister to explain to us.
Mr Speaker, these are suppliers of a fiscal electronic device, and we are by what we have in the Bill, trying to impose a custodial sentence on the supplier, who would not have committed any offence if the device becomes defective and it is not replaced in time. Now, there is a fine of not less than five hundred penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units. And we think that should suffice.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, any comment?
Mr Speaker, I will come later.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the wisdom of this amendment must be seen together with the amendment under (iv). If you look at the original rendition in the Bill, clause
Mr Speaker, you can now put the Question on clause 8.
If you have gained a common ground, can you recite it?
Mr Speaker, we have gained a common ground.
Please, let us hear you.
Mr Speaker, these are business persons and again, they should rather pay the fine instead of committing them to custody.
So that the entire rendition would read?
So that clause 8, subclause (6) would now read: “A supplier who contravenes sub- section (2) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five hundred penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units.”
Thank you very much. Question put and amendment agreed to. I will put the Question on the entire clause 8 --
Hon Chairman, do you have any further amendment?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I seek your leave to move an amendment on clause 8, subclause (3), which is not advertised on the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, clause 8, subclause (3), earlier, we deleted “fiscal electronic device” in line 3 of clause 8, subclause (3) and we would want to restore that one, so that clause 8, subclause (3) would now read: “Where a fiscal electronic device becomes defective or malfunctional, the person for whom the device has been installed shall immediately ac- tivate a backup fiscal electronic de- vice.” Previously, we left it at “a backup” and it did not read out well. So, we would want to bring back the ‘fiscal electronic device' in clause 8, subclause (3). Question put and amendment agreed to.
Do you have any further amendment to clause 8?
Mr Speaker, no further amendment. You can now put the Question on clause 8. Question put and motion agreed to. Clause 8 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, we can go on to clause 13. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 13, subclause (2), lines 2 and 3, delete “one thousand” and insert “five hundred” and in lines 4 and 5, delete the following:
Any further amendment on the clause?
Mr Speaker, item numbered (iv) on page 9 of the Order Paper, there is a further amendment to clause 13.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 13, add the following new subclauses: “(3) Where the use of a Fiscal Electronic Device is truncated under subsection (1), the person to whom the Device is assigned shall (a) where the back-up Fiscal Electronic Device is unavailable, and (b) while awaiting the replacement of the truncated Fiscal Electronic Device, issue the Commissioner-General's invoice to a customer for each transaction engaged in until another Fiscal Electronic Device is assigned to that person. (4) A person who issues the Commissioner-General's invoice under subsection (3) shall, upon the replacement of the Fiscal Electronic Device, transfer the transactions for which the Com- missioner-General's invoice was issued, to the Fiscal Electronic Device. (5) The supplier shall replace the Fiscal Electronic Device within twenty-four hours after the Authority notifies the supplier of the truncation. (6) A person who contravenes subsection (3) or (4) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than two thousand and five hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five year or to both. (7) A supplier who contravenes subsection (5) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five hundred penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units.”
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. The rendition under clause 13 in the Bill seeks to provide for the communication of either the device being stolen or disabled. It involves the communication of that event to the authority and the police. It did not provide for what ought to be done in those circumstances and how it should be done or the timelines by which it should be done. So, what this amendment seeks to do, is to introduce those elements by providing twenty-four hours within which such a truncation of the use of the device being used is com- municated to the authority twenty- four hours within which a supplier is required as we have to replace had in previous provisions, these items. So, what the amendment seeks to do is to provide an arrangement and requirement for the replacement of the devices that are stolen or those that are disabled in one way or the other.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Hon Dr Akoto Osei before the Hon Chairman.
Thank you Mr Speaker. If that is the intent, then it would be consistent with the earlier amendments. In the new subclause (6), we want to delete part of imprisonment. The general trend is that we do not want to keep them in jail, but we want to fine them. But this one does that but the other one is truncated and we can give him time to replace it. If he does not, we want to put him in prison -- [Interruption.] -- subclause (6) is what I am talking about. The part of imprisonment should be deleted.
Mr Speaker, if you look carefully at subclauses (3) and (4), they refer to the replacement of a device where it is stolen, deactivated or disabled. That is critical to the objectives of this law. We do not want retailers to do business outside these devices. So, where the device is stolen, provisions are made to ensure that they
Hon Chairman of the Committee, you may make your final contribution.
Mr Speaker, I support the Hon Minister here. This is because if one fails to issue a receipt upon the device breaking down, I think that would be deliberate and for which the custodial sentence should be imposed. However, if you go to subclause 7, where a supplier contravenes subsection 5 and commits an offence, there, the custodial sentence is taken off. This is consistent with the two earlier ones we moved in clause 8 and also in clause 13 (2).
Mr Speaker, I am still on clause 13 (6), which Hon Akoto Osei raised. I realised that the minimum punishment here is 1,000 penalty units instead of the earlier rendition of 500 penalty units that we had already agreed. Could the Hon Chairman confirm that this is right? Again, on subclauses 3 and 4, the way the sentences are couched, it seems we are looking at it as a Strict Liability Offence here and especially when the Hon Minister said that the Hon Chairman supported him by saying that it could be deliberate the moment the person flouts this section. Are we saying that no matter the circumstance, once the person is not able to comply with the requirement, they must be punished? Now, we are looking at custodial sentence as well.
Hon Chairman, are we able to balance?
Mr Speaker, I think that we could take a look at the Hon Member for Asante Akim Central's concern in subclause 6 (b). However, in the case of subclauses 3 and 4, here, we are talking of truncating the use of the fiscal electronic device. You have an option thereafter, if the use of device is truncated to issue the Commissioner General's receipt and upon being given a new device you just have to transfer the information. So, if you fail to do this, it would be deliberate and there can be no way out. As for that, I think the custodian sentence must stay. In subclause 6, to be consistent with the earlier fines, it should be changed to 500 penalty units. Mr Speaker, I seek your leave in clause 13 (6), to delete 1000 in line 3 and insert 500.
Mr Speaker, I disagree with the Hon Chairman of the Committee. This is in the sense that if we are retaining the custodial sentence, then we must retain a stiffer punishment for the offender. That is my reason.
Mr Speaker, I think that I would withdraw the amendment I just made. This is because this would go with a custodial sentence like they said.
Do you mean the further amendment entirely?
The further amendment where I deleted 1000 and inserted 500, that amendment is hereby withdrawn.
Is that in part or in whole?
That further amendment is withdrawn in whole.
So, there is no further Question to be put?
Mr Speaker, yes. So the Question would now be put on clause 13 as contained in the Order Paper. Question put and Motion agreed to. Clause 13 as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, we have amendments advertised on clause 20 on page 10 of the Order Paper. I would abandon those clauses.
The draftspersons are hereby advised to put consistency in clause 13 as a whole.
Mr Speaker, in clause 20, we have two advertised amendments, items numbered 11 (v) and (vi) but I would want to abandon those two.
Clause 20 (v) and (vi) are abandoned. Therefore?
Therefore, clause 20 would remain as stated in the Bill. Question put and Motion agreed to. Clause 20 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Chairman, any further amendments?
Mr Speaker, we can move on to item numbered 11 (vii) on page 10, clause 23. We have already put the Question --
Clause 23? Yes?
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Table Office if the Question has already been put on clauses 21 and 22.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, there are no proposed amendments for clauses 21 and 22.
Mr Speaker, we did that earlier and I would want to confirm from the Table Office if the Question has been put on them.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, for the avoidance of doubt, clauses 21 and 22 should stand part of the Bill.
No, Mr Speaker, amendments were made to them.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, they have already been done. It has been shown and confirmed. Clause 23 -- Renewal of Licence.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Clause 23 — Line 2, delete “one month” and insert “three months”.
“A supplier who requires the licence to be renewed shall apply for the renewal, at least three months before the expiration of the licence.”
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 23 — Add the following new sub-clause: “(1) Despite section 22, a licence issued is renewable annually.” Mr Speaker, we discussed this at length the last time. One could get a licence for five years, but because these suppliers are to provide technical support should these machines break down, annually, they would have to go for a renewal of their licence so that the Ghana Revenue Authority can ensure that the right thing is done. The licence is renewable every year, even though it is issued for five years. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, do you have any further amendments to clause 23?
No, Mr Speaker, the Question can now be put on the entire clause 23. Question put and Motion agreed to. Clause 23 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 24 -- Revocation of licence.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 24, paragraph (a), line 2, after “sections” insert “8,” Mr Speaker, the subsections that have been referred to for which there could be a revocation of licences are 8, 20 and 21, but “8” was omitted and that is why we would want to insert it.
Mr Speaker, in addition to that, given the amendment we did in clause 13, we should insert not just “8”, but also “13”. Mr Speaker, the idea is to provide the opportunity for the Commissioner-General to consider revoking the licence of a supplier that commits an offence which in this law, we are seeking to remove custodial sentence from, and “13” falls into that category. Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest the amendment that in addition to inserting “8”, subsection “13” should also be inserted.
Hon Chairman, why is it that you are not able to, together with the able Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, reconcile these matters and give us a common front as is the practise in this House?
Mr Speaker, ideally, the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance should be seated next to me.
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, you could kindly move to the Hon Chairman of the Committee. This is not the right practice.
Mr Speaker, for some strange reasons, I have been asking him —
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, if you have any consultation you make it with the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, I —
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, could you kindly move to sit by the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, if you would permit me, I would want to take this opportunity to put it across that it would be helpful that my seat is moved permanently to the place beside the Hon Chairman of the Committee so that I would not have to be called Hon William Quaittoo whenever I get up to speak and appear on the screen.
Hon Deputy Minister for Finance, kindly make your point. Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your leave to further amend clause 24, paragraph (a), line 2, so that it would be; “8”, “13”.
“The Authority may, (a) revoke the licence of a supplier if that supplier fails to comply with any of the obligations specified in sections 8,13, 20 and 21.” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, any further amendments to the clause? Clause 24 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clauses 25 and 26 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 27 — Communication service provider.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 27 — Line 3, delete “between” and also delete paragraphs (a) and (b) of the clause. Mr Speaker, and so in essence, we are deleting everything after “services” so that clause 27 would now read: “The Authority may, for purposes of the Act, enter into an agreement with a communication service provider for the provision of communication services.” Mr Speaker, the earlier rendition went into specifics of what should be contained in the agreement with the communication service provider, and we felt these could be taken into Regulations. And so we are deleting just, “for purposes of this Act, enter into an agreement with a communication service provider for the provision of communication service”. That should suffice for now.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister whether they are anticipating the appointment of one communication service provider for this entire activity. This is because it is a serious area — big business -- and I do not want a monopoly to be created. So, I would want the Hon Deputy Minister to explain to us whether in the view of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) they are anticipating the appointment of just one service provider?
Mr Speaker, if we look at what was intended to be the objective of the portion that we have deleted, it was specifically for the communication between the Fiscal Electronic Device and the server of the tax authority. That can only be done by one communication service provider. But the insertion that we have done seems to provide the opportunity for the Hon Minister to work out arrangements for engaging other service providers, it may require that different service providers are engaged for different services.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the amendment that the Hon Chairman has proposed, it reads: “Add the following new subclause: “2) The Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board, by Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe the obligations of the communi- cation service provider.”
Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources is getting ahead of all of us. I have not even moved that amendment. So, if he could stick to the amendment proposed, I believe that would help us.
Hon Chairman, what is the position now? Have you accommodated your friend?
Mr Speaker, no. He has moved away from dangerous waters. Mr Speaker, so, you could put the Question on the amendment I moved on item numbered (x) on page 10. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Any further amendment?
Mr Speaker, there is a further amendment on the same clause 27 — Item numbered (xi) on page 11.
“(2) The Minister may, on the recommendations of the Board, by Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe the obligations of the communica- tion service provider” i
Mr Speaker, the way the amendment is formulated — Even though it says, “(2) The Minister may, on the recommendations of the Board” it almost means that without the recommendation of the Board, the Minister cannot do it. And so I would want the Hon Chairman to amend it to read, “The Minister may, in consultation with the Board,…” — And not “on the recommendation…”
“In consultation with…”, not just sit there and wait until they make a recommendation to you. Is that not what it is essentially saying?
Mr Speaker, yes.
Hon Chairman, do you agree? The Hon Minister should not sit and fold his arms until a recommendation comes. He may take the initiative in consultation with the Board and act.
Mr Speaker, the proposal on the floor is, “The Minister, may in consultation…” Mr Speaker, I would want to understand Hon Dr A. A. Osei better — “may in consultation…” — Meaning he can exercise a discretion not to consult. Is the usage of the word “may” mandatory?
Shall we say, “ The Minister, in consultation with the Board may…” Would that satisfy you?
Mr Speaker, it would satisfy all of us.
Mr Speaker, I do not have any objection.
Hon Majority Chief Whip, “The Minister may, in consultation with…” That is the essence of the amendment now.
Mr Speaker, I was going to raise a different matter, but it is being urged upon me that we are talking about a specific Regulation here.
Are you comfortable with that?
Mr Speaker, yes.
Mr Speaker, “The Minister, in consultation with the Board may…” We would want to go with that rendition.
Mr Speaker, we are back to that same issue; “The Minister may, in consultation with the Board by a Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe the obligations of the communication service provider”. I was asking the Hon Minister whether in their view, they anticipate the appointment of just one service provider to perform such a task, which I beg to disagree because we would be creating a monopoly in that space for which we need a lot of people to be able to provide those services to the Authority. Mr Speaker, and so I further propose that the Minister, in consultation with the Board, by a Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe…”
“Make” or “will make”.
The rendition that we have agreed with but I am asking that rather than saying “service provider”, make it “service providers” to open up the space for other people to participate.
Mr Speaker, earlier in clause 27, we had: “The Authority may, for purposes of this Act, enter into an agreement with a communication service provider for the provision of communication services.” So, what he seeks to do would conflict with what we have done earlier, which intends to select a communication service provider. And this would just be consistent with what we have done earlier. So, I would advise that the Hon Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources abandons his amendment.
So, kindly read the rendition -- Dr A. A. Osei — rose --
Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, I would want to agree with the Hon Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources. I do not believe it is the intent of clause 27 to create a monopoly. So, if a correction is made, we need to go back and amend clause 27. We should be mindful of the fact that it should be “...agreement with communication service providers…” and not “.. .a communication service provider...”.
Mr Speaker, I agree with the position taken by the Hon Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources. The rendition as it is now, creates a monopoly which is different from what we already have in the Parent Act. Appropriately, if the Hon Chairman of the Committee tells us that, that is not the intendment, then it is important for him to look at the proposed amendment again, that where we have “Obligations of the communication service provider”, it should rather be amended to read ‘Obligations of a communication service provider'. That would address the mischief that the Hon Boamah addressed in another way without creating any further problem. But with the way it is, it is legal language. Hon Dr Assibey-Yeboah is an economist and I respect that. He should accept the position being taken by Hon Boamah -- this is drafting!
Mr Speaker, the fact that clause 27 reads: “The authority may, for purposes of this Act, enter into an agreement with a communication service provider...” does not suggest that we are choosing one communication service provider over the others -- not at all. So whichever agreement would exist between several of them, this one would still be sufficient for several agreements with communication service providers. Mr Speaker, it further goes on to talk about clause 28 where it mentions “Obligations” -- that whole clause 28 is going to be deleted. So, clause 27 -- the amendment as moved in item (x) would stay. When we come to item (xi), I can accommodate that and I am going to accommodate the Hon Member in clause 27 (b). For the clause 27 (a), it does not change anything.
Hon Member, you are not seeking to catch my eye. You are more interested in the side-ring sparing. [Laughter.] Hon Deputy Minister?
Mr Speaker, I agree with the point made by the Hon Chairman of the Committee that “a communication service provider” in the clause 27 we have just finished with does not suggest that we are dealing with just one of them. Mr Speaker, it goes on to say that the amendment being proposed under item (xi) can accommodate Hon Boamah. I take that to mean that the rendition then in the amendment in item (xi) would be: “The Minister may, on the recommendations of the Board,” or “The Minister on the recommendation of the Board may” - whichever we choose “…by a Legislative Instrument, make Regulations to prescribe the obligations of a communication service provider.” I believe that satisfies both Hon Boamah and the Hon Chairman of the Committee and so we can progress.
Hon Dr Akoto Osei, if you may clarify --
Mr Speaker, the headnote for clause 27 reads “Communication service provider” and not “Communication service providers” -- it is singular. So, this thing about “a” is neither here nor there. They are creating a monopoly and so they need to amend that to cure it because it does not provide for ‘Communication service providers' - it is “provider”.
Hon Members, in actual fact, the usual practice is that we draft in the singular. I would direct that with regard to that specific area, the draftspersons take note accordingly but substantively. Hon Chairman of the Committee, read the --
Mr Chairman, I would want to read out the new clause 27 as in item (xi). It reads: “The Minister, in consultation with the Board, may by Legislative Instrument make Regulations to prescribe the obligations of a communication service provider”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 27 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Obligations of communication service provider.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 28 delete. Mr Speaker, on the requirements in clause 28, we were legislating on “Obligations of communication service providers” as it were. We cannot do that because the Electronic Communications Act specifies some of these and we cannot go through the back door and seek to require communication service providers to provide some of these services that we are listing here, whereas their parent law which governs their operations does not even require them to do some of the things we want them to do here. Mr Speaker, so, we advised the Ministry that they would by regulations and in consultation with the communication service providers go through all of these and come to agreement as to what can be put into law. We cannot sit here and say that communication service providers should do A, B. or C whereas their own law does not require them to do that. So, the Electronic Communications Act is there and it specifies what they are required to do and what not to do. So, we are deleting this and possibly take it into the Regulations where an agreement can be reached with the communication service providers.
Mr Speaker, if I take you back to clause 26, when it got to the selection of manufacturers of fiscal electronic devices, we made reference to the Public Procurement Act. So, we cannot leave the service provider who would make so much money and not know the obligations they are under when it comes to the services that they are supposed to provide. If they have their minds on any other law or legislation, what they need to do is to state that the obligations of the service provider must comply with laws, like the Electronic Communications Act. They must be specific on those communication laws that the said provider must comply with. They must have an idea of the regulations or laws that they must comply with and not to leave the whole thing bare. Some Hon Members -- rose —
Hon Members, I would recommend some serious winnowing before we come back tomorrow morning. Yes, Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker, I take note of your advice that we do some winnowing on the outstanding provision; but on clause 28, the point of this amendment is to take this from the law and put it in the licensing agreements with the service providers, who are the suppliers. As for references to laws that must be complied with, I take it that once a law is made, each person to whom the law applies must comply. It need not be repeated here in order that those laws would be applicable to the persons concerned. So, I believe the amendment deleting clause 28 is in order.
Hon Members, we would defer the clause accordingly; It is the practice of this House. Incidentally, it is quite normal to see a few Hon Members really interested in the dynamics of legislation. We have known in this House since time immemorial and I would ask the Hon Chairman of the Committee and the Hon Deputy Minister together with those relevant persons to do some further consideration, to refer to the appropriate legislation and advise the House accordingly. That is our normal way of approaching the consideration of Bills. Next clause? In any case, in view of the time and Business before us, I order that the House should Sit beyond the regular hours even if it is a minute after. Please, Hon Chairman, go on.
So, Mr Speaker, my understanding is that we have stood down clause 28.
Yes, clause 28 is stood down. Clause 29 -- Technical Committee
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 29, add the following new subclause: “(2) The Commissioner-General shall specify in the letter to a specified institution requesting for nomination to the Technical Committee, the expertise required of the nominee.” Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 29 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 30 -- Obligation of purchasers to collect receipts.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 30, subcause (1), line 2, delete “taxpayer” and insert “taxable person”. So, clause 30 (1) would now read: “A person who purchases goods or procures a service from a taxable person under this Act shall...” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 30, subclause (I), paragraph (b), line 2, after “purchase” insert “or service” So, paragraph (b) would read: “ensure that the fiscal receipt issued reflects the exact payment for the purchase or service.” Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 30 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clauses 31 and 32 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 33 -- Offences
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, subclause (1), paragraph (a), before “Device” insert “Fiscal Electronic” Mr Speaker, with clause 33, this would be the first time we are referencing “device”. All throughout the Bill, wherever we have used, ‘‘Device” it only comes after we have mentioned ‘fiscal electronic”. So, this being the first time we are using “Device” in clause 33, we should include “Fiscal Electronic” there as well. So, clause 33 (1) would now read: “the person who tampers with a fiscal electronic device..” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Chairman, there is a further amendment listed.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 33, subclause (1), closing phrase after paragraph (b), line 1, before “fine” insert “a” Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 33 as variously amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 35 -- Regulations
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
-- rose --
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I have the indication from the Hon Chairman that we could bring the curtain down on the Consideration Stage, pausing at clause 35. So, we can continue Business tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon, if it pleases the Rt Hon Speaker.
Hon Chairman, do you want to say something?
Mr Speaker, I have no such powers for us to adjourn the House.
No, you do not have to do anything. Further to the Statement made, I just want to reiterate that it is 2.00 o'clock and as per what the Hon Deputy Majority Leader said, it is time to draw the curtain to a close, but I will plead that the winnowing I spoke about should be dealt with in the interim. It helps to smoothen the Consideration Stage in the House. Hon Members, having passed the hour of 2.00 o'clock, this will end the Considera- tion Stage at this time, and the Mace would be adjusted accordingly; the Hon House will stand adjourned till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. Thank you very much, Hon Members, for your good cooperation.
The House was adjourned at 2.07 p.m. till Thursday, 8th March, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.