Debates of 07 February 2018

MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

ANNOUNCEMENTS

PRAYERS

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, we will commence with the Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 6th February, 2018.

[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 6 th February, 2018.]

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 13 on the Order Paper -- Questions. The first Question is to be answered by the Hon Minister for Health.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is unavoidably absent from the House and he has delegated his responsibility to the Hon Deputy Minister for Health, Hon Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, to come and respond to that Question. Subject to the indulgence of the House and your leave, the Hon Deputy Minister may be permitted to answer the Question.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well, leave granted. Let the Hon Deputy Minister come and answer the Question for the Ministry. The Question is in the name of Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, Hon Member for Garu.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTION

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Deputy Minister? Deputy Minister for Health (Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu) (on behalf of the Hon Minister for Health|): Mr Speaker, the construction of a district hospital in the GaruTempane District is part of the 7 District Hospitals programme being undertaken by Messrs NMSI Company Limited of the United Kingdom under Turnkey arrangement. The project has stalled due to the expiration of the letter of credit backing the loan. The Ministry of Finance is currently in discussions with the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) and the contractors on strategies to extend the credit facility. In view of the above, the Ministry of Health is currently awaiting an approval for the extension of the loan facility from the Ministry of Finance based on which the commercial contract would be reactivated. Works would resume as soon as it is received from the Ministry of Finance. The others are located in the towns below: 1. Dodowa -- completed 2. Fomena -- 75 per cent completed 3. Abetifi -- started 4. Kumawu -- started 5. Takoradi -- started 6. Sekondi-Takoradi -- not started

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Deputy Minister, before you take your seat; the last but one paragraph is not clear -- “Works would resume as soon as it is received from the Ministry of Finance.” As soon as what is received?

Speaker
Mr Aboagye-Gyedu

Mr Speaker, I believe that is a typographical error. It should read, “as soon as confir- mation of the renewal of the letters of credit is received from the Ministry of Finance.”

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Member, your follow-up question.

Speaker
Mr Alalzuuga

Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Hon Deputy Minister when the letters of credit expired.

Speaker
Mr Aboagye-Gyedu

Mr Speaker, the letters of credit expired sometime in 2016, and as I have said, arrangements are underway to get it renewed.

Speaker
Mr Alalzuuga

Mr Speaker, could the Hon Deputy Minister tell me how soon they would be able to complete this negotiation so that they could get the contractor back to site.

Speaker
Mr Aboagye-Gyedu

Mr Speaker, the Answer I gave said that, the negotiation for the renewal is between the financiers and the Ministry of Finance. I am representing the Ministry of Health. I am therefore unable to give a tentative date on when the Letters of Credit would be renewed.

Speaker
Mr Alalzuuga

Mr Speaker, I am done. Mr Kwame Asafu-Adjei — rose —

Speaker
Mr Alalzuuga

Speaker
Mr Aboagye-Gyedu

Mr Speaker, I believe that is a technical issue and I do not think I have the competency to answer that. My Hon Colleague could come with a substantive question and I would then get the answers prepared for the House.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. The next Question is for the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources to answer. Meanwhile, Hon Deputy Minister for Health, we thank you for attending upon the House to answer the Question. You are discharged. Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, please take your seat. The Question is in the name of Mr Richard Mawuli Kwaku Quashigah, Hon Member for Keta.

MINISTRY OF SANITATION AND

WATER RESOURCES

Speaker
Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources (Mr Joseph Kofi Adda)(MP)

Mr Speaker, the aforementioned com- munities are currently not served by the Agodome-Sogakope Water Treatment Plant. To ensure the supply of water to the affected communities which is in line with the “water for all” agenda of the government, the Ministry has tasked Ghana Water Company Limited to come up with the estimates for connecting these communities to the Agodome-Sogakope Water Treatment Plant. Based on the cost, a suitable funding option will be sourced to undertake the extension. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to provide additional information, which is that, Ghana Water Company Limited has undertaken a full assessment of the situation and has identified the under-mentioned activities to be done in order to supply sustainable water to the referred communities. 1. Replacement of 19 km asbestos cement (AC) 250mm Pipeline from Anloga .to Keta with high density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline ranging from 315mm, 250mm and 200mm. 2. Extension of 2.8km, HDPE 160mm pipeline within Dzelukope ( Lokpodzi). 3. Extension of 1.8 km, HDPE 90mm pipeline within Dzelukope (lagoonside). 4. Extension of 2.5km, HDPE 90mm pipeline within Tettehkope. 5. Extension of 3.0km, HDPE 90mm pipeline within Tettehvikope 6. Extension of 4.6km HDPE 160mm pipeline within Nukpesekope 7. Extension of 3.0km HDPE 110mm pipeline within Vui ( Lagoonside) 8. Extension of 4. 0km HDPE 110 mm pipeline with Vui (Ashtown) The Ministry wishes to inform this House that the cost involved is GH¢ 9,600,000.00. The Ministry is currently sourcing for funds to undertake these works. However, the related assemblies and the Honourable Member of Parliament (MP) can also help in mobilising some of the DACF to support these works.

Speaker
Mr Quashigah

Mr Speaker, the call on Hon Members to assist sometimes beats my imagination. This is because, we all know how scanty the Common Fund of Members of Parliament is for such capital intensive projects. Mr Speaker, I was however informed by the Ghana Water Company in Ho in 2016 that, they had procured some pipes and some equipment for this project that the Hon Minister talked about. I just want to find out, if that is the case, then, what is preventing them from starting the construction work, that is if the Hon Minister is aware of that.

Speaker
Mr Adda

Mr Speaker, that information has not come to my notice. However, if it is the case that those pipelines are there, we would be more than happy to commence the work immediately. Thank you.

Speaker
Mr Quashigah

Mr Speaker, I am done.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, Question numbered 272 stands in the name of Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye, the Hon Member for Sege Constituency and it is to be answered by the Hon Minister for Education.

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Speaker
Minister for Education (Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh)(MP)

Mr Speaker, the project in question is part of the 200 Community Senior High School (CSHS) Projects of which 101 have been awarded in two (2) phases. This particular project falls within the second phase and is being funded by the GOG through the GETFund. The Project was awarded to Messrs Souburu Associates Limited for construction on the 10th June, 2015 at a contract price of GH¢7,793,224.65. The project consultant is Messrs Lamda Consult. The project was to be completed within 18 calendar months. The Contractor, Messrs Souburu Associates Limited has carried out 10 per cent of the works and is expected to complete the project per his revised work schedule.

Speaker
Mr Otuteye

Mr Speaker, according to the Hon Minister, the project is to be completed within 18 months and we have done far more than that. I would like to know what exactly the problem is for which we are still not done with the work. Thank you.

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, I cannot speak for the challenges that have prevented this contractor from completing the project since 2016. But after our

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

engagement, he has come out with a new revised deadline that he would do well to complete.

Speaker
Mr Otuteye

Mr Speaker, according to the Hon Minister, the contractor has come up with a revised work schedule. May I know what it is?

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, at a given time, I can provide it to the Hon Member.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, the Hon Minister said you should come again for further information. You may probably go to his office to get --

Speaker
Mr Otuteye

Mr Speaker, I would also want to know if the contractor is at site.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister, do you know whether the contractor is at site?

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, by his revised plan he should be at site.

Speaker
Mr Otuteye

Mr Speaker, I would like to have an assurance from the Hon Minister --

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Member, you have exhausted your time. But since the project is in your constituency, if you would want to share whether the contractor is at site or not.

Speaker
Mr Otuteye

Mr Speaker, I know, for sure that he is not at site. But I would want to know if the Hon Minister is aware of that.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

So, kindly assist the Hon Minister by providing the information to him. It appears this Question is eliciting the interest of Leadership. Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his second paragraph of his Answer says that the contract price was GH¢7,793,224.65 as of June 10, 2015 when the contract was awarded. The contract was supposed to have been completed in 18 months, that is December, 2016. Given the information the Hon Minister has given us himself that 10 per cent of the works have been completed as of now, may I know from him how much money out of the GH¢7,793,224.65 has been paid to the contractor?

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, I would provide the Hon Majority Leader with the specific amount of money that have been provided. I cannot do that off the top of my head.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister, to your knowledge, has the contractor been paid anything at all?

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, the reason is that, the more you look into -- Mr Speaker, I would plead but let me provide the specific answer to your good self.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, Question numbered 273 stands in the name of Kwame ‘Acheampong' Governs Agbodza, the Hon Member for Adaklu.

Speaker
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza

Mr Speaker, I heard you mention my name as Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza -- thank you very much for that. [Laughter.] Adaklu Senior High Technical School (Absorbtion by Government) Q. 273. Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza asked the Minister for Education when the Adaklu Senior High Technical School would be absorbed by Government.

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, by the classification of Ghana Education Service, a school may be either ‘private' or ‘public'. However, to qualify for consideration for absorption into the Public Education System, a private school must fulfil a number of conditions after it has submitted a formal application for absorption. Some of the basic conditions to be fulfilled include the following: The school must have been registered by the Director of Education in the Region where the school is located. The provisional certificate of registration issued by the Regional Director should bear the date of registration as well as a registration number which is unique to the particular school. The school should show evidence that it can enroll at least eighty (80) (i.e two streams) of Senior High School Form One Students annually. The buildings for the school should not be in a rented premises or be in temporary structures. The school lands must be vast enough to allow for future expansion. Important land documents like the deed of conveyance, site plan, indenture, etc must be made available. Additionally, the school to be absorbed must have the following: An adequate drainage systems to ensure good sanitation and healthy environment; An effective waste/rubbish dis- posal system; Facilities for storing water; Facilities for alternative power supply. To ensure that these requirements are met, a team of inspectors from the GES is sent to schools to assess the available facilities after which a report is submitted to Management for consideration. Mr. Speaker, a large number of schools apply every year for absorption into the public stream. However, upgrading a school into a public status has financial implications for Government, so if not managed properly, it may overwhelm Government's ability to manage and run the schools. In line with this, absorption of private schools into the public stream status is planned and implemented in phases. Mr Speaker, currently, approval for absorption of private schools into the public stream is on hold due to ongoing reforms within the sector. Adaklu Senior High Technical School will be considered alongside others for inspection and absorption after the on- going reforms.

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the Answer provided by the Hon Minister. Adaklu Senior High Technical School did go through all thoses processes and in 2013 or 2014, had a temporary approval. Mr Speaker, this school serves in a community that government could not reach at this moment. I fully understand

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister, can you assist them by providing some teachers?

Speaker
Dr Prempeh

Mr Speaker, I believe the Hon Member is unintentionally trying to draw policy through my statement here. If the school or district applies, we would consider it.

Speaker
Mr Agbodza

Mr Speaker, I am alright.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister, I thank you for attending upon the House to answer the Questions. That brings us to the end of Question time. You are discharged. Hon Members, there is one comme- morative Statement and it is on the Global Commemoration of World Cancer Day. The Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health, the Member of Parliament for Berekum East, is called upon to read the Statement.

STATEMENTS

Speaker
Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah (NPP -- Berekum East)

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement on the floor of the House in commemoration of the World Cancer Day, which is commemorated on the 4th of February every year. This year's commemoration is under the theme; “We can, I can”. Mr Speaker, the theme ‘We can, I can' is based on the premise that, collectively we can fight cancer, as can we as individuals. The ‘We can' focusses on issues such as making the case for investing in cancer control, building a quality workforce, shaping policy change and creating healthy workplaces, schools and cities. The ‘I can' focusses on issues such as making healthy lifestyle choices which include exercising, vaccination and eating fruits and vegetables, and understanding that early detection saves lives. Mr Speaker, this year's theme couldn't have been better, owing to the increasing importance of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD's) in general and Cancers in particular on both the global and local stages. Internationally, NCDs have been captured in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) of the United Nations ensuring that the highest level of political commitment has been made to reduce NCDs, including cancers. In Ghana, the Ministry of Health has been playing the lead role through the Non-Communicable Diseases Control Programme and other stakeholders to improve on cancer prevention and control. Ghana has developed cancer treatment guidelines to guide the management of cancers in Ghana. In recognition of Ghana's efforts at cancer prevention, the city of Kumasi was recently selected as the first in sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth in the world after Cali in Columbia, Asuncion in Paraguay and Yangon in Myanmar to undertake the city cancer challenge project where cities lead in the prevention and control efforts for cancers. On this day, I wish to congratulate the city of Kumasi for achieving this feat and to urge the managers of the project to ensure that this project is successful, and the lessons learnt shared with other cities in Ghana to improve our cancer prevention and control efforts. Mr Speaker, the NPP Government recognizes the importance of cancer prevention and control hence, this was captured in the manifesto of the NPP in the 2016 elections. I wish to use this opportunity to also congratulate the Honourable Minister for Health for pursuing this agenda with all the attention it deserves. Mr Speaker, while applauding our efforts so far, let me also humbly request that more resources and attention be paid on cancer prevention activities in Ghana, especially, on treatment of childhood cancers since they are the future of the country. As we speak childhood cancer treatment centres in Ghana are only available in Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals. Parents will have to travel long distances with their diseased children before they can access health care. At the minimum, government should ensure that the other two teaching hospitals in Ghana, namely, Cape Coast and Tamale Teaching Hospitals are all equipped to provide childhood cancer treatment care as quickly as possible. Let me at this point commend highly the Dr Robert Mitchell Memorial Foundation for their efforts in supporting government to improve access to childhood cancer care by collaborating with the University of Cape Coast School for Medical Sciences and Cape Coast Teaching Hospital to establish a Satellite Paediatric Oncology Centre at Jukwa in the Central Region. Mr Speaker, we must enforce the ban on smoking in public places as smoking is a risk factor and a cause for several cancers, notably, lung cancer. Let us also discourage harmful use of alcohol. We should encourage the population to eat healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables and to regularly exercise to reduce their risk of cancer. I wish to also encourage the population to take up regular medical check-ups to ensure early diagnosis of any cancer and other disease conditions. Mr Speaker, I will also request that, as a country, we look at the issue of vaccination of young girls against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes Cervical Cancer. This vaccine is currently available commercially and can prevent cervical cancer which is one of the very few cancers, that can be prevented by vaccination. We need to make a firm decision on whether to include HPV vaccination in our national immunisation programme as cervical cancer is estimated to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Ghana. We need to support the service providers, chiefly the Ghana Health Service and other health delivery institution, to provide preventive services for cancers in Ghana. We also need to strengthen early diagnosis of cancers by making these available at all levels of the health system. In so doing, we can reduce the burden of cancers in Ghana and ensure a healthy Ghanaian population. Thank you Mr Speaker for the opportunity.

Speaker
Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah (NPP -- Berekum East)

Speaker
Dr Nana Ayew Afriye (NPP -- Effiduase/ Asokore)

I thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity given me. Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement by the able Chairman of the Committee on Health. My particular interest remains on that of child care cancer treatment. It is pathetic and, obviously, the prevalence of child cancer is on the rise. The paradox here is that, whereas the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) makes provision for breast and cervical cancer treatments, there is no provision for cancer cases in children. Mr Speaker, it is also interesting to note that, as of the year 2016, children reported to have had early cancer were 1,600 compared to that of the year 2009, which was about 900. It means that, the prevalence of cancer in children is on the rise. However, only about 30 per cent of them have treatment. It is reported that, in Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), a total of about 1,500 cases of the year 2016, only 300 of them had treatment and most of the cases that come to them are in the advanced stage; for that matter, however much the palliative treatment would be, they die in about a year to two years. Mr Speaker, it is so pathetic that we have not been there for the children of this country and many of them would grow to be future presidents and so on but for equity and for the fact they do not have funding, they die for reasons that we could have intervened. I rise to crave your indulgence that if the NHIA (National Health Insurance Authority) is resourced by any means possible, we can include early cancer in child care just like we do for women - breast and cervical, it would be a great legacy and we would have done a very great intervention. With these few words, Mr Speaker, suffice it to say that, the Hon Chairman of the Health Committee has chosen this appropriate day to have made this very important Statement. Thank you so much for the time given me.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. The other Hon (Dr) Afriyie, Hon Member for Sefwi Wiawso, is that right?

Speaker
Dr Kwaku Afriyie (NPP -- Sefwi- Wiawso)

Mr Speaker, yes. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity and let me congratulate the Hon Chairman of the Health Committee for bringing this important landmark to the House. There was a time when the conventional wisdom was that, cancers were diseases of the first world but because of a combination of several factors, the developing world, as it were has earned the right to suffer from cancers. This is because longevity has improved across the world and even in the developing world. Mr Speaker, I believe that, cancers are very important and we must make an effort to manage them very well in this country. It will interest the House to know that the prevalent rate in cancers is over all the populations but especially, women and children bear a bigger brunt of the prevalence. The most interesting thing is that cancers in children are almost eminently treatable. In fact, we can procure a cure in several of them. When we take Burkitt's Lymphoma, Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and even some of the non-Hodgkin's diseases, which are very prominent in children, we can actually procure a cure if they are detected early. When we take cancers in the entire population, for women, the most important prevalent cases are in the breasts, cervices and ovaries. Respectively, we have 33.9 per cent, 29.4 per cent and 11.3 per cent according to Dennis Laryea et al - a study done in the year 2012. Mr Speaker, I believe that, Ghana should make an effort to manage cancers and also contribute to the body of knowledge in the world. It is not sufficient to think that because we are a developing country, we cannot contribute. After all, a lot of the cancers, or some of the cancers are specifically based or limited to the tropics - Burkitt's Lymphoma being a prominent example. So, if we do not take care, they would remain part of the neglected tropical diseases. So it behoves on us to set up a system which can contribute to the body of knowledge out there so that we can manage Burkitt's Lymphoma. Mr Speaker, I believe that, Ghana would have to mount a very spirited public education to address the issue of traditional and cultural beliefs which are impeding early detection of cancers. On this same tone, I would believe that, public education should address the problem of healthy lifestyle choices -- tobacco and alcohol abuse. I am also calling for institutional strengthening so that, hospitals in dthe districts, at least, can have laboratories which are well-resourced to do basic histopathological evaluations and diagnosis so that we can harvest cancers early. Mr Speaker, I would also want to add my voice by saying that, yes, during the tentative years when the NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme) was being brought onboard, we wanted to avoid areas which were difficult but the time has come to bring onboard as captured in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Manifesto; that we must deal with cancers especially, when the body of knowledge has improved such that we can procure a cure, as I may put it. I believe that, the tertiary institutions should also be strengthened. Finally, I would want Ghana to set up or encourage the setting up of private research institutions because it has been proven all over the world that, they do better in this area. So that we can use this oncology as a chain initiative step for private participation in the health diagnostic process. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minority Leadership? Let me give it to the Hon Member for the Hon Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection before I come to you, Hon Majority Leader. Yes, Hon Member?

Speaker
Ms Gifty Twum-Ampofo (NPP -- Abuakwa North)

Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.

Speaker
Ms Gifty Twum-Ampofo (NPP -- Abuakwa North)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, should I give your opportunity to one of your Hon Members? Or if you want to -- very well. Then the last one would go to Hon (Dr) Boye.

Speaker
Dr Bernard Okoe Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku)

Mr Speaker, cancer is a condition that makes our body cells start to grow out of proportion. Generally, there are some risk factors for cancer. The first one being ageing; as we age, we become prone to some cancers. Our diets can also make us prone to cancers, especially, diets from animal sources. Diets from plant sources are known to be less cancer prone. Mr Speaker, being of a black race is itself a risk for some cancers like the prostate cancer. In fact, in Africa, the leading cause of cancer in men is liver cancer, followed by prostate cancer. Mr Speaker, women have to deal with breast cancer when it comes to the most infamous or prominent cancer cases in this country. In 2012, 2000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer but unfortunately 50 per cent of these women died from the condition. Mr Speaker, in Europe and North America, the mortality rate from cancer is less than 20 per cent but most women die from breast cancer because in Ghana, it is detected very late. Cancer is one of the conditions that one could have yet look very strong and healthy. In Ghana, most people are only present at the hospital when they have a headache, lose weight or feel unwell but cancer is one of the conditions where some of these things could be absent and that is why we need to do a lot of education on cancer. Mr Speaker, we also have a huge challenge with our cultural practices and beliefs; when people present to the hospital and they are diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that they do is that they consult relatives who tell them that they have to see a pastor because it is more spiritual than physical. In fact, in Ghana, any condition is considered spiritual until it is otherwise determined. Mr Speaker, it is also important to remember that cancer could be prevented and one of the best ways to prevent cancer is for one to do regular exercise. One does not need to run or join a marathon but all one needs to do is to walk averagely 20 minutes a day and one could stay very far from cancer. Mr Speaker, studies done in most institutions have revealed that,doing regular exercises boosts one's immune system, helps one to control one's weight and also reduces the insulin levels -- three factors that are key to fighting cancers. Mr Speaker, Ghana is also faced with what is called the double burden of diseases. Traditionally, we have to deal with a lot of infectious conditions like malaria, retro and pneumonia so we invest a lot of our resources into some of these conditions and these are conditions that come with high temperature and a feeling of emergency. Mr Speaker, because we are dealing with infectious conditions, we are faced with a difficult decision to also invest in non-communicable or lifestyle disease. But looking at the current trend, we have no option than to look at both conditions; infectious and the non-infectious conditions. Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude by recommending that certain jobs or occupations are risks for cancer and lifestyle diseases. Mr Speaker, being a Parliamentarian exposes us to a lot of inactivity. Based on this, I would like to urge Parliament to work on the parliamentary gymnasium so that a lot of Hon Members could do some activity after Sitting. Mr Speaker, Ghana must also look at a law that would make sure that a person above 40 years would present a prostate screen and breast cancer screen when going through certain processes. Mr Speaker, this should be mandatory so that we could pick a lot of cancer cases before it gets to the advanced stages. Mr Speaker, lastly, being diagnosed with cancer is not a death sentence. We have treatment regimes in this country and so a person should seek help and he or she would find help. Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements admitted for today. At the Commencement of Public Business -- presentation of Papers. Item numbered 5 (a) on the Order Paper -- Hon Majority Leader.

PAPERS

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 5 (b). (b) By the Chairman of the Committee Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of forty-eight million, one hundred and three thousand, two hundred and thirteen united states dollars and seventy cents (US$48, 103,213.70) [equivalent to GH¢211, 456,917.11] on equipment and materials to be procured by MoRD/AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India in respect of the (a) Design and Construction of an 84.8km Multi-Modal Railway Line including railway stations between Tema and Akosombo and (b) the Design and Construction of Railway Heads at Tema and Akosombo on an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Basis by AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, India.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to take item numbered 6 on the Order Paper?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we agreed that now that the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is here, we would have some engagements with him at the Leadership level and make some determinations so that when we come to deal with the Motion, it would be smooth for all of us. We would not want it to be moved, not having come to that conclusion. Mr Speaker, so, we would stand down both Motions 6 and 7 and do further consultations with the Hon Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee before we bring the Motions back for consideration by the House.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Hon Members, I believe that there is an error so we would have to make some corrections on the Order Paper. From Motion numbered 7 on page 3 of the Order Paper we return to another Motion numbered 6 on page 4. So, let us correct it to Motions 8 and 9 on page 4 of the Order Paper. Hon Chairman of the Committee -- Motion numbered 8.

MOTIONS

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Any seconder?

Speaker
Mr Moses Anim

Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, and Import NHIL etc. for VAMED on the Design, Construction, Equipping and Furnishing of Five Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty-seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege. Introduction The Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedis equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty- seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project Agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the Design, Construction, Equipping and Furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege was laid in the House 28th November, 2017 in accordance with Article 174(2) of the Constitution, and referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report pursuant to the Standing Orders of the House. The Committee met with a Deputy Minister for Finance Hon Abena Osei Asare, a Deputy Minister for Health, Hon. Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu and a technical team from the Ministries of Finance and Health and officials of the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority to consider the Request. Background As part of efforts to achieve the goals of the health sector as defined in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), Government is undertaking a number of interventions to improve the health sector. These interventions include the provision of facilities to meet client expectations and promote effective clinical service delivery in the country. It is in line with this commitment that dthe Government of Ghana sourced funding from Unicredit Bank Austria A. G for an amount of thirteen million, five hundred thousand euros (€13,500,000) for the financing the Construction and Equipping of Five (5) polyclinics at Adentan, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege, all in the Greater Accra Region.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

SPACE FOR TABLE 2, PAGE 3, 12.15 P.M The Committee was informed that, there was a month's delay in the commencement of the project due to issues relating to tax waiver and clearing at the port. However, the contractor is working hard to catch up with the original timelines. Benefits of the Project The technical team informed the Committee that the project is expected to provide quality healthcare for the people in Adentan, Sege, Bortianor, Oduman and Ashaiman and their environs. It would also enhance productivity of the inhabitants in the areas. The Project has the potential of creating about five hundred (500) direct jobs (both skilled and unskilled). Siting the Adentan Polyclinic in Obojo The Deputy Minister indicated that it was the intention of the Ministry of Health to site one of the polyclinics in the main Adentan Township. However, due to difficulties in getting a site, the polyclinic is being constructed in Obojo instead, in the Adentan Municipality. Temporal Permits for clearing goods The Deputy Minister for Finance informed the Committee that in order to ensure that projects are not overly delayed as a result of delays in obtaining tax waivers from Parliament, the Ministry of Finance sometimes issues temporal permits to contractors to enable them clear some key items for on-going projects. Table 2 Progress of work So far, temporal permits amounting to Ghc 2,137,326.04 have been issued to enable the contractor clear some equipment. This temporal exemption has been included as part of the request currently before parliament for approval. Tax Exemption Policy The Deputy Minister stated that the Ministry was in the process of developing guidelines and would soon come up with a tax exemption policy to help streamline the tax exemptions granted. Recommendation Tax Exemption Policy The Committee noted that the Ministry for Finance was developing a tax exemption policy. The Committee is of the view that the policy would help streamline the tax exemptions regime. The Committee recommends that the Finance Ministry expedites work on the policy to help sanitise the system. Banning the Issuing of Temporary Permits The Committee expressed concern about the manner that the Ministry of Finance grants temporal permits to contractors to clear items instead of ensuring the timely submission of tax waiver requests for parliamentary approval. The Committee noted that the delays in getting parliamentary approval were rather from the sector Ministries as they seem to prefer the temporary permits instead of timeously coming to Parliament for approval. The issuance of temporal permits defeats Parliament's oversight responsibility. The Committee therefore recommends that the Ministry of Finance should stop granting temporary permits. The Ministry for Finance should rather impress upon the sector Ministries to present their list of items for exemption early to enable the Finance Ministry present these requests for tax waivers along with the appropriate loan agreements to Parliament when seeking approval. This would reduce delays relating to approval for tax waivers and also expedite the completion of these projects. Conclusion Considering the benefits the health sector stands to gain from undertaking this project and the immense socio- economic benefits to be derived from the project, the Committee is of the view that the request is in the right direction. The Committee therefore recommends to the House the adoption of its Report and approve the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedis equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty- seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege in accordance with Article 174 (2) of the Constitution. Question proposed.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

SPACE FOR APPENDIX, PAGE 1, 12.15 P.M SPACE FOR APPENDIX, PAGE 2, 12.15 P.M

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah(NPP -- Ofoase/Ayirebi)

Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion. In doing so, very briefly, I would mention that the Committee was in one breath with the detailed work that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) had done in terms of its analysis and in terms of which item qualifies at what amount. Mr Speaker, in another breath, the Committee also gave some feedback to the policy maker, when it comes to tax waivers to tighten the policy prescriptions under which these tax waivers are brought so that the fears that we all have that we are losing a lot of money in that space is attended to in the near future. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I second the Motion.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Chairman, in which constituency is Sege? Is Sege a constituency on its own?

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Mr Speaker, Sege is a constituency, but there is a town too called Sege.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Is Ashaiman too a constituency?

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Yes, it is a constituency.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Where is Oduman?

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Hon Sophia Ackuaku, Oduman would be in your constituency, own up. It is in her constituency.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Oduman is in Hon Ackuaku's constituency. It that right? And Bortianor?

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Mr Speaker, all these projects are in the constituencies that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

They are in the Minority; those who are boycotting? [Interruptions.] I just would want to be sure that these are in the constituencies of those who have boycotted. Could we suspend work on it till they resume work, then we could do it. Hon Member, what do you think? Could we suspend the consideration of this one? Once those in whose constituencies these projects are resumes work, then we consider them?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I believe we have a fully-fledged Sitting of the House. The two Sides of this House are populated by Members of this House. If any Business is transacted, it is transacted in the name of Parliament. So, we could go on.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. I thought one half of the House was on strike action. Question put and Motion agreed to.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 10 on the Order Paper. Hon Deputy Minister for Finance?

RESOLUTIONS

Speaker
Minister for Finance)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that WHEREAS by the provisions of article 174 (2) of the Constitution, Parliament is empowered to confer power on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax imposed by an Act of Parliament; The exercise of any power conferred on any person or authority to waive or vary a tax in favour of any person or authority is by the said provisions made subject to the prior approval of Parliament by resolution; BY THE COMBINED operation of the provisions of section 150 (i) of the Customs Act 2015, (Act 891), the Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503), the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Fund Act, 2013 (Act 872), the Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870), the Value Added Tax (Amend- ment) Act, 2015 (Act 890), the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act 948) and other existing Laws and Regulations applicable to the collection of Customs duties and other taxes on the importation of goods into Ghana, the Minister for Finance may exempt any statutory corporation, institution or individual from the payment of duties and taxes otherwise payable under the said Laws and Regulations or waive or vary the requirement of such statutory corporation, institution or individual to pay such duties and taxes; IN ACCORDANCE with the provisions of the Constitution and at the request of the Government of Ghana acting through the Minister res- ponsible for Finance, there has been laid before Parliament a request by the Minister for Finance for the prior approval of Parliament the exercise by him of his power under the Laws and Regulations relating to the waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty- seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege. NOW THEREFORE, this Ho- nourable House hereby approves the exercise by the Minister responsible for Finance of the power granted to him by Parliament by Statute to waive such Import Duties, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts including Inspection Fees as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of two million, two hundred and eighty-seven thousand, ninety-five euros (€2,287,095.00) on project equipment and materials for the implementation of the project agreement between the Ministry of Health and VAMED in respect of the design, construction, equipping and furnishing of five (5) Polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region (Phase IV) to be located in Adentan, Ashai- man, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Majority Leader, are we ready to take item numbered 11 on the Order Paper?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I believe we are ready.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Chairman of the Committee? Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move … That notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80 (1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement Between the Government of the republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America Regarding Mutual Assistance between Their Customs Administrations may be moved today.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 12 on the Order Paper.

MOTIONS

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America Regarding Mutual Assistance Between Their Customs Administrations. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction The Agreement between the Go- vernment of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ghana regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs Administrations was laid in Parliament on 11th December, 2017 in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution. The Agreement was subsequently referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 103 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the House. A Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Abena Osei-Asare and officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) attended upon and assisted the Committee in its deliberations on the Agreement.

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

into Force and Termination of the Agreement. Observations Benefits of the Agreement The Committee observed that the Agreement is desirable because it will. a. enable both countries to tackle offences against customs laws which are prejudicial to the economic, fiscal and commercial interests of both countries; b. help to assure accurate assessment of customs duties and other taxes; c. help to promote international cooperation in matters related to the adminis- tration and enforcement of the customs laws of both countries; d. demonstrate both countries' regard to the international conventions containing prohibitions, restrictions and special measures of control in respect of special goods; e. create an opportunity for information sharing between the contracting States on methods for processing passengers and cargo, enforcement aids and techniques; f.provide a more effective cooperation between both Customs Administrations on action against customs offences; and g. reflect the recommendation of the WCO regarding Mutual Administrative Assistance. Ratification The Committee noted that the Agreement is based on the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Model Convention and was originally signed between Ghana and the United States of America on 9th December, 2003. However, it has become imperative to ratify it now in order to obtain the full benefits thereof. Similar Agreements It noted that the USA has similar Agreements with South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritius and a number of Asian and European countries. General Assistance and Specific Assistance The Committee further observed that the Agreement provides for the provision of two types of assistance: general assistance and specific assistance. General Assistance includes the provision of information for the enforcement of customs laws and the accurate assessment of customs duties, methods of processing passengers and cargo, enforcement aids and techniques and new strategies for committing offences. Specific Assistance on the other hand includes the provision of information on imported and exported goods, surveillance and perceived offences upon request. Conclusion The Committee has thoroughly examined the Agreement and finds that its ratification would help provide a mutually beneficial arrangement for mutual assistance between the Customs Administrations of the Republic Ghana and the United States of America. The Committee therefore, recommends to the House to adopt this Report and ratify by Resolution, the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ghana regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs administrations in accordance with article 75(2)(b) of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House. Respectfully submitted.

Speaker
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah(NPP -- Ofoase/Ayiribi)

Mr Speaker, the importance of this Agreement which we are inviting Parliament to ratify cannot be understated. It holds immense benefit for the State, particularly, in its revenue mobilisation effort. Mr Speaker, but while we support this Motion, it is important to draw the attention of the implementing Agency -- the Ghana Revenue Authority to the fact that, in implementing some of the articles of this Agreement, it is important for them to be mindful of the Constitutional and other legal provisions here in Ghana. Mr Speaker, article 4(2) of the Agreement imposes an obligation on the Government of Ghana to, upon request from the American authorities, conduct surveillance on subjects in Ghana and pass on the information or the findings of that surveillance to the American authorities. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I read from article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution: “No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accor- dance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others”. Mr Speaker, therefore, the provision in this Agreement to conduct surveillance ought not to be taken as a blanket provision to be executed without recourse to the laws of Ghana. It is important to put on record the need for the Ghana Revenue Authority in its attempt to implement that particular course to be mindful of the legal provisions or the Constitutional provisions that govern this country. Article 9 as well, of that Agreement also places limitations on the use of information obtained under this Agreement, that the information shall be afforded the same degree of confidentiality by the receiving party as that applied to similar information in its custody. Mr Speaker, again, the practices for release of information within the Ghanaian jurisdiction may not exactly be aligned with the practices for release of classified or confidential information within the American jurisdiction. And again, we are of the view that, it is important to draw the attention of the Ghana Revenue Authority that would be implementing this Agreement as it does so to draw their attention to the fact that, there are legal provisions in Ghana that must be brought in consonance with that of the United States America as they implement this. With that said, Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.

Speaker
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah(NPP -- Ofoase/Ayiribi)

Speaker
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah(NPP -- Ofoase/Ayiribi)

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Minister, the matter is not at large. The Court of Appeal's decision still holds until it is overturned by the Supreme Court if they so do.

Speaker
Mr Ghartey

So, Mr Speaker, the matter is in the Court of Appeal? All right. As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, it is aligned. The highest court has not had the opportunity to decide on it. Mr Speaker, that is the point. I do not know whether going forward or when we review our Standing Orders, we must look at some of these things, and recognise that there are certain matters in which it would be useful to have the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee also represented to give us their view. So, Mr Speaker, it is a serious matter. I know that there are times that Mr Speaker, in his wisdom, says that there should be a Joint Committee, but perhaps, if we structure it better, these matters would be given the benefit of the advice of, at least, the Members of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on both sides of the House who have the training to give us a certain perspective. So, Mr Speaker, not having had the benefit of advice from the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, I find myself constrained to rely on my very good friend, the Hon Member for New Juaben South, who has competence in the area of economics. He is a doctor in the area of economics. He rose earlier today and he was asked whether he was a doctor and he said he was a doctor, but not a doctor of medicine, and he agrees with me that he is not a lawyer, but in this case, I would rely on him and his Committee which have given what, in my view, amounts to legal advice, and I would say, as it is said in the court, sometimes, we will take it for what it is worth. Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Chairman of the Committee, I know what you are going to say, because you have argued that so many times in the House, I know your view on this matter, but I think the point raised by the Former Second Deputy Speaker is a very valid point. I have been his Deputy Ranking Member at the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for some time. I have, myself, been a Ranking Member, and there are often challenges with advice which is supposed to contain an agreement without reference to the legal committee of the House. It has always generated a discussion, but I recall that our own senior lawyer, who was a former leader of the House, Papa Owusu Ankomah, persistently argued like the current Chairman of the Committee, that the Standing Orders is clear to whom we should refer Agreements. Mr Speaker, last week or so, if the Leader would advise, I tried to refer something to the Joint Committee but it was fiercely resisted by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, I think it is time we considered this position again, whether we should restrict ourselves to being given legal advice by professors in economics or not.

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

rose

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Let me hear the Hon Leader. As for you, I can predict you.

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, I just wanted to provide some illumination on what you just said. What both the current High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, a former leader of the House, Papa Owusu Ankomah, said at the time, that is when he mounted that stoic defence for the Finance Committee. Mr Speaker, at that time, he spoke not as a former leader, not as a former Attorney-General, but he spoke as a Member of the Finance Committee. He was at that time a Member of the Finance Committee, so that was why he spoke the way he spoke. Mr Speaker, I agree with you that, we need to have a second look at that, except that, in this case, the consideration is on customs administration, that is why I believe it is right to let the Finance Committee do the consideration of the matter and report to us, otherwise this also is an international Agreement, and if we are not careful, the Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs would also come banging on our doors that they need to be part of the discussions. Mr Speaker, so I know where we are, we should consider what we have before us. Maybe going in to the future, we would have to bring some critical thinking to bear on this and see our way clearly the next time. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. An Hon Member of the Finance Committee, the Hon Deputy Minister who is also a lawyer, actually raised the issues

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Speaker
Mr Speaker

Item numbered 13 on the Order Paper?

RESOLUTIONS

Speaker
Minister for Finance)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that WHEREAS by the provisions of aticle 75 of the Constitution any treaty, agreement, or convention executed by or under the Authority of the President in the name of Ghana is made subject to ratification either by an Act of Parliament or by a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the Members of Parliament. IN ACCORDANCE with the said article 75 of the Constitution, the President has caused to be laid before Parliament through the Minister responsible for Finance the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America regarding Mutual Assistance Between Their Customs Administrations on 11 th December, 2017. NOW THEREFORE, this Honourable House hereby resolves to ratify the said Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the United States of America Regarding Mutual Assistance between Their Customs Administrations.

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Hon Members, item numbered 14 on the Order Pape --, Motion.

MOTIONS

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 80(1) which require that no Motion shall be debated until at least forty-eight hours have elapsed between the date on which notice of the Motion is given and the date on which the Motion is moved, the Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of forty-eight million, one hundred and three thousand, two hundred and thirteen United States dollars and seventy cents ($48,103,213.70) [equivalent to GH¢211,456,917.11] on equipment and materials to be procured by MoRD/AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India in respect of the (a) Design and Construction of an 84.8km Multi- Modal Railway Line including railway stations between Tema and Akosombo and (b) the Design and Construction of Railway Heads at Tema and Akosombo on an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Basis by AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, India may be moved today.

Speaker
Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Item numbered 15 on the Order Paper? Request for Waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy for Design and Construction of Railway line from Tema to Akosombo

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts as assessed amounting to the Ghana cedi equivalent of forty-eight million, one hundred and three thousand, two hundred and thirteen United States dollars and seventy cents ($48,103,213.70) [equivalent to GH¢211,456,917.11] on equipment and materials to be procured by MoRD/AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India in respect of the (a) Design and Construction of an 84.8km Multi- Modal Railway Line including railway stations between Tema and Akosombo and (b) the Design and Construction of Railway Heads at Tema and Akosombo on an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Basis by AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, India. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would present the Committee's Report. Introduction The Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, ECOWAS Levy, EXIM Levy, Special Import Levy and other approved imposts as assessed amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of forty-eight million, one hundred and three thousand, two hundred and thirteen United States dollars and seventy cents (US$48,103,213.70) [equivalent to GHc 211,456,917.11] on equipment and materials to be procured by MoRD/AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India in respect of (a) Design and Construction of an 84.4km Multi-Modal Railway Line including railway stations between Tema and Akosombo and (b) the Design and Construction of Railway Heads at Tema and Akosombo on an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Basis by AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, India was laid in the House on Thursday, 1st February, 2018 by the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu on behalf of the Minister for Finance. Pursuant to Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the House, the Request was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report. The Committee met and considered the Request with the Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Abena Osei-Asare, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Development Authority, Mr Richard Dombo and officials from the Ministries of Finance and Railway Development as well as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and hereby presents this report to the House pursuant to Order 161(1) of the Standing Orders of the House. Background In June, 2007, the then Ministry of Harbours and Railways commissioned a feasibility study into a multi-modal transport link between Tema and Buipe via Akosombo. The study was undertaken by Dar Al Handasah Consultants with funding from BADEA. The report was submitted in 2009 and emphatically established the economic, financial and operational feasibility of the freight corridor. The proposed Tema-Akosombo Railway Line is thus part of a multi-modal transport system from the Tema Port to Buipe via Akosombo to serve the Northern part of Ghana and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It consists of a railway line between Tema and Akosombo to join the Volta Lake Transport system between Akosombo and Buipe. This corridor experiences major road traffic congestion because the transport of domestic and transit freight from Tema to the northern parts of Ghana is via roads. The Tema-Akosombo Railway Line was subsequently incorporated and described in the Railway Master Plan of 2013, which seeks to guide the systematic development of the railway network in Ghana. The Cost of the Project (without taxes and duties) is three hundred and ninety- eight million, three hundred and thirty thousand United States dollars (US$398,330,000) and is being financed from an Indian Exim Bank credit facility under National Export Insurance Account (NEIA). In line with the provisions of the Contract Agreement which provides for tax waiver for the Project and to ensure prompt clearance of materials and equipment for the project, it has become necessary for Parliament to grant approval for the waiver of the relevant taxes and duties in accordance with article 174(2) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Total Waiver Requested The total amount of taxes and duties for which waiver is being sought is the Ghana cedi equivalent of forty-eight million, one hundred and three thousand, two hundred and thirteen United States dollars and seventy cents (US$48,103,213.70) [equivalent to GH¢211,456,917.11]. The breakdown is presented in the table below:

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Chairman of the Committee (Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah)

Speaker
Mr Daniel Okyem Aboagye (NPP -- Bantama)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to support the Motion that is being considered now. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I would like to comment on paragraph 4.4 of the Report, which talks about the need for tax waivers. We realised at the Committee level that, time and again, we are asked to give tax waivers or at least, consider them and make recommendations to Parliament for consideration. We also realised that, we do not have any scientific basis from the Ministry of Finance to look at tax waivers, so we have asked for one. Mr Speaker, I believe that, given our financial situation as a country, there are many places where we would have to give in as either a Committee or Parliament to tax waivers. This is because, if we do not, we would have to raise the money to pay for them and ultimately refund them. I believe that, for us to do a good work at the Committee level or here in Parliament, we should be given some guidelines on how we could access the tax waivers. This is because, the number of tax waivers that come up are increasing and without proper guidelines, it seems our oversight responsibility with the work of Parliament is weakened, because we do not have all the information to make decisions. If we look at the comments in the Report, it is necessary that we give tax waivers, but I believe the Ministry of Finance should support and help us to do it realistically. If we could get guidelines for cost benefit analysis in considering tax waivers, we would enhance our work. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to. Hon Members, item numbered 16 on the Order Paper - Hon Deputy Minister for Finance.

RESOLUTIONS

Speaker
Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Yes, Hon Majority Leader?

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Speaker, we have come to the end of today's Business. As we told ourselves, we even intended to adjourn at 12.00 noon to enable the service providers to come and work on the Chamber. It is almost 10.00 p.m. now. So, I believe we can now take an adjournment and return to the Chamber tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. Mr Speaker, I would want to advise that, we come early tomorrow morning. Parliament is required to begin Sitting at

Speaker
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Speaker
Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Speaker
Mr First Deputy Speaker

Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT