Debates of 17 Nov 2006

PRAYERS 10 a.m.




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 16th November, 2006. Pages 1 … 11.
Hon. Members, we do not have the
Official Report for yesterday. Item 3,
Business Statement for the Third Week.



ECONOMIC 10 a.m.


DATE ITEM 10 a.m.




DEBATE OF 10 a.m.


Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have looked at the agenda for the meeting of the Committee of the Whole and I have realized that there is an important item that needs to be addressed. We discussed the distribution of the HIPC Fund and the money that has been released to Members of Parliament is short of the amount that was approved; and since this is the first meeting of the Committee of the Whole, I think it should be addressed because a lot of Members of Parliament are very dissatisfied and are complaining.
I think that it should be explained thoroughly as to why instead of two hundred and fifty million, we have a shortfall of some amount of money. I suppose this should be discussed.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, these

*Third Reading of Appropriation Bill -- Thursday, 14th December 2006.

Other Parliamentary Business, for ex- ample, the GETFund will be considered alongside the Annual Estimates for 2007.

Mr. Speaker, the Business Committee therefore urges all hon. Members to

P. 4

participate actively in the exercise ahead.


Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be

are matters that you must take with the Leadership.
Mr. Alfred Kwame Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on the second day of March, 2006, this House took a decision in respect of hon. Eric Amoateng, Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North. One of the recom-mendations of the Privileges Committee was as follows:
“Parliament through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may task the Ghana Mission to the United States of America to closely monitor the situation and keep the House informed of any developments relating to hon. Eric Amoateng's case in and out of court in the United States of America.”
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
The Majority Leader,
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member, have you taken the matter up with the Majority Leader, without success? [Interruptions.]
Order! Order. I advise you to take it up
with the Leadership and when you are not satisfied, then you can come back.
Mr. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Very well, Mr. Speaker, I
will take your advice.


Minister for Energy (Mr. Kofi Adda) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the number of power outages in the Wasa Amenfi Central constituency is relatively high because the source of supply is on a radial 33 kV overhead line that emanates from Bogoso through Asankragwa to Enchi, Dadieso, Jema, et cetera. There are several other branches on this line to serve Akropong and beyond from Bawdie, Agona/Adjarka Manso from Asankragwa. This same line branches from Bogoso to serve Awudua area.
In view of the length of the line (over 200 km) and the many branches served by this single radial line, any fault in any portion reflects at the source to trip the whole area.
To address the problem, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Limited in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy (MOE) is constructing a 20 km 33 kV overhead line from Elubo to tie into the existing line at Jema which would allow power to be served from either side, and consequently improve the reliability of supply.
The ECG is also installing a Secondary Automation System (Rural SCADA, that is , Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) on the network to automatically isolate any faulty sections from the healthy portions to ensure
continuous supply to the unaffected parts.
The Bogoso Customer Service Centre has now been upgraded to a District status and this would allow staff to be deployed at Bogoso to handle these faults promptly instead of relying on staff from Tarkwa previously. This will result in early fault rectification.
It is our hope that the above measures would considerably reduce the frequency of the outages in the area.
Mr. Arthur 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry assured this House on 13th of July, 2005 of the construction of the 20 km 33 kV overhead line to link Elubo and Enchi line. I would like to know from the Ministry the progress of work on the project.
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we had some delays in the release of funds. The funds have since been released and the contract is being awarded for work to be undertaken.
Mr. Arthur 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the Minister why the Ministry constructed such a lengthy high voltage line without considering the setting up of short or automatic intervention facilities at vantage points.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this was due to a combination of things, the financial constraints and also the high demand from the communities along that line. It was therefore necessary for us to stretch it in the first instance and then put in intermittent sub-stations along the way subsequently.
Mr. Arthur 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to know what the Ministry is doing about trees and plants that obstruct or short circuit the high tension cables, leading to these fluctuations.
Mr. Henry Ford Kamel 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the issue of power outages is prevalent in other parts of the country. What I mean by this is that this issue we are talking about also occurs in other parts of the country. Does the Ministry consider introducing similar interventions to forestall these problems?
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, the
Ministry intends to pursue similar measures in other parts of the country.
Solar Lighting Systems to the Volta Island Communities
Q. 486. Mr. Francis Yaw Osei-Sarfo asked the Minister for Energy what plans the Ministry had to extend Solar Lighting Systems to the Volta Islands communities and places where the National Electricity Grid cannot be extended to.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the first place, it is not accurate that the national grid cannot be extended but it is extremely expensive and relatively more compli- cated.
Secondly, the use of solar lighting systems is part of an overall policy of increased use of renewable energy whose implementation programme is being reviewed to give strategic support to the traditional sources of power supply in the country.
The scope of coverage and extent of use of solar lighting are also being subjected to review and therefore the selection of

communities would be made known in the near future. The case of the Volta Islands communities would be considered in that review.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in July, 2004, a survey was done in 533 communities in Krachi West, East, Afram Plains, Offinso North and South and other constituencies.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the
hon. Minister why the report has not been implemented; and there is no single solar panel on the roof of any building in the constituencies mentioned above.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not clear
whether the survey was about extending the national grid or it was about the solar panels. My hon. Colleague can clarify that, then I can give an appropriate response.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Krachi West, would you reframe your question.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
am talking of a survey made in these constituencies with regard to extending solar panels to these areas where at present the national grid cannot be extended to.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the survey
with regard to solar lighting is part of the Spanish support arrangement that is being undertaken. We have had some hitches in the negotiation process and I think we are really through with it now, so we can embark on the programme relatively soon.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want
to know from the hon. Minister if there is any attempt to develop small and medium scale hydro projects in the country to supplement the current energy sources.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Are you asking this question in respect of your area? [Interruption.] If it is for the whole country
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
want to know from the hon. Minister, who is responsible for implementing the renewable energy projects. Because, Mr. Speaker, as I speak now, there are some institutional problems between the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Commission, as to which organ is responsible for this set-up.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, this
certainly cannot be a supplementary question.
Mr. Wisdom Gidisu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in
the hon. Minister's Answer, he said the the national electricity grid can be extended, but it is extremely expensive and relatively more complicated. He further said that the selection of the communities will be known in the near future. I want to know from the hon. Minister how soon the selection will be done, for the extension of solar lighting system to the Volta Islands, especially the Krachi West and Krachi East constituencies.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the report will be completed by the end of this year and early in the first quarter of 2007 the list of communities will be made known.
Mr. Kojo Armah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
believe the problem of inaccessibility of communities to the national grid is fairly nationwide. Indeed, in my own district, there are several areas that cannot be accessed by the national grid in the foreseeable future. In this case we are also interested in the national survey which the hon. Minister has said is being carried out. I want to know whether that survey will be nationwide and that all communities that are not accessible will be taken on board.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may wish to repeat your question.
Mr. Armah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am saying
that the problem of inaccessibility of the communities to the national grid is fairly nationwide and that in my own constituency and districts there are several areas that cannot be connected to the national grid in the foreseeable future.
I want to know whether the selection of communities, based upon the survey which is being carried out, will be nationwide and that such outlandish communities can also hope to be taken on board.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the survey
that was undertaken was limited to certain parts of the country. But the Ministry, on its own is undertaking a comprehensive survey nationwide and in that process I am sure his constituency will be accommodated.
Mr. Emmanuel Bandua 10:20 a.m.
Speaker, the hon. Minister said in his Answer that the use of solar lighting system is part of an overall policy of increased use of renewable energy whose implementation programme is being reviewed. I want to find out from the hon. Minister the nature of this review, the form this review is taking.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the review
is drawing from previous pilot implemen- tation programmes and is setting up criteria that consider among other things, inaccessibility, poverty, and a whole set of other criteria. Once we are able to determine which communities will need the solar or cannot immediately afford the national grid supply, that report will determine who should get the solar or who should not get the solar. Mr. Speaker, this is the nature of the review.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Volta Lake
Transport Company Limited (VLTC) has earmarked one of its old ferries at Akosombo known as Ferry A to replace the withdrawn pontoon at Kete Krachi. However due to financial difficulties the VLTC is unable to bear the full cost of rehabilitation of the ferry. It has therefore appealed for support from the Ministry of Finance which has promised to assist. As soon as the necessary funds are released the rehabilitation work would be undertaken so as to enable the ferry to become operational.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, can the hon. Minister tell us the estimated full cost of the rehabilitation?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not have
the estimates with me at this point in time, so I can bring them back on a later date.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, about
three years ago, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development together with the District Assemblies contracted a loan facility of ¢800 million each from the Krachi, Kpando and Afram Plains District Assemblies; may I know what happened to this facility?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as my hon.
Colleague has said, this was undertaken by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and I have not received any correspondence yet so I

cannot speak to that.
Mr. Osei-Sarfo 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in view
of the social impact of the ferry to the people of Krachi and Sene districts, would the hon. Minister consider expediting action in getting the ferry repaired in good time?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the matter is
one of urgency to us and we would speed up work on it.
Mr. Wisdom Gidisu 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Minister's Answer he said the Volta Lake Transport Company had earmarked one of its old ferries at Akosombo. I want to know from him whether this old ferry is not coming to pose problems to the people again.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speake r, t he
refurbishment would be done by technical experts and I am sure they will take all quality standards into consideration. In that process I do not think they will disappoint the people of Krachi.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the
hon. Minister's Answer, he indicated that they have for instance, difficulties and as such they have appealed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for assistance. The Ministry has promised to assist; how much are we talking about and what level of assistance are we getting from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the budget that I proposed to them was to the tune of about ¢7 billion to undertake the refurbishment, among other things -- ¢7 billion, not dollars, not yen.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Question No. 523 --
Hon. Dr. Kwame Ampofo?
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Please, go ahead.
Ex-Pump Prices of Crude Oil
Q. 523. Mr. J. Z. Amenowode (on behalf of Dr. Kwame Ampofo) asked the Minister for Energy what measures the Ministry was taking to contain ex-pump prices of crude oil in the face of the rising prices of crude oil and petroleum products on the international market.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the policy guiding the importation and refining of crude oil is to maintain import parity and full cost-recovery for petroleum products. The deregulation of the sector is to ensure a competitive environment for private sector participation in a liberalized market.
The ex-pump prices will continue to be determined largely by the world prices of crude oil. However, improvements in the efficiency of the refinery operations, the competitive nature of the private sector, as well as the investment priorities of the country will also affect the levels of ex- pump prices.
Mr. Amenowode 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to ask the hon. Minister, when in his estimation will there be a complete deregulation of the oil sector if that is the solution to the problem?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I did not get the question fully. If he would be kind enough to repeat it.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
He is going to repeat that for you.
Mr. Amenowode 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Answer says that the deregulation of the sector is to ensure the market is liberalized and then the fluctuations in prices and other things -- as the Question demands of him. But I am asking when in his estimation are we going to have a total deregulation because even now the process is not yet complete. So when in his estimation will we have a process where there will be a complete deregulation?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is a process and it involves all participants. In my estimation, it will probably take perhaps another year or so for all actors to actively participate in the process.
Mr. E. K. Salia 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what are the aspects of the deregulation that are still outstanding?
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, those aspects of the deregulation that are still outstanding involves the participation of external firms, the oil marketing companies lifting crude into refinery and marketing. These are things that are based on business decisions by the oil marketing companies and we are in negotiations with them, hoping that we can get them to be actively involved in the process.
Electrification of New District Capitals Like Kpeve New Town, et
Q. 524. Mr. J. Z. Amenowode (on behalf of Dr. Kwame Ampofo) asked the Minister for Energy what the Ministry's plans were for the electrification of the newly created district capitals such as Kpeve New Town in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on the recent creation of 28 new districts, seven district capitals were identified as having no electricity supply or do not have a reliable network. These communities are Bunkpurugu (Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo),
Mr. Amenowode 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member for South Dayi who asked the Question knows his constituency. He specifically asked of Kpeve New Town which is the capital of the new South Dayi district. Kpeve is part of Hohoe district and it is in my constituency, Hohoe South; so it is not part of the South Dayi District. So the Question still remains -- when the Kpeve New Town, which is the capital of South Dayi, will be connected to the national electricity grid.
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, Kpeve
New Town is under the purview of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and as I indicated, this is part of their network expansion programme. I do not have the details with me at this point in time,

but I am very certain that the Electricity Company of Ghana would eventually get to Kpeve New Town.
Mr. Amenowode 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think
there is a policy of extending electricity to all district capitals, including the newly created district capitals. That is why the question is, when Kpeve New Town, as a district capital, would be connected. So it is not a problem of the Electricity Company of Ghana, as we know, but a policy of connecting district capitals. So the question is specific; when will Kpeve New Town, the capital of South Dayi District be part of this? Mr. Speaker, I think they have not even included it in the new capitals; so when will it be connected?
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed true
that it is a policy for us to extend electricity to all district capitals. However, this policy is implemented through the programmes of the agencies of the Ministry, that is, the Volta River Authority (VRA) or the Northern Electricity Department (NED) that covers the northern part of the country, and the Electricity Company of Ghana that covers the southern part. And as I indicated and I restate, these programmes will be implemented through the agencies and in this particular case, it is the ECG that would implement that programme on behalf of the Ministry.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Minister for Energy, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Mr. Kwadwo Agyei 10:40 a.m.

Fanteakwa): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, Chapter 6 of the 1992
Mr. Kwadwo Agyei 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that some institutions withholding such deductions hold on to such monies as if they form part of their inflows.
They only remit them when they feel like it. A substantial proportion of such monies are not remitted at all. Maybe, such monies by the name given to it as withholding taxes are meant to be withheld but not remitted.
Mr. Speaker, there is also the issue of valuation of goods imported into this country that are dutiable. In the arena of revenue mobilization, valuation of imported goods is basic and crucial and cannot be overemphasized. The duty payable is determined by the value put on the goods which are subjected to the payment of customs and other duties.
Unfortunately, this is the area where importers present a myriad of problems. Importers, especially the very big ones are able to construct very suspicious and “huhudious” invoices. Such invoices are doctored, undervalued and in some cases are misdescribed. The aim is to evade or underpay or both. Incidentally, they are able to convince CEPS to accept such doubtful invoices. There is no question that some of these practices are done with the connivance of some officials. CEPS is a human institution and we do not expect the organization to be 100 per cent peopled by only God-fearing, born-again and patriotic citizens. We must however admit that in all that they are doing, they are doing appreciably well given their work environment and conditions.
As regards tax on rental income, the little said about it the better. The naked truth is that very little is assessed and much less collected. And of course,

taxes are supposed to be assessed and demanded. No one willingly parts with money. And I would be surprised if the majority of people assessable in respect of rental income do actually know that rental income attracts tax. But if it is realized that about 40 per cent of disposal incomes go to pay rent and rental advance, we would realize the potential amount of tax unassessed and therefore not collected.

There is also this tax levied on commercial vehicles and paid, I think, fortnightly or quarterly. One would want to ask, who bears this tax? Is it the taxi driver on the income he receives from driving the vehicle or is it on the daily revenue paid to the owner of the vehicle? Whichever the answer is, one person, either the driver or the car owner is evading tax on that income, unless the driver of the vehicle is an owner/driver. Just imagine the number of commercial vehicles on our roads.

Mr. Speaker, the cumulative effect of all that I have so far enumerated meant that, as at the end of the immediate preceding year, out of a projected target of ¢22 trillion, the Government was able to collect ¢20.6 trillion representing a shortfall of ¢1.4 trillion.

Mr. Speaker, in the opinion of one Kwabena Osei Dadzie in an article in The Chronicle of Wednesday, 7th June 2006, “We as a nation are joking and playing around in Ghana when it comes to taxation. No country on this earth ever developed without an adequate tax base to fund programmes.”

Mr. Speaker, we have problems, we have always had them and we will continue to have some of them or newer versions of them because, as we know “in this world as one positions himself to
Mr. Kwadwo Agyei 10:50 a.m.
However, we should not throw up our arms in despair and in Twi we say akyea nso ebuu e. This means we can make amends if we want to. It is of course said that, if you do what you do the same way you do it, you will expect the same result as you have always got it, all things being equal.
Mr. Speaker, what is heartwarming and of course unique and interesting is that, the solutions to our problems are known to each and everyone of us.
Some of these are:
i) We need to issue tax iden- tification to each taxpayer and ensure that this is public knowledge;
ii) The Government must build a database on every taxpayer -- potential and actual;
iii) Locational addresses must be attached to each and every tax- payer. And it must be made obligatory to each taxpayer to inform the tax office if his locational address changes.
The present system of using post office box numbers to deliver tax assessments must belong to history.
iv) There must be elaborate and comprehensive tax education leading to the creation of tax awareness.

On rental income, we may have to compile a list of residential accommodation and who owns what. Tenants must

be required to indicate the names and addresses of landlords and the quantum of rent paid. It will be very difficult admittedly but at least, of those requiring rental advances, this must be mandatory.

Finally, our revenue collection machinery must be revamped by investing massively in revenue agencies to recruit more qualified personnel with mouth watering incentives and the procurement of more efficient equipment.

Mr. Speaker, it is said if you send a hungry dog to fetch game, it would certainly answer the request with alacrity and the speed of a tsunami but it will come back with a blood-soaked and oily mouth to indicate it has unilaterally but justifiably atoned for the hunger. So, we can see that the shortfalls in our collections may after all not all be uncollected and uncollectible inflows but may also be game in the stomach of a hungry dog. And who is to blame?

Mr. Speaker, I am done but I believe not out. My humble appeal is that we should make a start. We cannot be faulted for trying. But until we change the change, no amount of foreign capital or inflow or even prayers can redeem us from our current predicament of abject poverty. Ghana can only be developed by Ghanaians and no other people; have the resources. What is required is attitudinal change at all levels of society.

Lastly, but not least, what is the share of Government from the revenue accruing from the lottery/gambling activities of our mobile phone operators? They are essentially providers of telecommu- nication services and not lottery operators. But increasingly, they are operating lotteries all over.

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed and will
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the hon. Member who made the Statement.
Mr. Speaker, payment of taxes is not a pleasant duty, although it is a very patriotic one; and I guess many people would not like to pay their taxes, especially those in the informal sector. For those of us in the formal sector, our moneys are taken straight from our salaries, so it is not difficult.
But if you were in the informal sector and you tried to complete a tax return form, you would need a consultant. The form is so complicated that a mere look at the form will discourage you from paying your tax. So if the tax agencies want people to pay their taxes, they should simplify the form, so people just go to pay money. It is money that they want, it is not anything academic.
In the case of the withholding tax, people take your money. If at the end of the year you want to file your returns and you go to them to provide you information on the moneys that they have taken from you, it is impossible to have it. They will tell you that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not given them anything. Meanwhile, they have taken your money.
More so, the withholding tax may constitute the main tax, like rent tax. When somebody rents your property, at the end of the month, he will pay the withholding tax and the same withholding tax represents your rent tax. How do you complete your form at the end of the year? These are some of the problems associated with tax payment in this country and that is why people are evading taxes.
In the former Eastern European countries, they have found a formula -- flat tax for everybody. And people are

paying and their collection of tax revenue has gone up tremendously because it is easy. If everybody pays fifteen per cent, then whatever money I take, I go and pay my fifteen per cent and the matter ends there.

So, Mr. Speaker, I wish to call upon

our tax agencies to simplify tax payment and not to make tax payment look like a punishment. This is because nobody wants punishment. You want to take my money and you want me to be punished for bringing my money. The best thing is to stay. And since we do not have data on people, it is not easy to even chase them for the money.

With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I

resume my seat.

Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah (NPP --

Asokwa): Mr. Speaker, I would also want to associate myself with the Statement made by my hon. Colleague.

Mr. Speaker, if we are to improve our tax collection system, I would suggest that we also improve on our management systems, especially our tax administration, as suggested by my hon. Colleague on the other side. We should go back to the basics. The Americans say we should be guided by what is called “KIS”, that is, “Keep It Simple”.

We should institute a national house- numbering system. Every house in this country must have a number. Every street should have a number or a name. And then of course, Mr. Speaker, there should be national identification and every individual, living or dead, should have a number. Mr. Speaker, if we do that, it will be easy to administer taxes in our country.

We live in a world that is moving very fast. They are not waiting for us. As we struggle over basic stuff like house- numbering, people are putting computer
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, in this country, if we are going to talk about development, then of course we need to plug into what the rest of the world is doing. Every effort should be made to formalize the informal sector. Mr. Speaker, no matter what it takes us, if we want to do any business or engage in any commercial activity, we must register, and I agree with my hon. Colleague here that we should keep it simple. In some countries, with a telephone call, you would be able to register a company; I know that for New Jersey. There, you can take two or three lines. If we say we want to encourage the setting up of businesses, we want to improve taxes, Mr. Speaker, why do we need auditors, lawyers and accountants just to register a company or register a business to sell water at Makola?

Mr. Speaker, I also want to suggest that

in attempting to simplify our systems, we should also make sure that we do away with all these forms that we use to register companies or to put some people in business, to say the least. A friend of mine said that this is an organized confusion.

Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I

would like to thank you for allowing me to contribute to this Statement.
Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah (NDC -- Upper West Akim) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the hon. Member for Fanteakwa, and I think all the points that he has raised in his Statement are quite valid in this country.
Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of each
year, in this country, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) especially is supposed to raise a provisional tax assessment on each business. Mr. Speaker, but what do we see? The raising of such provisional assessment is delayed. Some of us get our provisional assessments as late as July or August. And in the provisional assessment, as soon as you get it, you are supposed to pay a percentage down against your tax payment.
Mr. Speaker, th is provis ional assessment arose as part of the Tax Reform Programme which was initiated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) around 1985/86. Mr. Speaker, they have found out that we cannot, as a country, easily go around collecting these direct taxes from the companies. So what they did was to decide to slap a percentage every year on these business companies so that the taxman will just sit in his office and the cheques would start rolling in. Mr. Speaker, we have tried this method for over fifteen to eighteen years now and it has never worked.
Mr. Speaker, a realistic way of assessing taxes in this country should be looked for. For example, if we ask people to voluntarily prepare their accounts, go to the tax office and say that this is how much I made this year, assess my tax, I think we shall be moving into self-compliance in the administration of taxes in the country. Mr. Speaker, in reviewing the Public Accounts of this country -- for the past two years that I have been doing that, you would find that there is a cash deficit in the balance sheet of this country amounting to over ¢5 trillion.
Mr. Speaker, in trying to ask the Controller and Accountant-General's Department and the Bank of Ghana to reconcile these deficits in the Public Accounts, we found out that most of these
deficits are bounced cheques issued to the revenue agencies, and they cannot trace who issued those cheques.
For example, Mr. Speaker, if there is a tax operation and the IRS officers or the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) officials start going round to close down such business concerns, a businessman who owes ¢200 million, quickly goes to write a cheque of ¢200 million and says “that this is my cheque, I have paid my tax”.
When the cheque is lodged into the bank account, it bounces. Meanwhile, the officers in the Internal Revenue Office or the Customs outfit sit on these bounced cheques while the taxpayer's account is credited. These bounced cheques are sitting in the various district offices yet they cannot go back to claim the taxes from the taxpayers.
Meanwhile , they wil l te l l the Government that they have collected so much in revenue and they would even account for the bounced cheques that have been presented to them. So a way should be found to get all those bounced cheques, and we could see the amount of revenue coming into the Government's coffers.
Mr. Speaker, about these withholding taxes, some of us personally think that it is a lazy man's way of collecting taxes. Those days when we used to be in IRS, we were happy about it. Now that I am in the private sector, I found out that --[Interruptions.] Sometimes, your percentage profit, your mark up is not even two per cent of your annual revenue; but they ask you to pay five per cent ahead of time. At the end of the year, when you file your taxes, to get the refund for the taxes that you have paid it becomes a tug of war.
But Mr. Speaker, to Government, it is an easier way of collecting taxes. Because many people do not want to pay taxes, I would not fault the Government
Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah (NDC -- Upper West Akim) 11:10 a.m.
or the revenue agencies by slapping these withholding taxes on business concerns.
As has been said by hon. Kofi Jumah, I think the location addresses issue is one that, as a nation, we must address as quickly as possible. We are doing the National Identification System; we are voting billions and billions into that project, but I tell you, if we do not tackle these location addresses of individuals and business concerns, we shall be wasting taxpayers' resources in that project.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is here, and I will like to suggest that, their cost of collection, I believe, should be raised a little bit because what they are getting now only covers what we call operational expenses. For the capital expenses, I think they should do something about it to raise the logistic level of all these revenue agencies so that they can also mobilize revenue for this country.

On this note, Mr. Speaker, I really

support the Statement.

Minister for Public Sector Reforms

(Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom): Mr. Speaker, I wish to contribute to the Statement made by the Chairman of your Finance Committee.

Mr. Speaker, we could recall the Statement made on the floor of this House yesterday by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, which many people

have been commenting on -- and I am referring to the point made that the total resource envelope is projected at ¢54.3 trillion, but that the domestic revenue made up of tax and non-tax receipts are projected at ¢37.5 trillion, giving us a huge gap which we are looking to fill with loans, grants and monies from other taxpayers from other countries. Yet all of us talk about the need for the country to become more and more self- sufficient and also rely more and more on our own resources.

But Mr. Speaker, I wish to suggest that we curtail this debate on the floor of this House by having a special committee to deal with the matter of raising the level of domestic revenue so that it can be seen as something coming from both sides of the House. That way, what goes on in this House can also go on outside of this House so that all Ghanaians can know that we all have some level of responsibility in the matter of raising domestic revenue.

Mr. Speaker, when people talk, they

may talk from the perspective of an employer or a business person or as a taxpayer who is an employee of someone else, or perhaps from the perspective of Government or someone who works within the revenue agencies. But all of it comes back to the same thing; that there is a responsibility that is not being taken up by a section of our society.

Mr. Speaker, take a look. All of us know we engage carpenters, we engage people who lay tiles, we engage electricians, all manner of people who earn a lot of money and I will even suggest many of them earn more money than hon. Members of this House and yet they are nowhere to be found. They are not anywhere to be found in this system. How do we ensure that they become a part of the tax-paying

system in this country?

Mr. Speaker, even if you take a look at the statistics, at the number of people who pay social security it is still less than a million people in a country with an adult population of around ten million. You take a look at the people who have bank accounts and I am told that that number is not more than two million people and yet those who have cellular phones exceed five million people in this country. So you see the gap; the gap in the record- keeping and the gap of identifying and knowing who is here in this system.

So Mr. Speaker, this job cannot be left to one part of this country. That is why I am still making that suggestion that you lead us in having a special committee that can sit and that can take submissions from the general public so that at the end we, as the representatives of the people, can make submissions to the entire country; Government in particular, on what it is that we should do, going forward to deal with this situation.

I think the Statement made by the Vice- Chairman of your Finance Committee, Mr. Speaker, is an appropriate one, very relevant and we should all give it the necessary support.

Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning (Dr. A. A. Osei): Mr. Speaker, with your kind indulgence, I want to speak on behalf of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
You want to contribute?
Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
And he is not here so I wanted the leadership -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Yes any contribution? Are you going to contribute?
Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Yes, to the Statement.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Yes, please go ahead.
Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me permission to contribute to the Statement that was made by the Vice- Chairman of your Committee on Finance.
Mr. Speaker, even though I associate myself with some of the sentiments expressed, I also think that we should be careful not to simplify the problems that are faced by the revenue agencies. Mr. Speaker, every year, the agencies come up with forecasts and in some cases they do meet them; in other cases they do not. The reasons that one can advance for reaching one's target or not depends on a variety of factors.
Mr. Speaker, for example, this year the Customs, Exercise and Preventive Service could not reach its target for a variety of reasons. One of them is that the number of exemptions that this House has given to various individuals amounts to over ¢2.5 trillion. Mr. Speaker, let me repeat, ¢2.5 trillion. What that means is that even though they are below their target by ¢1 trillion, we in this House, have given away an amount of ¢2.5 trillion to various institutions including this House, including the Health Services workers and others.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Deputy Minority Whip, do you have a point of order?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about something. These exemptions, quite often emanate from the Executive and if in the wisdom of my very good Friend this is really hitting below the belt, then the Executive will have to apply the brakes out there and inform us accordingly.
Dr. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of exemptions for Parliamentarians did not emanate from the Executive. That notwithstanding, there are also various legal obligations that are being misused. Mr. Speaker, in no country that I know of, do diplomatic exemptions not have any limit. In most of the advanced countries, diplomatic exemptions not have identifiable limits. Here in this country, there is no limit and this is a serious area that this House ought to look at. Mr. Speaker, since about 2001, all the revenue agencies have been allowed to retain up to 3 per cent of the collections that come in -- [Inter-ruption.]
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I, ordinarily, would not want to intervene but the Minister is commenting on a Statement and he is provoking debate. Mr. Speaker, it is against our Standing Orders. He should speak to the issue of the very good Statement made by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Finance and stop provoking us to want to debate many of the issues that he is raising.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Deputy Minister, I hope you are going to take it on board.
Dr. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought you were the only one allowed to decide whether or not the comment is material to the Statement that was made. It appears that my young Friend is trying to usurp
the powers of Mr. Speaker. But since you allowed him to speak, I will take the advice and go on.
Mr. Speaker, I was saying that this House has allowed the revenue agencies to take up to 3 per cent of the amount collected as retention to be able to use for the various services and programmes. Mr. Speaker, what that means is that the more they collect, the more money they will get in terms of what they use to do various things.
Mr. Speaker, the amount that was used initially was about 2.8 per cent. Not too long ago, because the law allowed up to 3 per cent, the hon. Minister agreed that they will use up to 3 per cent. Mr. Speaker, that notwithstanding, they are asking for us to agree on an amount to the tune of 5 per cent of collections, which is almost the amount that goes to the District Assemblies Common Fund, I believe.
Mr. Speaker, 5 per cent of the total tax revenue will be a huge amount. In certain cases, the issue is not the cost of collection but is the efficiency of collection. Some of our hon. Colleagues have spoken about some of the inefficiencies that exist in there. We do accept them and we are trying to find a way to make sure that any time they need the right resources, that they acquire some of these things.
But Mr. Speaker, it is also true that we have found that in certain cases even though the logistics are available, they are misused. There is a guest house in Kumasi called the I. R. S. Guest House. Mr. Speaker, almost every Saturday that I visit my constituency and I go there, I find parked cars of the revenue agencies not collecting revenue but going to funerals.
Mr. Speaker, that type of use of government vehicles cannot be said to be efficient. My job is to follow their work
so I have to make sure that I follow them.

Mr. Speaker, that notwithstanding, we believe that there is room. We know that in our ports there are very serious problems going on.

Mr. Speaker, I want to recall an incident where a good relative of mine came with some materials to the port and I had a call from the agent asking me to ask my friend to come and see them. Of course I did not disclose who I was. That notwith-standing, this agent did collect some incentives from all the people who were around, not knowing that he was talking to me.

Mr. Speaker, when I asked that disciplinary action be taken against this person, I was visited by several prominent people including those on the other side, asking me why this person has been sent home for violating the rules of Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, our culture is such that any time there is a sanction, you get calls about they having a family, they having this and they having that. Mr. Speaker, but in this case the revenue agencies kept the gentleman home for a year. Since then, I understand, he has come back and he has become one of the most efficient collectors of the revenue agencies.

Mr. Speaker, I want to appeal to all of us to note that in this our system, unless sanctions are seen to be applied and applied properly, we will have difficulty with our revenue agencies. There are difficulties, Mr. Speaker. Their numbers are very big and we need to help them do very well.

Mr. Speaker, I want to end on a very simple matter. There is a joke, or maybe it is a reality that if you leave the university and you have a first class, the first preference of a job is to go to the

Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS). Mr. Speaker, I wonder why that is the case. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.
PAPERS 11:20 a.m.


Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill and this Report are so important and I believe all of us would support them.
Mr. Speaker, I am particularly happy about the setting up of the Motor Compensation Fund which fund would benefit people who previously did not have anything when they were involved in accidents.
Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of the term “hit and run”. Most of the time, victims of such accidents happen not to be able to get to those who hit them or those who cause injury to them. They suffer and at the end of the day they come out from hospital thinking that they may get something like compensation or claim, but they are faced with a situation where they do not even know the cars that hit them. The introduction of this fund, Mr. Speaker, is going a long way to help such people who find themselves in such a predicament.
Mr. Speaker, I remember vividly an
incident which happened somewhere in the 1980s, where many people travelling on a bus were involved in an accident and about thirteen of them died. Some were injured, but at the end of the day they had no insurance. This was so because the vehicle was uninsured. When they tried to access compensation they realized that the vehicle was uninsured and so they could not get anything. When appeals were made to those insurance companies they thought could help, they said that once they were not insured with them these people had no compensation.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say seriously that
this fund when it is established, should be so managed that its management should
be transparent. Because Mr. Speaker, in some instances, it is mostly those who are deprived, those who are in the lower income bracket, who find themselves in such situations. They come out from hospital, they might have even taken loans to get themselves treated, hoping when they get out of the hospital they would get some insurance, but most of the time they are left without any compensation.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the introduction of this fund is so good and all of us should support this Bill.
Capt. N. Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP --
Berekum): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this motion.
Mr. Speaker, insurance is a major
aspect of every economy and indeed, any economy that seeks to develop needs insurance because insurance companies take care of the risk aspect of all businesses. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the problem we have in this country is that with some of the insurance companies when there is a problem and you want to make a claim after payment of premium and all your papers are correct, it is a long battle, a long frustrating battle; and you would end up wondering why you should even take an insurance policy in the first place.
Mr. Speaker, I think this law that we
want to pass, consolidating all the new developments, the new standards and making sure that insurance practice in Ghana is proper, is a good step we are taking in this House.
Mr. Speaker, I am particularly interested in the aspect of fire insurance. We have an existing law about the need for all public buildings to be insured against fire and I wonder whether we enforce it. We have the National Fire Service whose duty primarily is to promote fire protection of the society but, Mr. Speaker, because we do not enforce the laws and regulations on
fire insurance and so on, the Fire Service sits there almost unemployed, as it were. The problems we have is that every now and then one would hear fire has broken out at such and such a place and so much property is lost and cash is also lost.
Mr. Speaker, I think this aspect of the
Bill dealing with fire insurance for all commercial and public buildings is a step in the right direction.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would encourage all my hon. Colleagues to support this Bill.
Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah (NDC --
South Tongu): Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of the Bill and to reflect with satisfaction that the days when companies could not meet claims from prospective applicants is indeed over. They used not to meet claims due to sometimes bankruptcy, which resulted in insurance companies folding; but thanks to PNDC Laws 78 and 227 which ultimately led to the establishment of the National Insurance Commission to oversee the smooth running of the industry.
Mr. Speaker, to the extent that this Bill
seeks to introduce healthy competition among practitioners, it is most welcome. In my opinion the insurance industry is not expanding as one would expect. Whilst the portfolio of products may have increased over the years, my recollection of the establishment of a new insurance company dates back to more than a decade ago. Mr. Speaker, this is in contrast to the prevailing competition in the banking sector now, where in a matter of three, four years the number of banks that have come into our system has grown considerably. It is my prayerful hope, Mr. Speaker, that as a most congenial and enabling atmosphere is created for competition to thrive, the players in the insurance industry would take advantage to improve upon services

so that the insured would consider it a worthwhile exercise in taking insurance policies in the first place.

Mr. Speaker, I beg to support the motion.

Dr. Richard W. Anane (NPP --

Nhyiaeso): Mr. Speaker, the fact that a regulatory and protected framework is now going to be provided for the insurance industry, other than the National Health Insurance is commendable. But Mr. Speaker, I only have one small observation to make and that observation has to do with clause 129 -- the creation of a motor fund.

Mr. Speaker, I am of the view that

sub-clause (c) of clause 129 seems to be misplaced and therefore I want to suggest that a new subclause altogether should be substituted for subclause (c), at the appropriate time. Subsequently also, I am requesting that this new subclause (c) should make provision for part of this fund to be placed under the National Health Insurance to cater for accident cases when they arrive at the hospitals.

Mr. Speaker, if we have a fund that caters, without any discrimination, for all accident cases, then an accident victim would not be asked whether he has registered under the National Health Insurance Scheme before he is catered for. So these are what I want to give notice for, so that at the appropriate time the necessary amendments are made.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC -- Lawra/Nandom) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Bill and to indicate three areas that I think are very important, in the light of these legislative changes.

One of the first problems is that banking

and non-banking financial institutions have been caught up with the level of capital adequacy which the banking law has adequately addressed. Because moneys are actually collected from the public and these moneys are supposed to actually be a safety net in the event of some contingency occurring, it is always important that there is a regulatory framework to ensure proper monitoring, that this money is indeed there.

That is why I am particularly happy that the reserve provisions that have been done and the amount of financial holding and the amount of paid-up shares that are required in liquid cash must be maintained at some level.

But it would be important that we put this as a very clear ratio in terms of the overall incomings or what comes there, and what goes to the bank and what is available within the particular insurance company. We need to do a proper risk assessment within this particular industry to be sure that the amount of money that is kept at the Bank of Ghana and what remains and cannot be expended by the insurance company will cover, on the average, the likely event against which the insurance has been made.

Another area that we need to look at

very closely is the processes of settling insurance claims. It has become quite fashionable now, with very doubtful legal basis, why even in comprehensive insurance when a settlement is going to be done, a precondition is a contribution from the claimant. Quite often they put it at 10 per cent and that insurance payment would not be effected until there is a contribution of an agreed amount to cover the actual cost of the damage that has occurred. I think this area needs to be looked at critically because the assumption in the contribution is that one is also involved in contributing to the negligence, based

on the situation that has occurred.

But once the matter has not been determined in court and it has been indicated that the claimant contributed, the contribution that is required during settlement becomes a problem. I guess that is why we need to take a closer look at the required amendment and see where we can make additional requirements to ensure that the industry is properly regulated.

Question put and motion agreed to.

The Insurance Bill was accordingly

read a Second time.

STAGE 11:40 a.m.

  • [Resumption of Consideration from 16/11/06]
  • Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we
    want to abandon the proposed amendment in clause 25.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    You have a second
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, at the
    Second Consideration Stage, we would revisit that particular issue because we have proposed some amendments that were carried in respect of the same amendment that we are proposing.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    So in the meantime you
    are withdrawing it?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Then there is the third amendment which is in the name of hon. Appiah-Ofori.
    Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with the withdrawal of that particular amendment, I also want to stand mine down until I have seen what they are bringing.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member, are you withdrawing it for the meantime?
    Mr. Appiah-Ofori 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, yes.
    Clause 25 stood down.
    Clause 26 -- Retention of seized property.
    Mr. Appiah-Ofori 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I lost a similar amendment yesterday so I do not want to move this. I want to withdraw it.
    Amendment by leave withdrawn.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    There is also an amendment to clause 26 in the name of the Chairman of the Committee.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, before I move the amendment, I want to draw your attention to the fact that there is some mistake in the way that amendment is captured on the Order Paper. We want to withdraw that and bring another amendment to replace it.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Do you want to rephrase or withdraw?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, to rephrase it.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Go ahead.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 26, subclause (3), delete and substitute the following:
    “Subsect ion (2) shal l apply

    i r respect ive of the owner 's involvement in the commission of the offence that led to the seizure of the property.”
    Alhaji Sumani Abukari 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not get it right. If what I heard is what he said, then I think yesterday we rejected a certain amendment because we thought that the owner of the property might not necessarily even live there and the person who has committed the offence could be a tenant; that is why we refused the word “shall” and said “may”.
    It would be unjust to say that the property should be seized because somebody who is staying in the property has committed an illegal act which is not connected at all to the owner of the property, who is not there. So if that is what he is saying again, then I oppose the amendment. I would say that we should reject it outright.
    Mr. J. Y. Chireh 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think that this amendment is not proper because of the fact that when we were talking about the forfeiture we did not want to give discretion to the court but some people opposed that we should give the court discretion; and this House unanimously agreed and gave that discretion. If now we have given discretion to the court to be able to decide whether to confiscate or not, we cannot say again that irrespective or whether -- Let us remove this cantankerous amendment and let the thing flow; otherwise we would be inconsistent in the making of this law.
    Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Wa West, which clause is cantankerous?
    Mr. Chireh 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the amendment is a subclause by itself and it says that subsection (2) shall apply irrespective of the owner's connection to the seizure of the property; and that is the one I am saying is cantankerous. We should not tolerate it at all.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, what we agreed on at the committee level was that when the offence is committed, even if the owner of the property is not aware that that property was being used to commit that offence, it should still be forfeited to the State. I think that was what we agreed on.
    Alhaji Abukari 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Deputy Chairman has still not understood the point. Yesterday, on this floor, hon. Appiah-Ofori sought to amend clause 25 (2) to say that no discretion should be given a judge and that any property which was used for the commission or for an illegal transaction under this Act should be confiscated.

    This House decided that the judge must be given the discretion as to whether it should be confiscated or not. One of the cogent reasons was that the word “shall” does not give the discretion to the judge but the owner of the property may have rented it to somebody else who might be using it to commit the illegal offence; or the property could be a family property that belongs to several people, which is not owned by an individual so it will not be fair, or just to confiscate such a property just because the person occupying it at a time is a criminal or has committed a criminal act. We said we should leave that discretion to the judge.

    Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons is that the judge may find out that, after all, he is not the owner and it is not just to confiscate it. Therefore we cannot go by the same breath now and say that irrespective of whether he is there or not, it should be confiscated. The two will conflict. I think we have already taken a decision on that and I would advise the hon. Deputy Chairman to humbly withdraw

    the amendment.
    Mr. William Ofori Boafo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree to some extent with the hon. Vice- Chairman that clause 26 (3) should be deleted. This is because clause 26 (3) should be in the “Interpretation” column, that is, the definition of a prescribed authority. But even, under the “Interpretation” column, “prescribed authority” is already defined. It is more expansive than what is contained under clause 26 (3). Clause 26 (3) curtails the definition of “prescribed authority”. So I agree with him to some extent that clause 26 (3) should be deleted.
    But Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with him on the substitution of the new paragraph. And Mr. Speaker, the reason is that if you look at clause 25 (2), it caters for what is being sought by the new proposed paragraph, in the sense that the owner is being given the chance to make a claim even if he is not involved in the crime on the premises and the premises is being forfeited. But the hon. Vice- Chairman is saying that they are not pursuing the cause against clause 25 (2); they are waiting for the Second Consideration Stage.
    Mr. Speaker, my humble submission
    is that it will be better for the hon. Vice- Chairman to also stand down the proposed insertion of the new paragraph, clause 26 (3) and await the Second Consideration Stage so that these two can be taken together.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon. Chairman, what do
    you say to that? Are you withdrawing it?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    believe at this stage, we would want to withdraw that amendment.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    All right, withdrawn.
    Amendment by leave withdrawn.
    Clauses 26 and 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 28 -- Offences.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we
    are abandoning the proposed amendment in view of what we have already said of clause 25; it is almost the same -- that it should stand as it is.
    Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we cannot
    stand it down. This is because it is from the “Republic” to “State”. That is the amendment there. And we have to be consistent because yesterday we said we should delete the “Republic” and insert “State”.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it looks
    as if my hon. Colleague is not following what we are doing. What I said was that we earlier on moved that wherever “Republic” appeared we should substitute it with “State”. But I said that we want to go back to maintain the “Republic” because the draftsmen who were in meeting with us said that all over the best practice is the “Republic” and not the “State”; and we thought we saw reason in their line of argument.
    Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, by what
    motion is he saying this? This is because we have already adopted, as a House, the clause which changes this. So unless he comes by a substantive motion to say or unless we come to the Second Consideration Stage, he cannot just say that we should change it.
    Clause 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 29 -- General penalties.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we
    are abandoning our proposed amendment and the reason is that earlier on we had admitted “four years” instead of “five

    years” -- to maintain consistency.
    Mr. Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    You are abandoning it?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, in
    order to maintain consistency.
    Clause 29 ordered to stand part of the
    Clause 30 -- Regulations.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg
    to move, clause 30, subclause (1) delete and substitute the following:
    “The Minister may by legislative instrument make Regulations for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.”
    Mr. Chireh 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I would only support it upon a subsequent amendment -- to add:
    “The Minister may, on the advice of the Bank, make Regulations for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.”
    Mr. Speaker, if you look at it, the Ministry is not the one to handle the implementation of this Act; it is likely to be done by the Bank. So the Bank, once it is implementing, will begin to see the problems that arise, the difficulties that it will face and based on its own recommendations or advice to the Minister, the Minister may then make the Regulations -- [Interruptions] -- No, it is not implied. This is because the Minister can also unilaterally decide to just make regulations which may not be proper for the Bank.
    Mr. John Ndebugre noon
    Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with this amendment because the purpose of the original formulation is so, such that the Minister would be guided in the sort of things that the instrument
    may relate to. Mr. Speaker, if we refer to clause 30 (i) (g), we would see that what the amendment seeks to do has been put there -- to provide for any other matter necessary for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.
    So he has truncated the whole thing by just lifting that short thing and putting it there without losing the value in the guidance. So I agree that the Chairman and his Vice-Chairman may reconsider this thing, otherwise we will vote against it.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu noon
    Mr. Speaker, I would, with your leave seek to proceed to ask for further amendment, that the rendition should read as follows:
    “The Minister may in consultation with the bank make regulations for the effective implementation of this Act.”
    I would further ask that we delete the words, “of the provisions of this Act”. An Act certainly has provisions, so I would urge the Vice-Chairman to delete “of the provisions . . .” and further add “may” on the advice of the Bank.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    Chairman of the Committee, what do you say to that?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon
    Mr. Speaker, we would maybe want to agree with “in consultation with the Bank”. But “the provisions of the Act” are relevant to what the Minister is required to do by the legislative instrument (L.I).
    Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah noon
    Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. Chairman is asking us to abandon what has been drafted elaborately and clearly, giving details as to what should guide the Minister; he is asking us to abandon it and this has been crowded in one sentence without explanation. Why is he changing it at this stage? If the draft as it is remains on the books, it would have the same effect as what he is introducing; why is he --
    Mr. Speaker noon
    Chairman, what do you
    say to that?
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon
    Mr. Speaker, what we wanted to do is to simply allow the Minister to make regulations for the effective implementation of the Act, but we thought putting the minutiae might tie the hands of the Minister. But we wanted a situation where he could, so long as anything that assists in the smooth implementation of the Act goes, do so by legislative instrument.
    Mr. Dzirasah noon
    Mr. Speaker, if that is the explanation, I would let him advert his mind to clause 30 (1) (g); there is an omnibus paragraph there which says, and with your permission, I quote:
    “. . . to provide for any other matter necessary for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.”
    So the Minister's hand is not tied at all. I advise that he should just withdraw it and we can continue.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon
    Mr. Speaker, I believe it is in order; we want to withdraw.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    But there was a point which was made which I think is important for us to clarify. It says the Minister “may” or “in consultation with . . .” what? What do you have there? That is important. [Pause.] I thought you had agreed to this, that is, the Minister cannot by himself do it except in consultation with the Bank. I thought that was the first item to be amended.
    Dr. Kunbuor noon
    Mr. Speaker, it seems we are having a difficulty here. When you provide that a particular institution must do something in consultation with -- It is not a compulsory type of situation. A consultation can be before or after and we can still be satisfied. When you add “may” to it then it further gives the impression
    that he does not have to do it at all. So if it were “on the advice of”, which is binding, then “may” can come in that particular context.
    But if it is “in consultation”, then we do not have to have “may”. That is why I thought that the original amendment that we had here addressed the problem, and we do not need to bring in “in consultation with” or in any other arrangement. Let us bear in mind that the regulations are subsidiary legislations and when we are passing them they must be in accord with the substantive legislation.
    So if the tenor of the substantive legislation is to make sure that we do not hold the hand of the Minister in this matter, going on to try and put that in the specific case of regulations can create some difficulty. I thought the amendment as it stood did not prevent or do any violence to what they want the Minister to do in terms of regulations.
    Why I am worried about adding “in consultation” or “on the advice of the Bank” is that the Bank on its own cannot come before this House. Why do we give it the semblance of a power that is capable of doing so, so that if the Minister does not do the consultation then that raises a legal issue? It gets a bit messy. Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    In any case you have withdrawn this amendment.
    Clause 30 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    New Clause --
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, new clause add a new clause as follows:
    “Refusal of Licence
    (1) Where the Bank refuses to grant a licence to the applicant, the
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon

    Bank shall inform the applicant in writing of its decision and the reasons for the decision within three months after the receipt of the application.

    (2) A person whose application is refused may petition the Minister in writing.

    (3) The Minister shall refer the matter to a panel.

    (4) The panel shall consist of three experts one chosen by the Bank and two by the Minister.

    (5) The panel shall prepare a report which shall be submitted to the Minister for his decision.”
    Mr. Dzirasah noon
    Mr. Speaker, I think that he should guide us as to where it should be located and see whether it is even necessary at all, because once it is coming as a new clause, I may assume that it is going to be brought after “Regulations”, or anywhere; if he can just guide us.
    Mr. Speaker noon
    Hon. Member for South Tongu, if you are agreeable to it then leave it to the draftspersons to find the appropriate place.
    Mr. Dzirasah noon
    Very well, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Ndebugre noon
    Mr. Speaker, I do not oppose the amendment, but subclause (4) is rather rendered in a not-so-elegant language, so I just want to point out that we should indeed marry subclauses (3) and (4) and just say that “the Minister shall refer the matter to a panel of three experts, one to be appointed by the Bank and two by the Minister . . .” instead of “chosen”. Chosen is not a very good word in the circumstance.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo noon
    Mr. Speaker, we have no objection since it does not take anything away from what we want to achieve.
    Mr. William Ofori Boafo 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if you go back to clause 5 (2) of the Bill, that is page 4, there we have provisions relating to refusal and with your permission, I quote:
    “Where the Board refuses to grant a licence to the applicant, the Board shall inform the applicant in writing of its decision and the reasons for the decision within three months after the receipt of the application.”
    Mr. Speaker, if you look at the proposed
    Mr. Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Deputy Minister,
    your attention is going to be drawn to what happened maybe in your absence.
    Alhaji Abukari 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I think
    you have taken the wind out of my sail. That is exactly what I wanted to do. The hon. Deputy Minister was not here when we deleted clause 5 (2). Clause 5 (2) was deleted and I think that is why there is cause for this one to come here, because we said clause 13 did not make provision for 5 (2).
    Mr. Chireh 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, precisely
    because of that, I thought it should not be a new clause altogether. In fact, it was supposed to go in spite of the clause 5, because in clause 5 we deleted subclauses (2) and (3). But the reason we were concerned was that if we go to clause 13, it has a different provision as far as giving reasons or conditions for it is concerned.
    So when we say it is new -- That is why I think the sense will be lost unless of course the draftspersons will begin to merge what is in clause 5 with what is now in this clause.
    New Clause ordered to stand part of
    the Bill.
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to
    move, add a new clause as follows:
    The Bank may by notice make rules as prescribed in this Act.”
    Question put and amendment agreed
    New Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Clause 13 -- Amendment proposed -- Add a new subclause as follows:
    “The Minister shall act in accordance with the procedure specified in section 6 of this Act.”
    Mr. Agyei-Addo 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with
    your permission and agreement, we asked that this be stood down yesterday. We now want to abandon this since it has already been catered for under the new clause that we requested to be added, and which has been moved and carried.
    Amendment by leave withdrawn. Clause 13 as amended ordered to stand
    part of the Bill.
    Clauses 31 to 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr. Okerchiri 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in view
    of the fact that we have a lot of committee meetings, I respectfully move, that this House do now adjourn till Tuesday, 21st November, 2006 at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg
    to second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:10 p.m.