Debates of 6 Jul 2007

PRAYERS 10:10 a.m.


Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Correction of Votes and Proceedings - Thursday, 5th July, 2007. [There were no corrections made.]

Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10:10 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Mr. Speaker, the Committee has scheduled seven (7) Ministers to respond to various Questions and an Urgent Question.
The details of the Questions are as follows:
No. of
those scheduled for Tuesday.
Urgent Question(s)
Mr. Speaker, one (1) Urgent Question
has also been programmed for the week. The Question stands in the name of the hon. Member for Wa West, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh and it is to be answered by the hon. Minister for the Upper West Region.
Mr. Speaker, in all, twenty-four (24) Questions and one (1) Urgent Question have been scheduled to be answered.
Mr. Speaker, you may allow Statements
which have been duly admitted to be made in the House.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr. Speaker, Bills, Papers and Reports may be presented to the House for consideration and other businesses which have already been presented to the House would also be considered.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr. Speaker, Motions may be debated and the appropriate Resolutions would be taken where required.
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 taken during the week. Tuesday, 10th July, 2007
Questions --
Minister for the Interior - 954, 970,
993, 999, 1010
Minister for Fisheries - 1065
Laying of Papers --
Report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
Motions --
(a) Second Reading of Bills --
Statutory Instruments (Amend- ment) Bill
(b) Private Member's Motion
That this honourable House i s d i s a p p o i n t e d b y t h e Government's inability to end the energy crisis, almost a year after it started and expresses its lack of confidence in the current handling of the crisis and urges Government to adopt an effective programme to address the crisis.
(Moved by the hon. Member for Tamale South, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, on Tuesday, 19th June 2007 and seconded by the hon. Member for South Dayi, Dr. Kwame Ampofo.)
Amendment Proposed - Delete all the words after “House” and substitute the following:
“having been briefed by the Minister responsible for Energy on Government's plans to generate more power to end the power- shortages which have occurred in the country over the past two and a half decades commends Govern- ment for those plans and urges Government to implement same
i. Minister for the Interior 5
ii. Minister for Fisheries 1
iii. Minister for Health 5
iv. Minister for the Western Region 1
v. Minister for Harbours and Railways 3
vi. Minister for Presidential Affairs 3
vii. Minister for the Upper West Region 1
Total Number of Questions 19 Mr. Speaker, there is an addendum to the Questions that the Minister for Finance
and Economic Planning is scheduled to answer today. It is not possible for the Minister to be around today because he is also attending to another equally
important assignment on behalf of the State. I have discussed with the Minister and he has agreed that we can schedule those Questions to be answered along with
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10:10 a.m.
(Moved by the hon. Member for Asokwa, Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, on Tuesday, 19th June 2007 and seconded by the hon. Member for Ofoase-Ayirebi, Mr. David Oppong- Kusi.)

Committee Sittings.

Questions --

Minister for Health - 1004, 1005, 1006, 1018 and 1034

Minister for the Western Region

- 1128

Laying of Papers --

Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Amendment to the Mining Lease dated 5th March 1994 between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited.

Consideration Stage of Bills --

Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill

Committee Sittings.

Questions --

Minister for Harbours and Railways - 1007, 1035 and 1083

Motion --

Second Reading of Bills --

Anti-Money Laundering Bill

Committee Sittings.

Urgent Question --
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh (Wa West) 10:10 a.m.
To ask the Upper West Regional Minister what immediate steps the Regional Security Council is taking to combat armed robbery which is leading to loss of lives and property of travellers on the Wa- Kumasi road.
Question --
Minister for Presidential Affairs - 1085, 1103 and 1126
Minister for the Upper West Region
- 1124
Motion --
Third Reading of Bills --
Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill
Committee Sittings.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Members, that is the Business Statement for the week and it is for the consideration of the House.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I filed a Question for the hon. Minister for Education, Science and Sports to tell us the amount of money that we got from the private sector, FIFA and the Government itself to support the World Cup and how the moneys were disbursed. The Question was advertised two weeks ago but strangely, it has vanished.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.

So I want to know from the hon. Majority Leader why that Question has been dropped.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought my hon. Colleague, a member of leadership, should have followed the usual procedure in such matters. But since he wants the answer; let me say the hon. Minister was not immediately available. The Business Committee would not want to programme a Minister to be around when there is sufficient evidence that he would not be immediately available.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it was programmed two weeks ago, even advertised in the Order Paper, but subsequently it has disappeared. I want to know why the Question has disappeared. It is not as if the Question was filed this week. I want to know why.
I am also aware that when Ministers are not available, they always seek the leave of Mr. Speaker for their Deputies to stand in their stead. So I do not think I am happy with the response.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, anytime a Deputy Minister is to come here, I normally seek the consent of my hon. Colleague, the Minister, so that he may not send a Deputy Minister who may come without all the information. He needs to be sufficiently briefed.
For a Question like this coming from a whole hon. Deputy Minority Whip, one wants to be sure that the Answer is the best under all circumstances. We will not want to gamble and send any Deputy Minister. Unless the Deputy has been briefed -- He was not available to brief the Deputy and therefore said he would want to come and answer the Question himself. It shows the great respect he has for this honourable
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times the hon. Majority Leader and Chairman of the Business Committee and, for that matter, this House, wants to be reminded about a Private Member's Motion on the Bank of Ghana making full disclosure to this House about how much of the taxpayers' money has been used for the re-denomination of the new Ghana cedis.
Mr. Speaker, consistently this is about the third time that I am raising this matter. Apart from the fact that a Question we filed which ordinarily should be treated as urgent, Mr. Speaker, exercising his powers, chose to admit it as an ordinary one; which means that it may be redundant, and we think that relying on the Private Member's Motion is important. We need to be informed of what the Business Committee is doing about it.
My second issue is that -- two, three days ago it was advertised -- I filed a Question, for the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to answer, on the status of the Freedom of Information Bill. He was not here; it was not answered; we have heard the Business Statement for the coming week and no reference was made to it.
Mr. Speaker, you are aware that this House will soon rise and I hope we are not, as usual, stampeded in the last few hours of this House rising with what somebody may consider important. We think that these matters must be addressed now.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought you were going to rule on some aspects of the statement made. I do not think I want to discuss the integrity of the Speaker when he decides what Questions are urgent and what is not urgent. I thought for that reason I would not want to be part of a debate that is going to discuss
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the House just read the Business Statement to us and he said that because the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning could not avail himself today, on Tuesday, we will bring these Questions slated for today on board. That will mean that for Tuesday we will have eleven Questions. And we have programmed on the same day to conclude the debate on the Private Member's Motion and take a vote on same Private Member's Motion. I just want us to be mindful of it so that we stick to the one hour for Question time. Eleven Questions, one hour -- I thought that was going to be a tall order.
The second issue relates to the Urgent
Question slated for Friday. Mr. Speaker, if my memory serves me right, just last week, there was a Statement on this same motion. So I guess the issue then bounces back to us. On such Statements, what do we do?
I guess, if maybe, there had been some directive from the Chair relating to this, perhaps this Question would not even be necessary because it would only be repetitive. If for instance, that very day we had the hon. Minister responsible for the Interior here when the Statement was being made, he could have responded adequately to measures that are being taken by his Ministry and that would have rendered this Urgent Question redundant.
As it is, maybe the Ministry was not informed about the pendency of the Statement, and because of that there was no representation here and we have to come back to the same issue.
Mr. Speaker, this brings us to a discussion that we had at the Business Committee yesterday, that with Statements, we have to look at how to really make Statements effective. If a Statement is to be made and both sides are informed in advance, then perhaps, the relevant Ministry could be represented and appropriate responses could be given. If they are not sufficient, then we could have a directive from the Chair in pursuit of what to do with regard to that particular Statement.
Mr. Speaker, I thought that relating to the discussion at the Business Committee, maybe, we could chart a new way forward with respect to such Statements and Questions.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Majority Leader, do you want to make a

Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought these are general theories and general suggestions -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well, I think the point is well taken. Hon. Chief Whip, I think the points you have raised are legitimate and worth considering. The Business Committee, in looking at these would factor in the sentiments that you have expressed.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ashaiman, do you have a point?
Mr. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point raised by the hon. Member for Tamale South with regard to this issue about the amount of money used in printing the currency, the hon. Majority Leader has given an answer which, Mr. Speaker, I believe, is not direct to the point.
This is so because last Friday I raised the matter in reference to what the hon. Member has said and the Majority Leader said he was going to consult and that today we would see it clear in black and white. Unfortunately, what he said does not, with respect, answer the question as to whether the Governor would be obliged to come before this House or the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, who I heard on various radio stations saying that apart from the Governor he is not in a position to tell this nation how much it costs.
I think this is an issue with which the hon. Leader should be able to come out clearly for us to know whether the Governor is refusing or has refused totally
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, you have made your point.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not remember my hon. Colleague asking that he wanted -- I would tell him what he asked for. He said he wanted to be taught how to do the calculations and I said that I could arrange with the Governor, because he has a department and can even come to his constituency and take them through the manuals as to how to do the calculations. Another person also raised an issue -- I am told it is rather hon. Iddrisu -- and I said I had checked through the Standing Orders, and I had not been sufficiently clothed to commandeer the Governor to come before us -- in the light of the Act we have passed making the Bank of Ghana an independent Authority.
But there are other methods we can use; the Finance Committee can call him through the usual methods but calling
him to be on the floor, I needed a special permission of the Speaker, the Leadership and your goodself before I brought the Governor here the other day. Now having done that, I cannot rely only on the hon. Member for Ashaiman's sole request to -- [Interruption] -- flaunt the laws of the land.
Please, if he can help me, on which Standing Order or Act should I rely to bring an independent office like the Governor's? -- [Interruption] -- I will continue to win -- [Laughter.] So please, let us discuss with the Leadership, his Leader and perhaps -- When matters are raised which have not appeared before the Business Committee --
He is trying to let me act as a sole person determining the Business of the House. But this is a Committee that has met, with hon. John Tia, the hon. Member for Jomoro (Mr. Lee Ocran) and of course, hon. Akua Dansua who is a very prominent member of the Business Committee.
Therefore may I suggest that this is a matter, which my hon. Colleagues would take up with the hon. Minority Leader, and perhaps when the hon. Minority Leader is sufficiently convinced he may be able to bring suggestions as to how we are going to use the Bank of Ghana Act and use our Standing Orders and things like that to secure a solution -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, I suppose I have given you enough information to make you be in a position to give your directives and advice on this issue.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
On that issue, I think bringing in a non-Minister is not as direct as when a Minister is required to appear before the House. The Business Committee would have to do appropriate
consultations with the Leadership of both sides, and of course with the leave of the Speaker, in order to bring him.
So once the matter has been brought to the notice of the Chairman of the Business Committee, you would look through the various steps that have to be taken to bring him. If you have a consensus in the Leadership, the Chair can then come in.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the light of what my hon. Colleague said today and the other day, I wish he discusses it with his Leader first so that before we meet, I would have seen which angle my hon. Colleague the Minority Leader is coming from. Because if I look at it and say that I am not sure I have sufficient authority to work on it, he may still not find it a comfortable solution. But if he passes it through his Leadership, then we may be building some consensus at a faster pace. That is why I am pleading that it is done that way.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know why we are belabouring this point. The question that is being asked is very, very important. When you listen to the radio stations, when you go to places, people want to know how much it cost to print the currencies -- [Interruption] -- People want to know -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Order! Order! Deputy Minority Whip, I think being in the leadership, there is no point dragging this matter. It has been clearly suggested that the Leadership can confer and the right steps would be taken in order to get what hon. Members want. So there is no point in stressing whether it is important or it is not important. I think that is clear enough so let us save time and make progress.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that the Governor has been here before. We also can meet the
Governor. The heads of the various agencies like Head of the Common Fund and others who cannot come here whilst we are Sitting, have been brought here to meet us sitting in Committee. I do not know why we are shouting the way we are shouting. We have the right to speak.
We have been voted here to come and speak and if you do not want to talk about issues -- We can talk about issues because our constituents want to know how much money was used in printing -- our constituents are aware that anybody who goes out to do business prepares estimates, prepares budget. So we have the right to speak. [Interruption.] -- If you do not want to speak you cannot gag us; you cannot.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Deputy Minority Whip, can you hear the Chair?
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Deputy Minority Whip, I have already indicated that you being in the leadership, if you have agreed that this is a very important matter that should be discussed, there is nothing that prevents the Leadership from discussing it and taking the necessary position. The backbenchers are not part of the Leadership and therefore they cannot meet and decide on it; it is the members of the Leadership who can do that.
So instead of belabouring the point, I am saying that the Majority Leader has suggested that the hon. Member can pass it through the Minority Leader. And he would bring it up and as a joint action they would look at it. I think it should not be something that should be subject to dragging.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:40 a.m.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I want -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Clerk's Office has just advised me that in fact, the Finance Committee is paying a working visit to the Bank of Ghana today and I believe that -- [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, I thought that they said they wanted to be patient and listen and have a very good debate in the House; this was the agreement we had yesterday. But now that they are shouting left and right -- Mr. Speaker, I rest my case.
Maj. (Dr.) (Alhaji) Ahmed (retd): Mr. Speaker, I have two major concerns. The first concern is about the answers that the Majority Leader gave in respect of the question by the hon. Member for Ashaiman. The Majority Leader makes it appear as if the request is only coming from the hon. Member for Ashaiman and therefore does not carry so much weight.
I would like to state that I am also requesting, as a Member of Parliament, that this question be treated urgently and steps should be taken to ensure that the Governor is brought here to answer the Questions. I believe that even if it is a messenger anywhere in this country who has vital answers that we need, we should be able to bring him to this place to give us answers to the Questions.
Mr. Speaker, my other point is that I
asked an Urgent Question about flooding in my constituency. The rains have started with their attendant havoc but up till now nothing is being done. The Question was advertised two weeks ago and I was expecting that today, the Majority Leader would say something about it but it has not been mentioned. So I would like to hear from him whether this Question would appear next week.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think the records must be set straight. The issue about how much we have spent on printing new currencies and
so on, I believe, is a very germane matter which this House should concern itself with. I think the issue in contention relates to the modus. Which vehicle do we use to arrive at this discussion?
Mr. Speaker, we are being told that it is a Question that has been filed. Mr. Speaker, you just ruled that in your opinion the Leadership should confer on this and decide on which vehicle to use.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Order! Order! Please, go on.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, he cannot be brought to the House to answer Questions; we do not have the authority. People are saying that insofar as the printing of the currency involved public money, he could be brought here. Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely incorrect, otherwise people would begin to say that the next step is to bring the Chief Justice here and question her on the floor of the House. We know that Parliament is not clothed with that authority. Mr. Speaker, people should know this. So it is the vehicle.
Mr. Speaker, we could look at some other medium. For instance, if the Committee on Finance could invite him then of course equally and by extension we could say that Parliament sitting in a committee, that is the Committee of the Whole, could invite him. What we did the other time, which some of us thought was wrong, was that we invited him, of course, by consensus to appear before us in a closed Sitting and the closed Sitting
is part of plenary.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Order! Order!
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:40 a.m.
As the Deputy Minority Whip is saying, people are minded or purposed to gag some other -- far be from that; Mr. Speaker, far be from that. As I said, this is a matter of national concern, so people want us to believe. Let us find an appropriate means to address this matter and to me that is the most important thing.
It is not a matter of any group or any person wanting to gag the other. For the moment, what we do know is that it has not come before the Business Committee. Let us see if together -- that is the Business Committee and the Leadership of the House -- we can fashion out a way to have this matter addressed. To me, that is the way to go instead of some hon. Members getting up and making it appear as if somebody wants to gag the other. It is not true and it would not be true; all of us are concerned.
rose rose rose
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Members, please resume your seats. Hon. Members, we are not going to let the House be moved away from the main issue that we are discussing. We are discussing the Business Statement. I gathered from
the Majority Leader and Chairman of the Business Committee that the matter -- [Interruptions] -- Let us have decorum from the frontbench. Hon. Deputy Minority Whip, the Whips are supposed to bring about order. The Whips are to aid order -- [Interruptions.]
Hon. Majority and Minority Leaders, I think you have to help your frontbench so that there would be some peace there. Hon. Members, it is absolutely unnecessary to drag the issue of procedure in having certain concerns addressed.

The Chairman of the Business Committee has not indicated any aversion to having the matter looked at. All that he did was to advise that the matter be brought through the Minority Leader so that it can be a strong basis for by-partisan leadership consideration. I think that is very fair and I do not think we should allow ourselves to get into a long debate about what to do.

Several hon. Members -- rose --
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I am not tolerating anything more on this issue of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana coming here. I think it is clear enough. The directive is that the Leadership should look at it and find the best procedure to adopt so that the concerns of hon. Members will be addressed.
Unless there is any other issue on the Business Statement, I will not tolerate
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.

anything on this.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the other issue I have to raise is about my Urgent Question to the Minister for the Interior about the involvement of the Security Services, particularly the police in the trafficking of drugs in this country. I saw it as an urgent issue that we must all discuss and help to find solutions to.
This thing has been pending for so many weeks and there is no indication whatsoever that that Question will be answered on the floor of this House. So I want the Majority Leader to tell this House why the Urgent Question has not been filed for next week.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I know the limit of my powers. I only come into the scheme when the Speaker has admitted Questions. I have checked up and as we sit here there is no Question admitted for the consideration of the Business Committee. I try to always operate within the rules of this House. The power to admit Questions is not vested in me either as the Leader of the House or the Chairman of the Business Committee.
So perhaps he can follow through the usual channels, through his Whip and see the status of his Question which, in his opinion, should be urgent.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
I think issues like these should not be pursued further on the floor of the House. If it is a question of the Business Committee not receiving approved Questions from the Speaker's table, then the best thing is to follow up after Sitting to see where it is, so that it will be duly brought up.
Alhaj i Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak: Mr. Speaker, I equally have the issue of Questions. There is this Urgent Question to the Ministry of
Finance and Economic Planning bordering on Act 650 which has to do with transfer of moneys by revenue agencies into the National Health Insurance Fund.
Mr. Speaker, as at the last time we had briefing, the outstanding amount for the year 2006 was about five hundred and sixty three billion cedis that has not been transferred. For the year 2007, though the Act states that you should transfer the money immediately after the month ends, no money has been transferred into the Fund.
I asked this Urgent Question, Mr. Speaker, two weeks now but I do not see it scheduled for even next week. I want to know from the Majority Leader what is happening to this Urgent Question.
Mr. OwusuAdjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the latest briefing I have had is that unfortunately the Speaker admitted it as a normal Question and not as an Urgent Question. Now that that has been brought to my attention, we will see how we can persuade the members of the Business Committee to find out whether with the little power the Committee has, they may be able to bring his Question ahead of others, of course, subject to the approval of other hon. Members who have also brought in equally important Questions earlier. So I will check up. But his Question is an ordinary Question and not an urgent one.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Subject to the observations that have been made on the Business Statement, the Business Statement stands as the order of business for next week.
PAPERS 10:50 a.m.

Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, we agreed that we will allow an hon. Member to pay a tribute -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, hon. Minority Leader, I thought we agreed that I will see the tribute and then admit it. But up to now, it has not come and that was why I proceeded.
Mr. Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, immediately I came, I made the tribute available to him to go through it and then get it across to you. I think that it is still with him. It is a short tribute. The funeral of the late hon. Goka, who was one time Minister for Finance is coming on this weekend.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Never mind, we will come back to Statements.
Hon. Majority Leader, what is the state of affairs with regard to motion number 7?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Chairman of the Committee is around but I will let the Majority Chief Whip respond to this matter.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we informed the Chair that there was supposed to be some consultation on the matter. Discussions have not been completed. Thus among the committee members, we thought that we could conclude it today. If we are able to do that then on Tuesday, we can take it. So Mr. Speaker, Tuesday next week, we can take item number 7.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Bagbin 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the position
of hon. Felix Owusu-Adjapong seems to be substantiating the allegations that he has resigned and he is no more the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, his position now. And if that is the situation then he has no authority to be laying Papers in this House.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Minority Leader, the position of Minister for Parliamentary Affairs so much affects Parliament that you can only talk about it when Parliament is duly informed. You have referred to it as rumours and we cannot count on rumours.
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not too sure whether my hon. Colleague is very worried about where I was sitting and that is why he felt he should raise this issue. I assure him that she is one of my serious advisers and when matters are of very serious importance, I consult her -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Members, there is a Statement.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Chief Whip, do you have the Statement?
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
Speaker, yes. Mr. Speaker, the matter that I wanted to bring to your attention is the withdrawal of L.I. 1832 -- Fishing Regulations 2007. Mr. Speaker, with your permission and further to the consultation that I had with the Minority Leader, I want to crave your indulgence and that of the House to allow the hon. Minister responsible for the Interior to withdraw the L.I. on behalf of the Minister.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
Yes, I understand that the L.I. was referred to a Committee which has not yet worked on it; and at that stage I think it is appropriate. Hon. Minister, you can go ahead and withdraw it.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah (on behalf of the Minister for Fisheries) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my hon. Colleague, the Minister for Fisheries, I beg to withdraw the Fisheries Regulations (2007), L.I. 1832, which was laid on Thursday, 7th June, 2007, and subsequently referred to the Committee.
Mr. Speaker, with your permission and with the indulgence of the House, I want to withdraw the draft regulations, for technical reasons.
Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
well. Leave granted.
  • [The L.I. 1832 was withdrawn by leave of the House.]
  • STATEMENTS 11 a.m.

    Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP -- Evalue- Gwira) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the tribute so eloquently paid by the hon. Member. Mr. Speaker, once again, this House has the duty of paying tribute to a founding father of this country who has also passed on. As we speak, we are paying tribute also to another senior citizen of this country, Justice Amua Sekyi in Takoradi. This is all to say that the older generation is gradually passing on, leaving the mantle of leadership of this country to some of us.
    Mr. Speaker, I got very close to Rev. Goka when I was the General Secretary of the People's National Convention (PNC) in the early days of our return to civilian rule when the ban on politics was lifted in 1992. Rev. Goka's role during that period was trying to bring reconciliation among the several splinter groups that had emerged out of the Convention People's Party (CPP) following the coup of 1981. He was a strong supporter of Dr. Hilla Limann, but he did not allow that to impede the reconciliatory role that he was playing between all the members.
    I remember him very well moving very often between his base in the Volta Region and Accra and with such stalwarts like the late Mr. Kuma, the late Omanhene of Asikado, Nana Kobina Nketia and a few others, trying to bring all the factions together. Albeit, it was not a very successful effort on his part; Rev. Goka did not give up.
    I also remember that when final attempts were made to put up a technical committee to look at the unity of the Nkrumahist parties, he again played the central role in putting heads together in trying to ask everybody to forget the past and to unite. It was a very trying time for him and, indeed, for me as secretary of the committee. I also had to be called by him
    Minister for the Interior (Mr. A. Kan-Dapaah) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was not fortunate enough to meet Rev. Goka while he lived, but I do know a number of people who knew him and who have talked about him to me. They all agree that he was first of all a gentleman and a real Ghanaian patriot who served his country very, very well.
    Mr. Speaker, as an Accountant, I do know that the profession always had some good words to say for what he did when he served as an hon. Minister for Finance. Today, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning is not in the House and the reason is that he is at the funeral of Rev. Goka which is ongoing at about now.
    He was one person who was held in high regard at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and indeed when one goes to the office of the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic today, one would find a very nice portrait of Rev. Goka on display at the office of the hon. Minister. Even if we did not have the chance to meet him, we have come to read about his contributions to the CPP in the initial days and, in fact, for all the time that the CPP was in power during the First Republic.
    Our country has seen some great, excellent men before and I have no doubt that Rev. Goka would go down in history not only among the people who supported and support the CPP; I think even people who were in opposition at the time do have very, very high regard for Rev. Goka for his outstanding contributions to the nation.
    As Rev. Goka goes to his Maker, I am sure he can feel happy in himself that he did leave behind a considerable achievement for his country and the legacy that he left would be remembered by all.
    Mr. Speaker, I have also been requested by my Colleague, the hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to express that he would have wished he were in the House today to make a Statement on Rev. Goka, but as I said earlier, he is at present with the family of Rev. Goka. The hon. Minister would want it to be on record that his Ministry appreciates the substantial role that Rev. Goka played. The whole Ministry is supporting the funeral activities that are ongoing and he wishes Rev. Goka well as he goes to his Maker.
    Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement made about the late hon. F. K. D. Goka. Those of us who were Convention People's Party (CPP) followers as students in those days cannot forget Mr. F. K. D. Goka. At that time he was not a Reverend Minister because he was appointed at the time to be Minister for Finance when the Compulsory Savings Act had been passed.
    The Compulsory Savings Act is what has become Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) of today. When the law was passed, not long after, the
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Member, address the issue.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I very much respect my Colleague, who is older in age. Mr. Speaker, I was attending to something from another Colleague, hon. Agbotse, which is very, very urgent. The whole House is listening to him so he cannot disparage me in that manner.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon. Members, let us do serious business.
    Mr. Ocran 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am on the issue. I will ignore my hon. Friend. I am on the issue.
    Mr. Speaker, it is good that this House always try to pay tribute to those who have served this country because it will be done to us too. We are serving the country in this House -- seriously serving the country under very serious conditions. Some people appreciate that; others do not. In this country we only appreciate the efforts of people when they are dead.
    I think we must change that attitude. We must appreciate people while they are alive. We should not allow people
    who have served, especially in the ranks of politicians to go out of politics hungry looking, destitute almost; it is bad. We all talk against corruption but we do not take care of our people who lead us.
    I had seen the situation of Mr. Goka. I saw him many times after 1991 and I did not think a man who had run the Ministry of Finance so honestly would have to depend on the church to survive. These are some of the things that we as a nation will have to think about. If we want people to be honest, we should take care of them, otherwise they will find ways to take care of themselves which will not be good enough. So on this occasion, I wish to say that may the soul of Mr. F. K. D. Goka rest in the bosom of the Lord.
    Minority Leader (Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, just to add my voice in paying tribute to a distinguished leader, politician and father. Mr. Speaker, I have read a bit about the late Mr. F. K. D. Goka and also listened to some people narrate the shining example of one of our forefathers.
    Mr. Speaker, this was a man who was a living testimony of the adage that it is only through hard work that we get success. There are no shortcuts to success at all. Mr. Speaker, a man who struggled through primary school to become a catechist and through catechism he became a teacher; through teaching he became a Member of Parliament, a Minister of State, and in fact, because of his humility, because of his dignity he ended up being called “The Father of Volta Region”.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a man who also served in the Public Service and ended in the Public Service as the Chairman of the Ghana Sugar Products Corporation. He led a very distinguished life and today we have
    the duty to honour and pay tribute to him.
    Mr. Speaker, this country is full of heroes and heroines; if we could only have good heads, cool heads and large hearts and dig deep into our history, it would be replete with a lot of wisdom, guidance, to develop this country faster than we are doing; but we seem to be plagued with the cacophonous noise of those who were before us having done nothing. And once we decide to close our eyes and ears and minds to all that our predecessor has done we definitely would be repeating the mistakes of the past; and that is where we find ourselves in, as a nation.
    I believe strongly that as a country we should place some resources at the disposal of some experts who can bring out some of these good qualities of our leadership, of Ghanaians, to guide the current generation and future generations. I think that it is fitting for us to doff our hats and wish the late F. K. D. Goka a very peaceful transition to our Maker and pray that at the end of the day we shall meet each other in Heaven where we belong.
    Mr. B. D. K. Adu 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of information. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who just spoke made a sweeping statement that we shall be in Heaven where we all belong. Not all belong to Heaven but those who do the will of God; and the will of God is accepting Jesus Christ as a personal saviour.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon. Member for Okere, I think it is better to hope for good.
    Mr. Bagbin 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we are all made in the image of God and that is the home of God; and I am confident that I will be back at my home. If there are doubting Thomases amongst us, let them say so.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with this that I say that may his soul rest in perfect peace.
    Capt. N. Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP--
    Berekum): Mr. Speaker, I was not privileged ever to meet Reverend Goka alive as a person. I do recall that I read some literature about him. And today, sitting in this House and listening to the tribute being paid to him, it seems to me like a whole new chapter in history is being opened to me.
    In fact, when the hon. Member for Evalue-Gwira (Mr. Kojo Armah) was speaking, I got the impression that he knew the man very well. And as he kept on speaking and relating the reconciliatory moves that he made, and as the maker of the Statement referred to the positions he held, one thing that struck me, Mr. Speaker, was that in this country we seem to have a lot of heroes who are spread all over the country, from Keta across to Half Assini, from Lawra/Nandom to Pusiga. And yet, Mr. Speaker, we do not have any place where students can go and make reference.
    In fact, but for the fact that Reverend
    Goka had died and but for the fact that this Statement had been made, somebody like me I would not have known so much about him. At the time that he entered Parliament in the year 1954, I was one year old, a kid in the bush. And according to the Statement, he held so many positions in Parliament and was even Minister for Finance.
    To think that a man like this is going
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    the soul of Reverend Goka rest in perfect peace.
    We are coming to the Private Member's Motion and let me caution that we have to give this matter, which deserves a lot of seriousness, the appropriate attention. Because today is Friday, it is going to be a brief deliberation. The hon. Minister for the Interior will wind up in a short conclusion to his views on the matter and then the hon. Member for Jomoro (Mr. Lee Ocran) will give his views and one from the other side of the House; and the debate will continue on Tuesday.
    So in order that the debate will be clothed with the decorum and decency that it requires, I will not tolerate interventions that are merely expressive of divergent views. If there is to be a point of order, it must be a proper point of order; otherwise just hold your horses and make your points when it comes to you. So hon. Minister for the Interior, you have just a few minutes so that you can wind up on your presentation
    on this important matter.
    The Energy Crisis


    That this honourable House is disappointed by the Government's inability to end the energy crisis, almost a year after it started and expresses its lack of confidence in the current handling of the crisis and urges Government to adopt an effective programme to address the crisis.

    Amendment Proposed -- Delete all the words after “House” and substitute the following:

    “having been briefed by the Minister responsible for Energy on Government's plans to generate more power to end the power-shortages which have occurred in the country over the past two and a half decades commends Government for those plans and urges Government to implement same timeously.”
    Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kan-Dapaah) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, before the intervention the last time, I was making a very important point that the problem that we have is largely because the inflows into the reservoir every year were used up thus leaving no reserve in storage to serve as security and cater for drought situations. When therefore in the years 2002-2006 we had drought situations, we ended up with the crisis that we have.
    I also argued that it was necessary to adhere to an operating regime whereby the
    hydro system is not depleted annually but operated at a firm level of 4,800 gigawatt hours.
    Mr. Speaker, you would recall that the
    confusion that arose was because hon. Colleagues from the other side of the House were holding Annual Reports of the Volta River Authority and claiming that the figures that I was giving were different from the figures contained in the VRA Annual Reports. I have got copies of the Annual Reports here and all the figures that I quoted are in the Annual Reports.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon. Minister, you can be sure immunities of Members of Parliament will not be likely withdrawn and so you may go on.
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will convey this to my lawyer.
    Mr. Speaker, the point was also made that VALCO was very much part of the problem. That, Mr. Speaker, is not true because on average, the VALCO which incidentally is now owned ninety per cent by the people of Ghana as against the VALCO which used to exist and was hundred per cent owned by foreigners, was drawing an average of 140 megawatts at a time when the total system consumption was 1,400 megawatts. Therefore, they
    were using only about 10 per cent.
    I have specifically asked the engineers at VRA that if VALCO had not operated at all what effect would it have had on the crisis. And the answer is that it could have delayed the crisis by about one month or one and a half months. What it means, therefore, is that this argument about VALCO being the cause is not really true.

    Mr. Speaker, the point has also been made by my hon. Colleagues on the other side that when they came they added 550 megawatts to the generation system and that we have not added anything. They have said that they left a plan which said we should add 100 megawatts every year. But let us look a little bit at the figures.

    It is true that they built the 550 megawatts in Aboadze. But the truth of the matter is that even while they were in office and when that plant which essentially was to complement the hydro sources such that the depletion from the hydro sources could reduce, they were unable to do that. In the year 1999, for instance, when they were capable of generating about 2,500 gigawatts hours from TAPCO they generated only 755 gigawatts hours.

    Mr. Speaker, in 1999, remember, they

    generated 5,169 gigawatts hours from the hydro sources as against the 4,800 gigawatts hours. The question that comes to mind is that since they had the thermal complementation, why were they not using it so that they could have used less of the water at the hydro sources?

    Again, Mr. Speaker, in the year 2000, when they could have generated 2,500 gigawatt hours, they generated only 345 gigawatt hours. Since we have been in power we also have not been able to use

    Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, when we

    generate from Akosombo, it is about US 1.5 cents. When we generate at Takoradi it is about 14 cents. We sell electricity in this country at about 10 cents. So you see the difficulty that arises when we generate at 14 cents and we have to sell at 10 cents, which explains why they were unable to use it and why we also have not been able to use it.

    The point that I want to make is that they had the plant and the 550 megawatts that they introduced. They themselves never used it because it was too expensive for them. Since we have been in power, we have not been able to use it because it is too expensive for us. And they say, “Go and put up another one”. No, we rather found out that the only way we could have electricity in this country which is affordable is to get gas because when we use gas, the price would go down substantially.

    We therefore did not look for cheap, soft solutions. We decided to go for a solution which would be sustainable and that one was to invest in the West African Gas Pipeline which hopefully would be able to bring gas to this country by the end of the year and will bring the cost of generation in this country to a level that can be afforded by industry and domestic


    Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you this would be my last point. The point has also been made about TICO. TICO is part of the 550 megawatts plant in Aboadze. The first one they called TAPCO. It is 330 megawatts and it is fully owned by VRA. Then there is TICO which is about 90 per cent owned by an American company and 10 per cent owned by VRA. That they went for a private investor was an excellent idea which I personally applaud. But there have been so many problems with the TICO.

    The Agreement that brought TICO into existence said that they were to add another 110 megawatts to it. Somehow, the point is being made that why have we, the NPP not insisted on TICO adding the 110 megawatts? The simple answer is that under the original agreement it was the CMS, the foreign investor that was supposed to go and look for the money to do that investment.

    After all, they own it 90 per cent. Somehow they insisted that the loan for the additional 110 megawatts should be guaranteed by the Government of Ghana even though we have 10 per cent. Obviously, that did not make sense. And if we refused to guarantee, it was because we were confident that even if we brought any such agreement to this House it would be thrown away. They own the plant 90 per cent. When they want to go for a loan they say, “Come and give a sovereign guarantee”.

    When a private company, Lever Brothers is going for a loan do they ask the Government of Ghana to come and provide a sovereign guarantee?

    Mr. Speaker, another interesting point is that the TICO agreement itself was a very funny agreement. It was an agreement

    which demanded very, very high capacity charges. The capacity charges, I do not have a personal problem with them but they were based on a ridiculous 20 per cent rate of return. What it means in practice is that whether they generate for us or not, we needed to pay the capacity charges which was based on 20 per cent. That means that even if they do not generate, within five years we should have paid them the whole investment, and that is exactly what they have done.

    After five, six years, having recovered all that they have invested they still continued to own the assets 90 per cent. And what did we hear a couple of weeks ago? They have now decided to sell them. So even though they did not generate and offer the people of Ghana the electricity that they wanted, under the capacity charges they have been fully paid.

    Twenty (20) per cent rate of returns means that after five years, we would have had the pay back. They have done that. After a year or two they say, “we have now sold the thing out and we are going”.

    Again, Mr. Speaker, remember that this TICO after 1½ years of operation left a debt of $17.9 million, almost $18 million that VRA was supposed to pay to them in respect of these capacity charges. So there is no point rushing into agreements that would end up creating problems for the Republic of Ghana.

    Mr. Speaker, faced with a similar problem just before the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office but this time in the petroleum sector, they decided not to increase the price, not to do anything but to offer subsidies. The end result was that in the year 2000 when this country earned only $5 million as tax revenues, the Government of the day gave

    subsidies amounting to $400 million.

    We earned $5 million; petroleum subsidies -- $400 million. And because they did not have that $400 million, the $500 million having been used for salaries and other important expenses, they were forced to borrow the entire $400 million from the banking sector. Mr. Speaker, this was at a time when the total primary capital of the banking sector in Ghana was only $200 million.
    Mr. Bagbin 11:40 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, point of order -- two issues. One, my hon. Colleague was asked to wind up. He has now taken 13 minutes. Two, he is now veering into economic management and not energy crisis. The issues he is raising are very controversial and I think that if we have to debate that we need another motion. So could you kindly, Mr. Speaker, direct him to make his last statement because he is to wind up but has, as at now, taken 13 minutes.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    By my
    watch, it is not 13 minutes; I noted it down on paper and I am following it closely. Hon. Minister, you said you had one more point, you should have concluded by now. Can you please conclude?
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.
    I thank you, Mr.
    Speaker. We must please learn from the past. Yes, we have a crisis, we must put our heads together and try to find a solution to it. But let us avoid solutions which carry high and unaffordable tariffs and do not let us go for solutions which will leave bigger economic problems for us.
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker, on this note, I want to conclude by saying that I totally disagree with the motion that sought to condemn the Government for what it has done and I support the amendment that calls upon the Government to continue with the very good efforts that it is making to end the crisis.

    Mr. Speaker, we say in my dialect -- in

    Twi -- yare de ennim ba, na erekō a na ēyē den.It is so easy to get the crisis, especially where it would have been induced by my very good friends here but curing it at times can take a long time. I therefore appeal to my Colleagues to team up with us and agree that the solution that we have proffered is the best for the country.
    Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, at long last, hon. Kan-Dapaah has finished.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the
    motion that this honourable House is disappointed by the Government's inability to end the energy crisis, almost a year after it started and expresses its lack of confidence in the current handling of the crisis and urges Government to adopt an effective programme to address the crisis.
    Mr. Speaker, we are having this problem
    because there has been no vision, no plans, no strategy, no foresight. That is why we are in darkness.
    Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to this
    motion mindful of the decision we have taken that we should all cool down and try to find a solution to the problem. It is not the business of those of us sitting here to find solutions for them, but we shall help them to find a solution.
    Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11:50 a.m.

    Mr. Speaker, they refer to 1998 -- and hon. Kan-Dapaah spoke for one hour forty- five minutes those days. He was then sitting on this side, condemning everything. I am very surprised that sitting there now, he is trying to be sanctimonious and towards the end of his speech, trying to play this type of game.

    Mr. Speaker, hon. Kan-Dapaah -- before I bring my solution - has made so many statements here that sometimes defy even logic. One, he is saying that we overused the reservoir and that by the engineering standards set by VRA, it should never exceed, at the first time he spoke he said 4,000, the second time he spoke he said 4,600; today, it is 4,800. Let us accept the last one, 4,800.
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want it to go on record that I have been consistent with the figure 4,800; it is not true that I said 4,000 and then turned to another figure, and then to 4,800. I just want it to be on record and the Official Report is there to prove it. I always used 4,800.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Member for Jomoro?
    Mr. Ocran 11:50 a.m.
    Well, that is his version of
    it; I have my own version. But I will accept 4,800. [Interruption.] I shall accept 4,800 so that he feels happy.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Member, are you withdrawing that.
    Mr. Ocran 11:50 a.m.
    I am not withdrawing
    because -- No, it is there; he said it; you can get it from the Official Report; but I am helping him with 4,800, so that he feels
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Member, when a point of order has been raised with regard to accuracy of statement of figure, it is not even just to say that that is what he is saying. But if you have a proof that he has said what you said, that means that he was not misleading and you are right that he misled.
    So if you do not have that proof and he complains that you are saying he has been inconsistent, then it will be proper to withdraw his inconsistency and accept the figure that both of you are now saying you accept.
    Mr. Ocran 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we are going
    for the Official Report, but he must also prove something -- tell me something that says that he has been consistent -- [Interruption.] In the meantime, I withdraw.
    In 2001, they produced 6,609 gigawatt
    hours, in 2002, 5,059 gigawatt hours; 2004, 5,281 gigawatt hours and just last year, 5,682 gigawatt hours.
    So where does his 4,800 come in? If we depleted by producing more than 4,800, they have continued. So the value is the same.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Minister for the Interior, what is your point of order?
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    I really appreciate the fact that I was not disturbed when I was making my presentation and I would have wished also to do the same thing, except that, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to correct what he is saying. The point that I made was that having generated more than was
    necessary over the 4,800 limit, by 1997, the multi-year storage capability was lost. This is a fact. And I said thereafter how much you could generate depended upon the rainfall the previous year. So we were living on a year to year basis, and therefore the system is unable to sustain or to absorb a drought situation.
    The second point that he also needs
    to be reminded of -- [Interruption.] Mr. Speaker, the important point that needs to be made is the loss of the multi-year storage capability that occurred in 1997; and it is a fact.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Minister, are the figures he has mentioned accurate?
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Order! Order!
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 11:50 a.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the figures that he has quoted, I have not checked. I am sure they are accurate; but I am saying that it does not really change the argument that I made because first of all -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    well. That is all right. You are indicating that the figures depended on rainfall pattern.
    Mr. Ocran noon
    Mr. Speaker, according to the engineers at the Volta River Authority (VRA), the last three years usage of the lake affects the subsequent years. Not six, seven, eight years but the last three years is what affects the current production. And in the last three years, they had overused the lake, if we are to fix ourselves to the 4,800 gigawatts hours that he claims is the case.
    Mr. Ocran noon

    But Mr. Speaker, I will go ahead. I do not want anybody to interrupt me.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker noon
    Member, do you have a genuine point of order?
    Mr. B. K. Ayeh noon
    Exactly so, Mr.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker noon
    Order! Hon. Member for Jomoro, the point that he is raising is that concerning the figures you were quoting to indicate that if the hon. Minister for the Interior was saying that it was sinful to have exceeded certain figures of production of electricity, they are also committing the same sins because the Minister for the Interior was referring to Akosombo but you are combining both Akosombo and Kpong to give these figures which show that they are also overusing the dam. What is your comment on that?
    Mr. Ocran noon
    Mr. Speaker, first of all,
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker noon
    Order! Order! I had said right from the beginning that any point of order must be a true point of order and it should be factual. If there is a point of order which hinges on facts, definitely that could not be disallowed. So if you find the points that he raised to be true then you can say so and withdraw, if it is not true you can also say so that his point of order is not true.
    Mr. A. S. K. Bagbin noon
    Mr. Speaker,
    I think that the understanding is that we should try as much as possible to limit points of order even when we disagree with the view of the hon. Member on the floor. There are a lot of figures that my hon. Colleague raised when he was making his submission which I disagree with but one just has to wait until it is one's turn to put across one's version. That is how we debate.
    If we are talking about Kpong, Kpong is downstream and an upstream cannot be depleted and downstream would be repleted. It is not. So if he disagrees, yes, he should keep his points and when he gets the opportunity he puts his points across. But when one interrupts, it is just meant to unsettle the flow of debate of the hon. Member on the floor and that is not helping the debate.
    Mr. Speaker, I insist that hon. Members should stop the unnecessary inter-ruptions; these are not points of order at all.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker noon
    Hon. Minority Leader, that is the preserve of the Speaker and I myself have indicated right from the beginning that I was not going to tolerate points of order that do not go to factual cases. If we are dealing with figures and figures are challenged, they are legitimate points of order that one would take. I would wish that we had uninterrupted debate. But you cannot, when it comes to factual matters ignore attention being drawn so that the House is
    not misled. The hon. Member for Jomoro, can you please go on?
    Mr. Ocran noon
    Mr. Speaker, the figures
    hon. Kan-Dapaah was mentioning could have been debated by us but we allowed him because I have also got my figures. I got them from VRA. I have read through and I have got my figures so he should allow me to continue so that I do not lose my thoughts.
    Mr. Speaker, when the hon. Minister
    was speaking, at one time he said we refused but later on he changed that and said we sparingly used Aboadze. Of course, Aboadze was completed towards the end of 1999 and by the year 2000 the lake was 20 feet above its minimal level. In fact, at the time the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was leaving office, there were no power outages; one could have 24-hour light.
    We had them in 2001, we had them; 2002 we had them and there was no power rationing because the lake was full and Aboadze was in full steam. Of course, if I had enough hydro, why should I use thermal? Today -- I am sorry that I did not bring the figures -- they are using more of TICO than TAPCO while TAPCO is fully owned by Ghana, by VRA. Why are they doing that? It is because they cannot even afford the money to give to VRA to buy fuel. Therefore, by law, they have to purchase from TAPCO whether they generated or not. But that is not the case I want to state now.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons they give is that NDC left no energy policy and that is why when they came in they had to go and start all over again and so on. This is a GNA Report of August, 2000; and let me read it for him:
    “Ghana with the support of Denmark on Thursday, August 17,
    2000, launched a two-year process to develop a long-term strategic national energy plan (SNEP) to establish a reliable and cost-saving energy system to propel economic growth. Dr. John Abu, Minister for Mines and Energy outlined Government's policy objectives of power production, stressing that for Ghana to achieve a middle income status by 2020 it needs to diversify its source from hydro power to other sources such as thermal, wind and solar.
    Dr. Abu said by the end of 2005 (that is two years ago) Ghana hopes to increase its electricity generating capacity from 1,512 megawatts to 2,020 megawatts by 2007, while national access to electricity would be raised from 45 per cent to 60 per cent.”
    Dr. R. W. Anane noon
    On a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I am a bit confused with the presentation by the hon. Member.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague is talking about an energy policy which had been prepared by the NDC Government before leaving office. But Mr. Speaker, the document that he is reading is saying that in 2000 with the support of some of our developing partners they met to launch -- that is the preparation of a policy. So that is not to say that an energy policy had been prepared at that time. Mr. Speaker, sometimes, we have to be very careful about the words that we use.
    Mr. Ocran noon
    Mr. Speaker, I thank hon. Dr. Anane for getting confused. [Interruption.]
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Order! The point he was making was that there was allegation that the NDC did not have any policy and he was quoting from this document to show that they indeed had a policy. That was the whole point he was raising.
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    not trying to respond to whether they had a policy or not. He has made a statement which is not correct and which was what, with your permission, I wanted to correct. Yes, we knew -- everybody in the industry knew that we had to add to the generating capacity, but we found that you could not add to the generating capacity using thermal fired by crude oil. Therefore, we needed to look for an alternative source of fuel which is gas.
    Until the gas comes, if you add thermal fired by crude, you will have it as a white elephant; you cannot use it and that is the point that he needs to know, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Member for Jomoro, please, go on. In fact, it is up to you to develop your own point, but the point he is making is that the alternative being thermal was not feasible because of costs. But please, go on.
    Mr. Lee Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I
    understand the English that I am speaking and it is not up to anybody to explain to me what I am saying. I will finish my speech and anybody can stand up and make his point. For the meantime, I am speaking the English I understand and the rest of us understand. If Dr. Anane is getting confused, it is his right to get confused. It is not my right.
    Mr. Speaker, another thing is, we were in debt so we could not proceed to produce energy. We were in debt. That is what they have been saying. Mr. Speaker, this morning, I asked that question -- and I asked it for a good reason. Unfortunately, the Minister could not come but his answer is in the paper.
    Despite the debt relief, we are still in debt to the tune of three billion dollars. Should that prevent us from producing energy? I would like to tell them the history of energy production in this country. When Kwame Nkrumah started Akosombo he went for a debt -- a loan is a debt. Kwame Nkrumah went for Akosombo with a debt. Acheampong in 1977, went for a loan.
    The economy was totally down but he was able to raise money. He was prepared to raise money and he went ahead to raise money to build Kpong.
    Some hon. Members: Where were
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    I was here. You were in
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Member, do not be diverted. Go on.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, in the year
    1998, the NDC was able to raise ¢400 million to start AboadzeThermal Plant. We were in debt. They were able to raise, within the same period, $100 million from Japan to start the Osagyefo Barge and the Effasu Project. They were in debt. So,
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.

    we do not use debt as an excuse for not making any moves in the energy sector.

    They keep talking all the time about the West African Gas Pipeline as if they started the project. Somebody dreamt of it and started it, they just came to meet the project. But anytime they are in difficulty they seek refuge in Tsatsu's West African Gas Pipeline. Be original. They must be original. Think for yourselves. Be original and let us find a solution to the problem -- Dr. Anane, could you excuse me please.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Member, do you have a genuine point of order?
    Dr. Anane 12:10 p.m.
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr.
    Speaker, my hon. Colleague is misleading the House. Mr. Speaker, the Osagyefo Barge was given to Ghana as a grant; it was not a loan. Thank you.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    He raised money --
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Do not try to mislead
    me. Mr. Speaker, Dr. Anane needs to pay attention to me. He is my friend. He likes me so he looks at my face but he does not hear what I say.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Member, do not dissipate your time.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I will not. I
    have more time. I have not even started. I am now beginning. Mr. Speaker, today, hon. Kan-Dapaah is saying that it is too expensive to operate Aboadze with crude oil but his Government is airlifting tall generators which come without manuals
    and then they put in diesel. Which is more expensive -- diesel or crude oil? Diesel is a processed product; it is more expensive.
    So you see their argument does not hold. Do not shake your heads; we shall talk when I go out. Yes, his argument does not hold.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Minister for the Interior, what is the problem?
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is
    totally untrue that we brought in some plants which are using diesel. Under the emergency situation, we are bringing in some emergency plants and probably some of them may use Diesel but it is because we have an emergency situation. But to try to give the impression that we brought in some plants to complement the generating sources and that they use diesel is not true.
    You must distinguish between the efforts that are being made during the crisis which is on emergency basis. Probably he also wants to remind himself, Mr. Speaker, that within a matter of months, we will have the West African Gas Pipeline bringing in gas and those plants will now feed on gas and not diesel as he is saying.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member, please, take that on board and do not be looking at people shaking heads, just concentrate on your points.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, when they
    needed to bring in a strategic reserve plant, they brought one that does not even use crude oil or diesel but uses aviation fuel, as if we were going to fly. [Laughter.] It
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.

    could not produce one megawatt of power till they shipped it back, causing financial loss to the State.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Minister, what is the point?
    Mr. Kan-Dapaah 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, just
    that some of these statements do not go on record that a strategic plant was brought and it did not generate and it was shipped back. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we anticipated at the time that there was going to be crisis and therefore it was brought in. We later found that it was not necessary because we could operate on the hydro and the thermal that we had at Aboadze.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
    Minister, where explanations are required, pass notes to the next person who would speak. Please go on.
    Mr. Ocran 12:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we are not
    at Minister's Question time and I will not want him to reply to every sentence that I make. Otherwise, what he wants to give me, I will even reject it.
    Mr. Ocran 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, this is the time, when all of us, most of us in town depend on generators to give ourselves little power and little comfort, yet they have chosen this time to increase the price of fuel two times. Is it not wickedness, callousness? They are making us feel very, very uncomfortable. Here is a man who in his time was talking about
    There sits in my constituency, the Osagyefo Barge which is capable of producing 125 megawatts power on both diesel and gas. What is the point of bringing in toy machines to come and use diesel when you have a huge one sitting at Effasu? The investment had already been put in; the pylons are there; everything is set, to produce.
    Meanwhile, even if we are to talk about gas, it has been completely proven beyond reasonable doubt that there sits 200 billion cubic feet of gas to last Osagyefo Barge operation for fifteen years. Meanwhile, they are airlifting toys. The last time I was talking to the hon. Minister for Energy -- Last week, I was having a talk with him and he said “Oh, you wait, I am going to the airport, more generators are coming”. Meanwhile, we have one sitting there.
    If you visit TICO at Aboadze, TICO will tell you they need to trap the steam. The steam that is being pumped into the air, being left into the air could be trapped to produce 110 megawatts; I hope they will agree with me. They are telling you to give a sovereign guarantee.
    I believe from my own estimation that the amount they want, $240 million, is too much for 110 megawatts. But you could look for alternatives to be able to convert the steam into 110 megawatts without much sweat. We have enough engineers. We own 10 per cent and we had the option to buy a bigger percentage provided we raise the money in TICO. We did not do so and the company that owes us has been able to sell its power generation worldwide to a new company.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Speaker, the issue relates to TICO and the question was posed by the hon. Minister for the Interior that, if they want to go into the open market, the finance market and take a loan, why should Government provide the sovereign guarantee?
    I think the issue was raised and I thought that alluding to it was going to provide the basis or the reasoning why a company 90 per cent owned by a private company, wants Government to provide sovereign guarantee when they are going for a loan. Because when we came to debate the issue of RPP under urban water delivery, the same issue came up and on the floor of this House, the arguments were made that if indeed we were going to enter into that partnership with private ownership increasing, Government should not provide a sovereign guarantee.
    Why is it that now he is saying that Government should now provide sovereign guarantee for a company that is 90 per cent privately owned?
    Mr. Ocran 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon.
    Friend was not even listening to me. I was quoting what the Minister has said, that we have on this floor of the House approved loans for Ghana International Airlines, two times. Who are the owners? They know them. We have approved -- [Laughter] -- We have taken people's money, social security money, $20 million to give to Ghana International Airlines that fly about three or four people and we do not know the owners. Help us to generate power so that all of us will live comfortably; that one they are unhappy about.
    Mr. Kan-Dappah 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, just
    for the records, the Ghana International Airlines that he talks about with such glee is owned 70 per cent by the Government of Ghana. It is different from the 10 per
    cent minority shareholding. I am sure my hon. Friend from Tamale will tell him that there is a whole lot of difference between majority shareholding and minority shareholding. At his appropriate time if he can help my hon. Friend for me, I will be grateful.
    Mr. Ocran 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, maybe
    the hon. Minister does not know that I attended one of the best business schools money could buy in the world. We have guaranteed loans for Metro Mass Transit. After all, we had the option to increase our shareholding in TICO. The agreement is there; he should go and read it. We had the option to increase at the time that it was being constructed but the VRA could not raise enough money so they took only 10 per cent.

    We must solve the problem. First
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Majority Chief Whip, do you have a point of order?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker. My hon. Colleague keeps misleading this House. Because of the agreement that we really came to -- I hate really to intervene this way. But he talks

    about the Osagyefo Barge and the fact that we are not using it now. In the statement of the Minister, when he came to this House, he explained why the situation is like that.

    If the hon. Member disagrees with the reason that the Minister gave, that is another, matter. He provided the answer but indeed if I should quote what the Minister said --

    “The much advertised movement to the Barge to Tema has not taken place because we missed the weather window last year due to prolonged negotiation to get reasonable funding for that move. As we speak, a number of companies have expressed interest in operating the barge where it is and we are in negotiations with them and hope that this would happen in the course of the year.”

    These were the exact words that the Minister used in the House. So to the extent that he is saying that we have not done anything about it, he is misleading this House.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Jomoro, if there has been an explanation, you can acknowledge it or maybe disagree with it but do not let it look as if there was no explanation. That is the whole essence of the intervention.
    Mr. Ocran 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, maybe he does not remember, but last year, during the time of Professor Michael Oquaye as the Minister, I filed a Question on this floor and he came to answer as to why the Barge was not being used. That was how many years ago? He came and gave the same answer that this man came to repeat - two years ago's answer. He came in to sell it to us as a new answer. Why? The thing is in my constituency and I am
    more concerned.
    When they came to move it and said they were going to move it because of the 50th Anniversary of Independence, we laughed at them; we the people there laughed at them. Is it a coal pot that you shift to where the action is to cook on it? You can produce energy and put it through the pylons that have already been established.
    We are talking about a serious matter and I am advising them to go there and produce 125; we have something. At the time the mines were going to bring in a barge, if the mines were there to help us and whoever is the Minister for Mines, if they negotiated with them, he should have advised them instead of going to buy a new barge; they should have gone to Effasu.
    After all Effasu was established as Western Power Company to supply the mines with energy. Most of the mines are in the Western Region, they consume more power but we allowed them to go and buy another toy, dismantle it, fix it on land at Tema and struggle so hard to produce 80 megawatts; and they have not been able to do it. We have a problem and let us give them solutions and then they will feel happy. They should allow me to finish my submission.

    Mr. Speaker, they must go back to TICO and talk with them properly. Hon. Kan-Dapaah must go back to TICO, sit down with them, talk seriously with them and let us find the best way of converting steam into 110 megawatts of power.

    There is always a solution to a problem.

    The fact that at one time they wanted a credit guarantee and they could not provide it does not mean that they cannot talk to them again. After all, ownership has changed. And with the change of ownership, there can be a new way out.

    Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I

    Mr. J. H. Mensah (NPP -- Sunyani

    East): Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a contribution in the light of the logic of this situation we face today. Mr. Speaker, when one is faced with a problem, there are four types of responses that one can make. One can pretend that the problem does not exist or it will go away. One can say that one will find fault -- who did something or did not do something. Mr. Speaker, one can, on the other hand, sit down and find the solution.

    Mr. Speaker, what I am disappointed about is that the job that is expected of this House, which is to help find solutions, that job is being ignored in favour of either finding somebody to blame or raking over the past or sometimes there is not even a very difficult problem. There is a very difficult problem.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Sunyani is misleading this House. In 1998, when we found ourselves in the same situation, he said on the floor of this House that it is not for the Opposition to find solutions to Government when they are in crisis. So I am surprised that today he has gone full circle and saying something else.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon. Deputy Minority Whip, you are out of order. The hon. Member for Sunyani East did not say a particular side should find solution. He said the House should find solution. So that is different from the statement in 1998.
    Please, go on, hon. Member for Sunyani East.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, when
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:40 p.m.

    you are in government, you are mandated and you have got the responsibility to lead. But this House, as the Parliament of Ghana, also has its share of the leadership job. And when we are faced with a problem as grave as what we face today, then it calls for very bold leadership and we must offer bold leadership to the nation.

    Also, when there is a problem, it costs something to resolve the problem. There is always the cost. We have to think, we have to spend money, and we have to do this and that. But there is a cost to solving the problem. So if we have a problem and it will cost something to solve the problem then the question is Parliament must be offering leadership to the whole nation so that our people agree to pay the cost of solving the problem.

    Mr. Speaker, the system that we have today is based on the hydro foundation of Akosombo and Kpong. This was supposed to be the main source of power. Now, we know that that source of power, first of all, depends on free fuel. The water that God rains on this country constitutes free fuel but that fuel supply is also variable. And every school child knows that some years there will be a lot of rain and some other years there will not be so much rain. And then when we are faced with that situation, we need an insurance policy by way of standby capacity. We usually base the design of the insurance policy on the worst case scenario. So we do know that given that our main source of supply, which is Akosombo and Kpong, we have to have standby capacity in order to assure a good electrical system.

    Now, when we say a good electrical system, how do we define it? The ordinary man, businessman and all of us need to be able to turn the switch and get as much power as we want and need at the time we want it. It is all right to have rationing

    system and people are sweating and being very, very clever at keeping things going and so on.

    But that is not the definition of a good system; that is coping with the difficulty. It is not running a good system. A good system is where on demand one can turn one's switch and get as much power as one needs to consume and pay for it. That is the attribute of a good power system.

    Now, we have found that our insurance policy as we stand today is not sufficient. When we have trouble with the water level in Akosombo, then we find that the insurance policy that we have is not sufficient. And so, Mr. Speaker, one would have thought that logically, it is like when one wants to be safe with one's car.

    If one finds that one is likely to get involved in an accident that will cost one five hundred million cedis, one does not wait and get into the accident, one takes more insurance to cover oneself against the foreseeable contingencies and problems that one is likely to encounter.

    Mr. Speaker, last year there was an extraordinarily low rainfall and therefore we have found that our standby capacity is not sufficient. Solution? Get more insurance. Mr. Speaker, when we get more insurance then we can get a good power system which is a power system where we can be guaranteed continuous supply of power on demand. But we have to pay for this. And the quality of the system one gets depends upon how much money one pays.

    In this country, we have got into a lazy habit of thinking where we do not balance what we want against what we want to pay or are willing to pay. A good system will cost money to put in place. The pricing

    of public goods and services all round is in trouble because of this psychology of the prices.

    Mr. Speaker, just to go into another sphere, students want to pay five hundred, six hundred thousand cedis for accommodation but they know that one cannot even maintain the toilets in Legon when one pays that kind of rent. But because it is a publicly provided, good, they think that they must get it for free, they must get it very cheaply and so on and so forth. And that is part of the background to the power situation that we have inherited.

    The Volta River Authority (VRA)

    and the Electricity Company of Ghana have been financially handicapped for years. They are unable to borrow money because after forty years of running -- I think VRA was launched in 1965, is that not it? It should have been one of the biggest businesses in Ghana, able to stand on its own feet to go and find money on the market for whatever it wants to do to give us the service we want. But it is handicapped because of our tariff policy. So when one takes VRA's balance sheet to any lender today, one is not likely to be able to raise money because the balance sheet does not look good.

    So Mr. Speaker, we are talking about

    a solution which restores the quality of the entire system, that is the hydro and the thermal taken together, including the multi-year storage capacity of the Volta. Let me sound a note of caution here. Because we are all in such difficulty there is a lot of pressure on the power generating authorities to rush into reusing the turbines that have been shut down at Akosombo. Mr. Speaker, if we do that we run a great

    danger of ruining the whole system.

    Mr. Speaker, to give you an idea of

    the size of the problem, this roof here is probably not forty feet above the floor and yet today we are running with the lake level which is forty-four feet below the maximum rated level of the lake. So just imagine having to fill all that much with water like this roof. It would take some time to do so. Let us not rush the Volta River Authority (VRA) into prematurely restarting those turbines.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Minority Leader, do you have a point of order?
    Mr. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I am
    really very happy that the hon. J. H. Mensah is taking this stand today which is completely different from his stand in 1998 -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, it is here, where he thought at that time that issues of cost, which he talked a lot about -- that it was to get us to increase the cost -- He talked about silly, panicky actions by Government. At that time he even refused to withdraw the word silly as being unparliamentary; he refused. Even though they insisted many times, he did not withdraw it. Now, he is talking about the capacity of the reservoir. That is very different from what he stated so we are getting somewhere. At least, they have tasted it and next time he would know what to say on the floor of the House.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Minority Leader, you just made an observation and you can see it is not a point of order.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, as I
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:40 p.m.

    said, when you are faced with a problem you either ignore it, or you find bogus solutions, or you find somebody to blame; or you find solutions which would work.

    Mr. Speaker, I have always consistently

    said that we must pay the full cost. There is no economy in which somebody outside pays the full cost. If we do not charge the customer at the point of delivering the service, we charge him through the tax system. And I have always said the common purse does not come from anywhere except from his pocket and from my pocket.

    This is the economics I was taught and I do not know if I had deviated from my teachings or learnings all these years. But Mr. Speaker, there is a question of management as well. When you plan an electrical system, you must always look forward to what the cost level of energy is going to be in the long-term future. That is why for instance, since we have been in office we have put a lot of emphasis on getting Bui on the ground.

    Mr. Speaker, when we came into office, I myself happened to consult with the authorities on these matters. Mr. Speaker, Bui was not on their active agenda at all. That is why we established a separate Bui Development Committee to push that project and get it done.

    Mr. Speaker, three years ago, we were
    Mr. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I made that
    observation because my hon. Colleague is now saying that he has not changed. But he drew the attention of the House at that time to the impact of increasing tariff on investment; that it would be a high cost production area, that was increasing
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    My hon. Friend
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Sunyani East, can you resume your seat?
    Hon. Minority Leader, this is not a point of order -- The fact that your belief is that he has changed his view on the matter, current situations can have current solutions. If he is espousing a certain trend and you do not find what he is saying now to be untrue then he would have the right to go on.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, exactly what I am saying is that in our strategic planning for power we must have as one of our aims, keeping Ghana as a fairly cheap energy country so that we do not become a high cost country. But that means that in our forward planning -- At that time, we were supplementing Bui with the thermal plants at Takoradi and it looked as if the policy was evolving into a situation where hydro would be supplementing thermal, rather than thermal supplementing hydro.
    That is why we said, no, we should go back to the strategy and aim at making Ghana an inexpensive country to do business in and therefore we have gone back to try and get Bui implemented. I was just telling the House that already we have talked to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and we are looking forward ten years down the road where Ghana can produce nuclear power which is the cheapest source of all power generation technology.
    Mr. J. K. Gidisu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. senior Brother is misleading the House. A short while ago, he pointed to the roof with reference to the water level that is needed in the Akosombo Dam and now he is focusing on the Bui Dam which would equally draw water from the source which he is doubtful about, as a way of increasing power supply as against what is on the drawing board. So how does he reconcile the situation with regard to the Bui Authority which he is talking about?
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon. Gidisu, that is not a good point of order. He is talking about cheap sources of power and if you were to say that the Bui Dam would not be a cheap source, that would have been a different matter. Also, if you were to say that they are lying almost adjacent to each other on the same water path, then you could draw attention to the fact that if we do not have good rains, we would still have that. Otherwise, you have not made any good point of order at all.
    Mr. Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he was misleading the House when he stated that there was no strategy to use nuclear power. Because, he is aware that in Vision 2020, the first step in 1997 to 2000, it is all spelt out there, and the strategy to implement all that. The strategy was what was being implemented, including the thermal. The
    Vision was to have an energy mix. It is there, spelt out in detail in Vision 2020. So to say that there was no plan or vision like that is misleading the House.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Sunyani East, the point of order is that he says you said there was no plan and vision and he is challenging that it was captured in Vision 2020.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was not talking about plans on paper; I was talking about what people were doing -- [Interruption.]
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I said that the active agenda that we inherited was not focused sufficiently on getting us cheap power. This I know, because otherwise, why do we have to set up separate machinery to try and promote Bui? Mr. Speaker, it was to have -- Paper is cheap to write -- [Laughter.] Paper is cheap to write. Mr. Speaker, it depends upon what one does. And what I am saying is that in the case of the atomic energy, for instance, we have just persuaded the University of Ghana, Legon to restart training in nuclear sciences.
    Mr. Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with my hon. Colleague re-starting the programme, but to say that there was no vision or plan like that is what I am referring to. This is because he is aware that this House, Parliament itself set up a
    committee. The committee toured Togo, Benin and Nigeria; that is how we started the West African Gas Pipeline.
    I was involved and I was a member of the committee. We were there and that was to get the gas to fire the Aboadze Thermal Plant and then the Tano Oilfields where the gas was to fire the Osagyefo Barge. So looking for cheaper source of energy was part of the Vision.[Interruption.] Atomic energy was seen as a long-term vision that could not be done in a short-to medium-term. It is there; we need that plan to implement.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Sunayni East, the complaint is that they did have a vision and plan in Vision 2020. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I said that the active agenda that we inherited -- and hon. Kan-Dapaah was the Minister for Energy at that time. Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is this: In the case of the nuclear facility, the beginning, the planning that must go on, the activities that must go on, the training of people -- During Dr. Nkrumah's time we had people like Addo- Kufuor, Linsen and others in Moscow training in nuclear sciences. Then the whole establishment -- [Interruptions.]
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Gentleman was not in public office at that time -- [Hear! Hear!] I know what happened under the National Liberation Council (NLC) because I served as the Commissioner or Minister under the NLC. So I know the history of that time much better than the hon. Member knows.
    What I am saying is that in the intervening years our facilities at Kwabenya had been run down to such an extent that we had to go back and
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.

    ask for help to re-establish the facilities at Kwabenya and start nuclear science teaching at Legon. So now we are preparing for the long-term, beginning with training of people.
    Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Senior Brother knows that I was not in public office but I know one thing that he was a secretary of the Seven Year Development Plan. He knew about the genesis of the nuclear plan under Dr. Nkrumah's administration and luckily for this country he became a Commissioner. Why did he not stop his peers from destroying the programme. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order! Order! Hon. Member for Ningo/ Prampram, I thought your point of order was going to be on his statement that the time he was talking about you were not in public office.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not a useful approach to problem-solving when you go and find somebody to blame. Mr. Speaker, if I wanted to tell him the history, a lot of those people who were in the Atomic Energy Commission were my own school mates so I know what happened to them. I know what happened to Garbrah, Linsen and all the rest of them.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no use for us going and raking over that past. We are rehabilitating our nuclear capability and maybe in ten or fifteen years' time, we would be able to run a nuclear power plant; and that is the cheapest source of power. That is all that I am saying.
    So Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is
    that at this time when we have a crisis, we must not rush into recommissioning
    the Akosombo turbines. Mr. Speaker, the other day the private sector of this economy called on hon. Ministers and told them -- the private sector said they are spending $120 million a month to supplement the power supply that we have been giving them today. And as the hon. Member for Jomoro said, he is also running his own little generator to supplement the power.
    Mr. Speaker, a lot of people are also spending a lot of money. People pretend that we would not pay; we want it for free and so on. If we took even $50 million a month from all of us and put it together, we would generate $600 million in a year, and that is already enough to pay for Bui.
    Mr. Speaker, therefore we are faced with the crisis and we must look for a solution which is cheap for all of us. This is because instead of allowing the private sector to go and spend $120 million a month to supplement the public system, it is better for all of us to put our money together and supplement the public generating system with more efficiency power units, because the private sector in spending this money is generating power sometimes at 25 cents per kilowatts hour which is very, very expensive. And it is even worse, I am sure, in the hon. Member for Jomoro's house because he has probably got one of these small things whose costs are enormous.
    So Mr. Speaker, in this crisis situation, Parliament should give leadership to say, “let us put our money together; let us buy efficient additional capacity which would last us until the crisis is over” And as I say, to recollect 40 feet of water is not going to be a short exercise. Even for the Bui to come along, we are looking at four to five years down the road.
    We want power now and if we agree to pay more, we could turn round to a consortium of banks and say we are going
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Minority Leader, why do you not let him finish?
    Mr. Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My hon. Senior Colleague knows very well that if we say we want power now and then the answer he is proposing is to say we should pay more for tariffs, that would not give us power now. The hon. Member is misleading us. We would be prepared to pay more when the public sector is using the money prudently instead of wasting it on opulent, frivolous palaces. We are not going to do that. [Interruptions.]
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, when we say “now” in a field like electric power generation, we do not mean today. There is no engineering that can put a new power station on the ground today. But “now” in that field of engineering means that if we really hurry, perhaps, within twelve to fifteen months, we can have the additional capacity that we need.

    In the meantime, we are all living through -- [Interruptions] -- Yes, Mr. Speaker, if you want to build five hundred megawatts of additional capacity today, even going quickly on the market and buying rehabilitated equipment and then installing it --

    Even assuming that we can use some of the gas that is going to come through the
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Member for Sunyani East, are you concluding?
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, if
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Member for Sunyani East, you are on your feet. I have not taken the floor from you.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    the hon. Member finds great fun in interrupting me when I am speaking and that is why I was indulging him. It is his favourite pastime, so I was indulging him. But I do not think he has any point of order. He just wants to interrupt me.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    right. The hon. Member for Bole/Bamboi.
    Mr. John Mahama 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, on
    a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. former Senior Minister has said that if we agree to pay more and we went to a consortium of banks and took an amount of six hundred and something million dollars, we can get additional sufficient generating capacity in one year to fifteen months' time.
    If I got him right, that is, fifteen months' time. Mr. Speaker, that is, if we have the money now, the additional capacity will
    Mr. John Mahama 1 p.m.

    be available in fifteen months' time. How does that reconcile with the Minister for Energy's statement that in six months' time there would be sufficient generating capacity to go round?
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker,
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Member for Bole/Bamboi, that is hon. Member for Sunyani East on his feet. The question you have can go to the hon. Minister in due course when he is winding up.
    Mr. Mahama 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, he is
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Member, please, resume your seat. Hon. Member for Sunyani East, please, go on.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I was saying that the hon. Minister has informed the House of all the emergency arrangements that he is making to cope with the situation; and we will have to cope with the situation. We will have to cope up with the situation for sometime; we cannot avoid it. We are already coping with it.
    Mr. Speaker, when you want to work at night and you are driven out of your office, that is lowering of productivity -- some of us who are night birds and work in the night and so on and so forth. But we are coping with the situation. It is not satisfactory but we have to cope with it. But we must be able to see light at the end of this tunnel.
    What I am saying is this; what we
    must prepare for is to put our money together and buy more insurance by way of additional generating capacity which will see the whole system through for the next few years so that we do not rush to restart those turbines at Akosombo. “But Mr. Speaker, some people may say, But we will pay more when you give us better service”. In this field it is not like that. In this field you have to put down the money to build the facility before you can enjoy it. And it is not for anybody to come from outside and do it for us. It is for us Ghanaians to do it for ourselves.
    That is why I am saying that the House has a responsibility to take part in giving leadership on this matter. The reason why I am emphasizing this is that I hear a lot of talk as if the energy crisis is Kufuor's problem. It is not Kufuor's problem. It is not even the NPP Government's problem. It is a national problem.
    What I am suggesting is that Parliament should take part in giving national leadership on this matter. This is because it is very easy to play political football with the tariff issue. They will say J.H. Mensah said we must pay more tariffs. Yes, I say so. If we increase our tariffs by two to three cents per kilowatt hour, we will have the money to solve our own problem; and nobody else is going to do it for us.
    So we must face the music today. We are there; we are faced with the problem and we must face it as men. In Twi we used to have an expression in the old fighting days -- Yese etuo to a ētwere barima bo. Do you know what that means, Mr. Speaker? When we used to go to war with those old guns, after you fired and fired, it got very, very hot and the expression is that the real man is the man who can still hold his gun when it is very hot. And so we must prove ourselves in this Parliament to be capable of national
    Mr. Speaker, I want to point out two
    other aspects. We have the Osagyefo Barge. Mr. Speaker, we made a mistake in time. The barge was supposed to use gas to give us electricity. We built the barge, the machine, without having secured the gas. And even now the hon. Member for Jomoro is saying that -- We have how many million cubic feet of gas capacity?
    Mr. Speaker, as we speak now, I do not think that we have any secured information about gas supply that can fire the Osagyefo Barge for a long time. We have had many contractors come and promise to produce gas in two years, and so on and so forth. None of those promises has been fulfilled. We are still hoping that the Tano Basin, by the nature of its geology and so on, will give us gas. Philips Petroleum were working there a long time ago.
    Again, maybe, some of you were not in public office. But when we discovered oil at Saltpond, at that time the better prospects for energy discovery was at Philips Petroleum site in the Western Region and yet they packed away because they were not finding commercial quantities of gas -- they were not finding commercial quantities of petroleum. So they left and we are saddled with the barge.
    Mr. Lee Ocran 1 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the Osagyefo Barge is a dual- fuel type of barge. It can use both diesel and gas. And the GNPC can tell you
    in confidence that they have discovered two hundred billion cubic feet of gas. Currently Tulow is also drilling in the deeper waters. After all, the President went on VOA and told us that they had discovered large quantities of gas in the Western Region. Where is the gas in the Western Region? It is there.
    Mr. J.H. Mensah 1 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, among the options that have been considered, for instance, was to get gas from la Cote d'Ivoire and also to extend the West African Gas Pipeline from Aboadze to Effasu, which will cost about a hundred million dollars, and so on. We have been through a lot of options.
    Mr. Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr.
    Speaker, that is the problem we have. I think my hon. Colleagues did not take their time to read what they met -- [Laugh-ter] -- That is all. They did not take their time to read the documents and everything that they met.
    The West African Gas System that we had was, as he rightly stated, to get clean gas from la Cote d'Ivoire, and also to produce gas from the Tano fields, and then to bring the gas from Nigeria; so we have that linkage. It is a confluence.
    Now, the agreement that they compelled this House to approve has removed the article that was to permit Ghana, if Ghana found its own gas, to use the pipelines. We are now banned from doing that. Go

    and bring the agreement; we have gone through it, we raised it here. We cannot do that. We are now bound to use only gas from Nigeria, whether we discovered gas or not.
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, with
    all due respect this agreement was finally signed by President Kufuor. And some of us had to read the agreement before it was signed. Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely nothing in the agreement that bars us from using our own gas -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Absolutely nothing. I am also saying this, that even la Cote d'Ivoire gas that we are talking about, now they are short of gas in la Cote d'Ivoire.
    Mr. Haruna Iddrisu 1:10 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my point of order is procedural. And I need your guidance, as Mr. Speaker. I would like to draw your attention to article 296 of the Constitution. My procedural issue is directed at your person and the Chair of Mr. Speaker. Even as the prime mover of this motion, I was not given enough opportunity in terms of time. I have noticed that since I moved the motion -- [Interruption ] -- It is important, I appreciate the discourse that is going on.
    But Mr. Speaker, the Constitution enjoins you that when you are exercising your discretionary powers, you must be fair in the discharge of it. And I just wanted to remind Mr. Speaker that I do not think -- not just me, but even hon. Members from this side have been treated fairly when they got the opportunity to contribute to this. And I just said that I should draw your attention that the
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Member, first of all, there was an hon. Member on his feet -- [Pause] -- Hon. Member, you have raised this and your attention is not here. I am saying that, first of all, you raised your point at the wrong point in time. There was a member on his feet. And if you were to raise a point of order against something he was saying, that is the first thing.

    Hon. Member, if you have raised a point and you will not even pay attention to hear the response, how will you be guided? Just before we came here, I met with your Leader, the Minority Leader

    as well as the Majority side, and what has been agreed on is what is being implemented. Mind you, the hon. Member for Jomoro, when he got up, nobody short- circuited his contribution.

    So Mr. Speaker is very fair; and in doing that it is just not a question of Mr. Speaker using discretion as he finds fit. He consults with the Leadership and we come to certain positions. That is how business of Parliament is run. I know, for instance, that you are going to have the opportunity to wind up, as the mover of the motion. This is something that your leadership has all agreed to. So your observation may not be well informed.

    You should always try to confer with your leadership before you raise issues like that, otherwise you may be thinking at cross-purposes.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon. Member for Sunyani East, can you please -- Let us hear from the Minority Leader.
    Mr. Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, we agreed
    on the number of persons to speak today but did not agree on the length of time. So you are exercising your discretion. Mr. Speaker, it is true that hon. J. H. Mensah has taken a rather lengthy time. So far, it is about 45 minutes now -- [Interruption] -- Yes, looking at the watch.
    I think that it is important that at least we look at the issue of time, or else we may not be able to conclude on Tuesday and then take the vote on Tuesday. That is the only thing that I will draw your attention to. Because, we programmed to conclude on Tuesday, and take the vote on Tuesday. That is so, Mr. Speaker.
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Speaker, just to reiterate what the hon. Minority Leader said. Mr. Speaker, for the record, let me indicate that I was also timing the hon. Member for Jomoro when he started speaking. He started at exactly 11.05 and finished at 11.35. He was on his feet for 30 minutes. Mr. Speaker, there were interventions, I agree, which is what maybe lengthened his own time for him. Mr. Speaker, we could compare the number of interventions. Even, now when the hon. Member for Tamale South -- and he wants to mislead me into saying Tamale seven.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Tamale South, his own intervention, your intervention and the intervention of the Minority Leader, we have taken 8 minutes; yes. Mr. Speaker, 8 minutes, it was exactly 12 minutes after 1.00 p.m. by my watch. Mr. Speaker, so nobody can blame you, consciously or unconsciously, and lead you, Mr. Speaker, with respect, to make some pronouncements which may not be toward to this House. Mr. Speaker, you are right, you are justified in doing what you have done. And you have discharged your responsibilities fairly and without favour.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Member for Sunyani East, can you go ahead to complete?
    Mr. J. H. Mensah 1:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem with TICO is an uncompleted project and we must, both sides, support the Government in whatever measures are necessary to make use of that wasted 110 megawatts of potential capacity. I hope that we would be able to get rid of con-troversy and everything and support the Government in realizing that potential.
    Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to appeal
    personally to my hon. Friends opposite. They know that basically what I have said

    is true, we have to pay for the solution to our own problem, and I am appealing to them and also to members outside. In this matter, I have emphasized Parliament giving national leadership. And that means we have had enough of the political football. Let us finish with it, let us get on with solving the problem. Let us go on with facing the music.
    Mr. Second Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon. Members, that would be all on this debate for today. The debate will continue on Tuesday. I think there was generally more decorum in the debate, and that was achieved by the sort of agreement that the Leadership arrived at.
    I think that for the conclusion also, the Leadership should continue to meet. You decided how many should speak; and if you want us to have a timeframe; you can always add that. But if you had indicated that only two hon. Members would speak after hon. Kan-Dapaah, then naturally I would not have given the two people just five minutes each; I would have allowed them to proceed as they did -- both sides.
    So if you again put your heads together, the leadership of the two sides, decide how you want the thing to end, definitely the Chair would always cooperate.
    So hon. Majority Chief Whip, what is the advice now?
    Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I do agree with your observation
    that there has been greater decorum in the House and we must commend one another for the collective effort. Mr. Speaker, we hope that Tuesday next, in furtherance of the general agreement, we would proceed in like manner and allow two hon. Members, that is one from each side of the House to contribute. Then those of them who would be doing the winding up for both sides -- it would mean two from each side.
    Mr. Speaker, having said that may I
    move, that this House do now adjourn until Tuesday next week at 10.00 in the forenoon.
    Mr. Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr. Speaker, I beg to
    second the motion.
    Question put and motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:20 p.m.