Mr Speaker, this is well captured in article 106 (5) and (6) of the Constitution. To the extent that the first Bill that came without the memorandum, came to Parliament without any gazette notification as well to this plenary, to that same extent should we recognize that it was not tidy enough? I know that subsequently the one that came in the normal form came with a correction.
Hon Muntaka is saying that I am lying. Mr Speaker, the first one, that came was on this A4 sheet and ask the Majority Leader, when I misplaced mine, this one, I took from him; I took from him. [Interruption] He does not remember?
Mr Speaker, what happened, certainly, was not the best but I am happy that we had a turn round and let us recognize that it was not tidy; next time, we would do a tidier job.
Mr Speaker, article 175 of the Constitution stipulates that the exercise that we are engaged in now is to establish a special purpose fund for the management of the petroleum revenue. Mr Speaker, this ought, in my view, to be captured appropriately in the memorandum. And why do I say so? Mr Speaker, I say so because of experiences that we have had in this House dealing with the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), the Road Fund, et cetera.
The rather weird arrangement where resources of Funds, to resource the GETFund, the Road Fund, first have to hit the Consolidated Fund before they relocate per the intervention of the
Finance Minister into this Fund, is a wrong principle, a very wrong concept. That is why Mr Speaker, it is important for us to recognize that we are setting up a Fund as espoused by article 175 of the Constitution, which is parallel to the Consolidated Fund. That is the exercise we have embarked on today.
Mr Speaker, this new Fund then is different from the ones that we have done previously, and it is for this reason that I am saying that the memorandum should have covered this, so that we would all be very clear in our minds.
Mr Speaker, as provided for by article 175 of the Constitution, the language used for such special purpose funds is “Fund” and now an “Account,” which means that we should, to be consistent with the Constitution, as per article 175, employ the words: “Petroleum Fund”, and not “Petroleum Account” to describe the special purpose Fund that we are setting up. Mr Speaker, otherwise, we may pass the law and it may have to be amended again to be consistent with article 175.
Mr Speaker, if we agree that we are setting up this Fund, a Petroleum Fund, which would run parallel with the Consolidated Fund, then I may want to propose that if Government wants to have any development, premised on the Petroleum Fund -- and we are not saying that Government cannot use the Fund; Government can and indeed, must use the funds for national development. But the point being made is that we should have the regular estimates of revenues and expenditures, which would be different from what would be supported from the Petroleum Fund.
Mr Speaker, in that case, we would be able to better track the use of the resources, and Parliament then would be positioned to properly oversight it. The projects that the Petroleum Fund would be going to
fund, Mr Speaker, would be determined. And what it means therefore, is that apart from the usual budget, that is the normal budget, the other one to be supported from the Petroleum Fund would come with programmes and activities costed from the Finance Minister and which Parliament would give approval to.
Otherwise, Mr Speaker, if we allow it to hang the way it is being proposed to us, Mr Speaker, the road would be very, very slippery for us.
Mr Speaker, just this morning, we were dealing with the District Assemblies and the Hon Minister was kind enough to tell us about one of the key functions of the District Assemblies. The effort at decentralization, Mr Speaker, was premised on two limbs. First, to empower the Assemblies to participate in governance. But second and more important, Mr Speaker, was to enable them raise revenue at the local level for their own development.
Mr Speaker, the reality is that, immediately the Assemblies got to know that there was something called “Common Fund” from Central Government, all of them have stopped mobilizing revenue at the local level and the little that is mobilized Mr Speaker, is unaccounted for; they are misapplied and misappropriated, and it cuts across.
Mr Speaker, there are some Assemblies, in particular, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) that can stand on their own without depending on Central Government for anything. But the local initiatives have all been killed immediately they got to know of something called “Common Fund”.
Mr Speaker, if you replicate this at
the national level, one then would come to understand what disease is afflicting neighbouring countries in the sub-region and even some of the notable countries elsewhere.
Mr Speaker, we all talk about the situation in Nigeria. Nigeria used to be the third largest producer and exporter of cocoa, the largest exporter of rubber in Africa, the largest producer of palm oil in Africa, the largest producer of groundnuts in Africa, the largest producer and exporter of zinc in Africa, of coal in Africa. What has happened to Nigeria, Mr Speaker?