Debates of 31 May 2018

PRAYERS 11:22 a.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:22 a.m.
Hon Members, we would commence with the correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 30th May, 2018.
  • [No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 30th May, 2018]
  • Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:22 a.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 3.
    Hon Members, it is programmed for the Minister for Communications to make a Statement on the implementation of a common platform for the telecommunica- tions traffic monitoring revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring and fraud management.
    Hon Minister for Communication, you may take the podium now.
    STATEMENTS 11:32 a.m.

    Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 11:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in 2016, a further complication was introduced. The Electronic Communications Act was amended per Act 910 to make inter- connection through an Interconnect ClearingHouse (ICH) mandatory. The Electronic Communications (Interconnect) Clearinghouse Service Regulation, 2016 specifically barred any ICH from providing revenue assurance services.
    Afriwave Ghana Limited was granted a licence to provide Interconnect Clearinghouse Services in August, 2016 but Mr Speaker, the scope of the Afriwave License included Monitoring of International Incoming Traffic and Anti- Fraud Monitoring (SIM-BOX Tracking). This was not a core function of the ICH.
    The introduction of Afriwave meant that there would have been a duplication of efforts as Subah continued to provide Inbound International Traffic Monitoring Services to the NCA.
    To avoid this clear duplication, the NCA wrote on a number of occasions to inform Subah Infosolutions that their services were no longer required by the NCA. Subah however ignored those letters.
    It is pertinent to note that while the NCA was not a party to the Subah contract, which was between Subah and the GRA, it was bound to use their services even where it did not need or require it and was obliged to pay for it. There is copious correspondence of NCA displeasure with this arrangement which was ignored.
    Mr Speaker, without independent comparison of the CDRs with data actually gathered from the monitoring of the traffic
    in real-time, it is impossible to ensure the accuracy of declared traffic volumes.
    If traffic is not monitored in real-time, the only source of capturing traffic volumes will be from the MNO's servers (CDRs) and that could be manipulated as there is no guarantee that they haven't been tampered with, in the absence of the control mechanism of electronic real-time data capturing.
    Up until now, there has not been any real-time capturing of traffic volumes either by GVG, Subah or Afriwave Ghana Limited.
    Mr Speaker, since traffic was never monitored in real-time, these companies collected the data from the same Servers as the NCA verification team and so inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA from the network operators for free was substantially the same as the data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paid approximately US$2.6 million per month. Mr Speaker, we were in effect paying for no work done.
    This was the situation the NPP government inherited. It clearly could not continue.
    Mr Speaker, a stakeholders' meeting was held on 8th March, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Accra, chaired by Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Senior Minister to assess the situation and propose solutions.
    It was attended by the Ministers for Finance and Communications and their Deputies, Hon Kwarteng and Hon Andah, teams from the NCA and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) led by the Director General and Commissioner General respectively; the CEO of the Telecoms Chamber and all their members, specifically the CEOs of MTN, Vodafone,
    Airtel, Tigo and representatives of Glo and Kasapa, Afriwave and Subah. Frank, open presentations were made by all present.
    At the session, it became clear that neither Subah nor Afriwave was collecting real time data from any operator. It was unanimously agreed that the provisions of Act 864 would be implemented to the letter. The NCA would be the technical body to acquire and implement a Common Platform, working with the GRA under the direction of the Ministers for Finance and Communications for a successful implementation.
    It was envisaged that the entire process would conclude with the Common Platform being established by the end of 2017. Subsequently, the Ministry of Communications in consultation with the Ministry of Finance issued written policy directives to the NCA to proceed accordingly.
    Mr Speaker, in accordance with this directive, a vendor selection process took place after NCA personnel conducted site visits to other African Countries implementing this before approval for restricted tendering was granted by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to commence this process.
    A key criterion for selection was the ability to monitor mobile money transactions, a value added service provided by mobile network operators. The procurement process was followed strictly.
    Mr Speaker, the Central Tender Review Committee also gave approval for the contract to be awarded to the selected vendor, Kelni-GVG Limited to build, operate and transfer. Kelni Limited is a
    Ghanaian Company that entered into a Joint Venture with the Global Voice Group.
    The Joint Venture has been established as Kelni-GVG Limited to implement the Common Platform under a contract signed by the Minister for Communications for both Ministers, as enjoined by Act 864, on 27th December, 2017.

    The Minister for Finance, in accordance with Section 33 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), has also granted approval for this multi-year expenditure commitment.

    Mr Speaker, this contract will be for an initial period of five (5) years, renewable for another five years subject to certain conditions being met.

    Key among these conditions is satisfactory performance by Kelni-GVG Limited, cost effectiveness of maintaining the solutions and the services provided and the capacity in terms of technical resources of Kelni-GVG Limited to continue providing the requisite services.

    The Common Platform will therefore be evaluated continuously to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.

    Mr Speaker, the fee for this transaction is US$1.49 million per month, as against the US$2.6 million paid monthly to both Subah and Afriwave which is within the industry's average for Platform as a Service (PaaS) contract of this nature. The vendors have already procured and delivered equipment worth over US$50m as part of the contract sum at no extra cost to the state and this represents significant cost savings to the nation.

    Kelni-GVG has begun the anti-fraud operation which includes injection of calls from abroad. This is a direct cost element
    Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 11:52 a.m.
    to Kelni-GVG Limited which must pay for these calls coming from various countries abroad.
    Mr Speaker, the Common Platform will monitor traffic on a real-time basis electronically and in combination with daily snapshots of the MNO's Intelligent Network (IN) platform. This will provide a more accurate method of monitoring traffic volumes and serve as a basis for both the NCA and the GRA in calculating taxes and government revenue, which were not accurately calculated by the previous system.
    The monitoring center of the Common Platform, a state of the art Network Operations Center, is located on the premises of the NCA to enable the NCA and GRA to effectively monitor the operations of the vendor and the traffic volumes around the clock.
    As specif ical ly requested by the Ministry of Finance, the Common Platform wil l also conduct Mobile Money Moni toring in addi tion to Traff ic Monitoring and Fraud Management. All the previous platforms did not have the capability of monitoring Mobile Money transactions.
    This will enable government to have more visibility on the actual volumes and values of Mobile Money transactions, not just for revenue assurance but also for anti-money laundering and anti-crime and terrorist financing.
    If the previous platforms were to provide this additional service, it would have come at additional cost, which means the payments would have far exceeded the U$$2.6 million previously paid monthly.
    The platform wi l l also have the capability to do SIM-box fraud tracking with a Geo-location system to pinpoint the
    exact location of fraudsters using SIM- box locators to enable their arrest and confiscation of equipment with the support of the operators and law enforcement officers.
    The common platform will provide services to both the NCA and the GRA as envisaged by the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864. When the Common Platform starts full operations, the cost of providing accurate data to both the NCA and GRA will be reduced significantly.
    The cost savings will result in the NCA paying less than half of the amount it previously paid to Afriwave while GRA will also be paying approximately 60 per cent of the average amount previously paid to Subah even with the addition of Mobile Money Monitoring.
    The cumulative savings on the monthly recurring cost to both the GRA and NCA is about 55 per cent compared to what the two government agencies were previously paying. This demonstrates significant value for money savings to the state.
    Apart from this cost saving, the Common Platform contract provides a clear pathway to GoG owning the entire set-up after five years or 10 years as defined in the Contract. This is in contrast to the situation where despite the huge sums paid to Subah and Afriwave, they still retain ownership and control of all equipment permanently.
    The equipment will be fully upgraded after each five-year period. At that point, the GRA and NCA would take over the full operations of the platform and the monthly payments would then cease.
    Since the equipment is hosted at the office of the NCA, staff of both the NCA
    and GRA have direct access to the platform and also real-time information. This real-time information will enable the Regulatory Administrations Division of the NCA to react timeously to any anomaly that may be identified.
    The establishment of the Common Platform will enhance collaboration between GRA and the NCA for the monitoring of government revenues in the communications sector.
    By working together to establish the Common Platform, the officers working on the project have already identified areas of collaboration and are holding periodic meetings to exchange ideas. Local capacity is being built on a continuing basis as technology and know-how transfer take place.
    The monitoring mechanism will not intrude on the content of traffic being transmitted or interfere with the network infrastructure of the Telcos. The law prohibits that, section 7(6) of Act 864 provides that and with your permission I quote:
    “The monitoring mechanism referred to in subsection (4)(a) shall not have the capability to actively or passively record, monitor, or tap into the content of any incoming or outgoing electronic communica- tions traffic, including voice, video or data, existing discretely on a converged platform whether local or international.”
    Clause 3, Annex “A” of the contract itself specifically proscribes this conduct and repeats Section (7)(6) of Act 864 verbatim. We will enforce the law fully. Kelni-GVG, the NCA and GRA are all data protection compliant and we will continue to monitor their operations to ensure they remain so.
    In Africa, this same system is being implemented by GVG in Rwanda and Uganda currently, where all the MNOs in Ghana also operate. There has been no complaint of such intrusion in those countries and the fears being expressed here are completely unjustified, fanciful or smack of disrespect for our laws. It's a facade to avoid paying the right taxes.
    We are confident that these so called fears are not borne out by the facts but are merely a continuing attempt to frustrate government efforts to ensure full transparency and visibility on all transactions in this sector.
    We expect a minimum of 20 per cent increase in tax revenues for the sector as has been witnessed in other jurisdictions where this platform operates.
    Mr Speaker, before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Mobile Network Operators of their obligations to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of the law quoted below with your kind permission:

    Section 4 (b) of the Communica-tions Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864 states that the Minister in collaboration with the Minister responsible for Communications shall --

    “be given physical access to the physical network nodes of the service providers' network at an equivalent point in the network where the network providers' billing systems are connected”.

    Section 5 also provides that

    “A service provider who refuses to provide access to its network for Government or its appointed agents
    Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 12:02 p.m.
    as specified in subsection (4)(b) commits an offence and is liable to pay a penalty of five percent of the annual gross revenue of the last audited financial statement of the service provider after the first thirty days and if the situation persists after ninety days, the National Communications Authority may revoke the operating licence of that service provider”.

    Mr Speaker, this current and hopefully final effort to establish the Common Platform is borne out of the unanimous decision taken at the Stakeholders Meeting early last year, where the chairman of the Ghana Telecoms Chamber, who gave the presentation on behalf of the MNOs, stressed the need for the NCA to acquire the capability to monitor traffic in the industry.

    They are doing just that. Just as the Telcos have outsourced key parts of their operations including infrastructure, billing and security, the NCA also has the right to engage whichever contractor it chooses to provide stated services.

    The Common Platform is necessary for monitoring international and domestic voice and data traffic, volumes, revenue, and mobile money transactions in an independent way.

    The establishment of this platform is a joint effort by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Communications as required by the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, (Act 864) and the platform will eventually be handed over to the NCA and GRA after the contractual period.

    Mr Speaker, equipment installation is almost complete and the platform is expected to be fully operational in July this year. Some services have already commenced and all MNOs are required to cooperate fully with the NCA. I am happy to announce that Vodafone and Glo are in the process of being connected as we speak.

    The others are expected to be connected by the 11th of June, 2018. Any operator who fails to comply will be sanctioned. We will have real time monitoring and will physically connect to the network nodes of all the operators as enjoined by law.

    Mr Speaker, its worthy of note that the Afriwave licence has been amended and all outstanding payments made by the NCA. They are no longer providing traffic monitoring services to the NCA and have been restricted to clearing house operations. This function is also currently not operational and the NCA has no financial obligations to them. Afriwave was hitherto being paid four million Ghana cedis (GH¢ 4,000,000) per month.

    Mr Speaker, Subah is currently in court challenging the termination of its contract by the GRA on the grounds that it was not given the requisite three (3) months' notice and has procured an injunction which is also being appealed against. While we abide the conclusion of this legal process, the status quo remains unchanged and we will proceed accordingly.

    The NCA, Ministry of Communications (MoC) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) have no contract or agreement with Subah on the implementation of the provisions of Act 864 and we are hopeful that they will resolve their differences with the GRA sooner rather than later.

    Strident attempts have been made in the past few days to impugn the integrity of Kelni-GVG and impute ill motives to the MoC and MoF for concluding this contract. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are acting in the interest of the good people of Ghana to safeguard revenues that ought to accrue to the state.

    As far back as 2009, National Security conducted extensive due diligence on GVG and confirmed the credibility and technical capacity of the company in writing (ref: NSCS40/V.10/1231 of 28th April, 2009). [Laughter]. It was addressed to the then Hon Minister for Communications who is the current Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu. [Hear! Hear!]

    Those who were earning large sums of money for virtually no work done will be unhappy with the collapse of their lucrative business and will fight back. Their tentacles run deep. It is not in the interest of the telecom multinationals and local business concerns for government to have this full visibility of their transactions. What do they have to hide?

    They fought it in the past with similar arguments and are fighting it now. I have a sense of deja vu! Who benefits if this contract is cancelled? We are determined and stand resolute to enforce and apply Act 864 to the letter. We will not waver or relent in this.

    Fact -- this is not a duplication of any existing contract. No other system or company is currently providing this service. The mobile money intero- perability platform of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GHIPPs) Limited monitors transactions between two or more Telcos and the banks, but it does not monitor transactions on one network; the Common Platform (CMP) does so.

    Fact -- we are not paying for no work done. Neither the NCA nor the GRA currently has the capability of providing this service and have indicated so. The CMP will provide real time monitoring of all traffic volumes on all networks as has never happened before. It is currently conducting anti-fraud testing as envisaged; the Network Operations Centre has been set up, connected and equipped with hardware and software.

    Everything is ready for all operators to be connected, and they were notified on 11th May, 2018. They have one month from this date to connect, failing which the requisite sanctions will be applied in accordance with the law. Training of NCA/ GRA personnel is ongoing. A team just returned from training in Zaragoza, Spain. All deliverables and timelines under the contract have been met to date.

    Fact--no NCA Board Member has resigned because of this contract.

    Fact -- Kelni-GVG is not a foreign company. It is a joint venture between a Ghanaian company registered in 1995 with
    Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 12:02 p.m.
    experience in Electrical Engineering, IT solutions and systems. In addition to other business interests, GVG has 20 years experience in Telecoms revenue assurance and IT solutions.
    They do have a website, and their office is in Labone; not Osu nor Kokomlemle.
    Fact -- several telecom companies operating in Ghana have been fined and faced challenges in some countries they operate in. That does not make them fraudulent or disreputable companies. GVG has also experienced some challenges. They currently operate in Rwanda and Uganda among other countries and have been selected to establish the roaming and traffic exchange platform across Africa.
    This is the Africa Regional Traffic Exchange and Financial Settlement (ARTEF) platform being implemented by the Smart Africa Initiative to harmonise call tariffs within network countries and promote the routing of inbound and outbound telecoms traffic locally on the continent, bypassing international traffic wholesalers and reducing call charges.
    As stated by the Smart Africa Executive Director, Dr Hamadoun Toure, and I beg to quote:
    ‘‘By keeping Africa's traffic in Africa, the ARTEF will enhance the affordability and security of communications across the continent while cutting the costs operators incur to interconnect and carry voice, SMS and later data and financial services traffic among African countries.”
    GVG is providing this service for the 24 countries in the Smart Africa Initiative. This is the company that we are so busy vilifying and demonising here.
    They are more than technologically capable of building, managing and operating our Common Platform.
    Smart Africa is a bold initiative to fast track the digitisation of African Economies, which is endorsed by the African Union (AU), managed by a former Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr Hamadoun Toure and chaired by the current AU Chairman and President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame. Ghana has just joined Smart Africa and is proud to be associated with forward-looking visionary countries determined to utilise technology to leapfrog development.
    We will work with our colleagues to implement tried and tested solutions to enhance the Governments' revenue generation capacity. The Common Monitoring Platform is one such solution. In any event Mr Speaker, there is an exit clause in the agreement, if they are in material breach of their obligations under the contract and their performance is deemed unsatisfactory. Hopefully, that eventuality will not arise.
    In conclusion Mr Speaker, I wish to reassure all companies doing business in the communications sector that we are not against big business. We however, take a dim view of those who will flout our laws with impunity and expect all our corporate citizens to pay their dues just as they would in their countries of origin. As H.E. the President indicated during the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Awards last week:
    “We must deepen the payment of taxes, and broaden the tax net to include the informal sector in the payment of appropriate taxes. It is particularly important that we enhance the capacity of our tax authorities so that the big players in our economy, i.e. the mining companies, the oil companies, the
    telecommunication companies, pay their correct taxes.
    For too long, such companies have been the source of the massive flight of capital from our country and our continent. I am a firm believer in honest profits, but I will not condone illicit financial outflows. We know how injurious they have been to Africa's development.”
    Mr Speaker, there has been absolutely no corruption or underhand dealings in this transaction. [Uproar.] I can never be party to any such conduct as I value my reputation and the reputation of the Government that serves the good people of Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] I stand here as an Hon Minister of the Akufo-Addo Administration -- [Hear! Hear!] -- To assure this august House that I believe this is the best deal we could have gotten. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, Vodafone and Glo are currently in the process of connecting physically to the Common Platform (CMP). I expect the others to do so shortly. Their deadline for final connection is 11th June, 2018; failure or refusal to do so will result in imposition of the specified sanctions.
    Mr Speaker, I urge all my Hon colleagues in the House to join us in our insistence that companies doing good business here pay all their properly assessed taxes. Where we lack the capacity, we will acquire and ensure full visibility of all taxable transactions.

    “…who is on the Lords' side, who for Him will go?

    By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,

    We are on the Lords' side, Saviour we are thine!”…

    Exodus 32:26, hymn by Frances R. Havergall, 1877.

    . . . We are on Ghanas' side, Ghana we are thine!

    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the kind audience.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    Hon Members, order! Let us have some silence. At the end of the Statement, it has been agreed by the Hon Leaders that four Hon Members from each side of the House will contribute and we will start from Hon (Alhaji) A. B. F. Alhassan on the Minority side of the House.
    Alhaji Bashir F. Alhassan (NDC-- Sagnarigu) 12:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion. I would also like to t hank the Hon Minister for Communications for responding to the call and briefing the House appropriately.

    On this particular matter of supreme national interest, a lot of water has spilled under the bridge in a transaction that has generally been reviewed as opaque.
    In laying the foundation, I would want to refer to some of the statements that the Hon Minister made in respect of the fact that, firstly, they had agreed that the services of Subah Infosolutions were no longer needed at the Ministry of Communications
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    Hon Member, I am advised by Leadership that each contributor will be allowed seven minutes.
    [Interruption] -- [Laughter.]
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you can further show some flexibility to allow the Hon Ranking Member 10 minutes, then the rest can do seven minutes and I will conclude.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, given the numbers to contribute, my own opinion was that we would give about six minutes to each Hon Member to contribute. Of course, the Hon Minority Leader will have much more time but he signaled 10 minutes and I thought that by way of compromise, seven minutes will do. Then we will have much more time.
    Mr Speaker, so I would want to indulge the Hon Minority Leader that, we do seven minutes each and we will have much more time. This is because it is hard to even reschedule Cabinet meeting.
    Today is Cabinet day and the Hon Minister would have to be here so Cabinet has to be held up because of what we are doing here which recognises -- [Uproar] -- The importance that government and indeed this House attaches to this Business.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:12 p.m.
    Very well. He can start. It is 12:15 p.m. by my watch.
    Alhaji B. F. Alhassan 12:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Hon Minister is a lawyer of repute. As we speak, Subah Infosolutions is in court over the termination of its contract and until the matter has been amicably resolved by a competent court of jurisdiction, she cannot sidestep the court, and in an indecent hurry, go to award a contract to another company while the case is pending in court.
    Mr Speaker, so you would want to question what the motive in the indecent hurry to award a contract even before the legal process has been exhausted.
    The Hon Minister in her presentation indicated that no company, including Kelni-GVG, has as we speak, undertaken any work, because they have not been able to connect to any of the devices in the various telecommunication companies to be able to gain access to their cross- data records.
    Mr Speaker, the contract with Kelni- GVG was consummated on the 27 th December, 2017. Provisions in the contract indicated that, 30 days after the consummation of the contract, payment commenced.
    We are in the 5th month as we speak and Kelni-GVG has been paid religiously for the five months without doing any work and US$1.5million a month. So for the five months, US$7.5 million equivalent to over GH¢34 million -- [Uproar] -- So no work done.
    In the contract, provision is not made to ensure that work done commensurates with payment. So, if we do not have a built- in system, where work done commensurates with payment and this
    dovetails into the process of not ensuring that value for money audit is done, then it is just left to the whims and caprices of those administering the contract to take it along.
    Mr Speaker, this is what has made people say that it is vitiated with fraud because no work has been done and no determination of the quantum of moneys to be paid to them in consonance with the work which has been done.
    We are also talking about dealings that are transparent and in conformity with the law. The award of the contract was done on a sole-sourcing basis. Unless there was evidence adduced to show that the contract was supposed to be executed in an emergency basis or no other company exhibited that kind of expertise to be able to discharge to the expectations of the contract, there was no basis for that indecent hurry to award the contract.
    It should have been subjected to competitive bidding, especially, since as at the time that the contract was being awarded, two other companies; Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited were already discharging obligations in a similar respect. So why was there an indecent hurry to do a sole- sourcing on this matter? It is the subject matter of worry.
    Mr Speaker, what is more worrying is also in respect of provisions in the contract which also indicates for instance that if there is just even a day's delay in the payment, this country is going to be inflicted with an additional five per cent annual payment.
    There is also an additional problem which makes the appointment of a manager by Kelni-GVG, -- This is a clear
    case of conflict of interest where the same company that is executing the contract is the same company that appoints a manager to oversee the operations of the company. If this is not a clear case of conflict of interest and some element of fraud, I wonder what that is.
    Mr Speaker, it is also important that we look at the issue of the extent to which this contract meets the public interest.
    We are talking about a situation where we are paying moneys for the induction of a Common Platform which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Finance.
    Mr Speaker, they are reneging on their responsibilities and rather going to sign a contract that would impose exorbitant costs on this country when this service could have been attained free of charge as the Ministry has just said. That these are things that we could attain free of charge.
    Mr Speaker, how do we pay US$7.5 million today to get a service that they have indicated we could get free of charge? So, what is the rationale? Mr Speaker, I would want this House to look at this matter in the context that it is a very important and urgent matter that touches on the supreme interest of this country.
    Mr Speaker, I also call for an independent inquiry to ensure that under the edges of the Committee on Communications, a public hearing would be given to this matter to ensure that the many unanswered questions, including the credibility of Kelni GVG -- Mr Speaker, let any Hon Member of this House “Google” about the credibility and international image of Kelni GVG. It is a company which is a walking fraud --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, please listen. We are regulated by Standing Order 93 (2) which enjoins us to refrain from making insulting, abusive, blasphemous or to impute improper motive. The company is not here and so to say that it is a “walking fraud” is unparliamentary.
    Hon Member, you have 30 seconds to conclude but please refrain from abusing our rules.
    Alhaji B. A. F. Alhassan 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I heed to your advice and to state that, there is multiplicity of allegations of malfeasance that have been levelled against Kelni GVG. Mr Speaker, I am saying that if we do a google search, without any iota of doubt we would find that, in countries and jurisdictions where they have operated, these allegations have followed them.
    So I call for this matter to be referred to the Committee on Communications for an inquiry to be done for us to get to the bottom of the matter. This is because this country is seriously being short-changed and this is not in our supreme national interest.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Hon Opare- Ansah, Hon Member for Suhum?
    Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah (NPP -- Suhum) 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, resume your seat.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:22 p.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip, kindly control your Members on your side of the House; I have kept silent and waited. We would continue when you are done. Until then we would wait.

    Hon Member for Suhum, you may start now.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 12:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make some comments on the Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for Communications and to also thank her for responding to the numerous calls in the country to come to this House and throw further light and deepen the debate on the issues surrounding the Common Platform.
    Mr Speaker, I am sure that after listening to her expose; many of our Hon Colleagues here would be better educated in appreciating the issues that surround the Common Platform.
    Mr Speaker, a number of issues were raised by herself and a few were also raised by the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Communications.
    Firstly, they were the issues of value for money for the contract, the experience of Kelni GVG, the issues surrounding real time monitoring, the Interconnect Clearing House and issues of whether this contract should even be situated with the Ministry of Communications or the Ministry of Finance, thereby NCA or GRA.
    Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that, there is a clear need for the country to monitor the revenues that are due government and to implement revenue assurance systems.
    Just before we went on recess for the last Meeting of this Session, this House passed the Electronic Point of Sale Devices Bill for the GRA to use this technology to collect Value Added Tax
    Indeed, we have to move to the point where we would see more of such systems. There are countries where the Hon Minister for Finance goes to work in the morning and at the click of a button he is able to see all the revenues that accrued to the country the previous day. This is where we must be headed.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the current scope with Kelni GVG on one hand then the Ministry of Communications and the NCA on the second hand and the Ministry of Finance and GRA on another lap, it is clear that, it has a much wider scope than any previous Agreements that we have seen.
    Mr Speaker, there are four clear components; where it is doing revenue assurance, fraud management, monitoring mobile money revenues and others.
    So it is clear that this particular Agreement has a wider scope. Therefore, I would want those doing the comparisons of what we paid under Kelni GVG and GoG versus what we paid under Subah and GRA to understand that we are now talking of a Common Platform which has combined revenues from the international leg of our telephony space to the domestic revenue.
    All these have been merged unto one platform to make a nice cake for us and
    the icing that have been put on top is the monitoring of mobile money and to further ensure that any fraud in this cake is taken out by implementing a fraud management system. Mr Speaker, so it is not as simple as the systems that were implemented previously.
    Mr Speaker, one of the key things that this brings to the fore has to do with the legal capacity of the Interconnect Clearing House, that is, Afriwave to even venture into the sphere of performing any kind of revenue assurance.
    Mr Speaker, in this House in 2016, a law was passed which expressly barred the Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) from engaging in any form of revenue assurance to government or even rendering accounts of any kind of tax revenue to government. That was for a reason, because in 2013 the NDC Administration came to Parliament and decided to include inter-connect services in the Communication Service Tax, by amending the Communication Service Tax Act.
    Now the Hon Minister is employing somebody to undertake Inter-connect Services.
    Clearly, the inter-connect services were going to be taxed and the entity that is supposed to superintend that cannot in any way be seen to be also monitoring itself because, those revenues were part of the revenues to be monitored by the single platform. That is why when we advanced those arguments in this House, the House understood and supported the amendment that was proffered to ensure that the ICH could not --
    An Hon Member 12:32 p.m.
    And backed by the then Hon Majority Leader.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    You have one minute more, please.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to quickly address a couple of issues raised by my Hon Colleague the Ranking Member.
    The complexity of the systems that are being implemented and the fact that it is the entity itself which is selling this product to government do make sense that, it should be allowed to determine who would manage the system. And for those who do not appreciate it so much and why they ask that, as soon as the contract was signed, in 30 days some payments were made. We should look at this whole set up as you are going to buy a taxi for somebody to work on work-and- pay basis.
    That is what this particular Agreement looks like. [Interruption]. It is not the same as those who brought in systems which were being utilised, then bills were sent to Government.
    This system --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 12:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to call on my Hon Colleagues and the nation at large that, we should all appreciate the issues involved and understand that the comments we make about the Ghanaian companies that we are helping and nurturing to grow --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Sam George.
    Mr Samuel Nartey George (NDC -- Ningo-Prampram) 12:32 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    It gives me great pleasure to see the Hon Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, Hon Kennedy Agyapong in the Chamber, because his leadership on this is key to us in the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, the point must be made that nobody here seeks to say that Government must not make revenue from taxation. In fact, none of us from this side of the House is going to say that Government needs not increase, improve and optimise its revenue generation from the Telcos, but what we are saying is very simple.

    Mr Speaker, when you look at this contract and the issues -- and I read the Statement that has been ably presented, including the musical interlude, by the Hon Minister for Communications. You ask yourself, the Hon Minister is a lawyer. In corporate law, company law, it is basic

    -- 101.

    Kelni GVG is not the same as GVG Haiti. They are two different corporate entities.

    In 2009 -- and if you take her Statement, the Hon Minister conveniently and very disingenuously I must add -- inter switches, Kelni and GVG, when she speaks about the track record of the company that they are entering into this contract with -- She cites the track record of GVG Haiti, but this contract is not with GVG Haiti. This contract is with Kelni GVG --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:32 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member knows the rules that in contributing, he should not impute improper motives. He said the Hon Minister is disingenuous.
    Mr Speaker, if he is making your point, you could, but to say that the Hon Minister is disingenuous, he must watch his words; he must.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:32 p.m.
    Hon Member, the use of the word disingenuous is imputing improper motives. Can you withdraw and continue?
    Mr George 12:32 p.m.
    I take guidance from the Chair, and I withdraw the word ‘disingenuous' and insert ‘the Hon Minister only cleverly sought to mix Kelni and GVG'.
    Mr Speaker, on page 3 of the Hon Minister's Statement, I would beg to read;
    “They claimed they preferred the monitoring platform to be owned and managed by the Regulator, the National Communications Autho- rity. It is only in Ghana that the network operators feel they can dictate how the Regulator regulates them!”
    This is very rich, coming from the Hon Minister, and I see the Board Chair of the NCA who at the time that we tried to carry out a similar function was the chief lobbyist for the Telcos and he made the same claim which the Hon Minister today says it is wrong.
    It would be interesting to know that the position of the NCA Board Chairman who at the time as Chairman of the Telecoms Chamber made this same argument --
    In fact, if you read on, in her Statement, she said that, the Telcos misrepresent the facts and that there would be breach of data. Well, the Board Chairman of the NCA today under this Government and under this Hon Minister makes similar claims, so they are only taking a leaf from --
    Mr Opare-Ansah 12:32 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, a moment ago you had cause to advise the Hon Ranking Member on the fact that he was making allusions and references to a person who is not in this Chamber.
    The Board Chairman of NCA may be physically present in the Chamber, but we all know that he has no locus on the Floor to be heard. So it is neither here nor there to say that he is in the Chamber.
    He cannot respond to the issues you are raising against him, so I would advise my Hon Colleague to restrain himself and restrict it to issues that either the Hon Minister or the Deputy Minister or other Hon Members of Parliament have the capacity to address.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr George 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, well noted. I was only taking the considered professional advice.
    Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's submission, again she makes the case in paragraph 1 on page 4 that they were in effect paying for no work done.
    Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister, who told us she is born again at the beginning of her Statement, tell us before the Lord her maker that, Kelni GVG has been paid for work done in the past five months as stipulated by their full deliverables in the contract?
    Mr Speaker, let us put it on record that in 2013, the Ministry of Communications, through the National Communications Authority, caused an audit of the call detail records (CDR) to be performed. That audit led to a fine of US$45 million, paid by the telecommunication companies (telcos).

    Let us be clear about one thing. The 2009 contract was signed by the then Minister for Communications, Hon Haruna Iddrisu who is the Minority Leader today. That contract is fundamentally different from what we have seen today.

    In this case, if GVG in 2009 did not find any incremental revenue, they were not paid. If Subah did not find incremental revenue, they were not paid. However, in this classic case of -- and again I borrow the words of Justice James Dotse -- “create, loot and share”, what we would see is that, whether there is incremental revenue or not, they are entitled to US$1.5 million. [Interruptions.] -- [Uproar.]

    Mr Speaker, we cannot continue to bleed the public purse like this. Let us be clear about one thing. Afriwaves Steel has a contract today. Let us bring this down to the level where everybody in this country would understand.

    The Ministry of Roads and Highways which oversees the Tema Motorway, has contracted a company to collect tolls on the motorway for them. That company, at the end of each day, would bring deliverables into the Road Fund and say, today, they made GH¢20,000.00.

    If you want to find out how that company made the GH¢20,000.00, that company could give you records, records such as having 5,000 salon cars, 4,000 four wheel drives and 4,000 trucks. That is how they got GH¢20,000.00. That is what the Interconnect Clearing House would have done for us.

    The Interconnect Clearing House would have aggregated all the traffic in this country. We would have had that traffic and when they aggregate the traffic, a by-product of aggregating the traffic would be that, they would be able to give you the CDRs unimpeded and unedited.

    It would have come to the Ghanaian tax payer for free.

    Mr Speaker, let us put on record, that the contract that was signed with the ICH -- If this Government had continued to do what ought to have been done, we would have had a situation where by now the ICH would not have gotten a dime from the Ghanaian taxpayer.

    The contract said that in one year of operation of the ICH, the Government of Ghana would stop paying the ICH licence holder, and the telcos would begin to pay the ICH. If the Hon Minister says that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Mr George 12:42 p.m.
    I am wrapping up, Mr Speaker.
    In conclusion, if the Hon Minister says that the affluent company is not performing its function, it is because the NCA has failed for over a year to set the interconnect fee.
    In wrapping up Mr Speaker, I would want to call on you --
    Mr George 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before I resume my seat, I call on you to use your esteemed office to subject this to a parliamentary enquiry --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Ayew Afriye? [Hear! Hear!]
    Dr Nana Ayew Afriye (NPP -- Effiduase/Asokore) 12:42 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to speak on this issue.
    To make a few things clear -- [Interruption] [Pause.]
    It is worrying today to see my Hon Friends on the other Side of the House, challenge the very principle which was championed by a group I led in 2009, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG). AFAG then brought this issue of GVG out.
    Basically, at that time, we said that, it was intrusive and other allegations spewed out. We were called by the then Minister for Communications, who is now the Leader of the Minority.
    The understanding of the group on the principle to withdraw our case in court against GVG was that, they would make money for the State. For that matter, the telcos for years have under declared their revenue. He indulged on us to stand on the part of Government and not the multinational companies.
    Mr Speaker, may I have the opportunity to speak with reference to a publication on Ghana Web, on the 10th of July, 2010. The headline was “AFAG withdraws suit against NCA”: With your permission I quote:
    “On principle, we have decided to withdraw the Motions we filed in court to pave way for checking of sim-box fraud in order to generate revenue for the State towards development. We have therefore communicated to our lawyers to withdraw the Motions.”
    AFAG also said and I beg to quote:
    “…further research and consulta- tions with stakeholders had discovered that the prefix of most international calls to Ghana terminating as local calls was a “serious matter”, which should be
    Dr Nana Ayew Afriye (NPP -- Effiduase/Asokore) 12:42 p.m.
    checked by “all fair and legal means…
    “Our aim is not to frustrate or sabotage government, but to ensure that the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians are not encroached upon”.
    Mr Speaker, the National Security Coordinator also invited AFAG. Our understanding from the then Coordinator was clear that it was not intrusive. This is the worry of some Hon Members on the other side of the House, that, GVG would be intrusive. They are misleading the public.
    This is because they assured us that the operations of GVG would never be intrusive. What has changed? The principle by which they brought that group in has not changed. Anything at all is value; They are bringing value because mobile money has added value to the new Kelni-GVG.

    May I have the opportunity to read the position of the former Deputy Minister for Communications, Felix Ofosu Kwakye on Peace FM. He said and I quote;

    “Ursula Owusu- Ekuful seems to be attracting many admirers. Her style of leadership within her six month in office…”

    Mr Governs K. Agbodza — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:42 p.m.
    Hon Member, hold on.
    Yes, Hon Kwame Agbodza?
    Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 12:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought my very good Friend would take a cue from your ruling. Hon Felix O. Kwakye is not in this Chamber. You just gave Hon Sam George a directive -- [Interruption]
    In this Chamber, an Hon Member tried to read a Statement from an electronic gadget and he was told that since you cannot take it, you cannot view it. That ruling still holds.
    Mr Speaker, I would urge you to direct my Hon Colleague to take a cue from your ruling. That is my petition.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Order! Order!
    The principle is that, you do not make allegations or imputations against a person who is not here to respond. If you quote a person, it is acceptable. It is true that I directed that Hon John Jinapor provides the document he read from the iPad to be deposited with me for verification. Ask him what he did.

    Hon Member, please continue.
    Dr Afriye 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you. May I plead your indulgence to have additional minutes to my —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Member, continue; and if you finish, please bring me the mobile phone to verify the story.
    Dr Afriye 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish the time would be added on for me. I know you would do that.
    Mr Speaker, the heading on the is 12:52 p.m.
    “Ursula has been the finest Minister in Nana Addo's Government” — Kwakye Ofosu. It can be checked.
    Mr Speaker, the former Deputy Minister for Information said she is working diligently with no malice to disregard the work of the previous government in her office.
    Mr Speaker, are we working on principles or on vested interest theory?
    Mr Speaker, this is a Ministry where the Chief Director has not been changed. He is the permanent officer. He is the policy and the institutional memory.
    The Hon Minister, Hon Ursula Owusu- Ekuful, with all the allegations against the NPP Government for whatever they would do to a Chief Director maintained the permanent officer — [Uproar] — And the policies of the then NDC regime are being executed. Today, they are attacking the very principle that they stood for; that makes them unprincipled.
    Mr Speaker, it is so clear for me to also state here — What has changed? Nothing has changed; whether it is Subah Infosolutions Limited, or Afriwaves Ghana Limited, at this point in time, Kelni-GVG is adding value more than what they could do and this needs not to be politicised.
    It is so clear that our Hon Members are being clouded in their judgements with political philosophy on this issue. This is
    because obviously, if they are standing on the side of the Ghanaian, why would they be against a project that saves cost and also allow for the first time, what they failed to do in nine years?
    In nine years, they failed to allow all these intermediaries to install their CDRs at the notes of the Telcos. But they will execute it this time around. So they have failed and Kelni-GVG will do what they could not do. We are being principled on the scalds that they failed on. It is clearly a case of much ado about nothing.
    Mr Speaker, with this exposition, we know the good people of this country would understand and support this Government. So all the civil society groups who initially did not support — One thing I am worried about is, years ago, there were some civil society groups which opposed the very existence of Afriwaves, GVG and ICH.
    Today, they are now actually the saints and the holier than thou speaking for why they are not speaking on consistency. I am sure the good people of this country would get to understand the issues.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Member, your time is up.
    Dr Afriye 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity — [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Isaac Adongo?
    Mr Isaac Adongo (NDC — Bolgatanga Central) 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe this subject is a very important one. It goes beyond religious philosophies and singing very nice tunes. It is about value for money for the people of Ghana.
    Mr Isaac Adongo (NDC — Bolgatanga Central) 12:52 p.m.
    Parliament is being called upon not to disappoint the people of Ghana, but to ensure that at the end of the day we engage in the scrutiny that suggests that we exercise our oversight duties and protect the public purse.
    Mr Speaker, after listening to the Hon Minister for Communication, I have more questions than answers, and that is why this House must work to fully investigate this matter and arrive at a conclusion that assures the people of Ghana that we mean business and we would protect the public purse.
    Mr Speaker, it is very strange for somebody to say that if they charge a certain fee and someone else charges a certain fee, then we would deliver value. We do not calculate value based on that.
    We calculate value based on a proper appraisal of the project over a number of years. It is a build, operate and transfer and so if the investor would earn a return of 100 per cent, we would say the fee on the other side is smaller. So if we waive 100 per cent return on investment, it is acceptable.
    Nobody does that. We need to do a proper appraisal and investigate what appraisal went into this project to establish that over the life of this project, the people of Ghana are better off and not being screwed. I was happy to hear my Hon Colleague say the scope of the two investors are completely different. So why are we comparing apples to mangoes?
    We need to do a proper appraisal and arrive at the financial implications of this project beyond the scope that they have just defined. We are aware that there is an automatic renewal of this project for

    Mr Speaker, I would want to raise this point that the people of Ghana do not tax mobile money. We do not know of any law that taxes mobile money. So revenue assurance from mobile money is what kind of revenue? It simply means that we are looking at what GHIPSS operates as the interoperability.

    And they are now saying GHIPSS, which is supposed to make its money on the interoperability by tracking volumes and traffic, and making sure that it charges its fees, does not even have a means of knowing how much it would get and we call that an interoperability?

    What interoperability does not know the revenue? What interoperability does not know how much goes through mobile money? And we talk about fraud? GHIPSS cannot tell if somebody puts in more into the system which it cannot take to interrogate it.

    And so clearly, we are asking Kelni- GVG to duplicate work that is already being done by GHIPSS and to get US$4.5 million basically for no work done.

    Mr Speaker, we need to ensure that the people of Ghana get value and we must fully investigate this matter.

    Mr Speaker, once we agree that this is supposed to assure us of revenue -- the Hon Minister indicates that in other places they get 20 per cent increase. So does she mean that -- If suddenly people decide to make more cost, would the revenue not go up? Then we would go and give the money to Kelni-GVG.

    If they decide that the tariffs would go up — If tariffs go up, would revenues not go up? When revenues go up, they would say it is Kelni-GVG. We need to know the additional revenue they are bringing in. This is because, ordinarily, revenues would go up from one year to the other even without an assurance for those revenues.

    Mr Speaker, these are very basic questions; why did they agree to pay Kelni-GVG thirty days after signing a contract? They indicated here that Glo and Vodafone are now being connected as we speak. So what happened yesterday when they paid them? What happened two months ago when they paid them? They paid them in anticipation that today, Glo and Vodafone would be connected.

    Mr Speaker, and so that US$7.5 million that they paid was in anticipation that they would come and tell us that they are now connecting. When is MTN connecting? They are already paying US$1.5 million a month and we are not getting anything from MTN. When is Airtel-Tigo connecting? We are still paying them though they are not connecting.

    Mr Speaker, there is no value for money that was conducted on this transaction. We are being told stories and we want to believe stories. We want to see gaani gaani. Parliament must see it ourselves,

    and be sure that we are satisfied with what the Hon Minister has told us.

    Mr Speaker, this matter must receive your attention and we must do a proper investigation.

    Mr Speaker, a very basic question; when she was talking, she did not mention any track record of Kelni-GVG, except to say that it had been around for 20 years. If it had been around for 20 years and sleeping, and so what? — [Laughter.] — We need to know what they have been doing — [Laughter.]

    The fact that they have been around for 20 years and living a useless life does not mean that they have a better life — [Laughter.] — We want them to tell us that Kelni-GVG has been around for 20 years and delivering 20 per cent increase in revenue in other countries, and list those countries so we can call them and ask them whether they are sacking Kelni-GVG or they are still keeping them.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to implore the House to take this matter very seriously because the people of Ghana are looking at this Parliament to see whether we are rubberstamping the decisions of the Majority or we are doing proper scrutiny, providing oversight and protecting the public purse.

    This transaction provides more questions than answers and Parliament must find the answers and it should not be the Hon Minister giving us the answers.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon George Andah?
    Deputy Minister for Communications (Mr George N. K. Andah): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.

    Mr Speaker, Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited was not paid based on incremental revenue alone. Indeed, the contract for Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited section 5. 1 (ii) mentions 12.5 per cent of the incremental revenue over the agreed monthly collection.

    Section 5.1 (ii) says and I beg to quote:

    “a monthly service fee of US$0.125 per minute of the monthly incoming traffic for the purpose of the”

    -- [Inaudible.] [Uproar.] [Interruption.] So, it is not true that Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited was paid only for incremental revenue.

    Mr Speaker, indeed, the CDRs of the telecommunications can be obtained from the telecommunications free of charge. But what we are talking about is real time independent monitoring where Kelni-GVG generates the CDRs or themselves for the Government of Ghana.

    Indeed, this is being done at 55 per cent less than what was being done in the previous regime. Most importantly, the equipment at the end of the contract period is owned by the Government of Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, interoperability is not about on-net and off-net; it relates to off- net activity -- that is activity that happens outside the operator's network. And we all know that about 20 per cent of the activities happen outside the operator's network. So, if we are talking about interoperability, we cannot say that it monitors 100 per cent of the activity. We would want to see the on-net activity as well.

    Mr Speaker, in the year 2012, the NCA audited the telecommunications for their one per cent of revenue. Indeed, Hon Samuel George made reference to that. It is not true that they were fined US$45 million; indeed, they were fined GH¢41.059 million. This goes to show that the operators were misreporting revenue and the fines had to do with instructions based on the revenue that were being misreported.

    Mr Speaker, the fines that the operators were made to pay are clear testimony to the fact that they underreported revenue. And the fact that they then paid this amount shows that this is true; it is in cedis and not dollars.

    Mr Speaker, the fact is that the full procurement process was followed; there was a contract that went through due approval process placing clear key

    performance indicators on either party. Any further and better particulars on the procurement process can be sought from the PPA.

    Mr Speaker, it is a fact that the payment terms hinges on the fact that the equipment is owned by the Government of Ghana after the contractual period. It is an amortisation payment for the equipment over the period of the contract. It is about designing, developing, equipping, installing and financing the platform within six months.

    Operations and maintenance training upgrades follow after. If we had waited for payments from July, the monthly amounts obviously would have been higher than the US$1.49 million that we are paying and we did not want this to happen.

    Mr Speaker, if we had paid all that was required to be paid for the six months, that would have been a full system that would have been placed for about US$9 million. Payments of 60 per cent from GRA have been made for January and February, 2018. NCA has done 40 per cent for March and April, 2018.

    So, in total for the five-month period, we have not paid $7.5 million -- It is a lie. It is only 40 per cent of the payment

    that is due that has been paid. [Uproar.] -- [Interruption.]

    Mr Speaker, it is a fact that as of now, if you look at the KPIs that were done, it is 40 per cent payment that has been made for over 80 per cent of work that has been delivered.

    Mr Speaker, assuming that we had even paid 100 per cent of the payment schedule over the period up to July, 2018 it means that we are talking of a figure of about US$9 million. This is the value of equipment that has landed in the country for it is over US$50 million. Add the cost of software, licences, training -- [Interruption] I am proud that the Hon Minister and the Hon Minister for Finance did this since this is prudent cash flow management.

    Mr Speaker, on the benefit of the Common Monitoring Platform, beyond the issues of transparency that Real-Time Monitoring and Tracking brings to both the GRA and the NCA, the previous system, without counting mobile money operations, cost the Ghanaian taxpayer US$156 million over a 60-month period.

    This new system would cost the Ghanaian taxpayer US$89 million. This is US$67 million dollars in savings for the people of Ghana and it is about some GH¢300 million that we have saved.

    Mr Speaker, I repeat that the equipment becomes owned by the Government of Ghana over the period of the contract which was not the case in the previous Administration.

    Mr Speaker, on the issue of privacy, again, let me add that architecturally, --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, you would conclude.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader; I have the two of you here. But I am advised that we allow four contributors from each side of the House. So, between you and the Hon Minority Chief Whip you would have to elect who to speak.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:52 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we agreed to four contributors and then the Leaders would conclude. So the Hon Muntaka is playing the role of the fourth person. [Interruption.]
    This is a forum for debate; what is their problem?
    Mr Speaker, I shared whispers with the Hon Majority Leader that we could do four contributions and the Leaders would conclude. So I have had to even ask an Hon Member on the Communication Committee, Hon Ras Mubarak, who was part of my list earlier to yield to the senior Mubarak.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:52 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I would want to hear from you because on the list in front of me, one side has four contributors and the other has five contributors.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader signalled to me that we should have five contributors and
    I told him that in the circumstance, where we have had to hold Cabinet meetings at bay and deal with this matter, I suggest that we have a total of four contributors from either side of the House.
    But if he insists, just so that people would know that there is sunshine and nothing to hide, let them have another Hon Member. In that case, this side would also have another Hon Member.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip?
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 1:12 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, it is super surprising that the Hon Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee on Communications do not find it very necessary to be in the Chamber to contribute to this very important Statement, knowing very well that, if it becomes necessary, your good self would be referring this to the Committee. I thought that they would be here to lead the discussions.
    Mr Speaker, in the contribution of my Hon Colleague, Mr Andah, he said that the contract cannot be automatically renewed. Page 2 of the contract document reads as follows and with your permission, I quote:
    “The contract shall be automatically extended for a second period of 60 months provided that none of the parties have denounced the extension giving at least 24 month prior notice before the end date of the contract.”
    Mr Speaker, “24 months” means two years before the end of the contract. What I can say is that this contract would definitely be renewed automatically unless this Government is thrown out. This is because, if it has to take two year's notice, they would never do it.
    Mr Speaker, most importantly, it is surprising that the Hon Minister for Communications would come to the House with a Statement to tell the whole country that there is no clear cut performance criterion.
    We could see clearly that the standards are very subjective. That is why she is telling us today that the systems of Glo and Vodafone were being hooked on.
    But she knows that Glo controls about only two per cent of the market while Vodafone controls just about 15 per cent. The one that controls the biggest share, MTN, with over 60 per cent is not yet on, but her Ministry has started making payments and she believes that this is a very objective way of running a country and that this was the best way to use the resources of the country.
    Mr Speaker, in her Statement, she kept emphasising on the MoC and Ministry of Finance. NCA is an entity. I would want the Minister for Communications to tell us if it is the NCA that has signed this contract or it is the Minister for Communications that has signed it. This is a very useful question, because NCA is a state agency which the Ministry is supposed to supervise.
    Mr Speaker, I am not a lawyer but the Hon Minister for Communications is a lawyer. In company law, when we have two names forming a company, the principal actor is the first name. She talked about Kelni-GVG Ltd which means that the principal actor is Kelni.
    When she talked about the checks that were done by the National Security, it was about the due diligence done on Global Voice Group, South Africa (GVG, S.A).
    Even in the definition column of the contract, the GVG has not been defined. Is it the same GVG, S.A or another name? I ask this because if it was done in 2009, we should remember that the GVG, S.A may differ completely from Kelni-GVG.
    What is her due diligence on Kelni- GVG? That is a responsibility to crosscheck. As an Hon Minister, she has to establish this because they could be different companies --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 p.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip, please hold on.
    Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my respected Colleague is misleading this House. We are dealing with issues of technology and when one has the know- how, the vehicle upon which one uses to get to their destination is immaterial. [Uproar] -- [Interruption.]
    Yes, indeed! Yes!
    If one has the technology --
    He is confusing the issues --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 p.m.
    Hon Member, hold on and listen to me.
    What is your objection?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:12 p.m.
    Very well, Mr Speaker, my objection is that the Hon Member is trying to mislead the House in his contribution by asking a question which is not founded on the Statement of the Hon Minister.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 p.m.
    Hon Member, you are out of order. Hon Minority Chief Whip, you may continue.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, another very important point I would want the Hon Minister to address her mind to is the Supreme Court ruling on the Balkan Energy Group case where it is said that, even where a Ghanaian company has its subsidiary or shareholders being foreign, we should be minded to take that contract to Parliament.
    That is why I am of the great view that this contract should have come to Parliament because of GVG, even if for nothing and if that is the GVG she talked about or the performance of the other GVG in Rwanda and other countries. It is international and to pair it with Kelni, they would have to bring it to Parliament; The Hon Minister should address her mind to that.
    Mr Speaker, in all these, I believe that the Ministry of Communications is heavily indicting the National Communications Authority. Why am I saying this? In 2009, when the first contract was signed with GVG, then GVG, S. A, part of the contract was that, in five years they would hand over the equipment together with the technology to NCA, so that they would begin to run it by themselves.
    Today, we are here saying that after almost ten years of running virtually similar operations, NCA cannot do this on its own. This is an indictment on NCA and they should sit up because I believe NCA, even on its own book, could go and
    purchase equipment, pay for it and hire professional expertise to run it without necessarily throwing away all these resources to others.
    Mr Speaker, another very important point -- one of my Hon Colleagues Mr Opare-Ansah said that this is a local company and let us be careful the way we comment about them.
    Subah Infosolutions Ghana Ltd is a local company -- [Hear! Hear!] Afriwave Telecom Ghana Ltd is also a local company. After they have run this for over ten years, when they were doing the restrictive tendering -- [Interruption.]
    The Hon Minister told us that it was a restrictive tendering. I would want to know the other companies which were part of those that they selected. I asked this because if she says that it was not single- sourced but restrictive tendering, it means that, they looked at the expertise of about four or five companies and then went through the process to get one. Which other companies did she select in the restrictive tender?
    Mr Speaker, she just said that she would not use her office or allow anybody to use her office to run any corrupt practices. Why did she not run a competitive bidding?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:12 p.m.
    Hon Minority Chief Whip, I am allowing you one minute more because of the interjections.
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:12 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, how much were we losing from the SIM Box fraud? Which study has been done to show how much we were losing?
    Currently, most people use WhatsApp to make calls through the internet; very few people are using normal telephone
    lines to make calls. So, what are the huge losses that warrant that we should do all these?
    Mr Speaker, I must say that we must refer this to your own Committee to further investigate this because there are lots of questions that have not been answered, and it is best that we allow a Committee of this House to dig deep down into this. This is because knowing the rules of Statements, we cannot provoke debate and do a number of things.
    I wish that this would be referred to a joint Committee on Communications and Finance to probably help deal with all this.
    Mr Speaker, it is so sad the way we do football kicking -- one did this; likewise the other. If Ghanaians did not trust them, they would not have been voted for.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Leader, your time is up.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Opare-Ansah had just entered the fray to look at the issues. So because we had submitted three names, I would want Hon Opare-Ansah -- [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Members, order! I would want to listen to the Hon Leaders. [Pause]
    Hon Leader, I did not hear your nomination.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I said that Hon Opare-Ansah should be given another slot to continue.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Opare- Ansah, you have another seven minutes. [Uproar.]
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:22 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, one of the issues that has been raised and trumpeted is the fact that the Ministry of Communications has led this particular effort.
    Mr Speaker, the day the amendment, which created the common platform was done in the year 2013, I recollected that the Hon Majority Leader, then Hon Minority Leader, raised an issue with the use of “collaboration”. He had suggested that we should change it to “consultation”. It is precisely that choice of word that has enabled the Ministry of Communications to be the lead Ministry today.
    Indeed, there were two independent platforms, the international and the domestic platforms which had merged. The international platform was under the purview of the Ministry of Commu- nications; and the domestic platform was under the purview of the Ministry of Finance through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). When it was merged, they felt that they should use collaborative effort to choose a single platform.
    So to answer those who think that Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited is in court so for that matter the Ministry of Communications is somehow estopped from contracting another party, they should be reminded that Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited is in court with GRA and the Ministry of Finance, and not the National Communication Authority (NCA) and the Ministry of Communications.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:22 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, we should look carefully at what is happening. We have changed Governments; the national Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration. We change service providers; Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited, Kelni-GVG and Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited.

    There is only one group of entities that has remained constant in this, which is the telcos. We should all ask ourselves why every time the Government tries to monitor whatever it is they do, there is such a huge uproar.

    Mr Speaker, in the year 2009 when the Government first attempted to monitor traffic, there was scaremongering in this country that when Kelni-GVG then connects to the system, the Government would be able to intrude on people's communications and read their text messages.

    Today, the same arguments are advanced by a group of people. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In communications, the channels that are used for voice communication is totally different from what is used for the network to communicate its own statistics, which is referred to as Call Detail Records (CDRs), that be it Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited or Kelni-GVG, it would aggregate and translate into revenue statistics for the Government.

    Mr Speaker, in the industry, it is important to understand how the

    experience of entities are measured. If we put together a group of engineers with ten years' experience each and form a new entity, we could conveniently and comfortably say that the company has 100 years' experience. This is because that is the collective experience that the company brings to bear.

    That is why we would find that in the exposé of the Hon Minister, she extensively used GVG, which happens to be in a joint venture with Kelni. She clearly expressed the positon that it is not just GVG, but indeed a joint venture of GVG and Kelni, which is currently in a contract with the Government of Ghana.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, you have spoken for four minutes and 45 seconds.
    Hon Member?
    Mr Forson 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I say this because Standing Order 86 (4) says and I beg to quote:
    “No Member shall speak more than once to any Question except --
    (a) at the Consideration Stage of a Bill; or
    (b) in explanation, as prescribed…”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    You raised an objection; conclude it, and then I would listen to the other side of the House.
    Are you done with the objection? You ended with a question, which I would not answer.
    Hon Opare-Ansah?
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is just to remind the Hon Ranking Member of the Finance Committee that the Standing Order that he quoted states that “No Member shall speak more than once to a Question…”
    A “Question” in Parliament refers to Motions before the House. There is no Motion before this House. [Hear!] [Hear!] The Hon Minister for Communications came here to make a Statement. So we are making comments. No Question would be put at the end of the commentary that we make. So that Standing Order does not apply. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker, one very important matter arose out of the --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, let me give a ruling.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, would you speak to the same objection the Hon --
    Mr Sayibu 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just wanted to draw his attention that the Standing Order that was referred to had to do with the rules of debate.
    Since you have intervened to pass a judgment and make a ruling, I would like to take my seat. [Laughter.] [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:22 p.m.
    Hon Member, the Standing Order is clear. Standing Order 86 (4) deals with Question time. I think that at this point when we are commenting on a Statement, that rule is not applicable. [Interruption.] After the ruling, you have no objection please.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Opare- Ansah, hold on. When a speaker is on his feet, --
    Yes, Hon Muntaka?
    Alhaji Muntaka 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not in any way challenging your ruling. I am only drawing your attention that Standing Order 86 is not about Questions, but about time and manner of speaking. We do not ask Questions at Consideration Stage.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at 86 (5) 1:32 p.m.
    “A Member who has spoken to a Question may again be heard for the purpose of explaining some material part of his speech which has been misunderstood, or vindicating his character or conduct if it has been impugned, but he must not introduce new matter”
    We all know that during Question time, one is able to ask supplementary questions and so on but this is making reference to manner of speaking. So I just want to bring it to your attention as you make your ruling.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Members, it is over. My ruling still stands, Hon Opare-Ansah, you have one minute fifteen seconds to conclude.
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, very quickly. There is a matter which I believe has to prick our minds and we need to critically look at it. It emanates from the Hon Minister's Statement.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has told this House that for the entire time that this House passed the Act to enable real time monitoring, this has never happened.
    Indeed, in the previous Parliament, the entire Committee on Communications was taken round the network operating centres of these telecommunication companies together with the then Subah Infosolutions which was the entity doing revenue assurance monitoring for the Government.
    They were shown equipment and notes which were purported to be doing real time network monitoring.
    Mr Speaker, I have no cause to doubt what the Hon Minister has told this House. That raises serious questions about the intentions of the telecommunication companies and Subah Infosolutions at the time when they showed a Committee of this House what they then purported to be real time monitoring.
    That is something that I think this House has to delve into, possibly further as to what occasioned that and what was shown Hon Members of Parliament. Were the telecommunication companies misleading this House by showing us something that is not what it was supposed to be?
    Mr Speaker, with these comments, I believe that the Hon Minister has laid to rest all the issues that Hon Members were agitated about. She has done a yeoman's job and must be significantly and tremendously commended.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, you have 10 minutes.
    Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minister for Communications on the Implementation of a Common Platform for Telecom- munications Traffic Monitoring, Revenue Assurance, Mobile Money Monitoring and Fraud Management.
    Mr Speaker, in welcoming her Statement, let me use this opportunity to call on the people of Ghana to join me in saluting Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana, one of the few civil society groups which still has its voice and a voice to fight to help the state combat corruption, allow for more openness and transparency in Government. That this matter was brought to the public realm, thanks to him and IMANI Ghana -- [Hear! Hear!] -- He needs to be applauded.
    In doing so, there is every attempt by the Hon Minister for Communications to warmly refer to the Haruna Iddrisu's era as an Hon Minister for Communications. Mr Speaker, yes, I served the Republic as an Hon Minister for Communications and I am proud of my record and background.

    The Hon Opare-Ansah knows that I am among a few Hon Ministers in Ghana who had the rare privilege to chair the international telecommunications union and therefore, I understand this subject matter better.

    Mr Speaker, beyond Frankl in Cudjoe --
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:32 p.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Opare- Ansah?
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader has made a Statement that is factually inaccurate. He said that through his intervention, he made millions of dollars for the State which he started in the year 2009.

    Mr Speaker, so what he put in place was on the monitoring mechanism and he did not start generating any income for this country. Indeed, if we recollect, in that chair at that time was Hon Alban Bagbin who is our Hon Second Deputy Speaker. His words on the day the Communications Service Tax Act was passed by this House were: Now when we talk, we are taxed and he coined the term; “Talk Tax”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:32 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, continue.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my policy blueprints are in Geneva at the Information Technology (IT) headquarters and also at the National Communications Authority (NCA) headquarters and at the Ministry of Communications.
    -- 1:32 p.m.

    and by the Hon Minister's words on page 10, this was regulated
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please hold on.
    Hon Member for Effutu?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader has raised an important legal issue. His contention is that with the formation of the contract, the Hon Minister for Communications had signed and so he is questioning the validity of the contract.
    Mr Speaker, the Supreme Court in the Tsatsu Tsikata case whereupon a criminal summons had been issued in the name of the President and Mr Tsikata challenged same that by virtue of the form same had not been properly issued.
    Mr Speaker, the Supreme Court held that it is the substance of it but not the form that it takes. Therefore to make a legal argument --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Member, you have made your point.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, very well.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have referred to the agreement; the Hon Minister makes reference to Kelni GVG and states that it is not a foreign company. Mr Speaker, the GVG that the government of Ghana entered into an agreement with in 2009 did not have GVG as a name but it was Global Voice Group SA. I have a copy of the contract here and I would submit same at the Table for her perusal.
    Therefore Kelni GVG and Global Voice Group are not the same and they could never be the same. So if they are to conduct a due diligence then their due diligence must be on Kelni GVG and not the Haruna's Global Voice Group from South Africa or Haiti.
    Mr Speaker, I have a document from the Registrar General's Department and Kelni GVG was formed in 1995 and their core objective, before it was added was import and exports of general goods, supplies of general goods, tourism building and road construction, civil and electrical engineering.
    Mr Speaker, subsequently, Information Technology (IT) was added, and so if we are to conduct --

    Mr Speaker, this is not --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader in his submission is providing some information to this House which could be very useful. Mr Speaker, he says that the core business of GVG when it was formed in 1995 was subsequently added on to.
    Mr Speaker, it would be instructive to know when the subsequent ones were added -- Was it the same year at the time of the formation and subsequent to that? Mr Speaker, he said that it was added on subsequently; when was it added?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please continue.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when I am concluding I would request you to refer this matter to the Committee on Communications for further investigation so that what he wants would be revealed by an investigation of the Committee.

    Mr Speaker, --
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, with respect to the Hon Minority Leader, he should not deliberately mislead this House in his submission. Mr Speaker, he said that the company was formed in 1995 and subsequently they added some other business to their remit. Mr Speaker, I would want to follow him and the country needs to know that he is being factual.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, the Hon Minority Leader is not here on Question time. You have your information and you would have your opportunity.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am asking for further information.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I am saying that the Hon Minority Leader is not here to answer Questions. He is making his contribution and you may have the information that he is refusing to give.
    You will get the opportunity to talk so please use that opportunity to correct any misinformation.
    Hon Minority Leader, please continue.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, so Kelni GVG and Global Voice Group are not the same; they cannot be the same and they could never be the same. Mr Speaker, you are a good lawyer and so even the name Kelni GVG Limited tells you who the principal is. So, GVG is not the principal but the principal in this matter is Kelni.
    This Government is dealing with Kelni and nothing more so they should not throw dust in the eyes of Ghanaians and say that they are dealing with Global Voice Group or the Global Voice Group of 2009. I know them too well and I would pour more information on this. We are dealing with Kelni.

    Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to know that the Ministry of Communica-tions is not an extension of the NCA. The NCA is an independent regulator which is established by law.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:42 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, hold on.
    Hon Opare-Ansah?
    Mr Opare-Ansah 1:42 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, a very strange thing is happening -- the Committee on Communications invited the Hon Minister to have an interaction on this matter. The matter was raised in this Chamber and the Hon Second Deputy Speaker ruled that the Hon Minister must appear before plenary but not the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, but today, I have heard at least two Hon Members, including the Hon Minority Leader, asking that the Hon Minister should be referred back to the Committee.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Hon Member, if it comes to that I am the judge here, and I have the record of the previous Hon Member who spoke earlier, so please.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Yes, are you also raising an objection?
    Mr A. Ibrahim 1:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on point of correction.
    The directive from the Chair was that the Hon Minister must appear before plenary, and if there is the need, there would be referral to the Committee to report back to the House, per order 161.
    That was what was said on that day. It was not that when we come to Statements, then that ends it. I am just correcting it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Hon Members, there is no such application before me. Let the Hon Leader make his contribution and bring the matter to a close.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thirdly, apart from the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and the Board record, value for money audit, who conducted it and where, and on whom?
    Mr Speaker, with your permission, I refer to the NCA Act, and Act 769, in particular section 1(3);
    “There is established by this Act a body known as the National Communications Authority --”
    Mr Speaker, being a good lawyer yourself, this is by emphasis and I quote, with your permission:
    “The Authority is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name”.
    Independent - it is not for the Ministry of Communications or Ministry of Finance to enter into a contract for and on behalf of the NCA. That is wrong in law.
    It is wrong today; it is wrong tomorrow, and it would be wrong forever -- constitutionally. In any case, are those ministries established by statute? And do they have the mandate that the NCA has?
    Mr Speaker, again, my mother said that what patience kills is halal. If you are patient and you eat any meat, it is halal.
    Mr Speaker, this is the contract I signed with GVG. In this contract, by what the Hon Minister has submitted -- And I refer again to page 3 of her document -- she says the services fee payable monthly is a flat monthly fee of US$ 1,491,225.00.
    US$1.4 million would go to Kelni GVG. This is where we are raising the question.
    Mr Speaker, the template of a contract I signed in 2009 -- copy is here. I came to this august House, that is why Hon Opare- Ansah must listen. It is the first time ever that a Minister for Communications came to this House to set a minimum ceiling for the termination of all international calls, and I submitted before this House that the +233 is the pride of Ghana, and therefore this technology or telecom innovation was to help us fight sim fraud, assure us of revenue, monitor on record time based on the call data record, referred to as the CDRs of the Telcos, so that Government could optimise its revenue.
    I am happy that, at least, we have maximised some revenue, so accept another novelty.
    I am encouraging you to go back, throw away this contract, engage the NCA and do what is right in pursuing the Telcos. Mr Speaker, in the sharing formula -- the Hon Minister.
    My friend the Board chairman is here; brilliant media person, Mr Sakyi-Addo. I met him in the corridors of the Barcelona meetings where we learnt these innovations in Barcelona.
    Mr Speaker, you would recall your role as chairman of the Telco Chamber. You stood --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please address the Chair -- [Pause.]
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have the contract. I would diligently ask the Hansard to capture it. I would want to re-submit the whole contract, so that we are guided.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.

    Mr Speaker, in the schedule, this is how -- And I know Hon Opare-Ansah, on this side, if there is anybody in the telecom sector I respect and hold in my heart, it is you, so listen attentively together with Mr Speaker and other Hon Members.

    Mr Speaker, this is how I shared the money. Of the 19 cents, mobile operators would naturally keep 13 cents, so that is not our money. That is what we refer to as mobile network operators', legitimate.

    So if they choose to terminate below -- For the Government of Ghana we say our minimum is 19 cents; keep 13, and the six cent would come to the State of Ghana.

    Mr Speaker, at the time, I shared the money between, the Government of Ghana, receiving 0.410, National Communications Authority and GIFEC to share 0.065 cents, then GVG was to take 0.0125 cents, making it 19 cents.

    If you do not want this equitable formula and you want an arbitrary US$1.4 million, that cannot be right, because they charge based on volumes; and Hon Opare-Ansah would take you through.

    The international gateway -- Any call which knocks Ghana on the +233 platform, is international gateway. So for us, those of you making WhatsApp calls and using other voice over internet protocol (IP) avenues, we need to engage it. Thankfully --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Hon Leader, you have done 15 minutes. Please conclude.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.
    With the interruptions?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:52 a.m.
    Any time there is interruption the clock stops. Please wind up.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, so those Subah and Afriwaves aim on the basis of an equitable formula based on performance.
    Mr Speaker, in this Kelni GVG contract, Hon Minister, show me the performance expected of Kelni GVG. There is nothing in this document; no performance, so how are we just going to say, they should take US$ 1.4 million, every other month? For what performance?
    In the original contract -- “Thankfully the NCA has one of the most brilliant female lawyers, Abena, our Hon Colleague's wife. I have always greeted her through her husband. Consult and you would be helped to raise revenue for the NCA to exercise its regulatory mandate. You have our full support.
    We want the NCA to be a functional, effective regulator and to hold them accountable --
    Mrs Owusu-Ekuful 1:52 a.m.
    On a point of order. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    I believe the Hon Minority Leader is completely out of line, by asking me to consult. This process went through extensive consultation before we arrived at it, so it is totally and completely unwarranted for the Hon Minority Leader to stand here and ask me to consult, when he does not know the processes I went through to arrive at this point.
    I respect him a lot and I would be grateful if he would also credit me with a little bit of intelligence in this matter.
    Mr Iddrisu 1:52 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in concluding, this is the contract. Ministry of Finance, Communications and Kelni GVG Limited, no performance. Is revenue that assured?
    Mr Speaker, what happens is -- I may indulge you to give me one more minute to conclude on mobile inter-operability, for the nation to benefit from my experience on it.
    Mr Speaker, for this agreement, there is no performance, so US$ 1.4 million for what? If we charge it based on the 19 cents, perform -- And with increased volumes, we can earn more. With less volumes, we earn less.
    By the time I left the Ministry of Communications I had made the NCA richer. The NCA should go through their accounts; they got almost US$ 500,000 every other month together with GIFEC, based on this formula.
    So are we saving the State resources or we are going to leak the resources of the State?
    We maintain the latter, that this would only be a leakage of State resources in those huge numbers.
    Mr Speaker, again, tender. We have said restricted sole-sourcing -- What is restricted sole-sourcing? Give us evidence of those other entities which took part in this process. If you want openness, transparency and accountability and value for money, you should have subjected this to an open competitive process. I maintain that this is not the GVG of 2009.
    Mr Speaker, by the time I left office, we had mobilised over US$200 million which was under taxes recovered on the basis of the daily monitoring of the CDRs. Even as the Hon Minister at the time on a daily basis, our records of the number of international calls hit our line --
    Mr Speaker, in concluding, these days, when one gets an international call, it shows the numbers +233 054, 020 et cetera. It was that phenomena I wanted to fight. That was why we introduced this.
    Mr Speaker, the essence is that, any number coming on +233 terminates on Ghana's platform. Admittedly, it is a very complex thing to do. This is because the network operators might have convergence even in terms of termination of some of their international calls in , using particular gateways.
    Mr Speaker, finally --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    How many “finallys” would you have?
    Anyway, I direct that the House, having regard to the state of Business, Sit outside the regular Sitting hours.
    Mr Iddrisu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Statement, she referred to Mobile Money Interoperability and related matters. How sad that the NCA could sleep so deeply, close to dreaming, that they would allow the Bank of Ghana to be the sole driver of Mobile Number Interoperability. They have failed this country in their regulatory exercise. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mobile Number Interoperability simply means serious transfer of data. Therefore, it is at the core of the obligation and mandate of the NCA. Bank of Ghana and the NCA would sit aloof --
    Mr Opare-Ansah 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I hear the Hon Minority Leader saying that the Bank of Ghana is operating Mobile Number Interoperability. I believe he should check his facts. This is because, what the Bank of Ghana launched is Mobile Money Interoperability and that has absolutely nothing to do with telecommunications.
    Telecommunications is only offering the transport network. It has everything to do with the finances of this country and the banking sector. He mentioned Mobile Number Interoperability.
    Mr Iddrisu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, Mobile Money Interoperability -- Number portability is on the same platform of being interoperatable. [Interruption.]
    I maintain that the NCA must take interest in what the Bank of Ghana is doing. This is because, there is a technology benefit. I articulated it and could not live to implement it.
    In this Chamber, sometimes, if you are on Tigo, your network would go off. MTN could take over based on that interoperable mechanism.
    Mr Speaker, anyway, in conclusion, there are more questions than answers. Therefore, refer this matter for further scrutiny by the Committee on Communication of this august House. We would do everything possible to continue to ask those legitimate questions.
    Where is the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice's advice on this matter? Where is the value for money audit? Currently, GVG is not Haruna's GVG of 2009. The arbitrary formula to take money is unacceptable.
    Mr Speaker, once again, I would want to thank Franklin Cudjoe and urge other civil society groups in Ghana not to lose their voices too soon because the NPP Government is in power. They must remain custodians and guardians of the purse of this country and must articulate as he has done. What is wrong is wrong.
    Mr Speaker, I so submit.
    Thank you.


    - 2.02 P.M.
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    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Members, shall I have some order, please. I might begin to mention names. One, two, three -- Awal, is that your name? What is your name? Bawa, your voice is loud in the noisemaking. [Laughter.]
    Hon Members, if you check the clock, you would see that the Hon Minority Leader spoke for 21 minutes, 31 seconds. Whenever there is an interruption, the clock stops. So, I just want you to take note.
    I am making a point. The Leaders make rules for us and for themselves, but sometimes they breach them. So, when it comes to others, probably, I might overlook the rules we made ourselves.
    Hon Majority Leader?
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue on which the Hon Minister has come to brief this House, and by extension the entire nation, is a very important matter.
    What we seemed to be haggling on is an Agreement. If there is any discovery that is not wholesome enough, and that must be improved, the matter rests with us.
    However, we do not set out at the very outset to impugn the integrity of individuals when we have no such cause. That is very wrong. Our rules provide in Standing Order 21, and if I may read with your kind permission;
    “No civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a Member of Parliament in any court or place out of Parliament for any matter or thing brought by him in or before Parliament by way of petition, bill, motion or otherwise.”
    Mr Speaker, in our debate, the freedom of speech cannot be impeached. That is why we should be careful when we attack people who are not here, and even if they are here, who have no locus in this House to respond to us. That is very wrong.
    It is the reason Standing Order 30 provides an injunction, which says that in our debates and presentations, we should be circumspect and not breach our privileges.
    Mr Speaker, we should be careful not to attack persons when we have no proof, or at least, when we have not spoken to the matter and put them under the gavel. It is inappropriate.
    We have heard people say that aspects of this matter are in court, so Parliament is estopped. Nowhere in the Constitution or in our Standing Orders is Parliament estopped from debating or engaging in any manner of comments, to the extent that the person presiding does not think it would breach --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Member for Ningo Prampram?
    Mr George 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader just made a statement that is misleading of this House. Nobody in this Chamber today, during this debate, has said that a case is before any court and that has estopped Parliament from the discussion.
    So if he says that, he must either tell us who made that comment or withdraw that and not mislead the House.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when people speak, people should open their ears. Hon A. B. A. Fuseini is the person who spoke to it. He said it.
    He said to us that Subah Infosolutions has taken this matter to court and therefore we should wait. That is what he said. And I am saying that —
    Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini — rose —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Member, I have not given you the floor. He is not finished. You are in a hurry.
    Hon Leader, please continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the same person said that the Hon Minister is resorting to indecent hurry.
    We should be careful about the language we use in this House.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Leader, I thought you were responding to the objection for me to rule before you continue.
    Hon Member, are you supporting the application he made or what?
    Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my name has directly been brought into the issue, and with your permission —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    No, I will rule.

    Hon Leader, you may continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is said that the matter had been sent to court by Subah Infosolutions, and I am saying that by extension, that is what he said. In other words, that is what he implied.
    Mr Speaker, and then he said the Hon Minister is resorting to indecent hurry; I am saying to him and indeed to this House that we should be cautious about imputing improper motives to each other. In this particular case, the Hon Minister.
    Mr Speaker, people are saying that we should refer this matter back to the Committee on Communications. We have taken positions already. If we are saying that a matter should be referred to a committee to investigate, we may raise issues.
    But here we are, having taken a definitive stand -- And I beg to quote the Hon Member who spoke about the credibility of Kelni-GVG, he said; “Kelni- GVG is a walking fraud”. He has already made a pronouncement — He has come to his own conclusion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Leader, I thought you were continuing with your debate?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, I am.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    And so what is the issue now?
    Alhaji Suhuyini 2:02 a.m.
    On a point of Order. Mr Speaker, the Leadership of this House has time without number cautioned about the use of offensive language. In fact, even in the presentation of the Hon Majority Leader a while ago, he made reference to that.
    But I find it offensive when the Hon Majority Leader says that when people
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was observing my Hon Colleague very well when I begun speaking, and he was engaged in serious conversation with Hon Eric Opoku. He was clearly not listening — [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, here we have another Hon Member who is fidgeting with his phone and laughing — [Interruption.]— And they take offence to that when we say they are not listening.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, please proceed with your contribution.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are told that the things that marked the process were sole-sourced. People should draw a distinction between sole sourcing and restrictive tendering. It appears some people do not even know the difference between sole sourcing and restrictive tendering; that is most unfortunate.
    Mr Speaker, we are told by some people that the Hon Minister admitted that the service being rendered could have been obtained free of charge. The Hon Minister never said so.
    Alhaji Muntaka — rose —
    Alhaji Muntaka 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is very aware of the rules of this House. An Hon Minister has made a Statement and Hon Members are to contribute to the Statement. I have been looking at the time that the Hon Majority Leader has spent; seven minutes and 38 seconds and all he is doing seems to be responding to Hon Members who have spoken earlier. He is to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minister. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, the rules of this House are very clear. He is not supposed to come and talk about what other Hon Members have said. He is supposed to speak to the Statement that has been made. But he is spending all the time just talking about what others have said and whether it was right or wrong.
    Mr Speaker, we want the Hon Majority Leader to speak to the Statement so that we would get to know where he stands on the Statement. That is what we want him to do and not to be talking about what others have said.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    The Hon Majority Leader is entitled to comment on other people's comments.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, at the heart of the Statement made by the Hon Minister is whether or not traffic was monitored in real time in the Agreements that were being implemented.
    And she tells us that these companies collected the data from the same servers as the NCA verification team. So in the words of the Hon Minister, the monthly traffic data collated by NCA from the network operators for free was substantially the same as the data presented by Subah Infosolutions and Afriwaves.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister tells us that for this, the country was paying US$2.6 million per month. And in this new enhanced Agreement, the country, instead of paying US$2.6 million, is now going to pay US$1.46 million.
    Mr Iddrissu 2:02 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I know you have encouraged the practice that when Leaders are on their feet, there should be no interruptions or much of it. But I suffered it; and since I suffered it, all others can suffer it — [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, I have seen Hon A. B. A. Fuseini on his feet. I would not know what he wants to raise on the matters of the Hon Leader. Mr Speaker, because I am privileged to be closer to you to catch your perceptive eye, I have an advantage.
    If you could indulge the Hon A. B. A. Fuseini.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:02 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, I do not intend to share my power of recognising Hon Members with you. [Laughter.]
    Hon Majority Leader, please continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Leader is a very ingenious person and whenever he has or creates opportunity for himself, he wants to create a novelty in this House. I have never seen a Leader get up to say that somebody has been up and so the Hon Speaker should call that person. He wants to direct the Hon Speaker in the performance of his duties.
    Mr Speaker, as I was saying, for the performance of this same function, now enhanced, the two companies were being paid US$ 2.6 million dollars per month. The Hon Minister tells us that for the enhanced service, the company is going to be paid US$1.49 million. She says that the engagement now involves about seven to eight issues.
    Mr Speaker, the first one is that the common platform is going to monitor traffic on a real time basis electronically. Is anybody here doubting what the Hon Minister has told us? Are they saying that what the Hon Minister is telling us that the company is going to do, they cannot do?
    If they cannot do that then the US$1.49 million to be paid every month would be unreasonable and we would then attack it from that angle. I have listened to my Hon Colleagues thus far; nobody has raised this issue. So, what is the issue?
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is telling us that they would provide a more accurate method of monitoring traffic volumes and serve as the basis for both NCA and GRA in calculating taxes and Government revenue. Is anybody telling us that they are not in the position to do this? If nobody has spoken about this matter, or nobody has said to us that it cannot be done, then what really is the cause?
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister again tells us that the facility is going to be located within the premises of NCA. For that matter, both NCA and GRA would have a peep into the daily operations of the platform.
    In this case, there cannot be anything that would be done on their blind side unlike what obtained previously. Is anybody doubting this, and has anybody raised any issue about this matter of fact that the Hon Minister has stated?
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has told us that the common platform would also conduct mobile money monitoring in addition to the traffic monitoring and fraud management. I have not heard any of our Hon Colleagues dispute these claims by the Hon Minister, so what is the cause of the hullaballoo?
    Mr Speaker, another issue that the Hon Minister spoke about is revenue assurance; she also spoke about anti- money laundering and anti-crime and terrorist financing. But this would position the country to have a look at these.
    Is anybody saying that this is against the interest of the country and that this course should not be pursued?
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has told us that the platform would have the capability to do SIM Box fraud tracking with geo location systems. I do recollect that when Subah was fully engaged, I must credit them with this; occasionally, they came up with some of these.
    But one or two discoveries will be made and the front will quieten up. Then about maybe a year, if matters relating to performance comes up, they would zero in on a couple of people and run them on the front pages of the newspapers, and then after, we would not hear anything.
    Mr Speaker, was it being done on daily basis because these things continue to happen? The Hon Minister is telling us that this platform is going to help us to decisively deal with this matter. Is anybody condemning this or saying that this cannot be done?
    If it cannot be done and we would have to pay for it, then of course, let us say so. But if they are not attacking that and people are speaking to the gallery, that cannot be accommodated.
    Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Minister is giving us some indication about the saving that we would be making. First the cumulative savings on monthly recurrent cost to both GRA and NCA is about 55 per cent. What is happening now? Is this

    If it is not a fact and anybody has any calculation to the quantum, let them make it known to us and perhaps, those of us here would be sufficiently informed, maybe to change our minds. But thus far, nobody is talking to this. So, what is it?

    Mr Speaker, we were told that this contract has automatic continuance and yet when the Agreement was read, it betrayed the allegation that was raised as inaccurate. Yet, people have inundated the airwaves.

    What are we doing to ourselves? Deliberately misleading the Ghanaian public? One is at a loss --

    Mr Speaker, because he spoke about some disbursements that he caused to be made at the Ministry when he was the Hon Minister --- The amended Act is Act 775; section 1(9) provides and with your permission, I quote:

    “Despite subsection 8, the Authority shall keep the percentage specified in the Schedule of any moneys it collects on behalf of Government for the Authority's own use.”

    Or the Authority shall account to the Minister for Finance for the moneys collected? So, how did the Hon Minister accord to himself the confidence to say to us that he caused these allocations to be made to various bodies and entities? Where did he get that authority from? It means what we were doing was against the law.
    Alhaji Fuseini 2:22 p.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:22 p.m.
    Hon Ranking Member?
    Alhaji Fuseini 2:22 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader is moving into dangerous waters. STX Ghana and STX Korea are two different companies; Kelni-GVG and Global Voice Group are two different companies. That is the intendment of the Agreement offered.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am just saying to him that STX Korea is substantially different from STX Ghana- STX Korea. Yes! That is the point I am making to him. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, the issue about the cost of the contract, I believe, is worth speaking to. We have been told that there is a ten-year contract worth US$117 million and the Hon Minister has told us that there is no such thing.
    It is rather a five-year contract of US$89 million as against the US$156
    million that we have paid for the five-year period, which is a better Agreement.
    But the continuation of the Agreement is subject to satisfactory performance -- That is part of the Agreement. So, for anybody to say that there is automaticity in that is clearly incredulous.
    Mr Speaker, so it is good that this matter has arisen and I join hands with the Hon Minority Leader in congratulating the group IMANI Foundation for being consistent with their concerns. We must also hold them accountable for consistency.
    What I have seen is, in this particular case, they seemed to be changing the goalpost a bit. I believe in general, bringing up the issue is good for this country, but when responses are given, then they shift away from that place and raise another issue. That is my difficulty with their engagement on this matter.
    But I must also plead with the Hon Minority Leader to be consistent in his applause for IMANI Foundation. A few years ago, they held their legs with fire and said that they were not credible. Today, he is praising IMANI Foundation to high heavens. Let us be consistent. [Interruption.] -- Mr Speaker, in this particular case, I see some inconsistency in the issues that they have raised.
    However, generally, the work that they have been doing is good for the country and we should congratulate them.
    Mr Speaker, I do not find any issue that the Hon Colleagues have raised which should occasion the matter being referred again to a Committee of this House.
    In the ruling of the Hon Second Deputy Speaker, when the matter came before him, when it was said that the matter has been referred to the Committee on
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    Communications, he said that we have not yet developed the proper rules for handling matters before Committees.
    It is part of the directive that he gave. For that matter, he wanted the issues to be dealt with in plenary by Committee of the Whole. Mr Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has the same restrictions. [Interruption.] -- No, please, I have consulted the Hansard and we have even had the discussion with him. He said that the referral was to a Committee of the Whole.
    The Committee of the Whole is bound by the same rules as any other Committee. This is a matter in public space already and it is better articulated where the general public would be in attendance. That is why I like this setting with the Hon Minister coming before us with this Statement. If indeed, there are matters to be further interrogated it is within the competence of this House.
    Except that if one wants to come to equity, as the lawyers say, he must come with clean hands. We do not prejudge and take positions and then say that having done so, let us go there. That is most incongruous.

    I do not want to talk about the experiences we have had in this House when the central Government has gone for loans and on-lent to independent entities. We have seen that in this House under the watch of the immediate past administration and we had cause to raise that matter.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    On a point of information? [Interruption.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:32 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, have you concluded?
    Some Hon Members 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, someone indicated to me to turn backwards. I did and my Hon Colleague says that he would want to provide me with some information.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:32 p.m.
    I believe that request should be made to me before I refer it to you. You appear to be making your private arrangements.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker, this is not a private arrangement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:32 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, what information, before I ask him?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader took us through the issue of cost but one vital information that he left out, which with your leave, I would want to bring to the attention of this House, is the fact that the savings amount to 55 per cent.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:32 p.m.
    Thank you. That information is very explicit in the Hon Minister's Statement.
    Please, continue.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, having listened to my Hon Colleagues who have spoken to this matter, it is good that it has come to this House. We have spoken to the issues that have been raised.
    Unfortunately, the very critical ones at the heart of this Agreement have not really been attacked. That being the case, I believe the Hon Minister has done a good job.
    However, if there is additional unknown information that anybody could bring for us to further interrogate the issues raised or perhaps better improve the Agreement, this House should stand ready for that.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the space granted me.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:32 p.m.
    Hon Minister, would you like to conclude?
    Mrs Owusu-Ekuful 2:32 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a few points and to thank Hon Colleagues for the vigorous comments made about the Statement that I presented before the House. It shows the interest that this matter has generated and the keenness with which Hon Colleagues have followed the conversations outside the House.
    I would make just a few points. The law requires the NCA to implement the policy directives of the Ministry of Communications. I believe this is one policy that is in their interest to implement and which we are determined to see to its full completion.
    Local roaming also enables one to switch from one network to the other and that is different from the interoperability platform being operated by the Bank of Ghana. They are two different things and I thought that the Hon Minority Leader was confusing those issues.
    Mr Speaker, Kelni-GVG Ltd is also not GVG or Kelni. It is an amalgam of the two and I have never said anywhere that Kelni- GVG is Kelni or that it is GVG. It is the two entities coming together to form a new joint venture, Ghanaian company. So, I hope that also clarifies those issues which appear to be agitating the minds of Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House.
    Mr Speaker, as a country, we have paid US$2.6 million monthly to two entities who merely repeated information that was freely available to the NCA.
    Mr Speaker, today, we have moved on and we are paying much less for much more. We, as a nation, have come a long way.
    Mr Speaker, when one starts building a house, one does not move in as soon as the foundation is dug. One invests money in the structure and finishing before one moves into it. It is in the same vein that we are investing money in building the structure that we envisage would be fully operational in July.
    So, monthly payments being made now are akin to a hire purchase transaction, as the equipment would ultimately be owned by the Government of Ghana.
    It is not just payments being made for no work done; my Statement indicates exactly how much work has already been done and I am surprised that Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House appeared not to have heard the ten point reasons enumerated in my Statement which make it clear that this is a far better arrangement than any that we have had in the past.
    I would end by reminding all of us of the weighty statement that former President Kufuor made a few years ago, that we as a nation seemed to know the cost of everything but not the value thereof.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:42 p.m.
    Very well, Hon Members, that is the end of the Statement.
    There are just a few issues to be resolved. The Hon Minority Whip suggested that the Hon Second Deputy Speaker said that after the Statement on the floor of the House, the matter may be referred to a Committee.
    I have here the Votes and Proceedings of 24th May, 2018, which has been adopted. On page 9, paragraph 7, it says:
    “The Hon Second Deputy Speaker having regard to the matter, directed the Business Committee to schedule the Hon. Minister for Communications to apprise the House on the matter during the ensuing week.”
    So the directive was for the Hon Minister to appear before us and brief the House. It was not to be referred to a Committee.
    If we go to the Hansard, it is the same thing. There was a suggestion that the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund rather appeared before the Committee of the Whole. So there was no suggestion that any matter be referred to a Committee.

    Hon Majority Leader, it is almost 3.00 p.m. There are a few matters that ought to have been taken. There was another Statement on the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE).

    I intend to defer that to tomorrow, so is the Report of the Committee on Parliamentary, Constitutional and Legal Affairs on the Right to Information Bill,


    Hon Majority Leader, At the Commencement of Public Business.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as you rightly noted, we are billed for a Second Reading of the Right to Information Bill, 2018, and some other Motions had been programmed.
    Given what we have done today -- I believe that we have done good work with the analysis that we have done on the subject matter that the Hon Minister introduced in this House.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we could reschedule those other matters to tomorrow.
    Mr Speaker, but I would suggest that the Right to Information Bill, 2018, be given its importance, it hould be taken most likely next week Tuesday, to attract utmost attention from and by Hon Members.
    Mr Speaker, in the circumstance and the time reading 15 minutes to three o'clock, I would suggest that you adjourn the House on your own volition.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:42 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, do you have a comment?
    Mr Iddrisu 2:42 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, once it is past 2.00 p.m., we are in your hands.
    We would come through with a substantive Motion on a matter you have ruled on. We are so dissatisfied with it. We would call for its abrogation.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:42 p.m.
    Very well; it is a quarter to three o'clock, which is way past our Sitting hours.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:42 p.m.