Mr Speaker, so that is noted.
Mr Speaker, may I refer you to page 19 of the Hon Minister's Report which was submitted to the House. I would read it verbatim and extract my points out of it:
“At the end of the review period, an amount of GH¢1,852.10 million out of the total estimated levies for the year was programmed for the established accounts. Of this amount, actual collections in respect of the 3 accounts amounted to GH¢ 1,699.18 million while lodgements were in the amount of GH¢ 1,472.28 million…”
Mr Speaker, where is the GH¢226 million? It means that what was collected was far less than what was lodged. We need to act on behalf of the people of Ghana. Where is the remaining money?
Mr Speaker, I would refer to page 19, which is under the heading, “Distribution of the levies into the established accounts and related accounts in 2017”. They have GH¢ 1.6 billon for and GH¢ 1.4 billion for collection. There is a shortfall of about GH¢ 200 billion.
We need to ask questions on where that money is or what that has been used for. We need to do so because this could
construct some schools, hospitals and pay some Free Senior High School bills. It should not just rest.
Mr Speaker, may I come to your Committee's Report. I would refer to page 12 and go to my conclusion. The heading of paragraph 4.15 is “Irregular payments from the PSRA”. Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
Section 5 (2) of Act 899 (as amended) requires that moneys in the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Account (PSRA) shall be used…”
It gives us an indication of what to do. The Committee reports irregular payments.
Again, in Ghana today, we are all interested in equalisations; in the past or the present, did someone take money to do something? Today, what is the position of the Parliament of Ghana? What is irregular is not acceptable and not a good practice. We have passed a law.
Unless this Parliament says that, when we pass laws people would breach and justify, then we forgive them. No! These irregular things must stop. We must demand a stop to it. At best, even if they want to vary, they must come back to this august House.
That is why I always argue publicly that the saying that Parliament controls the purse remains a constitutional myth in Ghana, but we can practicalise it. We should do so by demanding from the Hon Ministers for Finance and Energy -- they owe the people of Ghana and its elected representatives an explanation.
Where is the shortfall of GH¢236 million? Why does he do irregular lodgements? We were told that somebody
attempted to justify it with Single Treasury Accounts. That cannot be. Hon Ato Forson, a respected accountant tells me that, it is not best practice. It is not good practice. So we should not just look on and say they are irregular payments.
Mr Speaker, finally, all the Hon Ministers who stood up that 40 per cent of the debt had been paid, as well as the Hon Chairman of the Committee and his members must next time give us the exact numbers. Forty per cent is not enough. We have GH¢ 9 billion.
In some figures we have referred to GH¢10 billion. They keep telling us 40 per cent; should I compute 40 per cent of GH¢10 billion or 40 per cent of GH¢9.3 or GH9.9 billion?
We need to know how much of it they have been able to pay because it affects the balance sheet of the banks. We know that getting Letters of Credit to be able to get crude oil and others is undermining the integrity and the standing of the financial institution.
It is not for nothing that they went in to issue an energy Bond. Yes, if they have been awarded for energy Bond, let them be awarded for retiring the energy sector levy, including the legacy debt.
Mr Speaker, they have not retired the legacy debt. So when they say that they took legacy Bond, how much of the Bond did they use to offset the outstanding debt?
Finally, I am sure we would all be guided by the current Hon Minister for Roads and Highway's admonition to the past Hon Ministers for Roads and Highways that, they should take Mr Speaker and the Hon
Members of Parliament seriously when we give them all these approvals.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways -- 7 pesewas to 40 pesewas; he is still struggling to pay contractors. I believe that he should persuade the President and Cabinet and increase it by 5 pesewas or 10 pesewas with an understanding that we can use part to construct new roads and substantial portions to retire their outstanding debts.
This is because, the contractors of this country -- and I say without fear of contradiction. When I say “Government”, I am not referring to the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo; all governments in this country remain the problem of the Ghanaian private sector.
You do not expect a contractor to go and take a loan at 23 per cent or 30 per cent, and when he completes the work in the year 2015, and up till date, you are not able to pay him. This is how we are destroying the contractors and the construction industry in this country.
So Hon Minister, persuade the President and come properly; but thank the National Democratic Congress's (NDC), former President Mahama and the former Hon Minister for Roads and Highways that at least, you have received GH¢903 million for the Ministry of Roads and Highways from the records in this document. Almost GH¢1billion, how would they have gotten this?
Mr Speaker, a famous American President, when he declared war, they kept questioning about the war and he made a profound statement that I would like to conclude with. He said, “You are concerned about my going to that country and its consequences; how I wished you cared what the consequences would be if I did not go.”