Debates of 28 Mar 2019

PRAYERS 10:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 27th March, 2019.
Mr Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report dated 26th February, 2019.
Hon Members, any corrections?
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa -- rose
-- 10:10 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Yes, Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa?
Mr Ablakwa 10:10 a.m.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker. There are few corrections we would need to make to the Official Report. I would run through them quickly.
The first one is found in column 1272, paragraph 1, line 3, “….go into
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa.
I shudder to think of how these would have remained on record, if the
Hon Okudzeto was not in the House this morning.
I would advise the Hansard Department to be very particular about these names. The primary school children know the name of the President is hyphenated and so is that of the Minister for Finance, and they must appear proper in public records.

So, Hansard Department, your work is very important and you should be more careful in the future.

Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of 26th February, 2019, as corrected is hereby admitted as a true record of proceedings.

Item numbered 3 -- Questions.

The first Question stands in the name of Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa, Hon Member for North Tongu, addressed to the Minister for Aviation.
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Aviation is on his way to the House. He is not here yet. In the meantime, the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources who has two Questions slated for her to answer is here. So if we could begin with her so that after her, we could then hear the Minister for Aviation.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is worrying because the Hon Minister for Aviation has asked for this Question to be postponed on two occasions; and he chose today, and he is an Hon Member of Parliament. He knows that we start Sitting at 10 o'clock and now the Hon Majority Leader is saying he is on his way. I think the Hon Majority Leader would have to press hard for Ministers to know that this House starts Sitting at 10 o'clock and not 12 o'clock. So we hope that he would be here before the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources finishes her Answers.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I indicated that the Minister is on his way here. The Hon Minister has not indicated to us in this House that he knows that the House Sits at 12 o'clock. He has not given any such indication. So Mr Speaker, if I offer a plea to the House, I expect the Hon Minority Chief Whip to take it in good faith.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, call the Hon Member on your right side to order. [Laughter.]
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have not heard him speak
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.

to the microphone and I was concentrating on the Hon Minister. So if there are any infractions, I would call him to order.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Member, you saw him stand, and in a manner that was not acceptable.
Is the Hon Member for South Tongu here?
You may please proceed with your Question.
ORAL ANSWERS TO 10:20 a.m.

QUESTIONS 10:20 a.m.



Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources (Ms Cecilia A. Dapaah) 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the existing water supply system (Agordome- Sogakope Water Treatment Plant) which supplies water to parts of South Tongu District and Keta Municipal was constructed in 1998.
The existing installed plant capacity is 1.6 MGD. However, the Plant is currently producing at 1.0 MGD due to frequent power outages and decrease in efficiencies of the plant facilities over the period.
Mr Speaker, as a result of the inadequate daily production to meet current demand of 2.4 MGD, the following interventions have been initiated to provide potable water to the people of Dorkploame and its environs;
Immediate Action
Mr Speaker, I wish to state that extension of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) distribution network to the above-mentioned communities is under consideration.
Long Term
I. Mr Speaker, GWCL is in discussion with interested investors to rehabilitate and expand the Agordome- Sogakope Water Treatment Plant. As part of the rehabilitation exercise, distribution pipelines would be extended to these communities.
II. Mr Speaker, these com- munities from indication could also be supplied by the soon- to-be-constructed Sogakope- Lome Transboundary Water Supply Distribution Network Project.
Mr Woyome 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I want to make reference to the second paragraph of the Answer:
“The existing installed plant capacity is 1.6MGD. However, the Plant is currently producing at 1.0 MGD due to frequent power outages and decrease in efficiencies of the plant facilities over the period.”
Could the Hon Minister consider the provision of a standby generator which I think in the past we have tried to put in an application for?
Ms Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish this were possible. The voltage of the power needed for water treatment plants cannot be generated through the generator. We have talked about it but it is not possible.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Member, any further question?
Mr Woyome 10:20 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, some work had been done to that effect so I would share that with you later. But going forward, a similar Question was answered by the Minister some weeks ago and in it, under the long-term plan for the project, she stated here that they have entered discussions with interested investors for the rehabilitation of the plant on a similar question for another community.
She indicated that they had actually gone through the procurement process and got an entity to undertake the project and that the only thing they were considering was the funding process with the Ministry of Finance. So, how different is that from the current Answer?
Ms Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is possible. At times, we chase things up to the Ministry of Finance and it falls through. So we hope this would go through. The fiscal discipline we are practising as well as at times due to the delay in the processes, some of these fundings fall through. So, we would follow that up as well.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Member, your last question, if any.
Mr Woyome 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is on the same issue and same project that she actually provided Answer to some weeks ago, and here we are having a different Answer. So, I just want to know whether there has been a change due to some difficulties in the initial plan and therefore, they are adopting this.
Ms Dapaah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would do some checks on the current situation and get back to the Hon Member.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. The next Question stands in the name of Hon Ackuaku.
Continuation of Pipe-laying from Denkyira to Ashalaja Town and
its surrounding villages
Q.570. Ms. Sophia K. Ackuaku asked the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the Ministry would continue the pipe-laying from Denkyira to Ashalaja town and its surrounding villages.
Ms Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the communities along the Kasoa-Obom- Amasaman Road depend on water supply from the Candy and Bamag Water Treatment Plants at Weija Headworks.
Mr Speaker, the existing installed plant capacities of the Candy and Bamag water treatment plants are 8MGD and 6MGD, respectively.
However, each plant is currently producing at 5.6 MGD due to frequent power outages and decrease in efficiencies of the plant because of their old age.
Mr Speaker, as a result of the inadequate daily production to meet current demand, some interventions have been initiated.
Immediate Action
Mr Speaker, I wish to state that the distribution network to the above- mentioned communities will be done to improve water supply.
Long Term
Mr Speaker, GWCL is in discussions with investors as well to rehabilitate and expand the Weija Headworks. As part of the expansion, distribution pipelines would be extended to all these communities.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, any follow-up questions?
Ms Ackuaku 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister tell us how soon this project will kickstart?
Ms Dapaah 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Member may be aware, it is in our Manifesto to provide water for all so, it is a top priority. As soon as we are through, we will get water to the communities.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member, any further questions?
Ms Ackuaku 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I am all right.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member, thank you.
Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House this morning and answering our Questions. You are respectfully discharged.
Item listed 4 -- Statements. We have a Statement -- [Pause] --

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, we have a Communication from His Excellency, the President dated 27th March, 2019 -- and titled “Absence from Ghana.”
  • [DR
  • Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
    Hon Members, we have a Statement on okada by Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, Hon Member for Asawase and Minority Chief Whip.
    STATEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to make this Statement on the floor of the House. The Statement may seem controversial, but I would be happy that Hon Members listen to its content and contribute in line with our Standing Orders.
    In 2012, this Honourable House gave its blessings to a legislative proposal by Government to pass the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), to regulate road transport in this country. Mr Speaker, sections 128 (1), (2) and (3) of the L.l. 2180, prohibit the use of motorcycle or tricycle, or what has been popularly known as “Okada” for commercial purposes.
    For the purposes of emphasis, Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence to state the provisions:
    Section 128 (1) of L.l. 2180 states-- “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”
    Section 128 (2) states -- “A person shall not permit a
    motorcycle or tricycle which that person exercises control to be used for commercial purposes except for courier and delivery services.”
    Section 128 (3) states -- “A person shall not ride on a motorcycle or tricycle as a paying passenger.”
    Mr Speaker, these provisions which effectively banned the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes have been in operation since 2012. This Statement is to call for a review of these provisions in the light of the opportunities that exist in the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes which otherwise are eluding us because of the ban.
    Mr Speaker, the “Okada” business in our part of the world has been traced to Lagos, the old administrative capital of Nigeria, where motorbikes and tricycles were employed as a solution to address the notorious traffic congestion in the city.
    Indeed, as it is public knowledge now, the traffic congestion experienced in Lagos city was one of the utmost reasons why the Federal Government of Nigeria decided to move the capital to Abuja in the heart of the nation.
    The use of motorcycle or tricycle as the quickest means of reaching offices and parts of Lagos city was a success, in that people who engaged
    in them reached their destinations on time and with ease.
    It is because of their services, the patrons liken the movement of the operations of the motorbikes to that of an Okada Airline; the first domestic airline in Nigeria which was established in the 1980s by Mr Gabriel Egbinedion, one of Nigeria's first known millionaires who hails from Okada village in Edo State.
    With the passage of time, the Okada business spread from Lagos to other parts of the country because of its convenience. The business gradually spread across the West African Sub-Region in countries such as Togo and Benin and some parts of Africa.
    The ubiquity of motorcycle or tricycle -taxi services in Africa is clearly manifested in the proliferation of local names to describe them. They include okada (Ghana) or alalok (Nigeria), kabu-kabu (Niger), boda- boda (Uganda and Kenya) and the others.
    The motorcycle or tricycle businesses are also found in some parts of the world, particularly, South East Asia where traffic congestion is a challenge to city authorities. It is to also address the gap in public transport needs of people, particularly, the rural folks.
    Mr Speaker, in Ghana, the situation is not different; motorcycles or tricycles have become the preferred means of transport for rural folks
    because it is the easiest and cheapest means by which they ply their businesses.
    In the five regions of the North, Bono Region, Ahafo Region and the northern part of the Volta Region, for instance, the use of motorcycles or tricycles occupies a critical part of their daily activities so much that farmers, teachers, nurses, social workers and many others, rely on them to get to their places of work.
    Farmers use motorcycle or tricycles on a daily basis to cart foodstuffs to and from their farms, while nurses and other health workers find them as the most efficient means to access the hinterlands to dispense healthcare services. In recent times, however, there have been a rise in the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes in towns and cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Cape Coast.
    In Asawase constituency, motor- cycles and tricycles are estimated to be about 40 per cent of critical means of transport for the persons living within the constituency.

    Mr Speaker, statistics at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) has revealed that in the last 10 years, averagely 10,000 motorcycles or tricycles have been registered annually in Tamale alone. The travelling public in the major towns and cities now prefer to patronise the “okada” instead of taxis. This stems from the

    fact that the public wants to get through the thick traffic of the cities to get to their destinations in good time.

    What used to be just a means of transport for rural folks in particular is now a viable source of livelihood for many Ghanaian youth. The “okada” or “Adedeta business” has put food on the table of many of our young men and their families who had little or no formal education.

    Mr Speaker, in my constituency, I have listened to touching stories of how the “okada” business has been live wire for some of our youth. In a typical day, some of the “okada” riders make as much as GH¢150 from their business and after the paying commission of about GH¢50, they are left with some substantial amount of money to take care of themselves and their immediate families.

    The “okada” business is also having multiplier effect on the Ghanaian economy, in that, some of the riders save portions of their income from the business to start other businesses while employing some of their family members to run them.

    In Rwanda, a start-up company known as SafeMotos has been established using an Uber-influenced smartphone app that connects customers with motorcycle or tricycle taxis. Customers are linked to a safer motorcycle or tricycle taxi driver for a premium fee, of which SafeMotos collects a 13 per cent commission. It

    focuses on safety and uses data to measure a driver's accident risk. SafeMotos is providing employment to the youth of Rwanda and revenue for the government as well.

    In Nigeria's most populous city, Lagos, there are over 200,000 “okada” operators, providing direct employment to over 500,000 people. Given its widespread usage in the sub- region, motorcycles and tricycles present an opportunity for us to establish a factory as part of our quest to industrialise.

    By assembling the motorcycles here in Ghana and exporting them to countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and La Cote d'Ivoire where these bikes are predominantly used as public transport can generate revenue and create jobs to address the unemployment challenges of this country.

    Even though these okada operators are working hard to make a living, their activities have been described by some people as counterproductive because many of them flout road traffic regulations. They fail to wear protective clothing such as helmets, thereby putting their lives and those of their clients in danger. Some of them ride recklessly resulting in road accidents.

    These negative tendencies necessitated a call for an outright ban of the practice and also some of the major reasons that initially influenced the passage of the law. But it is my considered view that the benefits outweigh the social costs and as such

    we cannot kill the goose that laid the golden eggs by this country's continuous ban on the use of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes.

    Mr Speaker, the suggestion that motorcycles or tricycles are used to commit crimes such as snatching of mobile phones and money from people thereafter is not inherent in the mode but is a consequence of inadequate law enforcement. Where criminals have adopted the motorcycle as a tool of criminal activity, the Police will need to develop methods of countering this trend.

    What is critical is that the country must put in place regulations that support the commercial operations of the “okada” or “Adedeta” riders. Such regulations must aim at instituting appropriate standards and capacities of a motorcycle or tricycle and its drivers for public transportation service.

    Such regulations must also touch on the proper type of motorcycle or tricycle that can be granted a franchise, the minimum Cubic Centimeter (CC) capacity of motor, travel speed of motorcycle taxis, franchise route, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for motorcycle riders looking to register as a Public Utility Vehicle driver.

    Through other regulations to support their use for commercial purposes such as setting working time

    limits within which commercial operations are allowed can help us achieve the objective of creating employment opportunities for the youth and also address the trans- portation needs of our people, especially in the rural areas.

    Let us review the law to accommodate “okada” or “Adedeta” operators by mainstreaming them into our national transport system so that they can be identified, registered, licensed and policed to work within the road traffic regulations.

    Mr Speaker, in my constituency, when I try to engage the Police on why they allow them to flout the rules, they tell me that they do not have enough cells, even if they would want to arrest them. They said they do not have space to be able to park, and so it is better to check what is legalised so that we can regulate and check what they are doing.

    Mr Speaker, we should also know that life in not just in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, but the majority. So it is difficult for the law enforcement agencies to be able to prevent them from operating because of the numbers. I therefore call for its legalisation. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you and my Hon Colleagues for their attention.
    Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minority Chief Whip, for this brilliant and useful Statement.
    Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member?
    Minister of State (Alhaji Abu- Bakar S. Boniface (MP) 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Statement on the Floor -- [Interruption] -- rather to contribute -- [Laughter] --
    [Interruption] --
    Mr Speaker, the Statement on the Floor has come at the right time.
    Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, order!
    Hon Members, please there is noise in the background.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, looking at my Hon Leader, I know that he is not in support of my use of the word, “support”, but I believe that it is something that we would need to look at critically. Apart from being called “Adedeta” or “Aboboya”, when we go to Tamale, it is called “Sobi nya danga”, which means “somebody wounded?”
    Mr Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, there is too much conversation. In fact, some Hon Members have their backs to the Mace. Please, you should sit properly, because it is contempt of this House for your back
    to be towards the Mace. I do not want to mention names, but you should watch it.
    Hon Members, it is contempt of Parliament to turn and have your back facing the Mace, here in this Parliament.
    Hon Member, you may continue.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, I would go over where I stopped.
    Mr Speaker, apart from being called “Adedeta,” in Kumasi it is called “Aboboya”, in Tamale -- [Interruption] --
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, do not respond to anyone. Please, make your contribution.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:50 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, in Tamale we call it a “Sobi nya danga”, which means amongst us, has anybody gotten injured? This is because when people get involved in an accident, one could easily pick up the vehicle and just ask his or her neighbour whether there is anyone wounded.
    Mr Speaker, in fact these tricycles even though unlicensed and refused to be licensed have really saved a lot in terms of transportation. Mr
    Speaker, personally I saw a lawyer who was hurrying to go to court in a Mercedes Benz car but he was held up in a traffic jam. He had to park his car and call a motorbike - everybody saw him holding his file and with how he was dressed, everybody knew that he was a lawyer and he was sitting on the “okada” and going to court.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    It is a very serious misconduct for a lawyer to be seen in public with bibs.
    Alhaji Boniface 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would come to myself: one time I was supposed to go and deliver a speech. I drove from Madina and when I got to Ridge, there was traffic and I was supposed to meet the Zongo Chiefs. Apparently, time was running out and I was in my car, so when I looked outside, I saw someone on a motorbike and I stopped him. He thought my car had broken down and then he looked at me but I told him that I would give him information so I sat behind him --
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Did you wear helmet?
    Alhaji Boniface 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I got a helmet from him. [Interruption.] Fortunately, when they move these days, apart from the rider wearing a helmet, there is a spare one so immediately I sat behind him, he told me to put on the helmet. Mr Speaker, he did not know that I was a politician until I took him to the point where I

    Mr Speaker, I was confident and comfortable because I come from a zongo and this is the commonest means of transport in zongos and the rural areas. I had the experience of being a rural boy and at the same time a zongo boy. So, I know the impor- tance of using a bicycle, motorbike or tricycle.

    Mr Speaker, tricycles are of huge importance; firstly, they could be used for sanitation purposes and tourism. Where we have tourists around -- in fact, if we check the tricycles being used by golfers -- what is used on the golffields is more or less a tricycle and this could be extended and tourists could use it.

    Fortunately, I think that the Hon Minority Leader would bear witness to this -- when the tricycle which is called “So binya danga” in Tamale started gaining more prominence in Tamale, taxi drivers mounted a strike action because it was more economical. Secondly, those who were really trained would ride carefully and take people to their destinations safely. So, their prices were more economical than the fares charged by the taxi drivers and these taxi drivers were not getting customers, so they went on strike and did a serious demonstration in Tamale. It was all over the place.

    Mr Speaker, going further, it gives both direct and indirect employment. These days the tricycles have spare drivers especially those in the sanitation module and they move in a convoy to the recycling plants.

    Mr Speaker, these people are also helping us to keep the cities clean. I believe that the sanitation trucks should move in the night, maybe, from 10.00p.m. to midnight, but they move during the day and when they are caught up in traffic, the stench is dangerous.

    Mr Speaker, but these tricycles move faster because they have opportunities to move either on the arms of roads or in-between traffic so they are able to get to the dump site very fast. Mr Speaker, they save the economy. Apart from giving one person employment, indirectly, it employs two or three more because three or four mouths would be fed at home apart from the spare driver given employment. So, it also eases the unemployment in the economy -- it has a ripple effect on the economy.

    Mr Speaker, furthermore, you would realise that almost all the “aboboyas” and “So binya danga” are taxed by the assemblies. The assemblies register them and they pay taxes so this also generates revenue to the assemblies. So, every tricycle in a particular community or economy is registered and we could see that a tricycle which moves from one community to a different community

    could be easily identified. However, even though they sometimes appear as a nuisance, they could be well- regulated.

    Mr Speaker, even police officers could be made to dress in mufti to join this system to identify the good and bad guys. In most countries, not all taxi drivers are genuine taxi drivers; some are national security operatives and they know what is going on. So, definitely, we could have tricycle riders who are with the national security and could feed the State with better information. So, all these could go a long way to save the economy.

    Mr Speaker, in places like Nigeria, one could move easily with “aboboya” or “okada”. As my Hon Colleague said, okada was named after somebody who introduced a flight from the city to his village and today okada, aboboya or So binya danga -- I believe that one person who has made a name in Tamale because of So binya danga is the Hon Minority Leader because he supported a lot of the youth with so binya danga. They got hurt a lot those days and that was why they called it so binya danga but I think that they have now polished themselves and we would need to state it as it is.

    Mr Speaker, in bringing my case to rest, I appeal that we would register some of these motorbikes and we would have some security officers in the system -- Recently, one of our boys was assassinated; he was shot by somebody who was on

    a motorbike in Madina. If we had people around who had motorbikes and could ride faster, we could have caught that assassin.

    Mr Speaker, so it is important that we look at all these but, at least, it must be well regulated so that it could give some kind of respite to the youth and at the same time the government would also have some peace. Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    I would definitely call the Hon Member for Adaklu for good reasons, but not now; so you may be seated. I would call you and I would explain.
    Hon Dafeamekpor.
    Mr Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor (NDC -- South Dayi) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute towards this Statement and to also further call on this House to exercise our power of review of existing legislation to accommodate and legalise the operation of the business that we speak of.
    Mr Speaker, the length of roads in my constituency in South Dayi is 128 kilometres and it is only 23 kilometres that has bitumen surfacing. In effect, about 98 kilometres of the roads in
    my constituency are rural or feeder roads. Mr Speaker, these are roads that often deteriorate during the rainy season or when the rains are very heavy, they disrupt vehicle transportation.

    So my constituents mainly rely on the operations of the okada boys and now tricycle operators to commute from the market centres, for instance in Kpeve the district capital and in Tongor and Dzemeni at the other side of the constituency to conduct their day-to-day affairs.

    Mr Speaker, the introduction of this mode of transportation into our various communities in this country has also brought the opportunity for young men, who for the inability to pursue further education after secondary school, are able to be put into some form of business.

    Mr Speaker, in my constituency, we have only one ambulance, and it is stationed at Peki Government Hospital which is about 45 kilometres from Adzebui, the last community to the Eastern boundary with Asuogya- man. Often, where women, children or the general community members are to be ferried to hospitals when they are sick, they are often chauffeured by the new ones they call “mahama camboo” or the tricycles. They are so versatile and convenient in transporting people about.

    Mr Speaker, so I am in full support of the Statement to legalise the
    Mr Daniel N. K. Titus-Glover (NPP — Tema East) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am so much grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minority Chief Whip on the use of okada.
    Mr Speaker, it is true that Regulation 128 states that we should not commercialise the use of motorcycles on our roads.
    Mr Speaker, when one comes to Ashaiman, they have over 50 satellite points where they pick their passengers and goods. When you travel to Zenu, Sasabi, Appolonia all the way to link Oyibi, you would see them spread along those areas. At the eastern part, after Kpone towards Dawhenya to Sege Korliedor all over to the border, they are scattered all over the place.
    When you sit at the back of an okada, it is a choice. It is a choice because if you are in the cities, it is a way of trying to avoid traffic, but in the hinterlands and beyond, that is their only means of transport to move around.
    Mr Speaker, statistics from the National Road Safety Commission in the year 2010 had 200 riders killed. In 2017, this shot up to over 100 per cent to 400. It looks so scary because they are so lawless, reckless; and their
    inability to conform to the Road Traffic Regulations has been a major bother to all of us.
    Mr Speaker, as we speak, foreigners have even joined in the trade along our borders and even in Ashaiman. They are also contributing to the crime rate in this country. Few days ago, the Ministry of Transport held stakeholder consultations on Regulation 128. We invited the Motor Traffic Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service; Assemblies in Greater Accra Region; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA); the National Road Safety Commission; the media, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); and medical doctors from Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
    Mr Speaker, the doctors told us that the rate of these accidents that we experience on our roads are a cost to medical delivery. This is because, when they are brought to the hospital, because it is an accident, they have to look for money within the hospital to take care of them before they complain for any fee. So this is a major concern that we need to address.
    It is understood that okada is providing some services because of the shortfall of public means of transport in these areas where they operate. It also brings income to their table, which we all agree. But going forward, from this forum that we had with all the stakeholders, we would replicate it in the other 15 regional
    capitals to really find out whether, indeed, it is feasible for us to look at it all over again. But clearly, since the law states that it should not be commercialised, that is the angle we would want to look at and also the advocacy in terms of road safety perspective.
    Mr Speaker, the Police are doing their best. There are a lot of these riders and even drivers who do not want to respect the Police. Right at the National Theatre traffic light, I have witnessed an MTTD Police who tried to inspect an okada rider. One was carrying a bag behind him. When the Police approached him, he pulled out his bag, showed his rider's licence and the other necessary documents. When the other rider saw the police coming, quickly, he made a U-turn and faced the opposite direction that I was coming from. This tells us that he did not have the necessary documents.
    These are people who are carrying passengers, killing them all over the place, which is a major concern to us.
    So, yes, they have an issue; they have a case. They are rendering good services to our people, but let us look at what the law says. For now, it says it should not be commercialised. I am saying, and from the Ministry's perspective, we are still engaging. We would want to listen across the country. At the end of the day, if it is indeed feasible to look at it, why not? But for now, the law says it is not to be commercialised, and there is the need for us to make sure that we are doing what is right to save our people.
    Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Member, but it is going on. Should we not legalise and regulate it rather than to have this all for all situations? Being an Hon Deputy Minister, I am throwing this at you -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Titus-Glover 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is why we are doing the consultations across the country, and at the end of the day we, would look at the recommendations and the conclusions.
    Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Agbodza, who is the Ranking Member for the Committee on Roads and Transport, those we shall be making a referral to in a moment. The Hon Chairman has travelled.
    Mr Govers Kwame Agbodza (NDC -- Adaklu) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minority Chief Whip on the legalisation of okada or motorcycles as public transport in this country.
    Mr Speaker, transportation is at the heart of organising and managing any developing city in the world. When it comes to the use of tricycles or motorcycles as a means of transport in this country, we are all aware, especially those of us who come from deprived communities, that it already exists; that the easiest, safest or quickest way for a pregnant woman to move from home to a health facility in Adaklu today would be on a motorcycle, to be able to access healthcare in Adaklu.
    So it is no longer an issue of whether we need to have bicycles or motorcycles as a means of transportation. The truth is that it already exists, and that is why the call by the Hon Minority Chief Whip for us to take a look at possibly legalising it is a very essential one.
    Mr Speaker, the suggestion that this means of transportation causes accidents cannot be overstated, but so do vehicles and any other means
    of transportation where people can be involved in accidents. What is the best practice in situations closer to us?
    Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Members, the background noise is a bit much.
    Mr Agbodza 11:10 a.m.
    It is quite interesting that when you traverse the streets of Delhi, the number of tricycles you see on the road -- Surprisingly, I never saw a single tricycle scratch the side of another one. It is amazing how they are able to organise these things.
    Is it possible for Delhi to rely on another means of public transport and take away the tricycles? It would be highly difficult, looking at the size of the city and the number of people who live there. I thought we could learn from the example of India, how they are able to organise it in such a way that it is no longer a wish. It is already happening, and it is not causing the accidents that we fear would happen here.
    Mr Speaker, in neighbouring countries -- Nigeria, Togo and others -- these things do exist, and for us Hon Members of Parliament who
    come from areas where we do not have the luxury of Uber, I do not think you can tell us -- I do not even know whether if I were to support a Bill in this House to ban okada -- I would not be returning to this House in the next election, because it would mean that I am not sensitive to the plight of my people.
    That is why I think that this call is a worthy cause that must be con- sidered. Nobody is saying that we should ignore safety, crime and other things. This House is capable of crafting a law that would take care of the issue of safety on the road, affordability and everything.
    Mr Speaker, for example, I can imagine how many people, as the Hon Chief Whip said, go to work today or earn a living through the use of tricycles and motorcycles.
    Because it is illegal, the State is not even able to extract a little revenue from these people, but I am sure if this is legalised, the State could also benefit from the services they are already offering, and the pregnant lady who is going to use a motorcycle or tricycle in any part of the country today, from home to the hospital, would be confident that she is not going to be stopped along the way by the Police to be asked to leave the motorcycle.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we should encourage Government to bring a legislation to this House, and that legislation must take care of safety to
    Mr Agbodza 11:10 a.m.

    address the concerns of people who feel that it would increase the rate of accidents.

    We can develop standards by which they operate, whether by helmets or the standard of equipment they can use. I am sure this House can craft a legislation to deal with that.

    When it comes to employment, I can imagine, looking at the streets of Delhi, how many people are in gainful employment by the operation of the tricycles. So it can happen in this country, that people could be gainfully employed legitimately by the operation of this means of transport.

    While we know that of development is a process and cannot be an event, I have no doubt that it is going to be a long period of time before Uber or other forms of taxis get to Adaklu. But in the interim, I am sure the legitimate use of motorcycles and tricycles could also provide a means of safe transportation in my community.

    Mr Speaker, it is also affordable. Because the cost of running it is low, it is passed on to the user. So while, perhaps, an Uber would take -- this statistic may not be the best -- GH¢10, maybe, with 50 pesewas, somebody could afford a service between his home and a health facility.

    It is also convenient. Because they are small in size, they can traverse places within the community which

    taxis and other standard vehicles may not be able to access.

    Mr Speaker, lastly, I think this State needs as much revenue as we can get to carry out development. I am sure the Hon Finance Minister who is here would be happy if we pass a legislation which allows them to work legitimately so that some revenue would come to the State.

    Mr Speaker, I would conclude by saying that this House must take this Statement very seriously, and I would urge our Hon Colleagues who are in Government and who would have enough time to consult stakeholders to look critically at proposing a legislation.

    Mr Speaker, on your Committee on Roads and Transport, I have been approached by two organisations already, asking us to support them to bring a legislation for the operation of tricycles to be legalised in this country, and I think it is a proper move that they are making.

    I am hopeful that whenever that Bill comes to this House, our Hon Colleagues would pay attention to it and remove the dogma, that it is a dangerous means of transportation.

    Mr Speaker, the first time I took a tricycle as commercial transport was in Delhi. I was quite scared of the speed and the manoeuvres, but we arrived safely without any scratch.

    So, Mr Speaker, I believe that can happen in this country as well. I would

    urge my Hon Colleagues to consider this Statement, not as one of the Statements made and let go, but we want to see a conclusion on this. That this House would be part of Government effort if Government sees it as necessary to bring a legislation as quickly as possible, so that the okada rider in Adaklu and the tricycle operator in Tamale do not see themselves as illegitimate business operators in this country, but as essential service providers that can make us all have a better life as a people.

    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member for Adaklu, we are not going to wait for the Executive. Your Committee is going to take the initiative -- [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP - - Bekwai) 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker. I regret that I may be the lone voice speaking vehemently against the use of motorcycles or even tricycles for commercial purposes.
    My Friend, the Hon Member for Adaklu, gave an example of riding in it in Delhi. I did in Dakar, and I was very nearly crashed by a bus. The riders there behave like us here.
    Practically, every bus you see in Dakar is scratched, because the tricycle operators are forcing their way in between and are being crushed left and right.
    So far, the arguments made by the maker of the Statement supporting the use of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes is rather one- sided. I would have wished that we would send a delegation to the hospitals that are on our West Coast; from Nigeria all the way to Togo, Benin and see the number of limbs that have been severed off the human body.
    When I was part of the road safety delegation, we visited there and they showed us the evidence; the number of people whose limbs either left hand or right hand, or part of the body have been severed from the rest of their bodies in motorcycle accidents.
    Mr Speaker, the statistics does not talk about that one. Most of the riders, currently, in Kumasi in particular, in Hon Mutaka's constituency, where most of them operate, about 90 per cent of them are below 18 years. They are 14 or 15 year-old boys. They leave school and go to operate okada. They are not licensed and by law, they are not permitted to operate any commercial vehicle. And yet, that is what they are doing.
    Mr Speaker, when the maker of the Statement, my Friend, says we should regulate, there is already a regulation. The Road Traffic Regula- tion regulates all motor vehicles,
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu (NPP - - Bekwai) 11:20 a.m.
    including motorcycles and tricycles. Whether commercial or private, the law is the same. How drivers must behave on the road is provided, but 99 per cent of them that engage in commercial practice do otherwise. They cross the median, drive against oncoming vehicles like some of us do anyway; they drive in between and they join the traffic and leave it at will.
    As stated by the Hon Deputy Minister for Transport, the evidence in our own hospitals is also bizarre; the limbs that are lost; the lives that are lost because of the operation of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes.
    Mr Speaker, the word, okada is not known to the law. The law says motorcycle and motorcycles have not been banned. The law, as clearly stated by my Friend, and I am very proud that I was very active in carving that regulation, was that, do not use it for commercial purposes. If one has his own motorcycle and offers a friend a lift, that is the one and his friend. But when he takes a fare-paying passenger, one is duty bound to offer the person security; one must protect the passenger.
    But what do we see? Now, they have introduced helmets which is fine. But even vehicles, however well crafted, are provided with seat belts. With all the glasses and the roof around, one is also provided seat belts so that in case of emergency, one is protected. Do we have any seat belts
    on motorcycles? And where does one hold as a pillion rider; the passenger? That is the kind of danger we are saying that one needs to subject Ghanaian travellers to— No, I do not think that this Parliament or any responsible Executive should take that step of putting Ghanaians into that danger and risk.
    Mr Speaker, we appear to want to put convenience over everything else. It is convenient in the traffic situation because they do not follow the road traffic regulations; they reach faster. They would ride on the sideways; they would ride against the traffic; they would use the areas where we are not permitted to drive so that they reach faster. It is convenience achieved through illegality, and Parliament should not be seen to be the institution that is providing that kind of access and opportunity for people who use inconvenience.
    Mr Speaker, one major source of the traffic is the indiscipline on the part of the drivers. And the motor riders and tricycle riders are a major contributing part to the traffic situation we have. So if we want to ensure discipline on the road, rather, we should ensure that people follow the law. We should ensure that motorcycles join the queue.
    Mr Speaker, in 2008, I participated in a driver testing exercise in Bedford. It was part of my training as the DVLA Chief Executive Officer. And if one was going to do a riding test, we followed the person with a vehicle and saw how the person
    would ride. It was interesting; no rider was riding in the median, so I asked why they are not permitted to ride in the median in between traffic. They said they are part of the traffic and they cannot be in-between two vehicles. So they respect the rules over there and if one is caught, they are dealt with.

    Mr Speaker, but if we take a city like Tamale, because the motorcycle is a major means of transport, the road designs have taken notice of that, and if you look at the major highways in Tamale, apart from the main road, there is also a part designed for riders, motorcyclists and bicycle riders, so that they do not interfere with the vehicles on the highway.

    If we want, that is what we should be advocating. One city bus could accommodate fifty of the people on motorcycles. If it comes to fuel, the buses would use much less; it would endanger the environment much less and the roads would be safer. We should be advocating for more Metro Mass buses and creating bus lanes for easy access, while we do not have the trains yet. But we should not compound the problem by putting onto our roads, motorcycles. All of

    Mr Speaker, in some countries, particularly, in Dakar, I have even ridden at the back of a bicycle as a means of commercial transport, but it would take a person one hour to traverse a distance of about one kilometre. That is how difficult the situation is. And with that, the riders are forcing their way through left and right.

    So, Mr Speaker, convenient as it may be, it is a major source of indiscipline and lawlessness that we should not encourage. And I encourage that the law should stand as it is; and rather, we should advocate for more Metro Mass buses so that we could move the people enmassed rather than moving one person at a time.

    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr First Deputy Speaker.
    Hon available Minority Leader?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker. We would yield to Hon Ras Mubarak.
    Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am very grateful.
    This is a very exciting conversation and it could not have come at a better time than now when there is talk about nuisance and indiscipline on our roads.
    Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, right here in Parliament, if we look at the garbage that we produce in here, the pickup of those garbage is done by tricycles and not vehicles. We bring them here to pick up the garbage from Par- liament.
    Mr Speaker, the point I want to make is that the major problem is an issue of indiscipline. There is so much indiscipline in the country; there is so much indiscipline on our roads and people are not adhering — [Interruption.] I have looked at the Road Traffic Regulations; it is a beautiful regulation. If we look at it from A to Z, it provides guidelines on how everybody should conduct themselves on our roads but, clearly, we are not adhering to it.

    Would we argue that because a vehicle has had an accident, we should ban vehicles? We certainly cannot make those arguments. If we experience a plane crash, would we argue that air travel is not safe for the country? What we ought to do is to enforce the laws and ensure that people adhere to them.

    It is also important that while we talk about this, we look at long term solutions. One of the things that I agree with the Hon First Deputy Speaker on is the issue of advocating for tracks for bicycles and motorcycles. It has been done beautifully in the Northern Region, but even there, in Tamale especially, people do not use these

    tracks that have been put up and end up using lanes made for vehicles. So the major problem is not the usefulness or otherwise of motorcycles and tricycles, but the indiscipline on our roads.

    Mr Speaker, speaking of long term solutions, we should probably start looking at mono rail or some other forms of transportation that would make it easier for people to commute from various parts of our cities to the city centres for work. If we really believe that tricycles and bicycles are a nuisance, then, in the long-term, that is what we should look at. Mono rails would complement the existing roads, so that people can use rail transport.

    I believe that the problem is the lack of enforcement of relevant laws and regulations in the country. Even with the presence of laws, we need to do a lot of public education. More often than not, when we pass laws, we hardly hear some education on radio or television about what those laws actually mean for the citizenry and how we should apply them.

    The various Ministries, Depart- ments and Agencies (MDAs) which bring regulations for passage in Parliament should go beyond just bringing laws for us to pass, and make it a point that when these relevant laws are passed, they would embark on public education in various languages. This would help people understand exactly what these laws are and their impact on our society.

    Mr Speaker, you were in India for many years as our Ambassador and

    it is chaotic there. If we look at the chaotic nature of motorcycle use in India, we might think that it would not be useful in our setting. In the Netherlands for instance, bicycles are everywhere, but the people adhere to traffic regulations and that is exactly what we need to do as a country, instead of seeking to criminalise the use of motorcycles which are clearly useful in many settings.

    In many parts of my constituency, the people cannot do away with them. If we take communities such as Singa, Mane, Tolibu, and Gbali, they are cut off communities. The Black Volta passes through them and there are no major roads to those parts of the consti- tuency. So their only access to other parts of the Kumbungu Con- stituency is by bicycles, motorbikes and tricycles. I believe that if we enforce the laws and educate the public, it would help all of us.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for your kindness.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Member.
    Majority Leadership?
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu)) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a very important Statement made by the Hon Minority Chief Whip. I believe that we should prune it off sentiments and be very objective about this analysis.
    Mr Speaker, okada is just a word for a motorised bicycle. We have
    been told that in 2010, here in Ghana, 200 drivers died and in 2017, 400 drivers died. In an accident, when a driver dies, he does not die alone. Whenever a driver dies, at least two other passengers die with him. This should suggest to us that when 400 drivers died in 2017, at least, 800 to 1,000 users died. How many of such vehicles do we have in the system? So if in one year they caused the deaths of about 1,000 people, we should be concerned and not merely resort to the argument of convenience.
    Mr Speaker, we know what many of them do in the system. They hit and run over pedestrians who cross the road. Even when vehicles have stopped, they do not stop and hit pedestrians and run away. We know this happens on a daily basis.
    A tricycle is not simply made to carry passengers and that is what was alluded to by my Hon Colleague, the Hon First Deputy Speaker. It is because it does not come with any seatbelt in the first place. It may be used for courier services. If a farmer is going to his farm and decides to go with a tricycle to carry a load, that should be permissible, but not to ferry passengers.
    Mr Speaker, as the Hon Minority Chief Whip said, the terminology, Okada, originates from Nigeria. The first person who started a commercial airline business in Nigeria is one Egbinedion Gabriel, who hails from a community in Edo State called Okada. So when he established the airline, he named it after his village and
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu)) 11:40 a.m.
    it was called Okada Airlines. It was the first private commercial airline in Nigeria.
    Due to its swiftness, the Peugeot that was in Nigeria came to be known as Okada. When the factory that assembled Peugeot vehicles collapsed, they entered the cycle business and they were renamed Okada because of its swiftness. There is an express law in place that prescribes and prohibits the commercial use of bicycles and tricycles. Why do we say that in the face of that, we should still legalise their use because of convenience?
    There is a law in this country which prohibits the use of chainsaws. If one fell a tree in the forest, he is supposed to cart it to a sawmill for it to be sawed. Our people returned from Nigeria in 1983 and 1984 with chainsaws and we allowed them to use them in the forest. Today, what do we have?
    In the early 1980s, the forest cover of this country was over 800,000 hectares. Today, no thanks to chainsaw operations, it is in the region of about 450,000 hectares. We have depleted our forests completely, no thanks to chainsaw operators and we are saying that we should allow them, for reasons of convenience and because people can pay to use it.
    Mr Speaker, the cure is in what the Hon First Deputy Speaker related to. Let us buy more buses and coaches. When the Metro Mass Transit was introduced, we should not forget that
    at Kasoa, trotro drivers destroyed some of the buses because they thought it would take away their bread from them, and so they said we should stop them.

    Mr Speaker, today on our roads, when an okada or a tricycle is ahead of you, look at the tyres; the V-shape of the rear tyres tells us that the people on it are exposed to danger. Many of them would be speeding and one of the wheels would go off, imperilling the lives of people on a daily basis.

    Mr Speaker, in the middle of last year, a vehicle was taking my kids to school and a motorcycle drove into it, destroyed the driving mirror and run away. It is a daily occurrence in the city. Why should we entertain such a system in the country?

    Mr Speaker, in every country, when we talk about improvement in living standards — Today, people are using, maybe, small vehicles, we expect them to grow and be able to afford salon vehicles. This is a relapse into history, and are we saying we should encourage this? I disagree with those who use the argument of convenience and affordability.

    Mr Speaker, there is a law against the smoking of hard drugs and yet people do that for reasons of convenience and so we should legalise it. What is this? I strongly disagree with this theory of convenience.

    Mr Speaker, there is the constant breakdown of these tricycles on our roads, after one year, they start belching out smoke. My Hon Colleague, Hon Ras Mubarak, talked about the fact that they are used to cart refuse. We should look at the roadsides, for instance, the Motor- way, and see the refuse that have been deposited there. They are the people who are depositing the refuse there in the night, and some Hon members say that we should sit here and encourage them.

    A new road was constructed recently behind the University of Ghana from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administra- tion (GIMPA) and every night -- one should go and see what happens there, after 10.00 p.m. those of them who cart refuse deposit it there. Should we encourage such people?

    Mr Speaker, we should be very careful. It is a useful Statement that he has made, but we should not rush to support this at all. We should do serious introspection and do serious study into this before, if we have to repeal the already existing law which prohibits the commercial use of motor- cycles, we would come and confront ourselves with that.

    Mr Speaker, we are talking about petty thievery in the community. These days, people use motorcycles to commit most criminalities that happen to us in the nights. Most recently, using motorcycles to commit such a heinous crime like what happened in Kumasi

    at the NDC Headquarters, and we are saying that we should encourage the commercial use of these motorcycles and tricycles. I strongly disagree.

    Mr Speaker, however, if the House, in its wisdom, thinks that we should reconsider it, well, we should lend ourselves to it. We should not rush to legalise such a regime.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    The Statement is referred to the Committee on Roads and Transport for further considera- tion on all fours and report to this Honourable House.
    The Hon Minister for Finance?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we can take the Question directed to the Hon Minister for Aviation. That would not take too much time; we would be done with it within 10 minutes and the Hon Minister for Finance can come and make the Statement.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    The Hon Minister for Aviation was not in the House when she was called. I would like such Ministers to take their due turns when they come at their convenience.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.

    Hon Minister for Finance, it is your turn.

    Key Recent Events of the First Quarter of 2019
    Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, March 2019 has indeed been a remarkable month. But Let me first congratulate the House for passing the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, which would bring more transparency to gover- nance and strengthen our democracy.
    I wish to, also express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to address the House on some key recent events that have occurred as we bring the first quarter of 2019 to a close:
    a. Formal completion of our Extended Credit Facility Programme with the Interna- tional Monetary Fund (IMF)
    b. Historic US$3 billion Euro- bond issuance;
    c. Recent developments on the foreign exchange market and the cedi; and
    d. Visit of the World Bank Vice President for Africa.
    Mr Speaker, permit me to quote from the Holy Book, Isaiah 43 11:50 a.m.
    “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
    We just want as a nation, to thank God for what He is doing.

    Mr Speaker, Ghanaians who have been the victims of poor economic decisions of the past know all too well that the healing process has not been easy. [Interruption]. It has been austere, tough and restraining, but it was necessary. It was necessary because what had been broken had to be fixed by the Akufo-Addo Government.

    Mr Speaker, in August 2014, the Mahama Government was compelled by the outcome of its homegrown policies and economic management to turn to the IMF for a bailout. The market, indeed, the business community had lost confidence in the capacity of the then government to steer the economy, with the requisite competence, care and discipline, back on track.

    Mr Speaker, permit me to quote what the Financial Times wrote on 3rd, August, 2014, in a report with the headline: “Ghana seeks IMF help after currency falls 40%.” It reads:

    “Ghana, the country that epitomised the ‘Africa rising' narrative of strong economic growth and improved gover- nance, is to seek help from the International Monetary Fund.”

    “… The West African nation will turn to the Fund for financial assistance after its currency plunged roughly 40 per cent this year against the US dollar…

    “Accra's request for a bailout is likely to shake some investors, as Ghana was seen as a model of economic and political development in the continent. In 2007, under the Kufuor Admi- nistration, it became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa, apart from South Africa, to tap the sovereign bond market, raising $750m through a 10-year bond…”

    The Financial Times, (FT) report of 2014 reminds us further of how dire the situation was, “Ghana has this year repeatedly postponed a return to the bond market. But, Mr Terkper said the country still planned a $1billion, 10-year bond.” He was quoted as saying that the capital market would find our bond attractive once Ghana entered the IMF programme. Even then, we needed the World Bank to provide a US $400 million guarantee to support Ghana's US $1 billion Sovereign bond. Despite this guarantee, the 15-year Eurobond

    issued in 2015, unfortunately, attracted the highest coupon rate ever in Ghana's history at 10.75 per cent.

    The world, Mr Speaker, found our plunge shocking and perplexing. This was because by 2011, Ghana had begun producing oil in commercial quantities. Hopes of a better Ghana were high. Sadly, Mr Speaker, by the end of the following year, 2012, the economy was already in a tailspin, spiralled by the excessive spending, particularly, in the last four months to the 2012 General Elections. This led to Ghana recording a deficit of 11.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) -- highest deficit on record in the Fourth Republic. Mr Speaker, the Administration of President Mahama never recovered from that 2012 deficit.

    Mr Speaker, by February 2014, the IMF was calling for urgent measures to restore macroeconomic stability. By the end of that year, Ghana's economy was characterised by:

    a) rising interest rates to around 26 per cent on short term domestic debt (91-day Treasury Bills);

    b) high policy interest rate of up to 21 per cent ;

    c) high year-on-year inflation of 17 per cent;

    d) a cedi versus dollar deprecia- tion of over 31 per cent;

    e) low net international reserves of 1.8 months imports cover;

    f) Delayed payments of statu- tory bills;

    g) mounting arrears as con- tractors' bills could not be paid;

    h) large capital outflows; and

    i) The ‘dumsor' continued to have a devastating impact on the social and economic lives of Ghanaians.

    Mr Speaker, simply put, the economy under the Mahama Administration was in severe crisis. It is important to give this background, in order for the country to understand where we were, how we got there, the pills the people have had to swallow in our committed efforts to get us out and on the go.

    Mr Speaker, the economic situation left the Government at the time with no choice but to sign up to a three-year ECF Programme in April 2015. This entailed a total of eight programme reviews twice a year. After each successful review, an agreed amount was to be disbursed as balance of payments support to improve the country's international reserves. The total expected inflow for the three-year period was SDR664.20 million (approximately US$914 million).
    Mr Speaker, the programme primarily aimed to 11:50 a.m.
    (i) ensure prudent fiscal consoli- dation and debt sustainability, contain expenditures through wage restraint and limited net hiring and mobilise additional revenues;
    (ii) structurally reform to strengthen public finances and instil fiscal discipline by improving budget trans- parency, cleaning up and controlling public sector payroll, right-sizing the civil service, and improve dome- stic revenue collection;
    (iii) restore effective inflation targeting framework to help bring inflation back into single digit territory; and
    (iv)Preserving financial sector stability.
    When the President Akufo-Addo Administration took over the management of the economy, it was confronted with a very difficult choice, continue with a derailed IMF- ECF Programme or completely abandon it due to the steep fiscal consolidation path that we needed to take. But we chose the difficult path -- the road less travelled -- but sensible path to stabilise the economy. We resolved to do what we believed was a move in the national interest and fundamental to our national development goals. The economy was
    not in good shape, the financial sector was reeling and we needed to rebuild the confidence of both Ghanaian and foreign investors in Ghana and our economy.
    Mr Speaker, I am happy to announce today that the difficult choice we made has yielded the desired outcome. We have successfully completed the programme and the economic indicators all look very good
    Mr Speaker, macro-economic performance in 2016, another election year, under the previous government, was characterised by excessive fiscal dominance even worse than in 2012. The ECF Programme objectives had been derailed, the then Government only managed to complete three programme reviews against six scheduled. This meant that there was no way Ghana could have completed the programme as scheduled for April
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to announce that the Executive Board of the IMF met on 20th March, 2019 to approve the combined seventh and eight reviews under the ECF- supported arrangement, bringing an end to the ECF [Hear! Hear!] The final announcement would be made on 2nd April, 2019.
    Mr Speaker, this successful completion immediately made available to Ghana the amount of SDR132.84 million (about US$185.2 million). This brings the total cumulative disbursement under the
    ECF-supported arrangement to SDR664.20 million (equivalent to US$934.4 million).
    Mr Speaker, the Executive Board issued a statement after the Board meeting in which they commended the Akufo-Addo Government for putting the programme back on track and achieving significant macroeconomic gains over the course of the ECF- supported programme, which has resulted in:
    a. a rising and broad-based GDP growth momentum with the economy growing by 8.1 per cent in 2017 (up from 2.2 per cent -2015 and 3.4 per cent - 2016) and 6.1 per cent (end-Q3 2018 average);
    b. effective monetary policy put in place and the sustained disinflation (inflation now at 9.2 per cent from 15.4 per cent -2015);
    c. accelerated fiscal consolida- tion with deficit contraction of over 3 per cent of rebased GDP (i.e. from 7.3 per cent - 2016 to 3.9 per cent - 2018);
    d. a successful banking sector clean-up (with over 1 million depositors' funds saved).
    Mr Speaker, in 27 months, President Akufo-Addo's Government has achieved the following:
    a. It completed in eight months, August 2017- April 2018, three reviews compared to
    Mr Speaker, the programme primarily aimed to noon

    the three reviews in two years in the previous Admini- stration;

    b. It completed 2 back-to-back combined reviews (5th & 6th and 7th and 8th reviews);

    c. It completed 12 structural bench marks ;

    d. ll of our performance criteria were met;

    e. Seven prior actions met to conclude the programme;

    f. The Government successfully worked with three mission chiefs and two resident representatives of the IMF; and

    g. Restored macroeconomic stability.

    Mr Speaker, while it is evident that significant macroeconomic gains have been achieved over the course of the ECF supported programme and especially over the last two years, some challenges remain. To ensure irreversibility, there is the need to:

    a. Maintain fiscal discipline and avoid off-budget expenditure and fiscal dominance;

    b. Enhance public debt mana- gement;

    c. Continue the prudent mone- tary policy to guard against upside risks to inflation;

    d. Enhance the financial system's soundness and resilience;

    e. Very crucially, implement an aggressive revenue mobiliza- tion regime.

    Mr Speaker, to this end, the codi- fication of policies into laws and systems to promote fiscal discipline, debt sustainability and sanction offenders provides a strong platform to safe-guard our gains and ensure irreversibility. These include:

    a. Fiscal Responsibility Act which will, among others, cap the fiscal deficit at 5 per cent of GDP whiles ensuring positive primary balance beginning from 2019;

    b. Financial Stability Advisory Council & Fiscal Respon- sibility Advisory Council established to monitor the Government budget for coherence and compliance;

    c. Economic Policy Coordina- tion Committee co-chaired by the Finance Minister and the BoG Governor to coordinate Government's macrofiscal policy and address any challenges facing Govern-ment's economic pro-gramme;

    d. Public Financial Management Act (“PFMA”) -- to ensure care for the public purse with a strong sanctions regime, stricter oversight of SOEs, and mandatory timely reporting;

    e. Tax Exemption Bill -- A tax exemption bill has been laid before Parliament for passage to streamline tax exemptions and minimize its abuse; and

    f. Zero Central Bank Financing -- MoU between BoG and MoF on zero Central Bank financing to government extended through 2020 to strengthen inflation targeting regime.

    Mr Speaker, let me reiterate as I indicated in the 2019 Budget that, the completion of the ECF Programme notwithstanding, Ghana remains a member in good standing with the IMF and we will continue our productive policy and technical collaboration. We do have choices within the Article IV framework to ensure the positive engagement of the IMF as a Trusted Advisor.

    Mr Speaker, on the issue of US$3 billion Eurobond issuance, as you may recall, we stated in the 2019 Budget that Government's objective is to borrow at the least-cost and at a prudent level of risk. In line with this Mr Speaker, we have managed to buck the old trend by reducing the rate

    of debt accumulation from 22 per cent per annum at 2016 to 14.5 per cent as at 2018. Consequently, we sought and received your approval to issue sovereign bonds of up to US$3.0 billion.

    Through an open bidding process, Government of Ghana selected Five (5) Lead Managers and Five (5) Co- Managers for the US$3 billion issuance programme. The lead managers advised the Government of Ghana to issue a Eurobond in the shortest possible time to avoid the potential turbulence we experienced in 2018.

    Mr Speaker, we embarked on a 3-day roadshow in New York, Boston and London. On Tuesday 19th March, 2019 Ghana priced a US$ 3.0 billion tri-tranche bond with a weighted average of 7, 12 and 31 years. It is the first time Ghana has done a 3-tranche issuance.

    The team met with over 130 fixed income investors face-to-face and via
    Mr Speaker, the programme primarily aimed to 12:10 p.m.
    conference calls. The deal generated strong interest, with peak orders in excess of US$ 21.0 billion, representing an oversubscription of seven times. Our final order-book closed at US$17.2 billion, which was the highest order-book achieved in sub-Saharan Africa. The next largest sub-Saharan order-book was Kenya's US$14 billion last year. The 31-year bond is also the longest-ever issuance in Africa.
    To put this in context, Ghana issued its first Eurobond in September 2007 to raise $750 million; its order-book was nearly four times larger. The second Eurobond was issued in 2013 for $1 billion; its order-book was only two times larger. Moving forward to October 2015, a $1 billion Eurobond was issued; even at a very high coupon rate of 10.75 per cent, its order-book was only two times larger at $2 billion.
    The last Eurobond of the previous Government, of US$750 million, was issued in 2016; the order-book was US$4 billion, over five times larger, but this came at a high cost of 9.25 per cent for a 6-year bond, compared to this year's 7.875 per cent for a 7- year bond. Indeed, the size of this year's order-book was truly unprecedented, especially when considering its competitive pricing.
    Furthermore, Mr Speaker, this multi-tranche bond offering was Ghana's largest single transaction, by nominal size, since its inaugural international debut in September 2007
    to date. Leveraging the considerable demand, Ghana priced all the three tranches at or inside fair value, as follows:
    a. US$750 million for a 7- year bond issued at 7.875 per cent;
    b. US$1.25 billion for a 12-year bond issued at 8.125 per cent; and
    c. US$1.0 billion for a 31- year bond issued at 8.95 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, in terms of geographic participation, the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) dominated the issuance. We, however, also observed an increase in participation from Asia from less than one per cent to four per cent, indicating the positive results from our investor engagement within that Region in 2018. In terms of investor type, the bonds were bought mainly by Asset Managers (87 per cent), followed by hedged funds (6 per cent) and banks (5 per cent).
    Mr Speaker, the transaction is incredibly beneficial for Ghana for a number of reasons: it shows that Republic of Ghana has market access to long-dated Eurobond financing in size; it confirms long-term financial support from buy-and-hold high quality investors, including many first- time buyers of Ghana bonds from all 4 regions; it validates the successful completion of the IMF programme and the inherent trust that the investor community has in our country for the long term.
    The trading pattern of the bonds post issuance confirms the fact that they were favourably priced.
    Mr Speaker, now to the Cedi. The cedi suffered some turbulence during the first quarter of this year mainly as a result of a confluence of factors including:
    a. Pressure on the current account as a result of income transfers by corporate as well as seasonal demands by importers;
    b. Portfolio reversals by inves- tors in our country's debt;
    c. Statistical adjustments to the exchange rate calculation by the Bank of Ghana in efforts to improve market trans- parency; and
    d. Uncertainties on the future with Ghana's conclusion of the IMF program.
    Mr Speaker, this turbulence happened despite the strong economic fundamentals and improvement in our balance of payments; which our Government has achieved in the last two years. We have done a lot of work to ensure that the economic fundamentals are robust and able to support economic growth and transformation. This is further evidenced, for example, by the following statistics:
    a. Inflation declining from 15.4 per cent in 2016 to 9.4 per cent in 2018;
    b. Fiscal deficit falling from 6.5 per cent in 2016 to 3.9 per cent in 2018;
    c. Interest rate on 91-day treasury bill from 16.3 per cent in 2016 to 14.6 per cent in 2018; and
    d. Current account deficit from 6.6 per cent in 2016 to 3.2 per cent in 2018.
    Mr Speaker, as they say the numbers don't lie, as such it is clear from the data that the depreciation of the cedi was not due to weak economic fundamentals but rather a combination of structural rigidities and the apparent speculative behaviour of portfolio investors and market participants. It is also noteworthy that, while this is a challenge, the cedi has however performed better over the last two years than when compared specifically to 2012 and 2016.

    In 2012, the cedi depreciated by 15.95 per cent, 12.81 per cent in 2013, peaked at 32.45 per cent in 2014, halved to 15.68 per cent in 2015 and depreciated by 9.65 per cent end 2016. Cumulative depreciation from 2012 to 2016 was 65.423 per cent. From December, 2017, through the whole of 2018 to 21st March 21, 2019, the cedi had
    Mr Speaker, we recognise the need to take the following steps 12:10 p.m.
    a. enhance the transparency of our foreign exchange market to minimise information asymmetry and panic buying of currency by businesses and the public when there are seasonal blips in the currency; and
    b. develop our capital market, insurance and pension indus- tries to ensure that Govern- ment domestic borrowing relies less on foreign portfolio investors.
    Mr Speaker, the President has directed that I investigate the structural causes for the depreciation of the cedi and to propose measures to address the situation. The Governor and I will put a bipartisan committee together to proceed immediately.
    Mr Speaker, our current progress on the economy, sustained GDP growth and economic transformation will eventually ensure that the currency is stable over the medium term.
    The Bank of Ghana will remain vigilant in the short term to build adequate reserve buffers and promote market discipline in the Foreign Exchange market; and over the medium term, the Government will ensure that we have a transformed economy that will strengthen our trade, current and capital accounts.
    Mr Speaker, we believe that our current efforts to boost exports and reduce imports by diversifying and deepening the economy through industrialisation and developing the agri-business, and the improvements in our financial sector architecture will provide the needed scope to guarantee that our currency becomes even more resilient.

    If there is ever any lesson for us, our recent success in the Eurobond market demonstrates the clear confidence that the international community has in the work that we have done -- it is hard work, and we know that this confidence resonates with our vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.

    Mr Speaker, as a sign of the continued confidence the international community has in our country, the World Bank Vice President for Africa Region, Dr Hafez Ghanem, visited Ghana from 24th to 27th March, 2019. The objective of the visit was to discuss with the Government and other stakeholders, the World Bank's assistance programme for Ghana and explore areas of future collaboration

    that are more transformative and supportive of the country's “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision. The discussion centered on efforts to mobilise funds for sustainable economic transforma- tion towards achievement of a “Ghana Beyond Aid” and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, areas of discussion included:

    a. How Ghana can take advantage of the Digital Economy;

    b. Building Human Capital; and

    c. Support for Industrialisation through access to down- stream energy capacity.

    Mr Speaker, thankfully, the World Bank Vice-President indicated the Bank's interest in supporting Ghana in all three areas, specifically:

    a. On the Digital Economy, the Bank will be interested in supporting Ghana on: (a) infrastructure and connec- tivity; (b) regulations; and (c) digital platforms to support areas such as e-government, revenue mobilisation, educa- tion, and fintech.
    Mr Speaker, on Building Human Capital, World Bank support could be for 12:10 p.m.
    (a) the free SHS programme,
    (b) quality improvements, and
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Minister, for Finance.
    We shall have three contributions from each Side. The contributors would speak for five minutes each, and the Hon Leaders would conclude for ten minutes.
    Hon Fifi Kwetey?
    Mr Fifi F. F. Kwetey (NDC -- Ketu South) 12:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I wish to make a few comments on the Statement that has been delivered by the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Speaker, let me begin by acknowledging that it is important for us, as a country, to work to be more in control of our economy, and take decisions that would inure to the good of our people. So, to the extent that as a Government, whether of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or New Patriotic Party (NPP), we work towards that particular agenda is commendable on both sides.
    However, it is important to clarify a few things that came up in the Statement, some of which, I think
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Kwetey 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker that is where some illumination needs to be obtained. Let me give a typical example. In the year 2008, the NPP Government had finished the IMF programme by 2006. In 2007 and 2008, we were two years post-IMF.
    Mr Speaker, let me tell you the reality. In the year 2008, the NPP Government had planned budget deficit of four per cent, but ended up with about 15 per cent. It was missed by 11 per cent -- the highest in the history of this country.
    I heard him actually say that the highest deficit in our history was in the year 2012 when the deficit was about 11.5 or 11.8 per cent. No the highest deficit in our history, was in 2008 when they had a target of four per cent and ended up with15 per cent, which was the highest in our history and that is historical. The Budget Statement of the year 2009 bears witness to that. The Budget Statement of 2010 bore witness before it was rebased subsequently. So those facts must not be tampered with.
    Now, let us talk a little bit about the whole pretence that merely because we are moving out of IMF, it shows, for example, that there is some economic “messiahship” along
    the way. We have gone out of the IMF before. In 2006 when we completed the IMF programme, by the end of 2008, what did we see? Inflation ended up at 18 per cent, much higher than the 15.4 per cent trending down that they inherited, which they actually call a mess today. If they call 15.4 per cent, which is coming down, a mess, what about 18 per cent going up to 21 per cent that we met? What shall we call it? Super mess, left by their Government.
    So, please, he should not come to mislead us; let the truth be told. That is not all.
    Where did the cedi depreciation end at the end of 2008? It ended at 20.2 per cent, and did not stop there. As a result of the massive crisis that they left behind, the first five months of 2009 saw depreciation go up by an additional 18 per cent before the NDC Government brought it down.
    Mr Speaker, so the fact that there is an exit of the IMF does not mean that we are out of the woods. Their history shows that they have gone out of IMF before, but the mess they left in two short years after that completion was absolutely terrible - - the most abysmal economic performance in our history. So, please, he should not try to let Ghana feel that just because we are exiting today, it means that everything is well. No, they have had a history of messing it big time after exiting, and that possibility still remains.
    Mr Speaker, let us go into a few more things. He actually also created the impression that somehow, within this short two years, they have really been able to attain such a great --
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, a minute more.
    Mr Kwetey 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker that really is not the case. It is not the case at all. Let me give a typical example - - in 2016, which is supposed to have been the crisis year as far as they are concerned, which was a terrible year that they inherited, capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP stood at 4.5 per cent. Two years of their miracle, their capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP, when we closed last year, was actually less than two per cent.
    Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, time up.
    Mr Kwetey 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is important for things to be put in perspective. We, as a country, want to have a good way forward, and it is important to stop exaggerating their prowess and accept that there are difficult days ahead.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Dr Assibey- Yeboah, you have five minutes.
    Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah (NPP -- New Juaben South) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Order 70(2) provides:
    “A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.”
    Mr Speaker that is exactly what I want to do. I want to comment on the Statement made by the Hon Minister, restricting myself to the facts.
    Mr Speaker, I have in my hands two statements from the IMF; one dated, April, 3, 2015 and another dated, March, 2019.
    Mr Speaker, I would read from the Statement, with, your permission.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Within your time.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in April, 2015, a release from the IMF reads:
    “The Executive Board of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) today approve a three - year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Ghana in an amount equivalent to SDR 664.2 million in support of the authorities' medium - term economic reform programme”.
    That was in 2015.
    Mr Speaker, fast forward to March, 2019. the release is as follows 12:30 p.m.
    “…the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the seventh and eighth reviews under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) supported arrangement. This will make available to Ghana the cumulative amount of SDR132.84 million”
    Mr Speaker, in another paragraph of the release of April 3rd, 2015 12:30 p.m.
    “After two decades of strong and broadly inclusive growth, large fiscal and external imbalances in recent years have led to a growth slowdown and are putting Ghana's medium- term prospects at risk. Public debt has risen at an unsustain- able pace and external position has weakened considerably. The government has embarked on a fiscal consolidation path since 2013, but policy slippages, exogenous shocks, and rising
    interest costs have undermined these efforts. Acute electricity shortages are also constraining economic activity”.
    Mr Speaker, fast forward to March, 2019 12:30 p.m.
    “The authorities have achieved significant macroeconomic gains over the cause of the ECF supported program, with rising growth, single digit inflation, fiscal consolidation, and banking sector clean-up. Continued macroeconomic adjustment should underpin …”

    The attempt to issue Eurobonds started in the year 2007 under President Kufour, and the first issuance was US$750million. Under the late President Mills, diligent as he was, he never went to the Eurobond market. Back in the year 2013 under former President Mahama, we went to the Eurobond market as it was a regular fixture following from the year

    2013 through to 2016, and the comparison is there for everybody to see.

    Mr Speaker, when President Akufo-Addo took the mantle of Office, he did not go to the market again in the year 2017, he took his time. We ventured into the market in the years 2018 and 2019, and for the first time -- [Uproar.] -- In the year 2018 when we went to the market, we did the largest transaction ever in Ghana's history. Guess what? In the year 2019, we have broken last year's record as we have done the largest transactions. [Laughter.] --
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.

    In fact, the Hon Member was to conclude, but now you have given him one minute. [Laughter.] It simply means, the quieter, the better [Laughter.]

    Hon Members, you have your limits.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, whereas in the year 2007 we issued Eurobonds of US$750million, this time, we have done US$3 billion.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    In conclusion?
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I applaud the efforts of the Economic Management Team; those handling the economy. Unlike before, they know what they are doing. [Hear! Hear!]
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Member.
    Hon Ato Forson?
    Hon Members, there should be Order. Otherwise, you will keep giving him time.
    Mr Cassiel Ato Forson (NDC - Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam) 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order!
    Mr Forson 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me say that again, under former President Kufour, Ghana went into an IMF programme. In fact, Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in itself is an IMF programme. Mr Speaker, it is important for us to know that the HIPC itself is an IMF and World Bank programme for purposes as such.
    Again, it is also important for all of us to advert our minds that Ghana is a member of the IMF and obviously, we will open our books once a year for article 4 consultation, and the IMF would to be here to assess our books.
    That does not mean that we are exiting the IMF programme, so the IMF would not come to us. They would certainly be here to look at our books and, obviously, assess us. It is also important for us to understand that managing an economy is very complex to the extent that if we have opened our economy to the market, there are some sensitivities involved.
    Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, Order!
    Hon Member, half a minute added.
    Mr Forson 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thought that coming here to deliver a Statement, it is important for the Ministry to send some signal out there because Ghana is a market access, and we go out there to borrow money. For that matter, a Statement of this nature should communicate to the market. I see this as a missed opportunity in the sense that our currency is depreciating and the Hon Minister stood here to tell all of us that the currency is doing well.
    Mr Speaker, if the Hon Minister cares to know, yesterday from the Bloomberg platform, the cedi traded at GH¢5.43; today it is GH¢5.54, and I can quote it. So, the depreciation is on-going. Yes, there was some recovery a couple of days ago, unfortunately, it has started inching up.
    If I may give out the numbers, yesterday was GH¢5.4387, today it is GH¢4.500 and it is inching up, so we should be mindful of those things.
    Mr Speaker, yes, he mentioned the Eurobonds. In the Budget Statement, they informed all of us that they would go out there to borrow US$2 billion for the purposes of financing the Budget Statement. Post Eurobonds,
    we have heard that they would to use part of the money for road construction and so on.
    In the Budget Statement before us, on page 206, the domestic finance capital expenditure is about GH¢1.9 billion, excluding Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), and that translates to US$372 million. So, it means that this Eurobond money can only finance capital expenditure up to an amount of US$372 million, and not more than per the Budget Statement.
    Again, as part of the Eurobond proceeds that they brought to the House, we were told that they could use the money to pay expenditure, like the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives, which would want to build the likes of Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit (KVIP), boreholes --
    Mr Speaker, we do not go to the capital market to borrow for the purposes of constructing KVIPs but they come to sit here and tell us that is a record. That is a bad record.
    Again, we were told that they would use part of the Eurobond proceeds for the purposes of paying for those guys planting trees --
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    A minute more.
    Mr Forson 12:40 p.m.
    -- For the purposes of the national afforestation project. Mr Speaker, that is not acceptable.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, thank you very much.
    Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah (NPP -- Ofoase-Ayirebi) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Minister
    Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah (NPP -- Ofoase-Ayirebi) 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, I would want to focus my contribution on just one thing -- what to do to ensure that tomorrow we do not go back to where we have been in the last set of years. A few weeks ago, we celebrated our independence and reminded ourselves that we are a nation that is capable of managing our own affairs. Yet, for several occasions, some Administrations have literally taken us into a bail-out programme under the


    Mr Speaker, when it comes to who took us there, the records are clear about that. Taking us there comes with a lot of pain with the conditionalities that are attached, and even the targets that we were given under that programme. The previous Adminis- tration slipped on it literally throughout, and it has taken the competence and resilience of this Economic Management Team, the Hon Minister for Finance and the Vice

    President to get us out of this programme.

    Mr Speaker, the big question is, why do we keep going to the IMF for these bailout programmes, and what could we do to ensure that we do not go there for a bailout programme one more time? Mr Speaker, there are two quick ones that come to mind, and the first is fiscal indiscipline. A lot has been said about fiscal indiscipline, but we would notice that in the last two and a half years under this Administration, we have shown the commitment, competence and discipline required to meet the target and come out of that programme.

    Mr Speaker, beyond showing the discipline required not to go for such programmes, we have also put in place the infrastructure for irreversi- bility. The Hon Minister for Finance spoke about it in paragraph 16 of today's Statement. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:

    “Fiscal Responsibility Act which, will among others, cap the fiscal deficit at 5 per cent of GDP whiles ensuring positive primary balance beginning from


    It is key in ensuring that tomorrow, we do not run this economy aground and go back for another IMF Programme.
    Mr Speaker, he goes further to say that 12:40 p.m.
    “Fiscal Stability Advisory Council and Fiscal Responsi- bility Advisory Council establi- shed to monitor the Government budget for coherence and compliance;”
    Again, infrastructure is being put in place to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes that took us into this bailout programme.
    Mr Speaker, the third point he made was that 12:40 p.m.
    “Economic Policy Coordination Committee co-chaired by the Finance Minister and the BoG Governor would coordinate the Government's macro-fiscal policy and address any challenges facing Government's economic programme;”
    Mr Speaker, these are the things that are being done to ensure that the ills of the past are not repeated, so that we would no longer have to go back and literally beg to be bailed out as was occasioned a few years ago.
    Mr Speaker, the third point he made was that 12:40 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, the last point I would make has to do with the currency. The currency admittedly took a tank in the earlier part of this year, but it is beginning to experience a rebound. Mr Speaker, but there is a practice in this country where some people specialise in speculating down the Ghana cedis for all of us, and the activities of speculators and the speculation that is incessantly associated with the currency contributes to this exercise.

    Mr Speaker, today, and in the name of Ghana, we would like to plead with such persons that as we come out of this programme and as our currency begins to experience a rebound, let us all speculate the positives and work towards the positives, so that our currency would continue to enjoy the resilience that it has begun to experience.

    Mr Speaker, I would also congratulate those who have worked very hard to bring us out of where we were taken a few years ago, and I encourage them to keep us on this path so that future generations would benefit from the competence that is being displayed.

    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr Haruna Iddrisu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    I would yield to the Hon Member for Bolgatanga Central.
    Mr Isaac Adongo (NDC -- Bolgatanga Central) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    I would like to comment on the Statement delivered this afternoon by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta.
    Mr Speaker, the rhetoric, propaganda and all the high sounding words hide the very precarious economic conditions of our country. Mr Speaker, I would like to start by looking at what has been described as fiscal discipline, and to paint a picture of our current rising risk in terms of our fiscal environment.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to indicate here that what IMF did was not for Ghana to exit but the IMF gave us a condition to waive us meeting the conditions that we were supposed to meet in order to exit.

    Mr Speaker, they have come to celebrate this after begging someone

    Mr Speaker, when I heard that “hat-trick”, I knew that it was a hat- trick of embarrassment. Mr Speaker, but the truth of the matter is that we are worse than when we entered the IMF, and this is a fact. In 2016, our total wage bill was GH¢14 billion; today, we are dealing with GH¢22 billion, which is an expansion of 63 per cent in the public sector. On the average, we are adding 21 per cent to our public wage bill every year and if this continues, by the year 2020, we would have doubled our wage bill that we left in 2016.

    Mr Speaker, this is the height of indiscipline; yet, the Hon Minister for Finance says that he is right-sizing government. Mr Speaker, what type of right-sizing is this -- that he right- sizes to increase the wage bill by 63 per cent? This is a worrying sign for our country.

    Mr Speaker, in 2017 in this House, the Hon Minister for Finance came and said that he was re-profiling our public debt in order to reduce our interest payments. I am sad to report that the interest payment on our debt has increased from GH¢11 billion to GH¢15.8 billion in 2018, and it is

    projected to hit GH¢18.6 billion. Mr Speaker, we are adding GH¢7.6 billion to our interest cost and we are celebrating this.

    Mr Speaker, when we add our wage bill to that of our interest cost, you would get a figure that consumes our entire tax revenue, and the Hon Minister for Finance should be worried because when you spend all your tax revenue on two-line items, you should be worried. When you now add how much we spent in 2018 on statutory funds to what we spent on interest cost and wages and salaries, we get a figure of GH¢52 billion.

    Mr Speaker, what is worrying is the fact that there is nothing now left to pay for goods and services, and we go to borrow to pay for goods and services. If we take goods and services together; take the differences in wages and salaries, we are going to get GH¢10.6 billion to pay for consumption.
    Mr Isaac Adongo (NDC -- Bolgatanga Central) 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we are leaving debts
    for our children without assets and they are celebrating it. It is so serious that if we look at the utilisation of the last two Eurobonds, it is better we had gone to the Eurobond in 2017. This is because, if this is what they are going to be doing, this country is doomed.
    In 2017, domestically financed capital expenditure where we spent our Eurobond was GH¢1.6 billion. That domestically financed expen- diture included GH¢1.1 billion that we got from Annual Budget Financing Amount (ABFA) to finance capital expenditure. What it means is that the difference of GH¢500 million was what we spent our Eurobond money on. If we convert it, it is GH¢119 million and approximately, GH¢120 million out of GH¢750 million was spent on consumption from Eurobond. You go to the capital market to borrow and spend on consumption.
    Mr Speaker, GH¢630 million of our Eurobond of GH¢750 million is on consumption, and the Hon Minister for Finance should be worried.
    Mr Speaker, with the current bond that we just issued, if you look at the domestically financed component of our capital budget, it stands at GH¢3.22 billion. We have budgeted GH¢1.27 billion from ABFA to fund that expenditure. There is a difference of GH¢2 billion to be financed with
    the Eurobond. When you convert that figure at the rate of GH¢5 to the United States dollar, you would get US$390 million, approximately US$400 million.
    Mr Speaker, GH¢1.6 billion of what we just brought is going into consumption. The country is getting worse. This is the height of indiscipline in the management of our resources, but we go on the market to borrow expensive money just to come and spend it on goods and services -- consumption, and we are here celebrating this level of incompetence. We are very worried.

    Mr Speaker, this path of politicising what is obviously a prosperity for Ghana is never here nor there. If we know the confidence that the investors are showing in this current incom- petent Government, look to the two year and one year bond. That reflects the number they are left to run a government.

    If an investor would want to come in because they are competent, they would come now and exit by 2020 because he does not know who the next government would be. Then, they might be investing in their competence.

    Mr Speaker, in the last two months when Ghana went to borrow --
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    And in conclusion? [Uproar.]
    Mr Adongo 12:50 p.m.
    -- Mr Speaker, on the domestic bond, we used to get 30 per cent participation by foreign investors. That was the sign of confidence. Today, we got only 6.3 per cent participation. That is their mark. [Laughter.] And that is the confidence the foreign investor have in them.
    Mr Speaker, I was very surprised that the Hon Minister was silent on the energy situation. Dumsor is back! The level of vulnerability of our country -- As we speak today, Bloomberg is reporting that Ghana's currency remains the worst performing currency in Africa. And as of this morning, the Ghanaian cedi was going for against GH¢5.5 against
    Mr Speaker, they have been pumping painkillers on the cedi. Very soon, the painkiller will leave the system, and the pain would come back.
    Mr Speaker, let us find sustainable ways of managing our economy and take the country outside this incompetent group of people who are mismanaging and are fiscally indisciplined.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Order! [Uproar.]
    Hon Members, an Hon Member who leaves the House immediately after making a contribution -- [Uproar.] I am not saying it. I am just reminding you of the rules. So, please, if you finish your contribution, sit. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, it is your turn.
    Mr Iddrisu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not coming to speak.
    Mr Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, it is your turn. [Uproar.]
    Mr Iddrisu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, for the record, Hon Adongo was moving to his own seat. He had to come and persuade me to yield my contribution opportunity to him. So, he was just
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, it is part of the rule that an Hon Member must contribute from his or her seat. I am not saying it. If we go by the rules, we would not lead ourselves into these difficulties.
    Hon Minority Leader, you cannot be right by the rules.
    Hon Majority Leader? [Uproar.] It is exactly 1:00 p.m.
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have heard a Statement from the Hon Minister for Finance. Mr Speaker, at the heart of this Statement, we have three issues. One is the IMF/ECF Programme. The second relates to the issuance of US$3 billion Eurobonds, and also developments on foreign exchange markets and the Ghanaian cedi.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister spoke to us about the visit by the World Bank's Vice President for Africa Region. These are the four matters that he related to.
    Now, the goalpost is being teared, and we are hearing about prudent economic measures. If we must be candid with ourselves to talk about people who are mismanaging this economy, what are the indicators?
    They should translate all that the Hon Minister has told us into sound economic management such that good dividends would yield to this nation and contribute to the prosperity of this country. In other words, they should translate into sound macroeconomic indicators.
    Mr Speaker, for the uninitiated, and for starters, in 2008, the GDP growth rate that was inherited by the successor Administration of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufour was 9.1 per cent, that is without oil. With oil, the NDC left it at 3.4 per cent, and they are priding themselves as good managers of this country. What is their understanding of good management?
    Mr Speaker, the exchange rate which they met at 1.2 before they left depreciated by over 220 per cent cumulatively over eight years. For eight years under President Mahama it was 68 per cent, and they say they are good managers of this country.
    Mr Speaker, the interest rate -- the 91-day treasury bill decreased from 16.3 per cent in 2016 to 14 per cent in 2018. We are still climbing down. The current account deficit that we inherited was 6.6 per cent. In 2018, it climbed down to 3.2 per cent. Who are the sound managers of this economy and of this country? People should have the temerity to say that these people are the worst managers of this country. They should speak the truth.
    Mr Speaker, the fiscal deficit we inherited in 2016 was 6.5 in 2016. In 2018 it was 3.9, and they compare themselves to the Hon Finance Minister? They were part of the regime. Hon Ato Forson was part of the regime, and I thought that he would cover his head with a big umbrella, but he has the audacity to say that they are good managers of this country.
    Mr Speaker, I should go there to remind him. Yes, we are borrowing, and they are saying that we are borrowing for consumption. Even if we did borrow to consume, it is better than borrowing to buy pampers. We should be careful.
    Mr Speaker, when they left the scene, the gross international reserves was just about US$4.8 billion, enough to cover 2.8 months.
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Members, order!
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, they should go and read the 2017 Budget Statement. We do not manufacture figures. This is not a House of propaganda. They are saying that the international reserves they left was US$6.1 billion. That is a palpable untruth. They left US$4.8 billion. That is what they go and say on the radio stations. That is what they go and say at Radio Gold. The fact speaks for itself; it is US$4.8 billion. We are not doing propaganda here.
    Mr Speaker, in 2018, it climbed from US$4.8 billion to US$7.8 billion, enough to cover US$4.8 months, and they dare mount a challenge that they are better managers of the economy? God forgive them their trespasses.
    In this country, we have learnt our lessons, and we would never -- they are talking about oil. They asked a question; Hon Adongo -- 500,000 barrels of crude anticipated to produce from May 2020 to May 2021, and he is asking about Nana Akufo-Addo's contribution in this?
    Mr Speaker, when Hon Kofi Adda, the then Minister for Energy, brought a sample of crude into this House, they were the people who said that -- [Interruption] -- yes, Nana Akufo-Addo is a successor government to President Kufuor -- it is dirty oil from the sea; and Mr Lee Ocran, may his soul rest in peace, said that it was palm kennel oil. Today, without shame, they want to take credit for the discovery of oil in commercial quantities.
    Mr Speaker, for 19 years they spent the resources of this country trying to look for oil, and then they branched into salt winning, cocoa plantation farming and the growing of cashew nuts. God should forgive them their trespasses. The people of this country have learnt useful lessons.
    Mr Speaker, today, the Hon Minister is telling us, and I would quote his exact words that “in the space of one week, we saw 21 billion rush for our Eurobond issuance”.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, when they came here just four years ago -- Hon Ato Forson -- and the subscription was about 2 billion -- he was singing hallelujah. He should be consistent with his principles when there is a rush for 21 billion. Now he is saying that that is bad. How? How can he make such a U-turn, and then discover his courage to say that this is not good enough?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Do I hear him rightly that he did not speak to that? I thank him very much. Who spoke to that, Hon Adongo and not him? The truth shall find him out.
    Mr Speaker, we have successfully concluded the IMF programme, and we are experiencing an impressive recovery of the cedi. Exactly two weeks ago, the cedi had indeed climbed up to GH¢5.86 to the dollar. We were all scared, and when it climbed down to GH¢5.00 as of today -- when they quoted GH¢5.80 they were not quoting Bloomberg. Hon Ato Forson is here. Ask him the source he was quoting from -- [Interruption] -- Bank of Ghana? And now when the Bank of Ghana is saying it is 5.1, he says we should go to Bloomberg. Why this inconsistency on his part? He should be consistent. He should not be picking and choosing; that is why I am asking God to forgive him his trespasses -- [Laughter].
    Mr Forson 1 p.m.
    -- [Inaudible]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Hon Ato Forson, I should conclude to save your skin? I would soon do that.
    What the World Bank was supposed to provide us -- [Interruption]-- Mr Speaker, I see them. They are saying that I should sit down. It is so inconvenient for them, inconvenient truth --
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    I am the keeper of the time. [Laughter.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the World Bank is doubling their support for us at the time of exit, and we should be saying hurray to that and not turn into doomsayers and concoct figures and come and churn them out.
    When you go outside this House, you can engage in that exercise, but certainly not in this House --
    Mr Speaker 1 p.m.
    In conclusion?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, these should be happy days for us as a country. What we need to do is to be consistent and not slip. If we should slip, it would be disastrous for all of us, so we should urge the Hon Minister for Finance to stay on the course so that, together, we would all be participants of the prosperity that we envisage for this country.
    God should bless our homeland Ghana and make us strong. He should make us strong, because for doomsayers, there should not be any place for them.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Members, thank you all very much for an elaborate debate.

    Mr Ofori-Atta 1:10 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. We would be the first to admit that a lot more needs to be done for Ghanaians; for workers, for businesses, and for panellists, to greatly improve our lot because we deserve better.
    But it is also more important for this House and the entire nation to be in no doubt which group of the main political parties is a fact on the side of business and at the same time, on the side of the masses.
    Mr Speaker, the evidence is clear. We understand business and we look after the poor. We have the passion and compassion for the poor and we do so not through our words, but our deeds. We do admit that in spite of all the efforts to fix the economy, create jobs and bring relief to the people, the struggles of the people have not suddenly disappeared. No; but we are getting there. We are
    making things better and the Almighty God and the people are our witnesses.
    Mr Speaker, it is not because of Free SHS that parents are suffering; it is not because of Nations Builders Corps (NABCO) that some young graduates continue to look for jobs; it is not because we increased the share of the Common Fund to the disabled that they are being discriminated against.
    The situation of healthcare is improving, but not because we cleared the arrears of the NHIS and rescued it from collapse; Ghanaians are not suffering because we have increased the coverage of School Feeding Programmes by more than 50 per cent. The suffering of Ghanaians is not because we reduced electricity tariffs; Ghanaians are not suffering from businesses because severfal nuisance taxes were eliminated; the struggles of Ghanaian businesses and families are not because this Government has reduced interest rates making the cost of borrowing less and reducing inflation and the rate at which prices increase. Ghanaians are not worse off today because we have relatively stabilised the power supply.
    We do have more work to do to continue easing the pain and suffering of our people. But if our Hon Friends on the other Side are not prepared to praise us, at least, let them be bold enough to admit that the trend that Ghanaians endured in the four years of their Administration when the situation of the economy and the
    Mr Ofori-Atta 1:10 a.m.

    people kept getting worse and worse is no longer the case. The case now is about finding the urgency to spread the gains that we have made to bring prosperity to every household and business.

    Mr Speaker, Hon Members, I wish, therefore, to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to address the House. Indeed, Parliament is a deliberative assembly of our nation with one interest of that of the whole.

    Mr Speaker, my Statement was based on facts; 2008 deficit - 6.6 per cent of GDP after the two re-basing -- shot up GDP to was 8.5 per cent. Using recent and most relevant figures, in 2012, the fiscal deficit reached 11 per cent of GDP, the highest since 1990. The deficit target was exceeded by GH¢4 billion.

    Mr Speaker, however, fiscal performance, in 2016, taking the nominal deficit was worse and I repeat, worse than in 2012 only that larger nominal GDP from GDP re- basing muted the ratio to GDP.

    Mr Speaker, we intend to continue with this discipline, competence and compassionate management of the economy. And we are doing so by also protecting the public purse. We have been creative in our efforts to take Ghana beyond aid; to social partnerships and harnessing our entrepreneurial spirit as a country to build infrastructure, develop industry and support agriculture.

    We promise to deliver on the economy and with the support of this House and the Ghanaian people and the Lord being our anchor, we shall continue to work with humility to defend our Republic and make it great and strong.

    God bless our homeland Ghana.
    Mr Speaker 1:10 a.m.
    Thank you very
    much, Hon Minister for Finance for coming to the House and making a policy Statement.

    Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa?
    ORAL ANSWERS TO 1:10 a.m.

    QUESTIONS 1:10 a.m.


    Mr Ablakwa 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Minister for the very detailed response to the Question.
    My first supplementary question would stem from the last but one paragraph which assures the House that the Ministry would work to improve the performance of the operators. There is a particular development now where when you travel, especially long distance and transit, during the second leg of your journey, you would notice that even though it is the same airline, the carrier is newer, fresher, more hygienic and better than what took off from Accra.
    This is the same when you are coming back. If you are coming back from, maybe, China and transit in London, China to London would be an improved aircraft but from London
    to Accra, you cannot be sure. So, is the Ministry paying attention to the carriers and why does it appear that we are at the mercy of just any kind of aircraft leaving our destination and coming into our country?
    Mr Adda 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague's concern is a credible one. Nearly all of us have observed that when we take flights to Europe or when we are going to Asia or North America, and it is not a pleasant experience for us. We are working within the environment of business strategies and programming.
    I must say that even though we desire bigger and better aircraft between Accra and London, for instance, or Accra and Dubai, for instance, it is nearly impossible to get into the working arrangements of the airlines and decide for them which aircraft they should use. Frankly, the solution is to have our own airline, called the homebased carrier which is what the Government is working on, that would have modern and better aircraft that could take us to any part of the world.
    We would continue to engage and put pressure on them to improve services for us between Africa and Europe. The same experience has been expressed by our sister-citizens from Nigeria and Kenya, among others. It is not just Ghana alone that is going through that experience.
    I cannot personally stand here and commit that we can get them to change the aircrafts but we would do our best to try and get them to
    Mr Adda 1:10 a.m.

    improve. The unfortunate fall-back for them would be that we would not use their airlines and hopefully fly our own airline when it comes through.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on page 8, the last paragraph of the Hon Minister's response, he recounted President Akufo-Addo's personal appeal to British Airways to improve its services but he did not touch on the matter that concerns many in the travelling public who use British Airways, which is the downgrade of Ghana from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3. It is a matter that is really affecting passengers.
    Has the Ministry raised this matter? British Airways has been operating in Ghana for about 82 years and we deserve some special treatment. I know that they tried the same thing in South Africa and Nigeria and their Ministers of Aviation resisted, so they backed off. Why is Ghana still being subjected to this downgrade? Would the Hon Minister be able to address this particular concern?
    Mr Adda 1:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is also a matter of concern to us. We, unlike Nigerians, tend to be a little nicer and have engaged them and intend to engage them on the first week of April on this matter at the breakfast meetings.
    We do have some ideas in the Ministry on how we are going to enforce this. This will depend on the concurrence of the Presidency, because we may come in and make
    some recommendations that the British Airways staff, through their British High Commission could lobby the Presidency and get it overturned.
    So we are working on strategies on how to deal with this. I must be honest and say I cannot declare that in this House. I can engage my Hon Colleague privately and give him a hint on what we are doing. But, certainly, once that goes through, I would be more than happy to announce it to the whole House.
    Mr Ablakwa 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my final supplementary question will come from the last but one paragraph of page 8, where the Minister announces that Ghana has received a number of requests from airlines who wish to ply the Ghana- Europe/America routes.
    Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister considering budget airlines? There are a number of budget airlines that have cheaper costs, because that is one area affecting our tourism. Many people want to come to Ghana and many of our constituents want to fly out but do not do so because of the cost associated with the other commercial and luxurious flights. Is that the matter that the Ministry is considering, looking at the applications that are before them; budget airlines to drive down the cost of tickets?
    Mr Adda 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, it is not just that we are trying or have not done it but it is that the airline operators themselves are stampeding
    our offices to bring in smaller and lighter aircraft which would drive down the cost. We are engaging them on this and hope that we would be able to get them to bring in those types of aircraft that would reduce the cost of flying to be able to save money and make this a mass modal transport system in the country. We are working on that and we would be engaging them again and see what is required of us to enable them to be flying in and out of the country to make it affordable to all passengers.
    Mr Mahama Ayariga 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in terms of customer experience, I think we need to start from the parking lots. When one is going to Terminal 3 of the airport to pick a passenger who has arrived, they normally block the entry point that leads to the arrival and compel everybody to drive into the parking lots, and the rule is that, immediately a person enters the parking lots and even if the person does not stop but only drives through the parking lot, the person would pay about GH¢12 per hour for just passing through the parking lot.
    Mr Speaker, what arrangements would be made to ensure that anybody who goes to the airport to pick a passenger is not compelled to pass through the parking lots so that money would not be taken from the person when the person could go through the space at the arrival, pick the passenger and continue to the exit?
    Mr Adda 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, indeed, the concern of our Hon Colleague is
    of worry to us, and indeed, it goes beyond what he has just explained. The situation that we have observed is that, when one is not even blocked and diverted but is permitted to go up to the departure area, he or she barely spends two minutes and someone clamps your tyre. A committee is reviewing the operations of the parking lot arrangements and we are hoping that they would have the report ready for us by next week so that we can take some action on that.
    I have had the experience of Hon Colleagues and other friends calling me to assist them on these matters. It is not something that is pleasing to us as passengers and we should not encourage that. Once we get the report, whatever recommendations are there, if we would need to add on to that, we would do so and make sure that the place is friendly to passengers.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Thank you very much Hon Minister.
    Hon Members, that will end Question time.
    Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House. You are discharged.
    Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business, during which the Hon First Deputy Speaker will take the Chair.
    Item numbered 5 — Presentation of Papers.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members item numbered 5(b) -- By the Hon Minister for Finance.
    By the Minister for Finance —
    Request for waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, GETFund Levy, Import NHIL, and EXIM Levy on plant, machinery and equipment or parts, as well as Corporate Tax for five years of operation being tax incentives to support the implementation of the One District One Factory (1D1F) Programme.
    Referred to the Committee on Finance.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members item numbered 5(c) -- By the Hon Chairman of the Committee of the Whole.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I could lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon First Deputy Speaker, because the Hon Second Deputy Speaker is also not in the Chamber.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    You may.
    By the Majority Leader (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee —
    Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed For- mula for the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund for the year 2019.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Item numbered 5(d) (i).
    By the Chairman of the Committee —
    Report of the Finance Committee on the State Interests and Governance Authority Bill, 2019.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 6.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is an Order Paper Addendum so we could deal with that one and come back.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members Addendum item 1 on the Order Paper.
    By the Chairman of the Committee —
    Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the 2019 Work Programme of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we can now go back to the
    original Order Paper and consider item numbered 6.
    Mr Speaker 1:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, item numbered 6 — Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we should deal with item numbered 10.
    Mr Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Hon Members, item listed 10 -- Motion.
    Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources?
    BILLS -- SECOND READING 1:40 p.m.

    Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Mr Kwaku Asomah- Cheremeh) 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019 be now read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Bill is to establish the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GISDEC) to promote and develop an Integrated Iron and Steel Industry (IISI) and to provide for related matters.
    Mr Speaker, three major iron ore deposits have been discovered in Ghana during the colonial era and Ghana has since independence, made efforts towards the establishment of an IISI using its deposits of iron ore as the main raw material and available energy mix of hydro and thermal electricity supplies.
    While all previous governments recognise the several advantages associated with the development of an IISI, all attempts to develop this industry have not been realised to date. The reason for the unsuccessful attempts have, in part, been the absence of a dedicated entity or corporation empowered and resourced to lead the development of this unique and important industry, and one that will drive co-operation and co-ordination of several government Ministries, as well as an end-to-end approach to the conception, planning and execution of an overarching plan.
    Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana has situated the rapid and sustainable establishment of an IISI as one of the flagships of his vision for industrialisation and transformation of the Ghanaian economy, with a deliberate focus on value-addition to the country's vast mineral resources to significantly expand the capacity of the economy to create jobs and wealth for the people.
    The availability of the necessary resources locally, and related factor advantages, puts the country in a prime position to leverage this venture as a
    Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Mr Kwaku Asomah- Cheremeh) 1:40 p.m.

    fulcrum for the pursuit of aggressive industrialisation. It is for this reason that this Government has made the establishment of an IISI a top priority among its many priority programmes.

    Mr Speaker, except as provided for generally in the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450), there is no specific legislation that deals with the development of an integrated iron ore and steel industry. The object of this Corporation is to develop and regulate an IISI. Integral to this will be the need to attract the right finance, requisite resources and the world-class management and technical expertise to allow Ghana to build a globally-integrated iron and steel industry.

    Mr Speaker, the need for a corporation where all the iron ore deposits, and all State-owned infrastructure and assets related to the realisation of an IISI will be vested, to deal with the iron ore business dates back to 1962, as part of the Volta River Project, when the Republic entered into an agreement for the construction of the Akosombo Dam to provide the needed relatively- cheap hydro-electric power for the industrialisation of the country.

    This led to the creation of the Aluminium Industries Commission and the Integrated Iron and Steel Commission in 1976 with the primary aim of developing an integrated bauxite and aluminium and an Integrated Iron and Steel Industry respectively. The Minerals Commi-

    ssion, with its creation in 1986, took over the assets and liabilities of the two institutions and has since not been successful in the development of the Integrated Iron and Steel Industry for the country.

    Mr Speaker, the Corporation will play the important role of promoting and developing an integrated iron and steel industry to ensure that the operations of the Corporation are conducted in line with international best practices. Integral to this will be the need to attract the right finance, requisite resources and the world- class management and expertise to allow Ghana to build a globally- competitive integrated iron and steel industry.

    On this note, Mr Speaker, I sincerely submit.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Emmanuel A. Gyamfi) 1:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    In doing so, I present your Com- mittee's Report.
    The Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019, was laid in Parliament on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 by the HonDeputy
    Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, on behalf of the Minister, pursuant to article 106 (1) of the 1992 Constitution. .
    The Bill was subsequently referred by Mr Speaker to the Committee on Mines and Energy for consideration and report pursuant to article 106 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 188 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
    The Committee met on 20th March, 2019 and considered the Bill. In attendance to assist the Committee were the Hon Deputy Minister, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio and other technical teams from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission, the Office of the Vice President and Attorney- General's Department.
    The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister and his technical team for their invaluable input.
    Reference Documents
    The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
    i.The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana;
    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament;
    iii. The Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450);
    iv. The Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703); and
    v. Ghana Integrated Aluminium and Bauxite Development Corporation Act of 2018 (Act
    Background and Justification for the Bill
    Three major iron ore deposits were discovered in Ghana during the colonial era and Ghana has since Independence: made efforts towards the establishment of an Integrated Iron and Steel Industry using its deposits of iron ore as the main raw material and available energy mix of hydro and thermal electricity supplies.
    While all previous governments recognise the several advantages associated with the development of an integrated iron and steel industry, all attempts to develop this industry have not been realised to date.
    The reason for the unsuccessful attempts have in part been to the absence of a dedicated entity or corporation empowered and resourced to lead the development of this unique and important industry, and one that will drive co-operation and co-ordination of several government ministries, as well as an end-to-end approach to the conception, planning and execution of an overarching plan.
    As part of Ghana's industrialisation agenda, the Government has situated the rapid and sustainable establishment of an integrated iron and steel industry as one of the industrial drivers with a deliberate focus on value addition to the vast mineral resource of the country.
    The successful and sustainable mining of the iron and steel deposits is expected to significantly expand the capacity of the economy to create jobs and wealth for the people. The availability of the necessary resource locally, and related factor advantages, put the country in a prime position to leverage the iron and steel venture as a fulcrum for the pursuit of aggressive industrialisation.
    It is apparent that except general provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450), there is no specific legislation that focuses on the development of an integrated iron and steel industry.
    This Bill therefore seeks to establish a corporate body to promote and develop an integrated iron and steel industry in Ghana. Integral to the work of the Corporation will be the need to attract the right finance, requisite resources and the world-class management and expertise to allow Ghana to build a globally-competitive integrated iron and steel industry.
    Object of the Bill
    The purpose of the Bill is to establish the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation to promote and develop an integrated iron and steel industry and to provide for related matters.
    Highlights of the Bill
    Clause 1 provides for the establishment of the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation as a body corporate with perpetual succession.
    The object of the Corporation specified in Clause 2 is to promote and develop an integrated iron ore and steel industry.
    The functions of the Corporation, which emanate from the object of the Corporation, are provided in Clause 3. The Corporation is required, among others, to undertake the preparatory work for the promotion and development of the integrated iron and steel industry, and related matters, collaborate with investors for the development of the integrated iron and steel industry, ensure the development and implementation of a local content policy across a value chain in the integrated iron and steel industry and ensure that the minimum total equity held by the State and the Ghanaian private sector in any joint venture in the integrated iron and steel industry is not less than thirty percent of the total equity.
    For the purpose of achieving the object specified under Clause 2, the Corporation is empowered in Clause 4 to enter into joint venture operations, promote the economy and efficiency of the integrated iron and steel industry, ensure that a minimum part of the equity as may be determined by law is held by the Ghanaian private sector and in collaboration with relevant government agencies, establish a mechanism to ensure the requisite transfer of skills and know-how to Ghanaians in the integrated iron and steel industry value chain.
    The governance of the Corporation is provided for in clauses 5 to 12. Clause 5 provides for the governing body of the Corporation. The governing body of the Corporation is a Board consisting of eleven members, namely, the chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer, a representative each of the Minerals Commission, the Association of Ghana Industries, and the integrated iron and steel industry.
    Also included in the membership are a representative each of the Ministry responsible for Mines, Ministry responsible for Industry, Ministry responsible for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and Ministry responsible for Finance. The representatives from the Ministries should not be below the rank of a Director. Other members are two other persons with demonstrable competence in the industry nominated by the President,
    at least, one of whom is a woman. The members of the Board are to be appointed by the President in accordance with article 70 of the Constitution.
    Clause 6 deals with the functions of the Board. The Board is mandated to ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the Corporation and formulate policies for the effective implementation of the object of the Corporation. Other functions of the Board are to oversee the sound and proper management of the integrated iron and steel industry and to ensure that the Corporation conducts its affairs in accordance with sound business and industry principles and prudent commercial practices.
    Standard provisions on tenure of office of members of the Board, meetings of the Board, disclosure of interest, establishment of committees, allowances and policy directives are provided for in clauses 7,8,9,10,11 and 12, respectively.
    Clause 13 to 17 deals with administrative matters of the Corporation. The appointment and functions of the Chief Executive Officer are specifically dealt with in Clauses 13 and 14. Clause 15 makes provision for the appointment of the Secretary.
    The Secretary is responsible for arranging the business of the Board, recording and keeping of the minutes of the Board and other functions that the Board may direct.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Emmanuel A. Gyamfi) 1:43 p.m.
    Clause 16 deals with the appointment of other staff. Clause 17 provides for an Internal Audit Unit to be headed by an Internal Auditor who is to be appointed in accordance with the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658). The Internal Auditor is to prepare and submit to the Board, a report on the internal audit carried out during the period of three months immediately preceding the prepara- tion of the report.
    Clause 18 enumerates the various moneys that constitute the funds of the Corporation. These moneys include moneys approved by Parliament, internally generated funds, grants and loans.
    Clause 19 sets out the standard provisions on the bank account for the Corporation. Clause 20 deals with expenses of the Corporation which are to be paid from the moneys provided for the Corporation under clause 18.
    Clause 21 empowers the Corpora- tion to borrow money to meet an expenditure of a capital nature including provision for working capital for the functions of the Corporation. This is however subject to article 181 of the Constitution and section 76 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
    Clause 22 deals with special power purchase rates. The State is to ensure
    the availability of power to the integrated iron and steel industry to be provided at a globally-competitive rate applicable to the industry. Standard provisions on accounts and audit and annual reports and other reports are provided for in clauses 23 and 24, respectively.
    Clause 25 grants a waiver or variation of tax to the Corporation subject to article 174 of the Constitution. The Minister responsible for Finance may, with the prior approval of Parliament, grant the waiver.
    Clause 26 deals with intellectual property rights. The intellectual property right in any work made by an employee of the Corporation in the course of an investigation for or on behalf of another person, government or administration is to vest in the Corporation unless otherwise agreed by the parties concerned.
    Clause 27 of the Bill mandates the Corporation to collaborate with the Minerals Commission, the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, the Environment Protection Agency and other relevant public institutions to develop the Integrated Iron and Steel Industry.
    The Minister is empowered under clause 28 to make Regulations. Clause 29 provides for the interpretation of various words and expressions used in the Bill.
    Policy Objective of the Bill
    The Committee noted that the policy objective of the Bill is to establish a Corporate Body with the mandate of promoting the develop- ment and maximisation of the value of Ghana's iron deposit. The Corporation is expected to achieve this objective through a number of vehicles including making efforts to attract right investors, observance of local content participation in the industry, development of the down- stream aspect of the value chain, protection of the environment and sustainable mining practices.
    The Committee, however, observed that the title of the Bill includes the word “Iron” which is a mineral in its raw form and which falls within the mandate of the Minerals Commission. The Officials of the Ministry explained that the inclusion of the word “iron” in the title was just to emphasise the connectivity of the mineral (iron) to steel and other derivatives. The Committee advised that the proposed Corporation's role should be restricted to the promotion of the commercial aspect of the industry in order not to conflict the constitutional mandate of the Minerals Commission as provided under article 269(1) of the 1992 Constitution.
    Special Power Purchase Rates
    It was noted that the purchase of power at the prevailing price in Ghana will make the iron and steel industry economically-unviable and globally uncompetitive. The Minister explained that Government is making arrange- ment to secure special power purchase rates from the Volta River Authority or the National Grid at a price not exceeding 3.5 US cents per kilowatt-hour. The potential revenue losses from tariff reductions are expected to be recouped by the social and economic benefits of the industry.
    The Committee has extensively deliberated the policy objective of the Bill and is of the view that its enactment into law would serve as incentives to attract private investment to harness (tie economic value of Ghana's huge iron deposits which is estimated at about three-million tonnes) in addition to potential job creation.
    The Committee accordingly recommends to the House to adopt its Report and pass the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019, into law, subject to the amendments proffered by the Committee and further amendments by the House.
    Attached are the amendments proposed by the Committee.
    Respectively submitted.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, pursuant to Standing Order 127, the full debate on the principle of the Bill on the basis of the Explanatory Memorandum and the Report of the Committee.
    Question proposed.
    Yes, Hon Member for Damongo
    Mr Mutawakilu Adam (NDC- Damongo) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. The Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019, is similar to the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) which was passed by this House in December 2018. They have almost the same features.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee was very careful to ensure that the object of this Bill does not conflict with article 269(1) of the 1992 Consti- tution which mandates the Minerals Commission with the responsibility of regulation and management of the natural resources. So the Committee was very careful in ensuring that that distinction is made clear and that has been done.
    Mr Speaker, your Committee has also invited Civil Society Organisa- tions (CSOs) to submit their inputs. This is being delayed but we believe that by the time we get to the Consideration Stage of the Bill, many
    of the CSOs or stakeholders in the industry would have submitted their inputs so that we could include them in our contributions during the Con- sideration Stage.
    Mr Speaker, there is not much to add to the Report but to support the Motion and request that the House approves it.
    Mr George M. Duker (NPP-- Tarkwa-Nsuaem) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would add few comments to the Motion ably moved by the Hon Minister.
    Mr Speaker, the main object of this Bill is to promote and develop the iron and steel industry. I would emphasise the power purchase rates that Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) Ltd has practised and that has yielded results.
    As I speak, Mr Speaker, VALCO Ltd has been able to add another port line because of arrangement of power purchase rates that they had with the generation entities.
    Mr Speaker, as the Hon Minister indicated, we expect to have not more than US$3.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to be charged to that effect to ensure that this industry becomes a reality.
    Mr Speaker, this would attract more jobs and harness investments as it has eloquently been elaborated by the Hon Chairman of the Committee. I am glad that the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee has ably
    Mr George M. Duker (NPP-- Tarkwa-Nsuaem) 1:50 p.m.

    supported this Bill and I urge the House to wholeheartedly support same to ensure its passage into an Act.

    Mr Speaker, I am grateful.
    Mr Emmanuel A. Buah (NDC- Ellembelle) 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion to establish the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation.
    Mr Speaker, we are a country that God seems to have given almost everything that is needed for our industrial forward march. God has added oil in the past 12 years.
    Mr Speaker, if we would note, we have oil, salt, and iron ore, the ingredients needed for the massive creation of jobs and industries that have eluded us for years. Clearly, what is needed is simply more than a development corporation. Well, I support the establishment of this Corporation -- we need the political will and visionary leadership that would convince the citizenry that what would take us to that promised land is to basically sacrifice in the short term, invest and add value to the things we have. That has been our problem.
    Mr Speaker, as has been variously stated, we have been exporting raw manganese to developing countries and all of the products that we import back into this country are things that leave our shores. We support the establishment of this Development Corporation but what has eluded us is the visionary leadership that would
    simply spur us on as a country in our industrial forward march.
    Mr Speaker, while we support this, we must all agree that until we add value to the things here in Ghana, we would continue to debate our finances.
    I thank you and urge Hon Members to support the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Agbodza?
    Mr Govers K. Agobdza (NDC -- Adaklu) 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Report as ably presented by the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, I just have two quick points to make. On page 4, paragraph 6.14, the Report talks about how Government intends to ensure that there is available and competitively low rates in the price of power. On page 5, paragraph 7.2.1, it also states certain things that are supposed to be done by the Volta River Authority (VRA) including, and I quote:
    “It was noted that the purchase of power at the prevailing price in Ghana will make the iron and steel industry economically unviable …”
    Mr Speaker, so the Government intends to make the price reasonable and attractive to the investors.
    We know that much of what we have now as our power generation is private capital driven. How is the Government going to ensure that prices are automatically cheaper? Is it going to be by control pricing; is it possible to convince investors to bring certain amounts of money to this country and insist that they will be able to sell at a certain price?
    I believe that it is just something that we should bear in mind when we are doing this because the answer is not yet here -- [Interruption] -- Hon Colleagues, it is not a debate but just something we should bear in mind because today, it is too high and that is the point we are making. At the time the industries come up, we should have them cheaper so that it can attract investments.
    Mr Speaker, page 6, paragraph 8.1, talks about the volume of deposits we have in this country. I am told that that three billion tonnes is based on the year 1950 or 1960 estimates but we are now relying on the Minerals Commission to do an evaluation of exactly what it is.
    Is it appropriate to say that there is a document in this country which tells us for a fact that we have three billion tonnes which is new information but is not based on the year 1950 estimates. I think that it is something that we need to know because we are moving forward any way so we should quickly encourage the Minerals Commission to do a conclusive re- evaluation of what we have so we can
    have a conclusive information before we proceed.
    Mr Speaker, with this, I support the Motion.
    Thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Very well. Hon Member, with where you are hiding; I can hardly recognise you.
    Mr Patrick Bogyako-Saime (NPP -- Amenfi East) 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I also rise to contribute to the Motion ably moved by the Hon Minister.
    Mr Speaker, a lot has already been said about the prospects of the Corporation but my bit is about the socio-economic benefits that we stand to derive from the establishment of the Corporation. Also the integration aspect where the entire value chain would create a lot of jobs and other socio-economic developments. The fact is that it would also serve as a bedrock for the country's industria- lisation drive as we recently heard about some automobile companies wishing to establish plants in Ghana.
    My bit is to also admonish the Corporation and the Ministry -- is the fact that we should capitalise on the low hanging fruits because as the Hon Minister rightly said and the Report captured, the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Corporation started somewhere around the year 1975 and it happened in my own constituency.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the motion that this House adopts the Report of the Select Committee on Mines and Energy on the Ghana Iron
    and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019.
    Mr Speaker, in doing so, I would like to recognise that the Motion was ably moved by the Hon Minister.
    May I refer you to page 1, paragraphs 3 and 4.1 of the Committee's Report and to make one observation?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, please hold on.
    Hon Members, having regard to the state of Business of the House, I direct that the House Sits outside the regular Sitting hours.
    Now, you may continue.
    Mr Iddrisu 2 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, to draw your attention to page 1 of the Report, in particular, paragraph 4.1 and it reads:
    “...Three major iron ore deposits have been discovered in Ghana during the colonial era and Ghana has since indepen- dence, made efforts towards the establishment of an integrated iron and steel industry …”
    Mr Speaker, if any member of the public was to read this Report, he or she would ask where are those three major discoveries? Is it in Sheini or somewhere in the Ashanti or Western Regions? We need the specific location to guide us.
    Secondly, the reference documents of this Committee could be deeper
    than what we are reading apart from reference to the Ghana Integrated Aluminium and Bauxite Development. If we go to the Explanatory Memorandum signed by the Hon Minister, he makes reference to Integrated Iron and Steel Commission in the year 1976 as I read from the first paragraph. So we should benefit from it. When that Committee went, what did they discover or advise that as a country we should do in order to support that particular industry?
    Mr Speaker, it is for us to note our energy capacity. Once we anticipate a steel and iron ore industry, we must up our generation capacity or have dedicated energy sources to serve the steel and iron ore industry.
    I have noted that in the Committee but it would mean that as a country -- As we speak today, currently, steel manufacturers in Ghana are complaining about particular rates that are given by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) in terms of what they pay. I have spotted a letter signed by the Vice President which gave PURC up to the year 2017 to work within a certain number and that has now been revised to the disadvantage of steel manufacturers in the country. We do not want this industry to suffer the same plight.
    Mr Speaker, still on the Memoran- dum, and I quote paragraph 2 2 p.m.
    “integral to this, will be the need to attract the right finance, requisite resources and a world class management”.
    I hope and trust that the manage- ment will be Ghanaian.
    Many times, our problem is the state of VALCO.
    Most of their challenge is access to adequate, reliable, sustainable power source and financing.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to quote from the next page of the Memorandum by the Hon Minister where he says: “Ensure that a minimum part of the equity”. It means that even in certain updates, we have already talked about minimum equity. Is it the Government of Ghana that would hold that equity when he has said that he anticipates private sector participation?
    Mr Speaker, my view has always been that Government has no business doing business; Government has business to provide an enabling environment --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, that is not social demo- cratic --
    Mr Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, is free senior high school capitalist?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    No. That is for the support of those who
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.

    fall out through the net. It is really human capitalist.
    Mr Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, absolutely -- human capital development. I will learn. When the two of them were leaving the Ministry of Finance, did they not sign for digitalisation? Yet, they have stated it as if it is a new thing. [Laughter.]
    Mr Speaker, anyway, I am on the paragraph of minimum equity of the Government of Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, we wholeheartedly support this creation, except to say again, that Government has too many bureaucracies. If we do not watch our compensation budget in this country, once we create an additional bureaucracy, appointments would be made, salaries would be paid, vehicles would be bought and this is what has occasioned an increase in our compensation expenditure.
    Indeed, as we speak today, how could La Cote d'Ivoire do better after a war situation? It is because they do not have our kind of fate when it comes to numbers in terms of their wage bill and the number of persons within their public and civil services. We would need to have a con- versation on this.
    Mr Speaker, in principle, we support this.
    Under “Functions of the Corporation” paragraph (c) states:
    “make recommendations to the Minister on the nature and scope of State participation in the development of the integrated iron and steel industry.”
    Yet the same State has created this bureaucracy. So, what role does the State want to play? We want advice from this body, but the State does not know that it is supposed to be an equity holder when the Hon Minister has said same in his Explanatory Memorandum as I referred to. It says that the State would be an equity holder.
    Mr Speaker, we are also informed in paragraph (g) as follows 2:10 p.m.
    “ensure the benchmarks of determining the debt to equity ratio as fixed in accordance with law and government policy.”
    Again, we should take note of it. We passed a legislation on mineral resources. Mr Speaker, I hope he remembers that we passed a Bill into an Act which sets up a new entity on mineral resources. How would the steel and iron industry leverage on the resources of that entity in order to become functional and more effective? We would need to look at it.
    Mr Speaker, on the choice of 11 members for the Governing Board, why could we not work with nine? Why do we want to have 11 members

    I am not doing consideration -- I have always reminded --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Hon Leader, at this stage we are only discussing the principles.
    Mr Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have always reminded him that I do not owe it to him to think like him. I am thinking as Haruna -- [Laughter.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:10 p.m.
    Well, at least, you must think in accordance with the rules.
    Mr Iddrisu 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in conclusion, we would look at the specific matters, but maybe, when we get to the Consideration Stage, we would tighten the functions of the Corporation. When we look at the “undertake the preparatory work for the promotion and development” -- the mandate of this institution must be the development of steel and iron, taking advantage of the three major deposits that have been discovered. The mandate of this entity must be to procure the finance that is needed for this industry.
    Mr Speaker, you could count on us on any initiative that has to do with job creation -- any initiative by the President and Government that would add additional jobs. I have maintained that the best measure of living standards is not what the two professors and economists believe in
    -- per capita income. With our generation, the best measure of living standard is employment.
    Mr Speaker, with this, I support the Motion.
    Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 2:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to add my voice to the Motion that the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019, be now read a Second time.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member who spoke earlier raised some fundamental issues and I think that, indeed, and in truth, it should engage our attention. It has to do with the role of the Minerals Commission. Mr Speaker, I am looking at article 269 of the Constitution which relates to natural resources Commissions.
    Mr Speaker, the Constitution provides in article 269(1) as follows 2:20 p.m.
    “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall, by or under an Act of Parliament, provide for the establishment, within six months after Parlia- ment first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution, of a Minerals Commission, a Forestry Commission, Fisheries Commission and such other Commissions as Parliament may determine, which shall be responsible for the regulation

    and management of the utilization of the natural resources ...”

    Mr Speaker, the Commission is not the one charged with the remit of developing the resources. In this case, it would be the Development Corporation that would take charge of that. The Commission's respon- sibility is to regulate and manage the utilisation.

    Mr Speaker, for instance, if it is intended to extract about 10 million metric tonnes a year, the Commission would step in to say that that cannot be done because the resource is not only for the generations of today, but for posterity, so perhaps, we would limit it to about one million a year. Mr Speaker, that is managing the utilisation of the natural resource, so there is no conflict whatsoever.

    Mr Speaker, the other issue that should concern us is the tariff structure and the level of the tariff. We should be concerned because, indeed, if commercial rates are applied, then ab initio, the enterprise would be rendered dysfunctional. So, we would need to really look at how to manage the system such that we would be able to offload sufficient quantities of power to them at affordable rates.

    Mr Speaker, now there is some talk about dedicating a generating plant for that enterprise and some people have asked if we could dedicate Bui Dam, or perhaps, to build another dam on the River Oti

    and dedicate it solely for the iron and steel enterprise.

    Again, there is talk about having a solar farm to feed the industry -- Mr Speaker, there are options that Government, and indeed, the Development Corporation would be weighing.

    I agree with my Hon Colleague, Mr Agbodza, who asked about the quantities we are talking about as of yet.

    Mr Speaker, earlier, the discoveries indicated that the quantities at Oppong Mansi were supposed to be the epicentre of iron ore.

    Now, with the new assessment, there are huger quantities at Sheini than Oppong Mansi, except to say that on the average, the quality of the Oppong Manso reserve is a bit higher than what obtains at Sheini. The lowest at Sheini is about 37 to 39 per cent, but there are areas at Sheini where the ore content goes as high as 57 to 59 per cent. What it means is that, on the average, the one at Sheini would be in the region of about 45 per cent whereas the one at Oppong Mansi is between 42 and 45 per cent. So, either way, we are home and dry.

    Mr Speaker, the third discovery, which is Pudo in Upper West Region, is also significant. I am told that after the initial assessment, it is in the region of about 200,000,000 metric tonnes, but we have not finished the

    assessment of the Sheini discovery, because it is seen that the Sheini strings Togo. What has been assessed now is about 1.7 billion metric tonnes for Sheini alone. What it means is that, if that string leading to Togo is assessed, it certainly would be in the region of more than 2.5 billion metric tonnes. That is for the Sheini one alone.

    Mr Speaker, we should be encouraged by this. We are informed that with the three put together, as assessed, as of today, if we are to construct a rail track with it, even a single lane could go round the earth 40 times. That is huge.

    As far as I am concerned, it gives this economy another beginning, and we should determine, as a House, that the connected factories should be established up north. At least, one each at Sheini and at Pudo, and we can have one in Oppong Mansi. So, we would have three factories doing the same job at the same time. Mr Speaker, indeed, that could be a very bold lift.

    Mr Speaker, it would certainly give the economy of the north a big boost, and we must commend the boldness of this Government to really stick its neck out. I know there are continuous assessments of the quality of the ore still going on.

    Mr Speaker, there is a particular individual in this country who should also be commended tremendously. His group is Emmaland Resources Limited. He was the first person on

    his own to have flown over the Sheini enclave. It had not been done before, and he led this effort in the discovery that this country has now come out with.

    Mr Speaker, I also agree with the Hon Minority Leader that the mandate of the Corporation should be better defined for us to know that they do not veer off course, and that they commit themselves totally to the harnessing of the reserve. However it must be done, we would determine it ourselves.

    Of course, Government, through the Hon Minister for Land and Natural Resources, would have their own position. If we have to put our heads together to enrich whatever they bring, which would inure to the benefits of the country, it would be all well and good for us as a country. That, in my view, is how we should look at this Bill.

    Today, I am happy that this Bill has surfaced in this House. We are doing the Second Reading. I am looking forward to beginning the Con- sideration hopefully on Monday or latest by Tuesday. I am told by the Hon Ranking Member that they would require further engagement of some other stakeholders. We would wait for them, but they should also understand that time is not on our side.

    This House is adjourning on 12th April, 2019, possibly, and we cannot go beyond that. If we cannot go beyond that, we should complete the passage of this all-important Bill before we adjourn sine die.
    Mr Speaker, the Constitution provides in article 269(1) as follows 2:20 p.m.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the space granted. I believe we shall be together in smithing this Bill.

    Question put and motion agreed to.

    The Ghana Iron and Steel Develop- ment Corporation Bill, 2019 was accordingly read a Second time.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Hon Majority Leader, I am waiting for your guidance.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we could go back to the Chartered Instituted of Bankers (Ghana) Bill, 2018, and continue with the Consideration Stage, in which regard, I would want us to go back to the Order Paper Addendum and deal with clause 10.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:20 p.m.
    Very well. The Chartered Institute of Bankers (Ghana) Bill, 2018, at the Consideration Stage.
    BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 2:20 p.m.

    STAGE 2:20 p.m.

  • [Resumption of debate from 27/ 03/19]
  • Chairman of the Committee (Mr Stevens Siaka) 2:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 10, delete and insert the following:
    “Executive Committee
    10.(1) without limiting subsection (I) of section 8, the Council shall have an Executive Committee consisting of
    (a) The President of the Institute;
    (b) The Vice President of the Institute;
    (c) The Treasurer;
    (d) The Chief Executive Officer; and
    (e) Any other person Nomi- nated by the Council on the recommendation of the President of the Institute.
    (2) The Executive Committee shall
    (a) On behalf of the Council, exercise general oversight responsibility for the strategic direction of the Institute;
    (b) Consider proposals sub- mitted by the Chief Executive Officer for review of the terms and conditions of service of staff of the Institute and make appropriate re- commendations to the Council for its approval;
    Mr Siaka 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 41 add the following new interpretation:
    “Members in good standing” means any member of the institute who has paid all subscription and fees to the Institute and has undertaken the prescribed credit hours of continuous development pro- grammes by the 31st December of the year preceding the current year”
    Mr Alexander R. Hottordze 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, is it “member of good
    standing” or “member in good standing”?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    It is “member in good standing”.
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I just want to see whether I can further improve the formulation. I have nothing against it, except that “preceding the current year” appears to be too verbose. We could delete “preceding the current year” and just insert “preceding” before “year”, so that it reads;
    “Member in good standing” means any member of the Institute who has paid all subscriptions and fees to the institute and has undertaken the prescribed credit hours of continuous development programmes by the 31st December of the preceding year”.
    All actions are in the past, and one's standing in the past is evaluated as against the time evaluation is done.
    We do not need to bring “the current year”. It is the current year in which he is evaluated, and that is why the definition is in the past, so we would just say “by the 31st December of the preceding year”.
    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 2:30 p.m.
    I support the further amendment. I think that is better, because once we say “preceding year”, it means we are talking about the current year and the
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Dafeamekpor, I have not been seeing you recently that is why I cannot remember your name.
    Mr Rockson-Nelson E.K. Dafeamekpor 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am in support of the amendment on the Floor, but my worry is that it is suggestive of the fact that every member of the Institute in any calendar year ought to have gone through some in-service training organised by the Institute.
    That is what this suggests, but I know that there are other members of the Institute who may be fellows, and the Institute may not necessarily organise in-service training for them, so that may not be applicable to them even though they must have paid their fees. So we should take a second look at the interpretation --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, the word “prescribed” takes care of that, so if it is not prescribed for you --
    Mr Dafeamekpor 2:30 p.m.
    Then, it is not applicable to you. Very well, Mr Speaker, I am guided.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with the amendment as further improved by the Hon Member for Tamale Central, except to proffer an additional one.
    First of all, in line 1, instead of saying “any member”, it should read, “a member”:
    “Member in good standing” means a member of the Institute who has paid all subscriptions and fees to the institute and has undertaken the prescribed credit hours of continuous develop- ment programmes…”
    Instead of saying “31st December”, why not simply say “by the end of the immediately preceding year”. That, indeed, is the language of the Constitution.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, do you agree to the proposed amendment?
    Mr Siaka 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes. I agree 100 per cent. Once a “Messi” has spoken, that is all -- [Laughter].
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Clause 41 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    That appears to be the end, so now we would put the Question on the Long Title. We did the amendment yesterday.
    The Long Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
    That brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Ghana Bill, 2018.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, item numbered 3 on page 3 on the Order Paper Addendum.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Item numbered 3, Minister for Education?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Education is not with us. I understand he is otherwise seriously engaged, and if you may permit the Hon Deputy Minister to move the motion captured as item numbered 3 on his behalf.
    Alhaji Fuseini 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is not the time to oppose an Hon Deputy Minister who is present in the House to move a Motion, so we have no objection.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Very well, Hon Deputy Minister, you may move the Motion numbered 3.
    MOTIONS 2:30 p.m.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Stevens Siaka) 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Item numbered 4 -- Motion.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, again, the Hon Deputy Minister could do that.
    2. 40 p. m.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, you may move the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, by the amendment that was effected yesterday, it should have consequential effect on how Motion numbered 4 on the Order Paper Addendum has been captured so we do not revert to the original place. It is consequential, so you could direct the Clerk-at-the-Table to take charge of that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister?
    BILLS -- THIRD READING 2:30 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader, what next?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe we can take an adjournment and -- [Pause]--
    Mr Speaker, the substantive Chairman cannot speak from where he is sitting. I just wanted to inquire whether this is not a draft, and that if he has a final Report, then, we could take it. From where he is sitting, I wonder whether he would be able to talk and speak for himself.
    Alhaji Fuseini 2:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my information is that there is a revised copy of the Report and the Hon
    Chairman has not yet seen it. The discussion I had with the Hon Minority Leader before he left was that, if we were minded to take the Report today, then, we could suspend Sitting briefly for the Hon Chairman to have an opportunity to look at the revised Report.
    That is left with the Hon Chairman and the Hon Majority Leader. We could decide whether to adjourn so that the Hon Chairman would have enough opportunity to read the Report tonight and then take it tomorrow or you could suspend Sitting briefly and we look at the Report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 2:30 p.m.
    It is 20 minutes to 3 ‘O'clock and as adjournment is in my bosom, I have decided that I would adjourn proceedings.
    ADJOURNMENT 2:30 p.m.