Debates of 2 Jul 2019

PRAYERS 10:14 a.m.


Mr Ebenezer A. Djietror (Principal Assistant Clerk) 10:14 a.m.
Good morning, Hon Members, this is to kindly inform you that the Rt Hon Speaker is unavoidably absent from the jurisdiction, and as such, the Hon First Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of Rt Hon Speaker in relation to all proceedings in the House until the Rt Hon Speaker resumes the Chair.
Thank you.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:14 a.m.
Hon Members, we will commence with the correction of Votes and Proceedings
of the Nineteenth Sitting of the Second Meeting held on Friday, 28th June, 2019.
Pages 1…41 --
Mr Samuel O. Ablakwa -- rose
-- 10:14 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:14 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for North Tongu?
Mr Ablakwa 10:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. On page 41, the composition of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker's name has been written as “Hon Alban S. K. Bagbing”. ‘‘Bagbin'' is without a ‘g' at the end.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:14 a.m.
Very well.
Page 41…54.
Hon Members, in the absence of any further correction, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 28th June, 2019, as corrected, be hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, we have the Official Report of Friday, 31st May,
Any corrections?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:14 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member, do you have any correction?
Mr Ablakwa 10:14 a.m.
Yes, Mr Speaker. Column 311, last paragraph, National ‘Communica-tion' Authority and column 320, ‘delibera-tions' should be corrected on the second paragraph.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:14 a.m.
Very well, the Hansard Department should take note and make the appropriate corrections.
Hon Members, any further corrections?
Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of Friday, 31st May, 2019, as corrected, is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Members, it is Question time. There are two Questions: One is to the Hon Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture. Is the Hon Minister here?

Hon Minister, you may take your seat.

Question numbered 576 is in the name of Hon Dr Zanetor Agyeman- Rawlings.
ORAL ANSWERS TO 10:24 a.m.

QUESTIONS 10:24 a.m.


AND CULTURE 10:24 a.m.

Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture (Mrs Barbara Oteng- Gyasi) 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has two (2) major projects for the communities in Osu, particularly South Anorhor. These are the Marine Drive Investment Project and the Transformation of the Christianborg Castle and its Gardens into a Museum and Cultural Centre.
1) Marine Drive Investment Project: The Project occupies a parcel of land approximately 241 acres stretching from the Castle, Osu along the sea to the
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister care to provide timelines for all the projects that are supposed to take place in the Osu communities?
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are working very expeditiously to fast-track the projects, but we also have a few challenges in terms of the relocation of offices that are on the sides, and this has delayed the project. But I can assure the Hon Member that we are working very hard to ensure that the project takes off. I indicated in the Answer that we hope that by October, we would have commenced implementation.
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Budget for the Ministry, in 2017, over GH¢43million went towards the Tourism industry. In 2018, the amount was doubled to GH¢75million, and in 2019, it is projected to be over GH¢137million. How much of that has gone into the
restoration of old and historical buildings in Osu, including the archaeological dig in the Castle?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Member, you had the option to ask one Question, which we are dealing with. What you are introducing is a totally new Question. Your follow-up question must stay within the same Question, so please ask another question.
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect, my Question was on the plans the Ministry has in place for communities in Osu, and all plans require funding.
So, Mr Speaker, with the utmost respect, I believe my question is within the main Question.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
They have not claimed they do not have money. They have not said so. So that does not arise at all. If you have any follow-up question on the Answer given, please come to that.
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with regard to the Hon Minister's response on the dredging of the Osu Klottey lagoon, is there any collaboration among her Ministry, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the Ministry of
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry is collaborating with both the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture as well as the Ministry of Works and Housing to undertake this project.
Dr Agyeman-Rawlings 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, would the Agreement with the Danish Government be brought to the House?
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Agreement would definitely come to the House because it is an international agreement.
Mr Emmanuel K. Bedzrah 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a national project --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
The Question was asked about Klottey Korley.
Mr Bedzrah 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is not limited to Klottey-Korle. It is a national project.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Member, let us read the Question;
“To ask the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture what
plans the Ministry has in place for the communities in Osu, particularly South Anorhor”.
So it is constituency specific. I would allow you to ask a question, but if it is way off, I would disallow it.
Mr Bedzrah 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. You will win again.
The Hon Minister for Tourism in her Answer said that the Project would be taken under a Public- Private Partnership arrangement.
Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister who the private partners to assist Government are in this endeavour.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Hon Minister, has Government selected its partners already?
Ms Oteng-Gyasi 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry is yet to select its partners. We have not selected any partners yet.
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, she said, and with your permission, I read:
“At the moment, all the engineering works have been
completed and most of the occupants of the land have either been resettled or are in the process of being resettled…”
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to let us know of the engineering works which have been completed.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Hon Member, you could file that as your substantive Question.
Hon Avedzi, I would hear you. [Interruption]—
Hon Members, I have disallowed the question of Hon Agbodza.
Mr James K. Avedzi 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer to the Question, she stated that the people of the Osu traditional area, particularly, South Anorhor, would benefit tremendously from these projects. To quote her, “fish landing site and storage facilities for fisher-folks in Osu and dredging of Osu Klottey lagoon…”
Mr Speaker, the fish landing site which should be part of the 12 landing sites which were sought by the previous government, and were to be funded by the China Development Bank (CDB) loan. Is the landing site being talked about here part of that
Facility or, it is a new project altogether?
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this Project is part of the Marine Drive Project. It is therefore a new project under the Marine Drive Project.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Minister, we thank you for attending upon the House to Answer the Question. You are discharged.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Hon Member for South Dayi, you could later ask a Question which relates to your constituency because this Question relates to Osu. [Laughter.]
Hon Members, in view of some technical challenges that we have with the next Question, I would vary the Business on the Order Paper and move on to Statements before I return to the second Question.
Hon Members, there are a number of Statements admitted here, but I would start with the Statement by the Hon Member for Gomoa Central.
Hon Member for Gomoa Central, your Statement.
[Pause] --
STATEMENTS 10:34 a.m.

Mr Ernest H. Norgbey (NDC -- Ashaiman) 10:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, anyone with good intentions for Ghana's future will always look to securing the next generation and their role in political discourse and functional productivity.
Ghana has a youthful population, majority of all citizens are below the age of 35. According to the Ghana 2010 census, 46.5 per cent of the Ghanaian population are below the age of 24. This is to say there is a great mandate on our society to wake up to the awareness of the numerous young people available and the threat young people can be to any society if
they are idle. One of the basic forms of functional involvement is in political involvement.
Mr Speaker, the political environment has been classified by society into groups such as youth, elites, children, aristocrats, et cetera with clearly defined roles expected of each group. Any work about political participation is also related to democracy, (Parry, et al.1992) Hence, in any democracy, the extent to which a person participates is based on their elitist consensus.
According to the African Youth Charter, youth is expressed as individuals between the ages of 15 and 35 years. The political society is increasingly becoming an environment specifically ruled and dominated only by elders and few young people.
It is discovered that the secret message communicated to most young people today by the society is that they are not wanted in political discourse. Predominantly, this type of political system is far back captured when the ancient Greeks were the first to believe the idea of gerontocracy as famously stated by Plato in 380 BC, that, it is for the elderly man to rule and for the younger ones to submit and that the youth are seen as dis-
respectful. However, these beliefs are also evident in the 21st Century and over the years, leadership roles have been reserved for a few, with respect to age. Many young people are led to understand political participation as predominantly the province of adults.
Mr Speaker, the problem is that the youth is not fully involved in political participation and even if they are, they are seen to be given insignificant temporary roles to play especially when the youth are seen as political tools of violence and this is what we seek to correct.
Mr Speaker, the increasing violence is as a result of the idle involvement in the political process. It is significant to note that the electoral process in Ghana is mostly clad with violence and mayhem and there is little opportunity for proper expression of their political right.
The manipulation of these youth makes security before and during elections a major challenge. High unemployment digs Ghana further into the trenches of the manipulation for violence. Any token, however insignificant, will definitely influence quite a number of people.
The situation is not peculiar to any constituency; similar occurrences all over Ghana in seemingly cultural
assonance. Indeed, the event of political manipulation is the grounds for vigilantism and the violence of Delta Forces, Invisible Forces, Bolga Bull Dogs, The Hawks, just to mention a few.
These groups have a periodic importance during general elections but are cast right after elections to the background -- their struggle for relevance is what we see daily. The youth has been classified as one radical and vigorous group when political leaders are struggling for power and any other statuses in the society, but to be fair, that is sometimes their only means of being heard.
Mr Speaker, the problem of limited participation of the youth in politics and the reasons for such an occurrence are really far reaching. Some are constitutional specifications like 21 years for Parliament and 40 years to be President. When people are limited by a constitutional demar- cation, it soon begins to sound as normal and acceptable and gains legitimacy in the political rhetoric.
Secondly, Mr Speaker, there is the issue of cultural prescription of leadership. One challenge in Ghana is that almost all social groupings in Ghana tend to reserve leadership roles for the elderly. The big explanation today is “That's how we have always done it.”
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:34 a.m.
Hon Member for Bodi?
Mr Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Bodi) 10:34 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.
Mr Speaker, it has been said that the youth are the future leaders of every nation, and for that matter, all efforts must be made to prepare the youth to play major roles in political leadership in the country.
Mr Speaker, I think there is a fundamental problem with regard to the age limitation put on who can contest and be elected to be the President of Ghana. It is capped at 40 years; meanwhile, the same Constitution allows the youth who attain 18 years to register and vote. So, if an eighteen-year-old can register and vote and decide on who should lead the country, then I think

we should have a second look at the age limit placed at 40 for a president. I think that it should be reduced; there should be a constitutional review to bring it down.

At one point in time, we are saying that all those who are 18 years should participate in deciding who should rule the country but at another time we are saying they cannot offer themselves to be elected as the President of the country.

Mr Speaker, we should also look at whether the educational structure that we have today can prepare the youth to take full leadership after graduation. Most often, even after graduation, the youth are referred to as young people.

In the past, when the old men met and were discussing issues concerning the family or the community, woe betides the young ones who tried to share their ideas. They were deemed to be participating in a matter that was being discussed by the elderly people so they were not invited to express their views.

But in the democratic dispensation that is being practiced today, I think we should offer opportunities to our youth to encourage them so that they can participate fully. So is our current educational structure enough to
Mr Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Bodi) 10:54 a.m.

Mr Speaker, for instance, after graduation, the youth are unable to get an official job in a government institution; is it the case that the knowledge they have acquired can be used to set up and manage their own companies?

Mr Speaker, we have to do so many things to encourage the youth to participate in the leadership of this country. It is not enough to just talk about it and leave it. There must be pragmatic steps to ensure that as we talk about it, efforts are made to ensure that the youth have roles so far as the leadership of this country is concerned.

If we are saying that the youth are the future leaders, then the State must support them to participate in the leadership of this country. One should not be 50 years, 60 years or 70 years before one is regarded as a mature person who can offer himself or herself to the State.

So, I want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement and add that the State must do more. We should have a second look at the

age ceiling of 50 years and do something about it. If at the age of 18, a person can vote, equally, he or she should be able to offer himself or herself to be voted for.
Mr Rockson-Nelson E. K. Dafeamekpor (NDC -- South Dayi) 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make a few comments in respect of the Statement made by my Brother, Hon Ernest Norgbey.
Just for the record, Hon Nitiwul entered Parliament at the age of 27, as a teacher and not at the age of 24.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
I have not asked you to resume your seat but since you appear to have deferred to him -- [Interruption.] -- Yes, Hon Minister for Defence, has he said anything wrong?
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he definitely does not know my age. I was sworn in on the 14th of May, 2002 and I was born on the 4th of November, 1977. I turned 25 that
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
You were a trained Teacher, right?
Mr Dafeamekpor 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am guided.
It is important that we take a look at the matter that the Hon Member has raised. I do not think that there is any law excluding young people from participating in the political space. The issue is about the number who get the opportunity to participate.
I was part of the delegation of young Members of Parliament (MP) to Nigeria earlier this year. Nigeria is making concrete efforts to encourage more young people to participate and get elected to, at least, the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.
So by way of policy, all the political parties are encouraged to allocate a certain number of seats to be contested for by young people below the age of 25. It is a big drive in Nigeria and I think that we could copy that from them.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Brother made the point that while, constitutionally, one is given the right
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Is nobody in the Majority interested in commenting on this matter?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Hon Minister for Communication?
Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula G. Owusu-Ekuful — MP) 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I must commend the Hon Member who made the Statement for raising this very interesting issue. However, I believe that on our Side, none of us had the benefit of seeing the Statement before it was made, so it has hampered our ability to contribute effectively to it.
As a general rule, I believe that we should make concerted efforts to encourage more young people and
women to also participate fully in our political life. Over the years, most of the parties have worked to reduce the filing fees of young people to enable them to participate, but that is just one of the many hurdles that act against their effective and full participation in the competitive politics of our country.
As we look at encouraging even more women to participate as well, we also need to look at the factors that prevent young people from effectively engaging in the political life of our country. One of them is cost.
We have monetised our politics so much that it has become increasingly out of reach for many people who may have had great ideas to contribute but cannot afford the cost of engaging in our electoral processes.
So, I believe that we should all come together and see how we can demonetise our politics, because it is a huge disincentive to, not just the young, but to many others who may otherwise have been qualified to participate in our politics but are put off or cannot afford to engage in the processes that we have put in place.
I think that we can move towards mandating or requiring every political party to field a certain number of people below the ages of 35 and
Minister for Communication (Mrs Ursula G. Owusu-Ekuful — MP) 11:04 a.m.

In the same vein, we could also encourage political parties, as we are about to embark on our primary selection process, to field more women and more young people as candidates, which is the only way the wider populace could also be encouraged to vote for them. If they are not on the ballot paper, no amount of talking will ensure that they would end up in this House.

Ghana could also commend itself for being the country in Africa with the youngest MP. Having just one youngest MP is not enough and having less than 15 per cent females in our Parliament is also woefully inadequate.

So, we need to work with our political parties to ensure that at the end of the day, we would have numbers that speak to Ghana's position as the torchbearer and the pacesetter on the continent.

When it comes to the participation of women, persons with disability and young people in our politics, Ghana lags far behind the rest of the continent and we could do so much better.
Dr (Mrs) Bernice A. Heloo (NDC -- Hohoe) 11:04 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and all the other Hon Members who have contributed.
Mr Speaker, recently, I was invited to a conference at the University of Ghana, Legon, on women in leadership for young people at the university level.
I realised that there was a lot of enthusiasm among the participants, especially, the young ladies. However, most of them are frightened about how to get to the political arena. They are really interested but do not have the path way to get into politics.
I observed that there is the need for us to mentor young people, especially, young ladies who have the aspiration. Yes, money is important but the zeal to follow up on the agenda is also key. I would invite all of us to try to mentor young people.
Indeed, the future of the nation lies in the hands of the young people. Very soon, most of us would no longer be Hon MPs, so we need to help and prepare them to take our place. We have to look at structures that encourage the younger ones to move on, especially in politics.
I would end by calling on all of us, especially, we the female Hon MPs, to at least mentor one young person, take the fear out of the person and give periodic encouragement. When I went for that forum, I told them about all the young female MPs and they were encouraged. We should not end it here but make sure that their interest is sustained and also help them to take our place in the future.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba (NDC -- Pusiga) 11:04 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to contribute to the Statement which was ably made by my Hon Colleague on the issue of involvement of the youth in politics. This Statement is worth making and it is important that we look at it with all the seriousness that it deserves.
Mr Speaker, there are so many countries that have youth in their Parliaments and I believe that they did not simply become young MPs by
hearing political talks but they were mentored, involved, given the opportunity, supported and educated on how important it is to be part of a decision-making body.
These were imparted to them at a very young stage and those who were interested came up to become young Hon MPs.
Mr Speaker, we all know very well that it is very important to catch every person in a particular dimension that is needed when the person is young. We need to cultivate the habit of ensuring that the young ones are caught young when they are interested in learning to take up what they want to be.
This has to start from our schools, if for nothing at all. There should be programmes on the curricular that should talk, educate and even give them the opportunity to mimic Parliament and ensure that they are involved in some activities.
Leaders, not only Hon MPs but even chiefs, queenmothers and elders of the society, should all be part of supporting them to get involved. Parents should be educated to understand that it is important for
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:04 a.m.
Yes, Minority Leadership?
Mr James K. Avedzi 11:04 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we would start by giving opportunity to
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:14 a.m.
Yes, Hon Ras Mubarak?
Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC-- Kumbungu) 11:14 a.m.
I thank you, Hon Deputy Minority Leader and Mr Speaker; I must say that I have gone past the age of youth. I turned 40 years on the 3rd of June, 2019.
Having said that, this is a very exciting topic for discussion at this particular moment because, largely, the decisions we take today affect the youth who would be the big decision- makers of tomorrow.
Now, we have to do one of many things in order that we empower young people to get involve in active politics. Before I make these suggestions, let me correct the assertion that young persons have not been actively involved in our politics.
Mr Speaker, right from Inde- pendence, if we look at the people who led this country, they were men and women in their 20s and 30s. They were not people in their 50s, 60s and 70s; Nkrumah, Kojo Botsio and the rest of them.
Mr Speaker, if we move from that era into that of Prime Minister Busia, former President Kufuor was 26 or 27 when he was made the Hon Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister. In the 1970s, this country was led in 1979 by Former President Rawlings.

Mr Speaker, so from Indepen- dence, young men and women have always played active roles in our politics. Having said that, I would want us to draw our minds to the labour laws of Ghana. A child is allowed to work when he or she is 15 years, per our laws.

If a child is old enough to work at 15 and pay his or her taxes, that child should be old enough to vote. If per our laws, we agree that a person at 15 years is old enough to engage in what we call in labour circles, “soft labour” and pay taxes, then, he or she should be old enough to determine who leads him or her.

So one of the building blocks we need to put in place in actualising more participation of young people in our politics would be to reduce the voting age. In the UK, for instance, just recently, one professor at Cambridge University suggested that the voting age should even be reduced to six years. Even though that is not a widely shared view, for our purposes and country, we can get a mass of our young people getting involved in politics.

Mr Speaker, change makers of today -- people at the forefront of business, new technology, and politics -- are not senior citizens; they are young men. I have heard the argument that they are not mature enough. Young people may lack experience but they make up for the experience with their energy, creativity and knowledge.

Mr Speaker, I am not drawing you into the debate.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:14 a.m.
Hon Member, when does one become a senior citizen? I am only 57 years young -- [Laughter.] I have another 50 years to go so I am nowhere near senior citizen.
Mr Moses Anim (NPP-- Trobu) 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Statement made and also to associate myself with all the comments that have been made by Hon Members. I would just want to let the Hon Member know as he said that those days the beards were left because younger people wanted to demonstrate that they were of age which is not a fact.
The fact was that they wanted to demonstrate their communist and socialist stance and beliefs. Those were the days that one had a problem wearing designer shoes.
Mr Speaker, but while we do our best to improve the quality of education and skills development for our youth so that in all spheres of our endeavour, they can occupy leadership at all levels, not only for political leadership but at traditional level as well where royals become chiefs.
We know that young ones occupy chieftaincy positions and when their leadership skills and development are so high, it would help the society. So, we should look at leadership at all levels; church and institutions.
Mr Speaker, these days, the system of rising through the ranks to become the head of schools at the Ministry of Education should not be the way forward. Young ones who are best trained can also become headmasters and own the schools.
Though they are public schools, they would demonstrate leadership to move forward our educational system. So, in my view, leadership at all levels occupied by the youth should be the key and not only for politics.
Mr Speaker, I would want to end here by saying that, while we bring them up for political leadership, how would we maintain and sustain their positions, especially these days that the attrition rate in Parliament is so high? We bring the youth here to
become Members of Parliament at a younger age but we cannot guarantee their stay here. They come here and within one or two terms, they are gone; what other jobs would they do?
What would happen to such a youthful person going forward? That is why political parties must begin to look at all these issues and make sure that while we bring them in young for their experience sake and for them to be so beneficial to Parliament, political parties and the State, we should find a way to keep them here like the British Parliament has done so that younger ones would come in at certain ages and they would grow with Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I am so grateful for this opportunity. I thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Very well, these are very interesting issues being raised. By our Constitution, one could vote at 18 in Ghana. Is that right? Then, one could apply to become a Member of Parliament at age 21.
Now, one is constitutionally of age at 18 years. When can one join a political party? Is a 15 year old person eligible to join a political party? If not, he or she can only join a political party
at the age of 18 years. Right? If he or she joins at the age of 18 years, does your Constitution not say that one must be an active member of a party at the polling station for two years or more?

So, the one who is 21 years, may have a basis. If you count the age at which one enters school; six years at the primary level and three years both at the Junior and Senior High school levels, makes 21 years. Is that right? So, maybe, we are not looking at the kind of people we want to enter politics and with what kind of training and experience they should have.

What I think we should encourage is what I see the other political parties do; you do not join in from nowhere. You start by working in the political party either as a volunteer or join a part of a list of people eligible to be nominated on the party's list. If you show competence and have integrity, they sponsor you to go to the local council; as we propose to do, then we are building you for leadership roles.

I believe that we should look at whether there was a reason for the age of 40 years as the age for aspiring to be a president. I do not know whether we have a reason to change
STATMENTS 11:24 a.m.

Ms Naana Eyiah (NPP- Gomoa Central) 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to present this Statement on combating acid violence in Ghana.
Mr Speaker, acid violence, also known as acid thrown at a person, often is intended to disfigure and cause extreme physical and mental suffering to the person. Besides, it causes immediate damage, pain and long lasting medical complications for the victims.
Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, we all know how deadly acid is to the human body. At first contact, acid feels like water on the body, but within seconds, it causes a burning sensation that swiftly becomes progressively intense. If not washed off immediately with water, acid can melt away a victim's skin and flesh. For instance, when acid is thrown at the face, it swiftly burns and destroys the victims' eyes, ears, lips, nose, and mouth. The acid continues to destroy the skin tissue until it is neutralised by water. The burnt skin dies, turning black and severe scarring results.
Mr Speaker, acid violence has devastating health consequences for victims. These consequences could be short-term and long-term in nature. In the short-term, the victims are at risk of immense physical pain while in the long-term, the victims are at risk of blindness, severe mental suffering and breathing failure. Moreover, acid violence victims are often marginalised
in society due to their physical deformities and accompanying disabilities.
Mr Speaker, globally, there are about 1,500 acid violence or attacks a year, but it is a crime that often goes unreportcd for fear of punishment ( The greatest occurrence is in countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda, where acid remains inexpensive and freely available.
Mr Speaker, the situation is not different in this country as there have been a number of acid attacks over the last few years because the price of acid is cheap and easily available. For example, acid is sold at shops in Accra for as little GH¢1.50 per bottle; this was as at 2015.
Mr Speaker, in addition, there are no legal restrictions imposed on buying or selling acid, wherefore, anyone can legally purchase the substance over-the-counter in pharmacies, automobile repair shops (mechanic shops), goldsmith shops, and open-air markets, making it easy for culprits to have access to carry out such shameful acts which have led to the death of many people and disfiguring others.
Mr Speaker, on Monday, 25th March, 2019, this country recorded another acid attack incident at Gomoa Fetteh in the Gomoa East District of the Central region. Newspaper reports indicate that the culprits poured the acid on the face and breast of a 23-year old mobile money vendor Kate Aidoo and made away with an amount of money. Report indicates that the culprits came to her shop twice to withdraw funds through their phone and committed the act when they entered the shop the second time. Nevertheless, these culprits have been apprehended and handed over to the Gomoa Ojobi District Police.
Mr Speaker, reports from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where the young lady received medical attention, indicates that her face is totally destroyed and that she might not be able to see again. I have realised that in most acid attack incidents reported in this country such as that of Kate Aidoo and many others, the culprits know the victims. Moreover, the culprits do not usually intend to kill their victims, but to cause long-lasting physical damage and emotional trauma.
Mr Speaker, the situation is getting out of hand and for that matter, as a country, we need to put in place measures to curb this in order to
Mr Speaker, to end my Statement, George Leonard once said and I quote 11:24 a.m.
“We can conceive of a future without high-rises; but humanity without music and love is not just incredible: it is impossible”. Acid attack must be discouraged in Ghana.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Yes, Hon Bernard O. Boye?
Dr Bernard O. Boye (NPP- Ledzokuku) 11:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to make some comments on the Statement that my Hon Colleague -- [Pause.]
I am very pleased that we have an Hon Member who has brought our attention to this very worrying phenomenon that has gained some notoriety in this country.
Mr Speaker, acid attacks have a very debilitating effect on the individual. In fact, the person would be at the risk of death and even when the person is lucky to survives, the morbidity is very depressing.
Mr Speaker, usually, there are few things that we are concerned with when there is an accident attack. First is the surface area that is involved and the bigger the surface area where there could be the greater risk of death. We are also interested in the degree of burns and there are usually about three or four degrees of burns.
When hot water is poured on the skin and it does not cover a large area, it is usually treated as first degree burns and it is not usually worrying. When the burns affect the epidermis and the deeper parts of the skin, then that could be second or third degree burns. Mr Speaker, the dangerous one is fourth degree burns and it involves the bones, muscles and so on.
Mr Speaker, the question we have to ask ourselves is, why do people resort to the use of burns? We have to look at the risk factors. Funnily, most of these cases have to do with relationship and related issues. This shows that, as a country, we would need to provide help when it comes to psychologicaly issues and counselling.
Mr Speaker, I would want to speak about the challenges we have as a country with regard to taking care of patients with burns. For example, a patient with burns in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, for instance, would have to be in the hospital for quite a period and most of the patients do not have the resources to fund the care.
So those in charge of the Plastics Units would most of the time find innovative ways through appeals and so on to sustain the patients. Mr Speaker, some few months ago, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to inaugurate a refurbished Plastics and Recon- structive Centre and he gave out his month's salary as seed money for the Fund that is meant to take care of patients.
Mr Speaker, as we speak, we do not have a fully operational fund and I believe that we have to work towards such a fund, even if we have to get a legislation to formalise the care for these patients.
Mr Speaker, it is very sad to mention that some individuals resort to acid attacks to settle scores, but this is not a healthy way to go and so
this country must strengthen the legal system so that people could find redress within the system. I have spoken to a few victims of acid attacks and the comments are that their attackers resorted to acid attacks because they claim that the legal system is complex if they want redress. Mr Speaker, so we have to take a serious look at these issues.
Mr Speaker, I would conclude by bringing our attention to children who have also consumed acid solutions with the intention of soft drinks. We have to take a critical look at this because most of these children come to the Cardio Unit with oeso- phageal fistula and they are not able to drink anything.
There are people who make a whole industry from these children; they stand at the traffic lights, beg for money and they are not even helped. So we have to look at ways of keeping some of these solutions away from children.
Mr Speaker, I would commend my Hon Colleague for this Statement and urge that we should look at ways to support victims of acid attacks. Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr William A. Quaittoo (NPP -- Akim Oda) 11:34 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of Statements. One Question was deferred so I would call the Hon Minister for Communications to come and answer Question numbered 582 in the name of Hon Rev John Ntim Fordjour.

Mr Patrick Y. Boamah -- rose
-- 11:44 a.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Yes, Hon Yaw Boamah, why are you up on your feet?
Mr Boamah 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to make an application under Standing Order 68(3) to ask the Question on behalf of my Hon colleague member from Assin South, Hon (Rev) John Ntim Fordjour.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Where is your authority?
Mr Boamah 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would read the provision in the rules book.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Standing Order 68(3) says “so authorised”, and so I would want to see your authority.
Mr Boamah 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I understand your question. I would want my Hon Colleague for New Juabeng South to relax.
Mr Speaker, I got a phone call from my Hon colleague who is indisposed. The call came through your good Clerk-at-the-Table. He brought the phone to me that my colleague was indisposed. Who am I to doubt a Clerk of the Hon First Deputy Speaker, to ask a question on behalf of my Hon Colleague? So, I am not making it up.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Very well, I grant you the leave to ask the Question.
ORAL ANSWERS TO 11:44 a.m.

QUESTIONS 11:44 a.m.

MINISTRY OF 11:44 a.m.


Minister for Communications (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, smartphones are the most popular ICT devices in Ghana and they have largely become indis- pensable for both social usage and in facilitating economic activities as well. They play a critical role in the life of the citizenry and they are used for a wide variety of transactions, from making and receiving voice and data calls and messages, browsing the internet, as well as doing digital financial transactions among others.
Smartphones also store com- prehensive data -- including personal data such as contacts and numbers, messages, photographs, emails, financial information and several documents, among others, which are easily and readily accessible to individuals,. They are akin to portable computers which allow users to connect seamlessly and transmit or receive information effortlessly.
This ease of use and functionality also has data protection and privacy
implications. The issue of misuse or abuse of data relates to both the hardware and the software or applications on smartphones. Providing security in mobile communication has become a key priority, not just for Government, but for everyone and just as anti-virus software is installed on computers to protect user data, mobile devices data should also be protected by anti-virus software.
The global use of smartphones has resulted in an increased demand leading to an increase in counterfeit handsets, batteries and accessories. These counterfeit electronic communication gadgets may compromise user privacy and security, not just for individuals, but also for the nation as a whole and this has become a global threat for all countries.
Mr Speaker, the Wall Street Journal published an article on 6th July 2018 on the subject, “App Traps: How Cheap Smartphones Siphon User Data in Developing Countries”. This article was actually a follow-up on a general issue of GMobi malware. Malware is software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. Malware can
be part of a system, may come as part of an update, or may be installed along with other software applications by a user.
Mr Speaker, in many developing countries including Ghana, cheap counterfeit smartphones flood the market through unapproved routes largely to evade the payment of taxes and customs duties. There are however genuine and affordable digital devices that are brought onto the market through appropriate routes which meet all global standards. Some device manufacturers also encrypt their devices to prevent data breaches.
There is a window of opportunity for users to have their devices encrypted through Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. However, due to the low-income levels of the majority of our population, the patronage of genuine devices may be low and the cost of genuine digital devices encourages high patronage of cheaper, counterfeit and cloned versions of seemingly genuine smartphone models on the market.
Mr Speaker, of critical importance also is the fact that general awareness of personal data security in the usage of all ICT devices including smartphones is very low.
Minister for Communications (Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) 11:54 a.m.
Misuse of user information on smartphones is not simply a matter of cost (even though that can be a factor) or even brand, because the siphoning of information can occur during software update or installation of mobile software applications for both affordable and high-end devices. Mr Speaker, I must emphasise that this phenomenon of data breaches goes beyond the type, cost or quality of phones. It happens to all phones regardless of the type of phone or digital device being used.
Mr Speaker, application deve- lopers provide solutions for users to download, some of which are free. All applications, including free applications, come with conditions which must be accepted before installation can be effective. Some of these applications demand access to GPS location, phone contacts, media, et cetera. which users willingly click on to accept, just to be able to use the application.
Unfortunately, by granting acceptance to the request from the application, users knowingly or unknowingly consent to the use of their personal data. Without granting this consent, the application will not be installed on the device for use.
Mr Speaker, this problem has assumed international or global dimensions and is currently being
discussed by member countries at the ITU with the aim of finding solutions to combat the penetration of counterfeit digital devices onto our markets.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Communications and its Agencies have taken some pragmatic measures to address the issue holistically. Malwares that siphon information have the capability of disrupting network functionalities. The smartphones connect to various networks and therefore, our cyber space by this activity is threatened every day. The following measures have been taken by the Ministry to address this challenge:
i. The Ministry is in the process of establishing a Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) to track the unique International Mobile Equip- ment Identity (IMEI) numbers of the various smart devices that are imported into the country. All digital devices have a unique identifier and these devices will have to be registered and verified by the CEIR before connecting to any mobile network. The Ghana CEIR will be linked to the international database to prevent the trafficking of substandard, blacklisted or
stolen devices into our country. This will prevent the use of counterfeit and stolen digital devices on our mobile networks. The System would ensure digital and social safety by providing security against theft of devices and access to data by third parties. Unregistered devices will be blocked after an appropriate notification period. The obligation of Government to uphold and protect the right and property of citizens would be enhanced through the use of this system to monitor theft devices, prevent their use for terrorism, scams and other forms of cyber- related crimes.
ii. The Safer Digital Ghana Awareness Programme by the Ministry is being implemented by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to create awareness of digital risks and to educate the citizens on cyber hygiene practices. The programme focusses on sensitising children, the general public, businesses and government agencies on cybersecurity issues and preventive
measures against such threats therefore equipping them with the needed information to secure their digital expe- rience.

iii. We are also in the process of introducing a comprehensive Cyber security legislation and establishing the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) to regulate the digital ecosystem in Ghana. The Cyber Security Authority (CSA) will monitor the implementation of cyber- security standards and ensure that all digital devices and services (whether locally developed or imported) meet minimum cyber security stand- ards across government and the private sector. The Ministry, through the CSA shall be responsible for Cyber security Research & Development to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and threats in the use of existing digital communication devices. This will aid in sensitising the public on the blacklisted brands and devices to avoid.

iv. The National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Security
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Member, do you have any follow-up questions?
Mr Boamah 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
This is a general Question, so the Answer appears to be very exhaustive. Otherwise, I am willing to admit further questions.
It appears that you have exhausted all the follow-up Questions. Hon Minister, thank you for attending upon
the House to answer the Question. You are discharged.
At the Commencement of Public Business, Hon Majority Leader, Presentation of Papers.
Mr Moses Anim 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we would take the item numbered 5 (a), and it would follow accordingly.
PAPERS 12:04 p.m.

Mr Anim 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I humbly request you to allow the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to lay the item numbered 5(b) and continue with the rest.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon Deputy Minister, you may lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Minister.
By the Deputy Minister for Finance (Mr Charles Adu Boahen on behalf of the Minister for Finance) --
Mr Anim 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I ask your leave to allow a Member of the Committee, Hon Bogyako-Saime, to lay the Paper on behalf of the Hon Chairman who has been indisposed. I duly consulted the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee and he says the Report is ready.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Leadership of the Minority, do you have any objection to a Member laying the Paper on behalf of the Hon Chairman?
Mr Sampson Ahi 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as the available Leader now I can say that we do not have any objection to the request -- [Interruption.] I can have an objection. I have already stated that I do not have any objection to it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Hon available Leader, be an available Leader, please -- [Laughter.]
By Mr Patrick Bogyako-Saime (on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee) --
Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Petroleum Commission for the year
Report of the Committee on Mines and Energy on the Budget Performance Report in respect of the Ministry of Energy for the period January to December 2017.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe we can take the item numbered 6, the Motion, but before that, I would like to make an observation.
You called the available Hon Minority Leader, and my Hon Colleague, Mr Sampson Ahi, rose up and responded. He is not the available Minority Leader.
An available Minority Leader would be part of the Leadership of the Minority who would be in the Chamber. He is not.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
Yes, available Minority Leader? [Lau- ghter.]
Mr Ahi 12:04 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, we would die together.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
What did you say?
Mr Ahi 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I am saying that the Hon Majority Leader is out of order -- [Laughter] -- because we have long passed that stage. He should have raised it when I stated that I was acting as the available Leader.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, after I had just spoken, you still re-stated the designation, “Yes, available Minority Leader” and he rose up again. He is continuing the breach, and the serious impersonation must be attended to. If he is doing this in the Chamber, I wonder where else he cannot do this breach -- [Laughter.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
It is all right; I have heard all the objections.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:04 p.m.
I am curtailing the discussion.
Hon Majority Leader, I am upholding his objection that your right to object has been overreached.
Item numbered 6, Motion. The Hon Second Deputy Speaker would take the Chair.
MOTIONS 12:04 p.m.

Chairman of the Finance Committee (Dr Mark Assibey- Yeboah) 12:04 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Finance Committee on the Annual Report on the Management of the Energy Sector Levies and Accounts for the Year
  • ESLA 12:14 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:14 p.m.
    Hon Members, any seconder?
    Mr John A. Jinapor (NDC -- Yapei/Kusawgu) 12:24 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion ably moved by the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee. By so doing, with your permission, I would make my observations.
    Mr Speaker, this is the third year running that we have collected levies under Act 899. As the Hon Chairman of the Committee rightly said, section 6 of the Act requires the Hon Minister to submit the outturns of the previous year to this House. Therefore, what we are doing is in accordance with the provisions of Act 899.
    Mr Speaker, in 2016, ESLA accrued a total of GH¢3.256 billion. In 2017, it accrued GH¢3.155 billion,
    and in 2018, GH¢3.190 billion. This means that over the past three years, cumulatively --

    This means that, over the past three years, cumulatively, this levy accrued close to GH¢10 billion into the account.

    Mr Speaker, I am happy that today, the debate of whether this levy was a nuisance or not has been brought to rest. There is ample evidence that it was a good decision; it has come in to help, and it would continue to help.

    Mr Speaker, the other issue I would like to clarify is that, if we read the ESLA prospectus that was presented to investors as well as the 2017 Annual Report on the Management of ESLA and Accounts, clearly, the debt at the time was not GH¢5.2 billion as was presented by His Excellency the President.

    Indeed, if we look at the document itself, the debts confirm GH¢9.3 billion, which was equivalent to about US$2.4 billion. So, it is important that we set this within the right perspective so that the people of Ghana would understand exactly the debt we were confronted with.

    Mr Speaker, specifically, I break the whole Act into four main areas — one being the portion for the Road Fund, one being the portion of the Energy Debt Recovery Levies, out of which 32 per cent ought to go to the Energy Debt Service Accounts and then 68 per cent goes to the power generation and infrastructure sub- accounts, the third one has to do with the Price Stabilisation and the Recovery Levy; and the fourth major one has to do with the Energy Fund.

    I look at them from these four broad categories because that is basically what the Act seeks to consolidate by taking into account existing levies and some new ones, and then finding a way to regulate them.

    Mr Speaker, beyond these, there are other levies such as the Special Petroleum Levy and some other levies. I think the time has come for us to find a way of consolidating all so that we could account to this House properly.

    I am happy with the new method that we have adopted where anytime we pass an Act establishing a levy, we make it mandatory for the Hon Minister to come back to this House and report on the outturns so that the people's representatives could manage and determine what goes on.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:24 p.m.
    Hon Member, is it GH¢250 million?
    Mr Jinapor 12:24 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, it is GH¢250 million.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:24 p.m.
    It is GH¢250 million because you have been using dollars and cedis interchangeably.
    Mr Jinapor 12:24 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am referring to GH¢250 million and I am guided by your intervention.
    Mr Speaker, if we take the 2018 report on the accounts and we do the analysis, if we look at paragraph 77, page 30 to be specific, it tells us the close balances in the various accounts.
    In that account, we have a net amount of about GH¢600 million, but the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy cannot be used to pay for these debts. The Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy has its objective. So, when we discount that, we are left with only GH¢288 million in that account.
    Mr Speaker, I raised this issue because we had about GH¢10 billion to raise. In 2007, when the Ministry went to the capital market, they raised, today as we speak, about GH¢5.6 billion. It means that we have about GH¢4 billion sitting in the books which has not been catered for.
    Out of the about GH¢6 billion that has been raised, we ought to start paying the principal from years five, six and seven. That is the seven-year one. Then, the ten-year one, we ought to do it from years seven, eight and nine.

    Mr Speaker, I have done the calculation. In the fifth year, we would pay 30 per cent of the principal; in the sixth year, we would pay 35 per cent, and in the seventh year, we would pay the remaining 35 per cent.

    This means that we would have paid off the amount. So, we ought to accrue some money in an escrow so that when we get to that period, we would begin to pay.

    At this pace, when we get just about GH¢100 million into that account, on the average, I am certain that by the time we get to that year, we cannot pay the principal component.

    I am certain that by the time we get to that year, we would be compelled to roll over because in the fifth year, we would pay GH¢720, milion; in the sixth year, we would pay GH¢840; and in the seventh year, we would pay another GH¢840.
    Mr Jinapor 12:34 p.m.
    Clearly, from what we have witnessed here, we cannot pay that money. So, the purpose of establishing this levy is being defeated. It is a major issue for us as a House.
    In addition to that, the GH¢4 billion is accruing interest. So if we use the 19 per cent that we got as the coupon rate and we take the present value of GH¢4 billion and compound it over the seven-year period, using the rate of nineteen per cent, we would get a future value of about GH¢13.5 billion.
    So, clearly, the energy sector is going down, and this is a major issue that all of us ought to be concerned about. We ought to deal with this matter in a comprehensive manner. Other than that, by the tenth year, we cannot even pay the loan we took to retire the GH¢6 billion; but then, the GH¢4 billion would then have accumulated, and we simply cannot deal with that.
    Mr Speaker, so this is a major issue for us to deal with. What the Hon Chairman said about the Price Stabilisation and Debt Recovery Levy is a major factor for us. Article 174 of the 1992 Constitution clearly states that it is only Parliament that can institute or establish a tax or levy; and it is only Parliament that can vary it.
    The Hon Minister for Energy has no business determining that he wants to suspend or increase it. Even the reason they gave is untenable. At the time we suspended the Levy, crude oil prices were lower than they are today. Today, crude oil prices are higher than they were at that time and yet, we have re-instated the levy. So, it is neither here nor there.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to plead that this House ensures that its authority and mandate is not usurped by any Hon Minister. The Hon Minister has no mandate to do so. If he believes that the Price Stabilisation and Debt Recovery Levy is irrelevant, he should come to this House and do the proper thing, and we would help him to take it off.
    Mr Speaker, another issue of concern has to do with the Energy Fund. The Energy Fund was specifically instituted to accrue money for the Energy Commission; one, to run the Commission's activities and two, to ensure that we roll out the solar roof-top project so that we could have 200 megawatts of energy taken off the system.
    Mr Speaker, as I speak to you now, out of GH¢35 million, the Energy Commission was given only GH¢13 million. So, today, that flagship programme, which was captured in the 2016, 2017 Budget
    and 2018 Budget clearly remains defeated. The programme has come to a standstill, and nothing is being done about it.

    Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Minister should take a second look at this and ensure that the Energy Commission receives a chunk of this money in order to roll out that Project.

    My final issue has to do with the infractions by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).

    The law mandates that the Public Lighting Levy and National Electrification Scheme Levy, which are three per cent and five per cent, respectively ought to be paid into a designated account. The Ministry of Energy is mandated to use that money to expand electricity.

    Mr Speaker, GH¢88 million of that money was not paid. The utility companies keep appropriating that money to themselves and they do not pay it. It is a clear violation of the Act, and I think that we have to take concrete steps to ensure that they

    respect this provision. If the Ministry had this money, it means that we could have expanded electricity.

    It is, therefore, not surprising that over the past two years, the rate of access to electricity under this Government is just 0.5 per cent; when previously, we did between four per cent and five per cent. Clearly, this is a major issue that we cannot just allow to pass.

    Electricity tariffs have just been increased, and were implemented yesterday. These tariffs capture part of the levy.

    As I speak, today is the 2nd of July and the Reckoner, which is the official Gazette would tell you how much we would pay at the end of the month and how much we would pay based on our consumption, so that if we are cheated or not billed properly, we can appeal but it has not been published yet.

    Yet, PDS and other companies have begun implementing the increase. This is a serious infraction. I therefore call on the Hon Minister for Energy to ensure that as a matter of urgency, the Reckoner is published imme- diately so that we can determine whether consumers are billed properly or not.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:34 p.m.
    The Leadership has submitted a list of those who are to contribute, and I have four from each Side of the House. I am told that the last name here for and on behalf of the Minority has been withdrawn, so the Minority now has only three. So, there is room for one Hon Member from the Minority Side to be included, unless you decide otherwise.
    So, I move on to the Majority Side, and the first name on the list is Hon Anthony Effah.
    Mr Anthony Effah (NPP -- Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa) 12:34 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. Overall, the energy sector levies have supported the management of the
    sector significantly, given the revenue that has been raised from the various levy sources.
    Altogether, in 2018, there was a total collection of GH¢3.19 billion from the various sources, and the details are provided in table 3 of the Report.
    What is very encouraging for us to know as Ghanaians is that the various amounts collected were adequately and properly lodged into the established accounts, and the evidence is given by the percentages of the collections that were actually lodged into these accounts.
    In the case of the Energy Debt Service Account, 98.75 per cent of the amounts collected were actually paid into the accounts.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:34 p.m.
    Hon Member, I see your Colleague on his feet.
    Hon Richard Acheampong?
    Mr Richard Acheampong 12:34 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague on the Floor is misleading the House. He said that collections from the energy sector
    were adequately lodged into the various accounts, which is factually incorrect.
    If we turn to page 7 of the Committee's Report, it says about GH¢88.74 million was not lodged into the account. These are the issues we are talking about, so how could he say that all the collections were adequately lodged into those accounts? This is the Hon Chairman's own Report, so let us deal with it as it is.
    Mr Effah 12:34 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think that my Hon Colleague did not listen to me properly. What I said was that a significant portion of all the collections were paid into the relevant accounts, and I gave percentages to show how much of each collected amount was lodged into the account for utilisation. I would like to go over that.
    The Energy Debt Service Account received 98.75 per cent of the total collections, and the Power Generation and Infrastructure Support received 99 per cent of all collections. These moneys were lodged into the accounts.
    Under the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Account, the Report records a 100 per cent lodgement
    into the account. The overall lodgement accounted for about 99.1 per cent. If I said that significantly, the amounts of money collected were lodged in the relevant accounts, I do not believe I was wrong.
    Mr Speaker, generally, of the lodgements that were made to the specified accounts, the first portion of the debate was on the established accounts, which generally gives us 99 per cent received in that account.
    Under the Specified Accounts, out of the actual collections of GH¢1.56 billion, a total of GH¢1.488 billion was lodged. About 94 per cent of all collected moneys went into the Specified Accounts.
    What that tells us is that the management of the energy sector levies were properly done if they have achieved up to 94 per cent. In some reports, the collected amounts and amounts lodged into the Specified Accounts could just be about 30 per cent or 34 per cent.
    So, achieving 99 per cent for the established accounts and 94 per cent for the specified accounts is commendable and we should commend the managers of the Fund for doing that.
    Mr Effah 12:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have all the details on the utilisation of the Energy Sector Levies in the Report; but essentially, a significant portion went to ESLA Plc. for managing the debt of the energy bias State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
    It also supported in providing subsidies for premix and residual fuel. The Road Fund also received sufficient funds to do some road maintenance. The Energy Commission, particularly, had enough resources to run their affairs.
    This simply means that the revenues, as collected, have had some positive impact, notwithstanding the fact that about GH¢88.74 million was not accounted for. I have taken note of that as one of the shortcomings in the Report. Institutions such as VRA, ECG and NEDCo did not have the mandate to withhold GH¢88.74 million.

    In that regard, I agree with Hon Richard Acheampong for drawing the House's attention to it. It was not permitted that VRA, ECG and NEDCo should withhold these moneys, that were supposed to be paid into the specified account for utilisation.

    Mr Speaker, the energy sector debt continues to grow, as it has been highlighted in the Report, and this is of concern to the House on how we could manage that.

    There is a proposal that the Ministry of Finance may have to raise a second bond to pay off the legacy debt, so that we would not have a big accumulation of new debts to warrant issuances and to make it very expensive to manage or to take away the benefits of the levies that we collect.

    Mr Speaker, all in all, this is a very useful source of revenue for the Government, which would help us pay some of the legacy debts and also would help the Energy Commission to undertake its mandate.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Motion.
    Mrs Della Sowah (NDC -- Kpando) 12:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to start by saying that, it appears we are not meeting our targets. The target set was GH¢3.5 billion; however, we were only able to make GH¢3.19 billion which indicates that there was a short fall in the expectation.
    With regard to the variance in some of the programmes collection and the actuals, if we take the price stabilisation and the recovery level for example, there was a variance of 65.5 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Jinapor spoke about the Ministry of Energy without recourse to Parliament suspending the levy for a period. We must respect the law. This Government talks a lot about the rule of law but they flout the law with impunity.
    I agree with the Hon Chairman of the Committee's recommendation that the Hon Minister for Finance should come to the Floor of the House quickly to correct the illegality.
    Mr Speaker, how could the Hon Minister for Energy sit in his office unilaterally and decide to suspend the levy, when the drafters of the Constitution, in their wisdom, have stated that such things should be a collective decision.
    The people of Kpando must hear me respond to the Question “aye'', then they would know that we all collectively agreed to the suspension of the levy. However, in this case, the Hon Minister unilaterally suspended the levy and the result was a 65.5 per cent variance.
    Mr Speaker, again, there was a shortfall of nearly 46 per cent in the Public Lighting Levy and the National Electrification Scheme Levy also recorded a 44 per cent shortfall. No wonder the Hon Jinapor said that this present Government has only been able to add about 0.5 per cent to the National Electrification Expansion Programme. This means that people in my community, Sovie Tornu, Avega, and Debi Debi are still tax- short from the national grid.
    Mr Speaker, I also want to comment on some of the reasons stated for the shortfall in the collections. It talked about a reduction in the electricity tariff, and the lower recovery of electricity bills.
    Mr Speaker, sometimes, metres are installed and up to two years, the customers do not receive bills. How could the PDS be profitable when bills are sent to customers after two years of installation? No mention was even made of the fact that there is erratic power supply, but it only said that people are shifting to renewable energy.
    Mr Speaker, the variation is 46 per cent, and solar energy in Ghana today is about two per cent. What accounts for the huge variation? People are not comfortable with the electricity grid because of the erratic nature.
    Mrs Della Sowah (NDC -- Kpando) 12:54 p.m.
    PSRL levies in the price build-up were GH 0.53p, GH 0.51p and GH 0.47p, respectively. This equates to 13.6 per cent for the price of petrol, 13.1 per cent for the price of diesel and 12.1 per cent for the price of
    Mr Speaker, for example, these same levies, as a percentage of the price of petrol, diesel and LPG at the end of June, 2019, have declined to 9.8 per cent, 9.4 per cent and 8.7 per cent, respectively.

    Clearly, Mr Speaker, since the levies are the same, we are facing a situation where, as a percentage of the fuel price, fuel prices have gone up and the currency has depreciated, and these levies have declined in value.

    Mr Speaker, I would like to remind the House that some of these legacy debts that we are servicing with these funds are basically dollar- denominated ones. So, we are generating lower and lower amounts of levies but servicing debts that are dollar-denominated. This means that our ability to service these legacy debts declines over time.

    Mr Speaker, in fact, the 11.7 per cent increase in consumption of fuel

    products that we experienced in 2018 was all negated with the decrease in the value of these levies by the 9.8, 9.4 and 8.7 per cents, respectively.

    Given this experience, I believe the time has come for us to review some of these levies and to hopefully adjust them for inflation to keep up with any currency depreciation or inflation. This is in order for us to continue to address the legacy debts within the sector and ensure that we continue to pay them down in order to eliminate them entirely.

    Mr Speaker, with regard to the ESLA debts in particular and the GH¢5.6 billion worth of bond that was issued, it is entirely for this reason we have not been able to issue the additional bonds to service the balance of the Energy Sector debt. The revenue flows that we are generating from the levies have not risen in accordance with inflation and currency depreciation.

    As such, we have not been able to issue additional bonds to service the remainder of the debt. However, it is not all the remaining debt that incurs interest. A lot of these legacy debts issued were supplies that were accounts payables and receivables that were not paid and had become debts.
    Mr Edward A. Bawah (NDC -- Bongo) 12:54 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate. Before I continue, it is important to acknowledge that from the previous contributors and what they have indicated in their contributions, one thing is very certain that the minds behind the establish- ment of the Energy Sector Levies Act were great minds.
    These were people who foresaw the challenges that we had and felt that it was important to do this. Today, we all attest to it through the submissions we are making in this particular debate.
    Mr Speaker, it is also important to state -- If you look at paragraph 2 of page 3 of the Annual Report of the Management of the Energy Sector Levies and Accounts for the Year 2018, with your permission, I quote:
    “The levies [we are talking about the Energy Sector Levies] were imposed under the Act to effectively manage the hard core liabilities of Energy Sector State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), promote investments in the sector, support road maintenance and the activities of the Energy Commission, without constraining the National Budget.”
    Mr Speaker, my emphasis is on “managing the hard core liabilities of the Energy Sector State Owned Enterprises (SOEs)…” -- These particular liabilities are what we have popularly called the legacy debts.
    There has always been this confusion; people equate legacy debts to debts accrued by Mahama in his four years or Mahama-Mills in their eight years. So, sometimes, one even hears high level government functionaries create the impression that this particular liability, the legacy debt, was occasioned by the John Mahama Government.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to put on record that when we talk about these legacy debts which are supposed to be US$2.4 billion and not US$5.2 billion but was stated by the President in Canada, this particular debt was occasioned by the fact that, since 1992, we have had a situation where beyond just the debts that have been incurred by the energy sector utilities, we have situations where even subsidies of government have not been paid.
    We have a situation where, for example, when we had a regulated petroleum market, they would increase fuel prices, say X. Labour union decides to agitate and government says, let them pay X-1; I would pay that differential but it does not. From 1992 until President John Mahama left office, we accrued these debts.
    It was only under H.E. John Mahama when he decided to put a stop to this and see how we could ensure that we stop the bleeding and at least give these energy entities some level of financial health to move forward. Unfortunately, it would interest you to note that even post that situation, we seemed to be creating even more problems that we set off to solve.

    Mr Speaker, the whole idea was that, this whole GH¢10 billion, equivalent of US$2.4 billion, would have been sorted out under the ESLA for five years even though the current Government decided to increase it to ten years. Today, if we look at the total debt that is owed by Government itself to some of these utilities, it is beginning to be a bit frightening.

    Mr Speaker, as we speak today, Government owes Karpowership Ghana Company Ltd an amount US$150 million. Government owes ENI Ghana Exploration and Production Ltd alone US$160 million -- [Interruption.] It is important for them to know that we started producing gas in 2017, so when they ask me, “Na who cause am?”, they should know who caused it.

    Government owes the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) an amount US$162 million. If we put the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) together, Government owes them about a billion dollars. If we take just the Ghana Gas Company Ltd, Government owes them about US$735 million.

    Mr Speaker, so if we have a situation where we are trying to solve one problem that has lasted over years
    -- 12:54 p.m.

    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 12:54 p.m.
    Hon Member, please, may we listen to the Hon Member for Ledzokuku.
    Dr Boye 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, respectfully, this is a House of records. I am very impressed with the figure the Hon Colleague has mentioned, but I wish we could know the source, so that we would know that we are on a safe path.
    I am most grateful for the opportunity, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, the source of your information?
    Mr Bawa 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, luckily enough, I am an Hon Member of the Committee on Mines and Energy. As part of our job, we are supposed to look at the financials of the various utilities. The sources can be found in that. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, it is important to put it on record --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, I did not hear the source.
    Mr Bawa 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I indicated that the source is from the financial reports of the utilities -- [Interruption] --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, the financial reports found in what document? We should just mention the document.
    Mr Bawa 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, when I used the word financials, what I mean is the annual reports of the various utilities that have been submitted to the Committee on Mines and Energy -- [Uproar] -- as part of our job.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Members, he has disclosed the source; the annual report of the utilities.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee?
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is now that he has been clear about his source. Earlier, he said he was a Member of the Committee on Mines and Energy. [Interruption.] He was the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry -- [Laughter.] I saw his former boss, Hon John Jinapor.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    So, is his boss the source? [Laughter.]
    Mr Bawa 1:04 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I am happy that my boss got up and supplied some of the pieces of information.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, who is your boss?
    Mr Bawa 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my former boss and now, my Hon Colleague, Hon Jinapor.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to put it in a particular context. We know that if we look at the energy sector, we cannot contemplate the option of making it a constraint to our economic development. The only way we can do it properly is to ensure that it is healthy.
    That was why Ghanaians agreed that they would levy themselves some amounts of moneys to accrue the necessary fund to pay off the indebtedness. Unfortunately, we are even trying to accumulate more. It is just a word of caution to the managers of the sector, particularly, Govern- ment to look at it properly.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, please your Hon Colleague is on his feet.
    Mr Addo 1:04 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I know that heckling is part of parliamentary process and if somebody is making a contribution and he is heckled, it is part of the process.
    So, I am at a loss as to how my Hon Colleague on the Floor could say that I do not speak and I keep heckling --[Interruption.] Maybe, he has not been coming to Parliament all the time, therefore he can say anything that he wants -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, I did not get the point you raised.
    Mr Addo 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member made a statement against my person. He said I do not speak. [Laughter.]
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:04 p.m.
    Hon Member, until you stood up, I did not know whom he was referring to. [Laughter.]
    Mr Addo 1:04 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was a comment and I responded to it.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, I know that you contribute to debates. I have heard you speak on a number of times on the floor of the House and so, I do not think that that reference could be you. I do not know why you are ascribing to it yourself -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Addo 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I made the comment and he looked at me directly in the face and retorted. [Laughter.] -- I will not sit down for this man to say what he is saying. On a serious note, I do not think he is in a position to tell me that I do not contribute. I want to tell him that if he thinks that he can say anything, anyhow, I do not speak like that.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, he might have looked in your direction and not in your face. I thought -- [Interruption.] Hon Member, please, the point of order I
    thought you would raise was on the language and not ascribing it to yourself.
    However, you have now become emotional and forgotten about that and identified yourself as the person being referred to. This was actually unknown and anybody reading the Hansard would not have known the reference.
    So, Hon Member, in Parliamentary debate, you do not use that language in reference to any Hon Colleague or group because that is definitely unparliamentary. So, you may withdraw that aspect and continue.
    Mr Bawa 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I take guidance from what you have said and I withdraw it. Obviously, my Hon Friend should not take offence because I was actually not referring to him.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, it is important for Hon Members to know that when you are on the Floor debating and issuing, you are actually the House and speaking to the Speaker and not to your Hon Colleagues.
    So, the language was in reference to me and not to any Hon Member of Parliament. Do not commit the same offence again by referring to any person. Please, you may continue.
    Mr Bawa 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your guidance -- [Interruption] --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you have given the appropriate direction on this, but if all of us are sitting down and an Hon Member rises up to interject in a way, and an Hon Member on his feet tells that person that; “Sit down, you do not speak”.
    Mr Speaker, it can only reasonably apply to the person who had gotten up and not to any other person. I am happy that you are saying that even in this, personal allusions should not be made. You address issues and do not attack personalities.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to believe that my Hon Colleague will take a cue. He has said he has taken a cue, and I hope that he will continue on that new trajectory.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, take that on board and just continue.
    Mr Bawa 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Speaker, the point I was trying to make was that it is important that as we make efforts to ensure that petroleum products are affordable to consumers, we should not be seen to be breaking the law.
    That particular spirit is found on page 4, paragraph 8, bullet numbered 4. You will realise that an amount of GH¢245.68 million was used in paying for premix fuel subsidies and it is still the same line that I talked about, that the law specifically talks about subsidy for liquefied petroleum gas and not any of the petroleum products.
    So I believe that going forward, we should see how we can correct some of these mistakes and ensure that this very good law that was put in place by the erstwhile government is properly implemented and the proceeds from this particular Act are properly utilised.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah?
    Now, in his absence, we will listen to Hon (Dr) Boye.
    Dr Bernard O. Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku) 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity. Let me

    quickly say that it is a fact that this Government, right in the year 2017, through the Budget Statement on 2nd March, reviewed the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent and subsequently, introduced an amendment Bill in the year 2018 to further reduce it to 13 per cent.

    Mr Speaker, this cannot be a government that anyone can describe as deceptive when it describes the Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) as quite burdensome for Ghanaians.

    I think that it is important to also mention that changing the amendment from an ad valorem rate to a specific tax rate reflected in a downward trend in terms of prices.

    Mr Speaker, just to answer a few issues raised by an Hon Colleague on the other Side. Hon John Jinapor raised the issue of capping that the Road Fund received GH¢1billion in the year 2016 and had it not been for the capping policy, we would not have received GH¢600million in the subsequent year.

    It is important to mention that any amount capped is not used outside the jurisdiction. You do not run a country in bits and pieces; it is a whole system

    and the capping policy is an Executive decision which is intended to ensure that we are able to run a government that produces a vibrant economy and creates job opportunities for all.

    It is also important to remind my Hon Colleague that it is not only the capping policy that has brought challenges to the Road Fund; there was serious borrowing that was done against the Road Fund.

    Those at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) will tell you that it was over 30 per cent interest rate that encumbered greatly the Road Fund. The issue is not about which policy is reducing inflows; it has to do with how to make sure that we get more inflows to come into the Fund.

    Mr Speaker, it is true that the Hon Minister for Energy in the year 2018 actually suspended the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy. That is true. It is also true that we had to let go of GH¢270 million. What we have not addressed our minds to is the opportunity cost of this decision.

    There are mining companies that closed down because of the high rates of electricity prior to the coming of this Government. Have we asked ourselves how many businesses are still in operation as a result of this

    particular decision? We have businesses that are surviving because rates became affordable, and that is not in any way to say that I accept an Act which is not within the confines of the law. I agree with that.

    When the Committee met, we all agreed that that was not within the power of the Hon Minister but it is also important for those who read the Bible to note that, Jesus Christ healed someone on the Sabbath day and they put a question to him why he healed on a Sabbath. He asked them if it was good or bad.

    Mr Speaker, most of the people complaining were saved extra cost when it came to buying of fuel, but today, they are conveniently talking as if they decided to pay our rates.

    We agreed that that should not happen anymore; if an Hon Minister wants amendment, he or she should come to Parliament but the opportunity cost is also there. Many businesses are surviving because of that decision.

    It is also important to raise the issue about the presence of the ESLA and whether we are justified for having raised issues about its introduction when it came the first time.
    Dr Bernard O. Boye (NPP -- Ledzokuku) 1:14 p.m.
    All we said was that it is not only under recovery that is leading to challenges when it comes to funding gap. The quality of management and Executive decisions also have an impact on what happens in the energy sector.

    Mr Speaker, we had a situation in this country where even with the installed capacity we had, we were still signing power purchase agreements to add to the installed capacity, yet we could not fuel some of the plants that we had. Mr Speaker, that is why upon coming into Office, this Government had to do a renegotiation on most of the PPAs so that we could save some money.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, I see Hon Jinapor on his feet.
    Mr Jinapor 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, Hon Dr Boye is grossly misleading this House.
    Dr Boye 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if my Hon Colleague is patient enough to listen to the arguments, he would appreciate what I am saying. Mr Speaker, I am bringing our minds to the point that there are many factors that lead to the gap in funding in the energy sector. One of such factors that we cannot take out is the quality of both management and Executive decisions.
    If a government invests hugely in building installed capacities when there are challenges with fuelling existing capacities to generate then there would be issues with liquidity. A lot of money would be used to pay people
    who have available power, but we are not in a position to take. Mr Speaker, so my Hon Colleague should be patient and listen.
    Mr Speaker, I would come to another important point.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, once again the former Hon Minister for Power is also on his feet.
    Dr Kwabena Donkor 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member must appreciate the fact that if adding to installed capacity is what creates the debt situation that we have then the current attempt at elongating the Karpower and Aksa Agreement would even worsen the situation that we have on the ground.
    Therefore I would kindly advise him to restrict himself to what is in the Report and not to extrapolate on issues that he might not be fully briefed on.
    Mr Speaker, thank you.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, I think that Dr Boye was responding to some issues that were raised early on. What you have just mentioned is anticipating what would happen in the future and our Standing Orders is definitely against anticipation.
    Hon Member, but take on board the same argument that you raised early on concerning the debt. If you do not have the installed capacity, then you would not have the generation capacity. Now, we are taking credit for the export of electricity to other countries, so take that too on board.
    Dr Boye 1:14 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is not the first time that I am being confronted strongly on this point.
    Respectfully, let me put it in very simple words. For instance, if we are a country with demand for electricity of say 2,000 megawatts and it would move to 2,500 megawatts in the next 10 years, yet we currently have a capacity of 2,500 megawatts and we add about 3,000 megawatts, then the point I am making is that the funds we are using to add capacity could have been put into the management of what we have already so that power would be available.
    Mr Speaker, and the quality of the decision would have an impact on the availability and supply of energy. This is a simple point.
    Mr Speaker, the last but one point that I would want to make is that, it is effortless to just increase levies. This Government could have brought
    an amendment to increase the levies and close the gap, but why is that not being done?
    That is not being done because we appreciate that there are many factors that contribute to a funding gap. If levies would have eradicated the debts then we should not have been here, but we would need to manage the many other factors well so that this country could be saved from the persistent issues of funding gaps in the energy sector.
    Mr Speaker, one recommendation that both Sides of the Committee accepted gladly is the urgent need to implement the cash waterfall mechanism. This was a policy that is to make sure that when PDS collects the tariffs, they would not keep all to themselves.
    So all those who take part in the collection process would receive a percentage. This is to make sure that they are all liquid -- I can see the Hon Ranking Member looking at me; he is more knowledgeable in this field. Mr Speaker, but the basic intent behind the policy is to make sure that the current practice where PDS would collect the tariff and the others would have to wait until disbursement would be brought to a halt.
    Mr Speaker, I think that it is important that the Ministry of Finance
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:14 p.m.
    Hon Member, also take on board that it is not just an issue of affordability
    and availability. It is also the issue of willingness to pay and that is very important.
    It could be made affordable, but the people would not be prepared to pay because of their state of minds. So, as politicians, we would need to work on the state of minds of Ghanaians.
    We would now listen to Hon Mutawakilu and after that the Hon Chairman would wind up.
    Mr Mutawakilu Adam (NDC -- Damango) 1:34 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to support the Motion.
    First and foremost, I would address some few issues with respect to the Special Petroleum Tax. I heard the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance say that it has been changed from ad valorem to specific tax. I also heard my Brother, Hon Dr Boye, say that it has been reduced from 17.5 per cent to 13 per cent.
    Mr Speaker, I think that we would need to put the records straight; the Special Petroleum Tax was introduced when the price of petroleum products dropped drastically far beyond the benchmark revenue or far below the benchmark price that was quoted in the budget.
    That meant that there would be a shortfall in terms of funding from the oil revenue from our oil project and so we needed to get revenue to augment that deficit. This brought about the Special Petroleum Tax and at that time, the Minority Side then said that it was a nuisance tax and when they come into Office they would take it off.

    Mr Speaker, God being wonder- ful, during their term, up to date, the international crude oil price is far above the benchmark price quoted in the 2019 Budget Statement.

    That means that they are getting more revenue than anticipated. Therefore we did not even need the Special Petroleum Tax to be in our books, for which reason moneys were taken from Ghanaians. This could have translated to about 10 per cent reduction in fuel prices, but we are being denied that opportunity.

    Mr Speaker, I also realised that my Colleague, Hon Okoe Boye, had some issues with installed capacity and excess capacity that he mentioned. Every Government has a projection of what he would want to achieve in terms of rural electrification.

    The annual demand of the country, for instance, if it is 10 per cent, there are other derived demands like that of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) where we have the Port lines.

    When you are entering power purchasing Agreements, you take into consideration these projections. We all know that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, under former President John Dramani Mahama, had made a policy decision that by 2020, we should have 100 per cent access to electricity.

    To be able to undertake this, we must plan this vis-à-vis the plans we bring on board to ensure that we achieve this goal. That is why between 2008 and 2016, access to electrification increased from 55 per cent to 83.24 per cent.

    All other things being equal, it was anticipated that by 2020, we would have had 100 per cent access. So, this excess capacity would have been one of those elements that would facilitate the rural electrification.

    However, at the assumption of power by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President Nana Akufo- Addo, the policy of 100 per cent access to electricity by 2020 has been changed to 2030.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:34 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Whip?
    Mr Moses Anim 1:34 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we would want to allow the debate to flow, but the Hon Member is bundling some figures all over; debt of ECG of about GH¢300 million. We would want to know the source. If he could give us the source and table them as well, because he cannot bundle those figures without giving any source.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:34 p.m.
    Hon Member, I thought you were going to raise an issue of repetition. We were there before and those numbers were raised and the issue you raised about the source was also raised whereby the source was brought to the attention of the House.
    So he is just repeating, and I thought you were going to draw his attention to the regulation on repetition but not to take us backwards.
    So Hon Member take that on board.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in paragraph 5.12 of the Report, they indicated that, to be able to resolve this accumulation of debt is the implementation of the cash waterfall mechanism. This did not solve foreign exchange losses. The cash waterfall mechanism is to ensure proportional distribution of the collection and not necessarily settling any debt.

    I understand why since 2017, when President Nana Akufo-Addo in the State of the Nation Address mentioned categorically that he would implicate cash waterfall, up till date it has not been implemented, because it is not the solution to the accumulation of debt.

    Mr Speaker, if you take the Report, on page 22, we have a refund from BOST. It indicates that in 2016, an amount of GH¢181 million was given to BOST in terms of strategic stock to ensure that in case of difficulties, when we have challenges in the supply of refined crude, we would rely on it.

    As of 2016, we had a strategic stock of eight weeks. However, the Report did not indicate as of 2018 what strategic stock we had.

    Information and documents provided to the Committee by BOST indicate that, as we speak today, we do not have strategic stock in place, and that is sad for a country like Ghana with a strategic entity like BOST, without any strategic stock.

    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I urge the House to adopt the Report.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, you may now wind up.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    In 2017, the levies were reduced. As a matter of fact, the Public Lighting Levy was reduced from five per cent, likewise the National Electrification Scheme Levy, which was also reduced from five per cent to two per cent.
    This was done to ease the burden on the Ghanaian taxpayer. In the face of all of these, street lights have been provided. As a matter of fact, every Hon Member of Parliament has got street lights from the Ministry of Energy.
    Mr Speaker, all of this has happened even though the rate of the levy has been lowered. This is instructive. The levies have gone down, but Government has still been able to provide street lights, and I know that in our constituencies, a lot of the dark alleys have now been lit. I commend the Government for this.
    Mr Speaker, the Cash Waterfall Mechanism was not the panacea to the energy sector problems. As a matter of fact, it began under President Mahama. The idea was mooted under President Mahama, so no one has argued that the Cash Waterfall Mechanism is going to solve the energy sector problems.
    It was the Hon Minister who intimated it, and as a matter of fact, in the recommendations provided in the Report, it has not been stated anywhere that the Cash Waterfall Mechanism is going to solve the problems in the energy sector.
    We have indicated that if the issues in the sector are not addressed, there is the potential of returning to the dumsor era. We have stated this categorically in the Report.
    Mr Speaker, the Committee recommended to the Ministry to re- instate the Price Stabilisation and
    Recovery Levy (PSRL) that was withdrawn, and I am happy to report that the PSRL has been re-instated. That was an illegality that we were not going to condone. It has been reversed, and I applaud the Hon Minister for his efforts.
    Mr Speaker, ESLA Plc is doing well, even though the initial bond issuance was about GH¢4.7 billion. Only last week, ESLA bought back about GH¢430 million of the bonds, so in their lock-box account, the moneys there have been utilised to buy back some of the bonds.
    So when Hon Jinapor expresses concerns about amortising these in the fourth, sixth and seventh year, we are already buying back some of the bonds. The burden of the amortisation in the fourth and fifth year and so on is not going to be as huge.
    So as indicated in the Report, the Ministry is being urged to issue at least a billion cedis worth of new bonds --
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, just a minute.
    Mr Jinapor 1:44 p.m.
    On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman mentioned my name. We are debating this Report. It comes from a parent document of three Reports. The parent document gives a breakdown of what has been done so far.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    I thought you were going to ask for the source of his information so that we could now crosscheck to see the veracity or otherwise of the information that is being given to, not just the House, but the whole country.
    I think the Hon Chairman is right in drawing our attention to it, if that is the situation now, which would avert the issues that you have raised.
    So Hon Chairman, you may go on.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, on page 11 of the Report, it is stated that there is a balance of GH¢326.6 million in a lock- box account.
    This is a lock-box account of ESLA Plc. In accordance with conditions stipulated in the prospectus, which he earlier referred to on the usage of proceeds, the ESLA PLC is to set up this lock-box account. I am saying that only last week ESLA Plc bought back bonds with the money sitting in the lock-box account, so the lock-box account is referred to in the Report, and I am only providing new information that have become available.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, we have that relationship with you, but you are not talking to him alone. You are talking to the whole country, and so he should
    have asked for the source of your information and not contest the information without knowing the source.
    That was what I said, so go on and wind up.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:44 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, my son is even in the gallery.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:44 p.m.
    How would I know your son is in the gallery? [Laughter.] It is not an issue here. I have stated clearly in your support, that as the Hon Chairman you have access to current information, and that is what you are giving, so if he doubts it, he should ask for the source.
    Dr Assibey-Yeboah 1:44 p.m.
    So Mr Speaker, I think it is a good thing that Parliament asks that the Hon Minister for Finance annually reports on the Energy Sector Levies and Accounts.
    The Committee would continually peruse these reports and offer suggestions where necessary.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:54 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have had a very good debate on this issue so I would put the Question.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:54 p.m.
    Hon Members, we have a few minutes left. I would want an indication from the Hon Majority Leader, as to what is next. If there is any other Business to consider, then I would go back to our Standing Orders and ask for extension. If not, then we would do the needful.
    Mr Moses Anim 1:54 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the committees have meetings slated for today. Looking at the work done so far, I beg to move, that the House adjourns till tomorrow at 10. 00 in the forenoon. I so move.
    Mr Second Deputy Speaker 1:54 p.m.
    Hon Members, the Motion for adjournment has been moved. Any seconder?
    Mrs Comfort D. Cudjoe- Ghansah 1:54 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:54 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.57 p. m. till Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, at 10.00 a.m. in the forenoon.