Debates of 29 Jul 2019

PRAYERS 10:55 a.m.


Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Hon Members, we would correct the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 26th July,
Page 1…5 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Ho Central?
Mr Kpodo 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was in the House on Friday, and you could remember I led the debate, but my name is not in the list of Hon Members who were present.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well, the Table Office will take note and make the correction.
Page 6, 7, --
Dr K. Afriyie 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I duly signed for and asked permission to be absent for official duties, but I have been listed among the Hon Members who were absent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well, the Table Office will look at it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Okere?
Mr Botwe 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I also asked permission to be absent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Once you make sure that your approved documents go to the Table Office, they will make the appro- priate corrections.
Page 7, 8 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Donkor 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was absent with permission, but my name came in the list of Hon Members who were absent.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well, the Table Office will take note.
Page 8…11 --
Mr Ablakwa 10:55 a.m.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker.
On page 10, “Agence Francaise de Developement”, the spelling of ‘developement' is wrong; it is ‘developpement'. Being a House of record, could that be corrected to be sure we are dealing with the same agency?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Page 11…22 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Dr A. A. Osei 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, sorry to take you back to page 10; I thought the Hon Member for North Tongu would make that correction, but he did not. Line 3 of the last paragraph, “Agence Francaise de Developpement of up…” it should be ‘up to' not ‘up'.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well; the Table Office would take note and make the appropriate correction.
Hon Members, subject to the corrections made, the Votes and proceedings of, Friday 26th July, 2019 is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, there is an Official Report of Thursday, 3rd July, 2019.
Any corrections?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for North Tongu?
Mr Ablakwa 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Column 2707, Table 2, item
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Any further corrections?
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr O. B. Amoah 10:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Column 2787, item (ii), Referendum (Approval of Bill to Amend Article 55 of the Constitution) Regulations, 2019 -- I think it is in order.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:55 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, the Official Report of Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019 as corrected, be hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Ms Safo 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we could take item numbered 8, which is a Motion, as agreed at the pre-Sitting meeting between the Leadership.
If the Minority would indulge us, let us go to item numbered 8.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that was what we agreed, that we could accept the Second Reading of this important constitutional amendment, particularly since the House is full today and we are mindful of the numbers with respect to the amendment of a non-entrenched provision.
So Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in agreement.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ben Abdallah Banda) 11:05 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with Order 81 of our Standing Orders, I rise to associate myself with the Motion ably moved by the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present your Committee's Report. I would crave your indulgence and seek your
permission to effect a few corrections in the Report. 1.0 Introduction
1.1The Constitution (Amend- ment) Bill, 2018 was laid in Parliament on 20th February, 2019 by the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka in accordance with article 291(1) of the 1992 Constitution.
1.2Consequently, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Council of State for consideration and advice in accordance with article 291(2) of the Constitution.
1.3Following this, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamen- tary Affairs for consideration and report pursuant to Order 179 of the Standing Orders of the House.
2.0 Deliberations
The Committee met with the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Hajia Alima Mahama, the two Deputy Ministers of the Ministry and State Attorneys of the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice to consider the Bill. The Committee expresses its profound gratitude to them for their assistance.
3.0 Reference Documents
The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:
i. The Constitution of the Republic, 1992;
ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament, 2000;
iii. The Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) as amended;
iv. The Constitution (Amend- ment) Bill, 2018; and
v. The Advice of the Council of State in respect of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
4.0 Background Information
4.1 Ghana's local government system, as we have today, has gone through a number of legal and structural reforms introduced by successive governments.
4.2 The State is enjoined to take appropriate measures to make democracy a reality by decentralising the administrative and financial machinery of government to the regions and districts and by affording
all possible opportunities to the people to participate in decision-making at every level in national life and government (article 35)(6)(d). Chapter Twenty of the 1992 Con- stitution of Ghana and the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), as amended, provide the system of local government and administration which, shall as far as possible, be decentralised.
4.3 Per the provisions of the existing legal regime, all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Exe- cutives (MMDCEs) are appointed by the President with the prior approval of at least two-thirds majority of members of the Assemblies present at the meeting held for that purpose. This is provided under article 243(1) of the Constitution which states:
“There shall be a District Chief Executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.”
4.5 In recent years, majority of Ghanaians have raised concerns about the mode of appointment of MMDCEs. The main concern has been that the appointment process continues to deny the people the

opportunity to elect their own MMDCEs at the district level, thereby making MMDCEs less accountable to the people. This is supported by findings contained in the Report of the Constitution Review Commission, 2011 and the published survey of National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) in 2015, which indicated 69 per cent of persons surveyed preferred elections of MMDCEs.

The 2017 Afro-barometer Survey released by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) also indicated that about 69 per cent of Ghanaians want MMDCEs to be elected through Universal Adult Suffrage.

4.7 In furtherance of the above, His Excellency the President, has also reiterated his campaign promise by disclosing in his 2018 and 2019 Messages on the State of the Nation Address that the Government plans to take the necessary steps to ensure that the election of MMDCEs is done by universal adult suffrage.

He stated that after extensive consultations with Leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), opinion Leaders and past Presidents,

they all agree that this is the time to elect MMDCEs.

5.0 Purpose of the Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to amend clause (1) of article 243 of the 1992 Constitution to provide for the election of District Chief Executives by universal adult suffrage in the districts.

6.0 Observation

The Committee made the following observations during its deliberations:

6.1 Rationale for the Amendment

The Committee acknowledges the concerns of majority of Ghanaians against the current mode of appoint- ment of MMDCEs in the country as evidenced by the Report of the Constitution Review Commission 2011, and the 2018 Afro-barometer Survey.

6.1.1 The appointment mechanism has been said to deny persons under the jurisdiction of these administrations the opportunity to be actively involved in the coming into office of MMDCEs.

6.1.2 The appointment mechanism fails to make MMDCEs accountable to the people under their jurisdiction, which has significantly impacted on the

participation of people in local governance.

6.1.3 The amendment is therefore intended to place the coming into office of MMDCEs in the hands of the local people to engender accountability of local government authorities and empower the people to effectively participate in their governance.

6.1.4 The proposed mechanism is further expected to strengthen the country's democratic governance and enhance accountability at the local government level, as provided under article 240(2)(e) that: “to ensure the accountability of local government authorities, people in particular local government areas shall, as far as practicable, be afforded the opportunity to participate effectively in their governance.

6.2 Necessity for further amendments

The Committee acknowledges ongoing processes to amend other provisions of the Constitution to give full effect to the proposed amendment. For instance, the Committee notes that the Bill to amend article 55 (3) of the Constitution is ready for a Referendum in December 2019.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr Ben Abdallah Banda) 11:15 a.m.
people the opportunity to choose their own leaders.
ii. It will fully democratise the local government system.
iii. It will make MMDCEs more responsive and directly accountable to the people.
iv. It has the potential of guaranteeing security of tenure for the MMDCEs; once elected, MMDCEs are assured of a four (4) year term just like Members of Parliament (MPs).
v. It will minimise the perceived tension and acrimony between MMDCEs and Members of Parliament (MPs).
vi. It will break the winner take- all syndrome in Ghana's politics.
vii. It will facilitate development through the implementation of key projects and pro- grammes in the Medium- Term Development Plans (MTDPs) of MMDAs to enable MMDCEs fulfil their development promises to the people to enable them to be
retained in the next MMDCE elections.
viii. It will provide the required security of tenure necessary to insist on medium to long- term local development.
ix. It will facilitate compliance with international best prac- tice in democratic gover- nance.
x. It will create opportunity for very competent persons to stand for elections as MMDCEs.
xi. It will reduce incidence of having unpopular candidates appointed as MMDCEs leading to some misguided people forcibly removing or chasing out MMDCEs after the President has nominated them under the current system.
However, those against the direct elections of MMDCEs are wary of the separation of powers at the local level especially when the government at the local level is different from the government at the national level.
7.0 Commencement
7.1The Committee agreed that a new clause on commencement should be inserted in the Bill as follows:
“Commencement — This Act shall come into force after the holding of Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2020 and in accordance with clause (1) of article 246 of the Constitution”.
7.2 The Committee agreed that it was appropriate for the operation of the proposed legislation to commence in the year 2021 due to:
a. the constitutional imperative under article 246 (1) that Assembly elections and elections to Parliament should be held at least six months apart; and
b. the term of office of the current MMDCEs is officially due to end in 2021 as provided under article 246(2) of the Constitution.
7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
7.1After critical examination of the provisions of the Bill, the Committee
is of the considered view that the passage of the Bill will provide for the election of MMDCEs in the country.

7.1In that regard, the Committee acknowledges ongoing processes to amend other relevant provisions of the Constitution to complete the process for the election of MMDCEs in the country.

7.3 The Committee therefore recommends to the House to adopt this Report and to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in accordance with articles 289 and 291 of the Constitution.

Respectfully submitted.

Question proposed.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:15 a.m.
Hon Members, in accordance with our rules, a debate would arise on the principles of the proposed amendments.
Hon Members, I would therefore start by inviting the Hon Member for Asawase, who is the Minority Chief Whip; Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 11:15 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 11:25 a.m.

Mr Speaker, even now, with the election of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Assemblymen, we are virtually running elections throughout the four years. Why am I saying this? Mr Speaker, after the election of MPs, barely a year after that, we would start the process of electing the Parties' polling agents, executives, whether in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party (NPP). This then culminates into the election of regional executives and after that we start with the Assemblymen.

I would like to urge that when we are going to have this election let us do well to put it together with one of the two major elections that we have; either we put it together with the election of MPs or we put it together with the Local Government elections so that the cost of electing people into office in our country, would be minimised. Either than that, if we allow it to stand alone, what it would mean is that we would spend State resources to elect MPs and then, after just about a year later, we would have to pool resources just to elect MMDCEs and then, we later come and elect the Local Assemblies representatives.

Mr Speaker, therefore with these comments I would like the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice to give it a second thought: one, on which of them should come first, the article 55, which is entrenched and whose referendum is coming off in December this year, or this one? And two, the comprehensive nature of the amendment that should encompass the criteria of who qualifies, so that we could take advantage of the lapses that we see in the criteria of electing a Member of Parliament. Let us take advantage of this so that we would get it once and for all.

Mr Speaker, with this comment, I would like to say that I support this amendment, but not now.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Joe Ghartey?
Hajia Alima Mahama -- rose --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Minister, you were supposed to even second the Motion but you did not rise so, you are on the list provided here and not that one.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Ms Safo 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with the list we provided for the Majority Side, Hon Joe Ghartey would be the last to speak on our Side. So, per the list was Hon Abdallah, who had seconded the Motion, so we would move on to the next on the list and Hon Joe Ghartey would speak last.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
-- [Uproar] --
Ms Safo 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development would summarise, having heard all the contributions. -- [Uproar] --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Order! Hon Members, Order! -- [Uproar] --
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, your conclusion is that the Hon Minister should now take her turn, is that right?
Ms Safo 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development would speak, but on the list, we would move onto the next Member on the list. Hon Hajia Alima would speak instead of the Majority Whip. So, let us go onto the next list; having heard every argument that has been made, then the Hon Minister for Local Government and
Rural Development would then speak after Hon Joe Ghartey.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Iddrisu 11:25 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this House respects Hon Ministers and Minister-MPs. And we are discussing the policy principles on decentra- lisation. The President's appropriate advisor on matters of decentralisation is no better person than Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Hon Hajia Alima. -- [Hear! Hear!] -- Therefore, to say that she would sum up, what would the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice be doing? -- [Uproar] --
Mr Speaker, this is a major constitutional amendment, so accommodate her, and as many people as you may want. You could add onto the number; we would keep to the four. But, at least, once we have an Hon Minister of State rise in this House, you know the practice. Other than that — Mr Speaker, I hear people yelling, I would go into the history of this constitutional amendment.
Even when it came to this House initially, it was a memorandum signed
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Hon Members, please, we have very little time today; let us not spend so much time on this.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I would work according to your list as amended.
Ms Safo 11:25 a.m.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Just to draw the attention of the Hon Minority Leader to the fact that we cannot compile his list for him and in the same way, we have compiled the list and have indicated to Hon Hajia Alima who is the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, that we have arranged it such that as seniormost, she would speak to conclude and sum everything up. The Hon Minority Leader cannot tell us how to compile our list because we have not compiled their list for them. -- [Hear! Hear!] --
Mr Speaker, Hon Hajia Alima is on our list and she would speak but
as to when she would speak, cannot be determined by the Hon Minority Leader. We are starting our debate with Hon O. B. Amoah and then, Hon Joe Ghartey would speak; after that, Hon Hajia Alima would speak.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:25 a.m.
Yes, Hon Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development?
Mr O. B. Amoah (NPP -- Akuapem South) 11:35 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to support the Motion on the Floor. In doing so, I would like to put this whole exercise in the right perspective and the right context.
Indeed, the NPP, since 2000 has always advocated that we want MMDCEs to be elected. That is how come we had it in our manifesto in 2000 and we had it again in our manifesto in 2016.
Now, the good people of Ghana, having given us the mandate to run this country, we are fulfilling a manifesto promise of getting the MMDCEs elected. That is how come we have gone through the constitutional process and the Bill is now at the Second Reading stage.
Mr Speaker, indeed, we have to distinguish between article 55(3) and article 243(1). Article 243(1) gives power to the President to appoint MMDCEs with the prior approval of two-thirds of the members of the assemblies. Article 55(3) says that political parties could sponsor candidates to any public elections other than district level or Local Government elections.
Now, the Government, led by President Akufo-Addo, has through a Bill, decided to show to the people of this country that we are committed to this exercise of getting MMDCEs elected.

Article 243(1) should be amended so that the President would no more have the power to appoint MMDCEs.

In giving out this power, we have outlined the merits of such a position. Apart from the fact that what we call power sharing in the sense that we know in this country that no one particular party has the majority in every district, it means that the President who has been given the power to appoint 260 MMDCEs would cede that power to the election of MMDCEs, so that the people

would decide who should be their Chief Executives.

Obviously, when this happens, power would be shared. This is just one aspect of all the merits that we could think of -- some people say that it would bring more accountability because that is what the Constitution provides. This would even breed grounds to train people who would want to take up the reins of Government.

Mr Speaker, a lot of merits have been mentioned in the Committee's Report. On page 4 of the Report, it says:

i. It would promote local democracy by affording local people the opportunity to choose their own leaders.

ii. It will fully democratise the local government system.

iiii. It will make MMDCEs more responsive and directly accountable to the people.”

iv. It will guarantee the tenure of office of the MMDCEs; at least for four (4) years.'

Mr Speaker, the rationale behind bringing the Bill to this House for amendment before a referendum is the fact that this Government wants to
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon Member, please, wind up.
Mr O. B. Amoah 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we have been given the power under article 243 (1) that once we amend it -- because it is not entrenched then the entrenched part is the work of the electorates under the referendum and it is very stringent.
Mr Speaker, I believe this is the best way to go about it and indeed, if in our respective manifestoes, all the political parties said that we wanted MMDCEs to be elected, then this is
the time to show that we are committed to what we said in our manifestoes. This is not the time to go back and say that the Referendum should be done first -- then we are telling the whole world that it was a gimmick. But if indeed, we believe that this is the way to go and we have endorsed it not only in our manifestos, but at various fora through political party leaders that this is the way we want to go, we should proceed from there and not create the impression to the world that we are giving with the right hand and taking with the left hand.
It would not make us look sincere nor give that impression that indeed, we want this process to go on.
Mr Speaker, as far as I am concerned, this is the time to show the way and tell the people that by stating in our manifestoes and by proclaiming to the whole world at various functions which include the major workshops by the Catholic Bishop's Conference where the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) endorsed this process, we should not be seen to be going back; otherwise, our sincerity would be in doubt.
Mr Speaker, I entreat all Hon Members here to support this Motion
rose rose
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Bawku Central?
Alhaji I.A.B. Fuseini (NDC -- Tamale Central) 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Hon Member for Bawku Central, you are number three on the list.
Hon Leader, you guide me and then you misguided me by your actions. So, who do you want me to -- ? [Interruption] --
Very well, Hon Inusah Fuseini?
Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini (NDC— Tamale Central) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this important Motion before this House and to state without
any equivocation that the Minority supports the attempt to have District Chief Executives elected.
Mr Speaker, this is a matter that is not only limited to the 2000 and 2016 manifestoes of the NPP but engaged the Minority NDC in deep thought and consideration because of the ramifications of such amendments. So, when the Hon Member who just spoke sought to create the impression that the Hon Minority Chief Whip is not in favour of electing District Chief Executives, then, I think that he missed the point.
Mr Speaker, it is important to state why we think that Government should not be engaged in cherry-picking. What we are doing presently is what could best be described as cherry- picking because an amendment of article 243(1) has consequences not only on article 243(1), which is second to be amended but article 243(3) as well.
Mr Speaker, one would ask whether when the Motion of amendment was being crafted, the sponsors of the Bill forgot that an amendment of articles 243(1) will affect article 243(3). Not only that, an amendment of article 243(1) will affect articles 246(2) and 246(8). What is more disturbing is that this gamut of articles are part of the articles that could be amended in this House.
Mr Speaker, if the argument is that, because they need time and space to conduct a referendum and that is why they are seeking to cherry-pick article 243(1), why have we not considered the possibility of amending this?
Mr Speaker, the importance of conducting the referendum before this article is circumscribed in our Constitution. Article 1 of the Consti- tution states and with your permission, I quote:
“The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of govern- ment are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in the Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, it is because of the potential attempt to circumvent the rules laid down that is why this Constitution provided for certain provisions of it to be entrenched.
Mr Speaker, this Side of the House, as I said earlier, supports the amendment, except that, while supporting the amendment, we have to draw attention to the fact that when elections are conducted on partisan basis, one would have to take care of how we will ensure inclusiveness.
How do we ensure inclusiveness? Indeed, I hear somebody say, “Can you imagine?” The very foundation of disturbances in this country has been premised on notions of exclusiveness. So the local government architecture was put in place to promote inclusiveness and to provide opportunities for everybody to be part of the system of administration of this country.
Mr Speaker, how do we create -- [Interruption] -- I am saying exactly what I am saying! That in seeking to fulfil a presidential or political party promise made to the people of this country, this Government under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should not close its eyes to the dangers that might come as a result of political partisanship in the district assembly elections.
Mr Speaker, more so, we must not forget the minority-majority dicho- tomy in our various constituencies and localities. Having said this, the Constitution underwent a constitu- tional review which clearly is not a new idea by H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The consti- tutional review that was put in place by H. E. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills which delivered its Report on the 20th December, 2011 clearly recommen- ded that it was important to move the Constitution from a political lineage to
Minister for Railway Develop- ment (Mr Joe Ghartey) (MP) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, since 1957, every intervention either constitutional or by the military in our methods of governance has sought to concentrate more power in one person or in a group of people.
Mr Speaker, I would want to refer you to article 55 of Part X of the 1960 Constitution which gives special powers to the first President. I do not want to read it. There are four clauses; they gave the first President the power to, by Legislative Instrument, exercise all the powers of Parliament. So, by Legislative Instrument, if the first President decided that it was in the interest of
the country to change an Act of Parliament, he could change that.
Mr Speaker, it states and I beg to quote 11:55 a.m.
“(2) The first President may, whenever he considers it to be in the national interest to do so, give directions by legislative instrument.”
Mr Speaker, the effect of those directions is an Act of Parliament. I do not want to talk about the military interventions because in those interventions, power was con- centrated in about 12 hands.

Whether those 12 people were liberators, redeemers and sometimes, provisional, which spent about 18 years -- concentrated power in a few hands. This is the first time in the history of our country that a person who has power is relinquishing the power. — [Hear! Hear!] --

Mr Speaker, article 58 of the Constitution --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Ahmed Ibrahim.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Railways has made a serious claim that this is the first time in the history of this country that a person who has power is relinquishing the power.
Mr Speaker, I would want to state clearly that the Hon Minister is misleading this House because if he cares to know, the power to appoint even the assembly members was the first Act that the President took upon himself by amending the Local Government Act (Act 936). President Mahama relinquished the power to terminate the appointment of assembly members. President Nana Akufo- Addo took it back by amending Act 936 and that was the first Act he amended in this Parliament.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Members, order!
I do not know whether I should rule in accordance with the rules or allow it to stand as part of the drama. I think that it should be allowed as part of the drama?
Mr Ghartey 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have great respect and liking for my Hon Friend on the other Side, but I am talking in the realm of the Constitution. I am talking about relinquishing power by constitutional means; I am talking about overthrowing the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, article 58 of the Constitution which is also the article that we seek to amend, gave the President the power to appoint Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). We must bear in mind that under our current constitutional dispensation, all Bills emanate from the Executive. This is not a Private Members Bill; the President has come today to say that he is giving the power back to the people.
Mr Speaker, in fact, whether the cart should come before the horse or the horse before the cart -- I would want to remind Hon Members on the other Side the words of one of their most illustrious sons who was the former Chairman of their party, Dr Kwabena Adjei who I have great respect for. Mr Speaker, he said famously that “there are many ways to kill a cat” and the most important thing is that we want to kill the cat.
Mr Speaker, I beg to read two provisions in the preamble of the Constitution. “The Principle that all
Mr Ghartey 11:55 a.m.
powers of Government spring from the Sovereign Will of the People.” This was repeated to some extent in article 1 which goes on to say that we believe in “the Principle of Universal Adult Suffrage,” What this means is that the Constitution itself contains some contradictions.

Mr Speaker, I would use the Ghanaian English “they should let me land” before they commence. Yes, every single political party must have an interest in all these elections. The fact that we do not have party colours does not mean that we do not have an interest. In fact, it would be hypocritical not to have an interest. That is why we must first go by this step of removing that power of the

President; accept the offer by the President and give that power back to the people. Mr Speaker, today we are conduit, and if we all do not support this Bill then we are standing against the people because the President wants to give power back to the people and we are refusing that.

Mr Speaker, I do not know why they are shouting because I did not say it wrongly. I am surprised. Indeed, I have not heard a single Hon Member of this House say that he or she is against it. So, why the uproar? Or is the uproar in support of the Motion?

Mr Speaker, I would just continue and conclude. We were told that it has provisions dealing with appointment but it does not have provisions to deal with removal. I would want to assure my Hon Colleagues on the other Side that there are several articles in this Constitution which are not complete. For example, the provision on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) -- even though it is quite comprehensive in Chapter 15, there is also an Act which gives further provisions. So, the question about removal could be addressed in an Act.
An Hon Member 11:55 a.m.
Mr Ghartery 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is asking how? When he reaches there we would show him how. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I would also refer my respected Hon Colleague and Friend, Hon Fuseini, to page 16 --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
I had determined not to allow interventions, but when an Hon Leader is on his feet, I would recognise him.
Alhaji Muntaka 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, ordinarily, I would not rise on a point of order against Hon Ghartey, but the fact of the matter is that he said that the removal could be by an Act of Parliament. I would want to tell him that he is grossly misleading the House because the removal of the MMDCEs is in the Constitution and so if it must be amended, then it must be amended together. We should not amend the provisions on appointment, but say that the provisions on removal would be in an Act. This is misleading.
Mr Ghartey 11:55 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Hon Minister, let me rule him out first. This is a point of debate and you have argued your point. If you have a point
of debate please give it to another Hon Member, but if it is a procedural intervention I would allow it. That is why I am ignoring all the Hon Members who are on their feet.
Mr Ghartey 12:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would continue. I would not yield, but be steadfast and say what I want to say.
Mr Speaker, I beg to refer the House to clause 6(2) of the Bill which envisages other amendments by saying that there is the necessity for further amendments. I would repeat what Dr Adjei said: “There are many ways to kill a cat”, and we are killing this cat by doing this amendment and then we would look at other amendments also. So, when I say to my Hon Colleague that we could further amend by an Act of Parliament that has already been envisaged by the Committee. So, if he had read the Report by the Committee he would not raise a point of order.
Mr Speaker, I know that today is a busy day and so I would conclude with just one point. We were told about the cost of democracy; it is expensive and it costs money. I could not agree with him more, but what is
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Bawku Central?
Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:05 p.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
I think the consensus in this House is that we amend our Constitution to provide that District Chief Executives
(DCEs) be elected into office. From the Report of your Committee, it also appears that there is an agreement that further steps would be taken so that the election to District Chief Executive positions will or can be on the basis of partisanship with political parties sponsoring candidates. It does not appear to me that there is any dispute regarding the consensus on these two positions.
Mr Speaker, the only issue is that, once we agree on this, our actions must be seen to be geared towards achieving these two objectives. The argument I hear on the Floor of the House from the Minority is that it does not appear that, strictly speaking, in order to deal with the two positions that we have taken, amending article 243 first is the best approach. I am going to diverge a little to say that we could actually amend either of them first. However, to show that we are committed to the two approaches, which are whether DCES should be elected and that they should be elected on partisan basis, there is something that we ought to have done in this Constitution (Amendment) Bill,
Mr Speaker, this is because, if you look at article 55(3), it states, and with your permission, let me just quote for emphasis because you already know:
“(3) Subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units.”
Mr Speaker, however, this is not the only prohibition to political parties participating in district assembly elections or lower government unit elections. Article 248 almost repeats article 55(3), and it says that:
“248. (1) A candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit shall present himself to the electorate as an individual, and shall not use any symbol associated with any political party.
(2) A political party shall not endorse, sponsor, offer a platform to or in any way campaign for or against a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit.”
So, article 55(3) has been repeated in article 248.
Mr Speaker, if indeed, we are committed to this dual position that we should have DCEs elected and on partisan basis, then we should have started by amending article 248 at this stage. We should have amended articles 243 and 248. This is because, article 248 is not an entrenched provision. This should have been a dual amendment that should be taking place at this stage to show our commitment to both elections and also elections on partisan basis.
If we do not amend article 248 and subsequently amend by deletion, article 55(3), we would still not be able to carry out elections on the basis of political parties sponsoring candidates at the District Assembly level. That is not possible because article 248 would still stand in the way of political parties participating in sponsoring candidates at the District Assembly level. Mr Speaker, this is the argument.
So, while I agree that we could start with article 243, but then if we are committed to political parties' participation, let us add article 248 to the process at this stage before we even go to the referendum. There is a political bargain here. We in the Minority, support election of District
Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:15 p.m.

We are asking that they should also show commitment to this undertaking that we are making here by also adding article 248 to the amendment. If they did that, we would be clear from the outset that they are committed to a partisan supported District Assembly elections. This is the first point.

Mr Speaker, the second point is that we appear in our debate to be creating an impression that all we have been doing not having MMDCEs elected is necessarily a bad thing and it is not in tandem with democratic principles and values. The principle is that MMDCEs should be controlled by the people, and voting directly by the people would place them under their direct control. There is no doubt about that. It is a laudable objective.

Mr Speaker I hear arguments that majority should decide. This current arrangement is to curb the danger of majoritarian politics. Majoritarian politics in our multi-ethnic setting could be a dangerous threat to peace and stability. You may have districts with ethnic compositions. One of them might just be a majority all the time. What would happen is that, in a

parliamentary election, the Majority would always win and the candidate elected would be a member of a certain ethnic group.

When it comes to district assembly elections, it would be almost the same thing, but this current arrangement allows a president sitting in Accra to say there are three major ethnic groups in a particular district.

So if the Hon Member of Parliament is elected from one ethnic group to balance and ensure harmonious coexistence and progress, let me balance it by also nominating somebody from a minority ethnic group so that they can live harmoniously among themselves to ensure cohesion and unity especially in a multi-ethnic setting.

So it is not altogether a very bad thing even though, ideally, voting directly by the people is also of very high value for us. We support and encourage it.

Mr Speaker, thirdly, we have also argued -- and I just want to reiterate this point: we have to amend the Bill that has been brought to us and your Committee has made that proposal, which is a procedural question -- a constitutional issue. Can we in this Parliament, on our own amend and

add the Article 248. This is because there is a proposal by your Committee that we should amend the Bill to add:

“This Act shall come into force after the holding of Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 2020 and in accordance with clause 1 of article 246 of the Constitution”.

So your Committee proposing that a new clause on commencement should be inserted in the Bill as follows. That new clause relates to a completely different article of the Constitution.

The Committee recommends that we should add this new clause. So in effect, based on the recommendation of the Committee, we are amending the Constitution without going through the procedures that the Constitution has prescribed for amending it and article 291 states how the Constitution should be amended; how entrenched provisions should be amended and how non-entrenched provisions should be amended.

This is a non-entrenched provision and so for us to amend it according to the Constitution, it has to come here, go to the Council of State, the Council of State has to advise and then it would come back here.

Mr Speaker, if your Committee is saying that we should amend this Bill, have we referred it to the Council of State? Have we benefited from the advice of the Council of State? We have not. So on what basis are we going to be able to, on our own, just insert a clause amending a constitu- tional provision without having benefited from the advice of the Council of State?

This is a very serious matter that we should consider procedurally and Mr Speaker, you may give a ruling on that -- Whether on our own, we can just amend a non-entrenched provision by just introducing an amendment to a Bill?

Mr Speaker, I take a position that we cannot. This is because in the process, we would be denying the Council of State its powers and role in the amendment of a non-entrenched provision of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, let me reiterate the position of the Minority that we support the amendment to the Constitution to allow, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be elected by universal adult suffrage. We do support that but we also request that this should be doable with the sponsorship and support of political parties, given their strategic role in organising so that good leadership would emerge to run
Mr Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:15 p.m.

our country. If political parties are so important to be able to organise to determine who should be the number one person - the President, why should they not be involved in determining who should be the number one person in a district? It is equally very important.

Mr Speaker, on that note, let me support the statement but to caution on these constitutional issues that I have raised and to urge that the Hon Minister should reconsider some of the proposals, especially, those that the Committee has --
tutional issues that I have raised
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
We have heard you. It is a matter before us in the House. Once the matter is in our bosom, the Minister is --
Ms Safo 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member said, he was supporting the statement before the House. Mr Speaker, there is no statement to which he is debating.
Mr Speaker, there is a Motion on the Floor and that is what I want the Hon Member to advert his mind to; that we are not playing. This is a serious business we are doing. The Motion on the Floor, if he cares to
know, is item numbered 8 on the Order Paper.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Thank you.
Hon Member, I think you have concluded and I would call on Hon
-- 12:15 p.m.

Mr Ayariga 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was about to conclude in my support for the Motion ably moved by the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
As the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice moved the Motion, she made statements and so some of the statements were the ones that I was referring to.
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion ably moved by the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and to commend the Committee and pray that the House would adopt the Committee's Report.
Mr Speaker, election of MMDCEs is an issue that I think both Sides of the House have talked about and debated on. But for the Hon Member for Bawku Central giving me mixed guidance as to ethnicity and taking
care of minorities, I was under the impression that we are all in agreement that there should be election of MMDCEs.
Mr Speaker, the Constitutional Review Commission recommended that Ghanaians want to see their MMDCEs elected and indeed, the President of the Republic, H. E. Akufo-Addo appeared at the Constitutional Review Commission and made this statement.
Mr Speaker, both parties, in our manifestoes have indicated that we want to see our MMDCEs elected. So I would want to say that we are all in agreement with that and moving the Motion today should not deter us from concentrating on what we had earlier agreed to do.
In 2015, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) Report also indicated that 69 per cent of Ghanaians want to see their MMDCEs elected.
In 2017, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Afrobarometer Report indicated that about 70 per cent of Ghanaians want to see MMDCEs elected. So the present Government is listening to the people's request and we are seeking to meet the aspirations of the people by putting in place the amendment systems to allow for election of MMDCEs.
Mr Speaker, we have heard different people talk about the referendum, the cart before the horse or the horse before the cart? Indeed, election of MMDCEs is in a different area. Article 243 provides that the President shall appoint with prior approval of two-thirds majority of assembly members present and voting. Article 55(3) which was quoted, if I may refer to it, talks about partisan participation and parties sponsoring candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units.
Mr Speaker, it does not mention District Chief Executives. So let us think about it. In strict interpretation, we could have this referendum and one could still go to court to say that District Chief Executives are not affected by this article 55(3). This is because article 55(3) talks about District Elections and MMDCEs were not subject matter of district level elections. So we have to clear the ground and put things in place and situate it as an electable area.

So when article 55(3) is amended, then we would know that it covers MMDCEs, Districts Assemblies and lower units like the Unit Committees. Therefore, we cannot have a district
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (Hajia Alima Mahama) 12:25 p.m.


assembly that would have any other material other than elected under partisanship in article 55(3). If it is not amended and we go to strict interpretation in court, it may be said that it does not affect -- a president can still appoint DCEs.

Mr Speaker, we seek article 243(1) to be amended as a principle, that this House is committed to election of MMDCEs. We should send that clear message and signal to the Ghanaians that the House is ready for the election of MMDCEs. We would want them to go further in the next step in December, 2019 by voting a resounding, “yes” at the Referendum to allow us to have a partisan election of our assembly members, unit committee members and DCEs. It is a principle that we would have to adopt and move forward on.

Mr Speaker, article 243 talks about the removal of the DCEs. Definitely, if a DCE is elected, the President cannot remove that person because he is no longer the appointing authority.

We would get article 243 amended first and this lays in the bosom of this House and all the others would become consequential legislations.

Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip also indicated that because of cost and timing, we could have all the elections together. Let us advert our minds to article 246(1) of the Constitution that provides that district level elections must take place six (6) months after parliamentary elections. So we cannot do that now. If at any point in time the House is minded -- it is for discussions -- if that is the best way to go, then it would require an amendment of article


But currently, article 246 says district level elections and parlia- mentary elections should be six months apart. So, we are barred by that. It is what comes in the commencement phrase. It does not add to the Constitution. It is just to say that we are putting it on transitional measure. To say that we are amending

this, giving the signal to the people for the referendum. After the referendum, there are so many other constitutional provisions that we should amend. Article 242 which is about the appointment of DCEs is one of them, article 248 is also one and article 243(2) and (3) are on same.

Again, we would have a whole House discussion on how we want our MMDCEs to be removed. Should it be the same as Members of Parliament? And put in the right measures. It is not just a matter of deleting the President's removal or removal by two-thirds members of district assemblies. We would have to replace it because there should be a system where MMDCEs could be removed. So, there are a number of consequential legislations that would come in place.

Mr Speaker, about the sovereignty of the Constitution. We would recall that the Constitution was a text before we sent to the people to vote on in a referendum. We did not ask the people to vote on it when there was no text. So, the principle in article 243 is to be established, so that when we have our referendum, then we know that it now covers district assembly members, unit committee members and DCEs.

Mr Speaker, the referendum looks at partisanship, but article 243 looks at elections of MMDCEs. The concern is about one passing and the other one not passing. Well, if we pass this, we would have to go out and work hard and ensure article 55(3) is also amended in the sense that we would get our grassroots people to go out there and vote at the referendum and ensure that it is voted for.

The Referendum requires that 40 per cent must turn out and 75 per cent must vote, “yes”. That is a different field all together. So it is a signal that we are sending to the people that Parliament is ready. Let us send that signal out; I would appeal to all of us. Let us amend this law and send that signal out to the Ghanaian public that we have had 30 years of a decentralisation system and we have seen benefits of it.

We have spread development in our districts and our rural areas, but we would want to go the next step which is to fill-in that governance gap by providing for election of our MMDCEs to deepen democracy and enhance participation of our citizenry in our local government system.

We all know that the MMDAs have a functional relationship with our citizens at the local level than at the
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Yes, Minority Leadership?
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion ably moved by the learned Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice that article 243(1) of the 1992 Constitution be amended to allow for the elective principle of MMDCEs.
Mr Speaker, there seemed to be a national consensus which is in support of the elective principle. But we would need to appreciate two dimensions:
One, the history of decentralisation in Ghana is one that could be traced to the Local Government Act, 1988 (PNDCL 207). At the time that it was established, there were no political parties in Ghana because political parties were barred. Therefore we did not have the opportunity as a country to contribute to enrich that aspect of the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, we, on the Minority side I would want to refer to our Hon Colleagues, even though they have significant majority, they do not have the numbers constitutionally required without the cooperation and support of the Minority; they must know that. [Hear! Hear!] Therefore, I have advised them to engage and consult further, so that we could build a national consensus on this matter.

Mr Speaker, may I refer you to article 291 of the Constitution. I should probably begin with article 289 which provides for amendment to the Constitution. Article 289 (2) says:

“This Constitution shall not be amended by an Act of Parlia- ment or altered whether directly or indirectly unless --”

Mr Speaker, article 291 which deals with non-entrenched provisions

of the Constitution provides in clause (3) as follows:

“Where Parliament approves the bill, it may only be presented to the President for his assent if it was approved at the second and third readings of it in Parliament by the votes of at least two thirds of all the members of Parliament”.

There is therefore an onerous constitutional obligation, that you must reach out and engage for all of us to build national consensus on this matter. So when you yell and shout, we can help you defeat it if we do not support it.

Mr Speaker, however, anybody who believes in the devolution of power and believes in deeper decentralisation and accountability within the decentralised system would assert to the principle of an elected Metropolitan, Municipal or District chief executive.

Mr Speaker, while admitting that our politics can be ethnocentric and can pose a danger to minority groups, we need to find answers to resolve some of these issues, and more importantly, the matter of winner- takes all.

As people have researched, much of it has even contributed to acts of vigilantism and many of the chaos that we are experiencing today. This would cure that particular defect.

Mr Speaker, may I now refer you to your Committee's Report, in particular paragraph 6.2. The Hon Chairman of the Committee may want to note that in the Report he jumped from paragraph 4.3 to 4.5, to 4.7. When he is concluding he would have to make consequential corrections to the Report in page 2. In the headings, paragragh 6.3 where we have stakeholder consultation, he should add “s”.
Mr Speaker, paragraph 6.2 12:35 p.m.
if properly positioned, it reads:
“The Committee acknowledges ongoing processes to amend other provisions of the Constitution to give full effect to the proposed amendment. For instance, the Committee notes that the Bill to amend Article 55(3) of the Constitution is ready for a Referendum in December
Mr Speaker, this is my emphasis. Again, the State Attorneys of the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice informed the Committee that processes have already been initiated to further
Mr Speaker, paragraph 6.2 12:45 p.m.
institutional variation in local government in both the developing and the developed world is the issue of whether or not political parties have a place in local elections.
So in resolving this question, let us resolve the issue as a country, whether or not political parties have a role in local elections. In countries such as Cote D'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, they walk on the basis of partisanship. In Canada there is provincial government, but we may not have the same situation even with Uganda.
So we support the principle, and that is a major policy shift for our political parties.

It is consistent with the wishes of the Ghanaian people. I dare add that we support the elective principle, and support their election. We need to find answers to the winner-take all, but as was cautioned by the Hon Member for Bawku Central, in some cultures, some societies and some parts of Ghana, we may not be able to manage issues of representation, if other groups dominate the electoral process of the election of the DCEs. It could lead to political exclusion, which could

undermine the unity and cohesion of our country.

Mr Speaker, far reaching recommendations were made. In 1988, when the Local Government Act; PNDC Law 207 was passed, there were no political parties in Ghana, and therefore it does not benefit from this debate.

Mr Speaker, I would finally conclude on article 248. It provides and I state with your leave:

“A candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower government unit shall present himself to the electorate as an individual, and shall not use any symbol associated with any political party.”
Mr Speaker, it goes further in article 248 (2) to say 12:45 p.m.
“A political party shall not endorse, sponsor…”
Mr Speaker, as we do this clandestinely, and so must we accept it. To cure it, we should allow it to be done on partisan basis.
Mr Speaker, I would want to remind my Hon Colleagues that this is not an amendment, for which the Majority would be enough to walk away with, and that is why I read article 291 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Speaker, I have also referred to the Report of the Committee, which says other clauses such as article 243 shall also be amended. That is not known to this House, and it is not known to the Council of State. We could therefore not proceed further, when they have not come comprehensively to deal with article 243 (2 and 3), articles 247 and 248 and all the consequential amendments, which are all contingent on a referendum.
Mr Speaker, Parliament must remind itself that the people of Ghana have some responsibility to determine the referendum question on article 55 (3). It is only fair and proper that we defer to the referendum question, or add an additional question to the referendum, which question would be whether they would want a partisan local government system or not.
Mr Speaker, we therefore propose that an additional question at the referendum should not just be an amendment of article 55 (3), but there should be an additional question of whether the Ghanaian people accept election based on partisan lines or not. This is because in the Constitutional Review Commissions Report, majority of Ghanaians were in favour, and others were not.
Mr Speaker, to conclude, I would say that we do not find the amendment
to article 243(1) alone sufficient and adequate. It needs to be done comprehensively with the other provisions of article 243, and it must walk through the same elaborate constitutional process defined in article 291 of the Constitution.
Mr Speaker, the Ghanaian people should also be made aware that nobody on the Minority side is against the elective principle of MMDCEs. What we have said is that the Government should further engage or consult, otherwise, we would help them give the terminal keys to this proposed constitutional amendment. By refusing to go with them; it lies within our rights, but we should be looking at deeper accountability.
Mr Speaker, this would help to resolve the conflict between DCEs and MPs. When a person aspires for the post of an MP and does not attain it, he may decide to go and run for the post of a DCE, and that may minimise the conflict between DCEs and MPs.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. I believe that we have raised germane constitutional issues which need the appropriate response of the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:45 p.m.
Majority Leadership?
Majority Chief Whip (Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh) 12:55 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I rise in support of the Motion ably moved by the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Mr Speaker, to begin with, I believe that we all agree that our DCEs must be elected. Also, we all agree that they must be elected on partisan basis. There are two processes that have been set in motion to ensure that DCEs are elected, and more importantly, elected on partisan basis.
Mr Speaker, what is before us now, is an amendment to article 243 (1). The amendment to this article would make it possible for us to elect our DCEs, first by universal adult suffrage, and then a referendum. The referendum to be held in December would add flavour to it by ensuring that the people of Ghana agree to the proposal of amending article 55(3). This would enable us to elect our DCEs on partisan basis.
Mr Speaker, we seek to empower the people of Ghana. Ghanaians elect Presidents, and since 1992, they have
been doing so. Ghanaians have been electing MPs, they have been electing assembly members, and unit committee members; however, there is a gap.
One of the principal offices in our governance system, which is the DCE, is appointed by the President. Now, we have a consensus; we are agreeing with the President that such a provision in our Constitution should be knocked down. We would want to agree with the President that power should be given to the people, so that the deficit that we have in our democracy or governance, is addressed.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that all of us in this House are agreeable on those principles. All the political parties in the country also subscribe to the election of DCEs. Civil society organisations and well-meaning majority of Ghanaians support this exercise.
Ghana seems to be odd when it comes to the election of mayors, DCEs or local government chairpersons. We have become an island within the sub-region or in Africa. In almost all countries, DCEs are directly elected by the people. Ghana sees itself as a forebearer of democracy in Africa, but we have this deficit, which needs to be addressed.
Mr Speaker, Hon Colleagues on the other Side have raised issues on some of the articles in our Constitution, as to whether we are putting the cart before the horse, or the horse before the cart as the Hon Minority Leader alluded to.

Mr Speaker, if we amend article 243(1), then the power has been given to the people to elect. We would then go further to amend article 55(3) at the referendum by adding the introduction of partisanship into the election of the MMDCEs.

So we think that the sequence is to first introduce the elective principle and we then add universal adult suffrage; and we go on to enable political parties to participate in the process by amending article 55(3).

Mr Speaker, these articles or provisions in the Constitution; article 243(3), Mr Speaker with your permission, I read:

“The office of the District Chief Executive shall become vacant if —

(a) a vote of no confidence, supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the

members of the District Assembly is passed against him; or

(b) he is removed from office by the President; or

(c) he resigns or dies.”

Mr Speaker, the Committee has given indication that there are processes in motion to ensure that this provision and other provisions are amended subsequently. But Mr Speaker, if we amend article 243(1) today, and we say we have introduced the elective principle, what we must remember is that the tenure of office of all the District Chief Executives would end sometime in 2021.

If we amend this particular provision, what it means is that even if there is an errand Chief Executive and, if we pass the amendment today, between now until when their term ends, the President cannot change them. The District Assembly Members cannot also pass a vote of no confidence in them. That is why the amendment of such a provision must wait because now they are the appointees of the President and the President must reserve the power to terminate their appointment. If we take the power away from the President now, what it means is that between
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Majority Chief Whip, all these arguments have been made already, so just do the Lawyer's brief for me please.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, so for us, the sequence or the chronology is that we amend article 243(1) first; we amend article 55(3) to make it partisan; and then, all other prohibitive provisions in the Constitution subsequently follow.
Mr Speaker, in that respect, I support the Motion.
I am most grateful.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Members, there is no disagreement in principle; once we agree in principle, our responsibility as a group is to work together to ensure that what we agree on in principle does happen. But we agree that we would not put the Question today in view of the Hon Minister for Finance coming to read the Mid-Year Budget Review. So, I would defer the Question.
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I think you are right. At the pre-Sitting meeting, we agreed that given what we have to do today and the fact that we may have to run this through a secret ballot, it would take quite a while to complete the process. And because we have to have the Mid-Year Review of the Budget, we stand the vote down and possibly do it tomorrow or a day after.
But we have to have some discussions among ourselves on the way forward. Mr Speaker, having said that, we would stand the vote down and attend to the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much.
Question deferred.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, what next?
Ms Safo 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as the Hon Majority Leader indicated, the main reason for us assembled here is for the Hon Minister for Finance to present to this House the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana, which is the Supplementary Estimates.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance is with us in your Lobby and I assume that he would be walking in together with the Hon Majority Leader to present the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Iddrisu 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are ready for the Hon Minister for Finance. And I think that our focus should be on principal business of the Mid-Year Review of the Budget as we would want to know the state of
the economy and the state of Ghanaians through him.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Hon Members, Mr Speaker would take the Chair. -- [Pause.]
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Yapei Kusawgu, I thought you were on your feet to catch my attention?
Mr John Abdualai Jinapor 12:55 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I was on my feet to attend to a private call but —
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:55 p.m.
Very well, the next time you get on your feet, leave the seat.
-- [Pause] --
Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, any indication?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we are ready to take the Motion on the Order Paper Addendum, which is the approval of the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and the Economic Policy

of the Government of Ghana and the Supplementary Estimates for the 2019 Financial Year.

Mr Speaker, this Motion itself, has a little bit of a problem but it would be appropriately addressed at the end of the day. When a Mid-Year Review of a Budget Statement is brought to this House, it is for the information of this House and it really does not require the approval of this House. It is the Supplementary Estimates that would require the approval of this House. Unfortunately, it has been conjoined, so after the Motion has been moved, we would know the appropriate thing to do.
Mr Iddrisu 1:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the people of Ghana have been waiting.
The Hon Majority Leader is talking about procedure. What did they advertise? They quoted a figure for the Supplementary Estimates.
Mr Speaker 1:05 p.m.
Hon Members, the Motion on the Order Paper Addendum, by the Hon Minister for Finance.
Hon Minister for Finance, the Floor is yours.
MOTIONS 1:15 p.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 1:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House approves the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana and Supplementary Estimates for the 2019 Financial Year.
Mr Speaker, on November 15, 2018, I presented to this House the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2019 Financial Year.
I stand before you today to present the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy and a Supplemen- tary Estimates of Government for the 2019 Financial Year.
Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 1:15 p.m.

for this success is in fact, a shared one with the people we are elected to lead, serve and obey.

However, Mr Speaker, it must be stressed that we continue to face serious risks and challenges which we must, with the support of the people, tackle head-on.These risks and challenges combine to slow our efforts to improve with urgency, depth and discipline, the lives of our people, especially in the provision of public and social infrastructure, such as roads, community housing, schools, clinics, water and electricity. We believe that the accelerated progress which the people of Ghana desire and deserve will be better served if these risks and challenges are neutralised.

Mr Speaker, a 2019 report of the IMF, using Ghana as a case study, pretty much captures where our economy was and where we have taken it to over the past 31 months and the greater gains we are poised to make from the decisions we have taken as a result of the competence and discipline we have applied in implementing them.

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I quote from the very beginning of the Report:

“Ghana has been hailed as one of sub-Saharan Africa's success stories. It was the first to free itself from colonial rule in 1957. It built a stable democracy in the 1990s, overcoming decades of political upheaval. A thriving economy fuelled by exports of cocoa, gold, and — more recently — oil helped cut the poverty rate from 53 per cent in 1991 to 21 per cent in 2012. But by 2015, Ghana's economy was in trouble, hobbled by widening current account and budget deficits, rampant inflation, and a depreciating currency. Credit dried up as interest rates rose and banks' bad loans piled up. At the root of Ghana's woes was out-of- control government spending….In early 2015, Ghana turned to the IMF for a US$918 million loan to help stabilise the economy...”

The report goes on to highlight some of the achievements chalked over the past 31 months. With your permission, I quote:

“Ghana's economy is on the mend. The trade and budget deficits are narrowing. The pace of economic growth is poised to rise to 8.8 per cent in 2019 from 2.2 percent in 2015. The inflation rate is projected to fall to 8 per cent from almost 19

percent. Cuts to wasteful spending made room for much needed social services, such as free secondary education. For Ghana's 28 million people, it all adds up to higher incomes, better job opportunities, and more purchasing power.” https:/ / GHA/ghana-lending-case-study

Mr Speaker, true to our word, we have successfully completed and exited the IMF-ECF programme with the final review completed last April. We have had to make some difficult but necessary choices to correct the mistakes that forced the previous Government to seek an IMF bailout for oil-rich Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] We believe that the decisions we have taken so far will safeguard the long- term interest of the nation and our people and the President thanks the people for bearing with us. Economic management, after all, is about making difficult choices. It is about putting the national interest above sometimes populist, self-serving and short-term choices.

The shared successes achieved so far attests to the fact that, like the good stewards mentioned in the parable of the talents in the Bible, we have prudently utilised the very limited

To highlight the point, Mr Speaker, in a space of 31 months (from January 2017 to July 27, 2019), by reviewing contracts that were either sole- sourced or procured through restrictive tender, the Akufo-Addo Administration has made savings of GH¢2.75 billion (which breaks down to GH¢800 million in 2017, GH¢1.1 billion in 2018, and GH¢1.085 billion in 2019).

Mr Speaker, permit me to compare these savings made by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) under this Administration to what happened under the previous one, even though more contracts were awarded through sole sourcing and
Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 1:25 p.m.
restrictive tendering annually than any year under this Government. In 2013, savings registered was zero cedis. In 2014, again savings made amounted to zero cedis. In 2015, savings made totalled zero cedis. In 2016, again, the PPA made zero cedis in savings. When it comes to how taxpayers' moneys have been managed, the facts and figures, Mr Speaker, speak loudly. We believe it is very important that on days like this we show to the people of Ghana that this government, their government, the Akufo-Addo government, the New Patriotic Party government, your government spends the taxes you pay for your benefit and for the benefit of the collective. We consider the social contract between government and the people as a sacred covenant.

Mr Speaker, in each of the 57 or so Cabinet meetings we have attended in the last 31 months, the President has always been quick to remind us, to stress to us, his ministers, the urgency in meeting the needs and aspirations of the Ghanaian people.

Just last week, as we discussed the details of this statement I am reading now, the President reminded us that, in spite of all that we have managed to achieve so far, too many Ghanaians are still suffering and must be taken

out of poverty. He reminded us that we are certainly not there yet. That our efforts to confront poverty, fix our roads, provide community housing, support our farmers, protect the vulnerable, offer better conditions of service to our nurses, teachers, security officers, get businesses operating optimally, were being checked and that we should be bolder in taking steps that will offer us the fiscal space to improve the lives of those we lead, serve and obey.

Today, I will announce the calculated and balanced measures that we intend to take, with the support of this House, with, essentially, the aim of improving lives.

Mr Speaker, the Akufo-Addo- led government leads, serves and obeys. The evidence is mightily clear that we offer better and assured leadership in managing the Ghanaian economy. All key indicators for building a stronger economy have been cured effectively and are stronger now than they were 31 months ago. Inflation has dropped to single digit and still dropping; interest rates continue to drop; external payments position has strengthened; exchange rates have been more stable; the fiscal deficit has reduced to below five per cent; real GDP growth has rebounded and remains robust; Debt to GDP ratio is below sixty per cent. The banking

sector has been rescued, and recapitalised.

Mr Speaker, as a result of the bold and decisive measures we took to fix the banking crisis, our banks are stronger and richer, and, with the cost of borrowing dropping, banks can and should therefore do a lot more to support the growth and expansion of business which will create more jobs under the stable environment that has been provided by Government for that exercise.

Mr Speaker, we recall, the last time the NPP was in government, a government in which, you, Mr Speaker served with pride and distinction, our financial sector expanded considerably. It was under President J. A. Kufuor that we saw increase in the number of banks. The sector became competitive, with banks chasing ordinary workers with loan offers. This resulted in one of the highest average GDP growth rates in our country's history.

We know that the foundation for growing businesses and creating jobs everywhere is a vibrant, well- governed, well-resourced, compe- titive financial services sector, operating under a stable economic regime. That is why we could not

watch the sector collapsing, even if it meant slowing down for a year or so on some of our own scheduled programmes. In the recovery process, we managed to set up the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited and capitalised it with GH¢450 million. Just this month, CBG has released funds, totalling GH¢530 million to COCOBOD for cocoa roads. We provided funding of GH¢11.2 billion to secure depositors' funds in the failed banks. The Ghana Amalga- mated Trust has provided funds, to capitalise solvent indigenous banks that were struggling to meet the enhanced minimum paid-up capital of GH¢400 million. We have recently provided an additional GH¢925 million for pay-outs to small depositors of the 386 microfinance institutions.

Mr Speaker, we have restored confidence into the banking system, securing the otherwise distressed deposits of some 2,655,100 customers, as well as saving over 3,000 jobs. Today, total banks' assets have shot up to GH¢112.8 billion. Growth of credit to the private sector is rebounding assuredly by sixteen point eight per cent in June 2019. I am therefore, happy to announce confidently that Ghana is seeing the revival of that zealous, responsive and, at the same time, responsible banking environment we had been reduced to reminiscing.
Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 1:35 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Akufo-Addo-led government is here to lead and also serve. We are serving the people better in keeping their lights on; in getting our children into the classrooms and feeding them there; in getting our National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards to work; in reducing the cost and hassle of clearing goods at our ports, in keeping more police on our streets, in helping farmers to produce more and earn more.
Mr Speaker, again, the Akufo- Addo-led government is an obeying government. We trust and obey for the people who chose us to lead and serve. It means we listen and we act responsibly and decisively, in response to what the people tell us.
We have looked beyond the legendary Green Book of bold but many unsubstantiated claims of infrastructural projects fabricated and built but in those beautiful pages for our predecessors' 2016 campaign. We have also heard the echoing calls of the people from across the country since the Green Book was commissioned and their cries are to have their roads fixed. My message to all those WhatsApp videos of bad roads is this: we have heard you; we have seen them and; we are sending over the motor graders, wheel loaders, asphalt mixing plants and road roller
machines to fix your community roads, farm gate roads and highways. We will certainly not be able to do them all within this four-year term. But we have planned for them and have found the money to do far more than what the Green Book authors achieved.
Fellow Ghanaians, I wish to plead with you and assure you to bear with us, for your obeying Government, the Akufo-Addo-led Government, will fix your roads and we shall fix them; not with words and pictures.
Mr Speaker, our underlining strategy is to grow the economy and to do so aggressively, prudently, broadly and sustainably. This is because we know that we cannot meet the needs and aspirations of our people if we do not fix and build a strong, dynamic and confident economy. But, we cannot also build if we don't manage the growth of our expenditure and maintain the discipline and integrity that are needed to protect the public purse.
We believe that every generation must pay its own share of recurrent expenditure. So for recurrent spending on education, healthcare, security and other social spending, we should not be borrowing as that unfairly shifts the burden on future generations. We also know that even
for infrastructural spending, there is still a limit as to how much we can borrow at any given time.
We are improving domestic revenue generation. The restructuring of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the measures we have put in place to automate processes at the ports are already yielding positive results. We see a new sense of responsibility from those entrusted with collecting our taxes and we know that they will make this country proud by keeping the tax gates and ensuring that we raise the necessary tax revenues to continue to effectively fund priority programmes for the benefit of all Ghanaians. We are also determined not to spare the rod on those who offend our revenue mobilisation efforts.
Three months ago, I came here, together with my Hon colleague, John Peter Amewu, to ask for approval for the amended Petroleum Agreement for AGM Petroleum in the South Deepwater Tano block. Since then, the Norwegian oil company has drilled two wells in the block - two more than the number of wells drilled under the previous Administration. And just two weeks ago AGM announced that they had discovered oil in an area called Blessing. This comes barely six months after Aker announced that it had discovered oil after a mightily
successful drilling exercise in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block, which was reported as the biggest find in Africa. The future is, indeed, brighter. All that I can say, Mr Speaker, is that we thank God for his blessings on Ghana.
Mr Speaker, in line with our objectives for 2019, Government is implementing a number of pro- grammes to revamp economic and social infrastructure to support industry, facilitate business development and deliver social services.
Mr Speaker, our industrialisa-tion and agricultural modernisation drive is on track and transforming Ghana. Our social protection and intervention programmes have seen major expansion and efficiency gains.

Mr Speaker, Government's flagship Free SHS programme, has changed the course of this nation forever and posterity will thank the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for making it possible for our young people to realise their future dreams and aspirations through free education.
Minister for Finance (Mr Ken Ofori-Atta) 1:35 p.m.

year of 2019, and conclude with the outlook for the rest of the year …



Mr Speaker 1:55 p.m.
Hon Members, having regard to the time and the state of Business before the House, under Standing Order140(3), I order that Business continues beyond the regular hours.
Yes, Hon Minister, you may continue.
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:05 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Non-oil Tax Revenue, comprising taxes on income and property, goods and services and international trade, though 9.4 per cent below target for the first half of 2019 represents an annual increase of 14.7 per cent. With the exception of Domestic VAT, Petroleum Excise taxes, Domestic National Health Insurance Levy, and GETFund Levy, all of which out- performed their respective targets for the period. Most revenue lines
underperformed their respective targets for the period but are expected to recover in the second half of the year.
Expenditure Performance
Mr Speaker, total expenditures (including arrears clearance) amounted to GH¢34.2 billion for the period compared to the programme target of GH¢36.8 billion.
Mr Speaker, key expenditures were well contained during the period with the exception of expenses on the use of goods and services which was 30.1 per cent higher than the target mainly on account of security related expenses to reinforce our borders. So far, expenses on the Free SHS Programme and some other Government flagship programmes have remained on track.
Overall Budget Balance and Financing
Mr Speaker, Government's fiscal operations resulted in a cash deficit of 3.3 per cent of GDP, compared with the programmed target of 2.9 per cent of GDP for the half-year.
Mr Speaker, a significant portion of the deficit was financed from foreign sources (81.3 per cent), including proceeds from the 2019
Eurobond issuance which raised a total of US$3.0 billion in 7-year, 12- year, and 31-year Eurobonds of US$750.0 million US$1.25 billion and US$1.0 billion, respectively. Domestic financing of the deficit, including market operations, constituted the remaining 18.7 per cent. The Primary Balance recorded a deficit equivalent to 0.8 per cent of GDP against a deficit target of 0.1 per cent of GDP for the period.
Public Debt Developments
Mr Speaker, the gross public debt stock in nominal terms stood at GH¢204 billion (US$38.7 billion) as at end of June 2019, representing 59.2 per cent of GDP. The increase was mainly as a result of frontloading the financing requirements for 2019 in the first quarter. Debt accumulation in the subsequent quarters is expected to ease downwards and stabilise.
The share of the external debt stock increased from 50.2 per cent at end of December 2018 to 52.8 per cent at the end of June 2019, mainly driven by the issuance of Eurobonds of US$3.0 billion in March, 2019. The IMF also disbursed an amount of SDR132.84 million (US$184.30 million) in March,
2019 after their 7th and 8th reviews of the Extended Credit Facility Programme. On account of these two major inflows, a net amount of US$2.9 billion, equivalent to approximately GH¢14.8 billion, was added to the debt stock. The increase in the external debt stock amounted to GH¢23.8 billion between December 2018 and June 2019, reflecting a volume transaction of GH¢14.8 billion and an exchange rate depreciation of GH¢9.0 billion.
2019 Eurobond Issuance
Mr Speaker, in line with the approval of this august House, Government raised a total of US$3.0 billion in 7-ye
ar, 12-year, and 31-year Eurobonds of US$750.0 million, US$1.25 billion and US$1.0 billion, respectively, on March 19, 2019. The 7year, 12-year, and 31-year bonds were priced at 7.6875 per cent, 8.125 per cent and 8.950 per cent, respectively.
The 2019 Eurobond issue was significant in two respects: it was the first ever triple-tranche Eurobond offering by Ghana; and was also the largest by a Sub-Saharan African country, excluding South Africa and the longest majority of 31 years in Africa as we trend forward towards our century bond.




Mr Speaker 2:15 p.m.
Hon Members, not too long ago we have all agreed that no placards. I am reminding you gently. This reflects in our Standing Orders. We shall go by our own understandings.
Hon Minister, you may please go on.
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we will continue to improve compliance, expand the tax net and explore other innovative sources of raising revenue.



Mr Speaker, to be specific, the two main issues confronting the sector are 2:15 p.m.
Firstly, excess electricity generation which was procured during the NDC regime from Independent Power Producers (IPPs), including Emergency Power Producers, at exorbitant prices under flawed take- or-pay contracts.
Currently, according to the Energy Commission, the country has installed power generation capacity of 5,083
MW, dependable capacity of 4,593 MW and peak demand of around 2,700 MW. So our installed capacity is almost double of our peak demand. Notably, 2,300 MW of the installed capacity has been contracted on a take-or-pay basis. On average, less than 40 per cent of the contracted take-or-pay capacity is actually used, meaning that we are basically throwing away money by paying for the remaining 60 per cent of excess capacity which we do not actually consume. In monetary terms, what this means is that we are paying over half a billion U.S. dollars or over GH¢2.5 billion annually for power generation capacity that we do not need.
Regarding gas, Ghana has contracted for around 750 mmscf per day by 2023. Current demand is around 250 mmscf per day, and this is projected to rise to between 450 and 550 mmscf per day by 2023. All things being equal, there is projected oversupply of 200 to 300 mmscf per day by 2023. About 640 mmscf of the contracted gas supply is on a take- or-pay basis, meaning we have to pay whether we use it or not.
Mr Speaker, from 2020, we will be facing annual excess gas capacity charges of between US$550 million and US$850 million every year. Currently, for Sankofa Offshore Cape
Mr Speaker, to be specific, the two main issues confronting the sector are 2:15 p.m.

Three Points on gas alone, we pay over US$51 million a month under a take-or-pay contract for 154 mmscf per day even though we only actually take 60 mmscf per day on average.

Mr Speaker, additionally, there are still other challenges in the energy sector, including: electricity tariffs that do not cover the costs of non- portfolio Power Purchase Agree- ments (PPAs); low collection, high technical and commercial losses; absence of a proper system for measuring and paying for the costs of power for street lighting; non- payment of utility bills by MDAs; and a high level of net sector arrears of US$2.7 billion (GH¢14.04 billion) as of January 2019.

Mr Speaker, the total costs in the energy sector that Government had to cover in 2018 amounted to US$520 million (GH¢2.7 billion). Moreover, by end of June this year, Government had made total payments of US$604 million (GH¢3.14 billion), and if we do not urgently address the problems in the sector, the projected Government payments in 2019 will be at least US$1 billion, (GH¢5.2 billion).

Mr Speaker, our top technical experts, assisted by counterparts from the World Bank, have subjected the

energy sector to a thorough analysis and produced the Energy Sector Reform Programme (ESRP), which identifies the key issues in the sector and proposes solutions. According to the ESRP, which has been approved by Cabinet, if we continue with business as usual in the energy sector, the costs to Government will increase over time to an accumulated total of over US$12.5 billion by 2023.

Mr Speaker, our macroeconomic stability and the hard-earned economic gains we have made are at serious risk of being derailed if we do not immediately take drastic steps to arrest these reprehensible legacy issues in the energy sector.

Mr Speaker, just to put this in context, the over US$1 billion (or over GH¢5 billion) extraordinary payment that Government is having to make in the energy sector this year and on an ongoing basis, if not addressed, is more than two times the amount of all of Government's social expenditures on goods and services, which includes Free Senior High School, our School Feeding Pro- gramme and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP).

2. 25 p.m.

It is no wonder therefore, that the NDC was convinced that we could

not fund President Akufo-Addo's Free SHS programme but the Lord has found a way for this nation.

Mr Speaker, in addition, these wasteful expenditures in the energy sector are one of the main causes of increases in end-user electricity tariffs, imposing hardships on Ghanaians. Similarly, this makes Ghana uncom- petitive for manufacturing, thus holding back our industrialisation and job-creation agenda. What is more, these wasteful payments are putting pressure on our foreign currency reserves and on the exchange rate.

Mr Speaker, in investment banking parlance, the NDC Government's parting shot was an energy sector poison pill. But Mr Speaker, we are determined that the good people of Ghana will not drink this hemlock.

Mr Speaker, we cannot allow this situation to continue. There is no doubt that the situation in the energy sector is shocking the economy and creating a state of emergency. And indeed, as in the case of what we have done in the financial sector, we must respond with the urgency and boldness dictated by the situation.

Consequently, Mr Speaker, Government has resolved as follows: to convert all Take-or-pay contracts

to take-and-pay contracts. Accordingly, starting August 1st 2019, Government is to pay for energy and gas that we actually consume. All take-or-pay contracts will be renegotiated to convert to take-and-pay for both PPAs and gas supply agreements (GSAs). Govern- ment will seek Parliamentary ratification where appropriate; to suspend indefinitely or terminate all PPAs currently under negotiation; to immediately place a complete moratorium on signing new PPAs and put-call option agreements (PCOAs); to subject all future PPAs competitive and transparent procurement procedures.

Government will therefore no longer entertain any unsolicited proposals; to implement the economic merit order dispatch which means that the most efficient power plants will be dispatched first; to improving the performance of the distribution utility and has agreed with the concessionaire plan to reduce electricity losses and increase collections based on an agreed investment plan; to significantly shift in the medium-term, the energy mix to gas and renewables; to implement the recommendations of the Energy Sector Recovery Programme (ESRP) as approved by Cabinet; and to mandate the Energy Sector Task Force, as constituted by Cabinet
Mr Speaker, to be specific, the two main issues confronting the sector are 2:35 p.m.
347 microfinance companies (of which 155 had already ceased operations) and 39 microcredit companies/money lenders (10 of which had already ceased operations). These massive failures were brought about by several years of an unsustainable licensing regime which lowered standards for entry into the banking and SDI sectors, as well as poor supervision and enforcement from the Central Bank.

This was compounded by poor corporate governance and risk management practices, family and friends managing and influencing banks, abuse of related party relationships and unsustainable business models.

Many of these institutions had denied depositors access to their deposits for a long period of time, creating liquidity challenges in the financial system, resulting in a high incidence of credit defaults in the system. The threats posed to the stability of the financial system and the economy at large were enormous, justifying the bold actions taken by the Bank of Ghana.

The Government has demonstrated its commitment to providing timely

relief to depositors whose funds were at risk as a result of the demise of the defunct banks and SDIs. The Government, through a Purchase and Assumption programme, facilitated GCB's consolidation of two banks. The Government then set up the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited and capitalised it with GH¢450 million to ensure that no depositor lost their deposits. The Government of Ghana has had to issue bonds to the tune of GH¢11.2 billion to cover the cost of the financial sector resolution and protect depositors. In addition, GoG had provided an amount of GH¢925 million in cash to cover the small depositors of the 386 microfinance institutions, bringing the total cost to GH¢12.125 billion.

Mr Speaker, the Government's actions have restored confidence in the banking system. Through the Government's interventions, signi- ficant deposits held by some 2,655,100 depositors (1,525, 550 bank depositors and 1,129,820 MFI depositors) have been saved. Over 3,000 jobs have also been saved.

The Bank of Ghana's directive to banks to increase their minimum paid- up capital to GH¢400 million by 31st December, 2018, has been successful. This injected fresh capital of GH¢4.2 billion into the banks. The Ghana Amalgamated Trust

intervention is expected to lead to a strong indigenous Ghanaian presence in the banking sector.

Mr Speaker, it is gratifying to note that these regulatory and policy measures undertaken to clean up the financial sector, have already began to bear fruits.

Some have suggested that instead of revoking the licences of the now defunct institutions, the Bank of Ghana should have kept them going somehow. Some have even said that the previous Regime was the “good doctor” that allowed these zombie institutions to continue albeit in their comatose state and would not do intensive and intrusive surgery, while the current Administration is the “bad doctor” that came in to “kill or collapse” them.

However, first of all, the stage at which the current Administration found the banking and SDI sectors, it was too late to salvage the already comatose financial institutions, and intensive and intrusive surgery was required for the many walking dead.

Secondly, the failure of these institutions was caused primarily by poor governance and lax oversight by Boards of Directors and the banking supervisions division, unlawful

behaviour of shareholders and related and connected parties who had plundered these banks' deposits and resources.

Thirdly, continuing to support these failing institutions would have been creating moral hazard for bank shareholders, directors, and managers whose actions or inactions would have been rewarded by the tax payer.

By revoking the licenses of these insolvent institutions, the Bank of Ghana was acting according to its legal imperative, and did so in a manner that preserved depositors' funds and saved a significant amount of jobs.

Mr Speaker, let me be very clear here, we were at the precipice of a major fiscal melt down and let no one indulge in self-serving oratory. The end cost Mr Speaker, may be anywhere from US$3 to 4 billion, a poison pill from the previous Government.

Mr Speaker, the liquidation of the defunct institutions is progressing, albeit with impediments from persons whose unlawful actions were associated with the failure of these institutions having the audacity to seek legal cover. The Government's financial interventions in the clean-up exercise were only a stop-gap measure necessary to help mitigate


Mr Speaker 2:45 p.m.
Order! Hon Members, background noise --
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:45 p.m.
With regards to the management of the Fall Army Worm infestation, as at May 2019, a total farm area of 34,396ha was sprayed and recovered. This prevented the loss of about 106,627 metric tonnes of maize valued at about GH¢170.60 million. So far, 79,560 litres and 7,162.40kg of various kinds of pesticides have been utilised in the southern sector. Additional quantities of 10,000 litres and 13,500.00kg of pesticides have been supplied for use during the minor season.
Mr Speaker, the Greenhouse village at Dahwenya has trained a total of 231 students. The new facility at Akumadan has been completed with training scheduled to start in the third quarter of the year. The Bawjiase Green house will be completed by the end of the year. Under the first phase of the project, each facility is expected to produce about 325,200kg of assorted vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and lettuce) valued at about GH¢6.4 million. This is expected to create 35
to 45 direct and five indirect jobs per centre.
The Ministry completed the Guo and Piiyiri dams making available 36ha of irrigable land for cropping, while the Tamne and Mprumem dams are at various stages of completion. These additional dams, when completed, will add a total area of 520ha for all year round cropping. Under the One Village One Dam initiative, contracts for the construction of 14 small dams and 100 solar powered groundwater irrigation systems have been awarded.
Government is aggressively pursuing an industrialisation agenda with the objective of widening the opportunities for job creation and expanding the economy through accelerated technology-based manufacturing and aggressive export promotion. Government is also actively promoting marketing and distribution of domestically produced goods.
One District, One Factory (1D1F)
Mr Speaker, the IDIF initiative was designed to support the private sector to establish at least one industrial enterprise in every district. Currently,
181 projects are at various stages of implementation, spread over 110 districts across the 16 regions of the country. As of mid-year, 57 projects were in operation providing 10,753 direct jobs and 43,094 indirect jobs. An additional 33 projects financed by local Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) will commence operation by the end of 2019.
Additionally, eight large scale processing plants are expected to begin operations by December 2019. Government has also secured funding to commence the construction of 56 small scale processing facilities and five common user processing facilities for organised farmer groups by the end of December, 2019.
A total of GH¢430.7 million has been mobilised from local financial institutions to support the programme. Furthermore, government has sourced for external funding and credit lines in the sum of US$700 million to address access to finance challenges. EXIM bank's facility of US$ 300 million with the US EXIM will accelerate the 1D1F programme.
Mr Speaker, in order to enhance the competitiveness of the 1D1F companies, government obtained Parliamentary approval for a package of incentives including: a 5-year tax holiday; exemption from duties, taxes
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:45 p.m.

and levies on imported machinery, equipment and parts and selected raw materials not already exempted by law for 1D1F companies.

Government is collaborating with the private sector to facilitate the establishment of a number of modern Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZ). The following parks are currently under development:

The Dawa Industrial Park at Dawa on the Accra-Aflao Highway currently has 2,000 acres fully developed out of 22,000 acres available land; and

West Park Industrial Estate at Shama in the Western Region is constructing onsite infrastructure for its 400-acre industrial park.

Integrated Aluminium Develop- ment Programme

Mr Speaker, our efforts to drive the industrial transformation and accelerated development of the country through the Integrated Aluminium Development Programme remains on course. The Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) successfully launched a three round investor engagement process in March, 2019.

Round-one of the investor engage- ment covering mining, refining, smelting and power was concluded and 16 firms were shortlisted to progress to round two which will be launched in August, 2019. The investor engagement will be completed by the end of the year.

Infrastructural Development

Government seeks to ensure rapid expansion of infrastructure in an integrated manner in order to transform the economic and social lives of Ghanaians.

Road Sector

Mr Speaker, in the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, government made a commitment to undertake massive infrastructural development from a variety of funding sources.

The second phase of the Sinohydro Project is at the planning stage. An additional 1,300km of roads, three interchanges and 69 steel bridges are under consideration for implemen- tation.

Mr Speaker, the people of the Upper East region will be happy to learn that financing arrangements have been completed for the restart of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Polmakom road in a few weeks.

Mr Speaker, in order to improve the road conditions and protect lives and properties across the country, government has programmed a number of projects to commence in the course of the year. The projects include: Osiem-Begoro road; Kwabeng-Abomosu-Asuom road; Anwiankwanta-Obuasi road; Mampong Kofiase road; Kwabeng Akropong road & Akropong town roads; Nsuta - Beposo road; Salaga - Bimbilla road; Kwadaso - Trabuom road; Adankrono - Kade - New Abirem road; Atronie - Mim road; Asuom - Subi - Kade road; Akropong - Pramkese - Adankrono road; Odumasi - Adenta - Badu road; Akrodie-Sayereso; Bediako- Kasapin-Camp15; Tepa-Boma; Kofiekrom 3 No. 1.8 Pipe Culverts; Obuasi Town Roads; New Dormaa- Yawhima; Menji-Bui; Sampa-Jinijini;

Dormaa Town Roads; Atebubu- Kwame Danso; Kintampo-Abeasi- Prang; Atebubu Town Roads; Twifo- Praso- Assin Fosu; Swedru- Bawjiase-Adeiso; Ayanfuri- Takyikrom; New Abirem - Ofoasekuma; Suhum-Asamankese- Oda; Asamankese Town Roads; Bunkpurugu-Nalerigu; Nalerigu Gbintiri; Wulugu-Kpasenkpe; Prima- Misio Bridge; Zabzugu- Nakpali; Bimbilla-Jilo-Asafoatse; Gushegu- Gbandaa-Nalerigu; Dambai Town Roads; Nkonya-Wurapong- Kwamikrom; Jasikan-Worawora; Bunjai-Fufulso; Daboya-Mankarigu; Salaga-Kpandai; Chuchulga- Sandema-Wiase; Bolga-Naaga; Wa- Bulenga; Fian Issa-Wahabu; Wahabu- Funsi-Yaala; Wechau-Ga; Bawdie- Sureso-Samreboi; Essiama-Nkroful- Aniben-Anyinase; Aboso-Junction- Huni Valley-Damang; Sefwi- Dwenase-Nsawora; Asawinso- Kojina Esaakrom; Bibiani and Awaso Town Roads.

Cocoa Sector

Mr Speaker, for the 2018/19 crop year, an amount of US$1.3 billion was raised in the syndicated loan market at a margin of LIBOR plus 60 basis points. The loan was raised to fund cocoa purchasing operations and support other key activities in the cocoa sector. COCOBOD repaid the US$1.3 billion syndicated loan ahead
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:55 p.m.

of schedule in July 2019 instead of the scheduled date of August 2019. This is due to prudent financial management. For the 2019/2020 season, an amount of US$1.3 billion will be syndicated by COCOBOD for cocoa purchasing operations.

Mr Speaker, the current world cocoa price still remains low since the downward trend experienced in the 2017/2018 crop year. As a result of the low world market price, cocoa revenues continued to diminish to a level that Government had to forfeit its share of the FOB price (in export duty payments) in the second year running. This is part of Government's efforts to protect our cocoa farmers from market price volatility and income uncertainties. Government has however kept faith with our cherished cocoa farmers by maintaining the farm gate price at GH¢7,600 per tonne. This is meant to ensure that no loss of income to the cocoa farmer arises due to the low international price of cocoa.

During the 2017/18 season, COCOBOD purchased 904,000 metric tonnes of cocoa. For the 2018/ 19 season which is expected to close at the end of September 2019, a crop size of 900,000 tonnes was targeted. The current achieved crop size is 794,841 tonnes representing 88.32 per cent of the forecast.

Mr Speaker, in addition to the annual syndicated loan of US$ 1.3 billion, COCOBOD has initiated processes with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to raise additional US$600 million, seven- year long term facility for the implementation of the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) and other initiatives. The programmes include, hand pollination/pruning of cocoa farms, rehabilitation of diseased and over-aged farms, irrigation in dry seasons, farmer database etc.

The loan was at the instance of the joint request made by the Presidents of the Republic of Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire to the AfDB to support the revamping of the cocoa industries in the two countries and put in strategies to take control of the price of cocoa on the international market.

Floor Price

Mr Speaker, the world market price of cocoa dropped from US$2,950/tonne in 2016 to an average of US$2,080/tonne in 2017 representing about 30 per cent reduction. Although Government continues to pay farmers GH¢7, 600/ tonne as in 2016, the world market price has remained low for the past

three years. In the face of this challenge, Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire represented by COCOBOD and le Conseil du Café-Cacao, the two leading producers of cocoa beans with 65 per cent of world production decided to engage buyers of cocoa to accept a premium of US$400 tonne above the terminal market price to support the income of our cherished cocoa farmers.

Mr Speaker, after extensive stakeholder consultation and engagement, the buyers have accepted to pay the US$400/tonne which is christened Livelihood Income Differential (LID) for Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire cocoa beans. We wish to say that this is the first of its kind in the history of cocoa sales in the world and is a major achievement for the NPP Government and an indication of the Government's determination to seek a fair share of the multi-billion dollar cocoa value chain.

Mr Speaker, we should not lose sight of the fact that the cocoa industry directly supports about 800,000 farmer families and such a major policy will improve significantly the living standards of majority of Ghanaians.

Mr Speaker, works have resumed on cocoa roads involving upgrading,

routine and periodic maintenance activities of 1362km of trunk roads, 1389km of feeder roads, and 183km of urban roads. The roads include: Obuasi Junction - Dunkwa - Ayanfuri Road; Have - Hohoe Road; Hohoe- Jasikan Road; Benchema Junction (Barrier)-Adwofua Road; Sefwi Wiawso-Akontombra Road; and Cape Coast-Twifo Praso Road and Access Road to Kakum National Park.

Further to this, 450 feeder roads and 20 trunks roads covering 4500km and 500kms respectively have been programmed by COCOBOD and the Ministry of Roads and Highways for construction, upgrading, rehabilitation and routine maintenance activities. They include: Odumase-Kwatire- Bada (15.00km), Bayerebon No.3 - Nyame Bekyere (25.60km), Nkranfo Nkwanta - Agrave (56.00km), Akim Manso - Osenase (18.10km), Kwahu Nsaba - Akoase (29.50km), Chiraa - Akroasua - Adrobaa (17.50km), Akrodie - Asumura (13.70km), Assin Fosu - Twifo Praso (8.00km), Brofoyedru - Akenkasu (15.00km), Sankore-Cocoa Station (12.00km), Dapaa - Dapaa Bunkusie (15.00km), Asato - Apesukubi (20.00km), Tokokoe - Shia (18.00km), Akrokrowa - Asukawkaw (20.00km), Konogo - Nsiakrom (24.00km), Ankaase -
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:55 p.m.

Kensre - Pampaso - Homase (25.00km), Poana Jnc - Ntinanko (12.00km), Menang Nkwanta - Subin Camp (15.00km), Wassa Akropong - Saaman - Adansi (15.00km), Bepoh - Dawurampong - Dunkwa (30.00km), Nsawora Junction - Yawkrom - Bodi (23.00km), Adeisu-Wantram-Jukwa (17.00km), Asawinso - Merewa - Nkronna (21.00km), Shama Junction - Botogina - Adanse (45.00km), Gwira Ahomkakrom - Qwira Tabakrom (30.00km), Ateiku - Appiasuman - Bonsaho (15.00km), Odoben - Nanakese - Ansaikwaa - Tweredua (18.00km).

Railways Sector

Mr Speaker, the development of the transportation network, including a modern railway system to facilitate vibrant economic activities is a high priority of Government. In this regard, government has initiated several projects in the railway sector.

The Ghana Railway Company Limited has completed the rehabilitation of the 30km narrow gauge railway line from Accra to Tema which has enabled the restoration of passenger rail services on the corridor. The Achimota to Nsawam line (40km) has also been rehabilitated and test runs have commenced in

anticipation for the relaunch of the sub-urban commuter rail services from Accra to Nsawam to ease traffic congestion on the corridor. Preparatory activities have also commenced for the extension of the narrow gauge rehabilitation works to Koforidua.

The engagement of a strategic investor for the development of the 303km Eastern Railway Line on standard gauge, from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Busoso to Atiwa through Kyebi on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis with Ghanaian participation is at the final stages of procurement. Work is expected to commence before the end of the year.

The rehabilitation of the Kojokrom- Tarkwa section of the Western railway line (56km, narrow gauge) is progressing steadily and currently the project is 60 per cent complete and employs over 300 people.

The construction of the 22km standard gauge Kojokrom-Manso section of the Western railway is being undertaken in two phases. Phase I (Kojokrom- Eshiem) is 45 per cent complete and a major railway bridge is under construction at Eshiem.

Mr Speaker, significant progress has been made on the Tema-

Mpakadan (Akosombo) rail line. The status of the project currently stands at about 45 per cent and is expected to be 58 per cent complete by the end of 2019. The scope of the project has been revised to include a major railway bridge across the Volta Lake between Senchi and enters the Volta Region at Adomi.

Feasibility studies on the proposed railway interconnectivity project between the Port of Tema and Ouagadougou, is also receiving attention. The project is being implemented jointly by the Governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Mr Speaker, feasibility studies have also been undertaken on the proposed 670km greenfield railway corridor from Kumasi to Paga, popularly known as the Central Spine. In April, 2019, a contract was signed for the development of the first phase from Kumasi to Bechem, a distance of about 103km.

Mr Speaker, the old Railway Training School and two workshops located at Essikadu, have received major refurbishments and facelifts. The training school is to be upgraded and equipped with modern teaching and learning facilities to enhance

capacity building and skills development for the Railway Sector.

Fish Landing Sites:

Mr Speaker, I am happy to announce that His Excellency the President has cut the sod for the construction of the Axim and Moree Fish landing sites. Work on the remaining fish landing sites along the coastal stretch has commenced. These are James Town, Dixcove, Elmina, Mumford, Winneba, Senya Bereku, Keta, Gomoa Feteh and Teshie.

Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP):

Mr Speaker, in order to accelerate the provision of basic infrastructure in rural and deprived communities, a number of projects are being implemented under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP). They include: 300 small earth dams to support all year round farming activities; 50 pre-fabricated warehouses to improve post-harvest management to be completed by December, 2019; 1,000 community mechanised solar powered water systems to be completed by September, 2019; 1,000 community and institutional water closet toilet facilities with mechanised solar powered water systems to be completed by December, 2019; and the construction of 50 rural markets
Mr Ofori-Atta 2:55 p.m.

include ongoing reforms to improve business registration, issuance of construction permits, access to electricity, trading across borders, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and registering property. As a result of these interventions, Ghana moved up six places from 120 to 114 in the 2019 Doing Business Rankings of the World Bank Group.

The New Companies Act, 2019

Mr Speaker, this august House on 2nd May, 2019 passed the new Companies Act. The Act introduced various key provisions which has aligned our corporate governance regime to global best practices. These include the following: Shareholders can now enforce the rights of their company through derivative actions, which enforces the company's rights, distinct from the personal rights of the shareholders; provision for the identification of members and beneficial owners of companies who are politically exposed; and a requirement for Company Secretaries to possess relevant professional qualifications, among others.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA):

Mr Speaker, Ghana won the bid to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area. This is

the first time Ghana is hosting an African institution of this importance. The AfCFTA is the world's largest Free Trade Area in terms of number of people, covering 54 countries with a population of an estimated 1.2 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$3.0 trillion (5 per cent of global GDP).

The AfCFTA will lead to the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers between African countries and thereby promote intra-regional trade from the current low level of 16 per cent to over 60 per cent by 2022 as well as increase Africa's share of global trade.

It is expected that by hosting the Secretariat, Ghana as a regional hub will become a reality and the service sector particularly the hospitality sector will experience a major boost through increased international exposure. Several direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created.

Mr Speaker, in view of the various reforms and implementation of the Government's priority programmes we believe that Ghana is well positioned to take advantage of the Free Trade Area. As part of measures to ensure that Ghana derives maximum benefit from the AfCFTA, a National Strategy and Action Plan will be developed to boost Industrial Production and Exports.

National Entrepreneurship Innovation Programme (NEIP)

Mr Speaker, the National Entre- preneurship Innovation Programme seeks to improve the entrepreneurial capacity of Ghanaians particularly the youth in order to create jobs and also develop an innovative business environment for socio-economic development.

The Ministry of Business Deve- lopment has instituted a structured business entrepreneurial training programme for young entrepreneurs. Between January and June 2019, over 2,000 young entrepreneurs drawn from the 16 regions of the country were trained in modern business practices. An additional 12,000 were also trained under the Presidential business support programme.

The Students Entrepreneurship Innovation Programme (SEI) was launched at the University of Ghana Business School to deepen the entrepreneurship culture among students. Consequently, 30,000 university students are participating in entrepreneurship clubs in various universities across the country. Funding was also provided for over 100 disabled women entrepreneurs to

support them to scale up their businesses.

Mr Speaker, under the Green Business Initiative, 75 Green Houses (Domes) were built to train young entrepreneurs in Agri-business at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region. Over 700 young graduates have been engaged under the initiative.

Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC):

The key objective of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) is to provide loans to small businesses and start-ups in the informal sector.

Under the MASLOC- Small and Micro Loans programme, 22,396 beneficiaries have been supported as at the end of June. The micro enterprise sub-sector accounted for 80.6 per cent of total loans disbursed, the agro marketing subsector, 13.5 per cent and the remaining 5.9 per cent was disbursed to applicants engaged in food crop production, poultry and the alternative livelihood sub-sectors.

Mr Speaker, as a result of pragmatic measures including the establishment of a regional recovery taskforce to enhance efficiency at MASLOC, the loan recovery rate improved from 22 per cent in 2016 to 65 per cent as at mid-year. This
Mr Ofori-Atta 3:05 p.m.
achievement will be further enhanced with the upcoming implementation of an integrated accounting software to improve data collection.
Social Intervention Policies
The overall goal of Government's social development policies and programmes is to create a fair and inclusive society, with opportunities for all. In this regard, Ghana has been implementing major social protection interventions including the Free Senior High School programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and School Feeding programme amongst others. These are aimed at eradicating poverty and minimising inequality among socio- economic groups and between geographical areas.
Free Senior High School Pro- gramme:
Mr Speaker, the Free SHS programme is currently in the second year of implementation. A total of 432,791 first year students were enrolled for the 2018/19 academic year representing a 19.5 per cent increase over the previous year's figure of 362,108. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to 794,899 since the inception of the free SHS programme. In September, 2019, the third cohort of senior high school students will be enrolled making senior
high education free for all for the first time in our history.
The successful implementation of the Free SHS programme has resulted in an increase in demand for secondary education. To meet this demand and ensure that no child is left behind, Government introduced the double track school calendar as a temporary measure in 394 senior high schools and employed additional 8,872 teachers in order to ensure effective teaching and learning in the schools.
Mr Speaker, in order to facilitate the phasing out of the double track system, the Ministry of Education initiated a total of 804 infrastructural projects of which 413 are expected to be completed in November, 2019 for use in the 2019/20 academic year, with funding from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund). Eighteen workers on average are employed on each project site.
Mr Speaker, in addition to improving access, an Academic Intervention Programme was introduced in the 2018/19 academic year in all public Senior High Schools to improve academic performance of students. The programme identifies weak students, especially those performing below achievement standards and provides coordinated
and individualised support in after school, evening and weekend programmes.
Nation Builders Corps (NABCO)
In the 2019 Budget Statement, government announced its intention to recruit and place into active work, 100,000 young tertiary graduates for a maximum of 36 months. As at mid- year, 97,373 beneficiaries had been placed under the seven modules of the scheme across the country.
Mr Speaker, Government established a virtual training portal, the NABCO Talent Academy, to further enhance the skills of beneficiaries and position them for permanent employment and entrepreneurship.
Nursing Trainee Allowances and other interventions
Mr Speaker, government continues to implement programmes to ensure that Ghana achieves Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and that all citizens in Ghana have timely access to high quality health services and interventions. These include: the extension of specialised outreach services to the community levels; continuous implementation of Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS); and provision of district hospitals.

Mr Speaker, due to deliberate Government actions to improve the human resource base in the health sector, the nurse-to-patient ratio in the country has reached 1:839, which is superior to the WHO benchmark of 1:1000. Government has also since 2017, restored the nursing trainee allowances. The first and second quarter allowances for 2019 were paid to a total of 51,000 trainees.

As a result of these interventions, we are able to produce enough nurses to meet domestic requirements and deploy some to support other countries. In this regard and in line with the National Human Resource Policy, plans are underway to formalise the migration of nurses to foreign countries beginning with Barbados, United Kingdom,amongst others.

In April this year, the medical drone delivery service to CHPS compounds, health centres and hospitals commenced in Eastern and Ashanti regions and is expected to be extended to the Northern and Western Regions by the end of the year. In June 2019 alone, as many as 195 drone deliveries (comprising 44 blood products and 151 medical supplies) were made to various health facilities.

Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Tamale Teaching Hospital Project phase II was completed and commissioned in February, 2019. The construction and equipping of five polyclinics in the Greater Accra Region at Adentan (Ogbojo), Ashaiman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege were also completed and commissioned in June, 2019. A number of projects in the sector are also on-going.

Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP)

Under the LEAP programme, a total of 330,438 households are receiving LEAP grants. This is an increase over the 213,044 households reported in the 2019 budget representing a percentage increase of 35.5 per cent. Two cycles of regular LEAP payments were made as at June, 2019 to these households, covering 1,420,883 extremely poor individuals.

Currently, the programme pays grants to beneficiaries bi-monthly as follows:

A one-member household --


two-member household --


three-member household -- GH¢88.00; and

four-member household and above GH¢106.00.

The LEAP programme has instituted a re-certification and graduation strategy to wean off beneficiaries whose circumstances have improved and no longer qualify to be on the Programme.

Ghana School Feeding Programme

Mr Speaker, government continued to implement the Ghana School Feeding Programme. Currently, the programme serves about 2.6 million pupils (up from 1.6 million in 2016) in 8,676 primary schools with one meal every school- going day.

Mr Speaker, in order to improve the effectiveness and enhance the management of the programme, financial and operational controls are being strengthened to reduce waste and improve linkages with local farmers.

PROGRAMMES 3:05 p.m.

Mr Speaker 3:15 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister.
Hon Members, debate on the Motion shall stand deferred. Under Standing Order 140(5), the part of the Statement relating to revenue and expenditure shall stand committed to the Finance Committee accordingly.
I am inclined to adjourn. Hon Majority Leader, if there is any other indication, you may so say.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 3:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, as you have indicated, you have committed the part relating to the Supplementary Estimates to the Finance Committee.
Mr Speaker, the Motion that we had before us is really in two parts. One relates to the Mid-Year Review and the other relates to the Supplementary Estimates for the 2019 Financial Year.
Mr Speaker, I believe that going forward, we should develop a system where a Mid-Year Review which does not attract Supplementary Estimates -- that component of the Mid-Year Review should be provided to Parliament as any Statement, and then we would pass comments on them.

The side that relates to Supplementary Estimates would be

referred to the Finance Committee. They would come with their report, and then we would debate that.

I think that going forward, we should evolve better arrangements to commenting on Mid-Year Review as a Statement, and then we would debate the Supplementary Estimates.

Mr Speaker, that is how it should be. Unfortunately, we have not made a distinction all this while, and that is why I am saying that going forward, we should have a better way of debating or commenting on the Mid- Year Review that comes to us.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I believe that as you have said, we will defer further comments until tomorrow, and I am hoping that the Finance Committee would have finished with perusing the document and submitting their report. When they are able to do that, then we can take both the comments on the Mid-Year Review and the Supplementary Budget Statement together, so that hopefully, by the close of day tomorrow, we would finish with the debate on the Supplementary Estimates as well.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I believe we are in good hands. I can almost predict what my Hon

Colleague, the Minority Leader, who has become very jittery in his seat wants to say, but if it is intended for him to say; that they are ready, I would tell him that we are more than ready to take them on.

Mr Speaker, we are in your hands, and we wait for tomorrow.

Thank you very much.
Mr Iddrisu 3:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I can only thank you for the opportunity.
I do not intend to engage the Hon Majority Leader, but the combined effect of article 179(8) and section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act must be a proper guide.
Mr Speaker, I only know that today the Hon Minister was unaccompanied by the Vice-President -- [Laughter] -- with hello tax application, WhatsApp tax application, and energy sector levy application. The spirits of our countrymen and women have been lifted?
Mr Speaker, we look forward to the debate. We are in your hands - [Hear! Hear!]- If that leaves the spirit of Ghanaians, particularly tax measures that the man supporting you stood opposed --
Mr Speaker 3:25 p.m.
Where there are comments pursuant to briefing, Hon Members may comment. Where there is a need for approval as per
both our Standing Orders and the Constitution, which is the bonafide right of Parliament, Hon Members will contribute to that aspect of the debate and decide upon what to do.

  • The House was adjourned at 3:28 p.m. till Tuesday, 30th July, 2019, at 10.00 a.m.