VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, Correction of Votes and Proceeding of Wednesday, 26TH October, 2011. Page 1...10-
Madam Speaker, page 10, under item 2, "Attendance" (iii), "Mr. Gabriel Essilfie Kodwo" - The Hon Member for Shama is a good friend and I know his last name is "Essilfie", not "Kodwo". Also I am informed by how the name appears on page 5, number 30. I believe the last name is "Essilfie" and not "Kodwo".
Honestly, I did not hear a word of what you were saying. You referred to page 10?
Madam Speaker, page 10, under "Attendance" (iii) -
Item 3 (iii), "Mr. Kofi Nti? Is it "Mr. Kofi Nti?
Madam Speaker, "Gabriel Essilfie Kodwo"; I believe it should be "Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie". That is all the correction.
Let us take it again. Page 10, item 3 - under item 3, which number?
Madam Speaker, item 2 (iii).
You are referring to item 2 (iii)?
Madam Speaker, yes.
All right I thought you were referring to item 3 (iii). Yes, item 2(iii)
Madam Speaker, item 2 (iii), "Gabriel Essilfie Kodwo" should be "Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie" -because his last name is "Essilfie".
And did you mention another one?
Madam Speaker, also I am, saying that I am informed on how the name appears on page 5, number 30. "Essilfie" is the last name.
It is the same as this - all right. Thank you for the correction.
That is page 10. So page 11. [Pause] Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 26th October, 2011 as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 25th August, 2011]
Hon Leader, item 5 Is the Hon Minister here to move the Motion?
No, Madam Speaker, I have not spotted him here yet this morning. Madam Speaker, as you will recall, We had two Statements, one on the former Director of National Theatre -
Is it ready?
Yes, Madam Speaker, it is ready.
All right, then we would take that.
If we can take that one and defer the other Statement. When the Second Deputy -Speaker comes, then he would take that one.
All right. Hon Members, I have admitted two Statements. We would just take one. Can we have that Statement read, please?
Mr. Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to make this Statement on behalf of the Volta Caucus and the arts loving people of Ghana, in memory of one of Ghana's illustrious sons, Efo Kodjo Mawugbe, former Director of the National Theatre. Last month, the people of Ghana were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing away of Efo Kodjo Mawugbe. The shock that came with news about his death surpassed anything of the kind ever witnessed in the arts and culture industry in the country. Those who followed his lead in the industry and by extension all Ghanaians have shown the grief which his death has inspired for his character and fame. He indeed added quality possessed by few of the gifted men on earth. Efo Kodjo was born on 21st April, 1954 in Kumasi to Madam Comfort Tulasi, a cook of Africa Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the late Michael Ayivi Mawugbe who worked with the Laundry Department of the University. His interest and talent in theatre drama began at Mawuli Secondary School, Ho - where he joined the school's drama group. Right from secondary school form one, he played the role of Senchi in Efua Sutherland's Edufa, and by the time he got to form three, he had succeeded in Writing a play for his House - TROST House - in the school.
Efo Kodjo then gained admission into the University of Ghana where he studied theatre Arts, majoring in playwriting from 1975 to 1978.Later in 1991, he did a certificate course in Senior Management Development at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). He also studied at the Bauff Centre for Management, Calgary, Canada in 1995 and was also sent to the E. T. A. Chicago, USA on USIS-sponsored attachment programme in Theatre and Events Organization. Efo Kodjo further studied at the British Council, Glasgow and London, where he did a certificate programme in Theatre Management and Audience Development. From 1979 to 1984, he served as a Senior Research Assistant - African Theatre at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Centre for Cultural Studies) where he helped students in the development and production of plays. Efo was renowned for his writing prowess in drama. He was "winner of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC's) International Radio Playwriting Competition, 2009 with his play, "The Prison Graduates". His play was selected out of 12,000 entries across the world. He has to his credit 19 plays. These include: "A Calabash of Blood" - Radio Drama - Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), that was in 1978; "Aluta Continua" - drama - produced for radio, stage and television and distributed in Africa by URTNA (1979) and in 1980; "The Unbending Branch" - Radio Drama (GBC). Efo Kojo's predominant sentiment was a deep devotion to the cause of human dignity. Subsidiary to this was the conduct of his whole life. He loved his country and burned with a zeal for the advancement of prosperity and glory. For almost thirty (30) years, he dedicated his time to pushing young men and women in the industry to accomplish their goals as well as use their full potential. He was never judgmental or preachful. Madam Speaker, the highest form of honor we can pay to him is to pass on to others the wisdom he so freely gave to some of us. May his soul rest in peace and our heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved family.
Madam Speaker, I rise to support the Statement ably made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho West (Mr. Emmanuel K. Bedzrah). I knew Efo Kodjo Mawugbe on the campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) where both his father and mother worked, and my father also worked. So we crossed paths quite often. We crossed paths again when I was the Board Member of the National Theatre from 1993 to 1996 and we had the occasion to discuss the paucity of artistic endeavor among Ghanaians, partly due to the fact that Ghanaians do not read as much as they used to and that literature is not one of the most important points of our educational system. It has been very difficult. I remember, as a young man, taking part in many dramatic productions that seem to be lacking now in this country. He was one of the forebears of contemporary Ghanaian playwriting of the modem era following the footsteps of Kobina Sekyi and Ato Degraft - the great Joe Degraft - and others.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
We have to do our best to encourage our children not only to think materially but also artistically because it is literature that actually holds a country's culture together. It is literature that actually foments the proper artistic endeavor and I think that when someone like that leaves, his memory is best served when we actually propagate his works through the educational system of this country. I think his plays should be introduced into the curricula of this country, especially, with literature and language. This is because he gives the contemporary view of what Ghana was at his time or during his life. He will be mourned by all of us in the artistic fraternity and may his soul rest in peace. Our heart goes out to the family and all his friends for this great loss. Mr. Speaker, I end here.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr. Speaker, the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe was so instrumental in this Country's cultural heritage. Mr. Speaker, as the former Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture, I had an encounter with him. Indeed, as a Ranking Member on Youth, Sports and Culture, I have also had several meetings-with Efo Kodjo Mawugbe and I can say for sure, that indeed, his rich understanding and appreciation of this country's culture has benefited us allot, especially, the youth of this country. Mr. Speaker, his writing prowess was indeed something some of us so much cherished and we are going to miss some of his writings so much. It is something that this House is - Indeed, I am grateful that an Hon Member has brought up a Statement paying special tribute to this wonderful and great son of mother Ghana. Mr. Speaker, in the opinion of some of us, his latest programme that we witnessed. and we so much cherished was "Ghana's Most Beautiful" on TV3. This Gentleman's rich contributions, the fact- - Indeed, he was so powerful in promoting cultural values among the youth of this country, especially, beautiful young girls. The fact that this gentleman indeed portrayed, exhibited and demonstrated the richness of our culture - some of us learnt allot from him. The richness in child- naming, funeral celebrations and a lot. At a point in time, they were about being lost but this gentleman and others brought out some of these rich cultural values that we have. And for some of us, it is great that we had such a wonderful son of Ghana. Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that as a country, we have some monuments named after some of these great sons of this country. At least, a cultural site should be named after Efo Kodjo Mawugbe for his rich contributions to the promotion of our culture. This is something we must ponder over that as a country, that it is important we honor such great sons and daughters of Ghana. Indeed, I am calling on the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture to begin naming a cultural site after Efo Kodjo Mawugbe for his wonderful contribution to the promotion of culture in this country, especially, among the youth. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, it is with a very heavy heart that I also join my Hon Colleagues to speak in honor of the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe. Efo Kodjo Mawugbe was my mate in Mawuli Secondary School from 1967 up to 1974. When we went to form one, he was called "Pascal Mawugbe," but along the line, his name became very popular on the scene as Efo Kodjo Mawugbe. As rightly said, as early as form one, he started exhibiting this potential of theatre arts and in any play that took place in those days, inter-house competition, because of the talents that he exhibited, "TROST House" for that matter came first. Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that God has implanted talents in each and every one of us. The most important thing is to be able to identify the talent God has given us and use it to the benefit of mankind. I believe that it is not the number of years one lives here on earth that really matters. It is really a matter of how much one is able to impact the lives of other people. Death is inevitable; at the age of 5 6, one would have asked why now? when we need more of such people to build up the youth, especially in the areas that he has been endowed with? But I want to believe that most of us - and those who have had any interaction with him, either on television or any programme-will know that even though he never lived very long, he has actually imparted and left a landmark on the soils of this country where the youth will one day remember. It is in this vein that I also want to support my Hon Colleague, Hon Asiamah, that in recognition of what he has done, making Ghana proud - Winning a BBC award among 12,000 participants is such a feat. It is such a feat that we must as a nation recognize and make a monument in his honor, so that future generations would one day want to find out who this Efo Kodjo Mawugbe is and what he has contributed to the affairs of this nation. We of the Mawuli fraternity are highly, saddened by his departure. Mr. Speaker, this evening, the body will be laid in State at the National Theatre; and tomorrow at the Forecourt of State House, by 8.00 Am., There would be a burial service in his honor before being given a State burial. It is in the light of this that I want to invite as many of us who can, to pay their last respect. But most importantly, let us do something to recognize - And let the youth of today try to identify what potentials they have and see how best they can develop along that potential. More often than not, we want to copy from other people but that may not be our gifted area so it is better we identify it. This is because when we were in school, when some of us were talking Mamafi, that is, physics and mathematics and we thought that we were on top of the class, he was talking of theatre arts. Those of us who did physics and mathematics and priding ourselves in those days maybe, might have not made that achievement as he had. Therefore, let nobody look down on any area of human endeavor because they are all important. Let us identify them and use them to the benefit of humanity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the Statement in the form of a tribute to the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe ably made by Hon Emmanuel Bedzrah.
Mr. Speaker, I knew the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe in the late 1980s when he Was working in Koforidua at the Arts Centre. He worked there for quite a long time and what I knew about him was that he was a free mixer. He was so respectful irrespective of age, color, tribe, political affiliation and what have you. Efo Kodjo Mawugbe could be seen from afar that he was somebody who really, really loved his work, the work that he was doing, and he did it with such an admiration that you could see that he was not doing it for money but for the fact that he loved to do it. As a result of this all the staff who had the opportunity to work under him were encouraged by him to also love whatever they were doing. Efo Kodjo Mawugbe was so sociable, friendly, and jovial such that he had several nicknames with different people that he came into contact with. He eventually became a very good friend to my family and a group of friends. Efo Kodjo Mawugbe in my view would plot have died. I always said, "Efo never dies". So when I heard that he had died, I called a couple of friends for them to confirm before I believed it. If for nothing at all, I remember this programme on television, "Ghana's Most Beautiful". It has become a success, it has because, Efo Kodjo Mawugbe played a very significant role. The way he handled the criticism of the actors and the actresses; was so welcoming that nobody felt bad after he had commented on his or her performance. Even though he is no more living, whenever this thing is on television, I sit behind them, Efo sitting and doing what he used to do. I would want to say that we have really lost a gem. We have really lost a respected man; we have lost a loving man, and we have lost somebody who loved his work. I would want to admonish that if we are thinking of him, we should not think of his death but we should think of him as somebody who really loved his work and did so much for the country and elsewhere such that we would also emulate it and love our work so that tomorrow when it comes to our time, people will also have something nice to say about us. On this note, I want to express my condolences to the family and to say that we should all endeavor to see him off tomorrow, God willing. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, just a few words to support the Statement that has been made by our Colleague, Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah. Mr. Speaker, the person that the nation is mourning, Efo Kodjo Mawugbe, we have been told contributed a lot to salvaging the arts in this country and in mourning him as a House, we should recognize that he served this country to his utmost. That is why I am not very comfortable reading the tribute which our Colleague is saying is being done on behalf of the Volta Caucus in this House; I do not think it is right. Foremost, he did his best for this country and as a Parliament and as an institution we should recognize that. But it should not be on behalf of the Volta Caucus because he did not do so for Voltarians he made his achievement for Ghanaians and I believe that is how it should be. Mr. Speaker, I did not personally know Efo Kodjo Mawugbe.- I did not meet him While he was alive. However, after his death, I have read and heard many commentaries eulogizing his life, his deeds, and indeed, his achievements
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader. Hon Majority Leader, are you inclined towards contributing?
No, I am not inclined to - Except that I think that the Volta Caucus, in response to the observation made by the Hon Minority Leader- Yes, this is a Statement of Parliament but the Volta Caucus met and decided that they can make a Statement and I think that when they say so and make a Statement, it is for all of us. So I just, want to put it in the proper perspective.
Hon Majority Leader, I think it would serve Everybody's interest if you would downplay the importance by way of the regional - This is a truly national affair and everything generates from somewhere but we need not reveal and emphasize where it generates from, otherwise we may give the thing a less valuable interpretation. Madam Speaker has admitted a second, Statement which stands in the name of Hon David Tetteh Assumeng on the recent national awards. Congratulations to the National Award Winners
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement on the above issue. Mr. Speaker, Madam Speaker, and about 108 others were honored by the President, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills for distinguished national life and dedicated service to the State and nation on Friday, 14th October, 2011. Mr. Speaker, His Excellency. Reiterated on that day, that "a nation that does not honor her heroes is not worth dying for". He again said that there are many others out there who equally deserved to be honored. These statements by the President are more that sufficient to propel all others, especially the youth to give of their best to mother Ghana. Mr. Speaker, We are proud that Madam Speaker is one of the award winners. It is my hope that all of us would emulate the shining example of the award winners in discharging our duties with dedication and commitment to mother Ghana. Mr. Speaker, we are proud of Madam Speaker and congratulate her and other award winners including Ms. Hannah Yawson, the Fire Officer who lost her life in the course of duty.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. Indeed, it is gratifying to note that His Excellency the President has appreciated the need to give national honors, awards to individuals of the State who have distinguished themselves. We commend him for that wonderful effort. However, one would have also expected His Excellency to have received a similar one done him by the former President of Ghana, His Excellency President J. A. Kufuor. But indeed he refused to accept that honor of being given the award. That in my opinion is very hypocritical and not the best for this country. This is because we all accept the fact that national honors are good for distinguished individuals in various fields of national endeavor and so -
Hon Member, you may want to refrain from the use of that word and then proceed.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you, but just that as a country, we must move forward, we must embrace whatever is good. That is all that I am saying. If it is good for Kofi, it should also be good for Mansa. That is my concern and that is important -
Yes, so say it the right way and then proceed.
Mr. Speaker, the key point I am raising is that irrespective of a. regime that is in place, we must still recognize and appreciate the contributions of individuals. That is my concern. As a country, we must have a national interest and that national interest should also be protected. One of them is to ensure that we also value the contributions of individuals, and at the appropriate time, give them national honors and those national honors should be respected by all of us. That is my concern. I am happy that indeed we have now seen the need to give national honors to individuals who have also distinguished themselves. That is my concern. So I am happy indeed now that we have seen the light and that we are doing the right thing that should be done. Mr. Speaker, it is important that these national awards also have some factors that Ghanaians would indeed come to appreciate and accept. It is important that we have certain factors that would underline it. Mr. Speaker, it has been done in the past. It is important that as a country, we have certain parameters to guide these national awards, it would help all of us.
Order! Order! Hon Majority Leader?
Mr. Speaker, I just want to indicate to this august House that this is a very important Statement and we should not go into the arena of controversy and then debate. If one talks about other distinguished personalities or institutions, fine. We have created a whole day as National Farmers Day and farmers are honored throughout the country, they are honored. Teachers are honored, other personalities are honored. This is another event for the President, the Chief Executive of the country to identify some individuals or institutions and then honor them. What is our beef about that? I think that we must put dignity into this matter and then stop causing controversy.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Under our rules, a contribution to a Statement should not generate controversy or debate and that is very clear to all of us. Hon Member, you would continue without generating debate.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, all these individuals also belong to certain professions -
Hon. Member, if you would go back towards explanations, I will not let you continue.
Mr. Speaker, just to mention the fact that indeed, all people who are given awards also belong to the same professions who also are Given awards in their respective areas- at is maybe a simple answer to what my Hon Colleague raised. Mr. Speaker, I think the key point is that, in my view as a young politician, it is very important that indeed any award that is given to any Ghanaian should be appreciated and respected. That is my major contribution and it is a lesson to all of us. We should learn from that and we should respect any award that is given.
Mr. Speaker, I want to join the Hon Member for the brilliant Statement and to thank him for having the idea to bring it out. Mr. Speaker, awards are given to people who deserve them. But most a time, we hear awards being given wrongly and those awards generate a lot of controversy. This particular award, I think, is all-embracing; national in scope and this proves to us that the President does not discriminate. We thank him very much for identifying hard-working people in all parts of the country, not only one spectrum. This is to encourage all of us and, the young ones coming up, to understand the essence of hard work because We have the hope that one day we may also be identified. We may also catch the eye of the President and be given an award of this nature. Mr. Speaker, on this occasion, I want to congratulate all the award winners and wish them longer lives so that they will be exemplary models for all of us to follow. I wish we all emulate their example so that one day we will also be award Winners. Farmers have their awards. Teachers have their awards. And this is an award for nationals who excel. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I join my Hon Colleagues in congratulating His Excellency the President for awarding honors to people who deserve it. As has already been pointed out, a nation which does not reward its heroes is not worth dying for. And I think in that vein, we must all join hands in congratulating the President. But Mr. Speaker, I have a small concern about the color of the honors. I am making special reference to the Companion of the Order of the Volta which I was awarded in the past. When you look at the color of the Companion of the Order of the Volta awarded, under H.E. President Kufuor's regime, the color is snakingly different from the Companion of the Order of the Volta awarded by H.E. President Mills. I think that if it is a Companion, or if it is a Member, or if it is an Officer, the colors must be the same throughout. Whether it is one regime that is awarding it or another regime that is awarding it, it must be the same. I believe that if one goes to England and one is made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE), what is given to one must be the same thing that was given to somebody hundred years back. We do not need to be changing them. I believe that if we do not stop it-the practice has been going on for a long time. If ever anybody had the opportunity to look at all the honors that have been given over the years at the Castle - I had occasion to look at them when President Kufuor was in office. I happened to be in an office where there was a replica of the various honors put in a box, a glass. I looked at them and over the years, they have been changing throughout. The change is not from yesterday or today; it has been changing all along. And I believe that if it is a Companion of the Order of the Volta, it must be the same Mr. Speaker, I think Hon Avoka is very interested in being awarded. Mr. Speaker, with this contribution, I join all Hon Members who are congratulating the Presidency for the awards.
Mr. Speaker, while some of us were away attending to some statutory meetings outside Ghana, our attention was drawn to a list of persons who have been nominated to receive national awards. Among those persons who had been nominated or who had been acknowledged by the regime, is our own Rt Hon Speaker; Speaker Adeline Joyce Bamford-Addo Mr. Speaker, our own Speaker is the first woman Speaker in the history of this country. She is the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court. So, even before coming to Parliament, she has blazed the trail being the first in many, many areas of our national lives. In this House, the Speaker has not done badly at all by any measure. Mr. Speaker, she has been very motherly to all of us and the Speaker has strived to be very, very impartial. Has she been neutral? A Speaker does not need to be neutral. All that is required of a Speaker is to exhibit impartiality and that is what our Speaker has always strived to achieve in this House. To a very large measure, we can all say that if we have to use the yard- stick of impartiality to judge our Speaker, she has really excelled.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader. Hon Majority Leader?
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this all-important Statement. Mr. Speaker, there are about 24 million Ghanaians according to the Provisional figures by way of the 2010 Population Census. Out of 24 million people, half of us are about adults and if out of this number, about 108 alone have been singled out and honored, I think that it is a feather in their cap; the individuals and the groups alike. Mr. Speaker, I also think that it is in recognition of the good works and services and dedication to duty that these individuals and groups have rendered to Mother Ghana. This honor, in my view, is better than receiving cash award or other material benefit because at the end of the day, you cannot account for the cash award that you might have received. But this honor stands the test of time and your children, grandchildren and prosperity will grow and come to realize that their forefather or mother had distinguished himself or herself in the service to Mother Ghana and deserved that honor. So I think that it is an important honor and we must give all the recognition to it. Mr. Speaker, it shows that the sacrifices made by those who have benefited from this award have not been in vain. It also shows that their sacrifices have been appreciated and recognized by all of us and more importantly, the Chief Executive of the country and for that matter, we have not forgotten their deeds- So it is to remind all of us that whatever positions that we occupy, whatever work that we are doing, we should do it well, professionally, and to the benefit of mankind. We should be selfless in the work that we do.
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Member and to thank His Excellency, the President, for the painstaking investigations he did to identify these individuals and bodies and to give them these awards. I would also want, particularly, to single our Rt. Hon Speaker, Madam Speaker, for the award that she received. Her background is trite knowledge to all of us. She has distinguished herself in human endeavor and this is an eye-opener to all women and all of us for that matter, that if you serve dedicatedly, you would be recognized. So, in Ghana, there is no forum for marginalizing women or gender discrimination. If you are a woman and you excel in the field that you serve, you would be recognized. I say so against the backdrop, Mr. Speaker, that our Rt. Hon Speaker was a Director of Public Prosecutions in Ghana; indeed, she was a Second Deputy Speaker in the Consultative Assembly that drew the 1992 Constitution which is governing us today. She became a member of the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land and now a Speaker of Parliament. That shows dedication and commitment to duty. So I want to associate myself with the sentiments expressed earlier and to congratulate Madam Speaker for this award and that, the award is not just an honor for herself alone, but for all of us who are in this august House. On that note, I want to assure Hon Colleagues that there is no discrimination in this exercise. It has been with us since our republican status in 1960 and Presidents have used their discretions to award these people with the lens that they use to see them. I hope that the suggestions that Hon Colleagues have made, if we have to be systematic in the type of awards that we present to people, depending on the categories that is in the national interest, I have no objection. But I want to commend the President and the award winners and pray that all of us would live long enough to serve Mother Ghana and would be beneficiaries of these awards one day.
Thank you very much, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business - Item 5 - Motion.
BILLS -SECOND READING
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that the Data Protection Bill for the protection of personal and private information be now read a Second time. Mr. Speaker, the Bill has a long history. The Bill seeks to protect the privacy of personal and private information which, in particular, in electronic format. The European Union (EU), Canada, Australia, India and many other countries including the United Kingdom, have adopted privacy law. The Bill is part of the approach by Government to better facilitate and promote electronic government. Mr. Speaker, as you may note today, data collection, storage and processing is not new. But we live in a different technological environment which has profoundly changed the way we access and process information and we need to move with a technological trend that is advancing.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill seeks to ensure that citizens are protected against unauthorized collection, unauthorized use and unauthorised disclosure of their personal information, except as may by law be permitted. Mr. Speaker, the idea is that for instance, medical records of an individual, examination result of an individual, the banking records of an individual as captured in an electronic form may be used for purposes without the consent of the data subject. The Bill therefore protects the Individual's right to privacy as enshrined under article 18 (2) of the Constitution. It provides for the protection of physical and electronic security of personal data and will promote electronic commerce so that people would have guarantee of security of their information. Mr. Speaker, the Bill is divided into several parts. It has defined what personal data means and established the data principles. It also provides a legal framework or the institutional framework of a data commissioner and also for purposes of appeal. Mr. Speaker, data protection and privacy as well- noted across the world, have become very necessary "because information today is stored via the computer and today when you have the birth date or just the name of any individual person, you may be able to source information about that person. It is important that we protect the security of such information. The Bill, as is also further noted in the memorandum, provides for exceptions to the protection of personal data, particularly on matters of national security, payment of taxes and other obligations tinder the law. Mr. Speaker, with these few comments, I beg to move, that the Data Protection Bill be read a Second time. Question proposed
Mr. Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and as the Chairman of the Committee, I would wish to present the Committee's Report. 1.0 Introduction 1.1 The Data Protection Bill was presented and read the First time in the House on the 29th of November, 2010. The Rt. Hon Speaker, pursuant to article 106(4) and (5) of the Constitution and Orders 125, 179 and 182 of the Standing Orders of the House referred the Bill to the joint Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications for consideration and report. The joint Committee held a number of deliberations including workshops and meetings to consider the Bill. At the invitation of the joint Committee, the Technical Team from the Ministry of Communications led by the Hon Minister, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu; a Chief State Attorney, Mr. P. O. Appiah of the Attorney General's Office were in attendance among other stakeholders to assist the Committee in its deliberations. Pursuant to some critical and fundamental concerns raised on some provisions of the Bill during deliberations, the Hon Minister by leave of Rt. Hon Speaker and the House withdrew the Bill from the House on the 14th of July, 2011. This was to enable the Ministry address the concerns raised and incorporate same by way of the changes in the Bill. The Bill was subsequently re-presented and read the First time on the 15th of July, 2011 and referred to the joint Committee for consideration and report. The Committee having considered the Bill, hereby reports as follows: 2.0 Reference Document The joint- Committee referred to the following documents during deliberations on the Bill: i. The Constitution of the Republic; ii. The Standing Orders of the House; iii. National Identification Authority Act, 2006 (Act 707); iv. National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750); v. Credit Reporting Act, 2007, (Act 726), and vi. The National Health Insurance Act, 2003 (Act 680). 3.0 Background 3.1 The presentation of the Data Protection Bill for passage by the House is a unique attempt by Government to give effect to the provisions of article 18 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic which seeks to provide for the protection of the privacy of the individual against unwarranted interference of any form or kind Article 18(2) of the Constitution specifically provides as follows: "No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others." The emergence of advanced communication technology has made serious inroads into the privacy of the individual and continues in its wake to expose massive information on the individual to third parties. The Ministry of Communications, in a proactive step to protect residents of the country against breach of their privacy, thought it necessary to introduce this legislation to regulate the conduct of data controllers and data processors. This is intended to prevent the abuse of personal data of a person by data controllers and data processors or other third party handlers of personal data or such other use of personal data without the consent of the data subjects. In addition to existing laws on the subject matter which impose obligations on data controllers and processors regarding the handling of personal data, this Bill provides for the establishment of an institutional structure to ensure the enforcement of person's right to privacy of personal data and the inviolability of personal data of data subjects. 4.0 Object of the Bill 4.1 The Bill seeks to establish a Data Protection Commission to protect the privacy of the individual and personal data by regulating the collection and processing of personal information, the process and mode of obtaining, holding, using or disclosing such information among others. 5.0 Organization of the Bill 5.1 The Bill is organized into twelve main groups of caption headings namely: Bata Protection Commission; Administration;
Finances of the Commission; Application of Principles of Data Protection; Rights of Data Subjects and others; Processing of Special Personal Data; Data Protection Register; Exemptions; Enforcement; Records obtained under Data Subject's Right of Access; Information provided to Commission and Miscellaneous and General Provisions. 5.1.1 Data Protection Commission - Clauses 1-10 Clause 1 establishes the Data Protection Commission. Clauses 2 and 3 spell out the object and functions of the Commission which include among others the protection of the privacy of the individual's personal data, the regulation and processing of personal information and the monitoring of compliance with the provisions of this Act. Clause 4 establishes the governing body of the Commission. Clauses 5 to 10 entail standard provisions on the tenure of office of members of the governing Board, meetings of the Board, disclosure of interest, establishment of committees, allowances and Ministerial directives. 5.1.2 Administration - Clauses 11-13 Administrative matters are dealt with under clauses 11 to 13 which include among others the appointment and functions of the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission as well as the appointment of other members of staff. 5.1.3 Finances of the Commission Clauses 14-16 Clauses 14 to 16 provide for the finances of the Commission. Funds of the Commission are provided for hereunder to include moneys approved by Parliament. The provisions also cover accounts and audit, annual report and other reports to be submitted to Parliament. 5.1.4 Application of Principles of Data Protection - Clauses 17-34 Clause 17 protects the privacy of the individual and enjoins a data controller to take cognisance of the data protection principles specified in the law. Clauses 18 and 19 impose obligations in relation to the manner in which personal data should be processed, having regard to the violation and rights of a data subject. Clause 20 prohibits the processing of personal data and provides grounds under which this may be justified while clause 21 prescribes conditions under which personal data may be indirectly collected. Clause 22 empowers the collection of personal data for specific purpose explicitly defined by law while clause 23 requires the notification of a data subject of the purpose of collecting data. Clause 24 prohibits the retention of personal data and specifies the exceptional circumstances under which such data may be retained and the duration for such retention. Clause 25 specifies conditions governing further processing of personal data and imposes a requirement of compatibility of such processing with the purpose of collection. Clause 26 imposes obligations on a data controller to ensure the quality and accuracy of the personal data collected and clause 27 also enjoins a data controller to register with the Commission as well as prescribes requirements relating to notification of the data subject. Clauses 28 to 34 impose obligation on the data controller in terms of security measures to observe in relation to data gathering including data being held; mode of accessing and correcting personal information.
5.1.5 Right of Data Subjects and Others Clauses 35 and 36 Clause 35 relates to the rights of data subjects in accessing personal data and the correlated obligations of a data controller while clause 36 imposes limitations under qualifying conditions within specified time lines on a credit bureau who act as a data controller. 5.1.6 Processing of Special Personal Data - Clauses 37-45 This group of sections caption regulates the processing of special personal data. Clause 37 prohibits the processing of personal data under specified conditions and provides specific conditions under which this could be done; and clause 38 grants exemptions to such prohibition having regard to the religious or philosophical beliefs of the data subject. These clauses confer rights on the individual to disallow the processing of personal data and also provide for the procedures and processes involved. Clauses 42 provides grounds under which a data subject may request for exemption of manual data held by the data controller and clause 43 provides for circumstances under which an individual who suffers damage or distress through the contravention by a data controller may be compensated. Provision is made for the procedures and processes relating to the rectification, blockage, erasure and destruction of personal data and clause 45 provides for the scope of application of the Act. 5.1.7 Data Protection Register- Clauses 46 - 59 Clauses 46 to 49 relate to the Data Protection Register. Clause 46 establishes the Data Protection Register while clause 47 specifies the requirements relating to the application for registration as Data Controller. Clause 48 confers on the Commission the right to refuse registration under specified conditions. Clause 49 also imposes obligations on the Commission to register applicants who comply with the registration requirements- Clause 50 states the period for renewal of registration. Clauses 51 and 52 empower the Commission to remove from or cancel a registration for justifiable causes. Clause 53 prohibits the processing of personal data without registration and clause 54 enjoins the Commission to. provide facilities to make information contained in the Register available for inspection by members of the public. Under clause 55, a person in respect of whom an entry as a data controller is included in a register has a duty to notify the Commission of any changes. Failure of an individual to register as a data controller prior to processing personal data is made an offense under clause 56. Clause 57 spells out actions which constitute assessable processing and clause 5 8 provides for the procedures for the appointment of data a protection supervisor. Prescription for fees for the purposes of the grant of registration among others is highlighted under clause 59. 5.1.8 Exemptions - Clauses 60 - 74 These clauses set out the exemptions for the processing of personal data spanning issues relating to national security, public order, public safety and public interest among others. They also provide for" exemption regarding the prevention or detection of crime and information likely to prejudice the effectiveness of the Armed Forces of the Republic.
5.1.9 Enforcement - Clauses 75 - 81 These clauses spell out the enforcement measures in the law upon the passage of the Bill. 5.2.0 Records obtained under Data Subject's Rights of Access - Clauses 82 and 83 Clause 82 provides for the prohibition of a person providing goods, facilities or services to the general public from requiring any person to supply records as a condition precedent for the provision of the goods, facilities or services and clause 83 precludes the requirement of a person to provide records relating to physical and mental health. 5.2.1 Information provided to the Commission - Clauses 84 and 85 Clause 84 indicates that the restriction on the disclosure of information does not apply to situations whereby a person furnishes the Commission with relevant information for the performance of the Commissions functions and clause 85 makes it an offense for a person who knowingly or recklessly discloses information on a data subject. 5.2.2 Miscellaneous and General Provisions - Clauses 86-93 These clauses detail miscellaneous and general provisions of the Bill which include general duties of the Commission, restriction on the functions of a Credit Bureau as a data controller and service of notices by the Commission. Clauses 94 to 97 cover provisions on regulations, penalties, interpretation and date of commencement. 6.0 Observations . 6.1 Establishment of a Data Protection Com mission The joint Committee observed that the rather strong linkage between privacy rights and human rights as a key factor underpinning the Bill called for the establishment of a body which would guarantee the safeguarding of such rights of the individual as well as those of other data subjects. Against this background, the Committee initially considered the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as an appropriate entity to be entrusted with this responsibility, as this would avoid the creation of another public service structure as proposed in the Bill, and thereby save public funds. The Committee, however, observed that, While the choice of CHRAJ would have given yet another advantage of obviating the design and use of new administrative systems and procedures for initiating and investigating complaints, CHRAJ was already overburdened with work and therefore its choice would be counter-productive. Having regard to the above and considering the fact that CHRAI has always had a backlog of complaints pending adjudication, the Committee held the view that the establishment of a new Commission would be more productive in realizing the full objectives of the Bill. 6,2 Business Processing and Outsourcing (BPO) The joint Committee observed that, While ensuring that Ghanaian data subjects are always protected regardless of where their data is processed, the Bill also complies with international standards and best practices as it takes due cognisance of the laws of foreign data processors. The joint Committee further
observed that this is a positive step towards creating a congenial atmosphere for attracting vital Business Operating Outsourcing ventures and thereby creating jobs and income to the country. The joint Committee accordingly. recommends that a Data Protection Commission, when finally set up upon the passage of the Bill, should ensure that it is always guided by the need to maintain the country's attractiveness to Business Processing Outsourcing ventures to facilitate the country's accelerated development. 6.3 Development of Information Communication Technology The joint Committee observed that when the Bill is passed into Law, it will provide the framework that will facilitate the use of Information Communication Technology platform for administrative and other economic activities and this will further entrench the e-Governance strategy of the country. In the process, the joint Committee noted that, the regulation of issues related to data subject privacy and third party use of data subject information would ensure confidence in the development of information communication technology, mediated platforms and technology. The joint Committee therefore recommends that the Ministry takes advantage of the law to continuously create the requisite atmosphere for the entrenchment of the e-Governance strategy. 7.0 Amendments Proposed The Committee proposes the following amendments for consideration by the House: i. Clause 4-Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b), sub- paragraph (ii), at end add "not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner". ii. Clause 4--Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b) subparagraph (iii), at end add" not below the rank of a Director". iii. Clause 4--Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b), sub- paragraph (iv),delete and insert the following: "one representative elected by the Industry Forum". iv. Clause 4-Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b), sub- paragraph (v), at end add "not below the rank of a Director". v. Clause 4-Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b), sub- paragraph (vii) after "Service" insert "not below the rank of a Director". vi. Clause 4-Amendment proposed- subclause (1), paragraph (b), at end add the following new sub- paragraph: two other persons appointed by the President at least one of whom is a woman. vii. Clause 6 --Amendment proposed- subclause (3), line (1), delete "six" and insert "seven". viii. Clause 10-Amendment proposed- after all the words after "policy". ix. Clause 11 - Amendment proposed - Head note, delete "Appointment of Chief Executive Officer" and insert "Appointment of Executive Director". x. Clause 11 - Amendment proposed- subclause (1), line 2, delete "Chief Executive Officer" and insert "Executive Director".
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the principles of the Data Protection Bill, 2011. Mr. Speaker, the introduction of this Bill, I believe, is apt. If you look at the current trends in the country, regarding the conduct of business, conduct of governance activities vis-a-vis the current era of information technology, you would realize that huge amounts of personal data are exchanging hands daily. Mr. Speaker, if you want to get a driver's license and you go to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the data is taken; if you want to get a passport, you go to the Passport Office, your data is taken - several government agencies and institutions on daily basis are taking our personal data. Now, in some other pieces of legislation, you have individuals also being compelled to actually provide some data before they can even access some services. An example is the registration of SIM cards, as we have seen lately in the country. If you do not provide your personal data, you would not be able to even access mobile telephony facilities. It is, therefore, very important that at this point in time, we introduce some controls over these data processors and controllers who day in day out are collecting our data.
Hon Minority Leader, do you stand-
Yes, Mr. Speaker, just a point of information from the Hon Minister. Mr. Speaker, Bills have to be accompanied by memorandum which would explain in precise form the intendment of the Bill. That memorandum is required to convince and persuade even Colleague Ministers at Cabinet level and so on before and after, maybe, the debate and approval by Cabinet, it would be gazetted. [Interruption] The Minister is nodding - that is the process. So how come that, the Bill that we have before us, you signed your memorandum on 5th November, 2010 and the Bill is gazetted same day, 5th November, 2010?
Mr. Speaker, it is done; it would be better explained by the Attorney-General's Department. My understanding was that about 10.00 a.m. that morning, they were in print and they normally have two types of gazetting - and they looked at it - yes, it was brought to me and I signed. If you look at - the Attorney-General even sent copies before I took responsibility to lay it. So the necessary legal thing has been done, Mr. Speaker. [Interruption.]
Very well, Hon Minority Chief Whip -
Mr. Speaker, apart from the sanity that the Bill seeks to introduce into the operations of data processing, acquisition and storage in the country, I believe it is also very well placed to place obligations on those entities that actually collect, process and store personal data. Again, it has given the necessary guarantees and assurances to the citizenry that if you have to give up your personal data to any entity for some service or for some other legal requirements, that data is also going to be protected. I quite remember, when the issue of SIM card registration came up, a lot of Hon Members of Parliament were very, very worried about how the telecom operators - and sometimes as we are aware, in your constituencies, in a little village, if you have to buy a SIM card, it is somebody somewhere who just picks up that data. What are they going to do with that information? That brings to the fore the issue that notwithstanding the fact that the Bill seeks to create a commission to manage its execution, it is also going to be important for every Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) under whose jurisdiction there is some form of data acquisition, storage or processing to take a keen interest in how the various entities that have the day-to-day responsibility of interacting with the private data of individuals would put up the necessary structures to be in conformity with the provisions of this particular Bill. Mr. Speaker, on that note, I wish to urge all Hon Colleagues to support this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to support this Motion. I believe this is a very important Bill because in this day and age of advanced communication technology and the creating of institutions like Credit Reference Bureaus, there is no doubt that a lot of data on persons are held by various institutions. If a legal framework is not put in place to control the way this data is assessed and used, I think that many people would suffer unduly. It is therefore necessary that this law has come to ensure that, at least, if you want to access somebody's data, you should be able to have access to it but the data should be used responsibly; And if you abuse the information, you would have to pay for it. Secondly, it provides an opportunity for persons Whose data are collected maybe, if they are able to access the data and they find that there is a problem with the data, they can apply to the various institutions that are holding the data to correct the data or make notes and attach to the data indicating the objection that that person has. On this note, I think that the importance of this Bill cannot be overemphasized.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. I was wondering, why the Hon Minister or maybe Parliament has kept this Bill for so long from November of last year to this year. It is a very important Bill and must be given all the seriousness it deserves. Reading through the Bill quickly and I said "quickly" so the Hon Minister can correct me where I-err. I have not found -I tend to believe that even telephone conversations can fall under the Data Protection Act. When we know what has happened through the News of The World and the telephone hacking - and I do not like the word because everybody calls me "Hack" and we say "hacking" - it is not the best of things to do. Mr. Speaker, on a serious note. There is a lot of abuse of data by various organizations, credit agencies and the rest. So the Commission has to be a really non- partisan Commission which would work adequately to ensure that this is done. This enforcement, Hon Minister, you would have to assure us - this enforcement is almost an impossibility because they capture the data - everybody captures the data - banks, insurance companies - what do they do with it? And at the end of the day, you would find that this data is now made available to agencies and people to use. So I have a little bit of concern and I hope the Hon Minister would take this on board that at least, we need to make sure we have a near safeguard - it is impossible - but a near safeguard situation whereby the data so collected would not be used for partisan purposes or to hack people. Right now, it looks as if in the Third World, especially in Ghana, we are even becoming holier than the Pope or than those who have had democratic structures for the longest while. Mr. Speaker, because of the proliferation of newspapers, a lot of data is being thrown about which injures the reputation of citizens. I would want the Hon Minister in his summing up, to really address and assure me that what is being done in the newspapers can also be controlled, not by the Media Commission, but also by this Act. This is because if somebody establishes a _ newspaper today he publishes that Mr. Speaker has done a, b, c, and then he gets away with it Mr. Speaker, I think the lawyers and the Minister should assure us that this thing would also not seek to be another control measure on the freedom which we have achieved. Yes, right now, for example, the Criminal Libel Law is no longer there, but at least one goes to court. Mr. Speaker, you go to court and you spend almost a year in determining a case. So I would want to find out from the Data Protection Bill, if it is at all possible, and under which particular section, to do this. One last thing. I think this Hon Minister is a very distinguished one because even when there are difficulties this young man is the one who is called upon to resolve them and so he knows. But in this particular instance, as far as I know, once a President signs a Bill, it becomes law. But this is one that he has
Order! Order! Hon Minister -
Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of information. The information I want to provide to my Hon Colleague is that-in law, making, you can decide -
You mean on a point of correction? This is because you can give your information by contributing.
Point of correction. Mr. Speaker, in law-making, you can decide when the law takes effect. If you let it be the only indication that the President has assented to it, it becomes law immediately. But you can even take some aspects of that law and say they come into effect on the date that a Minister or somebody else, clothed with the authority decides. So it is not the Minister who is deciding when the law should be. It is the proposal by the President and agreed to by Cabinet that a date should be indicated when it comes into effect.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the recently-returned Minister for Health has got it all wrong. I was not referring to specific provisions in various Bills which become law at the pleasure of the Minister. But I was referring to the whole Bill. It is very detailed Bill and the whole Bill only becomes law, Hon Minister, no offense intended, but somebody will say, at the whims and caprices of the Minister. If the Minister does not want it, we do not get it. So I do not think Hon Yieleh Chireh, the cadre specialist, is right in his correction. But he says he has weaned himself off cadre tendencies. [Interruption.] Oh! He is a very senior cadre. So Mr. Speaker, I would want to understand why the Minister Wants to be the one to determine when this most important Bill comes into force. But I also want to congratulate him. It is very comprehensive; he has done his best and I believe that the Commission that comes into place is the one that should protect the privacy of individuals. Right now in America and elsewhere, you know that, that, is being done-- tell not, see not, whatever it is. So Hon Minister, everything lies within your purview to make sure you recommend people of integrity to serve on the commission to regulate this. Mr. Speaker, with this, I thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the floor. Mr. Speaker, the intendment of this Bill is quite clearly, captured in the objective which is to protect personal data of individuals. Mr. Speaker, everyday, information of a personal nature is collected about people. When babies are born in the hospital, their birth data are taken. The data can be used for very dangerous purposes. Everyday in the newspapers - and Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, we read in the newspapers about the publication on the salaries of people who were working at the Presidency. That data is data of a personal
nature and ought to be protected by law. Just two days or last week, there was a publication in the newspapers of the salaries and conditions of service of doctors. That information is of personal nature that ought to be protected. Mr. Speaker, the lack of a regulatory regime to protect such data exposes many people to e machinations of people who Want to use the data for specific purposes. Mr. Speaker, even now as we speak, the World is being ravaged by HIV. Can you imagine that these persons who have been stigmatized, many of them have got their names published in the newspapers? Their status ought to be protected but because we do not have a regulatory regime or legal framework that protects that data, they are subject to abuses, discrimination and stigmatization. There could be many more. Mr. Speaker, you visit your doctor in the hospital, he takes you through examination; that data he collects upon that examination is data that ought to be protected. What is the regime that is in place that protects that data? Nothing. at is why we have to support this Bill. That is why we ought to give meaning to the Constitutional provision in article 18 (2) that says that No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except accordance with law and as may necessary in a flee and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others. I believe this Bill is intended to achieve the purpose of article 18 (2) and that 1S why we ought to support it. Mr. Speaker, there are many other bodies that have been set up to collect data. How will the data be used by these bodies such that we can ensure that in the use of the data, the privacy of the individual is protected? For instance, data is being collected by the National identification Authority. Data is being collected by the Credit Reporting Agencies, data is being collected by the National Health Authority. I think in considering the provisions of this Bill and the body that will be set up in monitoring the implementation of the provisions of the Bill, they should give much attention to how this data that has the potential - today we are talking about biometric registration, - of a personal nature will be collected. How do we ensure that these various classes of data that would be collected by various agencies are protected in such a way that they do not constitute interference in the privacy of individuals. This Bill ought to be supported and we ought to expedite action in its passage because in doing so I believe we would be giving full meaning and attention to the framers of the Constitution when they said that the privacy of the individual ought to be protected.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have looked at the Report of the Committee and I think they have done a lot of exhaustive work on the Bill. I will go along with my Hon Colleagues for us to have this Bill passed into law. It is very important that we have the data protection of personal nature. What is important in this Bill is also getting the register of such data that should be protected and if you do not build the register itself, it will be difficult to talk about it. Now, what is the nature of data that has to be protected? Indeed, they relate to health data and these days, with stigmatization of most or some of the diseases, if you have people disclose indiscriminately the nature of some sickness or ailment they suffer, they will
Thank you very much. Any contribution from Leadership? I will put the Question if there is no contribution from Leadership.
Hon Minister, are you inclined towards saying something else? Hon Minister, you may do so.
I was trying to catch your eye for - but once you have put the Questions I am most obliged and I am grateful. Just to assure and thank Hon Members for their contributions and to indicate strongly that this Bill generally will establish minimum standards for the collection, processing and security of data. And in respect of what Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang has said, I think that sooner than later, we will come before this House to introduce what we call "a do not call requirement". Once we get successful with our SIM card registration, in order to avoid. unnecessary and excessive phone calls which you do not need to receive - and even text messages, there are practices elsewhere in the world where you can put a limitation on your number not to receive such Spam. We will give a consideration to that. The other thing is to say that there is a strong relationship between this Bill, and the Freedom of Information Bill. They are two sides of a coin. One is to protect individual personal data, viz-a-viz its use by organizations for legitimate and lawful purposes. So, once this Bill is passed, we will make a distinction between data which is personal and that which is required in the public interest. I want to thank Hon Members again and to assure the Hon Minority Leader that it was with speed that the gazetting was done. But as I indicated earlier, it has a history, we brought it, the Committee cleaned it up, we went back to the Attorney-General to accommodate some of the comments that were made. I am most grateful, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Question put and Motion agreed to. The Data Protection Bill, 2011 was accordingly read a Second time.
Item 6- Hon Majority Leader, are we on course?
Mr. Speaker, exactly so. We are on course.
BILLS - CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of debate from 19th July, 2011]
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 8, add the following new subclauses: "(1) A person who engages in a commercial activity in the renewable energy industry without a license issued by the Commission as provided under this Act, commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to both; (2) Where the offense is committed by a body corporate, that body corporate is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand penalty units". So, this is an additional clause to the original clause 8. The reason for this new clause is the fact that, we now want to prescribe sanctions for persons Who contravene the provisions in clause 8. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 8 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, I am advised that item (ii) has been taken as well as (iii). Chairman of the Committee, you must be aware.
Mr. Speaker, the (ii) was supposed to take an amendment being made by Hon Joseph Adda and debate Was supposed to continue but he has shifted it to later clauses. So this one will be stepped down completely and then we will continue from clause 26.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, that is so. It is not me who has shifted it but I have been advised by the Table Office that, as a new clause, it should be at the end and I totally agree with them.
So that will be taken at the tail end?
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.
That brings us to clause 26. There is an amendment in the name of the Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Speaker, clause 26, subclause (6) delete it completely. Sony, it is clause 26 - [Pause]- Mr. Speaker, I have just been corrected -
Majority Leader, any assistance?
Mr. Speaker, we have not dealt with clause 17 in one way or the other. If the Chairman of the Committee thinks that the amendment proffered under that clause is no more relevant, we should be told. Otherwise, we would have skipped it and then whether we are coming back or not, that would have been the end of it so we should be guided on clause 17 before We come to clause 26.
Mr. Speaker, the Table Office had had consultation with the Speaker and I was advised that, that particular clause would not be dealt with - [Pause]
Hon Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee, in the "Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 19th July, page 10 - clause 17, amendment proposed delete and insert the following" and it is exactly as it is captured on the Order Paper for today and that deletion and insertion were done accordingly. So it has been dealt with just as it stands before the House for today.
we just wanted to. be informed as a result of loss of memory, but we have taken that clause already and it: will form part of the record.
It has been duly taken as recorded per the proceedings I referred to. Clause 26 - Renewable energy purchase obligation.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 26 - add the following new sub- clauses: "(6) Where an electricity distribution utility fails to procure a specified percentage of its total purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources, that distribution utility commits an offense and (a) is liable on summary conviction To a fine of one thousand penalty units; or (b) the Commission may suspend the license of the electricity distribution utility. (7) Where a bulk customer fails to purchase a specified percentage of its total purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources or refuses to pay the premium required under subsection (4), (a) the Commission may suspend the permit obtained by the bulk customer to purchase electricity from a wholesale supplier; and (b) the bulk customer shall pay: (i) the sum total of the difference between the end user tariff and the purchase price of the renewable energy payable, calculated from the date the amount was due and payable; and (ii) a fine of five thousand penalty units." The reason for this is to make sure that there is a guaranteed ready market for electricity produced from renewable energy sources.
Mr. Speaker, I think generally, this amendment is in the right direction but I have some reservations about 6 (a) which gives the option for conviction to a fine of one thousand penalty units. Mr. Speaker, utility companies manage huge levels of investments. They take in huge sums of moneys as returns for their tariffs. The amount that is indicated in (a) is such that they could pay it off easily and not have any problem. I am sure that even before we get to this stage, the process that the transmission companies -
the renewable energy generating company and whoever else will engage in the exchange before it gets to the penalty level, will all be exhausted in the mutual interest of the utility Company as well as whoever else may determine. But Mr. Speaker, what we are seeking to do as a nation is to ensure that we hit the target of at least 10 per cent of our energy resources coming out of renewable and I think with these powerful companies having so much money at their disposal, if we give them this option, they can always play tricks and games and get out of it by paying off and allude to one reason or the other. My view is that, if we were to take (a) out and leave (b), I think it will be a tough enough measure to guarantee that the utilities would help the nation to move closer to the 10 percent added Once they go through the processes of consultation and exchanges, negotiations and what have you before their license is suspended, they know that really they did the wrong thing but at the tail end of that they are now given the option to pay a certain amount, they will do that and the next time in my view, Mr. Speaker, they can engage in that and keep engaging in that. This I speak from experience where we have had difficulty in the past having utilities take on power purchase agreements from companies that want to give us renewable energy through waste to energy production. So this is my concern, Mr. Speaker. I believe if we are really very serious as a nation and if we want to hit the target of 10 percent, we should not give them the option of paying the equivalent of any penalty unit, but we should exhaust the process and bring them down to a threat of suspending their license to make sure that they comply. Mr. Speaker, this is my view. Indeed, the penalty is all right but I think it would not help us to reach the target that we set for ourselves. Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with the amendment except that I think to support what the Chairman has said, if we were to take this subsection (a) (i) and just leave the threat of suspending their license, they would be more serious in taking on the renewable energy. Mr. Speaker, this is my view.
Hon Minister, the essence of this is that, it may be more useful to simply leave out the matter of fines so that possible suspension of license may be the real sanction in the eyes of operators and perhaps, we may look at cancellation. Is there any possible cancellation here?
Mr. Speaker, there is no cancellation. It is the suspension of the license until there is a commitment on the utility company to buy from renewable sources. Indeed, initially, clause 26 (6) was added to create an offense because the difficulty was that there was no offense, it has just said that they should pay, what was it? Was it a fine? If it is a fine, why was he paying? And that was why the amendment was done. The last time we were considering this provision, we did not have any difficulty saying that because - and I agree with the Hon Ranking Member, except to say that the way the penalty regime has been structured, it is to take account of the nature of the default. So if in the view of the Energy Commission the default is such that it can be remedied by the imposition of a fine of one thousand penalty units, so be it. If it is of the nature that it can only be remedied by the suspension of the license and it comes to that interpretation - So in effect, Mr. Speaker, we are saying that the determination of whether or not to impose a penalty of one thousand penalty units or a suspension of a sentence should be confined to the regulatory aspect of the law and that regulatory function will be performed by the Commission. So Mr. Speaker, I think that yes, because renewable energy will be expensive; we need to ensure that companies buy, if they do not buy, they must pay for it. But we should not cancel the license of a utility company for not buying; they should pay the penalty for not buying.
Mr. Speaker, I think I support the position that the Hon Deputy Minister has already indicated. In making this law, let us also know that the bulk purchaser and the utility service companies are in for business; they want to make money. So if you are taking money from them because they have failed to" perform their duty, I think it is in line; it is more business-friendly to provide this rather than just a cancellation which will require re-registration and the rest. So I think we should maintain the position that is taken by the Chairman.
Mr. Speaker, in addition to what has been said, you know that in Ghana, in terms of distribution, it is still a monopoly of the State electricity corporation. So you could imagine if we were to withdraw the license of this one distributor, then it means that there would be chaos. So for now, I think that cancellation is quite pre-mature until the sector develops into a mature sector with a lot of competitors.
Hon Adda, are you inclined to accept this position and we will make progress?
Mr. Speaker, indeed, I share the views of my Colleagues, I know that the utilities are in the business of making money, but as I indicated earlier, it is all from experience where they would use tricks and games to ensure that they do not feed this into the grid system. Obviously, if we cancel the license at any point in time, the whole nation will suffer and we do not want to get to that level. But I think the Board, the Chief Executive and Management, if they stand the risk of this threat and that at any point in time that the matter comes up as if their license is going to be suspended, they would be held reliable for that and that they could all lose their positions in the jobs. I think they would be more serious in trying to feed this into the grade than to say that let us go and pay and next time when they come, we can still go through the same process. It appears I am in the minority in this. Mr. Speaker, I would have to go along with my Chairman, the Hon Minister and my Colleagues but I am convinced in my heart that this is not the most effective way for us to hit that target of 10 percent that we are looking for as a nation.
On a point of order Mr. Speaker, this is just a small point. I have just started looking at the Bill and I noticed that for clause 26 (7) which you have just put the Question on the construction is: "Where a bulk customer fails to purchase a specified percentage of its total purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources..." And we have defined the renewable energy sources - it does appear as if a person cannot purchase from just one source. But I thought the intendment is really to indicate that the person must be engaged in the purchase of electricity from at least, one of the sources. So why not then indicate that:
Thank you very much. . Hon Members, I hope we are all right with that rendition? It reads: ". . . from a renewable energy source This is because it does not have to be various sources before it will trigger the offense being made.
Mr. Speaker, I thought it was in order but because of the nature of renewable energy, we thought it should be "sources".
No, Because the "sources" are many and the offense can relate to one source. It may be a wind situation, it may be a solar situation simpliciter:
Mr. Speaker, What happens with the bulk purchaser is that, it is only when the thing has been converted into electricity - but at that particular moment, it is coming from different sources to become one energy company.
We Should be mindful of the fact that in a legal manner, the singular includes the plural, so we have no difficulty.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. [Interruption] Mr. Speaker has explained what he has said from a legal point of view. But I was arguing from a technical point of view. He is saying legal and I am not a lawyer so I have agreed that if lawyers indicate that "sources" can be the same as "source" then I agree with the Hon Minority Leader and then the Hon Minister for Health, and again with Mr. Speaker.
So now, it is "from a renewable energy source or refuses to pay" So continuing, as part of the amendment of the Hon Chairman of the Committee, I will put the Question.
Mr. Speaker, it actually also means that the same thinking must be applied to clause 26 (6), particularly the third line. It is consequential.
Yes. So it will apply throughout. Question put and amendment agreed to Clause 26 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 27 - Feed-in-tariff rates.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 27, subclause (1), delete and insert the following: "An electricity distribution utility shall not buy or negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with a generator of electricity from renewable energy sources without the written approval of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission." Mr. Speaker, the most important sentence there is the fact. If you go to lines 3 and 4 of the original rendition, it says that "in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Public Utilities
Mr. Speaker, if there is a requirement, there is a requirement and the requirement will be stipulated by and in the law. If it is not needed, you do not need to state it, that I "An electricity distribution utility shall not buy or negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with a generator of electricity from a renewable energy source without the written approval of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission." I do not see the relevance of this at all and so, in my view, it is not necessary to get this into the Act. It is not necessary at all. Can we go on to say that it should not hum with the approval of any other body other than the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission? To the extent that it is not stated, there is no obligation, so this submission, in my opinion, is very much unnecessary. I thought he had stated that it should be in accord with some guidelines. Those ones would be necessary. But to state that it does not need the approval of PURC, I do not think it is relevant at all to have this inserted in the Act; it is not necessary.
Mr. Speaker, I think in this, it rather needs the approval of the PURC.
Mr. Speaker, I think what is in the Bill itself must stay instead of the amendment being proposed. If you look at the original clause, and with your permission, I quote: "27. (1) An electricity distribution utility shall not buy or negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with a generator of electricity from renewable energy sources unless it is in accordance with guidelines provided by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission" Basically, I think this clause is trying to ensure that the marketplace is governed by the guidelines that would be put across by the PURC. But if you look at the proposed amendment, it is subjecting that whole process to a written approval by the PURC and I think that is not the intendment of the framers here.
Mr. Chairman, in this age of privatization? In other words, what stands here now only says that whatever agreement there could be must be within a certain framework, guidelines, provided by the PURC and so subject to that, you are free to engage in private transactions. It would look as if this is making it subject to a written approval.
Mr. Speaker, you have said it all. I think that "guidelines" is better. It provides the framework for everybody to operate. If you say "written approval" you are introducing bureaucracy and that is not business friendliness. I believe that the guidelines could be issued and everybody who thinks that he is within the guidelines goes to do the work. But if he is now requiring a written
Mr. Speaker, please, let us understand ourselves better. He should not say "Asaga". Mr. Speaker, anytime tariffs are being set for any generator, the final decision lies on the PURC because the PURC must make sure that the negotiations of the tariffs are within the economic - [Interruption] They must give an approval because when you are negotiating, it is PURC that would do the technical work by telling you whether your cost of generation is inflated or it is undervalued. They cannot allow you to go and sit with the bulk supplier alone. The PURC, has the formulas and for each fuel supply it would have a different tariff. That is why we need that written approval. This is because they must get involved in it to say that the negotiations that are being undertaken, we have looked at it and we are approving those negotiations and the tariffs that would come from the negotiations. This is because tariffs are not just left to market forces alone. There are other parameters that are used to calculate the tariffs.
The PURC sets certain tariff mechanisms taking into account also the interest of the public. The point here is that, if you would allow an unbridled market force operation, it may end up not working in the interest of the public. I think that explanation is worthy of being taken into account by Hon Members.
Mr. Speaker, this is precisely so. Indeed, the PURC is the regulatory body. It sets the guidelines. So first and foremost, any utility company that wants to enter into negotiations with a generator over a Power Purchase Agreement must conform to the guidelines. After that, the PURC as a regulator, will have to certify that the Power Purchase Agreement has indeed been negotiated in conformity with the guidelines. That is why they need the approval after the negotiation. Yes, it cannot conclude the negotiations. In fact- the intendment of this provision is that, the negotiations can never be concluded without the approval. But the way it is couched, it has given an impression that, before they enter- This is because it is the regulator, just like Mr. Speaker has said; the utility company will have to operate on market oriented principles and get back its money. But in the energy mix, it should be such that the cost, if you negotiate with the generator of renewable energy sources, there is the likelihood and temptation that the utility company will pass on the cost to the consumer. So, first of all, in negotiating a Power Purchase Agreement, the utility company must conform to the guidelines. You cannot do it without conformity to the guidelines. After that, you need approval that indeed you have, if not, you will pass on. So Mr. Speaker, it is important for us to empower the PURC to regulate this. If not, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, you will not be able to pay for your light bill.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, if I get you right, at what time do you get the approval?
Mr. Speaker, the issue of energy sources and their attendant tariffs, is not like we do not know what the sources of energy can be and the PURC can very easily determine what levels of tariffs accompany each type of source of energy. Indeed, if you look at clause 27 (2) it says: "The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission shall prepare and provide public utilities with guidelines on the level of rates that may be charged by the public utility for electricity generated from renewable energy sources." So that is contained here, and clause 27 (1.) is saying that, if you are going to negotiate this, you cannot do so if it is not in line with the guidelines. If it is not in" conformity with the guidelines as put forth by the PURC, you cannot conclude those negotiations. So I do not know why we want to change that statement to say that, instead of being in conformity with the guidelines, you should go and get a written approval. It is just a complicated bureaucratic process we want to introduce by law which we should not. Mr. Speaker, we should not let it become a case by case situation where each time you have to go and get a single approval. Once that blanket guideline is given, it should fit the entire industry.
Mr. Speaker, in fact, he has even spoken in favor. PURC should rather be on a case by case basis, depending upon the kind of fuel you are using to generate, that is one. [Interruptions.] The Hon-Member was saying that it should not be on a case by case basis but I am rather saying that it should rather be a case by case and then it also looks at the economy. For example, you do not have the same tariffs in the United States of America (USA) like in Ghana, therefore if a generator is coming with a USA tariff rate, he is not likely to get that. Therefore, the PURC must tell the generator coming from the USA that the kind of economic indices that he uses to calculate his rate is not the same here. So in negotiating your Power Purchase Agreement, we must give approval for What enters into your formula. So that is why it is case by case, it is very complicated and we do not want to pass through some greedy investors because the PURC is there to protect both the consumer and the generator.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, what the Hon Member is saying-- unless we already know what is in the guidelines. The guidelines will be set out as regulations or whatever and when these guidelines are set out, the enforcement of the guidelines will be by monitoring. But if you introduce this element, it means that, almost everything is bottlenecked at PURC. [Interruptions.] This is because you need a written approval, what written approval? The guidelines are there, if you want to sign and you conform with the guidelines, if you are looking for a policeman to enforce this one, it cannot be by written approval, you will let the company or Whoever has signed this Agreement sees whether they indeed have gone according to the guidelines. So if we do not know where the guidelines are, fine. But if we know what the guidelines are and somebody else goes outside the guidelines, it is easy to detect. But to introduce this one means that, after you have negotiated, you now go for approval, if after the approval, the person does not even conform to what he has agreed to do - So I think that the guidelines are better.
Hon Asaga, you may want to - Hon Chairman if you may pay attention. Hon Chairman
the problem with the Chairman is that he is not listening, he is stuck to his position and he will not listen. Mr. Speaker, if you look at clause 27 (1) which -talks about guidelines- The clause 27 (2) then explains what should be contained in the guidelines. Now, what the Hon Chairman wants to craft and impose on us, there is a clear disconnect between clause 27 (1) and (2). That is the import of what we are trying to do. Mr. Speaker, clause 27 (1) says that the guidelines should be provided by PURC and whatever a person or the utility wants to purchase or even negotiate, should be in "accord with the guidelines". So even if I want to negotiate, it should be with the express written permission of the PURC? It is totally wrong. That is unacceptable. Mr. Speaker, the PURC is a regulatory body; it sets tariffs. Yes, where is it provided from? Look at clause 27 (2) and 3); so you have the clear flow of thinking; clause 27 (1), (2) and (3) , the way he wants us to go at it. There is a disconnect between clause 27 (1) and (2). Now, the Chairman is not even consulting anybody, he is not even consulting the Committee; now he stands here and talks to himself and he wants to express what is in his mind and he is saying that it is the Committee. He does not represent the Committee here. He is representing himself and the Committee is a subset of this House. So if the House or majority of us are saying that we should move in some other direction, he cannot remain stuck in his position and say that he represents the Committee. He is representing himself in this matter and not the Committee. Mr. Speaker, as I was saying the Chairman
Hon Minority Leader, you may continue. I will prefer that Hon Chairman contributes after the Hon Minority Leader. Hon Minority Leader, please conclude.
Mr. Speaker, the point I am making is, the Hon Asaga should relate himself to the flow. If you look at clause 27 (1), we are talking about the establishment of guidelines by the PURC Whichever the purchase or negotiations should conform to. Now, if you come to clause 27 (2), we are talking about the levels of rate and so on; that one would be established or provided for by 27 (2). And what should go into it then is further amplified in 27 (3) which then talks about the technology being used, the location of the generating facility, the operation norms and so on. And so we have the flow better in that.
Mr. Speaker, I first wanted this erroneous impression that PURC is just a regulator. I want to make it clear here that, apart from being a regulator, PURC also sets the tariffs and makes sure that they review tariffs. That is why the PURC has been empowered to announce tariffs and after announcing tariffs - and so to just say that they are just only - that is part of regulation. So to just say that the simplistic word of regulation - and in addition to that I am representing the Committee and so it is a Committee's rendition. I am talking of when he was referring to
Hon Deputy Minister, would you like to have some consultations with the Hon Minority Leader so that -
Mr. Speaker, indeed, the Hon Minority Leader would have been correct in his rendition if we had not sought to delete clause 27 (1). We are deleting.
He is not deleting -
No, we are deleting it. It says subclause (1), delete . So the whole of sub-clause (1) will go. [Interruptions] No, there is no disjoint. If you delete it there is no disjoint. Why, because sub- clause (2), if we delete it, we will not have the provision unless it is in accordance with guidelines provided by the PURC. Now if we delete - Mr. Second Deputy Speaker Hon Deputy Minister, I will respectfully suggest that - can you have a little discussion with the Hon Minority Leader while we seem to make some other progress?
I believe it will help us. The difficulty is -I want you to confer While we make progress on the other part. If we can have a little conference with the Hon Minority Leader, perhaps, we could make some progress.
Mr. Speaker, I think the difficulty is that he thought I had agreed that clause 27 (1) should be deleted. What I am saying is that, instead of going by his proposal that we should delete it and in its place insert What he is proposing, we should rather let it stand as it is and then We progress from there to (2) and (3); that is what I said. We could, if We want, have a place for the new clause that he is proposing, we could have a place for it. But in respect of the original 27 (1), it should be there.
Hon Members, shall we stand this down, make some progress while we work out how best to put that? It will help us a lot.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, some of us have some contributions to make based on what the Hon Minority Leader had talked about. The fact of the matter is that, in the practice of trying to set up power plants and also distributing, companies walk into Ghana and begin the process of not only gathering information but negotiating what tariffs they could get if they were to actually produce. These things go on and some are happy with What they get, they stay on and then before they actually begin producing and feeding in there, they require a letter from the PURC. Others are not satisfied and they walk away. Therefore, I am getting to the point of saying that, the earlier rendition of 27 (1) is a better one that should stay. This is because the amendment that is shown on the Order Paper for today simply ties the hands of any interested investor who wants to come in and help us generate electricity from renewable sources. So I think it is a fairly simple matter that this clause should stay as it is and not be amended by what we are proposing on page 4 of the Order Paper because
Mr. Speaker, I think that your earlier suggestion, I do even have a fundamental difficulty with that provision; the first part. "An electricity distribution company shall not buy or negotiate...". You cannot have those two verbs; you cannot have them in the formulation. You cannot have them because, what do you buy? "..shall not buy power or negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement. . ." but you can buy or negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement. No utility company buys a Power Purchase Agreement, it is not there. So I think your suggestion that We should stand it down is appropriate in this circumstance.
Item (Vi), clause 27, further amendment in the name of the Chairman of the Committee.
Mr. Speaker, we would want to suggest that we just stand down the whole of clause 27. Clause 28 --Approval of feed-in-tariff rates.
Mr. Speaker I beg to move, clause 28 -- add the following new subclause: "A public utility which contravenes, subsection (1) or (2), commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a tine often thousand penalty units." The reason for this is to provide sanctions for contravening the provisions of clause 28. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 28 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 29 --Publication of feed-in- tariff rates.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 29, line 3, before "Commission" insert "Public Utilities Regulatory" and also, delete "the mass media" and insert "in at least one national daily newspaper." It should read as follows: "Feed -in-tariff rates approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission For Electricity generated from renewable energy sources shall be published by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission in the Gazette and in at least one national daily newspaper." The reasons are that, we are referring to PURC and so we want to be very, very specific. Secondly, when we say "a mass media it is a little bit ambiguous but if we say a "widely circulated national paper then that will carry the message across the length and breadth of the country. Question put and amendment agreed To. Clause 30 - Connection to transmission and distribution systems. 12.5O p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move clause 30, subclause (3), delete. The deletion here is because there is the need to legislate on this issue. It should read as follows: "An agreement between the operator of the transmission or distribution system and the generator of electricity from renewable energy resources". This is more of a commercial transaction which should not be in a legislation. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that clause 30, subclause (4), line 2, after "point" insert "of the grid". This is to make it very specific where there is a point of connection between the grid and the generator. So we are just being specific at the level of the grid where that connection would be. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move clause 30 - add the following new sub- clause: "An operator of a transmission or distribution system that commits an offense under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand penalty units and the Commission may in addition to the fine suspend the license of that operator." This is to provide sanctions for contravening the provisions in clause 30 as earlier mentioned. So these are still penalties.
Mr. Speaker, I want a clarification because earlier, he specified the role of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) Is he talking about the Energy Commission which is defined in the Bill? Who is this commission? That clarification is important.
Mr. Speaker, here, reference is being made to the Energy Commission. question put and amendment a reed to. Clause 30 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 31 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 32 - Object of the Fund.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32, subclause (1), line 2, after "development" insert "management". So that it would read as follows: "The object of the Fund is to provide financial resources for the I promotion, development, management and utilization. . . " That is why there is the insertion of "management". [Interruption] Yes, there Is a comma.
Mr. Speaker, with respect, can I suggest to the Chairman of the Committee that, in moving the amendment for clause 32 ((1) - since this whole Bill is about sustainable utilization of resources, whether it would not be better to have the word "sustainable" inserted before "utilization." That is in clause 32 (1), so that we have "promotion, development, management and the sustainable utilization of renewable energy resources" to be in sync with the Short Title of the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I have taken note of his proposal but if you look at the Memorandum on the front page, it talks of utilization and efficient management of renewable energy resources. So that is where we were coming from, by not adding the word "sustainable".
Mr. Speaker, the Short Title on page 3 of the Bill and the provision of the Fund is to reinforce it. So I thought that if we emphasized the "sustainability and utilization", it would be just like he is saying, efficient usage of it.
Mr. Speaker, I take his proposal so we would insert-also the "sustainability". It should read as follows" ". . . management and sustainable utilization of renewable energy sources."
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to
Hon Chairman of the Committee, you may proceed with the further amendments (xiii).
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32 - add the following subclause: "Subject to the availability of moneys -
Hon Chairman, for the avoidance of doubt, did we complete xiii?
Yes, we have completed that one.
Very well, you may continue with xiv.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, clause 32 - add the following new subclause: "Subject to the availability of moneys for activities under subsection (2) of this Section, moneys from the Fund may be applied for: (a) the promotion of: (i) scientific and technological research into renewable energy; (ii) research into the establishment of standards for the utilization of renewable energy; (iii) the production of equipment for the development and utilization of renewable energy in the country; and (iv) programmes to adopt international best practices; and
Mr. Speaker, point of information. Is the Hon Chairman indicating to us that we should delete clause 32 (2) or that what he is proposing is in addition to clause 32 (2)? It is a bit confusing so let us know exactly what he wants to achieve.
Mr. Speaker, thanks for the correction. I beg to move, clause 32 - subclause (2), delete and insert the following: "(2)For the purposes of achieving the object of the Fund, moneys from the Fund shall be applied primarily to the provision of financial incentives, feed-in-tariffs, capital subsidies, production-based subsidies and equity participation, for. (a) grid interactive renewable electricity; (b)mini-grid and off-grid renewable power systems for remote areas and islands; and (c)renewable energy projects for non-electricity purposes. The reason for this is to clearly spell out what the Fund can be used for, this is because in an earlier rendition it just said "relevant activities". This is to actually come out clearly what some of the relevant activities are.
Thank you very much. It is to give details to the activities envisaged.
Mr. Speaker, I know I was at the Committee meeting and we had several discussions but the presentation that is being made now, I am not so sure whether that goes to page 15 of the Bill which should be clause 32 (2) (a) and replaces all that entirely. I say so because what we have now, on page 6 of the Order Paper, we are proposing that the amendment should delete the old rendition that we have and then insert into the Bill, clause 32 (2), (a), (b) and (c) following. But in the old rendition, we had subclauses (a) (b) and (c) as well, which was specific under subclauses (a) and (b) on certain items. So, I do not know if these ones would exist. Or to put it in a simpler form whether we have double (a) or double (b). I am not sure which is which, I think we need to clarify that before we move on, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, at your committee's meeting to consider the Bill, it was thought that, one, we should not give the Board too much leverage to use the Fund for purposes which they consider fit. We should clearly spell out how they should use the Fund and that will give us opportunity to monitor its use. Two, what has been contained here is a collapse of the Whole previous clause 32 (2). In fact, if one looks at the proposed amendment, subclause (d) reads as follows "equity participation in renewable energy projects" That is contained here by taking the "equitable participation" for subclause (c): "renewable energy projects. . ." It is already there. So, what we have done is to collapse the whole of clause 32 (2) into a readable provision.
Mr. Speaker, I think I agree with the Hon Chairman that there is the need to be very specific as to what the activities are. But I also believe. strongly that there has to be some flexibility in what they will do. So, in addition to identifying these things, I think we need subclause 32 (2) (d) which can actually capture any other relevant activity that the Board of the Commission may determine. Otherwise, because we have been able to identify them now, we do not know what it is that is going to be available in the future therefore; that catch-all clause should also be inserted.
In fact, that is exactly What I was going to suggest to you. As the Hon Deputy Minister knows, it will trigger the sui generis rule so that whatever is to be discussed can be put within the parameters of the law of its own kind. Shall we make progress?
I think that the next amendment captures exactly what Prof. Gyan-Baffour is trying to propose. So, if we are to go to the next one, maybe he could then come in and assist us.
So, what is the way forward?
The way forward is for us to first vote on the xiii of clause 32. Then, when we complete that we go to xiv. Prof. Gyan-Baffour will then come up.
Mr. Speaker, I think not, because that. one too is very, Avery specific, and if we do not get something that can actually take care of anything outside what we have determined here, one cannot do it. That is why I think a catch-all section should also be included.
Mr. Speaker, I think the Hon former Deputy Minister for Finance, Prof Gyan-Baffour is right on point. If you look at the provision of the Bill, there are certain activities that the promoters of the Bill consider germane to achieving the object of the act and they so categorize them under (a), (b) and (c), and he is suggesting that we should add an ombudsman clause; that is, a general provision that would say: "and any other function that is relevant to achieving the object of the act". Two-
Renewal energy activities? -
Yes, renewable energy activities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. But the (2) is saying that, well, they can do any other matters subject to the availability of funds. We do not want them to say that, well, consider these activities germane to achieving the object, but because you have not told us to do any other activities in renewable energy, we are waiting for funds to do them. So I think that it does not spoil anything. Let us add a (d) and I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that a formulation is provided, as we add a (d), so that we can vest the board with power to do any other activity in renewable energy -
"Any other renewable energy activity" Acceptable?
Mr. Speaker, "Any other renewable energy activity".
Hon Asaga, you may want to confer with the Hon Minister because it is better for you to - sing from the same hymn sheet as much as possible.
I think that, I want to just explain why we had differences and I have now agreed to what Hon Prof. Gyan- Baffour is saying that we should have a (d) and then -
Then let us only go to formulation, if you want to have a (d) without going back to justification. I think we have made progress.
Yes, we have made progress. Mr. Speaker, if you just permit me, there is this issue about the Fund and then the issue about "availability of money The Fund still constitutes money and that was why I was saying that, if we had read the second one, then we could better understand the full clause 32 to see where we would insert the other relevant ones. Unless we are saying that "the fund" is different from "availability of money" which is a new clause that we are adding.
But the point is that without that, clause 32, (2) would not be complete. So let us make clause 32 (2) complete by a (d) before you proceed to other aspects of it.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So that is fair.
So Hon Minister, the rendition, if you would finally say it, that would be part of the -
the (d) may read as follows: "Any other renewable energy activities that the Commission may determine".
Mr. Speaker, indeed, the Hon Professors intervention is a very good one. But I think that could also capture (xiv). If we do not think that these sort of activities are important enough to be very clear and to specify them out in the Bill, because we may not have money for that, then we should capture it under what the Professor is saying. "Any other relevant activities that we think would be important for the promotion of renewable energy" and be silent on the list that we have indicated here. But if we think they are important, to put them up in the form that we have done, then I do not see which other activity would come out of what the Professor is proposing. So after clause 32 (2), (a), (b) and (c) all come under xiii. Perhaps we ought to just take what the Professor is proposing immediately to cover all of these. l have had my own reservations, Mr. Speaker. 1 would have preferred that we kept the "scientific and technological research". All these things as very important things, and not to even talk about "subject to availability of funds" because technology is changing and we need to be involved in that as well. But if the promoters of the Bill are saying that they are not sure these are important, so We may not go in for it because We may not have money, then we should be silent on all of them and just refer to what the Professor is proposing. We are now expanding the thing and not being very precise or we are not prioritizing things, in my view, in a very simple manner, Mr. Speaker. So my point is, under xiv, clause 32, if we are going to take Professor's view, we should just leave these things out and use what the Professor is proposing.
Very well. So we can go with that. "Any other renewable energy activities that the board may determine"? Hon Minister, you want to shift from that position or -
Mr. Speaker, I get the intervention of Hon former Deputy Minister for Energy - He was above this position I occupy.
His status was higher than yours.
And consistent with the position that you held before you went to India. Mr. Speaker, I think that the Fund, and I still stand by what Prof. Gyan-Baffour has said, that the Fund itself, the purpose is to provide for subsidies, to encourage people who have setup to produce renewable energy. That is the intendment of clause 32 (2), the new provision. Let us support them, because if we do not support them, they are not going to produce. The subclause (2) is not about direct support to producers and I invite Hon Adda to read it carefully. The clause 32 (2) is direct support to producers; clause 32 (3) is direct support or support to industry; it is not to producers. So we are saying that if we had funds, when we have funds or when funds are available we can support or support the industry. But the investor who comes, when he produces his power -
Hon Minister, I can see Hon Adda is in full support.
He is in full support.
So I think we shall make progress.
Yes, so I think that- Let us leave it that way, and I still support
"any other" because the Commission in its view thinks that there are other ways to intervene to support the investor -
Thank you very much. Question put and amendment agreed To.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, Clause 32 - add the following new subclause: "Subject to the availability of moneys for activities under subsection (2) of this Section, moneys from the Fund may be applied for: (a) the promotion of: (i) scientific and technological research into renewable energy; (ii) research into the establishment of standards for the utilization of renewable energy; (iii) the production of equipment for the development and utilization of renewable energy in the country; and (iv) programmes to adopt international best practices; and (b) the development of: (i) infrastructure for renewable energy; and (ii) capacity- building for renewable energy development."
So in effect, we should simply say "moneys from the Fund may be applied for" and proceed. Rather than saying "subject to availability of money" which is in fact a re current refrain.. Also Hon Chairman, you may want to look at (iii) ". . . renewable energy in the country"; why "in the country"? Otherwise everything would be in the country. Why should we not say "renewable energy" like the others, I hope you are with me? The (i) ends with "renewable energy", the same with (ii), the same with (iv) - everything relates of course, to the country. So we do not want to-- or there is a special reason, Hon Deputy Minister?
Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a special reason: technology transfer, job creation, ensuring that the production of the technology - the installation and material needed for the renewable energy is produced in-house; in the country in Ghana. So that the investor would move technology down here, would create employment and in due course, our people from the universities and polytechnics would be producing those things here. But if we say "production", they can decide to go and set up somewhere else and not in Ghana.
Mr. Speaker, I do agree with the Hon Deputy Minister on that point. I think we should spell it out "in this country", Ghana. But Mr. Speaker, I have two amendments, the first is: these days we do not only talk about scientific and technological research, you also bring in innovation. So I was going to suggest that we have a fifth subclause, (v) - "promotion of innovative approaches towards development and utilization of renewable energy". That should be introduced. The second one is -
Hon Member, please, can you repeat the rendition?
Mr. Speaker, "The promotion of innovative approaches towards development and utilization of renewable energy". That should be the rendition. Then, Mr. Speaker, (iii), when you say "the production of equipment", that may be contested as to where you are starting from. So to be safer, you say "the production and or fabrication of equipment." This is because in some instances you may have to fabricate, in other areas, you may be coming up with original production of the item. o we should make allowance for the two - "fabrication" as well as "production." These are the two points that I have Mr. Speaker.
All right. We should add "production and fabrication of? Very well.
Mr. Speaker, it is on the same (iii) that I was wondering whether the intent is to use the funds to support or to be applied for the production of the equipment. Or are we talking about supporting the research into the production? So if I am going to produce a hundred thousand units of some equipment that may be utilized for these purposes, then you are going to apply the monies from the Fund? I do not think that we intend to finance the production of it, but a research into the production is what I believe we want to fund.
Hon Minister, (ii) - "research into the establishment of standards for the utilization of renewable energy"- The research may go beyond certain standards but it may also affect equipment and also what the Hon Member has just spoken about - fabrication. Why would you want to limit the research?
Mr. Speaker, I think that I agree entirely with the suggestion of Prof. Ameyaw-Akumfi because -
Thank you very much, would you go to the second one?
The second one is almost on the same plane because equipment can be fabricated elsewhere and assembled here. Assembling it here is production. But he is saying that we should expand the horizon to include fabrication. so that we do not create opportunity for the equipment to be fabricated somewhere and brought here and produced. That is why he is seeing a source of conflict and contestation in this provision. That if we leave it this way and the equipment is fabricated elsewhere and produced here, that investor would still be operating within the ambit of the provision of this law. If it is intended that we want to create opportunities for equipment to be fabricated here, we should say so in the law. And I agree with him, I think it should be fabricated here. For instance, that is why in the first place clause 32' (3) has been brought in and I see the rationale in removing "subject to the availability of funds". But the whole intendment is that, the primary responsibility of the Commission in the usage of the Funds is to support the investor. Secondary responsibility is to invest in the industry. And so if the Commission in its wisdom thinks that it can invest in the fabrication and production of water heating panels for deployment to rural communities, the Commission, if there is money should be able to do so. This is just the intendment so it is not only research, the Commission can engage in its production as well.
Hon Minister, can we capture (ii) by "research into renewable energy" so that, if it is equipment, if it is standards, whatever it may be, it will research into the area? I think that is one import also. "
Mr. Speaker, I do not think that is what we want to do. You are talking about (ii) and you cannot summarize it that way. This one is into the establishment of standards for the use of renewable energy. So it will be into
And how will you bring in other areas of research?
Mr. Speaker, the first one is there, "scientific and technological" and we added "innovative research".
Can you bring us that again? "Scientific", technological and -"
Mr. Speaker, it is there.
And in what research? I thought you added another word.
Mr. Speaker, "scientific, technological and innovative research".
Scientific, technological and innovative research into renewable energy."
Mr. Speaker, that is where I wanted to introduce a fourth. I agree with my Leader, innovative approaches. So you have a scientific and a technological research in one remaining so. But we have to add a fifth which will be "innovative approaches to the development and utilization of renewable energy".
So with that combining effect, we put the Question.
Mr. Speaker, I do not have anything against what we have already discussed, except I realize that the reconstruction has not factored into this new phraseology, the aspect relating to equity participation in renewable energy projects. I do not know whether the Committee did not consider it relevant because I do not see that one.
Mr. Speaker, line 5 read together with (c ) - the new clause 32 (2).
Mr. Speaker, the point I am making is, that being the case, clause 32(3) ought to have been retained but we have deleted that one; or you are going to retain clause 32 (3)? If that should be retained then I have no qualms because he would have to explain what he means by "equity participation" as defined in clause 32 (3). That will be retained. That is all right.
Mr. Speaker, I think the Hon Minister is still insisting that we should have the "subject to availability of funds", is that the case?
So it has been taken off.
Yes. In fact, it was going to appear in my summary. We have removed "subject to the availability of funds" so "moneys from the Fund may be applied for ..." and it goes on. Then for the (a), "scientific and technological research into renewable energy"; (ii) remains, (iii) "the production and fabrication" is introduced. Then we add (v) "innovative approaches . . ."
"Production and/or fabrication".
That is what I said. "Production and/or fabrication".
We may produce and fabricate or we simply fabricate?
Mr Speaker, with respect, it should be "production or fabrication" not "production and/or fabrication". Mr. Speaker, it has not been so expressed in any of our laws.
The final Question will be "production or fabrication". Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 32 as amended ordered to stand pan of the Bill.
Hon Majority Leader, any indication?
on behalf of the Hon Majority Leader, I want to thank Hon Members and your goodself for the good work done. On this note, I beg to move for an adjournment till tomorrow 10.00 a.m. prompt.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the Motion even though I am not sure whether it was "removed" or "moved" for adjournment - [Laughter.] Question put and Motion agreed to.
The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.39 p.m. till Friday, 28th October, 2011 at 10.00 a.m.