COMMUNICATION FROM THE PRESIDENT
Hon Members, I have received communication from His Excellency the President and I shall read it to you.
THE RT HON SPEAKER
OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
[No correction was made to the Votes and Proceedings ofFriday, 4th November; 2011 and Wednesday, 9th November, 2011.]
Hon Leader, We move on to item 3 on the Order Paper - Urgent Question. Is the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration here? The Urgent Question stands in the name of Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchway (Weija).
Madam Speaker, our Hon Colleague is inadvertently out and has asked that I ask this Question on her behalf. With your kind permission, I would so do it.
ORAL ANSWERS TO URGENT QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION
Thank you Hon Minister.
Madam Speaker, it is most troubling that the Hon
Yes, ask the question.
It is nine months. Is it? Well, I have not calculated. Well. I am told it is nine months. Why was he not able to locate them and what happened to their intelligence system and network that they maintain with regard to the priority attached to this issue?
Madam Speaker, indeed, the incident occurred in March but it never really came to the notice of the Ministry until 7th September, 2010, When it was formally reported and we were served a written notice by a relation of one of the detained Ghanaians. It was not possible for the Ministry to police every Ghanaian travelling everywhere in this world. Until the report was made, we certainly had no idea that those people were aboard this ship and that they had run into this kind of difficulty.
Madam Speaker, the issue is not asking to police Ghanaians everywhere but this was an international issue everybody knew of. So it is not a matter as if it was in an obscure corner -
Hon Member, are you arguing with the Hon Minister?
I am not arguing, I am building a foundation for the question.
We have all appreciated your Question and the Answer.
Madam Speaker, I am building the foundation for the next question.
Your second question. -
The duty of every government, including our own, is to secure the welfare of its citizens no matter where they are. It will seem - one is not asking for payment of ransom but it would be seen from the Hon Minister's Answer, that not much is being done to secure the release of these compatriots of ours. May I know from him, whether in view of the fact that various contacts have yielded no results, he can still tell us something new that he is capable of doing to see that we get our compatriots safely home? I did not get that from the Answer he gave that any effort is being made apart from all the - can he please, tell us?
Hon Minister, that is a supplementary question; that what are you doing?
Madam Speaker, when this issue came to our notice, and we realised that there were twenty-four (24) seafarers who were involved, four of them Ghanaians an.d the rest of them from various other countries, Yemen, India, Sudan and The Philippines, we made contact with these countries - we need to act together because we thought that that was the wise thing to do. When we made contacts with them, we agreed to pursue the effort in a particular direction.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister just said he was in contact with the ship owners but I think the body of his Answer basically said that they had not been able to make the necessary contact and that had been working through third parties. Is my understanding right? This is because he did say in his main Answer that he has not been able - that the leads that he got had not been reliable. But now, he is just saying that he is in contact with the ship owners. Can he reconcile both statements or maybe, I did not hear him well?
Yes, indeed, we have actually made contact with the ship owners and in the body of the statement, I said that the ship is owned by a company based in Dubai and it is controlled by a Yemeni national. We could not physically locate them in Dubai but we have been in contact with them on telephone.
Madam Speaker, the last question
The last, indeed.
Every effort being made is appreciated, but would he keep the House informed of the progress he is making to secure the lives of our four compatriots. This is because he knows that there are instances where one citizen is traded for over a thousand. So if we have four, it is quite a lot of lives involved. Would he undertake to brief the House from time to time what progress he is making?
Madam Speaker, we are keenly interested in the life of every single Ghanaian anywhere, especially if the Ghanaian is in distress, we would employ every means possible to ensure that he is taken out of harm's way. Certainly, we are very concerned about the plight of these four Ghanaians and we are using a lot of efforts but with a lot of discretion also in order not to jeopardise their situation as it is. But certainly, we would continue to follow up and we would inform this House from time to time about any progress that we would make in this particular bid.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister said several other nationals were involved. I would like to know if those nationals have been released leaving only Ghanaians in the hands of the pirates.
Madam Speaker, from our knowledge and belief, none of them, none of the 24 has been released. They are all still being held captive.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister informed us that the four Ghanaians among the others were taken by the pirates on the 29th of March, 2010 and Government, and indeed, his Ministry had no knowledge of the incident until the 7th of September, 2010. When they got the information, they began to act in collaboration with the nations from where the other people are deemed to be coming from. It does appear by his own narration, that there were lots of activities between Ghana and those other countries until October, 2010, when they had reports that the people had been released. He then comes to tell us that most recently, they had a telephone call from one "Koomson" which seems to suggest that the people have not been released after all. Now, the question is, having acted in collaboration with those countries whose nationals were or are still involved and coming to some conclusion in October, that is, after one month of engaging them, that the people have been released, between October, 2010 and this year, did the Ministry not find it suitable to secure verification of the information that they had relating to their purported release up to most recently as he said when the said Koomson placed the telephone call? What measures were taken to secure verification of the information relating to their purported release in October 2010, such that we have this huge interregnum before now he has some information that they might not have been released after all?
Madam Speaker, the information about their release was actually issued on 25th of October, 2011, not 2010. Our source of information arising from our collaboration with the other countries involved was the Indian Consul-General in Dubai. It was the Consul-General who first told us that indeed, the hostages had been released and this was apparently confirmed by a newspaper publication. The newspaper is a Dubai-based English Daily, the Khaleej Times, which in its edition of 25th October, said that the crew and the hostages in the vessel were released on Friday, the 21st of October, 2011. It was that same Paper that reported that an undisclosed sum had been paid as ransom by the ship owners to secure their release. In fact, we have a cutting of the newspaper report. When this information came, we sought to verify and confirm but we did not receive any such confirmation until a telephone call by this Mr Koomson contradicted this popular story that the hostages had been released. Subsequently, we had even tried to get in contact with Mr Koomson and we are not getting him. But we do know now that they are still being held captive, therefore, we are continuing to pursue our effort for their release.
Madam Speaker, maybe, the Minister inadvertently stated October, 2010. That was why I quoted from the Answer that he gave us. But if it is October, 2011, then of course, it would suggest that it is very late, and that the processes have not been unduly delayed. So, that would be excusable. But he is telling us now that he sought verification of it. The Indians were the ones who gave the information to him relating the release. Where did he seek the verification from, now that he is saying that he sought verification; where did he seek the verification from?
Madam Speaker, indeed, when we got the information contradicting the earlier information that the hostages had been released, we referred back to the Indian Consul-General in Dubai who was the source of the earlier information and then he also admitted that indeed, it was a rumour, and that they had. not actually been released. So we know as a fact that they are still being held. The problem we are having is, they are being held at an undisclosed place and the further information we have is that the vessel is even sinking and that the pirates are threatening to kill the hostages. We do have all these pieces of information.
Madam Speaker, finally, the Minister, to an earlier question, responded by saying that it is not possible for Ghana, that is even if we were sufficiently resourced, to be patrolling the seas. That stands to reason that even if we had unlimited resources, we still would not be able to do that. But having to wait for over six months before getting to know that some Ghanaians are imperiled elsewhere, is where I have some difficulty. This is because the State is obliged as per article 35 (2) of the Constitution and Madam Speaker, with your permission, if I may quote: "(2) The State shall protect and safeguard the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ghana, and shall seek the well-being of all her citizens." -- In other words, regardless of their situation. So, would the Hon Minister not agree that it is imperative; it is incumbent on the State to act timelessly or at least, more timelessly than they acted in this case - six months after their imperilment? Would the Hon Minister not agree with me?
Clearly, it is the responsibility of Government to ensure the well-being, safety and security of every single Ghanaian citizen. But given the circumstances of this case, Government was not even aware that these four persons, these four citizens of our land were aboard this vessel as seafarers and Government had no information that this particular vessel had been hijacked by the Somali pirates and that these Ghanaians were being held captive by these pirates. Until a relation of one of the Ghanaian hostages formally made a report to the Ministry and for the first time, the plight of our citizens came to the attention of Government. And from that time onward, we have employed all diligent measures to secure the release of our citizens. So, clearly, Government is very much committed to ensuring the safety, security and the well-being of our citizens. But Government must know at any one particular time that citizen "A" is at this location, he is in this kind of difficulty and then we will move to ensure that we will take him out of harm's way.
Madam Speaker, it is a very painful experience to have our citizens caught up in his network of piracy. But it is also important that we get to know the reliability of the source of information and to establish that they are really Ghanaians who are caught up there. So, I would want to ask the Hon Minister whether that reliability of the information is established and that they are truly Ghanaians who are hijacked and captured for ransom. This is because we know that other people can fake it just because they want to take money. So, it is important and I want to find out whether the Hon Minister is going through due process.
Madam Speaker, yes indeed, from time to time, we do get all sorts of rumours, claims and counter- claims about Ghanaians being involved in this or that That Ghanaians are in some kind of distress or the other and subsequently, some investigations turn out that they are even not Ghanaians at all Therefore, before we really proceed to take certain substantial measures, we have to assure ourselves that indeed, the story about the Ghanaians is credible. And until that is done, and we get confirmation, we do not deploy all of our resources just chasing wild goose as it really were. So in this particular case, until a relation of one of the captives made a formal report and convinced us that indeed, these were Ghanaians and that they were in this kind of situation, before we started to deploy our efforts.
Yes, Hon Members, shall we move to the next Question. It stands in the name of Hon Yaw Afful, Hon Member for Jaman South.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION
Madam Speaker, it is recalled that in July, 2005, the Government of Ghana received reports that a group of Ghanaians who attempted to travel from Senegal through The Gambia to seek greener pastures in Europe were murdered on 23rd July, 2005 at the hands of some unidentified persons who were then suspected to have been rogue elements of The Gambian Security establishment Attached, as annex I is the full list of twenty-seven (27) beneficiaries of the compensation paid from the amount of US$5 00,000 provided by the Government of The Gambia. Each beneficiary received ten thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢10,000.00). The payment for three (3) additional persons who are yet to collect their compensation is pending Also attached as annex II is the complete breakdown of the total expenditure incurred from the amount of US$500,000. The total expenditure is GH¢420,329.00, made up of the compensation paid to the families of the victims and survivors as well as expenses incurred on the State-assisted funeral and burial service held in honour of the victims on 10th December, 2010. Madam Speaker, we have, in the written response attached, a breakdown of the expenditure involved in the payment of the compensation as well as other expenses that were made in connection with the funeral.
So this is an amendment to your reply on line 4; is it not?
Madam Speaker, it is an amendment, it was a typographical error.
Madam Speaker, I believe that we all want to bring a closure to this issue. This is because anything that involves the death of our citizens is a very emotional thing and I believe we need to bring this to a closure. That is why we brought the Hon Minister here today. And I think we are going to have a closure based on the answers that the Hon Minister is going to give us today. Madam Speaker, I would like to seek clearance from him -- [Interruptions] Madam Speaker, before I ask my first supplementary question, I would like to seek your clearance or your permission to quote or read from some of the Statements made by the Hon Minority Leader when the Hon Minister came here the last time. Madam Speaker, this is coming from Wednesday, 23rd June, 2010, column 1150, the 5th paragraph of the Hansard --
When the Hon Minister came here the last time, the Hon Minority Leader did say - [Interruptions] One second. No, no, I will read it. I will read it: "Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister has been gracious enough to tell Ghanaians that, The Gambian Administration has given out US$500,000 cash as their contribution to the burial and funeral rites of the deceased. As far as he is concerned, the number is six -" And he goes further to tell us that the disbursement would be effected to the families of the six . . ." Here we are with the list of 47. So my question to the Hon Minister is, how did he come by the additional 21 and what processes did he go through to come out with the 21?
Madam Speaker, yes, indeed, the bodies that were repatriated to Ghana from The Gambia were eight. Six of them were positively identified as Ghanaians, the other two, it was not very clear about their identities. But there was an assumption that they were also Ghanaians. So indeed, there were eight bodies. But six of them were claimed by Ghanaian families to be family members. So if you look through the list of compensation payments, payments were made to the families of the six deceased Ghanaians whose bodies were repatriated. Now, there is also evidence that there were other Ghanaians on that ill-fated journey -- in the course of that journey who also disappeared and have not been traced. For some of them, they are presumed to be dead. Therefore, you would realise from the payments made, that payments have been made to families of persons who have disappeared, unaccounted for and presumed dead- Then of course, there are also three payments that have been made to some survivors. These were persons who alleged or who claimed to have been in the travel party, but who managed somehow to escape the atrocities of that day. Therefore, it was decided that they were entitled to receive compensation for whatever they went through. So all of these amounted to the 27.
Madam Speaker, I do not think I am satisfied with this answer, but I would still move along. The next question is, when the incident happened - I know the other side was claiming there were 44 Ghanaians slaughtered in The Gambia. That was the debate then. Now, the Hon Minister is telling us he has already settled on 30. So my question today is, what is the Ghana Government's own contribution towards the burial and funeral rites for those deceased. This is because I have here in my hand -- I know everybody has it: rental of portable toilet, GH¢400.00; that was deducted from the US$500,000.00 com- pension meant for those deceased; printing of invitation cards - GH¢400, that was also deducted; purchase of schnapps was deducted. So my question is, what was Ghana Governments own contribution towards the so-called assisted burial and funeral rites?
Madam Speaker, I believe that if I had noticed that the Hon Member would be seeking to know what sums of money or what commitment the Government of Ghana had made in connection with this matter, I would have adequately prepared and come forward to give the figure. Madam Speaker, as you would recall, this incident occurred in 2005 and Government was directly engaged with this right from the time of the Administration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). My predecessor Nana Akufu- Addo, and Regional Integration who was the Minister for Foreign Affairs had to travel -- [Interruptions] with technical people to The Gambia - [Interruptions]
Madam Speaker, there is no --
I do not know whether we should finish with this --
There is no doubt that a lot of expenditure was made -
Should we hear the last sentence before I take your exception?
His predecessor was not Nana Akufo-Addo.
Order! Order! Hon Minister, he said your immediate predecessor was somebody else. [Interruptions] Hon Members, let us wait for clarification from the Hon Minister. [Hon Minister confers with officials of his Ministry
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I thought it is for the Ministry to come and help the Hon Minister to rather approach, not the Hon Minister to go - You can summon them, just call them; they would come and -
Madam Speaker, I have just been trying to verify the point and I am informed and I believe same to be true, and indeed, I have cited documentation to that effect that the Hon Nana Akufo-Addo was the one who actually led a Ghanaian team, including an officer of the Ministry to The Gambia
So in other words, Hon Minister, it is not your immediate predecessor? Hon Minister, you are saying that when this occurred, the Minister at post was Nana Akufo-Addo who took action? Is that the explanation you are giving? The correction was the "immediate". He was not the immediate -Yes, I think the Hon Member is right in correcting that point, [Hear! Hear.!] Yes, can you then explain who had started -
Madam Speaker, we will not split hairs over this but clearly, Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyemang is my predecessor; he is my predecessor. I did not say "immediate predecessor"; yes.
Well, Hon Member, the word you say he should delete was not used.
I was saying that the efforts started with the NPP Administration and we invented it and continued it and we deployed all kinds of efforts. If we have to cost all that, it would be a huge sum of money. I believe, if the Hon Member had given me notice, I probably would have made an attempt to bring Government's contribution to all of this saga before it was brought to your front. But I must also say that even before the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the two Presidents of The Gambia and Ghana, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN) made an intervention and set up a fact-finding team that also employed a lot of efforts and finally came out with a report that indicated the way forward to bring the matter to a closure. And therefore, a lot of money has actually been expended by the Ghana Government, by ECOWAS, by the UN. If the Hon Member really wants. to know how much the contribution is, maybe, if he serves notice, we would bring the figures to him.
Yes, Hon Member, your third question if you have any, before we move on. _
Madam Speaker, I just said earlier that we wanted to have a closure. But based on the answers given by the Hon Minister, I believe he would come back here- My last question is, during the mass share, it looks as if we still have US$97,671 in the account. What is the Hon Minister going to do with that money?
Madam Speaker, we are holding that money on account because we believe that this matter, much as I appreciate our collective desire to bring it to a close, it cannot be closed with finality when the precious lives of Ghanaians are involved. We believe that we are not seeing the end of this; that some of these! people that have been presumed dead and others that have been unaccounted for may surface one day. Indeed, the Memorandum of Under- standing that was signed between the two Presidents indicated that at any time that there is credible information about any one of them, investigation would then commence to ensure that justice is actually done. So we would not consider that those who have received payment, that is the final list. We believe that in the course of time, some other persons might come forward and would be entitled to receive it.
Madam Speaker, if you look at the list attached marked "Annex I", the names of the victims are listed. And if you look at number 9 -- "Kweku-Agyekum --- deceased" and his marital status "7 children and 3 wives" and by Annex II, "No. 1 -Payment to Beneficiaries -27 Persons paid @GH¢10,000.00". I would Want to know from the Hon Minister what criterion was used in arriving at that GH¢10,000 per person. For instance, somebody who had three wives and seven children. Meanwhile, if you look at the other ones, some of them did not have wives and it is not indicated.
Paid to the deceased? The deceased were deceased. You mean, paid to the relatives? Is that your question?
Paid to the deceased's family, particularly the wives and a number of children which have been listed here.
Hon Minister, maybe, you need to enlighten us. Is it the GH¢10,000 to each family or to each relative or to What?
Madam Speaker, the amount that was paid-was not paid by way of indemnity or compensation. It was contribution towards the burial and funeral services and therefore, it was an equal amount of money that was paid to families of each of the deceased persons. That was the basis. It was not for loss of dependency and therefore, you had to look at the number of dependants, et cetera. It was just for funeral expenses.
Madam Speaker, the total amount that Was paid by the Government of The Gambia Was US$500,000.00. Madam Speaker, if you look at the expenditure, it is in Ghana cedis and the Government of Ghana used part of that money to pay donation. That is the 500,000 United States dollars which was intended for compensation, Ghana Government decided to use GH¢7,000 as donations to the bereaved families, that is, donations from Government. Madam Speaker, number two. The Government decided to use GH¢25,000 as honorarium and other organisational expenses; and then the Ghana Government again, decided to use GH¢17,829 for rental of carpets, marching plants and other miscellaneous expenses. Madam Speaker, could the Hon Minister tell us who received the honorarium - the GH¢25,000 paid as honorarium? Then why did the Government use part of the "compensation money for the bereaved families and other beneficiaries as donation, Government donation to the same people?
Madam Speaker, Government insisted that The Gambian Government should underwrite at least,
Madam Speaker, an earlier question posed by the Hon Member for Ashaiman (Mr A. K. Agbesi) concerning the criterion used for the calculation of the compensation, I know in actuarial calculation, many factors are used. Even assuming the depen- dencies were not used, different categories of levels of people died in that horrific situation. I would like to know from the Hon Minister whether the GH¢10,000 is an internationally accepted payment for compensation for people in that situation.
Madam Speaker, no, the GH¢10,000 that was paid, as I indicated, was paid as a donation or a contribution towards the funeral rites and expenses of the deceased Ghanaians. So the GH¢10,000 was actually used and it was an equal figure that was paid to all of these persons. Basically, just to help them out of the expenditure they would incur in the funeral and burial services.
Madam Speaker, I would want to be educated. Perhaps, this is the language, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. In the list, a distinction is being made between the words "deceased", and "dead". I Some people, they put "deceased" others, they put "dead". Is it that in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, "deceased" means something else and "dead" means another thing else? This is because they have made that here and I am wondering the difference between "deceased" and "dead". For example, number 15, "Victor Oduro, deceased"; number 27, "Kwabena Fosu dead". Now, What is the difference between "deceased" and "dead"? Perhaps it has something to do in the Foreign and Regional Integration Ministry that we are not aware. So I beg to be educated.
Madam Speaker, I believe the two terms have been used interchangeably and they mean the same thing really. The only difference is when we talk about somebody being presumed dead, it is because we are not able -- "dead" and "deceased" are interchangeable.
Madam Speaker, in his description, he kept referring to eight deceased that were brought in and I thought maybe, that is where he is trying to make a distinction between the eight that officially were flown in and those that were subsequently found dead. That is where I thought it was coming from. But they mean the same thing. It is all right then.
Madam Speaker, going through. Annex 1, the penultimate column, it is titled, "Marital Status, Children & Other Family Information". Madam Speaker, in number 3, in Annex 1, number 4, in Annex 1 and number 11, in Annex 1, there is this information given to us -- not applicable ("N/A"). What is not applicable under "Marital Status, Children and Other Family Information", in respect of these deceased persons? Madam Speaker, the reverse of Annex 1, from number 25 down to 32 -- The information given to us there is "Presented After Interviews". Madam Speaker, what is there that is presented after interviews under "Marital Status, Children and Other Family Information"?
Madam Speaker, I think with regard to the first question, the not applicable ("N/A"), simply means, perhaps, these persons were neither married nor did they have any children. I think that is what it meant. With regard to the second question, number 25 down, "Presented After Interview" -- this information that is given, I believe, including the telephone numbers were presented to the officers after they had interviewed persons who came forward and presented themselves as family members of these deceased persons. [Interruption] Well, I believe so. I believe the "N/A" is "Not Available" and not "Not Applicable".
Madam Speaker, when the Hon Minister came here the last time to answer Questions on this same The Gambian incident, he said US$500,000 had been given to the Government of Ghana to arrange the burial and funeral of the six deceased. Madam Speaker, now We are told that the deceased had moved from the number of six to 27. I would want to know from him Whether he is making a claim for additional money from The Gambian authority to cater for this increase in number.
Madam Speaker, I indicated that when I was here, the six I referred to were the bodies that had been repatriated to Ghana. In fact, there were eight bodies, six of them positively identified as Ghanaians. But from the report of the fact-finding team, it is clear that there were other Ghanaians apart from the eight deceased persons who were also involved but they had disappeared. They are unaccounted for and therefore, we had presumed that they are dead and that is what accounts for the other numbers totaling up to 27. Also indicated that there were survivors, like Kwaku Kyere and others and they were also deemed to be entitled to receive some com- pensation.
Madam Speaker, I would want to commend the Hon Minister for this good job that he has done by bringing our dead sons and daughters to this country for burial. I think he deserves commendation. This is because this was an inherited problem that he met and he has dealt with it very Well. Would he continue to extend this gesture to all Ghanaians wherever they find themselves? Thank you.
Did you hear the question? If so, please, answer.
Madam Speaker, he said he was recommending --
Oh! It was not a question? Hon Minister --
Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon Member for his words of commendation -- [Laughter] -- to Government for carrying out a responsibility that is mandated by the Constitution. A responsibility that the Government of Ghana has always held up very high, the protection, the defence of the safety and security of our citizens wherever they find themselves to be. It is a responsibility that this Government is determined to continue to discharge to ensure that any Ghanaian anywhere, who finds himself in distress or in the kind of situation that these our compatriots found Thank you.
I think I will go to the Hon Minority Leader as the last Hon Member to ask a question because time is against us. Hon Minority Leader, if we have your last question, we can move on to the next Question.
Madam Speaker, I think on the 23rd of June, 2010 when the Hon Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration came here, he made categorical statements. He said to us that indeed, initially, the presumption was that 44 Ghanaians had lost their lives. If you read column 1138 of the Hansard of 23rd June, 2010, he Went further to tell us that that represented a confused state and as a result of a confused state of affairs, both countries, Ghana and The Gambia agreed to have the United Nations and ECOWAS come together to assist to put in place, a fact-finding team to go to the ground and establish the facts for us, to be able to proceed to deal with them. He proceeds further to tell us that the fact- finding committee then established that indeed, six people were discovered to have been murdered and not the 44. Then he tells us that The Gambia agreed to pay the five hundred thousand dollars in respect of the six. However, the matter was not to be foreclosed, and I am using his own words. "After this, we could still continue the investigations if any bodies were discovered later, I mean dead bodies and victims were discovered later, then that will be a subject of another investigation". That is what the Hon Minister told us. It is then to be presumed that the five hundred thousand dollars-that was paid by The Gambia, indeed, was to be distributed to the families of the six. This is because that is what he told us. Madam Speaker, if I should quote for him what he told us - the Hon Minister is now shaking his head in disagreement. But that is what he told this House --
Well, we will give him an opportunity to answer your question. Put the question.
Madam Speaker, I am suggesting to him that what he has done in respect of covering the twenty-one others, is in obvious contradiction to What he himself told this House on 23rd June, 2010. Would he agree with me? This is because he went further to even tell us that even the six had to be passed through DNA tests and so on, to establish clearly and authentically, their Ghanaianness. That having been established, they were to pay the compensation to the families of the six people.
Madam Speaker, with due respect, I do not think that there is any contradiction. If anything at all, it is the use of discretion rather than contradiction. At the time that the consultations and negotiations arising from the report of the fact-finding team under the guidance of ECOWAS and the United Nations, the parties, that is the Ghana Government and The Gambian Government, I had to agree that given the facts and circumstances and this is underscored by the report, The Gambian Government could not be held responsible to pay compensation for the Ghanaians who lost their lives or who were unaccounted for. That was the position. But that, in accordance with African. traditional culture, it was called for, that some contributions be made by The Gambian Government towards expenses arising from the incident. And as I indicated, from the fact-finding team's report, only six dead bodies, only six deceased persons were identified as Ghanaians. But in the result, eight bodies were actually repatriated. The other two, we were convinced that they were also Ghanaians, just that we could not find the identification documents or other evidence to confirm that. In trying to bring this matter to a close, we considered other persons, apart from the deceased persons. We looked at the situation of those Ghanaians who were unaccounted for and who we presumed dead. We looked at the situation of Ghanaians that we confirmed were part of the travelling party but who managed to get away after suffering some atrocities. It was thought that in fairness and to achieve maximum justice, all of these persons should be given some compensation not only restricted to the families of the six deceased persons. So, it was in the exercise of this discretion to achieve maximum justice for our compatriots who were also distressed and suffered traumas in connection with the same event that We had to spread it out and paid compensation to, in fact, 30 persons, because 27 have received the compensation Three persons had been catered for and they are yet to appear to receive it. So indeed, there is absolutely no contradiction at all.
Madam Speaker, with respect to the Hon Minister, I agree entirely with the account he has given, that if the number exceeded the number that was initially presumed, or those of them who were initially identified, you may have to extend similar treatments to those Ghanaians who suffered during those horrible events. I agree. But per his own account to this House, he said we had, and again, column 1138, we have a case of six Ghanaians who were actually killed on the occasion. That is the position and certainly, they are the ones who would qualify to receive the compensation that has been sent by The Gambian Government, the five hundred thousand US dollars. For emphasis, that is what he said. But I agree that if we have to extend similar courtesies to other victims, it may have to be done but by his own Answer, he sought
I thought you said you have one more question? I will permit the last question then, as Minority Leader of the House. This is because we have another Question and the time is already 12.00 noon and we have to finish with a Bill today. So please, carry on. I hope your question will be the last one?
I should think, Madam Speaker.
I thank you in advance - [Laughter]
I should think so but Madam Speaker, you know the Hon Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is not an ordinary Minister.
So when we come to soliciting some answers from him, he must go to the bottom.
Madam Speaker, I believe the Minister would look at how come -- I mean the total of the amount that has been given, the five hundred thousand, would work to about between GH¢750,000 and GH¢760,000 and he is indicating to us that, that is how far they have paid GH¢42O,3 99.00. In fact, they have not even paid that much because they are still holding GH¢3 0,000 in respect of the three persons -- that together, will come to GH¢400,000.00. The outstanding then -
Madam Speaker, the Minority Leader has just said that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is not an ordinary Minister. Can he define an "ordinary Minister, who is an ordinary.Minister? He should tell us.
Hon Member, edification and education.
Madam Speaker, with respect to my Colleague, he has been in this House for quite some time and I thought these were rudimentary and that he would know this. So I would not proceed further on this. Madam Speaker, I was just doing the calculation to the -
Or could he come to you after the Sitting for help?
Well, he could come to me after the Sitting.
We can move on then. You can see him after the Sitting.
Madam Speaker, I was suggesting to the Minister that the outstanding now should be in the region of GH¢339,671.00. Why that huge amount and giving the families of the victims just GH¢10,000.00? That is number
Madam Speaker, the Minority Leader might be calling for an audit that will probably be the shortest and most convenient way out. But as I stand here, if I have to provide the explanations for the questions that he is posing - for instance, rental of carpets, matching plans and other miscellaneous expenses, GH¢17,829.00, I am not in a position as I stand here to explain in detail how that arose. So perhaps, if he is really keen on it, we might provide further explanations beyond the answers that we have given. ButI am not in a position to explain all of these things as I stand here.
Shall we move then to the next Question? The next Question stands in the name of Hon Yaw Afful. Hon Member, can you put your Question now. Total cost of evacuation exercise from Libya (Full list of Ghanaians) Q. 1150. Mr Yaw Afful asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration the full list of Ghanaians evacuated from Libya and the total cost of the evacuation exercise. Madam Speaker, I would want to add this before we continue. _
Madam Speaker, it would be recalled that in early 2011, a popular uprising began in Tunisia and in what has been termed as "The Arab Spring"; the world witnessed the rapid spread of a revolution that brought about political and social upheaval in Egypt and Libya. In response to the humanitarian crisis and reports of violence in Libya, Government announced the setting up of an Evacuation Task Force on 25th February, 2011 to co-ordinate and undertake the urgent evacuation of all stranded Ghanaians in Libya who wished to return to Ghana The task force comprised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Information, National Security Council, NADMO, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces and Customs, Excise and Preventive Service. The task force worked in close collaboration With Ghana's Missions in Tripoli, Cairo and Algiers and instituted a number of urgent measures as part of efforts to ensure a speedy and well co- ordinated evacuation exercise. Two
evacuation liaison posts were established at Salum on the Libyan-Egyptian border and Ras Ajdir on the Libyan-Tunisian border to process relevant travel documents and provide assistance to our nationals arriving at those border points. Subsequently, three (3) special teams including medical personnel were dispatched to the two border points mentioned above and Tripoli to assist in handling the large numbers of Ghanaians arriving at those locations. Evacuation exercise Madam Speaker, airlifting of stranded Ghanaians began on Saturday, 26th February, 2011, with the arrival of the first batch of 55 Ghanaians on board an Egypt Air flight. In total, one hundred and twenty-two (122) flights organised between the Government of Ghana and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through chartered and commercial flights were utilised in airlifting stranded Ghanaians home, including twelve (12) direct chatter flights from Tripoli. - All together, a total of eighteen thousand, four hundred and sixty-three (18,463) evacuees were assisted to return home on these flights. It is to be noted in this regard that while the majority of returnees were airlifted from Tunisia (9,662), significant numbers boarded flights directly from Tripoli and they were 6,373 and through Cairo 2,014. Assistance was also given to 182 evacuees who arrived by land through Niger as well as 232 others who travelled by land through other routes. A matrix indicating the number of evacuees and the regions to which they ultimately relocated is. attached as Appendix I. Also attached is a pen drive containing a soft copy of the list of evacuees, numbering 18,082, which comprises evacuees received and duly registered by the Evacuation Task Force at the Kotoka International Airport 17,852 and at Bawku 230. The names of the remaining 381 evacuees, who were duly assisted to return to Ghana but were not registered at any of the reception points, are missing from the list. Even though the bulk of evacuations have been completed, the task force continues to handle some residual cases. Consequently, the task force has yet to complete its final report on the exercise. Madam Speaker, I am advised that the pen drive containing the soft copy has been transmitted to the Secretariat of Parliament. So it is available. We had to do so because the hard copies were over 1,200 pages. It was too bulky and "we thought that we should send it with the soft copy. Cost of evacuation exercise The Government of Ghana has so far expended GH¢600,000.00 being payment of travel allowances to evacuees to assist them on their onward travel to their hometowns. Other expenditures incurred by Government included an amount of GH¢26,000.00 that was spent on logistical and administrative arrangements at the onset of the exercise and GH¢8,000.00 expended on the clearance of personal effects of some of the evacuees who were airlifted from Cairo on board commercial flights. Madam Speaker, it is important to mention that the success of the evacuation exercise could not have been achieved without the support of certain international agencies, particularly the International Organisation for Migration
Madam Speaker, I believe Whenever our citizens get stranded anywhere in the world, it is the duty of our government to bring them home. So I believe that was the basis of this Question. - My Question to the Hon Minister here, is based on the Answers given and it looks as if the only money that the Government spent was GH¢600,000 plus GH¢26,000 and GH¢8,000 respectively. My question is, is this the only money the Government had spent on this whole evacuation exercise?
Madam Speaker, the answer is, no. Indeed, our response, I would have to admit is not complete in the sense that, for some of the chartered flights, especially those chartered flights that were conducted directly from Tripoli, which were totally at the expense of the Ghana Government, they were twelve sorties from Tripoli. We are liaising with the Office of the President and National Security to get the final figures which did not actually arrive before we were due to come before you. So I will say that the GH¢600,000, et cetera is not the only money that the Ghana Government had expended in this exercise.
Hon Member, your second question.
Madam Speaker, I was very specific on this Question. All what I wanted to know was the total cost of the whole exercise. Well, in the Hon Minister's Answer, it looks as if three camps were set up in Libya for the purpose of getting our brothers and sisters back home. But I suspect Ghana Government spent some money out there. So my question is, those expenses on the camps are part of the GH¢26,000 stated in this document? Are those expenses part of the administrative cost that is stated in this document here which is in the Order Paper or in his Answer?
Madam Speaker, I must confess that I did not get the full import of this question. But even if it is to say that the GH¢26,000 indicated as being money that was spent on logistical and administrative arrangements at the onset of the exercise, I will say, yes, that was spent as a preliminary. As I indicated, the task force involved quite a number of institutions and organisations and it also involved our Missions in Tripoli, Algiers and Cairo and naturally, some overhead expenses were incurred. But I would not even say that the GH¢26,000 represents the total amount of money expended in that particular regard.
Hon Member, your third question.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister just said that he did not have all the answers to this Question. My question to him is, when is he going to
Madam Speaker, as I indicated, this was a collaborative effort and we are liaising with the Office of the President and the National Security to collate the total figure. As soon as it is ready, we will duly transmit it to Parliament
Yes, the time for questions --- but I will allow a few questions so --
Madam Speaker, may I crave your indulgence to read from the Hon Minister's Answer: "Assistance was also given to 182 evacuees who arrived by land through Niger as well as 232 others who travelled by land through other routes." The NTC (National Transition Council) rebels, I think were advancing and killing some of these Africans and I learnt Ghanaians were also affected. I would Want to ask the Hon Minister if through the evacuation, they recorded some deaths of Ghanaians in Libya.
Madam Speaker, it did not actually come to our notice that any of our citizens suffered casualty as a result of the issues the Hon Member is referring to.
Madam Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he says that the total number of evacuees who were airlifted is 18,463. Out of this, 9,662 were evacuated from Tunisia, 6,373 were evacuated from Tripoli and 2,014 were airlifted from Cairo. The total of this is 18,047. I would want to draw his attention to the additions not making up the number of 18,463. But my main question to the Hon Minister is that, he said the chartered flights and commercial flights were paid for in kind by donors, like the UK, USA and Sweden. But then just after that he also said that the actual amount paid for from donor finds was US$2,102,855.00. I would want to know from him what the actual payment was used for, if indeed, the flights were paid for in kind.
Madam Speaker, I indicated that the mobilisation for evacuation of our citizens was conducted in collaboration with the IOM, International Organisation for Migration, and they, in fact, underwrote the expenses of airlifting from the Libyan-Tunisian border and Libyan-Egyptian border, the several thousands of our citizens who were evacuated, and this is the cost that we indicated-US$2,102,855.00. And then also, commercial flights from Cairo and Algiers amounting to US$537,306.00. This is what it is referring to. The direct airlifting from Tripoli itself was at the" expense of the Ghana Government. That is where I have explained that having received this Question, we were liaising with the Office of the President and the National Security to get the total figure involved in that particular one-the 12 sorties from Libya directly.
Yes, I said that was the last question. Hon Members, We have a lot of work to do today before we move to next week. So let us move on and thank the Hon Minister for coming to answer our Questions. Hon Pelpuo, the next item on the Order Paper will be item 6. Let us deal with it. Hon Pelpuo, are you going to lay the Paper- item 6?
Yes, Madam Speaker. The Hon Majority Leader is presently out on another official duty but has delegated me to lay the Paper on his behalf.
Are we ready to take item 7 on the Order Paper then? If so, the Hon Minister may move the Motion on item 7.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister just informed us he is on his way here. But since at this very moment he is not here, may I crave your indulgence and those of my Hon Colleagues to defer this Motion? We then shift to item number 8.
Yes, Hon Members, item number 8 is Renewable Energy Bill, continuation of the Consideration Stage. That will be continued by the Second Deputy Speaker.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
BILLS - CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of debate from 09-1- 2011]
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 52, subclause (1), delete. The reason is, Energy Commission Act 42; is the objective of the Fund. The money of the Fund shall be applied for section 42, paragraph (b). That is the promotion of project of development and utilisation of renewable energy sources including solar energy. Under clause 33 (e) of this Bill, the Energy Fund is a source of money for the Renewable Energy Fund established under clause 31 of this Bill. To repeal this section 42 of the Energy Commission Act 41, will mean the Renewable Energy Fund will lose a key source of its funding. Thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, if the Hon protem Chairman could explain in simpler term for us; he is talking about revenue will be lost and so forth and the Energy Commission, excetera. I am not too sure.
Mr Speaker, under the Energy Commission Bill, we had an Energy Fund and the draftsperson of this Bill had assumed that with the provision of the Renewable Energy Fund, we would not need the Energy Fund under the Energy Commission Act. But quite frankly, we will still need that Fund under the provision of the Energy Fund. This is
Mr Speaker, I would want to-understand this better. Does it mean that apart from the renewable energy Fund, having its sources of funding, renewable energy will also have a source of funding under the Energy Fund set up under the Energy Commission Act? I would think that since we are setting up a special Fund for renewable energy, renewable energy should be deleted from the use of the Fund under the Energy Commission Fund. The Fund set up under the Energy Commission Act, and that is what the Chairman ought to amend, probably, state that delete "renewable energy appearing in the Energy Commission Act." This is because you cannot have a Fund under the Energy Fund for renewable energy and also have the same under another Renewable Energy Fund. The purpose is to set up a Fund for all types of energy. We have separated renewable energy, set up a Fund. So in terms of the Energy Fund, renewable energy should not be part of it and that will better carry out the purpose of this Bill.
Mr Speaker, I understand the position of the Hon Member for Sekondi (Papa Owusu- Ankomah). If he goes back to section 33 (e) as part of the sources of money for the Fund, that is the Renewable Energy Fund, it includes monies lodged in the Energy Fund established under the Energy Commission Act. So the Energy Fund set up under the Energy Commission Act, if very generic, a portion of it is going to be used to subvent the Renewable Energy Fund. That is the purpose of it. Originally, the intention in this was to close that door and that is why we have this provision. The Energy Act is amended in section 42 by the repeal of paragraph (b). Clearly, we acknowledge that part of it is going to be a major source of fund for the Renewable Energy Fund itself, so we cannot repeal it. Maybe, the Hon Member that was described as the protem Chairman was not able to explain it better to the Hon Member for Sekondi, that is why he insists on going on this line. But I think the Chairman is right; the Committee is right to advise that we do not delete it but to allow it to stand. I do not know whether we could go on to say that a portion of it If you say a portion of it, what portion‘? Would you propose a percentage of the Energy Fund to go into the Renewable Energy Fund? It will be difficult to tell now what proportion of the Energy Fund should go to support the Renewable Energy Fund. So I think, for the time being, we can allow it to stand as it is.
Mr Speaker, one point that I would also want to add is that, if we at the initial stage cut off the Fund from the support of renewable energy and just focus on renewable energy, we will be depriving the effort to really promote renewable energy, especially in the short-term. The Energy Fund includes levies from petroleum products If we cut it off, it means that those levies cannot be applied to support renewable energy because of this Fund. This is a new Fund; there is nothing in it, and it will take a long time for it to really have enough to support it. And so, I think it is important that we still allow the Energy Fund as part of it to support renewable energy as we go forward.
Mr Speaker, the explanation given by the Hon Deputy Minister reinforces the point that I have made. Really, he is talking about transitional arrangements, as far as I am concerned. If it is really a transitional arrangement, then it could be for a certain period of time. After all, the sources of money for the Fund are monies provided by Parliament. And when the budget is brought under energy, they are supposed to be money appropriated for this purpose. But he is the sponsor of the Bill and if that is the intention, what can I say? But I really think that he is talking more of a transitional arrangement.
In any case, the Hon Minister says you do not know how long it will take and I believe if at the appropriate time those who would be apportioning see there is enough money in renewable sources, then they will not put money there. So we can make progress. Question but and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 52, subclause (2), paragraph (b), lines 2 and 3, delete "bio-diesel and bio- ethanol fuels" and insert "non-fossil fuel" and also in line 4, delete "Base" and insert "Basel".
Please, would you explain the rationale, so that the entire rendition will be and why you want to
Mr Speaker, it will read as follows: they are all non-fossil products, so by- if I can read the second one, that is, subclause (2) -
Very well, Hon Deputy Minister, you can help in explaining.
Mr Speaker, I think the Chairman was trying to explain. It was simply using the non-fossil fuel to cover -they are all non-fossil fuels. So he was simply saying, instead of stating each individual term, non-fossil fuel just covers all of them.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, indeed, the Committee was of the view that if we left the rendition as it is now in the Bill, we are restricting ourselves to just bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. Whereas if we say "non-fossil fuel" it expands the coverage. Anything outside of that would be covered by this law. So anything other than bio-diesel and bio-ethanol that is non-fossil, that would be accepted under this law. Otherwise, this is too restrictive as it is now in the proposed Bill and that is why we are looking for a wider coverage.
Thank you, Hon Member.
What about the second amendment, the "Base" conversion?
Mr Speaker, there was a second amendment and we are seeking clarification why that amendment was made. For every aspect of amendment that is rendered in this House, the Chairman ought to explain. He should not be reminded; he should explain why he is posing such a challenge. -
Mr Speaker, this is a typing error.
What is the typing error? Hon Chairman, We cannot take anything for granted. Tell us where the typing error begins and ends.
Mr Speaker, instead of the "Base" that is there, "l" should be added to read "Basel".
Because "l" should be added to the "Base" to read "Basel" and "Basel" is what?
Mr Speaker, to save this House precious time, that convention was signed in "Basel", in Switzerland and has become known as the "Basel Convention".
Chairman of the Committee, you have been duly assisted.
Mr Speaker, I would want to know, if the Chairman is saying that we should delete "bio-diesel and bio-ethanol fuels" and insert "non- fossil fuel", what then would be the entire rendition? It will mean "bio-fuel means non-fossil fuels produced from crops and plants". Is that what he means?
Hon Minister and Hon Chairman of the two Committees, are you able to assist us?
Mr. Speaker, can the Hon Minority Leader repeat the correction? I am not sure the Chairman heard him clearly.
Mr Speaker, we did not have the full complement of the amendment proffered by the Vice Chairman. So I wanted him to have the proper rendition to us and I said, would he then mean after the deletion and insertion that "bio-fuel means non-fossil fuel produced from crops and plants"? Would that be the meaning of bio-fuel?
Yes, this is What I am trying to say.
Mr Speaker, you see, is it what he is saying or that is What he is trying to say?
I believe - there is no further difficulty from what he has said even though he only tried to say it. But he has said it.
Mr Speaker, I am attempting a rescue mission for the Chairman of the Committee and then the Deputy Minister -[Interruption]- Yes.
You want to rescue the Hon Chairman?
Exactly, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, yesterday when we looked at the Interpretation, that is clause 51 and we considered "bio-fuel", we deleted the original rendition and indicated that it should mean "non-fossil fuel produced from crops and plants," which means that what we are doing now is intended to bring consistency in what we did yesterday. In other words, bio-fuel has been redefined in accordance with the amendment we took yesterday.
That makes it clear.
Mr Speaker, maybe, if we can take the Votes and Proceedings for yesterday, page 8, (6) - Clause 51 - Amendment proposed -- Interpretation bio-fuel" delete and insert the following: "bio-fuel" means non-fossil fuel produced from crops and plants." And this came from the Committee. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, what we are doing does not relate to the Renewable Energy Bill. It does not relate to it. This particular part relates to the National Petroleum AuthorityAct, that is why I am drawing his mind to it. This amendment refers to the National Petroleum Authority Act and not the Renewable Energy Bill. Yes, we did that for the Renewable - [Interruption] - Yes, we did it yesterday. That one was in respect of the Renewable Energy Bill. The one that he is suggesting to us relates to the National Petroleum Authority Act. Do not forget that this one does not have any section 81. We are referring to section 81 of the National Petroleum Act and I am asking him whether what he is doing is appropriate because we do not even have the full complement of the Act before us.
Mr Speaker, I think that is correct. What this is intending to do is that under the Act, the regulation of such fuels are going to be under the National Petroleum Authority. So this amendment is being done to reflect that provision in the National Petroleum Authority Act. That is correct
Mr Speaker, indeed, the concern of the Minority Leader is whether or not this relates to. the Petroleum Act. Indeed, what we are trying to cover under the definition here is that for now, the National Petroleum Authority deals -with only the pricing mechanisms and other such matters as they relate to fossil fuels. But when we begin to produce bio-fuels and other fuels emanating from renewable energy, there would be fuels outside of the domain of the petroleum products. So we are expanding it by this new definition now to include everything outside of the fossil fuels, that is, everything outside of the petroleum products. So we are now giving the Petroleum Authority the mandate to help with the -pricing mechanisms and the pricing formula, and all of the things that are involved in the final pricing of fuels that are not fossil fuels. So everything outside the fossil fuels arrangement can now be addressed by the National Petroleum Authority. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 52 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 8(iii) --New Clause
Mr Speaker, we are not going to take the transitional provisions and the Deputy Minister would explain it.
Mr Speaker, I think it is generally agreed that until such time that a Renewable Authority is established by an Act of Parliament, the Ministry of Energy shall continue to oversee the implementation of renewable energy activities in the country and also execute renewable energy projects initiated but on which the State has an interest. And so I think the Ministry of Energy would do that.
Mr Speaker, indeed, from what the Hon Deputy Minister is saying, clearly, it shows that the amendment that is being proposed under (iii) pre-empts what I intended to do under (iv) of the new clause. So perhaps, if I explain this in conjunction with what he has just attempted to do, it would set the stage right for us to make a decision on that amendment. Mr Speaker, indeed, at the last Sitting, I proposed that we should set up a separate and dedicated agency to address the renewable energy needs of this country and to enable us to move rapidly to the 10 per cent target that we were setting under this new law in terms of the energy needs of the country. Mr Speaker, the concerns their were that this might delay the process and that we would add on to bureaucracy and perhaps, this may even amount to a fundamental change to the state of the Bill as it is now. But my concern, which I thought, was perhaps, more important is that we are not addressing the critical governance issues that we need to address in this country. Now, in this country, it is very good we have driven up ideas, and coming up with policies, but we are very weak on implementation. If we relate this flaw to the governance lapses, we would be running this country with policy agencies such as the main Ministries dabbling in implementation, with regulatory agencies also engaging in implementation- Other agencies that are supposed to deal with implementation such as the Volta River Authority and the Electricity Company of Ghana, in our case, have their hands full with many different things such that they will not be able to help us maximise the potential that we should be getting out of the renewable energy potential. Therefore, if we set up a Directorate alone under the Ministry of Energy, one is simply saying the Ministry as well as the Directorate should continue to dabble in implementation matters. Mr Speaker, experience has shown that in the past, the Ministry has helped us to implement certain solar projects funded by the World Bank, and by the UNDP but not long after we have implemented these
projects, the things have fallen down because we cannot get the maintenance arrangement to enable us to continue to benefit from this resource. Mr Speaker, also in the past we have had some grants signed by our Government, and in this particular case, with the Spanish Government, that is now being implemented by the Directorate of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Clearly, this tells us that the Ministry is still involved in implementation. - If we decide as a country, that we should allow a policy body like the main Ministry of the Energy sector to continue to work on implementation matters, fine. But if we are looking to continuing to improve our governance structures and arrangements, maybe, we should delink the policy function from the implemen- tation activities. And that is why I am proposing that we should set up a dedicated agency; in this particular case, I am proposing the setting up of a Ghana Renewable Energy Authority. At the last Sitting, Mr Speaker, the concern of Hon Colleagues was that they did not know what form and structure this new body will take. So, they were at a loss what the implications would be. Then I took the time to elaborate fully everything from the proposal that will set up the new Authority all the way through to the functions and the composition of the Board and the appointment of Chief Executive and staff and everything, so that my Hon Colleagues would know, if we are setting up this Authority, what it will look like and therefore, to advise ourselves whether we should go along with that or not. Mr Speaker, what the current amendment that the Hon Deputy Minister just spoke to seek to do is to say, "No, let us not do this." He is alluding to reasons of bureaucracy and such other things but I think if we fear bureaucracy and want to compromise the dividends that will yield to this nation from the proper governance arrangement, well, that is for this country to decide, Mr Speaker. But Mr Speaker, I am of the view that if we set up an Authority dedicated solely to implementing renewable energy projects, there are so many advantages to us. I have no problem withdrawing this amendment if there is any guarantee, if there is any confidence emanating from this current proposed amendment that indeed, in the near future, we will have a dedicated agency to focus on that. But from what the Hon Deputy Minister is saying, I am a little confused whether We are going to set up the Renewable Energy Authority in the near or distant future or he thinks because it is bureaucracy, we should not do it at all. We have been in consultation with some of the technical officers as well as the Hon Chairman on this matter and the proposal that is coming up is that we can amend the current Bill to convey the sense that temporarily the Directorate of the Ministry of Energy that is dedicated to renewable energy generation will take up that function of implementing the project and in the near or distant future, we will set up a separate agency. But if he is telling us because of bureaucracy - It means that he has no intention at all to push for us to set up a dedicated agency which, I think, will not benefit the nation. So, I am not ready to withdraw the amendment unless I am convinced that if we are going to set up
the dedicated agency in the near future, it is something that the Government is committed to doing, which the Executive will bring to this House, and then I will not withdraw my amendment. But if he convinces us that they are going to do that, then I can temporarily step this down or withdraw it, so that we will have the functions of implementation being carried out in the interim by the Directorate in the Ministry of Energy, hoping that in a year or two, we will have a separate agency to deal with this. Mr Speaker, let me just throw some examples to my Hon Colleagues in the House. As I speak now, there is a two- megawatt plant that is being established in my constituency under the solar project that is being sponsored by the Volta River Authority. It may well be the case that this state agency that is implementing this project, my constituency could see the Ministry of Energy coming up with another two-megawatt plant from solar. Another agency of government, such as the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology could also come in and set up another two-megawatt from the waste energy project. It can go on and on and we could have three, four, five or six State agencies all involved in exploiting our renewable potential to generate energy. "Is that what we want to do as a nation? Should we have so many State agencies all involved in power generation at different stages of our lives and using state resources? My proposal in this amendment is for us to have one single agency that will manage all of our assets in the renewable area and ensure that any investments that we are going into partnership arrange- ments with, whether the private sector or any other body being development partners - we will know that this agency is implementing this. We can monitor; the accountability and reporting mechanisms would be very clear and we know what dividends are accruing to us and so on and so forth. But if we, under this law now, just op en the doors and allow any State agency to do anything at any point in time, it will be difficult for us to account for this knowing the problems that we already have now with even managing the tariffs that we have been battling with over the years. So, Mr Speaker, again, if the Hon Chairman and the Hon Deputy Minister can come very clear on what their intention is - whether indeed, it is their intention for us to set up a dedicated agency in the near or distant future or they think that will not happen at all -- then I would advise myself whether I should withdraw this amendment or not.
Mr Speaker, I think that the Hon Member's amendment is very laudable; very good ideas have been proposed. But as I stated earlier, I think we have to look at where we are right now. The renewable energy portion in our energy mix is 0.01 per cent. I think this Renewable Energy Bill sets us to the stage where we will move renewable energy in a big way in our energy mix. I believe that when we get to that point, there will be the need - for us to seriously consider the Authority that has been proposed and I would not be opposed to it at all. But I think considering the financial implications for an Authority at this time, looking at the percentage Where we are and then the fact that we have actually, with the Ministry of Energy and the examples of rural electrification, working with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as the implementing consultants
Hon Adda, I thought the assurance had come and that is what you asked for? Please, Hon Adda?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Indeed, the assurance has come even though the time span is so wide that we do not know exactly when they are going to set it up. But I think he sought to introduce into this whole argument the issue of the rural electrification agency which I really think is what did not make, in my view, the Executive to see clearly the need for this Authority. . Now when we start up with the Rural Electrification Agency and try to combine into that the Renewable Energy Authority, we would be looking at a project with a limited lifespan as opposed to something that We can consider to be existing in perpetuity. In other words, under the Renewable Energy Authority, there is a body that would be there as long as renewable energy potentials are there and so they continue to exist. The issue of the Rural Electrification Agency that is introduced, that I would want to make clear for the benefit of Hon Colleagues is that we started off with perhaps, zero rural electrification; it came up to some 15 per cent and now, we are at 65 per cent coverage of the entire country. If we had set up an agency purely for rural electrification, what it would mean is that after we hit the 100 per cent coverage of the entire nation, then there would not be the need for the Rural Electrification Agency. So really, I think that does not have much to do with what I am talking about here and I think that is perhaps, what confused some of the authorities such that they did not see the need for this Authority. So I would Want to clear this matter even though, yes, the point has been made that there is a commitment. The issue still remains -When? Whether it is one year, two years from now, or 20 years from now, the issue of timing arose- right from the very beginning. We have gone through an experience in this House where when certain Bills are being introduced and there is a need for a body - such as the Labour Law -- the Labour Bill, when it came here, it came along with provisions for the setting up of a National Labour Commission. So as the Labour Bill was being approved, the approval for the establishment of the National Labour Commission automatically went into effect. And that is what I was seeking to do with this proposed amendment, so that it does not delay the process. But if he is just telling us what would happen somewhere along the line, well, there is not much I can do now than to take his word for it But I do not think it is probably ever going to happen.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I think the House owes tonnes of gratitude to the Hon Member, Mr Adda for this attempt to lead us on this path to establish a Ghana Renewable Energy Authority. I think really that should be at the core of the Renewable Energy Bill or Act - [Interruption] - once it is accented to. Mr Speaker, it is not so now. The Hon Deputy Minister knows that that is the ultimate destination, that is where we should be moving to. Until we get there, there must be some transitional arrangement in place to lead us on to that destination and that is why I thought that the transitional provisions provided by the Committee, led by the Chairman of the Committee, was going to do us a lot of good. Now, the Chairman rises up to say that either he alone or the Committee with him, would not want to move that amendment and I think that it is a tragedy. I think it is a tragedy because we should have a focus where we would be moving to. Indeed, the Hon Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, when I cited the position of section 33 to justify the non- repeal of a provision under section 52, I think the agreement was that we should have. a transitional arrangement. Because again, even there the intention is to wean the Renewable Energy Fund from the Energy Commission Fund. So certainly, there should be a transitional arrangement pointing to that, that until maybe, the Minister so determines, or perhaps, pending the establishment of the authority, we could be depending on the funding from the Energy Commission Fund. There should be some clear arrangement in that direction, otherwise, we leave it hanging and I think it would not be good enough for this new Act, in particular, relating to the funding source. For now, at least, a chunk of the Fund is going to come from the Energy Commission Fund. We have also agreed that the sources of the money, that is, the Renewable Energy Fund itself should be managed by the Energy Commission for the time being. Until which time? There should be a clearly defined time flame, so that if We got there, then the Energy Commission would cease to manage the Renewable Energy Fund and then the Authority would take over. So I think we need a clearer rule definition in these matters, which is why I think we need some transitional arrangement. I am not too sure that the transitional provisions as captured, deal with the problem; they do not. But we still need the transitional provisions to provide some direction in future where to get to. Then in that regard, the proposal by the Hon Kofi Adda would be taken care of. He could then drop all the - because he wants to provide the detailed route, how to achieve that purpose. I believe that for now, at least, this Bill cannot take that. This is because if it does, it would change the contours of the Bill and certainly, we cannot afford that now. Equally so, Mr Speaker, should we express gratitude to the Hon Member for Amenfi East, Mr I. B. Aidoo, even though yesterday, he was lamenting that he had suffered in the hands of the Hon Member for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah who sits directly in front of him. He said he had suffered like Jesus Christ did, in the hands of Pontius Pilate. I think his own amendments were very well intentioned and he would derive some comfort from knowing that when we
Mr Speaker, I also rise to commend Hon Kofi Adda for these proposals. Mr Speaker, the campaign being pursued by the Hon Member is just an indication of how Government is going to lead by example. This is because we want the renewable energy very big. The responsibility should not lie only with the private sector. The State would also have to play a very important role; and the State should even lead in this whole exercise. If we are to produce electricity from renewable energy resources, then the State should lead for the private sector to follow. So if there is no authority that would play that role, then it means that something is missing in this particular Bill. And I think that is exactly what my good Friend Hon Kofi Ada is just trying to do. So I will crave the indulgence of the Hon Deputy Minister to reconsider his decision because it is not a matter of course. Here, we are talking about the relevance; it is a matter of relevance '- whether this whole provision is relevant today to the Bill we are pursuing. If it is relevant, then cost becomes a secondary matter. This is because whatever is relevant to the nation, "should be the ultimate thing we should pursue. Mr Speaker, with this, I would want to plead with the Hon Deputy Minister to re-look at the provision that the Hon Member has proposed. I think the nutshell is that Government must lead by example; so where is that example in this whole exercise? Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, before the Hon Deputy Minister responds to the concerns raised by Hon Members, probably, he could explain to us the difficulty Government has in establishing an Authority under this Act. I say this because it seems the Committee itself contemplates the setting up of an Authority -- if you look at the amendment by the Chairman which talks about a transitional arrangement where the Energy Commission would continue to perform the regulatory function provided for under the Act until such time an Authority is established. I am wondering why Government does not think it proper to establish the Authority under this Act. Probably, the concerns being raised - we know that sometimes when you make transitional provisions, characteristic of this country, it becomes a permanent one. With experience, it becomes indefinite; yes, until we come to the end of the world, it is still transitional. I am sure that is what has influenced the Hon Member for Navrongo's concern.
Mr Speaker, let me thank Hon Ada again for this wonderful initiative --- the Authority. The idea of Renewable Energy Authority, at some point in the future, I think would be very important. This is because we foresee a future where renewable energy, indeed, would really dominate our energy base. That is the hope, that is where the world is going and that is where we hope to go. And that is why all of these creative ideas have been put in this Bill. Mr Speaker, I think as I stated earlier, there is a serious financial implication for the establishment of an Authority at this time, immediately. A lot of work has to be done in terms of this Bill as soon as you pass it. I think what has been stated is that, it is very good news that while we all acknowledge that the establishment of an Authority at some point in the future would be important; we also acknowledge - and let me point out that when I gave the example of the rural electrification, I was simply not comparing it with the renewable energy in terms of how long lasting renewable energy is. I was talking about the experience that we have had as a country, in terms of the implementation of a project with the Ministry of Energy supervising it. What I said was that, we have had the experience of Working with the private sector and other agencies to implement a project and so what I was saying was that without the Authority, there is a way of us starting to really oversee this project. Mr Speaker, I think that I have come up with some transitional provision which, if you allow me to read, Hon Members could look at. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, the transitional provision should read as follows; "That there would be the need to establish a Renewable Energy Authority. But until such time as a Renewable Energy Authority is established by anAct of Parliament, the Ministry of Energy shall continue to - (a) oversee the implementation of renewable energy activities in the country; and (b) execute renewable energy projects initiated by or in which the State has an interest" This is what I am proposing as the transitional provision.
Hon Adda, is that a satisfactory media wia?
Yes, indeed, Mr Speaker, it does address some of the issues that we have raised? But to finally make up my mind, Mr Speaker, I would like to pose one more issue. I am aware, having been in
Hon Deputy Minister, We can resolve that and then come to the -
Mr Speaker, I have taken note of all the concerns; I have taken note of the need for us to be mindful that as we increase renewable energy, we need to have a dedicated Authority to oversee its implementation. I think that is what is captured in the transitional provision that I have established. I believe that that is a good starting point and I will urge the Hon Member to support this transitional provision, so that we can move forward. I would want to assure the House that this is a matter that we would be monitoring and whoever is at the Ministry of Energy, I am sure, it would clearly be in the notes there and we will continue to bring this up so that at the right time, the need to establish the Authority would be established.
So Hon Deputy Minister, if you will then please, bring us the formulation you read earlier.
Mr Speaker, the formulation reads: "Until such a time as a Renewable _ Energy Authority is established by an Act of Parliament, the Ministry of Energy shall continue to -- (a) oversee the implementation of renewable energy activities in the country; and (b) execute renewable energy projects initiated by or in which the State has an . interest".
So that will replace --
Mr Speaker, I would want to propose that we perhaps, modify his rendition a bit to preface the role of the Ministry of Energy with the Renewable Energy Directorate and to be specific that it is one arm of the Ministry of Energy that deals with the project --
Mr Speaker, it will sound like this: "Until such a time as a Renewable Energy Authority is established by an Act of Parliament the Renewable Energy Directorate of the Ministry of Energy shall continue to -- (a) oversee the implementation of renewable energy activities in the country; and (b) execute renewable energy projects initiated by or in which the State has an interest".
Hon Deputy Minister, I am sure that is acceptable?
Mr Speaker, that is very acceptable.
So that replaces the proposed amendment?
Mr Speaker, I think they are quite all right, except I thought we could add the aspects of (t),that is, management of the assets. I do not know whether we cannot add aspects of it
"manage the national assets in the renewable energy sector on behalf of the State".
Mr Speaker, not "national assets" but "manage the assets".
Remove "national"? "manage the assets in the renewable energy sector on behalf of the State".
Mr Speaker, if we say that "the Ministry through the Directorate", I think that is all right. Question put and amendment agreed to. 2 The new clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
In the circumstances, Hon Chairman, we move to what? Hon J. B. Aidoo, I am sure that takes care of all the other proposed amendments? In the circumstances, the other amendments relating to the new clause are deemed withdrawn.
Mr Speaker, my amendment is different from that of the Hon Member for Navrongo Central (Mr Joseph Kofi Adda). This is a different arena all together. Mr Speaker, if you go through the Bill and also following the object of the Bill, you will notice that a lot of work had been done on -
So now another proposed new clause.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Add the following new clauses: General incentives Incentives for renewable energy projects and activities. Renewable energy developers of renewable energy facilities, including hybrid systems as duly certified by the Board, shall be entitled to the following incentives: (a) Income Tax Holiday (ITH). For the first seven (7) years of its commercial operations, the duly licensed developer shall be exempt from income taxes levied by the national government. (b) Additional investments in the project shall be entitled to additional income tax exemption on the income attributable to the invest- ment provided; (1) that the discovery and develop- ment of new renewable energy resource shall be treated as a new investment and shall therefore, be entitled to a fresh package of incentives;
(i) further, that the entitlement period for additional investments shall not exceed three (3) times the period of initial availment of the ITH. (c) Duty-free importation of renewable machinery, . equipment and materials, Within the first ten (10) years upon the issuance-of a licence of a RE developer/facility, the importation of machinery and equipment, and materials and parts thereof, including control and communication equip- ment, shall not be subject to tariff duties, provided. however, that the said machinery, equipment, materials and parts are directly and actually needed and used exclusively in the RE facilities the generation of energy and delivery of same to the point of use and covered by shipping documents in the name of the duly licensed operator to whom the shipment will be directly delivered by customs autho- rities: (1) further, that endorsement of the Board is obtained before the importation of such machinery, equipment, materials and parts is made. (d) Endorsement of the Board must be secured before any sale, transfer or disposition of the imported capital equipment, machinery or spare parts is made,_provided such sale, transfer or disposition is made within the ten (10)- year period from the date of importation, and any of the following conditions is present: (1) if made to another RE developer/ facility enjoying tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment; _ (ii) if made to a non-RE developer/ facility, upon payment of any taxes and duties due on the net book value of the capital equipment to be sold; (iii) exportation of the used capital equipment, machinery, spare parts or source documents or those required for develop- ment; and (iv) for reasons of technical obsolescence. (e) Corporate Tax Rate. After seven (7) years of income tax holiday, all RE developers/facilities shall pay a corporate tax on its net taxable income in accordance with existing laws. (f) Zero per cent Value-Added Tax Rate. The sale of fuel or power generated from renewable sources of energy such as, but not limited to, biomass, solar, Wind, hydropower, .geo- thermal, ocean energy and other emerging energy sources using technologies such as fuel cells and hydrogen fuels, shall
be subject to zero per cent (0%) value-added tax (VAT), pursuant to Act 5 46, Value Added Tax Act, 1998, and as variously amended. (g) Tax exemption of carbon credits. All proceeds from the sale of carbon credits shall be exempt from any and all taxes. (h) Tax Credit on Domestic Capital Equipment and Services. A tax credit equivalent to one hundred per cent (100%) of the value of the value-added tax and custom duties that would have been paid on the RE machinery, equipment, materials and parts had these items been imported shall be given to an RE operating contract holder who purchases machinery, equipment, materials, and parts from a domestic manufacturer for purposes set forth in this Act, provided. (i) That, prior approval was -- obtained from the Board. - (in Further, that the acquisition of such machinery, equipment, materials, and parts shall be made within the validity of the RE operating contract. (i) Hybrid system Tax Exemption The tax exemptions and/or provided in this section shall be availed of by registered RE deve- loper/facility of hybrid system provided, how- ever, that the tax exemptions and incentives shall apply only to the equipment, machinery and/ or devices utilising RE resources. (j) Exemption of universal charge. Power and electricity generated through the RE system/s for the generator's own consumption and/or for free distribution in the off- grid areas shall be exempted from the payment of the universal charge provided for by existing law. Mr Speaker, the intention of this proposed amendment is to provide incentives for generational units, that is, those who will be developing or producing the renewable energy. Mr Speaker, in the Bill, as I earlier indicated, provision has been made for the utilisation of renewable energy, distri- bution of renewable energy. But how the energy is going to be developed; how the energy is going to be generated, that aspect has not been well captured in the Bill Of course, I would want to believe that government's policy of introducing this Bill is to ensure that renewable energy is generated in a very large amount, so that the nation will have sufficient energy supply. To do that, those who are going to generate the energy would have to be motivated. So essentially, my provision touches on the motivational aspect of the Bill - how generators or those who will develop
renewable energy will be encouraged, so that we have mass production across the whole country. _ Mr Speaker, if you look at the provision that I have made, it touches on the importation of machinery and equipment as well as other items that will be needed for the production. Where certain tools and equipment are needed for the manufacture of plant or machinery for the fabrication of plant and equipment or machinery, then certain incentives would have to be given to those who are going to produce such equipment. So, it is intended for investors, that is, to encourage investors to go into renewable energy production. Therefore, the general incentives touch on income tax holiday. The income tax holiday - I have proposed a seven year tax holiday for renewable energy and it is not inconsistent with the existing tax law. If you look at the existing tax law, when it comes to waste processing, there is a seven-year tax holiday for companies that go into waste processing. Mr Speaker, the only place where maybe, we would need some reconsi- deration is the duty on machinery, equipment and materials. I indicated that it should be duty-free but when I checked the law - In fact, in the existing law, we have five (5) per cent already in the law. But if it meets the consideration of the Minister for Energy and the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, I would want a situation whereby even importation of materials, equipment and machinery for renewable energy development should be tax-free, that is, import duty-free to encourage those who want to venture into manufacturing, fabrication and development of such machinery equipment to bring such items into the country. So Mr Speaker, I am only submitting that the Chairman and then the Deputy Minister consider my proposal as a way of firming, screwing the policy intentions of Government in this Bill.
Mr Speaker, I think there is a need for us to re-provide incentives to encourage especially the private sector to come in and help increase the renewable energy portion of our energy mix and that is exactly What we have been doing. I think if you look at this Bill, the provision for Feed-In Tariffs is provided, the long list of incentives that has been outlined by the Hon Member, I am sure, is all related to taxes, tax holidays and others. He made reference to our tax laws and I think it is important and this has also been strongly advised by the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice that, We must embody and consolidate all these tax incentives in an Internal Revenue Act and not to spread them all over the place. So, recommendation is that, the provisions that have been made in this Act are important and some of the provisions that have been made are very good. But this Act is not the place for it, and I will strongly wish the Hon Member will meet with the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to make this proposal, so that the necessary amendments can be made in these Acts. But I think that we should kindly - and I ask you Hon Member, for us to allow the Act to remain, that all these incentives can be embodied in one Act ,so that there would not be loopholes all over the place, incentives here and there that will be long lasting that cannot be removed.
It is interesting that the Hon Member has got up. I was going to call him to prompt him. Hon Member, is it possible to look at some of these things by way of authorising a Legislative Instrument (L.I.) to take care of this in the Act itself?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Indeed, in the area of - I believe in the hotel and tourism industry, the LI was authorised under the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act and the incentives that were given under the GlPCAct with regard to the tourism industry, the latest incentives that were given, were given by way of LI. I was about to.say, with a cue from you, to my Hon Colleague opposite that the fundamental thing that we must agree upon, is whether it is necessary to give incentives in this area or not. The purpose of incentives with regard to various sectors of the economy and for the purpose, taxation is used as a tool for many things including, but not limited to, encouraging economic activities in specific areas. That is why, for example, in the area of tourism, hotels and so on, We have special incentive packages that have come across as a result of L.I. That is Why, for example also, the free zones have a special incentive package relating to taxation. So, the fundamental question that we must ask ourselves is that, how serious are we about this renewable energy sector? This is because in the sectors that we are serious to promote, one of the ways in which our seriousness finds expression, is by us granting incentives, so that people will be interested in going to invest in those areas. So that is the question that we must ask and it is not a question that must be answered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning or the Ghana Revenue Authority; it is a policy question that must be answered by Government through the sector that is responsible for that particular sector of the economy we intend to promote. So, perhaps, at the very least, as a compromise, if we say that the incentives that my Colleague is recommending, that I totally agree with, has caught you by surprise, then at the very least, there must be some provision in the Act which will allow for an L.I. And therefore, will let us look at that and perhaps, look at that in more detail and at the appropriate time, taking into account, having as part of the report that will finally leave here, the proposals that have so ably been made by my Hon Colleague from the Western Region who is well seized with matters relating to energy in general and renewable energy in particular. Thank you very much.
Hon Member, I am very glad about your response to what was going to be a prompting anyway. I say so because, as, much as the idea will be laudable, it is very difficult to anticipate all the parameters of such a tax provision here without getting into some muddy waters. At the same time, I think the Hon Deputy Minister agrees in principle that, it is something that could be done.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I do share the sentiments raised in the proposed amendment by my Colleague and I also stand by some of the concerns expressed by the Hon Deputy Minister for Energy.
Hon Members, in view of the time, I direct that Business be held outside the prescribed period. 2. 00 p.m.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I do share what my Hon Colleague has proposed and if one takes the time to go through the laws in many other jurisdictions, one would see some of these incentives in detail form. The experience of those countries has been that, there has been so much abuse that they regret spelling out those incentives in a way that We are attempted to spell them out here. If one goes to The Philippines, Malaysia and many other places, one would see some of these things in the original Bills that they passed through their Parliaments, even Spain as well. But now, they are trying to retract all those and to deal with the granting of the release on a project by project basis. When you do them in this wide sweeping Way -- take the example of solar, for instance, there is usually a lot of things that go along with the solar Photovoltaic Cells(PVC's) which are the critical parts for the collection of the sun rays and then the generation of electricity. But there are other things that are associated with that byway of galvanised pipes and concrete Works, et cetera. Those are things that are readily available in our country and we do not need any relief given in this general sweeping manner. Therefore, if you want project by project and the list that we have on page 5 of the Bill, enabling the Energy Commission to sit down and consider the- various relies --- Under the (d), for instance, we are talking about recommending for exemption from customs, levies and other duties equipment and machinery and so on-and so forth. Mr Speaker, the Energy Commission and other stakeholders will now sit down and examine each project and pull out those specific projects for which they sped those reliefs. But if we were to go by hat my Hon Colleague has proposed, it will be difficult for us to monitor, knowing that the weak mechanisms that we have, in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, even here in Parliament, when tax exemptions come, we are not able to screen through. I recall my experience in looking at some of the reliefs we gave for some credit facilities we got for construction projects -- Even things like coca cola being itemised in there. Of course, if one went to the harbour -- we all know the extent of in propriety that goes on in there, and if we were to say that for project (a), certain things should be allowed and others should not be allowed, the project sponsors can bring these things to the harbours and depending on how they work out things with the bureaucrats out there, those things could just pass through and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning will be making some money.
Yes, Hon Joe Ghartey. Hon Members, I am waiting for your formulation.
Yes, Mr Speaker, We are preparing the formulation and the formulation that we are preparing may come under section 50 --
Section 50 -- under regulations and we are looking at an additional (h) and I have the permission of the mover of the amendment. A5 (h) - to make regulations for fiscal and other incentives to promote the provisions of this Act. Mr Speaker, with respect to my esteemed Colleague, Hon J. K. Adda-
Hon Ghartey, I will Want you to assist us in concretising the formulation at this stage. Please, let us go over it
"The Minister may on the recommendations of the Board by legislative instrument make regulations (h) to provide for fiscal and other incentives ---" [Interruption] -- I think my Colleague opposite is so desperate to speak, maybe, he has seen something that -- I will yield to him-- [Interruptions] - "fiscal and other incentives necessary for the promotion of the provisions of this Act (j) - for the promotion of the provisions of this Act and the promotion of the renewable energy sector in Ghana in general". And Mr Speaker, that should be a new (g) because the (g) as it stands, is the omnibus clause -
Please, once more, because the formulation is very important.
I think I was just drawing your attention to section 4 (d) and (e). If you go to (d) "responsibilities of the Energy Commission". The Energy Commission shall: (1) advise the Minister on renewable energy, recommend for exemp- tions from customs, levies then when you go to: (e) it says recommend financial incentives necessary for the development production and utilisation of renewable energy sources. And I believe it captures - "
Hon Minister, for the avoidance of doubt, and to be sure, since we are talking over there about the Commission, you will see that
We can call it as they said it here - we can call it "financial and other incentives". "The Minister may on the recommendation of the Board by Legislative Instrument make regulations . . . and keeping with the formulation of 4 (e) for financial and other incentives necessary for the development, protection and utilisation of renewable energy sources. Mr Speaker, if I may just pass two comments. First, my-
Mr Joe Ghartey, at this stage, I will take it that we have gone beyond the principle. So if you have given us the formulation, we can only thank you and make sure that the Hon Deputy Minister agrees and then we conclude the matter. In fact, that was the main reason I wanted to call you by all means. I thank you very much.
I think the Hon Deputy Minister has drawn our attention to section 4 but I just want to assure him that we are on firm ground if we say that it is the Minister who should come to the House with the Legislative Instrument. As you do know, even though section 4 provides that the Commission shall recommend, the recommendation, where does it go to? It goes to the Minis- ter, the Hon Minister then comes to the House with that recommendation via the Legislative Instrument seeking approval of the House. So it is just making the process complete. This place, it was left hanging. So we are on the same wave- length.
So we will take the formulation and if there is any difficulty, we will direct that the drafts persons should polish that up in the appropriate language. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause so as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Long Title, there is amendment in the name of the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title -- Line I, before "utilisation" insert "development, management" and in line 2, delete "electricity and heat generation" and insert "the generation of heat and power". Mr Speaker, the reason is that there is the need to develop and manage renewable energy sources.
Mr Speaker, I think the Deputy Chairman has put it right but the words "development, management" needed to be emphasised and that is why they have been added in there. We took out "electricity" to emphasise "heat and power" to encompass all of the other sources of energy. Question put and amendment agreed to. The Long Title as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage. Thank you very much for a very worthwhile exercise and for Hon Joe Ghartey's promptings and assistance in the -
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your leadership. Mr Speaker, let me take the opportunity to thank the Chairman and members of the Committee on Mines and Energy for having worked very hard to the end of this deliberation. Mr Speaker, this is a very great day for our country in terms of renewable energy. Mr Speaker, before I go on, let me thank the Hon Minority Leader and thank the Leadership generally; the Minority has really worked hard, they have spent every minute we had, all the questions We had, we have spent time in his office, we have gone through this Bill and a lot of issues have come up. Mr Speaker, let me personally thank Hon J. B. Aidoo. The Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission said something very interesting. He said he was amazed that we have Members of Parliament that would spend hours and read in detail and do real research and as a Doctor, he was really amazed at the depth of knowledge of Hon I. B. Aidoo. We really, really thank him for the effort. I would want to thank Hon Adda for the wonderful ideas and I thank the Hon Members who have spent so much time to make sure that we have come up with this very progressive Renewable Energy Bill that would really propel our country from 0.1 per cent and move us to Where the world is going. I believe the country is better for it because of the hard work that we have done. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank all Hon Members and you Mr Speaker for your leadership. Thank you.
Thank you very much. We are about to rise anyway. There is an indication from the Majority that there is nothing to say. Hon Minority Leader, do you have something special?
Mr Speaker, nothing really special but to thank the Hon Deputy Minister for the acknowledgement that he has made. I think that should be, the spirit. [Interruption] Mr Speaker, I just noticed that in the "Long Title", they have introduced some amendments in particular, the last one "electricity and heat generation" to be delete?! and We are now inserting "the generation of heat and power". Mr Speaker, object of the Act, section (1) talks about electricity and heat generation which is in sync with the Long Title. Now that the Long Title has been amended, is it going to have conse- quential effect? Otherwise, this would not sit with what we have just done. So we may have to look at it and if that is acceptable to you, then we have to look at the consequential effect in other places.
Can the draftspersons sort that kind of difficulty out? I will direct that the draftspersons should sort, that out.
Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Minority Leader was right but this has already been taken care of.
Hon Members, in the circumstances, the House will stand adjourned till tomorrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon. Thank you.