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Chairman of PAC appeals to AG to separate infractions for easy identification

As the Public Account Committee (PAC) enters its day two of Public hearing chairman of the Committee Dr. James Klutse Avedzi has passionately appealed to the Auditor-General to help the Committee by separating some infractions cited against related Ministries for easy identification and clarification.

The Chairman of the Committee made this appeal when he realised that some infractions cited against Ministry of Food and Agriculture had been merged with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

At the second sitting of the Committees Public hearing on Tuesday, the Committee considered Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana Ministries, Departments and Other Agencies (MDAs) for the year ended 31st December, 2020.

The Ministries that appeared before the Committee were Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The Controller and Accountant-General, Mr. Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem and the Commissioner General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah also led officials from their respective institutions to respond to queries cited in the reports.

The Committee is expected to meet the Ministry of Health at their next public hearing.


PAC starts hearing on 2020 Auditor-General’s report on MDAs

The Public Accounts Committee has started public hearings on the report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana- Ministries, Departments and Other Agencies (MDAs) for the year ended 31st December, 2020.

At its first sitting on Monday, January 16, 2023, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. James Klutse Avedzi and the members of the Committee invited the Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare, Directors from the Finance Ministry and Officials from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to answer queries cited in the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Sector Accounts of Ghana (General Government) for the year ended 31st December, 2020.

The Committee also considered the report of the Auditor-General on the Consolidated Statement of the Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payment of the Bank of Ghana for the year ended 31st December, 2020.

Directors and officials from the Bank of Ghana, led by the Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison appeared before the Committee to respond to infractions cited in the Auditor-General’s Reports.

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare, hinted that the Ministry of Finance will soon bring before Parliament a comprehensive report covering the entire government expenditure on COVID-19 for consideration. She made this known to the Committee since the Auditor-General’s Report was prepared during the era of the COVID-19 and most MDAs made purchasing they didn’t budget for.


We will crush if government fails to engage – Dr. Ato Forson

The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson said the reason government is facing the push back in its debt exchange programme is because it failed to follow best practice.

He said the best practice is for government to have engaged stakeholders before embarking on the programme.

Responding to a question on what next if government fails to engage and get the buy-in of stakeholders for the Domestic Debt Exchange programme at the Minority press conference Dr. Ato Forson said “they may postpone until Jesus comes; if they fail to engage they will continue to postpone. There are best practices and the best practice is that you engage before you such a thing”.

Putting things in perspective, he said “the banks are not stupid; they have sixty billion plus of their money in government bonds; the insurance companies have 10 billion plus of their money in government bonds; the two put together is 70 billion. On the average they will be earning 20 percent coupon for 2023. This 20 percent coupon of 70 billion translates into GHC14 billion that they would lose in the year 2023. If you put their profitability for the year 2023 together they will not even get 50 percent of this as profitability.”

He stated that with the above problem the banks will collapse and projected that a minimum of five banks will collapse if the programme goes on.

Additionally, banks would also be forced to lay off staffs and close some branches.

He opined that the monies that the banks have invested belongs to depositors hence there would be liquidity issues, such that people will not be able to get their monies when they visit the banks, and the banks are not stupid to allow this.

He said about individuals, 13.1 billion of individuals’ money would be affected, and their interest will be denied them, hence they will ask questions.

The Ranking Member also noted that abouy6.5 million households as a result of this arrangement will move from the middle class to a poor status, “so let’s be careful about the way they are going; and it is important that they engage; and if they engage obviously there may be a chance that some may give something away. Until they engage we will crush”, he emphasized.


Suspend debt exchange programme – Minority to Government

The Minority in parliament has called on government to suspend the Domestic Debt Exchange program it intends to undertake with the hope of reviving the ailing economy.

The Minority at a press conference on Monday, January 16, 2023 addressed by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said the programme is already failing following the numerous rejections by various stakeholders. Mr Iddrisu asserts that the suspension is inevitably critical to engage in deeper consultations and allow for greater transparency in the initiation, adoption and acceptance of whatever remedies we collectively may agree to.

Minority MPs supporting their leader

In order to save Ghana’s economy the Minority Leader contends that Ghana’s economy is being managed as though it were a private entity but reminded the managers that this is about people’s lives and livelihoods, and investments; adding that even the accompanying legislation on investment in bonds require that 75 percent of it be invested in those government treasuries.

Deputy Majority Leader and Ranking Finance

They said the implications of the debt exchange programme has dire consequences on various sectors as follows:
a. Implications on entire financial / banking Sector. Ghana’s financial sector will be severely and adversely impacted by the Domestic Debt Exchange Program. With over GHS 60 billion locked up in government bonds, the non-receipt of any interest this year and paltry sums in subsequent years, will prove the undoing of some banks. In the case of some state-owned banks, as much as 70% of their annual revenue comes from their investments in government bonds. Not paying them any interest in 2023 would effectively sound the death knell to these banks with its attendant consequences on depositors and employees who would have to be laid off. Restructuring domestic debts will undermine the health of the banking system since Capital Adequacy will become a challenge

b. Effects on Pension funds- Pension funds will suffer a significant drop in value especially, Tier 2 and 3 pension payouts will drop further from their already low levels. Tier 1 (SSNIT) reserves will drop in value and SSNIT’s capacity to pay will suffer. Reserves of Insurance companies will fall with implications for benefit payments Effects on individual bondholders- the inclusion of individual bondholders in the Domestic Debt Exchange, contrary to initial assurances from both the President and his finance minister, would all but wipe out Ghana’s middle class and impose harsh suffering on them, their families, and dependents. We now know that the reality is different. What Minister Ofori-Atta announced is different from what is being implemented. Ghanaian individuals have started receiving text messages from their banks. Yesterday, about 1.3 million affected individual bold holders petitioned Parliament for a reversal of the Government’s Debt Exchange Programme. This must be the largest and voluminous petition on a single matter ever presented to Parliament in our country’s history. It is inconceivable to accept that individual bonds will be affected. From the outset, there have been clear inconsistencies in pronouncements and the actual implementation. The haircut is real.
The NPP Nana Addo /Bawumia Government should give us a break!

Deputy Minority Leader

The Minority notes as follows that:

1. It is obvious that the Domestic Debt Exchange Program will create extreme hardships for millions of Ghanaians and existing financial institutions. It is also quite clear, that it was entirely avoidable had the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government heeded wise counsel from the opposition and Civil Society on prudent management of our finances and economy.

2. It is obvious that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia is transferring the responsibility to address the debt burden it has created through reckless borrowing and populist fiscal policies to only innocent Ghanaians and the financial sector. For instance, the 2023 budget projects a primary surplus of only 1% which means that we will be reducing the public debt by only 1% of GDP this year. This also means that not enough expenditure cuts are being made by government at a time when it is almost forcibly asking bondholders to forfeit interests and principal payment due them. We demand further demonstration of responsibility from government through more substantial cuts in non-essential expenditure and a reduction in the humongous size of government.

3. We are at a loss as to why individual pension contributors have not been offered the same exemptions that Tier 1 and 2 contributors have been given. This anomaly must immediately be rectified.

4. The inclusion of individual bondholders in the DDE is the biggest transfer of funds from the pockets of Ghanaians to the government and will leave affected persons, mainly the middle class, impoverished while worsening the plight of the poor. This must immediately be stopped.

5. The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government is simply imposing an almost 80% tax in present value terms on the savings of Ghanaians and our bank balances without any consultations with affected individuals

6. They are also imposing about 80% tax in present value terms on bank capital and deposits.

The Minority while calling for suspension of the programme also called on all stakeholders for a national dialogue on the State of our economy and debt exchange programme with the view to achieving the most workable and the least punitive steps that protect Ghanaians and households from the disastrous effect of the DDE programme as currently designed.


1D1F is a complete failure and waste of resources —Ranking-Trade Committee

Ranking member on the Committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has said the assertion made in this year’s budget by government for promotion and formulation of partnership with existing and prospective business to expand manufacturing plants is an admission of the failure of the One District One Factory (1D1F) industralisation agenda.

According to him the project has been a complete failure, waste of resources and called on banks providing funding support to the 1D1F policy initiative to confirm the disbursement of allocated amounts by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Deputy Ranking on Trade

He further called on the NPP led government to account to Ghanaian taxpayers for the failed policy initiative, adding that looking at the time remaining for the party in power with the limited number of factories, the policy is not working.

He asserts that the policy has not made any progress in the quest to moving the country from agro-based economy to an even semi-industralised economy.

Mr. Buah pointed out at a press conference that per research done by the Minority, there has not been even distribution of factories in each district as promised; stating that out of the so called 296 1D1F factories at various stages of implementation, about 76 are in Accra, 54 in Kumasi whiles majority of the factories are existing factories. He also questioned where the massive employments promised under the 1D1F are?

“Can anybody confirm the value addition promised under this programme and how it has contributed to our GDP?”
Furthermore, the Minority questions where the substitutes of imported goods promised under the programme are; and if anybody can point to one product – rice, sugar or even toothpick that we have succeeded in reducing its import as a result of 1D1F.

For the increase in foreign exchange earnings he noted that the least said the better.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Green hydrogen will address effects of climate change — Dr Tunis

Speaker of the Community Parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis has said green hydrogen will go a long way in curbing the adverse effects of climate change.

According to him, to boost access to energy, there is the need to achieve a sustainable renewable electricity generation hence the world needs to promote international cooperation and collaboration around access to technology knowledge and capital.

“We need healthy partnerships and mutual cooperation to promote investments in the sector, which cannot be left to the Executives alone”.

He was addressing the thirteenth session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly – 2023 and IRENA Legislators Forum on the theme “Ensuring a more sustainable energy transition through international co-operation – National Strategies on Green Hydrogen”.

Dr. Tunis drew the attention to the responsibility Legislators have to protect their populations, understanding fully that no one nation can claim supremacy in this fight. This will be achieved through the quality of laid down frameworks and blueprints needed to guide cooperation, partnerships, investments, and application of relevant technologies around the world.


Oda MP hands over 3-storey office block project to contractor

A sod-cutting ceremony has been held to hand over an abandoned twenty-four year old 3-storey block for the Birim Central Municipal Assembly to a new contractor.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Alexander Akwesi Acquah successfully lobbied the District Assembly Common Fund to intervene to fund and complete the project.

Speaking at the event, the MP asserts that the municipality went through a whole lot last year and “we pray this very year goes our way”, he said.

He said “an MP’s work is to go and plead for developmental projects to come into his constituency; thus urged the MCE and her people to take over from there. This, he noted is the reason why an MP and his MCE should have a good rapport.

He promised that the Akim Oda Market project will start and complete in his tenure as MP, while assuring that roads and hospital are also in the pipeline.

He advised the assembly that, this ultramodern infrastructure will be equipped with the necessary office stationery and called for proper handling when the time comes.

The MP also called on the contractor to put up a good work for quality delivery while ensuring accelerated completion of the project.

The Municipal Chief Executive for the Area Mrs. Victoria Adu commended the Member of Parliament for making this dream come through.


Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament to participate in 3rd World Energy Day

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament Rt. Hon Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has departed for Abu Dhabi, UAE, to participate in programs marking the 3rd @ World Energy Transition Day, which will be celebrated under the overarching theme, ‘World Energy Transition – The Global Stocktake’.

During the event, Dr. Tunis is expected to deliver a Keynote Address at the Thirteenth Session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly -2023 and IRENA Legislators Forum on the theme “Ensuring a more sustainable energy transition through international co-operation – National Strategies on Green Hydrogen”.

The session of the Assembly and related meetings will gather global leaders and energy decision-makers to take stock of operational plans and policies, and highlight the concerted action undertaken to implement the energy transition across countries, regions, and the world.

Additionally, the Honorable Speaker will also be making significant interventions at a Public-Private Dialogue on the theme “Towards Just and Inclusive Energy Transitions: Social Dialogue, Skills, and Decent Jobs for All”.

The Dialogue will convene governments, labour unions, and the private sector to share their perspectives and discuss what a just energy transition means in practice. Stakeholders are also expected to exchange views on best practices and lessons learned in ongoing efforts towards just and inclusive transitions and identify further cooperation and outline key challenges and concrete actions to address them.

Both events are holding on 13th January 2023 at the St. Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.


MP for KEEA engages with constituents

As Parliament is on recess, Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem (KEEA) Samuel Atta-Mills is using the opportunity to engage and interact with his constituents.

The exercise which is dubbed “Time with your MP” the Elmina zone had their turn where very critical issues were raised and discussed and suggestions were offered on the way forward for the constituency.


Minority unhappy with GES’ dismissal of eight SHS students for insulting President Akufo-Addo

The Minority in Parliament has reacted to the action taken by the Ghana Educational Service (GES) for dismissing eight Senior High School (SHS) students for insulting the President Nana Akufo-Addo.

According to the Minority in this age and time when there is increased advocacy and renewed focus on increasing access to education any decision that takes a child away from the classroom can only be seen as an absolute drawback to this renewed focus and objective.

“It is therefore, regrettable to learn of the decision of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to dismiss the eight female students of the Chiana SHS in the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East region for insulting the President of the Republic some months ago”.

In a statement issued by the Ranking member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, he said “whereas the, Minority is against the misconduct of the eight students, and condemns same, we wish to state that the decision by the GES to dismiss them is harsh and retrogressive, we believe the eight students like every other Ghanaian child deserve to be in school in line with Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and also Goal(4) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

It is in view of this that we wish to call on the Ghana Education Service to review its decision and to ensure that the education of the victims is not truncated in this manner, he stated.

The statement urged GES to proffer an alternative but corrective punishment to the eight students.
This, they believe would be in the best interest of our collective goal to ensuring that every Ghanaian child has access to formal education.

“The Minority wishes to appeal to His Excellency the President, to use his good offices to pardon these students as he did in 2020, when a group of some students misconducted themselves towards him”.