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General News
C5.633tr approved as Suppl. Appr. for 2006 3/22/2007
Accra, March 21, GNA - Parliament on Wednesday gave the government the green light to issue from the consolidated fund and other public funds an amount of 5.633 trillion cedis to supplement the finance of government operations during the financial ending 31st December 2006.

This followed the passage of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill by the House for the financial year, in pursuance to Article 179 (8) and (9) of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House. Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Finance and Economic Planning Minister moved the motion for the approval of the House.

A report by the Finance Committee of the House observed that as a result of a non-establishment of the modalities for the Multi-lateral Debt Relief Initiative and other loan facilities that the country received during the year, they were not captured in the 2006 Budget Statement and Government Policy presented in November.

"For the country to take advantage of these additional resources to enable the realization of the resource requirement to meet the Millennium Development Goals, it became necessary for the government to request for approval of a Supplementary Estimate, which was laid before the House on 13th July 2006 pursuance to 179 (8) and (9) of the Constitution," the report said.

The Committee noted the approval of US$20 million under Investment Activity for the Ghana@50 Celebrations, which was captured under the Office of the Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, adding that a total of 805 billion cedis was used for the payment of Tema Oil Refinery under recovery and a total of 577 billion was spent on discretionary payments.

The House also passed the National Reconstruction Levy (Repeal), the Data Processing Control Board Decree (Repeal), and the Polytechnic Bills.

The National Reconstruction Levy (Repeal) Bill repeals Act 597 of 2001, which introduced the Levy as a form of tax on the profit before tax of certain specified companies.

At the time of the introduction of the Levy in 2001 it was announced that it would not be a permanent feature of the Ghana tax system and it would eventually be repealed.

Government has repeatedly announced its intention to repeal the Levy because of the problems it had been posing to the private sector, and again repeated the intended repeal in 2007 Budget Statement to give the repeal a legal effect.

A Finance Committee report on the repeal said the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and the financial community also made representations appealing to government to repeal the Levy Act of 2001, financial institutions, insurance and other companies.

The Date Processing (Repeal) Bill seeks to repeal the Data Processing Control Board Decree 1976, which established the Central System Development Unit as part of the Civil Service and places its control and operation under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

The Finance Committee in its report noted that the repeal was necessary in view of the recent development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The House also passed the Polytechnic Bill, which has the object to revise the law relating to polytechnics and to make changes consequential to the Polytechnic Law, 1992 (PNDC Law 321) as a result of Constitutional requirement. The Bill seeks to empower Polytechnic Councils to support the government education reform efforts and also solve the problems, which constrain polytechnic education and its contribution to the development of the country.

It also allows for the establishment of external relationships between the polytechnics and civil society, industry, employers, other institutions of higher learning and the government. The Bill proposes the establishment of and objects of polytechnics, Academic Board, Organisation of a polytechnic, administration of a polytechnic as well as financial and miscellaneous provisions. The significant change from the existing Polytechnics Law is the provision for affiliation to universities to enable polytechnics to award degrees alongside the Higher National Diploma (HND) to meet the current needs of employers and also bridge the gap between graduates from the polytechnics and those from the universities.

The House also adopted the Report of Committee of Defence and Interior on the National Commission on the Small Arms Bill. The Bill seeks to establish a National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons to deal with matters relating to small arms and light weapons.

It also seeks to provide the framework and undertake programmes to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and to educate and sensitise the public on the dangers of the use of small arms and light weapons.

The legislature also adopted the Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Laws of Ghana (Revised Edition) (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide for the commencement of the revised edition of the Laws of Ghana. The National Assembly also ratified the Revised African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

The revised convention is to enhance environmental protection, foster conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and also to harmonise and coordinate policies to achieve ecologically rational and sound and socially acceptable economic development policies and programmes.


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