Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on this Bill.
I think that it is very appropriate that we go through this process at this time and I would urge all Hon Members of the House to ensure that we adopt the amendment to the Millennium Develop-ment Authority (MDA) Act in order to ensure that we could implement the second Compact. The operative word here is “implement”.
If you were to refer to the Millenium Development Authority Act, 2006 (Act 720), the original Act, you would recognise that when the governing body of the Authority was established, there was absolutely no reference to the Ministries of Energy or Power, because the focus of that Compact was essentially on commercial agriculture and helping us improve our competitiveness in that area and at the same time assisting with other poverty reduction interventions.
Schools were built, electricity was
connected to different communities and roads were built as well, all with the view to helping improve the productivity of the agricultural sector. This Compact, is for a different subject. It is exclusively for energy, therefore when the governing board is being composed, it is important that the Agencies within this country that have oversight for matters that deal specifically with the issue of energy are incorporated on the Board of the new MDA, and because that provision was not made in the previous Bill, the amendment has to come into this Bill so that we have the appropriate structure.
Mr Speaker, I had the opportunity of being a member of the Board of the previous MDA and therefore have had the experience of actually implementing the first Compact.
Some of the challenges that we had with the implementation of the first Compact were that though Compact funds were available for projects that, had been defined under it, there were other projects that necessarily needed to be engaged in order to ensure that we achieved the maximum impact of the Compact, as a result of which funding was also obtained,some instances from the Government of Ghana and other funding agencies in order to ensure that those projects could be completed.
I am aware that at the end of the Compact, because we had not been able to complete the irrigation project with the Tongu Dam, we actually had to take funds from Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) to be able to complete that project.
If in this particular Bill, the wording is couched as to create the opportunity for us to be able to work with other sources of development funding in order to be able to achieve the objectives of the Compact, then it is entirely in order and is informed by our previous experience and practice.
Mr Speaker, I would also like to add
that on the Board of the first MDA, we also had representatives of the MCC. The only thing was that they were non- voting members of the Authority but for all intents and purposes, they sat in every meeting, participated in the deliberations, were involved with us in the implementation of the Compact and we worked together to ensure that it came to a successful conclusion.
Mr Speaker, before we came to sign the second Compact, the negotiations on the second Compact took years, and it was because of some of these difficult issues, about how to restructure the agencies within the energy sector, that would be required to bring efficiency, in order to require that we attract more private investments into that sector were very hard decision to take.
The negotiations were taken over a period of time and the final compromise is what you see in the second Compact document. We, as a House have approved this document already.
The Bill that we are being asked to approve at this point in time is to help us to create an effective administrative structure to oversee the implementation of the second Compact and that is all this Bill is about.
We do not have to introduce extra- neous matters that have nothing to do with what we are doing right now, which is to create the administrative oversight structure for the implementation of the second Compact.
It is important that we do that in order that these moneys that we are expecting into our system to be able to improve the energy sector and make it more competitive, are brought into being.
Mr Speaker, we should not forget that in the United States (US) today, both the Houses of Congress and the Senate are dominated by a party that is focusing much
more on fiscal conservatism and would very much like to see the US Government reduce its expenditure abroad.
This is to the extent that we believe that we have the luxury to go and come back on issues that we have already agreed on, have negotiated and have been put in place in order to achieve a particular objective and believe that after we do that, those funds would still be waiting for us over there to use on this Compact. That would be a mistake.
Mr Speaker, I would urge Hon Members of this House to go through this Bill and make sure that we can approve the amendment so that we can create the administrative infrastructure to oversee the implementation of the second Compact in the interest of this country in order to improve our energy sector and ensure that we are able to have an efficient power sector that helps us to move away from the crisis in which we find ourselves right now.
Thank you, very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.