Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Ghana’s Parliament Passes Contract Amendment Bill

The Contracts (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was approved by Parliament on Thursday. It aims to establish the qualifications of those who can conduct business on the government’s behalf.

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The Bill’s purpose is to alter the Contracts Act, 1960 (Act 25) to specify the kind of interest that would be paid on a sum of money owed to a party to a contract or transaction entered into on behalf of the government.

The motion for the third reading of the bill was made by Mr. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the deputy majority leader, and Mr. Kwame Governs Agbodza, the chief whip for the minority party.

The House approved the Bill when Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin submitted it to a voice vote following the third reading.

In his report to the House, Mr. Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, the chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, noted that the proposed Amendment sought to limit who could enter into contracts on behalf of the State to Ministers of State or those who had been given that authority.

He claimed that the Amendment was intended to prevent a scenario in which officials could sign contracts on the government’s behalf without the knowledge or consent of the sector minister, who was charged by the president with overall responsibility for the sector’s management.

However, the Committee noted that the proposed Amendment only applies to the Executive Arm of Government, not the other two Organs of Government, he claimed.

He pointed out that the legislative and judicial branches of government did not have ministers as their leaders and that they were permitted by law to enter into contracts.

Accordingly, he said, a new Amendment had been proposed to permit other people who have legal authorization to do so to sign contracts on the government’s behalf.

The proposed Amendments state: “A person who wilfully enters into a contract contrary to this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not less than ten years and not more than fifteen years or both.”

According to Mr. Anyimadu-Antwi, the Committee was of the opinion that the introduction of controls into government contracts with respect to persons authorized to enter into a contract on behalf of the State, as well as the method of calculating interest payments due to other parties in contracts, was the appropriate approach after extensive deliberations on the Bill.



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