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23.03.2007 General News

National Reconstruction Levy Abolished

The National Reconstruction Levy Act 2001 (Act 597), introduced by the government to mobilise funds for national development has been abolished.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu who moved for the third reading of the National Reconstruction Levy (Repeal) Bill 2007, said it had been the intention of the government to abolish the National Reconstruction Levy this year because of the problems it posed to the private sector.

At the second reading stage of the bill, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Nii Adu Daku Mante, said the committee was informed that the business community had expressed a lot of concern about the levy and its negative impact on their businesses.

He said the committee observed with satisfaction the intention of the bill to repeal the law to make available additional resources to businesses to enable them to grow.

Various MPs who commented on the bill commended the government for fulfilling its promise to repeal the law to give companies a breathing space.

The Data Processing Control Board Decree (Repeal) Bill, which was also placed before the House on July 5, 2005 has also been passed.

The bill was to repeal the Data Processing Control Board Decree (SMCD 19), which established the Central Systems Development Unit as part of the Civil Service, and placed it under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

Also passed on Wednesday were the 2006 Supplementary Appropriation and the Polytechnic bills.

The Polytechnic Bill was introduced to the House in December, 2005 against the background that the existence of polytechnics and the programmes they offered had over the years been plagued with many problems. These included the placement of their graduates in employment, among other factors.

The bill will therefore enable Polytechnic Councils to support the government's education reform efforts and also solve problems facing polytechnic education and its contribution to national development.

At the consideration state of the bill, members of the House expressed divergent views.

A proposed amendment, which would have tied the hands of polytechnic institutions to award degrees solely for “technology-based” courses, did not receive the support of the majority of MPs who contributed to the debate.

The Chairman of the Education Committee of Parliament and MP for Ahafo-Ano South, Mr Stephen Kwaku Balado-Manu, proposed an amendment to the effect that polytechnics should not be allowed to award degrees for courses other than those based on technology.

The original provision in Clause 6 (b) of the bill read thus: “A Polytechnic may award degrees subject to the conditions that the council of that polytechnic may determine”.

Mr Balado-Manu argued that polytechnics should be given a focus and not be allowed to award degrees like the traditional universities.

But other MPs held the view that the polytechnics should be allowed to have a free hand in awarding degrees in subjects of their choice saying that in this fast changing world, it would not be prudent to make laws that restricted the scope of subjects that polytechnics could offer.

In the end, Mr Balado-Manu withdrew the proposed amendment.

Story by Kweku Tsen

& Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

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