There were hot exchanges between elated Majority and Minority in Parliament prior to the approval of the Sinohydro credit facility of $646.6 million yesterday.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MP) later refused to be part of the approval of the facility in the House.
After the voice vote, the House unanimously approved the loan facility, which would be used to improve the country’s road infrastructure by Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
The Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) members jubilated despite strong opposition from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs, who cited supposed irregularities, inconsistencies in the Finance Committee’s report, unavailability of value for money report and huge interest payment on the facility.
The actual loan amount is $497.2 million but the financing cost brings the total to $646.6 million.
It was approved yesterday as part of the $2 billion Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) between the government and the Chinese company.
The money would be used to construct the Adenta-Dodowa dual carriage way, Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodi Papase Road in the Volta Region, Oda-Ofoase-Abirem Road in the Eastern Region, some selected feeder roads in the Ashanti and Western Regions, Accra inner city roads, Kumasi inner city roads, Sunyani inner city roads, Cape Coast inner city roads, as well as interchanges in Tamale and Takoradi under the Engineering, Procuring and Construction (EPC) agreement.
The NDC MPs, led by the Deputy minority leader, James Klutse Avedzi and ranking member on the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, said the Minority would not be part of the approval of a loan facility that the nation would pay a total of 35% interest.
According to the ranking member of the Finance Committee, management fee of $4.1 milion, commitment fee of $2.6 million, insurance premium of $62.2 million and interest of $80.3 million would bring the total financing cost to $149.6 million, which is 35% of the total loan of $497.6 million.
The Minority argued strongly that the loan facility was too expensive and complained about lack of value for money report.
They also alleged that there had been inflation of some figures.
The Minority, therefore, asked the government to withdraw the loan facility and hold proper negotiations to ensure value for money for the country.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin, who is also a member of the Finance Committee, said the minority members are only playing to the gallery and doing politics just to delay the government’s programme to improve road infrastructure in the country.
“If the minority members are objecting to the facility, then the inference is that they don’t want Ghanaians, including those they are representing in Parliament, to benefit from road projects.
He said the NPP government inherited huge infrastructural deficit from the NDC government that is why the 2019 Budget has devoted huge amount of money for various infrastructural projects to be undertaken across the country
He said looking at the road projects to be undertaken under the facility, the NPP government never discriminated against any group of people and that the minority members, particularly those from the Volta Region, would immensely benefit.
“I think the minority members are not being fair to the people of this country, they should stop doing politics with this and support the government in developing the country’s infrastructure,” the Effutu MP said.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said that the previous NDC government brought loans to parliament, whose terms of payment were much bigger than what the Minority is currently complaining about.
He said it was important for MPs to have proper oversight over the Executive and shun partisanship.
According to the majority leader, the Minority MPs should join hands with their colleague majority members to ensure proper oversight and value for money for all the projects.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr