The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has said the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China, has dealt a blow to the US$2.5bn bauxite-for-infrastructure deal signed between Ghana and the Asian giant’s Sinohydro company.
Per the deal, the government of China would dole out US$2.5 billion to bankroll a lot of infrastructural projects in Ghana in exchange for bauxite.
But the coronavirus outbreak has affected things, according to the minister.
So far, four out of the ten projects under the deal, have commenced.
“It’s understandable”, he said, explaining: “The officials should have come from China to join us to perform these exercises in relation to the Sinohydro [deal but] because of the manifestation of that deadly disease [coronavirus], that certainly has affected a lot of things”.
Mr Amoako-Atta, however, told journalists in Koforidua, Eastern Region that the Chinese are committed to the project.
“The government had full assurance [from the Chinese government] that the project will continue”, Mr Amoako-Atta noted, promising: “Pretty soon, arrangements will be in place to cut the sod for the other six projects under the first phase of the project”.
More than 50 countries have now reported cases of the coronavirus which first broke out in Wuhan, China.
More than 83,650 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed globally, the vast majority of them in China, where 78,961 people have been infected and 2,791 have died.
Iran, on Saturday, 29 February 2020, said the total number of infections there had reached 593 and 43 patients had died.
Qatar reported its first case of coronavirus on Saturday, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency.
Also, five Italian Serie A football games have been postponed, including a Juventus match against rivals AC Milan. The games were going to be played behind closed doors, but the league decided to call them off on Saturday.
Fear about the virus has continued to hit global markets with shares losing almost 13 per cent of their value this week on London’s FTSE.