Reconsider how Loan Agreements are rushed through Parliament – Minority

The act of rushing commercial loan agreements through Parliament at the dying moments of the House going on recess or holidays has attracted the concerns of some members on the Minority side and they want the practice stopped in the interest of the country.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on the first day of the second sitting of the first meeting of Parliament on January 28, 2020 the concerned legislatures drew the speaker’s attention to some motions scheduled for adoption during the first week of sittings.

According to them, there is a need for Parliament to take a second look at the terms of agreements to ensure that there is value for money considerations and also the need to ensure that the country’s capacity to absorb the loans in relation to its external debt is critically assessed.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, for instance, called for the reexamination of the EPC/Turnkey Contract Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Powerchina International Group Limited for an amount of US$366.011, 991.38 for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) of 60MW Hydro-Power Plant in Pwalugu.

According to him, the amount of money being charged for the 60 MW of power is prohibitively high by international standards and recommends that the House takes a second look at it. He said it was improper for an agreement of such a huge commitment of the tax payers’ money to be brought to Parliament in the dying hours of the rising of Parliament for recess.

“Mr. Speaker, this House towards scrutiny, you don’t bring that document 20 to 30 minutes to adjournment and to closure. I think that the proper thing will be for the Committee of Finance, they have a mandate under Article 181, and the Committee of Mines and Energy to reexamine this particular request. Either than that, Mr. Speaker as I have stated, even though it is for the national good you cannot spend US$ 366 Million on 60MW of electricity,” he indicated.

He raised same concerns about another EPC/Turnkey Contract Agreement between Ghana and Powerchina International Group Limited for an amount of US$474,042,142.00 for Engineering, Procurement and Construction of a 24,000 Hectare Irrigation Scheme in Pwalugu.

The MP for the Adaklu Constituency in the Volta Region, Kwame Governs Agbodza also made similar comments earlier when he urged the Majority Leader to reconsider referring the document back to the subject matter committees such as the Mines and Energy Committee and the Food and Agriculture Committees to deal with the Contract Agreements while the Finance Committee only looks at the terms of the facility instead of the norm where the Finance Committee is made to do all.

Responding, the Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu assured that the comments would be taken on board.

He said he had given the indication earlier before the House adjourned for recess that, should there be any other outstanding matters that must be dealt with, the House will apply itself it.

Source: Clement Akoloh ||       

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