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Parliament approves loans worth $1.34b on last day

Parliament on Wednesday night recessed after eight days of sitting to enable members prepare for the December polls with the approval of an unequalled loan agreement totalling 1.34 billion dollars in a day’s sitting.
Uncharacteristic of such legislative venture, First Deputy Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho deftly forged consensus between both sides of the House to successfully achieve the feat without the contentious partisan objections and banter that accompanied such encounters.
The loans include a $200 million agreement between Ghana’s Government and Credit Suisse International for the construction of 5,000 affordable housing units for the public.
The House also endorsed a 15.8 million Euros loan agreement between the Government of Ghana and Stanbic Bank (Ghana) for the purchase of 200 ambulances for the National Ambulance Service.
Another finance arrangement that engaged the attention of the House was a mixed credit facility between Ghana and the Export-Import Bank of China for an additional funding of $151,560, 000 to complete the Bui Hydro Electricity Power Project.
Even though the legislature approved the amount, it froze a component of $56.15 million of the amount pending a comprehensive report by relevant authorities detailing a breakdown of what that amount was to be used for.
This was as a result of the Minority expressing reservations on certain unexplained escalations in the initial contract sum, and unjustified request for substantial amounts for non-core business of the Bui Power Authority.
Parliament also approved a loan agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Export Import Bank of the United States of America for an amount of $538,299,497 to finance the Accra Sanitary Sewer and Storm Water Drainage Alleviation Project.
The House also approved an additional $125 million loan agreement between Ghana and the Standard Chartered bank Ghana to finance the same project.
A further $55.5 million was approved to finance the implementation of the Wa Water Supply System Development project. That financial arrangement is between the Government of Ghana and Government of the Republic of Korea acting through the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
Parliament additionally permitted the contracting of 86,503,082 million Euros between the Ghana Government and the ABN AMRO Bank NV of the Netherlands to finance the expansion and rehabilitation of the Kpong Water Supply System.
The House also approved a credit agreement between Government and Export-Import Bank of India for an amount of $35 million to finance the establishment of a sugar factory at the Komenda–Edina-Eguafo­-Abirem Municipality in the Central Region.
It also approved a financing agreement between Government and the International Development Association for an amount of $30 million to finance the First Phase of the Ghana Public Private Partnership Project.
The House additionally a $32 million concessional loan agreement between Ghana and China to finance the design, procurement and construction of the redeployment of the Kotokuruba Market Infrastructural Facilities at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
Mr Adjaho who performed the closing ceremony, commended members for their prompt response to duty and their commitment to discharge their constitutional mandate effectively.
He urged members who aspired to return to the House and those seeking to join the Legislature to conduct civil campaigns because the sustenance of the country’s peace depended on their good conduct during the elections.
“Your campaign should be issues-based and may God give you strength and good health” he told members.
Majority Leader Cletus Avoka thanked the Speaker for his resilience that ensured the successful sittings, urging all members who were going to their constituencies to prosecute the elections well.
Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu charged the nation to take “precaution and show circumspection” in the many financial agreements it was negotiating to ensure that Ghana got value for money to enable it position itself to repay the loans.
Parliament is expected to reconvene on Monday, December 17, 2012 after the general elections.”
The House will take another break in December 21, 2012, for the Christmas and New Year break, and reconvene in January 3, 2013.
Source: GNA

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