Sinohydro Project Blackmail: You Don’t Want Roads – Minister tells NDC MPs

The Minority in Parliament has insisted it will not kowtow to the Majority New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) near blackmail that criticism of the US$2 billion Sinohydro loan is akin to members of the side refusing road developments for their constituents. 
The Minority had raised serious objections to what it termed unusual terms and conditions in the agreement and insisted to pay fees and insurance with interests totaling US$150 million on a loan of US$422.6 million is open pilfering of state funds that the side will not support.
Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the Hon. Anthony Akoto Osei, had pointed out that the Minority’s criticism is in effect refusal to accept road developments for their constituents.
According to him, to construct good roads is very expensive and constituents complain about the bad nature of their roads all the time.
To construct good roads is very expensive and we know what our constituents tell us.
“When my friend from Ho goes to Hohoe they complain about roads. In spite of the fact that he knows they need roads, he is saying he does not want roads, he stated.
This statement drew a sharp rebuttal from the MP for Ho Central, Hon. Benjamin Kpodo, who stated, He says I dont want roads. That is palpable lie so he should withdraw it. I want good roads in Ho and Hohoe.
Hon. Akoto Osei then expressed hope the rest of the minority would follow suit and declare their wish to have good roads for their people.
The Minority argued if the fees are expressed as percentage of the actual US$422.6 million being borrowed, the state would be paying 35% in nominal terms, making it very expensive and urged government to rethink Sinohydros financing because Ghana is not getting value for money.
Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member of the Financing Committee, who led the Minority’s charge, argued Parliament was told time and again the deal was not a loan but a batter agreement and that government was not going to provide a sovereign guarantee, however, the deferred payment agreement presented to Parliament clearly indicates it is a buyers credit, a loan.
Government, he said, has equally provided a sovereign guarantee by undertaking to unconditionally pay amounts due under each payment certificate including interests.
Member of Parliament for Adaklu, the Hon. Kwame Governs Agboza, observed that the project is overpriced because a kilometer of road is costing Ghanaian tax payers over US$1.2 million dollars, which incredibly will not be asphalted. 
If building an ordinary two-layer road in 2016 for GH¢1 million was too expensive how on earth do we accept to pay almost GH¢5 million in 2019 for the same length and type of road, he queried?
He lamented that even photographs to be attached to interim certificates of the project have been priced at ridiculous rates of US$60 each, which is an avenue people have created to steal or simply to deliberately allow fraud to be perpetuated on the state.
Hon. Agbodza argued it is important for government to invest heavily in road infrastructure and stressed the state require a minimum of GH¢4 billion for the Ministry of Road to carry out its activities but warned this should not be conducted in such a hurry to open up avenues for people to dupe the state.
I cant imagine a kilometer of road that is not even asphalt costing Ghana US$1.2 million (GH¢5 million). This is outrageous and unacceptable, he stated. 
At least today the republic of Ghana is aware while it was abhorrent to build a kilometer of road, which is not asphalt for GH¢1 million in 2016, under the watch of President Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia, it is okay to build the same road for GH¢5 million.” 
That is not what this country stands for, he stated.

Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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