General News of Tuesday, 9 November 2010
The Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing, Hon. Alban Bagbin has dismissed claims by NPP Member of Parliament K.T Hammond that President Mills is seeking to use Ghana’s oil as collateral to source funding for the controversial STX housing deal.
Hon. K.T Hammond alleges President Mills is mounting pressure on Parliament to amend portions of the Petroleum Revenue Bill which forbids using the expected oil resource as collateral for any loans.
Mr. Hammond added that government has resorted to amending the bill because there are no funds available to get the 1.5 billion dollar project underway.
However, in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday, November 9, Mr Bagbin told host Bernard Avle that the Adansi Asokwa MP’s claims are frivolous and just ‘loose talk’.
He said talks are still on-going to determine whether the nation should use the oil as collateral for infrastructural development. He however stated that no conclusive decision has been taken yet.
“There is nothing like that, so it is just loose talk. Should we as a nation use very important natural resource as a collateral to go in for huge capital to invest in infrastructure today to start reaping the returns or we leave it underground…so this debate is ongoing. This has nothing to do with STX. If the country decides that we can use this natural resource as collateral for huge investment the housing sector seems to benefit but that has not been decided yet”.
“So it is not proper for K.T Hammond (to say that), he is fond of doing that and he has to stop it because it would not benefit any(body) if he bastardizes this whole very important housing project”.
The former Majority leader assured that the STX housing deal, which has been met with stiff resistance from the opposition and some members of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association amidst accusations of fraud, will take off in 2011.
He added that about 6,000 housing units would be ready by end of 2011.
About 30,000 housing units would be constructed for the security services through the project.
The Housing project when completed would see the Korean company construct over 200,000 housing units across the country which the Minister said would drastically reduce the national housing deficit.