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General News of Thursday, 23 August 2018

Source: Class FM

$2bn bauxite deal: Minority seeking debt equalisation – NPP MP

The Minority in parliament are seeking to convince Ghanaians that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is increasing the debt portfolio of the country, Daniel Okyem Aboahye, Member of Parliament for Bantama and a member of the Finance Committee of parliament, has said.

The Minority have filed a petition with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a $2billion-For-Bauxite Deal signed between the Government of Ghana and the Sinohydro Group Limited of China. They have described the deal as an “illegality”.

By the agreement, Ghana will exchange refined bauxite for US$2billion worth of infrastructure to be provided by Sinohydro Group Limited.

The Minority are seeking clarification from the IMF on the US$2 billion barter agreement.

Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in his presentation of the Mid-year Budget Review on the floor of Parliament of Ghana on Thursday, 19 July 2018, stated that the Sinohydro transaction is a barter. However, the Minority think otherwise.

“We, the Minority, have carefully studied the provisions and terms of the so-called barter transaction, as officially tabled and passed by Parliament, and have identified a number of legal and technical issues that explicitly make the transaction a loan.

“Thus, as was argued during the parliamentary debate on the transaction, it is the Minority’s opinion that the value of the transaction be added to the debt stock.

“The Minority in parliament would, therefore, like to seek a clarification on this from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” the petition signed by Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member on Finance Committee and backed by Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader in Parliament, stated.

The Minority is of the view that “the terms of the barter agreement contained in the joint memorandum to parliament, are totally inconsistent with, and contradict the position of the Finance Minister that the agreement is not a loan agreement and will not add to the public debt stock”.

Speaking on Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM hosted by sit-in host Katakyie Obeng Mensah on Thursday, 23 August 2018, Mr Aboagye said: “The NDC engaged in excessive borrowing when they were in government but with little to show for it and Ghanaians got furious at the way they borrowed, and voted them out.”

“So, they are also accusing the NPP of increasing the deb stock. What they are doing is to seek equalisation.”

He added: “If the agreement is going to provide development for Ghanaians, I think we should all support it. It is when you don’t see any projects that you can complain.”

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