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General News of Tuesday, 4 September 2018


Don’t turn loans, MOUs into feeding frenzy – Yao Graham

Co-ordinator of the Third World Network (TWN Africa), Dr Yao Graham says government must do a lot to convince the public that loans and other MOUs being signed, especially with the Chinese government will be administered purposefully.

He said fears that political appointees tend to misuse some of these facilities and agreements are not misplaced because the public feels they do not benefit from these agreements.

“Part of the problem with why people are skeptical about these agreements is that people have the fear and it’s not unfounded that once these loans are raised, it creates an opportunity for feeding frenzy within the political elite and their associates.”

Dr Graham’s comments come after government announced that it has signed eight Co-operation Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding with China in different sectors of their respective economies.

The agreements according to government are aimed at deepening the ties of co-operation and the bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries.

The agreements were signed on Saturday, September 1, 2018, after the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the President of China Xi Jinping, held bilateral talks, as part of the president’s State Visit to China.

The agreements are the “One belt one road Memorandum of Understanding”, “Memorandum on Regional Aviation Co-operation”, “Agreement for Co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy”, and “Co-operation to carry out Maternal and Child Health Project”.

Roads and Transport, Kwasi Amoako-Atta signing the $2 billion Sino-Hydro deal on behalf of Government

The rest are “Framework Agreement on Financing Insurance Co-operation” ($2 billion Sino-Hydro deal), “Economic co-operation on Phase 2 project of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho”, “Co-operation on the expansion of the Cape Coast Stadium”, and “Co-operation on the supply of police
vehicles to the Ghana Police Service.”

Dr Graham believes whilst it may be good to do a number of things, “you have only so much institutional capacity at any point and therefore how you face these projects is quite critical.”

He also wants the government to put out enough information about these agreements for discussions so as to allay any fears the public might have.

“Summary representations by the Minister of Information are an inadequate basis for having a thorough public discussion because we need to know the terms so that we can discuss them properly,” he said.

He also wants government to assess the quality of the projects that get designed under these agreements.

The project quality allows you to ask questions like whether you are getting value for money especially in the case of Synohydro, he noted.

Since “all the countries lending to us will try to have as many terms as possible that will be favourable to their organisation”, it’ll be prudent that the same is done in our case, Dr Graham said.