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General News of Thursday, 15 July 2010

Source: GNA

Mills directs withdrawal of STX deal from Parliament

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Accra, July 15, GNA - President John Evans Atta Mills has directed that the Supplier's Credit Financing Agreement that generated unending debate in Parliament on Wednesday be withdrawn and sent to a Joint Ministerial Committee for a re-look.

Mr Alban Sumana Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, who announced the directive, said President Mills took note of the concerns The Minority raised and had referred the issue to the Committee to take a second look at the whole Agreement.

The Minority had raised concerns about the off-taker agreement and other relevant documents, which they argued were shrouded in secrecy because they were not made available to Members of Parliament.

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, First Deputy Speaker, who was in the seat for the Speaker, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo, suspended debates in favour of the Minority to impress upon the Ministry of Finance to furnish all Members with the off-taker agreement document.

The Minority also demanded that with the Ministry of Finance alone handling the loan agreement was not good enough and suggested that the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing and the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice should be involved for proper due diligence to be done on the agreement.

Mr Bagbin said President Mills commended both sides of the House for their support and commitment and cautioned against partisanship in the debates.

Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, The Majority Leader, said the further discussion on the agreement would address the issue of regulations and law.

He noted that the move was the Government's demonstration of transparency, adding "this is a listening government."

"It takes humility and courage to be able to go back for things forgotten," he said, and assured Ghanaians for that matter the Security Services, who were beneficiaries of the package, that the Project was not shelved but would be refined to their advantage.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, The Minority Leader, said: "I am encouraged that we have reached where we are in this matter," adding; "good counsel has prevailed.

"Nobody is against this bold declaration of intent, especially housing the Security Services, knowing well their situation," he said.

He said, "I hope by this gesture the Majority will listen and not be allergic to criticism looking at the manner in which the Majority Leader rejected issues the Minority raised".

He entreated the House to work together and to create the right environment for a smoother take off of the Project.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu called on the Joint Committee working on the agreement to approach it holistically and to consider issues especially the unit cost of the houses and other relevant issues.

Mr James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of the Finance Committee, said the motion was being withdrawn because of the concerns raised by The Minority and not because the Committee did not do a good job.

He called on Members of the Joint Committee, who would be working on the Agreement to give their maximum support.

The Government of Ghana and the STX Engineering Company and Construction Limited are entering into Supplier's Credits Financing Agreement, which when completed would provide 30,000 housing units for the security service at a cost of US$1,525,443.468.00.

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