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General News of Saturday, 3 August 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Minority questions price of night vision goggles, other gadgets for Armed Forces

The approval of an 11 million dollar loan facility for the supply of night vision binoculars, monoculars and training equipment for the Ghana Armed Forces was a subject of controversy on the Floor of Parliament on Friday.

According to the report of the Finance Committee, a single night vision goggle is being procured at the price of $6,850, daily rifle scope at $2,150 with the cost of transporting such equipment to Ghana pegged at $55,000.

Before the approval, the Minority raised red flags about the cost of the components and the lack of a value for money audit.

Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Inusah Fuseini complained about the cost of the equipment.

“It is important to state that this loan and its application is not accompanied by any value for money report. We are entitled to satisfy ourselves that the loan if used to purchase night vision equipment will secure the overall value for the economy of Ghana. And how do we do that? We need to know the standard of night vision equipment being purchased. We need to know the specifications. If we know, we can also do our own searches to know whether such specifications will cost the amount of money we are told it will cost.”

“We are told that we need western standard equipment. Of what model? Are we buying it from the Netherlands, UK, US or Germany? Because if we do know, I can assure you that within 15 minutes we should be able to know the price range…so that we will be able to satisfy ourselves and the people of Ghana that we are going out to contract $11,040,425 and this House is approving it and we are assuring the people of Ghana that it will be applied for good purposes.”

Defense Minister justifies the expenditure

But the Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul justified the deal with the explanation that such equipment must meet standards fit for the armed forces.

“I said we want to buy standard equipment, in fact, NATO standard. It is not about the west or east, it is about the standard.”

Parliament on recess

Parliament on Friday ended sittings for the second meeting of its third session.

The Communication Service tax amendment bill, the Earmarked funds, capping and re-alignment bill, the Luxury Vehicle Levy repeal bill, $1.5 billion cocoa syndicated loan among others were all approved before the adjournment.