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General News of Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Parliament approves four loans within 2 hours

Four loans sent to Parliament by government have been approved by the 275-member body.

Parliament, which is expected to break on Thursday, November 3, 2016 for the December 7 polls is said to have given the approval for four loans within two hours in the House on Monday.

The four loans included an 11 billion Japanese yen (equivalent to 112 million dollars), through its International Corporation Agency (JICA), for the construction of a bridge across the Volta River at Volivo, $83 million for the Accra Urban Transport Project and a 13 million euro loan and another 3 million euro for the provision of facilities and ICT equipment for the offices of the Ghana Audit Service nationwide.

Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku reported that “this morning it looks like Parliament came with an agenda to pass most of the loans that has been on its books for the past two weeks since sitting resumed in the House.”

Duke said the Finance Committee report presented to the House on Monday explained that the Accra Urban Transport project which involves the construction of road from Pokuase through Achimota to Accra is expected to ease traffic on that stretch of road.

Making a case for the viability of the loan for the bridge project at Volivo, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi said the project would immensely benefit the inhabitants along the eastern corridor of the country.

“Mr. Speaker, the loan amount is 11.239 billion; the interest rate is 0.1 percent per annum with a consulting service fee for 0.01% per annum. The strut and fees of 0.2% of the loan amount with a maturity of 40 years including a grace period of 10 years.”

On his part, the Minority spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei commended the government for what he calls the negotiation of good terms for the loan.

“We are told and it has to be confirmed that this particular alternative would bring relief to that corridor. And so for that reason in terms of the nature of that bridge, I think it is a very useful project, we will reduce traffic in the area and we are told that we will save about 124 kilometers from Tema to Kulungugu in that corridor. So I urge members to accept the committee’s report first because the concessionality of the loan is quite good and second, in terms of the feasibility of the project.”

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to go on recess on Thursday, November 3, 2016.