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Opinions of Saturday, 15 July 2017

Columnist: Prof Lungu

Dr. Bawumia's 'No strings attached to $2bn China loan' Gobbledygook

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

"...With all due respect, dokitor! You are not sure "there is a string attached...for the China...financing model"? But China is a country with sovereign interests unrelated to making money and at the same time a bank..., all rolled up into one... How come Central Banker Dr. Bawumia is not sure there are strings attached to a loan from China...when...Dr. Bawumia does not take time to inform Ghanaians China is in fact giving out the loan for purely philanthropic, altruistic reasons?... Our 14-Billion-Dollar-Question...How much interest is China charging on the loan, for what period, Banker Bawumia? Seriously, how do you mortgage your nation's natural resource to another nation and still walk away freely, without strings attached to you and the millions of other owners, living and not yet born, sir?...(Prof Lungu, 10 July, 2017).

Or is it $2 billion?

Or is it $15 billion?

With all due respect, dokitor! You are not sure "there is a string attached"?

You are saying there are actually more than one strings attached, eh? We are confused, as this matter goes!

So, in a selfless spirit of public awareness, good public policy, and accountability, we reproduce in its entirety Dr. Bawumia's recent comments on the subject. We only ask that the reader analyze the statement for coherence, clarity, rationality, and above all, we must reluctantly add, sincerity.

READ: “...'I’m not sure there is a string attached...This is why I said that we went with our own thinking in terms of how we want the financing model to be. Of course, for any partnership we presented the case that whatever investment China makes in Ghana, it’s a good thing for them as it is for us.

It’s a win-win situation,”....Nobody goes to invest in another country and say that they want to lose and the whole structuring of the financing model.

It’s a joint venture structuring, so if the enterprise is good it will benefit everybody; it’s not one that we say there are the strings attached… “It’s a financing model. For example, the One- District-One-Factory, you don’t have to take that loan or that facility. Nobody will force you to go and take it, but if you think it will help you in setting up the factory, you go to the bank and arrange for that particular financing. But if you think you have a better financing arrangement, you go there. It’s not by force [the $2billion] is just providing you with alternatives. So for us, it’s a partnership, joint venture that we are going to do in many aspects of the economy with China. So there are no strings attached'....” (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, 26 June, 2017).

We submit that is the most convoluted and illogical statement we've read in a long, long, time that was ever attributed to a Ghanaian official.

The fact is, Dr. Bawumia is saying he and the NPP government did not choose to go to a bank for a loan for "One- District-One-Factory" program. Rather, they choose a country, China.

But China is a country (with sovereign interests unrelated to making money), and at the same time a bank (with interest in earning profit), all rolled up into one.

It is Dr. Bawumia himself who freely admits the Chinese are not in the business to lose (i.e., they will also "win")!

Is Dr. Bawumia telling us that even if Ghanaians understand perfectly that it is a 50-50 "Win-Win", even if it is "a partnership, a joint venture", or any combination, what makes the China loan facility "No Strings Attached"?

And the bauxite concession package that now is planned to occur in one of the few pristine national forests when your government is claiming you are doing all you can to stop galamsey, forest degradation, and water pollution!

How come Central Banker Dr Bawumia is not sure there are strings attached to a Chinese national loan when Banker Bawumia does not take the time to inform Ghanaians China is, in fact, giving out the loan for purely philanthropic, altruistic reasons?

Our $14 Billion Question: Central Banker Dr. Bawumia, tell us how much in interest China is charging Ghana for the provision, and for what period? What exactly, totally, is China going to reap in return for their "win", sir?

So it goes, Ghana!