Minority raises red flags over Sinohydro deal

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
 Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza
Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza

The Minority in Parliament has stated that the cost components of the Sinohydro deal by the government was, "over bloated" and has, therefore, called for a reduction in the cost.

It said the cost for components like the project office, photographs, client services, among others, were "outrageous" and a "rip off."

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The Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), led by the Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, were making contributions during the consideration of a commercial agreement resolution for the US$646,637,879 facility in Parliament yesterday.

Parliament last Wednesday passed a resolution for the release of the first tranche of US$646,637,879 of the expected US$2 billion facility from Sinohydro Corporation Limited of China for the rehabilitation and construction of some roads in the country.

The projects, expected under the facility, include Accra and Kumasi inner city roads, Tamale interchange, Takoradi PTC roundabout interchange, and  Adenta-Dodowa dual carriageway. The rest are Sunyani and Cape Coast inner city roads, upgrading of selected roads in Ashanti and Western regions, rehabilitation of the Oda-Ofoase-Abirem road and Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodi Pepesu road.


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Reductions

Some of the components the Minority wanted reduced included a US$7000,000 client service on the Ofoase project which involves over US$600,000 for the preparation of the project site.

Mr Agbodza, who is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Adaklu, also claimed that about US$30,000 had been earmarked for progress photographs on the project.

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He said the memoranda stating out the terms and conditions of the facility had no legal opinion of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice; neither did it have a financial impact assessment from the Finance Minister as required by law.

Besides, Mr Agbodza said the projects, under the facility, had no value for money audit and were without Public Procurement Authority approval.

He stated that the Minority were not against the facelift of Ghana's roads but that they were duty-bound to ensure that the best deal was secured for the country.

Majority's rebuttal

In a rebuttal, a New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Ejisu and a Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, justified the cost of the components.

He said the US$600,000 included securing a land to host the project offices, and indicated that the acquisition of land was expensive.

Mr Owusu-Aduomi added that the site project included a laboratory for testing of the soil and other construction materials that would match the soil texture.

He dismissed the suggestion by the Minority MPs that the transfer of technology component was needless since the asphalt technology to be deployed by the Sinohydro group was special.