Parliament has passed the master project support agreement for a 2 billion dollar facility for the construction of priority projects by Chinese firm SynoHydro Corporation.
The said facility would be in exchange for alumina processed from Bauxite deposits in the country as announced by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in the mid-year Budget Review.
Mr Ofori-Atta said in the mid-year budget review that Sinohydro Group Limited is expected to “provide US$2 billion of infrastructure including roads, bridges, interchanges, hospitals, housing, rural electrification, in exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite.”
The house was earlier divided over the agreement.
While the Majority said the facility was just a barter agreement, the Minority says it amounts to a loan that does not augur well for the economy.
Raising arguments against the motion for approval earlier, Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi had indicated that the terms of the agreement only pointed to the fact that it was a loan, adding that government was being untruthful.
“Mr. Speaker, we have seen it before in this House under the tenure of President Kufuor where we took a loan from China to build Bui dam, where we took a loan from China to build the Atuabo gas plant. Why are we taking a loan to pay management fee, pay commitment fee and then this time, we will not make payments on both sides but it is rather a barter trade?”
Earlier today [Saturday] the House also passed four tax amendments to reflect the reality of government policy as announced in the Mid-Year Budget Review.
The Bills are the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Amendment Bill, The National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) Amendment Bill, The Income Tax Amendment Bill and the Value Added Tax Amendment Bill.
A final Bill, the Luxury Vehicle Levy Bill, is expected to be passed later today [Saturday].