AMERI deal amendment suspended …VRA staff, ACEP kick against

Parliament on Saturday could not consider the amendment of the Africa Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group, deal before it went on recess.

The decision to defer the legislative action on the deal to a later day, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, explained, was because the request for further information about the deal was critical.

Government last Wednesday filed a paper in Parliament seeking to terminate the controversial US$510 million power deal with the Dubai firm, an action which has been met with opposition.

Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of the Volta River Authority (VRA) said they were “vehemently opposed” to the termination of the deal with AMERI.

The association in a statement jointly signed by its National Chairman, Cephas Duse and Frank Kaba Adatuu, the VRA Divisional Chairman of the TUC, said if approved, the new deal will “bring more hardship to the Volta River Authority and the good people of our dear country.”

The association said its opposition to the deal is on the premise that “in less than two and half years the AMERI plant would become a free asset to the nation under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement, and therefore there is no need for another arrangement that would extend ownership to any third party interest.”

It contended that the new proposed agreement before Parliament would be “more expensive than the current arrangement and does not make any financial and economic sense to the nation.”

The nation, the statement added, has surplus generation capacity and does not require any new long term take or pay arrangement, more so when it is inimical to the interest of the country.

Another energy sector think tank, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) joining the fray said government’s claim that the renegotiated deal was better could not be true.

In a related development , ACEP said from its analysis, “the proposed amendment to the AMERI agreement brings greater cost to government than the existing deal. The total cash flow for the renegotiated deal is US$1,125,007,380.

“Given that half of the AMERI contract has been executed government would be paying a total of US$$1.375 billion for the AMERI power plant over approximately 18 years instead of the original $510 million.”

All these concerns, the Majority Leader said, demanded that Parliament interrogated the deal further.

“People are raising issues about the gains we said we are clawing back… We need to interrogate the figures to know that what we are doing is in the best interests of the country, which explains why [the deal wasn’t considered].”

“I spoke to the Finance Minister, I spoke to the Attorney General plus the Minster of Energy and we all decided to tarry a while and have a closer look at it,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told journalists.

Under the new agreement which has been given executive approval, a new company, Mytilineous International Trading Company, would take over the management of the AMERI power plant for the next 15 years.

Per the new agreement, the new company would pay AMERI an amount of $52,160,560, with the government paying the remaining $39 million to be able to terminate the deal.

Government hopes to save the taxpayer US$405 million over the 15-year period if Parliament approved the deal.


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