Parliament approves US$1.3 billion loan facility

• Parliament in session

• Parliament in session

Parliament has approved a US$ 1.3 billion loan facility for the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for the purchase of cocoa for the 2017/2018 crop season.

The facility is being provided by a consortium of 40 banks with Natixis, Standard Bank of South Africa, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Ghana International Bank as the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers.

Under the terms of the arrangement, the facility is to be waived of the payment of stamp duty at 0.5 per cent amounting to US$ 6.5 million.

The chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah presenting the Finance Committee’s report on the agreement to Parliament in Accra on Wednesday, moments before the House rose sine dine, said the committee was satisfied with the terms of condition for the facility.

He said the facility was critical in COCOBOD’s pursuit to purchase a total of 850,000 tonnes of cocoa from farmers for the crop season.

Though the minority expressed some reservations including the rate at which the country was borrowing, they supported the move and hoped it improved the condition of cocoa farmers as well as improve the fortunes of the board.

The House also approved a loan agreement of US$ 48.85 million between government and the African Development Fund to finance the Greater Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihoods Improvement Project (GASSLIP).

The objectives of the GASSLIP are to increase access to improve sustainable and climate resilient sanitation and hygiene with improved livelihood for urban poor and to strengthen public and private sector capacity to better deliver and manage sanitation infrastructure.

The GASSLIP has a commitment charge of 0.5 per cent per annum, has a five years grace period, repayment period of 25 years exclusive of grace period and 30 years maturity period.

The House also approved the 2017 work programme of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The additional work programme of US$13.08 million, consists of US$6.38 as premium for business interruption insurance policy, US$5 million for Corporate Social Responsibility and US$1.7 million for logistics and vehicles.

Meanwhile, the House has also adopted the resolutions to grant tax exemption status for the Regional Training Centre for Law Enforcement Agencies under a memorandum of understanding between Ghana and the United States.

It also reached a resolution to ratify the protocol amending the Convention between Ghana and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income on capital gains.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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