Minority kicks against cost of Pwalugu dam project

The Minority in Parliament is accusing government of inflating the cost of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam project.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in November, last year,  cut sod for the US$366,011,991 yet-to-be-approved project,  which is expected to generate 60 megawatts of power when completed.

The project comes with a US$55,379,808 million 50 megawatt solar power plant, and a 2,400 hectare irrigation scheme at the cost of US$474,042,142.

“The Minority is vehemently opposed to the outrageous cost of the project which by all standards has been hugely and unconscionably padded,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said at a press conference in Parliament, yesterday.

According to the caucus, the average cost of a megawatt of power anywhere in the world costs US$1.5 million.

Per their calculation, the unit cost of a megawatt in the deal under consideration is over US$6 million, a cost the Minority said has been ‘padded’.

Mr Iddrisu, the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, wondered why the necessary approvals had not been secured prior to the sod-cutting.

“The critical question is why would a government hasten to commission a dam project when approval for the contract has not been approved?” he asked.

The caucus has thus served notice that it would not be part of approval of the project, which was currently before the House for consideration.

It argued that per provisions of Chapter Twenty of Parliament’s Standing Orders, Committees were mandated to handle contract agreements, which were under their purview if same was not a financial agreement in line with Article 181of the 1992 Constitution.

In view of the above, Mr Iddrisu said referring the agreement to the Finance Committee instead of the Mines and Energy and Agriculture Committees was unconstitutional.

“The Minority hereby entreats the government of President Akufo-Addo and the Majority side of the House to immediately depart from this unlawful and unfortunate conduct, failing which the Minority shall adopt legitimate processes to save the nation from this unbearable financial loss,” he warned.

Mr Iddrisu questioned how the Chinese construction firm – Powerchina International Group Limited – was chosen to execute the project.

Suspecting the government of plans to shortchange the state by rushing the deal to the House before adjournment in December, last year,  he said, “the Akufo-Addo led government is once again attempting to use the backdoor to surreptitiously implement this project which is a ridiculous top-off.”

The caucus, Iddrisu clarified, was not against the project but concerned about the cost involved.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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