Parliament has by a resolution at an emergency sitting of Parliament, in Accra, yesterday, approved seven loan agreements to finance government projects.
The loans are expected to be channeled into public sector reforms, COVID-19 response, food security and digital acceleration agenda of the government.
The loans were approved by a majority decision both at the Finance Committee level and at the plenary as the Minority caucus opposed all the facilities.
The facilities are a US$60.6 million as a third additional financing for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project, US$150 million to finance the West Africa Food Systems Resilience Programme and €EU170 million for the establishment of the Development Bank of Ghana.
The rest are a US$30 million facility to finance the Medical Equipment Provision Project in response to COVID-19, US$150 million to finance Primary Healthcare Investment Project, US$150 million to finance Public Financial Management for Service Delivery Programme and US$200 million to finance the Ghana Digital Acceleration Project.
The approval was led by the Member for Obuasi West and Chairman of the Finance Committee, KwakuKwarteng, and a Deputy Finance Minister, AbenaOsei-Asare.
Moving the motions, Mr Kwarteng entreated his colleagues to support the facilities to enable government deliver on its mandate.
Led by the Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam Member of Parliament, DrCassielAtoBaahForson, the Minority caucus cited the debt position of the country as a reason for their opposition to the facilities.
“Mr Speaker, I do not believe that now is the time for us to take additional loans. As we speak, our country is simply insolvent. We have defaulted in the repayment of our external and internal debts.
“Just last week, one of the rating agencies Ghana government contracted has downgraded Ghana to restrictive default. Simply put, we are in a deep hole.
“What I know is that when you are in a hole, you stop digging but unfortunately, this government will not stop digging,” the Minority Leader argued.
The Minority, he said, was not against government contracting loansto better the lives of the people, but “sadly the monies are not going to areas where we can drive productivity.”
But, the Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said reasons for the Minority’s opposition to the facilities were unfounded.
Speaking in respect of the US$150 million to finance the West Africa Food Systems Resilience Programme, MrKyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the facility would support farmers and other value chain participants to strengthen their capacity to improve food security systems in a sustainable way.
“Mr Speaker, I cannot understand for the life of me reasons why our colleagues said we should reject this facility. Mr Speaker, it is crystal clear what is intended to be done with this facility and we must all rise in unison to approve this facility,” the Majority Leader urged.
Briefing journalists after sitting, a Deputy Finance Minister and MP for Ejisu, Dr John Kumah, said the facilities were not new as the Minority would want Ghanaians to believe.
“These are loans that are already on our books and required parliamentary approval, but we were unable to do so before we rose the last time,” he explained.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI