Parliament has approved an agreement between the government of Ghana and Israel Discount Bank for an amount of US$ 86, 120,000 for the procurement of armoured vehicles and ammunitions for the Ghana Armed Forces.
The loan facility is made up of US$ 74,120,000 ASHRA facility and a commercial loan of US$12 million.
Of the amount, Elbit Systems Land Limited of Israel would supply the military vehicles at a cost of US$80,000,000 and the rest going to the arrangers of the facility, training and parts, amongst others.
The procurement of the equipment is in response to the security challenges the country might be exposed to as a result of increased terrorist activities in the Sahel region.
The equipment would be used to establish the 154 and 155 armoured units of the Armed Forces in Tamale and Sunyani respectively.
A report by the Finance Committee on the agreement, approved by the plenary of the House in Accra yesterday, indicated that the vehicles would primarily be deployed to support internal security operations and UN Peacekeeping operations when necessary.
According to the Committee’s report, government is keen on equipping the military with modern equipment in the desired quantities to ensure that the military is adequately resourced to work effectively.
Presenting the Committee report, Chairman of the Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah said the Ghana Armed Forces was involved in internal security operations with other sister security services for the safety of the general public, hence the need to beef up the stock of the armed forces.
Such operations include Operation Gong-Gong, directed at maintaining peace in the northern part of the country, Operation Calm Life at Donkorkyina in the Bono Region, which seeks to curb incidents of armed robbery and other violent crimes and Exercise Ogbangame Express which seeks to fight maritime crimes in Ghana’s territorial waters.
Refraining from the usual politicking that characterises other deliberations in the House, the Ranking Member on the Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga, urged that there should not be visibility of the armed forces in civil operations “unless of course it is very compelling.”
Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka said such agreements must be accompanied with value for money reports for the perusal of the House.
Admitting that such military arrangements had to be discussed behind closed doors in the past, Alhaji Muntaka said, “the issue of value for money is very important so that we will be sure that we are getting this equipment at cost not detrimental to our state.”
But the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, assured that the necessary value for money audit would be done before the contract is finally approved.
The equipment, he said, were of “top-notch quality that the armed forces had been craving for a very long time, and I’m glad that members are very supportive”.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI