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Minority threatens to throw out $15bln China deal

The Minority in Parliament says it will oppose the deal in which government of Ghana is seeking to access a whopping $15 billion facility from the Chinese government.

The opposition lawmakers said the deal might cripple the economy which is already burdened with huge debts.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson told Israel Laryea on Joy FM’s Midday News Tuesday, the money will increase Ghana’s debt stock to the region of 100 to 110 percent of GDP if the deal is allowed to pass.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson

The Government of Ghana has finished talks with the Xi Jinping government to access a $15 billion facility for the swift implementation of many of its “ambitious programmes.”

The deal was announced in Accra by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Sunday after a four-day visit to the Asian country. Implementation of the free senior high school, one-district, one-factory, one-village, one-dam and Zongo Development Fund will start if the loan is approved.

On his arrival, the vice president defended the use of untapped natural resources as collateral for the money, saying, it makes “economic sense” for Ghana to use what it has to get what it needs from other countries.

“Ghana needs to leverage its natural resources,” the Vice President told the media at the Jubilee lounge of the Kotoka International Airport.

In exchange for the facility, China would be given an unimpeded access to tap Ghana’s rich resources which include a 2.8 billion metric tons of iron ore, 960 million metric tons of Bauxite, 430 million metric tons of Manganese and 413 million tons of limeston.

“If we need just $20 billion to do a major, massive Marshall Plan and we have $460 billion sitting in the ground then what we really need is to develop a financing model that leverages just a small fraction of our reserves,” he said gleefully.

The gigantic deal comes after China’s Eximbank promised the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government a $3 billion facility. After several years, the Chinese gave the then government only $1 billion.

In the company of Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Vice President said government stands to get more because there is an unfinished business.

The staggering $15 billion China facility will have to be sanctioned by Parliament before it will be released by the Xi Jinping government.

With 106 seats in the legislature against 169 seats for government-aligned lawmakers, the NDC MPs said they will reject the deal.

Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng
Mr Forson argued the size of Ghana’s economy which is between $42-3 billion will not be able to accommodate a facility that is close to half.

“I don’t think it is smart borrowing,” he said, adding, the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government has shown a “huge appetite” for debt.

But Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng said minority’s position on the facility is misplaced.

“There is no point always rushing to the media to discuss things you do not understand,” he criticized the NDC MPs.

He said the terms governing the China deal will be negotiated and until it is placed before Parliament it will not come into effect.

 

 

 

Source: myjoyonline

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