Mills & Duffour must be stopped!

By Ghanaian Chronicle

On the last count, the administration of President John Evans Atta Mills had contracted loans to the tune of US$10 billion. There is the Chinese loan of US$3 billion, which has been approved by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, still outstanding.

Officials keep giving conflicting accounts of when the loan would arrive for the Western Gas Project sited in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region to begin, and to fund the Eastern Corridor Road, linking Asikuma in the Eastern Region to the north.

Yesterday, there was an uproar in Parliament, when the Minority Spokesman of Finance, Dr. Akoto Osei, virtually caged Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Kwabena Duffuor on the floor of the House. The Finance Minister was in the House to lay papers for fresh loans being contracted by the moribund Mills administration on the last stretch of its mandate.

The Finance Minister is asking the House to approve a loan of US$25 million from Carl Bank for the procurement of hospital beds and other equipment for various hospitals and health facilities in the country.  It was on the same day that The Chronicle broke the story that the state of Ghana had paid US$40 million cash for a debt of GH¢55,305 owed Rockshell International for some work done on the Keta Sea Defence Wall in 1986.

That is not the only fresh loan the government of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, which paid GH¢275 million in 2010 towards judgment debts, is seeking.  There is a loan agreement pending in the House for an amount of 183,387,500 Euros from Co-Operative Centrale Raifensen-Boerenleen Bank B.A. of Belgium, to finance the second phase of the construction of the Ada Coastal Project.

There is another credit facility agreement between the Government of Ghana for Raffeisen Bank International of AG, of Austria, for an amount of 8,000,000 euros. According to the Finance Minister, it is to finance Water Supply for the Ho Municipality Phase II, Adaklu Anyigbe and North Tongu Districts.

There is a Preferential Buyer Credit Agreement for US$31,951,500 from Export Bank of China to finance ICT-Enable Distance Education Project at the University of Ghana Phase II. There is another loan agreement for US$162,931,563.27 from Her Brittannic Majesty's Secretary of State, co-ordinated by Barclays Bank PLC, 'for the design, construction and furnishing of seven district hospitals, and for provision of integrated IT system by NHS Infrastructure Limited.'

On the same day, another agreement for a facility for US$55 million from Barclays Bank of Britain, with Barclays Bank, Ghana, co-ordinating for financing the design, construction and furnishing of seven district hospitals and provision of IT system by NMS Infrastructure Limited.

The Chronicle is unable to decipher the difference between what the two latest loans are to do. But that is even beside the point. The real point is why such a moribund administration on the last leg of its existence should be allowed to saddle the nation with all these huge loans.

The Chronicle is not arguing against the provision of infrastructure and water for some parts of the Volta Region. What we cannot understand is why the nation should be committed to all these loans in the evening of the life of the regime. Already, the Mills administration has saddled this nation with about US13 billion debts in loans.

We are not sure whether Ghanaians have been properly briefed on what was done with these heavy loans. We are of the firm view that some of the projects the huge loans are meant to do,  could wait while we get to terms with what the US13 billion already borrowed in the name of this Republic is fully accounted for.

Obviously, most of these loans were contracted on the expectation that oil money would bail the nation out. Evidence on the ground clearly tells us that this nation estimated more than what has been realised from oil. For instance, the general expectation was that Ghana was going to produce 120,000 barrels a day from the finds in the Jubilee fields. We have been able to manage only 65,000 a day so far.

The Chronicle is inviting Parliament, civil society groups and individual Ghanaians to stop the crazy borrowing before this nation is mortgaged to foreign interest groups.

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