The Former Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Ibrahim Mohammed Murtala, has rubbished claims by President Nana Akufo-Addo that the Sinohydro infrastructure deal will not add to Ghana’s debt stock, which currently stands at $173.2 billion.
The President Wednesday cut the sod for the construction of the Tamale Interchange under the Ghana-China Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) to barter Ghana’s bauxite for infrastructural development.
Mr Akufo-Addo said during the sod-cutting ceremony that the $2 billion agreement will not add to the country’s debt.
“This innovative arrangement, the first of its kind on the continent, is not going to add to our country’s total debt stock,” the president stated.
But speaking on TV3‘s New Day Thursday,the former Member of Parliament for the Nanton Constituency in the Northern Region, said the president’s comments on the matter smacks of ignorance.
“This is the most uninformed position sadly coming from the president of the Republic of Ghana,” he noted, while arguing that the natural resources being bartered for the infrastructure will be analysed in monetary terms.
This, he maintains, has cost implications which will definitely add to the existing debt portfolio of the country.
“You have your mineral resources, someone is going to access that mineral resources and you claim that it is not going to cost as any [money], does this make sense?” he quizzed, reiterating the deal has cost implications.
He describes as outrageous an initial amount of over $500 million, which has been budgeted for the first phase of the project, comparing same to the Kasoa Interchange that the NDC constructed which he said was only half of the amount being for the Tamale Interchange.
“In 2016, the NDC did similar kilometer of roads which cost us $250,000 and this is costing us $1.2 million and you think that we should shut up,” he said.
He claimed the people of Tamale are reported to have said water is more of a priority to them than an interchange is.
This is not the first time a member of the opposition NDC has raised concerns about the tendency of the debt stock to increase following the implementation of the Sinohydro agreement.
The Minority in Parliament last year wrote to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seeking clarification on whether or not the deal is loan or an aid.
The IMF in response clarified the agreement cannot be classified as a loan.
By Jennifer Owusu Adobbea|3news.com|Ghana