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Parliament to decide on Pwalugu multi-purpose dam agreements this week

Parliament will later this week, take a decision on three agreements currently before the House in relation to the engineering, procurement and construction of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam.

The Minority has opposed the deal which amounts to US$993 million on grounds of procedure and value for money.

According to them, the cost of the project is padded.

Last week, the Speaker, Prof. Mike Aaron Ocquaye made additional referrals of the agreement to the Mines and Energy, Agriculture and Works and Housing Committees of the House.

This was after complaints that the deal could not be considered by the Finance Committee only.

“The Minority Leader talks about not being able to participate even as we speak today. I will say I trust that will not happen because that will be another boycott approach, which I will not recommend,” the Speaker said in his address.

He also urged the legislators to prepare adequately for the debate with the extra time given.

“I adjourn this matter to Tuesday [February 11, 2020] for any member who wants to do any research, any analysis or presentation whatsoever to get himself or herself fully prepared,” he declared.

The 60-Megawatt facility is expected to cost US$366 million, but together with the irrigation component of the dam, the entire project is estimated at close to US$1 billion.

Pwalugu multipurpose dam needs no renegotiation – Majority Leader

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, says the Minority’s concerns about the cost of the dam project are misplaced as the scope of the work to be done warrants the budgeted amount for the project.

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He defended the deal, saying that the estimated amount involved key components such as the acquisition of lands.

“I think the proper thing will be for the Committee of Finance and the Committee of Mines and Energy to re-examine this particular request. Other than that you cannot spend US$366 million on 60 megawatts of electricity…Ideally, I made a comment that the appropriate thing will be for the committees to re-examine it. We do not just look at terms and conditions but we look at its impact on the economy and the Ghanaian people,” the Tamale South MP said.

Minority demanding value for money 

The Minority in Parliament has stated that it will not approve the construction of the dam if the Majority does not furnish the House with the right details.

According to the Minority MPs, they will not vote for the approval of the deal “unless the right thing is done”.

Minority Chief Whip and MP for Asawaase, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak stated that though the project is good, it doesn’t offer value for money.

“It has to go back to the committee for proper works to be done and value for money has to be considered. We are not opposed to the project. We just have to keep certain principles. The work we do as Members of Parliament largely is supposed to be playing oversight on the Executive. Simply because you say you are going to give me, Hon. Muntaka a car, does not mean I should not be interested in how much you are buying the car, where you are buying the car, what is the price for the car, what is the quality of the vehicle, do we have value for money,” he added.

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