Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo
Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo

?SC Petition creates fear and panic in China

If the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government?s well-intended plan of using the US$3bn Chinese loan secured from the China Development Bank(CDB) to embark on major infrastructure projects across the country is anything to go by, then the Mahama-led administration must begin to have a re-think and change of direction for an alternative source of funding or dither until the final outcome of the election petition currently in court.

Reports reaching The Al-Hajj indicate that the delay in the disbursement of the first tranche of the loan facility, which was agreed on last year April, is as a result of the ongoing electoral petition engineered by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and two others, which the Chinese officials fear could affect the take-off of the projects that the loan was sourced for. They were said to have been harboring serious fears and anxiety with the political direction of the country and the risk associated with it considering the size of the amount they are disbursing in the Ghanaian economy.

Very credible but disturbing signals picked up by this paper suggest that, the Chinese are fretful of the veiled threats issued by leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), including its 2012 flag bearer, Nana Akufo Addo to review the $3bn loan agreement in the event that they come to power, with the notion that the entire transaction lacked clarity and therefore, no value for money.

The fear of the Chinese was also aggravated by what they see as the protracted electoral battle which has now morphed into a legal tug-of-war with the opposition protagonists rushing to the highest court of the land clutching a petition whose outcome is difficult to predict by a far-away observer.

Thus, this paper has learnt that the Chinese have adopted the strategy of wait and see in the disbursement of the historic facility despite the fact that all the necessary agreements with their Ghanaian counterparts have been concluded long ago.

?Your government is not lucky at the moment, I know we have signed all the agreements both here in Ghana and in my country China, but the problem now is the political situation in your country.

?China has the money ready, we have plenty money ready for Ghana, but we have to wait and see how the political situation would settle, we don?t want any problem to happen with our investment here in Ghana, remember is huge amount.

?We are not afraid to invest our money anywhere in the world, but are always careful. We have to study the situation on the ground. I don?t want to talk about?the local Ghanaian politics because I am not a Ghanaian, but we are worried with our investment and the current political situation on the ground.

?Is not only in Ghana, anywhere China put its money, we are always, always?careful and sure that we don?t lose anything?, a Chinese official very close and very conversant with the CDB agreement told The Al-Hajj on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic ramifications of the issue.

With the hazy political situation in the country in mind and the threat from the vanquished NPP leader to review the CDB agreement in the highly unlikely event that he becomes the President of Ghana, the Chinese officials are hesitant in disbursing even the first tranche of the money, which has been earmarked for the Gas Infrastructure Project in the Western region, with the fear that the court ruling could go either way.

Further, the fear is that should the ruling of the nine justices at the Supreme Court favors the NPP, officials of the CDB are of the view that, they will be shabbily treated and the purpose for which the loan was contracted will be defeated, since the NPP, led by the obstinate Nana Akufo-Addo has openly shown their disapproval of the deal and have said time and time again that they would do everything under their power to scuttle it.

Though all arrangements for the disbursement of the first tranche, which is about US$750m was finalized since last year, the government was said to have received just about $200m to pay contractors working on the Gas Infrastructure Project. By the calculation of government, all the $750m should have been disbursed by now and the gas infrastructure, which was a novelty from the late President Mills, would have either been fully completed or being put into finishing touches.

Whiles there are clear indications that the CDB is still committed to the agreement, this paper has gathered that, the Chinese would end their reticence ones and for all and disburse the amount in its entirety after the Supreme Court has given its final verdict to the petition in court, a development that is likely to affect the performance of the Mahama-led administration.

Nana Addo and his acolytes, who are widely tipped to be vanquished at the Supreme Court, would then get a consolation of having messed up the political and economic environment for President Mahama and his government.

Only two weeks ago the Chinese firm in charge of the gas infrastructural project, Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation, having so far spent about $500m of its own resources on the project, threatened to abandon the work mid-way due to the country?s inability to make a refund to it.

President John Mahama last month sent a team to China to discuss any outstanding issues with CDB and the Chinese government officials but the team has since return without any favourable response regarding any tangible time table for the disbursement of the money.

The NDC government under the leadership of late President John Evans Atta Mills secured a $3bn loan from the CDB in 2011under a Master Facility Agreement (MFA) to finance major infrastructural and industrial projects in various parts of the country.

The facility, which is the biggest ever loan transaction entered into by any government in the history of Ghana, was ratified by the Parliament amidst controversies, with the Minority MPs and leading members of the NPP lambasting and spitting fire on the whole transaction.

The government has pledged to use the money to fund the Western Corridor Infrastructure Renewal Project-Takoradi-Kumasi: Dunkwa-Awaso Railway Line scenario 1 Retrofit (500 million dollars); Western Corridor Infrastructural Renewal Project-Takoradi Port Retrofit Phase 1 (150 million dollars); Sekondi Free Zone Project (100 million dollars).

The others are the Accra Plains irrigation Project Phase 1: 5000 hectares(100 million dollars) and Coastal Fishing Harbours and Landing Sites Redevelopment Project in the following communities: Axim, Dixcove, Elmina, Winneba, Mumford, Senya Beraku, Jamestown, Teshie, Tema, Ada and Keta(150 million dollars).

The rest is the Eastern Corridor Multi modal Transportation Project-Upgrade of Volta Lake ferries, pontoons and landing sites at Kpando-Amankwakrom, KeteKrachi-Kwadwokrom, Yeji-Makongo, Tapa Abotoase, Dzemi and the Upgrade of Akosombo and Buipe Ports. (150 million dollars).

Also, as part of the agreement, a total of 250 million dollars was assigned to put up an enhanced Traffic management Project in the Accra Metropolitan Area, including urgent road completion components and an integrated National Security Communications enhancement project which involves the deployment of an advanced Surveillance Platform for the Western corridor oil enclave.

Following the disturbing signals picked up by this paper with respect to the lackluster attitude of the Chinese officials, it appears the communities earmarked to benefit from these projects would have to wait a little bit longer as the government itself is uncertain when the first tranche will be disbursed despite the completion of all arrangements.

In this vein, many are those who have argued that, Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP?s resolve to block the loan facility which was inherent in the protestations they mounted against its passage by the Legislature has relatively been achieved through the use of the challenge of the President?s legitimacy in court.

Source: A. A. Yayra (The Al-Hajj)

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