Posted: Wednesday 28th May 2014 at 7:00 am

The CDB Loan: Is It A Case Of Bad Judgment Or Pure Selfish Interest?

The CDB Loan is known by many as the ‘Chinese Three Billion Dollar Loan’. The agreement was entered into nearly four years ago and it was meant for infrastructural development including the “Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project” other wise known as the Atuabo Gas Project.

It has been four years now since Ghana Government signed the loan agreement but only a little over a quarter of the three billion has been disbursed so far by the Chinese. There have been several meetings in Accra and Beijing over this loan all to no avail.

Nevertheless Ghana Government continues to pay the commitment fees over the undisbursed portion of the loan. The other day it was President Mahama himself who was caught pouring out his frustrations over the delay in disbursement and even disclosed that Ghana has paid nearly One Hundred Million dollars in commitment fees to the Chinese for this undisbursed loan.

On the back page of this very edition, the SCANDAL has carried a story in which a Deputy Minister of Finance has said that the Chinese are calling for renegotiations for the loan and have put on the table many more demands including an increase of their daily intake of Ghana’s oil from 13,000 barrels to 15,000 barrels.

From all indications this Chinese loan will not materialize beyond where it has reached now and that will not be news to the SCANDAL or anybody who cares to follow the track record of the Chinese in loan disbursements.

But Ghana has herself to blame or better put, let us blame our leaders for this mess. The Chinese were not the only people who offered to help Ghana establish the Gas Plant. Trininda and Tabago did. The World Bank also did. In fact the World Bank Facility was a concessionary loan but in line with their standards they demanded transparency in all procurements related to the Gas project. But our leaders rejected that offer and went in for the Chinese loan that allows them to do sole sourcing.

So SINOPEC the Chinese company carrying out the Gas Plant contract was sole sourced and paid a contract sum of US$850million- the single largest contract in Ghana’s history. Procurement for Oil and Gas Surveillance equipment was also sole sourced at an amount of US$100million. In total Ghana Gas has sole sourced over One Billion US dollars worth of contracts in two years. So it looks like Ghana got what it wanted; the opportunity to sole source as against the real chance of having its own Gas Plant.

Now the reality is that Russia has discovered Gas in commercial quantities and Russia is friendlier and closer to China than Ghana. Do the Chinese really care about developing Ghana’s Gas potential? We don’t think so. Are we going get this Gas Plant at all and if so just what quality of Gas Plant will we get?
What about the other projects that are to be financed with the Chinese three billion dollar loan? Looks like there are too many questions now that answers…

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