Bring Back STX Deal

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    Minority spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, has asked for the Housing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the STX Engineering and Construction Limited to be scrutinized by parliament.
    Making the demand on the floor of Parliament, Dr. Akoto Osei, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Old Tafo, stressed that Parliament, which represented the people, must be given a new agreement that had been signed by the two parties for the construction of 200,000 housing units in the country.
    Parliament approved the $10 billion STX Korea Housing loan deal on August 3, 2010 between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited, amid protracted controversy as the Minority protested the transaction was too costly for the country.
    Following the parliamentary approval, a new agreement was signed between the two parties and Government indicated that $1.5 billion of the total amount would be used by the Korean company to construct about 30,000 housing units for the country’s security agencies.
    President Atta Mills cut the sod Thursday January 27, 2011 for the commencement of the ground-breaking housing project. However, Parliament has not been given the agreement for appraisal.
    Responding to the request by the Minority spokesperson on Finance, the Leader of Government business in Parliament, Cletus Apul Avoka, gave the assurance that Parliament would revisit the issue to ensure the Government brought the agreement to the House.
    Meanwhile, the Minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has described the Mills administration as stiff-necked after it turned a deaf ear to the advice from the minority side on the STX deal.
    Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the MP for Suame, told XFM, an Accra-based radio station that “Government is stiff- necked. They want to damn the consequences and do it. The advice is out there. We ask that if you cleanse this whole agreement, we could have value for money and we could have more houses if we straighten it up.”
    The Minority Leader reiterated an earlier position that the NPP was not against the deal in its entirety, stressing that the proper thing needed to be done. He said the fact that the country needed houses for its people did not mean it should be done at any cost. “So we are saying that we admire this effort to confront the problem and help solve the housing deficit but this agreement is not in the best of forms.
    We can have a second look at it so that if you want to pursue the STX agreement, then we can have more houses from this. Government says no,” Minority Leader lamented.
    President Mills cut the sod for the start first phase of the housing project at the Police College in Accra, during which he indicated the better Ghana agenda would be vindicated by the completion of the 200,000 housing units within the next five years.
    He was grateful to STX Korea for partnering Government to execute one of its manifesto promises of providing housing for Ghanaians, warning the company not to do a shoddy job. “The project is anchored to the NDC’s 2008 manifesto commitment to expanding infrastructure and its successful implementation will be a vindication of our social democratic tenets, as well as our commitment to building a better Ghana,” President Mills stated.
    According to him, the sod-cutting ceremony in this ‘action year’ underscored government’s desire to reduce the country’s housing deficit and give decent accommodation to the hardworking Ghanaian workers.
    Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, is excited that the STX deal has become a reality after 13 months of several discussions. He indicated the construction of the 30,000 housing units would take place at five different locations nationwide.
    The project, he reiterated, confirmed NDC administration’s “strong uncompromising commitment to delivering a better Ghana by providing world-class affordable housing units to all Ghanaians.” “When we achieve this goal, we would leave our people a legacy that will enable them to live the kind of lifestyle desired by all of us,” Alban Bagbin, who is also the MP for Nadowli West, said.