General News of Monday, 23 February 2015
Source: Daily Guide
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, on Friday called on parliament to probe the Power Purchase Agreement between the Electricity Company of Ghana and Karpowership Company (Ghana) Ltd for the supply of 450 megawatts of electricity which is being guaranteed by the government through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
The MP said the $100 million state guarantee for the $50 million agreement needs parliamentary scrutiny and approval in accordance with Article 181(5) and (6) of the 1992 Constitution which compels the government to subject such international agreements to parliamentary scrutiny.
Article 181(5) of the Constitution states, “This article shall, with the necessary modifications by Parliament, apply to an international business or economic transaction to which the government is a party as it applies to a loan.
It continues, “For the purpose of this article ‘loan’ includes any moneys lent or given to or by the government on condition of return or repayment, and any other form of borrowing or lending in respect of which (a) moneys from the Consolidated Fund or any other public fund may be used for payment or repayment and (b) moneys from any fund by whatever name called, established for the purposes of payment or repayment whether directly or indirectly, may be used for payment or repayment.”
The first deputy speaker, Ebo Barton-Odro, who was presiding, therefore, obliged and directed that the minister of finance be invited to bring the agreement for parliamentary scrutiny.
“I am directing the Business Committee of Parliament to schedule a date as early as possible to invite the Minister of Finance to come and brief parliament on the status of this agreement,” he said.
The Effutu MP had argued that it would be unconstitutional for the government to issue a guarantee for the power agreement through the GNPC without the whole transaction coming to parliament.
The MP for Adansi/Asokwa, KT Hammond, told DAILY GUIDE that it was heart-warming for the speaker to direct that the minister of finance come to the House to brief the people’s representatives on the Power Purchase Agreement because it is public money that has been used to secure the power barges that would be supplying electricity to Ghanaians.
He however, said that it was a bit strange that the agreement was entered into before parliament is being informed.
“The government claims it does not have much resources, so we must ensure that the little money we have is judiciously used for the benefit of Ghanaians,” he said.
Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE say the two local banks with their headquarters in Togo and Nigeria, earmarked to finance the deal, appeared dragging their feet.
Sources said it is taking much effort from the presidency to convince the banks, but even that, things are still proving to be difficult.
The president, through an executive fiat, has directed the GNPC through a letter from the Attorney General that it should provide cover for the facility.