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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

MPs Approve $150m GARID Loan

 

Parliament last Friday approved a $150 million loan facility meant to finance the ongoing Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) project with overwhelming Majority Caucus support, despite the Minority Caucus’ hardline stance to reject it.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP)-majority voted 137-132 to pass the loan, which is an additional financing agreement between the Government of Ghana and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group.

The loan was supposed to be approved by MPs on March 21, 2024, but the Speaker, Alban S.K. Bagbin, abruptly adjourned the House sine die without consulting the leadership, denying the loan approval.

However, MPs were summoned from recess for an emergency sitting on Friday to approve the loan, which was marked by drama from the Minority members.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs, led by Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, demanded a headcount, which they lost after challenging the Speaker’s decision on the loan vote.

After an unsuccessful attempt to get the loan rejected, the NDC Minority MPs staged a walkout.

Ministers Approved

This was when the motion for the approval of 23 nominees for ministerial and deputy ministerial positions came up for another round of voting.

On February 14, 2024, President Nana Akufo-Addo reshuffled his cabinet, replacing Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister with Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam and proposing others to fill the resulting vacancies.

But the Minority members walked out, citing their flagbearer, ex-President John Dramani Mahama, as having stated that if he is re-elected, he will use only 60 ministers and deputies to run his government.

They asked that President Akufo-Addo take a cue from the promise made by the opposition NDC leader and operate a lean government, hence the boycott of the process to approve the nominees.

Prior to the approval, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin accused the Minority of acting in bad faith.

According to him, Minority members participated in all the processes, which questioned the nominees on the job they would be undertaking.

In his opinion, the Minority’s walkout was motivated solely by optics and politics.

Those approved by the House are Bernard Okoe-Boye (Health Minister), Ophelia Mensah Hayford (Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister), Fatimatu Abubakar (Information Minister), Dakoa Newman (Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection), and Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah (Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development).

The rest are Lydia Seyram Alhassan (Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources), Andrew Egyapa Mercer (Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry), Titus Glover (Greater Accra Region), Daniel Machator (Oti Regional Minister), Sylvester Tetteh (Deputy Information Minister), Vincent Ekow Assafuah (Deputy Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development), Charles Acheampong (Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation), Adelaide Ntim (Deputy Minister of Health) and Alexander Akwasi Acquah (Deputy Minister of Health).

Others are Dr. Prince Hamidu Armah (Deputy Minister of Works and Housing), Akwasi Konadu (Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources), Musah Abdul Aziz Ayaba (Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development), John Kobina Sanie and Collins Adomako Mensah as Deputy Ministers of Energy, Kingsley Nyarko (Deputy Minister of Education), Dr. Festus Awuah Kwofie (Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations), and Benjamin Sekyere Yeboah (Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection) as well as Abdulai Abanga (Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development).

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House

 

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