The spokesperson for the Vice President, Gideon Boako, has described as propaganda, criticisms against the $2bn Sinohydro deal by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to him, these criticisms, unmerited as they are, would make the project a testimony after it has been brought to fruition.
“I can appreciate Sammy Gyamfi and our colleagues in the NDC’s insistent criticism on Sinohydro and the claim that it is going to be impossible. The propaganda of its impossibility is what will make its execution a testimony,” he said on JoyNews‘ Newsfile on Saturday.
Earlier on the show, NDC Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi described the Sinohydro deal, introduced to solve Ghana’s road infrastructure challenges, as a monumental failure.
“Some of us are not surprised that the much-touted Sinohydro deal has turned out to be a total fiasco. It has turned out so because in the first place it was just propaganda, calculated to prop up the image of the Vice President, to create the impression that he was doing something extraordinary as Vice President when that wasn’t the case,” Sammy Gyamfi said.
But in response, Dr Gideon Boako said such comments stem from misunderstanding of the whole $2billion Sinohydro agreement between Ghana government and Chinese state-run, Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
He revealed to host, Samson Lardy Anyenini that four Lots out of the total 10, in phase one, have already commenced. This comes a year after government signed EPCs in 2018.
“On September 1, 2018, we signed EPC and deferred payment with Sinohydro. After we signed that, commencement of work on Lot 3,7,8 and 10 started on December 28, 2019. Look at the trajectory of the time. Commencement of the Lots started from December, 2019. You have to understand it from that point.”
Lot 3 – Construction of the Tamale Interchange;
Lot 7 – Construction of Prestea Township and Cape Coast Inner City Roads. A total of 32 kilometres of roads will be constructed in Cape Coast and Prestea. In Cape Coast, 22 kilometres of inner-city roads will be constructed, whilst Prestea Township will see 10 kilometres of roads constructed;
Lot 8 – Upgrading of Selected Feeder Roads in Ashanti and Western Regions. Sixty-eight kilometres of feeder roads in the Ashanti and Western North regions will be rehabilitated. The roads that will be rehabilitated are mainly in communities that have bauxite deposits;
Lot 10 – Construction of the Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu Road of the Eastern Corridor. This will involve the construction of the 66-kilometre section of the Eastern Corridor Road between Hohoe and Jasikan and Dodo Pepesu.
According to Dr Gideon Boako, work has not stalled and these projects in phase one, are to be completed within a three-year timeline.
“In the deferred payment agreement, government can only make payments to Sinohydro three years after the project is executed,” Dr Boako explained.
In its quest to bridge the severe infrastructure deficit in the country, the government entered into a $2 billion Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) with the Chinese state-run, Sinohydro Corporation Limited in September 2018.
Under the deal, Sinohydro, a hydropower engineering and construction firm, is financing and executing the construction of infrastructural projects across the length and breadth of Ghana in exchange for bauxite.
The Atiwa forest was subsequently earmarked as the site to be exploited by the Chinese company for 15 years.
Located in the country’s southeastern part, Atiwa forest is a 26,000 hectares area rich in bauxite and other mineral resource deposits like manganese and iron.
According to the US geological department, the Atiwa forest holds more than 960 million metric tonnes of bauxite reserves valued at more than $500 billion.
It is against this background of sealed wealth that government was able to secure what it touted as an unprecedented barter arrangement to fix Ghana’s infrastructural needs.
Seeking the permission of Parliament in July 2018, the Akufo-Addo administration argued that all the 16 regions will experience remarkable infrastructural growth from the Sinohydro arrangement.
The projects include hospitals, an extension of electricity to rural communities, construction of court and residential buildings for the Judicial Service, landfill sites and industrial parks.
Broken down into phases, the first phase of the project costs $646.6 million, and it begins with the Tamale Interchange project.
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