A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, has challenged the posturing of local think-tank, the Danquah Institute, asking it to put down its masquerade and come clear on what it really stands for.

Reacting to issues highlighted by the institute on Joy FM, Friday, concerning President J.E.A. Mills’ trip to China late September, Mr Kwetey minced no words describing the Danquah Institute as an appendage of Nana Akufo-Addo’s campaign team whose sole objective was to propagate the ideals and philosophy of the opposition New Patriotic Party under the pretext of a think tank.

“We should actually be asking questions as to whether clearly they have the capacity to do a proper job of a think tank. I think the people of Ghana should rather be concerned, and to me it doesn’t come as a surprise, because independently you can be setting up for credibility and we have a group that is basically nothing but of Nana Akufo-Addo campaign group masquerading as a think tank.”

The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a relative of Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the NPP for election 2012, had made some reservations about the president’s trip to China, stressing more on its prospect for the nation. He expressed skepticism about a total of $16 billion loan agreement he gathered, the president contracted in China to revamp the road, health, economy and other projects.

“If it is true that they have contracted 16 billion dollars, then it is a big issue, it is more than the size of Ghana’s economy. Prior to that, there is no indications or whatsoever that the government has any such plan [in his manifesto or state of the nation address].

“So if all of a sudden a government within two years has been able to commit this generation and perhaps for the next 25/30 years to a spending of almost 20 billion dollars, then I think it is a matter of great concern and it is also important and necessary to get all the details involved. .. but I don’t believe government has been given such a loan,” Otchere-Darko posited. Read Gabby’s article, titled: $16bn Worth Of Made In China Smoke & Mirrors – Na Sika No Wo He? at this link.

However the Deputy Minister thinks Otchere-Darko and his institute had jumped the gun, giving different meanings to what actually transpired in China, and with their antecedent the UP, they are prone to giving “very jaundiced kind of interpretation”.

Shedding some light on what he said actually took place in China, Fiifi Kwetey said the accords signed include $3 billion from the Chinese Development Bank to finance Ghana’s oil and gas infrastructure and $9.87 billion signed with the Chinese Exim Bank for road, railway and dam work.

He said the financing agreements, which are just a framework, will be drawn on gradually as projects that require funding arise and only after financing terms are agreed.

Meanwhile, China would also give Ghana preferential buyers’ credit of $260 million for the expansion of the Kpong Water Works project and another loan of $150 million for Ghana’s e-governance project.

Mr Kwetey said the agreements have been given enough publicity in the local media and those abroad, and “if the Danquah Institute were truly, truly minded to looking for facts, they clearly would have known beyond doubt, that what we have signed were framework agreements, and were not loan agreements”.

Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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