The Ghana Infrastructure Fund Committee has presented its maiden policy document to President John Dramani Mahama, spelling out how the funds should be mobilized, regulated and disbursed.
Leader of the committee, Ato Ahwoi says the Draft bill should be in Parliament in April and hopefully be passed by June.
The Ghana Infrastructure Fund was announced by President Mahama in his state of the nation address this year and the committee formed thereafter to set out modalities.
Explaining the framework, Ato Awhoi said among others, the recently passed 2.5 percent Value Added Tax increase will be one of the sources of funding.
“We also know from the budget that we’re going to get 25 percent of the annual budget funding amount which is applied to amortization and direct infrastructure expenditure.
It will also accrue monies made from disposal of state assets, grants and donations, investments and any other monies determined by the Finance Minister.
These should be paid within at least 2 weeks after each month.
10 Percent of the amount will be set aside for what he called impact projects.
“By impact project we mean funds which necessarily will not give the rate of returns that we are looking at but which are necessary for the development of the country and we also lead to the re-election of the political party in power…we believe that health should be part of the impact projects where cheaper funds may be used and less stringent measures may be applied to them because health is everything.”
The fund according to the committee should focus on infrastructure that is commercial in nature to rake in returns.
“For example if we invest in a road, if we were to do a six lane road from Accra, through Kumasi, through Tamale from Bolga to Paga, six lane; we should expect that this road will pay for itself within a period of between 15 and 25 years. This road can only pay for itself if Ghanaians understand and the press allow Ghanaians to understand that people should pay tolls on those roads.
He mentioned the areas to be covered under the fund
“We are talking of energy, water and waste services, transportation, telecommunications, Oil and gas infrastructure, Agricultural infrastructure, mining infrastructure, educational infrastructure, housing, roads and highways , the manufacturing and construction of goods ,equipments, plants and buildings and then the infrastructure components of industrial projects”
President Mahama said this will give the country a better control of its debt portfolio.
"It is going to give us a better debt sustainability than we have had in the past. I believe this development is a very positive one for this country, and we are going to go by the roadmap that you have indicated in the report. We were bent on approving it in cabinet today…Cabinet has been postponed to Monday…it is going to give the members of cabinet the opportunity to go through the report over the weekend and be able to make a meaningful discussion of the report when cabinet takes it on Monday. As soon as that is done, we shall arrange for it to be tabled in Parliament.
It is expected to be passed in Parliament as a body independently regulated by a board of directors and an Advisory Council.
It will also see the recruitment of staff to man it.