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NDC Borrows More Cash   
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Dr Kwabena Duffour - Finance Minister
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FOLLOWING REVELATIONS by the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament that the Atta Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration has borrowed about $8.9 billion in a short period of two years, the highest by any government since independence, more loans have been contracted.

Parliament approved three loan agreements by government for various projects across the country late in the evening of Friday, before it went on recess after nine weeks of sitting.

The loan facilities include $337 million which the government has secured from Bank Hapoalim B.M of Israel for the design, construction, procurement and equipment of a 59-bed hospital with equipment for the University of Ghana, Legon, and also for additional works on the Ho Regional Hospital and Hohoe District Hospital.

Government has also taken a loan of 13 million from ABN AMRO Bank NV of the Netherlands to finance the additional works on the Barekese Water Supply Expansion Project.

The third loan facility is 17,777,127.49 from Kingdom of Belgium/KBC Bank NV, Belgium for the rehabilitation of pumping stations and the construction of potable water production plant at Kpong.

The fourth loan is $75.8 million, given by Societe Generale, Canada, to finance additional works on the on-going 132-megawatt Combined-Cycle Thermal Plant at Aboadze (Takoradi-3 Thermal Power Project).

Applauding MPs before the House went on recess, Cletus Avoka and Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority and Minority Leaders respectively, thanked Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo and her two deputy speakers, Edward Doe Adjaho and Prof. Mike Oquaye for their diligence.

Both leaders commended the Speaker for being conferred with a national award by President John Atta Mills.

Your effort at consolidating democracy in the country has been recognised which has culminated in the conferment of the prestigious award, The Companion of the Order of the Volta on you, Mr. Avoka who is also the MP for Zebilla in the Upper East Region, noted.

He applauded the Speaker for the firm and fair manner in which she steered the affairs of the House, reiterating that her efforts helped in consolidating in the country.

You deserve our commendation for the balanced manner in which you executed the affairs of the House. On behalf of the entire House I congratulate you, Mr. Avoka added.

Parliament, according to Mr. Avoka, was willing and ready to collaborate with civil society, academia and think-tanks in Ghanas legislative process.

He thanked the Minority caucus as wells as the clerks and the Parliamentary Service for their cooperation and support in managing the business of the House, noting that Parliament could not have functioned well without their efforts.

Giving his closing remarks, Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said although the meeting was hectic and difficult, the House was able to diligently debate and craft new Bills as well as scrutinize and amend existing Bills thoroughly.

It is our hope that these bills would positively affect the lives of the good people of this country, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu observed.

He however bemoaned the unfortunate practice of only a few members making themselves available when bills were at the consideration stage still.

It is regrettable that most members demonstrate disinterest whenever bills are being considered, the Minority Leader, who is also the MP for Suame in the Ashanti Region lamented, calling on the Speaker to arrange for capacity building workshops for members in the consideration of Bills.

The Minority Leader commended members of the parliamentary press corps for their continuous efforts at partnering Parliament to bring issues of the House to the general public.

He called on editors to accord Parliamentary business much more space than they were currently doing for the electorate to better appreciate what their representatives did on their behalf.

During the last meeting, the House passed into laws, the Petroleum Commission Bill, Bio-Safety Bill, the Law Reforms Commission Bill, the Health Institution Facilities Bill and the Export Development and Investment Fund Bill.

Two instruments, such as the Sports Regulation and the Mobile Portability Regulation 2011 (LI 1994) were also debated. Two motions were adopted while the House ratified 20 agreements and conventions.

The House, which is expected to resume October 24, 2011, also did the second reading of the Presidential Transition Bill during the period.
Source: Daily Guide

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