the term of the Loan Facility amounting to three billion united state dollars (US$ 3.0 billion) between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the China Development Bank (CDB) --Deed of Security Confirmation in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 171 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Ranking Member of the Committee (Dr Anthony A. Osei): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and in seconding it, I would want to make a few observations.
Mr Speaker, sometimes, when we are talking about such matters, we want to be careful the way we make pronouncements. Mr Speaker, you would recall that not too long ago, some Hon Members in this House had a press conference on issues relating to this loan, and some Deputy Ministers went on air and started saying all kinds of things, that we did not know what we were talking about, et cetera. It was most unfortunate.
Here, we are back in this House trying to do exactly what we were talking about. If we wanted to be partisan, we could have gone the other way. So, I would want to caution Hon Members of this House, that when you are a member of the Executive and you do not have information on matters that are before the House, you ought to be cautious in the statements you make.
Mr Speaker, when we were raising issues on matters of this loan-- this is the second time, as it were, that an addendum is being brought here. We do not want four addenda on one loan.
Mr Speaker, two years ago, we started dealing with this loan. One of the conditions was that we will pay a commitment fee of 1 per cent on the undrawn balance. So, last year, we paid US$30 million. [Interruption.] It was undrawn balance because nothing was drawn until December, 2012.
Mr Speaker, the reason we are here is because at least, two disbursements to the gas project and one disbursement to the national security project have not been paid. If we had been careful, we could have avoided some of these matters. So, until we pass the amendment, if we are not careful, we would pay at least, close to US$28 million in commitment fee because it would be undrawn.
Mr Speaker, I started on this matter, so that Hon Members would be cautious of what we say. The Government is getting ready to go on a bond market and all these matters matter. So, when you get too political and you force us to go that way, we all hurt Ghana. Any deficiencies in any Agreement that we talk about would not help us.
So, Mr Speaker, I would want to appeal to my Colleagues who are in the Executive, that it is important when you speak on matters, that you speak wisely for the sake of Ghana -- We do not want to go into matters -- [Interruption.] -- You speak factually, not wisely and it is important we do that.
Mr Speaker, as he said, we know that as the Hon Minister is pleading with us, that two disbursements to the gas project are in abeyance and one disbursement to the national security project -- Both are very, very crucial. Three payments worth about US$296 million and the Government's contribution itself is in abeyance. This is because as soon as CDB disburses, then the Government must disburse. That is why we are here.
There are still some issues that the Hon Minister must pay attention to. For example, Mr Speaker, you remember the previous Majority Leader-- Hon Cletus Avoka is not here-- He was asked several times to bring the Hon Minister for Energy to bring the contract to Parliament for us to approve. That was last year. I can recall four times and you ruled and he said he would do so. As we speak, SINOPEC is working and this Parliament has not approved of the contract. What is wrong?
It is a legitimate project; it is viable but Parliament -- Mr Speaker, the Supreme Court keeps ruling about article 181(5). Why are we going about it that way? It is not healthy.
Mr Speaker, I would want you to direct the Hon Minister for Energy and Petroleum to bring this contract to Parliament. It is obvious. We do not want to go the way that some of them want to go, but we are being forced increasingly. Four times in the last Parliament, two times already; it is not in our interest.
We have approved the loan; there is nothing wrong with it. But the contract is an international economic transaction. You know it; I know it; the Ministers know it but we are pretending that it does not matter. It is a serious matter. The more you do not bring it to Parliament, the more you make people believe that it must be for an untoward reason. I do not believe that that is the case.
So, I would want to urge the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to -- Of course, if you are not in Cabinet, you would not know. So, when they are here, then you can talk to them because he cannot be in Cabinet to advise them -- remind them that this matter is urgent. In fact, I thought that at this time that we are approving the
Mr Speaker, Hon Members ought to keep quiet, so that we educate ourselves. Nobody is against the gas contract. I repeat. It can be very viable, but if there are flaws, we need to, as a Parliament, bring ourselves to working on it.
Mr Speaker, part of the reasons the amendments are coming is because somebody thought -- Here, I think the Chinese were playing tricks with us because our law is very clear. You cannot take the money from the oil revenue and put it in an escrow account.
Our law is very clear. So, for the Chinese to give the impression that that is their interpretation, I find it very incredulous. But in practice, they are withholding disbursement. This is why we were cautioning that, when you are negotiating with them, you have to be careful.
Thankfully, the Hon Minister said we have been able to convince them, that our law must prevail. But it was prevailing before, so how come suddenly the Chinese are realising it? It tells me something. I would want to advise the Hon Minister to be very careful. If somebody does not want to disburse, he will find a reason, which is not the case. So, here we are being asked to approve amendments to the Master Facility Agreement (MFA), the Offtaker Agreement, the Accounts Agreement (AA) and to the Deed of Security.