MPs welcome €38m German loan to construct district hospitals

A €38million loan agreement between the Government of Ghana and Deutsche Bank of Frankfurt for the construction of 40-bed District Hospitals in three constituencies so to complete and equip two existing hospitals has been hailed and welcomed by Members of Ghana’s Parliament.

The August House is therefore, expected to unanimously, approve the deal in the coming days following the conclusion of the debate on the motion for the approval of the loan agreement for the five health facilities.

The loan facility will see the construction of three new district hospitals in Ayensuano, Effiduase and Offinso as well as the completion and equipping of Old Tafo maternity and Kumasi South maternity blocks.

The move comes at the back of a plea by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. John Kumah, for a rescission of a motion for a loan facility with the Czech Republic approved in November 2020 for same projects and to make way for approval of a new loan agreement for the said projects.

Chairman of the Finance Committee, Kwaku Kwarteng, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, told the House the new loan deal was triggered after the loan facility with the Czech Republic “failed to materialized”.

MPs on the Minority side although happy, decided to pull the breaks on the loan facility, citing lack of quorum for the approval of the German deal.

They cited the recent Supreme Court judgment on the difference between quorum for commencement of business and quorum for decision making as the reason for their objection.

The Minority Leader and MP for Tamale, Haruna Iddrisu, told the House that the sitting lacked the required numbers for a decision to be taken based on interpretation of articles 102 and 104 by the Supreme Court which gave deputy Speakers voting rights.

“Mr. Speaker, we are all in this country, the Supreme Court has ruled and provided a dichotomy between a debating quorum and decision or voting quorum pursuant to Article 102 and 104 of the Constitution. Looking at the composition of this Parliament, Mr. Speaker, I’m sure we will be in Contempt of the Supreme Court if we proceed to put a question when we do not have a voting quorum. As it’s required in Article 104 and the ruling of the Judges of the Supreme Court, we are no longer masters of our procedures by that ruling”, he noted.

He added “therefore, you may not proceed with the question. This is a not a voting quorum. We don’t have a voting quorum and therefore, Mr. Speaker, Article 110 was to serve our purpose that we were masters of our procedures that have been called to question. We are no longer masters of it, no decision of the House without more than one half of this House”.

However, his fears were allayed by the Majority Chief Whip and MP for Nsawam-Adoagyire, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who craved the indulgence of the 2nd Deputy Speaker, Hon. Andrew Asiamah, who presided over the sitting, to allow the motion to be taken and put on hold the question for the voice vote for another day.

His plea was therefore granted by the Speaker, allowing the motion to be taken for Members to debate on it.

The question for the voice vote on the motion was however, put on hold as requested by the Majority Chief Whip.

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