On Tuesday, July 6, the Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare, on behalf of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofor Atta laid a request before parliament. To secure a loan agreement of US$28 million to be sourced from the National Investment Bank (NIB) to purchase vehicles for the 275 Members of Parliament (MPs).
According to Abena Osei Asare, the medium-term loan is expected to be repaid by MPs in the course of the four-year duration stay as MPs.
“The medium-term loan agreement among government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, members of the 8th Parliament 2021 to 2024 and the National Investment Bank Limited [is] for an amount of US$28 million, to finance the purchase of vehicles for members of the 8th Parliament,” she said.
It is worth mentioning that the Minister also presented a similar request for a $3.5 million car loan for members of the 8th Council of State for them to purchase vehicles.
Given the profound abject poverty most Ghanaians find themselves in and the poor infrastructural facilities that still plague the economy, is securing a US$28 million car loan for parliamentarians worth it or a misplaced priority?
Why misplaced priority?
It is 2021, and most students are attending schools under shelters and trees, beds at maternity wards of the Korle-Bu teaching hospitals are severely lacking. Take a trip to Korle-Bu’s maternity ward and you will be devastated to find new mothers lying on the floor in corridors and feeding their babies.
Flooding due to poor drainage systems has been a perennial problem along major routes such as on the Kasoa-Mallam road. Given some of the above-listed predicament, why can’t a loan facility be taken to solve some of such problems instead for MPs to purchase vehicles?
Misplaced priorities among our leaders are nothing new. During the Ghana @50 celebrations, US$20 million was earmarked for the celebration, however, according to an empirical study by Carol Lentz, US$60 million was eventually used. During the celebrations, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other international news agencies juxtaposed the celebrations with people in the Northern part of Ghana being severely plagued with Guinea worm infestation and a majority of Ghanaians plunged in abject poverty. This raised debates on whether Ghana@50 was worth celebrating? And whether the money could have been better used to solve some of the county’s pressing needs.
Reactions from Social media
Some Ghanaians have taken to social media to register their displeasure with the US$28 million loan facility. Below are some tweets by Ghanaians.
“Ghana is getting a loan of 28 Million Dollars just to buy cars for Parliamentarians. There is a powerful curse ravaging through African countries.” – @drpenking
“Only in Ghana, we go for loan to buy v8 for Parliamentarians. oh Ghana #Drop that V8 now and fix the country.” @tetteh_richkid
“275 MPs in Ghana and the loan taken is $28M. convert to Cedis is 166,015,220.00 Ghanaian Cedi So this amount divided with the number of MPs we have will be $100000 Every MP will receive this amount of money to buy new car Convert $100000 to cedis is 592,911.50🤦🏼♂💔.” – @kobbyryder
“There are some parts of Ghana that lack the basic things we need as human beings but it’s cars they want to spend money on eiii. Make it make senseeeee.” @_akpet.