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Approval of $366 million for Pwalugu dam on hold

The approval of $366 million loan facility for the construction of a 600-megawatt hydro-power plant at Pwalugu in the Upper East Region has been put on hold.

Also put on hold is the $474 million facility for the engineering and construction of a 24,000 hectare irrigation scheme also at Pwalugu following some concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament.

The debate on those facilities and subsequent approval by the House should have taken place yesterday but the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, yesterday listened to arguments of the Minority that the facility should have been scrutinized jointly by the Finance Committee, Mines and Energy Committee and the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament before approval.

The Minority in parliament last week held a press conference on the massive project and raised serious concerns about the way those facilities were being rushed for their approval in Parliament.

According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who addressed the press conference, on December 23, 2019 when Parliament was about to rise, the two facilities were introduced on the floor for approval but eventually had to be deferred because of the sensitive nature of the facilities.

He said when the facilities were introduced, the Speaker referred the facilities to the Finance Committee … and it was only that committee that scrutinized the facility.

When the committee’s report was brought to the floor last Thursday, the Minority raised similar concerns, asking the Speaker for the right thing to be done.

The Speaker had ruled that debate and approval of those facilities would be taken so members of the Minority should take copies of the report and do whatever research they wanted to do for them to make meaningful input into the debate before the approval.

However, the Speaker yesterday suspended the debate and approval and consequently referred those facilities to the joint committee of Finance, Mines and Energy and Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for it to critically scrutinize those facilities before approval could take place subsequently

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