STX is a done deal – Alban Bagbin
 
Posted on: 2011-Aug-02        Peace fm
  Email to a Friend   Print Format
 
 
Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Sumana Kinsford Bagbin, has taken a swipe at critics of the STX Housing Project who insist that the commencement of the proposed construction of 30,000 housing units for security personnel in the country, has become a white elephant.


The sector minister had predicted that “physical houses will be seen sprawling at the various sites by July”, but concerns have been raised that not even a single block has been laid on the site for the STX housing project to take off, whiles the July deadline has also elapsed.

Reacting to these concerns, especially from members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and other members of civil society that the STX deal would not see the light of day, Hon. Bagbin stated that people with such mind-set “should keep wallowing in the dark and in their ignorance”.

“Those that are praying that the project doesn’t come on, I am sorry, this project would be executed. The 30,000 housing unit would be provided for the security service of Ghana,” he gave the assurance in an interview on Asempa FM, an Accra-based private radio station.

According to him, physical efforts are already underway for the project to take off in Kwabenya and Burma Camp, and was optimistic that the Tesano base will commence next week, according to schedule. He also revealed that the STX Chief Executive Officer has given indications that some of the buildings will be constructed at the already free land at Tesano, hopefully next week.

“If you go to Kwabenya now, some acres of lands have already been prepared. At Burma Camp, the authorities are doing the security checks on the company that are going to work on the land there. Usually for security reasons, you have to know the company that is going to work there,” he added.

He discounted a publication in the “New Statesman” newspaper that the loan facility which the government was contracting has become a fiasco, and entreated all stake holders who wanted to get a daily update on the deal, to constantly visit STX office in Airport for further information.

“To the best of my knowledge and the information I have received from the Minister of Finance, government has fulfilled all its (contractual) obligations and for this reason, (STX) has moved unto the site to commence work,” he added.

The STX deal, brokered by Vice President John Mahama, is for the construction of 200,000 houses in Ghana within a period of five years. The Government of Ghana is to acquire ninety thousand (90,000) units of the houses representing 45% of the housing project. Out of the 90,000 units, 30,000 units would go to the security agencies with the remaining one hundred and ten thousand (110,000) housing being operated by Home Finance Corporation.

The Minority in parliament, together with civil society organisations such as the Danquah Institute and IMANI, have long held the view that this deal is fraught with monumental fraud and seen as a conspiracy to fleece this poor country of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Arguments have also been made pointing to the fact that the cost of $50,000 per house is inordinately high, considering the fact that the Government of Ghana is providing the land, permits, tax exemptions on imported materials and machinery, corporate tax exemptions, as well as paying for expenses of STX.

The provision of $265 million political risk insurance for the $1.6bn suppliers’ credit facility has also come under question by the minority in parliament, with the Danquah Institute describing the fees and insurance premium for the facility as “a total rip-off”.

The 17.34% insurance premium covering the credit facility has been described as “very fishy”, which should not have any place in any credible and important financing agreement with a developing, democratic nation like Ghana.

It has been argued that Government can save the nation more than $200 million if it opts for the kind of political risk insurance cover offered by MIGA, a member of the World Bank Group, for developing states like Ghana.