Minority kicks against ‘illogical’ $90m loan for UESD Bunso campus project
The Minority in Parliament is baffled that the government has secured a $90 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea for the construction of a satellite campus at Bunso for the University of Environment and Sustainable Development.
They find the figure – a double of what was used in the construction of the university’s main campus – outrageous, especially when the same government, while in opposition, questioned the £45 million price tag.
“Honourable Agyarko said it was too expensive. They described the amount as daylight robbery. It is interesting that today a satellite campus is even more expensive than the main campus. $90 million, if what we did was daylight robbery, then what is this,” North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa queried.
He continued, “logically if we can build the headquarters of the university for $50 million in Somanya, then this $90 million, I submit strongly, that we could have divided it and had the Donkorkrom and Bunso campus. Then you are being fair…then we will be having value for money.”
Parliament approved the contract for the construction of the modern university during the tenure of former president John Mahama.
The university would offer degree programmes in environmental studies, climate change, urban development, Water Resources Development, Energy Sustainability, Energy Economics and Agriculture.
It is to have four undergraduate Schools – the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, the School of Sustainable Development, the School of Agriculture and Agriculture Entrepreneurship and the School of the Built Environment.
There will also be one graduate school, comprising three research centres made up of the Centre for Agra Entrepreneurship, the Centre for Agriculture and Bio-Technology and the Centre for Sustainable Resource Development.
Mr Ablakwa says government is acting against the law
But the Minority is unhappy. Aside from their disagreement over the price of the project, they are also accusing the government of bias.
Mr Ablakwa believes the government’s decision to move the project from Donkorkrom to Bunso is a violation of Article 36 (2)d of the Constitution.
For Mr Ablakwa, however, the government is blatantly violating this provision by selecting Bunso for the new satellite campus when it should be Donkorkrom, although both towns are in the Eastern region.
“This House has to be very careful the precedence we are setting. We are saying that we passed a law, another party comes to power, we don’t like our laws, we won’t amend it, we don’t tell the people of Donkorkrom anything, we are violating the law and we are going to a preferred place because of clear familiar reasons.
“Article 17 of our Constitution frowns on discrimination. What we are being invited to do is to discriminate against the people of Donkorkrom in flagrant violation of Article 17 of the constitution of Ghana and that is why this side of the House is saying that we will not be part of this illegal and discriminatory action,” Mr Ablakwa stated.
Ato Forson says the education minister cannot establish a university without a governing council
The side’s spokesperson on Finance, Ato Forson is baffled that government is going ahead with the Bunso project when there is no governing council in place.
Per the agreement, the satellite campuses can only be established on the determination of the governing council and the absence of that presently, is a source of worry for the Minority.
Mr Forson who is also MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam said “As we speak there is no council in place. I want to find out the basis in which that university is being established.”
He added “I am of the view that the minister responsible for education does not have the powers to establish a university campus. I say this because clearly, the act that governs the establishment and governance of the university does not allow that.
“We cannot allow the minister of education to disregard the act he governs the establishment of the university. We the members on this side of the House will not support this motion,” he stressed.
He called for a total rejection of the motion, adding that it breaches the University of Environment and Sustainable Development act 2015 Act 898.
Source: Joy News