Minority Questions 1.6m Loan For VC Lodge

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament on Friday raised concerns about the amount of loan being contracted by the government to start the University of Environment and Sustainable Development in Eastern region.

A total of €45.5 million, €38.7 million- being a credit facility and €6.8 million, a commercial loan, was approved by Parliament on Friday for the commencement of the university to be sited at Somanya with a satellite campus at Donkorkrom in the Afram Plains, all in the Eastern region.

The minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu questioned the timing of the loan, stressing that in the commercial agreement, a colossal amount of €1.6 million has been budgeted for the residence of the Vice Chancellor of the university alone.

He said the amount to be used to construct only the residence of the vice chancellor is outrageous.

The more I look at the loan agreement the more confused I become, the Minority will indeed subject the commercial agreement to critical scrutiny to ensure value for money, he stated.

He said majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament must think about the future of the country and insist on value for money.

The minority leader said “last days of a tenure of a parliament are ‘dangerous’ and the government wants to use every means to impress upon this Parliament to approve of some ‘dubious’ loans before it’s dissolved in a few weeks’ time.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for New Juaben South and a member of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said there was no need for the government to rush for such a loan.

According to him, all over the world when a new public university is being established, it starts from a structure that has been donated by the government and then as time goes on, funds are secured for further development of that university.

“In my life, I have never heard of a loan being taken to start a university from the scratch,” he said, stressing that the move by the government will not be in the interest of the country economically.

The MP for New Juaben South also wondered why the government has decided to site the university at Somanya and Donkorkrom which are strongholds of the ruling party and not the regional capital, Koforidua.

He said if care is not taken after the establishment of the university, it will be difficult to attract lecturers to teach there.

The MP for Asene/Akroso/Manso, Yaw Owusu-Boateng said, the government could have invested that money into the existing public universities in the country since most of them are under-funded and existing facilities are deteriorating.

He said since most of the public universities are underdeveloped and under-funded, they fall far below in the ranking of public universities both in Africa and the world.

The deputy minority leader, Dominic Nitiwul said the idea of setting up the university is good but the money being put into it is too much.
He expressed the hope that the money would be put to good use to get all the facilities built for the take-off of the university.

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Mahama Ayariga, on his part, said it was a technical committee that decided on the location of the university, adding that the establishment of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development was laudable, since more Ghanaians would be trained in environmental-related courses for the benefit of the country.

The report of the Finance Committee said that the loans for the university would be used to build academic and residential facilities for students, staff accommodation, recreational facilities and related infrastructure essential for academic activities.