Parliament has suspended debate on the Pwalugu Dam Project after Speaker of the House, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, referred the Contract Agreement to the Joint-Committee on Mines and Energy and Agriculture.
The referral followed an application by the Minority last week when the House was about to debate report of the Finance Committee on the project.
The Pwalugu Dam Project is a turnkey Contract Agreement project comprising the engineering, procurement and construction of a 60MW Hydro-Power Plant, a 50MW Solar Power Plant and a 24,000 Hectare Irrigation Scheme in Pwalugu at the cost of US$366 million.
Chairman of the Finance Committee had asserted no such referral had been captured in the Votes and Proceedings and insisted the debate should on because the report of the Finance Committee has already been laid and distributed to members of the House.
The Motion on the adoption of report of the Finance Committee on the project was also captured on the Order Paper for Tuesday.
Addressing the matter, however, Speaker Mike Oquaye, indicated he indeed referred the Contract Agreement to the Joint Committees for further discussion and report to the House as a result of the application of the Minority leader.
The Speaker expressed surprise that the motion was captured as an item on the Order Paper for the day but stressed he took it for granted that the committees might have completed their work.
“However, if the Committees have not finished their work, then strictly speaking the item has no business on being on the agenda.
“As it is not known, when this report will be available; as for the Finance Committee report, it is pending and it is as valid as gold; when the others come we shall consider them holistically.
“I direct further that this item should be listed only when the relevant report on the further referral is ready for consideration of this House.”
“The leader of the House and the clerk should ensure that what we now await to move forward comes to us as soon as possible,” he added.
The Minority had raised concerns last week about the project.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu had stressed the contract agreement referral should have jointly gone to the Committees of Mines and Energy, and Agriculture
He argued that the deal is a Contract Agreement as captured by the Order Paper and therefore could not be considered by the Finance Committee alone, which ordinarily deals with Financial Agreements in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.
He also raised concerns about the cost of the Dam, which he said is highly inflated and unacceptable when compared to the cost of similar projects within and outside Ghana.
“The Pwalugu Dam at 60MW facility, which is expected to cost US$366 million, is unacceptable and extremely exorbitant. What this means is that the unit cost of the Pwalugu Dam is a whopping US$6 million per megawatt,” he stated.
He entreated the government and the Majority to depart from such conduct and warned the Minority will adopt legitimate processes to save the nation from an unbearable loss.