Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister for Finance

Parliament has approved a $150 million loan agreement between the government and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) to enhance Accra’s economic resilience through the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project.

The facility was however approved by majority vote of 137-132 as five Members of Parliament (MPs) of the Minority National Democratic Congress were absent in the House.

The loan is intended for the construction of storm drains within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), addressing the persistent flooding issues in the capital.

The NDC Minority opposed the loan, citing concerns over the application and utilization of a previous $200 million loan allocated for the same project.

They pointed out that of the $200 million approved, only about $65 million had been contracted for works, with just $8 million disbursed out of a $127 million released.

The Minority argued that the focus should be on accelerating the implementation of current works and speeding up the disbursement of existing funds rather than acquiring additional resources.

They contended that the government should prioritize maximizing domestic revenue over increasing borrowing.

Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament and New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Obuasi West, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, highlighted the government’s commitment to addressing urban development and flood mitigation following the devastating June 3, 2015 floods in Accra.

He noted that the flooding, particularly severe along the Odaw River Basin, is exacerbated by climate change, poor solid waste management, and informal settlements.

The GARID Project was initiated in 2020 with $200 million in financing from the World Bank, though $65 million was reallocated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Kwarteng explained that the additional $150 million financing is necessary to cover the $65 million reallocated for COVID-19 expenses and to provide compensation for affected persons.

The Finance Committee, by majority decision, recommended the approval of the additional financing to ensure the continuation and completion of the GARID Project.

Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, NDC MP for Ho West and a member of the Works and Housing Committee, expressed skepticism about the project’s progress.

He reported that one site was only 25% complete and another 20%, with a contractor, who had been paid $2 million for mobilization, yet to commence work.

But Minister for Finance, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, addressed the concerns raised by the NDC Minority, promising to provide an update on the project’s status within two months.

He assured Parliament that the government would address the issues and ensure proper utilization of the funds.

The approval of the loan marks a significant step towards improving Accra’s infrastructure and resilience against flooding, despite the contentious debate and opposition from the Minority.