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The Minority in Parliament is demanding an immediate withdrawal of a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation between Ghana and the United States from Parliament to allow for broader consultations.

Cabinet approved the MoU on March 8, 2018, and recommended that Parliament ratifies the agreement to allow US forces and their equipment unhindered access in Ghana.

Per the agreement, the US military is, among other things, to be exempted from paying tax on the equipment to be brought into Ghana.

They will also be given the chance to set their own telecommunication system, although they will be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.

The move has been widely criticized by some Ghanaians who have argued that the decision to allow unrestricted access will not benefit Ghana.

The United States Embassy in Ghana in denying reports that the US government is planning to establish a military base in Ghana, said “This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S forces – as it did in 2017. The United States and Ghana are planning joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nationals when included”.

But the Minority in a statement said, “We fail to see how this amount can qualify as the direct benefit that we are deriving as a nation from this agreement which is so disproportionally skewed in favour of the United States of America.”

“In any event, the quoted amount would be woefully inadequate to compensate for the huge sacrifices that Ghana is making under this agreement and the total surrender of our sovereignty. It further makes complete mockery of the much-vaunted “Ghana beyond Aid” slogan of President Akufo Addo,” it added.

The Minority also called for broader consultations with relevant stakeholders on the move.

“In light of the above, we demand an immediate withdrawal of the agreement from Parliament pending the holding of broad consultations and a thorough national discussion involving all relevant stakeholders.

“More importantly, the Akufo Addo government cannot disregard genuine concerns by Ghanaians that the siting of this base in Ghana and the presence of United States Armed Forces personnel, could make the nation a prime target for terrorists who have intensified their activities in the West African Sub-Region.In its current form, this agreement completely betrays the interest of Ghana.”

The statement from the Minority is below

MINORITY STATEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF UNITED STATES MILITARY BASE IN GHANA

The Minority caucus in Parliament has learned with alarm, a decision by President Akufo Addo to permit the establishment of a Military Base for the United States Armed Forces in Ghana and the subsequent invitation to Parliament to approve the agreement covering same.
After a careful reading of the details of the agreement and the cabinet approval dated 12th March, 2018, we wish to make the following initial comments:

1. We deplore the total secrecy that has shrouded the negotiations leading up to the drafting of this agreement. The Akufo Addo government’s concealment of the agreement from the people of Ghana betrays a certain disregard for the sensibility of our people and their fierce defence of our sovereignty.

2. The agreement has been drafted in a manner that does not state a termination point. In other words, it would exist in perpetuity. This therefore binds all successive governments and yet little or no input was sought from political stakeholders especially those with capacity to form government.

3. Article 10 of the agreement confers exceptionally generous terms on the American side including sweeping tax exemptions on imports and exports of various categories of goods and services. We find it unacceptable that at a time when the Akufo Addo government continues to lament significant shortfalls in revenue and in the face of astronomical duty payments by Ghanaian importers, personnel of the Armed Forces of the wealthiest nation on earth would be exempted from tax and levy payments and in such generous proportions.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2018
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