Since the Bush administration has ruthlessly exploited the resources of the United States, as much as possible within the law, and beyond, we have to view any deal they make with skepticism. That should not be a reason to turn down an opportunity such as the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), but the opportunity needs to be carefully examined, and reexamined over time, in order to protect welfare and autonomy.
Accra, Feb. 2, GNA – Parliament on Friday approved the Millennium Challenge Compact agreement between Ghana and the Government of the United States of America after hectic debate on the conditions which touched on national sovereignty, auditing issues and tax exemptions.
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Under the Compact, Ghana is to benefit from a 547 million dollar facility from the United States Government for a five-year project focusing on an integrated agricultural programme aimed at growing the economy and reducing poverty.
Mr Mahama Ayariga, NDC-Bawku Central, drew attention of the House to the fact that the Compact bound the nation not to effect changes in constitutional provisions during the period of the grant and thereafter.
He also noted that the excessive tax exemptions for all kinds of imports from the US including personal property for persons involved in MCA projects would not make accountability effective.
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He (Mr Bagbin) called on Parliament to assert its authority and independence after the Compact was ratified.
Lack of accountability is the signature of almost all the projects of the Bush government, at home and aboad. And lack of accountability in auditing, and tax breaks, are principal tools of their exploitation. So Ghana will need to be vigilant to preserve its authority and sovereignty. At the same time, the MCA account may provide a highly desirable opportunity to develop agricultural production. Ghana needs the agricultural investment, and also needs to make food production the priority, and not production for bio-fuel, or other industrial use. It would be dreadful if agricultural production of bio-fuels caused food prices to go up, as is happening in the US and even more brutally in Mexico.
The US Millennium Challenge Corporation information about Ghana is available from this link.