The Chinese government has dangled a staggering $15bn before the eyes of a government busy fighting off illegal miners including Chinese nationals.
Ghana in exchange, wants to roll out the red carpet to Chinese investors to come in for rich natural resources some of which are being harrased by illegal miners.
Returning from his 4-day visit to China, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said at a Sunday press briefing at the Jubilee lounge of the Kotoka International Airport, Ghana needs to ‘leverage its natural resources.’
Dr. Bawumia said it “makes economic sense” for Ghana to use what it has to get what it needs – money. The Akufo-Addo government needs cash – lots of it.
In his last attempt at the presidency, the 2016 NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo went in for the jugular, with an ambitious shopping list of promises to the electorate.
The country’s current economic misfortunes cannot foot the bill of manifesto promises which includes free Senior High School, $1million for each of the 275 constituencies, a factory in each of the 216 districts, dotting the country’s savannah areas with dams.
With tax payer cash going into salaries, statutory payments and servicing debts, government has acknowledged something creative needs to happen to raise money for manifesto dictates.
China’s Eximbank in 2012, offered $3bn to the previous Mills and Mahama governments but only $1bn finally came after years of back and forth between the two countries.
But what the NDC government could not get, the Chinese has promised to give to the NPP government.
Under the new agreement $2 billion would be used to fund a grand industrilisation policy, ‘one district, one factory’.
The China National Building Materials and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CNBM) would provide up to 85 percent financing for viable projects recommended by the One District One Factory secretariat.
The $2 billion is coming but on even better terms, from government’s point of view. Then a loan, the balance is now a grant, the Chinese has told the Akufo-Addo government.
If the NDC government was desperate enough for $3billion, then $15billion is a slayer.
Dr. Bawumia offered China details of what awaits the Chinese government underneath Ghanaian soil.
“Our untapped mineral resources include 2.8bn metric tonnes of iron ore, 960million metric tonnes of Bauxite, 430m metric tonnes of manganese and 413m metric tonnes of limestone. This is excluding gold and so on”
He made the case to China that a Bauxite refinery in Ghana could rake in $460 billion alone for an investor.
“If we need just $20bn to do a major, massive Marshall Plan and we have $460 billion sitting in the ground then what we really is to develop a financing model that leverages just a small fraction of our reserves” Bawumia said.
The Vice-President said China opened its ears after the government opened her eyes to Ghana’s mouth-watering investment potential.
China has had cause to complain about government’s crackdown on some of her citizens engaged in illegal mining.
A Chinese national, Aisha Huang – poster girl suspected to be engaging in illegal mining in Ghana, is in court facing three charges including contravening Section 99 (1) of the Mining and Minerals Act and illegally employing foreigners.
Several others have been rounded up and are at various levels of investigation and prosecution.
Illegal mining has destroyed Ghana’s water bodies and farmlands.
Ghana appears to want a win-win situation where the resources are mined responsibly by investors while the government gets the money to fund a list of promises it certainly would be reminded of in three years time.