Parliament approves $90m loan for UESD Bunso campus project

By: Naa Sakwaba Akwa | myjoyonline.com

A $90 million loan facility for the construction of a satellite campus of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) at Bunso in the Eastern Region has been approved by Parliament.

The loan, acquired from the Export and Import Bank of Korea will be used for the construction of a modern university campus whose headquarters is located in Somanya.

The university would offer degree programmes in environmental studies, climate change, urban development, Water Resources Development, Energy Sustainability, Energy Economics and Agriculture.

It is to have four undergraduate Schools – the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, the School of Sustainable Development, the School of Agriculture and Agriculture Entrepreneurship and the School of the Built Environment.

There will also be one graduate school, comprising three research centres made up of the Centre for Agra Entrepreneurship, the Centre for Agriculture and Bio-Technology and the Centre for Sustainable Resource Development.

The Minority earlier expressed concern about the amount of money to be used for the construction of the facility. They believe the cost is overpriced.

They were baffled that a satellite campus costs twice as much money that was used in the construction of the main campus and wanted it reversed.

North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa also felt that government was being discriminatory against the people of Donkorkrom, where the previous government had planned for the satellite campus to be constructed.

But in Parliament on Tuesday, as Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports, the loan has been approved.

Speaker, Mike Ocquaye was compelled to conduct a head count after Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu challenged an earlier voice vote on the approval of the Finance Committee’s report on the loan

After the headcount, however, 125 MPs voted in favour of the approval of the loan while 75 voted against it.The loan has therefore been approved.

The Minority is still unhappy. Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi believes the people of Donkorkrom are being discriminated against because it is an NDC stronghold.

He said he will propose for the decision to be challenged in court, “We are opposing this, but they used their numbers and that is the beauty of democracy.”

He said the government has no right to move the campus from Donkorkrom to Bunso because that can only be decided on by a governing council which is yet to be constituted the university.

“…So who is taking the decision? We don’t have the council in place so who is taking that decision. That is one of the reasons why we are saying we cannot vote for this agreement.

“We don’t understand why they should move the campus from Donkorkrom to Bunso. Are the people of Donkorkorm not Ghanaians? Don’t they deserve to have a university campus there so that Ghanaians can go and study there,” Mr Avedzi queried.

But Chairman of the Education Committee, Siaka Stevens says the government has done no wrong. As far as he is concerned the university is supposed to have three campuses and that is exactly what government is doing.

Location is therefore not an issue, especially since all three campuses will still be located in the Eastern Region.

He told Joseph the Minority cannot accuse government of failing to constitute a council when it failed to do the same years after the university was established.

Mr Stevens said the government is not flouting any law as the Minority claims stressing that “the Act [Act 898] still remains intact”, describing the Minority’s behavior as “unfortunate.”

He said Donkorkrom will get their campus “in good time but for now, the loan approved is in the name of Bunso.”

The Minority’s decision to pursue the case in court has also been welcomed by the Majority.

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