Parliament on Tuesday approved the Supply Contract Agreement between Ghana and the ZTE Corporation of China for a Dedicated Security Information System to improve government’s administrative and service delivery.
The contract, expected to cost some $129 million, was laid before the House in September 2013 but had to be stepped-down during its consideration last week because of concerns raised by the minority on some irregularities in the agreement.
The Minority had then argued that the nature of the contract agreement granted blanket indemnity to the supplier, ZTE Corporation, and that this would have constitutional consequences if it was approved by Parliament because the agreement was silent on the obligations of the contractor towards government.
They asked that the deal be withdrawn for further consideration and that due diligence should be carried out to ensure that the country is not short-changed.
However, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, gave the Communications Minister a week to resolve issues raised by a joint parliamentary committee on the agreement before the House ratified the contract.
As a result, the desired amendments had been made to the Suppliers Contract and had been duly effected by the parties to the contract, making indemnity reciprocal, covering both contractor and purchaser.
The procurement contract is for the second phase of the of the Global Open Trunking Architecture (GOTA) project which began in 2007 for the country’s public services.
The system is based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 2000 technology that provides high speed wireless data service in compliance with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards.
The GOTA system can accommodate many applications including visible dispatching, Chip Scan, Finger Scan, Global Positioning System (GPS), and can be used by the security institutions and related organisations to coordinate security issues and emergencies.
The first phase of the project deployed in 2007 is fully operational and serving the southern sector of Ghana. The second phase will expand the project to cover the northern part of the country.
The first phase of the project provided a capacity of 50,000 lines with 72 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and the second phase will increase the capacity to 200,000 with a system that can serve up to three million users.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months. ZTE Corporation of China will supply, deliver, installation and commission the equipment and services.
Three Papers were also laid in the House by the Energy and Petroleum and Transport ministries.
The Energy and Petroleum ministry presented a Petroleum Agreement between the Government of Ghana, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited and ther AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited in respect of the South Deepwater Tano Contract Area.
They also presented another Petroleum Agrrrment among the Government of Ghana, the GNPC, Cola Natural Resources Ghana Limited and the Medea Development Limited, British Virgin Islands for petroleum exploration rights in respect of the East Cape Three Points Block Offshore Ghana.
The Transport Ministry Presented a Contract Agreement between Ghana and the Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A. of Brazil for the design and construction of the Tamale International Airport airfield and pavement.
The House also started the first readings of the Chieftaincy (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, 2013 and the Right to Information Bill, 2013.