Free Access To Kotoka Airport, Tema Sea Port, Radio Communications & Huge Tax Exemptions
The Akufo-Addo government, has rushed to Parliament to ratify a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on defence cooperation between Ghana and the United States, that will give the Americans, designated area in the country to set up a camp for its military forces, but Ghana’s Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, insists this is not an American military base.
Interestingly, article 5 of the document entitled “Access to and Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas” had stated that: “Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by United States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces”.
The document said the Akufo-Addo Cabinet, approved the MOU on March 8, 2018, and recommended to Parliament to ratify the agreement to allow the US forces and their equipment unimpeded access into Ghana.
There are claims that, Ghana government is going to pocket a US$20 million from the agreement.
Aside the land spaces, which are yet to be named, but suspected to be areas around Kotoka International Airport and Tema Ports, the Akufo-Addo government has agreed, with the US government that the US military force will be exempted from paying taxes on the equipment, including vehicles, guns and other military hardware to be brought into Ghana to aid the work of the US military. Sadly, the tax exemptions are going to outweigh US$20 million from the Americans.
The US, will also be given the chance to set up its own telecommunication system, but will also be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.
The document sent to Parliament by the Minister of Defence, had an introductory letter signed by Cabinet’s Secretary, Mercy Debrah-Karikari.
“Cabinet at its twenty-eighth meeting held on Thursday, 8th March, 2018, discussed a report presented by the Security Committee of Cabinet on a Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Defence on the above subject.”
“The Memorandum sought Cabinet approval for an Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ghana on Defence co-operation, the Status of the United States Forces and Access to the Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas in the Republic of Ghana.
Cabinet approved the Memorandum and recommend same to Parliament for ratification. I should be grateful if you could take requisite action on the decision by Cabinet,” the letter added.
Same Article 5 of the agreement, had reveals “United States forces are hereby authorized to exercise all rights and authorities that are necessary for the use, operation, defense, or control of agreed facilities and areas, including taking appropriate measures to protect United States forces. United States forces intend to coordinate such measures with the appropriate authorities of Ghana”.
The agreement if approved demands that “United States forces and United States contractors may undertake construction activities on, and make alterations and improvements to, agreed facilities and areas. United States forces may carry out construction works and other services with military personnel and civilian personnel”.
It said, “United States forces are hereby authorized to control entry to agreed facilities and areas that having
been provided for exclusive use by United States forces, and to coordinate entry with the authorities of Ghana at agreed facilities and areas provided for joint use by United States force and Ghana, for purposes of safety and security”.
They added that, “United States forces shall be responsible for the operation and maintenance, construction, and development costs of agreed facilities and areas provided for the exclusive use of United State: forces unless otherwise agreed. The Parties shall be responsible on the basis of their proportionate use for the operation and maintenance costs of agreed facilities and areas provided for joint use byUnited States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall furnish, without rental or similar costs to Unite: States, all agreed facilities and areas, including those jointly used by United States forces and
The agreement will “United States forces and United States contractors shall be afforded priority in access to and use 0
agreed facilities and areas that have been provided for joint use whenever United States forces are
conducting exercises or other activities in connection with this Agreement in Ghana. Access to
and use of agreed facilities and areas by others may be authorized with the express consent a
both Ghana and United States forces”.
It claimed that if approved “From time to time, representatives of the Executive Agents shall conduct joint inspections of agreed facilities and areas, for instance at the start and completion of each period during which United States forces are physically present at the agreed facilities and areas. Each inspection shall be documented by written report, prepared by representatives of the Executive Agents, an: including the date, time, names of inspectors, and conditions identified. Copies of the report shall be provided to each Executive Agent within seven-1days of the completion of each inspection”.
This comes on the back of the camping of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees, Umar Bin Atef and Khalid Al-Dhuby in Ghana; a decision taken by the previous Mahama administration that was widely criticized by individuals and groups, including the then New Patriotic Party [NPP] in opposition.
Although, the agreement for hosting the two elapsed on January 6, 2018, it later emerged that the former detainees, have been given refugee status.
The US government, subsequently said they ceased taking responsibility for the two after the agreement ended.
Meanwhile, Dominic Nitiwul, has clarified that, the US government, is not building a military base in Ghana.
“It’s not a military base. We don’t even have enough space in the agreed area for them to put up big structures. It’s just around the airport area,” he stated.
According to Nitiwul, it is only a facility to camp US soldiers in the country saying “they will not be stationed here.”
The Government of Ghana, has sent to Parliament for ratification, a MOU on defence cooperation between Ghana and the United States, to give the Americans some space in the country to set up a camp for its military forces.
Defending the move in a Citi News interview after laying the document in Parliament yesterday, Dominic Nitiwul, insisted that it was in the interest of Ghana.
He also clarified the tax exemption part of the agreement, saying it is in the best interest of the US military.
“If you give them a building it is up to them to be able to make some corrections in the building to suit the purpose which they are looking for. Military buildings and military purpose vehicles are different from the civilian ones. So if you give them a building or facility, they deserve the right to bring in contractors to make sure that they correct it to the standard they are looking for. And they are saying that when the contractors are working here in Ghana and they are bringing facilities in, Ghanaians should not take tax from them.”
Mr Nitiwul, also said the US government, has established such facilities in over 50 countries in the world with Ghana being second in Africa after Senegal.
“They have this agreement with over 50 countries. Ghana will be the 52nd country they are going to do this with; in Africa, we are the second. And from there they are going to do with other countries. So it is not as if the US has targeted Ghana. This agreement has been in my office for eight months. I have been dealing with them trying to correct it and make sure it is something Ghanaians can accept,” he added.