Ghana Gov’t Pays Us$250 Million


For 420-bed Capacity Ridge Hospital Project

• While Nigerian Businessman Pays US$12 Million For 1000-Bed Capacity Hospital Project

The Herald’s painstaking investigation into the brouhaha surrounding the cost of expanding and refurbishing the Ridge Hospital in Accra, has revealed a rather interesting information, which suggest that the negotiators of the project, might not have done a proper value for money assessment to enable the country get the best deal.

Government of Ghana, is to pay a whopping US$250 million to expand the Ridge Hospital from a 200 to 420-bed capacity hospital with departments, such as Imaging, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Accident and Emergency, Neonatal Intensive Care, Burns, Pharmacy and Laboratory to be expanded.

Quite shockingly, while Ghana is paying a colossal sum of US$250 million for the expansion of the state-owned hospital, a private Nigerian businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who knows the value of money and profit, is set to construct a state-of-the-art 1000-bed capacity hospital in Kano, a commercial hub in northern Nigeria at an estimated cost of US$12.38 million (N2 billion).

Also shocking is a press statement signed by a US-based firm, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announcing it has “authorized a US$155.4 million direct loan to the Republic of Ghana to finance the design and construction of a hospital expansion in Accra, Ghana”.

It is not yet clear what accounts for the conflicting figures from Ministry of Health, the US Exim Bank and Dangote Foundation’s 1000-bed hospital at US$12.38 million. But what is clear is that promoters of the project, including the Ministry of Health led by Sherry Ayittey, have a lot of explanation to do as it is increasingly becoming clear that the country could pay less than the current price of the project.

The Ministry of Health, which has already been in the news over accusation from the Minority Members of Parliament, led by its leader, Kyei Mensah Bonsu that it had inflated the cost of the project, added that Ghana was going to lose over $85 million through fraudulent means, and vowed to halt the project using a parliamentary procedure.

But about three weeks ago, a statement signed by Madam Sherry Ayittey clarified that the total cost of the project “is $250 million and NOT the $306 million as being claimed by the Minority in Parliament.”

The Minority in Parliament, had raised concerns about the cost of the project, saying the deal was approved on their blindside , adding that it is damaging to the national interest and must not be allowed to proceed.

They estimated that Ghana will lose $85 million if the US$306 million deal goes ahead.

Ms. Ayittey, however, claimed the approved funds, will not be paid upfront but based on “certificate of work done”, adding the certificate of work done “will be submitted to the Ministry of Health for verification of figures and later to Ministry of Finance for additional verification and approval for payment.”

On Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s hospital, the Nigerian entrepreneur and Africa’s richest man, said it would be implemented via his Foundation, the Dangote Foundation. The edifice will be mounted within the premises of the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital.

The hospital, which has already been named Mariya Sanusi Dantata, will come with a variety of features, including 10 operating theatres, 3 intensive care units, patients’ wards and administrative/service rooms for doctors and nurses.

Read below the official statement.
Alhaji Dangote, a renowned philanthropist, noted in October, last year that the aim of providing such amenities was not to foster a competitive status of “best in class”, but was in fulfilment of its social responsibility to the Nigerian public.

“It is not just about building a best in class medical facility in Kano state; it is about fulfilling our commitment to sustainably improving the health and well-being of Nigerians.

“We believe that every Nigerian has a right to quality healthcare, we also believe that it is our collective duty to rally our resources to improve health infrastructure, support the development of health care professionals and improve preventive health measures in Nigeria.”

The billionaire industrialist’s track record portrays a passion for philanthropic gestures towards the Nigerian public. According to reports, the Nigerian billionaire’s donations – in direct cash form – to citizens faced with environmental crisis such as the recent flooding experienced in parts of the country last year, has exceeded N524.7 million ($3.2 million).

He is also a major contributor to educational growth courses, providing scholarships to students in all levels of the educational strata, while also offering grants to universities to facilitate research ventures.

Meanwhile, in far away America, specifically Washington, D.C. Ex-Im Bank, who are the financiers of the project on January, 2013 announced that “In keeping with its focus on sub-Saharan Africa, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a $155.4 million direct loan to the Republic of Ghana to finance the design and construction of a hospital expansion in Accra, Ghana”.

It said that “Americaribe Inc. of Miami, Fla., will export the goods and services required in the project”, adding “the loan will support approximately 700 U.S. jobs, according to bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology”.

“This transaction, which is our second authorization for sub-Saharan Africa of the calendar year, reflects our continued commitment to supporting exports to Africa and the priorities of the President’s 2012 Presidential Policy Directive,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg.
“Moreover, the transaction will ensure Ghana can provide better healthcare to its people and in the process support hundreds of U.S. jobs in a key sector.”

The Ridge Hospital Complex, which was built in 1928, serves as the primary medical facility for the Greater Accra Region (GAR). Between 2000 and 2010, the GAR population increased from 1.4 million to 3.9 million, and so the expansion of the complex will help alleviate the capacity shortages. When completed, the hospital will number among the most advanced medical facilities in West Africa and will include a new 420-bed building housing a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment block and a state-of-the-art maternity ward.

Americaribe, which incorporated in Florida in 2002, is a subsidiary of the multinational group Bouygues and specializes in the design, engineering, and construction of healthcare, education, transportation, residential, and commercial projects.

“The Ghana Ridge Hospital is a key project for Americaribe’s business development, boosting our activity and allowing us to create between 15 and 20 new direct jobs in the U.S. during the three years of the contract,” said Jean-Baptiste Baudin de la Valette, president of Americaribe. “As of today, we already have hired three new employees directly linked to this transaction. It will also strengthen our relationship with our consultants and suppliers in the U.S. and will allow them to maintain or create hundreds of technical and specialized jobs. We have also created Americaribe Ghana Ltd., a company registered in Ghana and 100% owned by Americaribe Inc., to execute the job.”

The press statement said that “HSBC London and New York Project & Export Finance teams acted as financial advisor to the Government of Ghana throughout the Ex-Im Bank application and due diligence processes”.

“In FY 2012, Ex-Im Bank authorized more than $1.5 billion to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa”.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations.
The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales – also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank’s total authorizations are supporting an estimated $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs in communities across the country.

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