The Minority spokesperson on Roads and Transport Governs Kwame Agbodza has described the ‘second year of roads’ declaration by President Akufo-Addo as a mirage.
Caretaker Minister for Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in his 2021 budget presentation stated the President’s declaration of this year as a second year of roads will see many roads receiving attention in the year.
According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu the first declaration last year brought some attention to roads across the country.
“Mr. Speaker, His Excellency the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the presentation of the State of the Nation’s address declared 2021 as the second year of roads. Mr. Speaker, with this declaration we will continue the prioritization of road construction. The government will continue to pursue the following ongoing projects that are at various stages of completion under the Sinohydro master facility.”
But the NDC MP argues government has not made enough allocation to the Ministry of Roads to execute the road projects enumerated in the 2021 budget. The reduction in allocation to the ministry for flagship projects is proof many roads will not be attended this year the minority spokesperson believes.
The Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee during a debate on the 2021 budget on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 urged the public to lower expectations. The Adaklu MP further described the President’s first year of roads declaration last year as a failure questioning the commitment of government.
“…..last year the government told us it was the first year of roads. The only amount provided by government in the budget for flagship projects was 1.2 billion cedis. Mr. Speaker in 2021 budget we are told that it is the second year for roads but the amount of money government has provided in that budget is less than 1 billion cedis. Where is the commitment of this government towards funding roads in this country?”
Mr. Agbodza wondered what use government is putting proceeds of the Road Fund to rather than fixing the country’s roads.
“Mr. Speaker road fund we are told generated 1.8 billion cedis last year. How come government of Ghana cannot make that money available to the roads ministry? So Mr. Speaker government is misplacing its priority in terms of road construction. There is nothing in this budget that tells me all the lofty things they talked about will be adequately funded.”
Citing the Sinohydro agreement to buttress his point the MP said even though the projects under the Bauxite barter deal with the Chinese were supposed to be completed last year, there has been no activity on the various sites.
“….We have all been told that Sinohydro is the game changer in terms of building roads in this country. Mr. Speaker per the agreement approved in this house by 31st December 2020, all those projects that we approved here should have been completed.”
However he revealed the contractors are now mobilizing for the Accra Inner city roads after the expiry date of the project. Same with the Kumasi Inner city roads, PTC Roundabout interchange in Takoradi and Sunyani Inner City Roads. The Adenta to Dodowa project is however yet to commence.
“So for over 2 years you came to this house, contracted a developer to build to build roads and you haven’t completed a single one,” he concluded.
Mr. Agbodza in his submission also tagged the $575 million Accra-Tema Motorway expansion project contract between Government of Ghana and MoTA-Engil Engenharia E Construcao Africa S.A as illegal. According to him, Roads Minister Kwasi Amoako-Atta signed the agreement late last year without cabinet or parliamentary approval.