By Gideon Boako, PhD
I have been monitoring media reports and commentaries after the commissioning of the 307 ambulances by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. One thing is clear – members of the NDC look dazed, if I am not making a mistake. Some of them have started making comments on social media, and sometimes when you read the comments you wonder if they did so themselves.
Until the commissioning of the ambulances, I didn’t know politics could make us so unpatriotic. Suddenly, there are social media adverts sponsored against ambulances, just as they did to the drones and Free SHS.
Thankfully, anytime they have mounted such vicious propaganda, the President and his government have remained resolute and delivered.
So far, the drones have been delivered against the propaganda of “You Can’t Do”; Free SHS has been delivered against the propaganda of “It Is Not Possible”; and now One Constituency One Ambulance has been delivered against the propaganda of “It Is All Hoax”.
Perhaps, we should ask the NDC to tell us any major policy initiative they announced and succeeded in delivering. Would it be “One-Time Premium” for the National Health Insurance, Scheme? Or would it be the Hope City or what?
Year of Roads
But, much as these deliverables are enough to unsettle the NDC for the 2020 general elections, there are still more coming. I am sure they have concluded that the “Year of Roads” concept announced by the government will also not happen. Well! Yesterday, I had some refreshing information on that.
To help actualise President Akufo-Addo’s vision of delivering massive roads infrastructure in the country this year, under the “Year of Roads” programme, the Ministry of Roads and Highways organised a retreat for all regional ministers, executives of the Ghana Chamber of Construction, road engineers and contractors, and departments and agencies under the Ministry.
As outlined by the sector Minister, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, the investment made by this government in the road sector is quite assuring. So far, the government has paid about GHc5.2 billion cedis to road contractors, from 2017 to date.
This is unprecedented in the first three years of any government in our history. In the GHC2.2 billion “Year of Roads” package, which was announced by government last year, contractors who were owed by the Ministry of Finance amounts less than GHc5 million Ghana cedis, all totaling GHC168 million, and submitted their certificates by August 2019, have been paid in full. Those who were owed more than GHc5 million, totaling GHC210 million, have been paid 40 per cent of the total amount owed.
For those who were owed directly by the Ministry of Roads and Highways, under Road Fund, for those who were owed less than GHc500,000, totaling GGc4,212 million, an amount of GHc482 million has been used to pay all of them (i.e 100 per cent payment).
Those owed more than GHc10 million have been paid 40 per cent with a total amount of GHc584 million, while for those owed between GHc500,000 and GHc10 million payment is ongoing for them.
In terms of projects execution, despite the difficulties, a substantial amount of road projects are being executed concurrently in all the 16 regions and 260 districts in the country. The cumulative performance as at the end of 2019 shows the following:
Routine maintenance – 34,890 kilometres; periodic maintenance – 1,490kilometres; major and minor – 420kilometres; and asphaltic overlays – 210kilometres.
Aside these, there are bridges ongoing across the country; we have interchanges such as Tema roundabout, Pokuase, Obetsebi Lamptey Circle, Tamale, all ongoing.
In addition to the many feeder, urban, highway and cocoa roads ongoing, the Sinohydro and critical roads have also started. Others include the China Geo on Kumasi Sofoline interchange, which will complete the stretch to Abuakwa, expected to start soon; China Water of Kwafokrom to Apedwa is back to work; procurement of contractor for the Volvo Bridge is ongoing; the construction of Bolga-Bawku-Polimakrom road is now very active, among others.
Admittedly, the roads infrastructure needs are huge and the government will continue to do more for all.
And by the way, can we know the road network size constructed by the NDC from 2009 to 2016 or narrowly from 2009 to 2012?