Citizens should expect massive road construction projects across the country next year to fix deplorable roads and start new ones to open up the country and bring relief to motorists and pedestrians, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has assured.
Presenting the “Nkosuo and Nkabom” Budget and Financial Policy of Government for the year ending 31st December 2020, Mr. Ofori-Atta said: “The first phase of the Sinohydro arrangement, is finally taking off. We have also been able to mobilize the financing for over 150 roads nation-wide.
“Ghanaians want action on our roads, not words or plans or Green Book claims about what has been done. We intend to swing into action and let our work do the talking for us. With this large number of roads to be constructed, the year 2020 can aptly be described as ‘The Year of Roads’ along with a focus on all our flagship programmes”.
Most of Ghana’s roads are reportedly in a bad shape, and according to statistics from the Ministry of Roads, of the total road network of more than 780,000 kilometres under the portfolio of the Ministry of Roads and Highways, only 27 per cent are paved.
The paved roads are made up of trunk, feeder and urban with 41 per cent of the total network in good condition.
For the Finance Minister, the challenges in the road sector are enormous and despite the euphoria surrounding the alleged achievements in the sector by the previous government, the government inherited poor road networks across the length and breadth of the country and an accumulation of huge debts.
To get the road sector moving and contractors back to work, government has indicated that it will pay 80% of all contractors to enable them to commence work on the country’s roads.
“We have identified critical roads across each of the 16 regions and construction would begin on all these critical roads soon,” he said.
Additionally, the Finance Minister disclosed that Cocobod has also secured funds to continue with ongoing and new cocoa roads. Work on these roads is expected to commence soon.
“As part of our new initiative to complement the traditional execution of road projects, we have launched the Accelerated Community Road Improvement Initiative. Just this month, the Ministry of Finance released funds to the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, who are busy working on some roads in communities in Greater Accra,” he noted.
It will be recalled that during the 2018 Mid-Year Review, the Finance Minister indicated government’s engagement with Sinohydro Corporation Limited on a barter arrangement, leveraging on proceeds from refined bauxite for various infrastructure projects in Ghana.
Subsequently, by a resolution dated 28/07/2018, the Parliament of Ghana approved the Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) dated 16/05/2018, between Sinohydro Corporation Limited and the Government of Ghana for the construction of selected priority infrastructure projects.
Parliament furtherance to the ratification of the MPSA, 10 Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contracts (commercial agreements) and the Deferred Payment Agreements, that set out the terms and conditions of deferral of payments under the EPC Contract Agreement in respect of Construction/Rehabilitation of Selected Roads and Interchanges in Ghana, under Phase 1 of the Sinohydro MPSA, totaling US$646 million, approved it in December 2018.
“I am delighted to announce that we have received communication from Sinohydro that they have achieved financial closure for the first phase of projects under the Sinohydro MPSA, with Sinosure issuing insurance cover for the initial four lots (Tamale Interchange, Prestea and Cape Coast inner city roads, Selected Feeder roads in the Ashanti and Western Regions and the Hohoe- Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu road).
“While there has been a significant amount of work done on the Tamale Interchange, the sod cutting for Prestea and Cape Coast inner city roads, Selected Feeder roads in the Ashanti and Western Regions and the Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu road will be done by end of November for work to commence in earnest. Evaluation of the remaining six lots is almost completed and work is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020”.