The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged key stakeholders in the road sector to collaborate with Government to make the year 2020 truly the ‘Year of Roads’.
The Vice President, who was addressing a Road Sector Retreat in Accra on Wednesday, 29th January 2020, stressed that Government is committed to the development of infrastructure, especially in the road sector, and would need the support of all stakeholders to make it a success.
“The Government’s intention for the ‘Year of Roads’ is to develop the road network as a critical infrastructure to create jobs, support industry, tourism, social services, accessibility and eventually reduce poverty. It is supposed to be a means of effectively concluding the promises made to Ghanaians when this government assumed power.
“I entreat you all to bring out your contributions to effectively map out the way to achieve this agenda. Let us ask ourselves the hard questions and find solutions.”
The Road Sector Retreat, organized by the Ministry of Roads and Highways, brought together all 16 Regional Ministers, Regional Directors of Highways, Urban and Feeder Roads, Engineers, as well as Executives and members of Road Contractor associations in the country to brainstorm, assess and expedite the realization of Government’s desire to improve the road network across the country, especially in the area of financing.
Already, Government has undertaken massive, multiple road projects across the country, with many more in the offing as a result of President Akufo-Addo’s ‘laser-focused’ attention to the road sector, Vice President Bawumia indicated.
“A lot has been done in our three years in office. So much is going on, and sometimes if you don’t take your time, and take a look, and put the data together, you may go around thinking nothing is going on… We have been putting the data together on broad infrastructure that the government of Nana Akufo-Addo has put in place since we came into office in 2017, and I’m telling you when we release this data it’s going to shock a lot of Ghanaians, because a phenomenal amount of work has been done in just three years.
“Notwithstanding all the challenges, what we are doing is impressive, but of course there is a lot more to be done. If you didn’t look at the data, you may think nothing is going on. So much is happening as we speak, but you need to put all that data together then you will see that a lot is going on. It’s not just the Tema Interchange, Pokuase Interchange, Obetsebi Lamptey Interchange, Tamale Interchange; many roads are going on. The asphalted roads across the country are clear and visible. And then when you put the work that is going to take place on the critical roads, on the cocoa roads, on the Sinohydro roads, you will see what I’m talking about.”
Vice President Bawumia urged contractors and the supervising agencies to ensure value for money, saying “There are legitimate questions about the diligence and capacity of some contractors, and the lack of efficient supervision. And I have heard complaints about the collusion between contractors and road supervisors. How can we ensure that we get value for money for our roads? How can we ensure that contractors who do shoddy work are held responsible?”
The sector Minister, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Atta (MP), outlined the very significant investment made by government in the road sector so far, disclosing that about GHs5.2 billion has been paid to road contractors from 2017 to date (including the Ghc2.2 billion paid to contractors at the end of last year)
He assured contractors of Government’s resolve to address issues of delayed payments.
“We are working in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, and by the middle of February, every contractor who had submitted his documents to the Ministry of Finance at the cut of point date of August would have received some payments,” he pledged.