The Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry, Emmanuel Martey has described the government’s plan to solve the problem of poor road networks in the country as one that would not be achieved in the shortest possible time.
As part of the budget for 2020 which was delivered in Parliament by the Finance Minister on Wednesday, the government promised to fix all deplorable roads in the country.
When asked on the Eyewitness News to give an estimation of how much money will be needed to actually fix all the roads in the country, Mr. Martey, who is also a surveyor, said that an amount of about 10 billion cedis will be needed to fix the urban, intercity, and trunk roads only, minus the cocoa and feeder roads.
“We have a long way to go in terms of road infrastructure. I may not be able to tell you on the top of my head [how much is needed] but roughly we should be needing in the region of 8 to 10 billion cedis to be able to go far in our road infrastructure. Because a lot of roads have to be done. Some that were done in the past are all fading and will have to be renovated so in terms of road infrastructure we have a long way to go,” he stated.
GH¢456 million allocated to continue constructing cocoa roads
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says the government in partnership with COCOBOD allocated an amount of GH¢456 million for the continuation of the construction of cocoa roads in the country for 2019/2020.
He said this while presenting the national budget for 2020.
“Mr. Speaker, in 2017/2018, a total amount of GH¢497 million worth of vetted and approved certificates were paid to various contractors. COCOBOD continues to honour the payment of certificates as and when vetted and approved. For the 2018/2019 crop year, a total amount of GH¢550 million was paid by COCOBOD for various cocoa road projects.”
“Government, in conjunction with COCOBOD, allocated an amount of GH¢456 million to continue with the Cocoa Roads Improvement Programme in 2019/2020. This is to ease cocoa evacuation from the hinterlands to the takeover centres and improve livelihoods in the cocoa farming areas,” he stated.
Allocate funds for cocoa roads in budget
Meanwhile, Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs, Eric Opoku had asked the government to set aside funds for completion of cocoa roads in the country in the 2020 budget.
Referencing the earlier suspension of work on cocoa roads, he said the completion of the roads was necessary to ultimately boost agriculture production in communities currently suffering from poor road networks.
The Akufo-Addo administration suspended the cocoa road projects in 2017 for an audit following corruption concerns.
The Mahama administration, which came before it, was among other things, accused of awarding over 230 different road contracts to the tune of GH¢3.5 billion under the project, to the detriment of the Ghana Cocoa Boards’ finances.