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Business News of Saturday, 28 October 2017

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Eastern Corridor road project to come back to life - Minister

Works on the Eastern Corridor Road project stalled for the lack of funds and non-payment to contractors, is to be repackaged for work to resume, Mr Kwasi Amoako Atta, Minister for Roads and Highways, announced in Parliament on Friday.

He said the contractor on the project, who had not been paid for the "past, six, seven years" would be paid. The Road and Highways Minister's assurance came as a response to a question by Mr Abdul Aziz Muniru, the MP for Akan Constituency, who sought to know when the Eastern Corridor Roads would be completed.

An inspection by journalists last June on the Volta Region portion of the Eastern corridor road showed work on the road was stalled following the withdrawal of construction equipment by all the contractors working on the project. The contractors have not been paid for work done since January and the COCOBOD, financiers of the project, had also suspended sponsorship.

However, Mr Atta in response to the question, said the state of non-payment for jobs done on the project was what the current government inherited from the previous one, but it had however done a lot of work since it came to power in the last 10 months.

He admitted that parts of the road had severely deteriorated, but gave the assurance that funding for priority roads of which the Eastern Corridor road project was one had been captured in the 2018 Budget that would soon be presented to the House.

The journalists' inspection revealed that portions of the road had deteriorated, while the road from Asikuma Junction to Peki–Adzokoe, from Nyagbo-Sroe to Nyagbo-Agodome and from Nyagbo-Gagbefe through Logba-Vuinta to VeGbodome, were in good condition.

The road from Ve Gbodome through Hohoe to Jasikan to Kadjebi and the road from Kpassa to Sibi were in a very deplorable state, as the recent heavy rains had washed away all surface dressings.

Mr Deng Jum, the Commercial Manager of G.S International Developers, a Chinese construction firm, earlier in the year said if the payment pattern was improved, the construction company would be able to hand over the project by January 2018.

However, the contractor and all others had moved out of site, leaving an uncompleted project to the disappointment of the people of the Volta Region and other travelers along the route. There was, therefore, public outcry for the government to act fast to complete the project.

The previous government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) promised to complete the road project in its manifesto for the December 2016 general election lost power in 2016.

The ruling government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has, however, assured the people that the government would continue with the project and complete it to open up the area to commerce and reduce drudgery of travelling on the rugged road.

The Eastern Corridor Roads project, designated N2 of the National Road Network, is a South to North road, which starts from the Tema Motorway and ends at Kulungugu on the country's border with Burkina Faso.

It is 965 kilometres long and traverses the Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, Northern and Upper East Regions.

There are eight on-going projects under the Eastern Corridor Project, namely; the Asikuma Junction -Have (45 km), Have- Hohoe (30 km), Have Hohoe (31.3 km), Hohoe Jasikan (30 km), Dodo Pepesu- Nkwanta (46.4 km), Nkwanta Oti Damanko (50 km), Nkwanta Oti Damanko (12 km) and Oti Damanko -Gbintri (209km).

The road project, the Minister told the House, was awarded in September 2011 and work commenced in November 2011, for completion in November 2013, in a period of 24 calendar months.

However, the contract completion date was extended to March 2017, but has since expired and currently at almost 36 per cent completion. Mr Atta said the project suffered flow challenges due to the Employer's (Government of Ghana) delays in paying for work done.