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General News of Saturday, 24 September 2016


Gov't owes road contractors GHC685M - NPP

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament has revealed that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has within the first seven months of this year spent GHC598.6 million from the Consolidated Fund and a further GHC407.3 million from the Road Fund on road projects in the country but still owes contractors GHC184.6 million in addition to an outstanding road project bill of GHC501.2 million.

The Minority said instead of funds from the Road Fund being used to finance road projects, they are rather being used to finance heavy projects that do not come under road construction, creating a funding gap of 50 percent.

The minority made the revelation at a press conference in parliament yesterday.

The Road Fund is sustained from fuel levies, vehicle registration fees, road user fees, road/bridge tolls, ferry tolls and international transit fees.

With the passage of the Energy Sector Levy Bill in December, 2015, as well as the over 1,000 percent increment in road tolls, the Fund is expected to accrue GH¢1.2 billion by the end of December, this year.

The Minority pointed out that with all the substantial increase in the Road Fund, the NDC government, under President Mahama, can show very little for its performance in the road sector.

The Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Highways, who is also the NPP MP for Ejisu, Kwabena Owusu-Aduomi, said NDC’s performance in the road sector has been very abysmal as compared to what the NPP government achieved in the road sector.

He said the Mills-Mahama administration added just 1,190km of tarred road to the existing road network in its first four years while the Kufuor-Aliu Mahama administration added 2,598km in its first four years.

The NPP added 3,875 km of road during its second term while the NDC has added a paltry 2,554 km in its second term, making it just 39.4% of what the NPP’s administration did over the eight years in power.

The Minority Spokesperson, who addressed the press, noted that owing to the forthcoming elections, the government over the past 12 months has awarded over 2,000 road contracts but most of the contracts had been abandoned by contractors because of the lack of funds.

“As a result of the NDC-led government’s indifference to the road sector and its inability to raise the needed funds to finance road construction, many projects which had been on-going since 2009 are yet to be completed. In fact, most of these roads have been abandoned worsening the plight of the motoring public,” he said.

He said under NDC’s first term, the government spent a whopping $1.9 billion to construct just 1,190km while the NPP spent $1.2 billion to do 3,875km during its second term which means the NPP could have done additional 1,955km of roads with that money.

Hon Owusu-Aduomi said the performance of the Feeder Roads Department had been exceptionally poor which has led to erratic and inadequate funding of maintenance works, stressing that routine maintenance on feeder roads was only 40 percent of planned work of 23,500km of feeder roads.

“The situation is so bad that even payment for cheapest works such as grass cutting, desilting of drains, potholes patching, grading of gravel surfaces on trunk roads are in arrears of 10 months in spite of the phenomenal increase in revenue to the Road Fund,” he said, stressing that Ghanaians should vote for the NPP to continue its good works in the road sector.

“During the era of the NPP, the increase in paved or tarred roads was phenomenal on trunk and urban roads while there was a remarkable policy shift for the Department of Feeder Roads to upgrade gravel surfaced roads to bituminous surfacing. The contribution of COCOBOD impacted positively on this policy, especially on roads that lead to cocoa, coffee and sheanut growing areas,” he said.

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