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Business News of Saturday, 24 February 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Past government left GH¢17.8bn debt in road sector - Minister

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, has stated that the previous government left behind a total commitment of GH¢17.8 billion in the road sector.

He said the debt owed to contractors under the Government of Ghana project amounted to GH¢1.1 billion while the debt owed to contractors under the Road Fund was GH¢506 million.

Contributing to the debate on the State of the Nation address delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr Amoako-Atta, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Atiwa West, stated that the former government worsened the situation when it migrated the Road Fund for a loan at the UBA Bank.

He, therefore, disputed the suggestion that the lack of money for the road sector was because funds were not earmarked for government institutions. Mr Amoako-Atta said as a result of the indebtedness, the current government was struggling to generate money to construct the roads.

But he gave an assurance that the government would work to fix the roads.

Roads in poor condition

Mr Amoako-Atta indicated that only 23 per cent of the 73,000 kilometres (km) of roads in the country were paved, with the rest at the gravel or earth state.

Additionally, only 39 per cent of the roads were considered good, 32 were fair and 29 poor.

The minister said the government would construct trunk and feeder roads this year as they required urgent action.

Debt stock

When he took his turn, the MP for Ho Central, Mr Benjamin Kpodo, took the government on for the astronomical increase in the country's debt stock.

He said in January, 2017, the debt was at GH¢122 billion but it had risen to GH¢139 billion, saying "more borrowing is going on."

Mr Kpodo noted that a lot of the debts were not captured, adding that if all the figures were captured, the total debt could be about GH¢170 billion.

He, therefore, challenged the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, to come out with the outstanding liabilities and present the true state of the country's debt stock.