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Opinions of Thursday, 7 November 2019

Columnist: Youth Coalition for Progress

Twenty questions for government response on the Sofoline- Abuakwa road

1. How much was allocated to the Eighty million Dollar ($80,000,000) Sofoline Interchange project in the President Kufuor’s administration for the commencement of the project and the amount spent on the project before leaving office. We want to know!

2. As a government of Ghana fully funded project, how much was in the coffers of the GOG/ROAD FUND when it became obvious that, the GOG/ROAD FUND will be the source of funding for the project. We want to know!

3. Did the repackaging of the contract come to parliament for approval as the project with an initial cost of Eighty million Dollars ($80,000,000) will now cost tax payers One Hundred and Fifty million Dollars ($150,000,000) before completion due to delays in payments, lack of funding and time overrun by the previous government. We want to know!

4. The design of the road has been compromised as key components of the project including an interchange at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and more importantly four under pass bridges out of the five cannot be seen with “apolitical eyes”. I’m sure our leaders can see such components, if not,what are the alternative solution to the safety problem created as lives of Students at the University Of Education Winneba and pedestrians are endangered whiles crossing the road. We want to know!

5. In a publication dated 15th August 2018, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo directed the Ministry of Finance to release Twenty Seven million Dollars ($27,000,000) for the continuation of the Project. However in a publication dated 22nd November 2018, the Minister of Roads and Highways on a tour to assess the Project stated explicitly that an amount of Thirty million Ghana Cedis (GHS30,000,000) has been released for the continuation of the project. If the President’s assertion is anything to go by, the cedi equivalent missing is Ninety one million, five hundred thousand Ghana cedis (GHS91,500,000) or the Minister diverted the remaining amount to another project of interest? We want to know!

6. We want to know on what basis did the President instruct the release of the $27 million dollars without being captured in any of his government’s budget statement. Or is it the case that money not being released by the Ministry of Finance after one year, suggest that, the President gave false hope to the people of Atwima Nwabiagya South? We want to know!

7. What is preventing the government from completing the twelve (12) year old Sofoline interchange project before commencement of the Tema Interchange, Pokuase Interchange, Obetsebi Interchange and Tamale Interchange? Or Government is deliberately neglecting the people of Atwima Nwabiagya as it has failed to capture the project in all the budget statements read on the floor of parliament since 2017. It is unpardonable to allocate money for the construction of three interchanges in Greater Accra Region alone within three years whiles the twelve year old Sofoline Interchange project is neglected. We want to know!

8. Not a pesewa from the recent GHS 2.2 billion released by the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Roads and Highways for onward disbursement to contractors went to China Geo Construction Company Limited for the completion of the project. Can the government deny this fact? We want to know!

9. How much is the government of Ghana owing China Geo Construction Company Limited after paying them the thirty million Ghana cedis (GHS30 million)? We want to know

10. For how long should the people of Atwima Nwabiagya suffer from this “state sponsored traffic”? We want to know!

11. When will road safety signs be mounted on the stretch of road in preventing the rampant accidents which have been recorded over the years? Within Eighteen (18) months, 160 pedestrians have been killed on the road. Fixing these road signs in our estimation shouldn’t take more than three weeks. We want it done!

12. Are there any plans in fixing the auxiliary roads thus Bokankye,Apatrapa, Pokukrom and Housing roads in easing up traffic on the main route? We want to know!

13. In 2015, as stated earlier, Government told Parliament that, it was negotiating for funding for the project. Since Parliament is a house of records, we are demanding for the amount that was raised and spent on the road or is it the case that the negotiating for funds didn’t bare any fruit? We want to know!

14. Government carried out an audit on road contracts after taking over from the previous government. We want to know whether indeed the Sofoline,Tanoso-Abuakwa road contract was audited and if so, government should publish the findings to dispel and allegation of misappropriation.

15. After all the compensation paid to most of the people affected by the road, why has government looked unconcerned for building of stores springing up along the stretch of the road? Tax payer’s money will be unwisely spent in clearing all the occupied lands again just because someone didn’t do his or her work.

16. At page 110, paragraph 571 of the budget statement 2016, the government stated that, the road is 98% complete. We want to know whether this government agrees to this assertion.

17. The argument that Ghana is broke by the Finance Minister cannot be accepted. Why should a broke country who has failed to complete a major road project in three years give tax exemptions of over 2 Billion Dollars to foreign companies in the year 2018 alone? The gods might be crazy.

18. From all indications, funds from the GOG/ROAD FUND has not been reliable in completing the project. Why has government not considered a reliable source of funding the project? We want to know!

19. Where are the men? Is the government really a listening government?

20. Will the 2020 Budget be a game changer in terms of allocating fund for the completion of the project? We want to know!