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Opinions of Thursday, 17 April 2014

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

That is why we are paying too much for this project

"US-based Americaribe Incorporated will export the goods and services required in the project. According to Departments of Commerce and Labor, the project is anticipated to create about 700 jobs in the US, during the tenure of the project."

Ghanaians have to demand to from the Ministry of Health why the renovation work on Ridge Hospital will cost a whopping $306 million dollars for en extra 220 beds whilst a more comprehensive renovation work at the Tamale Teaching hospital with more facilities will cost about one third of what the Ridge hospital will cost the country.

The two phase Tamale hospital renovation that will add at least 500 beds to the existing hospital will provide these amenities

The first phase, involving the rehabilitation and expansion of existing structures and installation of new equipment, cost 39. 3 million euros, while the second phase will cost 48.5 million euros. The two projects are expected to add a major boost to the government's quest to develop the hospital into an international facility of excellence.

The two phase Tamale hospital renovation that will add at least 500 beds to the existing hospital will provide these amenities

five-storey block with medical and surgical wards,

faculty offices, tutorial and conference rooms

a second five-storey block with operating theatres, maternity wards and facilities;

a three-story accident and emergency building and reception area, as well as beds for emergencies.

Others are: a link building

a new mortuary with pathology unit and laboratory

a new medical gases plant; assorted medical equipment;

ancillary facilities including power plant; waste management section

staff accommodation..

A research into this project took me to the Department of Commerce in USA where I came upon the reason why this project is costing the Taxpayers double what it should have cost.

"Ghana : Expansion and Renovation of Ridge Hospital Complex in Accra.

Project End : Dec 2015

Project Location : Accra, Ghana

Project Cost : $155.4 million

Project Details :

The Export-Import Bank of the US (Ex-Im) has approved a loan of $155.4 million to the Republic of Ghana to finance the designing and construction of an extension of a hospital in Accra, Ghana.

The country intends to use the funds for the expansion and renovation of the 1928-built Ridge Hospital Complex in Accra. The project involves development of a new 420-bed building housing a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment block and a state-of-the-art maternity ward.Upon completion of work, the Ridge Hospital Complex will be among the most advanced medical facilities in West Africa.

The construction of the hospital is likely to span for three years. The expansion of the complex will help alleviate the capacity shortages of the existing hospital. US-based Americaribe Incorporated will export the goods and services required in the project. According to Departments of Commerce and Labor, the project is anticipated to create about 700 jobs in the US, during the tenure of the project."

What goods and services are going to be supplied by this company that cannot be provided locally at cheaper prices? The 700 workers pay is figured into this loan for three years and in USA where somebody pulling a product from a shelf can earn $15.00 per hour, six hundred dollars a week and $2400 a month whilst the same work can be done in Ghana for $300.00 a month, no wonder this project is costing that much.

The question then is, is this project worth it? Can't we get a loan somewhere it will be cheaper without the loanee country exporting its unemployment problems to Ghana because this is the main reason why this project is costing that much.

Let's assume these 700 workers will earn an average of 36,000 dollars a year, that is $25.2 million a year times three, $75.6 million. We can do the same job in Ghana with Ghana workers for $5.6 million saving $70 million.

Can we ask the Ministry of Health why it signed such a bad contract?

Justice Sarpong

(cardinal OF TRUTH)

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