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Regional News of Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Source: Atinkaonline.com

AFAG: Odaw dredging project scandalous

The Alliance for Accountable Governance, (AFAG) says it is worried about the slow pace of work with regards to the dredging of the Odaw River and its related development.

The group claims the over inflated cost of dredging the Odaw is stampeding progress of work.

“Last year, over 140 Ghanaians perished through fire outbreak (due to flooding from the Odaw) at areas near the Kwame Nkrumah circle. Indeed, the NDC government and its agencies assured Ghanaians of their readiness to dredge the Odaw River to avert any such disaster in the future. AFAG has since monitored this project. However, be it as it may, we stand here today, with virtually nothing to show,” the group said in a statement after touring the site with journalists

According to AFAG, although the contract has been awarded to a foreign firm, “We think this contract is too much of a rip-off unsustainable and needless. Our research shows that in Nigeria the dredging, upgrade and development of a highly silted 500km lower Niger River in Benue state was executed at a cost of 200 million USD. This has improved, river transport and boosted tourism.”

“Mr. President, it is sad to note that we are engaging a foreign firm to execute this project with an EXIM bank loan at the cost of 663,299,497 in a so called Conti project. This is outrageous and a complete rip-off. It can construct another Bui dam on the Odaw most probably,” it further added.

AFAG therefore demanded an immediate review or repudiation of the contract. “This is a bad deal. We suggest the Ghana Institute of Engineers or any other professional grouping this regard be engaged to help solve this vicious and emotionally wrecking cycle. We can do it locally at a lesser cost. We demand an immediate action from Government,” it further alleged.

It said, in the coming days, it will engage various stakeholders in the field to see how best” we can use local knowledge to solve the mystery behind what is becoming an annual ritual”.

The statement was signed by Arnold Boateng and Davis Opoku Ansah.