A former Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper, has said that former President John Mahama’s achievements in the road sector are visible to Ghanaians even though the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) keeps demanding proof of such works.
Mr Terkper said all the roads projects, the hospitals and school buildings Mr Mahama constructed, some of which he said have been abandoned by the current government, are all available for Ghanaians to see.
His comments come on the back of claims by Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia that the NDC neglected roads in the Volta Region while in office but “today, they want to tell us they care more about Volta and Oti than we [NPP] do.”
Rejecting accusations by the NDC and its Minority in Parliament that the Akufo-Addo government has neglected the infrastructure needs of the people of the Volta and Oti regions, especially in the area of roads, following the omission of roads in the Volta Region from the list of critical roads earmarked for construction in 2020 as presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to Parliament in next year’s budget a week ago, Dr Bawumia said on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, when he broke ground at Jasikan for construction works to begin on the 88-kilometre Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu stretch of the Eastern Corridor Road that: “Contrary to all the nice pictures in the Green Book, we realised that the reality on the ground was very different. For eight years of the previous NDC government, they did not pay much attention to Volta or Oti roads. For eight years”.
“They accomplished very little”, he said, adding: “We identified these roads more than two years ago and said we were going to do these roads. And the Minister of Finance, in the budget mentioned specifically that we are going to do Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu road. And this is what we are seeing today. We are seeing that Hohoe-Jasikan is being done as we speak today, and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu is being done”.
“What is very interesting, and what the country should know is that through the efforts of the Minister of Roads, Hon Kwesi Amoako Atta, the contractors for Hohoe-Jasikan and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu were mobilised and on site two weeks before the budget statement of Hon Ken Ofori-Atta. Two weeks before the budget, they had already mobilised to site. So, how can you ignore a region by mobilising for the construction of their roads?
“Another point. Of all the roads that were listed under critical roads in the budget, the only roads that have started are the Hohoe-Jasikan and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu. They are the only two. All the others that have been listed are still under procurement. So, how can you even think that we have ignored the Volta Region when it is the one that is starting, before anybody else?
“The NDC, I’m sure they are very embarrassed by their record. Very embarrassed, because it is an embarrassing record if the truth is to be told. They claimed they had fixed so many roads in the country, but today there are demonstrations everywhere across all the regions for more and more roads. In their eight years, they didn’t fix one major road in Upper East Region. Not one. In their eight years in office, not one major road in Upper West Region did they complete. Not one. So, should these regions also say you have ignored them completely, wouldn’t they be justified?
“Eight years, you didn’t fix the Volta Region roads. You didn’t fix the Oti roads. And I can go on and on.”
Also, while reading the budget to Parliament, Mr Ofori-Atta said the government will next year satisfy Ghanaians’ thirst for good roads since the roads the Mahama government claimed it built cannot be found.
“Today, the cry everywhere in Ghana is about the poor state of our roads”, he told the legislature, adding: “It is an unprecedented cry and it makes you wonder where all the roads in the NDC’s Green Book are”.
“Mr Speaker, this is why we are going to focus more on fixing our roads across the country in 2020 and beyond”, revealing: “To get the road sector moving and contractors back to work, the government will pay 80% of all contractors”.
“We have identified critical roads across each of the 16 regions and construction would begin on all these critical roads soon”, he promised.
“Mr Speaker”, Mr Ofori-Atta added: “Ghanaians want action on our roads, not words or plans or Green Book claims about what has been done. We intend to swing into action and let our work do the talking for us”.
“Mr Speaker, with this large number of roads to be constructed, the year 2020 can aptly be described as
‘The Year of Roads’ along with a focus on all our flagship programmes”, the minister added.
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, among the roads to be constructed are 50-km trunk roads and 25-km urban roads.
He said there will also be the construction of seven bridges on the trunk roads, five on feeder roads and three on urban road networks, with 17 engineering studies, comprising five on trunk roads, two on feeder roads and 10 on urban roads.
“The development activities undertaken in 2019 include the construction of the Pokuase interchange with the construction of 10 km of selected roads, segregated walkways, footbridges and underpasses as well as drainage structures at Pokuase. Mr Speaker, works are progressing steadily on the Tema Motorway Roundabout.
“The project is aimed at improving the traffic capacity at the Tema Motorway Roundabout by constructing a 3–tier interchange. Works on the underpass are almost completed and four pedestrian bridges are about 90 per cent completed”.
“Works commenced on the first phase of the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange. This is made up of the Kaneshie-Graphic Road Interchange to be completed in 24 months.”
Mr Terkper, however, told Class 91.3FM’s Blessed Sogah in an interview after the National Democratic Congress’ post-budget forum in Accra on Wednesday, 20 November 2019 that: “The roads are visible to Ghanaians, the hospitals are visible to Ghanaians, whether completed or not, the E-schools are also visible to Ghanaians.”
He added: “The roads that we started, which are being washed off, we see them on social media and all that.”