No money for Conti Project yet… Minister debunks Mayor’s assertions

Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra

Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra

The implementation of an elaborate drainage system for Accra under the Conti Project, will have to wait further.

This is because the funds for the project are yet to hit government’s account, contrary to reports that they have been diverted to settle other claims.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, said: “there are no funds yet in an account to be disbursed, as is being portrayed. Parliament approved a US EXIM loan (Conti is the contractor) requiring a guarantee because AMA cannot borrow on its own budget.”

He said despite the fact that only a Term Sheet was used for the approval, the Ministry of Finance issued the Guarantee application to US EXIM.

The minister explained that the AMA had to complete the works contract as the basis for the Finance Agreement.

“While these were being done, the scope of work was changed to avoid the conventional “dredging,” but causing further delay. These processes are still ongoing. So there are no funds yet to disburse,” he said.

The Government of Ghana and the Conti Group of Companies of the United States of America in 2013, signed a US$660 million dollars agreements for the commencement of the much-anticipated Conti project.

The Conti Project, which is a five- year project to be conducted in three different stages, is expected to tackle the Accra flooding and some sanitation and environmental challenges bedeviling the city.

The project, expected to be executed in phases involves the desilting and dredging of the Odaw stream starting from the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP), construction of an engineer sanitary landfill site where all garbage will be processed and recycled for other purposes, the construction of 50 public toilet facilities, operation and maintenance of a waste water treatment plant [WWTP] at James Town, among others.

Mr. Terkper said the AMA pushed to go to Parliament and asked Conti to start work before those processes could be completed.

“It is only when the loan application is completed and approved that US EXIM will disburse, upon certification of stages of work done. They won’t put the entire loan in an account, again as is being portrayed,” he said.

Meawhile, Mr. Alfred Oko vanderpuije, in an interview with the host of Rainbow Radio breakfast show on Thursday June 4, a day after the floods, blamed the disaster partly on the Ministry of Finance for delaying in approving and releasing a $ 500 million dollar facility granted by Exim Bank of America, to dredge the Odaw River in the centre of the city.

He appealed to the ministry to speed up processes for the release of the money to undertake the project, code-named Conti-Projec

 By David Adadevoh

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