Parliament approves US$150m loan facility to improve road infrastructure

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

PARLIAMENT yesterday in Accra approved a US$150 million loan facility to finance the proposed Transport Sector Improvement Project (TSIP).

 

The TSIP is aimed at supporting the development of road infrastructure, improving road safety, strengthening the capacity of the sector agencies and to foster regional integration.

 

The components of the project are road assert preservation which will support the development of road infrastructure in the northern parts of the country and improve road safety.

 

According to the Finance Committee’s report on the TSIP, it is expected to reduce travel time on the estimated 370km roads to be rehabilitated under the project.

 

“The project will also create job opportunities during the rehabilitation of the road network and the share of rural population with access to an all-weather road will be increased,” the report noted.

 

On road safety, the report said, the project would focus on achieving the national road safety target of halving road deaths between 2010 and 2020.

 

“There will be improved pedestrian crossing at schools and the use of a nationwide online vehicle crash data recording,” it noted.

 

Linking road infrastructure to poverty rates, the report said the northern parts of Ghana, compared to other areas in the country, has the worst road network and that poverty rates in the North are two to three times the national average.

 

Moving the motion for the approval of the facility which is expected to be repaid in 20 years with an interest rate of 1.25 per annum, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah said the TSIP is immensely important towards improving road infrastructure and enhancing road safety in the country.

 

Though the Minority caucus supported the motion for the approval of the facility, it raised issues which were repudiated by the Majority side.

 

Leading the Minority on this one, the Ranking Member on the Transport Committee, Kwame Agbodza questioned why, as part of the capacity building component, US$50,000 would be used to train 10 people.

 

In his view, this is a wasteful expenditure and should not be entertained, wondering why the government did not fall on the Road Fund to fund the project instead of going into the international financial market.

 

Admitting that the road sector was in a deplorable state, the Adaklu MP faulted the government for suspending road projects initiated by the John Mahama-led administration including those funded by COCOBOD which he said had resulted in the precarious nature of the roads.

 

The first Deputy Speaker and MP for the Bekwai Constituency, Joseph Osei-Owusu said the country pays too much on consultancy services.

 

He said it was time Ghana stopped engaging loaners as consultants as is the case in TSIP, adding that whiles he was at the Driver and Vehicles Licensing Authority as Chief Executive, similar trainings have been given to Ghanaians and that they were in the position to offer such services at a relatively cheaper cost.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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