The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, has disclosed that, plans are far advanced for the Ministry of Finance to release one billion US dollars for the ministry to pay outstanding road debts and construct new roads, among other projects.
According to Mr Amoako-Attah, the ministry has decided to collaborate with the Ghana Cocoa Board to fund all cocoa roads and pay all outstanding road debts which government, for the past three years, has spent GH¢4billion on.
The move, he said, was government’s commitment to improving the road networks in the country which has remained around 39 per cent in good condition, 32 per cent fair condition and 29 per cent in poor condition over the last five years.
The minister was addressing participants at the opening of a three-day strategic management workshop organised by the ministry under the theme, ‘Ghana Beyond Aid: Strategies for sustainable investment and road asset preservation,’ in Kumasi.
Mr Amoako-Attah said because funding sources for road projects was limited, the ministry since 2017 had been embarking on a comprehensive project portfolio review to ensure that, projects were rationalised and adequately funded.
He noted that, since the toll booths fetched the ministry a very lucrative income, the ministry would embark on a rehabilitation maintenance management for three because they are potential of funding road projects.
Mr Ofori-Attah outlined projects like, 50 bridges on key trunk and feeder roads, Accra-Kumasi dual road, Kumasi ring road, Accra outer ring road, Tema-Akosombo road and hospital and meridian roads in Tema to be taken up by various private investors.
He indicated that, as government recognised the importance of good road infrastructure as a critical facilitator for rapid socio-economic development of the country, his administration would not deal lightly with saboteurs of road policies within and outside the ministry.
The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, in a speech read on his behalf observed that, one of the key growth poles in the government’s socio-economic development growth agenda was the need for the country to undertake massive, urgent and comprehensive infrastructure development to expand and transform the economy.
According to him, the theme for the occasion was timely, noting it was a bold step which would ensure a more strategic commitment in dealing with the problems associated with the road networks, irregular maintenance and deterioration which limited the sector to providing the opportunity to enhancing the country’s development process.
Mr Osafo-Maafo indicated that, the current stagnated road condition was a wake-up call to the ministry since various reasons have been attributed to the situation which included overdependence on scarce public funds, delays in payments, weak contractor capacity supervision among others.
He acknowledged that, it was necessary to develop creative and innovative solutions to complement government’s efforts in sourcing for funds to construct additional roads especially in the six newly created regions.
FROM FAUSTINA KWABEA OSEI, KUMASI