The Akufo-Addo government, has declared this year as the year of roads. The pronouncement was first made by the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, when he presented the 2020 budget statement to Parliament.
Last week Thursday, when the president appeared before the August House to present his last State of the Nations Address, he also reiterated that, this year is a year of roads.
The president since assuming office, has always haunted his predecessor, especially anytime he embarks on his regional tours, asking where are the roads the previous administration, has said it constructed.
Most of the roads that are completed on time in this country are the ones that are foreign funded, even some of them get delayed because of lack of counterpart funding.
In the opinion of this newspaper, declaring this year as the year of roads, is a grand deception, intended to hoodwink Ghanaians to renew the mandate of the government.
The finance minister presented the budget statement in November, four months down the line, the president also presents his SONA, the first quarter of the year is almost done, so when are Ghanaians expected to see contractors on site to begin construction.
When the finance minister presented the 2019 budget, he mentioned some major roads that were to be constructed.
Reading the 2019 budget statement on November 15, 2018, the minister of finance said, “Mr. Speaker, to ensure efficient management of infrastructure, we will soon submit a bill to set up the Ghana Asset Management Corporation. Mr. Speaker, with your permission I will like to inform Ghanaians on what we have done so far on infrastructure and the massive investments commencing in 2019. Mr. Speaker, in 2019, we will invest massively in the development of road and infrastructure, from a variety funding sources and the following projects have been identified to commence in 2019.
Mr. Speaker, in addition to the above, in 2019 Government in partnership with the private sector through PPP arrangements will undertake various projects including Accra–Takoradi Highway Dualisation, Accra – Tema Motorway and Accra – Kumasi Highway Dualisation.”
This newspaper can say without equivocation that, none of the dual carriages mentioned to have started in 2019, has actually started, so we are right to say that, the promise of this year being a year of road, is another hoax.
The time it takes to pay for compensation, before the actual construction start, takes more than a year. The worse problem we always deal with, is the inability of the government to pay contractors.
So declaring this year, as year of roads could only mean the government is going to fill potholes and fix existing roads.