The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said apart from the pursuit of an inclusive infrastructural development for all, the government is also focused on delivering the best value for money for all the projects.
He compared projects undertaken under the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from 2017 till now to those undertaken between 2012 and 2016 under former President John Mahama, saying they revealed staggering disparities in the value of similar projects.
He said the cost of projects undertaken by the Mahama government appeared quite outrageous.
Townhall meeting, Results fair
Dr Bawumia, who was speaking on the government’s record on infrastructure at a town hall meeting at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra last night, which was carried live on television and social media platforms, said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was constructing four major interchanges in Tema, Pokuase, Tamale and at the Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle at a cost of $289 million.
Meanwhile, he said, the Mahama administration built the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange alone at a staggering cost of $260 million.
The programme, which was part of the Results Fair organised by the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, was attended by the Vice-President’s wife, Mrs Samira Bawumia, Ministers of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional rulers and some NPP stalwarts.
The event took off with a documentary on infrastructural development from 2017 to 2020.
It was centred on developments in the road sector, bridges and interchanges, railways and the Kumasi and the Tamale airports.
The 25-minute documentary also touched on the government’s developments in the health sector, including rural health, as well as the provision and distribution of more than 300 ambulances to every constituency across the country.
Participants in the event were made to observe all the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols, including the wearing of nose masks and social distancing.
On the Pokuase Interchange, which he indicated was 75 per cent complete, Dr Bawumia said the loan agreement for the project was signed in November 2016 for a three-tier interchange, but the Akufo-Addo government renegotiated for a four-tier interchange without any increase in cost.
He also mentioned the construction of the Tamale Interchange, which he said was the first-ever interchange in the northern sector of the country, and said it was 44 per cent complete, with an expected completion date by the middle of 2021.
Apart from the value for money comparison in the road sector, the Vice-President said “analysts have also raised eyebrows over disparities in the cost of hospitals the current government is building and those built under Mahama”.
He said while the 600-bed Eastern Regional Hospital being built by the Akufo-Addo government cost €70 million (about GH¢485.41 million), the Mahama government rehabilitated the Ridge Hospital at a cost of $220 million (GH¢1.28 billion).
The Vice-President, who cut the sod for the construction of a three-tier interchange at Nungua Barrier last Friday, also announced that the sod would be cut for the construction of an interchange at PTC in Takoradi.
Dr Bawumia used the occasion to unveil a website which he said had been designed to capture and make accessible data on all infrastructural projects initiated by the administration of President Akufo-Addo.
The www.deliverytracker.gov.gh website has been fed with data from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and it is expected to provide information on the status of projects in sectors such as digital infrastructure, agriculture, airport, markets, security, industry, roads, sports, housing, sea defence and fish landing sites
Dr Bawumia said the centralised portal would enable all Ghanaians, researchers, civil society organisations (CSOs) and interested persons have access to and interrogate the data.
“The infrastructure data can be obtained by any sector such as health, education, by region or by district. As the name implies, “delivery tracker” is a portal where you can track the status of delivery of government promises and also infrastructure projects. It will enhance transparency and accountability in our governance,” he added.
Explaining further how the system works, he said, for instance, that “you may have a project that constructs 120 units of apartments and another project that constructs 25 units of apartments and these will be counted as two projects in the database”.
“We are focusing on the description of the projects, their details and locations, so that we can monitor them,” he said, adding: “We have not applied any standardised units for counting projects.”
Dr Bawumia urged the media and the public to independently verify the projects on www.deliverytracker.gov.gh website.
While touting the massive infrastructure distributed across the country, the Vice-President emphasised that the Akufo-Addo government had, within its three and a half years in government, embarked on a massive infrastructure for all programmes which had left no district in the country behind.
“Infrastructure for all includes all the amenities that people need in order to unleash the potential for growth in their communities, constituencies and districts and ultimately improve the conditions of everyday living.
“It also includes facilities and systems to support industrial and other economic activities,” he added, saying that historically, government infrastructure projects had been concentrated in the big cities, at the expense of deprived communities.
Using video, charts and tables, Dr Bawumia provided a breakdown of all projects the government had undertaken in key areas and sectors, such as education, health, roads, agriculture, digitisation, sports, water and sanitation which are at various stages of completion across all regions of the country.
He said all the inclusive infrastructure vision had been achieved using the government’s flagship projects such as One-constituency, One-million Dollars, One-village, One-dam (1V1D), One-constituency, One-ambulance, One-district, One-factory (1D1F), the Zongo Development Fund and the One-district, One-warehouse as vehicles.
He said the provision of infrastructure, amenities or facilities should not be dictated narrowly by politics, since every community, district and region deserved expanded opportunities for growth and improvement in its standard of living.
“It should not be for the government or politicians to decide on the sharing of infrastructure amenities on the basis of tribal, ideological and political preferences,” he stressed.
He said the government was not just building infrastructure but also building a nation, adding: “We are building all this infrastructure while staying committed to our social contract of providing free senior high school education, creating jobs, transforming agriculture, industrialising the economy, sustaining the national health insurance scheme, digitising the economy, ensuring the safety of Ghanaians and keeping the lights on.”
The Vice-President said the government had implemented different infrastructural programmes of about 17,334 projects since 2017.
“We have completed a total number of 8,746 projects throughout the country, while a further 8,588 projects are at different stages of completion throughout the country,” he added.
He described the infrastructure record of the Akufo-Addo administration as “second to none when compared to any government in its first term of office under the Fourth Republic”.
“Notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the completion times of some projects, the data indicate that in the Fourth Republic, no government has achieved as much in its first term of office in terms of infrastructural projects it initiated in its first term as the NPP government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” he added.
Dr Bawumia also touched on other projects in the agricultural sector, saying the government had embarked on the construction of 80 warehouses, each with the capacity of 1,000 tonnes, three greenhouse training centres, irrigation projects, including the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam and Irrigation Project, education and railways projects, including rail lines from Takoradi to Kojokrom and Tema to Mpakadan.