Two Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Afram Plains have accused the government of allegedly diverting $98 million meant for the construction of the Adawso-Ekyi Amanfrom-Donkorkrom roads.
A statement signed by the MPs, Betty Nana Efua Krosbi Mensah, MP for Afram Plains North, and Joseph Appiah Boateng, MP for Afram Plains South, further alleged that currently, the government was making arrangements to divert the approved funds for the construction of by-passes on the Accra-Kumasi highway from Osino to Konongo.
However, in a statement in response to the allegations, the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Roads and Highways said the project consisted of two contracts.
The first, it said, was the construction of Bunso Adawso and specified approach roads to the Adawso bridge (104km) (“the Road Contract”).
This comprises Takorowatwen – Ekyi Amanfrom road (22km), Adawso - Kwahu Tafo road (20km), Kwahu Tafo - Miaso road (29km), Miaso - Begoro road (26km) and Begoro - Obuoho road (7km).
The second, it said, was the design and construction of Adawso bridge (“the Bridge Contract”). That comprises the construction of approximately 3.6km of a two-lane bridge, including service lanes and a walkway to connect Adawso and Ekyi Amanfrom in the Eastern Region and the construction of a new toll plaza.
According to the statement, it was expected that the two components of the project, with a total cost of €350 million, would be executed concurrently and be completed in 30 months subject to the successful completion of the financing arrangement.
The MPs, later addressing the Parliamentary Press Corps, said the decision by the government would deprive the people of Afram plains of their share of the national cake and also worsen their living conditions due to the deplorable state of the roads.
"The government, while bringing the agreement to Parliament, stated explicitly why we must prioritise the road network in Afram plains; to provide food security in the country since most of the cities and towns all get their food supplies from Afram plains.
"And also, because the inhabitants of Afram plains have been cut off from the rest of the country due to physical access and lack of connecting roads to other parts of the country leaving the ferry as the only means of transport," they said jointly.
While condemning the decision to divert the funds, the MPs said the action was politically motivated which was likely to deprive the people of better living conditions.
The statement from the Roads Ministry explained further that the road contract was tied to the bridge contract to realise the full benefit of the project.
"Following the approval by Parliament of the two projects and the financing arrangements, government has continued to diligently pursue the funding for the project," the statement said.
According to the release, it was in light of that that government allocated about US$98 million under the US$750 million African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) loan as a contribution to the road contract component after one of the financiers declined to participate in the financial arrangement.
"It is important to state that due to the current debt restructuring exercise, government has not been able to conclude the arrangement of the financing for the project.
According to the response, government was currently undertaking a number of road projects to improve the state of roads in the Afram Plains area.