Former President Jerry John Rawlings, is finally waking upto the neglect of the Volta Region by the Akufo-Addo government with respect to the roads.
The ex-President last week, added his voice to the deteriorating roads in the Volta Region, notably, the road leading to the capital, Ho.
Among the very bad roads are the famous eastern corridor road which stretches from Asikuma through Hohoe into the Oti region, the Ho-Aflao stretch, the Sogakope Bridge (which has been refurbished except not to the expectation of residents), Afiadenyigba-Anloga, Sokode-Akrorfu-Bame-Kpeve, and the Bame to Dzolokpuita roads among many others.
While travelling to the Regional capital on Thursday, to commiserate with the family of Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) there, Henry Ametefe, on the death of his wife, Mr Rawlings, stopped over at Sokode within the Ho municipality to express his disappointment over the state of the road in that part of the region.
He said, he experienced a similar situation when he visited Hohoe a few weeks ago.
Residents and motorists in the Region, have been impatient about what they say is the government’s delay in continuing road projects, which were abandoned after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took up government.
Numerous road projects under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration were put on hold by the current government, pending the results of audits to ascertain whether due processes were followed in the award of those contracts.
In addition, the government also stopped the construction of roads that were captured under the cocoa road programme across the country as part of a rationalisation exercise.
Some of the abandoned roads that have become a major concern to the people are Jasikan-Kejebi, Nkwanta-Kpassa, Nkwanta–Dambai, Peki through Kpeve–Hohoe roads that form part of the Eastern Corridor Road Project.
The rest include Atsito-Fiaxo road, Todome-Kpalime through Tongor–Dzemeni, Vakpo-Wusuta Kpebe and a dual carriage road from Sokode to Ho among, many others across the Volta and Oti regions.
Meanwhile, the government says works on roads in the Volta Region would be completed by the end of 2020.
“For the whole Eastern Corridor road we are doing, most parts of it will be done in 2020. A lot of the Eastern Corridor road passes through the Volta Region so you cannot talk about roads in 2020 without talking about the Volta Region,” the Senior
Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, told Citi FM.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta last week, Friday rushed to parliament to amend the 2020 budget statement barely 48 hours after his presentation.
The move is to satisfy Chiefs and People of the Volta Region who had accused government of neglecting their roads by refusing to mention them among the list of roads to be fixed.
The Volta Caucus in parliament on Thursday demanded an apology from the minister for the gaffe.
Minority spokesperson on roads and transport Governs Kwame Agbodza told Starr News the minister must amend the budget to capture roads in the Volta Region in region under the critical roads for 2020 program.
On Friday, the minister, in his usual white apparel rushed to parliament for what could be termed a supplementary budget even before appropriation bill is passed. He added at least 3 roads to the list.
Minority leader HarunaIddrisu assured the named projects will be keenly monitored to ensure government isn’t pulling a fast one on the people of the Volta Region.
National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for North Tongufelt appeased by the decision of the Finance Minister to amend the 2020 Budget to include the Volta region in a list christened “Critical Regional Roads Projects.”
In a Facebook post on Friday, the Former Deputy Minister of Education, thanked all those who joined him in his advocacy to get this done and said he harbours no grudge against “those who sought to needlessly vilify” him.
The 2020 budget had omitted the Volta region from a list of roads to be constructed because they were “critical.”
This prompted Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to question the equitable distribution of State resources.
“Why is provision not made in the 2020 Budget for critical road projects in the case of only the Volta Region?” He asked on his Facebook Wall barely 24hours after the budget presentation on Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
This has now been explained as “inadvertent” by the Finance Minister. The budget goes through some elaborate processes that it will be unimaginable to have such an omission.
“As it turned out on page 160 of the Budget document, the Volta Region was inadvertently left out,” he admitted in a statement to Parliament on November 15, 2019.
According to Ken Ofori-Atta, all Regional Ministers were asked to submit a list of critical roads which require immediate attention for which three roads projects were prioritised for the Volta region. These are Asikuma-Have (45km), Have-Hohoe-Jasikan (83km) and Ho-Dzodze-Denu (99km) roads.
But analysist have doubted his claim, saying there’s a budget department at Finance ministry and there are various workshops associated with the budget such that, it will be difficult not to notice that the Volta Region isn’t captured in the budget statement.
Some were also of the view that the emptying of the Finance Ministry by Mr Ofori-Atta, for his employees at the Data Bank, to take over from technocrats at the ministry, is beginning to have effect on the output as seen in the budget which also claimed Ghana had 880,000 million farmers in a country of less than 30 million.