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Thursday, August 16, 2018
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GHC3.68m oil money ‘wasted’ on abandoned Berekum-Sampa road

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An allocation of GH¢3.68million oil money made in 2016 to support reconstruction of the Berekum-Sampa road in the Brong Ahafo Region made no impact on the abandoned project.

The project started in 2007 and was expected to be completed in 2012, but delay in payment has pushed the contractor – Messrs. J. Adom Ltd. – to abandon the project. The initial contract sum was GH¢41million but was later revised to GH¢46million.

The contractor only completed 95% of primer seal and 90% of first seal and did not do the second seal.

In 2016, government allocated GH¢3.68million from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) of petroleum revenue to help complete the project. However, the oil money was just a drop in the ocean and therefore did not make any meaningful impact on the 56-kilometre road project.

The ‘abandoned’ project has since deteriorated, with many pot-holes riddling the road.

The poor state of the road has affected economic activities in that part of the country. The border town of Sampa is the cashew trading hub in the country. The town used to be a major entry and exit point for many Ghanaian and Ivorian traders, but the bad connecting road has contributed to a drastic reduction of trade volumes there.

According to the Acting Brong Ahafo Regional Highways Director, Frederick Aduagyei, the primer seal is not supposed to last more than six months – but a stretch of the road’s primer seal is over five years old without the first and second seals.

“There is a high risk of deterioration; there are certain portions of the road where the contractor has to reconstruct the primer seal and patch other areas before the project can continue. This will obviously add to the cost, which has already been revised,” Mr. Aduagyei told a combined inspection team of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ).

The joint monitoring team was in the Brong Ahafo Region to inspect petroleum revenue-funded projects.

Of the total GH¢3.30billion ABFA (2011-2016), GH¢1.57billion was allocated to roads and other infrastructure.

Interacting with the journalists, Chairman of PIAC Dr. Steve Manteaw said: “This is one of the unwise uses of oil revenue. Rationally, the state should have assessed the total amount needed to complete the project and released the required resources to complete it. Allocating droplets into projects like this is not prudent”.

He urged government to prioritise the project and make resources available for its completion to boost intra-regional trade.

In a related development, bitumen surfacing of 4.3km Mim town roads in the Asunafo North Municipality is 100% complete. The estimated cost of the project was GH¢3.11million, but as at completion total expenditure stood at a little over GH¢2.19million. The project funding had an oil money component of GH¢1million.

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