Bawumia’s results fair must be scrutinized, cost of interchanges don’t add up – Kweku Baako

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Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has urged Ghanaians to subject Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia‘s public engagement on the infrastructure record of the Akufo-Addo administration to scrutiny.

According to him, the Vice President’s assertions should not be accepted at face value but rather there should be a deep dive into the figures and account he gave about the performance of the government, particularly with regard to road networks.

Akufo-Addo’s Infrastructure Record

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, during a ”Town Hall and Results Fair” held by ruling New Patriotic Party on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, described the President’s record as “second to none, with verifiable data to back up my claim”, comparing his first term to any government under the Fourth Republic.

“The investment in infrastructure by the NPP government over the last three years has been massive. I dare say our investment in infrastructure, our infrastructure record, is second to none for any government in its first term under the Fourth Republic,” Dr Bawumia said.

He highlighted some infrastructure developments by the current administration but what has really become a bone of contention is his account about the construction of interchanges under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

“Four state of the art interchanges are also under construction: The Tema Interchange, where the loan, sod cutting and completion were executed by this government; Tamale interchange under the Sinohydro Programme, the first ever interchange in the Northern Sector of the country (44% complete and expected to be completed by the middle of 2021); Pokuase interchange (the first four tier interchange in West Africa – 75% complete.

“The loan agreement for this (Pokuase interchange) project was signed in November 2016 for a three-tier interchange. We subsequently renegotiated for a four-tier interchange without any increase in cost.

“The Obetsebi-Lamptey interchange is 55% complete. As well, the Sod has just been cut for the Nungua Interchange”.

“This is the highest number of interchanges (5) being constructed in the first term of any government since independence. A sixth interchange, the PTC interchange in Takoradi (the first interchange in the Western Region) will start in early September.”

“It is important to note that the cost of the Tema, Pokuase, Tamale, and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges total $289 million while the Kwame Nkrumah interchange was constructed at a cost of $270 million,” he disclosed.

Dr. Bawumia thanked the President for not reneging on his promises to Ghanaians.

“Notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the completion times of some projects, the data indicates that in the fourth republic, no government has achieved as much in its first term of office in terms of infrastructure projects it initiated its first term as the NPP government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”

Clarification and Validation of Record

Kweku Baako, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, has raised questions about Dr. Bawumia’s figures saying something doesn’t add up.

According to him, he doesn’t understand how the government came to a conclusion about how much money was used by former President John Dramani Mahama and his government in constructing the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, popularly called Circle Dubai.

Speaking to host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ on Wednesday, Mr. Baako gave the actual figure of the Nkrumah interchange to be 74, 880, 000 Euros.

This therefore means the interchange was constructed with less money than the cost declared by the Vice President.

“That is the value, at least the loan agreement that Parliament approved and that is what it is. I have realized some people say the figure is about Nkrumah interchange Part 2. But per my checks, I suspect those people are referring to the flyover, the Obetsebi-Lamptey interchange. That’s about 130 or 135 million dollars; so are they combining the two because I’ve read records that some people refer to the Kwame Nkrumah interchange, the one they call Dubai, as phase 1 and the Obetsebi-Lamptey thing as phase 2,” he asserted, adding that in the parliamentary records that is Obetsebi-Lamptey flyover.

He further set the record straight on the Kwame Nkrumah and Kasoa interchanges saying they predate the Akufo-Addo administration, which is also to mean the projects commenced under the Mahama administration.

Kweku Baako asked the Vice President and the government to be factual and further ensure that if they’re accusing former President John Mahama of bloating figures, they should be prepared to give substantial evidence to support their claims.

“About this debate, I like it. It’s fantastic debate; at least it takes out the insults and all those things but we should be very focused. We should also be very fair. We should be direct . . . we should be focused, we should be factual . . . I want clarification. I don’t think there’s much clarity there . . . I’m not comfortable with the way it’s being done. When you make a case of inflated projects, you don’t stop there. You must prove it . . .” he said.

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