General News of 2012-10-04

Expensive Kufuor Buses Turn Scrap

When was the last time you saw the famous yellow-coloured vehicles, nicknamed “Kufuor Buses”, as part of the Metro Mass Transport system, procured by the erstwhile Kufuor administration?

The buses purchased at expensive prices from China, about four years ago, have all broken down, written off and sold as scrap to the Ministry of Health to be used as makeshift health posts across the country, The Herald learnt.

Over fifty are currently parked in the yard of the yet-to-be-completed Greater Regional office of the National Health Insurance (NHIS), adjacent the National Headquarters of the Red Cross Society near the Military Dog Training School in North Dzorwulu, a suburb of Accra, awaiting the said transformation by the Ministry.

The management of Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT), this paper was told, sold the unserviceable Chinese yellow buses imported by the then New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration in 2008, to the Health Ministry after it became clear that the high-priced buses could not be salvaged.

The Health Ministry, however, made a request to buy the grounded vehicles for the makeshift medical centres for some deprived areas in the country, under its Community Health Initiative Programme (CHIP).

The unserviceable yellow vehicles were imported into the country during tenure of Richard Winfred Anane, ex-Minister of Roads Transport. Strangely, the manual for servicing the buses was written in Chinese language in total disregard for Ghana Standards Authority regulations on importation of products into the country.

The manuals on the vehicles generated a lot of controversies over the servicing of the vehicles because the MMT engineers could not read Chinese.

The buses according to the engineers from MMT could not be serviced, so it came as a great relieve to management when the Ministry of Health made the proposal to purchase the vehicles even at knockdown prices for medical centres.

The Deputy Minister for Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, told The Herald in a telephone conversation that the Ministry of Health took custody of the unserviceable vehicles after it had fully paid for them.

She said ” I was alarmed when I drove pass the area a week ago and saw the vehicles parked in the yard”. She explained that after the necessary enquiries from the Managing Director (MD) of the company, it came to the fore that the vehicles had been sold and dully paid for by the purchaser, hence the buses now belong to the Ministry of Health.

Mr. Tony Goodman, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Health confirmed his Ministry had indeed bought the wrecked vehicles.

He told The Herald that the Chinese vehicles were going to be mounted as treatment sites in some accident-prone areas across the country to offer first aid treatment for accident victims but a large number of them would be going to the various Community Health Initiative Programme (CHIP) compounds across the country.

The Chinese buses are the second buses to be written off by MMT. The first was some Italian buses acquired by the Kufuor administration, also at very expensive prices. They turned out to be a discarded fleet, written off by the European Union (EU). There were no spare parts for the poorly-ventilated buses as the manufacturers had diverted into other businesses.

Source: The Herald
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