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The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta, has responded to the Bantamahene BaffourAmankwatia VI, regarding the spate of development in the Ashanti Region, saying deplorable roads in that part of the country, will see a facelift only after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins the December presidential and parliamentary polls.
This is in spite of the Akufo-Addo government declaring year 2020 as “the Year of Roads”.
His comment has raised eyebrows of the people in the region, who were looking forward to see expansion of road infrastructure after listening to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta’s promise in this year’s budget statement that this year was going to be a “year of roads”.
The Bantamahene at the swearing-in ceremony of assembly members of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) recently bemoaned the snail pace of development in the region, despite promises made to the people who always vote massively for the NPP.
He is not the only one, who has criticized the Akufo-Addo government for not doing much for the region, compared to the when the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and John Mahama, were in power.
According to the Bantamahene, although members of the government keep speaking of grand ideas, very little action has been seen in the region in terms of development.
“With all sincerity before God, nothing works properly in Kumasi and the KMA boss who is sitting close to me knows it. Everybody does what they want.”
“Our pedestrian walkways have been taken over by hawkers. Commercial drivers have left their stations picking up passengers from all places and creating a mess. Stalls have been erected haphazardly taking away the beauty of plush settlements like Nhyieso,” he fumed when spoke on behalf of the Asantehene.
He disclosed that Manhyia, the seat of the Asantihene and its Council of Chiefs, were so furious with the state of the city and are even contemplating withdrawing the 55percent of stool land revenues that it generously advances to the assembly to carry out its developmental projects.
“The way we the chiefs are wild, if you are not careful we will withdraw our 55% stool land revenues from the assembly and develop Kumasi ourselves and you know that when the Opemsuo speaks, it is final,” he dared.
Baffour Amankwatia VI, charged the assembly members to be goal-oriented and serious about cleaning up the mess in the Kumasi Metropolis.
But speaking exclusively to Ultimate FM last week, Mr Amoako-Atta, hinted that the much-awaited Suame and Oforikrom interchange projects, will commence in the second term of President Akufo-Addo government.
President Akufo-Addo in 2018, during sod-cutting for Kumasi roads at Atonsu in the Asokwa Municipality promised to construct interchanges at Suame roundabout and Oforikrom to check vehicular traffic in Kumasi.
However, two years on, government is yet to deliver on the promise.
Responding to a question by Isaac Bediako, the Road Minister, who could not give specific timeline for the projects said, government was working around the clock to start the projects.
“I can tell you that we have gone very far on these two projects at this stage, I can’t tell you possible construction companies that will execute the two projects. It’s our wish to cut sod for the projects hopeful by the end of the year. But because we are doing a lot of projects, if it does not happen, hopefully, 2021, we will cut sod for the project to commence,” he disclosed.
He added: "With the work the NPP government has done across the country, I am confident that the electorate will give President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo–Addo second term to continue his vision for the country in the area of infrastructural development. At the moment, we are working hard to bring all the procurement processes to a close before the end of the year”.
The Minister assured that the NPP knowing what the region means to them will fulfill its campaign promises to them but was quick to say that, it is the vision of the President to develop all the 16 regions together and so will do as promised.
He said the government will not seek to discriminate against any of the region neither will it give any preferential treatment.
The Roads Minister stressed, “President Akufo-Addo and his government will not joke with Kumasi and Ashanti road projects; I can tell you."
"We know what Kumasi and Ashanti mean to us and don’t forget we are politicians. President Akufo-Addo is fixing all roads in Ghana, he is not discriminating against any region in Ghana, no, he is not a president who will do that. He is looking after all the 16 regions in Ghana like I told you we will not joke with Kumasi roads’’.
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