Though the government has admitted that most road projects cannot be completed within the President’s first term, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says the country is “not in bigger trouble than it appears.”
The Minister’s comment follows the Finance Minister’s claim that government “will certainly not be able to do” all road projects “within this four-year term.”
On the Citi Breakfast Show, Oppong Nkrumah said the lack of action on some roads despite complaints was the opportunity cost of focusing on some other policies.
“That is the opportunity cost of our socially inclusive investments that we have done over the years. If you are spending on ensuring that allowances are restored and the Free SHS is working and you are keeping the lights on, there will be an opportunity cost.”
“We must also be honest that we will not be able to do 100 percent of all outstanding roads within this fiscal year or this four-year cycle,” he said.
The Finance Minister on Monday asked Parliament to allow government to spend additional GHC6.37 billion.
But Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah reminded that part of the over GHc 6 billion expenditure requested by the Finance Minister will be used on new expenditure items which include roads.
He added that work on the second phase of $2 billion Sinohydro Master Project Support “has also commenced; [the selection of] which projects will go into the Sino funding arrangement.”
The $2 billion Sinohydro Master Project Support was agreed between Ghana and China in 2018 to address major infrastructure challenges in the country.
“But the reality is that about GHC5 billion of it is to cure cancer that if we don’t cure can undermine all the progress we have made,” he added.
The government requested the additional funds because of the shortfall in funds needed to execute its 2019 budget.
In making his point, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also referenced some of the country’s struggles with the power sector saying “we have to find a way to get out of the take or pay options. We have to replace some of them [with better options]. While doing that, we also have to raise some more revenue.”
“So, the combined approach of raising some more revenue, raise some more liability and tackling as much as you can tackle within this period without jeopardizing the macro stability that we have succeeded in bringing about is the path on which we are working,” Oppong Nkrumah said.