Ghana’s Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has rejected accusations by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the Akufo-Addo government has neglected the infrastructure needs of the people of the Volta and Oti regions, especially in the area of roads, following the omission of roads in the Volta Region from the list of critical roads earmarked for construction in 2020 as presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to Parliament in next year’s budget a week ago.
The government has described the omission as a “genuine mistake”.
Describing the erstwhile government’s record in the provision of roads as “very embarrassing”, Dr Bawumia challenged the NDC to provide evidence of such neglect, as well as show Ghanaians where the many beautifully drawn pictures of roads in their Green Book could be found.
Dr Bawumia threw the challenge on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, when he broke ground at Jasikan for construction works to begin on the 88-kilometre Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu stretch of the Eastern Corridor Road.
Known as the N2 National Route, the Eastern Corridor road begins from the Tema Motorway through to the Volta, Oti, Northern, North East and Upper East regions to neighbouring Burkina Faso.
The Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu project forms part of Phase 1 of the $2billion government of Ghana/Sinohydro Master Project Agreement and is expected to be completed in 30 months.
Addressing the chiefs and people of the Oti Region, Dr Bawumia said when the Akufo-Addo administration assumed office, it was confronted with the reality that the NDC had misled Ghanaians on the extent of work done in the roads sector.
“Contrary to all the nice pictures in the Green Book, we realised that the reality on the ground was very different. For eight years of the previous NDC government, they did not pay much attention to Volta or Oti roads. For eight years. But today they want to tell us they care more about Volta and Oti than we [NPP] do. Eight years. They accomplished very little.
“We identified these roads more than two years ago and said we were going to do these roads. And the Minister of Finance, in the budget mentioned specifically that we are going to do Hohoe-Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu road. And this is what we are seeing today. We are seeing that Hohoe-Jasikan is being done as we speak today, and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu is being done.
“What is very interesting, and what the country should know is that through the efforts of the Minister of Roads, Hon Kwesi Amoako Atta, the contractors for Hohoe-Jasikan and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu were mobilised and on site two weeks before the budget statement of Hon Ken Ofori-Atta. Two weeks before the budget, they had already mobilised to site. So, how can you ignore a region by mobilising for the construction of their roads?
“Another point. Of all the roads that were listed under critical roads in the budget, the only roads that have started are the Hohoe-Jasikan and Jasikan-Dodo Pepesu. They are the only two. All the others that have been listed are still under procurement. So, how can you even think that we have ignored the Volta Region when it is the one that is starting, before anybody else?
“The NDC, I’m sure they are very embarrassed by their record. Very embarrassed, because it is an embarrassing record if the truth is to be told. They claimed they had fixed so many roads in the country, but today there are demonstrations everywhere across all the regions for more and more roads. In their eight years, they didn’t fix one major road in Upper East Region. Not one. In their eight years in office, not one major road in Upper West Region did they complete. Not one. So, should these regions also say you have ignored them completely, wouldn’t they be justified?
“Eight years, you didn’t fix the Volta Region roads. You didn’t fix the Oti roads. And I can go on and on.”
The Vice-President laughed off claims by NDC legislators and party activists that the Volta Region has been overlooked in the 2020 Budget statement.
“When the budget was read, even though in the budget you could see mention of roads in many regions and in the Volta Region the dualisation of the Ho town roads, construction of Ho bypass, Dufor-Adidome road, Asutsuare-Aveyime road, upgrading of Klefe town roads, Akatsi town roads, Ketu South area roads, upgrading of selected Kpando Municipality roads and Ketu North roads. All of these were in the budget. But after the budget, we were being told that we have ignored the Volta Region.
“If only they took their time to read the budget! But they don’t like reading. They like propaganda. They like to knock our heads against each other. They like tribalism. They like division. Under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, this country is going to be governed as a united country. No region will be overlooked. That is why we have policies like One Constituency-One Ambulance, One District-One Factory, One District-One Warehouse, One Village-One DVam, water for all, toilets for all, and free SHS for all, to ensure inclusion of all".
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