Opinions Thu, 16 Aug 2018

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Bawumia's $45 million security personnel housing project needs probing

On Monday, 13th August, 2018, it was reported that Vice President Dr. Bawumia had cut sod for work to begin on the construction of 320 housing units for personnel of the Ghana Police Service at an estimated cost of US$45 million.

We are told that the project is being implemented by the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Works and Housing, with Amandi Holdings Limited as the contractors.

Given the unique challenge of accomodating our security Agencies, a challenge that has resulted in many of our men and women in uniform putting up in deplorable structures under dehumanizing conditions, any effort by government to address this problem just as successive governments have done, deserves some commendation.

However, it would appear our Vice President, Dr. Bawumia, who is a self-acclaimed crusader of value for money in public projects and the minister of Works and Housing Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea, are deliberately hiding behind this particular project to fleece the state and shortchange the national interest in order to line their own pockets.

We are being told that this project entails the construction of 112 two (2)-bed room and 208 three (3)-bed room apartments at Tesano in Accra. Other ancillary components of the project will include recreational facilities, a kindergarten center and a sports complex.

As Dr. Bawumia characteristically loves to dabble in the mathematics of construction, subjecting this project to a basic arithmetic test of value for money tells us that this is a sordid deal being championed by Dr. Bawumia in furtherance of this government's agenda of looting the state coffers at the least opportunity through questionable deals.

Now let's do this simple arithmetic. We are told that the total cost of this 320-unit Housing project is a whooping US$45 million. Now dividing the total cost of US$45 million by 320, gives us an average unit cost of roughly US$140,000 (equivalent to about GHS700,000 and about 7 Billion Old Ghana cedis) per every two(2)/three(3)-bedroom apartment. The cost of the project as it appears is highly inflated, outrageous and unconscionable.

Clearly, Dr. Bawumia must explain to us, how and why an inconsiderable project such as this must cost the nation this much. What at all is the make-up of these apartments? What is so special about them that it must cost the already ill-equipped Police Personnel and the Ghanaian taxpayer this much? If one may ask, will these apartments be constructed with gold and marble? This is scandalous and completely untenable.

It must be added that the above figure does not include the cost of land, which comes at no cost to the state or the private developer since the project will utilize existing lands belonging to the Ghana Police Service.

This is a far cry from what pertains in the open market, where the average cost of a three-bed room house in Accra is about US$90,000. Is it not mind-blowing that private developers with all their profit motive and other overhead costs such as land and compensation, could still provide same three-bedroom apartments in gated communities with all the ultramodern amenities one can think of, at very competitive prices than what our Vice President is offering us?

Obviously, there can be no better way to explain this than a vile attempt by the second gentleman of the land and other officials of this government to shortchange the Ghanaian taxpayer and Personnel of the Ghana Police Service. This is most shameful and shocking from a man who is often quick to pontificate self-righteousness when it comes to accountability.


Columnist: Sammy Gyamfi

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